"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)



Monday, June 12, 2017

So-Called 'Syrian Democratic Forces' None Other but 'Terrorists Like Daesh'- Sputnik News

Sputnik Arabic was able to talk to a Syrian expert on the armed groups in Syria, Husma Shaib, who explained why the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) operating in Syria are comparable to the al-Nusra Front and what the actual aim of their operations in Syria is.

"In Syria, we regard these forces as unlawful military formations which operate outside of the legal environment. They are the same a terrorist units like al-Nusra Front and Daesh. The Syrian Democratic Forces do not coordinate their activities with the Syrian Army. We regard them as terrorists," Husma Shaib told Sputnik.

HRW Warns Lebanon against Bringing Back Death Penalty- Naharnet

Human Rights Watch has urged Lebanon to respect its moratorium on the death penalty after calls for its reinstatement following the murder of a young student that shocked the country.
Capital punishment is legal in Lebanon, but there has been an effective moratorium in place since 2004, without any executions carried out despite judgments to that effect.
"Ending its moratorium on executions would only serve to tarnish Lebanon's human rights record," HRW said in a statement.
On Friday, Interior Minister Nouhad al-Mashnouq called for the "reintroduction of the death penalty," in particular for "intentional crimes."
His remarks came in response to the murder of Roy Hamou sh, a 24-year-old student, who was reportedly shot dead after a traffic dispute a week ago.
According to the details of the investigation cited in the media, his car had slightly hit another, enraging the three assailants.
His murder is the latest in a growing number of people killed on the street or in broad daylight in Lebanon, often for minor reasons.
"Once again, political pressure is growing for Lebanon to resume executions," said Human Rights Watch.

Two Syrian Rebel Leaders Wounded in Arsal Blast- Naharnet

Two leaders of the Syrian rebel group Saraya Ahl al-Sham were wounded Monday evening in a blast in the eastern border town of Arsal, media reports said.
Al-Jadeed television said the two leaders were “lightly injured” as other media reports said the explosive device was planted by the jihadist Islamic State group.
IS militants and rival jihadists from the Fateh al-Sham Front are entrenched in the town's outskirts and in other areas along the Syrian-Lebanese border.
The non-jihadist Saraya Ahl al-Sham group has presence in and around Arsal.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Jordan shoots dead five approaching its borders from Syria- Reuters

Jordan's army said on Sunday its border guards killed five people who were approaching its frontier from Tanf, a Syrian desert town where U.S. special forces training rebels are based.

The town has been a flashpoint in recent weeks as militias backed by Iran have tried to get near the U.S. garrison, prompting U.S. coalition jets to strike back.

Tanf lies near the strategic Damascus-Baghdad highway that was once a major weapons supply route for Iranian weapons into Syria.

The Jordanian army said it destroyed a car and two motorbikes in the incident.

SAA Makes Another Attempt To Capture Arak Gas Field From ISIS- South Front

On Sunday, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA), Liwas al-Quds and other pro-government factions launched a large-scale attack on ISIS positions in the vicinity of Arak gas field east of Palmyra city. Violent clashes have been taking place i the Talila Reserve area and the Arak crossroad since the Sunday morning.

Jordanian Border Guards Clashed With Large Convoy Of US-backed Proxies Moving From At Tanf- South Front

The Jordanian military announced on Sunday that its servicemen killed five people and wounded 2 others attempting to infiltrate the Jordanian territory from the town of At Tanf at the Syrian-Iraqi border.
According to the official statement, Jordanian border guards clashed during 72 hours with a convoy consisting 9 cars and 2 motorcycles trying to enter Jordanian territory from Syria.
During the clashes, Jordanian border guards destroyed 2 cars and 2 motorcycles. The rest of the vehicles withdrew towards Al Tanf town in the Syrian territory. The Jordanian border guards also arrested two people who tried to cross the border.
At Tanf town is under a full control of the US-led Coalition and militant groups affilated with the US-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) and there are Jordanian special forces in the town.

Jaysh al-Thuwar Claims That Turkey And Iran Work Jointly Against Kurds In Manbij Countryside- South Front

In an interview with the Kurdish ANF news website, Leader of the US-backed Jaysh al-Thuwar, Haji Ahmed, claimed that the Syrian government, Turkey and Iran cooperate in the province of Aleppo against the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

Syrian Army, Hezbollah make major push from Palmyra to Deir Ezzor- Al-Masdar News

The recent arrival of reinforcements from the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and Hezbollah have paid dividends on the battlefield for the government forces in rural Palmyra, as they have managed to liberate large chunks of territory from the Islamic State (ISIL) forces in the area.
Backed by heavy Russian airstrikes, the Syrian Arab Army’s 5th Corps and their allies liberated more than 2km of highway near the strategic desert town of Arak, in Palmyra’s eastern countryside.
According to Al-Masdar’s Ibrahim Joudeh, the Syrian Arab Army liberated several hilltops overlooking the ‘Arak Gas Fields from its northwestern axis; this has positioned the government forces some 4km away from the desert town.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

US-led Coalition Denies bombing Syrian Army West Of Raqqa- South Front

A spokesman for the US-led coalition denied the bombing of coalition warplanes of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) in the western Raqqa countryside. According to the statement, circulating claims about a new US-led coalition attack on the SAA are untrue.

On Saturday, some opposition sources published reports that US-led coalition warplanes bombed a convoy of the SAA Tiger Forces moving to areas controlled by the Syrian Democratic forces (SDF) in the western Raqqa countryside, and destroyed it entirely. At the same time, pro-government sources spoke of what it called “warning air strikes” by the US-led coalition against the SAA.

Russia says tells U.S. not to strike Syrian pro-government forces again- Reuters

Russia said on Saturday it had told the United States it was unacceptable for Washington to strike pro-government forces in Syria after the U.S. military carried out an air strike on pro-Assad militia last month.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov relayed the message to U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in a phone call on Saturday initiated by the U.S. side, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

U.S. officials told Reuters last month that the U.S. military carried out the air strike against militia supported by the government of President Bashar al-Assad which it said posed a threat to U.S. forces and U.S.-backed Syrian fighters in the country's south.

Russia said at the time that the U.S. action would hamper efforts to find a political solution to the conflict and had violated the sovereignty of Syria, one of Russia's closest Middle East allies.

"Lavrov expressed his categorical disagreement with the U.S. strikes on pro-government forces and called on him to take concrete measures to prevent similar incidents in future," the ministry said.

Suriye ordusu, koalisyonun hedefindeki Tanf yakınlarında Irak sınırına ulaştı- Sputnik News

Suriye ordusunun, ABD önderliğindeki IŞİD karşıtı koalisyon güçlerinin 3 kez saldırı düzenlediği Tanf yakınında Irak sınırına ulaştığı belirtildi.

Suriye'nin resmi haber ajansı SANA'nın haberine göre, koalisyon uçaklarının bölgede Suriye hükümet güçlerini hedef almasına rağmen, Badiye Çölü yönündeki taarruzunu sürdüren Suriye ordusu ve müttefik güçler, Irak sınırına ulaştı.
Operasyon sırasında bölgede faaliyet yürüten IŞİD'e bağlı tüm militanlar imha edildi.
ABD önderliğindeki IŞİD karşıtı koalisyon güçleri, önceki gün Suriye'de Tanf'a yakın bölgede, Suriye ordusuyla hareket eden güçleri 3. kez vurmuştu.
IŞİD karşıtı koalisyona ait savaş uçakları, salı günüyse Türkiye, İran ve Rusya'nın girişimiyle kurulan güvenli bölgelerden birisinde yer alan Tanf yakınlarında Suriye ordusuyla hareket eden güçleri vurmuştu. Koalisyon, tank, topçu birlikleri ve çok sayıda askeri aracın yer aldığı bir birliği vurmuştu.

Suriye Demokratik Konseyi: Suudi Arabistan ile işbirliğine hazırız- Al-Masdar News

Suriye Demokratik Konseyi Eş Başkanı İlham Ahmed; Suudi Arabistan merkezli Al-Riyadh’a verdiği demeçte, Suriye’de barış ve istikrarın sağlanması konusunda Suudileri destekleyici rolüne dikkat çekti ve ”Milliyetçilikten ve mezhepçilik uzak bir demokratik Suriye inşa etme konusunda Suudilerle işbirliğine hazırız” dedi.

Katar’ın Suriye’de krizi çözmek için oynadığı rolü sorulması üzerine Ahmed, ”birçok bölgesel devletin krizi çözmek için olumlu rolleri olmuştur bunlardan biri de Katar’dır.Ancak Katar’ın, diğer muhalif gruplara destek vermesi muhalefetin bölünmesine yol açtı ve Suriye’de aşırılık ve terörizmin yayılmasına sebep oldu.” ifadesinde bulundu.

İran ile ilgili sorulan soruya ise, ” Suriye’de ulusal ve mezhebi projelerin yeri yoktur. Bu yönde herhangi bir çatışmanın Suriye toplumu ve aynı zamanda Suriye rejimi için olumsuz sonuçlar doğuracaktır.” diyerek cevap verdi.

Syrian soldiers push through ISIL, 'reach Iraqi border'- Al-Jazeera

State media says government soldiers and allied forces reach border area for first time since 2015.

Syrian troops and allied forces fighting the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, known as ISIS) group have reportedly reached the Iraqi border for the first time since 2015, advancing close to a strategic area that has been at the centre of tensions between Damascus and Washington. 
State news agency SANA, citing a military source, said that "army units in cooperation with allies managed to arrive at the border ... with Iraq" on Friday, and "set up positions in an area northeast of At-Tanf".

Friday, June 09, 2017

Is America Getting Sucked Into More War in Syria?- The Atlantic

The Trump administration has quietly escalated against Assad and his allies—and risks sparking regional chaos.

While Washington was fixated this week by former FBI director James Comey’s testimony, on the other side of the planet, a major story was playing out that could have profound consequences for the United States.

Three times in the last month, the U.S. military has come into direct conflict with the combined forces of the Assad regime, Iran-supported Shiite militias, Hezbollah, and possibly even Iran’s elite Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps. The clashes have reportedly resulted in the deaths of a small number of pro-regime forces, and are much more strategically important than the much-ballyhooed U.S. air strike on the al-Shayrat airfield back in April in response to the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons.

Syrian Army And Allies Reached Iraqi Border Northeast Of At Tanf- South Front

The Syrian Arab Army and its allies have reached the Iraqi border northeast of the village of at-Tanf controlled by special oeprations forces of the US-led coalition member states and Western-backed militant groups, according to Elijah J. Magnier, a chief international correspondent of the al-Rai media outlet.

According to Elijah J. Magnier, pro-government forces reached the border in the area just few km from at-Tanf. The Popular Mobilization Units (described by the mainstream media as pro-Iranian proxies) control the same area from the Iraqi side.

If reports are confirmed and government forces are going to set up positions in the area, the US-led coalition and its proxies will likely use a force to drive the Syrian government forces back from the border with Iraq.

U.S., Russia discuss de-escalation zone for southwest Syria: diplomats- Reuters

The United States and Russia are quietly holding talks on creating a "de-escalation zone" in southwestern Syria, Western diplomats and regional officials said, but could face fierce opposition from Iran.

The Russian and U.S. special envoys for Syria, Alexander Lavrentiev and Michael Ratney, and other officials have met at least twice in the Jordanian capital Amman in the past two weeks and will talk again soon, the officials and diplomats said.

The talks are at an early stage of discussing the boundaries of the proposed de-escalation zone in Deraa province, on the border with Jordan, and Quneitra, which borders the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, they said.

Diplomats say the talks could represent a major new attempt by Washington and Moscow, Syria's main foreign backer, to reach an understanding on how to end six years of conflict which the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based war monitor, estimates has killed close to half a million people.

Iran, Russia and Turkey brokered a deal in the Kazakh capital, Astana, in May to create four de-escalation zones in Syria. But the United States wants no role in the southwest, Russia's ally in the war, the diplomats said.

Russian MoD Announces Civil War in Syria Almost Stopped- Sputnik News

The Russian General Staff said that the Syrian civil war has almost stopped.

"The situation has changed for the better after a memorandum on the creation of de-escalation zones in the Syrian Arab Republic was signed on May 4, 2017 in Astana. De facto the civil war in Syria has stopped. Moreover, the memo's entrance into force let start works on the restoration of populated areas destroyed by war, which are not occupied by terrorists," chief of the Russian General Staff's Main Operational Directorate Col. Gen. Sergei Rudskoy said.

He said that the Syrians start returning in freed cities and towns.
"Humanitarian access to inhabited areas located within the de-escalation zones has been restored. In the last month alone, international organizations have sent 14 humanitarian convoys to these areas, which has significantly improved the life of their residents," Rudskoy said.

Katar'dan 4 Arap ülkesinin 'terör listesine' ret- BBC Türkçe

Katar; Suudi Arabistan, Birleşik Arap Emirlikleri, Mısır ve Bahreyn'nin yayımladığı "terör listesini" reddetti. Katar yetkilileri "terörle bu ülkelerden fazla mücadale ettiklerini" söylüyor.
Listede, Katar'da oldukları belirtilen Müslüman Kardeşler hareketinin ruhani lideri Yusuf el Karadavi'nin de aralarında bulunduğu 59 kişi ve 12 kurum yer almıştı.
Katar hükümetinin fonladığı iki yardım kuruluşu da listedeydi.
Katar hükümetinin yayımladığı açıklamada "Suudi Arabistan Krallığı, Bahreyn, Mısın ve BAE'nin yayımladığı 'terörün finansmanı izleme listesi' bir kez daha aslında hiçbir temeli olmayan iddiaları bir kez daha güçlendirmeye çalışıyor. Terörle mücadeledeki pozisyonumuz, bu ortak bildirinin bazı imzacılarından daha güçlüdür ve bu gerçek bildirinin yazarlarınca işlerine geldiği gibi görmezden gelinmiştir" dedi.

Egypt Accuses Qatar of Paying Ransom to 'Terrorist Group'- Naharnet

Egypt on Thursday asked the United Nations to investigate an enormous ransom that Qatar allegedly paid an IS-linked "terrorist group" in order to free members of its royal family detained in Iraq.
Speaking during a Security Council debate on the threat of terrorism, Egypt's deputy ambassador to the UN Ihab Moustafa accused Qatar of paying "up to $1 billion to a terrorist group active in Iraq in order to release members of its royal family kidnapped and detained in Iraq while on a hunting trip."
"If proved correct, it is a clear support to terrorism," he said, noting that the group was linked to the Islamic State group.
Several UN resolutions call on member countries not to pay such ransoms or make political concessions to terrorist groups, he said.
The diplomat did not provide evidence or details, but said the press had spoken of it.

Who are the most prominent Qatar-linked figures in new terror designated list?- Al-Arabiya

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain have collectively designated 69 individuals and 12 institutions that have financed terrorist organizations and received support from Qatar.
Among the most prominent listed was Qatar-based Egyptian hardline cleric Yusuf al-Qaradawi and number of Egyptian extremists like Mohammed Islambouli, Qatari-Egyptian cleric Wagdy Ghoneim and Muslim Brotherhood member Tarek al-Zumar.
From Saudi Arabia, Abdullah al-Muhaysini was also named. Muhaysini publicly fundraised for extremists in Syria from donors in Qatar and other Gulf states.
Abdel Hakim Belhadj, a former Libyan Islamist commander, is one of five Libyans listed.
The list released on Friday also named 12 entities it accused of fundraising and financing terrorists. These included Qatar Volunteer Center, Doha Apple Company (Internet and Technology Support Company), Qatar Charity, Sheikh Eid al-Thani Charity Foundation (Eid Charity), and the Sheikh Thani Bin Abdullah Foundation for Humanitarian Services.