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September 25, 2016 / 22 Elul, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Syrian government’

IDF Confirms: IAF Jets Targeted by SAM Missiles over Syria, No Hits

Tuesday, September 13th, 2016

The IDF spokesperson’s office on Tuesday morning confirmed that two surface-to-air missiles were shot at IAF attack planes that were on a mission inside Syria’s airspace. The IDF says the planes were far from the source of the missiles, and the attack did not constitute a serious threat.

The IDF announcement came in response to Syrian state media which had reported that the regime’s army claims it hit the Israeli aircraft while they were retaliating against targets near Quneitra in the Syrian Golan Heights.

The story that emerges from a variety of Arab social media reports Monday night, Syrian government claims and the IDF version, is that while the Israeli Air Force was hitting Syrian Army positions in Quneitra Monday, in response to a mortar shell that landed in Israeli territory, the Syrian Army responded by launching two S-200 (SAM) ground-to-air missiles from an airbase on the outskirts of Damascus, at Mount Qasioun. The missiles did not hit the Israeli fighter jets.

The IAF attack was the first since the beginning of the ceasefire that had been declared by Russia and the US in Syria on Monday. The IDF spokesperson released a statement saying Israel “views the Syrian regime as responsible for what takes place in its territory and would not tolerate any attempt to harm Israel’s sovereignty and the security of its citizens.”

The S-200 is a very long range, medium-to-high altitude surface-to-air missile system designed in the 1960s to defend large areas from bomber attack or other strategic aircraft. The system became operational in 1966. In its original design the S-200 probably couldn’t pose a serious threat to a 21st century attack aircraft, however, according to reports, in 2013 the Iranian air defense force improved its S-200 systems, introducing solid state parts and removing restrictions on working time. According to an Iranian report, an Iranian S-200 destroyed a UAV target beyond a 60 mile range in a military drill in recent years. The Iranians use two new solid propellant missiles, named Sayyad-2 and Sayyad-3, in cooperation with the S-200 system, and can cover medium and long ranges at high altitudes.

In August, The Jewish Press Online cited the Syrian Al-Etihad Press Network’s report that Iranian military reinforcements (Revolutionary Guards) have moved into Quneitra. At the same time, Iran was claiming that the forces in question were a contingency of Hezbollah and the Assad regime’s Army. Of course, it could be all three, and the reports Monday that these forces, or forces aligned with them in Damascus, have begun to shoot S-200 missiles at the IAF, may suggest an approaching escalation on Israel’s Syrian border.

David Israel

Does an ISIS Affiliate Have Chemical Weapons on Israel’s Syrian Border?

Wednesday, April 27th, 2016

By Jonathan Benedek/TPS

Israel is currently investigating the possibility that the Yarmouk Martyrs Brigade, an ISIS-affiliated group fighting in Syria’s civil war in the southern Golan Heights region, possesses chemical weapons, according to a report by Israel’s Channel 10.

Israel’s concern is largely based on reported chemical weapons attacks by ISIS in eastern Syria and western Iraq, two regions where the border is porous between both countries. However, there is also some concern that the Yarmouk Martyrs Brigade might have also been able to get hold of remnants from the Syrian government’s chemical weapons arsenal.

The Syrian government had agreed to relinquish its chemical weapons as part of an arrangement initiated by Russia in September of 2013. In return, the US agreed to abort a potential strike against Syria in response to a chemical weapons attack by regime forces a month earlier.

There is speculation that the Yarmouk Martyrs Brigade intends to conduct tests with tactical chemical weapons such as artillery shells with mustard gas.

The Yarmouk Martyrs Brigades continues to concentrate its focus on fighting with the other rebel groups in the surrounding areas, including the Al-Qaeda Syrian affiliate Al-Nusra Front.

However, the prospect of an ISIS affiliate possessing weapons on the Syrian-Israeli border is no doubt concerning to Israel’s defense establishment, which reportedly intends to prepare for the possibility that the group will shift its attention towards Israel.

ISIS has repeatedly threatened to attack Israel. In a menacing video released in October, a masked ISIS fighter speaking fluent Hebrew warns that the terror attacks Israel has suffered from the Palestinians will be “child’s play” compared with what ISIS is planning, and that “not one Jew will remain in Jerusalem or the entire country.”

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Islamic State Forces Teenagers to Execute Syrian Soldiers

Saturday, July 4th, 2015

The Islamic State (ISIS) released another gruesome video Saturday, this time shoeing a group of young teenagers pointing rifles at the heads of 35 Syrian government soldiers before pulling the trigger in front of a crowd that apparently got a free ticket for the entertainment.

The executions took place in the ancient amphitheater in the city of Palmyra, where ISIS continues its campaign to destroy any remnants of non-Islamic culture.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported in May that the soldiers were executed, but ISIS apparently now thought the time was ripe to release the video and win more headlines to implant fear in the hearts of minds of civilized people and make Western leaders look impotent by their failure to get their act  together and wage a unified war against the ISIS instead of focusing on the “occupation” as the real source of the problem.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

US Policy: Passports of Americans Born on Israeli Golan Heights List ‘Syria’

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2015

The U.S. passport of an Americans born on the Israeli side of the Golan Heights must state the birthplace as Syria, according to U.S. State Department. policy.

The JewishPress.com raised several questions with the U.S. Embassy following the recent Supreme Court ruling that ruled against Congress being able to overturn Executive Branch policy concerning the stated birthplace of an American born in Jerusalem.

The policy was and continues to be that the birthplace on the passport is “Jerusalem,” without a country, regardless of whether he was born in “West” Jerusalem or in the rest of the city that was reunited in the war.

But what would happen if there were a hospital on the Israeli side of the Golan Heights and an American birth were registered there?

It may not even be a theoretical question in the near future. The NRG website reported last week that Druze in the Israeli side of the Golan Heights want to establish and maintain a hospital to treat their brethren wounded on the Syrian side of the border.

Regardless, this is American policy, updated in 2008 and stated under the bureaucratic section “M 1360 APPENDIX D  BIRTH IN ISRAEL, JERUSALEM, AND ISRAELI-OCCUPIED AREAS

(CT:CON-254)”:

  1. Background. As a result of the June 1967 Arab-Israeli War, the Government of Israel currently occupies and administers the Golan Heights, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip. U.S. policy recognizes that the Golan Heights is Syrian territory [bold-face added} and that the West Bank and the Gaza Strip are territories whose final status must be determined by negotiations.

  1. Birth in the Golan Heights: The birthplace that should appear on passports whose bearers were born in the Golan Heights is SYRIA [capital letters appear in the original text].

Perhaps the State Department is not aware of it, but there are questions whether Syria even exists today. There is a “Syrian government” that controls a shrinking part of the country.

The Islamic State (ISIS) controls a good portion of Syria. Rebels control a healthy (or unhealthy) part. Al Qaeda also has claims.

But for now, Syria is Syria, including the Golan Heights, even if Israel annexed the strategic area 34 years ago, and even if half the population of the Golan Heights is Jewish.

Policy is policy, and if an American wants to test the unreal reality, it is only a matter of time before there really will be a need for a hospital there. By that time, perhaps Syria not longer will exist.  Since Foggy Bottom cannot possibly come up with the conclusion that the Golan Heights is in Israel, it would have to accept facts on the ground across the border. Perhaps an American born will see his passport stating, “Golan Heights, Islamic State.”

Who knows? Anything is possible with the State Department, anything except Jerusalem being recognized as Israel’s capital and the Golan Heights being considered part of the Jewish country.

The State Department regulations offer some other fascinating tidbits.

What if you were an American born before 1948, before Israel became an independent country, but in parts of Jerusalem that were only reunited in 1967? For example, let’s say you were an American born in 1947 in the Old City, which at that time was the home of Misgav Ladach Hospital.

Guess what would be written on the passport?

The policy states:

For persons born before May 14, 1948 in a location that was outside Jerusalem’s municipal limits and later was annexed by the city, enter either PALESTINE or the name of the location (area/city) as it was known prior to annexation.

“Palestine” was what all of the British Mandate was called, but the Palestinian Authority has adopted the name, which is on many of its official documents and which its schools teach means all of the Land of Israel. “All” means “all,” including Tel Aviv, Haifa, and Eilat.

There is a lesson here about the formulation of American policy. Once it is established, it is written in stone, and even a Congressional act cannot change it. This is what was learned from the Supreme Court decision that said that the Congressional Act in 1998 recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel does not mean that the State Department has to agree to it.

The State Department formulated its policy long ago that the Golan Heights belongs to Syria. No negotiations, No compromise. No nothing. It is Syria, period, and if tomorrow it is the Islamic State, we’ll see.

The other side of the policy is that Judea, Gaza, Samaria and “eastern, southern and northern” Jerusalem “are territories whose final status must be determined by negotiations.”

The folks at the State Department cannot be that stupid to realize that there will be no negotiations. It must know there is no one with whom to negotiate. It must know that in the eyes of the Palestinian Authority, there is nothing to negotiate except what color ink Israel uses to sign over the store, while the Palestinian Authority uses invisible ink.

Now we know why the Obama administration is so stubbornly fixed on the “peace process.’ It knows it has no chance, but policy is policy.

The State Department stated ages ago that the final status of the “territories” will be decided by negotiations, and that’s that. The world may change, but policy is a different story, especially if a change might help Israel.

The State Department decided way back when that the Golan Heights belongs to Syria, and that is why an American born there would have a passport stating “Golan Heights, Syria.”

And what if an American were born in the State Department? Is that part of the United States or is it territory occupied by policy-makers who cannot see past yesterday?

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Where Did Those Come From? Undeclared Chemical Weapon Traces Found in Syria

Saturday, May 9th, 2015

Traces of Sarin and VX nerve agents have been found by inspectors at a Syrian military research site, according to a Reuters report.

The experts who uncovered the chemical precursors have not received satisfactory explanations from the Syrians about the discovered chemical traces, nor what was done with the sarin chemicals.

So far, the Syrian government handed over 1300 tons of chemical weapons, but continues to deny it ever used them.

The Organization for the Prohibition and Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has said that chlorine has been repeatedly used as a weapon, even after the chemical weapon stockpile was handed over, but it is not clear yet which side in the Syrian civil war used the chlorine.

After Syria had been declared “chemical-weapons free” last year, it admitted to having four more chemical weapons facilities.

Jewish Press News Briefs

ISIS Fighters in Syria May Be Felled By Lesions (Not Legions)

Tuesday, April 7th, 2015

To everything in its season, and so the tide has turned once more in the Middle East. What bombing could not end, God’s Mighty Hand may accomplish with a tiny fly.

Fighters for Daesh, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist organization, are now being attacked by a terrible skin disease called Leishmaniasis.

Two types of the disease have been identified in the region: Leishmaniasis major, and Leishmaniasis tropica. Both are carried and transmitted by parasites hosted on sand flies in the environment.

Although an article by Hadassah Medical Center says the disease cannot be transferred from person to person, researchers found in a study published in The Journal of Infectious Diseases in 2003 that such transmission may indeed be possible, since parasites can jump.

An outbreak of Cutaneous Leishmaniasis (CL) in the Galilee region of northern Israel in 2003 was discussed in the article which noted 33 cases in four villages and in the city of Tiberias were diagnosed between 1996 and 2003. The disease, which spread through parasites and sand flies, had mutated from its predecessor, Leishmania major and other tropical diseases.

CL due to Leishmania major as opposed to MCL and VL (two other forms) was defined as being zoonotic and much more difficult to treat. The cutaneous lesions were said to last much longer and the disease was described as life-threatening if it progressed to visceral leishmaniasis (VL). The study found that rock hyraxes found in northern Israel around Lake Kinneret were the most probable reservoir hosts for the parasites that carry the disease.

If that is true, then so too is it likely that ISIS fighters are facing a difficult time because it was mentioned that the parasites also jump from person to person, as well from the living animals around them.

More to the point, the disease is caused by poor hygiene and bad living conditions; it has affected at least 100,000 people in Syria, according to the latest reports. It can result in open flesh wounds, ulcers, an enlarged spleen and liver, anemia and ultimately lead to death.

Although it’s pretty easy to treat, there are very few medics and trained medical professionals left in Syria and ISIS-controlled Iraq who know how to manage it.

Volunteers with the Doctors Without Borders organization of course know how to handle it – but since ISIS is deeply dedicated to kidnapping, torturing and murdering those helping hands, it’s not likely they are going to see any help from them. Ditto for Syrian government troops for the same reason.

Ironically, a new project was launched last year by the Israeli Pharmaseed research company to track down a treatment for this disease.

Four partners were recruited for the project. Two of the four — the Dead Sea and Arava Science Centers – identified 70 plant extracts that may be relevant for fighting the parasite.

The Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, meanwhile, will test the efficacy of the extracts on leishmaniasis samples.

Pharmaseed is coordinating the project and is responsible for safety tests, and for assessing the potential efficacy of the extracts being tested.

Jordan University of Science and Technology Prof. Nabil Hailat will carry out advanced live and clinical trials (on humans) in Jordan, which should yield the test results.

Rachel Levy

France Calling for Use of Force in Syria

Thursday, August 22nd, 2013

French foreign minister Laurent Fabius told BFM-TV today that “if it is proven, France’s position is that there must be a reaction, a reaction that could take the form of a reaction with force.”

He added that “there are possibilities for responding,” but refused to elaborate. He did state that if the UN Security Council could not make a decision, one would have to be taken “in other ways.”

Syrian government officials said the claims of an army chemical weapons attack on its own civilians were “totally false” and the news outlets reporting those claims were “implicated in the shedding of Syrian blood and support terrorism.”

Turkey’s deputy prime minister has said only the Syrian government is in possession of the type of chemical weapons the opposition claims were used in the attack. Turkey’s foreign minister said “all red lines” have been crossed by the Assad regime.

But Iran has rejected the claims that its ally, President Bashar Assad, had deployed chemical weapons, saying the rebels would be responsible, if such an attack had really taken place.

“If the information concerning the use of chemical weapons is accurate, very definitely they were used by terrorist groups… who have shown they will not hold back from committing any crime,” Iran’s foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said to the IRNA news, referring to the rebels.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague urged international supporters of the Syrian regime to “wake up to … its murderous and barbaric nature” ahead of the UN meeting, Sky News reported.

But Russia, the traditional supporter of the Assad regime, suggested the attack could be a “premeditated provocation” by opposition forces.

Officials from Russia and China are reported to have blocked a stronger press statement supported by Britain, France, the US and others, Sky News reported.

Earlier, Mr Hague said that if verified, the attack “would mark a shocking escalation in the use of chemical weapons in Syria”.

He added: “Those who order the use of chemical weapons, and those who use them, should be in no doubt that we will work in every way we can to hold them to account.”

Yori Yanover

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/france-calling-for-use-of-force-in-syria/2013/08/22/

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