1,750 European ISIS Militants Returned Home: Report

1,750 European ISIS Militants Returned Home: Report

Alwaght– Hundreds of European nationals who traveled to Iraq and Syria to join terrorists have returned home, probably with a mission to carry out attacks.

According to an EU report, to be presented to EU interior ministers on Friday by the bloc’s counter-terrorism coordinator Gilles de Kerchove, up to 1,750 terrorists may have returned home.

Fifty-percent of the terrorists remain in the battle theater, which amounted to between 2,000 and 2,500 Europeans, while between 15 to 20 percent of those who joined the terrorists have died, the report added.

There were two types of “foreign terrorist fighters” returning, the report said, identifying them as “those in the majority that will drift back, and those who will be sent back on specific missions, which are of most concern.”

Even some European women and children born or raised in areas under the control of ISIS could present a security threat as they may have been influenced by the group’s Takfiri ideology, it added.

Some returnees have been convicted and serving prison sentences, while some others are being carefully monitored and some are free in their communities, the report said without giving any figures.

According to the new report, “there is also a significant foreign terrorist fighter contingent with ISIS in Libya which might attempt to use their nationality or family connections to return to Europe.”

It said the European militants remain in touch with ISIS via social media networks, and are greatly migrating from mainstream Twitter social networking service to Telegram end-to-end-encrypted messaging service.

(Source / 08.12.2016)

Hayya: Hamas is stronger than ever before


Khalil al-Hayya, Hamas political bureau member, said that Hamas on its 30th anniversary is still devoted to its principles and now is stronger than ever before.

Hayya was speaking in front of his house in Shijaiya neighborhood to the east of Gaza City in a march organized by his Movement as part of celebrations to mark its inception.

The Hamas leader affirmed that his Movement would never deviate from its path and will always adopt resistance as the only means of liberating Palestine.

(Source / 08.12.2016)

ICRC manager calls for lifting Gaza siege


Mamadou Sow, ICRC manager in Gaza Strip, told a press conference on Thursday that restrictions imposed by “neighboring authorities” obstruct the reconstruction process in the beleaguered enclave.

“Gaza has so much to give, but the restrictions are preventing Gazans from having a normal life,” he added.

According to Sow,” What Gaza needs does not rely entirely on aid, but providing the opportunity to rebuild.”

“Imposing restrictions on Gaza Strip cannot bring stability; therefore, everything that Gaza has is at stake now,” he pointed out.

“My message to the world is to display how shameful it is for 2 million people to live in such a small place and to be left like this,” he continued while stressing the need to find a solution.

Sow stressed that the Red Cross is still negotiating with neighboring countries regarding the imposed restrictions.

In the same context, Sow said,” We are talking to Israel about respecting the international humanitarian law concerning saving lives.”

The World Bank warned in a report in August that the situation in the Gaza Strip is unlivable especially in the light of the high unemployment rate, which has become now the highest in the world by reaching 43%, while 40% of the people are languishing below the poverty line.

(Source / 08.12.2016)

A Russian doctor killed in terrorist attack in Aleppo


Anna Folentaniod a 31 year-old Russian doctor who had come to rescue people was martyred in a terrorist attack in Aleppo.

Russian Defense Ministry announced that one Russian military paramedic was killed when militants shelled a mobile military hospital in Aleppo. Moscow criticized Western countries for supporting Syrian rebels.

“One doctor was killed and two nurses were injured on attack to a hospital in Aleppo,” Russian Defense Ministry added.

Russian Defense Ministry’s spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said: “terrorists shelled a Russian mobile hospital in Aleppo and as a result of a direct hit on the hospital, one Russian military paramedic was killed and two staff members were badly wounded, adding that a number of locals who were being tended to by the Russian medics were also injured.”

(Source / 08.12.2016)

Assad says Aleppo win ‘huge step’ towards end of Syria war

Syrian residents fleeing the violence in the eastern rebel-held parts of Aleppo evacuate from their neighbourhoods through the Bab al-Hadid district after it was seized by the government forces, on December 7, 2016

President Bashar al-Assad said victory in Aleppo would be a “huge step” towards ending Syria’s five-year civil war, ignoring pleas for a truce as rebels in the city lose more ground.

In a blistering three-week offensive, Syrian government forces have seized about 80 percent of east Aleppo, a stronghold for rebel groups since 2012, with increasingly cornered opposition factions calling for an “immediate five-day humanitarian ceasefire”.

The United States, Britain and France have also called for a truce, warning of a “humanitarian catastrophe”.

US Secretary of State John Kerry and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov were set to meet Thursday in Germany’s Hamburg after talks the previous day failed to achieve a breakthrough on efforts to halt the fighting in the devastated city.

Rebels in Aleppo have called for a truce

Asked at the start of the session about Russia’s position on a ceasefire, Lavrov said: “I am in agreement, and I confirm support for the American proposal of December 2”, referring to a meeting with Kerry in Rome at which they were believed to have agreed on a plan to evacuate civilians and rebels from east Aleppo and to work towards a new ceasefire.

Tens of thousands of children in Aleppo are “sitting targets” in the ongoing fighting, according to Save the Children Syria Director Sonia Khush.

“It defies belief that after nearly six years of suffering through this war, the international community is still willing to stand by as civilians are bombed with seeming impunity,” she added.

According to the Syri an Observatory for Human Rights, 19 civilians were killed in the regime bombardment of east Aleppo on Wednesday.

In an interview with Syrian daily Al-Watan, published Thursday, Assad said defeating the beleaguered rebels in Aleppo “will be a win for us, but let’s be realistic — it won’t mean the end of the war in Syria”.

“But it will be a huge step towards this end.”

When asked about the possibility of a truce in Aleppo, Assad said, “it’s practically non-existent, of course”.

Assad said a rebel loss in Aleppo “will mean the transformation of the course of the war across Syria” and would leave opposition factions and their backers with “no cards left to play”.

Syrians walk amid debris as a soldier secures the Masaken Hanano neighbourhood in Aleppo, on December 6, 2016

Aleppo was once known as the beating heart of culture and commerce in Syria, but the outbreak of fighting there four years ago left it divided between rebels in the east and government forces in the west.

In his wide-ranging interview, Assad pledged to fight rebels even beyond Aleppo, because “the war in Syria will not end until after the complete elimination of terrorism”.

“Terrorists are present elsewhere — even if we finish with Aleppo, we will continue our war against them,” he said.


Assad touted local agreements between his government and rebel groups as the best way to resolve Syria’s complex conflict.

Such deals have seen opposition fighters quit a string of towns around Damascus in recent months, often in exchange for an end to regime bombardment.

“It is the only available solution, in parallel with striking the terrorists. Its success has been proven over the past two to three years, and is now speeding up,” Assad told Al-Watan.

He said these agree ments had protected Syrian civilians and infrastructure and allowed former rebels to “return to the bosom of the state. What more could we want?”

Syria’s conflict erupted in March 2011 with widespread demonstrations but has since turned into a brutal multi-front war drawing in world powers.

Many Western countries cut ties with Damascus in 2011 and have imposed crippling economic sanctions, but Assad said he remained open to better relations with them.

“We really do want ties with every country in the world, including the West, despite our previous knowledge of their hypocrisy.”

(Source / 08.12.2016)

UN: Legalizing Israeli Settlements ‘Step Towards Annexation Of West Bank’

“I reiterate that all settlement activities are illegal under international law and run counter to the Middle East Quartet position that settlements are one of the main obstacles to peace.”

A Jewish settler looks at the West bank settlement of Maaleh Adumim, from the E-1 area on the eastern outskirts of Jerusalem.

A Jewish settler looks at the West bank settlement of Maaleh Adumim, from the E-1 area on the eastern outskirts of Jerusalem

United Nations envoy for the Middle East Nickolay Mladenov released a statement yesterday warning that Israel’s “formalisation law” which seeks to retrospectively legalese illegal outposts in the occupied West Bank would be “a step towards the annexation of the West Bank”.

“I encourage Israeli legislators to reconsider this move,” Mladenov said of the bill, which would retroactively legalise 4,000 settler homes, and lead to the expropriation of 8,000 dunams (8 square kilometres) of private Palestinian lands.

This legislation “has the objective of protecting illegal settlements and outposts built on private Palestinian property in the West Bank. Some have pronounced it to be a step towards the annexation of the West Bank.”

“I reiterate that all settlement activities are illegal under international law and run counter to the Middle East Quartet position that settlements are one of the main obstacles to peace.”

The Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) also reacted with outrage to the advancement of the law.

PLO Executive Committee member Haneen Ashrawi strongly denounced the bill’s approval as a “legal travesty” as well as a “war crime” as defined by the International Criminal Court (ICC), and called on the UN Security Council (UNSC) to convene an emergency meeting “in light of Israel’s disastrous settlement activities and to undertake serious punitive measures against Israel.”

“[Israeli Prime Minister] Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing extremist government is deliberately escalating its illegal settlement enterprise and stealing Palestinian land and resources,” she wrote, warning against the damaging effects of settlement expansion on the two-state solution.

“Israel’s actions are provoking grave violence and instability in an already-volatile region; the international community must intervene immediately before it is too late,” Ashrawi insisted.

PLO Secretary-General Saeb Erekat also released a statement, noting Israel’s “long history of attempts to ‘legalise’ war crimes,” and also demanded action from the UNSC and the ICC.

“This latest step shows the extremist Israeli government’s confidence that the international community will not act. This culture of impunity continues to destroy the prospects to end the Israeli occupation and achieve a just and lasting peace between Israel and Palestine.”

(Source / 08.12.2016)

Israeli police raid media center, detain Palestinian journalist


The Israeli Special Forces stormed Thursday afternoon the headquarters of a Palestinian media center in occupied Jerusalem and arrested a female journalist.

Speaking to Quds Press, the journalist Yasmin Adila affirmed that Israeli Special Forces stormed and violently searched the headquarters of Ilia media center.

Three lap tops and important office documents were confiscated during the raid, she added.

Israeli forces also arrested the female journalist Lama Ghusha and took her to a nearby investigation center.

Two days ago, Lama was summoned for investigation in Maskoubia investigation center to the west of occupied Jerusalem.

She was questioned about her work at Ilia media center.

(Source / 08.12.2016)

Palestinian child speaks out about Israeli torture

Israeli soldier slapped the 9-year-old boy three times on his face because he said he did not throw stones at Israeli soldiers

A nine-year-old Palestinian child speaks about how Israeli occupation soldiers kidnapped him, beat him, interrogated and tortured him.

Before taking me to the military jeep, one of the soldiers beat me in my head and chest several times until blood started flowing from my mouth and nose

A nine-year-old Palestinian child speaks about how Israeli occupation soldiers kidnapped him, beat him, interrogated and tortured him.

I was playing with my friends in an area near the Israeli Apartheid Wall at around 4pm when an Israeli patrol suddenly appeared. Two soldiers opened a gate in the Wall and started to chase us.

We were scared and started to run but the soldiers ran faster and managed to catch up with us. They also fired stun grenades in our direction.

When they caught one of my friends I stopped running and they caught me. They did not tell me why they detained me.

Shortly afterwards a military jeep arrived and I was put in the back of the jeep where they made me sit on the floor. I refused and wanted to sit on the seat but the soldiers forced me on the floor.

The jeep drove for about 30 minutes to Al-Jalama Checkpoint. The other boys who were arrested with me told me it was Al-Jalama.

I was taken to a courtyard where a soldier asked me for my name and age and then started to speak in Hebrew but I did not understand what he was saying.

When they recognised I did not understand, another soldier came and spoke in Arabic with me. He asked me why did I threw stones at Israeli soldiers? When I answered: I did not, he slapped me in the face three times and went out.

I remained in the courtyard for about 30 minutes and then I was taken to a dark room with other boys including my brother where I sat on the floor. I remained there for about two hours.

After two hours, I was taken with the other boys to another room which had cameras and computers. The soldiers blindfolded me and then brought some mattresses and told us to sleep. They also brought us some apples and bread.

I slept until around 1am when soldiers walked in and told me they were going to release me. But, before taking me to the military jeep, one of the soldiers beat me in my head and chest several times until blood started flowing from my mouth and nose.

A military doctor came and cleaned the blood in my face and clothes. He placed a bandage on my mouth and another small one inside my nose.

Then, they took me to the back of a jeep where I fell asleep. The jeep drove to Salem Checkpoint where I was handed over to the Palestinian police, where my father picked me up and took me home.

(Source / 08.12.2016)

Coalition’s General Assembly Discusses Situation in Aleppo, Political & Military Developments in Its 31st Meeting

The Syrian Coalition’s General Assembly on Thursday held its 31st regular meeting with the participation of new female members and members of the Syrian Turkmen Council.

The situation in Aleppo will be on top of the agenda of the meeting. Aleppo has been subjected to a ferocious onslaught by the Assad regime and its Russian and Iranian allies. More than 1,000 civilians, mostly women and children, have been killed and nearly 6,000 injured as a result of aerial bombardment on the city. All hospitals and schools in the rebel-held parts of the city were put out of service. The Russian and Assad regime airstrikes also destroyed two civil defense centers.

Vice-president of the Syrian Coalition Abdul Ahad Steifo said: “The situation in Aleppo is on top of the agenda of the meeting. Today we are faced with crucial decisions on the internal and external levels.” He stressed that “there are brothers and friends who want good for Syria and its people” in the face of aggression and barbarism they are being subjected to.

A joint statement from the leaders of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, and the United States on Wednesday hit out at the Assad regime and its “foreign backers, especially Russia,” accusing them of blocking emergency help to civilians trapped in eastern Aleppo.

“The urgent need now is for an immediate ceasefire to allow the United Nations to get humanitarian assistance to people in eastern Aleppo,” the statement said. The six countries said 200,000 civilians in Aleppo, including many children, were “cut off from food and medicine supplies.”

A humanitarian disaster is “taking place before our very eyes,” the statement said. It added: “We condemn the actions of the Syrian regime and its foreign backers, especially Russia, for their obstruction of humanitarian aid, and strongly condemn the Syrian regime’s attacks that have devastated civilians and medical facilities and use of barrel bombs and chemical weapons.”

The six countries also called on Iran and Russia to “use their influence” to ensure the Assad regime agrees the UN’s four-point plan for Aleppo. The plan aims at allowing humanitarian aid into the shattered east of the city and for sick and injured to be evacuated.

Member of the Syrian Coalition of the Turkmen bloc Yussef Manla slammed the international community’s failure to protect Syrian civilians. “The whole world is standing idly by as the Assad regime, Russia, and the Iranian-backed militias are committing the most horrible massacres against Syria’s civilians.” He stressed the need for “immediate, concrete action to put an end to the bloodbath in Aleppo and ensure the delivery of aid to civilians trapped inside.”

Member of the Coalition Salwa ktaw called on Syrians in the diaspora to organize popular demonstrations in all parts of the world to demand an end to the brutal bombing of Aleppo and other Syrian cities and towns.

On Monday, Russia and China vetoed a draft UN Security Council resolution calling for the imposition of a 7-day cease-fire in Aleppo so that humanitarian aid could reach the city’s besieged eastern neighborhoods. The draft resolution was proposed by New Zealand, Spain and Egypt.

A source in the Syrian Coalition said that first day of the 31st General Assembly meeting will assess the stages the Syrian revolution has gone through, adding that the second day will see an assessment of the general current situation. The source pointed out that the third and final day of the meeting will be dedicated to laying out a new strategy for the next phase based on four main tracks: military, political, revolutionary and civilian.

(Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Office / 08.12.2016)

As world turns back on Palestine, “1st War of Stones” reemerges


As Palestinians mark the 29th anniversary of the First Palestinian Intifada (Uprising), the memories of a people dispossessed of its own land, and bereaved of the warmth of home and the nourishment of family reemerge, marking the world’s most traumatic legacy.

On December 8, 1987, in a historic uprising that marked itself across time and space as one of history’s most outstanding anti-occupation retorts, Palestinian men and women took to the streets in Gaza and the West Bank to speak up against Israel’s terrorism.

The event marked an outburst of demonstrations, riots, and rallies across the occupied territories.

One of the reasons why the Intifada remains of a key momentum in the Palestinian national struggle is because it had given birth to resistance factions, both armed and unarmed.

The grassroots riots exploded on December 8, 1987, after an Israeli driver rammed his vehicle into Palestinian workers from Jabaliya, in northern Gaza Strip, near the Beit Hanoun (Erez) border crossing, killing four workers and leaving several others wounded.

Soon after the hit-and-run attack, Israeli troops showed up in the area and cracked down on the Palestinians marching in the funeral procession of the four casualties.
Spates of bullet fire and teargas grenades unleashed from Israeli helicopters showered the funeral procession in an attempt to disband thousands of marchers who took part in the funeral. Several were killed and dozens were left injured, sparking even further Palestinian outrage.

According to observes, these violent individual acts — and those preceding them — were the last straws in a 20-year saga of military occupation and its atrocious effects on a population bereaved of its homes, lands, and sovereignty.

More than a knee-jerk reaction to that occupation, it was a united uprising of a relentless political struggle for self-determination that had been playing out long before 1987 at the grassroots level.

Those incidents were in fact the stroke that broke the camel’s back after twenty long years of brutal Israeli military occupation. The Palestinians had seen it all. Not only had they been dispossessed of their homeland and driven out of their homes in 1948 to make way for the boatloads of Israeli settlers flooding into Palestine on a promise of a self-proclaimed Jewish state; they had also been thrown into a mountainous journey towards the unknown.

Today the Palestinians are the victims of an imperialist project that denied their existence and their rights to self-rule in the land where their forebears had set up roots for millions of years.

To this day, the Zionist project has held powerful parties in its service, despite the flagrant violations of international law and United Nations resolutions supporting the rights of the Palestinians.

What Israel could not use as a bargaining chip, though, was the commitment of a victimized people and their iron will that dared hurl stones, from a very close distance, towards heavily-armed troops and military tanks which far exceeded their physical capacities and vulnerable bodies but never their undefeatable souls and unbroken wills .

The seeds of the so-called “War of the Stones” which saw the day in 1987 continue to nourish the determination of a people deeply devoted to their land and holy sites, at a time when the world’s superpowers have turned their back on Palestine.

(Source / 08.12.2016)