Tag Archives: syria

#Syria opposition (esp #ISIS) also starving Syrians

31 Jan

We all know about the brutal siege imposed by the Syrian regime and its Hezbollah ally against the residents of the Syrian city of Madaya. Today, there were new reports that another 16 people have starved to death in that city.

This is a crime, which is also being committed by the anti-Syrian regime groups, including ISIS.

According to the Associated Press, the following places in Syria are also under siege, by the anti- Assad forces:

Fouaa and Kfarya: Two Shiite villages in the northern province of Idlib with a combined population of around 20,000. The villages have been blockaded by rebels for more than a year. Pro-government fighters recently evacuated from the villages describe desperate conditions there with scarce food and medicine, saying some residents are eating grass to survive and undergoing surgery without anesthesia….

This is in addition to:

Deir el-Zour: An estimated 200,000 people living in government-held parts of this city in eastern Syria are besieged by the Islamic State group. The U.N. says most of the residents are women and children facing sharply deteriorating conditions due to the ban on all commercial or humanitarian access, as well as the inability of residents to move outside of the city…

So how many people in Syria are living under siege by the regime and the opposition? According to the UN:

400,000 people are besieged in 15 communities across Syria, roughly half of them in areas controlled by the Islamic State group”.

And what percentage of them can the UN reach ?

In 2014, the U.N. was able to deliver food to about five percent of people in besieged areas, while today estimates show the organization is reaching less than one percent.

A crime of terrible proportions being committed, right in front of our eyes by the Assad regime and Hezbollah, alongside other anti- regime terrorists, like ISIS.

#Madaya: #Hezbollah and #Syria regime’s darkest hour

13 Jan

The Syrian regime, together with Hezbollah have been laying a siege against the Syrian town of Madaya. Their goal: to starve the citizens of Madaya which has been under rebel control into surrender. The pictures from of starving people in Madaya are horrendous. 32 people have reportedly died from starvation there. Some starving people have been forced to eat their own pets and grass.

Meanwhile, to pressure the starving people of Madaya even more, some Assad supporters were taunting them on line with pictures of food.

Finally, after a massive social media campaign and pressure from the international community, food convoys have been allowed through by the Assad regime and Hezbollah.  UN war crimes investigators are now gathering testimony from the citizens of Madaya. Using food as a weapon is a war crime, no matter who does it, the Syrian regime and its allies or the rebels.

This is by far the darkest hour of the Hezbollah movement which claims to be the defender of Arabs. And this is why the standing of Hezbollah and Iran has been falling among many Palestinians to new lows.

The report below by Al Jazeera describes the situation in Maya after the aid convoys arrived.

For viewers in the US who can not access the report below, this link is recommended.

Refugee stories: life as a #Syria refugee in #Lebanon

10 Jan

Life in the Middle East is not easy. Its an unstable region where the gap between the rich and poor is growing and the environmental challenges are increasing. Add to that the different types of war and conflict which are raging in our region.

So living in a Middle Eastern country can be difficult. It can be even more difficult in many Arab countries if you are a woman. It can turn to a small hell if you have to leave your country and become a refugee. And it can get worst if you are an Arab woman living as a refugee in another Arab country.

The BBC’s listening project:

introduces seven conversations recorded in Beirut between refugees who have fled the war in Syria to make a new life for themselves in Lebanon or elsewhere. All the conversations except one, were recorded in Arabic and have been translated into English

The experiences of these refugees will have a long lasting impact on the stability of the countries which they have fled, the countries where they are seeking refuge, and on the region as a whole. This is why we must listen and learn. Put your feet up, and listen. An absolute must.  

Iran’s red line on #Syria: how red is it?

7 Dec

Iran has set red line for its Syria policy. According to Reuters:

A top advisor to Iran’s Supreme Leader on Sunday said the future of Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad could only be determined by the Syrian people and this was a “red line” for Tehran.

In other words: hands off US, France and even Russia, Assad is here to stay until the people of Syria (ie. Assad’s supporters) decide he has to go.

Just how red is this red line? What I am trying to ask is: is this just a maximalist negotiation position which Iran has adopted in order to boost its hand in the Syria negotiations, or does Iran really mean what it says? That there is no way it would be willing to compromise on this issue.

When it comes to Iran, red lines and negotiations, recent history has some interesting examples.

On June 23rd this year, 3 weeks before the historic Iran nuclear deal, Iran’s supreme leader set 3 very public red lines for Iran’s nuclear negotiators. They were:

The first red line is regarding time limitations. During his June 23 speech Khamenei condemned limitation time lines of 10 and 12 years demanded from Iran in the agreement. “Ten years is a lifetime,” stated the supreme leader in his speech, which his official website titled “the most important red lines of the nuclear negotiations.” Later on in the same speech, Khamenei also said that timelines of 15 years and 25 years are unacceptable as well.

The second stated red line that has been crossed regards the inspection of military sites, which Khamenei ruled out in the same speech. From the deal we can see that inspections of military sites by the IAEA are included in the deal.

The third crossed red line has to do with the issue of sanctions. On June 23, Ayatollah Khamenei explicitly ruled out the removal of sanctions being conditional upon Iran first having to reduce its number of centrifuges and wrecking the core of the Arak reactor and sanctions being removed once the IAEA has confirmed that Iran has lived up to its commitments. He instead called for a more reciprocal quid pro quo between two sides of corresponding steps that take place simultaneously.

And what happened? all three red lines were crossed in the final agreement, with Khamenei’s own permission. 

Conclusion? Everything is up for negotiation in Syria, except Iran retaining the right in a future Syria to have secure access from Damascus airport to Hezbollah bases in Lebanon, so that it can continue to supply weapons to Hezbollah. This is one red line which in my opinion Iran will be unwilling to cross. The reddest of all red lines.


Reported #Israel attack against #Hezbollah: why now?

18 Jan

Leader of Hezbollah Hassan Nasrallah. Source

According to the Lebanon based Daily Star newspaper, today, an Israeli attack against a number of vehicles on the Syrian side of the Golan heights killed 9 people. Among them were senior members of Hezbollah and an Iranian field commander.

Why would Israel undertake such an operation? And why now?

There are a number of possibilities:

1 – It appears that in his recent interview on the 15th of January, Hezbollah Chief Nasrallah set a red line for Israel. He stated:

“The repeated bombings that struck several targets in Syria are a major violation, and we consider that any strike against Syria is a strike against the whole of the resistance axis, not just against Syria,” he told the Beirut-based Arab news television.

The “axis of resistance” which he mentioned is made up of Iran, Syria and Hezbollah.

In other words, any attack against Syria will now be considered as an attack against Hezbollah and Iran, as well as Syria.

This declaration would be considered as a new red line, for Israel.

When it comes to Syria, Israeli security officials seem to have an allergic reaction to red lines being drawn for Israel.

For example, at the end of January 2013, Iran drew a red line for Israel around Syria. According to foreign reports, it took Israel only a couple of days to cross that line.

2 – We are getting close to elections in Israel. There is the possibility that Netanyahu may lose. At the beginning a Likud lead government headed by Netanyahu looked certain. By as time has passed, Netanyahu’s challenger Isaac Herzog from the Labour party has started to catch up.

So a war just before elections may boost Netanyahu’s chances. And lets face it, it would not be the first time that a war was started just before elections here in Israel. And Netanyahu would not be the first Israeli leader to do this.

3- In his interview with i24 news tonight, Amir Oren of Haaretz newspaper stated that we are getting close to the anniversary of the assassination of former Hezbollah commander Imad Mighniye who was killed on the 12 of February 2008. Hezbollah may have been planning to retaliate, and Israel may have decided to take the initiative.

4 – Perhaps Hezbollah was planning to place some of its Iran made Fatah 110 missiles and its other new missiles which Nasrallah bragged about in his recent interview on Israel’s border with the Syrian side of the Golan heights.

These are all possibilities. Lets not jump to conclusions. We just finished a war in Gaza based on the assumption of some people in Israel that the Hamas central command in Gaza had ordered the kidnapping and killing of 3 Israeli teenagers. It turns out that it had not.

Video: The #Israel Hospital Admitting #Syria Fighters

24 Dec

The war in Syria has caused lots of deaths and casualties.

Some of the injured opposition fighters have been brought to Israel.

Is it possible that some of them belong to the Al Qaeda affiliated Al Nusra front?

Why is Israel treating injured Syrian fighters? Are we trying to build goodwill towards Israel among the opposition, in case Assad falls? I hope so.

Simon Ostrovsky of VICE news has filmed a 4 part report from his recent trip to the Israel – Syria border.

Below you will find part 2, which includes an interview with an injured Syrian Free Army (SFA) fighter.

#ISIS terrorists love Pringles and the iphone 6

16 Dec

Imagine one of the poorest areas of Syria, namely the east of the country where for years very few if any could afford foreign-made products. 

Now imagine one of the most fundamentalist and puritanical movements in the world, namely ISIS living there.

Recently, demand for the latest technological products such as the iphone6 and western snacks such as Red Bull and Pringles have shot up in that part of Syria.

How does that work?

The podcast below from the Financial Times asks Erika Solomon, the FT correspondent in Beirut about this interesting phenomenon.

You can listen here