"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)
Thursday, April 28, 2016
Wednesday, April 27, 2016
US senator in Syria: 'Legitimate Assad government is fighting terrorist' opposition- The Jerusalem Post
Republican Senator Richard Black arrived in Syria for a visit of solidarity with "the legitimate
government of Assad who is fighting against terror groups."
The Syrian official news agency SANA reported Tuesday that Black arrived in Syrian for a three-day visit, the first visit of an American senator in Syria since 2012.
Upon his arrival, he told the state-run news agency: "What is happening in Syria is terror. The issue is that terrorists are fighting against the Syrian people and their legitimate government," adding that "there is no such thing as 'moderate opposition' in this country."
Suriye barış görüşmelerinde tarih çelişkisi
The Russian Minister of Defense, General Sergey Shoygu, issued a statement on Wednesday morning that addressed the overall success of the Russian military operations in Syria.
“The Syrian Army has managed to liberate 500 towns and 10,000 square km of territory from the terrorist forces inside the country,” General Shoygu added.
Addressing the topic of ISIS’ oil supply routes, General Shoygu stated that Russia is actively targeting the terrorist group’s economic sources in Syria.
Over the past 72 hours, ISIS has been making steady gains in northern Aleppo, thus capturing the villages of Tahmoul, Jariz Kafrah, Fayruziyah, Tilal Al-Hussein, and Dudiyan.
Dudiyan represents the 3rd most important town to isolated rebel forces in northern Aleppo; the loss of this town has the armed Syrian Opposition reduced to a last ditch line of defence and foothold at the cities of Azaz and Mare’.
While rebel fighters have reopened the border corridor which was temporarily cut by ISIS, their forces have been greatly pushed back since the initial rebel advances along the border.
Lebanese banks began taking measures against persons or institutions in accordance to a U.S. law that imposes sanctions on banks that knowingly do business with Hizbullah, banking sources said on Wednesday.
The sources told al-Mustaqbal daily that the measures are being taken on accounts in Lebanese Liras and foreign currencies.
U.S. President Barack Obama signed the Hizbullah International Financing Prevention Act on Dec. 18. Since then, Lebanese officials and bankers have been flying to Washington to discuss the move with American officials.
Last week, the U.S. treasury department's Office of Foreign Assets Control, or OFAC, issued regulations aimed at implementing the Hizbullah financing prevention act.
Many in Lebanon are worried that the U.S. legislation will have negative effects on the Lebanese banking sector, which is one of the most active industries in the country.
Assistant Secretary for the Department of the Treasury Daniel Glaser is expected to visit Beirut next week to discuss with Lebanese officials the details of the regulations, said al-Mustaqbal.
Tuesday, April 26, 2016
The massacre that took place inside the provincial capital of Aleppo on Monday has infuriated the people of this historical Syrian city.
The overwhelming majority of civilians in the provincial capital live under the government; and while they can flee to safer provinces like Latakia or Tartous, the people of Aleppo obstinately remain in their shell-ridden homes.
Since August of 2012, the people of Aleppo City have been under constant fear of the rebel forces that have indiscriminately targeted their homes for not supporting their cause.
GENEVA, April 26. /TASS/. US President Barack Obama’s decision to send an additional 250 military personnel to Syria is nothing more than a symbolic move, while real fight against terrorists is carried out by Syrian government forces with support of Russian aviation, head of the Syrian opposition’s Hmeimim group delegation to Geneva talks Ilian Masaad told TASS on Tuesday.
Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi hoped on Tuesday that the municipal polls, which are set for May, would pave way for the election of a new president.
The solution to all issues is the presidency, al-Rahi said at Rafik Hariri International Airport in Beirut before traveling to Brussels on a three-day visit.
“Hopefully the municipal elections would pave way for holding parliamentary polls,” he said.
Both elections should be held “because Lebanon's value lies in the transition of power and the democratic system."
Maronite Bishop Samir Mazloum denied on Tuesday reports that Bkirki has proposed the election of a president for a transitional period to resolve the country's political crisis.
“Bkirki is not the source of a proposal to elect a head of state for a two-year period,” Mazloum told As Safir newspaper published on Tuesday.
Former Speaker Hussein Husseini made the proposal to elect a president for one year, he said.
“But Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi has not expressed his opinion on the matter because it is up to lawmakers firstly to take a decision on such issues,” said Mazloum.
“What concerns Bkirki is the swift election of a president to come out of the vacuum,” he told As Safir.
Army chief Gen. Jean Qahwaji is expected to visit Moscow soon to consolidate the Lebanese military's anti-terrorism capabilities, al-Joumhouria newspaper reported on Tuesday.
A Russian technical military team is currently visiting Beirut and conducting maintenance to Russian-made weaponry, it said.
Qahwaji's visit would come as Russia hosts a conference on international security on April 27-28.
The conference's main topic of discussion is fighting terrorism, the situation in the Middle East, the traditional and new challenges and threats to the international security.
Al-Joumhouria quoted a high-ranking Russian military source as saying that “the Lebanese army and Qahwaji are true partners in combating terrorism worldwide.”
On April 25, an opposition group known as Building the Syrian State (BSS) issued a statement saying it had left the High Negotiations Committee, or HNC, which is the main Syrian opposition delegation negotiating at the Geneva III peace talks. The HNC itself announced on April 18 that it was suspending its participation in the talks, in a move seemingly related to the faltering truce in Syria, but UN Envoy Staffan de Mistura has said he would try to continue to organize some form of discussions.
Monday, April 25, 2016
DAMASCUS // They stare at you from mugs, pins and fridge magnets in souvenir shops in Damascus.
Russian president Vladimir Putin, Syrian president Bashar Assad and Hizbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah are a hot commodity in Damascus these days, their faces posted on mementos in the capital’s old bazaars.
Putin souvenirs popped up shortly after Moscow began conducting air strikes in Syria on September 30 aimed at shoring up Mr Al Assad’s fledgling forces.
The air strikes helped turned the tide of the five-year conflict in Mr Al Assad’s favour, earning the gratitude of supporters.
The Iranian-backed Hizbollah has sent thousands of its fighters to help government forces.
Sunday, April 24, 2016
A suggestion to elect the founder of the Free Patriotic Movement MP Michel Aoun as president could be underway, garnering the blessing of two political parties, the Saudi Okaz daily reported on Sunday.
“There is a serious proposal to elect MP Michel Aoun as head of the Lebanese state for a two-year period,” well-informed sources told the daily.
“The proposal is a serious one and it has the approval of two political parties where one of them has guaranteed to market the idea to Hizbullah,” they said on condition of anonymity.
Lebanon has been without a president since May 2014 when the term of Michel Suleiman ended without the election of a successor.
Ongoing disputes between the rival March 8 and 14 camps have thwarted the elections.
Hizbullah announced earlier this year that it would boycott electoral sessions unless it receives guarantees that its candidate, Change and Reform bloc chief MP Michel Aoun, is elected head of state.
Saturday, April 23, 2016
News agency affiliated to the terror group released unverified footage of the burning wreck of a Syrian warplane.
It took more than 75 fire trucks, hundreds of firefighters and 7 hours to extinguish the fire.
A massive fire broke out today morning in one of the busiest and well-known marketplace in the old city of Damascus, destroying at least 70 stores and demolishing pat of the roof of the centuries-old bazaar.
Black plumes of smokes were seen rising high in the sky since the fire broke in the early morning.
The area hit by the fire is known as Al-Assronyah marketplace, located between historic citadel of Damascus and the renowned Al-Hamidiyah Souk, and is famous for selling house appliances, brassware and glassware.
According to initial reports, the fire was caused by a short circuit at a toy factory.
A senior commander in Syria's powerful Islamist Ahrar al-Sham rebel group was killed on Saturday night in a suicide bombing in Idlib province, a monitoring group has said.
"Ahrar al-Sham chief of staff Majed Hussein al Sadeq was killed with three other fighters from the group in a suicide attack against its headquarters in Binnish town," northeast of Idlib city, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
"An unknown person parked his motorcycle near the headquarters then walked into a group of Ahrar al-Sham fighters and detonated his explosive belt," the observatory said.
It was unclear who was responsible for the attack.
Sadeq, also known as Islam Abou Hussein, was a Syrian army officer who defected to join the opposition.
He held several posts in Ahrar al-Sham before becoming its chief of staff.
Looking out from the Syrian capital these days, one can understand why President Bashar Assad would be in no hurry to make concessions at peace talks in Geneva, let alone consider stepping down as the opposition demands.
In Damascus, it is easy to forget the war. The airstrikes, the ruins and starvation, sometimes only few miles away, seem distant and unseen. Since a partial cease-fire went into effect at the end of February, the mortar shells from opposition-held suburbs have all but stopped.
With the road to the loyalist coast and most of central Syria completely cleared of insurgents, Assad has guaranteed the survival of a rump state that he could rule over should the war continue for a long time. Even if Assad's forces have little chance of regaining large parts of the country in the near term, Russia's military intervention changed the conflict's course in their favor and has boosted their confidence.
"People are much more relaxed than before, we feel safer and more secure," said Maha Arnouz, a student walking with a friend through the capital's bustling Hamadiyah souk, located inside the old walled city.
The bazaar, like the rest of Damascus, has changed in the past few years. Soldiers sit at the entrance underneath a large portrait of Assad, screening passers-by. Male pedestrians are patted down by armed men at checkpoints in its narrow side streets, a jarring sight next to centuries-old shops selling spices, sweets and soaps.
Outside, people shout over the din of power generators spouting toxic fumes whenever the power is off - at least 10 hours a day. In Bab Touma, a mainly Christian quarter of Damascus' Old City popular with tourists before the war, a Hezbollah fighter searches vehicles at a checkpoint. Posters of "martyrs" from pro-government popular defense militias line the walls.
Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi condemned the ongoing vacuum in the presidency and the political powers' failure to resolve disputes hindering the elections, reported al-Joumhouria newspaper on Saturday.
He said: “It is time for the concerned political powers to responsibly and bravely tackle the real reasons that are preventing the completion of quorum at parliament.”
Numerous electoral sessions have been scheduled and none but one were held due to the lack of needed quorum at parliament.
“We have reached an unacceptable stage in Lebanon whereby we are witnessing the fragmentation of the components of the state,” continued al-Rahi.
“It is as if this fragmentation is programmed, starting with the presidency, passing through the parliament and leading to the cabinet and all other public institutions,” he lamented.
Lebanon has been without a president since May 2014 when the term of Michel Suleiman ended without the election of a successor.
On 21 April, I took my sixth trip to a besieged area in Syria – a place called Rastan, half an hour’s drive north from Homs. I was part of a joint team dispatched by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and Syrian Arab Red Crescent to bring humanitarian aid to more than 120,000 people for the first time in over a year.
We crossed the frontline during the day – in contrast with previous visits to besieged areas, when we have generally only been allowed in after dark – and stayed deep into the night. All such trips have unique challenges, but they are nothing compared to the daily hardships faced by people in besieged areas.
Sadly, places like Rastan, where civilians are trapped between the warring sides, have become a common reality of the Syria conflict. People pay a huge price, struggling to survive in dangerous areas where food, water, healthcare and safety are all scarce.
Friday, April 22, 2016
Russian forces in Syria have fired at least twice on Israeli military aircraft, prompting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to seek improved operational coordination with Moscow, Israel's top-selling newspaper said on Friday.
The unsourced report in Yedioth Ahronoth gave no dates or locations for the incidents nor any indication Israeli planes were hit. Russia mounted its military intervention in Syria in September to shore Damascus up amid a now 5-year-old rebellion.
Separately, Israel's Channel 10 TV said a Russian warplane approached an Israeli warplane off the Mediterranean coast of Syria last week but that there was no contact between them.
On Thursday evening, the Arab tribes from the National Defense Forces (NDF) and the Assyrian “Gozarto Protection Forces” (GPF) captured several sites in Qamishli after a flurry of violent clashes with the Asayish (Kurdish police) units near the military airport.
According to a military source in Qamishli, the NDF and GPF captured the Abu Raghab and Kurayrish checkpoints from the Asayish after launching a counter-assault on Thursday evening.
Following the capture of the aforementioned checkpoints, the NDF and GPF regained control over the Al-Salaam Hospital and the Municipal Stadium, which reversed the Asayish’s gains inside the city.
Thursday, April 21, 2016
Kral Selman, Obama'yı karşılamadı
At least 50 pro-Syrian government fighters have been taken captive by Kurdish forces in the Syrian town of Qamishli in the mostly Kurdish-controlled Hasaka province after fierce fighting entered a second day, various media report.
Fighting between the two factions in the northeastern Syrian town sharply intensified on Thursday, after Kurdish police, known as Asayish, seized Allya prison where pro-government forces had been holed up.
Kurdish Firat news agency reports 67 soldiers surrendered, while AFP puts the figure at 50.
The soldiers from the Syrian army handed themselves over to the Kurds, who then surrounded the military intelligence headquarters and some other office buildings held by pro-government forces.
A video posted by the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) on Facebook claims to show the badly damaged prison after the fighting.
BEIRUT – Saudi Arabia believes that Jordan was complicit in the assassination of top rebel leader Zahran Alloush late last year, according to a pro-rebel online outlet.
Arabi21 cited a diplomatic source as saying that Riyadh obtained information indicating Amman was linked to the targeted airstrike on December 25 that killed the leader of Jaysh al-Islam, the most powerful rebel group operating around Damascus.
The diplomat claimed that “Jordanian security services believed that Alloush took advantage of his relations with the Saudis to violate Jordanian sovereignty by transiting his [partisans] across the country’s borders without coordinating their passage.”
“[Information of Jordan’s complicity] aroused the anger of the Kingdom, resulting in a strained relations between the [two countries],” the source also told the London-based news outlet.
The Arabi21 report comes amid warming ties between Amman and Moscow following Russia’s aerial intervention on behalf of the Bashar al-Assad regime.
Wednesday, April 20, 2016
GENEVA, April 20. /TASS/. Nearly half of representatives of the Syrian opposition High Negotiations Committee (HNC) have left Geneva, HNC adviser Yahya al-Aridi has told TASS.
The Islamic State group has tightened the noose on a regime-held enclave in eastern Syria, overrunning part of the city of Deir Ezzor and advancing on its vital airbase, a monitor said Wednesday.
"IS seized the Al-Sinaa neighborhood of Deir Ezzor on Tuesday evening and fighting is continuing on the edge of the airport," the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
An estimated 200,000 civilians are believed to remain in government-held districts of Deir Ezzor, where they have been living under siege by IS since March 2014.
The jihadists, who also control nearly all the surrounding province, have made repeated attacks on the government enclave and in January seized the suburb of Al-Bgheliyeh.
But their efforts to capture the city's airbase have so far been repulsed by elite regime troops.
There has been growing concern for the besieged civilian population and, in January, Russia announced that it had equipped Syrian military transport aircraft to carry out aid drops to the city.
On April 10, the World Food Program said it had carried out its first ever successful high-altitude airdrop, to deliver 20 tonnes of food aid to government-held neighborhoods.