"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


Thursday, December 31, 2015

Moscow insists Jaysh al-Islam, Ahrar ash-Sham must be on list of terrorist groups in Syria- TASS

MOSCOW, December 31. /TASS/. The Russian side so far believes it is unnecessary to make public its proposals for the list of terrorist groups active in Syria that should be excluded from the political settlement process, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Oleg Syromolotov told TASS in an interview. 

"The work on the list of terrorist groups in Syria that would be acceptable for all has not been finished yet," he said. 

"I will not report the exact list of our proposals on the candidates to be put on the terrorist list - it is still part of the process of coordination of positions that should unite all members of the international Syria Support Group, so the haste and even publicity is apparently unnecessary here."

Monday, December 28, 2015

At Least 30 Killed in Triple Attack in Syria's Homs- Sputnik News

According to preliminary information, over 30 were killed and dozens injured in a triple explosion in the center of the Syrian city of Homs, a police source told RIA Novosti Monday.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Al-Rahi's Call for Maronite Meeting Not Heeded- Naharnet

Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi had recently attempted to hold a meeting for the main Maronite leaders in Lebanon, revealed the pan-Arab daily al-Hayat on Sunday.
It said however that “some sides were not receptive of this call.”
The patriarch's visitors told the daily that some Christian MPs and leaders are “uneasy” over his stances and are “imposing conditions” due to his support of the presidential initiative that is “backed by international powers.”
Mustaqbal Movement leader MP Saad Hariri had proposed in recent months a settlement that would see Marada Movement leader MP Suleiman Franjieh elected president as part of a greater political initiative in Lebanon.
The suggestion was met with reservations from Christian Change and Reform bloc of the March 8 camp and Kataeb and Lebanese Forces of the March 14 coalition.

Al-Rahi: Distinction Must Be Made between Accepting Presidential Initiative and Proposed Candidate- Naharnet

Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi justified on Sunday his recent remarks that the political initiative aimed at ending the deadlock in Lebanon should be taken seriously.
He said during his Sunday sermon: “Our saying that the initiative should be taken seriously means that we are distinguishing between it and the name being proposed.”
Lebanon has been without a president since May 2014 when the term of Michel Suleiman ended without the election of a successor.
Ongoing disputes between the rival March 8 and 14 camps over a compromise candidate have thwarted the polls.

Evacuation Plan Stalled After Syrian Rebel Leader Killed- VOA

Monitors and security sources say a U.N.-brokered plan to evacuate thousands of jihadist fighters under siege near the Syrian capital has been delayed following Friday's killing of an anti-government rebel leader who was to guarantee safe passage to the militants.
The evacuation of some 4,000 fighters and their families from southern Damascus had been expected to take place early Saturday. But the Britain-based monitoring group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the deal stalled hours after rebel leader Zahran Alloush was killed Friday in an airstrike near Damascus.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Fugitive ex-MP Ali Eid Passes Away in Syria- Naharnet

Ex-MP and former head of the Arab Democratic Party, Ali Eid, has died in Syria, Lebanon's National News Agency reported on Friday.
LBCI television said Eid, 75, passed away in the Syrian coastal city of Tartus, a bastion of Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime.
Later in the day, NNA said Eid's coffin arrived at his house in the Akkar town of Hikr al-Daheri on Syria's border after being transferred from the Bassel Assad Hospital in Tartus where the ex-MP had been receiving treatment.
The casket was received in Hikr al-Daheri by “senior officials of the Arab Democratic Party, municipal chiefs, mayors and a number of dignitaries from the towns of villages of Akkar's plain, in addition to members of the Eid family.”
Supporters fired heavily in the air and launched fireworks upon the coffin's arrival, the agency added.
Eid's funeral will be held at noon Saturday at the Sheikh Abdullah al-Daheri Shrine "on the Syrian bank of the Grand River in the Hikr al-Daheri region," NNA said.

Şam ve cihatçılar arasındaki 'Yermuk ateşkesi' askıya alındı- Sputnik News

Suriye'nin başkenti Şam yakınlarındaki Filistin mülteci kampı Yermuk'tan 2 bini aşkın cihatçı militan ve ailelerinden oluşan 4 bine yakın kişinin tahliyesine ilişkin BM aracılığında varılan anlaşma askıya alındı.

Hizbullah'ın televizyon kanalı El Manar'ın haberine göre, Suriye'de hükümete karşı savaşan en büyük silahlı örgütlerden İslam Ordusu'nun lideri Zehran Alluş'un dün Şam'da düzenlenen hava saldırısı sonucu öldürülmesinin ardından askıya alındığı belirtildi.

Haberde, militanlar ve sayıları 1.500'ü bulan aile üyelerini almaya gelen otobüslerin de geri döndüğü kaydedildi.

Syria peace talks to commence in January- The Hill

The United Nations on Saturday said it is planning to bring warring factions in the Syrian civil war to the table for peace talks on Jan. 25 in Geneva, Reuters reported.
A spokesman for U.N. Syria mediator Staffan de Mistura said in a statement that representatives from the Syrian government and “the broadest possible spectrum of the Syrian opposition and others” will convene for the talks.

Islamic State leader Baghdadi goads West in rare audio statement- The Telegraph

The leader of the self-declared Islamic State issued a defiant message to the West, warning “crusaders” not to dare fight on his turf.
In a rare public statement - his first in seven months - Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi said Western countries had "learned from" previous wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"Crusaders and Jews don't dare to come on the ground because they were defeated in Iraq and Afghanistan," he said in a 23-minute long audio message released through an Isil-run internet account.
The message - dubbed an "alternative Christmas broadcast" on social media - appeared to be an effort to rally Isil followers against the growing number of enemies arrayed against them.

Cenevre-3 için hedef 25 Ocak- Al-Jazeera Turk

Birleşmiş Milletler Suriye Özel Temsilcisi Staffan de Mistura, Esed rejimiyle muhalifler arasındaki görüşmeyi 25 Ocak’ta Cenevre’de düzenlemeyi hedeflediklerini söyledi.

Birleşmiş Milletler’in (BM) Suriye Özel Temsilcisi Staffan de Mistura, Esed rejimiyle muhalifler arasındaki görüşmeyi 25 Ocak’ta Cenevre’de düzenlemeyi hedeflediklerini söyledi.
Görüşmenin tarihi için çabalarını yoğunlaştırdıklarını belirten De Mistura, Suriye’deki bütün tarafların tam işbirliğine bel bağladıklarını ifade etti. “Sahadaki gelişmelerin süreci rayından çıkarmasına izin vermemek gerekir” dedi.
Uluslararası Suriye Destek Grubu, 18 Aralık’ta BM Güvenlik Konseyi karar tasarısında anlaşmıştı. Birleşmiş Milletler Güvenlik Konseyi tarafından oy birliğiyle kabul edilen tasarıda, Esed rejimi ve Suriyeli muhaliflerin Ocak ayı başında barış görüşmeleri için masaya oturması öngörülüyordu.

Islamist rebels suffer heavy casualties in failed bid to capture Bashkoy in northern Aleppo- Al-Masdar News

On Christmas day in the Aleppo Governorate’s northern countryside, the Islamist rebels from Jabhat Al-Nusra (Syrian Al-Qaeda group) and Jaysh Al-Mujahiddeen launched a massive assault on the National Defense Forces (NDF) frontline positions at the village of Bashkoy in order to build a large buffer-zone around their main supply route from Turkey to the provincial capital. 

Initially, Jabhat Al-Nusra and Jaysh Al-Mujahiddeen were successful, capturing several points outside of the village and inside its eastern flank; however, their success did not last long as the Syrian Armed Forces eventually forestalled the Islamist advance and pushed back the encroaching enemy combatants attempting to infiltrate into Bashkoy’s residential area.

Scores dead in rebel assault in northern Syria: monitor- Yahoo News

Beirut (AFP) - Fierce clashes in northern Syria between regime loyalists and rebels including Al-Qaeda fighters have left more than 70 dead, a monitoring group said Saturday.

Al-Qaeda affiliate Al-Nusra Front launched the assault on Friday with a suicide attack against forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad in Aleppo province, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
Fighting raged around the village of Bashkoy, which lies at a crossroads north of Aleppo city, Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman said.
"Violent clashes followed the suicide attack, between the Syrian army and pro-regime militia on one side, and Islamist fighters on the other," Abdel Rahman said
At least 33 pro-regime fighters and 38 opposition fighters were killed, he added.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Top Syrian rebel leader Zahran Alloush killed in airstrike in Damascus suburb- RT

Zahran Alloush, head of the powerful jihadist group Jaysh al-Islam, operating in the suburbs of Damascus, has been killed in a Syrian air force strike, the military has confirmed.
The airstrike targeted the headquarters of Jaysh al-Islam (Army of Islam), a coalition of different extremist groups fighting against Syrian government forces.
"The Syrian air force has carried out airstrikes, following intelligence reports and assistance by respected citizens, targeting terrorist groups in the eastern suburb of Damascus. As a result, terrorist Zahran Alloush was killed," the Syrian army said in a statement.

Suriyeli muhalif lider hava saldırısında öldü- Al-Jazeera

Suriye'deki en büyük muhalif gruplardan Ceyş el İslam'ın lideri Zehran Alluş, Şam kırsalındaki bir hava saldırısında öldü. Suriye İnsan Hakları Gözlemevi, Alluş ile birlikte Ceyş el İslam'ın 5 komutanının daha Doğu Guta'ya düzenlenen saldırıda öldüğünü duyurdu.

Russia, Qatar to Encourage Syrian Opposition to Talk to Govt- Naharnet

Russia and Qatar have agreed on steps to encourage the Syrian opposition to sit down for talks with the Syrian government, the Russian foreign minister said Friday.
Russia is a staunch supporter of Syrian President Bashar Assad, who Qatar and other Middle East countries accuse of war crimes.
Speaking to reporters after his talks with Minister Sergey Lavrov in Moscow, Qatari Foreign Minister Khalid bin Mohammad al-Attiyah on Friday accused Assad of supporting terrorist groups. Lavrov, meanwhile, insisted that "it's up to the Syrian people" to decide Assad's future.

Esed konusunda uzlaşma yok- Al-Jazeera Turk

Katar Dışişleri Bakanı Halid bin Muhammed El Atiyye, Rusya Dışişleri Bakanı Sergey Lavrov ile Moskova’da görüştü. Gündemin en önemli maddesi Suriye'deki savaş oldu. İki ülke Esed'in meşruiyeti konusunda anlaşamadıklarını vurguladı.

Syrian army narrows ring around militants in Damascus suburbs — Russia’s General Staff- TASS

MOSCOW, December 25. /TASS/. The Syrian army is tightening the encirclement of terrorists in the suburbs of Damascus and is amassing forces for offensive in other directions, Chief of the Main Operations Directorate of the Russian General Staff Sergey Rudskoy said on Friday. 

"In the suburbs of Damascus, the government forces established control over Marj al-Sultan village and continue to conduct raid actions tightening the encirclement of illegal armed groups in the directions of Nashabia, Noula, Douma and Zibdin," he said. 

Russia has been to carrying out strikes against terrorists in Syria since September 30

Rus savaş uçakları Azez'i bombaladı- CNN TURK

Rusya'ya ait savaş uçakları sabah saatlerinde Kilis sınırına 7 kilometre uzaklıktaki Özgür Suriye Ordusu denetimindeki Suriye'nin Azez kentine yönelik bombardıman düzenledi. Bombardımanda 25 kişinin öldüğü belirtildi.

Syrian Army drops “surrender now” leaflets over the East Ghouta of rural Damascus- Al-Masdar News

The battle for the East Ghouta region of rural Damascus has proven to be one of the most violent fronts in all of Syria after almost 4 years of non-stop fighting between the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and the Islamist rebels of Jaysh Al-Islam (formerly “Liwaa Al-Islam”). However, the tide of this war has shifted and it is no long in favor of the Islamist rebels that once flourished in the East Ghouta due to its abundance of farms and rough terrain that make the Syrian Arab Army’s tanks immobile on the battlefield. Recently, the Syrian Arab Army’s 102nd Brigade and the 416th Regiment of the Republican Guard seized the strategic Marj Al-Sultan Military Airport and its nearby village, marking the end of Jaysh Al-Islam’s presence at this strategic site in rural Damascus.

Hezbollah and Iraqi reinforcements arrive in southern Aleppo to begin the march to Idlib- Al-Masdar News

Another massive wave of Hezbollah and Iraqi reinforcements have arrived inside the town of Al-Hadher in order to begin the third phase of their large-scale offensive in the Aleppo Governorate’s southern countryside. The Syrian Arab Army’s 4th Mechanized Division and their allies from Hezbollah, Harakat Al-Nujaba, and the National Defense Forces (NDF) completed the second phase of their southern Aleppo offensive after they captured the strategic town of Khan Touman and the village of Al-Khalidiyah; this resulted in the obstruction of the Islamist rebels main supply line from the Idlib Governorate to the provincial capital of the Aleppo Governorate.

Steinmeier: 'No German boots on the ground in Syria'- DW

Germany's foreign minister has rejected the idea that troops will be deployed on the ground in Syria. His assertion came during an interview in which he reiterated Berlin's commitment to the war-torn country.

The Death of Zahran Alloush- Syria Comment

Rebel sources reportthat a missile hit a gathering of Islam Army leaders in the Eastern Ghouta region today,killing several of them, including Mohammed Zahran Alloush. Some reports also say that an allied rebel faction, Feilaq al-Rahman, had much of its leadership wiped out, and that the strike was carried out byRussia. (The Syrian government claims that its own airforce was behind the attack.)
This is big news and it has the potential to shift the balance of power in the Ghouta, a region of suburbs and agricultural towns into that rings the Syrian capital. It could also impact the Syrian peace process—such as it is—that is slated to begin this January.

Jumblat: Iran Thwarted the Presidential Initiative- Naharnet

Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblat blamed Iran for thwarting the presidential initiative settlement that suggested the nomination of Marada chief MP Suleiman Franjieh for the top state post, As Safir daily reported on Friday.
“(Al-Mustaqbal Movement chief Saad) Hariri suggested the initiative with a Saudi approval and Iran rejected it and that was enough to freeze it,” Jumblat told the daily.
“Who knows, maybe when the U.S. starts lifting sanctions against Iran then it would sell the initiative back to the U.S.” he added.
“Although the initiative that suggested the nomination of Franjieh for the presidency reached a dead end but the nomination of Franjieh in principle did not fail," stated the MP.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Arap Birliği'nden Başika kınaması- Al-Jazeera Turk

Arap Birliği dışişleri bakanları, Türkiye'nin askeri eğitmenleri korumak için Başika Kampı'na asker yollamasını kınadı. Türkiye'nin Irak'ın toprak bütünlüğünü ihlal ettiğini savunan Arap Birliği, Ankara'ya askerleri çekmesi çağrısında bulundu.

Syria conflict: Government 'ready to attend peace talks'- BBC News

Syria's government is prepared to take part in UN-brokered peace talks aimed at finding a political solution to the four-year conflict in the country.
Foreign Minister Walid Muallem said it would be "ready as soon as we receive a list of the opposition delegation".
The warring parties and the world powers backing them have to agree on which rebel groups will be designated as "terrorists" and not represented.
The UN hopes to convene the talks in Geneva towards the end of January.
More than 250,000 people have been killed since the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad began in March 2011. More than 11 million others have been forced from their homes.

Russia withdraws from legal assistance treaty with Turkey- TASS

MOSCOW, December 24./TASS/. Russia withdraws from the treaty on mutual legal assistance on civil, trade and criminal cases signed with Turkey in 1997, says a government decree posted on the official web portal for legal information on Thursday. 

This motion was coordinated with the Russian Foreign Ministry, the General Prosecutor’s Office and the Investigative Committee. The treaty with Ankara was signed on December 15, 1997.

Salam Meets al-Rahi, Stresses 'Importance of Perseverance during this Difficult Time'- Naharnet

Prime Minister Tammam Salam paid a visit on Thursday to Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi on the occasion of Christmas, taking the opportunity to highlight the need for national unity in Lebanon.
He said from Bkirki: “We stress the importance of perseverance during this critical time.”
He added that he has never spared an opportunity to call for the election of a president, saying that the patriarch made “significant points” during his Christmas message earlier on Thursday.
“We hope officials would be receptive of this message,” remarked Salam.

Muallim: Cenevre görüşmelerine katılmaya hazırız- Al-Jazeera Turk

Suriye Dışişleri Bakanı Velid Muallim, rejimin Ocak ayında düzenlenmesi planlanan Cenevre görüşmelerine katılmaya hazır olduğunu açıkladı. Çin ziyareti sırasında konuya değinen Muallim muhaliflerle yapılacak diyalogun başarılı olmasını ve bir “ulusal birlik hükümeti”nin oluşturulmasına yardımcı olmasını umduklarını ifade etti.
Suriyeli muhalifler, rejimle herhangi bir diyaloğun 2012’de varılan Cenevre Bildirgesi’ne dayalı olması gerektiğinin altını çiziyor. Bunun da geçici dönemde oluşturulması hedeflenen yönetim formülünün “ulusal birlik hükümeti” değil, Cumhurbaşkanı yetkileri dâhil tam yetkili “geçiş hükümeti” olması gerektiğini savunuyor.

How much leverage does Russia have in Syria?- Al-Monitor

Though Washington and Moscow recently set aside their differences over President Bashar al-Assad’s future role in governing Syria to pass a unanimous United Nations Security Council resolution establishing a timeline for a political process and a cease-fire to end Syria’s almost 5-year-long civil war, establishing a timeline and implementing it are two very different things. A shared understanding of Assad’s future will be a key factor in whether the latest effort to bring peace to Syria succeeds or fails. But it will not be the only factor: A clear understanding of leverage — and how and when to use it — might be no less important.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Syrian Army seizes the crucial Al-Nuba Mountains in northeastern Latakia- Al-Masdar News

The Syrian Arab Army’s 103rd Brigade of the Republican Guard has struck again in the Latakia Governorate’s northeastern countryside after they imposed full control over a strategic mountaintop that was previously controlled by the Islamist rebels of Jabhat Al-Nusra (Syrian Al-Qaeda group) and the Free Syrian Army (FSA) up until this morning.

International Powers Unenthusiastic over Hariri Initiative- Naharnet

The initiative launched by Mustaqbal Movement leader MP Saad Hariri to nominate Marada Movement chief MP Suleiman Franjieh as president as part of a greater deal to end the political deadlock in Lebanon has lost steam as evidenced by the lack of local and international backing for the plan, reported al-Joumhouria newspaper on Wednesday.
It said that only Saudi Arabia, France, and the United States are pushing for the adoption of the settlement.
“Other regional powers, which consider themselves concerned with the situation in Lebanon, have not made any indication or taken any stance that may demonstrate that they stand behind the initiative,” it noted.

Amnesty: Russian Airstrikes Killed 200 Civilians in Syria- VOA

Amnesty International added to the criticism of Russia's air campaign in Syria with a new report Wednesday saying the bombings have killed at least 200 civilians in Homs, Idlib and Aleppo provinces.
The rights group said the Russian airstrikes have hit homes and hospitals, and that its research showed there were no fighters or military targets nearby.
"Some Russian airstrikes appear to have directly attacked civilians or civilian objects by striking residential areas with no evident military target and even medical facilities, resulting in deaths and injuries to civilians," Amnesty Middle East and North Africa Program Director Philip Luther said. "Such attacks may amount to war crimes."

Syrian, Russian Fighter Jets Intensify Bombing of ISIL Positions near Tishrin Dam- FARS News Agency

"The ISIL fortified positions near Tishrin Dam, which is over the Euphrates river at the border of Raqqa and Aleppo provinces, came under the joint combat sorties of the Syrian and Russian air forces," the sources said.

"Following the Syrian government forces' plan to carry out an imminent large-scale operation to end the ISIL occupation of the strategic Tishrin Dam, the Syrian and Russian fighter jets targeted the headquarters and defense lines of the ISIL terrorists in both sides of the river, which claimed the lives of many militants and destroyed the military infrastructures," the sources said.

"In the meantime, the ISIL gathering centers in al-Bab, Deir Hafer, Jrouf, Sharbeh, Jubb Ghabsheh in the Northeastern part of Aleppo province were bombed by the Russian and Syrian air fleets," the sources said.  

"There were no immediate reports on the possible casualties of the ISIL terrorists in the airstrikes," the sources pointed out.

On Monday, intelligence sources of the Syrian Army disclosed that the country's government forces have dispatched fresh fighters in groups to Sarrin Northeast of Aleppo province to join a large-scales operation against the ISIL strongholds Northwest of Raqqa.

Quwat al-Jalil: A Pro-Assad Palestinian Syrian Militia- Syria Comment

Emblem of Quwat al-Jalil. On the top is a quotation from Qur’an 22:39, a classic verse used to invoke the concept of defensive jihad: “Permission [to fight] has been granted to those who are being fought because they have been wronged. And indeed God is capable of granting them victory.” Beneath it is the name of Quwat al-Jalil’s political wing: “Movement of the Youth of the Palestinian Return.” On bottom: “Quwat al-Jalil” (al-Jalil forces).
The Syrian civil war features multiple militias of Palestinian Syrians fighting on the side of the Assad regime. The most well-known of these is the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine- General Command, headed by Ahmad Jibril. Previously on this site I have profiled two other pro-regime Palestinian Syrian militias: Liwa al-Quds (operating primarily in the Aleppo area) and Jaysh al-Tahrir al-Falastini, which is active mainly in the Damascus area. Quwat al-Jalil is another formation that has more recently come to attention. By way of introduction, here is an article from late May 2015 about the militia in the outlet Bousla:
“More than 4800 fighters have finished their intensive military training, and have moved from theoretical military studies to operation on the battleground in Qalamoun, hand-in-hand with the Syrian army and Hezbollah: they have participated in the liberation of al-Musa hill and al-Talaja, and the assault on the two hills of al-Balukusat and al-Khashi’a. ‘We are a civilian resistance auxiliary force working with the army, and we emphasize its operation,’ thus characterizes Fadi [al]-Mellah, leader of Quwat al-Jalil, his brothers in arms. He adds: ‘We are Syrians by belonging, Palestinians by nationality and resisters by ideology and faith. Quwat al-Jalil.’

Cenevre'deki Suriye görüşmelerinin tarihi belli oldu- Sputnik News

Suriyeli tarafların, görüşmelerin bir sonraki ayağı için İsviçre'nin Cenevre kentinde 22 Ocak'ta toplanacağı açıklandı.

Sputnik'e konuşan Suriye Ulusal Konseyi (SUK) Başkanı George Sabra, "BM müzakere tarihi olarak 22 Ocak 2016'yı işaret etti" dedi. Diğer taraftan Sabra, Cenevre'deki müzakerelere hangi grupların katılacağına dair bilgi vermedi.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

As bombing in Syria intensifies, a debate about the rules of engagement- The Washington Post

President Obama’s order to intensify air attacks in Syria has led to new internal debate over whether to loosen tight restrictions on strikes against Islamic State targets that risk civilian casualties, according to senior administration officials.
But so far, at least, the White House has resisted proposals to change the rules of engagement for the bombing. Each strike, whether against a pre-planned target or one chosen on a “dynamic” basis by patrolling aircraft, is weighed against likely collateral damage and must be individually approved by top officers at the coalition operations center in Baghdad.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Russian jets could escort Assad on Iran trip: reports- Al-Jazeera

Russia has proposed sending four fighter jets to escort the plane carrying Syrian President Bashar al-Assad when he makes a visit to the Iranian capital, regional media outlets have reported.
Al-Diyar, a Lebanese newspaper close to the regime of Assad, said on Monday that Moscow had alerted the US-led coalition not to "get close to Assad's plane in order to avoid an aerial battle".
It is expected that Assad's plane will fly to Iran through Iraqi airspace, al-Diyar reported.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Political and Religious Figures Denounce Quntar's Assassination- Naharnet

Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblat denounced on Sunday the assassination of Hizbullah figure Samir al-Quntar, describing the slain as “a symbol of struggle and steadfastness.”
“Apart from our political differences with regard to the Syrian crisis, we denounce targeting Samir al-Quntar with an Israeli air raid in Jermana that led to his death. He will continue to be a symbol of struggle and steadfastness”, said Jumblat in a statement.
“The martyr Quntar has devoted his life to confront the Israeli occupation, and had spent decades in solitary detention without backing down on his positions and principles,” added the PSP chief.
For his part, MP Marwan Hamadeh also denounced the act, he said: “Israel's criminal act in Jarmana is but a continuation of the Israeli approach based on murder, treachery, destruction.”
The AMAL Movement issued a statement demanding quick international community reaction, it said: “We urge the International community to take direct action to put an end to these crimes.”

Israeli Air Force Allegedly Launches Airstrike on Damascus Suburb- Sputnik News

Samir Quntar, a senior member of Hezbollah and the Palestine Liberation Front, has reportedly been killed in an alleged Israeli airstrike in the Jaramana district of the Syrian capital, Hezbollah announced.

Samir al-Quntar Killed in Israeli Raid in Syria- Naharnet

Hizbullah figure Samir al-Quntar was killed in an Israeli air raid near the Syrian capital, media reports said on Sunday.
Israeli warplanes targeted a building where Quntar and a number of his companions were residing in Hay al-Homsi in Jarmana southeast of Damascus, killing an unidentified number, media reports said.
Witnesses said that three missiles were launched at the residential building and led to its total collapse, killing six individuals and wounding another twelve.
Media reports close to Hizbullah said that Israeli warplanes carried out raids on the said location, killing at least nine individuals and an unidentified number were wounded.
Al-Jazeera, al-Jadeed, and Russia Today said that an Israeli air raid at dawn on Jarmana in Reef Damascus led to the killing of Hizbullah figure Samir al-Quntar and other members.
At dawn, Journalist Bassam al-Quntar, mourned his brother Samir in a tweet on Twitter saying: "We are proud to have joined the long list of families of martyrs."

Saturday, December 19, 2015

'Esed, geçiş hükümetine devretsin'- Al-Jazeera Turk

BMGK'nın Suriye kararıyla ilgili açıklama yapan Türk Dışişleri, Esed ile görüşmelerde muhalefeti temsil edecek heyetin, 8-10 Aralık'taki Riyad konferansı kapsamında olması gerektiğini belirtti. Açıklamada, Esed'siz bir süreç ve tam yetkili geçiş hükümeti vurgusu yapıldı.

Syrian Army cuts the Islamists main supply route to the West Ghouta in rural Damascus- Al-Masdar News

On Friday afternoon in the West Ghouta (collection of farms) of rural Damascus, the Syrian Arab Army’s 68th Brigade – in coordination with the National Defense Forces (NDF) of Qatana – conducted a special military operation to cutoff the Islamists main supply route to the strategic city of Khan Al-Sheih from the latter’s last border-crossing into Lebanon. This special military operation proved successful for the Syrian Armed Forces, as they successfully cutoff part of the Damascus-Quneitra Highway that connects with a number of seasonal roads, which ultimately leads to the Lebanese border at Jaroud Qarah; this aforementioned border-crossing is shared by the Islamist rebels and the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS).

Berri Says Hariri's Bid to Nominate Franjieh is 'More than Serious'- Naharnet

Speaker Nabih Berri praised Mustaqbal Movement leader MP Saad Hariri's initiative to nominate Marada Movement chief MP Suleiman Franjieh as president, reported al-Joumhouria newspaper on Saturday.
His visitors told the daily: “It is an honest nomination and his initiative is more than serious.”
Hariri has been leading efforts to nominate Franjieh as president as part of a greater initiative aimed at ending the political deadlock in Lebanon.
The main problem lies in the stances of Maronite figures, added Berri of the nomination.
The Christian blocs of the Kataeb, Change and Reform, and Lebanese Forces have expressed reservations over Franjieh's nomination.

Putin: Hem Esad hem de ABD'yle çalışmaya hazırız- Sputnik News

Rusya Devlet Başkanı Vladimir Putin'in, Vladimir Soloylov'un yönettiği ve Rossiya-1 kanalında yayınlanacak belgeselde yaptığı açıklamaların bir bölümü paylaşıldı.

'Dünya Düzeni' adlı belgeselde, Moskova'nın hem Suriye lideri Beşar Esad hem de Washington'la çalışmasının kolay olduğunu belirten Putin, bunu ABD Başkanı Barack Obama ve Suudi Arabistan gibi bazı Arap ülkelerinden partnerleriyle de konuştuğunu söyledi.

Putin, bunun neden kolay olduğunu da şöyle açıkladı: "Çünkü biz ikiyüzlülük yapmıyoruz, Suriye konusundaki konumumuzu değiştirmiyoruz."

Syria terrorists list compiled by Jordan is contradictory — Lavrov- TASS

UNITED NATIONS, December 19. /TASS/. The list of terrorist organizations of Syria compiled by Jordan is contradictory, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said after a United Nations Security Council meeting devoted to Syrian settlement.

"We all decided to exchange assessments whom each of us considers a terrorist organization. We asked the foreign minister of Jordan to coordinate this work, which he did," Lavrov recalled.

Syria unity government ‘possible’ within 6 months, political transition within 1.5yrs – Lavrov- RT

Russia’s foreign minister said he believes it will be “possible” to establish a transitional unity government in Syria within six months and hold national elections within 18 months. Sergey Lavrov and his US counterpart John Kerry spoke after the UNSC voted for Syria peace plan.

UN Security Council unanimously adopts Syrian roadmap resolution- RT

The UN Security Council has unanimously adopted a resolution calling for a ceasefire and political settlement in Syria. The resolution envisions the formation of a unity government and calls for an immediate halt to any attacks on civilian targets.

The resolution demands that all parties to the Syrian conflict “immediately cease any attacks against civilians.” A mechanism to monitor, verify, and report on the truce is to be worked out within a month.
The only groups excluded from the ceasefire are Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) and Al-Nusra Front, Al-Qaeda’s branch in Syria.
The resolution also asks the UN to convene formal talks on a transitional government. The talks between the regime and opposition are targeted for early January.
The resolution expressed support for a Syrian-led political process that would set up “inclusive and non-sectarian governance” within six months and schedule a process for drafting a new constitution, with the aim of holding fair elections in 18 months.

U.N. endorses Syria peace plan in rare show of unity among big powers- Reuters

The United Nations Security Council on Friday unanimously approved a resolution endorsing an international road map for a Syria peace process, a rare show of unity among major powers on a conflict that has claimed more than a quarter million lives.
The resolution gives a U.N. blessing to a plan negotiated previously in Vienna that calls for a ceasefire, talks between the Syrian government and opposition, and a roughly two-year timeline to create a unity government and hold elections.
But the obstacles to ending the nearly five-year civil war remain daunting, with no side in the conflict able to secure a clear military victory. Despite their agreement, the major powers are bitterly divided on who may represent the opposition as well as on the future of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
"This council is sending a clear message to all concerned that the time is now to stop the killing in Syria and lay the groundwork for a government that the long-suffering people of that battered land can support," U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told the 15-nation council after the vote.

The resolution also calls for the U.N. to present the council with options for monitoring a ceasefire within one month.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Suriye tasarısı BM'de kabul edildi- Al-Jazeera Turk

Uluslararası Suriye Destek Grubu, BM Güvenlik Konseyi karar tasarısında anlaştı. Birleşmiş Milletler Güvenlik Konseyi tarafından oy birliğiyle kabul edilen tasarıda, Esed rejimi ve Suriyeli muhaliflerin Ocak ayı başında barış görüşmeleri için masaya oturması öngörülüyor.

Suriye'deki savaşa son vermek ve siyasal geçiş sürecini hızlandırmak amacıyla oluşturulan Uluslararası Suriye Destek Grubu'nun New York'taki toplantısında taraflar sürecin BM Güvenlik Konseyi karar tasarısıyla desteklenmesi konusunda uzlaşmaya vardı. Üzerinde anlaşmaya varılan tasarı, BM Güvenlik Konseyi'ndeki oylamada oy birliğiyle kabul edildi.
Tasarıda, Esed rejimi ve Suriyeli muhaliflerin Ocak ayı başında barış görüşmeleri için masaya oturması öngörülüyor.
Reuters’e göre 4 sayfalık tasarıda, Suriye hükümetinin ve muhalefetin temsilcileri BM gözetimi altında siyasi geçiş için ilk adımları attığı an, ülke çapında ateşkesin yürürlüğe girmesi için uğraşılacağı belirtildi.
Tasarıda, ateşkes gözlemleme konusundaki seçenekleri bir ay içinde sunması için BM Genel Sekreteri Ban Ki-mun’a talepte bulunuluyor. Suriye’deki bütün taraflardan da sivillere karşı saldırıların durdurulması isteniyor.

BM'den Suriye'de ateşkes ve müzakere çağrısı- BBC Türkçe

Birleşmiş Milletler Güvenlik Konseyi Suriye'de taraflara müzakerelere başlama ve ateşkes ilan etme çağrısında bulundu. Bu çağrıları içeren karar tasarısı oybirliğiyle kabul edildi.
Karar metninde Suriye hükümeti ve muhalefetin Ocak ayında görüşmelere başlaması isteniyor. Ayrıca görüşmelerle eş zamanlı olarak ateşkes ilan edilmesi çağrısı yapılıyor.
Bununla birlikte, "terör örgütü" olarak kabul edilen gruplara yönelik operasyonların ateşkesten etkilenmeyeceği belirtiliyor. Bu çerçevede Rus, Fransız ve Amerikan savaş uçaklarının IŞİD'e yşnelik operasyonlarının devam edeceği kaydediliyor.
Hangi isyancı grubunun terörist grup olarak kabul edileceği ve görüşmeler ya da ateşkesin dışında tutulacağı taraflar arasındaki en büyük anlaşmazlık noktalarından biri.

Foreign Ministers in New York Begin Talks on Syrian Crisis- VOA

Senior officials from 20 nations opened talks in New York Friday on a proposed political transition to end the civil war in Syria, weeks before a plan to launch U.N.-mediated talks between the Syrian government and opposition.
The officials are meeting for a third time to push forward an earlier agreement to implement a cease-fire in Syria so talks on a political transition could begin in the New Year.

Jumblat Hails Franjieh's 'Frank' Interview- Naharnet

Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblat praised on Friday the interview given by Marada Movement leader MP Suleiman Franjieh, deeming his remarks as “realistic.”

He said via Twitter: “His interview was frank and steered away from the empty political slogans of some officials.”

He also lauded Franjieh's “practical approach” on various issues.

“The joining of opposing forces in obstructing the presidential elections is harming Lebanon's stability, institutions, and economy,” he added.

Franjieh gave a much anticipated television interview on Thursday during which he announced his candidacy for the presidency.

He addressed a number of issues, most notably ties with his ally in the March 8 camp, Change and Reform bloc chief MP Michel Aoun, who is also a presidential candidate.

Doubts About Saudi Arabia’s Antiterrorism Coalition- The New York Times

One of the greatest weaknesses in the American-led fight against the Islamic State is the lack of competent regional forces to join in defeating the militants, especially on the ground. Saudi Arabia’s plans to organize a military coalition of 34 Islamic nations against terrorism could be a breakthrough, though there are many reasons to doubt how effective the plan will be.

Qatar's channel to militants possibly dangerous, possibly useful- Reuters

To its foes, Qatar's deal-making with armed groups is reckless grandstanding that helps destabilize the Middle East.
To its friends, the network of Islamist contacts Doha has built in the process may prove crucial to mediating peace in regional hotspots, including in Syria.
On one thing both supporters and detractors agree: no state has made more of an effort to open channels of communication with militants among Syrian rebels.
Qatar has for years played the role of the Middle East peace broker, using its gas riches and wide-ranging political ties in a policy of international self-promotion to free hostages and secure peace agreements from Sudan to Somalia.

As Qatari Foreign Minister Khaled al-Attiya explained it on Thursday in a speech ahead of National Day: "Diplomacy is a tool we use to empower people and spread security... while taking care not to interfere in the internal affairs of other states."

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Syria terminates agreement on visa-free regime with Turkey — foreign ministry- TASS

BEIRUT, December 17. /TASS/. Syria has terminated the agreement on visa-free regime with Turkey which was made between the neighboring countries in 2009, SANA news agency quoted the Syrian Foreign Ministry’s statement as saying on Thursday. 

"This step was made in response to the actions of Ankara which announced the cancellation of visa-free regime for Syrian citizens on the border on December 9," the statement said.

French defense minister to visit Moscow to coordinate ISIS fight- Daily Star

PARIS: French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian will travel to Moscow for talks with Russian officials Sunday and Monday to coordinate efforts to defeat ISIS extremists, his office announced.
"On Dec.20 and 21 Mr Le Drian will go to Russia to discuss coordination in the fight against Daesh (an Arabic acronym for ISIS), defense ministry spokesman Pierre Bayle told a press conference Thursday.
The minister's visit is "part of international efforts to reinforce the coalition against Daesh," he added.
After last month's deadly attacks in Paris and the October downing of a Russian plane in Egypt, claimed by ISIS, French President Francois Hollande and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin agreed to unprecedented cooperation of their forces in Syria in the battle against the extremist group.