"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


Friday, January 31, 2014

Indonesian Militants Join Fight in Syria- The New York Times

JAKARTA, Indonesia — Indonesians have joined the thousands of foreign fighters who have traveled to Syria to help extremist groups trying to create an Islamic state there, according to a new report, a finding that analysts said Friday could help revive a weakened jihadi movement in Indonesia and set off more attacks on minority Shiites in the Southeast Asian country.


Round one Syria talks wrap up with little to show- Al-Akhbar

Updated 6:11 pm: A contentious week-long first round of Syrian peace talks ended on Friday with no progress towards ending the civil war and the government delegation unable to say whether it will return for the next round in 10 days.
UN mediator Lakhdar Brahimi, who has tirelessly pursued a peace deal that other diplomats consider "mission impossible," said the opposition delegation would be back on February 10, but President Bashar al-Assad's delegates had told him they would have to check with Damascus before agreeing to return.

Mediator Backs Feb. 10 for More Syrian Peace Talks- ABC News

U.N.-Arab League mediator Lakhdar Brahimi tried to put a positive spin Friday on the first face-to-face meetings in three years between Syria's warring sides, suggesting they reconvene Feb. 10 for a fresh attempt at bridging the chasm between them.
Both sides have agreed to meet again, Brahimi told reporters at the end of the eighth consecutive day of intense and bitter negotiations in Switzerland that have produced no tangible results. The veteran diplomat still described 10 areas of "common ground" that might provide room for a little bit of optimism about breaking through the deadly impasse.
"Progress is very slow indeed, but the sides have engaged in an acceptable manner. This is a modest beginning on which we can build," Brahimi told reporters at the U.N.'s Palais des Nations.
"The gaps between the sides remain wide; there is no use pretending otherwise. Nevertheless, during our discussions, I observed a little bit of common ground - perhaps more than the two sides realize or recognize," he said. "Things have gone so far down that they are not going to get out of the ditch overnight."

Zevahiri’den sonra Ebu Katade'den de çağrı- Al-Jazeera Turk

Ürdünlü Selefi lider Ebu Katade, Irak Şam İslam Devleti (IŞİD) üyelerine Suriye'den çıkma ve liderlerine karşı gelme çağrısı yaptı.

Perşembe günü, Ürdün Devlet Güvenlik Mahkemesi’nde “terörist gruplarla bağlantılı olmak” suçlamasıyla görülen duruşmasından sonra gazetecilere konuşan Ebu Katade, Suriye'nin kuzeyinde muhalif gruplarla çatışan IŞİD’i uyardı.
Katade IŞİD'in çatıştığı gruplarla uzlaşmak için koyduğu şartların, Suriye’deki eksen kayması, sapma ve dibe batmayı daha da arttıracağını, 'Allah'ın onların cihatlarını asla mübarek kılmayacağını' söyledi. 
Selefi lider, IŞİD’e yönelik konuşmasının devamında “Suriye’den çıkmanız ve liderlerinize itaat etmemeniz üzerinize vacip olmuştur, sizden her kim onlarla kalırsa günahkâr olacaktır” dedi.

Syrian shelling injures three in North Lebanon- Al-Akhbar

At least three people were wounded when Syrian shells landed in Lebanon's northern Akkar district, state news reported Friday.
The National News Agency said four shells struck the border village of Machta Hammoud.
Hundreds of stray shells from the war in Syria have struck villages along Lebanon's northernmost border, sometimes injuring residents and destroying property.

Security Document: Plot to Assassinate Politician in Tripoli or Beirut- Naharnet

A security document is making the rounds that a Syrian suicide bomber driving an explosives-laden Kia is plotting to target a high-ranking personality in the northern city of Tripoli or in the capital Beirut.
The document claims that the bomber identified as Abou al-Adnan is a member of the Khaled Ibn al-Walid al-Jabha al-Islamiya Brigades.
The Kia is champagne colored, it says.
According to the same document, militants are plotting to detonate a booby-trapped black Honda near the residence of the well-known political personality in Tripoli.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Syrian delegations trade barbs at Geneva talks- Al-Akhbar

Updated 11:00 pm: Syria's warring sides on Thursday got bogged down in a dispute over who was responsible for the violence in the country, as peace talks in Geneva focused on "terrorism."
While the mere fact the rivals agreed on a topic of discussion was seen as a step forward, the first round of talks are expected to wrap up Friday with no concrete progress on ending the violence, agreeing on a political transition or ensuring humanitarian aid to millions in need.
"There is of course agreement that terrorism ... is a very serious problem inside Syria, but there's no agreement on how to deal with it," UN mediator Lakhdar Brahimi told reporters ahead of the seventh and final day of talks.
The two sides have been brought together in Geneva in the biggest diplomatic push yet to end a civil war that has left more than 130,000 dead and forced millions from their homes.
"This is really the beginning of our process," Brahimi stressed.
"I hope that when we come back we'll have a more structured discussion," said the UN mediator, who on Friday is expected to announce a second round of talks in Geneva after about a week.
During the interval, Syrian opposition chief Ahmad Jarba will visit officials in Russia, his top aide told AFP Thursday evening.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

ABD Suriye’ye hafif silah gönderiyor- Hürriyet

ABD’nin Suriye’deki “ılımlı” muhaliflere hafif silah gönderdiği ve 30 Eylül’e kadar bu sevkiyatın sürmesi için gereken finansmanın ABD Kongresi tarafından onaylandığı bildirildi.


Türkiye Suriye Politikası Konusunda Bölündü- VOA

ISTANBUL — Türkiye’de polis ve savcılar hükümetle Suriye’ye gönderildiği iddia edilen silah dolu araçların durdurulması konusunda çatışma halinde. Hükümet tır kamyonlarının durdurulmasının, savcıların yetki sınırlarının dışına çıkması anlamına geldiğini söylese de ülkede Suriye politikası ile ilgili tartışmalar artıyor.

Son birkaç hafta içinde savcılar, Türk istihbaratına ait olduğu açıklanan ve Suriye’de radikal İslamcılara silah taşıdığı iddia edilen birden fazla tırı durdurdu.


Türkiye, Suriye'de El Kaide'yi vurdu- Radikal

CNNTürk'ün haberine göre TSK, Suriye'de El Kaide bağlantılı IŞİD (Irak Şam İslam Devleti) konvoyunu vurdu. 

Olay dün saat 16.40'da Çobanbey Hudut Hattı'nda meydana geldi. IŞİD’e ait konvoyun sınırdaki Türk birliklerine ait iki araca ateş açmasının ardından bölgede konuşlu silahlı güçler tarafından karşı ateşle karşılık verildi. 


Turkish forces 'strike ISIL convoy in Syria'- Al-Jazeera

Army attacks al-Qaeda-linked rebel convoy in Syria in retaliation for cross-border fire, local media reports.

The Turkish armed forces attacked a convoy of al-Qaeda-linked rebel vehicles in Syria in retaliation for cross-border fire on Tuesday, destroying three vehicles, Turkish media said.

Turkish troops opened fire on Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) positions in northern Syria after a mortar shell fired from Syria landed in Turkish territory during clashes between ISIL and the Free Syrian Army, broadcaster NTV reported.


Israel's Growing Role in Southern Syria (Ehud Yaari- The Washington Institute)

Concerned about the possible drift of al-Qaeda affiliates to areas adjacent to the Golan Heights border, Israel finds itself obliged to increase its assistance to local rebel militias in southern Syria.
As the fighting in Syria rages, Israel has been moving cautiously and often reluctantly toward assuming a modest role in the civil war, restricted to areas along the Golan Heights frontier line. What began as a purely humanitarian step -- extending emergency medical aid to injured and sick Syrians from neighboring villages -- has by now reportedly expanded into a well-developed mechanism for providing a whole range of items, from medications to food, fuel, clothes, heaters, and more. One should assume that the same understandings which allowed over 600 wounded Syrians to be evacuated for treatment in Israeli hospitals -- including a special military field hospital on the Golan -- are facilitating other forms of assistance as well. A significant operation of this type indicates that a system of communications and frequent contacts have been established with the local rebel militias, since the evacuation of the injured and their return to Syria seem to function flawlessly.
These developments bring to mind the establishment of "The Good Fence" along the Israel-Lebanon border when civil war erupted there in the mid-1970s. Yet unlike in Lebanon, the Israeli forces involved in the current Golan-based assistance effort have been very careful not to operate inside Syrian territory or assume responsibility for the villages in question, most of which are populated by a mixture of Sunnis, Druze, and Circassians, along with various armed factions.

Israel's Growing Role in Southern Syria- The Washington Institute

As the fighting in Syria rages, Israel has been moving cautiously and often reluctantly toward assuming a modest role in the civil war, restricted to areas along the Golan Heights frontier line. What began as a purely humanitarian step -- extending emergency medical aid to injured and sick Syrians from neighboring villages -- has by now reportedly expanded into a well-developed mechanism for providing a whole range of items, from medications to food, fuel, clothes, heaters, and more. One should assume that the same understandings which allowed over 600 wounded Syrians to be evacuated for treatment in Israeli hospitals -- including a special military field hospital on the Golan -- are facilitating other forms of assistance as well. A significant operation of this type indicates that a system of communications and frequent contacts have been established with the local rebel militias, since the evacuation of the injured and their return to Syria seem to function flawlessly.
These developments bring to mind the establishment of "The Good Fence" along the Israel-Lebanon border when civil war erupted there in the mid-1970s. Yet unlike in Lebanon, the Israeli forces involved in the current Golan-based assistance effort have been very careful not to operate inside Syrian territory or assume responsibility for the villages in question, most of which are populated by a mixture of Sunnis, Druze, and Circassians, along with various armed factions.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Cenevre 2: Gayriresmi görüşmelere dikkat- Al-Jazeera Turk

Cenevre 2 barış görüşmeleri, Suriye'de bir geçiş hükümeti kurulmasıyla neticelenecek gibi görünmese de, rejim ve muhalefet heyetlerinin kapalı kapılar ardında yaptığı müzakereler, olası bir siyasi çözüme dair umut olabilir.


Syria: Innocent civilians caught in the crossfire of the siege of Adra as Islamist rebels are accused of massacre- The Independent

“They came through the main sewer at 4.30am and caught us by surprise,” says a Syrian soldier, who gave his name as Abu Ali, describing the rebel capture of part of the industrial town of Adra, just north of Damascus. “They chose a cold day in December to attack when there was snow and you could not see more than 2ft in front of you.”

Adra, with its giant cement, steel and car plants, has now become one more Syrian town where the army and rebels confront each other but neither side has the strength to win a decisive victory. As they skirmish, locals either flee or cower in their houses with little or no electricity or water.

The rebels who stormed the workers’ housing complex at Adra on 11 December belonged to two much-feared jihadi groups, Jabhat al-Nusra, the official al-Qa’ida affiliate in Syria, and the Jaysh al-Islam.
Khalal al-Helmi, a frail-looking 63-year-old retired employee of the oil ministry, says: “Three men came into our building and shouted ‘Go down to the basement’. We were down there three days.” 


Monday, January 27, 2014

The Dawn of the Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham (Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi- Current Trends in Islamist Ideology)

In the course of the Syrian Civil War, two major rebel factions have emerged who share al-Qaeda's ideology: Jabhat al-Nusra (JN), which was founded at the beginning of 2012 by Abu Mohammed al-Jowlani, and the Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham (ISIS).  In April 2013, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI—the umbrella front for al-Qaeda in Iraq), proposed that JN and ISI merge together.  He thus announced the formation of a new Islamist polity, ISIS, which included territories in Iraq and Syria (ash-Sham).  Baghdadi argued that Jabhat al-Nusra had been initially set-up with financial support and manpower from the ISI and therefore that the Syria-focused JN was a mere “extension” of the Iraq-based organization. Jowlani, however, rejected Baghdadi’s proposal to combine their efforts on the grounds that he was not consulted. Subsequently, he renewed JN’s bay’ah (pledge of allegiance) to Ayman al-Zawahiri, the leader of al-Qaeda Central. 
In June of 2013, al-Jazeera revealed a leaked letter in which Zawahiri ruled in favor of maintaining a separation between ISI and JN in Iraq and Syria respectively. The network released video footage of Zawahiri reading the letter aloud in November 2013.  Many observers interpreted this televised pronouncement from al-Qaeda Central’s leader as a renewal of the call to disband ISIS, although sources within ISIS circles inform me that the video in question had, in fact, been in private circulation among their members for months. In any event, Baghdadi has personally rejected the call to disband ISIS.  Similarly, ISIS’s new official spokesman Abu Mohammed al-Adnani, a Syrian veteran of the Iraq War, has also rejected the proposal in even more forceful terms, going so far as to accuse Jowlani of “defection” and affirming that ISIS would not accept geographical limitations based on “Sykes-Picot.”

US urges Russia to push Syrian regime on Homs aid- The Daily Star

UNITED NATIONS: The U.S. ambassador to United Nations called on Russia to use its influence with the Syrian regime to help get humanitarian aid to the besieged city of Homs.

Samantha Power, in a speech during international Holocaust commemoration day, said that just as Russian soldiers liberated Auschwitz in 1945, "the world again needs Russia to use its influence, this time to ensure that food reaches the desperate and starving people imprisoned in besieged Homs, Yarmouk, the Damascus suburbs and elsewhere."
"The horrors of the Holocaust have no parallel but the world continues to confront crimes that shock the conscience," Power said during an event where film director Steven Spielberg gave a keynote address and a survivor of the Nazi genocide also spoke. 

'Bunca kandan sonra Esed kalamaz'- Al-Jazeera Turk

Suriye'de silahlı muhalefetin en güçlü gruplarından biri olan Tevhid Tugayı'nın lideri Selame akıttığı onca kandan sonra Beşşar Esed'in Suriye'yi yönetmesine asla razı olmayacaklarını söylüyor.


Esed'in danışmanı: Humus ufak bir mesele- Al-Jazeera Turk

Al Jazeera'ye konuşan Suriye Devlet Başkanı Beşşar Esed'in Danışmanı Buseyna Şaban, Cenevre'deki muhalifleri eleştirdi 'İki konvoy için yaygara koparıyorlar' dedi.


ISIS in Lebanon: Lebanese Army a Target- Al-Akhbar

Three al-Qaeda-affiliated jihadi groups have declared war on Lebanon. In a single day, the trio delivered the opening salvo of their Lebanese campaign, issuing threats in what appeared to be coordinated statements.
Three prominent jihadi groups, the Abdullah Azzam Brigades, al-Nusra Front in Lebanon, and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) have now declared war on Lebanon. The three groups timed their announcements to take place on the same day.
Around noon on January 25, a recorded speech by Abu Sayyaf al-Ansari was broadcast, in which he pledged allegiance to ISIS. In the recording, Ansari also addressed clerics in Lebanon, especially the Muslim Scholars Association, warning them against stabbing the jihadis in the back. Ansari then gave a message to Sunnis enlisted with the “army of the cross,” a reference to the Lebanese army, calling on them to defect.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Syrians return to their badly damaged homes as ceasefire makes streets safe again- The Independent

For the first time in the Syrian civil war a ceasefire agreement in a Damascus district sees rebel fighters keep their weapons and control of their own neighbourhood in return for an end to the fighting. If repeated in other parts of Syria, such agreements have the potential to de-escalate violence that has left 130,000 Syrians dead.

A ceasefire was taking hold over the weekend in the district of Barzeh in north Damascus, which has been besieged for at least nine months. A Free Syrian Army leader, who gave his name as Abu Hamzeh, said: “We made a reconciliation agreement to stop the rivers of blood that have flowed in Barzeh.”

Most buildings in Barzeh, which once had a population of 50,000 people, have been badly damaged or destroyed by bombs or shells, which have left apartment blocks gutted by fires and thick concrete floors smashed to pieces. Hundreds of refugees who returned to Barzeh yesterday after months away were visibly distraught at the massive damage to their homes, which had in many cases been looted.


Saturday, January 25, 2014

Syrian govt, opposition delegations agree to meet 'in the same room' Saturday- RT

Syria's government and opposition delegations have agreed to hold direct talks on Saturday, UN-Arab League Joint Special Representative to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi said, adding that the two sides recognize the principles of the Geneva 1 communique.
"Tomorrow we have agreed that we shall meet in same room," Brahimi told a news conference after he held separate meetings with government and opposition delegations in Geneva. "Both parties will be here tomorrow...they will not leave on Saturday or Sunday,"he said, adding that the discussions were "encouraging."

Syria warring sides set for face-to-face talks- The Daily Star

GENEVA: The Syrian government and its opponents will hold their first joint meeting Saturday to launch peace talks aimed at resolving nearly three years of civil war, after negotiations almost collapsed before they started.

The face-to-face meeting had been planned for Friday, but the opposition said early on it would not meet the government side unless it first agreed to endorse a 2012 statement by world powers calling for a transitional government in Syria.

The government rejected the demand and said its negotiators would leave unless serious talks began within a day.

Lebanon: Syrian Refugees Face Sexual Harassment, Abuse- Al-Akhbar

There is no respite for Syrian women refugees in North Lebanon’s Akkar from the daily humiliations of sexual harassment. Impoverished and desperate, they are forced to work under abusive bosses, rent from shady landlords, and are even married off by their own fathers. Meanwhile, the local residents worsen the situation by claiming that “cheap” Syrian wives are “stealing our men.”
While examining reports about Syrian women refugees subjected to sexual harassment in Akkar, North Lebanon, images from the US invasion of Iraq come to mind. In Akkar, Syrians were received with open arms, but this welcoming environment later soured.
Until this day, we are haunted by mob scenes from the aftermath of the fall of Baghdad. Unfortunately, it seems as if we have been dragged into another primitive war, where triumphant soldiers act as they please in the lands of their adversaries. They can capture women, take away children, and make men their slaves. I’m exaggerating, right? Well, let’s see.
With a smirk on his face, Ali Taha, a councilman in the Akkar town of Tal Hayat, told us, “No one speaks honestly. It is a very sensitive subject, but sometimes a few stories leak in. We are in a little village, after all, and you cannot hide much! How should I explain it? Well, three to four women rent a house. The owner would have to sleep with … ” he counted on his hands, “the mother, the daughter, the sister, the grandmother!”

Syria foes 'to meet face-to-face' at Geneva II talks- BBC News

Syria's opposition and government will meet "in the same room" in Geneva on Saturday after the first day of a peace conference ended with no direct talks.
UN envoy Lakhdar Brahimi, who held talks with both sides on Friday, said they all understood that the conference was trying to "save Syria".
The two sides have blamed each other for a lack of progress.
Diplomats say they are now aiming at small concessions such as local truces rather than an overall peace deal.
Mr Brahimi has spent three days attempting to get the two sides to meet each other.

This is your captain: We'll shortly be arriving at Syria's most dangerous city- CNN

Aleppo, Syria (CNN) -- Journalists often get invited on tours of battle zones during wars, but the one the Syrian government organized for CNN and several other media outlets Wednesday was more than bizarre.

We had been told we were going on a trip to the front line in Damascus. Instead, we were driven to an airfield and packed into an old Soviet-made Yakovlev YAK-40 aircraft. It wasn't until we were in the air that government officials on the flight finally offered up some information.

"We are going to Aleppo," one said with a smile. He told reporters that ours would be the first civilian aircraft to land at the city's international airport since December 2012, when the airfield was shut because of heavy clashes in the area.


Syria Geneva II talks: Scepticism on the streets as al-Qa’ida poses as peacemaker- The Independent

Syrians in Damascus say they are resigned to the talks in Geneva not doing much to end the violence or improve their living conditions. They point out that the opposition delegation does not have enough support in rebel-held areas of Syria to deliver on any promises it might make on ceasefires, safe passage for foreign aid or prisoner exchanges.

“So what if Geneva II does not succeed?” said a Syrian woman who did not want her name published. “If they did agree anything, would it really mean less blood or more electricity? People are fed up with politics.” She said Syrians feel that their country is only a small player in determining the outcome of the conflict compared to the US, Russia, Iran and Saudi Arabia.

Expectations of international diplomacy are low, but in Damascus, conditions are a little better than six months ago in government-held parts of the city. There is less outgoing artillery on the government side aimed at rebel districts, and people in central Damascus say there are fewer mortars being fired at them by the rebels. The mood is more relaxed than last summer.


Iran urges foreign fighters to leave Syria- Al-Arabiya

Iran wants all foreign fighters to leave Syria, according to the country’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohammad Javad Zarif.
Zarif, speaking at an Al Arabiya panel held in cooperation with the World Economic Forum in Davos, avoided to single out Hezbollah in his call for foreign forces to withdraw from the war-torn country.
“I can ask all foreign forces to withdraw... to allow the Syrian people to decide their own future,” he said.
He also called for foreign forces to “stop funneling funds, money and arms” into Syria.
The situation in Syria had “created a breeding ground for terrorists”, he added.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Homs Governor, UN representatives discuss humanitarian aid work- SANA

Homs, (SANA) – Homs Governor Talal al-Barzani on Friday discussed with the UN Resident Coordinator for Humanitarian Affairs in Damascus Yaqoub al-Hilo and representatives of UN offices means of delivering humanitarian aid to all persons in need in the province.

Al-Barzani said that Homs Governorate has implemented 85% of the response plan for the aid program, stressing the need to increase the volume of aid to all of Homs’ areas and activate cooperation as to rebuild the damaged schools and rehabilitate the health institutions and equipment.

For his part, al-Hilo highlighted the need to continue coordination with the Syrian government as to increase the support and delivering aid to different areas in the province.

In turn, Director of the World Food Program in Syria, Mathew Hollingworth, said that the number of persons who will benefit from the humanitarian aid will be increased to 4 million.


BM Yardım Konvoyuna Silahlı Gruplar Ateş Açtı- SANA Türkçe

CENEVRE – Suriye’nin Cenevre’deki BM Daimi Temsilcisi Faysal Hamvi, Suriye hükümetinin BM 
Filistinli Mültecilere Yardım ve Çalıştırma Örgütü UNRWA ile işbirliği yaparak BM’nin Yermük Semtine yardım konvoyuna her türlü koruma, yardım ve kolaylığı sunduğunu belirterek silahlı grupların konvoya ateş açtıklarını ve semte ulaşmasını engellediklerini bildirdi.

Hamvi, BM İnsan Hakları Yüksek Komiseri Navi Pillay’a Suriye hükümetinin Pillay’ın 17 Ocak 2014 tarihinde yaptığı Yermük semtindeki trajik insani durumlara ilişkin basın açıklamalarına yanıtını içeren resmi bir nota sundu.

Suriye’nin BM Temsilcisi, silahlı terör gruplarının semt sakinlerini abluka altına alıp aç bırakmak amacıyla BM ardım konvoyunun semte girişini engellediklerine dikkat çekerek Filistin Çalışma Bakanı Ahmet Mecdelani’nin bunu destekleyen açıklamaları ve Filistin’deki durumu Suriye kriziyle ilişkilendirme çabalarına dikkat çekmesine değindi.

Pillay’ın yetkileri dışındaki bir konuda asılsız iddialar içeren basın açıklaması yapmasını kınayan Hamvi, Pillay’ın kasıtlı şekilde BM yardım konvoyunun Yermük semtine girişinin silahlı gruplar tarafından engellendiğine işaret etmemesini eleştirdi.


Syria sides have not discussed core issues: Brahimi- PRESS TV

The UN-Arab League Special Representative for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi says the country’s opposing sides have not discussed core matters following two days of talks in Geneva.

Speaking at a news conference late on Friday, Brahimi said he held separate meetings with delegations from the Syrian government and the opposition earlier in the day and talks will continue on Saturday.

Brahimi also said the basis of the ongoing Syria talks is founded on a communiqué agreed upon in the Geneva I conference – an earlier round of international talks on the Syria crisis held in the Swiss city in June 2012.


Nusra Front warns Lebanese to avoid Hezbollah ‘areas’- The Daily Star

BEIRUT: Members of Lebanon’s Sunni sect should avoid areas where Hezbollah has a presence or enjoys support, the Nusra Front in Lebanon, a group of radical Syrian rebels that has claimed responsibility for bombings in the country, warned Friday.

“The Nusra Front in Lebanon announces that all the strongholds, headquarters and military and security bases of Iran’s party [Hezbollah] are targets, regardless of their locations,” said a statement posted on the group’s Twitter account.

Syria Geneva II: First full day of talks begin- BBC News

A UN negotiator is meeting members of both Syria's government and the opposition on Friday, in an effort to end the three-year civil conflict.
But despite hopes of a joint meeting between the two sides, mediator Lakhdar Brahimi is holding talks with each in a different room at a different time.
Both sides blame the other for the separate meetings.
The Damascus delegation has complained about defiant remarks made by the opposition chief Ahmed Jarba.
On Thursday Mr Jarba called President Assad and his regime a "political corpse" which could not be part of Syria's future.
For its part, the opposition has said it will not meet government delegates face-to-face until they have signed a written commitment accepting the Geneva communique drafted 18 months ago, which calls for a transitional government.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Second Lebanese soldier dies from Tripoli attacks- Al-Akhbar

A second soldier succumbed to his wounds suffered from a series of early morning attacks Wednesday on military targets in Lebanon's northern city of Tripoli, the army said Thursday.
Corporal Fadi Jamous, 38, from the town of Baabda, died of his injuries Thursday morning in a Beirut hospital, the army said in a statement carried by Lebanon's National News Agency.
Jamous was among eight soldiers wounded in three attacks by salafi militants in Tripoli. At least two civilians were also wounded in attacks on Wednesday, the NNA said.
Another soldier, 28-year-old Hussein Saadeddin, died from his injuries Wednesday evening.

Geneva2 begins with particpation of Syria's offical delegation, headed by al-Moallem- SANA

Montruex, (SANA) - The international conference on Syria, Geneva2, kicked off on Wednesday morning with the participation of Syria's official delegation, headed by Deputy Premier, Foreign and Expatriates Minister, Walid al-Moallem.

Minister al-Moallem said at the opening session of the conference:   

Ladies and Gentlemen,On behalf of the Syrian Arab Republic,SYRIAN – steeped in history for seven thousand years.ARAB – proud of its steadfast pan-Arab heritage despite the deliberate acts of aggression of supposed brotherly Arabs.REPUBLIC – a civil state that some, sitting in this room, have tried to return to medieval times.Never have I been in a more difficult position; my delegation and I carry the weight of three years of hardship endured by my fellow countrymen - the blood of our martyrs, the tears of our bereaved, the anguish of families waiting for news of a loved one - kidnapped or missing, the cries of our children whose tender fingers were the targets of mortar shelling into their classrooms, the hopes of an entire generation destroyed before their very eyes, the courage of mothers and fathers who have sent all their sons to defend our country, the heartbreak of families whose homes have been destroyed and are now displaced or refugees.

Al-Moallem: My delegation and I carry the hope of a nation for the years to come
My delegation and I also carry the hope of a nation for the years to come – the right of every child to safely go to school again, the right of women to leave their homes without fear of being kidnapped, killed or raped; the dream of our youth to fulfill their vast potential; the return of security so that every man can leave his family safe in the knowledge that he will return.

Finally, today, the moment of truth; the truth that many have systematically tried to bury in a series of campaigns of misinformation, deception and fabrication leading to killing and terror.  A truth that refused to be buried, a truth clear for all to see – the delegation of the Syrian Arab Republic representing the Syrian people, the government, the state, the Army and the President - Bashar al-Assad.

It is regrettable that seated amongst us are representatives of countries that have the blood of Syrians on their hands
It is regrettable, Ladies and Gentlemen, that seated amongst us today in this room, are representatives of countries that have the blood of Syrians on their hands, countries that have exported terrorism along with clemency for the perpetrators, as if it was their God given right to determine who will go to heaven and who will go to hell.  Countries that have prevented believers from visiting holy places of worship whilst abetting, financing and supporting terrorists.  Countries that gave themselves the authority to grant and deny legitimacy to others as they saw fit, never looking at their own archaic glasshouses before throwing stones at acclaimed fortified towers. Countries that shamelessly lecture us in democracy, in development and in progress whilst drowning in their own ignorance and medieval norms.  Countries that have become accustomed to being entirely owned by kings and princes who have the sole right to distribute their national wealth granting their associates whilst denying those who fall out of favor. 

They lectured Syria – a distinguished, virtuous, sovereign state, they lectured her on honour whilst they themselves were immersed in the mud of enslavement, infanticide and other medieval practices.  After all their efforts and subsequent failures, their masks fell from their quivering faces, to reveal their perverse ambitions.  A desire to destabilize and destroy Syria by exporting their national product: terrorism.  They used their petrodollars to buy weapons, recruit mercenaries and saturate airtime covering up their mindless brutality with lies under the guise of the so-called “ Syrian revolution that will fulfill the aspirations of the Syrian people.” 

Ladies and Gentlemen, how is what has happened and continues to plague Syria, meeting these aspirations?  How can a Chechen, Afghani, Saudi, Turkish or even French and English terrorists deliver on the aspirations of the Syrian people, and with what? An Islamic state that knows nothing of Islam except perverse Wahhabism? Who declared anyway that the Syrian people aspire to live thousands of years in the past?


U.S. and Iran Offer Clashing Accounts of the Civil War in Syria- The New York Times

DAVOS, Switzerland — Secretary of State John Kerry and President Hassan Rouhani of Iran offered clashing accounts on Thursday of the civil war in Syria, and the role that Tehran is playing in the conflict.


“Why Syria’s Assad heads to Geneva from a position of strength,” by Joshua Landis- Syria Comment

His army is stronger, his allies are more committed and regime’s capacity for brutality has kept it in charge.

As representatives of Syria’s Assad regime and some of its opponents sit down Wednesday for their first direct negotiations since the rebellion began three years ago, the grim reality facing the Syrian opposition is this: President Bashar al-Assad comes to the negotiating table in Switzerland apparently stronger today than at any time in the last two years. Thus his cavalier tone ahead of the talks, dismissing opposition representatives as a “joke” and brushing off Secretary of State John Kerry’s and the opposition’s demand that he relinquish power and accept a “transitional governing body.” Instead, Assad maintains, Syria will hold elections this year, and “I see no reason why I shouldn’t stand.”
Understanding why Assad’s regime survives more than two years after then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called it a “dead man walking” is critical for gauging the outcome of the Geneva II talks.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Cenevre-2: Kim, kimi, neyle suçladı?- BBC Türkçe

Cenevre-2 barış konferansı gergin bir atmosferde başladı.
Konferansının açılışında yapılan konuşmalarda özellikle Suriye, Suriyeli muhalifler, ABD, Rusya ve Türkiye adına yapılan konuşmaların karşıtlarını hedef alan suçlamalar içermesi şaşırtıcı olmadı.
Konferansın karşılıklı keskin eleştirilerle başlaması uzmanlar tarafından, konferanstan önemli bir sonuç çıkacağı yönündeki beklentilerin azalmasına neden olduğu yönünde yorumlanıyor.
Peki, kim kimi neyle suçladı?

Remarks by Mr. Ahmet Davutoğlu, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey at the Geneva II Conference, Montreux, 22 January 2014- MFA

Mr. Secretary-General, 
Dear Colleagues, 
Distinguished Participants, 

First, let me thank UN Secretary-General Mr. Ban Ki-moon and Special Joint Envoy Mr. Lakhdar Brahimi for their tireless efforts in convening this conference as well as the Government of Switzerland for its kind and generous hospitality. 

I would also like to commend the United States and the Russian Federation for their initiative to revitalize the Geneva process. 


STL resumes hearing, witnesses testify- The Daily Star

THE HAGUE: The Special Tribunal for Lebanon opened its fourth trial hearing Wednesday, with witnesses testifying for the first time before the court probing former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri’s 2005 assassination.

Three witnesses will speak before the trial chamber as the court's broadcast was delayed by 30 minutes to prevent confidential information being revealed accidentally during the sessions.

The prosecution has named its first witness identified as Abdul Qader Darwish whose elder brother, Mohammad, was killed in the assassination.

Darwish was one of Hariri's several bodyguards who were with the former PM at the time of the attack.
Abdul Qader said he was working at Future TV in Sin el-Fil when he heard about the explosion.

‘Mission of hope’ as Syria peace talks begin- Al-Arabiya

There can be no talk of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad staying in power; the Syrian opposition leader Ahmed Jarba told the first day of international talks convened in Switzerland to seek peace for the Middle East country.

Jarba accused Assad’s forces of supporting al-Qaeda on the ground in Syria and called on Assad’s government delegation to commit to the so-called “Geneva I” agreement immediately and transfer power to an interim governing body.

Jarba’s speech was broadcasted on Syrian state TV accompanied by videos titled “the crimes of the Syrian opposition.”

During the Geneva II peace talks in Montreux, U.N. leader Ban Ki-moon urged Syria's warring sides to seize the opportunity to resolve their conflict.
“After nearly three painful years of conflict and suffering in Syria, today is a day of hope," Ban said.“You have an enormous opportunity and responsibility to render a service to the people of Syria,” he said.

Cenevre-2 konferansı siyasi şovdur, sonuca ulaşamaz- FHA

FHA- Dışişleri Bakanı Yardımcısı Hüseyin Emir Abdullahian, Cenevre-2 konferansı siyasi bir şov olduğunu ve sonuca ulaşamayacağını belirtti.


'Erdoğan hükümeti olmasa bunların hiçbiri yaşanmazdı'- BBC Türkçe

Suriye konferansında söz alan Suriye Dışişleri Bakanı Velid Muallim, Türkiye’yi eleştirdi ve "Erdoğan hükümeti olmasa bunların hiçbiri yaşanmazdı." dedi.
Üç yıldır süre giden Suriye krizine çözüm bulmak amacındaki İsviçre'nin Montrö kentinde bu sabah başlayan barış konferansında konuşan Muallim, Suriye’nin komşusu olan devletleri, iç savaşa silah ve savaşçı göndermek suretiyle ülkeyi ateşe atmakla suçladı.
Suriye Dışişleri Bakanı Muallim, özellikle Türkiye'ye yönelik olarak, şöyle konuştu:
"Eğer komşumuz, ihtiyacımız olduğunda yanımızda olsaydı, size anlattıklarım, Suriye'de olanlar aslında hiç yaşanmazdı. Ama Suriye'nin komşuları ya bizi sırtımızdan bıçakladı, ya da zayıf ve sessiz kaldılar. Suriye'yi yok etmek için uzun yıllardır yapılan planları uygulama emri aldılar. Erdoğan hükümeti olmasa bunların hiçbiri yaşanmazdı. Bu hükümet, kendi topraklarında teröristleri barındırıyor. Onlara, Suriye'ye karşı kullanacakları silah, eğitim veriyor. Ama besledikleri bu teröristlerin bugün kendilerini hedef aldıklarını görüyorlar."
Dışişleri Bakanı Velid Muallim konuşmasında, Suriyeli muhalifleri hain ve İsrail ajanı olmakla da suçladı.

Syrian delegations trade barbs at opening of Geneva II talks- Al-Akhbar

Updated at 1:15pm: The Geneva II peace conference opened on Wednesday, with opposing sides in the Syrian conflict unwavering on their positions.
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem, called the country's opposition "traitors" and foreign "agents."
"They claim to represent the Syrian people. If you want to speak in the name of the Syrian people, you should not be traitors to the Syrian people, agents in the pay of enemies of the Syrian people," Muallem said in opening remarks..
"The hopes of the Syrian people rely on me and the Syrian delegation," he said in a lengthy speech. "Today is the moment of truth that was lost in the fabricated and slander campaigns."
Muallem slammed the "external terrorism" taking place in Syria: "Syria will do everything in its power to defend itself in any way possible."
He called on countries to end their support of "terrorism" and to lift sanctions on Syria. "Civilians are being killed under the pretext of revolution," he said.

No one, Mr. Kerry, has right to withdraw president’s legitimacy’ - Syrian FM- RT

Geneva 2 quickly descended into a war of words, with each successive speaker ratcheting up the rhetoric as tensions from the protracted civil war which has ravaged the country for three years quickly bled into the peace conference.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday kicked off the long-awaited international peace conference for Syria, opening the international bid to end the blodshed.
Ban said the conference provided an opportunity for all sides to show unity, saying “today is a day of fragile but real hope.”
The UN Chief pointed a finger at the Syrian government, saying if the democratic demands of the Syrian people had been listened to at the outset of the conflict, "we might not be here today." Ban painted a grim picture of a country racked by violence and lawlessness, urging all sides to put an end to terrorist attacks and unequivocally allow foreign aid into the country.

Syria peace conference Geneva II begins with bitter speeches- BBC News

Syria's government and main political opposition have traded bitter accusations as a major peace conference begins in Switzerland.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon urged delegates to engage in constructive discussions, but neither side appeared prepared to abandon their positions.
US Secretary of State John Kerry said there was "no way possible" President Bashar al-Assad could remain in power.
The conflict has left more than 100,000 dead and millions displaced.
The summit is discussing the Geneva communique which lays out a political transition plan for Syria. But the key issue is President Assad's future.

Syria rivals exchange blame in Geneva talks- Al-Jazeera

Syrian peace talks kicked off in Switzerland with little hope that it could override clashing stances between key players, the Syrian regime and the opposition, whose presence on the same table for the first time in almost three years resembles the highlight of the conference.

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem, who heads President Bashar al-Assad's delegation, and Ahmed Jabra, president of the opposition Syrian National Coalition exchanged accusations of treason and terrorism, each holding the other responsible for the violence that has killed more than 130,000 people and displaced millions more.