Saudi-Pakistani new alliance to topple Syrian government

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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 asks UN to immediately investigate 3 new ‘chemical attacks’ by rebels

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The Syrian government is demanding that the United Nations immediately investigate three alleged chemical attacks carried out by rebel groups on the outskirts of Damascus last week, Syria’s envoy to the UN said.

Ambassador Bashar Jaafari said he had requested of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon that the team of experts currently in Damascus investigating an alleged use of chemical weapons last week also investigate these other attacks.

The attacks took place on August 22, 24 and 25 in Jobar, Sahnaya, and al-Bahariya, Jaafari told journalists Wednesday. The “militants” used toxic chemical gas against the Syrian army, the diplomat said.

“We are asking UN to incorporate 3 more locations where the Syrian soldiers inhaled the nerve gas also in the suburbs of Damascus. So the spectrum of investigation is increasing compared to the initial phase of investigation,” Jaafari said.

Jaafari spoke shortly after an informal meeting of the UN Security Council, where its five permanent members discussed the UK’s proposed draft resolution. The text blames Assad’s government for an alleged chemical attack on August 21, and demands a swift response.

“There is no consensus in the Council on any draft of the resolution, whether it is British or French or American… because members of the Council do not believe the authenticity of the accusations provided by this delegation or that delegation,” the Syrian diplomat said.

Jaafari also accused the US, UK and France of being “part of the problem,” rather than “a solution to the crisis.” These Western states are providing “armed terrorists groups” in Syria with weapons and all kinds of logistical support, he stated.

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Syrian Ambassador to the United Nations Bashar Jaafari addresses the media at the United Nations Headquarters in New York August 28, 2013 (Reuters / Brendan McDermid)

Following the alleged chemical weapons attack on March 19 in Khan al-Assal near Aleppo, which killed over 30 people, the Syrian government asked the UN chief for assistance in investigating the attack and identifying who was behind it, Jaafari said.

But Ban Ki-moon, “his experts in the department of disarmament, as well as the three Western delegations in the Council, objected to the second part of our request,” he said. “They objected to our request to identify who did it from day one, because they knew who did it in Khan al-Assal.”

The diplomat said that, even though “everyone agreed” that the March 19 attack involved chemical weapons, the UK, the US and France did not submit any draft resolutions to the UN Security Council then.

“They did not raise a finger in the media to say that what happened in Khan al-Assal was wrong,” Jaafari said. 
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‎Syria – Aleppo : Media source: 123 martyrs in Khan al Assal massacre

Jul 27, 2013

Aleppo, (SANA) – A media source said that the death toll from the massacre that armed terrorist groups committed in Khan al-Assal in Aleppo countryside reached 123 martyrs, with many others still missing.

The majority of the victims are armless civilians, the source pointed out.

Medical tests helped identify 6 of the martyrs, the source said, vowing that the perpetrators will pay a heavy price for their barbarity and affirming that ”the Syrian people and army are on high alert.”

The armed terrorist groups committed a genocide against a number of civilians and military personnel in Khan al-Assal town in the countryside of Aleppo.

Gang of the so-called Ansar al-Khilafa Brigade admitted committing the terrorist massacre in Khan al-Assal, mutilating the bodies of the martyrs and throwing them in a big hole on the outskirts of the town, in addition to incinerating a number of the martyrs’ bodies.

Khan al-Assal area was last March the target of a chemical weapons attack when terrorists launched a rocket containing chemical materials, killing 25 citizens and injuring 110 others.

The new massacre, which came in light of the continued international silence and open Western support for the armed terrorist groups, stirred all the Syrians in resentment calling for quick and firm response towards the murderers who have been allowed access to enter Syria across the border.

Head of the Syrian Human Rights Network, Ahmad Khazem, stressed that the massacre, during which the terrorists set the martyrs’ bodies on fire, is “a blatant violation of the UN Convention against Torture and a crime against humanity”.

Khazem added that this crime also constitutes a flagrant violation of the UN Security Council Resolution 1373 and Article 25 of Rome Statute, clarifying that both the resolution and the article stress on the prevention of providing material and logistic support to the armed terrorist groups.

This form of support, in addition to providing weapons, funds and shelter, has continued to be offered to the terrorist groups in Syria by the governments of Turkey and Gulf states, on top is Saudi Arabia.

For his part, Head of the Lawyers Syndicate, Nizar Skeif, demanded sending an urgent letter to the Security Council on this massacre so as to refer its perpetrators and their backers to the International Criminal Court.

Spokesman for the presidency of the Popular Front for Change and Liberation, Adel Nei’seh, condemned the calls and efforts to supply the terrorists in Syria with qualitative weapons from the Gulf states.

Those efforts, Nei’she said, “have caused the Syrians to fall victim to criminals whose heads are filled with devilish fatwas.”

In turn, Head of the National Initiative for Syrian Kurds, Omar Aussi, highlighted that the new massacre in Khan al-Assal aims at escalation by the terrorists, a step they usually resort to “before any chance for political solution” as the coincides with the arrival of a UN team to investigate the crime of chemical weapons use in the town.

In the same context, the branch of the National Union of Syrian Students condemned in the strongest terms the massacre in Khan al-Assal, denouncing the “rude silence” on this crime of all the opposition parties that claim moderation.

The Union pointed out that the massacre reflects the barbarity and savageness of the takfiri terrorist groups that are implementing the agendas of Al Saud monarchy.

Syrian Popular Forces Besiege Terrorists Near al-Yarmouk Camp in Reef Damascus

TEHRAN (FNA)- Popular forces succeeded in besieging the armed rebels near the Palestinian al-Yarmouk refugee camp in Reef (outskirts of) Damascus, Syria, on Tuesday.

The clashes are still underway around al-Yarmouk camp in Reef Damascus and the Syrian army is preparing to enter the camp, al-Alam satellite television network reported.

A commander of the Syrian popular forces told al-Alam that they are in control of security around al-Yarmouk camp.

The terrorists have tried hard in the last several weeks to seize control of Reef (outskirts of) Damascus from the army, but to no avail.

Terrorist operations have been on the increase in different parts of Syria ever since a number of armed rebel groups convened in Doha, Qatar, last month and formed a so-called coalition of the opposition. The coalition has provided the US, France and their allies with an alibi to extend their arms and financial backups to the terrorist groups very openly.

Weeks before the Obama administration and other Western nations recognized the new Syrian opposition coalition as “the legitimate representative” of the Syrian people, Syrian rebels were receiving training in the use of light and heavy weapons with the backing of the Jordanian, British and US governments, participants in the training said.

The training took place as far back as October and involved hundreds of rebels, the participants said. In one case, the rebel participant said American intelligence officers observed what was taking place. Another said British officers were helping to organize the training. The training itself was handled by Jordanian military officers, the rebels said, McClatchy reported.  Continue reading

US, allies in no hurry to end Syria violence: Nasrallah

 

Hezbollah Secretary-General Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah has said that certain countries are benefiting from the crisis in Syria and are trying to prolong the violence in the country.

Addressing a university graduation ceremony in Beirut, Nasrallah said on Sunday that the US and its allies are in no hurry to end violence in Syria and instead they are fueling the unrest because they want the country to be destroyed over its anti-Israeli stance.

Hezbollah secretary-general also warned al-Qaeda that the US has laid a trap for the group in Syria and by allowing al-Qaeda militants to easily enter the country, it is planning for them to kill each other in clashes there.

He further called national dialogue as the only way to end the Syrian crisis, stressing that those who oppose a political settlement to the country’s unrest are criminals.

Hezbollah chief said those who are fighting against the Syrian government are foreign militants and not Syrians because they are killing innocent civilians in car bombings and other acts of violence.

“They are not Syrians, they are killing Syrians,” Nasrallah said, adding that those who think foreign-backed militants will win are mistaken.

He also accused Western and Arab media outlets of launching a psychological war against the Syrian government by spreading false news about militants’ achievements.

“However, anyone who looks at Syria’s map and the regions controlled by the Syrian government can know that the regime is more powerful,” Nasrallah stated. Continue reading

US assists, funnels arms to Syrian insurgents: Russia

Insurgent fires towards an army position in Karm al-Jabal district of the northern city of Aleppo on October 22, 2012. (File photo)

Russia says the United States assists and coordinates arms deliveries to foreign-sponsored insurgents battling the Syrian government forces.

“Washington is aware of the deliveries of various weapons to illegal armed groups active in Syria. Moreover, judging by the declarations of US officials published in US media, the US coordinates and provides logistical assistance in such deliveries,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement issued on Thursday.

On Wednesday, Russia’s chief military officer said that Syrian armed groups have acquired US-made weapons, including Stinger anti-aircraft missiles.

General Nikolai Makarov said it was not clear who had delivered the arms.

“We have information that the rebels fighting the Syrian army have shoulder-launched surface-to-air missiles of several states, including Stingers made in the United States,” he said.

“We need to still find out who has delivered them,” General Makarov noted.  Continue reading

US deploys troops to Turkey amid Syria unrest: US General

Lieutenant General Mark Phillip Hertling

The commanding general of the US Army Europe (USAREUR) says the Pentagon has recently sent a number of American soldiers to Turkey in a bid to assist Ankara in handling the spillover of the Syrian crisis.

“We have had a relatively few number of US Army Europe personnel in Turkey recently,” Turkey’s Hurriyet newspaper quoted Lieutenant General Mark Phillip Hertling as saying.

The general added, “Some of that has been sharing intelligence.”

Hertling noted that Turkey is concerned about how to handle the humanitarian crisis on its border with Syria.

“It’s October. What [Turkey is] very concerned about is the approach of winter, and the way they can address the humanitarian crisis on the border,” he pointed out.

If Turkey asks for corporation, American soldiers could be used in evacuation operations, Hertling said. “However, no request has been made yet by Turkey.”

Syria has been experiencing unrest since March 2011.

Damascus says outlaws, saboteurs, and armed terrorists are the driving factors behind the unrest and deadly violence while the opposition accuses the security forces of being behind the killings.

The Syrian government says that the chaos is being orchestrated from outside the country and that Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey are arming the opposition.

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Libyans Condemn Slaughter of Civilians in Attack on Bani Walid

Protests continue across the country as well as outside the Tripoli `General National Congress` in spite of the recent use of machine guns and anti-aircraft guns to disperse demonstrators incensed at the attacks on Bani Walid

Tripoli, the capital city of Libya is the scene of mass protests against the indiscriminate bombing of Bani Walid, where up to 100 civilians have died and hundreds been wounded, many be illegal chemical weapons, according to recounts published today.

The town has been under siege for many weeks and subjected to rocket attacks from far outside the city but in recent days an assault has taken place on the town attempting to subdue its population to the “authority” of the Tripoli based “ratverment”.

Protests are gathering momentum across the country after the President of the Ratverment, CIA agent of 30 years who returned to Libya only this past year, Mohamed Megarief, tried to get to the town, gave up due to a hail of artillery projectiles, including reactive rockets fired from three positions by militias.

Libyan police and ratverment military forces in Tripoli armed with machine guns and anti-aircraft guns kept protesters away from the venue of the ratverment’s Congress, where they shot at least one protester at a similar protest when some 500 briefly entered the building before being turned back by machine gun fire from Megarief’s guards. Continue reading

Misfire: NATO mortar ‘gift’ from Turkey to Syrian rebels – newspaper

People gather on October 4, 2012, in front of the house where five people were killed after a mortar fired from Syria crashed inside the Turkish border town of Akcakale on October 3, killing five civilians, including a mother and her three children.(AFP Photo / Miguel Medina)

The mortar used to attack the Turkish town of Akcakale is a design specific to NATO and was given to Syrian rebels by Ankara, according to Turkey’s Yurt newspaper. The mortar killed one adult and four children from the same family on Wednesday.

An article by the paper’s Editor-in-Chief, Merdan Yanardag, states that the newspaper received information from a reliable source, which claimed that Turkey itself sent the mortars to rebels in the so-called “free army.”

“Turkey is a longtime member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and they’re going to act in conjunction with other NATO powers, so it’s unsurprising that this has happened,” editor of the Pan-African news wire, Abayomi Azikiwe, told RT.

NATO has so far shunned any military involvement in the conflict, but Azikiwe says the alliance is deeply involved in every decision that Turkey makes.

“Ankara isn’t taking any military actions or contemplating any type of military strategy without being in full cooperation with NATO forces,” he said. Continue reading