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What is it like to live in Gaza?

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By  Hazem El-Zatma

Quite simply it is horrific. We suffer the sonic booms of war jets, buzzing drones, presence of war ships, artillery fire and enemy tanks – all in an area that is only 40 KM long and 15 KM wide. Fear and terrorism are maximized because all these weapons of war are being used in such a tiny piece of land.

Because the Zionists are so powerful and omnipresent in every influential sector of society and government worldwide they are literary allowed to massacre the people of Gaza as they feel fit despite our attempts via social media to let the world know what is happening via photographs and eye witness accounts. Everyday I and many like me, upload images of death and destruction, send out pleas for help and words of desperation but it largely falls on deaf ears.

During the current war, the Zionist have created many excuses to commit atrocities and genocide. They completely destroyed the al-Shija’eyyah neighbourhood because they claim there were a number of IOF soldiers killed while they were invading our land. What do you expect? They are killing our people and destroying our homes. In response they pounded the neighbourhood with about 600 shells that resulted in 200 people being massacred and their bodies left decaying in the streets because we don’t have the infrastructure to deal with such destruction and loss of life. Hospitals are without power and also attack targets, there is no army, no navy and we are in desperate need of medical supplies.

Israeli terrorists think it is acceptable to bomb our homes if they give us less than 50 seconds warning. I ask you, what could you do in 50 seconds? How far could you run? What if you have children, elderly or disabled relatives? What then?

You might wonder how the IOF they plan their targets? What you hear in the media is the claim that the targeted home belongs to a Hamas member, his relatives, friends or hosts. The drones play a major role in the act of killing and supposedly in the selection of targets. With their ever present buzzing, they create constant stress and spread the fear that there might be an imminent bombing at any time. These drones that cover the entire sky of the Gaza strip with their clever state of the art cameras which monitor everything on the ground and have a high capability of distinguishing civilians from resistance fighters (note the resistance fighters surely have the right to practice their universal right to defend the people of Gaza?) could easily spot ordinary civilians going about their daily lives or simply trying to flea and avoid them. But they don’t. With these tactics they create horror and kill anyone in their path.

The random killing of civilians is a device to terrify us. Every single person in the Gaza Strip feels as I do, that he or she is the next target of the Israeli bombing to be added to the already rising death toll.

Gaza - Facebook

Written by altahrir

August 31, 2014 at 2:58 pm

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By Peter Clifford                        ©                       (


In the latest news from Syria, the monstrous Islamic State has claimed, backing it with terrifying video, that it has executed “250″ of Assad’s troops who fled from Tabqa Airbase in Raqqa province.

Reports emerging since last weekend’s capture of Tabqa suggest that 200 of Assad’s troops were killed along with 346 Islamic State fighters in the final 3 day battle and another 700 members of the Syrian Army escaped.



Assad Troops Being Marched into Desert for Slaughter by Islamic State

Some of those 700 made it to Ithriya, an Assad checkpoint in Hama province halfway between the cities of Raqqah and Hama, but it was soon overrun by Islamic State forces and more of Assad’s fleeing troops were captured in the countryside.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) says that according to its sources 3 groups of Government soldiers were executed in separate locations and gives a total of 160.

Whatever the number, the interrogation of these men and their subsequent execution as prisoners is a “war crime”. In this video one Syrian soldier is interrogated, abused and mocked, (English translation above), HERE:

This man presumably, and those behind him, were then marched out into the desert wearing nothing but their underpants and killed, some shot, others mutilated with knives.

In this video the prisoners are seen being made to respond to Islamic State chants and noises made suggesting the Islamists, who apparently find this funny, are “just herding sheep”, (English sub-titles) HERE:

In a video too horrible to show (and subsequently taken down by YouTube), well over a hundred men are lined up in a very long row in the desert not far from the brick factory in Raqqah and executed.

(EDITOR: I am no lover of the Assad regime, but no-one deserves to die like this. The Islamic State will have to be stopped – they are a threat to decency and humanity on this planet. How they can justify this in the name of religion – or any God – is beyond me.)

The Syrian State media has made no mention of the execution of its troops, though it will be widely seen and read on the Internet further fuelling a rising resistance in the Alawite community, from whom most of the victims will have come, towards President Assad and his policies.



British Jihadists “Praise” Execution of James Foley

Just how far this descent into madness and complete unfeeling has gone is exemplified by the “testimony” of 2 young British Jihadists in Syria who spoke by Skype to CNN.

In the interview, the 2 masked men, with only their eyes visible, using the names Abu Anwar and Amu Bakr, “praise” the killing of the US journalist James Foley.

Asked if he would be ready to kill a Western captive, Anwar said: “I would be more than honoured to partake in an execution like this. I hope God gives me the chance to do such a thing as the brother did with James Foley. Whether it be on someone like James Foley, or a soldier of Bashar [the Syrian dictator] or a soldier of America, my hands are ready to do this blessed act.”

Anwar called the killing of James Foley a “direct and justified response to the crimes of the United States against the Islamic State”.

The other Islamic State fighter, Bakr, said that he was prepared to return to the West to continue his Jihadist battle.“If there’s no other chance than to come back and try to stop you, then I will have to do that,” he said. “I’m ready to take that step to come back if your armies, if your countries, do not stop attacking us.”

The pair also attacked the Moslem Council of Great Britain which has tried to stop young Islamic men from becoming Jihadists, describing the largest Moslem organisation in the UK as “apostates”. You can watch the video and read the entire CNN Syria news article HERE:

The Islamic State is now reported to have 14,241 foreign fighters from 24 countries according to latest estimates.

Other sources say that the Islamic State has now declared a new “province” stretching across the Sykes-Picot boundary of Syria and Iraq, to be known as “Euphrates Province”.

Additionally, the so-called “caliph” of the Islamic State, Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, is said to have degreed that $1200 will be given to every Jihadist fighter that marries, together with a fully furnished house. (EDITOR: Trying to “populate” his evil state, no doubt)

According to other pictures on the Internet, the Islamic State gained considerable stores of sophisticated weapons and ammunition from their capture of the Tabqa airbas, despite heavy casualties.

Numbers of Foreign Fighters Estimated to Have Joined the Islamic State


Numbers of Foreign Fighters Estimated to Have Joined the Islamic State


In the Quneitra province of Syria, adjacent to the border with Israel, where a combination of more moderate fighters opposed to the Assad regime, plus the Al-Qaeda affiliated Al-Nusra Front, took control of the Syrian Government’s frontier crossing on Wednesday, the Opposition in latest reports today, Friday, claim to have gone on and driven out Assad’s troops from Quneitra town.

Opposition fighters of the Syrian Revolutionary Front can be seen, manning the border crossing, (Arabic only)HERE:

Since the last war with Israel, Syria has never re-populated the town of Quneitra after the Israeli Defence Force overran it before handing it back, though it has remained a substantial Syrian military garrison. Not any more it seems. The Opposition can be seen “mopping up resistance” in Quneitra, HERE:

Opposition fighters also captured the villages of Tal Kroum and Rawadi with fighting still reported around Jaba which the regime have hit with airstrikes. The Opposition can be seen firing at the Syrian Army outpost on top of the hill above Tal Kroum, HERE:

UN Filipino Peacekeepers Defy Opposition Fighters in Stand-Off


UN Filipino Peacekeepers Defy Opposition Fighters in Stand-Of

As many as 50 of Assad’s troops are reported killed in the fighting, with another 13 said to have fled to the “safety” of the protection of the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF)peacekeeping force along the Golan Heights border with Israel.

It is this action which may have led the Al-Nusra Front fighters to seize 43 of the UN peacekeepers from Fiji yesterday, Thursday, taking their weapons.

A further group of between 75 and 81 UN peacekeepers from the Philippines are also trapped in 2 locations in the demilitarised zone, having refused to part with their guns and saying they will defend themselves.

UN peacekeepers have been held prisoner by Opposition fighters twice before on the Golan and eventually released without harm. Negotiations are already underway to free the latest batch.


Elsewhere in Syria, on the edge of the Opposition-held Jobar district in Damascus, fierce fighting has been reported in the last 48 hours with Opposition fighters claiming to have destroyed a number of pro-Assad militia in this tunnel-explosion, HERE:

Fighting on the frontline in Jobar can be seen, HERE:  while the regime has retaliated by hitting the suburb with as many as 19 airstrikes in the last 24 hours.

In Aleppo clashes are reported between the Opposition and the Syrian Army near Aleppo Central prison and the Bustan Al-Basha neighbourhood and 3 civilians were killed and 2 wounded after a regime barrel-bomb demolished 2 houses in the Al-Qqtanh district.

Aleppo’s civil defence volunteers in their white hats continue to an amazing job in terrible circumstances. This volunteer recalls the rescue of the tiny baby found alive in the rubble after more than 12 hours, here:

In Hama province in central Syria, Assad still seems to be in serious trouble after an Opposition rocket hit a garage on the Hama military airbase setting off loud explosions and Army vehicles on fire.

Opposition sources say that Brigadier-General Ibrahim Nasif with several other soldiers at Hama military airbase has successfully defected from the Syrian Army but at the same time there are also reports that 22 of Assad’s troops have been executed by the regime for attempting to flee from the frontline near Morek.

Ahead of a meeting yesterday, Thursday, with his security chiefs at the White House to consider action in Syria and Iraq, President Obama admitted that, “We don’t have a strategy yet.”

However, he did go on to say, “I don’t think there’s a situation where we have to choose between Assad or the kinds of people who carry on the incredible violence that we’ve been seeing there,” in a reference to the Islamic State.

Obama seems to be seeking a regional approach to solving problems in Syria and Iraq and has sent his Secretary of State, John Kerry, to talk to Middle East allies such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

(EDITOR: I liked this alternative response from @drdeandre shouting “Where Are You Obama?” crystalising the frustration we all feel, HERE: )

With an election looming early in 2015, the UK’s Prime Minister also does not want to “nail his colours to the mast” it seems and commit to military involvement, a British Government spokesman saying, “There’s been no request for us to deliver air strikes and this is not something under discussion at the moment”.

Very interesting article about Iran’s manipulation of Assad and how the time may be approaching when they will work to “dump” the Assad family altogether, HERE:

In Iraq, reports say the Kurdish Peshmerga fighters have recaptured Zumar, west of Mosul, from the Islamic State and also the strategic Batma Mountain between Ayn-Zala and Zumar. However, the Islamic State fighters set fire to 3 oil wells at Ayn-Zala before retreating.

The Iraqi Army is also claiming that it has recaptured a number of villages north of Al-Adhaim as they try to battle their way through to the besieged Turkman town of Amerli (scroll down – see below).



Islamic State Execute Kurdish Peshmerga Fighter

In the recaptured town of Gwer, tensions remain high between the Kurds who retook it and the Arab population who live there and may have previously supported the Islamic State. Al jazeera has a video report, HERE:

The awful Islamic State have also captured a number of Kurdish fighters, parading them on video in orange jumpsuits and beheading one of them infront of Mosul mosque.

Entitled “A Message in Blood” the video promised more such killings if the Kurds persisted in helping the United States attack them. The BBC has a report,HERE:

To learn more about the Kurds, watch this, HERE:

Lastly, a picture of hope perhaps?:

Hope Yet?


Hope Yet?

Written by altahrir

August 30, 2014 at 9:51 pm

Posted in Peter Clifford

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Former prisoner dies of cancer in Hebron

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HEBRON (Ma’an) — Former prisoner Sufyan Ibrahim Skafi, 31, died of cancer in Hebron on Saturday, a Palestinian prisoners’ rights group said.

The Palestinian Prisoner’s Society said in a statement that Skafi had been arrested several times and had spent a total of five years of his life in Israeli jails.

He was married and had one child, the group said.

(Source / 30.08.2014)

Written by altahrir

August 30, 2014 at 9:03 pm

Posted in Zorg / Health

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Bahrain to treat 100 Gazans in Egyptian hospital

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Palestinians in hospital following Israeli airstrike

‘The National Bahraini Campaign, ordered to be organised by the King for the support of the Palestinians, had a big role in mobilising efforts and supporting all Bahraini people, organisations, firms and charities.’

Palestinian Ambassador to Manama Khalid Aref has said that an agreement will be signed this Tuesday on the treatment of 100 wounded Palestinians in Cairo at the expense of Bahrain, Bahrain news agency (BNA) said.

In a statement reported by BNA, Aref said: “Bahrain has been distinctive in its immediate interaction with the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. Their aid, which was offered by the Royal Charity Institution and sponsored by Sheikh Naser, came at an early stage.”

The statement added: “The National Bahraini Campaign, ordered to be organised by the King for the support of the Palestinians, had a big role in mobilising efforts and supporting all Bahraini people, organisations, firms and charities.” The King inuagurated the campaign by paying $5 million.

Aref said that Bahrain sent two batches of aid to the Gaza Strip, the first through UNRWA and the Palestinian Red Crescent and the second through Jordan.

“We applaud the support offered by the Bahraini people for the victims of the Israeli war on Gaza,” Aref said.

(Source / 30.08.2014)


Written by altahrir

August 30, 2014 at 8:51 pm

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Israel, a nation of hate

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By Jamal Kanj                   Jamal Kanj

Israel was created from the ashes of the Nazi Holocaust.

Undeniably, Jews in Europe were dehumanised, repressed and then gassed in the millions -an experience Zionists purport to have shaped the psyche of Jews.

Yet this horrible experience was wasted as most Jews learned very little from it. The nation that sprouted out of hatred towards Jews was founded on the premise of doing wrong to other people.

To Palestinians, Israel has become a mirror image of what Jews were subjected to in old Europe.

German crowds cheering the slaughter of Jews have been replaced by Israelis cheering the murder of Palestinians by a Jewish army.

Or Yehuda City Council posted a banner calling on Israeli soldiers to “Pound their (Palestinian) mothers and come home safely to yours.”

In Tel Aviv, Israeli Jews celebrated the death of Palestinian children chanting in a pro-war demonstration: “There’s no school tomorrow, there are no children left in Gaza.”

In an article titled “When Genocide Is Permissible”, Israeli journalist Yochanan Gordon argued that genocide was permissible for political leaders to achieve “responsible goals”.

In other words, Gordon proposes “the final solution” for Gaza instead of the current Israeli policy of “mowing the lawn”.

This is the real Israel not shown by Western media.

It is a culture that has consistently rejected co-existence with non-Jews, even outside the occupied territories.

Earlier this month, the Jewish organisation Lehava called for a public demonstration in Jaffa to protest a wedding between a Jewish woman and a Palestinian Israeli citizen. Hundreds of Jews surrounded the wedding hall chanting “death to the Arabs”.

The union between two Israeli citizens was described by Michael Ben-Ari, former Israeli legislator, as “worse than what Hitler did”.

The bride’s father declared: “My problem with him (the groom) is that he is an Arab.”

It should be noted that Israeli cultural racism is not ephemeral or symptomatic of recent debates reflecting high emotional tensions during war times.

A new book Scenes From School Life, written by Israelis Idan Yaron and Yoram Harpaz, is based on three-year “anthropological observations” of students in a secular high school – “the most average school we could find,” said Harpaz.

A 10th grade female student in the study expressed revulsion towards “these Ishmaelites”, referring to the original Palestinians who are supposedly Israeli citizens.

“For me, personally, Arabs are something I can’t look at and can’t stand… I’m ready to kill someone with my hands,” she said.

The Israeli researchers quoted another student who learned from his synagogue on Shabbat that: “Aravim zeh erev rav (Arabs are a rabble) and Amalek, and there is a commandment to kill them all.”

The professors observed that a Jewish student in the ninth grade objected to her classmates’ opinion, stating: “The desire for revenge will only foment a cycle of blood… certainly they (Palestinians) don’t all deserve to die.”

As a result, the pupil was tormented and accused of being an “Arab lover and leftist”. During the break, students taunted her chanting: “Fie, fie, fie, the Arabs will die.”

Racism in Israel is not an exception, but the social norm.

This was validated in a recent poll conducted by the Israel Democracy Institute, which showed that 95 per cent of Israeli Jews were fully behind their army’s genocidal campaign in Gaza.

Zionists supported by apocalyptic Christians must stop using their European-imported, psychosomatic insecurity to justify oppression of other humans.

* Mr Kanj ( writes regular newspaper column and publishes on several websites on Arab world issues. He is the author of “Children of Catastrophe,” Journey from a Palestinian Refugee Camp to America. A version of this article was first published by the Gulf Daily News newspaper.


Written by altahrir

August 30, 2014 at 8:21 pm

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By Peter Clifford                  ©            (


Earlier today, Wednesday, Opposition fighters in Quneitra province, advancing from Qahtaniyah, south-west of Quneitra city, have taken the border crossing between Syria and Israel on the Golan Heights.

The Opposition side, which included units of the Al-Nusra Front, lost 4 men in the fighting while killing 20 of the Assad regime’s troops.



Israeli Troops Near the Quneitra Border Crossing

After 6 Stray mortar shells landed in Israel “moderately wounding” an Israeli Defence Force officer during the clashes, Israel retaliated with 2 confirmed direct hits on Syrian Army positions said to be the source of the fire.

The Opposition had briefly held this crossing before in June 2014 before it was recaptured by the Syrian Army.

Video footage shows sight of the current attack on the frontier post,HERE:  Fighting continues at nearby Juba and a hill overlooking it.

The Assad regime, having lost the Tabqa airbase in Raqqah province to the Islamic State last weekend, also seems to be in trouble in Hama province.

Despite sending in 500 troops from its elite “Desert Hawks” brigade, who were trained by the Iranians and responsible for recapturing Observatory Hill 45 in Latakia province, the Syrian Government has made no headway.

In fact some unconfirmed reports suggest that 200 of the “Desert Hawks” have already been killed.

In contrast the latest information from the Opposition side says that the Al-Nusra Front (ANF) has sent in 1,500 fighters of its own to reinforce the current fronts around Helfaia and Mhardeh in Hama province, destroying an Assad tank and a rocket launcher and killing 13 Government soldiers.

The capture of Mhardeh would further strengthen the Opposition assault on Hama city to the south-east and nearby Hama Military Airport which they continue to pound with Grad rockets making it largely inoperable. Local sources say the Opposition are within 600 metres of Mhardeh and that they hit it with more than 100 shells on Sunday.

Hama Military Airport is considered vital to the Assad regime for the production and distribution of barrel-bombs and for conducting bombing raids throughout Syria.

The regime has tried to stir up reaction by pointing out that Mhardeh is largely a Christian town, but ANF has issued instructions to treat the resident population well, its track-record at its previous capture of Christian Ma’aloula in Damascus province holding it in good stead.

The Opposition is also reported to be continuing its shelling on Wednesday of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine to the north-west of Hama city and to have captured 9 Shabiha (Assad armed militia) at Kafr Al-Toun nearby. in addition a further 10 regime troops are reported killed on the Morek frontline.

Once again, with all this successful Opposition activity in central Hama province, the Alawites in Latakia province, which borders it, are getting nervous. You can read more, HERE:


In Aleppo province east of Aleppo city, the Islamic State is shelling the Quwaires airbase with US GPS enhanced howitzers captured from the Army in Iraq, HERE:



Islamic State Using US Made Howitzers to Shell Assad Base at Quwaires

A new more moderate Opposition coalition formed in Aleppo province specifically to fight the advance of the Islamic State has recaptured several village back from them in the north,HERE: and HERE:

More shelling with tanks on Islamic State positions at Ihtaimlat village, due north of Aleppo city, HERE:

Near Damascus, the Al-Nusra Front has captured a total of 5 regime checkpoints or barriers near Zabadani, killing 20 of Assad’s troops in the process.

In the Harasta district, Opposition fighters shelled the Ministry of Irrigation, HERE:

Near Damascus International Airport the Opposition say they have killed Abu al Fadl Al- Abbas, a pro-Assad militia commander.

In Deir Ez-Zour province, a number of tribal leaders issued a video pledging allegiance to the Islamic State on Sunday, in return for the Jihadists forgiveness of the Shaitat tribe who had rebelled against them. So far the Islamic State are reported to have killed 700 of the Shaitat tribe in retribution for “disobedience” and another 1800 are missing.

The Islamic State has apparently deemed the Shaitat as “hostile apostates” (despite the fact they are, like the Jihadists, nominally Sunni) designating Sheitat villages as a “military zone” and seizing, property, personal belongings, livestock, as well as demolishing houses as a punishment. You can read more, HERE:

Yesterday, Tuesday, the Assad regime carried out 12 pinpoint airstrikes on Islamic State (IS) positions across Deir Ez-Zour province hitting a training camp and “destroying arms and ammunition stores” according to Syrian state media.

At least 7 Jihadists were killed in the raids, the first time the Syrian government has carried out such intense attacks in the province on IS positions.

Some sources said the US government has provided the Assad regime with IS location and intelligence data via Iraqi and Russian intermediaries, but the US has today, Wednesday, denied this.

The US is however gathering intelligence data on the Islamic State in Syria for itself, US drones overflying the country after President Obama gave permission for such covert activity on Monday.

Obama is said to yet to be “making up his mind” on whether to strike IS targets inside Syria as well as Iraq, though military sources are indicating that it is “only a matter of time”.

There are also reports that the Syrian Government has asked Moscow to help it with airstrikes against the Islamic State, just to complicate the matter further, and Russia is apparently “considering this request”.

Members of the Alawite community, from which President Assad comes, are said to be angry at the lack of Syrian state media coverage of the fall of the Tabqa airbase in Raqqah province, where hundreds are said to have been killed, especially after videos appeared on Islamic State associated websites showing at least 7 Assad soldiers being executed. Many more are still thought to be in IS captivity. You can read more from Reuters Syria news.

Passport of American Killed Fighting for Islamic State


Passport of American Killed Fighting for Islamic State

Nervousness in the United States about the whole Syria/Iraq scenario has also been compounded by the confirmation that another American Jihadist, Douglas McAuthur McCain, of San Diego, California, has killed fighting for the Islamic State.

He was killed in fighting against moderate Opposition brigades in Aleppo province, along with 3 other foreign Jihadists. Rifling through his clothes afterwards, the Opposition fighters found $800 and his US passport. You can read more about his background in NBC Syria news.

Peter Theo Curtis, a journalist held by the Al-Nusra Front for 2 years, is now back in the United States (scroll down – see below) but it is reported from Israel that the Islamic State are now demanding a ransom of $6.6 million for the release of a 26 year-old US female humanitarian aid worker, as yet unidentified at the request of her family.

The BBC interviewed a Pentagon official on the subject, HERE:

At the UN today, Wednesday, the Commission charged with looking at human rights abuse in Syria issued a report damning both the Islamic State and the Assad regime, the former for “executions, beheadings and floggings”, and the latter for its use of barrel-bombs and using “chlorine gas on villagers 8 times over a 10 day period in April of this year”, among many other abhorrent acts. The detail of the report is, (pdf) HERE:

In Turkey, the press is reporting that the Netherlands, who along with Germany and the US are manning NATO Patriot missile emplacements near the border with Syria, is to end its support of the project, set up nearly 2 years ago, next January. The Netherlands, while acknowledging that it is still necessary, says it no longer has the resources to continue.

And lastly, a good news story for Syria. A young Syrian woman, who got stuck in Nottingham in the UK while studying English at the outbreak of fighting in Syria has just been reunited with her Father.

Her Father had been arrested by the Assad regime and the family never thought they would see him again, assuming that after 18 months that he must be dead. In fact, he had escaped to Sweden, thinking that his daughter Doaa, aged 20, was dead as well.

The Red Cross Missing Persons Bureau has united them by telephone and Doaa is flying to Sweden soon. The BBC has the video report, HERE:


In Iraq, as in Syria, the Islamic State are using captured M198 US-made howitzers in their assault on the Baiji oil refinery west of Mosul, which has still not fallen completely into their hands.



Islamic State Fighters Pose With Captured Armoured Personnel Carriers

The Jihadists have also been displaying Iraqi Army Pandur 8×8 BTR-4E armoured personnel carriers, originally made in Austria and supplied to the Iraqi Army by Ukraine.

On the other side of the coin, 9 countries have now agreed to send weapons and equipment to the Peshmerga forces in Kurdistan, including for the first time Germany which normally does not get involved in such requests, this time sending 4000 bulletproof vests, 200 radios and 680 night vision devices.

The UK is sending a further £10 million worth of aid to Iraq on top of £13 million already donated.

On the ground, US airstrikes have targeted today, Wednesday, the Bashiqa area north of Mosul destroying 2 armed Islamic State vehicles and damaging another near Erbil, bringing the US total to 98 attacks.

North of the besieged Turkman town of Amerli, Shia militia have been gathering in large numbers to try and break through the Islamic State (IS) lines and the Iraqi Air Force has struck IS positions with rocket fire and bombs, carrying out 9 strikes on Tuesday.

12,000 people are thought to be still trapped in Amerli with little food or water and no electricity, the only way in or out via helicopter. Reports from the US say that the Government there is still considering whether to implement air strikes near Amerli and arrange aid drops.

The UK and Australia may also be considering entering into the attacks against the Islamic State, with British Royal Air Force (RAF) jets on standby in Cyprus and already carrying out surveillance, and RAAF Super Hornet strike fighter jets on standby at their base at Amberley near Brisbane.

The Australian Government says that around 60 Australians are thought to have joined the fighting in Syria and Iraq, with as many as 15 already killed.

In northern Iraq, the Iran has sent its 81st division, including tanks and helicopters across the common frontier and also agreed to supply the Peshmerga with weapons.

In Kirkuk, the Iraqi Police and the Kurdish Peshmerga are working together in an uneasy alliance to monitor everyone who comes and goes following a series of deadly bomb explosions within the city.

Some residents think that the Islamic State already has militants within the city hiding among the Arab community. Al Jazeera has a video report from Kirkuk, here:


The Institute for the Study of War also has an illustrative update, here:



Written by altahrir

August 28, 2014 at 9:24 pm

Posted in Peter Clifford

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Gaza: Medical care through war and truce

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For 50 days, Gaza’s Al Shifa hospital has lived to the rhythm of fighting followed by ceasefire followed by fighting again. Then on 25 August, an open-ended ceasefire came into force, bringing a massive sense of relief to MSF teams and to the population of Gaza as a whole. But activity in the largest hospital in Gaza continues unabated. Until yesterday, the hospital was still receiving people wounded in recent bombings, as well as people injured over previous days who were unable to come for treatment until now.

MSF surgical teams continue to work shifts at Al Shifa hospital, alongside Palestinian Ministry of Health staff, as they have been doing since the Israeli army launched Operation Protective Edge on 8 July. As one MSF surgeon leaves, another one takes their place. Maurice, a thoracic surgeon, has just returned from Gaza. “I was operating on patients with chest and abdominal injuries,” he says. “Most were shrapnel wounds. Even a small piece of shrapnel less than 1 cm long can tear everything in its path and cause massive wounds to the lungs. More than half of the patients I operated on were women and children. “

Two other MSF surgeons are currently working in Al Shifa hospital, operating on patients with severe burns who require multiple surgery, doing plastic surgery and carrying out skin grafts, amongst other things. They are also called on to assist with especially difficult or long operations. The 60-bed Al Shifa hospital receives patients from across the Gaza Strip, and includes six operating theatres, an intensive care unit where burns victims are cared for, and an emergency room. The Palestinian medical staff are very experienced, but a number of hospitals in Gaza have been destroyed or damaged, and the workload in Al Shifa is so heavy that they still need outside support.

From 28 July to 10 August, MSF had three surgical teams working in Al Shifa hospital. There was a constant influx of wounded to the hospital during the ground offensive. The emergency room was overwhelmed, as were the operating theatres, with 30 to 40 seriously wounded patients arriving each day.

“Many patients had multiple shrapnel wounds caused by explosions, with chest, vascular and limb injuries,” says Kelly, an anaesthesiologist who spent almost four weeks in Gaza. “People in the vicinity of an explosion are burned by the heat, while the blast destroys their lungs and shrapnel penetrates their body. The shock wave can destroy the leg bones of a person who is standing, and both legs then need to be amputated – it’s terrible, but there’s no other solution. “

In seven weeks, MSF has sent 37 international staff to Gaza, including surgeons, doctors, nurses, administrators and project coordinators. Currently MSF has two surgeons, two anaesthetists and one intensive care nurse working in the hospital.

MSF also runs a clinic in Gaza City providing post-operative care to patients who have undergone surgery, who come to have their dressings changed and to attend rehabilitation sessions with a physiotherapist.

Activities in the post-operative care clinic over the past seven weeks have been dependent on the intensity of the attacks. At the height of the war, the clinic closed for 11 days, as it was impossible for patients either to reach the clinic on their own or to be fetched by MSF car. During this time, the team provided dressing kits for patients. When the clinic reopened, 20 to 40 percent of patients were able to come for their appointments. A number of patients, however, have still not been traced. Now the clinic is full. “It’s like a beehive,” says Dr. Abu Abed, MSF doctor. “As well as our former patients, we have been caring for new patients who were injured during the war. We saw more than 100 new patients between 1 July and 25 August. “

The medical aid MSF is providing in Gaza takes a number of different forms. As well as working in Al Shifa hospital and the post-operative care clinic, MSF has also ​​donated drugs and medical supplies to the central pharmacy in Gaza, to Al Shifa hospital, to Nasser hospital in Khan Younis and to Kamal Edwan hospital in Beit Lahiya. Perhaps most significant has been the successful collaboration between MSF teams and teams from the Palestinian Ministry of Health. With the blockade cutting off the entire population of Gaza from the outside world, in recent years Palestinian medical staff have been deprived of opportunities to share skills with international colleagues, to gain practical experience or to travel to medical conferences abroad. As a result, they have been appreciative of the chance to learn new surgical, anaesthetic and medical practices from MSF’s teams.

(Source / 27.08.2014)

Written by altahrir

August 27, 2014 at 9:21 pm

Posted in Zorg / Health

Tagged with ,


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