"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)
Khalil Gibran (How I Became a Madman)
Tuesday, February 28, 2017
With all eyes on western Syria, developments in eastern Syria, which is populated mainly by tribal communities, will be just as important for the country’s future. Numerous parties involved in Syria’s conflict—including the Assad regime, radical Islamists, Turkey, and the Kurds—have sought to integrate tribal leaders into their political agendas, believing their tribes would follow. However, these leaders no longer have the authority they once did. Syria’s conflict has forced tribal communities to turn inwards, and such localization has further undermined tribal solidarities.
With Lebanese elections set to take place in May, the customary tug-of-war has started over exactly how those elections are to take place. Democracy in Lebanon is all about foreplay.
Rusya, Suriye ordusu ile ÖSO arasında yaşanan çatışmalarda bir kez daha arabuluculuk görevi üstlendi. Tadef'de yaşanan çatışma bu sayede durduruldu.
Suriye'nin kuzeyinde El Bab kasabası yakınlarında Türkiye'nin Fırat Kalkanı operasyonu kapsamında desteklediği Özgür Suriye Ordusu (ÖSO) ile Suriye ordusu arasında önceki gece yaşanan çatışmayı, Rusya'nın bir kez daha devreye girerek durdurduğu belirtildi.
ÖSO VE SURİYE ORDUSU'NDAN KARŞILIKLI SUÇLAMALAR
Suriye hükümet güçlerinden bir kaynak Reuters'a verdiği demecinde, El Bab'ın dört kilometre güneyinde yer alan Tadef köyünde pazar gecesi yaşanan çatışmayı, Rusya'nın arabuluculuğunun sonlandırdığını söyledi.
Monday, February 27, 2017
The U.N. Security Council is set to vote on Tuesday on a bid by Western powers to ban the supply of helicopters to the Syrian government and to blacklist Syrian military commanders over accusations of toxic gas attacks, despite a pledge by Russia to veto the move.
The Security Council showdown - pitting Syrian ally Russia against the United States, France, Britain and others - comes amid U.N.-led peace talks between the warring Syrian parties in Geneva, which began last week.
A resolution needs nine votes in favor and no vetoes by the United States, France, Russia, Britain or China to be adopted.
Russia has vetoed six Security Council resolutions on Syria since the conflict started in 2011. China joined Moscow in vetoing five resolutions. It was unclear how Beijing planned to vote on Tuesday
Britain and France first circulated the draft resolution to the 15-member council in late December in response to the results of an investigation by the U.N. and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).
The main opposition group at Syrian peace talks in Geneva plans to meet Russian envoys later Monday to discuss promises it says Moscow had not kept, a senior negotiator said.
Russia has sought to revive diplomacy since its air force helped the Syrian army and allied militias defeat rebels in Aleppo in December, President Bashar Assad's biggest victory in six years of war.
Despite a cease-fire, a weekend of bombings and airstrikes in Syria has rattled the talks that began in Geneva last week.
"The (opposition) High Negotiations Committee (HNC) will be meeting today with the delegation of the foreign ministry," negotiator Mohammed Alloush told Reuters when asked if he planned to meet Russian officials.
He said the opposition wanted to discuss "the promises they did not keep."
Sunday, February 26, 2017
A group of jihadists has attacked with mortars Al-Mazraa district in Damascus, where the Russian embassy is located, a Sputnik correspondent reported Sunday.
DAMASCUS (Sputnik) — The two projectiles hit an area close to the Russian diplomatic mission leaving no casualties.
Earlier on Saturday terror attacks hit Ghouta and Mahatta areas in Syrian Homs killing 30 people, more than 30 were reported injured.
Fierce clashes erupted Sunday afternoon between the secular Fatah Movement and a number of hardline Islamist groups in the Palestinian refugee camp of Ain el-Hilweh, state-run National News Agency reported.
The fighting was focused on the Sifsaf-Briksat frontier on al-Fawqani street and the sounds of machineguns and rocket-propelled grenades echoed across the city of Sidon, NNA said.
Cautious calm engulfed the camp in the evening after the national and Islamist Palestinian factions reached a tentative ceasefire agreement under which the gunmen were supposed to be withdrawn from the streets, media reports said.
The clashes had renewed earlier in the day, leaving several people injured. The agency identified one of the wounded as Alaa Hammoudeh.
The main Syrian opposition group at peace talks in Geneva accused Damascus on Sunday of "stalling", after its chief envoy demanded all sides condemn the deadly suicide assault in Homs this weekend.
The High Negotiations Committee (HNC) made the charge after the Syrian regime's chief negotiator Bashar al-Jaafari said any opposition delegates who refused to condemn the attack were "accomplices of terrorism."
"Jaafari is stalling, they don't want to start the political transition," HNC spokesman Salem al-Meslet told AFP in Geneva, where sputtering U.N.-sponsored peace talks are taking place.
He said that in previous Geneva meetings, and now this one, "the only word that the regime knows is terrorism. In fact he is stalling by only mentioning this word and the fight against terrorism.
"Just as he is insisting on condemning the incident that happened yesterday, we also demand the regime delegation to tell everyone that they are committed to political transition," he added.
U.N. Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura launched the fourth round of Geneva talks on Thursday, but as in previous meetings there appears little prospect of the two sides meeting face-to-face.
Friday, February 24, 2017
Wednesday, February 22, 2017
MOSCOW (Sputnik) Moscow is ready to consider Washington's initiatives on cooperating to resolve the nearly six-year crisis in Syria, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Wednesday.
President Michel Aoun might call for a national dialogue among the leaders of the political parties in Baabda or he might agree with Prime Minister Saad Hariri on holding consecutive cabinet sessions, with the aim of reaching consensus over a new electoral law before the March 21 deadline, a media report said on Wednesday.
“The upcoming period could witness an important development in terms of changing the discussion mechanisms that are being implemented to reach a political understanding on a new law,” An Nahar newspaper quoted unnamed sources as saying.
The new mechanisms “might speed up efforts to end the crisis, which can no longer withstand further delay caused by futile mechanisms, such as the experience of the four-party committee that has failed to reach the minimum level of agreement on numerous proposals,” the sources added.
The sources said that two scenarios seem to be likely to resolve the crisis.
An alliance of Arab and Kurdish fighters have seized more than a dozen villages in eastern Syria in their drive to encircle the Islamic State group bastion of Raqa.
The U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) made a major incursion into the oil-rich province of Deir Ezzor as part of their push for Raqa, field commander Dejwar Khabat said.
"Our aim is to cut the road to Raqa and besiege IS... We have liberated 15 villages," Khabat said Tuesday in the town of Makmaneh, which lies on a major highway approximately 100 kilometers (60 miles) east of Raqa city.
He said the IS was dispatching suicide bombers but had not been able to slow the offensive.
SDF fighters on Tuesday set up their base on a hilltop in Makmaneh, digging trenches around it to prevent suicide bombers or car bombs from reaching them.
Backed by air strikes from the U.S.-led coalition, the SDF has seized swathes of territory in northern Syria from the jihadists.
It launched its offensive for Raqa -- the de facto Syrian capital of IS' so-called caliphate -- in early November.
Tuesday, February 21, 2017
CIA-coordinated military aid for rebels in northwest Syria has been frozen since they came under major Islamist attack last month, rebel sources said, raising doubts about foreign support key to their war against President Bashar al-Assad.
Rebel officials said that no official explanation had been given for the move this month following the jihadist assault, though several said they believed the main objective was to prevent arms and cash falling into Islamist militant hands. But they said they expected the aid freeze to be temporary.
The halt in assistance, which has included salaries, training, ammunition and in some cases guided anti-tank missiles, is a response to jihadist attacks and has nothing to do with U.S. President Donald Trump replacing Barack Obama in January, two U.S. officials familiar with the CIA-led program said.
The freeze reflects the troubles facing Free Syrian Army (FSA) rebels in the almost six-year-old revolt against Assad, who now appears militarily unassailable in his core western region largely thanks to direct intervention on his side by Russia and Iran.
GENEVA, February 21. /TASS/. The Syrian opposition’s Moscow Group will participate in intra-Syrian talks in Geneva and it has already formed its delegation, the chief of the Popular Front for Change and Liberation, Moscow Group leader Qadri Jamil has told TASS.
Suriye’deki krize bir siyasi çözüm bulmak amacıyla 23 Şubat’ta Cenevre’de başlayacak görüşmelerde muhalifleri temsil edecek isimler, Rusya ile BM arasında gerginliğe neden oldu. Rusya, Moskova Platformu adıyla bilinen Suriyeli muhaliflerin ve PYD'nin BM tarafından Cenevre görüşmelerine davet edilmemesini eleştirdi.
Rusya Dışişleri Bakan Yardımcısı Gennadi Gatilov, Moskova Platformu adıyla bilinene Suriyeli muhalif grubun Cenevre’ye davet edilmemesini eleştirdi. Rus İnterfax haber ajansına konuşan yetkili, “Maalesef, de Mistura BM’nin 2254 sayılı kararın maddelerini yerine getiremedi. 23 Şubat’ta Cenevre’de gerçekleştirilecek Suriye görüşmelerinde muhaliflerin tüm kesimlerine eşit temsilcilik hakkı verilmedi. Bu da dünkü açıklamalarda söylendiği gibi Moskova Platformu gibi bazı muhalefet kesimlerinin Cenevre’ye katılmamasına yol açtı" dedi. Gatilov, 'Suriye Kürtleri' olarak ifade ettiği PYD'nin de davet edilmemesine itirazları olduğunu söyledi.
Lebanese Forces chief Samir Geagea received on Tuesday visiting France's far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen in Maarab, where he stressed that Syrian President Bashar Assad is a terrorist no different than the Islamic State terror group.
“I took my time to explain to Le Pen the unclear images that reach the West and that we are all against terrorism which has no religion. Based on the aforesaid, Bashar Assad is one of the biggest terrorists in Syria and the region,” said Geagea after the meeting.
“One can’t forget the military operations he conducted over tens of years. One can't forget the terror acts he carried out. He can't stay in Syria, so (we say) no to the Islamists and no to Bashar,” he stressed, adding that the issue was discussed at length with Le Pen.
On the first day of her two-day visit, Le Pen, head of the anti-immigration National Front, called Assad “the most reassuring solution for France" and said the best way to protect minority Christians is to "eradicate" the Islamic State group preying on them — not turn them into refugees.
Monday, February 20, 2017
Rus uzman: Kürt kantonların meşrulaştırılması planlarına sadece Ankara değil, Şam da karşı- Sputnik News
BM Suriye Özel Temsilcisi Danışmanı ve Rusya Bilimler Akademisi Şarkiyat Enstitüsü Direktörü Vitaliy Naumkin, Suriye’nin kuzeyindeki Kürt kantonlarının meşrulaştırılması planlarına sadece Ankara’nın değil, aynı zamanda Şam’ın da karşı olduğuna dikkat çekti.
Russia is likely to give Lebanon a helping hand in finding a new parliamentary electoral law format acceptable by all political parties, to save the country from “sliding into a political crisis,” al-Akhbar daily reported on Monday.
“Moscow will possibility make a move to help (Lebanon) find a format for a new electoral law acceptable by all forces, to avoid potentials of a political crisis that could open the door on an exposed security situation in Lebanon,” sources told the daily on condition of anonymity.
Moscow is one of many other countries that call for staging the elections in Lebanon based on a new law, said the daily.
However, the sources stressed that the Russian Embassy in Beirut is weighing “the best vision for an electoral law that suits a diverse country like Lebanon.”
“Theoretically, adopting proportionality based on a single electoral district is the most appropriate, because groups who do not have the opportunity to be represented in the parliament will eventually become radicals,” they noted.
The country has not organized parliamentary elections since 2009 and the legislature has instead twice extended its own mandate.
Prime Minister Saad Hariri received on Monday France's far-right leader and presidential candidate Marine Le Pen, accompanied by MP Gilbert Collard, her chief of staff Nicolas Lesage in the presence of Hariri's chief of staff, Nader Hariri.
During the meeting, Hariri cautioned against associating his religion with the terrorist attacks of the jihadists who have repeatedly targeted France.
"The worst mistake would be the amalgam between Islam and Muslims on one hand and terrorism on the other hand,” Hariri said, in a statement issued by his office.
"The Lebanese and Arabs, like the majority of the world, consider France to be the homeland of human rights and of the republican state that makes no ethnic, religious or class distinction between its citizens,” he said.
Sunday, February 19, 2017
Damascus, SANA – President Bashar al-Assad issued on Sunday law no.7 for 2017 on the state’s right to protect locations of mineral resources and prevent illegal extraction, transfer and distribution of these resources.
Saturday, February 18, 2017
İncirlik’te dün ABD Genelkurmay Başkanı Orgeneral Dunford ile görüşen Genelkurmay Başkanı Orgeneral Akar, Türkiye’nin olası operasyonla ilgili hazırladığı iki planı mevkidaşına anlattı. İlk plan ÖSO güçlerinin Akçakale’nin karşısındaki Tel Abyad’dan girip PYD kontrolündeki bölgeden Rakka’ya yönelmesi. İkinci plan ise El Bab’dan Menbiç üzerinden Rakka’ya uzanmak.
Genelkurmay Başkanı Orgeneral Joseph Dunford, Genelkurmay Başkanı Orgeneral Hulusi Akar’la Suriye’de DEAŞ’ın merkezi konumundaki Rakka’ya yönelik olası operasyonunun askeri teknik boyutunu, Ankara’nın değişik senaryo ve planlarını görüşmek üzere dün Türkiye’ye geldi. İki komutan, Ankara’da Genelkurmay Karargâhı’nda değil, Adana-İncirlik’teki üste görüştü. Rakka’nın yanısıra Türkiye’nin El Bab’da yürüttüğü operasyon ve PKK ile mücadelesinin de ele alındığı görüşmenin İncirlik’te yapılması, “Rakka operasyonunun harekât merkezinin İncirlik olabileceği” yorumlarına neden oldu. ABD liderliğindeki koalisyon gücüne ait ülkelerin savaş uçakları ile ABD’nin silahlı insansız hava araçları (İHA) çok önceden İncirlik’te konuşlanmış durumda.
Görüşmenin ana gündemini daha önce Cumhurbaşkanı Recep Tayyip Erdoğan ile ABD Başkanı Donald Trump’ın telefon görüşmesinde olduğu gibi Rakka’nın DEAŞ’tan temizlenmesi oluşturdu. Güvenlik kaynaklarından alınan bilgiye göre Orgeneral Akar, görüşmede Türkiye’nin olası operasyonla ilgili hazırladığı iki planı Dunford’a anlattı.
Friday, February 17, 2017
Infighting and regime gains suggest the rebels are heading for defeat around Damascus.
Despite the ceasefire declared by Russia, Turkey, and Iran on December 30, war rumbles on in Syria. Some battles are taking place inside rebel territories or against the self-declared Islamic State, but there is also fighting between President Bashar al-Assad’s army and opposition groups supposedly covered by the ceasefire. The most important of those conflicts is playing out in the East Ghouta region near Damascus, long one of Syria’s best-fortified rebel strongholds and considerably larger than the former East Aleppo enclave.
The area is now coming under pressure to surrender. That would represent a major victory for Assad, removing the only serious threat to his capital and freeing up large numbers of troops for use elsewhere. It could also impact the peace talks in Astana and Geneva, since no opposition delegation would be of much value without the largest faction willing to participate in negotiations: the East Ghouta-based Islam Army.
Though the East Ghouta may hold out for many months more, especially if Assad is bogged down in his war with the Islamic State in eastern Syria, local rebels seem to have no way of breaking their downward spiral.
Participants in the Astana meeting on Syria have approved the statement concerning the Joint Group for monitoring the ceasefire.
MOSCOW, February 17. /TASS/. As participants in the Astana meeting on Syria approved the statement concerning the Joint Group for monitoring the ceasefire, drawn up by Russia, Iran and Turkey, the trilateral mechanism has been finalized, a source in the Russian Presidential Administration told reporters.
"All the participants approved the statement concerning the Joint Group for monitoring the ceasefire, drawn up by Russia, Iran and Turkey, which is the main result of the Astana meeting," the source said. "It means that the trilateral mechanism has been finalized. The trilateral joint group will be responsible for ensuring conducive conditions for maintaining the ceasefire as well as separating the armed opposition units from terror groups, such as the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra, and building confidence in order to facilitate the intra-Syrian dialogue under the United Nations auspices," the source added.
Al-Mustaqbal Movement on Friday called on President Michel Aoun to address Hizbullah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah's latest verbal attacks against some Gulf countries, describing them as a “strong blow” to Aoun's efforts to mend ties with the Gulf.
“Through his attacks on the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and the Kingdom of Bahrain, Hizbullah's secretary-general has dealt a strong blow to President Michel Aoun's efforts and to the visits that he intends to make to Kuwait and the UAE after he had visited Riyadh, Doha, Cairo and Amman,” Mustaqbal said in a statement.
“It is clear that Hizbullah is extremely annoyed by KSA and its role in defending Arab rights, and it is much clearer that it is annoyed by the kingdom and its wise leadership's embracement of the new presidential tenure and its recurrent attempts to reconcile between the Lebanese,” the movement added.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Friday faced a grilling by global peers seeking clarity on Washington's position on the Syria conflict ahead of UN peace talks in Geneva.
On the sidelines of a G20 gathering in Germany, Tillerson joined a group of countries supporting the Syrian opposition for talks pushing a political solution to the nearly six-year war.
It is the first meeting of the so-called "like-minded" nations -- made up of around a dozen Western and Arab countries as well as Turkey -- since US President Donald Trump took office.
Tillerson, on his first diplomatic trip abroad, will face pressure to spell out where Trump stands on the future of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
"It will be an opportunity to gauge the American position on the political aspect of the Syrian issue," a French diplomatic source told AFP.
The meeting came ahead of a new round of United Nations-led talks in Geneva on February 23 involving Syrian regime and rebel representatives.
Under Trump's predecessor Barack Obama, Washington insisted Assad had to go, putting it at odds with Moscow which backs the Syrian leader.
Tuesday, February 14, 2017
The United Nations special envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, will visit Moscow for talks on Feb. 16, RIA news agency quoted Russia's foreign ministry as saying on Tuesday.
"During de Mistura's Moscow visit, discussion will focus on forming a unified delegation of the Syrian opposition for the talks in Geneva," the ministry said.
A new round of U.N.-backed peace talks on the Syrian conflict are due to begin in Geneva next week.
President Michel Aoun stated in front of Arab League delegates in Cairo on Tuesday that Lebanon has regained its strength and is ready to carry on with its role within the Arab family.
“Today, Lebanon has recovered its well-being and is ready to carry out its role within the big Arab family. It is ready to contribute to each project that raises our people to stability and progress,” stated Aoun.
“The world is once again living a World War III, but a fragmented one,” added the President.
“The Zionist ideology has succeeded in transforming the Zionist-Arab war into a sectarian inter-Arab war which justifies Israel's Judaization. This alone is enough to make us unite our efforts to preserve the holy Christian and Muslim landmarks. Lebanon has restored its wellbeing and ready to carry out its role,” concluded Aoun.
Aoun's comments came after a meeting he held with Ahmed Abul Gheit, secretary general of the Cairo-based Arab League.
The president later arrived in Jordan for talks with King Abdullah II.
“President Aoun focused during his talks with Jordan's king on the need to coordinate efforts to find solutions to the Syrian refugee crisis and end the refugees' plight,” LBCI TV reported.
Monday, February 13, 2017
The Kurdish YPG recruits fighters at gunpoint, assassinates political opponents, and suppresses the media.
The raid began at 3 in a Syrian village close to the Iraqi border. Kurdish-led military police, many masked, piled out of their pickup trucks, set up roadblocks, drew their weapons, and launched a house-to-house search.—
It was America’s favorite Syrian militia, the People’s Protection Units, or YPG, at work. Top figures in the Obama administration and even the professional military praised the YPG as the most effective Syrian force against the Islamic State, or ISIS. (The Trump administration hasn’t yet indicated how it plans to work with the YPG.)
But its mission last September 10 was nothing to brag about. The northeast Syrian village being stormed, Bani Shkawe, is Kurdish, and the Asayish, or military police, were not scouring for radical Islamists but for Kurdish draft-dodgers. They arrested seven young men, but many others got away, local residents said.
Two weeks later, the Asayish returned with a force of 700. When a group of young men took flight, the Asayish opened fire, killing Hani Khanjar, an 18-year-old Kurd. They captured three young men, but set them free, since they were under 18.
Sunday, February 12, 2017
Syria's main opposition body on Sunday approved a new delegation to take part in Geneva peace talks later this month, which include Russian-backed blocs that have been critical of the armed insurgency against President Bashar al-Assad.
The High Negotiation Committee, (HNC) the main umbrella group, said in a statement after two-days of meetings in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, that the new 21-member negotiating team included members of two dissident alliances with which it has previously been at odds.
Those two alliances -- the so-called Moscow and Cairo groups -- have long disavowed the armed rebellion and insisted that political change can only come through peaceful activism. Their members include a former Syrian government minister with close ties to Moscow.
Mohammad Sabra, who was appointed as chief negotiator, told Saudi-owned Al-Hadath news channel that the delegation brought together various groups. He also accused unnamed foreign powers of trying to impose their views on the composition of the delegation, an apparent reference to Russia.
Saturday, February 11, 2017
Türk Silahlı Kuvvetleri ve Suriyeli muhalif unsurların El Bab'a girdiği saatlerde Rusya'dan son dakika haberi geldi. Rusya Savunma Bakanlığı, "Suriye ordusu, Türkiye ile daha önce kararlaştırılan geçici sınır çizgisine ulaştı" ifadesini kullandı.
Suriye'de terör örgütü DEAŞ'ın kontrolünde olan stratejik öneme sahip El Bab bugün Türkiye'nin desteklediği unsurlar batıdan girerken, Suriye rejimine bağlı güçler de kasabanın 1 km. güneyindeki Tadif'i ele geçirdi.
Akşamüstü Rusya Savunma Bakanlığı'ndan yapılan açıklamada, Suriye ordusunun Tadif'te 650 DEAŞ'lı teröristi, iki tankı, dört zırhlı personel taşıyıcıyı, 18 ağırlı silahlı arazi aracını etkisiz hale getirdiğini duyurdu.
Açıklamanın şu cümlesi de dikkat çekti: "Başarılı Tadif operasyonuyla Suriye hükümet kuvvetleri, Türkiye ile daha önce anlaşmaya varılan ve ÖSO ile geçici sınırı belirleyen çizgiye ulaşmış oldu" dedi.
Rusya, çatışmadaki tarafların nerede duracağını belirleyen ve "demarkasyon çizgisi" olarak da bilinen geçici sınır hattı konusunda Ankara ile varılan anlaşmanın detaylarına değinmedi.
Friday, February 10, 2017
Yahoo News chief investigative correspondent Michael Isikoff traveled to Syria for an exclusive sitdown with President Bashar Assad, his first interview since the inauguration of Donald Trump. During the 35-minute interview, Assad tells Isikoff that some of the 4.8 million refugees from Syria’s civil war are “definitely” aligned with terrorists, adding “you don't need significant number to commit atrocities.” Speaking at a presidential office in Damascus, Assad also says President Trump’s controversial executive order barring refugees from entering the United States is “an American issue.”
As with all interviews granted by President Bashar Assad, this interview was filmed by his presidential press office. No editorial changes were made to the content
President Bashar al-Assad of Syria suggested in an interview published Friday that he could foresee cooperation with the Trump administration and might even countenance the deployment of American soldiers in the country one day.
The remarks by Mr. Assad appeared to signal that he might be more amenable to dealing with Mr. Trump than he was with President Barack Obama, whose administration repeatedly called on the Syrian leader to step down, accused his government of repeated atrocities and supported rebels seeking to topple him.
“We don’t have any contact with the Americans,” Mr. Assad said. “We’re not in that position.”
Mr. Assad not only held himself blameless for the conflict but expressed confidence that the millions of refugees who had fled would eventually come home. He also asserted that some had already returned and that life in Damascus, the capital, was safe and “nearly normal.”