Someone’s Already Fighting ISIS: The Syrian Arab Army

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By Tony Cartalucci, for ActivistPost

Since 2011, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) has waged a relentless war within Syrian territory against what it has said from the very beginning was an invasion of heavily armed, foreign-backed sectarian extremists. In retrospect, the transparently ludicrous nature of articles like the Guardian’s “Syria’s rebels unite to oust Assad and push for democracy” is self-evident. The article would lay out Syria’s claims side by side with the West’s narrative by stating:

In one of the fiercest clashes of the insurrection, Syrian troops finally took control of the town of Rastan after five days of intense fighting with army defectors who sided with protesters. Syrian authorities said they were fighting armed terrorist gangs.

In retrospect, and upon examining the obvious lay of Syria’s battlefields today, it is clear Syrian authorities were right.

Shortly after NATO carried out successful “regime change” in Libya in 2011 under the false pretext of a “humanitarian intervention,” sectarian-driven mercenaries it armed, funded, and provided air cover for in Libya began steadily streaming into Syria via its northern border with NATO-member Turkey.

Terrorists from the US State Department designated terrorist organization, the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) officially made contact with terrorists fighting in Syria to offer them weapons, cash, training, and fighters. The London Telegraph would report in their article, “Leading Libyan Islamist met Free Syrian Army opposition group,” that:

The meetings came as a sign of a growing ties between Libya’s fledgling government and the Syrian opposition. The Daily Telegraph on Saturday revealed that the new Libyan authorities had offered money and weapons to the growing insurgency against Bashar al-Assad.

Mr Belhaj also discussed sending Libyan fighters to train troops, the source said.

 

Indeed, at the highest levels, even as far back as 2011-2012, the so-called “moderate rebels” were entwined with Al Qaeda, vindicating the Syrian government’s statements regarding its struggle against foreign-backed terrorism, not a “pro-democracy uprising.”

Today, the West has expunged all rhetoric regarding “pro-democracy,” with sectarian extremism clearly driving militancy across both sides of Syria’s borders with Lebanon and Iraq. Instead, the West has been resigned to attempts in differentiating between groups like Al Qaeda’s al Nusra franchise and its Islamic State (ISIS) counterparts – claiming the latter must be addressed more urgently, even at the cost of cooperating with the former – yet another US State Department designated terrorist organization

Syria’s Long War 

And while the fierce fighting in Syria may have began in 2011, the war on foreign-backed sectarian extremism began a generation ago. From 1976 to 1982, Syrian President Bashar al Assad’s father, Hafez al-Assad, waged war on the heavily militarized Muslim Brotherhood. Upon breaking the back of the organization in Syria, it fled and was later reconstituted by the United States and Saudi Arabia into what would become Al Qaeda in the mountains of Afghanistan to fight the Soviet Union.

 

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Lavrov: West may use ISIS as pretext to bomb Syrian govt forces

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Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov adresses to his Malian counterpart Abdoulaye Diop (not pictured) during their meeting in Moscow, September 9, 2014. (Reuters/Sergei Karpukhin)

RT

If the West bombs Islamic State militants in Syria without consulting Damascus, the anti-ISIS alliance may use the occasion to launch airstrikes against President Bashar Assad’s forces, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said.

“There are reasons to suspect that air strikes on Syrian territory may target not only areas controlled by Islamic State militants, but the government troops may also be attacked on the quiet to weaken the positions of Bashar Assad’s army,” Lavrov said Tuesday.

Such a development would lead to a huge escalation of conflict in the Middle East and North Africa, Lavrov told reporters in Moscow after a meeting with the foreign minister of Mali.

Moscow is urging the West to respect international law and undertake such acts only with the approval of the legitimate government of a state, Lavrov said.

“Not a single country should have its own plans on such issues. There can be only combined, collective, univocal actions. Only this way can a result be achieved,” he said.

His comments came shortly after Washington announced plans to go on the offensive against the Islamic State jihadist group. The US military has already launched over 100 airstrikes against militant targets in Iraq, including a new series that the military said killed an unusually large number of Islamic State fighters, AP reported.

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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

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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