IOF isolating Nahalin village for 2nd day

BETHLEHEM, (PIC)– Israeli occupation forces (IOF) maintained their siege on Nahalin village, west of Bethlehem, on Wednesday for the second day. The IOF soldiers closed all entrances to the village with cement cubes and military barricades, blocked all traffic in or out of the village, and searched many houses. The IOF claims that the Palestinian youth who stabbed a settler in Neve Daniel settlement, illegally built on Palestinian lands in southern Bethlehem, had fled to Nahalin. Citizens said that the soldiers were breaking into houses and wreaking havoc on them, arresting young men and turning roofs of houses into military observation posts.

(Source / 10.02.2016)

Palestinian physically tortured in Israeli interrogation center

BEHTLEHEM, (PIC)– The Palestinian prisoner Ismail Arouj, 33, was severely tortured and beaten in Maskoubiya investigation center, the Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPS) revealed Wednesday. Arouj, from Bethlehem district, was arrested in March 2014. He was moved to Maskoubiya investigation center after his wife’s detention on January 21 this year. During the investigation, he was tortured so as to confess to charges against him. I was severely beaten by five Israeli interrogators all over my body while being tied to a chair, the PPS quoted the detainee as saying. The rights group pointed out that Arouj was subjected to a stress position commonly known as the “banana”– bending the back of the interrogee into an arch while he is seated on a backless chair for long hours, causing him severe disc problems. He was forced to sit in the “shabah position”, and he was exposed to humiliations and threats, including threats of sexual assault and threats that he would never see his family, according to the PPS.

(Source / 10.02.2016)

UN: Israeli checkpoints in WB hikes by 20% in 2015

Israeli checkpoints divide the occupied West Bank into separated cantons, as well as are used as traps to arrest Palestinians

UN said that the Israeli occupation forces established 91 new military checkpoint across the occupied West Bank in the fourth quarter of 2015.

OCHA noted that “the majority of the new obstacles are not staffed…and are located on secondary routes connecting Palestinian communities to main roads used by Israelis, primarily settlers.”

Days of Palestine, West Bank -UN said that the Israeli occupation forces established 91 new military checkpoint across the occupied West Bank in the fourth quarter of 2015.

According to a survey conducted at the end of December by United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in the occupied Palestinian Territories OCHA, these additional checkpoints, roadblocks and earth mounds represent 20 percent increase in overall number which is now 452.

The figures only relate to “those obstacles involving some kind of fixed infrastructure on the ground, thus excluding ad-hoc ‘flying’ checkpoints.”

OCHA noted that “the majority of the new obstacles are not staffed…and are located on secondary routes connecting Palestinian communities to main roads used by Israelis, primarily settlers.”

It continued: “These obstacles funnel Palestinian traffic into a limited number of junctions, usually controlled by checkpoints staffed by Israeli forces.”

According to the OCHA, “the detours required to reach accessible junctions and the prolonged delays (up to several hours in some cases) at checkpoints have impeded the access of people to services and undermined economic activity.

“The new closures directly impact, to various degrees, at least 850,000 Palestinians, the vast majority in Hebron governorate.”

In addition, the new checkpoints have themselves become the locations for stabbings or alleged stabbings against Israeli forces, incidents “usually concluding in the killing of the Palestinian perpetrator or suspected perpetrator.”

One checkpoint near Al-Khalil, for example, has “witnessed seven such attacks and alleged attacks, resulting in six Palestinian fatalities and five Israeli injuries.”

(Source / 10.02.2016)

Group: Israel ‘not willing’ to solve case of Palestinian on hunger strike

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — The Palestinian Prisoners’ Society on Wednesday said Israel was “not showing attention or willingness” to solve the case of Palestinian journalist Muhammad al-Qiq as he entered day 77 on hunger strike.The society reiterated that the Palestinian prisoner remained in critical condition, slamming Israel for failing to make serious steps in his case and holding Israeli authorities “completely responsible” for al-Qiq’s life.Al-Qiq, a 33-year-old and father of two, launched his hunger strike after being detained in November and held in Israeli prison under administrative detention without charge or trial.Over 100 Palestinians marched in solidarity with al-Qiq on Wednesday in front of HaEmek Hospital where the journalist is still being held under Israeli custody.Participants raised Palestinian flags and chanted slogans calling for al-Qiq’s release.The prisoner on Feb. 4 rejected an Israeli court decision to temporarily suspend his detention, which would resume once his health improved.Al-Qiq said that he would not end his strike unless Israel agreed to his full release.An independent doctor who visited al-Qiq in the hospital on the same day as the court decision said he appeared close to death, according to Physicians for Human Rights’ Israel branch (PHRI) who facilitated the visit.Amnesty International reported Tuesday that the PHRI doctor and hospital staff said it was “highly unusual for a hunger-striker to still be conscious and alive at this point of a hunger strike.”Even if al-Qiq was treated, the group added, it may not save his life.Following a four-day stint of forced treatment by Israeli doctors on al-Qiq in January, Palestinian leadership expressed concern that the practice would be used again as al-Qiq nears death.

Despite two recommendations from HaEmek Hospital’s ethics committee advising that al-Qiq be forcibly treated again, Amnesty International reported that his medical team had so far decided to respect his wishes not to receive forced treatment again.Amnesty criticized the Feb. 4 Israeli court ruling on al-Qiq’s case, saying that the “suspension” appeared to be “a mere gesture, designed to offer the illusion of freedom to prompt al-Qiq to end his hunger strike.”Israel has negotiated in cases of hunger strikes launched by Palestinian prisoners in the past out of fear that prisoners’ death could spark unrest in the occupied Palestinian territory, but upheaval has already laid into the territory for months.Palestinian Prisoners’ Society head Qadura Fares said earlier this month that the Israeli security establishment now believes it has “nothing to lose” by failing to release al-Qiq before his death.

(Source / 10.02.2016)

Turkey: Syrian, Russian forces are ‘ethnic cleansing’ around Aleppo

A boy cuts firewood along a street in the Douma neighbourhood of Damascus, Syria February 9, 2016

Syrian government forces backed by Russia are carrying out a deliberate policy of ethnic cleansing around the northern Syrian city of Aleppo, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Wednesday.

At a news briefing in The Hague with his Dutch counterpart, Davutoglu said 60,000 migrants had fled the violence to the Turkish border and that, while Turkey would not close its doors, the priority was providing aid to them inside Syria.

“One of the aims of the latest attacks is to conduct ethnic cleansing. Ethnic cleansing in Syria and Aleppo aimed at only leaving regime supporters behind is being conducted by the Syrian regime and Russia in a very deliberate way,” he said.

“Every refugee that we accept helps their ethnic cleansing policy, but we will continue to accept (refugees).”

Syrian government forces, backed by Russian air strikes and Iranian and Lebanese Hezbollah fighters, have launched a major offensive in the countryside around Aleppo.

The United Nations warned on Tuesday hundreds of thousands of civilians could be cut off from food if rebel-held parts of the city are encircled. Both the U.N. and the European Union have urged Turkey to open its border

Davutoglu said it was hypocritical of those who had failed to stop Russian air strikes in Syria to now ask Turkey to keep its border open, pointing out that it had taken in more than 2.6 million refugees during the five-year war.

The border at Oncupinar, where tens of thousands fleeing the Aleppo assault have massed, remains closed to all but the seriously wounded and aid trucks and ambulances, with Turkish relief organisations delivering supplies to the Syrian side.

Davutoglu also accused the Syrian Kurdish PYD of attacking civilians in collaboration with Russian forces, and said it was guilty of war crimes.

The United States sees the PYD as a useful ally in the fight against Islamic State in Syria, but Ankara views it as a terrorist group with deep ideological and logistical links to Kurdish militants fighting in its own southeast.

(Source / 10.02.2016)


By Peter Clifford            ©             (


Reports from Aleppo province say that the Syrian Democratic Force (SDF) has taken control of more of the road between Aleppo and Turkey near Kafr Atun, just south of the Menagh military airbase.

And today, Wednesday,there are unconfirmed reports that the SDF has taken over the Menagh base itself, which was until now held by Opposition fighters since they seized it from the Assad regime. Whether this take over is by force or agreement is not yet clear.


Syrian Refugees at the Bab Al-Salman Border Gate to Turkey

If by agreement, the presence of the SDF will presumably stop the Russian Air Force bombing there and at the same time allow the Opposition fighters to concentrate on stalling the Assad regime advance near Aleppo.

Kurdish sources are are also reporting that 221 young Arab men from villages recently liberated from the Islamic State (IS) near the Tishreen Dam have in the last month enlisted in the SDF. 50 Turkmen who have completed training at Tal Abyad have additionally joined the YPG.

Electricity generated at the Tishreen Dam is now reaching Kobane for the first time in 4 years.

Thousands of displaced refugees from Aleppo are currently resident in camps, schools and other public buildings across Kurdish Afrin Canton, while an estimated 35,000 are camped near the Turkish Border at the Bab Al-Salman gate.

While Turkey continues to refuse to open the frontier, despite requests from both the UN and the EU, they have allowed ambulances across to bring back to Turkey the sick and the injured for treatment and supplied truck loads of food, blankets and other humanitarian supplies.

Medicin Sans Frontieres (MSF) says that all the camps for displaced persons along the Syrian/Turkish border are full to capacity and that in and around the Syrian border town of Azaz, families are sleeping on the ground in what is still winter weather.

To make matters worse, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says that it has recorded 506 deaths from Russian bombing in and around Aleppo since February 1st, dozens of the victims civilians and 23 of them children.

Meanwhile Turkey’s President Erdogan is furious at both the recent visit of US President Obama’s anti-IS Coalition envoy Bret McGurk to Kobane city and a statement from a US State Department spokesman that the US does not regard the YPG as a terrorist organisation.

Late yesterday, Tuesday, the US Ambassador to Turkey, John Bass, was summoned to the Turkish Foreign Ministry to explain the remarks.

Both Erdogan and his Prime Minister, Mevlut Çavuşoğlu, have said that the US must decide who it is partnering in the fight against IS: Turkey or the YPG (which it sees as a mere offshot of the PKK with whom it is fighting in southern Turkey). You can read more, HERE:


Kurdish Commander Offers to Donate Kidney to Sick Girl

Over in Iraq, reports coming out of Mosul, the IS “capital” say that the Jihadists executed by firing squad on Sunday no less than 300 Iraqis, mostly civilian activists and former members of the Iraqi Army and security services. The men were shot at various locations across the city and buried in mass graves.

Yesterday, Tuesday, IS are also reported to executed Wathiq Abdulwahab, reporter of the local Hadbaa newspaper in Mosul, after he was accused of taking photographs of a detention centre.

The Iraqi Army however, is reporting complete control now over Ramadi after weeding out the remaining IS fighters from pockets across the city.

Also from Iraq comes the heart-warming story of a Kurdish counter-terrorism commander who has not only offered one of his kidney’s for the daughter of a Peshmerga fighter, but said he will pay for the operation itself.

15 other Peshmerga turned up at the hospital with similar offers after the story of the girl’s suffering from kidney failure went viral on social media. You can read more, HERE:


In addition to the earlier contingent of Opposition fighters allowed to cross through Kurdish Afrin Canton (scroll down – see below), activist sources are reporting sight of a 100 vehicle convoy carrying men, weapons and ammunition leaving the northern countryside of Idlib province on Tuesday and crossing towards Aleppo province.

Assad’s forces, supported by recently liberated gunmen from the Allawite villages of Nubl and Zahraa, have so far failed in their campaign to take nearby Dahrat Al-Qar’aa. 5 confirmed deaths of Assad’s fighters and militiamen were reported, though more casualties on both sides are likely.


Tafas Medical Centre Hit by Russian Bombing

From Daraa province in southern Syria, Medicin Sans Frontieres (MSF) is reporting yet another Russian airstrike on one of its medical facilities at the town of Tafas.

3 people were killed and 6 injured, including a doctor on his way into the hospital who was knocked unconscious and wounded by shrapnel.

In what appears to be a deliberate policy by the Russians, MSF say that 13 of its medical centres in Syria have been hit by bombs since January 1st 2016. You can read more in the Guardian.

As well as in Aleppo province, with the help of Russian bombing, the Assad regime appears to making advances in Daraa province in southern Syria. On Monday it was reported that the Syrian Army had agreed a local truce with the villagers of Ibtaa and Dael, 2 villages that lie on the A5 highway running south from Sheikh Miskeen to Daraa city.

Under the agreement, 22 detainees will be released, local men will be allowed to keep their weapons and the Army will stay beyond the periphery of the villages as long as they have free passage to and from Daraa.

The Opposition fighters in Daraa province were doing well until the Military Operations Centre (MOC) in Amman, Jordan, called in the commanders of the Free Syrian Army units operating in southern Syria and told them to stop directing their fire power towards Assad and his allies and to direct it against the Islamic State instead.

The commanders, whose supply of weapons and ammunition had virtually dried up in recent months from the MOC who had effectively been directing the southern campaign against Assad, were promised more and better equipment if they complied with this request. Reluctantly, most FSA groups seem to have done so.

In Damascus on Tuesday, a suicide car bomb exploded outside a police officer’s club in the regime Masaken Barzeh district and near a busy vegetable market. 20 people are reported killed including 5 police officers, and many more injured. IS has claimed responsibility.

At Madaya in Damascus province, the town formerly under chronic siege by the Assad regime, vehicles of the International Red Cross and the Syrian Red Crescent have come under fire as they evacuated people sick from malnutrition on Tuesday night. However, no casualties were reported and the affiliation of the gunmen is unknown.


Anisa Al-Assad Dies Aged 86

President Assad’s mother, Anissa Makhlouf Al-Assad, is reported to have died in Damascus on Saturday aged 86. She was also the wife of former Syrian dictator Hafez Al-Assad.

It maybe that the Opposition decided to give her a rousing send-off. Unconfirmed reports say that four missiles hit Qardaha, the Assad family home and site of the Assad family burial mausoleum in the Latakia mountains on Tuesday while the funeral was in progress.

Reliable sources say 3 of those present were killed and 13 injured, including family members.

Other than Assad supporters, few will mourn the mother and wife of several monsters.

On Monday, UN human rights investigators published a report on Syria and in particular on thetreatment of civilians in detention by the Assad regime, which it described as operating “a government policy of extermination — a crime against humanity”.

The report was based on the testimony of 500 survivors of detention. At least 200 had seen fellow detainees killed, usually at the hands of the security forces.

“Children as young as 7 years old were among those who died in Government custody. The parents of a 13-year-old boy arrested during a 2011 protest in Sayda next saw his body when it was returned to them dead and mutilated.

A survivor who was detained in Homs recalled watching an elderly man die after prison guards burned his eyes with a cigarette, stabbed him with burning metal, and hung him from his wrists. It took three hours to kill him. Others were starved to death or died from untreated pre-existing conditions”.

The report also mentioned ill-treatment by Opposition and Islamist groups, but overwhelmingly the Assad regime is by far and away the main violator of human rights in Syria. You can read more about this sickening regime, HERE:


Some of Assad’s Torture Victims

Saudi Troops Headed to Syria? Saudi-Turkey Invasion in Support of ISIS?

By Stephen Lendman


Syria’s conflict is getting increasingly dicey. Farcical peace talks collapsed. Resuming them is doubtful. Chances for diplomatic resolution are nil. 

Russia’s aerial campaign aiding Syrian ground forces continues unrelenting, Putin committed to combating all terrorist groups until defeating or reducing them to a shadow of their peak strength – enabling government troops to contain their remnants.

A previous article cited Russian evidence, indicating possible Turkish ground incursion preparations. Earlier Russian video evidence exposed Turkish shelling of Syria’s Latakia province – whether ahead of plans to invade its territory remains to be seen.

Does Riyadh have the same intention? Weeks earlier, it set up a military coordination body with Ankara. Saudi General Ahmed Asseri said “(t)he kingdom is ready to participate in any ground operations that the (US-led) coalition may agree to carry out in Syria” – on the phony pretext of combating ISIS.

Washington created ISIS, using its fighters as imperial foot soldiers – supported by other NATO nations, Gulf States including Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Israel and Jordan.

If Ankara and Riyadh invade Syria, they’ll be supporting ISIS and other terrorist groups against Assad – complicit with Washington, wanting Western-controlled puppet governance replacing Syrian sovereign independence.

That’s what Obama’s dirty war is all about (Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State helped orchestrate) – along with eliminating an Israeli rival and isolating Iran ahead of plans to transform the Islamic Republic the same way, a prescription for endless war, greater destruction than already, and possibly millions more lives lost.

Asseri indicated what perhaps Washington supports and  intends – countering Russian/Syrian aerial and ground operations with its own, using US and “coalition” ground forces, raising the stakes hugely, making Syria a more dangerous flashpoint than already, US/Russian direct confrontation increasingly possible, a nightmarish scenario risking global war.

Exactly what Washington intends remains to be seen. Turkey and/or Saudi Arabia would never act unilaterally on their own against Syria without US approval or complicity.

Endless US wars and rage for unchallenged global dominance represent the greatest threat to world peace.

Daily events should scare everyone. When wars are prioritized over peace, human life hangs in the balance.

A Final Comment

On Friday, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter welcomed Riyadh’s willingness to send combat troops to Syria, saying:

“That kind of new is very welcome. I look forward to discussing (it) with…Saudi defense minister (Mohammad bin Salman) next week – that and other kinds of contributions that Saudi Arabia can make.”

Is the die cast? Carter said nothing about possible Turkish troops invading Syria.

Will Riyadh and Ankara join announced US combat force deployments, intended to aid ISIS and other terrorist groups, continuing endless war, aiming to topple Assad and destroy Syrian sovereignty.

(Source / 10.02.2016)

Report: Over 1 million besieged in Syria

homeless syrian families

File photo of homeless syrian families

Over one million Syrians are living under siege, a new report revealed. “New data gathered by Siege Watch shows that there are well over 1,000,000 Syrians under siege in locations in Damascus, Rural Damascus, Homs, Deir Ezzor and Idlib governorates,” a report issued on Tuesday by the Netherlands-based aid group PAX and the Washington-based Syria Institute.

The report warned that the crisis is “far worse” than acknowledged by United Nations officials.

“Electricity and running water are usually cut off and there is limited (if any) access to food, fuel and medical care,” the report said.

The report stated: “Deaths have been reported from malnutrition, disease, hypothermia and poisoning while scavenging for food.”

“Some communities have been besieged for months or years,” it added.

The latest United Nations figures suggest that nearly half a million people are living under siege, with over half of them in areas besieged by regime forces.

(Source / 10.02.2016)

Saleh Warns of a “Humanitarian Tragedy” as Russia and Assad Advance on Aleppo

Member of the Syrian Coalition Khalid Saleh said the ongoing onslaught by Assad’s forces, backed by Russian air force and Iranian militias, on the city of Aleppo is designed to encircle the city and cut it off from its northern countryside. As regime forces continue to push north towards the Turkish border, rebels’ supply routes will be cut off. This scenario, Saleh, warned, would lead to a situation similar to what happened in Ghouta and Madaya, where the two towns have been subjected to suffocating siege by pro-regime forces.

“The military escalation by the Assad regime, backed by Russian air power and Iranian-led foreign militias, began nearly three months ago. It happened in tandem with renewed international efforts towards reaching a political settlement to the conflict. Regime forces opened new battlefronts against rebel fighters, most notably in Latakia, Aleppo and Dara’a provinces, applying a scorched earth policy,” Saleh said.

Saleh added that “through the ongoing onslaught on Aleppo, Russia seeks to tip the balance of power on the ground in favor of the Assad regime, with the aim of imposing a political solution favorable to Russia.”

“The Russian-backed regime’s offensive on Aleppo highlights the fact that the United States is on the retreat in the region, and that it is giving a direct mandate to the Russians to act in Syria by showing a disinterest in the situation in Syria, with its role reduced to diplomatic mediating between the conflicting parties. The current situation represents a test to the seriousness of the Friends of the Syrian people in supporting the Syrian Revolution, as Assad continues to aggravate the humanitarian situation and export the problem to countries in the region and beyond,” Saleh went on.

Saleh concluded his remarks by stressing that “the recent developments in Aleppo clearly demonstrate the convergence of Assad’s and terrorists’ interests. They show how the PYD militias are following agendas hostile to the forces of the revolution, which is further proof they are just proxies of the Assad regime.”

(Source: Syrian Coalition / 10.02.2016)

Israeli fanatics storm al-Aqsa, police cracks down on Muslims

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC)–  Dozens of Israeli fanatics stormed on early Wednesday morning Muslims’ the holy al-Aqsa Mosque via the Maghareba Gate. A PIC news reporter said Israeli special units and rapid intervention troops escorted the 32 fanatics all the way through the break-in. The Muslim learners and worshipers at al-Aqsa kept chanting “Allah is the Greatest” in protest at the sacrilegious break-in. Muslim women who have been banned from entering al-Aqsa rallied outside the Mosque and recited Holy Quran. A lady maintaining vigil at the Mosque said the occupation police kidnapped a Muslim youth from the plazas of al-Aqsa and dragged him to a detention center in Jerusalem’s Old City. Meanwhile, Director of al-Aqsa Mosque, Sheikh Omar al-Kiswani, spoke out against the rising tide of Israeli terror and vandalism at the Mosque. He said the increasing Israeli break-ins have fanned the flames of the simmering tension across Occupied Jerusalem, which stands in sharp contrast to Israeli calls to restore calm. He added that the occupation police have cracked down on the peaceful Muslim worshipers at the entrances to the Mosque and sealed off its gates with metal barriers before they provocatively seized Muslims’ IDs.

(Source / 10.02.2016)