"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, July 28, 2016

Analysis: Al Nusrah Front rebrands itself as Jabhat Fath Al Sham- The Long War Journal

Abu Muhammad al Julani, the emir of Al Nusrah Front, delivered a short statement today concerning his organization’s future. He read his message in a video that was rebroadcasted by television stations throughout the Middle East, publicly showing his face for first time. In previous appearances on Al Jazeera and other stations, Julani’s image was obscured.
Julani’s group will no longer be known as Jabhat al Nusrah (or Al Nusrah Front), but instead as Jabhat Fath Al Sham (“Conquest of the Levant Front”). The move is being spun in press reports around the globe as Al Nusrah’s official “break” or “split” from al Qaeda.
But a careful examination of Julani’s speech reveals that his wording was nuanced and he never explicitly renounced or truly broke from al Qaeda.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Syrian army 'cuts off last supply route to east Aleppo'- Al-Jazeera

The Syrian army says that pro-government forces have cut off all supply routes into the eastern, rebel-held part of Aleppo in the country's north.
According to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, eastern Aleppo has been under effective siege since July 11, and advances in recent days by forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad have strengthened their control of the only route in.
"Today there is no way at all to bring anything into Aleppo," Observatory Director Rami Abdel Rahman said on Wednesday.
Once Syria's largest city, Aleppo has been roughly divided between government control in the west and rebel control in the east since mid-2012.
Taking full control of the city would be a significant victory for Assad.
An advance by pro-government forces around the only remaining supply route into the eastern sector this month enabled them to fire on it at close range, making the battlefront Castello road too deadly to use and putting at least 250,000 people in rebel-held districts under siege.
"We're hearing from activists and witnesses that regime forces are taking more and more of that area," said Al Jazeera's Mohammed Jamjoom, reporting from Gaziantep on the Turkish side of the Syria-Turkey border. 
"That is posing a real precarious problem for rebel fighters because the city is being increasingly encircled by regime forces." 

Sunday, July 24, 2016

US-Backed Forces in 'Fight Like We Haven’t Seen' Against Daesh in Manbij- Sputnik News

The Daesh terrorists ignored an 48-hour ultimatum to leave the city of Manbij, a key pipeline for the terrorist organization with the rest of the world and what some are now calling the jihadists headquarters.

Daesh terrorists clashed on Saturday with US-backed fighters in the Syrian town of Manbij, a town that US Defense Secretary Ash Carter described as the terror organization’s pipeline to the rest of the world, engaging in a fierce defense of the jihadist stronghold and ignoring a deadline to evacuate.
The jihadists refusal to abandon Manbij has led to growing fears for the safety and wellbeing of civilians trapped in the city which has long served as a supply route for Daesh from neighboring Turkey and a territory that some US military analysts are now referring the terror organization’s "caliphate" or land controlled by the self-proclaimed prophet and Daesh leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as opposed to Raqqa.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

CBS sets USD exchange rate at SYP 468.89- SANA

Damascus, SANA – The Central Bank of Syria (CBS) set on Wednesday the exchange rate of the USD against the Syrian Pound (SYP) at 468.89 for banks, 467.80 for exchange companies and 485 for transfers.
The bank set the price of the EUR against the SYP at 519.31 for banks, 518.11 for exchange companies and 534.11 for transfers.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Rebel-Held Areas of Syria's Aleppo City 'Completely Besieged'- Naharnet

Opposition-controlled parts of Syria's battered northern city Aleppo came under total siege on Sunday, after government forces severed the last route out of the east.
An estimated 300,000 civilians live in rebel-held neighborhoods of Syria's second city, the U.N. says, and there are fears that they could face starvation.
The rebels have failed to thwart a major Russian-backed army offensive around Aleppo, which has been devastated by Syria's five-year conflict.
On Sunday, regime fighters descended on the Castello Road and fully cut it, said Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
"The eastern neighborhoods are now completely besieged," he told AFP.
The Observatory also reported that five civilians were killed Sunday in regime air strikes on the rebel-held neighborhood of al-Maysar while 16 rebel fighters died in the regime advance on Aleppo.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

ISIS shoots down Syrian jet in eastern Syria- Al-Masdar News

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) claimed its fighters have shot down a Syrian Air Force MIG-23 in the eastern province of Deir ez-Zor.
The group’s official social media account, Aamaq Agency, reported that the aircraft was downed near Thurdah Mountain. The pilot, identified as Mahmoud Jabr, was killed in the crash, it added.

Turkish PM: No solution to Syria while Assad remains- Al-Arabiya

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim has warned there can be no solution to the Syrian conflict or the threat from jihadists while President Bashar al-Assad remains in charge.
In recent days, Yildirim has repeatedly said Turkey would seek good relations with Syria after diplomatic successes with Israel and Russia, raising speculation of a possible change in Turkish policy.
However, in an interview with the BBC broadcast late on Wednesday, Yildirim said Assad had to go because with him in charge, the conflict would not be solved.
“On one hand, there’s Assad and on the other, Da’esh (ISIS). If you ask, should we prefer Assad or Da’esh (ISIS), we cannot choose one over the other. They both have to go – they’re both trouble for Syrians,” he said.

Yıldırım: Esed değişmeden Türkiye'de bir şey değişmez- Al-Jazeera Turk

Başbakan Yıldırım, Suriye'deki duruma ilişkin olarak "bir şeyleri değiştirmenin zamanın çoktan gelip geçtiğini" söyledi. Suriye'deki savaşta 500 bin insanın hayatını kaybettiğini, 9 milyon kişinin de yerinden edildiğini hatırlatan Yıldırım, "Suriye'de muhakkak bir şeyler değişmeli ama her şeyden önce Esed değişmeli. Esed değişmeden Türkiye'de bir şey değişmez. Bu işlerin bu hale gelmesinin ana sebebi Esed'dir" şeklinde konuştu.

Syrian opposition receives Turkish reassurance: No policy changes with regime- Al-Arabiya

The Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said that his country is seeking to normalize its relations with Iraq and Syria to support the efforts to fight terrorism. However, he insisted on his country's position on rejecting the continuation of Assad in power. In the meantime, the Syrian Opposition Coalition said that it had received messages of reassurance from Turkey that there will be no changes in the Turkish policy towards the Syrian regime.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Islamic State confirms key commander Omar Shishani dead- BBC News

A news agency linked to so-called Islamic State has confirmed the death of key leader Omar Shishani, whom the US said it killed in March.
The Amaq news agency said Shishani was killed in combat in the town of Shirqat, south of Mosul in Iraq.
The Pentagon said in March he had died from injuries sustained in a US air strike in north-eastern Syria.
Shishani's real name was Tarkhan Batirashvili but he was also known as Omar the Chechen.
The red-bearded jihadist was said to be a close military adviser to Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

Syrian War Report – July 13, 2016: Russian Strategic Bombers Strike ISIS

Why the U.S. Military Can’t Fix Syria- The New York Times

The State Department “dissent channel” memo on the United States’ policy in Syria, leaked last month, is just the latest expression of a widespread belief in and out of government that American intervention in Syria is necessary and would be successful.

After five years of brutal, grinding war, this view is understandable. The idea of the United States saving the Middle East from itself appeals to liberal hawks and neoconservatives alike. Unfortunately, when that notion has carried the day — as it did in Iraq in 2003 and Libya in 2011 — regional security and stability have worsened. Indeed, in light of Syria’s geopolitical circumstances, intervention along the lines suggested in the memo could produce consequences more dangerous than those of the two previous adventures.

Stop the Syria Misadventures- USA News

The black market in Syria and Jordan has an exciting new supplier of high-grade weaponry perfect for your next militia of questionable ideological motivation! It's called the U.S. government, and it's pumping new guns and other military equipment into the Mideast's underground economy on the regular, all courtesy of the American taxpayer.
That's the finding of the FBI's investigation of a November 2015 attack in Jordan which left five people, including two Americans, dead by means of CIA-provided equipment: Weapons shipments the CIA brought into Jordan to supply Syrian rebels weresystematically stolen by Jordanian spies and sold on the black market, a tidy profit for criminals unwittingly supplied at our expense.

Turkey PM Yildirim hints at mending ties with Syria- BBC News

Turkey has said it wants to re-establish good relations with Syria - in an apparent reversal of its policy towards its war-stricken neighbour.
Up to now Turkey's government has been pressing hard for the overthrow of the Syrian President, Bashar al-Assad.
But Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim insisted good ties with Syria were needed "for the fight against terrorism" and stability in the region.
There has so far been no public response from the Syrian government.
Turkey has recently moved to end rifts with both Russia and Israel.

Syria's President Bashar Al-Assad Speaks to NBC News- NBC News

DAMASCUS — Syria's president criticized the lack of experience in U.S. presidential politics, telling NBC News it is "dangerous" for the country.
NBC News sat down with President Bashar al-Assad at his office on Wednesday for a wide-ranging interview on ISIS, Syria's civil war and the U.S. presidential election.
Candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have traded blows over U.S. policy in Syria — with the former secretary of state a vocal advocate for Assad's removal while Trump has cited ISIS' defeat as a higher priority, amid withering critiques of his foreign-policy proposals.
Syria's president made little distinction between the two candidates, however, when asked if he was worried about Trump's lack of foreign policy experience.
"Who had this experience before? Obama? Or George Bush? Or (Bill) Clinton before? None of them had any experience," he told NBC News. "This is the problem with the United States."

Ankara Calls for Reset in Syrian Relations- VOA

Turkey's prime minister says he is sure relations will normalize with Syria. Bilateral relations collapsed as a result of Ankara’s backing of the Syrian opposition, but a major change in Turkish foreign policy could be in the offing.

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim's call for good relations with Syria is being seen as a major policy reversal.

Terrorists target al-Zara power station in Hama again- SANA

Hama, SANA – Terrorist groups of Jabhat al-Nusra and Ahrar al-Sham fired rocket shells on al-Zara power station in the southern countryside of Hama province.
A source at Hama Electricity Company told SANA reporter that the attack inflicted massive damage upon the plant.
Last Saturday, al-Zara power station sustained huge damage and went out of service following another terrorist rocket attack.

Syria Opposition Warns of Aleppo Starvation amid Siege Fears- Naharnet

Hundreds of thousands of civilians in rebel-held areas of Aleppo risk starvation, the head of Syria's main opposition coalition said Tuesday, accusing Damascus of trying to besiege the city into submission.
Aleppo, once Syria's economic powerhouse, has been ravaged and divided in two by the conflict that began in March 2011 and has killed more than 280,000 people.
Anas al-Abdeh, head of the Istanbul-based opposition National Coalition, complained that the rebels' backers in the West were letting them down and allies of President Bashar Assad were showing greater commitment.
This lack of "political will" is endangering the shaky peace process based around stop-start talks in Geneva to create a peaceful transition after over five years of civil war, he told AFP in an interview.

Islamists rebels make headway in northern Aleppo- Al-Masdar News

Jabhat al-Nusra’s (Syrian Al-Qaeda group) media department has released brand new footage of Islamist fighters charging towards government positions in northern Aleppo, during a series of counter-attacks on Wednesday.
According to a military source in the area, the Al-Nusra Front and aligned Islamist militias of the ‘Fatah Halab operations room’ launched a diversionary attack towards the Al-Breij front, near the Sheikh Najjar Industrial Area, while launching their main offensive towards the embattled Al-Mallah farms in northern Aleppo.
The swift offensive did have the Al-Nusra Front gain some initial ground as the Syrian Arab Army’s (SAA) Tiger Forces performed a tactical withdrawal to a point behind the actual frontline (depicted at 1:40 in the video).

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Türk dış politikası değişiyor mu?- Al-Jazeera Turk

Önce İsrail ardından Rusya ile ilişkiler düzeliyor. Mısır ile de normalleşmenin yakın zamanda gerçekleşebileceğine dair işaretler geliyor. Peki Türk dış politikası gerçekten değişiyor mu? Bu bir üslûp değişikliği mi yoksa prensipler mi değişen? Bu değişim nereye varabilir? Suriye'yi de kapsar mı? Alanında uzman dört isim İlter Turan, Gülnur Aybet, Fuat Keyman ve Burhanettin Duran bu sorulara yanıt verdi.

Syrian War Report – July 12, 2016: Syrian Army Advancing in Aleppo City

Erdogan recently repaired ties with Netanyahu and Putin. Could a deal with Assad follow?-Foriegn Policy

 In the past month, Turkey has worked to turn two old rivals into new friends. On June 27, Turkish officials announced a deal normalizing relations with Israel after a six-year rift in the wake of the deadly Mavi Marmara incident. That day, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also expressed regret to Russia over the downing of a Russian warplane in November 2015, which paved the way for the two countries to patch up their relationship. 

The fate of Syria looms large over Turkey’s foreign-policy “reset.” Could Ankara also extend an olive branch to its greatest enemy: Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime?

Turkey cut all diplomatic ties with Syria in September 2011, after Assad refused to institute reforms to defuse the growing protest movement against his rule. Since then, Turkey has been supporting the Syrian opposition, which aims to topple the Assad regime, and hosting more than 2.5 million Syrian refugees on its soil. A small, left-wing nationalist political party now claims that the rising refugee crisis, Russia’s heavy-handed military campaign in Syria, and a powerful Syrian Kurdish militia’s land grab in the northern part of the country leave Turkey no choice but to engage with the Assad regime. In fact, the leaders of that party already claim to be passing messages between Turkish and Syrian government officials.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Assad tells EU delegation West's actions in Syria cause terror in Europe- Reuters

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad told a visiting group of European parliamentarians on Sunday that western governments' support for opposition groups in Syria caused terrorism in Europe.
"The problems Europe faces today of terrorism, extremism and waves of refugees are caused by some western leaders' adoption of policies which do not serve their people," Assad told a delegation of members of the European Parliament headed by Javier Couso, vice chairman of its foreign affairs committee.
"Especially when those leaders give support and political cover to terrorist groups inside Syria," Syrian state news agency SANA said in a summary of Assad's comments.
The Syrian government, supported by Iran and Russia, refers to all groups fighting it in the five-year-old conflict as terrorists. Of such groups, the U.N. classifies only Islamic State and the al Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front as terrorist.

A range of countries provide financial, logistical and training support to the many armed opposition groups in Syria, including Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, the United States and the United Kingdom.

29 Syria Rebels Dead in Fighting for Key Aleppo Road- Naharnet

At least 29 Syrian rebels were killed in clashes with regime troops overnight during a failed bid to reopen the opposition's key supply route into Aleppo city, a monitor said Sunday.
The fighters from the Faylaq al-Sham Islamist faction and Al-Qaeda affiliate Al-Nusra Front were killed trying to reopen the Castello Road, which regime forces effectively severed on Thursday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitor said.

"IŞİD 2016’da yüzde 12 küçüldü"- Al-Jazeera Turk

IŞİD’le (Irak Şam İslam Devleti) ilgili rapor hazırlayan İngiltere merkezli düşünce kuruluşu IHS, örgütün 2016’da Irak ve Suriye’de kontrol ettiği toprakların yüzde 12’sini kaybettiğini duyurdu.

Raporda 2015’te IŞİD’in kontrol ettiği 78 bin kilometrekare toprağın yüzde 14 oranında azaldığı belirtildi. “2016’nın ilk 6 ayında da örgütün kontrol ettiği alan yüzde 12 oranında azaldı. 4 Temmuz 2016 itibarıyla İslam Devleti Irak ve Suriye’de yaklaşık 68 bin 300 kilometrekareyi kontrol ediyor” ifadeleri kullanıldı. 

Islamic State Caliphate Shrinks a Further 12 Percent in 2016, IHS Says- IHS

Territory controlled by the Islamic State shrunk by 12 percent in the first six months of 2016, according to new analysis released today by IHS Inc. (NYSE: IHS), the leading global source of critical information and insight.

In 2015, the Islamic State’s caliphate shrunk by 12,800 km2 to 78,000 km2, a net loss of 14 percent. In the first six months of 2016, that territory shrunk again by 12 percent. As of 4 July 2016, the Islamic State controls roughly 68,300 km2 in Iraq and Syria, which is roughly the size of Ireland or the US state of West Virginia.

“Over the past 18 months, the Islamic State has continued to lose territory at an increasing rate,” said Columb Strack, senior analyst at IHS and lead analyst for the IHS Conflict Monitor. “As the Islamic State’s caliphate shrinks and it becomes increasingly clear that its governance project is failing, the group is re-prioritizing insurgency. As a result, we unfortunately expect an increase in mass casualty attacks and sabotage of economic infrastructure, across Iraq and Syria, and further afield, including Europe.”

Islamist insurgents go all in to reopen vital Aleppo supply road- Al-Masdar News

Islamist factions of the ‘Fatah Halab operations room’ have released brand new footage from recent clashes with the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and its allies in northern Aleppo, near the embattled Al-Mallah farms. 

Despite persistent efforts, rebel fighters in northern Aleppo are yet to regain any ground since they lost the Al-Mallah farms three days ago. 

In the past 48 hours alone, rebel factions have suffered over 100 casualties in the region. In the video below, rebel forces can be seen moving in and around the Castello road; this road is strategically important as it has served as the primary supply line for Syrian insurgents inside Aleppo since 2014.

After receiving a gun for my birthday, I reconsidered my relationship with firearms (Robert Fisk-The Independent)

In an age when guns and bombs are used to kill the innocent in Paris, Belgium, London and Dallas as well as Baghdad, Aleppo and Kabul – indeed, in Birstall – even an old blunderbuss must acquire a disturbing symbolism.

Fatah Leader Escapes Assassination Attempt at Mieh Mieh Refugee Camp- Naharnet

Abed al-Sultan, a senior official of the Palestinian Fatah Movement, narrowly escaped an assassination attempt at dawn Sunday, state-run National News Agency reported.
Sultan, who is stationed in Ain el-Hilweh Palestinian refugee camp, was on a visit to a relative at the Mieh Mieh camp in Sidon when an unknown assailant opened fire, wounding Sultan's brother-in-law in the hand and thigh, NNA said.

Saturday, July 09, 2016

Paris Says FM Visit Aims to Express 'Full Support' for Lebanon- Naharnet

French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault's upcoming visit to Lebanon on July 11 and 12 is aimed at “expressing France's full support for this friendly country,” the French foreign ministry announced Friday.
“During his meetings with political leaders, Minister Ayrault will voice France's support for Lebanon, which is facing the challenges of the continued institutional paralysis and the repercussions of the war in Syria,” deputy foreign ministry spokesman Alexandre Georgini said.

Two Pilots Killed in Downing of Russian Helicopter in Syria- VOA

Russia says two of its combat helicopter pilots were killed in Syria's central Homs province when they ran out of ammunition in their Mi-25 aircraft and were hit by Islamic State ground fire.

The official Tass news agency said the shoot-down occurred Friday east of the city of Palmyra, after government forces requested air cover. Tass also said that reserve units were not available in the area for redeployment to the scene as IS fighters advanced on the government troops.

To the north, meanwhile, monitors said fierce clashes erupted for a second straight day Saturday near Aleppo, Syria's largest city, where the Damascus government had promised to extend through Monday a cease-fire honoring the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Russian Mi-25 helicopter crew killed in Syria- TASS

MOSCOW, July 9. /TASS/. Russian pilots of a Mi-25 helicopter were killed in Syria, Russia’s Defense Ministry said on Saturday.

"On July 8, 2016 Russian training military pilots Ryafagat Khabibulin and Yevgeny Dolgin were making a test flight of a Syrian Mi-25 helicopter with ammunition in the Homs region (Syria)," the defense ministry said. "At the time, a large detachment of ISIS gunmen mounted an offensive against Syrian troops to the east of Palmyra and breaking through the defenses, made a rapid dash into the area, threatening to capture the heights."

Syrian reserve units that could be redeployed to the area to curb the terrorists’ advance were not available then, the ministry said.

"The crew received a request from the Syrian grouping’s command to deliver air strikes at the advancing combatants," it said. "Crew commander Ryafagat Khabibulin made a decision to attack the terrorists. Owing to the Russian pilots’ correct actions, the terrorists’ attack was thwarted."

Friday, July 08, 2016

Jumblat to Geagea on Aoun's Nomination: 'Talk to Berri First'- Naharnet

Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblat told Lebanese Forces chief Samir Geagea during their latest meeting that he has to “talk” to Speaker Nabih Berri before anyone else if he is seeking to secure the election of his new ally MP Michel Aoun as president, a media report said on Friday.
“The solution is not in my hand and you have to talk to Hizbullah, (ex-PM Saad) Hariri and Speaker (Nabih) Berri,” al-Hayat newspaper quoted Berri as saying.
“Jumblat then stressed to Geagea that he has to talk to Speaker Berri first,” the speaker added, according to al-Hayat.
There has been speculation in the country that the latest rapprochement between Aoun and Berri could lead to an agreement over the stalled presidential election or the parliamentary polls.

The former Isis translator who learned to speak the language of hate (Robert Fisk- The Independent)

As an interpreter for Isis in Syria, Jan Mahmoud Yahya witnessed first-hand the horror of the caliphate’s regime. Now an inmate in the notorious Mezze prison in Damascus, he tells Robert Fiskof jihad and the absurdity of war.

A four-point strategy for defeating the Islamic State- The Washington Post

There are two theaters in the conflict with the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, and they are not defined by international borders. The first is “ISIS-stan” in western Iraq and eastern Syria. Here the U.S.-led coalition is making progress and has rolled back significant portions of the territory held by the terrorist group. But the gains have come from predominantly Kurdish and Shiite forces, and there are limits to how far these groups can advance into Sunni heartland areas and be accepted by local populations. Rolling back the Islamic State is not enough — to sustain these gains, we must focus on the security forces and governance mechanisms that will replace them.
The second theater lies farther west, where Syria is embroiled in a horrendous civil war. The United States has assumed that this problem is not as important and has heretofore avoided involvement except for pursuing diplomatic negotiations. That’s a mistake. In Syria and Iraq, the challenge of countering the Islamic State is bound up in the broader civil wars that have created governance and security vacuums and allowed the group to thrive. These vacuums are the disease; the Islamic State is the most serious of many problematic symptoms.
We propose a strategy that applies a consistent, long-term approach to Iraq and Syria, based on four interlocking efforts.
First, the United States should increase its support to those local armed groups that are acceptable to U.S. interests, whether they are fighting Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad or the Islamic State. There is no central authority in Syria or Iraq that can seize, hold and govern all of the territories held by the Islamic State or the al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra. Supporting more moderate local forces is the only way to secure these areas.

Syrian War Report – July 8, 2016: Syrian Army Cuts Off Militants Supply Line to Aleppo

Thursday, July 07, 2016

Army fire 'cuts key Aleppo road'- BBC News

Syrian government forces have effectively cut the only road into rebel-held areas of the city of Aleppo, military sources and rebels say.
After heavy fighting and air strikes overnight, troops advanced to within 1km (0.6 miles) of the Castello Road, within range of small arms fire.
Rebels said that meant no-one could now get into or out of the east of the city, home to up to 300,000 people.
The assault came hours after the government declared a 72-hour truce.

Syrian Army overlooks Castello road in northern Aleppo- Al-Masdar News

A drone footage has been released showing the recently-captured Mallah Farms and the Castello road in northern Aleppo only a few hours after the Syrian Army officially secured the strategic area. 

The footage also includes parts of the battles the Army fought against the jabhet al-Nusra and the Turkish-backed Nour al-Din al-Zinki Movement.

Russian diplomat insists Syrian opposition, terrorists must be disengaged- TASS

ARTEK (Yalta), July 7. /TASS/. Efforts on ensuring geographical disengagement between opposition forces ready to observe ceasefire and terrorists are a necessary condition for destroying the hotbed of international terrorism in Syria, Russian Foreign Ministry’s official spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told a briefing on Thursday.

"The end of the holy month of Radaman for Muslims and the start of the Eid al-Fitr holiday, unfortunately, did not lead to reducing violence in Syria," Zakharova noted.

Suppose America Gave a Proxy War in Syria and Nobody Came?- The Century Foundation

Last Wednesday, the New Syrian Army—America’s best, maybe only, hope to challenge the self-proclaimed Islamic State in its east Syrian stronghold—launched a daring attack on the heart of Islamic State territory.

Syrian War Report – July 7, 2016: Announced Truce Collapses

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Why the Islamic State targets Muslim countries like Turkey- The Washington Post

Over the past week, the Islamic State has attacked Bangladesh, Iraq and Saudi Arabia. But they’ve been particularly active in Turkey. Why does the terror organization target that country?
There are a couple of reasons. Turkey is a democratic country with a secular constitution. It’s a member of NATO, in talks with the European Union, an ally of the United States and a new friend of Israel. Even with the conservative social policies of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey is antithetical to everything the Islamic State wants to create.
It wasn’t always this way. When the Islamic State captured Mosul, Iraq, in June 2014, it kidnapped 46 Turkish diplomats and their families.

Syria’s Weaponized Humanitarian Space- Carnegie

Granting or withholding humanitarian access in the Syrian civil war has been politicized, used by different warring parties to advance their military strategies and political objectives. For the regime, withholding access and preventing aid from reaching rebel-held areas is a deliberate strategy to punish and weaken opposition groups and to prevent the creation of an alternative political order. Regulating and distributing basic public goods, from food to electricity, is also used to reward loyalty and further civilian dependency on the regime. At times, aid has even been diverted to support the Syrian army’s war efforts. For the Islamic State (IS), preventing humanitarian access in areas under its control follows a distinct, yet equally political logic: IS wants absolute control and absolute civilian dependency. In this context, humanitarian access is de facto “weaponized.”

Putin, Obama ready to step up coordination of military actions in Syria — Kremlin- TASS

MOSCOW, July 6 /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin and his U.S. counterpart Barack Obama in a telephone conversation on Wednesday confirmed readiness to step up coordination of Russian, US military actions in Syria, the Kremlin says.

Syrian Rebel Missileers Are Wreaking Havoc on Bashar Al Assad’s Air Force- Warisboring.com

During the night of June 26 and 27, 2016, insurgents from the Jaysh Al Islam — a Saudi-supported Islamist group — claimed to have shot down, over Al Bahariyah on the eastern side of Eastern Ghouta, a helicopter operated by the Syrian Arab Air Force.
It was the first in a rapid-fire — and mysterious — series of aircraft crashes and shoot-downs.
The same day, a MiG-23BN from As Seen air base, known in the West as “Tsaykal,” reportedly crashed in eastern Qalamoun region. Its pilot, Col. Nader Ramadan, died.
Slightly more than a week later on July 2, a SyAAF Su-22M-3 that had taken off from Dmeyr air base reportedly crashed near Jayrud, a village around five kilometers south of the insurgent-held town of An Nassiriyah in southern Qalamoun range.
The pilot, Maj. Nawras Hassan, ejected safely but was captured by local insurgents. A combatant from Jabhat An Nusra executed him shortly thereafter.

Russian Air Force strikes Jisr Al-Shughour in west Idlib- Al-Masdar News

The Russian Air Force carried out several airstrikes above the jihadist stronghold of Jisr Al-Shughour on Wednesday night, targeting a number of sites with a large presence of Jabhat Al-Nusra (Syrian Al-Qaeda group) fighters. 

According to a security source at the Hama Military Airport, the Russian Air Force struck a number of Jabhat Al-Nusra installations inside of Jisr Al-Shughour, while also striking Jaysh Al-Fateh (Army of Conquest) along the Idlib-Latakia Highway (M-4 Highway). 

Countering the Syrian Army’s claims were opposition activists, who alleged that these airstrikes killed a number of civilians inside of Jisr Al-Shughour.

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Medine'de Mescid-i Nebevi'nin önünde intihar saldırısı- BBC Türkçe

Suudi Arabistan'ın Medine kentinde, Muhammed Peygamber'in mezarının da içinde bulunduğu Mescid-i Nebevi camiinin önünde intihar saldırısı düzenlendi.
İçişleri Bakanlığı, saldırıda dört güvenlik görevlisinin öldüğünü, beş güvenlik görevlisinin de yaralandığını duyurdu.
İntihar eylemcisinin üzerindeki patlayıcıları, caminin yakınlarındaki bir kontrol noktasında infilak ettirdiği belirtildi.
Sosyal medyada paylaşılan görüntülerde alevler içinde kalan bir araç ve yükselen dumanlar görülüyor.

Syrian War Report – July 5, 2016: Russian Aircraft Carrier to Conduct Air Strikes

Monday, July 04, 2016

Report: Berri-Bassil Oil Talks to Pave Way for New Electoral Law- Naharnet

The meeting that was held in Ain al-Tineh between Speaker Nabih Berri and Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil in the presence of Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil did not involve any discussions about the presidential crisis and the two sides focused on the oil and gas exploration file, a media report said on Monday.
Al-Mustaqbal newspaper quoted unnamed sources as saying that Berri's rapprochement with Free Patriotic Movement founder MP Michel Aoun is not linked to the presidential issue. “The meeting with Bassil did not include any word about the presidency,” the daily quoted Berri as saying.
“The issue of oil is something and the presidency is a totally separate issue, but what happened is definitely important in terms of improving the relation with Aoun, pacifying the situation in the country, and immunizing its rights,” Berri added, according to the newspaper.

In the Line of Fire — the War Against the UN in Syria- Syria Comment

Since the war in Syria began, aid delivery has been politicized. The anti-regime camp rejected the very notion of delivering aid through government held areas. Western countries who backed the insurgency and supported regime change pushed for most aid to be delivered “cross border,” from Turkey or Jordan. Diplomats and aid workers based in Turkey or Jordan often went native and viewed aid agencies based in Damascus as the enemy. Even the UN faced divisions and rivalries. At the center of this was Yacoub El Hillo, the United Nations Resident Coordinator, Humanitarian Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Syria since August 2013. El Hillo’s very existence was an affront to those who prioritized regime change above all else and because he was based in Damascus and accredited by the Syrian government he was required to acknowledge the Syrian government as it continued to represent the sovereignty of Syria at the United Nations. This cooperation with Syrian state institutions was anathema to those who hoped El Hillo could be some kind of humanitarian dictator, operating as if there was no Syrian state. But since most Syrians still live in government held parts of Syria and there is still a government with institutions and security forces, the UN must work especially with institutions that provide services to people such as health, education, water, electricity and vaccination.
Based in Damascus El Hillo, with his committed team, tried to reach as many people as he could including in all the besieged locations (and he succeeded this year to deliver aid in all 18 of them). El Hillo publicly advocated against sieges and denial of access and was engaged in near daily struggles with government officials to obtain access. El Hillo and his colleagues physically entered besieged areas, sometimes under fire — Homs in February 2014, and most recently Zamalka and Arbin on June 29 (in which a driver was shot in the chest).

Müslim: Afrin ve Kobani'yi birleştireceğiz- Al-Jazeera Turk

Lübnan'da yayımlanan El-Hayat gazetesine konuşan PKK'nın Suriye'deki partisi PYD'nin Eş Başkanı Salih Müslim, Türkiye ve Rusya ilişkilerinin yeniden normalleşmesinin özerk yönetim programına etki etmeyeceğini, Rojava'nın federasyondan vazgeçmeyeceğini söyledi. Müslim, Afrin ve Kobani kantonlarını da birleştireceklerini savundu ve şunları söyledi:

"Batı Kürdistan'da (Suriye'nin kuzeyi) 3 ABD üssü var. ABD öncülüğündeki uluslararası koalisyon ve Washington'un desteğine güveniyoruz. Dış dünya ile diplomatik ilişkilerin geliştirilmesinin önünü açan ve Kürtlere ait ayrı bir bayrak kabulü de dahil olmak üzere 85 maddeden oluşan bir federal anayasa taslağı hazırlıyoruz."

Syrian War Report - July 4, 2016: US-Russian Deal?

Presidency Talks Intensify ahead of Expected Berri-Aoun and Nasrallah-Franjieh Meetings- Naharnet

Speaker Nabih Berri and Free Patriotic Movement founder MP Michel Aoun will meet soon and another meeting is also expected between Hizbullah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah and Marada Movement leader MP Suleiman Franjieh, a media report said on Monday.
The latest drive in the talks over the presidential crisis “has reached its peak, ahead of an expected meeting between Berri and General Michel Aoun and another between Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah and MP Suleiman Franjieh,” An Nahar newspaper reported.
It also quoted the privately-owned Central News Agency as saying that “Franjieh has recently met in Paris with Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.”
The Saudi side stressed, according to the agency, that “the kingdom does not have a candidate and that it does not also have a veto on any nominee.”
“It backs any agreement among the Lebanese but it also fears that Lebanon could further come under Iran's hegemony,” the agency added.

Sunday, July 03, 2016

Jabhat al-Nusra raids the Free Syrian Army in Idlib, seizes U.S. supplied weapons- Al-Masdar News

Yesterday, Jabhat al-Nusra (Syrian al-Qaeda branch) raided the headquarters of Jaish al-Tahrir (Free Syrian Army group) in the towns of Kafr Anbel, Hazazen and Ma’arat Harmeh.

Some 40 fighters were arrested by the al-Nusra Front across the Idlib governorate, including the leader of Jaish al-Tahrir, Muhammed al-Ghabi, himself along with his brothers.

Furthermore, Jabhat al-Nusra seized all weapons and ammunition held by the FSA group, including a batch of U.S. supplied TOW anti-tank missiles.