Syrian Army Continues Military Operations against ISIS near Arak Oilfield in Homs

Syrian Army Continues Military Operations against ISIS near Arak Oilfield in Homs

Syrian Army Continues Military Operations against ISIS near Arak Oilfield in Homs

The Syrian army continued its advances in Homs as tough battle is underway in the vicinity of Arak oilfield in the Eastern part of the province.

The army units have hit hard the ISIS terrorists in the surrounding areas of Arak oilfield in the Eastern part of Homs province.

The Syrian army also destroyed two military vehicles and many gatherings of al-Nusra Front in Um Sharshouh, Talbiseh and Tal al-Rous in Homs province.

In a relevant development on Saturday, the Syrian army continued its military advances in the Eastern part of Homs province, inflicting heavy losses on the terrorist groups in the region.

The army units destroyed the military positions of the ISIL terrorists in the villages of Sallam Gharbi and Unq al-Hawa in Eastern Homs province.

The Syrian army also destroyed the arms depot of the terrorists in Kafar Laha’a in Northern Homs province.

Meantime, an army unit repelled the Syrian army attack on the terrorists’ military position in Homs.

The army unit repulsed the terrorists’ attack on its military post in the Eastern part of Talbiseh city in the Northern part of Homs, killing dozen terrorists and injuring many others.

On Thursday, the Syrian army unit pushed back an attack on a military post in Homs, killing a number of terrorists and injuring others.

The Syrian forces repelled the attack on a military post East of Talbiseh city in the Northern parts of Homs, killing tens of terrorists, injuring others and destroying their arms and ammunition.

The army and its allies also destroyed the ISIL gatherings and hideouts in Sallam Gharbi and Unq al-Hawa regions in the Eastern countryside of Homs province.

Battlefield sources announced on Wednesday that the Syrian army backed by the National Defense Forces (NDF) engaged in tough battle with Fatah al-Sham (the newly formed al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorist group previously known as al-Nusra Front) and Ahrar al-Sham terrorists groups in the Northern part of Homs province.

The army and national defense forces inflicted heavy losses on the Fath al-Sham and Ahrar al-Sham terrorists in the town of Talbiseh and the village of al-Qantou in Northern Homs province.

A large number of militants from both terrorist groups were killed in the clashes with the Syrian army and popular forces.

Meantime, the Syrian army destroyed military convoy of Fath al-Sham terrorists in the Eastern part of Tir Ma’ala region, killing all terrorists inside the military vehicles.

The Syrian army also pounded the military positions of the terrorists in al-Wa’ar region, killing and injuring several terrorists, FNA reported.

(Source / 07.08.2016)

Civilians stranded as Israel seals off Nablus-Salfit access road

SALFIT, (PIC)–  Several Palestinians have been stranded as the Israeli occupation forces (IOF) on Sunday closed the Nablus-Salfit Road, to the west of the Zaatara military checkpoint, without prior notification. A PIC journalist quoted eyewitnesses as saying that they were shocked as they caught sight of the mounds of sand barriers and roadblocks thrown by the occupation troops on the access road linking Nablus and Salfit provinces. Several Palestinians could not reach their workplaces while others could not get into their homes due to the abrupt closure. Observers said the move makes part of the daily crackdowns perpetrated by the Israeli occupation army against Palestinians living in the occupied territories.

(Source / 07.08.2016)

When Militia Turns into Army

Two days after the leakage of an official ministerial order issued by Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, which states that the Shiite militia, known as the Hashd al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization Forces), will officially become part of the Iraqi army and will play a similar role as the current Iraqi counter-terror agency, Head of militia Kata’ib Sayyid al-Shuhada Abu Ala al-Waeli said that this militia is formed in link with Velayat-e faqih in Iran (Wilayat al-Faqih) and not to floundering of politicians in Iraq.

This frank announcement summarizes the chaotic and terrifying situation reached by Iraq, which not only has faced the regular Iranian interference in its internal affairs and Tehran’s control over Baghdad’s decisions in the Arab League, but also is experiencing a cloned new Revolutionary Guards that structurally follows the Commander in Chief of the Iraqi Armed Forces, while – actually – follow the orders given by Qassem Soleimani, leader of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards.

Notably, Soleimani is the field leader for the Iraqi Popular Mobilization forces, and he receives orders directly from Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

Perhaps what is deplorable is that the majorities of Iraqi Shiite militias are loyal to Khamenei rather than to the Iraqi reference Ali al-Sistani.

Inimitable countries that look into the future with insightful vision in order to preserve the society and prevent the risk of civil wars do not allow the establishment of militias despite the purpose of their formation and do not grand armed groups authority over the state powers.

What if these militias were originally sectarian and factional?

Regarding the attempt of Iraqi government to turn the Shiite militia forces, which is the first informal military power formed in Iraq’s modern history since the establishment of the army in 1921, into an official army instead of integrating it with army forces and police, this will ignite a fire that will be very difficult to set off by Iraqis themselves.
This attempt will also contribute in expanding chaos and deepening sectarian division in the country.
Instead of fighting ISIS and extremist Sunni groups, the world will find itself in another fight against extremist Shiite militias, which extremism of course differ in structure.

However, Popular Mobilization forces differ from other militias and are distinguished as they fall under the government’s umbrella, in which they are armed, financed and politically supported.

In addition to that, these militias increase tension and sectarianism in the country and are not controlled by the government.
For instance, when revising the statement issued by leader of the League of the Righteous (Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq) militia Qais Khazali after revoking Bahraini nationality from Issa al-Qassem, the militia’s leader said that his militia is thinking about interfering in Gulf States.

He said back then: “Large part of Resistance factions’ formations believe that their second duty, in addition to the Hashd al-Shaabi, is supporting people in Bahrain, al-Ahsa and Qatif in case the enemy crossed the red lines.”

The real danger facing the whole region is that more than 20 Iraqi armed militias form together the Popular Mobilization, including Badra, Kataib Hezbollah, Saraya al-Khorasani, Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq and others.

All these militias are officially, religiously and ritually linked to Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, which comes in line with Iran’s strategy to empower militias to overcome the state’s official forces aiming at maintaining its interests and power.

Moreover, by Iran dividing the Iraqi army and establishing an equivalent force that dominates the official army in equipment and number, it is allowing itself to continue controlling Iraq politically and militarily.

This is what United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey D. Feltman confirmed in his report, which stated that: “Iran has violated international law by sending weapons to militias in Iraq.”

The world has underestimated calls that warned from ISIS’s terrorism when it was barely found and did not wake up until this terrorist organization has expanded to all continents and is spreading terror.

Popular Mobilization is another copy for ISIS, yet it is hiding its terrorism and brutality.

One day, the world will wake up to witness the expansion of the Hashd al-Shaabi, which follows the path of Iranian Revolutionary Guards militia, Hezbollah and Houthis.

Terrorism will expand even more as long as the world criminalizes Sunni terrorist groups while turning a blind eye for the Shiite terrorist groups.

(Source / 07.08.2016)

Israeli court confirms administrative detention of hunger-striking Balboul brothers

Sanaa Balboul

Sanaa Balboul holds up a t-shirt of her sons’ faces at a Bethlehem sit-in for Palestinian prisoners on Aug. 2, 2016. The shirt reads: “If you live, live free”

RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — An Israeli military court at the Ofer detention center near Ramallah in the central occupied West Bank on Sunday decided to confirm the administrative detention sentence of Muhammad and Mahmoud Balboul, two brothers from Bethlehem who have been on hunger strike since the beginning of July.According to a statement from the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs, the court rejected an appeal by the committee’s lawyers to reduce the sentence.Muhammad, a dentist, was sentenced to six months of administrative detention, while Mahmoud, a Master’s student at al-Quds University, was sentenced to five months.

Mahmoud Balboul has been on hunger-strike since July 5, and Muhammad since July 7.
Mahmoud Balboul has been suffering from severe pains in his chest and has had difficulty breathing, the statement said. “From time to time, he falls to the ground with signs of fatigue, and has lost a noticeable portion of his weight.”Reports emerged on Wednesday that the Israeli military court had postponed the court hearing.A lawyer told Ma’an at the time that Muhammad Balboul, who is also being treated in Ramla prison hospital, told him that Israel Prison Service (IPS) doctors were not providing his brother Mahmoud with proper medical care, and that prison authorities assaulted Mahmoud in the hospital before transferring him back to Ofer prison.Muhammad Balboul added that he has been suffering from constant dizziness, muscle stiffness, exhaustion, and insomnia, while Mahmoud suffered from issues in his pelvic bones, acidity caused by chronic vomiting, and has not able to speak as well.Muhammad and Mahmoud al-Balboul were detained on June 9 from Bethlehem, just two months after their 14-year-old sister, Nuran, was detained after attempting to cross Israel’s 300 Checkpoint between northern Bethlehem and Jerusalem for allegedly possessing a knife, an accusation that locals denied.Nuran was released from prison on July 12 after spending three months in prison.

The three are children of Ahmad al-Balboul, a prominent leader in Fatah’s Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades who was shot dead along with three other Palestinians by undercover Israeli forces in March 2008.
The two brothers have joined several other Palestinian prisoners currently on hunger strike in an attempt to hold Israel accountable for its arbitrary arrest and detention of Palestinians.
According to Palestinians, Israel uses its policy of administrative detention — internment without charge or trial based on undisclosed evidence — to detain family members of Palestinian political leaders, in an extension of several policies that rights groups have deemed “collective punishment” aimed at disrupting family life for Palestinians in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.More than 80 Palestinian prisoners continued their open hunger strikes in solidarity with the Balbouls and Bilal Kayid, the highest profile hunger striker since Palestinian journalist Muhammad al-Qiq came near death during a 94-day hunger strike before he was finally released in May.
(Source / 07.08.2016)

Syrian Opposition Factions Passes Half Way towards Liberating Aleppo


A cessation of hostilities agreement brokered by Russia and the United States brought a measure of relief to the battered Syrian city of Aleppo on May 5, 2016 but President Bashar al-Assad said he still sought a total, crushing victory over rebel forces

Beirut- Syria’s opposition factions broke into eastern Aleppo Saturday and took over strategic areas for Syrian regime and militias loyal to it south and west the city.

Areas controlled by the regime have become besieged and lost connection with other provinces, except for Castelo road, revealed a source from the free army.

He confirmed that it will take only hours to liberate eastern areas and rebels have crossed halfway through liberating the whole city.

Head of Syrian Observatory for Human Rights Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP that opposition groups overran a series of buildings in a military academy on the southwestern edges of Aleppo.

“They then pushed northeast into the district of Ramussa, linking up with rebel groups that had fought south from inside the city,” he said.

With rapid progress and tightening the noose on the sites controlled by Syrian regime and its allies, a source from the Syrian free army confirmed for Asharq Al-Awsat that news about liberalizing Aleppo will be announced in hours.

He added that the main target is liberalizing eastern areas of Aleppo then the city as a whole.

Aleppo battle, which is described as “fateful,” is led by Jaish al-Fath, headed by Ahrar al-Sham and Jabhat Fatah al Sham, the former al-Qaeda-linked Nusra Front.

After settling in Military Academy, factions are expected to progress east towards district of Ramussa, in which it will open the road to areas controlled by Syrian regime is North and Southeastern Aleppo.

On the other hand, opposition fighters seemed to be more optimistic in their certainty to win this battle as the official source in the Syrian free army announced that the rebels have crossed 90% of their plan to liberalize eastern areas in Aleppo and more than halfway through crossing the road to liberalize Aleppo.

For his part, opposition Activist in Aleppo Abdul Qader Allaf said that Jaish al-Fath started on Saturday a wide attack to control the Air Force Academy.

In a statement for Asharq Al-Awsat, Allaf explained that by controlling this academy forces will have been liberalized eastern Aleppo.

(Source / 07.08.2016)

Protecting Palestinian Children: PMRS Camp Held as Part of Summer Campaign (VIDEO)

07 AUG
9:22 PM

The Palestine Medical Relief society has continued its campaign to protect Palestinian children through different activities, including a summer camp called “I Want to Feel Safe.”

The camp, held in Hizma town north of Jerusalem, opens the horizon for hundreds of youngsters who suffer from apartheid policies, constant closures and military raids, to enjoy their young age in peace and dignity, away from the Israeli military occupation and its ongoing violations.

Closures in Hizma town
Closures in Hizma town

The camp has supported the role of young children in Palestinian society, wherein which they receive courses in civil defense, first aid, and support of their confidence to be stronger and speak up for themselves.

In addition, the camp raised donations which have contributed to sending three aid trucks to Gaza, and in cooperation with international volunteers and associations.

PNN further reports that the camp is part of the “Do Not Kill Our Childhood” campaign which was launched in the beginning of June, with the aim of protecting the rights of Palestinian children.

According to statistics, within the past 16 years, over 2,000 Palestinian children have been killed and 12,000 detained. During the past ten months alone, 51 Palestinian children have been killed by Israeli forces.

The numbers keep growing with the now half-century old occupation that continues to engorge land, strangle the hope for peace and politicize innocent children.

Search IMEMC: “children”

(Source / 07.08.2016)



Largest Palestinian team to date arrives in Rio for Olympics

by Celine Hagbard

Palestinian athletes representing Palestine walked in the opening ceremonies of the Summer Olympics in Rio on Friday – marking the largest team since Palestine began competing in the Olympics in 1996.


The team wore traditional embroidered dresses and kaffiyeh scarves, and waved the Palestinian flag.


No athlete representing Palestine has yet won a medal in the Olympics, which sports analysts say is not surprising, considering the lack of facilities in Palestine, and travel restrictions imposed by the Israeli military authorities that control all aspects of Palestinian life. Because of these restrictions, Palestinian athletes are prevented not only from traveling abroad for competitions, but also from traveling within Palestine for competitions with other Palestinian athletes.

The Palestinian Olympic team in 2016 consists of:

Mayda al-Sayed – Women’s marathon


Mary al-Atrash – Swimming – Women’s 50m freestyle


Ahmed Gebrel – Swimming – Men’s 200m freestyle


Mohammed Abukhousa – Track and Field – Men’s 100m


Simon Yacoub – Judo – Men’s 60 kg


Christian Zimmermann – Equestrian


Editors Note:

See the Palestinian heroes on route to the Olympic arena. This is Palestinian swimmer Mary al-Atrash speaking:

Watch the Palestinian athletes enter the Olympic Stadium in Rio, Friday night:

The two swimmers who are participating in the Olympics point out that there is no Olympic-size swimming pool anywhere in Palestine (although there are many such pools in Israel, Palestinian athletes are not allowed to use them).

Mary al-Atrash, who is a Palestinian Christian from Beit Sahour, swims in a pool that is half the size of the Olympic-size pool where she will be competing in Rio.

She said that she does not expect to win a medal, noting, “Because of all the difficulties that Palestinians live under … it makes it harder to practice and compete in our sports”.

Al-Atrash and the other athletes say that they hope their participation in the Olympics will help raise awareness about the plight of the Palestinian people, who have been living under Israeli military occupation since the state of Israel was created on Palestinian land in 1948.

Despite some Israeli commentators’ claims that the six members of the team are not all Palestinian, the Palestinian athletes have provided documentation of their Palestinian identity – although a couple of them are refugees unable to return to their homeland by the Israeli occupation authorities.

(Source / 07.08.2016)

President Erdogan and opposition unite in Turkey rally

Aside from Istanbul, similar rallies were simultaneously held across the country on Sunday [Reuters]

More than a million Turks join president and opposition leaders in Istanbul rally, denouncing last month’s failed coup.

Aside from Istanbul, similar rallies were simultaneously held across the country on Sunday [Reuters]

Aside from Istanbul, similar rallies were simultaneously held across the country on Sunday

A pro-democracy rally in response to Turkey’s  failed coup attempt is being held in Istanbul, uniting the president, the prime minister and two opposition leaders on the same platform for the first time in years.

More than a million people, many waving the Turkish flag, attended the Sunday afternoon rally in Yenikapi square.

“The world is looking at you now,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told the demonstrators as he opened his speech. “You should be proud of yourselves. Each and everyone of you fought for freedom and democracy. All of you are heroes.”

Erdogan said that on July 15, the Turkish people have proven that “we are mighty enough to foil any coup”, condemning those behind the coup plot as a “terrorist organisation”.

READ MORE: Turkish political parties unite against coup attempt

The president also said that had the coup attempt succeeded, “We would have lost our homeland, and offered it to our enemy in a silver platter.”

Al Jazeera’s Ayse Karabat, reporting from Istanbul, described the event as “the biggest, most crowded political meeting, in Turkish political history.”

As part of its anti-coup campaign, Ankara has been encouraging nightly rallies throughout the country, culminating in Sunday’s grand finale.

The “Democracy and Martyrs’ Rally” is meant to represent the unity of the country, and Erdogan had urged attendees to bring only the Turkish flag, instead of party banners.

Around 13,000 people, in addition to police officers, were on duty to run the event.

Helicopters, ambulances and over 700 medical personnel were also on duty.

Similar rallies will also be held simultaneously across the country, according to officials from ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

HDP not invited

High-level officials attended the rally.

Erdogan, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, who is also the leader of the AKP, as well as the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahceli were present at the rally.

Kilicdaroglu and Bahceli addressed the rally before handing the stage to the prime minister and the president.

In his speech, Erdogan also said that he will support the restoration of the death penalty should the parliament pass it, saying that countries like the US and China also have capital punishment.

Meanwhile, Yildirim praised those “who fought bravely and stood in defiance” of the coup attempt.

For his part, opposition leader Kilicdaroglu said the failed coup has opened a “new door of compromise” in politics, adding that politics must now be kept out of the mosques, courthouses and barracks.

“There is a new Turkey after July 15,” Kilicdaroglu said.

READ MORE: How could Turkey’s failed coup affect the Kurdish peace process?

The pro-Kurdish People’s Democracy Party’s (HDP) co-leaders, Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdag were not invited

The HDP opposed the coup, but has been excluded because it allegedly supports the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Galip Dalay, columnist and Turkey analyst, told Al Jazeera that including HDP would have “completed the picture”. But he called the event as significant, as it showed “unity across political spectrum” in the country.

Turkey, the US and the European Union designate the PKK, an armed group that has been fighting for Kurdish autonomy since 1984, as a “terrorist organisation”.

US based cleric and businessman Fethullah Gulen, a former Erdogan ally, has been blamed for foiled coup in Turkey

Erdogan has previously called for HDP members to be prosecuted, accusing them of being the PKK’s political wing.

The HDP is the third-biggest party in parliament. It denies having direct links with the PKK and promotes a negotiated end to the Kurdish conflict, which claimed hundreds of lives since a peace process, once led by Erdogan and his governing party, collapsed in 2015.

‘One nation, one heart’

Before and during the rally, hashtags #birliktegucluyuz (Together we are strong) and #TekmilletTekyurek (One nation, one heart) were trending on Twitter, with thousands of people revelling in the solidarity between political parties.

Turkse demo

Turkse demo1

The failed coup attempt by a small faction of the Turkish military on July 15 killed more than 270 people and posed the gravest threat yet to Erdogan’s 13 years in power.

Loyalist factions in the security forces, with the help of thousands of Turkish citizens who took to the streets, quickly put down the coup attempt.

US based cleric and businessman Fethullah Gulen, a former Erdogan ally, has been blamed for the coup attempt.

In an interview with Al Jazeera, political analyst and columnist Mustafa Akyol said the US should extradite Gulen.

“I think the US should extradite Fetullah Gulen to Turkey, because he is the prime suspect of a major crime against the nation. Whether Turkey can fully prove that he had the smoking gun evidence is a different discussion,” he said.

Since July 15, more than 70,000 people in the military, judiciary, civil service and education have been detained or suspended for alleged links to Gulen’s movement.

(Source / 07.08.2016)

Israeli settler gangs storm Aqsa Mosque, guard kidnapped

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC)– Hordes of fanatic Israeli settlers stormed on Sunday morning the holy al-Aqsa Mosque via the Maghareba Gate. The break-in was carried out under heavy shield by Israeli occupation policemen and special intervention troops. The Israeli assailants performed sacrilegious rituals and yelled anti-Muslim slogans. The peaceful Muslim worshipers kept chanting “Allah is the Greatest” in protest at the break-in. A member of the al-Aqsa supervision staff was kidnapped by the occupation forces during the assault. The guard, identified as Luay Abu al-Saad, was kidnapped from the Asbat Gate on his way to his workplace at al-Aqsa Mosque. Abu Saad was deliberately hit by an Israeli electric tractor in Ramadan month and was rushed to hospital for urgent treatment.  Meanwhile, a group of Muslim women maintained vigil outside of al-Aqsa in protest at being banned from entering the site.

(Source / 07.08.2016)

Lebanese Hezbollah Fighters Join Syrian Army in Southwestern Districts of Aleppo

Lebanese Hezbollah Fighters Join Syrian Army in Southwestern Districts of Aleppo

Lebanese Hezbollah Fighters Join Syrian Army in Southwestern Districts of Aleppo

A large number of ready-to-fight combatants of the Lebanese Hezbollah have arrived in al-Hamdaniyeh district to join the Syrian government forces to beat back Jeish al-Fatah terrorist from the Southern and Southwestern countryside of Aleppo, battlefield sources said minutes ago.

“Hezbollah fighters, including Rezwan battalion, have now been deployed to al-Hamdaniyeh,” sources said, adding, “There is no terrorist threat in al-Hamdaniyeh and Hezbollah fighters will be dispatched to al-Ramousiyeh to confront Jeish al-Fatah’s offensives there.”

“Southern and Eastern parts of al-Ramousiyeh, cement factory, al-Ameriyeh in Northwestern side of al-Ramousiyeh and the region 606 are under full control of the Syrian army and its popular allies,” the sources said.

“The entire communication lines of the terrorist groups in the Southern and Southwestern countryside of Aleppo are being strictly monitored by the government forces and no terrorist vehicle can move on the region’s roads safely,” they added.

“In the meantime, military and logistical supplies have been provided for the Syrian army and its allies via al-Malaah farms,” the sources went on to say.

Reports said earlier today that Syrian Army troops and Hezbollah fighters inflicted major losses on the terrorists of Jeish al-Fatah in a coordinated clean-up operation across military academies and pushed them back from most of the military sites.

“100 percent of Air Force Academy, 70 percent of Artillery Academy and 30 percent of Taslih Academy have been cleaned up from Jeish al-Fatah militants by the Syrian government forces,” the sources said.

“Simultaneous with army’s mop-up operation in military academies, a large number of government forces repelled Jeish al-Fatah’s offensives to reenter the military zone but failed and retreated leaving tens of dead or wounded members behind,” the sources added.

“Army also fended off Jeish al-Fatah’s attacks to in Um al-Qara’ain Eastern side of al-Moshrefeh,” they went on to say, FNA reported.

(Source / 07.08.2016)