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OPPOSITION, FIGHTING ON ALL FRONTS IN ALEPPO, MAKE EXPLOSIVE DAWN ATTACK ON SYRIA’S LARGEST ARMY BASE

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By Peter Clifford            ©                    (http://www.petercliffordonline.com/syria-news-3)


http://www.petercliffordonline.com/syria-news-3

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.

http://www.petercliffordonline.com/syria-news

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.

DESPITE ASSAD SUPPOSEDLY GIVING UP 65% OF ITS CHEMICAL WEAPONS STOCKS, GAS ATTACKS CONTINUE TO OCCUR IN HAMA AND DAMASCUS SUBURBS:

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:

http://www.petercliffordonline.com/syria-news

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 #INTERNATIONAL_HOMS_DAY ASSAD DEFIES ATTEMPTS TO GET INTERNATIONAL AGREEMENT AND BOMBS HELL OUT OF THE CITY:

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.

http://www.petercliffordonline.com/syria-news/syria-news

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:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k07wq-gtzGw

and here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=na9MMYZryP8

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.’

MYSTERIOUS DOCTOR

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

Posted in History

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FIGHTING SPREADS AROUND ALEPPO AS OPPOSITION RE-OPEN ANOTHER FRONT NEAR INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

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By Peter Clifford                        ©           (http://www.petercliffordonline.com/syria-news-3)


http://www.petercliffordonline.com/syria-news-3

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.

http://www.petercliffordonline.com/syria-news

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:

http://www.petercliffordonline.com/syria-news

LARGE SHIPMENT OF US ANTI-TANK WEAPONS AIDS OPPOSITION BUT COMES TOO LATE TO HELP HOMS:

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:

http://www.petercliffordonline.com/syria-news

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:

INTERESTING “STATE-ALIGNED” PRISONERS CAPTURED IN DEIR EZ-ZOUR, WHILE UN STUNNED BY “CAESAR REPORT” ON ASSAD TORTURE AND KILLING:

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.

http://www.petercliffordnline.com/syria-news

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.”

http://www.petercliffordonline.com/syria-news

Written by altahrir

April 16, 2014 at 8:32 pm

Posted in Peter Clifford

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OPPOSITION PUSHING FURTHER INTO SOUTH-WEST ALEPPO – SURPRISINGLY UNSCATHED COMPARED WITH BARREL-BOMBED EAST

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By Peter Clifford                ©                (http://www.petercliffordonline.com/syria-news-3)


http://www.petercliffordonline.com/syria-news-3

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:

http://www.petercliffordonline.com/syria-news

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:

ASSAD REGIME ONCE AGAIN ACCUSED OF DROPPING POISONOUS GAS ON CIVILIANS IN HAMA PROVINCE:

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:

http://www.petercliffordonline.com/syria-news

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

http://www.petercliffordonline.com/syria-news

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.

FIGHTING IN LATAKIA GOES SUSPICIOUSLY QUIET AS ASSAD REGIME CLEARS ALAWITE VILLAGES – LATAKIA CITY GETS NERVOUS:

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.

http://www.petercliffordonline.com/syria-news

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:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=XJSUN60lTU4

http://www.petercliffordonline.com/syria-news

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

Posted in History

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OPPOSITION FIGHTERS MAKING SIGNIFICANT ADVANCES IN SOUTH-WEST ALEPPO, HOMING IN ON AIR FORCE INTELLIGENCE HQ

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By Peter Clifford                ©                (http://www.petercliffordonline.com/syria-news-3)


http://www.petercliffordonline.com/syria-news-3

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. 

http://www.petercliffordonline.com/syria-news

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:

http://www.petercliffordonline.com/syria-news

NO OPPOSITION CAPITULATION AROUND DAMASCUS, HEAVY FIGHTING ALL OVER PROVINCE:

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.

http://www.petercliffordonline.com/syria-news

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:

ISIS ATTACK OTHER OPPOSITION FIGHTERS FOR CONTROL OF BORDER TOWN BUT DRIVEN OFF WITH MASSIVE LOSS OF LIFE:

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: 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QFLOSOk5LQ8

Written by altahrir

April 11, 2014 at 8:10 pm

Posted in Peter Clifford

Tagged with ,

Rejecting resistance, defending acceptance

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By Ramona Wadi                 ©               (Source / 10.04.2014)


Ramona Wadi“In response to the Palestinian violation of their commitments under peace talks…Israeli government ministers have been told to refrain from meeting their Palestinian counterparts,” reported the Times of Israel. The retaliation against the belated decision on behalf of the Palestinian Authority (PA) to seek international recognition seems destined to oppress Palestinians further while ensuring that the PA remains tethered to offering its services to Israel.

The issued directive is not an absolute. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu allowed discretionary manoeuvres that would ensure continuity with regards to Israel’s perpetual lament of security concerns. Contact between the Defence Ministry and the PA is destined to remain so as not to diminish the constructed web of collaborative oppression.

Meanwhile, further punitive sanctions are being considered by Israel, including significant deductions from the PA’s budget which would prevent the PA from allegedly “funding terrorism”, in reference to the monetary assistance given to Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, as well as to their families.

According to the Times of Israel, Fatah official Mohammed Al-Madani said: “If true, this decision is mistaken. It’s impossible to sever the ties between Israelis and Palestinians. We must continue to have normal relations in order to reach a just and lasting peace.”

Despite decades of colonisation, the latest retaliatory developments have elicited nothing but dismay and apprehension in the PA. The officially recognised representation is adhering to the dominant, oppressive narrative while refusing the legitimate option of resistance in order to avoid tainting its subservient record.

Apart from the decision to seek international recognition, the PA has failed to alter its tactics. Instead, it is using the temporary limelight to divert attention away from the lack of Palestinian unity which remains an asset for the PA. Channelling energies into seeking recognition from international institutions mired within the imperialist narrative as a facade for seeking autonomy, while remaining conditioned to Israeli demands with regards to security concerns and the negation of resistance as a legitimate right; renders the decisions farcical.

In particular, the willingness to extend talks, as reported by the Ma’an News Agency, signifies the willingness to grant Israel further time to implement its plans for expansion, extending the seizure of land it has embarked upon for decades.

Hamas spokesperson Fawzi Barhoun said Abbas should cease pursuing security coordination with Israel and allow resistance “to deter the Israeli occupation and defend our people, our land and our holy places.” The current compliance should be replaced with “recruiting regional and international opposition” to Israel. Unlike Hamas, the PA is reluctant to perceive Israeli retaliation as one other occurrence added to the multitude of reasons why resistance should be embraced.

Diplomatic engagement has long served to mellow settler-colonialism into a misrepresented conflict. The current negotiations have been deceptively described as recently deteriorated by US Secretary of State John Kerry following the Israeli refusal to release Palestinian prisoners. While the PA absorbs this convenient narrative into its rhetoric, the US and Israel laud their efforts in consolidating their ruthless domination with unconditional impunity bestowed by Abbas.

Written by altahrir

April 10, 2014 at 9:13 pm

Posted in Ramona Wadi

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OPPOSITION ADVANCE IN SOUTHERN ALEPPO, WHILE UN DELIVER 1st RELIEF SUPPLIES TO EASTERN SUBURBS FOR 10 MONTHS

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By Peter Clifford                   ©             (http://www.petercliffordonline.com/syria-news-3)


http://www.petercliffordonline.com/syria-news-3

 

The I’Tassam campaign launched on Monday by Opposition fighters in south-west Aleppo is targeting 5 military installations on the western and southern approaches to the city.

So far they have taken control of a major regime supply road and large parts of the southern suburb of Aqrab. On Tuesday Opposition fighters shelled the “School of Wisdom” barrier with a tank, HERE:

http://www.petercliffordonline.com/syria-news

The Opposition also launched numerous rockets and mortars against the regime-held Halab al-Jadida neighbourhood and also on the Assad Miltiary Academy in Al-Hamdaniya.

“We are just around the corner from the city of Aleppo,” Lieutenant Colonel Abu Bakr of Jaish al-Mujahideen said. “The (southern) suburbs are no more than one kilometre from Aleppo.”

Opposition fighters also took over another building near the Air Security branch in Al-Layrmoun and targeted another regime checkpoint in the village of A’ziza.

Opposition sources report that 36 bodies, including five women and 15 children (including the baby pictured) have been found under the rubble of 3 buildings which were destroyed by Assad’s barrel-bombs 4 days ago.

Additionally Wednesday, Syria’s Red Crescent and the UN refugee agency UNHCR were able to deliver to Opposition-held areas of Aleppo city for the first time in 10 months.

Given access to the Jisr al-Haj crossing between West and East Aleppo, all the goods, including food, blankets and health kits, were moved by hand carts as the crossing was too narrow for trucks to pass through.

75 workers pulling carts “back and forth one and a half kilometre each way…in 270 trips” moved the goods to a warehouse to be distributed in the eastern Opposition areas later.

OPPOSITION MAY HAVE TO ACCEPT LOSS OF TERRITORY IN QALAMOUN REGION AND EXPAND CAMPAIGN INSTEAD IN NORTH AND SOUTH SYRIA:

In the Qalamoun region of Damascus province between the capital and the Lebanese border, things are not so clear cut, with the regime still advancing on Opposition towns and villages.

Yesterday the Syrian Army gained control of Radar Hill overlooking the Opposition-held town of Rankous and this morning, Wednesday, around 100 shells have rained down on the suburbs of the town. In fact, in later reports today, the Syrian Army is claiming they have taken the town and “restored stability”.

4 barrel-bombs were also dropped yesterday on the military observatory hill held by the Opposition south-west of Rankous and north-west of Saidnaya.

http://www.petercliffordonline.com/syria-news

It may be that Opposition supporters will have to accept that the holding of major towns and villages in the Qalamoun region is no longer possible, given the energy and superior air and artillery power the Assad regime, strongly supported by Hezbollah, has thrown at it.

However, with the very rugged and mountainous nature of the terrain, hit and run attacks are still possible. Opposition fighters are still reported to be having some success around Ras Al-Ein and in this video they attacked a regime force as it was trying to set up a new barrier, HERE:

In central Damascus, Opposition brigades have continued to fire mortars and rockets on regime held areas, many of which have until recently been able to ignore what was going on in other parts of the city. In this video a missile is fired at a building being used by the military near the Abbasiyyin Stadium, HERE:

Good to also report that more food supplies entered the Yarmouk Refugee Camp yesterday and were distributed to residents still trapped there.

Atmospheric piece worth reading in the New Yorker on how the 3 years of war is now piercing the bubble down at the Zeriab Cafe in central Damascus, HERE:

ASSAD BURBLES ABOUT “CONCERN OVER ENDING BLOODSHED”, WHILE UN HR CHIEF LAYS MAJORITY BLAME FOR ABUSES AT HIS DOOR:

Little news to report from Latakia where the Opposition still seem to be holding there own. However, the regime claims they regained hold of Al-Haramiyeh mountain, but they are suddenly very quiet about Observatory Tower 45.

Ominously, there were reports on Tuesday of as many as 1500 fighters arriving at Beirut airport from Armenia, presumably having been pumped up by untrue reports of “massacres” in the Armenian town of Kasab.

Iran is reported to have delivered 30,000 tons of food via ports in Latakia to shore up the crumbling food production and distribution infrastructure in Syria.

Adding to that, the UN is also predicting a very poor wheat harvest in northern Syria following almost drought conditions in the winter.

The UN World Food Programme is currently spending $40 million a week to feed Syrians inside the country and refugees outside. With a failing harvest this year and continuing warfare this problem is only set to get worse with possibly the complete collapse of the agricultural sector.

http://www.petercliffordonline.com/syria-news

In Quneitra province to the south, where the Opposition have been making strong headway recently, fighters captured the regime-held Tel Ahmar hill, taking prisoners, HERE: and seizing a number of anti-tank missile launchers plus other equipment and ammunition, HERE:

In Idlib province there were 2 suicide attacks by the Al-Nusra Front (ANF) on Syrian Army emplacements, this one blowing up part of a military refuelling base near Khan Sheikhoun (at 0.20 seconds), HERE:

In Deraa province, Opposition fighters yesterday attacked a regime barrier near Mahajah in an attempt to cut the main highway to Damascus.

On the political front, President Assad, who no doubt working up to announcing his candidacy for the 2014 presidential elections, said on Monday at the 67th Anniversary of the Syrian Ba’ath Party, that, “The project of political Islam has failed, and there should be no mixing between political and religious work.”

He also said his government was “continuing with the process of reconciliation, because what concerns us is ending the bloodshed and the destruction of infrastructure” (EDITOR: Of which Assad is primarily the source!).

http://www.petercliffordonline.com/syria-news

Omran Al-Zohbi, Assad’s Information Minister, announced late on Monday that candidates for this year’s presidential elections can submit their applications in the last 10 days of April. The elections are due to be held before June.

Delusionally, Al-Zohbi went on to add that “The overwhelming majority of Syrians are pressing and calling for President Bashar al-Assad to continue to lead the country as president of the republic,” and that nothing, “whether security, military, political, internal or external” will be allowed to prevent the election being held on time.

Despite legislation allowing other candidates to stand for first time, a ruling that excludes anyone who has not lived in Syria for the last 10 years means that almost all the Opposition leaders will be ineligible as candidates.

Lastly, in clear condemnation of Assad’s fitness to stand again as Syria’s leader, Navi Pillay, the UN’S High Commissioner for Human Rights made it clear yesterday that she thought the Syrian Government was mainly responsible for human rights abuses in Syria.

While acknowledging that neither the Opposition nor the Syrian government was blameless when it comes to rights violations, she said that nevertheless “you cannot compare the two sides.”

“It is the government that is mostly responsible for the violations and all these perpetrators should be identified [for]…referral to the International Criminal Court (ICC)”.

Speaking to reporters in New York, Pillay said, “Criminal justice must be seized. The UN Security Council must be able to unite around the simple idea that terrible crimes have been committed and that they must be punished ….There has to be justice and accountability and the situation in Syria should not be allowed to slip through the cracks.” (EDITOR: HEAR! HEAR! I Agree wholeheartedly)

Assad’s UN Ambassador, Bashar al-Jaafari, dismissed Navi Pillay comments as “biased” and burbled on about “terrorist acts in Kasab” of which no-one has evidence.

http://www.petercliffordonline.com/syria-news

Written by altahrir

April 9, 2014 at 8:10 pm

Posted in Peter Clifford

Tagged with ,

(Israel) Unprincipled entity…

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By Jamal Kanj

Jamal Kanj

 

I remember standing outside the White House lawn on March 26, 1979, protesting the signing of Camp David accord between Egyptian president Anwar Sadat and the ex-wanted British terrorist turned Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin. An Egyptian speaker addressed his president across the street “If you feel no shame then do as you wish.”

Today, the “feel no shame” Israeli leaders are able to do “as they wish” with unparalleled brazen impunity.

US Secretary of State John Kerry offered Israel an upfront Palestinian commitment to forgo their rights of joining UN organisations for nine months. In turn, Israel pledged to release 104 Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails.

Palestinians kept their word and delivered, Israel reneged. In a last minute manoeuvre it added a new condition. Not on the Palestinians this time but on the US demanding the release of Jewish American Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard.

In addition to torpedoing the peace process, balking on fulfilling its part under the US mediated understanding undermines American credibility as an impartial peace broker and its international standing.

Adding the release of the Jewish spy to an existing agreement was another chicanery act pulled from Israel’s magician box of tricks to derail the peace process. Just like the invented “new” recognition of an ethno centric Jewish state or the continued expropriation of land for Jewish use only or leaving Israeli army inside the “independent” Palestinian state.

While Kerry would refuse to admit, it was all predictable. Last December, Israel’s Channel 2 revealed that Benjamin Netanyahu will insist on releasing Pollard before endorsing a “framework agreement” or freeing the last batch of Palestinian prisoners.

But why didn’t Netanyahu demand releasing Pollard as part of the understanding last July? He knew that he would be in a better position to blackmail the US at the 11th hour.

In 1998, Netanyahu did exactly that when he asked president Bill Clinton to release Pollard before agreeing to sign the Wye River memorandum. The receptive Clinton had to back down after his CIA director George Tenet threatened to resign. Pollard compromised US security like no other. According to retired Navy lawyer Spike Bowman, a senior legal adviser to Navy intelligence when Pollard was caught, “no other spy in the history of the US stole so many secrets, so highly classified, in such a short period of time.”

To make it worst, Israeli officials lied to their teeth denying any high level knowledge of the spying operation.

In response to Ronald Regan’s demand that Israel hold accountable Pollard’s Israeli handlers, Abba Eban, chairman of the Intelligence Committee of the Knesset concluded a sham investigation in 1987 claiming that there was not “a single shred of evidence”‘ to blame any of Israel’s senior leaders.

According to US intelligence officials, Pollard passed information on US intelligence collection in the Soviet Union – resulting in the arrest of American spies – which Israel traded with the Soviet Union to allow greater Jewish immigration. US political leadership accepted Israel’s phony investigation – wanting us to believe that only a low level staff negotiated with Soviet leaders to increase Jewish immigration.

Palestinian prisoners and peace are used as pawns sadly because US political leaders lack the resolve to tell Israel that Pollard was a citizen who damaged US security and must pay for his crimes, just like every other spy – Jewish or not. Frankly the peg should rot in prison, not just for being a traitor but for causing others to rot in Soviet gulag.

Israel denied that Pollard was an Israeli spy for 10 years. Since 1998 however – after initial American anger cooled off – they adopted Pollard, granted him an Israeli citizenship and named a park in his honour.

Israel is unprincipled and habitually dishonest political entity and can’t be trusted with agreements and it betrays its benefactors.

 

Written by altahrir

April 9, 2014 at 8:05 pm

Posted in Jamal Kanj

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