"And I have found both freedom and safety in my madness, the freedom of loneliness and the safety from being understood, for those who understand us enslave something in us. But let me not be too proud of my safety. Even a Thief in a jail is safe from another thief. "
Khalil Gibran (How I Became a Madman)
Khalil Gibran (How I Became a Madman)
Tuesday, August 29, 2017
Monday, August 28, 2017
Islamic State militants and their families began leaving a border area between Lebanon and Syria on Monday as part of a controversial negotiated deal with the extremist group to end its presence there, Lebanese and Syrian media reported.
An unidentified number of militants and their families headed in buses toward a town held by the Islamic State group in far eastern Syria, near the border with Iraq. The evacuation will effectively end the presence of jihadist militant groups on the border, after al-Qaida-linked fighters evacuated earlier this month.
The transfer comes nearly a week after the Lebanese army launched a military campaign to drive IS from the rugged mountainous area along its border with Syria.
The Syrian army and Lebanon's Iran-backed Hizbullah, which has been fighting alongside President Bashar Assad's forces in Syria since 2013, have been waging their own separate but simultaneous offensive to pressure IS on the Syrian side of the border.
Nearly two dozen buses and 11 ambulances carried the militants and their families Monday from the area straddling the Syria-Lebanon border toward the IS-held town of Boukamal in eastern Syria.
Syrian Al-Ikhbariya TV reported that there were about 250 militants in the transfer. The Central Military Center, a media outlet run by Hizbullah, said ambulances ferried 25 IS wounded fighters from the area.
Saturday, August 26, 2017
Member of the leadership of Aleppo branch of the Arab Socialist Baath Party Emad Eddin Ghadban pointed out during the event that was held at the Party’s Aleppo branch that the door is open to all those who want to have their legal status settled as they will be
provided with all the facilitations needed to ensure that their lives return to normal.
For his part, the Secretary of the Party’s Manbj Division Abdullah al-Hussein said that the number of people whose file was settled today is 150 people, noting that this is the sixth batch from Manbaj area, where the legal status of 700 people has been settled in the
MOSCOW, August 26. /TASS/. Three ceasefire violations were registered in Syria over past 24 hour, the Russian Defense Ministry reported in a daily bulletin on Saturday.
The representatives of the Syrian government and armed opposition in the Syrian province of Daraa have discussed for the first time steps to settle the conflict in the country, a Sputnik correspondent reported Saturday.
DAMASCUS (Sputnik) — The phone conference that was organized by the Russian Defense Ministry's center for reconciliation was praised by Daraa Governor Khalid Hanus.
"Influential people, who play an important role for the militants and have influence on them have participated in the conference. We all want… peace in Syria, so that all people could live as hey used to thanks Syria's ally Russia," Hanus told reporters.
Friday, August 25, 2017
At least 34 Syrian soldiers and allied fighters have been killed in an Islamic State counterattack in the east of Raqa province, rolling back regime gains, a monitor said Friday.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitor, said the jihadist group had recaptured large swathes of territory from government forces in the fighting on Thursday.
Syria's army is seeking to advance through Raqa province to reach neighboring Deir Ezzor, where jihadists have besieged government forces and civilians in the provincial capital since 2015.
Earlier this month, government troops and allied fighters arrived at the outskirts of Madan, the last IS-held town in the eastern Raqa province countryside before Deir Ezzor.
But in Thursday's counterattack, IS "made major progress and... expanded the area under its control along the southern bank of the Euphrates," the Observatory said.
Thursday, August 24, 2017
Pro-government forces have closed the second ISIS pocket in central Syria following the liberation of the Dahiq Mount and are now clearing the remaining ISIS-held area.
Wednesday, August 23, 2017
France said Wednesday it wants the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Lebanon to stick to its current mandate, opposing U.S. calls to strengthen the force's authority to deal with arms movements by Hizbullah.
Turkey's official news agency meanwhile reported that the U.N. Security Council “rejected a U.S. request to revise the mandate of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL).”
Anne Gueguen, France's deputy permanent representative to the United Nations, told reporters her government saw no need to change the 2006 Security Council resolution that sets the mission's current mandate, which expires at the end of August.
"We want to keep the mandate as such," she said, adding that "does mean there won't be any change in the resolution."
The 10,500-strong United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon has been in southern Lebanon since 1978, when it was charged with confirming the withdrawal of Israeli forces from a demilitarized zone between the two countries.
Saudi State Minister for Gulf Affairs Thamer al-Sabhan arrived Wednesday evening Beirut for talks with top Lebanese officials, the National News Agency said.
Sabhan's several-day visit will address the bilateral ties between the two countries and the latest local and regional developments, NNA added.
He was welcomed at the airport by Telecom Minister Jamal al-Jarrah, representing Prime Minister Saad Hariri, and Saudi charge d'affaires in Lebanon Walid al-Bukhari.
Cumhurbaşkanı Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, ABD Savunma Bakanı James Mattis ile görüşmesinde ABD'nin PYD/YPG'ye verdiği destekten Türkiye'nin duyduğu rahatsızlıkları dile getirdi. Erdoğan, Suriye'de çatışmasızlık bölgeleri oluşturmayı hedefleyen mekanizmanın desteklenmesinin önemine de değindi.
Cumhurbaşkanı Erdoğan'ın ABD Savunma Bakanı Mattis'i kabulünde, ikili ve bölgesel konular ele alındı. Cumhurbaşkanlığı kaynaklarından edinilen bilgiye kabulde, DEAŞ ve PKK başta olmak üzere terör örgütleriyle ortak mücadele konusundaki kararlılığın yanı sıra Suriye ve Irak'ın toprak bütünlüğünün korunması gerektiği vurgulandı.
President Michel Aoun on Wednesday vowed that the state will implement developmental projects in eastern border areas liberated by the army from the hands of the Islamic State group.
“The post-liberation phase will be for developing these areas and for eliminating the remnants of the abnormal situations that prevailed over the past years,” Aoun told his visitors.
He revealed that “funds worth $30 million have been earmarked to execute a number of urgent projects,” hailing “the sons of these regions” for clinging to “their land and properties.”
Marada Movement official and ex-minister Youssef Saade has visited Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea in Maarab and talks between the two men tackled the course of the relation between Marada and the LF in addition to important political issues, media reports said.
Saade's visit to Maarab “is part of the mutual coordination between the LF and Marada, amid a common desire to turn the page on the disputes of the past and establish a relation in which the controversial issues would be put aside, despite disagreement on major topics such as the Syrian crisis and the relation with Hizbullah,” LF sources told al-Joumhouria newspaper in remarks published Wednesday.
“What has been achieved so far between the two parties is very important in terms of reducing the areas of dispute and tension,” the sources added, noting that a thorny issue such as normalizing the Lebanese government's ties with Damascus “has not affected communication” between the two parties despite their conflicting viewpoints on the issue.
Prime Minister Saad Hariri on Wednesday paid a surprise visit to the northeastern border town of Arsal where he received a popular welcome, shortly after he inspected army units in the nearby border town of Ras Baalbek.
“My visit to Arsal is a duty owed to this town, which paid a hefty price as a result of all the circumstances that prevailed in the past,” Hariri said at the headquarters of Arsal Municipality.
“Arsal's residents opened their houses and welcomed the refugees without any hesitation or conditions,” Hariri added.
“It is our duty as government to stand by Arsal's residents,” he stressed.
The Lebanese army began Wednesday morning a deployment operation in eastern border areas liberated from the terrorist Islamic State group, as it started preparations to launch the fourth stage of Operation Dawn of the Outskirts, an army statement said.
Engineering units were excavating new routes and searching for landmines and explosives, the statement added.
The Army Command stressed that “there will be no ceasefire with the terrorist groups until they are completely routed.”
Cautious calm was engulfing the Palestinian refugee camp of Ain el-Hilweh on Wednesday afternoon after a ceasefire was reached between the rival parties.
The calm follows around seven days of fighting in the camp that pitted two small extremist groups led by Islamist militants Bilal Badr and Bilal al-Orqoub against the secular Fatah Movement and the Joint Palestinian Security Force.
According to the National News Agency, the joint force started deploying in the camp's al-Tiri neighborhood at 4:30 pm. The neighborhood was the main frontier in the fighting and is the bastion of the Islamist groups.
Armed clashes had intensified in the morning after the sounds of grenade and rocket explosions and machinegun and sniper fire echoed across the camp throughout the night, NNA said.
Gunshots and shells reached areas outside the clashes zone in the camp, such as the al-Zeeb, Taytaba and al-Sifsaf neighborhoods, as stray bullets reached the Sidon serail outside the camp and reportedly wounded two Lebanese security personnel.
Tuesday, August 22, 2017
The so-called emir of the Islamic State group in Lebanon’s eastern border region, Mouwaffaq Abu al-Sous, is seeking a mediation that would secure the withdrawal of his embattled militants from the outskirts of Ras Baalbek and al-Qaa to Syria's Deir Ezzor, a media report said on Tuesday.
Al-Akhbar newspaper said that since the Lebanese army started its major anti-IS offensive on Saturday, the besieged jihadist “has been requesting negotiations on daily basis,” telling the Lebanese side, “There is no problem between us and the Lebanese army.”
Abu al-Sous is demanding “a safe route to withdraw to Deir Ezzor, specifically to the city of al-Mayadeen,” al-Akhbar added.
“But the Lebanese side, represented by General Security chief Maj. Gen. Abbas Ibrahim, has rejected the demand, after Abu al-Sous insisted on securing a ceasefire before negotiations, whereas Ibrahim insisted on negotiations under fire,” the daily said.
According to al-Akhbar, Ibrahim also underlined that Lebanon would only negotiate on two points: “offering information on the army's troops who have been kidnapped since August 2014, and surrender.”
Army regains 9 villages and towns in eastern countryside of Homs, kills more terrorists in Deir Ezzor- SANA
Provinces, SANA – In the framework of their continued operations against ISIS hotbeds in the area of Oqairbat in the eastern countryside of province, Syrian Arab Army units, in cooperation with the supporting forces, have carried out intensive operations in the direction of Jana al-Albawi village over the past
The Syrian Air Force and Russian Aerospace Forces launched intensive strikes against ISIS sites, fortifications and supply routes in Alloush Hill, the area
surrounding the graveyards and Wadi al-Tharda road in Deir Ezzor, according to a military source.
The Lebanese army announced Tuesday that it has launched the third phase of a broad offensive to capture areas controlled by the terrorist Islamic State group on the border with Syria.
After fierce clashes, the advancing units managed to seize control of the strategic Ras al-Kaff and al-Kahf areas.
And as troops scoured Ras al-Kaff for any remaining militants, the engineering units were detonating explosives and traps left behind by the jihadists.
The army later announced that its units captured six new hills in the area and an Army Command spokesman announced that the military was now in control of 100 out of 120 square kilometers of territory previously held by IS.
"Nine terrorist posts were destroyed as arms, ammunition and explosives were seized," the spokesman said.
"We captured around 20 square kilometers (on Tuesday) and therefore we still have around 20 square kilometers" to liberate, he added.
Kazakhstan said Tuesday that the next talks to try to thrash out a Syria peace plan in its capital Astana may be held in mid-September, after Russia had planned to hold them in late August.
Kazakhstan's foreign ministry wrote on Facebook that the timing of the talks would be set at a meeting this month between experts from Russia, Turkey and Iran and "provisionally, we could be talking about mid-September."
The ministry said it was quoting diplomatic chief Kairat Abdrakhmanov's comments to journalists on the sidelines of a government meeting.
Abdrakhmanov said that the date change was based on "information received from Russia."
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told journalists in Moscow on Monday that the expert-level meeting would be held "by the end of the month or right at the start of September."
He did not give a precise date for the full Astana talks. Russia had previously been planning a fresh round of talks in the Kazakh capital in late August.
Earlier peace talks in Astana saw Russia, Turkey and Iran hammer out a plan to establish safe zones across swathes of Syria.
Monday, August 21, 2017
A bomb exploded early on Monday at the southern Palestinian refugee camp of Ain el-Hilweh, breaching a ceasefire agreement reached a day earlier, as clashes resumed between the secular Fatah Movement and members of two small Islamist groups.
The intersection at the vegetable market-al-Tiri in al-Fawqani street witnessed sniper shooting and bomb explosions, added the agency.
In the evening, TV networks said a new ceasefire agreement was reached after a meeting at Usbat al-Ansar official Sheikh Abu Tarek al-Saadi.
NNA has reported in the afternoon that Fatah fighters were advancing against the Islamist militants in the al-Tiri neighborhood, the stronghold of the Islamist groups.
Two Islamist militants were killed and another was wounded in the clashes, the agency added, reporting an injury toll of eight on Monday.
A ceasefire had been reached Sunday after a night of violent clashes that left two people dead and around seven wounded, media reports said.
The Lebanese army heavily pounded the hideouts of the Islamic State posts for the third day in a row, as it scored advances in the outskirts of Ras Baalbek and al-Qaa, media reports said on Monday.
The troops have intensified their operations primarily following an attempted suicide attack Sunday that aimed to target their positions on Lebanon's eastern border where the battle rages.
On Monday evening, the army issued a statement saying army units were continuing their bombardment of IS' posts with "heavy artillery and aircraft."
"Direct hits were recorded among the ranks of the terrorists and the vehicles they were using, as the army's Engineering Regiment continued the removal of landmines, traps and explosives from the way of the advancing units," the statement said.
Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hussein Jaberi Ansari held talks Monday in Lebanon with President Michel Aoun and Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil after arriving in the country on a two-day official visit.
According to the National News Agency, Aoun stressed to Ansari that “the Lebanese stance is firm in terms of refraining from interfering in the domestic affairs of Arab countries and staying away from external conflicts.”
He also told the Iranian visitor that “the Lebanese army is receiving unanimous national support in its war against terrorism, which will soon result in ending the presence of the terrorists in the northeastern border outskirts.”
And hailing “the bilateral ties between Lebanon and the Islamic Republic of Iran,” Aoun promised to visit Tehran at the official invitation that was recently addressed to him after agreeing on its date through diplomatic channels, NNA said.
Ansari for his part relayed to Aoun Iran's congratulations on “the success that the Lebanese army has achieved in ousting the militants of the terrorist Islamic State group from the eastern border's outskirts.”
He also emphasized that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is keen on “developing bilateral cooperation in the various economic and commercial fields,” lauding “the achievements that have been made during President Aoun's term, especially in terms of extending security and stability across Lebanon and regularizing political life.”
The Russian air force has destroyed a large column of Islamic State militants, vehicles and large caliber weapons heading to the Syrian city of Deir ez-Zor, the Russian defense ministry has said.
"The Russian Air Force destroyed another large column of ISIS fighters that was heading to the area of the city of Deir ez-Zor, where international terrorists are trying to regroup and equip their last base in Syria," the statement says.
The ministry further noted that "more than 200 militants" have been killed in the strikes, which also destroyed "heavy vehicles with ammunition."
Sunday, August 20, 2017
Billboards with Saudi King Salman’s photos were installed in Moscow to welcome his expected visit to Russia.
The Kremlin expects the King Salman’s visit to be scheduled soon.
It will be in response to the invitation which President Vladimir Putin extended during the first phone call between him and King Salman after the latter was crowned.
The Russian View magazine published a special report about Saudi Arabia that addressed political, economic and cultural aspects, the Russia Today website reported.