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880 items tagged "Syria"

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Twin Car Bombs Kill 18 in Syria's Homs

Category: News
Created on Thursday, 02 October 2014 07:34
Car bomb illustrationTwin car bomb explosions in the central Syrian city of Homs on Wednesday killed at least 18 people, mostly children, and wounded 40 others, AFP reported, citing the state news agency SANA.
 
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported the same toll in the double bombing in the Akrameh neighborhood of Homs.
 
The group said the death toll could rise as body parts were still being collected from the scene and several of the wounded were in serious condition.
 
“Two terrorist explosions near the Akrameh al-Makhzumi school and the Zaim hospital caused deaths and injuries,” Syrian state television reported.
 
The neighborhood is home to a majority of Alawites, members of the same offshoot of Shiite Islam to which President Bashar Al-Assad belongs.
 
The district has been targeted more than once before, including on June 19, when at least six people were killed in a car bomb attack.
 
In April, two car bombs in Homs killed at least 25 people, including women and children, this time in the neighborhood of Karam al-Luz, which is also mostly made up of Alawites.
 
Homs was once dubbed “the capital of the revolution” against Assad. Most of the city, except the battered district of Waar, has returned to regime control after two years of bombardment and siege.
 
Some 1,400 civilians were able to leave the area earlier this year under UN supervision.
 
Over the past few months, focus has shifted away from the civil war in Syria and onto the “Islamic State” (IS or ISIS), which has taken over large parts of Syria and Iraq.
 
A coalition led by the United States, having already launched airstrikes against ISIS targets in Iraq, has also begun airstrikes against the group’s targets in Syria.
 
Speaking to the UN General Assembly this week, Syria's Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem appealed to the world to fight back against ISIS.
 
Muallem said that his country supported all efforts to fight terror, adding that any attacks on the Islamists needed to ensure that Syrian citizens remained safe.

Twin Car Bombs Kill 18 in Syria's Homs

Category: News
Created on Thursday, 02 October 2014 07:34
Car bomb illustrationTwin car bomb explosions in the central Syrian city of Homs on Wednesday killed at least 18 people, mostly children, and wounded 40 others, AFP reported, citing the state news agency SANA.
 
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported the same toll in the double bombing in the Akrameh neighborhood of Homs.
 
The group said the death toll could rise as body parts were still being collected from the scene and several of the wounded were in serious condition.
 
“Two terrorist explosions near the Akrameh al-Makhzumi school and the Zaim hospital caused deaths and injuries,” Syrian state television reported.
 
The neighborhood is home to a majority of Alawites, members of the same offshoot of Shiite Islam to which President Bashar Al-Assad belongs.
 
The district has been targeted more than once before, including on June 19, when at least six people were killed in a car bomb attack.
 
In April, two car bombs in Homs killed at least 25 people, including women and children, this time in the neighborhood of Karam al-Luz, which is also mostly made up of Alawites.
 
Homs was once dubbed “the capital of the revolution” against Assad. Most of the city, except the battered district of Waar, has returned to regime control after two years of bombardment and siege.
 
Some 1,400 civilians were able to leave the area earlier this year under UN supervision.
 
Over the past few months, focus has shifted away from the civil war in Syria and onto the “Islamic State” (IS or ISIS), which has taken over large parts of Syria and Iraq.
 
A coalition led by the United States, having already launched airstrikes against ISIS targets in Iraq, has also begun airstrikes against the group’s targets in Syria.
 
Speaking to the UN General Assembly this week, Syria's Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem appealed to the world to fight back against ISIS.
 
Muallem said that his country supported all efforts to fight terror, adding that any attacks on the Islamists needed to ensure that Syrian citizens remained safe.

Twin Car Bombs Kill 18 in Syria's Homs

Category: News
Created on Thursday, 02 October 2014 07:34
Car bomb illustrationTwin car bomb explosions in the central Syrian city of Homs on Wednesday killed at least 18 people, mostly children, and wounded 40 others, AFP reported, citing the state news agency SANA.
 
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported the same toll in the double bombing in the Akrameh neighborhood of Homs.
 
The group said the death toll could rise as body parts were still being collected from the scene and several of the wounded were in serious condition.
 
“Two terrorist explosions near the Akrameh al-Makhzumi school and the Zaim hospital caused deaths and injuries,” Syrian state television reported.
 
The neighborhood is home to a majority of Alawites, members of the same offshoot of Shiite Islam to which President Bashar Al-Assad belongs.
 
The district has been targeted more than once before, including on June 19, when at least six people were killed in a car bomb attack.
 
In April, two car bombs in Homs killed at least 25 people, including women and children, this time in the neighborhood of Karam al-Luz, which is also mostly made up of Alawites.
 
Homs was once dubbed “the capital of the revolution” against Assad. Most of the city, except the battered district of Waar, has returned to regime control after two years of bombardment and siege.
 
Some 1,400 civilians were able to leave the area earlier this year under UN supervision.
 
Over the past few months, focus has shifted away from the civil war in Syria and onto the “Islamic State” (IS or ISIS), which has taken over large parts of Syria and Iraq.
 
A coalition led by the United States, having already launched airstrikes against ISIS targets in Iraq, has also begun airstrikes against the group’s targets in Syria.
 
Speaking to the UN General Assembly this week, Syria's Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem appealed to the world to fight back against ISIS.
 
Muallem said that his country supported all efforts to fight terror, adding that any attacks on the Islamists needed to ensure that Syrian citizens remained safe.

Twin Car Bombs Kill 18 in Syria's Homs

Category: News
Created on Thursday, 02 October 2014 07:34
Car bomb illustrationTwin car bomb explosions in the central Syrian city of Homs on Wednesday killed at least 18 people, mostly children, and wounded 40 others, AFP reported, citing the state news agency SANA.
 
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported the same toll in the double bombing in the Akrameh neighborhood of Homs.
 
The group said the death toll could rise as body parts were still being collected from the scene and several of the wounded were in serious condition.
 
“Two terrorist explosions near the Akrameh al-Makhzumi school and the Zaim hospital caused deaths and injuries,” Syrian state television reported.
 
The neighborhood is home to a majority of Alawites, members of the same offshoot of Shiite Islam to which President Bashar Al-Assad belongs.
 
The district has been targeted more than once before, including on June 19, when at least six people were killed in a car bomb attack.
 
In April, two car bombs in Homs killed at least 25 people, including women and children, this time in the neighborhood of Karam al-Luz, which is also mostly made up of Alawites.
 
Homs was once dubbed “the capital of the revolution” against Assad. Most of the city, except the battered district of Waar, has returned to regime control after two years of bombardment and siege.
 
Some 1,400 civilians were able to leave the area earlier this year under UN supervision.
 
Over the past few months, focus has shifted away from the civil war in Syria and onto the “Islamic State” (IS or ISIS), which has taken over large parts of Syria and Iraq.
 
A coalition led by the United States, having already launched airstrikes against ISIS targets in Iraq, has also begun airstrikes against the group’s targets in Syria.
 
Speaking to the UN General Assembly this week, Syria's Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem appealed to the world to fight back against ISIS.
 
Muallem said that his country supported all efforts to fight terror, adding that any attacks on the Islamists needed to ensure that Syrian citizens remained safe.

Head of Al-Nusra Front Warns West: You Will Pay

Category: News
Created on Monday, 29 September 2014 10:38
Head of Al-Nusra FrontThe head of Syria's Al-Qaeda-linked Al-Nusra Front on Sunday said U.S.-led air strikes will not defeat Islamists in Syria and warned against retaliatory attacks against Western countries, Reuters reports.
 
Abu Mohamad al-Golani, in an audio message posted on pro-Nusra jihadi forums, urged European and U.S. citizens to denounce the U.S. actions if they wanted to keep out of the war.
 
"Muslims will not watch while their sons are bombed. Your leaders will not be the only ones who would pay the price of the war. You will pay the heaviest price," he said, warning that the battle would be brought "to the hearts of your homes".
 
"You should protect yourselves from this war by standing against the decisions of your rulers and stop them from bringing you the woes (of war)," he added, according to Reuters.
 
The United States has been carrying out strikes against “Islamic State” (IS) fighters in Iraq since August 8. It opened a new front on September 23, launching airstrikes in neighboring Syria.
 
Al-Golani’s threats came a day after a spokesman for Al-Nusra denounced U.S.-led airstrikes on Syria and threatened to retaliate against Western and Arab countries that took part.
 
"We are in a long war. This war will not end in months nor years. This war could last for decades," group spokesman Abu Firas al-Suri said.
 
"It's not a war against Nusra Front, it's a war against Islam,” he added.
 
IS and the Al-Nusra Front share the same ideology and rigid Islamic beliefs, but they fell out during a power struggle and have been battling each other this past year.
 
Nusra Front is now coming under pressure from its own members to reconcile with Islamic State and join forces to fight what they describe as a "crusader" campaign against Islam.
 
Al-Nusra Front, whose leader pledged allegiance to Al-Qaeda leader Ayman Al-Zawahiri, has been heavily involved in the fighting in Syria as well as in neighboring Lebanon, where it has claimed responsibility for several bombings and has also threatened local Sunnis.
 
Most recently, members of the group kidnapped 45 Fijian UN peacekeepers and threatened to try them under Islamic law before ultimately releasing them.
 
At least 50 fighters from the group were killed in the first wave of U.S.-led attacks in Syria last Tuesday, a British-based monitoring group said, according to Reuters.
 
The air assault is also believed to have killed Mohsin al-Fadhli, the leader of another al-Qaeda linked organization, the Khorasan group, which worked in league with the Al-usra Front.
 
Golani did not directly mention Fadhli, but said the air attacks had killed fighters whose "loss would be felt on the whole war, not just on the Front", making clear that they had suffered a significant setback.

Head of Al-Nusra Front Warns West: You Will Pay

Category: News
Created on Monday, 29 September 2014 10:38
Head of Al-Nusra FrontThe head of Syria's Al-Qaeda-linked Al-Nusra Front on Sunday said U.S.-led air strikes will not defeat Islamists in Syria and warned against retaliatory attacks against Western countries, Reuters reports.
 
Abu Mohamad al-Golani, in an audio message posted on pro-Nusra jihadi forums, urged European and U.S. citizens to denounce the U.S. actions if they wanted to keep out of the war.
 
"Muslims will not watch while their sons are bombed. Your leaders will not be the only ones who would pay the price of the war. You will pay the heaviest price," he said, warning that the battle would be brought "to the hearts of your homes".
 
"You should protect yourselves from this war by standing against the decisions of your rulers and stop them from bringing you the woes (of war)," he added, according to Reuters.
 
The United States has been carrying out strikes against “Islamic State” (IS) fighters in Iraq since August 8. It opened a new front on September 23, launching airstrikes in neighboring Syria.
 
Al-Golani’s threats came a day after a spokesman for Al-Nusra denounced U.S.-led airstrikes on Syria and threatened to retaliate against Western and Arab countries that took part.
 
"We are in a long war. This war will not end in months nor years. This war could last for decades," group spokesman Abu Firas al-Suri said.
 
"It's not a war against Nusra Front, it's a war against Islam,” he added.
 
IS and the Al-Nusra Front share the same ideology and rigid Islamic beliefs, but they fell out during a power struggle and have been battling each other this past year.
 
Nusra Front is now coming under pressure from its own members to reconcile with Islamic State and join forces to fight what they describe as a "crusader" campaign against Islam.
 
Al-Nusra Front, whose leader pledged allegiance to Al-Qaeda leader Ayman Al-Zawahiri, has been heavily involved in the fighting in Syria as well as in neighboring Lebanon, where it has claimed responsibility for several bombings and has also threatened local Sunnis.
 
Most recently, members of the group kidnapped 45 Fijian UN peacekeepers and threatened to try them under Islamic law before ultimately releasing them.
 
At least 50 fighters from the group were killed in the first wave of U.S.-led attacks in Syria last Tuesday, a British-based monitoring group said, according to Reuters.
 
The air assault is also believed to have killed Mohsin al-Fadhli, the leader of another al-Qaeda linked organization, the Khorasan group, which worked in league with the Al-usra Front.
 
Golani did not directly mention Fadhli, but said the air attacks had killed fighters whose "loss would be felt on the whole war, not just on the Front", making clear that they had suffered a significant setback.

Head of Al-Nusra Front Warns West: You Will Pay

Category: News
Created on Monday, 29 September 2014 10:38
Head of Al-Nusra FrontThe head of Syria's Al-Qaeda-linked Al-Nusra Front on Sunday said U.S.-led air strikes will not defeat Islamists in Syria and warned against retaliatory attacks against Western countries, Reuters reports.
 
Abu Mohamad al-Golani, in an audio message posted on pro-Nusra jihadi forums, urged European and U.S. citizens to denounce the U.S. actions if they wanted to keep out of the war.
 
"Muslims will not watch while their sons are bombed. Your leaders will not be the only ones who would pay the price of the war. You will pay the heaviest price," he said, warning that the battle would be brought "to the hearts of your homes".
 
"You should protect yourselves from this war by standing against the decisions of your rulers and stop them from bringing you the woes (of war)," he added, according to Reuters.
 
The United States has been carrying out strikes against “Islamic State” (IS) fighters in Iraq since August 8. It opened a new front on September 23, launching airstrikes in neighboring Syria.
 
Al-Golani’s threats came a day after a spokesman for Al-Nusra denounced U.S.-led airstrikes on Syria and threatened to retaliate against Western and Arab countries that took part.
 
"We are in a long war. This war will not end in months nor years. This war could last for decades," group spokesman Abu Firas al-Suri said.
 
"It's not a war against Nusra Front, it's a war against Islam,” he added.
 
IS and the Al-Nusra Front share the same ideology and rigid Islamic beliefs, but they fell out during a power struggle and have been battling each other this past year.
 
Nusra Front is now coming under pressure from its own members to reconcile with Islamic State and join forces to fight what they describe as a "crusader" campaign against Islam.
 
Al-Nusra Front, whose leader pledged allegiance to Al-Qaeda leader Ayman Al-Zawahiri, has been heavily involved in the fighting in Syria as well as in neighboring Lebanon, where it has claimed responsibility for several bombings and has also threatened local Sunnis.
 
Most recently, members of the group kidnapped 45 Fijian UN peacekeepers and threatened to try them under Islamic law before ultimately releasing them.
 
At least 50 fighters from the group were killed in the first wave of U.S.-led attacks in Syria last Tuesday, a British-based monitoring group said, according to Reuters.
 
The air assault is also believed to have killed Mohsin al-Fadhli, the leader of another al-Qaeda linked organization, the Khorasan group, which worked in league with the Al-usra Front.
 
Golani did not directly mention Fadhli, but said the air attacks had killed fighters whose "loss would be felt on the whole war, not just on the Front", making clear that they had suffered a significant setback.

Head of Al-Nusra Front Warns West: You Will Pay

Category: News
Created on Monday, 29 September 2014 10:38
Head of Al-Nusra FrontThe head of Syria's Al-Qaeda-linked Al-Nusra Front on Sunday said U.S.-led air strikes will not defeat Islamists in Syria and warned against retaliatory attacks against Western countries, Reuters reports.
 
Abu Mohamad al-Golani, in an audio message posted on pro-Nusra jihadi forums, urged European and U.S. citizens to denounce the U.S. actions if they wanted to keep out of the war.
 
"Muslims will not watch while their sons are bombed. Your leaders will not be the only ones who would pay the price of the war. You will pay the heaviest price," he said, warning that the battle would be brought "to the hearts of your homes".
 
"You should protect yourselves from this war by standing against the decisions of your rulers and stop them from bringing you the woes (of war)," he added, according to Reuters.
 
The United States has been carrying out strikes against “Islamic State” (IS) fighters in Iraq since August 8. It opened a new front on September 23, launching airstrikes in neighboring Syria.
 
Al-Golani’s threats came a day after a spokesman for Al-Nusra denounced U.S.-led airstrikes on Syria and threatened to retaliate against Western and Arab countries that took part.
 
"We are in a long war. This war will not end in months nor years. This war could last for decades," group spokesman Abu Firas al-Suri said.
 
"It's not a war against Nusra Front, it's a war against Islam,” he added.
 
IS and the Al-Nusra Front share the same ideology and rigid Islamic beliefs, but they fell out during a power struggle and have been battling each other this past year.
 
Nusra Front is now coming under pressure from its own members to reconcile with Islamic State and join forces to fight what they describe as a "crusader" campaign against Islam.
 
Al-Nusra Front, whose leader pledged allegiance to Al-Qaeda leader Ayman Al-Zawahiri, has been heavily involved in the fighting in Syria as well as in neighboring Lebanon, where it has claimed responsibility for several bombings and has also threatened local Sunnis.
 
Most recently, members of the group kidnapped 45 Fijian UN peacekeepers and threatened to try them under Islamic law before ultimately releasing them.
 
At least 50 fighters from the group were killed in the first wave of U.S.-led attacks in Syria last Tuesday, a British-based monitoring group said, according to Reuters.
 
The air assault is also believed to have killed Mohsin al-Fadhli, the leader of another al-Qaeda linked organization, the Khorasan group, which worked in league with the Al-usra Front.
 
Golani did not directly mention Fadhli, but said the air attacks had killed fighters whose "loss would be felt on the whole war, not just on the Front", making clear that they had suffered a significant setback.

Al-Nusra Front Threatens Western Countries

Category: News
Created on Sunday, 28 September 2014 19:54
FlagThe Al-Qaeda-linked Syrian rebel group Al-Nusra Front on Saturday denounced U.S.-led airstrikes on Syria and threatened to retaliate against Western and Arab countries that took part, Reuters reported.
 
"We are in a long war. This war will not end in months nor years. This war could last for decades," group spokesman Abu Firas al-Suri was quoted as having said.
 
"It's not a war against Nusra Front, it's a war against Islam,” he added in an audio message published on the group's social media network in its first reaction since the launch of the U.S.-led strikes on Tuesday.
 
The airstrikes that include some Gulf and European nations killed scores of Al-Nusra fighters in an attack on a base in a rebel held area of northwestern Syria on the first day of the military campaign, according to Reuters.
 
"These countries have done a despicable act that will put them on the list of those targeted by jihadist forces all over the world," the spokesman said.
 
The United States has been carrying out strikes in Iraq since August 8 and in Syria, with the help of Arab allies, since Tuesday. It says the campaign is aimed at "degrading and destroying" Islamist terrorists who have captured swathes of both countries.
 
Al-Nusra Front, whose leader pledged allegiance to Al-Qaeda leader Ayman Al-Zawahiri, has been heavily involved in the fighting in Syria as well as in neighboring Lebanon, where it has claimed responsibility for several bombings and has also threatened local Sunnis.
 
Most recently, members of the group kidnapped 45 Fijian UN peacekeepers and threatened to try them under Islamic law before ultimately releasing them.

Al-Nusra Front Threatens Western Countries

Category: News
Created on Sunday, 28 September 2014 19:54
FlagThe Al-Qaeda-linked Syrian rebel group Al-Nusra Front on Saturday denounced U.S.-led airstrikes on Syria and threatened to retaliate against Western and Arab countries that took part, Reuters reported.
 
"We are in a long war. This war will not end in months nor years. This war could last for decades," group spokesman Abu Firas al-Suri was quoted as having said.
 
"It's not a war against Nusra Front, it's a war against Islam,” he added in an audio message published on the group's social media network in its first reaction since the launch of the U.S.-led strikes on Tuesday.
 
The airstrikes that include some Gulf and European nations killed scores of Al-Nusra fighters in an attack on a base in a rebel held area of northwestern Syria on the first day of the military campaign, according to Reuters.
 
"These countries have done a despicable act that will put them on the list of those targeted by jihadist forces all over the world," the spokesman said.
 
The United States has been carrying out strikes in Iraq since August 8 and in Syria, with the help of Arab allies, since Tuesday. It says the campaign is aimed at "degrading and destroying" Islamist terrorists who have captured swathes of both countries.
 
Al-Nusra Front, whose leader pledged allegiance to Al-Qaeda leader Ayman Al-Zawahiri, has been heavily involved in the fighting in Syria as well as in neighboring Lebanon, where it has claimed responsibility for several bombings and has also threatened local Sunnis.
 
Most recently, members of the group kidnapped 45 Fijian UN peacekeepers and threatened to try them under Islamic law before ultimately releasing them.

Al-Nusra Front Threatens Western Countries

Category: News
Created on Sunday, 28 September 2014 19:54
FlagThe Al-Qaeda-linked Syrian rebel group Al-Nusra Front on Saturday denounced U.S.-led airstrikes on Syria and threatened to retaliate against Western and Arab countries that took part, Reuters reported.
 
"We are in a long war. This war will not end in months nor years. This war could last for decades," group spokesman Abu Firas al-Suri was quoted as having said.
 
"It's not a war against Nusra Front, it's a war against Islam,” he added in an audio message published on the group's social media network in its first reaction since the launch of the U.S.-led strikes on Tuesday.
 
The airstrikes that include some Gulf and European nations killed scores of Al-Nusra fighters in an attack on a base in a rebel held area of northwestern Syria on the first day of the military campaign, according to Reuters.
 
"These countries have done a despicable act that will put them on the list of those targeted by jihadist forces all over the world," the spokesman said.
 
The United States has been carrying out strikes in Iraq since August 8 and in Syria, with the help of Arab allies, since Tuesday. It says the campaign is aimed at "degrading and destroying" Islamist terrorists who have captured swathes of both countries.
 
Al-Nusra Front, whose leader pledged allegiance to Al-Qaeda leader Ayman Al-Zawahiri, has been heavily involved in the fighting in Syria as well as in neighboring Lebanon, where it has claimed responsibility for several bombings and has also threatened local Sunnis.
 
Most recently, members of the group kidnapped 45 Fijian UN peacekeepers and threatened to try them under Islamic law before ultimately releasing them.

Al-Nusra Front Threatens Western Countries

Category: News
Created on Sunday, 28 September 2014 19:54
FlagThe Al-Qaeda-linked Syrian rebel group Al-Nusra Front on Saturday denounced U.S.-led airstrikes on Syria and threatened to retaliate against Western and Arab countries that took part, Reuters reported.
 
"We are in a long war. This war will not end in months nor years. This war could last for decades," group spokesman Abu Firas al-Suri was quoted as having said.
 
"It's not a war against Nusra Front, it's a war against Islam,” he added in an audio message published on the group's social media network in its first reaction since the launch of the U.S.-led strikes on Tuesday.
 
The airstrikes that include some Gulf and European nations killed scores of Al-Nusra fighters in an attack on a base in a rebel held area of northwestern Syria on the first day of the military campaign, according to Reuters.
 
"These countries have done a despicable act that will put them on the list of those targeted by jihadist forces all over the world," the spokesman said.
 
The United States has been carrying out strikes in Iraq since August 8 and in Syria, with the help of Arab allies, since Tuesday. It says the campaign is aimed at "degrading and destroying" Islamist terrorists who have captured swathes of both countries.
 
Al-Nusra Front, whose leader pledged allegiance to Al-Qaeda leader Ayman Al-Zawahiri, has been heavily involved in the fighting in Syria as well as in neighboring Lebanon, where it has claimed responsibility for several bombings and has also threatened local Sunnis.
 
Most recently, members of the group kidnapped 45 Fijian UN peacekeepers and threatened to try them under Islamic law before ultimately releasing them.

One of Oldest Known Synagogues Seized by ISIS in Syria

Category: Islam
Created on Tuesday, 23 September 2014 19:26
Wall fresco Dura Europos synagogue in SyriaIslamic State (ISIS) jihadists not only threaten the current Middle East - according to antiquities officials in Iraq and Syria, the terror group threatens to erase 5,000 years of history and relics in upper Mesopotamia, including one of the earliest Jewish synagogues.
 
Much of northern Iraq and eastern Syria, which is rich in the archaeological remains of numerous ancient civilizations, is now under the iron fist of ISIS which has been destroying pagan idols as well as selling relics on the international black market to raise funds, reports Associated Press (AP).
 
Syrian Director-General of Antiquities and Museums Maamoun Abdulkarim says looting from archaeological sites in the country has gone up tenfold since early 2013, with ISIS seizing numerous important ancient sites.
 
Aside from destroying pagan statues from the Assyrian period in Tell Ajaja, Abdulkarim noted the 2,300-year-old city of Dura Europos has come in for particularly intense looting.
 
The ancient city lies near the Iraqi border on a cliff overlooking the Euphrates River, and has fallen into ISIS hands; satellite imagery from April shows numerous holes from looter digs littering the site.
 
Images show hundreds of people, including gunmen, taking part in the excavations from dawn until night in many cases. Abdulkarim notes dealers are present, and "when they discover an artifact, the sale takes place immediately. They are destroying entire pages of Syrian history."
 
One of the earliest known Jewish synagogues is located at Dura Europos along with numerous pagan temples and churches, making the digging particularly troubling.
 
The fate of the synagogue, which was discovered in 1932 and dated by an Aramaic inscription to 244 CE, remains unknown.
 
Meanwhile in Iraq Qais Hussein Rashid, head of the country's Museums Department, reveals that ISIS captured 1,800 of Iraq's 12,000 registered archaeological sites when they seized the northern city of Mosul and Ninevah province in June. They have since captured even more as they pushed south to Baghdad.
 
ISIS has control of four ancient cities, Ninevah, Kalhu, Dur Sharrukin and Ashura, which were capitals of the Assyrian Empire that arose around 2,500 BCE. In Kalhu, reliefs in the grand palace of Assyrian King Ashurnasirpal II from the 9th century BCE have been heavily looted to be sold on the black market.
 
Other casualties of the brutal Islamic group in the Mosul area were the tombs of the Jewish Biblical prophets Jonah and Daniel in July; Jonah's tomb reportedly dated from the 8th century BCE.
 
After destroying Jonah's tomb, thieves are thought to have dug into an unexcavated palace in Ninevah that was located underneath the tomb, according to Rashid who cited local antiquities officials still in Mosul.
 
The UN's cultural agency UNESCO has been taking steps to try and guard Iraq's relics, with Nada al-Hassan of UNESCO's World Heritage Center telling AP "we are very, very, very concerned that the situation could be aggravated in a way that causes more and more damage."

One of Oldest Known Synagogues Seized by ISIS in Syria

Category: Islam
Created on Tuesday, 23 September 2014 19:26
Wall fresco Dura Europos synagogue in SyriaIslamic State (ISIS) jihadists not only threaten the current Middle East - according to antiquities officials in Iraq and Syria, the terror group threatens to erase 5,000 years of history and relics in upper Mesopotamia, including one of the earliest Jewish synagogues.
 
Much of northern Iraq and eastern Syria, which is rich in the archaeological remains of numerous ancient civilizations, is now under the iron fist of ISIS which has been destroying pagan idols as well as selling relics on the international black market to raise funds, reports Associated Press (AP).
 
Syrian Director-General of Antiquities and Museums Maamoun Abdulkarim says looting from archaeological sites in the country has gone up tenfold since early 2013, with ISIS seizing numerous important ancient sites.
 
Aside from destroying pagan statues from the Assyrian period in Tell Ajaja, Abdulkarim noted the 2,300-year-old city of Dura Europos has come in for particularly intense looting.
 
The ancient city lies near the Iraqi border on a cliff overlooking the Euphrates River, and has fallen into ISIS hands; satellite imagery from April shows numerous holes from looter digs littering the site.
 
Images show hundreds of people, including gunmen, taking part in the excavations from dawn until night in many cases. Abdulkarim notes dealers are present, and "when they discover an artifact, the sale takes place immediately. They are destroying entire pages of Syrian history."
 
One of the earliest known Jewish synagogues is located at Dura Europos along with numerous pagan temples and churches, making the digging particularly troubling.
 
The fate of the synagogue, which was discovered in 1932 and dated by an Aramaic inscription to 244 CE, remains unknown.
 
Meanwhile in Iraq Qais Hussein Rashid, head of the country's Museums Department, reveals that ISIS captured 1,800 of Iraq's 12,000 registered archaeological sites when they seized the northern city of Mosul and Ninevah province in June. They have since captured even more as they pushed south to Baghdad.
 
ISIS has control of four ancient cities, Ninevah, Kalhu, Dur Sharrukin and Ashura, which were capitals of the Assyrian Empire that arose around 2,500 BCE. In Kalhu, reliefs in the grand palace of Assyrian King Ashurnasirpal II from the 9th century BCE have been heavily looted to be sold on the black market.
 
Other casualties of the brutal Islamic group in the Mosul area were the tombs of the Jewish Biblical prophets Jonah and Daniel in July; Jonah's tomb reportedly dated from the 8th century BCE.
 
After destroying Jonah's tomb, thieves are thought to have dug into an unexcavated palace in Ninevah that was located underneath the tomb, according to Rashid who cited local antiquities officials still in Mosul.
 
The UN's cultural agency UNESCO has been taking steps to try and guard Iraq's relics, with Nada al-Hassan of UNESCO's World Heritage Center telling AP "we are very, very, very concerned that the situation could be aggravated in a way that causes more and more damage."

One of Oldest Known Synagogues Seized by ISIS in Syria

Category: Islam
Created on Tuesday, 23 September 2014 19:26
Wall fresco Dura Europos synagogue in SyriaIslamic State (ISIS) jihadists not only threaten the current Middle East - according to antiquities officials in Iraq and Syria, the terror group threatens to erase 5,000 years of history and relics in upper Mesopotamia, including one of the earliest Jewish synagogues.
 
Much of northern Iraq and eastern Syria, which is rich in the archaeological remains of numerous ancient civilizations, is now under the iron fist of ISIS which has been destroying pagan idols as well as selling relics on the international black market to raise funds, reports Associated Press (AP).
 
Syrian Director-General of Antiquities and Museums Maamoun Abdulkarim says looting from archaeological sites in the country has gone up tenfold since early 2013, with ISIS seizing numerous important ancient sites.
 
Aside from destroying pagan statues from the Assyrian period in Tell Ajaja, Abdulkarim noted the 2,300-year-old city of Dura Europos has come in for particularly intense looting.
 
The ancient city lies near the Iraqi border on a cliff overlooking the Euphrates River, and has fallen into ISIS hands; satellite imagery from April shows numerous holes from looter digs littering the site.
 
Images show hundreds of people, including gunmen, taking part in the excavations from dawn until night in many cases. Abdulkarim notes dealers are present, and "when they discover an artifact, the sale takes place immediately. They are destroying entire pages of Syrian history."
 
One of the earliest known Jewish synagogues is located at Dura Europos along with numerous pagan temples and churches, making the digging particularly troubling.
 
The fate of the synagogue, which was discovered in 1932 and dated by an Aramaic inscription to 244 CE, remains unknown.
 
Meanwhile in Iraq Qais Hussein Rashid, head of the country's Museums Department, reveals that ISIS captured 1,800 of Iraq's 12,000 registered archaeological sites when they seized the northern city of Mosul and Ninevah province in June. They have since captured even more as they pushed south to Baghdad.
 
ISIS has control of four ancient cities, Ninevah, Kalhu, Dur Sharrukin and Ashura, which were capitals of the Assyrian Empire that arose around 2,500 BCE. In Kalhu, reliefs in the grand palace of Assyrian King Ashurnasirpal II from the 9th century BCE have been heavily looted to be sold on the black market.
 
Other casualties of the brutal Islamic group in the Mosul area were the tombs of the Jewish Biblical prophets Jonah and Daniel in July; Jonah's tomb reportedly dated from the 8th century BCE.
 
After destroying Jonah's tomb, thieves are thought to have dug into an unexcavated palace in Ninevah that was located underneath the tomb, according to Rashid who cited local antiquities officials still in Mosul.
 
The UN's cultural agency UNESCO has been taking steps to try and guard Iraq's relics, with Nada al-Hassan of UNESCO's World Heritage Center telling AP "we are very, very, very concerned that the situation could be aggravated in a way that causes more and more damage."

One of Oldest Known Synagogues Seized by ISIS in Syria

Category: Islam
Created on Tuesday, 23 September 2014 19:26
Wall fresco Dura Europos synagogue in SyriaIslamic State (ISIS) jihadists not only threaten the current Middle East - according to antiquities officials in Iraq and Syria, the terror group threatens to erase 5,000 years of history and relics in upper Mesopotamia, including one of the earliest Jewish synagogues.
 
Much of northern Iraq and eastern Syria, which is rich in the archaeological remains of numerous ancient civilizations, is now under the iron fist of ISIS which has been destroying pagan idols as well as selling relics on the international black market to raise funds, reports Associated Press (AP).
 
Syrian Director-General of Antiquities and Museums Maamoun Abdulkarim says looting from archaeological sites in the country has gone up tenfold since early 2013, with ISIS seizing numerous important ancient sites.
 
Aside from destroying pagan statues from the Assyrian period in Tell Ajaja, Abdulkarim noted the 2,300-year-old city of Dura Europos has come in for particularly intense looting.
 
The ancient city lies near the Iraqi border on a cliff overlooking the Euphrates River, and has fallen into ISIS hands; satellite imagery from April shows numerous holes from looter digs littering the site.
 
Images show hundreds of people, including gunmen, taking part in the excavations from dawn until night in many cases. Abdulkarim notes dealers are present, and "when they discover an artifact, the sale takes place immediately. They are destroying entire pages of Syrian history."
 
One of the earliest known Jewish synagogues is located at Dura Europos along with numerous pagan temples and churches, making the digging particularly troubling.
 
The fate of the synagogue, which was discovered in 1932 and dated by an Aramaic inscription to 244 CE, remains unknown.
 
Meanwhile in Iraq Qais Hussein Rashid, head of the country's Museums Department, reveals that ISIS captured 1,800 of Iraq's 12,000 registered archaeological sites when they seized the northern city of Mosul and Ninevah province in June. They have since captured even more as they pushed south to Baghdad.
 
ISIS has control of four ancient cities, Ninevah, Kalhu, Dur Sharrukin and Ashura, which were capitals of the Assyrian Empire that arose around 2,500 BCE. In Kalhu, reliefs in the grand palace of Assyrian King Ashurnasirpal II from the 9th century BCE have been heavily looted to be sold on the black market.
 
Other casualties of the brutal Islamic group in the Mosul area were the tombs of the Jewish Biblical prophets Jonah and Daniel in July; Jonah's tomb reportedly dated from the 8th century BCE.
 
After destroying Jonah's tomb, thieves are thought to have dug into an unexcavated palace in Ninevah that was located underneath the tomb, according to Rashid who cited local antiquities officials still in Mosul.
 
The UN's cultural agency UNESCO has been taking steps to try and guard Iraq's relics, with Nada al-Hassan of UNESCO's World Heritage Center telling AP "we are very, very, very concerned that the situation could be aggravated in a way that causes more and more damage."

Islamic State Conquering Syria's Turkish Border

Category: News
Created on Tuesday, 23 September 2014 19:09
Islamic State terroristThe brutal Islamic State (ISIS) terrorist group has been conquering massive swathes of Syria and Iraq, and recently extended a foothold in Lebanon - now the push of the group's over 30,000 jihadsts has brought them to the very gates of Turkey in Syria's north.
 
Fierce fighting between ISIS and Kurdish forces Thursday night ended with the jihadists conquering 21 northern Syrian villages in 24 hours.
 
The ISIS fighters also beseiged the Kurdish city Ayn al-Arab (Kobani in Kurdish) located a mere 12 miles from the Turkish border, reports Al Jazeera as cited by Walla!.
 
The reported added that ISIS conquered large parts of the nearby city Jarabulus, also located right by the Turkish border on the Euphrates River.
 
In conquering the villages IS reportedly attacked with heavy weaponry including tanks, according the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
 
In response to the encroaching ISIS jihadists around 3,000 Syrian Kurds, mostly women and children, fled to the Turkish border on Thursday night, where they were left waiting Friday on the Syrian side opposite the Turkish village of Dikmetas near Ayn al-Arab, reports Reuters.
 
Their fears of the approaching ISIS terrorists are well founded, given the brutal torture the terrorists have been subjecting women and children to in the region.
 
"We're ready to help our brothers who are building up at the borders regardless of their ethnicity, religion and sect. But our priority is to deliver aid within Syria's borders," said Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Thursday night, noting his aversion to letting in the Kurdish refugees.
 
Hours later on Friday Turkey finally relented, letting hundreds of Syrian Kurdish refugees into the country. Their entry was reportedly broadcast on Turkish TV.
 
The decision to temporarily keep out the Kurds may raise eyebrows given the fact that Turkey reportedly let 21 Gaza residents wounded in Operation Protective Edge into the country Thursday night for medical treatment, according to the Turkish Anatol as cited by Walla!.
 
Several senior Turkish officials reportedly were presented at the airport in Turkey to greet the wounded.
 
Some of Turkey's opposition to letting in the Syrian Kurds may be due to the fact that Kurds in Turkey have been at odds with the government, pushing for their own state through the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) which Turkey has labelled a terrorist organization.
 
On Thursday night the PKK called for Turkish Kurds to help defending the Kurdish towns in northern Syria, but apparently they were denied access on the border as well.
 
It is worth noting that Turkey has recently been mulling a buffer zone with Syria so as to prevent ISIS incursions.

Islamic State Conquering Syria's Turkish Border

Category: News
Created on Tuesday, 23 September 2014 19:09
Islamic State terroristThe brutal Islamic State (ISIS) terrorist group has been conquering massive swathes of Syria and Iraq, and recently extended a foothold in Lebanon - now the push of the group's over 30,000 jihadsts has brought them to the very gates of Turkey in Syria's north.
 
Fierce fighting between ISIS and Kurdish forces Thursday night ended with the jihadists conquering 21 northern Syrian villages in 24 hours.
 
The ISIS fighters also beseiged the Kurdish city Ayn al-Arab (Kobani in Kurdish) located a mere 12 miles from the Turkish border, reports Al Jazeera as cited by Walla!.
 
The reported added that ISIS conquered large parts of the nearby city Jarabulus, also located right by the Turkish border on the Euphrates River.
 
In conquering the villages IS reportedly attacked with heavy weaponry including tanks, according the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
 
In response to the encroaching ISIS jihadists around 3,000 Syrian Kurds, mostly women and children, fled to the Turkish border on Thursday night, where they were left waiting Friday on the Syrian side opposite the Turkish village of Dikmetas near Ayn al-Arab, reports Reuters.
 
Their fears of the approaching ISIS terrorists are well founded, given the brutal torture the terrorists have been subjecting women and children to in the region.
 
"We're ready to help our brothers who are building up at the borders regardless of their ethnicity, religion and sect. But our priority is to deliver aid within Syria's borders," said Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Thursday night, noting his aversion to letting in the Kurdish refugees.
 
Hours later on Friday Turkey finally relented, letting hundreds of Syrian Kurdish refugees into the country. Their entry was reportedly broadcast on Turkish TV.
 
The decision to temporarily keep out the Kurds may raise eyebrows given the fact that Turkey reportedly let 21 Gaza residents wounded in Operation Protective Edge into the country Thursday night for medical treatment, according to the Turkish Anatol as cited by Walla!.
 
Several senior Turkish officials reportedly were presented at the airport in Turkey to greet the wounded.
 
Some of Turkey's opposition to letting in the Syrian Kurds may be due to the fact that Kurds in Turkey have been at odds with the government, pushing for their own state through the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) which Turkey has labelled a terrorist organization.
 
On Thursday night the PKK called for Turkish Kurds to help defending the Kurdish towns in northern Syria, but apparently they were denied access on the border as well.
 
It is worth noting that Turkey has recently been mulling a buffer zone with Syria so as to prevent ISIS incursions.

Islamic State Conquering Syria's Turkish Border

Category: News
Created on Tuesday, 23 September 2014 19:09
Islamic State terroristThe brutal Islamic State (ISIS) terrorist group has been conquering massive swathes of Syria and Iraq, and recently extended a foothold in Lebanon - now the push of the group's over 30,000 jihadsts has brought them to the very gates of Turkey in Syria's north.
 
Fierce fighting between ISIS and Kurdish forces Thursday night ended with the jihadists conquering 21 northern Syrian villages in 24 hours.
 
The ISIS fighters also beseiged the Kurdish city Ayn al-Arab (Kobani in Kurdish) located a mere 12 miles from the Turkish border, reports Al Jazeera as cited by Walla!.
 
The reported added that ISIS conquered large parts of the nearby city Jarabulus, also located right by the Turkish border on the Euphrates River.
 
In conquering the villages IS reportedly attacked with heavy weaponry including tanks, according the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
 
In response to the encroaching ISIS jihadists around 3,000 Syrian Kurds, mostly women and children, fled to the Turkish border on Thursday night, where they were left waiting Friday on the Syrian side opposite the Turkish village of Dikmetas near Ayn al-Arab, reports Reuters.
 
Their fears of the approaching ISIS terrorists are well founded, given the brutal torture the terrorists have been subjecting women and children to in the region.
 
"We're ready to help our brothers who are building up at the borders regardless of their ethnicity, religion and sect. But our priority is to deliver aid within Syria's borders," said Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Thursday night, noting his aversion to letting in the Kurdish refugees.
 
Hours later on Friday Turkey finally relented, letting hundreds of Syrian Kurdish refugees into the country. Their entry was reportedly broadcast on Turkish TV.
 
The decision to temporarily keep out the Kurds may raise eyebrows given the fact that Turkey reportedly let 21 Gaza residents wounded in Operation Protective Edge into the country Thursday night for medical treatment, according to the Turkish Anatol as cited by Walla!.
 
Several senior Turkish officials reportedly were presented at the airport in Turkey to greet the wounded.
 
Some of Turkey's opposition to letting in the Syrian Kurds may be due to the fact that Kurds in Turkey have been at odds with the government, pushing for their own state through the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) which Turkey has labelled a terrorist organization.
 
On Thursday night the PKK called for Turkish Kurds to help defending the Kurdish towns in northern Syria, but apparently they were denied access on the border as well.
 
It is worth noting that Turkey has recently been mulling a buffer zone with Syria so as to prevent ISIS incursions.

Islamic State Conquering Syria's Turkish Border

Category: News
Created on Tuesday, 23 September 2014 19:09
Islamic State terroristThe brutal Islamic State (ISIS) terrorist group has been conquering massive swathes of Syria and Iraq, and recently extended a foothold in Lebanon - now the push of the group's over 30,000 jihadsts has brought them to the very gates of Turkey in Syria's north.
 
Fierce fighting between ISIS and Kurdish forces Thursday night ended with the jihadists conquering 21 northern Syrian villages in 24 hours.
 
The ISIS fighters also beseiged the Kurdish city Ayn al-Arab (Kobani in Kurdish) located a mere 12 miles from the Turkish border, reports Al Jazeera as cited by Walla!.
 
The reported added that ISIS conquered large parts of the nearby city Jarabulus, also located right by the Turkish border on the Euphrates River.
 
In conquering the villages IS reportedly attacked with heavy weaponry including tanks, according the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
 
In response to the encroaching ISIS jihadists around 3,000 Syrian Kurds, mostly women and children, fled to the Turkish border on Thursday night, where they were left waiting Friday on the Syrian side opposite the Turkish village of Dikmetas near Ayn al-Arab, reports Reuters.
 
Their fears of the approaching ISIS terrorists are well founded, given the brutal torture the terrorists have been subjecting women and children to in the region.
 
"We're ready to help our brothers who are building up at the borders regardless of their ethnicity, religion and sect. But our priority is to deliver aid within Syria's borders," said Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Thursday night, noting his aversion to letting in the Kurdish refugees.
 
Hours later on Friday Turkey finally relented, letting hundreds of Syrian Kurdish refugees into the country. Their entry was reportedly broadcast on Turkish TV.
 
The decision to temporarily keep out the Kurds may raise eyebrows given the fact that Turkey reportedly let 21 Gaza residents wounded in Operation Protective Edge into the country Thursday night for medical treatment, according to the Turkish Anatol as cited by Walla!.
 
Several senior Turkish officials reportedly were presented at the airport in Turkey to greet the wounded.
 
Some of Turkey's opposition to letting in the Syrian Kurds may be due to the fact that Kurds in Turkey have been at odds with the government, pushing for their own state through the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) which Turkey has labelled a terrorist organization.
 
On Thursday night the PKK called for Turkish Kurds to help defending the Kurdish towns in northern Syria, but apparently they were denied access on the border as well.
 
It is worth noting that Turkey has recently been mulling a buffer zone with Syria so as to prevent ISIS incursions.

UN: Assad Responsible for More Atrocities in Syria Than ISIS

Category: News
Created on Sunday, 21 September 2014 15:56
United NationsDespite the high-profile and shocking nature of the so-called "Islamic State" and its push through Iraq and Syria, the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad is still responsible for the majority of war crimes being committed in that country, according to the author of a special UN report into the Syrian civil war.
 
With no end in sight to the three and a half year conflict, a special United Nations panel presented its findings Tuesday in a depressing 17-page report.
 
Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, who led the four-person panel, said he had "run out of words to depict the gravity of the crimes committed inside Syria."
 
He noted that the Islamic State, which recently beheaded three western hostages James Foley, Steven Sotloff and David Haines, has similarly subjected countless other Syrian civilians to similar public executions and brutal punishments.
 
The report is based on eyewitness testimonies from Syrians interviewed by the team, hailing from across the country.
 
Pinheiro also highlighted the mass-killings of prisoners of war - as occurred after IS's recent capture of Tabqa airbase in northern Syria - as well as of dissenters and political opponents.
 
Women are particularly vulnerable to abuse at the hands of the Islamist terror group, with several already being stoned to death based on accusations of adultery, or publicly flogged for minor offenses such as walking in the street without a male chaperone.
 
Nevertheless, Pinheiro pointed out that the regime of Bashar al-Assad "remains responsible for the majority of the civilian casualties, killing and maiming scores of civilians daily."
 
Civilians are being slaughtered at the hands of the regime in a variety of ways - from indiscriminate shelling, air raids and "barrel bombings", to shootings and summary executions at the hands of soldiers and pro-government militiamen.
 
Those captured or arrested by the regime were subjected to horrific torture and denied food or water for prolonged periods of time. Female prisoners were regularly raped or otherwise sexually abused.
 
Pinheiro said that the inaction on the part of major world powers to intervene - via the UN Security Council or otherwise - has helped fuel the conflict. It's most recently "beneficiary", he said, was the Islamic State - but the Syrian government has been able to escape justice for its massacres for longer still.

UN: Assad Responsible for More Atrocities in Syria Than ISIS

Category: News
Created on Sunday, 21 September 2014 15:56
United NationsDespite the high-profile and shocking nature of the so-called "Islamic State" and its push through Iraq and Syria, the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad is still responsible for the majority of war crimes being committed in that country, according to the author of a special UN report into the Syrian civil war.
 
With no end in sight to the three and a half year conflict, a special United Nations panel presented its findings Tuesday in a depressing 17-page report.
 
Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, who led the four-person panel, said he had "run out of words to depict the gravity of the crimes committed inside Syria."
 
He noted that the Islamic State, which recently beheaded three western hostages James Foley, Steven Sotloff and David Haines, has similarly subjected countless other Syrian civilians to similar public executions and brutal punishments.
 
The report is based on eyewitness testimonies from Syrians interviewed by the team, hailing from across the country.
 
Pinheiro also highlighted the mass-killings of prisoners of war - as occurred after IS's recent capture of Tabqa airbase in northern Syria - as well as of dissenters and political opponents.
 
Women are particularly vulnerable to abuse at the hands of the Islamist terror group, with several already being stoned to death based on accusations of adultery, or publicly flogged for minor offenses such as walking in the street without a male chaperone.
 
Nevertheless, Pinheiro pointed out that the regime of Bashar al-Assad "remains responsible for the majority of the civilian casualties, killing and maiming scores of civilians daily."
 
Civilians are being slaughtered at the hands of the regime in a variety of ways - from indiscriminate shelling, air raids and "barrel bombings", to shootings and summary executions at the hands of soldiers and pro-government militiamen.
 
Those captured or arrested by the regime were subjected to horrific torture and denied food or water for prolonged periods of time. Female prisoners were regularly raped or otherwise sexually abused.
 
Pinheiro said that the inaction on the part of major world powers to intervene - via the UN Security Council or otherwise - has helped fuel the conflict. It's most recently "beneficiary", he said, was the Islamic State - but the Syrian government has been able to escape justice for its massacres for longer still.

UN: Assad Responsible for More Atrocities in Syria Than ISIS

Category: News
Created on Sunday, 21 September 2014 15:56
United NationsDespite the high-profile and shocking nature of the so-called "Islamic State" and its push through Iraq and Syria, the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad is still responsible for the majority of war crimes being committed in that country, according to the author of a special UN report into the Syrian civil war.
 
With no end in sight to the three and a half year conflict, a special United Nations panel presented its findings Tuesday in a depressing 17-page report.
 
Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, who led the four-person panel, said he had "run out of words to depict the gravity of the crimes committed inside Syria."
 
He noted that the Islamic State, which recently beheaded three western hostages James Foley, Steven Sotloff and David Haines, has similarly subjected countless other Syrian civilians to similar public executions and brutal punishments.
 
The report is based on eyewitness testimonies from Syrians interviewed by the team, hailing from across the country.
 
Pinheiro also highlighted the mass-killings of prisoners of war - as occurred after IS's recent capture of Tabqa airbase in northern Syria - as well as of dissenters and political opponents.
 
Women are particularly vulnerable to abuse at the hands of the Islamist terror group, with several already being stoned to death based on accusations of adultery, or publicly flogged for minor offenses such as walking in the street without a male chaperone.
 
Nevertheless, Pinheiro pointed out that the regime of Bashar al-Assad "remains responsible for the majority of the civilian casualties, killing and maiming scores of civilians daily."
 
Civilians are being slaughtered at the hands of the regime in a variety of ways - from indiscriminate shelling, air raids and "barrel bombings", to shootings and summary executions at the hands of soldiers and pro-government militiamen.
 
Those captured or arrested by the regime were subjected to horrific torture and denied food or water for prolonged periods of time. Female prisoners were regularly raped or otherwise sexually abused.
 
Pinheiro said that the inaction on the part of major world powers to intervene - via the UN Security Council or otherwise - has helped fuel the conflict. It's most recently "beneficiary", he said, was the Islamic State - but the Syrian government has been able to escape justice for its massacres for longer still.

UN: Assad Responsible for More Atrocities in Syria Than ISIS

Category: News
Created on Sunday, 21 September 2014 15:56
United NationsDespite the high-profile and shocking nature of the so-called "Islamic State" and its push through Iraq and Syria, the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad is still responsible for the majority of war crimes being committed in that country, according to the author of a special UN report into the Syrian civil war.
 
With no end in sight to the three and a half year conflict, a special United Nations panel presented its findings Tuesday in a depressing 17-page report.
 
Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, who led the four-person panel, said he had "run out of words to depict the gravity of the crimes committed inside Syria."
 
He noted that the Islamic State, which recently beheaded three western hostages James Foley, Steven Sotloff and David Haines, has similarly subjected countless other Syrian civilians to similar public executions and brutal punishments.
 
The report is based on eyewitness testimonies from Syrians interviewed by the team, hailing from across the country.
 
Pinheiro also highlighted the mass-killings of prisoners of war - as occurred after IS's recent capture of Tabqa airbase in northern Syria - as well as of dissenters and political opponents.
 
Women are particularly vulnerable to abuse at the hands of the Islamist terror group, with several already being stoned to death based on accusations of adultery, or publicly flogged for minor offenses such as walking in the street without a male chaperone.
 
Nevertheless, Pinheiro pointed out that the regime of Bashar al-Assad "remains responsible for the majority of the civilian casualties, killing and maiming scores of civilians daily."
 
Civilians are being slaughtered at the hands of the regime in a variety of ways - from indiscriminate shelling, air raids and "barrel bombings", to shootings and summary executions at the hands of soldiers and pro-government militiamen.
 
Those captured or arrested by the regime were subjected to horrific torture and denied food or water for prolonged periods of time. Female prisoners were regularly raped or otherwise sexually abused.
 
Pinheiro said that the inaction on the part of major world powers to intervene - via the UN Security Council or otherwise - has helped fuel the conflict. It's most recently "beneficiary", he said, was the Islamic State - but the Syrian government has been able to escape justice for its massacres for longer still.

Canadians Held US Journalists Hostage in Syria

Category: News
Created on Friday, 12 September 2014 07:07
Journalists HostageAt least three Canadians who joined Islamic State (IS; formerly known as ISIS) and other Al Qaeda-offshoot groups in Syria were directly involved in abducting and interrogating two US journalists, CBC News confirmed earlier this week.
 
Sources told the Canadian news outlet that the three took part in the imprisonment of Theo Curtis and Matt Schrier, who were held in captivity together between 2011 and 2013. Curtis was abducted in Antakya, Turkey in October 2012 and released last month; Schrier escaped last year. 
 
According to the latest CBC report, the Canadian captors allegedly forced the hostages to hand over their PINs and passwords, draining their bank accounts and then using their emails to callously write letters to the mens' families in their names. 
 
The report also contests a recent Canadian government statement claiming that some 130 citizens have become jihadists in the highly contested region; new data suggests the number is closer to 2-300. 
 
That threat was recently illustrated as two brothers from Calgary were identified as members of the Islamic State's (IS, formerly ISIS) group of foreign fighters in Syria. The two are recent converts to Islam.
 
The report surfaces just days after IS terrorists killed Jewish-American journalist and Israeli citizen Steve Sotloff in a brutal decapitation tape entitled "A Second Message to America." 
 
The tape not only vows death on another journalist - British civilian David Haines - but also threatens the US over its action against the terrorists. 
 
The incident has sparked a worldwide scramble to suppress terrorism in Syria and Iraq, where IS has been taking large swaths of land over the past several months and committing genocide against thousands of ethnic minorities. 
 
The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) reports that at least 67 journalists have been killed in Syria where Curtis was being held since the bloody conflict broke out there four years ago, leaving nearly 200,000 dead according to a recent UN report.

Canadians Held US Journalists Hostage in Syria

Category: News
Created on Friday, 12 September 2014 07:07
Journalists HostageAt least three Canadians who joined Islamic State (IS; formerly known as ISIS) and other Al Qaeda-offshoot groups in Syria were directly involved in abducting and interrogating two US journalists, CBC News confirmed earlier this week.
 
Sources told the Canadian news outlet that the three took part in the imprisonment of Theo Curtis and Matt Schrier, who were held in captivity together between 2011 and 2013. Curtis was abducted in Antakya, Turkey in October 2012 and released last month; Schrier escaped last year. 
 
According to the latest CBC report, the Canadian captors allegedly forced the hostages to hand over their PINs and passwords, draining their bank accounts and then using their emails to callously write letters to the mens' families in their names. 
 
The report also contests a recent Canadian government statement claiming that some 130 citizens have become jihadists in the highly contested region; new data suggests the number is closer to 2-300. 
 
That threat was recently illustrated as two brothers from Calgary were identified as members of the Islamic State's (IS, formerly ISIS) group of foreign fighters in Syria. The two are recent converts to Islam.
 
The report surfaces just days after IS terrorists killed Jewish-American journalist and Israeli citizen Steve Sotloff in a brutal decapitation tape entitled "A Second Message to America." 
 
The tape not only vows death on another journalist - British civilian David Haines - but also threatens the US over its action against the terrorists. 
 
The incident has sparked a worldwide scramble to suppress terrorism in Syria and Iraq, where IS has been taking large swaths of land over the past several months and committing genocide against thousands of ethnic minorities. 
 
The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) reports that at least 67 journalists have been killed in Syria where Curtis was being held since the bloody conflict broke out there four years ago, leaving nearly 200,000 dead according to a recent UN report.

Canadians Held US Journalists Hostage in Syria

Category: News
Created on Friday, 12 September 2014 07:07
Journalists HostageAt least three Canadians who joined Islamic State (IS; formerly known as ISIS) and other Al Qaeda-offshoot groups in Syria were directly involved in abducting and interrogating two US journalists, CBC News confirmed earlier this week.
 
Sources told the Canadian news outlet that the three took part in the imprisonment of Theo Curtis and Matt Schrier, who were held in captivity together between 2011 and 2013. Curtis was abducted in Antakya, Turkey in October 2012 and released last month; Schrier escaped last year. 
 
According to the latest CBC report, the Canadian captors allegedly forced the hostages to hand over their PINs and passwords, draining their bank accounts and then using their emails to callously write letters to the mens' families in their names. 
 
The report also contests a recent Canadian government statement claiming that some 130 citizens have become jihadists in the highly contested region; new data suggests the number is closer to 2-300. 
 
That threat was recently illustrated as two brothers from Calgary were identified as members of the Islamic State's (IS, formerly ISIS) group of foreign fighters in Syria. The two are recent converts to Islam.
 
The report surfaces just days after IS terrorists killed Jewish-American journalist and Israeli citizen Steve Sotloff in a brutal decapitation tape entitled "A Second Message to America." 
 
The tape not only vows death on another journalist - British civilian David Haines - but also threatens the US over its action against the terrorists. 
 
The incident has sparked a worldwide scramble to suppress terrorism in Syria and Iraq, where IS has been taking large swaths of land over the past several months and committing genocide against thousands of ethnic minorities. 
 
The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) reports that at least 67 journalists have been killed in Syria where Curtis was being held since the bloody conflict broke out there four years ago, leaving nearly 200,000 dead according to a recent UN report.

Canadians Held US Journalists Hostage in Syria

Category: News
Created on Friday, 12 September 2014 07:07
Journalists HostageAt least three Canadians who joined Islamic State (IS; formerly known as ISIS) and other Al Qaeda-offshoot groups in Syria were directly involved in abducting and interrogating two US journalists, CBC News confirmed earlier this week.
 
Sources told the Canadian news outlet that the three took part in the imprisonment of Theo Curtis and Matt Schrier, who were held in captivity together between 2011 and 2013. Curtis was abducted in Antakya, Turkey in October 2012 and released last month; Schrier escaped last year. 
 
According to the latest CBC report, the Canadian captors allegedly forced the hostages to hand over their PINs and passwords, draining their bank accounts and then using their emails to callously write letters to the mens' families in their names. 
 
The report also contests a recent Canadian government statement claiming that some 130 citizens have become jihadists in the highly contested region; new data suggests the number is closer to 2-300. 
 
That threat was recently illustrated as two brothers from Calgary were identified as members of the Islamic State's (IS, formerly ISIS) group of foreign fighters in Syria. The two are recent converts to Islam.
 
The report surfaces just days after IS terrorists killed Jewish-American journalist and Israeli citizen Steve Sotloff in a brutal decapitation tape entitled "A Second Message to America." 
 
The tape not only vows death on another journalist - British civilian David Haines - but also threatens the US over its action against the terrorists. 
 
The incident has sparked a worldwide scramble to suppress terrorism in Syria and Iraq, where IS has been taking large swaths of land over the past several months and committing genocide against thousands of ethnic minorities. 
 
The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) reports that at least 67 journalists have been killed in Syria where Curtis was being held since the bloody conflict broke out there four years ago, leaving nearly 200,000 dead according to a recent UN report.

Senior Leaders of Islamic State Eliminated in Airstrikes

Category: News
Created on Sunday, 07 September 2014 20:23
Senior Leaders of Islamic State EliminatedThe leadership of the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) terrorist group in Syria and Iraq took a sharp blow on Thursday, as roughly 20 senior figures, including a top aide to IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, were killed in airstrikes according to the Iraqi defense ministry.
 
In airstrikes on the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, where IS began its blitz conquest of Iraq in June, Baghdadi's top aide was killed along with a senior IS military commander, Abu Alaa al-Iraqi, according to Iraqi sources cited by BBC.
 
It remains unclear if the airstrike was conducted by local US-trained Iraqi forces, or by the US, which has been engaged in a series of targeted airstrikes on IS terrorists in Iraq since last month.
 
IS took a blow in eastern Syria as well, where 18 foreign jihadist senior leaders of the group, including an American jihadist, were killed by an airstrike in the IS-held city of Raqqa according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
 
The top IS leaders were in the municipal building of Gharbiya, which has been used as a headquarters for the extremist group, when the strike occurred.
 
In yet another airstrike in the eastern Syrian city of Abu Kamal near the Iraqi border on Thursday, an as yet unknown number of IS terrorists were killed according to the human rights group. 
 
During the two airstrikes and the ensuing disorder, a total of 13 IS-held captives were able to escape according to the group.
 
However, IS was not deterred in its campaign of terror, abducting 40 men from the northern Iraqi Sunni town of Hawija in Kirkuk province on Thursday. Residents of the town said they were uncertain why the men were captured, since IS had captured the town without resistance last month.
 
The recent airstrikes in Iraq, if conducted by the US, illustrate the increasing seriousness with which America is considering IS after two US journalists, Steven Sotloff and James Foley, were brutally beheaded in executions filmed and broadcast to the world.
 
After the second journalist was murdered, US Vice President Joe Biden on Wednesday warned IS, saying "they should know we will follow them to the gates of hell until they are brought to justice. Because hell is where they will reside. Hell is where they will reside."

Senior Leaders of Islamic State Eliminated in Airstrikes

Category: News
Created on Sunday, 07 September 2014 20:23
Senior Leaders of Islamic State EliminatedThe leadership of the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) terrorist group in Syria and Iraq took a sharp blow on Thursday, as roughly 20 senior figures, including a top aide to IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, were killed in airstrikes according to the Iraqi defense ministry.
 
In airstrikes on the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, where IS began its blitz conquest of Iraq in June, Baghdadi's top aide was killed along with a senior IS military commander, Abu Alaa al-Iraqi, according to Iraqi sources cited by BBC.
 
It remains unclear if the airstrike was conducted by local US-trained Iraqi forces, or by the US, which has been engaged in a series of targeted airstrikes on IS terrorists in Iraq since last month.
 
IS took a blow in eastern Syria as well, where 18 foreign jihadist senior leaders of the group, including an American jihadist, were killed by an airstrike in the IS-held city of Raqqa according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
 
The top IS leaders were in the municipal building of Gharbiya, which has been used as a headquarters for the extremist group, when the strike occurred.
 
In yet another airstrike in the eastern Syrian city of Abu Kamal near the Iraqi border on Thursday, an as yet unknown number of IS terrorists were killed according to the human rights group. 
 
During the two airstrikes and the ensuing disorder, a total of 13 IS-held captives were able to escape according to the group.
 
However, IS was not deterred in its campaign of terror, abducting 40 men from the northern Iraqi Sunni town of Hawija in Kirkuk province on Thursday. Residents of the town said they were uncertain why the men were captured, since IS had captured the town without resistance last month.
 
The recent airstrikes in Iraq, if conducted by the US, illustrate the increasing seriousness with which America is considering IS after two US journalists, Steven Sotloff and James Foley, were brutally beheaded in executions filmed and broadcast to the world.
 
After the second journalist was murdered, US Vice President Joe Biden on Wednesday warned IS, saying "they should know we will follow them to the gates of hell until they are brought to justice. Because hell is where they will reside. Hell is where they will reside."

Senior Leaders of Islamic State Eliminated in Airstrikes

Category: News
Created on Sunday, 07 September 2014 20:23
Senior Leaders of Islamic State EliminatedThe leadership of the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) terrorist group in Syria and Iraq took a sharp blow on Thursday, as roughly 20 senior figures, including a top aide to IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, were killed in airstrikes according to the Iraqi defense ministry.
 
In airstrikes on the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, where IS began its blitz conquest of Iraq in June, Baghdadi's top aide was killed along with a senior IS military commander, Abu Alaa al-Iraqi, according to Iraqi sources cited by BBC.
 
It remains unclear if the airstrike was conducted by local US-trained Iraqi forces, or by the US, which has been engaged in a series of targeted airstrikes on IS terrorists in Iraq since last month.
 
IS took a blow in eastern Syria as well, where 18 foreign jihadist senior leaders of the group, including an American jihadist, were killed by an airstrike in the IS-held city of Raqqa according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
 
The top IS leaders were in the municipal building of Gharbiya, which has been used as a headquarters for the extremist group, when the strike occurred.
 
In yet another airstrike in the eastern Syrian city of Abu Kamal near the Iraqi border on Thursday, an as yet unknown number of IS terrorists were killed according to the human rights group. 
 
During the two airstrikes and the ensuing disorder, a total of 13 IS-held captives were able to escape according to the group.
 
However, IS was not deterred in its campaign of terror, abducting 40 men from the northern Iraqi Sunni town of Hawija in Kirkuk province on Thursday. Residents of the town said they were uncertain why the men were captured, since IS had captured the town without resistance last month.
 
The recent airstrikes in Iraq, if conducted by the US, illustrate the increasing seriousness with which America is considering IS after two US journalists, Steven Sotloff and James Foley, were brutally beheaded in executions filmed and broadcast to the world.
 
After the second journalist was murdered, US Vice President Joe Biden on Wednesday warned IS, saying "they should know we will follow them to the gates of hell until they are brought to justice. Because hell is where they will reside. Hell is where they will reside."

Senior Leaders of Islamic State Eliminated in Airstrikes

Category: News
Created on Sunday, 07 September 2014 20:23
Senior Leaders of Islamic State EliminatedThe leadership of the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) terrorist group in Syria and Iraq took a sharp blow on Thursday, as roughly 20 senior figures, including a top aide to IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, were killed in airstrikes according to the Iraqi defense ministry.
 
In airstrikes on the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, where IS began its blitz conquest of Iraq in June, Baghdadi's top aide was killed along with a senior IS military commander, Abu Alaa al-Iraqi, according to Iraqi sources cited by BBC.
 
It remains unclear if the airstrike was conducted by local US-trained Iraqi forces, or by the US, which has been engaged in a series of targeted airstrikes on IS terrorists in Iraq since last month.
 
IS took a blow in eastern Syria as well, where 18 foreign jihadist senior leaders of the group, including an American jihadist, were killed by an airstrike in the IS-held city of Raqqa according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
 
The top IS leaders were in the municipal building of Gharbiya, which has been used as a headquarters for the extremist group, when the strike occurred.
 
In yet another airstrike in the eastern Syrian city of Abu Kamal near the Iraqi border on Thursday, an as yet unknown number of IS terrorists were killed according to the human rights group. 
 
During the two airstrikes and the ensuing disorder, a total of 13 IS-held captives were able to escape according to the group.
 
However, IS was not deterred in its campaign of terror, abducting 40 men from the northern Iraqi Sunni town of Hawija in Kirkuk province on Thursday. Residents of the town said they were uncertain why the men were captured, since IS had captured the town without resistance last month.
 
The recent airstrikes in Iraq, if conducted by the US, illustrate the increasing seriousness with which America is considering IS after two US journalists, Steven Sotloff and James Foley, were brutally beheaded in executions filmed and broadcast to the world.
 
After the second journalist was murdered, US Vice President Joe Biden on Wednesday warned IS, saying "they should know we will follow them to the gates of hell until they are brought to justice. Because hell is where they will reside. Hell is where they will reside."

Syrian Jets Hit Rebels Close to the Israeli Border

Category: News
Created on Friday, 29 August 2014 11:42
Syrian Jets Hit RebelsSyrian jets shelled rebel positions near a border crossing close to the Israeli side of the Golan Heights, rebels and residents told Reuters overnight Wednesday.
 
Al-Qaeda's Syria wing, the Al-Nusra Front, alongside moderate rebel groups who had launched the attack early on Wednesday on the border post were "holding ground" despite the heavy bombardment, according to a source in the Islamist Beit al Maqdis brigade, whose fighters were involved in the fighting.
 
Abu Iyas al Horani, a spokesman for another rebel group operating in the area, told Reuters that at least six rebels were killed in the latest spillover of violence in the area that lies almost 20 kilometers west of the town of Quneitra.
 
The reports of the aerial attacks come hours after two incidents on Wednesday in which fire from the civil war in Syria spilled over to the Israeli side.
 
On Wednesday morning, six mortar shells careened into Israeli territory from the Quneitra area, lightly-to-moderately wounding an IDF officer and causing damage to several vehicles.
 
In response to the mortar shells, IDF artillery fired at a Syrian military position.
 
Later in the day, one Israeli was lightly wounded by tank fire in the area, after a possibly errant shell struck an Israeli community in the region.
 
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 20 Syrian soldiers and 14 rebel fighters were killed in the clashes between the sides. The organization gathers information from all sides in the Syrian war.
 
The United Nations referred to the shells fired from Syria which hit the Israeli side of the Golan Heights and called on all sides to “exercise restraint”.

Syrian Jets Hit Rebels Close to the Israeli Border

Category: News
Created on Friday, 29 August 2014 11:42
Syrian Jets Hit RebelsSyrian jets shelled rebel positions near a border crossing close to the Israeli side of the Golan Heights, rebels and residents told Reuters overnight Wednesday.
 
Al-Qaeda's Syria wing, the Al-Nusra Front, alongside moderate rebel groups who had launched the attack early on Wednesday on the border post were "holding ground" despite the heavy bombardment, according to a source in the Islamist Beit al Maqdis brigade, whose fighters were involved in the fighting.
 
Abu Iyas al Horani, a spokesman for another rebel group operating in the area, told Reuters that at least six rebels were killed in the latest spillover of violence in the area that lies almost 20 kilometers west of the town of Quneitra.
 
The reports of the aerial attacks come hours after two incidents on Wednesday in which fire from the civil war in Syria spilled over to the Israeli side.
 
On Wednesday morning, six mortar shells careened into Israeli territory from the Quneitra area, lightly-to-moderately wounding an IDF officer and causing damage to several vehicles.
 
In response to the mortar shells, IDF artillery fired at a Syrian military position.
 
Later in the day, one Israeli was lightly wounded by tank fire in the area, after a possibly errant shell struck an Israeli community in the region.
 
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 20 Syrian soldiers and 14 rebel fighters were killed in the clashes between the sides. The organization gathers information from all sides in the Syrian war.
 
The United Nations referred to the shells fired from Syria which hit the Israeli side of the Golan Heights and called on all sides to “exercise restraint”.

Syrian Jets Hit Rebels Close to the Israeli Border

Category: News
Created on Friday, 29 August 2014 11:42
Syrian Jets Hit RebelsSyrian jets shelled rebel positions near a border crossing close to the Israeli side of the Golan Heights, rebels and residents told Reuters overnight Wednesday.
 
Al-Qaeda's Syria wing, the Al-Nusra Front, alongside moderate rebel groups who had launched the attack early on Wednesday on the border post were "holding ground" despite the heavy bombardment, according to a source in the Islamist Beit al Maqdis brigade, whose fighters were involved in the fighting.
 
Abu Iyas al Horani, a spokesman for another rebel group operating in the area, told Reuters that at least six rebels were killed in the latest spillover of violence in the area that lies almost 20 kilometers west of the town of Quneitra.
 
The reports of the aerial attacks come hours after two incidents on Wednesday in which fire from the civil war in Syria spilled over to the Israeli side.
 
On Wednesday morning, six mortar shells careened into Israeli territory from the Quneitra area, lightly-to-moderately wounding an IDF officer and causing damage to several vehicles.
 
In response to the mortar shells, IDF artillery fired at a Syrian military position.
 
Later in the day, one Israeli was lightly wounded by tank fire in the area, after a possibly errant shell struck an Israeli community in the region.
 
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 20 Syrian soldiers and 14 rebel fighters were killed in the clashes between the sides. The organization gathers information from all sides in the Syrian war.
 
The United Nations referred to the shells fired from Syria which hit the Israeli side of the Golan Heights and called on all sides to “exercise restraint”.

Syrian Jets Hit Rebels Close to the Israeli Border

Category: News
Created on Friday, 29 August 2014 11:42
Syrian Jets Hit RebelsSyrian jets shelled rebel positions near a border crossing close to the Israeli side of the Golan Heights, rebels and residents told Reuters overnight Wednesday.
 
Al-Qaeda's Syria wing, the Al-Nusra Front, alongside moderate rebel groups who had launched the attack early on Wednesday on the border post were "holding ground" despite the heavy bombardment, according to a source in the Islamist Beit al Maqdis brigade, whose fighters were involved in the fighting.
 
Abu Iyas al Horani, a spokesman for another rebel group operating in the area, told Reuters that at least six rebels were killed in the latest spillover of violence in the area that lies almost 20 kilometers west of the town of Quneitra.
 
The reports of the aerial attacks come hours after two incidents on Wednesday in which fire from the civil war in Syria spilled over to the Israeli side.
 
On Wednesday morning, six mortar shells careened into Israeli territory from the Quneitra area, lightly-to-moderately wounding an IDF officer and causing damage to several vehicles.
 
In response to the mortar shells, IDF artillery fired at a Syrian military position.
 
Later in the day, one Israeli was lightly wounded by tank fire in the area, after a possibly errant shell struck an Israeli community in the region.
 
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 20 Syrian soldiers and 14 rebel fighters were killed in the clashes between the sides. The organization gathers information from all sides in the Syrian war.
 
The United Nations referred to the shells fired from Syria which hit the Israeli side of the Golan Heights and called on all sides to “exercise restraint”.

ISIS Issues a 'Passport' for its 'Caliphate'

Category: News
Created on Sunday, 13 July 2014 10:30
Caliphate PassportThe Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) declared itself an Islamic "caliphate" last Sunday, and now apparently has begun issuing "passports" to further establish its Jihadist state.
 
ISIS members this week circulated photographs of the supposed passport, which reads "State of the Islamic Caliphate" at the top and at the bottom states "the holder of the passport if harmed we will deploy armies for his services," reports Al Arabiya.
 
Regardless of the likelihood that the passport will be accepted by foreign states after ISIS conquered vast portions of Iraq and Syria, ISIS has said it will distribute the document to 11,000 citizens living in cities near the border of the two countries.
 
ISIS fighters already control a large corridor along the Euphrates River in Syria stretching from the Iraq border, along with Raqa in the north, as well as parts of neighboring Aleppo province. In Iraq, ISIS has captured sizeable territories in the north and west of the conflict-torn country in a lightning offensive last month.
 
With the reports of the passport, ISIS stated its goal is to have a caliphate spreading from Aleppo in Syria's north to Diyala in eastern Iraq.
 
The passport is reportedly being printed in a government facility in Iraq's Mosul, the second largest city in the country which ISIS captured at the start of its blitz offensive. The facility was scheduled by the Iraqi government to start issuing new ID cards next week before being taken over by ISIS, according to reports.
 
An ISIS spokesman on Monday revealed that his organization intends first to deal with "Muslims who have become infidels," and then attack Israel.
 
ISIS last Friday captured a Syrian oil field in the Deir el-Zour province in the east of the country near Iraq, after seizing Syria's largest oil field last Thursday in the same region.
 
It has already amassed great assets in Iraq, seizing Iraq's largest oil refinery, a chemical weapons facility, and becoming the "world's richest terrorist organization" by looting 500 billion Iraqi dinars ($425 million) from banks in Mosul.

ISIS Issues a 'Passport' for its 'Caliphate'

Category: News
Created on Sunday, 13 July 2014 10:30
Caliphate PassportThe Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) declared itself an Islamic "caliphate" last Sunday, and now apparently has begun issuing "passports" to further establish its Jihadist state.
 
ISIS members this week circulated photographs of the supposed passport, which reads "State of the Islamic Caliphate" at the top and at the bottom states "the holder of the passport if harmed we will deploy armies for his services," reports Al Arabiya.
 
Regardless of the likelihood that the passport will be accepted by foreign states after ISIS conquered vast portions of Iraq and Syria, ISIS has said it will distribute the document to 11,000 citizens living in cities near the border of the two countries.
 
ISIS fighters already control a large corridor along the Euphrates River in Syria stretching from the Iraq border, along with Raqa in the north, as well as parts of neighboring Aleppo province. In Iraq, ISIS has captured sizeable territories in the north and west of the conflict-torn country in a lightning offensive last month.
 
With the reports of the passport, ISIS stated its goal is to have a caliphate spreading from Aleppo in Syria's north to Diyala in eastern Iraq.
 
The passport is reportedly being printed in a government facility in Iraq's Mosul, the second largest city in the country which ISIS captured at the start of its blitz offensive. The facility was scheduled by the Iraqi government to start issuing new ID cards next week before being taken over by ISIS, according to reports.
 
An ISIS spokesman on Monday revealed that his organization intends first to deal with "Muslims who have become infidels," and then attack Israel.
 
ISIS last Friday captured a Syrian oil field in the Deir el-Zour province in the east of the country near Iraq, after seizing Syria's largest oil field last Thursday in the same region.
 
It has already amassed great assets in Iraq, seizing Iraq's largest oil refinery, a chemical weapons facility, and becoming the "world's richest terrorist organization" by looting 500 billion Iraqi dinars ($425 million) from banks in Mosul.

ISIS Issues a 'Passport' for its 'Caliphate'

Category: News
Created on Sunday, 13 July 2014 10:30
Caliphate PassportThe Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) declared itself an Islamic "caliphate" last Sunday, and now apparently has begun issuing "passports" to further establish its Jihadist state.
 
ISIS members this week circulated photographs of the supposed passport, which reads "State of the Islamic Caliphate" at the top and at the bottom states "the holder of the passport if harmed we will deploy armies for his services," reports Al Arabiya.
 
Regardless of the likelihood that the passport will be accepted by foreign states after ISIS conquered vast portions of Iraq and Syria, ISIS has said it will distribute the document to 11,000 citizens living in cities near the border of the two countries.
 
ISIS fighters already control a large corridor along the Euphrates River in Syria stretching from the Iraq border, along with Raqa in the north, as well as parts of neighboring Aleppo province. In Iraq, ISIS has captured sizeable territories in the north and west of the conflict-torn country in a lightning offensive last month.
 
With the reports of the passport, ISIS stated its goal is to have a caliphate spreading from Aleppo in Syria's north to Diyala in eastern Iraq.
 
The passport is reportedly being printed in a government facility in Iraq's Mosul, the second largest city in the country which ISIS captured at the start of its blitz offensive. The facility was scheduled by the Iraqi government to start issuing new ID cards next week before being taken over by ISIS, according to reports.
 
An ISIS spokesman on Monday revealed that his organization intends first to deal with "Muslims who have become infidels," and then attack Israel.
 
ISIS last Friday captured a Syrian oil field in the Deir el-Zour province in the east of the country near Iraq, after seizing Syria's largest oil field last Thursday in the same region.
 
It has already amassed great assets in Iraq, seizing Iraq's largest oil refinery, a chemical weapons facility, and becoming the "world's richest terrorist organization" by looting 500 billion Iraqi dinars ($425 million) from banks in Mosul.

ISIS Issues a 'Passport' for its 'Caliphate'

Category: News
Created on Sunday, 13 July 2014 10:30
Caliphate PassportThe Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) declared itself an Islamic "caliphate" last Sunday, and now apparently has begun issuing "passports" to further establish its Jihadist state.
 
ISIS members this week circulated photographs of the supposed passport, which reads "State of the Islamic Caliphate" at the top and at the bottom states "the holder of the passport if harmed we will deploy armies for his services," reports Al Arabiya.
 
Regardless of the likelihood that the passport will be accepted by foreign states after ISIS conquered vast portions of Iraq and Syria, ISIS has said it will distribute the document to 11,000 citizens living in cities near the border of the two countries.
 
ISIS fighters already control a large corridor along the Euphrates River in Syria stretching from the Iraq border, along with Raqa in the north, as well as parts of neighboring Aleppo province. In Iraq, ISIS has captured sizeable territories in the north and west of the conflict-torn country in a lightning offensive last month.
 
With the reports of the passport, ISIS stated its goal is to have a caliphate spreading from Aleppo in Syria's north to Diyala in eastern Iraq.
 
The passport is reportedly being printed in a government facility in Iraq's Mosul, the second largest city in the country which ISIS captured at the start of its blitz offensive. The facility was scheduled by the Iraqi government to start issuing new ID cards next week before being taken over by ISIS, according to reports.
 
An ISIS spokesman on Monday revealed that his organization intends first to deal with "Muslims who have become infidels," and then attack Israel.
 
ISIS last Friday captured a Syrian oil field in the Deir el-Zour province in the east of the country near Iraq, after seizing Syria's largest oil field last Thursday in the same region.
 
It has already amassed great assets in Iraq, seizing Iraq's largest oil refinery, a chemical weapons facility, and becoming the "world's richest terrorist organization" by looting 500 billion Iraqi dinars ($425 million) from banks in Mosul.

Britain's Secret Plan to Arm Syrian Rebels Revealed

Category: News
Created on Monday, 07 July 2014 16:48
Syrian RebelsThe United Kingdom drew up plans to train and equip a 100,000-strong Syrian rebel army to defeat President Bashar Al-Assad, the BBC reported on Thursday.
 
The secret initiative, put forward two years ago, was the brainchild of the then most senior UK military officer, General Sir David Richards.
 
It was considered by Prime Minister David Cameron and the National Security Council, as well as U.S. officials, but was deemed too risky, according to the BBC.
 
Insiders told the BBC that Richards, then chief of the defense staff but since retired from the military, warned Downing Street there were only two ways to end the Syrian civil war quickly - to let Assad win, or to defeat him.
 
With ministers having pledged not to commit British "boots on the ground", his initiative proposed vetting and training a substantial army of moderate Syrian rebels at bases in Turkey and Jordan, according to the report.
 
Cameron was reportedly told the "extract, equip, train" plan would involve an international coalition. It would take a year, but this would buy time for an alternative Syrian government to be formed in exile.
 
Once the Syrian force was ready, it would march on Damascus, with the cover of fighter jets from the West and Gulf allies.
 
The plan envisaged a "shock and awe" campaign, similar to the one that routed Saddam's military in 2003, but spearheaded by Syrians.
 
Throughout the civil war in Syria, there have been calls on the West to arm the rebels in order to help them fight Assad’s forces. Small-scale weapons aid and some military training has already been supplied to select rebel groups, along with "non-lethal" aid such as medical supplies and other equipment. More extensive assistance has been ruled out, due to fear that jihadist rebel groups, such as the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Al-Nusra Front, might get their hands on these weapons.
 
Last week, officials in Washington said that the Obama administration has proposed a $500 million program to train and equip the moderate opposition fighting in Syria, a plan which the BBC noted was similar to the British plan.
 
A leading Syrian opposition figure recently said that western states could send desperately-needed arms to rebel groups in Syria "within weeks" and a recent report indicated that Obama is close to authorizing a military-led mission to train moderate Syrian rebels to fight the regime and Al-Qaeda-linked groups.

Britain's Secret Plan to Arm Syrian Rebels Revealed

Category: News
Created on Monday, 07 July 2014 16:48
Syrian RebelsThe United Kingdom drew up plans to train and equip a 100,000-strong Syrian rebel army to defeat President Bashar Al-Assad, the BBC reported on Thursday.
 
The secret initiative, put forward two years ago, was the brainchild of the then most senior UK military officer, General Sir David Richards.
 
It was considered by Prime Minister David Cameron and the National Security Council, as well as U.S. officials, but was deemed too risky, according to the BBC.
 
Insiders told the BBC that Richards, then chief of the defense staff but since retired from the military, warned Downing Street there were only two ways to end the Syrian civil war quickly - to let Assad win, or to defeat him.
 
With ministers having pledged not to commit British "boots on the ground", his initiative proposed vetting and training a substantial army of moderate Syrian rebels at bases in Turkey and Jordan, according to the report.
 
Cameron was reportedly told the "extract, equip, train" plan would involve an international coalition. It would take a year, but this would buy time for an alternative Syrian government to be formed in exile.
 
Once the Syrian force was ready, it would march on Damascus, with the cover of fighter jets from the West and Gulf allies.
 
The plan envisaged a "shock and awe" campaign, similar to the one that routed Saddam's military in 2003, but spearheaded by Syrians.
 
Throughout the civil war in Syria, there have been calls on the West to arm the rebels in order to help them fight Assad’s forces. Small-scale weapons aid and some military training has already been supplied to select rebel groups, along with "non-lethal" aid such as medical supplies and other equipment. More extensive assistance has been ruled out, due to fear that jihadist rebel groups, such as the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Al-Nusra Front, might get their hands on these weapons.
 
Last week, officials in Washington said that the Obama administration has proposed a $500 million program to train and equip the moderate opposition fighting in Syria, a plan which the BBC noted was similar to the British plan.
 
A leading Syrian opposition figure recently said that western states could send desperately-needed arms to rebel groups in Syria "within weeks" and a recent report indicated that Obama is close to authorizing a military-led mission to train moderate Syrian rebels to fight the regime and Al-Qaeda-linked groups.

Britain's Secret Plan to Arm Syrian Rebels Revealed

Category: News
Created on Monday, 07 July 2014 16:48
Syrian RebelsThe United Kingdom drew up plans to train and equip a 100,000-strong Syrian rebel army to defeat President Bashar Al-Assad, the BBC reported on Thursday.
 
The secret initiative, put forward two years ago, was the brainchild of the then most senior UK military officer, General Sir David Richards.
 
It was considered by Prime Minister David Cameron and the National Security Council, as well as U.S. officials, but was deemed too risky, according to the BBC.
 
Insiders told the BBC that Richards, then chief of the defense staff but since retired from the military, warned Downing Street there were only two ways to end the Syrian civil war quickly - to let Assad win, or to defeat him.
 
With ministers having pledged not to commit British "boots on the ground", his initiative proposed vetting and training a substantial army of moderate Syrian rebels at bases in Turkey and Jordan, according to the report.
 
Cameron was reportedly told the "extract, equip, train" plan would involve an international coalition. It would take a year, but this would buy time for an alternative Syrian government to be formed in exile.
 
Once the Syrian force was ready, it would march on Damascus, with the cover of fighter jets from the West and Gulf allies.
 
The plan envisaged a "shock and awe" campaign, similar to the one that routed Saddam's military in 2003, but spearheaded by Syrians.
 
Throughout the civil war in Syria, there have been calls on the West to arm the rebels in order to help them fight Assad’s forces. Small-scale weapons aid and some military training has already been supplied to select rebel groups, along with "non-lethal" aid such as medical supplies and other equipment. More extensive assistance has been ruled out, due to fear that jihadist rebel groups, such as the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Al-Nusra Front, might get their hands on these weapons.
 
Last week, officials in Washington said that the Obama administration has proposed a $500 million program to train and equip the moderate opposition fighting in Syria, a plan which the BBC noted was similar to the British plan.
 
A leading Syrian opposition figure recently said that western states could send desperately-needed arms to rebel groups in Syria "within weeks" and a recent report indicated that Obama is close to authorizing a military-led mission to train moderate Syrian rebels to fight the regime and Al-Qaeda-linked groups.

Britain's Secret Plan to Arm Syrian Rebels Revealed

Category: News
Created on Monday, 07 July 2014 16:48
Syrian RebelsThe United Kingdom drew up plans to train and equip a 100,000-strong Syrian rebel army to defeat President Bashar Al-Assad, the BBC reported on Thursday.
 
The secret initiative, put forward two years ago, was the brainchild of the then most senior UK military officer, General Sir David Richards.
 
It was considered by Prime Minister David Cameron and the National Security Council, as well as U.S. officials, but was deemed too risky, according to the BBC.
 
Insiders told the BBC that Richards, then chief of the defense staff but since retired from the military, warned Downing Street there were only two ways to end the Syrian civil war quickly - to let Assad win, or to defeat him.
 
With ministers having pledged not to commit British "boots on the ground", his initiative proposed vetting and training a substantial army of moderate Syrian rebels at bases in Turkey and Jordan, according to the report.
 
Cameron was reportedly told the "extract, equip, train" plan would involve an international coalition. It would take a year, but this would buy time for an alternative Syrian government to be formed in exile.
 
Once the Syrian force was ready, it would march on Damascus, with the cover of fighter jets from the West and Gulf allies.
 
The plan envisaged a "shock and awe" campaign, similar to the one that routed Saddam's military in 2003, but spearheaded by Syrians.
 
Throughout the civil war in Syria, there have been calls on the West to arm the rebels in order to help them fight Assad’s forces. Small-scale weapons aid and some military training has already been supplied to select rebel groups, along with "non-lethal" aid such as medical supplies and other equipment. More extensive assistance has been ruled out, due to fear that jihadist rebel groups, such as the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Al-Nusra Front, might get their hands on these weapons.
 
Last week, officials in Washington said that the Obama administration has proposed a $500 million program to train and equip the moderate opposition fighting in Syria, a plan which the BBC noted was similar to the British plan.
 
A leading Syrian opposition figure recently said that western states could send desperately-needed arms to rebel groups in Syria "within weeks" and a recent report indicated that Obama is close to authorizing a military-led mission to train moderate Syrian rebels to fight the regime and Al-Qaeda-linked groups.

Lebanon is Denying Entry to 'Palestinians' Fleeing Syria

Category: News
Created on Sunday, 06 July 2014 08:14
Syrian refugeesAn Amnesty International report released on Tuesday reveals that Lebanon has been implementing a discriminatory practice, blocking entry for "Palestinians" - descendants of Arab residents who left Israel in 1948 - who are fleeing the bloody conflict in Syria.
 
The report notes that while "Palestinian refugees" from Syria need to meet conditions for temporary residence in or transit through Lebanon, the same conditions are not required from regular Syrians fleeing the war.
 
While the conditions were put in place this May, the human rights watchdog reports that even prior to that date there were different discriminatory conditions for entry.
 
“The Lebanese authorities have displayed a chilling disregard for the rights of refugees who are fleeing a bloody conflict. Absolutely no-one seeking refuge from a conflict should be denied entry; by doing so Lebanon is flouting its obligations under international law,” said Sherif Elsayed-Ali, Head of Refugee and Migrants’ Rights at Amnesty International.
 
In fact, Lebanon apparently is blocking "Palestinian" entry from Syria regardless of the conditions it purports to set as allowing entry.
 
The report revealed a leaked document, apparently issued by Lebanese security services, ordering airlines flying into the Beirut airport not to transport any "Palestinian refugees" from Syria to Lebanon, regardless of the documents they have.
 
Reports show that the discriminatory practice in Lebanon has been in place for a long time. In May, it was reported that 41 "Palestinian refugees" were deported back from Lebanon into the war zone of Syria, where "Palestinian refugee" camps, primarily the Yarmouk camp, have been hit by the violence and by army sieges blocking off food supplies, leading to mass starvation.
 
Lebanon is not alone in its policies; the new Amnesty report notes that Jordan has also barred "Palestinian refugees" since last January, and cited testimony from last year indicating that entrance to Turkey was also harder for them than for regular Syrians.
 
“Unfortunately the new restrictions in Lebanon are only the most recent example of policies that discriminate against Palestinian refugees fleeing the conflict in Syria”, said Sherif Elsayed–Ali.

Lebanon is Denying Entry to 'Palestinians' Fleeing Syria

Category: News
Created on Sunday, 06 July 2014 08:14
Syrian refugeesAn Amnesty International report released on Tuesday reveals that Lebanon has been implementing a discriminatory practice, blocking entry for "Palestinians" - descendants of Arab residents who left Israel in 1948 - who are fleeing the bloody conflict in Syria.
 
The report notes that while "Palestinian refugees" from Syria need to meet conditions for temporary residence in or transit through Lebanon, the same conditions are not required from regular Syrians fleeing the war.
 
While the conditions were put in place this May, the human rights watchdog reports that even prior to that date there were different discriminatory conditions for entry.
 
“The Lebanese authorities have displayed a chilling disregard for the rights of refugees who are fleeing a bloody conflict. Absolutely no-one seeking refuge from a conflict should be denied entry; by doing so Lebanon is flouting its obligations under international law,” said Sherif Elsayed-Ali, Head of Refugee and Migrants’ Rights at Amnesty International.
 
In fact, Lebanon apparently is blocking "Palestinian" entry from Syria regardless of the conditions it purports to set as allowing entry.
 
The report revealed a leaked document, apparently issued by Lebanese security services, ordering airlines flying into the Beirut airport not to transport any "Palestinian refugees" from Syria to Lebanon, regardless of the documents they have.
 
Reports show that the discriminatory practice in Lebanon has been in place for a long time. In May, it was reported that 41 "Palestinian refugees" were deported back from Lebanon into the war zone of Syria, where "Palestinian refugee" camps, primarily the Yarmouk camp, have been hit by the violence and by army sieges blocking off food supplies, leading to mass starvation.
 
Lebanon is not alone in its policies; the new Amnesty report notes that Jordan has also barred "Palestinian refugees" since last January, and cited testimony from last year indicating that entrance to Turkey was also harder for them than for regular Syrians.
 
“Unfortunately the new restrictions in Lebanon are only the most recent example of policies that discriminate against Palestinian refugees fleeing the conflict in Syria”, said Sherif Elsayed–Ali.

Lebanon is Denying Entry to 'Palestinians' Fleeing Syria

Category: News
Created on Sunday, 06 July 2014 08:14
Syrian refugeesAn Amnesty International report released on Tuesday reveals that Lebanon has been implementing a discriminatory practice, blocking entry for "Palestinians" - descendants of Arab residents who left Israel in 1948 - who are fleeing the bloody conflict in Syria.
 
The report notes that while "Palestinian refugees" from Syria need to meet conditions for temporary residence in or transit through Lebanon, the same conditions are not required from regular Syrians fleeing the war.
 
While the conditions were put in place this May, the human rights watchdog reports that even prior to that date there were different discriminatory conditions for entry.
 
“The Lebanese authorities have displayed a chilling disregard for the rights of refugees who are fleeing a bloody conflict. Absolutely no-one seeking refuge from a conflict should be denied entry; by doing so Lebanon is flouting its obligations under international law,” said Sherif Elsayed-Ali, Head of Refugee and Migrants’ Rights at Amnesty International.
 
In fact, Lebanon apparently is blocking "Palestinian" entry from Syria regardless of the conditions it purports to set as allowing entry.
 
The report revealed a leaked document, apparently issued by Lebanese security services, ordering airlines flying into the Beirut airport not to transport any "Palestinian refugees" from Syria to Lebanon, regardless of the documents they have.
 
Reports show that the discriminatory practice in Lebanon has been in place for a long time. In May, it was reported that 41 "Palestinian refugees" were deported back from Lebanon into the war zone of Syria, where "Palestinian refugee" camps, primarily the Yarmouk camp, have been hit by the violence and by army sieges blocking off food supplies, leading to mass starvation.
 
Lebanon is not alone in its policies; the new Amnesty report notes that Jordan has also barred "Palestinian refugees" since last January, and cited testimony from last year indicating that entrance to Turkey was also harder for them than for regular Syrians.
 
“Unfortunately the new restrictions in Lebanon are only the most recent example of policies that discriminate against Palestinian refugees fleeing the conflict in Syria”, said Sherif Elsayed–Ali.

Lebanon is Denying Entry to 'Palestinians' Fleeing Syria

Category: News
Created on Sunday, 06 July 2014 08:14
Syrian refugeesAn Amnesty International report released on Tuesday reveals that Lebanon has been implementing a discriminatory practice, blocking entry for "Palestinians" - descendants of Arab residents who left Israel in 1948 - who are fleeing the bloody conflict in Syria.
 
The report notes that while "Palestinian refugees" from Syria need to meet conditions for temporary residence in or transit through Lebanon, the same conditions are not required from regular Syrians fleeing the war.
 
While the conditions were put in place this May, the human rights watchdog reports that even prior to that date there were different discriminatory conditions for entry.
 
“The Lebanese authorities have displayed a chilling disregard for the rights of refugees who are fleeing a bloody conflict. Absolutely no-one seeking refuge from a conflict should be denied entry; by doing so Lebanon is flouting its obligations under international law,” said Sherif Elsayed-Ali, Head of Refugee and Migrants’ Rights at Amnesty International.
 
In fact, Lebanon apparently is blocking "Palestinian" entry from Syria regardless of the conditions it purports to set as allowing entry.
 
The report revealed a leaked document, apparently issued by Lebanese security services, ordering airlines flying into the Beirut airport not to transport any "Palestinian refugees" from Syria to Lebanon, regardless of the documents they have.
 
Reports show that the discriminatory practice in Lebanon has been in place for a long time. In May, it was reported that 41 "Palestinian refugees" were deported back from Lebanon into the war zone of Syria, where "Palestinian refugee" camps, primarily the Yarmouk camp, have been hit by the violence and by army sieges blocking off food supplies, leading to mass starvation.
 
Lebanon is not alone in its policies; the new Amnesty report notes that Jordan has also barred "Palestinian refugees" since last January, and cited testimony from last year indicating that entrance to Turkey was also harder for them than for regular Syrians.
 
“Unfortunately the new restrictions in Lebanon are only the most recent example of policies that discriminate against Palestinian refugees fleeing the conflict in Syria”, said Sherif Elsayed–Ali.

Syrian Forces Bomb Sunni Targets in Iraq

Category: News
Created on Wednesday, 02 July 2014 07:27
Bombing in Aleppo - ReutersIraqi officials accused Syrian President Bashar Assad's forces of taking advantage of the crisis near Baghdad Wednesday, saying that Syrian warplanes struck several border areas in Anbar province Tuesday. 
 
At least 57 Iraqi civilians were killed and 120 wounded in the attacks, local officials told CNN, in cities controlled by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS). 
 
This is not the first time this week Syrian forces have fired into a neighboring country. On Sunday, Syrian forces lobbed a mortar shell into the Golan Heights, killing a 13 year-old boy and seriously wounding a Ministry of Defense civilian subcontractor. Israel responded with airstrikes. 
 
If true, the report would indicate an even broader spillover of the Syrian Civil War, which has mushroomed since 2011 from a statewide dispute into an all-out Islamic holy war between Sunni and Shi'te groups. 
 
Sabah Karkhout, the head of Iraq's Anbar provincial council, told CNN that Tuesday's airstrikes hit markets and fuel stations in Rutba, al-Walid and Al-Qaim Karkhout said he was certain the warplanes were Syrian because they bore the Syrian flag.
 
"Also, the planes flew directly from Syrian airspace and went back to Syria," he added. 
 
Nickolay Mladenov, head of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq, confirmed Wednesday that the 
 
warplanes that bombed the Iraqi cities were not Iraqi jets, but told reporters he did not have information beyond that.
 
State-based media in Syria called the reports "completely baseless," blaming them on "malicious media outlets." 
 
Meanwhile, the Iraqi military continue to hold the entire area between Samarra and Baghdad, according to several international media outlets, despite constant skirmishes with advancing ISIS forces.
 
The ISIS has already controlled the Iraqi city of Fallujah for five months, and has also led one of the strongest rebel movements fighting Assad in Syria. 
 
This month's offensive has seen the ISIS claim an unprecedented number of victories in a lighting-fast takeover of the flashpoint region. 
 
So far, the Islamists have made a systemic advance from northern Iraq and southward. Several weeks ago, ISIS leaders seized Mosul; just 48 hours later, Tikrit - birthplace of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein - fell to the terrorists.

Syrian Forces Bomb Sunni Targets in Iraq

Category: News
Created on Wednesday, 02 July 2014 07:27
Bombing in Aleppo - ReutersIraqi officials accused Syrian President Bashar Assad's forces of taking advantage of the crisis near Baghdad Wednesday, saying that Syrian warplanes struck several border areas in Anbar province Tuesday. 
 
At least 57 Iraqi civilians were killed and 120 wounded in the attacks, local officials told CNN, in cities controlled by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS). 
 
This is not the first time this week Syrian forces have fired into a neighboring country. On Sunday, Syrian forces lobbed a mortar shell into the Golan Heights, killing a 13 year-old boy and seriously wounding a Ministry of Defense civilian subcontractor. Israel responded with airstrikes. 
 
If true, the report would indicate an even broader spillover of the Syrian Civil War, which has mushroomed since 2011 from a statewide dispute into an all-out Islamic holy war between Sunni and Shi'te groups. 
 
Sabah Karkhout, the head of Iraq's Anbar provincial council, told CNN that Tuesday's airstrikes hit markets and fuel stations in Rutba, al-Walid and Al-Qaim Karkhout said he was certain the warplanes were Syrian because they bore the Syrian flag.
 
"Also, the planes flew directly from Syrian airspace and went back to Syria," he added. 
 
Nickolay Mladenov, head of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq, confirmed Wednesday that the 
 
warplanes that bombed the Iraqi cities were not Iraqi jets, but told reporters he did not have information beyond that.
 
State-based media in Syria called the reports "completely baseless," blaming them on "malicious media outlets." 
 
Meanwhile, the Iraqi military continue to hold the entire area between Samarra and Baghdad, according to several international media outlets, despite constant skirmishes with advancing ISIS forces.
 
The ISIS has already controlled the Iraqi city of Fallujah for five months, and has also led one of the strongest rebel movements fighting Assad in Syria. 
 
This month's offensive has seen the ISIS claim an unprecedented number of victories in a lighting-fast takeover of the flashpoint region. 
 
So far, the Islamists have made a systemic advance from northern Iraq and southward. Several weeks ago, ISIS leaders seized Mosul; just 48 hours later, Tikrit - birthplace of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein - fell to the terrorists.

Syrian Forces Bomb Sunni Targets in Iraq

Category: News
Created on Wednesday, 02 July 2014 07:27
Bombing in Aleppo - ReutersIraqi officials accused Syrian President Bashar Assad's forces of taking advantage of the crisis near Baghdad Wednesday, saying that Syrian warplanes struck several border areas in Anbar province Tuesday. 
 
At least 57 Iraqi civilians were killed and 120 wounded in the attacks, local officials told CNN, in cities controlled by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS). 
 
This is not the first time this week Syrian forces have fired into a neighboring country. On Sunday, Syrian forces lobbed a mortar shell into the Golan Heights, killing a 13 year-old boy and seriously wounding a Ministry of Defense civilian subcontractor. Israel responded with airstrikes. 
 
If true, the report would indicate an even broader spillover of the Syrian Civil War, which has mushroomed since 2011 from a statewide dispute into an all-out Islamic holy war between Sunni and Shi'te groups. 
 
Sabah Karkhout, the head of Iraq's Anbar provincial council, told CNN that Tuesday's airstrikes hit markets and fuel stations in Rutba, al-Walid and Al-Qaim Karkhout said he was certain the warplanes were Syrian because they bore the Syrian flag.
 
"Also, the planes flew directly from Syrian airspace and went back to Syria," he added. 
 
Nickolay Mladenov, head of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq, confirmed Wednesday that the 
 
warplanes that bombed the Iraqi cities were not Iraqi jets, but told reporters he did not have information beyond that.
 
State-based media in Syria called the reports "completely baseless," blaming them on "malicious media outlets." 
 
Meanwhile, the Iraqi military continue to hold the entire area between Samarra and Baghdad, according to several international media outlets, despite constant skirmishes with advancing ISIS forces.
 
The ISIS has already controlled the Iraqi city of Fallujah for five months, and has also led one of the strongest rebel movements fighting Assad in Syria. 
 
This month's offensive has seen the ISIS claim an unprecedented number of victories in a lighting-fast takeover of the flashpoint region. 
 
So far, the Islamists have made a systemic advance from northern Iraq and southward. Several weeks ago, ISIS leaders seized Mosul; just 48 hours later, Tikrit - birthplace of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein - fell to the terrorists.

Syrian Forces Bomb Sunni Targets in Iraq

Category: News
Created on Wednesday, 02 July 2014 07:27
Bombing in Aleppo - ReutersIraqi officials accused Syrian President Bashar Assad's forces of taking advantage of the crisis near Baghdad Wednesday, saying that Syrian warplanes struck several border areas in Anbar province Tuesday. 
 
At least 57 Iraqi civilians were killed and 120 wounded in the attacks, local officials told CNN, in cities controlled by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS). 
 
This is not the first time this week Syrian forces have fired into a neighboring country. On Sunday, Syrian forces lobbed a mortar shell into the Golan Heights, killing a 13 year-old boy and seriously wounding a Ministry of Defense civilian subcontractor. Israel responded with airstrikes. 
 
If true, the report would indicate an even broader spillover of the Syrian Civil War, which has mushroomed since 2011 from a statewide dispute into an all-out Islamic holy war between Sunni and Shi'te groups. 
 
Sabah Karkhout, the head of Iraq's Anbar provincial council, told CNN that Tuesday's airstrikes hit markets and fuel stations in Rutba, al-Walid and Al-Qaim Karkhout said he was certain the warplanes were Syrian because they bore the Syrian flag.
 
"Also, the planes flew directly from Syrian airspace and went back to Syria," he added. 
 
Nickolay Mladenov, head of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq, confirmed Wednesday that the 
 
warplanes that bombed the Iraqi cities were not Iraqi jets, but told reporters he did not have information beyond that.
 
State-based media in Syria called the reports "completely baseless," blaming them on "malicious media outlets." 
 
Meanwhile, the Iraqi military continue to hold the entire area between Samarra and Baghdad, according to several international media outlets, despite constant skirmishes with advancing ISIS forces.
 
The ISIS has already controlled the Iraqi city of Fallujah for five months, and has also led one of the strongest rebel movements fighting Assad in Syria. 
 
This month's offensive has seen the ISIS claim an unprecedented number of victories in a lighting-fast takeover of the flashpoint region. 
 
So far, the Islamists have made a systemic advance from northern Iraq and southward. Several weeks ago, ISIS leaders seized Mosul; just 48 hours later, Tikrit - birthplace of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein - fell to the terrorists.

Susan Rice Hints U.S. Providing Weapons to Syrian Rebels

Category: News
Created on Sunday, 08 June 2014 16:04
Susan RicePresident Barack Obama’s National Security Adviser, Susan Rice, hinted on Friday that the United States was sending weapons to the Syrian rebels, when she said Washington was taking important steps in Syria by offering both "lethal and non-lethal" aid to the moderate opposition.
 
The comments were made in an interview Rice gave to CNN.
 
“The United States has been the single largest contributor of humanitarian assistance, providing over 1.7 billion dollars,” she said.
 
“That's why the United States has ramped up its support for the moderate vetted opposition, providing lethal and nonlethal support where we can to support both the civilian opposition and the military opposition,” added Rice.
 
The comments appear to confirm recent speculations that Washington was ready to arm the Syrian rebels fighting to oust President Bashar Al-Assad.
 
Small-scale weapons aid and some military training has already been supplied to select rebel groups, along with "non-lethal" aid such as medical supplies and other equipment, but both Congressional caution and a hesitant White House have prevented anything further, mainly due to fear that the jihadist rebel groups would get their hands on any weapons.
 
A leading Syrian opposition figure recently said that western states could send desperately-needed arms to rebel groups in Syria "within weeks" and, last week it was reported that Obama is close to authorizing a military-led mission to train moderate Syrian rebels to fight the regime and Al-Qaeda-linked groups.
 
CNN noted that in a speech last week at West Point, Obama said he wanted to increase support to rebels “who offer the best alternative to terrorists and brutal dictators.”
 
Following that speech, officials said they were working with Congress to approve the increased support. They said lawmakers’ approval might be required under the War Powers Act.
 
Rice said on Friday the United States was working with Syria’s neighbors to help alleviate the dire situation of refugees, as well as working to confront an increasing threat that Syria’s becoming a hotbed for terrorists.
 
“We're working on the counterterrorism challenge because as we have seen there are increasingly emanating from Syria the threat of terrorism to the neighbors and beyond,” she told CNN.
 
“Our efforts are increasing and why we'll remain very much engaged, both in trying to support the Syrian people and trying to support the Syrian opposition,” she continued.
 
Critics have cited Obama’s record in Syria as evidence of a failed foreign policy, saying his decision to forgo air strikes after Assad deployed chemical weapons displayed weakness to rivals.
 
Rice countered those claims by pointing to still-strong alliances between the U.S. and partner nations.
 
“I don't think the criticism has been fair,” she said. “I think the fact of the matter is we're living in complex times, there are many different challenges that the United States and the world faces. But our leadership is unmatched. Our role is indispensable.”

Susan Rice Hints U.S. Providing Weapons to Syrian Rebels

Category: News
Created on Sunday, 08 June 2014 16:04
Susan RicePresident Barack Obama’s National Security Adviser, Susan Rice, hinted on Friday that the United States was sending weapons to the Syrian rebels, when she said Washington was taking important steps in Syria by offering both "lethal and non-lethal" aid to the moderate opposition.
 
The comments were made in an interview Rice gave to CNN.
 
“The United States has been the single largest contributor of humanitarian assistance, providing over 1.7 billion dollars,” she said.
 
“That's why the United States has ramped up its support for the moderate vetted opposition, providing lethal and nonlethal support where we can to support both the civilian opposition and the military opposition,” added Rice.
 
The comments appear to confirm recent speculations that Washington was ready to arm the Syrian rebels fighting to oust President Bashar Al-Assad.
 
Small-scale weapons aid and some military training has already been supplied to select rebel groups, along with "non-lethal" aid such as medical supplies and other equipment, but both Congressional caution and a hesitant White House have prevented anything further, mainly due to fear that the jihadist rebel groups would get their hands on any weapons.
 
A leading Syrian opposition figure recently said that western states could send desperately-needed arms to rebel groups in Syria "within weeks" and, last week it was reported that Obama is close to authorizing a military-led mission to train moderate Syrian rebels to fight the regime and Al-Qaeda-linked groups.
 
CNN noted that in a speech last week at West Point, Obama said he wanted to increase support to rebels “who offer the best alternative to terrorists and brutal dictators.”
 
Following that speech, officials said they were working with Congress to approve the increased support. They said lawmakers’ approval might be required under the War Powers Act.
 
Rice said on Friday the United States was working with Syria’s neighbors to help alleviate the dire situation of refugees, as well as working to confront an increasing threat that Syria’s becoming a hotbed for terrorists.
 
“We're working on the counterterrorism challenge because as we have seen there are increasingly emanating from Syria the threat of terrorism to the neighbors and beyond,” she told CNN.
 
“Our efforts are increasing and why we'll remain very much engaged, both in trying to support the Syrian people and trying to support the Syrian opposition,” she continued.
 
Critics have cited Obama’s record in Syria as evidence of a failed foreign policy, saying his decision to forgo air strikes after Assad deployed chemical weapons displayed weakness to rivals.
 
Rice countered those claims by pointing to still-strong alliances between the U.S. and partner nations.
 
“I don't think the criticism has been fair,” she said. “I think the fact of the matter is we're living in complex times, there are many different challenges that the United States and the world faces. But our leadership is unmatched. Our role is indispensable.”

Susan Rice Hints U.S. Providing Weapons to Syrian Rebels

Category: News
Created on Sunday, 08 June 2014 16:04
Susan RicePresident Barack Obama’s National Security Adviser, Susan Rice, hinted on Friday that the United States was sending weapons to the Syrian rebels, when she said Washington was taking important steps in Syria by offering both "lethal and non-lethal" aid to the moderate opposition.
 
The comments were made in an interview Rice gave to CNN.
 
“The United States has been the single largest contributor of humanitarian assistance, providing over 1.7 billion dollars,” she said.
 
“That's why the United States has ramped up its support for the moderate vetted opposition, providing lethal and nonlethal support where we can to support both the civilian opposition and the military opposition,” added Rice.
 
The comments appear to confirm recent speculations that Washington was ready to arm the Syrian rebels fighting to oust President Bashar Al-Assad.
 
Small-scale weapons aid and some military training has already been supplied to select rebel groups, along with "non-lethal" aid such as medical supplies and other equipment, but both Congressional caution and a hesitant White House have prevented anything further, mainly due to fear that the jihadist rebel groups would get their hands on any weapons.
 
A leading Syrian opposition figure recently said that western states could send desperately-needed arms to rebel groups in Syria "within weeks" and, last week it was reported that Obama is close to authorizing a military-led mission to train moderate Syrian rebels to fight the regime and Al-Qaeda-linked groups.
 
CNN noted that in a speech last week at West Point, Obama said he wanted to increase support to rebels “who offer the best alternative to terrorists and brutal dictators.”
 
Following that speech, officials said they were working with Congress to approve the increased support. They said lawmakers’ approval might be required under the War Powers Act.
 
Rice said on Friday the United States was working with Syria’s neighbors to help alleviate the dire situation of refugees, as well as working to confront an increasing threat that Syria’s becoming a hotbed for terrorists.
 
“We're working on the counterterrorism challenge because as we have seen there are increasingly emanating from Syria the threat of terrorism to the neighbors and beyond,” she told CNN.
 
“Our efforts are increasing and why we'll remain very much engaged, both in trying to support the Syrian people and trying to support the Syrian opposition,” she continued.
 
Critics have cited Obama’s record in Syria as evidence of a failed foreign policy, saying his decision to forgo air strikes after Assad deployed chemical weapons displayed weakness to rivals.
 
Rice countered those claims by pointing to still-strong alliances between the U.S. and partner nations.
 
“I don't think the criticism has been fair,” she said. “I think the fact of the matter is we're living in complex times, there are many different challenges that the United States and the world faces. But our leadership is unmatched. Our role is indispensable.”

Susan Rice Hints U.S. Providing Weapons to Syrian Rebels

Category: News
Created on Sunday, 08 June 2014 16:04
Susan RicePresident Barack Obama’s National Security Adviser, Susan Rice, hinted on Friday that the United States was sending weapons to the Syrian rebels, when she said Washington was taking important steps in Syria by offering both "lethal and non-lethal" aid to the moderate opposition.
 
The comments were made in an interview Rice gave to CNN.
 
“The United States has been the single largest contributor of humanitarian assistance, providing over 1.7 billion dollars,” she said.
 
“That's why the United States has ramped up its support for the moderate vetted opposition, providing lethal and nonlethal support where we can to support both the civilian opposition and the military opposition,” added Rice.
 
The comments appear to confirm recent speculations that Washington was ready to arm the Syrian rebels fighting to oust President Bashar Al-Assad.
 
Small-scale weapons aid and some military training has already been supplied to select rebel groups, along with "non-lethal" aid such as medical supplies and other equipment, but both Congressional caution and a hesitant White House have prevented anything further, mainly due to fear that the jihadist rebel groups would get their hands on any weapons.
 
A leading Syrian opposition figure recently said that western states could send desperately-needed arms to rebel groups in Syria "within weeks" and, last week it was reported that Obama is close to authorizing a military-led mission to train moderate Syrian rebels to fight the regime and Al-Qaeda-linked groups.
 
CNN noted that in a speech last week at West Point, Obama said he wanted to increase support to rebels “who offer the best alternative to terrorists and brutal dictators.”
 
Following that speech, officials said they were working with Congress to approve the increased support. They said lawmakers’ approval might be required under the War Powers Act.
 
Rice said on Friday the United States was working with Syria’s neighbors to help alleviate the dire situation of refugees, as well as working to confront an increasing threat that Syria’s becoming a hotbed for terrorists.
 
“We're working on the counterterrorism challenge because as we have seen there are increasingly emanating from Syria the threat of terrorism to the neighbors and beyond,” she told CNN.
 
“Our efforts are increasing and why we'll remain very much engaged, both in trying to support the Syrian people and trying to support the Syrian opposition,” she continued.
 
Critics have cited Obama’s record in Syria as evidence of a failed foreign policy, saying his decision to forgo air strikes after Assad deployed chemical weapons displayed weakness to rivals.
 
Rice countered those claims by pointing to still-strong alliances between the U.S. and partner nations.
 
“I don't think the criticism has been fair,” she said. “I think the fact of the matter is we're living in complex times, there are many different challenges that the United States and the world faces. But our leadership is unmatched. Our role is indispensable.”

Assad Wins Third Term

Category: News
Created on Wednesday, 04 June 2014 18:07
assad obamaSyria's ongoing major civil war, which has pitted the country's population against each other, has apparently not affected the popularity of President Bashar al-Assad, apparently. Assad has been reelected as President of Syria in an overwhelming electoral victory, with nearly 90% of Syrian voters choosing him for another term.
 
Elections took place for Assad's third term took place Tuesday. Results were announced Wednesday by Syrian election officials, who said that Assad had gotten 88.7% of the vote. According to the officials, 73.4% of Syrians participated in the elections. Out of the 15.85 million eligible voters in Syria, Assad got 11.63 million votes, they said.
 
US Secretary of State John Kerry dismissed the announcement, calling the elections – and Assad - “a big zero.”'
 
"It's a coronation of Assad, it's a celebration of his ability to survive the violent storm and basically go on the offensive," Fawaz Gerges, a professor of international relations at the London School of Economics, told CNN Tuesday.
 
The New York Times added that observers at the scene include representatives from Syria's allies, many of which are no more democratic than Syria itself - including Russia, Iran, and North Korea.
 
France’s Foreign Minister, Laurent Fabius, spoke about the elections in Syria and indicated that the whole ordeal is one big “tragic joke.” Fabius said that “Syrians, and only those who live in areas under the government’s control, have a choice to vote for either Bashar or Bashar.”
 
“The reality is exactly what we already knew before the elections began- Syria is a state at war. Above all, Bashar Assad was named by the United Nations Secretary General as one who commits crimes against humanity. A man like Assad cannot represent the future of his nation,” the Foreign Minister told the France 2 television channel. 

Assad Wins Third Term

Category: News
Created on Wednesday, 04 June 2014 18:07
assad obamaSyria's ongoing major civil war, which has pitted the country's population against each other, has apparently not affected the popularity of President Bashar al-Assad, apparently. Assad has been reelected as President of Syria in an overwhelming electoral victory, with nearly 90% of Syrian voters choosing him for another term.
 
Elections took place for Assad's third term took place Tuesday. Results were announced Wednesday by Syrian election officials, who said that Assad had gotten 88.7% of the vote. According to the officials, 73.4% of Syrians participated in the elections. Out of the 15.85 million eligible voters in Syria, Assad got 11.63 million votes, they said.
 
US Secretary of State John Kerry dismissed the announcement, calling the elections – and Assad - “a big zero.”'
 
"It's a coronation of Assad, it's a celebration of his ability to survive the violent storm and basically go on the offensive," Fawaz Gerges, a professor of international relations at the London School of Economics, told CNN Tuesday.
 
The New York Times added that observers at the scene include representatives from Syria's allies, many of which are no more democratic than Syria itself - including Russia, Iran, and North Korea.
 
France’s Foreign Minister, Laurent Fabius, spoke about the elections in Syria and indicated that the whole ordeal is one big “tragic joke.” Fabius said that “Syrians, and only those who live in areas under the government’s control, have a choice to vote for either Bashar or Bashar.”
 
“The reality is exactly what we already knew before the elections began- Syria is a state at war. Above all, Bashar Assad was named by the United Nations Secretary General as one who commits crimes against humanity. A man like Assad cannot represent the future of his nation,” the Foreign Minister told the France 2 television channel. 

Assad Wins Third Term

Category: News
Created on Wednesday, 04 June 2014 18:07
assad obamaSyria's ongoing major civil war, which has pitted the country's population against each other, has apparently not affected the popularity of President Bashar al-Assad, apparently. Assad has been reelected as President of Syria in an overwhelming electoral victory, with nearly 90% of Syrian voters choosing him for another term.
 
Elections took place for Assad's third term took place Tuesday. Results were announced Wednesday by Syrian election officials, who said that Assad had gotten 88.7% of the vote. According to the officials, 73.4% of Syrians participated in the elections. Out of the 15.85 million eligible voters in Syria, Assad got 11.63 million votes, they said.
 
US Secretary of State John Kerry dismissed the announcement, calling the elections – and Assad - “a big zero.”'
 
"It's a coronation of Assad, it's a celebration of his ability to survive the violent storm and basically go on the offensive," Fawaz Gerges, a professor of international relations at the London School of Economics, told CNN Tuesday.
 
The New York Times added that observers at the scene include representatives from Syria's allies, many of which are no more democratic than Syria itself - including Russia, Iran, and North Korea.
 
France’s Foreign Minister, Laurent Fabius, spoke about the elections in Syria and indicated that the whole ordeal is one big “tragic joke.” Fabius said that “Syrians, and only those who live in areas under the government’s control, have a choice to vote for either Bashar or Bashar.”
 
“The reality is exactly what we already knew before the elections began- Syria is a state at war. Above all, Bashar Assad was named by the United Nations Secretary General as one who commits crimes against humanity. A man like Assad cannot represent the future of his nation,” the Foreign Minister told the France 2 television channel. 

Assad Wins Third Term

Category: News
Created on Wednesday, 04 June 2014 18:07
assad obamaSyria's ongoing major civil war, which has pitted the country's population against each other, has apparently not affected the popularity of President Bashar al-Assad, apparently. Assad has been reelected as President of Syria in an overwhelming electoral victory, with nearly 90% of Syrian voters choosing him for another term.
 
Elections took place for Assad's third term took place Tuesday. Results were announced Wednesday by Syrian election officials, who said that Assad had gotten 88.7% of the vote. According to the officials, 73.4% of Syrians participated in the elections. Out of the 15.85 million eligible voters in Syria, Assad got 11.63 million votes, they said.
 
US Secretary of State John Kerry dismissed the announcement, calling the elections – and Assad - “a big zero.”'
 
"It's a coronation of Assad, it's a celebration of his ability to survive the violent storm and basically go on the offensive," Fawaz Gerges, a professor of international relations at the London School of Economics, told CNN Tuesday.
 
The New York Times added that observers at the scene include representatives from Syria's allies, many of which are no more democratic than Syria itself - including Russia, Iran, and North Korea.
 
France’s Foreign Minister, Laurent Fabius, spoke about the elections in Syria and indicated that the whole ordeal is one big “tragic joke.” Fabius said that “Syrians, and only those who live in areas under the government’s control, have a choice to vote for either Bashar or Bashar.”
 
“The reality is exactly what we already knew before the elections began- Syria is a state at war. Above all, Bashar Assad was named by the United Nations Secretary General as one who commits crimes against humanity. A man like Assad cannot represent the future of his nation,” the Foreign Minister told the France 2 television channel. 

Syrian 'Elections' Begin

Category: News
Created on Tuesday, 03 June 2014 20:52
Syrian ElectionsPolling stations in Syria opened for presidential elections Tuesday, as political analysts predict that President Bashar Assad will win for a third consecutive presidential term against the backdrop of a bloody civil war. 
 
Six other candidates have now announced their intentions to run against Assad, including the first female presidential candidate; this is the first election in Syria since 1970 to have more than one candidate. 
 
Analysts remain pessimistic over the outcome, however - noting that Syria has a long history of rigged elections, and that Assad won his first term in 1999 with a 99% vote - and maintain that the competition is merely a veneer for legitimacy. 
 
"It's a coronation of Assad, it's a celebration of his ability to survive the violent storm and basically go on the offensive," Fawaz Gerges, a professor of international relations at the London School of Economics, told CNN Tuesday. 
 
The New York Times added that observers at the scene include representatives from Syria's allies, many of which are no more democratic than Syria itself - including Russia, Iran, and North Korea. 
 
Rigged or real?
 
Assad announced the elections just days after stating that he believed his forces were gaining ground in the war, which so far has killed at least 150,000 people and displaced over one million Syrians. 
 
Assad has consistently insisted that the elections are democratic, despite criticism from rights groups and the EU. 
 
"The Syrian presidency... maintains an equal distance from all candidates in order that Syrians can choose their... president freely and transparently," Assad maintained, in a statement translated by AFP in April. 
 
Syria's Foreign Ministry also responded sharply to the criticism, claiming the decision to hold the election was a "purely sovereign" one and that foreign interference would not be tolerated. 
 
"If these countries, foremost among them the Western nations, are calling for democracy and freedom, then they should listen to the views of Syrians and who they choose through the ballot box," state television quoted the ministry as stating. 
 
On Monday, Syria’s interior minister, Major General Mohammad al-Shaar, called on all Syrians to vote “to express the Syrian people’s aspiration for life and stability and to confront terrorism and sabotage.”
 
He also denied rumors that identification cards and passports would be stamped to create a record that their holders had voted, and reassured a nervous public that the voting would take place in private booths. 
 
Local dissent
 
Meanwhile, Syrian rebels have maintained that the elections are "pointless" - and a distraction from the real issues in Syria and the "tyranny" of Assad's regime.
 
{youtube}BS9vf2jFopM{/youtube}
 
Syrian refugees - now numbering into the hundreds of thousands and spread in camps throughout Lebanon and Jordan - agree. 
 
"Where are the people who will vote for him?" one Syrian refugee, a resident of a northern Jordan camp, told CNN Monday. "Will the people he killed vote for him? Will the hundreds of thousands he has detained, who have disappeared [vote for him]?"
 
"[Assad] has reduced us to beggars," Hiba, a refugee holding a two-month old baby, added. 
 
Syrians stranded in Lebanon enthusiastically told the Times that they would vote for Assad - some emphatically pledging their loyalty, some musing he was "the lesser of two evils" when compared with Islamists, and others whispering rumors that they would be killed if they returned and had not voted. 
 
Others expressed doubts, however, vowing to boycott the elections based on a simple fact: that polling stations were open in the "no-man's land" at the Syrian-Lebanese border. Many potential voters, wary of being killed or injured after the long journey to refugee camps abroad, decided to stay home. 

Syrian 'Elections' Begin

Category: News
Created on Tuesday, 03 June 2014 20:52
Syrian ElectionsPolling stations in Syria opened for presidential elections Tuesday, as political analysts predict that President Bashar Assad will win for a third consecutive presidential term against the backdrop of a bloody civil war. 
 
Six other candidates have now announced their intentions to run against Assad, including the first female presidential candidate; this is the first election in Syria since 1970 to have more than one candidate. 
 
Analysts remain pessimistic over the outcome, however - noting that Syria has a long history of rigged elections, and that Assad won his first term in 1999 with a 99% vote - and maintain that the competition is merely a veneer for legitimacy. 
 
"It's a coronation of Assad, it's a celebration of his ability to survive the violent storm and basically go on the offensive," Fawaz Gerges, a professor of international relations at the London School of Economics, told CNN Tuesday. 
 
The New York Times added that observers at the scene include representatives from Syria's allies, many of which are no more democratic than Syria itself - including Russia, Iran, and North Korea. 
 
Rigged or real?
 
Assad announced the elections just days after stating that he believed his forces were gaining ground in the war, which so far has killed at least 150,000 people and displaced over one million Syrians. 
 
Assad has consistently insisted that the elections are democratic, despite criticism from rights groups and the EU. 
 
"The Syrian presidency... maintains an equal distance from all candidates in order that Syrians can choose their... president freely and transparently," Assad maintained, in a statement translated by AFP in April. 
 
Syria's Foreign Ministry also responded sharply to the criticism, claiming the decision to hold the election was a "purely sovereign" one and that foreign interference would not be tolerated. 
 
"If these countries, foremost among them the Western nations, are calling for democracy and freedom, then they should listen to the views of Syrians and who they choose through the ballot box," state television quoted the ministry as stating. 
 
On Monday, Syria’s interior minister, Major General Mohammad al-Shaar, called on all Syrians to vote “to express the Syrian people’s aspiration for life and stability and to confront terrorism and sabotage.”
 
He also denied rumors that identification cards and passports would be stamped to create a record that their holders had voted, and reassured a nervous public that the voting would take place in private booths. 
 
Local dissent
 
Meanwhile, Syrian rebels have maintained that the elections are "pointless" - and a distraction from the real issues in Syria and the "tyranny" of Assad's regime.
 
{youtube}BS9vf2jFopM{/youtube}
 
Syrian refugees - now numbering into the hundreds of thousands and spread in camps throughout Lebanon and Jordan - agree. 
 
"Where are the people who will vote for him?" one Syrian refugee, a resident of a northern Jordan camp, told CNN Monday. "Will the people he killed vote for him? Will the hundreds of thousands he has detained, who have disappeared [vote for him]?"
 
"[Assad] has reduced us to beggars," Hiba, a refugee holding a two-month old baby, added. 
 
Syrians stranded in Lebanon enthusiastically told the Times that they would vote for Assad - some emphatically pledging their loyalty, some musing he was "the lesser of two evils" when compared with Islamists, and others whispering rumors that they would be killed if they returned and had not voted. 
 
Others expressed doubts, however, vowing to boycott the elections based on a simple fact: that polling stations were open in the "no-man's land" at the Syrian-Lebanese border. Many potential voters, wary of being killed or injured after the long journey to refugee camps abroad, decided to stay home. 

Syrian 'Elections' Begin

Category: News
Created on Tuesday, 03 June 2014 20:52
Syrian ElectionsPolling stations in Syria opened for presidential elections Tuesday, as political analysts predict that President Bashar Assad will win for a third consecutive presidential term against the backdrop of a bloody civil war. 
 
Six other candidates have now announced their intentions to run against Assad, including the first female presidential candidate; this is the first election in Syria since 1970 to have more than one candidate. 
 
Analysts remain pessimistic over the outcome, however - noting that Syria has a long history of rigged elections, and that Assad won his first term in 1999 with a 99% vote - and maintain that the competition is merely a veneer for legitimacy. 
 
"It's a coronation of Assad, it's a celebration of his ability to survive the violent storm and basically go on the offensive," Fawaz Gerges, a professor of international relations at the London School of Economics, told CNN Tuesday. 
 
The New York Times added that observers at the scene include representatives from Syria's allies, many of which are no more democratic than Syria itself - including Russia, Iran, and North Korea. 
 
Rigged or real?
 
Assad announced the elections just days after stating that he believed his forces were gaining ground in the war, which so far has killed at least 150,000 people and displaced over one million Syrians. 
 
Assad has consistently insisted that the elections are democratic, despite criticism from rights groups and the EU. 
 
"The Syrian presidency... maintains an equal distance from all candidates in order that Syrians can choose their... president freely and transparently," Assad maintained, in a statement translated by AFP in April. 
 
Syria's Foreign Ministry also responded sharply to the criticism, claiming the decision to hold the election was a "purely sovereign" one and that foreign interference would not be tolerated. 
 
"If these countries, foremost among them the Western nations, are calling for democracy and freedom, then they should listen to the views of Syrians and who they choose through the ballot box," state television quoted the ministry as stating. 
 
On Monday, Syria’s interior minister, Major General Mohammad al-Shaar, called on all Syrians to vote “to express the Syrian people’s aspiration for life and stability and to confront terrorism and sabotage.”
 
He also denied rumors that identification cards and passports would be stamped to create a record that their holders had voted, and reassured a nervous public that the voting would take place in private booths. 
 
Local dissent
 
Meanwhile, Syrian rebels have maintained that the elections are "pointless" - and a distraction from the real issues in Syria and the "tyranny" of Assad's regime.
 
{youtube}BS9vf2jFopM{/youtube}
 
Syrian refugees - now numbering into the hundreds of thousands and spread in camps throughout Lebanon and Jordan - agree. 
 
"Where are the people who will vote for him?" one Syrian refugee, a resident of a northern Jordan camp, told CNN Monday. "Will the people he killed vote for him? Will the hundreds of thousands he has detained, who have disappeared [vote for him]?"
 
"[Assad] has reduced us to beggars," Hiba, a refugee holding a two-month old baby, added. 
 
Syrians stranded in Lebanon enthusiastically told the Times that they would vote for Assad - some emphatically pledging their loyalty, some musing he was "the lesser of two evils" when compared with Islamists, and others whispering rumors that they would be killed if they returned and had not voted. 
 
Others expressed doubts, however, vowing to boycott the elections based on a simple fact: that polling stations were open in the "no-man's land" at the Syrian-Lebanese border. Many potential voters, wary of being killed or injured after the long journey to refugee camps abroad, decided to stay home. 

Syrian 'Elections' Begin

Category: News
Created on Tuesday, 03 June 2014 20:52
Syrian ElectionsPolling stations in Syria opened for presidential elections Tuesday, as political analysts predict that President Bashar Assad will win for a third consecutive presidential term against the backdrop of a bloody civil war. 
 
Six other candidates have now announced their intentions to run against Assad, including the first female presidential candidate; this is the first election in Syria since 1970 to have more than one candidate. 
 
Analysts remain pessimistic over the outcome, however - noting that Syria has a long history of rigged elections, and that Assad won his first term in 1999 with a 99% vote - and maintain that the competition is merely a veneer for legitimacy. 
 
"It's a coronation of Assad, it's a celebration of his ability to survive the violent storm and basically go on the offensive," Fawaz Gerges, a professor of international relations at the London School of Economics, told CNN Tuesday. 
 
The New York Times added that observers at the scene include representatives from Syria's allies, many of which are no more democratic than Syria itself - including Russia, Iran, and North Korea. 
 
Rigged or real?
 
Assad announced the elections just days after stating that he believed his forces were gaining ground in the war, which so far has killed at least 150,000 people and displaced over one million Syrians. 
 
Assad has consistently insisted that the elections are democratic, despite criticism from rights groups and the EU. 
 
"The Syrian presidency... maintains an equal distance from all candidates in order that Syrians can choose their... president freely and transparently," Assad maintained, in a statement translated by AFP in April. 
 
Syria's Foreign Ministry also responded sharply to the criticism, claiming the decision to hold the election was a "purely sovereign" one and that foreign interference would not be tolerated. 
 
"If these countries, foremost among them the Western nations, are calling for democracy and freedom, then they should listen to the views of Syrians and who they choose through the ballot box," state television quoted the ministry as stating. 
 
On Monday, Syria’s interior minister, Major General Mohammad al-Shaar, called on all Syrians to vote “to express the Syrian people’s aspiration for life and stability and to confront terrorism and sabotage.”
 
He also denied rumors that identification cards and passports would be stamped to create a record that their holders had voted, and reassured a nervous public that the voting would take place in private booths. 
 
Local dissent
 
Meanwhile, Syrian rebels have maintained that the elections are "pointless" - and a distraction from the real issues in Syria and the "tyranny" of Assad's regime.
 
{youtube}BS9vf2jFopM{/youtube}
 
Syrian refugees - now numbering into the hundreds of thousands and spread in camps throughout Lebanon and Jordan - agree. 
 
"Where are the people who will vote for him?" one Syrian refugee, a resident of a northern Jordan camp, told CNN Monday. "Will the people he killed vote for him? Will the hundreds of thousands he has detained, who have disappeared [vote for him]?"
 
"[Assad] has reduced us to beggars," Hiba, a refugee holding a two-month old baby, added. 
 
Syrians stranded in Lebanon enthusiastically told the Times that they would vote for Assad - some emphatically pledging their loyalty, some musing he was "the lesser of two evils" when compared with Islamists, and others whispering rumors that they would be killed if they returned and had not voted. 
 
Others expressed doubts, however, vowing to boycott the elections based on a simple fact: that polling stations were open in the "no-man's land" at the Syrian-Lebanese border. Many potential voters, wary of being killed or injured after the long journey to refugee camps abroad, decided to stay home. 

State Department Confirms U.S. Citizen Carried Out Syria Attack

Category: News
Created on Friday, 30 May 2014 20:56
A fighter from the Al Qaeda-aligned Nusra Front fires a mounted machine gun - ReutersThe United States confirmed on Friday that it believes an American citizen carried out a suicide bombing within Syria, AFP reported.
 
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki did not provide any details about the suspect, who had been identified in a New York Times report as a man in his 20s from Florida and of Middle Eastern descent.
 
"I can confirm that this individual was a U.S. citizen," Psaki said, adding that he was "involved in a suicide bombing inside Syria."
 
According to a video released by supporters of the rebel Al-Qaeda-affiliated Al-Nusra Front, the American, who was identified by the name Abu Hurayra al-Amriki, carried out a suicide truck bombing in the Syrian town of Idlib.
 
The video, reported by the private terrorism watchdog SITE Intelligence Group, depicts a huge explosion as well as footage of a young, bearded man cradling a cat and identified as the attacker.
 
The bombing is thought to have taken place on Sunday. The New York Times report cited U.S. officials as saying they thought it was the first such suicide attack to have been carried out by an American.
 
Western powers have expressed concern that some of their citizens have traveled to fight in the civil war in Syria, some of them joining extremist groups that might one day seek to strike their home countries.
 
In February it was estimated that at least 50 U.S. citizens are fighting in Syria against Assad, and are liable to bring terrorism back to their home country once the war is over.
 
Other published statistics say that over 75,000 foreign nationals have been fighting in the Syrian civil war. While the majority are from Muslim countries, there are also Russians, Germans, Canadians and French citizens taking part in the fighting.

State Department Confirms U.S. Citizen Carried Out Syria Attack

Category: News
Created on Friday, 30 May 2014 20:56
A fighter from the Al Qaeda-aligned Nusra Front fires a mounted machine gun - ReutersThe United States confirmed on Friday that it believes an American citizen carried out a suicide bombing within Syria, AFP reported.
 
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki did not provide any details about the suspect, who had been identified in a New York Times report as a man in his 20s from Florida and of Middle Eastern descent.
 
"I can confirm that this individual was a U.S. citizen," Psaki said, adding that he was "involved in a suicide bombing inside Syria."
 
According to a video released by supporters of the rebel Al-Qaeda-affiliated Al-Nusra Front, the American, who was identified by the name Abu Hurayra al-Amriki, carried out a suicide truck bombing in the Syrian town of Idlib.
 
The video, reported by the private terrorism watchdog SITE Intelligence Group, depicts a huge explosion as well as footage of a young, bearded man cradling a cat and identified as the attacker.
 
The bombing is thought to have taken place on Sunday. The New York Times report cited U.S. officials as saying they thought it was the first such suicide attack to have been carried out by an American.
 
Western powers have expressed concern that some of their citizens have traveled to fight in the civil war in Syria, some of them joining extremist groups that might one day seek to strike their home countries.
 
In February it was estimated that at least 50 U.S. citizens are fighting in Syria against Assad, and are liable to bring terrorism back to their home country once the war is over.
 
Other published statistics say that over 75,000 foreign nationals have been fighting in the Syrian civil war. While the majority are from Muslim countries, there are also Russians, Germans, Canadians and French citizens taking part in the fighting.

State Department Confirms U.S. Citizen Carried Out Syria Attack

Category: News
Created on Friday, 30 May 2014 20:56
A fighter from the Al Qaeda-aligned Nusra Front fires a mounted machine gun - ReutersThe United States confirmed on Friday that it believes an American citizen carried out a suicide bombing within Syria, AFP reported.
 
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki did not provide any details about the suspect, who had been identified in a New York Times report as a man in his 20s from Florida and of Middle Eastern descent.
 
"I can confirm that this individual was a U.S. citizen," Psaki said, adding that he was "involved in a suicide bombing inside Syria."
 
According to a video released by supporters of the rebel Al-Qaeda-affiliated Al-Nusra Front, the American, who was identified by the name Abu Hurayra al-Amriki, carried out a suicide truck bombing in the Syrian town of Idlib.
 
The video, reported by the private terrorism watchdog SITE Intelligence Group, depicts a huge explosion as well as footage of a young, bearded man cradling a cat and identified as the attacker.
 
The bombing is thought to have taken place on Sunday. The New York Times report cited U.S. officials as saying they thought it was the first such suicide attack to have been carried out by an American.
 
Western powers have expressed concern that some of their citizens have traveled to fight in the civil war in Syria, some of them joining extremist groups that might one day seek to strike their home countries.
 
In February it was estimated that at least 50 U.S. citizens are fighting in Syria against Assad, and are liable to bring terrorism back to their home country once the war is over.
 
Other published statistics say that over 75,000 foreign nationals have been fighting in the Syrian civil war. While the majority are from Muslim countries, there are also Russians, Germans, Canadians and French citizens taking part in the fighting.

State Department Confirms U.S. Citizen Carried Out Syria Attack

Category: News
Created on Friday, 30 May 2014 20:56
A fighter from the Al Qaeda-aligned Nusra Front fires a mounted machine gun - ReutersThe United States confirmed on Friday that it believes an American citizen carried out a suicide bombing within Syria, AFP reported.
 
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki did not provide any details about the suspect, who had been identified in a New York Times report as a man in his 20s from Florida and of Middle Eastern descent.
 
"I can confirm that this individual was a U.S. citizen," Psaki said, adding that he was "involved in a suicide bombing inside Syria."
 
According to a video released by supporters of the rebel Al-Qaeda-affiliated Al-Nusra Front, the American, who was identified by the name Abu Hurayra al-Amriki, carried out a suicide truck bombing in the Syrian town of Idlib.
 
The video, reported by the private terrorism watchdog SITE Intelligence Group, depicts a huge explosion as well as footage of a young, bearded man cradling a cat and identified as the attacker.
 
The bombing is thought to have taken place on Sunday. The New York Times report cited U.S. officials as saying they thought it was the first such suicide attack to have been carried out by an American.
 
Western powers have expressed concern that some of their citizens have traveled to fight in the civil war in Syria, some of them joining extremist groups that might one day seek to strike their home countries.
 
In February it was estimated that at least 50 U.S. citizens are fighting in Syria against Assad, and are liable to bring terrorism back to their home country once the war is over.
 
Other published statistics say that over 75,000 foreign nationals have been fighting in the Syrian civil war. While the majority are from Muslim countries, there are also Russians, Germans, Canadians and French citizens taking part in the fighting.

American Citizen May Have Carried Out Syria Suicide Bombing

Category: News
Created on Thursday, 29 May 2014 11:43
american bomberAn American citizen carried out a suicide bombing in Syria on behalf of an Al-Qaeda-linked terrorist group on Sunday, the first time a U.S. citizen has carried out such an attack in the Syrian civil war, NBC News reported on Wednesday.
 
Law enforcement and counterterrorism officials who spoke to NBC on condition of anonymity, confirmed the suicide bombing and said they have identified the American. They declined to release his identity or hometown.
 
Word of the American’s death in the suicide bombing first surfaced Tuesday in tweets from the Al-Nusra Front, an Al-Qaeda-linked group fighting the government of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad.
 
The head of Al-Nusra Front has pledged allegiance to Al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri, and the group has been blacklisted as a terrorist organization by both the U.S. and the United Nations.
 
According to NBC, the tweets identified the bomber only by his Arabic nom de guerre, “Abu Hurayra al-Amriki,” (Abu Hurayra the American) and said he carried out one of four suicide bombings of Syrian government sites in Jabal al-Arbaa'in in Idlib Province, the scene of heavy fighting in recent weeks and months.
 
The tweet included an image of a young, bearded and smiling Caucasian man holding a cat, as well as images of the bombing it said he had carried out. Another tweet, this one in Arabic, included a photo showing the same light-skinned man sitting on the ground wearing what appeared to be a suicide vest.
 
Separately, a video circulating on jihadi forums showed what appears to be the same man loading artillery shells into a truck bomb and then the bomb exploding in the city.
 
Syrian rebel sources based in London told NBC News that other jihadi tweets suggest the American was of Palestinian Arab descent.
 
The incident is believed to be the first suicide bombing by a U.S. citizen in the Syrian civil war. Three Americans were confirmed to have carried suicide attacks in Somalia on behalf of another Al-Qaeda linked group, Al-Shabaab, between 2009 and 2011.
 
Foreign fighters entering Syria and fighting alongside the rebels has been a great concern for several countries.
 
In February it was estimated that at least 50 U.S. citizens are fighting in Syria against Assad, and are liable to bring terrorism back to their home country once the war is over.
 
Other published statistics say that over 75,000 foreign nationals have been fighting in the Syrian civil war. While the majority are from Muslim countries, there are also Russians, Germans, Canadians and French citizens taking part in the fighting.

American Citizen May Have Carried Out Syria Suicide Bombing

Category: News
Created on Thursday, 29 May 2014 11:43
american bomberAn American citizen carried out a suicide bombing in Syria on behalf of an Al-Qaeda-linked terrorist group on Sunday, the first time a U.S. citizen has carried out such an attack in the Syrian civil war, NBC News reported on Wednesday.
 
Law enforcement and counterterrorism officials who spoke to NBC on condition of anonymity, confirmed the suicide bombing and said they have identified the American. They declined to release his identity or hometown.
 
Word of the American’s death in the suicide bombing first surfaced Tuesday in tweets from the Al-Nusra Front, an Al-Qaeda-linked group fighting the government of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad.
 
The head of Al-Nusra Front has pledged allegiance to Al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri, and the group has been blacklisted as a terrorist organization by both the U.S. and the United Nations.
 
According to NBC, the tweets identified the bomber only by his Arabic nom de guerre, “Abu Hurayra al-Amriki,” (Abu Hurayra the American) and said he carried out one of four suicide bombings of Syrian government sites in Jabal al-Arbaa'in in Idlib Province, the scene of heavy fighting in recent weeks and months.
 
The tweet included an image of a young, bearded and smiling Caucasian man holding a cat, as well as images of the bombing it said he had carried out. Another tweet, this one in Arabic, included a photo showing the same light-skinned man sitting on the ground wearing what appeared to be a suicide vest.
 
Separately, a video circulating on jihadi forums showed what appears to be the same man loading artillery shells into a truck bomb and then the bomb exploding in the city.
 
Syrian rebel sources based in London told NBC News that other jihadi tweets suggest the American was of Palestinian Arab descent.
 
The incident is believed to be the first suicide bombing by a U.S. citizen in the Syrian civil war. Three Americans were confirmed to have carried suicide attacks in Somalia on behalf of another Al-Qaeda linked group, Al-Shabaab, between 2009 and 2011.
 
Foreign fighters entering Syria and fighting alongside the rebels has been a great concern for several countries.
 
In February it was estimated that at least 50 U.S. citizens are fighting in Syria against Assad, and are liable to bring terrorism back to their home country once the war is over.
 
Other published statistics say that over 75,000 foreign nationals have been fighting in the Syrian civil war. While the majority are from Muslim countries, there are also Russians, Germans, Canadians and French citizens taking part in the fighting.

American Citizen May Have Carried Out Syria Suicide Bombing

Category: News
Created on Thursday, 29 May 2014 11:43
american bomberAn American citizen carried out a suicide bombing in Syria on behalf of an Al-Qaeda-linked terrorist group on Sunday, the first time a U.S. citizen has carried out such an attack in the Syrian civil war, NBC News reported on Wednesday.
 
Law enforcement and counterterrorism officials who spoke to NBC on condition of anonymity, confirmed the suicide bombing and said they have identified the American. They declined to release his identity or hometown.
 
Word of the American’s death in the suicide bombing first surfaced Tuesday in tweets from the Al-Nusra Front, an Al-Qaeda-linked group fighting the government of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad.
 
The head of Al-Nusra Front has pledged allegiance to Al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri, and the group has been blacklisted as a terrorist organization by both the U.S. and the United Nations.
 
According to NBC, the tweets identified the bomber only by his Arabic nom de guerre, “Abu Hurayra al-Amriki,” (Abu Hurayra the American) and said he carried out one of four suicide bombings of Syrian government sites in Jabal al-Arbaa'in in Idlib Province, the scene of heavy fighting in recent weeks and months.
 
The tweet included an image of a young, bearded and smiling Caucasian man holding a cat, as well as images of the bombing it said he had carried out. Another tweet, this one in Arabic, included a photo showing the same light-skinned man sitting on the ground wearing what appeared to be a suicide vest.
 
Separately, a video circulating on jihadi forums showed what appears to be the same man loading artillery shells into a truck bomb and then the bomb exploding in the city.
 
Syrian rebel sources based in London told NBC News that other jihadi tweets suggest the American was of Palestinian Arab descent.
 
The incident is believed to be the first suicide bombing by a U.S. citizen in the Syrian civil war. Three Americans were confirmed to have carried suicide attacks in Somalia on behalf of another Al-Qaeda linked group, Al-Shabaab, between 2009 and 2011.
 
Foreign fighters entering Syria and fighting alongside the rebels has been a great concern for several countries.
 
In February it was estimated that at least 50 U.S. citizens are fighting in Syria against Assad, and are liable to bring terrorism back to their home country once the war is over.
 
Other published statistics say that over 75,000 foreign nationals have been fighting in the Syrian civil war. While the majority are from Muslim countries, there are also Russians, Germans, Canadians and French citizens taking part in the fighting.

American Citizen May Have Carried Out Syria Suicide Bombing

Category: News
Created on Thursday, 29 May 2014 11:43
american bomberAn American citizen carried out a suicide bombing in Syria on behalf of an Al-Qaeda-linked terrorist group on Sunday, the first time a U.S. citizen has carried out such an attack in the Syrian civil war, NBC News reported on Wednesday.
 
Law enforcement and counterterrorism officials who spoke to NBC on condition of anonymity, confirmed the suicide bombing and said they have identified the American. They declined to release his identity or hometown.
 
Word of the American’s death in the suicide bombing first surfaced Tuesday in tweets from the Al-Nusra Front, an Al-Qaeda-linked group fighting the government of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad.
 
The head of Al-Nusra Front has pledged allegiance to Al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri, and the group has been blacklisted as a terrorist organization by both the U.S. and the United Nations.
 
According to NBC, the tweets identified the bomber only by his Arabic nom de guerre, “Abu Hurayra al-Amriki,” (Abu Hurayra the American) and said he carried out one of four suicide bombings of Syrian government sites in Jabal al-Arbaa'in in Idlib Province, the scene of heavy fighting in recent weeks and months.
 
The tweet included an image of a young, bearded and smiling Caucasian man holding a cat, as well as images of the bombing it said he had carried out. Another tweet, this one in Arabic, included a photo showing the same light-skinned man sitting on the ground wearing what appeared to be a suicide vest.
 
Separately, a video circulating on jihadi forums showed what appears to be the same man loading artillery shells into a truck bomb and then the bomb exploding in the city.
 
Syrian rebel sources based in London told NBC News that other jihadi tweets suggest the American was of Palestinian Arab descent.
 
The incident is believed to be the first suicide bombing by a U.S. citizen in the Syrian civil war. Three Americans were confirmed to have carried suicide attacks in Somalia on behalf of another Al-Qaeda linked group, Al-Shabaab, between 2009 and 2011.
 
Foreign fighters entering Syria and fighting alongside the rebels has been a great concern for several countries.
 
In February it was estimated that at least 50 U.S. citizens are fighting in Syria against Assad, and are liable to bring terrorism back to their home country once the war is over.
 
Other published statistics say that over 75,000 foreign nationals have been fighting in the Syrian civil war. While the majority are from Muslim countries, there are also Russians, Germans, Canadians and French citizens taking part in the fighting.

Syria Death Toll Tops 160,000 and Counting

Category: News
Created on Wednesday, 21 May 2014 08:15
Muslim TerroristThe death toll in Syria’s three-year conflict has exceeded 160,000 and no end is in sight, an activist group said Monday, according to The Associated Press (AP).
 
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said it has documented 162,402 deaths since the uprising against President Bashar Al-Assad’s government began in March 2011.
 
The figure includes civilians, rebels and members of the Syrian military, the Observatory said.
 
It also includes militiamen, such as Lebanese Hezbollah members, who have been fighting alongside Assad’s forces, and foreign fighters battling with the rebels for Assad’s ouster, according to AP.
 
The Observatory remains the sole organization providing a reliable tally of Syria’s dead, after  the UN stopped updating its own tally of the Syrian dead, saying it can no longer verify the sources of information.
 
The Observatory bases its tally on information it gets from a network of activists on the ground in Syria. The figures are based on the names of those killed, collected by activists who document the dead in hospitals, morgues and identify them from video materials.
 
The updated tally comes a month and a half after the Observatory said that the death toll had topped 150,000.
 
As the civil war continues, Syria is preparing for a presidential election to take place in June.
 
Campaigning for the June 3 election began last week. Assad, who is competing for his third seven-year term, will face Hassan bin Abdullah al-Nouri, a 54-year-old lawmaker from Damascus, and 43-year-old Maher Abdul-Hafiz Hajjar, a lawmaker from the northern city of Aleppo.
 
Opposition activists and Western countries have condemned the elections as a sham as voting is expected to be held only in government-controlled territory.
 
Assad has dismissed the claims, saying, “The Syrian presidency... maintains an equal distance from all candidates in order that Syrians can choose their... president freely and transparently.”

Syria Death Toll Tops 160,000 and Counting

Category: News
Created on Wednesday, 21 May 2014 08:15
Muslim TerroristThe death toll in Syria’s three-year conflict has exceeded 160,000 and no end is in sight, an activist group said Monday, according to The Associated Press (AP).
 
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said it has documented 162,402 deaths since the uprising against President Bashar Al-Assad’s government began in March 2011.
 
The figure includes civilians, rebels and members of the Syrian military, the Observatory said.
 
It also includes militiamen, such as Lebanese Hezbollah members, who have been fighting alongside Assad’s forces, and foreign fighters battling with the rebels for Assad’s ouster, according to AP.
 
The Observatory remains the sole organization providing a reliable tally of Syria’s dead, after  the UN stopped updating its own tally of the Syrian dead, saying it can no longer verify the sources of information.
 
The Observatory bases its tally on information it gets from a network of activists on the ground in Syria. The figures are based on the names of those killed, collected by activists who document the dead in hospitals, morgues and identify them from video materials.
 
The updated tally comes a month and a half after the Observatory said that the death toll had topped 150,000.
 
As the civil war continues, Syria is preparing for a presidential election to take place in June.
 
Campaigning for the June 3 election began last week. Assad, who is competing for his third seven-year term, will face Hassan bin Abdullah al-Nouri, a 54-year-old lawmaker from Damascus, and 43-year-old Maher Abdul-Hafiz Hajjar, a lawmaker from the northern city of Aleppo.
 
Opposition activists and Western countries have condemned the elections as a sham as voting is expected to be held only in government-controlled territory.
 
Assad has dismissed the claims, saying, “The Syrian presidency... maintains an equal distance from all candidates in order that Syrians can choose their... president freely and transparently.”

Syria Death Toll Tops 160,000 and Counting

Category: News
Created on Wednesday, 21 May 2014 08:15
Muslim TerroristThe death toll in Syria’s three-year conflict has exceeded 160,000 and no end is in sight, an activist group said Monday, according to The Associated Press (AP).
 
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said it has documented 162,402 deaths since the uprising against President Bashar Al-Assad’s government began in March 2011.
 
The figure includes civilians, rebels and members of the Syrian military, the Observatory said.
 
It also includes militiamen, such as Lebanese Hezbollah members, who have been fighting alongside Assad’s forces, and foreign fighters battling with the rebels for Assad’s ouster, according to AP.
 
The Observatory remains the sole organization providing a reliable tally of Syria’s dead, after  the UN stopped updating its own tally of the Syrian dead, saying it can no longer verify the sources of information.
 
The Observatory bases its tally on information it gets from a network of activists on the ground in Syria. The figures are based on the names of those killed, collected by activists who document the dead in hospitals, morgues and identify them from video materials.
 
The updated tally comes a month and a half after the Observatory said that the death toll had topped 150,000.
 
As the civil war continues, Syria is preparing for a presidential election to take place in June.
 
Campaigning for the June 3 election began last week. Assad, who is competing for his third seven-year term, will face Hassan bin Abdullah al-Nouri, a 54-year-old lawmaker from Damascus, and 43-year-old Maher Abdul-Hafiz Hajjar, a lawmaker from the northern city of Aleppo.
 
Opposition activists and Western countries have condemned the elections as a sham as voting is expected to be held only in government-controlled territory.
 
Assad has dismissed the claims, saying, “The Syrian presidency... maintains an equal distance from all candidates in order that Syrians can choose their... president freely and transparently.”

Syria Death Toll Tops 160,000 and Counting

Category: News
Created on Wednesday, 21 May 2014 08:15
Muslim TerroristThe death toll in Syria’s three-year conflict has exceeded 160,000 and no end is in sight, an activist group said Monday, according to The Associated Press (AP).
 
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said it has documented 162,402 deaths since the uprising against President Bashar Al-Assad’s government began in March 2011.
 
The figure includes civilians, rebels and members of the Syrian military, the Observatory said.
 
It also includes militiamen, such as Lebanese Hezbollah members, who have been fighting alongside Assad’s forces, and foreign fighters battling with the rebels for Assad’s ouster, according to AP.
 
The Observatory remains the sole organization providing a reliable tally of Syria’s dead, after  the UN stopped updating its own tally of the Syrian dead, saying it can no longer verify the sources of information.
 
The Observatory bases its tally on information it gets from a network of activists on the ground in Syria. The figures are based on the names of those killed, collected by activists who document the dead in hospitals, morgues and identify them from video materials.
 
The updated tally comes a month and a half after the Observatory said that the death toll had topped 150,000.
 
As the civil war continues, Syria is preparing for a presidential election to take place in June.
 
Campaigning for the June 3 election began last week. Assad, who is competing for his third seven-year term, will face Hassan bin Abdullah al-Nouri, a 54-year-old lawmaker from Damascus, and 43-year-old Maher Abdul-Hafiz Hajjar, a lawmaker from the northern city of Aleppo.
 
Opposition activists and Western countries have condemned the elections as a sham as voting is expected to be held only in government-controlled territory.
 
Assad has dismissed the claims, saying, “The Syrian presidency... maintains an equal distance from all candidates in order that Syrians can choose their... president freely and transparently.”

Huge Tunnel Bomb Kills 30 in Syria

Category: Media
Created on Thursday, 08 May 2014 07:22
40 tons of explosives killed at least 30 Syrian troopsSyrian insurgents attacked a regime checkpoint with 40 tons of explosives on Monday, killing at least 30 Syrian troops, including two officers.
 
{youtube}EX6BdJz0Ahg{/youtube}
 
Videos and images posted by opposition supporters online showed an enormous plume of smoke and earth shooting into the air near a small town as men shouted "Allahu akbar".
 
Rebels fighting to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad regularly carry out guerrilla attacks against his forces, but the size of the blast, which occurred on Monday, was unusual.
 
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the blast took place outside the town of Ma'arat al-Nu'man in the northwestern Idlib province.
 
To carry out the detonation, 60 fighters dug a 300-meter (325-yard) tunnel, over 50 days, under the Sahaba checkpoint in Wadi al-Deif. Four buildings were destroyed, reported EA Worldview.
 
The operation was carried out by three brigades from the Islamic Front and fighters from the Shields of the Revolution Council, which is linked to the Free Syrian Army.
 
Tunnel bombs by insurgents have destroyed a series of regime positions over the past year, notably in Aleppo. Sources claims that the Syrian military in Aleppo and some areas of Damascus is digging up streets and drilling wells to counter the tactic.

Huge Tunnel Bomb Kills 30 in Syria

Category: Media
Created on Thursday, 08 May 2014 07:22
40 tons of explosives killed at least 30 Syrian troopsSyrian insurgents attacked a regime checkpoint with 40 tons of explosives on Monday, killing at least 30 Syrian troops, including two officers.
 
{youtube}EX6BdJz0Ahg{/youtube}
 
Videos and images posted by opposition supporters online showed an enormous plume of smoke and earth shooting into the air near a small town as men shouted "Allahu akbar".
 
Rebels fighting to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad regularly carry out guerrilla attacks against his forces, but the size of the blast, which occurred on Monday, was unusual.
 
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the blast took place outside the town of Ma'arat al-Nu'man in the northwestern Idlib province.
 
To carry out the detonation, 60 fighters dug a 300-meter (325-yard) tunnel, over 50 days, under the Sahaba checkpoint in Wadi al-Deif. Four buildings were destroyed, reported EA Worldview.
 
The operation was carried out by three brigades from the Islamic Front and fighters from the Shields of the Revolution Council, which is linked to the Free Syrian Army.
 
Tunnel bombs by insurgents have destroyed a series of regime positions over the past year, notably in Aleppo. Sources claims that the Syrian military in Aleppo and some areas of Damascus is digging up streets and drilling wells to counter the tactic.

Huge Tunnel Bomb Kills 30 in Syria

Category: Media
Created on Thursday, 08 May 2014 07:22
40 tons of explosives killed at least 30 Syrian troopsSyrian insurgents attacked a regime checkpoint with 40 tons of explosives on Monday, killing at least 30 Syrian troops, including two officers.
 
{youtube}EX6BdJz0Ahg{/youtube}
 
Videos and images posted by opposition supporters online showed an enormous plume of smoke and earth shooting into the air near a small town as men shouted "Allahu akbar".
 
Rebels fighting to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad regularly carry out guerrilla attacks against his forces, but the size of the blast, which occurred on Monday, was unusual.
 
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the blast took place outside the town of Ma'arat al-Nu'man in the northwestern Idlib province.
 
To carry out the detonation, 60 fighters dug a 300-meter (325-yard) tunnel, over 50 days, under the Sahaba checkpoint in Wadi al-Deif. Four buildings were destroyed, reported EA Worldview.
 
The operation was carried out by three brigades from the Islamic Front and fighters from the Shields of the Revolution Council, which is linked to the Free Syrian Army.
 
Tunnel bombs by insurgents have destroyed a series of regime positions over the past year, notably in Aleppo. Sources claims that the Syrian military in Aleppo and some areas of Damascus is digging up streets and drilling wells to counter the tactic.

Huge Tunnel Bomb Kills 30 in Syria

Category: Media
Created on Thursday, 08 May 2014 07:22
40 tons of explosives killed at least 30 Syrian troopsSyrian insurgents attacked a regime checkpoint with 40 tons of explosives on Monday, killing at least 30 Syrian troops, including two officers.
 
{youtube}EX6BdJz0Ahg{/youtube}
 
Videos and images posted by opposition supporters online showed an enormous plume of smoke and earth shooting into the air near a small town as men shouted "Allahu akbar".
 
Rebels fighting to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad regularly carry out guerrilla attacks against his forces, but the size of the blast, which occurred on Monday, was unusual.
 
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the blast took place outside the town of Ma'arat al-Nu'man in the northwestern Idlib province.
 
To carry out the detonation, 60 fighters dug a 300-meter (325-yard) tunnel, over 50 days, under the Sahaba checkpoint in Wadi al-Deif. Four buildings were destroyed, reported EA Worldview.
 
The operation was carried out by three brigades from the Islamic Front and fighters from the Shields of the Revolution Council, which is linked to the Free Syrian Army.
 
Tunnel bombs by insurgents have destroyed a series of regime positions over the past year, notably in Aleppo. Sources claims that the Syrian military in Aleppo and some areas of Damascus is digging up streets and drilling wells to counter the tactic.

Clashes Erupt Between Jordan, Syria

Category: News
Created on Thursday, 24 April 2014 08:02
Syrian tank file -ReutersJordanian air forces destroyed a number of armored vehicles on Wednesday as they crossed the border from war-torn Syria, increasing fears of the sectarian conflict spilling into new territory after more than three years of civil war. 
 
"Royal air force jets fighters today at 10:30 am (0730 GMT) destroyed a number of vehicles that attempted to cross into Jordan from Syria," the Jordanian army said, noting the vehicles had been warned before the attack. 
 
"The camouflaged vehicles tried to enter from an area with rugged terrain.The fighter jets fired warning shots, but they were ignored, promoting them to destroy the vehicles," it continued. "The army will not tolerate such actions." 
 
A military official told AFP that the rogue Syrian vehicles were "three-wheeled vehicles which tried to enter the kingdom" near Ruwaished, in northern Jordan.
 
According to Al-Arabiya, this is not the first border-related clash between Jordan and Syria. Over the past several months, Jordan's border guards arrested several refugees fleeing the war-torn country and seeking new life in the Hashemite kingdom.
 
Damascus, meanwhile, frequently accuses Jordan of assisting rebel forces - which Amman denies.

Clashes Erupt Between Jordan, Syria

Category: News
Created on Thursday, 24 April 2014 08:02
Syrian tank file -ReutersJordanian air forces destroyed a number of armored vehicles on Wednesday as they crossed the border from war-torn Syria, increasing fears of the sectarian conflict spilling into new territory after more than three years of civil war. 
 
"Royal air force jets fighters today at 10:30 am (0730 GMT) destroyed a number of vehicles that attempted to cross into Jordan from Syria," the Jordanian army said, noting the vehicles had been warned before the attack. 
 
"The camouflaged vehicles tried to enter from an area with rugged terrain.The fighter jets fired warning shots, but they were ignored, promoting them to destroy the vehicles," it continued. "The army will not tolerate such actions." 
 
A military official told AFP that the rogue Syrian vehicles were "three-wheeled vehicles which tried to enter the kingdom" near Ruwaished, in northern Jordan.
 
According to Al-Arabiya, this is not the first border-related clash between Jordan and Syria. Over the past several months, Jordan's border guards arrested several refugees fleeing the war-torn country and seeking new life in the Hashemite kingdom.
 
Damascus, meanwhile, frequently accuses Jordan of assisting rebel forces - which Amman denies.

Clashes Erupt Between Jordan, Syria

Category: News
Created on Thursday, 24 April 2014 08:02
Syrian tank file -ReutersJordanian air forces destroyed a number of armored vehicles on Wednesday as they crossed the border from war-torn Syria, increasing fears of the sectarian conflict spilling into new territory after more than three years of civil war. 
 
"Royal air force jets fighters today at 10:30 am (0730 GMT) destroyed a number of vehicles that attempted to cross into Jordan from Syria," the Jordanian army said, noting the vehicles had been warned before the attack. 
 
"The camouflaged vehicles tried to enter from an area with rugged terrain.The fighter jets fired warning shots, but they were ignored, promoting them to destroy the vehicles," it continued. "The army will not tolerate such actions." 
 
A military official told AFP that the rogue Syrian vehicles were "three-wheeled vehicles which tried to enter the kingdom" near Ruwaished, in northern Jordan.
 
According to Al-Arabiya, this is not the first border-related clash between Jordan and Syria. Over the past several months, Jordan's border guards arrested several refugees fleeing the war-torn country and seeking new life in the Hashemite kingdom.
 
Damascus, meanwhile, frequently accuses Jordan of assisting rebel forces - which Amman denies.

Clashes Erupt Between Jordan, Syria

Category: News
Created on Thursday, 24 April 2014 08:02
Syrian tank file -ReutersJordanian air forces destroyed a number of armored vehicles on Wednesday as they crossed the border from war-torn Syria, increasing fears of the sectarian conflict spilling into new territory after more than three years of civil war. 
 
"Royal air force jets fighters today at 10:30 am (0730 GMT) destroyed a number of vehicles that attempted to cross into Jordan from Syria," the Jordanian army said, noting the vehicles had been warned before the attack. 
 
"The camouflaged vehicles tried to enter from an area with rugged terrain.The fighter jets fired warning shots, but they were ignored, promoting them to destroy the vehicles," it continued. "The army will not tolerate such actions." 
 
A military official told AFP that the rogue Syrian vehicles were "three-wheeled vehicles which tried to enter the kingdom" near Ruwaished, in northern Jordan.
 
According to Al-Arabiya, this is not the first border-related clash between Jordan and Syria. Over the past several months, Jordan's border guards arrested several refugees fleeing the war-torn country and seeking new life in the Hashemite kingdom.
 
Damascus, meanwhile, frequently accuses Jordan of assisting rebel forces - which Amman denies.

Obama May Provide Syrian Rebels with Manpads

Category: News
Created on Sunday, 30 March 2014 17:09
Moderate Syrian RebelsThe Obama administration is considering allowing shipments of new air defense systems to Syrian rebels, a U.S. official said Friday, according to The Associated Press (AP).
 
President Barack Obama’s possible shift would likely be welcomed by Saudi Arabia, which has been pressing the White House to allow the man-portable air-defense systems, known as “manpads,” into Syria.
 
Obama arrived in Saudi Arabia on Friday for meetings with King Abdullah.
 
Allowing manpads to be delivered to Syrian rebels would mark a shift in strategy for the U.S., which until this point has limited its lethal assistance to small weapons and ammunition, as well as humanitarian aid.
 
The U.S. has been grappling for ways to boost the rebels, who have lost ground in recent months, allowing Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad to regain a tighter grip on the war-torn nation.
 
A report in January said that the U.S. had been supplying “moderate” rebel groups with light arms and that Congress had approved funding for months of further deliveries.
 
There has been pressure to arm the Syrian rebels for quite some time, particularly since the U.S. government confirmed that the Syrian army used chemical weapons against rebel forces on multiple occasions, thus violating the “red line” set by President Obama.
 
However, lawmakers were concerned that weapons could reach factions like the Al-Nusra Front, which has pledged allegiance to Al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri.
 
Islamist rebel factions such as Al-Nusra and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS)  have performed atrocities during the ongoing civil war, including publicly beheading those accused of collaborating with the Assad regime, and even executing members of rival rebel groups.
 
According to Friday’s AP report, if Obama does indeed decide to supply rebels with manpads, the actual manpad shipments could come from the Saudis, who have so far held off sending in the equipment because of U.S. opposition.
 
The president is not expected to announce a final decision on the matter during his overnight trip to the Gulf kingdom, according to the report. U.S. and Saudi intelligence officials have been discussing the possibility of injecting manpads into the crisis for some time, including during a meeting in Washington earlier this year.
 
Rebels said back in June of 2013 they had received Russian-made “Konkurs” anti-tank missiles supplied by Saudi Arabia. Other reports said that the Central Intelligence Agency had begun moving weapons to Jordan from a network of secret warehouses and plans to start arming small groups of vetted Syrian rebels within a month.
 
Earlier this week, Syria's opposition called for "sophisticated" arms at an Arab summit in Kuwait. At the same summit, Saudi Arabia stressed the need for a change in military balance to "end the impasse".
 
The Syrian rebels recently suffered a series of setbacks, particularly after Assad’s troops captured the key town of Yabroud on the Lebanese border from rebel groups.
 
The more moderate rebel groups have also been dealing with attacks from the jihadist rebel groups, who consider fighting the moderates “more important than fighting Jews and Christians

Obama May Provide Syrian Rebels with Manpads

Category: News
Created on Sunday, 30 March 2014 17:09
Moderate Syrian RebelsThe Obama administration is considering allowing shipments of new air defense systems to Syrian rebels, a U.S. official said Friday, according to The Associated Press (AP).
 
President Barack Obama’s possible shift would likely be welcomed by Saudi Arabia, which has been pressing the White House to allow the man-portable air-defense systems, known as “manpads,” into Syria.
 
Obama arrived in Saudi Arabia on Friday for meetings with King Abdullah.
 
Allowing manpads to be delivered to Syrian rebels would mark a shift in strategy for the U.S., which until this point has limited its lethal assistance to small weapons and ammunition, as well as humanitarian aid.
 
The U.S. has been grappling for ways to boost the rebels, who have lost ground in recent months, allowing Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad to regain a tighter grip on the war-torn nation.
 
A report in January said that the U.S. had been supplying “moderate” rebel groups with light arms and that Congress had approved funding for months of further deliveries.
 
There has been pressure to arm the Syrian rebels for quite some time, particularly since the U.S. government confirmed that the Syrian army used chemical weapons against rebel forces on multiple occasions, thus violating the “red line” set by President Obama.
 
However, lawmakers were concerned that weapons could reach factions like the Al-Nusra Front, which has pledged allegiance to Al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri.
 
Islamist rebel factions such as Al-Nusra and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS)  have performed atrocities during the ongoing civil war, including publicly beheading those accused of collaborating with the Assad regime, and even executing members of rival rebel groups.
 
According to Friday’s AP report, if Obama does indeed decide to supply rebels with manpads, the actual manpad shipments could come from the Saudis, who have so far held off sending in the equipment because of U.S. opposition.
 
The president is not expected to announce a final decision on the matter during his overnight trip to the Gulf kingdom, according to the report. U.S. and Saudi intelligence officials have been discussing the possibility of injecting manpads into the crisis for some time, including during a meeting in Washington earlier this year.
 
Rebels said back in June of 2013 they had received Russian-made “Konkurs” anti-tank missiles supplied by Saudi Arabia. Other reports said that the Central Intelligence Agency had begun moving weapons to Jordan from a network of secret warehouses and plans to start arming small groups of vetted Syrian rebels within a month.
 
Earlier this week, Syria's opposition called for "sophisticated" arms at an Arab summit in Kuwait. At the same summit, Saudi Arabia stressed the need for a change in military balance to "end the impasse".
 
The Syrian rebels recently suffered a series of setbacks, particularly after Assad’s troops captured the key town of Yabroud on the Lebanese border from rebel groups.
 
The more moderate rebel groups have also been dealing with attacks from the jihadist rebel groups, who consider fighting the moderates “more important than fighting Jews and Christians

Obama May Provide Syrian Rebels with Manpads

Category: News
Created on Sunday, 30 March 2014 17:09
Moderate Syrian RebelsThe Obama administration is considering allowing shipments of new air defense systems to Syrian rebels, a U.S. official said Friday, according to The Associated Press (AP).
 
President Barack Obama’s possible shift would likely be welcomed by Saudi Arabia, which has been pressing the White House to allow the man-portable air-defense systems, known as “manpads,” into Syria.
 
Obama arrived in Saudi Arabia on Friday for meetings with King Abdullah.
 
Allowing manpads to be delivered to Syrian rebels would mark a shift in strategy for the U.S., which until this point has limited its lethal assistance to small weapons and ammunition, as well as humanitarian aid.
 
The U.S. has been grappling for ways to boost the rebels, who have lost ground in recent months, allowing Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad to regain a tighter grip on the war-torn nation.
 
A report in January said that the U.S. had been supplying “moderate” rebel groups with light arms and that Congress had approved funding for months of further deliveries.
 
There has been pressure to arm the Syrian rebels for quite some time, particularly since the U.S. government confirmed that the Syrian army used chemical weapons against rebel forces on multiple occasions, thus violating the “red line” set by President Obama.
 
However, lawmakers were concerned that weapons could reach factions like the Al-Nusra Front, which has pledged allegiance to Al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri.
 
Islamist rebel factions such as Al-Nusra and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS)  have performed atrocities during the ongoing civil war, including publicly beheading those accused of collaborating with the Assad regime, and even executing members of rival rebel groups.
 
According to Friday’s AP report, if Obama does indeed decide to supply rebels with manpads, the actual manpad shipments could come from the Saudis, who have so far held off sending in the equipment because of U.S. opposition.
 
The president is not expected to announce a final decision on the matter during his overnight trip to the Gulf kingdom, according to the report. U.S. and Saudi intelligence officials have been discussing the possibility of injecting manpads into the crisis for some time, including during a meeting in Washington earlier this year.
 
Rebels said back in June of 2013 they had received Russian-made “Konkurs” anti-tank missiles supplied by Saudi Arabia. Other reports said that the Central Intelligence Agency had begun moving weapons to Jordan from a network of secret warehouses and plans to start arming small groups of vetted Syrian rebels within a month.
 
Earlier this week, Syria's opposition called for "sophisticated" arms at an Arab summit in Kuwait. At the same summit, Saudi Arabia stressed the need for a change in military balance to "end the impasse".
 
The Syrian rebels recently suffered a series of setbacks, particularly after Assad’s troops captured the key town of Yabroud on the Lebanese border from rebel groups.
 
The more moderate rebel groups have also been dealing with attacks from the jihadist rebel groups, who consider fighting the moderates “more important than fighting Jews and Christians

Obama May Provide Syrian Rebels with Manpads

Category: News
Created on Sunday, 30 March 2014 17:09
Moderate Syrian RebelsThe Obama administration is considering allowing shipments of new air defense systems to Syrian rebels, a U.S. official said Friday, according to The Associated Press (AP).
 
President Barack Obama’s possible shift would likely be welcomed by Saudi Arabia, which has been pressing the White House to allow the man-portable air-defense systems, known as “manpads,” into Syria.
 
Obama arrived in Saudi Arabia on Friday for meetings with King Abdullah.
 
Allowing manpads to be delivered to Syrian rebels would mark a shift in strategy for the U.S., which until this point has limited its lethal assistance to small weapons and ammunition, as well as humanitarian aid.
 
The U.S. has been grappling for ways to boost the rebels, who have lost ground in recent months, allowing Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad to regain a tighter grip on the war-torn nation.
 
A report in January said that the U.S. had been supplying “moderate” rebel groups with light arms and that Congress had approved funding for months of further deliveries.
 
There has been pressure to arm the Syrian rebels for quite some time, particularly since the U.S. government confirmed that the Syrian army used chemical weapons against rebel forces on multiple occasions, thus violating the “red line” set by President Obama.
 
However, lawmakers were concerned that weapons could reach factions like the Al-Nusra Front, which has pledged allegiance to Al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri.
 
Islamist rebel factions such as Al-Nusra and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS)  have performed atrocities during the ongoing civil war, including publicly beheading those accused of collaborating with the Assad regime, and even executing members of rival rebel groups.
 
According to Friday’s AP report, if Obama does indeed decide to supply rebels with manpads, the actual manpad shipments could come from the Saudis, who have so far held off sending in the equipment because of U.S. opposition.
 
The president is not expected to announce a final decision on the matter during his overnight trip to the Gulf kingdom, according to the report. U.S. and Saudi intelligence officials have been discussing the possibility of injecting manpads into the crisis for some time, including during a meeting in Washington earlier this year.
 
Rebels said back in June of 2013 they had received Russian-made “Konkurs” anti-tank missiles supplied by Saudi Arabia. Other reports said that the Central Intelligence Agency had begun moving weapons to Jordan from a network of secret warehouses and plans to start arming small groups of vetted Syrian rebels within a month.
 
Earlier this week, Syria's opposition called for "sophisticated" arms at an Arab summit in Kuwait. At the same summit, Saudi Arabia stressed the need for a change in military balance to "end the impasse".
 
The Syrian rebels recently suffered a series of setbacks, particularly after Assad’s troops captured the key town of Yabroud on the Lebanese border from rebel groups.
 
The more moderate rebel groups have also been dealing with attacks from the jihadist rebel groups, who consider fighting the moderates “more important than fighting Jews and Christians

IDF Eliminates Terrorists Near Syrian Border

Category: Press Releases
Created on Friday, 28 March 2014 20:08
Israel-Syria border archive - ReutersIDF soldiers were able to prevent two terrorists from infiltrating into Israel in the Golan Heights, near the border with Syria, on Friday night.
 
According to the IDF, the soldiers identified two suspects tampering with the security fence along the border. It is believed they also tried to place an explosive device. The troops open fired, hitting the two terrorists.
 
"The IDF will continue to protect the border and prevent attacks,” said the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit in a statement quoted by Channel 2 News.
 
Friday’s incident comes only one day after the IDF Northern Command announced that it was changing its orders regarding opening fire in areas along the Golan border fence. Anyone from the Syrian side who comes near the fence should expect to be shot, the IDF said.
 
Previously, soldiers would fire in the air to warn off and ward off suspicious figures. As per the new orders, soldiers will immediately open fire in the direction of suspicious looking characters.
 
There have been heightened tensions along the Israel-Syria border in recent weeks. Last week, an explosive device went off on the Golan Heights, as an IDF jeep was passing by.
 
Three soldiers were wounded in the attack and were taken to the Rambam Hospital in Haifa. One of them sustained serious injuries in the explosion.
 
The Israel Air Force (IAF) retaliated several hours later, striking several targets on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights which had aided and abetted the attack against the soldiers.
 
Two weeks ago, also on a Friday night, an explosive device went off as IDF soldiers patrolled near the Lebanese border. No one was injured in that incident, although three soldiers were treated for shock at Ziv Hospital in Tzfat.
 
The following day, Saturday, IDF soldiers identified several individuals approaching the border in a suspected attempt to set another explosive. The soldiers fired on the suspects, who fled.

IDF Eliminates Terrorists Near Syrian Border

Category: Press Releases
Created on Friday, 28 March 2014 20:08
Israel-Syria border archive - ReutersIDF soldiers were able to prevent two terrorists from infiltrating into Israel in the Golan Heights, near the border with Syria, on Friday night.
 
According to the IDF, the soldiers identified two suspects tampering with the security fence along the border. It is believed they also tried to place an explosive device. The troops open fired, hitting the two terrorists.
 
"The IDF will continue to protect the border and prevent attacks,” said the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit in a statement quoted by Channel 2 News.
 
Friday’s incident comes only one day after the IDF Northern Command announced that it was changing its orders regarding opening fire in areas along the Golan border fence. Anyone from the Syrian side who comes near the fence should expect to be shot, the IDF said.
 
Previously, soldiers would fire in the air to warn off and ward off suspicious figures. As per the new orders, soldiers will immediately open fire in the direction of suspicious looking characters.
 
There have been heightened tensions along the Israel-Syria border in recent weeks. Last week, an explosive device went off on the Golan Heights, as an IDF jeep was passing by.
 
Three soldiers were wounded in the attack and were taken to the Rambam Hospital in Haifa. One of them sustained serious injuries in the explosion.
 
The Israel Air Force (IAF) retaliated several hours later, striking several targets on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights which had aided and abetted the attack against the soldiers.
 
Two weeks ago, also on a Friday night, an explosive device went off as IDF soldiers patrolled near the Lebanese border. No one was injured in that incident, although three soldiers were treated for shock at Ziv Hospital in Tzfat.
 
The following day, Saturday, IDF soldiers identified several individuals approaching the border in a suspected attempt to set another explosive. The soldiers fired on the suspects, who fled.

IDF Eliminates Terrorists Near Syrian Border

Category: Press Releases
Created on Friday, 28 March 2014 20:08
Israel-Syria border archive - ReutersIDF soldiers were able to prevent two terrorists from infiltrating into Israel in the Golan Heights, near the border with Syria, on Friday night.
 
According to the IDF, the soldiers identified two suspects tampering with the security fence along the border. It is believed they also tried to place an explosive device. The troops open fired, hitting the two terrorists.
 
"The IDF will continue to protect the border and prevent attacks,” said the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit in a statement quoted by Channel 2 News.
 
Friday’s incident comes only one day after the IDF Northern Command announced that it was changing its orders regarding opening fire in areas along the Golan border fence. Anyone from the Syrian side who comes near the fence should expect to be shot, the IDF said.
 
Previously, soldiers would fire in the air to warn off and ward off suspicious figures. As per the new orders, soldiers will immediately open fire in the direction of suspicious looking characters.
 
There have been heightened tensions along the Israel-Syria border in recent weeks. Last week, an explosive device went off on the Golan Heights, as an IDF jeep was passing by.
 
Three soldiers were wounded in the attack and were taken to the Rambam Hospital in Haifa. One of them sustained serious injuries in the explosion.
 
The Israel Air Force (IAF) retaliated several hours later, striking several targets on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights which had aided and abetted the attack against the soldiers.
 
Two weeks ago, also on a Friday night, an explosive device went off as IDF soldiers patrolled near the Lebanese border. No one was injured in that incident, although three soldiers were treated for shock at Ziv Hospital in Tzfat.
 
The following day, Saturday, IDF soldiers identified several individuals approaching the border in a suspected attempt to set another explosive. The soldiers fired on the suspects, who fled.

IDF Eliminates Terrorists Near Syrian Border

Category: Press Releases
Created on Friday, 28 March 2014 20:08
Israel-Syria border archive - ReutersIDF soldiers were able to prevent two terrorists from infiltrating into Israel in the Golan Heights, near the border with Syria, on Friday night.
 
According to the IDF, the soldiers identified two suspects tampering with the security fence along the border. It is believed they also tried to place an explosive device. The troops open fired, hitting the two terrorists.
 
"The IDF will continue to protect the border and prevent attacks,” said the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit in a statement quoted by Channel 2 News.
 
Friday’s incident comes only one day after the IDF Northern Command announced that it was changing its orders regarding opening fire in areas along the Golan border fence. Anyone from the Syrian side who comes near the fence should expect to be shot, the IDF said.
 
Previously, soldiers would fire in the air to warn off and ward off suspicious figures. As per the new orders, soldiers will immediately open fire in the direction of suspicious looking characters.
 
There have been heightened tensions along the Israel-Syria border in recent weeks. Last week, an explosive device went off on the Golan Heights, as an IDF jeep was passing by.
 
Three soldiers were wounded in the attack and were taken to the Rambam Hospital in Haifa. One of them sustained serious injuries in the explosion.
 
The Israel Air Force (IAF) retaliated several hours later, striking several targets on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights which had aided and abetted the attack against the soldiers.
 
Two weeks ago, also on a Friday night, an explosive device went off as IDF soldiers patrolled near the Lebanese border. No one was injured in that incident, although three soldiers were treated for shock at Ziv Hospital in Tzfat.
 
The following day, Saturday, IDF soldiers identified several individuals approaching the border in a suspected attempt to set another explosive. The soldiers fired on the suspects, who fled.

Hezbollah Suffers Severe Losses in Syria

Category: News
Created on Saturday, 15 March 2014 22:15
HezbollahfuneralThe Lebanese-based terror group Hezbollah has been active in Syria, fighting on the side of President Bashar Assad. However, that support, which was reportedly forced on Hezbollah by its backer Iran, has come with heavy costs for the terror organization.
 
Over the last several weeks, the fighting for the rebel-held town of Yabroud has left over 120 Hezbollah fighters dead, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
 
The Lebanese Daily Star quotes a Hezbollah source saying a total of 500 Hezbollah fighters have died since the group joined the Syrian war, noting that the Yabroud battle marks a drastic increase in losses.
 
Yabroud is located in an important strategic area, as it is the last town giving rebels access to supply lines in Lebanon. The town is in the Qalamoun Mountains, a crucial point of conflict given as it is held by the rebels and is a corridor to the Lebanese town of Arsal.
 
Hezbollah second-in-command Sheikh Naim Qassem in February highlighted the religious sectarianism fueling his group's involvement in Syria, when he attacked Syrian rebels as "takfiris" - a derogatory word for Sunni Muslim extremists.
 
Qassem further pledged his group's ongoing military involvement, signifying that despite the heavy losses the terror organization is likely to continue its military presence in Syria.
 
On another front, two weeks ago Hezbollah threatened revenge against Israel after a transfer of missiles from Syria was destroyed in an air strike. In the threat, Hezbollah warned it would strike at "the appropriate time, place and means."
 
The missiles, destroyed in the strike near the Syrian-Lebanese border, reportedly could carry warheads heavier and more dangerous than almost all of Hezbollah's current massive arsenal.

Hezbollah Suffers Severe Losses in Syria

Category: News
Created on Saturday, 15 March 2014 22:15
HezbollahfuneralThe Lebanese-based terror group Hezbollah has been active in Syria, fighting on the side of President Bashar Assad. However, that support, which was reportedly forced on Hezbollah by its backer Iran, has come with heavy costs for the terror organization.
 
Over the last several weeks, the fighting for the rebel-held town of Yabroud has left over 120 Hezbollah fighters dead, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
 
The Lebanese Daily Star quotes a Hezbollah source saying a total of 500 Hezbollah fighters have died since the group joined the Syrian war, noting that the Yabroud battle marks a drastic increase in losses.
 
Yabroud is located in an important strategic area, as it is the last town giving rebels access to supply lines in Lebanon. The town is in the Qalamoun Mountains, a crucial point of conflict given as it is held by the rebels and is a corridor to the Lebanese town of Arsal.
 
Hezbollah second-in-command Sheikh Naim Qassem in February highlighted the religious sectarianism fueling his group's involvement in Syria, when he attacked Syrian rebels as "takfiris" - a derogatory word for Sunni Muslim extremists.
 
Qassem further pledged his group's ongoing military involvement, signifying that despite the heavy losses the terror organization is likely to continue its military presence in Syria.
 
On another front, two weeks ago Hezbollah threatened revenge against Israel after a transfer of missiles from Syria was destroyed in an air strike. In the threat, Hezbollah warned it would strike at "the appropriate time, place and means."
 
The missiles, destroyed in the strike near the Syrian-Lebanese border, reportedly could carry warheads heavier and more dangerous than almost all of Hezbollah's current massive arsenal.

Hezbollah Suffers Severe Losses in Syria

Category: News
Created on Saturday, 15 March 2014 22:15
HezbollahfuneralThe Lebanese-based terror group Hezbollah has been active in Syria, fighting on the side of President Bashar Assad. However, that support, which was reportedly forced on Hezbollah by its backer Iran, has come with heavy costs for the terror organization.
 
Over the last several weeks, the fighting for the rebel-held town of Yabroud has left over 120 Hezbollah fighters dead, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
 
The Lebanese Daily Star quotes a Hezbollah source saying a total of 500 Hezbollah fighters have died since the group joined the Syrian war, noting that the Yabroud battle marks a drastic increase in losses.
 
Yabroud is located in an important strategic area, as it is the last town giving rebels access to supply lines in Lebanon. The town is in the Qalamoun Mountains, a crucial point of conflict given as it is held by the rebels and is a corridor to the Lebanese town of Arsal.
 
Hezbollah second-in-command Sheikh Naim Qassem in February highlighted the religious sectarianism fueling his group's involvement in Syria, when he attacked Syrian rebels as "takfiris" - a derogatory word for Sunni Muslim extremists.
 
Qassem further pledged his group's ongoing military involvement, signifying that despite the heavy losses the terror organization is likely to continue its military presence in Syria.
 
On another front, two weeks ago Hezbollah threatened revenge against Israel after a transfer of missiles from Syria was destroyed in an air strike. In the threat, Hezbollah warned it would strike at "the appropriate time, place and means."
 
The missiles, destroyed in the strike near the Syrian-Lebanese border, reportedly could carry warheads heavier and more dangerous than almost all of Hezbollah's current massive arsenal.

Hezbollah Suffers Severe Losses in Syria

Category: News
Created on Saturday, 15 March 2014 22:15
HezbollahfuneralThe Lebanese-based terror group Hezbollah has been active in Syria, fighting on the side of President Bashar Assad. However, that support, which was reportedly forced on Hezbollah by its backer Iran, has come with heavy costs for the terror organization.
 
Over the last several weeks, the fighting for the rebel-held town of Yabroud has left over 120 Hezbollah fighters dead, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
 
The Lebanese Daily Star quotes a Hezbollah source saying a total of 500 Hezbollah fighters have died since the group joined the Syrian war, noting that the Yabroud battle marks a drastic increase in losses.
 
Yabroud is located in an important strategic area, as it is the last town giving rebels access to supply lines in Lebanon. The town is in the Qalamoun Mountains, a crucial point of conflict given as it is held by the rebels and is a corridor to the Lebanese town of Arsal.
 
Hezbollah second-in-command Sheikh Naim Qassem in February highlighted the religious sectarianism fueling his group's involvement in Syria, when he attacked Syrian rebels as "takfiris" - a derogatory word for Sunni Muslim extremists.
 
Qassem further pledged his group's ongoing military involvement, signifying that despite the heavy losses the terror organization is likely to continue its military presence in Syria.
 
On another front, two weeks ago Hezbollah threatened revenge against Israel after a transfer of missiles from Syria was destroyed in an air strike. In the threat, Hezbollah warned it would strike at "the appropriate time, place and means."
 
The missiles, destroyed in the strike near the Syrian-Lebanese border, reportedly could carry warheads heavier and more dangerous than almost all of Hezbollah's current massive arsenal.

Head of Syrian Jihadist Group Gives Rivals an Ultimatum

Category: News
Created on Friday, 07 March 2014 04:37
A fighter from the Al Qaeda-aligned Nusra Front fires a mounted machine gun - ReutersThe inter-rebel war in Syria is heating up, after the leader of the Al-Qaeda-affiliated rebel group in Syria on Tuesday gave rival jihadists an ultimatum to accept arbitration by clerics or be expelled.
 
The BBC reported that Abu Mohammed al-Golani of the Al-Nusra Front warned the rival Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) that it would be driven from Syria and "even from Iraq" if it did not comply within five days.
 
The threat came after Sunday’s killing of an Al-Qaeda emissary, Abu Khaled al-Suri, at the hands of ISIS rebels.
 
Al-Suri, a commander from the Ahrar al-Sham group who fought alongside Al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden and was close to its current chief, Ayman al-Zawahiri, was killed by a suicide attack carried out by ISIS members.
 
Al-Suri had reportedly been sent to end the clashes between ISIS and other rebels, reported the BBC.
 
The civil war in Syria has attracted many jihadist rebel groups which have been fighting the more moderate rebel groups in what has turned into a second war.
 
In recent weeks, the infighting between rebels has worsened, as three powerful rebel alliances – among them Islamist groups - have teamed up to fight ISIS, which they have warned is even worse than Assad’s regime.
 
ISIS has been accused of several human rights abuses, including torturing and murdering prisoners, among them children and teenagers, and forcing Druze men to convert to Islam or die.
 
In an audio message produced by Al-Nusra's media arm and posted on jihadist websites on Tuesday, Al-Golani said Al-Suri had been a "man who solved problems, not one to create conflicts" and that they had seen each other a few days before his death.
 
"We say to his killers: may your hands perish and your deed be damned. You, those who give you your orders, and those who write your fatwas are wretched, O deceived ones," he said, according to the BBC.
 
Without naming ISIS, Al-Golani denounced those attacking fellow rebels in Syria, using a derogatory term for President Bashar Al-Assad's Alawite sect.

Head of Syrian Jihadist Group Gives Rivals an Ultimatum

Category: News
Created on Friday, 07 March 2014 04:37
A fighter from the Al Qaeda-aligned Nusra Front fires a mounted machine gun - ReutersThe inter-rebel war in Syria is heating up, after the leader of the Al-Qaeda-affiliated rebel group in Syria on Tuesday gave rival jihadists an ultimatum to accept arbitration by clerics or be expelled.
 
The BBC reported that Abu Mohammed al-Golani of the Al-Nusra Front warned the rival Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) that it would be driven from Syria and "even from Iraq" if it did not comply within five days.
 
The threat came after Sunday’s killing of an Al-Qaeda emissary, Abu Khaled al-Suri, at the hands of ISIS rebels.
 
Al-Suri, a commander from the Ahrar al-Sham group who fought alongside Al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden and was close to its current chief, Ayman al-Zawahiri, was killed by a suicide attack carried out by ISIS members.
 
Al-Suri had reportedly been sent to end the clashes between ISIS and other rebels, reported the BBC.
 
The civil war in Syria has attracted many jihadist rebel groups which have been fighting the more moderate rebel groups in what has turned into a second war.
 
In recent weeks, the infighting between rebels has worsened, as three powerful rebel alliances – among them Islamist groups - have teamed up to fight ISIS, which they have warned is even worse than Assad’s regime.
 
ISIS has been accused of several human rights abuses, including torturing and murdering prisoners, among them children and teenagers, and forcing Druze men to convert to Islam or die.
 
In an audio message produced by Al-Nusra's media arm and posted on jihadist websites on Tuesday, Al-Golani said Al-Suri had been a "man who solved problems, not one to create conflicts" and that they had seen each other a few days before his death.
 
"We say to his killers: may your hands perish and your deed be damned. You, those who give you your orders, and those who write your fatwas are wretched, O deceived ones," he said, according to the BBC.
 
Without naming ISIS, Al-Golani denounced those attacking fellow rebels in Syria, using a derogatory term for President Bashar Al-Assad's Alawite sect.

Head of Syrian Jihadist Group Gives Rivals an Ultimatum

Category: News
Created on Friday, 07 March 2014 04:37
A fighter from the Al Qaeda-aligned Nusra Front fires a mounted machine gun - ReutersThe inter-rebel war in Syria is heating up, after the leader of the Al-Qaeda-affiliated rebel group in Syria on Tuesday gave rival jihadists an ultimatum to accept arbitration by clerics or be expelled.
 
The BBC reported that Abu Mohammed al-Golani of the Al-Nusra Front warned the rival Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) that it would be driven from Syria and "even from Iraq" if it did not comply within five days.
 
The threat came after Sunday’s killing of an Al-Qaeda emissary, Abu Khaled al-Suri, at the hands of ISIS rebels.
 
Al-Suri, a commander from the Ahrar al-Sham group who fought alongside Al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden and was close to its current chief, Ayman al-Zawahiri, was killed by a suicide attack carried out by ISIS members.
 
Al-Suri had reportedly been sent to end the clashes between ISIS and other rebels, reported the BBC.
 
The civil war in Syria has attracted many jihadist rebel groups which have been fighting the more moderate rebel groups in what has turned into a second war.
 
In recent weeks, the infighting between rebels has worsened, as three powerful rebel alliances – among them Islamist groups - have teamed up to fight ISIS, which they have warned is even worse than Assad’s regime.
 
ISIS has been accused of several human rights abuses, including torturing and murdering prisoners, among them children and teenagers, and forcing Druze men to convert to Islam or die.
 
In an audio message produced by Al-Nusra's media arm and posted on jihadist websites on Tuesday, Al-Golani said Al-Suri had been a "man who solved problems, not one to create conflicts" and that they had seen each other a few days before his death.
 
"We say to his killers: may your hands perish and your deed be damned. You, those who give you your orders, and those who write your fatwas are wretched, O deceived ones," he said, according to the BBC.
 
Without naming ISIS, Al-Golani denounced those attacking fellow rebels in Syria, using a derogatory term for President Bashar Al-Assad's Alawite sect.

Head of Syrian Jihadist Group Gives Rivals an Ultimatum

Category: News
Created on Friday, 07 March 2014 04:37
A fighter from the Al Qaeda-aligned Nusra Front fires a mounted machine gun - ReutersThe inter-rebel war in Syria is heating up, after the leader of the Al-Qaeda-affiliated rebel group in Syria on Tuesday gave rival jihadists an ultimatum to accept arbitration by clerics or be expelled.
 
The BBC reported that Abu Mohammed al-Golani of the Al-Nusra Front warned the rival Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) that it would be driven from Syria and "even from Iraq" if it did not comply within five days.
 
The threat came after Sunday’s killing of an Al-Qaeda emissary, Abu Khaled al-Suri, at the hands of ISIS rebels.
 
Al-Suri, a commander from the Ahrar al-Sham group who fought alongside Al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden and was close to its current chief, Ayman al-Zawahiri, was killed by a suicide attack carried out by ISIS members.
 
Al-Suri had reportedly been sent to end the clashes between ISIS and other rebels, reported the BBC.
 
The civil war in Syria has attracted many jihadist rebel groups which have been fighting the more moderate rebel groups in what has turned into a second war.
 
In recent weeks, the infighting between rebels has worsened, as three powerful rebel alliances – among them Islamist groups - have teamed up to fight ISIS, which they have warned is even worse than Assad’s regime.
 
ISIS has been accused of several human rights abuses, including torturing and murdering prisoners, among them children and teenagers, and forcing Druze men to convert to Islam or die.
 
In an audio message produced by Al-Nusra's media arm and posted on jihadist websites on Tuesday, Al-Golani said Al-Suri had been a "man who solved problems, not one to create conflicts" and that they had seen each other a few days before his death.
 
"We say to his killers: may your hands perish and your deed be damned. You, those who give you your orders, and those who write your fatwas are wretched, O deceived ones," he said, according to the BBC.
 
Without naming ISIS, Al-Golani denounced those attacking fellow rebels in Syria, using a derogatory term for President Bashar Al-Assad's Alawite sect.

Is Hezbollah About to Withdraw from Syria?

Category: Op-Eds
Created on Sunday, 02 March 2014 07:55
Hizbullah posterHezbollah's military involvement in Syria is now a subject of heated domestic debate in Iran. This debate is being waged against the backdrop of the international refusal to let Iran take part in the Geneva 2 talks on Syria's future, in light of Iran's opposition to the principle of a transitional period leading to Bashar Assad's removal from power.
 
On one side of the debate is the Islamic Revolutionary Guards, which is backed by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and favors ongoing military involvement in Syria as one way of advancing Iran's regional ambitions. Those ambitions entail making Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon a sphere of Iranian influence, to which Bahrain and Yemen are eventually to be added.
 
Against the Revolutionary Guards and Khamenei stand President Rouhani and Foreign Minister Zarif, who are supported by former president Hashemi Rafsanjani and see the Syrian involvement as an albatross that hampers Iran's efforts at rapprochement with the West – efforts which are primarily aimed at vitiating the sanctions regime that is seriously damaging the Iranian economy.
 
An echo of the struggle in Tehran could be heard at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where Zarif denied that Iran had dispatched Hezbollah to Syria – "We are not sending people, Hezbollah has made its own decision.” Zarif, however, refused to call for Hezbollah's removal from Syria, though he agreed to call on all foreign forces to leave the country. His words, in any case, provoked the rage of the Revolutionary Guards. They are well aware of the Hezbollah leadership's difficult straits in light of the growing military entanglement in Syria and, even more, the recent Salafi bombing attacks on the organization's home base, the Dahiya quarter of Beirut.
 
Although Hezbollah's leaders claim it is fighting in Syria in order to protect Lebanon, Lebanese Shiites are not convinced and Hezbollah's supporters are dubious. Hezbollah has now lost almost 350 men in Syria, not all of whom have been brought back to Lebanon for burial, while the number of wounded has passed a thousand.
 
This puts into question Hezbollah's ability to keep sacrificing its fighters in Syria when its target of jihad is Israel. Moreover, the devastating Salafi terror attacks in Beirut, including an attack on the symbolically charged Iranian embassy, have left Hezbollah helpless to respond.
 
Even more critically, Hezbollah has trouble functioning as a movement when its leaders, operatives, and supporters are busy trying to survive and searching for car bombs. Indeed, Hezbollah is losing the public and popular support that is so important for a movement of its kind.
 
The question of Hezbollah's continued involvement in Syria will not be decided in Lebanon. The heads of the Revolutionary Guards in Tehran, who are aware of the organization's intensifying plight, will have to ponder which is worse – the loss of Hezbollah's power and influence in Lebanon or its removal from Syria, which at this stage would not influence Assad's ability to continue slaughtering his opponents in the Syrian revolt.
 
Above all, the Revolutionary Guards and Khamenei want to preserve Hezbollah's power and status so that it can pursue its principal mission of anti-Israeli jihad. At the end of the day, Hezbollah's entire raison d'être is to be Iran's spearhead in its struggle against Israel.
 
Hence, it appears that the more Hezbollah is battered, the greater will be the pressure on Khamenei to order his representative in Lebanon, Hassan Nasrallah, to significantly scale back the organization's involvement in Syria. Nasrallah will humbly and unquestioningly obey.
 
Brig.-Gen. (ret.) Dr. Shimon Shapira is a senior research associate at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.
 
Brig-Gen.Ret. Dr. Shimon ShapiraBrig-Gen.(Ret.) Dr. Shimon Shapira
Brig.-Gen. (ret.) Dr. Shimon Shapira is a senior research associate at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.

Is Hezbollah About to Withdraw from Syria?

Category: Op-Eds
Created on Sunday, 02 March 2014 07:55
Hizbullah posterHezbollah's military involvement in Syria is now a subject of heated domestic debate in Iran. This debate is being waged against the backdrop of the international refusal to let Iran take part in the Geneva 2 talks on Syria's future, in light of Iran's opposition to the principle of a transitional period leading to Bashar Assad's removal from power.
 
On one side of the debate is the Islamic Revolutionary Guards, which is backed by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and favors ongoing military involvement in Syria as one way of advancing Iran's regional ambitions. Those ambitions entail making Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon a sphere of Iranian influence, to which Bahrain and Yemen are eventually to be added.
 
Against the Revolutionary Guards and Khamenei stand President Rouhani and Foreign Minister Zarif, who are supported by former president Hashemi Rafsanjani and see the Syrian involvement as an albatross that hampers Iran's efforts at rapprochement with the West – efforts which are primarily aimed at vitiating the sanctions regime that is seriously damaging the Iranian economy.
 
An echo of the struggle in Tehran could be heard at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where Zarif denied that Iran had dispatched Hezbollah to Syria – "We are not sending people, Hezbollah has made its own decision.” Zarif, however, refused to call for Hezbollah's removal from Syria, though he agreed to call on all foreign forces to leave the country. His words, in any case, provoked the rage of the Revolutionary Guards. They are well aware of the Hezbollah leadership's difficult straits in light of the growing military entanglement in Syria and, even more, the recent Salafi bombing attacks on the organization's home base, the Dahiya quarter of Beirut.
 
Although Hezbollah's leaders claim it is fighting in Syria in order to protect Lebanon, Lebanese Shiites are not convinced and Hezbollah's supporters are dubious. Hezbollah has now lost almost 350 men in Syria, not all of whom have been brought back to Lebanon for burial, while the number of wounded has passed a thousand.
 
This puts into question Hezbollah's ability to keep sacrificing its fighters in Syria when its target of jihad is Israel. Moreover, the devastating Salafi terror attacks in Beirut, including an attack on the symbolically charged Iranian embassy, have left Hezbollah helpless to respond.
 
Even more critically, Hezbollah has trouble functioning as a movement when its leaders, operatives, and supporters are busy trying to survive and searching for car bombs. Indeed, Hezbollah is losing the public and popular support that is so important for a movement of its kind.
 
The question of Hezbollah's continued involvement in Syria will not be decided in Lebanon. The heads of the Revolutionary Guards in Tehran, who are aware of the organization's intensifying plight, will have to ponder which is worse – the loss of Hezbollah's power and influence in Lebanon or its removal from Syria, which at this stage would not influence Assad's ability to continue slaughtering his opponents in the Syrian revolt.
 
Above all, the Revolutionary Guards and Khamenei want to preserve Hezbollah's power and status so that it can pursue its principal mission of anti-Israeli jihad. At the end of the day, Hezbollah's entire raison d'être is to be Iran's spearhead in its struggle against Israel.
 
Hence, it appears that the more Hezbollah is battered, the greater will be the pressure on Khamenei to order his representative in Lebanon, Hassan Nasrallah, to significantly scale back the organization's involvement in Syria. Nasrallah will humbly and unquestioningly obey.
 
Brig.-Gen. (ret.) Dr. Shimon Shapira is a senior research associate at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.
 
Brig-Gen.Ret. Dr. Shimon ShapiraBrig-Gen.(Ret.) Dr. Shimon Shapira
Brig.-Gen. (ret.) Dr. Shimon Shapira is a senior research associate at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.

Is Hezbollah About to Withdraw from Syria?

Category: Op-Eds
Created on Sunday, 02 March 2014 07:55
Hizbullah posterHezbollah's military involvement in Syria is now a subject of heated domestic debate in Iran. This debate is being waged against the backdrop of the international refusal to let Iran take part in the Geneva 2 talks on Syria's future, in light of Iran's opposition to the principle of a transitional period leading to Bashar Assad's removal from power.
 
On one side of the debate is the Islamic Revolutionary Guards, which is backed by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and favors ongoing military involvement in Syria as one way of advancing Iran's regional ambitions. Those ambitions entail making Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon a sphere of Iranian influence, to which Bahrain and Yemen are eventually to be added.
 
Against the Revolutionary Guards and Khamenei stand President Rouhani and Foreign Minister Zarif, who are supported by former president Hashemi Rafsanjani and see the Syrian involvement as an albatross that hampers Iran's efforts at rapprochement with the West – efforts which are primarily aimed at vitiating the sanctions regime that is seriously damaging the Iranian economy.
 
An echo of the struggle in Tehran could be heard at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where Zarif denied that Iran had dispatched Hezbollah to Syria – "We are not sending people, Hezbollah has made its own decision.” Zarif, however, refused to call for Hezbollah's removal from Syria, though he agreed to call on all foreign forces to leave the country. His words, in any case, provoked the rage of the Revolutionary Guards. They are well aware of the Hezbollah leadership's difficult straits in light of the growing military entanglement in Syria and, even more, the recent Salafi bombing attacks on the organization's home base, the Dahiya quarter of Beirut.
 
Although Hezbollah's leaders claim it is fighting in Syria in order to protect Lebanon, Lebanese Shiites are not convinced and Hezbollah's supporters are dubious. Hezbollah has now lost almost 350 men in Syria, not all of whom have been brought back to Lebanon for burial, while the number of wounded has passed a thousand.
 
This puts into question Hezbollah's ability to keep sacrificing its fighters in Syria when its target of jihad is Israel. Moreover, the devastating Salafi terror attacks in Beirut, including an attack on the symbolically charged Iranian embassy, have left Hezbollah helpless to respond.
 
Even more critically, Hezbollah has trouble functioning as a movement when its leaders, operatives, and supporters are busy trying to survive and searching for car bombs. Indeed, Hezbollah is losing the public and popular support that is so important for a movement of its kind.
 
The question of Hezbollah's continued involvement in Syria will not be decided in Lebanon. The heads of the Revolutionary Guards in Tehran, who are aware of the organization's intensifying plight, will have to ponder which is worse – the loss of Hezbollah's power and influence in Lebanon or its removal from Syria, which at this stage would not influence Assad's ability to continue slaughtering his opponents in the Syrian revolt.
 
Above all, the Revolutionary Guards and Khamenei want to preserve Hezbollah's power and status so that it can pursue its principal mission of anti-Israeli jihad. At the end of the day, Hezbollah's entire raison d'être is to be Iran's spearhead in its struggle against Israel.
 
Hence, it appears that the more Hezbollah is battered, the greater will be the pressure on Khamenei to order his representative in Lebanon, Hassan Nasrallah, to significantly scale back the organization's involvement in Syria. Nasrallah will humbly and unquestioningly obey.
 
Brig.-Gen. (ret.) Dr. Shimon Shapira is a senior research associate at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.
 
Brig-Gen.Ret. Dr. Shimon ShapiraBrig-Gen.(Ret.) Dr. Shimon Shapira
Brig.-Gen. (ret.) Dr. Shimon Shapira is a senior research associate at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.

Is Hezbollah About to Withdraw from Syria?

Category: Op-Eds
Created on Sunday, 02 March 2014 07:55
Hizbullah posterHezbollah's military involvement in Syria is now a subject of heated domestic debate in Iran. This debate is being waged against the backdrop of the international refusal to let Iran take part in the Geneva 2 talks on Syria's future, in light of Iran's opposition to the principle of a transitional period leading to Bashar Assad's removal from power.
 
On one side of the debate is the Islamic Revolutionary Guards, which is backed by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and favors ongoing military involvement in Syria as one way of advancing Iran's regional ambitions. Those ambitions entail making Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon a sphere of Iranian influence, to which Bahrain and Yemen are eventually to be added.
 
Against the Revolutionary Guards and Khamenei stand President Rouhani and Foreign Minister Zarif, who are supported by former president Hashemi Rafsanjani and see the Syrian involvement as an albatross that hampers Iran's efforts at rapprochement with the West – efforts which are primarily aimed at vitiating the sanctions regime that is seriously damaging the Iranian economy.
 
An echo of the struggle in Tehran could be heard at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where Zarif denied that Iran had dispatched Hezbollah to Syria – "We are not sending people, Hezbollah has made its own decision.” Zarif, however, refused to call for Hezbollah's removal from Syria, though he agreed to call on all foreign forces to leave the country. His words, in any case, provoked the rage of the Revolutionary Guards. They are well aware of the Hezbollah leadership's difficult straits in light of the growing military entanglement in Syria and, even more, the recent Salafi bombing attacks on the organization's home base, the Dahiya quarter of Beirut.
 
Although Hezbollah's leaders claim it is fighting in Syria in order to protect Lebanon, Lebanese Shiites are not convinced and Hezbollah's supporters are dubious. Hezbollah has now lost almost 350 men in Syria, not all of whom have been brought back to Lebanon for burial, while the number of wounded has passed a thousand.
 
This puts into question Hezbollah's ability to keep sacrificing its fighters in Syria when its target of jihad is Israel. Moreover, the devastating Salafi terror attacks in Beirut, including an attack on the symbolically charged Iranian embassy, have left Hezbollah helpless to respond.
 
Even more critically, Hezbollah has trouble functioning as a movement when its leaders, operatives, and supporters are busy trying to survive and searching for car bombs. Indeed, Hezbollah is losing the public and popular support that is so important for a movement of its kind.
 
The question of Hezbollah's continued involvement in Syria will not be decided in Lebanon. The heads of the Revolutionary Guards in Tehran, who are aware of the organization's intensifying plight, will have to ponder which is worse – the loss of Hezbollah's power and influence in Lebanon or its removal from Syria, which at this stage would not influence Assad's ability to continue slaughtering his opponents in the Syrian revolt.
 
Above all, the Revolutionary Guards and Khamenei want to preserve Hezbollah's power and status so that it can pursue its principal mission of anti-Israeli jihad. At the end of the day, Hezbollah's entire raison d'être is to be Iran's spearhead in its struggle against Israel.
 
Hence, it appears that the more Hezbollah is battered, the greater will be the pressure on Khamenei to order his representative in Lebanon, Hassan Nasrallah, to significantly scale back the organization's involvement in Syria. Nasrallah will humbly and unquestioningly obey.
 
Brig.-Gen. (ret.) Dr. Shimon Shapira is a senior research associate at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.
 
Brig-Gen.Ret. Dr. Shimon ShapiraBrig-Gen.(Ret.) Dr. Shimon Shapira
Brig.-Gen. (ret.) Dr. Shimon Shapira is a senior research associate at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.

Bin Laden's Associate Killed by Syrian Jihadists

Category: News
Created on Friday, 28 February 2014 19:04
Syrian JihadistsA Syrian rebel commander who fought alongside Al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden and was close to its current chief, Ayman al-Zawahiri, was killed by a suicide attack on Sunday, Reuters reports.
 
The Observatory for Human Rights in Syria said Abu Khaled al-Soury, also known as Abu Omair al-Shamy, a commander of the Salafi group Ahrar al-Sham was killed along with six comrades by members of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS).
 
The Observatory said al-Soury had fought in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to Reuters.
 
Al-Soury's death will fuel the infighting among jihadists fighting President Bashar Al-Assad, a violent rivalry that has killed hundreds of fighters in recent months, rebels said.
 
Two rebels told Reuters that five ISIS members had entered Ahrar al-Sham headquarters in Aleppo, engaged its fighters and then one ISIS fighter blew himself up.
 
"Sheikh Abu Khaled was an important jihadi figure, he fought the Americans in Iraq and in Afghanistan. They (ISIL) gave the Americans a present, a free gift, by killing him," a Syrian rebel close to the group told the news agency.
 
The civil war in Syria has attracted many jihadist rebel groups, such as the Al-Nusra Front and ISIS. In addition to fighting Assad’s forces, these groups have been fighting the more moderate rebel groups in what has turned into a second war.
 
These Al-Qaeda-linked groups have been heading to war-torn Syria from many other countries since fighting broke out in 2011.
 
In recent weeks, the infighting between rebels has worsened, as three powerful rebel alliances – among them Islamist groups - have teamed up to fight ISIS, which they have warned is even worse than Assad’s regime.
 
ISIS has been accused of several human rights abuses, including torturing and murdering prisoners, among them children and teenagers, and forcing Druze men to convert to Islam or die.
 

Syrian rebels mourning al-Soury posted his picture on social media accounts. A fighter called for revenge, saying that ISIS had "pushed it too far this time."
 
Al-Soury was born in Aleppo in 1963. A senior rebel source said he had been based in Afghanistan but was sent by Zawahiri to Syria a few months ago on a mission to try to end the infighting, reported Reuters.
 
Sources said that, by killing al-Soury, ISIs had taken the war between jihadist factions to a new level, and that the decision to kill him must have been taken by the high command of ISIS, most probably its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who fell out last year with Zawahiri and the leader of the Al-Nusra Front.

Bin Laden's Associate Killed by Syrian Jihadists

Category: News
Created on Friday, 28 February 2014 19:04
Syrian JihadistsA Syrian rebel commander who fought alongside Al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden and was close to its current chief, Ayman al-Zawahiri, was killed by a suicide attack on Sunday, Reuters reports.
 
The Observatory for Human Rights in Syria said Abu Khaled al-Soury, also known as Abu Omair al-Shamy, a commander of the Salafi group Ahrar al-Sham was killed along with six comrades by members of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS).
 
The Observatory said al-Soury had fought in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to Reuters.
 
Al-Soury's death will fuel the infighting among jihadists fighting President Bashar Al-Assad, a violent rivalry that has killed hundreds of fighters in recent months, rebels said.
 
Two rebels told Reuters that five ISIS members had entered Ahrar al-Sham headquarters in Aleppo, engaged its fighters and then one ISIS fighter blew himself up.
 
"Sheikh Abu Khaled was an important jihadi figure, he fought the Americans in Iraq and in Afghanistan. They (ISIL) gave the Americans a present, a free gift, by killing him," a Syrian rebel close to the group told the news agency.
 
The civil war in Syria has attracted many jihadist rebel groups, such as the Al-Nusra Front and ISIS. In addition to fighting Assad’s forces, these groups have been fighting the more moderate rebel groups in what has turned into a second war.
 
These Al-Qaeda-linked groups have been heading to war-torn Syria from many other countries since fighting broke out in 2011.
 
In recent weeks, the infighting between rebels has worsened, as three powerful rebel alliances – among them Islamist groups - have teamed up to fight ISIS, which they have warned is even worse than Assad’s regime.
 
ISIS has been accused of several human rights abuses, including torturing and murdering prisoners, among them children and teenagers, and forcing Druze men to convert to Islam or die.
 

Syrian rebels mourning al-Soury posted his picture on social media accounts. A fighter called for revenge, saying that ISIS had "pushed it too far this time."
 
Al-Soury was born in Aleppo in 1963. A senior rebel source said he had been based in Afghanistan but was sent by Zawahiri to Syria a few months ago on a mission to try to end the infighting, reported Reuters.
 
Sources said that, by killing al-Soury, ISIs had taken the war between jihadist factions to a new level, and that the decision to kill him must have been taken by the high command of ISIS, most probably its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who fell out last year with Zawahiri and the leader of the Al-Nusra Front.

Bin Laden's Associate Killed by Syrian Jihadists

Category: News
Created on Friday, 28 February 2014 19:04
Syrian JihadistsA Syrian rebel commander who fought alongside Al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden and was close to its current chief, Ayman al-Zawahiri, was killed by a suicide attack on Sunday, Reuters reports.
 
The Observatory for Human Rights in Syria said Abu Khaled al-Soury, also known as Abu Omair al-Shamy, a commander of the Salafi group Ahrar al-Sham was killed along with six comrades by members of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS).
 
The Observatory said al-Soury had fought in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to Reuters.
 
Al-Soury's death will fuel the infighting among jihadists fighting President Bashar Al-Assad, a violent rivalry that has killed hundreds of fighters in recent months, rebels said.
 
Two rebels told Reuters that five ISIS members had entered Ahrar al-Sham headquarters in Aleppo, engaged its fighters and then one ISIS fighter blew himself up.
 
"Sheikh Abu Khaled was an important jihadi figure, he fought the Americans in Iraq and in Afghanistan. They (ISIL) gave the Americans a present, a free gift, by killing him," a Syrian rebel close to the group told the news agency.
 
The civil war in Syria has attracted many jihadist rebel groups, such as the Al-Nusra Front and ISIS. In addition to fighting Assad’s forces, these groups have been fighting the more moderate rebel groups in what has turned into a second war.
 
These Al-Qaeda-linked groups have been heading to war-torn Syria from many other countries since fighting broke out in 2011.
 
In recent weeks, the infighting between rebels has worsened, as three powerful rebel alliances – among them Islamist groups - have teamed up to fight ISIS, which they have warned is even worse than Assad’s regime.
 
ISIS has been accused of several human rights abuses, including torturing and murdering prisoners, among them children and teenagers, and forcing Druze men to convert to Islam or die.
 

Syrian rebels mourning al-Soury posted his picture on social media accounts. A fighter called for revenge, saying that ISIS had "pushed it too far this time."
 
Al-Soury was born in Aleppo in 1963. A senior rebel source said he had been based in Afghanistan but was sent by Zawahiri to Syria a few months ago on a mission to try to end the infighting, reported Reuters.
 
Sources said that, by killing al-Soury, ISIs had taken the war between jihadist factions to a new level, and that the decision to kill him must have been taken by the high command of ISIS, most probably its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who fell out last year with Zawahiri and the leader of the Al-Nusra Front.

Bin Laden's Associate Killed by Syrian Jihadists

Category: News
Created on Friday, 28 February 2014 19:04
Syrian JihadistsA Syrian rebel commander who fought alongside Al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden and was close to its current chief, Ayman al-Zawahiri, was killed by a suicide attack on Sunday, Reuters reports.
 
The Observatory for Human Rights in Syria said Abu Khaled al-Soury, also known as Abu Omair al-Shamy, a commander of the Salafi group Ahrar al-Sham was killed along with six comrades by members of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS).
 
The Observatory said al-Soury had fought in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to Reuters.
 
Al-Soury's death will fuel the infighting among jihadists fighting President Bashar Al-Assad, a violent rivalry that has killed hundreds of fighters in recent months, rebels said.
 
Two rebels told Reuters that five ISIS members had entered Ahrar al-Sham headquarters in Aleppo, engaged its fighters and then one ISIS fighter blew himself up.
 
"Sheikh Abu Khaled was an important jihadi figure, he fought the Americans in Iraq and in Afghanistan. They (ISIL) gave the Americans a present, a free gift, by killing him," a Syrian rebel close to the group told the news agency.
 
The civil war in Syria has attracted many jihadist rebel groups, such as the Al-Nusra Front and ISIS. In addition to fighting Assad’s forces, these groups have been fighting the more moderate rebel groups in what has turned into a second war.
 
These Al-Qaeda-linked groups have been heading to war-torn Syria from many other countries since fighting broke out in 2011.
 
In recent weeks, the infighting between rebels has worsened, as three powerful rebel alliances – among them Islamist groups - have teamed up to fight ISIS, which they have warned is even worse than Assad’s regime.
 
ISIS has been accused of several human rights abuses, including torturing and murdering prisoners, among them children and teenagers, and forcing Druze men to convert to Islam or die.
 

Syrian rebels mourning al-Soury posted his picture on social media accounts. A fighter called for revenge, saying that ISIS had "pushed it too far this time."
 
Al-Soury was born in Aleppo in 1963. A senior rebel source said he had been based in Afghanistan but was sent by Zawahiri to Syria a few months ago on a mission to try to end the infighting, reported Reuters.
 
Sources said that, by killing al-Soury, ISIs had taken the war between jihadist factions to a new level, and that the decision to kill him must have been taken by the high command of ISIS, most probably its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who fell out last year with Zawahiri and the leader of the Al-Nusra Front.

Syrian Jihadists Tell Women: Cover Your Faces or Else

Category: Islam
Created on Sunday, 23 February 2014 09:59
Muslim womenIslamist rebels in eastern Syria have ordered women to put on the Islamic veil, warning that anyone not doing so would be held to account, Reuters reports.
 
According to the report, an organization calling itself the Islamic Law Council of Deir al-Zor said in a statement released Wednesday that women have until Saturday to don the face veil.
 
The group did not say what punishment would befall women who fail to comply with the order.
 
Armed Islamist groups have become the most powerful force in the almost three-year-old uprising against President Bashar Al-Assad.
 
"Given that sins are the main reason delaying victory, the legal council in the town of Deir al-Zor is obliged to promote virtue and prevent vice," said the statement posted by an activist on Facebook and also reported by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
 
The civil war in Syria has attracted rebel groups with links to Al-Qaeda, such as the Al-Nusra Front and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS). In addition to fighting President Bashar Al-Assad’s forces, these groups have been fighting the more moderate rebel groups in what has turned into a second war.
 
These Al-Qaeda-linked groups have been heading to war-torn Syria from many other countries since fighting broke out in 2011.
 
In recent weeks, the infighting between rebels has worsened, as three powerful rebel alliances – among them Islamist groups - have teamed up to fight the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), which they have warned is even worse than Assad’s regime.
 
ISIS has been accused of several human rights abuses, including torturing and murdering prisoners, among them children and teenagers, and forcing Druze men to convert to Islam or die.
 
Last month, the New York-based Human Rights Watch reported that ISIS and another jihadist group, Al-Nusra Front, were enforcing their strict interpretation of Islamic law by requiring women to wear head scarves and full-length robes.
 
Several months ago, ISIS members raided a wedding party in a suburb of Aleppo, which Islamist rebels have declared to be an independent Islamist state, and ordered that music and singing be stopped.
 
The groups’ leader reportedly asked the man in charge of the wedding to memorize a verse of the Quran and attend several religious courses at Al-Qaeda’s center in Maskana, near Aleppo.
 
Some of the Islamist groups have attempted to soften their image in an attempt to win hearts and minds - holding stand up comedy shows and handing out toys to local children.

Syrian Jihadists Tell Women: Cover Your Faces or Else

Category: Islam
Created on Sunday, 23 February 2014 09:59
Muslim womenIslamist rebels in eastern Syria have ordered women to put on the Islamic veil, warning that anyone not doing so would be held to account, Reuters reports.
 
According to the report, an organization calling itself the Islamic Law Council of Deir al-Zor said in a statement released Wednesday that women have until Saturday to don the face veil.
 
The group did not say what punishment would befall women who fail to comply with the order.
 
Armed Islamist groups have become the most powerful force in the almost three-year-old uprising against President Bashar Al-Assad.
 
"Given that sins are the main reason delaying victory, the legal council in the town of Deir al-Zor is obliged to promote virtue and prevent vice," said the statement posted by an activist on Facebook and also reported by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
 
The civil war in Syria has attracted rebel groups with links to Al-Qaeda, such as the Al-Nusra Front and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS). In addition to fighting President Bashar Al-Assad’s forces, these groups have been fighting the more moderate rebel groups in what has turned into a second war.
 
These Al-Qaeda-linked groups have been heading to war-torn Syria from many other countries since fighting broke out in 2011.
 
In recent weeks, the infighting between rebels has worsened, as three powerful rebel alliances – among them Islamist groups - have teamed up to fight the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), which they have warned is even worse than Assad’s regime.
 
ISIS has been accused of several human rights abuses, including torturing and murdering prisoners, among them children and teenagers, and forcing Druze men to convert to Islam or die.
 
Last month, the New York-based Human Rights Watch reported that ISIS and another jihadist group, Al-Nusra Front, were enforcing their strict interpretation of Islamic law by requiring women to wear head scarves and full-length robes.
 
Several months ago, ISIS members raided a wedding party in a suburb of Aleppo, which Islamist rebels have declared to be an independent Islamist state, and ordered that music and singing be stopped.
 
The groups’ leader reportedly asked the man in charge of the wedding to memorize a verse of the Quran and attend several religious courses at Al-Qaeda’s center in Maskana, near Aleppo.
 
Some of the Islamist groups have attempted to soften their image in an attempt to win hearts and minds - holding stand up comedy shows and handing out toys to local children.

Syrian Jihadists Tell Women: Cover Your Faces or Else

Category: Islam
Created on Sunday, 23 February 2014 09:59
Muslim womenIslamist rebels in eastern Syria have ordered women to put on the Islamic veil, warning that anyone not doing so would be held to account, Reuters reports.
 
According to the report, an organization calling itself the Islamic Law Council of Deir al-Zor said in a statement released Wednesday that women have until Saturday to don the face veil.
 
The group did not say what punishment would befall women who fail to comply with the order.
 
Armed Islamist groups have become the most powerful force in the almost three-year-old uprising against President Bashar Al-Assad.
 
"Given that sins are the main reason delaying victory, the legal council in the town of Deir al-Zor is obliged to promote virtue and prevent vice," said the statement posted by an activist on Facebook and also reported by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
 
The civil war in Syria has attracted rebel groups with links to Al-Qaeda, such as the Al-Nusra Front and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS). In addition to fighting President Bashar Al-Assad’s forces, these groups have been fighting the more moderate rebel groups in what has turned into a second war.
 
These Al-Qaeda-linked groups have been heading to war-torn Syria from many other countries since fighting broke out in 2011.
 
In recent weeks, the infighting between rebels has worsened, as three powerful rebel alliances – among them Islamist groups - have teamed up to fight the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), which they have warned is even worse than Assad’s regime.
 
ISIS has been accused of several human rights abuses, including torturing and murdering prisoners, among them children and teenagers, and forcing Druze men to convert to Islam or die.
 
Last month, the New York-based Human Rights Watch reported that ISIS and another jihadist group, Al-Nusra Front, were enforcing their strict interpretation of Islamic law by requiring women to wear head scarves and full-length robes.
 
Several months ago, ISIS members raided a wedding party in a suburb of Aleppo, which Islamist rebels have declared to be an independent Islamist state, and ordered that music and singing be stopped.
 
The groups’ leader reportedly asked the man in charge of the wedding to memorize a verse of the Quran and attend several religious courses at Al-Qaeda’s center in Maskana, near Aleppo.
 
Some of the Islamist groups have attempted to soften their image in an attempt to win hearts and minds - holding stand up comedy shows and handing out toys to local children.

Syrian Jihadists Tell Women: Cover Your Faces or Else

Category: Islam
Created on Sunday, 23 February 2014 09:59
Muslim womenIslamist rebels in eastern Syria have ordered women to put on the Islamic veil, warning that anyone not doing so would be held to account, Reuters reports.
 
According to the report, an organization calling itself the Islamic Law Council of Deir al-Zor said in a statement released Wednesday that women have until Saturday to don the face veil.
 
The group did not say what punishment would befall women who fail to comply with the order.
 
Armed Islamist groups have become the most powerful force in the almost three-year-old uprising against President Bashar Al-Assad.
 
"Given that sins are the main reason delaying victory, the legal council in the town of Deir al-Zor is obliged to promote virtue and prevent vice," said the statement posted by an activist on Facebook and also reported by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
 
The civil war in Syria has attracted rebel groups with links to Al-Qaeda, such as the Al-Nusra Front and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS). In addition to fighting President Bashar Al-Assad’s forces, these groups have been fighting the more moderate rebel groups in what has turned into a second war.
 
These Al-Qaeda-linked groups have been heading to war-torn Syria from many other countries since fighting broke out in 2011.
 
In recent weeks, the infighting between rebels has worsened, as three powerful rebel alliances – among them Islamist groups - have teamed up to fight the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), which they have warned is even worse than Assad’s regime.
 
ISIS has been accused of several human rights abuses, including torturing and murdering prisoners, among them children and teenagers, and forcing Druze men to convert to Islam or die.
 
Last month, the New York-based Human Rights Watch reported that ISIS and another jihadist group, Al-Nusra Front, were enforcing their strict interpretation of Islamic law by requiring women to wear head scarves and full-length robes.
 
Several months ago, ISIS members raided a wedding party in a suburb of Aleppo, which Islamist rebels have declared to be an independent Islamist state, and ordered that music and singing be stopped.
 
The groups’ leader reportedly asked the man in charge of the wedding to memorize a verse of the Quran and attend several religious courses at Al-Qaeda’s center in Maskana, near Aleppo.
 
Some of the Islamist groups have attempted to soften their image in an attempt to win hearts and minds - holding stand up comedy shows and handing out toys to local children.

More than 75,000 Foreign Nationals Fight in Syria

Category: Reports
Created on Monday, 03 February 2014 13:20
Free Syrian Army fighters pose with their weaponsDisturbing statistics have surfaced from Syria Sunday: over 75,000 foreign nationals have been fighting in the Syrian Civil War, according to a local website. 
 
The majority are from majority-Muslim countries or regions - where foreign nationals have been stirred to join by government forces, national-cultural ideologies, and religious fervor. According to the site, 14,000 hail from Chechnya; 12,000 from Saudi Arabia; 11,000 from Iraq; 5,600 from Turkey; 4,400 from Libya; 4,000 from Tunisia; 1,900 from Pakistan; 1,600 from Yemen; and 1,200 from Afghanistan.
 
Statistics show that Israel may be caught up in the effect the foreign nationals - who are being trained to bring terror home with them - could have on the Middle East. Among Israel's neighbors, 9,000 Lebanese, 2,600 Egyptians, and 2,400 Jordanians have joined the war; as have at least 5,000 Palestinian Arabs. 
 
Among Europeans, 750 Russian nationals, 660 Germans, and 450 French citizens have reportedly joined the fight.
 
It is not entirely clear how the statistics were compiled, but they do more or less reflect the kinds of numbers estimated by Western security agencies. On Saturday, French Prime Minister Francoise Hollande claimed that both France and Great Britain had seen up to 700 Muslim citizens each leaving their shores to fight in Syria.
 
While Western countries - especially the US and United Kingdom - have backed the rebel forces during the three year conflict, western states have become uneasy over the growing influence of radical Islamist elements among the rebel movement.
 
Recently, funding for some "extremist" rebel groups has been revoked, but foreign nationals - including many western citizens - continue to pour into Syria, and western security services are concerned about what this means for their own countries' future security. 
 
The West has become so concerned, in fact, that they have reached out to Assad's regime forces over the issue - but no progress has yet been made.
 
In the meantime, eyewitness accounts have confirmed what analysts have long suspected: that Al Qaeda is training Western nationals in the war-torn country to bring fundamentalist Islam - and terrorism - back home with them. 

More than 75,000 Foreign Nationals Fight in Syria

Category: Reports
Created on Monday, 03 February 2014 13:20
Free Syrian Army fighters pose with their weaponsDisturbing statistics have surfaced from Syria Sunday: over 75,000 foreign nationals have been fighting in the Syrian Civil War, according to a local website. 
 
The majority are from majority-Muslim countries or regions - where foreign nationals have been stirred to join by government forces, national-cultural ideologies, and religious fervor. According to the site, 14,000 hail from Chechnya; 12,000 from Saudi Arabia; 11,000 from Iraq; 5,600 from Turkey; 4,400 from Libya; 4,000 from Tunisia; 1,900 from Pakistan; 1,600 from Yemen; and 1,200 from Afghanistan.
 
Statistics show that Israel may be caught up in the effect the foreign nationals - who are being trained to bring terror home with them - could have on the Middle East. Among Israel's neighbors, 9,000 Lebanese, 2,600 Egyptians, and 2,400 Jordanians have joined the war; as have at least 5,000 Palestinian Arabs. 
 
Among Europeans, 750 Russian nationals, 660 Germans, and 450 French citizens have reportedly joined the fight.
 
It is not entirely clear how the statistics were compiled, but they do more or less reflect the kinds of numbers estimated by Western security agencies. On Saturday, French Prime Minister Francoise Hollande claimed that both France and Great Britain had seen up to 700 Muslim citizens each leaving their shores to fight in Syria.
 
While Western countries - especially the US and United Kingdom - have backed the rebel forces during the three year conflict, western states have become uneasy over the growing influence of radical Islamist elements among the rebel movement.
 
Recently, funding for some "extremist" rebel groups has been revoked, but foreign nationals - including many western citizens - continue to pour into Syria, and western security services are concerned about what this means for their own countries' future security. 
 
The West has become so concerned, in fact, that they have reached out to Assad's regime forces over the issue - but no progress has yet been made.
 
In the meantime, eyewitness accounts have confirmed what analysts have long suspected: that Al Qaeda is training Western nationals in the war-torn country to bring fundamentalist Islam - and terrorism - back home with them. 

More than 75,000 Foreign Nationals Fight in Syria

Category: Reports
Created on Monday, 03 February 2014 13:20
Free Syrian Army fighters pose with their weaponsDisturbing statistics have surfaced from Syria Sunday: over 75,000 foreign nationals have been fighting in the Syrian Civil War, according to a local website. 
 
The majority are from majority-Muslim countries or regions - where foreign nationals have been stirred to join by government forces, national-cultural ideologies, and religious fervor. According to the site, 14,000 hail from Chechnya; 12,000 from Saudi Arabia; 11,000 from Iraq; 5,600 from Turkey; 4,400 from Libya; 4,000 from Tunisia; 1,900 from Pakistan; 1,600 from Yemen; and 1,200 from Afghanistan.
 
Statistics show that Israel may be caught up in the effect the foreign nationals - who are being trained to bring terror home with them - could have on the Middle East. Among Israel's neighbors, 9,000 Lebanese, 2,600 Egyptians, and 2,400 Jordanians have joined the war; as have at least 5,000 Palestinian Arabs. 
 
Among Europeans, 750 Russian nationals, 660 Germans, and 450 French citizens have reportedly joined the fight.
 
It is not entirely clear how the statistics were compiled, but they do more or less reflect the kinds of numbers estimated by Western security agencies. On Saturday, French Prime Minister Francoise Hollande claimed that both France and Great Britain had seen up to 700 Muslim citizens each leaving their shores to fight in Syria.
 
While Western countries - especially the US and United Kingdom - have backed the rebel forces during the three year conflict, western states have become uneasy over the growing influence of radical Islamist elements among the rebel movement.
 
Recently, funding for some "extremist" rebel groups has been revoked, but foreign nationals - including many western citizens - continue to pour into Syria, and western security services are concerned about what this means for their own countries' future security. 
 
The West has become so concerned, in fact, that they have reached out to Assad's regime forces over the issue - but no progress has yet been made.
 
In the meantime, eyewitness accounts have confirmed what analysts have long suspected: that Al Qaeda is training Western nationals in the war-torn country to bring fundamentalist Islam - and terrorism - back home with them. 

More than 75,000 Foreign Nationals Fight in Syria

Category: Reports
Created on Monday, 03 February 2014 13:20
Free Syrian Army fighters pose with their weaponsDisturbing statistics have surfaced from Syria Sunday: over 75,000 foreign nationals have been fighting in the Syrian Civil War, according to a local website. 
 
The majority are from majority-Muslim countries or regions - where foreign nationals have been stirred to join by government forces, national-cultural ideologies, and religious fervor. According to the site, 14,000 hail from Chechnya; 12,000 from Saudi Arabia; 11,000 from Iraq; 5,600 from Turkey; 4,400 from Libya; 4,000 from Tunisia; 1,900 from Pakistan; 1,600 from Yemen; and 1,200 from Afghanistan.
 
Statistics show that Israel may be caught up in the effect the foreign nationals - who are being trained to bring terror home with them - could have on the Middle East. Among Israel's neighbors, 9,000 Lebanese, 2,600 Egyptians, and 2,400 Jordanians have joined the war; as have at least 5,000 Palestinian Arabs. 
 
Among Europeans, 750 Russian nationals, 660 Germans, and 450 French citizens have reportedly joined the fight.
 
It is not entirely clear how the statistics were compiled, but they do more or less reflect the kinds of numbers estimated by Western security agencies. On Saturday, French Prime Minister Francoise Hollande claimed that both France and Great Britain had seen up to 700 Muslim citizens each leaving their shores to fight in Syria.
 
While Western countries - especially the US and United Kingdom - have backed the rebel forces during the three year conflict, western states have become uneasy over the growing influence of radical Islamist elements among the rebel movement.
 
Recently, funding for some "extremist" rebel groups has been revoked, but foreign nationals - including many western citizens - continue to pour into Syria, and western security services are concerned about what this means for their own countries' future security. 
 
The West has become so concerned, in fact, that they have reached out to Assad's regime forces over the issue - but no progress has yet been made.
 
In the meantime, eyewitness accounts have confirmed what analysts have long suspected: that Al Qaeda is training Western nationals in the war-torn country to bring fundamentalist Islam - and terrorism - back home with them. 

Junior Jihad: Syrian Rebels Present Four-Year-Old Fighter

Category: Islam
Created on Saturday, 01 February 2014 18:13
Child in Islamic Jihad summer camp in GazaIn the latest alarming evidence of child soldiers being used by Syrian rebel forces, an Islamist brigade linked to Al Qaeda released footage of a four year old it claimed as its youngest recruit.
 
In the video (below), the child - who can barely hold the AK-47 rifle he is firing - lets off two shots to cheers of "Allahu Akbar". The tiny boy is clad in a black ski mask and is forced to rest the barrel of the rifle on what appears to be a section of a roadblock to prevent himself from falling over.
 
{youtube}aEieWqsY45w{/youtube}
 
Britain's Daily Mail reported that the child is believed to be the son of an Albanian jihadi, one of thousands of foreign Islamist fighters who have flocked to fight on both sides of the Syrian civil war, which is increasingly being waged as a sectarian conflict between Islam's Shia and Sunni sects.
 
In December, a video by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) illustrated the numerous cases of young Syrian children - often orphans who parents were killed by the Assad regime - fighting among the ranks of the country's various rebel factions.
 
The video comes as French Prime Minister Francois Hollande claimed that both France and the UK had seen up to 700 foreign Islamist fighters from each of their countries leave to fight in Syria.
 
"We have young people who live in our respective countries who are being manipulated, and they are going off to the combat areas," he said after a press conference with his British counterpart David Cameron. "Today we were exchanging figures – 600 to 700 young people are involved in each of our countries."
 
Western security officials are concerned that some of the scores of fighters from Europe and North America could eventually return - radicalized and well-trained - to their native countries and commit attacks there.
 
Earlier this month a report revealed how an Islamist network led by British Muslim extremist Anjem Choudary was actively recruiting young British Muslims to fight in Syria, under the noses of British authorities.

Junior Jihad: Syrian Rebels Present Four-Year-Old Fighter

Category: Islam
Created on Saturday, 01 February 2014 18:13
Child in Islamic Jihad summer camp in GazaIn the latest alarming evidence of child soldiers being used by Syrian rebel forces, an Islamist brigade linked to Al Qaeda released footage of a four year old it claimed as its youngest recruit.
 
In the video (below), the child - who can barely hold the AK-47 rifle he is firing - lets off two shots to cheers of "Allahu Akbar". The tiny boy is clad in a black ski mask and is forced to rest the barrel of the rifle on what appears to be a section of a roadblock to prevent himself from falling over.
 
{youtube}aEieWqsY45w{/youtube}
 
Britain's Daily Mail reported that the child is believed to be the son of an Albanian jihadi, one of thousands of foreign Islamist fighters who have flocked to fight on both sides of the Syrian civil war, which is increasingly being waged as a sectarian conflict between Islam's Shia and Sunni sects.
 
In December, a video by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) illustrated the numerous cases of young Syrian children - often orphans who parents were killed by the Assad regime - fighting among the ranks of the country's various rebel factions.
 
The video comes as French Prime Minister Francois Hollande claimed that both France and the UK had seen up to 700 foreign Islamist fighters from each of their countries leave to fight in Syria.
 
"We have young people who live in our respective countries who are being manipulated, and they are going off to the combat areas," he said after a press conference with his British counterpart David Cameron. "Today we were exchanging figures – 600 to 700 young people are involved in each of our countries."
 
Western security officials are concerned that some of the scores of fighters from Europe and North America could eventually return - radicalized and well-trained - to their native countries and commit attacks there.
 
Earlier this month a report revealed how an Islamist network led by British Muslim extremist Anjem Choudary was actively recruiting young British Muslims to fight in Syria, under the noses of British authorities.

Junior Jihad: Syrian Rebels Present Four-Year-Old Fighter

Category: Islam
Created on Saturday, 01 February 2014 18:13
Child in Islamic Jihad summer camp in GazaIn the latest alarming evidence of child soldiers being used by Syrian rebel forces, an Islamist brigade linked to Al Qaeda released footage of a four year old it claimed as its youngest recruit.
 
In the video (below), the child - who can barely hold the AK-47 rifle he is firing - lets off two shots to cheers of "Allahu Akbar". The tiny boy is clad in a black ski mask and is forced to rest the barrel of the rifle on what appears to be a section of a roadblock to prevent himself from falling over.
 
{youtube}aEieWqsY45w{/youtube}
 
Britain's Daily Mail reported that the child is believed to be the son of an Albanian jihadi, one of thousands of foreign Islamist fighters who have flocked to fight on both sides of the Syrian civil war, which is increasingly being waged as a sectarian conflict between Islam's Shia and Sunni sects.
 
In December, a video by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) illustrated the numerous cases of young Syrian children - often orphans who parents were killed by the Assad regime - fighting among the ranks of the country's various rebel factions.
 
The video comes as French Prime Minister Francois Hollande claimed that both France and the UK had seen up to 700 foreign Islamist fighters from each of their countries leave to fight in Syria.
 
"We have young people who live in our respective countries who are being manipulated, and they are going off to the combat areas," he said after a press conference with his British counterpart David Cameron. "Today we were exchanging figures – 600 to 700 young people are involved in each of our countries."
 
Western security officials are concerned that some of the scores of fighters from Europe and North America could eventually return - radicalized and well-trained - to their native countries and commit attacks there.
 
Earlier this month a report revealed how an Islamist network led by British Muslim extremist Anjem Choudary was actively recruiting young British Muslims to fight in Syria, under the noses of British authorities.

Junior Jihad: Syrian Rebels Present Four-Year-Old Fighter

Category: Islam
Created on Saturday, 01 February 2014 18:13
Child in Islamic Jihad summer camp in GazaIn the latest alarming evidence of child soldiers being used by Syrian rebel forces, an Islamist brigade linked to Al Qaeda released footage of a four year old it claimed as its youngest recruit.
 
In the video (below), the child - who can barely hold the AK-47 rifle he is firing - lets off two shots to cheers of "Allahu Akbar". The tiny boy is clad in a black ski mask and is forced to rest the barrel of the rifle on what appears to be a section of a roadblock to prevent himself from falling over.
 
{youtube}aEieWqsY45w{/youtube}
 
Britain's Daily Mail reported that the child is believed to be the son of an Albanian jihadi, one of thousands of foreign Islamist fighters who have flocked to fight on both sides of the Syrian civil war, which is increasingly being waged as a sectarian conflict between Islam's Shia and Sunni sects.
 
In December, a video by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) illustrated the numerous cases of young Syrian children - often orphans who parents were killed by the Assad regime - fighting among the ranks of the country's various rebel factions.
 
The video comes as French Prime Minister Francois Hollande claimed that both France and the UK had seen up to 700 foreign Islamist fighters from each of their countries leave to fight in Syria.
 
"We have young people who live in our respective countries who are being manipulated, and they are going off to the combat areas," he said after a press conference with his British counterpart David Cameron. "Today we were exchanging figures – 600 to 700 young people are involved in each of our countries."
 
Western security officials are concerned that some of the scores of fighters from Europe and North America could eventually return - radicalized and well-trained - to their native countries and commit attacks there.
 
Earlier this month a report revealed how an Islamist network led by British Muslim extremist Anjem Choudary was actively recruiting young British Muslims to fight in Syria, under the noses of British authorities.

Congress Approves 'Light Weapons' to 'Moderate' Syrian Rebels

Category: News
Created on Tuesday, 28 January 2014 23:48
Moderate Syrian RebelsLight arms supplied by the United States are flowing to "moderate" Syrian rebel factions in the south of the country, officials said on Monday, according to Reuters.
 
American funding for months of further deliveries has been approved by Congress, U.S. and European security officials cited in the report said.
 
The weapons, most of which are moving to non-Islamist Syrian rebels via Jordan, include a variety of small arms, as well as some more powerful weapons, such as anti-tank rockets, according to Reuters.
 
The deliveries do not include weapons such as shoulder-launched surface-to-air missiles, known as MANPADs, which could shoot down military or civilian aircraft, the officials said.
 
The weapons deliveries have been funded by the U.S. Congress, in votes behind closed doors, through the end of government fiscal year 2014, which ends on September 30, two officials said.
 
The apparently steady weapons flow contrasts with the situation last summer, when lethal U.S. aid to the Syrian rebels dried up for a time due to congressional reservations.
 
Congressional committees held up weapons deliveries for months over fears that U.S. arms would not prove decisive in the rebels' efforts to oust President Bashar Al-Assad and his government and could well end up in the hands of Islamist militants.
 
A U.S. official familiar with recent developments said national security officials and members of Congress are more confident that weapons delivered to southern Syria are going to, and remaining in, the hands of moderate rebels rather than militant jihadist factions.
 
Congress approved funding for weapons deliveries to the Syrian rebels in classified sections of defense appropriations legislation, two sources familiar with the matter said. It was not clear when the funding was approved, but unclassified defense funding passed Congress in late December.
 
There has been pressure to arm the Syrian rebels for quite some time, particularly since the U.S. government confirmed that the Syrian army used chemical weapons against rebel forces on multiple occasions, thus violating the “red line” set by President Obama. This confirmation came even before the major chemical attack near Damascus in August, which killed hundreds
 
The U.S. said at the time that it will increase the “scope and scale” of its assistance to rebels in Syria in response to the use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime.
 
However, lawmakers were concerned that weapons could reach factions like the Al-Nusra Front, which has pledged allegiance to Al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri.
 
Islamist rebel factions such as Al-Nusra and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS)  have performed atrocities during the ongoing civil war, including publicly beheading those accused of collaborating with the Assad regime, and even executing members of rival rebel groups.
 
In recent days, the fighting between ISIS and other Syrian rebels has escalated, with hundreds having been killed in the fighting between rival groups.
 
Officials who support providing U.S. arms to the rebels acknowledged that the latest approval of arms has not greatly increased U.S. expectations of victory by anti-Assad forces, whether moderate or militant.
 
"The Syrian war is a stalemate. The rebels lack the organization and weapons to defeat Assad; the regime lacks the loyal manpower to suppress the rebellion. Both sides' external allies... are ready to supply enough money and arms to fuel the stalemate for the foreseeable future," said Bruce Riedel, a former senior CIA analyst and sometime foreign policy adviser to President Barack Obama.
 
Both U.S. and European officials said that "moderate" rebels had recently consolidated their positions in the Syrian south, where they are pushing out elements linked to al-Qaeda. More militant factions remain dominant in the north and east.
 
Rebels said back in June of 2013 they had received Russian-made “Konkurs” anti-tank missiles supplied by Saudi Arabia. Other reports said that the Central Intelligence Agency had begun moving weapons to Jordan from a network of secret warehouses and plans to start arming small groups of vetted Syrian rebels within a month.
 
A White House spokeswoman had no comment on Monday’s report. Other U.S. agencies did not respond to requests for comment.
 
As for "non-lethal" aid like communications and transportation equipment, the United States hopes to resume deliveries to moderate groups in Syria soon, a U.S. official said on Monday, according to Reuters.
 
The United States and Britain suspended non-lethal aid to northern Syria in December after reports that Islamist fighters seized Western-backed rebel weapons warehouses, highlighting fears that supplies could end up in hostile hands.
 
Non-lethal aid was resumed to civilian groups in that region in late December.

Congress Approves 'Light Weapons' to 'Moderate' Syrian Rebels

Category: News
Created on Tuesday, 28 January 2014 23:48
Moderate Syrian RebelsLight arms supplied by the United States are flowing to "moderate" Syrian rebel factions in the south of the country, officials said on Monday, according to Reuters.
 
American funding for months of further deliveries has been approved by Congress, U.S. and European security officials cited in the report said.
 
The weapons, most of which are moving to non-Islamist Syrian rebels via Jordan, include a variety of small arms, as well as some more powerful weapons, such as anti-tank rockets, according to Reuters.
 
The deliveries do not include weapons such as shoulder-launched surface-to-air missiles, known as MANPADs, which could shoot down military or civilian aircraft, the officials said.
 
The weapons deliveries have been funded by the U.S. Congress, in votes behind closed doors, through the end of government fiscal year 2014, which ends on September 30, two officials said.
 
The apparently steady weapons flow contrasts with the situation last summer, when lethal U.S. aid to the Syrian rebels dried up for a time due to congressional reservations.
 
Congressional committees held up weapons deliveries for months over fears that U.S. arms would not prove decisive in the rebels' efforts to oust President Bashar Al-Assad and his government and could well end up in the hands of Islamist militants.
 
A U.S. official familiar with recent developments said national security officials and members of Congress are more confident that weapons delivered to southern Syria are going to, and remaining in, the hands of moderate rebels rather than militant jihadist factions.
 
Congress approved funding for weapons deliveries to the Syrian rebels in classified sections of defense appropriations legislation, two sources familiar with the matter said. It was not clear when the funding was approved, but unclassified defense funding passed Congress in late December.
 
There has been pressure to arm the Syrian rebels for quite some time, particularly since the U.S. government confirmed that the Syrian army used chemical weapons against rebel forces on multiple occasions, thus violating the “red line” set by President Obama. This confirmation came even before the major chemical attack near Damascus in August, which killed hundreds
 
The U.S. said at the time that it will increase the “scope and scale” of its assistance to rebels in Syria in response to the use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime.
 
However, lawmakers were concerned that weapons could reach factions like the Al-Nusra Front, which has pledged allegiance to Al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri.
 
Islamist rebel factions such as Al-Nusra and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS)  have performed atrocities during the ongoing civil war, including publicly beheading those accused of collaborating with the Assad regime, and even executing members of rival rebel groups.
 
In recent days, the fighting between ISIS and other Syrian rebels has escalated, with hundreds having been killed in the fighting between rival groups.
 
Officials who support providing U.S. arms to the rebels acknowledged that the latest approval of arms has not greatly increased U.S. expectations of victory by anti-Assad forces, whether moderate or militant.
 
"The Syrian war is a stalemate. The rebels lack the organization and weapons to defeat Assad; the regime lacks the loyal manpower to suppress the rebellion. Both sides' external allies... are ready to supply enough money and arms to fuel the stalemate for the foreseeable future," said Bruce Riedel, a former senior CIA analyst and sometime foreign policy adviser to President Barack Obama.
 
Both U.S. and European officials said that "moderate" rebels had recently consolidated their positions in the Syrian south, where they are pushing out elements linked to al-Qaeda. More militant factions remain dominant in the north and east.
 
Rebels said back in June of 2013 they had received Russian-made “Konkurs” anti-tank missiles supplied by Saudi Arabia. Other reports said that the Central Intelligence Agency had begun moving weapons to Jordan from a network of secret warehouses and plans to start arming small groups of vetted Syrian rebels within a month.
 
A White House spokeswoman had no comment on Monday’s report. Other U.S. agencies did not respond to requests for comment.
 
As for "non-lethal" aid like communications and transportation equipment, the United States hopes to resume deliveries to moderate groups in Syria soon, a U.S. official said on Monday, according to Reuters.
 
The United States and Britain suspended non-lethal aid to northern Syria in December after reports that Islamist fighters seized Western-backed rebel weapons warehouses, highlighting fears that supplies could end up in hostile hands.
 
Non-lethal aid was resumed to civilian groups in that region in late December.

Congress Approves 'Light Weapons' to 'Moderate' Syrian Rebels

Category: News
Created on Tuesday, 28 January 2014 23:48
Moderate Syrian RebelsLight arms supplied by the United States are flowing to "moderate" Syrian rebel factions in the south of the country, officials said on Monday, according to Reuters.
 
American funding for months of further deliveries has been approved by Congress, U.S. and European security officials cited in the report said.
 
The weapons, most of which are moving to non-Islamist Syrian rebels via Jordan, include a variety of small arms, as well as some more powerful weapons, such as anti-tank rockets, according to Reuters.
 
The deliveries do not include weapons such as shoulder-launched surface-to-air missiles, known as MANPADs, which could shoot down military or civilian aircraft, the officials said.
 
The weapons deliveries have been funded by the U.S. Congress, in votes behind closed doors, through the end of government fiscal year 2014, which ends on September 30, two officials said.
 
The apparently steady weapons flow contrasts with the situation last summer, when lethal U.S. aid to the Syrian rebels dried up for a time due to congressional reservations.
 
Congressional committees held up weapons deliveries for months over fears that U.S. arms would not prove decisive in the rebels' efforts to oust President Bashar Al-Assad and his government and could well end up in the hands of Islamist militants.
 
A U.S. official familiar with recent developments said national security officials and members of Congress are more confident that weapons delivered to southern Syria are going to, and remaining in, the hands of moderate rebels rather than militant jihadist factions.
 
Congress approved funding for weapons deliveries to the Syrian rebels in classified sections of defense appropriations legislation, two sources familiar with the matter said. It was not clear when the funding was approved, but unclassified defense funding passed Congress in late December.
 
There has been pressure to arm the Syrian rebels for quite some time, particularly since the U.S. government confirmed that the Syrian army used chemical weapons against rebel forces on multiple occasions, thus violating the “red line” set by President Obama. This confirmation came even before the major chemical attack near Damascus in August, which killed hundreds
 
The U.S. said at the time that it will increase the “scope and scale” of its assistance to rebels in Syria in response to the use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime.
 
However, lawmakers were concerned that weapons could reach factions like the Al-Nusra Front, which has pledged allegiance to Al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri.
 
Islamist rebel factions such as Al-Nusra and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS)  have performed atrocities during the ongoing civil war, including publicly beheading those accused of collaborating with the Assad regime, and even executing members of rival rebel groups.
 
In recent days, the fighting between ISIS and other Syrian rebels has escalated, with hundreds having been killed in the fighting between rival groups.
 
Officials who support providing U.S. arms to the rebels acknowledged that the latest approval of arms has not greatly increased U.S. expectations of victory by anti-Assad forces, whether moderate or militant.
 
"The Syrian war is a stalemate. The rebels lack the organization and weapons to defeat Assad; the regime lacks the loyal manpower to suppress the rebellion. Both sides' external allies... are ready to supply enough money and arms to fuel the stalemate for the foreseeable future," said Bruce Riedel, a former senior CIA analyst and sometime foreign policy adviser to President Barack Obama.
 
Both U.S. and European officials said that "moderate" rebels had recently consolidated their positions in the Syrian south, where they are pushing out elements linked to al-Qaeda. More militant factions remain dominant in the north and east.
 
Rebels said back in June of 2013 they had received Russian-made “Konkurs” anti-tank missiles supplied by Saudi Arabia. Other reports said that the Central Intelligence Agency had begun moving weapons to Jordan from a network of secret warehouses and plans to start arming small groups of vetted Syrian rebels within a month.
 
A White House spokeswoman had no comment on Monday’s report. Other U.S. agencies did not respond to requests for comment.
 
As for "non-lethal" aid like communications and transportation equipment, the United States hopes to resume deliveries to moderate groups in Syria soon, a U.S. official said on Monday, according to Reuters.
 
The United States and Britain suspended non-lethal aid to northern Syria in December after reports that Islamist fighters seized Western-backed rebel weapons warehouses, highlighting fears that supplies could end up in hostile hands.
 
Non-lethal aid was resumed to civilian groups in that region in late December.

Congress Approves 'Light Weapons' to 'Moderate' Syrian Rebels

Category: News
Created on Tuesday, 28 January 2014 23:48
Moderate Syrian RebelsLight arms supplied by the United States are flowing to "moderate" Syrian rebel factions in the south of the country, officials said on Monday, according to Reuters.
 
American funding for months of further deliveries has been approved by Congress, U.S. and European security officials cited in the report said.
 
The weapons, most of which are moving to non-Islamist Syrian rebels via Jordan, include a variety of small arms, as well as some more powerful weapons, such as anti-tank rockets, according to Reuters.
 
The deliveries do not include weapons such as shoulder-launched surface-to-air missiles, known as MANPADs, which could shoot down military or civilian aircraft, the officials said.
 
The weapons deliveries have been funded by the U.S. Congress, in votes behind closed doors, through the end of government fiscal year 2014, which ends on September 30, two officials said.
 
The apparently steady weapons flow contrasts with the situation last summer, when lethal U.S. aid to the Syrian rebels dried up for a time due to congressional reservations.
 
Congressional committees held up weapons deliveries for months over fears that U.S. arms would not prove decisive in the rebels' efforts to oust President Bashar Al-Assad and his government and could well end up in the hands of Islamist militants.
 
A U.S. official familiar with recent developments said national security officials and members of Congress are more confident that weapons delivered to southern Syria are going to, and remaining in, the hands of moderate rebels rather than militant jihadist factions.
 
Congress approved funding for weapons deliveries to the Syrian rebels in classified sections of defense appropriations legislation, two sources familiar with the matter said. It was not clear when the funding was approved, but unclassified defense funding passed Congress in late December.
 
There has been pressure to arm the Syrian rebels for quite some time, particularly since the U.S. government confirmed that the Syrian army used chemical weapons against rebel forces on multiple occasions, thus violating the “red line” set by President Obama. This confirmation came even before the major chemical attack near Damascus in August, which killed hundreds
 
The U.S. said at the time that it will increase the “scope and scale” of its assistance to rebels in Syria in response to the use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime.
 
However, lawmakers were concerned that weapons could reach factions like the Al-Nusra Front, which has pledged allegiance to Al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri.
 
Islamist rebel factions such as Al-Nusra and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS)  have performed atrocities during the ongoing civil war, including publicly beheading those accused of collaborating with the Assad regime, and even executing members of rival rebel groups.
 
In recent days, the fighting between ISIS and other Syrian rebels has escalated, with hundreds having been killed in the fighting between rival groups.
 
Officials who support providing U.S. arms to the rebels acknowledged that the latest approval of arms has not greatly increased U.S. expectations of victory by anti-Assad forces, whether moderate or militant.
 
"The Syrian war is a stalemate. The rebels lack the organization and weapons to defeat Assad; the regime lacks the loyal manpower to suppress the rebellion. Both sides' external allies... are ready to supply enough money and arms to fuel the stalemate for the foreseeable future," said Bruce Riedel, a former senior CIA analyst and sometime foreign policy adviser to President Barack Obama.
 
Both U.S. and European officials said that "moderate" rebels had recently consolidated their positions in the Syrian south, where they are pushing out elements linked to al-Qaeda. More militant factions remain dominant in the north and east.
 
Rebels said back in June of 2013 they had received Russian-made “Konkurs” anti-tank missiles supplied by Saudi Arabia. Other reports said that the Central Intelligence Agency had begun moving weapons to Jordan from a network of secret warehouses and plans to start arming small groups of vetted Syrian rebels within a month.
 
A White House spokeswoman had no comment on Monday’s report. Other U.S. agencies did not respond to requests for comment.
 
As for "non-lethal" aid like communications and transportation equipment, the United States hopes to resume deliveries to moderate groups in Syria soon, a U.S. official said on Monday, according to Reuters.
 
The United States and Britain suspended non-lethal aid to northern Syria in December after reports that Islamist fighters seized Western-backed rebel weapons warehouses, highlighting fears that supplies could end up in hostile hands.
 
Non-lethal aid was resumed to civilian groups in that region in late December.

Syria: ISIS Executes Members of Rival Islamist Groups

Category: Islam
Created on Friday, 17 January 2014 16:10
Rebel-Jihadist WarThe Al-Qaeda-linked Islamist State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) has executed dozens of rival Islamists over the last two days, activists told Reuters on Sunday.
 
The executions took place as the group recaptured most territory it had lost in the northeastern Syrian province of Raqqa, according to the activists.
 
One of the activists, who spoke from the province on condition of anonymity, said that up to 100 fighters from the Nusra Front, another Al-Qaeda affiliate, and the Ahrar al-Sham brigade, captured by ISIS in the town of Tel Abyad on the border with Turkey, the nearby area of Qantari and the provincial capital city of Raqqa, were shot dead.
 
There was no independent confirmation of the report.
 
"About 70 bodies, most shot in the head, were collected and sent to the Raqqa National hospital," the activist told Reuters.
 
"Many of those executed had been wounded in the fighting. The fact that Nusra Front and Ahrar al-Sham are ideologically similar to the ISIS did not matter," he added.
 
In recent days, the fighting between ISIS and other Syrian rebels has escalated. Earlier Sunday it was reported that close to 500 people had been killed in the fighting between rival groups.
 
Three powerful rebel alliances – among them Islamist groups - have teamed up to fight ISIS, which they have warned is worse than Bashar Al-Assad’s regime.
 
The fact that ISIS executed rivals it caught should come as no surprise. The group has been accused of several human rights abuses, including torturing and murdering prisoners, among them children and teenagers, and forcing Druze men to convert to Islam or die.
 
The Al-Qaeda linked group has vowed to “crush” other rebel groups in Syria.
 
The group’s growth has alarmed Western nations, who are pushing the opposition to attend peace talks in Switzerland later this month, and has helped Assad to portray himself as the only secular alternative to Islamist extremism.
 
ISIS regrouped and recaptured much of its stronghold in Raqqa city on Sunday, activists told Reuters, dealing a blow to rival rebel groups backed by Gulf Arab and Western states.
 
Among those reportedly executed on the weekend was Abu Saad al-Hadram, Nusra Front's commander for Raqqa province who was captured several months, opposition sources said.

Syria: ISIS Executes Members of Rival Islamist Groups

Category: Islam
Created on Friday, 17 January 2014 16:10
Rebel-Jihadist WarThe Al-Qaeda-linked Islamist State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) has executed dozens of rival Islamists over the last two days, activists told Reuters on Sunday.
 
The executions took place as the group recaptured most territory it had lost in the northeastern Syrian province of Raqqa, according to the activists.
 
One of the activists, who spoke from the province on condition of anonymity, said that up to 100 fighters from the Nusra Front, another Al-Qaeda affiliate, and the Ahrar al-Sham brigade, captured by ISIS in the town of Tel Abyad on the border with Turkey, the nearby area of Qantari and the provincial capital city of Raqqa, were shot dead.
 
There was no independent confirmation of the report.
 
"About 70 bodies, most shot in the head, were collected and sent to the Raqqa National hospital," the activist told Reuters.
 
"Many of those executed had been wounded in the fighting. The fact that Nusra Front and Ahrar al-Sham are ideologically similar to the ISIS did not matter," he added.
 
In recent days, the fighting between ISIS and other Syrian rebels has escalated. Earlier Sunday it was reported that close to 500 people had been killed in the fighting between rival groups.
 
Three powerful rebel alliances – among them Islamist groups - have teamed up to fight ISIS, which they have warned is worse than Bashar Al-Assad’s regime.
 
The fact that ISIS executed rivals it caught should come as no surprise. The group has been accused of several human rights abuses, including torturing and murdering prisoners, among them children and teenagers, and forcing Druze men to convert to Islam or die.
 
The Al-Qaeda linked group has vowed to “crush” other rebel groups in Syria.
 
The group’s growth has alarmed Western nations, who are pushing the opposition to attend peace talks in Switzerland later this month, and has helped Assad to portray himself as the only secular alternative to Islamist extremism.
 
ISIS regrouped and recaptured much of its stronghold in Raqqa city on Sunday, activists told Reuters, dealing a blow to rival rebel groups backed by Gulf Arab and Western states.
 
Among those reportedly executed on the weekend was Abu Saad al-Hadram, Nusra Front's commander for Raqqa province who was captured several months, opposition sources said.

Syria: ISIS Executes Members of Rival Islamist Groups

Category: Islam
Created on Friday, 17 January 2014 16:10
Rebel-Jihadist WarThe Al-Qaeda-linked Islamist State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) has executed dozens of rival Islamists over the last two days, activists told Reuters on Sunday.
 
The executions took place as the group recaptured most territory it had lost in the northeastern Syrian province of Raqqa, according to the activists.
 
One of the activists, who spoke from the province on condition of anonymity, said that up to 100 fighters from the Nusra Front, another Al-Qaeda affiliate, and the Ahrar al-Sham brigade, captured by ISIS in the town of Tel Abyad on the border with Turkey, the nearby area of Qantari and the provincial capital city of Raqqa, were shot dead.
 
There was no independent confirmation of the report.
 
"About 70 bodies, most shot in the head, were collected and sent to the Raqqa National hospital," the activist told Reuters.
 
"Many of those executed had been wounded in the fighting. The fact that Nusra Front and Ahrar al-Sham are ideologically similar to the ISIS did not matter," he added.
 
In recent days, the fighting between ISIS and other Syrian rebels has escalated. Earlier Sunday it was reported that close to 500 people had been killed in the fighting between rival groups.
 
Three powerful rebel alliances – among them Islamist groups - have teamed up to fight ISIS, which they have warned is worse than Bashar Al-Assad’s regime.
 
The fact that ISIS executed rivals it caught should come as no surprise. The group has been accused of several human rights abuses, including torturing and murdering prisoners, among them children and teenagers, and forcing Druze men to convert to Islam or die.
 
The Al-Qaeda linked group has vowed to “crush” other rebel groups in Syria.
 
The group’s growth has alarmed Western nations, who are pushing the opposition to attend peace talks in Switzerland later this month, and has helped Assad to portray himself as the only secular alternative to Islamist extremism.
 
ISIS regrouped and recaptured much of its stronghold in Raqqa city on Sunday, activists told Reuters, dealing a blow to rival rebel groups backed by Gulf Arab and Western states.
 
Among those reportedly executed on the weekend was Abu Saad al-Hadram, Nusra Front's commander for Raqqa province who was captured several months, opposition sources said.

Syria: ISIS Executes Members of Rival Islamist Groups

Category: Islam
Created on Friday, 17 January 2014 16:10
Rebel-Jihadist WarThe Al-Qaeda-linked Islamist State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) has executed dozens of rival Islamists over the last two days, activists told Reuters on Sunday.
 
The executions took place as the group recaptured most territory it had lost in the northeastern Syrian province of Raqqa, according to the activists.
 
One of the activists, who spoke from the province on condition of anonymity, said that up to 100 fighters from the Nusra Front, another Al-Qaeda affiliate, and the Ahrar al-Sham brigade, captured by ISIS in the town of Tel Abyad on the border with Turkey, the nearby area of Qantari and the provincial capital city of Raqqa, were shot dead.
 
There was no independent confirmation of the report.
 
"About 70 bodies, most shot in the head, were collected and sent to the Raqqa National hospital," the activist told Reuters.
 
"Many of those executed had been wounded in the fighting. The fact that Nusra Front and Ahrar al-Sham are ideologically similar to the ISIS did not matter," he added.
 
In recent days, the fighting between ISIS and other Syrian rebels has escalated. Earlier Sunday it was reported that close to 500 people had been killed in the fighting between rival groups.
 
Three powerful rebel alliances – among them Islamist groups - have teamed up to fight ISIS, which they have warned is worse than Bashar Al-Assad’s regime.
 
The fact that ISIS executed rivals it caught should come as no surprise. The group has been accused of several human rights abuses, including torturing and murdering prisoners, among them children and teenagers, and forcing Druze men to convert to Islam or die.
 
The Al-Qaeda linked group has vowed to “crush” other rebel groups in Syria.
 
The group’s growth has alarmed Western nations, who are pushing the opposition to attend peace talks in Switzerland later this month, and has helped Assad to portray himself as the only secular alternative to Islamist extremism.
 
ISIS regrouped and recaptured much of its stronghold in Raqqa city on Sunday, activists told Reuters, dealing a blow to rival rebel groups backed by Gulf Arab and Western states.
 
Among those reportedly executed on the weekend was Abu Saad al-Hadram, Nusra Front's commander for Raqqa province who was captured several months, opposition sources said.

Syrian Rebels Exchange Insults

Category: Media
Created on Tuesday, 14 January 2014 07:50
Members of the Free Syrian Army perform prayers in Damascus ReutersFighting the “moderate” rebels of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) takes precedence over fighting Jews and Christians, according to a rebel from the jihadist Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS).
 
In a two-way radio conversation between ISIS and FSA fighters, which was posted on the internet on Monday and translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), rebels from rival Syrian groups can be heard exchanging insults.
 
{youtube}ZbY9uU3kQc0{/youtube}
 
In recent days, several groups of Syrian rebels united for the purpose of launching a new “revolution” against the Al-Qaeda-affiliated ISIS, which is part of a group of jihadist rebels that declared Aleppo to be an independent Islamist state and have summarily executed members of the Western-backed rebel groups.
 
In the video, one ISIS fighter is seen and heard speaking with an FSA fighter and saying that members of the FSA are not Muslims.
 
When the FSA fighter on the other side says that ISIS does not belong in Syria and should go fight Israel, the ISIS member replies, “Fighting apostates takes precedence over fighting original infidels. Fighting apostates, like you people, who curse Allah and His Messenger, and violate the honor of Muslims, takes precedence over fighting the Jews and the Christians. All imams concur on that.”

Syrian Rebels Exchange Insults

Category: Media
Created on Tuesday, 14 January 2014 07:50
Members of the Free Syrian Army perform prayers in Damascus ReutersFighting the “moderate” rebels of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) takes precedence over fighting Jews and Christians, according to a rebel from the jihadist Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS).
 
In a two-way radio conversation between ISIS and FSA fighters, which was posted on the internet on Monday and translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), rebels from rival Syrian groups can be heard exchanging insults.
 
{youtube}ZbY9uU3kQc0{/youtube}
 
In recent days, several groups of Syrian rebels united for the purpose of launching a new “revolution” against the Al-Qaeda-affiliated ISIS, which is part of a group of jihadist rebels that declared Aleppo to be an independent Islamist state and have summarily executed members of the Western-backed rebel groups.
 
In the video, one ISIS fighter is seen and heard speaking with an FSA fighter and saying that members of the FSA are not Muslims.
 
When the FSA fighter on the other side says that ISIS does not belong in Syria and should go fight Israel, the ISIS member replies, “Fighting apostates takes precedence over fighting original infidels. Fighting apostates, like you people, who curse Allah and His Messenger, and violate the honor of Muslims, takes precedence over fighting the Jews and the Christians. All imams concur on that.”

Syrian Rebels Exchange Insults

Category: Media
Created on Tuesday, 14 January 2014 07:50
Members of the Free Syrian Army perform prayers in Damascus ReutersFighting the “moderate” rebels of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) takes precedence over fighting Jews and Christians, according to a rebel from the jihadist Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS).
 
In a two-way radio conversation between ISIS and FSA fighters, which was posted on the internet on Monday and translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), rebels from rival Syrian groups can be heard exchanging insults.
 
{youtube}ZbY9uU3kQc0{/youtube}
 
In recent days, several groups of Syrian rebels united for the purpose of launching a new “revolution” against the Al-Qaeda-affiliated ISIS, which is part of a group of jihadist rebels that declared Aleppo to be an independent Islamist state and have summarily executed members of the Western-backed rebel groups.
 
In the video, one ISIS fighter is seen and heard speaking with an FSA fighter and saying that members of the FSA are not Muslims.
 
When the FSA fighter on the other side says that ISIS does not belong in Syria and should go fight Israel, the ISIS member replies, “Fighting apostates takes precedence over fighting original infidels. Fighting apostates, like you people, who curse Allah and His Messenger, and violate the honor of Muslims, takes precedence over fighting the Jews and the Christians. All imams concur on that.”

Syrian Rebels Exchange Insults

Category: Media
Created on Tuesday, 14 January 2014 07:50
Members of the Free Syrian Army perform prayers in Damascus ReutersFighting the “moderate” rebels of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) takes precedence over fighting Jews and Christians, according to a rebel from the jihadist Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS).
 
In a two-way radio conversation between ISIS and FSA fighters, which was posted on the internet on Monday and translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), rebels from rival Syrian groups can be heard exchanging insults.
 
{youtube}ZbY9uU3kQc0{/youtube}
 
In recent days, several groups of Syrian rebels united for the purpose of launching a new “revolution” against the Al-Qaeda-affiliated ISIS, which is part of a group of jihadist rebels that declared Aleppo to be an independent Islamist state and have summarily executed members of the Western-backed rebel groups.
 
In the video, one ISIS fighter is seen and heard speaking with an FSA fighter and saying that members of the FSA are not Muslims.
 
When the FSA fighter on the other side says that ISIS does not belong in Syria and should go fight Israel, the ISIS member replies, “Fighting apostates takes precedence over fighting original infidels. Fighting apostates, like you people, who curse Allah and His Messenger, and violate the honor of Muslims, takes precedence over fighting the Jews and the Christians. All imams concur on that.”

Iran Not Invited to Syria Peace Talks

Category: News
Created on Wednesday, 08 January 2014 07:03
Irans Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei R meets Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal in Tehran Dec. 15 2009.Iran will not be part of the planned Geneva II peace conference on Syria, despite President Bashar Al-Assad’s wish to have his key ally attend, Al Arabiya reported on Monday.
 
According to the report, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Monday started sending out invitations to the peace conference, but Iran was not on the first list.
 
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will meet on January 13 in a bid to decide on whether Iran should take part in the conference due to be held on January 22, UN deputy spokesman Farhan Haq told Al Arabiya.
 
American officials in Brussels have said that Iran could participate in the talks if it helps put an end to the Syrian regime’s bombardment of Aleppo and improve humanitarian access to trapped civilians.
 
“There are also steps that Iran could take to show the international community that they are serious about being a positive player,” a senior State Department official told reporters travelling with Secretary of State John Kerry.
 
“Those include calling for an end to the bombardment by the Syrian regime of their own people, it includes calling for encouraging humanitarian access,” the official said, according to Al Arabiya.
 
One U.S. official said Washington still believed it was ‘less likely than likely’ that Iran would play any role at the peace conference, even on the sidelines.
 
Another official said Iran and the United States had not discussed the matter directly. All the officials declined to be named.
 
Washington has long opposed Iranian participation in the talks without it signing up to a June 2012 accord calling for a transitional government to replace the Assad regime.
 
Ban last month launched a fresh appeal for Iran to take part, but UN-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi said that the United States was blocking this from happening.
 
"It's no secret that we in the United Nations welcome the participation of Iran, but our partners in the United States are still not convinced" that "Iran's participation is the right thing to do," he said.
 
Kerry on Sunday opened the door to possible involvement by Tehran in the conference.
 
“Could they contribute from the sidelines? Are there ways, conceivably, to weigh in? Can their mission that is already in Geneva be there in order to help the process? It may be that there are ways that can happen,” Kerry said.
 
“We’re happy to have Iran be helpful,” he added.
 
Throughout the civil war in Syria, Iran has provided Assad with military support during his fight against the rebels.
 
Former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad personally sanctioned the dispatch of officers from the Iranian Revolutionary Guards to Syria to fight alongside Assad’s troops.
 
An Iranian parliamentarian recently boasted that his country sent “hundreds of battalions” to fight in Syria alongside Assad’s troops.

Iran Not Invited to Syria Peace Talks

Category: News
Created on Wednesday, 08 January 2014 07:03
Irans Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei R meets Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal in Tehran Dec. 15 2009.Iran will not be part of the planned Geneva II peace conference on Syria, despite President Bashar Al-Assad’s wish to have his key ally attend, Al Arabiya reported on Monday.
 
According to the report, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Monday started sending out invitations to the peace conference, but Iran was not on the first list.
 
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will meet on January 13 in a bid to decide on whether Iran should take part in the conference due to be held on January 22, UN deputy spokesman Farhan Haq told Al Arabiya.
 
American officials in Brussels have said that Iran could participate in the talks if it helps put an end to the Syrian regime’s bombardment of Aleppo and improve humanitarian access to trapped civilians.
 
“There are also steps that Iran could take to show the international community that they are serious about being a positive player,” a senior State Department official told reporters travelling with Secretary of State John Kerry.
 
“Those include calling for an end to the bombardment by the Syrian regime of their own people, it includes calling for encouraging humanitarian access,” the official said, according to Al Arabiya.
 
One U.S. official said Washington still believed it was ‘less likely than likely’ that Iran would play any role at the peace conference, even on the sidelines.
 
Another official said Iran and the United States had not discussed the matter directly. All the officials declined to be named.
 
Washington has long opposed Iranian participation in the talks without it signing up to a June 2012 accord calling for a transitional government to replace the Assad regime.
 
Ban last month launched a fresh appeal for Iran to take part, but UN-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi said that the United States was blocking this from happening.
 
"It's no secret that we in the United Nations welcome the participation of Iran, but our partners in the United States are still not convinced" that "Iran's participation is the right thing to do," he said.
 
Kerry on Sunday opened the door to possible involvement by Tehran in the conference.
 
“Could they contribute from the sidelines? Are there ways, conceivably, to weigh in? Can their mission that is already in Geneva be there in order to help the process? It may be that there are ways that can happen,” Kerry said.
 
“We’re happy to have Iran be helpful,” he added.
 
Throughout the civil war in Syria, Iran has provided Assad with military support during his fight against the rebels.
 
Former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad personally sanctioned the dispatch of officers from the Iranian Revolutionary Guards to Syria to fight alongside Assad’s troops.
 
An Iranian parliamentarian recently boasted that his country sent “hundreds of battalions” to fight in Syria alongside Assad’s troops.

Iran Not Invited to Syria Peace Talks

Category: News
Created on Wednesday, 08 January 2014 07:03
Irans Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei R meets Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal in Tehran Dec. 15 2009.Iran will not be part of the planned Geneva II peace conference on Syria, despite President Bashar Al-Assad’s wish to have his key ally attend, Al Arabiya reported on Monday.
 
According to the report, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Monday started sending out invitations to the peace conference, but Iran was not on the first list.
 
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will meet on January 13 in a bid to decide on whether Iran should take part in the conference due to be held on January 22, UN deputy spokesman Farhan Haq told Al Arabiya.
 
American officials in Brussels have said that Iran could participate in the talks if it helps put an end to the Syrian regime’s bombardment of Aleppo and improve humanitarian access to trapped civilians.
 
“There are also steps that Iran could take to show the international community that they are serious about being a positive player,” a senior State Department official told reporters travelling with Secretary of State John Kerry.
 
“Those include calling for an end to the bombardment by the Syrian regime of their own people, it includes calling for encouraging humanitarian access,” the official said, according to Al Arabiya.
 
One U.S. official said Washington still believed it was ‘less likely than likely’ that Iran would play any role at the peace conference, even on the sidelines.
 
Another official said Iran and the United States had not discussed the matter directly. All the officials declined to be named.
 
Washington has long opposed Iranian participation in the talks without it signing up to a June 2012 accord calling for a transitional government to replace the Assad regime.
 
Ban last month launched a fresh appeal for Iran to take part, but UN-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi said that the United States was blocking this from happening.
 
"It's no secret that we in the United Nations welcome the participation of Iran, but our partners in the United States are still not convinced" that "Iran's participation is the right thing to do," he said.
 
Kerry on Sunday opened the door to possible involvement by Tehran in the conference.
 
“Could they contribute from the sidelines? Are there ways, conceivably, to weigh in? Can their mission that is already in Geneva be there in order to help the process? It may be that there are ways that can happen,” Kerry said.
 
“We’re happy to have Iran be helpful,” he added.
 
Throughout the civil war in Syria, Iran has provided Assad with military support during his fight against the rebels.
 
Former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad personally sanctioned the dispatch of officers from the Iranian Revolutionary Guards to Syria to fight alongside Assad’s troops.
 
An Iranian parliamentarian recently boasted that his country sent “hundreds of battalions” to fight in Syria alongside Assad’s troops.

Iran Not Invited to Syria Peace Talks

Category: News
Created on Wednesday, 08 January 2014 07:03
Irans Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei R meets Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal in Tehran Dec. 15 2009.Iran will not be part of the planned Geneva II peace conference on Syria, despite President Bashar Al-Assad’s wish to have his key ally attend, Al Arabiya reported on Monday.
 
According to the report, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Monday started sending out invitations to the peace conference, but Iran was not on the first list.
 
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will meet on January 13 in a bid to decide on whether Iran should take part in the conference due to be held on January 22, UN deputy spokesman Farhan Haq told Al Arabiya.
 
American officials in Brussels have said that Iran could participate in the talks if it helps put an end to the Syrian regime’s bombardment of Aleppo and improve humanitarian access to trapped civilians.
 
“There are also steps that Iran could take to show the international community that they are serious about being a positive player,” a senior State Department official told reporters travelling with Secretary of State John Kerry.
 
“Those include calling for an end to the bombardment by the Syrian regime of their own people, it includes calling for encouraging humanitarian access,” the official said, according to Al Arabiya.
 
One U.S. official said Washington still believed it was ‘less likely than likely’ that Iran would play any role at the peace conference, even on the sidelines.
 
Another official said Iran and the United States had not discussed the matter directly. All the officials declined to be named.
 
Washington has long opposed Iranian participation in the talks without it signing up to a June 2012 accord calling for a transitional government to replace the Assad regime.
 
Ban last month launched a fresh appeal for Iran to take part, but UN-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi said that the United States was blocking this from happening.
 
"It's no secret that we in the United Nations welcome the participation of Iran, but our partners in the United States are still not convinced" that "Iran's participation is the right thing to do," he said.
 
Kerry on Sunday opened the door to possible involvement by Tehran in the conference.
 
“Could they contribute from the sidelines? Are there ways, conceivably, to weigh in? Can their mission that is already in Geneva be there in order to help the process? It may be that there are ways that can happen,” Kerry said.
 
“We’re happy to have Iran be helpful,” he added.
 
Throughout the civil war in Syria, Iran has provided Assad with military support during his fight against the rebels.
 
Former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad personally sanctioned the dispatch of officers from the Iranian Revolutionary Guards to Syria to fight alongside Assad’s troops.
 
An Iranian parliamentarian recently boasted that his country sent “hundreds of battalions” to fight in Syria alongside Assad’s troops.

Syria: Rebel-Jihadist War Claims at Least 50 Lives

Category: News
Created on Monday, 06 January 2014 19:42
Rebel-Jihadist WarAt least 50 Syrian rebels were killed on Sunday as the country’s “second civil war” between moderate and jihadist rebels continued, AFP reported.
 
The latest deaths came one day after several groups of Syrian rebels said they had united for the purpose of launching a new “revolution” the Al-Qaeda-affiliated the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
 
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights told AFP the rebels were killed in fighting, car bombings and summary executions by forces loyal to the jihadist group.
 
Sunday's deaths came on day three of fighting that began when rebels, including Islamists, attacked checkpoints and bases manned by ISIL, which is accused of horrific abuses in areas where its fighters operate.
 
ISIL has been taking key roads and checkpoints from its rivals, and some opponents of President Bashar Al-Assad have even accused it of serving regime interests.
 
At least nine fighters from the jihadist group were also killed on Sunday, the Britain-based Observatory said.
 
Most of the non-ISIL fatalities were in the northern provinces of Aleppo and Idlib, where the fighting began on Friday.
 
Among the dead were "seven who were summarily executed by ISIL", AFP quoted the group as saying.
 
Clashes also erupted in Raqa and Hama provinces on Sunday, in a sign the fighting was spreading.
 
Scores of fighters on both sides have been killed in the past three days, the Observatory says.
 
"The rebels have made significant gains (since Friday) in the west of Aleppo province, in the north of Idlib and east of Maaret al-Numan (Idlib)," said Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman.
 
The Observatory also said ISIL fighters were laying down their arms and withdrawing from some areas, without elaborating.
 
The Islamic Front, the country's biggest rebel alliance, issued a strong warning to the jihadists.
 
"We fight against whoever attacks us and whoever pushes us to battle, whether they are Syrian or foreign," said the alliance grouping tens of thousands of anti-Assad rebels.
 
Meanwhile, an ISIL statement similarly warned the rebels to stop pressuring them, or they would withdraw from the front lines in Aleppo city and let in Assad's forces.
 
The Islamic Front on Sunday said it was "thankful to the foreigners who came to help us" but "we will not accept any group that claims to be a state".
 
ISIL is one of several jihadist rebel groups operating in Syria and which at one point split off from the Western-backed Syrian National Council opposition force, declaring Aleppo to be an independent Islamist state.
 
In addition to its involvement in the Syrian war, the Al-Qaeda affiliate seized the city of Fallujah in neighboring Iraq on Saturday, and claimed a suicide bomb attack in a Beirut stronghold of Hezbollah, the movement fighting alongside Assad's forces.

Syria: Rebel-Jihadist War Claims at Least 50 Lives

Category: News
Created on Monday, 06 January 2014 19:42
Rebel-Jihadist WarAt least 50 Syrian rebels were killed on Sunday as the country’s “second civil war” between moderate and jihadist rebels continued, AFP reported.
 
The latest deaths came one day after several groups of Syrian rebels said they had united for the purpose of launching a new “revolution” the Al-Qaeda-affiliated the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
 
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights told AFP the rebels were killed in fighting, car bombings and summary executions by forces loyal to the jihadist group.
 
Sunday's deaths came on day three of fighting that began when rebels, including Islamists, attacked checkpoints and bases manned by ISIL, which is accused of horrific abuses in areas where its fighters operate.
 
ISIL has been taking key roads and checkpoints from its rivals, and some opponents of President Bashar Al-Assad have even accused it of serving regime interests.
 
At least nine fighters from the jihadist group were also killed on Sunday, the Britain-based Observatory said.
 
Most of the non-ISIL fatalities were in the northern provinces of Aleppo and Idlib, where the fighting began on Friday.
 
Among the dead were "seven who were summarily executed by ISIL", AFP quoted the group as saying.
 
Clashes also erupted in Raqa and Hama provinces on Sunday, in a sign the fighting was spreading.
 
Scores of fighters on both sides have been killed in the past three days, the Observatory says.
 
"The rebels have made significant gains (since Friday) in the west of Aleppo province, in the north of Idlib and east of Maaret al-Numan (Idlib)," said Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman.
 
The Observatory also said ISIL fighters were laying down their arms and withdrawing from some areas, without elaborating.
 
The Islamic Front, the country's biggest rebel alliance, issued a strong warning to the jihadists.
 
"We fight against whoever attacks us and whoever pushes us to battle, whether they are Syrian or foreign," said the alliance grouping tens of thousands of anti-Assad rebels.
 
Meanwhile, an ISIL statement similarly warned the rebels to stop pressuring them, or they would withdraw from the front lines in Aleppo city and let in Assad's forces.
 
The Islamic Front on Sunday said it was "thankful to the foreigners who came to help us" but "we will not accept any group that claims to be a state".
 
ISIL is one of several jihadist rebel groups operating in Syria and which at one point split off from the Western-backed Syrian National Council opposition force, declaring Aleppo to be an independent Islamist state.
 
In addition to its involvement in the Syrian war, the Al-Qaeda affiliate seized the city of Fallujah in neighboring Iraq on Saturday, and claimed a suicide bomb attack in a Beirut stronghold of Hezbollah, the movement fighting alongside Assad's forces.

Syria: Rebel-Jihadist War Claims at Least 50 Lives

Category: News
Created on Monday, 06 January 2014 19:42
Rebel-Jihadist WarAt least 50 Syrian rebels were killed on Sunday as the country’s “second civil war” between moderate and jihadist rebels continued, AFP reported.
 
The latest deaths came one day after several groups of Syrian rebels said they had united for the purpose of launching a new “revolution” the Al-Qaeda-affiliated the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
 
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights told AFP the rebels were killed in fighting, car bombings and summary executions by forces loyal to the jihadist group.
 
Sunday's deaths came on day three of fighting that began when rebels, including Islamists, attacked checkpoints and bases manned by ISIL, which is accused of horrific abuses in areas where its fighters operate.
 
ISIL has been taking key roads and checkpoints from its rivals, and some opponents of President Bashar Al-Assad have even accused it of serving regime interests.
 
At least nine fighters from the jihadist group were also killed on Sunday, the Britain-based Observatory said.
 
Most of the non-ISIL fatalities were in the northern provinces of Aleppo and Idlib, where the fighting began on Friday.
 
Among the dead were "seven who were summarily executed by ISIL", AFP quoted the group as saying.
 
Clashes also erupted in Raqa and Hama provinces on Sunday, in a sign the fighting was spreading.
 
Scores of fighters on both sides have been killed in the past three days, the Observatory says.
 
"The rebels have made significant gains (since Friday) in the west of Aleppo province, in the north of Idlib and east of Maaret al-Numan (Idlib)," said Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman.
 
The Observatory also said ISIL fighters were laying down their arms and withdrawing from some areas, without elaborating.
 
The Islamic Front, the country's biggest rebel alliance, issued a strong warning to the jihadists.
 
"We fight against whoever attacks us and whoever pushes us to battle, whether they are Syrian or foreign," said the alliance grouping tens of thousands of anti-Assad rebels.
 
Meanwhile, an ISIL statement similarly warned the rebels to stop pressuring them, or they would withdraw from the front lines in Aleppo city and let in Assad's forces.
 
The Islamic Front on Sunday said it was "thankful to the foreigners who came to help us" but "we will not accept any group that claims to be a state".
 
ISIL is one of several jihadist rebel groups operating in Syria and which at one point split off from the Western-backed Syrian National Council opposition force, declaring Aleppo to be an independent Islamist state.
 
In addition to its involvement in the Syrian war, the Al-Qaeda affiliate seized the city of Fallujah in neighboring Iraq on Saturday, and claimed a suicide bomb attack in a Beirut stronghold of Hezbollah, the movement fighting alongside Assad's forces.

Syria: Rebel-Jihadist War Claims at Least 50 Lives

Category: News
Created on Monday, 06 January 2014 19:42
Rebel-Jihadist WarAt least 50 Syrian rebels were killed on Sunday as the country’s “second civil war” between moderate and jihadist rebels continued, AFP reported.
 
The latest deaths came one day after several groups of Syrian rebels said they had united for the purpose of launching a new “revolution” the Al-Qaeda-affiliated the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
 
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights told AFP the rebels were killed in fighting, car bombings and summary executions by forces loyal to the jihadist group.
 
Sunday's deaths came on day three of fighting that began when rebels, including Islamists, attacked checkpoints and bases manned by ISIL, which is accused of horrific abuses in areas where its fighters operate.
 
ISIL has been taking key roads and checkpoints from its rivals, and some opponents of President Bashar Al-Assad have even accused it of serving regime interests.
 
At least nine fighters from the jihadist group were also killed on Sunday, the Britain-based Observatory said.
 
Most of the non-ISIL fatalities were in the northern provinces of Aleppo and Idlib, where the fighting began on Friday.
 
Among the dead were "seven who were summarily executed by ISIL", AFP quoted the group as saying.
 
Clashes also erupted in Raqa and Hama provinces on Sunday, in a sign the fighting was spreading.
 
Scores of fighters on both sides have been killed in the past three days, the Observatory says.
 
"The rebels have made significant gains (since Friday) in the west of Aleppo province, in the north of Idlib and east of Maaret al-Numan (Idlib)," said Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman.
 
The Observatory also said ISIL fighters were laying down their arms and withdrawing from some areas, without elaborating.
 
The Islamic Front, the country's biggest rebel alliance, issued a strong warning to the jihadists.
 
"We fight against whoever attacks us and whoever pushes us to battle, whether they are Syrian or foreign," said the alliance grouping tens of thousands of anti-Assad rebels.
 
Meanwhile, an ISIL statement similarly warned the rebels to stop pressuring them, or they would withdraw from the front lines in Aleppo city and let in Assad's forces.
 
The Islamic Front on Sunday said it was "thankful to the foreigners who came to help us" but "we will not accept any group that claims to be a state".
 
ISIL is one of several jihadist rebel groups operating in Syria and which at one point split off from the Western-backed Syrian National Council opposition force, declaring Aleppo to be an independent Islamist state.
 
In addition to its involvement in the Syrian war, the Al-Qaeda affiliate seized the city of Fallujah in neighboring Iraq on Saturday, and claimed a suicide bomb attack in a Beirut stronghold of Hezbollah, the movement fighting alongside Assad's forces.

Syria: 25 Lashes for Failing to Pray

Category: Islam
Created on Saturday, 04 January 2014 18:12
Preparing to be floggedSyria is undergoing an accelerated process of Islamization, which is led by extremist Islamist rebel groups that follow sharia courts, and who operate a morality police force that enforces law and order Islam-style.
 
In Haleb, two men were convicted of failing to take part in the Friday prayers, and were sentenced to 25 lashes each, to be delivered publicly.
 
The two convicted men were brought to the city square, where they were flogged on their bare backs. The crowd that had gathered watched the scene quietly.
{youtube}BKkH6tcW8Ec{/youtube}
This is not the first time that the Ahrar al-Sham Islamist organization carried out flogging sentences in public. The Islamic organizations' religious court has even meted out sentences of capital punishment in the past.

Syria: 25 Lashes for Failing to Pray

Category: Islam
Created on Saturday, 04 January 2014 18:12
Preparing to be floggedSyria is undergoing an accelerated process of Islamization, which is led by extremist Islamist rebel groups that follow sharia courts, and who operate a morality police force that enforces law and order Islam-style.
 
In Haleb, two men were convicted of failing to take part in the Friday prayers, and were sentenced to 25 lashes each, to be delivered publicly.
 
The two convicted men were brought to the city square, where they were flogged on their bare backs. The crowd that had gathered watched the scene quietly.
{youtube}BKkH6tcW8Ec{/youtube}
This is not the first time that the Ahrar al-Sham Islamist organization carried out flogging sentences in public. The Islamic organizations' religious court has even meted out sentences of capital punishment in the past.

Syria: 25 Lashes for Failing to Pray

Category: Islam
Created on Saturday, 04 January 2014 18:12
Preparing to be floggedSyria is undergoing an accelerated process of Islamization, which is led by extremist Islamist rebel groups that follow sharia courts, and who operate a morality police force that enforces law and order Islam-style.
 
In Haleb, two men were convicted of failing to take part in the Friday prayers, and were sentenced to 25 lashes each, to be delivered publicly.
 
The two convicted men were brought to the city square, where they were flogged on their bare backs. The crowd that had gathered watched the scene quietly.
{youtube}BKkH6tcW8Ec{/youtube}
This is not the first time that the Ahrar al-Sham Islamist organization carried out flogging sentences in public. The Islamic organizations' religious court has even meted out sentences of capital punishment in the past.

Syria: 25 Lashes for Failing to Pray

Category: Islam
Created on Saturday, 04 January 2014 18:12
Preparing to be floggedSyria is undergoing an accelerated process of Islamization, which is led by extremist Islamist rebel groups that follow sharia courts, and who operate a morality police force that enforces law and order Islam-style.
 
In Haleb, two men were convicted of failing to take part in the Friday prayers, and were sentenced to 25 lashes each, to be delivered publicly.
 
The two convicted men were brought to the city square, where they were flogged on their bare backs. The crowd that had gathered watched the scene quietly.
{youtube}BKkH6tcW8Ec{/youtube}
This is not the first time that the Ahrar al-Sham Islamist organization carried out flogging sentences in public. The Islamic organizations' religious court has even meted out sentences of capital punishment in the past.

Syrian Mufti's Aide Gives Army Permission to Rape

Category: Islam
Created on Friday, 03 January 2014 12:13
fatwa-on-sexual-jihadHuman rights groups report that thousands of women have been raped by Syrian army soldiers in the ongoing war, which is now in its third year and has left 130,000 dead. That trend appears likely to only increase, as a deputy to the Chief Mufti (Islamic scholar) of Syria has given religious permission to rape.
 
On Thursday, Sheikh Abd al-Rahman Ali al-Dala, aid to the chief mufti of Syria, who is loyal to President Bashar Assad, gave an interview to Sham FM, a radio station that supports Assad.
 
In the interview, Al-Dala said Syrian army soldiers have permission to "marry" unmarried and married women, sisters and mothers of the rebel fighters, without any official marriage agreement. He clarified that the rape is intended as a punishment for not reporting the rebels to the goverment forces.
 
In making his statement, the Sheikh placed his religious authority behind the rape of women and girls by soldiers, as part of their fight against the rebels.
 
According to testimony taken from captured soldiers and captains before they were put to death by rebels, rape has been employed as a common practice by the army, well before Al-Dala's official religious support was stated.
 
While particularly attractive women are reportedly brought to senior commanders, rape victims include religious muslim women dressed in face veils and full-body cloaks (niqab).
 
It must be noted that for their part, the rebels have publicized religious permission for their fighters to do as they please with women who fall into their hands. Rebels from Al Qaeda have also apparently have been forcing Syrian Druze communities to convert to Islam.
 
A study in November found that Syria was the fourth worst country in the Arab world in terms of women's rights. Egypt was found to be the worst.
 
On December 31, Syria missed the deadline to transfer its most lethal chemical weapons out of the country for destruction.

Syrian Mufti's Aide Gives Army Permission to Rape

Category: Islam
Created on Friday, 03 January 2014 12:13
fatwa-on-sexual-jihadHuman rights groups report that thousands of women have been raped by Syrian army soldiers in the ongoing war, which is now in its third year and has left 130,000 dead. That trend appears likely to only increase, as a deputy to the Chief Mufti (Islamic scholar) of Syria has given religious permission to rape.
 
On Thursday, Sheikh Abd al-Rahman Ali al-Dala, aid to the chief mufti of Syria, who is loyal to President Bashar Assad, gave an interview to Sham FM, a radio station that supports Assad.
 
In the interview, Al-Dala said Syrian army soldiers have permission to "marry" unmarried and married women, sisters and mothers of the rebel fighters, without any official marriage agreement. He clarified that the rape is intended as a punishment for not reporting the rebels to the goverment forces.
 
In making his statement, the Sheikh placed his religious authority behind the rape of women and girls by soldiers, as part of their fight against the rebels.
 
According to testimony taken from captured soldiers and captains before they were put to death by rebels, rape has been employed as a common practice by the army, well before Al-Dala's official religious support was stated.
 
While particularly attractive women are reportedly brought to senior commanders, rape victims include religious muslim women dressed in face veils and full-body cloaks (niqab).
 
It must be noted that for their part, the rebels have publicized religious permission for their fighters to do as they please with women who fall into their hands. Rebels from Al Qaeda have also apparently have been forcing Syrian Druze communities to convert to Islam.
 
A study in November found that Syria was the fourth worst country in the Arab world in terms of women's rights. Egypt was found to be the worst.
 
On December 31, Syria missed the deadline to transfer its most lethal chemical weapons out of the country for destruction.

Syrian Mufti's Aide Gives Army Permission to Rape

Category: Islam
Created on Friday, 03 January 2014 12:13
fatwa-on-sexual-jihadHuman rights groups report that thousands of women have been raped by Syrian army soldiers in the ongoing war, which is now in its third year and has left 130,000 dead. That trend appears likely to only increase, as a deputy to the Chief Mufti (Islamic scholar) of Syria has given religious permission to rape.
 
On Thursday, Sheikh Abd al-Rahman Ali al-Dala, aid to the chief mufti of Syria, who is loyal to President Bashar Assad, gave an interview to Sham FM, a radio station that supports Assad.
 
In the interview, Al-Dala said Syrian army soldiers have permission to "marry" unmarried and married women, sisters and mothers of the rebel fighters, without any official marriage agreement. He clarified that the rape is intended as a punishment for not reporting the rebels to the goverment forces.
 
In making his statement, the Sheikh placed his religious authority behind the rape of women and girls by soldiers, as part of their fight against the rebels.
 
According to testimony taken from captured soldiers and captains before they were put to death by rebels, rape has been employed as a common practice by the army, well before Al-Dala's official religious support was stated.
 
While particularly attractive women are reportedly brought to senior commanders, rape victims include religious muslim women dressed in face veils and full-body cloaks (niqab).
 
It must be noted that for their part, the rebels have publicized religious permission for their fighters to do as they please with women who fall into their hands. Rebels from Al Qaeda have also apparently have been forcing Syrian Druze communities to convert to Islam.
 
A study in November found that Syria was the fourth worst country in the Arab world in terms of women's rights. Egypt was found to be the worst.
 
On December 31, Syria missed the deadline to transfer its most lethal chemical weapons out of the country for destruction.

Syrian Mufti's Aide Gives Army Permission to Rape

Category: Islam
Created on Friday, 03 January 2014 12:13
fatwa-on-sexual-jihadHuman rights groups report that thousands of women have been raped by Syrian army soldiers in the ongoing war, which is now in its third year and has left 130,000 dead. That trend appears likely to only increase, as a deputy to the Chief Mufti (Islamic scholar) of Syria has given religious permission to rape.
 
On Thursday, Sheikh Abd al-Rahman Ali al-Dala, aid to the chief mufti of Syria, who is loyal to President Bashar Assad, gave an interview to Sham FM, a radio station that supports Assad.
 
In the interview, Al-Dala said Syrian army soldiers have permission to "marry" unmarried and married women, sisters and mothers of the rebel fighters, without any official marriage agreement. He clarified that the rape is intended as a punishment for not reporting the rebels to the goverment forces.
 
In making his statement, the Sheikh placed his religious authority behind the rape of women and girls by soldiers, as part of their fight against the rebels.
 
According to testimony taken from captured soldiers and captains before they were put to death by rebels, rape has been employed as a common practice by the army, well before Al-Dala's official religious support was stated.
 
While particularly attractive women are reportedly brought to senior commanders, rape victims include religious muslim women dressed in face veils and full-body cloaks (niqab).
 
It must be noted that for their part, the rebels have publicized religious permission for their fighters to do as they please with women who fall into their hands. Rebels from Al Qaeda have also apparently have been forcing Syrian Druze communities to convert to Islam.
 
A study in November found that Syria was the fourth worst country in the Arab world in terms of women's rights. Egypt was found to be the worst.
 
On December 31, Syria missed the deadline to transfer its most lethal chemical weapons out of the country for destruction.

Al Qaeda Opens Syrian Jihad School

Category: News
Created on Thursday, 02 January 2014 07:47
Syrian jihad schoolJabhat Al Nusra, an Islamist group affiliated with Al Qaeda, maintains an infrastructure of governance as one of the central opposition forces. Aside from managing religious courts based on Islamic sharia law, the group has opened new schooling programs emphasizing Islam and jihad.
 
In the southern Syrian town of Daraa, a school established by the organization teaches roughly 30 students ranging in age from 10 to 15 to believe in Allah, follow Islam, and aspire to jihad holy war.
 
Video footage from the school shows students learning by rote passages from the Koran, reading "our path is the path of jihad."
 
The use of child soldiers by rebel forces, including the more "moderate" Free Syrian Army (FSA), has been documented, and shows how the lessons learned in the school may quickly be turned into action.
 
On the walls of the classroom hang posters featuring verses from the Koran, including one praising jihadist "martyrs," explaining that they aren't "dead" but rather "living" with Allah.
 
One of the teachers explains that the students learn how to use weapons and are prepared to become jihadists. Video can be seen here:
 
{youtube}zX6ooVB5URo{/youtube}
The Islamist nature of the Syrian opposition forces has been a point of contention, with Russia recently claiming the West understands Syrian President Bashar Assad is "better" than the rebels.
 
The Russian comment came after Islamic Front battalions, which call for an Islamic state, took over warehouses held by the more secular FSA in early December, leading the US and Britain to suspend military funding to rebel factions.
 
Geneva II peace talks, aiming to end the 3 year conflict that has claimed over 100,000 lives and created over 2 million refugees, are set for January 22.

Al Qaeda Opens Syrian Jihad School

Category: News
Created on Thursday, 02 January 2014 07:47
Syrian jihad schoolJabhat Al Nusra, an Islamist group affiliated with Al Qaeda, maintains an infrastructure of governance as one of the central opposition forces. Aside from managing religious courts based on Islamic sharia law, the group has opened new schooling programs emphasizing Islam and jihad.
 
In the southern Syrian town of Daraa, a school established by the organization teaches roughly 30 students ranging in age from 10 to 15 to believe in Allah, follow Islam, and aspire to jihad holy war.
 
Video footage from the school shows students learning by rote passages from the Koran, reading "our path is the path of jihad."
 
The use of child soldiers by rebel forces, including the more "moderate" Free Syrian Army (FSA), has been documented, and shows how the lessons learned in the school may quickly be turned into action.
 
On the walls of the classroom hang posters featuring verses from the Koran, including one praising jihadist "martyrs," explaining that they aren't "dead" but rather "living" with Allah.
 
One of the teachers explains that the students learn how to use weapons and are prepared to become jihadists. Video can be seen here:
 
{youtube}zX6ooVB5URo{/youtube}
The Islamist nature of the Syrian opposition forces has been a point of contention, with Russia recently claiming the West understands Syrian President Bashar Assad is "better" than the rebels.
 
The Russian comment came after Islamic Front battalions, which call for an Islamic state, took over warehouses held by the more secular FSA in early December, leading the US and Britain to suspend military funding to rebel factions.
 
Geneva II peace talks, aiming to end the 3 year conflict that has claimed over 100,000 lives and created over 2 million refugees, are set for January 22.

Al Qaeda Opens Syrian Jihad School

Category: News
Created on Thursday, 02 January 2014 07:47
Syrian jihad schoolJabhat Al Nusra, an Islamist group affiliated with Al Qaeda, maintains an infrastructure of governance as one of the central opposition forces. Aside from managing religious courts based on Islamic sharia law, the group has opened new schooling programs emphasizing Islam and jihad.
 
In the southern Syrian town of Daraa, a school established by the organization teaches roughly 30 students ranging in age from 10 to 15 to believe in Allah, follow Islam, and aspire to jihad holy war.
 
Video footage from the school shows students learning by rote passages from the Koran, reading "our path is the path of jihad."
 
The use of child soldiers by rebel forces, including the more "moderate" Free Syrian Army (FSA), has been documented, and shows how the lessons learned in the school may quickly be turned into action.
 
On the walls of the classroom hang posters featuring verses from the Koran, including one praising jihadist "martyrs," explaining that they aren't "dead" but rather "living" with Allah.
 
One of the teachers explains that the students learn how to use weapons and are prepared to become jihadists. Video can be seen here:
 
{youtube}zX6ooVB5URo{/youtube}
The Islamist nature of the Syrian opposition forces has been a point of contention, with Russia recently claiming the West understands Syrian President Bashar Assad is "better" than the rebels.
 
The Russian comment came after Islamic Front battalions, which call for an Islamic state, took over warehouses held by the more secular FSA in early December, leading the US and Britain to suspend military funding to rebel factions.
 
Geneva II peace talks, aiming to end the 3 year conflict that has claimed over 100,000 lives and created over 2 million refugees, are set for January 22.

Al Qaeda Opens Syrian Jihad School

Category: News
Created on Thursday, 02 January 2014 07:47
Syrian jihad schoolJabhat Al Nusra, an Islamist group affiliated with Al Qaeda, maintains an infrastructure of governance as one of the central opposition forces. Aside from managing religious courts based on Islamic sharia law, the group has opened new schooling programs emphasizing Islam and jihad.
 
In the southern Syrian town of Daraa, a school established by the organization teaches roughly 30 students ranging in age from 10 to 15 to believe in Allah, follow Islam, and aspire to jihad holy war.
 
Video footage from the school shows students learning by rote passages from the Koran, reading "our path is the path of jihad."
 
The use of child soldiers by rebel forces, including the more "moderate" Free Syrian Army (FSA), has been documented, and shows how the lessons learned in the school may quickly be turned into action.
 
On the walls of the classroom hang posters featuring verses from the Koran, including one praising jihadist "martyrs," explaining that they aren't "dead" but rather "living" with Allah.
 
One of the teachers explains that the students learn how to use weapons and are prepared to become jihadists. Video can be seen here:
 
{youtube}zX6ooVB5URo{/youtube}
The Islamist nature of the Syrian opposition forces has been a point of contention, with Russia recently claiming the West understands Syrian President Bashar Assad is "better" than the rebels.
 
The Russian comment came after Islamic Front battalions, which call for an Islamic state, took over warehouses held by the more secular FSA in early December, leading the US and Britain to suspend military funding to rebel factions.
 
Geneva II peace talks, aiming to end the 3 year conflict that has claimed over 100,000 lives and created over 2 million refugees, are set for January 22.

Al Qaeda Forces Syrian Druze to Renounce Faith

Category: Reports
Created on Tuesday, 24 December 2013 16:31
JihadistsSyrian rebels from Al-Qaeda are systematically forcing Syrian Druze communities to convert to Islam - or die, Walla! reported Monday.
 
Syrian opposition forces have reportedly declared to the Israeli daily that at least 14 Druze villages have been forced to convert to Islam by the Islamist group so far.
 
The information has apparently leaked from representatives of the villages, who declared that they had no choice but to convert and had been threatened with death. 
 
The specific group responsible for the attack is the Al Qaeda affiliated Islamic State of Iraq and al-Shams (ISIS). The group has seized large sections of Northern Syria and has reportedly been implementing Sharia law there. 
 
ISIS officials have openly declared that they plan to turn Druze places of worships in mosques and change the entire region to a fundamentalist Islamist state. 
 
Israeli Druze leaders stated Monday to the daily that they have been aware of ongoing issues with Islamists near their Syrian communities, and that they have pledged to help Syrian Druze as much as possible. 

Al Qaeda Forces Syrian Druze to Renounce Faith

Category: Reports
Created on Tuesday, 24 December 2013 16:31
JihadistsSyrian rebels from Al-Qaeda are systematically forcing Syrian Druze communities to convert to Islam - or die, Walla! reported Monday.
 
Syrian opposition forces have reportedly declared to the Israeli daily that at least 14 Druze villages have been forced to convert to Islam by the Islamist group so far.
 
The information has apparently leaked from representatives of the villages, who declared that they had no choice but to convert and had been threatened with death. 
 
The specific group responsible for the attack is the Al Qaeda affiliated Islamic State of Iraq and al-Shams (ISIS). The group has seized large sections of Northern Syria and has reportedly been implementing Sharia law there. 
 
ISIS officials have openly declared that they plan to turn Druze places of worships in mosques and change the entire region to a fundamentalist Islamist state. 
 
Israeli Druze leaders stated Monday to the daily that they have been aware of ongoing issues with Islamists near their Syrian communities, and that they have pledged to help Syrian Druze as much as possible. 

Al Qaeda Forces Syrian Druze to Renounce Faith

Category: Reports
Created on Tuesday, 24 December 2013 16:31
JihadistsSyrian rebels from Al-Qaeda are systematically forcing Syrian Druze communities to convert to Islam - or die, Walla! reported Monday.
 
Syrian opposition forces have reportedly declared to the Israeli daily that at least 14 Druze villages have been forced to convert to Islam by the Islamist group so far.
 
The information has apparently leaked from representatives of the villages, who declared that they had no choice but to convert and had been threatened with death. 
 
The specific group responsible for the attack is the Al Qaeda affiliated Islamic State of Iraq and al-Shams (ISIS). The group has seized large sections of Northern Syria and has reportedly been implementing Sharia law there. 
 
ISIS officials have openly declared that they plan to turn Druze places of worships in mosques and change the entire region to a fundamentalist Islamist state. 
 
Israeli Druze leaders stated Monday to the daily that they have been aware of ongoing issues with Islamists near their Syrian communities, and that they have pledged to help Syrian Druze as much as possible. 

Al Qaeda Forces Syrian Druze to Renounce Faith

Category: Reports
Created on Tuesday, 24 December 2013 16:31
JihadistsSyrian rebels from Al-Qaeda are systematically forcing Syrian Druze communities to convert to Islam - or die, Walla! reported Monday.
 
Syrian opposition forces have reportedly declared to the Israeli daily that at least 14 Druze villages have been forced to convert to Islam by the Islamist group so far.
 
The information has apparently leaked from representatives of the villages, who declared that they had no choice but to convert and had been threatened with death. 
 
The specific group responsible for the attack is the Al Qaeda affiliated Islamic State of Iraq and al-Shams (ISIS). The group has seized large sections of Northern Syria and has reportedly been implementing Sharia law there. 
 
ISIS officials have openly declared that they plan to turn Druze places of worships in mosques and change the entire region to a fundamentalist Islamist state. 
 
Israeli Druze leaders stated Monday to the daily that they have been aware of ongoing issues with Islamists near their Syrian communities, and that they have pledged to help Syrian Druze as much as possible. 

Again: Russia Vetoes Resolution on Syria

Category: News
Created on Saturday, 21 December 2013 17:42
UN Security CouncilIn what has become routine since the start of the Syrian civil war, Russia on Thursday night once again blocked a UN Security Council statement on Syria.
 
This time, the U.S.-drafted resolution condemned the Syrian government's increasing military offensive on the city of Aleppo, according to AFP.
 
The move heightened diplomatic tensions ahead of a key Russia-U.S.-UN meeting in Geneva on Friday on organizing an international Syria peace conference.
 
Russian diplomats refused to allow any mention in the statement of President Bashar Al-Assad's tactics, diplomats said.
 
In the face of the obstacles, the United States decided to withdraw the draft which needs the approval of all 15 Security Council members to be released.
 
A spokesman said that Washington was "very disappointed" at the Russian blocking.
 
The United States wanted the statement to express "outrage at the use of air strikes by the Syrian government, in particular the use of heavy indiscriminate weapons, including Scud missiles and 'barrel bombs,' which were dropped on Aleppo" this week.
 
The Doctors Without Borders group says at least 189 people have been killed and nearly 900 wounded in the Aleppo bombings since Sunday.
 
The statement would have expressed concern at the general "escalating level of violence in the Syrian conflict and condemned all violence by all parties," reported AFP.
 
Russia, a close ally of Assad’s, has used its power as a permanent member of the Security Council to veto at least three western proposed resolutions which sought to increase pressure on the Syrian leader.
 
Russia supplies Assad with ground-to-surface interceptor missiles as well as warplanes and helicopters and other heavy machinery meant for national self-defense.
 
"We are very disappointed that a Security Council statement expressing our collective outrage at the brutal and indiscriminant tactics employed by the Syrian regime against civilians has been blocked," said Kurtis Cooper, deputy spokesman for the U.S. mission to the United Nations, after Russia vetoed the latest resolution.
 
"These barrel bombs -- and the explosive materials contained within them -- further underscore the brutality of the Assad regime and the lengths they will go to attack and kill their own people," he added.
 
The Russian veto came hours after Moscow seemed to take a step back from its uncompromising support of Assad. Earlier Thursday, the country’s Deputy Foreign Minister criticized statements that Assad wanted to seek another term in 2014.
 
"Exchanging such rhetorical statements just makes the atmosphere heavier and does not make the situation calmer,” said Mikhail Bogdanov.
 
In response, Syria’s Deputy Foreign Minister said that nobody can stop Assad from seeking re-election.

Again: Russia Vetoes Resolution on Syria

Category: News
Created on Saturday, 21 December 2013 17:42
UN Security CouncilIn what has become routine since the start of the Syrian civil war, Russia on Thursday night once again blocked a UN Security Council statement on Syria.
 
This time, the U.S.-drafted resolution condemned the Syrian government's increasing military offensive on the city of Aleppo, according to AFP.
 
The move heightened diplomatic tensions ahead of a key Russia-U.S.-UN meeting in Geneva on Friday on organizing an international Syria peace conference.
 
Russian diplomats refused to allow any mention in the statement of President Bashar Al-Assad's tactics, diplomats said.
 
In the face of the obstacles, the United States decided to withdraw the draft which needs the approval of all 15 Security Council members to be released.
 
A spokesman said that Washington was "very disappointed" at the Russian blocking.
 
The United States wanted the statement to express "outrage at the use of air strikes by the Syrian government, in particular the use of heavy indiscriminate weapons, including Scud missiles and 'barrel bombs,' which were dropped on Aleppo" this week.
 
The Doctors Without Borders group says at least 189 people have been killed and nearly 900 wounded in the Aleppo bombings since Sunday.
 
The statement would have expressed concern at the general "escalating level of violence in the Syrian conflict and condemned all violence by all parties," reported AFP.
 
Russia, a close ally of Assad’s, has used its power as a permanent member of the Security Council to veto at least three western proposed resolutions which sought to increase pressure on the Syrian leader.
 
Russia supplies Assad with ground-to-surface interceptor missiles as well as warplanes and helicopters and other heavy machinery meant for national self-defense.
 
"We are very disappointed that a Security Council statement expressing our collective outrage at the brutal and indiscriminant tactics employed by the Syrian regime against civilians has been blocked," said Kurtis Cooper, deputy spokesman for the U.S. mission to the United Nations, after Russia vetoed the latest resolution.
 
"These barrel bombs -- and the explosive materials contained within them -- further underscore the brutality of the Assad regime and the lengths they will go to attack and kill their own people," he added.
 
The Russian veto came hours after Moscow seemed to take a step back from its uncompromising support of Assad. Earlier Thursday, the country’s Deputy Foreign Minister criticized statements that Assad wanted to seek another term in 2014.
 
"Exchanging such rhetorical statements just makes the atmosphere heavier and does not make the situation calmer,” said Mikhail Bogdanov.
 
In response, Syria’s Deputy Foreign Minister said that nobody can stop Assad from seeking re-election.

Again: Russia Vetoes Resolution on Syria

Category: News
Created on Saturday, 21 December 2013 17:42
UN Security CouncilIn what has become routine since the start of the Syrian civil war, Russia on Thursday night once again blocked a UN Security Council statement on Syria.
 
This time, the U.S.-drafted resolution condemned the Syrian government's increasing military offensive on the city of Aleppo, according to AFP.
 
The move heightened diplomatic tensions ahead of a key Russia-U.S.-UN meeting in Geneva on Friday on organizing an international Syria peace conference.
 
Russian diplomats refused to allow any mention in the statement of President Bashar Al-Assad's tactics, diplomats said.
 
In the face of the obstacles, the United States decided to withdraw the draft which needs the approval of all 15 Security Council members to be released.
 
A spokesman said that Washington was "very disappointed" at the Russian blocking.
 
The United States wanted the statement to express "outrage at the use of air strikes by the Syrian government, in particular the use of heavy indiscriminate weapons, including Scud missiles and 'barrel bombs,' which were dropped on Aleppo" this week.
 
The Doctors Without Borders group says at least 189 people have been killed and nearly 900 wounded in the Aleppo bombings since Sunday.
 
The statement would have expressed concern at the general "escalating level of violence in the Syrian conflict and condemned all violence by all parties," reported AFP.
 
Russia, a close ally of Assad’s, has used its power as a permanent member of the Security Council to veto at least three western proposed resolutions which sought to increase pressure on the Syrian leader.
 
Russia supplies Assad with ground-to-surface interceptor missiles as well as warplanes and helicopters and other heavy machinery meant for national self-defense.
 
"We are very disappointed that a Security Council statement expressing our collective outrage at the brutal and indiscriminant tactics employed by the Syrian regime against civilians has been blocked," said Kurtis Cooper, deputy spokesman for the U.S. mission to the United Nations, after Russia vetoed the latest resolution.
 
"These barrel bombs -- and the explosive materials contained within them -- further underscore the brutality of the Assad regime and the lengths they will go to attack and kill their own people," he added.
 
The Russian veto came hours after Moscow seemed to take a step back from its uncompromising support of Assad. Earlier Thursday, the country’s Deputy Foreign Minister criticized statements that Assad wanted to seek another term in 2014.
 
"Exchanging such rhetorical statements just makes the atmosphere heavier and does not make the situation calmer,” said Mikhail Bogdanov.
 
In response, Syria’s Deputy Foreign Minister said that nobody can stop Assad from seeking re-election.

Again: Russia Vetoes Resolution on Syria

Category: News
Created on Saturday, 21 December 2013 17:42
UN Security CouncilIn what has become routine since the start of the Syrian civil war, Russia on Thursday night once again blocked a UN Security Council statement on Syria.
 
This time, the U.S.-drafted resolution condemned the Syrian government's increasing military offensive on the city of Aleppo, according to AFP.
 
The move heightened diplomatic tensions ahead of a key Russia-U.S.-UN meeting in Geneva on Friday on organizing an international Syria peace conference.
 
Russian diplomats refused to allow any mention in the statement of President Bashar Al-Assad's tactics, diplomats said.
 
In the face of the obstacles, the United States decided to withdraw the draft which needs the approval of all 15 Security Council members to be released.
 
A spokesman said that Washington was "very disappointed" at the Russian blocking.
 
The United States wanted the statement to express "outrage at the use of air strikes by the Syrian government, in particular the use of heavy indiscriminate weapons, including Scud missiles and 'barrel bombs,' which were dropped on Aleppo" this week.
 
The Doctors Without Borders group says at least 189 people have been killed and nearly 900 wounded in the Aleppo bombings since Sunday.
 
The statement would have expressed concern at the general "escalating level of violence in the Syrian conflict and condemned all violence by all parties," reported AFP.
 
Russia, a close ally of Assad’s, has used its power as a permanent member of the Security Council to veto at least three western proposed resolutions which sought to increase pressure on the Syrian leader.
 
Russia supplies Assad with ground-to-surface interceptor missiles as well as warplanes and helicopters and other heavy machinery meant for national self-defense.
 
"We are very disappointed that a Security Council statement expressing our collective outrage at the brutal and indiscriminant tactics employed by the Syrian regime against civilians has been blocked," said Kurtis Cooper, deputy spokesman for the U.S. mission to the United Nations, after Russia vetoed the latest resolution.
 
"These barrel bombs -- and the explosive materials contained within them -- further underscore the brutality of the Assad regime and the lengths they will go to attack and kill their own people," he added.
 
The Russian veto came hours after Moscow seemed to take a step back from its uncompromising support of Assad. Earlier Thursday, the country’s Deputy Foreign Minister criticized statements that Assad wanted to seek another term in 2014.
 
"Exchanging such rhetorical statements just makes the atmosphere heavier and does not make the situation calmer,” said Mikhail Bogdanov.
 
In response, Syria’s Deputy Foreign Minister said that nobody can stop Assad from seeking re-election.

UN Condemns Iran's Human Rights Violations

Category: News
Created on Friday, 20 December 2013 13:17
Hassan RouhaniThe United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday condemned human rights violations in Iran, but welcomed pledges by Iran's president to improve in some areas.
 
The resolution on Iran was approved with 86 votes in favor, 36 against and 61 abstentions, reported Reuters.
 
While the resolution on Iran expressed concern at serious ongoing abuses, it acknowledged pledges by Iran's new president, Hassan Rouhani, on human rights issues such as eliminating discrimination against women and members of ethnic minorities and promoting freedom of expression and opinion.
 
Reuters reported that the resolution also praised Rouhani's plan to implement a civil rights charter and encouraged Iran "to take concrete action to ensure these pledges can result in demonstrable improvements as soon as possible and to uphold the government's obligations under its domestic laws and under international human rights law."
 
Rouhani has previously said that a strong government does not “limit the lives of the people and has claimed that he believed social networking sites such as Facebook were a welcome phenomenon.
 
Iranian Nobel Peace laureate Shirin Ebadi recently criticized Rouhani’s human rights record, citing a dramatic increase in executions since he took office this year and accusing the government of lying about the release of political prisoners.
 
The UN envoy on human rights in Iran, Ahmed Shaheed, said in October that Iran's rights record should not be overlooked amid overtures to the West by Rouhani. He criticized Tehran for executing 724 people in 18 months, including dozens after Rouhani was elected in June.
 
Iran regularly executes people who are convicted of murder, rape, armed robbery, drug trafficking, adultery and espionage. In 2011, Iran put to death more than twice as many people as it did the year before.
 
An Iranian delegate told General Assembly members before the vote that the resolution does not reflect the actual situation inside Iran and will be counterproductive, according to Reuters.
 
Meanwhile, the news agency reported, a similar condemnation of Syria was adopted with 127 votes in favor, 13 against and 47 abstentions. A third resolution condemning North Korea was passed by consensus, but some states publicly disassociated themselves from the text.
 
The resolutions on these countries have become an annual rite. They intensify international pressure and further isolate those states but have no legal consequences. All three countries lobby hard against adoption of the resolutions, noted Reuters.

UN Condemns Iran's Human Rights Violations

Category: News
Created on Friday, 20 December 2013 13:17
Hassan RouhaniThe United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday condemned human rights violations in Iran, but welcomed pledges by Iran's president to improve in some areas.
 
The resolution on Iran was approved with 86 votes in favor, 36 against and 61 abstentions, reported Reuters.
 
While the resolution on Iran expressed concern at serious ongoing abuses, it acknowledged pledges by Iran's new president, Hassan Rouhani, on human rights issues such as eliminating discrimination against women and members of ethnic minorities and promoting freedom of expression and opinion.
 
Reuters reported that the resolution also praised Rouhani's plan to implement a civil rights charter and encouraged Iran "to take concrete action to ensure these pledges can result in demonstrable improvements as soon as possible and to uphold the government's obligations under its domestic laws and under international human rights law."
 
Rouhani has previously said that a strong government does not “limit the lives of the people and has claimed that he believed social networking sites such as Facebook were a welcome phenomenon.
 
Iranian Nobel Peace laureate Shirin Ebadi recently criticized Rouhani’s human rights record, citing a dramatic increase in executions since he took office this year and accusing the government of lying about the release of political prisoners.
 
The UN envoy on human rights in Iran, Ahmed Shaheed, said in October that Iran's rights record should not be overlooked amid overtures to the West by Rouhani. He criticized Tehran for executing 724 people in 18 months, including dozens after Rouhani was elected in June.
 
Iran regularly executes people who are convicted of murder, rape, armed robbery, drug trafficking, adultery and espionage. In 2011, Iran put to death more than twice as many people as it did the year before.
 
An Iranian delegate told General Assembly members before the vote that the resolution does not reflect the actual situation inside Iran and will be counterproductive, according to Reuters.
 
Meanwhile, the news agency reported, a similar condemnation of Syria was adopted with 127 votes in favor, 13 against and 47 abstentions. A third resolution condemning North Korea was passed by consensus, but some states publicly disassociated themselves from the text.
 
The resolutions on these countries have become an annual rite. They intensify international pressure and further isolate those states but have no legal consequences. All three countries lobby hard against adoption of the resolutions, noted Reuters.

UN Condemns Iran's Human Rights Violations

Category: News
Created on Friday, 20 December 2013 13:17
Hassan RouhaniThe United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday condemned human rights violations in Iran, but welcomed pledges by Iran's president to improve in some areas.
 
The resolution on Iran was approved with 86 votes in favor, 36 against and 61 abstentions, reported Reuters.
 
While the resolution on Iran expressed concern at serious ongoing abuses, it acknowledged pledges by Iran's new president, Hassan Rouhani, on human rights issues such as eliminating discrimination against women and members of ethnic minorities and promoting freedom of expression and opinion.
 
Reuters reported that the resolution also praised Rouhani's plan to implement a civil rights charter and encouraged Iran "to take concrete action to ensure these pledges can result in demonstrable improvements as soon as possible and to uphold the government's obligations under its domestic laws and under international human rights law."
 
Rouhani has previously said that a strong government does not “limit the lives of the people and has claimed that he believed social networking sites such as Facebook were a welcome phenomenon.
 
Iranian Nobel Peace laureate Shirin Ebadi recently criticized Rouhani’s human rights record, citing a dramatic increase in executions since he took office this year and accusing the government of lying about the release of political prisoners.
 
The UN envoy on human rights in Iran, Ahmed Shaheed, said in October that Iran's rights record should not be overlooked amid overtures to the West by Rouhani. He criticized Tehran for executing 724 people in 18 months, including dozens after Rouhani was elected in June.
 
Iran regularly executes people who are convicted of murder, rape, armed robbery, drug trafficking, adultery and espionage. In 2011, Iran put to death more than twice as many people as it did the year before.
 
An Iranian delegate told General Assembly members before the vote that the resolution does not reflect the actual situation inside Iran and will be counterproductive, according to Reuters.
 
Meanwhile, the news agency reported, a similar condemnation of Syria was adopted with 127 votes in favor, 13 against and 47 abstentions. A third resolution condemning North Korea was passed by consensus, but some states publicly disassociated themselves from the text.
 
The resolutions on these countries have become an annual rite. They intensify international pressure and further isolate those states but have no legal consequences. All three countries lobby hard against adoption of the resolutions, noted Reuters.

UN Condemns Iran's Human Rights Violations

Category: News
Created on Friday, 20 December 2013 13:17
Hassan RouhaniThe United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday condemned human rights violations in Iran, but welcomed pledges by Iran's president to improve in some areas.
 
The resolution on Iran was approved with 86 votes in favor, 36 against and 61 abstentions, reported Reuters.
 
While the resolution on Iran expressed concern at serious ongoing abuses, it acknowledged pledges by Iran's new president, Hassan Rouhani, on human rights issues such as eliminating discrimination against women and members of ethnic minorities and promoting freedom of expression and opinion.
 
Reuters reported that the resolution also praised Rouhani's plan to implement a civil rights charter and encouraged Iran "to take concrete action to ensure these pledges can result in demonstrable improvements as soon as possible and to uphold the government's obligations under its domestic laws and under international human rights law."
 
Rouhani has previously said that a strong government does not “limit the lives of the people and has claimed that he believed social networking sites such as Facebook were a welcome phenomenon.
 
Iranian Nobel Peace laureate Shirin Ebadi recently criticized Rouhani’s human rights record, citing a dramatic increase in executions since he took office this year and accusing the government of lying about the release of political prisoners.
 
The UN envoy on human rights in Iran, Ahmed Shaheed, said in October that Iran's rights record should not be overlooked amid overtures to the West by Rouhani. He criticized Tehran for executing 724 people in 18 months, including dozens after Rouhani was elected in June.
 
Iran regularly executes people who are convicted of murder, rape, armed robbery, drug trafficking, adultery and espionage. In 2011, Iran put to death more than twice as many people as it did the year before.
 
An Iranian delegate told General Assembly members before the vote that the resolution does not reflect the actual situation inside Iran and will be counterproductive, according to Reuters.
 
Meanwhile, the news agency reported, a similar condemnation of Syria was adopted with 127 votes in favor, 13 against and 47 abstentions. A third resolution condemning North Korea was passed by consensus, but some states publicly disassociated themselves from the text.
 
The resolutions on these countries have become an annual rite. They intensify international pressure and further isolate those states but have no legal consequences. All three countries lobby hard against adoption of the resolutions, noted Reuters.

Former Jihadi Warns of Syrian Rebels with '9/11 Ideology'

Category: News
Created on Wednesday, 11 December 2013 18:40
makeshift memorial for Boston Marathon attack victimsA French Islamist who fought as part of a jihadi rebel faction in Syria has said that foreign fighters with a "9/11 ideology" could return to the West, where they would pose a definitive security threat.
 
In an interview with the BBC the anonymous former rebel fighter told of how he had fought for an unnamed Islamist brigade, before leaving after it pledged its allegiance to Al Qaeda's Islamic State of Iraq and al-Shams (ISIS), saying that he opposed the brutal methods of the group - but not necessarily its vision for Syria.
 
The interview offers an intriguing insight into the mindset, ideology and motivations of the increasingly dominant Islamist rebel movement in Syria, which has eclipsed the more secular Free Syrian Army. It also once again highlights the growing security concerns shared by most Western countries over the increasingly large number of Western-born Islamists fighting in Syria - and the prospect of there return to their countries of birth at some point in the future.
 
Western states have recently opened diplomatic channels with the largest such faction - the Syrian Islamic Front (SIF) - in a bid to gain their support for upcoming peace talks in Geneva. The move has also been seen as an attempt to drive a wedge between the non-Al Qaeda-aligned factions fighting under the banner of SIF, and Al Qaeda franchises such as Al Nusra Front and ISIS, with whom they sometimes coordinate operations, particularly in the north of the country.
 
But such efforts are fraught with risks.
 
As the unnamed fighter, who chose to hide his identity, presumably out of concerns for his safety after publicly declaring his desertion, explained to his interviewer, whilst he and other Islamists in Syria did not support the killing of "blasphemers" or even the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center, "the final goal is an Islamic state".
 
"We are all Al Qaeda in the sense of ideology and mindset," he declared.
 
Illustrating his point, he explained how his unit did not view members of the Shia Islamic sect as Muslims, and viewed the conflict through the prism of a religious sectarian war.
 
Echoing sentiments made by Al Qaeda leaders, he said that the Syrian civil war is "Definitely a fight against the Shia. Shia is not a sect of Islam. The difference between Sunni and Shia are so huge that they are not related to our religion in any way."
 
Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad is a member of the Alawite sect - an offshoot of Shia Islam whose adherents make up around 10% of the Syrian population. His forces are backed by pro-government Shia and Alawite militias raised from within Syria itself, as well as foreign Shia jihadis from Iraq and Lebanon - most notably Hezbollah.
 
Shia Iran has provided crucial support to the Assad regime, including sending members of its own armed forces to train and fight alongside regime troops.
 
Relating how his brigade would treat members of Syria's tiny Shia minority in the areas they controlled, the former rebel said they found it so "irritating" to hear Shia referring to themselves as "Muslims", that "in areas we controlled we would force them to stop calling themselves Muslims."
 
Neither the interviewer nor the former jihadi revealed which precise brigade he had been fighting with, but given his description and the fact that it is said to have "pledged allegiance" to ISIS it was likely to have been the Nusra Front, which did precisely that back in August of this year. Many within the Nusra Front were unhappy about the decision to effectively merge the two groups at the time, and resisted it - causing some tension between different factions within the group ever since.
 
He also revealed how many Islamists are motivated to join the conflict and were encouraged on the battlefield itself by a saying - or "Hadith" - attributed to Mohammed, the founder of Islam, in which he declared that "if Islam in the Greater Syria region is corrupted, there will not be any correct Islam anywhere in the world."
 
The fact that such fundamentalist religious sentiments are shared by Al Qaeda-linked and independent Islamist rebel groups alike illustrates just how easy the ideological journey into the fold of Al Qaeda would be for many foreign fighters - a trend he claimed is on the increase.
 
And crucially - despite saying that he himself did not share such beliefs - he warned that "the same people with the same 9/11 ideology" existed among the large contingent of European Muslim extremists currently fighting in Syria. Alarmingly, he claimed that "Europeans" were the third-largest group of foreign jihadis in Syria, after "the Saudis and Chechens".
 
"Yes, I think they would be a danger to the West," he said, "I wouldn't want them to go back."

Former Jihadi Warns of Syrian Rebels with '9/11 Ideology'

Category: News
Created on Wednesday, 11 December 2013 18:40
makeshift memorial for Boston Marathon attack victimsA French Islamist who fought as part of a jihadi rebel faction in Syria has said that foreign fighters with a "9/11 ideology" could return to the West, where they would pose a definitive security threat.
 
In an interview with the BBC the anonymous former rebel fighter told of how he had fought for an unnamed Islamist brigade, before leaving after it pledged its allegiance to Al Qaeda's Islamic State of Iraq and al-Shams (ISIS), saying that he opposed the brutal methods of the group - but not necessarily its vision for Syria.
 
The interview offers an intriguing insight into the mindset, ideology and motivations of the increasingly dominant Islamist rebel movement in Syria, which has eclipsed the more secular Free Syrian Army. It also once again highlights the growing security concerns shared by most Western countries over the increasingly large number of Western-born Islamists fighting in Syria - and the prospect of there return to their countries of birth at some point in the future.
 
Western states have recently opened diplomatic channels with the largest such faction - the Syrian Islamic Front (SIF) - in a bid to gain their support for upcoming peace talks in Geneva. The move has also been seen as an attempt to drive a wedge between the non-Al Qaeda-aligned factions fighting under the banner of SIF, and Al Qaeda franchises such as Al Nusra Front and ISIS, with whom they sometimes coordinate operations, particularly in the north of the country.
 
But such efforts are fraught with risks.
 
As the unnamed fighter, who chose to hide his identity, presumably out of concerns for his safety after publicly declaring his desertion, explained to his interviewer, whilst he and other Islamists in Syria did not support the killing of "blasphemers" or even the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center, "the final goal is an Islamic state".
 
"We are all Al Qaeda in the sense of ideology and mindset," he declared.
 
Illustrating his point, he explained how his unit did not view members of the Shia Islamic sect as Muslims, and viewed the conflict through the prism of a religious sectarian war.
 
Echoing sentiments made by Al Qaeda leaders, he said that the Syrian civil war is "Definitely a fight against the Shia. Shia is not a sect of Islam. The difference between Sunni and Shia are so huge that they are not related to our religion in any way."
 
Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad is a member of the Alawite sect - an offshoot of Shia Islam whose adherents make up around 10% of the Syrian population. His forces are backed by pro-government Shia and Alawite militias raised from within Syria itself, as well as foreign Shia jihadis from Iraq and Lebanon - most notably Hezbollah.
 
Shia Iran has provided crucial support to the Assad regime, including sending members of its own armed forces to train and fight alongside regime troops.
 
Relating how his brigade would treat members of Syria's tiny Shia minority in the areas they controlled, the former rebel said they found it so "irritating" to hear Shia referring to themselves as "Muslims", that "in areas we controlled we would force them to stop calling themselves Muslims."
 
Neither the interviewer nor the former jihadi revealed which precise brigade he had been fighting with, but given his description and the fact that it is said to have "pledged allegiance" to ISIS it was likely to have been the Nusra Front, which did precisely that back in August of this year. Many within the Nusra Front were unhappy about the decision to effectively merge the two groups at the time, and resisted it - causing some tension between different factions within the group ever since.
 
He also revealed how many Islamists are motivated to join the conflict and were encouraged on the battlefield itself by a saying - or "Hadith" - attributed to Mohammed, the founder of Islam, in which he declared that "if Islam in the Greater Syria region is corrupted, there will not be any correct Islam anywhere in the world."
 
The fact that such fundamentalist religious sentiments are shared by Al Qaeda-linked and independent Islamist rebel groups alike illustrates just how easy the ideological journey into the fold of Al Qaeda would be for many foreign fighters - a trend he claimed is on the increase.
 
And crucially - despite saying that he himself did not share such beliefs - he warned that "the same people with the same 9/11 ideology" existed among the large contingent of European Muslim extremists currently fighting in Syria. Alarmingly, he claimed that "Europeans" were the third-largest group of foreign jihadis in Syria, after "the Saudis and Chechens".
 
"Yes, I think they would be a danger to the West," he said, "I wouldn't want them to go back."

Former Jihadi Warns of Syrian Rebels with '9/11 Ideology'

Category: News
Created on Wednesday, 11 December 2013 18:40
makeshift memorial for Boston Marathon attack victimsA French Islamist who fought as part of a jihadi rebel faction in Syria has said that foreign fighters with a "9/11 ideology" could return to the West, where they would pose a definitive security threat.
 
In an interview with the BBC the anonymous former rebel fighter told of how he had fought for an unnamed Islamist brigade, before leaving after it pledged its allegiance to Al Qaeda's Islamic State of Iraq and al-Shams (ISIS), saying that he opposed the brutal methods of the group - but not necessarily its vision for Syria.
 
The interview offers an intriguing insight into the mindset, ideology and motivations of the increasingly dominant Islamist rebel movement in Syria, which has eclipsed the more secular Free Syrian Army. It also once again highlights the growing security concerns shared by most Western countries over the increasingly large number of Western-born Islamists fighting in Syria - and the prospect of there return to their countries of birth at some point in the future.
 
Western states have recently opened diplomatic channels with the largest such faction - the Syrian Islamic Front (SIF) - in a bid to gain their support for upcoming peace talks in Geneva. The move has also been seen as an attempt to drive a wedge between the non-Al Qaeda-aligned factions fighting under the banner of SIF, and Al Qaeda franchises such as Al Nusra Front and ISIS, with whom they sometimes coordinate operations, particularly in the north of the country.
 
But such efforts are fraught with risks.
 
As the unnamed fighter, who chose to hide his identity, presumably out of concerns for his safety after publicly declaring his desertion, explained to his interviewer, whilst he and other Islamists in Syria did not support the killing of "blasphemers" or even the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center, "the final goal is an Islamic state".
 
"We are all Al Qaeda in the sense of ideology and mindset," he declared.
 
Illustrating his point, he explained how his unit did not view members of the Shia Islamic sect as Muslims, and viewed the conflict through the prism of a religious sectarian war.
 
Echoing sentiments made by Al Qaeda leaders, he said that the Syrian civil war is "Definitely a fight against the Shia. Shia is not a sect of Islam. The difference between Sunni and Shia are so huge that they are not related to our religion in any way."
 
Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad is a member of the Alawite sect - an offshoot of Shia Islam whose adherents make up around 10% of the Syrian population. His forces are backed by pro-government Shia and Alawite militias raised from within Syria itself, as well as foreign Shia jihadis from Iraq and Lebanon - most notably Hezbollah.
 
Shia Iran has provided crucial support to the Assad regime, including sending members of its own armed forces to train and fight alongside regime troops.
 
Relating how his brigade would treat members of Syria's tiny Shia minority in the areas they controlled, the former rebel said they found it so "irritating" to hear Shia referring to themselves as "Muslims", that "in areas we controlled we would force them to stop calling themselves Muslims."
 
Neither the interviewer nor the former jihadi revealed which precise brigade he had been fighting with, but given his description and the fact that it is said to have "pledged allegiance" to ISIS it was likely to have been the Nusra Front, which did precisely that back in August of this year. Many within the Nusra Front were unhappy about the decision to effectively merge the two groups at the time, and resisted it - causing some tension between different factions within the group ever since.
 
He also revealed how many Islamists are motivated to join the conflict and were encouraged on the battlefield itself by a saying - or "Hadith" - attributed to Mohammed, the founder of Islam, in which he declared that "if Islam in the Greater Syria region is corrupted, there will not be any correct Islam anywhere in the world."
 
The fact that such fundamentalist religious sentiments are shared by Al Qaeda-linked and independent Islamist rebel groups alike illustrates just how easy the ideological journey into the fold of Al Qaeda would be for many foreign fighters - a trend he claimed is on the increase.
 
And crucially - despite saying that he himself did not share such beliefs - he warned that "the same people with the same 9/11 ideology" existed among the large contingent of European Muslim extremists currently fighting in Syria. Alarmingly, he claimed that "Europeans" were the third-largest group of foreign jihadis in Syria, after "the Saudis and Chechens".
 
"Yes, I think they would be a danger to the West," he said, "I wouldn't want them to go back."

Former Jihadi Warns of Syrian Rebels with '9/11 Ideology'

Category: News
Created on Wednesday, 11 December 2013 18:40
makeshift memorial for Boston Marathon attack victimsA French Islamist who fought as part of a jihadi rebel faction in Syria has said that foreign fighters with a "9/11 ideology" could return to the West, where they would pose a definitive security threat.
 
In an interview with the BBC the anonymous former rebel fighter told of how he had fought for an unnamed Islamist brigade, before leaving after it pledged its allegiance to Al Qaeda's Islamic State of Iraq and al-Shams (ISIS), saying that he opposed the brutal methods of the group - but not necessarily its vision for Syria.
 
The interview offers an intriguing insight into the mindset, ideology and motivations of the increasingly dominant Islamist rebel movement in Syria, which has eclipsed the more secular Free Syrian Army. It also once again highlights the growing security concerns shared by most Western countries over the increasingly large number of Western-born Islamists fighting in Syria - and the prospect of there return to their countries of birth at some point in the future.
 
Western states have recently opened diplomatic channels with the largest such faction - the Syrian Islamic Front (SIF) - in a bid to gain their support for upcoming peace talks in Geneva. The move has also been seen as an attempt to drive a wedge between the non-Al Qaeda-aligned factions fighting under the banner of SIF, and Al Qaeda franchises such as Al Nusra Front and ISIS, with whom they sometimes coordinate operations, particularly in the north of the country.
 
But such efforts are fraught with risks.
 
As the unnamed fighter, who chose to hide his identity, presumably out of concerns for his safety after publicly declaring his desertion, explained to his interviewer, whilst he and other Islamists in Syria did not support the killing of "blasphemers" or even the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center, "the final goal is an Islamic state".
 
"We are all Al Qaeda in the sense of ideology and mindset," he declared.
 
Illustrating his point, he explained how his unit did not view members of the Shia Islamic sect as Muslims, and viewed the conflict through the prism of a religious sectarian war.
 
Echoing sentiments made by Al Qaeda leaders, he said that the Syrian civil war is "Definitely a fight against the Shia. Shia is not a sect of Islam. The difference between Sunni and Shia are so huge that they are not related to our religion in any way."
 
Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad is a member of the Alawite sect - an offshoot of Shia Islam whose adherents make up around 10% of the Syrian population. His forces are backed by pro-government Shia and Alawite militias raised from within Syria itself, as well as foreign Shia jihadis from Iraq and Lebanon - most notably Hezbollah.
 
Shia Iran has provided crucial support to the Assad regime, including sending members of its own armed forces to train and fight alongside regime troops.
 
Relating how his brigade would treat members of Syria's tiny Shia minority in the areas they controlled, the former rebel said they found it so "irritating" to hear Shia referring to themselves as "Muslims", that "in areas we controlled we would force them to stop calling themselves Muslims."
 
Neither the interviewer nor the former jihadi revealed which precise brigade he had been fighting with, but given his description and the fact that it is said to have "pledged allegiance" to ISIS it was likely to have been the Nusra Front, which did precisely that back in August of this year. Many within the Nusra Front were unhappy about the decision to effectively merge the two groups at the time, and resisted it - causing some tension between different factions within the group ever since.
 
He also revealed how many Islamists are motivated to join the conflict and were encouraged on the battlefield itself by a saying - or "Hadith" - attributed to Mohammed, the founder of Islam, in which he declared that "if Islam in the Greater Syria region is corrupted, there will not be any correct Islam anywhere in the world."
 
The fact that such fundamentalist religious sentiments are shared by Al Qaeda-linked and independent Islamist rebel groups alike illustrates just how easy the ideological journey into the fold of Al Qaeda would be for many foreign fighters - a trend he claimed is on the increase.
 
And crucially - despite saying that he himself did not share such beliefs - he warned that "the same people with the same 9/11 ideology" existed among the large contingent of European Muslim extremists currently fighting in Syria. Alarmingly, he claimed that "Europeans" were the third-largest group of foreign jihadis in Syria, after "the Saudis and Chechens".
 
"Yes, I think they would be a danger to the West," he said, "I wouldn't want them to go back."

Hamas Announces Renewed Ties with Iran

Category: News
Created on Tuesday, 10 December 2013 12:09
Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh with Ayatollah Ali Khamenei illustration - ReutersHamas has "resumed" relations with Iran after a temporary falling out over the Syrian conflict, according to AFP.
 
"Relations between Hamas and Iran have resumed," senior official Mahmud al-Zahar told reporters at a Monday news conference in Gaza. 
 
Ties had been "affected by the Syria situation, and Hamas has withdrawn from Syria so that it can't be identified with this or that side," he said. "We've confirmed we are not interfering in the Syrian case, or in any other Arab country."
 
Shia Iran had long supported the Sunni Hamas against Israel, which is viewed as a common enemy. But exiled Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal left his base in Damascus after the Syrian civil war broke out in 2011, criticizing President Bashar al-Assad, a key ally of Iran, and moving to the Sunni Gulf state of Qatar.
 
But the Hamas leader made remarks in October of this year supporting the Assad regime and calling for an end in sectarian fighting at a Jerusalem conference. The move was subsequently slammed by powerful rebel group Army of Islam, who denounced Hamas's ties with the Assad ally and claimed that they were trying to restore funding to Gaza by exploiting their position on the conflict. 
 
Media reports indicate that the constant switching of sides has led to a huge decrease in Hamas's funding - especially from Iran. 
 
But Zahar denied there had been a complete severing of ties. "Our relations with Iran were not cut, and we don't wish to cut ties with any Arab countries either, even those that are fighting against us," he said. The latter reference was to Egypt, which has taken a hard line against the Islamist group since the military overthrow of president Mohammed Morsi in July.
 
Hamas is an affiliate of Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood, which has been the target of a massive crackdown in Egypt in recent months that has seen hundreds of Morsi supporters killed and more than 2,000 arrested.
 
Zahar said there was still cooperation with Egypt on getting supplies, including fuel, into the Gaza Strip, but "there is no political contact, because the current (Egyptian) regime is against it."
 
Since July, Egypt's military has destroyed hundreds of tunnels used to bring crucial supplies, including fuel, into the blockaded Strip. It has also launched efforts to stop terror tunnels into Egypt and Israel and battled terror factions in the Sinai desert, angering Gaza officials. 
 
Having initially spoken out against Egypt's new military regime, Hamas has sought to avoid a further deterioration in relations with Cairo.

Hamas Announces Renewed Ties with Iran

Category: News
Created on Tuesday, 10 December 2013 12:09
Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh with Ayatollah Ali Khamenei illustration - ReutersHamas has "resumed" relations with Iran after a temporary falling out over the Syrian conflict, according to AFP.
 
"Relations between Hamas and Iran have resumed," senior official Mahmud al-Zahar told reporters at a Monday news conference in Gaza. 
 
Ties had been "affected by the Syria situation, and Hamas has withdrawn from Syria so that it can't be identified with this or that side," he said. "We've confirmed we are not interfering in the Syrian case, or in any other Arab country."
 
Shia Iran had long supported the Sunni Hamas against Israel, which is viewed as a common enemy. But exiled Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal left his base in Damascus after the Syrian civil war broke out in 2011, criticizing President Bashar al-Assad, a key ally of Iran, and moving to the Sunni Gulf state of Qatar.
 
But the Hamas leader made remarks in October of this year supporting the Assad regime and calling for an end in sectarian fighting at a Jerusalem conference. The move was subsequently slammed by powerful rebel group Army of Islam, who denounced Hamas's ties with the Assad ally and claimed that they were trying to restore funding to Gaza by exploiting their position on the conflict. 
 
Media reports indicate that the constant switching of sides has led to a huge decrease in Hamas's funding - especially from Iran. 
 
But Zahar denied there had been a complete severing of ties. "Our relations with Iran were not cut, and we don't wish to cut ties with any Arab countries either, even those that are fighting against us," he said. The latter reference was to Egypt, which has taken a hard line against the Islamist group since the military overthrow of president Mohammed Morsi in July.
 
Hamas is an affiliate of Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood, which has been the target of a massive crackdown in Egypt in recent months that has seen hundreds of Morsi supporters killed and more than 2,000 arrested.
 
Zahar said there was still cooperation with Egypt on getting supplies, including fuel, into the Gaza Strip, but "there is no political contact, because the current (Egyptian) regime is against it."
 
Since July, Egypt's military has destroyed hundreds of tunnels used to bring crucial supplies, including fuel, into the blockaded Strip. It has also launched efforts to stop terror tunnels into Egypt and Israel and battled terror factions in the Sinai desert, angering Gaza officials. 
 
Having initially spoken out against Egypt's new military regime, Hamas has sought to avoid a further deterioration in relations with Cairo.

Hamas Announces Renewed Ties with Iran

Category: News
Created on Tuesday, 10 December 2013 12:09
Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh with Ayatollah Ali Khamenei illustration - ReutersHamas has "resumed" relations with Iran after a temporary falling out over the Syrian conflict, according to AFP.
 
"Relations between Hamas and Iran have resumed," senior official Mahmud al-Zahar told reporters at a Monday news conference in Gaza. 
 
Ties had been "affected by the Syria situation, and Hamas has withdrawn from Syria so that it can't be identified with this or that side," he said. "We've confirmed we are not interfering in the Syrian case, or in any other Arab country."
 
Shia Iran had long supported the Sunni Hamas against Israel, which is viewed as a common enemy. But exiled Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal left his base in Damascus after the Syrian civil war broke out in 2011, criticizing President Bashar al-Assad, a key ally of Iran, and moving to the Sunni Gulf state of Qatar.
 
But the Hamas leader made remarks in October of this year supporting the Assad regime and calling for an end in sectarian fighting at a Jerusalem conference. The move was subsequently slammed by powerful rebel group Army of Islam, who denounced Hamas's ties with the Assad ally and claimed that they were trying to restore funding to Gaza by exploiting their position on the conflict. 
 
Media reports indicate that the constant switching of sides has led to a huge decrease in Hamas's funding - especially from Iran. 
 
But Zahar denied there had been a complete severing of ties. "Our relations with Iran were not cut, and we don't wish to cut ties with any Arab countries either, even those that are fighting against us," he said. The latter reference was to Egypt, which has taken a hard line against the Islamist group since the military overthrow of president Mohammed Morsi in July.
 
Hamas is an affiliate of Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood, which has been the target of a massive crackdown in Egypt in recent months that has seen hundreds of Morsi supporters killed and more than 2,000 arrested.
 
Zahar said there was still cooperation with Egypt on getting supplies, including fuel, into the Gaza Strip, but "there is no political contact, because the current (Egyptian) regime is against it."
 
Since July, Egypt's military has destroyed hundreds of tunnels used to bring crucial supplies, including fuel, into the blockaded Strip. It has also launched efforts to stop terror tunnels into Egypt and Israel and battled terror factions in the Sinai desert, angering Gaza officials. 
 
Having initially spoken out against Egypt's new military regime, Hamas has sought to avoid a further deterioration in relations with Cairo.

Hamas Announces Renewed Ties with Iran

Category: News
Created on Tuesday, 10 December 2013 12:09
Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh with Ayatollah Ali Khamenei illustration - ReutersHamas has "resumed" relations with Iran after a temporary falling out over the Syrian conflict, according to AFP.
 
"Relations between Hamas and Iran have resumed," senior official Mahmud al-Zahar told reporters at a Monday news conference in Gaza. 
 
Ties had been "affected by the Syria situation, and Hamas has withdrawn from Syria so that it can't be identified with this or that side," he said. "We've confirmed we are not interfering in the Syrian case, or in any other Arab country."
 
Shia Iran had long supported the Sunni Hamas against Israel, which is viewed as a common enemy. But exiled Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal left his base in Damascus after the Syrian civil war broke out in 2011, criticizing President Bashar al-Assad, a key ally of Iran, and moving to the Sunni Gulf state of Qatar.
 
But the Hamas leader made remarks in October of this year supporting the Assad regime and calling for an end in sectarian fighting at a Jerusalem conference. The move was subsequently slammed by powerful rebel group Army of Islam, who denounced Hamas's ties with the Assad ally and claimed that they were trying to restore funding to Gaza by exploiting their position on the conflict. 
 
Media reports indicate that the constant switching of sides has led to a huge decrease in Hamas's funding - especially from Iran. 
 
But Zahar denied there had been a complete severing of ties. "Our relations with Iran were not cut, and we don't wish to cut ties with any Arab countries either, even those that are fighting against us," he said. The latter reference was to Egypt, which has taken a hard line against the Islamist group since the military overthrow of president Mohammed Morsi in July.
 
Hamas is an affiliate of Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood, which has been the target of a massive crackdown in Egypt in recent months that has seen hundreds of Morsi supporters killed and more than 2,000 arrested.
 
Zahar said there was still cooperation with Egypt on getting supplies, including fuel, into the Gaza Strip, but "there is no political contact, because the current (Egyptian) regime is against it."
 
Since July, Egypt's military has destroyed hundreds of tunnels used to bring crucial supplies, including fuel, into the blockaded Strip. It has also launched efforts to stop terror tunnels into Egypt and Israel and battled terror factions in the Sinai desert, angering Gaza officials. 
 
Having initially spoken out against Egypt's new military regime, Hamas has sought to avoid a further deterioration in relations with Cairo.

The Most Despised People in the World

Category: Op-Eds
Created on Saturday, 07 December 2013 21:01
Two Saints church Alexandria, Egypt 1/1/2011The most persecuted group in the world today is Christians. Christians in Nigeria, Egypt, Syria and other nations are murdered, raped, kidnapped, enslaved and persecuted on a daily basis. The reason for the vast majority of all of this violence is that they are Christian among Muslims.
 
But their abuse does not stop with the violence. The perpetrators of violence are measured in the thousands, but the greatest abuse is at the hands of those who should demand that the violence stop. The silence in the face this persecution is denial and justification. The persecutors are few, but the deniers are in the billions.
 
Christians are enjoined to care for all persecuted people, but in particular, they are to care for their own brothers and sisters. They manage to ignore the persecution by doing good works, such as care for the poor. Christians have compassion but no courage to face the enemy who kills them.
In Nashville, TN (the buckle on the Bible belt) the favorite indoor sport for those who should be dealing with the enemy, Islam, is going to Family of Abraham events and bridge building dialogues where they dance to the tune of Muslims. There is no problem of meeting with Islam, but the rules of engagement are that nothing will be said that offends Islam.
 
In the parable of the Good Samaritan, an injured man is on the side of the road. Two religious leaders pass him by on the other side of the road. They don’t harm the injured man, they just ignore him. This is the same thing that Christian leaders do at dialogues such as Family of Abraham. They meet with Muslims who adhere to a doctrine that includes killing Christians. But, the leaders will not bring up the Islamic persecution to them. The Christian leadership response to murder of their brothers and sisters is silence. They pass by on the other side of the road. Their silence is consent.
 
But Christians are not the only deniers. Normally, Jews are quick to step forward in the area of charity and support of victims, but not so with persecuted Christians. Some of this denial may be due to a dislike of Christianity, but Jews are no quicker to help their own. If you go to thereligionofpeace.com you will find an amazing data base of jihad attacks since 9/11. The current number of attacks is in excess of 22,000 attacks. It is very instructive to parse the data and see what are the top four nations of jihad attacks. When you put the data on a per capita basis, you get the following chart:
 
Read this chart by religion: Jews, Buddhists, Christians and Hindus. So Jews are the victims of violence by Islam, but the Jews of America love to go to Family of Abraham events and be as silent as the Christians.
But what about the most sensitive victim group – the black American? Victim-ology is the dogma of a myriad black “civil rights” groups with their high priests of race hustles such as Al Sharpton. The most persecuted Christians are in Africa. But the civil rights hustlers of America just love to hang with Muslims as their brothers. All of those dead Africans? Not a problem for African Americans.
It is surprising how many Buddhists are being killed in jihad, but is it a surprise that Buddhists never talk about it? And aside from a few Hindu activists, never a word is heard from the Hindu community about their deaths by jihad.
 
The deaths in the Philippines are Catholics and what does Pope Francis say about Islam? He says,
Faced with disconcerting episodes of violent fundamentalism, our respect for true followers of Islam should lead us to avoid hateful generalizations, for authentic Islam and the proper reading of the Koran are opposed to every form of violence.
 
Oh, I see. Over 1400 years of Christian deaths at the hands of jihadists means that they were not true Muslims and that the 22,000 jihadic attacks since 9/11 are not authentic. The annihilation of Christianity in Turkey, Middle East and Africa is not the result of “proper reading of the Koran”. The Pope is the perfect candidate for magical thinking and idiot compassion. And notice the little hate speech riff: “avoid hateful generalizations”. Pope Francis, do you mean generalizations such as conclusions that result from reading the Koran, the Sunna, the Sharia and a 1400 year history of the murder of all kinds of Kafirs (non-Muslims)?
But, in his own way, Pope Francis is the leader of all Christians. He just happens to have on more elaborate clothing as he practices denial.
 
So, it turns out that Christians are not the most despised group of people in the world. They just happen to be the largest subgroup. The most despised group in the world is the victim of Islam. And whether it is a dead Christian congregation, a murdered apostate, a sad Muslim woman with FGM, or any other victim of jihad, no one will speak out for the victim and against the perpetrator. All leaders share in the shame of being ignorant cowards practicing idiot compassion.
 
How is this to stop? Well, being polite won’t help, because if polite worked, the problem would be solved. The key to our response is that we have the high moral ground. We must oppose the oppressor, Islam, and stand with the oppressed – Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists and all others who are oppressed by jihad. Our opponents, the deniers, support the oppressor, Islam, and ignore and suppress the fate of the victims. The deniers are evil, period.
If you are a Christian, get some allies, and come up with a program about the persecuted church.

The program could be bringing in some persecuted Christians, such as Copts, to speak to Sunday school classes or doing a long term study of the Armenian holocaust in 20th century Turkey. When you go to leadership, do not ask permission or make a request. Make demands and if those demands are not met, then some form of protest inside your church must be launched.
 
Stand up at services and protest, hand out brochures, do whatever it takes until “leadership” agrees to not pass by on the other side of the road and neglect the dead Christians. Point out their moral position is wrong and evil. Do not be shy. Ask them to use scripture to morally justify their denial and ignorance. Be respectful, but firm and do not stop until good prevails.
 
This is a moral battle and if you are not a Christian, you should do the same in other venues. A possible venue is the local media. Make demands to recognize the victims of jihad and if they are not met, make a protest. Public protest is a powerful tool for change. We must acknowledge the world’s largest human rights tragedy. Being nice is the road to civilizational annihilation.
 
Bill WarnerBill Warner is the director of Center for the Study of Political Islam.
He holds a PhD in physics and math, NC State University, 1968. He has been a university professor, businessman, and applied physicist. 

The Most Despised People in the World

Category: Op-Eds
Created on Saturday, 07 December 2013 21:01
Two Saints church Alexandria, Egypt 1/1/2011The most persecuted group in the world today is Christians. Christians in Nigeria, Egypt, Syria and other nations are murdered, raped, kidnapped, enslaved and persecuted on a daily basis. The reason for the vast majority of all of this violence is that they are Christian among Muslims.
 
But their abuse does not stop with the violence. The perpetrators of violence are measured in the thousands, but the greatest abuse is at the hands of those who should demand that the violence stop. The silence in the face this persecution is denial and justification. The persecutors are few, but the deniers are in the billions.
 
Christians are enjoined to care for all persecuted people, but in particular, they are to care for their own brothers and sisters. They manage to ignore the persecution by doing good works, such as care for the poor. Christians have compassion but no courage to face the enemy who kills them.
In Nashville, TN (the buckle on the Bible belt) the favorite indoor sport for those who should be dealing with the enemy, Islam, is going to Family of Abraham events and bridge building dialogues where they dance to the tune of Muslims. There is no problem of meeting with Islam, but the rules of engagement are that nothing will be said that offends Islam.
 
In the parable of the Good Samaritan, an injured man is on the side of the road. Two religious leaders pass him by on the other side of the road. They don’t harm the injured man, they just ignore him. This is the same thing that Christian leaders do at dialogues such as Family of Abraham. They meet with Muslims who adhere to a doctrine that includes killing Christians. But, the leaders will not bring up the Islamic persecution to them. The Christian leadership response to murder of their brothers and sisters is silence. They pass by on the other side of the road. Their silence is consent.
 
But Christians are not the only deniers. Normally, Jews are quick to step forward in the area of charity and support of victims, but not so with persecuted Christians. Some of this denial may be due to a dislike of Christianity, but Jews are no quicker to help their own. If you go to thereligionofpeace.com you will find an amazing data base of jihad attacks since 9/11. The current number of attacks is in excess of 22,000 attacks. It is very instructive to parse the data and see what are the top four nations of jihad attacks. When you put the data on a per capita basis, you get the following chart:
 
Read this chart by religion: Jews, Buddhists, Christians and Hindus. So Jews are the victims of violence by Islam, but the Jews of America love to go to Family of Abraham events and be as silent as the Christians.
But what about the most sensitive victim group – the black American? Victim-ology is the dogma of a myriad black “civil rights” groups with their high priests of race hustles such as Al Sharpton. The most persecuted Christians are in Africa. But the civil rights hustlers of America just love to hang with Muslims as their brothers. All of those dead Africans? Not a problem for African Americans.
It is surprising how many Buddhists are being killed in jihad, but is it a surprise that Buddhists never talk about it? And aside from a few Hindu activists, never a word is heard from the Hindu community about their deaths by jihad.
 
The deaths in the Philippines are Catholics and what does Pope Francis say about Islam? He says,
Faced with disconcerting episodes of violent fundamentalism, our respect for true followers of Islam should lead us to avoid hateful generalizations, for authentic Islam and the proper reading of the Koran are opposed to every form of violence.
 
Oh, I see. Over 1400 years of Christian deaths at the hands of jihadists means that they were not true Muslims and that the 22,000 jihadic attacks since 9/11 are not authentic. The annihilation of Christianity in Turkey, Middle East and Africa is not the result of “proper reading of the Koran”. The Pope is the perfect candidate for magical thinking and idiot compassion. And notice the little hate speech riff: “avoid hateful generalizations”. Pope Francis, do you mean generalizations such as conclusions that result from reading the Koran, the Sunna, the Sharia and a 1400 year history of the murder of all kinds of Kafirs (non-Muslims)?
But, in his own way, Pope Francis is the leader of all Christians. He just happens to have on more elaborate clothing as he practices denial.
 
So, it turns out that Christians are not the most despised group of people in the world. They just happen to be the largest subgroup. The most despised group in the world is the victim of Islam. And whether it is a dead Christian congregation, a murdered apostate, a sad Muslim woman with FGM, or any other victim of jihad, no one will speak out for the victim and against the perpetrator. All leaders share in the shame of being ignorant cowards practicing idiot compassion.
 
How is this to stop? Well, being polite won’t help, because if polite worked, the problem would be solved. The key to our response is that we have the high moral ground. We must oppose the oppressor, Islam, and stand with the oppressed – Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists and all others who are oppressed by jihad. Our opponents, the deniers, support the oppressor, Islam, and ignore and suppress the fate of the victims. The deniers are evil, period.
If you are a Christian, get some allies, and come up with a program about the persecuted church.

The program could be bringing in some persecuted Christians, such as Copts, to speak to Sunday school classes or doing a long term study of the Armenian holocaust in 20th century Turkey. When you go to leadership, do not ask permission or make a request. Make demands and if those demands are not met, then some form of protest inside your church must be launched.
 
Stand up at services and protest, hand out brochures, do whatever it takes until “leadership” agrees to not pass by on the other side of the road and neglect the dead Christians. Point out their moral position is wrong and evil. Do not be shy. Ask them to use scripture to morally justify their denial and ignorance. Be respectful, but firm and do not stop until good prevails.
 
This is a moral battle and if you are not a Christian, you should do the same in other venues. A possible venue is the local media. Make demands to recognize the victims of jihad and if they are not met, make a protest. Public protest is a powerful tool for change. We must acknowledge the world’s largest human rights tragedy. Being nice is the road to civilizational annihilation.
 
Bill WarnerBill Warner is the director of Center for the Study of Political Islam.
He holds a PhD in physics and math, NC State University, 1968. He has been a university professor, businessman, and applied physicist. 

The Most Despised People in the World

Category: Op-Eds
Created on Saturday, 07 December 2013 21:01
Two Saints church Alexandria, Egypt 1/1/2011The most persecuted group in the world today is Christians. Christians in Nigeria, Egypt, Syria and other nations are murdered, raped, kidnapped, enslaved and persecuted on a daily basis. The reason for the vast majority of all of this violence is that they are Christian among Muslims.
 
But their abuse does not stop with the violence. The perpetrators of violence are measured in the thousands, but the greatest abuse is at the hands of those who should demand that the violence stop. The silence in the face this persecution is denial and justification. The persecutors are few, but the deniers are in the billions.
 
Christians are enjoined to care for all persecuted people, but in particular, they are to care for their own brothers and sisters. They manage to ignore the persecution by doing good works, such as care for the poor. Christians have compassion but no courage to face the enemy who kills them.
In Nashville, TN (the buckle on the Bible belt) the favorite indoor sport for those who should be dealing with the enemy, Islam, is going to Family of Abraham events and bridge building dialogues where they dance to the tune of Muslims. There is no problem of meeting with Islam, but the rules of engagement are that nothing will be said that offends Islam.
 
In the parable of the Good Samaritan, an injured man is on the side of the road. Two religious leaders pass him by on the other side of the road. They don’t harm the injured man, they just ignore him. This is the same thing that Christian leaders do at dialogues such as Family of Abraham. They meet with Muslims who adhere to a doctrine that includes killing Christians. But, the leaders will not bring up the Islamic persecution to them. The Christian leadership response to murder of their brothers and sisters is silence. They pass by on the other side of the road. Their silence is consent.
 
But Christians are not the only deniers. Normally, Jews are quick to step forward in the area of charity and support of victims, but not so with persecuted Christians. Some of this denial may be due to a dislike of Christianity, but Jews are no quicker to help their own. If you go to thereligionofpeace.com you will find an amazing data base of jihad attacks since 9/11. The current number of attacks is in excess of 22,000 attacks. It is very instructive to parse the data and see what are the top four nations of jihad attacks. When you put the data on a per capita basis, you get the following chart:
 
Read this chart by religion: Jews, Buddhists, Christians and Hindus. So Jews are the victims of violence by Islam, but the Jews of America love to go to Family of Abraham events and be as silent as the Christians.
But what about the most sensitive victim group – the black American? Victim-ology is the dogma of a myriad black “civil rights” groups with their high priests of race hustles such as Al Sharpton. The most persecuted Christians are in Africa. But the civil rights hustlers of America just love to hang with Muslims as their brothers. All of those dead Africans? Not a problem for African Americans.
It is surprising how many Buddhists are being killed in jihad, but is it a surprise that Buddhists never talk about it? And aside from a few Hindu activists, never a word is heard from the Hindu community about their deaths by jihad.
 
The deaths in the Philippines are Catholics and what does Pope Francis say about Islam? He says,
Faced with disconcerting episodes of violent fundamentalism, our respect for true followers of Islam should lead us to avoid hateful generalizations, for authentic Islam and the proper reading of the Koran are opposed to every form of violence.
 
Oh, I see. Over 1400 years of Christian deaths at the hands of jihadists means that they were not true Muslims and that the 22,000 jihadic attacks since 9/11 are not authentic. The annihilation of Christianity in Turkey, Middle East and Africa is not the result of “proper reading of the Koran”. The Pope is the perfect candidate for magical thinking and idiot compassion. And notice the little hate speech riff: “avoid hateful generalizations”. Pope Francis, do you mean generalizations such as conclusions that result from reading the Koran, the Sunna, the Sharia and a 1400 year history of the murder of all kinds of Kafirs (non-Muslims)?
But, in his own way, Pope Francis is the leader of all Christians. He just happens to have on more elaborate clothing as he practices denial.
 
So, it turns out that Christians are not the most despised group of people in the world. They just happen to be the largest subgroup. The most despised group in the world is the victim of Islam. And whether it is a dead Christian congregation, a murdered apostate, a sad Muslim woman with FGM, or any other victim of jihad, no one will speak out for the victim and against the perpetrator. All leaders share in the shame of being ignorant cowards practicing idiot compassion.
 
How is this to stop? Well, being polite won’t help, because if polite worked, the problem would be solved. The key to our response is that we have the high moral ground. We must oppose the oppressor, Islam, and stand with the oppressed – Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists and all others who are oppressed by jihad. Our opponents, the deniers, support the oppressor, Islam, and ignore and suppress the fate of the victims. The deniers are evil, period.
If you are a Christian, get some allies, and come up with a program about the persecuted church.

The program could be bringing in some persecuted Christians, such as Copts, to speak to Sunday school classes or doing a long term study of the Armenian holocaust in 20th century Turkey. When you go to leadership, do not ask permission or make a request. Make demands and if those demands are not met, then some form of protest inside your church must be launched.
 
Stand up at services and protest, hand out brochures, do whatever it takes until “leadership” agrees to not pass by on the other side of the road and neglect the dead Christians. Point out their moral position is wrong and evil. Do not be shy. Ask them to use scripture to morally justify their denial and ignorance. Be respectful, but firm and do not stop until good prevails.
 
This is a moral battle and if you are not a Christian, you should do the same in other venues. A possible venue is the local media. Make demands to recognize the victims of jihad and if they are not met, make a protest. Public protest is a powerful tool for change. We must acknowledge the world’s largest human rights tragedy. Being nice is the road to civilizational annihilation.
 
Bill WarnerBill Warner is the director of Center for the Study of Political Islam.
He holds a PhD in physics and math, NC State University, 1968. He has been a university professor, businessman, and applied physicist. 

The Most Despised People in the World

Category: Op-Eds
Created on Saturday, 07 December 2013 21:01
Two Saints church Alexandria, Egypt 1/1/2011The most persecuted group in the world today is Christians. Christians in Nigeria, Egypt, Syria and other nations are murdered, raped, kidnapped, enslaved and persecuted on a daily basis. The reason for the vast majority of all of this violence is that they are Christian among Muslims.
 
But their abuse does not stop with the violence. The perpetrators of violence are measured in the thousands, but the greatest abuse is at the hands of those who should demand that the violence stop. The silence in the face this persecution is denial and justification. The persecutors are few, but the deniers are in the billions.
 
Christians are enjoined to care for all persecuted people, but in particular, they are to care for their own brothers and sisters. They manage to ignore the persecution by doing good works, such as care for the poor. Christians have compassion but no courage to face the enemy who kills them.
In Nashville, TN (the buckle on the Bible belt) the favorite indoor sport for those who should be dealing with the enemy, Islam, is going to Family of Abraham events and bridge building dialogues where they dance to the tune of Muslims. There is no problem of meeting with Islam, but the rules of engagement are that nothing will be said that offends Islam.
 
In the parable of the Good Samaritan, an injured man is on the side of the road. Two religious leaders pass him by on the other side of the road. They don’t harm the injured man, they just ignore him. This is the same thing that Christian leaders do at dialogues such as Family of Abraham. They meet with Muslims who adhere to a doctrine that includes killing Christians. But, the leaders will not bring up the Islamic persecution to them. The Christian leadership response to murder of their brothers and sisters is silence. They pass by on the other side of the road. Their silence is consent.
 
But Christians are not the only deniers. Normally, Jews are quick to step forward in the area of charity and support of victims, but not so with persecuted Christians. Some of this denial may be due to a dislike of Christianity, but Jews are no quicker to help their own. If you go to thereligionofpeace.com you will find an amazing data base of jihad attacks since 9/11. The current number of attacks is in excess of 22,000 attacks. It is very instructive to parse the data and see what are the top four nations of jihad attacks. When you put the data on a per capita basis, you get the following chart:
 
Read this chart by religion: Jews, Buddhists, Christians and Hindus. So Jews are the victims of violence by Islam, but the Jews of America love to go to Family of Abraham events and be as silent as the Christians.
But what about the most sensitive victim group – the black American? Victim-ology is the dogma of a myriad black “civil rights” groups with their high priests of race hustles such as Al Sharpton. The most persecuted Christians are in Africa. But the civil rights hustlers of America just love to hang with Muslims as their brothers. All of those dead Africans? Not a problem for African Americans.
It is surprising how many Buddhists are being killed in jihad, but is it a surprise that Buddhists never talk about it? And aside from a few Hindu activists, never a word is heard from the Hindu community about their deaths by jihad.
 
The deaths in the Philippines are Catholics and what does Pope Francis say about Islam? He says,
Faced with disconcerting episodes of violent fundamentalism, our respect for true followers of Islam should lead us to avoid hateful generalizations, for authentic Islam and the proper reading of the Koran are opposed to every form of violence.
 
Oh, I see. Over 1400 years of Christian deaths at the hands of jihadists means that they were not true Muslims and that the 22,000 jihadic attacks since 9/11 are not authentic. The annihilation of Christianity in Turkey, Middle East and Africa is not the result of “proper reading of the Koran”. The Pope is the perfect candidate for magical thinking and idiot compassion. And notice the little hate speech riff: “avoid hateful generalizations”. Pope Francis, do you mean generalizations such as conclusions that result from reading the Koran, the Sunna, the Sharia and a 1400 year history of the murder of all kinds of Kafirs (non-Muslims)?
But, in his own way, Pope Francis is the leader of all Christians. He just happens to have on more elaborate clothing as he practices denial.
 
So, it turns out that Christians are not the most despised group of people in the world. They just happen to be the largest subgroup. The most despised group in the world is the victim of Islam. And whether it is a dead Christian congregation, a murdered apostate, a sad Muslim woman with FGM, or any other victim of jihad, no one will speak out for the victim and against the perpetrator. All leaders share in the shame of being ignorant cowards practicing idiot compassion.
 
How is this to stop? Well, being polite won’t help, because if polite worked, the problem would be solved. The key to our response is that we have the high moral ground. We must oppose the oppressor, Islam, and stand with the oppressed – Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists and all others who are oppressed by jihad. Our opponents, the deniers, support the oppressor, Islam, and ignore and suppress the fate of the victims. The deniers are evil, period.
If you are a Christian, get some allies, and come up with a program about the persecuted church.

The program could be bringing in some persecuted Christians, such as Copts, to speak to Sunday school classes or doing a long term study of the Armenian holocaust in 20th century Turkey. When you go to leadership, do not ask permission or make a request. Make demands and if those demands are not met, then some form of protest inside your church must be launched.
 
Stand up at services and protest, hand out brochures, do whatever it takes until “leadership” agrees to not pass by on the other side of the road and neglect the dead Christians. Point out their moral position is wrong and evil. Do not be shy. Ask them to use scripture to morally justify their denial and ignorance. Be respectful, but firm and do not stop until good prevails.
 
This is a moral battle and if you are not a Christian, you should do the same in other venues. A possible venue is the local media. Make demands to recognize the victims of jihad and if they are not met, make a protest. Public protest is a powerful tool for change. We must acknowledge the world’s largest human rights tragedy. Being nice is the road to civilizational annihilation.
 
Bill WarnerBill Warner is the director of Center for the Study of Political Islam.
He holds a PhD in physics and math, NC State University, 1968. He has been a university professor, businessman, and applied physicist. 

Powerful Explosion Heard in Golan Heights

Category: News
Created on Saturday, 07 December 2013 10:23
Golan Heights - Powerful Explosion ArchiveA powerful explosion was heard on Friday evening in the Golan Heights, near an IDF vehicle that was on routine patrol along the Syrian-Israeli border, near the slopes of Mount Hermon.
 
No one was injured as a result of the explosion, but damage was caused to the rear window of the military vehicle.
 
The explosion was so powerful that it was heard for kilometers away, and many forces were called to the scene to investigate. It is believed that the explosion was caused either by an explosive device, a mine that was swept away in the winds and the rain, or an explosion from the Syrian side of the border relating to the civil war in that country.
 
The army is expected to continue the investigation in daylight.
 
If the explosion is related to the Syrian civil war, it will not be the first time that the country’s civil war has spilled over into Israel.
 
On Monday, IDF forces on the Golan Heights near the Syria border were shot at from a Syrian army outpost. The IDF returned fire and identified a direct hit on a Syrian soldier. No IDF soldiers were injured.
 
The clash followed a mortar shell fired into Israel from Syria earlier in the day. The shell landed 50 meters (160 feet) from a house in the Israeli Druze town of Majdal Shams in the Golan Heights and caused no injuries or damage.
 
In October, two Israeli soldiers were lightly wounded by cross-border fire in the Golan Heights, along the border with Syria.
 
Israel's Ambassador to the United Nations Ron Prosor has sent a letter of complaint to the Security Council denouncing a series of Syrian violations of the 1974 ceasefire agreement between the two countries. 
 
In one such incident, gunfire from the Syrian side of the border hit close to an IDF patrol in the northern Golan Heights. There were no injuries or damage.

Powerful Explosion Heard in Golan Heights

Category: News
Created on Saturday, 07 December 2013 10:23
Golan Heights - Powerful Explosion ArchiveA powerful explosion was heard on Friday evening in the Golan Heights, near an IDF vehicle that was on routine patrol along the Syrian-Israeli border, near the slopes of Mount Hermon.
 
No one was injured as a result of the explosion, but damage was caused to the rear window of the military vehicle.
 
The explosion was so powerful that it was heard for kilometers away, and many forces were called to the scene to investigate. It is believed that the explosion was caused either by an explosive device, a mine that was swept away in the winds and the rain, or an explosion from the Syrian side of the border relating to the civil war in that country.
 
The army is expected to continue the investigation in daylight.
 
If the explosion is related to the Syrian civil war, it will not be the first time that the country’s civil war has spilled over into Israel.
 
On Monday, IDF forces on the Golan Heights near the Syria border were shot at from a Syrian army outpost. The IDF returned fire and identified a direct hit on a Syrian soldier. No IDF soldiers were injured.
 
The clash followed a mortar shell fired into Israel from Syria earlier in the day. The shell landed 50 meters (160 feet) from a house in the Israeli Druze town of Majdal Shams in the Golan Heights and caused no injuries or damage.
 
In October, two Israeli soldiers were lightly wounded by cross-border fire in the Golan Heights, along the border with Syria.
 
Israel's Ambassador to the United Nations Ron Prosor has sent a letter of complaint to the Security Council denouncing a series of Syrian violations of the 1974 ceasefire agreement between the two countries. 
 
In one such incident, gunfire from the Syrian side of the border hit close to an IDF patrol in the northern Golan Heights. There were no injuries or damage.

Powerful Explosion Heard in Golan Heights

Category: News
Created on Saturday, 07 December 2013 10:23
Golan Heights - Powerful Explosion ArchiveA powerful explosion was heard on Friday evening in the Golan Heights, near an IDF vehicle that was on routine patrol along the Syrian-Israeli border, near the slopes of Mount Hermon.
 
No one was injured as a result of the explosion, but damage was caused to the rear window of the military vehicle.
 
The explosion was so powerful that it was heard for kilometers away, and many forces were called to the scene to investigate. It is believed that the explosion was caused either by an explosive device, a mine that was swept away in the winds and the rain, or an explosion from the Syrian side of the border relating to the civil war in that country.
 
The army is expected to continue the investigation in daylight.
 
If the explosion is related to the Syrian civil war, it will not be the first time that the country’s civil war has spilled over into Israel.
 
On Monday, IDF forces on the Golan Heights near the Syria border were shot at from a Syrian army outpost. The IDF returned fire and identified a direct hit on a Syrian soldier. No IDF soldiers were injured.
 
The clash followed a mortar shell fired into Israel from Syria earlier in the day. The shell landed 50 meters (160 feet) from a house in the Israeli Druze town of Majdal Shams in the Golan Heights and caused no injuries or damage.
 
In October, two Israeli soldiers were lightly wounded by cross-border fire in the Golan Heights, along the border with Syria.
 
Israel's Ambassador to the United Nations Ron Prosor has sent a letter of complaint to the Security Council denouncing a series of Syrian violations of the 1974 ceasefire agreement between the two countries. 
 
In one such incident, gunfire from the Syrian side of the border hit close to an IDF patrol in the northern Golan Heights. There were no injuries or damage.

Powerful Explosion Heard in Golan Heights

Category: News
Created on Saturday, 07 December 2013 10:23
Golan Heights - Powerful Explosion ArchiveA powerful explosion was heard on Friday evening in the Golan Heights, near an IDF vehicle that was on routine patrol along the Syrian-Israeli border, near the slopes of Mount Hermon.
 
No one was injured as a result of the explosion, but damage was caused to the rear window of the military vehicle.
 
The explosion was so powerful that it was heard for kilometers away, and many forces were called to the scene to investigate. It is believed that the explosion was caused either by an explosive device, a mine that was swept away in the winds and the rain, or an explosion from the Syrian side of the border relating to the civil war in that country.
 
The army is expected to continue the investigation in daylight.
 
If the explosion is related to the Syrian civil war, it will not be the first time that the country’s civil war has spilled over into Israel.
 
On Monday, IDF forces on the Golan Heights near the Syria border were shot at from a Syrian army outpost. The IDF returned fire and identified a direct hit on a Syrian soldier. No IDF soldiers were injured.
 
The clash followed a mortar shell fired into Israel from Syria earlier in the day. The shell landed 50 meters (160 feet) from a house in the Israeli Druze town of Majdal Shams in the Golan Heights and caused no injuries or damage.
 
In October, two Israeli soldiers were lightly wounded by cross-border fire in the Golan Heights, along the border with Syria.
 
Israel's Ambassador to the United Nations Ron Prosor has sent a letter of complaint to the Security Council denouncing a series of Syrian violations of the 1974 ceasefire agreement between the two countries. 
 
In one such incident, gunfire from the Syrian side of the border hit close to an IDF patrol in the northern Golan Heights. There were no injuries or damage.

Syrian Rebels Capture Christian Town, Kidnap Nuns

Category: News
Created on Tuesday, 03 December 2013 16:45
Syrian RebelsSyrian rebels, including jihadist groups, captured the historic Christian town of Maalula north of Damascus on Monday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights told AFP.
 
Rebels assaulted the town by rolling explosive-filled tires down the hills onto regime forces and were able to reach the city center after three days of intense fighting, with clashes still raging in the surrounding areas, reported the organization. The town is considered a symbol of the ancient Christian presence in Syria.
 
The fighting came as the regime has been battling to gain control of a string of nearby towns and villages along the strategic Damascus-Homs highway north of the capital.
 
The Observatory told AFP that several groups, including the Al-Qaeda affiliate Al-Nusra Front, had taken part in the capture of the town.
 
The rebels abducted 12 Syrian and Lebanese Orthodox nuns from their convent after moving into the town, Vatican Radio reported.
 
Syrian state news agency SANA had earlier said the rebels had entered the Mar Takla convent, in the middle of the city, which had previously been controlled by the army.
 
The convent is home to some 40 nuns and orphans, some of the few residents of the town who remained after rebels first entered in September, prompting fierce fighting with the army.
 
Jihadist rebel groups have carried out atrocities throughout the civil war, including publicly beheading a Catholic priest in Idlib in July. The priest was executed because he was accused of collaborating with President Bashar Al-Assad’s regime.
 
In Aleppo, several Islamist groups split off from the Western-backed Syrian National Council and declared the region to be an independent Islamist state. The jihadists in Aleppo have set up a court based on Sharia (Islamic law) which is authorized to issue execution orders for serious offenses.
 
Rebels, however, are not the only ones to have carried out atrocities. Assad’s troops have also carried out war crimes and on Monday, for the first time, the UN's High Commissioner for Human Rights stated that these war crimes were authorized "at the highest level," including by Assad himself.
 
It is the first time Navi Pillay has directly accused Assad of crimes against humanity, and could pave the way to an international prosecution - although with western states and Russia pinning their hopes on an upcoming "peace conference" in Geneva, that seems an unlikely prospect.
 
Pillay made the statements based on the findings of a special inquiry into abuses by both sides in the Syrian civil war, and added that "the scale and viciousness of the abuses being perpetrated by elements on both sides almost defies belief."

Syrian Rebels Capture Christian Town, Kidnap Nuns

Category: News
Created on Tuesday, 03 December 2013 16:45
Syrian RebelsSyrian rebels, including jihadist groups, captured the historic Christian town of Maalula north of Damascus on Monday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights told AFP.
 
Rebels assaulted the town by rolling explosive-filled tires down the hills onto regime forces and were able to reach the city center after three days of intense fighting, with clashes still raging in the surrounding areas, reported the organization. The town is considered a symbol of the ancient Christian presence in Syria.
 
The fighting came as the regime has been battling to gain control of a string of nearby towns and villages along the strategic Damascus-Homs highway north of the capital.
 
The Observatory told AFP that several groups, including the Al-Qaeda affiliate Al-Nusra Front, had taken part in the capture of the town.
 
The rebels abducted 12 Syrian and Lebanese Orthodox nuns from their convent after moving into the town, Vatican Radio reported.
 
Syrian state news agency SANA had earlier said the rebels had entered the Mar Takla convent, in the middle of the city, which had previously been controlled by the army.
 
The convent is home to some 40 nuns and orphans, some of the few residents of the town who remained after rebels first entered in September, prompting fierce fighting with the army.
 
Jihadist rebel groups have carried out atrocities throughout the civil war, including publicly beheading a Catholic priest in Idlib in July. The priest was executed because he was accused of collaborating with President Bashar Al-Assad’s regime.
 
In Aleppo, several Islamist groups split off from the Western-backed Syrian National Council and declared the region to be an independent Islamist state. The jihadists in Aleppo have set up a court based on Sharia (Islamic law) which is authorized to issue execution orders for serious offenses.
 
Rebels, however, are not the only ones to have carried out atrocities. Assad’s troops have also carried out war crimes and on Monday, for the first time, the UN's High Commissioner for Human Rights stated that these war crimes were authorized "at the highest level," including by Assad himself.
 
It is the first time Navi Pillay has directly accused Assad of crimes against humanity, and could pave the way to an international prosecution - although with western states and Russia pinning their hopes on an upcoming "peace conference" in Geneva, that seems an unlikely prospect.
 
Pillay made the statements based on the findings of a special inquiry into abuses by both sides in the Syrian civil war, and added that "the scale and viciousness of the abuses being perpetrated by elements on both sides almost defies belief."

Syrian Rebels Capture Christian Town, Kidnap Nuns

Category: News
Created on Tuesday, 03 December 2013 16:45
Syrian RebelsSyrian rebels, including jihadist groups, captured the historic Christian town of Maalula north of Damascus on Monday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights told AFP.
 
Rebels assaulted the town by rolling explosive-filled tires down the hills onto regime forces and were able to reach the city center after three days of intense fighting, with clashes still raging in the surrounding areas, reported the organization. The town is considered a symbol of the ancient Christian presence in Syria.
 
The fighting came as the regime has been battling to gain control of a string of nearby towns and villages along the strategic Damascus-Homs highway north of the capital.
 
The Observatory told AFP that several groups, including the Al-Qaeda affiliate Al-Nusra Front, had taken part in the capture of the town.
 
The rebels abducted 12 Syrian and Lebanese Orthodox nuns from their convent after moving into the town, Vatican Radio reported.
 
Syrian state news agency SANA had earlier said the rebels had entered the Mar Takla convent, in the middle of the city, which had previously been controlled by the army.
 
The convent is home to some 40 nuns and orphans, some of the few residents of the town who remained after rebels first entered in September, prompting fierce fighting with the army.
 
Jihadist rebel groups have carried out atrocities throughout the civil war, including publicly beheading a Catholic priest in Idlib in July. The priest was executed because he was accused of collaborating with President Bashar Al-Assad’s regime.
 
In Aleppo, several Islamist groups split off from the Western-backed Syrian National Council and declared the region to be an independent Islamist state. The jihadists in Aleppo have set up a court based on Sharia (Islamic law) which is authorized to issue execution orders for serious offenses.
 
Rebels, however, are not the only ones to have carried out atrocities. Assad’s troops have also carried out war crimes and on Monday, for the first time, the UN's High Commissioner for Human Rights stated that these war crimes were authorized "at the highest level," including by Assad himself.
 
It is the first time Navi Pillay has directly accused Assad of crimes against humanity, and could pave the way to an international prosecution - although with western states and Russia pinning their hopes on an upcoming "peace conference" in Geneva, that seems an unlikely prospect.
 
Pillay made the statements based on the findings of a special inquiry into abuses by both sides in the Syrian civil war, and added that "the scale and viciousness of the abuses being perpetrated by elements on both sides almost defies belief."

Syrian Rebels Capture Christian Town, Kidnap Nuns

Category: News
Created on Tuesday, 03 December 2013 16:45
Syrian RebelsSyrian rebels, including jihadist groups, captured the historic Christian town of Maalula north of Damascus on Monday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights told AFP.
 
Rebels assaulted the town by rolling explosive-filled tires down the hills onto regime forces and were able to reach the city center after three days of intense fighting, with clashes still raging in the surrounding areas, reported the organization. The town is considered a symbol of the ancient Christian presence in Syria.
 
The fighting came as the regime has been battling to gain control of a string of nearby towns and villages along the strategic Damascus-Homs highway north of the capital.
 
The Observatory told AFP that several groups, including the Al-Qaeda affiliate Al-Nusra Front, had taken part in the capture of the town.
 
The rebels abducted 12 Syrian and Lebanese Orthodox nuns from their convent after moving into the town, Vatican Radio reported.
 
Syrian state news agency SANA had earlier said the rebels had entered the Mar Takla convent, in the middle of the city, which had previously been controlled by the army.
 
The convent is home to some 40 nuns and orphans, some of the few residents of the town who remained after rebels first entered in September, prompting fierce fighting with the army.
 
Jihadist rebel groups have carried out atrocities throughout the civil war, including publicly beheading a Catholic priest in Idlib in July. The priest was executed because he was accused of collaborating with President Bashar Al-Assad’s regime.
 
In Aleppo, several Islamist groups split off from the Western-backed Syrian National Council and declared the region to be an independent Islamist state. The jihadists in Aleppo have set up a court based on Sharia (Islamic law) which is authorized to issue execution orders for serious offenses.
 
Rebels, however, are not the only ones to have carried out atrocities. Assad’s troops have also carried out war crimes and on Monday, for the first time, the UN's High Commissioner for Human Rights stated that these war crimes were authorized "at the highest level," including by Assad himself.
 
It is the first time Navi Pillay has directly accused Assad of crimes against humanity, and could pave the way to an international prosecution - although with western states and Russia pinning their hopes on an upcoming "peace conference" in Geneva, that seems an unlikely prospect.
 
Pillay made the statements based on the findings of a special inquiry into abuses by both sides in the Syrian civil war, and added that "the scale and viciousness of the abuses being perpetrated by elements on both sides almost defies belief."

Syria Jihadists Execute Members of Rival Faction

Category: News
Created on Sunday, 01 December 2013 08:52
Jihadists Behead the Wrong ManIn the latest atrocity of the Syrian civil war, Reuters reports that Al-Qaeda-linked rebels have executed the commander of a rival rebel faction and six of his men.
 
An amateur video of the public execution was posted online, the news agency reported.
 
The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), a jihadist group fighting to overthrow President Bashar Al-Assad, has taken advantage of a power vacuum in rebel-held areas to assert its authority over more moderate elements of the armed opposition.
 
The video, posted online by the anti-Assad Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group on Wednesday, shows armed men in black standing below an ISIL banner.
 
The Observatory said the video was taken in the northern Syrian town of Atarib in Idlib province. Its authenticity could not be independently confirmed.
 
A masked man on the video identifies seven men kneeling as members of the Ghurabaa al-Sham brigade, a moderate Islamist group that was one of the first to fight Assad. A man who appeared to be the group’s commander, Hassan Jazera, was among them.
 
“Hassan Jazera is the most corrupt and the biggest thief,” said the man. He spoke into a microphone to a crowd of men, some of whom used their mobile phones to film the killing.
 
The man, reading from a piece of paper, said Jazera’s men were also charged with kidnapping and had been tried in a religious court run by ISIL. They were then shot in the head.
 
Jazera and his men were arrested by ISIL a month ago, the UK-based Observatory said, according to Reuters.
 
The rebels have long ago split into rival factions and have begun fighting one another, essentially creating a second civil war in Syria.
 
In Aleppo, several Islamist groups split off from the Western-backed Syrian National Council declared the region to be an independent Islamist state.
 
The jihadists in Aleppo have set up a court based on Sharia (Islamic law) which is authorized to issue execution orders for serious offenses.
 
These executions, usually carried out by beheading those convicted, are a regular occurrence and an example of atrocities carried out by the rebels.
 
Several weeks ago, jihadist rebels had to ask for "understanding and forgiveness" after they beheaded the wrong man.
 
The rebels published a video showing the head of a man they said was part of a Shiite militia fighting for Assad. As it turned out the head belonged to a member of another jihadist rebel group.
 
Several months ago, a Catholic priest who was accused of collaborating with Assad’s regime was publicly beheaded, with the execution filmed and posted to the Internet for all to see.
 
Some of the Islamist groups have attempted to soften their image in an attempt to win hearts and minds - holding stand up comedy shows and handing out toys to local children.
 
A British think-tank said this week that more than 11,000 children have died in Syria's civil war, including 128 killed by chemical weapons.
 
In addition to clashes between rebels, there have also been numerous clashes between Arab rebel groups and Kurdish militias in the northern part of Syria - essentially a third civil war.

Syria Jihadists Execute Members of Rival Faction

Category: News
Created on Sunday, 01 December 2013 08:52
Jihadists Behead the Wrong ManIn the latest atrocity of the Syrian civil war, Reuters reports that Al-Qaeda-linked rebels have executed the commander of a rival rebel faction and six of his men.
 
An amateur video of the public execution was posted online, the news agency reported.
 
The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), a jihadist group fighting to overthrow President Bashar Al-Assad, has taken advantage of a power vacuum in rebel-held areas to assert its authority over more moderate elements of the armed opposition.
 
The video, posted online by the anti-Assad Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group on Wednesday, shows armed men in black standing below an ISIL banner.
 
The Observatory said the video was taken in the northern Syrian town of Atarib in Idlib province. Its authenticity could not be independently confirmed.
 
A masked man on the video identifies seven men kneeling as members of the Ghurabaa al-Sham brigade, a moderate Islamist group that was one of the first to fight Assad. A man who appeared to be the group’s commander, Hassan Jazera, was among them.
 
“Hassan Jazera is the most corrupt and the biggest thief,” said the man. He spoke into a microphone to a crowd of men, some of whom used their mobile phones to film the killing.
 
The man, reading from a piece of paper, said Jazera’s men were also charged with kidnapping and had been tried in a religious court run by ISIL. They were then shot in the head.
 
Jazera and his men were arrested by ISIL a month ago, the UK-based Observatory said, according to Reuters.
 
The rebels have long ago split into rival factions and have begun fighting one another, essentially creating a second civil war in Syria.
 
In Aleppo, several Islamist groups split off from the Western-backed Syrian National Council declared the region to be an independent Islamist state.
 
The jihadists in Aleppo have set up a court based on Sharia (Islamic law) which is authorized to issue execution orders for serious offenses.
 
These executions, usually carried out by beheading those convicted, are a regular occurrence and an example of atrocities carried out by the rebels.
 
Several weeks ago, jihadist rebels had to ask for "understanding and forgiveness" after they beheaded the wrong man.
 
The rebels published a video showing the head of a man they said was part of a Shiite militia fighting for Assad. As it turned out the head belonged to a member of another jihadist rebel group.
 
Several months ago, a Catholic priest who was accused of collaborating with Assad’s regime was publicly beheaded, with the execution filmed and posted to the Internet for all to see.
 
Some of the Islamist groups have attempted to soften their image in an attempt to win hearts and minds - holding stand up comedy shows and handing out toys to local children.
 
A British think-tank said this week that more than 11,000 children have died in Syria's civil war, including 128 killed by chemical weapons.
 
In addition to clashes between rebels, there have also been numerous clashes between Arab rebel groups and Kurdish militias in the northern part of Syria - essentially a third civil war.

Syria Jihadists Execute Members of Rival Faction

Category: News
Created on Sunday, 01 December 2013 08:52
Jihadists Behead the Wrong ManIn the latest atrocity of the Syrian civil war, Reuters reports that Al-Qaeda-linked rebels have executed the commander of a rival rebel faction and six of his men.
 
An amateur video of the public execution was posted online, the news agency reported.
 
The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), a jihadist group fighting to overthrow President Bashar Al-Assad, has taken advantage of a power vacuum in rebel-held areas to assert its authority over more moderate elements of the armed opposition.
 
The video, posted online by the anti-Assad Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group on Wednesday, shows armed men in black standing below an ISIL banner.
 
The Observatory said the video was taken in the northern Syrian town of Atarib in Idlib province. Its authenticity could not be independently confirmed.
 
A masked man on the video identifies seven men kneeling as members of the Ghurabaa al-Sham brigade, a moderate Islamist group that was one of the first to fight Assad. A man who appeared to be the group’s commander, Hassan Jazera, was among them.
 
“Hassan Jazera is the most corrupt and the biggest thief,” said the man. He spoke into a microphone to a crowd of men, some of whom used their mobile phones to film the killing.
 
The man, reading from a piece of paper, said Jazera’s men were also charged with kidnapping and had been tried in a religious court run by ISIL. They were then shot in the head.
 
Jazera and his men were arrested by ISIL a month ago, the UK-based Observatory said, according to Reuters.
 
The rebels have long ago split into rival factions and have begun fighting one another, essentially creating a second civil war in Syria.
 
In Aleppo, several Islamist groups split off from the Western-backed Syrian National Council declared the region to be an independent Islamist state.
 
The jihadists in Aleppo have set up a court based on Sharia (Islamic law) which is authorized to issue execution orders for serious offenses.
 
These executions, usually carried out by beheading those convicted, are a regular occurrence and an example of atrocities carried out by the rebels.
 
Several weeks ago, jihadist rebels had to ask for "understanding and forgiveness" after they beheaded the wrong man.
 
The rebels published a video showing the head of a man they said was part of a Shiite militia fighting for Assad. As it turned out the head belonged to a member of another jihadist rebel group.
 
Several months ago, a Catholic priest who was accused of collaborating with Assad’s regime was publicly beheaded, with the execution filmed and posted to the Internet for all to see.
 
Some of the Islamist groups have attempted to soften their image in an attempt to win hearts and minds - holding stand up comedy shows and handing out toys to local children.
 
A British think-tank said this week that more than 11,000 children have died in Syria's civil war, including 128 killed by chemical weapons.
 
In addition to clashes between rebels, there have also been numerous clashes between Arab rebel groups and Kurdish militias in the northern part of Syria - essentially a third civil war.

Syria Jihadists Execute Members of Rival Faction

Category: News
Created on Sunday, 01 December 2013 08:52
Jihadists Behead the Wrong ManIn the latest atrocity of the Syrian civil war, Reuters reports that Al-Qaeda-linked rebels have executed the commander of a rival rebel faction and six of his men.
 
An amateur video of the public execution was posted online, the news agency reported.
 
The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), a jihadist group fighting to overthrow President Bashar Al-Assad, has taken advantage of a power vacuum in rebel-held areas to assert its authority over more moderate elements of the armed opposition.
 
The video, posted online by the anti-Assad Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group on Wednesday, shows armed men in black standing below an ISIL banner.
 
The Observatory said the video was taken in the northern Syrian town of Atarib in Idlib province. Its authenticity could not be independently confirmed.
 
A masked man on the video identifies seven men kneeling as members of the Ghurabaa al-Sham brigade, a moderate Islamist group that was one of the first to fight Assad. A man who appeared to be the group’s commander, Hassan Jazera, was among them.
 
“Hassan Jazera is the most corrupt and the biggest thief,” said the man. He spoke into a microphone to a crowd of men, some of whom used their mobile phones to film the killing.
 
The man, reading from a piece of paper, said Jazera’s men were also charged with kidnapping and had been tried in a religious court run by ISIL. They were then shot in the head.
 
Jazera and his men were arrested by ISIL a month ago, the UK-based Observatory said, according to Reuters.
 
The rebels have long ago split into rival factions and have begun fighting one another, essentially creating a second civil war in Syria.
 
In Aleppo, several Islamist groups split off from the Western-backed Syrian National Council declared the region to be an independent Islamist state.
 
The jihadists in Aleppo have set up a court based on Sharia (Islamic law) which is authorized to issue execution orders for serious offenses.
 
These executions, usually carried out by beheading those convicted, are a regular occurrence and an example of atrocities carried out by the rebels.
 
Several weeks ago, jihadist rebels had to ask for "understanding and forgiveness" after they beheaded the wrong man.
 
The rebels published a video showing the head of a man they said was part of a Shiite militia fighting for Assad. As it turned out the head belonged to a member of another jihadist rebel group.
 
Several months ago, a Catholic priest who was accused of collaborating with Assad’s regime was publicly beheaded, with the execution filmed and posted to the Internet for all to see.
 
Some of the Islamist groups have attempted to soften their image in an attempt to win hearts and minds - holding stand up comedy shows and handing out toys to local children.
 
A British think-tank said this week that more than 11,000 children have died in Syria's civil war, including 128 killed by chemical weapons.
 
In addition to clashes between rebels, there have also been numerous clashes between Arab rebel groups and Kurdish militias in the northern part of Syria - essentially a third civil war.

Lethal Mortar Lands by Russian Embassy in Damascus

Category: News
Created on Friday, 29 November 2013 15:22
Bombing in Aleppo - Reuters (archive)A mortar landed by the Russian Embassy in Damascus on Thursday, killing a Syrian civilian and injuring 9 security personnel working at the site, reports CNN.
 
The Russian Foreign Ministry announced no Russians were hurt in the attack, and said it was investigating who was responsible. Meanwhile the US Department of State condemned the attack.
 
The mortar attack in the Syrian capital comes despite the Syrian army's recapturing of the strategic town of Deir Attiyeh just north of Damascus on Thursday, just under a week after the army lost the town.
 
Deir Attiyeh is located on the Damascus-Homs highway. It is an important point for the ongoing army offensive in the region due to its closeness to Damascus, and is important to the rebels for the supply lines to Lebanon it grants access to, according to Al Jazeera.
 
The explosion comes after an attack on Iran's embassy in the Lebanese capital of Beirut on November 19 killed 23, including the Iranian cultural attaché.
 
That attack was claimed by an Al Qaeda-affiliated terrorist group that supports the rebel forces in Syria. It was meant as a message to Iran and its Lebanese proxy Hezbollah to pull their forces out of Syria where they are supporting President Bashar Assad's regime.
 
Russia has likewise been associated with Assad's regime. The reported IAF strike on the Latakia region of Syria October 31 apparently targeted an advanced Russian missile system that could be updated to the highly touted S-300 missile system.
 
In fact, former Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Meir Rosenne said Russia, Syria and Iran through their alliance "defeated" America by forcing US President Barack Obama to back down from his planned intervention in Syria in September.
 
On Wednesday Assad's government said it would attend the January 22 peace talks in Geneva aimed at ending the conflict now stretching into its third year. The war has left over 120,000 dead.

Lethal Mortar Lands by Russian Embassy in Damascus

Category: News
Created on Friday, 29 November 2013 15:22
Bombing in Aleppo - Reuters (archive)A mortar landed by the Russian Embassy in Damascus on Thursday, killing a Syrian civilian and injuring 9 security personnel working at the site, reports CNN.
 
The Russian Foreign Ministry announced no Russians were hurt in the attack, and said it was investigating who was responsible. Meanwhile the US Department of State condemned the attack.
 
The mortar attack in the Syrian capital comes despite the Syrian army's recapturing of the strategic town of Deir Attiyeh just north of Damascus on Thursday, just under a week after the army lost the town.
 
Deir Attiyeh is located on the Damascus-Homs highway. It is an important point for the ongoing army offensive in the region due to its closeness to Damascus, and is important to the rebels for the supply lines to Lebanon it grants access to, according to Al Jazeera.
 
The explosion comes after an attack on Iran's embassy in the Lebanese capital of Beirut on November 19 killed 23, including the Iranian cultural attaché.
 
That attack was claimed by an Al Qaeda-affiliated terrorist group that supports the rebel forces in Syria. It was meant as a message to Iran and its Lebanese proxy Hezbollah to pull their forces out of Syria where they are supporting President Bashar Assad's regime.
 
Russia has likewise been associated with Assad's regime. The reported IAF strike on the Latakia region of Syria October 31 apparently targeted an advanced Russian missile system that could be updated to the highly touted S-300 missile system.
 
In fact, former Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Meir Rosenne said Russia, Syria and Iran through their alliance "defeated" America by forcing US President Barack Obama to back down from his planned intervention in Syria in September.
 
On Wednesday Assad's government said it would attend the January 22 peace talks in Geneva aimed at ending the conflict now stretching into its third year. The war has left over 120,000 dead.

Lethal Mortar Lands by Russian Embassy in Damascus

Category: News
Created on Friday, 29 November 2013 15:22
Bombing in Aleppo - Reuters (archive)A mortar landed by the Russian Embassy in Damascus on Thursday, killing a Syrian civilian and injuring 9 security personnel working at the site, reports CNN.
 
The Russian Foreign Ministry announced no Russians were hurt in the attack, and said it was investigating who was responsible. Meanwhile the US Department of State condemned the attack.
 
The mortar attack in the Syrian capital comes despite the Syrian army's recapturing of the strategic town of Deir Attiyeh just north of Damascus on Thursday, just under a week after the army lost the town.
 
Deir Attiyeh is located on the Damascus-Homs highway. It is an important point for the ongoing army offensive in the region due to its closeness to Damascus, and is important to the rebels for the supply lines to Lebanon it grants access to, according to Al Jazeera.
 
The explosion comes after an attack on Iran's embassy in the Lebanese capital of Beirut on November 19 killed 23, including the Iranian cultural attaché.
 
That attack was claimed by an Al Qaeda-affiliated terrorist group that supports the rebel forces in Syria. It was meant as a message to Iran and its Lebanese proxy Hezbollah to pull their forces out of Syria where they are supporting President Bashar Assad's regime.
 
Russia has likewise been associated with Assad's regime. The reported IAF strike on the Latakia region of Syria October 31 apparently targeted an advanced Russian missile system that could be updated to the highly touted S-300 missile system.
 
In fact, former Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Meir Rosenne said Russia, Syria and Iran through their alliance "defeated" America by forcing US President Barack Obama to back down from his planned intervention in Syria in September.
 
On Wednesday Assad's government said it would attend the January 22 peace talks in Geneva aimed at ending the conflict now stretching into its third year. The war has left over 120,000 dead.

Lethal Mortar Lands by Russian Embassy in Damascus

Category: News
Created on Friday, 29 November 2013 15:22
Bombing in Aleppo - Reuters (archive)A mortar landed by the Russian Embassy in Damascus on Thursday, killing a Syrian civilian and injuring 9 security personnel working at the site, reports CNN.
 
The Russian Foreign Ministry announced no Russians were hurt in the attack, and said it was investigating who was responsible. Meanwhile the US Department of State condemned the attack.
 
The mortar attack in the Syrian capital comes despite the Syrian army's recapturing of the strategic town of Deir Attiyeh just north of Damascus on Thursday, just under a week after the army lost the town.
 
Deir Attiyeh is located on the Damascus-Homs highway. It is an important point for the ongoing army offensive in the region due to its closeness to Damascus, and is important to the rebels for the supply lines to Lebanon it grants access to, according to Al Jazeera.
 
The explosion comes after an attack on Iran's embassy in the Lebanese capital of Beirut on November 19 killed 23, including the Iranian cultural attaché.
 
That attack was claimed by an Al Qaeda-affiliated terrorist group that supports the rebel forces in Syria. It was meant as a message to Iran and its Lebanese proxy Hezbollah to pull their forces out of Syria where they are supporting President Bashar Assad's regime.
 
Russia has likewise been associated with Assad's regime. The reported IAF strike on the Latakia region of Syria October 31 apparently targeted an advanced Russian missile system that could be updated to the highly touted S-300 missile system.
 
In fact, former Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Meir Rosenne said Russia, Syria and Iran through their alliance "defeated" America by forcing US President Barack Obama to back down from his planned intervention in Syria in September.
 
On Wednesday Assad's government said it would attend the January 22 peace talks in Geneva aimed at ending the conflict now stretching into its third year. The war has left over 120,000 dead.

American Jihadist in Syria: Entire World Will Be Muslim

Category: News
Created on Wednesday, 27 November 2013 05:59
Western jihadests - ReutersA US citizen, who joined the Al Qaeda-affiliated Islamic State of Iraq and al-Shams (ISIS) in Syria, has sent a video message to the West expressing his desire to wage total war against the "infidels" and impose Islamic rule over the entire world. 
{youtube}8DK955ulD5c{/youtube}
The video features "the American Abu-Dj'ana," brandishing a Kalashnikov assault rifle and a bayonet, who says the following:
"This is a message to people in the West from the Mujahideen (lit. "holy warriors") in Syria. We came here from different countries to protect this land, this Islamic land; to spread the Law of Allah on earth; and to dedicate our lives for Jihad in order so that we can get to heaven."
 
"We are coming to kill all the infidels in the West and beyond to spread Allah's law (Sharia) and the book of Allah (Koran) and to raise them to the highest level," he continues. 
 
"We came to kill anyone that stands in our way. The flag that says that 'there is no God but Allah' will be raised over Parliament Buildings and in capital cities around the world [. . .] with these simple weapons we will liberate this country and this people and  bring Islamic law to control all the world - Europe, U.S., Australia, New Zealand, Asia and Africa. "
 
Western states have grown increasingly worried over the influx of foreign fighters - many of them from Europe and North America - to take part in the Syrian civil war. Although many of them are fighting with non-Al Qaeda-aligned groups, a growing number are joining the ranks of its affiliates such as ISIS and the Nusra Front. Western intelligence officials worry about "the day after", when those battle-hardened Islamists return to their home countries, posing a real security threat there.
 
Videos like these, showcasing Western-born Islamists fighting for Al Qaeda in Syria, are still rare, but have become increasingly common as ISIS and the Nusra Front seek to bolster their presence and encourage new recruits, in the face of mounting losses both against government forces and Kurdish militias in northern Syria.
 
Over 11,000 children alone have been killed in the bloody conflict, which has raged in the region since 2011. Foreign nationals have been pouring into Syria to engage in the Civil War, which has mushroomed from a national conflict into an all-out holy war between various Islamic factions. Even among the rebels, there has been a marked lack of unity, with Al Qaeda groups like this one dividing the rebel camps, as some rebels focus more on domestic issues and less on a global Jihad campaign. 

American Jihadist in Syria: Entire World Will Be Muslim

Category: News
Created on Wednesday, 27 November 2013 05:59
Western jihadests - ReutersA US citizen, who joined the Al Qaeda-affiliated Islamic State of Iraq and al-Shams (ISIS) in Syria, has sent a video message to the West expressing his desire to wage total war against the "infidels" and impose Islamic rule over the entire world. 
{youtube}8DK955ulD5c{/youtube}
The video features "the American Abu-Dj'ana," brandishing a Kalashnikov assault rifle and a bayonet, who says the following:
"This is a message to people in the West from the Mujahideen (lit. "holy warriors") in Syria. We came here from different countries to protect this land, this Islamic land; to spread the Law of Allah on earth; and to dedicate our lives for Jihad in order so that we can get to heaven."
 
"We are coming to kill all the infidels in the West and beyond to spread Allah's law (Sharia) and the book of Allah (Koran) and to raise them to the highest level," he continues. 
 
"We came to kill anyone that stands in our way. The flag that says that 'there is no God but Allah' will be raised over Parliament Buildings and in capital cities around the world [. . .] with these simple weapons we will liberate this country and this people and  bring Islamic law to control all the world - Europe, U.S., Australia, New Zealand, Asia and Africa. "
 
Western states have grown increasingly worried over the influx of foreign fighters - many of them from Europe and North America - to take part in the Syrian civil war. Although many of them are fighting with non-Al Qaeda-aligned groups, a growing number are joining the ranks of its affiliates such as ISIS and the Nusra Front. Western intelligence officials worry about "the day after", when those battle-hardened Islamists return to their home countries, posing a real security threat there.
 
Videos like these, showcasing Western-born Islamists fighting for Al Qaeda in Syria, are still rare, but have become increasingly common as ISIS and the Nusra Front seek to bolster their presence and encourage new recruits, in the face of mounting losses both against government forces and Kurdish militias in northern Syria.
 
Over 11,000 children alone have been killed in the bloody conflict, which has raged in the region since 2011. Foreign nationals have been pouring into Syria to engage in the Civil War, which has mushroomed from a national conflict into an all-out holy war between various Islamic factions. Even among the rebels, there has been a marked lack of unity, with Al Qaeda groups like this one dividing the rebel camps, as some rebels focus more on domestic issues and less on a global Jihad campaign. 

American Jihadist in Syria: Entire World Will Be Muslim

Category: News
Created on Wednesday, 27 November 2013 05:59
Western jihadests - ReutersA US citizen, who joined the Al Qaeda-affiliated Islamic State of Iraq and al-Shams (ISIS) in Syria, has sent a video message to the West expressing his desire to wage total war against the "infidels" and impose Islamic rule over the entire world. 
{youtube}8DK955ulD5c{/youtube}
The video features "the American Abu-Dj'ana," brandishing a Kalashnikov assault rifle and a bayonet, who says the following:
"This is a message to people in the West from the Mujahideen (lit. "holy warriors") in Syria. We came here from different countries to protect this land, this Islamic land; to spread the Law of Allah on earth; and to dedicate our lives for Jihad in order so that we can get to heaven."
 
"We are coming to kill all the infidels in the West and beyond to spread Allah's law (Sharia) and the book of Allah (Koran) and to raise them to the highest level," he continues. 
 
"We came to kill anyone that stands in our way. The flag that says that 'there is no God but Allah' will be raised over Parliament Buildings and in capital cities around the world [. . .] with these simple weapons we will liberate this country and this people and  bring Islamic law to control all the world - Europe, U.S., Australia, New Zealand, Asia and Africa. "
 
Western states have grown increasingly worried over the influx of foreign fighters - many of them from Europe and North America - to take part in the Syrian civil war. Although many of them are fighting with non-Al Qaeda-aligned groups, a growing number are joining the ranks of its affiliates such as ISIS and the Nusra Front. Western intelligence officials worry about "the day after", when those battle-hardened Islamists return to their home countries, posing a real security threat there.
 
Videos like these, showcasing Western-born Islamists fighting for Al Qaeda in Syria, are still rare, but have become increasingly common as ISIS and the Nusra Front seek to bolster their presence and encourage new recruits, in the face of mounting losses both against government forces and Kurdish militias in northern Syria.
 
Over 11,000 children alone have been killed in the bloody conflict, which has raged in the region since 2011. Foreign nationals have been pouring into Syria to engage in the Civil War, which has mushroomed from a national conflict into an all-out holy war between various Islamic factions. Even among the rebels, there has been a marked lack of unity, with Al Qaeda groups like this one dividing the rebel camps, as some rebels focus more on domestic issues and less on a global Jihad campaign. 

American Jihadist in Syria: Entire World Will Be Muslim

Category: News
Created on Wednesday, 27 November 2013 05:59
Western jihadests - ReutersA US citizen, who joined the Al Qaeda-affiliated Islamic State of Iraq and al-Shams (ISIS) in Syria, has sent a video message to the West expressing his desire to wage total war against the "infidels" and impose Islamic rule over the entire world. 
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The video features "the American Abu-Dj'ana," brandishing a Kalashnikov assault rifle and a bayonet, who says the following:
"This is a message to people in the West from the Mujahideen (lit. "holy warriors") in Syria. We came here from different countries to protect this land, this Islamic land; to spread the Law of Allah on earth; and to dedicate our lives for Jihad in order so that we can get to heaven."
 
"We are coming to kill all the infidels in the West and beyond to spread Allah's law (Sharia) and the book of Allah (Koran) and to raise them to the highest level," he continues. 
 
"We came to kill anyone that stands in our way. The flag that says that 'there is no God but Allah' will be raised over Parliament Buildings and in capital cities around the world [. . .] with these simple weapons we will liberate this country and this people and  bring Islamic law to control all the world - Europe, U.S., Australia, New Zealand, Asia and Africa. "
 
Western states have grown increasingly worried over the influx of foreign fighters - many of them from Europe and North America - to take part in the Syrian civil war. Although many of them are fighting with non-Al Qaeda-aligned groups, a growing number are joining the ranks of its affiliates such as ISIS and the Nusra Front. Western intelligence officials worry about "the day after", when those battle-hardened Islamists return to their home countries, posing a real security threat there.
 
Videos like these, showcasing Western-born Islamists fighting for Al Qaeda in Syria, are still rare, but have become increasingly common as ISIS and the Nusra Front seek to bolster their presence and encourage new recruits, in the face of mounting losses both against government forces and Kurdish militias in northern Syria.
 
Over 11,000 children alone have been killed in the bloody conflict, which has raged in the region since 2011. Foreign nationals have been pouring into Syria to engage in the Civil War, which has mushroomed from a national conflict into an all-out holy war between various Islamic factions. Even among the rebels, there has been a marked lack of unity, with Al Qaeda groups like this one dividing the rebel camps, as some rebels focus more on domestic issues and less on a global Jihad campaign. 

British Protester Killed Fighting for Syrian Rebels

Category: News
Created on Friday, 22 November 2013 10:22
jihadists in Syria has accelerated due to a convergence with the sectarian tensions across the countrys border with Iraq. APMohammed el-Araj, a twenty-year-old British Muslim, was killed in Syria while fighting for rebel forces against President Bashar Assad's regime. Araj, the second confirmed British citizen killed fighting in the Syrian war, previously was jailed for violently protesting outside the Israeli embassy in London.
 
Araj, the UK-raised son of Palestinian parents, was arrested in 2009 protesting the IDF counter-terror Operation Cast Lead in Gaza. The Guardian reports that his sentence was cut from 2 years to 18 months.
 
Araj's story has raised concerns about home-grown UK terror, given that security services were unable to stop him from joining the fighting in Syria even after being jailed.
 
"This blows the lid off the traditional idea that if you create a space for angry, quite radical protests in the UK, in London, it provides a channel through which angry young men can dissipate their energies, lest they be attracted into terrorism," said Shiraz Maher, Senior research fellow at the British think-tank International Center for the Study of Radicalization (ICSR)
 
Further concerns were recently raised by Andrew Parker, head of the British intelligence agency MI5, that "British-based jihadists will one day return from the killing fields of Syria and turn their new-found skills on the population back home."
 
There are an estimated 200 UK fighters in Syria, along with numerous other foreigners. Just recently Burak Kran, a former player on the German national soccer team, was killed fighting for the rebel forces.
 
Meanwhile Araj's death comes as reports say the ongoing internecine clashes in Syria will have a long term devastating effect on the refugees created by the crisis.

British Protester Killed Fighting for Syrian Rebels

Category: News
Created on Friday, 22 November 2013 10:22
jihadists in Syria has accelerated due to a convergence with the sectarian tensions across the countrys border with Iraq. APMohammed el-Araj, a twenty-year-old British Muslim, was killed in Syria while fighting for rebel forces against President Bashar Assad's regime. Araj, the second confirmed British citizen killed fighting in the Syrian war, previously was jailed for violently protesting outside the Israeli embassy in London.
 
Araj, the UK-raised son of Palestinian parents, was arrested in 2009 protesting the IDF counter-terror Operation Cast Lead in Gaza. The Guardian reports that his sentence was cut from 2 years to 18 months.
 
Araj's story has raised concerns about home-grown UK terror, given that security services were unable to stop him from joining the fighting in Syria even after being jailed.
 
"This blows the lid off the traditional idea that if you create a space for angry, quite radical protests in the UK, in London, it provides a channel through which angry young men can dissipate their energies, lest they be attracted into terrorism," said Shiraz Maher, Senior research fellow at the British think-tank International Center for the Study of Radicalization (ICSR)
 
Further concerns were recently raised by Andrew Parker, head of the British intelligence agency MI5, that "British-based jihadists will one day return from the killing fields of Syria and turn their new-found skills on the population back home."
 
There are an estimated 200 UK fighters in Syria, along with numerous other foreigners. Just recently Burak Kran, a former player on the German national soccer team, was killed fighting for the rebel forces.
 
Meanwhile Araj's death comes as reports say the ongoing internecine clashes in Syria will have a long term devastating effect on the refugees created by the crisis.

British Protester Killed Fighting for Syrian Rebels

Category: News
Created on Friday, 22 November 2013 10:22
jihadists in Syria has accelerated due to a convergence with the sectarian tensions across the countrys border with Iraq. APMohammed el-Araj, a twenty-year-old British Muslim, was killed in Syria while fighting for rebel forces against President Bashar Assad's regime. Araj, the second confirmed British citizen killed fighting in the Syrian war, previously was jailed for violently protesting outside the Israeli embassy in London.
 
Araj, the UK-raised son of Palestinian parents, was arrested in 2009 protesting the IDF counter-terror Operation Cast Lead in Gaza. The Guardian reports that his sentence was cut from 2 years to 18 months.
 
Araj's story has raised concerns about home-grown UK terror, given that security services were unable to stop him from joining the fighting in Syria even after being jailed.
 
"This blows the lid off the traditional idea that if you create a space for angry, quite radical protests in the UK, in London, it provides a channel through which angry young men can dissipate their energies, lest they be attracted into terrorism," said Shiraz Maher, Senior research fellow at the British think-tank International Center for the Study of Radicalization (ICSR)
 
Further concerns were recently raised by Andrew Parker, head of the British intelligence agency MI5, that "British-based jihadists will one day return from the killing fields of Syria and turn their new-found skills on the population back home."
 
There are an estimated 200 UK fighters in Syria, along with numerous other foreigners. Just recently Burak Kran, a former player on the German national soccer team, was killed fighting for the rebel forces.
 
Meanwhile Araj's death comes as reports say the ongoing internecine clashes in Syria will have a long term devastating effect on the refugees created by the crisis.

British Protester Killed Fighting for Syrian Rebels

Category: News
Created on Friday, 22 November 2013 10:22
jihadists in Syria has accelerated due to a convergence with the sectarian tensions across the countrys border with Iraq. APMohammed el-Araj, a twenty-year-old British Muslim, was killed in Syria while fighting for rebel forces against President Bashar Assad's regime. Araj, the second confirmed British citizen killed fighting in the Syrian war, previously was jailed for violently protesting outside the Israeli embassy in London.
 
Araj, the UK-raised son of Palestinian parents, was arrested in 2009 protesting the IDF counter-terror Operation Cast Lead in Gaza. The Guardian reports that his sentence was cut from 2 years to 18 months.
 
Araj's story has raised concerns about home-grown UK terror, given that security services were unable to stop him from joining the fighting in Syria even after being jailed.
 
"This blows the lid off the traditional idea that if you create a space for angry, quite radical protests in the UK, in London, it provides a channel through which angry young men can dissipate their energies, lest they be attracted into terrorism," said Shiraz Maher, Senior research fellow at the British think-tank International Center for the Study of Radicalization (ICSR)
 
Further concerns were recently raised by Andrew Parker, head of the British intelligence agency MI5, that "British-based jihadists will one day return from the killing fields of Syria and turn their new-found skills on the population back home."
 
There are an estimated 200 UK fighters in Syria, along with numerous other foreigners. Just recently Burak Kran, a former player on the German national soccer team, was killed fighting for the rebel forces.
 
Meanwhile Araj's death comes as reports say the ongoing internecine clashes in Syria will have a long term devastating effect on the refugees created by the crisis.

About 600 Saudi fighters are in Syria

Category: News
Created on Saturday, 16 November 2013 10:05
Faris Bin Hizam Al ArabiyaAn estimated 600 Saudis have joined al-Qaeda-affiliated groups in Syria fighting against President Bashar’s al-Assad’s regime, a Saudi expert in Islamist movements told Al Arabiya’s weekly program “Death making” on Friday.
 
Faris Bin Hizam said many Saudis are fighting on the ranks of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and the al-Nusra Front.
 
But the Saudi fighters are only a small number if compared to other foreign nationalities fighting in Syria, Bin Hizam said.
 
He added that unlike Iraq and Afghanistan, where al-Qaeda has a strong presence, there is increased awareness amongst Saudis regarding the dangers of belonging to al-Qaeda, and a widely held belief that the Syrian revolution does not need more fighters but rather financial support.
 
Bin Hizam noted that Saudi Arabia’s tight security measures are able to contain the al-Qaeda, something Libya and Tunisia failed to do after their revolution.
 
The ISIL is al-Qaeda’s main branch in Syria, although al-Qaeda Chief Ayman al-Zawahiri recently ordered its disbanding. He said al-Qaeda in Syria is to be represented only by the al-Nusra Front.
 
The al-Nusra Front, created in January 2012, joined al-Qaeda in December of that year and is on a U.S. list of foreign terrorist’s organizations.
 
The al-Nusra Front has carried out major attacks against the Syrian armed forces, including several suicide bombings.
 
The Saudi expert said that there were no Saudis among the top 10 commanders in the al-Qaeda groups in Syria. According to him, they join the terrorist group only to take part in suicide bombings and civil operations.
 
Bin Hizam noted that the al-Qaeda tends to amplify the number of its Saudi members in Syria, Pakistan, Yemen and Iraq as a way to attract more more volunteers and more financial support from its donors.
 
Most-wanted Saudi man
 
The program also aired the latest images of Saleh al-Qarawi, the most-wanted man on a list of 85 terrorists, issued by the Saudi Interior Ministry in 2009. Qarawi appeared to have lost an eye, his right hand and his feet.
 
The analyst said Qarawi sustained those injuries last month and is now in Saudi Arabia as he surrendered to the authorities to receive treatment.
 
Al-Qarawi served as a senior leader and operative for the Abdullah Azzam Brigades (AAB), a Lebanese militant organization and also operated in Iran and Afghanistan.

About 600 Saudi fighters are in Syria

Category: News
Created on Saturday, 16 November 2013 10:05
Faris Bin Hizam Al ArabiyaAn estimated 600 Saudis have joined al-Qaeda-affiliated groups in Syria fighting against President Bashar’s al-Assad’s regime, a Saudi expert in Islamist movements told Al Arabiya’s weekly program “Death making” on Friday.
 
Faris Bin Hizam said many Saudis are fighting on the ranks of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and the al-Nusra Front.
 
But the Saudi fighters are only a small number if compared to other foreign nationalities fighting in Syria, Bin Hizam said.
 
He added that unlike Iraq and Afghanistan, where al-Qaeda has a strong presence, there is increased awareness amongst Saudis regarding the dangers of belonging to al-Qaeda, and a widely held belief that the Syrian revolution does not need more fighters but rather financial support.
 
Bin Hizam noted that Saudi Arabia’s tight security measures are able to contain the al-Qaeda, something Libya and Tunisia failed to do after their revolution.
 
The ISIL is al-Qaeda’s main branch in Syria, although al-Qaeda Chief Ayman al-Zawahiri recently ordered its disbanding. He said al-Qaeda in Syria is to be represented only by the al-Nusra Front.
 
The al-Nusra Front, created in January 2012, joined al-Qaeda in December of that year and is on a U.S. list of foreign terrorist’s organizations.
 
The al-Nusra Front has carried out major attacks against the Syrian armed forces, including several suicide bombings.
 
The Saudi expert said that there were no Saudis among the top 10 commanders in the al-Qaeda groups in Syria. According to him, they join the terrorist group only to take part in suicide bombings and civil operations.
 
Bin Hizam noted that the al-Qaeda tends to amplify the number of its Saudi members in Syria, Pakistan, Yemen and Iraq as a way to attract more more volunteers and more financial support from its donors.
 
Most-wanted Saudi man
 
The program also aired the latest images of Saleh al-Qarawi, the most-wanted man on a list of 85 terrorists, issued by the Saudi Interior Ministry in 2009. Qarawi appeared to have lost an eye, his right hand and his feet.
 
The analyst said Qarawi sustained those injuries last month and is now in Saudi Arabia as he surrendered to the authorities to receive treatment.
 
Al-Qarawi served as a senior leader and operative for the Abdullah Azzam Brigades (AAB), a Lebanese militant organization and also operated in Iran and Afghanistan.

About 600 Saudi fighters are in Syria

Category: News
Created on Saturday, 16 November 2013 10:05
Faris Bin Hizam Al ArabiyaAn estimated 600 Saudis have joined al-Qaeda-affiliated groups in Syria fighting against President Bashar’s al-Assad’s regime, a Saudi expert in Islamist movements told Al Arabiya’s weekly program “Death making” on Friday.
 
Faris Bin Hizam said many Saudis are fighting on the ranks of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and the al-Nusra Front.
 
But the Saudi fighters are only a small number if compared to other foreign nationalities fighting in Syria, Bin Hizam said.
 
He added that unlike Iraq and Afghanistan, where al-Qaeda has a strong presence, there is increased awareness amongst Saudis regarding the dangers of belonging to al-Qaeda, and a widely held belief that the Syrian revolution does not need more fighters but rather financial support.
 
Bin Hizam noted that Saudi Arabia’s tight security measures are able to contain the al-Qaeda, something Libya and Tunisia failed to do after their revolution.
 
The ISIL is al-Qaeda’s main branch in Syria, although al-Qaeda Chief Ayman al-Zawahiri recently ordered its disbanding. He said al-Qaeda in Syria is to be represented only by the al-Nusra Front.
 
The al-Nusra Front, created in January 2012, joined al-Qaeda in December of that year and is on a U.S. list of foreign terrorist’s organizations.
 
The al-Nusra Front has carried out major attacks against the Syrian armed forces, including several suicide bombings.
 
The Saudi expert said that there were no Saudis among the top 10 commanders in the al-Qaeda groups in Syria. According to him, they join the terrorist group only to take part in suicide bombings and civil operations.
 
Bin Hizam noted that the al-Qaeda tends to amplify the number of its Saudi members in Syria, Pakistan, Yemen and Iraq as a way to attract more more volunteers and more financial support from its donors.
 
Most-wanted Saudi man
 
The program also aired the latest images of Saleh al-Qarawi, the most-wanted man on a list of 85 terrorists, issued by the Saudi Interior Ministry in 2009. Qarawi appeared to have lost an eye, his right hand and his feet.
 
The analyst said Qarawi sustained those injuries last month and is now in Saudi Arabia as he surrendered to the authorities to receive treatment.
 
Al-Qarawi served as a senior leader and operative for the Abdullah Azzam Brigades (AAB), a Lebanese militant organization and also operated in Iran and Afghanistan.

About 600 Saudi fighters are in Syria

Category: News
Created on Saturday, 16 November 2013 10:05
Faris Bin Hizam Al ArabiyaAn estimated 600 Saudis have joined al-Qaeda-affiliated groups in Syria fighting against President Bashar’s al-Assad’s regime, a Saudi expert in Islamist movements told Al Arabiya’s weekly program “Death making” on Friday.
 
Faris Bin Hizam said many Saudis are fighting on the ranks of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and the al-Nusra Front.
 
But the Saudi fighters are only a small number if compared to other foreign nationalities fighting in Syria, Bin Hizam said.
 
He added that unlike Iraq and Afghanistan, where al-Qaeda has a strong presence, there is increased awareness amongst Saudis regarding the dangers of belonging to al-Qaeda, and a widely held belief that the Syrian revolution does not need more fighters but rather financial support.
 
Bin Hizam noted that Saudi Arabia’s tight security measures are able to contain the al-Qaeda, something Libya and Tunisia failed to do after their revolution.
 
The ISIL is al-Qaeda’s main branch in Syria, although al-Qaeda Chief Ayman al-Zawahiri recently ordered its disbanding. He said al-Qaeda in Syria is to be represented only by the al-Nusra Front.
 
The al-Nusra Front, created in January 2012, joined al-Qaeda in December of that year and is on a U.S. list of foreign terrorist’s organizations.
 
The al-Nusra Front has carried out major attacks against the Syrian armed forces, including several suicide bombings.
 
The Saudi expert said that there were no Saudis among the top 10 commanders in the al-Qaeda groups in Syria. According to him, they join the terrorist group only to take part in suicide bombings and civil operations.
 
Bin Hizam noted that the al-Qaeda tends to amplify the number of its Saudi members in Syria, Pakistan, Yemen and Iraq as a way to attract more more volunteers and more financial support from its donors.
 
Most-wanted Saudi man
 
The program also aired the latest images of Saleh al-Qarawi, the most-wanted man on a list of 85 terrorists, issued by the Saudi Interior Ministry in 2009. Qarawi appeared to have lost an eye, his right hand and his feet.
 
The analyst said Qarawi sustained those injuries last month and is now in Saudi Arabia as he surrendered to the authorities to receive treatment.
 
Al-Qarawi served as a senior leader and operative for the Abdullah Azzam Brigades (AAB), a Lebanese militant organization and also operated in Iran and Afghanistan.

Syrian Jihadists Behead the Wrong Man, then Apologize

Category: Islam
Created on Friday, 15 November 2013 11:37
Jihadists Behead the Wrong ManJihadist rebels in Syria had to ask for "understanding and forgiveness" after they beheaded the wrong man, the British Telegraph reports.
 
In a public appearance filmed and posted online, members of the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), one brandishing a knife, held up a bearded head before a crowd in Aleppo.
 
The jihadists triumphantly described the execution of what they said was a member of an Iraqi Shiite militia fighting for President Bashar Al-Assad.
 
As it turned out, reported the Telegraph, the head belonged to a member of Ahrar al-Sham, which is a Sunni jihadist rebel group that often fights alongside ISIS, though it does not share its Al-Qaeda ideology.
 
After inquiries, an ISIS spokesman admitted the beheaded man was Mohammed Fares, an Ahrar commander reported missing some days ago.
 
The Syrian Observatory of Human Rights, an organization which monitors deaths in the Syrian conflict, said that ISIS rebels misunderstood comments Fares had made, resulting in his beheading.
 
Other reports indicate that in the fog of battle, Fares - who was wounded in fighting around Aleppo - thought he had been captured by a Shia militia, and offered up Shia prayers in an attempt to hide his Sunni identity. Sunni Islamist fighters overheard his prayers, assumed he was a Shia, and beheaded him.
 
The incident underlines not only the cruelty of the jihadist rebels, but also the deep divisions between the jihadist rebels and the Western-backed more moderate rebels.
 
Nearly a year ago, several Islamist groups split off from the Western-backed Syrian National Council opposition force and declared Aleppo to be an independent Islamist state.
 
The jihadists in Aleppo have set up a court based on Sharia (Islamic law) which is authorized to issue execution orders for serious offenses.
 
Beheading those who are deemed to be “collaborating” with the Assad regime is a regular occurrence and an example of atrocities carried out by the rebels. Several months ago, a Catholic priest who was accused of collaborating with Assad’s regime was publicly beheaded, with the execution filmed and posted to the Internet for all to see.
 
Some of the Islamist groups have attempted to soften their image in an attempt to win hearts and minds - holding stand up comedy shows and handing out toys to local children.
 
A second civil war has begun in war-ravaged Syria as the more moderate rebel groups and the Islamist extremist groups are also fighting each other, in addition to fighting Assad’s troops. There have also been numerous clashes between Arab rebel groups and Kurdish militias in the north of the country. 

Syrian Jihadists Behead the Wrong Man, then Apologize

Category: Islam
Created on Friday, 15 November 2013 11:37
Jihadists Behead the Wrong ManJihadist rebels in Syria had to ask for "understanding and forgiveness" after they beheaded the wrong man, the British Telegraph reports.
 
In a public appearance filmed and posted online, members of the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), one brandishing a knife, held up a bearded head before a crowd in Aleppo.
 
The jihadists triumphantly described the execution of what they said was a member of an Iraqi Shiite militia fighting for President Bashar Al-Assad.
 
As it turned out, reported the Telegraph, the head belonged to a member of Ahrar al-Sham, which is a Sunni jihadist rebel group that often fights alongside ISIS, though it does not share its Al-Qaeda ideology.
 
After inquiries, an ISIS spokesman admitted the beheaded man was Mohammed Fares, an Ahrar commander reported missing some days ago.
 
The Syrian Observatory of Human Rights, an organization which monitors deaths in the Syrian conflict, said that ISIS rebels misunderstood comments Fares had made, resulting in his beheading.
 
Other reports indicate that in the fog of battle, Fares - who was wounded in fighting around Aleppo - thought he had been captured by a Shia militia, and offered up Shia prayers in an attempt to hide his Sunni identity. Sunni Islamist fighters overheard his prayers, assumed he was a Shia, and beheaded him.
 
The incident underlines not only the cruelty of the jihadist rebels, but also the deep divisions between the jihadist rebels and the Western-backed more moderate rebels.
 
Nearly a year ago, several Islamist groups split off from the Western-backed Syrian National Council opposition force and declared Aleppo to be an independent Islamist state.
 
The jihadists in Aleppo have set up a court based on Sharia (Islamic law) which is authorized to issue execution orders for serious offenses.
 
Beheading those who are deemed to be “collaborating” with the Assad regime is a regular occurrence and an example of atrocities carried out by the rebels. Several months ago, a Catholic priest who was accused of collaborating with Assad’s regime was publicly beheaded, with the execution filmed and posted to the Internet for all to see.
 
Some of the Islamist groups have attempted to soften their image in an attempt to win hearts and minds - holding stand up comedy shows and handing out toys to local children.
 
A second civil war has begun in war-ravaged Syria as the more moderate rebel groups and the Islamist extremist groups are also fighting each other, in addition to fighting Assad’s troops. There have also been numerous clashes between Arab rebel groups and Kurdish militias in the north of the country. 

Syrian Jihadists Behead the Wrong Man, then Apologize

Category: Islam
Created on Friday, 15 November 2013 11:37
Jihadists Behead the Wrong ManJihadist rebels in Syria had to ask for "understanding and forgiveness" after they beheaded the wrong man, the British Telegraph reports.
 
In a public appearance filmed and posted online, members of the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), one brandishing a knife, held up a bearded head before a crowd in Aleppo.
 
The jihadists triumphantly described the execution of what they said was a member of an Iraqi Shiite militia fighting for President Bashar Al-Assad.
 
As it turned out, reported the Telegraph, the head belonged to a member of Ahrar al-Sham, which is a Sunni jihadist rebel group that often fights alongside ISIS, though it does not share its Al-Qaeda ideology.
 
After inquiries, an ISIS spokesman admitted the beheaded man was Mohammed Fares, an Ahrar commander reported missing some days ago.
 
The Syrian Observatory of Human Rights, an organization which monitors deaths in the Syrian conflict, said that ISIS rebels misunderstood comments Fares had made, resulting in his beheading.
 
Other reports indicate that in the fog of battle, Fares - who was wounded in fighting around Aleppo - thought he had been captured by a Shia militia, and offered up Shia prayers in an attempt to hide his Sunni identity. Sunni Islamist fighters overheard his prayers, assumed he was a Shia, and beheaded him.
 
The incident underlines not only the cruelty of the jihadist rebels, but also the deep divisions between the jihadist rebels and the Western-backed more moderate rebels.
 
Nearly a year ago, several Islamist groups split off from the Western-backed Syrian National Council opposition force and declared Aleppo to be an independent Islamist state.
 
The jihadists in Aleppo have set up a court based on Sharia (Islamic law) which is authorized to issue execution orders for serious offenses.
 
Beheading those who are deemed to be “collaborating” with the Assad regime is a regular occurrence and an example of atrocities carried out by the rebels. Several months ago, a Catholic priest who was accused of collaborating with Assad’s regime was publicly beheaded, with the execution filmed and posted to the Internet for all to see.
 
Some of the Islamist groups have attempted to soften their image in an attempt to win hearts and minds - holding stand up comedy shows and handing out toys to local children.
 
A second civil war has begun in war-ravaged Syria as the more moderate rebel groups and the Islamist extremist groups are also fighting each other, in addition to fighting Assad’s troops. There have also been numerous clashes between Arab rebel groups and Kurdish militias in the north of the country. 

Syrian Jihadists Behead the Wrong Man, then Apologize

Category: Islam
Created on Friday, 15 November 2013 11:37
Jihadists Behead the Wrong ManJihadist rebels in Syria had to ask for "understanding and forgiveness" after they beheaded the wrong man, the British Telegraph reports.
 
In a public appearance filmed and posted online, members of the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), one brandishing a knife, held up a bearded head before a crowd in Aleppo.
 
The jihadists triumphantly described the execution of what they said was a member of an Iraqi Shiite militia fighting for President Bashar Al-Assad.
 
As it turned out, reported the Telegraph, the head belonged to a member of Ahrar al-Sham, which is a Sunni jihadist rebel group that often fights alongside ISIS, though it does not share its Al-Qaeda ideology.
 
After inquiries, an ISIS spokesman admitted the beheaded man was Mohammed Fares, an Ahrar commander reported missing some days ago.
 
The Syrian Observatory of Human Rights, an organization which monitors deaths in the Syrian conflict, said that ISIS rebels misunderstood comments Fares had made, resulting in his beheading.
 
Other reports indicate that in the fog of battle, Fares - who was wounded in fighting around Aleppo - thought he had been captured by a Shia militia, and offered up Shia prayers in an attempt to hide his Sunni identity. Sunni Islamist fighters overheard his prayers, assumed he was a Shia, and beheaded him.
 
The incident underlines not only the cruelty of the jihadist rebels, but also the deep divisions between the jihadist rebels and the Western-backed more moderate rebels.
 
Nearly a year ago, several Islamist groups split off from the Western-backed Syrian National Council opposition force and declared Aleppo to be an independent Islamist state.
 
The jihadists in Aleppo have set up a court based on Sharia (Islamic law) which is authorized to issue execution orders for serious offenses.
 
Beheading those who are deemed to be “collaborating” with the Assad regime is a regular occurrence and an example of atrocities carried out by the rebels. Several months ago, a Catholic priest who was accused of collaborating with Assad’s regime was publicly beheaded, with the execution filmed and posted to the Internet for all to see.
 
Some of the Islamist groups have attempted to soften their image in an attempt to win hearts and minds - holding stand up comedy shows and handing out toys to local children.
 
A second civil war has begun in war-ravaged Syria as the more moderate rebel groups and the Islamist extremist groups are also fighting each other, in addition to fighting Assad’s troops. There have also been numerous clashes between Arab rebel groups and Kurdish militias in the north of the country. 

Canadians Join Foreign Jihadists Fighting in Syria

Category: News
Created on Friday, 15 November 2013 11:17
SYRIA-WAR-CHECHNYA-ISLAMIC-MILITANTS-JOIN-facebook
 
On Thursday reports were released that a Canadian citizen described only as Abu Abd Al-Rahman was killed in March in the city of Aleppo, according to Shalom Toronto. Al-Rahman is one of many Canadian and other foreign jihadists journeying to Syria to join the bloodbath.
 
The report of Al-Rahman's death appeared on a Syrian Internet site that specializes in documenting the names of foreign jihadists killed while fighting in the ranks of opposition forces. The fighting has been intense, as documented by video footage.
 
Just last Thursday Andrew Parker, Director of the British domestic intelligence service MI5, announced that hundreds of British citizens have traveled to Syria to join the fighting, most of them siding with the rebel forces.
 
Al-Rahman is just one of many Canadians making the jihad pilgrimage to Syria.
 
In February Jamal Mohammed Abd Al-Kadar, a student from Montreal, was killed in the truck bomb attack he drove in Damascus. Al-Kadar had joined the Al-Nusra Front terrorist organization associated with Al-Qaeda.
 
Then in May a man, apparently bearing Canadian citizenship, was killed while on an observation mission prior to carrying out an attack with a male British citizen and a female American citizen.
 
Damien Clairmont, a Calgary convert to Islam, joined the wave of foreign jihadists when in June he went to collaborate with Al-Nusra Front. It is possible that he was the fighter filmed in Homs in July with a Canadian flag sewn onto his clothes.
 
In one last example, Ali Mohammed Dirie of Toronto was killed in September fighting for Al-Nusra Front. Dirie had previously been convicted of organizing a terror attack that planned to strike governmental targets in Canada in 2006, and consequently served an extended sentence.
 
The Syrian conflict is now in its third year and has claimed over 120,000 lives since November 2011.

Canadians Join Foreign Jihadists Fighting in Syria

Category: News
Created on Friday, 15 November 2013 11:17
SYRIA-WAR-CHECHNYA-ISLAMIC-MILITANTS-JOIN-facebook
 
On Thursday reports were released that a Canadian citizen described only as Abu Abd Al-Rahman was killed in March in the city of Aleppo, according to Shalom Toronto. Al-Rahman is one of many Canadian and other foreign jihadists journeying to Syria to join the bloodbath.
 
The report of Al-Rahman's death appeared on a Syrian Internet site that specializes in documenting the names of foreign jihadists killed while fighting in the ranks of opposition forces. The fighting has been intense, as documented by video footage.
 
Just last Thursday Andrew Parker, Director of the British domestic intelligence service MI5, announced that hundreds of British citizens have traveled to Syria to join the fighting, most of them siding with the rebel forces.
 
Al-Rahman is just one of many Canadians making the jihad pilgrimage to Syria.
 
In February Jamal Mohammed Abd Al-Kadar, a student from Montreal, was killed in the truck bomb attack he drove in Damascus. Al-Kadar had joined the Al-Nusra Front terrorist organization associated with Al-Qaeda.
 
Then in May a man, apparently bearing Canadian citizenship, was killed while on an observation mission prior to carrying out an attack with a male British citizen and a female American citizen.
 
Damien Clairmont, a Calgary convert to Islam, joined the wave of foreign jihadists when in June he went to collaborate with Al-Nusra Front. It is possible that he was the fighter filmed in Homs in July with a Canadian flag sewn onto his clothes.
 
In one last example, Ali Mohammed Dirie of Toronto was killed in September fighting for Al-Nusra Front. Dirie had previously been convicted of organizing a terror attack that planned to strike governmental targets in Canada in 2006, and consequently served an extended sentence.
 
The Syrian conflict is now in its third year and has claimed over 120,000 lives since November 2011.

Canadians Join Foreign Jihadists Fighting in Syria

Category: News
Created on Friday, 15 November 2013 11:17
SYRIA-WAR-CHECHNYA-ISLAMIC-MILITANTS-JOIN-facebook
 
On Thursday reports were released that a Canadian citizen described only as Abu Abd Al-Rahman was killed in March in the city of Aleppo, according to Shalom Toronto. Al-Rahman is one of many Canadian and other foreign jihadists journeying to Syria to join the bloodbath.
 
The report of Al-Rahman's death appeared on a Syrian Internet site that specializes in documenting the names of foreign jihadists killed while fighting in the ranks of opposition forces. The fighting has been intense, as documented by video footage.
 
Just last Thursday Andrew Parker, Director of the British domestic intelligence service MI5, announced that hundreds of British citizens have traveled to Syria to join the fighting, most of them siding with the rebel forces.
 
Al-Rahman is just one of many Canadians making the jihad pilgrimage to Syria.
 
In February Jamal Mohammed Abd Al-Kadar, a student from Montreal, was killed in the truck bomb attack he drove in Damascus. Al-Kadar had joined the Al-Nusra Front terrorist organization associated with Al-Qaeda.
 
Then in May a man, apparently bearing Canadian citizenship, was killed while on an observation mission prior to carrying out an attack with a male British citizen and a female American citizen.
 
Damien Clairmont, a Calgary convert to Islam, joined the wave of foreign jihadists when in June he went to collaborate with Al-Nusra Front. It is possible that he was the fighter filmed in Homs in July with a Canadian flag sewn onto his clothes.
 
In one last example, Ali Mohammed Dirie of Toronto was killed in September fighting for Al-Nusra Front. Dirie had previously been convicted of organizing a terror attack that planned to strike governmental targets in Canada in 2006, and consequently served an extended sentence.
 
The Syrian conflict is now in its third year and has claimed over 120,000 lives since November 2011.

Canadians Join Foreign Jihadists Fighting in Syria

Category: News
Created on Friday, 15 November 2013 11:17
SYRIA-WAR-CHECHNYA-ISLAMIC-MILITANTS-JOIN-facebook
 
On Thursday reports were released that a Canadian citizen described only as Abu Abd Al-Rahman was killed in March in the city of Aleppo, according to Shalom Toronto. Al-Rahman is one of many Canadian and other foreign jihadists journeying to Syria to join the bloodbath.
 
The report of Al-Rahman's death appeared on a Syrian Internet site that specializes in documenting the names of foreign jihadists killed while fighting in the ranks of opposition forces. The fighting has been intense, as documented by video footage.
 
Just last Thursday Andrew Parker, Director of the British domestic intelligence service MI5, announced that hundreds of British citizens have traveled to Syria to join the fighting, most of them siding with the rebel forces.
 
Al-Rahman is just one of many Canadians making the jihad pilgrimage to Syria.
 
In February Jamal Mohammed Abd Al-Kadar, a student from Montreal, was killed in the truck bomb attack he drove in Damascus. Al-Kadar had joined the Al-Nusra Front terrorist organization associated with Al-Qaeda.
 
Then in May a man, apparently bearing Canadian citizenship, was killed while on an observation mission prior to carrying out an attack with a male British citizen and a female American citizen.
 
Damien Clairmont, a Calgary convert to Islam, joined the wave of foreign jihadists when in June he went to collaborate with Al-Nusra Front. It is possible that he was the fighter filmed in Homs in July with a Canadian flag sewn onto his clothes.
 
In one last example, Ali Mohammed Dirie of Toronto was killed in September fighting for Al-Nusra Front. Dirie had previously been convicted of organizing a terror attack that planned to strike governmental targets in Canada in 2006, and consequently served an extended sentence.
 
The Syrian conflict is now in its third year and has claimed over 120,000 lives since November 2011.

'We Will Fly the Islamic Flag Over the White House'

Category: News
Created on Thursday, 14 November 2013 21:20
Hamas terrorists in GazaA video offering a rare look at the two Al Qaeda-linked rebel groups operating in Syria offers some of the most compelling evidence yet of the involvement of western citizens in the country's ongoing civil war - and raises fears over the threat posed by these radicalized Muslims towards western countries "the day after" the conflict.
 
Vice News has released footage of Westerners who have joined with Jabhat Al Nusra and the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Shams (ISIS) to fight for Islamic rule - not only over Syria, but over Western countries. 
 
"I say to the United States that your time will come," says one of the men, who gives his age as 26, "and we will bleed you to death and, Inshallah [with the help of God], shall raise a flag in the White House."
 
Other fighters declared that new Caliphate will "pave the way to Al-Aqsa" through Syria, confirming fears in Israel that Islamist rebels plan to turn on the Jewish state in the event they succeed in overthrowing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
 
One British national declares that the UK has decided to side with the "enemies" of the Syrian people - which he identifies as the US and Iran, leaving Sunni Muslims "no choice" but to fight in Syria, "Palestine". And he warns that Britain is next. 
 
The channel also notes that about 10% of Syrian rebels are foreign nationals - and that after the consolidation of rebel forces, that number will only continue to grow.
{youtube}7jD146Rx80k{/youtube}
 
Just last week, BBC reported that hundreds of British citizens have left to fight in the bloody conflict. 
 
The video comes as Islamist rebels in northern Syria - where the video was allegedly taken - have suffered a series of setbacks, both at the hands of regime forces and against independent Kurdish militias, who oppose both the Assad regime and predominantly-Arab rebel movement.

'We Will Fly the Islamic Flag Over the White House'

Category: News
Created on Thursday, 14 November 2013 21:20
Hamas terrorists in GazaA video offering a rare look at the two Al Qaeda-linked rebel groups operating in Syria offers some of the most compelling evidence yet of the involvement of western citizens in the country's ongoing civil war - and raises fears over the threat posed by these radicalized Muslims towards western countries "the day after" the conflict.
 
Vice News has released footage of Westerners who have joined with Jabhat Al Nusra and the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Shams (ISIS) to fight for Islamic rule - not only over Syria, but over Western countries. 
 
"I say to the United States that your time will come," says one of the men, who gives his age as 26, "and we will bleed you to death and, Inshallah [with the help of God], shall raise a flag in the White House."
 
Other fighters declared that new Caliphate will "pave the way to Al-Aqsa" through Syria, confirming fears in Israel that Islamist rebels plan to turn on the Jewish state in the event they succeed in overthrowing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
 
One British national declares that the UK has decided to side with the "enemies" of the Syrian people - which he identifies as the US and Iran, leaving Sunni Muslims "no choice" but to fight in Syria, "Palestine". And he warns that Britain is next. 
 
The channel also notes that about 10% of Syrian rebels are foreign nationals - and that after the consolidation of rebel forces, that number will only continue to grow.
{youtube}7jD146Rx80k{/youtube}
 
Just last week, BBC reported that hundreds of British citizens have left to fight in the bloody conflict. 
 
The video comes as Islamist rebels in northern Syria - where the video was allegedly taken - have suffered a series of setbacks, both at the hands of regime forces and against independent Kurdish militias, who oppose both the Assad regime and predominantly-Arab rebel movement.

'We Will Fly the Islamic Flag Over the White House'

Category: News
Created on Thursday, 14 November 2013 21:20
Hamas terrorists in GazaA video offering a rare look at the two Al Qaeda-linked rebel groups operating in Syria offers some of the most compelling evidence yet of the involvement of western citizens in the country's ongoing civil war - and raises fears over the threat posed by these radicalized Muslims towards western countries "the day after" the conflict.
 
Vice News has released footage of Westerners who have joined with Jabhat Al Nusra and the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Shams (ISIS) to fight for Islamic rule - not only over Syria, but over Western countries. 
 
"I say to the United States that your time will come," says one of the men, who gives his age as 26, "and we will bleed you to death and, Inshallah [with the help of God], shall raise a flag in the White House."
 
Other fighters declared that new Caliphate will "pave the way to Al-Aqsa" through Syria, confirming fears in Israel that Islamist rebels plan to turn on the Jewish state in the event they succeed in overthrowing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
 
One British national declares that the UK has decided to side with the "enemies" of the Syrian people - which he identifies as the US and Iran, leaving Sunni Muslims "no choice" but to fight in Syria, "Palestine". And he warns that Britain is next. 
 
The channel also notes that about 10% of Syrian rebels are foreign nationals - and that after the consolidation of rebel forces, that number will only continue to grow.
{youtube}7jD146Rx80k{/youtube}
 
Just last week, BBC reported that hundreds of British citizens have left to fight in the bloody conflict. 
 
The video comes as Islamist rebels in northern Syria - where the video was allegedly taken - have suffered a series of setbacks, both at the hands of regime forces and against independent Kurdish militias, who oppose both the Assad regime and predominantly-Arab rebel movement.

'We Will Fly the Islamic Flag Over the White House'

Category: News
Created on Thursday, 14 November 2013 21:20
Hamas terrorists in GazaA video offering a rare look at the two Al Qaeda-linked rebel groups operating in Syria offers some of the most compelling evidence yet of the involvement of western citizens in the country's ongoing civil war - and raises fears over the threat posed by these radicalized Muslims towards western countries "the day after" the conflict.
 
Vice News has released footage of Westerners who have joined with Jabhat Al Nusra and the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Shams (ISIS) to fight for Islamic rule - not only over Syria, but over Western countries. 
 
"I say to the United States that your time will come," says one of the men, who gives his age as 26, "and we will bleed you to death and, Inshallah [with the help of God], shall raise a flag in the White House."
 
Other fighters declared that new Caliphate will "pave the way to Al-Aqsa" through Syria, confirming fears in Israel that Islamist rebels plan to turn on the Jewish state in the event they succeed in overthrowing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
 
One British national declares that the UK has decided to side with the "enemies" of the Syrian people - which he identifies as the US and Iran, leaving Sunni Muslims "no choice" but to fight in Syria, "Palestine". And he warns that Britain is next. 
 
The channel also notes that about 10% of Syrian rebels are foreign nationals - and that after the consolidation of rebel forces, that number will only continue to grow.
{youtube}7jD146Rx80k{/youtube}
 
Just last week, BBC reported that hundreds of British citizens have left to fight in the bloody conflict. 
 
The video comes as Islamist rebels in northern Syria - where the video was allegedly taken - have suffered a series of setbacks, both at the hands of regime forces and against independent Kurdish militias, who oppose both the Assad regime and predominantly-Arab rebel movement.

Russia Sends Most Powerful Ships to Mediterranean

Category: News
Created on Wednesday, 06 November 2013 10:51
Russias Pyotr Veliky Peter the Great nulcear-powered battleship - ReutersOn Saturday, Russian news agency RT reported that the "Varyag," flagship of Russia's Pacific Fleet, and "Pyotr Veliky" ("Peter the Great"), the nation's most powerful nuclear-powered battleship, were moved into the Mediterranean Sea.
 
The Varyag, which has been dubbed the "aircraft carrier killer," will perform a number of maneuvers, some in coordination with the Russian naval forces currently stationed on the Mediterranean.
 
The ship will replace the missile cruiser "Moskva," taking command of Russia's Pacific Fleet in the Mediterranean. The Moskva was sent to the region in September to take over local operations.
 
Back in 2011 China started its first tests on its own variation of the Varyag, the "Liaoning," which it had been retrofitting since 1998.
 
Along with the Varyag, the Pyotr Veliky entered the western Mediterranean Saturday, anchoring in the Alboran Sea.
 
In September, admiral of the fleet Viktor Chirkov said the Russian Navy intends to continue increasing its presence, particularly off the Syrian shore. Russian military buildup on the Mediterranean began December 2012.
{youtube}VoKCSKIra88{/youtube}
The move is seen as aid for Russian ally Syria. Turkish President Abdullah Gul warned today (Monday) that Syria is in danger of becoming an "Afghanistan on the shores of the Mediterranean."
 
Russia has been heavily involved in supporting Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime, reportedly having transferred S-300 missile batteries in September. Russia denied the validity of the report.
 
While Western powers are reportedly accepting the idea that Assad will stay in power during Syrian transition up until the Spring 2014 elections, Syrian opposition forces have refused to participate in Geneva peace talks until a timeframe for Assad's removal is established.
 
Naval-Technology.com gives details about the Kirov class Pyotr Veliky, which is designed to sink aircraft carriers and defend the fleet against air and submarine attacks.
 
The ship is fitted with a number of missile systems as well as a 130mm AK-130 twin-barrel gun sporting a 22 km range, and carries 3 Ka-27 helicopters. The following video showcases some of the ship's capabilities.

Russia Sends Most Powerful Ships to Mediterranean

Category: News
Created on Wednesday, 06 November 2013 10:51
Russias Pyotr Veliky Peter the Great nulcear-powered battleship - ReutersOn Saturday, Russian news agency RT reported that the "Varyag," flagship of Russia's Pacific Fleet, and "Pyotr Veliky" ("Peter the Great"), the nation's most powerful nuclear-powered battleship, were moved into the Mediterranean Sea.
 
The Varyag, which has been dubbed the "aircraft carrier killer," will perform a number of maneuvers, some in coordination with the Russian naval forces currently stationed on the Mediterranean.
 
The ship will replace the missile cruiser "Moskva," taking command of Russia's Pacific Fleet in the Mediterranean. The Moskva was sent to the region in September to take over local operations.
 
Back in 2011 China started its first tests on its own variation of the Varyag, the "Liaoning," which it had been retrofitting since 1998.
 
Along with the Varyag, the Pyotr Veliky entered the western Mediterranean Saturday, anchoring in the Alboran Sea.
 
In September, admiral of the fleet Viktor Chirkov said the Russian Navy intends to continue increasing its presence, particularly off the Syrian shore. Russian military buildup on the Mediterranean began December 2012.
{youtube}VoKCSKIra88{/youtube}
The move is seen as aid for Russian ally Syria. Turkish President Abdullah Gul warned today (Monday) that Syria is in danger of becoming an "Afghanistan on the shores of the Mediterranean."
 
Russia has been heavily involved in supporting Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime, reportedly having transferred S-300 missile batteries in September. Russia denied the validity of the report.
 
While Western powers are reportedly accepting the idea that Assad will stay in power during Syrian transition up until the Spring 2014 elections, Syrian opposition forces have refused to participate in Geneva peace talks until a timeframe for Assad's removal is established.
 
Naval-Technology.com gives details about the Kirov class Pyotr Veliky, which is designed to sink aircraft carriers and defend the fleet against air and submarine attacks.
 
The ship is fitted with a number of missile systems as well as a 130mm AK-130 twin-barrel gun sporting a 22 km range, and carries 3 Ka-27 helicopters. The following video showcases some of the ship's capabilities.

Russia Sends Most Powerful Ships to Mediterranean

Category: News
Created on Wednesday, 06 November 2013 10:51
Russias Pyotr Veliky Peter the Great nulcear-powered battleship - ReutersOn Saturday, Russian news agency RT reported that the "Varyag," flagship of Russia's Pacific Fleet, and "Pyotr Veliky" ("Peter the Great"), the nation's most powerful nuclear-powered battleship, were moved into the Mediterranean Sea.
 
The Varyag, which has been dubbed the "aircraft carrier killer," will perform a number of maneuvers, some in coordination with the Russian naval forces currently stationed on the Mediterranean.
 
The ship will replace the missile cruiser "Moskva," taking command of Russia's Pacific Fleet in the Mediterranean. The Moskva was sent to the region in September to take over local operations.
 
Back in 2011 China started its first tests on its own variation of the Varyag, the "Liaoning," which it had been retrofitting since 1998.
 
Along with the Varyag, the Pyotr Veliky entered the western Mediterranean Saturday, anchoring in the Alboran Sea.
 
In September, admiral of the fleet Viktor Chirkov said the Russian Navy intends to continue increasing its presence, particularly off the Syrian shore. Russian military buildup on the Mediterranean began December 2012.
{youtube}VoKCSKIra88{/youtube}
The move is seen as aid for Russian ally Syria. Turkish President Abdullah Gul warned today (Monday) that Syria is in danger of becoming an "Afghanistan on the shores of the Mediterranean."
 
Russia has been heavily involved in supporting Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime, reportedly having transferred S-300 missile batteries in September. Russia denied the validity of the report.
 
While Western powers are reportedly accepting the idea that Assad will stay in power during Syrian transition up until the Spring 2014 elections, Syrian opposition forces have refused to participate in Geneva peace talks until a timeframe for Assad's removal is established.
 
Naval-Technology.com gives details about the Kirov class Pyotr Veliky, which is designed to sink aircraft carriers and defend the fleet against air and submarine attacks.
 
The ship is fitted with a number of missile systems as well as a 130mm AK-130 twin-barrel gun sporting a 22 km range, and carries 3 Ka-27 helicopters. The following video showcases some of the ship's capabilities.

Russia Sends Most Powerful Ships to Mediterranean

Category: News
Created on Wednesday, 06 November 2013 10:51
Russias Pyotr Veliky Peter the Great nulcear-powered battleship - ReutersOn Saturday, Russian news agency RT reported that the "Varyag," flagship of Russia's Pacific Fleet, and "Pyotr Veliky" ("Peter the Great"), the nation's most powerful nuclear-powered battleship, were moved into the Mediterranean Sea.
 
The Varyag, which has been dubbed the "aircraft carrier killer," will perform a number of maneuvers, some in coordination with the Russian naval forces currently stationed on the Mediterranean.
 
The ship will replace the missile cruiser "Moskva," taking command of Russia's Pacific Fleet in the Mediterranean. The Moskva was sent to the region in September to take over local operations.
 
Back in 2011 China started its first tests on its own variation of the Varyag, the "Liaoning," which it had been retrofitting since 1998.
 
Along with the Varyag, the Pyotr Veliky entered the western Mediterranean Saturday, anchoring in the Alboran Sea.
 
In September, admiral of the fleet Viktor Chirkov said the Russian Navy intends to continue increasing its presence, particularly off the Syrian shore. Russian military buildup on the Mediterranean began December 2012.
{youtube}VoKCSKIra88{/youtube}
The move is seen as aid for Russian ally Syria. Turkish President Abdullah Gul warned today (Monday) that Syria is in danger of becoming an "Afghanistan on the shores of the Mediterranean."
 
Russia has been heavily involved in supporting Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime, reportedly having transferred S-300 missile batteries in September. Russia denied the validity of the report.
 
While Western powers are reportedly accepting the idea that Assad will stay in power during Syrian transition up until the Spring 2014 elections, Syrian opposition forces have refused to participate in Geneva peace talks until a timeframe for Assad's removal is established.
 
Naval-Technology.com gives details about the Kirov class Pyotr Veliky, which is designed to sink aircraft carriers and defend the fleet against air and submarine attacks.
 
The ship is fitted with a number of missile systems as well as a 130mm AK-130 twin-barrel gun sporting a 22 km range, and carries 3 Ka-27 helicopters. The following video showcases some of the ship's capabilities.

Iranian Revolutionary Guards Commander Killed in Syria

Category: Reports
Created on Tuesday, 05 November 2013 14:14
Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander General Mohammad Ali JafariMuhammad G'malizda, a senior commander of Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), has been reported to have been killed in the Syrian Civil War, according to the State-backed Iranian Mehr news agency.
 
G'mazlida was killed sometime over the last few days by "Wahhabi terrorists", the agency said, giving no more details. Wahhabism is an ultra-conservative branch of Sunni Islam, but Iranian state outlets regularly use the term to describe the wider Syrian rebel movement in general. The report once again highlights the extent towards which the IRGC, which is a special branch of Iran's military, has been directly involved in the ongoing conflict on behalf of Syrian Regime President Bashar Assad. 
 
Fighters from both sides of the Sunni-Shia divide have been streaming across Syria's border's to join opposing sides of the ongoing conflict there, which has killed well over 100,000 people. The rebel movement is made up primarily of Sunni Muslims, while the regime counts mainly on the support of Shia Muslims and members of President Assad's Allawite sect, an offshoot of Shia Islam.
 
The IRGC was allegedly established after the 1979 Iranian Revolution to defend and enforce Iran's religious systems, which follow a sect of Shi'a Islam. It is estimated to number some 125,000 military personnel. 
 
This is not the first time that the IRGC has been involved in a neighboring military conflict. Besides for the Iran-Iraq war, the terrorist force was also involved in both the First and Second Lebanon Wars. 
 
IRGC officials recently reiterated Iran's hardline stance against involvement with the US in international talks to stall their nuclear weapons program, declaring that "Death to America" is still their slogan. The remarks came in advance of Iran's annual celebration of the toppling of the US Embassy in Tehran, commemorated today, November 4. 

Iranian Revolutionary Guards Commander Killed in Syria

Category: Reports
Created on Tuesday, 05 November 2013 14:14
Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander General Mohammad Ali JafariMuhammad G'malizda, a senior commander of Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), has been reported to have been killed in the Syrian Civil War, according to the State-backed Iranian Mehr news agency.
 
G'mazlida was killed sometime over the last few days by "Wahhabi terrorists", the agency said, giving no more details. Wahhabism is an ultra-conservative branch of Sunni Islam, but Iranian state outlets regularly use the term to describe the wider Syrian rebel movement in general. The report once again highlights the extent towards which the IRGC, which is a special branch of Iran's military, has been directly involved in the ongoing conflict on behalf of Syrian Regime President Bashar Assad. 
 
Fighters from both sides of the Sunni-Shia divide have been streaming across Syria's border's to join opposing sides of the ongoing conflict there, which has killed well over 100,000 people. The rebel movement is made up primarily of Sunni Muslims, while the regime counts mainly on the support of Shia Muslims and members of President Assad's Allawite sect, an offshoot of Shia Islam.
 
The IRGC was allegedly established after the 1979 Iranian Revolution to defend and enforce Iran's religious systems, which follow a sect of Shi'a Islam. It is estimated to number some 125,000 military personnel. 
 
This is not the first time that the IRGC has been involved in a neighboring military conflict. Besides for the Iran-Iraq war, the terrorist force was also involved in both the First and Second Lebanon Wars. 
 
IRGC officials recently reiterated Iran's hardline stance against involvement with the US in international talks to stall their nuclear weapons program, declaring that "Death to America" is still their slogan. The remarks came in advance of Iran's annual celebration of the toppling of the US Embassy in Tehran, commemorated today, November 4. 

Iranian Revolutionary Guards Commander Killed in Syria

Category: Reports
Created on Tuesday, 05 November 2013 14:14
Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander General Mohammad Ali JafariMuhammad G'malizda, a senior commander of Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), has been reported to have been killed in the Syrian Civil War, according to the State-backed Iranian Mehr news agency.
 
G'mazlida was killed sometime over the last few days by "Wahhabi terrorists", the agency said, giving no more details. Wahhabism is an ultra-conservative branch of Sunni Islam, but Iranian state outlets regularly use the term to describe the wider Syrian rebel movement in general. The report once again highlights the extent towards which the IRGC, which is a special branch of Iran's military, has been directly involved in the ongoing conflict on behalf of Syrian Regime President Bashar Assad. 
 
Fighters from both sides of the Sunni-Shia divide have been streaming across Syria's border's to join opposing sides of the ongoing conflict there, which has killed well over 100,000 people. The rebel movement is made up primarily of Sunni Muslims, while the regime counts mainly on the support of Shia Muslims and members of President Assad's Allawite sect, an offshoot of Shia Islam.
 
The IRGC was allegedly established after the 1979 Iranian Revolution to defend and enforce Iran's religious systems, which follow a sect of Shi'a Islam. It is estimated to number some 125,000 military personnel. 
 
This is not the first time that the IRGC has been involved in a neighboring military conflict. Besides for the Iran-Iraq war, the terrorist force was also involved in both the First and Second Lebanon Wars. 
 
IRGC officials recently reiterated Iran's hardline stance against involvement with the US in international talks to stall their nuclear weapons program, declaring that "Death to America" is still their slogan. The remarks came in advance of Iran's annual celebration of the toppling of the US Embassy in Tehran, commemorated today, November 4. 

Iranian Revolutionary Guards Commander Killed in Syria

Category: Reports
Created on Tuesday, 05 November 2013 14:14
Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander General Mohammad Ali JafariMuhammad G'malizda, a senior commander of Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), has been reported to have been killed in the Syrian Civil War, according to the State-backed Iranian Mehr news agency.
 
G'mazlida was killed sometime over the last few days by "Wahhabi terrorists", the agency said, giving no more details. Wahhabism is an ultra-conservative branch of Sunni Islam, but Iranian state outlets regularly use the term to describe the wider Syrian rebel movement in general. The report once again highlights the extent towards which the IRGC, which is a special branch of Iran's military, has been directly involved in the ongoing conflict on behalf of Syrian Regime President Bashar Assad. 
 
Fighters from both sides of the Sunni-Shia divide have been streaming across Syria's border's to join opposing sides of the ongoing conflict there, which has killed well over 100,000 people. The rebel movement is made up primarily of Sunni Muslims, while the regime counts mainly on the support of Shia Muslims and members of President Assad's Allawite sect, an offshoot of Shia Islam.
 
The IRGC was allegedly established after the 1979 Iranian Revolution to defend and enforce Iran's religious systems, which follow a sect of Shi'a Islam. It is estimated to number some 125,000 military personnel. 
 
This is not the first time that the IRGC has been involved in a neighboring military conflict. Besides for the Iran-Iraq war, the terrorist force was also involved in both the First and Second Lebanon Wars. 
 
IRGC officials recently reiterated Iran's hardline stance against involvement with the US in international talks to stall their nuclear weapons program, declaring that "Death to America" is still their slogan. The remarks came in advance of Iran's annual celebration of the toppling of the US Embassy in Tehran, commemorated today, November 4. 

Massive Explosion at Syria Missile Site, Israel Blamed

Category: News
Created on Friday, 01 November 2013 10:45
Massive Explosion at Syria Missile SiteThere was a massive explosion early Thursday morning at an aerial defense base near the city of Latakia in northeastern Syria, Walla reports, based on reports from the Syrian opposition.
 
Opposition sources said the base, which held anti-aircraft missiles, was destroyed in the blast.
 
Sources in Syria and Lebanon blamed Israel for the strike. However, they offered alternate versions of events: while Syrian sources said the base was hit by a strike from at sea, Lebanese media outlets reported that Israeli planes were seen in the area before the blast.
 
Israel was widely assumed to be responsible for two airstrikes targeting Syrian weapons in May 2013.
 
An Israeli source confirmed that Israel bombed a shipment of “game changing” weapons headed for Hezbollah in early May. Israel was later accused of bombing the Jamraya research center in Damascus as well.
 
Israeli also implicitly confirmed it was behind an air strike in Syria in late January that targeted surface-to-air missiles and a military compound believed to house chemical agents.

Massive Explosion at Syria Missile Site, Israel Blamed

Category: News
Created on Friday, 01 November 2013 10:45
Massive Explosion at Syria Missile SiteThere was a massive explosion early Thursday morning at an aerial defense base near the city of Latakia in northeastern Syria, Walla reports, based on reports from the Syrian opposition.
 
Opposition sources said the base, which held anti-aircraft missiles, was destroyed in the blast.
 
Sources in Syria and Lebanon blamed Israel for the strike. However, they offered alternate versions of events: while Syrian sources said the base was hit by a strike from at sea, Lebanese media outlets reported that Israeli planes were seen in the area before the blast.
 
Israel was widely assumed to be responsible for two airstrikes targeting Syrian weapons in May 2013.
 
An Israeli source confirmed that Israel bombed a shipment of “game changing” weapons headed for Hezbollah in early May. Israel was later accused of bombing the Jamraya research center in Damascus as well.
 
Israeli also implicitly confirmed it was behind an air strike in Syria in late January that targeted surface-to-air missiles and a military compound believed to house chemical agents.

Massive Explosion at Syria Missile Site, Israel Blamed

Category: News
Created on Friday, 01 November 2013 10:45
Massive Explosion at Syria Missile SiteThere was a massive explosion early Thursday morning at an aerial defense base near the city of Latakia in northeastern Syria, Walla reports, based on reports from the Syrian opposition.
 
Opposition sources said the base, which held anti-aircraft missiles, was destroyed in the blast.
 
Sources in Syria and Lebanon blamed Israel for the strike. However, they offered alternate versions of events: while Syrian sources said the base was hit by a strike from at sea, Lebanese media outlets reported that Israeli planes were seen in the area before the blast.
 
Israel was widely assumed to be responsible for two airstrikes targeting Syrian weapons in May 2013.
 
An Israeli source confirmed that Israel bombed a shipment of “game changing” weapons headed for Hezbollah in early May. Israel was later accused of bombing the Jamraya research center in Damascus as well.
 
Israeli also implicitly confirmed it was behind an air strike in Syria in late January that targeted surface-to-air missiles and a military compound believed to house chemical agents.

Massive Explosion at Syria Missile Site, Israel Blamed

Category: News
Created on Friday, 01 November 2013 10:45
Massive Explosion at Syria Missile SiteThere was a massive explosion early Thursday morning at an aerial defense base near the city of Latakia in northeastern Syria, Walla reports, based on reports from the Syrian opposition.
 
Opposition sources said the base, which held anti-aircraft missiles, was destroyed in the blast.
 
Sources in Syria and Lebanon blamed Israel for the strike. However, they offered alternate versions of events: while Syrian sources said the base was hit by a strike from at sea, Lebanese media outlets reported that Israeli planes were seen in the area before the blast.
 
Israel was widely assumed to be responsible for two airstrikes targeting Syrian weapons in May 2013.
 
An Israeli source confirmed that Israel bombed a shipment of “game changing” weapons headed for Hezbollah in early May. Israel was later accused of bombing the Jamraya research center in Damascus as well.
 
Israeli also implicitly confirmed it was behind an air strike in Syria in late January that targeted surface-to-air missiles and a military compound believed to house chemical agents.

Assad: Western Backing of Rebels Must Stop

Category: News
Created on Thursday, 31 October 2013 11:04
President Bashar al-Assad AFPForeign support for Syrian rebels must stop for peace to take place in the war-battered country, President Bashar Al-Assad told visiting UN-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi on Wednesday, according to Al Arabiya.
 
“The success of any political solution is tied to stopping support for terrorist groups and pressuring their patron states,” Syrian state television quoted Assad as saying.
 
“Terrorists” is the term used by the Assad regime to describe the rebels trying to oust him.
 
Ahead of a planned peace conference in Geneva, Assad also told Brahimi that a peaceful solution to the Syrian crisis cannot be dictated by foreign powers.
 
“The Syrian people are the only ones who have the right to decide on Syria's future, and any solution or agreement must have the acceptance of the Syrian people, and reflect their desires,” Assad said.
 
Assad warned there must not be “any foreign intervention” in seeking a solution to Syria's civil war, in which an estimated 115,000 people have died in 31 months according to AFP.
 
Brahimi seemed to agree with Assad, saying, “The efforts being made for the Geneva conference to be held are focused on finding the way for the Syrians themselves to meet and to agree on solving the crisis as quickly as possible.”
 
Wednesday’s gathering is the first direct talks between the two men since December when Brahimi angered the Syrian ruling family by saying that it has been leading the country for too long.
 
Brahimi’s meeting with Assad comes as part of a regional tour aimed at bringing together the Syrian government and opposition parties on the same table during Geneva II.
 
Opposition and rebel groups have so far refused to take part in the Geneva II unless Assad agrees to leave power.
 
The Geneva II peace conference, backed by Russia and the United States, has been constantly postponed due to disputes over which parties and countries, including Iran, should participate.
 
Last week there were conflicting reports on whether a date had finally been set for the long-delayed conference.
 
Arab League chief Nabil el-Araby said that Brahimi informed him that the talks will convene on November 23. Brahimi, however, denied that any date has been set.
 
The Western-backed Syrian National Coalition is to meet on November 9 to decide whether to take part in the peace talks but has stated emphatically it will only attend if there are guarantees Assad will step down.
 
In recent weeks, dozens of major insurgent groups across Syria said the Western-backed umbrella group had "failed."
 
The Syrian National Council, a key group within the SNC, had said it would not attend proposed peace talks in Geneva and would quit the Coalition if it participated.
 
This group was later followed by nearly 70 rebels groups which declared that the SNC had failed and announced they no longer recognize the Western-backed group.
 
This week, 19 Islamist groups fighting to topple Assad declared that attending peace talks or negotiating with the regime would be an act of betrayal.
 
Assad has refused to step down and has even declared that he is not ruling out running for another term.

Assad: Western Backing of Rebels Must Stop

Category: News
Created on Thursday, 31 October 2013 11:04
President Bashar al-Assad AFPForeign support for Syrian rebels must stop for peace to take place in the war-battered country, President Bashar Al-Assad told visiting UN-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi on Wednesday, according to Al Arabiya.
 
“The success of any political solution is tied to stopping support for terrorist groups and pressuring their patron states,” Syrian state television quoted Assad as saying.
 
“Terrorists” is the term used by the Assad regime to describe the rebels trying to oust him.
 
Ahead of a planned peace conference in Geneva, Assad also told Brahimi that a peaceful solution to the Syrian crisis cannot be dictated by foreign powers.
 
“The Syrian people are the only ones who have the right to decide on Syria's future, and any solution or agreement must have the acceptance of the Syrian people, and reflect their desires,” Assad said.
 
Assad warned there must not be “any foreign intervention” in seeking a solution to Syria's civil war, in which an estimated 115,000 people have died in 31 months according to AFP.
 
Brahimi seemed to agree with Assad, saying, “The efforts being made for the Geneva conference to be held are focused on finding the way for the Syrians themselves to meet and to agree on solving the crisis as quickly as possible.”
 
Wednesday’s gathering is the first direct talks between the two men since December when Brahimi angered the Syrian ruling family by saying that it has been leading the country for too long.
 
Brahimi’s meeting with Assad comes as part of a regional tour aimed at bringing together the Syrian government and opposition parties on the same table during Geneva II.
 
Opposition and rebel groups have so far refused to take part in the Geneva II unless Assad agrees to leave power.
 
The Geneva II peace conference, backed by Russia and the United States, has been constantly postponed due to disputes over which parties and countries, including Iran, should participate.
 
Last week there were conflicting reports on whether a date had finally been set for the long-delayed conference.
 
Arab League chief Nabil el-Araby said that Brahimi informed him that the talks will convene on November 23. Brahimi, however, denied that any date has been set.
 
The Western-backed Syrian National Coalition is to meet on November 9 to decide whether to take part in the peace talks but has stated emphatically it will only attend if there are guarantees Assad will step down.
 
In recent weeks, dozens of major insurgent groups across Syria said the Western-backed umbrella group had "failed."
 
The Syrian National Council, a key group within the SNC, had said it would not attend proposed peace talks in Geneva and would quit the Coalition if it participated.
 
This group was later followed by nearly 70 rebels groups which declared that the SNC had failed and announced they no longer recognize the Western-backed group.
 
This week, 19 Islamist groups fighting to topple Assad declared that attending peace talks or negotiating with the regime would be an act of betrayal.
 
Assad has refused to step down and has even declared that he is not ruling out running for another term.

Assad: Western Backing of Rebels Must Stop

Category: News
Created on Thursday, 31 October 2013 11:04
President Bashar al-Assad AFPForeign support for Syrian rebels must stop for peace to take place in the war-battered country, President Bashar Al-Assad told visiting UN-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi on Wednesday, according to Al Arabiya.
 
“The success of any political solution is tied to stopping support for terrorist groups and pressuring their patron states,” Syrian state television quoted Assad as saying.
 
“Terrorists” is the term used by the Assad regime to describe the rebels trying to oust him.
 
Ahead of a planned peace conference in Geneva, Assad also told Brahimi that a peaceful solution to the Syrian crisis cannot be dictated by foreign powers.
 
“The Syrian people are the only ones who have the right to decide on Syria's future, and any solution or agreement must have the acceptance of the Syrian people, and reflect their desires,” Assad said.
 
Assad warned there must not be “any foreign intervention” in seeking a solution to Syria's civil war, in which an estimated 115,000 people have died in 31 months according to AFP.
 
Brahimi seemed to agree with Assad, saying, “The efforts being made for the Geneva conference to be held are focused on finding the way for the Syrians themselves to meet and to agree on solving the crisis as quickly as possible.”
 
Wednesday’s gathering is the first direct talks between the two men since December when Brahimi angered the Syrian ruling family by saying that it has been leading the country for too long.
 
Brahimi’s meeting with Assad comes as part of a regional tour aimed at bringing together the Syrian government and opposition parties on the same table during Geneva II.
 
Opposition and rebel groups have so far refused to take part in the Geneva II unless Assad agrees to leave power.
 
The Geneva II peace conference, backed by Russia and the United States, has been constantly postponed due to disputes over which parties and countries, including Iran, should participate.
 
Last week there were conflicting reports on whether a date had finally been set for the long-delayed conference.
 
Arab League chief Nabil el-Araby said that Brahimi informed him that the talks will convene on November 23. Brahimi, however, denied that any date has been set.
 
The Western-backed Syrian National Coalition is to meet on November 9 to decide whether to take part in the peace talks but has stated emphatically it will only attend if there are guarantees Assad will step down.
 
In recent weeks, dozens of major insurgent groups across Syria said the Western-backed umbrella group had "failed."
 
The Syrian National Council, a key group within the SNC, had said it would not attend proposed peace talks in Geneva and would quit the Coalition if it participated.
 
This group was later followed by nearly 70 rebels groups which declared that the SNC had failed and announced they no longer recognize the Western-backed group.
 
This week, 19 Islamist groups fighting to topple Assad declared that attending peace talks or negotiating with the regime would be an act of betrayal.
 
Assad has refused to step down and has even declared that he is not ruling out running for another term.

Assad: Western Backing of Rebels Must Stop

Category: News
Created on Thursday, 31 October 2013 11:04
President Bashar al-Assad AFPForeign support for Syrian rebels must stop for peace to take place in the war-battered country, President Bashar Al-Assad told visiting UN-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi on Wednesday, according to Al Arabiya.
 
“The success of any political solution is tied to stopping support for terrorist groups and pressuring their patron states,” Syrian state television quoted Assad as saying.
 
“Terrorists” is the term used by the Assad regime to describe the rebels trying to oust him.
 
Ahead of a planned peace conference in Geneva, Assad also told Brahimi that a peaceful solution to the Syrian crisis cannot be dictated by foreign powers.
 
“The Syrian people are the only ones who have the right to decide on Syria's future, and any solution or agreement must have the acceptance of the Syrian people, and reflect their desires,” Assad said.
 
Assad warned there must not be “any foreign intervention” in seeking a solution to Syria's civil war, in which an estimated 115,000 people have died in 31 months according to AFP.
 
Brahimi seemed to agree with Assad, saying, “The efforts being made for the Geneva conference to be held are focused on finding the way for the Syrians themselves to meet and to agree on solving the crisis as quickly as possible.”
 
Wednesday’s gathering is the first direct talks between the two men since December when Brahimi angered the Syrian ruling family by saying that it has been leading the country for too long.
 
Brahimi’s meeting with Assad comes as part of a regional tour aimed at bringing together the Syrian government and opposition parties on the same table during Geneva II.
 
Opposition and rebel groups have so far refused to take part in the Geneva II unless Assad agrees to leave power.
 
The Geneva II peace conference, backed by Russia and the United States, has been constantly postponed due to disputes over which parties and countries, including Iran, should participate.
 
Last week there were conflicting reports on whether a date had finally been set for the long-delayed conference.
 
Arab League chief Nabil el-Araby said that Brahimi informed him that the talks will convene on November 23. Brahimi, however, denied that any date has been set.
 
The Western-backed Syrian National Coalition is to meet on November 9 to decide whether to take part in the peace talks but has stated emphatically it will only attend if there are guarantees Assad will step down.
 
In recent weeks, dozens of major insurgent groups across Syria said the Western-backed umbrella group had "failed."
 
The Syrian National Council, a key group within the SNC, had said it would not attend proposed peace talks in Geneva and would quit the Coalition if it participated.
 
This group was later followed by nearly 70 rebels groups which declared that the SNC had failed and announced they no longer recognize the Western-backed group.
 
This week, 19 Islamist groups fighting to topple Assad declared that attending peace talks or negotiating with the regime would be an act of betrayal.
 
Assad has refused to step down and has even declared that he is not ruling out running for another term.

Experts Warn of Al Qaeda Biological Weapons Threat

Category: News
Created on Saturday, 19 October 2013 10:59
Chemical Weapons
 
As international attention in Syria focuses on efforts to dismantle the Assad regime's chemical weapons stockpile, British experts are warning of another, potentially more lethal threat.
 
Experts from the Henry Jackson Society (HJS) have issued a stark warning over what they say is the "clear and present danger" of Al Qaeda gaining possession of the Assad regime's stockpile of biological weapons, claiming to have substantial evidence that Al Qaeda-linked groups may already have possession of toxic agents.
 
Unlike chemical weapons, which utilize chemical agents to poison victims, biological weapons make use of diseases, toxins and other contagious agents. Biological weapons have the potential to kill far greater numbers, and are also far harder to detect or protect against.
 
Both are banned under international treaties, but the Syrian government possesses active programs in both fields. However, whilst the use of chemical weapons during the Syrian civil war has been seen on numerous occasions - most notably, but by no means exclusively, during the August 21 attack which killed more than 1,000 people in a number of Damascus suburbs - biological weapons have not been used by either side.
 
That is likely because bioweapons are notoriously difficult to control or contain.
 
But the HJS report, released on Tuesday, says that jihadists in Syria are actively seeking to gain control of the regime's biological weapons' stockpile and, chillingly, suggests they may already have done so.
 
The report claims that the Assad regime is losing control of its bioweapons arsenal, in part because it was never centrally-controlled in the way the country's chemical weapons stockpile has been.
 
"Unlike chemical weapons, maintained in military designated stockpiles which are generally identifiable and which Assad maintains command and control over, the structure of Syria's biological warfare programs are latent, compartmentalized and spread across its remaining bio-pharmaceutical infrastructure. The programs are designed to be highly agile to allow swift production if required."
 
Worryingly, the report suggests that the Al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front may already have possession of "biological pathogens or weaponized agents either of which would pose a threat to the international community."
 
It points to the widespread looting of bio-pharmasuitical laboratories throughout the country, and cites a "credible eyewitness" as claiming to have personally witnessed "a looted pharmaceutical laboratory," near Aleppo, where Syria's biological weapons program is concentrated, "which was probably a cover for a biological weapons production site."
 
The fact that a Malaysian Al Qaeda operative named as Yazid Sufaat, identified as "Al Qaeda's primary biological weapon expert", was arrested in February as he attempted to enter Syria, was said to indicate the clear interest that the group has in developing such a program in the country.
 
Other Al Qaeda branches, most notably in Yemen and North Africa, have previously attempted to obtain such weapons, and the group's founder, Osama Bin Laden, had expressed an interest in them prior to the infamous 9/11 attacks.
 
While the report does not cite any clear and definitive evidence of Al Qaeda physically possessing biological agents, the circumstantial evidence paints a fairly alarming picture.
 
On the other hand, analysts will find some solace in the fact that neither Al Qaeda nor any other terrorist group has successfully manufactured and deployed biological weapons to lethal effect.
 
But HJS's Associate Fellow Dr Bellamy van Aalst, a former EU and NATO bio-defence consultant, warned against complacency, in light of the relative availability of already-weaponized and readily-deployable biological weapons in Syria.
 
“Establishing the extent to which Assad may have developed biological WMDs is extremely difficult, given that their production is indistinguishable from benign biological lab processes.
 
“But this is certainly a risk to which we should not turn a blind eye. If Assad has been developing biological weapons, as the evidence suggests, and if those weapons fall into the hands of extremists, global health security could be in grave danger.”

Experts Warn of Al Qaeda Biological Weapons Threat

Category: News
Created on Saturday, 19 October 2013 10:59
Chemical Weapons
 
As international attention in Syria focuses on efforts to dismantle the Assad regime's chemical weapons stockpile, British experts are warning of another, potentially more lethal threat.
 
Experts from the Henry Jackson Society (HJS) have issued a stark warning over what they say is the "clear and present danger" of Al Qaeda gaining possession of the Assad regime's stockpile of biological weapons, claiming to have substantial evidence that Al Qaeda-linked groups may already have possession of toxic agents.
 
Unlike chemical weapons, which utilize chemical agents to poison victims, biological weapons make use of diseases, toxins and other contagious agents. Biological weapons have the potential to kill far greater numbers, and are also far harder to detect or protect against.
 
Both are banned under international treaties, but the Syrian government possesses active programs in both fields. However, whilst the use of chemical weapons during the Syrian civil war has been seen on numerous occasions - most notably, but by no means exclusively, during the August 21 attack which killed more than 1,000 people in a number of Damascus suburbs - biological weapons have not been used by either side.
 
That is likely because bioweapons are notoriously difficult to control or contain.
 
But the HJS report, released on Tuesday, says that jihadists in Syria are actively seeking to gain control of the regime's biological weapons' stockpile and, chillingly, suggests they may already have done so.
 
The report claims that the Assad regime is losing control of its bioweapons arsenal, in part because it was never centrally-controlled in the way the country's chemical weapons stockpile has been.
 
"Unlike chemical weapons, maintained in military designated stockpiles which are generally identifiable and which Assad maintains command and control over, the structure of Syria's biological warfare programs are latent, compartmentalized and spread across its remaining bio-pharmaceutical infrastructure. The programs are designed to be highly agile to allow swift production if required."
 
Worryingly, the report suggests that the Al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front may already have possession of "biological pathogens or weaponized agents either of which would pose a threat to the international community."
 
It points to the widespread looting of bio-pharmasuitical laboratories throughout the country, and cites a "credible eyewitness" as claiming to have personally witnessed "a looted pharmaceutical laboratory," near Aleppo, where Syria's biological weapons program is concentrated, "which was probably a cover for a biological weapons production site."
 
The fact that a Malaysian Al Qaeda operative named as Yazid Sufaat, identified as "Al Qaeda's primary biological weapon expert", was arrested in February as he attempted to enter Syria, was said to indicate the clear interest that the group has in developing such a program in the country.
 
Other Al Qaeda branches, most notably in Yemen and North Africa, have previously attempted to obtain such weapons, and the group's founder, Osama Bin Laden, had expressed an interest in them prior to the infamous 9/11 attacks.
 
While the report does not cite any clear and definitive evidence of Al Qaeda physically possessing biological agents, the circumstantial evidence paints a fairly alarming picture.
 
On the other hand, analysts will find some solace in the fact that neither Al Qaeda nor any other terrorist group has successfully manufactured and deployed biological weapons to lethal effect.
 
But HJS's Associate Fellow Dr Bellamy van Aalst, a former EU and NATO bio-defence consultant, warned against complacency, in light of the relative availability of already-weaponized and readily-deployable biological weapons in Syria.
 
“Establishing the extent to which Assad may have developed biological WMDs is extremely difficult, given that their production is indistinguishable from benign biological lab processes.
 
“But this is certainly a risk to which we should not turn a blind eye. If Assad has been developing biological weapons, as the evidence suggests, and if those weapons fall into the hands of extremists, global health security could be in grave danger.”

Experts Warn of Al Qaeda Biological Weapons Threat

Category: News
Created on Saturday, 19 October 2013 10:59
Chemical Weapons
 
As international attention in Syria focuses on efforts to dismantle the Assad regime's chemical weapons stockpile, British experts are warning of another, potentially more lethal threat.
 
Experts from the Henry Jackson Society (HJS) have issued a stark warning over what they say is the "clear and present danger" of Al Qaeda gaining possession of the Assad regime's stockpile of biological weapons, claiming to have substantial evidence that Al Qaeda-linked groups may already have possession of toxic agents.
 
Unlike chemical weapons, which utilize chemical agents to poison victims, biological weapons make use of diseases, toxins and other contagious agents. Biological weapons have the potential to kill far greater numbers, and are also far harder to detect or protect against.
 
Both are banned under international treaties, but the Syrian government possesses active programs in both fields. However, whilst the use of chemical weapons during the Syrian civil war has been seen on numerous occasions - most notably, but by no means exclusively, during the August 21 attack which killed more than 1,000 people in a number of Damascus suburbs - biological weapons have not been used by either side.
 
That is likely because bioweapons are notoriously difficult to control or contain.
 
But the HJS report, released on Tuesday, says that jihadists in Syria are actively seeking to gain control of the regime's biological weapons' stockpile and, chillingly, suggests they may already have done so.
 
The report claims that the Assad regime is losing control of its bioweapons arsenal, in part because it was never centrally-controlled in the way the country's chemical weapons stockpile has been.
 
"Unlike chemical weapons, maintained in military designated stockpiles which are generally identifiable and which Assad maintains command and control over, the structure of Syria's biological warfare programs are latent, compartmentalized and spread across its remaining bio-pharmaceutical infrastructure. The programs are designed to be highly agile to allow swift production if required."
 
Worryingly, the report suggests that the Al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front may already have possession of "biological pathogens or weaponized agents either of which would pose a threat to the international community."
 
It points to the widespread looting of bio-pharmasuitical laboratories throughout the country, and cites a "credible eyewitness" as claiming to have personally witnessed "a looted pharmaceutical laboratory," near Aleppo, where Syria's biological weapons program is concentrated, "which was probably a cover for a biological weapons production site."
 
The fact that a Malaysian Al Qaeda operative named as Yazid Sufaat, identified as "Al Qaeda's primary biological weapon expert", was arrested in February as he attempted to enter Syria, was said to indicate the clear interest that the group has in developing such a program in the country.
 
Other Al Qaeda branches, most notably in Yemen and North Africa, have previously attempted to obtain such weapons, and the group's founder, Osama Bin Laden, had expressed an interest in them prior to the infamous 9/11 attacks.
 
While the report does not cite any clear and definitive evidence of Al Qaeda physically possessing biological agents, the circumstantial evidence paints a fairly alarming picture.
 
On the other hand, analysts will find some solace in the fact that neither Al Qaeda nor any other terrorist group has successfully manufactured and deployed biological weapons to lethal effect.
 
But HJS's Associate Fellow Dr Bellamy van Aalst, a former EU and NATO bio-defence consultant, warned against complacency, in light of the relative availability of already-weaponized and readily-deployable biological weapons in Syria.
 
“Establishing the extent to which Assad may have developed biological WMDs is extremely difficult, given that their production is indistinguishable from benign biological lab processes.
 
“But this is certainly a risk to which we should not turn a blind eye. If Assad has been developing biological weapons, as the evidence suggests, and if those weapons fall into the hands of extremists, global health security could be in grave danger.”

Experts Warn of Al Qaeda Biological Weapons Threat

Category: News
Created on Saturday, 19 October 2013 10:59
Chemical Weapons
 
As international attention in Syria focuses on efforts to dismantle the Assad regime's chemical weapons stockpile, British experts are warning of another, potentially more lethal threat.
 
Experts from the Henry Jackson Society (HJS) have issued a stark warning over what they say is the "clear and present danger" of Al Qaeda gaining possession of the Assad regime's stockpile of biological weapons, claiming to have substantial evidence that Al Qaeda-linked groups may already have possession of toxic agents.
 
Unlike chemical weapons, which utilize chemical agents to poison victims, biological weapons make use of diseases, toxins and other contagious agents. Biological weapons have the potential to kill far greater numbers, and are also far harder to detect or protect against.
 
Both are banned under international treaties, but the Syrian government possesses active programs in both fields. However, whilst the use of chemical weapons during the Syrian civil war has been seen on numerous occasions - most notably, but by no means exclusively, during the August 21 attack which killed more than 1,000 people in a number of Damascus suburbs - biological weapons have not been used by either side.
 
That is likely because bioweapons are notoriously difficult to control or contain.
 
But the HJS report, released on Tuesday, says that jihadists in Syria are actively seeking to gain control of the regime's biological weapons' stockpile and, chillingly, suggests they may already have done so.
 
The report claims that the Assad regime is losing control of its bioweapons arsenal, in part because it was never centrally-controlled in the way the country's chemical weapons stockpile has been.
 
"Unlike chemical weapons, maintained in military designated stockpiles which are generally identifiable and which Assad maintains command and control over, the structure of Syria's biological warfare programs are latent, compartmentalized and spread across its remaining bio-pharmaceutical infrastructure. The programs are designed to be highly agile to allow swift production if required."
 
Worryingly, the report suggests that the Al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front may already have possession of "biological pathogens or weaponized agents either of which would pose a threat to the international community."
 
It points to the widespread looting of bio-pharmasuitical laboratories throughout the country, and cites a "credible eyewitness" as claiming to have personally witnessed "a looted pharmaceutical laboratory," near Aleppo, where Syria's biological weapons program is concentrated, "which was probably a cover for a biological weapons production site."
 
The fact that a Malaysian Al Qaeda operative named as Yazid Sufaat, identified as "Al Qaeda's primary biological weapon expert", was arrested in February as he attempted to enter Syria, was said to indicate the clear interest that the group has in developing such a program in the country.
 
Other Al Qaeda branches, most notably in Yemen and North Africa, have previously attempted to obtain such weapons, and the group's founder, Osama Bin Laden, had expressed an interest in them prior to the infamous 9/11 attacks.
 
While the report does not cite any clear and definitive evidence of Al Qaeda physically possessing biological agents, the circumstantial evidence paints a fairly alarming picture.
 
On the other hand, analysts will find some solace in the fact that neither Al Qaeda nor any other terrorist group has successfully manufactured and deployed biological weapons to lethal effect.
 
But HJS's Associate Fellow Dr Bellamy van Aalst, a former EU and NATO bio-defence consultant, warned against complacency, in light of the relative availability of already-weaponized and readily-deployable biological weapons in Syria.
 
“Establishing the extent to which Assad may have developed biological WMDs is extremely difficult, given that their production is indistinguishable from benign biological lab processes.
 
“But this is certainly a risk to which we should not turn a blind eye. If Assad has been developing biological weapons, as the evidence suggests, and if those weapons fall into the hands of extremists, global health security could be in grave danger.”

Rebels Kill Top Syrian Intelligence Officer

Category: News
Created on Friday, 18 October 2013 08:13
Major General Jamaa JamaaSyrian rebels have killed a top intelligence officer in the eastern province of Deir Ezzor, Syrian state media said on Thursday, according to AFP.
 
"Major General Jamaa Jamaa was martyred while carrying out his national duties to defend Syria and its people and pursuing terrorists in Deir Ezzor," state television said in a breaking news alert.
 
Jamaa was head of military intelligence in the province, where the regime has been battling armed opposition fighters seeking to overthrow President Bashar Al-Assad.
 
State media gave no immediate details on where in the province Jamaa was killed or how, but jihadist forums said he died during clashes with jihadist fighters in the city of Deir Ezzor.
 
Rami Abdel Rahman, director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights NGO, said initial reports suggested Jamaa had been shot by a sniper in the Rashdiya district of Deir Ezzor city, but there was no confirmation.
 
The group also reported fierce fighting between regime troops and rebels in several parts of the province, including the city, which is the largest in eastern Syria.
 
Jamaa was one of Syria's top security officers in Lebanon during Damascus's military deployment in the country between 1976 and 2005.
 
He was interrogated over the February 2005 assassination of former Lebanese premier Rafiq Hariri though he was not charged in connection with his death.
 
In 2006, the U.S. Treasury Department announced it was blacklisting him and another Syrian general for their role in supporting "terrorist groups" and over the presence in Lebanon.
 
He is believed to be from Jableh, a town in coastal Latakia province, a stronghold of the Syrian regime.
 
On Wednesday, Syrian rebels assaulted the regime-controlled central prison in the main northern city of Aleppo.
 
Abdel Rahman said the assault was carried out primarily by rebels from the Al-Qaeda affiliated Al-Nusra Front and from another Islamist faction, Ahrar Al-Sham.
 
As the fighting in Syria continues, Assad’s forces have also recorded some victories, having retaken a key town to the south of the capital Damascus earlier this week.
 
The Syrian army seized control of the town of Bweida with the help of foreign fighters from Iraq and Lebanon.
 
The push appears to be part of a concerted effort by regime forces to dislodge rebels from areas of Damascus under their control.

Rebels Kill Top Syrian Intelligence Officer

Category: News
Created on Friday, 18 October 2013 08:13
Major General Jamaa JamaaSyrian rebels have killed a top intelligence officer in the eastern province of Deir Ezzor, Syrian state media said on Thursday, according to AFP.
 
"Major General Jamaa Jamaa was martyred while carrying out his national duties to defend Syria and its people and pursuing terrorists in Deir Ezzor," state television said in a breaking news alert.
 
Jamaa was head of military intelligence in the province, where the regime has been battling armed opposition fighters seeking to overthrow President Bashar Al-Assad.
 
State media gave no immediate details on where in the province Jamaa was killed or how, but jihadist forums said he died during clashes with jihadist fighters in the city of Deir Ezzor.
 
Rami Abdel Rahman, director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights NGO, said initial reports suggested Jamaa had been shot by a sniper in the Rashdiya district of Deir Ezzor city, but there was no confirmation.
 
The group also reported fierce fighting between regime troops and rebels in several parts of the province, including the city, which is the largest in eastern Syria.
 
Jamaa was one of Syria's top security officers in Lebanon during Damascus's military deployment in the country between 1976 and 2005.
 
He was interrogated over the February 2005 assassination of former Lebanese premier Rafiq Hariri though he was not charged in connection with his death.
 
In 2006, the U.S. Treasury Department announced it was blacklisting him and another Syrian general for their role in supporting "terrorist groups" and over the presence in Lebanon.
 
He is believed to be from Jableh, a town in coastal Latakia province, a stronghold of the Syrian regime.
 
On Wednesday, Syrian rebels assaulted the regime-controlled central prison in the main northern city of Aleppo.
 
Abdel Rahman said the assault was carried out primarily by rebels from the Al-Qaeda affiliated Al-Nusra Front and from another Islamist faction, Ahrar Al-Sham.
 
As the fighting in Syria continues, Assad’s forces have also recorded some victories, having retaken a key town to the south of the capital Damascus earlier this week.
 
The Syrian army seized control of the town of Bweida with the help of foreign fighters from Iraq and Lebanon.
 
The push appears to be part of a concerted effort by regime forces to dislodge rebels from areas of Damascus under their control.

Rebels Kill Top Syrian Intelligence Officer

Category: News
Created on Friday, 18 October 2013 08:13
Major General Jamaa JamaaSyrian rebels have killed a top intelligence officer in the eastern province of Deir Ezzor, Syrian state media said on Thursday, according to AFP.
 
"Major General Jamaa Jamaa was martyred while carrying out his national duties to defend Syria and its people and pursuing terrorists in Deir Ezzor," state television said in a breaking news alert.
 
Jamaa was head of military intelligence in the province, where the regime has been battling armed opposition fighters seeking to overthrow President Bashar Al-Assad.
 
State media gave no immediate details on where in the province Jamaa was killed or how, but jihadist forums said he died during clashes with jihadist fighters in the city of Deir Ezzor.
 
Rami Abdel Rahman, director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights NGO, said initial reports suggested Jamaa had been shot by a sniper in the Rashdiya district of Deir Ezzor city, but there was no confirmation.
 
The group also reported fierce fighting between regime troops and rebels in several parts of the province, including the city, which is the largest in eastern Syria.
 
Jamaa was one of Syria's top security officers in Lebanon during Damascus's military deployment in the country between 1976 and 2005.
 
He was interrogated over the February 2005 assassination of former Lebanese premier Rafiq Hariri though he was not charged in connection with his death.
 
In 2006, the U.S. Treasury Department announced it was blacklisting him and another Syrian general for their role in supporting "terrorist groups" and over the presence in Lebanon.
 
He is believed to be from Jableh, a town in coastal Latakia province, a stronghold of the Syrian regime.
 
On Wednesday, Syrian rebels assaulted the regime-controlled central prison in the main northern city of Aleppo.
 
Abdel Rahman said the assault was carried out primarily by rebels from the Al-Qaeda affiliated Al-Nusra Front and from another Islamist faction, Ahrar Al-Sham.
 
As the fighting in Syria continues, Assad’s forces have also recorded some victories, having retaken a key town to the south of the capital Damascus earlier this week.
 
The Syrian army seized control of the town of Bweida with the help of foreign fighters from Iraq and Lebanon.
 
The push appears to be part of a concerted effort by regime forces to dislodge rebels from areas of Damascus under their control.

Rebels Kill Top Syrian Intelligence Officer

Category: News
Created on Friday, 18 October 2013 08:13
Major General Jamaa JamaaSyrian rebels have killed a top intelligence officer in the eastern province of Deir Ezzor, Syrian state media said on Thursday, according to AFP.
 
"Major General Jamaa Jamaa was martyred while carrying out his national duties to defend Syria and its people and pursuing terrorists in Deir Ezzor," state television said in a breaking news alert.
 
Jamaa was head of military intelligence in the province, where the regime has been battling armed opposition fighters seeking to overthrow President Bashar Al-Assad.
 
State media gave no immediate details on where in the province Jamaa was killed or how, but jihadist forums said he died during clashes with jihadist fighters in the city of Deir Ezzor.
 
Rami Abdel Rahman, director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights NGO, said initial reports suggested Jamaa had been shot by a sniper in the Rashdiya district of Deir Ezzor city, but there was no confirmation.
 
The group also reported fierce fighting between regime troops and rebels in several parts of the province, including the city, which is the largest in eastern Syria.
 
Jamaa was one of Syria's top security officers in Lebanon during Damascus's military deployment in the country between 1976 and 2005.
 
He was interrogated over the February 2005 assassination of former Lebanese premier Rafiq Hariri though he was not charged in connection with his death.
 
In 2006, the U.S. Treasury Department announced it was blacklisting him and another Syrian general for their role in supporting "terrorist groups" and over the presence in Lebanon.
 
He is believed to be from Jableh, a town in coastal Latakia province, a stronghold of the Syrian regime.
 
On Wednesday, Syrian rebels assaulted the regime-controlled central prison in the main northern city of Aleppo.
 
Abdel Rahman said the assault was carried out primarily by rebels from the Al-Qaeda affiliated Al-Nusra Front and from another Islamist faction, Ahrar Al-Sham.
 
As the fighting in Syria continues, Assad’s forces have also recorded some victories, having retaken a key town to the south of the capital Damascus earlier this week.
 
The Syrian army seized control of the town of Bweida with the help of foreign fighters from Iraq and Lebanon.
 
The push appears to be part of a concerted effort by regime forces to dislodge rebels from areas of Damascus under their control.

Syria: 41 Killed in Clashes Between Kurdish, Islamist Groups

Category: News
Created on Thursday, 17 October 2013 08:29
Ghouta massacre1
 
At least 41 people have been killed in renewed clashes between Kurdish militias and Al Qaeda-linked terrorists.
 
The clashes took place in the oil-rich Hasake province in northern Syria, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
 
The Observatory claimed that at least 29 Al Qaeda fighters and 12 Kurdish fighters had been killed in the clashes between the Committees for the Protection of the Kurdish People (YPG) and Islamist fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Shams (ISIS) and the Nusra Front.
 
The Observatory added that among the dead was a local Nusra Front commander of Egyptian origin, and claimed that the YPG had succeeded in capturing an ISIS checkpoint Tuesday.
 
The YPG has been engaged in a prolonged and bloody struggle for control of Kurdish-majority regions in northern Syria against Islamist groups, many of whom are linked to Al Qaeda.
 
Not long after the start of the uprising against the Assad regime, government forces pulled out of Kurdish areas to focus on attacks by Sunni Arab rebels against major regime strongholds.
 
Kurdish militias quickly moved in to take control - in particular the Kurdish People’s Defense Units (YPG) - the military wing of the People's Council of Western Kurdistan (PYD) - declaring their opposition to both the regime and the rebel movement, both of whom they say aim to continue a process of discrimination and "Arabization" against Syria's Kurdish population.
 
Arab and Islamist groups within the rebel Free Syrian Army (FSA) initially made a grab for Kurdish areas but were beaten back.
 
But the most recent clashes over the past several months have been between the YPG and Al Qaeda-linked groups, after the latter began a concerted and violent campaign to install their own independent "emirates," or Islamic mini-statelets in the oil-rich region. That was met with fierce opposition by Kurdish forces, who responded by ejecting Islamist forces from the border town of Ras al-Ain, near the Turkish border, among other areas.
 
Frequent battles have continued since then, amid claims of war crimes by Islamist forces against Kurdish civilians.
 
The PYD recently announced plans for an autonomous Kurdish region in northern Syria.
 
Bus bomb blast kills 21
 
Meanwhile, in the south of the country, a bus bomb has killed 21 people in Syria's southern Deraa province, near the border with Israel.
 
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that "Four children and six women [were killed] in a blast that detonated as their vehicle went past Tal al-Jumua" in the Nawa area.
 
The bombing took place in rebel-held territory near to a besieged pro-regime outpost, and opposition activists have blamed regime forces for the attack.

Syria: 41 Killed in Clashes Between Kurdish, Islamist Groups

Category: News
Created on Thursday, 17 October 2013 08:29
Ghouta massacre1
 
At least 41 people have been killed in renewed clashes between Kurdish militias and Al Qaeda-linked terrorists.
 
The clashes took place in the oil-rich Hasake province in northern Syria, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
 
The Observatory claimed that at least 29 Al Qaeda fighters and 12 Kurdish fighters had been killed in the clashes between the Committees for the Protection of the Kurdish People (YPG) and Islamist fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Shams (ISIS) and the Nusra Front.
 
The Observatory added that among the dead was a local Nusra Front commander of Egyptian origin, and claimed that the YPG had succeeded in capturing an ISIS checkpoint Tuesday.
 
The YPG has been engaged in a prolonged and bloody struggle for control of Kurdish-majority regions in northern Syria against Islamist groups, many of whom are linked to Al Qaeda.
 
Not long after the start of the uprising against the Assad regime, government forces pulled out of Kurdish areas to focus on attacks by Sunni Arab rebels against major regime strongholds.
 
Kurdish militias quickly moved in to take control - in particular the Kurdish People’s Defense Units (YPG) - the military wing of the People's Council of Western Kurdistan (PYD) - declaring their opposition to both the regime and the rebel movement, both of whom they say aim to continue a process of discrimination and "Arabization" against Syria's Kurdish population.
 
Arab and Islamist groups within the rebel Free Syrian Army (FSA) initially made a grab for Kurdish areas but were beaten back.
 
But the most recent clashes over the past several months have been between the YPG and Al Qaeda-linked groups, after the latter began a concerted and violent campaign to install their own independent "emirates," or Islamic mini-statelets in the oil-rich region. That was met with fierce opposition by Kurdish forces, who responded by ejecting Islamist forces from the border town of Ras al-Ain, near the Turkish border, among other areas.
 
Frequent battles have continued since then, amid claims of war crimes by Islamist forces against Kurdish civilians.
 
The PYD recently announced plans for an autonomous Kurdish region in northern Syria.
 
Bus bomb blast kills 21
 
Meanwhile, in the south of the country, a bus bomb has killed 21 people in Syria's southern Deraa province, near the border with Israel.
 
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that "Four children and six women [were killed] in a blast that detonated as their vehicle went past Tal al-Jumua" in the Nawa area.
 
The bombing took place in rebel-held territory near to a besieged pro-regime outpost, and opposition activists have blamed regime forces for the attack.

Syria: 41 Killed in Clashes Between Kurdish, Islamist Groups

Category: News
Created on Thursday, 17 October 2013 08:29
Ghouta massacre1
 
At least 41 people have been killed in renewed clashes between Kurdish militias and Al Qaeda-linked terrorists.
 
The clashes took place in the oil-rich Hasake province in northern Syria, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
 
The Observatory claimed that at least 29 Al Qaeda fighters and 12 Kurdish fighters had been killed in the clashes between the Committees for the Protection of the Kurdish People (YPG) and Islamist fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Shams (ISIS) and the Nusra Front.
 
The Observatory added that among the dead was a local Nusra Front commander of Egyptian origin, and claimed that the YPG had succeeded in capturing an ISIS checkpoint Tuesday.
 
The YPG has been engaged in a prolonged and bloody struggle for control of Kurdish-majority regions in northern Syria against Islamist groups, many of whom are linked to Al Qaeda.
 
Not long after the start of the uprising against the Assad regime, government forces pulled out of Kurdish areas to focus on attacks by Sunni Arab rebels against major regime strongholds.
 
Kurdish militias quickly moved in to take control - in particular the Kurdish People’s Defense Units (YPG) - the military wing of the People's Council of Western Kurdistan (PYD) - declaring their opposition to both the regime and the rebel movement, both of whom they say aim to continue a process of discrimination and "Arabization" against Syria's Kurdish population.
 
Arab and Islamist groups within the rebel Free Syrian Army (FSA) initially made a grab for Kurdish areas but were beaten back.
 
But the most recent clashes over the past several months have been between the YPG and Al Qaeda-linked groups, after the latter began a concerted and violent campaign to install their own independent "emirates," or Islamic mini-statelets in the oil-rich region. That was met with fierce opposition by Kurdish forces, who responded by ejecting Islamist forces from the border town of Ras al-Ain, near the Turkish border, among other areas.
 
Frequent battles have continued since then, amid claims of war crimes by Islamist forces against Kurdish civilians.
 
The PYD recently announced plans for an autonomous Kurdish region in northern Syria.
 
Bus bomb blast kills 21
 
Meanwhile, in the south of the country, a bus bomb has killed 21 people in Syria's southern Deraa province, near the border with Israel.
 
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that "Four children and six women [were killed] in a blast that detonated as their vehicle went past Tal al-Jumua" in the Nawa area.
 
The bombing took place in rebel-held territory near to a besieged pro-regime outpost, and opposition activists have blamed regime forces for the attack.

Syria: 41 Killed in Clashes Between Kurdish, Islamist Groups

Category: News
Created on Thursday, 17 October 2013 08:29
Ghouta massacre1
 
At least 41 people have been killed in renewed clashes between Kurdish militias and Al Qaeda-linked terrorists.
 
The clashes took place in the oil-rich Hasake province in northern Syria, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
 
The Observatory claimed that at least 29 Al Qaeda fighters and 12 Kurdish fighters had been killed in the clashes between the Committees for the Protection of the Kurdish People (YPG) and Islamist fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Shams (ISIS) and the Nusra Front.
 
The Observatory added that among the dead was a local Nusra Front commander of Egyptian origin, and claimed that the YPG had succeeded in capturing an ISIS checkpoint Tuesday.
 
The YPG has been engaged in a prolonged and bloody struggle for control of Kurdish-majority regions in northern Syria against Islamist groups, many of whom are linked to Al Qaeda.
 
Not long after the start of the uprising against the Assad regime, government forces pulled out of Kurdish areas to focus on attacks by Sunni Arab rebels against major regime strongholds.
 
Kurdish militias quickly moved in to take control - in particular the Kurdish People’s Defense Units (YPG) - the military wing of the People's Council of Western Kurdistan (PYD) - declaring their opposition to both the regime and the rebel movement, both of whom they say aim to continue a process of discrimination and "Arabization" against Syria's Kurdish population.
 
Arab and Islamist groups within the rebel Free Syrian Army (FSA) initially made a grab for Kurdish areas but were beaten back.
 
But the most recent clashes over the past several months have been between the YPG and Al Qaeda-linked groups, after the latter began a concerted and violent campaign to install their own independent "emirates," or Islamic mini-statelets in the oil-rich region. That was met with fierce opposition by Kurdish forces, who responded by ejecting Islamist forces from the border town of Ras al-Ain, near the Turkish border, among other areas.
 
Frequent battles have continued since then, amid claims of war crimes by Islamist forces against Kurdish civilians.
 
The PYD recently announced plans for an autonomous Kurdish region in northern Syria.
 
Bus bomb blast kills 21
 
Meanwhile, in the south of the country, a bus bomb has killed 21 people in Syria's southern Deraa province, near the border with Israel.
 
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that "Four children and six women [were killed] in a blast that detonated as their vehicle went past Tal al-Jumua" in the Nawa area.
 
The bombing took place in rebel-held territory near to a besieged pro-regime outpost, and opposition activists have blamed regime forces for the attack.

Islamist 'Serial Butcher' Assassinated

Category: News
Created on Wednesday, 16 October 2013 17:03
Free Syrian Army fighter - ReutersChechnya's President Ramzan Kadyrov announced last week the assassination of Rastom Saleef one of the most extremist Islamic fighters, by elite Chechen forces.
 
Saleef, known by his fighting name, Abu Muslim al Shishani, belonged to an extremist Islamic movement that had called for the establishment of  a "Caucasus Emirate" as the basis for the future Islamic caliphate.
 
Chechnya declared independence from Russia in 1991, leading to a bitter battle with Russian forces. A peace treaty was signed in 1996, but three years later, after Chechen fighters assisted neighboring Dagestan to also gain independence, Russia re-occupied the country. Almost fifteen years of fighting have followed - with thousands of Islamic fighters in the country behind a series of deadly terrorist attacks in Chechnya, Russia and other countries. 
 
Saleef had spent the last year fighting the forces of Syrian President Bashar Al Assad with the Islamist rebels of the Al Qaeda-affiliated Jabhat al Nusra terrorist organization.
 
Websites associated with Islamic terrorist groups in Syria "credit" Saleef with the slaughter of 378 people - including soldiers and officers in the Syrian army as well as Assad regime loyalists - by cutting their throats with a knife.
 
Described as among the fiercest fighter in the ranks of the rebels, Saleef is said to have beheaded his victims after killing them, placing the head on top of the detached body to cries of "Allahu Akhbar" (Allah is great).
 
Last week, Human Rights Watch (HRW) accused Syrian rebel forces of war crimes against humanity for the execution of 180  Syrian civilians in the town of Latakia. Meanwhile also last week but on the other side of the conflict, Hezbollah men fighting alongside the Syrian military were filmed celebrating the brutal execution of a group of seriously wounded Syrian civilians.
 
The fighting in Syria has killed at least 110,000.

Islamist 'Serial Butcher' Assassinated

Category: News
Created on Wednesday, 16 October 2013 17:03
Free Syrian Army fighter - ReutersChechnya's President Ramzan Kadyrov announced last week the assassination of Rastom Saleef one of the most extremist Islamic fighters, by elite Chechen forces.
 
Saleef, known by his fighting name, Abu Muslim al Shishani, belonged to an extremist Islamic movement that had called for the establishment of  a "Caucasus Emirate" as the basis for the future Islamic caliphate.
 
Chechnya declared independence from Russia in 1991, leading to a bitter battle with Russian forces. A peace treaty was signed in 1996, but three years later, after Chechen fighters assisted neighboring Dagestan to also gain independence, Russia re-occupied the country. Almost fifteen years of fighting have followed - with thousands of Islamic fighters in the country behind a series of deadly terrorist attacks in Chechnya, Russia and other countries. 
 
Saleef had spent the last year fighting the forces of Syrian President Bashar Al Assad with the Islamist rebels of the Al Qaeda-affiliated Jabhat al Nusra terrorist organization.
 
Websites associated with Islamic terrorist groups in Syria "credit" Saleef with the slaughter of 378 people - including soldiers and officers in the Syrian army as well as Assad regime loyalists - by cutting their throats with a knife.
 
Described as among the fiercest fighter in the ranks of the rebels, Saleef is said to have beheaded his victims after killing them, placing the head on top of the detached body to cries of "Allahu Akhbar" (Allah is great).
 
Last week, Human Rights Watch (HRW) accused Syrian rebel forces of war crimes against humanity for the execution of 180  Syrian civilians in the town of Latakia. Meanwhile also last week but on the other side of the conflict, Hezbollah men fighting alongside the Syrian military were filmed celebrating the brutal execution of a group of seriously wounded Syrian civilians.
 
The fighting in Syria has killed at least 110,000.

Islamist 'Serial Butcher' Assassinated

Category: News
Created on Wednesday, 16 October 2013 17:03
Free Syrian Army fighter - ReutersChechnya's President Ramzan Kadyrov announced last week the assassination of Rastom Saleef one of the most extremist Islamic fighters, by elite Chechen forces.
 
Saleef, known by his fighting name, Abu Muslim al Shishani, belonged to an extremist Islamic movement that had called for the establishment of  a "Caucasus Emirate" as the basis for the future Islamic caliphate.
 
Chechnya declared independence from Russia in 1991, leading to a bitter battle with Russian forces. A peace treaty was signed in 1996, but three years later, after Chechen fighters assisted neighboring Dagestan to also gain independence, Russia re-occupied the country. Almost fifteen years of fighting have followed - with thousands of Islamic fighters in the country behind a series of deadly terrorist attacks in Chechnya, Russia and other countries. 
 
Saleef had spent the last year fighting the forces of Syrian President Bashar Al Assad with the Islamist rebels of the Al Qaeda-affiliated Jabhat al Nusra terrorist organization.
 
Websites associated with Islamic terrorist groups in Syria "credit" Saleef with the slaughter of 378 people - including soldiers and officers in the Syrian army as well as Assad regime loyalists - by cutting their throats with a knife.
 
Described as among the fiercest fighter in the ranks of the rebels, Saleef is said to have beheaded his victims after killing them, placing the head on top of the detached body to cries of "Allahu Akhbar" (Allah is great).
 
Last week, Human Rights Watch (HRW) accused Syrian rebel forces of war crimes against humanity for the execution of 180  Syrian civilians in the town of Latakia. Meanwhile also last week but on the other side of the conflict, Hezbollah men fighting alongside the Syrian military were filmed celebrating the brutal execution of a group of seriously wounded Syrian civilians.
 
The fighting in Syria has killed at least 110,000.

Islamist 'Serial Butcher' Assassinated

Category: News
Created on Wednesday, 16 October 2013 17:03
Free Syrian Army fighter - ReutersChechnya's President Ramzan Kadyrov announced last week the assassination of Rastom Saleef one of the most extremist Islamic fighters, by elite Chechen forces.
 
Saleef, known by his fighting name, Abu Muslim al Shishani, belonged to an extremist Islamic movement that had called for the establishment of  a "Caucasus Emirate" as the basis for the future Islamic caliphate.
 
Chechnya declared independence from Russia in 1991, leading to a bitter battle with Russian forces. A peace treaty was signed in 1996, but three years later, after Chechen fighters assisted neighboring Dagestan to also gain independence, Russia re-occupied the country. Almost fifteen years of fighting have followed - with thousands of Islamic fighters in the country behind a series of deadly terrorist attacks in Chechnya, Russia and other countries. 
 
Saleef had spent the last year fighting the forces of Syrian President Bashar Al Assad with the Islamist rebels of the Al Qaeda-affiliated Jabhat al Nusra terrorist organization.
 
Websites associated with Islamic terrorist groups in Syria "credit" Saleef with the slaughter of 378 people - including soldiers and officers in the Syrian army as well as Assad regime loyalists - by cutting their throats with a knife.
 
Described as among the fiercest fighter in the ranks of the rebels, Saleef is said to have beheaded his victims after killing them, placing the head on top of the detached body to cries of "Allahu Akhbar" (Allah is great).
 
Last week, Human Rights Watch (HRW) accused Syrian rebel forces of war crimes against humanity for the execution of 180  Syrian civilians in the town of Latakia. Meanwhile also last week but on the other side of the conflict, Hezbollah men fighting alongside the Syrian military were filmed celebrating the brutal execution of a group of seriously wounded Syrian civilians.
 
The fighting in Syria has killed at least 110,000.

'Terror Tunnel' Discovered - This Time in Damascus

Category: News
Created on Tuesday, 15 October 2013 08:30
Syrian rebels of shoulder-launched missile systems including the U.S.-made Stingers. AFP
 
Syrian regime forces operating in the suburbs of the capital Damascus on Monday made a startling discovery: a "terror tunnel" along the lines of the one recently discovered by Israeli security forces along the perimeter with Hamas-controlled Gaza, leading all the way to neighboring Deraa.
 
Rebel forces had apparently been using the tunnel to shuttle men and equipment between the southeastern suburb of Damascus to the flashpoint city of Deraa, which has strategic significance due to its close proximity to the Al-Mazza military airport.
 
The tunnel was approximately 10 meters deep, 250-300 meters long and was equipped with lighting and openings for ventilation.
 
The discovery of the tunnel comes just days after a similar, though somewhat more sophisticated tunnel was discovered by Israeli security forces leading from the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip towards neighboring Israeli communities. Security sources have speculated that the tunnel could have been used to carry out attacks against Israeli soldiers or civilians.
 
Since the start of the uprising against Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, the Hamas movement - once close to Damascus - quickly shifted its allegiance to back the rebels, prompting the Syrian government to expel the movement from its Damascus headquarters.
 
Hamas has since attempted to keep a low profile on the conflict, seeking to avoid clashing with either of its major patrons - Qatar, which supports the rebels, and Iran, which supports the regime. However, reports soon surfaced of Hamas fighters training rebel fighters in urban warfare, including the use of tunnels to launch attacks and move equipment, a tactic which the group has carefully honed over years of conflict with Israel.
 
Though the use of tunnels in asymmetrical warfare is nothing new, in light of the above - as well as the fact that the skills necessary for such an operation would require significant training from somewhere - means that the similarities between the two cases may be more than a coincidence.
 
The fact that Hamas' own tactics - once sponsored by the Assad regime as a means to murder Israeli civilians - are now being utilized in the battle to oust its former ally, bears testament to the unpredictable nature of the Middle East's patchwork of competing and ever-changing alliances.  
 
Though the use of tunnels in asymmetrical warfare is nothing new, the similarities between the two cases may be more than a coincidence.

'Terror Tunnel' Discovered - This Time in Damascus

Category: News
Created on Tuesday, 15 October 2013 08:30
Syrian rebels of shoulder-launched missile systems including the U.S.-made Stingers. AFP
 
Syrian regime forces operating in the suburbs of the capital Damascus on Monday made a startling discovery: a "terror tunnel" along the lines of the one recently discovered by Israeli security forces along the perimeter with Hamas-controlled Gaza, leading all the way to neighboring Deraa.
 
Rebel forces had apparently been using the tunnel to shuttle men and equipment between the southeastern suburb of Damascus to the flashpoint city of Deraa, which has strategic significance due to its close proximity to the Al-Mazza military airport.
 
The tunnel was approximately 10 meters deep, 250-300 meters long and was equipped with lighting and openings for ventilation.
 
The discovery of the tunnel comes just days after a similar, though somewhat more sophisticated tunnel was discovered by Israeli security forces leading from the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip towards neighboring Israeli communities. Security sources have speculated that the tunnel could have been used to carry out attacks against Israeli soldiers or civilians.
 
Since the start of the uprising against Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, the Hamas movement - once close to Damascus - quickly shifted its allegiance to back the rebels, prompting the Syrian government to expel the movement from its Damascus headquarters.
 
Hamas has since attempted to keep a low profile on the conflict, seeking to avoid clashing with either of its major patrons - Qatar, which supports the rebels, and Iran, which supports the regime. However, reports soon surfaced of Hamas fighters training rebel fighters in urban warfare, including the use of tunnels to launch attacks and move equipment, a tactic which the group has carefully honed over years of conflict with Israel.
 
Though the use of tunnels in asymmetrical warfare is nothing new, in light of the above - as well as the fact that the skills necessary for such an operation would require significant training from somewhere - means that the similarities between the two cases may be more than a coincidence.
 
The fact that Hamas' own tactics - once sponsored by the Assad regime as a means to murder Israeli civilians - are now being utilized in the battle to oust its former ally, bears testament to the unpredictable nature of the Middle East's patchwork of competing and ever-changing alliances.  
 
Though the use of tunnels in asymmetrical warfare is nothing new, the similarities between the two cases may be more than a coincidence.

'Terror Tunnel' Discovered - This Time in Damascus

Category: News
Created on Tuesday, 15 October 2013 08:30
Syrian rebels of shoulder-launched missile systems including the U.S.-made Stingers. AFP
 
Syrian regime forces operating in the suburbs of the capital Damascus on Monday made a startling discovery: a "terror tunnel" along the lines of the one recently discovered by Israeli security forces along the perimeter with Hamas-controlled Gaza, leading all the way to neighboring Deraa.
 
Rebel forces had apparently been using the tunnel to shuttle men and equipment between the southeastern suburb of Damascus to the flashpoint city of Deraa, which has strategic significance due to its close proximity to the Al-Mazza military airport.
 
The tunnel was approximately 10 meters deep, 250-300 meters long and was equipped with lighting and openings for ventilation.
 
The discovery of the tunnel comes just days after a similar, though somewhat more sophisticated tunnel was discovered by Israeli security forces leading from the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip towards neighboring Israeli communities. Security sources have speculated that the tunnel could have been used to carry out attacks against Israeli soldiers or civilians.
 
Since the start of the uprising against Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, the Hamas movement - once close to Damascus - quickly shifted its allegiance to back the rebels, prompting the Syrian government to expel the movement from its Damascus headquarters.
 
Hamas has since attempted to keep a low profile on the conflict, seeking to avoid clashing with either of its major patrons - Qatar, which supports the rebels, and Iran, which supports the regime. However, reports soon surfaced of Hamas fighters training rebel fighters in urban warfare, including the use of tunnels to launch attacks and move equipment, a tactic which the group has carefully honed over years of conflict with Israel.
 
Though the use of tunnels in asymmetrical warfare is nothing new, in light of the above - as well as the fact that the skills necessary for such an operation would require significant training from somewhere - means that the similarities between the two cases may be more than a coincidence.
 
The fact that Hamas' own tactics - once sponsored by the Assad regime as a means to murder Israeli civilians - are now being utilized in the battle to oust its former ally, bears testament to the unpredictable nature of the Middle East's patchwork of competing and ever-changing alliances.  
 
Though the use of tunnels in asymmetrical warfare is nothing new, the similarities between the two cases may be more than a coincidence.

'Terror Tunnel' Discovered - This Time in Damascus

Category: News
Created on Tuesday, 15 October 2013 08:30
Syrian rebels of shoulder-launched missile systems including the U.S.-made Stingers. AFP
 
Syrian regime forces operating in the suburbs of the capital Damascus on Monday made a startling discovery: a "terror tunnel" along the lines of the one recently discovered by Israeli security forces along the perimeter with Hamas-controlled Gaza, leading all the way to neighboring Deraa.
 
Rebel forces had apparently been using the tunnel to shuttle men and equipment between the southeastern suburb of Damascus to the flashpoint city of Deraa, which has strategic significance due to its close proximity to the Al-Mazza military airport.
 
The tunnel was approximately 10 meters deep, 250-300 meters long and was equipped with lighting and openings for ventilation.
 
The discovery of the tunnel comes just days after a similar, though somewhat more sophisticated tunnel was discovered by Israeli security forces leading from the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip towards neighboring Israeli communities. Security sources have speculated that the tunnel could have been used to carry out attacks against Israeli soldiers or civilians.
 
Since the start of the uprising against Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, the Hamas movement - once close to Damascus - quickly shifted its allegiance to back the rebels, prompting the Syrian government to expel the movement from its Damascus headquarters.
 
Hamas has since attempted to keep a low profile on the conflict, seeking to avoid clashing with either of its major patrons - Qatar, which supports the rebels, and Iran, which supports the regime. However, reports soon surfaced of Hamas fighters training rebel fighters in urban warfare, including the use of tunnels to launch attacks and move equipment, a tactic which the group has carefully honed over years of conflict with Israel.
 
Though the use of tunnels in asymmetrical warfare is nothing new, in light of the above - as well as the fact that the skills necessary for such an operation would require significant training from somewhere - means that the similarities between the two cases may be more than a coincidence.
 
The fact that Hamas' own tactics - once sponsored by the Assad regime as a means to murder Israeli civilians - are now being utilized in the battle to oust its former ally, bears testament to the unpredictable nature of the Middle East's patchwork of competing and ever-changing alliances.  
 
Though the use of tunnels in asymmetrical warfare is nothing new, the similarities between the two cases may be more than a coincidence.

Syria Has Non-nuke EMP Bombs

Category: Op-Eds
Created on Monday, 14 October 2013 10:31
Chemical WeaponsSometimes you need to spend billions to unearth supreme strategic military secrets. Other times, self-intoxicated leaders let the cat out of the bag.
 
On 3 March 1917, German Foreign Minister Arthur Zimmerman blurted out, "I cannot deny it.  It is true." Zimmerman had just admitted that as a German gambit to keep America "busy," Germany had secretly offered Mexico funding to attack America, and regain Texas and virtually America's entire Southwest.
 
In no small part due to Zimmerman's admission, America entered the war against Germany the next month, April 1917.
 
On 26 September 2013, Syrian president Bashar Assad said that Syria possesses "more advanced weaponry, which can serve as a deterrent, and blindside Israel within seconds."  Loose lips sink ships.
 
Sometimes you need to spend billions to unearth supreme strategic military secrets.  Other times, self-intoxicated leaders like Zimmerman articulate a casus belli of Germany against America in World War I.
 
Today, Assad gives a game-changing military secret to Israel more valuable than rubies.  By letting slip that Syria could "blindside" Israel, Assad admitted Syria likely possesses non-nuclear, conventional Electro-Magnetic Pulse (EMP) weapons. The ramifications of a conventional EMP attack on Israel apply not only from Syria, but also, most critically, from any Palestinian Arab "demilitarized" state.
 
(I have previously discussed nuclear EMP weapons in my article, “The 100% Fatwa-Compliant Iranian EMP NuclearWeapon.” (/Articles/Article.aspx/11551#.Uk4umDK9KK0))
 
As explained in previous articles, a nuclear EMP bomb is merely a regular nuclear weapon which is ignited 50 kilometers above the earth where they don't kill people but kill electronics, instead of 1-5 kilometers above the ground where it would kill many people.  Non-nuclear EMP bombs are microwave-emitting weapons which electronically fry a much smaller electronic kill radius than a nuclear EMP bomb would.
 
But, a conventional EMP bomb has the same end result in that it totally destroys any electronics in a given target zone.  The reason I hadn't raised this issue previously is because it is the likeliest critical element to any possible strike on Iran.  But since Assad let the cat out of the bag, it must now be discussed openly.
 
No one can describe non-nuclear conventional EMPs better than its maker the Boeing Company.   On 22 October 2012, Boeing released a press release http://www.boeing.com/Features/2012/10/bds_champ_10_22_12.html, and video that explained conventional EMP weapons as follows:
 
"A recent weapons flight test in the Utah desert may change future warfare after the missile successfully defeated electronic targets with little to no collateral damage.
 
Boeing and the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Directed Energy Directorate, Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., successfully tested the Counter-electronics High-powered Microwave Advanced Missile Project (CHAMP) during a flight over the Utah Test and Training Range.
 
CHAMP, which renders electronic targets useless, is a non-kinetic alternative to traditional explosive weapons that use the energy of motion to defeat a target.
 
During the test, the CHAMP missile navigated a pre-programmed flight plan and emitted bursts of high-powered energy, effectively knocking out the target's data and electronic subsystems. CHAMP allows for selective high-frequency radio wave strikes against numerous targets during a single mission.
 
‘This technology marks a new era in modern-day warfare,’ said Keith Coleman, CHAMP program manager for Boeing Phantom Works. ‘In the near future, this technology may be used to render an enemy’s electronic and data systems useless even before the first troops or aircraft arrive.’”
 
It is entirely feasible, if not highly probable, that Syria possesses such a conventional EMP weapon.  How Syria could deliver the weapon to Israel's electronic soft-underbelly is another question.  But leaving the question of delivery aside for the moment, the real question is: how does this effect Israel's strategic equation?
 
 Apart from other aspects, the most worrisome effect would be if Israel attempted to strike Iran's nuclear facilities.  Such a sophisticated weapon in Syria is likely under the control of Iran's al Quds forces in Syria.  And, it would likely be used as a second-strike against Israel if Israel attacked. A non-nuclear counter strike against Israel when Israel is in the midst of attacking Iran could bring Israel a grievous military catastrophe.
 
Therefore, it now becomes a military necessity that Assad is liquidated before any Israeli attack on Iran proceeds.  By Israel's supplying the rebels with critical real-time intelligence of the locations of Assad's weapons' depots, and an unlimited amount of untraceable small caliber bullets (preferably 7.62x39mm Kalash rounds), Assad will crumble and crumble fast.
 
But the most dramatic threat posed by a non-nuclear conventional EMP bomb is not from Syria, it's from the "demilitarized" Palestinian Arab State that Tzipi Livni is concocting for Israel's future.  The reason being, with absolute Israeli military control of all goods coming into that area and absolute military control over the Samarian mountains facing Tel Aviv, it will be impossible to keep out the electronic parts necessary for the Palestinian Arabs to make such a conventional EMP bomb.
 
They wouldn't need a "delivery system" because the EMP bomb would have already been "delivered" to striking range of Israel's electronic soft-underbelly, Tel Aviv.  The Palestinian Arabs could then conventionally first-strike decapitate Israel's entire military force structure and electronic system as a prelude to a second wave attack by Iranian or Arab missiles or armies.  The Kirya (Israel's "Pentagon" in Tel Aviv) would be electronically toasted from the word "go."  All of Israel's anti-missile, air defense and mobilization systems would be paralyzed from the very first second of a Muslim war of decimation.  It would be lights-out, game-over for Israel before the war against Israel even began. 
 
A Palestinian Arab state no longer threatens Israel with chemical Katyushas, it now threatens Israel with annihilation by EMP bombs.  Unless Israel short-circuits its suicidal "peace" process, a Palestinian CHAMP EMP bomb could instantly turn Israel's electronic defense into a clump of burning wiring. 
 
For more information, please visit www.marklangfan.com
 
mark langfanMark Langfan
The writer, who writes on security issues, has created an original educational 3d Topographic Map System of Israel to facilitate clear understanding of the dangers facing Israel and its water supply. It has been studied by US lawmakers and can be seen at www.marklangfan.com

Syria Has Non-nuke EMP Bombs

Category: Op-Eds
Created on Monday, 14 October 2013 10:31
Chemical WeaponsSometimes you need to spend billions to unearth supreme strategic military secrets. Other times, self-intoxicated leaders let the cat out of the bag.
 
On 3 March 1917, German Foreign Minister Arthur Zimmerman blurted out, "I cannot deny it.  It is true." Zimmerman had just admitted that as a German gambit to keep America "busy," Germany had secretly offered Mexico funding to attack America, and regain Texas and virtually America's entire Southwest.
 
In no small part due to Zimmerman's admission, America entered the war against Germany the next month, April 1917.
 
On 26 September 2013, Syrian president Bashar Assad said that Syria possesses "more advanced weaponry, which can serve as a deterrent, and blindside Israel within seconds."  Loose lips sink ships.
 
Sometimes you need to spend billions to unearth supreme strategic military secrets.  Other times, self-intoxicated leaders like Zimmerman articulate a casus belli of Germany against America in World War I.
 
Today, Assad gives a game-changing military secret to Israel more valuable than rubies.  By letting slip that Syria could "blindside" Israel, Assad admitted Syria likely possesses non-nuclear, conventional Electro-Magnetic Pulse (EMP) weapons. The ramifications of a conventional EMP attack on Israel apply not only from Syria, but also, most critically, from any Palestinian Arab "demilitarized" state.
 
(I have previously discussed nuclear EMP weapons in my article, “The 100% Fatwa-Compliant Iranian EMP NuclearWeapon.” (/Articles/Article.aspx/11551#.Uk4umDK9KK0))
 
As explained in previous articles, a nuclear EMP bomb is merely a regular nuclear weapon which is ignited 50 kilometers above the earth where they don't kill people but kill electronics, instead of 1-5 kilometers above the ground where it would kill many people.  Non-nuclear EMP bombs are microwave-emitting weapons which electronically fry a much smaller electronic kill radius than a nuclear EMP bomb would.
 
But, a conventional EMP bomb has the same end result in that it totally destroys any electronics in a given target zone.  The reason I hadn't raised this issue previously is because it is the likeliest critical element to any possible strike on Iran.  But since Assad let the cat out of the bag, it must now be discussed openly.
 
No one can describe non-nuclear conventional EMPs better than its maker the Boeing Company.   On 22 October 2012, Boeing released a press release http://www.boeing.com/Features/2012/10/bds_champ_10_22_12.html, and video that explained conventional EMP weapons as follows:
 
"A recent weapons flight test in the Utah desert may change future warfare after the missile successfully defeated electronic targets with little to no collateral damage.
 
Boeing and the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Directed Energy Directorate, Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., successfully tested the Counter-electronics High-powered Microwave Advanced Missile Project (CHAMP) during a flight over the Utah Test and Training Range.
 
CHAMP, which renders electronic targets useless, is a non-kinetic alternative to traditional explosive weapons that use the energy of motion to defeat a target.
 
During the test, the CHAMP missile navigated a pre-programmed flight plan and emitted bursts of high-powered energy, effectively knocking out the target's data and electronic subsystems. CHAMP allows for selective high-frequency radio wave strikes against numerous targets during a single mission.
 
‘This technology marks a new era in modern-day warfare,’ said Keith Coleman, CHAMP program manager for Boeing Phantom Works. ‘In the near future, this technology may be used to render an enemy’s electronic and data systems useless even before the first troops or aircraft arrive.’”
 
It is entirely feasible, if not highly probable, that Syria possesses such a conventional EMP weapon.  How Syria could deliver the weapon to Israel's electronic soft-underbelly is another question.  But leaving the question of delivery aside for the moment, the real question is: how does this effect Israel's strategic equation?
 
 Apart from other aspects, the most worrisome effect would be if Israel attempted to strike Iran's nuclear facilities.  Such a sophisticated weapon in Syria is likely under the control of Iran's al Quds forces in Syria.  And, it would likely be used as a second-strike against Israel if Israel attacked. A non-nuclear counter strike against Israel when Israel is in the midst of attacking Iran could bring Israel a grievous military catastrophe.
 
Therefore, it now becomes a military necessity that Assad is liquidated before any Israeli attack on Iran proceeds.  By Israel's supplying the rebels with critical real-time intelligence of the locations of Assad's weapons' depots, and an unlimited amount of untraceable small caliber bullets (preferably 7.62x39mm Kalash rounds), Assad will crumble and crumble fast.
 
But the most dramatic threat posed by a non-nuclear conventional EMP bomb is not from Syria, it's from the "demilitarized" Palestinian Arab State that Tzipi Livni is concocting for Israel's future.  The reason being, with absolute Israeli military control of all goods coming into that area and absolute military control over the Samarian mountains facing Tel Aviv, it will be impossible to keep out the electronic parts necessary for the Palestinian Arabs to make such a conventional EMP bomb.
 
They wouldn't need a "delivery system" because the EMP bomb would have already been "delivered" to striking range of Israel's electronic soft-underbelly, Tel Aviv.  The Palestinian Arabs could then conventionally first-strike decapitate Israel's entire military force structure and electronic system as a prelude to a second wave attack by Iranian or Arab missiles or armies.  The Kirya (Israel's "Pentagon" in Tel Aviv) would be electronically toasted from the word "go."  All of Israel's anti-missile, air defense and mobilization systems would be paralyzed from the very first second of a Muslim war of decimation.  It would be lights-out, game-over for Israel before the war against Israel even began. 
 
A Palestinian Arab state no longer threatens Israel with chemical Katyushas, it now threatens Israel with annihilation by EMP bombs.  Unless Israel short-circuits its suicidal "peace" process, a Palestinian CHAMP EMP bomb could instantly turn Israel's electronic defense into a clump of burning wiring. 
 
For more information, please visit www.marklangfan.com
 
mark langfanMark Langfan
The writer, who writes on security issues, has created an original educational 3d Topographic Map System of Israel to facilitate clear understanding of the dangers facing Israel and its water supply. It has been studied by US lawmakers and can be seen at www.marklangfan.com

Syria Has Non-nuke EMP Bombs

Category: Op-Eds
Created on Monday, 14 October 2013 10:31
Chemical WeaponsSometimes you need to spend billions to unearth supreme strategic military secrets. Other times, self-intoxicated leaders let the cat out of the bag.
 
On 3 March 1917, German Foreign Minister Arthur Zimmerman blurted out, "I cannot deny it.  It is true." Zimmerman had just admitted that as a German gambit to keep America "busy," Germany had secretly offered Mexico funding to attack America, and regain Texas and virtually America's entire Southwest.
 
In no small part due to Zimmerman's admission, America entered the war against Germany the next month, April 1917.
 
On 26 September 2013, Syrian president Bashar Assad said that Syria possesses "more advanced weaponry, which can serve as a deterrent, and blindside Israel within seconds."  Loose lips sink ships.
 
Sometimes you need to spend billions to unearth supreme strategic military secrets.  Other times, self-intoxicated leaders like Zimmerman articulate a casus belli of Germany against America in World War I.
 
Today, Assad gives a game-changing military secret to Israel more valuable than rubies.  By letting slip that Syria could "blindside" Israel, Assad admitted Syria likely possesses non-nuclear, conventional Electro-Magnetic Pulse (EMP) weapons. The ramifications of a conventional EMP attack on Israel apply not only from Syria, but also, most critically, from any Palestinian Arab "demilitarized" state.
 
(I have previously discussed nuclear EMP weapons in my article, “The 100% Fatwa-Compliant Iranian EMP NuclearWeapon.” (/Articles/Article.aspx/11551#.Uk4umDK9KK0))
 
As explained in previous articles, a nuclear EMP bomb is merely a regular nuclear weapon which is ignited 50 kilometers above the earth where they don't kill people but kill electronics, instead of 1-5 kilometers above the ground where it would kill many people.  Non-nuclear EMP bombs are microwave-emitting weapons which electronically fry a much smaller electronic kill radius than a nuclear EMP bomb would.
 
But, a conventional EMP bomb has the same end result in that it totally destroys any electronics in a given target zone.  The reason I hadn't raised this issue previously is because it is the likeliest critical element to any possible strike on Iran.  But since Assad let the cat out of the bag, it must now be discussed openly.
 
No one can describe non-nuclear conventional EMPs better than its maker the Boeing Company.   On 22 October 2012, Boeing released a press release http://www.boeing.com/Features/2012/10/bds_champ_10_22_12.html, and video that explained conventional EMP weapons as follows:
 
"A recent weapons flight test in the Utah desert may change future warfare after the missile successfully defeated electronic targets with little to no collateral damage.
 
Boeing and the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Directed Energy Directorate, Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., successfully tested the Counter-electronics High-powered Microwave Advanced Missile Project (CHAMP) during a flight over the Utah Test and Training Range.
 
CHAMP, which renders electronic targets useless, is a non-kinetic alternative to traditional explosive weapons that use the energy of motion to defeat a target.
 
During the test, the CHAMP missile navigated a pre-programmed flight plan and emitted bursts of high-powered energy, effectively knocking out the target's data and electronic subsystems. CHAMP allows for selective high-frequency radio wave strikes against numerous targets during a single mission.
 
‘This technology marks a new era in modern-day warfare,’ said Keith Coleman, CHAMP program manager for Boeing Phantom Works. ‘In the near future, this technology may be used to render an enemy’s electronic and data systems useless even before the first troops or aircraft arrive.’”
 
It is entirely feasible, if not highly probable, that Syria possesses such a conventional EMP weapon.  How Syria could deliver the weapon to Israel's electronic soft-underbelly is another question.  But leaving the question of delivery aside for the moment, the real question is: how does this effect Israel's strategic equation?
 
 Apart from other aspects, the most worrisome effect would be if Israel attempted to strike Iran's nuclear facilities.  Such a sophisticated weapon in Syria is likely under the control of Iran's al Quds forces in Syria.  And, it would likely be used as a second-strike against Israel if Israel attacked. A non-nuclear counter strike against Israel when Israel is in the midst of attacking Iran could bring Israel a grievous military catastrophe.
 
Therefore, it now becomes a military necessity that Assad is liquidated before any Israeli attack on Iran proceeds.  By Israel's supplying the rebels with critical real-time intelligence of the locations of Assad's weapons' depots, and an unlimited amount of untraceable small caliber bullets (preferably 7.62x39mm Kalash rounds), Assad will crumble and crumble fast.
 
But the most dramatic threat posed by a non-nuclear conventional EMP bomb is not from Syria, it's from the "demilitarized" Palestinian Arab State that Tzipi Livni is concocting for Israel's future.  The reason being, with absolute Israeli military control of all goods coming into that area and absolute military control over the Samarian mountains facing Tel Aviv, it will be impossible to keep out the electronic parts necessary for the Palestinian Arabs to make such a conventional EMP bomb.
 
They wouldn't need a "delivery system" because the EMP bomb would have already been "delivered" to striking range of Israel's electronic soft-underbelly, Tel Aviv.  The Palestinian Arabs could then conventionally first-strike decapitate Israel's entire military force structure and electronic system as a prelude to a second wave attack by Iranian or Arab missiles or armies.  The Kirya (Israel's "Pentagon" in Tel Aviv) would be electronically toasted from the word "go."  All of Israel's anti-missile, air defense and mobilization systems would be paralyzed from the very first second of a Muslim war of decimation.  It would be lights-out, game-over for Israel before the war against Israel even began. 
 
A Palestinian Arab state no longer threatens Israel with chemical Katyushas, it now threatens Israel with annihilation by EMP bombs.  Unless Israel short-circuits its suicidal "peace" process, a Palestinian CHAMP EMP bomb could instantly turn Israel's electronic defense into a clump of burning wiring. 
 
For more information, please visit www.marklangfan.com
 
mark langfanMark Langfan
The writer, who writes on security issues, has created an original educational 3d Topographic Map System of Israel to facilitate clear understanding of the dangers facing Israel and its water supply. It has been studied by US lawmakers and can be seen at www.marklangfan.com

Syria Has Non-nuke EMP Bombs

Category: Op-Eds
Created on Monday, 14 October 2013 10:31
Chemical WeaponsSometimes you need to spend billions to unearth supreme strategic military secrets. Other times, self-intoxicated leaders let the cat out of the bag.
 
On 3 March 1917, German Foreign Minister Arthur Zimmerman blurted out, "I cannot deny it.  It is true." Zimmerman had just admitted that as a German gambit to keep America "busy," Germany had secretly offered Mexico funding to attack America, and regain Texas and virtually America's entire Southwest.
 
In no small part due to Zimmerman's admission, America entered the war against Germany the next month, April 1917.
 
On 26 September 2013, Syrian president Bashar Assad said that Syria possesses "more advanced weaponry, which can serve as a deterrent, and blindside Israel within seconds."  Loose lips sink ships.
 
Sometimes you need to spend billions to unearth supreme strategic military secrets.  Other times, self-intoxicated leaders like Zimmerman articulate a casus belli of Germany against America in World War I.
 
Today, Assad gives a game-changing military secret to Israel more valuable than rubies.  By letting slip that Syria could "blindside" Israel, Assad admitted Syria likely possesses non-nuclear, conventional Electro-Magnetic Pulse (EMP) weapons. The ramifications of a conventional EMP attack on Israel apply not only from Syria, but also, most critically, from any Palestinian Arab "demilitarized" state.
 
(I have previously discussed nuclear EMP weapons in my article, “The 100% Fatwa-Compliant Iranian EMP NuclearWeapon.” (/Articles/Article.aspx/11551#.Uk4umDK9KK0))
 
As explained in previous articles, a nuclear EMP bomb is merely a regular nuclear weapon which is ignited 50 kilometers above the earth where they don't kill people but kill electronics, instead of 1-5 kilometers above the ground where it would kill many people.  Non-nuclear EMP bombs are microwave-emitting weapons which electronically fry a much smaller electronic kill radius than a nuclear EMP bomb would.
 
But, a conventional EMP bomb has the same end result in that it totally destroys any electronics in a given target zone.  The reason I hadn't raised this issue previously is because it is the likeliest critical element to any possible strike on Iran.  But since Assad let the cat out of the bag, it must now be discussed openly.
 
No one can describe non-nuclear conventional EMPs better than its maker the Boeing Company.   On 22 October 2012, Boeing released a press release http://www.boeing.com/Features/2012/10/bds_champ_10_22_12.html, and video that explained conventional EMP weapons as follows:
 
"A recent weapons flight test in the Utah desert may change future warfare after the missile successfully defeated electronic targets with little to no collateral damage.
 
Boeing and the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Directed Energy Directorate, Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., successfully tested the Counter-electronics High-powered Microwave Advanced Missile Project (CHAMP) during a flight over the Utah Test and Training Range.
 
CHAMP, which renders electronic targets useless, is a non-kinetic alternative to traditional explosive weapons that use the energy of motion to defeat a target.
 
During the test, the CHAMP missile navigated a pre-programmed flight plan and emitted bursts of high-powered energy, effectively knocking out the target's data and electronic subsystems. CHAMP allows for selective high-frequency radio wave strikes against numerous targets during a single mission.
 
‘This technology marks a new era in modern-day warfare,’ said Keith Coleman, CHAMP program manager for Boeing Phantom Works. ‘In the near future, this technology may be used to render an enemy’s electronic and data systems useless even before the first troops or aircraft arrive.’”
 
It is entirely feasible, if not highly probable, that Syria possesses such a conventional EMP weapon.  How Syria could deliver the weapon to Israel's electronic soft-underbelly is another question.  But leaving the question of delivery aside for the moment, the real question is: how does this effect Israel's strategic equation?
 
 Apart from other aspects, the most worrisome effect would be if Israel attempted to strike Iran's nuclear facilities.  Such a sophisticated weapon in Syria is likely under the control of Iran's al Quds forces in Syria.  And, it would likely be used as a second-strike against Israel if Israel attacked. A non-nuclear counter strike against Israel when Israel is in the midst of attacking Iran could bring Israel a grievous military catastrophe.
 
Therefore, it now becomes a military necessity that Assad is liquidated before any Israeli attack on Iran proceeds.  By Israel's supplying the rebels with critical real-time intelligence of the locations of Assad's weapons' depots, and an unlimited amount of untraceable small caliber bullets (preferably 7.62x39mm Kalash rounds), Assad will crumble and crumble fast.
 
But the most dramatic threat posed by a non-nuclear conventional EMP bomb is not from Syria, it's from the "demilitarized" Palestinian Arab State that Tzipi Livni is concocting for Israel's future.  The reason being, with absolute Israeli military control of all goods coming into that area and absolute military control over the Samarian mountains facing Tel Aviv, it will be impossible to keep out the electronic parts necessary for the Palestinian Arabs to make such a conventional EMP bomb.
 
They wouldn't need a "delivery system" because the EMP bomb would have already been "delivered" to striking range of Israel's electronic soft-underbelly, Tel Aviv.  The Palestinian Arabs could then conventionally first-strike decapitate Israel's entire military force structure and electronic system as a prelude to a second wave attack by Iranian or Arab missiles or armies.  The Kirya (Israel's "Pentagon" in Tel Aviv) would be electronically toasted from the word "go."  All of Israel's anti-missile, air defense and mobilization systems would be paralyzed from the very first second of a Muslim war of decimation.  It would be lights-out, game-over for Israel before the war against Israel even began. 
 
A Palestinian Arab state no longer threatens Israel with chemical Katyushas, it now threatens Israel with annihilation by EMP bombs.  Unless Israel short-circuits its suicidal "peace" process, a Palestinian CHAMP EMP bomb could instantly turn Israel's electronic defense into a clump of burning wiring. 
 
For more information, please visit www.marklangfan.com
 
mark langfanMark Langfan
The writer, who writes on security issues, has created an original educational 3d Topographic Map System of Israel to facilitate clear understanding of the dangers facing Israel and its water supply. It has been studied by US lawmakers and can be seen at www.marklangfan.com

Syria: 50 Killed as Rebels Fight Each Other

Category: News
Created on Saturday, 12 October 2013 20:44
RebelesAlmost 50 rebel fighters have been killed in three days of skirmishes between jihadists and mainstream rebels in the Syrian city of Aleppo, reports Al Arabiya.
 
The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Saturday that the violence began on Thursday between members of the al-Qaeda-linked Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and a battalion linked to the Arab and Western-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA), both of which are fighting to overthrow Syria’s embattled President Bashar Al-Assad.
 
“At least 30 fighters from the Ababil Brigade and 14 from ISIL have been killed in combat, and that toll could rise further,” the Observatory’s Rami Abdel Rahman said, according to AFP.
 
Rahman said that fighting broke out in several district of the city, with ISIL making gains in several areas.
 
Since July last year, Aleppo’s east district has been held by the rebels, and the west has been held by forces loyal to Assad.
 
The 13-member Islamic Front for the Liberation of Syria, which split off from the Syrian National Council opposition force, declared the northern commercial hub city of Aleppo to be an independent Islamist state months ago.
 
Since that time, a second civil war has begun in war-ravaged Syria, between the more moderate rebel groups and the Islamist extremist groups.
 
Members of Al-Nusra and other Syrian rebels groups have committed atrocities during the Syrian civil war, including publicly beheading a Catholic priest who was accused of collaborating with Bashar Al-Assad’s regime.
 
Some of the Islamist groups have attempted to soften their image in an attempt to win hearts and minds - holding stand up comedy shows and handing out toys to local children.

Syria: 50 Killed as Rebels Fight Each Other

Category: News
Created on Saturday, 12 October 2013 20:44
RebelesAlmost 50 rebel fighters have been killed in three days of skirmishes between jihadists and mainstream rebels in the Syrian city of Aleppo, reports Al Arabiya.
 
The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Saturday that the violence began on Thursday between members of the al-Qaeda-linked Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and a battalion linked to the Arab and Western-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA), both of which are fighting to overthrow Syria’s embattled President Bashar Al-Assad.
 
“At least 30 fighters from the Ababil Brigade and 14 from ISIL have been killed in combat, and that toll could rise further,” the Observatory’s Rami Abdel Rahman said, according to AFP.
 
Rahman said that fighting broke out in several district of the city, with ISIL making gains in several areas.
 
Since July last year, Aleppo’s east district has been held by the rebels, and the west has been held by forces loyal to Assad.
 
The 13-member Islamic Front for the Liberation of Syria, which split off from the Syrian National Council opposition force, declared the northern commercial hub city of Aleppo to be an independent Islamist state months ago.
 
Since that time, a second civil war has begun in war-ravaged Syria, between the more moderate rebel groups and the Islamist extremist groups.
 
Members of Al-Nusra and other Syrian rebels groups have committed atrocities during the Syrian civil war, including publicly beheading a Catholic priest who was accused of collaborating with Bashar Al-Assad’s regime.
 
Some of the Islamist groups have attempted to soften their image in an attempt to win hearts and minds - holding stand up comedy shows and handing out toys to local children.

Syria: 50 Killed as Rebels Fight Each Other

Category: News
Created on Saturday, 12 October 2013 20:44
RebelesAlmost 50 rebel fighters have been killed in three days of skirmishes between jihadists and mainstream rebels in the Syrian city of Aleppo, reports Al Arabiya.
 
The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Saturday that the violence began on Thursday between members of the al-Qaeda-linked Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and a battalion linked to the Arab and Western-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA), both of which are fighting to overthrow Syria’s embattled President Bashar Al-Assad.
 
“At least 30 fighters from the Ababil Brigade and 14 from ISIL have been killed in combat, and that toll could rise further,” the Observatory’s Rami Abdel Rahman said, according to AFP.
 
Rahman said that fighting broke out in several district of the city, with ISIL making gains in several areas.
 
Since July last year, Aleppo’s east district has been held by the rebels, and the west has been held by forces loyal to Assad.
 
The 13-member Islamic Front for the Liberation of Syria, which split off from the Syrian National Council opposition force, declared the northern commercial hub city of Aleppo to be an independent Islamist state months ago.
 
Since that time, a second civil war has begun in war-ravaged Syria, between the more moderate rebel groups and the Islamist extremist groups.
 
Members of Al-Nusra and other Syrian rebels groups have committed atrocities during the Syrian civil war, including publicly beheading a Catholic priest who was accused of collaborating with Bashar Al-Assad’s regime.
 
Some of the Islamist groups have attempted to soften their image in an attempt to win hearts and minds - holding stand up comedy shows and handing out toys to local children.

Syria: 50 Killed as Rebels Fight Each Other

Category: News
Created on Saturday, 12 October 2013 20:44
RebelesAlmost 50 rebel fighters have been killed in three days of skirmishes between jihadists and mainstream rebels in the Syrian city of Aleppo, reports Al Arabiya.
 
The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Saturday that the violence began on Thursday between members of the al-Qaeda-linked Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and a battalion linked to the Arab and Western-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA), both of which are fighting to overthrow Syria’s embattled President Bashar Al-Assad.
 
“At least 30 fighters from the Ababil Brigade and 14 from ISIL have been killed in combat, and that toll could rise further,” the Observatory’s Rami Abdel Rahman said, according to AFP.
 
Rahman said that fighting broke out in several district of the city, with ISIL making gains in several areas.
 
Since July last year, Aleppo’s east district has been held by the rebels, and the west has been held by forces loyal to Assad.
 
The 13-member Islamic Front for the Liberation of Syria, which split off from the Syrian National Council opposition force, declared the northern commercial hub city of Aleppo to be an independent Islamist state months ago.
 
Since that time, a second civil war has begun in war-ravaged Syria, between the more moderate rebel groups and the Islamist extremist groups.
 
Members of Al-Nusra and other Syrian rebels groups have committed atrocities during the Syrian civil war, including publicly beheading a Catholic priest who was accused of collaborating with Bashar Al-Assad’s regime.
 
Some of the Islamist groups have attempted to soften their image in an attempt to win hearts and minds - holding stand up comedy shows and handing out toys to local children.

Hezbollah Fighters Execute Injured Syrian Civilians

Category: News
Created on Friday, 11 October 2013 12:07
Islamic Fighters v/s Syrian Civilians
 
In one of the most disturbing scenes to emerge from the fighting in Syria, Hezbollah fighters operating under the command of the Syrian army, have been filmed celebrating and rejoicing, as they dragged injured Syrian civilians from a van and executed them.
 
Hezbollah are fighting alongside Bashar Al Assad's men, in their bitter battle against rebels in the country, where over 110,000 people have been killed in the last two years.  
 
The video clip, which somehow fell into the hands of Syrian rebels, and looks to be filmed from a mobile phone of one of the execution squad, clearly documents a war crime perpetrated by the Hizbullah fighters.
 
The clip - which Arutz Sheva has decided not to show due to its disturbing, graphic content - shows the Hezbollah fighters dragging a number of seriously injured civilians wearing blood soaked clothes from a Syrian military vehicle. The civilians are seen being thrown to the ground whereupon Hezbollah fighters shoot them to death at close range.
 
At one stage, one of the injured begs for his life and attempts with his last strength to move. Hezbollah fighters standing over him, one of whom is directing the executions, mock the man quoting a slogan of the Syrian rebels "in the way of Allah," and shortly after shots are seen fired at the injured man who dies on the spot. Hezbollah fighters are then heard celebrating with satisfaction at the executions.
 
Hezbollah were also previously been accused of murdering women and children in early June as they helped Assad's men retake the city of Qusair, near the border with Lebanon, which they did in early June. 
 
Earlier this month, a former secretary-general of Hezbollah said that Iran, who sponsors and controls the terrorist organization, had ordered it to participate in the Syrian war.

Hezbollah Fighters Execute Injured Syrian Civilians

Category: News
Created on Friday, 11 October 2013 12:07
Islamic Fighters v/s Syrian Civilians
 
In one of the most disturbing scenes to emerge from the fighting in Syria, Hezbollah fighters operating under the command of the Syrian army, have been filmed celebrating and rejoicing, as they dragged injured Syrian civilians from a van and executed them.
 
Hezbollah are fighting alongside Bashar Al Assad's men, in their bitter battle against rebels in the country, where over 110,000 people have been killed in the last two years.  
 
The video clip, which somehow fell into the hands of Syrian rebels, and looks to be filmed from a mobile phone of one of the execution squad, clearly documents a war crime perpetrated by the Hizbullah fighters.
 
The clip - which Arutz Sheva has decided not to show due to its disturbing, graphic content - shows the Hezbollah fighters dragging a number of seriously injured civilians wearing blood soaked clothes from a Syrian military vehicle. The civilians are seen being thrown to the ground whereupon Hezbollah fighters shoot them to death at close range.
 
At one stage, one of the injured begs for his life and attempts with his last strength to move. Hezbollah fighters standing over him, one of whom is directing the executions, mock the man quoting a slogan of the Syrian rebels "in the way of Allah," and shortly after shots are seen fired at the injured man who dies on the spot. Hezbollah fighters are then heard celebrating with satisfaction at the executions.
 
Hezbollah were also previously been accused of murdering women and children in early June as they helped Assad's men retake the city of Qusair, near the border with Lebanon, which they did in early June. 
 
Earlier this month, a former secretary-general of Hezbollah said that Iran, who sponsors and controls the terrorist organization, had ordered it to participate in the Syrian war.

Hezbollah Fighters Execute Injured Syrian Civilians

Category: News
Created on Friday, 11 October 2013 12:07
Islamic Fighters v/s Syrian Civilians
 
In one of the most disturbing scenes to emerge from the fighting in Syria, Hezbollah fighters operating under the command of the Syrian army, have been filmed celebrating and rejoicing, as they dragged injured Syrian civilians from a van and executed them.
 
Hezbollah are fighting alongside Bashar Al Assad's men, in their bitter battle against rebels in the country, where over 110,000 people have been killed in the last two years.  
 
The video clip, which somehow fell into the hands of Syrian rebels, and looks to be filmed from a mobile phone of one of the execution squad, clearly documents a war crime perpetrated by the Hizbullah fighters.
 
The clip - which Arutz Sheva has decided not to show due to its disturbing, graphic content - shows the Hezbollah fighters dragging a number of seriously injured civilians wearing blood soaked clothes from a Syrian military vehicle. The civilians are seen being thrown to the ground whereupon Hezbollah fighters shoot them to death at close range.
 
At one stage, one of the injured begs for his life and attempts with his last strength to move. Hezbollah fighters standing over him, one of whom is directing the executions, mock the man quoting a slogan of the Syrian rebels "in the way of Allah," and shortly after shots are seen fired at the injured man who dies on the spot. Hezbollah fighters are then heard celebrating with satisfaction at the executions.
 
Hezbollah were also previously been accused of murdering women and children in early June as they helped Assad's men retake the city of Qusair, near the border with Lebanon, which they did in early June. 
 
Earlier this month, a former secretary-general of Hezbollah said that Iran, who sponsors and controls the terrorist organization, had ordered it to participate in the Syrian war.

Hezbollah Fighters Execute Injured Syrian Civilians

Category: News
Created on Friday, 11 October 2013 12:07
Islamic Fighters v/s Syrian Civilians
 
In one of the most disturbing scenes to emerge from the fighting in Syria, Hezbollah fighters operating under the command of the Syrian army, have been filmed celebrating and rejoicing, as they dragged injured Syrian civilians from a van and executed them.
 
Hezbollah are fighting alongside Bashar Al Assad's men, in their bitter battle against rebels in the country, where over 110,000 people have been killed in the last two years.  
 
The video clip, which somehow fell into the hands of Syrian rebels, and looks to be filmed from a mobile phone of one of the execution squad, clearly documents a war crime perpetrated by the Hizbullah fighters.
 
The clip - which Arutz Sheva has decided not to show due to its disturbing, graphic content - shows the Hezbollah fighters dragging a number of seriously injured civilians wearing blood soaked clothes from a Syrian military vehicle. The civilians are seen being thrown to the ground whereupon Hezbollah fighters shoot them to death at close range.
 
At one stage, one of the injured begs for his life and attempts with his last strength to move. Hezbollah fighters standing over him, one of whom is directing the executions, mock the man quoting a slogan of the Syrian rebels "in the way of Allah," and shortly after shots are seen fired at the injured man who dies on the spot. Hezbollah fighters are then heard celebrating with satisfaction at the executions.
 
Hezbollah were also previously been accused of murdering women and children in early June as they helped Assad's men retake the city of Qusair, near the border with Lebanon, which they did in early June. 
 
Earlier this month, a former secretary-general of Hezbollah said that Iran, who sponsors and controls the terrorist organization, had ordered it to participate in the Syrian war.

Erdogan: 'Syria's Assad is a Terrorist, Not a Politician'

Category: News
Created on Wednesday, 09 October 2013 08:02
Nazi flag hoisted by Turkish flotilla supportIn an interview with a Turkish newspaper on Monday, Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan took a jab at Bashar Assad, saying the Syrian president is a terrorist and no longer a political figure.
 
“I don’t regard Bashar al-Assad as a politician any more. Assad is a terrorist who uses state terror," Erdogan told Hurriyet after a meeting with Indian President Pranab Mukherjee in Ankara. "A person who has killed 110,000 of his own people is a terrorist."
 
Erdogan also told reporters that "There is state terrorism [in Syria] - I’m speaking frankly. I’m having difficulty understanding those in the Turkish media who defend this [state terrorism].”
 
Erdogan has been one of Assad’s harshest critics since Syria’s uprising erupted in March 2011.
 
During Monday's interview, Erdogan also denounced US Secretary of State John Kerry for praising Syria’s compliance with the international community in relinquishing its chemical weapons.
 
“You are a human being and me, too,” said Erdogan. “How can we appreciate the behavior of a person who killed 110,000 people, I ask you. The result of either chemical or other types of weapons is death. Then how can we appreciate this? I cannot imagine a person who appreciates this."
 
The media reported that Kerry said earlier on Monday that Assad could take "credit" for quickly starting the process of destroying his government chemical weapons arsenal while thanking Moscow for its help. "I don't think Mr. Kerry made a statement like this," said Erdogan."If he did, he has run into a contradiction with himself."
 
Erdogan’s comments came only days after his country was harshly criticized by Assad. 
 
In an interview with Turkey’s private Halk TV last Thursday, the Syrian president warned that Ankara would pay “a high price” for allowing foreign fighters to enter Syria from its territory and join rebel forces. Assad also called Erdogan "bigoted" and "a liar," and accused him of supporting terrorists.
 
Assad made no mention of his government’s role in the civil war that has killed at least 100,000 people so far, instead blaming foreign fighters and governments, including Turkey’s, for the bloodshed.
 
“This government, represented by Erdogan, is responsible for the blood of tens of thousands of Syrians, and is responsible for the destruction of Syria’s infrastructure,” Assad said. It is also “responsible for endangering security of the region, not only Syria.”
 
“You cannot hide terrorists in your pocket. They are like a scorpion, which will eventually sting you,” Assad added, saying Muslim extremists from more than 80 countries are coming to Syria by sneaking across the border with Turkey.
 
Erdogan has long advocated the removal of Assad from power.
 
On August 31, the Turkish leader said a limited military response to the reported use of chemical weapons by Assad’s regime was not enough, and any kind of intervention should aim to topple him.
 
“It can’t be a 24 hours hit-and-run,” Erdogan told reporters at the presidential palace in Ankara. “What matters is stopping the bloodshed in Syria and weakening the regime to the point where it gives up.”
 
There are currently some 500,000 Syrian refugees living in Turkey. 
 
Erdogan, a former ally of the Syrian president, turned against him several months after the Syrian conflict began in March 2011.

Erdogan: 'Syria's Assad is a Terrorist, Not a Politician'

Category: News
Created on Wednesday, 09 October 2013 08:02
Nazi flag hoisted by Turkish flotilla supportIn an interview with a Turkish newspaper on Monday, Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan took a jab at Bashar Assad, saying the Syrian president is a terrorist and no longer a political figure.
 
“I don’t regard Bashar al-Assad as a politician any more. Assad is a terrorist who uses state terror," Erdogan told Hurriyet after a meeting with Indian President Pranab Mukherjee in Ankara. "A person who has killed 110,000 of his own people is a terrorist."
 
Erdogan also told reporters that "There is state terrorism [in Syria] - I’m speaking frankly. I’m having difficulty understanding those in the Turkish media who defend this [state terrorism].”
 
Erdogan has been one of Assad’s harshest critics since Syria’s uprising erupted in March 2011.
 
During Monday's interview, Erdogan also denounced US Secretary of State John Kerry for praising Syria’s compliance with the international community in relinquishing its chemical weapons.
 
“You are a human being and me, too,” said Erdogan. “How can we appreciate the behavior of a person who killed 110,000 people, I ask you. The result of either chemical or other types of weapons is death. Then how can we appreciate this? I cannot imagine a person who appreciates this."
 
The media reported that Kerry said earlier on Monday that Assad could take "credit" for quickly starting the process of destroying his government chemical weapons arsenal while thanking Moscow for its help. "I don't think Mr. Kerry made a statement like this," said Erdogan."If he did, he has run into a contradiction with himself."
 
Erdogan’s comments came only days after his country was harshly criticized by Assad. 
 
In an interview with Turkey’s private Halk TV last Thursday, the Syrian president warned that Ankara would pay “a high price” for allowing foreign fighters to enter Syria from its territory and join rebel forces. Assad also called Erdogan "bigoted" and "a liar," and accused him of supporting terrorists.
 
Assad made no mention of his government’s role in the civil war that has killed at least 100,000 people so far, instead blaming foreign fighters and governments, including Turkey’s, for the bloodshed.
 
“This government, represented by Erdogan, is responsible for the blood of tens of thousands of Syrians, and is responsible for the destruction of Syria’s infrastructure,” Assad said. It is also “responsible for endangering security of the region, not only Syria.”
 
“You cannot hide terrorists in your pocket. They are like a scorpion, which will eventually sting you,” Assad added, saying Muslim extremists from more than 80 countries are coming to Syria by sneaking across the border with Turkey.
 
Erdogan has long advocated the removal of Assad from power.
 
On August 31, the Turkish leader said a limited military response to the reported use of chemical weapons by Assad’s regime was not enough, and any kind of intervention should aim to topple him.
 
“It can’t be a 24 hours hit-and-run,” Erdogan told reporters at the presidential palace in Ankara. “What matters is stopping the bloodshed in Syria and weakening the regime to the point where it gives up.”
 
There are currently some 500,000 Syrian refugees living in Turkey. 
 
Erdogan, a former ally of the Syrian president, turned against him several months after the Syrian conflict began in March 2011.

Erdogan: 'Syria's Assad is a Terrorist, Not a Politician'

Category: News
Created on Wednesday, 09 October 2013 08:02
Nazi flag hoisted by Turkish flotilla supportIn an interview with a Turkish newspaper on Monday, Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan took a jab at Bashar Assad, saying the Syrian president is a terrorist and no longer a political figure.
 
“I don’t regard Bashar al-Assad as a politician any more. Assad is a terrorist who uses state terror," Erdogan told Hurriyet after a meeting with Indian President Pranab Mukherjee in Ankara. "A person who has killed 110,000 of his own people is a terrorist."
 
Erdogan also told reporters that "There is state terrorism [in Syria] - I’m speaking frankly. I’m having difficulty understanding those in the Turkish media who defend this [state terrorism].”
 
Erdogan has been one of Assad’s harshest critics since Syria’s uprising erupted in March 2011.
 
During Monday's interview, Erdogan also denounced US Secretary of State John Kerry for praising Syria’s compliance with the international community in relinquishing its chemical weapons.
 
“You are a human being and me, too,” said Erdogan. “How can we appreciate the behavior of a person who killed 110,000 people, I ask you. The result of either chemical or other types of weapons is death. Then how can we appreciate this? I cannot imagine a person who appreciates this."
 
The media reported that Kerry said earlier on Monday that Assad could take "credit" for quickly starting the process of destroying his government chemical weapons arsenal while thanking Moscow for its help. "I don't think Mr. Kerry made a statement like this," said Erdogan."If he did, he has run into a contradiction with himself."
 
Erdogan’s comments came only days after his country was harshly criticized by Assad. 
 
In an interview with Turkey’s private Halk TV last Thursday, the Syrian president warned that Ankara would pay “a high price” for allowing foreign fighters to enter Syria from its territory and join rebel forces. Assad also called Erdogan "bigoted" and "a liar," and accused him of supporting terrorists.
 
Assad made no mention of his government’s role in the civil war that has killed at least 100,000 people so far, instead blaming foreign fighters and governments, including Turkey’s, for the bloodshed.
 
“This government, represented by Erdogan, is responsible for the blood of tens of thousands of Syrians, and is responsible for the destruction of Syria’s infrastructure,” Assad said. It is also “responsible for endangering security of the region, not only Syria.”
 
“You cannot hide terrorists in your pocket. They are like a scorpion, which will eventually sting you,” Assad added, saying Muslim extremists from more than 80 countries are coming to Syria by sneaking across the border with Turkey.
 
Erdogan has long advocated the removal of Assad from power.
 
On August 31, the Turkish leader said a limited military response to the reported use of chemical weapons by Assad’s regime was not enough, and any kind of intervention should aim to topple him.
 
“It can’t be a 24 hours hit-and-run,” Erdogan told reporters at the presidential palace in Ankara. “What matters is stopping the bloodshed in Syria and weakening the regime to the point where it gives up.”
 
There are currently some 500,000 Syrian refugees living in Turkey. 
 
Erdogan, a former ally of the Syrian president, turned against him several months after the Syrian conflict began in March 2011.

Erdogan: 'Syria's Assad is a Terrorist, Not a Politician'

Category: News
Created on Wednesday, 09 October 2013 08:02
Nazi flag hoisted by Turkish flotilla supportIn an interview with a Turkish newspaper on Monday, Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan took a jab at Bashar Assad, saying the Syrian president is a terrorist and no longer a political figure.
 
“I don’t regard Bashar al-Assad as a politician any more. Assad is a terrorist who uses state terror," Erdogan told Hurriyet after a meeting with Indian President Pranab Mukherjee in Ankara. "A person who has killed 110,000 of his own people is a terrorist."
 
Erdogan also told reporters that "There is state terrorism [in Syria] - I’m speaking frankly. I’m having difficulty understanding those in the Turkish media who defend this [state terrorism].”
 
Erdogan has been one of Assad’s harshest critics since Syria’s uprising erupted in March 2011.
 
During Monday's interview, Erdogan also denounced US Secretary of State John Kerry for praising Syria’s compliance with the international community in relinquishing its chemical weapons.
 
“You are a human being and me, too,” said Erdogan. “How can we appreciate the behavior of a person who killed 110,000 people, I ask you. The result of either chemical or other types of weapons is death. Then how can we appreciate this? I cannot imagine a person who appreciates this."
 
The media reported that Kerry said earlier on Monday that Assad could take "credit" for quickly starting the process of destroying his government chemical weapons arsenal while thanking Moscow for its help. "I don't think Mr. Kerry made a statement like this," said Erdogan."If he did, he has run into a contradiction with himself."
 
Erdogan’s comments came only days after his country was harshly criticized by Assad. 
 
In an interview with Turkey’s private Halk TV last Thursday, the Syrian president warned that Ankara would pay “a high price” for allowing foreign fighters to enter Syria from its territory and join rebel forces. Assad also called Erdogan "bigoted" and "a liar," and accused him of supporting terrorists.
 
Assad made no mention of his government’s role in the civil war that has killed at least 100,000 people so far, instead blaming foreign fighters and governments, including Turkey’s, for the bloodshed.
 
“This government, represented by Erdogan, is responsible for the blood of tens of thousands of Syrians, and is responsible for the destruction of Syria’s infrastructure,” Assad said. It is also “responsible for endangering security of the region, not only Syria.”
 
“You cannot hide terrorists in your pocket. They are like a scorpion, which will eventually sting you,” Assad added, saying Muslim extremists from more than 80 countries are coming to Syria by sneaking across the border with Turkey.
 
Erdogan has long advocated the removal of Assad from power.
 
On August 31, the Turkish leader said a limited military response to the reported use of chemical weapons by Assad’s regime was not enough, and any kind of intervention should aim to topple him.
 
“It can’t be a 24 hours hit-and-run,” Erdogan told reporters at the presidential palace in Ankara. “What matters is stopping the bloodshed in Syria and weakening the regime to the point where it gives up.”
 
There are currently some 500,000 Syrian refugees living in Turkey. 
 
Erdogan, a former ally of the Syrian president, turned against him several months after the Syrian conflict began in March 2011.

Tunisia women ministry to fight 'sex jihad' trips to Syria

Category: News
Created on Saturday, 21 September 2013 16:19
fatwa-on-sexual-jihad
 
Tunisia's women's ministry said Saturday it would come up with a plan to counter the growing number of women travelling to Syria to wage so-called "sex jihad" by comforting militants.
 
"The ministry intends to boost its cooperation with both government and non-government bodies on this issue to come up with appropriate ways to thwart the plans of those who encourage such practices," a ministry statement said.
 
"The ministry will work to introduce a plan of information, sensitivity and education targeting women and families everywhere to warn them of the seriousness of these practices," it said.
 
A crisis group has already been set up, it added.
 
Interior Minister Lotfi ben Jeddou told the National Constituent Assembly on Thursday that Tunisian women had gone to Syria where "they have sexual relations with 20, 30, 100" militants. 
 
"After the sexual liaisons they have there in the name of 'jihad al-nikah' -- (sexual holy war, in Arabic) -- they come home pregnant," he told MPs.
 
Ben Jeddou did not elaborate on how many Tunisian women had returned to the country pregnant with the children of jihadist fighters.
 
On Saturday, the health ministry statement said it had noted "an increase in the number of young women leaving for so-called jihad al-nikah", although it did not give any figures.
 
Jihad al-nikah, permitting extramarital sexual relations with multiple partners, is considered by some hardline Sunni Muslim Salafists as a legitimate form of holy war.
 
Media reports have said hundreds of Tunisian women have gone to Syria for this purpose, in addition to hundreds of Tunisian men joining jihadists battling the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.
 
Ben Jeddou said that since he assumed office in March, "six thousand of our young people have been prevented from going there".
 
He has said in the past that border controls have been boosted to intercept young Tunisians seeking to travel to Syria.
 
Media reports say thousands of Tunisians have, over the past 15 years, joined jihadists across the world in Afghanistan Iraq and Syria, mainly travelling via Turkey or Libya.
 

Tunisia women ministry to fight 'sex jihad' trips to Syria

Category: News
Created on Saturday, 21 September 2013 16:19
fatwa-on-sexual-jihad
 
Tunisia's women's ministry said Saturday it would come up with a plan to counter the growing number of women travelling to Syria to wage so-called "sex jihad" by comforting militants.
 
"The ministry intends to boost its cooperation with both government and non-government bodies on this issue to come up with appropriate ways to thwart the plans of those who encourage such practices," a ministry statement said.
 
"The ministry will work to introduce a plan of information, sensitivity and education targeting women and families everywhere to warn them of the seriousness of these practices," it said.
 
A crisis group has already been set up, it added.
 
Interior Minister Lotfi ben Jeddou told the National Constituent Assembly on Thursday that Tunisian women had gone to Syria where "they have sexual relations with 20, 30, 100" militants. 
 
"After the sexual liaisons they have there in the name of 'jihad al-nikah' -- (sexual holy war, in Arabic) -- they come home pregnant," he told MPs.
 
Ben Jeddou did not elaborate on how many Tunisian women had returned to the country pregnant with the children of jihadist fighters.
 
On Saturday, the health ministry statement said it had noted "an increase in the number of young women leaving for so-called jihad al-nikah", although it did not give any figures.
 
Jihad al-nikah, permitting extramarital sexual relations with multiple partners, is considered by some hardline Sunni Muslim Salafists as a legitimate form of holy war.
 
Media reports have said hundreds of Tunisian women have gone to Syria for this purpose, in addition to hundreds of Tunisian men joining jihadists battling the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.
 
Ben Jeddou said that since he assumed office in March, "six thousand of our young people have been prevented from going there".
 
He has said in the past that border controls have been boosted to intercept young Tunisians seeking to travel to Syria.
 
Media reports say thousands of Tunisians have, over the past 15 years, joined jihadists across the world in Afghanistan Iraq and Syria, mainly travelling via Turkey or Libya.
 

Tunisia women ministry to fight 'sex jihad' trips to Syria

Category: News
Created on Saturday, 21 September 2013 16:19
fatwa-on-sexual-jihad
 
Tunisia's women's ministry said Saturday it would come up with a plan to counter the growing number of women travelling to Syria to wage so-called "sex jihad" by comforting militants.
 
"The ministry intends to boost its cooperation with both government and non-government bodies on this issue to come up with appropriate ways to thwart the plans of those who encourage such practices," a ministry statement said.
 
"The ministry will work to introduce a plan of information, sensitivity and education targeting women and families everywhere to warn them of the seriousness of these practices," it said.
 
A crisis group has already been set up, it added.
 
Interior Minister Lotfi ben Jeddou told the National Constituent Assembly on Thursday that Tunisian women had gone to Syria where "they have sexual relations with 20, 30, 100" militants. 
 
"After the sexual liaisons they have there in the name of 'jihad al-nikah' -- (sexual holy war, in Arabic) -- they come home pregnant," he told MPs.
 
Ben Jeddou did not elaborate on how many Tunisian women had returned to the country pregnant with the children of jihadist fighters.
 
On Saturday, the health ministry statement said it had noted "an increase in the number of young women leaving for so-called jihad al-nikah", although it did not give any figures.
 
Jihad al-nikah, permitting extramarital sexual relations with multiple partners, is considered by some hardline Sunni Muslim Salafists as a legitimate form of holy war.
 
Media reports have said hundreds of Tunisian women have gone