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August 30, 2014 / 4 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Syrian civil war’

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.

John ‘Chicken’ Kerry Skips Israel on New Middle East Tour

Monday, June 23rd, 2014

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is on his way back to the Middle East for the umpteenth time, heading for Egypt and Jordan but without chancing a slip on the unwelcome mat in Jerusalem and Ramallah.

More significant is that the State Dept. announced Kerry’s tag-alongs will be  National Security Staff Senior Director for Middle East and North Africa Prem Kumar, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Egypt and Maghreb Affairs William Roebuck, Spokesperson Jen Psaki, and assistant to the Joint Chiefs of Staff,  Vice Admiral Kurt Tidd.

Kerry’s entourage is most notable for who is not going to give the travel agents more business . Absent are Jeffrey Feltmnan, the Assistant Secretary for the region, and former U.S. Ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk, who now is President Barack Obama’s personal hangman for the “peace process.” He has been hanging out in Washington incognito the past several weeks, and the State Dept. has not been able to tell nosey reporters exactly what he is doing, not that he ever knew himself.

“At the President’s direction, Secretary of State John Kerry will travel from June 22-27 to the Middle East and Europe to consult with partners and allies on how we can support security, stability, and the formation of an inclusive government in Iraq, to discuss Middle East security challenges, and to attend the NATO Foreign Ministerial,” the State Dept. declared in a press release.

After visiting Cairo and Amman, “The Secretary will then travel to Brussels, Belgium, to participate in the NATO Foreign Ministerial, which will discuss preparations for the NATO Summit in September as well as the ongoing crisis in Ukraine. In Paris, France, the Secretary will meet with key regional partners and Gulf allies on Middle East security challenges, including Iraq and Syria.”

Nothing about Israel, Nothing about the Palestinian Authority, and nothing about the “unity” government of Fatah and Hamas.

Journalists at the daily State Dept. media briefing don’t even ask about the “peace process” anymore, and the kidnapping of the three missing teenagers only crops up when the reporter for the Al Quds pro-Arab newspaper constantly jabs the spokeswomen about Israel’s “disproportionate” counter-terrorist operations.

It would be interesting to hear his reaction if Israel took “proportionate’ action and kidnapped three Palestinian Authority teenagers and whisked them away without a hint of who abducted them and if they are alive or not.

Kerry and the Obama administration can easily count on the media to forget about the peace process follies, thanks to the Syrian civil war and the collapse of security in Iraq, both countries where the United States made careful preparations for stability. Obama, who declared the assassination of Osama bin Laden was the beginning of the end of Al Qaeda, now is watching the terrorist organization breathing down the backs of Jordan and Baghdad.

Kerry’s predecessor Hillary Clinton, three months after the first peaceful protests three years ago against the regime, defended Syrian President Bassar al-Assad as a “reformer.” Prior to the uprising, when Kerry was head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he was President Obama’s personal ambassador to Syria to restore diplomatic relations. He is lucky he did not succeed, but he has a pretty clean track record on that score.

Iraq is keeping the experts in Foggy Bottom busy to see how many more mistakes they can make.

Kerry and the Obama administration are licking their chops after the shambles of their nine-month crusade to make matters worse for Israelis and Arabs.

Keeping on top of the rapid-fire crises in the Middle East the past three years has been like trying to catch popcorn while it is jumping around in the machine.

German Gov’t Charges Local Syrian Fighter with Terrorism

Thursday, June 12th, 2014

The German government is charging a man in Berlin with membership in a terrorist organization after he returned from fighting for the opposition forces in the Syrian civil war.

The 26 year old was also charged as an accessory to manslaughter and attempted incitement to murder, international media reported.

In accordance with local privacy laws, only his first name – Harun P. – was released. The man allegedly traveled to Syria last September to join the radical Islamist group, Junud al-Sham. He is accused of participating in an operation in February to free prisoners from a government jail, leaving two Syrian soldiers dead in the process.

He is also alleged to have urged – unsuccessfully – the murder of two individuals who considered bringing a 16-year-old relative to Germany due to his fears she would inform authorities about his activities.

Israeli Arab Indicted for Fighting in Syrian War

Wednesday, May 14th, 2014

State Prosecutors handed down an indictment against Ahmed (Amad) Shourbaji, a 23-year-old resident of Umm el-Fahm who is accused of training with rebel groups in Syria, the Hebrew-language NRG website reported.

The website said Shourbaji confessed under interrogation, to entering Syria illegally in order to join armed groups seeking to depose the regime of dictator Bashar al-Assad.

The incident is not the first time Arab citizens of Israel have been accused of crossing the Syrian border to participate in that country’s civil war. Israeli law prohibits Israeli citizens from visiting enemy countries. Exceptions are available, particularly for Arab citizens who have family in those countries.

But illegal entries have been common. Arab Knesset members routinely use their parliamentary immunity to participate in anti-Israel demonstrations. In 2007, former MK Azmi Bishara fled the country ahead of an indictment for for alleged espionagee on behalf of the Iranian/Lebanese terror group.

More recently, Israeli Arab journalist Majed Kiyal was arrested in April upon entering Israel from Jordan, after he allegedly attended a conference in Beirut, Lebanon. And in 2013, residents of Majdal Shams, the Druze town in the Golan Heights that is located alongside the Syrian border, told this reporter in 2013 that “everybody” in the town either has a family member or knows someone that has smuggled across the border to take part in the fighting.

Shourabi is accused of joining a group called “The Army of Muhammad.” His training is believed to have included training on a variety of weapons. Shabak investigators that Shourabi joined a radical group called “The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.” They believe he received advanced training in the use of light and heavy weapons, and participated in several battles against government troops

Spokespeople for the Shabak security service said, “The phenomenon of Israeli Arabs going to Syria presents a tremendous threat to the State of  Israel. There are several reasons for this: The Syrian theater is thriving with activity that is hostile to Israel, with an emphasis on a variety of international jihad groups.

“The military training that Israeli Arabs undergo there, alongside their exposure to radical ideologies… Above all there is the possibility that these people will be taken advantage of by terror groups to conduct military actions against the or in order to obtain intelligence information about targets in Israel.

Dozens Killed in Two Syrian Cities

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

Syrian soldiers and rebels killed more than 50 people and wounded more than 100 others in a car bomb blast in a regime-held neighborhood in Homs and mortar shelling attacks in Damascus.

The car bomb explosion killed 36 people and wounded more than 85, most of them civilians. In Damascus, at least 17 died and 50 other were wounded in the mortar shell barrage.

As usual, the regime of Syrian President Bassar al-Assad blamed rebels, whom it calls “terrorists,” for the attacks, which opposition forces apparently carried out considering that the victims in Homs were Alawites, the sect to which Assad belongs.

Human Rights Watch reports that Assad’s forces still are carrying out barrel-bomb attacks in the city of Aleppo, ignoring a U.N. resolution demanding a halt to the barbarian tactic.

However, virtually no one in Syria listens to the United Nations or anyone else as the civil war drags on in its fourth year, about three years after military and political “experts,” such as Ehud Barak of Israel, were dead certain that Assad would not last more than a few months.

Syrian Mortar Shell Hits Golan Heights

Monday, April 7th, 2014

A Syrian mortar shell landed and exploded near the security fence in the central Golan Heights Monday afternoon. No injuries or damage was reported.

The IDF said that the firing probably was not intended to strike Israel.

Syrian Rebels Decimating Hezbollah

Monday, March 10th, 2014

Syrian rebels have killed approximately 500 Hezbollah soldiers, including at least 15 in the past 10 days, according to sources quoted by the Beirut Daily Star.

Social media and websites have depicted photos of the dead Hezbollah members, complete with praise for their “martyrdom” for carrying out their “jihadist duty.”

Videos have been posted that show Hezbollah gunmen in fierce battles with Syrian rebels in the rebel-held town of Yabroud in the Qalamoun Mountains near eastern Lebanon.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/syrian-rebels-decimating-hezbollah/2014/03/10/

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