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 Aiding Kuffars or Shiite Safavids Against ISIL Is As Impermissible As Aiding ISIL!

 
Warning: George Galloway Is A Strong Supporter Of Assad's Tyranny - Pseudoleftism And The Self-Destruction of George Galloway

Note George Sabra

George Galloway is not someone to be allied with. Every political cause he champions becomes damaged; everything he gets involved in becomes a scandal. Members of the British parliament are expected to be hypocritical, ego-driven, and self-serving at times - they are politicians, after all - but Galloway exhibits all three traits constantly and with a uniquely manic ferocity.

Despite his politically destructive and wholly opportunistic behavior, he is undoubtedly popular among British Muslims; their support remains important to keeping him in the House of Commons. This enduring support will not be easily undone even though it has outlived its legitimacy.

The onset of the “global war on terror” after Al-Qaeda’s destruction of the World Trade Center saw Muslim communities in the West come under sustained attack by the state, the media, the political parties, by institutional and individual bigots. Very few social forces and very few persons swam against this tide of Islamophobia; Galloway was one of them. Many Muslims will be forever grateful that this white Catholic Labour Party man stuck up for them when he had everything to lose and nothing to gain from doing so and are willing to overlook his crass defense of Muslim-murdering tyrants.

We are running ahead of the story.

As the war in Afghanistan wound down and the war in Iraq wound up, Galloway was expelled from the Labour Party for bucking Prime Minister Tony Blair’s pro-war pro-Bush line. He encouraged British troops to disobey their orders to prosecute a patently illegal war and hailed Iraqi resistance to the American-led occupation:

“These poor Iraqis - ragged people, with their sandals, with their Kalashnikovs, with the lightest and most basic of weapons - are writing the names of their cities and towns in the stars, with 145 military operations every day, which has made the country ungovernable by the people who occupy it. … Most of the children, most of the schools, most of the buses, were bombed by the United States. Let’s keep this clearly in perspective: Most of the children who died in Iraq were killed by George Bush, not by Zarqawi. Most of the schools that were wrecked, buses that were bombed, hospitals that were destroyed, lives that were taken, were taken by George Bush, not by Zarqawi. … Most of the operations which they carry out are against the occupying forces and their collaborators, and this is normal in every liberation struggle.”

For this, Galloway became a hero not only to Muslims but to the millions around the globe who marched to stop the invasion before it began and to end the occupation once the invasion was a done deal. Both groups were either unaware of or downplayed Galloway’s predilection for befriending tyrants since beggars can’t be choosers. Besides, pro-war neoconservative rightists like Christopher Hitchens tarred every opponent of the 2003 Iraq war as being ‘pro Saddam,’ robbing the charge of any sting even when it was true as in Galloway’s case. He damaged the campaign to end murderous U.N. sanctions imposed on Iraq after the Gulf War of 1991 as a worthy pro-people humanitarian project by spending Christmas with Saddam Hussein’s deputy prime minister, Tariq Aziz, and personally telling the Butcher of Baghdad, “I salute your courage, your strength, your indefatigability.”

Galloway has always acted as the tribune of the hangman in the name of his victims.

The invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq was an unmitigated disaster that propelled Galloway to the peak of his power, influence, and moral stature in British politics. The bloody madness that tore occupied Iraq apart seemed to vindicate his reactionary brand of anti-imperialism that insists Western governments are always and everywhere more reactionary than any other social force, that they are always and everywhere the main enemy of progress and civilization, and that they can do no right and no good abroad regardless of context. This brand of anti-imperialism is unfortunately not unique to Galloway but is the common property of the British liberal and far left generally and the Stop the War Coalition (StWC) specifically. In 2003-2005, these elements tried to capitalize on the political wind in their sails by creating a party to the left of Labour called Respect. Its main constituencies? The millions of people fed up with Labour’s slavish devotion to Bush’s wars and the Muslim community, the main victims of the Tory-Labour post-September 11 Big Brother state.

Galloway’s expulsion from Labour and affiliation to the newly formed Respect party freed him from any serious institutional checks and balances to say and act however he pleased. This obnoxious loud-mouthed minnow swimming in Labour’s vast ocean became a big fish in a very small pond overnight.

The first sign that Galloway’s ego unchained would be a problem for the fledgling Respect project came in 2006 when he unilaterally decided to appear on the reality-TV show Celebrity Big Brother alongside weighty intellects such as Dennis Rodman and Jodie Marsh after being elected as Bethnal Green and Bow’s MP on the Respect ticket. The Socialist Workers Party (SWP), the single largest organized and active organization operating within Respect, did nothing to bring Galloway to heel over this decision. For many voters, Galloway behaving boorishly in trite personality conflicts while wearing red pajamas would be their first encounter with Respect and Respect activists were forced to endure the embarrassment engendered by the party’s most powerful member as he played house with celebrities for pay.

The SWP preferred working with (and manipulating) star individuals on platforms over building up Respect from the grassroots level upwards into real fighting, mobilizing party complete with the necessary transparency, inner-party democracy, accountability, and formal structures that alone could keep the new party reasonably healthy. Galloway, as the other main force in Respect, had the same preference.

Later, Galloway partially reversed himself and warned that Respect needed a more professional apparatus and serious fund-raising to avoid collapsing. The SWP reacted in horror at the prospect of creating a real alternative to itself and responded with a reversal of its own, not only ending its collaboration with Galloway to keep Respect from developing organizationally but splitting Respect in two in an attempt to maintain bureaucratic dominance. The SWP succeeded in holding onto a shell of the Respect project while Galloway took its meager living innards, almost all the non-SWP elements, with him under the name of Respect Renewal. Only after their ugly divorce did the SWP raise a hue and cry over Galloway’s appearance on Celebrity Big Brother.

Although Galloway was blameless for the SWP’s unprincipled secession, he bears responsibility for collaborating with them beforehand to keep the party underdeveloped, its rank and file powerless, disenfranchised, and disorganized, which made the subsequent infighting all the more destructive, bureaucratic, and vicious.

With the SWP gone, Galloway was free to rule the roost in Respect and it was not long before he led it to defeat, infamy, and utter ruin.

In 2010, he decided not to run for re-election for the Bethnal Green and Bow House of Commons seat but instead for the newly created Poplar and Limehouse seat; Respect’s candidate for his seat would be Abjol Miah. Galloway’s decision to lead Respect into a two-front war was disastrous; Respect lost both races, leaving the party without a seat in parliament. In 2012, he won a by-election in Bradford prompted by the Labour MP’s resignation, but this success was short-lived. Later that year, Birmingham councilor, spokeswoman for the city’s central mosque, and StWC leader Salma Yaqoob resigned from Respect after distancing herself from Galloway’s defense of Julian Assange, the arrest-dodging Wikileaks founder with an active warrant on his head for a Swedish rape charge. Galloway said (among other vile things) that, even if the accounts of Assange’s accusers were completely accurate, that “not everybody needs to be asked prior to each insertion.” Yaqoob’s resignation over this was soon followed by activist Kate Hudson’s on the same grounds. Less than a year later, Respect lost its entire local council presence in Bradford when five people resigned following a dispute with Galloway over whether he should run for mayor of London.

George Galloway whittled Respect down to his ego and his dwindling band of sycophants and managed to get banned by the National Union of Students from any of their events over those rape remarks along the way.

Amazingly, Galloway’s voracious appetite for destroying his own credibility and damaging his favored causes was not sated by these dubious achievements. He revealed his true value for the lives and well-being of Muslims by relentlessly defaming the people’s uprising against his new favorite tyrant, Bashar al-Assad, and he got paid £50,000 a year by the Iranian government to do it. Their pied piper was promoted to paid piper.

So whenever Galloway speaks about Syria, just remember: money talks.

After al-Assad gassed over 1,400 Muslim men, women, and children in the suburbs of Damascus on August 21, 2013, Galloway blamed the Israelis and the anti-Assad rebels for the attack even though all of the evidence pointed to the regime’s guilt. His Holocaust-denialism is symptomatic of the fog of lies ‘anti-imperialists’ and the far left resorted to to smother any attempt by progressives to analyze (much less side with) the popular uprising in Syria. He has been at the forefront of this buffoonery and cornered the market in the newest cottage industry on the left: fascist apologism. His politics and worldview are best described as “social fascism” - socialism in words, fascism in deeds.

Galloway’s blind support for the murderous regime in Damascus completely blindsided him when it murdered British doctor and humanitarian hero Dr. Abbas Khan. Dr. Khan travelled to Syria to treat victims of the regime’s war on the Syrian people people and their health care system; he was captured and tortured. The Assad’s Foreign Ministry made contact with Galloway and arranged to hand Dr. Khan over to Galloway’s custody as a “gift” to the British people but killed him only a few days before he was scheduled to be freed.

Galloway maintains that ‘rogue elements’ within the regime killed the doctor to humiliate the man he calls “his Excellency” - Bashar al-Assad - because he is simply incapable of comprehending that this is a rogue regime, a type of regime not seen since the days of Adolf Hitler, one entirely without scruples, honor, decency or even a shred of normalcy. Khan’s mother declared simply, “They killed my baby. They killed him, it’s a murder. George Galloway didn’t help.” As she travelled to the Geneva peace talks to confront her son’s killers, Galloway sat in a studio taping his Russia Today show, Sputnik: Orbiting the World with George Galloway,where he dutifully promotes conspiracy theories about the Syrian revolution in true space cadet fashion.

Khan’s family continues the quest for justice began by Abbas in the small but growing pro-revolution solidarity movement while Galloway stands with Abbas’ killers, with the regime that has used the very same weaponry of cluster bombs and collective punishment tactics against the Syrian people he denounced the imperialists for using against the Iraqi and Afghan peoples. Today, he denounces Muslims who travel to Syria to fight a pro-imperialist fascist in terms lifted from the script George W. Bush used during the Iraq war. He has ‘forgotten’ the praise he lavished on freedom fighters battling fighter jets and tanks with nothing more than Kalashnikovs and homemade bombs and ‘forgotten’ the critical distinction he drew then between the minority of Al-Qaeda extremists and the heroism of the broad majority, of tens of thousands of protesters forced to take up arms and become rebel fighters to save their lives and the lives of their families.

Nowadays Galloway lies, Muslims die.

notgeorgesabra.wordpress.com
 
Syria Forces Execute 10 Children Of Rebels: Monitor

Ten children were among at least 48 people killed in a Syrian village this week when regime forces executed six families of rebel fighters, a monitoring group said on Saturday.

Tuesday's executions took place in the village of Rityan, north of second city Aleppo, after regime forces entered that day during an offensive aimed at cutting rebel supply lines to the Turkish border, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

The Britain-based monitor said that villagers had discovered the bodies when they returned to their homes after the regime forces withdrew a day later.

Five women and 13 rebels from the six families were among the dead.

'The troops and militiamen knew exactly where they lived,' Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman said.

'There was no resistance except in one house where a rebel opened fire at troops before being executed along with his family,' he added.

Activist Mamun Abu Omar said some of the bodies had been mutilated.

The heavy fighting claimed the lives of 129 regime loyalists and 116 rebels, according to an Observatory toll.

While the ground offensive failed, regime warplanes kept targeting rebel areas of Aleppo city and other parts of the country.

On Saturday, eight people -- among them two women and two children -- were killed when a barrel bomb hit a building in an opposition-held area of Aleppo city, once Syria's commercial capital.

According to the monitoring group, they were the latest of nearly 6,000 people killed across Syria since the UN Security Council passed resolution 2139 on February 22 last year.

The Observatory 'has documented the killing of 5,812 civilians, including 1,733 children, 969 women and 3,110 men in barrel bombings and (other) air raids' over the past year.

The raids have continued despite Resolution 2139, which ordered all sides to end their 'indiscriminate employment of weapons in populated areas, including shelling and aerial bombardment, such as the use of barrel bombs'.

Syria's conflict began as a peaceful pro-democracy revolt but morphed into a civil war that has killed more than 210,000 people since March 20 11.

Syria, Aleppo: 300 killed and more than 100 of Assad forces captured in battles of Aleppo

The Public Association of Syrian Revolution announced that the Syrian fighters have taken leap advances in Aleppo Northern district and have seized 'Arab Sollom' area in Aleppo Northern district.

According to what Syrian fighters have said their clashes with Assad forces have been intensified. Assad forces had to retreat from many axis.

The Public Association of Syrian Revolution said that 'Al-Mallah' region in Northern Aleppo has been captured by Syrian opposition fighters. The operation's headquarters of liberating Aleppo announced that around 300 Assad forces have been killed and approximately 100 others captured.

Despite having backup forces consist of Hezbollah militias and Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and Afghani mercenaries, the Assad forces were defeated and had to retreat from all Aleppo Northern fronts.

Agencies, EsinIslam.Com & Several News Outlets

 
Fightings On All Fronts; Assadites Try To Seize Initiative

The Assad regime troops launched an offensive in Daraa, Quneitra, and Damascus a few days ago. The command of Assadites claim they had captured Deir Maker, Deir Adas and a few other villages. Fierce fightings are continuing outside the city of Kafr Shams.

The most bloody battles are taking place for the city of Douma. Assadites were able to reach the farms of Reyhan. However, on the outskirts of Douma, advance of infidels was stopped. Infidels are actively using aviation. Hundreds of civilians were killed and wounded as a result of bombardments. Dozens of dead children are reportedly among them.

Against this background, the Dawla al-Islamiyya/Islamic State (IS) units tried to organize an attack north of Damascus. Accurate information about the situation in this area is not available.

The Command of the Jaish al-Islam/Army of Islam (AI) warned of massive rocket strikes on positions of Assadites in Damascus, in response to bombardments of Douma. Previously, such strikes have already been successfully organised and infidels suffered significant losses.

Meanwhile, in the Province of Aleppo, fierce fightings are continuing to take place between Kurds and the IS. Kurdish groups recaptured more than 160 settlements from the IS. According to the data of the Syrian Monitoring Group (SMG), Kurds captured from the IS more than 2 thousand square kilometers of territory. Their units are aimed to attack the towns of Tel Abyad, Jarablus, Manbij and Seren.

According to the command of Yekineyen Parastina Gel/People's Protection Units (PPU), Kurdish groups supported by the Jaish as-Suri al-Ḥurr/Free Syrian Army (FSA) units, Iraqi Peshmerga groups US aviation reached the borders of the Province of Raqqa.

Nevertheless, despite the triumphant Kurds, mobile units of IS, apparently, continue to operate in the vicinity of the town of Kobani (aka Ayn al-Arab, renamed by the IS into the Ayn al-Islam).

Last weekend, local sources reported that US aircraft has again bombed the neighbourhood of Kobani. Kurdish commanders admitted the fact of fightings, reported losses on both sides.

Fightings are ongoing in the provinces of Hasaka and Deir ez-Zor. In Deir ez-Zor, confrontation between IS and Assadites in the battle for the airport, in the last few days, is positional. The parties exchanged artillery and mortar fire.

In Aleppo fighting are taking place in the town of Mleiha, Aleppo districts of Handarat and Layramoun (aka Balleramoun). The combined forces of the Jabhat an-Nusra/Victory Front (VF), Jabhat Ansar al-Deen/Supporters of Religion Front (SRF) (that Jaish al-Muhajireen wal-Ansar/Army of Emigrants and Supporters (AES) is a part of) and other Islamic brigades participate in positional battles around Shiite villages of az-Zahra and Nubl.

Islamic brigades also counter-attacked Assadites in the Provinces of Homs and Hama. The most fierce fightings are taking place for the area of Ras al-Makta.

In Idlib, combined forces of the Islamic brigades from the city of Binnish attacked Assadites in the town of al-Fuah and the village of Kafriya. After two days of fighting, the battle is now mainly of a positional nature.

Fierce fightings continue in the north-west of the city of Daraa, in rural areas around Damascus and Quneitra. According to the data of the SMG, in these areas are operating the combined forces of the Lebanese Shiite gang of Hezbollah under the command of the main Shiite commander Mustafa Badr al-Din, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) under the command of General Qasem Soleimani and troops of Assadites.

They are opposed by the units of VF and several smaller Islamic brigades. The most fierce fightings are taking place in Quneitra in the village of Kafr Nasej. Assadites actively use aviation.

Agencies, EsinIslam.Com & Several News Outlets

 
Fightings Between Mujahideen And pro-Western Groups

Fighting between the Syrian arm of al Qaeda and Western-backed groups in northern Syria spread from Aleppo province into neighboring Idlib on Friday, reports Reuters.

Clashes began on Thursday when the al Qaeda Syria wing, the Jabhat an-Nusra/Victory Front (VF), seized positions from the Harakat Hazzm/Movement of Steadfastness (MS) west of Aleppo.

A MS official said by telephone to Reuters clashes had spread to Idlib and that his group had retaken some areas previously controlled by the VF.

"There is now fighting in Idlib, in the Jabal al-Zawiya area", he said. He said in Aleppo province the two groups were also fighting in Atarib, a town 20 km (12 miles) from the Turkish border.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said heavy fighting overnight focused on the Regiment 46 base in western Aleppo and overlapping areas between Aleppo and Idlib province, where the VF pushed out pro-Western rebels from many areas in October.

The Observatory, which monitors the war, said pro-American MS had captured some small checkpoints in Idlib.

The VF said it was forced to act after MS detained two of its fighters and captured its weapons and offices. It said its forces had captured the Sheikh Suleiman base from MS, about 25 km west of Aleppo, on Thursday.

"It's probably most accurate to view this as the latest instance of VF efforts to expand their areas of dominance in Idlib and Aleppo at the expense of Western-backed factions, which they are gradually seeking to eliminate from the north", said Noah Bonsey, senior analyst on Syria with International Crisis Group.

Meanwhile, the command of the VF accused of the fighting its opponents who, according to al-Qaeda, tried on US instruction to expand its influence at the expense of capturing some of the key positions. The clashes began after MF and other groups of the Jaish as-Suri al-Ḥurr/Free Syrian Army (FSA) suddenly detained 11 Mujahideen of the VF near the village of Ashrafiya.

The command of the MS denies the allegation that their group is supported by the US. The command explains that in fact they had have received some minor assistance from a number of Western countries, including anti-tank missiles of American production, to fight the Assad regime.

Meanwhile, according to reports from the Syrian town of Kobani (aka Ayn al-Arab) renamed by the Dawla al-Islamiyya/Islamic State (IS) into Ayn al-Islam, the Kurdish gangs of Yekineyen Parastina Gel/People's Protection Units (PPU) managed to repel the IS from this settlement, with air support by the US, units of the FSA and the Iraqi armed groups Peshmerga.

According to a statement of the Kurdish command, they also captured from the IS 12 villages in the vicinity of Kobani. On Thursday and Friday, fierce fighting took place for the villages of Sheeran, Sheikh Goban, Kavrik, Ber-Omar, Tafsho and Svetk.

In turn, the command of the IS reported that they had shot down a plane of Assadites near the town of Bir Kasab. The pilot was killed.

Agencies, EsinIslam.Com & Several News Outlets

 
Exclusive: Pentagon Doubts Its Own ISIS War Plan

That didn't take long. Less than a day after the U.S. military announced its Spring offensive against ISIS, seasoned military officers said the plan was unworkable.
Skepticism about the U.S. and Iraqi military plans for the next phase of the ISIS war begins inside the Pentagon.

Less than 24 hours after U.S. military officials publicly detailed their plans for a spring offensive on ISIS-held Mosul, Iraq's second largest city, many within the Pentagon privately questioned whether that timetable was plausible. They said that they were dubious that their partners in the Iraqi military—the troops supposed to lead the offensive—would be capable of conducting such a campaign by then.

"I really doubt it is going to happen that soon," said one military officer who, like several others, served in Iraq between 2003-2011 and spoke on condition of anonymity. "And if it does, it will take months."

The largely Shiite troops of the Iraqi army are unlikely to risk their lives to win back a Sunni dominated city, several U.S. military officers told The Daily Beast on Friday. Indeed, when ISIS stormed the city last June, Iraqi forces walked away, leading the U.S. and 60 other nations to form a coalition against the terror group.

Even if the Iraqi troops do stand up and fight the self-proclaimed Islamic State, having a Shiite force move in and potentially ravage a major Sunni city in a bid to save it could have adverse affects on the Sunnis in Iraq and broader Sunni Arab world. Sectarian tensions, particularly in Iraq, run that deep.

"I cannot believe that Shiites would fight for Mosul," one officer who served in the restive Sunni province of Anbar during the Iraq War told The Daily Beast.

So far, there is no evidence of a strong Sunni-majority Iraqi Army brigade, and U.S. Central Command has said it will take at least eight brigades to win back the city.

In the absence of such a force, it is not clear that the Sunni-dominated city would welcome those troops. Many Sunnis feel betrayed by Iraq's Shiite-dominated central government, and all indications are that Shiite militias are becoming increasingly powerful in Iraq as the war against ISIS drags on, only confirming Sunni residents fears.

Critics inside the U.S. defense community note that the battle for Mosul could be much harder than the coalition's fights so far to reclaim cities from ISIS. It took 112 days for a capable Kurdish ground force and U.S.-led air campaign to win back the small northern Syria city of Kobani.

In many ways, Kobani was one of the easier fights the coalition could've picked. ISIS wasn't particularly well-entrenched there. And the city had been largely abandoned when the ISIS attempted to take it. In other words: the coalition's airstrikes could be relatively indiscriminate without risk of civilian casualties.

Mosul, on the other hand, is arguably the capital of ISIS's Islamic caliphate in Iraq. ISIS's fighters have moved in and out of the city for the last decade, first as members of al Qaeda in Iraq.

"They will fight for Mosul. This is not like Kobani, which was peripheral," one U.S. military official told the Daily Beast.

Mosul is a heavily populated city, where ISIS forces have already built trenches and barriers. ISIS reportedly maintains security forces, collects taxes, and controls government buildings there. Where Kobani was aspirational for the group, Mosul is key.

"They will fight to the last drop of blood defending Mosul, and for them this battle could define their existence. Losing Mosul means a final defeat for Islamic State in Iraq," a retired army general living in Mosul told Reuters last month.

Before the Syrian civil war in 2011, Kobani had roughly 45,000 people. Around that time, there were roughly 1.5 million souls in Mosul. Kobani was all but destroyed in the aftermath of the ground and air campaign. The broader Sunni Arab world would likely not accept the same fate for a city as important as Mosul.

"The outrage in the Arab world if you do to Mosul what you did to Kobani, primarily with Shiite and Kurdish forces, would create a firestorm. The integrity of the city needs to be protected," said Derek Harvey, director of the University of South Florida Global Initiative for Civil Society and Conflict, and a former advisor to former Iraq commanders Gens. Dave Petraeus and Raymond Odierno.

Just last month, Kurdish Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani said he did not think the Iraqi army would be ready before the fall to take back Mosul. In an interview with Reuters, he said the two best Iraqi divisions are currently protecting the capital and there were not sufficient sources to replace them should a Mosul offensive began.

Asked by Reuters last month about plans touted by Iraqi and U.S. officials for an offensive by June on Mosul, Barzani said: "March, definitely not. June, also I doubt it."

On Thursday, a U.S. CENTCOM official briefed reporters and telegraphed the upcoming Mosul operation. The official, who would not be named as a condition of the briefing, said an Iraqi force of as many as 25,000 troops could launch an offensive as early as April or May. The forces, which would be made up, in part, of six Iraqi army brigades and three Kurdish peshmerga units would take on an ISIS force of as many as 2,000, the official said.

The official called it an Iraqi plan that the U.S. will assist with. But he would not say how the American forces would help.

Defenders of the war plan announcement noted that ISIS has been anticipating a counteroffensive since June 10, when its forces moved in, faced relatively little counterattack, claimed the city, and seized much of the Iraqi army's U.S.-provided weapons and equipment, including tanks and Humvees.

The longer the U.S. and Iraqi forces wait, the more entrenched ISIS becomes in Mosul.

"The stronger the defenses get to be, the stronger their caliphate becomes in Mosul," the defense official said.

There was little cost to telegraphing the operation, this official added. ISIS has already dug trenches and bolstered their forces. Announcing that a counter offensive is imminent does not change what ISIS already is doing. In the last month, U.S. and coalition air strikes have increasingly focused on Mosul. There have been airstrikes every day in the last week, striking at least 19 targets, according to coalition press releases. There were just six airstrikes during the first week of the year.

Defenders of CENTCOM were quick to dismiss concerns of sending a Shiite dominated force to Mosul, calling the military an "Iraqi one, not a Shiite Iraqi Army."

Mosul has been perilous for U.S. and Iraqi forces from the earliest days of the U.S. invasion. In July 2003, Saddam Hussein's sons, Uday and Qusay, were discovered hiding in Mosul. The city quickly became a hotbed for al Qaeda in Iraq, which would eventually become ISIS. The U.S. launched its first campaign to take back the city from Sunni extremists in 2004, and then again in 2008, along with Iraqi forces. The fighting lasted for several months, on and off.

The CENTCOM official told reporters Thursday that if the Iraqi Army was not ready, they would move the date back. But Harvey said there already were costs to announcing the operation.

"The worst thing you could is telegraph it, go after it and fail," Harvey said. And neither [the peshmerga nor the Iraqi security forces] is good at this kind of fighting."

Agencies, EsinIslam.Com & Several News Outlets

 
Situation in Kobani; Fightings in Aleppo, Shellings of Damascus

The command of the Kurdish group Yekineyen Parastina Gel/People's Protection Units (PPU) declared that its forces managed to repel Dawla al-Islamiyya/Islamic State (IS) from over 100 settlements around the town of Kobani with the help from the US air force and the Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga.

IS troops are retreating from the Kurdish areas after the failure of over a 4-months long siege of the town of Kobani (aka Ayn al-Arab, which was renamed by the IS into Ayn al-Islam), in which up to the outbreak of hostilities about 60 thousand people lived. Accurate data on the losses of the parties in the fierce fighting for Kobani is not available.

The Kurds say that they lost more than 600 people, and the losses of the IS is several times larger. The command of the IS does not give any information on this account.

Nevertheless, according to the same Kurdish sources, at least 200 Kurdish villages remain under the IS control, and fightings continue. Active military confrontation between the Kurds and the IS was observed in the city of Ras al-Ayn in the Province of Hasaka.

Local sources reported that after the retreat from Kobani, IS forces attacked the positions of the Jabhat an-Nusra/Victory Front (VF) in northern Aleppo. Fierce fightings have been taking place there for a few days already. No details were given.

In turn, IS officials claim that fightings are ongoing in the area of the town of Dabiq against Jaish as-Suri al-Ḥurr/Free Syrian Army (FSA) and other groups who were trying to push back the IS forces from the area.

Some local sources gave information about "a tactical retreat" of IS forces from the towns and villages in the Province of Aleppo, including Jarabulus, Sarah and al-Bab. However, a Syrian monitoring group denied this data. According to the group, the IS still controls these settlements.

Massive air raids of Jordanian aircraft on IS positions in the city of Raqqa and other territories have also been reported. In Amman, they say that in 3 days they made 56 sorties and that it was the revenge for the execution by burning a Jordanian pilot. The royal Jordan's regime threatens with a large-scale war against the IS. However, according to experts, Jordan is not capable of real large-scale military operations because of the weakness of its army.

Meanwhile, in another part of Syria, forces of Jaish al-Islam/Army of Islam (AI) and other Islamic brigades continue fierce battles with the advancing army units of Assadites who stormed the city of Douma and other parts of Eastern Ghouta.

Three days ago, rocket and artillery units of the AI struck a massive blow to Assadites in Damascus. The infidels sharply intensified bombardments of Eastern Ghouta.

Assadites' media claimed that the brother of the head of AI, Zahran Alloush, had been killed during the fightings. Details are not known.

The IS command reports on fightings continuing in the area of the air force base in the Province of Deir ez-Zor. The positions of Assadites are subjected to massive artillery and mortar fire. In response, Assadites bombed positions of the IS using helicopters and airplanes.

The command of Assadites, in turn, claims that they had captured most of the village of Haweeja Saqr in Deir ez-Zor, but on the outskirts of Muhasana fightings are ongoing with many fighters killed.

Agencies, EsinIslam.Com & Several News Outlets

 
Syrian Rebels Regain Ground Lost Near Aleppo

Syrian rebels on Wednesday regained much of the territory north of the city of Aleppo lost to government troops in fierce fighting the previous day in clashes that left more than 100 dead on both sides, activists said.

The violence came as U.N. envoy Staffan de Mistura said he received a government commitment to suspend airstrikes on the city of Aleppo for six weeks, which would allow a proposed U.N. plan to 'freeze' hostilities in the country's largest city to be tested.

An activist in Aleppo said most rebel factions will abide by a truce if the government stops airstrikes and releases detainees, starting with female prisoners.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and Turkey-based activist Bari Abdellatif said rebels regained control of the villages of Ratyan and Dweir Zeytoun early Wednesday. The Observatory says 70 troops were killed in Tuesday's fighting.

The Observatory and Hamed, the Aleppo-based activist, said fighting is now concentrated in the village of Bashkoy, just north of Aleppo. They said rebels were fighting against Syrian troops backed by members of Lebanon`s Hezbollah group.

An amateur video released by rebels showed the bodies of some 25 Syrian soldiers and pro-government gunmen in Aleppo`s northern suburb of Mallah lying in a muddy open field.

The video appeared genuine and corresponded to other Associated Press reporting of the events.

The Observatory and the Lebanon-based Al-Mayadeen TV said some 30 Syrian soldiers were able to reach the besieged, predominantly Shiite village of Zahraa north of Aleppo for the first time since 2012.

Hamed denied that troops were able to reach Zahraa, adding that the village and nearby Nubul are still encircled by rebels.

Agencies, EsinIslam.Com & Several News Outlets

 
Inside Syria's Jails

In the spring of 2011, hundreds of thousands of Syrians rose up in protest to demand democracy and freedom and an end to the dictatorship of President Bashar al-Assad. The response of the regime was to escalate the methods of repression that had been tried and tested against political opponents since the 1970s: arbitrary detention, disappearance and torture.

I worked as an Arabic teacher in the Damascus suburb of Germana, where my husband and I lived. We were both activists in a left-wing opposition party that had been suppressed for decades. I also founded an organization called Syrian Women for a State of Citizenship, which has been active since the start of the revolution. We worked to create economic opportunities for women and to promote peace and reduce conflict between armed factions at a local level.

I was first arrested on July 20, 2011, for participating in a peaceful demonstration in downtown Damascus. Along with six other activists, I was beaten with fists and an electric rod by members of the shabiha, the Baathist militia loyal to the Assad family. The regime gave these thugs a blank check to terrorize anyone suspected of opposition sympathies. They abused and manhandled us, before handing us over to the police. We were held by the criminal security branch — in effect, the secret police — for 12 days, and then appeared in court before a judge, who granted us bail. We later received summonses, but we never showed up; eventually, the case against us for an "unlawful demonstration" was dropped.

As the security situation deteriorated through 2012, the regime's tactics became harsher. By some estimates, more than 200,000 people have been detained as political prisoners, including thousands of women, and even young children.

On Dec. 30, 2013, I was arrested again, when I went to a passport office to apply for a visa to attend a women's conference sponsored by the United Nations . An arrest warrant was also issued for my husband, but he succeeded in going into hiding for the duration of my second detention. This time, I was fired from my job.

The worst thing about detention was not knowing whether it would ever end. I could have been killed at any time — prisoners die by the score every day from the effects of torture. I feel lucky just to be alive.

We were isolated from the outside world and had no access to lawyers. For more than a month, I shared a prison cell with more than 30 women who were all detained for different charges, either because of their relief activities in the besieged areas, their personal or family ties with members of the armed opposition, or as a result of a false security report. The cell was about 50 square feet, dark and cold, with no ventilation.

Torture was routine. Anyone who has been detained in Mr. Assad's prisons will know these details. There are about 40 documented techniques, including suspending prisoners by their arms from the ceiling, electric shocks, beatings, cigarette burns and pulling nails. The screams of the tortured were unbearable; I nearly lost my mind in there.

More than 60 men were held in a neighboring cell. Regardless of the charge, the guards called us all terrorists and beat everyone. The number of detainees went down as some died, and up again as more were brought in. Some were forced to sleep next to corpses before the dead were disposed of. Among the living, our exhausted bodies became infested with lice; we got rashes and skin infections.I was fortunate not to be harmed physically, unlike a doctor held with me who was falsely accused of kidnapping a Syrian Army soldier. They hung her from her hair instead of her wrists, and kept dousing her body with cold water and s

ocking her with electricity until she lost consciousness for days at a time.

We were interrogated for long hours, and the interrogators kept us in a state of stress all day and all night. I was blindfolded, handcuffed and dragged to the interrogation room.

The interrogator would slap me in the face again and again, ordering me to sign blank sheets to which he would later add false confessions.

During this second detention of about 40 days I was transferred from one facility to another, until I was lucky enough to be released in one of the first "reconciliations," a cease-fire agreement between the army and rebels. These often resulted after the regime had besieged an area and subjected its population to starvation; the armed resistance had to lay down its weapons and cede control of the area under the terms of the deal, which included prisoner exchanges.

Once I was out, my husband — who had stayed only because of our two children — fled across the border to Lebanon. I was confined to Damascus and banned from traveling. Because Syrian law does not recognize women's rights, I also lost guardianship of our sons. Finally, a judge granted me temporary custody and a temporary travel permit. So we left for Beirut and have applied for asylum, but we are stuck — without work, and with our children out of school.

We who have seen the inside of Mr. Assad's jails call on the international community to stand against the catastrophic brutality in Syria. The first step toward a solution must be an end to the killings, detentions and disappearances. International observers must be permitted to visit the prisons to monitor the condition of detainees.

Despite the dire security situation, I intend to go back to Syria if I get the opportunity. Eventually, there will have to be an end to this terrible armed conflict, and I believe that to guarantee their rights, Syrian women, too, must have a role in negotiating any final agreement.
This article is by an Arabic teacher and Syrian activist.
 
The Military Interefence Of Iran In Syria - A Chronicle Of Rafidi Deceptions And Lies

Syrian oppositional groups have repeated for a long time that Iran is actively suppressing the Syrians and their revolution by siding with the Pharao and Yazid of our time, Bashar Al-Assad, the Alawite, secular and Bathist tyrant. Not just ideological and logistical aid but rather military aid, Iranian troops actively fighting the Syrian resistance.

All these reports by the Syrian oppositional groups were dismissed by Iran, its stooges and cheerleaders after a number of embarrassing blunders on the Iranian side and victories on the side of the resistance fighters who managed to capture video material of known Iranian Revolutionary Guards who activerly operate in Syria. This exporsure led finally to the addmission of Hassan Nasralla(t)'s that the Hezbolla(t) are actively operating in Syria to defend Shia places of polytheism (shrines), particularly the shrine of lady Zaynab in Damascus.

In this article we'd like to show in chronological order of how deceptive the Rafidi regime of Iran is, the very same regime that tried hard (to save its face as long as possible) dismiss ANY (let alone military) involvement in Syria. You will be shocked of how blatantly Iranian officials lie, whether Revolutionary Guards or the unholy 'Aytollahs'.

The Syrian revolution is an on-going one, so are the Rafidi regimes blatant and shameless lies in regards to its military interventions and activities in Syria. Let us start by going a bit back in the past, the year 2012, where whining and wailing Revolutionary Guards were caught in Syria. This is where Iran's highest ranking officials, including revolutionary guards and clerics started to deny the interference of Iranian troops in Syria. The sheer hypocrisy is that these very same Rafidite Safavid Takfiris, the enemies of the Prophet's companions and wives, have the audacity to others as 'Takfiri groups' and the likes of Saudi Arabia, Qatar etc. as supporters of the alleged 'Takfiris' who make up lies against Iran (i.e. that Iran is military wise involved in Syria).

Iran's lie #1

Iran Denies Syria Captives Are Revolutionary Guards, THE PILGRIM'S TALE

On 06/08/2012, pro-Iranian, Russian sources reported that the Iranian foreign ministry denied on Monday that the 48 Iranians kidnapped in Syria on Saturday were members of the elite Iranian Revolutionary Guards.

"We strongly deny the information disseminated by certain media that our kidnapped pilgrims are members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps. All of them are pilgrims who came to Damascus to visit its shrines," Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian said.

So these man that were captured by the FSA were only average Iranian 'pilgrims' (to shrines, as it's common in the polytheistic religion of the Twelver Rafidah Shia) the Iranian regime claimed. A likely story!

Since the stupidity of this narrative was just too obvious (literally all of these captured men had Revolutionary Guard Identity Cards!), the Iranian hypocrite regime started to change the narrative. The mess was done though, they even made themselves look more ridicolous as they already were. Only two days after the report about the captured Revolutionary Guards, precisely 08/08/2012 the very same Russian and pro-Iranian news agency (and of course all Iranian news agencies too) reported that the captures 'tourists and pilgrims' where in fact RETIRED Revolutionary Guards. How sweet indeed!

Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi denied they had any military role at present and reiterated that pilgrimage to Damascus shrines was the only purpose of their journey.

"Some of those pilgrims used to be Revolutionary Guards members, some of them are retired servicemen," the minister said.

Aren't they smart the Safavids?! Masters in inventing lies and ridicolous narratives, first they say they were pilgrims, then they had to change the narrative to 'retired Revolutionary Guards' pilgrims. Yeah, it must be absolutely common to visit a shrine in a country were a civil war is going on (a bunch of men only, not a single women or child), as a bunch of 'retired Revolutionary Guards. The plain truth is, Digarban, a website that monitors the country's conservatives and their online activities, reported that at least seven guards commanders were among the released prisoners. "Abedin Khoram, the [current] commander of the Revolutionary Guards' division in Orumieh … is among those released who have returned to Iran," it reported. Not to mention that these 48 'pilgrims' were traded for 2100 Syrian prisoners!

Iran's lie #2

Contradictions over Contradiction, admission, then denial

As a matter of fact some Iranian sources (even before the even of the captured 'retired Revolutionary Guards' confirmed Iran's MILITARY involvement in Syria, but these were quickly removed and denied by other Iranian sources. Contradictions after all, very common when lying has become a habit.

THE GUARDIAN reported on Monday the 28 May of 2012 an apparent slip-up and blunder of a senior commander in Iran's Revolutionary Guards has admitted that Iranian forces are operating in Syria in support of Bashar al-Assad's regime. Ismail Gha'ani, the deputy head of Iran's Quds forces (the external arm of the Revolutionary Guards), tasked with overseas operations, said in an interview with the semi-official Isna (The Iranian Student News Agency) news agency: "If the Islamic republic was not present in Syria, the massacre of people would have happened on a much larger scale."Isna published the interview at the weekend but subsequently removed it from its website.

Admitting, then removing the report! In fact, it gets worse, for high ranking Iranian officials later on claimed that Iran has no military presence in Syria!

Iran's lie #3

The head of the Revolutionary Guards in Iran suddenly claims Iran has no MILITARY presence in Syria!

Yes, you heard right, after 'retired Revolutionary Guard pilgrims' tale, after the admission of the deputy head of Iran's Quds force, suddenly the HEAD of the Revolutionary Guards in September 2012 claimed that Iran has no military presence in Syria! Some members of Iran's elite Quds force were in Syria but this does not constitute 'a military presence' according to the notorious liars of the Rafidite Safavid regime.

Army commander gives clear sign of Tehran's continuing support for Assad's regime but denies troops signify military presence.

In a clear public signal of Tehran's continuing support for Assad, the commander of the Islamic republic's elite military formation said that a number of members of the IRGC's Qods force were in Syria, though General Mohammad Ali Jafari gave no further details and claimed this did not constitute "a military presence".

It's worth mentioning that General Mohammad Ali Jafari who by the way is THE IRGC Commander (commander of the Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution of Iran), is the same bluffer who became a laughing stock after Iran expressed the hope that Syria will strike back at Israel after the apparent Israeli raid on one or two targets in Syria, presumed to be a chemical/biological weapons plant and a shipment of advanced anti-aircraft missiles. Middle East Online, however, remembers that only weeks before Iran declared that any Israeli strike on Syria will be considered an attack against Iran and Iran would retaliate. That statement, the latest of a long line of similar declarations, was made by Ali Akbar Velayati, assistant to the Supreme Leader Khamenei. Iran went so for to claim that a Syrian response is imminent, and 'will put Israel in a coma.' Tehran also announced that thousands of Israelis are preparing to leave the country in anticipation of the massive Syrian response. Now did ANY of that happen? Did Iran ACTIVELY fight Israel and retaliate?! Did a SINGLE Israeli suffer since the Syrian revolution, either from Iran or its proxies (the party of Satan in Lebanon, Bashar etc.?) Of course not! Iran is busy killing Muslims, Sunnis, particularly the Syrian ones who oppose the Iranian slave Bashar.

Taghoot Khamenei with Mohammad Ali Jafari (left) and Yahya Rahim Safavi (center), former commander of the IRGC

Iran's lie #4

May 2013 and Iran still lies to the world

PRESS TV (Iranian mouthpiece in English language) reported on May 25, 2013 that Iran denied any military presence in Syria!

The Iranian ambassador to the United Nations has dismissed claims about Iran's military presence in Syria and the shipment of arms by the Islamic Republic to the Arab country."Despite the unfounded allegations, no Iranian military forces or advisors are present in Syria, but, unfortunately, certain regional countries are interfering in Syria's internal affairs and fanning the flame of the conflict in the country by sending arms to extremist and terrorist groups," Mohammad Khazaei said.

Iran's lie #5

June 2013 and Iran still keeps lying …

On the 16/06/2013 a Russian pro-Iran news agency reported how Iran was about to send a contingent of Iranian Revolutionary Guards, precicely 4,000 troops to Syria to aid the Kafir Bashar Assad's Alawite forces to suppress the Syrian people and their revolution. Two days later, on the 18/06/2013, the very same Russian and pro-Iranian regime news agency reported a denial, as usual the Iranian regime was quick to deny the obvious and stated that 'Iran has no plans to send troops to aid Syrian President Bashar Assad's forces in the ongoing civil war there'.

Iran has no plans to send troops to aid Syrian President Bashar Assad's forces in the ongoing civil war there, an Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Tuesday, rejecting media reports claiming Tehran was set to intervene directly in the fighting.

"We categorically deny this information," Seyed Abbas Araqchi said, adding Tehran has never and would never send its troops to Damascus. Syria's government forces have all the necessary means to fight against "terrorists acting in Syria," and "Iran has no need to provide military aid to Syria's authorities," he said.

The Tehran Time also reported the same news:

TEHRAN - Iran has denied Saudi Arabia's recent claims that the Islamic Republic has been involved in the Syrian crisis, calling Riyadh an accomplice of Takfiri terrorists in their crimes against the defenseless people of Syria. Speaking at a news conference with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Jeddah on Tuesday, Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal said that the kingdom "cannot be silent" about Iranian intervention and called for a resolution to ban arms flows to the Syrian government, Reuters reported.

Claims? Iran standing for the dfenseless people of Syria?! So Saudi Arabia is an 'accomplice of Takfiri terrorists' for supporting the resistance of the Syrian people against the Kafir, Alawite and mass-murderer Bathist Bashar Al-Assad and Iran by supporting Bashar is defending the Syrians?!

Iran's lie #6

It's Rouhani's turn to lie and to deny in June 2013

Next we'd like to remind you of what the new Rafidi Mullah president of the Safavid state shamelessly claimed, as been reported on the mouthpiece channel of the Iranian regime in the west, PRESS TV on June 24, 2013.

[Rohani] "The Islamic Republic of Iran's policy is to help the regional nations and governments, and I do not believe that problems in the region, particularly in Syria, can be solved militarily, but we seek [to help establish] a ceasefire in Syria to prevent [further] killings," Rohani said in a telephone conversation with Lebanese President Michel Sleiman on Sunday.Rohani dismissed any foreign meddling in Syria, stressing that the Syrian nation should determine its own destiny."

Alright, how relieved we are, the Iranian Rafidite Safavid regime just wants to 'help' its (Sunni) neighbours. Now the world, the Islamic Ummah has witnessed how their help looks, how the Iranian regime is ready to back a Bathist and secularist mass-murderer like Bashar with the help of other major Kafir forces (and TRUE allies of Iran), such as Russia and China.

Iran's lie #7

September 2013 and Iran and its allies still lie and deny the obvious

And if you fancy official Iranian sources, than don't worry, their stupidity, lies and hypocrisy has been recorded on the whole net:

Spokeswoman Denies Iran's Military Presence in Syria
September 17, 2013 - 11:16 - IRANIAN TASNIM NEWS AGENCY TEHRAN (Tasnim) - Iran does not have official military presence in Syria, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman underlined, and added that Tehran advocates political solution to the crisis in Syria.

Iran has no military presence in the crisis-hit Syria, said Marziyeh Afkham in her weekly press conference, when asked about Iran-Syria cooperation in defense fields.

The slaves of the Rafidah in Tehran and Qom, the Syrian regime who literally sold their souls and the lives of their people for Rafidi were of course quick to repeat the same lie.

The following swine is not the Jew Sharon, but the Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem (the one who stated that Bashar's Syria is will prevent the emerge of an Islamic state!), the shameless liar also denied claims about Iran's military presence in Damascus, saying Tehran always seeks a political solution to the crisis in Syria. What a joke! Of course it was reported by the joke of a news agency and channel, PRESS TV, the mouthpiece of the Iranian regime, on Jun 24, 2013.

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem has categorically denied claims about Iran's military presence in Damascus, saying Tehran always seeks a political solution to the crisis in Syria.

Speaking to reporters in Damascus on Monday, Moallem said claims by certain countries supporting terrorism that Iran has military forces in Syria are just a rumor.
Iran has repeatedly expressed its opposition to any foreign intervention in Syria's internal affairs, stressing that inclusive dialog and national reconciliation as well as free elections are the keys to resolving the unrest in the Arab country
What the Rafidite Safavid enemies of the Ummah didn't calculate is that Allah is the best of the planners and will expose them sooner than they might have thought.

"They were plotting and Allah too was planning, and Allah is the Best of the planners" [Qr'an 8: 30]

Allah is the best planner, and steadily the two camps - one which is the camp of Kufr (Rafidi Iran, Russia, China and Israel that despite its opposition to Iran PREFERS a secular-Alawite lead Syria over any strong Sunni state) and one which is the camp of Iman (the Syrian people and resistance) are being more and more distinguished so that there might be no excuse for anyone to side with the truth. In fact, Rafidite Iran and their allies are exposed at their OWN hands, for recently some Mijahideen in Syria, the Daoud brigade, a group based near Idlib, in northwest Syria, overran a government position and captured videos of interviews given by Iranian commanders fighting in Syria. The ORIGINAL captured videos, surfaced online on September 9, are in Farsi and show the extent to which the Iranians are involved in the genocide against our Ahl Al-Sunnah brothers and sisters in Syria.

Now we don't like Al-Jazeera as well, but as you might predict (after reading all the blatant lies of the Iranian officials), this video is not a fake, it's just the manifestation of how Iran is getting exposed and the Revolutionary Guards in the clip are real and Al-Hamdulillah dead. They were publically celebrated as REVOLUTIONARY GUARDS and martyrs by the Iranian regime:

An official Iranian website published photos of Ismaïl Haydary's (Revolutionary Guard commander in the clip) funeral, which took place in Iran, describing him as a "martyred general" and - like Mohsen - as a "defender of the Sayyida Zaynab shrine". Portraits of him displayed at his funeral clearly show that he is the same man featured in the videos.

The Syrian officers in the short documentary above and in other high quality videos (such as this one Youtube) do not seem troubled by the presence of a camera. All the videos are filmed in rather high quality, and the frame is stable. This lends credence to the claim that the footage was filmed with a camera and not a mobile phone. Perhaps not coincidentally, in late August, when the two Iranians seen in the videos were killed, a Persian news site mentioned that an Iranian filmmaker by the name of Hadi Baghbani had died in Syria. According to this site, Baghbani was killed by "Salafists" while filming "the Syrian army's progress in its battle against jihadists".

The numerous details cited above point to the authenticity of these videos. They show that Iranian military officers are helping supervise soldiers in Syria's regular army . This is a claim that the Syrian opposition groups have repeated for a long time, from the beginning of the Revolution to this very day, but until now all of these evidence were dismissed by Iran, like when the Syrian resistance captured a some of these (whining) Revolutionary Guards:

Of course you won't find PRESS TV and other Iranian mouthpieces reporting these contradictions, lies and deceptions since lying and deceiving is part of their Rafidite creed, so don't expect much from them, they lie through their teeth in the age social media, turning Syria into Bahrain and Revolutionary Guards into 'pilgrims'. The Islamic Ummah will never forgive the crimes of the Kisra, Pharao and Yazid Khamenei, the Revolutionary Guards, the Rafidite regime and the 'Ayatollahs' against the Syrian people, their mask has fallen and they have exposed themselves at their own hands and their the Rise and Fall of Iran in Arab and Muslim Public Opinion has become a reality that will open the eyes of many Muslims around the world, especially those who were fooled by the empty chantings of 'death to America/Israel' of the Iranian regime.

Sons Of Sunnah in Iran

 
Former ISIS Supporter And Cleric Saudi Preacher Tells Of Life Under Al-Baghdadi's Caliphate

A Saudi preacher who had escaped the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) after having joined it has come out against the group, criticizing its "distorted" version of Islam.

Sheikh Mani'i Al-Mani'i had shocked many last year when he announced on Twitter that he had joined "the land of Jihad" and that he pledged allegiance to ISIS.

After several months the preacher fled the group and surrendered himself to the Saudi embassy in Turkey.

He recently appeared on a Saudi television channel recounting his experience under ISIS.

"I found that instead of freedom, and instead of freedom of belief, they force people to accuse of infidelity those that they think are infidels," the preacher said of ISIS militants.

He added that ISIS militants even regard the people Makkah, the birthplace of Islam, as infidels.

The preacher warns Saudi youth not to listen to ISIS propaganda, saying the religion that the militant group tries to promote is nothing close to the religion of Islam he knows.

"It is not the Islam that I know," he said.

"I was prevented from traveling, my passport was taken away, and I was also forced to pledge allegiance to the organization," he added.

Agencies, EsinIslam.Com & Several News Outlets

 
Monitor: Syria Regime Strikes Kill 82 After Rebels Surprised Resistance On Damascus

Dozens of Syrian regime strikes on an opposition-held area near Damascus have killed at least 82 people, a monitor said Friday, in the deadliest such onslaught since November.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based monitor, said the new toll in the Thursday air strikes on the Eastern Ghouta region included at least 18 children.

The regime assault, which also killed 16 rebel fighters, involved more than 60 air strikes, as well as surface-to-surface missiles, the Observatory said.

It was the deadliest aerial attack by government forces since November 25, when 95 people were killed in air strikes on Raqa, the self-proclaimed capital of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria group.

Thursday's strikes came after a rebel group in Eastern Ghouta fired a barrage of at least 120 mortar rounds and rockets into Damascus, killing 10 people, among them a child.

Residents said the capital was quiet on Friday and that the mortar and rocket fire appeared to be over.

But regime air strikes were continuing in Eastern Ghouta, the Observatory said.

The key rebel bastion on the outskirts of Damascus has been under siege for nearly two years, leading to food and medical shortages.

Since mid-2012, the government has carried out frequent air raids there and on other on rebel-held areas.

Rights groups accuse it of indiscriminately killing both civilians and insurgents.

More than 200,000 people have died in the Syrian conflict, which began with anti-government protests in March 2011 and escalated into a civil war.

Agencies, EsinIslam.Com & Several News Outlets

 
Turkey Detains Five Suspected ISIS Members This Week: Army

By Tulay Kardeniz

Turkish authorities have detained a man alleged to be a member of Islamic State in the southeastern city of Gaziantep, the army said on Thursday, bringing the number of suspected militants seized this week to five.

The announcement comes after months of criticism from Ankara's Western partners over its perceived reluctance to crack down on Islamist fighters using the country to travel into neighboring Syria.

"Security forces caught a Daesh member (on Wednesday) in Gaziantep. A judicial process has been started," the Turkish General Staff said in a statement on its website, employing an acronym for Islamic State widely used in the region.

On Monday, four people thought to be Islamic State members were apprehended by security forces during traffic control in Gaziantep's Oguzeli district, a separate army statement said.

The nationality of the detainees was not clear.

Turkey's 900km-long border with Syria has proved difficult to police since the start of the Syrian conflict nearly four years ago. Critics have suggested Turkey is reluctant to tackle the problem of extremists for fear of becoming a target.

Turkey has opened its doors to nearly 2 million people who have fled the conflict in Syria, but it has so far played only a minor role in the fight against Islamic State. Officials cite disagreements over strategy and security concerns as reasons.

The city of Gaziantep, which lies around 50km from the border, has developed into a hub for aid workers responding to the humanitarian fallout in Syria.
 
Jordanian Airstrikes Kill 55 ISIS Militants

Jordanian fighter jets flew over the hometown of a pilot killed by Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group and the capital Amman on Thursday after completing a mission, state television said without giving the location of their sortie, Reuters reported.

However, Iraqi media said that the Jordanian airstrikes have killed 55 ISIS militants including a senior commander known as the "Prince of Nineveh."

Jordan's 'severe' response to ISIS after it killed an air force pilot by burning him alive, came just hours after King Abdullah vowed to avenge Maaz al-Kassasbeh's death.

"The blood of martyr Maaz al-Kassasbeh will not be in vain and the response of Jordan and its army after what happened to our dear son will be severe," Said King Abdullah in a statement released by the royal court on Wednesday.

Jordan had previously been divided on its participation in airstrikes against ISIS, with many question why the country was involving itself in the fight.

But it was a divide that largely vanished after the revelation of Kassasbeh's brutal execution.

Jordan's information minister, Mohammad al-Momani told AFP: Amman was "more determined than ever to fight the terrorist group Daesh." And a government spokesman said Jordan would step up its role in the U.S.-led fight against the militant group.

King Abdullah cut short a visit to Washington, returning to his country where he held emergency talks with his military.

But before his return to the Middle East he met with President Barack Obama, who slammed the pilot's killing as an act of "cowardice and depravity," and he offered the king "his deepest condolences" White House spokesman, Alistair Baskey said.

Meanwhile Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said radical Islam's "cruelty knows no borders, the greatest threat to humanity would be if these extremists get their hands on nuclear weapons," referring to Iran's nuclear program.

The airstrikes came just hours after Jordan executed two militant prisoners in response to the killing of Kassasbeh.

But the pilot's father told Reuters the two executions were not enough to avenge his son's death, adding: "I want the state to get revenge for my son's blood through more executions of those people who follow this criminal group that shares nothing with Islam." Safi al-Kassasbeh told Reuters.

Agencies, EsinIslam.Com & Several News Outlets

 
Experts: Kobane Defeat A Sign Of ISIS Weakening

By Paul Crompton

The rout of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) from the long-embattled Syrian border town of Kobane is a sign that the militant group can be weakened and beaten, experts told Al Arabiya News.

The fight over Kobane - which began in September last year - reached a conclusion this week after Kurdish fighters aided by heavy coalition airstrikes regained full control of the city, an event hailed by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry as a "big deal."

ISIS's defeat in Kobane "demonstrates that it is more adept at propaganda, terrorism and light guerrilla warfare than it is about performing as a significant military force when faced by a determined enemy," said Michael Ryan, a scholar at the Washington-based Middle East Institute and the author of "Decoding al-Qaeda's Strategy: The Deep Battle Against America."

The group's "actual fighting force is probably much smaller than its overall reported numbers might suggest and thus the loss of hundreds of fighters is likely a significant blow to its power base," he added.

Although ISIS is "far from defeated" in Syria and Iraq, the loss of Kobane is a major blow to the group and shows that it "can be beaten," Ryan said.

But the success in the ground campaign by Kurdish fighters - including the Peshmerga from Iraq's Kurdistan - could have come much faster if the Kurds were better equipped by their Western allies, some experts say.

"One of ISIS's primary assets since June 2014 has been the aura of momentum generated by its military gains," said Noah Bonsey, a Syria analyst at the Brussels-based International Crisis Group, referring to the group's sweeping takeover of the Iraq's second largest city of Mosul in summer last year.

"The battle of Kobane halted that momentum in Syria, and in that sense ISIS's loss there is significant," he added.

Hilal Khashan, a political science professor at the American University of Beirut, said that there is "no question" that ISIS has been contained.

"ISIS is sustaining tremendous losses and, even though it has not yet been decimated, it is only a question of time before it is convincingly defeated."

But the Kurds and the U.S.-led coalition - as well as other groups fighting ISIS on the ground in Syria and Iraq - should not rest on their laurels.

"We should not be surprised if [ISIS] attempts further attacks against Kobane in the future in an attempt to erase what is widely perceived as a defeat," said Ryan.

ISIS's steady stream of recruitment - with new fighters reportedly continuing to trickle in - could preserve the group's staying power, Bonsey said.

The resolve of Arab countries to combat ISIS may have been strengthened this week after the release of a gruesome video showing the burning alive of captured Jordanian fighter pilot Moaz al-Kasasbeh at the hands of the militants.

News of his killing spurred Jordan - a neighbor of Iraq and Syria and an ally in the U.S.-led coalition - against the group to step up its bombing campaigns, reportedly killing 55 militants on Thursday.

Additionally, such "Medieval thinking cannot possibly win against the 21st century," said Khashan. "ISIS is out of place and out of time."
 
The Situation In Syria, 2014

By Thomas van Linge and Pieter Van Ostaeyen

In March 2014 the Syrian war entered its fourth year. With over 76.000 deaths reported 2014 was the deathliest year of the conflict. 2014 saw the rise of the "Islamic State", a group which, at the end of 2013 was just one of many factions fighting the regime. At the end of the year the Islamic State controlled roughly 30% of the country. 2014 was the year in which Homs, the 'capital of the revolution' fell to the regime and its allies. But 2014 was also the year in which the Free Syrian Army (which was declared dead by some at the end of 2013) made a comeback in several parts of the country.

First half of January

Syria started 2014 with yet another conflict. A vast majority of the factions in the rebel movement began fighting against militants of ISIS, an al-Qaeda originated group which was very unpopular among the mainstream opposition for its hostility towards other factions. Within two days rebels led by the Syria Revolutionaries Front (an FSA coalition in Idlib province) expelled ISIS from Harem, Salqin, Kafranbel, Ma'arat al-Numan, al-Bara, Kafr Zita and ad-Dana. While in Aleppo a new rebel group under the name 'Jaysh al-Mujahideen' expelled ISIS from Mare', Sawran, Atarib, Tell Rifaat and Aleppo city.

Rebels also managed to temporarily expel ISIS from al-Bab and Manbij, but were pushed back here, while in the meantime ISIS took complete control of the city of ar-Raqqa, pushing out all other rebel factions. Forces of the Syrian regime managed to take advantage of this new conflict and advanced from the Aleppo international airport to al-Zarzur, just north of it.

In the Northeast of the country the forces of the YPG launched an offensive at the end of 2013, capturing the town of Tall Birak and completely surrounding Tall Hamis, capturing a lot of ground from Islamist rebel forces (mainly ISIS, Jabhat an-Nusra and Ahrar as-Sham). But facing heavy resistance in this Arab dominated area which made them suffer heavy losses; the YPG was forced to retreat in January 2014 in what would become their biggest defeat thus far.

In the South the rebels made some smaller advances; capturing the national hospital in Jasim, which was the last regime position in the town. And gaining some ground in Sheikh Maskin, which was besieged by regime forces.

Second half of January and first half of February

Despite defeats in ar-Raqqa and east Aleppo the rebel offensive against ISIS continued into February. Rebels expelled ISIS members from brigade 46 in west Aleppo, Bab al-Salam border crossing near Azaz and the town of Binnish in Idlib. ISIS retreated all its forces from Deir ez-Zor province to the north in order to prevent a wider conflict with rebel-aligned tribes in the area. However in Hasakah province ISIS overpowered all other rebel groups who all ended up swearing allegiance to the group.

In Northern Hama rebels launched an offensive against the regime, advancing all the way east to the village of Maan and capturing the town of Morek, by which they effectively cut the road to Khan Shaykhun (the last remaining regime-held city in Southern Idlib). But regime forces managed to expel the rebels from Souran, which is located just south of Morek. In the Qalamoon mountains near Damascus, the regime, backed by foreign Hezbollah forces, started to intensify its attacks on the rebel-held town of Yabroud. In the Southern part of the country rebels launched a new offensive in Southeast Quneitra, capturing several smaller villages.

Second half of February and first half of March

At the end of February ISIS pulled all its remaining forces out of west Aleppo, abandoning towns like Azaz, al-Rai, Mayer, Darat Izza and Anadan, which were immediately taken over by local rebel forces. ISIS also pulled out of Latakia province, abandoned its remaining areas in Idlib and was pushed out of Markadah in Hasakah province.

The rebels themselves lost ground to the regime, whose forces in Aleppo advanced from Zarzur and reached the outskirts of the industrial city of Sheikh Najjar. Regime forces also managed to push rebels back from Maan village in Hama and closed in around Yabroud.

The regime offensive around Yabroud made rebels in the desert area east of the Qalamoon Mountains intensify their attacks on the regime. Rebels also pushed into Khan Shaykhun and controlled the city center in a matter of days, after which fighting was mainly concentrated on the checkpoints around the city.

Second half of March and first half of April

In response to the regime push east of Aleppo, rebel forces started to advance on the western outskirts and in the southwest of the city. After gaining complete control over the suburbs of Maarat al-Artiq and Layramoun, rebels entered al-Wafa and al-Zahraa districts in west Aleppo. In the meantime rebels crossed into the Ramousah district of the city, gaining some ground and cutting the main highway connecting regime-controlled Aleppo to the international airport. In Idlib province rebels captured several regime checkpoints on the M5 highway, cutting off the regime bases around Ma'arat al-Numan from Khan Shaykhun.

Rebels also made a significant push in the Latakia Mountains, where they captured the town of Kesab, taking the last remaining border crossing with Turkey from the regime, they even managed to reach a small beach at the Mediterranean. Rebels also made some small advances in the south where they captured the Daraa central prison and the silos near Daraa, cutting the regime-held part of the city from its remaining border crossing with Jordan. Rebels gained complete control of the road between the towns of Tasil and Dael. Other rebel forces seized several military installations in the desert east of Dumayr, capturing dozens of tanks from regime forces.

But they also suffered some major defeats. In the Qalamoon Mountains the rebel-held towns seemed to fall like dominos. After the rebel stronghold of Yabroud was taken by regime and Hezbollah forces Falitah fell, which was followed by Ras al-Maarra, Maaloula, Rankus and Telfita. In Homs province rebels were forced to retreat from the historic castle Krak des Chevaliers which was besieged by the regime for quite some time. Rebels lost ground to ISIS as well; first the group took complete control of the road going from ar-Raqqa to as-Sukhna in the dessert, then they started to push towards the Euphrates River, capturing several small villages including Markadah and Muweeleh along the way. ISIS fighters also expelled rebels from Tabni, and captured the small villages of Kabajeb and as-Sulah on the road between as-Sukhna and Deir ez-Zor city.

ISIS consolidated its positions around the YPG-controlled Kobanê canton and conducted new attacks on the area but was met with heavy resistance by the YPG forces who had prepared for this.

Second half of April and first half of May

In the midst of spring the regime achieved several major victories against rebel forces around the country. The biggest victory was the complete capture of the city of Homs, which was ever since the beginning of the uprising considered the symbol and hearth of the revolution by rebel forces. The regime managed to regain complete control over the city center after a deal was reached with the rebels in which the remaining rebels in the city were allowed save passage towards the northern countryside. In the Qalamoon mountains the rebels seemed to had completely collapsed after regime and Hezbollah forces recaptured Assal al-Ward and made dozens of rebel formations in the region either flee across the border, retreat to the desert or surrender. In the South regime forces managed to make a push from Sheikh Maskin into the rebel stronghold of Nawa, recapturing almost half the city. In Aleppo regime forces advanced in Sheikh Najjar, inching closer towards the Aleppo central prison which was besieged by rebels for over a year. And in Latakia regime forces used the small beach, captured by rebels in March, as a beachhead for an offensive to recapture Kesab.

Rebels had to suffer defeats to ISIS as well; the group launched a big offensive in Deir ez-Zor, capturing several villages and they effectively besieged rebel-held Deir ez-Zor city (in unofficial cooperation with the regime) after advancing alongside the Euphrates River to the city entrance.

Rebels did however manage to take some ground as well; in Daraa they took over brigade 61, situated on Tall al-Jabiyah which overlooks Nawa. In Khan Shaykhun rebels took control of more regime positions. In the desert area near ad-Dumayr rebels captured the cement factory and the Khan abu-Shamat military base, and in Hama rebels took control of tall Malah and the Khattab munition depot. FSA rebels, which resided in the Kobanê canton, launched (in cooperation with the YPG) a small offensive on ISIS, taking several small villages near Tall Abyad.

Second half of May

in the second half of May regime forces made a final push towards the Aleppo central prison and managed to reach it, breaking the year long rebel siege and putting more pressure on the rebel-held part of Aleppo city. Rebels on the other hand managed to capture the Salam checkpoint and the Khazanat army base, consolidating their control over Khan Shaykhun and the surrounding area. Rebels captured the village of Qanafiz and tried to advance towards the Hama - Aleppo highway in an attempt to cut it. In the Qalamoon region some rebel groups who were assumed to have been dissolved reappeared and took some ground around Zabadani. ISIS continued to advance into rebel-territory and captured the town of al-Busayrah on the river banks of the Euphrates. ISIS also recaptured the village of ar-Rai and surrounding area in northern Aleppo and managed to establish its own little enclave in the Northern Homs countryside. In Hasakah city tensions between the YPG and the regime escalated into fierce clashes which reportedly ended in the death of dozens of fighters on both sides and a new fragile truce without any significant changes on the ground.

First half of June

In this short period ISIS swept across Iraq, capturing major cities including Mosul, Tikrit, Hawijah and Tal Afar. During this time they put all their operations in Syria to a halt which gave FSA remnants in ar-Raqqa province a change to start a small offensive, which resulted in them capturing al-Hazimah, just north of the ISIS capital of ar-Raqqa. Regime forces took control of the town of Kesab, after it was under rebel control for over 2 months, forcing rebels back into the mountains to the southeast. Rebels increased their attacks on regime held Jisr al-Shughur in Idlib province and made a modest comeback in the Qalamoon Mountains where they'd shifted to guerilla tactics in order to counter regime and Hezbollah forces. Other than these developments this was a relatively calm period during the war.

Second half of June

After ISIS achieved many victories in Iraq it started to shift its focus back to Syria again. After ISIS fighters captured the Iraqi side of the border they started to attack Syrian rebels on the other side which resulted in the fall of Abu Kamal into ISIS hands. ISIS fighters also entered Muhassan, took control of the entire eastern river bank of the Euphrates between Raqqa and Deir ez-Zor, dominated the western desert area in Deir ez-Zor province and launched a new offensive in rebel-held Aleppo province, capturing several villages around Akhtareen. Rebel forces in east Hama seem to have disappeared as ISIS fighters started to show up in villages like Salba and Aqaribat. Rebels increased their attacks on regime and Hezbollah forces in Qalamoon and captured the military site on Tall Jumou in Daraa, which opened another road to Nawa. But they failed to push the regime back in Aleppo. On June 29th ISIS declared the re-establishment of the Caliphate and hence changed its name in the Islamic State (from now on referred to as IS)

First half of July

This short period saw the complete collapse of rebel forces in Deir ez-Zor province. Under IS military superiority village after village fell until all rebel forces in the province either left, disbanded or joined the organization. IS took over rebel frontlines in Deir ez-Zor and was now directly facing the regime.

The rebels which choose to flee the province moved temporarily to the mountains north of Palmyra, to later move to other rebel areas in Daraa or Idlib. IS continued to push into Aleppo province and entered Akhtareen were it was met by fierce rebel resistance. The regime advanced in Aleppo as well and took full control of Sheikh Najjar after having battled rebels for it for months. Rebel forces took over the village of as-Saen in northeast Hama, but failed to advance further to the Hama - Aleppo highway. The conflict between rebels and IS reached eastern Ghouta as well, as rebels almost destroyed the entire local branch of the organization.

Second half of July

In late July IS launched several major offensives against regime forces throughout the east of the country. The fighting started with IS capturing the Shaer gas fields, north of Palmyra, in which IS fighter killed hundreds of regime soldiers. Several days later regime forces managed to recapture the majority of the gas fields. A few days later IS fighters overran Division 17, a major regime army base just north of Raqqa city, again inflicting heavy losses among regime forces. In Hasakah province IS fighters pushed into the 121st artillery brigade, just south of the city, and forced regime forces to retreat to Hasakah. In order to prevent IS from taking over Hasakah city the regime asked the YPG for help, allowing them to move freely in all regime areas in the city and de-facto giving them complete control over the city.

But in Deir ez-Zor province IS was facing an uprising as members of the rebel-linked Sheitat tribe kicked out IS of several villages between Mayadeen and Abu Kamal and put up road blocks in order to prevent IS fighters from reentering.

Rebel forces launched an offensive in northern Hama province, managing to capture the town of Khattab, reaching the outskirts of Arzeh, Qomhana and even Hama city, and getting within firing range of the Hama military airport. In the South rebels captured the village of Sheikh Saad and its surrounding military sites, opening up the southern road to the embattled city of Nawa.

First half of August

Several days after the YPG took over responsibility of Hasakah IS fighters entered the Gweiran neighborhood in the south of the city and fierce fighting between the two sides followed. In ar-Raqqa province IS fighters overran Brigade 93, capturing dozens of functioning regime tanks. IS fighters also managed to capture the towns of Akhtareen and Dabiq in Aleppo province, and crushed the tribal uprising in Deir ez-Zor, killing hundreds of local tribesmen. In Idlib province Jabhat al-Nusra started to show a growing hostility towards other rebel groups as they expelled all other rebels from the border town of Harem.

Second half of August

Rebels continued to advance in northern Hama province and managed to recapture their former stronghold of Halfaya and the village of Arzeh, but they failed to capture the town of Mhardeh or advance any further towards Hama or its military airport. After months of fighting regime forces pushed remaining rebels out of the town on Mleiha near Damascus, forcing rebels to retreat further into eastern Ghouta. In the Golan Heights rebels pushed regime forces out of what's left of the provincial capital of Quneitra after capturing the border crossing with the occupied part of the Heights. IS fighters launched several waves of attacks on the Tabqa airbase, just south of Thawrah, which was the last regime-held area in the entire Raqqa province. After suffering some significant losses IS fighter overran the airbase, capturing and killing hundreds of regime soldiers and completely ending the Assad regime in Raqqa.

Fighting between rebels and IS intensified as well on the frontline in Aleppo province, although neither side managed to take any ground. IS fighters in the northern countryside of Homs decided to retreat from their enclave and left their positions to be taken over by rebels.

Heavy fighting occurred as well between IS fighters and the YPG around the town of Jazaa, near the border with Iraq. IS fighters sought to capture the town but YPG forces put up heavy resistance, combating IS in the town for days.

First half of September

In early September regime forces launched a counter offensive in northern Hama and recaptured all areas lost in the rebel offensive in a matter of days. They even pushed rebels back beyond the pre-offensive lines. In the South however rebels made some significant advances, taking over the entire southern half of the Quneitra province and moving up all the way to Deir Addas and Deir Makir, just several km away from breaking the regime siege on several rebel areas in western Ghouta.

IS fighters started to close in on the city of Salamiyah in eastern Hama, a city which is dominated by the Ismaeli sect, a religious minority in the country. But in Hasakah IS fighters lost ground to regime and YPG forces in the city and were pushed back from Jazaa by the YPG.

Second half of September

IS launched a very big offensive on the YPG controlled Kobanê canton and broke through all the YPG lines, capturing hundreds of small villages and causing mass exodus of the local Kurdish population towards Turkey. FSA remnants in Raqqa province abandoned their remaining positions and went to Kobanê to reinforce the YPG forces who were now encircled in the city by the IS on 3 sides and Turkey to the north. Meaning IS controlled Raqqa province 100%. IS fighters were also closing in again on Jazaa in Hasakah province, but they were pushed out of the Gweiran neighborhood in Hasakah city by regime forces. In Aleppo regime forces advanced from the central prison and captured the villages of Handarat and Safyat, just north of the city, cutting off another supply line to rebel-held Aleppo. And in eastern Ghouta regime forces recaptured the town of Adra after it was under rebel-control for almost a year. In the South however rebels continued to advance and overran a major military facility on Tall al-Harra near the town of al-Harrah in a matter of days.

First half of October

IS continued to advance on Kobanê and managed to capture up to 70% of the city, cornering YPG and allied forces in the northwest of the city. But YPG forces prevented IS from taking full control and recaptured Tall Shair, just west of the city, after heavy bombardments by coalition warplanes.

The remaining FSA rebels in eastern Aleppo, under the banner of the 'Dawn on Freedom brigades', entered Kobanê to help the YPG as well. In Daraa province FSA rebels took full control of the town of al-Harra without facing much regime resistance and managed to repel several regimen counter-pushes in the following days.

Second half of October

In Idlib province (mainly the Jabal az-Zawiya area) fighting broke out between the Syrian Revolutionaries Front (SRF) and fighters of Jabhat an-Nusra. Jabhat an-Nusra fighters managed to expel the SRF from the area and much of Idlib province, establishing themselves as the dominant force in this rebel-held region.

In Northern Hama regime forces recaptured the strategic town of Morek after rebels managed to fiercely defend it for months, in the meantime the regime was able to repel rebel-counter attacks on northern Aleppo and captured a major part of the Hawija island in Deir ez-Zor city, threatening to besiege IS fighters in the city. But the regime suffered some big losses in the Homs desert where IS fighters captured the Shaer gas fields again and advanced all the way to the Tayfur military base.

And in the south the FSA captured several regime checkpoints along the main highway to the border, cutting Damascus off from its last border post with Jordan.

First half of November

After Peshmerga forces from the Kurdistan Regional Government arrived in Kobanê the Kurds made some significant advances in the city and countryside west to it. In the Homs desert regime forces managed to recapture the Shaer gas fields, pushing IS fighters to the field outskirts once again. Regime forces in the south tried to defeat rebels in Sheikh Maskin but were met by even heavier rebel attacks from outside the besieged area. In a matter of days rebels broke the siege on the city, expelled regime forces from most of it and even overran all military bases between Sheikh Maskin and Nawa, establishing full control over Daraa's second city.

Second half of November

IS fighters made a surprise appearance in Rif Dimasq, after they captured the Bir Qassab area, south of Damascus, from rebel forces. In Hasakah province IS fighters made some advances south of al-Qamishli and captured several villages along the Syrian-Iraqi border. In Aleppo province rebels tried to advance towards as-Safira and captured a few villages.

First half of December

After years of attacking the regime bases around Ma'arat an-Numan rebels were finally able to capture all the bases and checkpoints around the city and on the M5 highway, killing dozens of regime forces and seizing a lot of weapons. Regime forces in the meantime advanced further west in northern Aleppo and captured most of the Mallah farms, putting more pressure on rebels in the city.

IS fighters launched a big offensive on regime forces in Deir ez-Zor and reached the eastern edge of the Deir ez-Zor military airport. Rebels launched a counter attack on IS fighters in the Rif Dimasq Desert and recaptured the Bir Qassab area.

Second half of December

After the Peshmerga in Iraq broke the siege on Mount Sinjar YPG forces in Jazaa, pushed south towards the border to open the road leading north to the mountain. YPG fighters in cooperation with regime forces managed to repel a IS attack north of Tall Hamis as well. IS fighters in the Qalamoon Mountains continued to grow in the meantime, forcing other rebels to pledge allegiance to the group. Rebels in the Latakia Mountains stepped up attacks on the regime and managed to made some small advances near Kesab, which they lost months before.

First half of January 2015

The cold winter weather caused the war to freeze up on most fronts, and the country witnessed a relatively peaceful period, if only for a few days. In Aleppo province a new rebel group emerged called 'Jabhat as-Shamiah', a unification of a lot of major Aleppo groups including Jaysh al-Muhajirin, the Nour al-Din Zengi Brigades and the Aleppo forces of the Islamic Front and ADF. The new coalition proved to be somewhat successful as they managed to recapture the Bureij area, weakening the regime belt around the city.

Possible evolutions in 2015

One thing that can be said with most certainty is that IS fighters will be pushed out of Kobanê city soon, YPG resistance, Peshmerga artillery and coalition airstrikes have made them lose ground for weeks now, and after they lose the city they will most likely be pushed out of most of the former canton as it is a flat area, were they are very vulnerable to airstrikes. It is not unthinkable that they will lose most of their ground in Aleppo province as well this year as the US has pledged to start training FSA rebels this spring and it is being rumored that col. Oqaidi of the FSA is planning to set up a Southern Front styled FSA coalition in the north. IS fighters will most likely be able to hold on to ar-Raqqa but will face a growing tribal resistance as rebel remnants in the province are increasing guerilla attacks on them. In Hasakah a new conflict has emerged between the YPG and the regime and it will be interesting to see if this will be the end of the Assad regime in the northeast or even if the US which has now allied itself with the YPG will be drawn into a minor conflict with Assad.

In Idlib province SRF rebels are planning to make a comeback (one which will be welcomed by the US) so a new wave of potential fighting between rebels will probably mean the remaining regime areas in the province will be save. The regime will most likely continue to make gains around Damascus, certainly as Jaysh al-Islam has started fighting the FSA linked Jaysh al-Umma in eastern Ghouta. But to the south the regime will most likely lose more ground (possible the entire Daraa province) to the Southern Front FSA rebels which have proven to be the most successful of all rebels in 2014. It is not unthinkable that in this scenario the Druze of Suwayda will start rejecting the regime and create their own autonomies region (similar to Rojava). Whether the regime will succeed in besieging Aleppo city is questionable, rebels are putting up a very heavy fight and several international powers (including Turkey, Saudi Arabia and even France) have signaled that they want to prevent such a scenario. But both rebels and regime seem to be and continue to be determined to capture Aleppo. Which shows that after two years the common saying is still relevant; 'the victor of Aleppo will be the victor of the war'.
 
Mask Off America-Iran Secrete Collaboration In Fightings In Syria And Iraq: Iran Warplanes Target Mujahidun In Clearest Sign Yet Of US Partnership

When you see a warplane overhead in Iraq, and its backing Assad's Ba'thi army, Baghdad's Shiite militia and Kurdish Peshmerga forces in a battle against the Mujahidun, especially the Syria resistance power-base of Jabhat An-Nusrah and the Islamic State Of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), you automatically think of the United States. They are, after all, the one with hundreds of planes in the area doing that.

But according to news reporters, including the antiwar's Jason Ditz video released today shows that their “anti-Mujahidun coalition” isn’t the only ones, as an Iranian F-4 Phantom is seen backing Kurdish fighters in trying to retake a pair of lost towns.

The plane caught on video backing Iranian staunch ally tyrant Assad and Kurdish Ba'thist party forces clearly confirms that Iran is involved in the ISIS war is hardly news, but the use of a warplane in a traditional US role is a major story, as it is all-but-impossible that Iran would be doing so without direct coordination with the US.

The US is desperate to the point of paranoia to say they “control the airspace” in Iraq, and having other nations’ warplanes just flying around willy nilly would make no sense, and would almost certainly make those planes a target. Iran would not be sending warplanes into Iraqi airspace in mid-US war, and in the vicinity of several US warplanes, without the US having confirmed that it was okay with them.

The US continues to deny any coordination with Iran and Syria on the ISIS war, but this denial seems to be primarily a diplomatic ploy at this point, and has no bearing on the policy.

Agencies, EsinIslam.Com & Several News Outlets

 
Fierce Fightings In Idlib And Aleppo. Bombardments Of Deir ez-Zor And Raqqa. Fightings In Kobani

By Markaz Kavkaz

Assadite command declared that on Wednesday, November 26, units of the Jabhat al-Islamiyyah/Islamic Front (IF) were driven away from the military base of Hazanat (1.5 km. south-east of the city of Khan Shaykhun) in the Province of Idlib. The offensive was conducted from the town of Mork in the neighbouring Province of Hama.

According to the infidels, fierce battles lasted for a few hours and in the evening the base was captured. However, the IF command has denied Assadites’ version, stating that the base is still under the control of IF. Local activists also denied information about the capture of the base, saying that fightings were taking place on the road between base Hazanat and a tank battalion in Mork.

On Thursday, it was also reported that more than 500 fighters from the pro-Western faction of Suqour al-Sham/Falcons of Levant (FL) in the Province of Idlib defected to the Ahrar ash-Sham/Free Men of Levant (FML) and gave the oath to Emir of FML.

Infidels meanwhile announced the successful offensive in the north-eastern Province of Hasaka. Assadites claimed that they drove the Dawla al-Islamiyya/Islamic State (IS) units away from settlements of al-Khair and al-Jammu. However, independent confirmation of this information is not available. Propaganda of Assadites often conveys misinformation, which is normally later refuted by local sources.

Fierce fightings between the IS and the troops of the Assad regime for the Shaar gas field continue in the Province of Homs. Sources pass on information about the losses on both sides.

Meanwhile, in the Province of Aleppo, units of the Jabhat Ansar al-Deen/Supporters of the Religion Front (SRF) (including Jaish al-Muhajireen wal-Ansar/Army of Emigrants and Supporters (AES)) and Jabhat an-Nusra/Victory Front (VF) have been continuing operations against the infidels in villages of Nubl and Zahra.

After the attack on Zahra, units of the Mujahideen took control of the high ground above the village and all its surroundings have been under a siege. East districts of Zahra near Aleppo-Azaz highway have been taken over by the units of advanced assault units. Assadites actively used aircraft, conducting 10-15 sorties a day. During the fightings, 40 to 60 Shia militants and Assadites have been killed.

In turn, infidel information sources reported that regime had bombed the headquarters of IS in Deir ez-Zor. The positional battles have been ongoing between the opposing sides. Earlier, aviation of Assadites raided the centre of IS, the city of Raqqa. As a result of indiscriminate bombings, dozens of civilians were killed, mostly women and children. A large number of civilians have been injured and maimed.

Information from Kobani (aka Ayn al-Arab), renamed by the IS into Ayn al-Islam, is still highly controversial. The Kurdish command and the Jaysh as-Suri al-Ḥurr/Free Syrian Army (FSA) conduct active propaganda, telling about their progress, while local sources report conflicting data.

Aircraft of the US and its allies among the Arab puppet regimes continue bombardments of the positions of the IS. During the day, on 26 of November, at least 10 flights have been conducted. Also, street battles are ongoing. Parties use small arms and heavy weapons.

It is to be recalled that fightings for Kobani have been ongoing for 74 days.

 
Obama Dismisses Pentagon Chief, Enemy Of Intensification Of War Against Islam

On November 24, Obama fired his defense minister Hagel because he opposed the American attacks, on the orders of Obama, on Syria and new attack on Iraq.

Hagel, a Vietnam War veteran, lobbied the US withdrawal from Afghanistan and Iraq, and survived in his office for only 2 years out of 4 intended, because Obama changed his mind about leaving Afghanistan.

Hagel expressed dissatisfaction with the fact that once Obama got into Syria, why he bombs Mujahideen, instead of bombing Assad.

A former republican senator Hagel - an outspoken critic of the war on Islam during times of Republican Bush administration and author of the plan of reorientation of US troops away from Muslim countries and into the Pacific against Red China and reduction of US military spending. Obama reneged on his previously announced plan and reinforced the war on Islam.

Russian propaganda, which is in the regarding Americans in field of genocide of Muslims to be "holier than the Pope," i.e., took a long time thinking about how to file a politically incorrect for Russia news, and after hours of deliberation, coordination and linkages, Russians came out with this - "Pentagon was liberated from the Republican Minister".

25 Iranian Revolutionary Guards Killed In Shiek-Meskin

Orient television network reported that a number of Asssad’s militia commanders have been killed by Syrian moderate rebels in Daraa province. The groups, ’National Defense’ and ’popular committee’ in which these militants belonged to also came under the FSA mortar fire which at least killed 3 of the commanders.

On Sunday, an explosion in ’Maghara’ district of Basri al-Sham killed 3 other commander of Assads’ militant forces.

Witnesses in Shiek-Meskin said following last few days of fighting, bodies of the Iranian regime’s revolutionary guards are still on the ground and that Assad forces have not been able to collect the bodies.

Free Syrian Army fighters now have 25 bodies of the Iranian regime’s assassins and mercenaries.

Orient Television report notes that identification cards of some of these mercenaries have been collected and the FSA has put them on the internet.

Agencies, EsinIslam.Com & Several News Outlets

 
Obama Dismisses Pentagon Chief, Enemy Of Intensification Of War Against Islam

By Markaz Kavkaz

On November 24, Obama fired his defense minister Hagel because he opposed the American attacks, on the orders of Obama, on Syria and new attack on Iraq.

Hagel, a Vietnam War veteran, lobbied the US withdrawal from Afghanistan and Iraq, and survived in his office for only 2 years out of 4 intended, because Obama changed his mind about leaving Afghanistan.

Hagel expressed dissatisfaction with the fact that once Obama got into Syria, why he bombs Mujahideen, instead of bombing Assad.
A former republican senator Hagel - an outspoken critic of the war on Islam during times of Republican Bush administration and author of the plan of reorientation of US troops away from Muslim countries and into the Pacific against Red China and reduction of US military spending. Obama reneged on his previously announced plan and reinforced the war on Islam.

Russian propaganda, which is in the regarding Americans in field of genocide of Muslims to be "holier than the Pope," i.e., took a long time thinking about how to file a politically incorrect for Russia news, and after hours of deliberation, coordination and linkages, Russians came out with this - "Pentagon was liberated from the Republican Minister".

25 Iranian revolutionary guards killed in Shiek-Meskin
Orient television network reported that a number of Asssad’s militia commanders have been killed by Syrian moderate rebels in Daraa province. The groups, ’National Defense’ and ’popular committee’ in which these militants belonged to also came under the FSA mortar fire which at least killed 3 of the commanders.

On Sunday, an explosion in ’Maghara’ district of Basri al-Sham killed 3 other commander of Assads’ militant forces.

Witnesses in Shiek-Meskin said following last few days of fighting, bodies of the Iranian regime’s revolutionary guards are still on the ground and that Assad forces have not been able to collect the bodies.

Free Syrian Army fighters now have 25 bodies of the Iranian regime’s assassins and mercenaries.

Orient Television report notes that identification cards of some of these mercenaries have been collected and the FSA has put them on the internet.

 
Turkish President Promises To Help US Against IS, But On Condition Of Overthrow Of Assad

US Vice President Joe Biden met yesterday in Istanbul with Turkish President Recep Erdogan. They discussed the situation in Syria, including the need for regime change in this country, according to Turkish and Western media.

During the meeting, US Vice President has promised to give $ 135 million to help Syrian refugees. The money will be distributed between Turkey and other countries that are hosting Syrian refugees. The funds are intended for the purchase of food for the refugees.

It is to be recalled that in Turkey alone hosting about 1.6 million Syrians who have fled their country because of the ongoing war.
Besides, the parties discussed the steps against the ad-Dawla al-Islamiyya/Islamic State (IS). Turkish sources said that Erdogan reiterated his position on this issue - Turkey would help the United States only if Washington took real effort to overthrow the Assad regime.

It is to be recalled that Ankara is seeking to establish a no-fly zone over Syria, as well as the creation of a buffer zone along the Syrian-Turkish border. Washington does not support this idea.

In Istanbul took place a small protest demonstration against the visit of Biden, whose members called him "to go home". Recently in Turkey, several American sailors during the on-shore leave were beaten up.

In October, Biden said that in the beginning of the war in Syria, Turkey unwittingly contributed to the growth of the IS, "allowing jihadists across the border", and that Erdogan allegedly admits.
This provoked an angry rebuke from the Turkish president, who said that his relationship with Biden would stay in the past.

The surrounding of the vice president said that he had apologized for his careless statements, but Biden insists that he has not apologized, but merely explained that he was misunderstood.
Meanwhile, fightings in Kobani (aka Ayn al-Arab, which was renamed by the IS to the Ayn al-Islam), a Kurdish city bordering with Turkey, continues. Information about the situation in and around the city is still controversial.

Kurds from Yekineyen Parastina Gel/People's Protection Units (PPU) again report about their success, claiming that they control 70% of the city. However, in an interview with Iranian media, a Peshmerga (the gangs of the Iraqi Kurds) commander said that the IS is holding half of Kobani. At the same time, he announced that the IS supposedly "does not represent a serious threat to the city" because IS is "under huge pressure from Kurdish forces and air strikes".

Kurdish sources write that additional gangs of Peshmerga were prepared in Iraq to be sent to Syria. At the same time, according to sources in Syria, IS command sends reinforcements from the city of Raqqa in Kobani.

Against the background of the fightings, the informational confrontation is also continuing. IS released a new video with the British journalist John Cantlie, who for 9 minutes reads the text from a sheet.

A clip with 43-year-old Cantlie is made in the manner of previous videos by IS. In a new video John Cantlie, dressed in an orange jumpsuit (as Mujahideen prisoners at the US Guantanamo concentration camp), says that he had long resigned to the fact that, most likely, he would share the fate of his "inmates".

He also said that Britain and the United States refused to negotiate for the release of prisoners, and mentioned that in July US troops attempted to release the prisoners, but failed because they were moved to another location.

Agencies, EsinIslam.Com & Several News Outlets

 

Otta wa ni Ottawa - In Ottawa is Terror: The System That Makes Our Children Monster Real In Montreal

The New (Yoruba-Arabic-English) Scholastic Review Of How The System In The West Turns The Youth Into Confrontational

The Warnings Against The Politicians And Their Short-Sighted, Easily Manipulated Publics

"We Are Not In It Together": A Set Of Advices For The Muslim Communities In The West And Beyond

 

Not In Your Name? ...But What's Your Name?

Get An Exclusive Access To "The Response" Of Our Sheikh (Addressed As 'One Of British Most Influential Muslim Scholars') To The Invitation To Take Part In The UK Campaign "Not In My Name" Including:

The UK Long And Sad History Of Channeling And Financing The Wrong People Usually With No Credibility Nor Ability To Relate Messages To The Muslim Communities

Examining The Hearts Of The 'Mayamis’ And 'Mutabarrijat’ Who Don’t Want “Emphasis On What You Wear Or How Many Times You Pray, On The Outward Things Rather Than What’s In Your Heart”

How Immigrant Muslim Parents Have Failed Bringing Up Daughters "Who Wear T-Shirts In A Way Their Boys Would Be Shamed To Wear Playing Crickets Or Soccer Unbuttoned”

 

US Drops Weapons To Kurds In Syria

The US military says it has airdropped weapons, ammunition and medical supplies to Kurdish forces defending the Syrian city of Kobani against Islamic State militants. Kobani air drops likely to anger Turkish government, which opposes sending arms to Kurdish rebels in Syria

The air drops on Sunday were the first of their kind and followed weeks of US and coalition air strikes in and near Kobani, near the Turkish border. The US earlier said it had launched 11 air strikes overnight in the Kobani area.

In a statement on Sunday night, US Central Command said US C-130 cargo planes made multiple drops of arms and supplies provided by Kurdish authorities in Iraq. It said they were intended to enable continued resistance to Islamic State efforts to take full control of Kobani.

The air drops are almost certain to anger the Turkish government, which has said it would oppose any US arms transfers to the Kurdish rebels in Syria. Turkey views the main Kurdish group in Syria as an extension of the Turkish Kurd group known as the PKK, which has waged a 30-year insurgency in Turkey and is designated a terror group by the US and by Nato.

Senior US administration officials said three C-130 planes dropped 27 bundles of small arms, ammunition and medical supplies. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity under ground rules set by the White House.

One official said that while the results of the mission were still being assessed, it appeared that “the vast majority” of the supplies reached the intended Kurdish fighters.

The official also said the C-130s encountered no resistance from the ground in Syria during their flights in and out of Syrian airspace.

In a written statement, Central Command said its forces had conducted more than 135 air strikes against Islamic State forces in Kobani.

Agencies, EsinIslam.Com & Several News Outlets

 
Erdogan Says Turkey Won’t Allow US Arms Transfers to Kurds: Turkey Remains Suspicious Of Kurdish Fighters

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has warned today that Turkey will never approve any US proposal to transfer weaponry to the PKK, YPG and other Syrian Kurdish fighters.

Erdogan noted that the PKK is considered a terrorist organization in both Turkey and the US, and that he considered the PYD (the YPG’s political wing) equivalent to the PKK as well.

He went on to say he was surprised that the US would “talk openly and expect us to say yes to such a support to a terrorist organization.” The US State Department met with them last week.

It’s not an easy choice for the Turkish government, which is increasingly opposed to the ISIS presence along its border, but sees bolstering Kurdish factions that span both Syria and Turkey as a long-term risk for them.

Turkey has been fighting the PKK and other Kurdish factions off and on for over 30 years now, and those groups have never had any real imprimatur or armament from any foreign powers before. If those groups are suddenly awash in US arms, they may find a new war on Turkey every bit as appealing as the war on ISIS.

Turkey Remains Suspicious Of Kurdish Fighters

Ankara has refused to rearm beleaguered Kurdish fighters, who complain they are at huge disadvantage in the face of Islamic State's weaponry, much of it seized from the Iraqi military when it took the city of Mosul in June.

Turkey views the YPG with suspicion for its longstanding links with the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which has waged a 30-year armed campaign for self-rule in Turkey.

President Tayyip Erdogan was quoted in local media on Sunday as saying Ankara will never arm the YPG through its political wing, the PYD.

"There has been talk of arming the PYD to establish a front here against the Islamic State," he said.

"For us, the PYD is the same as the PKK, it's a terrorist organisation.

"It would be very, very wrong to expect us to openly say 'yes' to our NATO ally America giving this kind of support. To expect something like this from us is impossible."

This stance has angered Turkey's own Kurds, who comprise about 20 per cent of the population. Riots in several cities earlier this month killed more than 35 people.

Reuter, Agencies Kai Pfaffenbach Contributed To This Report

 
Turks Tell Where They Plan To Establish So-called 'Buffer Zone' In Syria

By Markaz Kavkaz

Prime Minister of Turkey Ahmet Davutoglu told about Ankara's plans to create a so-called "buffer zone" in Syria, bordering Turkey.

"Buffer zone" should stretch from the Mediterranean to Iraq. At the same time Mr. Davutoglu argues that it is not about a war zone, but about a humanitarian zone "under military protection".

In the opinion of Ankara, this area should be a safe zone for civilians and involved the implementation of a no-fly zone.

In an interview with Al Jazeera the Turkish PM reported some of the details of these plans. "Buffer zone", in his opinion, should extend from the Turkish border and further to the north of Latakia, in some areas in Hasaka, and should include Jarabulus, Ayn al-Arab (aka Kobani), Tel Abyad, Idlib and Afrin "to protect local people - Arabs, Kurds and Turkmen".

Mr. Davutoglu said that the so-called "depth of safe zone" may vary depending more or less on "humanitarian situation" in these areas. In this case, the Turkish Prime Minister has confirmed that Turkey would not accept any unilateral action without UN Security Council decisions and support "of the international coalition".

He pointed to the importance of the introduction of a no-fly zone, recalling that this practice had been used in Iraq under Saddam Hussein.

Turkish and Western media are reminded that Turkey has been facing Western pressure and internal protests of Kurds, because of its position of non-interference in hostilities in Syria.

US and its allies urge Turkey to start a ground operation against the Ad Dawla al-Islamiyya/Islamic State (IS). Pressure increased after the IS units took over most of the city of Ayn al-Arab with a predominantly Kurdish population.

Kurds accuse Turkey of inactivity. Western countries are pushing Turks for the invasion. Possible seizure of Kobani has been touted as "a very dangerous precedent with serious consequences".

Ankara responded to claims that it will not allow itself to be drawn into a war in Syria. According to the Turkish government, any military action ought to be done together with NATO and other countries.

PM Davutoglu countered criticism of Turkey, saying: "The fall of Ayn-al Arab could really sadden us, and we will do everything to stop it, but where were they when Raqqa fell? Where where they when Jarabulus, Mosul fell?"

Meanwhile, the fightings on the border with Turkey, in the area of Kobani are continuing. US and its allies continue to bombarding the IS positions. Warplanes of Jordan and Saudi Arabia are also participating in the bombardments.

It is known that the military junta of Egypt sent to Jordan 27 of its pilots to participate in air raids on Syria.
 
Stop the Killing: In Approaching The Nightmare Of Renewed, Expanded U.S. War In Iraq

By Kathy Kelly

On August 9, 1983, three people dressed as U.S. soldiers saluted their way onto a U.S. military base and climbed a pine tree. The base contained a school training elite Salvadoran and other foreign troops to serve dictatorships back home, with a record of nightmarish brutality following graduation. That night, once the base's lights went out, the students of this school heard, coming down from on high, the voice of Archbishop Oscar Romero.

"I want to make a special appeal to soldiers, national guardsmen, and policemen: each of you is one of us. The peasants you kill are your own brothers and sisters. When you hear a man telling you to kill, remember God's words, 'thou shalt not kill.' No soldier is obliged to obey a law contrary to the law of God. In the name of God, in the name of our tormented people, I beseech you, I implore you; in the name of God I command you to stop the repression."

The three in the tree with the loudspeaker weren't soldiers - two of them were priests. The recording they played was of Archbishop Romero's final homily, delivered a day before his assassination, just three years previous, at the hands of paramilitary soldiers, two of whom had been trained at this school.

Fr. Larry Rosebaugh, (who was killed in Guatemala on May 18, 2009), Linda Ventimiglia, and Fr. Roy Bourgeois, (a former missioner expelled from Bolivia who was later excommunicated from the Roman Catholic Church because of his stance on women’s ordination) were sentenced to 15 -18 months in prison for the stirring drama they created on the base that night. Romero's words were heard loud and clear, and even after military police arrived at the base of the tree and stopped the broadcast, Roy Bourgeois, who would later found a movement to close the school, continued shouting Romero's appeal as loudly as he could until he was shoved to the ground, stripped, and arrested.

In approaching the nightmare of renewed, expanded U.S. war in Iraq, I think of Archbishop Romero’s words and example. Romero aligned himself, steadily, with the most impoverished people in El Salvador, learning about their plight by listening to them every weekend in the program he hosted on Salvadoran radio. With ringing clarity, he spoke out on their behalf, and he jeopardized his life challenging the elites, the military and the paramilitaries in El Salvador.

I believe we should be trying very hard to hear the grievances of people in Iraq and the region, including those who have joined the Islamic State, as regards U.S. policies and wars that have radically affected their lives and well-being over the past three decades. It could be that many of the Iraqis who are fighting with Islamic State forces lived through Saddam Hussein’s oppression when he received fierce and unconditional support from the U.S. during the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s. Many may be survivors of the U.S. Desert Storm bombing in 1991, which destroyed every electrical facility across Iraq. When the U.S. insisted on imposing crushing and murderous economic sanctions on Iraq for the next 13 years, these sanctions directly contributed to the deaths of one half million children under age five. The children who died should have been teenagers now, --are some of the Islamic State fighters the brothers or cousins of the children who were punished to death by economic sanctions? Presumably many of these fighters lived through the U.S.-led 2003 Shock and Awe invasion and bombing of Iraq and the chaos the U.S. chose to create afterwards, using a war-shattered country as some sort of free market experiment; they’ve endured the repressive corruption of the regime the U.S. helped install in Saddam’s place.

The United Nations should take over the response to the Islamic State, and people should continue to pressure the U.S. and its allies to leave the response not merely to the U.N. but to its most democratic constituent body, the General Assembly.

But facing the bloody mess that has developed in Iraq and Syria, I think Archbishop Romero’s exhortation to the Salvadoran soldiers pertains directly to U.S. people.

Suppose these words were slightly rewritten: I want to make a special appeal to people of the United States. Each of you is one of us. The peoples you kill are your own brothers and sisters. When you hear a person telling you to kill, remember God's words, 'thou shalt not kill.' No soldier is obliged to obey a law contrary to the law of God. In the name of God, in the name of our tormented people, I beseech you, I implore you …I command you to stop the repression."

The war on the Islamic State will distract us from what the U.S. has done and is doing to further create despair, in Iraq, and to enlist new recruits for the Islamic State. The Islamic State is the echo of the last war the U.S. waged in Iraq, the so-called “Shock and Awe” bombing and invasion. The emergency is not the Islamic State but war.

We in the U.S. must give up our notions of exceptionalism, recognize the economic and societal misery our country caused in Iraq, recognize that we are a perpetually war-crazed nation, seek to make reparations, and find dramatic, clear ways to insist that Romero’s words be heard: Stop the killing.
 
U.S. Military: Airstrikes Against ISIS Won't Save Key City Of Kobani

U.S. airstrikes "are not going to save" the key Syrian city of Kobani from being overtaken by ISIS, said Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby.

"I think we all should be steeling ourselves for that eventuality," he told reporters in a daily briefing Wednesday.

"We are doing everything we can to halt" ISIS' progress against the town, but airstrikes alone cannot stop the Islamist militants, Kirby added.

"We've been very honest about the limits of air power here. The ground forces that matter the most are indigenous ground forces, and we don't have a willing, capable, effective partner on the ground inside Syria right now -- it's just a fact," he said.

The greater U.S. strategy, Kirby said, is to degrade ISIS' ability to sustain itself.
Several senior U.S. administration officials said Kobani will soon fall to ISIS, which calls itself the Islamic State.

They downplayed the importance of it, saying the city is not a major U.S. concern.

But a look at the city shows why it would mark an important strategic victory for the militants. ISIS would control a complete swath of land between its self-declared capital of Raqqa, Syria, and Turkey -- a stretch of more than 100 kilometers (62 miles).

Holly Yan, Josh Levs and Elise Labott, CNN

 
Kurds Threaten Turkey With War In Event Of Kobani Falls

By Markaz Kavkaz

The command of the Partiya Karkerên Kurdistan/Kurdistan Workers' Party (KWP) said that in the event of Kobani (ak? Ayn al-Arab) falling, groups of the KWP renounce agreement with Ankara and start military action against Turkey.

According to the Kurdish communists, Turkey is obliged to help Kobani and not allow the Ad Dawla al-Islamiyya/Islamic State (IS) to capture the city on the Turkish-Syrian border. Kurds also demand to allow pass through Turkish territory its units for deployment to Kobani.

On Monday, US officials said that Ankara had agreed about the use of air bases for strikes against "jihadists in Syria". However, an hour after this, the Turkish authorities denied this statement, saying they did not give anyone permission to use air bases for bombardments.

Meanwhile, conflicting information is reported from Kobani. Fox News citing sources of IS reported that the city was captured and the Kurds left it. NBC News denied the data referring to the official representative of the Kurdish Democratic groups Yekineyen Parastina Gel/People's Protection Units (PPU), which is fighting against the IS in Kobani. CNN in its report said that over the past 24 hours the situation in Kobani has not changed.

Nevertheless complete clarity on the situation in Kobani on a Tuesday night is not available. On Monday, the IS conducted 6 martyrdom operations, attacking Kurdish groups in explosives-laden trucks.

In turn, the US aircraft continued bombardments of the positions of the IS in Kobani and its surrounding areas. It is reported that aircraft of Saudi Arabia has also participated in the raids. In total, according to the western media, raids have been carried out on the 4 directions.
 
Syrian Kurds And Regime Fighters Execute ISIS Teenager: Kobani Fight Escalates as ISIS Picks Up Shelling

The fierce battle for the Syrian border town of Kobane continues with Islamic State (IS) fighters attacking Kurdish forces with mortars and car bombs, local sources say.

Islamic State militants who control much of Syria and Iraq, fired 44 mortars at Kurdish parts of the town on Saturday, some of which fell inside nearby Turkey, according to the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Four more were fired on Sunday, it said.

The month-long battle for Kobane has ebbed and flowed.

A week ago, Kurds warned the town would fall soon and the US-led coalition stepped up air strikes on IS, which wants Kobane to consolidate its position in northern Syria.

The coalition has bombed IS targets in Iraq since August and it extended the campaign to Syria in September after IS made huge territorial gains.

Raids by IS fighters around Kobane intensified, with the fate of the town seen as an important test for US president Barack Obama's campaign against the Islamists.

NATO member Turkey, whose forces are along the border overlooking Kobane, is a reluctant member of the coalition, insisting the allies should also confront Syrian president Bashar al-Assad to demand an end to the civil war that has killed almost 200,000 people since March 2011.

"We had the most intense clashes of days, perhaps a week last night. [Islamic State] attacked from three different sides including the municipality building side and the marketplace," journalist Abdulrahman Gok said in Kobane.

"Clashes did not stop until the morning. We have seen lots of damaged cars on the streets and unexploded mortar shells," he said.

A fighter from the female units of the main Syrian Kurdish militia in Kobane, YPG, said Kurdish fighters were able to detonate the car bombs before they reached their targets.

"Last night there were clashes all across Kobane ... this morning the clashes are still ongoing," she said on Sunday.

The Observatory said 70 Islamic State fighters had been killed in the past two days, according to sources at the hospital in the nearby town of Tel Abyab, where IS bodies are taken.

The group said some Syrian Arab fighters from the Revolutionaries of Raqqa Brigade, fighting alongside Kurdish fighters, had executed two Islamic State captives.

"One was a child of around 15 years old. They shot them in the head," a spokesman said.

Islamic State have also used executions throughout their campaigns in Syria and Iraq, killing hundreds of their enemies and civilians opposed to their cause, according to IS videos and statements.

Hundreds of thousands have fled their advance. Turkey hosts about 1.5 million Syrian refugees, including almost 200,000 Syrian Kurds from Kobane.

Kobani Fight Escalates as ISIS Picks Up Shelling

The Syrian Kurdish border town of Kobani (Ayn al-Arab in Arabic) is seeing a new round of escalated fighting today, with Kurdish fighters saying they’re seeing the most intense clashes in at least a week there.

ISIS has been moving on the town for over a month now, and finally started taking parts of the town a little over a week ago. US airstrikes and a surge of Kurdish fighters chased them out, temporarily, but the battle continues.

With ISIS forces now back to the outskirts of town, it’s also giving ISIS a chance to bring their artillery to bear more safely, with scores mortar shells raining down on Kobani, and some even crossing into neighboring Turkey.

US warplanes continue to pound ISIS as well, though the Islamist fighters have changed tactics to make themselves tougher targets, and reports are that recent strikes killed at least 10 civilians in the area.

ISIS has seized hundreds of villages around Kobani in the past month, but has yet to take the border town itself. Hundreds of thousands of Kurdish civilians from the area have fled into neighboring Turkey.

Reuter, Agencies Kai Pfaffenbach Contributed To This Report
 
At Least 70 ISIS Bodies Dropped Off At Syrian Hospital, Opposition Says

ISIS has apparently taken a heavy hit over the past several days. The bodies of at least 70 fighters for the terror group have been dropped off over four days at a hospital in the Syrian town of Tal Abyad, a Syrian opposition group told CNN. Tal Abyad is on the Turkish border and about 80 kilometers (50 miles) from Raqqa.

The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria took control of Raqqa last year. ISIS uses the once-liberal city as a kind of headquarters where it applies its hardline interpretation of Islamic law, terrorizing the population.

Kurdish and Iraqi forces have been battling ISIS on the ground. With the help of airstrikes from an international coalition led by the United States, the foot soldiers are now focused on pushing ISIS back from its relentless attempt to take Kobani, a Kurdish town on the Syrian-Turkish border.

It's unclear who dropped the bodies of the ISIS fighters off at the hospital, but it was likely other fighters from the militant group, because they control Tal Abyad.

Sources who work in local medicine confirmed the events to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a group that promotes ending the longstanding regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The group is based in London and first formed when violence broke out in Syria in 2011, much of it geared toward ousting al-Assad.

Kobani now is the scene of an unrelenting battle. On Sunday, the brief moments of calm were punctuated by sounds of firing from both sides. ISIS has shelled the city at least 16 times, sources say, while coalition planes fly low overhead.

The strategy against ISIS is working, said U.S. Central Command Gen. Lloyd Austin on Friday. He also said that Kobani could fall.

U.S. warplanes struck only twice Friday and Saturday in the city, Central Command said, both times targeting ISIS fighting positions. That's far fewer strikes than days before. U.S. jets flew at least 14 missions near Kobani on Thursday and Friday, the military reported.

It will take "strategic patience" to beat ISIS, Austin said.

The U.S. has generally downplayed the importance of Kobani as a key city in the battle against the militants.

However, if ISIS takes Kobani, that would mean it would control land between Raqqa and Turkey -- about 100 kilometers (60 miles).

CNN Ashley Fantz  Contributed To This Report
 
Opposition Accuses Turkish Government Of Supporting ISIS

By Markaz Kavkaz

Turkey opposes the Assad regime and the Ad Dawla al-Islamiyya/Islamic State (IS), said Prime Minister Ahmed Davutoglu, reported Turkish media. According to him, the main reason for all the problems in Syria is the Assad regime.

He denied the words of the head of the opposition Cumhuriyet Halk Partisi/Republican People's Party (RPP) Kemal Kilicdaroglu that Turkey's government supports the IS.

According to Davutoglu, if Kilicdaroglu has evidence that the Turkish government "supports terrorists", he must show it to the public.

The head of the opposition RPP said on the eve that the government of Turkey supports the IS in Syria and Iraq.

Earlier on Wednesday, Davutoglu said that Turkey is "the only force that will be able to protect the rights of residents of the Syrian city of Kobani".

Meanwhile, the fightings for Kobani (aka Ayn al-Arab) is continuing. Information reported from the place is highly controversial. On Wednesday, the command of the Kurds has acknowledged that the IS units captured 30% of the city. On Thursday, they said, as a result of air strikes, IS units retreated, retaining only a few houses on the outskirts of Kobani.

However, on Friday a number of Arab media and the "Syrian monitoring group" reported that the IS units again moved to the center of the city and captured the headquarters of the Kurdish group Yekineyen Parastina/People's Protection Units (PPU). According to Al-Arabiya, the IS controls up to 40% of Kobani.

Meanwhile in Turkey, the actions of Yazidi Kurds and supporters of the Partiya Karkerên Kurdistan/Kurdistan Workers' Party (KWP) are continuing. KWP and Yazidis demand from Ankara to send units to Syria to protect Kobani.

Mass pogroms are taking place in the Turkish provinces of Diyarbakir, Mardin, Siirt, Mus, Van and Batman. Yazidi Kurds and supporters of the KWP attack the Muslim Kurds, who in turn are organized into self-defense units.

Classes suspended in the schools of the Turkish provinces of Diyarbakir, Hakkari, Van, Batman and Tunceli. In addition, all flights to the province of Diyarbakir in south-eastern Turkey of the aircraft belonging to Turkish Airlines have been suspended due to the worsening situation.

A statement on the situation in the regions where there have been riots was made by Interior Minister of Turkey Efkan Ala, reported the news agency Anadolu.

The victims of the riots in Turkey became 31 people, 221 injured. According to him, during the riots, were killed two police officers and 139 were injured.

Completely destroyed or damaged: 1113 buildings - 212 schools, 67 police stations, 25 buildings administrations, 29 offices parties, children's shelters, blood donation centers of the Turk Kizilayi/Turkish Red Crescent (TRC), 780 municipal and other facilities.

Private cars, vehicles belonging to administrative bodies, ambulances and police cars have been also burned down, a total of unusable cars reached 1177.
 
UN Calls On Turkey To Allow Kurdish Groups To Pass Through Its Territory To Help Kurds In Kobani

By Markaz Kavkaz

UN urged Turkey "to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe" in the Syrian Kobani, which, as stated by UN, is bound to happen in the case of Ad Dawla al-Islamiyya/Islamic State (IS) units capture the city.

UN envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura said that in the event of a fall of Kobani, the IS would have access to 400 kilometers of the Syrian-Turkish border. "We would like to appeal to the Turkish authorities in order to allow the flow of volunteers at least and their own equipment in order to be able to enter the city and contribute to a self defence operation".

Earlier, the same appeal to Ankara was made by the leader of Iraq's Kurds Barzani, who asked to authorize the transfer of Peshmerga forces to Kobani through Turkey. There was no response to his plea.

Turkish armoured units have been guarding the border for about a week now. West led by the US is increasing pressure on Ankara to encourage Turkey to invade Syria. Earlier Mistura said that "Turkey has been very generous and took more than 200 thousand refugees from Kobani, but now we need more concrete actions".

Meanwhile, the Turkish authorities have rejected allegations that civilians are remaining in Kobani who are at risk of "massacre". According to the representative of the Turkish government, the only groups that are left fighting in Kobani are - quote: "two terrorist organizations and there are no".

Moreover, Ankara considers the Kurds fighting the IS in Kobani to be a branch of the Partiya Karkerên Kurdistan/Kurdistan Workers' Party (KWP), which is included in the official list of the so-called "terrorist organizations" in Turkey, as well as in the US and the EU.

On Friday, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, while in Trabzon, said commenting on the riots in the Kurdish regions as a result of which more than 30 people were killed and hundreds injured:

"Turkey is not a country which would determine its domestic and foreign policy based on the violent acts of terrorists and drifters".

Earlier, officials of the Turkish government declared that "the Assad regime is more dangerous than the IS".

Meanwhile, fightings continue in Koban. According to Western and Arab sources, IS units captured half of the city (see the video, shot by IS). Earlier, it was announced about the capture of the headquarters of Kurdish Yekineyen Parastina Gel/People's Protection Units (PPU) group.

We Campaigned for Release of Aid Worker Alan Henning!

France And America Learn The Truth Meaning Of Khorasan - The Mujahidun Without A Border

The United States has concocted a new terror threat, known as the Khorasan Group, to satisfy the UN Charter which allows the use of force without authorization in case of an “imminent threat,” says an analyst.

“The very idea of the Khorasan Group is a fiction spun out of thin air to satisfy the UN Charter, which specifies that one nation may not attack another without UN Security Council approval, unless it is confronted by an 'imminent threat’,” political commentator James Henry Fetzer told Press TV via email on Monday.

Fetzer, professor emeritus at the University of Minnesota Duluth, explained that the fabrication of this latest threat by the US to justify its bombing campaign in Syria is in line with “a reversal of US foreign policy” since Sept.11, 2001 attacks.

“The claim by the new director of the FBI that the Khorasan Group is planning to attack the US (but he can't say whether that might be in days, weeks or months) is simply more transparent nonsense being espoused by government officials in their fabricated attempts to justify US bombing in Syria...,” Fetzer said.

From Paris To Khorasan - There's Always Another Way

Before the U.S. stepped up its air offensive against al Qaeda and ISIS targets in Syria and Iraq on Sept. 22, the U.S. government had urged several news outlets including ABC News to withhold details about an al Qaeda cell officials called the "Khorasan Group," which the defector had joined in Aleppo, Syria. McClatchy reported the Frenchman apparently survived the American strikes.

The Khorasanis were a specialized team of seasoned jihadis who fought together in the Afghanistan-Pakistan conflicts but were little known outside intelligence circles until days before the strikes. They have been sheltered by al Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra, according to U.S. officials.

European intelligence officials told McClatchy the French ex-spy either defected from France’s military intelligence or its foreign intelligence service, the General Directorate for External Security (DGSE). McClatchy said it was unclear if the officer’s al Qaeda sympathies were possibly overlooked during vetting or if he came around to them later.

The only publicly identified member of the Khorasan Group is Muhsin al-Fadhli, a 33-year-old Kuwaiti believed to have once been a confidant of Osama bin Laden. Al-Fadhli was a senior figure in al Qaeda's operations in Iran and is accused, among other things, of facilitating the terror group's former affiliate in Iraq. The U.S. government offers a $7 million reward for information leading to al-Fadhli's capture.

Two U.S. counter-terrorism officials told ABC News Monday that despite social media claims by al Qaeda operatives that al-Fadhli died in the U.S. onslaught last month, there is no evidence he was actually killed. Al-Nusra in the past faked the death of another senior operative using social media claims.

Likewise, there is no evidence any senior leader of ISIS has been killed in the daily air attacks by American and coalition aircraft and cruise missiles, which have limitations on how such "high value" targets are identified, an intelligence official told ABC News.

Asked about the spy-turned-terrorist, an official with the French Foreign Ministry said today it would not comment on "rumors in the press."

U.S. Strikes On Al Qaeda-Linked Khorasan Group Failed: Sources

U.S. airstrikes in Syria in September that were aimed at a faction of al Qaeda militants said to be plotting attacks against the West failed to deliver a decisive blow against them, U.S. officials familiar with the operation said late this week.

While U.S. intelligence agencies are still assessing the results of the Tomahawk cruise missile strikes, three U.S. officials said indications are that many suspected leaders and members of the Khorasan Group escaped, along with high-tech explosive devices they were said to be preparing to attack civil aviation or similar targets.

"They thought people were there but they were not there," said one U.S. official familiar with the Obama administration's plan.

This official and others spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the Sept. 22 airstrikes, many details of which are classified.

The targets of the strikes were fighters from the Khorasan Group, which is how the U.S. government refers to a cell of al Qaeda veterans who had relocated to Syria from the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region.

A White House spokesman declined to comment on the strikes' effectiveness.

In the aftermath of the strikes, U.S. officials have dialed back their warnings, saying that any planned attacks by Khorasan may not have been imminent.

The U.S. government still maintains that the group is sufficiently skilled and well armed to launch a surprise attack against the West.

The sources who spoke about the strikes said that since the raids apparently missed their main targets, Khorasan members are likely still actively planning attacks.

The U.S. attack on the Khorasan Group's base was part of the first night of air strikes that were launched in Syria last month by the United States and allies. Subsequent strikes have primarily targeted militants from Islamic State, which has seized territory in Syria and Iraq.

Reuter Mark Hosenball and ABC News James Gordon Meek and Rym Momtaz Contributed To This Report

 
No Way Back For Kobane: The Fall Inevitable In A War Of Aggression Doomed For Failure - The Spectacular Display Of America's Weaknesses And Limitations

A Turkish military officer who did not give his name said confirmed on Tuesday that the flag was that of ISIS, which has seized swathes of territory in Syria and Iraq in recent months.

An AFP photographer reported that seeing two flags, black with the Arabic lettering of the group, from the Turkish side of the border. One flew on a building while another larger flag was planted on a hill in the eastern part of Kobane.

Idris Nahsen, the deputy foreign minister of Kobane region, told AFP by telephone he could not confirm if ISIS jihadists were inside the town.

Kurdish officials have said in the last days that ISIS militants were advancing to several hundred meters of the city but were meeting with tough resistance from Kurdish fighters.

Earlier on Monday a news agency reported that the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) had raised its flags on a building on the eastern side of the Syrian town of Kobane where ISIS militants have been fighting Kurdish forces for three weeks.

A black flag belonging to the group was visible atop a four storey building close to the scene of some of the most intense clashes in recent days, images shot by Reuters TV from neighboring Turkey showed.

Erdogan Warns Syria’s Kobane About To Fall To ISIS

Also in a sign of panicking Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned on Tuesday that the Syrian northern town of Kobane was about to fall to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Erdogan made the comments during an address to Syrian refugees at a camp in Gaziantep province, near the border with Syria.

The Turkish leader said aerial bombardments alone may not be enough to stop ISIS and called for support of opposition forces.

"There has to be cooperation with those who are fighting on the ground."

Just days ago, Turkey said it wouldn't let Kobani fall.

Staffan de Mistura, the U.N. envoy to Syria, warned that the world would regret the ceding of more territory to ISIS, which has gained swathes of areas in Iraq and Syria for its so-called “Caliphate.”

"The world, all of us, will regret deeply if ISIS is able to take over a city which has defended itself with courage but is close to not being able to do so. We need to act now," he said in a statement.

"The international community needs to defend them. The international community cannot sustain another city falling under ISIS," he insisted.

A day after the ISIS militants raised their flags in eastern parts of Kobane, clashes with Kurdish militias spread on Tuesday to new areas in the west and south, according to a monitoring group.

ISIS militants appeared unimpeded by U.S.-led coalition air strikes, which targeted their positions in the area early on Tuesday.

ISIS militants began advancing on Kobane three weeks ago, quickly capturing a string of villages surrounding the town and prompting some 186,000 residents to flee into Turkey.

ISIS is hoping to seize the town to cement its grip over a long stretch of the border between Syria and Turkey.

US Helicopter Strikes Against ISIS Increase Shootdown Risk: Low-Flying Apache Helicopters Could Be Easy Targets

On Sunday, the Pentagon had announced that its air war against ISIS in Iraq was now including attacks by AH-64 Apache attack helicopters, operating out of the Baghdad airport and carrying Hellfire and other missiles.

Officials are presenting the helicopters as likely to be more accurate than the warplanes flying 30,000 feet overhead, in spite of a long line of civilian casualties caused in helicopter attacks during the last Iraq war.

The big difference, rather, is that the Apaches are far more likely to be shot down by ISIS, flying at much lower altitudes more readily reached by the shoulder-fired missiles ISIS is awash in, provided to target Syrian helicopters doing the exact same thing

The eventuality of such a shootdown is likely to mean US ground troops sent on rescue missions to try to recover the downed pilots. This could end up being the pretext for launching a ground operation against ISIS, and such an incident seems only a matter of time.

Syrian Kurds: Airstrikes Against ISIS Aren’t Working: Strikes Focus on Ayn al-Arab, But Aren't Stopping ISIS Advance

Since the US began its air war against ISIS in Syria last week, the majority of the strikes have centered around the Kurdish town of Kobani, trying to stop ISIS from taking the key town along the Syria-Turkey border.

The Kurdish forces still trying to defend the town, however, warn that the airstrikes aren’t working, and that ISIS is simply evading the strikes and continuing its advance against Kobani (Ayn al-Arab in Arabic).

The Kurdish fighters on the ground tried to spin this as proof that they need ground troops and heavy weapons to fight ISIS, adding to a chorus from Congressional hawks like Sen. Lindsey Graham (R - SC) demanding an immediate ground war in Syria.

The reality, though, is that this is just one more sign that the ISIS war in general was ill-conceived and not going to work, and while some factions on the ground might squeeze near-term benefits out of a dramatic further escalation, the war itself seems to be continuing on in spite of its own failing nature, with a momentum all its own.

Agencies, EsinIslam.Com & Several News Outlets - Antiwar Jason Ditzo Contributed To This Report

 
Russian Intelligence Center Captured - Fightings Continue In Kobani, Handarat And Lebanon

By Markaz Kavkaz

The Russian-Syrian center of the radio and electronic intelligence on the border with "Israel" has been captured in In Syria by the units of the al-Jaish as-Suri al-?urr/Free Syrian Army (FSA).

"On October 5, 2014 the rebels of the FSA captured a joint Russian-Syrian centre of radio and electronic intelligence (the so-called Center-C) located on Mountain Tal al-Hara, near Daraa, in southern Syria, near the Syrian-Israeli demarcation line", says the Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies.

In the video shot inside the building one can see the stands with visual agitation, emblems of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defence of Russia and Intelligence Directorate of Syria, as well as a map with printed on it image of the operational situation in the Northern Military District of "Israel".

In Tel Aviv, they commented on the video, stating that the Russian military in Syria are engaged in intelligence activities directed against "Israel" (see the video outside the center of intelligence, the video continues here).

Meanwhile, fierce fightings are continuing in Kobani. Ad Dawla al-Islamiyya/Islamic State (IS) units are storming the positions of the Kurdish groups. Major events unfolded on the eastern outskirts of the city, where the units of IS were able to gain a foothold in few city blocks.

Sources in Syria reported that the IS uses heavy artillery and mortars they obtained after the fleeing of the army of Shiite regime in Iraq's Mosul. Kurds complain that they do not have enough weapons to counter the IS.

Earlier, IS units seized the high hill above the town, and the towers of radio repeaters. Arab media and local sources have reported high intensity and ferocity of the battle for Kobani.

Meanwhile, in the area of the central prison of Aleppo Assad's troops went on a massive offensive. They managed to capture the village of Handarat after some groups of local Syrians from different units operating in the area left their positions without any warning.

Units of the Jaish al-Muhajireen wal-Ansar/Army of Emigrants and Supporters (AES) and other units included in the Jabhat Ansar al-Din/Front of Supporters of Religion (FSR) were deployed to the place a breakthrough of Assadites.

During a fierce counter-attack, which lasted two days, the Mujahideen managed to repel Assadites away from Handarat. As of Monday morning, the infidels took defensive positions on the outskirts of the village, holding in their hands some of the houses.

Assadites actively use the aircraft, trying to prevent the assault of the Mujahideen.

Sources from the scene report that the units of the AES and other groups from the FSR attacked the infidels in Aleppo’s Layramoun (aka Balleramoun) district and captured a former school building, thus cutting off one of the main supply lines used by Assadites in Handarat.

It is reported that the commanding officer leading the troops of the regime in Handarat is an army general from Iran, who masterminded a large-scale offensive.

Meanwhile, the units of the Jabhat an-Nusra/Victory Front attacked the Shiite gangs of Hezbollah in Lebanon. During the attack on Sunday, Mujahideen were able to eliminate at least 18 Shiite militants and seize many military hardware.
 
How ISIS Is Using Enemies Iran And US Ammunitions In A Flow Supplies

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden apologized to Saudi Arabia on Wednesday over recent remarks he made suggesting Gulf states had supported extremist groups in the region. Saudi Arabia is the third state Biden has apologized to over remarks he made at Harvard University last week. He apologized to Turkey and the United Arab Emirates last weekend for having said U.S. allies in the region were partly to blame for the rise of ISIS in Syria.

However since the Vice President’s gaffe, many commentators have noticed America’s usual policies of looking the order way during weakness and defeats, pointing out that the ISIS do not need much help from the neighbouring Muslim states. Ammunitions reach the Mujahidun at ease. “Ending up arming the brave on the battlefields and at friends' backyards is what happens naturally when you chose to arm the cowardly,” no observed.

Where Does ISIS Get Its Ammunition? New Report Finds Arms Manufactured in Over 20 Countries

Hanna Sender writes:

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) are firing American bullets. An investigation by the European Union-funded Conflict Armament Research group found the Sunni militant group, formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria or ISIS, primarily used ammunition manufactured in the United States, China and Russia.

Investigators recovered more than 1,700 small-caliber munitions from the Kurdish regions of northern Iraq and northern Syria from July 22 to Aug. 15 to determine the origin of ISIS ammunition.

Of the 1,730 cartridges in the sample, 73 percent were manufactured in China (445), the Soviet Union (338), the United States (323) and the Russian Federation (154). Cartridges dated from 1945 to 2014, with 10 percent manufactured after 2010.

The presence of recently manufactured Iranian ammunition, if transferred deliberately, is an indication Iran violated a 2006 U.N. Security Council Resolution that prohibits Iran's export of ammunition. Ten cartridges manufactured in Iran after 2010 were recovered as part of the sample.

Nearly half of the recently manufactured ammunition used by ISIS are 7.62 x 54R mm-caliber ammunition used in PKM-pattern general-purpose machine guns and rifles; 5.56 x 45 mm-caliber ammunition, a standard NATO caliber used by Iraqi defense and security forces, was the second-most-popular caliber recovered. Despite its popularity, the 7.62 x 39 mm-caliber ammunition used in Kalashnikovs made up only 5 percent of the sample. Turkish 19 mm pistol ammunition, however, comprised a sixth of the sample and was found in both Iraq and Syria.

The Center for Public Integrity said between capturing arms on the battlefield and using oil sales revenue to purchase weapons, ISIS has had little trouble procuring large quantities of ammunition. "The fact that the armaments have such disparate sources -- some were even made at a major U.S. munitions plant in Missouri -- provides a cautionary note as Washington prepares to undertake expanded shipments of military supplies, including small arms, to rebel groups in Syria and to a revived Iraqi Army force."

Agencies, EsinIslam.Com & Several News Outlets

 
ISIS Guide Explains How To Shoot Down US Apache Helicopters

Just days after the United States began using Apache helicopters against the Islamic State group in Iraq, ISIS has responded by producing a guide to shooting down the iconic aircraft. The guide, which has been circulating on social media, explains in minute detail how to use portable surface-to-air missiles, such as the Russian-made SA-16 and SA-18 and the American FIM-92 Stinger, against the attack helicopter.

The Stinger was heavily used during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in the 1980s, when the shoulder-fired missiles provided by the U.S. to mujahideen fighters proved very effective at shooting down Soviet helicopters. They also saw use against Russian aircraft during the first and second Chechen wars, which took place from 1994 to 1996 and 1999 to 2009, respectively. The guide will serve as a reminder for the ISIS fighters who took part in those conflicts before joining the ranks of the Sunni extremist group in Iraq and Syria. For new recruits, the guide is a detailed primer on how to target successfully the Apaches by defeating their countermeasures.

The introduction of the Apaches in Iraq comes at a time when ISIS is being buoyed by the major advances it is making in Syria, where it is close to capturing the strategically important town of Kobane, and Iraq’s capital Baghdad, where ISIS has come within shooting distance of the city.

But perhaps what makes the use of the aircraft most significant is that it represents a significant escalation of the risk being taken by U.S. forces.

“Fixed-wing aircraft flying at 30,000 feet are completely immune from the type of weapons that Islamic State fighters have, but a helicopter is not,” said Christopher Harmer, a former U.S. Navy aviator who is now an analyst at the Institute for the Study of War, a think tank. “When you’re flying a helicopter 150 feet above the ground, that helicopter can be shot with a rocket-propelled grenade or a heavy machine gun … so yes, it is much more dangerous.”

The Boeing-made aircraft, known as the AH-64, is particularly accurate and adept at operating in enemy territory at night, and has countermeasures to defeat missiles that home in on the heat generated by its exhaust. However, the guide points out each of the Apache’s weak spots in order to inflict the most amount of damage on the aircraft and ensure that the pilot and navigator are killed. At least 10 Apaches have been shot down in Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, according to a tally from several published reports.

The guide, posted by an ISIS supporter using the name Nasser Al-Sharia, says that the aircraft should be ambushed at a distance of 1,500 meters or slightly less than one mile, while the helicopter is in the clear line of sight of the shooter. It then says that a sniper should shoot the crew as they try to bail from the aircraft.

Another aircraft vulnerable to small arms and shoulder-fired missiles is the A-10, whose introduction to Iraq may also be cause for concern; the shooting down of one of the slow, low-flying jets may result in U.S. pilots being taken hostage by ISIS.

International Business Times Christopher Harress
 
Bush Man Panetta Says ’30-Year War’ Against ISIS While Biden Suggests Panetta Should Wait Until Obama Leaves Office to Say That

Former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta was harshly critical of President Obama’s handling of the new ISIS war, saying the US could have sustained the 2011 Iraq occupation and started arming Syrian rebels even sooner than they did.

But perhaps the most eye-opening comment in has new book tour was that he believes the conflict is a “30-year war” that will extend across the world, including campaigns in Nigeria, Somalia, and Libya, among other places.

Panetta’s new book, entitled Worthy Fights, argues that the Obama Administration repeatedly erred by not taking more hawkish positions, including says the US should’ve invaded Syria outright in 2013 instead of making the deal for Syria to scrap its chemical weapons.

He went on to argue that the 30-year world war he envisions is a chance to “repair the damage” caused by lot launching massive wars in the previous few years, calling the lack of wars “missed opportunities.”

Vice President Joe Biden was quick to criticize Panetta, although not on the content of his hawkish comments. Rather, Biden said it was “inappropriate” for Panetta to criticize Obama at all, on anything, until after 2016, and that he should “at least give the guy a chance to get out of office.”

It is unclear how far afield, however, Panetta’s assessment of a 30-year war actually is from the Obama Administration’s own vision of an open-ended conflict, as officials have talked up the conflict lasting many years, and Obama himself said the decisions of the war were to be made by the next president “and probably the one after that.”

Iraq Clears Aussie Troops for ISIS Ground War: PM Ruled Out Any Foreign Troops in Iraq Only Last Week

Less than a week ago, Iraqi Prime Minister Hayder Abadi insisted that no foreign ground troops would be welcome in his nation, and that he was confident the Iraqi military could defeat ISIS with Western air support alone.

Today, Australian officials confirmed they’ve been given approval by the Abadi government for the deployment of their special forces ground troops into Iraq to fight against ISIS.

Australian officials familiar with the situation say that the approximately 200 troops will be “bolstering local forces on the ground,” and that part of their mission will be spotting for US airstrikes.

The terms of the agreement with Iraq were not made public, but officials say that the troops were given needed legal cover in case they end up killing Iraqi civilians in the course of the conflict.

US Helicopter Strikes Against ISIS Increase Shootdown Risk: Low-Flying Apache Helicopters Could Be Easy Targets

On Sunday, the Pentagon had announced that its air war against ISIS in Iraq was now including attacks by AH-64 Apache attack helicopters, operating out of the Baghdad airport and carrying Hellfire and other missiles.

Officials are presenting the helicopters as likely to be more accurate than the warplanes flying 30,000 feet overhead, in spite of a long line of civilian casualties caused in helicopter attacks during the last Iraq war.

The big difference, rather, is that the Apaches are far more likely to be shot down by ISIS, flying at much lower altitudes more readily reached by the shoulder-fired missiles ISIS is awash in, provided to target Syrian helicopters doing the exact same thing

The eventuality of such a shootdown is likely to mean US ground troops sent on rescue missions to try to recover the downed pilots. This could end up being the pretext for launching a ground operation against ISIS, and such an incident seems only a matter of time.

Agencies, EsinIslam.Com & Several News Outlets - Antiwar Jason Ditzo Contributed To This Report

 
Any Attack On The IS To Be Regarded As An Act Of Aggression, Assad And Iran Warn Turkey

By Markaz Kavkaz

Foreign minister of the Assad regime, Walid al-Muallem, said that a Turkish attack on Ad Dawla al-Islamiyya/Islamic State (IS) would be regarded by Damascus as an act of aggression. His warned Ankara on inadmissibility of an attack on the IS. Al-Muallem made his threats after the decision by the Turkish parliament to allow the Turkish army to participate in a so-called "anti-terrorist operation against the IS".

"The declared policy of the Turkish government represents a real aggression against a member of the United nations group", said Walid al-Muallem.

The warning came after the prime minister of Turkey, Ahmet Davutoglu, vowed on Thursday night that Turkey would do everything to prevent the fall of the Kurdish city of Kobani, and the parliament of this country allowed the government to carry out military operations against the IS in Syria and Iraq.

In addition, the Assad regime turned to so-called international community with a request to prevent Ankara "from ventures that threaten peace and stability in the region". Assad called for an end to the "Turkish intervention in Syria's internal affairs".

In turn, minister of foreign affairs of Iran, Mohammad Javad Zarif, also warned Turkish authorities that participation of the Turkish army in operations against the IS in Syria and Iraq might cause "dangerous consequences for the entire region".

He stressed that Tehran opposes to actions of America and proxies in Syria and Iraq.

Iran warned Turkey not to take any action against the IS during a telephone conversation between Javad Zarif and Turkish foreign minister. He "criticized methods chosen for the fight against terrorism, while expressing concern over any action that may aggravate the situation".

"In the current situation, the regional states should act responsibly and avoid aggravations", Tehran warns Ankara.

Meanwhile, the Turkish army opened fire Friday on positions of the IS near the Kurdish city of Kobani. The army command said that the fire was opened in response to the shelling of Turkish territory. The Turkish press writes that at least 3 artillery shells "exploded on the Turkish side".

Besides, Turkish aircraft overflew the border with Syria and the city of Kobani, but there is no data about possible bombardments.

The Turkish general staff continues to move armored units, missile systems and missile defence systems to the Syrian border. The main Turkish forces approach the border near the Sanliurfa Province, as Kobani is located to the south of it.

According to Turkish military, a threat of an IS breakthrough exists there, which the army is to prevent. In addition, the movement of troops, according to observers, is an evidence of possible plans of Ankara to create a buffer zone on the border.
 
Turkey Charges Kurds To Join Ranks Of Fightings Against al-Assad

Salih Muslim, the leader of the main Kurdish group in northern Syria, has been urged by the Turkish intelligence authorities to bring his forces under the ranks of the Free Syrian Army.

Muslim, the co-chair of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), had a lengthy meeting with Turkish intelligence officials on Oct. 4 amid the ongoing jihadist siege of the Kurdish-populated city of Kobane.
During the meeting, the Kurdish leader was urged to “take an open stance against the Syrian regime” and join the ranks of the Free Syrian Army against President Bashar al-Assad, according to sources familiar with the meeting.

Turkish officials signaled a restructuring of the Syrian opposition in the upcoming period and urged the PYD to take part under the roof of the Syrian opposition. Ankara also once again reiterated its expectation for the PYD to distance itself from the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), the sources added.

As Muslim continues his efforts to obtain arms from Western countries for the Kurdish forces of the Popular Protection Units (YPG), the military arm of the PYD, he asked Ankara not to prevent the delivery of weapons after his request from European countries and the U.S. was refused.

As Kobane is physically cut off from Qamishlo and other regions controlled by the PYD, the Turkish border is the only path for assistance to the region.

Muslim also asked Ankara not to obstruct other Kurds in the region coming to help Syrian Kurds’ fight against ISIL, and to allow the PKK to send help to Kobane through Turkey.

Muslim’s visit came after Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) co-chair Selahattin Demirtas requested help from the Turkish government in the Syrian Kurds’ fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). In a meeting with Demirtas last week, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said he did not want Kobane to end up in the hands of the jihadists.

The Turkish government had earlier expressed strong concerns about the imposition of a de facto autonomous region in the north of Syria after the PKK-affiliated PYD increased its control in the area.

Muslim had talks with Turkish officials on several occasions, though the PYD did not reply positively to Turkey’s demands. Ankara thereafter kept its distance from the PYD and until the latest meeting had not even had talks with Muslim for nearly one year.

180 Islamic State Fighters Released By Turkey In Prisoner Swap For 46 Turkish Workers - That’s A Nice ISIS Bargain

Turkey released 120 Islamic State militants in exchange for 46 Turkish consular workers and their families kidnapped by the Islamic State in Mosul in June.

Israel’s Haaretz wrote:

Officials in the British Defence Department have confirmed that two British jihadists were released in a prisoner exchange between Turkey and the Islamic State group, the BBC reported Monday.

According to the BBC report, the officials named the two British jihadists that were released as a part of a group of 180 Islamic State militants released by Turkey in exchange for 46 Turkish consular workers and their families kidnapped by the Islamic State in Mosul in June.

The British newspaper The Times reported, based on documents it has obtained, that among the jihadists released were three Frenchmen, two Macedonians, two Swedes, a Swiss national, and a Belgian. According to the report the jihadists were either held in Turkish hospitals and prisons, or were held by moderate Syrian rebels.

The details of the prisoner swap, which took place last month, had gone unreported until now. Two weeks ago, when Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was asked about the prisoner swap, he did not confirm the swap took place, but didn't deny that it took place either.

Agencies, EsinIslam.Com & Several News Outlets

 
A Kurdish Bolshevik Threatens Turkey With Termination Of Truce If The Town Of Kobani Fells

By Markaz Kavkaz

The leader of Kurdish Bolsheviks, who is serving a life sentence in a Turkish prison, threatened Turkey with termination of the truce in case of the seizure of the Syrian town of Kobani (aka Ayn al-Arab), a regional center of the Kurds, by Ad Dawla al-Islamiyya/Islamic State (IS) forces.

In turn, Turkish authorities have said they did not want Kobani to fall into the hands of the IS and "will do everything they can" to prevent that.

Meanwhile, fightings for Kobani are intensifying. According to local sources, the IS captured terrain at the southern entrance to the town. Inside Kobani, intensive clashes continue, with the IS using artillery and heavy mortars seized by the IS from the regime troops after the puppet army fled from Iraq's Mosul.

Sources in social networks report the IS moved additional forces to the region from the province of Raqqa.

In turn, Turkey is preparing for a so-called "cross-border military operation" in Syria and Iraq. The Turkish parliament gave appropriate powers to the government to use armed forces in neighbouring states. In this case, the language it used is quite ambiguous.

The parliament authorized the Turkish government "to conduct cross-border operations against terrorist attacks from Iraq and Syria against Turkey".

In other words, if there are no "terrorist attacks", there will be no military operations. On the other hand, it is not clear what Ankara considers to be a "terrorist attack".

Meanwhile, the Kurds turned to the west asking to help them urgently with weapons. American warplanes conducted several air strikes on the positions of advancing IS units. There is no reliable information on the results of these strikes.
 
Fightings For Kobani Intensify: Turkey Threatens To Conduct 'Cross-border Operation'

By Markaz Kavkaz

Clashes between have been intensified between the units of the Ad Dawla al-Islamiyya/Islamic State (IS) and Kurdish militants in southern Syrian city of Kobani (aka Ayn al-Arab). IS moved to the village of Sheran on the city’s southern outskirts.

Fightings are also ongoing in the outskirts of the Zorava district, which is controlled by Kurds from the so-called Yekineyen Parastina Gel/People's Protection Units (PPS).

According to information distributed in social networks, the IS units are assaulting Kobani from two sides. More than 300 towns and villages around the city were left behind by Kurds. More than 130 thousands of Kurds fled to Turkey. Deserted villages were captured by the IS.

Meanwhile, sources of the IS have reported that additional forces have been transferred from city of Raqqa for the assault on Kobani.

According to local sources, the US warplanes have conducted air strikes on the positions of the IS on the outskirts of the city. At least one of the attacks hit the Kurdish positions. American aircraft mistakenly bombed an advanced outpost of the PPS.

Turkey, meanwhile, is going to conduct the so-called "cross-border operation" in Syria. The country’s parliament is intended to give authority to the government for such an operation.

Previously, the Turkish army deployed several dozen tanks on the border with Syria. Local media reported that the IS units have allegedly surrounded the tomb of Shah Suleiman, which is located on the territory of Syria, and guarded by the Turkish military.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan denied the report, while threatening to "expected reaction from Turkey if anything bad happens to its shrine".

It is to be recalled that the IS units have long been located a few hundred meters from the tomb of Shah Suleiman. IS does not prevent the movement of Turkish troops across the border and do not take any hostile action against the tomb.

Earlier, the Turkish authorities have stated that they would not participate in military actions against the IS and would not join the so-called coalition, which was organized by the US with the puppet Arab regimes. However, in the last few days Ankara began to change the tune and threating to conduct the so-called "cross-border operation" in Syria.

On September 26, Erdogan held a telephone conversation with Obama. During the talks, the Turkish President said that Ankara intended to "continue its joint strategic activities with the United States in the fight against terrorist organizations in the region, in particular the IS".

However, as the practice teaches, the rhetoric of the Turkish authorities is often radically different from its actions, and there is no clarity in what practical steps can be taken by Ankara in connection with the worsening military situation on the border with Syria.

Meanwhile, Turkish sources report that recently the authorities of the country have sharply increased activity in arresting the volunteers trying to get to Syria through Turkey. In this case, the arrests are clearly selective.

 
Sentiment Divided At Haj Pilgrimage Over Role Of Islamist Militants

Former Egyptian army officer Suliman Ouda minced no words as he climbed Mount Arafat, denouncing Islamist militants in Syria and Iraq as terrorists.

But Syrian engineer Ahmed Orabi, standing nearby on the hill where Muslims on their haj pilgrimage beg God's forgiveness, disagreed.

"Islam is about peace and kindness, not murder and violence, and I don't consider these fighters in Iraq and Syria to be Muslims," Ouda told Reuters as he joined the mass of pilgrims early on Friday. "They bring shame to the word Islam."

Orabi, in his 40s, served time in Syrian prisons for criticising the government of Syrian tyrant Bashar al-Assad before fleeing to Turkey. One of his sons was still in jail.

"If the Islamic state, or Nusra, or any other group can fight the government, I'm in full support of them," he said in a hushed voice.

"Bashar is the terrorist here, Iran is the enemy. And although I can't raise my voice today and say that, I'm crying out to God in my heart to give victory to those brave Islamic fighters."

The haj, a hectic journey that brings millions from around the world to Mecca and Mount Arafat, is tinged this year with concerns over the threat posed by Islamist militants who threaten to target allies of the United States, including Saudi Arabia.

In past years, Shi'ite Muslim pilgrims airing political views were the main threat for security forces keen to keep the haj free from politics. But the rise of political Islam since the Arab Spring protests of 2011 has focused attention on Islamist Sunni groups as a new potential source of friction.

While a systematic poll of pilgrims' views at the haj would be impossible, a random sampling indicated sentiment is divided over Islamic State, who have dominated the news since they captured Mosul, Iraq's second largest city, in July.

Abdel-Rahman al-Gahtani, a Saudi haj organiser, said the militants, known in Arabic as Daesh, gave Islam a bad name.

"Our sheikhs told us that Daesh are terrorists and we believe they are. Those who kill in cold blood and make threats to kill innocent people are not Muslims like us,” Gahtani, who works at food and water distribution, told Reuters.

The sermon given by the preacher in the local Namira mosque on Friday included a reference to the Islamic State and the pledge that "Islam is innocent of their actions", pilgrims who attended said.

But Mohammed Askar, a Syrian teacher, said militants fired by religious zeal may be the only way to topple tyrant Assad.

"I know America and the Gulf countries see the Islamic state as terrorists, but they should not think that way," Askar said.

"These are the people who can fight to get rid of Bashar, and after Bashar is gone I swear to you no one will want Islamic State. We are just using them."

HEIGHTENED SECURITY

Saudi Arabia, the world's top oil exporter, has funneled cash and arms to rebels fighting against tyrant Assad in a conflict which has raged for three years and killed nearly 200,000 people. But it has also consistently opposed Islamist militants within the insurgency. Last week, Saudi air force planes pounded targets in Syria in U.S.-led air strikes.

Security appeared much tighter than usual at this year's haj, with more men in uniform deployed in holy sites and frequent vehicle checkpoints.

"I came to haj two years ago and I don't remember seeing so many special forces as there are today," said Amr Abdallah, an Egyptian engineer on his way to the summit of Mount Arafat. "They must be worried about the threat of Daesh."

Interior Ministry spokesman Major General Mansour al-Turki said the kingdom has allocated more security personnel and National Guardsmen along its borders with Iraq.

"We have enforced our security readiness at all the border of Saudi Arabia, the northern border and the southern border," he told Reuters on the sidelines of a news conference.

The authorities continue to warn pilgrims against any political protests. Last week Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef told the Saudi state agency (SPA) that Saudi Arabia will have a zero tolerance policy.

"Authorities will deal with all propaganda, intellectual and political slogans because the purpose of haj is worship alone," Prince Nayef said in a statement.

The haj has attracted some 3 million people this year, including 1.4 million from outside the kingdom. To the casual observer there appears to be fewer Iraqi and Syrian pilgrims than last year, and many more visitors from Asia.

Saudi authorities have said that no restrictions have been placed on visas to Syrians or Iraqi for political reasons, however.

"There are over 10,000 pilgrims from Syria this year and I'm not aware of any restrictions placed on Iraqis or Syrians, every country has a quota and we follow that system," said Major General Turki.

Reuters Reporting by Amena Bakr; editing by Sami Aboudi and Sonya Hepinstall
 
Saudi Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz al-Sheikh’ Urges On Arafat Defeat Of Forces Sowing Chaos

Muslim leaders must strike the enemies of Islam with “an iron hand,” Saudi Arabia’s top cleric said during Friday prayers, in apparent condemnation of the Islamic State jihadist group.

Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz al-Sheikh’s comments came after Saudi Arabia and four other Arab nations joined the United States in aerial bombardment of the ISIS militants in Syria.

Speaking to Muslims from around the world in an address during the annual hajj pilgrimage, the mufti called on fellow Islamic leaders to “hit with an iron hand the enemies of Islam.”

The ISIS group has declared a “caliphate” straddling Syria and Iraq where they have committed a spate of atrocities including crucifixions and beheadings.

“Your religion is threatened. Your security is threatened,” he thundered, according to the official Saudi Press Agency.

“These criminals carry out rapes, bloodshed and looting,” he said, adding that “these vile crimes can be considered terrorism” and their perpetrators have nothing to do with Islam.

“They are tyrants,” he said, warning of “their deviant ideology.”

The mufti spoke from Nimrah Mosque at Mount Arafat in western Saudi Arabia, home to Islam’s holiest sites.

Close to two million Muslims from around the world were gathered at Mount Arafat for a day of prayer at the peak of the annual hajj.

The comments were the mufti’s latest criticism of the extremists.

In August, he urged Muslim youth not to be influenced by “calls for jihad ... on perverted principles,” and he described al-Qaeda and ISIS jihadists as “enemy number one” of Islam.

The kingdom is seeking to deter youths from becoming jihadists after Syria’s conflict attracted hundreds of Saudis.

King Abdullah decreed in February jail terms of up to 20 years for citizens who travel to fight abroad.

Agencies

 
Video Purports to Show ISIS Beheading of Another British Hostage

An internet video released Friday appears to show the beheading of a British hostage who had been captured by the Islamic State.

"I am Alan Henning. Because of our Parliament's decision to attack the Islamic State I, as a member of the British public, will now pay the price for that decision," Henning says in the video.

He is wearing an orange jump suit and the video resembles other beheadings carried out by the Islamic State. Officials were in process of trying to authenticate the video, in which a militant also threatens to execute another American hostage.

"Obama, you have started your aerial bombard of Shams (Syria), which keep on striking our people, so it is only right that we strike the next of your people," a masked militant said.

If authenticated, this would be the fourth such video released by the Islamic State. The militants have also released videos showing the beheading of American reporters James Foley and Steven Sotloff and British aid worker David Haines.

The White House issued a statement from Obama late Friday, condemning "the death of Alan Henning."

"The United States strongly condemns the brutal murder of United Kingdom citizen Alan Henning by the terrorist group ISIL," the statement said. "Mr. Henning worked to help improve the lives of the Syrian people and his death is a great loss for them, for his family and the people of the United Kingdom."

Obama added, "Standing together with our UK friends and allies, we will work to bring the perpetrators of Alan's murder - as well as the murders of Jim Foley, Steven Sotloff and David Haines - to justice. Standing together with a broad coalition of allies and partners, we will continue taking decisive action to degrade and ultimately destroy ISIL."

Henning, 47, had joined an aid convoy and was taken captive on Dec. 26, shortly after crossing the border between Turkey and Syria.

In a statement, the British Foreign Office said it was working to verify the video. "If true, this is a further disgusting murder," the statement read. "We are offering the family every support possible; they ask to be left alone at this time."

British Prime Minister David Cameron on Friday said, "The brutal murder of Alan Henning by Islamic State shows just how barbaric and repulsive these terrorists are." He said Henning "had gone to Syria to help get aid to people of all faiths in their hour of need. The fact that he was taken hostage when trying to help others and now murdered demonstrates that there are no limits to the depravity of these ISIL terrorists."

Cameron vowed, "We will do all we can to hunt down these murderers and bring them to justice."

A U.S. official, who spoke on condition of anonymity out of concerns of not having permission to release the information, confirmed that Peter Kassig is being held by Islamic State militants. The official declined to elaborate.

Henning, nicknamed "Gadget," had joined an aid convoy and was taken captive on Dec. 26, shortly after crossing the border between Turkey and Syria. Earlier this week, Henning's wife Barbara Henning asked the militants in a televised plea: "Please release him. We need him back home."

She told the BBC that although some thought her husband was in the wrong place at the wrong time, "He was in the right place doing the right thing." She said her family was "at a loss" as to why Islamic State leaders could not "open their hearts and minds to the truth about Alan's humanitarian motives for going to Syria."

The taxi driver and father of two from Bolton, in northern England, was the only non-Muslim in the convoy, CNN reported.

A video recorded before his capture shows Henning describing his volunteer work in the region. "It's all worthwhile when you see what is needed actually gets where it needs to go," Henning says in the video obtained by CNN.

Dozens of British Muslim leaders in a letter to the Independentlast month had urged the Islamic State to release Henning.

"In Islam, concern for fellow humans and the duty to help everyone is a religious obligation," the letter stated. "Anyone undertaking a humanitarian act is paving his or her way to receive help from heaven."

Muslims were asked to show their support for Henning's cause, as well as that of other Islamic State hostages, by using the hashtag #NotInMyName on Twitter.

Henning's gruesome murder comes after the militant group released a video Sept. 13 showing the apparent beheading of David Haines, another British aid worker. That tape included a warning directed at Cameron. as well as a threat against Henning's life.

Last month, the Islamic State released a chilling propaganda video — the first that doesn't depict a killing — showing British journalist and hostage John Cantlie speaking directly to the camera and promising to reveal the "truth" about the Islamic State.

The Islamic State group has its roots in al-Qaida's Iraqi affiliate but was expelled from the global terror network over its brutal tactics and refusal to obey orders to confine its activities to Iraq. It metamorphisized amid the bloody 3-year civil war in neighboring Syria, growing stronger to the point of being able to launch a lightning offensive across much of northern Iraq, routing security forces there.

The extremist group has been widely denounced by mainstream Muslim authorities.

Agencies, EsinIslam.Com & Several News Outlets

 
Confronting Barbarism: ISIS, The United States And the Consequences Of Torture

By Michael Meurer

In a televised address on August 7, President Obama announced that he had ordered "targeted" US airstrikes in northern Iraq against the self-described Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) on the pretext of a humanitarian intervention to help stranded Kurds and US diplomatic staff in Erbil. In his address, Obama said, "I will not allow the United States to be dragged into fighting another war in Iraq." Just 47 days later, on September 23, a new phase in the war on terror had been declared, and US bombing was expanded into Syria.

There is ample reason to believe that Obama's August "humanitarian bombing" of ISIS targets in northern Iraq was equally about the protection of ExxonMobil and Chevron oil and gas production facilities in Erbil. It was a costly action. On August 19, US journalist James Foley was beheaded by ISIS in retaliation. On September 2, Steve Sotoloff, another US journalist, was beheaded by ISIS in a further act of retaliation. Both murders were accompanied by highly publicized beheading videos, with Foley and Sotoloff forced by ISIS to wear symbolic orange jumpsuits. A beheading video of British aid worker David Haines followed on September 13, with Haines also mockingly clad by his ISIS captors in an orange jumpsuit. President Obama's new war in Syria began 10 days later with full Congressional backing. British Prime Minister David Cameron quickly endorsed US bombing and received parliamentary approval for Britain to join the US campaign in Iraq.

The New Yorker's John Cassidy has labeled this Obama's "YouTube war." The carefully choreographed ISIS beheading videos, with their mocking use of orange jumpsuits, were a major factor driving both public opinion and Obama's decision-making. The actions of ISIS jihadists are barbaric, but they represent something worse than publicized incidents of terrorist inhumanity. Yasser Munif, co-founder of the Global Campaign of Solidarity with the Syrian Revolution, believes the moral taunting on the beheading videos was designed to lure the United States into wider war in the Islamic world, thereby elevating ISIS as the primary anti-American force in the region. It is as if the moral compass of the universe has gone tilt as the world descends into barbarism. The vertiginous sense of suspended morality is heightened by tens of millions of TV viewers and YouTube site visitors worldwide witnessing ISIS's open and brutal mockery of the United States and United Kingdom on supposedly moral grounds as they commit murder for the camera.

During September, with the ISIS beheadings and United States drive to war as background, the Department of Defense (DOD) and the Obama administration have also been forced into a debate over how to respond to an August 27, District Court decision in New York ordering the release of 2,000 previously unpublished photos of US torture, brutality and death at the infamous Abu Ghraib prison and five other US detention facilities in Iraq and Afghanistan. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has been seeking release of the photos since 2004 in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit. Obama and the DOD were opposed to the release of these photos, years before ISIS emerged, on the grounds that the images are so grisly, they would inflame anti-US sentiment in the Islamic world. However, with the ACLU's litigation on the verge of success, the photos and the war against ISIS have clearly become interrelated.

There is already a huge element of the absurd in the Obama administration's new war scenario that should provoke further debate about overall US policy in Central Asia. There are questions about the role that US and European actions played in incubating and arming ISIS in Syria, as well as clear evidence that Sunni distrust of the US-backed Shiite government in Baghdad has driven Iraqi Sunnis reluctantly into the hands of ISIS jihadists. There are open divisions and disagreements among national security experts in both parties and within Obama's military team about threat assessment, tactics, timing and the need for ground troops. Many activists on the ground in Syria question the motivation and potential efficacy of US bombing in their country.

In spite of these lingering uncertainties, Obama seemed to be responding primarily to the ISIS beheading videos in his September 24 speech to the UN General Assembly, when he described ISIS as a "network of death" and noted that their brutality "forces us to look into the heart of darkness." The clear implication is that war policy is being hurriedly thrown together without sober reflection because of a visceral reaction to globally publicized ISIS videos. With the pending court order to release the previously unpublished Abu Ghraib photos, the need for such reflection cannot be easily dismissed.

Should the photos be released? Should the United States openly look into its own "heart of darkness" while confronting ISIS? The timing of this decision follows more than a decade of official denial and obfuscation about the images. An estimated 108 captives died in US prisons in Iraq and Afghanistan, including as many as 26 that the DOD has classified as homicides. Obama and Cameron are right to point out that ISIS jihadists are evil and lawless killers. Yet these photos are not about ISIS except to the extent they have tried to co-opt the symbolic imagery of orange US prison jumpsuits to rationalize their barbarity. Before Obama's new war escalates out of control or drags on for months or years with an inevitable need for ground troops, it seems advisable for the United States to finally confront its own barbaric actions and failed strategic decisions in the 13-year-old war on terror - not because of ISIS, but in spite of ISIS.

Orange Jumpsuits and the Alternative Reality of Torture

Nearly every news report explains that ISIS is making their victims wear orange jumpsuits as a mocking reference to the orange jumpsuits worn by prisoners at the US detention facility at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. It is seldom mentioned that captives in the entire web of US prisons from Bagram in Afghanistan to Abu Ghraib in Iraq, were also made to wear orange jumpsuits. Further, the photos of torture, humiliation and death that have made it into the public domain from Abu Ghraib are even worse than Guantánamo, making it a more potent symbol of US human rights violations.

While the prison at Guantánamo is universally known, the public was unaware that the secretive prison at Abu Ghraib existed - housed in a torture facility used by Saddam Hussein before the US invasion - until a compact disc of digital photos taken by guards was accidentally discovered and reported in 2003. These images depicting widespread torture and violent abuse of prisoners by US troops were subsequently featured in investigative reports by The New Yorker and 60 Minutes II in 2004. When the story finally broke, Bush administration officials, from then Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to Bush himself, declared the atrocities at Abu Ghraib to be the work of "a few bad apples."

A total of 11 low-level enlisted Army soldiers were eventually convicted on charges varying from dereliction of duty to human rights abuses. A colonel was relieved of duty and a lieutenant colonel received a reprimand. Brigadier General Janis Karpinski, the commanding officer at the prison, was cited for "dereliction of duty and shoplifting." In essence, no one was held responsible except a few low-level scapegoats.

The abuses at Abu Ghraib did not happen in a vacuum. It quickly became clear that Abu Ghraib was the end point in a causal chain that led all the way back to the Bush White House and Justice Department, where top administration officials were rewriting US laws defining torture. Following recommendations to President Bush from then White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales, the United States effectively opted out of the Third and Fourth Geneva Conventions on the rights to humane treatment for both prisoners of war and civilians. The Third Geneva Convention "bars torture, cruel, inhumane, and degrading treatment, as well as outrages against the human dignity of prisoners of war, or POWs."

The Unintended Consequences of Torture

Writing in Foreign Policy, Steven R. Ratner, an expert on international law who has worked as an advisor to both the UN and the US State Department, makes it clear that torture does not work as advertised:

Seasoned interrogators consistently say that straightforward questioning is far more successful for getting at the truth. So, by mangling the [Geneva] conventions, the United States has joined the company of a host of unsavory regimes that make regular use of torture. It has abandoned a system that protects U.S. military personnel from terrible treatment for one in which the rules are made on the fly.

In losing sight of the crucial protections of the conventions, the United States invites a world of wars in which laws disappear. And the horrors of such wars would far surpass anything the war on terror could ever deliver.

The Bush administration also tried unsuccessfully to block the adoption of the UN Convention Against Torture in the General Assembly after more than 10 years of deliberation by UN member states. In spite of this failure at the UN, the United States continued to opt out of the Geneva Convention against torture. This was done by rewriting domestic laws on human rights and defining captured prisoners as "unlawful enemy combatants" who had no legal standing as prisoners of war, a decision that Obama continued to support until after his reelection in 2008. The Washington Post described the new regime of officially sanctioned torture in 2004:

In fact, every aspect of this new universe - including maintenance of covert airlines to fly prisoners from place to place, interrogation rules and the legal justification for holding foreigners without due process afforded most U.S. citizens - has been developed by military or CIA lawyers, vetted by Justice Department's office of legal counsel and, depending on the particular issue, approved by White House general counsel's office or the president himself.

In addition to the fabricated rationale for the invasion of Iraq and the invention of concepts such as "pre-emptive war" and "unlawful enemy combatants," the entire world has become aware of US practices such as extraordinary rendition (sending prisoners to countries outside the United States for torture and interrogation), enhanced interrogation techniques (e.g., water boarding and other forms of torture) and the continued operation of a string of prisons in Afghanistan and Iraq that have been repeatedly investigated for fundamental human rights violations.

Yet in August 2014, a 6,000 page, $40 million report produced by a months long investigation into US torture techniques by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence was shelved after being heavily redacted by the CIA. Bowing to the CIA and pressure from the Obama administration, committee chairperson Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California) issued a statement that the report is being "held for declassification at a later time."

The Long Road Back

War truly is hell. It always will be. Human rights violations occur in every war. What is new since the dawn of the ill-defined and never ending war on terror in 2001 is that the world's most economically powerful and heavily armed superpower has begun to untether itself from its foundational democratic moorings by making such violations a matter of de facto state policy - unapologetically. When moral outrage was expressed by some US senators during May 2004 hearings on the abuses at Abu Ghraib, Sen. James Inhofe (R-Oklahoma) commented that he was "more outraged by the outrage" than by the overwhelming evidence of abuse, torture and violation of internationally sanctioned human rights.

Recent history in Central Asia makes it abundantly clear that the abandonment of democratic ideals and values by powerful nations such as the United States and Britain does nothing to stop terrorism and runs counter to the self-interests of democracies. The long road back from the past decade of state-sanctioned torture and systematic human rights violations begins with democratic openness.

The ACLU lawsuit is a timely case in point. The US Army still has more than 2,000 unreleased photos that document 400 cases of alleged abuse between 2001 and 2005 in Abu Ghraib and six other US prisons. Senators who have seen these images say that many of the photos are worse than the images that have been leaked from Abu Ghraib to date.

The ACLU won a FOIA suit in federal District Court on August 27, 2014, in which Judge Alvin Hellerstein ordered the Department of Defense (DOD) to hand over the photos unless they can conclusively prove that their release would endanger American lives. If the judge maintains his ruling against the DOD, they will almost certainly be encouraged by the administration to appeal the decision. Obama has said that, "The most direct consequence of releasing them . . . would be to inflame anti-American public opinion and to put our troops in greater danger."

The ISIS beheadings give the Obama administration a seemingly urgent rationale for continued secrecy in their refusal to release inflammatory photos of US war crimes committed in Islamic countries. This argument overlooks the fact that it is not possible to stop a descent into barbarism by consciously ignoring history.

More than 100,000 prisoners have been run through the US complex of prisons in Iraq since the US invasion in 2003. Ignoring this reality is no longer an option. Releasing the photos and openly debating the actions and policies that led to their existence would be a more courageous projection of democratic values at this crucial juncture, sending a powerful signal that the United States stands by its core democratic values even when it is least convenient. It would also provide an opportunity for a much-needed reexamination of the premises for Obama's proposed bombing adventure in Syria, and by extension, of the longer-term war on terror. With Obama harking back to George W. Bush's initial Iraq war authorization in 2002 to rationalize his actions, it is a reexamination that is long overdue.
 
Fightings For Kobani Intensify - Turkey Threatens To Conduct 'Cross-border Operation'

By Markaz Kavkaz

Clashes between have been intensified between the units of the Ad Dawla al-Islamiyya/Islamic State (IS) and Kurdish militants in southern Syrian city of Kobani (aka Ayn al-Arab). IS moved to the village of Sheran on the city’s southern outskirts.

Fightings are also ongoing in the outskirts of the Zorava district, which is controlled by Kurds from the so-called Yekineyen Parastina Gel/People's Protection Units (PPS).

According to information distributed in social networks, the IS units are assaulting Kobani from two sides. More than 300 towns and villages around the city were left behind by Kurds. More than 130 thousands of Kurds fled to Turkey. Deserted villages were captured by the IS.

Meanwhile, sources of the IS have reported that additional forces have been transferred from city of Raqqa for the assault on Kobani.

According to local sources, the US warplanes have conducted air strikes on the positions of the IS on the outskirts of the city. At least one of the attacks hit the Kurdish positions. American aircraft mistakenly bombed an advanced outpost of the PPS.

Turkey, meanwhile, is going to conduct the so-called "cross-border operation" in Syria. The country’s parliament is intended to give authority to the government for such an operation.

Previously, the Turkish army deployed several dozen tanks on the border with Syria. Local media reported that the IS units have allegedly surrounded the tomb of Shah Suleiman, which is located on the territory of Syria, and guarded by the Turkish military.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan denied the report, while threatening to "expected reaction from Turkey if anything bad happens to its shrine".

It is to be recalled that the IS units have long been located a few hundred meters from the tomb of Shah Suleiman. IS does not prevent the movement of Turkish troops across the border and do not take any hostile action against the tomb.

Earlier, the Turkish authorities have stated that they would not participate in military actions against the IS and would not join the so-called coalition, which was organized by the US with the puppet Arab regimes. However, in the last few days Ankara began to change the tune and threating to conduct the so-called "cross-border operation" in Syria.

On September 26, Erdogan held a telephone conversation with Obama. During the talks, the Turkish President said that Ankara intended to "continue its joint strategic activities with the United States in the fight against terrorist organizations in the region, in particular the IS".

However, as the practice teaches, the rhetoric of the Turkish authorities is often radically different from its actions, and there is no clarity in what practical steps can be taken by Ankara in connection with the worsening military situation on the border with Syria.

Meanwhile, Turkish sources report that recently the authorities of the country have sharply increased activity in arresting the volunteers trying to get to Syria through Turkey. In this case, the arrests are clearly selective.
 
Parents Of U.S. ISIS Captive In Video Plea For Release

The parents of an American aid worker held hostage by militants belonging to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) issued a video plea for their son’s release on Saturday, urging his captors to show mercy.

In a three-minute video posted on Youtube, parents Ed and Paula Kassig said their son Peter had dedicated his life to helping innocent victims of the Syrian conflict.

The 26-year-old former U.S. soldier was paraded at the end of an ISIS group video released on Friday which showed the murder of British aid worker Alan Henning.

Hostages threatened at the end of four previous, near-identical ISIS beheading videos have subsequently been murdered.

“We implore his captors to show mercy and use their power to let our son go,” Ed Kassig said, referring to his son by his adopted Islamic name of Abdul Rahman.

Ed Kassig revealed in the video that his son had disappeared in Syria on Oct. 1 last year. He had embraced Islam after forming a deep attachment to the people of the strife-torn region, Ed Kassig said.

“When he saw the suffering of the Syrian people he went to Turkey and founded an organization to provide aid and assistance,” Kassig said in the video.

“He helped train 150 civilians in skills needed to provide medical aid to the people of Syria. His organization gave food, cooking supplies, clothing and medicine to those in need. He grew to love and admire the Syrian people and felt at home there. Our son’s journey culminated in him embracing Islam.

“Sadly, he was taken captive and is not free to continue his life’s work serving the people of the region.”

Kassig said while he had appealed to the U.S. government, he was powerless to influence its actions.

“There is so much that is beyond our control,” he said.

“We’ve asked our government to change its actions but like our son we have no more control over the US government than you have over the breaking of dawn.”

Paula Kassig, wearing a headscarf, revealed that she and her husband had received messages from their son during his captivity following his disappearance last year.

“Dear son we hope you will see this message from me and your father. We are so very proud of you and the work you have done to bring humanitarian aid to the Syrian people,” she said.

She revealed that in their son’s messages, Peter Kassig had expressed concern for a colleague who was kidnapped with him last year.

“We know you were very worried about your friend who was taken with you. He was released and is well,” she said.

“Please know that we are all praying for you and your safe return. Most of all, know that we love you.

“Our hearts ache for you to be granted your freedom so we can hug you again and set you free to continue the life you have chosen.

We implore those that are holding you to show mercy and to use their power to let you go.”

Antiwar Coalition Jason Ditz contributed to this article

 
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden Apologizes After Riling Turkey’s Erdogan

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden on Saturday called and apologized to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan over comments suggesting Ankara had financed and armed militant organizations in Syria.

During a speech at Harvard University Thursday, Biden criticized allies in the region, including Turkey, for supporting Sunni militant groups in Syria such as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria and the Al-Qaeda-linked Nusra Front.

Erdogan reacted on Saturday furiously, demanding an apology from the U.S. vice president.

"If Mr. Biden used such language, that would make him a man of the past for me," Erdogan told a news conference in Istanbul.

"No one can accuse Turkey of having supported any terrorist organization in Syria, including ISIS," he said.

A statement from Biden's office released in Washington said the deputy U.S. leader had called Erdogan to “clarify” his remarks.

"The vice president apologized for any implication that Turkey or other allies and partners in the region had intentionally supplied or facilitated the growth of ISIL [ISIS] or other violent extremists in Syria," a summary of the phone call said.

"The vice president made clear that the United States greatly values the commitments and sacrifices made by our allies and partners from around the world to combat the scourge of ISIL [ISIS], including Turkey.

"The two leaders reaffirmed the importance of Turkey and the United States working closely together to confront ISIL."

The spat between the two countries comes as Turkey, a NATO ally, is expected to define the role it will play in the U.S.-led coalition against ISIS who have captured a swath of Iraq and Syria, in some cases right up to the Turkish border.

This week Turkey’s parliament approved a motion giving the government powers for military operations across the border in Syria and Iraq and for foreign troops to use Turkey’s territory.

“Foreign fighters have never entered Syria from our country. They may come to our country as tourists and cross into Syria, but no one can say that they cross in with their arms,” Erdogan said on Saturday.

Erdogan also said Turkey’s border policy had had prevented 6,000 suspected militants from entering the country and led to the deportation of another 1,000

Turkey Vows Support for Sieged Kurdish Border Town: PM: We'll Do Whatever We Can to Stop ISIS Taking Town

Though the comments didn’t include an explicit mention of military action, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu says that his nation will “do whatever we can” to prevent ISIS from seizing the Kurdish border town of Ayn al-Arab.

ISIS has been moving closer to Ayn al-Arab throughout the week, and large numbers of Kurdish fighters don’t seem to be able to stop their advance this time, and they’ve reached the outskirts of town according to most indications.

Coming just a day after Turkey’s parliament authorized military operations inside Syria and Iraq, Davutoglu’s comments have been seen by many as a sign that an intervention at Ayn al-Arab might be imminent.

Yet later in his speech, Davutoglu appeared to downplay that possibility, saying that if they intervene directly to save the Kurds in that town, they’d also have to intervene on behalf of the Turkmens in Yayladag, as well as the Arabs across the border from Reyhanli, who have also been faced incursions from Islamist factions.

Agencies, EsinIslam.Com & Several News Outlets

 
Report Of First US Military Death in War Against ISIS Released From From Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command Public Affairs

U.S. forces in the North Arabian Gulf concluded a search and rescue operation for a missing U.S. Marine Corps aircrew member today at 3:00 p.m. (GMT), after efforts to locate him were unsuccessful. The Marine is presumed lost at sea.

The Marine aircrew member went into the water yesterday when the aircraft he was aboard lost power shortly after takeoff from USS Makin Island (LHD 8). Another air crewman also exited the aircraft at the same time and was safely recovered. He is in stable condition aboard Makin Island.

The pilot of the aircraft, a U.S. Marine Corps MV-22B Osprey, was eventually able to regain control and safely land back aboard Makin Island. There were four personnel aboard the aircraft when it took off, two pilots and two enlisted aircrew. The lost Marine was one of the two enlisted aircrew who exited the aircraft when it appeared the Osprey might crash into the ocean.

U.S. Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard personnel conducted an extensive search of the area using all available assets, which continued throughout the night and the next day.

The Osprey's crew was participating in flight operations in support of its current mission at the time of the mishap.

The Navy and Marine Corps will investigate the cause of the incident. In accordance with U.S. Department of Defense policy, the name of the Marine will be withheld until 24 hours after family member notification.

USS Makin Island, with embarked elements of the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit, is currently on a scheduled deployment to the U.S. Central Command Area of Responsibility where it is supporting operations in Iraq and Syria, and throughout the region.

From America's Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command Public Affairs' Website

 
Fightings in Iraq - Bombardments, Bombings, Ambushes

By Markaz Kavkaz

A series of powerful explosions rocked Baghdad, Karbala, Babylon and Basra, where 1,500 Iranian soldiers have been recently sent, on Tuesday. Details are not known, but according to preliminary data, dozens of Rafidites were killed or injured.

Meanwhile, aircraft of western alliance with together Arab satellites continue to inflict bomb and missile strikes on Iraq. On Tuesday, French planes attacked positions of Ad Dawla al-Islamiyya/Islamic State (IS) near the Yarubiya north of the city of Mosul. IS units previously captured 11 villages there.

Since August, American-Nato aircraft have carried out more than 4,000 attacks on Iraq and Syria.

Fightings near the city of Ramada continue. Shiite troops suffered losses in battles with the IS. A Shiite military convoy has been neutralized. Shiites began a large-scale assault on Ramada on September 26, but after 3 days, they were forced to retreat, losing control over three quarters of the city.

A powerful explosion occurred on Tuesday on the outskirts of Tikrit against positions held by the troops of the Baghdad regime. A car bomb was set off near the headquarters of Shiite troops. Raafidites suffered heavy fatalities and casualties but exact figures are not known.

Meanwhile, the press office of the IS released a new video with a British prisoner named Cantlie.

Reuters claims that Kurdish gangs Peshmerga with American support were able to drive out IS units from the strategically important border crossing Rabia on the border with Syria, which is the main highway linking Syria to Mosul.

The western alliance also claim that a local Sunni tribe of Shammar, which entered into alliance with Peshmerga after three months of negotiations, is fighting against the IS along with the Kurds. One of the leaders of the tribe, Shammar Abdullah Yawar, allegedly confirmed in an interview with Reuters an alliance with the Kurds against the IS.

It also claaimed that the gangs of Kurdish Peshmerga recaptured from the IS two settlements 40 km from Kirkuk. Kurds said they had been helped by American air attacks

The Americans claimed they had carried out 11 aerial attacks in Iraq, and the same number of air strikes in Syria over the past 24 hours. Local sources reported on an air attack on positions of the IS south of Baghdad. The Fadil district have been subjected to the most fierce bombardments.

Meanwhile, sources of the IS report on fightings in Anbar province, where the IS used heavy artillery against Shiite troops. It also reported about the routing out of a convoy of the Baghdad regime in Albu.
 
Pentagon Admits ISIS Tactics Shift Makes Targeting Them More Difficult - IS Militants Fire 80 Rocket Shells On Syria's Kobane

The Pentagon has been warning at regular intervals that ISIS would adapt to the US airstrikes against them. Today, officials confirmed that’s exactly what’s happening.

According to Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby, ISIS has significantly changed their tactics and posture to make the airstrikes “more difficult,” saying there was no question they had made striking them harder.

Kirby said the US strikes were less about killing individual ISIS members and more about attacking convoys and artillery positions, and that ISIS had dispersed and hidden more such potential targets.

Despite the change in tactics, Kirby conceded that ISIS continues to threaten to advance against Baghdad, saying they “haven’t made any great strides in that regard.” Neither, it seems, has the Pentagon made any great strides in pushing them back with their air war.

IS Militants Fire 80 Rocket Shells On Syria's Kobane

The Islamic State (IS) terror group fired over 80 rocket shells on the predominantly Kurdish city of Kobane in northern Syria on Friday, as part of the ongoing violent battles for control over the city, the oppositional Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported.

The heavy shelling was coupled with intense battles on the eastern, western and southern outskirts of the city, said the Observatory, adding that over 3,000 displaced Kurdish civilians were stuck at the Tal Shair hilltop, located between Kobane and the Turkish borders.

Citing Kurdish sources, the Observatory said the Turkish border guards refused to allow the displaced Kurdish to crossover amid shelling from the IS militants in the area where the Kurdish people were struck at.

A total of 13 Kurdish militants of the People's Protection Unites, or YPG, were killed in fresh battles with the IS, said the Observatory.

Tens of thousands of Kurds have fled to the Turkish borders since IS started its bombardment on Kobane and the surrounding Kurdish towns and villages 17 days ago. Kurdish activists accused Turkey of aiding IS in battling the Kurds in Kobane to create a pretext for military intervention and to establish a buffer zone in Syria.

Antiwar Coalition Jason Ditz contributed to this article

 
ISIS War a Financial Windfall for US Arms Makers: Companies Surge in Anticipation of Spending Hikes

An open-ended war in Iraq and Syria isn’t good for many people. Not the American public, which is paying for it, and certainly not for the Iraqis and Syrians. Arms dealers are salivating at the profits they are likely to make as the war continues to escalate.

The big winner early in the war is Raytheon, who netted a big new Tomahawk cruise missile contract because of all of the missiles the US has been firing into Iraq and Syria.

In the long run, the people who benefit most from the war may not be the ones making the missiles the US fired, however, but rather the companies that made the vehicles the US is trying to destroy.

ISIS’ vehicles are mostly US-made vehicles looted from Iraq, and companies that made them, like Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman, are eventually going to be paid to buy the Iraqi military a whole new collection of gear to replace what they lost and was eventually destroyed.

With expectations for a return to runaway military spending, all of the major military contractors are trading near all-time highs on the stock market, with their prices escalating as the war does.

For Pentagon, ISIS War Funding Likely to Bypass Sequestration: Expects Congress to Put it On 'War Credit Card'

Congress had mostly been ignoring sequestration at any rate when it comes to military spending, but Pentagon officials say they expect Congress to bankroll the entire new ISIS campaign in the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO), which is explicitly treated as separate from the defense budget.

The OCO, which some call a “war credit card,” was supposed to be on the way out as the White House Office of Budget Management sought to fold it back into the Pentagon’s official budget.

Instead, the OCO now seems likely to grow from its $58.6 billion in FY2015 to a dramatic new second military budget designed just to bankroll the open-ended war in Iraq and Syria.

The administration’s use of the OCO as a way to fund operations Congress never approved would normally make it a controversial move to grow it so dramatically, but with so many Congressional hawks champing at the bit to ditch sequestration and fund the military at even higher levels, it seems likely they’ll embrace this as a simple way to get around the budget limitations.

Earlier this week, it was estimated that the ISIS war had already cost $1 billion. With the war escalating seemingly every week, the costs are going to continue to surge in the months and years to come.

Several News Outlets

 
Pentagon Finds Targeting ISIS Becoming 'More Difficult’

Fighters with the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) are changing their tactics and hiding among civilians, making it “more difficult” for the U.S. and allies to target them with airstrikes, a Pentagon official said Thursday.

“We are seeing them change their posture. We're seeing them change their communications. We're seeing them disperse more, to hide more,” Pentagon press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said on Fox News.

“Certainly, it makes targeting a little bit more difficult. No question about that.”
Kirby stressed that the military campaign against ISIS “isn’t necessarily about … killing individual terrorists” but rather focused on eliminating the terror group’s capabilities.

“We are trying to take away from them the ways that they sustain, train and equip themselves,” he said. “We're doing a lot more dynamic targeting, which is going after trucks, convoys, armored personnel carriers, artillery positions, trying to take away their ability to wreak havoc and continue violence.”

On Monday Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Harrigian, Air Force assistant deputy chief of staff for operations, plans and requirements, told reporters that ISIS forces were adjusting to the U.S. airstrikes.

The terror group, which controls large swaths of Syria and Iraq, still poses a danger to Baghdad, according to Kirby.

“They still threaten Baghdad. They have been threatening Baghdad. But they haven't made any great strides in that regard,” he said.

Kirby also hailed Thursday’s vote by the Turkish parliament to authorize its military to join the international coalition battling ISIS, calling the outcome a “very positive development.”

“We're in consultation with the Turks right now about the details on that, what it is actually going to mean,” he said.

Antiwar Coalition Jason Ditz contributed to this article

 
Kasparov: Putin Is More Dangerous Than All 'al Qaedas' In The World

By Markaz Kavkaz

The second most read American mainstream news magazine Newsweek (Time is the most read mainstream but Newsweek is considered to be more leftist) reported in an article, "Putin Is More Dangerous Than ISIS and 1,000 Al Qaedas Says Garry Kasparov" on the imminent global age-old Russian threat to the civilized world. The magazine writes writes:

Garry Kasparov, the world’s most renowned chess master, has branded Vladimir Putin “the most dangerous man in the world” in a passionate interview with Yahoo News, in which he stressed that the Russian President is more dangerous that Islamic State (ISIS) and “all the Al-Qaedas in the world”.

Asked if Islamic State or Putin were a bigger threat to global stability, Kasparov responded with “Of course Putin… Of course Putin!”

“Because Putin cannot be defeated militarily,” he explained.

“…You will eliminate ISIS there will be another ISIS, but obviously you have clear solutions because you know exactly where the money comes from. You can go after Qatar, you can go after Saudi Arabia, you can create a coalition that will eventually squeeze ISIS both militarily and financially…

…But you cannot do it with Putin. Putin is a permanent threat”, Kasparov said.

An outspoken critic of Putin since his retirement from professional chess in 2005, Kasparov, 51, has branded the Russian President “a dictator” and accused him of driving entrepreneurs and intellectuals from Russia.

Russia’s nuclear arsenal gives Putin an “ability to create instability - a thousand times bigger than all the Al-Qaedas of the world”, Kasparov also said.

“Putin wants to stay in power at any cost and for him to stay in power he needs to create global instability. I would not be surprised if he starts blackmailing the world with nuclear Armageddon because for him there is no life if he loses power”.

USSR-born Kasparov considers himself to have come face-to-face with Putin’s reluctance to relinquish power as the chess master’s advocacy for opposition groups United Civil Front and Another Russia, lead to his arrest in 2007.

He also faced problems with his candidacy when he stood for the Russian presidency in 2008. Kasparov was bizarrely forced to suspend his campaign in the preliminary rounds as local landlords refused to let him rent a hall from which to host his presidential run - a constitutional requirement in Russian law. Kasparov maintains they did so under Putin’s instructions.

Although Kasparov has repeatedly said that he considers himself a Russian citizen he left Russia in 2013, telling media there was “good reason to be concerned about my ability to leave Russia if I returned to Moscow”.

More information on Kasparov's speech was provided by portal Yahoo News. It writes:

"Arguably the world's best chess player ever, Garry Kasparov is on a new mission. He hopes to convince the world that the biggest threat to global unrest is not the Islamic State, al-Qaida or North Korea. Instead it is Vladimir Putin, Russia's president from 2000 to 2008 and then again from 2012 to today.

In an interview with Yahoo News and Finance Anchor Bianna Golodryga, Kasparov outlined his reasons for believing that Putin should be what keeps the world up at night. He chided President Barack Obama for being too late in addressing Putin's aggression in Ukraine — ultimately annexing Crimea.

And while he views the president's speech at the United Nations — calling Russia's invasion into Ukraine and ideology of "might makes right" backward —he still believes that actions speak louder than words.

Kasparov has extremely harsh words for what he views as European indifference to Putin's actions, and he compares the world's complacency with the lead-up to World War II.

Kasparov calls the Islamic State militant group (also known as ISIL and ISIS) a diversion for the world to focus on. He finds it hypocritical that the US and other Western allies have agreed to supply Syrian rebels opposed to IS, while refusing Ukraine's similar request.

Regarding the current sanctions imposed on Russia, Kasparov believes that at some point they will hurt not only the Russian economy, but also Putin and his inner circle. However, for that to happen, he believes the sanctions will have to be in place through at least March 2015.

He adds that Putin will use Russia's vast supply of natural gas as leverage ahead of what he calls the "upcoming cold winter," threatening to shut down supplies to Europe and other former Soviet republics and satellite nations (gas is stolen by Russians from annexed Siberians - KC).

Kasparov fears that the threat will be enough to persuade an easing of sanctions. He also believes Putin is telling his inner circle of Russia's richest and most powerful business leaders, who are facing the ramifications of stiff sanctions that the western governments "will blink. As before, they will capitulate. We'll get what we need".

Kasparov believes that Putin is calling the world's bluff. "He is playing poker while everyone else is playing chess".

Kasparov, who once expressed interest in running in the 2008 presidential race and who has in recent years become an anti-Putin activist, avoided the question of whether or not he would seek public office. Instead his response was a sobering one: "We should forget about power in Russia changing hands throughout the election process. I'm afraid it will be not a very lawful process and it may eventually end up with the collapse of the country".

His political views have affected his professional career and aspirations. Just last month Kasparov lost his bid for the presidency of the International Chess Federation, to Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, a controversial billionaire who had ties to Saddam Hussein, Moammar Gadhafi and Bashar Assad. (Ilyumzhinov also believes that not only was the game invented by aliens, but that he too was abducted by alien years ago. "Of course it was," Kasparov answered when asked if the election was rigged.)

As for the future, Kasparov sees dark days ahead as long as Putin is in office. He believes that the 2018 World Cup, now currently set to take place in Russia, should be relocated to another country. But that is down the line, Kasparov says, adding that he is currently focused on the upcoming "cold winter".
 
An Appeal For The Release Of Alan Henning By The Widow Of A British Doctor Killed In Syria

By CAGE

As British Parliamentarians overwhelmingly voted for a decision which will ultimately lead to the deaths of thousands of innocent people, CAGE on Friday (26/9/2014) exclusively releases the first appeal of the wife of the late Dr Abbas Khan in which she calls for the release of British citizen and aid worker Alan Henning. Dr Abbas Khan was a British aid worker who was killed in Syria while providing humanitarian aid and medical assistance to those most in need. She talks of the qualities of her husband and makes an appeal for mercy and clemency to Mr Henning’s captors.

As salaamu alaikum wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh,

A humble call to the men of the Islamic State from Umm Abdullah, the widow the martyr -by Allah’s permission- Dr. Abbas Khan who left behind his family and children to relieve the oppressed. He worked day and night in field hospitals until the cruel hands were laid on him, leading him to the dungeons of humiliation and torment, in which he fulfilled his role and returned to His Rabb, and it is on Our Rabb the most Merciful, to reward him immeasurably.

This is my call to you, in which I beg you in the name of our Almighty to protect Alan Henning and release him. By Allah I cannot see you killing him after he left his joyful world for no purpose other than aiding our Muslim women and children in Shaam.

I remind myself and you that our Prophet peace be upon him fulfilled Umm Hanee’s request and spared a man’s life, and of Our Rabb’s words ” And if anyone of the Mushrikeen seeks your protection then grant him protection, so that he may hear the Word of Allah (the Qur’an), and then escort him to where he can be secure” I ask you in the name of Allah to release him.

Following the footsteps of Umm Hanee’s, I - Umm Abdullah- as a widow of a shaheed and a daughter of a shaheed, request you to protect him, and release him to a secure place.

If you see any right of ours upon you, then I ask you by Allah to observe it. In our deen, the ihsaan of Alan has no reward other than ihsaan.

I remind you of our Prophet’s forgiveness in the time of strength.

Walhamdulillah Rabbil aalaameen wassalaamu alaikum warhmatullah wa barakatuh.

Jazakallah khair
 
US Considers Turkey’s Plan Of 'No-Fly’ Zone Against Assad in Syria: Buffer Zone Might Also Be Possibility

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey say that the US is still considering the possibility of establishing a “no-fly zone” over northeastern Syria to deny the Syrian military the ability to launch airstrikes against the rebels therein.

The idea is particularly puzzling in the northeast, since the US and its allies have been bombing ISIS targets in the exact same region. Since the US air war began, the Assad military has shifted its focus to the northwest, where other rebel factions are, allowing the US to do its dirty work for them.

Gen. Dempsey also said that they are considering the Turkish proposal for a “buffer zone” carved out of northern Syria to house refugees. Turkey has sought the zone as a way to get rid of the 1.3 million refugees they’ve been saddled with, while waiting for some regime change to happen in Syria.

That such schemes are even under consideration suggests that the Obama Administration haven’t given up on the idea of expanding their new ISIS war to include Syria’s government as well, even though they’re fighting ISIS as well.

As US Hits East Syria, Assad Steps Up Strikes in West: US Strikes on ISIS Free Up Syrian Military Against Other Rebels

The Obama Administration’s attacks on ISIS across Eastern Syria continued apace today, and unsurprisingly, have given way to an increasing number of Syrian military airstrikes in the West.

The attacks reflect a reality that the administration has sought not to publicly acknowledge: that an attack on the largest Syrian rebel faction must inevitably be beneficial to the Syrian government they’re rebelling against.

The US has had no problem presenting its strikes in Iraq as beneficial to Iraq’s government and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), but doesn’t have the cozy relationship with the Assad government.

Still, even if the US wasn’t coordinating its Syria strikes with Assad (which it is, indirectly, through Iraq), those attacks are going to free up Syrian military assets to focus on other rebel factions. The Syrian military is taking advantage of that in a big way, hitting the western rebel territory in ways that weren’t possible before.

Though Turkey was loudly touted by the Obama Administration as a key ally added to their anti-ISIS coalition, so far the nation has not agreed to take any military role in the war, and indeed, had previously ruled such a role out over concern about hostages.

With the hostages freed, Turkish officials are now opening up to the possibility of some military role, with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan saying the country could take a role in future fighting against ISIS.

The comments were decidedly non-committal, though Erdogan did say he was open to deploying ground troops into Syria for the creation of a future “buffer zone” along the border.

Turkey had been keen to see a buffer zone created inside Syria as a way of getting rid of some 1.3 million refugees they’ve taken in since the war began. Since much of the Turkish-Syrian border is now ISIS-held, it’s not an ideal place to carve out a temporary refugee camp.

Turkey had proposed the buffer zone years ago, when the Syrian Civil War began, but the fact that they’re once again floating the idea suggests they may be nearing some commitment to the conflict, despite the huge risk of blowback in fighting a war right along their southern border.

Antiwar Coalition Jason Ditz contributed to this article
 
America Attacks 12 Oil Refineries And Bans The Army of Emigrants and Supporters (AES)

By Markaz Kavkaz

America and Arab proxies carried out airstrikes on 12 refineries in Syria, which they claim to be controlled by the Ad Dawla al-Islamiyya/Islamic State (IS).

The American military command announced that warplanes of bloody Assad's Syria, Saudi Arabia and the UAE were participated.

The attack by enemy aircraft and drones against the Muslim cities of Al-Mayadin, Al-Bukamal, Deir ez-Zor and Hasaka (see the video of bombardments of Al-Bukamal) consisted of 13 blows. Also reported was another bombardments on the city of Raqqa, 12 peaceful Muslims were martyred by Americans.

The Pentagon spokesman, Kirby, told reporters that "America and Arab "partners" are fighting against terrorists". At the same time, he refused to give any details.

Meanwhile, the governing body of a globalist group, the Unations, adopted a resolution on fighting "foreign fighters" in Syria and Iraq. At a leadership gathering, all decisions are taken only by 5 states, including Red China. This time, it was chaired by Obama.

According to the paper, all group's member states are to prevent entry of "jihadists" into their territories or transit by "any individual on whom that state has credible information that provides reasonable grounds to believe that he or she (or probably, it? - KC) is seeking entry into or transit through their territory for the purpose of engaging in terrorist activity".

The governing body of the Unations group, a so-called security council , has threatened with economic sanctions and even the use of violence against countries that "do not fulfil the provisions of it "resolution".

Meanwhile, America imposed so-called sanctions against the Jaish al-Muhajireen wal-Ansar/Army of Emigrants and Supporters (AES). The property and finances of the organisation (if suddenly detected in America) should be immediately frozen, they say.

Information about sanctions is published on the website of the American foreign ministry.

The AES was proclaimed to be "a Chechen-led terrorist organization based in Syria that consists primarily of foreign fighters", the report said.

The ministry also claims that the AES was allegedly responsible for "deadly assaults against civilian communities, and kidnapping civilians and other foreigners". In this case, no evidence in support of this claim was ever provided. Neither western nor Arab media has yet published any data about attacks by the AES on civilians, kidnapping of civilians and foreigners".

Another AES crime in the eyes of America, according to the ministry, is that the AES "is cooperating with the IS and Jabhat an-Nusra/Victory Front (VF)".

In addition to the AES, the Americans expanded their black list by including a Moroccan group Harakat Sham al-Islam/Islamic Movement of Levant (IML) and 10 Muslims from different countries, including two natives of the Pankisi George, Georgia: Murad Margoshvili (aka Emir Muslim) and Tarkhan Batirashvili (aka Umar al-Chechen).

Meanwhile in Syria, mass demonstrations were held in support of the VF. The Syrians carried banners reading: "Jabhat an-Nusra came to support us when the world abandoned us".
 
Islamic State Defies Air Strikes By Shelling Syrian Kurdish Town

Reuter - New U.S.-led air strikes against Islamic State fighters failed to stop them from pressing their assault on a strategic Syrian town near the Turkish border on Saturday, hitting it with shell fire for the first time.

The U.S. Central Command (Centcom) said the air strikes destroyed an IS building and two armed vehicles near the border town of Kobani, which the insurgents have been besieging for the past 10 days.

It said an airfield, garrison and training camp near the IS stronghold of Raqqa were also among the targets damaged in seven air strikes conducted by the United States, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates, using fighter planes and remotely piloted aircraft.

Three air strikes in Iraq destroyed four IS armed vehicles and a "fighting position" southwest of Arbil, Centcom said. Two British fighter jets also flew over Iraq, a day after the UK parliament authorized bombing raids against IS militants there, but used the mission to gather intelligence rather than carry out air strikes, the ministry of defense said.

Since capturing swathes of territory in both Syria and Iraq, Islamic State has proclaimed an Islamic "caliphate", beheaded Western hostages and ordered Shi'ites and non-Muslims to convert or die. Its rise has prompted President Barack Obama to order U.S. forces back into Iraq, which they left in 2011, and to go into action over Syria for the first time.

The U.S. military has been carrying out strikes in Iraq since Aug. 8 and in Syria, with the help of Arab allies, since Tuesday, in a campaign it says is aimed at "degrading and destroying" the militants.

Al Qaeda's affiliate in Syria, which lost scores of fighters in the first day of strikes there, accused Washington and its allies of waging "war against Islam" and said they would be targeted by jihadists around the world.

A pair of U.S. Air Force F-15E Strike Eagles fly over northern Iraq after conducting airstrikes in S …
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a monitoring group that supports opposition forces fighting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, said Saturday's air strikes set off more than 30 explosions in Raqqa.

Rami Abdulrahman, who runs the British-based Observatory, said 23 Islamic State fighters were killed. He said the heaviest casualties were inflicted in attacks on an airport.

But the monitoring group said IS was still able to shell eastern parts of Kobani, wounding several people. It said that IS fighters had killed 40 Kurdish militia in the past five days in their battle for the town, including some who were killed by a suicide bomber who drove into its outskirts in a vehicle disguised to look as though it was carrying humanitarian aid.

The insurgents' offensive against the Kurdish town, also known as Ayn al-Arab, has prompted around 150,000 refugees to pour across the border into Turkey since last week.

Reuter Mariam Karouny and Jonny Hogg contributed to this article
 
One Cost Of War: U.S. Blowing Up Its Own Humvees

CNN - The United States is spending millions of dollars to destroy U.S. equipment in Iraq and Syria — gear the U.S. gave the Iraqi military that was later captured by ISIS forces.

The U.S has hit 41 Humvees since attacks began in August, according to data from United States Central Command.

The U.S. is sending $30,000-bombs to eliminate these armored vehicles, which cost about a quarter of a million dollars each depending what it is equipped with, according to Todd Harrison, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments.

The U.S. Defense Department confirmed the targets to CNN. "In some cases, we have seen instances of ISIL capturing and employing U.S.-made equipment," said a spokesperson. "When we've seen these terrorists employing this equipment, we've sought to eliminate that threat."
Once the U.S. destroys the equipment, it might have to re-supply the Iraqi military.

"If we want them [the Iraqi military] to be able to secure their own borders in the long run, we're going to have to re-equip them," said Harrison. "So we'll be buying another Humvee and sending it back to the Iraqi military.''

This loop is only one small example of the complexities that drive current expenses and how the U.S. may be paying for them in the future.

The overall cost of U.S. operations in Iraq and Syria rose this week with the U.S.'s first strikes inside Syria. That campaign began on Monday evening with the blunt force of 47 Tomahawk missiles, which cost about $1.5 million each.

The U.S. led coalition sent 48 strike-ready aircraft. Those formations included the first combat mission for the F-22 Raptor, which costs about $62,000 an hour to fly, making it the most expensive manned aircraft to operate.

Those aircraft were likely carrying bombs that range in cost from $20,000 to $30,000.

The Tomahawk, which is launched from a ship, is more expensive because it's essentially a disposable plane.

"It is launched out of a tube, its wings deploy, and it has a jet engine that flies it up to 1,000 miles to its intended target," said Harrison. ''The whole thing blows up when it reaches its target, so it only gets used once."

In total, the U.S. has conducted 20 strikes in Syria and 198 in Iraq from August 8 through September 23. Many of those operations weren't included in the Pentagon's daily average spending figure of $7.5 million at the end of last month.

CNN Cristina Alesci and Kate Trafecante contributed to this article
 
Battles And Bombardments Continue - Warplane Shot Down Over Homs

By Markaz Kavkaz

Sources in Syria are reporting about new wave of bombardments. Aircraft of US, Saudi Arabia and the UAE have again bombed oil refineries controlled by the Ad Dawla al-Islamiyya/Islamic State (IS).

Deir ez-Zor and nearby oil fields were subjected to the most intense attacks.

Information sources of NGO SHNR reports about dead and wounded, including civilians.

In turn, the Local Coordination Committees of Syria (LCCSyria) reported that the US and its Arab satellites inflicted airstrikes on IS-controlled former 93rd military base on the outskirts of Raqqa, Ayn Isa.

According to unconfirmed reports, which are distributed in social networks, during bombardments, a Saudi warplane was exploded in the air over the city of Raqqa.

According to Al-Arabiya, US warplanes have also carried out a massive missile and bomb attacks on places of dislocation of the Jabhat an-Nusra/Victory Front (VF). Details are not provided.

Meanwhile, battles are continued between Syrian Mujahideen and troops of Assad regime, as their activity increased significantly in the background of American bombardments. So during the fightings around Homs, Assadites used aviation. Mujahideen managed to shoot down one of the attack planes.

Sham News Network (SNN) reported that a fighter aircraft MiG-23 has been was shot down near Shayrat air base in Homs.

Fightings are continuing between the IS and the Kurdish armed groups on the border with Turkey.

The most violent clashes took place near the border area of Suruc in Turkish Sanliurfa Province, as well as in the village of Siftek, which is located on the outskirts of Ain al-Arab (Kobani).

It is reported that IS, which is using heavy artillery, was able to capture some of the positions of the Kurdish groups.
 
Khorasan: Syrian Factions Never Heard of It - Term Likely Invented by US

Since the US began its airstrikes against Syria, the name Khorasan has been on everyone’s lips since, along with ISIS, they’ve become a top target.

It’s puzzling for people in Syria, especially those affiliated with the rebellion, because none of them have ever heard of any such faction. Indeed, the evidence is increasingly that the US made it up.

“The name is clearly US-originated,” noted analyst Pieter van Ostaeyen, who says that the name had never been mentioned by any jihadist movements until the US started talking them up.

Rather, what is being referred to by the administration as Khorasan is simply al-Qaeda. When the US attacks “Khorasan” they’re really attacking Jabhat al-Nusra, al-Qaeda’s Syria group, and don’t want to admit it because the “moderate” rebels are all closely allied with al-Qaeda. But they aren’t allied with Khorasan because there is no such thing.

The name is also a political convenience, so that when the TSA says the “Khorasan” is a threat to US flights, what they’re really saying is that al-Qaeda is a threat to US flights, hardly news, but a damning admission that 13 years of focusing on al-Qaeda in a global war hasn’t amounted to a hill of beans, and the threat is still there.

They don’t want to admit that, so instead they invented the fiction of Khorasan to cover up the truth.

US Strikes Pushing Syrian al-Qaeda to Join With ISIS

Clearly the US decision to open up its attacks on ISIS in Syria earlier this week came with a decision to attack another faction, which they dubbed Khorasan.

The term Khorasan was basically a US invention, and what is being attacked in that case is Jabhat al-Nusra, an al-Qaeda affiliate. The US strikes are pushing Nusra to forge new ties with ISIS.

ISIS has long been at odds with the other rebel factions, including Nusra, and had been in direct conflict with them off and on. The US insinuation of itself into the war, however, has given both sides a very high-profile common enemy.

Way back when, ISIS (then still al-Qaeda in Iraq) announced a “merger” with al-Nusra, which brought them several recruits, but also split Nusra in half, and fueled a split between ISIS and al-Qaeda in the process. Increasingly, that division seems like it could be wiped out by the US war.

Antiwar Coalition Jason Ditz contributed to this article
 
Fightings In Anbar Province Ensure Shiite Troops Suffer Losses - French Bomb Kurds

By Markaz Kavkaz

The Washington Post reported that a few hundred soldiers of the Baghdad regime "disappeared" during the fightings in the Anbar province. Meanwhile, social networks publish information about the capture by the IS units of about 400 Shiite soldiers. All of them were then executed.

It is also reported on the defeat of the Baghdad regime army’s 8th division and capture of bases in the area of Saqlawiyah.

“The situation is very bad,” said Lt. Col. Abdulwahab al-Saidi, head of counterterrorism operations for Anbar.

Meanwhile, French air force carried out air strikes in Iraq. It is reported that French aircraft mistakenly bombed its allies - the Kurds from Peshmerga. In the raid, at least 75 Kurds were killed.

Fierce fightings between Shiite troops and fighters of the IS and local Sunni tribes moved to the west of the city of Ramada.

The fightings continued in the area of Kurdish settlements of Zummar, Sinjar, Jalawla, despite air strikes by America.
 
Rebel-held Towns In Syria Protest U.S. Bombing Of al Qaida Affiliate

Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of rebel-held towns in northern Syria Friday to protest U.S.-led airstrikes against the Islamic State and supporting creation of an Islamic caliphate.

Organizers of the protests had urged demonstrations to show that “civilians don’t need international killers,” and crowds responded in the cities of Aleppo, Idlib and Hama.

The protesters singled out the reported deaths of a dozen or so civilians in the town of Kafr Daryan in northern Idlib province, where a U.S. cruise missile allegedly struck a building that housed displaced people near a base belonging to al Qaida’s Nusra Front.

They also complained that the airstrikes ignored targets associated with the government of President Bashar Assad and struck only those associated with the Islamic State or Nusra.

“Our first enemy is America and its allies” and “The people want an Islamic caliphate,” protesters in Idlib chanted.

Eight of the locations hit by the U.S.-led coalition on Tuesday were installations controlled by Nusra, which the United States has labeled a terrorist organization but that opponents of the Assad government see as a key component of the anti-Assad movement. U.S. officials have said those strikes were targeting an al Qaida unit they identified as the Khorasan group that was plotting attacks on Western targets.

As the protesters marched, the Syrian government continued its own airstrikes Friday, attacking rebel-held towns of Bara and Ma’ardebse in Idlib and Kafr Zeita, Atshan, Hawija and Latamena in Hama province.

Regime jets and helicopters also bombed Saraqeb, a town on the Aleppo-Damascus highway, killing two civilians Friday morning, the Sakhur district of Aleppo, killing three persons, and the Inzarat district of Aleppo, anti-regime media activists said.

Official Syrian news outlets claimed Friday that government forces had seized villages from the hands of the Islamic State in Tal Hamis, north of Hasaka province in eastern Syria, an apparent attempt to suggest that the government was benefiting from the airstrikes.

But anti-government media activists said that the area had long been contested between the government and the Islamic State and was in government hands most of the time. They added that the U.S.-led airstrikes had not targeted the area.

“Even if it is true that the regime has taken two or three villages in Tal Hamis, this has nothing to do with coalition bombing because the coalition hasn’t bombed that area at all,” said activist Siraj al Haskawi from Hasaka, who was reached via Skype.

The protests in rebel-held territories illustrated the confusion among Syrians over the aims of the U.S.-led coalition and the support that al Qaida’s Nusra Front enjoys among rebel factions.

In Afamia, a town in western Hama province, demonstrators carried Nusra’s black flags, chanted anti-Assad slogans, called for the downfall of the Syrian Opposition Coalition - the U.S.-backed civilian organization that the United States recognizes as the only legitimate representative of the Syrian people - and condemned what they called “the coalition strikes against the mujahedeen,” or holy warriors.

Diya’a al Dib, a media activist who in the past has supplied international news outlets with film of demonstrators calling for the fall of the Assad regime, said on his Facebook page Friday that Al Jazeera, an international news channel funded by the Qatari government, and other outlets refused to use his film, apparently because it showed the extremist mood among demonstrators and the raising of the flag of the Nusra Front.

In Afamia, the Nusra-appointed imam at the local mosque called for the demonstration during his sermon, in which he said “Christians and their spies have been working to divide Muslims since the 7th century,” according to the Facebook posting.

Activists who until now have had little to do with Islamist extremists joined the protest.

“We were expecting America to help arm the opposition and bomb Assad; instead, it bombed only the Islamic State,” Hussien Kanag, an activist from Afamia, told McClatchy.

Alhamadee, a McClatchy special correspondent, contributed to this article
 
Red Cross Says US Strikes Add to Humanitarian Crisis in Iraq, Syria: US Strikes Boost ISIS Recruitment in Syria’s Aleppo

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has warned that the US-led airstrikes against ISIS in Iraq and Syria have “compounded the humanitarian consequences of the conflicts in both countries.”

Even though the US couched the initial attacks in Iraq as a “humanitarian intervention,” their focus has since expanded to a full scale war to “destroy” ISIS, in which officials have promised to keep civilian casualties to a minimum, but didn’t appear overly concerned about the deaths in the strikes so far.

The Red Cross warns that the situation is continuing to worsen, and warned that all the combatant factions must refrain from harming civilians and must allow humanitarian workers to bring help.

As US strikes have increased, ISIS has moved most of its forces to less conspicuous targets that are less convenient to hit. This has made the US more likely to go after difficult targets, particularly those in populated areas, which means the humanitarian woes of the conflict are likely to grow as the war continues.

US Strikes Boost ISIS Recruitment in Syria’s Aleppo: Over 200 Joined Since Obama Announced Attacks

Syrian rebels say that the US airstrikes on ISIS inside Syria haven’t helped them. If you’re wondering who is benefiting, the answer could well be ISIS.

Since President Obama announced his intention to strike Syria on September 10, ISIS has gained more than 200 new fighters in Aleppo Province alone. That’s likely a drop in the bucket compared to what it did for recruitment in provinces where they have a larger presence.

The US couldn’t be following the ISIS map more closely if they planned it, as the group is building itself up into a larger and more influential faction primarily on the credibility it gets from being a top US enemy right now, moreso than the territory it gained in the past year.

The administration’s answer to ISIS growing increasingly influential has been to hype them even further, and present them as a new, global enemy that needs to be wiped out through force of arms. Unsurprisingly, that has made many of the people in the line of fire of America’s newest war stand up and take notice, and is bringing a lot of them to ISIS, where they can resist the incoming US attacks on their homes.

Antiwar Coalition Jason Ditz contributed to this article
 
Syrian Rebels Slam US: Strikes Hitting al-Qaeda, Not Assad: US Attacks Driving al-Qaeda Out of Northwest Syria

Antiwar Articles

Syrian rebels are expressing growing anger about the way the US airstrikes in Syria have gone, complaining that not only did the US not strike Syrian military targets, but that they also attacked al-Qaeda’s Khorasan group.

That’s not the US intervention the rebels thought they were signing on for, and they warned that the US targeting of al-Qaeda’s Jabhat al-Nusra and its compatriots is doing serious damage 5to “moderate” rebels.

The Nusra Front and other Islamist factions have been withdrawing their heavy weapons from northern Syria, particularly the tenuously held Idlib Province, saying they don’t want to be targeted. That’s likely to give Assad forces an opening to retake more lost ground.

The level to which the Free Syrian Army and other factions backed by the US depend on al-Qaeda and ISIS underscores the complexity of the US air war. It’s also likely to fuel more anger from the “pro-US” rebels because the air war really is helping the Assad government on the ground.

Pentagon: ISIS Will Adapt to Airstrikes in Syria: War Depends on 'Competent Partners' on the Ground

Six weeks of US airstrikes against ISIS in Iraq didn’t amount to much of a change on the ground, as ISIS quickly adapted and stopped leaving expensive vehicles out in the open where they could get bombed.

Today, the Pentagon has warned that the airstrikes in Syria are going to end up the exact same way, with ISIS expected to quickly change tactics and adapt, making it more difficult to pick out targets.

What damage the strikes have done, Pentagon officials say ISIS will easily rebound from, and picking future targets will require “competent partners” on the ground to spot.

That the US doesn’t have particularly competent partners is western Iraq, let alone in ISIS-held Syria, doesn’t seem to be impacting their ambitions for a long and ever-expanding war. This suggests that despite Pentagon promises to try to limit civilian casualties in the air war, there is little reason for American pilots to have any real clue who they’re dropping bombs on.
 
Syria Becomes The 7th Predominantly Muslim Country Bombed By 2009 Nobel Peace Laureate Obama

The U.S. today began bombing targets inside Syria, in concert with its lovely and inspiring group of five allied regimes: Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, and Jordan.

That means that Syria becomes the 7th predominantly Muslim country bombed by 2009 Nobel Peace Laureate Barack Obama—after Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Libya and Iraq.

The utter lack of interest in what possible legal authority Obama has to bomb Syria is telling indeed: Empires bomb who they want, when they want, for whatever reason (indeed, recall that Obama bombed Libya even after Congress explicitly voted against authorization to use force, and very few people seemed to mind that abject act of lawlessness; constitutional constraints are not for warriors and emperors).

It was just over a year ago that Obama officials were insisting that bombing and attacking Assad was a moral and strategic imperative. Instead, Obama is now bombing Assad’s enemies while politely informing his regime of its targets in advance. It seems irrelevant on whom the U.S. wages war; what matters it that it will be at war, always and forever.

Six weeks of bombing hasn’t budged ISIS in Iraq, but it has caused ISIS recruitment to soar. That’s all predictable: the U.S. has known for years that what fuels and strengthens anti-American sentiment (and thus anti-American extremism) is exactly what they keep doing: aggression in that region. If you know that, then they know that. At this point, it’s more rational to say they do all of this not despite triggering those outcomes, but because of it. Continuously creating and strengthening enemies is a feature, not a bug. It is what justifies the ongoing greasing of the profitable and power-vesting machine of Endless War.

If there is anyone who actually believes that the point of all of this is a moral crusade to vanquish the evil-doers of ISIS (as the U.S. fights alongside its close Saudi friends), please read Professor As’ad AbuKhalil’s explanation today of how Syria is a multi-tiered proxy war. As the disastrous Libya “intervention” should conclusively and permanently demonstrate, the U.S. does not bomb countries for humanitarian objectives. Humanitarianism is the pretense, not the purpose.

EsinIslam.Com & Several News Outlets

 
Obama-armed Syrian Rebels: Airstrikes On Islamic State 'Attack On The Revolution’

By Douglas Ernst

A Syrian rebel group that received U.S. missiles and training issued a statement Tuesday denouncing the Obama administration’s airstrikes on the Islamic State group.

Harakat Hazm is considered to be a part of the Free Syrian Army, and while its ultimate goal is the ouster of Syrian President Bashar al Assad, it also has members who fight with Al Nusra Front, an ideological ally of al Qaeda.

The Syrian rebel faction released a statement on Tuesday labeling the airstrikes an “external intervention” and “an attack on the revolution,” the Los Angeles Times reported.

The group’s statement also called for the “unconditional arming” of the Free Syrian Army, the Times reported.

U.S. military operations continued in the region Wednesday, with coalition warplanes hitting oil assets controlled by the Islamic State group. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates resources were also deployed.

Syria's Islamic Fighters Fear US Could Hit Them

When the United States opened its aerial campaign against the Islamic State group in Syria this week, its first salvo also hit an al-Qaida cell — a move that has injected more chaos into the conflict and could help tyrant Bashar Assad.

Amid fears they could be targeted next, two rebel factions already have evacuated their bases, and residents in areas under the control of other Islamic brigades cower at home, wondering whether their districts will be hit.

While al-Qaida's branch in Syria, known as the Nusra Front, is considered a terrorist group by the United States, among the Syrian opposition it has a degree of support and respect because its fighters are on the front lines alongside other rebels battling Assad's forces.

To them, the U.S. strikes, which hit several Nusra Front facilities and killed dozens of its fighters, appeared to signal an American move to take out any rebel faction that adheres to an Islamic ideology — a large segment of the rebellion against Assad.

U.S. officials say the strikes were aimed at a cell of hardened jihadis within the Nusra Front called the Khorasan Group, which Washington says poses a direct and imminent threat to U.S. and Western interests.

On Thursday, FBI director James Comey acknowledged that the U.S. did not have precise intelligence on where or when the group might attack, adding that there was no indication the airstrikes had disrupted the cell's plots.

"It's hard to say whether that's tomorrow, three weeks from now or three months from now. But it's the kind of threat you have to operate under the assumption that it is tomorrow," Comey told reporters in Washington.

U.S. intelligence officials say the group has been trying to perfect a non-metallic bomb that can get past airport security and be used to blow up an airplane in flight.

But many in the Syrian opposition are skeptical of the U.S. claims and believe the airstrikes simply aimed to hurt the Nusra Front — and by extension the anti-Assad uprising. The Khorasan Group — a name given the cell by American officials — was unheard of publicly less than a month ago.

"I don't think it's ever been a separate group on the ground," said Aymenn al-Tamimi, an expert on Syrian and Iraqi militants. "I think the problem for the U.S. is that in wanting to target Nusra, there's still this problem that Nusra has local support and there are still many rebel groups that work with Nusra."

While U.S. and Western officials view both the Islamic State group and the Nusra Front as a threat, on the ground, Syrians make a huge distinction between the two — despite their shared history.

The Nusra Front was created with financing, manpower and military hardware provided by the Islamic State group when the Islamic extremists were still known merely as the Islamic State in Iraq. The Nusra Front 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. The Islamic State group, on the other hand, focused not on Assad but rather on creating its version of a medieval Islamic state — and was happy to battle all comers, government and rebels, to achieve that goal.

Now, the Islamic State group controls a vast tract of land stretching from the Turkish border in northern Syria to the western outskirts of Baghdad, where it has declared a self-styled caliphate, or Islamic state, ruled by its brutal version of Islamic law. Its aggressive push across Iraq in June spurred the U.S. to gather an international coalition to try to defeat the extremists.

The Nusra Front, meanwhile, has seen its fortunes fade. The al-Qaida affiliate is reportedly struggling with its finances, and has shed fighters as its clout has waned. It remains locked in battle with the Islamic State group in Syria as well as Assad's forces — all the while fighting arm-in-arm with some Western-backed groups against both.

It is that cooperation with other rebel groups that could be undermined by the U.S. airstrikes, said Aron Lund, editor of the Carnegie Endowment's Syria in Crisis report. He noted that the U.S. would likely have had to have informants on the ground — such as activists or Western-backed rebels — to pinpoint facilities belonging to the Nusra Front in order to target them.

"You have the potential, I think, for the Nusra Front to sort of react defensively to this by attacking or forcing out rebel groups that they feel will work with the U.S. in targeting them," Lund said.

That could trigger a bout of infighting that the anti-Assad movement can ill afford at a time when it is already under pressure from fighting a two-front war against the government and the Islamic State.

Another source of instability in the rebel ranks stems from concerns among other Islamic rebel brigades — and there are many — that U.S. airstrikes could target them as well.

On Wednesday, Ahrar al-Sham, a powerful ultraconservative rebel group that has been among the most effective forces fighting to oust Assad, began evacuating its bases in northern Syria. The group issued a statement calling for its fighters to limit the use of wireless communication devices to emergencies, to move heavy weapons and conceal them, and to warn civilians to stay away from the group's camps.

For its part, the Nusra Front has packed up its camps in Idlib province and decamped to try to avoid being hit again.

The reverberations of the U.S. decision to strike the al-Qaida affiliate were being felt as far away as the opposition-held Damascus suburb of Douma, where rebels have held out against relentless shelling from Syrian government forces.

"Does the coalition think the Islamic Union in Damascus is a terrorist? Is it going to be bombed?" activist Hassan Taquleden asked worriedly, referring to his small rebel faction.

"Residents are terrified that they will be bombed," Taquleden said via Skype. "Honestly, we are barely handling the strikes by Assad. It would be a disaster if the coalition hits here, even with the pretext of helping" moderate rebels.

In Damascus, an activist who goes by the name of Abu Akram al-Shami said U.S. strikes against Nusra Front and other Islamic factions are "against the Syrian revolution and everything we worked for," noting that the most powerful armed groups fighting Assad's forces were the Islamic brigades.

The jolt from targeting the Nusra Front has provided an opening the Syrian government might exploit, Lund warned.

"Militarily, if these groups are weakened or coordination breaks down, because you've had coordination between groups that now suddenly start getting suspicious of each other or want to move away from Nusra because Nusra is targeted, I'm sure that could help the regime in many ways," he said.

 
So-Called Moderate Syria Rebels: US Airstrikes Haven’t Helped: House Republicans Decide To Push For Attacks On Tyrant Assad Regime

By Jason Ditz

The “carefully vetted moderate” Syrian rebels were supposed to be the beneficiaries of the new US air war in Syria. They aren’t seeing it that way.

Rebels factions have been complaining about the US attacking their “allies” in al-Qaeda, and today warned that the US strikes against ISIS aren’t really helping them in any way either.

Rebels say the US “offered very little ammunition support, no information, no air cover, and no collaboration in military plans and tactics,” and are once again pushing the US for more arms shipments.

The US has been arming and backing these factions for many months now, but they’ve had limited success because the groups are much smaller than their Islamist rivals, who usually do the heavy lifting in major ground combat. Still, the groups continue to gripe about the US not throwing enough weapons at them, and not further escalating the war on their behalf.

The US war also found considerable complaints from Syrian women activists, who warned the US attacks were counterproductive, killing civilians and radicalizing the population.

House Republicans Decide to Form Their Own Syrian Rebel Coalition: Tiny Coalition Pushes US to Expand War to Target Assad as Well

A handful of Republican members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee have gone off to Turkey to create their own “historic” coalition of rebel factions which pledged to attack both ISIS and the Assad government.

Led by Reps. Adam Kinzinger (R - IL) and George Holding (R - NC), the coalition was said to include “more than 20 Syrian rebel commanders,” though it appeared to be little more than the nominal leadership of the Free Syrian Army and the miniscule Syriac Military Council. The groups called on the US to expand their airstrikes beyond ISIS and al-Qaeda and against Assad’s military as well.

The Syriac Military Council, which is a militia affiliated with Syria’s Christian minority, has fought a handful of battles against ISIS and al-Qaeda’s Jabhat al-Nusra, mostly unsuccessfully. The rare occasions when the group was on the winning side of battles was when they worked alongside Kurdish factions.

The new coalition doesn’t appear to have much momentum behind it, nor is it clear if the assorted members have been part of the “vetted, moderate” rebel factions the US intends to arm. It is primarily noteworthy in that it appears to have been created by Congressmen independent of the administration’s own efforts at coalition-building.

With Focus on Syria, US Escalation in Iraq Continues Apace: Over 200 More Troops Headed to Iraq From Fort Riley

With all of the attention this week on the US expansion of its ISIS war into Syria, one might expect that the war in Iraq is on the back-burners, simply treading water for the time being. That’s not the case.

The Syria strikes indeed put coverage of Iraq on the back-burners, but the escalations of that war have continued, with Fort Riley today announcing over 200 troops from the 1st Infantry Division will be heading to Iraq, operating out of both Baghdad and Arbil.

The new deployments are above and beyond the 1,600 US ground already in Iraq, and will only add to speculation that the administration is slowly but surely building up to the ground war that they have repeatedly promised isn’t being considered.

The US has been adding troops to its force in Iraq on a weekly basis, though it seems to be less public about that fact this time, leaving it up to the fort to announce the planned deployments.

 
US Airstrikes in Syria Don’t Slow ISIS Offensive: ISIS Continues to Press Into Kurdish Area

Antiwar Articles

US and coalition airstrikes continue to pound ISIS in Syria, with the latest attacks focusing on ISIS fighters advancing into the Kurdish area around Ayn al-Arab in northern Syria.

Despite that area being the new focus of the airstrikes, the attacks do not appear to be slowing ISIS even a little, as the group continues to press ahead into more Kurdish villages, and civilians continue to flee into neighboring Turkey.

“Those air strikes are not important,” noted one of the refugees, who called for US troops on the ground to retake the villages for the Kurdish factions there.

The ISIS battles with Syrian Kurds seem to be a major source of pressure for US involvement in Syria, with influential Kurdish factions trying to paint Ayn al-Arab with the same false narrative of humanitarian calamity as Mount Sinjar, which was the initial pretext for the US attacks in Iraq.

In Iraq, the US airstrikes are being done nominally to aid Kurdish fighters on the ground, and that’s had little success either. Officials continue to insist the US isn’t considering ground operations, though they continue to escalate the war in ways that are adding to pressure to commit boots on the ground, pointing to a lack of planning or an intention to eventually renege on the promise of no ground troops.

ISIS Surrounds Another Iraqi Army Camp in Anbar: 200 Trapped - Troops Cornered Just South of Ramadi

Despite the addition of US airstrikes complicating their operations, ISIS continues to have the advantage on the ground in Iraq, and for the second time in less than a week has cornered a large camp full of Iraqi soldiers.

Over the weekend, ISIS overran the Saqlawiya base, near Fallujah, killing 40 soldiers and capturing 70 others in an offensive that led over 100 trapped soldiers to flee into the countryside. This time, the troops are trapped at a base just south of Ramadi.

“There was an army group in front of us whom ISIS destroyed completely six days ago,” reported one soldier from inside the camp. ISIS has surrounded the site and mined the roads to prevent more Iraqi forces from reaching them.

This was the same strategy in Saqlawiya where, after wearing out the out-of-supply soldiers, they launched a suicide attack that sparked a panic and picked off the troops along the roads, capturing large numbers.

200 soldiers are believed to be in the Albu Etha camp, and they report that they have begun to run low on food and ammunition. Despite Iraq’s claims of progress against ISIS since the US strikes began, the losses seem to be mounting.

Pentagon: ISIS Will Rebound from US Airstrikes: Monday Night Attacks 'Only the Beginning'

Pentagon officials downplayed the chances of last night’s airstrikes against Raqqa, the ISIS capital if Syria, having a serious impact on the group’s day-to-day operations, with Lt. Gen. William Mayville Jr. saying ISIS will quickly adapt to the air war and rebound from any losses suffered overnight.

“We have seen evidence that they have already done that,” Mayville confirmed. The strikes were the first on ISIS in Syria, after six weeks of airstrikes against the group in Iraq which have, similarly, yielded very little.

Reports on the strikes in Raqqa suggest a handful of buildings were hit, and around 70 ISIS fighters were among the slain. Civilian casualties are unclear.

Indeed, last night’s strikes seem to just be the administration going through the motions, with no real expectation for a meaningful change on the ground, and the “rebels” this is supposed to be supporting a year away from being trained and ready.

If anything, officials seem to be doing what they can to add to the hawks’ call for boots on the ground, while continuing to deny that they are even considering that, at least not yet.

Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby insisted that despite the estimates that they would quickly recover, last night’s attacks on ISIS were “very successful,” and were “only the beginning” of a long, drawn out conflict.

That seems to be the one thing everyone agrees on, whatever their opinions on the chances for success. The war is not only open-ended, but seems likely to span many, many years. What happens in the next two months before the mid-term election doesn’t seem to be of particular concern, and unpopular escalations can be launched thereafter with less political fear of repercussions.
 
Qatar, A Partner In US Airstrikes, Says Syrian Regime Main Problem

Qatar, which provided support for US-led airstrikes in Syria this week, urged the international community to confront the Syrian regime, highlighting pressure by some of Washington's Gulf Arab allies to widen its campaign against Islamic State.

Qatar is among five Arab nations including Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Jordan and Bahrain that joined in or supported US-led airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Syria beginning late on Monday. US officials said Qatar's role consisted mostly of logistical support.

"The war of genocide being waged and the deliberate displacement carried out by the regime remain the major crime," Qatar's ruler, Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, told the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

The world should work to end "the systematic destruction of Syria" by the Syrian government, he said.

The United States has said its military campaign will not target the Syrian government and instead will focus on the Islamic State, which has seized a third of both Iraq and Syria and seeks to establish a caliphate in the Middle East.

Political commentator Jacob Sullum examined the president's confused and confusing explanation of his new military campaign

“A year ago, before public and congressional opposition changed his mind, President Obama planned to attack the forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, a brutal dictator whom he said had to go. This week Obama switched sides in Syria's civil war by attacking the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), Assad's most formidable enemy among the rebels fighting to overthrow his regime.” Sullum observed.

He write: “Confused? You should be. Obama certainly is, counting his 6 ways Obama contradicts himself in waging war on ISIS”.

EsinIslam.Com & Several News Outlets

 
Obama’s Syrian Bombing Scam: ISIS War to Last Years; US Doing Vast Majority of Strikes: Costs of Conflict Continue to Mount

Obama loves to preen as if he is spreading peace, freedom, and democracy with his bombs. But there is no reason to presume that bombing Syria is not as idiotic as it appears.

Thus far, the Establishment media is largely playing a lapdog role. A Washington Post headline today proclaims: “Obama the reluctant warrior, cautiously selling a new fight.” So we’re supposed to think the president is a victim of cruel necessity, or what?

A New York Times headline today announces: “In Airstrikes, U.S. Targets Militant Cell Said to Plot an Attack Against the West.” “Said to” is the perfect term - perhaps sufficient to alert non-braindead readers that something may be missing (i.e., evidence).

The Tom Toles cartoon to the left explains Obama’s policy far better than anything that has yet come out of the White House.

As usual, Congress has thus far utterly disgraced itself on this carnage. Even though the vast majority of members have (unjustifiably) safe seats, they left town for vacations and maybe a little vote hustling.

When will Americans learn the actual rationales that drove Obama’s decision to bomb Syria? Lord knows we have not yet learned many of the sordid details behind George W. Bush’s decision to invade Iraq in 2003. And the Obama folks are as good at coverups as the Bush team. Unfortunately, the largely toothless Freedom of Information Act poses no threat to expose the war cabal. Leaks from inside sources are the best bet for the truth outing. But even if that occurs, it may be far too late to curb the damage.

ISIS War to Last Years; US Doing Vast Majority of Strikes: Costs of Conflict Continue to Mount

Pentagon officials sought to downplay the day-to-day situation in Syria and Iraq, saying it’s time for Americans to stay thinking of the ISIS war in terms of years.

The Obama Administration has tried to reassure Americans about what is shaping up to be many, many years of war by insisting they are only part of a world-wide coalition.

Yet despite all the hype around Arab nations’ involvement in the Syria strikes, the Pentagon confirmed that the US is carrying out the vast majority of the strikes. Unsurprising, since many of the coalition members aren’t expected to actually do anything related to the war.

The costs of the US war are expected to continue to mount, with the latest estimates of $1.5 billion per month likely to be a drop in the bucket as the administration continues to escalate the conflict alarmingly on a weekly basis, adding goals and targets. It’s going to be a pricey war, for many years to come.

EsinIslam.Com & Several News Outlets

 
New Wave Of American Air Strikes On Syria

By Markaz Kavkaz

On the night of September 24, aircraft of America and proxies from a so-called coalition conducted new raids into Syria. Bombardments and missile attacks targeted positions and headquarters of Jabhat an-Nusra/Victory Front (VF) in Aleppo.

The positions of the Ad Dawla al-Islamiyya/Islamic State (IS) in the cities of al-Bab, Deir ez-Zor and Sirrin were also subjected to bombardments and missile attacks. Tel Abyad, on the border with Turkey, was not attacked last night. This was reported by residents of the Turkish city of Aksakal which is located opposite to Tel Abyad. They did not hear any explosions.

According to information circulated in social networks, bases of the Ahrar ash-Sham/Free Men of Levant (FML) were attacked in the previous night.

The Pentagon said the missiles used in terrorist air strikes were launched from ships in the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf.

A photo of pilots of Saudi Arabia, who are taking part in the bombardments of Syria together with the infidels, has been circulated in the network. The Saudi palace "scholars" declared these pilots "real Mujahideen" who "defend Islam".

Meanwhile, more and more video materials showing results of bombardments and missile attacks have been published. Local sources report about dozens of dead women and children who are first victims of night raids by the US-led coalition forces (see the video).

Here's another video, uploaded on the net today. In addition to those martyred, more children were wounded and maimed (see video 1 and video 2).

This video shows the results of the attack on a passenger bus near the town of al-Bukamal.

26 civilians, including 6 children and 4 women from the same family of local villager Barakat, were martyred in the village of Kfar Derian.

During the air raids and missile strikes, one of the leaders of al-Qaeda, Muhsin al-Fadhli, who was very close to martyred Sheikh Osama bin Laden also martyred. The American invaders considered him the main financier of al-Qaeda. In Syria, he was a part of the leadership of the VF.

If to believe the Americans, it was Muhsin al-Fadhli who planned attacks on America, and it was him who created the Khorasan Group (KG), which, according to American allegations, is "more dangerous than the IS".

In Syria, Muhsin al-Fadhli acted as a special envoy of the central command of al-Qaeda, and then became one of the Emirs of the VF.

World Plutocracy's newspapers report that before starting its attacks, America notified Iran and Assad regime of its plans. At the same time, America assured Iran that it would not bomb the Assad regime troops.

According to sources inside Syria, raids of Americans and their proxies targeting positions of the VF and the IS enabled the Assad regime to focus on attacks against other groups of Mujahideen.

Thus, America and proxies took upon themselves the main forces fighting against Assad and by doing so they allowed the Alawite regime to attack other freedom fighting groups. It is the triumph of the Ba'ath Party strategy and the Shiite Iran, some Arab analysts say. According to them, the events in neighboring Iraq should be viewed in the context of this particular strategy.

Meanwhile, demonstrations against the raids on Syria took place in Turkey (see the photo) and Germany (see the photo). In turn, Turkish authorities reported that they had deported more than 1,000 people who were trying to get inside Syria to participate in military operations against the Assad regime.

Meanwhile, bombardments and missile attacks go on. The death toll is increasing. 30 martyred and wounded civilian Muslims, hit by the US, have been delivered to field hospitals in the province of Idlib.

 
The Campaign Against ISIL Could Cost $1.5B a Month

By Emerson Brooking

On September 22, the air campaign against ISIS expanded into Syria in a coordinated attack that included 47 Tomahawk missiles and nearly 50 coalition aircraft. This action had been all but inevitable since the commencement of overflight reconnaissance in Syria on August 26. Significantly, these strikes also included targets of the Khorasan Group, an al-Qaeda affiliate unrelated to ISIS. Also significantly, five Arab militaries—Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, and Qatar—participated in the operation. At this stage, there are three important questions to address: the targeting of the strikes, the implications of this action, and potential challenges that might await the operation moving forward.

What was hit?

The primary targets of the initial bombing in Syria were ISIS training bases, military vehicles, headquarters, and resupply facilities. These were clustered in the Islamic State’s de facto capital of Raqqa. Although the Pentagon is in the midst of a battle damage assessment (BDA), officials have stated that initial reports suggest a high strike effectiveness. Preliminary estimates place the number of ISIS fighter casualties at a minimum of 70—and likely more. 95 percent of expended munitions were precision-guided, suggesting a clear awareness of the strategic peril of unconstrained bombardment and collateral damage. This also marked the first combat deployment of the F-22 Raptor

It is important to distinguish the “hard target” strikes against ISIS from the targeting of high-value individuals that has often characterized the global war on terror. Unlike most “traditional” terror networks, ISIS has amassed significant amounts of conventional military equipment, including U.S. made equipment abandoned by the Iraqi army that they have been putting to good use. Destroying these stationary targets, along with training sites, supply and munitions depots, etc, will significantly degrade ISIS’s ability to conduct lethal military operations.

For many Americans, this will be their first time hearing of the Khorasan Group, a small group of roughly 50 “seasoned al-Qaeda veterans” who had based themselves amid the chaos of the wider Syrian Civil War in order to plot attacks beyond the region. The decision to include strikes against Khorasan with the wider anti-ISIS effort was based on intelligence about an “imminent,” spectacular attack, to take place in either the United States or Europe. Eight Khorasan targets were destroyed in the bombardment.

What are the wider implications?

Most immediately, the enlargement of the anti-ISIS campaign’s zone of operations demonstrates an understanding that ISIS has long been twisting international boundaries to its own advantage. As one senior White House official stated in a September 23 media call, “We’re fighting an organization that operates irrespective of borders—we have to look at it that way.” It is a worthwhile question, however, if a quicker expansion into Syria might have been more strategically impactful.

The conduct of these strikes also shows a keen awareness of the optics of the whole anti-ISIS effort. Even a 26-nation coalition will be insufficiently compelling if it remains constrained to paper. The Pentagon was careful about not revealing exactly which regional nation conducted what parts of the military operation, saying that it will be up to each partner nation to make such announcements. Regional partners should be as open as possible about their support and contributions in order to refute the perceptions that this is an American-only effort. The visibility and active participation of these nations will be critical in stemming and rolling back the ISIS threat.

Domestically, there is now broad-based American public support for strikes against ISIS, likely prompted by the resonating impact of the James Foley and Steven Sotloff execution videos. 79 percent of Americans reported in a CBS News/New York Times poll conducted September 12-15 that they viewed ISIS as either a major or minor threat. 71 percent favored air strikes against ISIS in Iraq; 69 percent supported expansion of air strikes into Syria.

What are the questions to ask moving forward?

The effort against ISIS has now expanded enough to have a substantial effect on ongoing debate over the FY15 National Defense Authorization Act and the Overseas Contingency Operations account (the means through which ongoing operations are funded). Although anti-ISIS air strikes had cost an average of $7.5 million per day through August, recent events suggest a considerable escalation. Consider, for example, that the fully burdened cost of a new Tomahawk cruise missile is roughly $1.6 million. Gordon Adams, professor of U.S. Foreign Policy at American University and a specialist in defense budgeting, has suggested the costs of anti-ISIS operations could climb as high as $1.5 billion monthly.

If the anti-ISIS coalition’s mission enlarges further, it will also become increasingly necessary to consider the laws by which this use of force has been authorized. On September 22, the White House sent two War Powers reports to Congress: one for actions against ISIS, the other for actions against the Khorasan Group. The U.S. military is currently operating against ISIS under the powers granted by the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) that authorized operations against the original Al-Qaeda network and affiliates.

Finally, it must be asked how the anti-ISIS coalition can transition from simply stopping the Islamic State’s momentum to ultimately destroying it. In order to achieve this broader objective, there must be locally-designed and implemented economic and political initiatives that accommodate the myriad interests and drivers of conflict in the region.

These efforts must be actively led by the leaders in the region. The United States may be able to support and coordinate the fight against ISIS—but it cannot unilaterally, nor through purely military means, defeat the terrorist group or bring lasting stability to the region.

Emerson Brooking is a research associate for defense policy at the Council on Foreign Relations.
 
Suddenly Khorasan: New US Enemy Came Out of Nowhere: Rep. King: Name Was Supposed to Be Top Secret

Anti-War

It was no surprise when the Obama Administration began attacking ISIS targets in Syria last night. What was surprising was that the US also attacked a group known as Khorasan, then hyped what a huge, “imminent” threat they supposedly are.

Bizarrely, the history of the Khorasan faction is virtually non-existent, and officials weren’t even mentioning the group until last week. Estimated at 50 fighters, the group is suddenly a huge pretext for military intervention, even though today’s attack reportedly killed 30 of them.

Rep. Peter King (R - NY) claimed to be familiar with the group, saying the administration had been telling members of Congress about Khorasan for “several months,” and that even the name of the group was supposed to be “top secret.”

Others claimed the group had, apart from its name, been known to exist for over a year now. That something al-Qaeda linked was known to exist in Aleppo was hardly news, but was it really what is being presented as Khorasan now?

It seems unlikely. The group’s putative leader Muhsin al-Fadhli was being claimed by the State Department to be the leader of “al-Qaeda in Iran” as recently as May, which doesn’t exactly point to him being active in some super dangerous group in Syria for a solid year.

Indeed, the whole al-Qaeda in Iran conceit from the US has been extremely dubious and primarily thrown out there when things in Afghanistan (or before that Iraq) weren’t going well and they needed a scapegoat. The Khorasan name seems better fitted to this putative faction, since Khorasan is a region of eastern Iran.

The Khorasan plots appear to be lifted straight out of 2009-2010, accusing the new group of scientifically dubious bomb plots involving explosive clothing that were lifted straight out of the allegations against al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) back then, when the US was looking for a pretext to launch a drone war there. The other allegations seem to be a rehash of 2013 claims about al-Qaeda inventing a magic liquid that can turn clothes into undetectable bombs, a scare story that was created, and died almost immediately over lack of evidence.

Jason Ditz, Anti-War

 
Obama And His Fearful Arab Friends Have Started The Killings: So Far 18 Civilians, Including 13 Children

Obama has launched what analysts including Peter Symonds describe on Tuesday as “a reckless and illegal war that will have catastrophic consequences for the Middle East and beyond.” So far eight civilians, three of them children, have been killed in the US-led air strikes on Al-Qaeda Nusra front positions, Reuters reported, citing Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The American president, who had in the past held the Assad regime responsible for the rise of armed groups and extremism in Syria and particularly the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militant group in Iraq has chosen his time to bomb Syria, knowing very well tyrant Assad is weaker than ever and that Damascus tyranny has no power to dare threaten the world superpower.

Obama was quickly proven to be right in his time-choice as a frightened Assad shamelessly rushed out hours before the bombings to voice his total submission to the will of Barack. Assad was quoted by state media saying he supported America’s international efforts to raid his country. Syrian regime’s cowardly acceptance of US-led coalition which is committed to ousting of its tyranny came as a big suprise to Assad’s biggest backers Iran and Russia.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, a Syrian government ally who maitain America-led military action in Syria lacked "legal standing" without a UN mandate or approval from the Syrian government was reported to have been so infuriated by Assad’s acceptance to airstrikes by a coalition led by “the Great Satan” that the Iranian leader sent an envoy to Damascus to demand an immediate explanation for the sudden submission.

On what he called the new air war announced in a brief statement by Pentagon press secretary, Rear Admiral John Kirby, who stated that “US military and partner nation forces are undertaking military action against ISIL [ISIS] terrorists in Syria using a mix of fighter, bomber and Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles, Mr. Symonds noticed the air strikes are an illegal act of war against a country that has never posed a threat to the United States.

Washington carried a series of airstrikes on the city of Raqqa in the early hours of Tuesday. So far 18 civilians, including 7 children are reported killed.  At least 30 fighters died in the strikes, which were carried out on IS positions in Syria. Washington informed Damascus about the operation, according to a representative of Syrian Foreign Ministry.

"There is an exodus out of Raqqa as we speak. It started in the early hours of the day after the strikes. People are fleeing towards the countryside," one local resident told Reuters.

Obama could not have been bolder to disregard all pro-Assad's pretending regional and world powers, notably Iran and Russia whose economies are experience severity of Barack's sanctions. After all a no-strategic Obama has outplayed his wrong-footed main rival on international stage in one Vladimir Putin with a strategic no strategy.

“The Obama administration launched the bombing without even the fig leaf of a UN Security Council resolution and against the expressed opposition of the Syrian government, which offered to collaborate with Washington in fighting ISIS,” Symonds wrote, adding that once again, the US is engaged in an unprovoked war of aggression—the chief charge on which German Nazi leaders were tried and convicted at the post-World War II trials in Nuremberg.

The strikes targeted residential buildings in Aleppo allegedly used by Al-Nusra Front, according to Rami Abdulrahman, who runs the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Obama administration claimed that the US-led coalition’s targets also included training camps, headquarters and weapon supplies in northern and eastern Syria, with many IS locations "destroyed or damaged” around the cities of Raqqa, Deir al-Zor, Hasakah and the border town of Albu Kamal, Reuters reported.

But observers doubt the American narratives pointing out that in reality, none of Washington’s explanations and excuses has any credibility.

In particular, "[Islamic State] fighters, training compounds, headquarters and command and control facilities, storage facilities, a finance center, supply trucks and armed vehicles" were hit.

Raqqa (Al-Raqqa) is a city with a population of over 200,000 people, and is strategically located just 40km east of the largest Syrian dam. Raqqa is believed to be the IS headquarters.

Symonds: “The Obama administration has initiated the attacks on Syria without the semblance of Congressional authorisation or any explanation to the American people. It is a war being waged on behalf of a tiny bloated financial aristocracy, for which US hegemony is essential to its criminal looting operations. The eruption of militarism abroad goes hand in hand with deepening social inequality and the build-up of a police-state apparatus to suppress social tensions at home. Essential public services are being gutted while endless resources are lavished on the military and police.”

“The accelerating pace of imperialist violence is driven by the same crisis of global capitalism that is preparing the ground for revolutionary upheavals. The urgent necessity is the building of a unified anti-war movement of the international working class, based on the perspective of socialist internationalism, to put an end to the barbaric and outmoded profit system.”

EsinIslam.Com & Several News Outlets

 
America Expands Its War On Islam To Syria. 120 Muslims Martyred, 300 Wounded On Day 1

By Markaz Kavkaz

America said it attacked Syria, and its aircraft started killing Muslims also in this country. According to American spies posted on the ground as human rights activists, during the first day of the attack, America martyred 120 and wounded 300 Muslims using 160 bombs.

America alleges it and its allies "are fighting against the Ad Dawla al-Islamiyya/Islamic State (IS)".
America said in the attack on the positions of the IS, they used aircraft and Tomahawk missiles. No other details were disclosed.

Washington informed the bloody Assad regime of air strikes on Syria in advance because Assad thugs do not belong to Islam. Syria's representative to democratic u-nations said Americans had told him about the strikes on the positions of the IS in the city of Raqqa. A checkpoint and the surrounding areas were bombed.

Meanwhile, al-Jazeera, citing local activists, reported that the territory of Idlib was also subjected to democratic American killings, although there are no IS units there. More than 20 civilians have been killed by democrats as a result of the strikes (see the video of bombardments of Idlib). And in this video, filmed in the morning of 23 September after night bombardments, see the villages of Kafar Darya in Idlib.

In addition, it is reported that American aircraft bombed the positions of Jabhat an-Nusta/Victory Front (VF).

A number of American media outlets indicate that both the IS positions and the positions of VF, which is a part of al-Qaeda and with which the US has long been at war, have been subjected to strikes. Local sources also reported in social networks on missile strikes on Deir Zor and Aleppo suburbs.

Some Arab countries are helping America. According to Obama, Bahrein, Jordan, Saudia, Qatar and the UAE are participating in the World Democracy War against Islam in Syria.

Meanwhile, Putin spoke out against the bombardments, saying that the US "must coordinate with the Syrian government". The Assad regime also spoke against the air raids and demands from Washington to "get permission from Damascus".

Moscow suspects that the true motives of America is the overthrow of the Assad regime. Russia also refused to join America in this front of World Democracy's War coalition against Islam. It has its own front in the Caucasus Emirate. Turkey also refused. Turkish authorities said they would not allow the use of its air bases to attack Syria. France also refused to attack Syria.

Meanwhile, the IS units captured in dozens of villages, abandoned by the America-friendly Kurds in northern of Syria. More than 130,000 Kurds fled to Turkey, leaving their villages. IS forces approached the city of Kobani (aka Arab al-Ain), where the main militants of Kurdish groups are stationed. Information has been reported in the social networks on the eve about the capture by the IS of dominant hills around the city and telecommunication towers.
 
Struggle Against ISIS Shields US Oil Grab

By Jean Shaoul

Seven years ago, US Senator Chuck Hagel, now Obama’s defence secretary, said of the occupation of Iraq, “People say we're not fighting for oil. Of course we are. They talk about America's national interest. What the hell do you think they're talking about? We're not there for figs.”

President Barack Obama and Hagel’s talk of going after the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), which its regional allies have financed as a proxy force to topple the Syrian regime of President Bashar al-Assad, is a cover for their plans to overthrow Assad. But an additional issue at stake is the control of Iraq’s vast energy resources and the supply routes through its territory.

Iraq has the fifth largest proven oil reserves in the world and Washington and its allies have no intention of surrendering the oil contracts now controlled by Western companies. The US is seeking to preserve its unimpeded access to oil and gas, while determining how much of these vital energy resources are available to other countries—especially to its rivals China and Russia.

ISIS has taken control of vast swathes of eastern Syria and north-western Iraq, including Iraq’s second city Mosul, and their oil infrastructure. It now threatens Erbil, the capital of the autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), whose reserves, were it a separate country, would position it tenth in the world, and the Iraqi capital Baghdad.

The ISIS advance into western Iraq and the Sunni Triangle means that it controls parts of two main pipelines. The first, the 500-mile Kirkuk-to-Banyas (a port in Syria), was largely destroyed by US airstrikes during the 2003 war, although the stretch between Ain Zalah and Suweidiva is operational. The second pipeline runs from Kirkuk to Ceyhan, Turkey. While ISIS has stopped the flow through to Syria, it has allowed the flow to Turkey to continue.

US air strikes on ISIS and its Sunni tribal allies, alongside the KRG’s Peshmerga forces and Kurdish fighters from Syria and Turkey on the ground, prevented ISIS from taking control of one of Iraq’s largest oil fields in Kirkuk, which the KRG had earlier seized from the Iraqi forces. The Iraqi Army drove ISIS out of Baiji, home to Iraq’s largest oil refinery and power plant. The US also provided air cover to enable Iraqi security forces to regain control of the K3 Refinery in Haditha, northwest of Ramadi in Anbar province, and the site of a key dam downstream of the recently recaptured Mosul dam.

Energy companies such as Genel, the British-Turkish company run by former BP CEO Tony Hayward, and Oryx Petroleum, a Canadian firm, said that their Taq Taq, Tawke and Hawler oilfields were now secure, and it was safe for staff to return.

As yet, the giant oilfields in southern Iraq, a largely Shiite area, controlled by BP, Exxon-Mobil, Shell, the Russian Lukoil, Angola’s Sonangol, Italy’s ENI and the Norwegian Statoil, as well as other smaller companies, have not been affected by fighting, although there have been attacks on pipelines. This has led a number of the firms and their contractors to sell at least part of their stakes, while others have turned their attention to the KRG’s oilfields.

Following the defeat of the regime of Saddam Hussein in the 2003 war, US oil bosses moved in to run Iraq’s oil industry. While they were unable to ensure the passage of the hydrocarbon law that would have given them complete control of Iraq’s oil, they were able to open up Iraq’s oil to Western companies, after an absence of three decades, on very favourable terms.

These have included long-term concessions and large ownership stakes. There are no restrictions on the export of oil or the remittance of profits overseas and no requirements that the companies hire a majority of Iraqi workers or invest in the local economy.

The industry is now run by international corporations such as BP, Exxon-Mobil, Shell, Chevron, the French company Total as well as Russian, Chinese and Malaysian and a raft of smaller companies.

Earlier this year, Russian oil giant Lukoil started production at the giant oil field of West Qurna-2, south of Basra, which is possibly the world’s largest untapped field, with oil reserves believed to be about 20 billion barrels. While initial production is 120,000 bpd, this is set to rise to 400,000 bpd next year and possibly 1.2 million bpd in a few years’ time.

Exploitation of the oil field, discovered by the Russians in the 1980s, was blocked first by US sanctions in the 1990s and later by the occupying forces, despite a 2004 agreement in exchange for Russia’s forgiving Iraq’s $13 billion debt. After the Iraqi government, under pressure from Washington, was forced to cancel the original deal, Lukoil beat BP for development rights in 2007. Lukoil’s CEO Vagit Alekperov, who is close to President Vladimir Putin, has so far escaped US sanctions over Ukraine.

In the Kurdish autonomous region, the oil fields that were largely neglected before 2003 have come into play. The corrupt regional government--dominated by the rival Barzani and Talabani families who in turn control the two main Kurdish parties--has awarded contracts that permit it to sell up to 25 percent of its stake in the oil projects to private companies in defiance of the federal government. As well as Genel and Oryx Petroleum, four big oil companies - Chevron, Exxon-Mobil, Hess and Total - and 30 smaller companies have signed deals with the KRG. Production in KRG, which is set to rise further, accounts for 10 percent of Iraqi oil.

The KRG has sought to use a newly opened pipeline within KRG territory to link to the pre-existing pipeline to Ceyhan and export oil directly. This is deemed illegal by Baghdad. As a result, Kurdish oil is used in Turkey and not sold on the world markets for fear of lawsuits brought by the Iraqi government. The KRG has also allowed Genel to send 700 tanker trucks a day to Turkey, thereby avoiding the pipeline whose throughput is monitored at Mosul. The US is opposed to the KRG’s sale of oil independently of Baghdad, but it is using the KRG as a pawn to bully the federal government into acceding to its dictates.

The oil industry has now largely recovered from the 2003 war and the deliberate destruction carried out during the US occupation. Oil production has reached about 3.3 million bpd, just below the 3.5 million bpd under the state-owned enterprises in 1979, making Iraq the world’s seventh largest producer.

About half of all Iraqi oil is exported to China, which recently became the world’s largest oil importer. Last year, PetroChina, one of China’s four state-owned energy corporations, bought a stake from Exxon in the southern Iraqi oil field West Qurna and bought into three other large fields. Sinopec and CNOOC also have concessions in Iraq. The Chinese typically partner with the major Western oil companies or take low-margin contracts. China has built its own airport in the south near the border with Iran to transport 10,000 workers to the oil fields.

The Iraqi people have seen little benefit from the oil boom. The oil and gas industry employs less than 2 percent of the employed workforce, because the international companies bring in their own staff. Eighty percent of the oil (2.7 million bpd) is exported, leaving little for the domestic market. Fuel shortages and power shutoffs are rife. According to the World Bank, poverty is on the rise, with 28 percent of families--more than 9.5 million Iraqis--living below the poverty line. Thousands of families look for food in the garbage and live in landfills and slums.

The government has failed to pass social security legislation to provide unemployment benefits, despite revenues rising from $50 billion in 2010 to more than $100 billion in 2013. The $50 billion increase, if used for the benefit of the Iraqi people, could have provided benefits and services worth $10,000 for each of the 5 million families. Such infrastructure and service improvements that did take place were in Shiite not Sunni areas. This was one of the factors driving Sunni militants who have, since December 2012, targeted the local Shiite and oil facilities in the Sunni areas, in order to gain control of some of Iraq’s oil proceeds.
 
Turkey: Oppressing Sunnis In Iraq And Syria Lead To Chaos

Turkey warned the international community that the former Iraq government's exclusion of Sunni's would lead to problems in the region, said Turkey's Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu Monday evening in an interview broadcast by private channels, NTV and Star.

Davutoglu stressed that neither Syrian president Bashar al-Assad , nor former Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Al Maliki "listened to us while we pleaded for nine months" and that the "current chaotic situation" could have been avoided had the international community also listened to Turkey's warnings.

Sunni politicians were sidelined one by one Davutoglu said, "[former Iraqi Vice President] Tariq Hashimi, Rafi Isavi, Nujaifi... there was no Sunni politician left, Where does a non-political formation go? It tends to this kind of actions to protect itself."

In several diplomatic attempts Turkey pleaded with Maliki to include Sunnis and all other groups in his government, however, consistent dissociation of Sunnis from the political process, resulted in a strong insurgency in the form of Islamic State (IS) militants.

"I am telling it to international community: Turkey does not have to prove anything. Turkey has always displayed a determined approach around the facts it believes in," said Davutoglu.

"If some people have to prove anything to move international community, the United Nations should prove it before these oppressed people (of Syria and Iraq), 350 thousand people have been killed, there are 4 million refugees, if anyone has to prove something, international community should prove its existence first."

Syria's civil war has resulted in the deaths of an estimated 191,400 people since it began three years ago, and displaced roughly half of the country population, according to the UN.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said in a statement that the figures had doubled in the past year but "tragically it is probably an underestimate of the real total number of people killed."

According to the Syrian Network for Human Rights, more than 158,000 civilians have been killed in Syria.

It said that, in the operations carried out by Assad forces, 124,752 men, 17,139 children and 15,278 women had been killed.

A total of 831 men, 137 children and 81 women died in attacks carried out by IS militants in the country.

It added that 5,644 people had been exposed to torture under the Assad government, and 13 had been tortured by IS militants.

Syria's war began in March 2011 as a peaceful protest movement demanding Assad's ouster, but morphed into a brutal war after pro-Assad forces unleashed a massive crackdown against dissent.

Fightings In Anbar Province As Shiite Troops Suffer Losses While French Bomb Kurds

The Washington Post reported that a few hundred soldiers of the Baghdad regime "disappeared" during the fightings in the Anbar province. Meanwhile, social networks publish information about the capture by the IS units of about 400 Shiite soldiers. All of them were then executed.

It is also reported on the defeat of the Baghdad regime army’s 8th division and capture of bases in the area of Saqlawiyah.

“The situation is very bad,” said Lt. Col. Abdulwahab al-Saidi, head of counterterrorism operations for Anbar.

Meanwhile, French air force carried out air strikes in Iraq. It is reported that French aircraft mistakenly bombed its allies - the Kurds from Peshmerga. In the raid, at least 75 Kurds were killed.

Fierce fightings between Shiite troops and fighters of the IS and local Sunni tribes moved to the west of the city of Ramada.

The fightings continued in the area of Kurdish settlements of Zummar, Sinjar, Jalawla, despite air strikes by America.

EsinIslam.Com & Several News Outlets

 
ISIS Goes Underground In Stronghold Raqqa, Awaiting Imminent Obama's Bombings

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has gone underground in its Syrian stronghold since President Barack Obama authorized U.S. air strikes on the group in Syria, disappearing from the streets, redeploying weapons and fighters, and cutting down its media exposure.

In the city of Raqqa, 450 km northeast of Damascus, residents say ISIS has been moving equipment every day since Obama signaled on Sept. 11 that air attacks on its forces could be expanded from Iraq to Syria.

ISIS activists who typically answer questions on the internet have been off line since then.

Its leaders have not given a direct response to Obama: his speech last week was not mentioned in a video released on Saturday showing the beheading of British hostage David Haines by an ISIS militant.

As the United States tries to assemble a coalition to fight ISIS, the jihadist group appears to be trying to leave as much uncertainty as possible about its strategy.

Facing U.S. air strikes in Iraq, ISIS fighters abandoned heavy weaponry that made them easy targets and tried to blend into civilian areas.

In anticipation of similar raids in Syria, the group may already be doing the same.

In Raqqa, the group has evacuated buildings it was using as offices, redeployed its heavy weaponry, and moved fighters' families out of the city.

"They are trying to keep on the move," said one Raqqa resident, communicating via the internet and speaking on condition of anonymity because of safety fears. "They have sleeper cells everywhere," he added.

"They only meet in very limited gatherings."

The top U.S. general promised on Tuesday "a persistent and sustainable campaign" against ISIS in Syria, and Washington is probably already watching its positions in Raqqa.

Obama approved surveillance flights over Syria last month, and footage taken by activists earlier this month appeared to show an American-made drone over the city.

The militants are not dormant; the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which tracks violence in the country's civil war, said they had shot down a Damascus government war plane near Raqqa using anti-aircraft guns.

However, another resident said: "ISIS is now carrying out tactical defensive moves by relocating their assets to different places so that their heavy weaponry is not all concentrated in one place."

Raqqa and the surrounding province is ISIS's main base in Syria. Last month, its fighters drove the final government forces from the area when it seized an air base.

Since seizing the Iraqi city of Mosul in June, the group has also extended its control over neighbouring Deir al-Zor province, which borders Iraq.

Making good on its promise to redraw the Middle East, ISIS has declared a new province including territory on both sides of the frontier.

Fear drives up price of dollar

In Raqqa, ISIS had taken charge of many aspects of civilian life, managing everything from traffic to bakeries in an effort to establish a state run according to its own, radical interpretation of Islam.

ISIS has been trying to give a sense of business as normal even as it has reduced its presence in the streets, said another resident of the city whose population numbered about 200,000 before the civil war. "They are giving the impression they don't care," the resident said.

"These days the fighters are not deployed heavily on the streets. Only those who have to are appearing. The streets are empty and the people are worried and scared."

Some activists did appear on the outskirts of Raqqa on Tuesday. They were pictured collecting wreckage of the downed Syrian war plane and loading it into the back of a truck flying the group's black flag.

Since Obama's speech, shops in Raqqa have been closing early and the value of the U.S. dollar has jumped in the local hard currency market, residents said.

Dozens of people have left the city, though there has been no sign of mass migration.

While preparing for an attack, ISIS has also been trying to promote its cause among residents.

Some already express support for the group whose rule has brought a modicum of stability, albeit in a hardline form.

A 14-point statement distributed in recent days reminded residents of ISIS rules such as its ban on smoking and drinking, and requirement for women to cover up and stay at home. It also warned that anyone who dealt with President Bashar al-Assad's government would face death.

But the statement also tried to promote the group, telling residents they would see "the great difference" between ISIS rule and that of the "oppressive secular government" - a reference to Assad.

"Live joyfully and in plenty in an Islamic government," declared the statement, which was obtained by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Hassan Hassan, an analyst at the Delma Institute in Abu Dhabi, said the statement amounted to a carrot and stick approach. "It was obviously a move to reassure people but warn them at the same time," he said.

However, governing Raqqa would come second to survival in the face of U.S. air strikes.

"(ISIS) has always had that back-up plan, even before the news of an imminent action by Americans," Hassan said. "It's important to realize these people don't need to be in bases."

In one of the few responses to Obama's announcement, an ISIS supporter warned of attacks on the United States and its allies if they continued to carry out military action against the group, the SITE monitoring service said on Tuesday.

Hassan said the group had yet to issue a proper response.

"They are reflecting on what to do next. It's probably their way of making it vague - so that people don't know what to expect."

EsinIslam.Com & Agencies

 

We - The Awqaf, Awqaf Africa And Awqaf Asia - Plead For Release Of British Aid Worker Alan Henning In Support Of CAGE’s Appeal

The Awqaf, Awqaf Africa and Awqaf Asia hereby confirm on their publications including EsinIslam.Com and IslamAfrica.Com the plead to Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) leadership in Syria for the safety of British aid worker hostage Alan Henning threatened with beheading.

This, therefore, is to confirm that Sheikh Abu-Abdullah Adelabu and the council of the Awqaf endorse and seek to award credibility from the Ulamaa and their Mujahidun to the plea to secure the safety and release of British Aid Worker Alan Henning.

Initial positive sentiments and generous approaches from the senior members of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) among whom had studied at same establishments in Syria has been promising for all efforts for the release of Alan Henning.

Following the Awqaf’s direct appeal, the senior members of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) leadership have expressed their satisfaction over that Alan Henning is a humanitarian aid worker who went to Syria to help victims of the civil war and indicated the readiness of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) to show him some mercy to Alan Henning.

Sheikh Abu-Abdullah Adelabu and his Awqaf have related to the leadership of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) their responsibilities to stop all possible damages to the amiable efforts of the Islamic scholars and Du’at (the preachers) in propagating Islam in the West and beyond after the latest threat to Henning's life in a new video released Saturday which showed him in the hands of the kidnappers who might have been the beheaders of British captive David Haines and two American journalists.

Upon their request and release to EsinIslam.Com and IslamAfrica.Com, which they described as the most effective alternative media outlet that reaches the very hearts of Alan Henning’s kidnappers and the true audience of the leadership of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), CAGE an independent advocacy organisation working to empower communities impacted by the War on Terror which the aid worker was helping in relieving the Syrian people from the brutes of Tyrant Assad’s regime. Below is the CAGE’s appeal as released:

CAGE’s Editor Calls For Release Of British Aid Worker Alan Henning

CAGE [1] condemns the arbitrary arrest, detention and punishment of anyone without cause and without being afforded their right of due process. This is the case whether the denial of these rights takes place in Egypt or Iraq - as is the case of Alan Henning - or by Western forces around the world in prisons or through drone strikes.

For ten years now, CAGE has been advocating respect for the principles of justice, due process and the rule of law in the War on Terror. We have documented hundreds of cases of abuse and torture by western countries and brought to the attention of the world grave rights violations through our research and casework.

Asim Qureshi, Research Director of CAGE, had the following points to make:

1. Alan Henning should not to be considered a prisoner of war: “Alan Henning went to Syria with Muslims and is known to have been helping the people of Syria. He is not involved in any hostility to Islam or Muslims. Therefore, he cannot be considered a prisoner of war under Islamic law and should be released immediately. We believe there are no grounds for holding Mr Henning prisoner or executing him.”

2. Western Intervention in Iraq is the root cause: “The recent spate of be-headings of Western individuals caught in conflict zones in Syria and Iraq appears to be a direct consequence of current Western intervention in Iraq and Syria. Prior to recent events there was no killing of Western hostages.“

3. The West has set the worldwide example of arbitrary detentions: “Since 9/11, Western policy has developed a process of arbitrary detentions, torture and extrajudicial killing. It is an example which others around the world now appear to be following. It goes without saying that many of the men now perpetrating rights abuses in Iraq and Syria were themselves victims of rights abuses in places such as Abu Ghraib.

4. The UK Government has put aid-workers at risk: “The UK Government coupled with irresponsible media reporting have created significant difficulties for Muslim charities by stigmatising them and labelling them as extremists/terrorists. This has put aid workers at great risk.”

5. Fundamental principles of due process must be respected by all: “The only way forward is a world which respects fundamental principles of due process, a concept central to the Islamic legal framework as well as that of all civilised societies.”

Majid Freeman, an aid worker who accompanied Alan Henning on his last convoy to Syria, said to CAGE:

'Alan is a selfless man who was moved by the suffering of the Syrian people. He understood the risks of going into Syria and, despite our protestations against it, he felt compelled to help the orphans and widows he had met on an earlier trip. I am full of admiration for his courage and bravery and am hopeful that he will soon be released.’

Notes:
1. CAGE is an independent advocacy organisation that works to empower communities affected by the War on Terror and to highlight abuses of due process.
2. The plea for the release of Alan Henning by British aid workers can be viewed above https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qftTf0itVm4
3. The last known recorded footage of Alan Henning, on the Greece-Turkey border can be seen here: http://youtu.be/YfB8RnukCM8


About CAGE:

CAGE is an independent advocacy organisation working to empower communities impacted by the War on Terror. The organisation highlights and campaigns against state policies, striving for a world free from oppression and injustice.

CAGE has been campaigning against the War on Terror for more than a decade. Its work has focussed on working with survivors of abuse and mistreatment across the globe. Its website is one of the leading resources documenting the abuse of due process and the erosion of the rule of law in the context of the War on Terror. CAGE has delivered more than 750 lectures across the UK, produced cutting edge reports and provided a voice to survivors of the War on Terror through its media work.

CAGE says its vision is to see a world free from oppression and injustice.

CAGE says its mission is to highlight and campaign against state policies developed as part of the War on Terror.

Contact: Mr Amandla Thomas-Johnson
Phone: +(44) 207 377 6700
Email: press@cageuk.org
Web: www.cageuk.org
CAGE
27 Old Gloucester Street
London
WC1N 3XX

 
Syrian Rebel Commander Vows To Fight ISIS Militants

The commander of moderate Syrian rebels pledged to fight to defeat Islamic militants in his country, speaking to U.S. lawmakers Thursday.

The U.S. administration is planning to boost training and equipment for the Free Syrian Army (FSA), set to be the cornerstone of the battle against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria militants.

The U.S. will also boost its battle against ISIS in Iraq, where the aim is to slam the militants through air strikes.

But U.S. lawmakers have openly voiced doubts about whether the FSA is capable of taking on both ISIS militants and the well-equipped forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, with U.S. forces increasingly stretched in the stalemated three-year conflict to oust Assad.

The Syrian Supreme Military Command's chief of staff, Brigadier General Abdel Ilah al-Bashir, told the House's foreign affairs committee he would stand by the U.S. to fight "twin" threats in Syria.

"I hereby reaffirm the Free Syria Army's continued commitment to removing the twin terrorists Bashar al-Assad and Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi from Syrian soil," he said in a statement, referring to the leader of the ISIS group.

ISIS militants have captured swathes of territory in Syria and Iraq, and are seeking to impose an extreme form of Islamic law on a terrorized population.

"The heroes of the Free Syrian Army have sacrificed thousands of brave souls in the fight against the imposter Islamic state over the past year," Bashir wrote in his statement, read to the committee by leading Democratic member Eliot Engel.

"We fully plan to continue this fight until Baghdadi's complete and utter defeat," Bashir vowed.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told the committee it was hard to give precise figures of the ranks of the moderate opposition, but stressed they were a "legitimate force."

"We now have tens of thousands of people who are, by the way, the principal bulwark against ISIL in Syria today," Kerry said, referring to the jihadists.

Pressed for details on exactly who the U.S. intended to arm, Kerry referred to a "conglomerate of armed groups that were formed to defend local communities from regime attacks and it includes secular as well as some Islamists."

He said each group's size varied, with several thousand fighters in each organization.

"There are other groups, at least seven groups with somewhere between a couple of thousand and 4,000 fighters each," he told the lawmakers.

"But that's not all of the moderate forces by any means. And what's important is all of these forces have a solid record of fighting ISIL. They've been fighting ISIL."

The top U.S. diplomat also stressed the United States had no intention of working with Al-Nusra, an Al-Qaeda affiliate, which has been branded a terrorist organization by Washington.

 
Exposure Of Spy Network; Fightings In Damascus, Deir ez-Zor And Aleppo

Sources in the command of Jaish al-Muhajireen wal-Ansar/Army of Emigrants and Supporters (AES), reported the neutralization of a large spy network of Assadites at Aleppo. As a result of a joint special operation of Jabhat Ansar ad-Din/Front of Supporters of Religion (FSR), dozens of people were detained. According to preliminary data, were part of an extensive network of spies operating in Aleppo and suburbs.

They are currently under investigation. The guilt of the majority of the detainees has been proved, along with confessions of Assadites on activities of the spy network of infidels.

Meanwhile, positional battles are ongoing in Aleppo’s Layramoun (aka Balleramoun) district. Units of the AES are engaged in an intensive bombardment of fortified positions of infidels (see the video). In response, Assadites used aircraft.

Near Aleppo, battles are taking place in the districts of Saif ad-Dawla, al-Kallyas, Sheikh Najjar. Aircraft of infidels bombed suburbs of the settlement Marea.

Intense fighting is going on in the area of Ain Terma - Duhania in Damascus. Infidels made several attempts to counter-attack in Duhania but were repulsed. Fighting continues in north-eastern outskirts of the settlement.

Aircraft and artillery of Assadites shelled Wadi Ain Terma, through which the supply of Mujahideen forces in Duhania is being conducted. Assadites are also trying to destroy tunnels connecting Duhania with Ain Terma.

Battles are taking place in open fields around Ain Terma, Kafr Batna, Jisrin, Sakba.

The situation in al-Mleha flared up again. Units of Jaish al-Islam/Army of Islam (AI) entered the suburban area of Hteitet al-Jersh (north of Zebdin). Assadites were cleared out of Hteitet al-Jersh. Fierce fighting is also ongoing in neighbouring Zebdin. Infidels use heavy artillery.

In Jobar, the battles are positional. Assadites conducted a massive bombing attack in vicinity. Dozens of civilians were killed. Hundreds were injured.

Sporadic clashes occur in Zamalk and Kabuna, aircraft and artillery bombed Douma and Haraste. As a result of the bombing of Douma, about 60 civilians were killed, the majority of them are children and women. More than 150 were seriously injured.

To the west of Damascus, fights are ongoing in the area of the Barada River as well as in Deir al-Makrin, Madai, Zabadani.

In Hama, squads of Jabhat an-Nusra/Victory Front (VF) hold positions near the town of Taibet al-Imam. Assadites actively use aircraft and artillery. The fighting significantly increased in the city of Mork - new reinforcements of infidels arrived there. Aircraft of Assadites bombed positions of Mujahideen in al-Latamna and Kafr Zita.

In Deir ez-Zor, fightings are taking place at the military airfield. Ad Dawla al-Islamiyya/Islamic State (IS) units used heavy mortars and artillery. Clashes are also taking place on the outskirts of this strategic facility.

On the night of September 15, fightings in the vicinity of the aerodrome became ferocious. IS troops stormed the position of Assadites. The fighting continues.

In Quneitra, units of the VF attacked and captured the towns of al-Raadi, Humaidiya and the village of Jubata al-Kashab (see the video). During the attack, more than 30 infidels were eliminated. The rest fled, leaving weapons and equipment.

 
How Turkey, Jordan Refuse Fighting the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)

Turkey will refuse to allow a US-led coalition to attack the Islamic State of Iraq and The Levant (ISIL) or Ad Dawla al-Islamiyya/Islamic State (IS) in neighboring Iraq and Syria from its air bases, nor will it take part in combat operations against IS, a government official told AFP Thursday.

“Turkey will not be involved in any armed operation but will entirely concentrate on humanitarian operations”, the official said on condition of anonymity.

The decision echoes the country’s refusal to allow the US to station 60,000 troops in Turkey in 2003 to invade Iraq from the north, which triggered a crisis between the two allies.

Ankara then also refused Washington permission to use its air bases to attack Saddam Hussein’s regime.

Ankara's Western allies and Arab countries accuse Turkey "in the indirect encouraging the formation of IS", and the Assad regime believes that the Turkish authorities directly support the "jihadist groups operating in Syria". Ankara denies all charges.

US Secretary of State John Kerry was to hold talks in Saudi Arabia on Thursday to drum up support from 10 key Arab nations and Turkey, after President Barack Obama announced Washington’s new strategy against IS, which will include air strikes in Syria.

The government of Turkey declared that the IS is a threat to the security of the country and pointed out that IS held hostage 49 Turkish citizens, including children, who had been kidnapped from the Turkish consulate in Mosul in Iraq on June 11.

Ankara is therefore reluctant to take a stronger role in the coalition against IS in apparent fear of aggravating the hostage situation.

“Our hands and arms are tied because of the hostages”, the official told AFP.

Turkey can open Incirlik Air Base in the south for logistical and humanitarian operations in any US-led operation, according to the official who stressed that the base would not be used for lethal air strikes.

“Turkey will not take part in any combat mission, nor supply weapons”, he said.

Jordan Doesn't Enters NATO Coalition Against the Islamic State of Iraq and The Levant (ISIL)

Jordan has decided not to participate in the coalition against the Islamic State of Iraq and The Levant (ISIL) or the Ad Dawla al-Islamiyya/Islamic State (IS), said prime minister of Jordan, Abdullah al-Nusur, adding, that Amman is not going to interfere in affairs of other countries.

The coalition was created at the NATO summit in Wales on American suggestion. It includes 10 countries - America, England, France, Germany, Italy, Denmark, Turkey, Canada, Poland and Australia.

Abdullah al-Nusur, in his speech at the Center for Political Studies in occupied Al-Quds (Jerusalem), noted that the information about Jordan joining the coalition did not correspond to reality.

He said that Jordan was not going to interfere into internal affairs of other countries.

With regard to a threat allegedly posed by the IS for Jordan, the prime minister of this country said that they were "ready to defend their country, but they would not get involved in a war on the territories of other countries."

EsinIslam.Com & Several News Outlets

 
ISIS Quits Syria Bases As U.S. Poised To Strike

Militants in a Syrian stronghold near Iraq have abandoned some bases and redeployed their forces and armour from other positions, with the U.S. military poised to strike, activists said Wednesday.

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria group (ISIS) has “started to empty out many of their bases and positions in Deir Ezzor province,” said Abu Osama, an activist from the eastern region mostly under jihadist control.

Speaking to AFP via the Internet, Abu Osama said all of ISIS’s known positions in Eshara, a town about 60 kilometres (45 miles) east of Deir Ezzor’s provincial capital, had been “shut down”.

Abu Osama also said the jihadists had emptied out the former governorate building in Deir Ezzor city, which IS had turned into their main weapons storage depot in the area.

And in the city of Mayadeen near the Iraqi border, “Daesh (IS) pulled out of eight bases, leaving only three open -- the (former) post office, the military intelligence building and the religious court,” he told AFP.

“Even the oil fields are being emptied out. The families of the foreign jihadists who had been living in the residential buildings by the fields have been evacuated,” he added.

IS fought a major battle against rival jihadists and rebels earlier this year, taking control of the vast majority of oil-rich Deir Ezzor province and expelling all its rivals.

The Damascus regime still controls parts of Deir Ezzor city, as well as the province’s military airport.

The militants pulled out amid the threat of expanded US air strikes against their positions.

In August, the United States launched air strikes targeting IS positions in neighbouring Iraq, where the jihadists had spearheaded a lightning offensive beginning in June that saw large swathes of territory fall from government hands.

The United States has since called for a global coalition to fight IS and has threatened strikes on jihadist “safe havens”, including those in Syria.

According to an activist in the northern Syrian city of Raqa, IS’ main bastion, the jihadists have maintained their positions.

“The bases have stayed put, though Daesh have pulled out their weapons from some of their positions,” said Furat al-Wafaa, using a pseudonym for fear of retaliation.

“But inside the city, Daesh’s presence has been maintained despite the threat,” he told AFP via the Internet.

 
Syria Jubhat al-Nusrah (Nusra Front) Advance Near Golan Heights

Syria Mujahidun (the holy warriors) from Jubhat al-Nusrah (Nusra Front) alongside other Syrian millitants have made fresh advances near the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights in Quneitra province, where 26 troops and 17 rebels were killed in a battle on Saturday, a monitoring group said.

Fighting has raged in the province since August, when local millitants and the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Al-Nusra Front took control of a border post.

"Rebels have since taken control of hills overlooking the border post, as well as several villages nearby, (after battles that killed) a large number of troops on both sides," Syrian Observatory for Human Rights director Rami Abdel Rahman said Sunday.

On Saturday, "the regime tried to take back the village of Msahra, but failed", said Abdel Rahman, with the fighting leaving the 43 dead on both sides.

Over the course of Saturday's fighting, the rebels also seized a string of new hilltops.

The Observatory says the fighting around Quneitra has killed some 70 loyalists and dozens of rebels since the end of August.

For many months, rebels have sought to take full control of southern Damascus, Daraa province on the Jordan border, and Quneitra.

Meanwhile, in Damascus and the district of Jobar the rebels have not allowed Assad forces to have any movement in this area.

In its growing desperation, Assad regime fighter planes in Syria have conducted unprecedented attacks using missiles fired with parachutes, targeting and destroying the neighborhood of Jobar in Damascus. This neighborhood has during the past two years been under the control of the Free Syrian Army.

The Syrian coalition issued a statement calling on the international community to defend the Jobar neighborhood that is the target of such attacks.

Elsewhere, regime warplanes carried out fresh strikes against areas under Islamic State (IS) control in the eastern province of Deir Ezzor and the northern province of Raqa.

The air strike on Raqa killed two children, said the Observatory, while the raids on two areas in Deir Ezzor killed at least 12 civilians, among them seven members of a tribe that had fought the IS.

In a further gain for the Mujahidun-led resistance against the Syrian tyranny, Syria rebels were able to in recent clashes take over two villages north of Aleppo out of ISIS control, Al Arabiya TV reported. This is while they are forced to continue their battles against ISIS militants on a number of fronts.

EsinIslam.Com & Several News Outlets

 
Al-Nusra Capture Alawite Villages Near Hama As IS Attacks North Of Aleppo - City Of Khetab Falls

In the past few days as a result of active offensive operations in the city of Hama Syrian Mujahideen were able to achieve significant success.

Three settlements of Alawites - Hiha, Tellit Shiha and Arza were taken during a joint operation by the Jabhat an-Nusra/Victory Front (VF), Jabhat al-Islamiyyah/Islamic Front (IF) and Jund al-Aqsa/ Soldiers of al-Aqsa (SA).

During the assault of the positions of infidels there were killed, according to various estimates, from 40 to 60 Nusayris. Several infidels have been captured.

Units of VF, IF and SA came close to capturing a military airport in Hama. There are only 4 km away. As a result of rocket fire from the Grad rocket launchers, they managed to bring down three warplanes of infidels. At least one plane was completely burned down. Fightings in the region of Hama continue.

Active fightings are ongoing in the north of Aleppo. Here Ad Dawla al-Islamiyya/Islamic State (IS) units attacked several villages and captured settlements Akhtarin and Turkmen Bareh. Previously, they were under the control of VF and IF, which, as claimed [on a social media twitter account] by local sources, had left these places more than two weeks ago. According to some reports, IS confronted by units deemed to be the factions of Al-Jaysh as-Suri al-?urr/Free Syrian Army (FSA). Meanwhile, the command of IF does not confirm the information on the withdrawal and reported [on a twitter account] that its units were fighting with the forces of the IS in northern Aleppo.

On Friday, during the day, IS units fired rockets at town Marea. Locals reported many victims. Fighting in the area continued.

Violent clashes are also ongoing in the vicinity of Damascus. Local sources report that units of VF attacked positions of Assadites between al-Mleha and Zebdin (east of al-Mleha). Nusayris used aircraft for at least 10 times while attacking the outskirts of al-Mleha.

Fighting goes on in the north-west of al-Mleha, Kafr Batna and Sakba. During the 14 and 15 of August, Assadites conducted massive strikes on Jobar, positional battles are ongoing in the central part of the district.

Clashes between IS and tribal clan al-Shaitat in Deir ez-Zorhave been ongoing. Command of IS issued photos and videos showing executions of locals captured during the attack on the villages of al-Shaitat. Sources say there had been hundreds of executions.

In the province of Idlib battles are taking place in Kafr Taharim. Here Assadites tried to counter-attack the position of VF. According to infidels, they managed to destroy 5 vehicles equipped with heavy machine guns.

The most fierce battles are taking place near Jabal al-Arbain disctrict, in settlements ar-Rama and al- Mnezel. Local sources have reported dozens killed on both sides.

Syria Rebels Gain Major Victory In City Of Khetab, Engaging In Fierce Battles With Tyrant Assad’s forces To Take Over Hama Airport

The Free Syrian Army has launched their attacks to retake areas ISIS took over north of Aleppo. Simultaneously clashes against Assad forces are also raging on in other fronts.
FSA rebels have rallied their forces to retake numerous ISIS-controlled villages near the Turkey border.

Syria opposition as urged on the West to treat ISIS in Syria as you are treating ISIS in Iraq. Nasr al-Hariri, a Syrian National Coalition leader, called for measures against ISIS in Syria as actions are being taken against this group in Iraq.

“The Free Syrian Army is currently fighting at the same time against the Assad regime, Iran, Russia that provides weapons and money to Assad, Hezbollah and the so-called Abolfazl Abbas Brigade - which Iran is behind of - and also ISIS, all at the same time,” he said In an interview with Al Arabiya he said in the wake of Syrian opposition fighters gain major victory in city of Khetab.

The city of Khetab in Hama province was recently fallen under the control of Syrian opposition fighters and it has special importance for the opposition forces because this is the first step in advancing towards the city of Hama and other important areas.

Syrian opposition fighters have recently cleansed all tyrant Assad forces from this city, in a first step to bring normal life back to this city’s residents.

In Syria news reports indicate the opposition fighters are only kilometers away from reaching the Hama airport. From north of this city and city of Khetab reports indicate the opposition fighters are blocking all roads to this military airport. This is while they are only four kilometers away and battles are continuing.

 
Assad Tyranny Pilot Detained In Hama As Internal Clashes Amongst Regime Forces Increase

A pilot of the Assad regime has been detained in an ambush by Syria Mujahidun (the holy warriors) from Jubhat al-Nusrah (Nusra Front) near the town of Kafartoon, west of Hama while three other members of Assad forces were arrested by the al-Nusra-led Mujahidun fighters.

As news of Assad regime pilot detained by Mujahidun in Hama was emerging, associates of al-Nusra managed to eliminate Assad’s army commander in the city of Moharade. Assad forces supported by the Lebanese terrorist militant group Hezbollat have been murdering, massacring and committing other crimes against many of Syrians in the area and also inside prisons.

In a further blow to the Syrian tyrant regime and its its supporters, internal clashes erupted between Assad regime forces and the so-called 'national defense’ forces intensify in the western areas of Hama Province at least 4 members of this unit were killed and many more were left injured.

These clashes broke out when Assad military forces did not permit the families of those killed in the city of Yarmouk to see the bodies of their loved ones. In another development against the brutal regime, news reports confirmed on Saturday that members of the Assad intelligence apparatus detained four officers of the Alawite sect on charges of retreating from combat lines and treason.

Meanwhile in Qalamoun and the Ra’s al-Ma’re area near Damascus Mujahidun fighters in Syria led by al-Nusra inflicted heavy blows to Assad forces near their base.

Two bases of Assad forces and Hezbollat forces were forced back from this area, leaving many of their colleagues dead. Syria’s al-Nusra-led Mujahidun fighters were also able to destroy many of their military equipment.

Reports from Syria indicate clashes around Damascus have escalated to a new height in the past few days. Widespread blazes have erupted all around Damascus International Airport and fire trucks were seen desperately trying to put out the fire.

In shocking Syria news, children in this country are the main victims of the Bashar Assad dictatorship.

There are numerous reports showing Assad mercenaries using children under various pretexts and in some instances as human shields.

In the cities of Qonitare and Hama, two children were tortured and harassed by Assad military forces, and finally losing their lives.

Assad militants went to a school in Hama and kidnapped two of the children. A grenade explosion in this school left one child dead.

In another example Assad militants killed a youth under vicious torture, whipping the youth with a bicycle chain. This horrific crime took place around the city of Hama.

Following massacres, displacement and forcing hunger on to the Syrian people, Assad forces are now resorting to using torture and harassment in public as a new policy for the Assad mercenaries.

EsinIslam.Com & Agencies

 
Islamic State (ISIS) And Al-Nusra Front Increase Gains Their Against Tyrant Assad's Armies

Militants from the Islamic State (of Iraq And the Levant or IS[IL]) group have taken control of a string of villages in the northern Syrian province of Aleppo, a monitoring group said on Wednesday.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the Mujahidun fighters’ group has seized six villages north of the city of Aleppo, and not far from the border with Turkey.

Fighting was ongoing for control of another village in the area, Arshaf, the group said.

The Observatory said the group took the areas "after fierce clashes with rebels and Islamist battalions that remained in the area after al-Nusra Front and other Islamist battalions withdrew at the end of July."

Al-Nusra Front, which is al-Qaeda's Syrian branch, joined other local and Islamist rebel groups in a coalition that began fighting the heretic methodologies of the Islamic State (of Iraq And the Levant or IS[IL]) in January.

But in recent weeks, the fighters in Syria led by Mujahidun (the holy warriors) from Jubhat al-Nusrah (Nusra Front) have grown in strength, penetrating deeper into chambers of the Syrian tyrant Bashar Assad.

Al-Nusra fighters have also fought other threats including the weak rebels with direct and indirect association with elements of the regime who further complicate the status of the armed opposition in Syria.

Al-Nusra has in recent weeks seized a string of villages in rural Idlib, whose provincial capital is held by regime forces.

Earlier in the weak, members of Al-Nusra launched mortar attacks against a number of police and Assad militant stations in a protected area of downtown Damascus. The operations fired mortar rounds and rockets into Damascus, targeting various neighbourhoods and often causing casualties.

The Observatory said the IS capture of the villages was a strategic prize, because it would open the way for the group to attack the towns of Marea and Azaz.

Marea is a stronghold of the Islamic Front, a coalition of Islamist groups that is among those fighting against the Islamic State (of Iraq And the Levant or IS[IL]).

Azaz sits next to the border crossing with Turkey, which would be a valuable asset to IS as it seeks to expand its self-declared "caliphate" in the territory it holds in Syria and neighbouring Iraq.

The Islamic State emerged from al-Qaeda's one-time branch in Iraq, and initially fought alongside Syria's opposition, including moderate rebels and al-Nusra fighters.

But its abuses against civilians and rival fighters, as well as its bid to dominate control of captured territory, sparked a backlash.

The group was pushed out of much of the territory it held in Aleppo province by a coalition of moderate and Islamist rebels that turned against it in January.

But it has been able to recapture some of that lost ground, and is advancing in Aleppo while consolidating its hold in its stronghold of Raqqa province and sweeping forward in Iraq.

The Observatory said its advances in Aleppo had been assisted by the decision of the Islamist Dawud Brigade to pledge allegiance to the Islamic State.

Quiz: Obama Said Isis Has No Place in the 21st Century for Killing 2 Journalists: What Place for Bibi in the 21st Century for Murdering 11 Journalists in Gaza?

Fighters In Syria Led By Jubhat Al-Nusrah Are Closing The Net On Tyrant, Hitting Assad’s Chamber With Missiles At The Heart Of Damascus

The fighters in Syria led by Mujahidun (the holy warriors) from Jubhat al-Nusrah (Nusrah Front) are penetrating deeper into chambers of the Syrian tyrant Bashar Assad. News from Syrian on Monday confirm the Mujahidun fighters fired a number of 122mm missiles hitting the heart of Damascus in the Mohajerin district. These missiles all landed on their intended target, but so far there have been no reports on the possible casualties suffered by Assad forces.

At the same time rebels launched mortar attacks against a number of police and Assad militant stations in a protected area of downtown Damascus. Opposition fighters on the outskirts of the city have regularly fired mortar rounds and rockets into Damascus, targeting various neighbourhoods and often causing casualties. Syrian government warplanes also regularly launch raids against rebel areas around the city.

The news of Assad presidential palace in Damascus being targeted by the fighters’ missiles came hours after reports of continuous fightings in the Province of Deir ez-Zor, where local tribal clans revolted against the Ad Dawla al-Islamiyya/Islamic State (IS).

Details of units of Jaish al-Islam/Army of Islam (AI) counterattacked on Assadite positions in Sheikh Najjar near Aleppo also emerged as fierce battles were going on since over the weekend in the eastern district of Deir ez-Zor where the most violent clashes are taking place in the town of Mayadin (see the map of hostilities). IS units are using heavy artillery and moved from Iraq. Local tribes managed to hit one of the IS tanks. There are also reports on mass protests of local residents against the IS in the border town of al-Bukamal.

Meanwhile, reports from the Palestinian refugee camp of Yarmuk, Assad militants have attacked the residents of this camp and killed a number of asylum seekers and wounding many others. This raid on defenseless residents of this camp took place when they were busy receiving their food rations.

In response to the bombings of Duma near Damascus, the rebels fired more than (60) 122mm Grad missiles on Assad military bases in the country’s capital.

A Syrian rebel said this operation will continue for 5 days and in it home-made 122mm missiles will be used.

Security and military centers, along with checkpoints of Assad forces in downtown Damascus were targeted by the rebels. On Sunday, forces loyal to Bashar al-Assad struck Kfar Batna, east of Damascus, and Douma, northeast of the capital, hitting marketplaces and killing at least 64 people, among them at least 11 children, the Observatory said.

According to official reports that have also been widely posted on social media, in the month of July alone at least 72 of the most senior Assad regime army officers have been killed in various battlefields. This includes 4 brigadier generals and 13 colonels.

At least 16 people, were killed when militants shelled many districts of the Syrian capital overnight, a monitoring group said on Wednesday.

More than 170,000 people have been killed in Syria's war since peaceful anti-government protests in March 2011 became an armed conflict after the government put the demonstrations down with force.

 
Aleppo Struggles To Provide For Basic Needs As Syrian Troops Close In

By Shelly Kittleson

The single, heavily damaged supply road remaining into the rebel-held, eastern area of the city is acutely exposed to enemy fire.

All lorries with wheat for the areas' underground bakeries, soap for hygiene purposes, and fuel for vehicles and generators travel by this route. While snipers focus on this road and other frontlines throughout the city, barrel bombing by Syrian troops is meanwhile steadily, painfully reducing the rest of the city to rubble.

Although many areas are now under the control of the more moderate Islamic Front, al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra helps provide for basic needs in some areas where the underfunded Syrian National Council-linked administration is unable to do so.

IPS watched as members of the armed group handed out metre-long rectangular blocks of ice, after they slid down a metal shaft to armed men waiting to give them to inhabitants waiting nearby who have been without electricity and running water for months.

''They're good people,'' said one inhabitant of the city, who nonetheless had been arrested by them for undisclosed reasons a few months back. ''They're friends.''

In private, however, many Syrians say that they are not happy with the group, though it is ''not anywhere near as bad as 'Daeesh' (the Islamic State, formerly known as ISIS)."

Inside the Aleppo city council offices, bright red filing cabinets and a new coat of white paint mark a sharp contrast with the crumbling buildings and concrete slabs hanging precariously above streets where those left continue to go about their daily affairs as best they can.

''We have been hit many times, but we need to show that we will keep rebuilding,'' one employee said.

Council chief Abdelaziz Al-Maghrebi, a former teacher and manager at a textile factory, walks with a limp from what he says was an injury from a tank bomb never properly treated.

The council has civil registry, education, legal affairs and civil defence directorates - and an office for electricity, water, sewage, and rubbish - but often receives no money from the 'government-in-exile', said Mohammed Saidi, financial manager of the council.

''The amount of money depends on the month, and no money was received from the SNC in July.''

However, Saidi stressed, all reports of siphoning off of money by members ''are false''.

Private donors and foundations play a large part in the council's budget as well, and ''funding depends on the project proposals that are accepted'', he said.

One of the recent proposals was for underground shelters, which the head of the civil defence directorate - established at the council only recently after long acting as an entirely volunteer force - told IPS had been granted four months ago, and 16 of which had since been built.

For medical needs, doctor Ibrahim Alkhalil, head of the Aleppo health directorate for rebel areas, said that as doctors and hospitals continue to be targeted, the location of medical facilities ''has to be kept confidential and change frequently''.

The doctor, who is Syrian but who spent most of his professional career in Saudi Arabia and only came back after the uprising started, noted that everything was in short supply or lacking entirely: antibiotics, water, electricity and trained staff.

He added that the lack of maintenance for vehicles and the terrible road conditions meant that many people were dying simply from being unable to reach the few existing medical centres.

Moreover, the local council can afford to provide funds only to some medical facilities that do not receive any from other donors, council chief Al-Maghrebi told IPS.

Alkhalil pointed out, however, that no amount of supplies would solve the main problem if ''the regime isn't stopped from killing and injuring in the first place.''

A truck with lights switched off to avoid attracting Syrian troop's aircraft attention often makes its way through the streets of a central neighbourhood at night, calling out 'haleeb', 'haleeb' ('milk').

A number of children in the area have been hit by snipers while crossing a street now 'protected' by a bullet-riddled sheet of canvas meant to reduce visibility.

In another area, Salahheddin - the 'first liberated area of Aleppo' and the very name of which retains a sort of mythical status in the eyes of some - children laugh and play soccer in the empty street near the frontline after nightfall. The blood of a boy hit by a sniper recently still stains the ground nearby.

Despite the constant risk of government snipers, IPS was told, near the frontlines was often the ''safest place, since it is too close to regime areas for them to drop barrel bombs on.'

IPS was asked by a freckled, red-haired boy barely out of his late teens now working for a local Muslim charity, ''Why have you come here? What is there left to say?''

The boy works to get charities abroad to help his organisation provide 50 dollars per month to the neediest widows and orphans of those killed in the fighting and for food packages.

A barrel bomb outside the charity's offices killed a good friend and co-worker about 15 days ago. Sandbags are now stacked in front of windows and, according to another volunteer, over half of the staff left immediately after the incident, either for other parts of the country or for Turkey - or they simply no longer come to the office out of fear, a niqab-clad woman also working at the organisation said.

The charity has an underground bakery with which it normally provides bread to those in need, but its equipment had broken down a few days prior to IPS's visit. It was unclear when it would be fixed, whether the spare parts needed could be brought into the city, and whether Syrian troops might soon take the one road left in.
 
Hezbollat Has Opened Gates Of Hell, It Should Perish In Its Terrorist Meddling In Syria

Last week, former Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad al-Seniora said the Shiite movement Hezbollat’s “riffle” or arms have diverted in the wrong direction when it became involved in the Syrian conflict, opening “gates of hell” to Lebanon.

Following the Syria war spreading into Lebanon, the March 14th current condemned Hezbollah’s meddling in Syria and described this Iran-linked entity as responsible for what is taking place in the town of Arsal in Lebanon.

“Hezbollah’s military intervention in Syria has linked Lebanon to the current wars, placing the government and people and army of this country in a dangerous situation,” said former Lebanese prime minister Foad Siniore.

Samir Jamjam, head of the Lebanese Forces party described Hezbollah taking part in the Syria war as the main reason behind the problems of Arsal and demanded Hezbollah evacuate Syria immediately.

“Until Hezbollah continues such activities the Lebanese people and army will be in grave danger and the only solution is for Hezbollah to pull back its troops,” he said.

Lebanese Hezbollah receives heavy blows from Syria rebels

Various sources say Lebanese Hezbollah has received major blows from Syria rebels in the Qalamoun region and cannot withstand any longer, according to the Middle East reports, which added that the Lebanese terrorist group’s senior members are rethinking their presence in the Syrian affairs.

The Qalamoun news center cited Syrian rebels and said Hezbollat mercenaries have suffered heavy casualties in recent clashes and are withdrawing the area and returning to Lebanon. Accord to this report at least 400 Hezbollat forces have departed Syrian soil. This number of Hezbollat forces were transferred back inside Lebanon with 7 busses and various other vehicles through the Jaroud region during the course of two days.

United Nations issues shocking report on Assad war crimes

The United Nations issued a report condemning the Assad regime and its terrorist mercenaries Hezbollah in Syria for bombing and killings at medical centers. This body referred a dossier to the Security Council containing 12 cases of hospitals being bombed in this country in the month of July alone.

A United Nations report describes missile attacks and bombings of hospitals and treatment centers by Assad regime forces and the Lebanese Shiite terrorist group as flagrant violations of human rights.

This report refers to 12 recorded incidents of bombings in the cities of Aleppo, Hama, Homs, Idlib and also Damascus, and these are just the attacks that have taken place in July of this year.

From the beginning of the Syrian people’s revolution to this day at least 526 physicians and specialists have lost their lives. They were either killed by Assad’s security forces or lost their lives under bombardment while treating patients.

The UN report refers to the Assad regime’s obstructions on permitting the delivery of humanitarian aid into Syrian soil. Last month the Security Council adopted a resolution saying this aid must be sent into besieged areas of Syria under any means possible and without Assad regime approval.

To this day these convoys have entered Syria from Turkey and relevant organizations in the United Nations are advancing this plan in order to stop the genocide by Bashar Assad. Such aid is arranged to be sent into Syria soon from other border areas in Jordan and Iraq, too.

EsinIslam.Com & Several News Outlets

EsinIslam Has Received A Solicited Pledge From ISIS Senior Figures To Stop Attacks On Fellow Mujahidun, Especially Al-Nusra. The Message Sent To The Leadership Of The Awqaf Revealed ISIS New Approaches To Cooperate With The Mujahidun And The Scholars It Described As Reliable And Beloved In An Effort To Defeat Tyrants Like Assad And The Khomeinists. We Hope This Message Is Not Just Empty Words As We Pray Both ISIS And Al-Nusra Are Able To Keep To This Honourable Commitment And Channel Sacred Efforts In The Right Way. The Awqaf Thanks ISIS For Its Respectful Sentiments, Particularly To Our Sheikh, And The Appreciation Of - As They Put It - Our 'Humble Honest Efforts'.

Jubhat Al-Nusrah Consolidates Gains Against Tyrant Assad

The Syrian Mujahidun led by Jubhat Al-Nusrah (the Nusrah Front) seized the town of Sarmada near the Turkish border from local militias in northwest Idlib province, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

Al-Nusra statement said it was continuing to take action against “corrupt” rebel militias, which it accuses of looting and theft, as well as “un-Islamic” behavior. It repeated earlier threats to take action against any group receiving Western aid, which includes several mainstream rebel groups active in Idlib province.

The Britain-based Observatory group said Thursday’s confrontation began when “skirmishes” erupted between local rebels and the Nusra Front fighters, when the latter group sent a large convoy of vehicles in the direction of Sarmada. The fighting ended with Al-Nusra capturing the town.

Al-Nusra has in recent weeks seized a string of villages in rural Idlib, whose provincial capital is held by regime forces.

Fighters belonging to the Islamic State (of Iraq And the Levant or IS[IL]) staged an attack against regime forces near the city of Hassakeh to the north, firing mortar bombs at the outskirts of Hassakeh and killing at least three civilians - a woman and two of her children - with a barrage of mortar bombs.

However, the ISIS fighters were forced to retreat from their positions fearing a response by regime forces, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. Pro-opposition media reported that large numbers of people in and around the Hassakeh area were fleeing the clashes.

Also in Idlib province, a general commanding a regime infantry brigade was killed by a land mine, the Observatory said, without giving additional details.

Regime planes launched a number of strikes on villages and towns in Idlib, including Sarmada, Salqin, Kafranbel and Bara.

And in Hama province, al-Nusra's fighters along with other millitants killed or wounded a number of regime troops in an ambush late Wednesday, the Observatory said.

The northern and western outskirts of the provincial capital have been the target of rebel attacks in recent days, with the militias using Grad rockets to target the military airport on the outskirts of the city of Hama.

ISIS Campaigns Stall With Al-Nusra Front Gains

A fierce battle between Syrian Kurds and ISIS militants in rural Aleppo province has killed nearly 50 fighters from both sides as the Kurds seized several ISIS positions, a monitoring group said Thursday.

Meanwhile, the Nusra Front in Syria and bitter rival of ISIS, has seized territory in northwest Idlib also along the border with Turkey from local rebel groups.

The Syrian monitors said clashes in the region of Ain al-Arab in northern Aleppo province killed 14 members of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) and 35 jihadists.

Dozens of fighters were wounded, the Britain-based Observatory organization said. The monitors said the area was now “calm” after the fighting in the region on the border with Turkey.

In the battle, Kurdish fighters took several hills which ISIS jihadists had seized and set up positions.

Earlier in July, hundreds of Kurdish fighters had crossed the Turkey- Syria border into Ain al-Arab, to join the anti- ISIS fight.

In eastern Deir al-Zor province, the Observatory group said that Wednesday’s clashes between ISIS and members of the Sheaitat tribe resulted in the killing or wounding of nine ISIS fighters, among them a Belgian and an Egyptian. The clashes were sparked by ISIS militants when they arrested several members of the tribe, despite an earlier pledge to refrain from such actions.

The monitoring group said that ISIS established a number of roadblocks and blocked bridges on the Euphrates in a bid to corner the armed tribesmen. It also sent a convoy toward three villages dominated by the tribe, in a bid to end the group’s fight-back against ISIS.

EsinIslam.Com & Several News Outlets

 
Rebels Downed Assad Bombing Plane in Qalamoun

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights confirmed on Friday that a warplane of Assad’s criminal force was downed by Mujahidun-led fighters in the Qalamoun region bordering Lebanon, supporting the incident in a video footage posted on the Internet appeared which demonstrate the craft was either destroyed or damaged beyond use.

The Britain-based monitoring group said it was unclear whether the warplane was shot down or suffered a technical problem, while the Sham News Network, an anti-regime news outlet, said the pilot had ejected from the craft.

The Sham News Network added that rebels in Qalamoun had managed to capture a regime vehicle and disable a tank in fighting in the region.

The regime claimed victory in Qalamoun earlier this year when the town of Yabroud was recaptured, but its forces, backed by Shiite mercenaries from Lebanon’s terrorist group Hezbollat (calling itself Hezbollah), have been skirmishing with rebels periodically in several parts of the mountainous region in the past few months.

Assad’s state mouthpiece news agency SANA said army troops target fighters in various parts of the country but did not elaborate in most of its reporting and refrained from mentioning the government’s casualties.

Tyrant Assad and his criminal forces cannot stop suffering several hundred fatalities in the ranks of Assadite military personnel and paramilitary civilians at the Shaar gas field in rural Homs and the Division 17 facility in Raqqa province. During the several days of clashes, pro-regime social media criticized the authorities for failing to report the losses as anxious family members sought news about what was taking place.

In Aleppo, a coalition of several Islamist militias seized territory during fierce clashes with army troops and paramilitaries near the Dahiet al-Assad suburb and the city’s Military Academy, the Observatory said. The Mujahidun led fighters, who also disabled regime tanks, posted video footage of themselves inside a historic Turkish bath in sight of the Citadel of Aleppo, which is controlled by the regime, and was seized Thursday. At least five rebels were killed in the clashes, the monitoring group said.

The Mujahidun led fighters have suffered setbacks in several areas near the city this year, but this week pledged to mount a new offensive to reverse the losses.

Separately, a “security official” with the Islamic Front coalition of militias was killed in a barrel bomb attack on the neighborhood of Qadi Askar, the Observatory group added.

In the Damascus neighborhood of Jobar, pro-opposition media said a coalition of Islamist rebel groups killed up to 30 regime troops when they tried to storm the area.

The rebels claimed that they had the ID papers of 17 of the dead, and a pro-regime website was obliged to deny rumors that authorities had ordered residents of the nearby Abbasiyyin neighborhood to evacuate their homes due to the deteriorating security situation in the area.

Meanwhile, ISIS militants have withdrawn from several villages dominated by a tribe in eastern Deir al-Zor province after clashes, the Observatory group said. It said the group had withdrawn from Abu Hamam, Kashkieh and Ghranij, three villages dominated by the Sheaitat tribe in Deir al-Zor.

The monitoring organization said members of the tribe set fire to a headquarters belonging to ISIS in a fourth village and there were reports that the jihadists had withdrawn from a fifth village in the area. Fighting between members of the tribe and jihadists began Wednesday, with tribal members tweeting about an “uprising” against ISIS.

The Observatory said nine ISIS fighters had been killed in the clashes, and that the jihadist group was rallying forces from across the border in Iraq to send in as reinforcements.

The monitoring group said that out of 5,340 total casualties during July, the highest-ever level - 38 percent - were in the ranks of regime troops and paramilitaries. A total of 2,004 documented deaths were broken down into regime troops (961), paramilitary groups (937), Hezbollat (28) and Shiite militias (78).

EsinIslam.Com & Several News Outlets

 
Catalogue Assad’s Murders: Syrian Defector Displays 'Tremendous Torture' Photos, Horrific Images

Syrian army defector tells US lawmakers of corpses with 'deep wounds and burns' and others with 'eyes carved out' by pro-Assad forces

Graphic images of the brutal conflict in Syria were displayed before US lawmakers Thursday as an army defector gave an eyewitness account of the horrors he was forced to photograph.

"I am not a politician and I don't like politics... and neither am I a lawyer," said the former Syrian military police photographer who escaped from Syria last year, bringing with him some 55,000 photographs taken as part of his job to catalogue the dead.

"I had the job of taking pictures of all the deaths... before and after the revolution," explained the man known only as Caesar, who appeared in heavy disguise before the House foreign affairs committee to brief them on the war.

He was required to download the photos and store them on state computers to document the battle against the rebel opposition by the regime of Syrian tyrant Bashar al-Assad, now in its fourth year.

"I have seen horrendous pictures of bodies of people who had tremendous amount of torture," Caesar told about 100 people who listened in heavy silence. Around them on easels were six enlarged photos showing naked, skeletal bodies lying on the ground.

Most had been stretched out in meticulous rows, some bearing white labels attached around their wrists, all with their faces blanked out. A few still wore underpants, but most were naked.

Speaking through an interpreter, Caesar told of seeing corpses with "deep wounds and burns and strangulations" -- some of which had had "their eyes carved out" and others that were "emaciated and skinny."

"They were starved to death and their bodies looked like skeletons. These people died of starvation," Caesar said, adding he had never seen anything like it except for images taken during the Nazi regime in World War II.

'Smoking Gun Evidence'

"Sometimes I would come across pictures of my own neighbours and some of my friends that I recognized," he told the hushed room, with his profile barely visible under a blue hooded jacket, with the hood's drawstring drawn tight and a cap underneath and a pair of sunglasses.

"Death would have been my fate if the regime had found out I was leaking out secret information."

More than 170,000 people have been killed since the uprising began in March 2011, and millions have fled either within the country or to refugee camps abroad.

Caesar maintained some 150,000 people were still in Syrian jails, facing the same fate as the lifeless bodies in his photos.

At his side was former special prosecutor David Crane, who tried Liberian president Charles Taylor and is now working on setting up a tribunal to bring those responsible for war crimes in Syria to justice.

"We rarely find smoking gun evidence, but that's what we found," Crane told the lawmakers, adding he and his team were "stunned by the magnitude of this."

At least 63 people, including eleven children and six women, were killed in air and ground operations across Syria on Wednesday by pro-Assad forces, said the London-based Syrian Network for Human Rights watchdog.

According to the watchdog, at least 116 people were killed by government forces in fighting across Syria during the three-day festivities of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr.

'Starve Or Surrender' Tactics

The United States on Wednesday unveiled $378 million in new humanitarian aid for the Syrian people, denouncing "appalling 'starve or surrender' tactics" by Assad's brutal regime.

"The regime is asphyxiating half a million Syrians in Aleppo by obstructing deliveries of food, water, and medicine," US Secretary of State John Kerry said in a statement.

"Syrians all over the country are being butchered at the hands of a ruthless tyrant," Kerry said, strongly condemning "the brutally indefensible and illegitimate Assad regime."

The regime was "dropping dozens of barrel bombs a day on the city and surrounding suburbs," he said.

The new aid brings the US total released for Syria since the start of the war three years ago to $2.4 billion, and Kerry insisted that it was "having an impact on the ground -- right now."

Some $1.2 billion has gone towards helping more than 4.7 million people inside Syria, and $1.2 billion is going towards aid efforts for some three million refugees who are being sheltered in neighbouring countries.

US aid was helping to feed some four million Syrians inside the country, and another 1.9 million had been treated in more than 300 US-supported hospitals and health clinics across Syria, Kerry said.

He insisted that Washington remained committed "to finding a political solution to this crisis" even though efforts to bring the government and the opposition to the negotiating table collapsed earlier this year without any progress.

EsinIslam.Com & Several News Outlets

 
Mujahidun In Syria Led By Jubhat Al-Nusrah Advance In Hama Province

Since the Syrian Mujahidun led by Jubhat Al-Nusrah rallied fractions together few weeks ago to mount more formidable operations for liberation of Syria from Tyrant Assad and his Iranian mercenaries and Hezbollat terrorist fighters (calling themselves Hezbollah) in the Middle Eat country, Assadite armies have continued to suffer several defeats in Syria's Hama province as rebels try to take out key military airport.

On Tuesday, Syrian rebels pressed their advance in the central province of Hama, as they tried to take out its military airport, a rebel commander and a monitor said.

According to Rami Abdel Rahman of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the Mujahidun led by Al-Nusra are now nine kilometres (six miles) away from Hama military airport, which they want to put out of action.

A leader of the Muslim fighters in the area, Yusef al-Hassan, said the airport was important because "that is where the regime makes its barrel bombs, and warplanes take off from there to carry out air strikes".

Barrel bombs have killed hundreds of civilians, especially in rebel areas of the divided northern city of Aleppo, in recent months.

The Observatory was also quoted to have confirm that Muslim fighters seized a major checkpoint north of Hama city, which is firmly under army control, on Monday night.

The takeover of the checkpoint in Tarabih comes on the back of Sunday's capture of a weapons depot in the area.

"The regime has suffered several defeats in Hama province in recent days," said Abdel Rahman.

As they have advanced, Mujahidun have cut off the road linking Hama city, the provincial capital, to a string of government-controlled Christian and Alawite villages in the west of the province, he added.

Hassan said the army was sending reinforcements.

"They are stepping up their troop presence here, which will limit the regime's capabilities in other areas," the leader of the fighters told AFP via the Internet.

As for the military airport: "We are already striking it with Grad missiles," Hassan said.

Assad forces killed hundreds of civilians

The air force has used barrel bombs to hit opposition-controlled areas for months.

In Aleppo alone, air strikes since December have killed hundreds of civilians and forced thousands of families to flee.

Rights groups have hit out at the Assad government for using the crude bombs, which they describe as failing to discriminate between civilian and military targets.

A barrel bomb strike on a opposition-held village in Daraa province Monday killed an elderly man, his daughter and her three grandchildren, said the Observatory.

In Aleppo itself, Mujahidun on Tuesday detonated two explosives-filled tunnels under a government-held building, leaving "13 dead among the guards and regime forces" and wounding an unspecified number of others, the Observatory said.

The building in Aleppo's mostly government-controlled old city was a police station occupied by pro-Assad forces.

The Islamic Front, one of the largest militant groupings, said it launched the attack.

A photograph posted by the group on Facebook reportedly of the attack showed a huge cloud of smoke rising into the sky near to the city's historic citadel.

On May 8, Mujahidun operatives also used explosive-packed tunnels to blow up the city's Carlton hotel, killing at least 14 government soldiers and pro-Assad militiamen.

At least 113 people were killed on Monday, the day of the Eid feast marking the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, the Observatory said.

More barrel bombs

Meanwhile, aid organisation Doctors Without Borders said Monday a member of its staff was among 25 killed in two bomb attacks at the weekend in the northwestern province of Idlib.

The Saturday bomb that hit the border town of Atme, said the group, targeted a busy market area on the eve of the Eid feast.

At least 15 people were killed by barrel bombs dropped by Syrian army helicopters in Aleppo, reports say.

The Syrian opposition’s Shahba Press Agency said that the attack took place in the evening in and around Aleppo, which is controlled by opposition forces.

Tens of people, wounded in the attacks, were taken to field hospitals, also controlled by opposition forces, the agency said.

Syria has been gripped by fighting since pro-Assad forces launched a violent crackdown in response to anti-government protests in March of 2011, triggering a conflict that has spiralled into a civil war.

Syria's war has killed more than 170,000 people and forced nearly half the population to flee.

EsinIslam.Com & Several News Outlets

 
Hasan Nasrallah, Hezbollat Terror Head, Already Paying Duly: His Sister In Wailing As Nephew Slain In Syria

The Islamic State (of Iraq And the Levant or IS[IL]) on Sunday seized an army position in the northeast Syrian city of Hasakeh, amid a major escalation in the militant offensive against Assad forces during past fortnight, after months of relative peace towards and alleged collaborations with Assad army and amid war against fellow Mujahidun (ie. holy warriors).

Earlier in the less forty eight hours, Mujahidun led by Jubhat Al-Nusra battling brutal dictator Assad and his Russia-supplied advanced weapons captured a weapons depot in Hama province, a monitor said.

According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the battle lasted three days was reported to have confirm that "the Islamic State (of Iraq And the Levant or IS[IL]) Mujahidun took over the army Regiment 121 at Maylabiyeh, after fierce clashes with regime troops" just south of Hasake city.

On twitter, supporters of the Islamic State (of Iraq And the Levant or IS[IL]), which first emerged in Syria's war in spring 2013, celebrated the army position's "liberation" at the hands of the Mujahidun.

The latest advance comes a day after IS took over Division 17 in Raqa province. According to the Britain-based Observatory, at least 85 regime troops were killed during the IS takeover, among them more than 50 who were eliminated after their capture.

However onn Saturday, Assad regime announced the tyrant's troops recaptured the Shaar gas field in Homs province. The field had been reported to have fallen into IS' hands nearly two weeks ago, and the fighters killed some 270 guards, Assad paramilitary and civilian employees there.

The Islamic State (of Iraq And the Levant or IS[IL]) has escalated its offensive against the army in some parts of Syria in the past fortnight as promised to the scholars of the Ummah in its recent efforts to unify the rank of the Mujahidun including fellow holy warriors from Al-Nusrah against whom IS has been at open war since January against despite common goal of seeking Assad's ouster.

On another front reported by the Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman, Syrian Mujahidun led by Jubhat Al-Nusrah captured Khattab and Rahbeh villages in Hama province, taking over arms depots there.

The monitor group was quoted to have said that Syrian Mujahidun led by Jubhat Al-Nusrah are now "advancing towards Hama military airport", which is a key army position and home to one of the country's most feared prisons.

Amateur video posted by activists on YouTube showed some of the weapons seized by the rebels in Hama, among them rockets, ammunition and mortars.

The Observatory meanwhile said the toll from a Saturday bomb in Atme, on the Turkish border, rose to seven, among them a commander of the Mujahidun. Another seven were killed in a separate bomb on Saturday in Azaz, also on the Turkish border, the group said.

At least 15 people were killed by barrel bombs dropped by Syrian army helicopters in Aleppo, reports say. The Syrian opposition’s Shahba Press Agency said that the attack took place in the evening in and around Aleppo, which is controlled by opposition forces.

In Aleppo alone, air strikes since December have killed hundreds of civilians and forced thousands of families to flee. The air force has used barrel bombs to hit opposition-controlled areas for months.

Assad's war on the Syrians has killed more than 170,000 people in three years, and forced nearly half the population to flee their homes.

EsinIslam.Com & Several News Outlets

 
Hasan Nasrallah, Hezbollat Terror Head, Already Paying Duly: His Sister In Wailing As Nephew Slain In Syria

Hezbollat Chief Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah’s nephew was killed in Syria during battles with rebel groups, Lebanese media reports said Saturday.

In a statement issued late Friday, Hezbollat said Hamzah Yassine, whom it described as hailing from the southern Lebanese town of Abbasieh, was killed while performing his “Hezbollat party duty defending Shiite shrines.”

Yassine was identified by local media Saturday as the son of the Hezbollat leader’s sister.

Iran-backed Hezbollat has been fighting alongside Syrian regime forces against Syrian rebels seeking the ouster of brutal dictator Assad.

Few weeks ago, security sources and activists reported that senior Lebanese-Canadian commander in the Shiite terrorist group Hezbollat (so-called Hezbollah) Fawzi Ayoub had been slain in Syria where he was fighting alongside Bashar Al-Assad's criminal troops against Syrian freedom fighters, said.

Ayoub, one of the world's most wanted Hezbollat terrorist leader who is on the FBI's "most wanted" list for criminalities, was killed on Monday by the predominantly Sunni Muslim rebel forces who have been waging war on dictator Bashar al-Assad for more than three years.

Terror group Hezbollat has joined the Assad's brutal regime in an increasingly sectarian conflict that is pulling in fighters from across the region and destabilizing Syria's neighbors.

On Wednesday a military official confirmed the defection of a Lebanese soldier who deserted was shown in a video distributed online seated beneath a flag of the Mujahidun groups led by Al-Nusra Front and announcing. The Lebanese official who had named the military conscript Atef Saadeddine said that although this week incident was not the first desertion, it was the first in which the deserter has said he has joined Al-Nusra Front, which is battling Syrian tyrant Bashar al-Assad’s forces.

The news of Lebanese army desertion came after the Qalamoun news center reported Syrian Nusrah Front led fighters ambushed Lebanese Hezbollat mercenaries in the border town of Jaroud al-Warad, killing 7 Hezbollat members and confiscating all of the equipment left behind by the fleeing forces. A further 31 fighters from Hezbollat were wounded in the fighting in the border area between Ras al-Maara in Syria and Arsal in northeast Lebanon.

In recent days, Syrian Mujahidun led by Nusrah Front have increased their assaults on Assadites and its Shia mercenaries from Lebanon and Iran around the region of Deraa, South of the country.

Following this attack the rebels were able to completely cleanse this town of enemy forces and according to eyewitnesses this operation left at least 53 Assad regime forces dead, including many officers. Amongst those dead are also a number of Lebanese Hezbollat mercenaries.

The rebels’ operations room in Hama said the city of Murk has now been completely liberated. In the early morning hours the rebels were able to take over artillery and heavy mortar centers, along with the main base of the Syrian forces.

Syrian rebels in the Murk region have gained another victory against Assad regime forces, Orient TV. Syrian regime forces have lost many of their previous centers and the rebels have completely taken over this town.

As a result of defeats in this region the Assad regime has been forced to flee its previous positions and completely pull of these of this area. In a series of attacks that took place in this region a senior Hezbollat commander and a large number of these mercenaries, along with Assad forces, were killed by the FSA rebels.

EsinIslam.Com & Several News Outlets

 
Lebanese Soldier Deserts And Defect To Al-Nusra Front (VF)

A Lebanese soldier who deserted was shown in a video distributed online on Wednesday seated beneath a flag of the Mujahidun groups led by Al-Nusra Front and announcing he has defected.

A military official told AFP that a military conscript he named as Atef Saadeddine had deserted.

He said that although this was not the first desertion, it was the first in which the deserter has said he has joined Al-Nusra Front, which is battling Syrian brutal dictator Bashar al-Assad’s forces.

In the video, Saadeddine said he was deserting because of army “bias” towards Lebanon’s Shiite Hezbollat terrorist organisation (calling itself Hezbollah), which has sent thousands of Shiite fighters into Syria to support Assad’s troops.

The video shows Saadeddine in military gear. He identifies himself as “a soldier defecting from the Eighth Division” deployed in the Labweh-Arsal region, a short drive away from the restive Syrian Qalamun area.

Saadeddine displays his military ID, which shows he was born in 1991 in Akkar, a majority Sunni area in Lebanon.

The country is sharply divided over the conflict in neighbouring Syria. Most Lebanese Sunnis back the revolt, while Hezbollat terrorists and its maceneries support Assad.

“I defected because, like every soldier in the Lebanese army, regardless of whether he is Sunni or not, I know that the army is a tool of the party Hezbollat,” Saadeddine says in the video.

He says the army “takes orders from Hezbollat, sets up checkpoints wherever Hezbollat wants, and all of the officers are under Hezbollat’s orders”.

At the end of the video, several masked men embrace Saadeddine and kiss him on the brow. He smiles.

Twitter accounts allegedly linked to Al-Nusra fighters also reported Saadeddine’s defection.

The military official said Saadeddine’s desertion and decision to join Syrian Muslim Mujahidun Al-Nusrah organisation will be referred to the military tribunal.

A security source in the eastern Bekaa valley told AFP on condition of anonymity that Saadeddine deserted on Tuesday night.

The source said gunmen who crossed from Syria recovered Lebanese army weapons and that Saadeddine fled with them back across the border.

EsinIslam.Com & Several News Outlets

 
Al-Nusra (VF) Fighting In Deraa, Ad-Dawlah (IS) In Raqqa, Army Of Islam (AI) In Damascus

The situation in Syria is becoming increasingly complicated. After Ad Dawla al-Islamiyya/Islamic State (IS) units established its control over Deir ez-Zor, clashes took place here between Assadites and IS.

Skirmishes between IS units and Assadites also began in Raqqa, more precisely a few kilometers from the city, which is considered the main center of the IS. Artillery and mortar shellings were conducted in the area occupied by the 17th military base of Assad troops.

Assadites’ artillery shelled the area of Jisr Tishreen.

Clashes also took place in the town of al-Bukamal on the border with Iraq, which was captured by IS a few weeks ago. Sources report that the local armed groups clashed with IS units. Details are unknown.

Meanwhile, units of Jabhat an-Nusra/Victory Front (VF) attacked formations of the al-Jaish as-Suri al-?urr/Free Syrian Army (FSA) in the city of Deraa. A FSA base in Haramen was stormed. Many FSA fighters are reportedly killed during the storming. Their commander Shafur al-Sharif was captured together with a large group of his supporters.

VF units also attacked FSA in the city of Idlib, where al-Qaeda in Syria announced a Sharia rule.

Earlier on July 20, units of Ahrar ash-Sham/Free Men of the Levant (FML), which is a part of the Jabhat al-Islamiyya/Islamic Front (IF) clashed with the formations of Harakat Hazm/Steadfast Movement (SM) in the town of Bab al-Hawa, near the border with Turkey and drove them out of it. SM is formally included in the FSA and financed by Amirica.

Meanwhile, fightings intensified in Damascus and its suburbs. After the units of Jaish al-Islam/Army of Islam (AI) finally knocked out IS units from Eastern Ghouta, fighting moved to the southern parts of the Damascus region.

Here IS was also defeated by AI. IS units were knocked out of a number of settlements south of Damascus. The confrontation continues in this direction.

Earlier, VF took under its protection IS groups in southern Damascus. Thereafter, the relationship between AI and VF worsened. On July 22, units of AI carried out raids on the residences of the members of VF. There were no reports of any casualties.

AI conducts combat operations directly in the Syrian capital against Assadites. Its units are very close to the Abasid Square in Damascus.

Advanced units are fighting 2 kilometers from the Umayyad Mosque. Several times, they were able to shell the parliament and the presidential palace of the Assad regime with mortars. The fiercest battles are taking place in the metropolitan area of Jobar.

Markaz Kavkaz

 
ISIS And Assad Partners: Revealed: ISIS Iran Alliance To Protect Bashar Al Assad

By Domic Tierney

A year ago, Bashar al-Assad, the brutal dictator of Syria, was reeling from an entrenched insurgency and facing the prospect of war against the United States and its allies. After Syrian government forces used chemical weapons to kill more than 1,000 civilians in August 2013, Barack Obama threatened air strikes against Damascus—before a last-minute deal to destroy Syria’s chemical stockpiles averted a conflict.

Today, Assad is almost an unofficial ally of the United States in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), a Sunni extremist force that has swept from Syria into neighboring Iraq. The Syrian leader’s tale of political survival offers a brutal lesson about how dictators can use violence to radicalize their opposition and cement their rule.

Embattled brutal dictators like Assad can’t usually win international allies with a charm offensive. Instead, their best hope for gaining foreign support is to rely on that old adage: the enemy of my enemy is my friend. As Winston Churchill said during World War II: “If Hitler invaded hell, I would make at least a favorable reference to the devil in the House of Commons.”

Dictators can play the devil’s gambit: winning international sympathy by deliberately radicalizing regime opponents, so that these adversaries look like latter-day Hitlers. This approach is cynical, bloody, and potentially effective. “It’s obvious that Bashar al-Assad’s strategy is to present us with a choice of ISIS or him so that eventually we will choose him,” Senator John McCain has observed.

How does the devil’s gambit work? The goal is to make the opposition appear even more threatening than the regime. If you’re a despot like Assad, this is no easy feat. For one thing, Damascus has an appalling human-rights record, and a list of allies that reads like the Axis of Evil, 2014 edition, including Iran and Hezbollat.

Furthermore, back in 2011, the original Syrian resistance won many international friends. The opposition included a large number of moderates who sought democratic change using peaceful mass protests and strikes. These tactics of non-violent resistance can successfully undermine a dictatorship, by boosting mass participation in the resistance, peeling away regime supporters, and winning foreign backing.

The devil’s gambit requires transforming the opposition into something far more radical and dangerous. If non-violent resistance is effective at toppling tyrants, then dictators can incite rebels into using extreme tactics like terrorism. Autocrats want to turn today’s Gandhis into tomorrow’s jihadists. Here, dictators can benefit from the inherently vicious nature of civil war. A cycle of atrocities and revenge is like a centrifugal force that pushes all sides to the extreme. The center cannot hold, as the catalyst of violence hardens attitudes, marginalizes moderates, and forges the opposition into a more militant entity.

In Syria, three years of scorched-earth warfare, which has left 170,000 dead and ruined much of the country, have removed the restraints on war. Over time, the balance of power within the opposition has shifted from relatively moderate groups like the Free Syrian Army to extremists like ISIS.

Dictators playing the devil’s gambit can further this process of radicalization by targeting moderate groups for destruction, or provoking them into acts of terror. Assad casts himself as the nation’s guardian against Sunni jihadists, but he has deliberately encouraged the rise of extremism. The Assadite forces have allowed ISIS to consolidate a rump caliphate in northeastern Syria as a visible warning about what the alternative to his rule looks like. Indeed, Assad’s troops rarely battle ISIS, saving their fire for more moderate enemies. The regime has even reportedly released jihadists from jail to foment extremism within the opposition, and bought oil from ISIS, effectively bolstering its influence.

For Assad, ISIS is priceless. The Sunni extremist boogeyman holds the key to his political survival. As ISIS continues its assault in Iraq, employing tactics that include beheadings, crucifixions, and systematic torture, Assad has cemented his alliance with Baghdad, as well as with Iran, Hezbollat, and Russia.

Even Assad’s enemies are rethinking their strategy. European countries worry about the thousands of Europeans who have traveled to Syria to fight Assad—and their potential return as violent militants. Meanwhile, the United States has dispatched hundreds of advisors to join the battle against ISIS in Iraq. Members of the Obama administration are backing away from the goal of toppling Assad. “Anyone calling for regime change in Syria,” said one official, “is frankly blind to the past decade; and the collapse of eastern Syria, and growth of Jihadistan, leading to 30 to 50 suicide attacks a month in Iraq.”

The devil’s gambit is a chancy maneuver, since the resulting radicals could grow too powerful to control. For a dictator, the sweet spot is an extremist force that’s strong enough to inspire fear abroad, but not capable enough to topple the regime—which is roughly where ISIS is right now. If the militants become too potent, Assad will probably turn on them with a vengeance.

The devil’s gambit is risky, yes—but a calculated risk. A dictator looking down the barrel of regime change may be inclined to gamble. Perhaps Muammar Qaddafi and Hosni Mubarak lost power because they failed to play the game as ruthlessly or effectively as Assad has.

What can Washington do? The devil’s gambit works precisely because it presents the West with a stark alternative: a greater evil or a lesser evil. Before we cast our lot with Assad, however, we need to think not just about today’s choice, but also about the long-term outlook. Is Damascus the root source of the problem? Is a sustainable solution possible if Assad remains in power? Is there a third alternative?

More than anything, the devil’s gambit provides another argument for early action to prevent civil wars from breaking out or escalating. Otherwise, we may find that the enemy of our enemy is a fiend.

 
Giving ISIS Bai'ah - Your Allegiance To Assad: Tyrant Bashar al-Assad And The Devil’s Gambit - Has The Syrian Tyrant Used ISIS To Become A de facto U.S. Ally?

The Evidence:

In a response to Al Qaeda Emir Sheikh Ayman al Zawahiri’s latest attempt at reconciliation (see below) with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham, ISIS spokesman Abu Muhammad Al Adnani made a startling admission: Al Qaeda has ordered its fighters and branches to refrain from attacking the Iranian state in order to preserve the terror group’s network in the country. (Long War Journal May 2014)

ISIS was established on April 8, 2013, when its subsidiary organization, Jabhat Al Nusra, merged with the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI), which itself was a successor to what suppose to be Al-Qaeda in Iraq.

The organization’s leader is Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who recently announced the Islamic Caliphate. The group announced on 30th June that it was now called the “Islamic State”. An official document was also released, in English and several other languages.

According to the statement, the new caliphate stretches from Iraq’s Diyala province to Syria’s Aleppo. “The words “Iraq” and “ Levant” have been removed from the name of the Islamic State in official papers and documents.”

Many believe that this an Iranian inspired step to frighten the West that Bashar Al Assad regime is the only bulwark against the new Islamic bugaboo. ISIS clashed with its former Al-Qaeda sister branch, already active in Syria, Jabhat Al-Nusra or Al-Nusra Front headed by Abu Mohammad Al Golani.

The clash between ISIS and Al-Nusra sparked accusations that the former (i.e ISIS) was nothing but a means for the Syrian Military Intelligence Directorate, along with the Iranians, to plant agents of the Assad regime and of Iran within the Syrian opposition, thereby spreading confusion in its ranks and diverting it from the fight against Assad into internecine struggle, according to a report published by the Jerusalem Centre for Public Affairs in June 2014.

During the invasion of Iraq, Syria would send ISIS purportedly affiliated to Al-Qaeda operatives to Iraq to attack US forces. Syrian intelligence in full coordination with Iran recruited the ISIS to infiltrate the ranks of the Al-Qaeda Salafis now fighting in Syria. Once free, they broke into Iraqi prisons to liberate their comrades, thereby creating the basis for expanding ISIS.

Iran’s Motivation and Collusion:

What would Iran’s motivation be to support a Sunni jihadist organizations like ISIS? In Syria, ISIS has forced the West to choose between the regime of Bashar al-Assad or a religious outfit. Given that choice, it was assumed that the West would back Assad, as did the Russians and the Chinese.

Cynically Iran is exploiting the Western fear of terrorism to make common cause with the West against ISIS.

ISIS suddenly emerged in Syria, at a time when the collapse of Assad’s regime seemed imminent. The emergence of ISIS saved the Syrian regime by threatening the world with an alternative fighters regime would replace Assad’s.

The same scenario happened in Iraq. Nouri al-Maliki, who is an Iranian puppet as most Iraqis believe, was about to lose his position as Prime Minister, especially that Sunni, Shi’ite and Kurds leaders unanimously refused to renew his term. Suddenly again, ISIS emerged. The ISIS connection with the Syrian leadership, and hence with Iran, raises serious questions.  It was recently noted that tyrant Assad released ISIS operatives from his prisons and for the most part left it alone, sparing it from attacks by the Syrian army. Two leading American analysts just wrote in the Washington Post, “The non-jihadist Syrian opposition insists that ISIS is a creation of Iran.”

David Butter, a leading expert on Syria and an associate fellow at think-tank Chatham House, told Channel 4 News recently that the links between ISIS and Syrian intelligence date back to the aftermath of the Iraq war of 2003.

“The leaders of ISIS have already worked hand in glove with Syrian intelligence, whether supplying them with weapons or supplying money flowing from their racketeering activities around Mosul. “Assad has a long history of supporting terrorist groups and activity in the region. There have been pictures of ISIS flags on buildings that have escaped shelling and reports of supposed collusion on oil and gas deals”.

When ISIS was formed in April last year, Syrian activists claimed it served the interests of brutal dictator Bashar Al-Assad and his main ally, Tehran. A report in the Economist magazine 21st June 14 explained how ISIS was less interested in toppling the Assad’s regime than fighting other groups. ISIS has been criticized for its attacks on civilians and rival opposition groups. It has never targeted Al Assad’s regime and not a single barrel bombs has been dropped by the regime on ISIS.

The Iranian ISIS/ISIL connections:

According to Al-Shorfa.com a web site sponsored by USCENTCOM  “The Iranian regime’s continued interference in Syrian affairs is rooted in preserving its economic and political interests in the region “Iran’s current goal is to abort the Syrian revolution and portray the ruling Syrian regime as waging a war on terrorism”. The connection between the Iranian regime and ISIL is evident.

“Since the outbreak of the Islamic Revolution, Iran has worked to establish external bases through some of the armed groups that follow its policy directly, such as Hezbollah’s branches in Lebanon, Iraq and Syria”.

“The first organisation born of the womb of the Iranian intelligence [services] was the Islamic State in Iraq (ISI), which later became ISIL/ISIS under the leadership of Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi,”

These contradictions raise questions about how far Iran is willing to go in using ISIS and its leadership groups to implement its policies.

The Iranian regime’s support of groups such as ISIL aims to “project a dark image of the Syrian opposition as nothing but Al-Qaeda-affiliated religious groups,” said Sami Gheit, an economist and researcher with Al-Sharq Centre for Regional and Strategic Studies.

Many of ISIL's practices, including field executions, assassinations and beheadings, aim to tarnish the image of the Syrian revolution, said Mohammed Abdullah, a Syrian journalist residing in Cairo who is documenting Assad's war on the Syrians, with a focus on the Iranian file. FIGHTING the Free Syrian Army INSTEAD OF SYRIA’S REGIME, ISIS has never engaged the Syrian army or Hezbollat. “In al-Raqa, for example,ISIL spared strategic Syrian regular army positions, despite the fact it controls the bulk of the territory in the province.” The three positions are the airport and [the headquarters of] the 17th Division and 93rd Brigade.

Iranian Documents Found In ISIL's Possession:

Other evidence of the Iranian regime’s involvement with ISIL includes the discovery of official documents and passports issued by the Iranian authorities at ISIL's headquarters in rural western Aleppo earlier this year, said Syrian journalist Mohammed Abdullah.

These documents include Iranian passports and several other documents belonging to fighters from Chechnya and Kazakhstan, in addition to many Iranian SIM cards, he said.

This points to a connection between ISIL leaders and Iranian intelligence, he said. The brain-washed rank and file of ISIS are ignorant of the political alliances between ISIS, Tehran and Damascus.

Iran is Syrian tyrant Bashar Assad’s strongest ally, providing military, financial and diplomatic, and propaganda support. The U.S. has repeatedly accused Iran of using its Revolutionary Guards to train and deploy Shi’ite fighters to bolster Assad’s forces.

In June the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS) humiliated the Iraqi army and focused world attention on Iraq again. What the world does not recognize is the role played by Syrian tyrant Bashar Al-Assad helping and strengthening ISIS.

ISIS has long been at war with the moderate opposition groups like the Islamic Front and the Free Syrian Army (FSA), who have successfully driven it out of much of its former turf in the north. Alex Rowell writing on 17th June in Now Media Me ““Blame Assad for ISIS Rise””. He gives examples of the collaboration between ISIS and the Syrian regime.

-ISIS bases have never been targeted by the Syrian regime

A government adviser told the New York Times’ Anne Barnard this was indeed a deliberate policy, designed to “tar” the broader opposition and “frame [the] choice” as either Assad or the religious groups.

-As one ISIS defector told The Daily Telegraph, “We were confident that the regime would not bomb us. We always slept soundly in our bases.

-According to the same Daily Telegraph report, both ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra have raised millions of dollars through sales of crude oil from fields under their control to the regime.

- Nawaf al-Fares, the defected former Syrian ambassador to Iraq, has claimed the regime ordered a series of suicide bombings in Syria in 2012, carried out by the very jihadists he himself had sent to Iraq years previously.

Yet more recently the siege of Deir ez-Zor has been maintained by the army of Bashar al-Assad in the south and by ISIS to the north and east. Among the forces that have been trapped in the middle are the Free Syrian Army (FSA), raising the question of whether ISIS was colluding with the Syrian government and its Iranian allies to defeat the more mainstream elements of the Syrian opposition. Also at the time of writing we read reports of collusion between ISIS and Assad’s army in Aleppo.

As the conflict in Syria and Iraq continues, more facts about the collaboration between Iran, ISIS and the Syrian regime will emerge.

 
Syrian Mujahidun Led By Nusrah Front Seize Assad Forces’ Positions in Qontariya Region
 

Syrian Mujahidun led by Nusrah Front were able to take control over three watchtower positions belonging to Assad forces’ 60th brigade in recent operations. These positions are near the Syria-Israel border. groups of fighters led by Nusrah Front have named these attacks the “al-Shams & Zahaha Operation”

According to Reuters news agencies in Beirut on 14 July 2014, Hezbollat the Lebanese Shia terror group has confirmed its fighters killed in clash on Syria-Lebanon border. Seven fighters from the Lebanese group Hezbollat were killed in fighting with Sunni Islamist insurgents in a mountainous area on the Syria-Lebanon border in which at least 16 rebels were also killed, a monitoring group reported on Monday.

Meanwhile, Syrian Mujahidun led by Nusrah Front clashed on Wednesday with Hezbollat mercenaries in Qalamoun area. The Qalamoun news center reported Syrian Nusrah Front led fighters ambushed Lebanese Hezbollat mercenaries in the border town of Jaroud al-Warad, killing 7 Hezbollat members and confiscating all of the equipment left behind by the fleeing forces.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition-affiliated watchdog, said a further 31 fighters from Hezbollat had been wounded in the fighting in the border area between Ras al-Maara in Syria and Arsal in northeast Lebanon.

Syrian government forces and Hezbollat “control the area, but they don’t control every cave and mountain. There are many areas to hide in the mountains”, said Rami Abdurrahman, the Britain-based head of the Observatory.

In recent days, Syrian Mujahidun led by Nusrah Front have increased their assaults on Assadites and its Shia mercenaries from Lebanon and Iran around the region of Deraa, South of the country.

Orient TV reported Syrian rebels in the city of Deraa have intensified their attacks all across Deraa Province. South of the city of Basry al-Sham the rebels have inflicted blows to Assad forces, killing many of their troops and also four Lebanese Hezbollah mercenaries.

Earlier, more than fifty ISIS elements have been killed in Mesraba by Jeish Islam in Eastern Ghouta after they had managed to dismantle Car Bombs prepared by ISIS to kill civilians.

Last week, Syrian Mujahidun led by Nusrah Front stormed ISIS HQ in Mesraba, Eastern Ghouta despite Assad’s desperate attempts to distract their operations in favour of the ISIS who is selling the regime in Damascus thousands of barrels of oil looted from the Syria and Iraq.

 
In Syria, the Enemy of America's Enemy Is Still a Lousy Friend
 

By Muhammad Idrees Ahmad

History is being rewritten. Syrian tyrant Bashar Assad is about to emerge as a moderate peacemaker, a warrior against terror, and a secularist bulwark holding Islamist hordes at bay. His violence will be seen as no more than the tough love of a benevolent patriarch, eager to restore order amid spiraling chaos. The beast moving toward Bethlehem, it turns out, is really a dove.

These thoughts were not filched from the regime’s PR dispatches. Nor did they originate from the political fringes, where the far left and far right have long portrayed Assad as a man warring against the same governments they loathe and/or feel oppressed by. No, these are the recent opinions of respectable mainstream voices.

The ball was set rolling by Ryan Crocker, the whiz diplomat who made his reputation as the US ambassador to Iraq and Afghanistan. In an article for the New York Times, he argued that it was “time to consider a future for Syria without Assad’s ouster." His reason? “It is overwhelmingly likely that is what the future will be.” His circular logic found few takers, though notable among them was former NSA and CIA chief Michael Hayden.

Crocker and Hayden represent the id of US foreign policy. The instincts they embody have often been kept in check by the civic values to which, in rhetoric if not in practice, every American leader pays homage. One cannot speak of human rights, rule of law, individual freedom, civil liberty, or self-determination and be seen openly pursuing policies that violate these principles. To change course, principles have to be reconciled with preferences.

Crudely defined, the US has no interests at stake in Syria, and the Obama administration was never enthusiastic about overthrowing Assad. It dithered long into the initial repression, and once events forced it into declaring a position, the gap between aspiration and action was never bridged. The foremost US concern — keeping weapons from falling into hands that might turn them on Israel — starved the most effective fighting forces of support. The Free Syrian Army withered, a vacuum was created, and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) gained.

ISIS, the product of an implicit policy, has now become the alibi for making the same policy explicit. According to the Daily Beast, the administration is already debating whether to embrace Assad as an ally in a war against terror. Obama will be reverting to his predecessor’s policy; under George W. Bush, Assad held a “war on terror” franchise, Damascus a favored destination for CIA “rendition” flights.

Intellectuals are bending themselves out of shape to help the administration justify the unjustifiable. That members of the foreign policy establishment should revert to their affinity for “stability” imposed by strongmen is not entirely surprising; nor is it surprising that Assad’s vaguely anti-imperial rhetoric should turn him into a cause célèbre for the far left. But the chorus has also been joined by far unlikelier figures.

David Lesch is a Trinity University professor of Middle East history who once had close links to the regime. He wrote Syria: The Fall of the House of Assad, which recorded the inexcusable acts of repression that led Lesch to finally break with Assad — long before last year's chemical-weapons massacre in Ghouta. Since the publication of his book, at least 120,000 more people have been killed. This, curiously, has led Lesch to conclude that Assad is a “moderate” who holds the keys to peace.

Juan Cole, one of the world's finest Middle East scholars who has painstakingly recorded the horrors inflicted by the regime, runs the indispensable Informed Comment blog. In a recent post, he lists several reasons why the US must not do what it already is not doing — arm the Syrian rebels. But after rightly noting that an ISIS takeover of Damascus would be “a very, very bad outcome," he blandly states: “The West supported the Algerian military regime against the Islamic Salvation Front in the 1990s, despite the government’s dirty war and similar crimes to those being committed by the Baathists in Syria.” Prescription or prognosis? He never makes clear.

Far more clear in this regard is Leslie Gelb, president emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations. In a New York Times op-ed, he writes: “The greatest threat to American interests in the region is ISIS, not Mr. Assad. To fight this enemy, Mr. Obama needs to call on others similarly threatened… above all, the political leader with the best-armed forces in the region, Mr. Assad." Mr. Assad’s “best-armed forces” and resilience have also earned the admiration of the Nation’s reliably obtuse Bob Dreyfuss.

After three years of serial atrocities, massacres, starvation sieges, torture, and rape, we face a surreal situation in which, instead of calls for accountability, Western intelligentsia are debating the rehabilitation of the monster who presided over this horror. It bespeaks a moral decay and failure of imagination when, in the name of expediency, some appear willing to burnish their “realist” credentials by condemning the nearly 10 million displaced Syrians to the indignities of stateless exile.

The inconvenient fact that the uprising was massive and popular is dealt with by pronouncing it already dead. The myriad civil society groups and the vast network of Local Coordination Committees go entirely unmentioned. Assad’s opponents are presented as an undifferentiated mass; ISIS is lumped together with anti-Assad forces, even though ISIS has fought nearly all of its battles against the regime’s opponents rather than against the regime itself.

These accounts present a false choice between the regime and ISIS — a comparison that works to the regime’s advantage. Never mind that ISIS, repugnant as it is, has not nearly the regime’s destructive capacity. As recent events have shown, its gains, unlike the regime’s, are not met by indifference. Even in the unlikely event that Damascus were to fall to ISIS, its actions will be constrained by the kind of international mobilization that is already happening in Iraq.

But more significantly, by allying itself with the regime, the US will be making itself party to the suppression of the Syrian people’s right to self determination. The administration cannot partner against “terror” with a force that its own State Department has described as “the kind of machinery of cruel death” unseen “since the Nazis." Return to “stability” might sound attractive after a decade of neoconservative chaos, but the proponents of this view forget that ISIS emerged in the first place as a consequence of US support for despotic regimes across the Middle East and North Africa.

The legitimate fear of black flags over the Levant is causing panic in Washington. But the short-term fixes being proposed will only burden the US with long-term woes. If ISIS is treated as a causeless symptom in need of a quick remedy, cynical alliances to quash it will seem attractive. But ISIS is the consequence of a failed policy, and it's the original sin of abandoning the revolution that demands redress. The US will never be secure if it allies itself with the tormentor of the Syrian people and condemns millions to the squalor of hostile refugee camps.

The only way the US can defeat ISIS without engendering blowback is to give meaningful support to the Syrian resistance.

Muhammad Idrees Ahmad is the author of The Road to Iraq: The Making of a Neoconservative War. Follow him on Twitter: @im_pulse.

 
Fightings Near Central Prison In Aleppo And Layramoun
 

On Saturday night, July 12, Assadite troops launched a counter-offensive on the position of Mujahideen of Jaish al-Muhajireen wal Ansar/Army of Emigrants and Supporters (AES) near the central prison of Aleppo, reports Akhbar Sham.

During the attack, infidels were able to capture several buildings and move forward, breaching the defense line of Mujahideen. After assessing the situation and reviewing the intelligence, the command of AES made a tough response.

Against the advancing forces of infidels, assault units of Mujahideen were engaged. After hours of fierce fighting, the invaders were broken down and began to retreat.

Throughout the day of Saturday July 12th, units of AES counter-attacked infidels across the whole defense line. Under the blows of the Mujahideen, Assadites were forced to stop their offensive and then retreated.

However, Mujahideen did not let the enemy to retreat. Advanced groups of AES went from the rear-guard of the enemy and cut off all the escape routes for infidels. A large group of Assadites was surrounded.

By Saturday midnight, the besieged group of infidels was completely routed out.

The AES had two fighters martyred, Insha'Allah, and more than a dozen wounded. Infidels suffered heavy losses. Precise numbers are not known.

Also on Saturday night, AES Mujahideen attacked infidels in the Layramoun (aka Balleramoun) district. Mujahideen dug a tunnel under the building called "House 160", which is directly adjacent to headquarters of Assad's Air Force Intelligence.

15 tons of explosives literally annihilated the position of infidels. According to preliminary data, more than 40 infidels have been eliminated. Assadites were forced to throw all their resources into the area the possible breakthrough of Mujahideen.

As of Sunday night, July 13, fightings in Layramoun were ongoing. Two Mujahideen martyred in Layramoun, Insha’Allah.

Markaz Kavkaz

 
A Clarification Regarding the Alleged Announcement of an Emirate by Jabhat an-Nusra July 2014
 

In reaction of the leaked audio-message in which Jabhat an-Nusra allegedly announced their own Emirate in Syria; it didn’t take too long before Jabhat an-Nusra reacted officially on this rumours. Below is their official reaction published via their official account on Twitter:

Arabic:

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

بيان توضيحي حول ما أشيع عن إعلان جبهة النصرة لإمارة إسلامية

الحمد لله والصلاة والسلام على رسول الله وعلى آله وصحبه ومن والاه، وبعد:

1-إنَّ مشروع جبهة النصرة من أول يوم أُسست فيه هو إعادة سلطان الله إلى أرضه وتحكيم شريعته.

2-إننا نسعى لإقامة إمارة إسلامية وفق السُنن الشرعية المعتبرة ولم نعلن عن إقامتها بعد، وفي اليوم الذي يوافقنا فيه المجاهدون الصادقون والعلماء الربانيون سنعلن عنها بإذن الله.

3-إننا نسعى لتحكيم الشريعة من خلال إقامة دور للقضاء ومراكز حفظ الأمن وتقديم الخدمات العامة للمسلمين في غضون عشرة أيام بديلا عن الهيئات الشرعية السابقة.

4- لن نسمح لأحد أن يقطف ثمار الجهاد ويقيم مشاريع علمانية أو غيرها من المشاريع التي تقام على دماء وتضحيات المجاهدين.

5- لن تتهاون جبهة النصرة مع المجموعات المفسدة في المناطق المحررة بالاتفاق مع الفصائل الصادقة.

6- رص الصفوف ضد الأخطار التي تهدد الساحة سواء من قبل النظام النصيري أو جماعة الخوارج الغلاة.

{ وَاللهُ غَالِبٌ عَلَى أَمْرِهِ وَلَكِنَّ أَكْثَرَ النَّاسِ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ }

(( جَبْهَةُ النُّصْرَة ))
|| مؤسسة المنارة البيضاء للإنتاج الإعلامي ||

لا تنسونا من صالح دعائكم

والحمد لله ربِّ العالمين

تاريخ نشر البيان: يوم السبت14 من رمضان 1435 للهجرة، الموافق 12/ 7/ 2014


Translation:

All Praise is due to Allah, and may the Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon the Prophet of Allah, his family, companions and those who follow him. As for what is to come…

1. From the first day of its establishment, Jabhat Al-Nusrah had set its mission to restore the dominion of Allah on the earth and establish His Shari’ah.

2. We, in Jabhat Al-Nusrah, strive to establish an Islamic Emirate according to the regarded Islamic Sunnan. We have not announced the establishment of and Emirate, yet. When the time comes and the sincere Mujahidoon and the pious scholars agree with our stance, we will announce this Emirate, by the Will of Allah.

3. We strive to rule by Shari’ah by establishing Islamic Courts, Security Offices and offering general services to the Muslims within the next ten days. This project will replace the previous project of Al-Hay’aat Al-Shari’eeyah.

4. We will not allow anyone to pick the fruits of this Jihad and establish a secular scheme, or any other scheme, which takes advantage of the sacrifices of the Mujahideen and is established on their blood.

5. Jabhat Al-Nusrah will not hesitate to deal [militarily] with the corrupt groups in the liberated areas. This will be done by cooperation with the sincere groups [of Mujahideen].

6. Jabhat Al-Nusrah is determined to unify ranks to face the dangers which threaten the Jihadi front [in Al-Shaam], whether these threats are from the Nusayri Regime or from the group of Khawarij and ghulaat (extremists).

“And Allah is predominant over His affair, but most of the people do not know.”

(Qur’an 12:21)

Jabhat Al-Nusrah Al-Manarah Al-Baidaa’ Media Productions

Remember us in your Du’aa

All Praise is due to Allah, Lord of all

Date of Publication: Saturday, 14th Ramadan 1435 Hijri

July, 2014

 
Barrel Bomb Designed To Kill Muslims, Eliminated Infidels Themselves

News agency Akhbar Sham with reference to the Mujahideen commanders operating in the area of Sphere around Aleppo, reported that as a result of spontaneous explosion of barrel bomb on the helipad of Assadites have completely destroyed the helicopter and its crew and 2 other helicopters seriously damaged.

Sources say that the explosion occurred at a time when Assadites shipped the barrel bombs on board the helicopter once again to drop them at civilians of Aleppo.

But this time Allah ordered differently. Infidels found their death from a bomb that intended to kill Muslims.

Meanwhile fightings continue throughout Syria.

Infidels’ troops are entrenching in Sheikh Najjar. Constant artillery fire on positions of the Mujahideen have been conducting from there. Capturing of Sheikh Najjar by infidels poses a threat of complete encirclement of Aleppo.

There are also fightings inside the city of Aleppo. The most violent clashes occurred in neighborhoods of Beni Zeid, as-Sahour, Hanani, and ash-Sheikh Said.

Positional confrontation continues near the central prison of Aleppo and in Layramoun (aka Balleramoun) district. After the capture of the so-called "White House" assault squads of the Jaish al-Muhajireen wal Ansar/Army of Emigrants and Supporters (AES) took control of important traffic messages, blocking the movement of the infidels.

Fighting are also taking place in Damascus, in the eastern Ghouta and other areas.

In the neighborhood of the town of Kiswa, in settlements of at-Tiba and Ein el-Beida, units of Jaish al-Islam/Army of Islam (AI) attacked Assadites using heavy mortars. Clashes also occurred in the Douma district.

Fighting continues between Ad Dawla al-Islamiyya/Islamic State (IS) and AI. It is reported that the units of AI smashed IS units from Mesraba.

Fierce clashes are occurred in the city of Quneitra. Infidels claim they repelled an attack on Al-Alam Square.

Clashes also occurred in the localities of al-Hajj, az-Zubaydah, and Rasm-Halbe, where units of Mujahideen attacked the military bases of infidels.

Markaz Kavkav

 
Jabhat al-Nusra Raids On Assad’s Forces, Joining Clashes In Golan

Clashes started again on Syria's southern front, especially in Quneitra, between the factions and the Syrian forces, while militants in the countryside of Hama killed 14 of Assad people.

Twenty members of the Islamic State (IS, formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, or ISIS) were killed in Syrian air force raids over Raqqa governorate.

Sources affiliated with the armed opposition accused the dead of being “informants” who work for the Syrian forces.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said, “At least 20 IS members were killed and others were injured due to air force raids over a training base for IS militants,” adding that 14 military vehicles were also destroyed.

Armed groups in Golan launched an operation named “By the sun and its brightness” (Surat al-Shams) July 10 2014. Brigades from the Military Council of the Free Army are participating in the operation, alongside others from the Ababil Horan Brigade, Martyrs of Damascus, the Husayn Bin Ali Battalion, Infantry Division 24, al-Haramain Brigade, Shabab al-Huda (Huda Youth Brigade), in addition to Jabhat al-Nusra, the Levant Liberation Band and Liwa al-Fatihin.

This operation aims to take over the 90th Brigade’s fort, affiliated with the Free Syrian Army in the middle area of Quneitra.

The media office of the Syrian Rebels Front said they took over a military unit in Ain al-Darb and its neighboring farms.

This operation is the first in months in the Golan, where militants were able to take over the Red Hills near the border with the occupied Golan, while the army was able to regain control over the middle area.

This attack aims to secure larger areas under the control of militants on one hand, and to create a connection between the countryside of Quneitra and the countryside of Houran, on the other hand.

It is intriguing that Jabhat al-Nusra is participating in the clashes alongside the Free Syrian Army after it distanced itself from previous battles due to the tension between them and the other factions in Houran, after the leader of Jabhat al-Nusra’s military council, Ahmad al-Nehme was arrested. During the past few days, Jabhat al-Nusra invaded a number of villages that are under the control of the Free Syrian Army.

In Idlib, clashes continue around the Hamidiya camp, south of Maarat al-Numaan, while the Observatory for Human Rights said militants took over a checkpoint near the camp. Clashes also continue in the neighboring area of Madajen.

In Eastern Ghouta, Jaysh al-Islam militants attacked an IS office in Midaa and Misraba, amid reports of the death of a number of IS emirs, including Abu Mohamed al-Homsi, Abu Jaafar and Abu Hamzeh. A source from the Jaysh al-Islam said the killer of “the Sharia judge” Ouns Kweider (Abu Himam al-Shami) has been “punished.” There have also been reports of the death of the IS emir of the southern area of Damascus, Abu Siyah.
 
Hashish Production Thrives In Hezbollah-Controlled Land

Hezbollah is controlling the majority of Marijuana plantations across Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley and the government is unable to do much about it, the Daily Beast reported Wednesday.

While it is not uncommon to find marijuana plantations in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley, production has reportedly surged during the conflict in Syria, where Hezbollah is fighting alongside tyrant Bashar al-Assad’s forces.

“Local politicians know about it, police know about it, the Lebanese army is aware of it and so are authorities in Beirut. But nobody wants to, or can, fix the problem. The majority of these plantations are controlled by Hezbollah,” the Daily Beast report said.

Prior to Assad's war on the Syrians, the Lebanese army had reportedly raided land used for growing the plant. But over the past two three years, the army became more focused on border security.

“The police and the army can’t stop me even if they wanted to,” a marijuana farmer from Baalbek, a Hezbollah stronghold, said.

“It is no secret to say that these networks [of hashish producers] are very well armed in order to protect their marijuana fields,” Ohannes Geukjan, professor of political science at the American University of Beirut, told the Daily Beast.

“There are some areas in the Bekaa Valley and Hermel where the government and the army have been unable to penetrate.”

Drug traffickers are reportedly using ports controlled by Hezbollah and the lawlessness in Syria to smuggle Lebanon’s cannabis, which according to the report has reached Jordan.

Al-Arabiyah

 
Iran: The Existential Threat

By Ken Blackwell

Nothing could be more damaging to America’s long-term security interests than aligning with the murderous regime of Tehran in any way for any purpose. The phrase that best describes the theocratic regime in Tehran is hostis humani generis—enemies of all mankind. This Latin term is applied in international law to terrorists, pirates, and slave traders. It fits this regime’s rule well.

Iran is the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism. It is a major persecutor of religion. In today’s Iran, Christians, Jews, Baha’i, Zoroastrians, and minority Muslim sects are actively suppressed and terrorized. Pastor Saeed Abedini was sentenced to eight years in a filthy prison, beaten and abused for “threatening the national security of Iran.” His crime: He started an orphanage!

Our own State Department reports on the full range of human rights abuses in Iran. These include:
“disappearances; cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment, including judicially sanctioned amputation and flogging; politically motivated violence and repression, such as beatings and rape; harsh and life-threatening conditions in detention and prison facilities, with instances of deaths in custody; arbitrary arrest and lengthy pretrial detention, sometimes incommunicado; continued impunity of security forces; denial of fair public trials, sometimes resulting in executions without due process…”

Nor should it be forgotten that Iran publicly hangs homosexuals. Add to this catalogue of abuses even more from the State Department:

“…Violence against women, children, ethnic and religious minorities, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons based on perceived sexual orientation and gender identity;”

What other evidence is needed to label them justly “enemies of all mankind?”

The regime’s savagery is real and growing. No other nation so regularly calls for the physical elimination of the United States or its neighbor, Israel. No other nation is so actively seeking nuclear weapons.

Do we dare to dismiss their genocidal threats as bluster?

In Paris this week, groups of Iranian exiles, U.S. and European parliamentarians, military experts, and diplomats will meet to discuss ways to neutralize or change the regime in Iran.

Event organizers have announced that American participants include Gen. George Casey, Michael Mukasey, Marc Ginsberg, Amb. John Bolton, Gov. Ed Rendell, and Frances Townsend. Topics will include: deteriorating human rights situation in Iran, Tehran’s nuclear weapons program, and the fate of Iranian refugees at Camp Liberty in Iraq.

If this conclave can reach consensus, and , if they can persuade the Western democracies to take concerted action, we may yet avert the most terrible conflict since the Second World War.

Every day the Mullahs’ regime spinning centrifuges bring them a step closer to having a nuclear weapon. Iran’s former president, Mahmoud Ahamdinejad publicly declared he could foresee “a world without the United States.” And he dismissed Israel as “a two-bomb country.”

The Washington Post earlier this month informed us of the stalling of nuclear talks with Iran:

Iran says such experiments--detailed in documents obtained by Western spy agencies--never occurred, but it has refused to allow IAEA officials near the site since 2005. Satellite photos in recent weeks have shown major renovation underway at the site, with several buildings razed and soil removed near the place where the alleged test chamber once stood. Iran has consistently said that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes, not making weapons.

The report, which was carried by the “nuclear watchdog” group, was seemingly muffled by this dismissive treatment. Who will hear a watchdog whose bark is so dangerously disregarded?

Iran’s regime must change or be changed. There is no peace, no safety possible with such a cohort of “enemies of all mankind.” This is why we must look to the Paris talks this week as a key indicator of Western resolve.

We will observe in July one hundred years since Europe’s leaders marched “like sleepwalkers” over the cliff and into the cataclysm of the Great War.

That devastating world war left empires shattered, civilizations in ruins, and unleashed the forces of Arab nationalism and religious and ideological fury.

It cost the world twenty million dead.

But that is a lower estimate of what Iran might do if it obtains nuclear weapons. There is no crisis—not Ukraine, not Nigeria, not Sudan, not the Israeli-Arab conflict—that is more threatening than the Iranian Mullahs with nuclear weapons.

The cause is mankind. Nothing less.

This and other articles by Ken Blackwell can be read at Townhall.com

 
ISIS Gains Full Control Over Two Iraqi Border Crossings - Teraibeel Bordering Syria And al-Waleed with Jordan

Iraqi military forces belonging to embattled Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki confirmed to several news outlets on Sunday that two crossings bordering Syria and Jordan were seized by the al-Qaeda breakaway Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group.

Capturing the crossings include Teraibeel bordering Syria and al-Waleed with Jordan prove how vastly and swiftly the Sunni fighters have expanded their offesive operations in Iraq, controlling more territories from the Khonomeinist shiite government of al-Maliki.

Controlling the borders with Syria will also help it supply fellow fighters in Syria with weaponry gained from Iraqi Khnomeinist government warehouses, significantly reinforcing its ability to battle beleaguered Syrian government forces.

Officials at the border post of al-Waleed fled after a relatively small number of militants in two cars fired into the air, Reuters reported a customs police source and an army source as saying. They did not say who was behind the attack. A government official who spoke on condition of anonymity pointed at the Mujahidun-led ISIL fighters who have recently taken the towns of Qaim, Rawah and Anah in Anbar province, located on the border with Syria, hosts a key crossing between the two countries.

The security sources said some officials from the customs office and from a government bank at the Waleed border crossing had fled westward in the direction of Syria and others had headed east into Iraq. The Mujahidun fighters are now in full control of the northern city of Baiji, which host one of the world’s biggest oil refinery.

The vast Anbar province stretches from the western edges of the capital, Baghdad, all the way to Jordan and Syria to the northwest. Fighting in the predominantly Sunni region has disrupted use of the highway linking Baghdad to the Jordanian border, a key artery for goods and passengers.

In January, fighters in Anbar overran the city of Fallujah and parts of Ramadi.

The latest gains by ISIL are a further blow to Nouri al-Maliki, Iraq’s Shia prime minister, whose grasp on his job is coming under increasing pressure as the rebels try to push the country towards a sectarian showdown.

The capture of the town of Rawah on the Euphrates River and the nearby town of Anah appeared to be part of a march towards a key dam in the city of Haditha. Any destruction of the dam would have a serious impact on the country's electrical grid and cause major flooding.

Military officials said more than 2,000 troops were quickly dispatched to the site of the dam to protect it against a possible attack, the AP news agency reported.

Arab media reporting from Baghdad, acknowledges there is significant ISIL movement in Anbar on Sunday, adding that the province is increasingly coming under the control of fighters.

"After taking over Qaim, Rawah and Anah, armed groups are now advancing to the next town, Haditha in the west of Ramadi city, and are negotiating with tribal leaders to enter there peacefully," he said.

"Army forces have left Haditha and have moved to the town of Khan al-Baghdadi and the military base of Ein al-Asad."

On Saturday, Shia armed groups rallied across the country vowing to protect religious sites and making a very deliberate show of force against ISIL.

The capture of the two crossings follows the fall on Friday and Saturday of the towns of Qaim, Rawah, Anah and Rutba perhaps represents the biggest one-day gains of the Mujahidun since their liberation of Iraq began last week. The cities, however, are all in the Sunni dominated Anbar province, where the militants have since January controlled the city of Fallujah and parts of the provincial capital Ramadi.

Rutba is on the main highway from Baghdad to the two border crossing and the capture has effectively cut the Iraqi capital’s main land route to Jordan. It is a key artery for passengers and goods and has been infrequently used in recent months because of deteriorating security.
 
ISIS-led Mujahidun Seize Syria-Iraq Border Post

Sunni fighters seized a border post on the Iraq-Syria frontier on Saturday, smashing a line drawn in 1932 by colonial powers and linking hundreds of miles of land they control to create an Islamic Caliphate from the Mediterranean Sea to Iran.

The Mujahidun (the Holy Warriors), led by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), first moved into the nearby town of al-Qaim on Friday, pushing out security forces, the sources said.

Once border guards heard that al-Qaim had fallen, they left their posts and militants moved in, the sources said.

Sameer al-Shwiali, media adviser to the commander of Iraq's anti-terrorist squad, told Reuters that the Iraqi army was still in control of al-Qaim.

Al-Qaim and its neighboring Syrian counterpart Albukamal are on a strategic supply route. A three-year Assad's war on the Syrians has left most of eastern Syria in the hands of Sunni militants, including the Albukamal-Qaim crossing.

With stunning speed, ISIL, an offshoot of al-Qaeda, has captured swathes of territory in northwest and central Iraq, including the second city, Mosul. They have seized large amounts of weaponry from the fleeing Iraqi army and looted banks.

The fighting has divided Iraq along sectarian lines. The Kurds have expanded their zone in the northeast to include the oil city of Kirkuk, which they regard as part of Kurdistan, while Sunnis have taken ground in the west.

Agencies

 
AES Mujaidun in Syria came to the aid of residents of Khan Tuman - Infidels fled

The command of Jaish al-Muhajireen wal Ansar/Army of Emigrants and Supporters (AES) responded to a request by residents of the Khan Tuman region (south Aleppo province) for help against the invading Nusayrite forces, reports Akhbar Sham.

A unit of JMA was transferred to Khan Tuman. It increased the number of its warriors to 750 Mujahideen during the past months due to an influx of new recruits from among emigrants and local supporters.

After a short preparation, the Mujahideen stormed the infidels’ position, occupying one of the villages.

The attack began in the night of 18 June. Assadites did not expect the rapid assault. Towards the evening of that very day, the infidels fled with their artillery, leaving many dead on the battlefield.

There were also 2 martyrs in the JMA, one from among local supporters and the second was a mujahid from Dagestan.

The populated area captured from Nusayrites is strategically located on a hillside which controls all important roads into Khan Tuman.

Muslims and elders from Khan Tuman welcomed the JMA Mujahideen with great joy due to the fact that JMA responded to the local call for help without delay.

VF eliminates at least 37 Assad militia thugs in a single blast

A car bomb explosion carried out by al-Qaeda in Syria Mujahideen killed at least 37 and wounded more than 50 other Assadite thugs on Friday in an Assad-controlled village in the central Syrian province of Hama.

The explosion went off in Horrah village in the countryside near the central city of Hama.

The Islamic Jabhat an-Nusra/Victory Front (VF) said on Twitter that a radio-controlled bomb had targeted a gathering of Assad militia.

 
Syrian rebels inflict blows against Damascus from numerous axes

Assad regime forces responded by bombing residential and commercial areas

Orient TV reported Syrian rebels staged heavy attacks against Assad forces’ centers in the Khan Sheikh heights around Damascus.

The rebels around the two axes of 'al-Maqruse’ and 'Tal Shahm’ attacked bases of Assad forces with mortar fire.

Syrian rebels in the al-Zeidani front destroyed a tank and ammo vehicle of the Assad forces. Furthermore, clashes around the city of Rankus after a large portion of the area being seized by the rebels.

The Assad criminals targeted the bazaar and commercial areas in the city of Shahr Kafr Batna by launching 15 missiles. Unfortunately, a number of residents were killed and injured, and many of them are in dire conditions.

The Dariya region was also targeted in four air raids with barrel bombs.

Iraq-Syria border passages controlled by armed men

Informed sources said in the city of Qaem, the most western region of Iraq, armed men have taken control of a large number of Iraqi-Syria border towns. Eyewitnesses say army forces evacuated the area a few days ago and handed over the control of the Qaem border passage to the local police, who showed no resistance against the armed men’s attacks.

Taking control over these areas gives the armed groups more maneuver ability. Furthermore, a large area from the Albu Kamal passage to Syria, facing the city of Qaem, is no longer under the control of the Iraqi government.

Syrian rebels target new sites in Deraa

Informed sources said in the city of Qaem, the most western region of Iraq, armed men have taken control of a large number of Iraqi-Syria border towns. Eyewitnesses say army forces evacuated the area a few days ago and handed over the control of the Qaem border passage to the local police, who showed no resistance against the armed men’s attacks.

Taking control over these areas gives the armed groups more maneuver ability. Furthermore, a large area from the Albu Kamal passage to Syria, facing the city of Qaem, is no longer under the control of the Iraqi government.

Al Jazeera, Orient TV, EsinIslam.Com And Agencies

 
Syrian bride wants 15 pro-Assad heads as dowry

With Damascus battles continuing, Syrian Mujahidun group Al-Nusra Front were able to seize 7 new positions in the Abbasin region alone, Orient TV reported.

Syrian Front war room reported intense clashes flaring around Damascus. Free Syrian Army rebels seized complete control of the Asal al-Werd disctrict west of the capital, first destroying Assad forces’ watch tower and then taking control over all of the major bases. A large number of Syrian regime forces and Lebanese militants were killed.

Syrian Mujahidun fighters were also able to take control over the Abbasin area, located east of Damascus while clashes in the Jobar region are continuing intensely.

Officials: Mujahidun overrun Iraq-Syria border crossing

Mujahidun group of fighters belonging to Syria's Al-Nusra Front took control Tuesday of Al-Qaim, the Iraqi side of a border crossing with Syria, after security forces withdrew, police and army officers said.

The brave battalion suits involved loyal to the rebel Free Syrian Army and Al-Qaeda's Syrian front group Al-Nusra Front, which already controlled the Syrian side of the crossing.

Meanwhile, evidences emerged on Tuesday of a Khomeini Iran’s reprisal sectarian slaughter of Sunnis in Iraq, as Tehran’s mercenaries along with their Iraqi proxy Shiite militiamen executed from the lose range dozens of Iraqi civilians detained after insurgents tried to storm the jail northeast of Baghdad.

A local morgue official said many of those executed detainees had bullet wounds to the head and chest, though the Iraqi military insisted the young and vulnerable Sunnis were killed in random executions and by mortar shells in their attack on the facility outside the city of Baqouba.

Senior Hezbollah commander admit receiving major blows in Syria

Senior commanders of Lebanese terrorist organization Hezbollah have admitted they have received most of their heaviest defeats in Syria since 9 top commanders of this terrorist group were killed by Syrian rebels in battles erupting in the Rankus region around Damascus.

In other news, intense clashes continue in the Qalamoun region. The center of these clashes was in the Asal al-Werd district and the rebels have been able to take control over two important areas, forcing the Assad forces to flee their positions.

These heavy clashes were responded with vicious bombings in all areas.

 
Syrian bride wants 15 pro-Assad heads as dowry

A Syrian bride-to-be has asked her fiancé for 15 decapitated heads of pro-Assad troops as her dowry and set up a marriage termination clause worth 50 more decapitated heads.

The 50-year old Aicha Faaourya, who lost her husband and four sons in anti-Assad demonstrations, made her demand to 75-year-old Hajj Ahmad Ramilat during a sit-in outside the Syrian embassy in the Jordanian capital Amman this week.

The woman nicknamed Umm Shouhada, meaning the mother of martyrs, vowed to dedicate the rest of her life to the fighting the regime of brutal dictator Assad.

Hajj Ramilat - member of a Syrian tribal council and is nicknamed "the council’s wise man” - also lost two sons in fighting against Assad’s forces.

He accepted the heavy dowry challenge and pledged to have 15 pro-Assad troops beheaded for her love. In case of divorce he pledged to also provide the additional 50 decapitated heads of pro-Assad forces.

The Syrian civil war has killed more than 160,000 displaced more than 2 million outside the country after four years of fighting.

 
Syrian fighters pursuing objectives under most sever bombing & shelling

The Assad regime cannot stop advances made by Syrian rebels and is taking advantage of the international community’s silence to further massacre innocent civilians, al-Arabiya TV.

Reports received from Hama indicate that during the past few days battles have escalated in a number of axes. Rebels have raided posts of Syrian forces from the south of the city of Murk, killing many and seizing their weapons. In clashes west of this area Syrian rebels attacked various Assad forces’ bases and destroying many of their equipment and weapons.

Amidst all this the Assad forces have on numerous raids bombed the cities of Murk, Kafarzita and Moasra and other sites of this province with rockets and barrel bombs.

However, in the capital the main epicenter of the clashes are in Maliha and Jobar. Despite vicious barrel bombings on residential areas, clashes are continuing intensely between the rebels and Assad forces.

 
How Iran Uses Hezbollah To Hook Arabs On Hard Drugs

The other religion: Why so many young Iranians are hooked on hard drugs

Terror, rockets and bombs are not the only commodities imported from Iran by Hezbollah, the Iran’s proxy terror networking organization. The Lebanese ally of Ayatollahs primarily earns its profits through drug sales in Latin America, but its activities have been traced across multiple continents. The group combines its drug profits with proceeds from legitimate used-car sales in West Africa. Until it was uncovered by officials, this global money-laundering scheme effectively masked Hezbollah’s earnings.

The so-called Islamic Republic has always had its addicts. Its long border with Afghanistan, the world’s biggest opium producer which thanks to the country tradition of good religious practice have one of the world low addict. some hold the opinions that - unlike the sound methodologies of religious leaders, especially the Taliban - the Shiite tradition stigma in applying the law against drinking alcohol mean that opium and its derivatives are cheap, strong and readily available. An official youth unemployment rate of 28% and inflation running at 42% a year, both aggravated by American and European economic sanctions, have helped to turn ever more Iranians to hard drugs. According to Iran’s own figures, 2m Iranians in a population of 75m are addicted, the world’s highest incidence. Most experts put the real figure even higher.

In 2001, international intelligence sources identified Lebanese residents operating for Hezbollah in South America’s tri-border area (Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil). The area has become a major source of funding for Hezbollah’s terror activities. In October 2008, investigators took down a cocaine smuggling operation in Colombia, noting that “profits from the sales of drugs went to finance Hezbollah.”

Crack (as Iranians call it), a cheap, highly addictive derivative of heroin unique to Iran, is rife in the poorer quarters of Iran’s big cities. Home-produced crystal meth, known as shishe, meaning glass, has also entered the market. It is favoured by many poor and disheartened young men and by many middle-class women trying to stay thin. Last year a member of parliament called for action against beauty and hairdressing salons where meth is peddled to women, who are often unaware what they are buying. A report claimed that courses for teaching people to produce crystal meth at home could be bought for as little as 2-3m rials (then $70-100).

Davarze Ghar, a district south of Tehran’s sprawling main bazaar, is one of the capital’s most blighted. At its heart is a reservoir, encircled by a shabby park, where groups of men and women huddle together, smoking meth out of glass pipes or openly injecting crack-heroin. Health officials and social workers in the area complain that funds for outreach and rehabilitation programmes have—thanks to sanctions—been frozen.

Yet Iran has some of the world’s most go-ahead policies for addressing the problem, with methadone clinics, charities for tackling drug addiction and programmes for needle exchanges. At the same time, dealers are dealt with harshly. Hundreds of smugglers have been hanged and thousands of police officers killed in costly counter-narcotics operations in the past three decades.

It also no longer a religion cover up to highlights a pressing international concern about Nasrallah’s men in Lebanon selling drugs throughout the world. The shiite terror group finances its criminal activities using a sophisticated drug-trafficking operation. Despite the world’s objections, Hezbollah continues to profit from its drug sales. Stopping its drug trafficking could be a major step toward preventing its global acts of terror.

Hezbollah’s drug trafficking remains a major threat to the international community. In recent months, the group has stepped up its activities while political turmoil in Syria, a close ally and funder, has intensified.

If Iran’s new president, Hassan Rohani, can fulfil his promise to reduce youth unemployment and cure Iran of its economic malaise, he may prevent a generation of Iranians from becoming the most addled in the world.

However, the new president has already proven a failure in delivering targets both home and abroad.

 
Khomeini Majoosi Army Leader Abdollat Eskandari Beheaded in Syria

A commander from Iran's Revolutionary Guards has been killed in Syria, media said Saturday, a disclosure that runs counter to Tehran's insistence it is not fighting alongside tyrant Bashar al-Assad's forces.

Reports that Abdollat Eskandari died while fighting the Muslims at a Shiite shrine emerged earlier this week but neither the elite military unit nor Iran's foreign ministry have passed comment.

Abdollah Eskandari had travelled to Syria, allegedly to fight around the Sayyida Zeinab shrine in Damascus, a Shiite center of pilgrimage, Iranian news website Payvand reported.

Hardline Iranian news website Rajanews reported that Eskandari had been “martyred” on May 26, while other sources state that he was killed on May 22. His body has not been returned to Iran, reports said.

Syrian news websites circulated a photo of a young man holding what was purportedly Eskandari’s decapitated head in his hand.

However, the Fars news agency reported that a funeral service would be held for the commander Sunday in the city of Shiraz.

Since the conflict's outbreak in March 2011, Iran has provided Damascus with intelligence, material and military advisers.

But Iran insists it has never sent combat troops to Syria, rejecting such claims made by mostly Sunni rebels fighting to overthrow Assad.

Despite the denials, Iranian media occasionally reports the deaths of Iranian volunteer fighters killed in Syria.

Among them was Guards commander Mohammad Jamali Paqale who was killed in November while "defending" the Shiite holy site of Zeinab shrine in Damascus.

Ongoing deaths

Eskandari is one of more than a dozen individuals from Iran who have been killed participating in the three-year-long conflict, according to Iranian media, some with the sole purpose of defending the shrine, which sits outside the war-wracked nation’s capital.

Radio Zamaneh, a Netherlands based radio station, reported that over 60 Revolutionary Guards officers have been killed in Syria since 2011.

Iranian officials continually reject accusations that their government is sending military forces to Syria to prop up embattled tryant Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

As a key ally of Syria, Iran says it provides Damascus with military and financial support.

However, Iranian media from time to time report the deaths of Iranian volunteer fighters there.

Earlier this month, U.S. newspaper the Wall Street Journal reported that Iran’s Revolutionary Guards was offering Iranian residency and $500 monthly stipends to thousands of Afghans to fight Syrian rebels - claims dismissed “completely unfounded” by Iran’s foreign ministry, according to Agence France-Presse.

“The claim of the U.S. paper is completely unfounded and is aimed at damaging Iran's reputation in Afghanistan,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham said in a statement carried by Iranian media.

Al-Arabiyah, EsinIslam.Com & Agencies

 
Syria Islamist fighters the Islamic Front bomb tunnel, kill 20 Assad's dogs

Islamist rebels, who planted explosives in a tunnel under the Syrian’s army position in Aleppo, have killed at least 20 regime soldiers and pro-regime militia on Saturday, Agence France-Presse reported a monitor as saying.

“Islamist rebels detonated a tunnel near the Zahrawi market in the Old City of Aleppo, killing at least 20 army soldiers and pro-regime militiamen,” according to Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, quoted by AFP.

The attack was claimed by the Islamic Front, Syria’s largest rebel alliance, which counts as its members thousands of fighters across the war-torn country.

The Front posted a link to a video on its Twitter account, showing a huge blast throwing a massive cloud of debris up into the air.

The Old City is a flashpoint area that sees daily fighting, and the army has set up multiple positions there.

The historic Old City area has also seen horrific violence ever since a major rebel offensive on Aleppo in July 2012.

Fighting after the bombing

After the explosion, fighting broke out, leaving at least one rebel killed, said the UK-based Observatory.

In recent weeks, the Islamic Front has frequently used tunnels to plant massive amounts of explosives beneath army positions.

The tactic has been used mainly in Aleppo and neighboring Idlib provinces.

The latest blast came a day after the Observatory said some 2,000 people have been killed since January in regime bombing of rebel-held areas of Aleppo city and nearby towns and villages.

Syria’s war has killed more than 162,000 people, and forced nearly half the population to flee their homes.

Agencies

 
Mujahideen restore status quo on front line near Aleppo Central Prison

Mujahideen restore status quo on front line near Aleppo Central Prison

Mujahideen under the command of Jaish al-Muhajireen wal Ansar/Army of Emigrants and Supporters (AES) returned to the status quo to the area of Aleppo Central Prison, reports Akhbar Sham.

It is to be recalled that infidels broke resistance and advanced to the Central Prison on May 22. After that, Jabhat an-Nusra/Victory Front (VF) and the Jabhat al-Islamiyya/Islamic Front (IF) retreated, a mobile group of the AES was urgently moved away from Layramoun [northwest Aleppo] due to advancing enemy. The AES managed to establish a foothold in the village of Tel Hailan and stop the infidels’ advance.

This group was used as a springboard for concentrating forces of Mujahideen and the following offensive.

The last site that was captured by infidels near the village of Jubailyan, was taken on Tuesday 27 May. Thus, the front line which divided Assad’s forces and the Mujahideen before the infidels broke through, has been restored.

The strategic road connecting the prison with Assad’s forces is once again exposed to Mujahideen’s fire. The main fighting zone was once again shifted to Sheikh Najjar, where the infidels still partially hold some positions.

It is to be recalled that the counterattack started on Sunday after morning prayers. AES assault units, supported by local supporters, and also by the units of Ahrar ash-Sham/Free Men of Levant (FML), stormed the village of Jubailyan, which is adjacent to the Aleppo Central Prison.

Mujahideen from the Iraqi group of Ansar al-Islam/Supporters of Islam (SI) play an active role in the attack, and fight under the auspices of the AES.

After breaking the Assadites’ defense, the Mujahideen managed to enter the village, and within a few hours of fierce fighting they completely pushed the enemy out. After suffering heavy losses, the invaders fled from the village and took refuge in buildings located within a few hundred meters from Jubailian.

The general command of the military operation against the infidels in area of the Central Prison and Sheikh Najjar has been entrusted to the AES.

Markaz Kavkaz & Agencies

 
World's Most Wanted Hezbollat Terrorist Ring Leader Fawzi Ayoub Slain In Syria

A senior Lebanese-Canadian commander in the Shiite terrorist group Hezbollat (so-called Hezbollah) has been killed in Syria where he was fighting alongside Bashar Al-Assad's  criminal troops against Syrian freedom fighters, security sources and activists said Tuesday.

The World's most wanted terrorist leader Fawzi Ayoub, who is on the FBI's "most wanted" list for attempting to bomb Israel, was killed on Monday by the predominantly Sunni Muslim rebel forces who have been waging war on dictator Bashar al-Assad for more than three years.

Terror group Hezbollat has joined the Assad's brutal regime in an increasingly sectarian conflict that is pulling in fighters from across the region and destabilizing Syria's neighbors.

Sunni Muslim Islamist groups, some of them linked to Al-Qaeda, have joined mostly Sunni Syrian rebels against the Assad, who belongs to the Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shiite Islam.

Terrorist leader Ayoub was arrested in the West Bank in 2000 and spent four years in an Israeli jail before being released as part of a prisoner swap, the sources said. He is a prominent member of Hezbollah and comes from the southern village of Ain Qaana.

He also holds Canadian citizenship and has lived in the United States. The anti-Assad Syrian Observatory for Human Rights confirmed that Ayoub had been killed in Syria.

The sources said Ayoub was killed in Nawa, a town in the southern Syrian province of Daraa, the cradle of the Syrian uprising-turned-war in which 160,000 people have been killed.
 
Syrian rebels capture strategic checkpoints

Syrian rebels say they have captured 21 strategic military checkpoints in Idlib province after months of fighting.

Meanwhile, there is been intense fighting in northern Aleppo.

But Syria's government and its allies say they will win on the battlefield and in the upcoming presidential election.

Al Jazeera's Osama Bin Javaid reports.
 
Lebanese president urges Hezbollah to leave Syria

Lebanon's President Michel Suleiman on Saturday urged Hezbollah to withdraw its forces from Syria to avoid future repercussions on the tiny Arab state that suffered through 15 years of its own civil war.

Suleiman made his comments in the mountain village of Brih during a ceremony on reconciliation between the Druze and Christian community in the area that witnessed deadly sectarian violence during Lebanon's 1975-90 civil war.

"I appeal for the return to Lebanon and to withdraw from neighboring arenas to avoid future repercussions on Lebanon," said Suleiman, a critic of Hezbollah backing Syrian tyrant Bashar Assad's forces.

Hezbollah, which openly joined the battles in Syria last year, is not likely to abide by Suleiman's call. Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah has vowed to keep his fighters in Syria as long as needed to shore up Assad's struggle against Syria's rebels.

The Hezbollah fighters have been instrumental to Assad's success on the battlefield, and support from the Iranian-backed group appears to have tipped the balance into the government's favor - especially in areas on the border with Lebanon and near the Syrian capital of Damascus.

Suleiman's comments came a week before his six-year term ends.

Meanwhile in Syria, members of al-Qaida breakaway group called the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant beheaded a local rebel commander of a rival group, activists said.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that the Ahrar al-Sham commander known as Abu al-Miqdam went missing four days ago. It said the man was found beheaded Friday in the central province of Hama.

Many rebels referred to Abu al-Miqdam as the "tank sniper" for his role in firing rockets at Syrian army tanks, according to opposition websites.

The Islamic State and rival Islamic groups including Ahrar al-Sham have been fighting each other in northern and eastern Syria since January. Activists say the internal fighting killed more than 6,000 people.

Meanwhile, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned a cut in water supplies in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo that he said has deprived at least 2.5 million people of access to potable water. In a statement released by his office late Friday, Ban noted that denying civilians essential supplies is a breach of international and humanitarian law.

Rebels from the al-Qaeda-linked Nusra Front shut down the main water pumping station in Aleppo, Syria's largest city, nearly two weeks ago to punish civilians living on the government-controlled side of the divided metropolis, the Observatory's Rami Abdurrahman said.

Abdurrahman, whose group collects information from activists inside Syria, said that the Nusra Front has tried to restart the water station, but that supplies are erratic and remain largely cut.

"They don't have specialists to deal with the pumps, and they've damaged the station," Abdurrahman said. "They've tried to resume pumping. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. The water comes and goes, but until now it's not flowing as usual."

Some residents have resorted to drinking polluted well water distributed in buckets and plastic jerry cans.
 
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