"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


Saturday, September 27, 2014

Al-Moallem meets FMs on sidelines of UN General Assembly session- SANA

New York, SANA-Deputy Prime Minister, Foreign and Expatriates Minister Walid al-Moallem met his Russian, Iraqi, Algerian and North Korean counterparts on the sidelines of the 69th session of the UN General Assembly.
Al-Moallem on Saturday morning met the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, with talks focusing on the latest regional developments and the crimes of ISIS, Jabhat al-Nusra and other terrorist organizations in Syria and Iraq.
The two sides also stressed the necessity of continuing coordination in all fields, emphasizing the importance of the Russian-Syrian Joint Committee’s forthcoming meeting and the necessity of making its deliberations a success in light of the strategic relations between the two countries.
Earlier, al-Moallem held talks with Iraq’s Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari., discussing with him bilateral cooperation and coordination to confront ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra.
The dangers posed by the practices of these terrorist organizations in Iraq and Syria, including the slaying of civilians and the destruction of Arab Muslim and Christian heritage and civilization figured prominently during the meeting.

US-led air strikes hit IS on Syria's border with Turkey- BBC News

US-led coalition air strikes have hit Islamic State (IS) targets near the besieged Syrian town of Kobane on the border with Turkey, the Pentagon says.
An IS building and two "armed vehicles" were destroyed at the Kobane border crossing, US Central Command announced.
Other strikes hit IS targets elsewhere in Syria and in northern Iraq.
Kurdish fighters have been defending Kobane against IS since some 140,000 civilians fled the town and surrounding area for Turkey.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Hezbollah squeezed out of Golan by Jabhat al-Nusra, Israel- Al-Monitor

The Syrian opposition militants entering Lebanon’s southeastern corner are not Hezbollah’s only concern. There are three other consequences, equally serious and disturbing for the party.

First, Jabhat al-Nusra has taken control of the Syrian side of the border facing the Lebanese area of Shebaa, which is occupied by Israel, isolating Hezbollah from the Syrian extension in the Golan Heights. Hezbollah considers the area a strategic position in its conflict with Israel. After Syria maintained only weak official control over those quiet areas since the disengagement agreement between Syria and Israel in 1973, a series of military operations has lately targeted Israeli soldiers in the region.

CIA-vetted Syrian rebels battling Islamic State say airstrikes haven’t helped- McClatchy

 — In the skies over Syria, U.S. and Arab combat aircraft have bombed Islamic State targets 20 times since Tuesday. But on the ground, commanders for rebel groups that are part of a CIA-run program say they’ve pleaded in vain for arms, ammunition and even field rations so they can fight the same extremists.
Although they are among the few chosen to receive aid under the covert U.S. program, the commanders say the U.S. has done little to help them as they struggle to hold onto their main supply route from Turkey against a determined Islamic State offensive.
The stakes are high in the 6-week-old ground fight with the Islamic State in small towns north of Aleppo. The outcome will determine not only if the rebels can continue to be supplied, but whether they will hold onto portions of Syria’s biggest city.

Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2014/09/25/241103_cia-vetted-syrian-rebels-battling.html?rh=1#storylink=cpy

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Clashing Goals in Syria Strikes Bedevil Obama- The New York Times

BEIRUT, Lebanon — President Obama said the American-led airstrikes in Syria were intended to punish the terror organizations that threatened the United States — but would do nothing to aid President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, who is at war with the same groups.

Security source: Syrian army retakes key town- Al-Arabiya

Syrian government troops recaptured the key rebel-held town of Adra northeast of the capital Damascus on Thursday, Agence France-Presse reported a security source as saying. 

But the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a monitoring group, said fighting was ongoing despite army advances, the regime still did not have full control of the town.

“This morning, the army retook control of Adra, reestablishing security,” the security source told AFP.

The rebels captured Adra in December last year and regime forces have been fighting to retake it ever since.

They have advanced incrementally in the town, one of the country’s biggest industrial zones strategically located northeast of Damascus.

The security source said the army had taken control on Thursday of an area in the town used to house workers, after securing the highway and the industrial zone.

He acknowledged, however, that Adra’s small Old City remained under rebel control.

French tourist beheaded in Algeria by jihadis linked to Islamic State- The Guardian

President François Hollande has confirmed that a French citizen kidnapped in Algeria was beheaded by militants linked to Islamic State (Isis), and said the murder would only serve to reinforce his determination to support efforts against the jihadists.
The group calling itself Jund al-Khilafah – or Soldiers of the Caliphate – released a video that appeared to depict the beheading of Hervé Gourdel, 55, a mountain guide from Nice who had only arrived in Algeria the previous day. The video was entitled Message in Blood for the French Government.
In a speech at the United Nations in New York, Hollande said the killing would not prompt France to abandon military action against Isis and that it would continue to fight terrorism everywhere. “The perpetrators of this odious crime must be punished,” Hollande said.
The militants said that the murder of the Frenchman was a response to his government’s action against Isis in Iraq, where France launched its first air strikes last Friday.

'IŞİD ilerleyişini durdurduk'- Al-Jazeera Turk

ABD Merkez Kuvvetler Komutanlığı'ndan (CENTCOM) yapılan açıklamaya göre, ABD askeri güçleri, Suriye ve Irak sınırları içerisinde tespit edilen hedeflere Suudi Arabistan ve Birleşik Arap Emirlikleri’nin de desteği ile hava saldırıları düzenlediğini duyurdu.
Savaş uçakları ve insansız hava araçlarının kullanıldığı dört saldırı düzenlediği ifade edildi. Saldırıların Halep’in batısına IŞİD’in kontrolünde bulunan noktalara yapıldığı vurgulandı.
Açıklamada, hedeflerin başarışla vurulduğuna dair ön izlenimlere sahip olunduğu, verilen hasarla ilgili tespit çalışmalarının sürdüğü duyuruldu.
Bölgedeki Al Jazeera kaynakları son saldırılarda Halep kentinin batısında yer alan IŞİD’e ait gıda ve lojistik destek depolarının hedef alındığını söyledi. Aynı bölgede bulunan ve IŞİD’in kendisine yeni katılan üyelerini eğittiği bir eğitim kampı da vuruldu.
Suriyeli kaynaklara göre Halep’teki hedeflere yönelik saldırılarda 14 IŞİD üyesi ve sivil hayatını kaybetti.
Suriye Yerel Koordinasyon Komitesi (LCC) ise ABD öncülüğündeki koalisyonun, Kobani kasabasında IŞİD'in bulunduğu alana düzenlediği hava saldırılarında 12 sivil ve çok sayıda IŞİD üyesinin öldüğünü duyurdu.
Açıklamada ayrıca, Rakka kentine bağlı Ayn İsa'da IŞİD'in kotrolündeki 93. Tümene de saldırı düzenlendiği, koalisyon güçlerine ait savaş uçaklarının Halep'in kuzeyindeki Munbic beldesine bağlı Karakozak köyü civarlarını da bombaladığı ifade edildi.

SNC: More funds, air support needed to fight ISIS and Assad- Al-Akhbar

One of Syria's external opposition members appealed to the international community for more weapons and air support to defeat both Islamic militants and the Assad regime, as nations unveiled more non-lethal aid.
"We welcome that the world has joined this battle ... we welcome the partnership of the world in our battle against terrorism," Hadi al-Bahra, head of the Syrian National Coalition, a Western and Gulf-backed external opposition group, told a special ministerial meeting.
But he pleaded "for expedited assistance to put an end to the progress and aggression of" Islamic State group militants, which have seized a large area of Syria and sent some 200,000 Kurds fleeing from their villages in recent days.
"We call on the international community, we call on our brothers and sisters to assist the operations of the free army, by supporting air support," Bahra told a meeting of the Friends of Syria.

Jordan confronts ISIS domestically and abroad- Al-Akhbar

Jordan’s army and security forces directed a double-edged strike at the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). The Jordanian armed forces participated in the airstrikes led by the United States against the group’s strongholds inside Syria in the past two days, after conducting a series of strikes along the border at vehicles that were said to be a security threat to the Hashemite Kingdom. As for the security forces, in the past two months they have allegedly arrested “terrorists” affiliated with ISIS who were planning operations inside Jordan.
Amman – Reactions among political parties and public opinion in Jordan varied between full backing, reluctant support, opposition and fear of the ramifications of the fight against ISIS in the future.
King Abdullah and the decision-making circles in Jordan justified joining the coalition against ISIS from the very beginning. Information minister and government spokesperson Mohammed al-Momani told Al-Akhbar: “We are keen not to allow ISIS to get closer to our border and we will do whatever is necessary to protect our citizens’ security and safety,” stressing that his country is under a real threat from extremists.

Lavrov: Terörle mücadelede çifte standart Batı’nın alışkanlığı- YDH

YDH-Saint Petersburg’da Kanal-5 adlı bir televizyona demeç veren Rusya Dışişleri Bakanı Sergey Lavrov, Batılı ülkeleri terörist grupları Ortadoğu’da karşı oldukları hükümetlere karşı desteklemekle suçladı.
Rusya Dışişleri Bakanı Sergey Lavrov, “Şu an IŞİD, Amerika’nın en büyük düşmanı olarak gösteriliyor. Şunu hatırlatmak isterim ki şu an büyümüş olan IŞİD militanları, Libya’da yönetimin devrilmeye çalışıldığı ve daha sonra da aynı şeyin Suriye’de gerçekleştirilmesi için çaba gösterildiği dönemde eğitilip silahlandırılan yabancı savaşçıların ta kendisidir” dedi.

Birçok kez, Amerikalıların ve Avrupalıların dikkatlerini aşırılık yanlısı terörist gruplara çektiğini belirten Lavrov, Batılıların kendisine bunların rejimleri devirdiklerinde yok olacağını söylediklerini aktardı ve bu düşüncenin ne kadar yanlış olduğunun ortaya çıktığını söyledi.

War on ISIL Is Not What It Seems- Fars News

TEHRAN (FNA)- The covert US-led war on Syria, under the guise of fighting terrorism, is now well underway despite its flagrant criminality and fraudulence. Thanks to the Western and Arab-sponsored terror networks, as well as Zionist-controlled Western media, the military aggression is being conducted with a grotesque image of humanitarianism and lawfulness.
US military leaders say their aerial bombardment, backed by five Arab allies and not the original 40-nation coalition, is the beginning of a prolonged campaign that could continue intermittently for years. They also warn that airstrikes against their own creation, ISIL, will not have a serious impact on the terrorist group’s overall operations – just like in Iraq.
These comments seem to suggest that the strikes are just about the US administration going through the motions, with no real expectation and strategy. But they do have expectation, and certainly, they do have strategy. They are doing what they can to add to the neocons’ call for boots on the ground in the second phase of the war on Syria, which among other things, is clearly intended to:
1. Expand US military presence in the region
2. Train/arm new “moderate” militants (the old ones became ISIL)
3. Push for regime change in Damascus
4. Wrest control of the oil from ISIL
5. Arm the Kurds so they can separate from Iraq and Syria
6. Partition Iraq and Syria.
So the US-led war on ISIL is not what it seems. Even the political class in Washington has made clear that “the bombing campaign is in no way aimed at helping the Syrian government to fight ISIL and/or gain ground.”

Rouhani UN Speech to Focus on Islamic State, Nuclear Program- VOA

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani goes before the United Nations General Assembly for an address Thursday that will likely focus on the threat of Islamic State militants and the ongoing negotiations over his country's nuclear program.
Rouhani has been critical of the U.S.-led campaign against the Islamic State group that began with airstrikes in Iraq last month, saying a military approach is not the way to stop the militants.
He said Wednesday the group grew out of the U.S. military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Islamic State crisis: US hits IS oil targets in Syria- BBC News

The US-led coalition has targeted oil refineries in Syria during a third night of air strikes against Islamic State (IS) militants.
The raids - carried out by US, Saudi and UAE aircraft - killed 14 IS fighters and five civilians in eastern Syria, activists said.
The US military said the refineries generated as much as $2 million (£1.2m) per day in revenue for IS.
US President Barack Obama has vowed to dismantle the IS "network of death".
IS has seized large areas of Syria and Iraq in recent months and controls several oilfields. Sales of smuggled crude oil have helped finance its offensive in both countries.
The US has launched nearly 200 air strikes against the militants in Iraq since August and expanded the operation against IS to Syria on Monday.

"Ankara'nın 'silahları bırakın' talimatıyla IŞİD'e teslim olduk, ayaklarımıza prangalar vurup götürdüler"- T-24

Musul’da rehin alınan Türk Konsolosluğu çalışanlarından Ticaret Ataşesi Mehmet Argüç, yaşadıkları 101 günlük esarete ilişkin olarak, "Orada ayağımıza prangalar vurdular, ellerimizi kelepçelediler, gözlerimizi bağladılar" dedi. Argüç, konsolosluk baskını anında IŞİD militanlarının kendilerinden silahları bırakmalarını istediklerini, bunun üzerine Başkonsolos Öztürk Yılmaz'ın Ankara ile teması sonrası silahların bırakılarak teslim olunduğunu söyledi.

US moves to provide upgraded helicopters to Lebanon- The Daily Star

BEIRUT: The Pentagon has notified the U.S. Congress of a possible sale of Huey II helicopters to Lebanon, after the State Department approved the long-stalled request.
"The State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to Lebanon for Huey II rotary wing aircraft and associated equipment, parts, training and logistical support for an estimated cost of $180 million," the Defense Department's Defense Security Cooperation Agency said in a statement on Sept. 19.
The sale will include 18 U.S.-made Huey II helicopters, an upgraded version of the aging Huey I that the Lebanese Army currently operates. In 2012, Lebanon requested six of the new helicopters and received initial approval by the Pentagon, but the sale never went through. The Lebanese Army currently has one Huey II platform, which is an upgrade of the UH-1H helicopter to increase its operational and military capabilities.

Kurdish forces push back ISIS in northern Syria- The Daily Star

BEIRUT: Kurdish forces in northern Syria have pushed back an advance by ISIS fighters toward the town of Kobani in overnight clashes, two Kurdish officials said Thursday.

UK: Iran part of solution to fight ISIL in Syria- PRESS TV

Iran can help defeat the ISIL terrorists in Syria, British Prime Minister David Cameron has said following talks with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

Addressing the 69th session of the UN General Assembly in New York on Thursday, Cameron said Iran “could be part of the solution” in defeating the terrorist group.

“Iran's leaders could help in defeating the threat from ISIL,” Cameron said.

The British premier added that Iranian authorities “could help secure a more stable, inclusive Iraq, and a more stable, inclusive Syria,” and urged the international community to welcome actions on the part of Iran to combat the Takfiri militants.

Cameron noted that the international coalition against the threat imposed by ISIL must be inclusive. He also said he will hold a parliamentary debate Friday to discuss a possible British involvement in airstrikes against the ISIL positions in Iraq.

Cameron and Rouhani discussed ties and regional issues in a landmark meeting on Wednesday. It was the first bilateral talks between a UK prime minister and an Iranian president since Iran's Islamic Revolution in 1979.

Syria rebels, experts say US airstrikes hit Al-Nusra Front not "Khorasan"- Al-Akhbar

The US says it has hit a group called "Khorasan" in Syria, but experts and Syria's so called "moderate" opposition argue it actually struck al-Qaeda's Syrian affiliate, al-Nusra Front, which fights alongside the Syria rebels.
In announcing its raids in the northern province of Aleppo on Tuesday, Washington described the group it targeted as Khorasan, a cell of al-Qaeda veterans planning attacks against the West. But many cast doubt on the distinction between Khorasan and al-Nusra Front.
"In Syria, no one had ever heard talk of Khorasan until the US media brought it up," said Rami Abdel Rahman, director of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
"Rebels, activists and the whole world knows that these positions (hit Tuesday) were al-Nusra positions, and the fighters killed were al-Nusra fighters," added Abdel Rahman, who has tracked the Syrian conflict since it erupted in 2011.
Aron Lund, editor of the Syria in Crisis website run by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, raised similar doubts.

Russia tops ISIS threat, Ebola worst of all? Lavrov puzzled by Obama’s UN speech- RT

Following the US President’s speech at the UN, Russian FM Sergey Lavrov was puzzled with Barack Obama’s ranking of international threats: deadly Ebola virus top, followed by so-called Russian aggression and ISIS in Syria and Iraq only third?
Gathered at the UN headquarters in New York, the world leaders attending the 69th General Assembly heard Barack Obama highlighting the three most significant global threats today.
“As we gather here, an outbreak of Ebola overwhelms public health systems in West Africa, and threatens to move rapidly across borders. Russian aggression in Europe recalls the days when large nations trampled small ones in pursuit of territorial ambition. The brutality of terrorists in Syria and Iraq forces us to look into the heart of darkness,” the US leader said at the beginning of his statement.
Reacting to the speech, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov spoke with astonishment.
“We earned the second place among the threats to international peace and stability,” Lavrov told journalists on the sidelines of the UN assembly.
Not only the ranking of international threats seemed bizarre to Lavrov, especially in the light of the current strikes in Iraq and Syria that bypassed the UN mandate, but also Obama’s certainty that the world has become “freer and safer.”

First female UAE fighter pilot joins anti-ISIS mission- RT

A female military pilot from the United Arab Emirates is not only leading her country’s fight against ISIS in Syria, but also fighting off marriage proposals, after photos of the trailblazing flying ace went viral.
Major Mariam Al Mansouri, 35, is the first female fighter pilot from the United Arab Emirates.
She commands a squadron of F-16 jets which carried out attacks on Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) positions in Iraq and Syria.

Activists Say US-led Airstrikes Kill 14 Militants in Syria- VOA

Syrian activists say suspected U.S.-led airstrikes have killed 14 militants and five civilians in northeastern Syria.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Thursday the overnight strikes hit the Deir el-Zour and Hassakeh areas.
On Wednesday, U.S. forces and those from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates conducted 13 airstrikes in eastern Syria as part of an operation against the Islamic State group.
U.S. Central Command, which oversees American military operations in the Middle East, said the attacks targeted small-scale oil refineries that generate up to $2 million per day for the militants.

Cameron wants UK to join in airstrikes in Iraq- Al-Arabiya

Prime Minister David Cameron said late Wednesday that he wanted the British Parliament to approve joining international airstrikes against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group in Iraq after Baghdad requested London’s help.
Cameron announced the move in his address to the U.N. General Assembly.
In doing so, Cameron also recalled parliament to secure its approval for military action.

Parliament, which was in recess, will reconvene on Friday to vote on allowing Britain’s Royal Air Force to hit ISIS targets in northern Iraq. The action has the backing of all three main parties and is expected to comfortably pass.

Cameron spoke after U.S. planes pounded ISIS positions in Syria for a second day. But the strikes did not halt the fighters’ advance in a Kurdish area where fleeing refugees told of villages burnt and captives beheaded, Reuters reported. 

Syrian Civilians a Target for US-Led Strikes- Al-Manar

In a blatant violation for human rights, US-led strikes in Syria killed civilians, including a child.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights a series of strikes overnight killed 14 ISIL militants and five other civilians.

The London-based monitoring group said the militants were killed in strikes in the eastern province of Deir Ezzor, and the civilians died in raids in northeastern Hasakeh.

The strikes largely targeted oil facilities captured by the Islamic State group (IS), though Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman said at least one IS checkpoint was among the targets hit during the night.

Among the civilians killed in Hasakeh was a child, he added.

Erdogan promises Salam to help secure hostages’ release- The Daily Star

BEIRUT: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan promised Prime Minister Tammam Salam Wednesday to help in securing the release of Lebanese servicemen captured by extremist militants, said ministerial sources accompanying Salam on his visit to New York.
Speaking to The Daily Star on condition of anonymity, the sources said the Turkish president vowed to make efforts to resolve the case, adding that Salam and Erdogan also discussed the need to improve Arab-Turkish ties as well as Lebanese-Turkish relations.
Militants from the Nusra Front and ISIS are holding at least 21 Lebanese Army soldiers and policemen they captured during their brief takeover of the northeastern town of Arsal last month.

US says ISIL-run oil refineries targeted- Al-Jazeera

US-led air strikes have targeted oil refineries controlled by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group in eastern Syria for a third day, US officials say.

Saudi Arabia and the UAE joined in the strikes by piloted and drone aircraft targeting facilities around al-Mayadeen, al-Hasakah, and Albu Kamal, the US military said on Wednesday.

Only hours later, David Cameron, UK prime minister, told the UN General Assembly that Britain should join the US-led air strikes against the ISIL in Iraq, adding that his country's parliament has been recalled to secure approval.

"I am therefore recalling the British parliament on Friday to secure approval for the UK to take part in international air strikes against the ISIL in Iraq," Cameron told the 193-member UN General Assembly.

Syria-to-Ukraine Wars Send U.S. Defense Stocks to Records- Bloomberg

Led by Lockheed Martin Corp. (LMT), the biggest U.S. defense companies are trading at recordprices as shareholders reap rewards from escalating military conflicts around the world.
Investors see rising sales for makers of missiles, drones and other weapons as the U.S. hits Islamic State fighters in Syria and Iraq, said Jack Ablin, chief investment officer at Chicago-based BMO Private Bank. President Barack Obama approved open-ended airstrikes this month while ruling out ground combat.
“As we ramp up our military muscle in the Mideast, there’s a sense that demand for military equipment and weaponry will likely rise,” said Ablin, who oversees $66 billion including Northrop Grumman Corp. (NOC) and Boeing Co. (BA) shares. “To the extent we can shift away from relying on troops and rely more heavily on equipment -- that could present an opportunity.”
Bombardments of Islamic State strongholds added to tensions this year that include U.S.-led sanctions on Russia for backing Ukrainian rebels and China’s feuds with neighbors over disputed South China Sea islands. The U.S. also is the biggest foreign military supplier to Israel, which waged a 50-day offensive against the Hamas Islamic movement in the Gaza Strip.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Syrian rebels’ access blocked to key Damascus neighborhood- Al-Monitor

DAMASCUS, Syria — Since Sept. 17, showers of mortar shells and Katyusha rockets have been falling on Damascus. The calm that has prevailed in the city over the past few months disappeared when rebel fighters began escalating their attack on the eastern Ghouta front. This has led to new fronts opening up in several areas surrounding Damascus.

But little has changed for the people of Damascus since the Ajnad al-Sham Islamic Union announced the Ajnad 2 Operation in eastern Ghouta on Sept. 15. Damascenes have grown accustomed to falling rockets, an addition to the routine of daily traffic jams and crowds on the city’s streets. When a shell falls, only a few panic, and an hour later life returns to normal.
The Ajnad 2 operation, which targeted the security cordon around Damascus — including the neighborhoods of Abu Remmaneh, Malki, Shalan and al-Rawda — started after a video statement from Ajnad al-Sham on Sept. 15. “[The operation was started] following the hideous massacres and barbaric bombings by the regime on the besieged areas, particularly in Damascus and eastern and western Ghouta, that have reached civilian complexes and residential neighborhoods, claiming the lives of hundreds of martyrs and wounding [many more], especially in the besieged towns of eastern Ghouta.”

Iranian FM, UN Envoy for Syria Meet in New York- Fars News

During the meeting on Tuesday evening, Zarif welcomed de Mistura's view exchanges with the Syrian officials and different groups to reach a comprehensive political agreement, and underlined the need for effective and unbiased activity of the UN envoy for Syria.

He referred to the presence of different terrorist groups in Syria, specially the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), and said, "Fighting terrorism that the Islamic Republic of Iran had stressed as its priority since the very first day, has today turned into a priority for the international community."

De Mistura, for his part, underlined the necessity for reaching comprehensive reconciliation among all sides in Syria, and said he has had meetings with President Bashar al-Assad and other officials as well as moderate opposition groups in the country and plans to meet the regional officials, including Iranians, in his upcoming visits to different countries of the region.

Obama's Syria dilemma: Does hurting ISIS help al-Assad?- CNN

(CNN) -- The United States has inflicted damage on one enemy in Syria with the airstrikes it launched against ISIS. But it may also be helping another foe: the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

Rewind a year, and it was al-Assad's forces, not Islamic militants, against which President Barack Obama was weighing military action. Those strikes never happened, due in large part to a timely diplomatic intervention from Russia.

Now, warplanes from the U.S. and Arab nations are pummeling the stronghold of ISIS, a group that has gained global notoriety for its brutal tactics and ruthless treatment of people who don't follow its extremist version of Islam.

Lebanon: Incitement against the army leads to more attacks in Tripoli- Al-Akhbar

Since the recent clashes in Ersal, terrorist attacks targeting the Lebanese army in the northern city of Tripoli are no longer restricted to some hand grenades thrown at night near military barracks or to locally-produced IEDs targeting army patrols.
It was 4:00 am on Tuesday, September 23 when a group of terrorists opened fire at an army checkpoint in al-Akouma region in al-Badawi near Tripoli’s northern entrance, killing one soldier, Mohammed Khaled Hussein from the town of Tikrit in Akkar, and injuring two others.

According to preliminary information, the unknown assailants were driving an unidentified vehicle as they shot at the soldiers who were unable to retaliate.

This attack was the first of its kind since a security plan was implemented in the city last April, suggesting that the terrorist groups are now planning to exercise more pressure on the army in order to distract it on more than one front, alongside the campaign led by Future Movement MPs and extremist salafi clerics inciting people against the army.

UNSC demands tough global laws to stop foreign extremist fighters- RT

In the wake of the rise of the Islamic State the UN Security Council has unanimously adopted a resolution demanding all member states to make it a serious criminal offense for their citizens to travel abroad to fight with extremists or support them.
The resolution targets fighters traveling to conflicts anywhere in the world.
While expressing concern that "foreign terrorist fighters increase the intensity, duration and intractability of conflicts, and also may pose a serious threat to their states of origin, the states they transit and the states to which they travel," it does not mandate military force to tackle the foreign fighter issue.
It also condemns violent extremism and sectarian violence while demanding that all foreign extremist fighters withdraw immediately from all armed conflict zones.
States are required to prevent any further such movements by foreign fighters - by means of tougher border controls. Travel data and screening can be used for risk assessment.
The document is legally binding for all the 193 UN member states and gives the UNSC authority to enforce decisions with economic sanctions or force.

How Islamic State Administers Territory in Eastern Syria- Syrian Observer

In just a year, the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS) has set up an efficient government in eastern Syria. Since then, many stories have surfaced of the brutality of this jihadist group and its crimes, yet other reports have shown a different point of view.

Ahmad, from a village in Deir-ez-Zor, expressed admiration for what the "state" has done in the areas under its control, including forming legal bodies, committees and directorates in various fields.

According to Ahmad, the organization has formed the system of 'Assas' or 'night watchmen' to monitor and protect individuals in public places and markets, in addition to building police stations to solve disputes among civilians using legal documents which later are referred to courts.

A media activist from Deir-ez-Zor commented on IS practices, saying: "It is interesting how the crimes of robbery and murder are now non-existent anymore, and inter-clan conflicts have almost disappeared."

"All of that is the result of using assas and IS agents who are deployed among people in large numbers," he said.

Islamic State finds fertile ground in Jordan- BBC News

It is unusual to meet jihadists in a public place in Jordan, as they tend to steer clear of security services.
However, I met Abu Mohammed al-Maqdisi, the spiritual leader of the Jordanian Salafist jihadist movement, at a book fair in Amman.
Maqdisi, also known as Isam Mohammad Taher al-Barqawi, was once described by an American think tank as the world's most influential jihadist ideologue.
He is quoted more widely than anyone else in jihadist literature and his writings helped inspire Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the late leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI).
Observers have therefore been following what the Palestinian-born Jordanian cleric has been saying about Islamic State (IS), which grew out of AQI and has seized large parts of Iraq and Syria.

Among U.S. partners striking Syria, Turkey is missing- The Washington Post

When President Obama spoke Tuesday of the strikes on the Islamic State and al Qaeda in Syria, he prominently mentioned five partner nations from the Middle East: Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Bahrain, and Qatar. These countries had contributed militarily to the fight against extremists, he said, describing them as a "friends and partners."

Ulusal Koalisyon: Suriye’de rejime operasyon yapılmalı- YDH

YDH-El Arabiya televizyonunun haberine göre salı günü Suriye’deki terörist gruplara ait mevzilere düzenlenen hava operasyonunu olumlu karşıladığını belirten Ulusal Koalisyon, hava saldırılarının Suriye yönetimini de hedef alması gerektiğini ifade etti.

Amerika liderliğindeki uluslar arası koalisyon güçlerinin savaş uçakları ve insansız hava araçları ile düzenlediği dünkü saldırıda Nusra, IŞİD ve Ahrar Şam mevzilerinin hedef alındığı bildirilmişti.

Erdogan says Turkey will join fight against Islamic State- Al-Monitor

After much speculation about where it stands, Turkey is now signaling that it will no longer sit on the fence regarding the Islamic State (IS) and will participate in efforts against it in any way needed.

Isis: Secret footage purports to show life under the Islamic State in Raqqa- The Independent

A woman has provided a rare glimpse of what live is like under the brutal rule of Isis after secretly filming herself walking around the streets of the terror group's capital in northern Syria.

In the video, which was shot in the city of Raqqa, armed women and men can be seen walking the streets – in one instance a woman with what appears to be an AK-47 strapped to her back takes a toddler into a playground.

Raqqa has become the stronghold of the militant group as it tries to establish a caliphate across northern parts of Syria and Iraq.

The video, which was first broadcast on France2, also shows French women talking to their families via Facebook in an internet café in the centre of Raqqa.

U.S. military leaders: Strikes in Syria are just the start of a prolonged campaign- The Washington Post

U.S. military leaders said Tuesday their aerial bombardment of Syria was only the beginning of a prolonged campaign that will continue intermittently for months and will become more difficult as targeted militants seek refuge in populated areas.
The United States is now attacking two sets of enemies in the region: the Islamic State, a growing movement of jihadists seeking to create its own country in the Middle East, and the Khora­san group, a smaller network affiliated with al-Qaeda that officials say is plotting against Europe and the United States.
At the same time, as the U.S. military and its Arab partners prepare more airstrikes in Syria in the coming days, they will have to contend with another adversary: Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Wrong Turn on Syria: No Convincing Plan- The New York Times

President Obama has put America at the center of a widening war by expanding into Syria airstrikes against the Islamic State, the Sunni extremist group known as ISIS and ISIL. He has done this without allowing the public debate that needs to take place before this nation enters another costly and potentially lengthy conflict in the Middle East.

US reportedly informed Iran in advance of Syria airstrikes- Fox News

The U.S. reportedly informed Iran before conducting its first airstrikes against the Islamic State in Syria, and said the military did not intend to strike the forces of Syrian President Bashar Assad.
A senior Iranian official told Reuters that the U.S. repeatedly assured Tehran in talks that Syrian government troops would not be targeted in the airstrikes, which began late Monday.
"This issue was first discussed in Geneva and then was discussed thoroughly in New York where Iran was assured that Assad and his government will not be targeted in case of any military action against Daesh (Islamic State) in Syria," the official said.
The official told Reuters that separately from the prior conversations, the U.S. also informed Tehran that the airstrikes would begin.

US-led strikes on Isis in Syria have opened a new Middle East battlefront- The Guardian

By taking the fight to Islamic State (Isis) militants in Syria, Barack Obama has opened up a broad new Middle East battlefront – and started something that, by his own admission, he cannot finish. The US president warned this month that his vow to “degrade and destroy” Isis would take years to achieve. Obama’s successor in the White House is now likely to inherit, as did Obama in 2009, an ongoing, costly and intractable Middle East conflict.
The intervention is significant in other respects. Obama has stepped into the middle of Syria’s civil war after three years of resolutely striving to keep out. The possible consequences of this volte-face are unfathomable. The scale of Tuesday’s attack, involving fighter bombers, drones and sea-launched Tomahawk cruise missiles, was a big escalation compared with the more limited strikes on Isis in Iraq since August. Obama’s action was triggered by fears of an imminent massacre of Syrian Kurds, who fled in large numbers across the Turkish border last weekend in the face of Isis attacks.