"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


Monday, August 31, 2015

Palmyra's Temple of Bel 'still standing'- BBC News

Palmyra's ancient Temple of Bel is still standing despite an attempt by Islamic State (IS) militants to blow it up, Syria's antiquities chief has said.
Maamoun Abdulkarim confirmed there was a large explosion within its perimeter but said the basic structure of the 2,000-year-old site was intact.
But the extent of the damage is unclear with witnesses unable to get close to the temple.
Initial reports said the site had been partially destroyed.
Mr Abdulkarim, head of the Syrian Department of Antiquities and Museums, said "our information is provisional, but it indicates that any damage done was partial, and the basic structure is still standing".

Lübnan'da Fetih-Cund'uş Şam çatışması sürüyor- Sol Haber

Lübnan'daki en büyük Filistin mülteci kampı Ayn el-Hilve'de, El Fetih ile İslamcı Cund'uş Şam arasındaki çatışmalar sürüyor.

Ma'an'a konuşan Ayn el-Hilve'deki Fetih yetkilisi Münir Makda, Cund'uş Şam'ın kamptaki 11 mahallenin 4'ünü ele geçirdiğini kaydetti.

Kampta yaşananların, ülkedeki durumun aynası olduğunu söyleyen Makda, İslamcıların kampı yok ederek Filistinlileri Lübnan'dan çıkmaya zorladığını, Suriye'deki Filistinlilere de benzer bir durumun yaşatıldığını söyledi.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Aoun Holds onto President's Election by the People, Calls for Demo Next Friday- Naharnet

Change and Reform bloc leader MP Michel Aoun reiterated on Friday his call for the election of a president from the people as he announced his backing for protests, but said he only partly agreed with anti-government demonstrators who accuse the entire political class of corruption.
During a press conference he held at his residence in Rabieh, Aoun also invited the supporters of his Free Patriotic Movement to carry out a protest next Friday “to ask for reform and for participation in decision-making, and to call for fighting corruption.”
The demonstration is scheduled to be held at 5:30 pm in downtown Beirut's Martyrs Square.
“Legitimacy is given to the authorities by the people,” he said, adding “no ruler can be legitimate if the people don't recognize his legitimacy.”

Matar Says Bkirki Spiritual Summit to Focus on Baabda Vacuum, Protests- Naharnet

The Maronite bishop of Beirut, Boulos Matar, said Friday that a Christian-Muslim summit scheduled to be held in Bkirki next week is aimed at stressing the importance of swiftly electing a president and discussing the demands of anti-government demonstrators.
Matar told al-Joumhouria newspaper that the summit which will be held on Monday will focus on two main issues – the election of a head of state as soon as possible and the demands of the people.
The bishop said all spiritual leaders have been invited to the summit “particularly that the security situation and street protests require a quick solution to the crisis.”
Matar hoped that the meeting would limit tension “because we can no longer stand idle to the clashes (taking place) in downtown Beirut.”
Several anti-government demonstrations have shaken the Lebanese capital, with protesters expressing their anger at the authorities for failing to find a solution to the waste crisis, which erupted when Lebanon's main landfill in Naameh, south of Beirut, shut down last month.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Syrian rebel commander killed in Turkey car blast- Al-Jazeera

A commander of a rebel faction linked to the Free Syrian Army (FSA), an umbrella group fighting Syrian government forces, has been killed in a car bomb attack in southern Turkey, local officials have said.
Jamil Raadoun's car exploded outside his home when he turned the keys to the start ignition in the southern town of Antakya on Wednesday, the Dogan news agency reported.
Hatay regional governor Ercan Topaca told the state-run Anatolia news agency that Raadoun died of his wounds in hospital.

Russia, Egypt support forming anti-ISIS coalition with Syria - Putin- RT

Russia and Egypt support the creation of a broad anti-terrorist coalition, which would include Syria, to fight Islamic State militants, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at a joint media conference with his Egyptian counterpart Abdel el-Sisi.
“We underline the fundamental importance of the formation of a broad anti-terrorist front involving key international players and regional countries, including Syria,” Putin said on Wednesday.
“We have common views on the need to intensify the fight against international terrorism, which is relevant, considering the aggressive ambitions of radical structures, particularly the so-called Islamic State.”
“Every time we meet, the Egyptian people hope to see improvements in the cooperation between us and Russia in different fields, including the economy, but also the fight against terror in a region suffering from terrorism,” Sisi said at the media conference.
“It has an impact on our region’s stability and security. Not just in some countries, but in the entire region and possibly the whole world.”
During Sisi’s visit to Moscow, the heads of states discussed a wide range of issues, including the situation in the Middle East and North Africa, as well as economic cooperation.

Lebanon tensions: 'Armed groups could take advantage of power vacuum’- RT

The Lebanese situation might escalate further as the government is overreacting to protests while armed groups are openly siding with protesters and may take advantage of the power vacuum, Max Abrahms, political analyst from Boston University told RT.
What started as demonstrations on Saturday over a breakdown in Beirut's rubbish collection has turned into violent protests with many injured and reportedly one dead.
“The protesters are escalating their demands. Initially they were calling for the removal of the rubbish, and now they are talking about the resignation of the entire government, the election of a new president. Furthermore, I know that there are additional protests which are being scheduled, especially for this Saturday,” suggests Abrahms.
“Government authorities are overreacting, being too aggressive with the protesters- that is a very dangerous game to play. In general when governments use repressive actions against protesters, especially once they reached a critical mass, it tends to backfire,” he told RT.  

Suriyeli muhalif komutan Hatay’daki bombalı saldırıda öldü- Hürriyet

Hatay’ın merkez ilçesi Antakya’da ikamet eden Suriyeli muhalif komutanlardan Cemil Radun’un aracı bugün öğle saatlerinde altına yerleştirilen bombanın patlaması sonucu infilak etti. Patlama sonucu ağır yaralanan 44 yaşındaki Cemil Radun, Antakya Devlet Hastanesi yoğun bakım ünitesinde tedavi altına alındı. Hatay Valisi, Radun'un yapılan tüm müdahalelere rağmen kurtarılamadığını söyledi.

Anadolu Ajansı'nın haberine göre, Özgür Suriye Ordusu'na bağlı Şukur El-Ğap Birliği'ne komutanlık yapan Radun, aracına düzenlenen bombalı saldırının ardından ağır yaralı halde kaldırıldığı hastanede hayatını kaybetti.
Patlamanın ardından AA muhabirine konuşan Hatay Valisi Ercan Topaca, "Ölen kişi Suriye uyruklu 44 yaşındaki Suriyeli Cemil Radun. Şahıs daha önce Suriye ordusunda yarbay rütbesinde çalışmış birisi. Daha sonra oradan ayrılarak Özgür Suriye Ordusu'na katılmış ve yaklaşık bir yıl önce de Türkiye'ye gelmiş" dedi.
Topaca, "Olayın Suriye'deki muhalif grupların kendi arasındaki bir anlaşmazlıktan çıktığını tahmin ediyoruz."
Radun’un aracına geçen nisan ayında da bomba yerleştirilmiş ancak son anda fark edilmesi üzerine, etkisiz hale getirilmişti.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Destruction of Palmyra's Baalshamin temple 'a war crime'- BBC News

The destruction of Palmyra's ancient temple of Baalshamin is a war crime, the UN's cultural agency has said.
Syrian officials and activists reported on Sunday that Islamic State (IS) militants had blown up the temple.
In a statement, Unesco said it was "an immense loss for the Syrian people and for humanity".
IS took control of Palmyra in May, sparking fears for the site, considered one of the ancient world's most important cultural centres.

Lebanon rubbish protest shelved as crisis deepens- BBC News

Organisers of protests over the failure of Lebanon's government to clear rubbish from the streets of Beirut have postponed a rally planned for Monday.
But the "You Stink" campaign said the decision did not mean it was giving up.
The move comes after two days of demonstrations in the capital descended into clashes in which dozens of protesters and police were hurt.
Prime Minister Tammam Salam has appealed for calm and threatened to resign over the crisis.
In a televised address on Sunday, he warned that Lebanon was heading towards collapse, with the country's "political garbage" crippling his unity cabinet.

1 Dead, 3 Hurt as Fierce Clashes Renew in Ain el-Hilweh- Naharnet

Violent gunbattles erupted Monday evening in the Ain el-Hilweh Palestinian refugee camp in Sidon between members of the secular Fatah Movement and Islamist militants, in a renewal of the violence that had first erupted on Saturday.
State-run National News Agency said Fatah member Fadi K. was killed and at least three people were wounded in fighting involving the use of rocket-propelled grenades, machineguns and flares. According to Future TV, mortar shells were also fired during the clashes.
“The sounds of RPG blasts are echoing across the city of Sidon,” NNA said.
LBCI television quoted Palestinian sources as saying that the battle started after “fundamentalist (Islamist) militants tried to advance towards some Fatah positions.”

Gemayel Hints at Resignation from Cabinet if 'Obstruction Persists' during Tuesday's Session- Naharnet

Head of the Kataeb Party MP Sami Gemayel stressed on Monday that the cabinet will be facing a “test,” during its extraordinary session on Tuesday, if "the obstruction by some of its members continues."
He declared in a statement after the party's weekly politburo meeting: “We see no point in remaining in cabinet if the obstruction continues in tomorrow's meeting.”
The cabinet is scheduled to convene to tackle waste management tenders that were announced earlier on Monday to address the country's protracted garbage disposal crisis.
“I have relayed the Kataeb Party's position to Prime Minister Tammam Salam and former President Michel Suleiman, whom I met earlier on Monday,” continued Gemayel.
“We will facilitate decisions at cabinet because it is not acceptable for some sides to keep on paralyzing the country,” he added.
“The people cannot be forced to pay the price of such tactics,” he stated.

US, Turkey to Launch 'Comprehensive' Military Operation against ISIL- Sputnik News

Turkey and the United States will launch a joint air operation to remove Islamic State militants from an area along the Syria-Turkey border, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told Reuters on Monday.

"The technical talks have been concluded, [Sunday], and soon we will start this operation, comprehensive operations, against Daesh (Islamic State)," he said in an interview.

Aoun Warns of Manipulation of Protest Movement- Al-Masdar News

Free Patriotic Movement leader Michel Aoun denounced Sunday the use of force against protesters, warning against attempts to exploit the “noble” movement to achieve political gains.
“We condemn the use of violence and live ammunition,” Aoun said over his official Twitter account.
He called for holding the security forces responsible for the violence accountable, stating that they should stand trial.

Islamic State group 'blows up Palmyra temple'- FRANCE 24

Islamic State militants on Sunday blew up the temple of Baal Shamin, one of the most important sites in Syria’s ancient city of Palmyra, said Maamoun Abdul Karim, the country’s antiquities chief.

The temple bombing would be the first time the insurgents, who control swathes of Syria and Iraq and captured Palmyra in May, damaged monumental Roman-era ruins.
“We have said repeatedly the next phase would be one of terrorising people and when they have time they will begin destroying temples,” Abdul Karim told Reuters.
“I am seeing Palmyra being destroyed in front of my eyes,” he added. “God help us in the days to come.” A week ago, the militants beheaded Khaled Asaad, an 82-year-old scholar who worked for more than 50 years as head of antiquities in Palmyra, after detaining and interrogating him for over a month.
Before the city’s capture by Islamic State, Syrian officials said they moved hundreds of ancient statues to safe locations out of concern that the militants would destroy them.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Army enters central Beirut amid fierce clashes- Al-Arabiya

The Lebanese army arrived central Beirut late Sunday, clearing two main squares, where clashes between protestors and security forces – in their second day - left at least 20 people injured, sources told Al Arabiya News Channel.

Lübnan'da ‘hükümet istifa’ sesleri- Al-Jazeera Turk

Lübnan'ın başkenti Beyrut'ta, yolsuzluk ve çöp sorununa karşı düzenlenen hükümet karşıtı eylemler ikinci gününde devam etti. Başkentteki Riyad es-Sulh Meydanı'nda toplanan binlerce eylemci, "vatandaşların günlük hayatını olumsuz etkileyen sorunlara çözüm bulamamasından" ötürü hükümete karşı gösteri düzenledi.

Beyrut'ta dün başlayan gösterileri bugün de sürdüren eylemciler, yanlış siyasi adımlar attığını öne sürdükleri hükümetin istifa etmesi gerektiğini söyledi. Göstericiler, "Halk rejimin yıkılmasını istiyor" şeklinde sloganlar attı.

Emniyet güçleri çevrede güvenlik önlemlerini arttırdı. Eylemcilerle aralarında arbede yaşandı. Dikenli tel barikatları kaldırıp aşmaya çalışan ve taş atan göstericilere, göz yaşartıcı gaz ve tazyikli suyla müdahale edildi.

Militant mortar attacks kill 14 in Syria capital- PRESS TV

Militant mortar attacks on the Syrian capital, Damascus, have left at least 14 people dead and scores others wounded.
Syrian official news agency, SANA, reported on Sunday that the mortar shells targeted the central prison and the al-Wafedeen Camp.
Five shells hit Damascus Central Prison in Adra area, killing 10 people and wounding 50 others, a Police Command source said.
A medical source in the Police Hospital said two of the injured also succumbed to their wounds.
Meanwhile, SANA also quoted a police source as saying that 16 shells fired by Takfiri militants struck Damascus neighborhoods, killing two civilians and injuring 12 more.
Elsewhere, Three more mortar strikes carried out by the Takfiri militants hit three residential houses in the al-Wafedeen Camp in the Damascus countryside, injuring three people.

Al-Zabadani on the Verge of Capture by Hezbollah and the Syrian Armed Forces- Al-Masdar News

The Syrian Arab Army’s 63rd Brigade of the prestigious 4th Mechanized Division – in coordination with Hezbollah, the National Defense Forces (NDF), and the Syrian Social Nationalist Party (SSNP) – are on the verge of capturing the imperative resort-city of Al-Zabadani after almost 45 days of fierce firefights with Harakat Ahrar Al-Sham, the Free Syrian Army (FSA), and the Syrian Al-Qaeda group “Jabhat Al-Nusra.”
On Saturday morning, the battle for Al-Zabadani appeared all but over, as the news spread amongst Hezbollah and Syrian Arab Army social media activists detailed the complete capture of this resort-city located near the Syrian-Lebanese border crossing.
However, the news of Al-Zabadani’s capture by the joint forces of Hezbollah and the Syrian Arab Army was prematurely reported, as the latter units were engaged in a violent firefight with Harakat Ahrar Al-Sham and Jabhat Al-Nusra combatants near the Uthman Neighborhood inside the city’s western sector.

Tear gas, water cannon: Dozens injured as police clash with protesters in Beirut (VIDEO)- RT

Water cannon, rubber bullets and tear gas were deployed by police in the Lebanese capital, Beirut, on Saturday as crowds gathered to protest against the government’s inability to deal with the rubbish collection problems plaguing the city.
Thousands gathered in downtown Beirut on Saturday to demonstrate against governmental dysfunction which has led to garbage piling up on the streets, AP reported.
There are conflicting reports about the number of injured during the violent clashes. AFP reported 16 injured, citing a Red Cross official. According to an online statement from Lebanon's Internal Security Forces (ISF) "more than 35 ISF members and a number of protesters were injured during the dispersal of the protest."
Law enforcement told Reuters that the 35 injured included both protestors and police officers.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Lübnan’da ‘çöp krizi’ büyüyor- Sol Haber

Lübnan’ın başkenti Beyrut’ta, yaklaşık bir aydır çöplerin toplanmaması nedeniyle oluşan kirlilik binlerce kişi tarafından protesto edildi. Bugün Şehitler Meydanı’nda toplanan kalabalığın, konuyla ilgili bugüne kadar yapılan en büyük eylemi gerçekleştirdiği kaydedildi.

Yolsuzlukların ve hükümetin işlevlerini yerine getirememesinin de protesto edildiği eyleme polis biber gazı ve tazyikli suyla müdahale etti. Müdahalede yaralananlar olduğu kaydedildi.

Downtown Beirut Turns into War Zone as Police Battle Anti-trash Protesters- Naharnet

Police used tear gas and water cannon on Saturday to disperse thousands of anti-garbage demonstrators in downtown Beirut's Riad al-Solh square and to stop them from moving towards the nearby Nijmeh Square, leaving scores of protesters injured.
The demonstrators said they were adamant to stay in the area and urged all the Lebanese people to join them but anti-riot police opened fire in the air and broke up the protest with baton charges.
The demonstrators later erected tents near Martyrs' Square, vowing to stay there until police release several activists they arrested during the protest.
Following their announcement, security forces said all the detainees were set free based upon the instructions of Interior Minister Nouhad al-Mashnouq.
A video shot by a protester on a mobile phone showed police opening fire at the demonstrators, which resulted in the injury of a young man in his waist.
Another man was heard shouting “killer” to a police officer.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Fighting returns to Zabadani after truce fails- Al-Monitor

DAMASCUS, Syria — Fighting shattered a fragile three-day truce Aug. 15 as military operations resumed on three fronts: the Syrian regime and its Iranian-backed Lebanese ally Hezbollah against opposition fighters in the mountain city of Zabadani and the opposition's Ahrar al-Sham movement in the two pro-regime, Shiite-majority cities of al-Fawaa and Kefraya in theprovince of Idlib.

Exploring the 'other Syria'- Al-Monitor

ALEPPO, Syria — During a recent trip to Aleppo, which self-styled pundits like to call a “Sunni” city, I stopped by the stall of a street vendor, a woman covered in black attire, to see what she had to offer. Filled with Syrian army badges and pins with the Syrian flag along with images of President Bashar al-Assad and Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, the stall reflected the spirit at the fore – or being brought to the fore — in regime-controlled areas.

Deployment of 2nd group of US-trained rebels in Syria imminent after 1st fiasco - report- RT

The US-led coalition is reportedly preparing to deploy a second group of Syrian rebels it trained to fight against the terrorist group Islamic State. The first one humiliatingly refused to fight Islamist group Al-Nusra Front shortly after deployment.

The second group, which is currently being trained by American and British instructors in Turkey, will be sent across to border to Syria to take control of roughly 80km of the border from Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS), Reuters reported citing diplomatic sources. The deployment is expected to happen in a matter of weeks.
The move was hailed as a potential game changer by the news agency’s sources, who said wresting the Turkish-Syrian border from IS would cut its supply of fresh records. One diplomat said it was too early to take the initial blunders of the training program to heart.
"Although there has been some skepticism about it, it is far too early to write off this program. Massive resources have been invested in this to make it work and we think it will work in the end," the source said.

Islamic State destroys fifth-century monastery in central Syria- The Guardian

Islamic State has demolished a monastery founded more than 1,500 years ago in central Syria, near a town where the extremists abducted dozens of Christians earlier this month, activists said.
The destruction of the Saint Elian monastery near the town of Qaryatain comes days after Isis militants in Palmyra publicly beheaded an 81-year-old antiquities scholar who had dedicated his life to studying and overseeing the town’s ancient ruins.
The developments have stoked concerns that Isis may be accelerating its campaign to destroy and loot non-Islamic and pre-Islamic heritage sites inside the swaths of Iraq and Syria it controls.
“I think we are worried about almost all the heritage sites in Syria. Nothing is safe,” said Irina Bokova, director general of Unesco.

Israel strikes Damascus’ military targets in retaliation for rocket fire by ‘Iran-funded militants’- RT

Israel has pounded with artillery and launched airstrikes against 14 Syrian military positions in Golan Heights, holding Damascus responsible for failing to prevent a rocket attack on Israeli territory which the IDF pinned on an “Iran funded Islamic Jihad” group.
According to IDF sources, the air force and artillery struck “five or six times” in the Syrian Golan, hitting Damascus’s military facilities in the area. Two of the rockets allegedly struck open areas in the Golan Heights and two others landed in the Upper Galilee far from the border with Syria. In addition to Golan airstrikes by the Israeli military, unconfirmed reports emerged that the IDF also targeted Syrian 137th Regiment near Damascus.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Two Syrians detained for smuggling Ottoman era coins- Hurriyet Daily News

Police have detained two Syrians for selling historic coins called “sikke” from the Ottoman era in Istanbul, while 500 historic coins as well as modern currency were also confiscated in the raid.

The two Syrians, identified as M.B. and K.B., were detained after police raided a house in Istanbul’s Esenyurt district after a tip was shared that historic coins were being smuggled. 

In the raid, police confiscated 500 historic coins dating back to the time of Ottoman Sultan Abdülmecit, together with 119,000 euros, 134,500 Turkish Liras and $4,250, all in cash, as well as a weapon and ammunition. 

The 31st sultan of the Ottoman Empire and the 110th Islam Caliph, Sultan Abdülmecit reigned over the empire between 1839 and 1861, when he died of tuberculosis in Istanbul. He was most known for proclaiming the Edict of Tanzimat (Tanzimat Fermanı), which was a package of reforms launched in an effort to keep the empire, which was shattering with nationalist movements across its lands, together. 

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Hezbollah’s Nasrallah: Aoun is still our candidate for the presidential polls- LBC

Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah reiterated that the party did not change its stances over the presidential elections.

“Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun is a strong candidate for the presidential polls who garners large popularity,” he added.

Nasrallah stressed that the party is still supporting Aoun’s candidacy for the elections.
Speaker Nabih Berri postponed on Wednesday the cabinet session tasked to elect a new president until next month due to a lack of quorum.

Last Wednesday, Berri also postponed the parliamentary session tasked to elect a new president until September 2, after only MPs from the March 14 camp and his Development and Liberation bloc attended the session. 

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Syria civil war: Civilians in Damascus pay the price for those in the provinces in conflict's balance of horror (Robert Fisk- The Independent)

It’s a balance of horror. Bombard Douma in the suburbs of Damascus to protect the civilians of Kifraya and Foaa in Idlib province. Teach the rebels that the Syrian government is as ruthless as ever, that it will not tolerate a threat to the capital’s water supply or rebel mortar explosions in the centre of the city. And Douma pays the price.

ISIS Beheads Elderly Archeologist In Palmyra, Syrian Official Says- Huffington Post

DAMASCUS, Aug 18 (Reuters) - Islamic State (IS) militants beheaded an antiquities scholar in the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra and hung his body on a column in a main square of the historic site, Syria's antiquities chief said on Tuesday.
IS, whose insurgents control swathes of Syria and Iraq, captured Palmyra in central Syria from government forces in May, but are not known to have damaged its monumental Roman-era ruins despite their reputation for destroying artifacts they view as idolatrous under their puritanical interpretation of Islam.
Syrian state antiquities chief Maamoun Abdulkarim said the family of Khaled Asaad had informed him that the 82-year-old scholar who worked for over 50 years as head of antiquities in Palmyra was executed by Islamic State on Tuesday.

Mustaqbal Lauds Asir's Arrest, Says Killers of Hariri, al-Salman Must Meet Same Fate- Naharnet

Al-Mustaqbal parliamentary bloc on Tuesday hailed the arrest of fugitive cleric Ahmed al-Asir while urging authorities to capture those accused of involvement in the murders of former premier Rafik Hariri and anti-Hizbullah activist Hashem al-Salman.
“The bloc lauds the security achievement that the Lebanese General Security made by arresting the fugitive Ahmed al-Asir,” said Mustaqbal in a statement issued after its weekly meeting.
“In this regard, the bloc highlights the eternal truth that justice cannot be achieved unless it is comprehensive, complete and extended across all Lebanese regions,” the bloc added.
It called on security and judicial authorities to “speed up their work” and “make the achievements that the Lebanese people are demanding and awaiting.”

Salafist Imam Ahmed al-Assir, Lebanon’s most wanted- FRANCE 24

Long hunted by Lebanon’s security services, Salafist Imam Ahmed al-Assir was arrested August 15 at an airport in Beirut. Lebanon's judiciary has accused him of involvement in the deaths of 17 Lebanese soldiers and sentenced him to death.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Syria: Mazen Darwish Released- HRW

Fourteen international organisations have joined the Syrian Centre for Media and Freedom of Expression (SCM) in welcoming the release of its president Mazen Darwish and in calling for all charges against him and his colleagues to be dropped, as well as for the release of all other prisoners of conscience who remain detained by the Syrian authorities.

Whilst welcoming this week’s release of Mazen Darwish and of his SCM colleagues Hani Al-Zitani and Hussein Gharirlast month we are extremely concerned that they continue to face charges of ‘publicising terrorist acts’ and are due to face trial later this month. We continue to call for all charges against them to be dropped immediately and unconditionally, and for an end to the persecution and judicial harassment of the three men for their legitimate human rights work. The authorities in Syria must further guarantee that all human rights defenders are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions.

Ahmed Esir’den itiraflar- YDH

YDH- Lübnan’da yayımlanan ed-Diyar gazetesinin haberine göre önceki gün kılık değiştirerek Mısır’a kaçmak isterken Beyrut havaalanında yakalanan Ahmed Esir, bir Arap ülkesinin istihbarat servisinden ve Lübnan iç güvenlik servisinin istihbarat şubesinden destek aldığını itiraf etti.

Habere göre Ahmed Esir, Hizbullah’la savaşacak bir örgüt kurması için Beyrut Emniyeti İstihbarat Şubesi’nden ve bir Arap ülkesinin istihbarat servisinden destek aldığını söyledi.

Kendisine bağlı militanların Lübnan emniyeti istihbarat şubesi aracılığıyla silahlandırıldığını belirten Ahmed Esir, Hizbullah’la mücadele etmek isteyen Arap ülkelerinin oyununun kurbanı olduğunu söyledi.
El Mustakbel Partisi Lideri ve eski Lübnan Başbakanı Sa’d Hariri’den de destek gördüğünü belirten Ahmed Esir, “Lübnan’daki Sünnilerin haklarını savunma mücadeleme devam edeceğim, ben Ebu Mazin’in (Filistin Özerk Yönetimi Başkanı) yönettiği, Lübnanlılarla Filistinlilerin kurduğu ve dış istihbarat servislerinin katıldığı bir oyunun kurbanı oldum” dedi.

Fugitive Lebanese cleric Ahmad al-Assir fails to avoid arrest with '70s makeover'- The Guardian

Gone was the long, scraggly beard of the fugitive sheikh’s heyday, replaced with a bushy moustache, thick glasses and the comb-over of a 70s actor. Ahmad al-Assir, a radical cleric whose followers battled the Lebanese army before he went into hiding two years ago, was seized at Beirut’s international airport over the weekend as he attempted to flee the country with the help of his new look and a forged passport.
Two years ago, Assir was riding a wave of popularity and notoriety. The charismatic preacher was a lonely voice speaking out against Hezbollah, the military and political organisation that dominates Lebanese affairs and has intervened to save President Bashar al-Assad’s regime from collapse in Syria.

ABD ve Almanya Türkiye'deki Patriot füzelerini çekiyor- BBC Türkçe

ABD ve Almanya'dan gelen açıklamalarda NATO görevi kapsamında Türkiye'de bulunan Patriot füzelerinin, görev sürelerini doldurduktan sonra geri çekileceği, görevlendirmelerde herhangi bir süre uzatımının söz konusu olmayacağı açıklandı.
2013'ten bu yana Türkiye'de bulunan ABD'ye ait Patriot füzelerinin Ekim ayında görev sürelerini doldurduktan sonra modernizasyon için ABD'ye gönderileceği ifade edildi.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Ahmad Assir’s arrest triggers chain of reactions- LBC

The news of the arrest of fugitive Ahmad Assir at Beirut International Airport, as he was attempting to flee the country on Saturday triggered a chain of reactions of praise for the security apparatus. 

The head of the Arab Tawhid party, former Minister Wiam Wahhab commented on the arrest, saying: “Congratulations to Sidon, the capital of South Lebanon, on the closure of its second landfill “Ahmad Assir.”

For his part, former President Michel Sleiman hailed, via Twitter, the achievement of the security forces, manifest in the arrest of fugitive Ahmad Assir.

In turn, Marada Movement Chief Sleiman Frangieh said dubbed the arrest "an important accomplishment for the Lebanese General Security forces," hoping that the Lebanese parties will unite to fight terrorism.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Silahlı örgütlerden Şam'a saldırı: 5 ölü- Radikal

Esad karşıtı silahlı örgütlerin Suriye'nin başkenti Şam'a onlarca füze fırlatması sonucu 5 sivil hayatını kaybetti, 55 kişi de yaralandı.

RADİKAL – İran Dışişleri Bakanı Cevad Zarif’in ziyareti öncesi Suriye’nin başkenti Şam’a yoğun saldırı gerçekleşti. Devlet Başkanı Beşşar Esad karşıtı silahlı örgütler kente onlarca füze fırlattı.
Suriye resmi haber ajansı SANA’nın haberine göre, saldırı sonucu beş sivil hayatını kaybetti ve 55 kişi de yaralandı. Füzelerin Guta’dan fırlatıldığı belirtilirken, yaralanan ve yaşamını yitirenlerin arasında çok sayıda kadın ve çocuğun da bulunduğu ifade edildi.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

REPORT: Iran’s FM Zarif visits Lebanon, meets officials- LBC

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif kicked off on Wednesday his meetings by holding talks with Defense Minister Samir Moqbel.
The FM stressed that Iran’s expected grant to the Lebanese army is related to the lifting of sanctions against Iran.
He later held talks with Speaker Nabih Berri after which he stressed that Iran will “always stand by Lebanon and its people.”
Zarif will be travelling to Syria's Damascus after wrapping up his visit to Lebanon later on Wednesday.
On Tuesday night, Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah met with Zarif and the delegation accompanying him, in the presence of the Iranian Ambassador to Lebanon Mohammad Fathali.

Will Saudi Arabia-Russia talks impact Syrian opposition?- Al- Monitor

BEIRUT — When traveling from Beirut to Damascus these days, two things are noticeable: a decrease in the number of military checkpoints from the Lebanon-Syria border all the way to the Syrian capital, and the many posters glued to electricity poles along the roads that call on the Syrian youths to join the army, claiming, “You are the only ones that can bring us together.” There might not be a logical correlation between these two observations, but they seem like a fitting prelude to Al-Monitor’s interview with a Syrian government official on the situation in his country and the latest developments of the conflict there.

Lavrov Agreed with Saudi FM to Continue Coordination towards inter-Syrian Dialog- Al-Masdar News

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Tuesday there are differences between Russia and Saudi Arabia in relation to the implementation of the items of Geneva Communiqué of June 30, 2012 on Syria.
“We discussed the goals of implementing the understandings and agreements included in the Communiqué of Geneva 1, and despite that there are some differences in the Russian and Saudi stances on that, I can say that most of the Russian and Saudi stances converge,” said Lavrov addressing the reporters in a press conference held jointly with his Saudi Arabian counterpart Adel al-Jubeir in Moscow.
He added that both sides agreed to continue thinking about the steps that need to be taken to create the favorable conditions to resume dialogue between the Syrian government and all spectra of the opposition under the auspices of the UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura.

Saudi Arabia Willing to Build Good Ties with Iran: Saudi FM- Al-Alam

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said his country is keen to boost relations with Iran, but at the same time said promotion of ties between Tehran and Riyadh hinges on the Islamic Republic’s foreign policies, Al-Alam News Network reports.

Speaking at a joint press conference with his German counterpart, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, in Berlin on Monday, Jubeir said Riyadh is willing to develop good relations with Tehran.

He said, however, that Iran should change what he called “its hostile policy” in the Middle East region, the London-based Ashraq Al-Awsat newspaper reported.

Iran should avoid “interfering” in the internal affairs of the Persian Gulf littoral states and Arab countries including Yemen, Iraq, Lebanon and Syria, he asserted, without mentioning his country’s role in the regional countries’ crises.

Suudi Arabistan: Suriye politikamızda değişme yok- YDH

YDH- Neşra’nın haberine göre Rusya Dışişleri Bakanı Sergey Lavrov’la ortak bir basın toplantısı düzenleyen Adil el-Cubeyr, Beşşar Esed’in Suriye’nin geleceğinde hiçbir rolü olmadığına dair görüşlerini koruduklarını söyledi.

 Suudi Arabistan’ın Suriye politikasında bir değişme olmadığını ve gelecekte de olmayacağını belirten Adil el-Cubeyr, “Ben buradan altını çizerek söylüyorum bilinmeyen kaynaklardan Suudi Arabistan’ın Suriye politikasını değiştirdiğine ilişkin yapılan kehanetler veya açıklamaları tamamen reddediyoruz. Bizim tutumumuz, Cenevre bildirisinde öngörülen barışçı çözüm yoluna dayanıyor.

Biz Beşar Esed’in Suriye’nin geleceğinde hiçbir rolünün olmayacağına inanıyoruz. Bununla birlikte Suriye askeri ve güvenlik organlarının Beşşar Esed’den sonra güvenliğin temin edilebilmesi için korunması gerektiğini düşünüyoruz” dedi.

Russia, Saudis to Help Syrian Government Renew Talks With Opposition- WSJ

Syrian opposition groups would be invited to Moscow this week and next for talks, Interfax reports.

MOSCOW—Russia’s Foreign Minister said Tuesday that Moscow and Riyadh had agreed on steps to help the Syrian government renew dialogue with all Syrian opposition groups about the future of the war-torn country.

Riyadh Dead Against Coalition With Syria in Fight Against Terrorism - FM- Sputnik News

MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Saudi Arabia will not support the creation of a coalition with the Syrian authorities in the fight against terrorism, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Jubeir said Tuesday.

“In regard to a coalition where the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Syrian government could possibly participate together is out of the question. This is not in our plans,” Jebeir said during a joint press conference in Moscow with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Assad cousin arrested over 'road rage' killing: report- Yahoo News

Damascus (AFP) - Syrian authorities have arrested Suleiman al-Assad, a cousin of the president accused of killing a military officer in a road rage incident, official news agency SANA said Monday.

"Suleiman Hilal al-Assad has been arrested and transferred to the appropriate authorities," SANA reported, without adding details.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group, citing local sources, said he was detained on the road between Latakia and Qardaha, President Bashar al-Assad's ancestral village.
Suleiman al-Assad, a first cousin once removed of the president, is accused of shooting dead air force Colonel Hassan al-Sheikh in an apparent road rage incident on Thursday evening.

Al-Qaeda withdraws from fighting Isil in Syria to avoid 'US cooperation'- The Telegragh

Al Qaeda's affiliate in Syria has declared it will withdraw from frontlines where it has been fighting against Islamic State because it does not want to cooperate with the US-led coalition.
Jabhat Al-Nusra declared on Sunday it would abandon the northern province of Aleppo, where it has been battling Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Isil), leaving other rebel factions to take over its positions in the area.
The region north of the city of Aleppo has designated as a potential anti-Isil buffer zone by the US and Turkey.