"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, May 31, 2015

Syrian refugees struggling to survive-

Baalbek, Lebanon: Laying a series of X-rays across the floor, Hanifa looks over the images that show the spread of cancer through her husband's body.
Each treatment costs $US800 – a figure hopelessly out of reach for these Syrian refugees who for three years have lived in a disused school in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley with 42 other families.
"The United Nations is not helping, no one is helping," 60-year-old Hanifa says, unable to hide her desperation. "To whom can we raise our voice? We have no one but God to help us."

Saturday, May 30, 2015

US issues Lebanon travel warning- Daily Star

BEIRUT: The U.S. State Department Friday urged its citizens to avoid all travel to Lebanon because of ongoing security concerns.
In a statement, the State Department said that U.S. citizens living and working in Lebanon should understand that they accept the risks of remaining in the country and should carefully consider those risks.
“In the past two years, two U.S. citizens have died in bombings, and two have been kidnapped, according to information available to the U.S. government,” the statement said.
Although there is no evidence that these attacks were directed specifically at U.S. citizens, there is a real possibility of being in the “wrong place, [at the] wrong time” it noted.

ISIS Storms Farqalas in East Homs-Al-Masdar News

The militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS) launched a fresh offensive at Farqalas in the eastern part of the Homs Governorate this morning after the latter secured the road leading to this town, resulting in the Syrian Arab Army’s 550th Artillery Brigade of the 1st Armored Division and the National Defense Forces (NDF) to withdraw to the checkpoints outside of Farqalas.
Moments ago, a military source in east Homs reported to Al-Masdar News that a loud explosion was heard outside of Farqalas, leaving many officers in the Syrian Arab Army’s Central Command under the assumption that ISIS launched a suicide bombing attack on the heavily fortified checkpoint belonging to the Syrian Armed Forces at the town’s eastern outskirts.
At this time, Al-Masdar News cannot confirm what the explosion was a result of; however, the military source did verify that ISIS and the Syrian Armed Forces are clashing at the outskirts of Farqalas, where the former has currently staked their positions at the town’s eastern outskirts, while reinforcements arrive from the nearby village of Jabab Hamid located west of the ancient city of Palmyra.

YPG Attacks ISIS’ Main Border-Crossing into Syria- Al-Masdar News


Aleppo, Homs and Damascus: Who Will Control Syria When Assad Withdraws?- Middle East Briefing

The features of ISIL Islamic State are rapidly being engraved on the rocks and sands of Iraq and Syria while the whole world is watching almost helplessly. After consolidating its recent territorial gains, ISIL’s menu consists now of the battle of Aleppo followed by the battle for Damascus.  There is a high probability that ISIL is also eyeing Homs, even before these two big cities.
In a pattern that has now become familiar, signs of mobilization and infiltration around the two cities have shown a rapid increase recently.  We will lay out here the expected dynamics of the battles for the two major Syrian cities and the available ways to avoid their falling under the control of ISIL.
But first, a couple of words about the general context of the confrontations on the ground in Syria.
Syrian army forces are preparing to pull out of Dair Al Zour in their implementation of the dictated Iranian Plan B. This plan, which we described in detail in “Middle East Briefing” of May 11th, is simple:  Iran and Hezbollah will not continue footing the bills for Bashar Al Assad’s insistence that he is the President of all Syria. They will restrict their support to the Syrian forces defending defensible areas in the West that is strategically important to them, in order to avoid the current war of attrition.
However, Al Assad prefers to leave the regime’s areas that fall out of the new Iranian lines of demarcation to ISIL, not to the non-ISIL opposition forces. This is a continuation of Assad’s method of focusing on the elimination of the non-ISIL opposition in order to present himself as the only antidote to the terrorist group. Assad hopes that the world will ultimately knock on his doors to ally with him in fighting ISIL.
The retreat of the regime forces creates a new paradigm in the Syrian crisis. The central issue is the vacuum created by the withdrawal of these forces and the nature of the forces that will fill it. There are two contenders here: ISIL and the non-ISIL opposition. But a third force should be helped to play a role–the civil society in these areas.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Christian Beheads IS Jihadist in Syria's Hasakeh- Naharnet

A Syrian Christian fighter has beheaded an Islamic State group (IS) militant to avenge people "executed" by the jihadists in northeastern Syria, a monitor said on Friday.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the incident took place on Thursday in Hasakeh province, where IS holds large areas of the countryside.
According to the monitor, the Christian fighter, a member of the minority Assyrian community, found the jihadist in the local village of Tal Shamiram.
"He took him prisoner and when he found out he was a member of IS, the Assyrian fighter beheaded him in revenge for abuses committed by the group in the region," Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman said.

Arsal Youth Join Militants to Prepare for Battle against Hizbullah- Naharnet

Several youth from the northeastern border town of Arsal allegedly headed to its outskirts to join jihadists despite the heavy deployment of the Lebanese army in the village.
Concerned sources informed As Safir newspaper Friday that during the past two days at least ten youth from Arsal headed to its outskirts to join the ranks of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and al-Qaida-affiliate al-Nusra Front.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Fears mount ISIS to attack Syria's Druze- NOW

“ISIS reinforcements have arrived via the desert road from Palmyra to eastern Suweida.”
BEIRUT – Druze residents along the northeastern edge of Syria’s Suweida province have mobilized to defend their region against ISIS amid reports the militants are preparing a major assault.
“ISIS reinforcements have arrived via the desert road from Palmyra to eastern Suweida,” an activist said a little over a week after the group briefly seized the Druze village of Al-Huqf in a surprise raid.
The administrator of the Al-Swedaa Syria Facebook page told ARA News that “there are large gatherings of the group’s [fighters] with weapons and […] military vehicles that were seized in Iraq.”
The media activist, who chose not to reveal his name, said that the ISIS members were “stationed in the Al-Qasr area to the east of the village of Al-Huqf.”
The group has “13 tanks, 10 Hummers, and hundreds of fighters,” he added.
The report comes after Saudi daily Asharq Alawsat said on Sunday that ISIS fighters had positioned in numbers along the Suweida province’s eastern border in a swathe of territory stretching approximately 150 kilometers.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Syrian refugees in Lebanon camp reliant on 'hell water' that reduces metal to rust- The Guardian

Water at Shatila refugee camp in Beirut’s southern suburbs is now so salty and ridden with chemicals that metal cutlery rusts after less than half an hour’s exposure to the brine.
“Imagine having water so bad that you can’t have metal cutlery? It’s hell water really,” says Ahmed, a resident at the camp.
Gesturing at the salty, foul-smelling liquid oozing from a nearby tap, his friend Moussa Deeb, an electrician originally from Damascus, adds: “Have you ever woken up and tried washing your face with sea water?”

Britain, Russia back resumption of Syria talks- PRESS TV

The British and Russian leaders have backed the resumption of peace talks aimed at ending the four-year crisis in Syria.
During a Monday phone conversation, British Premier David Cameron and Russian President Vladimir Putin “agreed that it is in the interest of both the UK and Russia to help find a solution" to the crisis in Syria, Cameron's office said in a statement.
They also called for measures “to stop the rise of ISIL" terrorist group operating in Syria and Iraq, it said.
"They agreed that their national security advisers should meet to restart talks on the Syrian conflict," the statement added.
This came as Syria’s foreign-backed opposition group, the so-called Syrian National Coalition (SNC), refused to attend talks in the Swiss city of Geneva with the United Nations special envoy to Syria in early May.

Al-Rahi Meets March 14 Delegation, Calls for Respecting Coexistence, National Pact to End Vacuum- Naharnet

Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi highlighted on Tuesday the importance of Lebanon's diversity and coexistence among its people as factors that may help end the country's ongoing vacuum in the presidency.
He said: “Resolving the vacuum lies in adhering to coexistence, the National Pact, and Lebanon's system that implements this pact.”
He made his remarks after holding talks in Bkirki with a delegation of lawmakers from the March 14 alliance.
Officials must agree on a democratic solution that respects the constitution and elect a president, he declared.
Al-Rahi added: “We must remain faithful to Lebanon and set it as a priority above all sectarian and political interests.”
Furthermore, the patriarch stressed that all sides must acknowledge the errors they have committed against the constitution.
“There can be no legitimacy to any authority that contradicts the National Pact,” he added.

Six Hezbollah fighters, 30 militants killed in Qalamoun clash: source- Daily Star

BEIRUT, Lebanon: A security source revealed Tuesday that sixHezbollah fighters and around 30 jihadis were killed in clashes that erupted in the Qalamoun border region one day earlier.
Monday's clashes ended with Hezbollah fighters seizing two new hilltops in Qalamoun, three weeks into an offensive to oust jihadis from the rugged border region, according to Hezbollah's Al-ManarTV.
The Al-Manar report said Hezbollah fighters captured several highland areas northeast of the outskirts of Lebanon's Nahleh, without reporting casualties.
Monday's deaths bring to at least 22 the number of Hezbollah fighters killed since the offensive got underway on May 4. The number of militant casualties since the start of the offensive is unclear, but is likely to be in the hundreds.

Sentence reduction requested for Samaha- Daily Star

BEIRUT: Former Information Minister Michel Samaha’s attorney Sakhr al-Hashem Tuesday filed an appeal for a sentence reduction for the pro-Damascus Lebanese official convicted of attempting to carry out terrorist attacks.
Hashem filed the request with the Military Court of Appeals on the basis that the tribunal revoked Samaha's civilian rights, a judicial source told The Daily Star.
The military tribunal has sentenced Samaha to four-and-a-half years in prison for attempting to carry out terrorist attacks and transporting explosives from Syria to Lebanon.
He was found guilty of forming an armed gang and plotting to assassinate political and religious figures.
Hashem has argued that Samaha did not have the criminal intent to carry out terrorist plots in Lebanon.

Syria warplanes batter IS militants in ancient Palmyra- Channel News Asia

BEIRUT: Syrian government aircraft carried out intense strikes on Monday (May 25) against the Islamic State (IS) group in and around the ancient city of Palmyra after its fall to the extremists, a military source said.
"The air force struck more than 160 Daesh targets, killing and wounding terrorists and destroying weapons and vehicles equipped with machineguns" on Palmyra's outskirts and elsewhere in the east of Homs province, the source said. "We are pursuing Daesh wherever they are," the source said, using the Arabic acronym for IS.
"Military operations, including air raids, are ongoing in the area around Al-Suknah, Palmyra, the Arak and Al-Hail gas fields and all the roads leading to Palmyra," he said.
State television said "more than 50 Daesh terrorists" had been killed in the air strikes.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least four civilians had been killed in the raids, which were the most intense since the extremists overran the city on Thursday.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Lebanon: as security challenges grow, top UN official in country urges end to political vacuum- UN News Centre

The vacuum in the post of Lebanon's presidency has undermined the country's ability to address a range of growing security, economic and social challenges, the United Nations Special Coordinator for Lebanon, Sigrid Kaag, warned today.
In a press release marking the one-year point since Lebanon has been without a president, Ms. Kaag observed that the vacuum had contributed to “political polarization at a time when Lebanon must make a united effort to safeguard the country from the impact of the Syrian crisis.”
There has been a presidential vacuum in Lebanon since the term of Michel Sleiman came to an end on 25 May 2014. UN officials and the Security Council have repeatedly urged the Lebanese Parliament to elect a new leader without delay.
The country has also been dealing with renewed terrorist threats and a growing refugee population resulting from the conflict in neighbouring Syria that currently numbers almost 1.2 million.
Urging Lebanon's leaders to adhere to the country's constitution and to the Taef Agreement and National Pact, the UN Special Coordinator called on all stakeholders to put national interests above partisan politics “for the sake of Lebanon's stability and to show the flexibility and sense of urgency needed to resolve this issue.”

Turkey says in deal with US on air support for Syria rebels- i24 News

Long-delayed scheme is meant to send 15,000 troops back to Syria to fight Islamic State militants
The United States and Turkey have agreed "in principle" to give air support to some forces from Syria's mainstream opposition, Turkey's foreign minister said, in what if confirmed could mark an expansion of US involvement in the conflict.
US officials acknowledged ongoing discussions with Turkey about a range of options to step up the fight against Islamic State, but said no decisions had been made.
"We're in ongoing discussions with the Turks across all lines of counter-ISIL efforts. Our understanding is no decisions have been made," said one US defense official who was not authorized to speak publicly.
Washington has so far refrained from committing to enforcing a "safe zone" for Syrian rebels, as it could be seen as a declaration of war on the Syrian state.
The air support would protect Syrian rebel forces who have been trained by a US-led program on Turkish territory, said minister Mevlut Cavusoglu. The long-delayed scheme is meant to send 15,000 troops back to Syria to fight Islamic State militants.

Gemayel Says System Change Not in Christians Favor, Rejects Hizbullah 'Protection'- Naharnet

Kataeb Party leader Amin Gemayel warned Monday that any attempt to change the political system would not be in the favor of Christians, as he rejected to be “subservient to Hizbullah.”
“It's about time we all thought of the country's interest and resorted to the democratic, parliamentary procedure,” said Gemayel at a seminar titled Liberate the Presidency.
He noted that the presidential vacuum which has been protracting for more than a year now is “premeditated” and that some parties “have a strategic interest in impeding the election of a president.”
“There was a decision to empty the state from its institutions and now there is a decision to vacate the presidency,” Gemayel pointed out, cautioning that “any system change will not be in the favor of Christians.”
Accordingly, he called on the parliamentary blocs boycotting electoral sessions to “declare their real goals.”
The rival political camps have so far failed to elect a successor to Michel Suleiman, whose term ended on May 25, 2014, although around 23 voting sessions have been held. The MPs have not met the two-thirds quorum required to hold an electoral session.

Mystery Blast in Syria Regime Bastion Latakia Kills 4- Naharnet

At least four people were killed in a blast in the Syrian government stronghold of Latakia on Monday, but there were conflicting reports about what caused the explosion.
It comes amid heightened fears of attacks in the coastal region after a rebel alliance that includes the al-Qaida-affiliated Al-Nusra Front last month seized Jisr al-Shughur in neighboring Idlib province.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and sources on the ground both reported the blast in the city of Latakia in the coastal province of the same name.
An AFP correspondent in the city saw flames and a column of smoke rising after hearing what appeared to be an explosion in the Mar Taqla neighborhood.
At the scene of the blast, residents said those killed were a father and his son and daughter, along with their female neighbor.
The explosion set fire to the family's apartment and partially collapsed the building's roof.
The Britain-based Observatory also reported that the blast had killed four people, among them two children.
But there were differing accounts of what caused with the blast, with officials in the city refusing to comment and residents saying the cause was unclear.
The Observatory said the blast was the result of a drone that crashed into the city after being hit by a rocket fired from a ship offshore in the Mediterranean.

IS and Nusra Clash in Arsal Outskirts after Militant Abducted- Naharnet

Clashes erupted on Monday in the outskirts of the northeastern border town of Arsal between the extremist Islamic State and al-Nusra Front groups, state-run National News Agency reported.
The agency said the fighting broke out after the IS shot a man identified as Ahmed Seifeddine in the town before abducting him to its mountainous outskirts.
The abductee goes by the nickname Al-Silis and is a member of al-Nusra Front, NNA added.
The two groups have been clashing in the town's outskirts for months now.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Wounded anti-Syria militant being treated in Israel: Report- PRESS TV

A recent report has disclosed that a Takfiri terrorist wounded during fierce exchanges of fire with Syrian government forces has been transferred to an Israeli hospital and is receiving medical treatment there.
The 27-year-old militant, whose name has not been revealed, recently sustained shrapnel wounds in the course of clashes with Syrian army troopers and was taken to the Baruch Padeh Medical Center in the northern Israeli settlement of Poriya, located approximately 6 kilometers (3.7 miles) south of the coastal Israeli city of Tiberias, SANA reported Saturday, citing an Israeli media outlet.
The report added that the Israeli medical center has accepted and treated nearly 175 anti-Syria Takfiris ever since foreign-sponsored militancy broke out in Syria in March 2011.

Amid the ruins of Syria, is Bashar al-Assad now finally facing the end?- The Guardian

One evening at the end of March, a Syrian rebel leader returned from a meeting across the border in Turkey and called an urgent gathering of his commanders. The five men turned up at their boss’s house in Idlib province expecting to receive the same pleas for patience that they had always heard and more grim news about cash and weapons being hard to find. This time, though, they were in for a shock.
“He arrived looking eager,” said one of the commanders. “That caught our attention straight away. But when he started to speak, we were all stunned.”
The leader, who asked that his unit not be identified, said he told his men that the grinding war of attrition they had fought against the Syrian government since early 2012 was about to turn in their favour.
“And the reason for that was that I could now get nearly all the weapons I wanted,” he told the Observer. “For the first time they were not holding anything from us – except anti-aircraft missiles.
The Turks and their friends wanted this over with.”

Presidential election should be based on constitution: Rai- Daily Star

BEIRUT: The constitution should be the base of any solution for the now one-year-old Lebanese presidential crisis, Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai said Sunday.
“The way to elect a president is by returning to the constitution in any initiative,” Rai said during Sunday mass.
“We pray that political officials would return to the truth of the constitution and the National Pact to fulfill their duties in finding an exit from the [presidential] vacuum.”
Rai’s comments came in light of a recent proposal by Free Patriotic Movement Michel Aoun in which the first suggestion was electing a president through a popular vote, which would require constitutional amendments.

March 14 Delegation in Bkirki Tuesday to Announce Stance against Presidential Vacuum- Naharnet

The seat of the Maronite patriarchate of Bkirki is expected to witness a “demonstration” by March 14 lawmakers aimed at voicing their condemnation of the ongoing vacuum in the presidency, reported the daily al-Mustaqbal on Sunday.
The meeting at Bkirki will be crowned with a speech by Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi during which he will urge officials to elect a new head of state, parliamentary sources from the Mustaqbal bloc told the daily.
Representatives of the various participating parliamentary blocs will also deliver speeches on the occasion.
Al-Rahi had on Saturday reiterated his condemnation of the lawmakers' ongoing failure to elect a president.
“A body without a head will lead to its death,” he warned during a visit of the district of Batroun.
“We cannot accept the fragmentation of our nation as a result of the absence of a head of state,” he added.
He said it is “shameful” that a year has passed since the presidential vacuum began.

Syrian Armed Forces Close-in on the Last Al-Qaeda Stronghold in the Al-Ghaab Plains - Al-Masdar News

The Syrian Arab Army’s 106th Brigade of the Republican Guard – in conjunction with the National Defense Forces (NDF) and the Syrian Social Nationalist Party (SSNP) – carried out a fierce assault at Tal ‘Afayseh, storming the southeastern perimeter of this hill overlooking the town of Al-Sirmaniyah in the western part of the Al-Ghaab Plains.
After a morning of intense clashes at Tal ‘Afayseh, the Syrian Armed Forces were able to assert full control over the southeastern perimeter of the hill after killing over a dozen armed combatants from the Syrian Al-Qaeda group “Jabhat Al-Nusra” and their allies from Harakat Ahrar Al-Sham and Jund Al-Aqsa at this area in the Hama Governorate.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Hizbullah, Syrian Army Take Control of New Hilltop in Qalamoun- Naharnet

Hizbullah backed by the forces of Syrian President Bashar Assad allegedly captured Saturday a new position in al-Qalamoun battle.
Fighters reportedly seized Sadr al-Bustan hilltop, inflicting casualties among the ranks of jihadists, Hizbullah's mouthpiece al-Manar said.
The report said that several militants fled the area after it was taken by Hizbullah and the Syrian Forces.
Al-Nusra Front-affiliate Jaish al-Fatah announced that a Hizbullah member, who was killed in Qalamoun, was buried in the area.
The group shared via its Twitter account a picture of Abbas Hassan Yassine's corpse, his driving license and a neck chain indicating that he was a member of Hizbullah.
Yassine's funeral procession was reportedly held last week in his hometown in the Bekaa Valley.
In the past two weeks, Hizbullah says it has secured around a third of the Qalamoun region, on both the Lebanese and Syrian sides of the porous border.

Palmyra: Islamic State locks down ancient city's museum- BBC News

Islamic State militants have locked Palmyra's museum and placed guards outside its doors, days after seizing the ancient city, Iraqi officials say.
Antiquities director Maamoun Abdulkarim said they had destroyed some modern plaster statues and also raised their flag on the ancient castle overlooking the Roman ruins.
Most of the museum's antiquities had been transferred to Damascus, he said.
IS has previously demolished ancient sites that pre-date Islam.
It sees this as a war against "false idols".

Everyone has role to play in 'existential' Syria battle: Nasrallah- Daily Star

BEIRUT: Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah has called for a popular mobilization among his party’s supporters to help solidify a win in the “existential battle” in Syria.
“The resistance is fighting an existential battle par excellence,” Nasrallah said Friday in a private speech addressed to his party’s wounded fighters, according to As-Safir newspaper. “Had we not fought in Aleppo, Homs and Damascus, we would have fought in Baalbek, Hermel, al-Ghazieh, Sidon, Tyre, Nabatieh and other Lebanese villages, towns and cities.”
The Hezbollah chief said the group had no choice but to seek the defeat of the "takfiri" groups in the region, or else face slaughter, shame, rape and enslavement.
“Even if half of us are martyred in this war for the other half to live in dignity, glory and honor... this would be the best choice,” he said. “Half of us will not be martyred, God willing, but the situation requires great sacrifice because the attack is huge.”

Friday, May 22, 2015

ARAB WORLD MAPS (Syria) – One year changes in the military situation in Syria- The Maghreb and Orient Courier

Since February 2015, Syria has entered its 4th year of a full, intense and bloody war. One year ago, in May 2014, despite a few setbacks, loyalists (Syrian government) seemed to hold firmly after series of important battles in 2013 reasserting their control over important and strategic areas such as Aleppo or near the Lebanon border. At the same time, rebels suffered both loyalists offensive and a deadly infighting with the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS), later renamed Islamic State (IS). In such a complex and dynamic war, one could imagine that the situation was to change, and indeed dramatic events such as the offensives of the Islamic State led to a very different strategic situation one year after.

The 2014 Islamic State offensive
In June 2014, the sudden invasion of Iraq by the Islamic State, and the fall of Mossul, led to a quick strengthening of the jihadist group. In the same time, they achieved to conquer the remaining rebels-held areas in Deirez-Zor and Raqqah in Syria. These conquests mostly happened by receiving allegiance of rebels groups, while the others fled to Western Syria or, in some rare cases (such as the Shaytat tribe) tried to resist. During the summer of 2014, the IS turned their attention to some isolated loyalist army bases (Regiment 17, Regiment 121, Tabqah air-base, and Ayn Isa) and stormed them. The result was heavy human losses for the government troops, as well as important stock of weapons an ammunitions seized by the IS.

Geagea calls Samaha sentence a ‘huge betrayal’- Daily Star

BEIRUT: Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea Thursday criticized the brief prison sentence handed down to former Minister Michel Samaha, calling it unfaithful to the Lebanese state and its people. “The verdict against Samaha is a huge betrayal against Lebanon, the state, the judiciary and the Lebanese Army – the Army that offered dozens of martyrs to defend the Lebanese people,” Geagea said at news conference.
The LF leader said some members of the military had not dealt properly with the case. Last week Samaha was sentenced by a military tribunal to four-and-a-half years in prison.
Samaha, who maintained close ties to Syrian President Bashar Assad, was arrested in 2012 and indicted the following year for smuggling explosives into Lebanon. He was convicted of planning to carry out bombings targeting political and religious figures.

'En çok zararı IŞİD'den gördük'- Al-Jazeera Turk

Suriye'ye Kafkasya'dan giden savaşçılardan oluşan Çeyşul Muhacirin vel Ensar lideri Selahaddin Şişani, "IŞİD ile aynı fikir ve eylemlere sahip olmamamıza rağmen onların eylemlerinden dolayı zarar görüyoruz" dedi.
Uzun yıllar Çeçenistan’da savaştıktan sonra 2012 yılında Suriye’ye geldiğini söyleyen Ceyşul Muhacirin vel Ensar Tugayı Komutanı Selahaddin Şişâni, cephede Al Jazeera Türk’e konuştu.
Suriye'de savaşan 36 yaşındaki komutan, hedeflerinde yalnızca Beşşar Esed ve Şii milislerin bulunduğunu söylüyor.
Çeçen komutana göre IŞİD, sergilediği tutumla en çok yabancı savaşçılara zarar verdi.

Gürcistan doğumlu olan Selahaddin Şişâni, IŞİD’in Suriye Askeri Komutanı Ömer Şişâni ve Lazkiye bölgesinde Esed rejimine karşı savaşan Müslüm Şişâni de aynı köyden.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Palmyra: Syrian forces trapped civilians, UN says- BBC News

The United Nations says it has received reports that Syrian forces in Palmyra prevented civilians from leaving, ahead of its fall to Islamic State militants.
The UN, though not present in Palmyra, cited "credible sources".
It said it was "deeply concerned" about the plight of civilians remaining in Palmyra, amid reports of summary executions.
IS has also overrun the World Heritage site adjacent to the modern city, raising concerns about its future.
The militants have previously demolished ancient sites that pre-date Islam.
UN cultural organisation Unesco says its destruction would be "an enormous loss to humanity", but no damage has been reported there yet.

ISIS executes 17 people in Syria’s Palmyra: Monitor- Al-Arabiya

Fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group executed at least 17 people, including civilians, after the militants seized Syria’s ancient city of Palmyra on Thursday, a monitor said.

“ISIS executed 17 people, including civilians and loyalist fighters. At least four of them were beheaded,” Rami Abdel Rahman, director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group, told AFP.

He said the civilians were working for a local administrative council, while the fighters included at least one regime soldier and members of the National Defense Forces, a pro-government militia.

“They were accused of working with the regime,” Abdel Rahman said.

Shells explode near Russian embassy in Damascus, 1 killed - RT

One person has been killed and three injured by shells that landed near the Russian embassy in Damascus, an RT Arabic correspondent reports.
All of the victims are Syrians, RT Arabic's Abutaleb Albuhaya reports, adding that the fatality was an embassy security guard.
The Russian Foreign Ministry has confirmed that a shell exploded near the diplomatic mission.
"A mortar shell launched from an area controlled by illegal armed groups exploded 20 meters from the main entrance to the Russian Embassy complex," Foreign Ministry spokesman Aleksandr Lukashevich said in a statement. "As a result of the shelling, one Syrian serviceman was killed and one wounded. No embassy staff were injured."
The Foreign Ministry condemned "this new terrorist attack."
Syrian news agency SANA, citing a police report, said that two shells hit the al-Mazra'a district of Damascus, where the Russian embassy is situated. It reports one person was killed and three wounded, but says all of them are civilians.

Russia Ready to Discuss Syria Reconciliation Ideas With US- Sputnik News

Moscow is ready to discuss new initiatives on Syrian crisis settlement with Washington, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said Thursday.

Read more: http://sputniknews.com/politics/20150521/1022426602.html

7 civilians killed in terrorist shelling attacks in Damascus, Daraa and Aleppo- Al-Masdar News

Provinces, SANA- A civilian was killed and eight others were injured on Thursday in separate terrorist mortar attacks that hit al-Mazraa neighborhood in Damascus city and Harasta suburb and al-Wafideen Camp in Damascus countryside.
Two mortar shells fired by terrorists landed in the residential al-Mazraa neighborhood, leaving a civilian killed and three others injured, in addition to causing material damages to several houses, cars and shops in the area, the Police told SANA.

IŞİD'in Suriye'de ele geçirdiği 'çölün gelini' Palmyra (Hediye Levent- BBC Türkçe)

Suriyeliler Irak Şam İslam Devleti (IŞID) örgütünün ele geçirdiği Palmyra'ya, diğer adıyla Tedmur'e "Çölün Gelini" der.
Palmyra, Romalılar ile Persleri birbirine kırdıran, ordunun başında savaşa çıkan Kraliçe Zenobia ile meşhurdur.
Halen Suriye'nin başkenti olan Şam'dan gidenler, önce griye çalan kıraç araziden geçerek sapsarı çölün içinde yükselen Palmyra'ya ulaşır.
Çölün içinde vaha olan Palmyra tarihte de su kaynakları ile bilinen ve zamanla ticaret kervanlarının yolu üzerindeki en önemli merkezlerden biri haline gelmiş.
Üst üste birçok medeniyetten kalıntıların olduğu Palmyra'da tek tanrılı dinler öncesi pagan inançlarından kalma yapılar da bulunuyor.

Islamic State says it has full control of Syria's Palmyra- Reuters

Islamic State fighters tightened their grip on the historic Syrian city of Palmyra on Thursday and overran Iraqi government defenses east of Ramadi, the provincial capital that they seized five days earlier.
The twin successes not only pile pressure on Damascus and Baghdad but throw doubt on a U.S. strategy of relying almost exclusively on air strikes to support the fight against Islamic State.
U.S. and coalition forces had conducted 18 air strikes against Islamic State targets in Syria and Iraq since Wednesday, the U.S. military said.
The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the al Qaeda offshoot now controlled more than half of all Syrian territory after more than four years of conflict that grew out of an uprising against President Bashar al-Assad.
The monitoring group added that Islamic State had seized the last border crossing between Syria and Iraq controlled by the Damascus government. The crossing is in Syria's Homs province, where Palmyra is located.

Syrian Armed Forces and Hezbollah Capture Large Swathes of Territory in the Qalamoun- Al-Masdar News

The capture of Palmyra by the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS) created an uproar in Syria; however, Hezbollah and the Syrian Armed Forces were able to supplement for this loss by capturing large swathes of territory in the Qalamoun Mountains after fierce clashes with the Syrian Al-Qaeda group “Jabhat Al-Nusra” on Wednesday.
Hezbollah began their assault on Wednesday, when they targeted a large contingent from Jabhat Al-Nusra at the hills that overlook Jaroud ‘Arsal in Lebanon from the Syrian border; this attack by the Lebanese Resistance Force led to their full control of Tal Sawalah and Sadr Al-‘Arouss after the enemy combatants suffered heavy casualties during the firefight.

Syria Situation Report: May 14-20, 2015- ISW


Machnouk, Aoun discuss security appointments- Daily Star

BEIRUT: Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk Thursday held talks with Free Patriotic Movement leader Michel Aoun on the contentious issue of key security appointments.
"We discussed all the [potential] security appointments, particularly that of the Army commander and the chief of the Internal Security Forces, and other issues related to the ISF Information Branch,” Machnouk told reporters following the meeting at Aoun’s residence in Rabieh, north of Beirut.
“This is a critical security phase and we must act responsibly,” he said, describing Aoun as "patriotic" and eager to help his country.
Machnouk also said the primary responsibility of political leaders should be the preservation of the government.
A political impasse over appointments of top security posts has stoked fears that the standoff could lead to the demise of the government.

Hariri via Twitter: Endeavors to Involve Army in Outside Battles will Fail - Naharnet

Al-Mustaqbal Movement chief Saad Hariri emphasized on Thursday that Hizbullah's attempts to involve the army in foreign battles based on a preset date and location will not be successful.
“We will not stand still and watch the viscous attempts to involve the Lebanese army in battles that have been pre-determined in time and place by Hizbullah,” said Hariri via twitter.
The former PM inquired about Hizbullah's involvement in Syria's war asking: “Who authorized them to violate the borders with weapons and gunmen and drag terrorism to Lebanon's territories?”
Hariri's comments came in reference to the latest battles in the mountainous al-Qalamoun region across the eastern Lebanese border, where militants from the Islamic State group and the al-Qaida-affiliated al-Nusra Front engage in fierce battles with Hizbullah and the Syrian army.

Palmira IŞİD'in elinde- Al-Jazeera Turk

Suriye İnsan hakları Gözlemevi, IŞİD’in tüm kenti ele geçirdiğini duyururken, Al Jazeera muhabiri, bir haftadır devam eden çatışmaların ardından IŞİD’in Palmira'daki hapishane, hastane ve havaalanını da ele geçirdiğini ifade etti. Suriye Devlet Televizyonu da rejime bağlı askerlerin şiddetli çatışmalar sonrası kentten çekildiğini, sivillerin de tahliye edildiğini duyurdu. 
Suriye İnsan Hakları Gözlemevi'ne göre gece boyunca süren çatışmalarda 100'den fazla rejim askeri öldü.
Humus'un doğusunda kalan Palmira kenti, Birleşmiş Milletler Eğitim, Bilim ve Kültür Örgütü’nün (UNESCO) Dünya Mirası listesinde.
Suriyeli antik kentlerden sorumlu yetkili Mamun Abdülkerim ise IŞİD'in Tedmur Hava Üssü'ne 1 km uzaklıktaki tarihi Palmira kentini 'yıkabileceği' uyarısını yaptı.
IŞİD daha önce de ele geçirdiği antik eserleri tahrip etmiş, yayınlanan görüntüler büyük tepki çekmişti.
Kentin alınması IŞİD'e Şam ve Humus'ta rejimin elindeki bölgelere ulaşma imkânı verebilir.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

ISIS seizes control of Syria's Palmyra- Daily Star

BEIRUT: ISIS militants stormed the Syrian city of Palmyra Wednesday, seizing it from government forces in fierce fighting as civilians fled and Syria's antiquities chief called on the World to save its ancient monuments.
Syrian state television said pro-government fighters withdrew from Palmyra in large numbers.
In a newsflash it said most of the city's civilian population had been evacuated before the withdrawal. ISIS fighters were trying to enter Palmyra's historical sites and establish themselves there, it said.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the group had seized almost all of the city.

Islamic State 'closes in' on Syria's Palmyra- BBC News

Islamic State (IS) fighters in Syria are said to have seized part of the town next to Palmyra, one of the Middle East's greatest archaeological sites.
Pro-government forces have evacuated local residents and are confronting the militants, Syrian state TV reported.
Activists say IS holds much of north Tadmur after overcoming militias loyal to President Bashar al-Assad.
Syria's head of antiquities said the world had a responsibility to save Palmyra, a Unesco World Heritage site.
Hundreds of statues had been moved to safety, but large monuments could not be moved, Maamoun Abdul Karim warned.
IS militants have ransacked and demolished several ancient sites that pre-date Islam in Iraq, including Hatra and Nimrud, leading to fears that it might attempt to damage or destroy Palmyra.