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

TARPLEY : ‘FSA headed to military elimination’

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PressTV

Press TV has conducted an interview with Webster Griffin Tarpley, an author and historian from Washington, about the crisis in Syria.

The following is an approximate transcript of the interview.

Press TV: With the Syrian army being able to gain more ground and kill more insurgents, just how do you assess the Syrian crisis at this point in time?

Tarpley: On the one hand, the military developments of the past 24 hours or so confirmed this pattern of slow, steady, inexorable progress by the Syrian army against the rebels, of course, facilitated by the fact that the rebels are avidly fighting among themselves, killing each other, assassinating each other’s leaders and so forth. This then leads to a very grim political situation for the rebels and their international backers.

There’s going to be a friends of Syria meeting – again, that ironically named gathering. They’re going to be meeting in London next week. They really are in total disarray.

On the one hand, the Syrian National Coalition, supposedly linked to the Free Syrian Army, now says that they will not attend any Geneva talks, although there are factions of them that say they might after all attend. Total confusion!

Then we’ve got, I think really, the symptoms of mental disintegration on the part of the backers of the rebels. For example, the Saudi government was offered a seat on the United Nations Security Council, one of the rotating seats, and Saudi Arabia says that they’re not happy with what the Security Council has done so they’re going to go home. It’s like a tantrum. They’re not going to participate in the Security Council. It’s really an absurd thing.

Then we have Secretary of State John Kerry who is reported to be under psychiatric observation for symptoms of schizophrenia. Two weeks ago he was praising the Syrian government for complete cooperation, total cooperation with the survey and inspection of the chemical weapons arsenal which are in the process of being eliminated, and then at the beginning of this week he then had a rage fit and began ranting about his personal opinion that President Assad is illegitimate and has to go. One week it’s “thank you to the Syrian government for your responsible behavior”, and this week it’s “but, by the way, you have to go”.

The political disintegration of this entire adventure couldn’t be any clearer.

Press TV: Briefly doctor, just how much can the Syrian crisis be solved diplomatically and speaking of diplomacy, just what are the chances for a successful Geneva II conference?

Tarpley: Well, it’s obviously important for people of goodwill to try to secure a diplomatic solution. That’s what Russia is doing. That’s what the Assad government has accepted. That’s what quite a number of other governments have supported.

But of course, the Syrian rebels are incorrigible. They simply will not negotiate and that’s the most recent authoritative word we have from the Syrian National Council. So, if they won’t negotiate, one might say that those same rebels are making a military solution at their expense inevitable. If they won’t cooperate with some political solution then only the military solution is actually left.

I suspect that it’s going to be a military solution at the expense of the rebels taking several more months. But I think the die is cast and the situation is going in the direction of the elimination of these micro-states or mini-state or emirates that the rebels have been creating in northern Syria which are absolutely intolerable for the people who live there. The popularity of these people as rulers is at an all time low and most Syrians would like to get rid of them.

At that rate, I think it’s going to be ultimately their military liquidation that will end this.

GMA / HSN

Assad: Chemical weapons no longer needed

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Syrian president says his country’s military industry was developed enough and chemical arms are no longer needed against Israeli military attacks.

Speaking to the Lebanese daily Al-Akhbar, Bashar al-Assad said his government is totally ready to participate in Russia-brokered Geneva II talks, but he expressed doubt over the participation of such peace conference.

Referring to the uselessness of chemical arms’ usage in this era, Assad said he no longer saw chemical weapons as necessary, explaining that even without his arsenal of chemical gases, he could still resist against Zionist regime attack
Assad said Syria’s advanced missile capabilities were sufficient to deter Israel militarily and therefore he did not need the chemical stockpile.

In fact, he said, Syria stopped manufacturing chemical weapons back in 1997, replacing them with conventional missiles “which are the determining factor on the ground.”

“It is enough to control Israel’s airports with firepower in order to paralyze it,” Assad said. Easily treatable medically, chemical weapons had more of a psychological effect on Israelis than a physical one, he added.

The UN has tasked the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons to rid Syria of its stockpile by mid-2014. Twenty-seven OPCW inspectors are currently in Syria on mission to inspect over 20 suspected chemical weapons sites across the country.

Assad also blasted the leaders of the Arab world for siding with the West in his opposition.

“No Arab official ever contacted us trying to mediate or offering an Arab solution proposal,” Assad said. The West, he added, “was more dignified in dealing with us than some of the Arabs.”

“Even the conventional military industry, which used to be geared against Israel, is now directed at the domestic enemies. This too is a loss,” Assad remarked of his domestic military complex, adding jokingly that he is more worthy of the Nobel Peace Prize than the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, this year’s winner.
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Syrian army advances in Rif Dimashq, 2 areas cleared

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Syrian army soldiers gain more ground in Rif Dimashq.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The offer was widely welcomed both in Syria and other countries that were concerned by US military ambitions and its regional consequences.
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Syrian Army crushes U.S.-backed rebel assault from Jordan

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LONDON — President Bashar Assad has defeated a U.S. effort to use
Jordan as a launching pad for the overthrow of his regime.

Western diplomatic sources said Assad’s military and security forces
crushed a U.S. campaign to send hundreds of trained and equipped Sunni
rebels from Jordan to regain a key city in southern city.

A Syrian military soldier holds his AK-47 with a sticker of President Bashar Assad that reads “Syria is fine.” /AP

The sources said a force sponsored by the Western-backed Free Syrian Army failed to reach even 10 kilometers within Syria before the rebels were detected and attacked by the Syrian Army.

“This was a well-trained and equipped force meant to eventually reach Damascus and overthrow the regime,” a source said. “Instead, the rebels crossed the Jordanian border and within hours were on the run.”

The sources said the FSA force, with fighters from Egypt and Saudi Arabia, consisted of two battalion-size units, or nearly 600 fighters.

The sources said the fighters, trained by the CIA as well as Jordan’s Special Operations Force Command, were equipped with anti-tank, anti-aircraft missiles as well as night-vision systems.

Most of the equipment was said to have come from the former Yugoslavia.
Since late 2012, Jordan has served as the main venue for the U.S.-sponsored
project to train and equip Syrian rebels.

On Aug. 17, the two FSA units crossed the Jordanian border for the
nearby Syrian city of Dera, a distance of fewer than 15 kilometers. But the
sources said the FSA fighters were immediately besieged by Druse and Bedouin
militias and refused help by Al Qaida-aligned units.

“Nobody wanted them, and even those who have been fighting Assad saw
them as a threat,” another source said.

Within hours, Syrian Army units arrived and pursued FSA fighters west
toward the Golan Heights and the frontier with Israel. The sources said
discipline broke down within the FSA units and some of the fighters tried to
attack a United Nations peace-keeping force in the Golan in an attempt to
acquire human shields.

“The CIA plan was simple: To establish an FSA presence in southern Syria
that would serve as a magnet for other opposition forces to march on to
Damascus,” the second source said.

By Aug. 20, the sources said, the FSA force, which contained Western
mercenaries disguised as rebels, was routed, with elements besieged by
Syrian Army units. They said the FSA defeat ended U.S. hopes of using Jordan
for a rapid rebel advance that could decide the Syrian war in 2013.

The sources said the defeat highlighted the increasing isolation of
Washington in directing the rebel campaign in Syria. They said the U.S.
strategy drew from the revolt against Col. Moammar Gadhafi in Libya in
2011, in which NATO allies used Benghazi as a launching pad for attacks.

“The Americans have been pursuing this Benghazi strategy for more than a
year despite the fact that Syria is not Libya, Assad is certainly not
Gadhafi, and that Damascus has powerful allies that are fighting to save
the regime,” the second source said. “But the feeling among the allies is
that America is not listening.”

Source: World Tribune

Putin warns against military action against Syria, bypassing UNSC

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Russia needs convincing proof, not rumors, from UN experts that chemical weapons were used in Syria, said the Russian president in an interview with First Channel and AP. It is up to the UN Security Council to decide on the next course of action, he said.

Speaking to journalists from Russia’s state Channel 1 television and Associated Press, Russian President Vladimir Putin made a number of decisive statements regarding the supposed use of chemical weapons in the Syrian conflict, which evoked a threat of a US-led strike on Syria. 

“We believe that at the very least we should wait for the results of the UN inspection commission in Syria,” Putin said, adding that so far there is no information about what chemical agent exactly was used in the attack in Damascus’ suburbs and who did it. 

“I’ve already said I find it absolutely ridiculous that [Syrian] government’s armed forces, which today are actually on an offense mission and in some regions have already encircled the so-called rebels and are finishing them off, that the Syrian army has used prohibited chemical weapons,” Putin said.

“They know all too well that this could become a cause for sanctions and even for a military operation against them. That’s stupid and illogical.”

“We proceed from the assumption that if anyone has information that chemical weapons were used by the Syrian regular army, then such proof must be presented to the UN Security Council and the UN inspectors,” Putin said, stressing that the proof must be “convincing” and not based on “rumors” or any sort of “eavesdropped intelligence data,” conversations etc.

“Even in the US there are experts who question the reliability of the facts presented by the administration. These experts do not exclude the possibility that the Syrian opposition has conducted a pre-planned provocation in order to give their sponsors a reason for military intervention,” he acknowledged.

Putin says he “does not exclude” that Russia may agree with a military operation if it is proved that the Syrian government is behind the attack, however he emphasized that in accordance with international law a decision of the UN Security Council is needed for that.

“All other reasons and means that excuse using military force against an independent sovereign state are unacceptable and cannot be classified otherwise but as an aggression,” Putin noted. 

“We would be convinced by a detailed investigation and direct evidence of who exactly used chemical weapons and what substances were used. Then we’ll be ready to take decisive and serious action,” said the president.

Answering a question about video records of dead children that allegedly died in the chemical attack in Damascus, Vladimir Putin called the material with dead children “horrible”.

“The questions are what exactly was done and who is to blame. This video does not answer these questions,” Putin said, sharing an opinion that this video is a compilation made by the militants who – even the US acknowledges – have links with Al-Qaeda and are notorious for extreme atrocities.

Putin recommended to pay attention to the fact that in the video with dead children there are no parents, children’s relatives or even medical personnel, while people who do appear in the video remain unidentified. However terrible the picture could be, it cannot be proof of anybody’s guilt, Putin said, and called for investigation of the incident.

Russia is fulfilling arms contracts with Syria “because we believe that we are working with the legitimate government and we are violating neither international law, nor our obligations,” assured Putin, stressing that the UN had imposed no sanctions on the export of weapons to Syria.

He confirmed that Moscow has a signed contract with Damascus to deliver S-300 air defense missile complexes to Syria. The S-300 system is kind of outdated, said Putin, “though they might be a little better than Patriot missiles.”
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Syria claims victory over US war rhetoric

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Syrian Mufti Sheikh Ahmad Badr al-Din Hassoun

Syrian Mufti Sheikh Ahmad Badr al-Din Hassoun has said the US should accept Syria’s victory in the recent dispute between Washington and Damascus.

The Mufti of Syria said in response to statements of US President Barack Obama at a White House press conference on Syria, “Obama backed off of his decision. He must admit the victory of Syria.”

Referring to the US president’s decision to seek congressional approval for an attack on Syria – meaning that if an attack is launched it will take place only after Congress returns from recess on September 9 and states its support – the Mufti added that Syria was winning “thanks to its leader, its people and its army, and this proved that the issue is not one of ethnic groups, but of homeland, which does not to yield to anyone except Allah.”

Deputy Syrian Prime Minister Qadri Jamil also responded to the developments saying, “The Syrian army’s readiness is what warded off US aggression against Syria,” following US President Barack Obama’s decision to postpone the attack.

He added that the government is in a state of permanent alert and ready to respond to any aggression against the Syrian people.

According to Jamil, the Syrian government does not need chemical weapons and the Syrian people desire real change without external intervention.

Meanwhile, a member of the so-called Free Syrian Army (FSA) warned that following Obama’s announcement, “If there is a postponement of (military) action, it will be an insult to the West in general and the US specifically.”

International debate is raging on fact-finding about an alleged chemical attack in Syria which US is using as pretext to bomb the Arab country.

The US has failed to provide evidence of its accusations against Syria while international condemnation grows against its military ambitions.

The US claims come as Syria has already provided UN with evidences on at least three chemical attacks carried out by US-backed militants near the Syrian capital of Damascus.

Source: Alalam

Syria army launches Deir ez-Zor operation

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Syrian soldiers have launched an operation against foreign-backed militants in the eastern city of Deir ez-Zor to retake areas occupied by terrorist groups.

The army hit militant forces in Hawiqa district on Tuesday with tanks and multiple rocket launchers, and also battled them in territory separating Hawiqa from the district of Joura, opposition sources in the city said.

The opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said two militants were killed in the battles on Tuesday. There were no immediate reports about casualties among Syrian forces.

The provincial capital on the banks of the Euphrates, 430 km (270 miles) northeast of Damascus, anchors a vast, arid oil-producing region bordering Iraq.

Half of it was occupied by anti-Syria militants a year ago but army soldiers have been able to keep secure several districts in the west of the city and areas between the local airport to the east.

Syrian army has been struggling with al-Nusra terrorists in south and east of the country, moving steadily forward to free occupied towns and villages.

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

The unrest, which took in terrorist groups from across Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, has transpired as one of the bloodiest conflicts in recent history.
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Syria army marches on to clear Damascus suburbs of Takfiris

The Syrian army is making progress in its operations against foreign-backed Takfiri militants in the suburbs of the capital, Damascus, Press TV reports.

Syrian troops on Sunday advanced into some areas of Damascus suburbs including al-Qaboun and Jobar, inflicting heavy losses on the militants.

In Jobar, the army units gained more ground after killing a number of militants and confiscating weapons.

The army also discovered a militant hideout used for making explosives near al-Manasher square, where poisonous chemical materials including chlorine were found. Some of the chemical containers had ‘Made in Saudi Arabia’ label on them.

The Syrian army also regained control of al-Musiqa battalion base, which is still in the range of militant sniper fire.

According to official sources, more than 60 percent of Jobar is under the control of the army.

Syrian army personnel told Press TV that they would continue operations until clearing all of the suburb area of Eastern Ghuta.

In al-Qaboun, fierce fighting between the army and militants continued, with the army securing the municipality building and a school. Several residential buildings were also cleared of militants.

On July 13, Syrian forces took control of an industrial zone in al-Qaboun that links it with Jobar.

Reports coming out of Syria suggest that government forces are pushing ahead with their mop-up operations against the militants across the country.

The army has recently conducted successful clean-up operations, inflicting heavy losses on Takfiris.

Foreign-sponsored militancy in Syria has taken its toll on the lives of many people, including large numbers of Syrian soldiers and security personnel, since March 2011.

Western powers and their regional allies including the Israeli regime, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar are supporting the anti-Syria militant groups, including al-Qaeda-linked terrorists.

In an interview with Syrian daily Al-Thawra published on July 4, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said the opposition and their foreign supporters have “exhausted all their tools” in a conspiracy against Syria.

Source: Press TV