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July 29, 2014 / 2 Av, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Aleppo’

Syrian Rocket Smashes into Bus; 25 Dead

Wednesday, January 1st, 2014

At least 25 people, including women and children, were killed in Aleppo Tuesday when Syrian forces attacked a bus with a rocket, according to the opposition Aleppo Medical Center,

It said the attack from a nearby Syrian military base burned everyone inside the bus beyond recognition and that it was impossible to know the actual death toll.

Aleppo has been wracked by fierce clashes between opposition forces and the Syria army and air force the past several weeks. More than 500 people were killed in attacks by “barrel bombs” that are packed with TNT and shrapnel, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The regime, of course, called the rebels “terrorists” and that despite their “destruction, murder and abduction the Syrian people continue to live their lives and the state’s establishments continue to carry out their duties.”

Death Toll in Aleppo Bombing Reported at More than 100

Sunday, December 15th, 2013

The death toll in the bombing of Aleppo by Syrian government planes Sunday has risen to more than 100, including 16 children, according to opposition sources.

The “barrel bomb” attack hit nine different parts of the city and was the worst bombing of the commercial hub in six months, the London Telegraph reported. The bombs were dropped by helicopters and were made of TNT with nails and other metal materials.

One opposition medical source said that doctors called the attacks a “massacre” that struck a school, a bus station and a public market. Many of the victims were women and children

Aleppo is a key city in the Syrian Civil War and is split in two, with rebels and government forces each controlling different areas.

Assad’s Air Force Kills 14 Children in Bombing of Aleppo

Sunday, December 15th, 2013

Syrian President Bassar al-Assad’s Air Force dropped “barrel bombs” of explosives on Aleppo Sunday, killing 14 children and eight others, according to the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. A school was hit by the bombs, the Observatory said, and another activist group reported that there were several helicopter attacks.

The city, Syria’s second largest, is divided between rebel and government-held areas after the opposition had taken control of most of the city last year.

Attempts for a diplomatic solution to the conflict are doubted by most observers, and the opposition has said there can be no solution without the removal of Assad.

Report: Syrian Army Chemical Missile Kills 100 (Video)

Wednesday, August 21st, 2013

Israel’s Channel 10 News cites a report from the opposition to Syrian President Bashar Assad that the Syrian army has launched a surface-to-surface missile in a suburb of the capital Damascus, killing more than 100.



The reliability of the report not yet clear, according to Channel 10, and it is not known what type of chemical was used.

According to the report, the Syrian army is bombing the towns of Tamara and Zamalka, on the outskirts of Damascus. The rebels are reporting dozens of injuries. It was also reported that the army has shot down a rebel helicopter.

Several Arab news channel have carried this report. The alleged attack took place while a UN mission with some 20 inspectors is in Damascus to investigate earlier reports of chemical weapons use.

The inspectors are expecting to visit three sites, most notably Khan al-Assal near Aleppo. According to the UN, 13 reports of chemical weapon attacks have been received to date – not including today’s report.

UN chief Ban Ki-moon said the investigators intend to collect samples, conduct interviews with witnesses, victims, and attending medical personnel, and conduct autopsies.

Meanwhile, according to Reuters, the Syrian army has attacked rebel positions in the eastern city of Deir al-Zor on Tuesday, countering a rebel advance that threatened to take the whole city. Deir al-Zor, on the banks of the Euphrates, 270 miles northeast of Damascus, is the capital of an oil-rich region bordering Iraq.


UN Chemical Weapons Inspectors Arrive in Syria

Monday, August 19th, 2013

UN inspectors tasked with investigating the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria arrived there on Sunday, Xinhu reported.

The 20-member UN delegation, led by Swedish expert Ake Sellstrom, will begin their two-week mission today.

The Syrian government and the opposition have accused each other of using chemical weapons in an attack on Khan al-Asal town on March 19 that killed at least 25 people and injured 130 others, and both sides are denying responsibility.

The UN fact-finding mission, set up in March at the request of the Syrian government, will investigate the use of chemical weapons at the town of Khan al-Asal, outside Aleppo, and in two other sites.

The locations of two other incidents have not been publicized for security reasons. The UN investigation team’s mandate is to report on whether chemical weapons were used, and to specify what kind of chemical weapons was used. But they are not asked to determine the responsible party.

Suicide Attack Helps Rebels Take Over Syrian Military Airport

Tuesday, August 6th, 2013

Syrian rebels staged a suicide attack that enabled its forces to overcome government troops and take over a key air base in northern Syria Tuesday morning. Rebels also seized tanks and arms.

The victory was both military and moral, coming after last week’s Syrian offensive that took back control of areas in Homs and in the commercial city of Aleppo and appeared to be devastating the rebels. Taking over the air base deprives Syrian President Bassar al-Assad’s military of a key supply route in the Aleppo region.

Two foreign fighters in an armored vehicle blew themselves up to help break through Syrian army defense at the air base, according to The New York Times. After the rebels’ victory, dozens of Syrian soldiers reportedly defected.

The rebellion, well into its third year, has divided the country into different regions, a situation that could be the best for Israel if it means that the next regime will be far less powerful with control of a smaller area.

The Troubling Timing of Obama’s Syria Epiphany

Tuesday, June 18th, 2013

Originally published at The American Thinker.

Last August, President Obama declared that the Syrian regime’s use of chemical weapons was a “red line.” About four months later, Al Jazeera released unconfirmed reports that a gas attack killed seven civilians in a rebel-held neighborhood of Homs. Last April, the UK, France, and Israel each claimed that there was evidence that the Syrian government had used chemical weapons in Aleppo, Homs, and/or Damascus. By April 25th, the U.S intelligence assessment was that the Assad regime had likely used sarin gas, but President Obama dodged his red line by announcing that a thorough investigation was still needed (as if the Syrian government would ever allow one). Meanwhile, reports from foreign intelligence agencies and journalists continued to corroborate the use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime. So why did Obama’s requirement of a thorough investigation to confirm the crossing of his red line suddenly vanish last Friday?

Viewed through the lens of domestic politics, Obama’s Syria epiphany looks conveniently timed to deflect attention from an ever-swelling wave of scandals: Benghazi-gate, IRS-gate, AP/Fox-gate, and now NSA-gate and State Department prostitution-gate. As the film Wag The Dog highlights, international crises are great at diverting attention from domestic scandals.

But from the perspective of the Syrian rebels, the timing and nature of U.S. military assistance may be viewed as either too little, too late, or a cynical attempt to ensure a perpetual stalemate. After all, the outgunned rebels have needed lethal weapons from the U.S. for over two years. Chemical weapons use by the Assad regime is old news. So what has changed? The Syrian regime recently defeated rebel forces at the crucial battle in Qusayr, a town providing a strategic supply conduit for rebel forces in Homs. After the military gains enabled by the robust battlefield support of Iran-backed Hezb’allah, the Syrian regime is now preparing for a major offensive to retake Aleppo. With another crushing blow to a key rebel stronghold, the regime could ultimately prevail in the conflict, unless the U.S. provides just enough rebel support to restore the pre-Qusayr stalemate.

Obama has already made it clear that any lethal weapons or no-fly zone provided by the U.S. would be limited. Such tentative U.S. involvement is unlikely to end the carnage, given the vigorous support that the Assad regime enjoys from Iran, Hezb’allah, and Russia (which could undermine a U.S.-imposed no-fly zone by supplying Syria with its potent S-300 missile defense system). Indeed, the New York Times reported on June 14th that “the president’s caution has frayed relations with important American allies in the Middle East that have privately described the White House strategy as feckless. Saudi Arabia and Jordan recently cut the United States out of a new rebel training program, a decision that American officials said came from the belief in Riyadh and Amman that the United States has only a tepid commitment to supporting rebel groups.”

What a difference two years makes. In 2011, the relatively non-sectarian Free Syrian Army (FSA) was the main force fighting for freedom from Assad’s tyranny. Sunni Islamists had not yet felt compelled by FSA failures to join (and ultimately lead) the military effort in large numbers. In 2011, Obama also had far more credibility and political capital — important presidential assets when undertaking a foreign military intervention.

But now the Syrian crisis has deteriorated into a regional sectarian war, increasingly creeping over Syrian borders and into Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq, Israel, and Jordan. The Syrian belligerents have also radicalized, decreasing the odds that the ultimate victor will be friendly to the U.S. or able to achieve a postwar reconciliation and reconstruction in Syria.

Today, with a death toll exceeding 90,000 Syrians (and increasing by 5,000/month) and millions displaced, the humanitarian need for intervention is greater than ever. But Iran and Russia are redoubling their support for the Assad regime, so the U.S. must not enter the Syrian cauldron with half-measures or it could suffer a costly setback with far-reaching repercussions. If Obama’s “red line” was crossed months ago and the tardy “consequences” are America’s feeble and ineffective entry into the Syrian civil war, then Iran, North Korea, China, Russia, and other U.S. adversaries will only feel emboldened to challenge U.S. interests.

Thus, Obama effectively has two choices: 1) continue his disengagement from Syria to preserve whatever political capital and military deterrent he has left for the inevitable showdown over Iranian nukes, 2) enter the Syrian fray in a massive way that ensures a military victory and says to the Iranian regime: “you are next, unless you discontinue your nuclear program.” After the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, Iran feared that thousands of American troops would turn eastward and offered to negotiate the dismantling of its nuclear weapons program. The Bush administration refused to engage but Iran still temporarily suspended its nuclear program out of trepidation.

U.S. entry into the Syrian conflict could defeat Assad and deter Iranian nukes, but only with the resolve and overwhelming firepower to demolish the Syrian-Iranian-Hezb’allah axis (ideally with help from NATO forces). Joining the conflict with insufficient commitment mainly to distract a scandal-weary U.S. audience could have catastrophic consequences for the U.S., and that would be the biggest scandal of all.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/the-american-thinker/the-troubling-timing-of-obamas-syria-epiphany/2013/06/18/

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