Nasr al-Hariri, Secretary General of the Syrian Coalition, warns of the grave consequences of the inaction in proving support for the Free Syrian Army in the decisive battle against regime forces and ISIS in northern Aleppo. Activists said that regime forces took control of the village of Jubaila, the cement and glass factories near Aleppo Central Prison, thus linking up with regime forces stationed in the towns of Handarat and Sifat in addition to coming closer to the towns of Nibbul and Al Zahraa’. Hariri said that the Assad regime seeks through this advance to break the siege the rebels have laid on regime forces stationed in these two towns and consequently encircling the entire city of Aleppo and areas controlled by the FSA.” Moreover, he expressed astonishment at the insistence of the US-led anti-ISIS coalition to send ground troops to defend the town of Kobane while failing to provide support for the FSA which has fighting on two fronts against the Assad regime and ISIS. It should be noted that the FSA had expelled ISIS from rural Idlib and most of rural Aleppo in early 2014. We call on all FSA battalions in northern Syria to relieve their comrades in northern Aleppo, where battles are raging between the FSA and regime forces backed by Iranian and Hezbollah militias. We also call on the international anti-ISIS coalition to deliver urgent military support for the FSA in northern Aleppo to help it repel the regime’s attempts to encircle the city.
(Source: Syrian Coalition / 21.10.2014)
Iraqi Prime Minister Hayder Abadi told local Sunni tribes to give up on the idea of a foreign invasion.
Iraqi Prime Minister Hayder Abadi today reiterated his opposition to the use of any foreign combat troops in Iraq, saying that “no ground troops from any superpower, international coalition or regional power will fight here.”
Absent from Abadi’s comments are the foreign troops already in Iraq, which include a small number of Australian troops, US military advisers, and an unknown number of Iranian Quds Force fighters.
Abadi’s comments rather reflected an opposition to sending such troops of offensive missions to retake lost territory, and came with a warning for Sunni tribal leaders to give up on the idea of foreigners retaking the ISIS-held territory for them.
Ultimately, foreign troops are likely to be more of a case-by-case basis for the Abadi government, with discreet aid from Shi’ite ally Iran undoubtedly much more welcome than troops from Saudi Arabia, or other Gulf nations which have suggested involvement, but which aren’t on good terms with Iraq’s ruling Shi’ite government.
(Source / 21.10.2014)
Ramallah, ALRAY – Israeli occupation forces (IOF) raided a number of Palestinian houses on Tuesday at dawn in the village of Budrus, west of Ramallah under the pretext of collecting static data.
Witnesses said that the Israeli soldiers stormed the village and raided dozens of houses violently. They took photos for the houses and checked the IDs of its residents.
They added that the Israeli soldiers searched the house of Nemer Terawi and tempered with its content..
Palestinian TV cameraman ,Mohaamed Awad, was beaten by Israeli soldiers and who kept him outside his house and interrogated him.
(Source / 21.10.2014)
An Israeli military court has convicted a Palestinian activist, regarded by the EU as a human rights defender, for “interfering” with the work of an army tractor as it tried to erect a barrier in the West Bank, his lawyer said Tuesday.
Abdullah Abu Rahma, who spent 15 months behind bars for organizing peaceful demonstrations against the illegal Israeli apartheid wall in the village of Bilin, was convicted on Monday at Ofer military court near the West Bank city of Ramallah.
“He was convicted of interfering with the work of a soldier,” his lawyer Gaby Laskey told AFP, saying the conviction was related to an incident on May 10, 2012 near the military checkpoint in Beitunia, near Ramallah.
According to the testimony of two Israeli border police, Abu Rahma blocked a tractor which was trying to set up a temporary concrete barricade ahead of the annual Nakba protests when Palestinians mourn the tragedy which befell them when Israel occupied their land in 1948.
His action prevented the tractor from working in an incident which lasted “a few minutes,” the indictment read.
“On that date, the accused interfered with the work of a military tractor and even stopped its work, and then refused a number of times to listen to orders given to him by soldiers at the checkpoint,” the 12-page indictment said.
Following his previous conviction, Abu Rahma was released from prison in March 2011 with a four-month suspended sentence.
The conviction means he risks being thrown back in jail for another four months, the lawyer said. In the West Bank, a suspended sentence order remains in force for five years.
The court will pass sentence on December 1.
“Abdullah Abu Rahma is a human rights defender, he has the right to demonstrate against the occupation and there is no legal basis for his arrest,” Laskey said.
“It seems that prosecuting a Palestinian for a non-violent symbolic act against the occupation has more of a political meaning than a criminal one.”
A 44-year-old school teacher, Abu Rahma is known for coordinating the grassroots, peaceful protest movement against the occupation and the Apartheid wall in Bilin. The route of the Apartheid wall originally planned to separate the village form 50% of its agricultural land. As a result of the village’s continued popular struggle, the route was changed and 25% of the village land was effectively annexed by the wall to the illegal settlement of Modiin Elite.
His arrest in 2009 and subsequent conviction over the Bilin protests prompted expressions of concern from human rights groups as well as from EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, who has described him as a “human rights defender” committed to non-violent protest.
Hundreds of protesters have been arrested and injured by Israeli forces in Bil’in since the popular struggle in the village began. In 2009 during a demonstration, Bassam Abu Rahma was shot directly in the chest with a high velocity tear-gas projectile, dying of his wounds minutes later. On Januray 1st 2011, Jawaher Abu Rahma died of poisoning after inhaling excessive amounts of tear gas during the weekly demonstration the previous day.
(Source / 21.10.2014)
It is important to note that both Rabbinical and Israeli law currently bans Jews from prayer at Al-Aqsa Mosque because of the sanctity of the site for the Jewish religion [picture: Dome of the Al-Aqsa Mosque]
An Arab Knesset member has revealed that there will be a vote in the next month on a law drafted by an Israeli committee regarding the partition of Al-Aqsa Mosque between Muslims and Jews.
Arab MK Masoud Ghanayim was quoted on Monday by Palestinian newspaper Felesteen as saying that “the draft law, which has been prepared by the interior parliamentary committee in the Knesset, stipulates that Jews can perform prayers in Al-Aqsa Mosque.”
He continued: “This is based on a proposal that gives Muslims and Jews equal rights in their access and use of the holy site. It also specifies certain locations where Jews can perform their prayers.”
It is important to note that both Rabbinical and Israeli law currently bans Jews from prayer at Al-Aqsa Mosque because of the sanctity of the site for the Jewish religion. Most Jews who lobby to pray there are illegal settlers with a right wing agenda.
The Old City in Jerusalem where Al-Aqsa is located is internationally recognised as occupied land. The Israeli occupation authorities frequently prevent Muslims from praying there.
According to Ghanayim, the same draft law also bans organising civil protests and demonstrations in Al-Aqsa compound, and sets out punishment for any violations.
Ghanayim said that putting such a law for any vote is a “flagrant aggression on the religious rights of Muslims around the world.” He also called it part of the Judaisation plan for the city of Jerusalem.
Commenting on the basis of this law, Ghanayim said it “is solely based on a legitimacy built on historical and religious myths bolstered with the power of the oppressive occupation.”
He stressed that Al-Aqsa Mosque is part of the Islamic and Arabic world and cannot be partitioned at any time or place. He reiterated: “It is part of Arab and Palestinian lands, which is occupied by the Zionists and the [illegal] occupation does not have the right to impose its laws.”
At the same time, he insisted that the Israeli government is behind all the attempts by the extremist right wing settlers to extend Israeli sovereignty over Al-Aqsa Mosque and warned that the Israeli government would pay the price for this aggression on the rights of Arabs and Muslims.
(Source / 21.10.2014)
(CNN) — ISIS militants launched about 15 near-simultaneous attacks on Kurdish forces in northern Iraq on Monday in what Kurdish government officials and the news agency Rudaw said was a fierce and renewed push for territory.
ISIS also launched attacks against Mosul Dam, a strategic prize, and also renewed its offensive on the Sinjar mountain range in northern Iraq.
An ISIS-commandeered military truck loaded with explosives targeted a Peshmerga checkpoint along the security belt circling the dam, killing six security force members and injuring seven others critically, according to Peshmerga spokesman Said Mamazeen.
At almost the same time, ISIS militants launched an attack on the Nineveh Valley near the dam, which was repelled by Peshmerga forces using European and American weapons, the spokesman said.
Another Kurdish military official, who asked not to be named for protocol and security reasons, said that despite the attacks, it would be difficult for ISIS to gain control of the dam because of the large numbers of Peshmerga forces in the area.
Attacks in Sinjar mountain range
A senior official at the Ministry of Peshmerga, who similarly asked not to be identified as a matter of government protocol, reported that ISIS fighters were also killed in the attacks, and that the Peshmerga successfully repelled most of the more than dozen incidents Monday.
ISIS fighters launched attacks on several areas of the Sinjar mountain range Monday, including the village of Sharaf ad-Din, which holds one of the most important shrines for the Yazidi community, Hazhar Ismail, brigadier general at the Ministry of Peshmerga, told CNN.
“ISIS failed in their attempt to control the village of Sharaf ad-Din after Peshmerga forces repelled the attack and managed to kill a number of ISIS militants,” Ismail told CNN.
ISIS fighters managed to seize two villages in an area close to Sharaf ad-Din, but these villages were unpopulated as a result of ISIS attacks in August, Ismail said.
Ismail said he expected coalition airstrikes against those villages in the near future.
On the Syrian front
Still under siege despite gains against ISIS, fighters defending the Syrian city of Kobani are getting more help, in addition to U.S. airstrikes.
U.S. military cargo planes dropped much-needed weapons, ammunition and medical gear in the dead of night Sunday.
And on Monday, Turkey’s foreign minister announced his country would let Kurdish Peshmerga from Iraq use Turkish territory to enter Syria and reinforce fighters in Kobani.
The help is desperately needed, Kobani officials say. Even though defenders control some 70% of the city, Kobani is cut off and ISIS forces continue to shell it with mortars from the east and south, said Anwar Muslim, a local government official in Kobani.
Tens of thousands of civilians have fled to Turkey as a result of weeks of intense fighting between Syrian Kurdish forces and the Free Syrian Army for control of Kobani, a border town that’s one of the last in the region to resist falling to ISIS.
Two car bombers in Kobani
The city appeared to be close to falling before U.S. and allied airstrikes helped drive back ISIS forces.
Still, the city remains cut off from the ground. The Turkish decision to allow Iraqi Peshmerga to enter Syria through its territory could provide an influx of much-needed ground forces to help.
On Monday, a fighter inside Kobani said two car bombers detonated their explosives in the city’s eastern industrial area. One killed two Syrian Kurdish fighters, and the other was shot at by Kurdish forces and detonated explosives before reaching intended targets, said the fighter, who can’t be named for security reasons.
Consultation with Turkey
Sunday’s airdrop in Kobani was delivered by three C-130 cargo planes and appeared to have been received on the ground by Kurdish fighters, senior Obama administration officials said.
A fighter on the ground in Kobani who cannot be identified for security reasons saw more than 100 large crates, including a crate with M-16 guns. A doctor in Kobani said he had received a ton of crucial medical supplies, including antibiotics and other materials.
President Barack Obama notified Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of the drop in a phone conversation Saturday night, administration officials said.
The United States has generally downplayed the importance of Kobani as a key city in the battle against the militants.
However, if ISIS takes Kobani, it would mean the group would control land between the northern Syrian city of Raqqa and Turkey — about 100 kilometers (60 miles) apart.
The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria took control of Raqqa last year. ISIS uses the once liberal city as a kind of headquarters where it applies its hard-line interpretation of Islamic law, terrorizing the population.
With the help of airstrikes from an international coalition led by the United States, Kurdish and Iraqi forces are now focused on pushing ISIS back from its relentless attempt to take Kobani.
Official: Strategy working
The strategy against ISIS is working, Gen. Lloyd Austin, head of U.S. Central Command, said last week.
U.S. warplanes struck only twice Friday and Saturday in Kobani, Central Command said, both times targeting ISIS fighting positions. That’s far fewer strikes than days before. U.S. jets flew at least 14 missions near the city Thursday and Friday, the military reported.
It will take “strategic patience” to beat ISIS, Austin said.
ISIS has apparently taken a heavy hit over the past several days. The bodies of at least 70 fighters for the terror group have been dropped off over four days at a hospital in the Syrian town of Tal Abyad, a Syrian opposition group told CNN. Tal Abyad is on the Turkish border and about 80 kilometers (50 miles) from Raqqa.
(Source / 21.10.2014)
Israeli soldiers have clashed with Palestinian demonstrators at the entrance of Israel’s Ofer military prison near the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah, Press TV reports.
Scuffles broke out on Tuesday as Palestinians were protesting against the recent storming of the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in East al-Quds (Jerusalem) by extremist Israeli settlers.
Israeli forces fired smoke grenades to disperse Palestinian protesters, who hurled rocks at Israeli police vehicles.
Palestinians are extremely angry at settler raids on the al-Aqsa Mosque and Israeli restrictions on Muslim worshippers’ access to the holy Islamic site.
They accuse Tel Aviv of attempts to Judaize al-Quds, which Palestinians see as the capital of their future independent state.
On Saturday, Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian national unity government, pledged to take “legal measures” to prevent Israeli settlers from attacking the al-Aqsa Mosque.
The Palestinian leadership will be taking the necessary legal measures, at the international level, regarding the aggression of Israeli settlers on the al-Aqsa Mosque, Abbas said, adding that the Palestinian government will “not allow settlers to attack the mosque.”
At least 1,300 Israeli settlers and hundreds of soldiers have forced their way into the compound in the past ten days while thousands of Palestinian Muslims under the age of 50 have been barred from entering the holy site.
On October 17, Abbas called on all Palestinians to use “all means” necessary to protect the mosque from Israeli settlers, saying that Israelis have no right to desecrate the holy compound.
Khaled Meshaal, the political bureau chief of Gaza-based Palestinian resistance movement Hamas, has also warned that the Tel Aviv regime is taking advantage of the current crisis in the Middle East to gain control over the al-Aqsa Mosque.
(Source / 21.10.2014)