"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


Wednesday, April 27, 2016

US senator in Syria: 'Legitimate Assad government is fighting terrorist' opposition- The Jerusalem Post

The Syrian official news agency SANA reported Tuesday that Black arrived in Syrian for a three-day visit, the first visit of an American senator in Syria since 2012.

Upon his arrival, he told the state-run news agency: "What is happening in Syria is terror. The issue is that terrorists are fighting against the Syrian people and their legitimate government," adding that "there is no such thing as 'moderate opposition' in this country."

US Senator Black meets Grand Mufti, visits a displaced people center- SANA

Damascus, SANA – U.S. Senator for the State of Virginia Richard “Dick” Black met Grand Mufti of the Syrian Arab Republic Ahmad Badr Eddin Hassoun on Tuesday.
Syria is doing a great thing fighting terrorism because, should terrorists succeed, there would be grave repercussions on the security and stability of the world, said the Senator.
Mufti Hassoun, for his part, stressed to Black that the Syrian people are committed to national unity and are determined to continue fighting the terrorists.
The Senator later made a visit to a makeshift center hosting displaced people in Sumaiyeh al-Makhzoumi school in Mezzeh neighborhood where he was received by Minister of Social Affairs Rima al-Qadiri and Deputy Governor of Damascus Ahmad Nabulsi.

IŞİD Türkiye sınırında 'beş köyü ele geçirdi'- BBC Türkçe

Irak Şam İslam Devleti'nin (IŞİD) Suriye'de Türkiye sınırına yakın beş köyü ele geçirdiği iddia edildi.
Merkezi Londra'da bulunan Suriye İnsan Hakları Gözlemevi IŞİD'in Azez bölgesinde Suriyeli muhaliflerin elinde bulunan beş köyü ele geçirdiğini söyledi.
Bölgede çatışmalardan kaçmak için evini terk etmiş onbinlerce sivil bulunuyor.
Son aylarda Halep'in kuzeyinde bulunan Azez'deki muhalifler IŞİD, Suriye ordusu ve Kürt güçleri gibi farklı çevrelerden ateş altında kalmıştı.
IŞİD'in sağladığı bu ilerleme örgütün Marea ve Azez şehirlerine saldırmasının önünü açabilir.
IŞİD'e yakın haber kaynakları da Azez çevresindeki köylerin alındığını duyurdu.

Suriye barış görüşmelerinde tarih çelişkisi

Öte yandan BM öncülüğünde Cenevre'de gerçekleştirilen Suriye barış görüşmelerinin ne zaman yeniden başlayacağı konusunda belirsizlik sürüyor.
Rusya Dışişleri Bakan Yardımcısı Mikail Bogdanov görüşmelerin 10 Mayıs'ta başlayacağını söyledi.
Buna karşın BM özel Suriye Temsilcisi Staffan de Mistura'nın sözcüsü görüşmelerle ilgili net bir tarih belirlenmediğini açıkladı.

Russian Minister: New Geneva Syria talks to resume on May 10- Orient News

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov was quoted on Wednesday as saying Syria peace talks would resume in Geneva on May 10, but a spokeswoman for the UN special envoy on Syria said no date had yet been fixed.

The RIA news agency had reported Bogdanov’s comments earlier on Wednesday, but when asked about it a spokeswoman for Staffan de Mistura, the UN special envoy, said in an email that talk about May 10 was speculation and that no date had been set.

De Mistura, who is struggling to keep negotiations alive after the main opposition High Negotiations Committee (HNC) left formal talks last week, was due to give a news briefing later on Wednesday.

Syrian Army liberates 500 towns, 10,000 square km of territory: Russian MoD- Al-Masdar News

The Russian Minister of Defense, General Sergey Shoygu, issued a statement on Wednesday morning that addressed the overall success of the Russian military operations in Syria. 

“The Syrian Army has managed to liberate 500 towns and 10,000 square km of territory from the terrorist forces inside the country,” General Shoygu added. 

Addressing the topic of ISIS’ oil supply routes, General Shoygu stated that Russia is actively targeting the terrorist group’s economic sources in Syria.

Rebels doomed in northern Aleppo as ISIS nears Azaz- Al-Masdar News

Over the past 72 hours, ISIS has been making steady gains in northern Aleppo, thus capturing the villages of Tahmoul, Jariz Kafrah, Fayruziyah, Tilal Al-Hussein, and Dudiyan. 

Dudiyan represents the 3rd most important town to isolated rebel forces in northern Aleppo; the loss of this town has the armed Syrian Opposition reduced to a last ditch line of defence and foothold at the cities of Azaz and Mare’. 

While rebel fighters have reopened the border corridor which was temporarily cut by ISIS, their forces have been greatly pushed back since the initial rebel advances along the border.

Defense minister: Russia will continue destroying financial base of terrorists in Syria- TASS

MOSCOW, April 27. /TASS/. Russian servicemen in Syria are now focusing on political settlement and delivering humanitarian aid but they will also continue destroying the financial base of terrorists, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said on Wednesday.

"Russian efforts today focus on political settlement of the conflict, delivery of humanitarian aid to the population of the regions liberated from terrorists. We have already delivered over 700 tons of food, medicaments, necessities to Syria," Shoigu said at the 5th Moscow International Security Conference.

Sending US servicemen to Syria illegitimate — Russian deputy FM- TASS

MOSCOW, April 27. /TASS/. Sending US servicemen to Syria and their presence there is illegitimate, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said on Wednesday.

Answering a corresponding question, Gatilov said: "Of course, it’s illegitimate. They do not have a mandate from the [Syrian] government."

On April 25 US President Barack Obama said that additional 250 military personnel will be sent to Syria to help local armed groups in fighting against terrorists.

Banks Start Implementing U.S. Anti-Hizbullah Law- Naharnet

Lebanese banks began taking measures against persons or institutions in accordance to a U.S. law that imposes sanctions on banks that knowingly do business with Hizbullah, banking sources said on Wednesday.
The sources told al-Mustaqbal daily that the measures are being taken on accounts in Lebanese Liras and foreign currencies.
U.S. President Barack Obama signed the Hizbullah International Financing Prevention Act on Dec. 18. Since then, Lebanese officials and bankers have been flying to Washington to discuss the move with American officials.
Last week, the U.S. treasury department's Office of Foreign Assets Control, or OFAC, issued regulations aimed at implementing the Hizbullah financing prevention act.
Many in Lebanon are worried that the U.S. legislation will have negative effects on the Lebanese banking sector, which is one of the most active industries in the country.
Assistant Secretary for the Department of the Treasury Daniel Glaser is expected to visit Beirut next week to discuss with Lebanese officials the details of the regulations, said al-Mustaqbal.

IŞİD'in 800 milyon doları 'imha edildi'- BBC Türkçe

ABD, koalisyon güçlerinin Irak'taki hava saldırılarında, IŞİD'e ait 800 milyona dolara yakın paranın 'imha edildiğini' açıkladı.
Açıklama, Irak'ın başkenti Bağdat'ta bulunan Tümgeneral Peter Gersten tarafından yapıldı.
Gersten, örgütün mali işlerini yürütüldüğü binaların üst üste hedef alındığını belirtti.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Al-Jaafari: We engaged in every discussion that could serve our country and people- SANA

Geneva, SANA – The delegation of the Syrian Arab Republic to the intra-Syrian dialogue in Geneva held a meeting on Tuesday with UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura and his team at the UN HQ in Geneva.
Head of the delegation Bashar al-Jaafari announced in a statement to reporters after the meeting, which was the closing session of the third round of indirect intra-Syrian talks, that the Syrian Arab Republic delegation engaged in a responsible and objective manner in every discussion that could serve Syria and its people, answering all the questions and inquiries posed by the UN team, all of which dealt with important issues.
“We, for our part, raised again plenty of important points, especially regarding terrorism, and we sensed an understanding on the part of the Special Envoy and his team with regard to our concern about the attempts by terrorism-sponsoring countries and the terrorist groups that belong to them which seek to undermine the political solution efforts through breaching the cessation of hostilities agreement and carrying out terrorist acts that claimed dozens of innocent lives in many Syrian areas,” said al-Jaafari.

Aleppo offensive becomes do-or-die for the Syrian Army- Al-Masdar News

The massacre that took place inside the provincial capital of Aleppo on Monday has infuriated the people of this historical Syrian city. 

The overwhelming majority of civilians in the provincial capital live under the government; and while they can flee to safer provinces like Latakia or Tartous, the people of Aleppo obstinately remain in their shell-ridden homes. 

Since August of 2012, the people of Aleppo City have been under constant fear of the rebel forces that have indiscriminately targeted their homes for not supporting their cause.

Hmeimim group sees sending 250 US soldiers to Syria as symbolic measure- TASS

GENEVA, April 26. /TASS/. US President Barack Obama’s decision to send an additional 250 military personnel to Syria is nothing more than a symbolic move, while real fight against terrorists is carried out by Syrian government forces with support of Russian aviation, head of the Syrian opposition’s Hmeimim group delegation to Geneva talks Ilian Masaad told TASS on Tuesday.

"Such forces [250 US military personnel] may take only one village in Syria under control," Masaad said. "From the military point of view, this is nothing. Obama just wanted to show that the United States is also fighting against terrorism in Syria," he added.

"Only the Syrian army may put an end to IS [Islamic State terrorist organization banned in Russia] if Turks and Saudis stop assisting terrorists," he noted. "Sending 250 US soldiers is a symbolic step to say ‘We have not left Russians alone’," Masaad stressed.

Islamic State: Up to $800m of funds 'destroyed by strikes'- BBC News

Up to $800m (£550m) in cash held by so-called Islamic State (IS) has been destroyed in air strikes, a US military official says.
Maj Gen Peter Gersten, who is based in Baghdad, said the US had repeatedly targeted stores of the group's funds.
The blow to the group's financing has contributed to a 90% jump in defections and a drop in new arrivals, he said.
In 2014, the US Treasury called IS "the best-funded terrorist organisation" it had encountered.

Rahi Travels to Brussels, Says Presidential Polls Solution to Problematic Issues- Naharnet

Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi hoped on Tuesday that the municipal polls, which are set for May, would pave way for the election of a new president.
The solution to all issues is the presidency, al-Rahi said at Rafik Hariri International Airport in Beirut before traveling to Brussels on a three-day visit.
“Hopefully the municipal elections would pave way for holding parliamentary polls,” he said.
Both elections should be held “because Lebanon's value lies in the transition of power and the democratic system."

Bkirki Denies Proposing Election of President for Transitional Period- Naharnet

Maronite Bishop Samir Mazloum denied on Tuesday reports that Bkirki has proposed the election of a president for a transitional period to resolve the country's political crisis.
“Bkirki is not the source of a proposal to elect a head of state for a two-year period,” Mazloum told As Safir newspaper published on Tuesday.
Former Speaker Hussein Husseini made the proposal to elect a president for one year, he said.
“But Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi has not expressed his opinion on the matter because it is up to lawmakers firstly to take a decision on such issues,” said Mazloum.
“What concerns Bkirki is the swift election of a president to come out of the vacuum,” he told As Safir.

Qahwaji to Visit Moscow for Anti-terror Cooperation- Naharnet

Army chief Gen. Jean Qahwaji is expected to visit Moscow soon to consolidate the Lebanese military's anti-terrorism capabilities, al-Joumhouria newspaper reported on Tuesday.
A Russian technical military team is currently visiting Beirut and conducting maintenance to Russian-made weaponry, it said.
Qahwaji's visit would come as Russia hosts a conference on international security on April 27-28.
The conference's main topic of discussion is fighting terrorism, the situation in the Middle East, the traditional and new challenges and threats to the international security.
Al-Joumhouria quoted a high-ranking Russian military source as saying that “the Lebanese army and Qahwaji are true partners in combating terrorism worldwide.”

Number of foreign fighters entering Iraq and Syria drops by 90 percent, Pentagon says- The Washington Post

The flow of foreign fighters into Iraq and Syria has dropped from roughly 2,000 a month down to 200 within the past year, according to the Pentagon, which says the waning numbers are further proof of the Islamic State’s declining stature.
The declining number of fighters is a direct result of strikes that have targeted the terror group’s infrastructure, Air Force Maj. Gen. Peter E. Gersten, the deputy commander for operations and intelligence for the U.S.-led campaign against the Islamic State, said Tuesday.

A Syrian Tempest in the Geneva Teapot (Aron Lund- TCF)

On April 25, an opposition group known as Building the Syrian State (BSS) issued a statement saying it had left the High Negotiations Committee, or HNC, which is the main Syrian opposition delegation negotiating at the Geneva III peace talks. The HNC itself announced on April 18 that it was suspending its participation in the talks, in a move seemingly related to the faltering truce in Syria, but UN Envoy Staffan de Mistura has said he would try to continue to organize some form of discussions.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Kilis'e isabet eden roketlerin ardından IŞİD'e hava operasyonu- BBC Türkçe

ABD öncülüğündeki koalisyon güçleri gece 01.00 sularında Suriye'deki Irak Şam İslam Devleti (IŞİD) hedeflerine hava saldırısı düzenledi.
Doğan Haber Ajansı ve Anadolu Ajansı'na bilgi veren askeri kaynaklar çok sayıda IŞİD üyesinin etkisiz hale getirildiği ve silah mevzilerinin imha edildiğini söyledi.
Askeri kaynaklar 9 Ocak 2016 tarihinden bu yana Suriye tarafındaki IŞİD mevzilerinden Türkiye'ye yapılan saldırılara Türkiye'nin uluslararası hukuk kuralları çerçevesinde mukabelede bulunduğu ve bulunmaya devam ettiğini ifade ettiler.

Lavrov: Syrian opposition should leave regions with terrorist positions- TASS

MOSCOW, April 25. /TASS/. Syrian opposition should leave positions of terrorists and disassociate itself from them if it wants to participate in the political process, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Monday.

"We agreed long ago that groups that found themselves on the positions of terrorists but that are not terrorists and want to participate in the political process, should leave the territories of terrorist positions," Lavrov said. "They should disassociate and physically leave these positions," he added.

Car bomb near Damascus kills at least six: activists- The Daily Star

BEIRUT/AMMAN: An ISIS car bomb Monday in a district south of Damascus killed at least six people and possibly many more, according to the radical Sunni movement and activists.
ISIS claimed responsibility for detonating the car laden with explosives near a Syrian army checkpoint, a news agency close to the militants said. It first gave no details but later said the blast killed or injured 48 people.
Lebanese group Hezbollah's Al Manar television reported the blast had occurred at a Syrian army checkpoint and put the death toll at eight.
The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the death toll was expected to rise because of the number of people with serious injuries.
State media located the bombing on the outskirts of Sayeda Zeinab, home to Syria's holiest Shiite Muslim shrine. The area has already been hit by two bomb attacks this year.

Obama to Send More Forces to Syria, Opposition Welcomes Move- Asharq al-Awsat English

President Barack Obama announced on Monday that his administration would deploy an extra 250 special forces soldiers to build on successes against ISIS, a step that represents the biggest expansion of U.S. ground troops in Syria since the civil war there began.
The new deployment will increase U.S. forces in Syria to about 300. The decision, announced by Obama in Germany at the end of a six-day foreign tour, appears indicates increasing confidence in the ability of U.S.-backed forces to claw back territory from the hardline terrorist group.
“Given the success, I’ve approved the deployment of up to 250 additional U.S. personnel in Syria, including special forces to keep up this momentum,” Obama said in a speech at a trade fair in the northern city of Hanover, the last stop on a trip that has taken him to Saudi Arabia and Britain.

Putin and Assad pop up in Syria’s war souvenirs- The National

DAMASCUS // They stare at you from mugs, pins and fridge magnets in souvenir shops in Damascus.
Russian president Vladimir Putin, Syrian president Bashar Assad and Hizbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah are a hot commodity in Damascus these days, their faces posted on mementos in the capital’s old bazaars.
Putin souvenirs popped up shortly after Moscow began conducting air strikes in Syria on September 30 aimed at shoring up Mr Al Assad’s fledgling forces.
The air strikes helped turned the tide of the five-year conflict in Mr Al Assad’s favour, earning the gratitude of supporters.
The Iranian-backed Hizbollah has sent thousands of its fighters to help government forces.

International Military Review – Syria, April 25, 2016 (Arab, Ger Subs)

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Serious Talk on Electing Aoun for a Two-Year Term- Naharnet

A suggestion to elect the founder of the Free Patriotic Movement MP Michel Aoun as president could be underway, garnering the blessing of two political parties, the Saudi Okaz daily reported on Sunday.
“There is a serious proposal to elect MP Michel Aoun as head of the Lebanese state for a two-year period,” well-informed sources told the daily.
“The proposal is a serious one and it has the approval of two political parties where one of them has guaranteed to market the idea to Hizbullah,” they said on condition of anonymity.
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 have thwarted the elections.
Hizbullah announced earlier this year that it would boycott electoral sessions unless it receives guarantees that its candidate, Change and Reform bloc chief MP Michel Aoun, is elected head of state.

13 violations reported over past day — Russian reconciliation center- TASS

MOSCOW, April 24. /TASS/. Ceasefire in Syria has been generally observed, with 13 violations reported in the past day, the Russian center for reconciliation of the warring parties in Syria said in its regular daily update posted on the Russian defense ministry’s website on Sunday.

"The ceasefire regime in Syria has been generally observed. Over the past day, 13 ceasefire violations were reported," the bulletin says.

A reconciliation agreement was reached with representatives of one settlement in the province of Aleppo. "The number of settlements joining the reconciliation process has reached 71," the document says.

Syria conflict: Obama rules out ground troops for Syria- BBC News

President Barack Obama has ruled out deploying US ground troops in Syria and says military efforts alone cannot solve the country's problems.
"It would be a mistake for the United States, or Great Britain... to send in ground troops and overthrow the [Bashar al-] Assad regime," he told the BBC.
He also said he did not think so-called Islamic State would be defeated in his last nine months of office.
But he said: "We can slowly shrink the environment in which they operate."
Mr Obama, who has been on a three-day visit to the UK, also warned that Britain could take up to 10 years to negotiate trade deals with the US if it votes to leave the EU in a June referendum.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

When we mourn the passing of Prince but not 500 migrants, we have to ask: have we lost all sense of perspective? (Robert Fisk-The Independent)

Has something gone adrift within the moral compass of our ‘news’ reporting?  In the past week, 64 Afghans have been killed in the largest bomb to have exploded in Kabul in 15 years.  At least 340 were wounded.  The Taliban set off their explosives at the very wall of the ‘elite’ security force – watch out for that word ‘elite’ – which was supposed to protect the capital.  Whole families were annihilated.  No autopsies for them.  Local television showed an entire family – a mother and father and three children blown to pieces in a millisecond – while the city’s ambulance service reported that its entire fleet (a miserable 15 vehicles) were mobilised for the rescue effort.  One ambulance was so packed with wounded that the back doors came off their hinges.
But Prince also died this week.

Isis captures Syrian pilot after plane crashes southeast of Damascus- The Independent

News agency affiliated to the terror group released unverified footage of the burning wreck of a Syrian warplane.

In Video: Huge flares devour ancient souk in old Damascus city- Al-Masdar News

It took more than 75 fire trucks, hundreds of firefighters and 7 hours to extinguish the fire.

A massive fire broke out today morning in one of the busiest and well-known marketplace in the old city of Damascus, destroying at least 70 stores and demolishing pat of the roof of the centuries-old bazaar. 

Black plumes of smokes were seen rising high in the sky since the fire broke in the early morning.

The area hit by the fire is known as Al-Assronyah marketplace, located between historic citadel of Damascus and the renowned Al-Hamidiyah Souk, and is famous for selling house appliances,  brassware and glassware. 

According to initial reports, the fire was caused by a short circuit at a toy factory.

Senior commander from Syria rebel group 'killed'- A New Arab

A senior commander in Syria's powerful Islamist Ahrar al-Sham rebel group was killed on Saturday night in a suicide bombing in Idlib province, a monitoring group has said.

"Ahrar al-Sham chief of staff Majed Hussein al Sadeq was killed with three other fighters from the group in a suicide attack against its headquarters in Binnish town," northeast of Idlib city, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

"An unknown person parked his motorcycle near the headquarters then walked into a group of Ahrar al-Sham fighters and detonated his explosive belt," the observatory said.

It was unclear who was responsible for the attack.

Sadeq, also known as Islam Abou Hussein, was a Syrian army officer who defected to join the opposition. 

He held several posts in Ahrar al-Sham before becoming its chief of staff.

In Damascus, an uneasy stability boosts Syria's Assad- Al-Arabiya

Looking out from the Syrian capital these days, one can understand why President Bashar Assad would be in no hurry to make concessions at peace talks in Geneva, let alone consider stepping down as the opposition demands.
In Damascus, it is easy to forget the war. The airstrikes, the ruins and starvation, sometimes only few miles away, seem distant and unseen. Since a partial cease-fire went into effect at the end of February, the mortar shells from opposition-held suburbs have all but stopped.
With the road to the loyalist coast and most of central Syria completely cleared of insurgents, Assad has guaranteed the survival of a rump state that he could rule over should the war continue for a long time. Even if Assad's forces have little chance of regaining large parts of the country in the near term, Russia's military intervention changed the conflict's course in their favor and has boosted their confidence.
"People are much more relaxed than before, we feel safer and more secure," said Maha Arnouz, a student walking with a friend through the capital's bustling Hamadiyah souk, located inside the old walled city.
The bazaar, like the rest of Damascus, has changed in the past few years. Soldiers sit at the entrance underneath a large portrait of Assad, screening passers-by. Male pedestrians are patted down by armed men at checkpoints in its narrow side streets, a jarring sight next to centuries-old shops selling spices, sweets and soaps.
Outside, people shout over the din of power generators spouting toxic fumes whenever the power is off - at least 10 hours a day. In Bab Touma, a mainly Christian quarter of Damascus' Old City popular with tourists before the war, a Hezbollah fighter searches vehicles at a checkpoint. Posters of "martyrs" from pro-government popular defense militias line the walls.

Al-Rahi: Political Powers Must Tackle Real Reasons for Presidential Elections Failure- Naharnet

Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi condemned the ongoing vacuum in the presidency and the political powers' failure to resolve disputes hindering the elections, reported al-Joumhouria newspaper on Saturday.
He said: “It is time for the concerned political powers to responsibly and bravely tackle the real reasons that are preventing the completion of quorum at parliament.”
Numerous electoral sessions have been scheduled and none but one were held due to the lack of needed quorum at parliament.
“We have reached an unacceptable stage in Lebanon whereby we are witnessing the fragmentation of the components of the state,” continued al-Rahi.
“It is as if this fragmentation is programmed, starting with the presidency, passing through the parliament and leading to the cabinet and all other public institutions,” he lamented.
Lebanon has been without a president since May 2014 when the term of Michel Suleiman ended without the election of a successor.

Syria's shadowlands: 'He wanted to go home. When he died, I felt I'd failed him'- The Guardian

On 21 April, I took my sixth trip to a besieged area in Syria – a place called Rastan, half an hour’s drive north from Homs. I was part of a joint team dispatched by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and Syrian Arab Red Crescent to bring humanitarian aid to more than 120,000 people for the first time in over a year.

We crossed the frontline during the day – in contrast with previous visits to besieged areas, when we have generally only been allowed in after dark – and stayed deep into the night. All such trips have unique challenges, but they are nothing compared to the daily hardships faced by people in besieged areas.
Sadly, places like Rastan, where civilians are trapped between the warring sides, have become a common reality of the Syria conflict. People pay a huge price, struggling to survive in dangerous areas where food, water, healthcare and safety are all scarce.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Russian forces in Syria fired on Israeli military aircraft: newspaper- Reuters

Russian forces in Syria have fired at least twice on Israeli military aircraft, prompting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to seek improved operational coordination with Moscow, Israel's top-selling newspaper said on Friday.
The unsourced report in Yedioth Ahronoth gave no dates or locations for the incidents nor any indication Israeli planes were hit. Russia mounted its military intervention in Syria in September to shore Damascus up amid a now 5-year-old rebellion.

Separately, Israel's Channel 10 TV said a Russian warplane approached an Israeli warplane off the Mediterranean coast of Syria last week but that there was no contact between them.

Government, Assyrian forces capture more territory from Kurdish troops in Qamishli- Al-Masdar News

On Thursday evening, the Arab tribes from the National Defense Forces (NDF) and the Assyrian “Gozarto Protection Forces” (GPF) captured several sites in Qamishli after a flurry of violent clashes with the Asayish (Kurdish police) units near the military airport. 

According to a military source in Qamishli, the NDF and GPF captured the Abu Raghab and Kurayrish checkpoints from the Asayish after launching a counter-assault on Thursday evening. 

Following the capture of the aforementioned checkpoints, the NDF and GPF regained control over the Al-Salaam Hospital and the Municipal Stadium, which reversed the Asayish’s gains inside the city.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Obama'nın Suudi Arabistan ziyareti ne anlama geliyor?- BBC Türkçe

ABD Başkanı Barack Obama'nın Suudi Arabistan ziyareti, ABD ve Körfez ülkelerinin karşılıklı ilişkileri açısından kritik bir dönemde gerçekleştiriyor.
Obama'nın, Suriye başta olmak üzere Orta Doğu ülkelerine yönelik belli başlı politikaları ve Batı ile İran arasında varılan nükleer anlaşma, Körfez ülkeleri ile Washington arasında son dönemde gerilime neden olmuş durumda.
Ziyaretin en önemli amaçlarından birinin bu gerilimi azaltma arayışı olduğu iddia ediliyor.

Kral Selman, Obama'yı karşılamadı

Ancak ziyaret daha başından itibaren Washington ve Riyad arasındaki gerginliğin boyutunu işaret eden yorumlarla başladı.
Bunun en büyük nedeni ise Obama'yı Riyad'da Suudi Kralı Selman Bin Abdülaziz'in karşılamaması oldu.

Kurds take over prison, capture 50 pro-Syrian govt fighters in Qamishli – reports- RT

At least 50 pro-Syrian government fighters have been taken captive by Kurdish forces in the Syrian town of Qamishli in the mostly Kurdish-controlled Hasaka province after fierce fighting entered a second day, various media report.

Fighting between the two factions in the northeastern Syrian town sharply intensified on Thursday, after Kurdish police, known as Asayish, seized Allya prison where pro-government forces had been holed up.
Kurdish Firat news agency reports 67 soldiers surrendered, while AFP puts the figure at 50.
The soldiers from the Syrian army handed themselves over to the Kurds, who then surrounded the military intelligence headquarters and some other office buildings held by pro-government forces.
A video posted by the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) on Facebook claims to show the badly damaged prison after the fighting.

Riyadh believes Jordan tied to Alloush killing: report- NOW

BEIRUT – Saudi Arabia believes that Jordan was complicit in the assassination of top rebel leader Zahran Alloush late last year, according to a pro-rebel online outlet.

Arabi21 cited a diplomatic source as saying that Riyadh obtained information indicating Amman was linked to the targeted airstrike on December 25 that killed the leader of Jaysh al-Islam, the most powerful rebel group operating around Damascus.

The diplomat claimed that “Jordanian security services believed that Alloush took advantage of his relations with the Saudis to violate Jordanian sovereignty by transiting his [partisans] across the country’s borders without coordinating their passage.”

“[Information of Jordan’s complicity] aroused the anger of the Kingdom, resulting in a strained relations between the [two countries],” the source also told the London-based news outlet.

The Arabi21 report comes amid warming ties between Amman and Moscow following Russia’s aerial intervention on behalf of the Bashar al-Assad regime.

Kuşatılmış bölgelerden yaralı takası- Al-Jazeera Turk

Suriye’de rejimin ve muhaliflerin kuşattığı 4 bölgeden karşılıklı yaralı tahliyesi geçekleşti. Şam’ın kırsalında rejimin müttefiki Hizbullah’ın kuşattığı Zebadani ve Madaya ile İdlib’in kırsalında muhaliflerin kuşatması altındaki Fua ve Kefreyya’dan toplam 500 yaralı tahliyesi tamamlandı.
BM, yaralıların 'acil sağlık bakıma ihtiyacı olduğunu' belirtiyor. Suriye Kızılay Örgütü denetiminde gerçekleşen takasta Ahrar-u Şam grubu denetimindeki Madaya ve Zebedani’den 250 yaralı, rejim yanlısı Fua ve Kefreyya’dan da 250 yaralı takas edildi.
Suriye İnsan Hakları Örgütü’ne (SOHR) göre, takas Suriye’de muhalifler ile rejim bölgelerin arasında sınır teşkil eden Hama kentinin kırsalında gerçekleşti. Gece saatlerinde otobüslerle bölgeye getirilen yaralıların takası bugün gerçekleşti.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

About half of members of HNC delegation left Geneva — HNC adviser- TASS

GENEVA, April 20. /TASS/. Nearly half of representatives of the Syrian opposition High Negotiations Committee (HNC) have left Geneva, HNC adviser Yahya al-Aridi has told TASS.

"Yes, indeed, some of HNC representatives have left, maybe half or slightly less than half of the delegation," he said. "(Assad) al-Zoubi (head of the HNC delegation - TASS) is still there, for how long I cannot say. If there are no talks, there is no need for him to be present there."

On April 18, the HNC said it was going to quit the intra-Syrian talks in Geneva due to ceasefire violations in Syria and named three conditions for its return to the negotiating table, namely, delivery of humanitarian aid to hard-to-reach areas, release of prisoners and compliance with the truce by Damascus.

IS Tightens Noose on Regime Enclave in Eastern Syria- Naharnet

The Islamic State group has tightened the noose on a regime-held enclave in eastern Syria, overrunning part of the city of Deir Ezzor and advancing on its vital airbase, a monitor said Wednesday.
"IS seized the Al-Sinaa neighborhood of Deir Ezzor on Tuesday evening and fighting is continuing on the edge of the airport," the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
An estimated 200,000 civilians are believed to remain in government-held districts of Deir Ezzor, where they have been living under siege by IS since March 2014.
The jihadists, who also control nearly all the surrounding province, have made repeated attacks on the government enclave and in January seized the suburb of Al-Bgheliyeh.
But their efforts to capture the city's airbase have so far been repulsed by elite regime troops.
There has been growing concern for the besieged civilian population and, in January, Russia announced that it had equipped Syrian military transport aircraft to carry out aid drops to the city.
On April 10, the World Food Program said it had carried out its first ever successful high-altitude airdrop, to deliver 20 tonnes of food aid to government-held neighborhoods.