"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)

YENİ ÇIKTI !

NEWS AND ARTICLES / HABERLER VE MAKALELER

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Syrian militias get more U.S. support for IS fight, plan new phase- Reuters

The U.S.-led coalition fighting Islamic State has boosted support for its Syrian allies, supplying armored vehicles for the first time as they prepare for a new phase in their campaign to capture Raqqa, a spokesman for the militia said on Tuesday.

The U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) alliance, which is dominated by the Kurdish YPG militia, is waging a campaign to capture Islamic State's base of operations in Raqqa.

A Kurdish military source, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters the next phase of the Raqqa campaign would aim to seal off all remaining roads to the city, including the route to Deir al-Zor province, another IS stronghold.

Menbiç'ten Şam'a: Suriye'den bir yol hikâyesi (Hediye Levent- BBC Türkçe)

Menbiç, Türkiye için Suriye'de sürdürülen Fırat Kalkanı Harekâtı'nda El Bab'dan sonraki hedef olarak görülüyordu. Ancak Cumhurbaşkanı Recep Tayyip Erdoğan son Afrika gezisi dönüşü sırasında gazetecilere yaptığı açıklamada El Bab'daki operasyonlarla ilgili olarak "Bundan sonraki süreçte süratle mesafe almak suretiyle oradaki işi bitirmek, daha derinliğine gitmemek lazım" dedi.
Suriyeli Kürtlerin kanton projesi açısından Kobani'yi Afrin'e bağlayacak köprü Menbiç. Şam yönetimi için ise "kesinlikle Suriye toprağı."
Türkiye'nin Fırat Kalkanı Harekâtı'nda birlikte hareket ettiği silahlı gruplara, hem Kürt YPG güçlerinin ve Suriye Demokratik Güçleri'nin (SDG) hem de Suriye ordusunun bakışı malum.
Mevziler birbirine çok yakın, üstelik bu üç gücün yanı sıra birkaç kilometre yukardaki El Bab'da Irak Şam İslam Devleti (IŞİD) örgütünün, bir saatten az mesafede de Nusra Cephesi'nin militanları var.
Bütün bunların ortasında Suriye'deki duruma yüksekçe bir gözetleme kulesinden bakar gibi hissettiren bir kasaba Menbiç. Nüfusunun kırsalı ile birlikte 500 bine dayandığı söyleniyor.

Full Text of the New Syrian Draft Constitution- Sputnik News

The new Syrian constitution, drafted by Russia and presented to opposition leaders, has been obtained by Sputnik. Below is the full text.

The Economics of War and Peace in Syria- THE CENTURY FOUNDATION

Much is made of the sectarian and ethnic factions in Syria’s civil war, but far less attention has been paid to its economic dynamics, which are essential for understanding the roots of the conflict. This study goes beyond the usual extent of such analyses to argue that the economic context is also crucial for understanding the war’s persistence, and the shape of an eventual peace and reconstruction. The contraction of the Syrian economy and the emergence of a war economy have profoundly affected the stratification and composition of the Syrian business community, and the elite in particular. The conflict has created a new class of elites who are actually to some degree dependent on the war for their fortunes, and implicated in violence even when they do not directly perpetrate it. As a result, business interests have become at least as important as other factors in determining political allegiances.

The Syrian conflict has produced one of the worst humanitarian catastrophes in recent memory. In this context, popular and scholarly analysis has focused extensively on the armed groups’ capacity to commit violence, various forms of international military interventions, and the dramatic rise of groups such as the Islamic State and Fateh al-Sham (formerly known as the Nusra Front). Often lost in these stories is the role that economic actors, such as the business community in general and the elite in particular, play in the perpetuation of war. These omissions are consequential. Despite the invisibility of Syrian business figures in much of the analysis around the conflict, they play a fundamental role in perpetuating it. For this reason, they need to be taken seriously as major stakeholders in Syria’s postconflict reconstruction process. Ignoring the role of business actors today can have implications for how we think of the postconflict reconstruction process.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Opposition Leaders Call for Broad Representation at Geneva After Moscow Meeting- The Syrian Observer

Loyalist newspaper Al-Watan explains Syrian political opposition figures invited to Russia's capital Moscow for meetings after news emerged of Russian plans to impose a new constitution on the rebel delegation at Astana.

The head of the Syrian opposition Moscow platform, Qadri Jamil, said that Russia confirmed during its meeting with the opposition that “constitutional ideas” which had been distributed by the Russians at the Astana meeting were “just ideas to be discussed among Syrians” and that Russia “was not trying to impose them and that the constitution is a Syrian issue.”

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Friday met with a number of Syrian opposition representatives in Moscow. According to a statement issued by the Russian Foreign Ministry, the meeting was joined by “Moscow platform” member and leader in the Popular Front for Change and Liberation, Qadri Jamil, and “Astana platform” member and head of the Movement for a Pluralistic Society, Randa Kassis, and two members of the “Cairo platform” Jihad Makdissi and Jamal Sleiman, as well as the general coordinator for the National Coordination Committee for the Forces of Democratic Change and member in the High Negotiations Committee, Hassan Abdel Azim, and head of the “Hemeimeem platform,” Elian Mesaad, and members of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party, Khaled Eissa and Ali Abdul Salam, head of the Building the Syrian State Movement, Louay Hussein, and head of the Popular Will Party, Ala al-Din Arfaat.

Futbol Halep’e geri döndü- Al-Jazeera Turk

Halep’te 5 yıl sonra ilk kez bir futbol maçı oynandı. Cumartesi günü Al-Ittıhad, Hurriya’yı 2-1 yendi.

2011’den beri Halep’te hiç resmi futbol maçı oynanmamıştı.

Stadyum bakımsız, çim yıpranmış ve soğuktan kahverengiye dönmüştü. Buna karşın taraftarlar ‘futbol coşkusuyla’ tribünleri doldurmuştu. Tribünlerin hemen arkasında ise Beşar Esed’in posteri vardı.

Al Ittıhad oyuncusu Ömer Hamidi maçtan önce “Beş yıl aranın ardından Halep’e dönmenin verdiği hissi anlatamam. Kalbim çok hızlı atıyor” dedi.

Lavrov'dan, Trump'ın Suriye'de güvenli bölge planına ilişkin açıklama- Sputnik News

Rusya Dışişleri Bakanı Sergey Lavrov, ABD Başkanı Donald Trump'ın Suriye'de güvenli bölgeler oluşturma planına ilişkin olarak, "Suriye'de göçmenlerin kendilerini güvende hissedebileceği güvenli bölgeler oluşturmak için Suriye hükümeti ile anlaşmak gerekiyor" dedi.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Aoun: No One Should be Stronger than State and I'm Not Thinking of a 2nd Term- Naharnet

President Michel Aoun stressed Sunday that “no one should be stronger than the State” in Lebanon as he ruled out running for a second presidential term.
“Lebanon is facing the last chance to build a strong State in it through creating institutions that work for the welfare of the country and its citizens,” Aoun said in an interview with French news channel LCI.
“No one should be stronger than the State, because that would lead us into chaos,” Aoun warned.

Syrian Army Says Retakes Key Rebel Area near Damascus- Naharnet

The Syrian army said on Sunday that it had recaptured a flashpoint area from rebels near Damascus that supplies water to the capital.
Wadi Barada had been the scene of fierce fighting in recent weeks between regime and rebel forces that tested a fragile nationwide truce and left millions in Damascus facing water shortages.
"Our armed forces ... have accomplished their mission by restoring security and stability in the region of Wadi Barada," the army said in a statement carried by state television

Syrian Army to take full control of Wadi Barada with expulsion of militants- Al-Masdar News

Wadi Barada is to come under full Syrian Army control within the next 36 hours with all jihadist militant fighters being expelled.
Under the deal, around 1,200 militant fighters will be reintegrated into Syrian society when they have their cases settled and amnesty granted by the reconciliation committee.
The remainder of the militants will be transferred to Idlib province which is currently engulfed by a inter-jihadi civil war.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Bogdanov and Haddad discuss results of Astana meeting on Syria- SANA

Moscow, SANA – Russian President’s Special Representative for the Middle East and Africa, Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov discussed with Syria’s Ambassador in Moscow Riyad Haddad the results of the Syrian talks recently held in Kazakhstan’s capital of Astana.
“During the meeting a trust-based exchange of views on the situation in Syria took place in light of the results of the international meeting on Syrian settlement in Astana creating positive conditions for establishing inclusive intra-Syrian negotiation process in Geneva under the aegis of the United Nations,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement following a meeting.
“[The parties] also touched upon several practical issues of multi-faceted Russian-Syrian cooperation,” the statement added.
The Astana talks on Syrian crisis settlement, which were held on last Monday and Tuesday, brought together the representatives of the Syrian Arab Republic and the armed. As a result of the talks, Russia, Iran and Turkey agreed to establish a trilateral mechanism to monitor the cessation of hostilities that came into effect on December 30, 2016.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Tulsi Gabbard’s Fascist Escorts to Syria- The Daily Beast

Tulsi Gabbard, the self-styled “progressive” Hawaiian congresswoman makes no secret of her recent trip to Damascus to meet Bashar al-Assad. But, as an outspoken opponent of what she presents as America’s pro-terrorist foreign policy, Gabbard certainly accepted some strange companions on what her fellow lawmakers are calling a disgraceful reputation-laundering tour of a bloody dictatorship.
Gabbard, as her own office has disclosed, took her “fact-finding” trip with a delegation of two men who are affiliated with an anti-Semitic political party accused of using female suicide bombers; of beating up Western and Arab journalists; helping U.S.-designated terrorist organization Hezbollah and the U.S.-sanctioned Syrian regime wage war in the Levant.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

President al-Assad and Abdullahian affirm support for cessation of hostilities agreement- SANA

Damascus, SANA – President Bashar al-Assad and Special Assistant to Speaker of Iran’s Shura Council Hussein Amir Abdullahian stressed their support for the agreement on the cessation of hostilities in Syria.
During a meeting in Damascus on Thursday, both sides affirmed that they support the cessation of hostilities agreement that excludes ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra and the other terrorist groups linked to these two organizations.
The President and Abdullahian considered that the success of this agreement is an introduction for the return of peace and stability back to Syria, through continuing the fight against terrorism and creating the favorable conditions to launch a Syrian-led dialogue where the Syrians themselves can decide the future of their country.
President al-Assad referred to Iran’s constructive role in terms of the support it provides the Syrian people in the face of the terrorist war imposed on them and its efforts seeking to find a peaceful solution that preserves the sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity of Syria.
For his part, Abdullahian, who is accompanied by a delegation, stressed that his country’s support to Syria in the various fields is solid and principled and based on the strategic relationship binding Syria and Iran.

'Rusya, Suriye'de özerk Kürt bölgesi kurulmasını önerdi'- Sputnik News

Rusya'nın Astana görüşmelerine katılan Suriyeli silahlı muhaliflere ilettiği anayasa taslağında, Suriye'de özerk Kürt bölgesi kurulmasının önerisinin yer aldığı iddia edildi.

Rus basını, Rusya tarafından Suriye için hazırlanan ve Kazakistan'ın başkenti Astana'da yapılan görüşmelerde silahlı muhalif gruplara iletilen anayasa taslağında, üniter devlet yapısının korunması gerektiği fakat ülke içerisinde bir özerk Kürt bölgesi oluşturulması önerildiğini ileri sürdü.
Muhalif kaynaklara dayandırılan habere göre, anayasa taslağında ülkedeki her bir bölgeye kendi dilini seçme hakkı verilmesi önerildi.

US congresswoman meets with Syrian President in Damascus- Al-Masdar News

BEIRUT, LEBANON (2:20 A.M.) – U.S. Congresswoman, Tulsi Gabbard (D) of Hawaii, told CNN on Wednesday that she met with Syrian President, Bashar Al-Assad, in Damascus during her unannounced visit to Syria two weeks ago.
Gabbard told CNN that her trip to Syria was an educational one, as she met with several Syrian civilians and community leaders across the country to understand their plight.
At one point during her trip, Gabbard asked Syrian civilians if they knew of any moderate rebel forces; they told the congresswoman that there were no moderates rebels, despite what the U.S. government claims.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Syrian War Report – January 25, 2017: ISIS Defenses Are Collapsing In Northern Aleppo- South Front

Kurdish YPG forces, backed up by the US air power and Special Forces, have repelled a large-scale ISIS counter-offensive in the northern countryside of the Tabqa dam. Pro-Kurdish sources claimed that dozens of ISIS terrorists were killed in clashes.
Joint forces of the Turkish Armed Forces and pro-Turkish militant groups, led by the Turkish Special Forces and Ahrar al-Sham captured the village of al-Seflaniyah after days of clashes against ISIS. As a result they besieged the important ISIS-held town of Qabasin. If Qabasin falls to Turkish forces, they will be finally able to flank al-Bab from the eastern direction after weeks of sterile efforts to do this.
Meanwhile, pro-government forces, led by the Syrian army’s Tiger Forces, have liberated 18 villages since the start of the operation in the eastern countryside of Aleppo. Kharabasha and Tell Rahal were the latest gains in the area. However, there are no indications that the army and pro-Turkish forces are going engage each other, showing that there is a non-public agreement between Damascus, Ankara and Moscow.
Government troops, backed up by the Russian Aerospace Forces, have been advancing against ISIS units to lift the siege from the Deir Ezzor airport. While the army and the NDF were able to ease the tactical crisis, the military situation in general still remains complicated.

Jumblat Insists, 'Positive Dialogue' Helps Agreement on Election Law- Naharnet

Leader of the Democratic Gathering bloc MP Walid Jumblat said he insists on “positive dialogue” as for discussions on a new electoral law for the parliamentary polls, and stressed that endorsing a new law is a delicate matter that requires “precision, patience and dialogue.”
Likening the electoral process to a medical operation, he said on Twitter: “The electoral law is a delicate operation. Its successfulness requires precision, patience, consultations and dialogue.”
The Progressive Socialist Party leader, Jumblat, stressed that all political parties without any exception must agree on the new law and none should be excluded out.
“By the way, the operation can not be successful if one of the surgeons was excluded. Therefore we insist on having positive dialogue away from the atmospheres of torpidity prevailing in the operation room,” he said.

Russian top diplomat to meet with Syrian opposition in Moscow on January 27- TASS

MOSCOW, January 25. /TASS/. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov plans to hold a meeting with representatives of the Syrian opposition, the Russian foreign ministry said.

"The meeting is scheduled to be held in Moscow on January 27," the ministry’s press service told TASS on Wednesday.

Alexander Lavrentyev, head of the Russian delegation to the Astana meeting on Syria, said earlier that a delegation of the armed Syrian opposition would visit Moscow on January 27.

The Astana talks on settling the Syrian crisis were held on January 23-24 resulting in a communique which stipulates establishing a mechanism to monitor the Syrian ceasefire.


Astana Suriye görüşmeleri: Ne oldu; bundan sonra ne olacak?- BBC Türkçe

Kazakistan'ın başkenti Astana'da Suriye ile ilgili kritik görüşmelerin yapıldığı otelin lobisi bugün sessiz.
İki gün boyunca koridorları hızlı adımlarla arşınlayan diplomatlar, mikrofonları bir delegasyondan diğerine uzatan gazeteciler, yuvarlak kahvaltı masalarında önlerinde açık dizüstü bilgisayarlarıyla son rötuşları yapmaya çalışan heyetler ülkelerine, evlerine döndü.
Onlarla birlikte, edilen ağır sözler, karşılıklı "terörist" suçlamaları ve bütün pazarlıklar da sona ermiş oldu.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Al-Nusra (Al-Qaeda) Launches Large-Scale Offensive against Rival Groups in Aleppo & Idlib- South Front

Terrorists of the Jabhat Fateh al-Sham (previously known as the al-Nusra Front) group have launched a large-scale offensive against militants of Ahrar al-Sham and the Jaish al-Mujahadeen coalition of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) armed opposition faction in Idlib and Aleppo provinces in northwestern Syria. According to some reports, the the Harakat Nour al-Din al-Zenki Islamist group is also involved in the infighting on the side of the al-Nusra Front.

Syria Peace Talks In Astana. What To Expect?- South Front

Negotiations between the Syrian government and the so-called “opposition groups” kicked off in the Kazakh capital of Astana on January 23. Jaish al-Islam is the biggest militant group which participates in the talks. Another powerbroker, Ahrar al-Sham, which had been set to participate in the negotiations, rejected the idea last week.
In total 15 armed groups arrived to participate in the event. While the involved groups don’t have a united command, they all have one main foreign backer – Turkey. So, de-facto, the success of the Astana talks will depend on ability of Ankara, Damasucs, Moscow and Tehran to reach some appropriate compromise.
Meanwhile, Anakra has announced that it does not see a reason to push “Assad must go” mantra and prefers to focus on keeping its influence in northern Syria between Jarabulus and Azaz.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Casualties in Fierce Nusra-IS Clashes in Arsal Outskirts- Naharnet

Fierce clashes erupted Monday between the al-Nusra Front and Islamic State rival jihadist groups in the outskirts of the Bekaa border town of Arsal, state-run National News Agency reported.
“Rockets and medium-caliber weapons are being used in the fighting in the al-Malahi and al-Ajram areas in Arsal's outskirts,” NNA said.
Deaths and injuries on both sides have been reported, the agency added.
Militants from the two groups are entrenched in Arsal's outskirts and in mountainous areas along the undemarcated Lebanese-Syrian border.

Russian Strategic Bombers Bomb ISIS Terrorists In Deir Ezzor. Helictopters Drop Reinforcements To Syrian Army- South Front

The Syrian army clashing against ISIS terrorists in Deir Ezzor has received more air support, supplies and reinforcements.
On January 23, the Russian Aerospace Forces have airdropped another batch of supplies to government forces and civilians operating in the area. Syrian helictopers also dropped reinforcements from the Syrian Army’s Republican Guard to the 137th Military Base.
Involving fresh reinforcements, Syrian government forces continued attacks against ISIS terrorists along the supply line linking the 137th Military Base with the Deir Ezzor airport.
Meanwhile, six Russian Tu-22M3 long-range bombers again launched airstrikes on ISIS targets in the city, according to the Russian Defense Ministry.

First Day of Syria Talks End without Apparent Breakthrough- Naharnet

A first day of indirect peace talks between Syrian rebels and the regime of Bashar Assad in Kazakhstan's capital Astana ended Monday without any apparent breakthrough, sources told AFP.
"Our delegation's meetings are over for today," a source close to the regime told AFP, after rebel spokesman Yehya al-Aridi told reporters the opposition's meetings were also done for the day.
Monday's talks, organized by rebel backer Turkey and regime allies Russia and Iran, could have marked the first time armed rebel groups directly negotiate with Assad's regime since the conflict began in 2011.
But the rebels backed out of direct talks because of the regime's ongoing bombardment and attacks near Damascus.
The rebels, however, participated in indirect talks with the regime and held a three-way meeting with Russia, Turkey and the United Nations, an encounter Aridi described as "long and productive."

Russia and Turkey hit Islamic State targets near al-Bab in Aleppo province- TASS

MOSCOW, January 23. /TASS/. Russia and Turkey conducted a joint anti-Islamic State operation near al-Bab in Syria’s Aleppo province on January 21, the Russian defense ministry said on Monday.

"On January 21, Russia’s aerospace group and Turkish air forces conducted another joint air operation to deliver airstrikes on Islamic State targets near the settlement of al-Bab in the province of Aleppo," the ministry said. "The operation that had been agreed with the Syrian side involved three Russian attack aircraft, including two Su-24M planes and a Su-34 bomber, and four Turkish warplanes, namely two F-16 and two F-4 jets. Twenty-two targets were hit."


Astana'daki Suriye görüşmelerinde ilk gün: Bir Libya daha istemiyoruz- Sputnik News

Türkiye ve Rusya'nın girişimiyle Astana'da düzenlenen Suriye barış toplantılarının ilk günü sona ererken, BM Suriye Özel Temsilcisi Staffan de Mistura geç saatlere kadar çalışmaların devam edeceğini söyledi. Görüşmelerde kabul edilmesi beklenen ortak bildiri taslağında tüm gruplara IŞİD ve Fetih el Şam’dan ayrılma çağrısı yapıldı.

Syria peace talks: Armed groups come in from the cold- BBC News

There's a new venue, new brokers, and new negotiators, but can Syria talks here in Astana resolve the old intractable problems?
"Everything has changed since Aleppo," says a Western diplomat who's been engaged on Syria for the past several years. "There's a new equation."
The opposition's stinging defeat in Aleppo in December robbed them of their last major urban stronghold to challenge President Bashar al-Assad's rule.
And there was another game changer.
Behind the scenes, in the Turkish capital Ankara, a new Russian-Turkish alliance forged a deal to end the final fight for Syria's second city.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Astana konferansı, yeni 'oyun düzeninin' ilk tatbikatı- YDH

Astana konferansı, Suriye krizine dair çözüm çabaları içerisinde tüm etkisizliğine rağmen bir dönüm noktası özelliği taşıyor.

Astana görüşmelerinin organizasyonu, katılım düzeyi ve gündemi, etkisizliğinin sebeplerini ortaya koyuyor. Bir başka deyişle aşağıdaki şartlardan dolayı Astana görüşmelerinden Suriye’yi ne askeri ne de siyasi açıdan etkileyebilecek herhangi bir sonuç çıkması beklenmiyor.

1- Organizasyon: Astana konferansı; TürkiyeRusya ve İran dışişleri bakanlarının 20 Aralık 2016’da imzaladığı Moskova deklarasyonu sonrasında gündeme geldi. Dolayısıyla daha önceki Cenevre konferanslarının aksine Astana konferansının organizasyonunda başta Amerika olmak üzere Suriye sorununa taraf olan diğer ülkeler yer almadı.

Suriye’ye barışın gelebilmesi, savaşı destekleyen uluslararası tarafların barış sürecine ortak olabilmesiyle mümkün. Suriye savaşını destekleyen Amerika ve müttefikleri, Astana’ya organizatör değil gözlemci sıfatıyla katılıyor. Astana konferansının organizatörlerinden Rusya ve İran’ın Şam’ın müttefiki olması, Türkiye’nin ise 6 yıllık Suriye krizinde mensubu olduğu uluslararası kampı değil sadece kendisini temsil etmesi, konferansın başarı şansını azaltıyor.

Two prominent Fateh al-Sham commanders defect: statement- Zaman Al-Wasl

Two prominent figures in the powerful Jabhat Fateh al-Sham have defected on Sunday, saying the scatter inside the former al Qaeda group and deep discords stand behind their decision.

In a handwriting statement, Abu Ahmed Zakkour and Hamza Sa'da, members in al-Shura council, said the rebel groups are not taking the interests of the Syrian people in their account since most of unity calls have been failed.

The defection statement come hours before the planned Syrian peace talks being held in Kazakhstan's Astana between key rebel groups and the Syrian regime.

The formerly known as Nusra Front has been under critics by fellow rebel groups amid claims that Nusra is halting peace solutions and not taking into consideration the recent development, especially after Aleppo collapse and mounting U.S. attacks against it.

On Thursday, a U.S. air strike targeting training camp in Idlib province killed more than 100 Fateh al-Sham militants, the Pentagon said in a statement.


https://en.zamanalwsl.net/news/22517.html

Lebanon's Security Forces Prevent Terrorist Attack in Beirut- Sputnik News

Lebanon's security forces averted a terrorist attack in the country's capital of Beirut, capturing a suicide bomber, a source from the law enforcement told RIA Novosti on Sunday.

BEIRUT (Sputnik) — The bomber, whose identity has not been disclosed, was taken alive in the center of the city and later admitted to the hospital.

Suicide attack foiled in Beirut cafe - security source- Reuters

Lebanese security forces foiled an attempted suicide bombing at a cafe in Beirut's busy al-Hamra district late on Saturday, a security source said.

The suspected bomber was stopped while wearing an explosive vest as he attempted to enter the cafe and before he was able to detonate it, the source said, adding that he was injured during his arrest and taken to hospital.

Militants have carried out a number of bombings in Lebanon in recent years including some motivated by the war in neighbouring Syria, but no major incidents has taken place for months.

Russian Air Force, Syrian Army inflict heavy damage on ISIL’s defenses in Deir Ezzor- Al-Masdar News

BEIRUT, LEBANON (1:35 A.M.) – The Islamic State (ISIL) militants in Deir Ezzor found themselves as the primary recipient of a powerful assault conducted by the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and Russian Air Force on Saturday night.
Taking off from Qamishli Military Airport in northeastern Syria, the Russian Air Force began the onslaught by launching several airstrikes over the Sheikh Yassine, Al-Rusafa, Al-Jubeileh, Al-Rashidiyah, and Al-Hussiniyah districts of Deir Ezzor.
These airstrikes severly damaged the Islamic State’s defenses; especially in the Sheikh Yassine District, where the terrorist group’s main explosives depot was destroyed by a Russian attack on Saturday evening.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Syria Regime, Rebels Set for First Face-to-Face at Astana- Naharnet

Syria's government and rebel fighters will on Monday sit down at the negotiating table for the first time in nearly six years of war, the latest diplomatic push to end hostilities. 
Hosted in the Kazakh capital Astana, the talks will see an opposition delegation composed exclusively of rebel groups negotiating with the regime of Bashar al-Assad in an initiative sponsored by rebel backer Turkey and regime allies Russia and Iran.
Though the talks have been welcomed by all parties in the conflict, delegates from both sides are heading to Kazakhstan with apparently opposing ideas about the goals, with Assad insisting Thursday that rebels lay down their arms in exchange for an amnesty deal.
Although Assad said the talks would prioritise reaching a ceasefire, Damascus has insisted it will seek a "comprehensive" political solution to the conflict that has killed more than 300,000 and displaced over half of the country's population. 
The rebels meanwhile say they will focus solely on reinforcing a frail nationwide truce brokered by Moscow and Ankara last month.  

Friday, January 20, 2017

Trouble in jihadist paradise as rival factions battle in Idlib- Al-Masdar News

BEIRUT, LEBANON (12:30 P.M.) – The jihadist rebels of Jund Al-Aqsa (Al-Qaeda franchise) and Harakat Ahrar Al-Sham clashed again in the Idlib Governorate, marking the end of this brief period of peace.
According to local rebel activists, Jund Al-Aqsa carried out a surprise attack in the Jabal Al-Zawiyah area of rural Idlib on Friday, targeting a Harakat Ahrar Al-Sham prison that was holding 13 of their members.
Jund Al-Aqsa’s surprise attack on this prison paid off, as they managed to free 13 of their members while also seizing a large cache of weapons from Harakat Ahrar Al-Sham in the village of Qaminas.

Agreement on bases in Syria to serve strengthening of stability in Middle East- MP- TASS

MOSCOW, January 20. /TASS/. The signing of a Russian-Syrian agreement on the Russian naval base in Tartus will serve the strengthening of stability across the entire Middle East and it has a potential for exerting beneficial influence on the inter-Syrian political dialogue, State Duma member Sergei Zheleznyak, a deputy secretary general of the United Russia party political council said on Friday.

"The signing of this Russian-Syrian agreement on an enlargement of the territory of the naval facility in Tartus for 49 years will help protect the Syrian people from the terrorist threat and, on top of that, will make it possible to consolidate stability across the Middle Eastern region," Zheleznyak said.


Savaş yorgunu Halep'te zaman içinde yolculuk (Hediye Levent- BBC Türkçe)

Halep'e 'Halep, henüz Halep iken' birçok kez gittim. Kentin sokaklarını, nereye çıkacaklarını bilmeden, kimi zaman fotoğraf çekmek için kimi zaman keşif merakıyla saatlerce gezdim.
2014 yılında 'Halep, can çekişirken' gittiğimde kent, ikiye ayrılmıştı. Araya duvar örülmemişti ancak Doğu ve Batı Halep'i birbirine bağlayan güzergahlarda artık büyük otobüslerin üst üste konulduğu bariyerler veya perdeler vardı. Roket, keskin nişancı, patlamamış mühimmat riskleri nedeniyle bazı sokaklardan koşarak, eğilerek geçmiş; bazılarına ise riskli olmasına rağmen uzaktan bakmıştım.
Şehir merkezi, kamu kurumlarının yoğunlaştığı Batı Halep, kentin simgesi olan kaleye kadar Suriye ordusunun elindeydi. Kaleyi gören Emevi Camisi'nden itibaren Eski Halep denilen tarihi mahallelerin ve yeni yerleşim birimlerinin olduğu Doğu Halep ise çeşitli silahlı grupların kontrolündeydi.
Çatışma hatlarının arasındaki mesafenin bazı yerlerde birkaç yüz metreye kadar düştüğü Halep, Suriye ordusu ile çeşitli silahlı gruplar arasındaki savaşın yanı sıra, silahlı grupların kendi aralarındaki çatışmalara da sahne oldu.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Newly-Created Opposition Damascus Platform to Visit Moscow on Jan.22-29- Sputnik News

Representatives of newly created Syrian opposition group Damascus Platform are going to visit Moscow on January 22-29 to hold meetings with the Russian officials to discuss upcoming intra-Syrian talks and efforts to establish peace in the war-torn country, according to the group’s spokesman, Tarek Ahmad.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The newly-created Damascus Platform that unites a wide spectrum of the internal Syrian opposition will pay a visit to Moscow on January 22-29 for talks with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov, the group’s spokesman, Tarek Ahmad, told Sputnik on Thursday.

Coalition Loses Fayez Sara For Being Stiff-Necked on Reform- The Syrian Observer

Fayez Sara, member of the political body in the opposition Syrian National Coalition, has announced his resignation after more than three years with the organization, citing his inability to enact reform in the bloc's political institutions as the reason for his departure.

The Syrian opposition member said that the Coalition had been unable to take any position on the “Islamist” forces — from ISIS to the Jund al-Aqsa to Nusra — which played Satan’s role in implementing the Assad regime’s policies, as he put it. It has also been unable to critically review its experience or to examine the experiences of others to define steps, strengthen positive elements, and overcome the errors in its experiences after nearly six years, he said.

Sara said that the Coalition had been born with the diseases of the Syrian National Council, including regional and international interventions that shaped it according to their agendas and included figures and groups among them; the Council was not in Syria, and it was not known before the outbreak of the revolution or after it. Stakeholders gambled on international intervention as a way of dislodging the Assad regime and replacing it, through their efforts to militarize the revolution, and then Islamize and sectarianize it. According to Sara, they pursued all methods, and the cheapest of them, to preserve any position in the leadership of the “opposition,” in contrast to with the civilian and populist spirit of the revolution with its youthful and democratic face.

He stressed that some blocs and individuals had derailed any attempt to reform the Coalition and had imposed their control over the temporary government. This was in light of a leadership dominated by individualism and weakness, lacking in the spirit of initiative in light of the conflict and contradiction governing it and preventing it from taking any decisive position toward extremists and terrorists, which contributed to weakening the Coalition and its place among Syrians and inflicting a heavy damage to the Syrian cause.

El-Ubde: “Suriye’nin Yeniden İmarı, Siyasi Çözüm Sürecine Bağlıdır”- Suriye Muhalif ve Devrimci Güçler Ulusal Koalisyonu

Suriye Muhalif ve Devrimci Güçler Ulusal Koalisyonu (SMDK) Başkanı Enes el-Ubde, dün (Çarşamba), Avrupa Birliği’nin (AB) üst düzey temsilcilerinden oluşan bir heyetle SMDK’nın İstanbul’daki merkezinde biraraya geldi.

El-Ubde, yapılan toplantıda, Suriye’yi yeniden imar etme çalışmalarından önce başta Cenevre 1 beyanı ve 2254 sayılı Birleşmiş Milletler Güvenlik Konseyi (BMGK) kararı olmak üzere, bütün uluslararası kanunların ön gördüğü şekilde bir siyasi çözüm sürecinin işletilmesi gerektiğini söyledi. “Suriye’de siyasi geçiş olmadan ve Suriye halkı gece gündüz ülkede kan döken mücrimlerden kurtulmadan yeniden imardan bahsetmenin zamanı değildir” ifadelerini kullandı.

Lavrov: ABD, Astana'daki Suriye görüşmelerine davet edildi

Rusya Dışişleri Bakanı Sergey Lavrov, ABD'nin, Kazakistan'ın başkenti Astana'da bu ay düzenlenmesi planlanan Suriye barış görüşmelerine davet edildiğini açıkladı.

Başkent Moskova'da düzenlediği basın toplantısında konuşan Lavrov, Rusya'nın ABD'yi Astana görüşmelerine davet etmesi için ne gibi bir şartı olduğu yönündeki soruya cevaben, "Davet edildiler bile" yanıtını verdi: "Yeni ABD yönetiminin bu daveti kabul edeceğini ve mümkün olan her kademede uzmanlarca temsil edileceğini umuyoruz."
Lavrov dün yaptığı açıklamada ABD ve Birleşmiş Milletler'in (BM) Astana görüşmelerine davet edilmesinin 'doğru olacağını' söylemişti.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Syria’s war creates myriad problems for Turkey- The Washington Post

 The attacks in Turkey came in rapid succession: twin bombs at a stadium, a Russian diplomat’s murder and then, just a few days later, a mass shooting at an Istanbul nightclub on New Year’s Eve.
The assaults, carried out over a three-week period beginning in December, were a stark reminder of Turkey’s dangerous proximity to the war next door in Syria, and the ways in which that conflict has steadily consumed Turkish domestic and foreign affairs.
Kurdish separatists attacked the Istanbul stadium, while the Islamic State asserted responsibility for the nightclub massacre, warning Turkey against military action in Syria. In Ankara, a police officer invoking the carnage in the Syrian city of Aleppo — but apparently working alone — gunned down the Russian ambassador on Dec. 19.

Syria rejects Qatari, Saudi role in Astana talks- Middle East Monitor

The participation of Saudi Arabia and Qatar in Syria talks will be discussed once they stop backing militancy, Syria’s deputy foreign minister was quoted as saying on Wednesday, appearing to reject their attendance at forthcoming peace talks.
“Once Qatar and Saudi Arabia halt their support for terrorism we will discuss the matter of their participation in the talks,” Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Meqdad was quoted as saying by the Lebanon-based TV station Al-Mayadeen.
Kazakhstan is due to host Syria peace talks next week called for by Russia, Iran and Turkey. Russia and Iran are Assad’s two main allies. Turkey has backed the rebellion against Assad, as have Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

Rus foto muhabirlerinin gözünden Suriye- Sputnik News

Rusya parlamentosunun alt kanadı Devlet Duması’nda, Rusya Bugün Haber Ajansı ile Rusya Televizyon ve Radyo Kurumu VGTRK’da çalışan foto muhabirlerin Suriye’de çektikleri fotoğrafların yer aldığı bir sergi açıldı.

Rus foto muhabirlerinin çalışmalarında Suriye’deki çatışmaların alt üst ettiği sıradan insanların hayatları ile Hmeymin hava üssünde görevlendirilen ve teröre karşı operasyonlar yürüten Rusya Hava Uzay Kuvvetleri askerlerinin günlük yaşamları anlatılıyor. Sputnik, Duma’da sergilenen fotoğrafların en iyilerini sizler derledi.

US congresswoman to visit Syria- Al-Masdar News

BEIRUT, LEBANON (4:25 P.M.) – The Democratic representative of Hawaii, Tulsi Gabbard, reportedly left for Damascus on Wednesday to conduct a “fact finding” mission to end the war plaguing the country.
“Tulsi felt it was important to meet with a number of individuals and group including religious leaders, humanitarian workers, refugees, and government and community leaders,” Gabbard’s spokesperson Emily Latimer told Foreign Policy on Wednesday.
Gabbard is one of the few members of the U.S. Congress that has spoken out against the overthrow of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad and his government.

Largest rebel group will not attend Syria peace talks- Al-Masdar News

(AFP) Key Syrian armed group Ahrar al-Sham said on Wednesday it will not take part in peace talks between the government and ‘opposition’ factions in the Kazakh capital next week.
The group decided not to participate in the negotiations in Astana that start on Monday due to “the lack of implementation of the ceasefire” in force since December 30 and ongoing Russian air strikes over Syria, it said in a statement.
Ahrar al-Sham was among armed groups that signed the ceasefire deal brokered by Russia and terror backer Turkey last month.

High-ranking Syrian general arrives in Deir Ezzor- Al-Masdar News

BEIRUT, LEBANON (5:50 P.M.) – The high-ranking Syrian Arab Army commander, General Mohammad Khaddour, has reportedly returned to the Deir Ezzor Governorate after a year-long hiatus.
General Khaddour was originally the commander of the Syrian Arab Army’s 17th Reserve Division, which was initially headquartered in Al-Raqqa and later moved to Deir Ezzor after the former was captured by the Islamic State.
A military source told Al-Masdar News on Wednesday that the recent move to send General Khaddour to Deir Ezzor was made by the Syrian Arab Army’s High Command.

Democratic Rep. Gabbard Makes Secret Trip to Syria- Foreign Policy

The Hawaii lawmaker, who has bucked both parties on the issue of Syria, met with government officials on a "fact-finding" mission.

Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii has just departed war-torn Damascus following what her aides described as a “fact-finding” mission to work toward ending the nearly six-year conflict in Syria.

Congressional travel to the devastated country is exceedingly rare, especially as fighting continues in direct violation of a recent cease-fire agreement brokered by Turkey and Russia. This week, Syrian government forces backed by Lebanese militants attempted to recapture a rebel-controlled area near Damascus that includes a pumping station that supplies most of the city’s water.

Jaysh Al-Islam almost besieged at key East Ghouta town- Al-Masdar News

BEIRUT, LEBANON (5:10 P.M.) – The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) is rapidly advancing in the East Ghouta region of rural Damascus, capturing several farms from the Islamist rebels of Jaysh Al-Islam near the strategic town of Hazrama.
Following the recent capture of Hawsh Zarqiyah, the Syrian Arab Army has advanced west of Hazrama, seizing several farms near the town of Hawsh Salahiyah after a fierce battle with Jaysh Al-Islam and Faylaq Al-Rahman.
As a result of this advance near Hawsh Salahiyah, the Syrian Arab Army’s 105th Brigade of the Republican Guard has surrounded Hazrama from three sides, leaving only the southern flank open for the Isamist rebels to retreat.

Suriye ordusu Palmira'da IŞİD'e karşı operasyon başlattı- Sputnik News

Rusya Genelkurmay Başkanlığı yetkilisi Korgeneral Sergey Rudskoy, Rus savaş uçaklarının desteğini alan Suriye ordusunun Palmira kentinde IŞİD'e karşı operasyon başlattığını ifade etti.

ABD öncülüğündeki uluslararası koalisyonun Irak'ın Musul kentindeki eylemleri nedeniyle IŞİD'in Palmira, Deyr Ez Zor ve El Bab'a 'hiçbir engelle karşılaşmadan' silah, patlayıcı ve militan sevk ettiğini bildiren Rudskoy, "Rus askerleri, IŞİD militanlarının Palmira'daki küresel tarihi mirası imha etmek için kente büyük miktarda patlayıcı gönderdiğine dair istihbarat aldı" dedi.

Syrian helicopters land in Deir Ezzor for first time since ISIS offensive- Al-Masdar News

Syrian helicopters were able to land and take off for the first time in Deir Ezzor since ISIS conducted its devastating offensive that cut the military base from the main city.
The helicopters were able to bring in fresh reinforcements to fight against the ISIS offensive, whilst also carrying away some injured soldiers from the embattled city.


With helicopters being able to land again, more reinforcements are expected to arrive in the coming hours and days.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Lavrov believes US wanted to use IS, Jabhat al-Nusra to overthrow Assad- TASS

MOSCOW, January 17. /TASS/. The United States wanted to use the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist groupings (outlawed in Russia) to overthrow Syrian President Bashar Assad, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov sad at an annual press conference on Tuesday.

"There are a lot of examples showing that the Americans and their allies sneakily wanted to use al-Nusra and the IS to weaken and finally overthrow the Assad regime," Lavrov said.