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September 27, 2016 / 24 Elul, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Free Syrian Army’

Another US-Russian Ceasefire Deal for Syria, Again

Sunday, September 11th, 2016

U.S. Secretary of State and Russian Foreign Secretary Sergei Lavrov shook hands Friday on a deal to impose a new cease-fire in Syria after marathon talks in Geneva. More than half a million Syrians have died since the start of the savage civil war that has raged in the country since March 2011.

The truce is scheduled to begin Monday together with the start of the Islamic holiday of Eid al-Fitr.

But few have faith the deal will hold up for more than a few minutes.

The Free Syrian Army (FSA), itself little more than a name on paper for a collection of secular opposition groups backed by the West, quickly dismissed the possibility that this time the deal would bring peace.

Fares al-Bayoush, head of the FSA’s Northern Division group, pointed out that Russia and Syrian government troops had not complied with the previous cease-fire. Likewise, Captain Abdul Salam Abdul Razak, military spokesperson for the Nour al-Din al-Zinki Brigades opposition group said the agreement would only give government troops the opportunity to gather forces and reinforce troops in Aleppo with more Iranian-backed military forces.

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson also welcomed the agreement but reminded that “broken promises” had been heard before, The Guardian reported. “I call on all parties to the Syria conflict and all countries with influence upon them to do what is needed to end violence and lift sieges,” he said. “In particular, it’s vital that the regime in Damascus now delivers on its obligations, and I call on Russia to use all its influence to ensure this happens.”

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told Kerry by phone on Saturday that Ankara welcomes the cease-fire. Two and a half weeks ago, Turkey launched its own invasion of Syria after dealing with an endless flood of Syrian refugees through its southeastern border, and numerous “overflow” attacks from the war. Now Ankara has said it will provide humanitarian aid to Aleppo, in northern Syria, in cooperation with the United Nations, following the cease-fire.

It’s not the first time such a cease-fire has been proposed the same two parties; just six months ago, a similar truce was made, and violated repeatedly by both sides almost immediately. Before that, the two sides worked out a cease-fire deal in 2013. That one didn’t happen, either.

Kerry told reporters at a joint news conference with Lavrov, “The United States is going the extra mile here because we believe Russia and my colleague have the capability to press the Assad regime to stop this conflict and come to the table and make peace.

“Out of complexity in Syria, there is emerging a simple choice between war and peace,” he said.

The plan is for the U.S. and Russia to establish a joint operation center to coordinate military efforts against the Da’esh (ISIS) and Al Qaeda-linked Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist organizations.

Russia informed President Bashar al-Assad about the agreement and, according to Lavrov, the regime agreed to comply. Although the terms were documented and agreed to by both sides, they would not be made public, he told reporters, according to the UK-based newspaper, The Telegraph.

The deal rides on Russia’s ability and willingness to stop attacks by the Assad regime and its allies, and the same cooperation by the United States to halt attacks by “moderate” opposition forces who unite with Al Nusra and other radical Islamists when it suits their needs.

Other forces that have become involved in the Syrian conflict include Iran and Hezbollah, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, and the Kurds.

It’s a coin toss whether anyone will actually pay more than five minutes’ attention to the terms of the deal in Damascus this time — and some bookie is probably making good money on the estimates of how long the quiet will last, or if it will even be quiet at all by Monday night.

Hana Levi Julian

Turkish Forces Invading Syria Again

Saturday, September 3rd, 2016

Turkish Armored vehicles entered the Syrian town of Cobanbey in the northwestern Aleppo province Saturday, as part of Turkey’s Operation Euphrates Shield aimed at clearing ISIS from its border region, military sources told the Anadolu Agency. The sources said the Free Syrian Army (FSA), which is being supported by the Turks, took control of the town of Cobanbey, near the Turkish border in Aleppo.

Saturday’s invasion took place 36 miles west of Cerablus, opening a second front for the Turkish Army in Syria. The move could cut in half the territory controlled by ISIS along the Turkish border and isolate its drifting troops along the border.

The town, which shares a border with the city of Azaz which is controlled by Syrian opposition forces, has frequently changed hands between the FSA and ISIS.

Turkish fighter aircraft have been striking the villages along a highway where ISIS fighters are regrouping after having fled Cerablus, DHA reported Saturday. Three Turkish air force sorties have hit Gandıra Village in Cerablus. Syrians living in Gandıra, Bozhüyük, Küllü and Zugara have fled their villages to the Turkish border.

DHA reports that the area near the Turkish border has been cleansed of ISIS and is being supervised by the FSA, which is clearing the Cerablus fields from mines and explosives. Turkish Armed forces are monitoring civilian safety in the area.

The Turkish government launched Operation Euphrates Shield on August 24 with Moscow’s approval and in coordination with the US Special Forces who are operating in the area. It aims to improve security, support coalition forces, and eliminate the terror threat along Turkey’s border using FSA fighters backed by Turkish armor, artillery, and jets.

JNi.Media

Israeli Provisions Causing Rift among Syrian Rebels

Wednesday, June 15th, 2016

Shipments of food supplies from Israel, bearing the names of well known Israeli brands, have been the source of much strife in Arab media and Arab social networks, most likely because this is the month of Ramadan, when Muslims fast during the day and think about food more often than usual. The provisions, including packaged rice and wheat, reach the Al-Quneitra district, which is dominated by the Syrian opposition. But while some rebel groups welcome the Israeli support, other groups, some of which are affiliated with President Assad’s regime, have attacked the initiative, saying that “it’s an insult to receive food from the Zionist entity which is oppressing the Golan.”

The Golan Heights, a hilly stretch overlooking lake Kinneret and Israel’s civilian communities, used to be the spots from which Syrian soldiers would target Israelis down below like fish in a barrel for 19 years, until Israel put an end to the madness by capturing the hills and denying the Syrians their target practice.

Pictures of the Israeli food products have reached the London daily Al-Quds Al-Arabi, which cited a source on the ground in southern Syria that claimed Israel has been supporting the rebel groups there since 2013, after Jordan had closed off its Syrian border. Obviously, the groups who don’t get to share in the Israeli made rice, wheat, tea and Canola oil describe the haves as traitors and Zionist collaborators.

Israeli food products in Syria

Israeli food products in Syria

Revolutionary Military Council in Quneitra and the Golan last week issued a strong condemnation that went: “We condemn the insult our people have sustained in the liberated Al-Quneitra district in the form of food supplies awarded by the Zionist entity which is repressing the Golan which was sold out by the regime.” The RMCQ was particularly upset because the revelation of the Zionist food supplies came close to the part of the year when the anniversaries of the 1948 and the 1967 wars take place, in May and June respectively.

Al-Quds Al-Arabi cited a local activist who said the food is being hauled into Syria by members of the Free Syrian Army, after they deliver their wounded to hospitals south of the border, in Israel. It appears there are many Syrians who are delighted and grateful that Israel has been so supportive. Fahd Al-Mousa, head of the liberated Quneitra district council told the newspaper that only Israel has been a reliable ally for his people.

“Since the beginning of the Syrian revolution we haven’t found a way to bring the injured and hurt into any Arab country,” Al-Mousa stated, adding that only Israel has opened its gates to them. “And there are packages of medicine, milk for babies and additional foodstuffs that enter the district from Israel,” he said. Compared with Israel’s consistent support, he said, help from the gulf emirates had been sporadic.

Motti Kahane, president of the humanitarian organization Amalia, told Ynet that in southern Syria there may be more than 50 different rebel groups, each of which runs its own fundraising and receives its own supplies from five different countries. Amalia would like to serve as a go between for all the donated goods and food that come in, and to dispense them fairly and equally through the Quneitra crossing between Israel and Syria, which is normally closed.

JNi.Media

Oops! Russian Air Force Bombs Iranian Forces in Syria

Friday, May 13th, 2016

According to the Iranian Al-Alam TV, the Russian air force accidentally bombed Iranian forces stationed in Aleppo, Syria.

It appears this incident happened as Syrian army and friends (Hezbollah, Iran) were launching a new offensive against the Free Syrian Army and al-Nusra front who control areas of northern Aleppo.

Jewish Press News Briefs

18 Dead in Quneitra Bombing Near Syrian-Israeli Border

Thursday, March 3rd, 2016

At least 18 people were killed Wednesday in a powerful car bombing that local sources said was carried out by two suicide bombers in Quneitra province in southern Syria near Israel’s northern border.

According to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, among the dead was the commander of the moderate Syrian Revolutionaries Front, Abu Hamza al-Naimi.

The bomb exploded while a group of the commanders were meeting in the village of Asheh, not far from the sole Syrian crossing with Israel.

The targeted group was meeting at a base belonging to Jabhat Thuwar Souria, a faction in the U.S.-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA).

According to Suhaib al-Ruhail, a spokesperson for Al-Wiyat al-Furqan, the attack was “most likely” carried out by “Da’esh sleeper cells” (ISIS). The Al-Wiyat al-Furgan Islamist group operates in the Quneitra province, close to the Syrian-Israeli border.

Issam al-Rayyes, spokesperson for FSA’s Southern Front, said it was not clear who was behind the attack.

Hana Levi Julian

Free Syrian Army Claims Killing of Hezbollah’s Samir Kuntar – ‘Not Israel’

Monday, December 21st, 2015

A brigade of the Free Syrian Army has claimed responsibility for Saturday’s assassination of Hezbollah commander Samir Kuntar.

The Lebanese child-killer died in an air strike that targeted a structure on the outskirts of Damascus.

Pundits initially assumed the attack came from Israeli fighter pilots, although the Jerusalem government never confirmed the report. In addition, the Iranian-backed Hezbollah terrorist organization announced that Kuntar had been assassinated by Israel.

The FSA vowed Monday in its statement to Arab media that it would also target other Hezbollah fighters in future attacks, the Lebanon-based Daily Star reported.

The group explained in a video that Hezbollah blamed Israel for the strike in order to avoid upsetting fellow terrorists – “the morale of its mercenaries” – according to the Lebanese Naharnet website. Hezbollah would rather have lost a skirmish to Israel than to the FSA, the opposition force said.

Nine others were killed in the attack that eliminated Kuntar. The Lebanese Druze terrorist was age 16 when he murdered an Israeli father in front of his four-year-old daughter before smashing her head with the butt of his rifle, killing her.

Kuntar, at that time a member of the now-defunct Palestine Liberation Front, spent decades behind bars in Israel before his release in a prisoner swap with Hezbollah that brought the return of the bodies of two IDF reservists, Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev. The two were kidnapped while on patrol and murdered in a cross-border raid launched by the group to ignite the 2006 Second Lebanon War. Upon his release Kuntar became a member of Hezbollah, eventually working his way to become a commander of terrorist operations in the Syrian Golan Heights.

Hezbollah guerrillas have for years been fighting the opposition forces on behalf of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, almost since the start of the savage civil war in March 2011.

The terror group is generously funded and equipped by its benefactor, Iran, which has also sent its elite Revolutionary Guard Corps fighters to help fend off the rebel forces. In addition, Russia has also recently added its own forces to the massive shipments of weaponry it had already been sending to Assad.

Despite all the troops and firepower shoring up the Assad regime, little remains of his domain, other than a small area around Damascus. The rest of the country has essentially been carved up between FSA factions, various independent Islamist groups, those associated with Al Qaeda – such as the Jabhat al Nusra (Al Nusra Front) – and Da’esh (ISIS).

Hana Levi Julian

Russia Takes over Syrian Civil War, Hits Rebels with Missiles

Thursday, October 8th, 2015

Moscow is becoming the de facto capital of Syria, if not Iran.

Russian cruise missiles bombarded positions of rebels fighting the Assad regime, which is totally dependent on Russia and is virtually owned by it.

Iran also might find itself under the thumb of Russia. USA Today reported Thursday that Tehran pressed President Vladimir Putin to become directly involved in the Syrian civil war, which has left the country disintegrated.

Basher al-Assad has held on to power only through the generous supply of weapons from Russia. Now he has the Russian Air Force pummeling rebel positions.

Iranian Revolutionary Guards and the Tehran-backed Hezbollah terrorist army has been fighting alongside Assad’s soldiers but have suffered a huge number of casualties.

The Associated Press reported that the commander of Iran’s special elite forces travelled to Russia in August to convince Putin to join the fray, and the counties now operate an intelligence center in Baghdad.

Russia is the only major power that has had the guts to move into Syria. President Barack Obama backed off his threat earlier this year to intervene after there was proof that Assad was using chemical weapons.

Russia intervened and worked out a sleight-of-hand act by which Assad handed over his chemical and biological stockpile to international inspectors. The Obama administration easily swallowed the tale that Assad handed over all of the weapons, many of which were in Syria courtesy of none other than Russia.

Iraq has been disappointed with the American-led strike force’s inability to pulverize the Islamic State (ISIS), and Russia has used ISIS as the perfect excuse to move into Syria, set up an air force base and stake its presence as the power broker in the region.

Whether or not President Obama and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry really believed Putin’s promise that Russian forces are in Syria only in order to wage war on ISIS, their illusion that their words speaker louder than action has left them too paralyzed to do anything about it. It was clear from day one that Moscow’s real objective is to save Assad.

Four Russian warships launched 26 missiles against rebel forces as wells ISIS on Wednesday in addition to aerial attacks that have allowed Assad’s foot soldiers to try to take over more territory.

NATO Secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg said that Russia’s military actions are “troubling escalation” and added:

My concern is that the Russians are not mainly targeting ISIS but they are targeting other opposition groups and they are supporting the (Assad) regime.

It’s a bit late for his concern.

Syrian rebels are firing anti-tank missiles at Assad’s soldiers who have Russian aerial support.

Syrian activist Raed Fares was quoted by AP as saying:

Russia is targeting civilians and the Free Syrian Army brigades that are supported by America. They are not targeting the Islamic State as they claimed. Russia is here to keep Assad in power, so they will strike what Assad strikes.

The rebels, and even ISIS, don’t have much of a chance against the superior Russian firepower.

Regardless of its ulterior motives, Russia is the only country in the world that has taken the initiative to directly confront ISIS.

U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter thinks that Russia is on the wrong track, despite the failure of 7,000 strikes by the U.S.-led force to seriously damage ISIS.

He said in Rome:

We believe Russia has the wrong strategy. They continue to hit targets that are not ISIL. This is a fundamental mistake.

If he is wrong and Russia succeeds, it will decide the future of Syria, if not Iran.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/russia-takes-over-syrian-civil-war-hits-rebels-with-missiles/2015/10/08/

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