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

Serena Shim, 1984-2014 The Death of a Reporter

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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.

General Suleimani: US, ISIL Destined to Failure

The redoubtable commander of IRGC Quds forces has predicted a debacle for conspirators of bloody terrorist acts in Syria and Iraq, Mehr news agency reported.

Major. Gen. Qassem Suleimani, who was talking to reporters on the sidelines of a meeting held for the memory of IRGC Ground Forces fallen commanders, said resolvedly that “any movement, either small- or large-scale, such as US military campaign or ISIL terrorist actions are predestined to failure, since they lack a crucial element as truth; anything with origins other than truth would not produce any definite outcome, neither would it embrace triumph in the end.”

Suleimani believed that any campaign against Islam and Iran would fail since they had no truth of themselves. “The real factor of success of Islamic Republic of Iran and Islam is this internal truth,” the IRGC commander asserted.

Suleimani predicted a failure as the ultimate destination of what he emphasized to be ‘bloody terrorism in Syria and Iraq,’ for the forces behind such campaigns in the region. “What is important is the end of events; you should wait and see the end; terrorists had not ever come victorious with enduring impact in the history, since they relied upon strategies devoid of truth,” he told reporters.

Source: Al Manar

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