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Nelasītas ziņa tas_pats_lv » 01 Aug 2012 18:25


youtu.be/OkvNgQkKCMM

Syria - In Tunisia, streams of young men are leaving to fight in Syria's civil war. What are their motives and what do their families think of them? Next, with Islamist politics burgeoning in the wake of the Tunisian revolution, the bikini is becoming a rarer sight on the nation's tourist beaches. We report on the rise of the veil by the seaside. Finally, we head to Morocco to profile the group that is risking jail by publicly breaking the Ramadan fast.

It's hard to evaluate exactly how many young Tunisians leave home each week. Their destination is Syria. They're on a crusade to fight Bashar Al Assad. Many are killed in combat or taken prisoner. Some have been gone weeks, others havent been in contact with their familes for months. Our correspondants met some of the family memebers and friends of young Tunisian Jihadists who have left home to fight in Syria.

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Nelasītas ziņa tas_pats_lv » 10 Aug 2012 14:23

Latest update: 10/08/2012
Syrian rebels defiant despite retreat from key districts
http://www.france24.com/en/20120810-syr ... salaheddin
AFP - Syrian rebels vowed to fight on in Aleppo a day after being driven out of a key district under heavy shellfire, which was targeting other parts of the strategic city on Friday.
That came as world powers were set to name veteran Algerian diplomat Lakhdar Brahimi as their new envoy to seek a peaceful and politically workable end to a 17-month uprising that has cost more than 21,000 lives.
A rebel commander, Hossam Abu Mohammed, said his men were still fighting in parts of Aleppo's southwestern district of Salaheddin after most fled on Thursday under heavy bombing and advancing troops.
"We will not let Salaheddin go," the Free Syrian Army's Abu Mohammed told AFP by telephone as the third day of a government offensive to take the city raged.
The army again bombed parts of Salaheddin on Friday, as well as the Sakhur and Hanano districts of the east of the city, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said, adding that the violence killed two civilians.
Just before dawn, a MiG 21 fighter jet dropped four bombs on rebel positions in Hanano, an AFP correspondent reported.
One struck the courtyard of the FSA headquarters in the neighbourhood and another nearby house, wounding a number of people.

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Nelasītas ziņa tas_pats_lv » 04 Okt 2012 09:23

Report: Turkey renews artillery strikes on Syria
Oct. 4 2:55 AM EDT

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkey's state-media says Turkish artillery has fired on Syrian targets for a second day in retaliation for shelling from Syria that struck a border village, killing five civilians.
State-run TRT television says a military unit based on the border town of Akcakale resumed strikes at Syrian targets overnight and that shelling continued Thursday morning.
A woman, her three daughters and another woman were killed in when a shell from Syria hit a home in Akcakale.
Turkish Foreign Ministry officials were not immediately able to confirm the reports, while Defense Ministry officials refused comment.

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Nelasītas ziņa tas_pats_lv » 25 Okt 2012 13:56

Syria accepts Eid ceasefire plan, UN envoy says
http://www.france24.com/en/20121024-dam ... himi-assad
The government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has accepted a proposed ceasefire to coincide with the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha that
begins Friday, UN-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi announced on Wednesday.
International mediator Lakhdar Brahimi said on Wednesday the Syrian government has agreed to a ceasefire during the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha and that Damascus would announce the decision shortly.
The holiday starts on Thursday and lasts three or four days. Brahimi, a mediator appointed by the United Nations and Arab League, said some Syrian opposition groups he had been in contact with had also agreed to a truce in principle.
“After the visit I made to Damascus, there is agreement from the Syrian government for a ceasefire during the Eid,” Brahimi told a news conference at the Cairo-based League.
He did not give a precise time period for the ceasefire but said Damascus would announce its agreement on Wednesday or Thursday. “Other factions in Syria that we were able to contact, heads of fighting groups, most of them also agree on the principle of the ceasefire,” he added.
President Bashar al-Assad is fighting an insurgency that grew out of street protests 19 months ago and has escalated into a civil war in which 30,000 people have been killed.
His overstretched army has lost swathes of territory and relies on air power to keep rebels at bay.
“If this humble initiative succeeds, we hope that we can build on it in order to discuss a longer and more effective ceasefire and this has to be part of a comprehensive political process,” Brahimi said.
(REUTERS)

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Nelasītas ziņa tas_pats_lv » 27 Okt 2012 23:27

Syrian rebels and Kurdish militiamen clash in Aleppo
Eid truce broken again with at least 22 thought dead after alleged incursion by Syrian rebels into neutral Kurdish districts
guardian.co.uk, Saturday 27 October 2012 13.43 BST
A Syrian rebel takes cover in Karmal Jabl district of Aleppo.
At least 22 people were killed in clashes between Syrian rebels and Kurdish militia men in Aleppo, Syria's largest city.
The fighting broke out despite a truce brokered in honour of the Muslim festival Eid al-Adha, which was also broken in other areas of Syria with sporadic bombings and clashes.
The clashes occurred after rebels pushed into largely Kurdish and Christian areas that have remained relatively quiet during the three-month battle for the city.
Kurds say the rebels had pledged to stay out of their districts. Kurdish groups have for the most part tried to steer a middle course in the conflict between the rebels and the regime of President Bashar al-Assad. Some figures have allied with the rebels, others with Assad, while others have remained neutral.
The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 19 rebels and three Kurdish gunmen were killed in the clash that lasted several hours, the group said. A Kurdish official put the death toll at 10 Kurds, but had no figures for the rebels.
Mohieddine Sheik Ali, head of the Kurdish Yekiti party, told the Associated Press that the clashes broke out after rebels entered Ashrafieh, violating "a gentlemen's agreement" not to go into Kurdish areas in Aleppo.
He said there are 100,000 Kurds in Ashrafieh and many in the nearby Sheik Maksoud area. Sheik Ali said tens of thousands of Arabs have also fled to these districts from the violence across Aleppo.
"Disagreements between our brothers in the [rebel] Free Syrian Army and the Kurdish Popular Defence Units" led to the clashes, he said.
In other violence, the Observatory and the Local Co-ordination Committees reported shelling and shooting on Saturday, mostly in Aleppo, the eastern region of Deir el-Zour, Daraa to the south and suburbs of the capital, Damascus.

Syria mediator Lakhdar Brahimi, the UN-Arab League envoy, mediated a four-day ceasefire that began on Friday to mark the Eid festival.
"The ceasefire collapsed nearly three hours after it went into effect," said Rami Abdul-Rahman, who heads the observatory. "The only difference is that the fighting is less widespread and the regime has not been using its air force since the ceasefire began."
State-run Syrian TV also reported on Saturday that rebels violated the ceasefire by detonating a car bomb outside an Assyrian Christian church in the eastern city of Deir el-Zour, near the border with Iraq.
The violence came a day after car bombs and clashes left more than 100 dead.

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Nelasītas ziņa tas_pats_lv » 03 Nov 2012 22:59

Latest update: 03/11/2012
- Golan Heights - Israel - Syria

Syrian tanks in Golan Heights buffer zone, says Israel

Israel’s military lodged a complaint with the United Nations on Saturday after three Syrian tanks allegedly entered the demilitarised zone in the Golan Heights which separates the two countries, just a few kilometres from an Israeli military post.
Three Syrian tanks entered the demilitarized zone in the Golan Heights on Saturday, prompting Israel to complain to U.N. peacekeepers, a military spokesman said. The foray would be the first such violation in 40 years and hikes concerns that violence from Syria’s civil war could heat up a long-quiet frontier.
Israel’s relatively low-key response of turning to the U.N. suggested it did not see the Syrian armor as an immediate threat.
But the entry marks the most serious spillover of Syria’s turmoil at the frontier to date. Misfired Syrian shells have exploded inside Israel on several occasions and a tourist site was temporary shut after armed Syrians were spotted nearby recently.
The three tanks entered the DMZ on Saturday and Israel lodged a complaint with the peacekeepers, an Israeli military spokeswoman said, speaking on condition of anonymity in line with military protocol. She did not elaborate on what the tanks were doing.
The Israeli news site Ynet said the tanks and two armored personnel carriers drove a few kilometers (miles) away from Israeli military positions.

http://www.france24.com/en/20121103-isr ... -complaint

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Nelasītas ziņa tas_pats_lv » 13 Dec 2012 16:55

Syrian rebels are gaining ground and might win, Russia’s deputy foreign minister said on Thursday, in the starkest such admission from a major ally of President Bashar al-Assad.
“One must look the facts in the face,” Russia’s state-run RIA quoted Mikhail Bogdanov as saying. “Unfortunately, the victory of the Syrian opposition cannot be ruled out.”
Bogdanov, who is Kremlin’s special envoy for Middle East affairs, said the Syrian government was “losing control of more and more territory” and that Moscow was preparing plans to evacuate Russian citizens if necessary.
Advancing rebels now hold an almost continuous arc of territory from the east to the southeast of Damascus, despite fierce army bombardments designed to drive them back.
A car bomb killed at least 16 men, women and children in Qatana, a town about 25 km (15 miles) southwest of Damascus where many soldiers live, activists and state media said.
The explosion occurred in a residential area for soldiers in Qatana, which is near several army bases, said Rami Abdelrahman, head of the pro-opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
He put the death toll as 17, including seven children and two women. State news agency SANA said 16 people had died.
State television blamed the blast on “terrorists” - its term for rebels - and showed footage of soldiers walking by a partly collapsed building, with rubble and twisted metal on the road.
The attack follows three bombs at the Interior Ministry on Wednesday evening, in which state news agency SANA said five people were killed, including Abdullah Kayrouz, a member of parliament from the Syrian Social Nationalist Party.
Apart from gaining territory in the outskirts of Damascus in recent weeks, rebels have also made hit-and-run attacks or set off bombs within the capital, often targeting state security buildings or areas seen as loyal to Assad, such as Jaramana, where twin bombs killed 34 people in November.
http://www.france24.com/en/20121213-syr ... a-bogdanov

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Nelasītas ziņa tas_pats_lv » 18 Dec 2012 18:46

Russia sends navy squadron to Mediterranean
By VLADIMIR ISACHENKOV
— Dec. 18 9:35 AM EST
http://bigstory.ap.org/article/official ... ized-syria
MOSCOW (AP) — A Russian navy squadron has set off for the Mediterranean amid official talk about a possible evacuation of Russians from Syria.
The Defense Ministry said Tuesday that the ships will rotate with those that have been in the area since November. Russian diplomats said last week that Moscow is preparing plans to evacuate thousands of Russians from Syria if necessary. The ministry did not say whether the navy ships are intended for an evacuation.
The Interfax news agency, citing unidentified naval sources, reported that the navy command wants the ships to be on hand for the task if needed. It said the mission's duration will depend on the situation in Syria.
Last week, a senior Russian diplomat said for the first time that Syrian President Bashar Assad is losing control and the rebels might win the civil war, a statement that appeared to signal that Moscow has started positioning itself for an endgame in Syria. But the Foreign Ministry disavowed Mikhail Bogdanov's statement the next day, saying his words were misinterpreted and that Moscow's position on the crisis hasn't shifted.
Russia's base in the Syrian port of Tartus is its only naval outpost outside the former Soviet Union. Moscow has been Assad's main ally, shielding him from international sanctions over a brutal crackdown on an uprising that began in March 2011 and turned into the civil war, killing more than 40,000 people.
The squadron of five ships that sailed from the Baltic Sea base of Baltiysk includes a destroyer, a tugboat, a tanker and two large amphibious vessels that could evacuate hundreds of people.
Another group of three navy ships departed Tuesday from Severomorsk, the main base of Russia's Northern Fleet on the Kola Peninsula. While their official mission is anti-piracy patrol in the Gulf of Aden, the ships will sail past the Syrian shores and may linger there if need be.
Earlier this year, Russia sent several ships to Tartus on a mission to evacuate its personnel and equipment, but authorities decided then that the situation in Syria didn't require such a move yet.
The latest naval deployment comes as the Russian Foreign Ministry said Tuesday that two Russians were kidnapped alongside an Italian in Syria and that their captors have asked for a ransom for their release. The three, who worked at a Syrian steel plant, were kidnapped late Monday on the road between Tartus and Homs.
The ministry identified those kidnapped as V. V. Gorelov, Abdesattar Hassun and Mario Belluomo and said the kidnappers have contacted the Hmisho steel plant by telephone and demanded a ransom for their release. It did not specify the amount.
Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, speaking in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, said "all necessary steps are being taken in Syria and other countries that may influence the situation," according to Interfax.
The kidnapping of foreigners has been rare, but as Syria descends further into chaos the abduction of Syrians has become increasingly common across many parts of the country.
Most of those kidnappings appear to have sectarian motives, part of tit-for-tat attacks between rebels and pro-regime gunmen. But there have been many cases of gunmen capturing wealthy people for ransom or settling personal scores.

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Nelasītas ziņa tas_pats_lv » 28 Dec 2012 11:54

Russian military presence in Syria poses challenge to US-led intervention
Advisers deployed with surface-to-air systems bolster President Assad's defences and complicate outcome of any future strikes
Julian Borger
The Guardian, Sunday 23 December 2012 21.30 GMT
Russian military advisers are manning some of Syria's more sophisticated air defences – something that would complicate any future US-led intervention, the Guardian has learned.
The advisers have been deployed with new surface-to-air systems and upgrades of old systems, which Moscow has supplied to the Assad regime since the Syrian revolution broke out 21 months ago.
The depth and complexity of Syria's anti-aircraft defences mean that any direct western campaign, in support of a no-fly zone or in the form of punitive air strikes against the leadership, would be costly, protracted and risky. The possibility of Russian military casualties in such a campaign could have unpredictable geopolitical consequences.
Meanwhile, near-daily atrocities have kept western governments under pressure to act. A Syrian government air strike on a town near the central city of Hama on Sunday killed dozens of civilians queueing for bread, according to human rights activists.
Amateur footage from Halfaya showed mangled human remains strewn along a street where people had been blown off scooters and out of cars. One video showed a boy with his feet blown off. Piles of corpses could be seen beneath rubble outside a two-storey building the cameraman described as a bakery. It was unclear how many bodies were in the smoking ruins.
Human Rights Watch has previously accused the regime of targeting bakeries. The group warned the Assad regime that such targeted bombing of civilians represented war crimes. However, in the face of a Russian veto at the UN security council, the international criminal court has not had a mandate to investigate the atrocities committed by either side. The UN has put the death toll at more than 40,000 as the war continues to escalate.
Turkish officials, who accurately predicted the Syrian regime would use Scud missiles after several warplanes were shot down by rebels, also believe President Bashar al-Assad has twice come close to using chemical weapons including sarin, the nerve gas. First, after the bombing of the regime's Damascus security headquarters in July, which killed the president's brother in law, Assef Shawkat, and then last month, after opposition forces made significant gains.
The Turks and western officials say there are signs Assad sees chemical weapons as another step in the escalation of force, rather than a Rubicon-crossing gamble that could end his regime. The US, UK, France and Turkey have warned Syria that its use of such weapons would trigger military retribution. But any such a response would be fraught with difficulties.
Air strikes against chemical weapon depots would potentially disperse lethal gases over a vast area, triggering a humanitarian disaster. US and allied special forces have been trained to seize the air bases where the warheads are kept, but it is unclear what the next step would be. It would be physically impossible to fly the hundreds of warheads out of the country, while it would take thousands of troops to guard the arsenal for what could be many months. In the interim, those western troops could easily become the target of Islamist groups fighting the government in Damascus.
Any air strikes against regime targets, in response to chemical weapon use, or any attempt to create a no-fly zone to stop further bombing of refugee camps, would require the suppression of Syria's formidable defences. Those have been bolstered significantly since Israeli strikes on an alleged nuclear reactor site at al-Kibar in 2007 exposed holes, and again since the outbreak of the Syrian uprising in March 2011.
The upgrades were supplied by Moscow, which sees them as a bulwark against western-imposed regime change and protection of a longstanding investment in Syria. The country includes Russia's biggest electronic eavesdropping post outside its territory, in Latakia, and its toehold on the Mediterranean, a small naval base at Tartus.
Russian security and defence officials, who are notoriously loth to publicly comment on their operations abroad, have repeatedly denied providing explicit support for the Assad regime.
Over the weekend, the head of Russia's ground forces air defence, Major General Alexander Leonov, told the Ekho Moskvy radio station: "Syria's air-defence system is a no-nonsense force. As a result, no one has ever used serious air combat power against it."
That "no-nonsense" force, the air defence command, comprises two divisions and an estimated 50,000 troops – twice the size of Muammar Gaddafi's force – with thousands of anti-aircraft guns and more than 130 anti-aircraft missile batteries.
According to Jeremy Binnie, the editor of Jane's Terrorism and Security Monitor, recent Russian deliveries include Buk-M2 and Pantsyr-S1 (known to Nato as SA-22) mobile missile launch and radar systems. Reports of the shipment of the modern long-range S-300 have not been confirmed, and the Syrian armed forces did not show off any S-300 missiles in a military display this year. It is possible they have been delivered but are not yet operational.
Guy Ben-Ari, a senior fellow at the Washington-based Centre for Strategic and International Studies, said: "They don't just sell the equipment. They also help man the crews and train the crews. Sometimes there is just no domestic capacity to run these systems, and that is the case in Syria where Syrian crews are not capable of using the equipment to its full capacity."
Sources familiar with the Moscow-Damascus defence relationship confirmed the presence of Russian air-defence crews inside Syria. Their deployment would be a consideration when western contingency plans for Syria were being considered, they said.
Such a dense, layered and overlapping air-defence system would require a huge air campaign, heavily reliant on thousands of precision-guided missiles. The UK, France and other American allies in Europe used up their stocks of such weapons in Libya and although details are classified there have been reports that they have not yet returned to pre-Libya levels.
"We know they pretty much ran out of them at the end of Libya. Given the budgetary constraints the Europeans are operating with, and in an era where every euro spent on defence is very heavily scrutinised, it is a hard sell to restock on this stuff," Ben-Ari said. "And it would not be enough to be at Libya levels. You would need far more for Syria."
A Syrian air campaign would also require stealth aircraft and a great amount of signals intelligence, satellite imagery and aerial reconnaissance, all of which are US specialities. For all those reasons, Washington would not be able to "lead from behind" as it did in Libya.
The Obama administration has so far been extremely wary of getting enmeshed in another Middle East war, particularly with the knowledge that the long-running Iranian nuclear crisis could trigger a conflict in the Gulf at any time. With the resignation of CIA director David Petraeus last month, the administration arguably lost its most powerful advocate of Syrian intervention.
John Kerry, the nominee for secretary of state, has advocated greater support for the rebels, but stopped short of calling for direct US or Nato involvement. With no new secretary of defence yet nominated, it could take several months for the new team to recalibrate its approach.
The robust Syrian defences, combined with Damascus's hand-in-glove relationship with Moscow, and the fragmented nature of the opposition, help explain why a US-led intervention – predicted as imminent for more than a year by advocates and opponents alike – has so far failed to materialise, and why there is little appetite for such a move in Washington and most other western capitals, barring a major, verifiable use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime.

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Nelasītas ziņa tas_pats_lv » 25 Feb 2013 16:40

Syria says ready for talks with armed opposition
By NATALIYA VASILYEVA and RYAN LUCAS
— Feb. 25 7:36 AM EST
MOSCOW (AP) — The Syria government is ready to hold talks with the armed opposition seeking to topple President Bashar Assad's regime, the country's foreign minister said Monday.
Walid al-Moallem, who was in Moscow to discuss Syria's civil war with Russian officials, did not say whether the rebels would first have to lay down their arms before Damascus would agree to sit with them at the negotiating table.
Still, the offer marked the first time that a high-ranking Syrian official has stated publicly that the government would meet with opposition fighters.
"We're ready for a dialogue with anyone who's willing for it," al-Moallem said. "Even with those who carry arms. We are confident that reforms will come about not with the help of bloodshed but through dialogue."
Syria's 23-month-old conflict, which has killed more than 70,000 people and destroyed many of the country's cities, has repeatedly confounded international efforts to bring the parties together to end the bloodshed. Russia, a close Assad ally and his regime's chief advocate on the international stage, offered last Wednesday to broker talks in concert with the Arab League between the rebels and the government.
The proposal — which the Kremlin would be unlikely to float publicly without first securing Damascus' word that it would indeed take part — suggested the regime could be warming to the idea of a settlement as it struggles to hold territory and claw back ground it has lost to the rebels.
Ahead of the meeting with al-Moallem on Monday, Lavrov reiterated his call for Damascus to negotiate with the opposition, saying that "the situation in Syria is at a crossroads now." He also warned that further fighting could lead to "the break-up of the Syrian state."
Past government offers for talks with the opposition have included a host of conditions, such as for the rebels to first lay down their weapons. Those proposals have been swiftly rejected by both activists outside the country as well as rebels on the ground.
The prospect of negotiating with the armed opposition is made all the more difficult by the fractured state of those fighting to topple the regime — there are dozens of brigades and groups across the country and no unified command.
The head of one group, Free Syrian Army chief Gen. Salim Idriss, said he is "ready to take part in dialogue within specific frameworks," but then rattled off several conditions that the regime has flatly rejected in the past.
"There needs to be a clear decision on the resignation of the head of the criminal gang Bashar Assad and for those who participated in the killing of the Syrian people to be put on trial," Idriss told pan-Arab Al-Arabiya TV.
He said the government must agree to stop all kinds of violence and to hand over power, saying that "as rebels, this is our bottom line."
Both sides in the conflict in recent weeks have floated offers and counter offers to hold talks aimed at resolving the crisis.
In a speech in January, Assad offered to lead a national dialogue to end the bloodshed, but also said he would not talk with the armed opposition and vowed to keep on fighting. The opposition rejected the proposal.
This month, the leader of the Syrian National Coalition, the umbrella group for opposition parties, said he would be open to discussions with the regime that could pave the way for Assad's departure, but that they government must first release tens of thousands of detainees. The government refused.
Speaking to reporters Monday in Cairo, Mouaz al-Khatib accused the regime of procrastinating and said it had derailed the opposition's dialogue offer by not responding to its conditions.
"We are always open to initiatives that stop the killing and destruction but the regime rejected the simplest of humanitarian conditions. We have asked that the regime start by releasing women prisoners and there was no response," he said. "This regime must understand that the Syrian people do not want it anymore."

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