Syria: Militant Groups Target Al-Manar Crew in Maaloula in Qalamoun – Three Martyrs

The militant groups opened fire onto Al-Manar crew in the town of Maaloula in Qalamoun, leaving three martyrs of the colleagues: the reporter Hamza Hajj Hasan, the technician Halim Allaw and the photographer Mohammad Mantash.

The crew was broadcasting the Syria army’s operations in Maaloula when the terrorists targeted their Press vehicles.

Al-Manr TV Channel announced the martyrdom of the colleagues and offered condolences to their parents, asking Holy God to bless them with His mercy. 

Source: Al Manar

Hezbollah guns down 32 al-Nusra terrorists in Lebanon

image

Hezbollah resistance movement fighters have ambushed al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Nusra Front terrorists in east Lebanon over the weekend killing at least 32 of the terrorists, a senior security source told.

The source added that a member of the Lebanese Hezbollah movement was also killed.

Hezbollah fighters lay the ambush early on Saturday, the source said adding that the bodies of the slain al-Nusra Front terrorists were in Hezbollah fighters’ possession.

Another Hezbollah member was wounded in the clashes that followed the ambush.

Fighting erupted between the Hezbollah fighters and al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Nusra Front terrorists in Wadi al-Jamala, on the outskirts of Nahle, a rugged mountainous area along the porous border between Lebanon and Syria.

Earlier, Hezbollah Secretary General Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah says Syria is the pillar of resistance, and the Lebanese resistance movement will stay in the crisis-hit country as long as necessary.

Nasrallah made the remarks in a speech in southern Beirut on Thursday, that marks the occasion of Ashura.

In June, Syrian troops, backed by Hezbollah fighters, fought the foreign-backed militants in Qusayr and regained the strategic town, which borders Lebanon.

Source: Alalam

Islamist fighters move 12 abducted Syrian nuns from Maaloula to rebel-held town

image

Maaloula town

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

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

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

On Monday, Syrian state television reported that several nuns had been abducted from the Greek Orthodox Monastery of Mar Thecla after Islamists captured the ancient part of the town and attacked the convent.

The Syrian Foreign Ministry sent letters to the head of the UN Security Council and the UN Secretary General urging the international community to condemn the rebel attack on Maaloula and the convent, and to put pressure on the countries supporting the rebels.

The Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, John X urged the international community on Tuesday to speak up in defense of Syria’s Christians.

“We urge the United Nations and all governments to speak out in support of Christians in Syria and to take the steps required to free these nuns from capture,” his statement says.

Febronia Nabhan, the mother superior of another convent in Maaloula, said that apart from the nuns, three “young maids” were taken from the convent on Monday.

Nabhan told the AFP that she talked with Mar Thecla’s mother superior, Pelagia Sayaf, on her phone Monday evening and was told they were in Yabrud, which is located some 80km north of Damascus, “comfortably installed in a house.”

Syrian state television reported that Christians had held a service in Damascus, Monday, to protest against the kidnapping of the nuns as well as for two bishops who were abducted near Aleppo in April.

A report by the pan Arabic satellite TV channel Al Mayadeen said that the Syrian soldiers along with local militias were launching an operation to liberate Maaloula.

The rebels who attacked the town reportedly came over from the nearby town of Nabak in which Syrian forces are carrying out anti-terrorist operations. 

The fighting in Maaloula is part of a wider struggle between Al-Qaeda linked fighters of the Nusra Front and the Syrian army for control of the strategic Damascus-Homs highway, which passes close by the town.

Maaloula was the scene of heavy fighting in September. It is considered to be one of the birthplaces of Christianity and is home to a number of shrines and monasteries, which are listed as UNESCO world heritage sites.

According to the Syrian Patriarch of the Melkite Greek Catholic church, Gregory Laham, some 450,000 Syrian Christians have been forced from their homes by the civil war that began in March 2011. He added that “at least 57 Christian sites” have been damaged or destroyed since the beginning of hostilities, and blamed the United States and its Western allies for aggravating the situation by providing assistance to the rebels.

Christians, who comprise about 10 percent of Syria’s population, are viewed as supporters of President Bashar Assad, fearing the Islamist ideology of some rebels. This has made them the target of attacks.

“I believe it is all systematic and planned,” Sami Housni, a Christian priest in Damascus told RT. “Forcing Christians to leave… In Iraq, for instance, less than 200,000 Christians remain. We do have concerns, we do hope to stick to our land – Syria, which is the cradle of Christianity. We also hope that the Pope and heads of Christian denominations shall call for denouncing violence and adopting dialogue.”

source: Russia Today

Saudi-Pakistani new alliance to topple Syrian government

image

Pakistan could be given the responsibility for training two militant brigades in Syria, with about 5,000-10,000 militants.

Saudi Arabia, one of the biggest spenders of the foreign-sponsored war in Syria is turning to Pakistan to train militants, repeating a partnership that once failed in Afghanistan, a new report says.

The Foreign Policy Magazine wrote in an article on Thursday that Saudi Arabia is embarking on a major new effort to train Syrian rebel forces.

The article cites three sources with knowledge of the program that say Riyadh has enlisted the help of Pakistani instructors to do it.

According to the sources Pakistan could be given the responsibility for training about 5,000-10,000 militants from two brigades.

The report says the main goal of the Saudi project is to unite the mainstream armed opposition in Syria, many of whom are extremist forces, under the banner of a unified army.

The decision came after signs of rift in relations between Washington and Riyadh became evident.

Saudi Arabia’s decision to move forward with training the Syria militants independent of the United States is the latest sign of a split between the two longtime allies.

In Syria, Saudi officials were aggrieved by Washington’s decision to cancel a strike on the Syrian government in reprisal for a chemical attack on the Damascus suburbs this summer.

A top Saudi official told the Washington Post that Saudi intelligence chief Prince Bandar bin Sultan was unaware of the cancelation of the strike. “We found about it from CNN,” he said.

As a result, Saudi Arabia has decided to follow its own plans which rely on a network of Saudi allies in addition to Pakistan, such as Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, and France.

“As the Saudis expand their effort to topple Assad, analysts say the central challenge is not to inflict tactical losses on the Syrian army, but to organize a coherent force that can coordinate its actions across the country. In other words, if Riyadh hopes to succeed where others have failed, it needs to get the politics right — convincing the fragmented rebel groups, and their squabbling foreign patrons, to work together in pursuit of a shared goal,” the article writes.

“The biggest problem facing the Saudis now is the same one facing the US, France, and anyone else interested in helping the rebels: the fragmentation of the rebels into groups fighting each other for local and regional dominance rather than cooperating to overthrow Assad,” said David Ottaway, a scholar at the Wilson Center who wrote a biography of Prince Bandar.

Syria militants are facing with deep divisions and rivalries with every now and then several of them pledging alliance together to form independent armies.

On Thursday, al-Qaeda leader Aymen Zawahiri who has the strongest militant groups on the ground in Syria fighting alongside the US-backed opposition urged all armed groups to be united and overthrow the Syrian government and set up their own ruling system.

Source: Alalam

Syria Kurds oust al-Qaeda terrorists, Ras al-Ain in full Kurdish control

image

Members of the Committees for the Protection of the Kurdish People (YPG) take positions inside a trench in the countryside of Tirbsybya in the northeastern Syrian province of Hasakeh on August 30, 2013.

Kurdish fighters in northern Syria have expelled al-Qaeda-linked militants from the majority Kurdish area of Ras al-Ain on the Turkish border, an opposition monitoring group says.

“The Committees for the Protection of the Kurds (YPG) have taken over the Manajeer area, scene of battles with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), Al-Nusra Front and other rebel groups,” the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Tuesday.

The capture of Manajeer left the whole of the area around the strategic border town of Ras al-Ain in Kurdish control, the group said.

The advance came a day after reports that Kurdish fighters had driven terrorist groups out of 19 towns and villages across northeastern Syria, and a week after they captured the key Iraqi border crossing at Yaarubiyeh.

The al-Qaeda-linked militants “have now lost their last remaining positions in the countryside of Ras al-Ain,” the Observatory said.

The Al-Qaeda loyalists withdrew to the city of Raqa in the Euphrates valley to the southwest, the only provincial capital outside government control, and now dominated by ISIL.

Near the capital, the army pressed its offensive against rebel enclaves, hitting the town of Mleiha east of Damascus with a ground-to-ground missile, the observatory said.

Amateur video posted online by activists showed a huge cloud of grey smoke rising above the town.

Southeast of Damascus, the militants shelled the majority Christian-Druze suburb of Jaramana, a government-held area that has come under repeated rebel attack, the group said.

In the central province of Hama, ISIL militants captured a rebel commander and more than 20 fighters in the latest infighting between the insurgents and mainstream rebels, the group added.

Source: Alalam

Syria army retakes Talfita from al-Nusra terrorists

image

Units of the Syrian armed forces in cooperation with citizens regained full control over the town of Talfita and nearby mountains on the outskirts of Damascus.

Syrian troops have regained full control over Talfita town and its suburbs near the al-Qalamoun region on the outskirts of Damascus, Al-Alam correspondent reports.

Syrian army troops stormed the rebel-held town of Talfita on Monday and after fierce fighting with al-Nusra terrorists, killed dozens of terrorists and regained the control of the town, Al-Alam reported.

After the victory, the residents of the area gave Syrian soldiers a very warm welcome.

Syrian army sources pointed out the widespread presence of armed terrorists in the area and the nearby villages, had stressed to continue the mopping-up operations in the region.

“We are here to establish security and stability with the help of locals and national defense groups,” a Syrian army soldier told Al-Alam correspondent.

Another Syrian soldier said “Talfita region has completely been secured; dozens of armed terrorists have been gun down and the rest fled to the mountains.”

Fighting in the al-Qalamoun region is of grave importance for both sides of the conflict as the region is located on the Syria-Lebanon mountainous border
Continue reading

French terrorist commander killed by Syria army near Aleppo

image

A number of foreign-backed militants, including a French terrorist commander, have been killed during an operation carried out by the Syrian army near the northern city of Aleppo.

According to Al-Alam correspondent in Syria, French terrorist ringleader Abu Qaqa al-Fransi was among the victims of the army attack against the a-Qaeda affiliate the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) on Thursday.

The Syrian armed forced also inflicted heavy losses on the militants during the operation in the towns of Khanaser and As Safira in Aleppo Governorate.

The Syrian troops made progress near the flashpoint city of Aleppo in the north of the crisis-hit country on Tuesday.

Since mid-2012, the government forces have been fighting with the foreign-backed militants to take control of Aleppo, Syria’s largest city and the country’s former commercial hub.

Syria has been gripped by deadly unrest since 2011. According to reports, the Western powers and their regional allies — especially Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey — are supporting the militants operating inside Syria.

The United Nations said on Monday that more than four million more Syrians will be forced out of their homes in 2014 by the escalating conflict in the country.

Source: Alalam

Al-Qaeda militants crush ex-partners in Aleppo

image

Al-Qaeda-linked armed groups have fought rival Syria militants near the country’s borders with Turkey in an outbreak of violence driven by the divisions between factions battling to rise to power in the Arab country.

The fighting illustrates the volatile situation in Syria as a team of chemical weapons experts start the process of eliminating the country’s chemical weapons stockpile, with inspections expected to begin next week.

The Al-Qaeda-linked Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIS) took control of the northern border town of Azaz last month, kicking out their former partners and prompting Turkey to shut the crossing about 5 km away.

ISIS, which wants to merge Syria into a larger state ruled by their own law, has maintained control of the town since then and clashes have periodically erupted between it and fighters of the Northern Storm brigade, which they had expelled to its outskirts.

The latest fighting broke out Tuesday night after a deadline ISIS had set for Northern Storm fighters to surrender their weapons came to an end.

“There are very fierce clashes on the outskirts of Azaz. ISIS cut all roads leading to Turkey and the situation is very tense,” said one militant source, speaking from Turkey.

Another activist from Azaz said ISIS had seized two checkpoints and a base from militant Northern Storm and had advanced toward the border. He said some ISIS fighters had been killed, but he did not know how many.

“What is happening in Aleppo is clearly a massive terrorist war, aimed at toppling a government, and not by its own people,” Al-Alam reporter said.
He added, “International organizations inaction over the brutal war which is claiming more lives each passing day is more questionable than ever”.

“al-Qaeda linked armed groups not only take victims from their opponents, but also there are many young people who are professionally brainwashed into putting their lives in danger for al-Qaeda to gain more power in Syria,” he said.

As the Syrian army has been fighting a massive foreign-sponsored war, fueled by regional and Western countries, the United States and its allies have not stopped their support to the leaders of the insurgency.

CIA operatives have been training Syria militants in Jordan borders while providing them with military support, according to reports, as huge amounts of money are being flushed into the hands of militants and al-Qaeda-linked groups from several countries such as Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

US Senator McCain, who has called for American military aid to militants, visited Azaz in May and was photographed alongside Northern Storm militants.

A US threat to bomb Syria over conflicting reports of a chemical attack on August 21 near Syrian capital was averted by Russia’s mediation that proposed to put Syria’s stockpile of chemical weapons under international supervision to avoid further use of illegal weapons.

Syrian government, which has proposed the UN with evidence that reportedly indicate militants were behind the August 21 attack, welcomed the initiative and helped a UN disarmament team to enter the country and start their mission.

The conflict in Syria started in March 2011, when pro-reform protests turned into a massive insurgency following the intervention of Western and regional states.

The unrest, which took in terrorist groups from across Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, has transpired as one of the bloodiest conflicts in recent history.
Continue reading

4th generation US arms stolen by extremists in Libya

Theft of US weapons in Libya involved hundreds of guns and armored vehicles

Massive amounts of highly sensitive US military equipment have been stolen by extremist salafists in Libya, American news channel Fox News has reported.

The recent theft of massive amounts of highly sensitive US military equipment from Libya is far worse than previously thought, Fox News has learned, with raiders swiping hundreds of weapons that are now in the hands of militia groups aligned with terror organizations.

The equipment, as Fox News previously reported, was used for training in Libya by US Special Forces. The training team, which was funded by the Pentagon, has since been pulled, partly in response to the overnight raids last August.

According to State Department and military sources, dozens of highly armored vehicles called GMV’s, provided by the United States, are now missing.

The vehicles feature GPS navigation as well as various sets of weapon mounts and can be outfitted with smoke-grenade launchers.

US Special Forces undergo significant training to operate these vehicles. Fox News is told the vehicles provided to the Libyans are now gone.

Along with the GMV’s, hundreds of weapons are now missing, including roughly 100 Glock pistols and more than 100 M4 rifles. More disturbing, according to the sources, is that it seems almost every set of night-vision goggles has also been taken. This is advanced technology that gives very few war fighters an advantage on the battlefield.

“It’s not just equipment … it’s the capability. You are giving these very dangerous groups the capability that only a few nations are capable of,” one source said. “Already assassinations are picking up in Tripoli and there are major worries that the militias are using this stolen equipment to their advantage. All these militias are tied into terrorist organizations and are tied to (salafists).”

Meanwhile, special operators told Fox News that training camps throughout eastern Libya continue to train terrorists, and border controls right now around the country are non-existent in most areas.

The greatest relevance of this news report of an arms theft is to add one more glaring piece of evidence that the US has brought about and is encouraging 4th generation warfare in lands where it is interfering.

Many of the militants fighting to topple the government of Syria have been reported to be equipped with advanced US arms.

The theft report comes as US has also been training Syria militants, providing them with weapons and giving them financial support according to reports. Continue reading

Syrian army advances in Rif Dimashq, 2 areas cleared

image

Syrian army soldiers gain more ground in Rif Dimashq.

Syrian army has made considerable advancements near capital despite foreign pressures and threats, clearing two districts completely from extremist militants after days of fierce clashes.

Shaba’a in Rif Dimashq and al-Mestah in Barazeh were cleared in the operation, according to al-Alam reporter on Tuesday.

Barazeh has been scene of continuous clashes between militants who seek to enter the capital and Syrian army soldiers.

The whole town has been evacuated as clashes got heavier during the past weeks.

People have been witnessing brutal scenes of killing and torture in some areas of the country which have been occupied and controlled by anti-Syria groups.

As the Syrian government is struggling with internal and external threats of wider conflicts, people have been forced to live under strict rules imposed by some of the militant groups who benefit international silence on their crimes.

A US plan to bomb the country over a chemical attack near Syrian capital on August 21 was canceled with Russia’s mediation that sought to ease the tensions by putting Syria’s stockpile of chemical weapons under international control.

The offer was widely welcomed both in Syria and other countries that were concerned by US military ambitions and its regional consequences.
Continue reading