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PRESIDENT ASSAD INTERVIEW: ‘WHAT IS HAPPENING IN EGYPT IS THE FALL OF POLITICAL ISLAM’

President al-Assad in interview to al-Thawra newspaper: what is  happening in Egypt is fall of so-called “Political Islam”

Jul 04, 2013

Damascus, (SANA)-President Bashar al-Assad gave a speech to Syrian al-Thawra daily published on Thursday.  

The following is the full text of the speech:  

Interviewer: During this difficult time of crisis, it has often been said that Syria can accommodate everyone, but in reality it has not embraced all of its citizens. What has led us to this point?

President al-Assad: First of all, I would like to welcome you in my office. I am particularly pleased that this interview coincides with the 50th anniversary of Al-Thawra newspaper. This is a momentous occasion for every patriotic Syrian irrespective of their political affiliation.

We often view nations as a group of people occupying a certain territory; whereas in fact a nation is about a sense of belonging and of culture which both ultimately form a collective identity. With a strong sense of belonging, we can ensure a united country that includes everyone. When the colonial powers left Syria, it was not to liberate the country but to reoccupy it through other means.

One of their core strategies was to divide and conquer. By division, I do not mean redrawing national borders but rather fragmentation of identity, which is far more dangerous.

When we live in the same territory but have different identities, we are already a divided country because each group isolates itself from the rest. When this happens, it is right to say that the country does not accommodate everyone.

In this context colonialism has been successful in creating separatist groups that consider their ideologies and values as solely and legitimately representing the country and hence rejecting all other groups. This success has not happened overnight, but rather during several stages.

The first of which was the Omayyad dynasty, where identities were tampered with, chasms created and many common elements destroyed resulting in fragmentation and ultimately the collapse of the Omayyad State. The same also applies for the Abbasid caliphate in ancient history and the fall of Palestine in modern history.

The rifts we have witnessed in modern history have come with the emergence of the Muslim Brotherhood and the negative role they have played after the independence of many Arab countries like Syria. They created the first split between Pan-Arabism and Islam, working hard to form a country for Islamists and another for nationalists. These attempts continued when colonist powers in Lebanon attempted to create a country for Muslims and another for Christians. The implications of the Muslim Brotherhood have transpired, the most dangerous of which is the presence of Al Qaeda which was generously supported by the West on the back of the Islamic revolution in Iran. After this revolution, Iran emerged as a firm supporter of the Palestinian cause, the essence of Arab identity. They attempted to incite sectarian strife between Sunnis and Shiites and to damage the relationship between Arabs and Persians. After the 9/11 events and the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq, these rifts were extended between the takfiris and all other Muslim sects.

The more schism in a country, the less it is able to accommodate its entire people. On the contrary, Syria is still accommodating to all Syrians due to people’s ability to grasp these realities and reject this strife hence preventing it from materializing. Syria remains for all Syrians as long as we can prevent these pockets of extremisms from spreading.

Interviewer: Mr President today is the fiftieth anniversary of the establishment of Al-Thawra Newspaper. You first stated that what is happening in Syria is not a revolution; certainly you had a conceptual foundation behind these statements. Here let me reference the Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov, during his first meeting with the opposition delegation in Moscow when they introduced themselves as revolutionaries; he asked them, “If you are revolutionaries representing a revolution, why do you need the outside world?” There is a historical saying: no state in the world can endure a popular revolution. I personally entirely subscribe to this theory. What made you say that it was not a revolution from the inception?

President al-Assad: From a historical perspective, any genuine revolution is purely internal and cannot be linked externally by any means, as manifested by the Russian, French and even the Iranian revolutions. Real revolutions are intrinsic, spontaneous, and are led by intellectual and ideological elites. What occurred in Syria since the outset of the crisis was flagrant external interference. There were attempts to hide this, but it has become absolutely clear. This is evident by the fact that we continuously hear external extrinsic statements regarding what should and should not be done in Syria.

Secondly, the real revolution of 1963 – which your newspaper is named after – was a revolution that empowered the country, society and human values. It promoted science and knowledge by building thousands of schools, it brought light to the Urban and rural areas of Syria by building electricity lines and networks, it strengthened the economy by providing job opportunities according to competencies. It supported the wider foundations of society including farmers, labourers and skilled-workers. The revolution at the time built an army indoctrinated in national values that fought the fiercest of battles, it stood unwavering in those difficult circumstances and it won in the 1973 war. We are now perhaps enduring the most challenging circumstances in which the army has shown that its revolutionary foundations and ideological values are as strong as ever.

Revolutions are about building countries and societies, not about destroying them; so how can we call what is happening in Syria a revolution? Attempts to package the events on the ground as a part of a revolution have been futile from the beginning.

Interviewer: Mr President, do you not believe that there were some in the country, even a small minority, who believed in the idea of the revolution, and hence contributed to it and embraced it in the beginning?

President al-Assad: Exactly, and this leads us back to the question of identity. What you are depicting happened for one of two reasons, both of which bear extremism. Either because there are some who completely abandoned their identity and embraced a “Western Dream” even with all its flaws or there are those who went in exactly the opposite direction and abandoned their identity and embraced religious extremism, which is inherently more dangerous and potent. Both trends are inflammatory. Without a doubt there are numerous aspects of western civilization and advancements that we should benefit from, but to be dazzled by the West and to drop our own identity, this would just be another category of extremism.

Our original Arab identity represents the amalgamation of civilizations of thousands of years and is hence built on moderation in all aspects: social, cultural, political and religious. When this identity is being torn in any of the two directions I mentioned, the result will be these foci of extremism you mentioned. This is my greatest concern; extremism in following the West is as destructive to our identity as religious extremism and they both lead to turbulence, which is what we are witnessing in Syria and other countries. This is not exclusive to Syria, but perhaps the element of external interference in Syria was stronger than in other countries.

Interviewer: Nonetheless Mr President, do you agree that the concepts and forms of revolutions have changed significantly from previous examples such as the Russian or French Revolution? Is it not possible to consider what is happening in Syria a revolution according to different concepts? Is it necessary for all revolutions in history to follow the same methods and paths?

President al-Assad: Everything in the world changes however, there are fundamental human principles that should remain constant. Religions do not change, although they deal with change. Principles do not change, however mechanisms need to be adjusted to keep up with time.

If for the sake of argument we are to accept the notion that the concept of revolutions change, which would then make what is happening in Syria a revolution, we should then accept that the Israeli acts against Palestinians constitute an Israeli revolution against Palestinian oppression, or that the American invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan was a revolution. To accept the fact that conditions and circumstances are perpetuated or altered should not mean that principles are fundamentally undermined.

The West and all its propaganda have always attempted to realign the facts upside down to serve their agenda. Rights become wrongs and wrongs become rights that then legitimize their political practices. If they do that, it doesn’t mean that we should sleepwalk with them.

Interviewer: Despite this, Mr President, some outside Syria and even inside Syria have called it – and still do – a revolution. This is a real controversy that needs clarification.

President al-Assad: To correct your question, even the western media and statements by western officials hostile to Syria could not ignore that it was not a revolution. The term “revolution’s is no longer used. They have now shifted towards discussing terrorism, adopting the American notion of differentiating between ‘good terrorists’ and ‘bad terrorists.’ So if those hostile to Syria have been able to see that this is not a revolution, it is only natural that most Syrians would be able to see this too.

There are of course those who refuse to see the reality because it serves their own agendas. Some embrace the same doctrines as the terrorists – the takfiri extremist ideology, so it is expected that they would believe this to be a revolution. There are others who suffer from ignorance and lack of judgement, who see through their eyes yet have a mental blackout. These groups bear little significance and are gradually shrinking. In any case, we are not significantly concerned by external factors because the events are more relevant to those inside who directly influence the events. The Syrian people are the ones fighting this battle and they are the ones persevering.

Interviewer: With regards to the external factors, it is well known that there are foreign fighters in Syria, possibly up to tens of thousands according to Western estimates. Mr President, why has Syria turned into a land for Jihad, and how has that transpired in such a short period of time?

President al-Assad: Syria has not turned into a land for Jihad. Jihad usually denotes benevolence; it is about construction, development, defending the country and the messages advocated in religion relating to virtuousness, justice and equality. What is happening in Syria is the complete opposite to the concept of jihad; Syria has turned into a land for terrorism.

This is due to several reasons. Chaos is a fertile environment for terrorism to breed. When the state was weakened in Afghanistan, terrorism flourished. The same happened in Iraq after the invasion. As they attempted to weaken Syria, the ensuing chaos transformed into terrorism.

Additionally, there are countries supporting terrorism in Syria in order to erode its historic characteristics of strength and immunity. These characteristics have always been evident in the international arena through our stances and nationally through our culture and intellectual thought. This attempted erosion is targeting our national unity, our infrastructure, our economy and the services that the state has always provided. Those who are hostile to Syria would happily watch its destruction, even in the long run. Another reason for western countries to support terrorism in Syria is their belief that these terrorist groups, which have been a security threat to them for decades, can be killed in Syria, hence shifting the battleground away from their own countries and destroying Syria in the process.

Interviewer: However, Mr President, not all those fighting in Syria are foreign fighters. We have seen a Syrian eating the heart of another Syrian. What has driven us to this phase?

President al-Assad: Often when discussing the Syrian crisis, I start by defining it as a crisis of morals, before discussing extremism, takfiri ideology and external intervention. All of these could never conceivably penetrate our society if it was protected by strong morals. A moral crisis paves the way for foreign interference in our internal affairs, it paves the way for people to be controlled by money and hatred and it paves the way for mercenaries who have lost their national and patriotic principles. When you lose your moral compass, you lose your humanity and turn into another creature, not even into an animal. Animals do not eat their brothers’ flesh out of hatred; they do so out of hunger. When you lose your morals and your principles, you lose the real value of religion. Religions came to reinforce humanity and cannot by any means be the pretext to behead humans and eat human flesh. When we lose the righteousness of religion, as is happening with some of these groups, religion becomes a mere façade. Religion would never instruct human beings to commit such acts.

Interviewer: When you refer to “eating brother’s flesh out of hatred” does this imply an instinct of hatred?

President al-Assad: Contrary to correct social and religious beliefs that are built on reason, distorted beliefs make humans hostile to others when they differ in doctrine. Hatred, not instinct, makes humans lose their sanity and drives them to behead others and eat human flesh. Human instinct is based on virtue as opposed to hostility. Weak morals and principles, and distorted beliefs are what drive humans away from sanity.

Interviewer: Mr President going back to your definition of jihad in its true meaning, we find unfortunately that the more prevalent form is based on fighting and killing. What can be done about this?

President al-Assad: The solution is to seek guidance from the Quran where the clear words of God resonate. Islam is a religion of mercy and forgiveness; the word “mercy” is cited tens of times in the Quran. Islam came to promote human values, enshrine mercy and love, and prevent killing. Did the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) not say in the Hadith al-Sharif: “The demise of the universe is easier for God to condone than the wrongful killing of a believer?” The Quran and the Hadith are both clear in promoting love, forgiveness, justice and humanity. Those who claim to emulate the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) should remember his behaviour as a human being before and after he became a prophet, they will find that his message was primarily based on human morals and principals.

I would like to pose a question to you and your readers: do these Wahabis and Takfiris and their acts resemble in any shape or form our great Prophet’s conduct throughout his life, either before or after he became a prophet? During my meetings with clerics in Syria and the Levant, I have often said that the Prophet Muhammad’s life should be studied in greater depth at all levels, by clerics and students alike, because the Prophet did not only convey the words of God, he embodied their meaning and practiced what he preached. If we go back to the Quran, the Hadith and the life and conduct of the Prophet, we will see the complete opposite of what these terrorists are practicing.

Interviewer: Who is responsible for this call to return to the Quran and the Prophet’s conduct?

President al-Assad:When a criminal, a thief or an extremist emerges from the fold of society, it is a collective social responsibility led by the government since it is responsible for overseeing all aspects, including religion. The government shares this responsibility with various religious institutions, including the Ministry of Religious Endowments, religious schools and institutes including those that have recently been licensed. These bodies are responsible for ensuring that our religious scholars are qualified to promote the correct religious ideology and focus on its essence rather than on the extremism that has infiltrated areas of our public life.

Interviewer: Some argue that the government carries the greatest responsibility in the sense that this extremist religious environment grew before the eyes of the authorities. They cite examples of religious schools that are not subject to oversight and do not have the proper curricula, or the building of mosques to avoid paying taxes.

President al-Assad: I have heard this many times during various meetings with people in the current crisis, that the government should not have encouraged these religious schools and that we are now seeing the consequences of this policy. This is unequivocally incorrect. In fact quite the contrary, throughout the crisis we have not had a single incident caused by any of the official religious bodies. More importantly, they have understood the genuine reasons behind the crisis and have worked effectively to contain it.

In a previous interview, I discussed the role of religious clerics. As for religious institutions, they have not produced any form of chaos or contributed to spreading sectarianism. The majority of those who emanated from mosques at the beginning chanting “Allah Akbar” did so to incite chaos and hatred whilst knowing nothing of religion. Others attended mosques to protest and chant “Allah Akbar” but in reality they did not know how to pray.

On the other hand, the religious institutions have existed for decades and they have been empowered and supported as far back as the1980’s during the Muslim Brotherhood crisis. The crisis at that time highlighted the importance of nurturing religious belief correctly since many Syrians were misled due to misguided religious awareness. The Muslim Brotherhood exploited these weaknesses in religious clerics and in society propagating themselves as strengthening religion in society against an “atheist” state fighting religion. Consequently, and based on the above, I believe that on the backdrop of this crisis, we need to embrace religion and religious institutions, and certainly not the opposite.

Interviewer: Mr President, decades ago sectarian strife afflicted Lebanon as it did in Iraq following the American invasion. Did we not realize that this would inevitably come to us? What have we done to confront it?

President al-Assad: Certainly, had we not feared this we would not have taken a strong stance against western policies that promoted this anarchy. We staunchly rejected the war on Iraq despite the serious American threats and great incentives at the time. We took this position not only because in principle we are against any aggression on Arab or friendly countries, but also because we were aware of the disastrous consequences that would follow.

Similarly we expressed concerns over the war on Afghanistan, especially during my meetings with American officials after 9/11. They expected us to be pleased that they would be attacking terrorists, especially since Syria from 1985 had repeatedly called for a clear definition of terrorism and the need to form an international alliance against it. This was not taken seriously at the time since terrorism had not yet struck within their borders. I have consistently warned American officials that the war on Afghanistan would promote and spread terrorism. Terrorism is like cancer, when you deal with the consequences rather than the root cause, it will only spread faster. Therefore, terrorism has to be rooted out and not just attacked. This cannot be achieved through war alone, but by education, culture, human interaction and prosperity. They did not pay attention to our concerns and we are still suffering from the consequences of Afghanistan. Again, in Iraq we warned that the situation would develop into sectarian tension and head towards partition, which we are slowly seeing. When we got involved in Lebanon in 1976 it was to protect Lebanon and also to safeguard Syria since that war had consequences on us from day one.

Therefore in answer to your question, we saw the dynamics you mentioned emerging, we stood against them and we intervened when it was warranted. However, you cannot completely isolate yourself from your neighbourhood. We endeavoured to prevent the events in Iraq from affecting Syria. It was possible to delay it but it was not possible to prevent it completely. Since 2004, some extremist elements started to emerge and ferment in Syria which at the beginning were non-Syrians and sadly with time a considerable part of them are now Syrian.

Interviewer: There were attempts before and during the crisis to draw Syria into this sectarian tension. More than two years into the crisis, they have been utilizing the example of Hezbollah to bolster the notion that it came to defend a certain sect. What is your view on this?

President al-Assad: They have used all methods in this region: direct and indirect occupation, threats, intimidation, as well attempts to breach our national security and culture. They have tried everything and Syria continues to be a source of hindrance to their objectives. Recent events in Arab countries were seen as an opportunity to strike Syria and undermine and weaken the axis of resistance in the region. The core of their objective now is redefine who is an enemy and who is an ally; Israel becomes the invisible enemy, even an ally for some, whilst the resistance becomes the enemy. Instead of representing a movement and an actor against Israeli occupation, the attempt is to project the resistance as the enemy, transforming it from a resistance movement to sectarian movement. This has not transpired and will not transpire. The Syrian people are not so easily misled or fooled. For us, the resistance and all our allies, our aims are clear and our route well defined. Regardless of what they propagate, we will achieve our goals in terms of our resistance and our internal wellbeing. We shall do this in our own way and without hesitation. Regardless of what they say, we will always act according to what is best for Syria.

Interviewer: Did we require fighters from Hezbollah?

President al-Assad: This is not the first time I have been asked this question and my answer is clear: the Syrian Army is fighting in several parts of the country, had we needed external support we would have been able to attain it. However, what happened in Al-Qseir is linked more to the resistance movement than the internal crisis in Syria. Al-Qseir is not as strategically important as they portrayed it to be.

Interviewer: But in the West it was portrayed as the mother of all battles?

President al-Assad: Precisely, that’s because it has a bearing both on the internal crisis in Syria and on the resistance since it is a border town which is the back garden of the resistance. The resistance cannot be strong without an element of strategic depth to it, which is in Syria. Thus the area bears geo-strategic importance in the connection between Syria and Lebanon and specifically the resistance. That is the fundamental reason why the resistance had to join the battle because it affects them as much as it affects Syria. There involvement was necessary and we were completely transparent about this. We will not hesitate to do it again or shy away from it. However, if we needed the resistance as they tried to portray, why did we need it in Al-Qseir but not in Damascus, Aleppo or other key areas? We have a strong army that is supported by large number of National Defence Forces.

Interviewer: Mr President, despite what you have said, there are some in the opposition, most notably those who are outside Syria, who insist that a sectarian struggle is the core issue and that the government has engineered it to augment its own benefits.

President al-Assad: If the government creates sectarian strife in Syria, it would then be leading the country towards division. Our battles across all of Syria are principally to safeguard the country’s demographic diversity and unity, which essentially discredits this notion. Sectarian strife conspicuously negates the interest of the government. The government has an interest in keeping Syria united, strong and prosperous. A sectarian approach would result in us losing the battle not winning it. A government would be ignorant to adopt such a strategy and the Syrian government is certainly not. If a government works for the best interests of the nation, it does its best to ensure society’s unity and consequently ensures its own strength.

Interviewer: Frankly speaking Mr President, there are western accusations that when the protests erupted you subtly signalled to the minorities that they are under threat which drove them to support you. This notion renders you responsible for the schism in Syrian society?

President al-Assad: If there was any truth to this claim then we would have plunged into a civil war and the state would have collapsed. If for the sake of argument we apply the logic of minorities and majorities in Syria – which we completely reject, no minorities can protect the state. The government is maintained by the majority, not necessarily an ethnic, religious or sectarian majority, but by a popular majority.

Our country and our people have persevered because it is the majority that has supported the government and not the minority; this majority constitutes all sects in Syria. These notions of minorities and majorities are purely Western. How did they divide up Syria under the colonial French occupation? They divided it into sectarian based regions: an Alawite state, a Druze state, Damascus, Aleppo etc. Ninety years ago, our ancestors were vigilant and alert to the dangers of such a plan, it is inconceivable that today we less aware or vigilant. Such an attempt is predestined to fail exactly like it failed all those years ago, even when they tried to print new currency. This particular scenario would never transpire in Syria unless the takfiri or Muslim Brotherhood ideology prevails, which would lead to a division empirically similar to the fate of other Arab countries.

Interviewer: But these accusations that the government created a sectarian struggle, are not only from those bearing an extremist ideology but also from intellectuals who claim to be secularists.

President al-Assad: This is regrettably true. Most of the sectarian discourse today is not only by takfiri extremists, but also by those who claim to be secular. There are two groups that advocate sectarianism: the first regard themselves as secular – we have repeatedly stated that secularism is not against religions but rather a form of freedom of confession. The other group are ignorant people who claim to be religious without understanding the essence of religion.

The common element between the first group, which claims to be cultured and secular, and the second – which claims to understand the true essence of religion is ignorance; ignorance of religion leads to sectarianism. In this instance, I am not referring to religious doctrine, which is based on intellectual thought. The old religious scholars provided us with intellectual schools of thoughts that enriched our understanding of religion and religious practice, but did not promote sectarianism. What is important is that the majority of believers who understand the true essence of religion do not promote sectarianism, because they know as we do that sectarianism is the exact opposite of religion. Those who maintain a poor knowledge of religions adopt the concept of sectarianism parallel to those who boast about secularism without comprehending its true meaning or the true meaning of religion.

Interviewer: Taking into consideration these distorted concepts and perverse practices in our society from beheading and slaughtering to sectarianism and fragmentation, are we beginning to see the defeat of Arab Nationalism to the hands of fanaticism and takfiri ideology?

President al-Assad: Arab identity is endangered by three factors: firstly, an absolute deviation towards the West, secondly, the inclination towards extremism and thirdly, the performance of successive Arab governments which has led some to shift away from the core of Arab nationalism. These three deadly threats have dealt severe blows to Pan-Arabism, but Arab nationalism is still alive and this can be felt in the popular mood. Pan-Arabism will not collapse because it is deeply rooted in our Arab identity.

Interviewer:Mr President, since the inception of the crisis, there have been calls from Turkey to specifically engage with the Muslim Brotherhood, while Syria has categorically rejected dealing with them as a political entity. The Syrian government announced its intention to attend the Geneva talks with no pre-conditions. Will we talk to the Muslim Brotherhood?

President al-Assad: We deal with all parties. In fact, we engaged with the Muslim Brotherhood after they were defeated in Syria in 1982. We believe that dialogue is the method to direct parties onto the right track and national position. If we are to discuss Islam, they should refer back to the correct Islam for all Syrians.

This dialogue has never stopped, and there have been several attempts, but every time we realize that the Muslim Brotherhood have not abandoned their hypocrisy. Their main concern remains power and ruling rather than religion or the interests of the country. We engage with them as individuals and not as a political party, since our constitution and legislations ban political parties based on religious ideology.

This should not be understood as being anti-religion; on the contrary, we support religion. Religion is a calling, a higher calling to teach the word of God and should be elevated to a much higher level than ruling people’s daily lives. Religion is for all humanity and not exclusive to a certain group; it has a higher purpose than the details and nuances of our human lives which encompass wrongdoings, sins, perversities and whims. Religion should not be reduced to a political party. Religion augments moral values, which in turn reinforces politics, parties, the economy and prosperity. It is for these reasons that we do not recognise them as a political party. In terms of their practice, they are terrorists who killed thousands of Syrians under the same leadership that still exists outside Syria – we do not forget this.

So we will engage in dialogue with all parties relying on our existing knowledge of their real ideology and knowing that it is extremely unlikely they will – after close to a century of adopting their ideology – suddenly change and become moderate Muslims with national values.

As I mentioned earlier though, we have engaged with individuals within the Brotherhood and they have returned to Syria. They maintain their religious beliefs, which we respect, and have contributed to building the country rather than destroying it. As I have said before, the potential outcome of any dialogue will be subject to a public referendum, which will ensure that the electorate will decide what is right for the country.

Interviewer: Regarding the Muslim Brotherhood, how are you following the unfolding events in Egypt? What is your view of the situation?

President al-Assad: What is happening in Egypt is essentially the fall of political Islam; the type of governing system which the Muslim Brotherhood attempted to advocate regionally. I reiterate that religion should not be deprecated into a particular political practice. Religious preaching should be an independent process, kept away from the specific dynamics and intricacies of political manoeuvring.

This experience has failed quickly because it was founded on a flawed basis. Our perception of the Muslim Brotherhood extends broadly to developments in Egypt. Using religion for politics or a certain political party is inevitably destined to fail anywhere in the world.

Interviewer: Is it that the Muslim Brotherhood deceived the Egyptian people or have the Egyptians suddenly woken up to the reality of the Muslim Brotherhood?

President al-Assad: Countries such as Egypt, Iraq and Syria are strategically located and deeply ingrained in the history of the region and have been for thousands of years. Consequently, the peoples of these lands have a rich reservoir of knowledge, awareness, culture and human civilization, which make them immune to deceitful narratives. As the saying goes: you can deceive some people some of the time, but you cannot deceive everybody all of the time. This especially applies to the Egyptians who represent a civilization of thousands of years and a unique Arab nationalist ideology. What happened a year ago was an untestable consequence of the previous ruling party, now the picture has emerged clearer to the Egyptians, and the performance of the Muslim Brotherhood unveiled the lies they expounded at the start of the revolution. The Egyptians are an ancient people and they were able to quickly discover the reality for what it was.

Interviewer: And in record time.

President al-Assad: Yes, thanks to the Muslim Brotherhood!

Interviewer: Is it fair to say that the Muslim Brotherhood’s experience at governing has failed?

President al-Assad: We envisaged its failure before it even started. This type of governance is destined to fail since it is incompatible with human nature. The Muslim Brotherhood adopts hypocrisy and aims in reality to create schism in the Arab world. They were the first to raise the sectarian strife in Syria in the 70’s. At that time, sectarianism was not common discourse or phenomenon in Syria. Their objective is to create conflicts, however this is not resonant in societies that have a high level of public awareness, which is why we knew they would fail.

Interviewer: Some suggest that part of what is occurring in Egypt now is due to the decision taken to sever relationships with Syria. Reuters quoted a military source stating that the army began to change its stance following Morsi’s statements during his meeting with the Syrian opposition.

President al-Assad: I do not wish to speak on behalf of the Egyptians people, but I can tell you that when Muhammad Morsi severed relationships with Syria a few weeks ago, there were attempts by the Egyptians to reach a compromise. Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem revealed these details in his recent press conference. This implies that not everybody in the Egyptian government endorsed Morsi’s decision because it was effectively an incorrect decision. This was further echoed by criticism of the decision from Egyptian intellectuals and journalists who highlighted the strategic and historic nature of the relationship between the two countries.

 The Pharaohs were aware of the strategic importance of military and political relations between Syria and Egypt, hence their battle of Kadesh (near Al-Qseir now) against the Hittites in 1380. The Hittites in Anatolia also realised the importance of their relationships with Syria. The Pharaohs realised that Syria represents Egypt’s strategic depth. The battle ended with no victor, culminating in one of the oldest agreements known to history between the Hittites and the Pharaohs in 1280. Whilst the Pharaohs were aware of the importance of Syria to them then, how could a person living in the 21st century not understand it today? It is shameful ignorance.

Interviewer: We have discussed the dialogue, done the groundwork, initiated the political process and taken some concrete steps, even clarified our position on the Geneva conference. To a large extent all of these measures are part of a wider political process. I would like to touch upon the humanitarian aspect: tolerance, forgiveness and reconciliation. Some have asked, Mr President, how can we reconcile both internally and externally?

President al-Assad: Internally speaking – and this is the most important for me – we mistakenly put all our eggs in the same basket. There are those who have killed, those who have vandalised but did not kill, there are those who carried arms but did not kill and those who facilitated the killing of others. So there are many different roles. In all instances that did not result in killing, the state can be lenient on the condition that offenders return to normal civilian life. In the instances of proven homicide, this is tied to the wishes of the victims’ families and the state cannot act on their behalf. However I have heard a significant number of families of martyrs, saying: “if our son’s or brother’s blood leads to a resolution of the problem then we are ready to forgive.” We must all learn from these families who have lost their children and their loved ones.

Forgiveness is essential in solving national crises, provided it is done at a popular level rather than at an official level in order to ensure its sustainability. It is a sign of strength and patriotism when we can put our national public interests above our own personal interests; this concept needs to be adopted by everybody. Like most other families, my family has been affected by the crisis, we have lost loved ones, but ultimately, similar to any other family, we need to put the interests of the country ahead of our personal loss. This needs to be applied both internally and externally.

The external side is more political. Foreign policy is not based on emotions but national interests. There are principles and interests and they are inextricably intertwined. It is unscrupulous for your principles to be against your interests, either your interests are wrong or your principles. Here, forgiveness is viewed positively as a humane and religious value. When forgiveness serves the relationships with a certain country, and therefore the interests of Syrians, there is no reason not to forgive, since the central focus of the state is the interest of its people. This is what we have done; we have received many politicians and met with several countries that were hostile to us. Our primary aim was always the unequivocal interest of the Syrian people.

Interviewer: Mr President, Syrians today have two primary concerns: one is the prevalence of terrorism and bloodshed on the streets, targeting state institutions, factories and other key locations. The second concern is the increasing cost of living. With regards to the economy, the unprecedented rise in the dollar exchange rate and the disastrous consequences? What do you say to the Syrian citizen on issues relating to the economy?

President al-Assad: In order to give an objective assessment, one has to start from the fundamentals. Firstly, for a citizen to be well off, the economy has to be healthy which requires stability and security. The economy can never flourish in turbulent times and in the absence of security.

Therefore our security threats are directly affecting us irrespective of the performance of any government with the best experts. Secondly, we know that certain countries tried to strike Syria, first through the idea of the revolution – which failed because people didn’t embrace it, and then they tried through supporting terrorism – which also failed because it was countered by the armed forces and local communities. Since they failed in both of those areas, their third attempt was the economy to ensure the greatest suffering against Syrians who supported their country. If we take into account these factors, it is inevitable that there is a heavy price to pay. In these circumstances, the best we can do is to limit the damage, either by dealing with the profiteers of the crisis or with the mistakes of officials.

We have to identify policies that are suitable for the present time and circumstance. Some make the mistake of assessing current policies and government performance in the same manner as before the crisis. This is unrealistic. We are in a completely different situation. It is unfeasible to continue in the same level of consumption as before, since this creates pressure on the economy and most significantly the Syrian pound. We need to change our lifestyle in order to alleviate the pressure and adapt to the circumstances until we can reach a solution based on restoring full security. We have to understand that our economic hardships will not ease until we can restore our stability.

This crisis has affected all Syrians irrespective of their political affiliations; even those who initially supported the alleged ‘revolution’ were struck by increased poverty, which was the catalyst for them to realize that they were losing out. It is unfortunate that there was a limited foci that only started to think objectively after they were struck by poverty. However, we must all collaborate to combat terrorism in order to restore the economy to its former strength.

We must identify the beneficiaries of the crisis and deal with them accordingly. It is paramount that the public cooperates with the state and refrain from relying on others to solve the problem. This is a real problem in our society; everyone relies on somebody else to solve their problems.

Similarly, unless our public officials collaborate with each other and with our citizens the hardship will only increase. We must all take the initiative and innovate in finding the best possible economic solutions to deal with these turbulent circumstances; this is where we must be creative in our solutions otherwise the crisis will force choices upon us. Again, the sooner we fight terrorism, the quicker the economy will recover stronger than before because we are a vibrant and intelligent people. We are a country with an indigenous civilization that was not imported from abroad. Regardless of the difficulties in the past, we built our country with our own money and expertise. Therefore, once we restore security, we can at the very minimum re-boost our economy to its former status.

Interviewer: What are the facts behind the oil and gas resources in the Syrian territorial waters, which have been documented and reported by a number of research centres and experts?

President al-Assad: This is correct, whether in our territorial waters or on Syrian soil. Initial studies have reported large gas reserves especially in the sea. We have seen this stretching from Egypt through Palestine along the coast. It is also reported that these resources are richer in the north. There is a notion that one of the reasons behind the crisis was these gas reserves and the fact that they should not be at the disposal of state opposed to Israeli and American policies. This has never been discussed directly with us, but from a logical perspective it cannot be ignored. It is still early to say.

Interviewer: I would like to discuss living conditions from a different angle. The government has increased salaries twice during the crisis. The first pay rise was expected and some thought that it was needed but the second was surprising and unforeseen to some especially since the government was able to accommodate this increase in the current conditions. Despite the difficulties there is hope in what comes after the crisis. Have we taken steps towards this? What are the plans for the future?

President al-Assad: Since we have been affected most by the destruction, the most vital part of the Syrian economy will be reconstruction. We have started to layout plans and where possible started implementation, though the security situation has hindered this. The necessary legislation has been passed, but again implementation requires better security conditions to facilitate the rebuilding process and ensure workers can operate freely.

Another important point you mentioned was the pay rise. For a country in the situation we are in to be able to continue to pay salaries and provide services – albeit of a lower quality than before, is a huge achievement. There are positive elements to gauge, however our aims are bigger and I believe we can collaborate collectively to achieve these.

Interviewer: Some attribute the responsibility of border control to the government, which contributed ultimately to the current economic situation and the absence of state control over markets and prices for instance. Were we taken by surprise in the crisis or was it caused by negligence from the relevant government bodies?

President al-Assad: Certainly there were deficiencies with regards to the performance of certain state institutions before the crisis, which I regularly mentioned, including corruption, negligence, procrastination and the challenge of finding the right and suitable people. The crisis has unveiled and perpetuated these defects, which is not surprising. However it is not realistic to assess the role of the government and its influence without taking into consideration the extrinsic orientations of the crisis, the crisis is not confined to strictly internal issues of corruption, chaos, and lack of security or the presence of gangs as is the case for other countries. Our situation is completely different as we are facing an external war manifested by internal tools and the government is defending the country. So it would be inaccurate to evaluate it in the same way.

The presence of the state, its influence and power is judged by whether the government has changed its principles. The Syrian government has not changed its principles, neither internally nor externally. Our position towards the resistance movement has not changed, our position on Palestine is the same, we remain committed towards the larger sections of society – labourers and farmers, we continue to pay salaries and provide public services despite the widespread destruction, we have launched new projects and have planned for others; all of this has been achieved within our own means. Therefore our government is not absent but rather in a state of war.

Interviewer: Our state institutions are being vandalised and destroyed. Some perceive that these manifestations are the beginning of the collapse of the Syrian state.

President al-Assad: Their objective was to destroy our infrastructure, undermine our security, drain our economy and create chaos that would all lead to a failed state; none of this has materialised. Day to day life continues, albeit with greater challenges. The economy is still functioning despite severe difficulties, which nobody expected us to withstand. Personal safety is a big issue, but workers, employees and business people still go to work. The Syrian people have proven that they have enormous energy and resilience. After explosions, once the casualties have been evacuated and the debris cleared, daily life continues. We haven’t seen this in Syria before and we didn’t know this about ourselves. People go to work despite the risks of a terrorist attacks, suicide bombings or mortar shelling. They go to work and about their daily business with a strong belief in fate and therefore never fall into a state of despair.

All countermeasures have been deployed against us including the use of economic, military and psychological warfare. The only thing they have not tried is direct intervention, which is beyond their means for various reasons; as I have said before, starting a war is different to ending it. No one can end a war, and no one knows where it will end. This has critical and dangerous bearings, which is why there is a lot of reluctance on the part of many countries. If we have overcome all of these stages with a high level of public awareness and solidarity; there is nothing we should fear. That’s why I am not worried.

Interviewer: So, Mr President, you are optimistic?

President al-Assad: If I was not optimistic I would not have been able to endure the difficulties alongside the Syrian people, and if the Syrian people lacked a profound optimism they would not have persevered. Despair is the beginning and essence of defeat and defeat is primarily psychological.

I often meet people and sense their optimism. They all say that the crisis is coming to an end, God willing. They go on to say “Syria is protected by God” or “we have no fears”. They repeat what the martyred Dr Bouti used to say and his belief that the end of the crisis is near.

There is a genuine belief, from a spiritual and national perspective that the crisis will come to an end. Without optimism there is no faith; without faith there is no optimism.

Interviewer: Mr President, in conclusion, our newspaper is celebrating its fiftieth anniversary since releasing its first issue. May I ask you on this occasion to address a few words to my colleagues at the paper? They have been exemplary in their dedication and hard work. There is a printing worker I know who is not driven by political ambitions but by his sense of patriotism and belonging to this institution. This is what keeps him commuting to and from work after midnight, stopping at numerous checkpoints and risking his life.

President al-Assad: The example of your colleague applies to all those working in our national media, and proves the resilience of the Syrian people. Please convey my warm regards to all your staff especially since your newspaper is one of the oldest national papers in Syria. Its fiftieth anniversary corresponds with the 8th of March Revolution which I mentioned earlier with all the benefits it brought to the Syrian people for decades.

Today this anniversary comes as we live another real revolution; not their so-called ‘revolution’ but the real revolution of our people and army against terrorists. I hope that this anniversary will mark a new beginning for the newspaper so that its name will, in the future, symbolize not one revolution, but two: the revolution of 1963 and the revolution of 2013.

Scholars and imams: President al-Assad speech to al-Thawra daily comprehensive

Jul 04, 2013

Damascus, (SANA)-Scholars, imams, directors of religious schools and Sharia institutes in Syria affirmed that President Bashar al-Assad’s speech to al-thawra daily was comprehensive, true and honest which touched upon the feelings and minds of Syrian citizens.

“Your people read today what they have known about you since several years… you have corrected a lot of concepts, particularly regarding the religious work, our Islamic identity and civilization… you have protected our homeland and nation through your words as you instructed to return to the holy Quran and the orders of Prophet Mohammad PBUH,” the scholars said in a cable sent to the President.

They added that he who has this mentality and vision wouldn’t be defeated by enemies.

The imams and scholars pledged that the religious schools with all their cadres will remain committed to the Quran and Sunna to overcome terrorism and takfiri mentality.

Mazen

SANA DAILY HEADLINES JULY 3 & 4, 2013

DAILY NEWS IN INTERNATIONAL LANGUAGES | AUDIO | VIDEO

SANA DAILY HEADLINES ON SYRIA 360°


President al-Assad in interview to al-Thawra newspaper: what is  happening in Egypt is fall of so-called “Political Islam”

Jul 04, 2013

PRESIDENT ASSAD INTERVIEW: ‘WHAT IS HAPPENING IN EGYPT IS THE FALL OF POLITICAL ISLAM

Scholars and imams: President al-Assad speech to al-Thawra daily comprehensive

Jul 04, 2013

Damascus, (SANA)-Scholars, imams, directors of religious schools and Sharia institutes in Syria affirmed that President Bashar al-Assad’s speech to al-thawra daily was comprehensive, true and honest which touched upon the feelings and minds of Syrian citizens.

“Your people read today what they have known about you since several years… you have corrected a lot of concepts, particularly regarding the religious work, our Islamic identity and civilization… you have protected our homeland and nation through your words as you instructed to return to the holy Quran and the orders of Prophet Mohammad PBUH,” the scholars said in a cable sent to the President.

They added that he who has this mentality and vision wouldn’t be defeated by enemies.

The imams and scholars pledged that the religious schools with all their cadres will remain committed to the Quran and Sunna to overcome terrorism and takfiri mentality.

Mazen

Official Source : Fall of Brotherhood Type reiterates incapacity of political Islam to manage the state

Jul 04, 2013

Damascus, SANA_ An official source said that Egypt yesterday witnessed a historic shift that reflects the deep awareness and presence of our people in Egypt, their commitment to Arabism, rejection of the foreign intervention in their internal affairs and their opposition to any prejudice to Egypt’s rights and sovereignty.

In a statement on Thursday, the source, added that our people in Egypt confirmed once again Egypt’s leading role and depth of their belonging to Arabism and their ability to defend their interests, civilization and humanitarian history. 

The source stressed that the fall of the Brotherhood type reiterated again incapacity of the political Islam forces to manage the state, protect the cultural and civilized diversity and to build an expressive type of the history of the national state.

The source added that the Syrian leadership, people, and army express deep appreciation of the national popular movement in Egypt, which has produced a great achievement, stressing that what is taking place is a radical shift that reflects a firm will to preserve democracy, diversity and the right of being different and practicing the political work and pluralism, and rejecting the Brotherhoodization of the state as a project, entity and institutions, not only in Egypt but also in the Arab and international arenas.

The source added that ”Egypt has always been an example to follow throughout its great history, as we believe that it is important that other nations would follow this transformation to foil these futile attempts which are sins against Islam, nation, history and mankind.

The source added that Syria congratulates the Egyptian army and people in all their social spectrums, political and national powers and calls the brotherly people of Egypt, who are the Syrians’ brothers and partners in development, construction and destiny, to hold on to this victory and defend it, as Syria also stresses its standing by the brothers in Egypt.

R.Milhem/M. Ismael/Ghussoun

Assistant Minister of Labor wounded in explosion of explosive device in Damascus

Jul 04, 2013

Damascus, (SANA)- In the framework of targeting the national cadres, terrorists on Thursday detonated an explosive device attached to the car of Assistant Minister of Labor Rakan Ibrahim in Zukak al-Jin in al-Baramkeh area in Damascus.

A police command source in the province told SANA reporter that the terrorist act caused the injury of Ibrahim who was admitted to the hospital and material damage in the car.

Three citizens wounded of terrorists’ shell on al-Dowelaa neighborhood in Damascus

A number of citizens were injured due to a mortar shell fired by terrorists on al-Doail’a neighborhood in Damascus.

An official source at the Police Command told SANA that a mortar shell fell on the main street in al-Dowelaa neighborhood in Damascus, causing the injury of 3 citizens, who were admitted to hospital. The source added that the terrorist attack caused material damages to a number of parking cars in the area.

Terrorists target with mortar Kyrillos Church in Damascus

 Terrorists on Wednesday fired a mortar shell on the Kerillos Church in al-Qassa’ area in Damascus, causing material damage. No casualties were reported.

A source at the Police Command told SANA that the mortar shell fell on the Church’s roof.

The source added that another shell slammed into a house near the Red Crescent Hospital in Baghdad Street, causing material damage but no casualties.

Two citizens martyred, others wounded of terrorists’ shells on Aleppo

Two citizens were martyred, others were injured due to mortar shells fired by terrorists on the residential al-Meedan area in Aleppo city.

An official source told SANA that the shells fell on the vegetables market crowded with citizens in al-Meedan neighborhood, causing the martyrdom of 2 citizens and the injury of others.

The source added that terrorist’ attack resulted in large materials damage to a number of shops inside the market.

English Bulletin

Levant Union Conference calls on Arab Countries to Stop supplying Takfiries in Syria with weapons and money

Jul 04, 2013

Beirut, (SANA)- Participants in the International Levant ( Bilad al-Sham ) Union Conference condemned the foreign interference in the Islamic Nation’s affairs, particularly the American and European interference.

Wrapping up its activities on Wednesday in Beirut, the conference called on, in a statement, the Arab countries to stop supplying the takfiries in Syria with weapons and money and to stop the systematic destruction of Syria.

The statement also stressed the necessity of enabling the Syrian people to determine their own future by themselves through free and democratic elections in which they express their will freely and independently.

“The crimes committed by the takfiries in Egypt, Syria, Iraq and Pakistan are smirch and crime against humanity which were perpetrated against peaceful civilians,” the final statement said, calling for suing the perpetrators of these crimes since they are genocide crimes.

It warned that the takfiri satellite channels played dangerous role in sowing sedition and undermining the unity of the Islamic nation.

It said “Takfir is a dangerous devilish slide that threatens the interest of the nation and has nothing to do with Islam.”

The Levant Union conference held in Beirut under the motto “tolerance of Islam and the sedition of takfir” discussed several axes on Islam and takfir across history.

Syria’s Grand Mufti Ahmad Bader-Eddin Hassoun unveiled a US-Qatari plan to sow sedition in the Islamic Nation, asserting that Qatar was requested to form a committee encompassing Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the Gulf countries to incite the Muslims in Russia, Iran and the neighboring countries to create chaos in these countries.

H. Zain/ Ghossoun

Egypt’s Future Roadmap deposes Morsi, Higher Constitutional Court to rule until new president elected

Jul 04, 2013

Cairo, (SANA) – Egypt’s General Command of the Armed Forces announced the Future Roadmap for Egypt during the upcoming stage in consultation with political national forces and figures.

The General Command decided to depose President Mohammad Morsi and commissioned the Higher Constitutional Court to rule the country during the transitional period until a new president is elected.

In a statement issued by the General Command of the Armed Forces, the Future Roadmap stipulated for suspending the constitution temporarily, the head of the Higher Constitutional Court to be sown in before the General Assembly of the court and holding early elections.

The statement called on the Egyptian people to keep committed to peaceful demonstrations and to avoid violence, warning that the Armed Forces would strongly and decisively confront any violation of peaceful acts according to the law.

The statement added that the Armed Forces would remain far from political action.

F.Allafi

Chairman of Constitutional Court Adly Mansour sworn in as interim president of Egypt

Jul 04, 2013

Cairo, (SANA)- Chairman of Egypt’s Supreme Constitutional Court, Adly Mansour, on Thursday was sworn in as interim president of Egypt.

Earlier, Mansour was sworn in as Chairman of the Supreme Constitutional Court in front of the 10 members of the General Assembly of the Court at Abdel-Rahman Nasir Hall.

Egyptian news website Al Youm Al Sabee said that Mansour has sworn to preserve the system of the republic, and respect the constitution and law.

Egyptian Defense Minister announced last night the ouster of Egyptian President Mohammad Morsi amid Egyptians joy and happiness.

The demonstrators in Cairo suspended their sit-ins on Thursday morning and opened the roads to cars while a number of them organized clean-up campaigns to clean the roads.

H. Zain/ Ghossoun

Al-Zoubi: What happened in Syria attempt to bring about change in the structure of Syrian state

Jul 04, 2013

Damascus, (SANA)_Information Minister, Omran al-Zoubi said that what happened in Syria in the past couple of years was an attempt by the forces of political Islam to use the armed terrorist groups in Syria to bring about a profound change in the national project and the structure of the Syrian state.

During his meeting on Thursday with an Algerian popular delegation comprising a number of political, academic and scientific figures, al-Zoubi said the steadfastness of the Syrian people, army and leadership is ”record-breaking, especially that Syria is facing a global war led by the US and carried out by mercenary terrorists who entered Syria in big numbers and with big amounts of weapons with Gulf funding.”

He saw that what happened in Egypt yesterday ”marks the beginning of transformation and the fall of the religious movements’ and political Islam’s capacity to run the state,” adding that the Egyptian people ”have done away with a dangerous model.”

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He said that the Egyptian army who brought about that radical shift should be supported.

Al-Zoubi said that political Islam and Brotherization of the Arab model is doomed to failure, especially that it is incapable of preserving the state and running development projects as it is based on ”exclusionist mentality”, indicating that the US has utilized extremism and some Arab regimes, such as Tunisia, Qatar and Saudi Arabia in an attempt to overthrow the national state in Algeria, Egypt, Libya, and later Syria and Jordan.

The Information Minister considered that the experience of these regimes has started to collapse, adding that the echoes of this collapse will reach as far as Tunisia, Turkey and Libya.

He added that the main factor behind the collapse of the Brotherhood model is Syria’s steadfastness in the face of the challenge that sounded the alarm bell in Egypt.

Al-Zoubi reaffirmed Syria’s standing by the Algerian state and people, indicating that Algeria’s experience in political work is a unique one ”that is facing attempts to disgrace the state. Nonetheless, it has succeeded considerably in overcoming this challenge.”

Head of the delegation, Abdul-Majid Hamedi said that the visit comes to express support to Syria and unmask the misleading media that seeks to distort facts on the ground, voicing trust in Syria’s ability to get past the crisis The delegation members said they realize the volume of the anti-Syria conspiracy, affirming Algeria’s support to Syria.

Mikdad: Syria is facing global war to undermine it

For his part, Deputy Foreign and Expatriates Minister, Dr. Fayssal Mikdad said that Syria is facing a global war that is aimed at undermining and fragmenting it which is ”not about reforms.”

During his meeting with the Algerian delegation, Mikdad said that the conspiracy targeting Syria-led by the US, Israel and some Western, Arab and regional states- is due to the Syria’s firm stance regarding the Palestinian cause and its support to resistance.

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Mikdad said that the Syrian government’s agreement to participate in the international conference to solve the crisis in Syria emanates from its interest in finding a political solution, adding that ”The US and its allies seek more weapons to the armed terrorist groups to obstruct political solution.”

Mikdad lauded the strong relations between the two brotherly peoples in Algeria and Syria, expressing confidence that the nation which offered a million martyrs will stand by Syria against terrorism. The delegation members wished imminent victory for Syria over terrorism, expressing trust that Syria will emerge stronger from the crisis.

M. Ismael

Al-Halqi emphasizes keenness to offer care to martyrs’ families

Jul 03, 2013

Damascus, (SANA)_Prime Minister, Dr. Wael al-Halqi stressed that the government is determined to continue to accord all care needed to the families of martyrs.

During the meeting of the ministerial committee tasked with implementing the political program for solving the crisis in Syria with wives and mothers of martyrs on Wednesday, al-Halqi said that the victories of the Syrian army and internal security forces are credited to sacrifices of the Syrian soldiers and people.

”Martyrs inspire in us the sublime meanings of sacrifice, steadfastness and dignity,” he added, affirming that the martyrs’ wives and mothers have provided a shining example on how to soar above the pain of bereavement for the dignity of the homeland.

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”We will never give up, and we will confront the conspiracy targeting Syria, and we are determined to build the stable, safe, and democratic Syria where there is no single terrorist,” he added.

Al-Halqi highlighted the care accorded to the martyrs’ families, affirming that they deserve care and support. The martyrs’ families underlined support to the political program for solving the crisis to restore security and stability all over Syria, hailing the government’s care for the martyrs’ families.

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They also stressed that security and stability can only be restored by the efforts of the Syrian army and implementing the political program by the Syrians themselves.

M. Ismael

Terrorists target with mortar Kyrillos Church in Damascus

Jul 03, 2013

Damascus, (SANA)_Terrorists on Wednesday fired a mortar shell on the Kerillos Church in al-Qassa’ area in Damascus, causing material damage. No casualties were reported.

A source at the Police Command told SANA that the mortar shell fell on the Church’s roof.

The source added that another shell slammed into a house near the Red Crescent Hospital in Baghdad Street, causing material damage but no casualties.

Two citizens martyred, others wounded of terrorists’ shells on Aleppo

 Two citizens were martyred, others were injured due to mortar shells fired by terrorists on the residential al-Meedan area in Aleppo city.

An official source told SANA that the shells fell on the vegetables market crowded with citizens in al-Meedan neighborhood, causing the martyrdom of 2 citizens and the injury of others.

The source added that terrorist’ attack resulted in large materials damage to a number of shops inside the market.

M. Ismael/ B. Mousa / Mazen

Nationalist Arab Youth Conference: Supporting Syria is a sacred national duty

Jul 04, 2013

Homs, (SANA)_The Nationalist Arab Youth Conference expressed rejection of foreign meddling in the Syrian domestic affairs, affirming that backing Syria against the imperialist Zionist conspiracy is a ”sacred national duty.”

The conference, which wrapped up activities on Thursday in Safir Homs Hotel, said that ”the Arab League is not representative of aspirations of the Arab peoples,” adding that the Arab riches and institutions are the property of the Arab people and should be protected and distributed in service of the peoples’ aspirations.”

The conference called for unifying efforts to upgrade the Arab intellectual and cultural status for consolidating resistance, confronting normalization and combating religious extremism and sectarian instigation.

The conference stressed that Palestine will remain the Arab’s principal cause until being fully liberated, with stress put on the Palestinians’ right to return and the sacredness of the resistance arms.

The conference emphasized in its final statement the need for forming a Homs-based umbrella youth organization underpinned by the pan-Arab thought.

The conference called for launching popular campaigns in the Arab countries to bring pressure to bear on Arab regimes to reconsider their stances on Syria, especially the ending all forms of support offered to the armed terrorist groups and revitalizing political and economic relations with Syria.

The conference recommended forming a media committee that comprises Arab youths, urging work to bring lawsuits against the perpetrators of crimes against the Syrian people and those who funded and provided them with weapons.

The participant delegations stressed the support of the Arab youths to Syria against the conspiracy, saluting the families of Syrian martyrs.

Homs Governor, Ahmad Munir Ahmad said that convening the conference amid a global war waged against Syria and organizing its activities in al-Qseir and Talkalakh cities sends a clear message to the enemies of the homeland that Syria is victorious.

He added that ”it was the Arab youths who convened the conference and pinned great aspirations and hopes on it, and laid down strategies for solving the problems of the nation.”

The participant delegations earlier visited Talkalakh city and inspected the aftermath of the armed terrorist attacks in the city before heading to the cultural center.

The participants underlined the importance of their visit to Syria as it gave them the opportunity to see for themselves the distortion of facts by misleading media.

Rector of al-Baath University, Ahmad Mufid Subh said that the university continued the educational process and the students went ahead with their studies there undeterred by terrorism that plagued the city.

The Nationalist Arab Youth Conference kicked off on Monday in Homs province with the participation of 41 youth organizations from 14 Arab countries.

M. Ismael

Eighteen persons turn themselves in to authorities in Talkalakh

Jul 04, 2013

Homs, (SANA)- 18 persons who were misled and got involved in the recent events, among them two of the leaders of the armed terrorist groups, were released after they handed over themselves and their weapons to the authorities in Talkalakh.

An official source told SANA reporter that the persons were released and had their situation settled after they pledged to not take up arms again or perpetrate any sabotage or other acts that could affect Syria’s security in the future.

The source added the gunmen handing over themselves is continuos after the army restored security and stability to the city of Talkalakh.

For their parts, the persons who handed over themselves called on the sons of the city who fled outside it to hand over themselves and their weapons as that their situation would be settled by the authorities.

H. Zain/ Ghossoun

Parliamentarians inspect rehabilitation process in al-Qseir

Jul 04, 2013

HOMS, (SANA)- Parliamentarians on behalf of Homs Province and concerned official on Thursday visited al-Qseir City, as they were briefed on the steps implemented to provide the basic services and facilitate the return of residents to their homes.

Head of al-Qseir City Council, Shaza Murad pointed out that intensive works have been launched right after army’s restoration of security to the city, as infrastructure amendments are being carried out including health, electricity, water and communication services.

She clarified that water is being supplied through water tankers for the time being until water network is replaced due to the huge damage hit it by terrorists.

Murad stressed that electricity will be completely restored from tomorrow, in addition to running the bakery and bringing 1200 landlines back to service.

An official in the Province, Jamal Rabia, pointed out that works are being carried out to overcome all obstacles for accelerating the return of residents through facilitating procedures along with the commitment of the relevant authorities to their work.

Parliamentarian Raef Ali considered that what he saw during his visit to al-Qseir brings hope of restoring security state-wide, hailing the efforts exerted to restore services to the city.

R. Milhem/ Ghossoun

Education Minister: UNESCO informed of education sector losses by terrorism 

Jul 04, 2013

DAMASCUS, (SANA)- Minister of Education, Hazwan al-Wazz, said that the terrorist acts have affected the educational and administrative cadres, as 227 people were martyred including 101 students, in addition to kidnapping others, adding that the Ministry, nonetheless, secured the reach of students to exam centers.

The Minister’s remarks came during the Minister’s meeting with the National Committee for Education, Science and Culture members on Wednesday.

Dr. al-Wazz stressed the importance of keeping informing the UNESCO of the damages and losses that the state’s sectors -particularly education – are being encountering due to terrorism that has targeted hundreds of schools and cadres for two years, the latest of which is targeting an education staff members while they were transferring exam papers in Nubbol City in Aleppo.

The Minister reviewed the activities of the Syrian delegation participating in the 191st session for the UNESCO Executive Council held recently in Paris, particularly to foil Turkey’s attempt backed by the USA and Canada to freeze Syria’s membership in the UNESCO.

The Syrian delegation refuted the Turkish delegation’s allegations on what they considered as ‘Syria’s (the member state in the UNESCO) violation of the signed agreements’ and charters’ contents.

The Syrian delegation unmasked the conspiracy’s details that is hatched against Syria prepared by the USA and its allies from some Arab and NATO countries along with the Zionist entity in the forum of the UNESCO.

Minister al-Wazz crarified the terrorist groups’ attempts to hit the social fabric, deplete the national economy, destroy the infrastructure, target the national media and to assassinate the scientific and educational cadres.

For his part, the Secretary-General of the National Committee for Education, Science and Culture, Dr. Nidal Hassan, stressed that the Committee has informed the UNESCO of the attacks launched by the armed terrorist groups n order to shoulder its responsibility.

R. Milhem / Ghossoun

Tehran: developments in the region come in the interest of Syria

Jul 03, 2013

Tehran, (SANA) – Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs, Hossein Amir Abdollahian, stressed that the developments taking place in the region come in the interest of Syria and prove the correctness of Iranian-Syrian stances towards the region issues in facing the west, US plots targeting the area in service of the Zionist entity.

Meeting Syrian ambassador in Tehran Adnan Mahmoud , Abdollahian reiterated his country’s firm stance in supporting resistance in the area, whit Syria as its front line.

Abdollahian held the regional and international sides which support terrorists in Syria with money and weapons responsible for killing the Syrian people and posing a threat to the region security, affirming that these sides are working to undermine the efforts exerted for holding the international conference to solve the crisis in Syria.

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 The Iranian official said that the recent changes on the regional and international arena toward Syria are a result of the Syrian Arab army’s victories over terrorists.

For his part, the Syrian Ambassador stressed that all sides involved in the war on Syria are paying the price of their destructive acts, adding that the sedition projects of the enemies have no place in Syria or Iran.

Dr. Mahmoud affirmed that the coming stage will witness more cooperation between Syria and Iran, particularly in the economic field to enhance Syria’s steadfastness in facing the unfair economic war imposed on it.

B. Mousa / Mazen

Al-Zoubi: Egypt’s security and unity ‘national duty’

Jul 03, 2013

Damascus, (SANA)_Information Minister, Omran al-Zoubi said that Egypt’s security, safety and unity are a national duty, affirming that the crisis there can be overcome if Mohammad Morsi realized that the overwhelming majority of the Egyptian people want him to go.

In replay to journalists’ questions on Wednesday, al-Zoubi said that the Egyptian people ”have long come of age politically,” stressing that the nation has to side with the Egyptian people against the terrorism of Muslim Brotherhood.

The minister added that ”Hamas is faced with a decisive choice: it is either a resistance movement or a Brotherhood organization…It cannot have them both…Muslim Brothers are US tools, while resistance is against Israel and US hegemony.”

He added that Hamas has to dissociate itself from Morsi’s regime and to not repeat its outrageous stance on Syria by siding with terrorists.

M. Ismael

Damascus: US and its allies seek to provide political cover to terrorist groups in Syria

Jul 04, 2013

Damascus, (SANA)_An official source at the Foreign and Expatriates Ministry said that ”the US and its allies complicit in conspiring against Syria and shedding the Syrians’ blood have been spelling out stances and making statements that aim to provide a political cover to the armed terrorist groups in Syria every time the Syrian armed forces have been doing their duty in protecting the Syrian citizens and restoring security and stability all over Syria.”

In a statement to SANA on Thursday, the source added that ”these countries have launched disinformation and slander campaigns by making statements that aim to incite against the Syrian government against the backdrop of ongoing military operations to restore security and stability to Homs city and combat the terrorism of the armed groups.”

The source added that these countries have remained silent over the crimes of the terrorist groups who terrorized civilians in Homs city, drove them out of their homes and used some as human shields under the watching eye of the world, including the hypocrite states that feign care for the lives of Syrian civilians as they offer military and logistic support to the armed groups to prolong violence and terrorism.

The source added that ”the Syrian government, which is upholding its constitutional duties to protect the safety of its citizens and provide security and stability for them and combat the terrorism targeting them, is doing everything in its power to ensure the safety of civilians and meet their needs all over Syria.”

The source indicated that the Syrian government officially requested on Thursday the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to send a humanitarian aid convoy, in cooperation with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, to the besieged civilians in Homs old city whom the armed terrorist groups are using as human shields, and demanded that it works to evacuate them through safe corridors designed for this goal.

”Syria stresses that the efforts of the armed forces for restoring security and stability to the homeland and enabling citizens to return to their homes are completely consistent with their national responsibilities and are part of the Syrian government’s commitment to combat terrorism in all its forms,” the source concluded.

M. Ismael

Moscow concerned over coordination among al-Qaeda offshoots in Syria

Jul 03, 2013

Algiers, Moscow (SANA)_Russia’s Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov expressed concern over the enhanced coordination among al-Qaeda offshoots in Syria and their acts that aim at ”wrecking peace chances.”

In an interview with the Algerian al-Khabar newspaper published Wednesday, Lavrov said that ”al-Qaeda acts in Syria stoke sectarian and ethnic tensions, and the extremists are committing heinous crimes, including terrorists operations in public places, and cleansing operations such as the massacre in Hatla village in Deir Ezzor countryside, where 60 civilians were killed and their houses blown up, and clergymen were lynched.”

Lavrov renewed Russia’s rejection of plans to arm the ‘Syrian opposition’ that some Western countries are pursuing, considering that ” [These plans] cannot achieve peace and will cause more suffering to the Syrian people and a grave escalation of the regional situation.”

He warned that the arming will put everyone in a lose-lose situation.

He clarified that Russia’s stance is not based on any Russian geopolitical goals in Syria, indicating that ”All Moscow wants is that the Syrians themselves decide the future of their country and determine their destiny through democratic means.”

”We are not meddling in the crisis, and not dividing the Syrians to loyalists and opponents, but we unequivocally condemn terrorism, extremism and violence against civilians, especially the sectarian and racist hate crimes.”

He added that Russia opposes ”those who are setting preconditions and pushing the situation towards confrontation, even shedding the blood of the Syrians to topple the regime forcefully.”

Lavrov opposed casting the situation in Syria as a ”showdown between major powers”, affirming that Russia calls for solving the crisis politically through an internal dialogue away from foreign meddling according to international rules as to reach ”a long-lasting solution satisfactory to all spectrums of the Syrian society.”

He added that the international conference in Syria might be an opportunity to restore normalcy to the life in Syria, adding that ”it is the duty of all potential participants in the conference, and we welcome Algeria joining them.”

”We have to show a greater deal of good will and work to offer a genuine support to the Syrians…It is difficult, but not impossible,” he added.

Russian Foreign Ministry: Lavrov, Kerry stressed resolve to convene Syria conference

The Russian Foreign Ministry said that Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his US counterpart, Johan Kerry affirmed, during their talks in Brunei’s capital Bandar Seri Begawan, mutual resolve to convene an international conference on Syria without preconditions and to launch talks between the Syrian government and opposition.

In a statement on Wednesday, the Russian Foreign Ministry pointed out a Russian-US rapprochement on the final goals for settling regional conflicts.

The ministry added that the two ministers discussed bilateral relations, in addition to the regional situation, especially in Syria, the Korean Peninsula and Iran’s nuclear program.

Lavrov and Kerry had agreed, during their meeting on May 7th, on holding an international conference for solving the crisis in Syria.

M. Ismael

Terrorists killed, their weapons destroyed in several areas

Jul 04, 2013

Provinces, (SANA)_Army units killed a number of terrorists, among them of non-Syrian nationalities, and confiscated weapons and modern communication devices in a series of operations against terrorists’ gatherings in the eastern Ghouta and Damascus northern and southern countryside.

An official source told SANA that a den for terrorists was destroyed with the weapons and ammunition inside in Hejjira town in Damascus southern countryside, with many of its members killed, including the Iraqi terrorist Ahmad Fawwaz al-Amir, Mohammad al-Homsi and Omran Youssef.

The source added that an army unit killed Abdul-Majid al-Ayyoubi, leader of a terrorist group along with a number of his group’s members, among them Mohammad Arafa, east of Tameco medicine company in al-Mleiha in the eastern Ghouta, as another unit carried out a qualitative operation west of al-Shifounieh, killing Iyad al-Shalet and Mahmoud al-Barghouth, leader of the so-called ”Shabab al-Huda Battalions” terrorist group.

The source added that terrorists were killed and others injured in Deir Salman farms in the eastern Ghouta, among them Khaled Mohsen and Mohammad al-Ahmad.

An army unit confiscated weapons and ammunition, including hand-grenades, machineguns and modern wireless communication devices in the northern countryside of al-Nabek, killing and injuring terrorists, among them Omar Turkmani and Ahmad Madkhaneh.

Storehouse for manufacturing explosives, tunnel for storing up weapons discovered in al-Qaboun

Army units discovered a storehouse for manufacturing explosive devices and a tunnel that the terrorists were using in their movement and for storing up weapons and ammunition, killing and injuring a number of terrorists.

An official source told SANA that a 250-meter-long tunnel extending from the Araghil building in al-Qaboun towards Joubar, just one day after discovering two tunnels linking between Joubar, al-Qaboun and Zamalka, and other tunnels with explosive devices inside.

The source added that an army unit discovered a warehouse for manufacturing explosive devices with scores of devices inside, in addition to hand-grenades, missiles and modern communication devices, and big amounts of raw materials used for manufacturing explosives. The source said that an army unit also killed terrorists in al-Qaboun area, among them Ramzi Shaaban and Mohammad al-Nasser.

Terrorists killed, their weapons destroyed in Aleppo city and countryside

Army units killed members of armed terrorist groups in Aleppo city and countryside, destroying three mortar cannons, heavy machineguns and ammunition.

An official source told SANA that scores of terrorists were eliminated north of Aleppo central prison, al-Kholandi fuel station, the entrance of the industrial city, the carpet factory and al-Kindi Hospital.

The source added that army units clashed with terrorist groups near al-Manasher and Harsho Hotel and south of Ibrahim al-Khalil Mosque, al-Kleirieh, al-Sabah fuel station Moller factory and the farms surrounding Khan Al-Assal, killing many of their members.

The source said that an army unit killed terrorists near al-Zarbeh and Zaido fuel station on Aleppo-Idleb road, and destroyed heavy machineguns and big amounts of ammunition.

In Aleppo western countryside, scores of terrorists were killed near the fuel station in al-Mansoura town, Barakat factory and Hamza Mosque in Maaret Artiq, in addition to destroying dens for armed terrorist groups in al-Layramoun area.

The source added that an armed terrorist group was eliminated near the clinics in al-atareb town in Aleppo southwestern countryside, as other units destroyed terrorists’ gatherings near the agricultural center in Minnegh village and east of the municipality building in Mayer and near the Mosque in al-Ziyara village in Aleppo northern countryside.

In Aleppo city, violent clashes took place between army units and armed terrorist groups in al-Rashideen and al-Sheikh Khodor neighborhoods that resulted in killing scores of terrorists and destroying two mortar cannons and confiscating big amounts of weapons.

An army unit also destroyed mortar cannon near Bab Al-Hadid roundabout that the terrorists were using in their criminal attacks, the latest of which was when they targeted the vegetables Souq with a mortar shell on Wednesday causing the martyrdom of two citizens and the injury of several others.

Army units eliminate terrorists in Homs and its countryside

Units of the armed forces carried out operations against terrorists’ gatherings in Palmyra and several neighborhoods of Homs, inflicting heavy losses upon terrorists, in addition to destroying their weapons and ammunition.

A military source told SANA that an army unit tightened control over a number of buildings in Bab Houd neighborhood in Homs old city, after killing scores of terrorists who were stationed there.

The source added that the army units destroyed terrorists’ dens and gatherings near al-Amal hospital in Jourat al-Shyah, al-Qosour and al-Khalidyeh neighborhoods, killing and injuring all terrorists inside them.

The source pointed out that other army units destroyed terrorists’ heavy machineguns on Talbisa-al-Sa’ein road in the northern countryside of Homs.

Another army unit killed a number of terrorists near al-Ghajar village in al-Rastan countryside. Tamim Obaid, leader of an armed terrorist group  and Ahmad Satuf Kdad were identified among the dead terrorists.

In Palmyra countryside, another army unit destroyed “AL-Islam Brigade” terrorists’ warehouse  in al-Tayba village, killing and injuring several terrorists, while another army unit repelled terrorists’ attempt to attack  military checkpoints in al-Zyraa, al-Mouthaf and al-Braikat, inflicting heavy losses upon them.

Meanwhile, other army units hunted the armed terrorist groups in al-Mashajer al-Janobi, Taldo, al-Zafarana and Talbisa in Homs countryside, killing and injuring scores of them. 

Non-Syrian terrorists killed in Idleb countryside

Units of the armed forces killed and injured several terrorists in a number of Idleb’ towns and villages, including non-Syrians, and destroyed their weapons and equipment.

A military source told SANA that an army unit destroyed a terrorists’ den in Korin village in Ariha area, killing all terrorists inside it.

The Jordanian terrorists  Abduwahid al-Tayib, Khalil Amash, Shikhoun Khitami and the Saudis Sbai’a al-Khalid, Khalid Abu al-Abid, Subhan Nouri, Sadoun al-Sheikh and the Libyan Damoush Abu Nmoura were identified among the dead terrorists. 

The source added that the army units destroyed a terrorists’ warehouse in Abu Dohour and killed several terrorists in Bsanqul, Kafr Shlaya, Jabal al-Arbain, Matram, Sarja, Kafr Ruma, al-Maghara and Mari’aian villages and towns.

Meanwhile, another army unit clashed with an armed terrorist group which was perpetrating acts of terrorism at the entrance of Arab Said village, killing most its members.

Terrorists killed due to dispute on dividing stolen materials

Fierce clash erupted between two terrorist groups, one of them affiliated to Jabhat al-Nusra, due to a dispute on dividing the stolen materials in Afais town in Idleb countryside.

A military source told SANA that the terrorists used different kinds of machineguns and grenades  which resulted in the killing and the injury of several terrorists.

The source added that among the dead terrorist were Wasim Ghnaim, Suleiman Hallak, Ahmad Zaydan, Mohammad Zaydan, Mohammad Abd al –Barid, Mohammad Ghazal and Mahmoud Ahmad Ghazal who were affiliated to the so-called “A bdo Hajj Ghazal Brigade” linked to Jabhat al-Nusra. 

Terrorists killed in Hama countryside

A military source told SANA that an army unit carried out a special operation against terrorists and destroyed a warehouse for them in al-Badria farm in al-Ghab area in the western countryside of Hama.

The source told SANA that the operation resulted in the killing and the injury of all terrorists inside the warehouse.

Army units destroy terrorists equipment in Lattakia countryside

Units of the armed forces destroyed terrorists’ dens and gatherings in al-Rabi’a and Joub al-Ahmar in the northern countryside of Lattakia, along with the weapons and ammunition inside them.

A military source told SANA that among the dead terrorists were Wisam Tilo, Hussam al-Rahal and the Jordanian Hamdan Abu Arif and the Saudi Bakri al-Hamid.

The source pointed out that the operations resulted in destroying advanced communication-sets, a number of heat-seeking rockets and heavy machine guns.

English Bulletin

Heavy losses inflicted upon terrorist groups in several areas

Jul 03, 2013

Provinces, (SANA) – Army Units targeted a terrorist leaders’ hideout in al-Manakhir area in Raqqa Province on Wednesday.

An official source told SANA that the terrorist leaders and their followers were targeted during their gathering in the Brick Factory in al-Manakhir area, killing or injuring them.

Army units discover terrorists’ tunnels in Damascus Countryside

Units of the armed forces discovered two tunnels between Joubar- al-Qaboun and Zamalka, which were used by terrorists to hide and transport weapons.

An official source told SANA that the tunnels were main supply lines between the armed terrorist groups in the areas, adding that the first tunnel extends from Joubar near LG company to electricity station in al-Qaboun, while the other one extends from LG company to Zamalka.

The source added that the army units discovered a number of tunnels full of explosive devices which were set to be detonated remotely.

The source pointed out that other army units tightened control on large parts of the area between Joubar , al-Qaboun, Bus Station, soap factory, crash factory, shoes factory, LG company  and al-Khmasia company.

SANA reporter said that terrorists caused severe damage in the Bus Station and the companies, adding that they used companies’ basement as dens for planning and implementing their terrorist acts against citizens.

Army units repel terrorists attack on military checkpoint in Idleb countryside

Units of the armed forces killed a number of terrorists and repelled their attempt to attack a military checkpoint in Kafr Shlaya, inflicting heavy losses upon them.

A military source told SANA that an army unit destroyed terrorists’ dens and gatherings  in al-Alia, al-Mani’a and Bsanqul, killing and injuring several terrorists.

The source added that other army units killed scores of terrorists in Ma’atram, al-Bouiti, Khan al-Subol, al-Sheikh Damis, Kafr Batikh and Kafr Awam towns in Aryha area and destroyed their equipment.

The source pointed out that another army unit repelled an armed terrorist group’s attempt to attack a military checkpoint in Kafr Shalaya in Aryha area and killed all its members, including its leader Bassel al-Hassan who called Abu Lahab.   

Army Units target terrorists, seize weapons in Deir Ezzor

Army units clashed with armed terrorist groups in al-Jubeileh, al-Sina’a, Cinema Fuad, Hweijet al-Moraeiyeh, al-Hweijeh, al-Siyaseh Bridge in Deir Ezzor city and Bour Said Village in the countryside, inflicting heavy losses upon the terrorists.

An official source told SANA that an army unit clashed with terrorist groups in al-Jubeileh, al-Sina’a and Cinema Fuad neighborhoods in the city of Deir Ezzor, killing many terrorists and injuring others.

The source added that another army unit clashed with an armed terrorist group in Hweijet al-Moraeiyeh and killed many terrorists including the terrorist Abo al-Baraa, the leader of al-Hweijeh and al-Jafra district and Abo Khattab, the leader of the so-called Sheikh al-Islam Battalion, pointing out that these two terrorists are among the most dangerous gang leaders, as the terrorist Abo Hammam, an armed terrorist group leader was among the injured.

The source pointed out that a mortar launcher was destroyed during army operations, stressing that all the terrorists of the so-called “Abo Baker al-Syddiq Battalion” were arrested in al-Hwejih.

Also, an army unit killed many terrorists, injured others and destroyed their weapons while they were transporting them in six cars near al-Siyaseh Bridge in the Province.

Another army unit clashed with an armed terrorist group in al-Moraeiyeh, inflicting heavy losses upon its members, while another army unit killed all members of a terrorist group centered in al-Mohsen in Deir-Ezzor. The body of the terrorist Adnan al-Allawi was identified.

In Bour Said Village, army units targeted al-Haya’a al-Sharyia (Sharia Commission), killing its leader Abo Siraj and destroying its headquarters completely with all the terrorists inside.

Army units eliminate Jabhat al-Nusra terrorists in Aleppo

Army units killed scores of terrorists and destroyed their dens, gatherings and weaponry in Aleppo and its countryside.

An official source said that an army unit pursued armed terrorist groups in al-Khanat area and the streets south of the Great Umayyad Mosque in the old city, killing many terrorists.

Other units carried out several qualitative operations against terrorists’ dens in al-Milh, al-Samak and al-Bandara squares and Bab al-Hadid and Kadi Askar roundabouts.

The source added that army units eliminated groups affiliated to Jabhat al-Nusra in the villages of Mayer, Hreitan, Minnegh and Kafin, destroying their weapons and ammunition.

The source added that army units killed terrorists on Arab Ftouma-Khan el-Assal road, as other units killed terrorists near Harsho Hotel and south of al-Kleirieh hill and in the area surrounding Ibtahim al-Khalil Mosque.

In the vicinity of Aleppo central prison, a number of terrorists who tried to attack the prison from the western farms of Heilan village, al-Zira’a building and al-Blacka restaurant were killed and injured, and their weapons and ammunition destroyed.

The source added that army units carried out a string of qualitative operations against terrorists’ gatherings affiliated to Jabhat al-Nusra around al-Kindi Hospital and the carpet and beer factories, inflicting direct losses upon terrorists.

9 terrorists were also killed near Toyota Company and Zaido fuel station on Aleppo-Idleb road. A mortar cannon was also destroyed. 

Terrorists clash over stolen items in Daraa

A clash erupted between two terrorist groups, one of them affiliated to Jabhet al-Nusra terrorist organization over stolen items in al-Muzayreeb area in Daraa.

A military source told SNA reporter that dozens of terrorists were killed and injured in the clash, adding that among them were Abu Khalil, of Jabhet al-Nusra, Abu Abdul-Rahman, Mohammad Mahmoud al-Nabulsi, Yousef al-Zoubi and Mahmoud Abu Nuqta.

Army eliminates Jabhat al-Nusra terrorists in Lattakia

A unit of the armed forces destroyed, in a qualitative operation, a den for Jabhat al-Nusra terrorists in the villages of Sakiet al-Kart and al-Zweik in Lattakia countryside.

A military source told SANA that the operation resulted in the destruction of rockets, machineguns and ammunition and the killing of a big number of terrorists, among them Majed al-Masri, Abdullah al-Hasan and Abdel-Ilah al-Markabi.

Terrorists targeted in Daraa

An army unit destroyed a den of the so-called ‘Abdul-Rahman Battalion’ armed terrorist group with all weapons and ammunition inside, killing many terrorists in al-kark al-Sharqi in Daraa countryside.

A military source told SANA that the terrorists of the group were killed including its leader, Hamza al-Marrouh and the female terrorist, Widad al-Ammar, nicknamed Om Sofyan.

The army also pursued terrorist groups and inflicted heavy losses upon them in the towns of al-Shabraq, al-Nasseryeh and al-Nou’ema, another army unit clashed with terrorists on Tafas-Da’el road and eliminated most of them.

 Terrorists killed in Hasaka countryside

Units of the armed forces killed a number of Jabhat al-Nusra terrorists and destroyed their weapons and ammunition in Hasaka countryside.

An official source told SANA that the army units killed and injured several terrorists in Tall Barak area and Hiten town in Hasaka countryside, in addition to destroying their weapons and equipment.

Army units inflict heavy losses upon terrorists in Hama countryside

Units of the armed forces destroyed a terrorists’ den in the area surrounding al-Samaka restaurant  in Kalaat al-Madiq town, killing all terrorists inside the den.

The source pointed out that another army unit clashed with terrorists who were perpetrating acts of terrorism on the main road of Kafr Nabouda town in al-Ghab area, killing several terrorists and destroying their equipment.

English Bulletin

Terrorists’ attempt to detonate an explosive device near the Opera House foiled

Jul 03, 2013

Damascus, (SANA)- Engineering units on Wednesday dismantled an explosive device planted by terrorists inside a private car near the Opera House in Damascus.

An official source said that the engineering members dismantled a 2 kg explosive device before being detonated.

Child injured by terrorist mortar shell in Damascus

A child was wounded by terrorists’ mortar shell launched on al-Imara residential area in Damascus.

An official source told SANA that the shell fell on a house in the area, causing the child’s injury, adding that the attack also caused large material damage to the house.

Four people martyred, others injured in Mortar Shell in Aleppo 

meanwhile, four citizens were martyred and many others were injured of two mortar shells fired by terrorists on the residential Bab al-Faraj area in Aleppo city.

An official source told SANA that the armed terrorist groups targeted the citizens’ houses with two mortar shells, causing the martyrdom of 4 citizens and the injury of 6 others, including children.

The source added that the terrorist attack caused material damage to the citizens’ houses and the parking cars.

Three citizens martyred, others wounded by mortar shells in Damascus

Meanwhile, Three citizens were martyred, others were injured due to mortar shells fired by terrorists on the residential al-Kabas area in Damascus.

An official source at the Police Command told SANA that two mortar shells fell near Ibrahim al-Khalil Mosque in al-Kabas area and another shell fell on the southern railway, causing the martyrdom of 3 citizens  and the injury of 13 others who were admitted to hospital.

The source added that the terrorist attack caused material damages to the citizens’ houses and the parking cars.

The source pointed out that other two shells fell on the area surrounding al-Abbassein area and another one fell on Faris Khouri street in Damascus, adding that the damages were limited to materials. 

English Bulletin

Mufti of Chechnya: who want to fight in Syria must know they go there to protect U.S.-western interests

Jul 03, 2013

Moscow, (SANA) – Mufti of Chechnya, Sultan Mirzaif, warned on Wednesday of going for fighting in Syria under the pretext of “Jihad”, pointing out that those who go there, whether from Chechnya or from other places, must know that they are going to protect the interests of the west and the US.

Mufti Mirzaif said in an interview with the Voice of Russia Radio that the US is settling geopolitical issues in Syria with the hands of Muslims, adding that if the US succeeded in implementing its plots in Syria, other countries such as Jordan would consequently follow.

The Mufti issued a fatwa considering what is happening in Syria a “sedition and a conflict aimed at annihilating Muslims.”

F.Allafi       

Patriarch John X stresses the need of Political solution to the crisis in Syria

Jul 03, 2013

Damascus, (SANA) – Patriarch of Antioch and all East for Greek Orthodox John Yazigi stressed the importance of finding a political solution to the crisis in Syria.

Meeting Austrian Ambassador in Damascus Isabel Raucher charge d’ affairs of the European Union Michel Ryan in Syria and political advisor at the European Union Commission in Damascus Anis Nakror, the Patriarch pointed out to the importance of finding a political solution to the crisis in Syria and to consolidate the language of dialogue, in addition to renounce the language of violence.

He called for working to release the abducted bishops and all abducted.

During the meeting, discussions dealt with the general situation in Syria.

B. Mousa / Mazen

Law punishes unlicensed practicing of money-exchange profession

Jul 04, 2013

Damascus, (SANA)_President Bashar al-Assad issued on Thursday Law No. 18 for the year 2013 amending the Law No. 29 for the year 2012 on the penalties imposed on the persons who practice the currency exchange profession without a license, and those who move or transfer foreign or local currencies between Syria and abraod without a license.

The law states that anyone who violates the provisions of paragraph (A) of Article 7 of this law and practices the currency exchange profession without a license is punishable with temporary arrest for a period not less than three years and not more than ten years, and the confiscation of the sums seized in cash or any sums recorded on paper or electronic registers and bonds that carry a monetary value, and a fine threefold the confiscated sum, which is not less than SYP five million.

President al-Assad issues law no. 17 on establishing solar water heater support fund

President al-Assad issued Law No. 17 for the year 2013 on establishing a fund to support the domestic solar water heater at the Ministry of Electricity.

The fund aims to make citizens aware of the importance of renewable energies and their role in sustainable energy resources, environmental protection and rationalizing the use of traditional energy sources, and encouraging the use of solar energy in water heating for domestic purposes.

Law allows ministers to certify contracts of investment expenditure

President al-Assad also issued  law No. 19 for 2013 amending law No. 31 dated on December 12,2011 to allow the minister concerned to certify contracts related to the investment expenditure which doesn’t exceed 200 million SYP and the contracts related to the current expenditure which doesn’t exceed 100 million SYP.    

M. Ismael/ Mazen

US RESPONSIBLE FOR CRIMES OF AGGRESSION IN VIOLATION OF ROME STATUTE AND UN CHARTER

US Double-standards in its Appeals to “Geneva I Convention”

By Dr. Robert P. Abele

On May 23, Secretary of State John Kerry threatened Syrian President Bashar al-Assad with the following statement concerning U.S. military support of Syrian rebels: “In the event that we can’t find that way forward, in the event that the Assad regime is unwilling to negotiate Geneva I in good faith, we will also talk about our continued support and growing support for the opposition in order to permit them to continue to be able to fight for the freedom of their country.” He repeated that threat again yesterday, July 2, using the same appeal to Geneva I.

So the obvious question—one completely unaddressed by mainstream media—is: “What does Geneva I say that Kerry is so resolute in appealing to it?” This article aims only to address this question briefly, and to suggest a few points of discussion for an examination of what the U.S. is doing in Syria that might be applicable to Geneva I, which so animates Kerry’s assertions of Assad’s international legal responsibilities.

As is the case of all U.S. government pronouncements these days, one must examine the consistency, or lack of it, that stands under or behind U.S. decrees. Those seeking consistency from the Obama administration’s policy toward Syria would be disappointed to learn that Geneva I calls for two specific responsibilities of nations involving themselves in military conflicts within other nations. In each of these two cases, the Obama administration outright ignores these laws while holding Assad accountable to the Convention.

Geneva I is entitled “The Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick in Armed Forces in the Field.” Among other things, it contains the following two prescriptions for “outsider” nations involving itself in the internal violence of another nation:

Art. 11.

Any neutral Power, or any organization invited by the Power concerned or offering itself for these purposes, shall be required to act with a sense of responsibility towards the Party to the conflict on which persons protected by the present Convention depend, and shall be required to furnish sufficient assurances that it is in a position to undertake the appropriate functions and to discharge them impartially.”

Art. 50.

“Grave breaches to which the preceding Article relates shall be those involving any of the following acts, if committed against persons or property protected by the Convention: willful killing, torture or inhuman treatment, including biological experiments, willfully causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health, and extensive destruction and appropriation of property, not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly.”

Regarding Article 50, we can begin the discussion by noting two things.

First, we know that the rebels being supplied by the U.S. have used chemical weapons supplied by the U.S. Although the U.S. has consistently attempted a propaganda campaign to pin this use on Syrian troops, the fact is the opposite: Last month, Syrian rebels in the Al Nusra Front were arrested on the border of Turkey, literally caught red-handed with chemical weapons materials in their possession—i.e. 4-1/2 pounds of sarin nerve gas. In addition, Carla del Ponte, United Nations Commissioner on the board of inquiry regarding Syria, stated publicly that the bulk of the evidence indicates that the rebels being armed by the U.S. are the ones using chemical weapons.

Second, one need only examine the barrage of news stories that demonstrate the atrocities of the rebel gangs in Syria being militarily supported by the U.S. Even a cursory examination of the stories demonstrates that these gangs are deliberately attacking civilians and causing other injury and destruction “not justified by military necessity” (Article 50). The standard U.S. line in response to this is that President Assad’s army is doing the same thing. However, this excuse is both morally and legally (to say nothing of logically) insufficient to justify one’s own actions.

Regarding Article 11, there likewise are at least two things to be noted to start a discussion about what the U.S. is doing in Syria.

First, even given the vague use of the term “responsible” in the Article, one must ask how “responsible” it is to deliberately attempt to overthrow another government that is not threatening to the interfering nation, and which does not have a legitimate internal humanitarian crisis within its borders. The latter is being created by U.S. support of rebel forces, while the former is the fundamental condition for warring against another nation, both in the Rome Statute (see below) and the U.N. Charter.

Second, it is important to underscore the most glaringly obvious point regarding the U.S. ignoring international conventions, and that is in the crime of aggression, by definition (in the Rome Statute in 1998, Article 5), the use of armed force by one State against another State without the justification of self-defense or authorization by the U.N. Security Council.  It is based on the dual principles of limiting the power of nations to engage in military aggression, with the sole exception of self-defense, and making that proscription apply equally to all nations. Justice Robert H. Jackson, chief prosecutor in the Nuremberg Trials, made those principles quite clear, and they were used in the U.N. Charter concerning war.

For our purposes here, it is important to highlight Article 8, Section I of the Rome Statute, which states that the “crime of aggression” means the planning, preparation, initiation or execution, by a person in a position effectively to exercise control over or to direct the political or military action of a State, of an act of aggression which, by its character, gravity and scale, constitutes a manifest violation of the Charter of the United Nations.”

Most critically, note Section 2(g) of the Statute, where the crime of aggression is spelled out most clearly regarding the supply of rebels, such as the U.S. is doing in Syria: “The sending by or on behalf of a State of armed bands, groups, irregulars or mercenaries, which carry out acts of armed force against another State of such gravity as to amount to the acts listed above, or its substantial involvement therein.”

So once again, we have a United States government making proclamations and threats holding another government to the letter of the law, while it egregiously violates the most important parts of the law to which they are holding another nation; in this case, Syria. It is not too much for us to demand that the Obama administration act consistently within the rule of law if it intends to capture the moral high ground with regard to its actions in Syria. But, then again, with all the duplicity and direct violations of international law coming out of the administration, capturing the legal or moral high ground seems not to be Obama’s real concern at all. This is much to the detriment and safety of the entire world, since the sole world superpower is demonstrating itself to be simply a rogue state.

Dr. Robert P. Abele holds a Ph.D. in Philosophy from Marquette University He is the author of three books: A User’s Guide to the USA PATRIOT Act (2005); The Anatomy of a Deception: A Logical and Ethical Analysis of the Decision to Invade Iraq (2009); Democracy Gone: A Chronicle of the Last Chapters of the Great American Democratic Experiment (2009). He contributed eleven chapters to the Encyclopedia of Global Justice, from The Hague: Springer Press (October, 2011). Dr. Abele is a professor of philosophy at Diablo Valley College, located in Pleasant Hill, California in the San Francisco Bay area.

ROLAND DUMAS: WEST WAS PREPARING ATTACK ON SYRIA BEFORE CRISIS BEGAN

Roland Dumas to SANA: West was preparing attack on Syria before crisis started

Jul 01, 2013

Paris, (SANA) – Former French Foreign Minister Roland Dumas revealed that there’s a plot which was devised by several western countries – primarily Britain and France – to topple the Syrian the government even before the crisis started in Syria.

In an exclusive interview given to SANA’s correspondent in Paris, Dumas said that while he was in Britain before the crisis began in Syria, he was invited to a party where two people an Englishman and a Frenchman, asked him if he would like to participate in preparations for an attack on Syria to topple the government in it.

He said he refused this offer, but events proved that they were serious about what they said at that evening.

Dumas voiced surprise over the French government’s positions, saying that the paths chosen by the governments of former President Nicolas Sarkozy and current President Francois Holland aren’t the right paths that lead to peace in Syria.

On the west’s goals from toppling the Syrian state, Dumas said that he thinks the current international climate formed around the Syrian situation contentious the policies adopted several years ago to deal with the Arab world, stressing that the west’s policies in such issues aren’t policies of peace but rather of war, and that he personally is against war and supports the path that leads to peace.

Regarding the Syrian opposition, Dumas said that this opposition is multifaceted, and that countries like Qatar and Saudi Arabia are involved in the fighting taking place in Syria against the legitimate government.

“A peaceful solution isn’t achieved by letting people fight,” he said, stressing that sending weapons will not solve problems in Syria.

Dumas pointed out that the legitimate government in Syria is reclaiming areas which gunmen seized, which is a good sign, noting that France had been opposing the suggestion of holding an international conference on Syria in a manner contrary to its traditional political creed, but eventually it admitted that the conference must be held as soon as possible and its position on Iran’s participation in the conference was altered.

He said that the most important point is the agreement between Russia and the US on holding this conference, noting that there mustn’t be any preconceptions about the conference.

On the G8 meeting in Ireland, Dumas said that it wasn’t the optimal place for discussing Syria because many countries interested in the Syrian issue weren’t there, which is why the conference due to be held in Geneva is important.

Regarding France sending advanced weapons to terrorist groups in Syria, Dumas said that sending weapons contradicts peaceful solutions because weapons are made for war, adding that it’s unfortunate that some sides want to send one side as this will prompt others to send weapons to the other side.

He noted that there were discussions on the issue of weapons because the west is concerned over who will receive the weapons, pointing out to Libya where weapons disappeared, asserting that sending weapons to Syria will exacerbate the conflict and make it more difficult to resolve.

Dumas said that international laws are only good for achieving peace when its time comes, and that there’s no hope of ending the crisis in Syria without having all countries participate in an international conference for this purpose.

He said that the allegations of chemical weapons use in Syria are very dangerous as they bring to mind the discussions which took place about Iraq in the past, when the US alleged that Iraq possessed chemical weapons but none were found, stressing that in legal terms, evidence is procured through judicial channels, not through journalists carrying small bottles which they claim they procured in Syria, as those individuals aren’t trustworthy.

Dumas went on to note that international law has items on destroying chemical weapons which raises concerns, saying it’s best to have the UN send impartial and reliable experts to look into this matter.

On France’s double standards in combating terrorists in Mali while supporting them in Syria, Dumas said that France says it will arm the “opposition” but it’s unknown what will happen to these weapons, and that there’s no way of knowing that these weapons won’t be turned against France, adding “this is a great risk… when we enter a conflict we know it can spread.”

He said that the traditional relations between Syria and France were good, particularly on the cultural level, but all that was undermined and now the two countries are enemies which doesn’t make sense, adding “it’s time to fix everything.”

Dumas pointed out that some sides have a desire to destroy strong Arab states, like what happened in Iraq and Libya before and what is being attempted in Syria, particularly given Syria’s special relations with Russia.

He said that Israel plays a role in what is happening in Syria, pointing out to the statements of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who said that if an agreement isn’t reached, then Israel will attack and destroy the governments that stand against it.

On the possibility of France and the west changing their position on Syria, Dumas said that this is possible, and that France’s position has shown some development recently which is a positive indicator and a move in the right direction.

Dumas stressed that there’s massive propaganda being spread regarding events in Syria, with all news, reports and images coming from one source, causing the French public which sees these images every day to form a terrible impression that there are “bad guys” represented by the Syrian government who are killing the people as they allege, and on the other side there are “good guys” represented by the armed groups, causing them to think that the bad guys must go and the good guys must stay, adding “but one day, the truth will come out.”

He said that conceptions must be corrected, and then those who support certain policies will see that they are mistaken, and then it’s possible to put an end to these policies.

Dumas concluded by saying that Syria and the Syrian people are great and that they will emerge from this crisis, adding “we must hope that they do not emerge from it too late… we wish that Syria doesn’t suffer many losses in lives and damages.”

H. Sabbagh

ALSO SEE:
THE WAR AGAINST SYRIA WAS PLANNED 2 YEARS BEFORE “ARAB SPRING”
SANA DAILY HEADLINES JULY 1, 2013

SANA DAILY HEADLINES JULY 2, 2013

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SANA DAILY HEADLINES ON SYRIA 360°


Law offers rewards to excellent students of Sharia Certificates

Jul 02, 2013

Damascus, (SANA)-President Bashar al-Assad on Tuesday issued law No. 12 for 2013 stipulating that the monthly reward which is offered to the excellent students of the basic and secondary education to include the first three excellent students in the country for the Sharia preparatory certificate and the first successful student in each Syrian city in the Sharia secondary certificates.

Mazen

Seven citizens martyred , others wounded by terrorist shells on Bab al-Faraj area in Aleppo and Damascus

Jul 02, 2013

Aleppo, (SANA) – Four citizens were martyred and many others were injured of two mortar shells fired by terrorists on the residential Bab al-Faraj area in Aleppo city.

An official source told SANA that the armed terrorist groups targeted the citizens’ houses with two mortar shells, causing the martyrdom of 4 citizens and the injury of 6 others, including children.

The source added that the terrorist attack caused material damage to the citizens’ houses and the parking cars.

Three citizens martyred, others wounded by mortar shells in Damascus

Three citizens were martyred, others were injured due to mortar shells fired by terrorists on the residential al-Kabas area in Damascus.

An official source at the Police Command told SANA that two mortar shells fell near Ibrahim al-Khalil Mosque in al-Kabas area and another shell fell on the southern railway, causing the martyrdom of 3 citizens  and the injury of 13 others who were admitted to hospital.

The source added that the terrorist attack caused material damages to the citizens’ houses and the parking cars.

The source pointed out that other two shells fell on the area surrounding al-Abbassein area and another one fell on Faris Khouri street in Damascus, adding that the damages were limited to materials. 

B. Mousa / Mazen

10 citizens injured by terrorist attack on al-Tadamun, Damascus

Jul 02, 2013

Provinces, (SANA) – Ten citizens were injured, among them 3 children, by terrorists’ mortar attack on a residential area in al-Tadamun in Damascus on Tuesday.

A source in the police command told SANA reporter that the injured persons were admitted to hospitals, adding that four of them were in critical situation.

The source said that a 1-year-old child and two 5-year-old girls were injured by the attack.

The shell also caused material damage to the houses and properties in the area. 

Terrorists target service institutions in Homs

In the framework of targeting infrastructure and service institutions, the armed terrorist groups targeted with mortar shells a 7-storey building that includes several service offices in Homs on Monday.

SANA reporter was informed by an official source that the terrorist attack caused huge damage to the offices of the general establishment for social insurance and the general establishment for sugar in addition to other service offices affiliated to the city council.

M. Nassr/ Ghossoun

Army eliminates terrorists in several areas, restores security to areas in Homs

Jul 02, 2013

Provinces, (SANA)- In Hasaka province, units of the armed forces destroyed terrorists gatherings and hideouts in Tal Hamis and some villages, inflicting heavy losses upon the terrorists.

SANA reporter quoted a source in the province as saying that units of the armed forces destroyed terrorists’ gatherings in Tal Hamis and the villages of Abu Kasab, Kharab Askar and Bahri Farm, killing and injuring a number of terrorists, among them Naser Abdul-Bari and Mohammad Abdul-Bari.

Army units eliminate terrorists in Damascus Countryside

Army units eliminated a number of terrorists and injured others in the town of Harasta in Damascus Countryside, including terrorist leader Mahmoud Affouf and most of his group’s members.

In Douma, the Army carried out a special operation targeting a terrorist hideout in al-Ebb farms, resulting in the elimination of terrorists Raed al-Mleih and Yasin Jaradeh.

Army units continued pursuing terrorists in Jobar, eliminating a number of them including Abd al-Mu’ti Sadqa, while another unit destroyed a terrorist hideout along with the weapons inside it in Erbin, killing a number of terrorists including Saeed Kranbeh, Mohammad Taifour, and Abu al-Hareth al-Muwahhed.

In the eastern Ghouta area, Armed Forces unit continued pursuing terrorists in the farms around the towns of al-Bahariya and al-Qasimiya, destroying their weapons and munitions and eliminating a number of them including Hatem Talla’a.

In al-Fakhoura area near Halboun mountains in the northern Damascus Countryside, Army units clashed with terrorists and eliminated a number of them including Mu’taz Zahra.

In the southern Damascus Countryside, an Army unit carried out a special operation targeting a terrorist gathering, destroying a heavy machinegun and a mortar launcher and eliminating a terrorist leader named Noureddin al-Buqa’I and most of his group’s members including Abbad al-Lways.

The Army also eliminated a terrorist gathering in Khan al-Sheih area and destroyed their equipment.

Citizen martyred and others injured of terrorists’ shell on Homs

A citizen was martyred and others were injured due to a mortar shell fired by terrorists on al-Nazha roundabout in Ekrima neighborhood in Homs city.

Competent Authorities seize machineguns, heat-seeking rockets in Tal-Kalakh

The competent authorities seized amounts of weapons, including machineguns, heat-seeking rockets and ammunition in a den of an armed terrorist group in Tal-Kalakh city in Homs province.

An official source told SANA reporter that the seized weapons included a 80mm caliber mortar, 6 heat-seeking rockets, missiles launch-pad, detonators, large amounts of ammunition and a hand-made mine.The source added that another army unit destroyed a terrorists’ warehouse full of weapons and ammunition, in addition to killing all terrorists inside it.

Terrorists killed in Lattakia countryside

Units of the armed forces targeted gatherings of Jabhat al-Nusra terrorists in Rabi’a and Baeit Awan in Lattakia countryside, killing and injuring scores of them.

A military source told SANA that among the dead terrorists were Abu Baker, non-Syrian and terrorist Azam Madania.

Army units eliminate terrorists in Daraa and its countryside

Units of the armed forces carried out a series of special operations against terrorists’ dens and gatherings  and killed a number of terrorists, including non-Syrians in Daraa and its countryside.

A military source told SANA that the army units killed Mohammad al-Amiri from Saudi Arabia and Ahmad al-Aslali from Jordan who were affiliated to Jabhat al-Nusra on Da’ail-Tafas main road and eliminated another armed terrorist group in al-Saraia area in al-Sheikh Miskin city, killing 8 terrorists, including Yehia Youns al-Alloa, Mohammad Said al-Wadi and Mouhand Ahmad al-Eid.

The source added that other army units continued hunting terrorists in al-Nasiria, al-Shabraq, Ein Fraikha, Tseel and al-Mzairib, inflicting heavy losses upon terrorists.

Another army unit destroyed terrorists’ dens along with the weapons and ammunition inside them in Einkhel, Daraa al-Balad, Daraa Camp and al-Hamaden neighborhood.

The source pointed out that other army units advanced in al-Sad road and killed several terrorists, including Suleiman al-Masri and Ahmad Ibrahim al-Masalma.

Other army units killed scores of Jabhat al-Nusra terrorists on al-Sad road, including Ibrahim Samer Jarouan, Malik Mansour Shhada, Ali Hussein al-Hamoud, Yaser Nayef al-Hassan and Alaa Mahmoud Sa’aoud.   

Army units destroy terrorists’ dens and gatherings in Idleb countryside

Units of the armed forces continued operations against terrorists in Idleb countryside, killing and injuring a number of terrorists, in addition to destroying their dens.

An official source told SANA that the army units killed a number of terrorists and destroyed their weapons and ammunition in al-Qinia, Maar Tmsarin, Sraqib, Binish and Ma’atram.

The source added that other army units inflicted heavy losses upon the armed terrorist groups in Maret al-Nouman, Kafer Noboul, Khan al-Soboul, Sarja, Ihsem and Maar Dbsi.

Army eliminates Jabhet al-Nusra terrorists in Aleppo

The armed forces continued operations against the armed terrorist groups in several areas in Aleppo province, eliminating scores of them.

An official source told SANA that a number of terrorists’ hideouts were destroyed near al-Kindi Hospital scores of the terrorists were killed.

The army units clashed with terrorists who tried to attack Aleppo’s Central Prison and killed dozens of the attackers.

Another army unit eliminated the members of an armed terrorist group on Aleppo-Idleb highway, destroying anti-armor and anti-aircraft rockets in addition to other weapons and munitions.

A number of terrorists were killed after the army repelled an attempt by terrorists to attack Mennigh airport.

The army also killed three terrorists in al-Lairamon, and destroyed their weaponry, which included a mortar launcher.

In Aleppo city, the army clashed with terrorist groups in the Old City and eliminated scores of them. Another army unit targeted and destroyed terrorists’ gatherings in the areas of Karm al-Qatarji and al-Sheikh Maksoud.

Army eliminates terrorists, restores security to areas in Homs

Army units destroyed terrorist hideouts in gatherings in the neighborhoods of al-Khalidiye, al-Qarabis and Bab Houd in Homs city, leaving many terrorists dead or injured.

Army units pursued terrorist groups in the fields of al-Ghouta, Teldo, Kafrlaha, al-Ghanto, al-Rastan and al-Dar al Kabireh in Homs countryside, eliminating a number of them and destroying their weapons, munitions and equipment.

Other units of the Armed forces Restored security and stability to al-Ein al-Janoubiya and al-Sharkia farms in al-Qaryatin after eliminating the last terrorist gatherings in it, uncovering tunnels containing assorted weapons and ammo, and dismantling dozens of explosive devices planted by terrorists on roads.

In Talkalakh, the authorities seized large amounts of weapons, including machineguns, thermal rockets and ammunition in a terrorists’ hideout in Talkalakh city in Homs province.

An official source told SANA reporter that the seized weapons included 80 mm mortar launcher and 22 shells, 6 rifles, a PKC machinegun, a sniper rifle, 6 thermal rockets, a rocket launching platform, detonators, homemade mine and different kinds of ammunitions.

Other army units killed several terrorists during cleaning the areas near al-Qaritain city.

Other army units continued hunting terrorists in Mhin, al-Tifour, Talbisa, al-Ghanto, al-Rastan, killing and injuring a number of terrorists, in addition to destroying their equipment.

Terrorists inflicted heavy losses in Deir Ezzor

Units of the armed forces clashed with armed terrorist groups in al-Huwika neighborhood and al-Marea’eh village in Deir Ezzor, inflicting heavy losses upon the terrorists.

An official source in the province told SANA reporter that all members of an armed terrorist group were killed in al-Huwika neighborhood and their weapons and ammunition were destroyed.

Terrorist Ghassan Jaber al-Hazaa was identified among the dead.

The source added that a unit of the armed forces killed a number of terrorists who were cutting the roads and committing looting acts on the road of al-Marea’eh village, destroying their weapons and tools.  

Armed clash among terrorists over sharing stolen goods

An armed clash erupted between two terrorist groups, one of them affiliated to Jabhat al-Nusra, due to a dispute over sharing the stolen goods in Mohassan city in Deir Ezzor .

ِAn official source in the province said that the clash resulted in the killing and injuring most of the members of the two terrorist groups, among them Khalaf Habdeh al-Abed, and Khaled Turki Mahmoud al-Jassem from Jabhat al-Nusra.

English Bulletin

Army restores security and stability to most areas in Jobar

Jul 02, 2013

Damascus, (SANA) – Units of the army restored on Tuesday security and stability to most areas in Jobar, including the Musical barracks, al-Masalekh, al-Afran, the soap factory, Pullman roundabout, Syriatel and its surrounding, in addition to 75% of al-Manashir roundabout after eliminating scores of terrorists and destroying their weapons and equipment.

An official source told SANA reporter that the army razed the last whereabouts of terrorists in the majority of Jobar areas, in addition to destroying their weapons and equipment.

Syria, Venezuela to unify stances in face of international terrorism

Jul 02, 2013

Damascus, (SANA) – Speaker of the People’s Assembly Mohammad Jihad al-Laham said that the Syrians are determined to defeat the Zionist, imperialist projects aiming at targeting Syria sovereignty and unity.

“It is very important to unify the stances of Syria and Venezuela at the international circles to face the international terrorism and support the just issues of peoples,” al-Laham said during a meeting with Venezuelan National Assembly Member Saul Ortega.

He referred to the importance of getting acquaintance with what is really going on in Syria and covey a true image of the events to the Venezuelan friendly people.

“The Syrian people are struggling against the powers of international imperialism in order to preserve Syria sovereignty and independence as the victory of Syria is an important matter to Venezuela,” Ortega said.

In a similar meeting with Ortega, Deputy Foreign and Expatriates Minister, Fayssal Mekdad, stressed on Tuesday the importance of popular and parliamentarian diplomacy in communicating among peoples and the role of parliamentarians in conveying the true image through direct communication with their peoples.

For his part, MP Otega stressed Venezuela’s support to Syria, hailing its steadfastness in face of the pressure facing it.

He expressed confidence that Syria will eventually win against the conspiracies targeting the region.

Otega lauded the unity of the Syrian people in face of the western conspiracy which aims at subjugating Syria and facilitating the U.S.-Israeli hegemony on the region.

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Dr. Mekdad expressed Syria’s appreciation of the fraternal and firm stance of Venezuela which stood by the Syrian people during the difficult circumstances.

He highlighted the friendship relations which were established by President Bashar al-Assad and late President Hugo Chavez and will continue with President Nicolas Maduro.

The Deputy Foreign and Expatriates Minister reviewed the circumstances going on in Syria and the latest developments and Syria’s vision for solution according to the political program announced by President Bashar al-Assad early this year .

He stressed that Syria’s victory will be a victory for all those committed to their countries’ sovereignty and independence.  

F.Allafi/ Mazen

Cabinet approves request of Transport Ministry to increase transport fares for farmers

Jul 02, 2013

Damascus, (SANA) – The cabinet approved on Tuesday the request of the transport Ministry to increase the transport fares for farmers and producers in al-Hasaka, al-Raqqa and Der Ezzor provinces who are going to transport their wheat crops to the General Establishment for Cereals in Damascus as to encourage the farmers.

The Cabinet approved a bill on modifying the title of the Ministry of Communications and Technology to become the “Ministry of Communications and Informatics Development.”

The Prime Minister Dr. Wael al-Halqi addressed the government members to intensify efforts for improving the economic and services sectors to offer the best services to the citizens in the light of the war imposed on Syria’s government and peoples.

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Heading weekly session of the cabinet, Al-Halqi stressed the need for state workers to be  committed to their duties, adding that the legal procedures will apply on the careless employees. Dr. al-Halqi briefed the activities of the cabinet in the last week, particularly the meeting aimed to face the economic war imposed on Syria which is targeting Syrian economy.

He expressed his satisfaction over field visits paid by a number of ministers to some provinces, stressing the need to monitor the markets and prevent opportunists from exploiting the increase of salaries of the state employees.

Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign and Expatriates Minister Walid al-Moallem briefed the political situation in Syria and the political activism in the region which will have positive effect on the internal situation in Syria, hailing the victories of the Syria Arab Army which enhanced the implementation of the political program to solve the crisis in Syria. 

For his part, Minister of Electricity Imad Khamis presented the reality of the electricity power , adding that the power cuts last week in the southern area were due to the armed terrorist groups’ attacks on the power lines.

Khamis affirmed that the cadres of the Ministry are ready to face all challenges, despite the tough circumstances and the repeated attacks.

The cabinet strongly condemned the terrorist attacks targeting Syrian peoples’ capabilities, particularly the last attack  which targeted the educational cadres.

The cabinet approved on exempting the Iranian company ARIA Tejarat for supplying  food stuffs from all fees and stamp taxes. 

In a statement to reporters following the session, Minister of Economy and Foreign Trade Mohammad Mhibek said that all food materials are available as of the beginning of the month of Ramadan and the government has made many measures with the aim of decreasing prices, particularly preventing the export of vegetables to the neighboring countries because of the current circumstances.

Minister Mhibek pointed out that the government is committed to importing amounts of basic food materials to meet the needs of the Syria people with suitable prices.

F.Allafi /B .Mousa   

Participants in the Arab youth conference : Syrians capable of reconstruction

Jul 02, 2013

Homs, (SANA) – The Arab delegations participating in the Arab youth nationalist conference in Homs expressed their sorrow over the sabotage and destruction at the hands of the armed terrorist groups that they saw while they were visiting al-Qseir city.

The participants said that Syrian peoples are able to rebuild their country as the Syrian army is capable of defeating terrorists, adding that the sabotage and destruction is an evidence on the Zionist- US conspiracy against Syria.

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They hailed the Syrian role in embracing the Palestinian case and supporting all resistance in the Arab world.

The Arab youth appreciated the Syrian role in embracing the Palestinian case and supporting all resistance in the Arab world.

For his part, Governor of Homs Ahmad Monier Mohammad said that the delegations witnessed the volume of destruction caused by the armed terrorist groups in al-Qseir city.

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Monier Mohammad added that the visit of the delegations is consider as a challenge to the enemy who was attempting to destroy Syria by using misled media and money, pointing out that all their tools were destroyed at the hands of the Syrian army.

B. Mousa / Mazen

Fatwas which allow Muslim bloodshed have no relation to any Sharia origin, Levant Conference says  

Jul 02, 2013

Beirut, (SANA)-Chairman of the Levant ( Bilad al-Sham ) Union, Scholar Mohammad Tawfik al-Bouti said that the takfiri fatwas which allow shedding the Muslim blood and instigate sedition among them have no relation to any sharia origin, but they came in response to personal malice which don’t accord with the spirit and principles of Islam.

“In spite of the differences among us, the first enemy remains the side which usurped al-Aqsa mosque,” al-Bouti said at the opening ceremony of the activities of the Levant Union conference held in Beirut under the motto “tolerance of Islam and the sedition of Takfir”.

He called on the sons of Islamic nation, particularly the scholars, to assume responsibility of this dangerous stage of the nation history and find a way that brings together all peoples through dialogue.

For his part, Syria’s Grand Mufti Ahmad Badreddin Hassoun said that the war today is against the Syrian army which was the reason behind the resistance victory over Israel.

“Those who have begun to destroy the army since two years till now saw that Syria’s army was the reason behind the resistance victory in Gaza and South Lebanon,” the Mufti said, adding that the war is against the army, not the Syrian government.

He called on the Muslim scholars in the world to hold an immediate meeting in Damascus, not in Geneva to make reconciliation.

To be continued

Mazen

Premier: No food materials to be transferred outside Syria

Jul 02, 2013

Damascus, (SANA) – Prime Minister, Wael al-Halqi, issued on Tuesday a decision preventing departures through all customs departments from transferring any food materials whether they were made in Syria or outside Syria.

The decision explained that violators of this decision will be sued and punished according to law.

F.Allafi

Al-Halqi meets Yazigi, affirms importance of religious figures in maintaining unity

Jul 02, 2013

Damascus, (SANA) – Prime Minister Dr. Wael al-Halqi affirmed that the foreign political tumult regarding the crisis in Syria indicates desire to find suitable solutions, and that conspirators are trying to undermine Syrian economy after failing on the military and political levels.

During a meeting on Monday with Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, Patriarch John X Yazigi, al-Halqi underlined the important role of Muslim and Christian religious figures in preserving the unity and solidarity of Syrians by spreading their messages of love, tolerance and coexistence to combat extremist takfiri movements.

He lauded the role of religious and spiritual leaderships in Syria in confronting the invasive and alien extremist concepts and in defending coexistence, adding that the current circumstances prompt people to reconsider and correct educational and economic policies.

The Prime Minister pointed out the economic, media, political and social warfare waged against Syria, reviewing the government’s efforts to provide citizens’ needs despite the losses in infrastructure it suffered.

For his part, Patriarch Yazigi said that Syria is a strong and steadfast country, and that Syrians are giving others lessons in solidarity and determination to preserve their country.

He affirmed that takfiri terrorist movements will not find a foothold in Syria, asserting that implementing the political program to resolve the crisis is the only way to restore peace and security.

Hassoun: Syria victorious over those who want to fragment it

Syria’s Grand Mufti Ahmad Badr Eddin Hassoun said that Syria is victorious over the sides which wanted to fragment the country.

During his meeting with Patriarch Yazigi, Hassoun said that the reason behind the fierce attack against the country is its diversity, adding that these meetings among the Syrian spectrum are the best way to respond to such campaigns.

Al-Sayyed: Takfiri calls do not represent Islam

Minister of Awqaf (Religious Endowments), Mohammad Abdul-Sattar al-Sayyed, stressed that the takfiri calls do not represent the correct Islamic mentality and are issued to serve political agendas.

During his meeting with Patriarch Yazigi, Minister al-Sayyed highlighted that the takfiri calls will not dissuade the Syrians from facing the takfiri campaigns that aim at spreading sedition among the people.

For his part, Patriarch Yazigi said that the Syrians deliver a clear message through their co-existence in their country, adding that the awareness of the Syrian people will repel all attempts of conspirators to undermine the country.

M. Nassr/ H. Sabbagh

Lavrov: US recognizes that unifying opposition key of political solution to crisis in Syria

 

Jul 02, 2013

Brunei , (SANA)- The United States has recognized that the key of the political solution process for the crisis in Syria is unifying the opposition on the base of Geneva communiqué issued on June 30 , 2012, Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov said.

“Our partners in Washington recognize that the most important thing is unifying the Syrian opposition on the base of Geneva communiqué, ” Lavrov told a press conference following his meeting with US counterpart John Kerry in Brunei on Tuesday.

Lavrov and Kerry discussed the preparations for holding an international conference on Syria in Geneva and the bilateral relations.

The two Ministers exchanged views on the outcomes of the tripartite meeting held last month in Geneva in the framework of the preparations for the international conference on Syria.

For his part, Kerry stressed the US and Russia’s commitment to holding the international Conference, likely in August.

Meanwhile, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Genadi Gatilov said that Lavrov, Kerry meeting is the continuation for the preparations for holding the international conference on Syria.

Bogdanov: main obstacle to fix international conference date is the shape of opposition participation

Russian President’s Special Representative to the Middle East, Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov considered that the main obstacle for fixing a date for holding the international conference on Syria is the decision about the shape of the participation of the Syrian opposition in the conference which is not going to be held before autumn although it was supposed to be held a year ago.

“When the opposition is ready we can talk about a date, ” Bogdanov said in a statement in Moscow.   

He pointed out that the senior negotiators with the Syrian opposition are the Americans, so the question about the readiness of the opposition should be addressed to them.

The Russian official added that the date of the conference is based in so many issues on the opposition which will hold a meeting on July 4thand 5th.

English Bulletin

Lavrov: US recognizes that unifying opposition key of political solution to crisis in Syria

Jul 02, 2013

Brunei , (SANA)- The United States has recognized that the key of the political solution process for the crisis in Syria is unifying the opposition on the base of Geneva communiqué issued on June 30 , 2012, Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov said.

“Our partners in Washington recognize that the most important thing is unifying the Syrian opposition on the base of Geneva communiqué, ” Lavrov told a press conference following his meeting with US counterpart John Kerry in Brunei on Tuesday.

Lavrov and Kerry discussed the preparations for holding an international conference on Syria in Geneva and the bilateral relations.

The two Ministers exchanged views on the outcomes of the tripartite meeting held last month in Geneva in the framework of the preparations for the international conference on Syria.

For his part, Kerry stressed the US and Russia’s commitment to holding the international Conference, likely in August.

Meanwhile, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Genadi Gatilov said that Lavrov, Kerry meeting is the continuation for the preparations for holding the international conference on Syria.

H. Zain / Ghossoun

Morsi rejects army’s ultimatum, Foreign Minister resigns

Jul 02, 2013

Cairo, (SANA)- Egyptian Foreign Minister, Mohamed Kamel Amr, has tendered his resignation, the Middle East News Agency (MENA) reported on Tuesday, after millions of Egyptians rallied against President Mohamed Morsi.

Minister of Tourism, Hisham Zaazou, Minister of Communication and IT, Atef Helmi, Minister of Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Hatem Bagato, Water Minister, Abdel Qaway Khalifa, Environment Minister Khaled Fahmi, have resigned on Monday in solidarity with the Egyptian demonstrations’ demands.

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In a statement issued early on Tuesday, the Egyptian president’s office issued a statement rejecting the army 48 hours ultimatum to resolve the political crisis in the country and fulfill the people’s demands .

The statement said “The president of the republic was not consulted about the statement issued by the armed forces.”

It added that “The presidency sees that some phrases of the statements carry meanings that could cause confusion in the complex national scene.”

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Egyptian salafi al-Nour Party called on Morsi to respond to the people’s demands of holding early presidential elections, the formation of experts government and a committee to discuss the amendment of the constitution.

The armed forces announced that if the demands of people would not be achieved during a deadline, the armed forces, in light of its national and historic responsibility and the respect for the Egyptian people’s requests, will announce a future map and procedures to implement it with the participation of all spectrums, including the youths who were and still are the source of the great revolution.

Earlier, millions of Egyptians have poured into the streets of the cities across the country in protest against President Mohammad Morsi, demanding him to resign and calling for holding early presidential elections.

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The protestors stressed insistence on continuing their peaceful protests until their demands are fulfilled, while some Egyptian provinces declared independence from the rule of the Muslim Brotherhood led by Morsi.

Five people were killed in Asyut and hundreds others were injured in the fire of the Muslim Brotherhood’s gangs, while a demonstrator was killed in Beni Suef province, south of Cairo.

Egypt’s flags and banners demanding Morsie to step-down were raised.

A number of political powers participating in the demonstrations in front of al-Itehadiya presidential Palace announced wide-range sit-in, calling for a peaceful civil disobedience until their demands were fulfilled.

Anti-Morsi protests were held in the coastal city of Alexandria, the Nile Delta cities of Mansura, Menufiya, Tanta and Mahalla, the canal cities of Suez and Port Said and in the president’s hometown of Zagazig.

In Cairo, more than 4 million people protested in Tahrir Square,, al-Itehadiya palace and other sites, waving red cards and Egyptian flags against Morsi.

The Egyptian Tamarod movement (rebel) said that it had more than 22 million signatures for a petition demanding Morsi to resign and hold early elections.

The protesters accused President Morsi of betraying the revolution by concentrating power in the hands of the Islamists and causing the fall of the economy.

English Bulletin

Ahmadinejad: The West seeks prolonging crisis in Syria

Jul 02, 2013

Moscow, (SANA) – Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad stressed that the western countries do not want to end the crisis in Syria because it serves their interests and the interests of the Zionist entity.

In an interview with Russia Today TV, to be broadcast later, Ahmadinejad said that “The West wants the crisis in Syria to spread to other countries as the western counties seek to dominate the region through prolonging the crisis”.

He added that the crisis in Syria is very complicated, adding that “All countries have the right to live in stability, freedom and justice. The Syrians have the right to self-determination”.

President Ahmadinejad said that there are two ways to solve the crisis in Syria, “militarizing the crisis, which means prolonging it, or solving the crisis through national reconciliation and holding free elections in which the Syrians choose who they want”, he added.

M. Nassr/ Ghossoun

Nationalist Arab Youth Conference Kicks off at al-Baath University in Homs

Jul 02, 2013

Homs, (SANA) – With the participation of 41 youth organizations from 13 Arab countries, the Nationalist Arab Youth Conference kicked off on Monday at al-Baath University in Homs province.

Governor of Homs, Ahmad Munir Mohamad, stressed the importance of this conference which gathered the Arab youths on the Syrian territories and in Homs city, in particular, which has suffered from terrorism.

He underscored the importance of revitalizing the nation by nationalism and by organizing popular youth activities with the aim of “reaching a state of youths capable of having influence on the Arab societies.”

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The Governor called on the participants to set a vision for establishing a forum for nationalist Arab youths, expressing the readiness of the governorate to host this forum which will form the nucleus for a “genuine Arab league” that considers the demands of the society.

“The whole world must know that we are all for Syria and we will stand by Syria just as it stood by the Arabs and defended their rights and interests,” the Arab youth delegations said in a speech delivered by Derar Bustanji from Jordan.       

Bustanji pointed out that what is going on in Syria is a “concerted conspiracy” to destroy the land of Arabism and resistance.

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Speaking on behalf of the Resistant Youth, Sudaif Hamada, from Lebanon, said “Today we are in the heart of resistance and Arabism witnessing the victory being achieved by the Syrian Arab Army against terrorism.”

The conference will last for three days and it includes youth meetings and symposia, in addition to visiting families of the martyrs and some neighborhoods in Homs city.

Delegations from Jordan, Iraq, Palestine, Lebanon, Kuwait, Bahrain, Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, Yemen, Sudan, Mauritania and Somalia are taking part in this conference.

F.Allafi

Central Bank Governor: amending money-exchange law to keep Syrian pound stable

Jul 02, 2013

Damascus, (SANA)-Governor of Central Bank of Syria Adeb Mayaleh said that amending the law which regulates the work of money-changing companies comes in the framework of the efforts to keep the price of the Syrian pound stable.

“The amendment, approved by the people’s Assembly, aims to put an end to acts of manipulations in the money changing market in light of pressures to which the Syrian pound is exposed, Mayaleh said in a statement.

He added that the new draft law tightens punishment for those who practice the money changing profession or those who transfer money from Syria to outside without a license.

“The penalty will become imprisonment from 3 to 10 years with 3 million SYP in minimum as compensation,” Mayaleh said.

Mazen

SYRIA, LA VOLUTA INTECEZZA SU GINERVA2 E L’ALLEANZA TRA OCCIDENTE E ISLAMISIMO SUNNITA

Siria, la voluta incertezza su Ginevra2 e l’ alleanza tra Occidente e islamismo sunnita.

di Marco Palombo

25 giugno, nessun accordo nell’ incontro tra ONU, Russia e USA su Ginevra2

Nell’ incontro che si è tenuto martedì a Ginevra tra l’ incaricato ONU Brahimi, i viceministri agli esteri russi Bogdanov e Gatilov e la sottosegretario USA per gli affari politici Wendy Sherman non si è raggiunto un accordo su alcuni punti fondamentali della Conferenza di pace prevista, ma non ancora sicura, in Svizzera. Il precedente incontro era avvenuto il 5 giugno e in questo lungo intervallo le novità più rilevanti nella guerra siriana sono state il cambio di strategia degli Stati Uniti, che armeranno alla luce del sole i gruppi antigovernativi, e l’elezione in Iran del nuovo presidente Rohani. I punti di disaccordo tra USA e Russia nell’ incontro del 25 giugno sono stati relativi ai partecipanti siriani alla Conferenza, la presenza dell’ Iran e la data dell’appuntamento. Al vertice di martedì non è stato neanche fissato un nuovo appuntamento per ridiscutere le questioni irrisolte.

Questa settimana si vedranno invece Kerry, segretario di stato USA, e Lavrov, ministro degli esteri russo, per parlare della situazione siriana nel suo complesso non solo della Conferenza. La notizia del prossimo incontro dei massimi responsabili diplomatici russi e statunitensi è giunta a Ginevra nel corso della riunione del 25 giugno e considero un pessimo segnale che il prossimo vertice russo-statunitense non sia dedicato esclusivamente alla Conferenza di pace, anche se come al solito le informazioni sul dialogo diplomatico sono molto scarse ed è sempre difficile sapere e capire cosa stia succedendo.

Il 24 giugno al Consiglio esteri dell’Unione Europea i ministri hanno discusso di Siria alla presenza di Barroso e del segretario della Nato Rasmussen.

Lunedì 24 a Bruxelles al Consiglio esteri dell’UE si è discusso della guerra siriana con la presenza dei ministri degli esteri dei 27 paesi dell’Unione e del commissario Barroso. Ha partecipato ad una parte della riunione anche il segretario Nato Rasmussen. La presenza dei ministri degli esteri a Bruxelles era prevista, è infatti consuetudine che almeno una volta al mese il settimanale Consiglio esteri riunisca i massimi esponenti diplomatici e i ministri europei non si incontravano dal 27 maggio, ma è stato ugualmente un incontro importante anche se al termine della giornata di lavoro è uscito solo un comunicato molto generico che auspica una soluzione politica sostenibile per la guerra siriana. Ricordo che l’Unione non ha una posizione comune sulla Siria e che a fine maggio i 27 paesi UE non hanno trovato un accordo per fornire le armi ai ribelli (e neanche per proseguire l’embargo alle stesse) e ad oggi considero improbabile che l’Unione Europea possa avvallare (sarebbe necessaria l’unanimità) un eventuale intervento militare straniero contro l’attuale governo di Damasco.

Gli USA nelle prossime settimane consegneranno armi alle brigate anti Assad

Secondo il Wall Street Journal entro la metà di luglio la Cia fornirà armi alle milizie anti Assad, scegliendo pochi e fidati gruppi a cui inviare gli aiuti militari. Il Congresso statunitense ha chiesto però ad Obama maggiori dettagli sulle forniture di armi ai gruppi di opposizione e le informazioni date da Kerry al Congresso nelle scorse settimane sono state ritenute insufficienti. Sempre a proposito di forniture di armi, secondo fonti palestinesi (riportate da Russia today) Israele ha aiutato i gruppi armati in Siria a far passare armi dal Golan, L’Unione europea il 27 maggio aveva invece firmato un intesa secondo la quale tutti i paesi UE non forniranno armi fino al primo agosto e dopo la Conferenza ridiscuteranno il tema dell’ appoggio militare ai gruppi anti Assad nel tentativo di trovare nuovamente una posizione comune.

In Egitto nel grande movimento che si oppone a Morsi critiche agli USA per il loro appoggio ai Fratelli Musulmani egiziani, una parte dell’alleanza occidentale con tutto l’ Islam sunnita.

In tutto l’Egitto un grande movimento della opposizione non appartenente all’ islamismo politico ha manifestato domenica per chiedere le dimissioni di Morsi e sono scese in piazza milioni di persone. Nei giorni passati all’ interno della vasta area di opposizione si erano levate più voci critiche verso l’appoggio economico e politico che gli Stati Uniti danno al presidente Morsi bersaglio delle contestazioni di questi giorni. Su un grande striscione in una centrale zona del Cairo è scritto chiaramente: “Obama sostiene il dittatore Morsi”. Gli Stati Uniti hanno evacuato gran parte della loro ambasciata temendo incidenti. Il giornale Al Watan , schierato contro gli integralisti islamici, ha definito l’ambasciatrice USA al Cairo Anne Peterson “Ambasciatrice dei Fratelli Musulmani”.

Gli USA e altri ambienti occidentali, compresa la nostra Bonino, sottolineano, analogamente ai commenti sulla Turchia, il fatto che Morsi sia stato eletto presidente in una libera elezione ma evitano accuratamente di entrare nei dettagli dell’ operato di Morsi che ha portato anche ambienti moderati, come quelli che hanno come riferimento Mousa, ex ministro e ex segretario della Lega Araba, e Al Baradei, ex segretario dell’Agenzia internazionale dell’ energia atomica, a definire autoritario e non democratico il comportamento del presidente Morsi e del suo governo. Farida al Naqqash, femminista e direttore del giornale al Ahali, racconta per esempio al Corriere della Sera che: “La libertà personale in Egitto oggi non è ancora garantita, anzi ci sono stati arresti, censure e torture in carcere come e più che sotto Mubarak o Sadat”

L’Egitto, insieme alla Turchia, Giordania, Qatar, Arabia Saudita, Emirati Arabi Uniti (tutti paesi a prevalenza e guida sunnita) e con USA, Italia, Germania, Gran Bretagna e Francia, forma il gruppo degli undici paesi cosiddetti Amici della Siria che nel 2013 si è riunito quattro volte per discutere della guerra siriana.

Di fatto un’ alleanza, tra il nucleo principale dei paesi Nato e l’islamismo sunnita, che ha operato (ed opera) in Libia e in Siria ma anche in Egitto e Tunisia. Un’ alleanza evidente e pericolosa per la pace e la convivenza delle diverse confessioni religiose che troppi fanno finta di non vedere.

La denuncia della decapitazione di tre frati francescani e la smentita (dell’appartenenza ai francescani non della decapitazione….)

Sul sito “Syrian documents” è stato messo in rete un video ripreso con mezzi amatoriali che mostra una feroce esecuzione di due persone (sulle tre processate) giudicate poco prima da un tribunale islamico per rapporti con il governo siriano. La scritta sul sito accusa:” Esecuzione del vescovo Francois Mourad a Iblid da parte del Fronte al Nusra”. Scrive Avvenire: “Mourad, semplice monaco e non vescovo, amico e collaboratore della Custodia di Terra Santa, ma non frate francescano, in effetti è stato ucciso domenica scorsa a Ghassianeh.” Per Radio France International i due uomini giustiziati sarebbero stati frati francescani. In seguito è arrivata la smentita della Custodia di Terra Santa:”… i frati presenti nella provincia di Iblid stanno bene e padre Maurad, effettivamente assassinato domenica, è stato sepolto e il corpo appariva integro..”. La Coalizione Siriana ipotizza una montatura del governo, definendo “filo Assad” il sito che ha messo in rete il video ma omettendo il suo nome, “Syrian documents”.

Avvenire riporta anche una ricostruzione della Chiesa greco-melchita, ripresa da Fides, di un episodio accaduto giovedì nella città vecchia di Damasco. La Chiesa Melchita sostiene che alcune persone siano state uccise non da un attentatore suicida, come detto in un primo momento, ma da due colpi di mortaio e che l’episodio, avvenuto vicino ad una Cattedrale greco melchita, probabilmente non è stato un attacco mirato ad obiettivi religiosi. Riporto questa precisazione perché la Chiesa Melchita e Fides spesso hanno smentito anche le notizie diffuse dall’ opposizione e per invitare tutti a non credere in modo acritico a quello che viene raccontato sulla guerra siriana, da ogni fonte provenga.

Libano, diciasette militari governativi libanesi uccisi da combattenti sunniti dello sceicco salafita al Assir.

A inizio settimana in Libano si è verificato un durissimo scontro armato tra l’ esercito regolare libanese e milizie armate che fanno capo allo sceicco sunnita salafita Ahmad al Assir, nemico storico di Assad. Gli scontri hanno causato la morte di 17 militari libanesi e 25 miliziani e sono iniziati in seguito all’ arresto ad un posto di blocco di alcuni miliziani di Assyr. Altri miliziani hanno allora attaccato a sorpresa la postazione militare libanese e si è sviluppato un tragico scontro armato raccontato dalla televisione libanese con lunghe dirette. L’ episodio testimonia ancora una volta il coinvolgimento del Libano nella guerra siriana e come l’ impegno degli Hezbollah al fianco di Assad sia solo una parte di questa contaminazione e non l’ unica interferenza dal Libano nello scontro siriano.

La Coalizione Nazionale Siriana aspetta ancora un nuovo leader ed è sempre più evidente l’ influenza dei gruppi armati integralisti nella guerra ad Assad.

L’ opposizione siriana si riunirà il 4 e 5 luglio e chissà se questa volta sarà eletto finalmente il nuovo leader che sostituirà il dimissionario Khatib che ha lasciato l’incarico (ma non l’impegno politico) il primo marzo. Vista l’ importanza dei temi discussi in queste settimane è probabile però che si parlerà d’altro e che proseguirà la gestione provvisoria della Coalizione affidata a Sabra, esponente cristiano del CNS, coordinamento egemonizzato invece dai Fratelli Musulmani,

Intanto è sempre più evidente l’ influenza nell’ opposizione dell’ integralismo religioso. Il Washigton Istitute ha diffuso dei dati, riportati dal quotidiano dei vescovi Avvenire, che testimoniano come il conflitto siriano sia combattuto sempre di più da non siriani e che il 95% degli stranieri uccisi in Siria appartengano ai gruppi jihadisti. Molti miliziani anti Assad sono sauditi, tunisini, libici, giordani, e fanno sfoggio delle abituali tematiche jihadiste come l’odio verso gli sciiti e le donne mal velate.

Il giornale cattolico sottolinea come sia una “…violenza e ignoranza diffusa dal web ma sollecitata dalle tante associazioni islamiche finanziate da certi ambigui “amici” dell’ Occidente, gli sceicchi sunniti del Golfo”.

E aggiunge:”….Per fermare questa spirale di violenza e fanatismo l’ ultima cosa da fare sembra quella di armare gli oppositori di Assad…”.

ORIENT TENDENCIES: MIDDLE EAST ON FIRE AND THE INCREASING LIMITS OF US INFLUENCE


Orient Tendencies
Monday July 1, 2013, no138
Weekly information and analysis bulletin specialized in Arab Middle Eastern affairs prepared by neworientnews.com
Editor in chief Wassim Raad
wassimraad73@gmail.com
New Orient Center for Strategic policies


The “Harirism” and the terrorist plot

By Ghaleb Kandil

Recent developments in Lebanon show, without a doubt, the importance of political, financial and material support provided by the Future Movement to takfirist and terrorist groups consisting of a Lebanese-Syrian Palestinian mixture. These extremist groups, created by Saad Hariri, have evolved over the past two years, proxy forces to countries that conspire against Syria and as an abscess threatening the security and stability of Lebanon.

Officials of the Future lie shamelessly when expressing their support to the Lebanese army. For the campaign against the army is promoted and sustained by figures of this movement, who spread hatred and suspicion against the military, such as members of the Futur bloc, MP’s Khaled Daher, Mouïn Merhebi, Mohammad Kabbara and Nouhad Machnouk. And after the events of Abra, the leaders of the Future Movement has been leading the campaign to undermine confidence in the military in order to weaken it after its decision to dismantle extremist groups that constitute a danger for the Lebanese stability.

The chants in Sidon and Tripoli against the “harirism” reflect disappointment of the extremists vis-à-vis those who funded them and who have abandoned them as soon as the balance of power has changed to the detriment of one of the main groups, the one of Ahmad al-Asir. It is clear that the Future Movement seeks to strengthen its presence and influence in the street, on the bodies of those he pushed into the arms of extremists. These young people were encouraged to take up arms and attack the army from political speeches and positions of the leaders of Mustaqbal as Ahmad Hariri, Ashraf Rifi, and above MP’s.

Recent events have shown that the military enjoys strong popular support. Attempts to mobilize the street in Tripoli and Akkar, after Friday prayers, were a fiasco. Only a few hundred armed men roamed the streets, while the majority of people stayed home.

The real problem of the Future is its lack of credibility. It claims that it rejects violence, but in reality, it supports at all levels extremist groups and has its own militia, as the “Tripoli brigade” led by the retired officer Amid Hammoud. The problem is getting worse because of the political groups are emerging in the traditionally favorable Moustaqbal environments in an attempt to attract some. These groups, such as Jamaa Islamiya and the Islamic Liberation Party and other extremist movements, began to sponsor armed militias.

It is clear that the “harirism” through his hypocrisy, pulled out of the Pandora’s box a monster it will be difficult to control. Also, the battle against extremism in all its forms passes through the struggle against the Future Movement.

The national plan to be adopted to protect Lebanon from fitna and terrorism-takfirist must be based on the strengthening of Arab nationalist movements and resistant on the Sunni scene. They must be supported politically and popularly. Similarly, we must support the military to clean Lebanon from terrorist groups created by the “harirism” to face resistance. Especially since most of extremist gangs are linked to al-qaïdistes al-Nosra Front and so-called Free Syrian Army, now present in the North, in the Bekaa and in some Palestinian refugee camps and neighborhoods of Beirut and Saida.

Million protest in Egypt against Morsi

Millions of Egyptians took to the streets on Sunday for nationwide protests against President Mohammed Morsi, presenting a massive popular opposition that rivaled the size of demonstrations that toppled President Hosni Moubarak more than two years ago.

By early evening in the country’s capital, protesters marched through streets that were almost empty of cars. Shops and restaurants throughout Cairo remained closed as many Egyptians hunkered down amid expectations of violence.

Cairo’s streets were filled with the sounds of honking horns and chants against Mr. Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood organization that had brought him to power. The Muslim Brotherhood headquarters in Cairo was set ablaze by antigovernment protesters, privately owned Egyptian satellite channel Al Hayat reported.

The size of the demonstrations exceeded any of the hundreds of protests that have taken place since Mubarak stepped down amid an upwelling of popular anger in February 2011.

The massive show of force marked a major victory for Egypt’s secular-leaning opposition and offered a strong rebuke to Mr. Morsi’s repeated claims that most Egyptians stood behind the country’s first-ever elected president.

Buoyed by the massive crowds, the National Salvation Front, an umbrella group of politicians and activists that leads the opposition to Mr. Morsi, released a statement calling on Egyptians to remain in city squares until Mr. Morsi agrees to step aside.

“The masses have agreed on toppling Mohammed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood,” the statement read. “The NSF calls on all revolutionary forces and citizens to remain peaceful in the fields and streets, villages and countryside until the fall of the last bastions of this despotic organization.”

Secularist protesters accuse the president and the Muslim Brotherhood organization that he used to lead of attempting to dominate the government. A rash of rolling blackouts, gas shortages and rising prices that many Egyptians blame on Mr. Morsi has added to Egypt’s volatile atmosphere and raised expectations of violence.

Mr. Morsi and his supporters argue that the president is leading the country with the blessing of the ballot box. Brotherhood spokespeople remind their opponents that the Egyptian public has voted in favor of Brotherhood’s candidates and the initiatives they have supported each time voters have gone to the polls in the past 28 months.

By nightfall, Mr. Morsi showed no sign of yielding. In a televised address to the nation, the president repeated his offer to talk to opposition leaders, but denied rumors in the local media that he would fire his unpopular prime minister, Hisham Qandil.

At Ittihadiya Palace, the president’s primary residence, pro-democracy activists were joined by families and small children. Vendors sold popcorn and juice, adding to a carnivallike atmosphere that defied predictions of a violent confrontation between Mr. Morsi’s supporters and the growing ranks of his critics.

Many of the protesters hoisted red cards against Mr. Morsi—a reference to when soccer referees raise a red card to announce that a player has been disqualified from a match.

“Morsi hasn’t given us our future,” said one man who was standing outside Ittihadiya Palace early Sunday evening. “He thinks his people, the Brotherhood, can make Egypt proud. But so far, he’s no different from Mubarak.”

Protesters carried signs emblazoned with the word “Irhal!” or “Leave!” reprised slogans from the revolution that ousted Mr. Mubarak.

Demonstrations of comparable size were reported throughout the country, with streams of Egyptians flooding streets in the coastal city of Alexandria, southern Egypt and the heavily populated Nile Delta region.

By noon, several thousand people had trickled into downtown Cairo’s Tahrir Square to chant slogans against Mr. Morsi and the powerful Muslim Brotherhood organization that brought him to power one year ago.

Protests against the president began in earnest at around four o’clock in the afternoon, when demonstrators gathered in marches from across the city and began walking toward Tahrir Square and Ittihadiya Palace.

A few miles away in the Cairo suburb of Nasser City, thousands of pro-Morsi protesters continued a dayslong sit-in Raba’a el Adaweya Square.

Mr. Morsi’s supporters, who numbered in the thousands, came prepared for violence. Many sported construction helmets, carried large sticks and at times jogged through the square in military-style rows.

“What’s happening in Tahrir Square is undemocratic,” said Mohammed Abu Eila, 37, a day laborer who said he had traveled from the Upper Egyptian city of Minya on Thursday to join the pro-Morsi sit-in. “We want to demonstrate that Islamists are peaceful and we respect the rules of democracy.”

There was little visible security presence in Cairo, but security forces have been making preparations throughout the country.

Soldiers set up checkpoints at the entrances to the capital on Sunday morning to check cars for weapons, the Pan-Arabic television network Al Jazeera reported. By noon, security personnel had confiscated 232 weapons and arrested 47 people, Egypt’s official state news agency reported.

Sunday’s protests were planned nearly two months ago by a signature-gathering campaign called “Tamarod” or “Rebel.” At a boisterous news conference on Saturday, the group said it had gathered 22 million signatures—a large number considering Egypt’s estimated population of 93 million people.

“It’s time for a revolution against a regime that sold the revolution to the guidance bureau,” Mohammed Abdel Aziz, a prominent activist, told a cheering crowd at Saturday’s Tamarod news conference. “Mohammed Morsi is no longer the legitimate president of Egypt!”

By way of a rebuttal, Mr. Morsi’s Islamist backers have organized their own petition in support of the president they called “Tagarod” or “Impartiality.” That group on Saturday said it had gathered 26 million signatures and was aiming to collect 30 million in coming days.

There is nothing in Egypt’s constitution that obliges Mr. Morsi to respond to either of the signature-gathering campaigns, but anti-Morsi activists hope the petition, alongside street-level protests, will force Mr. Morsi to step down and call for early presidential elections.

By Matt Bradley (The Wall Street Journal)

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Statements

Jean Kahwaji, Commander in chief of the Lebanese army

«The army responded to an armed group that attacked her with premeditation and after it warned it will respond to fire with fire. The Army is a national army, it does not make the difference between a community and another. It belongs to all Lebanese and wants to maintain good relations with all religious communities and all political parties, provided they comply with the laws and institutions. All Lebanese to support the army and do not turn the country into pockets of insecurity. All political forces should support and cooperate with the military institution.»

Sergei Lavrov, Russia’s Foreign Minister

«Russia is committed to arranging a peace conference on the Syria conflict but other countries and groups are complicating matters by trying to set preconditions. Shipments of weapons to rebels fighting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad contradict the concept of the conference. The opposition, which is supported by the West, and other countries in the region announced they are not going to the conference as long as the regime doesn’t agree to capitulate.»

Michel Aoun , Free Patriotic Movement’s leader

«It wasn’t me who started the fight around an extension to army chief Jean Kahwaji’s term. It was Saad Hariri who wanted to take advantage of people’s feelings in order to pass the illegal extension. I am against extensions when it comes to such public service positions. There are laws that we must respect, otherwise, why have rules and regulations only to make exceptions? There are plans to hold a parliamentary session in which they will propose an extension, and I wanted to present our point of view on the matter. The question is: Who is proposing the draft law and why is it being treated as urgent? We have three months left, why the hurry? The draft law proposes a three-year extension for the top officers, which will result in a bunch of old people in the army. Can a field commander operate like a lawyer or an ambassador from behind a desk? I will appeal and I have already prepared for such a course. I cannot possibly sit by and watch state institutions be destroyed one after the other — laws are violated along with the constitution, without regard for the system of regulations. How do we govern without laws, or a constitution, or any kind fixed principles? The constitution and the law will merely become points of view, nothing more (…) The dispute is not with Hezbollah. It is with Speaker of Parliament Nabih Berri, unless Hezbollah decides to support the extension. We disagreed on the parliamentary extension, but I think that is something that can be repaired. I don’t want to get ahead of myself, let’s just see what happens. We are not copies of one another. We disagreed on three occasions: Nahr al-Bared, the electricity workers’ labor dispute, and the election law. Disagreement becomes bothersome to an alliance when they increase, and a reassessment may be in order. Everyone has a limit as to how much they can take, and when they reach that point, then a reassessment may be in order. It could keep you where you are, or prompt you to change your position, which is the more likely outcome.»

Hassan Fadlallah, Hezbollah MP

«The army led military operations alone, but Ahmad al-Asir attacked our positions and regions where we operate. We were not absolutely a stakeholder in what happened. This is pure slander to undermine the morale of the army. We defended ourselves in cases of extreme necessity, and we did not take part in the operations. The project concocted by Ahmad al-Asir and the Future Movement, which has provided him with a political umbrella, led the country in the end to fitna, to target the resistance and made ​​the game of American-Israeli project.»

Marwan Charbel, Lebanon’s caretaker Interior Minister

«What is happening in Syria will soon reach Lebanon and it will begin with the high number of Syrians present in the country especially since they will not return to Syria. If things remain the same, this will be the last government and the last president in Lebanon. The army does not accept anyone’s help. This is an insult to the army… and in case Hezbollah participated in the clashes in Sidon, the investigation will reveal it. I fear assassinations and car bombs and explosives. Standing united we will put an end to such things. Lebanon has entered a dark tunnel. This will lead to the use of assassinations and explosive methods which will create Sunni-Shiite strife, something that has been simmering for a long time.»

Saoud al-Faisal, Saudi’s Foreign Minister

«We can only consider Syria as an occupied land, which requires fast and strong international reaction. Hezbollah, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and the unlimited support of the Russian weapons, all contribute to slay the Syrians. The regime exterminates the Syrian people.»

Omrane al-Zohbi, Syria’s Information Minister

«The violence in Syria comes from Saudi arms of Saudi money and terrorists linked to Saudi Arabia. The Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal, has Syrian blood stained hands. Saudi diplomacy is faltering and it has no place in a political solution in Syria. The words of Saud are only dreams and illusions.»

Wael Abu Faour, Lebanon’s caretaker Social Affairs Minister

«The issue of the the Syrian refugee has gone beyond providing material needs and material support for the refugees. It has also surpassed the capacity of Lebanese society and the Lebanese state. One of these possibilities is to establish several centers for distributing aid along the Lebanese-Syrian border where Syrians can receive aid and then return to their homes if they are residing in places that are still secure. But such a project would require reaching international understandings which surpass the influence of the Lebanese state. A second possibility is to establish a reception zone along the Syrian-Lebanese border, run by the Lebanese state and the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, where the identity of the refugees is double checked. Those who are refugees according to international standards will be welcomed into Lebanon… other cases which don’t meet the conditions can be studied on a case-by-case basis.»

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Events

  • The top US military officer said on Wednesday he has recommended bolstering Lebanese forces grappling with the fallout from Syria’s civil war by sending in military trainers and accelerating arms sales. General Martin Dempsey also said he had recommended helping Iraq better deal with the re-emergence of al Qaeda. “We’ve made a recommendation that as we look at the challenges faced by the Lebanese armed forces, the Iraqi security forces with a re-emerging al Qaeda in Iraq, and the Jordanians, that we would work with them to help them build additional capability,” Dempsey told reporters at the Pentagon. A spokesman said Dempsey’s recommendations were made “in recent weeks” during internal discussions with the US military’s Central Command, as it deliberates how to respond to the growing, regional unrest.

  • The Gulf Cooperation Council will hold a meeting in Riyadh next week to agree the mechanisms for imposing sanctions on members of Lebanese Shiite movement Hezbollah, its head Abdullatif al-Zayani said. The monarchies of the GCC decided on June 10 to impose sanctions on members of Hezbollah targeting their residency permits and their financial and business activities in reprisal for the Shiite group’s armed intervention in Syria. The sanctions would be implemented “in coordination… with ministers of commerce and the central banks of the GCC”, he added, without giving further details about the precise nature of the mechanisms. Qatari authorities expelled 18 Lebanese citizens from the gas-rich Gulf state on June 20, a government source in Beirut told AFP.

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Press review

As Safir (Lebanese daily, Arab nationalist, June 28, 2013)

No sign indicates that the formation of the new government could overcome the conditions on both sides. The emissary of Walid Jumblatt, Minister Wael Abu Faour, met in Saudi Arabia earlier this week the Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal and former Prime Minister Saad Hariri in the presence of Ghattas Khoury and Saudi officials for exchanges focused on the process of setting up the Cabinet. Back in Beirut, Abu Faour visited, according to informed sources, the President Michel Sleiman, Najib Mikati as well as Tammam Salam, to inform them about his discussions in Riyadh. He also had a telephone conversation with the Minister of Amal Ali Hassan Khalil and met Nabih Berry with Minister Ghazi Aridi. However, these sources told that the report presented by Wael Abu Faour to Lebanese officials not foreshadowed possible breakthrough. In particular, they reported a position as negative as vehemently expressed by Saud al-Faisal, in connection with the battle in Sidon. These sources conclude that so far, the obstacles remain the same, not to say they are even more complicated. No government taking away the Hezbollah will be formed. Nabih Berry insisted on this point in the presence of Jumblatt’s envoys.

As Safir (June 28, 2013)

Imad Marmal

The relationship between General Michel Aoun and Hezbollah passes through a particularly critical phase. Hezbollah understands the concerns of its ally, but he is not willing to join. The party believes that the extension of the mandate of the Lebanese army commander, General Jean Kahwaji, is a necessity at the moment. Hezbollah would have preferred that the issue is not raised at this stage, but it will vote in favor of the project. In fact, the party had made ​​its decision in this regard before the battle of Abra, although this battle has strengthened his confidence vis-à-vis the Armed Forces Commander. Sources close to Hezbollah were surprised by the escalation conducted by general Aoun. In fact, the party had notified him month ago about his decision to support the extension of the mandate of the commander in chief.

As Safir (June 26, 2013)

Instead of building on the the Lebanese army achievement in Sidon, to open new perspectives on the political and security front, Lebanon continues to face an acute cleavage, which could sweep this feat. The attempt by some to exploit what happened in Abra to turn a hostile front against Hezbollah, using the pretext of the policy of the two weights, two measures when it comes to enforcing the law, is deplorable. Ahmad al-Asir vanished but his ideas remained intact through the leaders of the Future Movement, which adopted the same rhetoric concerning security perimeters, amid accusations that Hezbollah would have taken part in the events in Abra. However, Nabih Berri has categorically denied any involvement of members of Hezbollah and Amal Movement in this battle. While emphasizing the right and duty of the army in maintaining security and stability, Berry assured that no region was prohibited to the army. “We support it in its efforts to suppress any security breach, everywhere, even in Dahieh,” he stressed.

An Nahar (Lebanese daily close to March-14 coalition

(June 28 2013)

The Minister of Social Affairs Wael Abu Faour, who held talks in Saudi Arabia at the request of the leader of the Progressive Socialist Party (PSP) Walid Jumblatt. returned to Beirut with the impression that Saudi officials consider the formation of the government as a Lebanese internal affair and that the Prime Minister-designate, Tammam Salam, takes the positions he wants.

Mr. Abou Faour sent his impressions to Salam. Observers believed that the Saudi position is a positive factor for Mr. Salam, helping its efforts to engage in free efforts. Prime Minister-designate still waiting for the Speaker of Parliament Nabih Berri, who promised him an answer at the end of their meeting last Monday, after consultations with his allies in 8-March coalition. But a ministerial source said that there is nothing new about the government’s case and that the conditions of the various protagonists remain the same.

Al Hayat (Lebanese daily financed by Saudi Arabia, June 26 2013)

Diplomatic sources of the United Nations in New York reported their deep concern over the developments in Lebanon and the broader scope of sectarian violence in Syria, which could undermine stability in neighboring countries. The sources added that the situation is being closely monitored, particularly given the roaming security incidents in the north east (near the Syrian border) and south (Sidon), which would be likely to cause tension in a safe the UNIFIL area of operation.

Al Akhbar (Lebanese Daily close to the Lebanese Resistance, June 28, 2013)

Fresh clashes broke out in Lebanon’s southern city of Sidon Friday afternoon when armed supporters of fugitive Salafi Sheikh Ahmad al-Assir provoked a confrontation with Lebanese soldiers. Dozens of armed Islamists, following prayers at a local mosque, marched towards the suburb of Abra to Assir’s compound – which is under control of the army – and opened fire at soldiers, according to the National News Agency. No casualties have been reported.

The army launched a manhunt for the extremist cleric after he fled a two-day battle earlier this week which killed 18 soldiers.

Meanwhile in the Lebanon’s northern city of Tripoli, which has been home to frequent clashes involving Islamists, gunmen shut down a major road and forced shop owners lock up. They also fired into the air as they tore down a banner showing Future leader Saad Hariri and replaced it with one of Ahmad al-Assir, according to TV reports.

Lebanon’s Salafis were until very recently close to Hariri, who is widely acknowledged to have been one of their main backers, but many now consider him a traitor after distancing himself from the radicals following their attack on the Lebanese army in Sidon.

Salafi fundamentalists have been simmering with anger since they lost a couple dozen of their brethren Sunday and Monday during a fierce battle with Lebanon’s army in Abra.

The battle was sparked after a group of gunmen ambushed an army checkpoint in Abra on Sunday and killed a number of soldiers. The gunmen then retreated to a nearby safe-house under control of Assir’s militants where the battle ensued.

Al Akhbar (June 21, 2013)

Mayasa al-Muhammadi

In a speech announcing his acceptance of his father’s transfer of power, the new emir of Qatar, Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, tried to hint that he would take a different approach than his father, despite showering the latter with praise as the man behind “Qatar’s modern renaissance.” However, it was not clear whether these hints will have a practical interpretation, or if it was just a way for the new emir to get across his plans to stake out an independent path. “We as Muslims…respect the diversity of all creeds and religions, in our countries and beyond,” he said. But perhaps the key sentence in the speech was: “We as Arabs refuse to divide Arab societies on a sectarian basis because this would damage their social and economic fabric, and prevent their modernization and development on the basis of citizenship, regardless of religion or sect.”

The emir, sponsor of the takfiri clerics in the region led by Yusuf al-Qaradawi, also said that sectarian divisions “allow foreign powers to interfere in the affairs of Arab countries.”

This, mind you, came from none other than the ruler of the state that has made strife in Syria the top item on its agenda. Yet the new emir did not name Syria in his 15-minute speech, instead summoning Palestine, which he said Qatar would continue to support.

“We are a state, a people, a cohesive society – not a political party. We therefore seek to maintain relations with all governments and nations. We respect all dedicated and influential political movements in the region, and side with no party against another.”

Some construed the above as a friendly nod toward Iran. Regardless, the new emir only addressed his country’s stance on Arab and international issues in passing, even when the Qataris have their fingers in many pies these days. According to observers, this could mean that the Tamim will focus on domestic affairs and averting internal problems arising from the sudden change at the helm.

Interestingly, Tamim said, “There would be greater scrutiny into the massive investments by the state at home and abroad.” In truth, this particular issue has been a point of major contention between the new emir and the outgoing Qatari Prime Minister Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber who controls the Qatar Investment Fund.

Under bin Jassim, the fund made huge international investments, often drawing the ire of the Western press over the Qatari wholesale purchase of flagship brands and prized acquisitions, from real estate to sports clubs, in London, Paris, Madrid, and New York.

Shortly after the speech broadcast on Qatari state television, Tamim, who took over a few days after a meeting brought together his father and US Secretary of State John Kerry, signed a decree forming a new government headed by Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser al-Thani.

Abdullah was also appointed interior minister, while Khalid al-Attiyah was appointed foreign minister. Mohammed al-Sada retained his post as minister of industry and energy.

The decree also abolished some ministries, created new ones, and merged others. The cabinet lineup includes three members of the ruling Thani family and one woman. The new technocratic government, as some have described it, has the self-declared task of “propelling the state forward,” and seems to have gone some steps beyond representing powerful Qatari clans and families, as had been the habit.

The new prime minister is known to have a quiet personality, and belongs to the conservative wing of the ruling family, with close links to Islamist groups. In June 2013, he travelled to the US and met Senators John McCain and Dianne Feinstein, and Congressman Michael McCaul.

In the past two years, Tamim has forged an extensive network of relationships in the Gulf, and often represented Qatar in meetings related to terrorism and security affairs.

It appears from the cabinet lineup that Tamim fears retribution from Hamad bin Jassim, which explains why he sought to “purge” the state from his supporters. One particular challenge he faces involves certain business people with strong ties to bin Jassim. For this reason, Tamim appointed the former premier’s foes, Khaled and Hamad al-Attiyah, in the ministries of foreign affairs and defense.

To congratulate the new emir, the King of Bahrain Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa visited Doha, in addition to Jordan’s King Abdullah II and the Second Deputy Prime Minister of Saudi Arabia Muqrin bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud.

On Wednesday, John Kerry telephoned the new emir, and said he hoped for further cooperation between the two countries. Kerry also spoke by telephone with the outgoing Emir Hamad.

Al Akhbar (June 26, 2013)

Ibrahim Al-Amine

Shortly after beating back Salafi Sheikh Ahmad al-Assir’s attempt to ignite a sectarian war in the southern Lebanese city of Saida, a chorus of his backers from the West, the Gulf, and March 14, rose up to call on the armed forces to turn their attention to Hezbollah, a group they consider armed and dangerous.

But do these forces really want to know what led to the bloody explosion in Saida? The army investigation will likely show that Assir’s attacks on the military’s checkpoints were planned in advance, the goal of which was to take their positions that overlook the adjacent Shia neighborhood of Haret Saida.

Although Assir miscalculated the army’s response, the overall plan sought to put his militia face-to-face with Hezbollah, after which his Future Party and al-Jamaa al-Islamiya (Lebanon’s Muslim Brotherhood) allies would step in and reap what they believed would be a major political victory over the Resistance.

As for some of the other forces behind Assir, like the Saudis and Qataris, they had high hopes that he would succeed in implementing his plan, despite the fact that the radical sheikh has his own way of doing things, which may explain why he would commit what appeared to many as a suicidal act by attacking and killing Lebanese army officers and soldiers in such large numbers.

Take, for example, some of the statements issued by the Saudi government regarding the events in Saida, which expressed “grave concern” and called on “all sides to end the fighting and prevent further escalation.”

At first glance, one would think that such a statement was written by the Future Movement. It responded to Assir’s attacks by calling for a ceasefire, as if the conflict were between two armed groups. The Saudis did not even bother to include a single sentence denouncing the murder of Lebanese military personnel.

In fact, Assir was part of a more comprehensive plan that had gone through several dress rehearsals over the past year. However, the stream of bad news from Syria – where the regime was making headway on several fronts – prompted them to act prematurely.

The blood of Lebanon’s fallen soldiers is on the hands of Saudi Arabia and Qatar, in addition to those who knew what Assir was planning and remained quiet. It is for this reason that they and their Lebanese allies are doing all they can to place the blame for the whole calamity at Hezbollah’s doorstep.

Asharq al-Awsat (Saudi daily, June 26, 2013)

Jordan’s King Abdullah said Syria’s war could ignite a regional sectarian conflict unless global powers helped to convene peace talks soon, a pan-Arab newspaper reported on Wednesday. King Abdullah also said Palestinians could launch an Arab Spring-style revolt if they felt prospects for a peaceful settlement of their conflict with Israel had reached a dead end, the London-based Asharq al-Awsat newspaper said.

“It has become clear to all that the Syrian crisis may extend from being a civil war to a regional and sectarian conflict… the extent of which is unknown,” King Abdullah said. “It is time for a more serious Arab and international coordination to stop the deterioration of the Syrian crisis. The situation cannot wait any longer,” he added.

King Abdullah said that efforts to convene a peace conference bringing together the Syrian government and the opposition remained “the logical and ideal way” to find a peaceful solution to the crisis.

King Abdullah also welcomed efforts by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to revive Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, but warned of a narrowing window for peace due to Israeli settlement building. “Fading prospects of peace will explode relations between Palestinians and Israelis in a manner emulating the Arab Spring protests, either through a new intifada (uprising) or a new cycle of violence and counter violence,” he said.

The Daily Star (Lebanese Daily, June 29, 2013)

Bernd Debusmann (Washington)

The war in Syria and the hunt for Edward Snowden, the fugitive leaker of American secrets, have highlighted the limits of U.S. influence around the world – particularly in Russia and China, the two countries that aspire to superpower status. Together, they have blocked three U.N. Security Council resolutions on sanctions against the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad. Russia has continued to ship heavy weapons to Assad’s military, giving it an edge in a civil war whose death toll just passed 100,000. Washington and Moscow are so at odds over Syria that they failed to agree this week on when to hold and whom to invite to a peace conference they themselves had announced only last month.

President Barack Obama’s foreign policy goals of “resetting” relations with Russia and making China a global partner appear to be based more on wishful thinking than a clear-eyed assessment of their willingness for across-the-board cooperation. Snowden is a case in point.

The 30-year-old security contractor who leaked details of a vast worldwide U.S. surveillance program to the Washington Post and Britain’s Guardian first revealed his identity in Hong Kong, triggering a U.S. request for extradition on espionage charges. After the Hong Kong government dismissed the request on a technicality, apparently on advice from Beijing, Snowden flew to Moscow.

What followed is more reminiscent of U.S.-Soviet hostility than a “reset” relationship between America and Russia. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry threatened unspecified “consequences” for Russia if it failed to extradite Snowden or allow him to seek refuge elsewhere.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s response: there is no extradition treaty with the U.S. and besides, the fugitive leaker never entered Russian territory proper from the airport transit zone. Putin had blunt words for U.S. charges that Russia was aiding a man wanted on criminal charges: “ravings and rubbish.”

What added insult to American injury as the Snowden saga dragged on was evidence that at least one country in the U.S. sphere of influence – the famous “U.S. backyard” of Latin America – was just as disinclined to respond to U.S. wishes as China and Russia. The day the U.S. State Department revoked Snowden’s U.S. passport, he was issued a travel document by the London consulate of Ecuador, whose leftist president takes delight in playing the role of thorn in the American side.

After U.S. legislators warned that by granting Snowden’s asylum request, Ecuador would risk losing a preferential trade agreement, the government of President Rafael Correa said it was renouncing the accord because “Ecuador does not accept pressure or threats from anyone.” The government is still considering the request.

Inevitably in a capital as polarized as Washington, Obama critics went on another offensive against a president they have portrayed as weak, indecisive and lacking in leadership qualities. A headline on the opinion page of the Wall Street Journal conveyed the flavor of the arguments: The Age of American Impotence.

However the Snowden episode ends, said the article’s author, Bret Stephens, “what it mainly illustrates is that we are living in an age of American impotence,” with the U.S. running out of foreign influence.

Eliot Cohen, a neoconservative former adviser to President George W. Bush went a step further, saying that “nobody is afraid of this guy [Obama]. Nobody’s saying there are any real consequences that would come from crossing him – and that’s an awful position for the president of the United States to be in.”

Republican charges that Obama is not tough enough in getting world leaders fall in line with Washington have followed him from the day he took office. The view that there is a wide gap between Obama rhetoric and Obama action has been reinforced periodically on major issues, including his stand on Syria where he drew a “red line” on the use of chemical weapons and followed up months later with a decision on weapons supplies to anti-Assad rebels widely seen as little and late.

Much of the criticism, most loudly voiced by neoconservatives, is based on the assumption that it is in a president’s power to pick up the phone and tell other leaders what to do. Judging from history, that has been possible in some cases, with leaders of client states, but not in others. Cuba’s Fidel Castro and the late Hugo Chavez of Venezuela are prime examples.

Catholic News service (News Agency close to Vatican)

Cindy Wooden

A 49-year-old Syrian priest and hermit was killed June 23, apparently when a group of rebels attacked the Franciscan Convent of St. Anthony in Ghassanieh, a village in the north near the Turkish border. Franciscan Father Pierbattista Pizzaballa, the head of the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land, told Vatican Radio June 24 that Father Francois Murad was not a Franciscan, but had taken refuge in the convent when it became clear he was not safe at the Syriac Catholic hermitage he was building nearby.

Syriac Catholic Archbishop Jacques Behnan Hindo of Hassake-Nisibi told Fides, the news agency of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, that Father Murad “sent me several messages which showed he was aware of living in a dangerous situation and was willing to offer his life for peace in Syria and the world.”

Father Pizzaballa told Vatican Radio that Ghassanieh — “like other Christian villages — has been almost completely destroyed and is almost totally abandoned.” He said he believes the only people left in Ghassanieh “are the rebels with their families, rebels who are not from Syria and who are extremists.”

“The only thing we can do, other than pray for Father Francois and all the victims, is pray that this folly ends soon and that no more weapons are sent to Syria because that would only prolong this absurd civil war,” Father Pizzaballa said.

The Franciscan leader said Syria is a “battleground, and not just between Syrian forces, but also for other Arab countries and the international community. The ones paying the price are the poor, the small and the least, including the Christians.” “The international community must put the brakes on this,” he said.

Ria Novosti (Russian News Agency, June 28, 2013)

Russia’s embassy in Damascus, as well as its naval base in the port of Tartus, are continuing to perform regular operations, though “in very stressful and unsafe conditions,” Russia’s foreign minister said Friday.

He dispelled rumors that that the facilities were to be shuttered due to the ongoing Syrian civil war, denouncing such reports as “speculation and provocation.”

Regarding the naval base, which is for Russia is a last-remaining military foothold beyond the former Soviet Union, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said “there are no plans to evacuate this facility, as well as its staff.”

In February, the minister said the base, used for the maintenance and resupplying of Russian warships in the Mediterranean, had a staff of “several dozen.” Only civilians currently work at the facility, Russia’s Defense Ministry said Thursday.

BAMBINI E RAGAZZI, VITTIME DELLA “GUERRA MONDIALE” IN SIRIA

Bambini e ragazzi, vittime della “guerra mondiale” in Siria

di Pierangela Zanzottera

Da quando, il 19 marzo scorso, è morto il piccolo Jaafar Ghiath Al-Nmra, 10 anni,figlio unico, insieme al diciassettenne Saaed al-Hassan nel quartiere di Al-Zahra a Homs è entrata come una scheggia di follia che ancora non si è placata. La zona è abitata da minoranze religiose e filogovernative ed è spesso colpita dai mortai di questo o quel gruppo dell’opposizione armata. A Jaafar Ghiath Al-Nmra è stata dedicata la scuola del quartiere.

Ma il dolore di quei genitori è solo uno dei tantissimi, in Siria. Tante famiglie si sono visti portare via i loro giovani, le speranze per il futuro.

Dai ragazzi di leva che partono in difesa del Paese e spesso pagano per la loro imperizia contro mercenari di lungo corso a ragazzini massacrati con le motivazioni più assurde. Alcuni di loro rimarranno come un’onta sulle coscienze collettive di quanti preferiscono fingere che quella in Siria sia una “rivolta per la libertà e la democrazia”.

E’ il caso del quattordicenne Mohammad Kattaa, venditore di caffè di Aleppo per le strade del quartiere Sha’ar che ha avuto l’ardire di non offrirlo gratuitamente ai membri delle bande criminali estremiste che glielo chiedevano, rispondendo che non l’avrebbe regalato nemmeno al profeta Mohammed. A quel punto è stato prima sequestrato per qualche ora, torturato, poi riportato alla famiglia e barbaramente giustiziato con due pallottole al volto e alla gola sotto i loro occhi sgomenti dei familiari e quelli increduli dei vicini.

“Scortese blasfemia” è l’accusa per questo ragazzino. Era il 9 giugno.

I testimoni hanno poi raccontato che il gruppo parlava un arabo classico e che di certo non erano siriani.
Qualche giorno dopo il quotidiano Telegraph ha intervistato la madre, Nadia Umm Fuad, che sotto shock ha raccontato gli ultimi momenti di vita del figlio, cui è stata costretta ad assistere impotente. “Sono uscita sul mio balcone e ho detto a suo padre: stanno per sparare a tuo figlio! Vieni! Vieni! Ero sulle scale quando ho sentito il primo colpo. Ero sulla porta quando ho sentito il secondo colpo. Gridavo: è haram! Fermatevi! Fermatevi! State uccidendo un bambino! Mi hanno lanciato un’occhiata e sono risaliti sulla loro auto. Andandosene, hanno calpestato il braccio di mio figlio che giaceva morente”.

Secondo Arabi-Press, un assassinio simile dalla stessa milizia ha avuto luogo in maggio nei confronti di un adolescente della stessa età in una zona vicino a Sha’ar, nel quartiere di Karam Maycar. Il ragazzino aveva accusato le milizie del cosiddetto “libero esercito” di aver ucciso la sorella e ferito un membro della sua famiglia lanciando una granata contro la loro abitazione e aveva lanciato insulti al loro indirizzo per questo. Il suo corpo è stato crivellato di colpi dai miliziani Tawhid e, in aggiunta, sempre in base alle testimonianze raccolte da Arabi-Press, spettato le dita di chi aveva deciso di diffondere le immagini del crimine, pur essendo un elemento affiliato al loro gruppo.

Passano solo pochi giorni e il 22 giugno ad Aleppo, di fronte alla moschea di Al-Furdous (al sud della città) viene assassinato un bambino disabile con una malformazione all’occhio, circondato da una grande massa viene ucciso a sangue freddo da una banda che preda di una cieca superstizione aveva visto nel ragazzino l’immagine dell’Anticristo che, secondo alcune tradizioni, è atteso alla fine dei tempi e anticipa il giorno del Giudizio.

Minori come vittime, e come spettatori di orrori. Come quella bambina di quattro anni che una foto ritrae incatenata a una cancellata. La didascalia che accompagna l’immagine spiega che è stata scattata a Hatla, poco distante da Deir Ezzor, dice che i genitori della bimba, sciiti, sono stati uccisi proprio davanti ai suoi occhi. L’altra barbarie è stata averla incatenata.

Ma non sono solo le minoranze religiose a essere vittime prescelte.

Il 21 giugno, è stata assassinata alle quattro del mattino la giovane Rola Hokouk che viveva nel quartiere Qamiy’a Yabroud, nella campagna di Damasco. Secondo i familiari Rola era stata presa di mira perché gestiva una pagina Facebook anti-opposizione. Un testimone spiega: “Uomini armati e mascherati hanno fatto irruzione e perquisito la casa in cerca di Rola. L’hanno trovata in preghiera. Ma questo non ha impedito che la uccidessero a distanza ravvicinata. … “. Anche la madre e la sorella sono state ferite dai proiettili.
Per mesi, i Comitati di coordinamento della rivoluzione siriana hanno annunciato ricompense a quanti avrebbero denunciato i siriani sostenitori del governo a Yabroud. Le ricompense arrivano anche a un milione di lire siriane in cambio di informazioni sui gestori di pagina pro-Assad su Facebook. Il caso di Rola, purtroppo, non è isolato. In barba alla libertà di espressione, il 2.0 si rivela un’arma letale.

In risposta, poi, alle falsità diffuse dai media di Qatar, Arabia e Turchia (e non solo) che invocano il salvataggio della comunità sunnita siriana dalle ingiustizie alawite, bisogna aggiungere che la giovane Rola era sunnita praticante.

A questo elenco di vittime dovremmo aggiungere – sulla base della denuncia del Sindacato siriano degli insegnanti – i sette insegnanti che un elicottero trasportava a Nubl e Zahraa, due villaggi sciiti da tempo assediati da gruppi dell’opposizione. Portavano documenti per gli esami. L’elicottero è stato abbattuto da missili anti-aerei probabilmente di provenienza qatariota, come denunciato anche dal New York Times, e tutti gli occupanti sono morti.

SANA DAILY HEADLINES JULY 1, 2013

DAILY NEWS IN INTERNATIONAL LANGUAGES | AUDIO | VIDEO

SANA DAILY HEADLINES ON SYRIA 360°


Army eliminates terrorists in several areas, restores security to areas in Homs

Jul 01, 2013

Provinces, (SANA)- In Hasaka province, units of the armed forces destroyed terrorists gatherings and hideouts in Tal Hamis and some villages, inflicting heavy losses upon the terrorists.

SANA reporter quoted a source in the province as saying that units of the armed forces destroyed terrorists’ gatherings in Tal Hamis and the villages of Abu Kasab, Kharab Askar and Bahri Farm, killing and injuring a number of terrorists, among them Naser Abdul-Bari and Mohammad Abdul-Bari.

Army units eliminate terrorists in Damascus Countryside

Army units eliminated a number of terrorists and injured others in the town of Harasta in Damascus Countryside, including terrorist leader Mahmoud Affouf and most of his group’s members.

In Douma, the Army carried out a special operation targeting a terrorist hideout in al-Ebb farms, resulting in the elimination of terrorists Raed al-Mleih and Yasin Jaradeh.

Army units continued pursuing terrorists in Jobar, eliminating a number of them including Abd al-Mu’ti Sadqa, while another unit destroyed a terrorist hideout along with the weapons inside it in Erbin, killing a number of terrorists including Saeed Kranbeh, Mohammad Taifour, and Abu al-Hareth al-Muwahhed.

In the eastern Ghouta area, Armed Forces unit continued pursuing terrorists in the farms around the towns of al-Bahariya and al-Qasimiya, destroying their weapons and munitions and eliminating a number of them including Hatem Talla’a.

In al-Fakhoura area near Halboun mountains in the northern Damascus Countryside, Army units clashed with terrorists and eliminated a number of them including Mu’taz Zahra.

In the southern Damascus Countryside, an Army unit carried out a special operation targeting a terrorist gathering, destroying a heavy machinegun and a mortar launcher and eliminating a terrorist leader named Noureddin al-Buqa’I and most of his group’s members including Abbad al-Lways.

The Army also eliminated a terrorist gathering in Khan al-Sheih area and destroyed their equipment.

Citizen martyred and others injured of terrorists’ shell on Homs

A citizen was martyred and others were injured due to a mortar shell fired by terrorists on al-Nazha roundabout in Ekrima neighborhood in Homs city.

Competent Authorities seize machineguns, heat-seeking rockets in Tal-Kalakh

The competent authorities seized amounts of weapons, including machineguns, heat-seeking rockets and ammunition in a den of an armed terrorist group in Tal-Kalakh city in Homs province.

An official source told SANA reporter that the seized weapons included a 80mm caliber mortar, 6 heat-seeking rockets, missiles launch-pad, detonators, large amounts of ammunition and a hand-made mine.The source added that another army unit destroyed a terrorists’ warehouse full of weapons and ammunition, in addition to killing all terrorists inside it.

Terrorists killed in Lattakia countryside

Units of the armed forces targeted gatherings of Jabhat al-Nusra terrorists in Rabi’a and Baeit Awan in Lattakia countryside, killing and injuring scores of them.

A military source told SANA that among the dead terrorists were Abu Baker, non-Syrian and terrorist Azam Madania.

Army units eliminate terrorists in Daraa and its countryside

Units of the armed forces carried out a series of special operations against terrorists’ dens and gatherings  and killed a number of terrorists, including non-Syrians in Daraa and its countryside.

A military source told SANA that the army units killed Mohammad al-Amiri from Saudi Arabia and Ahmad al-Aslali from Jordan who were affiliated to Jabhat al-Nusra on Da’ail-Tafas main road and eliminated another armed terrorist group in al-Saraia area in al-Sheikh Miskin city, killing 8 terrorists, including Yehia Youns al-Alloa, Mohammad Said al-Wadi and Mouhand Ahmad al-Eid.

The source added that other army units continued hunting terrorists in al-Nasiria, al-Shabraq, Ein Fraikha, Tseel and al-Mzairib, inflicting heavy losses upon terrorists.

Another army unit destroyed terrorists’ dens along with the weapons and ammunition inside them in Einkhel, Daraa al-Balad, Daraa Camp and al-Hamaden neighborhood.

The source pointed out that other army units advanced in al-Sad road and killed several terrorists, including Suleiman al-Masri and Ahmad Ibrahim al-Masalma.

Other army units killed scores of Jabhat al-Nusra terrorists on al-Sad road, including Ibrahim Samer Jarouan, Malik Mansour Shhada, Ali Hussein al-Hamoud, Yaser Nayef al-Hassan and Alaa Mahmoud Sa’aoud.   

Army units destroy terrorists’ dens and gatherings in Idleb countryside

Units of the armed forces continued operations against terrorists in Idleb countryside, killing and injuring a number of terrorists, in addition to destroying their dens.

An official source told SANA that the army units killed a number of terrorists and destroyed their weapons and ammunition in al-Qinia, Maar Tmsarin, Sraqib, Binish and Ma’atram.

The source added that other army units inflicted heavy losses upon the armed terrorist groups in Maret al-Nouman, Kafer Noboul, Khan al-Soboul, Sarja, Ihsem and Maar Dbsi.

Army eliminates Jabhet al-Nusra terrorists in Aleppo

The armed forces continued operations against the armed terrorist groups in several areas in Aleppo province, eliminating scores of them.

An official source told SANA that a number of terrorists’ hideouts were destroyed near al-Kindi Hospital scores of the terrorists were killed.

The army units clashed with terrorists who tried to attack Aleppo’s Central Prison and killed dozens of the attackers.

Another army unit eliminated the members of an armed terrorist group on Aleppo-Idleb highway, destroying anti-armor and anti-aircraft rockets in addition to other weapons and munitions.

A number of terrorists were killed after the army repelled an attempt by terrorists to attack Mennigh airport.

The army also killed three terrorists in al-Lairamon, and destroyed their weaponry, which included a mortar launcher.

In Aleppo city, the army clashed with terrorist groups in the Old City and eliminated scores of them. Another army unit targeted and destroyed terrorists’ gatherings in the areas of Karm al-Qatarji and al-Sheikh Maksoud.

Army eliminates terrorists, restores security to areas in Homs

Army units destroyed terrorist hideouts in gatherings in the neighborhoods of al-Khalidiye, al-Qarabis and Bab Houd in Homs city, leaving many terrorists dead or injured.

Army units pursued terrorist groups in the fields of al-Ghouta, Teldo, Kafrlaha, al-Ghanto, al-Rastan and al-Dar al Kabireh in Homs countryside, eliminating a number of them and destroying their weapons, munitions and equipment.

Other units of the Armed forces Restored security and stability to al-Ein al-Janoubiya and al-Sharkia farms in al-Qaryatin after eliminating the last terrorist gatherings in it, uncovering tunnels containing assorted weapons and ammo, and dismantling dozens of explosive devices planted by terrorists on roads.

In Talkalakh, the authorities seized large amounts of weapons, including machineguns, thermal rockets and ammunition in a terrorists’ hideout in Talkalakh city in Homs province.

An official source told SANA reporter that the seized weapons included 80 mm mortar launcher and 22 shells, 6 rifles, a PKC machinegun, a sniper rifle, 6 thermal rockets, a rocket launching platform, detonators, homemade mine and different kinds of ammunitions.

Other army units killed several terrorists during cleaning the areas near al-Qaritain city.

Other army units continued hunting terrorists in Mhin, al-Tifour, Talbisa, al-Ghanto, al-Rastan, killing and injuring a number of terrorists, in addition to destroying their equipment.

Terrorists inflicted heavy losses in Deir Ezzor

Units of the armed forces clashed with armed terrorist groups in al-Huwika neighborhood and al-Marea’eh village in Deir Ezzor, inflicting heavy losses upon the terrorists.

An official source in the province told SANA reporter that all members of an armed terrorist group were killed in al-Huwika neighborhood and their weapons and ammunition were destroyed.

Terrorist Ghassan Jaber al-Hazaa was identified among the dead.

The source added that a unit of the armed forces killed a number of terrorists who were cutting the roads and committing looting acts on the road of al-Marea’eh village, destroying their weapons and tools.  

Armed clash among terrorists over sharing stolen goods

An armed clash erupted between two terrorist groups, one of them affiliated to Jabhat al-Nusra, due to a dispute over sharing the stolen goods in Mohassan city in Deir Ezzor .

ِAn official source in the province said that the clash resulted in the killing and injuring most of the members of the two terrorist groups, among them Khalaf Habdeh al-Abed, and Khaled Turki Mahmoud al-Jassem from Jabhat al-Nusra.

English Bulletin

Nationalist Arab Youth Conference Kicks off at al-Baath University in Homs

Jul 01, 2013

Homs, (SANA) – With the participation of 41 youth organizations from 13 Arab countries, the Nationalist Arab Youth Conference kicked off on Monday at al-Baath University in Homs province.

Governor of Homs, Ahmad Munir Mohamad, stressed the importance of this conference which gathered the Arab youths on the Syrian territories and in Homs city, in particular, which has suffered from terrorism.

He underscored the importance of revitalizing the nation by nationalism and by organizing popular youth activities with the aim of “reaching a state of youths capable of having influence on the Arab societies.”

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The Governor called on the participants to set a vision for establishing a forum for nationalist Arab youths, expressing the readiness of the governorate to host this forum which will form the nucleus for a “genuine Arab league” that considers the demands of the society.

“The whole world must know that we are all for Syria and we will stand by Syria just as it stood by the Arabs and defended their rights and interests,” the Arab youth delegations said in a speech delivered by Derar Bustanji from Jordan.       

Bustanji pointed out that what is going on in Syria is a “concerted conspiracy” to destroy the land of Arabism and resistance.

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Speaking on behalf of the Resistant Youth, Sudaif Hamada, from Lebanon, said “Today we are in the heart of resistance and Arabism witnessing the victory being achieved by the Syrian Arab Army against terrorism.”

The conference will last for three days and it includes youth meetings and symposia, in addition to visiting families of the martyrs and some neighborhoods in Homs city.

Delegations from Jordan, Iraq, Palestine, Lebanon, Kuwait, Bahrain, Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, Yemen, Sudan, Mauritania and Somalia are taking part in this conference.

F.Allafi

Al-Halqi meets Yazigi, affirms importance of religious figures in maintaining unity

Jul 01, 2013

Damascus, (SANA) – Prime Minister Dr. Wael al-Halqi affirmed that the foreign political tumult regarding the crisis in Syria indicates desire to find suitable solutions, and that conspirators are trying to undermine Syrian economy after failing on the military and political levels.

During a meeting on Monday with Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, Patriarch John X Yazigi, al-Halqi underlined the important role of Muslim and Christian religious figures in preserving the unity and solidarity of Syrians by spreading their messages of love, tolerance and coexistence to combat extremist takfiri movements.

He lauded the role of religious and spiritual leaderships in Syria in confronting the invasive and alien extremist concepts and in defending coexistence, adding that the current circumstances prompt people to reconsider and correct educational and economic policies.

The Prime Minister pointed out the economic, media, political and social warfare waged against Syria, reviewing the government’s efforts to provide citizens’ needs despite the losses in infrastructure it suffered.

For his part, Patriarch Yazigi said that Syria is a strong and steadfast country, and that Syrians are giving others lessons in solidarity and determination to preserve their country.

He affirmed that takfiri terrorist movements will not find a foothold in Syria, asserting that implementing the political program to resolve the crisis is the only way to restore peace and security.

Hassoun: Syria victorious over those who want to fragment it

Syria’s Grand Mufti Ahmad Badr Eddin Hassoun said that Syria is victorious over the sides which wanted to fragment the country.

During his meeting with Patriarch Yazigi, Hassoun said that the reason behind the fierce attack against the country is its diversity, adding that these meetings among the Syrian spectrum are the best way to respond to such campaigns.

Al-Sayyed: Takfiri calls do not represent Islam

Minister of Awqaf (Religious Endowments), Mohammad Abdul-Sattar al-Sayyed, stressed that the takfiri calls do not represent the correct Islamic mentality and are issued to serve political agendas.

During his meeting with Patriarch Yazigi, Minister al-Sayyed highlighted that the takfiri calls will not dissuade the Syrians from facing the takfiri campaigns that aim at spreading sedition among the people.

For his part, Patriarch Yazigi said that the Syrians deliver a clear message through their co-existence in their country, adding that the awareness of the Syrian people will repel all attempts of conspirators to undermine the country.

M. Nassr/ H. Sabbagh

Egyptian armed forces to announce future map if people’s demands won’t be realized

Jul 01, 2013

Cairo,(SANA) – {Update} –The Egyptian armed forces announced that if the demands of people would not be achieved during a deadline, the armed forces, in light of its national and historic responsibility and the respect for the Egyptian people’s requests, will announce a future map and procedures to implement it with the participation of all spectrums, including the youths who were and still are the source of the great revolution.

Earlier, millions of Egyptians have poured into the streets of the cities across the country in protest against President Mohammad Morsi, demanding him to resign and calling for holding early presidential elections.

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The protestors stressed insistence on continuing their peaceful protests until their demands are fulfilled, while some Egyptian provinces declared independence from the rule of the Muslim Brotherhood led by Morsi.

Five people were killed in Asyut and hundreds others were injured in the fire of the Muslim Brotherhood’s gangs, while a demonstrator was killed in Beni Suef province, south of Cairo.

Egypt’s flags and banners demanding Morsie to step-down were raised.

A number of political powers participating in the demonstrations in front of al-Itehadiya presidential Palace announced wide-range sit-in, calling for a peaceful civil disobedience until their demands were fulfilled.

Anti-Morsi protests were held in the coastal city of Alexandria, the Nile Delta cities of Mansura, Menufiya, Tanta and Mahalla, the canal cities of Suez and Port Said and in the president’s hometown of Zagazig.

In Cairo, more than 4 million people protested in Tahrir Square,, al-Itehadiya palace and other sites, waving red cards and Egyptian flags against Morsi.

The Egyptian Tamarod movement (rebel) said that it had more than 22 million signatures for a petition demanding Morsi to resign and hold early elections.

The protesters accused President Morsi of betraying the revolution by concentrating power in the hands of the Islamists and causing the fall of the economy.

English Bulletin

Ahmadinejad: the US, West interested in prolonging crisis in Syria

Jul 01, 2013

Tehran, (SANA)_Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad said the that US and the West are interested in prolonging the crisis in Syria ”because it will lead to the spread of insecurity to other regional countries and on the other hand, it will bring relief to the Zionist entity.”

Ahmadinejad’s comments came during his meeting on Monday with the Bolivian President Evo Morales on the sidelines of the summit of Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) in Russia.

He said that unity among Latin American nations and governments will abort the enemies’ plots against them.

Abdullahian: Syrian army’s successive victories are due the support of the people

 Iranian Assistant Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Amir-Abdullahian, said the Syrian army’s successive victories in its war on terrorism and extremists were due to the steadfastness of the army and the support of the Syrian people.

In a statement on Monday, Abdullahian criticized as ” useless” the decision of arming terrorists, saying that this decision will not reach its goals.

He renewed Iran’s refusal of any form of foreign intervention in Syria, saying: ” Iran supports the Syrian people and political reforms launched by the Syrian leadership,”

” We are witnessing a new approach of the war of the United States’ allies in the region against Syria, ” the Iranian official said, adding: ” The enemies of the resistant axis of Washington’s allies are targeting the Syrian people because of Syria’s resistant role against the Zionist entity.”

On the crisis in Bahrain, Abdullahian criticized the Bahraini authorities’ use of the chemical gas against the Bahraini people, calling on the authorities to address the political crisis by adopting political solutions instead of launching random charges against Iran and Syria.

Ghossoun /M. Ismael

Lavrov and Wang Yi discuss situation in Syria, Lavrov to meet Kerry on Tuesday

Jul 01, 2013

Moscow, (SANA) – Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Chinese counterpart Wang Yi discussed the situation in Syria, the nuclear issue in the Korean peninsula, and the Iranian nuclear program.

A statement issued by the Russian Foreign Ministry said that the two Ministers exchanged viewpoints in a meeting on the sidelines of a meeting of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) foreign ministers in Brunei.

The statement said Lavrov and Wang Yi tackled the situation in Syria, stressing the need to continue coordination between Russia and China, expand cooperation, and develop their strategic partnership.

In a press conference on the sideline of the ASEAN meetings, Lavrov said that he will meet US State Secretary John Kerry on Tuesday to discuss with him means to hold the international conference on Syria in Geneva, among other issues.

In this regard, Lavrov said the United States should clarify its position regarding the initiative of holding an international conference on the situation in Syria.

“We expect, during our meeting, more clarity as to what is the U.S. position with respect to our joint initiative on Syria,” the Minister said.

Lavrov and Kerry met in Moscow last May 7 and agreed to hold an international conference to resolve the crisis in Syria based on understandings which were agreed upon in Geneva Statement.

ASEAN, which was formed in 1967 in Bangkok, consists of seven members: Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and Brunai.

Moscow still proposes sending a unit to the Syrian Golan within UNDOf

The Russian foreign Ministry expressed deep concern over the escalation of situation in the region in Golan where the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) work due to the presence of armed men of the Syrian opposition.

“The presence of armed men of the opposition in the area complicates situation as Croatia, Canada and Japan have withdrawn their units from the region… the government of Austria has also taken a decision to withdraw its forces,” A statement by the Russian Ministry said.

The statement reminded that “President of Russia Vladimir Putin has presented an initiative to send a Russian unit to the UNDOF region as a contribution by Russia to ensure security there provided that the acceptance of the UN Secretary General and the two sides concerned.”

It added that Russia, at the same time, continues its contacts with international and regional partners to find a political solution to the crisis in Syria.

Russian Defense Minister, Chinese Chief of Staff discuss situation in Syria

Russia’s Minister of Defense, General Sergei Shoigu on Monday discussed with China’s Chief of Staff, General Fang Fenghui, the situation in Syria and bilateral relations.

Shoigu told the reporters that the two sides discussed a number of issues, including the situation in the Middle East, particularly in Syria.

English Bulletin

Justice Minister: Fair trials to persons involved in events

Jul 01, 2013

Damascus, (SANA) – Minister of Justice Najm Hamad al-Ahmad stressed that the persons who were involved in committing terrorist acts in Syria will receive fair trials according to the best international criteria.

During the opening of the 7th training and rehabilitation course in Damascus on Monday, Hamad said that “The Syrian judiciary is dealing with crimes that the Syrians are not familiar with in light of the unprecedented and fierce attack against the country, such as organized international terrorist crimes and dismemberment crimes”.

He called upon the judges to adhere to the rules in their rulings and continue training and developing their skills.

For his part, Judge Mohammad Deib al-Maqtaran said that the course will contribute to supply the judicial authorities in the country with competent judges that are able to fortify and preserve the rule of law in society.

261 judges from all the Syrian provinces are participating in the two-year course, where they will receive theoretical and practical training.

M. Nassr/ H. Sabbagh

Damascus Countryside Health Director: 67 establishment out of service due to terrorism

Jul 01, 2013

Damascus Countryside, (SANA) – Director of the Damascus Countryside Health Department Rashed Mazloum said terrorist acts in the province since the beginning of the crisis resulted in putting 67 hospitals and health centers out of service.

He pointed out that most of those establishments are located in areas where current conditions make it difficult to estimate the scale of damages to them and begin repairing them.

Mazloum said damaged establishments include the hospitals of Douma, Harasta, Daraya, al-Mleiha and al-Basel in Yabroud, in addition to 25 private hospitals and 36 health centers, while 9 centers are partially operation, adding that 131 health centers are still operating normally.

He pointed out that work is underway to repair health centers in several areas including Jdaidet Yabous, al-Kisweh, Harasta and Jaramana, adding that the budget of the projects listed on the Health Department’s investment plan for 2013 is SYP 270 million.

H. Sabbagh

Roland Dumas to SANA: West was preparing attack on Syria before crisis started

Jul 01, 2013

Paris, (SANA) – Former French Foreign Minister Roland Dumas revealed that there’s a plot which was devised by several western countries – primarily Britain and France – to topple the Syrian the government even before the crisis started in Syria.

In an exclusive interview given to SANA’s correspondent in Paris, Dumas said that while he was in Britain before the crisis began in Syria, he was invited to a party where two people an Englishman and a Frenchman, asked him if he would like to participate in preparations for an attack on Syria to topple the government in it.

He said he refused this offer, but events proved that they were serious about what they said at that evening.

Dumas voiced surprise over the French government’s positions, saying that the paths chosen by the governments of former President Nicolas Sarkozy and current President Francois Holland aren’t the right paths that lead to peace in Syria.

On the west’s goals from toppling the Syrian state, Dumas said that he thinks the current international climate formed around the Syrian situation contentious the policies adopted several years ago to deal with the Arab world, stressing that the west’s policies in such issues aren’t policies of peace but rather of war, and that he personally is against war and supports the path that leads to peace.

Regarding the Syrian opposition, Dumas said that this opposition is multifaceted, and that countries like Qatar and Saudi Arabia are involved in the fighting taking place in Syria against the legitimate government.

“A peaceful solution isn’t achieved by letting people fight,” he said, stressing that sending weapons will not solve problems in Syria.

Dumas pointed out that the legitimate government in Syria is reclaiming areas which gunmen seized, which is a good sign, noting that France had been opposing the suggestion of holding an international conference on Syria in a manner contrary to its traditional political creed, but eventually it admitted that the conference must be held as soon as possible and its position on Iran’s participation in the conference was altered.

He said that the most important point is the agreement between Russia and the US on holding this conference, noting that there mustn’t be any preconceptions about the conference.

On the G8 meeting in Ireland, Dumas said that it wasn’t the optimal place for discussing Syria because many countries interested in the Syrian issue weren’t there, which is why the conference due to be held in Geneva is important.

Regarding France sending advanced weapons to terrorist groups in Syria, Dumas said that sending weapons contradicts peaceful solutions because weapons are made for war, adding that it’s unfortunate that some sides want to send one side as this will prompt others to send weapons to the other side.

He noted that there were discussions on the issue of weapons because the west is concerned over who will receive the weapons, pointing out to Libya where weapons disappeared, asserting that sending weapons to Syria will exacerbate the conflict and make it more difficult to resolve.

Dumas said that international laws are only good for achieving peace when its time comes, and that there’s no hope of ending the crisis in Syria without having all countries participate in an international conference for this purpose.

He said that the allegations of chemical weapons use in Syria are very dangerous as they bring to mind the discussions which took place about Iraq in the past, when the US alleged that Iraq possessed chemical weapons but none were found, stressing that in legal terms, evidence is procured through judicial channels, not through journalists carrying small bottles which they claim they procured in Syria, as those individuals aren’t trustworthy.

Dumas went on to note that international law has items on destroying chemical weapons which raises concerns, saying it’s best to have the UN send impartial and reliable experts to look into this matter.

On France’s double standards in combating terrorists in Mali while supporting them in Syria, Dumas said that France says it will arm the “opposition” but it’s unknown what will happen to these weapons, and that there’s no way of knowing that these weapons won’t be turned against France, adding “this is a great risk… when we enter a conflict we know it can spread.”

He said that the traditional relations between Syria and France were good, particularly on the cultural level, but all that was undermined and now the two countries are enemies which doesn’t make sense, adding “it’s time to fix everything.”

Dumas pointed out that some sides have a desire to destroy strong Arab states, like what happened in Iraq and Libya before and what is being attempted in Syria, particularly given Syria’s special relations with Russia.

He said that Israel plays a role in what is happening in Syria, pointing out to the statements of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who said that if an agreement isn’t reached, then Israel will attack and destroy the governments that stand against it.

On the possibility of France and the west changing their position on Syria, Dumas said that this is possible, and that France’s position has shown some development recently which is a positive indicator and a move in the right direction.

Dumas stressed that there’s massive propaganda being spread regarding events in Syria, with all news, reports and images coming from one source, causing the French public which sees these images every day to form a terrible impression that there are “bad guys” represented by the Syrian government who are killing the people as they allege, and on the other side there are “good guys” represented by the armed groups, causing them to think that the bad guys must go and the good guys must stay, adding “but one day, the truth will come out.”

He said that conceptions must be corrected, and then those who support certain policies will see that they are mistaken, and then it’s possible to put an end to these policies.

Dumas concluded by saying that Syria and the Syrian people are great and that they will emerge from this crisis, adding “we must hope that they do not emerge from it too late… we wish that Syria doesn’t suffer many losses in lives and damages.”

H. Sabbagh

Al-Zoubi: Political leadership still committed to political solution

Jul 01, 2013

Damascus, (SANA)_ Information Minister, Omran al-Zoubi, reiterated that the political leadership in Syria is still committed to the political solution which it has called for since the beginning of the crisis in Syria.

“The leadership also believes that the national dialogue is the essence of the political solution,” Al-Zoubi said in his speech at the 50th anniversary of establishing al-Thawra newspaper on Monday.

“The national dialogue among the Syrians has no place for any Saudi, Gulf, Turkish, Lebanese, Jordanian or non-Syrian figures,” the Minister added.

He confirmed that ” whoever talks in a sectarian or ethnic language at any time with the aim of differentiation or structural independence or for the dissemination of his culture, betrays Syria and the homeland and this is a great treason.”

The Information Minister stressed that “Syria in itself is a national identity which has its specifications and data and can be identified by its features.

“It is crystal-clear that the ability of the Muslim Brotherhood, as a political system, to present an example for managing the authority and running the state has failed forever,” he said, pointing out that the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt was able, over the past year, to defame the state in terms of its concept, experience, and the institution’s experiments as they offered the worst example of their experience in leading a country.

Minister al-Zoubi pointed out that the Muslim Brotherhood is distinguished by exceptional ability to devastate the political example and the national unity which was their first victim in Egypt. Regarding the Turkish affair, al-Zoubi said “it was clear that the Justice and Development Party is unqualified example for leading a state that enjoys all this pluralism and history of the political, social and cultural life.

Al-Zoubi said that ”The Muslim Brotherhood has long claimed that it hasn’t had the chance to be at the helm of power…Well they’ve had this opportunity for more than 13 years in Turkey and one year in Egypt…they wreaked havoc to what has been built over 50 years ago.”

”Following Syria’s experience with the Muslim Brotherhood, we came to realize their ability to dash the national unity example and inability to live with it, whether on the intellectual level or through political practice.”

He added that the battle in Syria now is a to-be-or-not-to-be war, not a military or security one as some would like to depict it, indicating that some are trying to disseminate the sectarian language but ”there are an overwhelming majority of Syrians who reject to substitute the language of national unity for any other.”

Information Minister added that coexistence with the backward example led by the Muslim Brotherhood is not possible, adding ”When we speak of reconciliation, dialogue and tolerance, we mean all Syrian citizens without exception, but when we talk about national, progressive and leftist powers, this does not include the backward and reactionist powers.”

”We are not defending the regime in the narrow sense that the others are using…We are not defending persons or parties, but we are defending the state, history and existence, ” he added.

Al-Zoubi said that judging al-Baath Arab Socialist Party’s ability to lead lies in its ability to express the people’s concerns and needs, adding that any party derives weight inasmuch as it becomes close to the issues and concerns of people.

He added that national interest lies in the dialogue among all Syrians without excluding anyone, indicating that Syria is at the threshold of national phase and political dialogue.

”The crisis in Syria is a precious opportunity for setting priorities in order…even those with which we differ deserve that we defend their viewpoints and that we respect them,” he added.

”We will go to Geneva without preconditions or interferences, ” al-Zoubi said, affirming that the standards of combating terrorism are against those who take up arms against the state, and it is the state’s duty to deter them.

Al-Zoubi reaffirmed that the Syrian media will remain it has always been, a media of state and people, not an authority or persons.

Editor-in-Chief of Al-Thawra newspaper Ali Qassem said that the course of national media established by the Syrian journalists paves the way for media that continues the march of the media that is committed to the homeland’s causes.

H. Zain /M. Ismael/ Ghossoun

Electricity minister: the sector witnesses daily losses due to acts of terrorism

Jul 01, 2013

Damascus, (SANA)-Minister of Electricity Imad Khames said the government is going ahead in its support to the electricity sector in spite of the big challenges it is passing through.

“The government has agreed to fund a number of projects through the reserve currency after the internal banks have abstained from financing them due to the unfair economic sanctions imposed on the Syrian people,” Khames said during a meeting with a number of journalists.

He pointed out to the importance of cooperation between the ministry and mass media, particularly in light of the current crisis in the country in order to make the people know about the methods of the best use of energy.

“The electricity sector is daily suffering of financial losses, estimated at millions SYP, due to the acts of terrorism in different Syrian regions.. And this holds additional burdens on the state’s economy,” Minister Khames said.

Mazen

Ki-moon wishes to hold tripartite meeting to prepare for international conference on Syria

Jul 01, 2013

Geneva, (SANA) – UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon expressed his hope for holding a new consultative tripartite meeting among Russia, the U.S. and the U.N to prepare for the international conference on Syria as soon as possible.

Russia-Today Website quoted Ki-moon as saying in a statement to the journalists in Geneva that the Russian-American initiative, which calls on all sides in Syria to sit around dialogue table, is considered the best chance for prevailing peace in Syria, pointing out to the importance of the international community to exert all efforts for holding the international conference as soon as possible.

On the reasons behind not specifying a time for the conference until now, Ki- moon pointed out that the ” Syrian opposition” representation is considered one of the pending issues, expressing desire that the opposition would send a unified delegation that represent all viewpoints.

B. Mousa / Mazen

Cyprus supports political solution in Syria

Jul 01, 2013

Beirut, (SANA) – Cypriot Foreign Minister Loannis Kasoulides stressed his country’s support to reach a political solution to the crisis in Syria.

Kasoulides, meeting his Lebanese counterpart Adnan Mansour in Beirut, said that his visit s to Lebanon comes as a solidarity with Lebanon in its ordeal and to express his country’s desire to reach peaceful solution to the crisis in Syria.

B. Mousa / Mazen

 

Minister of Social Affairs: Government delivers aid to affected families

Jul 01, 2013

Damascus, (SANA) – Minister of Social Affairs, Kinda al-Shammat, stressed the necessity of coordination and cooperation between the Higher Relief Committee and the UN organizations operating in Syria in the relief and humanitarian domain to deliver aid to the affected people in all areas.

Meeting secretary General of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean (PAM), Sergio Piazzi, Minister al-Shammat pointed out that the government is delivering relief aid to the affected families at the temporary residential centers and outside these centers in collaboration with the NGOs and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC).

For his part, Piazzi expressed satisfaction over cooperation between the Higher Relief Committee and the UN organizations operating in the humanitarian field.

He stressed the efforts of the committee to coordinate with all Syrian and international bodies to offer relief aid and lift the medical and food embargo on the Syrian people. 

In the same context, Minister al-Shammat stressed the importance of beefing up the capacities of the ministry’s employees and rehabilitating them as needed to carry out their duties.

Opening a training course for the employees of the ministry, al-Shammat pointed out that the number of humanitarian projects being implemented by the ministry is 50 out of the total project plan which is 96 projects.

F.Allafi 

 

SANA DAILY HEADLINES JUNE 30, 2013

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SANA DAILY HEADLINES ON SYRIA 360°


President al-Assad issues law on penalties for involving children in combat activities

Jun 30, 2013

Damascus, (SANA) – President Bashar al-Assad on Sunday issued law no. 11 for 2013 which adds a new article to the penal code to cover involving children in combat activities.

The new article stipulates for a penalty of a sentence of penal labor for 10-20 years and a fine of SYP 1-3 million to individuals who recruit a child under 18 for the purpose of involving them in combat activities or other related activities.

The sentence is extended to of penal labor for life if the recruitment results in a permanent disability to the child or of the child suffers sexual assault or is given narcotics or any mind-influencing substances, and the sentence is extended to the death penalty if the child dies.

The updated penal code punishes everyone who recruits a child under 18 for the purposes for involving them in combat activities, carrying and transporting weapons or equipment or ammunition, planting explosions, standing watch at checkpoints or carrying out surveillance or reconnaissance, acting as a distraction or human shield, or assisting or serving the perpetrators in any way or form.

The penal code now punishes those who force another person to have intercourse through violence or threats with a life sentence of penal labor, and the punishment becomes the death sentence if the crime is against someone under 15 and/or if the crime is carried out with the victim at gunpoint.

H. Sabbagh

Army units destroy terrorist gatherings in several areas 

Jun 30, 2013

Provinces, (SANA) – Army units killed numbers of terrorists in a string of operations against their gatherings in eastern Ghouta and Damascus southern countryside, among them leaders of terrorist groups affiliated to the so-called ”Liwa al-Islam.”

An official source told SANA that terrorists’ dens were destroyed near al-Jalaa Park in Douma city, adding that the terrorist Hatem Abdul-Raouf, a ”Liwa al-Islam” leader and Yehiya al-Sa’our were killed, in addition to members of an armed terrorist group affiliated to the so-called ”Douma Martyrs Brigade,” among them Ali Fayyad.

The source added that an army unit also destroyed a weapons’ cache for terrorists near al-Thanawiyah roundabout in Harasta city, killing and injuring all the terrorists inside, among them Abdul-Latif Ghbeis, as other units clashed with terrorists in Deir Salman and al-Khamisieh in eastern Ghouta, killing Omran al-Misrabi, a leader of a terrorist group in Deir Salman and a number of his group’s members.

4 terrorists were also killed in al-Khamisieh.

In Damascus southern countryside, a terrorists’ den was destroyed with the weapons and ammunition inside in al-Ziabieh, killing a Jordanian terrorist nicknamed Abu Baker, and the terrorists Fouad Abdul-Salam and Kaser al-Mitwari.

The source added that army units pursued armed terrorist groups in al-Qaboun and Barzeh neighborhoods, as other units are besieging terrorists’ hideouts in a number of buildings in Barzeh neighborhood having tightened grip on al-Sweideh quarter and most of Tallet al-Mistah.

The armed forces carried out several operations against the armed terrorist groups in the areas of al-Nabk, Rankous, Qara and Adra.

A military source told SANA that scores of terrorists were killed and injured in the operations, adding that rocket launchers, heavy machineguns and vehicles were destroyed.

10 citizens injured in bomb blast in Damascus countryside

A number of citizens were injured as an explosive device that terrorists attached to a private car went off in al-Kisweh town in Damascus countryside.

An official source told SANA that the blast caused the injury of ten citizens who sustained wounds of varying severity and huge material damage to the citizens’ properties in the area.

Terrorists launch rockets on al-Ghab, Hama

Terrorists launched 6 rockets from Jabal al-Zawyeh into Joureen town in al-Ghab in Hama Province, causing fires and damage to houses and fields.

An official source told SANA that a fire erupted in two houses, adding that 40 hectares of olive fields and vast areas of oak forests were burnt.

Meanwhile, an army unit clashed with an armed terrorist group affiliated to Jabhet al-Nusra terrorist organization in the area of Morek, killing and injuring scores of the terrorists.

An army unit seized two explosive devices weighing 300 kg each at a house in Hilfaya town.

Army takes control over buildings in Aleppo

Army units continued operations against terrorists’ dens and gatherings in Aleppo old city and the towns and villages of Minnegh, Mayer, Orm al-Kubra, Abtin and the vicinity of the central prison.

An official source told SANA that a terrorist attempt to attack Aleppo central prison from al-Blacka restaurant, al-Saif factory, MTN tower and al-Zira’a building was repelled. Scores of terrorists were killed in the operation.

The source added that army units destroyed terrorists’ dens and gatherings in al-Babli farm in Mayer and Minnegh, as another unit killed terrorists who stationed inside an inn in Orm al-Kubra village and near the gas station in Abtin.

The source added that an army unit tightened control over a number of buildings in Saif al-Dawla and al-Zibdieh neighborhoods, having eliminated the terrorists who were stationed there.

In Aleppo city, an army unit clashed with armed terrorist groups in the local Souq and Sami Dahhan School in Kadi Askar area and killed their members, while another unit killed terrorists near the Umayyad Mosque and the Justice Palace in Aleppo old city.

Terrorists killed in Homs 

Units of the army destroyed terorist gatherings in a number of Homs neighborhoods and its countryside.

A military source told SANA reporter that a number of terrorists were killed and their weapons and ammuniton were destroyed in Khalidyieh neighborhood where the army made major advances.

The source added that scores of terrorists were killed in Qusour, Qarabis, Jouret al-Shayah, Bab Hud, al-Dar al-Kabira, al-Ghanto, al-Rastan and Talbiseh.

The army discovered large amounts of mortar shells and explosive devices in the farms surrounding al-Qaryatin city.

Army units eliminate terrorists in Deir Ezzor

A unit of the army confronted a terrorists’ attempt to attack a military checkpoint in al-Mri’a village in Deir Ezzor countryside and eliminated the majority of the terrorists.

An official source told SANA reporter that three leaders of armed terrorist groups were among the terrorists who were killed.

The source added that units of the army clashed with armed terrorist groups in Hweika, Hamidiyeh, Sinaa and Aridi areas and eliminated several terrorists near Siasiyeh square in Deir Ezzor city.

Clashes between terrorist groups kills many members in Deir Ezzor, Daraa

Fierce clashes erupted between two armed terrorist groups as they disagreed on their shares of the loots in al-Mayadin city in Deir Ezzor province.

An official source told SANA reporter that the clashes resulted in killing and injuring scores of terrorists.

The source added that the terrorists used machineguns and various grenades, causing the destruction of their den completely.

In Daraa Province, intense clashes erupted between two armed terrorist groups in diagreement over the loots in al-Mseifra town in Daraa countryside.

A military source told SANA reproter that the two sides used various machinguns and rifles, causing the killing of 20 terrorists and injuring tens others.

Terrorists, some Jordanian, killed in Daraa countryside

Army units continued operations against terrorists’ gatherings and dens in Jassem farms, Jlein and al-Nasserieh, al-Naziheen camp, Saissoun, al-Shabraq and al-Shajara in Daraa countryside, killing and injuring many.

A military source told SANA that army units killed a number of terrorists in Jassem farms, Jlein and al-Nasserieh, among them Eid Mohammad al-Ahmad, in addition to destroying terrorists’ dens and gatherings in the vicinity of al-Quds mosque in al-Nazihin camp, killing all the terrorists inside them, among them Suleiman Awad al-Qarrad, Ali al-Arabi and Mansour Talla’a.

The source added that an army unit killed the Jordanian terrorist Zouhair al-Khaled and a number of his group’s member in Saissoun village, as another unit destroyed terrorists’ dens and weapons in al-Sahbraq and al-Shajara towns and killed the terrorists inside, among them Thabet Abdul-Jaouni, Hayyan Khaled al-Mohammad, Mohammad Ahmad Badawa and Abdul-Salam Abdo al-Mohammad.

Army units kill leader of terrorist group in Lattakia countryside

An army unit carried out a qualitative operation in Lattakia countryside, killing the Libyan terrorist nicknamed Abi al-Labbad, leader of the so-called ”Al-Muhajerin ila Allah” (Immigranst to Allah) battalion and most of his group’s members in Durein village in Lattakia countryside.

A military source said that the operation also resulted in destroying a car loaded with huge amounts of various explosives.

Army units eliminate terrorists in Idleb countryside

Units of the armed forces destroyed terrorists’ dens and gatherings  in several towns and villages in Idleb countryside and dismantled explosive devices planted by terrorists on al-Mastouma road.

A military source told SANA that the army units killed a number of terrorists in Binish, al-Bouiti, Sarjat al-Barda, Maar Dabsa and Kfar Ruma.

The source added that an army unit killed and injured all members of an armed terrorist group who were perpetrating acts of terrorism in Kfar Shlaia and destroyed their weapons and equipment.

The source pointed out that another army unit foiled terrorists’ attempt to detonate 3 explosive devices weighing 20 kg for each, planted on Idleb- al-Mastouma  to be detonate remotely.

Army units destroy terrorists’ dens and gatherings in Hasaka countryside

Units of the armed forces destroyed terrorists’ dens and gatherings in several areas of Hasaka countryside, killing and injuring scores of them.

An official source told SANA that the army units carried a series of operations against terrorists’ dens in al-Krama, Khana and al-Arisha villages in the southern countryside of Hasaka, destroying their weapons and ammunition, in addition to killing large number of them.

The source added that other army units destroyed terrorists’ equipment in Khrab Askar area in al-Qamishli and killed several terrorists. 

Authorities arrest terrorists while transporting weapons to Jabhat al-Nusra in Hama countryside

Units of the armed forces arrested terrorists in Zour al-Sous and Jinan in Hama countryside who were transporting weapons to Jabhat al-Nusra terrorists in Talbisa and al-Rastan in Homs.

An official source told SANA that the army units arrested 5 terrorists, including an armed terrorist group leader, and seized their weapons.

English Bulletin

Syrian Army restores security and stability to Ein Issa in al-raqqa

Jun 30, 2013

Raqqa, (SANA) – The Syrian army restored security and stability to Ein Issa area in al-Raqqa province after eliminating armed terrorist groups which were committing crimes in the area.

Terrorist groups attack helicopter in Aleppo…Premier, Parliament condemn the crime

Jun 30, 2013

Aleppo, (SANA) – The armed terrorist groups attacked a helicopter over Nubl city with educational cadres onboard, causing the fall of the helicopter, an official source said.

The source added that the educational cadres were carrying exam papers for basic education certificate to the students of Nubl and al-Zahraa cities who could not apply for the exams on time.

The source pointed out that the terrorist attack caused the martyrdom of seven civil employees in addition to the helicopter crew.

The source added that in an expression of the Education Ministry’s persistence to face the obscurantist thought of terrorism, the Education Directorate contacted the authorities concerned and managed to conduct examinations on time.

Premier al-Halqi condemns terrorist attack against educational cadres in Aleppo countryside

Prime Minister, Dr. Wael al-Halqi condemned the coward terrorist act that targeted on Sunday educational cadres onboard a helicopter over Nubl city in Aleppo countryside.

Al-Halqi said in a statement that this criminal act against educational cadres who seek to propagate knowledge, the will to live, and emancipation from the criminal mentality “came after the armed terrorist groups, who have destructive takfiri thought were vanquished by the enlightened thought.”

The statement affirmed that the attack came after the terrorist groups’ failure to obstruct the educational process in Syria due to the Syrians’ resolve to go ahead in life and education.

Al-Halqi said that the terrorist act ”will make us even more determined to continue crackdown on the armed terrorist groups and building Syria.”

People’s Assembly denounces the crime

The people’s Assembly also condemned, with the strongest terms, the crimes against educational cadres.

“This crime adds to the record of the terrorism, backed by Arab and western states against the Syrian people, in a bid to intimidate them through targeting the service and educational institutions,” the People’s Assembly said in a statement.

It held the countries which arm, fund the armed terrorist groups legal and moral responsible for this heinous crime.  

Teachers Syndicate condemns terrorist attack against teachers

The Teachers’ Syndicate condemned the criminal act that targeted teachers who were carrying out their national duty in Aleppo.

The Syndicate stressed in a statement that teachers will remain steadfast in the face of takfiri thought which is killing innocents and destroying intellectual and educational infrastructure.

The Syndicate condemned, on behalf of teachers all over Syria, this criminal act which claimed the lives of colleagues while doing their duty.

F.Allafi/M. Ismael          

People’s Assembly passes bill on regulating currency exchange profession

Jun 30, 2013

Damascus, (SANA) – The People’s Assembly on Sunday held a regular session chaired by Speaker Mohammad Jihad al-Laham, in which it passed a bill on amending the law regulating the profession of currency exchange.

Justice Minister Najm al-Ahmad said the amendments raise the penalties for violations of the law, making them criminal penalties rather than misdemeanor penalties, in addition to directing confiscated funds linked to currency exchange crimes into reparations for the central Bank of Syria, in addition to increasing the fines threefold.

The Assembly passed a bill on amending regulations for validating contracts related to investment spending, taking into account the current situation in Syria and creating more flexibility in administrative work.

The Assembly also passed a bill on altering fees for issuing a passport to SYP 4,000 for passports and travel documents issued normally and SYP 15,000 for passports and travel documents issued expeditiously upon the concerned party’s request.

Afterwards, the Ministry of Agriculture responded to the Assembly members’ written questions, addressing queries and issues related to organic agriculture and products, agricultural real-estate ownership,  and compensating farmers for cotton crops damaged due to lack of irrigation.

The Assembly referred members’ written questions to the proper authorities via the Prime Ministry and adjourned until October 1st.

H. Sabbagh

Sit-in outside Egyptian embassy in Damascus in solidarity with Egyptian people

Jun 30, 2013

Damascus, (SANA)_Scores of citizens organized a sit-in outside the Egyptian embassy in Damascus on Sunday in solidarity with the Egyptian people in their movement to withdraw confidence from the Egyptian President Mohammad Morsi and demand the departure of the Muslim Brotherhood.

The participants chanted slogans of solidarity with the Egyptian people, condemning the Muslim Brotherhood rule and rejecting Morsi’s attempts to break the bonds between the two countries.

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They raised placards demanding shutting down the Israeli embassy in Cairo and stressing the unbreakable bonds between the Syrian and Egyptian people against Zionism and its tools in the region.

The participants said the sit-in comes to express full support to the Egyptians in their rejection of the Brotherhood rule, affirming the deep Syrian-Egyptian relations.

They saw that backing the Egyptian people in their struggle to recover their freedom from Morsi and his group is a duty, stressing that the Egyptians are facing the same powers which are waging a war against the Syrian people.

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M. Ismael

Gas Company: Direct losses reach 4,2 Billion SYP

Jun 30, 2013

Homs, (SANA) – Director of the Syrian Gas Company, Eng. Ali Derboli, said that the company is continuing work on implementing its projects despite the hard situation in the country.

In a statement to SANA on Sunday, Derboli said that the terrorist attacks committed against the company’s infrastructure and the affiliated companies hit 4,2 billions until last April, adding that the indirect loss is estimated at 55 billion SYP.

He added that the company is developing 9 gas fields and establishing a factory to process gas, adding that the facility will produce 3 million cubic meters of gas and 53 tons of home gas per day.

“The current situation and the sanctions imposed on Syria led to delaying a project with Stroytransgaz Company”, he said, adding that “the cost of this projects reaches 290 million Euro and 4 billion SYP”.

Derboli said that the company is also working on expanding the gas transporting grid and developing power-generating stations in several areas, adding that the overall cost of these projects is 26 million Euro and 715 million SYP.

M. Nassr/ M. Eyon

Venezuelan Culture Ministry holds festivity in support to Syria

Jun 30, 2013

Caracas, (SANA) The Venezuelan Ministry of Culture and the Venezuelan National Forum for Poetry held a cultural and poetic evening in solidarity with Syria in the face of the terrorist and imperialistic campaign facing it.

The events, held at the Center for Latin American Strategic Studies, was within the activities of the 10th International Poetry Festival which kicked off last week.

The poets expressed, in their poems, heartfelt and sincere feelings of solidarity with the Syrian government and people in their war against the imperialism and terrorism, stressing that Syria will remain the “cradle of civilization and religions”.

Representative of the Venezuelan National Forum for Poetry expressed solidarity of the Venezuelan people and government with Syria, expressing, on behalf of the Forum and the Venezuelan poets and intellectuals, their solidarity with Syria under the leadership of President Bashar al-Assad.

The participate stressed that Syria and Venezuela will remain in the same side in defending their sovereignty and independent in the face of the international plot that aims at undermining the two friendly countries.

M. Nassr

SARC Affairs Minister: Government providing relief to all displaced citizens

Jun 30, 2013

Damascus, (SANA) – State Minister for the Affairs of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) Joseph Sweid asserted that the government is providing all relief needs of displaced citizens living in temporary housing centers or outside them.

During a meeting on Sunday with Secretary General of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean, Sergio Piazzi, Sweid said that the government’s relief work is supervised by the Higher Committee for Relief and in partnership with the SARC and international organizations.

He pointed out that the SARC is distributing relief aid, both provided by the government and by international organizations, in a neutral and fair manner, in addition to exerting great efforts to facilitate the return of displaced citizens living outside Syria.

Sweid also pointed out that armed terrorist groups attacked the headquarters of the SARC, its volunteers and its convoys transporting humanitarian aid.

For his part, Piazzi said that the Assembly will coordinate with Syrian and international sides to provide the necessary relief aid and lift the food and medicine embargo imposed on the Syrian people.

H. Sabbagh

Syria welcomes UNSC Resolution 2107 ending Iraq state under 7th chapter

Jun 30, 2013

Damascus, (SANA)-An official source at the Foreign and Expatriates Ministry said that Syria has followed with great interest latest deliberations of the UN Security council on Iraq and the council’s adoption of resolution 2107 ending Iraq state under the 7th chapter in general.

In a statement to SANA, the source added that Syria welcomes the decision that puts an end to the long suffering of the Iraqi people and to remove yet another obstacle before Iraq restoring its full sovereignty and accentuating its important role in the region and the world.

The source added that Syria congratulates the Iraqi government and people on the resolution and is confident that the brotherly Iraq which is now free of the 7th chapter of the UN Charter will consolidate its national unity and economic and social progress and will continue combating terrorism that has lately claimed precious lives due to the support of some regional countries that adopted terrorism, extremism, and sectarianism as an official policy.

The source added that ”Syria seizes the opportunity to express full readiness to cooperate with Iraq in all fields to deepen bilateral cooperation between the two countries in service of security, stability and prosperity.”

The UN Security Council has voted to remove Iraq from Chapter 7 of the UN Charter, unanimously agreeing to end the procedures included in some clauses of the international resolutions No. 686 and 687 which the Council adopted following the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. 

M. Ismael/Mazen

Al-Laham: Prepared to cooperate with world parliaments to emerge from crisis

Jun 30, 2013

Damascus, (SANA) – Speaker of the People’s Assembly Mohammad Jihad al-Laham met on Saturday Secretary General of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean, Sergio Piazzi.

During the meeting, al-Laham underlined the role of parliamentarians around the world in supporting peace efforts and combating terrorism, stressing the need to inform the world public opinion about the truth of what is happening in Syria and the organized international terrorism targeting it under support from Arab and western intelligence agencies.

He said that the Takfiri terrorism targeting Syria seeks to destroy its philosophy of coexistence and disfigure its civilization and social fabric, warning against the repercussions of the continuing support provided by the west and the US to terrorists, calling on countries that claim to combat terrorism to cease funding and arming terrorist groups immediately.

Al-Laham called upon the Assembly to pressure neighboring countries to stop supporting and arming terrorist and adopt political initiatives to resolve the crisis, affirming that the People’s Assembly is prepared to cooperate with all the world parliaments to emerge safely from crisis via political means.

The Speaker affirmed Syria’s commitment to cooperating with international humanitarian and relief organizations, asserting that some sides are deliberately trying to defame the Syrian government in terms of humanitarian and relief issues.

For his part, Piazzi voiced the Assembly’s commitment to Syria’s security, stability and peace and its support for relaying the truth about the events in it, adding that Syria is currently paying the price of the international community’s mistakes in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Piazzi said that there are discrepancies between what mass media is reporting and the real information possessed by some governments, as the EU possesses documents proving an extensive presence of foreign extremist gunmen in Syria.

On a relevant note, Piazzi met heads of committees at the People’s Assembly who stressed the need to eliminate the sources of terrorism and ceasing support for terrorist groups which have been wreaking havoc in Syria for more than two years.

H. Sabbagh

Salehi stresses necessity of preserving national sovereignty, territorial integrity of Syria

Jun 30, 2013

Doha, (SANA) – Iranian Foreign Minister, Ali Akbar Salehi, stressed during a meeting with new Emir of Qatar, Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, the necessity of preserving the national sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria to provide suitable conditions to emerge from the current crisis and move towards the Syrian-Syrian political dialogue.

Salehi, who is visiting Qatar heading a political delegation, explained the Iranian policy towards Syria and the importance of consolidating security and stability in the Gulf region, stressing the necessity of upgrading regional cooperation.

The Qatari Emir described Iran as an influential country in the region, stressing the importance of making use of Iran’s capacities to resolve and settle regional problems.

Iran’s Chief of Staff: U.S.-Western calculations about Syria have all failed

Iranian Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces Major-General, Hassan Fairouz Abadi, stressed that the calculations of the US and the West have failed in Syria and victory is now in the hands of the resistance in the region.

In a speech, Fairouz Abadi slammed the behavior of some countries which support terrorists in Syria with weapons, saying “The west must know well that the balance of power on the ground does not change by the flow of weapons to al-Qaeda and its allies in Syria.”

He added that the West and the Zionists have lost the lead as sending weapons to the terrorists in Syria is no more feasible and does not help them carry out their schemes.

Kerry: Political solution to Syria crisis only way out

US Secretary of State, John Kerry said that the political solution to the crisis in Syria is the only way out.

Kerry, who concluded a visit to the occupied Palestinian lands, said in a press conference on Sunday ”I am looking forward to talks with the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, because the situation in Syria is dangerous, and part of the talks will focus on how to ramp up efforts to have a bearing on the events.”

Kerry affirmed that peaceful solution is the only way to save Syria, stressing that there is no military solution to the crisis.

Washington is sending contradictory signals on Syria as Kerry’s statements emphasize the importance of political solution while the US announced that it will provide military aid to the armed terrorist groups in Syria.

F.Allafi/M. Ismael 

Russia, Iran to hold talks on Syria

Jun 30, 2013

Tehran, (SANA) – Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson, Abbas Araqchi, said that iranian President Mahoud Ahmadinjejad will start a visit to Russia on Monday to participate in the Gas exporting Countries’ Summit.

Araqchi said in a statement that President Ahmadinejad will meeting Russian President Vladimir Putin and will discuss with several issues, including the Syrian issue.

The Gas Exporting Countries Forum will be held in Moscow on Monday lasting for two days. The forum includes Iran, Algeria, Bolivia, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Russia, Trinidad and Tobago and Venezuela.

F.Allafi

Iran’s President Assistant stresses support to Syria

Jun 29, 2013

Tehran, (SANA)_Iran’s President Assistant, Ali Said Lo underlined his country’s keenness on ”backing Syria in all fields, especially the economic, to confront the blatant war waged against it by the US, the West and regional countries.”

During his meeting on Saturday with Dr. Adnan Mahmoud, Syria’s ambassador to Iran, Said Lo blamed the crimes against the Syrian people and ruining their economic capabilities and infrastructure on the parties involved in the aggression on Syria.

Said Lo said “the strategic relations between Syria and Iran are based on firm principles that are ever deepening and serve the interests of the region as a whole.”

He considered that the Iranian presidential elections have ”aborted the West’s bets and will serve consolidate the resistance front in the region,” urging Syria’s enemies to” rethink their wrong calculations over two years in backing terrorism that will ultimately backfire and threaten security and stability of the region.”

He stressed Iran’s resolve and will to implement the agreements signed between the two countries on schedule and help in securing Syria’s needs to enhance its steadfastness.

Ambassador Mahmoud congratulated the Iranian leadership on the elections that ”embodied the will of the Iranian people, their wide participation and commitment to their leadership and the values of the Islamic revolution in Iran.”

He expressed confidence that bilateral relation will gather fresh momentum in all fields and spur mutual economic cooperation.

M. Ismael

SANA DAILY HEADLINES JUNE 29, 2013

DAILY NEWS IN INTERNATIONAL LANGUAGES | AUDIO | VIDEO

SANA DAILY HEADLINES ON SYRIA 360°


Army eliminates terrorists in several areas

Jun 29, 2013

Provinces, (SANA)_Army units destroyed weapons’ caches for terrorists in the towns and villages of Eastern Ghouta and Damascus southern countryside, killing and injuring numbers of them.

An official source told SANA that an armed terrorist group was eliminated in Tal al-Sawan in Adra area. The terrorists Khaled Rajab and Dirar Omar were identified among the dead.

A weapons’ cache with the terrorists inside it was destroyed in al-Eb farms in Douma.

The source added that an army unit carried out a qualitative operation against a terrorists’ gathering near Badran roundabout in Douma, killing and injuring scores of terrorists. The terrorists Mahmoud al-Sadiq and Hamada al-Hamada were identified among the dead.

Army units also killed terrorists in Haramla.

The source added that army units destroyed weapons’ and ammunition caches in the western farms of al-Shifounieh town, also killing the terrorist Mohammad al-Kilani and other terrorists near Daya Company in Harasta.

An army unit also killed several terrorists, among them Abdul Rahman al-Iraqi and Abu Shaher al-Joulani, and destroyed a heavy machinegun for terrorists in al-Saro street in al-Husseinieh town.

Another unit killed terrorists, among them Fathi al-Bakhit and Awad al-Ftayeh in al-Ziabieh town, and destroyed a heavy machinegun and ammunition for them.

units of the Syrian Arab Army continued pursuing Jabhat al-Nusra terrorists in Barzeh neighborhood and Der Salman Famrs in Eastern Ghouta and destroyed their dens and gatherings.

An official source told SANA reporter that units of the army eliminated scores of terrorists in Barzeh neighborhood and destroyed their gatherings.

The source added that various machineguns were destroyed, in addition to huge amounts of ammunition in the famrs surrounding Der Salman in Eastern Ghouta.

In Hijira town, units of the Syrian arab Army pursued an armed terrorist group and inflicted heavy losses on its members.

Army eliminates terrorists in Homs province

Army units eliminated scores of terrorists and destroyed their hideouts and equipment in the neighborhoods of al-Khalidiye, al-Warsheh, al-Qarabis, Jouret al-Shiyah in Homs city.

An Army unit established full control of a number of residential buildings in Bab Houd neighborhood in Homs city after eliminating scores of terrorists who were holed up in them and sniping civilians in nearby areas. Several explosive devices were dismantled in the same area.

The Army continued pursuing armed terrorist groups’ members in al-Khalidiyeh neighborhood in Homs to restore security and stability to the neighborhood, dismantling a big number of explosive devices planted by terrorists in the neighborhood.

In Homs countryside, the Army destroyed terrorist hideouts in al-Houleh, al-Rastan and Talbiseh, confiscating their weapons and munitions.

Army units pursued terrorist groups southwest of Dedeman Hotel in Palmyra, leaving most of the terrorists wounded or dead.

Other units pursued remnants of terrorist groups in the farms around al-Qaryatain village.

Terrorists’ gatherings and dens destroyed in Daraa

A military source in Daraa told SANA that units of the army destroyed terrorists’ gatherings and hideouts in Saham al-Golan in Daraa countryside.

The source added that terrorists, Mohammad Abu Sharifeh, Muhannad Abdullah al-Zarqawi, from Jordanian nationality and Samir Khaled Allawi, Khaldoun Ahmad al-Masri , Samer Ahmad Brdan, Youssef Mohammad Younis and Ahmad al-Nablsi were identified among the dead.

The source said that other units of the army targeted terrorists’ gatherings in the villages of Shabrak, Saisoun, Jilin and al-Allia, inflicting heavy losses upon them.

In Daraa al-Balad, the armed forces continued pursuing terrorists, killing and injuring a number of them, among them terrorists Anas Hamad Abdul-Haq from the so-called al-Maham al-Khasseh brigade and Baddea Abdul-Rahman al-Awad al-Mahamid.

The source pointed out that another unit of the armed forces killed a number of terrorists and destroyed their weapons in the village of al-Rafid, and destroyed weapon which the terrorists were transforming by two cars on Da’el-Attman road.

Terrorists killed in Deir Ezzor

A unit of the armed forces clashed with terrorists in al-Jbeileh neighborhood in Deir Ezzor, killing a number of them.

An official source in the province told SANA reporter that another unit of the armed forces clashed with terrorists in al-Busraya neighborhood in Deir Ezzor, inflicting heavy losses upon them.

Meanwhile, the army destroyed terrorists’ den on al-Bghailieh crossing in Deir Ezzor, killing and injuring a number of terrorists.

Syrian Army eliminates terrorists, destroys heavy machineguns in Idleb countryside

Units of the Syrian army destroyed a number of terrorist gatherings and dens in several areas in Idleb countryside and eliminated scores of terrorists.

A military source told SANA that dens of armed terrorist groups were razed in Matram, Kafar Shalaya, Maaret al-Nouman, Sarjeh, Mar-shourin and Kafroumeh, adding that all weapons and ammunition inside these dens were completely destroyed.

The source added that a unit of the army clashed with an armed terrorist group in al-Bouiti village and killed and injured all its members.

Army units eliminate terrorists in Aleppo

Units of the Syrian army eliminated tens of terrorists and destroyed their weapons in Aleppo province.

An official source told SANA reporter that terrorist gatherings were razed in al-Showaghrat, al-Alqamieh, Ein Dakneh in the surrounding of Minigh airport.

The source added that units of the army confronted armed terrorist groups which tried to attack the central prison of Aleppo and killed scores of terrorists.

In Aleppo city, units of the army clashed with armed terrorist groups which tried to infiltrate into the secure areas in al-Rashidin neighborhood and eliminated the majority of their members.

In Qadi Askar neighborhood, an Armed Forces unit carried out a special operation in which scores of terrorists from the so-called “Sharia quartet committee” were eliminated.

The operation targeted a terrorist hideout in the neighborhood where the terrorists were convened, destroying the hideout and leaving all the terrorists inside it dead or injured.

English Bulletin

4 citizens martyred, 15 injured in terrorist attacks

Jun 29, 2013

Provinces, (SANA)_One citizen was martyred and others injured Saturday night when an explosive device that terrorists planted near the Justice Palace in al-Hasaka city went off.

An official source told SANA that the device was planted near an ATM near the Justice Place in the city. The blast also caused material damage in the area, the source added.

Mortar shells in Damascus

Two mortar rounds that terrorists launched on Saturday hit two schools in al-Mazra’a and al-Amara residential areas in Damascus, causing material damage. No casualties were reported.

A source at Damascus Police Command told SANA that a mortar shell hit Abdullah bin al-Zubair school near al-Eiman mosque in al-Mazra’a, causing material damage to the school.

The source added that the second shell hit Ahmad al-Mandili school in al-Amara neighborhood, causing material damage in the area.

Terrorists launch mortar shells on al-Khomasia company, al-Tijara neighborhood,  in Damascus

A mortar shell launched by terrorists fell on al-Khomasia Company in al-Qaboun outskirts in Damascus, causing fire in one of the warehouses.

An official source told SANA reporter that the shell hit the medical cotton warehouse and burned it.

The source added that 8 fire engines headed to the place and extinguished the fire.

Meanwhile, a mortar shell fell on the backyard of a house in al-Tijara neighborhood in Damascus, causing the injury of two girls and material damage.

A source at the Police Command said that the girls are 7 and 13 years old and they were rushed to hospital.

Three citizens martyred, 6 injured by terrorists’ shell in Homs

Three civilians were martyred and other 6 were injured by mortar shell launched by terrorist group on al-Abbasyeh neighborhood in Homs city.

A medical source told SANA that the injured persons were rushed to al-Ahli hospital, adding that their injuries were of varying severities.

M. Nassr/ M. Ismael/F.Allafi

Authorities seize weapons in a house in Damascus

Jun 29, 2013

Damascus, (SANA) – The competent authorities seized a terrorist den in al-Amara neighborhood in Damascus with amounts of weapons and ammunition hidden in it.

An official source told SANA reporter that the weapons which were seized in a house in al-Amara neighborhood were stored by terrorists to carry out terrorist acts.

The source added that the weapons included grenades, guns, rifles, night-vision goggles, amounts of bullets and a sniper rifle.

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F.Allafi

27 state workers fired within measures to combat corruption

Jun 29, 2013

DAMASCUS, (SANA)_Prime Minister Dr. Wael al-Halqi on Saturday issued a number of decisions firing 27 workers from different ministries and state institutions.

The decisions came in the framework of the measures taken by the government to combat financial and administrative corruption.

Premier al-Halqi had issued similar decisions to fire 320 workers for the same reasons last Sunday.

M. Ismael

Daraa historic sites witness secret excavations and looting by terrorists

Jun 29, 2013

Daraa, (SANA)-An official source at Daraa Antiquities department said that 11 historic towns and sites in the city came under attack and sabotage by the armed terrorist groups, causing huge damages to their layers and looting their rich values.

“The majority of regions which were subject to acts of secret excavations, sabotage and looting are in Daraa’s western countryside where the armed terrorist groups are active, ” the source said in a statement to SANA.

It added that those regions are well-known of their historic richness as they are considered one of the most ancient sites in the world where they have witnessed the succession of a number of civilizations.

“Tal Shihab was one of the sites which witnessed acts of digging in the historic hill , the surrounding valley and on the two banks of the railway to the south of hill in addition to excavations of the walls and mills of Tal shihab,” the source said.

It added that acts of secret excavations extended to Kharab al-Shahm town and to the bottom of the valley through hand-made tools and heavy vehicles, while Sahm al-Jolan has witnessed the demolition of historic houses and secret excavations in addition to the border villages of Abdeen, Tal al-Ashaari which are considered as one of the most important historic sites in Syria.

“The families in the area notified the Directorate about the existence of groups dividing themselves to 5 workshops which periodically excavate the sites through heavy vehicles, and this indicates to a systemized looting process of the historic belongings of Tal al-Ashaarai,” the source said.

It added that the systemized terrorism against Syria’s civilization and history is considered as a big crime, and those who trade with the Syrian treasures don’t differ from the perpetrators of bloody crimes.

The source called on the neighboring countries, particularly Jordan to assume responsibility, retune the looted ruins and extradite the thieves to the Syrian authorities.

Mazen

Al-Salhyia Market in Damascus… a tourist landmark depicting damascene life  (Photography Report)

Jun 29, 2013

Damascus, (SANA) – Al-Salhyia Market is a commercial hub and a tourist destination for Syrians and foreigners that is still vibrant today.

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Normal Friday weekend for Syrians in Hama, Report in Photos

Jun 29, 2013

Hama, (SANA)- Citizens in Hama enjoyed Friday vacation, swimming and fishing on the banks of the rivers.

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H. Zain/ Ghossoun

Foreign Ministry: Syria welcomes UNSC Resolution 2107 ending Iraq state under 7th chapter

Jun 29, 2013

Damascus, (SANA)-An official source at the Foreign and Expatriates Ministry said that Syria has followed with great interest latest deliberations of the UN Security council on Iraq and the council’s adoption of resolution 2107 ending Iraq state under the 7th chapter in general.

In a statement to SANA, the source added that Syria welcomes the decision that puts an end to the long suffering of the Iraqi people and to remove yet another obstacle before Iraq restoring its full sovereignty and accentuating its important role in the region and the world.

The source added that Syria congratulates the Iraqi government and people on the resolution and is confident that the brotherly Iraq which is now free of the 7th chapter of the UN Charter will consolidate its national unity and economic and social progress and will continue combating terrorism that has lately claimed precious lives due to the support of some regional countries that adopted terrorism, extremism, and sectarianism as an official policy.

The source added that ”Syria seizes the opportunity to express full readiness to cooperate with Iraq in all fields to deepen bilateral cooperation between the two countries in service of security, stability and prosperity.”

The UN Security Council has voted to remove Iraq from Chapter 7 of the UN Charter, unanimously agreeing to end the procedures included in some clauses of the international resolutions No. 686 and 687 which the Council adopted following the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. 

M. Ismael/Mazen

Al-Laham: Prepared to cooperate with world parliaments to emerge from crisis

Jun 29, 2013

Damascus, (SANA) – Speaker of the People’s Assembly Mohammad Jihad al-Laham met on Saturday Secretary General of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean, Sergio Piazzi.

During the meeting, al-Laham underlined the role of parliamentarians around the world in supporting peace efforts and combating terrorism, stressing the need to inform the world public opinion about the truth of what is happening in Syria and the organized international terrorism targeting it under support from Arab and western intelligence agencies.

He said that the Takfiri terrorism targeting Syria seeks to destroy its philosophy of coexistence and disfigure its civilization and social fabric, warning against the repercussions of the continuing support provided by the west and the US to terrorists, calling on countries that claim to combat terrorism to cease funding and arming terrorist groups immediately.

Al-Laham called upon the Assembly to pressure neighboring countries to stop supporting and arming terrorist and adopt political initiatives to resolve the crisis, affirming that the People’s Assembly is prepared to cooperate with all the world parliaments to emerge safely from crisis via political means.

The Speaker affirmed Syria’s commitment to cooperating with international humanitarian and relief organizations, asserting that some sides are deliberately trying to defame the Syrian government in terms of humanitarian and relief issues.

For his part, Piazzi voiced the Assembly’s commitment to Syria’s security, stability and peace and its support for relaying the truth about the events in it, adding that Syria is currently paying the price of the international community’s mistakes in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Piazzi said that there are discrepancies between what mass media is reporting and the real information possessed by some governments, as the EU possesses documents proving an extensive presence of foreign extremist gunmen in Syria.

On a relevant note, Piazzi met heads of committees at the People’s Assembly who stressed the need to eliminate the sources of terrorism and ceasing support for terrorist groups which have been wreaking havoc in Syria for more than two years.

H. Sabbagh

Iran’s President Assistant stresses support to Syria

Jun 29, 2013

Tehran, (SANA)_Iran’s President Assistant, Ali Said Lo underlined his country’s keenness on ”backing Syria in all fields, especially the economic, to confront the blatant war waged against it by the US, the West and regional countries.”

During his meeting on Saturday with Dr. Adnan Mahmoud, Syria’s ambassador to Iran, Said Lo blamed the crimes against the Syrian people and ruining their economic capabilities and infrastructure on the parties involved in the aggression on Syria.

Said Lo said “the strategic relations between Syria and Iran are based on firm principles that are ever deepening and serve the interests of the region as a whole.”

He considered that the Iranian presidential elections have ”aborted the West’s bets and will serve consolidate the resistance front in the region,” urging Syria’s enemies to” rethink their wrong calculations over two years in backing terrorism that will ultimately backfire and threaten security and stability of the region.”

He stressed Iran’s resolve and will to implement the agreements signed between the two countries on schedule and help in securing Syria’s needs to enhance its steadfastness.

Ambassador Mahmoud congratulated the Iranian leadership on the elections that ”embodied the will of the Iranian people, their wide participation and commitment to their leadership and the values of the Islamic revolution in Iran.”

He expressed confidence that bilateral relation will gather fresh momentum in all fields and spur mutual economic cooperation.

M. Ismael

Russia, Morocco stress necessity of holding international Syria conference

Jun 29, 2013

Moscow, (SANA)_Russian FM Sergey Lavrov reiterated Russia’s commitment to holding an international conference to solve the crisis in Syria, affirming that supplying more weapons to the ‘Syrian opposition’ hinders the conference and is a violation of all international resolutions that should be probed.

Speaking at a Friday press conference with Morocco’s counterpart Saadeddin al-Othmani in Moscow, Lavrov said that ”Russia is committed to convening the international conference on Syria according to what has been agreed upon with the Americans on May 7.”

In reply to a question on the chances of holding the conference with the Americans following Wall Street Journal leaks that the US will be arming the ‘Syrian opposition’ via Jordan, Lavrov said “the activities aimed at providing weapons to the opposition, which have recently intensified, only means that the precondition [set by the foreign-backed militants to restore a balance of power on the battle ground] is supported by the West and other countries which are going to supply such weapons, this contradicting the very concept of the conference, which is to begin without any preconditions.”

Lavrov said that the Russian-US initiative aims to fully implement Geneva statement issued on June 30, 2012 that stipulates the approval of the Syrian government and opposition to participate without preconditions. ”But we heard that the Western-backed opposition won’t be attending the conference unless two conditions are met; that the current regime steps down and that they get the upper hand on the ground.”

Commenting on Western media reports about US weapons’ shipments to the armed terrorist groups in Syria, Lavrov said there is talk of a flow of Libyan weapons to Syria other than the American, saying ”journalists do not only speak about US administration’s plans on sending weapons to Syria, but also about previously sent weapons, and here I mean weapons purchased from European countries which were later sent from the Gulf to Syria.”

“If this is true, this is a gross violation of the UN Security Council ban on arms deliveries to and from Libya,” Lavrov further emphasized, calling for a probe into the issue.

He stressed that some regional powers with different agendas contradict the goals of the bids to implement the Russian-US initiative for holding the conference on Syria.

He added that ”some players want instability in Syria and to lend the conflict ethnic and sectarian overtones…they also do not want a political solution and do not want Syria a diversified state…those players have a very narrow agenda.”

Lavrov urged all influential countries to implement the G8 summit statement, especially as regards Syria, affirming that the final statement stressed respect to Syria’s sovereignty and its territorial integrity, and called the Syrian government and opposition to exert efforts to get the gunmen out of Syria.

Lavrov also denied reports that the Russian resupply base in Tartus and the Russian embassy in Damascus are shutting down. “The embassy and the base are working in routine mode,” he was cited as saying, describing the news as ”baseless and provocative rumors that aim at obstructing Russian efforts.”

Lavrov said that Russia-Morocco rapprochement pushes the two countries to cooperate at the UN Security Council on a variety of issues, including Syria, adding that both countries share full respect to the international law and rules.

The Moroccan FM said that the main principle is to preserve Syria’s unity and non-interference in its affairs, and backing every political solution that leads to a cessation of violence there.

He expressed his country’s support to convening the international conference on Syria, signally readiness to take part in every endeavor that leads to an end to the bloodshed in Syria.

Peskov : Putin discusses international issues, preparations for conference on Syria

Media Advisor to the Russian President Dmitry Peskov said that President Vladimir Putin discussed with member of the Russian National Security Council, the international issues including preparations for the international conference on Syria and the current Russian-US relations.

“During the meeting, views on the efforts exerted for the preparation for the international conference on Syria, were elaborately exchanged, ” Peskov told reporters on Friday.

He added “The meeting also discussed the current international issues as well as issues of social and economic life in Russia.”

India, Russia emphasize importance of political solution in Syria

Russian President’s Special Representative to the Middle East, Deputy Foreign Minister, Mikhail Bogdanov discussed with the Indian ambassador in Moscow Ajai Malhotra the situation in Syria and the region.

The two sides also discussed mutual efforts to help find a speedy political settlement to the crisis through convening an international conference according to the Russian-US agreement issued on May 7.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Friday that Bogdanov received Malhotra on Friday, adding that the two sides discussed the urgent topics on the Middle East agenda, especially the situation in Syria.

M. Ismael/Ghussoun

Czech FM discusses situation in Syria with national coordination committee

Jun 29, 2013

Prague, (SANA) – Czech Foreign Affairs Minister Karel Schwarzenberg met with a delegation from the national coordination committee of the democratic change forces in Syria, discussing with them the situation in Syria and means to support efforts for reaching a peaceful solution for the crisis in it.

The Czech Foreign Affairs Ministry said that the two sides stressed the importance of the upcoming meeting on Syria to be held in Geneva, and that discussions focused on supporting a political and peaceful solution for the crisis in Syria.

The Ministry said that Schwarzenberg voiced his country’s support for the conference granted that the representatives of the Syrian opposition inside Syria are accepted as a legitimate part of the Syrian opposition, instead of limiting the opposition’s representation to the ones from abroad.

The delegation also met First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Jiři Schneider and discussed with him the situation in Syria.

The Czech Republic and Austria opposed the steps taken by some EU countries – particularly France and Britain – in their blind attempts to arm terrorist groups in Syria.

H. Sabbagh

Syrians of the occupied Golan reaffirm commitment to homeland

Jun 29, 2013

Majdal Shams, (SANA) – Syrians of the occupied Golan reiterated their commitment to their national Syrian identity, reiterating that they will continue to hold on to their land and fight occupation.

This came in a statement following a meeting of spiritual leaders of the city of Majdal Shams on Friday which was held to respond to Israeli allegations and lies that claim they intend to abandon their Syrian identity.

The statement stressed that the people of the occupied Syrian Golan are strongly adherent to their national stances, and that their Syrian identity is rooted in their blood and that it will never be gone.

The statement refuted all Israeli allegations that the displaced people of the Golan are considering abandoning their Syrian identity, saying that these lies are part of the fervent Israeli campaign to assimilate and Judaize the Golan, adding that this attempt will fail like all others before it.

The statement said that any statement that differs from the popular and national consensus in the occupied Syrian Golan merely represents the individuals who made such a statement.

H. Sabbagh

Poll reveals most Britons oppose sending arms to gunmen in Syria

Jun 29, 2013

Damascus, SANA_ A majority of the British public are against sending arms to the armed group in Syria, according to a poll made by ComRes for The Independent.

The poll revealed that 52 percent of people say they would oppose the government providing arms to the armed opposition, while 13 per cent are undecided.

According to ComRes, women (54 percent) are more likely to be against supplying arms than men (51 per cent).

Liberal Democrat supporters (60 percent) are more likely to oppose the idea than Labour voters (52 percent).

The poll results enhance position of the British politicians who are hesitant regarding sending weapons to the armed terrorist groups in Syria.

Earlier, a survey conducted by Opinium/Observer in the beginning of this month showed that the majority of Britons oppose arming the armed terrorist groups in Syria after the European Union’s decision to lift the ban. 78 percent of them believed that the British army is exhausted after its participation in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

With Labour, the Liberal Democrats and at least 80 Conservative MPs opposed to the idea, it looks doubtful that the British government’s plans could win the support of the House of Commons.

Despite that, British ministers are making the case for intervention. Yesterday Alistair Burt, the Foreign Office Minister, argued that helping the armed terrorists would be in the British national interest.

Interviewed in Parliament’s The House magazine, he said: “We have a British interest in the fact that people from all over the world are being drawn into Syria. This includes people from the United Kingdom. They train and they experience conflict on an extremist basis. It cannot be in our interest that this goes on for long because these people return home.

Ghossoun /

Russia, Morocco stress necessity of holding international Syria conference

Jun 29, 2013

Moscow, (SANA)_Russian FM Sergey Lavrov reiterated Russia’s commitment to holding an international conference to solve the crisis in Syria, affirming that supplying more weapons to the ‘Syrian opposition’ hinders the conference and is a violation of all international resolutions that should be probed.

Speaking at a Friday press conference with Morocco’s counterpart Saadeddin al-Othmani in Moscow, Lavrov said that ”Russia is committed to convening the international conference on Syria according to what has been agreed upon with the Americans on May 7.”

In reply to a question on the chances of holding the conference with the Americans following Wall Street Journal leaks that the US will be arming the ‘Syrian opposition’ via Jordan, Lavrov said “the activities aimed at providing weapons to the opposition, which have recently intensified, only means that the precondition [set by the foreign-backed militants to restore a balance of power on the battle ground] is supported by the West and other countries which are going to supply such weapons, this contradicting the very concept of the conference, which is to begin without any preconditions.”

Lavrov said that the Russian-US initiative aims to fully implement Geneva statement issued on June 30, 2012 that stipulates the approval of the Syrian government and opposition to participate without preconditions. ”But we heard that the Western-backed opposition won’t be attending the conference unless two conditions are met; that the current regime steps down and that they get the upper hand on the ground.”

Commenting on Western media reports about US weapons’ shipments to the armed terrorist groups in Syria, Lavrov said there is talk of a flow of Libyan weapons to Syria other than the American, saying ”journalists do not only speak about US administration’s plans on sending weapons to Syria, but also about previously sent weapons, and here I mean weapons purchased from European countries which were later sent from the Gulf to Syria.”

“If this is true, this is a gross violation of the UN Security Council ban on arms deliveries to and from Libya,” Lavrov further emphasized, calling for a probe into the issue.

He stressed that some regional powers with different agendas contradict the goals of the bids to implement the Russian-US initiative for holding the conference on Syria.

He added that ”some players want instability in Syria and to lend the conflict ethnic and sectarian overtones…they also do not want a political solution and do not want Syria a diversified state…those players have a very narrow agenda.”

Lavrov urged all influential countries to implement the G8 summit statement, especially as regards Syria, affirming that the final statement stressed respect to Syria’s sovereignty and its territorial integrity, and called the Syrian government and opposition to exert efforts to get the gunmen out of Syria.

Lavrov also denied reports that the Russian resupply base in Tartus and the Russian embassy in Damascus are shutting down. “The embassy and the base are working in routine mode,” he was cited as saying, describing the news as ”baseless and provocative rumors that aim at obstructing Russian efforts.”

Lavrov said that Russia-Morocco rapprochement pushes the two countries to cooperate at the UN Security Council on a variety of issues, including Syria, adding that both countries share full respect to the international law and rules.

The Moroccan FM said that the main principle is to preserve Syria’s unity and non-interference in its affairs, and backing every political solution that leads to a cessation of violence there.

He expressed his country’s support to convening the international conference on Syria, signally readiness to take part in every endeavor that leads to an end to the bloodshed in Syria.

Peskov : Putin discusses international issues, preparations for conference on Syria

Media Advisor to the Russian President Dmitry Peskov said that President Vladimir Putin discussed with member of the Russian National Security Council, the international issues including preparations for the international conference on Syria and the current Russian-US relations.

“During the meeting, views on the efforts exerted for the preparation for the international conference on Syria, were elaborately exchanged, ” Peskov told reporters on Friday.

He added “The meeting also discussed the current international issues as well as issues of social and economic life in Russia.”

India, Russia emphasize importance of political solution in Syria

Russian President’s Special Representative to the Middle East, Deputy Foreign Minister, Mikhail Bogdanov discussed with the Indian ambassador in Moscow Ajai Malhotra the situation in Syria and the region.

The two sides also discussed mutual efforts to help find a speedy political settlement to the crisis through convening an international conference according to the Russian-US agreement issued on May 7.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Friday that Bogdanov received Malhotra on Friday, adding that the two sides discussed the urgent topics on the Middle East agenda, especially the situation in Syria.

M. Ismael/Ghussoun

Czech FM discusses situation in Syria with national coordination committee

Jun 29, 2013

Prague, (SANA) – Czech Foreign Affairs Minister Karel Schwarzenberg met with a delegation from the national coordination committee of the democratic change forces in Syria, discussing with them the situation in Syria and means to support efforts for reaching a peaceful solution for the crisis in it.

The Czech Foreign Affairs Ministry said that the two sides stressed the importance of the upcoming meeting on Syria to be held in Geneva, and that discussions focused on supporting a political and peaceful solution for the crisis in Syria.

The Ministry said that Schwarzenberg voiced his country’s support for the conference granted that the representatives of the Syrian opposition inside Syria are accepted as a legitimate part of the Syrian opposition, instead of limiting the opposition’s representation to the ones from abroad.

The delegation also met First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Jiři Schneider and discussed with him the situation in Syria.

The Czech Republic and Austria opposed the steps taken by some EU countries – particularly France and Britain – in their blind attempts to arm terrorist groups in Syria.

H. Sabbagh

EYEWITNESS REPORT OF THE BATTLE OF AL-QUASYR

By Syria Report

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Kris Janssen, a Belgian journalist, wrote the following eyewitness account after he visited Al-Qusayr on 22 June during a visit to Syria.

Al-Qusayr is a small city in Homs governate (province). It is located about 35 kilometers from the provincial capital Homs and 15 kilometres from the Lebanese border overlooking a mountainous area.

Although its a small city, it has great strategic importance because of its proximity to Lebanon and it provides a direct gateway to the provincial capital of Homs, the coastal area around Tartous and also to Damascus countryside.

The small city of al-Qusayr grabbed the world’s headline news in the last couple of weeks because of the ferocious battle which took place between the extremist militants and the so called Free Syrian army supported by the international anti-Syrian coalition on the one hand and the Syrian National Army on the other hand. The battle for the liberation of al-Qusayr began on the 19th of May and ended on the 5th of June 2013 resulting in a decisive victory for the Syrian National Army.

Because of its strategic importance, the extremist militants designed a plan to capture al- Qusayr and to use the city as a launching pad for further attacks and terrorist actions. Their operations started in February 2012 and were build around the same tactics used before in other parts of Syria, especially in the city of Daraʼa near the Jordanian border.

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Like Daraʼa, the city of al-Qusayr is near to a border, in this case the Lebanese border, which made it an easy target to infiltrate. The master plan was to have some rough elements infiltrating the city and making trouble after the Friday prayers as to provoke the security services and police. The extremist elements hoped for a heavy handed intervention of the security services and by doing so provoking violence and conflict between the civilian population and the security services. The local administration, well aware of these attempts, didn’t trap into this provocation and stayed as much as possible on the sidelines. When this provocation failed, some terrorists with a foreign nationality intervened and opened fire from sniper positions killing an innocent civilian hoping that the inhabitants would put the blame on the security services. This started a vicious cycle of violence and while making use of the confusion more terrorists infiltrated the city and began a campaign of sectarian cleansing in which they forced all Christians, Shi’a Muslims and Alawites out of the city or to be killed. When these families fled the city their houses were immediately taken by the terrorists and their belongings looted.

From this moment on they started to terrorise the remaining inhabitants who decided to stay and to attack the local police- and security services gradually taking over full control of al-Qusayr. It should be mentioned that some families refused to flee al-Qusayr and decided to stay whatever the cost and by doing so risking their lives and that of their relatives. One person became a local hero and a symbol for his actions representing others who made similar attempts to defend their streets and neighbourhoods till the last moment sacrificing their lives for the defence of the homeland. His name was Hanna (Arabic for John). Hanna was a Christian from al-Qusayr. When the extremist militants took over the city he refused to give in to the threats and organised with his family, friends and neighbours a self-defence brigade to protect his street and neighbourhood against the sectarian cleansing carried out by the terrorists. For more than four months he managed to defend the neighbourhood although fully surrounded by the extremists and even after the killing of his father and brother he continued his courageous defence efforts. When after four months Hanna himself was killed he became a symbol for the inhabitants of the city and the slogan “We are all Hanna” became a household name along the population of al-Qusayr used not only to honour Hanna but also to honour and remember all the other martyrs who gave their lives in the same circumstances to defend al-Qusayr and its inhabitants against the two barbaric acts of the terrorists. There was not only one Hanna but many Hanna’s who sacrificed their lives for the noble goal of freedom and against extremism.

Once the terrorists took over al-Qusayr, they began implementing their diabolic plan of destroying every possible symbol of peaceful coexistence between the inhabitants of al- Qusayr. They destroyed the local church, mosques and other important places where Shiʼa Muslims, Alawites or Christians used to come together.

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Furthermore, these terrorist elements began to dig tunnels under all public buildings and placed explosives beneath them to blow them up. Especially those building which provided a service to the community as the public hospital that had such an excellent reputation that it even was used extensively by the Lebanese living over the border, but also schools, electricity- and water supply infrastructure were destroyed. The purpose of these destructions was to erase every form of peaceful cohabitation between the citizens of al- Qusayr and make living conditions so harsh as to force the Christian, Shiʼa and Alawite community out of the city or to be killed. It should also be mentioned that in the sick and twisted minds of these extremists the public buildings were not there to provide services to the population but symbolised the authority of the Syrian government. According to their vision the public hospital providing healthcare for the whole population of al-Qusayr and surroundings was “the hospital of Bashar al-Assad”. The schools providing education for the children of al-Qusayr were in analogy “the schools of Bashar al-Assad”, etc… . In this twisted logic every public building or infrastructure providing services to the population had to be destroyed bringing living standards in al-Qusayr back to the stone age.

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On the 19th of May 2013, the Syrian National Army began a massive military operation to liberate al-Qusayr. This resulted in a decisive victory and the Syrian army regained full control of al Qusayr on June 5th. The terrorists, faced with an absolute defeat, began implementing the tactic of the scorched earth. While retreating, they carried out the destruction of the whole city by blowing up the remaining private houses or using them as hiding places to open fire on the advancing Syrian army. At the end of the battle of al- Qusayr, not a single house or building in the centre of the city was spared by the destructive actions of the terrorists. Not a single house or building in al-Qusayr was or demolished or heavily damaged. These destruction didnʼt really have a military tactical purpose but was carried out by these extremist militants for the sake of the destruction itself. To make a return by the inhabitants of al-Qusayr to their homes or what is left of it as difficult as possible and also to let the Syrian authorities face the tremendous task of rebuilding the demolished city from scratch.

The Western media were quick to accuse the Syrian army for the destruction of the city as a result of its military operations but all witness reports from the local inhabitants who were still trapped in the city during the battle point to the coalition of Jabhat al-Nusra fighters and the so called Free Syrian Army as the culprits and perpetrators of the destruction of al-Qusayr. Moreover, it would make no sense at all for the Syrian National Army to destroy the city and this for several reasons. First of all, the Syrian National Army is the army for every Syrian independent of their sectarian background. The ultimate goal of liberating al-Qusayr was to make it possible for all its citizens to return to their homes in safety to rebuild and continue their lives. Destruction of the city would make this goal much more
difficult as everything has to be rebuilt and, most importantly, the local population put their
trust in the Syrian army as defenders of the homeland. It would be totally illogical and contradictory to think that the Syrian army, being the liberators of al-Qusayr and defenders of the homeland, providing security to its citizens, would have an interest in destroying al-Qusayr. To underline the positive role of the Syrian army and authorities it must be stressed that the same day the Syrian National Army liberated al-Qusayr the 3 governor of Homs province came to the city to support the citizens and make an account of the destructions perpetrated by the terrorists.

Forthwith a full inventory was made of priority repairs to be done to provide the citizens as soon as possible with all the basic amenities and utilities to facilitate the return to their houses. Just days after the liberation of al-Qusayr workshops were already implementing these repairs restoring water and electricity to some parts of the city, removing debris and clearing streets.

Because of the scale of the destruction new power-lines and pipes for the distribution of electricity and
water have to be rebuild all over the city but engineering units and mobile workshops are working day and night to gradually restore these services in every neighbourhood of al-Qusayr.

Another element of the battle of al-Qusayr which was highlighted in the Western media was the role played by the Hezbollah resistance movement in the liberation of the city. The view put forward by these Western media outlets was that without the direct involvement of Hezbollah the Syrian army would not have succeeded or would not have been able to liberate al-Qusayr and defeat the terrorists and extremists active in the city.

qusayr

As an answer to these faulty statements made to influence and misinform the general public it should be underlined that the role of Hezbollah was a supportive role while the liberation of al-Qusayr and the accompanying military operations where fully carried out by the Syrian National Army according to a tactical plan designed and implemented by the command of the Syrian army itself. The main reason of the involvement of Hezbollah was to secure the border areas cutting off supply routes to the extremist militants and by securing the border areas also making sure that the conflict would not spill over to the villages on the Lebanese side of the border. Another aspect, generally not known by the Western public, is that a significant number of Lebanese citizens are living on the Syrian side of the border. These Lebanese civilians are extremely vulnerable as the Lebanese army cannot provide them with security because they are living on the Syrian side of the border and the Syrian army was fully engaged in liberating al-Qusayr and providing security to its own citizens. Because of this precarious situation, the Hezbollah movement had no choice as to intervene and secure the borders to avoid a massacre by the retreating extremists.

NEW VIDEO OF BEHEADING OF SYRIANS LOYAL TO THEIR GOVERNMENT HIGHLIGHTS BRUTALITY OF OPPOSITION

A video purportedly showing an extrajudicial public beheading of two Bashar Assad loyalists has been uploaded onto the internet. Its authenticity has been verified by pro and anti-Assad sources, though it remains unclear who is behind the execution.

In the nine-minute clip, a group of several hundred people, including men, women and children stands around a hill, when the sentenced men, bound with ropes and wearing bags on their heads are led out. As the crowd closes in with shouts of Allah Akbar (“Glory to God!”) the two, who are wearing civilian clothes, are laid on the floor, and a bearded ‘executioner’ methodically saws through the throat of first one, then the other with a knife. The heads of the dead men are then placed on top of their bodies as the crowd continues to bay.

The phone-filmed video was uploaded on Wednesday to video-sharing site YouTube by Syrian Truth, a group that supports President Bashar Assad, which previously uncovered a clip of an anti-government fighter eating what appeared to be a human heart. According to the voices in the footage, it was shot in Khan al-Assal, near the city of Aleppo the north of the country.


The authenticity of the video was also endorsed by resources that have chiefly backed the rebels in the internal conflict that has lasted over two years – such as the UK-based Observatory for Human Rights and all4Syria.info, which moved to condemn its contents.

The identities of all parties involved in the video remain unclear.

A man is heard on the tape charges the two ‘convicted’ men of transporting weapons and ammunition for the regular army.


“I did not transport weapons, brother” cries out the man, writhing on the ground, with his hands tied behind his back.

One of the men in the video shouts out “This is punishment for the Shabiha!”. The Shabiha is a loyalist, semi-official plain-clothes militia that Assad’s opponents say has been used to crack down on dissent in contested areas. The force was implicated by the United Nations in the Houla Massacre last year, in which as many as a hundred people may have died.

Various other media, sympathetic to Assad, claimed the men were Christians, executed for religious reason, with several alleging that one of those executed was a priest. No site supplied possible names of the condemned.

The identity of the executioners is also murky.

The Syrian National Coalition, which represents the mainstream opposition to Assad, said it was still running tests to verify whether the perpetrators were genuine rebel fighters, saying the sound and images may have been tampered with for propaganda purposes. It also insisted that the “rule of law” must be preserved, including the right of anyone captured to a “fair and free trial”.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on its Facebook page that “perpetrators spoke with a classical Arabic accent and did not sound Arabic, they sounded Chechniyan (sic)”. All4Syria also claimed the executioners were fighters from the former Soviet Union, possibly Uzbekistan or Azerbaijan. Snippets of Russian can be heard in the video.

Various local sources said the militia responsible may have been part of Jabhat al Nusra – the Al Qaeda-affiliated radical Islamist group that has swelled with foreign fighters and local recruits as the conflict has dragged on.

Videos of unconfirmed provenance, depicting atrocities and use of illegal weapons, have become an almost-daily feature of the war that has cost at least 90,000 lives according to the UN. An increasingly common aspect of the footage has been the disproportionate presence of often religiously-motivated paramilitary forces on both sides, as the culprits, suggesting that the conflict may have spiraled out of control of the main warring parties.

RT

THE MYTH OF THE SECULAR, PRO-DEMOCRACY “SYRIAN REBEL”

An image grab taken from a video uploaded on Youtube on June 26, 2013 by user @syrian observatory

Even if there were secular Syrian rebels fighting for liberal democracy (and it’s not clear there are) they’d still be unworthy of support

By Stephen Gowans

Asked to justify his support for what his interlocutor called “Islamo-fascists,” a leftist sympathetic to the Syrian rebellion replied, “I’m not supporting radical Islamists. I support the Free Syrian Army’s fight for democracy.” With al-Qaeda aligned jihadists beheading some of their enemies and eating the organs of others, that’s the best case supporters of the Syrian rebellion can make these days. Unlike the radical Islamists, who dominate the rebellion and want to build a theocracy atop the hoped-for ruins of Syria’s secular Arab nationalist regime, the uprising’s Western leftist supporters are against dictatorship and for democracy. That’s why, they say, they’re backing the FSA.

But much as they believe they’re on the side on the angels, they’re not. The idea that the FSA is the secular, democratic front of a popular uprising ignores a number of problems, from a misunderstanding of what the FSA is, to blindness to the democratic reforms already carried out in Syria, to an unwarranted fondness for a political arrangement that would open the doors to US domination of Syria.

The “moderate” rebels

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Let’s begin with the misunderstanding about the Free Syrian Army. There’s nothing secular about the FSA, and nothing democratic about it, either. The US-backed rebel army exists, according to its leaders, for one reason—to remove Bashar al-Assad as president. [1] Its sole program, then, is negative, without positive (either democratic or secular) aspirations.

You don’t have to be committed to a secular society to belong to the FSA. Indeed, according to Reuters, the organization’s military command is “Islamist dominated”. [2] The Associated Press says that “Many of the participating groups have strong Islamists agendas, and some have fought in ways that could scare away Western backers. They include the Tawheed Brigade, whose ideology is similar to that of the Muslim Brotherhood, and the Falcons of Damascus, an ultraconservative Islamist group.” [3] The Wall Street Journal reports that Brig. Gen. Mithkal Albtaish, an FSA leader, says that the organization is “dominated by Islamist groups that are in close coordination with al Nusra,” [4] the al-Qaeda aligned terrorist group. The idea, then, that the FSA is secular is mistaken.

Neither does the FSA have a political program committed to democracy. “Eliminate Assad” does not necessarily mean “create democracy.” It could mean “create theocracy” or “create a US-puppet regime.” Hence, what the FSA wants to replace Assad with, is not defined, but given that the organization is backed, armed, supported and guided by the United States, its European satellites, and Arab royalist dictators (an iconoclast has dubbed the loose alliance of rebel groups the Foreign Supplied Army) we can guess that the answer is: whatever the FSA’s backers, prime among them Washington, say. And let’s be clear. The FSA’s goal isn’t to eliminate Assad per se, but the policies Assad and his allies are committed to: economic nationalism; anti-colonialism; alliance with Iran; and so on, about which more in a moment. It is inconceivable that the United States and its FSA marionette would tolerate a successor to Assad who maintained Assad’s foreign and economic policies.

US foreign policy

The aim of US foreign policy is to defend and promote the interests of that section of the country’s citizens which has the greatest sway over its formation. This is by no means a unique feature of the foreign policy of the United States, but is a universal characteristic of the foreign policies of all countries. French, Russian, Chinese and British foreign policies are no different. For example, the basic priority of foreign policy in Britain—where the country’s business interests have a commanding influence over state policy— “is to aid British companies in getting their hands on other countries’ resources,” according to British foreign policy analyst Mark Curtis. Pointing to the role of one instrument of British foreign policy, the country’s foreign intelligence service, MI6, Curtis observes,

As Lord Mackay, then Lord Chancellor, revealed in the mid-1990s, the role of MI6 is to protect Britain’s ‘economic well-being’ by keeping ‘a particular eye on Britain’s access to key commodities, like oil or metals [and] the profits of Britain’s myriad of international business interests.’ [5]

The aim of US (or British) foreign policy is not to promote a particular kind of political regime in other countries. It, does not, contrary, to its own rhetoric, favour liberal democracies over other political systems, nor promote liberal democracy abroad, except insofar as liberal democratic political arrangements are congenial to the business interests of its most influential citizens. If fascist dictatorship, military autocracy or absolutist monarchy best serves the profit-making interests of preeminent US investors, banks and corporations at a particular time and place, the United States is happy to promote and defend these alternative regimes. For example, royal dictatorships abound among Washington’s Arab allies. Washington is comfortable having Arab dictators as friends because these regimes are congenial to US business, financial and military interests—recycling petro-dollars through US investment banks; cooperating with the US military, and in some case hosting US military bases; purchasing US military equipment; and implementing pro-US foreign investment and trade policies. When Arab dictators have become less accommodating, and more interested in promoting local interests, Washington has turned against them, reviling them as dictators to galvanize support at home for interventions to topple them, and replace them with more congenial (to wealthy US investor) rulers. “Rebel” journalist Wilfred Burchett put it this way: “The truth of the matter is that any country which can guarantee safety for British and American investments, no matter what the color of its regime, is acceptable to Whitehall and the White House, whether it be a personal dictatorship in Santo Domingo, clerical Fascist in Spain, semi Fascist in South Africa, or a gangster regime in a South American republic.” [6]

There are, then, two points—the first about goals and the second about means.

• The goal of US foreign policy is to promote the profit-making interests of its super-wealthy citizens who have goods to export and capital to invest.
• Liberal democracy is sometimes seen as the best way to achieve this goal, but sometimes not. When liberal democracy is understood as the best arrangement, Washington will promote it. When a different political arrangement is understood to best support fundamental US foreign policy aims, Washington will promote that different political arrangement.

Is the United States promoting liberal democracy in Syria?

If it is, it is only doing so incidentally, and we don’t even know if it’s doing that. All we know is that Washington, like the FSA (or more precisely the FSA like Washington) wants to topple the Ba’ath regime and it’s easy to infer why. Damascus pursues too many objectionable policies from Washington’s point of view. First, there’s economic nationalism (subsidies to domestic firms, restrictions on foreign investment, tariffs to protect domestic industry, displacement of free enterprise by state-ownership—all of which limit US profit-making opportunities). Then there’s Syria’s refusal to recognize the Zionist conquest of Palestine (i.e., to recognize Israel.) Syria’s support for Hezbollah and alliance with Iran are also irritants, as is the country’s military cooperation with Russia. So, all we know is that Washington wants Assad gone—because his policies fail to mesh with the US foreign policy goal of making US investors, corporations and financiers richer.

At the moment, we can seriously doubt that the United States is working through the rebels to promote liberal democracy, because (a) the dominant part of the rebellion, the radical Islamists, abhor liberal democracy and are committed to a theocracy, and (b) the FSA is only committed to ousting Assad, and has no commitment to promoting democracy. But suppose the United States is indeed working to promote liberal democracy in Syria. Would a US-imposed liberal democracy be better than what currently exists in the country? Syria is in transition from a political arrangement which defined the Arab nationalist and socialist Ba’ath Party as the country’s lead political organization to a multi-party electoral democratic arrangement in which no party is primus inter pares. A constitutional amendment introduced under pressure of the Syrian revolt, and ratified by referendum, stripped the Ba’athists of their lead role in Syrian society, and scheduled a presidential election for 2014. Anyone who meets basic requirements can stand for election. At the same time, restrictions on civil liberties, implemented because Syria is in a technical state of war with Israel, were lifted. Thus, whoever backs the Syrian rebels on grounds that they’re bringing to birth a new liberal democratic order in Syria (of which we have no evidence that they are or even intend to do so) needs to show how the child that will be delivered through the pain of more war will be any different from the child that has already been delivered through Assad’s reforms.

There’s something else they need to explain. What’s so wonderful about a US-approved liberal democratic order? Liberal democracy appeals to the US’s power elite because it creates an “open society”—one which affords the wealthy elite plenty of room to use their command over their considerable resources to dominate the political process. They use their wealth and connections to place themselves and their representatives in key state decision-making positions; to lobby politicians and regulatory agencies; to bribe politicians with campaign funding and the promise of lucrative post-political jobs; and to hire public relations firms and establish foundations to set media and scholarly agendas. Through these means they concentrate state power in their hands (complementing their considerable economic power); win most political battles; and monopolize the society’s benefits.

An open Syrian society would allow the United States to act in Syria as the US corporate elite acts in the United States. It could buy influence by funding political candidates and parties that are pro-West, pro-US, pro-free-trade, pro-Israel, and pro-foreign-investment. It could allow the State Department to funnel money to local media to promote US positions (openly, through the National Endowment for Democracy, or covertly, if necessary). And Washington could bankroll NGOs, either directly or through private foundations, to garner popular support for policies favorable to US interests. The outcome would be that state power would be concentrated in the hands of US lackeys; US interests would win out in political battles with local interests; and the US corporate elite would monopolize the benefits of the Syrian economy. That’s not democracy. It’s neo-colonialism.

Conclusion

There are two kinds of rebels in Syria. Those who openly promote theocracy. And those whose only public commitment is to eliminate Assad. The military command of the latter includes secular elements but is Islamist-dominated. Their goals, beyond eliminating Assad, are undefined—perhaps concealed. They may want to create a theocracy, or a US-puppet regime, or both, or something else altogether. They are also armed, trained, backed and politically supported by the United States, its European satellites, and Arab royal dictatorships.

The United States supports foreign organizations that can help advance the interests of that section of the US population which holds sway over US foreign policy formation—wealthy bankers, major investors and huge corporations looking for export and investment opportunities abroad. It does not support democratic organizations—those that seek to promote the interests of the people in the countries in which US investors and corporations seek to do business. The belief, then, that there exists a popular uprising in Syria for democracy that, despite its being backed by the United States, can still be an instrument for promoting the interests of Syrians, is found on mistaken ideas about who the rebels are and a misunderstanding of the nature of US foreign policy. To square this circle, one would have to believe that the interests of the US corporate elite are congruent with, and not inimical to, the interests of the vast majority of Syria’s people.

But even if, indeed, we could say that Washington is backing some of the rebels on the ground with the aim of creating a liberal democracy in Syria, we would still have to ask two questions. First, would this political system, which is to be secured at the cost of many more tens of thousands of lives in a continued war, be any better than the one already conceded by the Assad government? Second, would an open society—one affording plenty of room for US forces to dominate Syria’s public and economic life—be preferable to a less open one, whose restrictions guard against foreign domination and allow the state to pursue local interests?

1. Zeina Karam, “In rare public appearance, Syrian president denies role in Houla massacre”, The Associated Press, June 3, 2012.
2. “Syrian rebels elect head of new military command,” Reuters, December 8, 2012.
3. Bassem Mroue and Benn Hubbard, “Syria rebels create new unified military command,” Associated Press, December 8, 2012.
4. Inti Landauro and Stacy Meichtry, “Rebels in Syria move to show moderation”, The Wall Street Journal, June 27, 2013
5. Mark Curtis, Web of Deceit: Britain’s Real Role in the World, Vintage, 2003, pp.210-211.
6. Wilfred Burchett, excerpt from People’s Democracies, in George Burchett and Nick Shimmin (eds.), Rebel Journalism: The Writings of Wilfred Burchett, Cambridge University Press, 2007, p. 45.

SANA DAILY HEADLINES JUNE 23, 2013


DAILY NEWS IN INTERNATIONAL LANGUAGES | AUDIO | VIDEO

SANA DAILY HEADLINES ON SYRIA 360°



PRESIDENT ASSAD’S FULL INTERVIEW WITH JURGEN TODENHOFER


Three citizens martyred, including a child, in car bomb blast in Mazzeh 86 area

Jun 23, 2013

Damascus, (SANA)-[Update]Three citizens were martyred, including a 3 year old boy, in a car bomb blast which hit the residential al-Mazzeh 86 neighborhood in Damascus.

SANA reporter said terrorists detonated a car loaded with explosives on the main road near the bus station in Mazzeh 86 (Madrasa), killing three citizens and injuring others.

He stressed that a 3 year old boy was among the martyrs, pointing out that the explosion caused great damage to the residential buildings in the site.

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A source at al-Muwasat Hospital told SANA reporter that the bodies of three people arrived at the hospital, in addition to 7 injured people, among them two children.

Mazzeh 86 area has been targeted with a series of terrorist bombings through car bombs and explosive devices which caused tens of deaths and injuries.

Two explosive device blasts hit the area on 6th and 12th of last December near a bakery and a Basic Education school, killing a citizen and injuring others.

Eleven citizens were martyred and tens of others were injured when a car bomb was blown up in Arous al-Jabal area on November 5th. The victims included women and children.

Two citizens martyred by mortar shells in Damascus and its countryside

Two citizens were martyred and several others injured by mortar shells that terrorists fired on al-Abbasiyyin and Jaramana areas.

An official source at the Police Command told SANA that three mortar shells fell in the vicinity of al-Abbasiyyin stadium in Damascus. One citizen was martyred and seven others injured.

The source added that terrorists attacked with mortar shells Al-Nahda neighborhood in Jaramana city in Damascus countryside. A 12-year-old child was martyred and four citizens were injured.  

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H. Said

Suicide bombers trying to enter two police and security departments in Damascus repelled

Jun 23, 2013

Damascus, (SANA)- Five people were martyred and nine others were injured, including civilians and military members, on Sunday as a result of confrontations with suicide bombers who tried to enter a police department and a criminal security branch in Damascus.

A statement by the Interior Ministry clarified that three suicide bombers blew themselves up at around 8:45 am as they tried to enter the building of the Police Department of Rukn Eddin neighborhood in Damascus.

“The Police Department members clashed with the bombers and confronted them,” said the Ministry’s statement issued Sunday.

It added that three other suicide bombers wearing suicide belts tried at 9:30 am to enter the Criminal Security Department in Damascus to blow themselves up, but were repelled by the Department’s members.

“The bombers were killed with their suicide belts going off before they were able to enter the building,” the statement said.

The Interior Ministry pointed out that the initial death toll of the terrorist bombings are five martyrs, in addition to 9 injured, including civilians and military members.

The terrorist blasts also caused great damage to the public and private properties, official buildings, houses and cars in the site, according to the statement.

It pointed out that the authorities at the Interior Ministry immediately launched an investigation, which included taking samples from the remains of the victims and remnants of the explosives from the scene.

“Initial investigations showed that the terrorists are members of Jabhat al-Nusra, which was evident through the badges and the costumes they had on,” said the Ministry’s statement.

The Interior Ministry stressed that such “coward criminal acts” will not dissuade it from continuing its work and that “it will rather work hard to root out terrorism…and won’t be tolerant in chasing the takfiri terrorists.”

The Ministry called upon the citizens to cooperate with the authorities to inform them of any suspicious case and provide them with any information about the movement and activities of the terrorists.

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H. Said

Six Lebanese army personnel martyred, 19 wounded in clashes in Sidon

Jun 23, 2013

Beirut, (SANA) – Six members of the Lebanese army were martyred and 19 others were wounded during clashes with gunmen affiliated with the salafi Ahmad al-Assir in Sidon city in Lebanon.

The General Command of the Lebanese army said in a statement that an armed group affiliated with the salafi Ahmad al-Assir attacked a military checkpoint in Abra town in Sidon city, which caused the martyrdom of three army personnel, including two officers, and the injury of others, in addition to material damage to military vehicles.

The Lebanese National News Agency pointed out that a number of ambulances were stopped near Bilal Bin Rabah Mosque to transport the wounded to Sidon hospitals, adding that the clashes are still ongoing and the army pursues the gunmen.

The Lebanese al-Manar TV channel pointed out that supporters of al-Assir opened fire on a Lebanese army checkpoint in Abra area, adding that the gunmen fired RPG rounds at Sidon after they had attacked the Lebanese army in Abra area.

In the same context, a Lebanese citizen in Alman was injured with a stray bullet from the clashes between the army and al-Assir gunmen in Sidon.

B. Mousa / H. Sabbagh

Syrian community in Canada, Switzerland show solidarity with motherland

Jun 23, 2013

Ottawa, (SANA)_The Syrian community members in Canada and Switzerland organized rallies and sit-ins in solidarity with motherland, Syria and in appreciation of the sacrifices of the Syrian army in the battle against terrorism.

A mass rally took place outside the Canadian parliament in Toronto under the motto ”Hands off Syria”. The participants expressed great appreciation for the Syrian army and the homeland’s martyrs who fell in defense of Syria.

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Human rights activists also took part in the rally.

In Switzerland, the Syrian community, along with Lebanese and Iraqi nationals and a number of Turkish community members who oppose the policies of Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government organized a mass rally in Basel city in support of the Syrian leadership, people and army.

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Speeches were delivered that divulged the dimensions and goals of the conspiracy against Syria and the role of Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Erdogan’s government in it.

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M. Ismael

Prison sentence and fine imposed upon people who enter Syria illegally 

Jun 23, 2013

Damascus, (SANA)– The People’s Assembly approved in a session on Sunday a draft law imposing penalties upon people who enter Syria illegally, with the penalties including a 1-5 year prison sentence and/or a SYP 5-10 million fine.

Justice Minister Najm al-Ahmad said that this step was taken due to the exceptional current circumstances and the entry of large number of foreigners into Syria illegally for various purposes, all while there were no penal laws for such transgressions, which necessitated the need for this law to act as a deterrent to those who want to enter Syria illegally.

Al-Ahmad said this law covers all Syrian territories including regional waters and airspace, not just land.

During this session, Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs, Minister of Internal Trade and Consumer Protection Qadri Jamil, addressed the inquest request to discuss monetary and economic policies which caused the SYP exchange rate to drop to an unprecedented level, saying that these issues have already been discussed in prior sessions.

Jamil that the request is based on erroneous concepts: the first is the idea of there being an economic team within the government, which is not true as the term “economic team” was used in the previous Cabinet, and the second being the idea that there are no economic solutions for the economic issues in question.

Jamil said that holding one person responsible is unfair and unrealistic and constitutes a politicization of the economic crisis, and that inquest requests shouldn’t be used to send a contextual messages that the opposition cannot assume responsibility within the government.

In turn, Minister of Economy and Foreign Trade Mohammad Zafer Mhabbak underlined the need to make a distinction between the tasks of monetary establishments like the Central Bank of Syria and the tasks of monitoring quality, prices and marketing which are the responsibility of the Internal Trade and Consumer Protection Ministry.

Mhabbak explained that economy is part of the war imposed on Syria which seeks to destroy Syrian economy, using various methods including targeting industrial facilities and transportation, leading to reducing production and therefore exports, which resulted in depriving the Syrian economy from foreign currency income from exports, in addition to the loss of resources from lack of tourism and money transfer from Syrian expatriates and foreign investors.

He said that the gap between overall supply and demand in terms of foreign currency which caused the increasing exchange rates, and this was exasperated by some people’s desire to purchase foreign currency to protect their money from receding, noting that this affected the general level or prices.

Mhabbak asserted that his Ministry is doing its best to reduce the impact of the crisis on society as a whole and provide essentials, primarily food and medicine.

For his part, Assembly member Maher Hajjar who submitted the inquest request said he didn’t receive accurate responses to some of the points he raised, calling for boosting the state’s role in economy and reconsidering some economic decisions and procedures.

Other Assembly members raised and discussed issues related to economy, mainly the rising prices of goods and food and citizens’ inability to procure their daily needs. They also discussed the issue of people running monopolies and exploiting the crisis for their own benefit.

The Assembly members called on the government to intervene to control prices and exchange rate, warning against squandering foreign currency reserves.

Following these discussions, Hajjar decided to postpone requesting a vote of no confidence which could be requested following an inquest, saying he would prefer to wait and see results on the ground.

The Assembly referred decrees and draft laws to the proper committees for study and discussions, and referred members’ written questions to the proper authorities.

The session was adjourned until 12 PM on Monday.

H. Sabbagh

Damascus… vibrant city, bustling markets, (Report in Photos)

Jun 23, 2013

 Damascus, (SANA)- Damascus markets, streets and parks witness normal movement as the city’s markets are full with customers and its gardens are full with children.

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Ahmadinejad: Region’s Enemies Seek to impose their will

Jun 23, 2013

Tehran, (SANA) – Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said that the events in Syria are part of a scenario plotted by the enemies as to impose their will and control the region.

During his meeting with Foreign Minister of the Lebanese caretaker government Adnan Mansour on Sunday, Ahmadinejad stressed the importance of national unity and understanding as the sole way to overcome the crisis in Syria.

He said that violence does not solve any problem, adding that all the Syrian sides should sit at the negotiating table and reach an understanding.

For his part, Mansour criticized the decision to send weapons to the sides which are fighting the Syrian state, adding that this procedure will further prolong the crisis.

Abdullahian criticizes Western sides’ mistakes in Syria

Iranian Assistant Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs, Amir Hossein Abdullahian, stressed that Syria has passed the security crisis quite well as only few numbers of terrorists and armed groups are left with the grip being tightened on them.

Abdullahian however criticized, in an interview with the Iranian Fars news agency, the sides that are sending weapons to the armed terrorist groups in Syria, saying those are responsible for civilian deaths and instability in the region.

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He lashed out at those sides for further encouraging the terrorists through sending weapons and ammunition to push terrorist operations towards achieving those sides’ own goals.

Abdullahian criticized Britain and France’s policies towards Syria, saying they have made many strategic mistakes in the region, including Syria.

He considered that the latest Western and American inclination towards the need to adopt political mechanisms to solve the crisis in Syria, although late, are of a certain importance.

He stressed that the US should stop taking contradictory stances towards the developments in the region and Syria and stop making mistakes of supporting terrorism and the killing of innocent people and the infrastructure destruction in this country.

The US should support halting the violence and encourage national dialogue in Syria instead of sending weapons so as the Syrian people can decide their own destiny by themselves, said Abdullahian.

He renewed Tehran’s support for the Syrian people in their approach of resistance.

H. Said

Training workshop for NGOs working in relief field

Jun 23, 2013

DAMASCUS, (SANA) – Minister of Social Affairs, Kinda al-Shammat, stressed the importance upgrading the situation of NGOs and enhancing their capacities being an essential partner in the relief and humanitarian work, particularly under the current circumstances in Syria.

Addressing a training workshop aimed to enhance the capacities of the non-governmental organizations in cooperation with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), al-Shammat pointed out to the necessity of training NGOs in the field of evaluating the basic needs and setting executive plans.

She added that the government is playing its role in providing services and delivering relief aid to all areas.

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Al-Shammat pointed out that the Higher Commission for Relief is always following up on drawing out plans and specifying needs based on the reports of the subcommittees in the provinces.

For his part, Head of the UNHCR Mission in Syria, Tarek al-Kurdi, stressed the importance of the workshop in terms of mobilizing efforts to ease the suffering of the families affected by the crisis in Syria.

He also highlighted the need to bolster the capabilities of the civil organizations working in the humanitarian field as being an important contribution to implementing the response plan signed with the Syrian government for the next six months.

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The training focused on using means of interviews, direct inspecting, taking samples and collecting necessary information to successfully carry out the assessment process for the cases and sticking to moral, legal and humane principles in dealing with the affected people, particularly with regard to women, children and the elderly.

The training focused on using means of interviews, direct inspecting, taking samples and collecting necessary information to successfully carry out the assessment process for the cases and sticking to moral, legal and humane principles in dealing with the affected people, particularly with regard to women, children and the elderly.

Discussion also focused on the need to take special training in cases related to endangered children and sexual violence against women.

F.Allafi/H. Said           

Central Bank denies ban on dealings in foreign currencies 

Jun 23, 2013

Damascus, (SANA) – Governor of Central Bank of Syria Adib Mayyaleh affirmed on Sunday that rumors about issuing a law prohibiting dealings in currencies other than the Syrian Pound and penalizes those who deal in foreign currencies with 13 years of prison are baseless.

Mayyaleh told SANA that no such law, decree, resolution or any procedure has been issued to this effect, asserting that current laws and regulations allow for purchasing foreign currency for trade and non-trade purposes.

He said that the spreading of these rumors aims at undermining the positive intervention carried out by the CBS to stabilize the SYP exchange rate which resulted in positive results within the past few days, noting that whenever the CBS acts to stabilize exchange rates, some sides interfere to weaken the SYP and make citizens lose confidence in it.

Mayyaleh asserted that market intervention is ongoing to stabilize exchange rates and that banks and exchange companies will continue to meet demands for foreign currency.

H. Sabbagh

President al-Assad decrees increasing monthly salaries of the State’s civil, military employees and the retired

Jun 23, 2013

Damascus, SANA-President Bashar al-Assad on Saturday issued legislative decree No. 38 for 2013 stipulating for increasing monthly salaries of civil and military state employees.

The decree provides an increase by 40% of the first 10.000 SYP of monthly salary and wage

20% for the second SYP 10.000 of the salary.

10% for the third SYP 10.000 of the salary.

5% for the amount which increases the third SYP 10.000 of the salary.

The decree increased the minimum wage of the private, cooperative and joint sector which is not included in the rules of the State’s Employees Basic Law No. 50 for 2004 to be /13670/SYP per month.

President al-Assad also issued legislative decree No. 39 for 2013 increasing monthly salaries of the State’s civil and military retired employees.

The decree provides an increase by 25% of the first SYP 10.000 of the pension,

20% for the second SYP 10.000

10% for the amount which increases the second SYP 10.000 of the pension.

Minister of Finance, Ismael Ismael, pointed out in a statement to SANA that the salary increase will be added to the salaries and wages starting off July 1st.

English Bulletin

Premier: Salary raise for state employees evidence of robust Syrian economy

Jun 23, 2013

Damascus, (SANA)_Prime Minister, Dr. Wael al-Halqi said that the salaries increase for state workers and retired employees amid economic strains is a new evidence that the Syrian economy is robust.

During his meeting on Sunday with MPs representing Hama governorate, al-Halqi said the government works to improve the living conditions for all citizens and increase relief aid to the families affected by the current crisis, affirming the government’s keenness on enhancing partnership between legislative and executive authorities.

Al-Halqi said the Syrian army will go ahead with carrying out national duties in pursuing terrorists until restoring security and stability all over Syria, adding that ”the government won’t allow one single terrorist on the Syrian land.”

Premier al-Halqi added that the Syrian people are determined to make the forthcoming national dialogue conference a success through implementing the political program for solving the crisis.

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Al-Halqi reviewed the economic and service situation, hailing the Syrian people’s and government’s steadfastness in the face of challenges.

The meeting also dealt with the government’s measures to preserve stability of the SYP exchange rate against foreign currency, stressing that the government is pushing ahead with the disbursement of compensation to the affected in all areas.

The MPs expressed interest in achieving security and stability, rejection of extremism, and commitment to national firm principles.

They also lauded the sacrifices of the Syrian army for foiling the conspiracy targeting Syria.

Al-Halqi denounces terrorist bombings in Damascus

Premier al-Halqi denounced the terrorist bombings which took place in Damascus on Sunday and claimed several lives, asserting that such cowardly acts won’t dissuade Syrians from ensuring the success of the upcoming national dialogue conference.

This came during a meeting between the ministerial committee for implementing the political program for resolving the crisis in Syria with a delegation from the Solidarity Party headed by its secretary general Mohammad Abu al-Qasem.

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Al-Halqi stressed the importance of active national dialogue among all spectrums of the Syrian society, underlining the positive results of the committee’s previous meetings and the role of political parties in bolstering the culture of dialogue and rejecting violence and Takfiri mentality.

He extended his best wishes to the Solidarity Party, hoping that it will make further progress in political, social and cultural work alongside other national parties.

The Prime Minister also decried the arming and funding of terrorist groups and mercenaries by some Arab and western countries with the aim of destroying the Syrian state, asserting that such attempts are doomed to fail.

For his part, Abu al-Qasem voiced his party’s support for the political program for resolving the crisis in Syria, while members of the party offered opinions on means to ensure the upcoming national dialogue conference and underlined the need to give attention to youths and protect them from cultural invasion.

Discussions during the meeting tackled various issues and ideas related to national dialogue, distributing humanitarian aid, resolving the issue of abductees and detainees, combating corruption, and methods for dealing with the rising prices of goods.

M. Ismael / H. Sabbagh

Al-Halqi condemns instigative fatwas of some clergymen

Jun 23, 2013

Damascus, (SANA)_Prime Minister, Dr. Wael al-Halqi hailed the honorable national stances of Arab thinkers and clergymen who are defending the Arab causes and spreading the real Islam that preaches amity and tolerance.

During his meeting on Saturday with the Arab intellectual Yehia Abu Zakaria and coordinator of the Muslim scholars forum in Akkar and North Lebanon, Sheikh AbdulSalam al-Harash, al-Halqi condemned the seditious fatwas of some clergymen “who are responsible for tearing apart the social fabric of the Arab nation and sowing the seeds of hatred and killing.”

Al-Halqi stressed the Syrians’ steadfastness and determination to carry out the political program for solving the crisis in Syria by the Syrians themselves as the Syrian army presses ahead with crackdown against the armed terrorist groups to restore security and stability.

Abu Zakaria and al-Harash expressed confidence in the inevitable victory of the Syrian people and the Syrian government’s ability to confront the war against the Syrian economy.

They also stressed that the ”sheikhs of sedition” who incite killing and hatred are helping in fragmenting the Muslim world.

In a statement to journalists following the meeting, Abu Zakaria urged Arab capitals that conspired against Syria to reconsider their course and political role as their project has failed, indicating that ”Syria has emerged victorious from the first round as reflected in the G8 summit, and the next victory will be in the international conference.”

He added that Syria is at a historic juncture, adding that a great victory that will return Syria to the forefront is in the making.

Abu Zakaria saw that the Egyptian President Mohammad Morsi ”committed a strategic mistake by his latest decisions against Syria,” calling Egypt for reconsidering these decisions.

For his part, Sheikh al-Harash said the Syrian government is facing a brutal war, adding ”We, in Lebanon, are with the Syrian people and leadership, for we are indebted to Syria for the blood of the Syrian soldiers that was spilled on the Lebanese soil in defense of Lebanon’s unity and independence.”

M. Ismael

Syrian Family Forum stresses rejection of foreign interference in Syrian affairs

Jun 23, 2013

Damascus, (SANA)_The 28th Syrian Family Forum called for openness, reaching out to the other, and confronting suspicious calls, stressing rejection of foreign meddling in the Syrian internal affairs.

The participants stressed in the final statement of the forum that was held on Saturday that the Syrian people are one family “capable of handling their own affairs and standing up to the conspiracy that is taking aim at its steadfastness.”

They called for supporting the families of martyrs and preserving the safety and security of the homeland, underlining the role of the youth in building the homeland and backing the Syrian Arab army.

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The participants stressed the importance of supporting and attracting investors, invigorating economic activities, and backing the development process as to achieve security and prosperity.

They also underlined the necessity of supporting national media in its battle against the disinformation campaign that targets the Syrians’ steadfastness, hailing the political program for solving the crisis as the best way to preserve Syria’s unity and independence.

Secretary-General of the Forum, Ahd Sharifa said that all Syrians are responsible for getting Syria out of the crisis, indicating that national reconciliation is based on tolerance, justice and removing the aftermath of the events.

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Sharifa stressed the importance of finding a Syrian solution that addresses problems without foreign interference.

She added that the Syrians are standing by their army to achieve victory, urging communications and dialogue among the Syrians to protect Syria and enhance its national unity.

Secretary-General of the Syrian Democratic Party, Ahmad Kosa considered that the meeting emphasizes that the Syrians are one family bound by their love to homeland.

Kosa highlighted the role of Arab and regional parties in destabilizing Syria and their attempts to sow sedition among Syrians.

Secretary-General of the Arab Socialist Movement, Ahmad al-Ahmad stressed that Syria’s enemies have worked since the outset of the crisis to subvert the bases of the Syrian state through targeting the army, economy and national unity, hailing the decree on increasing salaries of state employees.

He added that ”Al-Qseir victory has driven Syria’s enemies insane.”

M. Ismael

Syria’s world heritage sites on world heritage in danger list

Jun 23, 2013

DAMASCUS, (SANA) –The volume of dangers threatening the Syrian heritage sites have become gruesome along with the developments of the painful events taking place in Syria, the General Directorate for Museums and Antiques said.

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has not marked these threats in its 37th annual meeting of the World Heritage Committee held from June 16th to 24th in Cambodia; it could only list the six world heritage sites of Syria on the list of World Heritage in Danger although the excavation operations carried out by the armed terrorist groups have destroyed large chapters of Syria’s history, the Directorate stressed in a statement on Saturday.

The directorate called on all Syrians to take part in protecting the Syrian heritage, and it called on the international community to move more strongly and actively to deal with this issue and exert pressure on the neighboring countries to control their borders in face of illicit antiques trade.

Syria has six sites listed on the World Heritage List which are the Old city of Damascus, Aleppo city, Palmyra, Busra, Salah Eddin Citadel and the Krak des Chevaliers (al-Husn Citadel).

F.Allafi

Egyptian protesters: Muslim Brotherhood took country back to medieval era

Jun 23, 2013

CAIRO, (SANA) – The Egyptian Revolution Youth Coalition has announced an open sit-in outside the Egyptian Defense Ministry as of Friday morning demanding the ouster of President Mohammad Morsi and establishing a temporary civil presidential council.

The participants in the sit-in erected 15 tents in the park close to the Defense Ministry and waved the Egyptian flags and placards calling on president Morsi to step down, al-Youm al-Sabe’ (the 7th Day) newspaper said.

The participants gave Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Colonel General Abdul-Fattah al-Sisi, 48 hours to fulfill their demands which included the ouster of president Morsi, freezing the constitution and the resignation of the cabinet.

Meanwhile, General Coordinator of the National Salvation Front, Mohammad el-Baradei, called on President Mohammad Morsi to step down for Egypt to start a new stage of democracy and social justice.

In a conference dubbed “After the Departure” held Friday by a group of political forces to discuss the transitional period after the departure of president Mohammad Morsi, el-Baradei said, “The Muslim Brotherhood has taken Egypt back to the medieval times.”

President Morsi has recently issued a decision to appoint 17 new governors, most of them from the Muslim Brotherhood, which provoked the Egyptian masses.

F.Allafi     

Protesters return to Taksim Square, Anti-Erdogan demonstration in Germany

Jun 23, 2013

  Ankara, (SANA)- Under the motto /Taksim is everywhere and Resistance is everywhere.. Let’s end Erdogan’s authoritarianism/ more than 80,000 people, from various areas in Germany rallied against Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government in the German city of Cologne, AFP said.

Protesters also came from , France, Switzerland and Austria.

German Foreign Minister, Guido Westerwelle, said, following his meeting with his Turkish counterpart, Ahmet Davutoglu, that “calming the situation with Turkey still needs additional efforts.”

The tensions between Ankara and Berlin began when German Chancellor, Angela Merkel , criticized Turkey’s violent crackdown on the demonstrators as “much too harsh”.

Germany and Turkey exchanged criticism on the sidelines of the protests against Erdogan’s government, while the two countries summoned each other’s ambassadors.

Turkish European Union Affairs Minister Egemen Bagis, warned Merkel against exploiting the situation in Turkey for internal political goals connected with the German elections next September, saying “If Merkel is looking for material for her election campaign, it should not be Turkey.”

Meanwhile, thousands of Turkish demonstrators gathered in Taksim Square in Istanbul to mark a week since police evicted thousands of people from the adjacent Gezi Park.

“This is but a start, the battle continues, It is by resisting that we will prevail “, the protesters chanted, throwing red carnations in honor of those killed, injured and detained during the demonstrations that recently took place in Turkey.

The Turkish police used tear gas, rubber bullets and water cannon to disperse the demonstrators who demand Erdogan to step down .

4 people at least were killed during the demonstrations hit Turkey in protest against Erdogan’s government authoritarianism, more than 7800 others injured due to the Turkish police offensive against the peaceful protestors to evacuate Gezi Park last Saturday, Turkish medical union said.

H. Zain/ F. Allafi


US SENDS PLANELOAD OF EQUIPMENT, OFFICERS, TO SYRIA VIA TURKEY

SEE >> THE ROLE OF TURKEY IN THE US-NATO-ISRAELI WAR ON SYRIA

TEHRAN (FNA)- Tens of retired US Army officers accompanied by a military cargo infiltrated into Syria through Turkey’s Hatay province on Sunday, informed sources unveiled, adding that the American militaries and the cargo had arrived in Hatay just this morning.

“An American C-130 plane carrying a cargo of hi-tech telecommunications equipment and devices and 57 retired US officers landed in Turkey’s Hatay province this morning,” an informed source, who asked to remain unnamed for the sensitivity of his information, told FNA on Sunday.

“The US officers crossed the border with Syria via Reyhanli (in Hatay province) and their goal is to take charge of the central command of all military activities of armed rebels in Syria,” added the source.

He mentioned that the military cargo, containing the telecommunications equipment, left Reyhanli for the border crossing after the US officers arrived at their destination in Northern Syria.

Earlier this month, a report said that the US spy agency was gearing up to send weapons to insurgent groups in Syria through secret bases in Turkey and Jordan.

“The bases are expected to begin conveying shipments of weapons and ammunition within weeks,” the US daily, The Washington Post, reported Saturday, quoting unnamed American officials as saying.

“We have relationships today in Syria that we didn’t have six months ago,” US President Barack Obama’s deputy national security adviser Benjamin J. Rhodes said during a White House briefing.

US officials announced on Thursday that Obama had authorized sending weapons to the militants in Syria ‘for the first time.’

In mid-June, American newspaper USA Today quoted Christopher Harmer, an analyst with the Institute for the Study of War, as saying that the US is vetting to use Turkey’s Incirlik Air Base, which is technically a NATO air base, as a hub for supplying militants in Syria with weapons.

Early in March, a ranking member of the US marine troops deployed in Afghanistan told FNA that the Pentagon made the decision to send a major part of its light and semi-heavy weapons systems and military equipment to the Syrian rebels along with its pullout from Afghanistan when the former US Defense Secretary, Leon Panetta, was still in office.

“The decision to send our arms and weapons systems in Afghanistan to the rebel groups in Syria was originally made when the former US Secretary of Defense was in his final days of office, yet the Pentagon has also received the approval of the new Secretary, Chuck Hagel, as well,” said the source who asked to remain anonymous due to the sensitivity of his information.

“One of these cargos consists of the light and semi-heavy military tools, equipment and weapons that the US army has gathered and piled up in Kandahar Base and plans to send them to the rebels in Syria in the form of several air and sea cargos and through Turkey and specially Jordan,” he explained.

Reports had also earlier revealed that Turkey’s national air carrier, Turkish Air, has been transiting Al-Qaeda and Taliban militants from North Waziristan in Pakistan to the Turkish borders with Syria.

“The Turkish intelligence agency sent 93 Al-Qaeda and Taliban terrorists from Waziristan to Hatay province near the border with Syria on a Turkish Air Airbus flight No. 709 on September 10, 2012 and via the Karachi-Istanbul flight route,” the source told FNA in September, adding that the flight had a short stop in Istanbul.

The 93 terrorists transited to the Turkish border with Syria included Al-Qaeda militants from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Yemen, Pakistan, Afghanistan and a group of Arabs residing in Waziristan, he added.

FNA dispatches from Pakistan said new al-Qaeda members were trained in North Waziristan until a few days ago and then sent to Syria, but now they are transferring their command center to the borders between Turkey and Syria as a first step to be followed by a last move directly into the restive parts of Syria on the other side of the border.

The al-Qaeda, backed by Turkey, the US and its regional Arab allies, had set up a new camp in Northern Waziristan in Pakistan to train Salafi and Jihadi terrorists and dispatched them to Syria via Turkish borders.

“A new Al-Qaeda has been created in the region through the financial and logistical backup of Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and a number of western states, specially the US,” a source told FNA in September.

Ali Mahdian told FNA that the US and the British governments have been playing with the al-Qaeda through their Arab proxy regimes in the region in a bid to materialize their goals, specially in Syria.

He said the Saudi and Qatari regimes serve as interlocutors to facilitate the CIA and MI6 plans in Syria through instigating terrorist operations by Salafi and Arab Jihadi groups, adding that the terrorists do not know that they actually exercise the US plans.

“Turkey has also been misusing extremist Salafis and Al-Qaeda terrorists to intensify the crisis in Syria and it has recently augmented its efforts in this regard by helping the new Al-Qaeda branch set up a camp in Northern Waziristan in Pakistan to train Al-Qaeda and Taliban members as well as Turkish Salafis and Arab Jihadis who are later sent to Syria for terrorist operations,” said the source.

He said the camp in Waziristan is not just a training center, but a command center for terrorist operations against Syria.

Yet, the source said the US and Britain are looking at the new Al-Qaeda force as an instrument to attain their goals and do not intend to support them to ascend to power, “because if Salafi elements in Syria ascend to power, they will create many problems for the US, the Western states and Turkey in future”.

“Thus, the US, Britain and Turkey are looking at the Al-Qaeda as a tactical instrument,” he said, and warned of the regional and global repercussions of the US and Turkish aid to the Al-Qaeda and Salafi groups.

“Unfortunately, these group of countries have just focused on the short-term benefits that the Salafis and the Al-Qaeda can provide for them and ignore the perils of this support in the long run,” he said.

“At present, the western countries, specially Britain which hosts and controls the Jihadi Salafi groups throughout the world are paving the ground for these extremists to leave their homes – mostly in Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as well as those who live in Europe and the US – for Waziristan,” the source added.

AT “FRIENDS OF SYRIA” MEETING, AL-NUSRAH DEMANDS INCREASE IN WEAPONS SUPPLIES

Al-Nusrah Warns 'Friends of Syria' Meeting about Distribution of Arms Supplies

TEHRAN (FNA)- The al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusrah Front threatened the participating countries in the so-called ‘Friends of Syria’ conference in Doha on Saturday that it should be the recipient of half of arms supplies to Syria, diplomatic sources revealed on Sunday.

The foreign ministers of the so-called ‘Friends of Syria’ countries held a meeting in Doha, Qatar, on Saturday to discuss the volume and recepiants of arms supplies to the rebels in Syria. The US and other western states allege that they intend to funnel arms into the hands of the Free Syrian Army to avoid equipment of terrorist groups with advanced weapons.

But, diplomatic sources present at the meeting told FNA that both the FSA and the al-Nusrah Front had sent separate letters to the meeting to warn the participants about the destination of the arms supplies.

“The commander of the al-Nusrah Front in a letter to the Doha conference called on the countries which took part in the meeting to supply the group with 50% of the weapons decided to be sent to the rebel groups in Syria,” a diplomat present at the meeting said on the condition of anonymity for fear of his life.

According to the diplomat the letter warned the participants that “they should wait for dire consequences if they refrain from complying with the al-Nusrah request”.

“Also, the ringleader of the ‘Free Syrian Army’ Salim Idriss in a separate letter to the conference demanded that FSA be the only recepiant of any future arms supplies to be sent by the participants to Syria,” added the diplomat.

Qatari Foreign Minister Hamad bin Jassem al-Thani announced that 9 of the countries attending the ‘Friends of Syria’ conference agreed on providing the Syrian militant groups with military aids.

“The Syrian militants need military support, not a moral one,” he said in a joint press conference with the US Secretary of State John Kerry after the meeting.
The al-Nusra Front has been behind many of the deadly bombings targeting both civilians and government institutions across Syria since the outbreak of violence in March 2011.

On May 10, Syria’s Ambassador to the UN Bashar al-Jaafari said the al-Nusra Front has claimed responsibility for carrying out at least 600 acts of terror in the past year. Jaafari also slammed the group for attacking hospitals and schools, desecrating holy places, assassinating religious figures, and abducting UN personnel in Syria.

The West has been widely criticized for its double standard when it comes to dealing with terrorist groups.

Over two years of foreign-sponsored militancy in Syria has taken its toll on the lives of many people, including large numbers of Syrian soldiers and security personnel.

Syria has been experiencing unrest since March 2011 with organized attacks by well-armed gangs against Syrian police forces and border guards being reported across the country.

In October 2011, calm was eventually restored in the Arab state after President Assad started a reform initiative in the country, but Israel, the US and its Arab allies are seeking hard to bring the country into chaos through any possible means. Tel Aviv, Washington and some Arab capitals have been staging various plots in the hope of stirring unrests in Syria once again.

The US and its western and regional allies have long sought to topple Bashar al-Assad and his ruling system. Media reports said that the Syrian rebels and terrorist groups have received significantly more and better weapons in recent weeks, a crime paid for by the Persian Gulf Arab states and coordinated by the United States.

The US daily, Washington Post, reported in May 2012 that the Syrian rebels and terrorist groups battling the President Bashar al-Assad’s government have received significantly more and better weapons in recent weeks, a crime paid for by the Persian Gulf Arab states and coordinated by the United States.

The newspaper, quoting opposition activists and US and foreign officials, reported that Obama administration officials emphasized the administration has expanded contacts with opposition military forces to provide the Persian Gulf nations with assessments of rebel credibility and command-and-control infrastructure.

Opposition activists who had earlier complained that the rebels were running out of ammunition said in May 2012 that the flow of weapons – most bought on the black market in neighboring countries or from elements of the Syrian military in the past – has significantly increased after a decision by Saudi Arabia, Qatar and other Persian Gulf states to provide millions of dollars in funding each month.

SYRIA: THE VIEW FROM THE OTHER SIDE


PRESIDENT ASSAD’S FULL INTERVIEW WITH JURGEN TODENHOFER
PRESIDENT BASHAR AL-ASSAD


By Stephen Gowans

His security forces used live ammunition to mow down peaceful pro-democracy protesters, forcing them to take up arms to try to topple his brutal dictatorship. He has killed tens of thousands of his own people, using tanks, heavy artillery and even chemical weapons. He’s a blood-thirsty tyrant whose rule has lost its legitimacy and must step down to make way for a peaceful democratic transition.

That’s the view of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, cultivated by Western politicians and their media stenographers. If there’s another side to the story, you’re unlikely to hear it. Western mass media are not keen on presenting the world from the point of view of governments that find themselves the target of Western regime change operations. On the contrary, their concern is to present the point of view of the big business interests that own them and the Western imperialism that defends and promotes big business interests. They accept as beyond dispute all pronouncements by Western leaders on matters of foreign affairs, and accept without qualification that the official enemies of US imperialism are as nasty as the US president and secretary of state say they are.

What follows is the largely hidden story from the other side, based on two interviews with Assad, the first conducted by Clarin newspaper and Telam news agency on May 19, 2013, and the second carried out on June 17, 2013 by Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. Both were translated into English by the Syrian Arab News Agency.

Peaceful protests?

Ba’athist Syria is no stranger to civil unrest, having experienced wave after wave of uprisings by Sunni religious fanatics embittered by their country being ruled by a secular state whose highest offices are occupied by Alawite ‘heretics’. [1] The latest round of uprisings, the opening salvos in another chapter of what Glen E. Robinson calls “Syria’s Long Civil War,” began in March, 2011. The first press reports were of a few small protests, dwarfed by the far more numerous and substantial protests that erupt every day in the United States, Britain and France. A March 16, 2011 New York Times report noted that “In Syria, demonstrations are few and brief.” These early demonstrations—a few quixotic young men declaring that “the revolution has started!”, relatives of prisoners protesting outside the Interior Ministry—seem disconnected from the radical Islamist rebellion that would soon develop.

Within days, larger demonstrations were underway in Dara, where citizens were said to have been “outraged by the arrest of more than a dozen schoolchildren.” Contrary to a myth that has since taken hold, these demonstrations were hardly peaceful. Protesters set fire to the local Ba’ath Party headquarters, as well as to the town’s main courthouse and a branch of SyriaTel. Some protesters shot at the police, who returned fire. [2] One can imagine the reaction of the New York City Police to protesters in Manhattan setting fire to the federal court building, firebombing the Verizon building and opening fire on police. A foreign broadcaster with an agenda to depict the United States in the worst possible light might describe the protest as peaceful, and the police response as brutal, but it’s doubtful anyone in the United States would see it that way.

From “the first weeks of the protests we had policemen killed, so how could such protests have been peaceful?” asks Assad. “How could those who claim that the protests were peaceful explain the death of these policemen in the first week?” Assad doesn’t deny that most protesters demonstrated peacefully, but notes that “there were armed militants infiltrating protesters and shooting at the police.”

Was the reaction of Syrian security forces to the unrest heavy-handed? Syria has a long history of Islamist uprisings against its secular state. With anti-government revolts erupting in surrounding countries, there was an acute danger that Syria’s Muslim Brothers—long at war with the Syrian state—would be inspired to return to jihad. What’s more, Syria is technically at war with Israel. As other countries in similar circumstances, Syria had an emergency law in place, restricting certain civil liberties in the interest of defending national security. Among the restrictions was a ban on unauthorized public assembly. The demonstrations were a flagrant challenge to the law, at a time of growing instability and danger to the survival of the Syrian secular project. Moreover, to expect Syrian authorities to react with restraint to gunfire from protesters is to hold Syria to a higher standard than any other country.

Meanwhile, as protesters in Syria were shooting at police and setting fire to buildings, Bahrain’s royal dictatorship was crushing a popular uprising with the assistance of Saudi tanks and US equipment. New York Times’ columnist Nicholas D. Kristof lamented that “America’s ally, Bahrain” was using “American tanks, guns and tear gas as well as foreign mercenaries to crush a pro-democracy movement” as Washington remained “mostly silent.” [3] Kristof said he had “seen corpses of protesters who were shot at close range, seen a teenage girl writhing in pain after being clubbed, seen ambulance workers beaten for trying to rescue protesters.” He didn’t explain why the United States would have a dictator as an ally, much less one who crushed a pro-democracy movement. All he could offer was the weak excuse that the United States was “in a vice—caught between its allies and its values,” as if Washington didn’t chose its allies, and that they were a force of nature, like an earthquake or a hurricane, that you had to live with and endure. The United States was indeed in a vice—though not of the sort Kristof described. It was caught between Washington’s empty rhetoric on democracy and the profit-making interests of the country’s weighty citizens, the true engine of US foreign policy. The dilemma was readily resolved. Profits prevailed, as they always do.

Bahrain’s accommodating attitude to US imperialism—it is home to the US Fifth Fleet—and its emphasis on indulging owners and investors at the expense of wage- and salary-earners, are unimpeachably friendly to US corporate and financial interests. Practically the entire stable of US allies in the Middle East is comprised of royal dictators whose attitude to democracy is unremittingly hostile, but whose attitude to helping US oil companies and titans of finance rake in fabulous profits is tremendously accommodating. And so the United States is on good terms with them, despite their violent allergic reaction to democracy. Aware of whose interests really matter in US foreign policy, Kristof wrote of Bahrain, “We’re not going to pull out our naval base.” Democracy is one thing, but a military base half way around the world (i.e., imperialism) is quite another.

That Bahrain’s version of the Arab Spring failed to grow into a civil war has much to do with US tanks, guns and tear gas, foreign mercenaries, and the silence of the US government. The Bahraini authorities used the repressive apparatus of the state more vigorously than Syrian authorities did, and yet virtually escaped the negative attention of responsibility-to-protect advocates, the US State Department, “serious” political commentators, and anarchists and many (though not all) Trots who, in line with their savaging of Gadhafi, preferred to vent their spleen on another official enemy of Western imperialism, rather than waste their bile execrating a US ally. What’s more, the ‘international community’ did much to fan the flames of the Syrian rebellion, linking up once again with their old friends Al-Qaeda and the Muslim Brothers to destabilize yet another left nationalist secular regime, whose devotion to sovereignty and self-management was an affront to Wall Street. [4] Without naming him specifically, Assad says Khalifa is among the leaders who stand in relation to the United States, France and Britain as “puppets and dummies [who] do their bidding and serve their interests without question.”

Anti-imperialism

If Khalifa is the model of the Arab dictator Washington embraces, Assad fits the matrix of the Arab leader whose insistence on independence rubs the US State Department the wrong way. “The primary aim of the West,” Assad says, “is to ensure that they have ‘loyal’ governments at their disposal…which facilitate the exploitation and consumption of a country’s national resources.” Khalifa comes to mind.

In contrast, Assad insists that a “country like Syria is not by any means a satellite state to the West.” It hasn’t turned over its territory to US military bases, nor made over its economy to accommodate Western investors, banks and corporations. “Syria,” he says, “is an independent state working for the interests of its people, rather than making the Syrian people work for the interests of the West.”

It’s not his attitude to multi-party democracy or the actions of Syria’s security forces that have aroused Western enmity, asserts Assad, but his insistence on steering an independent course for Syria. “It is only normal that they would not want us to play a role (in managing our own affairs), preferring instead a puppet government serving their interests and creating projects that would benefit their peoples and economies.” Normal or not, the Syrian president says, “We have consistently rejected this. We will always be independent and free,” adding that the United States and its satellites are using the conflict in Syria “to get rid of Syria—this insubordinate state, and replace the president with a ‘yes’ man.”

Foreign agenda

Assad challenges the characterization of the conflict as a civil war. The rebel side, he points out, is overwhelmingly dominated by foreign jihadists and foreign-based opposition elements (heavily dominated by the Muslim Brothers) backed by hostile imperialist powers. Some of Assad’s opponents, he observes, “are far from autonomous independent decision makers,” receiving money, weapons, logistical support and intelligence from foreign powers. “Their decisions,” he says, “are not self-governing.”

The conflict is more aptly characterized as a predatory war on Syrian sovereignty carried out by Western powers and their reactionary Arab satellite states using radical Islamists to topple Assad’s government (but who will not be allowed to take power) “to impose a puppet government loyal to them which (will) ardently implement their policies.” These policies would almost certainly involve Damascus endorsing the Zionist conquest of Palestine as legitimate (i.e., recognizing Israel), as well as opening the country to the US military and turning over Syrian markets, labor and resources to exploitation by Western investors, banks and corporations on terms favourable to Western capital and unfavourable to Syrians.

Russia and Iran

Criticism of the intervention of a number of reactionary Arab states in the conflict, and the participation of Western imperialist powers, is often countered by pointing to Russia’s and Iran’s role in furnishing Syria with weapons. Assad argues that intervention of the side of the jihadists (‘terrorists’ in his vocabulary) is unlawful and illegitimate. By furnishing rebels with arms, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey and the United States “meddle in Syria’s internal affairs” Assad says, “which is a flagrant violation of international law and our national sovereignty.” On the other hand, Russia and Iran, which have supplied Syria with arms, have engaged in lawful trade with Syria, and have not infringed its independence.

Hezbollah

According to Assad, Hezbollah has been active in towns on the border with Lebanon, but its involvement in the Syrian conflict has, otherwise, been limited. “There are no brigades (of Hezbollah fighters in Syria.) They have sent fighters who have aided the Syrian army in cleaning areas on the Lebanese borders that were infiltrated with terrorists.”

Assad points out that if Hezbollah’s assistance was needed, he would have asked for deployment of the resistance organization’s fighters to Damascus and Aleppo which are “more important than al-Quseir,” the border town that was cleared of rebel fighters with Hezbollah’s help.

Stories about Hezbollah fighters pouring over the border to prop up the Syrian government are a “frenzy…to reflect an image of Hezbollah as the main fighting force” in order “to provoke Western and international public opinion,” Assad says. The aim, he continues, is to create “this notion that Hezbollah and Iran are also fighting in Syria as a counterweight” to the “presence of foreign jihadists” in Syria.

Democracy?

The Assad government has implemented a number of reforms in response to the uprising.

First, it cancelled the long-standing abridgment of civil liberties that had been authorized by the emergency law. This law, invoked because Syria is in a technical state of war with Israel, gave Damascus powers it needed to safeguard the security of the state in wartime. Many Syrians, however, chaffed at the law, and regarded it as unduly restrictive. Bowing to popular pressure, the security measures were suspended.

Second, the government proposed a new constitution to accommodate protesters’ demands to strip the Ba’ath Party of its lead role in Syrian society. The constitution was put to a referendum and ratified. Additionally, the presidency would be open to anyone meeting basic residency, age and citizenship requirements. Presidential elections would be held by secret vote every seven years under a system of universal suffrage, with the next election scheduled for 2014. “I don’t know if (US secretary of state) Kerry or others like him have a mandate from the Syrian people to speak on their behalf as to who stays and who leaves,” Assad observes, noting that Syrians themselves can decide whether he stays or leaves when they go to the polls next year.

Despite Assad’s lifting the emergency law and amending the constitution to accommodate demands for a multi-party electoral democracy, the conflict continues. Instead of accepting these changes, the rebels summarily rejected them. Washington, London and Paris also dismissed Assad’s concessions, denigrating them as “meaningless,” without explanation. [5] Given the immediate and total rejection of the reforms, Assad can hardly be blamed for concluding that “democracy was not the driving force of the revolt.”

Elaborating, he notes:

It was seemingly apparent at the beginning that demands were for reforms. It was utilized to appear as if the crisis was a matter of political reform. Indeed, we pursued a policy of wide scale reforms from changing the constitution to many of the legislations and laws, including lifting the state of emergency law, and embarking on a national dialogue with all political opposition groups. It was striking that with every step we took in the reform process, the level of terrorism escalated.

The reality that the armed rebellion is dominated by Islamists [6] also militates against the conclusion that thirst for democracy lies at its core. Many radical Islamists reject democracy because they see it as a system for creating man-made laws and, as a corollary, for rejecting God’s law. Reportedly hundreds of jihadists [7]—members of a sort of Islamist International—have travelled from abroad to fight for a Levantine society in which God’s law, and not that of men and women, rules. Assad asks, “What interest does an internationally listed terrorist from Chechnya or Afghanistan have with the internal political reform process in Syria?” Or in democracy?

Good terrorists and bad terrorists

Syria’s jihadists have resorted to terrorist tactics, and appear to have little fear that they will ever be held to account for these or other war crimes. They are not mistaken. Their summary executions of prisoners, indiscriminate shelling of civilian areas, terrorist car bombings, rapes, torture, hostage taking and pillage—documented by the UN human rights commission [8]—will very likely be swept into a dark, murky corner, to be forgotten and never acted upon, while imperialist powers use their sway over international courts to shine a bright line upon war crimes committed by Syrian forces. While their ranks include the Al-Qaeda-linked Al-Nusra front, the jihadists have been depicted as heroes by Western governments and their media stenographers, a “good Al-Qaeda,” says Assad. Cat’s paws of the West, radical Islamists are good terrorists when they fight to bring down independent governments, like the leftist pro-Soviet government in Afghanistan, and the anti-imperialist governments in Libya and Syria, but are bad terrorists when they attack the US homeland and threaten to take power in Mali.

Chemical weapons

Ben Rhodes, the US deputy national security advisor, announced that Syrian forces have “used chemical weapons, including the nerve agent sarin, on a small scale against the opposition multiple times in the last year” killing “100 to 150 people.” [9]

Assad says the White House’s claim doesn’t add up. The point of using nerve gas, a weapon of mass destruction, is to kill “thousands of people at one given time.” The 150 people Washington says Syrian forces took 365 days to kill with chemical weapons could have been easily killed in one day using conventional weapons.

Why, then, wonders Assad, would the Syrian army use a weapon of mass destruction sub-optimally to kill a limited number of rebels when in a year it could kill hundreds of times more with rifles, tanks and artillery? “It is counterintuitive,” says the Syrian president, “to use chemical weapons to create a death toll that you could potentially reach by using conventional weapons.”

There is some evidence pointing to the use of chemical weapons by the rebels. Carla Del Ponte, a member of the United Nations Independent Commission of Inquiry on Syria—a body created by the UN Human Rights Council to investigate alleged violations of human rights law in Syria—says that the commission has “concrete suspicions” of the use of sarin gas by the rebels” but no evidence government forces have used them. [10]

Assad says he asked the United Nations to launch a formal investigation into suspected use of chemical weapons by rebel forces in Aleppo, but that the UN demanded unconditional access to the country. If Assad acceded to the demand, the inspection regime could be used as a cover to gather military intelligence for use against Syrian forces. “We are a sovereign state; we have an army and all matters considered classified will never be accessible neither to the UN, nor Britain, nor France,” says Assad. If he rejected the demand, it could be said—as it indeed it was by the White House [11]—that the ‘international community’ had been prevented by Damascus from undertaking a comprehensive investigation, thereby releasing the UN from any obligation to investigate the use of chemical weapons by the jihadists. At the same time, by rejecting the UN’s demand, the Syrian government would create the impression it had something to hide. This could be countered by Damascus explaining its reasons for turning down the UN conditions, but the Western media give little time to the Syrian perspective, preferring saturation coverage of the pronouncements of Western officials. In terms of Western public opinion, whatever US officials say about Syria is decisive. Whatever Syrian officials say is drowned out, if presented at all.

It should be noted that no permanent member of the UN Security Council, including the United States and Britain—indeed, no country of any standing—would willingly grant an outside organization or country unrestricted access to its military and government facilities. The reasons for denying UN inspectors untrammelled access to Syria are all the stronger in Syria’s case, given that major players on the Security Council are overtly backing the rebels, and could be expected to try to use UN inspectors—as indeed the US did in Iraq—to gather military intelligence to be used against the host country.

It would also do well to remember that the United States evinced no interest in investigating the use of chemical weapons by the rebels, immediately dismissing the allegations as unfounded. Following up on the allegations wasn’t an option.

Finally, Assad points out that the chemical weapons charges call to mind the ‘sexed up’ WMD evidence used by the United States and Britain as a pretext to invade and conquer Iraq: “It is common knowledge” he says, “that Western administrations lie continuously and manufacture stories as a pretext for war.”

Conclusion

The purpose of the foregoing is to offer a glimpse into the conflict in Syria from the other side, a side which the Western media are institutionally incapable of presenting, except in passing, and only if overwhelmed by the competing imperialist narrative.

Assad’s analysis and values are very much in the anti-imperialist vein. He speaks of Western powers seeking “dummies” and “yes men” who will pursue policies that are favourable to the West. The United States does indeed maintain a collection of “yes men” in the Middle East. Khalifa, the royal dictator of Bahrain, who used US tanks, guns, tear gas and Saudi mercenaries to crush a popular rebellion, is a model Arab “yes man” and a dictator, as many of Washington’s “yes men” are, and have always been.

Assad, in contrast, has none of Khalifa’s readiness to kowtow to an imperialist master. Instead, his government’s insistence on working for the interests of Syrians, rather than making Syrians work for the interests of the West, has provoked the hostility of the United States, France and Britain, and their determination to overthrow his government. That Assad’s commitment to local interests goes beyond rhetoric is clear in the character of Syria’s economic policy. It features the state-owned enterprises, tariffs, subsidies to domestic firms, and restrictions on foreign investment that Wall Street and its State Department handmaiden vehemently oppose for restricting the profit-making opportunities of wealthy US investors, bankers and corporations [12]. On foreign policy, Syria has steered a course sensitive to local interests, refusing to abandon the Arab national project, whose success would threaten US domination of the Middle East, while allying with Iran and Hezbollah in a resistance (to US imperialism) front.

For his refusal to become their “puppet,” the United States and its imperialist allies intend to topple Assad through accustomed means: an opportunistic alliance with radical Islamists who hate Assad as much as Washington does, though for reasons of religion rather than economics and imperialism.


Notes:

1. Syria’s post-colonial history is punctuated by Islamist uprisings. The Muslim Brotherhood organized riots against the government in 1964, 1965, 1967 and 1969. It called for a Jihad against then president Hafiz al-Assad, the current president’s father, denigrating him as “the enemy of Allah.” By 1977, the Mujahedeen were engaged in a guerrilla struggle against the Syrian army and its Soviet advisers, culminating in the 1982 occupation of the city of Hama. The Syrian army quelled the occupation, killing 20,000 to 30,000. Islamists have since remained a perennial source of instability in Syria and the government has been on continual guard against “a resurgence of Sunni Islamic fundamentalists,” according to the US Library of Congress Country Study of Syria. http://lcweb2.loc.gov/frd/cs/sytoc.html
2. “Officers fire on crowd as Syria protests grow,” The New York Times, March 20, 2011.
3. Nicholas D. Kristof, “Bahrain pulls a Qaddafi”, The New York Times, March 16, 2011.
4. For the West’s opportunistic alliances with political Islam see Mark Curtis, Secret Affairs: Britain’s Collusion with Radical Islam, Serpent’s Tail, 2011.
5. David M. Herszenhorn, “For Syria, Reliant on Russia for weapons and food, old bonds run deep”, The New York Times, February 18, 2012.
6. Adam Entous, “White House readies new aid for Syrian rebels”, The Wall Street Journal, April 10, 2013; Anne Barnard, “Syria campaigns to persuade U.S. to change sides”, The New York Times, April 24, 2013; 3. Gerald F. Seib, “The risks holding back Obama on Syria”, The Wall Street journal, May 6, 2013.
7. According to Russian president Vladimir Putin “at least 600 Russians and Europeans are fighting alongside the opposition.” “Putin: President al-Assad confronts foreign gunmen, not Syrian people,” Syrian Arab News Agency, June 22, 2013.
8. Damien Mcelroy, “Syrian rebels face war crime accusation”, The Ottawa Citizen, August 11, 2012; Sam Dagher and Nour Malas, “Lebanon militia kidnaps Syrians”, The Wall Street Journal, August 15, 2012; Hwaida Saad and Nick Cumming-Bruce, “Civilian attacks rise in Syria, U.N. says”, The New York Times, September 17, 2012; Stacy Meichtry, “Sarin detected in samples from Syria, France says”, The Wall Street Journal, June 4, 2013; Sam Dagher, “Violence spirals as Assad gains”, The Wall Street Journal, June 10, 2013.
9. Statement by Ben Rhodes, the US deputy national security advisor for strategic communications, on chemical weapons. The Guardian (UK), June 13, 2013.
10. “UN: ‘Strong suspicions’ that Syrian rebels have used sarin nerve gas,” Euronews, May 6, 2013; “UN’s Del Ponte says evidence Syria rebels ‘used sarin’”, BBC News, May 6, 2013.
11. Rhodes.
12. For Syria’s economic policies and the US ruling class reaction to them see the Syria sections of the Heritage Foundation’s Index of Economic Freedom http://www.heritage.org/index/country/syria and the CIA Factbook https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/sy.html .

JUNE 22 “FRIENDS OF SYRIA” MEETING IN DOHA: 110 OUT OF 121 MEMBERS ABSENT


Photo: There were 121 States attending the Paris summit of the Friends of Syria. It was July 6, 2012. There was talk of an imminent collapse of Syria and its wealth was already being divided up.

The “Friends of Syria” are scheduled to meet on 22 June 2013 in Doha (Qatar). Discussions will focus on arms shipments to the “Free Syrian Army,” in the presence of its “chief of staff” General Salim Idriss.

The 11 participants, to whom General Salim Idriss already submitted his list of grievances on 14 June, regard him as an eminent interlocutor. However, despite his title, there is no such thing as an “FSA joint chiefs of staff,” but merely a coordination by NATO of groups fighting under this label.

For all of that, out of 121 Member States, only 11 will take part in the meeting (Germany, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, United Arab Emirates, United States, France, Italy, Jordan, Qatar, United Kingdom and Turkey). The other 110 members will keep a safe distance.

Indeed, during the G8 summit in Lough Erne, President Vladimir V. Putin recalled that the delivery of weapons to armed groups in Syria constitutes a violation of international law and exposes the guilty parties to prosecution in international courts.

Voltaire Network

SANA DAILY HEADLINES JUNE 21 & 22, 2013


DAILY NEWS IN INTERNATIONAL LANGUAGES | AUDIO | VIDEO

SANA DAILY HEADLINES ON SYRIA 360°



PRESIDENT ASSAD’S FULL INTERVIEW WITH JURGEN TODENHOFER


President al-Assad decrees increasing monthly salaries of the State’s civil, military employees and the retired

Jun 22, 2013

 

Damascus, SANA-President Bashar al-Assad on Saturday issued legislative decree No. 38 for 2013 stipulating for increasing monthly salaries of civil and military state employees.

The decree provides an increase by 40% of the first 10.000 SYP of monthly salary and wage

20% for the second SYP 10.000 of the salary.

10% for the third SYP 10.000 of the salary.

5% for the amount which increases the third SYP 10.000 of the salary.

The decree increased the minimum wage of the private, cooperative and joint sector which is not included in the rules of the State’s Employees Basic Law No. 50 for 2004 to be /13670/SYP per month.

President al-Assad also issued legislative decree No. 39 for 2013 increasing monthly salaries of the State’s civil and military retired employees.

The decree provides an increase by 25% of the first SYP 10.000 of the pension,

20% for the second SYP 10.000

10% for the amount which increases the second SYP 10.000 of the pension.

Minister of Finance, Ismael Ismael, pointed out in a statement to SANA that the salary increase will be added to the salaries and wages starting off July 1st.

English Bulletin

Terrorist groups suffer severe losses during army operations 

Jun 22, 2013

Provinces, (SANA)-  A unit of the armed forces targeted terrorists’ gatherings in al-Nabek, Adra, Qara and Rankous in Damascus Countryside, killing and injuring a number of terrorists and destroying their weapons and ammunition, a military source told SANA reporter.

Another unit of the armed forces destroyed terrorists’ den in Hosh Arab, killing a number of terrorists inside it and destroying their weapons and ammunition.

An army unit clashed with an armed terrorist group to the east of al-Manasher roundabout and the Pullman garage in Joubar in Damascus Countryside.

Most of the terrorist group’s members were killed, among them was Bilal al-Omar.

In al-Qaboun neighborhood in Damascus, an army unit killed members of an armed terrorist group and destroyed their weapons and ammunition, an official source told SANA reporter. 

Terrorists Osama Nashwati and Osama Eibo were identified among the dead.

Other terrorists were killed in Barzeh neighborhood in Damascus, including Bilal al-Hamwi and Omar al-Khishn. 

Syrian Army eliminates terrorists in Damascus countryside

The Syrian army inflicted heavy losses on the terrorists in several towns and villages in Damascus countryside.

In Douma, an armed teorrist group was eliminated in al-Ibb farms, including the leader of the group, Fris al-Najjar and Yazan al-Biswani, an official source said.

The source added that a unit of the army destroyed a den for an armed terrorist group dubbed as “Jamaet Jund al-Risalat” in al-Ziabieh town.

In Deir Salman town, the Syrian army made major advancements and eliminated several terrorists, including Maher al-Lababidi.

In al-Zabadani, units of the army continue pursuing the armed terrorist groups and killed and injured many gunmen.

Operations continue near Aleppo Central Prison

Large numbers of terrorists were killed and their heavy machineguns were destroyed in several areas in the surrounding of Aleppo Central Prison, said an official source.

The areas where the army operations were carried out included those near the Industrial City al-Sheikh Najjar, the surrounding of al-Kindi Hospital and around al-Tawwabin Mosque in Handarat camp in the countryside.

The source told SANA reporter that a unit of the armed forces carried out a special operation against a terrorist group’s den near the glass factory in the surrounding of Aleppo Central Prison in which it destroyed a rocket launcher and killed four of the group’s members.

Other army units, the source said, clashed with terrorists who had been committing acts of looting and blocking roads on Azaz-Minnegh road and near Ahran gas station on Aleppo-Idleb road.

Many of the terrorists were killed and injured and three vehicles carrying their weapons and ammunition were destroyed.

In Aleppo city, units of the armed forces confronted terrorist groups which tried to infiltrate into al-Rashidin area and inflicted heavy losses upon them.

Other army units clashed with terrorists in Masaken Hanano and al-Kallaseh neighborhoods, killing numbers of them and destroying two heavy machineguns.

Terrorists’ attack on a military checkpoint in Hama repelled

A unit of the armed forces confronted an armed terrorist group’s attack against a military checkpoint in Atshan area, north of Murek in Hama countryside, killing a number of terrorists.

A military source told SANA that terrorists, Ahmad Abbas, Basel Abdullah, Omran Joubasi, and Abu al-Abbas were identified among the dead.

Boats carrying terrorists destroyed, terrorists’ gatherings targeted in Homs

Units of the armed forces carried out a series of operations in which they targeted terrorists’ gatherings in the neighborhoods of al-Qarabis, Jouret al-Shayah, al-Khalidiyeh and Basatin al-Waer and the towns and villages of Kisin, Taldao, Taldahab, Burj Qaei, Kafrlaha, al-Rastan and Talbiseh, a military source told SANA reporter.

The source added that army units stormed into terrorists groups’ dens in al-Gharbi and al-Fares neighborhoods in the city of Talkalakh. A number of terrorists were arrested in the operations, while others were killed.

Units of the armed forces also targeted boats carrying terrorists in al-Rastan Lake. The boats were destroyed and the terrorists were killed.

An army unit destroyed a weapons and ammunition warehouse in al-Hosn town in the countryside of Talkalakh.

Another army unit killed members of an armed terrorist group near Jabourin crossroads in al-Ghanto town. Thaer al-Ahmad, the group’s leader was killed.

Terrorists trying to cross border from Lebanon into Talkalakh confronted

Meanwhile, units of the armed forces and the border guards thwarted an attempt by terrorists to cross the border from Lebanon into Talkalakh at Noura site. Many of the terrorists were killed.

Jordanian terrorist leader killed in Daraa 

In Daraa, a military source said that units of the armed forces pursued terrorists in Daraa al-Balad, killing a number of them, among them Aghyad Abu Da’if and Imad Abu Da’if.

The source added that terrorists’ dens were destroyed in the villages of al-Shabrak, Sahem al-Golan, Jilin, Tsil, Tafas. Jassem, al-Ajami, al-Shajara and Abdin in Daraa countryside.

Jordanian terrorist Abu Huzaifa, the leader of Jabhat al-Nusra in Daraa, was killed.

Terrorists burglarize two relief aid trucks on Palmyra-Deir Ezzor road

An armed terrorist group burglarized on Friday night two trucks loaded with tens of tons of relief aid on Palmyra-Deir Ezzor road.

An official source in Deir Ezzor told SANA that terrorists intercepted the trucks while they were en route from Damascus to Deir Ezzor and robbed their cargo, and attacked the accompanying relief cadre.

The source indicated that the terrorists opened fire at the ambulance that was accompanying the trucks, seriously injuring a doctor and causing material damage to the ambulance.

English Bulletin

Terrorist reveals involvement of Lebanese MP in abduction of Lebanese citizens in Syria

Jun 22, 2013

 

Aleppo, (SANA) – Terrorist Mazen Ali Hamoush said that Lebanese MP Oqab Saqr from the Future Movement was the one who ordered the abduction of Lebanese citizens coming from Turkey to Aleppo while passing through A’azaz area, and that Saqr is involved in coordinating the arming and funding of terrorists in Syria.

In confessions broadcast by the Syrian TV on Friday, Hamoush said that he took part in the siege of the military security building in his hometown of A’azaz which lasted 18 days, saying he was part of a group calling itself “Liwa’a Asifet al-Shamal” (Northern Storm Brigade) which was led by Amar Dadaikhi.

He said that Dadaikhi and his group committed acts of abduction in A’azaz and even had his own prison which he set up near the Turkish borders to hold abductees, some of which he executed to keep people afraid and under his control.

Hamoush said that armed groups in the area would meet with Lebanese MP from the Future Movement Oqab Saqr in the camps in Bab al-Salameh in order to coordinate the procurement of weapons, munitions and funds, and sometimes they would communicate with Saqr via phone.

The terrorist said that Saqr was the one who ordered his group to hijack a bus transporting Lebanese citizens, informing them that it will go through A’azaz, and they obeyed and hijacked the bus when it passed through the area.

He said that they released the women who were on the bus at a later time and kept the men imprisoned, first in the home of Dadaikhi’s family then they were transported to al-Kuroum area on the borders with Turkey, around 7 kilometers north of A’azaz, and after that they didn’t hear any news about the abductees.

Hamoush revealed that Dadaikhi died in Turkey after succumbing to a gunshot wound he received near Mennegh airport, adding that he and his cohorts heard that it was the Turkish intelligence that killed Dadaikhi in order to conceal any information on the whereabouts of the Lebanese abductees.

He said that after Dadaikhi died, disputes broke out in the group one of its members formed a splinter group, and later they were asked to assist gunmen in al-Qseir area in Homs, and so they went to al-Buwayda al-Sharqiya along with other armed groups.

Upon arrival in al-Qseir, four of Hamoush’s cohorts were killed immediately alongside many gunmen from other groups, which prompted him to flee the area.

He said that the terrorists’ morale began to collapse as the Syrian Army assumed control of one area after another and cut off their supply lines.

Hamoush said that armed groups in the area dismantled two factories and transported them to Turkey, with two groups known as “Kataeb Liwa’a al-Tawhid” and “Ahrar Jabal al-Zawiye” were in charge of transporting the factories to Turkey, while his own group was tasked with occupying Mennegh airport but failed to do so, adding that he participated in two attacks on the airport but withdrew when he realized that they wouldn’t be able to take control of it.

The terrorist said that he and his cohorts were joined by gunmen from Tunisia, Libya, Chechnya, Afghanistan, Egypt and other countries, pointing out that they were also in contact with Sobhi Hamidi, member of the Doha Coalition.

Hamoush also said that injured terrorists who fled to Turkey and died there had their organs stolen and sold, with the money going to buy more weapons.

H. Sabbagh

Two Qatari officers transferred chemical materials used by terrorists in Khan al-Assal

Jun 22, 2013

 

Beirut, (SANA)- The Lebanese al-Akhbar newspaper revealed that the toxic chemical materials which the terrorist groups used in Khan al-Assal area in Aleppo last March were transferred by two Qatari officers across Turkey.

The newspaper pointed out that the transfer of chemical substances was done with the knowledge of Ankara, according to security information disclosed by an intelligence apparatus of a certain regional state.

The Qatari officers are Maj. Fahd Saeed al-Hajiri and Capt. Faleh Bin Khalid al-Tamimi, according to the information.

The Lebanese newspaper noted that the Turkish authorities tried to cover up the transfer process, particularly after Russian demands for explanations, by announcing the arrest of 12 Jabhat al-Nusra members with chemical materials, including 2 kg of sarin gas, in their possession.

The information provided by the aforementioned intelligence service stressed that the two Qatari officers were killed in a suspicious explosion in Somalia, which meets with Russian presumption on the same issue.

The newspaper was referring to the suicide bombing which targeted a Qatari procession in Mogadishu on the 5th of last May and in which 8 people at least were reported killed .

Media reports then highlighted how Qatar was trying to keep what happened off light to conceal the death of two high-ranking Qatari officials, one of them was in charge of coordinating work of recruiting terrorists who are being sent to Syria.

The information revealed by al-Akhbar newspaper coincides with reports by The Washington Post which stressed that after months of lab tests by U.S. experts, no evidence was reached to prove the allegations made by the “Syrian opposition” that chemical weapons were used by the Syrian government.

“The United States, Britain and France have supplied the United Nations with a trove of evidence, including multiple blood, tissue and soil samples, that U.S. officials say proves that Syrian troops used the nerve agent sarin on the battlefield,” The Washington Post said in an article published Friday.

“But the nature of the physical evidence-as well as the secrecy over how it was collected and analyzed-has opened the administration to criticism by independent experts, who say there is no reliable way to assess its authenticity,” it added.

H. Said

Los Angeles Times: US provided training to terrorists in Syria since 2012

Jun 22, 2013

Washington, (SANA)- CIA agents and U.S. special operations troops have provided training for gunmen from the “Syrian opposition” anti-tank and antiaircraft weaponry in Turkey and Jordan for months, the Los Angeles Times newspaper revealed.

“CIA operatives and U.S. special operations troops have been secretly training Syrian rebels with anti-tank and antiaircraft weapons since late last year, months before President Obama approved plans to begin directly arming them,” the newspaper quoted U.S. officials and armed terrorist groups’ commanders as saying in article published Friday.

This adds to many previous media reports which clearly exposed Washington’s direct involvement in arming and training the terrorist groups in Syria.

The two-week courses include training with Russian-designed 14.5-millimeter antitank rifles, anti-tank missiles and 23-millimeter antiaircraft weapons, according to the article.

A U.S. official, who discussed the effort anonymously because he was not authorized to disclose details, told the Los Angeles Times that the training has involved fighters from the Free Syrian Army.

The article pointed out that “U.S. special operations teams selected the trainees over the last year when the U.S. military set up regional supply lines” to provide “aid” to the armed terrorist groups.

It also mentioned that the training began in November at a new American base in the desert in southwestern Jordan, adding that “the training involves 20 to 45 insurgents at a time.”

H. Said

Photo and video exhibition documents terrorists’ crimes against transport sector

Jun 22, 2013

Damascus, (SANA)- Minister of Transport Mahmoud Saeed stressed that the total of the direct losses suffered by the transport sector due to the acts of the armed terrorist groups reached SYP 4 billion.

The Minister was speaking in a statements during the opening of a photo and video exhibition on Saturday documenting the crimes and attacks committed by the armed terrorist groups against the transport sector and its institutions.

20130622-171800.jpg

Saeed estimated the value of the direct damages inflicted upon the railway sector at SYP 2.5 billion, adding that the indirect losses caused to the transport sector are valued at over SYP 13 billion.

“The aim of the exhibition is to shed light on the material and moral damages caused to the sector due to the terrorists’ crimes,” he said, referring to the martyrdom of 60 workers from the transport sector and the missing and abduction of 40 others.

H. Said

Spanish interior minister: dismantled terrorist network sent 50 terrorists to fight in Syria 

Jun 22, 2013

 

MADRID, (SANA) – Spain’s Interior Minister Jorge Fernandez Diaz revealed that al-Qaeda-linked terrorist network which was dismantled on Friday sent 50 terrorists to carry out terrorist operations in Syria.

At a press conference, the Spanish interior minister explained that the network has two bases; the first is located in Spain and the second in Morocco, pointing out that among the terrorists who were sent to Syria, there were some persons underage.

The minister added that investigations revealed that this group was linked to Jabhat al-Nusra which is affiliated with al-Qaeda, adding that the group sent  terrorists to several European countries in order to be transferred to Syria.

He stressed that this group sent tens of terrorists who took part in suicide attacks in Syria, warning that this network is similar to other networks operating in European countries which are sending Jihadists to Syria.

Diaz pointed out that the 8 terrorists was transferred via a helicopter to Madrid where they will be prosecuted.

Earlier, the Spanish Interior Ministry announced dismantling a network affiliated with al-Qaeda composed of 8 terrorists who had been sending fighters to the armed terrorist groups  in Syria.

F.Allafi

Syria’s world heritage sites on world heritage in danger list

Jun 22, 2013

 

DAMASCUS, (SANA) –The volume of dangers threatening the Syrian heritage sites have become gruesome along with the developments of the painful events taking place in Syria, the General Directorate for Museums and Antiques said.

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has not marked these threats in its 37th annual meeting of the World Heritage Committee held from June 16th to 24th in Cambodia; it could only list the six world heritage sites of Syria on the list of World Heritage in Danger although the excavation operations carried out by the armed terrorist groups have destroyed large chapters of Syria’s history, the Directorate stressed in a statement on Saturday.

The directorate called on all Syrians to take part in protecting the Syrian heritage, and it called on the international community to move more strongly and actively to deal with this issue and exert pressure on the neighboring countries to control their borders in face of illicit antiques trade.

Syria has six sites listed on the World Heritage List which are the Old city of Damascus, Aleppo city, Palmyra, Busra, Salah Eddin Citadel and the Krak des Chevaliers (al-Husn Citadel).

F.Allafi

Al-Halqi condemns instigative fatwas of some clergymen

Jun 22, 2013

 

Damascus, (SANA)_Prime Minister, Dr. Wael al-Halqi hailed the honorable national stances of Arab thinkers and clergymen who are defending the Arab causes and spreading the real Islam that preaches amity and tolerance.

During his meeting on Saturday with the Arab intellectual Yehia Abu Zakaria and coordinator of the Muslim scholars forum in Akkar and North Lebanon, Sheikh AbdulSalam al-Harash, al-Halqi condemned the seditious fatwas of some clergymen “who are responsible for tearing apart the social fabric of the Arab nation and sowing the seeds of hatred and killing.”

Al-Halqi stressed the Syrians’ steadfastness and determination to carry out the political program for solving the crisis in Syria by the Syrians themselves as the Syrian army presses ahead with crackdown against the armed terrorist groups to restore security and stability.

Abu Zakaria and al-Harash expressed confidence in the inevitable victory of the Syrian people and the Syrian government’s ability to confront the war against the Syrian economy.

They also stressed that the ”sheikhs of sedition” who incite killing and hatred are helping in fragmenting the Muslim world.

In a statement to journalists following the meeting, Abu Zakaria urged Arab capitals that conspired against Syria to reconsider their course and political role as their project has failed, indicating that ”Syria has emerged victorious from the first round as reflected in the G8 summit, and the next victory will be in the international conference.”

He added that Syria is at a historic juncture, adding that a great victory that will return Syria to the forefront is in the making.

Abu Zakaria saw that the Egyptian President Mohammad Morsi ”committed a strategic mistake by his latest decisions against Syria,” calling Egypt for reconsidering these decisions.

For his part, Sheikh al-Harash said the Syrian government is facing a brutal war, adding ”We, in Lebanon, are with the Syrian people and leadership, for we are indebted to Syria for the blood of the Syrian soldiers that was spilled on the Lebanese soil in defense of Lebanon’s unity and independence.”

M. Ismael

ICRC to improve drinking water situation, provide humanitarian aid in Idleb

Jun 22, 2013

IDLEB, (SANA) – Means of improving the drinking water situation and providing humanitarian aid to the people in need were the core of discussions held on Saturday between the delegation of the International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC) and a number of senior officials in Idleb province.

The officials stressed that work is in progress to increase the resources of drinking water in the province by digging more wells.

They reviewed the situation of healthcare, pointing out that the province needs some medical requirements.

In turn, the ICRC delegation said that the visit is a follow-up to previous visits to improve the relief situation as the ICRC is working in collaboration with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent to meet the basic needs of the affected and the displaced people.

F.Allafi

Pinheiro: We cannot reach conclusions on use of chemical weapons in Syria

Jun 22, 2013

New York, (SANA) – Chairman of the UN investigating committee on Syria, Paulo Pinheiro, said that the committee cannot reach conclusions on the use of chemical weapons in Syria, and that there’s considerable difficulty in evaluating conflicting data in this regard.

In a press conference held on Friday at the UN headquarters in New York, Pinheiro said the committee can’t offer information on who used chemical weapons, what materials were used, how they were delivered, and where they are.

He pointed out that the western countries accusing Syria of using chemical weapons didn’t provide information in this regard to the committee, adding that only UN experts headed by Ake Sellstrom can find evidence through field investigation, which they have not been able to do so far.

Pinheiro affirmed that the only solution for the crisis in Syria is through negotiations, and that there can be no military solution, noting that delivering weapons entails responsibility on those who deliver them because those who receive them commit war crimes and crimes against humanity.

He stressed the need for new diplomatic momentum, not military momentum, calling for speeding up work to hold the international conference on Syria in Geneva,

The Syrian government had requested the UN send a neutral mission to visit Khan al-Asal in Aleppo to investigate the attack on the village by terrorists who fired a rocket containing toxic chemicals, but the UN Security-General buckled under pressure from the countries that support bloodshed in Syria, causing him to ask for expanding the mission in a manner that infringes upon Syrian sovereignty.

H. Sabbagh

Syrian Family Forum stresses rejection of foreign interference in Syrian affairs

Jun 22, 2013

 

Damascus, (SANA)_The 28th Syrian Family Forum called for openness, reaching out to the other, and confronting suspicious calls, stressing rejection of foreign meddling in the Syrian internal affairs.

The participants stressed in the final statement of the forum that was held on Saturday that the Syrian people are one family “capable of handling their own affairs and standing up to the conspiracy that is taking aim at its steadfastness.”

They called for supporting the families of martyrs and preserving the safety and security of the homeland, underlining the role of the youth in building the homeland and backing the Syrian Arab army.

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The participants stressed the importance of supporting and attracting investors, invigorating economic activities, and backing the development process as to achieve security and prosperity.

They also underlined the necessity of supporting national media in its battle against the disinformation campaign that targets the Syrians’ steadfastness, hailing the political program for solving the crisis as the best way to preserve Syria’s unity and independence.

Secretary-General of the Forum, Ahd Sharifa said that all Syrians are responsible for getting Syria out of the crisis, indicating that national reconciliation is based on tolerance, justice and removing the aftermath of the events.

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Sharifa stressed the importance of finding a Syrian solution that addresses problems without foreign interference.

She added that the Syrians are standing by their army to achieve victory, urging communications and dialogue among the Syrians to protect Syria and enhance its national unity.

Secretary-General of the Syrian Democratic Party, Ahmad Kosa considered that the meeting emphasizes that the Syrians are one family bound by their love to homeland.

Kosa highlighted the role of Arab and regional parties in destabilizing Syria and their attempts to sow sedition among Syrians.

Secretary-General of the Arab Socialist Movement, Ahmad al-Ahmad stressed that Syria’s enemies have worked since the outset of the crisis to subvert the bases of the Syrian state through targeting the army, economy and national unity, hailing the decree on increasing salaries of state employees.

He added that ”Al-Qseir victory has driven Syria’s enemies insane.”

M. Ismael

Syria’s students defy challenges, pass 9th grade with a high passing rate

Jun 22, 2013

 

Damascus, (SANA)- Education process in Syria is running successfully despite all the challenges facing the students, teachers and the concerned state institutions due to the practices of the armed terrorist groups.

Exam results for Basic Education (ninth grade) Certificate for 2013 came out earlier on the day, with the examination passing rate reaching 78.21 compared to 78.79 of 2012 examination session.

Minister of Education, Hazwan al-Wazz, announced in a press conference that 190981 students passed the exams out of 244184.

The Minister pointed out that the number of students who got the full marks (310) reached 38 from different provinces, while those who obtained 309 marks are 47.

He indicated an increase in the passing rate in Aleppo province coming first above all the other provinces in terms of the number of students who obtained full marks which amounted to 15.

Al-Wazz noted that an extraordinary examination session will be held on June 30th for students who could not make it to exam centers due to reasons related to the terrorist acts.

H. Said

Salehi: Iran rejects imposing external will on the Syrians

Jun 22, 2013

 

Tehran, (SANA) – Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs Ali Akbar Salehi stressed that arming the mercenary terrorist groups will prolong the crisis in Syria.

In a press conference with Foreign Minister of the Lebanese caretaker government Adnan Mansour in Tehran on Saturday, Salehi said that Iran opposes and will not allow attempts to impose foreign will on the Syrian people.

“We did not hide our support of the Syrian people and repeatedly announced that our support is economic… infrastructure in Syria was sabotaged and the Iranian people should provide the Syrians with basic materials, we are also supporting Syria politically and will continue this support,” he said.

Salehi said that Tehran will participate in the international conference on Syria in case the conference was held, adding that Iran opposes all meetings that lead to sending more weapons to the mercenaries in Syria, criticizing the double standards policy by the western countries regarding the crisis in Syria.

Salehi said that Iran supports any meeting that is held with the aim of solving the crisis in a way that ensures the Syrian national interests and rejects imposing external will on the Syrian people.

Salehi pointed out that there is a global war waged against Syria, adding that “Be sure that when a country’s people support its leadership, then there is no force that can impose its will on this people”.

For his part, Mansour said that sending weapons to the Syrian opposition does not serve peace and dialogue, stressing his rejection of dialogue that does not lead to results but only further prolongs the crisis.

“We care about stability and security in Syria and we have to stop the flow of weapons and money as it will not serve the interests of the Syrian people and the peoples of the region,” he said.

M. Nassr/ F.Allafi/ H. Sabbagh

Syria discusses with Russia, India economic cooperation

Jun 22, 2013

 

Moscow, (SANA) – Minister of Finance Dr. Ismael Ismael discussed with his Russian counterpart, Anton Siluanov, financial cooperation.

During the meeting on the sidelines of St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, Minister Ismael stressed the importance of implementing the bilateral agreements on the Russian economic aid to the Syrian economy, particularly regarding loans and deposits.

He also stressed the need to enhance the economic and financial cooperation as to match the exceptional political relations.

In the same context, Ismael met with Indian Minister of Commerce Anand Sharma, expressing thanks to India for its stances, along with the BRICS countries, on the crisis in Syria.

He said that the Indian government can support the Syrian economy through providing banking facilitations and opening bank accounts to facilitate trade exchange between the two countries.

For his part, Syria’s ambassador in Russia, Riad Haddad, warned that some western sides are betting that the Syrian state will suffer economic collapse, adding that Syria’s friends should not allow that.

The 17th Forum was held in St. Petersburg and attended by more than 5,000 political figures, businessmen and experts, among them 190 directors of major western companies and 248 directors of Russian companies.

M. Nassr/ M. Ismael

320 State Workers Fired within Measures to Combat Corruption

Jun 22, 2013

 

DAMASCUS, (SANA)- Prime Minister Wael al-Halqi on Saturday issued a number of decisions firing 320 workers from different ministries and state institutions.

The decisions came in the framework of the measures taken by the government to combat financial and administrative corruption and improve the performance of the public sector.

Premier al-Halqi had issued similar decisions to fire 28 workers for the same reasons.

F.Allafi

Army operations target many terrorists’ gatherings and dens

Jun 21, 2013

Provinces, (SANA)- Units of the armed forces on Friday eliminated numbers of terrorists in the framework of a series of operations carried out in the Eastern Ghouta and the southern area in Damascus Countryside.

An official source told SANA reporter that an engineering unit dismantled two roadside bombs, weighing 25-30 kg each, planted by terrorists on the road leading to al-Rihan town in Douma area.

Three surveillance cameras set in several areas in al-Rihan town to track the movement of the armed forces were seized, according to the source.

The source added that an army unit killed terrorist Mahmoud Audeh, leader of an armed terrorist group, in Aliya farms and a number of the group’s members, including Hossam Othman.

In the framework of another operation, an army unit destroyed a terrorists’ den in Erbin town along with the weapons and ammunition inside. The terrorists inside the den were killed, among them Mohammad Mkheiber and Bassam al-Masri were identified.

Units of the armed forces continued hunting fleeing members of armed terrorist groups on the outskirts of al-Bahariyeh and al-Qassimiyeh towns in Eastern Ghouta, killing and injuring a number of terrorists.

Terrorist Khalid al-Hamid was identified among the dead, in addition to another terrorist nicknamed Abo Zahr al-Janneh.

SANA reporter quoted the source as saying that a number of special operations were carried out by army units in the southern area of Damascus Countryside.

A terrorists’ gathering was destroyed, and members of an armed terrorist group were killed and injured in al-Ziyabiyeh town. Among the killed terrorists were Naef Khallouf and Khalid al-Khatib.

The operations in Hijjeira town resulted in the killing of a number of terrorists, including Rizq Shawish and Maher Jalayli, and the destruction of a mortar and a heavy machinegun.

A military source told SANA that the army units targeted armed terrorist groups in Adra, Rankous and Housh Arab, killing and injuring several terrorists.

Army units pursue terrorists in Damascus and its Countryside

Units of the armed forces clashed with armed terrorist groups in Joubar neighborhood in Damascus Countryside, killing and injuring several terrorists.

An official source told SANA reporter that the army units clashed with terrorists near the teachers’ building, killing and injuring several terrorists, including a sniper called Abu Ali Tuba.

The source added that the army units continued hunting the armed terrorist groups’ members in Barzeh and al-Qaboun neighborhoods in Damascus city, killing several terrorists, including a leader of the armed terrorist group called Abu Talib and terrorist Firas Habul.

In al-Qaboun, the army killed scores of terrorists who were shooting on people on Damascus-Homs international highway.

An official source told SANA reporter that mortar, sniper rifles and heavy machineguns were destroyed during the operation.

The source added that an army unit clashed with terrorists in the area and killed scores of them, among the killed terrorists were Ahmad Zouhair Ghannam, nicknamed Abu Ali al-Doumani, the leader of the group, and Omar Abdul-Latef al-Baghdadi.

Army units eliminate terrorists in Aleppo countryside

Units of the armed forces continued operations against terrorists in the northern countryside of Aleppo and a number of neighborhoods in the city, destroying large amounts of weapons and ammunition and killing several terrorists.

An official source told SANA that the army units destroyed a rocket launcher, a heavy machinegun and a mortar near the Bus Station in al-Layramoun, in addition to destroying a number of terrorists’ dens along with the weapons and ammunition inside them in the area.

The source added that another army unit clashed with armed terrorist groups to the north of al-Kastilo and al-Jandoul roundabout, killing and injuring several terrorists, in addition to destroying their equipment.

In the area surrounding Aleppo Central Prison, other army units killed 10 terrorists stationed in one of the farms in the area and destroyed B-10 cannon, a 23 mm caliber anti-aircraft gun.

The source pointed out that other army units killed and injured several terrorists in the area surrounding the Central Prison, destroying their equipment which were used for targeting the Central Prison.

Another army unit destroyed terrorists’ weapons and ammunition in the area between MTN company and the Agriculture Directorate Building.

Cars loaded with weapons come from Turkey destroyed

In the same context, other army units destroyed a number of cars loaded with weapons and ammunition which were coming from Turkey on Tnaiba-Minnegh road and Azaz-Efrin road. All the terrorists inside the cars were killed.

In Aleppo city, the army units clashed with  armed terrorist groups in al-Sakhour, al-Salihin neighborhoods and in al-Shaar and al-Hilwania roundabouts, killing and injuring scores of terrorists. 

Army units foil attempt by terrorists to smuggle stolen oil into Turkey

An official source in Deir Ezzor province affirmed that the army units foiled an attempt by terrorists to smuggle stolen oil in tankers into Turkey.

The source told SANA that the army units targeted the terrorist smugglers in a special operation and killed all of them.

The source added that another army unit destroyed terrorists’ dens and killed several terrorists in al-Sina’a, al-Matar al-Kadim and al-Omaal neighborhoods in the city of Deir Ezzor.

Mahmoud Ali al-Jaber, Tawfiq Ali al-Suleiman, Obaid Khudr al-Kamish, Hassan Abd al-Hussein, Muhammad Shaher al-Hussein, Mohammad Yusuf Suleiman and Salim Hamdan al-Tukan were identified among the dead terrorists.

The source pointed out that another army unit clashed with armed terrorist groups in Cinema Fuad street, killing and injuring a number of terrorists, including Ammar Abdul Razaq al-Hayis, Ahmad Gallab al-Abdan and Suleiman Atallah al-Suleiman.

An official source in Deir Ezzor province affirmed that the army units foiled an attempt by terrorists to smuggle stolen oil into Turkey.

The source told SANA that the army units targeted terrorists in a special operation and killed all of them inside the tankers.

The source added that another army unit destroyed terrorists’ dens and killed several terrorists in al-Sina’a, al-Matar al-Kadim and al-Omaal neighborhoods in the city of Deir Ezzor.

Mahmoud Ali al-Jaber, Tawfiq Ali al-Suleiman, Obaid Khudr al-Kamish, Hassan Abd al-Hussein, Muhammad Shaher al-Hussein, Mohammad Yusuf Suleiman and Salim Hamdan al-Tukan were identified among the dead terrorists.

The source pointed out that another army unit clashed with armed terrorist groups in Cinema Fuad street, killing and injuring a number of terrorists, including Ammar Abdul Razaq al-Hayis, Ahmad Gallab al-Abdan and Suleiman Atallah al-Suleiman.

Army units kill large number of terrorists in Homs

Several gatherings and dens for armed terrorist groups were targeted by the army units in Homs and its countryside. A military source told SANA reporter that a unit of the armed forces targeted an armed terrorist group in Bab Hood neighborhood in the city of Homs. A number of the group’s members were killed and others were injured.

A den for terrorists was destroyed in al-Khalidiyeh neighborhood, with all the terrorists inside killed.

Other army units targeted terrorists’ gatherings in al-Tayba village to the northeast of al-Sukhna in Palmyra countryside, killing and injuring several terrorists, most of them are non-Syrians.

Another army unit destroyed a car and killed all terrorists inside it between al-Hosn and al-Zara areas in Homs countryside.

Terrorists driving cars targeted in al-Houla countryside

The source told SANA reporter that other army units targeted terrorist groups driving cars in Tall Dahab and Taldo in the countryside of al-Houla area, killing anf injuring a large number of terrorists.

Another army unit, the source said, eliminated members of an armed terrorist group and injured others in the orchards surrounding Palmyra.

A number of terrorists’ dens and gatherings were targeted in al-Rastan, Talbiseh, Ein Hussein and al-Amiriyeh, Many terrorists were killed and their equipment were destroyed.

Terrorists’ dens targeted in Idleb

Units of the armed forces carried out several operations against terrorists’ dens and gatherings in many areas in Idleb province.

SANA reporter quoted a military source as saying that army units targeted a number of gatherings for terrorists in Saraqib, Maartamsarin, Binnesh, al-Insha’at, al-Habbat and bear the Central Prison in the countryside of Idleb, killing a large number of terrorists.

The army units also destroyed a large ammunition warehouse for terrorists in Sarjeh village, according to the source.

Terrorists killed in towns in Quneitra

Meanwhile, an army unit targeted armed terrorist groups in the towns of Jbata al-Khashab and Ofania in Quneitra. A number of terrorists were killed and others were injured in the operations.

Alaa Shreihi, leader of an armed terrorist group, was identified among the killed terrorists, in addition to Daher Kiwan, Mohammad Ahmad Issa al-Sheikh, Odai Hzeima and Kinan Bakr.

Another unit of the armed forces clashed with a terrorist group in Jaba area near Khan Arnaba. A number of the group’s members were killed.

H. Said / B. Mousa

‘Triumphant Syrian Soldier’ monument to honor martyrs’ sacrifices

Jun 21, 2013

Lattakia, (SANA) – The curtain has been brought down on a monument of “the Triumphant Syrian Arab Soldier” in the middle of al-Zira’a square in the coastal city of Lattakia.

The Syrian flag was hoisted on a flagpole in the square as part of a national activity organized Thursday evening by the volunteer youth group “Step It Up” to honor the sacrifices of the homeland’s martyrs.

The activity, held under the motto of ” Victory for Syria”, was carried out in the framework of ‘Amal (Hope) Forum for Societal Work that was launched last February by “Step It Up” group and targets the various age categories to achieve convergence of viewpoints to sow good seeds for a better society over seven stages.

20130621-150504.jpgThe Forum’s activities are meant to create a course starting with children and up to reach young people and adults and then to the entire society “within an untypical interactive dialogue atmosphere to achieve convergence of viewpoints and sow good seeds for a better society,” according to a press statement by the Forum’s organizers at the opening of the Forum’s first stage.

“The Triumphant Syrian Arab Soldier” monument is 2 m high and was sculpted after being molded of iron and cement and painted with the military uniform colors. The flagpole however is 16 m high.

The activity included a “solidarity stand” where the participants lit candles in honor of the martyrs’ souls. Various national artistic shows were presented which affirmed the determination of the Syrian youth to confront the plots targeting their homeland and stand by the Syrian Arab army in the face of the armed terrorist groups.

“The Syrian youths have set an example of awareness, courage and high sense of responsibility,” Coordinator of Political Department and Public Relations at the International Organization for Arab Expatriates, Mohamamd Dirar Jammo, said in a speech at the event, which included the participation of a large number of social, civil and youth activities and several members of displaced families.

Ahmad Hatim, coordinator of “Step It Up” group’s work, stressed that this activity is “an expression of our pride in the victories achieved by the Syrian army against terrorism.”

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“Step It UP” youth group was founded in Lattakia on December 18th, 2011. It includes 50 youths who have undertaken the mission of contributing to confronting the conspiracy targeting their country.

The group has so far organized more than 150 events, including organizing regular visits to families of martyrs and injured members of the army, in addition to other several societal, cultural, environmental and developmental activities.

B. Mousa/H. Said

Spain Dismantles al-Qaeda linked terrorist network responsible for sending fighters to Syria

Jun 21, 2013

Madrid, SANA_ Spanish security forces on Friday broke up an Al-Qaeda-linked network in north Africa suspected of sending fighters to Syria, arresting eight people in early morning raids.

In a statement to Agence France Presse, Spanish Interior Ministry said : ” We have broken up a network responsible for sending combatants to Al-Qaeda-linked terrorist groups operating in Syria,”

The network, operating in Ceuta and the neighbouring Moroccan town of Fnideq, sent dozens of combatants , some minors, to Syria, the ministry said.

It added that the dismantled Spanish-Moroccan network was, according to police investigations, responsible for sending jihadists to groups affiliated with Al Qaeda in Syria,”

“Some of them would have carried out suicide attacks while others would have been incorporated into training camps prior to carrying out armed action,” the ministry said.

Security forces confirmed that several “jihadists” were waiting to travel from Spain to Syria, it added.

The Spanish official statement didn’t describe the terrorist groups in Syria as an opposition since it includes foreign mercenaries linked to al-Qaeda.

It refuted the alleged mottos of such groups to carry out commands and dictates of the West for targeting Syria. Dismantling this network also coincides with the continued controversy about the Anglo-French unbridled desire to send more Weapons to the armed terrorist groups in Syria after the European Union’s decision to end the embargo on arms supplies to the so-called opposition.

European Union governments are showing growing alarm over the potential security threat posed by the hundreds of young Europeans believed to be fighting alongside rebels in Syria.

Ghossoun /

Foreign Ministry: Fatwas inciting terrorism in Syria complete bloody approach of regional and Western states against it

Jun 21, 2013

Damascus, (SANA)- Foreign and Expatriates Ministry stressed Thursday that the fatwas and statements being issued by so-called Muslim scholars to incite terrorism in Syria are part of an aggressive instigative campaign targeting the country.

The Ministry addressed three letters to the Chairman of the UN Security Council, UN Secretary General and the Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC) established by Security Council resolution 1373 (2001) in which it denounced the repeated practices of those who call themselves “Muslim scholars” in terms of issuing takfiri fatwas that instigate terrorism and provide support to those who carry out terrorist acts.

The Ministry affirmed that these practices violate all religious and human values as well as the principles of the international law and the Security Council resolutions.

It highlighted that these fatwas are “political with a religious cover” and come in the framework of “an aggressive instigative campaign led by Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and some Western states.”

The letters referred particularly to the takfiri fatwas, statements and rulings that have being issued throughout the crisis in Syria by the so-called Chairman of the International Union of Muslim Scholars, Yusuf al-Qaradawi, along with a group of so-called Muslim scholars and sheikhs.

They cited among those ‘sheikhs’ the names of Abdul-Aziz Abdullah Al Sheikh and Mohammad al-Ereifi from Saudi Arabia, Safwat Hijazi and Mohammad Hassan from Egypt and Shafi Sultan al-Ajami from Kuwait.

The Ministry reiterated that those fatwas “directly serves al-Qaeda and the takfiri movements with ties to it that are operating on the Syrian land.”

The Ministry lashed out at the instigative views of al-Qaradawi that call for killing, hatred and bigotry and for ‘jihad’, making a special reference to al-Qaradawi’s Friday sermon on May 31st in which the latter described members of the Nusayri Islamic sect in Syria as “infidels as much as and more than the Jews and Christians are”.

With this instigation, the Ministry said, al-Qaradawi sentenced to death three religious sects that are spread all over the world.

The Ministry’s letters also made a reference to a conference that was held in the Egyptian capital Cairo on June 12-13 by al-Qaradawi and some other “scholars” who openly and clearly addressed a call for all Muslims of the world to fight and kill those whom they described as “infidels”, a move through which they intended to give religious legitimacy to their fatwas.

Those calls for “jihad” were reiterated by Mohammad al-Ereifi who called for arming “mujahideen” and getting them ready to go and fight in Syria.

A few days earlier, the Kuwaiti so-called scholar Shafi al-Ajami, who is a teacher at the Islamic Religious Education Faculty of Kuwait University, was shown on satellite channels’ screens openly admitting to having participated, along with a Jabhat al-Nusra-linked terrorist group, in committing a horrible massacre against tens of innocent citizens in Hatla village in the Syrian province of Deir Ezzor.

Al-Ajami, who has been funding, recruiting and sending hundreds of takfiri terrorists to Syria, threatened to do to the citizens of Nubul and al-Zahraa towns in Aleppo that same of what he did to those of Hatla.

The Foreign and Expatriates Ministry stressed that those fatwas calling for “jihad” in Syria come to complete “the bloody approach followed by many regional and Western countries, on top being Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.”

The Ministry continued as saying that these practices by the “scholars” aim to justify all acts of systematic murder, rape, massive killing, terrorist bombings and “man-eating” targeting the Syrians and the demolition of infrastructure with the aim to destroy Syria and its culture and sow sedition among its people.

Added to these practices is the “International Union of Muslim Scholars” denunciation of adding Jabhat al-Nusra on the lists of the Security Council’s committee established pursuant to resolutions 1267 for 1999 and 1989 for 2011.

The Ministry slammed in this context the Egyptian government for allowing such instigative fatwas to be issued on its platforms, stressing that this is a proof that “the Egyptian government is a complicit in these terrorist crimes and the shedding of the Syrian blood.”

The Ministry stressed that the “International Union of Muslim Scholars” has turned into “a main source of instigation for terrorism, sedition and bigotry”, in addition to being a source of recruiting, funding and arming terrorists, including those from al-Qaeda, particularly after having moved its HQ from Dublin where it was first established in 2004 to Qatar in May 2012.

The Ministry affirmed that Syria holds those “scholars of sedition, instigation and takfir” and the government and states supporting them directly responsible for the shedding of the Syrians’ blood.

It added that Syria stresses that those practices of supporting terrorism and terrorists that aim at a forced change of its government away the Syrian people’s will are “a flagrant interference” in its internal affairs in violation of the international law principles and the Security Council resolutions regarding counter-terrorism.

This also constitutes, the Ministry said “an aggression on Syria and a threat of using force against it.”

“While putting these facts before the Security Council and the international community, Syria demands that the those assume their responsibilities according to Security Council resolutions on counter-terrorism,” the letters said.

Syria, the letters added, calls for forcing the countries involved in supporting terrorism in Syria, particularly Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and France, to “halt the violations which endanger security and peace in Syria and the region”.

H. Said

Tehran: Extremists attack Syrian people

Jun 20, 2013

Kuwait, (SANA)- Iranian Assistant Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs, Hossein Amir Abdullahian, said that the extremists are attacking the Syrian people and inciting differences in the Syrian society.

Al-Alam website quoted Abdollahian, who is on a current visit to Kuwait, as saying that ”the calls of some for Jihad against the Syrian government and its allies stoke extremism in the region,” indicating that Iran’s support to Syria is related to economic, political and media fields, but not military.

Several fatwas were issued recently that call for bloodshed in Syria under the pretext of Jihad, in service of US schemes.

M. Ismael

Terrorist reveals involvement of Lebanese MP in abduction of Lebanese citizens in Syria

Jun 21, 2013

Aleppo, (SANA) – Terrorist Mazen Ali Hamoush said that Lebanese MP Oqab Saqr from the Future Movement was the one who ordered the abduction of Lebanese citizens coming from Turkey to Aleppo while passing through A’azaz area, and that Saqr is involved in coordinating the arming and funding of terrorists in Syria.

In confessions broadcast by the Syrian TV on Friday, Hamoush said that he took part in the siege of the military security building in his hometown of A’azaz which lasted 18 days, saying he was part of a group calling itself “Liwa’a Asifet al-Shamal” (Northern Storm Brigade) which was led by Amar Dadaikhi.

He said that Dadaikhi and his group committed acts of abduction in A’azaz and even had his own prison which he set up near the Turkish borders to hold abductees, some of which he executed to keep people afraid and under his control.

Hamoush said that armed groups in the area would meet with Lebanese MP from the Future Movement Oqab Saqr in the camps in Bab al-Salameh in order to coordinate the procurement of weapons, munitions and funds, and sometimes they would communicate with Saqr via phone.

The terrorist said that Saqr was the one who ordered his group to hijack a bus transporting Lebanese citizens, informing them that it will go through A’azaz, and they obeyed and hijacked the bus when it passed through the area.

He said that they released the women who were on the bus at a later time and kept the men imprisoned, first in the home of Dadaikhi’s family then they were transported to al-Kuroum area on the borders with Turkey, around 7 kilometers north of A’azaz, and after that they didn’t hear any news about the abductees.

Hamoush revealed that Dadaikhi died in Turkey after succumbing to a gunshot wound he received near Mennegh airport, adding that he and his cohorts heard that it was the Turkish intelligence that killed Dadaikhi in order to conceal any information on the whereabouts of the Lebanese abductees.

He said that after Dadaikhi died, disputes broke out in the group one of its members formed a splinter group, and later they were asked to assist gunmen in al-Qseir area in Homs, and so they went to al-Buwayda al-Sharqiya along with other armed groups.

Upon arrival in al-Qseir, four of Hamoush’s cohorts were killed immediately alongside many gunmen from other groups, which prompted him to flee the area.

He said that the terrorists’ morale began to collapse as the Syrian Army assumed control of one area after another and cut off their supply lines.

Hamoush said that armed groups in the area dismantled two factories and transported them to Turkey, with two groups known as “Kataeb Liwa’a al-Tawhid” and “Ahrar Jabal al-Zawiye” were in charge of transporting the factories to Turkey, while his own group was tasked with occupying Mennegh airport but failed to do so, adding that he participated in two attacks on the airport but withdrew when he realized that they wouldn’t be able to take control of it.

The terrorist said that he and his cohorts were joined by gunmen from Tunisia, Libya, Chechnya, Afghanistan, Egypt and other countries, pointing out that they were also in contact with Sobhi Hamidi, member of the Doha Coalition.

Hamoush also said that injured terrorists who fled to Turkey and died there had their organs stolen and sold, with the money going to buy more weapons.

H. Sabbagh

Putin: President al-Assad confronts foreign gunmen, not Syrian people

Jun 21, 2013

Petersburg-Moscow (SANA) – Russian President Vladimir Putin said that President Bashar al-Assad is in confrontation with gunmen who were trained abroad, not with the Syrian people.

During a joint press conference with the German Chancellor Angela Merkel on the sidelines of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, President Putin said that the international community and the US recognized Jabhat al-Nusra, which is key part of the armed opposition, as a terrorist organization.

”Of concern to us is the possibility of political vacuum if decisions are taken to replace the incumbent Syrian government…If Assad goes, a political vacuum will emerge…who will fill that vacuum?”

Putin said that ”During the G8 summit, everybody agreed to convince the parties to the conflict in Syria to sit to the negotiating table in the upcoming international conference in Geneva to find the appropriate solutions for Syria’s future as to realize the Syrians’ aspirations.”

”We should not impose a solution on the Syrian people, but have to create an environment conducive to dialogue,” Putin added.

Putin urged a stop to committing mistakes and unjustified measures in the Middle East, calling for vigilance and valuing the desires and will of the region’s people.

”We have to closely monitor the developments over the past years to realize that the region might spiral out of the international community’s control,” he added.

Putin: What is going on in Syria would not have been possible without sending weapons to ‘opposition’

President Putin called for not playing down the issue of sending weapons to Syria, stressing that ”Russia exports weapons to the legitimate government in Syria according to international agreements and laws.”

Putin said that arming and financing the ‘Syrian opposition’ has been on for a long time, adding ”what is going on in Syria wouldn’t have been possible without sending weapons to the opposition.”

Putin said that at least 600 Russians and Europeans are fighting alongside the opposition, adding that it remains unclear where these arms will end up.

“If the United States … recognizes one of the key Syrian opposition organizations, al-Nusra, as terrorist … how can one deliver arms to those opposition members?” Putin said. “Where will (those weapons) end up? What role will they play?”

Putin said that Western countries cannot clarify the goal of arming the Syrian opposition without knowing its composition.

He pointed out a disagreement between Moscow and Washington on the issue, adding that only the Syrian people can ensure a solution to the crisis and the international community can prepare the ground for an agreement.

Putin also warned against misconstruing differences in positions regarding Syria in the international community in a simplified manner and against portrating them as mere contradictions between the US and Russia.

He explained that Europe and the UN adopted methods to prevent supplying weapons to non-governmental entities, particularly in areas of conflict, and in this issue there are differences in opinions, not just between Russia and the US, but also with the G8 countries, asserting that portraying this issue as Russia on one side and the US on the other is an incorrect oversimplifications of complex international relations.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged work for convening the international conference on Syria as it offers a chance for starting a political process there.

Lavrov: Weapons supply to “opposition” by the West is illegitimate

Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said the talk about setting up a no-fly zone over Syria is not helpful to holding the upcoming international conference in Geneva to discuss finding solutions to the crisis in the country.

“If our goal is the conference, then we must avoid any discussions and, of course, any action designed to establish a no-fly zone. We must avoid confrontational debates and one-sided resolutions in the General Assembly and in the Human Rights Council because all this isn’t helping to create the atmosphere necessary to convene a conference,” Lavrov said in an interview with Associated Press and Bloomberg news agencies on Friday.

“Our Western partners agreed to holding the conference once the government forces started to make headway…They were not even ready to discuss it when many were convinced that the opposition will be taking over Damascus very soon,” he said.

Lavrov went on to say “If they go down the path that some of the opposition leaders are talking about; that is redressing the military balance on the ground prior to going to the conference, this will be catastrophic to diplomatic endeavors, because in this case , this conflict will never come to an end.”

Lavrov stressed that supplying the “Syrian opposition” with weapons by the West is an illegitimate act, adding “We believe this is absolutely illegitimate, and we aren’t going to legitimize it,” and noting that many types of weapons, including portable anti-air weapons, have already been sent to armed groups in Syria according to mass media reports.

He pointed out that Jabhat al-Nusra is a terrorist organization and the possibility of its participation in the international conference on Syria is out of the question, saying “It is not for them to decide whether to take part in the conference or not…They are terrorists, and should be dealt with as such.”

Lavrov noted that the most active armed groups in Syria are the ones affiliated with Jabhat al-Nusra, with reports suggesting that members of the “Free Army” are deserting to join Jabhat al-Nusra because it’s equipped and funded better.

Regarding the contract for supplying S-300 missiles to Syria, Lavrov said the contract hasn’t been fulfilled yet, asserting that this contract “is absolutely legal, it’s transparent and it’s fully in line with the international norms and with the Russian export control legislation. Second, the contract hasn’t been yet finalized. Third, the Americans are leaving Patriots after this exercise in Jordan, together with F-16 planes, and no one is asking them not to do this. The region is really full of weapons, including offensive weapons which have been supplied in the past to the countries of the region.”

He asserted that the international conference on Syria may be stalled if the US decides to impose a no-fly zone over Syria, and that the US must decide between the conference or supporting the opposition, adding that US diplomats at the UN and the UN Human Rights Council (UNHCR) are working to push unilateral resolutions that send the wrong messages to the opposition and effectively tell them “don’t go to Geneva, don’t say you are going to negotiate with the regime, soon things will change in your favor.”

“It’s either the conference or the instigation of the opposition not to be flexible. I don’t think it’s possible to do both at the same time,” Lavrov said.

The Russian Foreign Minister warned against making preconditions about the resignation of President Bashar al-Assad, describing such demands as unrealistic, noting that the Syrian government voiced readiness to attend the Geneva conference more than once while the opposition didn’t say that they’ll attend without preconditions.

Lavrov said that the western allegations about the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian authorities are inconclusive and cannot be used as evidence, adding “we have been told by the Americans, by the French, by the British that they have proofs… What they showed to us is absolutely unconvincing. It’s not based on facts, and it can’t be taken as a proof.”

He also voiced Russia’s desire to learn the fate of the “Syrian opposition members” arrested by Turkish authorities with Sarin gas in their possession, asserting that there have been reports about the use of chemical weapons by the opposition and that a lab was uncovered in Iraq where Sarin gas was being manufactured, but these reports were retracted later.

Zasypkin: Geneva statement is the basis for international conference on Syria

Russia’s ambassador in Lebanon Alexander Zasypkin stressed that the political solution is the best way to solve the crisis in Syria.

After his meeting with the Lebanese caretaker Foreign Minister in Beirut, Zasypkin said that there is no alternative for holding the international conference on Syria.

He added that the Geneva communiqué, which is the basis for the conference, stresses the necessity of ending violence and holding dialogue without preconditions.

He said that the communiqué does not stipulate the handover of power to the opposition but forming a “transitional body” by the two sides.

“Arming the Syrian opposition and the calls for imposing no-fly zone over Syria are measures that will hamper the conference,” he said, adding that Russia does not interfere in the Syrian internal affairs but supports the international legitimacy on the Syrian soil, particularly respecting the Syrian sovereignty and finding peaceful solutions to contentious issues.

He highlighted that there are many problems hindering holding the conference such as the delegation that will represent the opposition in the conference.

English Bulletin

Al-Halqi: Improving living conditions for citizens

Jun 21, 2013

Damascus, (SANA)_Prime Minister, Dr. Wael al-Halqi underlined the government’s keenness on improving the living conditions of citizens and providing food and medicine packages for the families who were forced out of their homes by the armed terrorist groups, in cooperation with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC).

During his meeting on Thursday with SARC chief Abdul-Rahman al-Attar, al-Halqi said that the government is working to facilitate the measures for ensuring the access of relief and humanitarian aid to citizens in all areas.

20130620-174810.jpg 

Al-Halqi hailed SARC positive role in providing aid to citizens, although its cadres have come under repeated terrorist attacks.

Premier al-Halqi stressed the importance of confining the distribution of relief and humanitarian aid to the High Committee for Relief and its sub-committees in the governorates, and the Red Crescent branches as to ensure accuracy and integrity in distributing aid.

Al-Attar hailed the Syrian government’s efforts and facilitations for ensuring the access of aid to all citizens.

M. Ismael

Syria supports Argentina’s legitimate right of sovereignty over Malvinas

Jun 21, 2013

New York, SANA_ Syria has stressed its support for Argentina’s legitimate right of sovereignty over the Malvinas (Falkland) Islands, urging “a peaceful and proper solution” to the issue of the sovereignty dispute over these Islands.

Syria’s permanent representative to the United Nations Dr. Bashar al-Jaafari made the remarks on Thursday during the meeting of the Special Committee formally known as the Special Committee on the Situation with Regard to the Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples.

He stressed the importance of settling the dispute concerning sovereignty over these islands through peaceful negotiations, in accordance with the resolutions of the UN General Assembly and the Special Committee on Decolonization (C 24).

Al-Jaafari called on Britain to implement the Committee resolution and conduct a serious dialogue with Argentina for resolving the dispute through peaceful means .

He also urged Britain to, seriously, deal with the Special Committee and inform it, periodically, of the actions taken by it for the implementation of the committee’s relevant resolutions.

Al-Jaafari said that the world’s remaining 16 non-self-governing territories after nearly 51 years of the establishment of the Special Committee is a matter that deserves to be reconsidered in its meanings and political connotations.

” This matter pushes us to duplicate efforts to promote decolonization which constitutes a humanitarian crime that violates both the UN Charter and the declaration of decolonization, “

He pointed out that Syria rejects all unilateral measures carried out by Britain in the Malvinas Islands, which violate the relevant UN resolutions and undermine any effort to establish a constructive dialogue with Argentina.

Al-Jaafari clarified that 30 resolutions were adopted on Malvinas over the 31 years of the Committee’s consideration of this matter, but none of these resolutions have been implemented so far.

In turn, Argentina’s Foreign Minister, Héctor Marcos Timerman , stressed his country’s readiness for an immediate and unconditional resumption of negotiation and dialogue with Britain.

He criticized Britain’s ignorance of all resolutions of the General Assembly and Special Committee, which call on all parties to resume dialogue for a peaceful solution.

Also speaking today were representatives of Ecuador, Bolivia, Nicaragua, China, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Sierra Leone, Peru Guatemala, Costa Rica and Brazil.

They confirmed their support for Argentina’s position regarding the Malvinas Islands issue, urging Britain to begin constructive negotiations with Argentina to resolve the matter peacefully and in accordance with the UN resolutions.

They also called for non-militarization of the region and stopping the unilateral measures which undermine the efforts of a peaceful solution to the sovereignty dispute over these Islands.

The Special Committee called on Britain and Argentina governments to support the dialogue and cooperate for the resumption of negotiations to reach a peaceful solution as soon as possible. 

Ghossoun /

Tehran: We will decide whether or not to participate in international conference on Syria once a date is set

Jun 21, 2013

Tehran, (SANA)- Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman, Abbas Araqchi, said Friday Tehran will decide whether or not it is going to participate in the international conference on Syria after a date, a program and a schedule are set.

In a statement to the Iranian Erna news agency, Araqchi pointed out that Iran has not received any official invitation to the conference so far, commenting to statements on the need for Iranian President-elect Hassan Rohani to participate in the conference.

Iranian officials earlier stated that Tehran received verbal invitations to take part in the conference on Syria scheduled to be held in Geneva.

Consultations to prepare for the international conference on Syria are continuing with a U.S.-Russian meeting with the participation of UN Envoy to Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, is set to take place next Tuesday in Geneva.

H. Said

New U.S-Russian round of talks on Syria next week

Jun 21, 2013

Geneva, (SANA)- The United Nations spokesperson Corinne Momal Vanyan announced on Friday that senior U.S. and Russian officials are meeting the UN Envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi in Geneva next Tuesday.

Reuters quoted Vanyan as saying in a briefing in Geneva that any talks and any discussion are a positive gesture.

These talks due on Tuesday come in the framework of the ongoing meetings to prepare for the international conference that was agreed upon to be held in Geneva with the aim to solve the crisis in Syria. 

A tripartite session of talks between the US, Russia and the UN was held on June, 5th in Geneva.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister, Gennady Gatilov, who represented the Russian side to the talks, announced that the international conference will not be held before next July.

Gatilov said no agreement was reached during the talks regarding the list of potential participants in the conference, adding that this issue is still the most difficult one.

He pointed out that, unlike the government in Syria, the “Syrian opposition” has not yet officially decided if or not it is going to participate in the conference.

B. Mousa/H. Said

ISRAELI WEAPONS IN QUASYR, EASTERN BOUWAYDA AND THE DESECRATION OF CHURCHES


Israeli Weapons Used by FSA Discovered in Qusayr & Eastern Bouwayda

Eretz Zen

Published on 9 Jun 2013

The Syrian Army discovered several Israeli-made weaponry with Hebrew writings on them in Qusayr and the neighboring town of Eastern Bouwayda. Those weapons included mortar shells, Uzi submachine guns, RPGs, gas masks, and communication devices.

Sources: al-Manar TV (Lebanon), Syrian Official TV


Post-Liberation Qusayr & FSA’s Desecration of Qusayr’s Churches

Eretz Zen

Published on 7 Jun 2013

This two-part report from Lebanese OTV channel shows how the city of Qusayr looks like after the Syrian Army’s liberation of the city from the “Free Syrian Army” (FSA). Homes got occupied and sandbagged by the FSA terrorists, tunnels were dug throughout the city, people were tortured and killed for not being with them, and roadblocks were everywhere.

Qusayr and its countryside are also home to several thousands of Christians whose places of worship have been desecrated by the FSA and used as military barracks.

Source: OTV (Lebanon)


Qussayr Aftermath, Mass Graveyard, IEDs and Tunnels

Arabi Souri

Published on 8 Jun 2013

NATO experts were working hard in Qussayr, Homs..

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