"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)

Lübnan Marunîleri / Yasin Atlıoğlu


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Experts in Turkey Differ on Syria Policy- Al-Monitor

At Ankara’s Esenboga Airport, upon Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu's arrival from Saudi Arabia on Wednesday, Aug. 28, he said, “The existence of a regime that uses chemical weapons against its own people in a barbaric way, right next to our country, is a risk in itself. We have never attempted to bring down a regime, but we have taken a clear stand against a regime committing crimes against its own people. I’m stating this to correct some incorrect perceptions [regarding Turkey’s position.] It’s not right to think that Turkey will follow in the footsteps of some plans or some decisions taken on its behalf.”   

Monday, August 26, 2013

'Naming' and 'Shaming' In Turkish Politics (Pinar Tremblay- Al-Monitor)

On Aug. 24, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke in his hometown of Rize. The highlight of his speech was the US condemnation of Erdogan’s remarks about Israel being behind the coup in Egypt. Erdogan asked why would the United States respond to his words about Israel? He added that those who are silent about the interventions from thousands of miles away, those who are drinking the blood and oil resources of the Middle East, cannot be critical of Turkish humanitarian efforts in the region. 

Read more: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2013/08/name-and-shame-in-turkey.html#ixzz2havPmBG6

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

"Chemical attack" kills scores near Damascus, Syrian opposition claims- Al-Akhbar

An apparent chemical attack in rebel-held districts near the Syrian capital of Damascus killed scores of people on Wednesday, wire services reported.
In videos posted on YouTube, the Syrian Revolution General Commission, an activist group, showed what it called "a terrible massacre committed by regime forces with toxic gas, leaving dozens of martyrs and wounded."
The veracity of the videos could not be verified by Al-Akhbar. Casualty numbers are also hard to confirm in the war-torn country.
The intensive bombing on the outskirts of the capital could be heard by residents of Damascus, where a grey cloud capped the sky, an AFP correspondent reported.
Bayan Baker, a nurse at Douma Emergency Collection facility, said the death toll from the attack, collated from medical centers in the region, was 213.


Hundreds reported killed in Syria gas attack- Al-Jazeera

Opposition groups say hundreds killed when government forces fired rockets with chemical warheads into Damascus suburbs.
Syrian activists claim that government forces have carried out a "poisonous gas" attack in suburbs of the capital, Damascus, leaving hundreds of people dead.
Activists said regime forces fired "rockets with poisonous gas heads" in the alleged attack early on Wednesday.


Syrian opposition: 1,300 killed in chemical attack on Ghouta region- Al-Arabiya

At least 1,300 people have been killed in a nerve gas attack on Syria’s Ghouta region, leading opposition figure George Sabra said on Wednesday. 
In response, the opposition Syrian National Coalition called for an urgent U.N. Security Council meeting on the subject.
“I call on the Security Council to convene urgently,” National Coalition leader Ahmed al-Jarba added to Al-Arabiya news channel, condemning the Syrian army’s bombardment of the Ghouta suburbs of Damascus as a “massacre.”


Foreign and Expatriates Ministry: Allegations of Armed Forces using toxic gas in Damascus Countryside false and untrue- SANA

Damascus, (SANA) – An official spokesman at the Foreign and Expatriates Ministry said that the cooperation agreement between Syria and the international committee for investigating the use of weapons of mass destruction in some areas in Syria didn't please the terrorists and the countries supporting them, which is why they came up with new false allegations that the Armed Forces used toxic gas in Damascus Countryside.
The spokesman said that the Foreign and Expatriates Ministry affirms that these allegations are false and untrue, and that the Ministry would like to point out that Syria has repeatedly announced that it will never use any weapons of mass destruction against its own people, if such weapons exist.
The spokesman said that these lies and allegations have become well-known to the Syrian government and people, and that the allegations constitute an attempt to prevent the international investigation committee from carrying outs its task and to influence the committee's report.


Syria conflict: 'Chemical attacks' kill hundreds- BBC News

Chemical weapons attacks have killed hundreds on the outskirts of Damascus, Syrian opposition activists say.
Rockets with toxic agents were launched at the suburbs of the Ghouta region early on Wednesday as part of a major bombardment on rebel forces, they say.
The Syrian army says the accusations have been fabricated to cover up rebel losses.
The main opposition alliance said that more than 1,000 people were killed by the attacks.
Activist networks also reported death tolls in the hundreds, but these could not be independently confirmed.


In Syria, seized weapons caches boost rebels’ hopes after weeks of setbacks- The Washington Post

GAZIANTEP, Turkey — Syrian rebels have received an unexpected windfall in the form of large weapons caches seized in fighting during the past three weeks, including stocks of heavy arms that could help offset recent battlefield gains by government forces, U.S. and Middle East officials say.
The weapons include hundreds of advanced anti-tank missiles captured in fighting near Damascus and a sizable haul of armored vehicles, machine guns and rockets taken from a Syrian air base overrun this month, the officials said.


Reports of massive chemical attack near Damascus as UN observers arrive in Syria- RT

Conflicting reports emerged of recent chemical weapons use in Syria. This comes on the same day that the UN inspectors arrive in Damascus to investigate allegations of use of toxic arms. The casualty figures range from dozens to almost 1,300 deaths.
Initially, Al-Arabiya posted news of 280 victims on Twitter. Later, the news outlet upgraded the figure up to 1,188 victims quoting the Free Syrian Army.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights had a much lower figure, claiming dozens of people were killed, including children.
News agencies such as Reuters and AP mostly put the numbers of victims at hundreds, but say that reports can't be independently verified.


General Command of Army and Armed Forces refutes allegations on use of chemical weapons in Damascus Countryside- SANA

Damascus, (SANA) – The General Command of the Army and Armed Forces said that biased channels of misdirection of bloodshed have, as they always do, made false allegations that the Syrian Army used chemical weapons in Damascus Countryside.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, the General Command of the Army and Armed Forces affirmed that these allegations are completely baseless and untrue, and that they are part of the dirty media warfare on Syria.
The General Command reiterated its commitment to fulfilling its national and constitutional duties of combating terrorism everywhere in Syria as part of its duty to protect the country and citizens.
The statement said that the allegations of terrorist gangs and the channels that support them about the Syrian Army's use of chemical weapons constitute a desperate attempt to cover up the defeats they are suffering on the ground, and that these allegations reflect their hysteria, disorder and breakdown.


Syrian Rebels Accuse Government of Chemical Attack- The New York Times

BEIRUT, Lebanon — Antigovernment activists accused the Syrian government of pounding areas east of the capital, Damascus, with rockets carrying poison gas early Wednesday, saying that people had been killed in their sleep and that local hospitals were filled with casualties.
Amateur videos posted online showed medics, with hand-pump respirators, trying to revive people laid out on floors and hospital gurneys, along with images of rooms full of bodies. The source of the images could not immediately be verified, and the government of President Bashar al-Assad denied the allegations of a chemical weapons attack.


Syrian Army Launches Extensive Military Campaign in Damascus Countryside- Al-Manar

The Syrian army launched Wednesday an extensive military campaign against the strongholds of the militant groups in Damascus countryside, according to Al-Manar correspondent.
The campaign mainly targeted the areas of Zamalka, Jubar, Qabon, Arbeen, Harasta, Eastern Ghouta, Darayah, Maadameya, Bet Sahm,  Husseineya, Theyabeya, Hajar al-Aswad.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Why were the Turks kidnapped in Lebanon and who are the Liwaa Asifat al-Shamal who are holding the Shiites in Syria- Syria Comment


Lazkiye'ye neden saldırıyorlar?- Sol Haber

Lazkiye kırsalında Suriye ordusu ile Selefi-Cihatçı gruplar arasındaki çatışmalar, geniş bir alana yayılıyor. Suriye'nin iki yıldan beri yaşadığı savaşta, tehlikeli askeri ve siyasi sonuçlar doğuracak bir dönüm noktası yaşanıyor. Krizin başlangıcından bu yana Suriye savaşı ilk defa, Alevilerin çoğunlukta olduğu alanlara mezhepçi hücum ilan edilen bir noktaya geldi. Suriye'deki cihatçı örgütlerin çoğunun, yabancı uyruklu militanların savaştığı Muhacirin Taburu, Libyalılar Taburu ve El-Kaide'nin güçlerini buraya yığması ile, Suriye Alevilerinin kalesi konumundaki Lazkiye, mezhep savaşı odaklı bir saldırıya maruz kaldı.
Bu blok, aylardan beri sahil tarafının hareketlendirilmesi gerektiği ile ilgili çağrılar yapıyor ve açık bir ilan ile savaşı ''Nusayrilere'' karşı geliştirmek gerektiğini dillendiriyorlardı. Koalisyonun içinde bir cephenin liderliğini yapan Enis Ayrut'un ''Sünni bölgelerin yaşadıklarını tatsınlar diye Alevi Cephesi'' açmaya yönelik çağrıları olmuştu.


Lazkiye’de ÖSO el-Kaide ortak cephesi- YDH

YDH- Selim İdris, bir internet sitesi aracılığıyla yayımlanan demecinde Nusra Cephesi, Irak Şam İslam Devleti adlı el-Kaide bağlantılı gruplarla Ahraru’ş Şam grubunun Sahil Cephesi adıyla oluşturduğu koalisyonda kendilerinin de yer aldığını söyledi.  
Selim İdris Lazkiye'ye ziyaret sebebini: “Cephe komutanı Mustafa kardeş huzurunda Lazkiye'de devrimci kardeşlerimizin Sahil Cephesindeki gerçek başarılarını ve önemli zaferlerini gözlemlemek ve operasyonları durdurduğumuza, taburlarımızı geri çektiğimize dair yapılan yalan haberlere cevap vermek amacıyla geldim. Buradan herkese demek isterim ki tam aksine Genelkurmay başkanlığımız Sahil Cephesi liderliği ile tamamen koordinasyon halindedir, Sahil Cephesi komutası ile operasyonlara ittifak halinde devam edecektir” diyerek açıkladı. 


Sunday, August 11, 2013

Golani vs. Baghdadi: Al-Qaeda’s Internal War in Syria- Al-Akhbar

Tensions between al-Qaeda’s two branches fighting in Syria – Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and al-Nusra Front – are reaching a breaking point, despite efforts to resolve the dispute from the organization’s international leadership.
Despite their best attempts to keep the ongoing dispute between ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and his Nusra counterpart, Abu Mohammed al-Golani, contained at the leadership level, al-Qaeda’s internal war in Syria is increasingly becoming public.
The disagreement between the two leaders first emerged when Baghdadi declared the formation of a single organization under his leadership that would cover both Iraq and Syria.


Iraqi Kurd leader Massoud Barzani issues Syria warning- BBC News

The president of Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdistan region has threatened to intervene to defend the Kurdish population caught up in Syria's unrest.
Massoud Barzani said if Kurds were "under threat of death and terrorism" then Iraqi Kurdistan would be "prepared to defend them".
Recent fighting between Kurds and Islamist anti-government forces has left dozens dead in northern Syria.


Friday, August 09, 2013

Gunmen kidnap Turkish Airlines pilots in Lebanon- BBC News

Two pilots working for Turkish Airlines have been abducted in Lebanon, near Beirut's international airport.
The men were snatched from a bus which was carrying several other crew members and passengers between a hotel and the airport terminal.
No one has claimed responsibility for the incident, but it is thought to be related to the conflict in Syria.
Turkey backs Syria's Sunni rebels while much of Lebanon's Shiite community supports the regime.


Gunmen kidnap two Turkish pilots in Lebanon- The Daily Star

BEIRUT: Gunmen kidnapped early Friday two Turkish nationals headed to a Beirut hotel shortly after they arrived in the country, security sources told The Daily Star.

Read more: http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Lebanon-News/2013/Aug-09/226803-lebanese-gunmen-kidnap-two-turkish-nationals-in-beirut-sources.ashx#ixzz2bSrtj79I

2 Turkish Airlines crew kidnapped at Cocodi bridge in Beirut- LBC

Sources told LBCI that gunmen intercepted on Friday a Turkish airlines bus at Cocodi bridge in Beirut and kidnapped two crew members a pilot and a co-pilot, both Turkish nationals.

Security officials reported that a Turkish pilot, identified as Murat Akpinar and co-pilot Murat Agga were abducted from the Turkish airlines bus at 6 am as they were heading with other crew members from the Beirut international airport toward an hotel in Ain El-Mrayseh.    

The officials said eight gunmen driving a Kia Picanto and a Nissan X-Trail ambushed the bus, snatched the two men from the vehicle and let the rest continue on. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations.

Gunmen abduct two Turkish pilots in Beirut suburb- Al-Akhbar

Gunman kidnapped two Turkish pilots early Friday as they traveled in a shuttle with fellow crew members from Beirut's international airport to their hotel, state news reported.
The National News Agency said eight gunmen cut off Beirut's airport road in the southern suburbs of the capital to intercept a minibus carrying a Turkish flight crew.
The gunmen kidnapped captain Murat Aktumer and his co-pilot Murat Agca, but left four other crew members in the shuttle, the NNA said.
It is unclear if the incident is linked to the abduction of 11 Lebanese pilgrims in Syria, whose families have urged Turkey to use its influence to secure their release.
Speaking to Turkish television, Ankara's ambassador to Beirut Inan Ozyildiz said "the case is being followed closely" and that he was working with "Lebanese forces to free the two pilots."

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Arabiyye ve Cezirenin Haberleri Yalan ve İftitradır- SANA Türkçe

ŞAM – Enformasyon Bakanı Omran el-Zoubi, el-Arabiyye ve el-Cezire kanallarının Cumhurbaşkanı Beşşar el-Esad’ın Bayram namazına giderken konvoyunun hedef alınması ile ilgili haberlerin kesinlikle yalan olduğunu belirtti.
Bakan Zoubi, bu gibi haberlerin bazılarının boş rüyaları olduğunu medya ve hükümetlerinin evhamı olduğunu ifade etti.
Bakan, Cumhurbaşkanı Esad’ın Camiye kendi sürdüğü arabasıyla geldiğini, bayram namazını kılarak hutbeyi dinlemesi ardından Camide bulunan bütün insanlarla tokalaşarak dertlerini de dinlediğini belirtti.


President al-Assad performs Eid al-Fitr Prayer at Anas Bin Malek Mosque in Damascus- SANA

Damascus, (SANA)- President Bashar al-Assad performed Thursday the Prayer of Eid al-Fitr (Feast of Breaking the Fast) at Anas Bin Malek Mosque in Damascus with the participation of senior officials in the state and the Baath Arab Socialist Party (BASP), a number of the People's Assembly members, Syria's Grand Mufti, several Islamic scholars and a crowd of citizens.
Upon his arrival at the Mosque, President al-Assad was received by Minister of Awqaf (Religious Endowments), the Mufti, the BASP Assistant Regional Secretary, the People's Assembly Speaker and the Prime Minister.
Following the prayers which were led by Imam Ahmad al-Jazaeri, the President listened to the Eid sermon with sheikh al-Jazaeri, stressing the sublime meanings of Eid al-Fitr and the importance of love, fraternity and unity among the homeland's people.

UK Diplomat to Lebanon: Syrians Need Dialogue, Not Weapons- Al-Monitor

“Nonsense,” responded British Ambassador Tom Fletcher to Western articles reporting that Western countries want to prolong the war in Syria so that extremists on both sides can exterminate each other.

Read more: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/security/2013/08/british-ambassador-in-lebanon-dismisses-conspiracies.html#ixzz2bNHk1SxC

Ousting Assad will become major threat to US - CIA - Voice of Russia

The Ousting of Bashar Assad will become a major US security threat as al-Qaeda groups will take the reigns of power, according to CIA Deputy Director, Michael Morell.

 He shared his views on the situation in the Middle East country in an interview with The Wall Street Journal.

 “Syrian civil war is probably the most important issue in the world today because of where it is currently heading. And I don't remember a time when there have been so many national security issues on the front burner as there are today", Morell said.

 The position taken by the CIA’s second-in-command completely contradicts the adopted US policy of supporting insurgency with weapons and ammunition. According to him, once Assad is replaced, all that war hardware will be turned against the United States.

Read more: http://voiceofrussia.com/news/2013_08_08/CIA-Ousting-Assad-will-become-major-threat-to-US-4890/

Syria: Assad 'Unharmed After Rebel Attack'- SKY News

State TV shows footage of President Bashar al Assad apparently unharmed amid reports that his motorcade was attacked by rebels.
Syrian authorities have denied claims that President Bashar al Assad's motorcade was attacked by rebels in Damascus.
Rebel groups claimed they launched the attack as Mr Assad travelled to attend prayers to mark the Muslim holiday of Eid al Fitr, but footage broadcast on state TV showed him apparently looking relaxed and smiling as he arrived at a mosque.
A video distributed by the Tahrir al Sham rebels showed smoke rising from what it said was the Malki district, where Mr Assad and his close aides have homes.
The group's leader Firas al Bitar said his fighters had carried out reconnaissance of the route of the president's motorcade and fired 120mm artillery towards the convoy.
"The attack rattled the regime, even if Assad was not hit," he told Reuters from an undisclosed location in the capital.
"There were two motorcades, one containing Assad and a decoy. We targeted the correct one."


Syria conflict: Officials deny Assad motorcade attacked- BBC News

Syria's information minister has denied rebel that claims they attacked President Bashar al-Assad's convoy.
Reports that rebel rockets hit his motorcade were "dreams and illusions", Omran Zoabi told Syrian state TV.
Rebels said they fired mortars at his convoy as it headed towards the Anas bin Malek mosque in the Malki area, where the president has a residence.
Pictures showed Mr Assad unharmed at a prayer service at a Damascus mosque to mark the end of Ramadan.
Earlier, Islam Alloush of the militant Liwa al-Islam Brigade, told Reuters news agency the president's motorcade was hit as it drove to the mosque in the Syrian capital.
Opposition activists and residents also reported what seemed to be the sound of several incoming mortar explosions in the early morning, says the BBC's Jim Muir in Beirut.


Wednesday, August 07, 2013

General Security center on border with Syria to reopen- The Daily Star

BEIRUT: General Security said Wednesday it would reopen its border center with Syria, which was closed after residents attacked it over the alleged killing of a Syrian trying to enter the country.
“After the completion of maintenance work for the building and electronic equipments that were damaged as a result of an attack on the center by some residents, the general directorate of General Security announces that work will resume at the Arida border center starting Thursday morning,” a statement by the security agency said.
It added that an investigation, under the supervision of the military prosecutor, was ongoing to determine the identity of the perpetrators.
On Aug. 4, residents of the northern town of Arida attacked the joint General Security center and Syrian Customs Department, throwing stones at the building and breaking one of its Windows.

Read more: http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Lebanon-News/2013/Aug-07/226663-general-security-center-on-border-with-syria-to-reopen.ashx#ixzz2bJhPdVpl

'Killing of Kurds' in Syria: Not genocide, but a proxy war for power in the region- RT

Al-Qaeda slaughtering hundreds of Kurds in Syria is a struggle for power in the region, as Al-Qaeda’s wannabe “Islamic state” will not tolerate any other power there, German journalist Manuel Ochsenreiter told RT.
RT: Syria’s rebels reject accusations of ethnic cleansing against the Kurds. Who is behind the reports of civilian’s deaths and kidnappings?
Manuel Ochsenreiter: These are really disturbing reports, which come now to us from the Raqqa district in Syria, but these are not the first reports when we hear about the activities, especially the activities of the Islamists Al-Nusra Front, which is a branch of Al Qaeda. We had the execution of a 15 year old boy by Islamists militants in Aleppo because of believed blasphemy.


Ceramana'da 18, Katana'da da 6 Şehit- SANA

ŞAM KIRSALI – Şam kırsalına düşen Ceramana Kenti Salı akşamı iftar vaktine yakın bir zamanda; hain ve gaddar teröristlerin büyük miktarda patlayıcı yerleştirdikleri bombalı bir araçla yeni bir katliama tanık oldu.


Syria: 'Al Qaeda' Rebels Killed In Ambush- SKY News

The fighters, ambushed outside Damascus, are said to have been part of the al Nusra Front, an opposition group linked to al Qaeda.
Dozens of rebel fighters have been killed in an ambush by forces loyal to Syrian president Bashar al Assad, it has been claimed.
It took place near the town of Adra, which is situated around 22 miles east of Damascus, and is the gateway to Eastern Ghuta, a farming region where a large number of rebels are based.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a monitoring group opposed to Mr al Assad, said 62 rebel fighters had been killed. It did not give a number for any loyalist casualties.
Syrian state news agency Sana also did not specify how many rebels were killed, but it did say the fighters were part of the jihadist al Nusra Front, an opposition group linked to al Qaeda.
It said the group was attempting to infiltrate Eastern Ghuta and attack a military post.
And it reported that machine guns and rocket propelled grenades were retrieved at the scene.


Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Bandar, the Prince of Jihad: Expect a Syrian Shift in Power- Al-Akhbar

In theory, Syrian opposition fighters now have one single commander: Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan. The man, who had a failed military adventure in Beirut, is vying today to alter the balance of power in Syria. But his foes say they will not let him win this time either.
Bandar bin Sultan, the Saudi intelligence chief, is no ordinary policymaker in Saudi Arabia, the kingdom ruled by his family. According to sources familiar with his history, Bandar is “at once the solution and the problem in his country’s diplomatic crisis.”
To be sure, the “legendary” ambassador in Washington has compensated for the total absence of senior decision-makers in the ruling family, who are either passive by nature, or are incapacitated because of their illnesses – from King Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz, to Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal, all the way to Crown Prince Salman bin Abdul-Aziz and the Second Deputy Prime Minister Muqrin bin Abdul-Aziz.
Bandar is essentially the only member of the House of Saud to have a proactive diplomatic approach, with access to the major decision-making capitals of the world, from Washington to Moscow.
Bandar recently visited Moscow to negotiate in his capacity as the “Prince of the Mujahideen” in Syria, including those who hail from Chechnya, Dagestan, and the Caucasus in Russia’s backyard. From Dagestan alone, more than a hundred fighters are enlisted in the al-Qaeda-affiliated Jaish al-Muhajireen wal-Ansar, which is active in northern Syria.


Military source: Army restores security to Aramo and Sterba towns in Lattakia- SANA

Lattakia, (SANA) – A military source said that the Armed Forces restored security and stability to the towns of Aramo and Sterba in Lattakia northern countryside after eliminating the members of armed terrorist groups who infiltrated into them.
The source told SANA on Tuesday that large numbers of terrorists were killed, adding that the majority of them were of non-Syrian nationalities.


Syria rebels 'capture key Aleppo airbase'- BBC News

Rebels fighting to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad have captured a key airbase in Aleppo province, near the Turkish border, activists say.
The pro-opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said rebels took Menagh airport early on Tuesday.
The opposition has been trying to capture the base since last year.
Jim Muir, the BBC's correspondent in Lebanon, says the base lies on a major rebel supply route from Turkey.
Rebels have also recently taken several villages in Latakia province, the heartland of President Assad's minority Alawite sect.


Eighteen citizens martyred, tens wounded of terrorist car explosion in Jaramana- SANA

Damascus countryside, (SANA)- 18 citizens, among them children, were martyred while tens others were wounded as a car bomb was exploded today at the crowded intersection of Khodr Street and al-Suyouf Square in Jaramana, Damascus Countryside.
"Terrorists blew up a car bomb with big quantities of explosives in the area which is crowded with inhabitants, claiming the lives of 18 citizens, among them 3 children and injuring 56 others," A source at Damascus Countryside Police command told SANA.
It added that the wounded citizens were admitted to the hospitals to receive treatment, some of them in critical conditions.
SANA reporter said that the explosion caused fires to a building of four floors and material damages to the near shops and cars.
On the 25th of July, a terrorist explosion in al-Suyouf square claimed the lives of 10 persons.


FSA takes control of Menagh air base near Aleppo- Al-Arabiya

Syrian Free Army forces on Monday took control of a contested military air base near the northern city of Aleppo as rebels captured four villages in the heartland of President Bashar al-Assad’s minority Alawite sect.
The rebel army swept through the Menagh air base hours after a suicide bomber detonateda car loaded with explosive inside the base, reportedly killing a number of regime army troops.
The air base was besieged by rebels for about 10 months and has been a major source of aerial bombardments carried out by regime fighter jets and helicopters on rebel strongholds in the northern part of the country.

Monday, August 05, 2013

Syrian rebels reverse setbacks with push into Alawite strongholds- FT

Syrian rebels pushed into Alawite villages in the coastal region of Latakia on Monday, an activist group said, in what appears to be the biggest offensive yet in the regime’s heartlands.
The push comes after months of rebel setbacks, especially in the strategic central province of Homs.
According to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a pro-opposition monitoring group, rebels over-ran two villages in the mountains of Latakia on Monday, having captured four the previous day.


Friday, August 02, 2013

Ramadan TV soap operas focus on Syria civil war- Gulf News

Beirut: Blasts echo in the distance as two longtime friends and neighbours sit along a narrow street in old Damascus chatting about Syria, when one of them calls the civil war raging in their home country a “crisis.”
“It is called a revolution!” the other shouts. “If you are one of those who believe in a foreign conspiracy, then move away from here,” roars the man, whose son has been detained by regime forces for nine months for taking part in pro-democracy protests.
The first man retorts that he is sitting in public property and has the right to call it whatever he wants.
It’s a scene from ‘We Will Return Soon’, one of at least three Syrian soap operas airing during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan that deal primarily with the Syrian civil war.
The shows, spotlighting a conflict that has killed more than 100,000 people and uprooted millions of others from their homes, have captivated millions of viewers across the Arab world. Other Syrian soap operas broadcast during Ramadan also address the war though it’s not their main theme.


'My son was radicalized, recruited to join jihad in Syria' - Belgian father- RT

Accounts of Belgian youths joining the rebel forces in Syria have raised questions about the radicalization process in the country. RT has interviewed one father who driven by love placed his life at risk to find his son.
Dimitri Bontinck is on a crusade to find his son Jejoen and return with him to Belgium, after the teenager fled to fight with the jihadists against government forces. The last time the father saw his son was in March when Jejoen informed him that he was going to study in Egypt.

Bontinck claims that his son underwent an Islamic radicalization process which took approximately two years. Prior to Jejoen’s conversion to Islam, his father said he was raised Catholic. Jejoen lived with his Belgian father and Nigerian mother in Antwerp, Belgium's second largest city.


Russia sends aid worth $1.3m to Syria- PRESS TV

Russia has dispatched another consignment of humanitarian aid worth $1.3 million to Syria in an effort to assist the victims of the ongoing turmoil in Syria.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Thursday that the new batch, which was delivered to Damascus this week, includes medical equipment, clothes and food supplies, Ria Novosti news agency reported.

The Russian ministry further stressed that Moscow would continue to provide the Syrian nation with humanitarian assistance. Moscow says it will also send aid to Syria under the umbrella of different international bodies.

According to the report, the aid was collected by the St. Petersburg-based Imperial Orthodox Palestinian Society and funded by the Russian Orthodox Church.

State TV: Jordan seizes ‘large amount of weapons’ near Syria border- Al-Arabiya

A large amount of weapons and ammunition were seized in the northern border near Syria, the Jordanian Armed Forces said in an official statement aired on the country’s official TV Thursday.
“Border guards on the northern frontier – near border city of Al-Ramtha – confiscated large quantities of weapons, ammunition and drugs,” the statement said.
The Jordanian Armed Forces, meanwhile, didn’t give further details on the type of weapons that were confiscated.
The people attempting to smuggle these weapons were also arrested but their identities were kept anonymous as well.
In July, Jordan’s King Abdullah said the kingdom was ready to defend itself from any threat to its security from the conflict in neighboring Syria.
Jordan has held joint military exercises with the United States alongside 17 other countries. Diplomats say the exercises were aimed to send a strong message to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.


Kurdish Struggle Blurs Syria’s Battle Lines- The New York Times

BEIRUT, Lebanon — Street names in Syria’s far northeastern corner have been changed from Arabic to Kurdish, schools openly teach the Kurdish language, and the country’s most powerful Kurdish militia flies its flag from checkpoints on main roads.
Across northeastern Syria, the Kurds, the country’s largest ethnic minority, have taken advantage of the vacuum left by the civil war to push for the autonomy long denied them by the government of President Bashar al-Assad.
Their struggle does not fit neatly into the war between Mr. Assad’s government and the rebels seeking his ouster, and different parts of the scattered Kurdish population have allied at times with forces on either side.

زيارة السيد الرئيس بشار الأسد التفقدية لبعض وحدات قواتنا المسلحة في منطقة داريا بريف دمشق

America’s Foreign Policy Pivots in the Middle East: Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Wahhabi Salafism (Zayd Alisa- Global Research)

The Egyptian army, issued a stern ultimatum, on July 1, 2013, which was ostensibly a stark warning to both, Morsi, the first democratically elected president of Eygpt – who represents the Muslim Brotherhood MB – and on the other side the Tamarod Movement and the National Salvation Front – which is a loose coalition of secular parties. However, in reality, it was nothing short of a thinly veiled threat to, Morsi, stressing that, unless he conceded a significant portion of his powers within 48 hours, the army would oust him. Although the army overthrew, Morsi, on Jul. 3, nevertheless its ruthless crackdown – which caused the death of over 100 MB followers on July.27 – since then, has bolstered the MB and dramatically escalated its increasingly defiant protests.
While, it is incontestable that Qatar – headed by its previous Emir, Hamed bin Khalifa Al Thani and his Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Hamed Bin Jassim, – was at the forefront of unequivocally backing the popular uprisings that swept the region, however, the bulk of its support went to propping up the MB.
The Saudi regime, by contrast, gave its emphatic support to tyrannical regimes in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen and Bahrain. The Saudi king made frantic efforts to forestall the pervasion of the uprising to Saudi Arabia, by offering billions of dollars in benefits, strictly prohibiting protests, rewarding the Wahhabi Salafi religious establishment and, most ominously, instructing the Saudi army to invade and occupy Bahrain.
What is indisputable is the pivotal role played by the radical and regressive Wahhabi Salafi religious establishment in giving religious legitimacy to the Saudi regime, which in turn provides it with the vital funding to propagate and export its violent ideology. According to the Wahhabi ideology it is strictly forbidden to oppose the ruler. Thus, in the Saudi regime’s eyes the MB’s explicit endorsement of political Islam – which underlines explicitly that legitimacy to rule stems only from democratic elections – is undoubtedly an existential threat to the very legitimacy of the Saudi King’s absolute power. To make matters even worse, Qatar has enthusiastically embraced and even offered citizenship to the influential and highly controversial spiritual leader of the MB, Yusuf Al Qaradawi.


Western governments don’t have any end game strategy in Syria- RT

Syria is reverting not to a secular state, but to another failed state thanks to American policy in the region, Godfrey Bloom, a member of the EU parliament and the UK Independence Party told RT.
Thursday is the day after which EU leaders pledged to take a decision on arming the Syrian rebels. The deadline is unofficial, and it was set in May when EU ministers led by Britain and France, agreed to end their arms embargo.
However, they seem to have had a change of heart regarding weapons supplies to the Syrian opposition over extremism concerns. There are also fears of a potential terror backlash, with more foreigners now fighting in Syria, with many coming from EU countries.
RT: UK and France were the ones pushing the EU to lift the arms embargo. Does it mean that London and Paris will be sending shipments as we speak?
Godfrey Bloom: It would be madness to pump arms into a situation which is already out of control. We have, I am afraid, the Western governments to blame for a lot of this. What they seem not to understand is when they go into these countries, when they influence these countries they don’t seem to have any end game strategy. All that we have managed to have done in Syria is see a complete destabilization of the regime. We have seen murder; we have seen mayhem, we have seen revolution, now we are seeing refugees pouring across the border because we don’t understand how to deal with the problems in the Middle East. It’s a medieval society with unbelievable different interests. There are Shiite Muslims; there are Sunni Muslims, Kurds, Alawites, Christians. There is a whole boiling pot of problems out there we don’t ever seem to understand. Now we have got another mess in Syria. We had a mess in Iraq, we have got a mess in Afghanistan, we have got a mess in Egypt and we have got a mess in Libya. Why don’t the Western powers learn from any of this?


Thursday, August 01, 2013

Who controls what in Syria since the fall of Qusair?- BBC News

The conflict in Syria began as a series of major pro-reform demonstrations in key cities in early 2011.
These protests - and the Assad government's reaction to them - became increasingly violent. The administration suffered a wave of military defections as protests escalated into a full-scale rebellion.
Nahed Abouzaid, from the BBC's Arabic service, takes a look at the current map of Syria and illustrates how the power pendulum has been swinging since the fall of Qusair in June.


Syria's Homs Explosions: At Least 40 Dead- SKY News

Dramatic footage captures the moment a giant explosion engulfed a weapons depot killing scores and injuring 120.


Syria conflict: Assad says he is 'sure of victory'- BBC News

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has said he is "sure of victory" over rebels fighting to topple him, in a message to the army.
"If we in Syria were not sure of victory, we would not have had the will to... persevere in the face of more than two years of aggression," he said.
Meanwhile, the UK-based activist group the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported a huge blast in Homs city.
It said 40 had been killed in a rocket strikes by rebels on a weapons depot.
Unverified footage apparently showed the strike blasting a huge fireball high into the air above the city, and causing secondary explosions.
It comes after troops recaptured a key district of Homs on Monday.
A month ago, troops launched an offensive to oust rebels from the city.
The army has also been on the offensive in the eastern suburbs of the capital and west of the main northern city of Aleppo.


Esad zaferden emin- Hürriyet

Esad, Suriye Ordusu'nun kuruluşunun 68'inci yıldönümü vesilesiyle yayımladığı mesajda, "Kazanacağımızdan emin olmasak, düşmana karşı iki yıldır gösterdiğimiz bu direnme ve savaşmaya devam etme gücüne sahip olamazdık" dedi.


El-Esad Dareyya’da Askerlerin Bayramını Kutluyor- SANA

ŞAM – Cumhurbaşkanı Beşşar el-Esad; Ordu ve Silahlı Kuvvetler Bayramı münasebetiyle Şam kırsalının güneybatısına düşen Dareyye Kasabasında silahlı kuvvetlerimizin birliklerine saha gezisinde bulundu.
Ziyaretinde el-Esad: “Tarih bugün, teröre karşı gösterdiğiniz kahramanlığı kaydediyor. Günümüzde tüm dünya, Suriye Arap ordusundan söz ediyor. Her daim sloganınız ‘ Vatan, Onur, Bağlılık’ oldu. Şimdi de sizler vatan ve onurunu bağlılıkla savunuyorsunuz.
El-Esad: “Düşman ve arkasındaki tüm güçler, tüm çabalarına rağmen Suriyelilerin onur ve cesaretini katledemedi. Çünkü karşısında, hezimet ve korku bilmeyen, teröristlerin yüreklerini korkuyla dolduran, vatanı kahramanlık ve fedakarlıkla savunan ve savunmaya devam eden bir orduyla karşı karşıya geldi.


President al-Assad: The enemy failed because our army knows no defeat nor fear- SANA

Damascus, (SANA)- President Bashar al-Assad stressed Thursday that the enemy, despite all of its attempts and those standing behind it, has failed to kill the pride and courage of the Syrians as it found itself faced with an army that knows no defeat nor fear.
During inspecting a unit of the armed forces in Daraya city in Damascus Countryside on the occasion of the Syrian Arab Army's Day, marked on August 1st of every year, President al-Assad said the Syrian army has spread fear in the terrorists' hearts and has protected the homeland and is still doing so.
He added that history will record what the Syrian army members are doing today as the whole world are now talking about the Syrian Arab Army.
"Your motto has always been 'Homeland…Honor…Honesty', and here you are honestly defending the homeland and its honor," President al-Assad said.

الرئيس الاسد يتفقد في داريا وحدة من قواتنا المسلحة بمناسبة عيد الجيش العربي السوري

Syria is now ‘a factory churning out nothing but death, destruction and suffering’, says archbishop- Catholic Herald Online

The Vatican nuncio to Syria has said that the war in Syria is like a factory churning out nothing but death, destruction and suffering.
Archbishop Mario Zenari said that even though the Vatican was unable to confirm recent reports that a Jesuit priest had been kidnapped in Syria, the nuncio said hundreds of innocent people there find themselves abducted for political leverage or economic extortion.
Kidnappings in Syria represent “a very, very painful wound that deeply harms the nation and the Syrian people,” he said.
Italian Jesuit Fr Paolo Dall’Oglio, 59, who had spent more than 30 years promoting Muslim-Christian dialogue in Syria, was reportedly missing.
News reports said acquaintances had been unable to reach him by phone, and Reuters reported that militants with links to al-Qaida kidnapped the priest on Monday while he was walking in the northern Syrian city of al-Raqqah.


Shadow of Syria takes toll on Lebanon's tourist appeal- CS Monitor

Lebanon's economy typically rides a wave of tourism every summer, but Syria's war is scaring off visitors.


Esad’ın sarayı gibi saldırdılar- Hürriyet

Suriye’nin Resulayn ilçesinde her köşe başı, Halk Savunma Güçleri (YPG) ile El-Nusra arasındaki çatışmanın ağır izlerini taşıyor. 4 kez evini terk etmek zorunda kalan Zehra Aban, delik deşik olan duvarlarını göstererek, “Sanki Esad’ın sarayı” sözleriyle yaşananlara isyan ediyor.


El Kaide Suriye'de Cizvit papazı kaçırdı- Sabah

El Kaide ile bağlantılı, Irak ve Levent İslami Devleti adlı örgütün önceki gün Suriye'nin kuzeyindeki Rakka kentinde İtalyan Katolik Cizvit Rahip Paolo Dall'Oglio'yı kaçırdığı bildirildi. Geçen yıl isyancıları desteklediği ve Beşar Esad'ı eleştirdiği gerekçesiyle rejim tarafından 30 yıldır yaşadığı Suriye'den sınır dışı edilen Dall'Oglio, geçen hafta Türkiye üzerinden yeniden ülkeye giriş yapmıştı. Dall'Oglio'nun muhalif güçlerle Kürtler arasındaki çatışmaları eleştirdiği için radikal grupların hedefinde olduğu bildirildi.


Leaving Damascus: Syrian Air Travel Sinks Under Sanctions- Al-Akhbar

For Syrians, traveling to any given destination in the world is more complicated than ever. Syrians have very limited choices, and the “sky is the limit” for the fares they have to pay, even if traveling from Syria on the national carrier.
Damascus – The crisis in Syria has gone on for too long, and any hopes the Syrians may have had in seeing it end have all but evaporated. Some now dream of leaving for good, toward any destination that would receive them, whether as refugees or, at the very best, self-supporting expatriates.
For those choosing the second option, Damascus residents have only two options: risk the trip to Damascus International Airport to board one of its limited flights; or chose the safer option of crossing the Lebanese border and going to the Beirut airport.
A taxi driver working the Beirut route told Al-Akhbar that the majority of daily trips from Damascus now head directly to the Beirut airport, seeing as the number of flights operating out of Damascus has declined dramatically. He did not deny that fares have increased significantly.
Previously, the trip from the passenger’s home to Charles Helou station in Beirut would cost no more than 600 Syrian pounds (SYP) per passenger ($6 at current rates) or 3,500 for the whole car ($35). After the crisis, taxis now charge SYP 3,500 per passenger.
“At best, one can pay SYP 2,500 and take a bus to the Beirut airport. If one wants some luxury with an entire taxi, one must pay SYP 12,000 ($120),” the taxi driver added.


Terrorists targeted across Syrian cities- SANA

Provinces, (SANA)- Units of the armed forces on Wednesday inflicted heavy losses upon terrorists in Daraa and its countryside and destroyed their equipment.
A military source told SANA that army units targeted terrorists' gatherings in al-Ghariyeh al-Sharkiyeh, al-Hrak, Izraa, al-Mseifra and al-Harra near al-Jdeira checkpoint, killing and injuring a number of terrorists, among them terrorist Ammar Jamal Awad was identified.
In Daraa al-Balad and Bosra al-Cham, units of the armned forces killed a number of terrorists, among them were Mohammad Khalil al-Sawaleh and Ashraf Suleiman al-Duroubi.
An Army unit pursued terrorists between the villages of al-Harir and al-Ghariyat, killing and injuring many terrorists.
Army units eliminate terrorists in Damascus Countryside
Army units killed and injured a number of terrorists and destroyed their weapons and ammo in al-Qaboun area in Damascus countryside, while other units established control of a number of buildings in the area after eliminating the terrorists inside them, one of whom was a sniper.
An Army unit pursued a terrorist group in Harasta area, leaving its members dead or injured, while a second union carried out an operation against a terrorist hideout in Ein Tarma, resulting in destroying weapons and the elimination of terrorists including Wael Marwan Krenbeh.
In Adra area, a terrorist gathering was destroyed along with the weapons and equipment inside it, while Army units continued operations against terrorists in al-Bahariya farms, eliminating a number of terrorists including Haitham al-Hashash and destroyed their weapons.
A terrorist hideout was destroyed along with the terrorists, weapons and munitions inside it in al-Ziyabiye. One of the dead terrorists was identified as Abd al-Ilah al-Jerdi.
In the town of Hejjeira, a number of terrorists were eliminated including Samer al-Baida and Fadel al-Mashtuli.

Halk Meclisi Eski Başkanı Son Yolculuğuna Uğurlandı- SANA Türkçe

ŞAM – Halk Meclisi Eski Başkanı Abdülkadir Kaddura’nın cenazesi bugün Şam’ın Muhacirin semtindeki Nebiullah el-Kefel mezarlığında son yolculuğuna uğrulandı.
Cenaze törenine katılanlar arasında Cumhuriyet Müftüsü Ahmet Bedrettin Hassun ve Arap Sosyalist Hareketi Genel Sekreteri Ahmet el-Ahmet’in yanı sıra Baas Partisi Bölge Yönetim Kurulu Üyeleri ve Halk Meclisi üyeleri yer alıyordu.
Bilineceği üzere Baas Partisi Bölge Yönetim Kurulu Üyesi olan Kaddura 1980-1985 yılları arasında Ekonomiden Sorumlu Başbakan Yardımcısı olarak atandı. 1986 yılında da Halk Meclisi Başkanlığına seçilerek 2002 yılı sonuna kadar bu görevini sürdürdü.


UN chemical weapons inspectors to visit Syrian sites- BBC News

Syria has agreed to allow UN investigators to visit three sites where chemical weapons have allegedly been used, the UN has said.
The inspectors will go "as soon as possible", a statement from Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's office said.
They are expected to investigate three locations of suspected use, including one in Khan al-Assal, outside Aleppo.


Hizbullah'ın Suriye'deki Amacı Ne?- VOA

Yeniçeri: Suriye'de yaşananlar rastlantı değil- Haber 7

MHP Ankara Milletvekili Özcan Yeniçeri, Suriye'nin kuzeyinde el Nusra'nın PYD karşısında gerilemesinin ve PYD lideri Salih Müslim'in İstanbul'a gelmesinin El Kaide'nin öfkesini çektiğini öne sürdü.

Suriye ile anlaşmalar teknik olarak geçerli- Milliyet

Dışişleri Bakanı Ahmet Davutoğlu, 2003-2012 arasında Suriye Arap Devleti ile askeri, sosyal ve ekonomik alanda 83 anlaşma imzalandığını belirterek, “Uluslararası hukuk açısından, onay işlemleri karşılıklı olarak tamamlanmış ve yürürlüğe girmiş olan anlaşmalar teknik olarak geçerlidir” dedi.


Suriye'den Türkiye'ye suçlama, İran'a övgü- Milliyet

Suriye Dışişleri Bakan Yardımcısı Faysal Mikdat İran'ı yardımlarından dolayı hiç unutmayacaklarını söyledi.
Suriye Dışişleri Bakan Yardımcısı Faysal Mikdat, ülkesindeki iç karışıklıklar konusunda İran'ın yardımlarını asla unutmayacağını belirtirken, Türkiye’nin ise; sınırını kontrol etmeyerek teröristlerin ülkesine girmesini sağladığını öne sürdü.

Tahran Radyosu’nun haberine göre, İran Haber Ajansı’nın (İRNA) sorularını yanıtlayan Dışişleri Bakan Yardımcısı Mikdat, İran halkı ve devletinin Suriye halkı ve devleti ile olan iyi ilişki içerisinde olduğunu, İran’ı kendilerini hedef alan teröristler ve dış düşmanlar karşısında en büyük hami olarak kabul ettiğini söyledi.
Mikdat, Suriye’nin İran ile stratejik ilişki içinde olmayı kendi temel siyasetlerinden biri kabul ettiğini ancak, Arap ülkelerinin Suriye’ye karşı komploda düşmanlar ile birleştiklerini iddia etti. ABD ve müttefiklerinin Suriye hükümetini kimyasal silah kullandığını ileri süren Suriye Dışişleri Bakanı yardımcısı, Türkiye’nin topraklarındaki teröristleri 'Suriye içine salıverdiğini’ bu tutumun Suriye’de katliam ve cinayetlerin devam etmesini beraberinde getirdiğini iddia etti. Mikdat, Türkiye sınırlarının kontrol edilmemesi ve teröristlerin cirit alanına dönüşmesinin hem Suriye ve hem Türkiye için tahrip edici sonuçlar doğurduğunu söyledi.