IRAQ NEWS: CHRISTIANS IN MOSUL ORDERED TO CONVERT, LEAVE OR DIE, WHILE ISLAMIC STATE INVADE PERIMETER OF CAMP SPEICHER

By Peter Clifford          ©                (www.petercliffordonline.com/syria-news-3/)


http://www.petercliffordonline.com/syria-news-3

 SYRIA and IRAQ NEWS

After Friday prayers in Mosul, the Islamic State issued an ultimatum to Christians in the city, saying that they must either convert to Islam, pay a tax on non-Muslims known as Jiziya, or give up their possessions and property and leave the city. Failure to comply would result in the death penalty as “a last resort”.

The statement was issued after Christian leaders failed to respond to a summons to attend a meeting with the Islamic State. As a result, most of the Christian population of the city, estimated at around 3,000, are said to be leaving as quickly as possible.

Islamic State Burns the Catholic Church in Mosul

 

Islamic State Burns the Catholic Church in Mosul

Some reports say that the property of those who have already fled has been confiscated and Christian families being stopped at Islamic State checkpoints on the way out are being relieved of money and jewellery.

Most of the families affected are heading for relative safety of Dohuk and Erbil in neighbouring Kurdistan.

The main Catholic Church in Mosul was set on fire this morning, Saturday, and completely destroyed.

Meanwhile, the Turkish Consular building in the city is apparently being used as the headquarters of the Islamic State in Mosul, the whereabouts of the Turkish Consul-General and 48 of his staff and their families still unknown.

Both US and Iraqi forces have confirmed that as many as 52 X 155mm M198 artillery howitzers fell into IS hands in their rapid advance across Iraq and hundreds of Humvees. Each of the sophisticated artillery guns is equipped with GPS and have a range of 20 miles. Cost? Around $500,000 a piece!

There are also reports that the Islamic State is giving up the eastern part of Mosul to Naqshbandi forces (former Ba’ath Party members who followed dictator Saddam Hussein), while retaining control over the western half of the city, thereby releasing more of their fighters to travel south to their base at Tikrit.

The extent of the Islamic State’s complete rout of Iraqi Government forces in their attempt to retake Tikrit last week is only now becoming clear, with dozens of soldiers killed, many fleeing and the only support helicopter running out of fuel. A Shia fighter said the “doors of hell” opened as Government troops prepared to raise the Iraqi flag over state buildings.

“The bullets rained on our heads from everywhere and the suicide bombers were throwing themselves from the windows and detonated themselves in the air.” This second failed attempt to regain Tikrit has confirmed the view of military analysts that the Iraqi military on its own will never be able to retake western and northern Iraq.

Courtesy of the Institute for the Study of War, this is the latest visual and detailed ground situation report from Iraq on July 18th:

IRAQ NEWS

 

Iraq Situation Report July 18th 2014

On Thursday Islamic Front fighters penetrated nearby Camp Speicher, snipers and suicide bombers clearing a path all the way to the runway. Pilots flew out helicopters from the base to save them from destruction, but a Russian model failed to take off and was destroyed. The Government side claim that they killed at least 35 attackers.

IS claim that they had killed many pilots and soldiers, shot 2 helicopters out of the air and burned several aircraft on the ground as well as destroying army vehicles, fuel reserves and communications equipment.

Fighting for complete control of the base is ongoing and its loss would put a severe dent in the Iraqi Government’s already limited capabilities to launch attacks against the Islamic Front in the north of the country.

Elsewhere in Iraq, the Islamic State have launched another attack on Dhuluiya, north-west of Baghdad and to the north-east of the capital clashes are reported around Muqdadiyeh.

South of Baghdad fighting is also reported near Babel with deaths on both sides and an IS suicide bomber killed 6 policemen and wounded 3 more near the Balad airbase not far from the capital.

Unconfirmed reports say that up to 400 Iranian Revolutionary Guards have arrived in Iraq to protect Shia shrines, many of which have already been attacked or destroyed in IS controlled territory.

On the political front, the Iraqi parliament eventually got its act together this week and elected a Speaker, Salim Jabouri, and in a surprise move it was announced that Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, a Kurd, who has been in Germany for long term medical treatment since December 2012, is returning home today, Saturday 19th July, to “resume his duties”.

Finally, the new “Caliph” is said to be anti-smoking in all its forms, including the Sheesha water pipe and has ordered its destruction.

Mass Destruction of Sheesha Pipes by IS

 

Mass Destruction of Sheesha Pipes by IS

SYRIA NEWS: ISLAMIC STATE SEIZE GOVERNMENT GAS FIELD NEAR PALMYRA, WHILE ASSAD ACCUSED OF YET ANOTHER GAS ATTACK

In an audacious move, the Islamic State (IS) Jihadists, using their new found fire power captured in Iraq, yesterday, Thursday, attacked and took control of the Shaar Gas Field in the eastern part of Homs province not far from Palmyra.

As many as 90 – 100 pro-Assad militia, civilian security guards and employees were initially reported killed in the take over with another 340 unaccounted for. Another 30 militia are said to have escaped to the nearby Hajjar field.

SYRIA and IRAQ NEWS

 

Islamic State Fighters Parade in Raqqah, June 30th 2014

25 of those killed are reported to be civilian workers at the plant, while most of those guarding it were members of Assad’s National Defence Force or contractors working for Syria’s Oil Ministry. Gruesome video on the Internet shows the desert landscape at the site littered with dead bodies, some of them mutilated.

The Government state website, SANA, has made no mention of the attack.

The Islamic State, who are said to have lost 12 men in the fight, neutralised 8 checkpoints around the site with suicide bomb attacks before moving in and taking control of the whole gas field.

Latest reports on Saturday, say that IS have killed as many as 270 in fighting or by execution. A counter attack this morning by Government forces is said to have killed 40 IS Jihadists with the loss of another 11 pro-Assad fighters, but they have regained some ground. At least 100 are still missing.

In southern Damascus, there have been protests against the actions of the Islamic State, HERE:, while nearby at Al-Qadam, not far from the Yarmouk camp, there there have been clashes between Opposition  and Government fighters.

According to unconfirmed activist reports, all Opposition fighting groups in Ghouta, east of the capital, will unite into one army and command next week, with other unconfirmed reports claiming that 200 members of Hezbollah have been killed since the start of Ramadan.

In a suburb of Malieha to the north-east of Damascus, Al-Nusra Front carried out a suicide bombing attack using an armoured personnel carrier while at the same time the Assad regime is reported to be raining down a new type of rocket on the town called an “earthquake” or alternatively an “elephant”, HERE:

On Wednesday, Bashar Al-Assad was sworn in as President of Syria for a third 7 year term, telling Western and Arab governments that they will pay a heavy price for “supporting terrorism”.

The much publicised “amnesty” of  “thousands” of political prisoners announced by Assad shortly after his “re-election in early June, has  turned, not unsurprisingly into a bit of a farce. A lawyer working with political detainees in Damascus said releases has not exceeded 1,300 people including ordinary criminal detainees.

Those  released included about 400 people who went before the Anti-Terrorism court, 200 from Sednaya prison, 200 from the security branches, and 150 others from other governorate prisons. Some judges had apparently sent the files of some detainees due to be released under the amnesty back to the public prosecutor, requesting a change to the charges so that would then fall outside the scope of the general amnesty. You can read more fromHuman Rights Watch.

Yesterday, Opposition fighters repelled yet another attack from Government forces on the town of Morek (Mork) in Hama province, which is key to the route from Hama to Idlib. Following a ground attack the Opposition were hit with 15 airstrikes with significant losses on both sides and the frontline moving backwards and forwards almost hourly.

Trying to destroy the Opposition and their positions in surrounding towns and villages, the Syrian Air Force also hit Kfar Zita for at least the 3rd time with barrel-bombs containing a chlorine like substance that caused severe breathing difficulties in the local population, HERE:

Chlorine, being a widely used chemical in industry, was not listed as part of Assad’s declared stock chemical weapons arsenal, most of which, apart from a few unexplained discrepancies, has now been removed from the country. 200 tons of Syria’s neutralised chemical weapons arrived in the UK earlier this week for final destruction at specialised facilities.

SYRIA NEWS: OPPOSITION DESTROY MORE CHECKPOINTS AROUND LAST REMAINING ASSAD BASES IN IDLIB AND CAPTURE BASE IN DARAA PROVINCE

In Idlib province, the Opposition have moved forward yet again, destroying the Dabaan checkpoint protecting the Wadi Deif Army base and the Hajanak military checkpoint inside the Hamadiya Base, both of which have been under siege for over a year.

SYRIA and IRAQ NEWS

 

The Children of Kafranbel Expression Their Simple Dreams

The resupply of these bases is connected with the fight at Morek (see above), a very slim physical corridor now remaining to the Assad Government between the bases and territory it controls in Hama city (see map below).

Opposition fighters have additionally shelled with mortars the “poultry-barrier” at Camp Alhamdeh, HERE:

In Daraa province in the south, the Opposition have also captured the base of Battalion 26 and the Infantry Brigade 61 at Sheikh Saad, south of Nawa and north-west of Darra city. This video footage give a tour inside the base, one of the largest in Syria, HERE:

The fighters seized truck loads of weapons and ammunition, HERE:,including anti-tank missiles, HERE:

Sheikh Saad is seen as strategically important as it lies close to Al-Sanamayn and Izraa, two districts in Daraa which were seen as the first defence line for the capital Damascus.

North-east of Aleppo city the Islamic State are trying to invade the city of Akhtareen, while in Latakia the Opposition have repelled an Assad regime attack on Utiyraa village, south-east of Kassab.

A regime helicopter is reported to have dropped a TNT barrel-bomb on their own forces by mistake at Kafr Sagheer, killing 21.

In Deir Ez-Zour, the Islamic State (IS) are reported to have clashed with Government forces just a few hundred metres from the military airport, while IS following recent advances are estimated to be in control of 35% of Syria.

In the north of Raqqah province the Kurdish YPG militia lost 3 villages near Tal Abyad to the Islamic State, while 2 Belgian fathers came looking for their sons.

Both the sons were fighting with the Islamic State, one needing 4 insulin injections a day for diabetes, but the pair refused to return home. Video Report from the BBC’s Syria News service.

In Raqqah city itself there is now an all-female Islamic State Brigade that keeps “other women in order” and makes them dress, behave and follow the “faith” appropriately. You can read more, HERE:

At the same time there are also reports that a woman in Raqqah province has been stoned to death by the Islamic State for adultery, the first reported case in Syria. The appalling act of stoning took place in a public square in Tabaqa on Thursday evening. The victim was a 26 year old widow.

From Jordan, Save the Children Fund now says that the number of child marriages among Syrian refugees has now almost doubled since 2011, when it represented 13% of all weddings. Now it is over 25% in 2013 with the figure reaching 32% in the first quarter of 2014.

48% of the underage women were forced into unions with men at least 10 years their senior under laws which allow such marriages with the courts permission. Girls who marry before 18, says Save the Children Fund, are more likely to experience domestic violence than their peers who marry later, and they have much more limited access to sexual and reproductive health, putting severe strains on their very young bodies. You can read more,HERE:

From Turkey there are reports that the Government there is to take extreme action against the 1 million Syrians refugees living and begging on the streets of Istanbul, forcibly deporting them back to camps near the Syrian border if necessary.

800 Kurds from the Turkish side of the border are additionally said to have crossed the frontier to aid the Kurdish militia in their struggle to resist attacks from the Islamic State who are trying to get control of the border region of Ain al-Arab (Kobani in Kurdish).

A unanimous vote at the UN Security Council on Monday, Russia and China for once not exercising their veto, has ensured that cross border aid deliveries can be made to Opposition held areas of Syria, whether the Assad Government “gives its permission” on not.

The deliveries will come in via 2 border crossings from Turkey, 1 from Iraq and 1 from Jordan. The mandate lasts for 180 days and then will have to be renewed.

In this map, courtesy of @, note how vulnerable some regime outposts are now around Daraa city, Idlib, Deir Ez-Zour, Aleppo, Raqqah province, Hassakah province and Qamishli, with very narrow entry and exit points, here:

Syria Situation Map 15.07.14

Syria Situation Map 15.07.14

Millions In US, EU Aid To Syria Flow Through ISIS Regions

Primary Humanitarian Aid Channel Starts in Turkey, Goes Through Raqqa.

Shakir Waheib

Shakir Waheib, a senior member of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), left, next to a burning police vehicle in Iraq’s Anbar Province

Many millions of dollars in humanitarian aid poured into Syria by the US and various European Union nations have been coming almost entirely through a single route: starting in the Turkish border crossing of Kilis.

From there, the aid is spread throughout much of rebel-held Syria, but the lion’s share goes straight through Raqqa, the de facto capital city of the ISISstate, dubbed The Islamic State (TIS).

It’s working great for ISIS, which aid groups say has let them operate virtually entirely without hassle. Indeed, some report that ISIS has been using its bankroll of money, much of it seized in Mosul, to attract doctors to Raqqa and the surrounding area to work in concert with the Western aid flow.

Civilians in TIS need aid as much as people anywhere else, and aid groups say that’s not a concern. What may be, however, is that ISIS has been funneling aid supplies into newly conquered cities like Mosul, and using that Western-supplied aid to build their credibility in their new realm.

(Source / 19.07.2014) 

Syrian Coalition Works to Absorb New Rebel Battalions Within the FSA

Hadi Al Bahra, president of the Syrian Coalition, continued to hold meetings with leaders of the FSA’s Supreme Military Council (SMC) and commanders of the rebel battalions. “With the fast-pace developments in Syria and the region, it has become imperative that new battalions join the SMC, we have therefore begun studying the absorption of the active rebel battalions within the SMC as a step towards organizing the military efforts under one banner to counter to the growing threat of extremist groups. It has become clear that Assad will not be forced to sit at the negotiating table unless the military situation on the ground is changed in favor of the revolutionary forces, a thing that can only be achieved through organizing the rebel factions into a unified body,” Al Bahra said. He also stresses that “the plan we are seeking to implement has a name: Syria, and we will go through with it regardless of the internal and external political fluctuations. Therefore, we have initiated reforms to completely restructure the interim government and the SMC. Over the past two days, we met with all ministers in the interim government to review their achievements and know difficulties they are facing, thus identifying the flaws and deficiencies in the performance of those two bodies.” During his meeting with commanders of the SMC, Al Bahra said that it has become necessary to move to work inside Syria side by side with the people as this is the only way to bridge the gap between the revolutionary forces in and outside Syria. We should also emphasize on the institutional and technocratic work during the restructuring of the interim government. Bahra stressed that the technocratic institutional work should govern the structure of the interim government, pointing out that the selection of human resources should depend on experience and competence, and that the cadres that previously worked in the institutions of the Assad regime should not be marginalized.“

(Source: Syrian Coalition / 19.07.2014)

Christians flee Mosul after ISIS ultimatum to convert or leave

Worshippers attend mass on Christmas Eve at a Christian church in Mosul, about 390 km (240 miles) north of Baghdad, December 24, 2009

Christians were fleeing Iraq’s jihadist-held city of Mosul en masse Friday after mosques relayed an ultimatum giving them a few hours to leave, the country’s Chaldean patriarch and witnesses said.

“Christian families are on their way to Dohuk and Arbil,” in the neighboring autonomous region of Kurdistan, Patriarch Louis Sako told AFP. “For the first time in the history of Iraq, Mosul is now empty of Christians.”

Witnesses said messages telling Christians to leave the city by Saturday were blared through loudspeakers from the city’s mosques Friday.

A statement dated from last week and purportedly issued by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) jihadist group that took over the city and large swathes of Iraq during a sweeping offensive last month warned Mosul’s Christians they should convert, pay a special tax, leave or face death.

“We were shocked by the distribution of a statement by the Islamic State calling on Christians to convert to Islam, or to pay unspecified tribute, or to leave their city and their homes taking only their clothes and no luggage, and that their homes would then belong to the Islamic State,” Sako said.

The patriarch, who is one of the most senior Christian clerics in Iraq, and residents contacted by AFP said Islamic State militants had in recent days been tagging Christian houses with the letter N for “Nassarah”, the term by which the Koran refers to Christians.

The statement, which was seen by AFP, said “there will be nothing for them but the sword” if Christians reject those conditions.

(Source / 18.07.2014)

Syrian Coalition: Assad’s Speech Confirms Continuing His Genocide against Syrians

Ahmad Jakal, member of the political committee, described Assad’s speech as “a ridiculous sham that contradicts all political norms. In democratic countries which respect its people, the inaugural speech is usually made in Parliament, while Assad has delivered his speech in the cellar of one of his palaces after summoning members of the so-called People’s Assembly to his palace, setting a precedent for a new low in the history of Syria. Assad’s meaningless inaugural speech followed the farcical elections that were held while millions of Syrians were displaced outside and inside, and while Syrians are being massacred by his militias backed by Iran and Hezbollah.” Jakal also points out that Assad is still in a state of denial and his speech denotes that he is split from reality, as he made threats haphazardly to the West and neighboring countries which have been hosting the Syrians fleeing his barbarity and barrel bombs. Assad’s speech celebrated fake victories on the ground, and while he was giving his speech, rebel battalions were advancing on several fronts in Dara’a and Aleppo.” Jakal concluded his remarks stressing that “Assad’s talk about fighting terrorism aims to send a message that he will continue to pursue his genocidal war against the Syrian people, refusing to recognize their right to citizenship, freedom and democracy.”

(Source: Syrian Coalition / 17.07.2014)

Syrian Coalition: The War on Gaza Disproved Assad’s and Hezbollah’s “Resistance”

Mohammed Khair Banco, member of the political committee, said that “the Israeli war on Gaza has revealed Assad and Hezbollah’s lies about resisting the Israeli occupation. Hassan Nasrallah has once vowed to throw the Israeli occupation in the sea, but it was proven later that his statements were part of his plans to extend his control over the region. He has distanced himself from the war on Gaza leaving the Palestinian resistance alone against the occupation. Instead of sending his militiamen to fight against the Israeli occupation, he sent them to Syria to fight along the Assad regime, obeying orders from Iran’s Ayatollahs. Hezbollah’s efforts to win the sympathy of the Arab world, especially in Lebanon and Syria, have now failed with its inability to respond to the Israeli aggression on Gaza.” Banco also points out that Hezbollah has done nothing beyond condemning the aggression on Gaza through its media outlets, though its chief has not yet appeared on the party’s TV channel to condemn the onslaught realizing that all his previous lies have now been exposed.” Furthermore, Banco lashes out on the hypocrisy of the countries that have been giving Assad unconditional support, especially Russia while, at the same time, criticizing arming Syrian rebels. Assad’s allies have been sending hundreds of tons of weapons to the Assad regime and have been financing terrorism against the Syrian people and their legitimate aspirations. They have also turned a blind eye to Assad’s use of chemical weapons against the civilians and vetoed four UN resolutions on the entry of humanitarian aid to Syria.”

(Source: Syrian Coalition / 16.07.2014)

IRAQ: PARLIAMENT STILL DITHERS, WHILE SADDAM’S FORMER VP URGES SUNNIS TO “LIBERATE” THE COUNTRY AND PRAISES ISIS

By Peter Clifford             ©                  (www.petercliffordonline.com/syria-news-3/)


http://www.petercliffordonline.com/syria-news-3

  SYRIA and IRAQ NEWS

After 3 attempts, Iraq’s Parliament failed to elect a Speaker yet again on Sunday and has deferred another meeting until Tuesday.

The Sunni bloc put forward Salim al-Jabouri, a moderate Islamist, as their candidate for speaker but Nouri Al-Maliki effectively torpedoed this proposal by linking it to their acceptance of his own bid for a third term.

IRAQ NEWS

 

Islamic State Flag Flies Above Government Buildings in Dhuluiya

While Parliament dithers and the country continues to be run by a caretaker administration, the Islamic State insurgents are battling Government troops just 70 kilometres (43 miles) from the capital.

Heavy fighting is reported around Dhuluiya, just east of Haditha where battles are ongoing for control of the dam.

Approximately 80 Islamic State (IS) fighters arrived at Dhuluiya in 50 to 60 vehicles, taking control of the mayor’s office, municipal council building, and the police station. 4 policemen, 2 IS fighters and 2 civilians were reported killed.

Reports say that local police and tribal fighters were continuing to resist yesterday, Sunday, as IS bombed a bridge linking Dhuluiya to the nearby town of Balad to the west.

At Haditha, IS, having failed to get an agreement from local tribesmen to enter the town without a fight, launched their second attack in 2 days at the weekend. In a battle lasting 4 hours, 13 IS fighters were reported killed and 5 of their vehicles destroyed.

Above Muqdadiyah in Diyala province, IS is reported to have shot down a Government helicopter.

The Iraqi Army stationed outside Fallujah has shelled the town, killing 7, including a woman and child, and wounding 14.

While IS has shot and beheaded unknown numbers of captured soldiers, police officers, Shia religious minorities and members of militias who tried to resist them, the Iraqi Army has also been accused by Human Rights Watch (HRW) of summary executions and the killing of 255 Sunni prisoners.

Since 9th June HRW has documented 5 massacres in Mosul and Tal Afar, in northern Nineveh province, in Baaquba and Jumarkhe, in Diyala, and in Rawa in Anbar province. In some cases the prisoners were shot but in others prisoners were reportedly set on fire and in another, hand-grenades were thrown into locked cells. You can read more, HERE:

Meanwhile, 72-year-old Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, who was Saddam Hussein’s vice-president when US led coalition forces invaded Iraq in 2003, and is still a fugitive, issued an audio statement urging Sunnis to join the insurgency to “liberate” the country.

He also praised IS as “heroes and knights” and urged fighting groups to put their differences aside in the interests of unity to defeat the government of Nouri Al-Malik.

IRAQ and SYRIA NEWS

 

Situation Map July 13th 2014

IRAQ: AS MANY AS 70,000 MEN SAID TO HAVE ABANDONED ARMY IN LAST 3 WEEKS, WHILE USA ESTIMATES IRAQIS CAN BARELY HOLD BAGHDAD AGAINST ISIS

According to US estimates, as many as 70,000 men, 1 tenth of Iraq’s army of 700.000. may have abandoned their uniforms and deserted over the last 3 weeks. Some Iraqi estimates put the figure even higher at 90,000.

One deserter described how they were completely abandoned while they were defending the Baiji oil refinery, the officers, including a brigadier general, all getting in a mini-bus and leaving the facility, having first negotiated safe passage with local tribes.

The conscripts were not surprised as corruption is widespread among the officer class, some of them taking half some men’s salaries in return for allowing them to not show up for duty at all. The Washington Post has the details.

IRAQ and SYRIA NEWS

 

Shia Volunteers Training with Iraqi Army Last Week

The United State also seems to be having deep doubts about the ability of the Al-Maliki Government to resist the Islamic State invasion, believing that it may be possible to defend some parts of Baghdad but stands no chance of driving them out of the rest of the country.

The Army, having lost so many Sunni conscripts is now dependent on Shia volunteers and Shia militia.

The US assessment additionally indicates that the Iraqi Army is so badly infiltrated by Sunni informers and Iranian personnel that their own military advisers may be at risk.

The US dilemna is whether to get further embroiled in a battle they do not want or to stand back and let Al-Maliki fall. Echoing comments already made on this page, one American official said, “It’s a mess”. You can read more in the New York Times.

Similarly, Iran is faced with a dilemna too. Get involved in another quagmire like Syria or stand back and be on the same side as the Americans, or lose control of Iraq and its routes to Syria and Hezbollah in Lebanon.

According to an article in the Independent, Prince Bandar, the former security chief in Saudi Arabia, predicted all this.

Many years ago, before 9/11, Bandar said in a chilling conversation with Sir Richard Dearlove, former head of Britain’s MI6 spy agency, “The time is not far off in the Middle East, Richard, when it will be literally ‘God help the Shia’. More than a billion Sunnis have simply had enough of them.” More in the London Independent.

(EDITOR: Based on that, and the fact that the Saudi Government made no attempt to stop rich Saudis sending seed money to ISIS, today’s severe and mindless Sunni/Shia conflict is no surprise)

SYRIA: ISLAMIC STATE DRIVE OUT RIVALS TO TAKE CONTROL OF THE WHOLE OF DEIR EZ-ZOUR CITY & PROVINCE, EXCEPT REGIME AREAS

North-east of Damascus the Syrian Army is once again trying to enter Mlieha, the gateway to the Opposition-held stronghold of Eastern Ghouta.

Assad’s forces have been trying for months to take the town, even briefly reaching the town centre in May but being repelled and driven out again and ambushed with heavy loss of life.

In the latest attack, activists report fierce clashes on all the town’s fronts and surface to surface missiles hitting the central area. Reports this morning, Monday, suggest that the siege of the area has been broken, the supply road to Eastern Ghouta is open and Assad’s Shia militia have suffered heavy casualties.

In the Qalamoun area of Damascus province, the Al-Nusra Front yesterday ambushed a Hezbollah convoy and reportedly killed at least 20 of the pro-Assad Lebanese militia.

Fighting also took place between the same 2 sides near the Lebanese village of Youneen on Sunday, ending at dawn this morning, Monday, with 7 Hezbollah fighters dead and 17 Opposition fighters.

Within Damascus city itself, 13 Syrian Red Crescent trucks were allowed into Moadamiyeh today, carrying 1,000 food parcels for the 31,000 people still inside the suburb.

Islamic State Take Control of Deir Ez-Zour City and Province

 

Islamic State Take Control of Deir Ez-Zour City and Province

Having taken control of most of rural Deir Ez-Zour province, including the oil fields, the Islamic State have today, Monday, expelled their Opposition rivals from Deir Ez-Zour city.

According to reports, fighters from rival Islamist groups, in particular the Al-Nusra Front and Ahrar Al-Sham, have either pledged allegiance to the Islamic State (IS) or fled the province altogether.

IS is now in control of the whole of Deir Ez-Zour province all the way eastwards to Iraq, apart from some areas of Deir Ez-Zour city still controlled by the Assad regime and the city’s military airport.

An Opposition spokesman said that the influx of heavy weapons and armoured vehicles from Iraq had tipped the balance in the favour of the Islamic State.

Just across the border in Iraq at Al-Qaim, IS is also reported today, Monday, to have publicly executed 4 men who they called “spies for the Assad regime”. The men, their hands bound, were brought to the town’s main street in a convoy of trucks and shot in the head.

In Aleppo, more than 30 barrel-bombs were dropped again on Opposition-held areas on Sunday, causing widespread death and destruction.

On Friday, a video appeared on the Internet of Aleppo’s civil defence team pulling out a live little baby from the rubble of one such attack after 16 hours work on June 18th/19th. They also rescued his Mother, who was injured, but it was too late for the Father and another daughter.

The moving rescue of the 2 month old can be seen, here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-XGgZmsKZAg

Aleppo’s Opposition have also issued a video of the tunnel they dug under the city to blow up a regime building between the Orphanage and the Air Force Intelligence headquarters in the north-west of the regional capital,HERE:

North-east of the city in the countryside, IS have advanced to Masoudieh, south of Akhtareen, while more moderate Opposition fighters have taken away the village of Khalfatli on the border with Turkey from IS control.

According to activists, a Syrian Army convoy has additionally arrived at Quwaires air base, which has been under siege for more than 12 months, apparently passing through IS controlled checkpoints unhindered, further adding to the belief that somehow the Assad regime and IS are working together.

Further to the rumour that the Al Nusra Front (ANF) want to establish their own Islamic State or Emirate in Syria (scroll down -see below), the group have issued a statement saying that they will do so when “honest mujahedeen and the religious scholars agree with us”.

In support of this ANF and the Islamic Front are carrying out a campaign against groups accused of “smuggling” and “looting” across both Aleppo and Idlib provinces as they seek to impose a system of Sharia based law.

In southern Quneitra province heavy clashes are reported between Opposition fighters and Assad’s forces around the village of Majduliyah east of the border with Israel and video from the Opposition captured Base 90 reveals large amounts of ammunition including rocket grenades, HERE: 

In Hama province where Opposition fighters took control of Rahjan village in the eastern countryside, they gained field guns and armoured vehicles, (caution graphic, Arabic only, with dead bodies) HERE: 

In Latakia city, a very large explosion shook the city on Sunday, but from unknown sources, while reports from the International Red Cross say that the province now hosts 1 million refugees, a 50% increase on its normal population.

In Idlib province 10 Syrian Army soldiers are said to have defected to the Opposition from a checkpoint near the Wadi Al-Deif military base, while in Raqqah province fighting continues between the Kurdish militia and the Islamic State near the Turkish border at Ayn Al-Arab (Kobani to the Kurds). 12 Kurdish fighters have been missing since Saturday.

In Jordan, where the CIA has been training vetted Opposition fighters for Syria for over a year, there is apparently reluctance in some quarters to see that training expanded after President Obama announced an extra $500 million funding for the programme.

There is also a report from Jordan’s capital, Amman, that Maher Rahal, 27, who headed the Syrian Opposition Liwa al-Mujahideen Brigade fighting in Daraa province, was shot dead on Friday night while visiting family members. The reason is not obvious, but it may have been part of a long running family feud from Inkhil in the southern province.

Lastly, a defector, terrified for his family and himself, has told the BBC of the brutal life as a fighter for the Islamic State.

SYRIA and IRAQ NEWS

Hope – 2 Month Old With His Civil Defence Rescuer

Syrian Coalition: Syrian Coalition Views Protests against Hosting Syrian Refugees as Limited Minority Response in Turkey

Badr Jamous, member of the political committee, said that the protests that were held in the Turkish city of Kahramanmaraş against hosting the Syrian refugees “do not reflect the real stance of the Turkish people towards their Syrian brethren. The real stance of the Turkish people is reflected in the substantial material and moral support provided by our brothers in Turkey to the Syrian people. An example of this is the simple fairs organized by ordinary Turks who donate the revenues to help the Syrian refugees. Such protests are limited and were individually motivated.” Jamous also calls on the Syrians who are residing in Turkish cities and towns to abide by the law and respect the traditions and customs of their host communities. Commenting on some of the abuses carried out by the Syrian refugees in some cases, Jamous said that “this is unacceptable, but it is natural to some extent, as the Syrians who are living in Turkish cities and towns have become a community in itself, so it is natural to record some abuses and offences. However, this does not reflect the true culture of the Syrians as a whole, but rather reflects the behavior of a certain segment of the components present within any society in the world.” In a similar vein, Safda Bayazid, MP of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) said that the protests were provoked by a specific group,” pointing to the timing of these protests which were meant to preceded Turkey’s presidential election. “I do not think that the population of Kahramanmaraş think this way toward their brothers who are under oppression, and I think that there is something behind these events.” Sidky Govanc MP of the AKP, calls on the citizens of Kahramanmaraş “to act wisely and rationally. If offences were committed by our Syrian brothers, the government will respond and take the necessary procedures. No one should distort the image of Kahramanmaraş.”
(Source: Syrian Coalition / 15.07.2014)

Syrian Coalition Rejects PYD Plan to Partition Syria

The Syrian Coalition stresses its “outright rejection of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party’s (PYD) announcement that it had appointed governors for Al Jazeerah province, a move that complements the Party’s autonomy project in northeastern Syria. This move threatens the unity and integrity of the Syrian territories, and is also a return to the partition plan which was first crafted by the French during their occupation of Syria.” The Syrian Coalition “hails the rebellious population, whether Arabs and Kurds, in al-Hasakah province and in Al Jazeera in general,” and expresses its full confidence that “they all will stand in the face of any attempts to sow discord and division among the components of the Syrian society. We reaffirm our full commitment to preserving the unity and integrity of the Syrian territory, and to empowering the Syrian people to achieve the goals of the revolution and the transition to a democratic political system where all Syrians live free and with honor.”

(Source: Syrian Coalition / 14.07.2014)

Syrian Coalition: We all Must Unite Against ISIS and Assad

Nasr al-Hariri, Secretary General of the Syrian Coalition, calls on the Syrian people and the revolutionary forces to support and develop the plan put forward by the Syrian Coalition. “We call on everyone to provide initiatives and recruit their expertise to make this plan successful.” he said. Al-Hariri promised “to exert every effort to support the Syrian revolution and achieve its goals, and to end the suffering of the Syrian people through cooperation with all the revolution forces. In these difficult times and successive tribulations caused by the criminality of the Assad regime and the escalation of extremism, there is a growing need to unify and counter our enemies and renew our pledge to continue the struggle for freedom and dignity. We all must endorse a practical plan that leads to toppling the Assad regime, lifting the siege on cities and towns, supporting the northern, eastern and southern fronts, defeating the extremist groups and rebuilding the institutions of the civil society. It is also vital in this critical stage of the revolution to boost the principles of transparency and accountability in the national institutions to ensure achieving the transitional justice and the activation of civil and local councils to provide services to the population.” Al Hariri concluded his letter to the Syrian people and the revolutionary forces stressing that the revolution triumphed when it stripped the regime of legitimacy, and when to the flag of the revolution was raised in the international forums and in the capitals of the world. Total victory will be sealed when the last foreign fighter leaves our land, a task which is not difficult for our heroes in the Free Syrian Army.”

(Source: Syrian Coalition / 13.07.2014)