"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, April 30, 2014

Al-Jaafari: Countries addicted to killing the Syrians serve terrorism project in the region- SANA

New York, (SANA) Syria's Permanent Representative to the UN Bashar al-Jaafari said some countries have become addicted to shedding the Syrians' blood over the past three years.

Delivering Syria's statement in a UN Security Council session on the item of "The Situation in the Middle East" on Tuesday, al-Jaafari added that those same countries continue to talk at great length in their statements about Syria in a misleading and provocative way that serves only the terrorism-backing project in the region.

While dismissing those countries' representatives' attempts at diverting attention from the core of the aforementioned item, which is meant to deal with means to end the Israeli occupation of the Arab lands, al-Jaafari regretted that all of the speakers failed to mention the terrorist acts which hit Syria earlier on the day and claimed the lives of 40 civilians in Homs and 14 children in Damascus.

He inveighed against Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey and some UNSC member states who called for two meetings on Syria at the UN General Assembly last month that coincided with a UNSC meeting to listen to the update of the General Assembly on 'The Situation in the Middle East' and a meeting of the UN Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.


Ambush injures five soldiers in East Lebanon- Al-Akhbar

Five Lebanese soldiers were injured after unidentified gunmen ambushed their patrol in the eastern Bekaa Valley near the Syrian border Wednesday afternoon, the army said in a statement.
The army said it fought back after coming under attack in the region of al-Rahwe on the outskirts of Ersal, a key transit point to smuggle weapons and fighters to and from Syria.

Henri Helou, a “serious” candidate- Al-Akhbar

In the Lebanese parliament, greedy vicious beasts prevail, but there are also a few rather gentle creatures who reached the chamber by mere chance. MP Henri Helou is one of them. A decent man indeed, so decent you would think he belongs to one of those groups that gives free hugs. But after just one hour with him, you cease to ridicule his candidacy for presidency and actually start to sympathize with the man.


Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Şam'da okula havan topu düştü: 14 öğrenci öldü- Hürriyet

Suriye'nin başkenti Şam'ın Şağur bölgesinde bir okul kompleksine havan topu düşmesi sonucu 14 öğrencinin hayatını kaybettiği bildirildi. Humus kentinde ise bomba yüklü araçla düzenlenen saldırıda 36 kişinin öldüğü belirtildi.


Syria conflict: Dozens die in explosions in Homs- BBC News

At least 37 people have been killed in explosions in the Syrian city of Homs, officials say.
The attacks, which involved at least one car bomb, also injured dozens.
Earlier, at least 14 people were killed and more than 80 wounded in a mortar attack on a technical institute in central Damascus.

Kesep: Her şey aniden başladı- RSFM

Türkiye-Suriye sınırında bulunan Kesep’te Ermeniler 21 Mart'ta silahlı muhaliflerin saldırısının ardından kasabayı terketmek zorunda kaldı. Peki Kesep’te neler oldu? Çatışmadan kaçanlar hangi şartlarda yaşıyorlar? Gazeteci Hediye Levent, Lazkiye’ye sığınan Ermenilerle konuştu.


Monday, April 28, 2014

IŞİD köyleri Esed’e terk ediyor- Al-Jazeera Turk

Son dört aydır Suriye’de muhalif gruplarla çatışma halinde olan IŞİD, kontrolünde bulunan bazı köyleri çatışmadan Esed güçlerine terk ederek çekildi.


Exclusive - War-ravaged Syria may face worst wheat harvest in 40 years- The Star Online

AMMAN/ABU DHABI (Reuters) - War and drought have crippled Syria's wheat crop, with some experts now forecasting output of the staple food could fall to around a third of pre-war levels, and possibly even below 1 million tonnes for the first time in 40 years.
Agricultural experts, traders and Syrian farmers who talked to Reuters gave crop estimates ranging from one million tonnes to 1.7 million at best, a more pessimistic range than that given by the United Nations earlier this month.
Before the war, Syria produced around 3.5 million tonnes of wheat on average, enough to satisfy local demand and usually permit substantial exports, thanks in part to irrigation from the Euphrates river that waters its vast eastern desert.
The last time its wheat harvest failed to exceed 1 million tonnes was 1973, although catastrophic droughts have pushed the crop close to that level in 1989 and 2008.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Iraq hits 'jihadist convoy' in Syria- BBC News

Iraqi military helicopters have destroyed a convoy of fuel tankers inside Syrian territory, Baghdad says.
The convoy was heading towards the border and was due to supply jihadi militants in Iraq's Anbar province, according to the Interior Ministry.
It is believed to be the first time Iraq has said it has carried out an attack inside Syria.
Al-Qaeda linked group the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isis) fights the governments in Syria and Iraq.

Did the Killing of Abu Bassir Lead to the First Lattakia Offensive?- Syria Comment


Saturday, April 26, 2014

Back Aoun in order to isolate Hezbollah: Asaad- The Daily Star

BEIRUT: Ahmad Asaad urged the March 14 coalition Friday to support MP Michel Aoun’s candidacy for the presidency, saying this was the best means to break the Free Patriotic Movement leader’s political alliance with the party. 

“Realism compels us to concede that the results of the voting Wednesday clearly indicated that the needed votes to elect Samir Geagea as president are not secured under the current circumstances,” Asaad, head of the Lebanese Option Party and a harsh critic of Hezbollah, told a news conference. 

Syria's Unending Rebel Conflict: Wolves of the Valley- Youtube

Friday, April 25, 2014

Locating the Turkish Convoy: Analyzing the ISIS Youtube Video- Turkey Wonk

An ISIS youtube video was posted today that showed a number of the vehicles in the Turkish convoy sent to the Suleyman Shah tomb.


Thursday, April 24, 2014

ORSAM Rapor No: 189 Suriye’ye Komşu Ülkelerde Suriyeli Mültecilerin Durumu: Bulgular, Sonuçlar ve Öneriler- ORSAM

Suriye’de 15 Mart 2011 tarihinde başlayan barışçıl ve sivil halk ayaklanması geçen süre zarfında iç savaşa dönüşmüştür. Ortaya çıkan istikrarsızlık Suriyelilerin güvenli bölgeler arayışı içinde zorunlu göçe maruz kalmalarına neden olmuştur. Suriye’de halihazırda iç ve dış göç yaşanmaktadır. Nisan 2014 tarihi itibarıyla 1 milyonu Lübnan, 800 bini Türkiye, 600 bini Ürdün ve 220 bini Irak’a olmak üzere 3 milyon civarında Suriyeli ülkesini terk etmiştir. Çok büyük çoğunluğu bu dört ülkede yaşayan Suriyelilerin yine önemli bir bölümü kamplardan ziyade son derece zor koşullarda kendi imkanları ile evlerde ve hatta sokaklarda yaşamaktadır. Kamp dışında yaşayan Suriyelilerin sayısı net olarak bilinememektedir. İç göç açısından ise durum çok daha kötüdür. Günde 1500-2000 kişinin ülke dışına ya da ülke içinde güvenli bölgelere göç ettiği bilinmektedir. Göç edenlerin %75’inden fazlasını çocuk ve kadınların oluşturduğu düşünüldüğünde zorunlu göçün yarattığı trajedi daha rahat anlaşılabilir.


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Lebanon parliament fails to elect president- Al-Jazeera

Beirut, Lebanon - Lebanon's parliament has failed to elect a new president, in what is set to be a prolonged saga closely linked to Syria's upcoming election in June, political analysts say.

The parliamentary session began at noon on Wednesday. No candidate succeeded in getting the minimum 86 votes, or a two-thirds majority, needed to win the presidency. 

All the MPs filed out after the ballots were counted, preventing a quorum for a second round of voting. According to the Lebanese constitution, a candidate needs only 51 per cent of votes in the second round to win the presidency. The next session to elect a president will be held on April 30.

The election was the first opportunity to produce a president without the influence of Syrian authorities, since Syria ended its nearly 30-year military presence in Lebanon in 2005.

But Wednesday's vote was not a significant milestone, as suggested by Mario Abou Zeid, an analyst at the Carnegie Middle East Center, a policy research institute in downtown Beirut.


Sunday, April 20, 2014

From Maaloula, President al-Assad wishes blessed Easter and peace for the Syrians- SANA

Damascus countryside, SANA, On the occasion of Easter, and from the heart of Maaloula town in Damascus countryside, President Bashar al-Assad wished blessed a Easter for all Syrians and the restoration of peace, security and amity to all Syria.

During his visit to Maaloula town, President al-Assad inspected the Monastery of Saints Sergius and Bacchus and checked the damage and destruction caused to the monastery by the terrorists.

After passing the Eastern Entrance and as he was inspecting Mar Thecla Monastery, President al-Assad said, "No one, no matter how much their terrorism could amount to, can erase our human and cultural history."  

President al-Assad added "Maloula will remain, along with other Syrian human and cultural landmarks, steadfast in the face of the obscurantism and barbarianism of all those who are targeting the homeland."

Passing through Ein al-Tineh village on his way back from Maaloula, President al-Assad applauded the village residents who gathered around him for their stand in defending their village and neighboring areas.


Syria - President Assad's visit to Maaloula- Youtube

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Qaeda chief urges for jihadist unity in Syria- Al-Akhbar

Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri has called for unity in a new interview amid widening divisions with a rival jihadist organization rooted in the Syrian civil war.
The interview, which the SITE monitoring service dated to between February and April, was released after the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) accused al-Qaeda of having "deviated from the correct path."

Syria conflict: French journalists freed- BBC News

Four French journalists held captive in Syria for almost a year have been freed, President Francois Hollande said on Saturday.
In a statement, Mr Hollande said he had "learned with great relief this morning of the liberation of the four French journalists".
Edouard Elias, Didier Francois, Nicolas Henin and Pierre Torres were "in good health," he added.
The four men had been held hostage in Syria since June 2013.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Syria army advances in besieged Homs- Al-Jazeera

Syrian armed forces have made advances around the Old City of Homs, where some 1,200 rebels are dug in and under regime siege.

The push by President Bashar al-Assad's troops came as a bomb exploded outside a mosque after the weekly Muslim prayers in a government-held district of the city on Friday, killing 14 people, according to state TV.

Syrian television said the bombing occurred as worshippers were leaving the Bilal al-Habshi mosque on the edge of Akrama neighbourhood.


Syria crisis: Homs bomb kills at least 14 in Alawite area- BBC News

A car bomb has exploded outside a mosque in the central Syrian city of Homs, killing at least 14 people.
The explosion occurred as worshippers left the Bilal al-Habshi mosque in the neighbourhood of Akrama after attending Friday prayers, state TV reports.
The area is largely populated by President Bashar al-Assad's minority Alawite sect.
Homs has been a key battleground between government forces and rebels, with large parts of the city in ruins.
Earlier this week, the army launched another major offensive to recapture opposition-held areas in Homs' Old Quarter.

Hezbollah military investigation reveals who killed Al-Manar TV crew- Al-Akhbar

Less than 24 hours after three Al-Manar reporters were gunned down in the Syrian town of Maaloula, March 14 and the Syrian opposition set out to deny that armed Syrian opposition groups were responsible for the crime. Instead they pointed their fingers at the Syrian army, accusing them of being behind their murder.
March 14 and the Syrian opposition’s propaganda machine went even further by concocting the scenario that there were clashes between the Syrian army and Hezbollah. The Resistance struck back by revealing the investigation of what happened, which is usually saved for its own internal reports.

Syrian State TV: 14 Killed in Car Bombing in Homs- ABC News

A powerful car bomb exploded Friday outside a mosque in a pro-government district of central Syria, killing 14 people in the latest violence to hit the war-shattered city, state-run Syrian television reported.
The bombing occurred as worshippers left the Bilal al-Habshi mosque on the edge of Akrama after attending Friday prayers, the report said, and also wounded at least 50 people.

British teenager killed in Syrian battle- RT

A British teenager and nephew of a former Guantanamo Bay inmate has been killed in Syria. His father, who found out about his son’s death via Facebook, revealed Friday that two of his other sons have also gone to fight in the conflict.
Eighteen-year-old Abdullah Deghayes left Britain in January and died earlier this month. His father, Abubaker Degayes, told reporters outside his home in Brighton, England that his other son, Amer, was wounded by a bullet to the stomach in the same battle.

ISIS accuses al-Qaeda of betrayal- Al-Akhbar

A powerful rival organization has accused al-Qaeda leaders of betraying the jihadist cause, in the latest widening of divisions rooted in Syria's civil war.
"Al-Qaeda today is no longer a base of jihad," Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) spokesman Abu Mohammed al-Adnani said in a statement posted on jihadist forums.
"Its leadership has become a hammer to break the project of the Islamic State," Adnani said, adding that "the leaders of al-Qaeda have deviated from the correct path."

Interpol in hunt for Austrian jihadist teenage girls- Al-Arabiya

Two Austrian teenage girls that authorities believe were tricked into travelling to Syria to fight for Islamist rebels are currently being searched for by Interpol.
Samra Kesinovic, 16, and Sabina Selimovic, 15, disappeared from their homes in the Austrian capital of Vienna on April 10, the Daily Mail reported.
However, the girls’ parents found a slew of posts of social media networks that suggested that had gone to fight for a “holy war” in Syria.

IŞİD: El Kaide cihat çizgisinden saptı- YDH

Irak-Şam İslam Devleti adlı örgütün sözcüsü Ebu Muhammed el-Adnani, Eymen Zevahiri liderliğindeki el-Kaide’yi cihat çizgisinden sapmakla suçladı.


Muhaliflerin Savunma Bakanı Halep’te- Al-Jazeera Turk

2011 yılında başlayan savaş süresince Halep’i ziyaret eden ilk siyasetçi olan Esad Mustafa, ilk olarak Halep'in merkezinde bulunan cepheleri gezdi, daha sonra da  devam eden savaş hakkında komutanlardan bilgi aldı.
Farklı gruplara ait cephelerde incelemelerde bulunan Savunma Bakanı Esad Mustafa, savaşa dair detayları dinledi ve ardından hazır bulunan asker ve komutanlara hitaben konuşma yaptı.
"Bu savaşta Esed de bitecek"
Halep ziyareti sırasında Al Jazeera Türk’e konuşan Esad Mustafa, “Ülkemiz çılgın bir diktatörün inadı uğruna yakılıp yıkılıyor. Ancak bu savaş Esed’i bitirecek bir savaş. Burada direnenler onuru için, imanı için, çocukları ve gelecekleri için direniyorlar. Birlikte gördük; sivil insanlar, çoğu çocuk ve kadın, her gün tüm dünyanın gözleri önünde vahşice katlediliyor. Ve herkes bu barbarlığı izliyor. Tüm bu ihanete rağmen Suriye halkı bu topraklarda özgürlüğünden vazgeçmeyecek, hem savaşı hem de Esed’i bitirecektir” dedi.

Syria presidential candidates to register from Monday- Your Middle East

Candidates for Syria's presidential election can begin registering on April 21, when the date for the vote will be announced, a government source told AFP on Thursday.

"On Monday April 21, the Council of the People (parliament) will meet to open registration for presidential candidates and set a date for the election," the source said.

Syria's government has insisted it will go ahead with presidential elections this year before the end of President Bashar al-Assad's term on July 17.


Thursday, April 17, 2014

British jihadists in Syria are playing into Assad's hands- The Guardian

The rise of extremist groups swelled by fighters from the west has inflicted extra suffering on Syria's people and made a national uprising impossible.


Syria: As the bombs fall, the people of Damascus rally round Bashar al-Assad- The Telegragh

It was a simple three-hour trip from Beirut to Damascus. The border crossing caused no problems, and thereafter the journey was interrupted by only a handful of checkpoints. My first impression of the Syriancapital, too, was that it is surprisingly safe. I saw no armed men on the streets during the journey to my hotel, and in the city centre life appeared to be continuing as normal. Residents even claimed that President Assad often drives himself to his office from the relatively modest flat where he lives, and can sometimes be seen stuck in the rush-hour traffic. When I had lunch at a restaurant with a government minister, there was no visible security at all.
But after only a few hours in this city, it becomes clear that Damascus is not normal in the slightest. Several of its suburbs are held by rebel fighters, who pound government-held areas with mortars. These do not have the range to reach the city centre, but most people live under the shadow of constant attack. It is as if the residents of Clapham had conceived a desire to annihilate Wimbledon and Brixton, and Islington had declared war on Camden Town.

Who supports who in Syria opposition?- Al-Monitor

Those wearing the hats of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) were once upon a time described as the driving engine of the situation in Syria. But they have now shifted either to the ranks of jihadist Salafists — who go strong with their “money, guns and ideology” formula — or have since become looting warlords, lost their effectiveness and were confined to their limited turf.

Independence Day celebrated with full pride against the backdrop of Army's victories-SANA

Provinces, (SANA) A wide range of activities were launched by the Syrians across the country on Thursday, each representing a different manifestation of the Syrians feelings of pride and dignity in commemoration of Independence Day.

Independence Day, also called Evacuation Day, is a national day commemorating the evacuation of the last French soldier and the end of the French mandate of Syria on April 17, 1946.

The Syrians’ emotions of pride and glory are at their best as this year’s celebrations of Independence Day coincide with sweeping victories gained by the Syrian Arab Army members as they are relentlessly crushing terrorist groups all around the country. 


Renewed spate of terror attacks kills 23 citizens, highest death toll in Aleppo- SANA

Provinces, (SANA) 21 citizens were killed and scores others injured in a fresh wave terrorist attacks by mortar rounds and rocket shells that rocked Aleppo and Homs provinces.

21 civilians killed in terrorist rocket attacks in Aleppo
Terrorist rocket attacks which hit a number of neighborhoods in the city of Aleppo on Thursday left 21 civilians dead, including 2 children, and 80 others injured.

A source in the province told SANA reporter that the residential neighborhoods of al-Sulaimaniyeh, al-Maidan and Maisaloun were targeted by the rocket shells.

The death toll of the rocket attacks was 21, in addition to 80 injured, some of those are in critical condition.
The dead included 2 children, according to the source.

Terrorist attack claims life of a citizen, injures others in Jaramana and Harasta
A source at the Police Command told SANA that a terrorist sniper targeted a car near the building of Water Resource in Harasta, claiming the life of a citizen and injuring 3 others.

The source added that 8 mortar shells fired by terrorists fell on the neighborhoods of al-Baladiyeh, al-Nasem, al-Ass, al-Wehda and al-Bassel Street in Jaramana city, causing the injury of 20 citizens, in addition to material damage to the citizens' properties.  


Syria crisis: Russian roulette of random attacks- BBC News

Minutes later… or before. Metres on one side… or the other. That can be the measure between life or death in Syria. That's the cruel consequence of random attacks in a ravaging war.
"If the mortar had landed 15 minutes later, the children would have been in their classrooms," lamented a school official in the Bab Touma area of the Old City of Damascus not long after a mortar slammed into a schoolyard full of children this week.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

'Former Arsenal player' in Syria jihad video identified as Portuguese- The Guardian

British and foreign security services say man who appeared in video urging others to join jihadists is Celso Rodrigues Da Costa.


Jordan 'targets vehicles crossing from Syria'- BBC News

Jordanian warplanes have targeted and destroyed several vehicles trying to cross the border from Syria, the Jordanian military has said.
A statement said the "camouflaged" vehicles tried to enter from a rugged area. When warning shots were ignored, the fighter jets opened fire, it added.
Photographs given to the BBC showed two unmarked pick-up trucks riddled with bullets, one of them on fire.

The beleaguered Armenians of Kessab: Once again, it’s Turkey- Al-Akhbar

Latakia – “I did not fail my duty to protect Kessab. My conscience is clear. Many others failed and were even perhaps complacent, because they did not expect all this violence,” says Johnny, an Armenian fighter active with the militias assisting the Syrian army. “We defended ourselves, each defending his home and his land,” he adds.


West Aleppo faces unending assault- Al-Monitor

The recent all-out rebel assault on regime-held west Aleppo was a huge shock, both to the regime fighters entrusted with holding the enclave as well as the hapless residents of that part of the city. The Islamist groups had been mustering their forces for quite some time. The coordinated offensive on several fronts was spearheaded by prominent jihadist groups, most notably the al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra, and reportedly led by Chechens. It has featured a host of foreign fighters.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Syria war: Maaloula's monastery destroyed after Assad forces drive rebels out- The Telegraph

It has stood for centuries above the ancient settlement at Maaloula, one of a handful of villages in the mountains northeast of Damascus where Aramaic, the language of Jesus Christ, is still spoken.
But on Tuesday, as Syrian army officers showed off their latest conquest in the long back-and-forth war with the country's rebels, the monastery of St Sergius was a sorry sight.
The same shellfire that had helped to drive the rebels out had breached its massive limestone walls and, inside what had long been seen as a symbol of Syria's religious freedom, broken icons lay on the ground alongside crosses, catechisms, and images of the Virgin Mary - though it was not possible to ascertain the cause.

Syria: inside the ancient monastery regained from Islamist rebels- The Telegragh

The Telegraph's Peter Oborne visits the town of Maaloula, 40 miles from Damascus, where government forces have routed radical Islamist rebels and regained control of ancient Christian places of worship.

Aramaic, the language spoken by Jesus Christ is still spoken in Maaloula. On a hill above the village lies the ancient monastery of St Sergius.
After months of heavy fighting in the area between Syrian regime forces and rebels, the monastery and a small chapel within it lie in ruins. They suffered great damage from gun and shellfire, but also at the hands of Islamist rebels who for months controlled Maaloula.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Analysis: Why Assad can have confidence in his survival- BBC News

Bashar al-Assad and his leadership are there to stay. It did not really need one of his closest allies and saviours, the Lebanese Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah, to say it.
It is now the working assumption of most observers and analysts, Western diplomats who have toiled to dislodge him, and even some of the more realistic elements among the Syrian opposition.
The reason is simple.
Unless some of the elements in the equation change radically - and there is no sign of that happening in the near future - there is no foreseeable set of circumstances that would exert sufficient pressure on Mr Assad to stand down, or the regime to negotiate its own demise.
Equally, military victory by the fractious and feuding rebel groups is now a distant dream. Some of their regional backers may still want it, but the Western powers which pull many of the strings behind the scenes never did anyway.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

MI6, the CIA and Turkey's rogue game in Syria- The Independent

The US's Secretary of State John Kerry and its UN ambassador, Samantha Power have been pushing for more assistance to be given to the Syrian rebels. This is despite strong evidence that the Syrian armed opposition are, more than ever, dominated by jihadi fighters similar in their beliefs and methods to al-Qa'ida. The recent attack by rebel forces around Latakia, northern Syria, which initially had a measure of success, was led by Chechen and Moroccan jihadis.


Thursday, April 10, 2014

Send refugees back to secure parts of Syria: Rai- The Daily Star

GENEVA: The head of Lebanon’s Maronite Church suggested on Wednesday that Syrian refugees should be housed in camps inside Syria, reflecting growing frustration among Lebanese over the burden imposed on their country by their neighbors’ war.

The United Nations has registered 1 million Syrian refugees in Lebanon since the conflict began three years ago, the highest concentration worldwide. They are housed in homes and local communities rather than refugee camps.

Cardinal Beshara Rai, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, told a news conference in Geneva that the presence of so many Syrians represented a huge economic, social, political and security burden for Lebanon.

Video: Syria’s Jaafari calls U.N. official a ‘lunatic’- Al-Arabiya

The Syrian government’s representative at the United Nations, Bashar Jaafari, publicly attacked the High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, calling her a “lunatic” and saying that she has a “biased reading” of the Syrian crisis.
During her briefing to the U.N. Security Council on Tuesday, Pillay said the atrocities committed by the Syrian regime “far outweigh” those of the opposition, before adding that the Syrian government was “mostly responsible” for the human rights offenses which had taken place over the course of the war.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Syria crisis: Car bombings 'kill 25' in Homs- BBC News

Two car bombs have exploded in the Syrian city of Homs, killing at least 25 people and wounding scores more, state news agency Sana says.
The report blamed "terrorists" for the blasts, half an hour apart, in the Karam al-Luz district.
In a separate development, the rebel-held town of Rankous, north of Damascus, is reported to have fallen to government forces.
State TV said the final battle to capture Rankous lasted 18 hours.
In a live report from the strategically important town, it said that the government victory came after weeks of intense fighting.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights - a UK-based activist group - said rebel fighters had withdrawn from Rankous at the request of residents after a truce was agreed.

Twenty five civilans killed, 107 injured by twin terrorist car explosions in Homs- SANA

Provinces, (SANA) 25 citizens, including women and children, were killed and more than 107 others were wounded by twin terrorist explosions of two car bomb in al-Khudre street of Karm al-Loouz in Homs.

A source in Homs city told SANA that terrorists blew up a booby-trapped car they have parked near al-Badr Sweets in al-Khudre street which witnesses crowded traffic movement by citizens, adding that after half an hour, the terrorists exploded another car in the same neighborhood to claim lives of more citizens.

The two explosions also caused large damages to the citizens' properties, houses, shops and the cars, the source added.
SANA cameraman was injured during the second explosion while he was carrying out his duty in conveying the real events.  

Two citizens  injured by terrorist mortar attack in Damascus   
Meanwhile, Two citizens  were injured in terrorists mortar attack on al-Kabbas residential neighborhood in Damascus.

A source at Damascus Police Command  told SANA that terrorists fired two mortar rounds on al-Kabbas residential neighborhood, causing the injury of 2 citizens and material damage to a number of cars and markets.

On Tuesday, terrorists fired 4 mortar shells on the neighborhood, causing the injuring of two citizens and material damage to a number of cars.


Assad troops recapture Syrian border town- Al-Jazeera

Troops backed by Hezbollah fighters seize control of the rebel-held town of Rankous near the Lebanese border.

Forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad have recaptured the rebel-held Syrian border town of Rankous, military sources and state television say, consolidating their control over a former rebel supply line from neighbouring Lebanon.

The capture of Rankous was the latest stage of an offensive by the army and fighters from Lebanese Shia armed group Hezbollah to seal off the border region and secure the main highway leading north from Damascus towards central Syria, Homs, and the Mediterranean coast.


In Conversation with Samir Geagea- Asharq Al-Awsat

Beirut, Asharq Al-Awsat—Despite being mooted as a presidential candidate many times, the leader of the Lebanese Forces Party Dr. Samir Geagea has, until now, never officially put himself forward as a potential head of state.


Syrian army steps up battle for Rankous- The Daily Star

BEIRUT/UNITED NATIONS: Syrian regime forces stepped up their offensive against Rankous ahead of an operation to retake the town, one of the last rebel-held regions in the Qalamoun area, an anti-regime activist group said Tuesday.

State news agency SANA said regime forces had taken a hilltop position overlooking Rankous and had seized a few neighborhoods of the town, killing a number of fighters from the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front and other groups.

The Qalamoun region is strategic because it lies along the border with Lebanon and the main highway between Damascus and the city of Homs runs through it.

“The area of Rankous in Qalamoun has been under heavy shelling and continuous air raids since Monday, ahead of a plan to storm it,” Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights chief Rami Abdel-Rahman told AFP.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

UN condemns assassination of Father Van Der Lugt in Homs- SANA

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon condemned the assassination of Dutch priest Frans Van Der Lugt in Syria's central city of Homs at the hands of the armed terrorist groups.


Seymour Hersh: the backlash- Interventions Watch

On Sunday 6th March, the London Review of Books published an article by Seymour Hersh about the chemical weapon attacks in Ghouta and surrounding areas in August 2013, in which he makes a number of explosive claims. Among these claims are that:
  • Britishscientists at Porton Down had established that the Sarin used in the attacks didn’t match any Sarin known to exist the in Syrian regime’s Arsenal, and then told their U.S. counter-parts that the case against the Assad regime would therefore not ‘hold up’.
  • That actors within the Turkish military and intelligence establishment thought they could make Obama enforce his ‘Red Line’ on chemical weapons usage by ‘dabbling with a sarin attack inside Syria’.
  • That when the Obama regime claimed after the attacks that  only the Assad regime had access to Sarin, they knew this to be incorrect, as it was  contradicted by a Defense Intelligence Agency assessment from June 20th 2013.
  •  That a senior CIA Official had sent a message in August 2013 stating that the attacks were ‘not the result of the current regime. UK & US know this’.
  • And most explosively of all, that the U.S. Intelligence community had reason to believe, based on communications intercepts, that the attacks were ‘a covert action planned by Erdoğan’s people to push Obama over the red line’. That is, a false flag attack designed to draw the U.S. into an open war with Syria.

Jihadist attack on Latakia raises fear of deeper sectarian warfare- Al-Monitor

Syria — Predictably, as soon as the battle for the strategic Qalamoun area in the mountainous regions between Syria and Lebanon drew to a close — with the regime gaining the upper hand — fresh fronts opened in this seemingly endless civil war. Their location, however, was quite unexpected. Most Syria observers and analysts expected to see the next big battle in southern Daraa province, the birthplace of the Syrian uprising and a stronghold of mainstream rebels backed by the West and regional powers. Crucially, this area is devoid of the radical Islamist groups that have dominated other parts of the war-torn country.

The Mujahideen Army of Aleppo (Aron Lund- Carnegie Endowment)

In the past year or so, Syria’s chaotically divided insurgency has slowly but surely coalesced into ever-larger blocs of fighters. At the grassroots level, there are still several hundred factions battling the forces of President Bashar al-Assad, but it is now possible to identify a handful of large coalitions spanning all or part of Syria, in addition to perhaps ten or fifteen second-tier alliances that seem to stand head and shoulders above the rest.
The most recent such group to form is the Mujahideen Army, or Jaish al-Mujahideen in Arabic. Made up of thousands of fighters, it dominates a chunk of the strategically important countryside west of Aleppo and exerts influence over at least some of the main supply routes from Turkey to Aleppo. The Mujahideen Army is not, however, a cohesive force. It was created on January 3, 2014, in a statement that listed the following main member factions:

  1. The Noureddin al-Zengi Battalions
  2. The Ansar Brigade
  3. The Fastaqim Kama Umirta Gathering
  4. The Islamic Freedom Brigade
  5. The Amjad al-Islam Brigade
  6. The Ansar al-Khilafa Brigade
  7. The Jund al-Haramain Brigade
  8. The Islamic Light Movement

Seymour Hersh 'kimyasal saldırı' haberinin arkasında- BBC Türkçe

Pulitzer ödüllü ABD’li gazeteci Seymour Hersh, "The Red Line and The Rat Line" (Kırmızı Hat ve Gizli Hat) adlı makalesinde yer verdiği, geçen yıl Ağustos ayında Suriye’de düzenlenen kimyasal saldırının arkasında Türkiye hükümetinin olduğu bilgisinin arkasında duruyor.

Amerikalı istihbarat yetkililerinin ifadeleri ve istihbarat belgelerine dayandırılan yazıda, saldırının Milli İstihbarat Teşkilatı (MİT) ve jandarmanın bilgisi dahilinde El Kaide bağlantılı El Nusra Cephesi tarafından gerçekleştirildiği iddia ediliyor.


Monday, April 07, 2014

Sy Hersh Reveals Potential Turkish Role in Syria Chemical Strike That Almost Sparked U.S. Bombing- Democracy Now

Was Turkey behind last year’s Syrian chemical weapons  attack? That is the question raised in a new exposé by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh on the intelligence debate over the deaths of hundreds of Syrians in Ghouta last year. The United States, and much of the international community, blamed forces loyal to the Assad government, almost leading to a U.S. attack on Syria. But Hersh reveals the U.S. intelligence community feared Turkey was supplying sarin gas to Syrian rebels in the months before the attack took place — information never made public as President Obama made the case for launching a strike. Hersh joins us to discuss his findings.


Marches on anniversary of al-Baath party foundation show support to Army- SANA

Provinces, (SANA) In support of the Syrian Arab Army which confronts terrorism, and in celebration of the 67th anniversary of al-Baath Arab Socialist Party's foundation, Syrian people took to the streets in different Syrian cities.


The Collapsing Syria-Sarin Case (Robert Parry- Consortium News)

Exclusive: Defenders of the old conventional wisdom blaming the Syrian government for the Aug. 21 Sarin attack are going after inverstigative journalist Seymour Hersh, who implicates Syrian jihadists and Turkish intelligence. But the defenders are relying on long-discredited claims, says Robert Parry.


What Do Syria’s Rebels Want From the West?- Carnegie Endowment

The reluctance of the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama to intervene militarily in the ongoing conflict in Syria suggests wariness about the alignment of Syria’s rebel groups with U.S. interests. But are the commonly held assumptions about Syrian views of the United States and other foreign actors correct?


Sunday, April 06, 2014

The Red Line and the Rat Line (Seymour M. Hersh- LRB)

In 2011 Barack Obama led an allied military intervention in Libya without consulting the US Congress. Last August, after the sarin attack on the Damascus suburb of Ghouta, he was ready to launch an allied air strike, this time to punish the Syrian government for allegedly crossing the ‘red line’ he had set in 2012 on the use of chemical weapons. Then with less than two days to go before the planned strike, he announced that he would seek congressional approval for the intervention. The strike was postponed as Congress prepared for hearings, and subsequently cancelled when Obama accepted Assad’s offer to relinquish his chemical arsenal in a deal brokered by Russia. Why did Obama delay and then relent on Syria when he was not shy about rushing into Libya? The answer lies in a clash between those in the administration who were committed to enforcing the red line, and military leaders who thought that going to war was both unjustified and potentially disastrous.