Archive for the ‘Syria’ Category

Original Post HERE

Members of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIS, were trained in 2012 by U.S. instructors working at a secret base in Jordan, according to informed Jordanian officials.

The officials said dozens of ISIS members were trained at the time as part of covert aid to the insurgents targeting the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Syria. The officials said the training was not meant to be used for any future campaign in Iraq.

The Jordanian officials said all ISIS members who received U.S. training to fight in Syria were first vetted for any links to extremist groups like al-Qaida.

Read the full report here WMD

CounterPsyOps

by TONY CARTALUCCI | LAND DESTROYER | JUNE 13, 2014

All roads lead to Baghdad and the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is following them all, north from Syria and Turkey to south. Reading Western headlines, two fact-deficient narratives have begun gaining traction. The first is that this constitutes a “failure” of US policy in the Middle East, an alibi as to how the US and its NATO partners should in no way be seen as complicit in the current coordinated, massive, immensely funded and heavily armed terror blitzkrieg toward Baghdad. The second is how ISIS appears to have “sprung” from the sand dunes and date trees as a nearly professional military traveling in convoys of matching Toyota trucks without explanation.

In actuality, ISIS is the product of a joint NATO-GCC conspiracy stretching back as far as 2007 where US-Saudi policymakers sought to ignite a region-wide sectarian war to…

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Syria held its first democratic presidential elections on June 3, 2014. While the US Government and it’s allies condemn the election, international observers from a wide variety of countries contradicted them. What the international observers saw on the ground across Syria was enthusiastic throngs of Syrians rushing to the polling stations setup in their areas to cast their ballot.

GRTV Documentary by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, one of the international election observers that went to watch the voting process during the Syrian Presidential elections, this is what he witnessed in the Mediterranean Syrian Coastal provinces of  Latakia and Tartus.

Nazemroaya is an award winning author, well known Geo-political analyst and sociologist.

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PN

Syrian Girl
May 13, 2014

Rebels have cut off the water supply to Aleppo, Syria’s largest city, now for the tenth day , people are drinking from dirty inner city streams with makeshift water pumps. abu Ayman an Emir of Jabhat AL Nusra AKA AlQaeda working with the “Islamic Front” formely the FSA, shut down main pumps at Slieman Halabi station. cutting off the water from western aleppo which is under the Syrian Army’s control”, apperantly they accidently cut off the water to their own areas too. I point out that the human rights organisations are ignoring this, the media is either ignoring it or lying about it.

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CounterPsyOps

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian army made major advances in Hama countryside in the Central parts of the country and regained control of strategic towns in there.

The army units took control of Al-Jadideh, Al-Malh and Al-Jamileh towns in Mohrad-Salibieh road in Northwestern Hama countryside.

Hama province in Central Syria has a population of over 2 million people and it has been the scene of fierce clashes between the Syrian army and militants in the past three years.

Also in the past 24 hours, more than 4 notorious Al-Qaeda ringleaders were killed in fierce clashes between the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) and Al-Nusra Front.

Meantime, Sami al-Aridi, one of the ringleaders of the terrorist Al-Nusra Front in Syria, raised fraud accusations against Ahmad Jarba, the president of the Syrian Opposition Coalition (SOC), saying he has stolen millions of dollars of international aids.

Writing on his Twitter page, Aridi…

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http://empirestrikesblack.com/2014/01/february-2011-al-jazeera-admits-syrian-revolution-unlikely-assad-enjoys-popular-support/

PN

Friends of Syria
Dec 25, 2013

Around 500 Al-Qaeda terrorists have been killed in the clashes with the Syrian army in the town of Adra Al-Amalieh in Damascus countryside so far, informed military sources announced on Wednesday. 
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“A sum of 480 terrorists of the total 2,000 militants stationed in Adra Al-Amalieh have been killed in heavy clashes with the Syrian army so far,” an informed Syrian military source told FNA.The military source pointed to the determination of the Syrian army to continue its military operations in Adra until a complete mop-up of all terrorists, and said, “The Syrian army troops have managed to achieve considerable success in several fronts in Adra.”On Wednesday, the army units regained control of several buildings in the Eastern side of the Electricity Post of Adra Al-Amalieh after fierce clashes with armed rebels.Meantime, the engineering unit of the army defused several improvised explosive devices (IEDs)…

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World

Simultaneous raids in Sydney suburbs on Tuesday morning led to the arrest of two men accused of sending six Australian nationals to join Syria’s rebels. The recruits were to fight alongside al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorist group Jabhat al-Nusra.

One of the arrested me is reportedly a ringleader. “We have identified who we believe is the principal person involved in … sending people over to Syria to engage in the conflict,” said New South Wales commissioner of special operations Catherine Burn, according to AAP.

(MORE: G’Day Damascus: Australians Are Joining Syria’s Rebels in Surprising Numbers)

Australian Federal Police deputy commissioner of national security Peter Drennan estimates around 100 Australians are currently involved in the two-year-old Syrian civil war.

[AAP]

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CounterPsyOps

Islamist fighters have moved the nuns abducted from a convent in the predominantly Christian town of Maaloula to a nearby town held by rebels. The leader of the Orthodox Church of Antioch has called on the international community to help save them.

Vatican envoy to Syria, Mario Zenari, said on Tuesday that 12 nuns including the convent’s mother superior had been taken from Maaloula to the rebel held town of Yabroud, some 20 km away. “They forced the sisters to evacuate and to follow them towards Yabroud,” Zenari told Reuters from Damascus by telephone, adding that he did not know for what purposes it had been done.

Zenari also said that the nuns were among the last residents remaining in Maaloula after most had fled south to Damascus.

On Monday, Syrian state television reported that several nuns had been abducted from the Greek Orthodox Monastery of Mar Thecla after Islamists…

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Rebels Endanger, Kill Civilians; Damage Churches
November 19, 2013
  • Destroyed church pews were found at Mar Mikhael Church in Sadad, Syria, after opposition fighters occupied the church in October 2013.

    © 2013 Human Rights Watch
  • The interior of a bloodstained well in Sadad, Syria, where village residents discovered the bodies of six of their neighbors after opposition fighters retreated on October 28. The victims’ hands were tied, they wore blindfolds, and their bodies bore gunshot wounds, a witness said.

    © 2013 Human Rights Watch
  • Graffiti mars the renowned frescoes of Mar Sarkis Church in Sadad, Syria, after opposition fighters occupied the church in October 2013. The graffiti reads, “No banner but the banner of Islam. Down with Bashar. Jabhat al-Nusra, Liwa al-Tawhid. “

    © 2013 Human Rights Watch
Opposition fighters came into Sadad claiming they would not harm civilians, but they did just that.There is no excuse for indiscriminate or targeted attacks against civilians or civilian sites.
Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director

(New York) – Opposition fighters in Syria apparently executed civilians and others in their custody during an offensive in the Christian village of Sadad from October 21 to 28, 2013. Other civilians were also killed unlawfully by opposition sniper fire. Civilians killed by opposition shelling, as fighting between government and opposition forces in the village continued, may have been killed unlawfully.

During the offensive against government forces in Sadad, 100 kilometers northeast of Damascus, rebel fighters refused to allow residents of the village to leave their homes in areas with active fighting, residents told Human Rights Watch. In at least one case, fighters allegedly used a resident as a human shield. Residents also said that opposition fighters also stole personal items, and vandalized, stole, and damaged property in at least three churches of local and historical significance.

“Opposition fighters came into Sadad claiming they would not harm civilians, but they did just that,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “There is no excuse for indiscriminate or targeted attacks against civilians or civilian sites.”

Opposition fighters should never execute or directly target civilians or anyone in their custody or target civilian sites, including religious sites, Human Rights Watch said. They should take precautions to protect civilians from harm during operations in residential areas including by easing the way for residents to leave the area if they wish to. They should not subject civilians to additional risk by using them as human shields.

Opposition groups referred to the Sadad operation as part of the “Battle of God’s Doors Do Not Shut” on social media sites, where several groups also announced their participation in the operation and released footage apparently showing their members fighting in Sadad. The groups involved in the operation include al-Maghaweer of the Dera’ al-Islam battalion of the Free Syrian Army (FSA),Ahel al-Athar battalion of the FSA, Liwa al-Huq, Jabhat al-Nusra, al-Khadra’ battalion, and the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS). According to a post by al-Khadra’ battalion on Twitter, al-Khadra’’s leader commanded al-Khadra’, ISIS, and Jabhat al-Nusra forces during the operation. Abu Ayham is the field commander of Dera’ al-Islam.

In most cases, Human Rights Watch has not been able to establish which of the participating opposition groups were responsible for the abuses that Human Rights Watch documented. One resident told Human Rights Watch that fighters who identified themselves as Jabhat al-Nusra used him as a human shield, and Human Rights Watch observed graffiti damaging a church in Sadad apparently left by Liwa al-Huq, Jabhat al-Nusra, and Liwa al-Tawhid.

Human Rights Watch visited Sadad during an investigative mission to Syria with permission from the Syrian government and interviewed 10 residents and the mayor, Sleiman Khalil. Human Rights Watch also later spoke to three residents by phone. Human Rights Watch interviewed each resident separately in various locations in the village. The mayor was interviewed in the municipal offices. Except for the mayor himself during his own interview, no Syrian government officials were present during the interviews. The names of those interviewed have been changed for their safety.

Residents of Sadad said that armed opposition fighters entered their ancient village of 12,000 people on the morning of October 21, and battled government forces, who sent reinforcements to the village over the course of the next week. The village, which borders Qalamoon to the south, Mheen to the east, Hissya to the west, and an-Na`amiyah to the north, is one of the many residential areas affected by the ongoing fighting between government and opposition forces in the “Battle of God’s Doors Do Not Shut.”

Residents of Sadad said that over the week that opposition fighters were in the village, fighters mostly did not target or abuse residents, but that in some instances, they endangered and killed civilians and people in their custody and intentionally damaged and looted civilian sites, including churches. Rebel fighters forced residents to stay in areas with active fighting, allegedly used at least one resident as a human shield, and apparently executed residents and killed others with sniper fire. As opposition forces battled government forces in the village some residents were also killed by opposition shelling which may have been indiscriminate.

Human Rights Watch identified the names of 46 people from Sadad killed in the village during the weeklong operation. Forty-one of the dead were civilians, residents told Human Rights Watch, including 14 women and two children. Three of the dead were police officers, one a soldier in the reserves who was not currently serving, and another an off-duty soldier on home leave from his service, residents said. If correct, only the soldier on home leave and police – if participating in counterinsurgency operations- would have been combatants. In 22 of the 46 cases, Human Rights Watch spoke to residents who described how the other residents were killed. In the remaining cases, Human Rights Watch received the names of the dead from local church officials who coordinated the burials. Human Rights Watch received reports that Syrian government and opposition fighters also died in the course of fighting, but has not confirmed the number of those killed.

Human Rights Watch urges the UN Security Council to refer the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court (ICC). An ICC referral would be a crucial first step toward achieving justice for victims of atrocities by all sides in Syria’s armed conflict and would send a strong message that serious crimes will not be tolerated. Over the last two and a half years Human Rights Watch has extensively documented abuses by government and pro-government forces during ground operations including executions, indiscriminate shelling and sniper attacks, and the use of human shields. Human Rights Watch has also documented indiscriminate shelling, and executions and kidnapping by opposition forces during ground operations.

Currently, 64 countries, including six Security Council members, have expressed support for an ICC referral. Russia has described the effort to seek a referral as “ill-timed and counterproductive.” Security Council members such as the United States that have not yet supported an ICC referral should publicly do so, and should take all available steps to encourage Russia to drop its opposition, Human Rights Watch said.

“An ICC referral would strip all sides of their sense of impunity and make clear that abuses could land them behind bars in The Hague,” Whitson said. “It’s long past time for the Security Council to overcome the current stalemate on justice for the serious ongoing crimes in Syria.”

For detailed accounts of the killings and other abuses, please see below.

The Villagers’ Accounts

In interviews in Sadad on November 11, five residents and the mayor told Human Rights Watch that opposition fighters entered the village on October 21 at approximately 6:15 a.m. The mayor said that the fighters approached from the south, north, and east, and gained access after they set off two nearly simultaneous explosions at army checkpoints to the east and west, killing a number of government soldiers. In announcements on social media sites, some opposition groups said that the twin bomb attacks were suicide operations.

The mayor said that approximately 2,000 armed fighters, predominately Syrians, but also some foreigners from Libya, Chechnya, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar, entered the village on its three main roads in about 50 pickup trucks. They took control of the local police station and a political security facility, two government security buildings in the area.

Rebel fighters fanned out throughout the village, and, the mayor said, announced over a bullhorn that they meant the residents no harm. Soon Syrian army soldiers came from neighboring areas and entered Sadad to fight them. Throughout the following week, the rebels engaged government forces in battles from their positions in the village. On October 28, the rebels retreated from the village.

Apparent Executions

The mayor told Human Rights Watch that in the initial assault on the village, opposition fighters executed three police officers and one resident who was a reserve soldier, all of them unarmed and in the custody of opposition fighters. The mayor told Human Rights Watch that they were seized at approximately 6:30 a.m. on October 21 on their way from the municipal building, where they had met the mayor, to the police station. He said that he saw the officers get into the clearly marked municipal vehicle unarmed on their way to the police station.

A video Dera’ al-Islam published on October 25 on its YouTube channel shows opposition fighters in Sadad with five dead bodies in civilian clothes bearing bullet wounds – people the videographer calls “the dogs of Bashar.” The mayor identified four of them as the officers who were killed. The four bodies appear in the video lying in a row.

The position of their bodies appears to indicate that they were lined up and shot in the chest from approximately the same distance, and that the velocity of the shots had spun some of them around. The absence of blood splattered on the ground, except for immediately around the bodies, or any marks in the dirt, also suggests that the bodies had not been dragged or moved, but rather that the men were placed in a line and then shot. Further investigation is required to establish the exact circumstances of their deaths. Parties to a conflict who execute anyone, combatants or civilians, in their formal or effective custody, are guilty of war crimes, Human Rights Watch said.

The mayor and several residents also told Human Rights Watch that days after government forces pushed opposition fighters out of the village, residents followed a putrid odor to locate – and, with the help of the civil defense forces, retrieve – six corpses that someone had apparently thrown into a well. They identified the bodies as civilian residents from one family: Najla Mtanes al-Sheikh, 45; Fadi Sarkis Drouj, 16, and Ranim Sarkis Drouj, 18, Najla’s sons; Mtanes Sleiman al-Sheikh, Najla’s elderly father; Habbsa Nassif al-Sheikh, 75; and Maryam Nassif al-Sheikh, 90. The age of the three elderly residents and the presence of one child killed with his brother and mother, support the residents’ claim that these family members were civilians. A neighbor who was present when the bodies were retrieved said the victims were blindfolded with their hands tied and had been shot in the head.

The neighbor told Human Rights Watch that before the rebels withdrew, he had been helping people leave the village. On October 24, he had called Najla, whose family was among the last to remain in a neighborhood under opposition control, to try to arrange her escape. He said she told him it would be impossible for her to leave because she had three elderly relatives with her. The next morning, when the neighbor called her again, there was no answer.

Later that day, Syrian government soldiers regained control of the central part of the village, where Najla and her family lived. The neighbor said he asked soldiers to check on Najla and her family, but the soldiers told him they saw no sign of them. The neighbor told Human Rights Watch that the well where the bodies were later found was four houses and about 25 meters away from where Najla and her family had lived.

Human Rights Watch visited the well and observed bloodstains on its inner and outer walls and what appeared to be two bullet markings on the interior wall of the well but did not locate any witnesses to the killings. Further investigation is required to establish who killed the family.

Endangering Civilians: Restrictions on Movement

The mayor of Sadad told Human Rights Watch that as soon as opposition fighters entered the village, he recognized that some of them were from neighboring villages. He said he began reaching out to local and international humanitarian agencies and community leaders, including Christian and Sunni Muslim religious leaders from neighboring areas, to try to negotiate a ceasefire to enable civilians to flee. A local Christian religious leader who participated in the negotiations also told Human Rights Watch attempts were made to negotiate a ceasefire.

But residents told Human Rights Watch that opposition fighters in some instances had stopped them from leaving their homes, with devastating consequences.

Antonious, who lives on the main road on the western side of Sadad, told Human Rights Watch that on the first day of the opposition offensive, he and his family stayed inside their home, listening to calls of “Allah Akbar” outside. The next day, he tried to convince the rebel fighters to allow him and his relatives to move to a safer area, but they refused, he said. Antonious said that on the third day, out of the sight of opposition fighters, he and his relatives used a ladder to climb over a small wall behind the house to go to his uncle’s house, which seemed safer because it was off the main road. But around 3 or 3:30 p.m., he said, an enormous explosion sounded and the uncle’s entire house collapsed. Human Rights Watch was unable to determine the cause of the explosion or whether it was due to an attack by opposition or government forces.

I was in the garden, so I was okay, but my mom, brother, dad, and my uncle’s wife were all killed. My uncle was also in the garden … Both the houses, ours and theirs, were gone … After that, they let us go to a house [in a safer area] with other neighbors and there we stayed in the basement.

Jamil, who also lives with his family on the western side of Sadad, told Human Rights Watch that on October 21, opposition fighters surrounded and entered his neighborhood, positioned their rocket launcher 2 to 3 meters in front of his home, and told him that he and his family could not go anywhere because of ongoing fighting. On October 25, he said, his house caught fire after government forces shelled the opposition military position in front of his house. He and his relatives managed to escape, but the house was destroyed. After the attack, he said, opposition fighters transported his family and several of their neighbors to a safer area.

‘Ala, who lives on the eastern side of Sadad, told Human Rights Watch that opposition fighters evicted his family from their home to occupy it. He said that enabled 16 family members to escape fighting, while the fighters forced their neighbors to stay put.

Under the laws of war, parties to a conflict must take all feasible precautions during military operations to minimize loss of civilian life and must, to the extent feasible, remove civilians under their control from areas where they are deploying their military forces.

Endangering Civilians: Alleged Use of a Human Shield

In at least one instance, opposition fighters allegedly seized a man from his house, apparently to use him as a human shield as they passed within range of a government sniper. The man, Fouad, lives with his wife and three young children near Mar Elias Church on Sadad’s main road. He said that on October 26, three fighters who identified themselves as members of Jabhat al-Nusra came into his house and demanded his money, cell phone, and ID card.

His children were terrified, Fouad said. The fighters told everyone else to be quiet, and interrogated Fouad about his phone calls, apparently trying to assess whether he was contacting people to help the government. Fouad said one fighter redialed the last phone number Fouad had called – his sister – and told him not to say a word while the fighter determined who she was. Fouad said that as his mother, niece, wife, and three children looked on, the men told him to lie down and then hit him with their rifle butts. One of them said, “We kill Nasara [Christians],” Fouad said.

Later, Fouad said: “Two of them took me with them to walk down the street, walking on either side of me until we passed the [government] sniper, so he wouldn’t shoot. And then they left me. When we were walking, the sniper didn’t shoot at us.”

Opposition fighters should not endanger civilians by restricting the ability to flee or by using them as human shields, Human Rights Watch said.

The use of human shields – using the presence of civilians to prevent the targeting of military objectives – is prohibited under international humanitarian law. Combatants who deliberately use civilians as human shields to deter attacks on their forces are responsible for war crimes.

Civilian Deaths from Sniper Shots, Shelling

Residents told Human Rights Watch that rebel sniper fire and indiscriminate shelling killed their family members and neighbors.

‘Ala told Human Rights Watch that on October 25 or 26, a sniper in the opposition-controlled eastern section of Sadad killed his cousin, Jamil Asfour, 35, his uncle’s wife, Shamsa al-Boufi, 65, and her mother, Fouda al-Boufi, in her 80s, as they tried to flee to a safer part of the village. He said that after Syrian government soldiers pushed the rebel fighters back, soldiers found the bodies with gunshot wounds in the eastern section of the village. A second relative who lives in the eastern section also told Human Rights Watch that these three family members had been killed by a sniper positioned there.

Another resident, Sarah, told Human Rights Watch that five people, including her son, were delivering food, unarmed, to besieged neighbors in the northern part of Sadad on October 25 when shelling killed three of the five, including her son. One of the survivors, who was injured, told her that the mortar shell that killed her son came from an opposition position, from which fighters were striking toward a government-controlled area in the north of the village. There were no government positions in their neighborhood, however.

Human Rights Watch spoke to one of the men injured in the strike, whose father had died in the attack. He said that on October 25, government soldiers passed through his neighborhood to search for fighters and reassure residents. After government forces were no longer in the area, at around 2:15 p.m., three shells landed in his neighborhood, one right after the other. He said that the third strike killed the three people delivering food, and injured him and a fifth person, and that after the attack, government soldiers came to the neighborhood and transported the dead and wounded to nearby hospitals. He gave Human Rights Watch the names of the dead and injured.

The absence of military targets in the area hit by shells fired by opposition forces reflects that their method of attack or the attacks themselves may have been indiscriminate, Human Rights Watch said. Combatants should only target military objects and should take precautions to not harm civilians.

Theft and Destruction of Property, Including at Religious Sites
Four Sadad residents told Human Rights Watch that fighters broke into their homes or cars and stole their property. Residents also described damage to several of the churches in Sadad. Human Rights Watch visited three churches that residents said were among the worst damaged.

Two residents said they saw opposition fighters enter Mar Theodore Church on October 25. When government forces retook the village, the residents said, items were missing from the church and it had damage that appeared intentional.

When Human Rights Watch visited the church on November 11, residents had already cleaned up much of the damage they described. Human Rights Watch observed a broken candelabra, and a broken door on a locked cabinet behind the church altar, where residents said a sound system had been stolen, leaving wires dangling. Human Rights Watch also saw two crowns intended to be worn by priests of the church that appeared to be intentionally flattened and bent in half. The residents also said that opposition fighters had stolen copper candlesticks and chalices, along with religious relics. Shelling – whose origin was unclear – also damaged the church roof, leaving the wooden ceiling visibly damaged.

In Mar Sarkis Church, which residents said is hundreds of years old, Human Rights Watch observed graffiti tags on the interior walls, some on the edges of the church’s rare and renowned frescos. One tag read, “Saqar the Libyan passed through here freedom for Mheen [a nearby village],” a town where rebels were fighting the government. Others said, “Liwa al-Huq,” “Jabhat al-Nusra,” and “Liwa al-Tawhid,” names of opposition groups, some of which announced their participation in the battle in Sadad. The glass on the doors to the church was shattered near the knobs, suggesting a forced entry.

In Mar Mikhael Church, Human Rights Watch observed bullet holes in the ceiling and walls, and in several religious paintings, in patterns suggesting vandalism rather than firefights. A resident told Human Rights Watch that he saw rebel fighters occupy the church, and showed Human Rights Watch some food and personal items he said they left behind. Human Rights Watch observed destroyed religious icons, pews with smashed wooden legs, seats, and backs, and the church’s broken and empty collection box. A resident told Human Rights Watch that religious relics were also missing.

Under international humanitarian law, parties in an armed conflict have a responsibility not to intentionally attack religious buildings that are not being used for military purposes. They are prohibited from seizing, destroying, or willfully damaging religious buildings or institutions, and from theft, pillage, or vandalism directed against important cultural property. Pillaging and deliberate attacks on religious sites that are not military objectives are war crimes.

There is no Palestinian issue for Syrian rebels

Nadezhda Kevorkova is a war correspondent who has covered the events of the Arab Spring, military and religious conflicts around the world, and the anti-globalization movement.

Published time: November 10, 2013 21:18

A handout picture released by the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) on May 15, 2013, shows protestors crying after unidentified armed groups opened fire on demonstrators as they marched in the Syrian capital Damascus in support of the right to return of Palestinian refugees who fled their homes or were expelled during various conflicts. (AFP/SANA)A handout picture released by the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) on May 15, 2013, shows protestors crying after unidentified armed groups opened fire on demonstrators as they marched in the Syrian capital Damascus in support of the right to return of Palestinian refugees who fled their homes or were expelled during various conflicts. (AFP/SANA)

The Palestinian issue has been uniting all Muslims for 65 years. Syrian rebels succeeded in their mission – they made the world forget about the Palestinian issue.

The militants pulled Palestinians out of refugee camps; they are killing them or using these people as human shields. And the media are silent about it, while the Syrian opposition keeps screaming about the “oppressive Assad regime.”

It’s been a year since Syrian rebels raided the largest Palestinian refugee camp in Syria – Yarmouk, near Damascus. Up until recently it was the duty of Israeli soldiers to persecute Palestinians, now this is done by Syrian rebels with their Muslim slogans. The media are not saying anything about it.

What is the life of Palestinians like, now that the Syrian conflict made them refugees again?

‘Nobody is helping us – neither Europe, nor the UN’

Abu-Badr, head of Beirut’s Bourj al-Barajneh refugee camp People’s Committee, gathered representatives of all Palestinian parties. They all keep regular contacts with camps in Syria.

A year after Palestinian camps and Palestinians were attacked, the heads of these organizations are saying that the Syrian war is a staged conflict, and its goal is to distract everybody from the Palestinian problem.

A total of 760,000 Palestinian refugees lived in Syria before the war, and about 550,000 in Lebanon. Palestinians had equal rights in Syria, and virtually no rights in Lebanon. For example, they were not allowed to work in 72 professional capacities.

Abu-Badr says, “There are over 1,000 Palestinian families from Syria in our camp. Nobody is helping us – not Europe, not the UN. The Red Cross came twice. The refugees are renting housing on their own.”

To rent a place to live is a big problem for a Palestinian, especially at the camp. And to pay rent, they have to find a job, which is extremely difficult in Lebanon.

He says that according to the authorities, there are about 120,000 Palestinian refugees from Syria living south of Tripoli. So every tenth refugee is a Palestinian.

Turkey and Jordan don’t accept Palestinians.

Kafar is a young mother of two. She used to live in Syria’s Yarmouk with her family. Now she is struggling to survive in Bourj al-Barajneh in Lebanon.

She fled Yarmouk at the end of 2012, when the rebels took over the camp and made it their foothold to carry out attacks on Damascus.

 

Palestinian refugee women from Syria plays are seen outside their tents at Ain al-Helweh Palestinian refugee camp near the port-city of Sidon, southern Lebanon (Reuters/Ali Hashisho)Palestinian refugee women from Syria plays are seen outside their tents at Ain al-Helweh Palestinian refugee camp near the port-city of Sidon, southern Lebanon (Reuters/Ali Hashisho)

Yarmouk is one of the largest Palestinian camps in Syria. Before the war it had 150,000 residents, which was almost one-quarter of all Palestinian refugees in Syria. The camp is very close to the Damascus city limits, and there were subdivisions where regular Syrians lived.

Refugee camps are extraterritorial places. Police and army are not allowed there, the residents don’t have citizenship, they don’t vote and don’t serve in the army. Camps are self-governed by representatives of all Palestinian political parties. Unlike all other countries, Syria allowed refugees to leave camps and enjoy all rights and freedoms.

A Syrian family named Lakud brought the fighters to Yarmouk. Palestinians didn’t support the rebels then, and they are not supporting them now. Some parts of the camp are still controlled by the opposition.

A human shield for militants

Kafar recalls: “The entire camp left in a snap back then, when armed militants entered it. They were inside, shooting bullets into the air – they always act the same way. They ordered the residents to leave having placed their orders on different websites and having sent emails. Nobody stayed there.”

In December 2012, some started trying to come back. There are even a few families that decided to stay in the camp, hoping it would get better soon. Kafar says all the houses have been looted – they have taken everything, including electrical wires.

She says the militants were shooting those Palestinians who went out to take part in demonstrations. They wouldn’t let people return to their homes, but in case they did come back home, they couldn’t leave their houses again.

“If the militants went away, we would come back. Sometimes we can contact those inside the camp. They tell us about the blockade – they feel like they live in a cage, they lack food. There is no escape – they are kept as a human shield for the militants,” Kafar says.

 

Syrian rebels (AFP Photo)Syrian rebels (AFP Photo)

 

She tells us about her relative who went to find her children, but ended up as a hostage in the camp.

“The militants won’t let you come in, but if one has entered – he would be kept there by force. They have established checkpoints. They deprive the people of food and beat the women who try to sneak inside, bringing something to their relatives to eat,” Kafar says.

Hitting a woman in public is considered absolutely unlawful among Muslims. But Kafar says that the militants in Yarmouk have their own vision of everything.

“We are not afraid of war, but they won’t even feed the people. The al-Nusra militants are tall, wear long beards and look like foreigners. Probably, there are Syrians among them but none of my relatives have ever seen one,” Kafar says.

One blanket for five

Palestinians from Syria in Lebanon are in even more dire straits.

“They humiliate us – we are constantly being insulted,” the woman tells us.

She is showing us around her tiny apartment with two rooms and a kitchen. The ceiling leaks when it rains.

“The rent is $300. If I don’t find money by Sunday, we’ll have to leave for Syria.”

Apart from the rent, they pay $70 for water.

Her father-in-law was killed. Her mother-in-law returned to Syria and now lives with their relatives there.

“I’ll go to Syria and wait there until I can come back home. Staying here is humiliating,” Kafar says.

Her husband takes up any job he can, be it a laborer, carrier or loader.

They have no warm clothes – all their belongings were stolen in Yarmouk. This family doesn’t belong to any group. They got help from different organizations such as Hamas, the Popular Front or some voluntary organizations. But it can hardly be called help – it is more like a mere pittance.

“They gave us one blanket for five people. But we are living creatures,” Kafar says, showing us a thin grey synthetic blanket. She thinks it looks like a cloth that is used to wrap a dead body when burying it.

The family has no money to buy food. They sometimes receive help from neighbors, who share their food with them. I saw them bring some bread and crisps.

‘In Syria, Palestinians are treated better than brothers’

Kafar complains about how the refugee work is organized.

“They distribute some humanitarian aid, but the process is humiliating to us every step of the way. There is fighting in Syria, but Palestinians are respected there. And here they call us Syrian dogs.”

“We had a good life under Assad, not lacking anything. We will go back and live in Syria, even if we have to live in tents. Syrians treat us as equal, they help us,” says Kafar.

In the last year they received help twice – from Hamas and from people from Qatar – about $300 per family, which is less than one dollar a day. But not everybody gets even these payments. There are lists of those who suffer the most in these camps.

She tells us how the process of distributing this aid works.

“A family gets a check for $150 from Qatar. But there wasn’t enough for everybody on the list. So people are humiliated even more. The place where these checks are given is near Beirut, you have to take a taxi to get there and spend half of the money on the ride. They give food stamps for certain food items, which can only be bought in one supermarket. And this store is also far away.”

 

A Palestinian refugee boy from Syria plays with a tyre as another boy walks past tents at Ain al-Helweh Palestinian refugee camp near the port-city of Sidon, southern Lebanon (Reuters/Ali Hashisho)A Palestinian refugee boy from Syria plays with a tyre as another boy walks past tents at Ain al-Helweh Palestinian refugee camp near the port-city of Sidon, southern Lebanon (Reuters/Ali Hashisho)

“You can’t buy meat with these food stamps. Do they think children can go for a year without meat?” the woman asks.

 “We are convinced that Syria will welcome us back. They loved us there, treated us like brothers, even better than brothers. We lived better than Syrians themselves,” Kafar says.

She knows that the Lebanese have closed the border for Palestinian refugees. So they can’t go anywhere.

“They accepted us in Syria. When we lost everything, they took care of us. They asked us what we needed. Six blankets? Food? They gave us everything. They didn’t blame us, even though life was difficult for everyone.”

She thinks her family made a mistake when it moved to Lebanon. “We were told life would be good here. Now we regret the decision.”

Her husband came six months earlier, he thought they would be safe here while there is fighting.

‘There is no Palestinian issue for Syrian rebels’

“We Palestinians have played no part in Syria’s distress. We didn’t participate in street protests, and our people did not join the rebels,” says Kafar. She admits to having heard that some Palestinians have, in fact, taken up arms against the Syrian government. But she is certain that is a rare exception.

“Those people must have been seduced by money, or befuddled with drugs, and with false promises. Only the poorest and the most destitute of the Palestinians have gone to fight for money, and it took them 18 months to get that desperate.

“Such people have nothing to eat, so they join the rebels hoping to make some money to sustain their families, and then desert at the first opportunity.”

“We cannot admit to supporting the regime, for fear of being killed on the spot. Those rebels do not consider the Palestinian issue to be of primary importance. There is no Palestinian issue for the rebels at all,” says Kafar.

Every night, the inhabitants of Bourj al-Barajneh go to sleep fearing that al-Nusra militants may descend on the Palestinian refugee camp and start asserting their rule, the way they did at Yarmouk. There is talk that al-Nusra men were spotted recently inside Nahr al-Barrid, another Palestinian camp. Since then, the People’s Committee instituted vigilante patrols across the entire camp.

“Our people control every in and out,” Kafar tells us. “They keep watch at night to make sure no strangers come upon us as we sleep. That’s how it happened in Yarmouk.”

The Syrian army has also set up checkpoints guarding the entrance to each camp.

‘They butchered a family to make the others serve as a human shield’

Yarmouk was not the only Palestinian camp captured and cleared of refugees by insurgents. Moreover, no one can assess the number of Palestinians killed in the process.

A Palestinian woman named Gusun was forced to flee camp Duma near Damascus on September 23, 2012, together with her husband, their three kids, and her husband’s brother.

“There were plenty of olive groves next to our camp. We lived in peace for a long time, until the fighting drew close to our camp. Then, rebels started taking shelter in our camp, hiding in our houses during firefights, and shooting through our windows. And we found ourselves between the hammer and the anvil. So one day, we slipped out at five in the morning and ran away through the olive grove,” Gursun tells me.

 

Free Syrian Army fighter (Reuters/Muzaffar Salman)Free Syrian Army fighter (Reuters/Muzaffar Salman)

“The rebels had killed many people in our camp unflinchingly. They butchered a married couple who were my husband’s kin – they cut their throats, so that the other Palestinians would stay in the camp and serve as their human shield, while the government was commanding us to flee.”

Gusun went back to check on Duma some four months ago.

“I found my home thoroughly looted, its roof smashed,” she recalls. “And the FSA and al-Nusra are still entrenched in the camp.”

“Once their men spotted me at Duma, they came up and questioned me to make sure I was from that camp. They let me go, but they kept watching me. Later, when I went out to a grocery store, I noticed a car tailing me. Then I got scared and ran away from the camp,” says Gusun.

“The rebels I saw were tall and fair-skinned. There are some who don’t speak Arabic, and there are some who do. People have also told me there are black rebels, but I have never seen one. Some rebels wear black vests, some wear masks, some wear short pants, and others wear normal trousers. There are many fair-skinned men among them, those are foreigners.

“When we walked around the camp, we would try not to look them in the face, for fear that they might do us harm,” Gusun says.

‘Palestinians, get out of Syria’

The world’s mainstream media, who have closely followed the insurgency and its war on Assad, have proven squeamish when it comes to covering the way rebels treat Palestinians. In the spring of 2011, they would refute news reports that opposition activists wave Israeli flags and chant anti-Palestinian slogans at their rallies.

This stands to reason: two years ago, the Palestinian issue was still the No. 1 concern for the Muslim world, and an anti-Palestinian stance would have done serious harm to the rebels’ reputation. All the more so as Egyptian revolutionaries at Tahrir Square had been pronouncedly pro-Palestinian, despising Hosni Mubarak for his support for the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip.

The women at Bourj al-Barajneh are perplexed at the world’s ignorance of how Syrian insurgents really feel about Palestinians.

“At the onset of the revolution, slogans were like, ‘Carrots belong with carrots and cabbage with cabbage, and this is no land for Palestinians’,” says Gusun, who is shocked that no media have ever reported that the Syrian rebels had initially been against the Palestinians.

“Under these slogans, the armed rebels marched along the streets, angered by the local Palestinians’ reluctance to turn against the regime,” says Gusun.

“In about a year and a half, some Palestinians were in this way or another made to join the rebels. But that didn’t change much the rebels’ opinion of the Palestinians,” remarks Gusun, adding that even now the Palestinians on the side of the rebels are few and far between.

 

Palestinian refugee children from Syria stands outside tents at Ain al-Helweh Palestinian refugee camp near the port-city of Sidon, southern Lebanon (Reuters/Ali Hashisho)Palestinian refugee children from Syria stands outside tents at Ain al-Helweh Palestinian refugee camp near the port-city of Sidon, southern Lebanon (Reuters/Ali Hashisho)

She can’t understand the reason why the Lebanese are treating Palestinians like that. After all, Syria did give shelter to 1 million Lebanese and Palestinian refugees after the 2006 Israeli attack.

“During the 2006 war we welcomed the Palestinians like family. But now we are being treated as outsiders.”

At that time, all the refugees from Lebanon found home, food and clothes straight on arrival.

Gusun was lucky to have found a job, and so was her husband. “I had to work as a cleaning lady. I’d never done anything like that before. But we had to survive somehow. The UN gives only $30 once every four months.’

It was crucial for the sponsors of the anti-Syrian campaign to shift the focus of one and a half billion Muslims from Palestine to the war against Assad. And their mission almost succeeded.

The issue of Palestine used to bring everyone together: Communists and atheists, the Sunni and the Shia, Christians and Muslims, left- and right-wingers, anti-globalists and nationalists. Now the war in Syria has torn them all apart.

Fast forward two years, there are no more rallies against the occupation of Jerusalem, no ships trying to break through the Gaza Strip and the West Bank blockade. In the meantime, this blockade has grown even tougher after the military coup in Egypt, with the abuse of Palestinians in the West Bank escalating into ethnic cleansing.

The sponsors of the war repeatedly tried to get Palestinians to back intervention into Syria. But their efforts failed: from Hamas to the Palestinian Islamic Jihad to the Popular Front to Fatah, not a single Palestinian organization has ever supported the campaign.

Source: rt.com

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PN

by Brandon Turbeville
Activist Post
November 6, 2013

Last week, Syrian death squads (aka Syrian “rebels”) sent shockwaves of horror through many casual observers when a video was posted to YouTube showing the fighters slaughtering cats for food. The video, which was intended to be used for propaganda purposes, showed the “rebel” fighters after having corralled several domesticated housecats, catching a cat, killing it, and then cooking and eating the feline for the camera. The death squad fighter told the camera how hungry the people of Syria had become that they were resorting to eating cats to survive, as the Syrian military had effectively cut off food to the area.

Although the video did not include the full graphic slaughter, it did show a man beheading a cat, the animal shrieking in terror and pain as he slits its throat, and the subsequent skinning, butchering, cooking, and eating it.

While…

View original post 1,336 more words

http://www.globalresearch.ca/obscuring-the-details-a-panoramic-look-at-americas-case-against-syria/5354149 The US federal government and the various agencies, media organizations, individuals, foreign governments, non-governmental organizations, lobbies, forces, and other entities that are tied to it have done everything in their power to obscure the details involving the chemical attacks that took place in Syria on August 21, 2013. The aim has been to justify the US-led foreign campaign that was launched against Syria in 2011 by making the Syrian government appear culpable of grievous crimes. The chemical attack on Ghouta has now come to represent the crux of the matter. From the very start there was double-speaking coming from Washington and its cohorts about what happened in Ghouta. The Obama Administration and America’s allies deliberately ignored that chemical weapons were used in Syria prior to August 21, 2013. They have pretended that the United Nations investigation team that had arrived in Syria when chemical weapons were used in Ghouta had just stumbled there coincidentaly or with the purpose of «inspecting» the Syrian government’s chemical weapon depots. Read full report via globalresearch.ca

PN

RT
October 23, 2013

A gas pipeline was attacked near Damascus causing the capital and the southern part of Syria to suffer a blackout, SANA news agency reports. The electricity minister blamed the blast on rebels. READ MORE: http://on.rt.com/r3bt4d

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RT (Russia Today) is a global news network broadcasting from Moscow and Washington studios. RT is the first news channel to break the 1 billion YouTube views benchmark.

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Dandelion Salad

by Gareth Porter
Writer, Dandelion Salad
crossposted at ISP
Washington
August 27, 2013

After initially insisting that Syria give United Nations investigators unimpeded access to the site of an alleged nerve gas attack, the administration of President Barack Obama reversed its position on Sunday and tried unsuccessfully to get the U.N. to call off its investigation.The administration’s reversal, which came within hours of the deal reached between Syria and the U.N., was reported by the Wall Street Journal Monday and effectively confirmed by a State Department spokesperson later that day.

View original post 1,118 more words

PN

108morris108
August 27, 2013

From Hype To Sabre Rattling the (Zionist) West is raising the stakes, and looks set to make some surgical strikes. Syria seems duty bound to retaliate in some measure, US ships and forces in Jordan would seem likely targets, Israel is a possible target too, and lastly the British base in Cyprus. And would Turkey allows itself to be a target?

View original post

PN

RT
August 26, 2013

The US and many of its allies seem impatient to wait for the UN findings – with American warships already converging near the war-torn state – and the British are preparing to join them. RT’s Maria Finoshina looks at where their confidence comes from in blaming the Syrian government for using chemical weapons – and where it might lead.

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RT (Russia Today) is a global news network broadcasting from Moscow and Washington studios. RT is the first news channel to break the 1 billion YouTube views benchmark.

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CounterPsyOps

image

A large quantity of Captagon tablets are displayed at a police station in Beirut on Tuesday, August 13, 2013. (Source: The Daily Star)

Militants in Syria are using stimulant and synthetic drug sent by their foreign supporters as Syria war goes on with vicious images of brutality and inhuman crimes.

According to reports, Syrian army has found different types of pills in militants’ strongholds on several occasions after their mop-up operations.

Captagon is one of the most common ones found in militants’ possessions. 

On Saturday, Lebanese Police stopped an attempt to smuggle trailers filled with large amounts of Captagon pills into Syria.

Six trailers heading to Syria were seized by a patrol of the Internal Security Forces in the town of Saadnayel in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley, the Daily Star reported.

Use of drugs, alcohol and doping substance has been allowed by leaders of extremist groups who are losing all kinds…

View original post 136 more words

CounterPsyOps

20130827-134804.jpg
The CEO of Britam Defense addressed in an internal email showing his company was offered `enormous sums` of money by the U.S. to deliver a Chemical Weapon to the opposition terrorist groups in Syria, that would be of identical stock held by the Assad regime, in order to blame a `false flag` chemical attack on his government. That attack has now happened on innocent children, with British-U.S. fingerprints.

Mathaba

In an Email in our possession, David Goulding “Business Development Manager” of Britam Defense, mentioned the offer to his CEO, Phil Doughty (passport pictured above), based in the UAE which has become a center for managing the overthrow of regimes to the benefit of terrorists allied to the Anglo-American Zionist elites.

From: “David Goulding”
To: “‘Phillip Doughty'”
Subject: Syrian Issue
Date: Mon, 24 Dec 2012 15:57:16 -0000

Phil

We’ve got a new offer. It’s about Syria again. Qataris propose an attractive…

View original post 361 more words

World

As a Western-led military strike on Syria appears increasingly likely in the wake of an alleged chemical-weapons attack last week, the Syrian government’s friends are warning the West that any attack could prove disastrous for the region.

According to the office of British Prime Minister David Cameron, Russian President Vladimir Putin called Cameron on Tuesday to tell him there was no evidence that the Syrian regime had used chemical weapons. And Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich warned in a statement the same day that military intervention in Syria without a U.N. Security Council resolution would have “catastrophic consequences.” U.N. political-affairs head Jeffrey D. Feltman, in Tehran for a regional security meeting, got an earful from Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who warned: “The use of military means [against Syria] will have serious consequences not only for Syria but for the entire region,” according to an account by Iranian…

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Silver Lining

Moallem: We Dare Anyone to Present Evidence on Syria’s Use of Chemical Weapons

Al Ahed news

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem assured that all the talk about an imminent strike consists of lies, pointing out that any strike to be carried against Syria serves the interests of “Israel” and al-Nusra front.
During a press conference held on Monday, al-Moallem stressed that Syria will defend itself with all tools possible in case it is attacked.

He accentuated that any possible military strike against Syria will not affect the accomplishments of the Syrian army and its advances in Eastern al-Ghouta, guaranteeing “Syria is not an easy grab, and has tools with which it will defend itself, it will surprise everyone.”

“If they want to launch an aggression on Syria, the pretext of using chemical weapons is inaccurate, and if the aim of their campaign is to affect the Syrians’ morale, they are…

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Silver Lining

by David Usborne, The Independent, source

He has been gone from the capital for eight years, but Prince Bandar bin Sultan, who as Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Washington wielded influence over no fewer than five different US presidents, has re-emerged as a pivotal figure in the struggle by America and its allies to tilt the battlefield balance against the regime in Syria.

Appointed by the Saudi king, his uncle, last year as the head of the Saudi General Intelligence Agency, Prince Bandar has reportedly for months been focused exclusively on garnering international support, including arms and training, for Syrian rebel factions in pursuit of the eventual toppling of President Bashar al-Assad.

It is a long-term Saudi goal, that in the past several days has been subsumed by the more immediate crisis over the purported use of chemical weapons by Damascus, which, according to Riyadh, must be met by a stern…

View original post 226 more words

Silver Lining

by Felicity Arbuthnot and Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey, source

Below we pose several questions, the basis of this article, which intends to reveal the whole truth behind the issue of the Syrian civil war. These questions have been sent to the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the US State Department. Their answers, if they have any, will be revealed to our readers.

Question 1: Why has the west been supporting Syrian terrorist forces for two years?

Question 2: Do you not entertain the notion that to solve the Syrian issue, it would suffice for the west to cease arming, financing and aiding the Syrian terrorist forces fighting President Assad?

Question 3: Are you, or are you not, aware that in supporting forces hostile to President Assad, you are also supporting sources loyal to al-Qaeda?

Question 4: Do you now admit that your respective authorities lied regarding the issue of Weapons of…

View original post 1,058 more words