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By Peter Clifford                       ©           (

Following the announcement of a presidential election in Syria on June 3rd, condemnation has come from the UN, the USA, the UK and other western allies.

Jay Carney speaking for the White House called it a “parody of democracy which would have no legitimacy inside or outside Syria”.

With almost half of Syria’s population displaced and millions living in refugee camps and in other countries, no real vote can take place, though those who have access to a Syrian embassy abroad will be allowed to vote on May 28th.

A spokesman for the Syrian Government has made it clear that there will be no voting in areas controlled by “gunmen”. Effectively then this only leaves voting within Syria in areas controlled by Assad where the vast majority are his supporters.

The Syrian Opposition has described the planned vote, which will predictably return Bashar Al-Assad as President for another 7 year term, as “a farce”.

U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric, speaking on behalf of the General Secretary Ban Ki-Moon and UN Special Envoy on Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, said. “We have repeatedly warned that the holding of elections in the current circumstances, amid the ongoing conflict and massive displacement, will damage the political process and hamper the prospects for a political solution that the country so urgently needs.”

The BBC has a video report.

After appearing in person at the Christian town of Ma’aloula on Sunday, Assad’s election campaign appears to have kicked off in earnest yesterday at Homs – a city he has starved and bombed into submission – with the appearance of pro-Assad posters with his image saying, ironically, “Hand in hand to build Syria”!

In counterpoint Assad’s opponents have launched a Twitter hashtag campaign, #AssadCampaignSlogans, offering alternative slogans that he might like to use.

Classic offerings so far include: “Vote for the blood Ba’ath” : “Don’t Throw Assad out with the Ba’ath water” : “Harnessing chemicals to build a brighter future” : “My family has megatons of experience” : “Putting laughter in Manslaughter since 2011″ : “Keep the Homs Fires Burning” : I will rebuild Syria from the ashes (as soon as I finish burning it completely)”, and many more.

You can follow the latest suggestions at @noneinhere ‘s website, HERE:

This afternoon, Wednesday, it has also been announced in Damascus that Maher Abdul-Hafiz Hajjar MP is to run for president as well. Al-Hajjar represents Aleppo in Parliament and is part of the internal and allowed opposition (EDITOR: Clearly a man who doesn’t mind wasting his time).


The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) said yesterday that the 17th consignment of Syria’s chemical weapons had been delivered to the port in Latakia for transshipment, bringing to 86.5% the total of agreed stocks to be removed, including 88.7% of the most dangerous compounds, known as Priority 1 chemicals.

However, what seems to have slipped through the net is chlorine gas, an industrial compound, not included in the agreement, but banned as a weapon of war by international treaty after World War 1.

Reports this morning suggest that chlorine gas has been dropped 6 times on Opposition-held areas in April alone, twice on the village of Kafr Zita in Hama province (scroll down – see below), twice near Talmenes in Idlib province – where those injured now exceeds 130 – and more recently on Harasta and Daraya in the suburbs of Damascus.

In the Daraya incident, the Free Syrian Army (FSA) discovered a 70 metre long tunnel being used by Hezbollah and the Syrian Army on the north side of the district to bring in troops and weapons into the area. As they were investigating it, Daraya was hit by a toxic gas, HERE:

Fighting continues to rage in Eastern Ghouta in the Damascus countryside where the Syrian Army launched a campaign to oust Opposition fighters a few days ago, HERE: and heavy bombing continues on Mlieha, HERE:

From Latakia province recent reports say that fighting is continuing with the Opposition making a number of gains.

Clearly Observatory Tower 45 has changed hands yet again with the Oppposition targeting it with a 120mm mortar, HERE:

However, south of Kessab there has been a fierce battle for Mt.Chalma, HERE:

Apparently, according to Opposition sources, as many as 50 pro-Assad fighters were killed and wounded by 15 planted IEDs and the Opposition are now in full control.

Even further south, the Assad regime is also reported to have suffered heavy losses on Mount al-Nisr and additionally there is a report that Hossam Khadra, leader of “Special Assignments” for Assad’s Baath-party in Latakia, has been killed in the Kessab area.

Yesterday, Tuesday, Opposition fighters claimed to have killed 30 of Assad’s forces in the outskirts of Mork (Morek) in Hama province and destroyed both a tank and a BMP armoured vehicle.

In Idlib province Opposition fighters also took over the Mosbah (pool) Barrier south of Khan Shikhoun, currently a heavily contested area, HERE:

In Aleppo, the Assad regime have been able partly to re-open the ring road into west Aleppo and some supplies have been reported to have got through, though the power supply has been off for 4 days. There are however, also reports that some of Assad’s troops have defected at the frontline on the Sheikh Najjar industrial area to the north-east.


In Homs, there have been no further reports of advances on either side, but even Opposition diehards expect that eventually the remaining Opposition areas will fall to regime attack or starvation.

Around 1,000 Opposition fighters remain, but morale after such a long campaign has been weakened, and while some would be prepared to surrender, others are still committed to fighting until the end. You can read more,HERE:

In Saudia Arabia yesterday, Tuesday, Ahmed Jarba, head of the Opposition National Coalition, met with Saudi Crown Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz and Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal to request more assistance. “The talks focused on continuing the Saudi aid and on the need to strengthen the capacities of the Free Syrian Army [FSA],” said a spokesman.

Meanwhile, the heads of five UN agencies have made a call to both sides in Syria’s conflict to allow aid deliveries countrywide, end siege warfare and halt indiscriminate attacks on civilians.

In Aleppo alone now they estimate there are 1 million in need of assistance and just 40 doctors for a total population of 2.5 million. Previously, prior to 2011, there were 2,000.

The last UN appeal for $6.5 billion in emergency funding for 2014 has largely been ignored with only $1.2 billion pledged so far.

From Paris the sad story of 150 Syrian penniless refugees who, after wandering the world, have ended up in a small park in a suburb of the French capital, HERE:

And lastly, a full list of the expected presidential candidates for the 2014 Election in Syria:

Written by altahrir

April 23, 2014 at 8:15 pm

Posted in Peter Clifford

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By Peter Clifford                   ©               (

After a week of an all-out assault by Assad’s forces to retake the remaining Opposition held areas of Homs, Opposition fighters in an extraordinary counter-move attacked and captured regime areas.

The action began over the weekend in the Jeb al-Jandali district when some regime troops at a checkpoint defected to the Opposition. This was followed by a Al-Nusra Front (AFN) suicide car bomb attack which killed 5 of Assad’s soldiers.

Soon after Opposition fighters captured a number of buildings, took pro-Assad fighters prisoner, freed some regime held prisoners, including doctors, and found food supplies including pasta and vegetables. For those in besieged areas of Homs who have been living mainly on grasses and herbs, this will be very welcome indeed.

Jeb al-Jandali has been under regime control for the last 18 months and the Opposition attack was clearly unexpected. Video footage is HERE:

There are also unconfirmed reports the Opposition fighters in Homs have advanced to the Zahra district and regained control over the remains of the Khalid Ibn Walid mosque in the Al-Khalidiyya neighborhood.

How long this is sustainable remains to be seen, though they have advanced enough to be only a few hundred metres from a break-out point to the Homs countryside. The regime has hit back with the use of air power on the captured districts.

There is also a report that 10 kilometres north of Homs city east of Talbiseh at the the village of Al-Ghasbiya there have been clashes resulting in the deaths of several Government troops and militia and between Damascus and Homs, some of Assad’s supply trucks were hit and destroyed, HERE:

Other reports suggest the Assad regime is concerned enough by the reversals in Homs to have diverted troops from the campaign in Qalamoun.


In Idlib province, yet another Government toxic gas attack was made on the village of Talmenes village east of Ma’arrat al-Numan injuring more than 100 people. There is video footage, HERE: 

Government planes also bombed a school at Sarmeen, HERE:  while another airstrike went astray and apparently killed Assad’s forces near Kafr Bassin.

Yesterday, Sunday, things got even worse in Aleppo where rockets and barrel-bombs rained down on the Old City, Hanano, Kafr Hamra, Ashaar, Al-Halak. Al-Jandoul and Al-Firdous, killing at least 70 people according to reports.

Dreadful footage from the Sheikh Fares footage too after the barrel-bombs fell there, HERE:  Also in the Ba’edin district, severely injured victims were pulled from the rubble, HERE: 

In the Sheikh Najjar industrial area to the north-east of Aleppo, Opposition fighter hit regime tanks with anti-tank missiles, HERE:  and HERE: 

In Ramouseh in western Aleppo, the advancing Opposition also destroyed another tank and killed 15 of Assad’s troops and to the north-east the battle around the Air Force Intelligence HQ continues, HERE:

Meanwhile, as well as dropping barrel-bombs on Aleppo and killing dozens of civilians, President Assad “celebrated” Easter Sunday by visiting the recently recaptured village of Ma’aloula in a propaganda move in “support of Christian minorities” and inspected damage to the ancient monasteries there.


In Damascus, a presidential election was also announced this morning, Monday, to take place on June 3rd with those overseas allowed to vote in Syrian embassies on May 28th.

Jokingly, presidential candidates are allowed to register from May 1st, though all real opposition has been eliminated as candidates are required to have spent the last 10 years resident in Syria.

In the Damascus countryside, fierce fighting continues on the frontline at Mleiha, HERE:  , where an Assad forces HQ was destroyed HERE:  and in a Opposition B10 cannon versus a regime B10 cannon in a Mleiha suburb, the Opposition weapon won out, HERE: 

In Latakia province, Opposition fighters destroyed a Caterpillar earthmover and a T-72 tank on a hillside near Observatory Tower 45 not far from Kassab, HERE: 

4 French journalists believed to have been held in imprisonment for 10 months by the Jihadist group the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL or ISIS), were released over the weekend, found by Turkish troops on the Syria/Turkey frontier with their hands bound and their eyes blindfolded.

Fortunately, despite being held for most of the period in a basement devoid of natural light, little food and for a time chained together, they appear to be in remarkably good condition. Didier Francois, one of the released captives, spoke to the BBC, HERE:

Written by altahrir

April 21, 2014 at 9:12 pm

Posted in Peter Clifford

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Paasdagen met raketaanvallen in Palestina

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De paasdagen in Palestina zijn weer dagen geweest van aanvallen met raketten tussen Palestijnse facties en het Israëlische leger. Op maandag 21 april zijn er vanuit de Gazastrook zeven raketten afgevoerd die in het zuiden van Israël terecht kwamen.

Het Israëlische leger heeft daarop in de loop van maandag een aantal aanvallen uitgevoerd gericht tegen twee trainingskampen die gerund worden door Hamas, de Palestijnse islamitische groepering die de Gazastrook bestuurt. Volgens medische bronnen zijn twee Hamasleden licht gewond geraakt.

Aanval op Gaza 210414 Gaza


Volgens de mainstream media heeft Hamas zich grotendeels gehouden aan een wapenstilstand met Israël sinds de korte oorlog in het najaar van 2012, maar heeft het soms wel moeilijk om de kleinere gewapende islamitische facties te beteugelen die vijandig staan tegenover de bezettende macht.

Vanuit de kleinere facties is geen woord van verantwoordelijkheid over de raketsalvo’s gekomen. Twee van de projectielen ontploften in de grensgemeenschap Sderot in zuidelijk Israël op een weg en op open gebied, maar hebben niemand verwond.

Volgens Ma’an Nieuws hebben de Israëli’s gevechtsvliegtuigen een veiligheidsfaciliteit in het vluchtelingenkamp van al-Nuseirat aangevallen en daarbij twee veiligheidsagenten verwond, volgend een mededeling van het ministerie van Binnenlandse Zaken van Gaza. Lokale media hebben gemeld dat de aanvallen van de vliegtuigen gepaard ging met hevige vuurgevechten.  Een andere luchtaanval raakte een nabijgelegen veehouderij, met alleen materiële schade maar geen gewonden, terwijl een derde aanval gericht was op open gebied in Deir al-Balah.
Volgens het ministerie hebben Israëlische gevechtsvliegtuigen ook een doelwit in Khan Younis geraakt.

Aanval op Gaza 210414 Khan Younis      Aanval op Gaza 210414_2Gaza


Khan Younis                                                                                                Centraal Gaza
Een anti-tank raket werd ook afgevuurd op Israëlische soldaten die patrouilleerden in een grensgebied in de zuidelijke Gazastrook, zei een woordvoerder, zonder meldingen van gewonden of schade.

Volgens ooggetuigen zijn bij de aanval vanuit Gaza vijf raketten binnen veertig minuten afgeschoten. Tevens werd door deze ooggetuigen gemeld dat er materiële schade was aan gebouwen in Sderot.

Na de aanvallen door gevechtsvliegtuigen heeft de regering van Gaza al haar gebouwen ontruimd.


@KhamakarPress Persbureau

Written by altahrir

April 21, 2014 at 3:44 pm

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By Peter Clifford            ©                    (

Heavy fighting continues on all fronts in Aleppo with Opposition fighters making a daring raid on the Hanano barracks in the centre of the city.

At dawn on Thursday, Opposition fighters detonated explosives in 3 tunnels that they dug under the huge, sprawling Hanano military base, HERE:

Almost 50 men were killed in the attack that followed, 27 of them Syrian Army troops and pro-regime militia and 20 from the Opposition side including a commander.

Opposition fighters clearly got inside the base as can be seen from this video, HERE:  but the perimeter of the base was bombarded with barrel-bombs shortly after, HERE:

Hanano is one of the largest bases in Syria and strategically important as it sits on a hill overlooking Opposition supply routes across the north of the city.

SANA, the Syrian state media, claimed that the attack had been foiled and that the Syrian Army “had blown up the tunnels” but the base is so large we will have to wait on further details to know the true outcome, though it is unlikely the Opposition could have gained complete control in such a short time.

At Al Jazira, west of Aleppo near the military research centre Opposition fighters captured an injured member of the regime side but seem to be treating him well, HERE:

In southern Aleppo, Opposition fighters prevented a regime convoy on the ring road from approaching the Sadkop Army base which they had captured earlier in the week and succeeded in destroying several of their vehicles. A 10 minute video of the Ramouseh battle can be seen, HERE:

Elsewhere in Aleppo the Opposition have been holding their positions and firing back on the regime as seen (exact location unknown), HERE:

Just before dawn on Thursday, Opposition tanks also fired on the Air Intelligence headquarters in the north-west of Aleppo, scoring a number of direct hits, (starts in dark) HERE:

Heavy fighting is also reported again this morning, Friday, in the area of the Citadel above Aleppo Old City.

Interesting piece in Al-Monitor from “Edward Dark” who is based in Aleppo and spent an evening with off-duty Assad regime troops. Quietly they tell him that they would have lost a recent battle in the Zahra district of Aleppo if they had not received reinforcements from Hezbollah, HERE:

SANA, Assad’s media, reports that Opposition rocket attacks on the Al-Sulaimaniyeh, Al-Maidan and Maisaloun districts killed 21 on Thursday, including a child, and wounded 80.


In a wave of new chemical attacks in the last week, the Syrian Government has not only dropped cylinders containing chlorine gas on the village of Kfar Zeita (scroll down – see below) in Hama province last Friday and Saturday, but has now attacked the Opposition-held suburb of Harasta near Damascus on Wednesday, HERE:

This is the 4th attack this month using chlorine, a banned substance for use in warfare, though widely used in the chemical industry, including treating water. A chlorine (CL2) tank can be seen attached to a barrel-bomb dropped on Kfar Zeita, HERE:

Also in Harasta, Opposition fighters tried to blow up a building inside the vehicles-management base , HERE:  while further north of the capital a major battle for control of Mleiha continues, HERE:

The Syrian Government has just submitted a more detailed list of its chemical weapons stocks to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and has been given to April 27th to deliver all its admitted stocks to the port of Latakia for onward transmission and destruction.

All of Syria’s stocks of chemical weapons are to be destroyed by June 30th. The 13th shipment of Syria’s chemical stocks was delivered to Latakia port on Monday, meaning that around 65% has been sent for destruction.

(EDITOR: No consolation for the people of Kfar Zeita and Harasta who continue to be attacked by this barbaric regime indiscriminately using chemicals on civilians.)

In Idlib province Opposition fighters destroyed a T-72 tank at the Salam Barrier west of Khan Shikhoun, north-west of Hama, HERE:  and kept up mortar attacks on the emplacement, HERE:  and HERE:

(EDITOR: I suspect being tank crew is not the most popular choice in Assad’s Army right now, especially after the new US made anti-tank missile news! Scroll down – see below for more on this.)

Opposition fighters are also reported to be shelling the State Security branch in Idlib city, with columns of thick smoke rising from the area.

Near Deir Ez-Zour military airport at Al-Mazare’ Opposition fighters are said to have killed 20 of Assad’s troops and to have taken control of the area.

In Quneitra province having captured one of the 3 hills at Tel Al-Ahmar several days ago, the Opposition have now captured a 2nd one, discovering an interesting, fully equipped command and control centre, HERE:

And having gained control of most of Quneitra province, some of the Opposition have now moved on to adjacent Sweida province, where most of the population come from the Druze sect and a number of explosions near regime installations have been reported.

In Latakia heavy shelling is reported by the regime on the area around Kessab and an ongoing fierce battle for control of Teshalama tower.


On the Jihadist front it was reported this week that the head of the Al Nusra Front (AFN) in Idlib province, Abu Mohammed al-Ansari, was assassinated on Tuesday night along with his wife, daughter, brother and niece in a house in Ras al-Hosn in northern Syria.

The 4 man assassination team is believed to have come from the rival extreme Jihadist group, the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL or ISIS). AFN fighters killed one attacker and captured two more, while the fourth blew himself up.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday, the Jordanian Air Force destroyed a number of armed pick-up trucks in the desert on their side of the Syrian/Jordanian border after they “failed to stop after being requested to do so”. It is not clear if they were Syrian Opposition fighters manoeuvring near the border or weapon smugglers.

While in Jordan’s Za’atari Refugee camp some miserable refugees there are saying they would rather go back home to Syria and face death than stay in the increasingly poor conditions in Jordan.

Abu Isam, 52, said, “Nobody cares about Syrian refugees – the world has fooled us. They said our crisis will not last long. Now I feel a solution to our dilemma is impossible”. You can read more, HERE:

Lastly, today, 18th April, is International Homs day, so if you would like to join the campaign to save the remaining civilians still trapped in Opposition parts of the city Tweet the hashtag #International_Homs_day

Following this week’s renewed attempt on 4 fronts to wipe out the Opposition fighters remaining in and around Homs Old City, which failed with serious loss of life on the regime side, negotiations to release the remaining trapped civilians have also failed.

The result of the current dreadful shelling on what is left of Homs can be seen,here:

and here:

UN mediator, Lakhdar Brahimi, speaking in Geneva said, “It is a matter of deep regret that negotiations were brutally stopped and violence is now rife again when a comprehensive agreement seemed close at hand. It is alarming that Homs, whose people have suffered so much throughout these past three years is again the theatre of death and destruction.”

This week’s failed ground attack was preceded by hundreds of shells, which continue to fall. Despite repelling Assad’s troops yet again, activists say that unless the remaining Opposition fighters receive outside help soon they will have to surrender, as some already have, or be killed.

Written by altahrir

April 18, 2014 at 7:50 pm

Posted in Peter Clifford

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We are fighting for all Palestinians

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In jail, my fellow hunger strikers and I are doing battle against the Israeli occupation that humiliates our people
Palestinians protest outside the International Red Cross offices

Palestinian families gather in solidarity with hunger-striking prisoners at the Red Cross offices in East Jerusalem.

My story is no different from that of many other Palestinian young people who were born and have lived their whole lives under Israeli occupation. At 17, I was arrested for the first time, and jailed for two years. I was arrested again in my early 20s, at the height of the second intifada in Ramallah, during an Israeli invasion of numerous cities in the West Bank – what Israel called Operation Defensive Shield. I was sentenced to 30 years in prison on charges relating to my resistance to the occupation.

I am not the first member of my family to be jailed on my people’s long march towards freedom. My grandfather, a founding member of the PLO, was sentenced to death by the British Mandate authorities, whose laws are used by Israel to this day to oppress my people; he escaped hours before he was due to be executed. My brother, Fadi, was killed in 1994, aged just 16, by Israeli forces during a demonstration in the West Bank following the Ibrahimi mosque massacre in Hebron. Medhat, another brother, has served 19 years in prison. My other brothers, Firas, Ra’afat and Shadi were each imprisoned for five to 11 years. My sister, Shireen, has been arrested numerous times and has served a year in prison. My brother’s home has been destroyed. My mother’s water and electricity have been cut off. My family, along with the people of my beloved city Jerusalem, are continuously harassed and attacked, but they continue to defend Palestinian rights and prisoners.

After almost 10 years in prison, I was released in the Egypt-sponsored deal between Israel and Hamas to release the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in exchange for Palestinian prisoners. However, on 7 July 2012, I was arrested again near Hizma, an area within the municipality of Jerusalem, on charges of violating the terms of my release (that I should not leave Jerusalem). Others who were released as part of that deal were also arrested, some with no declared reason. Accordingly, I began a hunger strike on 1 August to protest against my illegal imprisonment and Israel’s violation of the agreement.

My health has deteriorated greatly, but I will continue my hunger strike until victory or martyrdom. This is my last remaining stone to throw at the tyrants and jailers in the face of the racist occupation that humiliates our people.

I draw my strength from all the free people in the world who want an end to the Israeli occupation. My weak heartbeat endures thanks to this solidarity and support; my weak voice gains its strength from voices that are louder, and can penetrate the prison walls.

My battle is not just for my own freedom. My fellow hunger strikers, Ayman, Tarik and Ja’afar, and I are fighting a battle for all Palestinians against the Israeli occupation and its prisons. What I endure is little compared to the sacrifice of Palestinians in Gaza, where thousands have died or been injured as a result of brutal Israeli attacks and an unprecedented and inhuman siege.

However, more support is needed. Israel could not continue its oppression without the support of western governments. These governments, particularly the British, which has a historic responsibility for the tragedy of my people, should impose sanctions on the Israeli regime until it ends the occupation, recognises Palestinian rights, and frees all Palestinian political prisoners.

Do not worry if my heart stops. I am still alive now and even after death, because Jerusalem runs through my veins. If I die, it is a victory; if we are liberated, it is a victory, because either way I have refused to surrender to the Israeli occupation, its tyranny and arrogance.

(Source / 17.04.2014)

Written by altahrir

April 17, 2014 at 8:32 pm

Posted in History

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Jewish state in Saudi Arabia proposed in 1917

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Jewish state in Saudi Arabia proposed in 1917

A Russian Jewish doctor in Paris asked the British government to gather an army to seize eastern Arabia land for a Jewish national home, a month before Balfour declaration backed the idea.

A letter to the British ambassador to France in 1917 proposed a Jewish state in modern-day Saudi Arabia, documents released by the British Library show.

Dr. M. L. Rothstein, a self-described ‘Russian medical doctor’ of Jewish origin based in Paris, wrote to Ambassador Francis Bertie on September 12 ‘for the conquest of the Turkish province of El Hassa (Hasa)’.

Al-Hasa is an oasis region in eastern Arabia.

Bertie explained to then Foreign Secretary, Arthur James Balfour that Rothstein proposed the Entente Powers (Russia, France and the UK) should organize an army to carve out ‘a Jewish State on the Persian Gulf’.

Rothstein was serious about his proposal and laid out his action plan in the letter.

‘I undertake to assemble, for next spring, a Jewish fighting troop, a force of 120,000 strong men’ which would double ‘in cooperation… with the troops of the Entente,’ he said.

The troops would concentrate in Bahrain and once they reached 30,000, a ‘coup de main’ (swift attack) would follow, taking the ‘Turkish province of Al Hassa, near the Persian Gulf.’

It would then ‘become a Jewish State (un État juif)’, Rothstein suggested.

He predicted a ‘state of war’ with Turkey due to the invasion and said that ‘the Jewish troops will immediately enter into a campaign… until the final victory of the Entente or until their destruction.’


Little is known about the Russian doctor. He started his letter with his family’s ‘moral qualities’, an explanation of his roots in Jewish patriotism.

Thomas Holderness of the British Library’s India Office said Al-Hasa had ceased to be a Turkish province when Rothstein wrote the letter, suggesting he might be out of touch with the realities on the ground.

A response letter by Balfour’s assistant in October showed that the British government rejected the proposal outright.

‘His Majesty’s government regret that they cannot give effect to his proposals,”said the reply.

A month later, Balfour issued his now-famed declaration that threw the Kingdom’s support for the idea of establishing a ‘national home for the Jewish people in what was Palestine.

The documents are from the India Office Records held at the British Library. They are being digitized, along with others relating to the history of the Gulf, as part of the Library’s partnership with the Qatar Foundation.

(Source / 16.04.2014)

Written by altahrir

April 16, 2014 at 9:09 pm

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By Peter Clifford                        ©           (

Keeping Assad’s forces under pressure in western Aleppo, Opposition fighters have continued their simultaneous assault on several fronts, with intense battles reported around Brigade 80 and the Aleppo International Airport today.

On Monday the Opposition captured the strategic Sadkop Army base on the Ramouseh industrial area ring road and the Sadkop Fuel Depot, HERE:

The Opposition have also isolated 3 kilometres (1.9 miles) of the ring road, thereby preventing Assad’s forces from reinforcing or supplying parts of regime-held west Aleppo.

Fighting continues in the area today with reports of 18 Opposition fighters and 7 regime troops killed in the last 24 hours. Video from the fierce Ramouseh battle can be seen HERE: and HERE:

Opposition fighters also captured a regime stronghold in Ramouseh seizing weapons, ammunition and gas masks, HERE:

In north-west Aleppo, Opposition fighters have kept up their attack on the area around the Air Intelligence HQ, the building believed to be a major command and control centre as well as holding thousands of prisoners.

On Monday, the Opposition closed the the Karaj al-Hafez crossing in Bustan al-Qasr, the main link between the two halves of the city because of a “constant threat from pro-Assad snipers” and the electricity outage reported earlier was blamed on an Assad barrel-bomb hitting a high voltage tower.

Barrel-bombs have also destroyed another Opposition field hospital in eastern Aleppo in what seems deliberate targeting.

Disturbing reports are also emerging from Aleppo Central Prison, north of Aleppo, and still completely surrounded by Opposition fighters. According to the Violations Documentation Centre, at least 800 prisoners have died there in the last year from malnutrition and illness.

Many think this is a conservative figure after reports that a lot more of the estimated 2,400 inmates, including women and children, have been denied food and medical treatment.

In another sign of regime nervousness, the Deputy Director of Assad’s Aleppo Military Academy, Colonel Mohammed Dargham, is reported to have fled the city and yesterday helicopters dropped 18 barrel bombs on various parts of Aleppo.

In this footage, Opposition forces are firing Grad missiles at regime positions in the Sheikh Najjar industrial area in the Aleppo north-eastern outskirts, HERE:

And as Opposition fighters battle their way into the north-western Al-Zahraa area an interesting contrast can be seen between the elegant blocks of flats in unbombed Alawite areas compared with the basic concrete constructions in Sunni areas (now mostly destroyed), HERE: and HERE:

This map, courtesy of @PetoLucem, from April 13th, shows all the areas talked about above (note large Green arrows of Opposition advance). For and enlarged version click, HERE and then click the map again:


The Opposition advance in Aleppo may have been helped by the arrival of US TOW anti-tank missile launchers (ATGM), 20 of which are reported to have been given to moderate Opposition groups in Aleppo and Idlib.

The TOW ATGM are seen as vastly superior and more accurate than other makes. Activist reports say that the Harakat Hazm Brigade launched five of those rockets to destroy four tanks and win a recent battle in the Idlib suburbs of Babulin and Salheiya. The TOW is seen in action again, HERE:

In current battles south-east of Idlib city at Qmenas, 17 of Assad’s troops have been killed and 30 others wounded during their attempt to storm the town but at the cost of 21 Opposition deaths as well.

In an attempt to completely regain control of Homs, the Syrian Army has mounted another major attack on the remaining Opposition-held areas of the city where there are thought to be around 1300 people remaining, mostly Opposition fighters.

This morning reports say that the regime have mobilised hundreds of troops at the police headquarters in the heart of the city as a step towards a new ground operation. The Opposition has also released a statement accusing the regime’s forces of violating the agreement reached between them which would allow their fighters to exit from the city.

Yesterday, regime troops entered Wadi Al-Sayeh, which lies between Juret Al-Shiyah and the Old City, their first major advance since the summer of 2013. The advance was preceded by heavy air attacks, particularly on Al-Wa’er, seen HERE:  and HERE:

However, unconfirmed reports say that as many as 40 pro-Assad fighters were killed on a failed attack on the Bab Houd front yesterday.

In the Damascus region, the Syrian Government has dropped more than 14 barrel bombs on Zabadani in the last 2 days, killing at least 4 people, as it continues its campaign to clear the Qalamoun region of all Opposition.

In the same area, due north of the Syrian capital, the regime took control of the village of Assal al-Ward yesterday and Housh Arab today, but at Ma’aloula, 3 crew from Hezbollah’s Al-Manar TV station were killed, probably caught, according to latest reports, in regime “friendly fire”.

In an interesting report, one of Iran’s top military figures is quoted as saying this week that if it hadn’t been for Iran’s intervention, Assad would have been toppled by now, HERE:


In Deir Ez-Zour province Opposition fighters have destroyed the headquarters of Assad’s forces in the Shuhada district on the western edge of city and once again targeted the Deir Ez-Zour military airport with mortars, with regime loss of life.

Fighting in the oil-rich province also continues between the more moderate Opposition and the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL or ISIS). 20 fighters from Jabhat Al-Nusra and more moderate Islamic battalions ( including a leader of the Al-Islam brigade ) were killed in clashes with ISIL in the town of Sor, which is now completely under ISIL control.

Interestingly, there is an unconfirmed report from a similar battle at Taiana that 4 “ISIL fighters” captured there have turned out to be members of Assad’s loyalist army, Maher Al-Assad’s 4th Division. At the moment they are still in the hands of the Al-Nusra Front and “are being well-treated”. If true this could have interesting repercussions.

In Hama province a very fierce battle continues for control of the strategic Hama to Aleppo highway town of Morek (sometimes called Mork) with heavy losses on both sides. 5 airstrikes and 20 barrel-bombs have fallen on the town this week in an attempt to dislodge the Opposition.

In Quneitra province, now 70% controlled by the Opposition, Opposition fighters having taken the western part of Tell Ahmar, are shelling Assad’s forces on the eastern Tell, HERE:

Lastly, at the UN yesterday, members of the UN Security Council, including the Russian and Chinese representatives, watched a presentation of the “Caesar Report”, sponsored by Qatar, which documents the deaths of 11,000 people who died in Assad regime jails between 2011 and 2013. The report contains some 55,000 images depicting abuse of victims including starvation and torture.

“Caesar” is the code name for a former Assad Government employee who was charged with photographing all the dead emanating from regime detention centres. He recorded the images and transmitted them to the Opposition.

Two of the experts who examined the photos and authenticated claims made by the defector say the dossier represents credible evidence to be put before the International Criminal Court (ICC). The pictures are from just 3 detention centres – there are believed to be at least 50 in total in Syria.

French ambassador to the UN, Gerard Araud, said that there was complete silence for several minutes after the report was shown and his Government intends to bring forward a motion at the Security Council referring the matter to the ICC. US UN Ambassador Samantha Power said, “Nobody who sees these images will ever be the same.”

Written by altahrir

April 16, 2014 at 8:32 pm

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By Peter Clifford                ©                (

Over the weekend the Opposition have continued to push into south-western Aleppo, strengthening their positions by taking streets and apartment blocks in Al-Sherfee.

By Friday, Opposition fighters captured the Technical Services building, now seen HERE: and the Ramouseh Garages seen, HERE:

The Opposition are now well inside the regime district of Zahra, which is relatively unscathed compared with the barrel-bombed eastern half of Aleppo city, HERE:

The fighters have since taken several more buildings in Zahra neighbourhood and are attacking the Al-Sherfee area to be in a better position to lay siege to the Artillery Academy, HERE: 

An Opposition tank-howitzer also targeted the Sadkop (military) base in Ramouseh,HERE: which unconfirmed reports say has been captured this morning, Monday.

Another tour of Zahra, with minimal damage, can be seen, HERE: 

On Sunday, a regime reinforcement convoy on the highway at Sheikh Said, just east of Ramouseh, was attacked, but other Syrian Army and National Defence Force troops did get through to the Air Force Intelligence building which is the Opposition’s main target.

The Opposition also hit a tank with an anti-tank guided missile near the Air Force Intelligence building, HERE:  and the Opposition advance further into Ramouseh continues this morning, Monday, HERE:

There has additionally been a major power cut to electricity supplies which may herald an even larger Opposition attack and for the first time civilians from western Aleppo have started to move to the Opposition-held east.

There are reports of a severe bread shortage in regime-held western Aleppo, possibly exacerbated by Opposition control of the bakery checkpoint in Ramouseh where the Syrian Army were found to have been using full flour bags for barricades.

The Opposition also brought down this small drone near the Artillery Academy, HERE:


At Kafr Zita in Hama province on Friday, a series of barrel bombs were dropped indiscriminately by Assad’s helicopters on the town, releasing clouds of smoke and debris with a distinctive yellow tinge, HERE:

Activists said the barrel-bombs contained cylinders with Chinese markings and the designa-

tion CL2, or chlorine gas, HERE: Two people were reported to have died and up to 100 were injured.

Unusually, the Assad regime admitted a chlorine attack on Kafr Zita (before anyone else had said which gas was involved) but blamed it on the Al-Nusra Front (ANF). 

EDITOR: As far as we know the ANF do not have any operational helicopters – especially ones which pass across Syria undetected by Assad’s Air Force.

The regime is desperate to regain the area as it commands their supply route from Hama to Aleppo.  Al Jazeera has a video report, HERE:

In Deraa province, Opposition fighters have destroyed a regime tank inside the Brigade 52 base near Al-Harak,HERE:  

They also hit a regime convoy loaded with munitions, with an IED device and killed a dozen of Assad’s troops in the Sheikh Sa‘d area south of Nawa.

Within Deraa city itself heavy fighting was reported again near the Palace of Justice.


In Lattakia province, rather suspiciously, fighting has gone rather quiet apart from this video footage released this morning Monday of Opposition fighters firing mortars at regime positions, HERE:

There are reports of Alawite villages being evacuated in northern Latakia and along the coast, so one wonders what the Assad regime has in mind? Hopefully not more chemical weapons.

For the first time Latakia city is now full of displaced refugees sleeping in local schools and nervousness among the general population in increasing, HERE:

In Damascus province, Syrian Government forces are said to have recaptured  Sarkha and Ma’aloula in the Qalamoun this morning, Monday, though earlier reports said that Opposition fighters had withdrawn.

Ma’aloula is particularly significant as it is a famous Christian village where they still speak Aramaic, the language of Jesus.

The Al-Nusra Front captured 12 nuns from the village in December and exchanged them for the release of many women prisoners held by Assad.  The nuns said they had been genuinely “well-treated” – much to the annoyance of the Assad regime who were unable to make any PR capital out of the abduction.

Around Damascus city the Syrian Air Force has kept up a relentless rocket and barrel-bomb attack on the Opposition suburbs, particularly those east of the capital. In Douma barrel-bombs hit a crowded market place killing at least 5 children among other victims.

The Opposition town of Mleiha has been bombed for 10 consecutive days as regime troops try to break in, though there are reports they have reached the outskirts.

In this video footage, the Opposition destroy a T-72 tank there, HERE:  and HERE:  And an armoured caterpillar,HERE: 

The Opposition brought their own tank into play, HERE:

Despite all the above, delusional President Assad made a speech at Damascus University on Sunday claiming his army was “winning the war against terror”.

“This is a turning point in the crisis, both militarily in terms of the army’s achievements in the war against terror, and socially in terms of national reconciliation processes and growing awareness of the truth behind the (attacks) targeting the country,” he said.

This confidence is not reflected on the currency markets where the value of the Syrian pound dropped to 176 to the US dollar on Sunday from 156 a few days earlier. Since March 2011, the Syrian pound has lost  more than three-quarters of its value against the US currency.

And lastly a group supporting the Syrian Opposition have made an animation about how the extreme Jihadists of the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL or ISIS) are “manufactured”, (Arabic only) here:

Written by altahrir

April 14, 2014 at 7:27 pm

Posted in Peter Clifford

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The ‘Black Sunday’ of Palestine: Oyoun Qarra Massacre, 20.05.1990

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Abdil Rahim, Ziyad, Zayid, Sleiman, Omar, Zaky and Yousif carried their small lunch bags with a few bread loaves, a tomato and a sardine can, and said goodbye to their families in the early hours of Sunday 20.05.1990. It was very early in the morning, the sun hadn’t risen yet, and the refugee camps were engulfed in total darkness. The usually busy and noisy narrow roads and alleys were empty and quiet. The children were still asleep and dreaming of the toy and the colouring book their fathers will bring them back from work. The young women were still asleep and dreaming of the ring and the necklace their fiancés would buy so they could finally marry. The wives sat near their sleeping children and dreamt of the meat their husbands might bring back from work so they could cook a decent meal for the family. The mothers sat in the darkness, watching their children leave to work, and prayed that they reach their working place safe, find a job for the day and get paid so they can repair the leaking roof before the next winter. As they watched them disappear in the darkness, they prayed that their children come back safe to their homes and to their families. The roads and alleys of the refugee camps were quiet and empty, except for the sounds of the marching Israeli occupation soldiers, patrolling the open-air prisons, and holding the entire Palestinian population hostage to occupation and oppression. The roads and alleys of the refugee camps were quiet and empty except for the footsteps of the workers, heading to work in the early hours of the morning, hoping to find work that day, and thinking of their children, their mothers, their wives, their fiancés and hoping to be able to bring back toys, colouring books, food, a necklace and ring and enough money to fix the roof before the next winter.

Abdil Rahim, Ziyad, Zayid, Sleiman, Omar, Zaky and Yousif were refugees, their families expelled from their original homes and villages by Zionist terror gangs during the Nakba. Abdil Rahim, Ziyad, Zayid, Sleiman, Omar, Zaky and Yousif were made refugees by the Zionists colonists who ethnically cleansed entire Palestinian villages, demolished them and erased them off their invented Zionist map. Abdil Rahim, Ziyad, Zayid, Sleiman, Omar, Zaky and Yousif came originally from villages that once prospered and thrived. They had beautiful homes with flowers on the window sills, and had fertile lands which were green all year around. They once tended vast olive and apple fields, orange groves and vineyards. The indigenous people of Palestine, the owners of the land, were forced to live exiled in their own country, were forced to live in over-crowded rooms while Zionist colonizers thrive and live in stolen Palestinian homes, on stolen Palestinian land. And as the Nakba continues, as the catastrophe of the Palestinian people continues, the suffering of the Palestinians knows no end and the injustice done to them and their families is limitless. To feed their families, and like thousands of fellow Palestinians, Abdil Rahim, Ziyad, Zayid, Sleiman, Omar, Zaky and Yousif were forced to work like slaves for the thieves who stole their lands and homes, were forced to work for the killers who forced their families out of their homes, were forced to work for the Zionists who had made refugees out of them.

Abdil Rahim, Ziyad, Zayid, Sleiman, Omar, Zaky and Yousif were among a group of over 100 Palestinian labourers from the occupied and besieged Gaza Strip who were waiting at the Oyoun Qarra bus stop to be transported to their working place. An Israeli occupation soldier, Ami Popper, from nearby Rishon Lezion Zionist colony approached the workers and asked them for their IDs. After making sure all the workers were Palestinians, Popper lined them up, asked them to kneel down in 3 lines, and using his M16 sub-machine gun, he opened fire, killing 7 of them and injuring others. Zionists passed by the scene of the crime in their cars, saw the Palestinian labourers, young and old, lying on the ground, drowning in pools of blood, their lunch bags scattered around them, and drove on. Zionists passed by the scene of the crime in their cars, heard the Palestinian labourers moan in pain, heard them cry out for help, and drove on. When the Israeli ambulances and occupation police finally arrived to the scene of the massacre, 7 Palestinians were already dead, and instead of providing help to the severely injured, the Israeli police started beating the Palestinians workers who had survived the death machine. And as with all massacres committed by Zionists, the Israeli government rushed to declare Popper deranged. But when it was proven that he wasn’t, he was theatrically ‘tried’ and ‘charged’ with murder in 7 cases. However, while in detention, the terrorist Popper receives “special treatment”; he was allowed to get married, had 3 children with his wife and is allowed 48-hour furloughs. In 1997, the Israeli government reduced the prison sentences of 4 Zionist terrorists convicted of murdering Palestinians and ordered the release of a fifth Zionist terrorist. Popper’s sentence of 7 life terms was reduced to 40 years.

Abdil Rahim, Ziyad, Zayid, Sleiman, Omar, Zaky and Yousif were Palestinian labourers from the occupied and besieged Gaza Strip. Like every Palestinian labourer, they woke up every morning to a new day, full of new hopes and new strength to face and defy the occupation, the oppression, the siege, the closure and the Zionist terror. Like every Palestinian labourer, they woke up every morning, went to work because they wanted their children to have food on the table, a roof over their heads, an education and a future that is free of occupation and oppression, a future free of Zionism. And on the morning of 20.05.1990, they woke up early to go to work and buy toys, colouring books and food for their families. But on that day, on ‘Back Sunday’, Abdil Rahim, Ziyad, Zayid, Sleiman, Omar, Zaky and Yousif did not reach work. They were massacred by a Zionist terrorist, killed in cold blood by an Israeli occupation soldier, a member of ‘the most moral army in the world’. They were massacred, they blood spilt, their dreams killed, their lives brutally cut short by a terrorist entity that supports and encourages and is built on terror. On “Black Sunday”, Abdil Rahim, Ziyad, Zayid, Sleiman, Omar, Zaky and Yousif did not return to their homes with toys, colouring books, meat, rings, necklaces and a promise to repair the leaking roof. They returned to their waiting mothers, wives, children and fiancés carried on the shoulders of their fathers, sons, brothers and comrades. They returned to their waiting mothers, wives, children and fiancés soaking in their blood. They returned to their waiting mothers, wives, children and fiancés as bridegrooms of Palestine,

The martyrs of Oyoun Qarra massacre are:
Abdil Rahim Mohammad Salim Baraka, 43 yrs, from Khan Younis
Ziyad Mousa Mohammad Swe’id, 22 yrs, from Rafah
Zayid Zeidan Abdel Hamid Al-’Mour, 33 yrs, from Khan Younis
Sleiman Abdel Raziq Mohammad Abu ‘Anza, 22 yrs, from Khan Younis
Omar Hamad Ahmad Dahlees, 27 yrs, from Rafah
Zaky Mohammad Hamdan Qdeh, 35 yrs, from Khan Younis
Yousif Ibrahim Mansour Abu Daqqa, 36 yrs, from Khan Younis

On “Black Sunday”, after news of the massacre spread, protests and confrontations erupted all over occupied Palestine. At least another 6 Palestinians were killed by Israeli occupation forces:
Iyad Ismail Abdallah Saqir, 17 yrs from Rafah
Shifa’ Naim Ali Al-Hummus, 23 yrs, from Rafah
Mousa Ibrahim Abdel-Halim Hassounah, 27 yrs, from Ash-Shati’
Ali Mahmoud Mohammad Az-Za’amrah, 21 yrs, from Halhoul
Husam Abdel Rahman Abdallah Nazzal, 14 yrs, from Qabatia
Wail Mohammad Ibrahim Al-Badrasawi, 22 yrs, from Ash-Shati’

PS: The photos are from newspapers clippings on the massacre which I collected and kept at the time.

(Source / 13.04.2014)

Written by altahrir

April 13, 2014 at 7:22 pm

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By Peter Clifford                ©                (

Far from “Assad winning” as the mainstream international media seems to like to portray the situation, the Syrian Opposition continues to make significant advances, notably this week in south-west Aleppo.

In the last 2 days, Opposition fighters have captured the Red Crescent building and the Ramouseh garages and are now at the gates of the Artillery Academy.

Their target is the massive Air Force Intelligence building in the Zahra district, probably one of the most fortified buildings in Aleppo, which they now have surrounded, seen here with (for the moment) the regime flag flying, HERE:

There are believed to be hundreds of regime prisoners inside. This morning, Friday, reports also say that the Opposition have captured the huge Ramouseh roundabout, thereby cutting off the Aleppo ringroad and blocking the route for any regime reinforcements.

To the south in Idlib province, Opposition fighters have also blocked the Hama to Aleppo highway east of Hish, which feeds directly into this south-west corner of Aleppo city.

In their move towards the Air Force Intelligence HQ, the Opposition fighters have also taken the Technical Institute,HERE:  and a bit further to the south they destroyed a tank at the “School of Wisdom” barrier.

Scenes from the battle in the Ramouseh industrial area can be seen, HERE:  and the shelling of Assad’s forces,HERE:

The regime is rather desperately attacking Opposition positions around the Air Intelligence building but 2 barrel-bombs are reported to have fallen on Syrian Army Positions instead killing more than 20 of their troops in Al-Zahra district at the Finance Roundabout.

So nervous are Assad’s officers of this development that there are unconfirmed reports that some of them are moving their house furniture to homes on the coast in Latakia. There is also a report that “Ghazi al-Tamimi”, a commander of the Shiite Iraq’i Badr pro-Assad militia, was killed in the Aleppo fighting.

On the relief side of things, a IHH-Qatar Charity project opened 200 “container houses” in Aleppo yesterday and starting today, the same organisation is co-ordinating the arrival of 300 truck loads of aid into northern Syria, supported by 30 non-governmental organisations and 15 countries.

In Idlib province, as well as blocking the highway to Aleppo, Opposition fighters blew up a booby trapped building in the Shiite enclave of Al-Fu’ah, north-east of Idlib city, HERE:  and in Hama province, east of Hama city, they took the barrier of Sheikh Hilal.

In the night attack on the desert barrier of Sheikh Hilal, the Opposition fighters killed 11 regime troops, HERE: and seized 2 tanks and useful stocks of ammunition, HERE:

In Latakia fighting continues around Observatory Tower 45 with the regime pounding surrounding hills and Opposition positions with air attacks and mortars, while in Quneitra province a “quiet war” has seen the Opposition capture 70% of the region following their takeover over of the Ahmar Hills on Monday.

More information in this interview from a Quneitra based activist, courtesy of EAWorldview, HERE:

Courtesy of Cedric Labrousse, the latest map of the situation around Aleppo.  For a larger version click, HERE: and then click the map again:


In the Qalamoun area not far from Damascus, Opposition fighters claimed yesterday they had brought down a regime MIG fighter aircraft near Bakh`ah, south-west of Yabroud and this afternoon, Friday, there is a report of second aircraft brought down in Ghouta.

Additionally, latest reports say that 6 tanks have been destroyed at Bakh’ah and 30 pro-Assad Shabiha killed.

Fierce battles are still continuing today near the farms surrounding the town of Rankous, where the Opposition is saying that the Syrian Army is using a different type of bomb with phosphorous like behaviour and a foul smell, seen HERE:

In a more humourous moment in Qalamoun this Opposition fighter played a dangerous game of “shoot the hat”, encouraging pro-Assad troops to waste their ammunition, HERE:

In the Eastern Ghouta region, just outside the Syrian capital, where the Syrian Army have launched a new campaign, Opposition fighters started attacking the 137th artillery regiment base in the Khan Al-Shaykh suburb this week, HERE:  and HERE:

Latest reports this morning,Friday, say that the Opposition have now killed 15 of Assad’s troops inside the base and captured 7 others.

At Mleiha, Opposition fighters repelled a massive night attack by Iraqui pro-Assad militia, HERE: and dozens of rockets, mortars and barrel-bombs have been hurled at the town to try and break Opposition resistance.

This video shows up to 15 minutes worth of the battles at Mleiha, HERE:

South-south-west of Damascus, there was heavy fighting around the Khan-Dannoun Palestinian Refugee Camp, which Opposition fighters claim to be in complete control of today.

In the mainly Alawite area of Karam al-Luz in Homs city yesterday 2 car bombs exploded killing 25, including women and children, and injuring 107.

In the deadly blast, the second bomb went off half an hour after the first injuring Red Crescent workers sent to help. The BBC has a video report, HERE:


In Deir Ez-Zour province, members of the Islamic Front of Iraq and Levant (ISIL or ISIS) made a surprise dawn attack on Thursday against other Opposition fighters in an attempt to take control of the border town of Albu Kamal on the Syria/Iraq frontier.

At first ISIL gained the upper hand pushing into the town but have since been driven back at heavy cost as Al Nusra Front and Islamic Front reinforcements poured in.  Estimates today Friday are that 86 people have been killed in the fighting so far.

ISIL, who had been trying to link up with ISIL in Iraq who are even stronger, have withdrawn to the T2 oil site, 60 kilometres (35 miles) south-west of Albu Kamal but not before executing a number of their rivals.

At the border crossing itself the more moderate Opposition fighters retained control throughout but the Iraqi Army on the other side dug themselves in and put up blast walls to avoid involvement or explosive damage.

In the Jafra Oil Field 30 bodies have been found in a mass grave, also thought to have been executed by ISIL.

Elsewhere in the province opposition fighters are reported to have taken control of the main highway near Deir Ez-Zour military airport.

Lastly, the final word, as often on this blog, goes to the good people of Kafranbel in Idlib province, here:

Written by altahrir

April 11, 2014 at 8:10 pm

Posted in Peter Clifford

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