"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)
Friday, May 10, 2019
The Russian side of the Russian-Turkish commission monitoring the implementation of the Syrian ceasefire has registered five truce breaches in the country over the past 24 hours, while the Turkish side has recorded 15 ceasefire violations, the Russian Defence Ministry's Centre for Syrian Reconciliation said Thursday.
The number of areas that have signed reconciliation agreements in Syria remained same and totals 2,518. The number of armed formations that have pledged to observe the ceasefire also did not change, standing at 234.
Thursday, May 09, 2019
Wednesday, May 08, 2019
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Militants fired 12 rockets, from Syria's Idlib de-escalation zone on Wednesday, toward Russia's Hmeimim air base in Syria, head of the Russian Defense Ministry’s center for Syrian reconciliation Maj. Gen. Viktor Kupchishin said Wednesday.
Tuesday, May 07, 2019
Monday, May 06, 2019
Sunday, May 05, 2019
Friday, May 03, 2019
BEIRUT (AP) — The Syrian government is scrambling to deal with its worst fuel crisis since the war began in 2011, aggravated by U.S. sanctions targeting oil shipments to Damascus.
There was temporary relief when reserves or smuggled oil made their way to the market. Long lines outside gas stations slightly receded, as did public panic that had translated into widespread criticism of government policies.
But more dramatic measures are necessary for the government of President Bashar Assad, which needs to procure more than 75 percent of its fuel from outside sources.
Experts say Damascus either has to regain control of oil-fields in the east, currently controlled by the U.S.-backed, Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, or replace oil supplies that used to come from Iran with new ones from Russia — at a political cost.
Government forces and their allies could make a quick move on the east if Washington goes ahead with talk of withdrawing its troops based there and working with the SDF. A U.S. withdrawal would also offer Turkey a chance to launch its own assault to push away the SDF, which it considers a threat, and extend its borders. There are signs, however, the U.S. may be reconsidering its plans.
Eventually, an offensive on the east is inevitable, said Fabrice Balanche, a Syria expert at the University of Lyon.
“When Turkey (attacks) the Kurds, Assad’s forces will (re)take al-Omar oil field. After 3 months? 6 months? One year?”
For now, Syria needs oil. Domestic production this year reached 24,000 barrels a day — only around 20-25 percent of total needs — down from 350,000 barrels a day before the war. Government officials say they need $2.7 billion worth of subsidized fuel every year.
Iran, which offered vital military support to Assad, was the main provider. But Tehran is feeling the heat as the U.S. squeezes sanctions tighter.
The credit line Iran extended to Damascus since 2013 to supply oil has run dry and its oil shipments stopped late last year. This followed U.S. Treasury sanctions imposed in November on a network that spanned Syria, Iran and Russia and was responsible for shipping oil to the Syrian government. The Treasury also issued a global advisory warning of sanctions for illicit oil shipments, naming specific vessels and pressuring insurance companies. At least one tanker with Iranian oil headed to Syria remains docked outside the Suez Canal since December, according to TankerTrackers.com.
The Syrian pound dropped to one of its lowest values in years, going for 590 liras to the dollar on the black market compared to the official rate of 430 liras, and prices have skyrocketed.
Thursday, May 02, 2019
The relation between the Progressive Socialist Party and Hizbullah has “never” experienced a “break-like stalemate” and a “unilateral” decision taken by Hizbullah without prior “warning,” Asharq al-Awsat said on Thursday.
Ties between the two have reportedly been tense against the backdrop of a decision taken by PSP Industry Minister Wael Abou Faour, cancelling a cement factory permit in Ain Dara -in the district of Aley not far from the Chouf cedar reserve- issued by his predecessor Hizbullah ex-Minister Hussein Hajj Hassan.
Political sources following on the course of relations told the newspaper that the PSP leadership has “informed Hizbullah of Jumblat’s will to meet Hizbullah secretary-general's political aide, Hussein Khalil, to discuss the political developments and the relationship between the two parties.”
The sources said that Jumblat’s desire was “conveyed” to Khalil but the latter did not give an answer despite knowing that Jumblat was ready to meet him, they said. “It turned out that Abou Faour's permit cancellation was considered an insult to Hizbullah and to its Minister.”
This cement project has long been controversial between its owners of the Fattoush family, on the one hand, and the Ain Dara municipal council and many citizens and activists, on the other.
Jumblat and former minister Nicolas Fattoush are at loggerheads over the cement factory in Ain Dara area.
Wednesday, May 01, 2019
Tuesday, April 30, 2019
In Syria, Tensions Persist between Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and al-Qaeda Loyalists- Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi
In early February 2019, the Syrian insurgent group Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), which evolved out of Syria's al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra, and al-Qaeda loyalists represented in the group Hurras al-Din came to an agreement to put aside a dispute over ownership of weapons.
The two sides also agreed to cease attacks on each other in the media, as there have been multiple disagreements between the two sides that have played out on the internet. For instance, the al-Qaeda loyalists argue that HTS' breaking ties with al-Qaeda was illegitimate and constituted disobedience to al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri. They also argue that HTS' strategies for the future survival of the insurgency and cause of jihad in Syria are mistaken.
Glossing over these disputes, the February agreement highlighted supposedly common ideological ground by affirming that the two sides are 'mujahid groups on the manhaj striving to establish the religion through dawa and jihad'.
More recently, HTS has reportedly attempted to conciliate the al-Qaeda loyalists on the ground in north-west Syria. Indeed, HTS allegedly offered payments of $100 for each slain enemy fighter to Hurras al-Din and Ansar al-Tawheed (the latter the successor group for the al-Qaeda-loyalist elements of Jund al-Aqsa, which fractured because of Islamic State sympathizers in its ranks) for operations conducted in Aleppo and Hama provinces. In total, these payments purportedly amounted to $400 for Hurras al-Din and $3,000 for Ansar al-Tawheed.
A member of HTS's 'Red Bands' unit affirmed the reports of these payments, describing them as a "step to conciliate the hearts. And God willing there will be unity with time." He elaborated: "The aim is to bring together all the fighters to repel the aggressor, especially in the stage that we are in." However, the general military official for Ansar al-Tawheed deniedthat any payments were made to the group by HTS for a recent raid conducted in northern Hama.
Even if these supposed HTS payments are true, more partisan pro-al-Qaeda types are not convinced by apparent HTS gestures of conciliation, reflecting the fact that the February agreement did not resolve the more fundamental disputes between HTS and the al-Qaeda loyalists. The foremost case in point is the Telegram channel Shibl al-Aqeeda. Commentingon the initial reports of the payments, Shibl al-Aqeeda published the following on the assumption they were true (the channel subsequently circulated the denial by the Ansar al-Tawheed official):
"Let us be fair and start out with the words of the Prophet: "Whoso does not thank the people, does not thank God." So may God reward best the one who undertook this matter. But let us also be honest with ourselves and all, because there are many question marks about this deed, and what is the secret in the timing of this publicizing and broadcasting!
Saturday, April 27, 2019
Russian Warplanes Carry Out New Wave Of Airstrikes On Northern Hama. Putin Says Military Operation In Idlib “Not Expedient”- South Front
In the afternoon of April 27, warplanes of the Russian Aerospace Forces carried out a series of airstrikes on terrorists’ positions in the vicinity of the town of al-Lataminah in the northern Hama countryside.
Earlier, Russian attack helicopters targeted terrorists’ positions, vehicles and gatherings in al-Lataminah and the nearby town of Kafr Zita.
These intense airstrikes appear to be an attempt to deter the terrorists, who launched a barrage of Grad rockets at the Russian Hmeimim airbase a day earlier. The attack was a major violation of the Russian-Turkish demilitarized zone on Idlib, which was reached last September.
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin said earlier that a large-scale military operation against the remaining terrorists Idlib “is not expedient now.” However, the president didn’t rule out the possibility of such operation in the future.
Thursday, April 25, 2019
Savaş ortamında da olsa petrol nerede bir açık varsa oraya akmanın yolunu buluyor. Silah gibi. SDG kapısı bir şekilde açıldı. Bölgenin insanı petrolü yürütmede ustadır. Bu maharet son 8 yılda inanılmaz boyutlara ulaştı.
Suriye’de petrol istasyonlarının önünde uzayan kuyruklar ve dışa vuran öfke ‘buruk devrim’ hayallerini yeniden karıncalandırdı. Fakat bu seferki kurgu devirmekten çok evirmekle ilgili.
Suriye sahnesinde bir süredir “Cephe savaşlarından kurtulabilirsin ama ekonomik savaştan çıkamayacaksın” diyen yaklaşımın yakıcı-yıkıcı yansımaları görülüyor. İran’ı, petrol satışını sıfırlayıp ekonomik çöküşe sürükleme stratejisiyle bağlantılı olarak, Suriye de kıskaca alındı.
İran ve Rusya’nın desteğiyle Suriye yeniden toparlanmaya başlayınca Batı-Körfez bloku geçen yıl havuç-sopa taktiğiyle yeni bir stratejiye yöneldi. Havuç kısmı, Devlet Başkanı Beşşar el Esad’ın kulağına şunu fısıldıyordu: “İran’la bağlantıyı kes, Hizbullah’ı gönder, Filistin’le ilgilenme, Golan’ı hepten unut ve İsrail’e düşmanlığa son ver. Karşılığında diplomatik köprüleri kuralım, Arap Birliği’ndeki koltuğunu iade edelim ve yeniden inşa sürecine destek olalım.”
Stratejinin sopa kısmı ise “Suriye’nin yeniden inşasını imkânsız hale getiririz, ekonomik çöküşü daha da hızlandırırız ve sana boyun eğmekten başka şans bırakmayız” diye buyuruyordu.
Şam kapısında diyalog denemeleri olurken çöküş senaryosu da yoldaydı. Bu minvalde Eylül 2018’de yaptırım listesi güncellendi. Kasım 2018’de Suriye’ye petrol temin etmek üzere 5 kişi ve 4 şirketten oluşan bir ağ kara listeye eklendi. Ocakta ‘2019 Caesar Suriye Sivil Koruma Yasası’ ile Suriye hükümeti, güvenlik teşkilatları ve merkez bankası ile iş yapan herkes yaptırım kapsamına alındı. 25 Mart 2019’da Hazine Bakanlığı, Suriye’ye petrol taşıyan gemiler, bu gemilerin sahipleri, işletmecileri ve yöneticileri, gemileri sigortalayan şirketler, bu transferde lojistik şirketler ve para transferine aracılık eden finansal kuruluşların Amerikan yaptırımlarıyla yüzleşeceği uyarısında bulundu. 2016’dan beri Suriye’ye petrol taşıyan onlarca geminin listesi yayımlandı.
ABD ve AB’nin zaten Suriye’ye petrol ambargosu vardı. Ama yeni tehdit bütün dünyaya yönelikti.
Bu arada Suriye’ye giden İran gemileri birden bire Süveyş Kanalı’ndan geçemez oldu. Suriye Başbakanı İmad Hamis nisan başında, Mısır’ın Süveyş’ten İran gemilerine izin vermediğini ve altı aydır tanker gelmediğini açıkladı.
Bunlara ABD’nin Suriye Demokratik Güçleri’nin (SDG) kontrolündeki El Ömer ve Cafra yataklarından Suriye hükümetine petrol satışını engellediğine dair spekülasyonlar eklendi. Bu yataklar Suriye petrolünün önemli bir kısmını teşkil ediyor. Bu tesislerin hükümete devri ya da paylaşımı konusundaki pazarlıklarda ilerleme sağlanamadığı gibi Amerikalılar da Şam’la diyaloğa taş koyuyor. (SDG’nin petrolü sattığı aracı konumundaki Muhammed ve Hüsam Katırcı kardeşlere ait Katırcı şirketi, 6 Eylül 2018’de ABD’nin yaptırım listesine alınmıştı. Katırcı aynı operasyonu bölge 2014-2017 arasında IŞİD’in elindeyken de yürütüyordu. Yerel bağlantılarını kullanarak petrol işine giren ve bir savaş ağasına dönüşen Hüsam Katırcı 2016’da Halep’ten milletvekili seçilmişti.)
Wednesday, April 24, 2019
Tuesday, April 23, 2019
Syria's government has agreed to allow planes from regional aviation giant Qatar Airways to fly over the country after eight years of conflict kept its planes at bay.
"Transport Minister Ali Hammoud has agreed to allow Qatar Airways to cross Syrian airspace, based on a request from the Qatari civil aviation authority," the ministry said late Monday in a statement.
Most airlines stopped flying over Syria after war broke out in 2011, instead taking longer routes to circumvent the war zone.
But the conflict has largely wound down in recent years, after major regime advances against rebels and jihadists with Russian military backing since 2015.
"The agreement came on the principle of reciprocity, as SyrianAir crosses Qatari airspace and never stopped flying to Doha throughout the war," it said.
The use of Syrian airspace would see "increased revenues in hard currency for the benefit of the Syrian state", it added.
Qatar, a small Gulf state that has traditionally supported the Syrian opposition, suspended its ties with Damascus after the war broke out.
Syria was suspended from the Arab League in November 2011, as the death toll was escalating and several regional powers bet on President Bashar al-Assad's demise.
But his regime today controls almost 60 percent of the country.
Fellow Gulf states the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain have reopened their missions in Damascus.