"And I have found both freedom and safety in my madness, the freedom of loneliness and the safety from being understood, for those who understand us enslave something in us. But let me not be too proud of my safety. Even a Thief in a jail is safe from another thief. "
Khalil Gibran (How I Became a Madman)
Khalil Gibran (How I Became a Madman)
Sunday, November 30, 2014
Saturday, November 29, 2014
The Islamic State group attacked the Syrian-Kurdish border town of Kobani on Saturday, but Turkey said a Kurdish claim that the militants launched the assault from Turkey was a lie.
A statement from Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu's office said Turkish security forces have taken "all necessary precautions" along the border.
U.N. health experts have noted three cases of myiasis near Damascus, marking the first appearance of the flesh-eating maggot disease in Syria, AFP reported.
Myiasis, an affliction caused when flies lay their eggs in wounds, is not lethal for humans, but its appearance says a lot about worsening living conditions in war-ravaged Syria, the World Health Organization said.
It has already issued an alert about the reappearance of polio in the north of the country, where tuberculosis, typhoid and scabies have again become endemic.
At least 40 fighters on both sides were killed as Syrian Kurdish fighters and ISIS militants clashed in the northern Syrian city of Kobani, a monitoring group said Saturday.
Militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group attacked a Kurdish-controlled post on the Syrian-Turkish border Saturday for the first time, a monitor and Turkish officials said.
The attack on the post separating the Syrian town of Kobane from Turkey was followed by fierce clashes between Kurdish and ISIS fighters.
The fighting came as Syria's foreign minister said US-led airstrikes had failed to weaken ISIS in Syria and that the jihadist group would not be tackled unless Turkey was forced to tighten border controls.
The army dismantled on Saturday an explosive device and an anti-tank mine on the outskirts of the northeastern border town of Arsal, it announced in a statement.
The bomb was placed on the side of a dirt road that the army frequently uses in its patrols, reported LBCI television.
The device contained 20 kilograms of explosives, added the army communique.
It was discovered as the military was searching a number of roads on the outskirts of Arsal.
The army also unearthed an anti-tank mine in the area.
The United States and Israel are run by “Zionist psychopaths” who are recruiting and training “mind-controlled killers” to “set the Middle East on fire,” says a political activist in Wyoming.
The leader of ISIL, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, “is an Israeli actor trained by both CIA and Mossad” to lead a terrorist organization that “only attacks Muslims, not the US or Israel,” said J Bruce Campbell, a member of the American Defense Party, a non-voting political action party dedicated to ending the Zionist power structure in the US.
“The US and Israeli governments are run by Frankenstein psychopaths, Zionist psychopaths” seeking to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad “who will not obey them,” Campbell told Press TV on Saturday.
Two months of US-led air strikes have failed to weaken Islamic State (IS) militants, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem has said.
A US-led coalition has carried out nearly 300 air strikes in Syria since September.
Mr Moualem told Lebanese TV the only way to tackle IS was to force Turkey to tighten border controls to stop foreign fighters crossing into Syria.
Friday, November 28, 2014
The Lebanese army has succeeded in securing the city of Tripoli following the widespread emergence of Islamist organizations and movements there in the absence of the state and its institutions. The step was lauded by all political parties as a chance for the Lebanese army to show its readiness to fight terror organizations. Its strength was boosted by some recently acquired capabilities in addition to its accumulated expertise since the unrest of Nahr al-Bared in May 2007, the first confrontation between the army and terrorist organizations.
Renowned Lebanese poet and writer Said Akl passed away on Friday morning at the age of 102.
Akl was born in 1912 in the eastern town of Zahleh, and quit school at the age of 15 to help his family after financial difficulties. He later pursued studies in literature in the 1930s after moving to Beirut.
Famous for his radical Lebanese nationalism, Akl, also known as the "Little Poet," promoted the use of Lebanese dialect written in modified Roman script rather than the modern standard Arabic and alphabet.
He was defined by his Phoenician-centered nationalism, which made him popular among many Lebanese and controversial among others.
After having left the Syrian Social Nationalist Party, Akl became one of the leaders of the Guardians of the Cedars, a radical nationalist political party created during the Lebanese Civil War which welcomed the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon, seeing it as a golden opportunity for forcing Palestinians out of Lebanon.
Although mostly known for his poetry, the deceased writer was also a journalist and wrote for several newspapers such as Al-Jarida, Al-Sayyad, and had a column in Assafir in the 1990s.
BEIRUT — Lebanese Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil said, “We cannot be against cooperation with the United States if it serves our interests. And we have to test its seriousness in fighting terrorism.”
Over the last 5 days, the Al-Nusra Front (Jabhat Al-Nusra) has sustained substantially high losses during their siege of the villages of Al-Zahra and Nubl. According to a military source, a total of 179 dead militants from the Al-Nusra Front and Jaysh Al-Mujahiddeen have been counted since Monday. Among these casualties were many foreigners and field commanders, including the leader of the Al-Nusra Front operation at Nubl, “Abu Khataab Al-‘Uzbeki” – he was identified by a captured militant.
Field sources say the fall of the city is imminent
Key rebel groups of Aleppo province are massing efforts to unite under one military command, as the fall of the city to regime forces seems imminent, field sources reported.
A rebel commander told Zaman al-Wasl that a unified command is the only solution to surpass all challenges, whether on the battleground or in managing civilian issues in rebel-held areas. For that, rebel senior commanders have held a series of meetings, the source said.
"Conflict of interest is considered the rebels’ weakness point, as rebel areas turned to be cantons affiliates to this leader or that," the source said.
Meanwhile, Bashar al-Assad’s forces contrinue to press very hard to invade Aleppo’s rebel-held suburbs.
For apostolic vicar in Aleppo, young Christians bear witness to the faith in a wounded city- Asia News
Aleppo (AsiaNews) - Many young people, not all Christians, have been volunteering, dedicated to helping others "through a genuine sense of faith". They are "scores of young men and women" from the community "who see Christ in others and want to serve Him" to rebuild what war has divided and torn asunder, said Mgr Georges Abou Khazen, apostolic vicar of Aleppo of the Latins.
Speaking to AsiaNews, the prelate saw a silver line amid conflict and violence, examples and stories that brought some renewed hope. For him, many young people "have made a step forward", because their work is not only "simple humanitarian aid" but contains a deeper meaning that stems from their Christian faith.
They have done and do a lot for a community like Aleppo's that has been battered by three years of war.
Teenagers and young men and women spend some of their time "helping the needy" and "in aid distribution".
Beirut, Asharq Al-Awsat—Fourteen rebel factions in Aleppo, in the north of Syria, are seeking to form a joint military command to coordinate attacks against Syrian government forces, local opposition sources have told Asharq Al-Awsat.
Efforts to unify rebel ranks in the eastern and northern parts of Aleppo began three months ago with the aim of “preventing the regime from imposing a siege on the city and confronting it within a unified military framework and joint operations room,” head of Aleppo’s Revolutionary Command Council Yasser Al-Najjar told Asharq Al-Awsat.
Only seven rebel factions have backed integration efforts so far despite calls for all local forces to join, Najjar said.
“These factions have the right to join and will have an effective role in helping the city and defending its neighborhoods,” the opposition official added.
Aleppo, previously a major Syrian economic and industrial hub, remains divided between government forces and moderate Islamist factions loosely affiliated to the Free Syrian Army (FSA). Anti-government forces hold more than 50 percent of the city, mainly its eastern and southern neighborhoods.
The new deal excludes groups affiliated with Al-Nusra Front, Al-Qaeda’s franchise in Syria.
The Syrian Arab Army’s 104th Airborne Brigade of the Republican Guard carried out numerous raids on the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham’s (ISIS) positions at Central Park and the Agricultural Research Facility on Sakr Island (Haweeja Sakr) this week. These raids resulted in a number of militants killed and their weapons seized as the 104th Brigade continued their offensive to capture this strategic area in the vicinity of the provincial capital of Deir Ezzor.
Updated at 4:55 pm (GMT+2): Families of a group of abducted Lebanese soldiers faced off riot police Friday after the latter reopened a Beirut road they had been blocking, state-run National News Agency (NNA) reported.
Sitting with their legs crossed in the middle of the highway on the cold November morning, the families, including children, blocked the Charles Helou highway in the capital Beirut in both directions, in a desperate attempt to pressure the Lebanese government to bring back their sons.
It has been a frustrating and painful four months for the families of the estimated 29 soldiers and policemen who were abducted by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), and Syria’s al-Qaeda branch, the al-Nusra Front, during a five-day battle with the army in the northeastern town of Ersal on the border with Syria in August.
Since the abduction, ISIS has beheaded two soldiers, while Nusra shot a third.
Two hours into the protest on Friday, riot police managed to reopen the road after they used water canons to disperse the protesters and violently dragged the families away.
According to the British news agency Reuters, Qatar, which has hosted for at least one year a training base for commando going under the logo of the Free Syrian Army, is preparing to train Islamist fighters.
The three-month training would be mainly focused on setting up an ambush. Qatar would reportedly be training fighters in small groups of 20 to 30 men.
The three-month training would be mainly focused on setting up an ambush. Qatar would reportedly be training fighters in small groups of 20 to 30 men.
Seven people, including five members of one family, have been killed in air strikes carried out by Syrian government jets on the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant-held city of Raqqa, according to activists.
The strikes on Thursday targeted the districts of al-Jisr al-Qadeem, al-Mashlab, al-Handada al-Madaniya and buildings of the National Hospital and the municipality, in addition to al-Daraya district in southern Raqqa .
Syrian activists said 10 people, including three fighters from ISIL, were also killed during a government bombardment of a bridge on the Euphrates River, in Deir Ezzor in eastern Syria.
State news agency SANA reported that army units also destroyed a 30 metre tunnel and an ISIL headquarters in the al-Jubaila neighbourhood. It said gatherings of ISIL, including vehicles, were also hit in some neighbourhoods of Deir Ezzor
Thursday, November 27, 2014
The Islamic State, the Al Nusrah Front, the Islamic Front, and Junud al Sham have been showcasing camps in Iraq and Syria that are being used to indoctrinate and train children to wage jihad. The groups have recently advertised a number of training facilities for children, including one located in Ninewa province in Iraq and others in Aleppo, in and around the Islamic State's self-proclaimed capital of Raqqah, and other areas of Syria.
In a propaganda video called "Blood of Jihad 2," the Islamic State highlighted a children's training camp in Iraq's Ninewa province. The video shows more than a dozen children being taught hand-to-hand combat, weapons handling, and what appears to be infantry tactics. The name of the training facility is apparently the "Abu Musab al Zarqawi camp," a tribute to the deceased founder of al Qaeda in Iraq, which was the precursor to the Islamic State. It is unclear if this facility is related to the "Zarqawi Cubs Camp" in Damascus, Syria or if multiple children's camps are named after the slain terrorist.
YDH- Londra’da yayımlanan Kudsu’l Arabi gazetesinin haberine göre Hizbullah’ın Çarşamba günü Doğu Guta’nın Uteybe bölgesindeki pususunda 30 militan öldü çok sayıda militan da yaralandı.
Wednesday, November 26, 2014
At a desert base, Gulf state Qatar, with the help of the United States, has been covertly training the so-called “moderate” Syria rebels to fight the Syrian army and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group as well as other extremist groups for over a year, sources claimed Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin met Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem in Russia's Black Sea resort of Sochi for talks Wednesday, the Kremlin said.
The camp, south of the capital between Saudi Arabia's border and Udeid area, the largest US air base in the Middle East, is being used to train the Free Syrian Army (FSA) militants and other so-called “moderate” rebels, the sources said.
Reuters could not independently identify the participants in the program or witness activity inside the base, which lies in a military zone guarded by Qatari special forces and marked on signposts as a restricted area.
But Syrian rebel sources said training in Qatar has included rebels affiliated to the FSA from northern Syria.
DAMASCUS, Syria — Defying the war around it, locals in Damascus took part in a city bicycle convoy Nov. 21 to promote the use of bikes to bypass traffic woes exacerbated by dozens of military and security checkpoints. The “Yalla Let’s Bike” initiative organized the ride under the slogan “A bicycle on the road keeps the traffic away,” with 900 Syrians of different ages and social classes taking part.
Tens of thousands of Christians have fled Syria's war-wracked second city Aleppo but many others are determined to hold out despite their dread of Islamic State jihadists.
Christians of various denominations make up around 10 percent of Syria's population and Aleppo alone was home to some 250,000 before the civil war reached the city in 2012.
In the Orthodox church of Mar Elias, the golden-robed deacon blesses his dwindling congregation of around 100 with incense as the choir muffles out nearby bombardment.
Tuesday, November 25, 2014
AMMAN // As Western-backed rebels in northern Syria were suffering a crushing defeat by Jabhat Al Nusra earlier this month, an angry commander on the country's southern front shouted at military advisers from the US, UK and Gulf states, telling them their tactics were badly failing.
The rebel leader, Abu Osama Al Jolani, was “furious” and “yelling”, according to opposition accounts of the incident, which unfolded at the Military Operations Command (MOC) in Amman, a centre staffed by international advisers aiding rebels in southern Syria.
Mr Al Jolani, the 37-year-old head of the Syrian Revolutionaries' Front's (SRF) southern command, told personnel at MOC that limited and poorly coordinated supplies — including munitions and other essential equipment — to rebels in the north had allowed the Al Qaeda affiliate, Al Nusra, and the even more extreme ISIL group, to defeat moderates.
He warned that a similar scenario would play out in the south unless urgent steps were taken to bolster the standing of moderate factions in the face of rising extremism.
More than 100 of the 600 Turkish citizens that have gone to fight for jihadist groups such as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) have perished in battle, according to intelligence estimates, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said late Nov. 24.
Some 7,000 foreigners have been banned from entering Turkey and 1,100 people were deported on suspicions that they may join jihadist groups, the minister said in reply to questions by lawmakers in Parliament during budget discussions.
The foreign minister said it was unfair to expect Turkey, which has a 1,000-kilometer-long border with Syria and Iraq, to tackle alone the problem of foreign fighters crossing through Turkish territory. He asked Western countries to share more intelligence with Turkey on suspected militants so that Turkish authorities can stop them from entering the country.
Monday, November 24, 2014
The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and the National Defense Forces (NDF) have captured the mills located on the junction between the Hasakah-Tal Abyad Road in the village of Makhroum. Following the capture of the mills, the SAA and NDF took complete control of the Hasakah-Tal Abyad Road during the violent clashes with the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS) in the village of Makhroum; this resulted in the latter’s withdrawal to Jabal ‘Abdel-Aziz. According to a military source, 33 confirmed members of ISIS were killed during the battle with the SAA and NDF at Makhroum.
Saturday, November 22, 2014
Outgoing artillery shook St Elias church as the priest reached the end of the Lord's Prayer.
The small congregation kept their eyes on the pulpit, kneeling when required and trying to ignore the regular thuds that rattled the stained glass windows above them.
Home to one of the oldest Christian communities in the world, the hard to reach Syrian agricultural town of Izraa has stood the comings and goings of many empires over the centuries.
But as the country's civil war creeps closer, it is threatening to force the town's Christians into permanent exile: never to return, they fear.
Two British men have reportedly been killed while fighting alongside Islamic State militants in Syria.
The men - known as Abu Abdullah al-Habashi, 21, and Abu Dharda, 20 - were from London.
IS sources and social media accounts associated with the group suggest they died in recent days in US air strikes in the border town of Kobane.
About 27 Britons are understood to have lost their lives after joining the jihadists.
The reports of the men's deaths could not be independently verified and the BBC was unable to contact their families.
Al-Habashi grew up in north London in a British-Eritrean family and converted to Islam when he was 16.
Singer turned fugitive Islamist Fadel Shaker stressed on Saturday that his ties with Salafist cleric Sheikh Ahmed Asir has ended after the 2013 Abra clashes.
“I will not hand my self over to the judiciary,” Shaker said in comments to al-Fajr radio station, denying that he assaulted the military during the clashes with the army in the southern town of Abra, near the city of Sidon.
Shaker had fled justice more than a year ago following bloody incidents that erupted in June 2013 in Abra, between the army and supporters of al-Asir.
Sidon’s clashes were the most intense bouts of violence in Lebanon linked to the conflict in Syria, and have resulted in the death of at least 16 troops.
Al-Asir, is still on the run.
Friday, November 21, 2014
Thursday, November 20, 2014
Kataeb Party leader Amin Gemayel expressed concern on Thursday over the “dangerous situation” imposed by the vacuum at the Baabda Palace, calling on the Lebanese arch-foes, in particular those behind the obstruction of the presidential elections, to assume their responsibilities.
“Lebanese factions shouldn't under any circumstances obstruct a national, legal, constitutional and political path,” Gemayel said in a lengthy interview with the Kuwaiti al-Rai newspaper. “It is an unforgivable sin.”
He pointed out that “the risks, burden and crises are accumulating in a time we desperately need a full-functioning Lebanese authority.”
The Christian leader lashed out at the sides that are “on purpose impeding the elections and prolonging the vacuum.”
Aleppo's oldest hotel, where Agatha Christie wrote Murder on the Orient Express, falls into ruin on Syria's front line- Dail Mail
It was once the most stylish hotel in Aleppo, hosting the likes of former French leader Charles de Gaulle and novelist Agatha Christie.
But the feted Baron Hotel has been forced to close its doors as the Syrian civil war grips the city, with the front line separating government and rebel forces just metres away from the building.
Haunting photos of owner Armen Mazloumian sitting on the abandoned terrace and empty rooms in the once-grand hotel have emerged painting a bleak picture of life on the front line.
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Syrian Army Captures Well 107 in Jabal Al-Sha’ar; Desert Hawks Officer Killed in Battle- Al-Masdar News
The Syrian Arab Army’s 18th Brigade of the 3rd Infantry Division has captured Well 107 in Jabal Al-Sha’ar, asserting their control over the remaining ISIS positions near the gas fields. Last week, the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS) were able to breach the 18th Brigade’s defenses and retake Well 107; this came days after the latter captured Wells 105 and 108 during a brief operation at Al-Sha’ar Gas Fields. However, the 18th Brigade launched a counter-attack on Wednesday morning and reestablished control over the gas well.