As Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan signal their intent to reconcile, Syria's regional comeback is almost complete. Its last regional enemy remains on its southern border: Israel.
Khalil Gibran (How I Became a Madman)
Friday, December 30, 2022
An attack in eastern Syria killed 10 oil field workers, state news agency SANA reported on Friday, a day after Syrian Kurdish-led forces announced an offensive against jihadists.
In addition to the nearly dozen dead, "two others have been wounded in a terrorist attack that targeted three buses transporting workers from al-Taim oil field in Deir Ezzor" province, SANA reported.
It did not provide any information on the nature of the attack in the Kurdish-held area or who may be behind it, but a British-based war monitor said "cells of the Islamic State group" carried out the assault near the oil field.
"The attack began with explosive devices that went off as the buses drove by, and then the group's militants shot at them," Rami Abdel Rahman, director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, told AFP.
On Thursday the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces said they had begun an offensive against Islamic State (IS) group fighters, following an earlier jihadist assault on a prison in Raqa, northwest of the attack on the bus.
The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said the offensive, dubbed "Operation al-Jazeera Thunderbolt", aimed to "eliminate" IS fighters from areas that had been "the source of the recent terrorist attacks."
The SDF said it was carrying out the operation alongside the U.S.-backed coalition, although there was no immediate confirmation from the international force that they were taking part.
Wednesday, December 28, 2022
This is the first high-level contact between Türkiye and Syria since 2011.
Milli Savunma Bakanı Akar ve MİT Başkanı Fidan, Rusya Savunma Bakanı Şoygu, Suriye Savunma Bakanı Abbas ve iki ülkenin istihbarat başkanlarıyla Moskova'da bir araya geldi.
Milli Savunma Bakanı Hulusi Akar beraberinde MİT Başkanı Hakan Fidan ile Moskova’ya gitti.
Bakan Akar beraberindeki Fidan ile sabah saatlerinde Esenboğa Havalimanı’ndan Rusya’ya hareket etti.
Akar ve beraberindeki Fidan’ın başkent Moskova’daki temaslarının sürdüğü belirtildi.
Syriac Orthodox Patriarch Aphrem II meets with US Ambassador to Lebanon, highlights effects of economic sanctions on Syrian people - Syriac Press
ATCHANÉ, Lebanon — In a meeting with US Ambassador to Lebanon Dorothy Shea, Syriac Orthodox Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II addressed his concerns about the negative consequences of Western and US sanctions on the lives of ordinary people in Syria. In a post on the Patriarch’s official Facebook page, he stated that he discussed with Ambassador Shea, “the effects of the sanctions on the people as well as the humanitarian challenges that are affecting them and the role of the church in supporting the needy and offering help to them.”
Defense Ministers of Syria, Russia and Turkey discuss efforts of combating terrorism and issue of refugees - SANA
Moscow, SANA- A tripartite session of talks was held in Moscow Tuesday among defense Ministers of Syria, Russia and Turkey.
Talks between senior officials of the two Middle East neighbors were the first in more than a decade.
Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea has slammed what he described as an “attempt to impose a president” by the Hezbollah-led camp, as he stressed that the country needs a “real” head of state.
“What is happening today is not due to the might of the Axis of Defiance, but rather due to the weakness of those who should have shouldered their responsibilities and are still refusing to do so,” Geagea said at an LF dinner.
“The Axis of Defiance has not been able to secure the election of the candidate it wants, and accordingly it is blocking the election. This honestly is not a democratic nor a political, honorable or a patriotic act. It is rather an extremely despicable act that undermines democracy, patriotism and Lebanon,” the LF leader added.
“They are saying that they want a president who protect the back of the resistance, but do we need a president who would protect Hezbollah’s back or do we need him to protect the back of the Lebanese?” Geagea wondered.
Syrian defence Ministry: A meeting held among Syrian defence Minister, Director of General Intelligence with their Turkish counterpart with Russian participation - SANA
Damascus, SANA- Syrian defence Minister, Director of Syrian General Intelligence discussed with their Turkish counterpart in Moscow today a number of files with Russian participation.
Monday, December 26, 2022
Free Patriotic Movement chief Jebran Bassil has recently met with Marada Movement chief Suleiman Franjieh and caretaker PM Najib Mikati despite the political campaigns he has waged against them in recent weeks, a media report said on Monday.
“Bassil did not hesitate to fulfill the request of a common friend by meeting his invitation to have lunch with Mikati at his banquet and later to meet with Franjieh,” Asharq al-Awsat newspaper quoted a political source as saying.
The source identified the common friend as a businessman who had previously sponsored similar meetings.
“Bassil met with Mikati on December 15, on the eve of the consultative ministerial meeting that he (the caretaker PM) hosted the next day at the Grand Serail,” the source said.
If confirmed, the meeting between Franjieh and Bassil would be the first between them since the iftar banquet that they attended in Ramadan at an invitation from Hezbollah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, prior to the May 15 parliamentary elections.
BEIRUT, Dec 26 (Reuters) - The Lebanese army detained over the weekend a main suspect in the recent killing of an Irish U.N. peacekeeper in a move coordinated with powerful armed group Hezbollah, two security sources and a Hezbollah spokesperson said.
Saturday, December 24, 2022
The Maronite patriarch again called for an international conference "to ensure that Lebanon is neutral in any military conflict" in the region.
Maronite patriarch Bechara al-Rai, said Saturday that "all political information indicates that a plan is in place against Lebanon," as the country continues to struggle with an unprecedented economic crisis and political deadlock.
Wednesday, December 21, 2022
Lebanon has been without a president since the end of October, when Michel Aoun’s term ended. Since then, the political forces in the country have failed to reach a consensus on a successor. This is necessary, since parliament elects presidents in Lebanon, and what emerged from the elections in May is effectively a hung parliament.
Broadly speaking, there are two major parliamentary alignments. One is led by Hezbollah, and includes the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM), led by Gebran Bassil, Mr Aoun’s son-in-law, and speaker of parliament Nabih Berri’s bloc. The other alignment, which tends to oppose Hezbollah, despite notable exceptions, that includes the mainly Christian Lebanese Forces Party, the Kataeb Party, the bloc led by Druze leader Walid Joumblatt, and a number of Sunni parliamentarians close to former prime minister Saad Hariri. A much more amorphous bloc of independents fluctuates between the two.
Parliament has held almost a dozen electoral sessions since October, to no avail, as the search for a successor to Mr Aoun seems frozen. Yet that assessment may not be so accurate. Behind the scenes a search is going on for a new president, one who would benefit from a consensus inside Lebanon, but who would also build trust regionally and internationally.
The lack of opportunity in the country also often limits the benefits of such amnesties. The government had previously issued similar amnesties during the Syrian war.
As Parliament continues to fail at electing a new president, the alliance between Hezbollah and the Free Patriotic Movement appears to be on shaky grounds amid a growing number of public disagreements. However, analysts say that the alliance will likely hold, with Hezbollah as the leader this time.
Tuesday, December 20, 2022
Saudi Ambassador to Lebanon Walid Bukhari on Tuesday held talks in Bkirki with Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi, the state-run National News Agency said.
“Bukhari stressed the need to hold the presidential election as soon as possible and to form a government that would be in harmony with the president in order to revive the country,” Bkirki sources told LBCI television.
“The kingdom will not hesitate to carry out any effort that might be requested to help in the issue of the election,” the sources quoted Bukhari as telling al-Rahi.
Monday, December 19, 2022
Former Syrian Ambassador to Turkey Clarifies Damascus’ Position on Erdogan’s Latest Initiative - The Syrian Observer
Nidal Kabalan said there were no permanent enmity or permanent friendship, according to Athr Press.
In political circles, a surprise occurred in the form of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s announcement yesterday regarding his proposal — made to his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin — to establish a trilateral initiative with Syria intended to accelerate the diplomatic track between Ankara and Damascus. The surprise came due to the lack of any actual subsequent developments since talking about the Turkish-Syrian rapprochement file.
Önemli petrol sahaları rejim kontrolü dışında kalan Suriye’de ağır enerji krizi yaşanıyor. Başkent Şam’da evler ısıtılamazken, sokaklarda araç sayısı giderek azalıyor. Karaborsada bir depo benzin, iki aylık memur maaşına eşdeğerde.
Savaşın on yıldır sürdüğü Suriye’de enerji krizi yaşanıyor. Petrol ve benzeri ürünlerin karneyle satıldığı ülkede resmi akaryakıt fiyatı sadece bu yıl 4 kez arttırıldı. İş çıkış saatlerinde artık Şam sokaklarında Trafik sıkışıklığı yaşanmıyor. Birçok sürücü acil durumlar dışında araçlarını evde bırakıyor. Üniversiteler, akaryakıt krizi yüzünden haftada sadece üç gün ders yapıyor.
Eskiden haftada bir ucuz yakıt alma hakkı tanınan taksilere artık sadece ayda bir uygun fiyatlı yakıt veriliyor. Bu, taksi ücretlerinin artmasına yol açtı. Haber ajansı AFP’ye konuşan 39 yaşındaki taksici Bassam Zahrawi, artık Şam sokaklarında dolaşmadığını, ancak bir müşteri ararsa aracını çalıştırdığını, bu sayede yakıt tasarrufu yapmaya çalıştığını söyledi. Zahrawi, ayda bir verilen ucuz yakıtın sadece 2 gün yettiğinden şikâyet etti.
BİR DEPO İKİ AYLIK MAAŞ
Karaborsada litresi 1 Dolar olan yakıtın fiyatı bu kışla birlikte ikiye katlandı. Ülkede ortalama memur maaşı aylık 21 dolar. Yani bir depo benzin, iki aylık maaşa eşdeğerde. Suriyeliler yakıt kıtlığından ötürü Batı yaptırımlarını suçluyor. Ülkedeki önemli Petrol sahaları rejimin değil, YPG/PKK’nın kontrolündeki alanlarda bulunuyor. Öte yandan ABD yaptırımları, Suriye’ye petrol ihracatını önemli ölçüde kısıtlıyor.
Sunday, December 18, 2022
However, until Lebanon's maritime borders with Cyprus and Syria are clearly demarcated, companies will remain reluctant to invest in gas and oil exploration in the rest of Lebanon's maritime zone, leaving the majority of the country's potential reserves still inaccessible.
Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi on Sunday hit out at Hezbollah without naming it over two recent issues.
Voicing deep grief over “the assassination of the Irish soldier three days ago,” al-Rahi said that this UNIFIL peacekeeper “who came to Lebanon to protect the peace of the South has been martyred by a hatred bullet that assassinated him.”
“It’s about time, and it has long been overdue, that the state put its hand on every unruly and illegitimate weapon,” al-Rahi added, in his Sunday Mass sermon.
The Lebanese state “should implement Resolution 1701 in text and spirit, because so far its implementation has been selective, arbitrary and confined to the decision of the de facto forces,” al-Rahi went on to say, in an apparent swipe at Hezbollah and its arsenal of weapons.
Also criticizing Hezbollah without naming it, the patriarch said the residents of the southern border town of Rmeish have been decrying “violations against their land and bulldozing and construction activities by influential parties in the area.”
Thursday, December 15, 2022
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan was quoted on Thursday as saying he proposed to his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin forming a trilateral mechanism with Russia and Syria to accelerate diplomacy between Ankara and Damascus.
Hezbollah’s “Christian relations” official Mohammed Saeed al-Khansa and Hezbollah official Abdullah Zaiour met Thursday with Maronite League chief Khalil Karam at the League’s headquarters.
Congratulating Karam over his election as the new head of the League and offering Christmas and New Year greetings, the two Hezbollah officials held a lengthy discussion with Karam over the situation in Lebanon.
Wednesday, December 14, 2022
Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblat said Wednesday that "we accept transcontinental dialogue but we reject it at home."
In a statement on social media, Jumblat said that we accept dialogue across continents and through football, but not in Lebanon.
"We may reach China if America agrees, France gives its blessing, and Saudi Arabia approves," Jumblat went on to say. "But we reject it in Lebanon," he added.
Berri had announced last week that he would turn Thursday’s presidential election session into a dialogue if the blocs agree to such a move. But later this week, dialogue was cancelled, after the Lebanese Forces and the Free Patriotic Movement refused to participate in the dialogue.
Monday, December 12, 2022
Dozens of protesters gathered in al-Sir Square in the center of the city of Suweida on Sunday, according to Syria TV.
On Sunday, the exchange rate of the Syrian pound collapsed to the level of 6,050 against the dollar, according to Orient Net.
Sunday, December 11, 2022
Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi on Sunday reiterated his call for “heading to the U.N. and world powers to rescue Lebanon before it’s too late.”
“The internationalization of the Lebanese cause is inevitable after the failure of all domestic solutions,” al-Rahi said in his Sunday Mass sermon.
“It is notable that those who are foiling the domestic solutions are the same ones who are rejecting internationalization. When the Lebanese solution is being blocked and internationalization is being rejected, this means that these parties do not want any solution for the Lebanese situation,” the patriarch lamented.
“They want Lebanon to be as they want or not be, but everyone must know that Lebanon will be like all its loyal sons want it to be,” al-Rahi went on to say.
Saturday, December 10, 2022
Sweida enjoys semi-autonomous rule where Druze militiamen known as Rijal al-Karameh (Men of Dignity) are largely responsible for its security.
Army Commander General Joseph Aoun on Saturday traveled to Qatar at an invitation from its deputy PM and foreign minister, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, the army said.
The army chief “will discuss means to support the army during this period,” the army added in a statement.
Recent media reports had said that Qatar had “strongly” waded into the Lebanese presidential file in terms of negotiating with Iran.
Friday, December 09, 2022
Medyada Suriye-Türkiye yakınlaşması ile ilgili pek çok tahmin öne sürüldü. Geçtiğimiz Cuma günü, aralarında Kremlin Sözcüsü ve Rusya'nın Suriye Özel Temsilcisi’nin de olduğu Rus yetkililer, Moskova'nın Cumhurbaşkanı Erdoğan ile Esed arasında bir görüşme ayarlamaya çalıştığını belirtti. Ancak ben yakın zamanda Moskova'da ‘gülümseyen’ bir Esed ile bir araya gelip el sıkışan ‘somurtkan’ bir Erdoğan fotoğrafı görmeyi beklemiyorum.
Cumhurbaşkanı Recep Tayyip Erdoğan ve Suriye Devlet Başkanı Beşşar Esed, tek bir konuda hemfikir o da Suriye'deki Kürt bölgelerinde gerçek bir özerklik kurulmasını reddetmek. Geçtiğimiz Kasım ayında Kazakistan'ın başkenti Astana'da Suriye konusunda yapılan bir toplantıda Türkler, Esed'in müttefikleriyle -İranlılar ve Ruslar- ‘Suriye'nin toprak bütünlüğünü bozmayı ve komşu ülkelerin ulusal güvenliğini tehdit etmeyi amaçlayan daha fazla ayrılıkçı plana’ karşı koyma konusunda bir kez daha anlaştılar.
Söz konusu mesaj öncelikle, PYD’yi ve ardından PKK ve ABD askeri koruması altındaki Kuzey ve Doğu Suriye Özerk Yönetimi ile bağlantısı olan PYD'ye bağlı Halk Koruma Birlikleri (YPG)’yi hedef alıyor.
PYD ve milisleri gitmelerini istemedikçe ABD’lilerin kısa vadede yerlerinden kıpırdamayacaklarını düşünüyorum. PYD, büyük çaplı herhangi bir Türk askeri operasyonunu engellemek için Washington ile Şam ve Moskova arasında dengeyi sağlamayı başardı.