Archive for the ‘Revolution’ Category
“While Western countries and representatives of various international organizations were vocal about the need to make humanitarian deliveries to eastern Aleppo possible when it was fully under rebel control, they seem to have lost interest in helping the stricken residents now that they’ve been liberated by government forces,” Russian Defense Ministry spokesman General Igor Konashenkov said on Wednesday.
“In the last few weeks, they [Western countries] were insistently demanding that humanitarian convoys be ensured access to the rebel-held parts of eastern Aleppo. However, now, two days since over 90,000 Aleppo residents were liberated from the terrorists, it turns out that not a single offer to provide humanitarian help to them has been submitted either by the office of UN special envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura, or the UK, the French foreign ministries, or the US State Department,” Konashenkov elaborated, adding that nothing is preventing aid deliveries at the moment.
Konashenkov says the apparent reluctance of Western governments to provide aid to East Aleppo’s recently liberated residents now that it’s actually possible to deliver it suggests that those powers weren’t really concerned about those supplies reaching the civilian population in the first place.
“Apparently, this aid was intended for some other people living in the eastern Aleppo neighborhoods,” he said, implying that it had really been meant for the militants fighting the Syrian government there.
In the meantime, Syria’s Russian-backed military operation in eastern Aleppo is in full swing, with scores of civilians flooding into government-controlled parts of the city from rebel-held areas.
On Wednesday, 5,629 civilians, including 2,855 children, fled rebel-controlled neighborhoods for parts of the city that have been freed by Syrian forces, Konashenkov said.
All received shelter in humanitarian centers specially set up by the authorities to accommodate them. Some 150 field kitchens have been dishing out much-needed hot meals.
On Tuesday, Konashenkov called the advances made by the Syrian army this week “a radical breakthrough,” adding that half of the territory previously controlled by the militants in eastern Aleppo has now been freed, paving the way for the liberation of over 80,000 Syrians, who have been suffering from food shortages and a lack of adequate medical care.
Due to the tremendous success of the large-scale operation, the militants have been losing control of the situation and been unable to use civilians as living shields to hinder airstrikes as in the past. Terrorists groups such as Al-Nusra Front went to great lengths to prevent civilians from leaving via humanitarian corridors, shooting at them if they attempted to flee and threatening those remaining with execution if they should try.
(Source / 03.12.2016)
Abdel Razzaq Jalal, who was detained by ISIS speaks during an interview with Reuters in Fadiliyah, Iraq, November 30, 2016
Mosul- Ihsan Ismail, 18, fled his village of Abu Jarbua east of Mosul an hour before his parents and little sister Nurhan were able to leave.
He was taken to a camp at Khazir but his family was at another camp.
In nearly all of the camps set up to house the displaced, residents are forbidden from leaving and in some cases have had their mobile phones and identity cards confiscated.
“It’s been a month like this… I miss them very much,” Ismail said. “All I’m asking for is to rejoin them. What’s the difference? … A camp is a camp.”
Human Rights Watch has raised concerns about the restrictions being put on those forced from their homes, known as Internally Displaced Persons, or IDPs.
As a result of the restrictions, Ismail has since only been able to speak to his family twice.
“In the camps under Iraqi federal control, IDPs have no free movement at all, unless authorities decide to transfer them or send them back home,” said Belkis Wille, HRW’s senior Iraq researcher.
The situation is almost the same in camps controlled by Kurdish forces, with a few exceptions, like in the Debaga camp south of Mosul where the displaced are allowed to go to the neighboring village if they leave behind a piece of identification, she said.
Other internally displaced people also speak of their suffering.
Fawaz Khaled, a 42-year-old father of nine, said he and his two brothers also fled Abu Jarbua when Kurdish forces moved in to drive out ISIS jihadists.
After arriving at a peshmerga checkpoint they were taken to Khazir and told their families would join them. They were instead taken to another camp, at Qimawa.
“We are in this situation since October 28 and nobody is listening to us,” Khaled said, sipping tea in a tent at Khazir.
When asked by Agence France Presse, security officials said the measures are needed to ensure the jihadists do not infiltrate the camps that have sprung up around Mosul to house the displaced.
Shaima Ismail has not seen her two oldest boys since she also fled Abu Jarbua with her four children.
When they arrived at the peshmerga checkpoint, Mahmud, 16, and three-year-old Amani were allowed to stay with her in Khazir.
But Ahmad, 21, and Mohammed, 20, were taken to the Qimawa camp.
“I have begged them to bring me to my children, or to let them come here, but nobody will give me an answer,” she said.
Her boys call just once a week, afraid that camp officials will discover their mobile phone.
“They tell me they are doing OK and then hang up,” she said. “The worry is eating away at me.”
Abdel Razzaq Jalal paused, visibly traumatized, as he told how ISIS militants tortured him in a Mosul prison to force him to say he was a spy. “I never confessed. I knew the punishment would be death,” he said.
The ultra-hardline group arrested the 39-year-old in his village near Mosul earlier this year, accusing him of spying for Kurdish forces.
After six nights and seven days of beatings, abuse and death threats, he says the militants let him go, after an ISIS judge ruled there was not enough evidence to sentence him.
Jalal was lucky to escape with his life. ISIS has executed scores of people it accused of spying in Mosul in recent weeks alone, as U.S.-backed Iraqi forces push further into its city stronghold.
He knew it could have been worse. The fate of several fellow villagers from Fadiliya, a few kilometers northeast of Mosul, and of many others arrested elsewhere during ISIS’ more than two-year rule, remains unknown.
While the physical scars faded – Jalal showed months-old pictures on his phone of bruises and cuts all over his body – the ordeal remains etched in his memory.
“They hung me upside down from my feet and beat me for two hours. That was on the first night,” Jalal said.
“They used cables, wooden sticks, and one of them – there were three or four – pistol-whipped me repeatedly on my head.”
The militants, all from Mosul’s surrounding areas, tried to make him confess to spying for Kurdish peshmerga forces who had been fighting against ISIS, he said.
When he refused, they stepped up the abuse and threats.
“The second day, they lay me flat on my stomach with my hands tied behind my back. One man stood on my legs, another on my head, and they began raising my arms. I thought my chest was going to break.”
Before he was tried, the militants put him into an orange jumpsuit – the clothing in which ISIS often kills its victims – and told him he would be sentenced to death by decapitation.
Two of his more than 40 cell mates were killed that way, he said, after they confessed under duress to directing air strikes against ISIS militants. Reuters was not able to independently verify his account.
(Source / 02.12.2016)
Egypt’s interim Vice President Mohamed ElBaradei speaks during a news conference with European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton (unseen) at the presidential palace in Cairo, July 30, 2013
Former Egyptian interim Vice President Mohamed ElBaradei stunned everyone, supporters and opponents alike, with the statements he made on the events that took place behind the scenes surrounding the ouster of former President Mohammed Morsi on July 3, 2013, and the forceful breakup of the Rabia al-Adawiya protest on Aug. 14, 2013.
In a first statement published Nov. 1, ElBaradei revealed controversial details on a meeting that had taken place on July 3, 2013, between the armed forces and then-Defense Minister Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on the one hand, and political forces, the pope of Alexandria and patriarch of the Coptic Orthodox Church, Pope Tawadros II, and Al-Azhar Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb on the other. During the meeting, Sisi detailed the road map and Morsi’s ouster.
ElBaradei’s statement included several points, most notably that at the start of the meeting, he was surprised that Morsi had been detained already that morning by the armed forces without any prior knowledge of the national forces. This was the reason Mohamed Saad el-Katatni, the head of the Freedom and Justice Party, the Muslim Brotherhood’s political arm, had decided not to attend the meeting.
ElBaradei said, “The available options became quite limited. And of course, there was no longer the option of holding a referendum on early elections.” He also said that he had refused categorically during the 2013 meeting, which he had attended, the break-up of the protests in Rabia al-Adawiya and al-Nahda squares.
In the same statement, ElBaradei talked about political solutions the state and the Muslim Brotherhood were about to agree on back then — solutions that could have saved the country from drifting into a vicious circle of violence and division.
ElBaradei’s statement stirred a debate among most Egyptian parties, whether elements of the Muslim Brotherhood or supporters of the ruling regime. Journalist Sakina Fouad had participated in the July 3 meeting, where the participants were informed of Morsi’s detention.
Fouad said in a press statement Nov. 1, “What I understood [during the meeting] was that there were some reservations because the situation was inflamed and the risks were many. The people were very agitated. There was so much concern that one question was being repeatedly asked: Is there fear that the army might support the will of the people? The situation was very dangerous. But what I do know is that the meeting’s statement was not issued until after the Muslim Brotherhood had rejected categorically resorting to the will of the people.”
In his second statement issued Nov. 14, ElBaradei revealed that he had received threats from some figures, which he did not name, that if he proceeded with his efforts to end the protest peacefully or via the national reconciliation formula, he would be destroyed.
The third statement issued Nov. 15 came in response to the accusations made by the media and some supporters of the ruling regime against ElBaradei saying his last two statements serve the Muslim Brotherhood and their battle against the current regime.
During his term as interim vice president, ElBaradei tried to prevent the dispersal of the Rabia al-Adawiya and al-Nahda protests by proposing solutions to bring the state and the Muslim Brotherhood closer. Before the ouster of Morsi, ElBaradei headed the National Salvation Front, which opposed the Brotherhood’s rule and called for protests against Morsi. He then assumed the position of vice president of the republic on July 9, 2013. But following disputes with the ruling regime about the dispersal of the Rabia al-Adawiya protests, ElBaradei resigned on Aug. 14, 2013.
The spokesman for the Democratic Alliance, Khalid Dawood, defended ElBaradei’s recent statements, saying in a blog post Nov. 2, “ElBaradei was head of the National Salvation Front that overthrew Morsi, and this is the biggest proof that his statement is not in the Muslim Brotherhood’s interest.”
The head of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood overseas office, Ahmed Abdel-Rahman, called Nov. 3 on the law firm representing the group and the party in London to communicate with ElBaradei and to ask for his testimony in order to include it in the lawsuits submitted in European and international courts.
ElBaradei has great influence and a good reputation in international circles. His statements raised questions on how much they would impact the ruling regime in Egypt internationally. Will they weaken its legitimacy? How will they impact the balance of power between the parties to the conflict: the Muslim Brotherhood and the ruling regime?
In exclusive statements to Al-Monitor, Hassan Nafaa, a political science professor at Cairo University, said that ElBaradei’s statements will not have a great impact abroad because Western countries know that his popularity in Egypt is not great and that he no longer affects the events in Egypt as he did in the past.
Nafaa noted that he used to be “very close to ElBaradei before the January 25 Revolution. When the National Assembly for Change received ElBaradei at the time, he had a chance to lead the change process. But he did not take advantage of the opportunity. And when he became vice president of the republic he had the opportunity to lead the young people, but he wasted it. ElBaradei’s first statement — in which he revealed what happened in the July 3 meeting — was aimed at clearing his name in front of the Western and political powers about his role in the so-called July 3 coup, and so that he does not get implicated in the detention of a legitimate president. But there is evidence that his statement lacks some truth. Over his [almost] two-month tenure as vice president, he did not object to the detention of former President Morsi.”
Regarding the impact of ElBaradei’s statements in the battle between the Muslim Brotherhood and the regime, Nafaa said, “The Brotherhood will exploit ElBaradei’s statements abroad and will emphasize to the West that what happened in Egypt was a coup, not a revolution. Perhaps the Brotherhood is trying to unify the political forces around ElBaradei’s statement, but this move is unlikely to succeed due to the division and mistrust among all parties. Even ElBaradei no longer enjoys the trust of the Muslim Brotherhood or the political elite — something that is well understood by the West.”
(Source / 02.12.2016)
Alwaght- The Yemen Supreme Political Council in its emergency meeting on Monday in the capital Sana’a announced the members of national salvation government.
Al Masirah TV of Yemen which is close to Ansarullah movement has confirmed that a national salvation government was formed, adding that the government came to birth in an emergency meeting of members of the Supreme Political Council led by Saleh Ali Sammad. The SPC decided that Abdul Aziz bin Habtoor will lead the newly-formed government.
After announcement of formation of the new government, the head and other members of the SPC emphasized that the national salvation government was all-encompassing, continuing that it had the duty of sorting out the domestic conditions and also tackling a heavy economic, military, and political blockade imposed on the country by the “enemy”, in a reference to the Saudi-led Arab coalition that has held all-out siege in place on Yemen for more than one and half a year.
“The new government has managed to come to existence according to a national solution based on a national participation to avoid more bloodshed in the country and in shadow of aggression of the enemy and its mercenaries,” the SPC’s statement read.
SPC’s statement added: “this government will try to make peace and pave the way for national reconciliation by taking advantage of a national amnesty, and we hold the enemy accountable for any further aggression and marring the political settlement of the conflict.”
The Prime Minister of the national salvation cabinet Abdul Aziz bin Habtoor has thanked the chief of SPC and other members for “doing all they could” to form the government. PM bin Habtoor reiterated his cabinet’s commitment to meeting all of demands of the Yemeni people and finding proper solutions for problems deriving from the “brutal” Saudi aggression against Yemen.
While the country has been victim of a daily war and heavy bombing by the Saudi-led Arab military coalition for nearly two years, what messages could a national salvation government in Sana’a send? Will the new government succeed in getting the country on the track of a settlement to the devastating crisis?
Four features in the government can support the argument that formation of the government can mark a considerable step to put an end to the humanitarian crisis and conflict in Yemen.
1. Wide-ranging national consensus in support of the national salvation government
The national salvation government, or as some call it national unity government, is formed in a situation that there is a comprehensive agreement between different Yemeni groups on the necessity of forming a government to deal with the current chaotic conditions. Domestically, the government was formed in compliance with an agreement announced by the head of SPC that emphasized on government formation and releasing names of its ministers. The accord was signed on July 28, 2016 between Ansarullah movement and General People’s Congress and prepared the ground for forming Yemen’s Supreme Political Council. Signing the agreement at that time drew a nationwide welcome and acceptance, including in Sana’a where people held a million rally to display backing for the new administrative body and its head Saleh Ali al-Sammad. Forming the government is actually an earlier pledge by the SPC that has a strong popular support. Furthermore, the SPC enjoys a special backing from the Sana’a-based political parties and groups and so it carries the potentials to win consensus of all political sides through this national unity government. Therefore, it can be suggested that since popular uprising in 2011, the Habtoor-led government has won the widest range of political and popular support. Such a vast popularity will give the government the chance to get support from the parliament. The parliament is set to hold a special session to discuss votes of confidence to the proposed cabinet ministers in line with the country’s constitution in a bid to officialize it for garnering the largest political and legal upholding at home and abroad.
2. Holding strategy and road map
Besides announcing the national salvation government, the goals behind its formation were declared. It is set to deal with the domestic problems and counter the economic, military, and political blockade and, according to the SPC, the government will flatten the road for peace and national reconciliation in compliance with a public amnesty. The experts suggest if the government manages to achieve its announced objectives, particularly in economy, it will naturally add to its domestic legitimacy, something that will firm up its position at home and beyond the national borders.
3. Official and organized support of resistance to Saudi-led invasion
In addition to economic and administrative tasks, the national salvation government is commissioned with dealing with the illegal and inhuman Saudi aggression against Yemen. Actually, facing the Arab coalition’s offensive is an essential aim of the government that motivates the internal political groups to offer support for it. The SPC in its statement called formation of the government as a step forward to stop further bloodshed in the shadow of the hostile and mercenary assaults, as at the same time it blames Saudi Arabia and its allies for further hostilities and a possible push of the political solution to a dead end. In fact, the new government will be allowed to take legal actions against the Saudi invasion of Yemen, as at the same time the aggressors from now have to face a legal government in Yemen.
4. Gaining international legitimacy for pursuing Yemenis’ interests through international organizations
On the other side, the national unity government is formed in accordance with the international law, something doubling the validity of PM Habtoor’s government. According to the UN Chapter 7, national salvation government can be formed in countries suffering from political disorder and war. The international law supports this government to do its necessary task of settling domestic crises through seeking peaceful solutions and also protecting security of the neighboring countries and supporting the international stability and peace in general. According to the international law, the national salvation governments are rays of hope in different countries to rid the nations of political and social crises. This clear UN demand for formation of government in the time of crisis along with nationwide support for the new Yemeni cabinet will introduce the national salvation government of Yemen as a valid representative of the Yemenis in international organizations. It is supposed to seek Yemeni people’s rights and build international pressures on Riyadh to end nearly 20 months of war-caused crisis in the country.
Although the national salvation government can open a window of hope for stemming humanitarian crisis in the war-torn Yemen and pushing for halting the Saudi-led Arab military coalition‘s aggression against the country, due to the deteriorated security conditions resulting from war as well as the economic blockade it will not have an easy job of sorting out the country’s conditions, though there is a lot of hope to save Yemen if the government is strengthened and allowed to continue its work.
(Source / 02.12.2016)
Civilians in regime-besieged neighborhoods of eastern Aleppo have faced severe bread shortages since Saturday after airstrikes forced all bakeries to close down. Local activists said that tens of thousands of civilians have been displaced as a result of the ongoing onslaught by the Assad regime and Russian forces as well as the Iranian-backed foreign militias.
The Syrian civil defense corps said that over 750 civilians have been killed in Aleppo in over 2,000 airstrikes and 7,000 artillery shells on the city and its countryside since November 15. The victims included at least 70 civilians who were killed in airstrikes while trying to flee the eastern neighborhoods. Regime forces have detained at least 200 civilians who fled to the regime-held parts of the city, the civil defense added.
“Only three bakeries are still functioning to meet the needs of thousands of city residents,” said Najib Ansari, a civil defense official based in Aleppo. “The bakeries don’t have the capacity to meet the needs of civilians in eastern Aleppo,” he added. “Few local residents are able to benefit from their services.”
“Most other bakeries have been bombed or have had to shut down due to an acute lack of baking flour,” Ansari added. “The only three bakeries remaining were supposed to have distributed bread on Saturday, but failed to do so due to intense airstrikes.”
“Not a single loaf of bread has been baked in the last five days,” he added.
Civil defense official Baybars Meshaal said that nearly 50,000 people have been displaced inside Aleppo over the past three days, adding that the residents of eastern Aleppo live in constant panic due to the relentless bombardment on the rebel-held areas.
President of the Syrian Coalition Anas Abdah on Wednesday sent a letter to the 15-member group of friends of the Syrian people as well as to international and regional organizations to press for stopping the brutal bombing campaign by the Assad regime and Russian air forces.
Abdah called for urgent action to save the people of Aleppo from the ongoing genocide. He warned of an unprecedented humanitarian disaster having serious political, humanitarian consequences for the Syrian people and the peoples of the region.
(Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Office + Anadolu Agency / 02.12.2016)
Including 1099 at the Hands of the Syrian and Russian Regime
SNHR has published its periodic death toll report for the month of November 2016 in which it documented the killing of 1402 civilians at the hands of the main influential parties in Syria.
The report notes that SNHR team encounters difficulties in documenting victims from armed opposition factions as many of those victims are killed on battlefronts and not inside cities. Also, we aren’t able to obtain details such as names, pictures and other important details on account of the armed opposition forces’ unwillingness to reveal such information for security concerns among other reasons. Therefore, the actual number of victims is much greater than what is being recorded.
On the other side, the report affirms that it is almost impossible to access information about victims from government forces or from ISIS and the margin of error is considerably higher due to the lack of any applicable methodology in this type of documentation. The Syrian government and ISIS don’t publish, reveal, or record their victims. From our perspective, the statistics published by some groups on this category of victims are fictitious and are not based on any actual data.
Therefore, the report only incudes civilian victims who were killed by all parties and compare them.
The report breaks down the death toll of November 2016 where government forces killed 741 civilians including 201 children (seven children are killed every day) and 152 women in addition to 48 civilians who died due to torture
Out of the total number of civilian victim, 48% were children and women which is an explicit indicator on the deliberate targeting of civilians by the government forces.
The report notes that forces we believe are Russian killed 358 civilians including 109 children and 57 women.
Additionally, the report documented the killing of 17 civilians, including two children and five women in addition to one civilian who died due to torture, at the hands of the Self-management forces (Primarily consisting of the Democratic Union Party forces – branch for the Kurdistan Workers’ Party)
Furthermore, the report notes that ISIS killed 70 civilians including 16 children and six women in addition to one civilian who died to torture.
The report also records that 104 civilians, including 25 children and 18 women in addition to four civilians who died due to torture, were killed by armed opposition factions.
In addition, the report records that 69 civilians, including 11 children and 14 women, were killed the international coalition forces in November.
The report documents that 43 civilians, including seven children and nine women, have either died drowning as they were fleeing by sea or in bombings that SNHR hasn’t been able to identify its perpetrators or were carried out by unidentified armed groups to SNHR.
The report emphasizes that government forces and Russian forces have violated the international human rights law which guarantees the right to life. Furthermore, evidences and proofs, according to hundreds of eyewitnesses’ accounts, suggest that 90% at least of the widespread and single attacks were directed against civilians and civil facilities.
Also, ISIS perpetrated many crimes of extrajudicial killing which constitute war crimes.
Moreover, some of the armed opposition factions committed crimes of extrajudicial killing that qualify as war crimes. Also, Self-management forces and international coalition forces have both committed war crimes that manifested in the crime of extrajudicial killing.
The report calls on the Security Council and the international community to uphold their responsibilities in relation to the crimes of killing that is being perpetrated ceaselessly and to apply pressure on the Syrian government to stop the deliberate and indiscriminate bombardment of civilians.
Finally, the report considers the Russian regime, all Shiite militias, and ISIS as foreign parties that are effectively involved in the killings and holds all of these parties and the financiers and supports of the Syrian regime legally and judicially responsible.
(Source / 01.12.2016)
President of the Syrian Coalition Anas Abdah sent a letter to the 15-member group of friends of the Syrian people as well as to international and regional organizations to press for stopping the brutal bombing campaign by the Assad regime and Russia air forces.
Abdah called for urgent action to save the people of Aleppo from the ongoing genocide as he warned of an unprecedented humanitarian disaster having serious political, humanitarian consequences for the Syrian people and the peoples of the region.
Abdah also called for effective and practical steps to ensure the lifting of sieges and alleviating the suffering of the besieged people through airdrops of aid to civilians trapped inside. Abdah also called for public condemnation of the bombing of Aleppo by Russia and the Assad regime, stressing the need to set up an international committee to prosecute those responsible and ensure that perpetrators of crimes are held to account through the referral of the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court and the provision of all means to protect civilians in accordance with international law.
Furthermore, the letter called for exerting pressure on Iran to withdraw all its militias from Syria and for condemning the crimes they are committing against Syrian civilians, most notably the mass forced displacement of the civilian population and replacing them with foreign settlers with the aim of changing the demographic, social, and cultural identity of the majority of the regime-held areas. These foreign militias must be designated as terrorist groups and their leaders must be prosecuted, the letter added.
Abdah called for pressure on Russia and its allies to ensure the full implementation of Articles 12, 13, and 14 of the UNSC resolution 2254 (2015).
Abdah also underscored that the real solution in Syria lies in the full implementation of the plan for political transition set out in the Geneva Communique of 2012 and the relevant UNSC resolutions, most importantly resolutions 2118 (2013) and 2254 (2015), as well as the establishment of a transitional governing body that transitions Syria from tyranny to democracy with the participation of all Syrian people without exception.
The letter expressed gratitude for the efforts of France in its quest to host a high-level meeting to support the Syrian people as well as its call for an urgent UN Security Council meeting to discuss the situation in Syria.
(Source: Syrian Office’s Media Office / 01.12.2016)