"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


Sunday, November 30, 2014

Koalisyon güçlerine ait savaş uçakları, IŞİD hedeflerini bombaladı- TRT Haber

ABD öncülüğündeki koalisyon güçlerine ait savaş uçaklarının, terör örgütü IŞİD'in denetimindeki Rakka kentine 30 hava saldırısı düzenlediği bildirildi.
Suriye Genel Devrim Konseyinden (SRGC) yapılan açıklamada, koalisyon güçlerine ait savaş uçaklarının ülkenin kuzeyindeki IŞİD'in kontrolünde bulunan Rakka'ya 30 hava saldırısında bulunduğu kaydedildi. Saldırıların kentin sanayi bölgesi, 17. tümen, Fürüsiye bölgesi ile terör örgütü IŞİD güçlerinin bulunduğu yerlere gerçekleştiği belirtildi. Açıklamada, saldırılarda ölen ya da yaralananlarla ilgili bilgi verilmedi.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Islamists come out on top in new effort to unify Syrian rebel groups- Mc Clatchy DC

 — Seventy-two Syrian rebel groups on Saturday announced a new coalition to battle the government of President Bashar Assad. But hopes that moderate rebels would dominate the meeting were dashed when extremists gained more of the 17 executive positions than had been expected.
Col. Muhammad Hallak, who represented a moderate faction attending the three-day organizational meeting, accused Islamists, especially Ahrar al Sham, which is known to work closely with al Qaida’s Syrian affiliate, the Nusra Front, of capturing more positions than its influence in the rebellion deserved.
A review of the names by McClatchy indicated that moderates hold only six or seven of the 17 executive positions.

Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2014/11/29/248482_islamists-come-out-on-top-in-new.html?rh=1#storylink=cpy

Ankara: IS Attack on Kobani Not Launched from Turkey- VOA

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.

Flesh-eating maggot disease surfaces in Syria- Al-Arabiya

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 killed in Syrian city of Kobani- CNN

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.


ISIS attacks border post as Syria FM says group not weakened by US strikes- Al-Akhbar

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.

Army Dismantles Explosive on Outskirts of Arsal- Naharnet

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.

Maliki in Beirut to discuss combating terror- Daily Star

BEIRUT: Iraqi Vice President Nouri Maliki arrived in Lebanon Saturday and is scheduled to meet with a number of officials here to discuss regional developments and ties between Baghdad and Beirut in combating terrorism.
Maliki arrived in the afternoon at the Rafik Hariri International airport and was received by Hezbollah and Amal Movement MPs as well as Iraqi Ambassador Raad Halwasi and Sheikh Mohammad Kawtharani, representing Hezbollah chief Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah.

Isis launches attack on Kobani from inside Turkey for first time- The Guardian

Islamic State (Isis) has launched an attack on the Syrian border town of Kobani from Turkey for the first time, a Kurdish official and activists said.
The assault began with a suicide attack by a bomber in an armoured vehicle on the border crossing between Kobani and Turkey, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), a UK-based opposition group, said.
Nawaf Khalil, a spokesman for Syria’s Kurdish Democratic Union party, said that Isis “used to attack the town from three sides” but “today, they are attacking from four sides”.

ISIL leader trained by CIA, Mossad to overthrow Assad: Analyst- PRESS TV

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.

Army assumes control of building blocks in Daraa, eliminates over 150 ISIS terrorists in Hasaka- SANA

Provinces, SANA – Army stepped up operations on Saturday, inflicting heavy losses upon terrorists’ ranks in personnel and equipment, with over 150 ISIS terrorists killed in Hasaka, while army units managed to assume control of several building blocks in an area in Daraa.
Units of the Army and Armed Forces are advancing in al-Sheikh Miskeen town in the countryside of Daraa, establishing control over new points in the town that coincided with heavy firepower against the dens of terrorist organizations in the area and targeting their supply lines.
Earlier, army units, in cooperation with the popular defense groups, established full control over several building blocks in the eastern and western districts in al-Sheikh Miskeen, a military source said.
Other army units, the source added, killed several terrorists and destroyed their hideouts and vehicles in Ibta’, Dael, Nawa, Inkhel, Busr al-Harir, Atman, Tafas and Deir al-Adas.
Units of the armed forces killed scores of terrorists affiliated to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist organization in different areas in the countryside of the northeastern province of Hasaka.

Islamic State: Syria says air strikes not hurting group- BBC News

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

Lebanese army makes strides in Tripoli- Al-Monitor

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.

Distinguished Lebanese poet Said Akl dies at 102- Al-Akhbar

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-JaridaAl-Sayyad, and had a column in Assafir in the 1990s.

Lebanon's foreign minister supports cooperation with US- Al-Monitor

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.”

Aleppo: Jabhat Al-Nusra Suffers Devastating Losses at Al-Zahra and Nubl- Al-Masdar News

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.

Aleppo Rebels Seek Unified Military Command- The Syrian Observer

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".

Deadline approaches as Lebanon urges Nusra not to kill captive- Daily Star

BEIRUT: General Security chief Maj. Gen. Abbas Ibrahim is negotiating through mediators with Nusra Front jihadis to compel them to cancel the execution of a captive soldier being held on Syrian border, a lawmaker told The Daily Star.

Future Movement MP Hadi Hobeiche denied to The Daily Star that the Nusra Front had gone back on its threat issued Thursday to execute soldier Ali Bazzal within 24 hours if the government failed to release a female terror suspect.

Hobeiche said that Maj. Gen. Abbas Ibrahim had informed him that talks with the mediators are still ongoing.

Opposition fighters to form joint military command in Aleppo: rebel commander- Asharq Al-Awsad

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.

Deir Ezzor: The Republican Guard Continues Their Offensive at Sakr Island- Al-Masdar News

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.

I am Lebanon's most popular Christian: Aoun- Daily Star

BEIRUT: Free Patriotic Movement leader Michel Aoun vowed Friday to keep pushing for the presidential seat, insisting he is the most popular Christian candidate, and the only one who could win over March 14 votes.
“There is only one faction that could secure a majority vote with March 14 and that is the Change and Reform bloc,” he told The Daily Star in a sit-down interview at his home in Rabieh.
The FPM enjoys the widest Christian following and Change and Reform is the largest Christian bloc in Parliament, he added, hinting that he was the only viable candidate for the presidency, which has been vacant for over six months.

Lebanese police faces off protesting families of kidnapped soldiers- Al-Akhbar

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.

Qatar to train Islamists fighting in Syria- Voltaire.net

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.


Syria denies targeting civilians, tells US to criticize militants- Daily Star

BEIRUT: Syria rejected as "fabricated" U.S. accusations that its forces are targeting civilians with airstrikes and said Washington would do better to criticize hardline ISIS militants who have killed American citizens.
The U.S. State Department said Wednesday it was "horrified" by Syrian government bombings in Raqqa province which it said had killed "dozens of civilians and demolished residential areas."
"The Syrian Arab Army does not target civilians and will not do so," state news agency SANA quoted Information Minister Omran al-Zoubi as saying late on Thursday.
He said Washington got its information from "terrorist organisations" in Syria such as ISIS and Al-Qaeda's Nusra Front.

Syrian government bombards ISIL strongholds- Al-Jazeera

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

Jihadists tout training camps for children in Iraq and Syria- Long War Journal

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.

Hizbullah’tan Şam kırsalında etkili operasyon- YDH

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

Qatar training Syria rebels as Muallem seeks political solution in Russia- Al-Akhbar

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.

End of November Battle Map Update for Aleppo- Al-Masdar News

The battle for Aleppo is reaching its critical stages as the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) continues its offensive to recapture parts of the provincial capital that are under the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS), Islamic Front (Jabhat Al-Islamiyya) and Al-Nusra Front (Jabhat Al-Nusra). A year and a half ago, many thought the SAA would not be able to hold the city long enough to see Winter 2013 after their withdrawal from the Mennagh Airbase last August; however, following the SAA’s success in the Homs Governorate, much needed reinforcements would pour into the province to begin “Operation Northern Storm”.
Recent Rebel Gains and Attacks:
- Nubl and Al-Zahra: Jabhat Al-Nusra is attacking the Syrian Arab Army, National Defense Forces, and Hezbollah at the villages of Nubl and Al-Zahra. They have withdrawn from the southern front of these villages, but they are still attacking the eastern sector of Nubl.
- Ashrafiyyeh: The Islamic Front launched an attack on the Ashrafiyyeh Quarter, bombarding SAA positions near the fuel depository. They continue to attack, but have yet to breach the SAA’s frontline defenses.
- Marjah: The Islamic Front was able to retake approximately 3 building blocks the SAA controlled last week; as a result, they are now in control of the whole quarter.

Amid war, Damascenes promote cycling with mass bike ride- Al-Monitor

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.

Berri: Lebanon strong in hostage negotiations- Daily Star

BEIRUT: Lebanon is not without leverage in the negotiations to release the captive soldiers and policemen that jihadis are holding in Arsal’s outskirts, Speaker Nabih Berri said Wednesday.
“We possess many elements of power to release the servicemen kept by ISIS and the Nusra [Front],” Berri reportedly told MPs in his weekly meeting in Ain al-Tineh.
Discussing both the hostage crisis and the swap deal that Hezbollah accomplished earlier this week with militants who had captured one of its militants, the speaker stressed on the necessity to keep the negotiations secret to ensure their success.

Christians hold out in Syria second city despite Daesh threat- Middle East Online

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

Syrian airstrikes kill scores in ISIL-stronghold Raqqa- Al-Jazeera America

Syrian government warplanes on Tuesday bombed the country’s northeastern city of Raqqa, the de facto capital of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) insurgency, killing nearly 100 people.
Britain-based advocacy group the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights on Wednesday raised the death toll in the bombing to 95, making it one of the deadliest attacks on the city of Raqqa in the past three years.
The raids struck a popular market near the city's museum, residential areas, an industrial area and reportedly destroyed the historic Al-Hinni mosque. 

Syria’s southern rebels draw up new game plan- The National

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.

Turkish FM says 600 Turkish nationals joined jihadists, more than 100 killed- Hurriyet Daily News

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.

Syrian airstrikes on ISIS 'capital' kill 63 civilians- Daily Star

BEIRUT: A wave of Syrian government airstrikes on ISIS' self-proclaimed capital of Raqqa, in the country's east, killed at least 63 civilians Tuesday, activists said.
The latest toll from the raids came after warnings that earlier tolls were likely to rise.
The Syrian Observatory of Human Rights had released a statement earlier Tuesday updating their initial toll of 23 to 36.
The statement added that, "Dozens more were wounded, some of them critically. We fear the death toll may rise further," Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP.

Monday, November 24, 2014

The Syrian Army Captures a Strategic Road in Al-Hasakah- Al-Masdar News

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

Syrian Christians: 'Help us to stay - stop arming terrorists'- The Telegraph

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.

Jumblatt: We're to blame for lack of president- Daily Star

BEIRUT: MP Walid Jumblatt said the blame falls flat on politicians including himself for the country's failure to elect a new president.
"In summary, we are all responsible for the failure to elect a president until now and it is us to blame," Jumblatt, head of the Progressive Socialist Party, told An-Nahar.
Lebanon has been unable to elect a new president since former President Michel Sleiman ended his six-year term on May 25. While the rival March 8 and March 14 coalitions trade blame over the current paralysis, the primary reason for the continued vacuum is the lack of a consensus candidate.

Two Britons 'killed in Islamic State fighting' in Syria- BBC News

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.

Shaker Residing in Ain el-Hilweh, Says Relations with Asir Cut- Naharnet

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.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Gemayel Expresses Grave Concern over 'Dangerous' Situation- Naharnet

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.”

Amnesty report: Turkey strained by Syrian refugees- Daily Star

ISTANBUL: With Turkey's government-run refugee camps operating at full capacity, more than 1 million Syrian refugees who have flocked to Turkey to escape fighting at home are struggling to survive on their own, according to an Amnesty International report released Thursday.
Turkey, which hosts half of the 3.2 million refugees who have fled Syria, is shouldering the heaviest burden of what the report calls the world's worst refugee crisis in a generation.
"In three days in September 2014, Turkey received some 130,000 refugees from Syria - more than the entire European Union had in the past three years," the report said.
It also detailed cases where Turkish border guards have abused - even killed - refugees trying to enter the country.
An estimated 1.6 million Syrian refugees have entered Turkey since the Syrian war began in March 2011. About 220,000 are living in 22 government-run camps that offer food and essential services, the report said. The remaining 1.38 million - more than 85 percent - are living outside the camps, mostly in communities along the Turkey-Syrian border. An estimated 330,000 live in Istanbul, the Turkish capital.

Syria willing to help with Lebanon hostage crisis: report- Daily Star

BEIRUT: Syria has reportedly expressed willingness to help Lebanon carry out the swap deal with Islamist militants holding at least 27 soldiers and policemen captive, Al-Mustaqbal said Thursday.
The newspaper, citing sources close to the crisis cell that met Wednesday with Prime Minister Tammam Salam, said the Syrian goodwill was made during a meeting with General Security head Maj. Gen. Abbas Ibrahim.
The sources said Ibrahim briefed members of the ministerial crisis cell of the outcome of his recent Damascus visit.

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.

Aleppo is on Fire: Firefights Reported all over the Province- Al-Masdar News

The city of Aleppo erupted in violence yesterday when the Harakat ‘Ahrar Al-Sham (Movement for the Liberation of the Levant) militants bombarded the Ashrafiyya Quarter with an array of mortar shells and rockets. Following the attack, firefights broke out between the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and members of ‘Ahrar Al-Sham on the outskirts of the Ashrafiyya, leading to heavy casualties for both forces. The SAA thwarted another militant infiltration attempt early this afternoon, killing 16 confirmed members of ‘Ahrar Al-Sham.
Perhaps the most violent clashes took place in southern Aleppo, where the SAA continues its offensive against the militants of the Islamic Front (Jabhat Al-Islamiyya) in the Al-‘Amariyya District. Yesterday, the SAA killed Khaled Al-‘Amouri, the leader of “Bayaaraq Al-Islam” – an ‘Ahrar Al-Sham militia – and 24 of his fighters in an ambush near the Sheikh Sa’eed District. Al-‘Amouri was a prominent member of ‘Ahrar Al-Sham and a veteran fighter for the rebels in Syria.
In the Kafr Hamra and Hareetan Districts, the Syrian Air Force launched 14 airstrikes today, targeting militant movements and positions in these areas. The majority of these airstrikes were conducted before sunrise and they ended shortly before 8 A.M.