Syria: The Battle for Aleppo

By Toni Cartalucci

With Aleppo encircled, West seeks wildcard to save their terror hordes.

January 24, 2015 – The Syrian Arab Army is reportedly close to completely encircling militants that have occupied the northern city of Aleppo since they invaded it from NATO territory in 2012. Once the encirclement is complete, analysts believe the the city will be finally liberated, in a process similar to the retaking of Homs further south.

The desperation of militants facing this final phase in the Battle for Aleppo is indicated by their Western sponsors’ attempts to broker a ceasefire and arrange “aid” to reach them. Similar attempts were made in vain during the closing phases in the Battle for Homs in mid-2014 – with the city of Homs having been an epicenter of terrorist activity beginning in 2011, and now under the control of the Syrian government. Small pockets of militants have been isolated within Homs, allowing order to be restored across the majority of the city and the surrounding region.

As the Syrian government systematically regains control of a nation up-ended by Western-backed terrorists flooding the country accompanied by a seemingly inexhaustible torrent of cash, weapons, and equipment, the desperation of these Western interests has visibly increased.

The Guardian, chief among the many propagandists distorting the conflict since it began in 2011, is now attempting to form a narrative extorting global security by claiming only by NATO establishing a no-fly-zone over Aleppo and repelling Syrian government forces, can “moderate rebels” hold on to the city and repel lingering “Islamic State” (ISIS) forces.

In a report titled, “Syrian rebels prepare to defend ruined Aleppo as troops and militias close in,” the Guardian claims:
Since then the regime’s incremental gains have been hard fought, with most inroads being pushed back by rebel fighters and locals, both still reeling from their losses of manpower in the war with Isis. Meanwhile Isis has lurked 20 miles away, taunting the Islamic Front with a radio station it has set up that regularly plays Islamic chants insulting the group’s members.

“They were strategic [losses] for us,” said the Aleppo commander of the gains by Isis. “And [yet] the Americans doubt our commitment to fighting them? When [the US] came back to Syria, we thought the least they could do is to stop Assad’s air force from flying. But they have bombed the city more than at any time before the Americans arrived. Of course we believe they have a deal with the regime. It is obvious.”

Of course the reality is that the US has merely used ISIS as a pretext to violate Syrian airspace, with the next step being to establish long-planned no-fly-zones, if possible, to thwart the Syrian Arab Army. Just as in Libya, the no-fly-zone would simply hand the rest of Syria over to ISIS and other Al Qaeda affiliates – clearly the most dominate militant force engaged in fighting the Syrian government, and clearly the recipients of the vast majority of material support supplied by NATO and their regional partners, most notably Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Israel.

Government forces (in red) have nearly completed the encirclement of Aleppo.

It should be noted, that while the Guardian claims the remaining encircled militants in Aleppo are at odds with ISIS, the same report admits these same militants coordinate with US State Department listed foreign terrorist organization, Al Nusra. The Guardian would admit:

The fight for Zahraa, one of the few Shia enclaves in northern Syria, is being led by the al-Qaida-aligned Jabhat al-Nusra, with whom the Islamic Front have an understanding but no formal alliance. After barely holding ground for much of the past year, al-Nusra recently seized large chunks of territory near the Turkish border, reasserting itself as a power player at the expense of non-jihadist groups. The fast-changing dynamic is forcing a new reckoning with the Islamic Front, which says it has waited fruitlessly for help from Arab states that was promised but never delivered.

These same ISIS forces that are allegedly at odds with “moderate rebels” have seen thousands of so-called “moderates” defecting into their ranks recently bringing with them large sums of Western cash and weapons. That Al Qaeda – both Al Nusra and ISIS – seems to thrive along the Turkish border indicates that NATO support is not at all going to “moderate rebels,” but instead, intentionally to Al Qaeda, or to moderate groups NATO knows is working with, or soon to join Al Qaeda. Continue reading

Report: Over 20,000 Foreign-Backed Terrorists Fighting Damascus Government

TEHRAN (FNA)- The number of foreign-backed militants fighting against the Syrian government has exceeded 20,000, media reports said.

The terrorists are identified as coming from 50 different countries, including some 4,000 from the West European nations, WND news website reported.

The report said 1,200 of the fighters have come from France, and another 500-600 each from Britain and Germany. But Belgium produced the highest per capita participation, with 40 fighters per million population, it said.

Meantime, Kurdish fighters in the last 24 hours expelled ISIL terrorists from the Syrian border town of Kobani after more than four months of fighting, said a monitor.

Fighters from the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) had “expelled all Islamic State (of Iraq and the Levant) fighters from Kobani and have full control of the town”, said Rami Abdel Rahman, director of the so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The Kurds are pursuing some terrorists on the Eastern outskirts of Kobani, “but there is no more fighting inside now”, Rahman said.

Kobani, one of the largest cities in the Kurdish region bordering Turkey, was besieged by the ISIL terrorist group in September. Since then, Kurdish forces have been trying to drive the Takfiris out of the city.

In December 2014, Syrian Kurds leader Saleh Muslim Mohammad said that the main goal of Kurdish forces fighting against ISIL was full liberation of Kobani.

Meantime, the Syrian troops carried out precise and intensive operations against the armed groups near the Syria-Lebanon borders, killing too many militants.

The military offensive targeted the armed groups in the Wadi al-Kahf area near the Lebanese borders in the Eastern countryside of Syria’s central province of Homs.

It added that the army units inflicted hefty losses upon the rebels.

Elsewhere, the Syrian army killed 20 rebels on Sunday in the Northwestern province of Idlib. It was part of the army forces’ ongoing attacks on the militants’ positions in the countryside of Idilb, close to the Turkish borders.

Also, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said the Israeli military is obviously supporting terrorist groups in Syria by conducting airstrikes in the crisis-hit country.

“Whenever we make advances in some place, they (the Israelis) attack in order to undermine the army. It’s very clear,” Assad said in an interview with American magazine Foreign Affairs.

“That’s why some in Syria joke, ‘How can you say that Al-Qaeda doesn’t have an air force? They have the Israeli air force’,” he added.

His remarks came a week after an Israeli aircraft fired two missiles at the village of Quneitra in the Syrian Golan Heights bordering Lebanon.

Six members of the Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah were killed in the attack.

The Tel Aviv regime has carried out several airstrikes in Syria since the start of the nearly four-year-old foreign-sponsored militancy there.

Damascus says Tel Aviv and its western allies are aiding the extremist terror groups operating inside Syria since March 2011.

Meantime, all groups of the Syrian opposition, except for the Istanbul-based Syrian National Coalition, participated in the inter-Syrian talks in Moscow, a well-informed diplomatic source said.

Source: Fars News

Syria in Last 24 Hours: Army Regains Control over Strategic Town in Damascus Countryside

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian army continued its advances in the Southern parts of the country, and took back control of a strategic town in Damascus countryside.

The foreign-backed terrorists were pushed back from the town of Kafr Yabous in Damascus countryside and the army regained full control over the town.

Kafr Yabous is located in Al-Qalamoun region in Damascus countryside and it is only 11 kilometers from the borders with Lebanon.

The Al-Nusra Front terrorist group had control over the Kafr Yabous which is in the Southeastern parts of al-Zabadani town.

Tens of Al-Nusra terrorists were killed and dozens more were injured in fierce clashes with the Syrian troops.

Also in the past 24 hours, a large number of terrorists were killed in heavy fighting between the Syrian army and the Al-Nusra Front in Damascus province.

The army soldiers struck a heavy blow at the terrorists in the areas of al-Zabadani, Eastern Ghouta and Douma in Damascus countryside, killing and injuring scores of them.

Elsewhere, the Syrian Armed Forces, in a series of massive operations against militants’ strongholds on Sunday, gained more grounds in various battlefields in Homs province.

Syrian troops killed and injured so many anti-government fighters in Rajem al-Kaser, al-Sultaniyeh, Masa’dah and Um Sahrij in the Eastern countryside of the Central Homs province, a military source said.

Meantime, army’s attacks against Takfiri terrorists in the Western part of Ovania village, Western al-Samadaniyeh and Naba’a al-Sakher in al-Quneitra province, left scores of foreign-backed fighter killed and wounded.

Also, 20 terrorists affiliated to the so-called “Sham Hawks Group” were killed by the Syrian soldiers in Bazabou, Nahlia, Al-Treisi and Nahla in the Northwestern province of Idlib.

Also, the Syrian air force staged a massive targeted attack on a joint meeting of two major terrorist groups in Damascus countryside early on Sunday, killing and injuring a large number of the terrorist leaders.

The army airstrike targeted a gathering of Al-Nusra Front and Ahrar Al-Sham commanders in Mazaya district in the town of Zabadani in Damascus countryside.

A sum of 27 commanders of the Al-Nusra Front and Ahrar al-Sham were killed in the air raid.

The leader of the Al-Nusra Front, Abdulrahman Nassif, was also wounded during the airstrike.

Elsewhere, the Syrian army continued to make more gains in its fight against the Al-Nusra Terrorist Front in surrounding areas of Daraa province, killing at least 220 terrorists, a security source said.

The army soldiers stormed the hideouts of Al-Nusra Front in Ibta’ village and claimed the lives of more than 40 militants, a Syrian source said on condition of anonymity.

Also, some 30 terrorists were killed in heavy fighting between the Syrian army and the terrorist group in the town of Dael, located 14 km to North of Daraa city, the source added.

The security source further said the army also inflicted heavy losses on the terrorists in the areas of Qarfa, Namer, and al-Shaikh Miskeen and left over 150 al-Nusra terrorists dead.

Syria has been the scene of insurgency since 2011 when certain western powers and their regional allies voiced loudly that Syrian protests have no diplomatic solution and they started supplying the country’s opposition groups with their arms and funds.

In 2014, specially after victory of President Bashar al-Assad in the country’s presidential election, the army has gained upper hand in its anti-terrorism campaign, and has been partly successful in sealing borders with Turkey and Jordan.

Source: Fars News

Assad: Israel Obviously Supporting Terrorists in Syria

TEHRAN (FNA)- Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said the Israeli military is obviously supporting terrorist groups in Syria by conducting airstrikes in the crisis-hit country.

“Whenever we make advances in some place, they (the Israelis) attack in order to undermine the army. It’s very clear,” Assad said in an interview with American magazine Foreign Affairs which will be published on Monday, press tv reported. [Editor’s note: You can read the full interview by clicking HERE]

“That’s why some in Syria joke, ‘How can you say that Al-Qaeda doesn’t have an air force? They have the Israeli air force’,” he added.

His remarks came a week after an Israeli aircraft fired two missiles at the village of Quneitra in the Syrian Golan Heights bordering Lebanon.

Six members of the Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah and a senior commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) were killed in the attack.

Iran’s Brigadier General Mohammad Ali Allahdadi had traveled to Syria to provide consultation and help the Syrian government and nation counter the Takfiri terrorists in the country.

The Tel Aviv regime has carried out several airstrikes in Syria since the start of the nearly four-year-old foreign-sponsored militancy there.

Damascus says Tel Aviv and its western allies are aiding the extremist terror groups operating inside Syria since March 2011.

Hezbollah has vowed its response to the attack will be extremely painful.

IRGC Chief Major General Mohammad Ali Ja’fari also warned Israel on Tuesday that the Zionist entity “should await annihilating thunderbolts”.

Source: Fars News

Syrie : les Nations Unies confirment l’existence d’une coordination entre Jabhat al-Nusra et l’occupant israélien

Depuis le début de la crise syrienne, le régime syrien a régulièrement accusé Israël de jouer un rôle en second plan, depuis la bataille de Qusair à proximité de Homs en mai 2013 jusqu’au développement des combats sur le front sud en septembre 2014. Des rapports des Nations Unies publiés en décembre semblent confirmer les affirmations du régime selon quoi Israël est impliqué avec les rebelles du sud.

La ville de Raqqa, “administrée” par l’organisation Jabhat al-Nusra au nord de la Syrie, est aujourd’hui un champ de ruines

Selon un rapport des Nations Unies pour la période de mars à mai 2014, la Force de désengagement et d’observation des Nations Unies (FNUOD) a constaté de visu des contact entre les rebelles syriens et l’armée israélienne à travers la ligne de cesser-le-feu sur le Golan, en particulier au cours de violents affrontements entre l’armée syrienne et les rebelles.

Le rapport a également confirmé que les forces des Nations Unies ont vu les rebelles transportant 89 blessés dans la ligne de cessez-le-feu dans la zone occupée par Israël, où leur ont été remis 19 personnes qui avaient reçu un traitement médical, en plus de deux morts. Les forces des nations Unies ont également noté que l’armée israélienne a remis deux caisses aux rebelles sur le côté syrien du plateau du Golan.

Les communications se sont multipliées entre les rebelles et l’armée israélienne avant l’explosion des combats sur le front sud à Daraa et Quneitra en septembre, selon Mohammad Qasim militant de l’opposition à Quneitra – utilisant un pseudonyme en raison de la sensibilité du sujet.

Qasim, qui était actif dans un réseau de soutien aux rebelles pendant l’offensive de septembre, a déclaré à Al-Monitor via Skype : « La bataille pour capturer Quneitra le 27 septembre a été précédée par la coordination et la communication entre Abu Darda, un chef de file de Jabhat al-Nusra, et l’armée israélienne pour ouvrir la voie à l’attaque. Et selon un commandant de l’opposition qui a participé à cette bataille, l’armée israélienne a fourni à Abu Darda des cartes de la zone frontalière avec indiqués les postes stratégiques de l’armée syrienne dans la zone sud ».

La bataille lancée par les rebelles et dirigée par la filiale d’Al-Qaïda Jabhat al-Nusra, pour contrôler le passage de Quneitra, a eu lieu en coordination avec l’armée israélienne par l’intermédiaire d’Abu Darda, selon Qasim. Il a ajouté : « Au cours des affrontements, les Israéliens ont lourdement bombardé plusieurs des postes avancés du régime, abattu un avion de guerre qui essayait d’empêcher la progression des rebelles et pris pour cible 5 autres avions. »

Les médias ont rapporté que le 23 septembre, Israël a abattu un avion militaire MiG-21 de l’aviation syrienne sur le plateau occupé du Golan pendant l’intensification des combats entre les rebelles dirigés par Jabhat al-Nusra et l’armée syrienne.

Avant cette bataille, Israël a fourni aux combattants rebelles des dispositifs de communication et du matériel médical, selon Qasim. Il a également déclaré que les dispositifs ont amélioré la communication entre les combattants rebelles, tandis que l’assistance médicale a permis d’équiper quatre nouveaux hôpitaux de fortune dans le sud et au sud-ouest de la Syrie.

Qasim a ajouté qu’Israël avait autorisé la mise en place d’un petit camp de réfugiés syriens à la frontière dans le Golan occupé, en disant : « Le camp abrite des dizaines de familles syriennes – comme cela a été confirmé par les rapports des Nations Unies – et Israël fourni l’assistance humanitaire nécessaire. Les combattants rebelles vont souvent dans la zone israélienne – certains traversant la frontière plus de trois fois par jour – pour se rendre à [ce camp] ».

À propos du transfert des blessés vers les hauteurs du Golan occupé, Qasim a expliqué que « n’importe quel combattant ou civil avec des blessures graves qui ne peut pas être traité dans nos hôpitaux sur le terrain, est immédiatement transféré à la partie israélienne du Golan occupé, et là, il sera être transféré dans une ambulance civile accompagnée par une patrouille de l’armée israélienne jusqu’à l’hôpital pour y être soigné. Plus tard, l’armée israélienne sera contactée par les rebelles pour avoir des nouvelles des blessés ».

L’armée syrienne dans la région a également pris note de l’assistance d’Israël aux rebelles. Les forces du général Rami al-Hasan sont stationnées à l’entrée de la ville de Madinat al-Baath dans le gouvernorat de Quneitra. Des véhicules blindés, des chars et des dizaines de postes de contrôle sont dispersés autour de la ville, qui se trouve à proximité de zones contrôlées par les rebelles.

Selon al-Hasan, « les premiers résultats de la coopération entre l’armée israélienne et les rebelles armés ont eu lieu à Quneitra, quand ils ont pris le contrôle de la frontière. À l’époque, Israël appuyait les hommes armés en leur offrant une couverture sous le prétexte de ’riposter’, entravant toute tentative par l’armée de l’air syrienne d’intervenir et de faire tomber l’un de nos avions. Il a également fourni aux rebelles l’équipement militaire nécessaire pour faire face aux fortifications de l’armée syrienne. »

Al-Hasan a ajouté : « Israël veut exercer un contrôle sur l’ensemble du Golan, et il a contribué de manière significative aux pressions sur les observateurs des nations Unies pour les pousser à se retirer de la plupart de leurs positions. »

Le 4 octobre, les combattants rebelles et Jabhat al-Nusra ont capturé Tal al-Hara au nord-ouest de Daraa, limitrophe de Quneitra. Cette importante victoire n’aurait pas pu se produire sans le soutien israélien, selon le militant de l’opposition Ghazwan al-Hourani – également un pseudonyme – qui a été le témoin de la communication entre Jabhat al-Nusra et Israël.

« Le soutien israélien à la bataille de Tal al-Hara était à un niveau élevé, et l’armée israélienne était le cerveau de cette bataille en termes de plans, tactiques et de suivi. Les dispositifs de communication fournissaient des instructions précises en arabe sur ce qui devrait être fait par les combattants, moment par moment », a déclaré al-Hasan à Al-Monitor.

Des dizaines d’appareils de surveillance, de diffusion et de brouillage ainsi que des équipements radar sophistiqués ont été récupérés dans le centre de communication de l’armée syrienne à Tal al-Hara, selon Hourani, qui a ajouté que les documents, les cartes et les appareils portables trouvés dans le centre ont été placés dans des camions et emmenés vers une destination inconnue par les combattants de Jabhat al-Nusra.

La station de reconnaissance aérienne à Tal al-Hara, le dernier centre de reconnaissance du gouvernement opérant dans le sud de la Syrie, a été bombardée par l’aviation israélienne le 5 septembre, un mois avant que les rebelles ne l’a capturent le 7 octobre. Cela ne peut pas être considéré comme une coïncidence, selon al-Hasan.

« Ce qui a poussé Israël à attaquer Tal al-Hara et à ordonner plus tard aux rebelles d’attaquer, c’est que cette station de radar a été mise à jour en 2012 et 2013 et de nouveau au début de 2014, avec une nouvelle technologie pour élargir le champ de détection de la station jusqu’au sud de la Palestine occupée, au nord de l’Arabie saoudite et de Chypre dans la mer Méditerranée. Le ministère syrien de la Défense avait pour cela travaillé en coopération avec son homologue russe. Israël veut empêcher l’armée syrienne de suivre ses mouvements dans le Golan occupé, et interdire toute tentative d’intercepter ses avions », a-t-il dit.

Le général syrien a déclaré qu’Israël ne fait pas que soutenir les rebelles avec des armes et de la logistique et soigner leurs blessés, mais qu’ils leur assure une formation dans le Golan occupé. « Nous avons déposé une plainte à ce sujet [le camp de formation militaire] à la direction de la UNDOF, et nous avons menacé de le bombarder. Mais les observateurs ne nous ont pas répondu et le camp est toujours là ».

Qasim et Hourani hésitaient à discuter de ce sujet sensible avec Al-Monitor. Leurs interruptions dans la conversation, leurs voix tremblantes et les pauses soudaines chaque fois que quelqu’un s’approchait, mettaient en évidence le danger auquel ils font face s’ils sont trouvés en train de révéler ces détails. Ils sont dans le même bateau que de nombreux militants de l’opposition, qui agissent avec les groupes rebelles mais considèrent toute coopération avec Israël comme une trahison des objectifs de la révolution.

« Cette coordination est une trahison. Il y a des milliers de gens qui sont morts, et ils ne sont pas morts pour que quelques dizaines de personnes aillent conspirer avec l’ennemi », a déclaré Qasim, ajoutant : « Nous avons commencé la révolution et nous finirons sans l’aide de personne, surtout pas de ceux qui ont tué et continuent de tuer, qui déplacent et continuer à déplacer des milliers de personnes sur une base quotidienne en Palestine tout en occupant une partie de notre pays. »

14 janvier 2015 – Al-Monitor – Vous pouvez consulter cet article à :
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Syria: Paris attack price of French politics

Syrian Ambassador to the United Nations Bashar al-Ja’afari (AFP photo)

Syria says the recent terror attack in Paris was carried out by terrorists who previously enjoyed the backing of Western and French officials.

Speaking to Press TV, Syrian Ambassador to the United Nations Bashar al-Ja’afari said the Western support for terrorism in Syria has backfired on France.

“France, today, is paying the price of its unprofessional politics with regard [to] the Syrian crisis,” the envoy said.

On Wednesday, masked gunmen stormed into Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine headquarters in Paris, gunning down a dozen people. Several prominent French imams and the Vatican have jointly issued a declaration, condemning the terrorist attack.

Ja’afari said, “We have repeatedly said and warned the French government about working with the terrorists, about manipulating the terrorists. And we told them ‘one day it will return to you.’”

He cited former French Interior Minister and current Prime Minister Manuel Valls as saying in 2013, “I cannot as a minister of interior prevent the French jihadists from going to Syria to fulfill their jihad.”

“The French Minister of Foreign Affairs [Laurent] Fabius said something worse in 2012. He said that the Islamist jihadists are doing well in Syria,” according to the Syrian official.

“Now they call them terrorists because today they are killing French people. But when they used to kill Syrian people, they were considered jihadist.”

Hundreds of French citizens have openly joined the ranks of Takfiri militant groups in Iraq and Syria. They have also even called for attacks on their homeland.

A video released by the ISIL terror group in mid-November, showed three armed Frenchmen burning their passports and calling on others to join them or stage attacks in France.

Another gruesome execution video emerged around the same time featuring at least one French citizen who was from a small village in Normandy.

According to reports, some 1,000 French nationals from a wide range of backgrounds are estimated to have left to join Takfiri militants in Iraq and Syria.

Source : Press TV

Syrie : « Les attentats de Paris sont le résultat de la politique étrangère française »

Bashar al-Ja’afari

La Syrie déclare que les attentats commis à Paris ont été commis par des terroristes qui bénéficiaient précédemment du soutien des dirigeants occidentaux et français.

Interviewé par Press TV, l’ambassadeur syrien aux Nations-Unies, Bashar al-Ja’afari, a déclaré que le soutien de l’Occident au terrorisme en Syrie a eu pour résultat un effet boomerang sur la France.

« La France paie aujourd’hui le prix de ses politiques irresponsables vis-à-vis de la crise syrienne », a déclaré al-Ja’afari.

Mercredi, des hommes armés et encagoulés ont pris d’assaut les bureaux de l’hebdomadaire satirique Charlie Hebdo, à Paris, assassinant douze personnes. Plusieurs éminents imams de France ainsi que le Vatican ont publié une déclaration conjointe pour condamner ces attaques.

Ja’afari a déclaré :

“À plusieurs reprises, nous avons mis en garde le gouvernement français concernant le fait de collaborer avec des terroristes, de s’en servir à des fins géopolitiques. Et nous les avions prévenus qu’un jour, cette politique se retournerait contre eux.”

Il a ainsi cité les déclarations de l’ancien ministre de l’Intérieur et actuel Premier ministre de France, qui déclarait en 2013 : « Je ne peux pas, en tant que ministre de l’Intérieur, empêcher des djihadistes français d’aller en Syrie et d’accomplir leur djihad ».

“Le ministre des Affaires étrangères français, Laurent Fabius, avait effectué des déclarations bien plus graves en 2012. Il avait alors déclaré que les djihadistes islamistes faisaient du bon boulot en Syrie. Désormais, ils les qualifient de terroristes car maintenant ils tuent des Français. Mais lorsqu’ils tuaient la population syrienne, l’État français les considérait comme de nobles djihadistes.”

Des centaines de citoyens français ont rejoint les rangs de groupes militants takfiristes en Irak et en Syrie. Ils ont également appelé à mener des attaques contre la France.

Une vidéo publiée par Daesh à la mi-novembre montrait trois Français pseudo-djihadistes brûler leurs passeports et appeler les autres Français à les rejoindre ou à mener des attaques sur le sol français.

Une autre vidéo montrait une exécution effroyable menée par un citoyen français provenant d’un petit village de Normandie.

Selon des rapports, près de 1 000 Français provenant de différents horizons ethniques et sociaux auraient quitté la France pour rejoindre les milices takfiristes en Irak et en Syrie.

Source: Quenel +

Serena Shim, 1984-2014 The Death of a Reporter


Serena Shim, 1984-2014

“On Friday, October 17, Serena went on air for Press TV. She was rattled in the broadcast. Serena said that Turkish intelligence officials had accused her of spying. She had reported that Islamic State fighters had been smuggled over the border in trucks with logos from the World Food Programme. No one had seen this before or made such allegations.”


My twitter feed has become a memorial for the death of journalists from Iraq to Turkey. The latest tragedy was the death of Serena Shim, a US citizen who is of Lebanese origin and worked for Press TV. Last year I had met Serena in Beirut. It is commonplace for journalists to meet each other, to learn where one has been and whether there are stories out there that help give wider context and confirmation for stories that one follows. It was in that context that I met Serena, who had been covering the conflict in Ukraine, Iraq and of course Lebanon. She was a warm person, very smart and very well informed. Her bravery impressed me. Others of her ilk and of her age bracket include the fabulous Radwan Mortada (al-Akhbar) and Jenan Moussa (al-Ain). These are reporters who go into dangerous situations with no “security advisors” – I worry for them daily.

Ten days ago, Serena’s employer Press TV sent her to Turkey to cover the story of the Kobane conflict and to look into the allegations of Turkish help to the Islamic State. This is a story that takes one to Urfa, a city that is linked to Syria through the border crossing at Akçakale. At Urfa’s Balıklıgöl State Hospital, evidence for the treatment of Islamic State fighters is not camouflaged – it is there in plain sight. The Islamic State wounded from the battle of Kobane cross over for treatment here. Any journalist who covered this aspect of the war knows that Turkish intelligence (Milli İstihbarat Teşkilatı) has been mighty skittish about the story. They are quick to show up, and quick to make gestures of ill will.

On Friday, October 17, Serena went on air for Press TV. She was rattled in the broadcast. Serena said that Turkish intelligence officials had accused her of spying. She had reported that Islamic State fighters had been smuggled over the border in trucks with logos from the World Food Organization. No one had seen this before or made such allegations. It came to the heart of the suspicion of various forms of assistance being provided to the Islamic State through Turkey. Barzan Iso, a Syrian Kurdish journalist, had already reported that Qatari charities have been using the Jarabulus crossing to get aid to the Islamic State. I had also reported on this but did not have any evidence that trucks with logos from international organizations were being used for this purpose.

From the Turkish towns of Mardin, Kilis and Urfa, the foreign jihadis made an easy transit into Syria. Until recently, Turkish authorities did not try to hide this “rat line.” Oğuzeli Airport in Gaziantep (Turkey) had come to resemble the old airport in Peshawar (Pakistan), as the bearded wonders disembarked with a glint in their eyes to join what they saw as a holy war. Pakistani intelligence had the same steel in their walk as Turkish intelligence – the parallels seemed to me more and more appropriate when a Kurdish commander told me that the Islamic State is to Turkey as the Taliban is to Pakistan.

In her last broadcast via Skype, Serena told Press TV that she had footage of the IS militants making across the border in broad daylight. The pressure from Turkish intelligence worried her. Reporters Without Borders had called Turkey the “largest prison for journalists.” Because of that she said, “I’m a little bit frightened.” She felt that the pressure had come for her forthright reports from Turkey about the war in Syria.

Two days later, on Sunday, Serena was traveling in a rental car from the border to the town of Suruç, when her car collided with a “heavy vehicle,” likely a cement mixer. The driver and truck vanished. Serena was killed. Her cameraman was injured and is now at Suruç State Hospital.

Turkish authorities say that the driver of the cement mixer has been arrested. An investigation is ongoing.

Serena’s name joins a long list of journalists killed in the war in Iraq-Syria – the Islamic State murdered Mohanad al-Akidi and Raad Mohamed al-Azzawi this month. This was in Iraq.

The Kobane fight has raised tensions in Turkey. It has threatened the “Imrali Process,” a peace negotiation between the Turkish government and the Kurdish Worker’s Party (PKK). Protests inside Turkey for action to defend Kobane resulted in the death of at least thirty people. Pressure has also come on the pro-Kurdish media. On October 2, demonstrators in the town of Diyarbakir attacked four reporters for the pro-Kurdish press – Bisar Durgut and Nihat Kutlu of the daily Azadiya Welat and Beritan Canözer and Sarya Gözüglu of JINHA. Bisar Durgut had eight stab wounds. On 14 October, in Turkey’s Adana, Kadri Bagdu was shot dead by two men on a motorcycle as he distributed the Kurdish daily papers Azadiya Welat and Ozgur Gundem.

Serena Shim, who leaves behind a family that includes her two young children, found herself chasing the truth in a highly charged situation. Evidence that Turkey is assisting the Islamic State is awkward for Ankara. It is as awkward as the evidence of collusion between al-Qaeda and the Pakistani Navy uncovered by my friend and Asia Times colleague Saleem Shahzad (1970-2011). He was killed for his fearless journalism. It is my feeling that Serena met Saleem’s fate.

ISIS: America’s Terrorist Mercenaries

Generally historical revision takes place long after events unfold and the victors attempt to bury humiliating or inconvenient truths. Today, in the age of information, these would-be victors are finding it increasingly necessary to revise history in real-time through a strategy of increasingly repetitive, but decreasingly effective propaganda.


By Tony Cartalucci for Activist Post


Phase I: Justifying Chaos

It was only in 2007 that US foreign policy openly sought to pursue war against Iran, Syria, and Lebanon’s Hezbollah, while undercutting pro-Iranian factions in Iraq which at the time the US was still occupying. Failing to accomplish this directly, the US planned a not-so-covert proxy war that would include funding, politically backing, and even arming groups ranging from the Muslim Brotherhood to militants aligned with Al Qaeda itself.

This is perhaps best summarized by the prophetic 2007 report “The Redirection: Is the Administration’s new policy benefiting our enemies in the war on terrorism?” written by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh and published in the New Yorker.

It stated (emphasis added):

To undermine Iran, which is predominantly Shiite, the Bush Administration has decided, in effect, to reconfigure its priorities in the Middle East. In Lebanon, the Administration has cooperated with Saudi Arabia’s government, which is Sunni, in clandestine operations that are intended to weaken Hezbollah, the Shiite organization that is backed by Iran. The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda.

Hersh would also go on to chronicle American political and financial support that was being provided to the Muslim Brotherhood, even then under then US President George Bush. In all, the supposedly “spontaneous” uprisings referred to by the Western media as the “Arab Spring” in 2011 were being engineered years ahead of time – not in an attempt to promote peaceful pro-democratic aspirations, but to serve as cover for ultra-violent foreign-backed insurrections that would leave a trail of destruction stretching along Africa’s northern coast, all the way to the borders of Iran, Russia, and even China.

Phase II: The War

After denying any role in the “Arab Spring” unrest, the US would soon not only openly support the protesters in the streets, but also support armed militants that followed in the wake of protests. This support included that of a military dimension – with militants in Libya being provided aircover and special forces initially, to eventually the air-dropping of weapons, equipment, and other supplies.

US Senator John McCain (R-Arizona) would even travel to the terrorist capital of Libya – Benghazi – and offer US support in person. He would stand literally upon the footsteps of Benghazi’s courthouse where Al Qaeda rallies would be held shortly after, promising weapons to men who would later slaughter a US ambassador in that very city.

After the destruction of Libya’s government amid NATO’s intervention, Benghazi would serve as a terrorist epicenter where weapons, cash, and fighters were being staged before being sent to NATO-member Turkey and then to fight in northern Syria. Among these terrorists were seasoned militants of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), an official Al Qaeda franchise in North Africa. One of their leaders, Abdelhakim Belhadj would eventually find himself in power in Tripoli after the collapse of the Libyan government, and even have his photograph taken with Senator McCain.

Predictably, as NATO shifted resources and attention from the overthrow of Libya to the overthrow of Syria, the conflict aimed at Damascus escalated. It did not however succeed. Instead, the West found itself in a protracted proxy war in which its role in arming, aiding, and abetting hardcore sectarian extremists became increasingly obvious.

Phase III: The “Rise” of ISIS

Clearly, the rise of the so-called “Islamic State” or ISIS, did not happen overnight, nor by accident. It was not only the logical result of the United States continuing its strategy of proxy warfare it had carried out against Libya, now unfolding in Syria, it was also the premeditated, documented result of what veteran journalist Seymour Hersh had warned about in 2007.

It is a threat that not only Syria understands all too well, but a threat its allies including Iraq, Iran, and Russia fully understand and are mobilizing against.

The US has found itself revising history, attempting to explain the existence of ISIS lurking in the footprints of its massive support of so-called “moderates” in Syria’s ongoing conflict. The US has attempted to claim ISIS has built itself on “donations,” selling oil to the black market, and by taking hostages for ransom. If only building a multinational terrorist mercenary force was that easy, we could imagine Syria, Iraq, and Iran would likewise have vast mercenary armies to outmatch ISIS in an afternoon.

The reality is, to explain how the US and its regional partners have provided “moderates” with billions in aid only to have ISIS rise up and displace these “moderates,” we must realize that there were never any “moderates” to begin with, and that the US intentionally armed and funded terrorists, just as Hersh warned in 2007, to create a terrorist mercenary army that “espouses a militant vision of Islam” and is “sympathetic to Al Qaeda.”

ISIS didn’t displace the “moderates,” the truth of what America has done in the Middle East has displaced the lies the West has been telling the public starting in 2011 at the height of the so-called “Arab Spring.”

It is essential that people around the world continue to spread this this truth faster than the West can spread its chaos.


Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazineNew Eastern Outlook”, where this first appeared.