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Rebels Advance on Bosra al-Sham in Eastern Rural Dara’a

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Rebel fighters advanced on several regime positions in the town of Bosra al-Sham in eastern rural Dara’a and now control a of number of strategic points inside the town. The remnants of regime forces inside the town are now besieged after rebels cut off the regime forces’ supply routes coming from Al Swaydaa’.

Member of the Syrian Coalition Ahmed al-Jibawi said that large parts of Dara’a province are now occupied by Iran and Hezbollah’s militias. In response to the rebels’ progress, Assad’s air force conducted several air strikes on the outskirts of the town and the nearby towns, demolishing a field hospital in Maa’raba.

Al Jbawi pointed out that Iran no longer shies away from announcing they occupy part of Syria’s territory, confirming that rebel fighters captured a number of Iranian mercenaries and of other nationalities.

Vice-President Hisham Marwa hails the “heroic fight put up by the FSA against the regime’s terror and the Iranian invasion of Syria, especially in Dara’a, Eastern Ghouta and Aleppo.”

“The FSA fighters have repelled successive attacks led by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps in Dara’a, northern Aleppo and Eastern Ghouta over the past few days and killed and captured hundreds of invading forces. Motivated by unshakeable faith in the cause they fight for, they have demonstrated tremendous courage and steely determination though under-resourced and outgunned,” Marwa added.

(Source: Syrian Coalition / 24.03.2015)

Written by altahrir

March 24, 2015 at 9:33 pm

Posted in Revolution Syria

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Hamdallah visits Gaza, Hamas asks for practical solutions

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GAZA, (PIC)– Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, called on the Palestinian Prime Minister Rami al-Hamdallah to offer practical solutions to the crises rocking the blockaded Gaza Strip, noting that the Gazan people do not accept protocol visits any more.

Hamdallah is expected to visit the Israeli-besieged Gaza Strip on Wednesday to discuss many issues including the issue of unpaid civil servants and the reconstruction file, both of which have recently been addressed by Swiss and Qatari delegations.

Hamas spokesman Dr. Sami Abu Zuhri opined that the success of Hamdallah’s visit depends on the political willingness and halting the Palestinian unity government’s policy of discrimination and marginalization against Gaza.

Abu Zuhri said, in a press statement on Tuesday, “If this visit does not offer real solutions to the crises, we are afraid it will have negative results”.

For his part, MP Yahya al-Abadseh, Deputy for Hamas in the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), called on Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas to come to Gaza Strip and lead the Palestinian Authority from Gaza on the basis of the protection of the Palestinian constants and the resistance approach.

Abadseh told the PIC reporter, in an exclusive statement on Tuesday, “We cannot judge the seriousness of the Palestinian Authority’s new move whether it is a political willingness or just a new maneuver”.

The Palestinian MP Abadseh also said “We do not need new negotiations; we need immediate enforcement of what have been approved”.

(Source / 24.03.2015)

Written by altahrir

March 24, 2015 at 8:40 pm

Posted in Revolution Palestine

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Nusra Front quietly rises in Syria as Islamic State targeted

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Protesters hold the Jabhat al-Nusra flag during a demonstration against Syrian President Bashar Assad in Idlib province, northern Syria, in March 2013. The Nusra Front, Syria’s al-Qaida affiliate, is consolidating power in territory stretching from the Turkish border to central and southern Syria, crushing moderate opponents and forcibly converting minorities using tactics akin to its ultraconservative rival, the Islamic State group

BEIRUT — The Nusra Front, Syria’s al-Qaida affiliate, is consolidating power in territory stretching from the Turkish border to central and southern Syria, crushing moderate opponents and forcibly converting minorities using tactics akin to its ultraconservative rival, the Islamic State group.

But while the Islamic State group gets most of the attention largely because its penchant for gruesome propaganda, the Nusra Front quietly has become one of the key players in the four-year civil war, compromising other rebel groups the West may try to work with while increasingly enforcing its own brutal version of Islamic law.

Its scope of influence now abuts the Golan Heights bordering Israel, and its membership largely composed of Syrian nationals refuse any negotiations with the government of embattled President Bashar Assad, further complicating the brutal conflict.

“The Nusra Front will most likely outlast ISIS in Syria, and will represent a severe and existential threat to the aspirations of the Syrian people in terms of a pluralistic, democratic society,” said Fawaz A. Gerges, director of the Middle East Center at the London School of Economics, using an alternate acronym for the extremist group.

The Islamic State group helped create the Nusra Front, providing financing, manpower and military hardware in 2012. But the group and its patron eventually had a falling out in 2013 for ideological as well as strategic reasons. The Nusra Front, while loyal to al-Qaida, has cooperated with other Syrian rebel factions in the fight to oust Assad.

In recent months, the group has overrun rebel strongholds in Syria’s Idlib province, trouncing two prominent, U.S.-backed rebel factions, Harakat Hazm and the Syria Revolutionaries Front. Following the deadly clashes, SRF leader Jamal Maarouf fled to Turkey and Hazm announced it was dissolving.

A Middle East-based Western diplomat said the Nusra Front began its attacks on moderate, U.S.-backed rebel factions after the American-led coalition began airstrikes in September targeting both the Islamic State group and the Khorasan group, which Washington says is a special cell within Nusra plotting attacks against Western interests. U.S. officials last week said airstrikes have hit as many as 17 separate targets connected to the Khorasan group.

The Nusra Front responded with a series of spectacular attacks targeting moderate rebel groups and forces loyal to Assad in northwestern Syria, the diplomat said.

It “has now created coherent control of a strategic area between Idlib and Hama (provinces) in northwestern and central Syria,” said the diplomat, who spoke on condition of anonymity as he wasn’t authorized to brief journalists.

At the same time, the group has become increasingly aggressive toward local populations. In January, members of the group reportedly shot a woman dead in front of a crowd in Idlib after they accused her of being a prostitute. The group also has carried out public lashings, crucifixions and kidnappings — though it has not publicized the atrocities like the Islamic State group.

Activists in southern Syria say the Nusra Front was behind the January bombing that destroyed the shrine of a 13th century Muslim scholar. The Nusra Front issued a statement denying it was involved but activists say its members were seen placing the bombs.

“They’re trying to come across as rational, moderate, more dynamic,” Gerges said. “They don’t celebrate savagery in the same way like the Islamic State group.”

Residents say among the group’s most worrisome action so far is forcing members of the minority Druze sect living in Idlib’s Jabal al-Summaq region to convert to Sunni Islam.

The Druze, a 10th century offshoot of Shiite Islam, made up about 5 percent of Syria’s prewar population of 23 million people. In addition to Syria, Lebanon and Israel have large Druze communities.

“The Druze in Idlib are being subjected today to religious persecution. The Nusra Front carried out shameful acts. They have dug graves and damaged shrines,” said former Lebanese Cabinet minister Wiam Wahhab, a Druze politician with close ties to the community in Syria.

Activists estimate several hundred Druze have been forced to convert. A purported Nusra Front document, posted online and dated Feb. 1, outlined an agreement that saw Druze in 14 villages in Idlib convert. Under the deal, the Druze will implement Islamic laws, destroy tombs, impose Islamic dress on women and stop having mixed-sex schools. Idlib-based activist Asaad Kanjo said many Druze there have fled.

“You are likely to see this sort of behavior from Nusra in Idlib province because they are increasingly the dominant party in this part of Syria, and are in the midst of a concerted effort to eliminate rivals there,” said Faysal Itani, a resident fellow at the Atlantic Council. “Nusra ultimately wants to rule Syria.”

An opposition activist in Kafranbel, a town in Idlib, said the group has established an elaborate network of social services and Shariah courts and rules uncontested. Remaining rebel groups in the province operate only with Nusra’s approval, he said.

However, the group’s increasingly belligerent approach toward other rebel groups is starting to alienate former allies, said the activist, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals.

The main Western-backed Syrian group, the Syrian National Coalition, which in the past has been wary not to criticize Nusra, has changed its tune.

“We are concerned over Al Nusra’s latest actions and abuses against civilians and (Free Syrian Army) fighters,” said spokesman Salem al-Meslet, adding that the abuses were akin to the Islamic State group and Syrian government forces’ “criminal behavior.”

The criticism has led the Nusra Front to issue a rare statement defending itself, saying its target are only those proven to have committed “crimes” against Muslims and fighters.

“It was not our intention on any day to spread influence and expand and control the worshippers and the country,” the statement from its Al-Manara Al-Bayda media arm said. “Rather, our goal and aim is to lift injustice from the oppressed, and push away every enemy that attacks the honor, religion, and sanctities of the Muslims.”

(Source / 24.03.2015)

Written by altahrir

March 24, 2015 at 8:33 pm

Posted in Revolution Syria

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Protests widen ahead of 3rd hearing for opposition leader

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Bahrain is continuing to see nonstop protests ahead of the 3rd hearing for the opposition leader Sheikh Ali Salman, Secretary General of Al Wefaq National Islamic Society. The hearing is to be held on the 25th of March 2015. Salman is detained for his calls for political rights, democracy and justice.

The protests marched several areas in the country, raising pictures of Sheikh Ali Salman on the 86thday of his detention since 28th December 2014. The protesters also chanted slogans expressing anger over the regime’s intensifying repression while shutting doors for political solution.

The protests continue to widen as the Jaw prison inmates are suffering from ongoing torture and mistreatment.

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(Source / 24.03.2015)

Written by altahrir

March 24, 2015 at 8:02 pm

Posted in Revolution Bahrein

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Palestinian students call on Sussex University students to vote for BDS

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The Secretariat of Student Unions and Blocs in the Gaza Strip, a coordination of 12 student unions in Gaza, and the Palestinian Students Campaign for the Academic Boycott of Israel‎, a Gaza based student group, are writing to strongly urge students at the University of Sussex to vote in favor of boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) during the upcoming student union referendum.

Israel’s regime of occupation, colonialism and apartheid policies has enormous impacts on our right to education and on Palestinian youth in general. Israel’s recent military assault on Gaza killed more than 2,168 Palestinians and injured over 10,895 people, and also destroyed many university buildings, schools, and other educational buildings. Restrictions on the freedom of movement and Israel’s brutal military occupation presents numerous challenges for Palestinian students in the West Bank. Palestinian students living inside Israel face discrimination at the hands of the Israeli universities at which they study. Israel’s control of borders makes it incredibly difficult for Palestinian students to take up offers to study overseas, especially for Palestinians living in Gaza, who are not allowed even to study at the universities of West Bank.

Support for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) is one of the most important steps that student unions internationally can take to stand with us in our struggle for our right to education and for freedom and justice.

By deciding not to sell Israeli products in student union shops, and by campaigning against European companies such as Veolia that help Israel to maintain its apartheid system, Sussex student union would be taking practical steps in solidarity with Palestinian students and youth, and making important contributions to efforts to end international support for Israel’s crimes.

As Palestinian student unions, we reject attempts by those that seek to defend Israel’s crimes to present their opposition to BDS as ‘progressive’ or based on ‘protecting the interests of Palestinians’. These attempts to undermine effective solidarity, including those that seek to promote the voices of those very few individual Palestinians that oppose BDS as somehow representative, are colonial in nature in that they seek to silence the voice of the overwhelming majority of Palestinian student unions and civil society as a whole, which is clear and unambiguous in its support for BDS.

We also wish to express our admiration and respect for student campaigners at the University of Sussex who have done so much to support BDS. When Sussex student union voted to boycott Israeli goods in 2009, it was one of the first student unions in the UK to do so. We hope that the student union at Sussex will continue to stand alongside the National Union of Students and the more than 20 other individual UK student unions that also support BDS and our struggle for freedom, justice and equality.

(Source / 23.03.2015)

Written by altahrir

March 23, 2015 at 10:31 pm

Posted in Revolution Palestine

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Hamas marks 11th anniversary of founder assassination

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Israeli aircraft targeted Sheikh Yassin while on his wheelchair returning home from the mosque nearby to his home

Palestinian Resistance Movement Hamas marked on Sunday the 11th anniversary of Israeli assassination of its founder Sheikh Ahmed Yassin.

Sheikh Yassin, who had been confined to a wheelchair since the age of 12, was killed on March 22, 2004, when an Israeli aircraft struck his wheelchair while returning home after dawn prayer

Days of Palestine, Gaza Strip –Palestinian Resistance Movement Hamas marked on Sunday the 11th anniversary of Israeli assassination of its founder Sheikh Ahmed Yassin.

Hamas organised several activities to mark the occasion, most prominently was the launch of the movement’s official website from inside the humble house of the late Hamas leader in Gaza City.

“Our movement remains committed to the ideas of its founder, which preached openness towards the Arab and Islamic spheres,” Deputy Hamas Chief Ismail Haniyeh said at a speech marking the occasion.

Sheikh Yassin and a group of Muslim Brotherhood leaders in the Gaza Strip formed Hamas in 1987 at the beginning of the first Intifada, or Palestinian uprising, against the Israeli occupation.

The movement’s influence spread in the West Bank and Gaza due to its wide network of welfare activities and strong involvement in resisting the Israeli occupation.

Hamas founder was arrested by the Israeli occupation in 1983 on charges of weapons possession, founding a secret militia and calling for the elimination of the state of ‘Israel.’ So, he was sentenced to 13 years in prison.

Two years later, he was released in a prisoner exchange deal between the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the Israeli occupation.

He was arrested again in 1989 and condemned to life in prison and an additional 15-year prison sentence for inciting the capture and killing of Israeli soldiers and founding Hamas.

In 1997, the Hamas leader was once again released in another prisoner exchange deal between Jordan and the Israeli occupation, after the failed assassination attempt of Hamas political bureau chief Khaled Mesh’al in Jordanian capital Amman.

Sheikh Yassin, who had been confined to a wheelchair since the age of 12, was killed on March 22, 2004, when an Israeli aircraft struck his wheelchair while returning from the mosque after the dawn prayer.

Even after 11 years have lapsed since his passing, Sheikh Yassin’s family has kept his belongings in place and transformed his humble house into a museum after moving to live in an nearby house.

Dozens of Palestinian, Arab and Islamic delegations have visited Sheikh Yassin’s house over the past years, including Mesh’al, who visited the Gaza Strip in late 2012.

(Source / 23.03.2015)

Written by altahrir

March 23, 2015 at 10:17 pm

Posted in Revolution Palestine

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Life in Gaza: The Nassir family on living for seven months with an unexploded Israeli bomb in their home

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‘A lot of people said we were irresponsible,’ says civil servant Fadel Nassir. ‘But what choice did we have but to live with the bomb?’

When the Nassir family were finally rid of an unwanted household item they had been stuck with for more than seven months, there were huge cheers and bursts of music. The unexploded bomb, 10ft long, weighing more than a ton, and delivered by an Israeli warplane, had been the talk of Gaza’s Beit Hanoun neighbourhood.

The family was one of 40 households in Gaza sharing their residence with explosive devices because they had nowhere else to live. There has been little or no reconstruction following last summer’s war. Some of the schools that had become places of refuge have been returned to the education system, the others still housing the homeless, are full. Meanwhile, the cost of what properties are still available for renting has risen by more than 200 per cent.

There are 18 members of the extended Nassir family, ranging in age from a two-year-old girl to a grandfather of 64, living in the house with a massive, jagged hole in the floor of the front room. That there is no longer something ticking away underneath the floor is a huge relief to those in the surrounding houses as well as the Nassirs.

Private bomb disposal expert Ahmed Miat stands next to the giant unexploded device he removed from the Nassir family’s homePrivate bomb disposal expert Ahmed Miat stands next to the giant unexploded device he removed from the Nassir family’s home

“When we moved back here last August there were a lot of people who were accusing us of being irresponsible, but I asked them what they suggested we did instead, where do we stay?” recalled Fadel Nassir, 41. The civil servant who is employed by Fatah, cannot work in Hamas-run Gaza, although he still draws a salary. But, after paying off debts it amounts to $350 (£235) a month. “Apartments which would have cost $150 or $200 a month before the war are now more than $ 600 and even then they are very small,” he said.

BRITISH STREET ARTIST BANKSY HAS BEEN MAKING HIS MARK ON THE MIDDLE EAST

Banksy in Gaza

“Of course, we have been worried [about the bomb] all the time. We went to the authorities many times and eventually they sent us to Ahmed, who is an expert in these things.”

Ahmed Miat, whose team extracted the bomb, said at first that he had gained his expertise in Germany. Later he expanded that he had, in fact, undertaken a short general engineering course there and was self-taught in bomb-disposal, largely from the internet. He had, he said,  already made two households safe from ordnance and had a waiting list of others in Gaza.

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Each project costs Mr Miat $5,000, with the salaries of his 18 men and the expense of hiring equipment. This money comes out of his own pocket. Israeli air strikes destroyed his tarmacking factory in Shujaiya last July, with losses of $250,000.

He said: “I have got other money left and if I need to spend it helping other people then I shall while it lasts. The ministry here sometimes lends us bulldozers and sometimes men who are supposed to supervise us. I have asked the UN for help, but heard nothing back.

Ahmed Miat, whose team extracted the bomb, gained his bomb disposal expertise in Germany

Ahmed Miat, whose team extracted the bomb, gained his bomb disposal expertise in Germany

“It took us 13 days to build a tunnel under this house with supports to drag out the bomb. It will take us another three weeks to make the structure safe so the house doesn’t collapse. This is important engineering.”

Al-Aqsa TV, run by Hamas, had wanted to film the explosive device being removed from the Nassir residence, but Mr Miat had refused to let them. “If they did that, Hamas would then claim the credit. Why should they be allowed to do that when they have done so little to help?”

More than 100,000 homes were destroyed or badly damaged during the war and around 40,000 people are still believed to be homeless. A reconstruction programme has started under the auspices of the UN, the Israelis and Fatah, and the international community pledged $5.4bn in aid. But less than 3.9 per cent of the material needed for rebuilding has got through. The Israelis maintain that without adequate security checks, the material could be used for military purpose. Fatah blames Hamas for refusing to relinquish security control of the border. Hamas says the Israelis have been deliberately keeping the residents of Gaza in destitution and Fatah has, it says, been playing politics with the lives of Palestinians. All three complain about UN bureaucracy.

The unexploded bombs are the product of Israeli air strikes on Gaza City last summer (AFP)

The unexploded bombs are the product of Israeli air strikes on Gaza City last summer 

The Abu-Ajwa family are waiting for cement to replace the walls in their home in Nuseirat damaged by tank shells. But their deeper concern is similar to the Nassirs; buried ordnance, in their case, in the garden. It arrived in July, at around the same time that an F-16 strike pulverised a nearby house killing a 37-year-old cousin, Riad al-Shakuti, and severely injuring his one-year-old boy.

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The hole in which the bomb is sitting was filled-in 10 days ago in preparation for the wedding of a member of the family, Mohammed Abu-Ajwa, with more than 800 guests, some of whom were in the garden. “Of course we could not tell them about the bomb, they would not have come. Only the very close relations knew,” another member of the family,  30-year-old Fahdi, admitted, sitting in the garden four feet from the hole.

The 24 members of the extended Abu-Ajwa family came home after the air strike after spending three days with an aunt. “We have just one brother who is employed, he is salvaging scrap from bombed places, but he only gets $300 a month, an uncle paid everything for the wedding,” Fahdi said. “I had 10 cows and we used to sell milk, but we found them dead when we returned home. We are now waiting for Ahmed to get the bomb out.” Mr Miat said it would be at least three weeks before that happened. “I am finding it very difficult, I need to raise more money,” he said. “I thought I would rebuild my factory, but there’s no point, there’ll be another war soon.”

(Source / 23.03.2015)

Written by altahrir

March 23, 2015 at 10:13 pm

Posted in Revolution Palestine

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