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Syrian exodus reaches 3 million – UN

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The UN refugee agency said more than double that number are displaced within the country.

More than ever, neighbours Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan are struggling to cope with the influx, claiming hundreds of thousands more Syrians haven’t formally registered as refugees.

But many Syrians say it’s impossible to stay as the civil war rages:

One refugee said: “We couldn’t take it anymore; from being hungry to being cold, being under siege, being bombarded all the time. We saw people die in front of our eyes because of the bombing from both sides. We could no longer stay there. We couldn’t take it; me, my brother, daughter and sister simply couldn’t take it anymore.”

As ordinary families become more desperate to leave, officials and smuggling gangs appear to be cashing in at the border.

“The journey out of Syria is becoming tougher. We have been told that many people are forced to pay bribes at armed checkpoints proliferating along the borders and that the price for smugglers – and many have to resort to the transport using smugglers in order to get out – is becoming very steep,” said Melissa Fleming, head of communications for the refugee agency UNHCR.

The UN warns that the Syrian exodus is its biggest refugee operation ever and has called for more countries to share the cost burden.

It estimates a 2 billion dollar shortfall in funding based on current needs.

(Source / 29.08.2014)

Written by altahrir

August 29, 2014 at 10:09 pm

Posted in Revolution Syria

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Syrian Army Kills Large Number of ISIL Commanders in Deir Ezour

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Syrian Army
The Syrian army killed large number of ISIL commanders, including a dissident officer, called “Sukkar Abu Nidal al-Ahmad”, as its troops targeted the militant strongholds in the city of Muhasan in Deir Ezour.

The Syrian army targeted an ISIL training camps in Raqqa, killing a large number of the group’s terrorists.

Military sources told Al-Manar that fierce clashes erupted between the Syrian army and the terrorist groups in the vicinity of Quneitra crossing, a day after Nusra Front announced that its militants controlled it.

The sources asserted that the Syrian army regained al-Jayah village in Quneitra countryside.

Media reports stressed that Nusra militants detained members of the UN Force in Quneitra countryside and besieged their garrisons.

The Syrian state-run news agency SANA reported that the army operations against terrorist organizations continued on Thursday in full swing, resulting in the death of increasing numbers of terrorists, including non-Syrian terrorists, and the destruction many of their vehicles, some equipped with heavy machine guns.

(Source / 29.08.2014)

Written by altahrir

August 29, 2014 at 9:58 pm

Posted in Revolution Syria

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Why US Air Strikes in Syria Would Damage But Not Destroy ISIS

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As President Barack Obama mulls widening strikes against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria(ISIS) from northern Iraq into Syrian territory, analysts say that military force could significantly damage the Sunni militant group – but is unlikely to destroy it.

Last week, Obama approved surveillance flights over ISIS-controlled territory in Syria, particularly aimed at the group’s stronghold of Raqqa province. Raqqa has served as the springboard from which ISIS has launched its offenses on Mosul, Tikrit and parts of Iraqi Kurdistan, gaining enough ground to form a self-styled statelet.

U.S. airstrikes near Erbil, Iraq, have thus far managed to help Kurdish peshmerga forces retake some territory from ISIS – notably gaining Mosul Dam, the country’s largest. U.S. officials have said that at this time, they are not considering sending ground troops into Syria or Iraq.

PHOTO: A photograph released by the jihadist affiliated group Albaraka News allegedly shows fighters from the Islamic movement ISIS aiming at advancing Iraqi troops at an undisclosed location near the border between Syria and Iraq, 12 June 2014.

A photograph released by the jihadist affiliated group Albaraka News allegedly shows fighters from the Islamic movement ISIS aiming at advancing Iraqi troops at an undisclosed location near the border between Syria and Iraq, 12 June 2014

We asked Brian Fishman, a counterterrorism research fellow at the New America Foundation and a fellow at West Point’s Combating Terrorism Center, to weigh in on what U.S. strikes could accomplish against ISIS in Syria.

U.S. military pressure can do a lot of damage to ISIS, but doing deep damage to ISIS is very different than actually destroying the organization or suppressing it for a period of time. That’s a big distinction that often gets lost. During the surge in Iraq in 2007, U.S. military pressure was a major component in weakening [al-Qaida], ISIS’s predecessor.

Military pressure will limit ISIS’s ability to plan and train fighters. It destroys equipment and kills fighters. Most importantly, it will remove their ability to set the terms of the conflict, because they’d be playing defense rather than offense. [They depend on their] mobility and ability to generate tactical surprise. So if you limit ISIS’s ability to plan and carry out campaigns, that’s a major blow to them.

What’s really important to recognize is that a U.S. strike hurts ISIS as an army. It forces them into smaller, spread-out territories. Even in a much-diminished state, ISIS is a strategic threat. And while that military push can force them into a smaller box and limit their power, this is an organization that will continue to do very brutal things and attract foreign fighters, and even though it’s taken on [the makings] of state and army, it is at its core an ideology-driven organization. That will make it very resilient.

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What I worry about is the presumption that doing this kind of damage is the same as destroying ISIS. We had 150,000 U.S. troops in Iraq during the surge, ISIS’s predecessor was far weaker at that time than ISIS is now, and we still didn’t manage to destroy them. You can do a lot of damage – putting an organization like this on its back foot means a lot in terms of their ability to project power, and we can take the pressure off other groups in the region that are fighting them – but that is a far cry from destroying it. People misunderstood our successes in 2008 as a total defeat, and it was not. If our goal is ISIS’s annihilation, that is a much different undertaking than a goal to merely contain ISIS and limit the damage they can do in the short run.

The other half of this is that you have to build up political institutions, building [governing] capacity among people in Syria and Iraq. This is Military 101. You can weaken ISIS all you want, but if there aren’t political institutions in play [on the ground] to take advantage of that, you’re not going to achieve a decisive end.

(Source / 29.08.2014)

 

Written by altahrir

August 29, 2014 at 9:52 pm

Posted in Politics

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The Children of Gaza: A Generation Scarred & Under Siege

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The Children of Gaza: A Generation Scarred & Under Siege

Palestinian children travel to an UNRWA school to seek shelter after evacuating their homes near the border in Gaza City on July 13, 2014

On August 24, nearly half a million Palestinian children in Gaza who were scheduled to start a new school year were unable to do so because of Israel’s latest military assault on the occupied and besieged coastal strip, “Operation Protective Edge,” which began on July 8 and killed more than 2100 people, including at least 1462 civilians. With a fledgling ceasefire agreed to on August 26 taking hold, the children of Gaza are struggling to cope with the horrors they experienced during Israel’s brutal attack, and to return to some semblance of normalcy.

The following fact sheet provides an overview of the impact that Israel’s latest assault and its siege and blockade have had on the children of Gaza. For further reference, see our recently released fact sheet, Gaza Crisis Update (August 22).

CHILDREN KILLED & INJURED BY ISRAEL’S LATEST ASSAULT

  • According to the United Nations, between July 7 and August 25 the Israeli military killed at least 495 Palestinian children in Gaza during “Operation Protective Edge.” The Al Mezan Center for Human Rights puts the number at 518, while thePalestinian Center for Human Rights puts it at 519. All three figures exceed the number of Palestinian children killed in the last two major Israeli assaults on Gaza combined, approximately 350 during “Operation Cast Lead” in 2008-9 and 35 in November 2012. The number of children killed also exceeds the total number of Israelis, civilians and soldiers, killed by Palestinians in the last decade.
  • According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, between July 7 and August 20, 3106 Palestinian children were injured by the Israeli military in Gaza.
  • Of the more than 3100 children wounded, the UN estimates that 1000 of them will suffer a permanent disability as a result of their injury.
  • Thousands of unexploded bombs and shells pose a danger to civilians returning to areas they fled from during the fighting, putting children at particular risk.

 

CHILDREN TRAUMATIZED BY ISRAEL’S LATEST ASSAULT

  • The UN estimates that 373,000 children require direct and specialized psychosocial support (PSS), while all of Gaza’sapproximately 900,000 children have been affected by the war and need some level of psychosocial support. On July 28, UNICEF released a statement entitled “No safe place for children in Gaza.” In it, the head of the organization’s Gaza field office, Pernille Ironside, declared: “The physical and psychological toll that the violence is having on people is almost indescribable… We see children killed, injured, mutilated and burnt, in addition to being terrified to their core.”
  • Symptoms of trauma being evidenced by children include wetting of the bed, clinging to parents, and nightmares.
  • At least one Palestinian minor, a 16-year-old boy (now 17) named Ahmad Abu Raida, was held hostage for five days by invading Israeli soldiers and used as a human shield during their search for tunnels near his home near Khan Younis in southern Gaza, according to an investigation carried out by Defence for Children International – Palestine.
  • Most children six and older in Gaza have lived through three major Israeli military assaults during their short lifetimes: the first in the winter of 2008-9, and the second in November 2012.

 

FAMILIES DEVESTATED

  • According to the UN, between July 7 and August 22 at least 140 Palestinian families had three or more members killed in a single Israeli attack, for a total of 735 lives lost.
  • According to the UN, as many as 1500 children may have been orphaned by Israeli attacks that killed their parents.
  • The UN estimates that 6000 children will have a parent with a lifelong disability.

 

HOMES & LIVELIHOODS DESTROYED, FAMILIES STRUGGLING TO SURVIVE

  • Since July 7, more than 100,000 people have been displaced by Israeli attacks that destroyed or severely damaged their homes. (Prior to Israel’s latest assault, there were 12,000 Palestinians still displaced from Israel’s 2008-09 attack on Gaza,Operation Cast Lead.)
  • Even before Israel’s recent onslaught destroyed thousands of homes and much of Gaza’s industry and civilian infrastructure, families were struggling under Israel’s siege, with 70% of the population receiving humanitarian aid and an official unemployment rate of 40.8% as of the first quarter of 2014.
  • According to UNICEF, eight out of 10 of Gaza’s approximately 900,000 children are dependent on humanitarian assistance.
  • Most children seven and younger in Gaza have lived their entire lives under Israel’s suffocating, illegal siege and blockade.

 

(ADDITIONAL) OBSTACLES TO EDUCATION FOR GAZA’S CHILDREN

  • On August 24, nearly half a million Palestinian children in Gaza who were scheduled to start a new school year were unable to do so because of ongoing Israeli attacks.
  • According to UNICEF, 244 schools were damaged during Israel’s latest assault and are in need of repair, including at least twokindergartens. According to the UN, at least 25 schools were severely damaged and can no longer be used.
  • Many of Gaza’s schools continue to serve as shelters for the more than 100,000 Palestinians made homeless by Israeli attacks since July 7. According to the UN: “Schools currently used as shelters will require varying degrees of rehabilitation in order to be ready for normal schooling. Initial repairs must also be carried out in war-damaged schools, and unexploded ordnance will need to be cleared to restore safety.”
  • Despite repairs made to infrastructure since the implementation of a ceasefire on August 26, most parts of Gaza still suffer electrical outages of up to 18 hours a day (up to 20 hours a day in Gaza City) hindering the ability of children to read indoors and at night, and to use computers.
  • Even before Israel’s latest assault, Palestinian children in Gaza faced severe, Israeli-imposed restrictions on their ability to receive an education. Although Israel does not specifically prohibit the importation of books into Gaza as part of its siege, doing so is extremely difficult, leading to a shortage of books on all subjects. At one point, Israel barred the importation of writing paper, notebooks, and pencils, leading to a shortage of the latter two. Additionally, since 2000 Israel has prevented students in Gaza from traveling to study at universities in the occupied West Bank, some of which offer fields of study and degrees not available in Gaza. According to a report from Haaretz newspaper, between 2000 and 2012 Israel let just three Gazans travel to study at universities in the West Bank, all of whom had received US government scholarships. (See here for fact sheet on Israel’s violations of Palestinian academic freedom and right to education.)

(Source / 29.08.2014)

Written by altahrir

August 29, 2014 at 9:42 pm

Posted in Revolution Palestine

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School year in Gaza to start with challenges ahead

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New school year in the Gaza Strip to start on September 14, while more than 50,000 displaced Gazans are still at schools.

Gunness said that 52,235 displaced Gazans are still in 60 schools. He said: “Unclear if/when numbers will stabilise”

Days of Palestine, Gaza Strip –New school year in the Gaza Strip to start on September 14, while more than 50,000 displaced Gazans are still at schools.

Deputy Minister of Education in Gaza Ziad Thabet said on Friday that an agreement was reached with UNRWA to open schools within two weeks.

To reduce tension among students and to make it easier for them study their books, Thabet said that curriculum for this year is to be reduced.

Thabet also said that there would be special workshops for teachers in order to be well prepared for dealing with various psychological problems students might face after having experienced one of the worst times of violence in Gaza for years.

Official statistics showed that 277 schools were damaged during the Israeli massive war. “This will pose many problems ahead of stake holders who are concerned with this issue,” Thabet said.

It is worth mentioning that school year should have started in August 23, but the ministry of education decided to postpone it in Gaza until the end of the Israeli war.

About the size of trauma caused for the young students in Gaza, UNRWA Spokesman Chris Gunness sked this question: “What can be going on in the heads of these kids on day 1 of new school year in Gaza?”

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What can be going on in the heads of these kids on day 1 of new school year in ? RT to show your support 4 them

 

Written by altahrir

August 29, 2014 at 9:32 pm

Posted in Revolution Palestine

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100s of US troops, CIA agents helping ISIL in Syria, Iraq: Don DeBar

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An American political commentator says there are hundreds of US troops or CIA agents with the ISIL in Iraq and Syria to help the terrorist group.  

Don DeBar, an anti-war activist and radio host in New York, made the remarks in a phone interview with Press TV on Wednesday while commenting on a recent report which says there are as many as 300 American nationals fighting alongside ISIL members.

Senior US officials have told The Washington Times that the US government is currently tracking and gathering intelligence on American militants who could return to the homeland and commit terrorist attacks with skills obtained abroad.

DeBar said the ISIL “group is a construct of the US military intelligence. This is a terrorist cell that was organized by the US in order to destabilize Syria and perhaps other countries – they even made a threat against Saudi Arabia whether that’s just to make them look like they are on a particular ideological plane, or if it’s an actual threat, it’s a proxy threat from the US to Saudi Arabia.”

“My belief is that there are Americans that are a part of ISIL/ISIS with the knowledge of the US government and an assignment by the US government,” he added.

DeBar stated that there are perhaps 300 Americans fighting with ISIL “and then hundreds more US regulars, with CIA or whatever military formation they have, under the direction of US intelligence, that are a part of this. It doesn’t require that they are American nationals, of course, just that their paycheck is signed in Washington or Langley.”

“If you look at the outcomes of every action that this group has taken, they facilitate actions that the United States has wanted to take, has declared that it wanted to take a number of times, or has taken when it could, but it can’t get the authority from the [UN] Security Council to approve because they violate the integrity and sovereignty of either Iraq and/or Syria, and also would enable actions that violate a resolution that just passed the House of Representatives massively, last week or the week before, that attempt to constrains, at least on paper, the president from making anymore wars without specific authority from Congress,” he noted.

“So, it’s no surprise for me that there are Americans in their units. There would be a surprise to me if they were all dupes and unemployed kids, who got duped, sucked into fight over there with a bunch of the crazies. It wouldn’t surprise me if you had good portion of units, including command and control, that would direct employees of the Pentagon and/or Langley,” DeBar concluded.

ISIL controls large parts of Syria’s northern territory. The group sent its fighters into neighboring Iraq in June, quickly seizing large swaths of land straddling the border between the two countries.

The US military has begun planning for airstrikes against ISIL targets in Syria after last week’s beheading of American journalist James Foley. The US has launched a limited air campaign against the terrorist group in Iraq since August 8.

(Source / 29.08.2014)

 

Written by altahrir

August 29, 2014 at 9:23 pm

Posted in Politics

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Norwegian doctor urges removal of Gaza blockade

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A Norwegian doctor who served Palestinians during the recent Israeli onslaught on the Gaza Strip has urged the removal of the Israeli blockade on the coastal enclave, Press TV reports.

“All of these injuries, every single death is man-made and totally avoidable,” Dr. Mads Gilbet told Press TV during a gathering in South Africa’s capital, Cape Town.

“So every time I gave an interview about Gaza and I was asked what is needed, I said don’t send syringes, don’t send medical teams, don’t send bandages, stop the bombing, lift the siege and give the Palestinian people human rights and protection from occupants. That is at the end of day the most important medical effort to save lives in Gaza,” he added.

During the gathering, Gilbert gave South Africans a first-hand account of the Gazans’ plight and urged action in support of the Palestinians.

South Africans also showed their solidarity with the Palestinians, saying they are planning to send ambulances and medical supplies to the impoverished Gaza Strip.

Gilbet, who is a strong supporter of the international “boycott Israel” campaign, says that, as world powers still turn a blind eye to the Israeli war crimes, it is only the people of the world who can force the Tel Aviv regime to end its atrocities against the Palestinians.

On Tuesday, Palestinian resistance groups and Israeli officials clinched a deal on a permanent ceasefire in the blockaded Gaza Strip, which is home to around 1.8 million Palestinians. The ceasefire stipulates the ease of Israel’s seven-year-old blockade of Gaza as well as the provision of a guarantee that Palestinian demands will be met.

Palestinian resistance movement Hamas said the deal marks a victory.

Israel launched military strikes against Gaza in early July. At least 2,140 Palestinians, including around 570 children, were killed in the Israeli onslaught on Gaza. Some 11,000 others were wounded.

(Source / 29.08.2014)

 

Written by altahrir

August 29, 2014 at 9:12 pm

Posted in Revolution Palestine

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