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October 22, 2016 / 20 Tishri, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Jabhat al-Nusra’

Mortar Shell Strikes Golan Heights Third Day in a Row

Wednesday, September 14th, 2016

Another round of mortar fire from Syria reportedly struck the Golan Heights in northern Israel from Syria. The IDF located four artillery shells in the northern part of the Golan Heights by Wednesday night, Ynet reported, allegedly more of the “spillovery” from the raging civil war taking place across the border.

If the report is confirmed, it will be the third day in a row for what has become a continuing series of mortar fire despite Israeli military efforts to deter, or at least, contain an escalating situation on the northern border.

This is the eighth time the region has been hit by “spillover” action from the raging civil war taking place on the Syrian side of the border.

The attacks have continued despite retaliatory Israeli Air Force air strikes and IDF artillery fire intended as a warning to prevent further shelling.

On Tuesday, the IDF closed Route 98 in the north after the third mortar shell of the day came whistling into the region from across the border.

That attack came just 24 hours after two projectiles landed in Israel from Syria.

The Golan Heights also was attacked on Monday, and over the weekend as well.

The Israeli government has issued a statement after each attack, warning that it holds the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad responsible for all activity that takes place within its territory, military and otherwise.

Hana Levi Julian

Northern Israeli Road Closes After Third Mortar Shell Hits Golan Heights

Tuesday, September 13th, 2016

Israeli authorities closed Route 98 in the Golan Heights on Tuesday evening after the third mortar shell of the day came whistling into the region from Syria.

The attack came less than 24 hours after two projectiles fired from Syria had also landed on Israel’s side of the border.

It is also the fifth time mortar fire has reached Israel from Syria since the start of a ceasefire negotiated by Russia and the United States; the truce was to begin simultaneously with the start of the festive Islamic holiday of Eid al-Adha, the Feast of the Sacrifice.

Israeli warplanes struck targets near Quneitra late Monday night in retaliation for Monday’s shelling.

The IDF Spokesperson confirmed that two surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) were fired by Syria at the fighter pilots during their mission, but said no harm was caused. All Israeli military personnel returned safely to base.

The IDF continues to maintain the mortar fire is spillover from the savage civil war raging in Syria between regime forces, which include Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps and Hezbollah guerrilla fighters, and those of the opposition, including a range of Western-backed “moderates,” Kurdistani forces, and radical Islamist terrorist groups such as Jaish al Islam, Al Qaeda-linked Jabhat al Nusra, and Da’esh (ISIS.)

Nevertheless, Israel has said it holds the Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad responsible for what takes place in its territory. The Israeli government has also said it won’t tolerate any attempt to harm Israel’s sovereignty or the security of her citizens.

Hana Levi Julian

Bennett: Israel is World’s ‘Front Post’ Against Global Terrorism

Tuesday, September 13th, 2016

By Jonathan Benedek/TPS

Herzliya (TPS) – Education Minister and Chairman of the Jewish Home Party Naftali Bennett told a counter-terrorism conference Monday that Israel is the world’s “front post” in the battle against terror.

“No nation is as threatened by terror as we are,” Bennett told the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism annual conference. “We’ve got Hezbollah in the north, we’ve got Jabhat al-Nusra in Syria, we have ISIS in Sinai, we have Hamas in Gaza – four of our frontiers with the deadliest terror organizations in the world, yet we’re thriving and we’re leading the battle because we’re here and we’re not going anywhere.”

“By being here we collect intelligence, methodologies, lessons learned, and we’re out there fighting day in and day out,” Bennett added.

However, Bennett also said that Israel and its leading role in the battle against global terrorism was being undermined by many in the international community pushing for a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

“My one request from you coming from all around the world is don’t push us to divide our country. Don’t try and break us. Back us,” Bennett concluded.

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

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

Iran lets Russian Bombers Use Its Air Base for Strikes Against ISIS

Tuesday, August 16th, 2016

Ali Shamkhani, Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, announced Tuesday that Iran is letting Russia use its infrastructure to fight against terrorism in Syria, IRNA reported.

According to TASS, citing a Russian Defense Ministry report, “Long-range bombers Tupolev-22M3 and frontline bombers Sukhoi-34 took off from the Hamadan air base in Iran carrying the full bomb load to deal a massive air strike against facilities of the terrorist groups Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra in Aleppo, Deir ez-Zor and Idlib provinces.”

The bombers destroyed five large armament depots, three command posts and militants’ training camps used by terrorists for operations in Aleppo, the report said.

The report added that Russia’s Sukhoi-30SM and Sukhoi-35 from the Hmeymim base in Syria provided protection, and “all planes coped with their tasks and returned to base.”

This is the first time Russian planes have used an Iranian airfield for the operation in Syria. On all previous occasions Russia’s long-range bombers operated from airfields in Russia, and front-line bombers flew out of Hmeymim in Syria.


American Weapons Handed to Al Qaeda in Syria

Monday, July 4th, 2016

The Al Qaeda-linked Jabhat al-Nusra (Al Nusra Front) terrorist abducted Mohammad al-Ghabi, the commander of the U.S.-backed Jaish al-Tahrir opposition force this weekend. Al-Ghabi, his aides and at least 40 of the group’s fighters were allegedly seized by the group in a coordinated attack in northern Syria.

The abduction, revealed Sunday by a spokesperson for the U.S.-backed Jaish al-Tahrir, meant that U.S.-supplied weapons and other equipment, has fallen into the hands of the Syrian Al Qaeda force.

However, what appears to be a simple kidnapping is not that simple at all. Jaish al-Tahrir operates in the Hama and Aleppo areas and has only 4,000 trained fighters. The group is composed of five units, some of which received BGM-71 TOW missiles from the United States, according to Hasan Mustafas and the RFS Media Office.

After five years of a deadly civil war that has completely destroyed the country, the United States coalesced the group in February in an attempt to bring together the so-called “moderates” in the Free Syrian Army (FSA) alliance. The move was a last-ditch effort to stave off the metastases of the Da’esh (ISIS) terror group which has continued to gobble up territory in Syria — despite White House claims to the contrary.

But although the groups are ideologically different, Jaish al-Tahrir and Jabhat al-Nusra have often fought side by side to oppose Da’esh (ISIS) and/or fighters backing the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

It is the parallel objectives of the two groups that has often made European nations so uneasy about arming the opposition groups, because the eventual destination of those arms is unpredictable. Or predictable.

Al Nusra seized the bases and weapons of one of the U.S. beneficiaries back in March, according to Reuters. The FSA 13th Division group was receiving foreign military aid in the form of U.S.-made anti-tank missiles and other weapons — all of which went to Al Qaeda-linked al-Nusra.

This weekend, Al-Ghabi, his aides and dozens of Jaish fighters were grabbed in a raid on a house in Kafr Nubl in Idlib Province. The group said he was “injured and kidnapped and taken to an unknown location,” according to Reuters, and their U.S.-made weapons were taken, too.

Jaish al-Tahrir has asked its cooperating FSA groups to pressure Jabhat al-Nusra into releasing Al-Ghabi. They have asked for a ‘sulha’ via a judicial court — an Arabic term meaning a mediated negotiation to work out their differences and reach a resolution.

Al Nusra, however, sees the United States as the “enemy” and appears to be growing closer, ideologically, to Da’esh. The group has accused Jaish al-Tahrir of participating in a U.S. training program to fight ISIS — something that is not new to anyone in the region, but which now suddenly is an excuse for an attack.

The reason may have to do with last month’s arrival of a new delegation of international Al Qaeda leaders, sent by terror chief Ayman al-Zawahiri to scope out a location for relocating the terrorist group’s headquarters from Afghanistan to Syria.

The former Egyptian eye surgeon, who helped found the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist organization, succeeded Al Qaeda founder Osama Bin Laden a few weeks after his death, in June 2011.

Hana Levi Julian

ISIS Declares ‘State of Emergency in Raqqa’ But Reasons Are Unclear

Monday, May 16th, 2016

The Da’esh (ISIS) terror organization has reportedly declared a “state of emergency” in its de facto capital in the northern Syrian city of Raqqa but its reasons are not clear.

Although the U.S.-led coalition forces believe that recent battles have caused the group’s anxiety, it’s more likely the prospect of the arrival of the Mother Ship that has worried the leadership.

A coalition spokesperson said the “declaration of state of emergency is a response to recent military progress by Syrian government forces in the area. “We have seen this declaration of emergency in Raqqa, we know this enemy feels threatened, as they should,” U.S.-led coalition spokesperson Col Steve Warren told CNN. “They see the Syrian Democratic Forces, along with the Syrian Arab Coalition, maneuver both to their east and to their west. We’ve had reports of ISIL (Da’esh/ISIS) repositioning both their combat capabilities, and we’ve seen reports of them repositioning personnel … either within the city of even out of the city.”

The report followed news that Da’esh had killed at least 35 soldiers from the Syrian armed forces, losing 24 fighters in the process, according to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

But social media and news reports that Da’esh believes it may soon come under siege in Raqqa, its self-declared capital, may not have much to do with the months-long strikes by coalition forces at all.

It turns out that after a decade of CIA drone strikes in Pakistan, Al Qaeda appears to have decided to relocate its headquarters to Syria. According to a report quoting unnamed U.S. and European intelligence and counter terror sources in Sunday’s edition of the New York Times, Al Qaeda recently sent a delegation of its top veterans to Syria to start the process of creating a new headquarters for the terror group.

The Al Qaeda-linked Jabhat al Nusra (Al Nusra Front) terrorist organization broke its cooperative agreement with Da’esh in 2013. The group led radical Islamists in splitting from moderate opposition forces and was involved in the rebellion against President Bashar al-Assad from the start of the civil war.

Since that time, various groups have begun to set up independent emirates – small sovereign states – within the geographic area that once was referred to as Syria.

Senior Al Qaeda operatives have also now been told to lay the groundwork for establishing an emirate there, possibly through Al Nusra, which has yet to formally declare one.

Al Qaeda supreme leader Ayman al-Zawahri released his first audio statement in months about two weeks ago, giving his blessing to the venture.

The presence of a consolidated Al Qaeda headquarters in Syria would, of course, mean a bloody battle indeed between the group and Da’esh, which broke off as a splinter group from Al Qaeda.

It would also mean a massive infusion of new blood for Al Qaeda from a region bursting with passionate youths looking for something to do and somewhere to go, other than school and the prospect of a “regular life.” It would provide an alternative for those who are filled with Islamic fundamentalism, hatred and bloodthirsty excitement, but who just can’t deal with the mindless brutality of Da’esh — which has been the only option up to now.

Such a headquarters, strategically located in the heart of the Middle East near the borders of Turkey, Iran and Russia between Europe, Africa and North America, spells the start of a brand new nightmare for the next American president, regardless of who it is.

For Israel, it means unrelenting vigilance along the northern and southern borders.

Da’esh is already ensconsed in the Sinai Peninsula, where its affiliate, the former Ansar Beyt al-Maqdis, now known as “Sinai Province,” has firmed up its bond with Gaza’s ruling Hamas terrorist organization. Since the start of this month, the IDF has already uncovered two Hamas cross-border terror attack tunnels leading from Gaza into Israeli territory. Each time, the military engineers were forced to carry out their search under mortar fire directed at them by terrorists from Gaza.

Hana Levi Julian

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/isis-declares-state-of-emergency-in-raqqa-but-reasons-are-unclear/2016/05/16/

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