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September 17, 2014 / 22 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Jabhat al-Nusra’

ISIS Prompts Hezbollah’s ‘Great Need to Remain in Syria’

Monday, September 15th, 2014

The presence of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group has created a “great need” for guerrilla fighters from the Lebanon-based Hezbollah terror organization to remain in Syria.

That was the message from Hezbollah executive council deputy head Nabil Qaouk, who spoke Monday at a ceremony in the southern Lebanese village of Aita Shaab.

Qaouk was quoted by The Daily Star newspaper in Lebanon as saying that Hezbollah and the Amal Movement had “succeeded in defusing sectarian tensions” following the beheading of soldiers by ISIS last week. He said the murders had “disappointed the radical group.”

Quaouk said, “There could never be a war of words between ISIS and us, but there is the field where we will defeat them. We will not engage in a war of statements or political disputes.

“Day after day, it is becoming clear to Lebanon, the Arab, Muslim and international communities that there is a great need for Hezbollah to remain in Syria. The current situation today imposes on Hezbollah to stay in Syria more than any other time.”

Last month there were five days of clashes between the Lebanese Army and terrorists from ISIS and Jabhat al Nusra (Al Nusra Front) – two radical Islamist terror groups operating with the rebel factions in Syria.

The fight began with the terrorists attempting to invade the small border town. It ended with a cease-fire, but the rebels still hold at least 22 Lebanese soldiers and police officers taken captive during the battle. ISIS has so far beheaded two soldiers, and Jabhat al Nusra has released seven police officers.

Qaouk called for a national strategy and a broad national solidarity to “tighten the noose on the takfiris (false Muslims) and strengthen the Army so that it can free the soldiers,” he said. “The beheading of soldiers by ISIS was aimed at inciting strife between Sunnis and Shiites but Hezbollah and Amal succeeded in eliminating such strife, not just putting out the blaze,” he said.

ISIS is comprised of extremists who claim to follow Sunni Islam. Hezbollah is comprised of those who observe the Shi’ite branch of Islam. Both groups are committed to wiping out the Jewish State of Israel.

UNDOF Troops Pull Out of Syria, Head for Israel

Monday, September 15th, 2014

United Nations Disengagement Observation Force troops have left the Syrian side of the northern border with Israel, due to the deteriorating security situation.

The forces headed for the more secure Israeli side of the border, according to a tweet posted by The Israel Link and other sources on Monday at midday.

Early Monday morning, a rocket fired from the Syrian side of the Quneitra border crossing between Syria and Israel landed in northern Israel. The rocket exploded in an open area at about 6 am; no physical injuries were reported. IDF officials said the launch was believed to have been a misdirected “stray” from the intense fighting between rebel factions and troops waging civil war on behalf of President Bashar al-Assad.

Last week 45 UN peacekeepers from Fiji were freed in the Golan Heights by their Jabhat al Nusra (Al Nusra Front) terrorist captors. All were in good condition, officials said. The troops were abducted by the Al Qaeda affiliate in the buffer zone between Syria and Israel.

They were handed over to the UNDOF troops in the Golan Heights, which has monitored the buffer zone there since 1974, when Syria reached a cease-fire agreement with Israel following the Yom Kippur War.

Fighting between government forces and rebels of various factions in the three-year civil war has been spilling over into the zone off and on for months, as it did last week and today.

Jihadist Threat Rising on Israel’s Northern Border

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014

Events on the other side of Israel’s northern border are heating up, and the government is watching closely. The IDF is beefing up its force along the border to ensure that citizens in the region are protected.

The Al Qaeda-linked Jabhat al Nusra (Al Nusra Front) terrorist faction issued three demands early Tuesday (Sept. 2) for the return of 44 Fiji UN peacekeepers abducted by the group last Wednesday. The group is demanding to be removed from the UN terrorist list, it wants humanitarian aid delivered to parts of Damascus, and money — financial compensation for three of its fighters that it claims were killed in a shootout with UN peacekeepers. (In other words, shot by the UN peacekeepers in self-defense when the terrorists attacked the UN Disengagement Observer Force. It’s a known fact this force never fires first.)

Al Nusra is also engaged in a fierce struggle with Syria government forces fighting to retake control over the strategic town of Quneitra, where the sole crossing into Israel lies. The terror group has already seized control of the crossing; heavy battles before and since have sent mortar shells and other artillery flying into Israel’s side of the Golan Heights.

Last week Kiryat Shmona and several other communities were forced into high alert due to the situation. In three separate attacks, at least two people were wounded, including a soldier and a kosher supervisor, and two vehicles were damaged. IDF troops returned fire to the Syrian side of the border, aiming at the source of the attacks.

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu warned visiting U.S. Congress members on Monday that the United Nations would be far better served to focus its energies on dealing with the growing jihadist threat, rather than repeatedly investigating Israel’s efforts to counter terror attacks against its civilians. (A new UN Human Rights Commission probe committee a la Goldstone, headed by anti-Israel Canadian law professor William Schabas, is expected to begin shortly.)

“We’re closely following the events on the Golan Heights where al Nusra terrorists have kidnapped UN peacekeepers,” Netanyahu told U.S. Representatives Gregory W. Meeks (D-NY) and Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) on Monday. “What we see is that al Nusra, Hamas, Hezbollah – backed by Iran, Al Qaeda and these other terrorist groups are basically defying all international norms, breaking them whether in Lebanon, in Syria or in Gaza. I think the UN would do itself a great favor if, instead of the automatic Israel bashing, they actually turn their attention and their investigative committees against these terrorists who trample every norm on which the UN was founded.”

Rohrbacher concurred, saying that Israel was the sole force for a “long-term peace for this region.” He added that the rest of the Middle East is “awash in tyranny and injustice and gangsterism and terrorism that’s coming from the top, from these people that are running the various organizations, radical Islamic organizations.”

But while Israel and at least most U.S. lawmakers agree on the jihadi threat to the region – and much of the Western world – France and Saudi Arabia seem to be in the process of exacerbating the problem.

The two are close to signing a $3 billion arms deal that would provide new military equipment and weapons to the Lebanese army. This, while the White House has thrown every possible obstacle in the path of normal processing for military-to-military supplies from the U.S. to Israel.

If the Lebanese army were entirely independent boosting its supplies would be a great idea, especially given the current jihadi threat on its border with Syria. But unfortunately a third of Lebanon’s governing cabinet is comprised of ministers from the Hezbollah terrorist organization, which has gone to fight with the army of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Ditto for the parliament, which also is packed with Hezbollah lawmakers. How unlikely is it, therefore, that at least some – if not most – of these weapons will end up in terrorist hands?

UN Commander Says ‘Raise the White Flag’ as Syrian Rebels Take UN Peacekeepers Hostage, Attack Others

Monday, September 1st, 2014

The chief of Philippine armed forces says it will ask for an investigation of the commander of United Nations peacekeeping troops in the Golan Heights who asked his troops to lay down their arms and ‘raise the white flag’ under fire. Two groups of United Nations peacekeepers — both of them Filipino — managed to elude capture by Syrian rebels in the Syrian side of the Golan Heights during the past 24 hours.

The head of the Philippine armed forces, General Gregorio Pio Catapang, told journalists in Manila that a group of 32 kidnapped Philippine peacekeepers trapped by the rebels in the Syrian side of the Golan Heights had been rescued.

“We may call it the greatest escape,” he said.

“Everyone is in a safe position,” UNDOF Philippine commander Lt. Col. Ramon Zagala, said, according to the BBC. “We left our [former] position but we brought all our arms.” In addition, a second group of 40 UNDOF peacekeepers – apparently also from Philippines – managed to escape a seven-hour siege by the rebels after returning fire in self-defense.

The Philippine government has announced it will recall its force of 331 troops in October due to the deterioration of security in the Golan Heights.

A third group of 44 Fijian UN peacekeepers was kidnapped last Wednesday near Quneitra by the Al Qaeda-linked Jabhat al Nusra terror group (Al Nusra Front). The terror organization said in a statement posted on the internet that the captives were “in a safe place, and they are in good health, and that we have given them what they need of food and treatment.”

Jabhat al Nusra seized control of the Quneitra crossing with Israel — the only border crossing with Syria — last week. The group claimed it had carried out the abductions because the UN ignored “the daily shedding of the Muslims’ blood in Syria.”

The Philippine military is planning to demand a probe of the commander of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) on allegations of endangering the safety of Filipino peacekeepers on active duty. (UNDOF was established May 31 1974, the day Syria and Israel signed a disengagement agreement to end the 1973 Yom Kippur War.)

Gen. Catapang told the BBC that Lt. Gen. Iqbal Singh Singha, of India, ordered Philippine UN peacekeepers to lay down their arms to ensure the safety of the Fijian peacekeepers abducted by the Syrian rebels. In addition to laying down their firearms, the general said the Filipino troops were also ordered by Singha to ‘raise the white flag,’ according to the BBC.

“He (Singha) said that if we were attacked we should raise the white flag. I said no way. That means our soldiers will also be held hostage,” said Catapang. The troops defied Singha and informed AFP Peacekeeping Operations Center chief Col. Roberto Ancan instead.

UNDOF is comprised of 1,223 peacekeeper troops from six nations — but it is not clear who will replace the Philippine troops in October.

Shelling on the Golan Heights: Syria Testing Israel’s Resolve?

Thursday, August 28th, 2014

Although an open-ended cease-fire is in force with Gaza, two people were wounded in northern Israel on Wednesday in the course of three shelling attacks from Syria.

At around 10 pm, Syrian forces fired two mortar shells from across the Golan Heights, both exploding in open areas north of the Quneitra valley. It was the third attack in a single day, the most intensive shelling from Syria in months. No one was physically injured and no property damage was reported in the attack.

Earlier in the evening, a 52-year-old kosher supervisor at a winery on the Golan Heights was lightly wounded by Syrian tank fire aimed at an Israeli kibbutz along the border. The victim was evacuated to Ziv Medical Center in Tzfat (Safed). A local vineyard and a gas pipeline were both damaged in the attack.

Hours earlier, in the morning, an IDF officer was moderately wounded and two Israeli vehicles were damaged in a similar attack. A barrage of Syrian mortar shells was fired from across the border  – again, from the Quneitra area. The officer, who sustained shrapnel wounds to the chest, was airlifted to Rambam Medical Center.

The IDF attacked two Syrian positions in response to the mortar fire. IDF officials said Jerusalem holds the Syrian army responsible for maintaining order on the Syrian side of the border.

Originally security sources said the attacks were due to “errant fire” due to the conflict taking place between government troops and opposition forces in Syria.

Fierce fighting is reportedly taking place between the forces fighting on behalf of President Bashar al-Assad, and rebel fighters. It is not known which opposition forces are involved in this battle, nor whether some or all of the factions have banded together to fight Assad’s army.

The Syrian side of the Quneitra crossing has fallen into rebel hands, only 200 meters (219 yards) from the border with Israel. But whose?

At least two of the three opposition factions involved in the war have vowed to dedicate themselves to Israel’s destruction when they have ‘completed their task’ in Syria. One of those is the Islamic State, or ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.)

Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards have been assisting Assad since the start of the civil war in March 2011, as have the Iranian-backed Lebanese Hezbollah guerrilla terrorists. Other mercernary fighters have joined the effort as well.

Opposing them are three major, separate streams of rebels: the Western-backed ‘moderate’ secular and Muslim factions led by the Syrian National Coalition and its Free Syrian Army, the Islamic Front which is headed by the Al Qaeda-linked Al Nusra Front (Jabhat al Nusra) along with the Ahrar el-Sham, and which includes some 13 rebel brigades, all rejecting the Syrian National Coalition; and the ISIS  ‘Army of Islam’ comprised of 43 Salafi Muslim factions was formed last year in Syria, led by Sheikh Mohammed Zahran.

Last year Al Nusra also clashed with Kurdish militias over control of local gas resources and over the institution of Shari’a Islamic law in Kurdish areas. The same Al Nusra recently handed over long-missing American journalist Peter Theo Curtis, kidnapped by the group and held hostage since October 2012, to U.S. authorities via the Quneitra crossing, into Israel.

The IDF has ordered farmers and civilians to stay away from the border and part of the area has been closed to civilians as a precaution.

America’s First Home-Grown Al Qaeda Suicide Bomber in Syria

Thursday, May 29th, 2014

For the first time, the United States has become involved in the Syrian civil war in a close-up, personal, intimate way. An American citizen-turned-suicide bomber for Al Qaeda attacked a Syrian government complex on Sunday in the northern Idlib region.

News of the attack was posted on radical Islamic websites by the Al Qaeda-linked Jabhat al-Nusra( Al Nusra Front) terrorist organization. It was also tweeted around the English-speaking world on Tuesday via the Twitter social networking site.

“Abu Hurayra al-Amriki” performed a martyrdom operation in Idlim, Jabal al-Arba’een. May Allah accept him,” the post read.

Recently Al Qaeda had promised an attack from an “American,” according to CBS News. The words “al-Amriki” mean, “the American” in Arabic. U.S. officials have identified the terrorist’s legal name although they refuse to release that information to the public. He is believed to be the first American suicide bomber to strike in Syria.

American Al Qaeda suicide bomber Abu Hurayra al-Amriki dressed for his final operation in Syria, May 25, 2014.

American Al Qaeda suicide bomber Abu Hurayra al-Amriki dressed for his final operation in Syria, May 25, 2014.

The FBI told media that several dozen other Americans have also gone to Syria to join in the fighting.

Numerous photos have been posted on Twitter from various sources — most are re-posts from Jabhat al Nusra, actually — showing the aforementioned young bearded man all dressed up in his go-to-bombing suit, complete with explosives vest. There’s a shot of the huge bomb-laden truck he allegedly drove to his destination.

The saddest and most ironic is the one with him holding a half-grown kitten standing in front of a black and white sign written in flowing Arabic script that reads, “There is no God but Allah and Mohammed is His Prophet,” – the rallying cry of all radical Islamist groups. That one is attached to the photos that show the subsequent results of his handiwork.

Syrian Christians Caught between Rock and Hard Place

Thursday, August 29th, 2013

Caught between the larger Sunni-Shi’a battles for supremacy in Syria, Christians are forced to contemplate an uncertain future as Western powers debate action against the government of Bashar al-Assad.

Syrian Christians are faced with a difficult situation due to the Syrian civil war. Many Christians support Assad out of fear that if he is overthrown and replaced by Islamists, they will face greater persecution, especially from al-Qaeda-linked Sunni Muslim rebel groups such as Jabhat al-Nusra, who have attacked Christians. At the same time, Assad and his government are supported by Iran and its Lebanese terror proxy, Hezbollah, and have used chemical weapons against the Syrian people.

Christian villagers in Wadi al-Nassara (Valley of Christians) in western Syria, home to around 50,000 Christians, have formed “popular defense committees” with the blessing of the Syrian government, according to AFP.

These “popular defense committees” are militias armed and trained by the Syrian government to supplement the Syrian army and protect their own neighborhoods or villages from attacks by rebels. Many of these militias are comprised of Syrian minority groups such as the Christians, Druze and Alawites.

Christian leaders in Syria have faced growing danger from rebels. In April, two Syrian bishops, Yohanna Ibrahim and Boulos Yaziji, were kidnapped at gunpoint at a rebel checkpoint near Aleppo. Their whereabouts are still unknown. In early July, a video posted on LiveLeak.com apparently showed Syrian Catholic priest Father Francois Murad being beheaded by the Al-Qaeda-linked Syrian rebels, Jabhat al-Nusra, in front of a cheering crowd. While there are conflicting reports over whether Murad was depicted in the video, the Vatican has confirmed that Murad, along with two others, were taken from a monastery in northern Syria and killed. In late July, an al-Qaeda linked group abducted Italian Jesuit Priest Paolo Dall’Oglio.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/syrian-christians-caught-between-rock-and-hard-place/2013/08/29/

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