President Bashar al-Assad sworn in for a new term, addresses Syrians in milestone speech

Damascus, SANA – President Bashar al-Assad was sworn in Wednesday before the members of the People’s Assembly. Following the swearing-in ceremony, the President delivered a speech in which he first saluted the Syrian people.

Below is the full text of the President’s speech following the swearing-in ceremony: Honourable Syrians, Free Syrian Revolutionaries,

Three years and four months have passed since some declared, on your behalf: “The People want.”  Yes, The People wanted…. The People decided… The People took action.

A few years ago, some called for freedom – your response was to remain free in the age of subservience, to be masters in the age of slaves.  They patronised you with their calls for democracy – your response was to show your will in the most democratic manner possible and refuse foreign intervention in your national affairs; you chose your constitution, you chose your parliament, you chose your president.  Throughout, the decision was yours and your will has created our democracy.

They chanted: “The Syrian people are united” – your response was to face their storm of sedition, never allowing the winds of division to poison your hearts and minds; you were truly one people with one heart.

They preached: “They bow only before Allah” – your response was to never bow before their masters, to never surrender, to never give up.  You stood fast and held fast to your homeland, always believing in one God, a God who doesn’t share His powers with super-nations and who can never be substituted for oil or dollars.  And when they said; “Allahu Akbar” – God was greater than them and their supporters, because God is always on the side of justice and justice is on the side of the people.

During these years, whilst they were talking, you were doing; they sank in their illusions, whilst you made today a reality.  They called for a revolution and you rose to be the true revolutionaries; so, congratulations to you all on your revolution and your victories and congratulations to Syria for her great people and their steadfastness.

Congratulations to Syria whose people defied all forms of hegemony and aggression with all the means available to them: with their reason, their intellect and patriotic consciousness.  There are those who fought with weapons in their hands, others who fought by speaking the truth and others still who fought with their resilient hearts despite all the threats.

Congratulations to Syria whose people defied all forms of fear and terrorism and voted under fire in the referendum and the elections, thwarting the aggression, the aggressors and their machinery.  This steadfastness altered all expectations, circumstances and facts; positions changed, players withdrew, terminology dropped, alliances vanished, councils divided and other bodies disintegrated.  Many who were blinded to the truth, either out of ignorance or deception, regained their sense of direction.  True motives were revealed when their masks of freedom and revolution fell and they drove their fangs into Syrian flesh; killing, beheading and cannibalizing hearts and livers.  Every dirty trick was used; they left no perverse or deviant path untrodden.  And still they failed. Continue reading

Syria in Last 24 Hours: Army Regains Control of Strategic Towns in Hama Countryside

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

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

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

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

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

Writing on his Twitter page, Aridi said that Jarba had stolen $75mln of the international aids which were due to be allocated to the treatment of the wounded and refugee Syrians.

Also earlier this year, founder of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) Riyadh Al-Asa’ad claimed that head of the Syrian opposition bloc Ahmad al-Jarba is a spy.

Al-Asa’ad’s accusation came as the rifts among the Syrian opposition are further widening.

Divisions among the foreign-based Syrian opposition have widened after Idris was replaced by Abdullah al-Bashir.

Idris along with more than a dozen senior militant commanders have severed ties with the SNC, widening divisions among the foreign-sponsored opposition.

The military wing of the opposition said it has sacked its chief of staff due to difficulties in the operations against the Syrian government.

The anti-Syria military coalition was established in 2011. But it has never been able to attract people in the war-torn country.

Also, a military source said that a unit of the Syrian army has killed 20 terrorists in Morek in Hama’s Northern countryside on Sunday.

Terrorists Alaa Ibrahim Al-Hamid Al-Eliwi, Mohammad Abdul-Mo’ti Al-Ghazal and Hassan Abdul-Karim Al-Na’ssan were identified among the dead, the state news agency reported.

Also in Aleppo, an army unit eliminated all members of an armed terrorist group in the last of Nazlet Al-Zebdieh in Seif Al-Doula and fully controlled a number of buildings there.

Meantime, the United Nation’s top humanitarian field operations official said more than 9 million Syrians had been displaced by the country’s conflict.

“Some 6.5 million of the displaced people are still inside Syria, while 2.7 million have fled to nearby countries,” John Ging said, warning that those numbers were likely to grow.

“Month-after-month, it’s 5,000 people that are being killed in this crisis. Hundreds of thousands have been injured in this crisis, and again with the intensification of the conflict, these numbers are growing all the time,” he said.

Army units pounded Saturday terrorist groups’ gatherings and dens in various areas across the country, inflicting heavy losses upon the terrorists’ ranks in lives and equipment.

Terrorists of Chechen and Turkish nationalities were killed in army operations that targeted terrorist groups’ gatherings in various areas in Damascus Countryside.

Army units killed all members of several armed terrorist groups in Al-Mleiha farms and Ein Tarma valley in Eastern Ghouta and destroyed all their weapons.

Qaderi Al-Sheikh Baker from Chechnya and Lawrence Al-Bashqati from Turkey were identified among the dead, in addition to Abdulrahman Al-Zarqawi and Ammar Al-Tout.

The army intensified operations on Joubar axis from the eastern side and destroyed several terrorists’ dens, leaving a number of them dead and wounded. Emad Matar and Mohammad Omar Juha were among the dead.

Meantime, Syria’s Supreme Constitutional Court (SCC) announced the final list of presidential contenders.

The SCC Spokesman announced that the final list of the country’s approved candidates for its upcoming presidential election came down to three individuals: Bashar Hafez Al-Assad, Maher Abdul-Hafiz Hajjar and Hassan Abdullah Al-Nouri.

The final list of candidates was announced in a Saturday press conference by SCC Spokesperson Majid Khadra, who further added that “the announcement also serves as an official notification to the respective presidential contenders to begin their election campaign as of Sunday, May 11, 2014″.

Source: Fars News

President Assad: Syrian Crisis in Turning Point Due to Army’s Achievements

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad stressed that the current crisis in his country is passing through a turning point on the military side due to the continuous achievements of the army in the war against terrorism.

In a meeting with the teaching staff and post-graduate students at the Faculty of Political Sciences in Damascus, Assad warned that the intellectual war is one of the gravest aspects of the colonial aggression targeting Syria.

“Intellectual war and attempts to abolish or replace identity are one of the gravest aspects of the colonial aggression targeting Syria,” official news agency, SANA, quoted President Assad as saying.

The Arab region is originally based on an ideology of correlation between Arabism and Islam, the President said, “which makes adherence to this principle one of the most important factors for restoring intellectual and social security to Arab societies.”

The West has sought to abolish this ideology so as to dominate the region and the role of Arab countries. Having failed to do so, the Syrian leadert said, the West turned to play on concepts to alter the essence of the ideology.

President Assad here noted that intellectuals and academics have a role to look into concepts and furnish them with clear-cut meanings to confront attempts aimed at voiding ideologies of their content.

Syria is targeted, not only for its weighty geopolitical position, but also for its pivotal role in the region and the sway it has on the Arab street, the President said.

Source: Al Manar

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

Annan: Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey supplied Syrian opposition with money and arms

Vienna, (SANA) Former UN Secretary General and former international envoy to Syria Kofi Annan said Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey have supplied the “Syrian opposition” with money and arms.

In an interview with the Austrian Die Presse newspaper, Annan noted that some regional and Western countries rejected the six-point plan which he presented for solving the crisis in Syria because they had differences with the Syrian leadership or with Iran, Russia and China, adding that those countries then formed the so-called “Friends of Syria” group.

He reiterated the need to solve the crisis in Syria by peaceful and political means, expressing his opposition to any form of military intervention.

Annan, who was appointed as UN Special Envoy to Syria in February 2012, highlighted that the Syrian government showed positive reaction to his efforts early in his mission with regard to declaring a limited ceasefire while the other parties rejected that step.

The former international envoy stressed that Iran must be part of the solution in Syria given its great capabilities that allow it to exert an influence in the region and play an objective role to end the crisis, pointing out that Saudi Arabia opposed any Iranian role as it views Tehran as a rival in the regional and international arena.

Annan underscored that what made the US President Barack Obama hesitant to launch any military action against Syria despite pressure by the Pentagon and the US’s Western and Gulf allies was because of the fact that the situation in Syria is totally different from Libya or any other country given its sensitive geopolitical position.

He said that belief matched his visions to end the crisis in Syria peacefully when he told everybody that there could not be a military solution to the “conflict” in Syria, adding that no full agreement on his proposals was reached at the UN Security Council, “and that was why I had to quit my mission as an international envoy to Syria”.

Annan quit his position as an envoy and informed the UN of his intention not to renew his mission, which lasted until August 31 of 2012.

Annan expressed regret that Austria withdrew its forces from the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) in the occupied Syrian Golan, considering that the withdrawal of some Western states’ forces from Golan reflects these countries’ lack of desire and indifference to solve the crisis in Syria.

Source: Sana

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

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

CIA mission in Syria almost complete

By Kurt Nimmo, Infowars.com

CNN reports that the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), in other words al-Qaeda, has taken over northern Syria despite the efforts of the Syrian government to keep the terrorist gang at bay.

20131106-183016.jpg
Omar Gharba, a Wahhabi cleric, destroys a statue of the Virgin Mary in Yakubiyah in Syria’s Idlib province after it was taken over by militants from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant. Photo: Syrian Christians in a Time of Conflict

“Al Qaeda has swept to power with the aim of imposing a strict Islamist ideology on Syrians across large swathes of Syria’s rebel-held north, according to a CNN survey of towns, activists and analysts that reveals an alarming increase in al Qaeda-linked control in just the past month.”

“ISIS is the strongest group in Northern Syria — 100% — and anyone who tells you anything else is lying,” states the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a one-man propaganda operation run by Rami Abdul Rahman.

Mr. Rahman, a disaffected Syrian, operates the official propaganda operation out of a semidetached red-brick house in Coventry, England, according to the New York Times. The disinfo op is allegedly funded by the European Union.

CNN comments on al-Qaeda’s version of Lebensraum and its effort to spread across Syria an austere brand of Islamic law identical to that of its financial sponsors, Wahhabi-dominated Saudi Arabia and the fossilized and corrupt Gulf monarchies:

“The swift al Qaeda expansion poses a severe policy dilemma for the United States and its European allies who have long delayed their promised armed assistance to rebel groups as they struggled with fears that the weapons could end up in the hands of al Qaeda-backed extremists.

Observers say the delay has provided a vacuum in the often chaotic rebel ranks that the organized and fearless Islamists have moved to fill.

Many observers explain that the extent of ISIS’s discipline and resources — they are said to have considerable cash at their disposal — means that the other rebel groups operating in the north do not seek to confront them.”

It is an established fact this “considerable cash” comes from Saudi Arabia and Qatar, but we shouldn’t expect CNN, a Pentagon propaganda and psychological warfare operation, to note the fact.

The United States government and its war propaganda outlets have feigned concern about the presence and growing dominance of al-Qaeda and spin-offs such as the brutal al-Nusra Front in Syria for some time now.

In fact, domination by al-Qaeda is the preferred outcome, as it was in Libya. The point of the CIA’s bogus “Arab Spring” is not to free emasculated Muslims, Arabs and (importantly) Persians from tyranny. It is the opposite.

Continue reading