Newscast Media DAMASCUS—The United Nations said that a video showing militants executing Syrian soldiers was evidence of war crimes. “It is very likely that this was a war crime, another one,” Rupert Colville, spokesman for UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, told reporters in Geneva.
He was reacting to a video posted on YouTube of showing insurgents beating around 10 soldiers before lining them up on the ground and executing them with automatic rifles.
According to Al Manar TV news, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Thursday that rebels had killed 28 soldiers during attacks on three army checkpoints.
Colville said he and his colleagues had only just seen the video and that it was difficult to verify who was involved. However, he stressed, the perpetrators should be under no illusion they could get away with their crimes.
“Accountability will follow,” he said. “The video could well be used as evidence in legal proceedings. We call on all parties to the conflict in Syria to respect international law,” he added.
These are the same western-supported rebels that are referred to as Friends of Syria. Before the Syrian conflict, these atrocities were a rarity. Syria was a tourist attraction due to its biblical and historical sites. Yet the West continues to encourage and support these rebels in their quest to overthrow Bashar Assad.
What satisfaction can anyone derive from this? Each and every slain soldier above is someone’s son, someone’s brother, someone’s father or someone’s husband.
These are nothing but human sacrifices, and the blood that is being spilled is crying out to the Most High God, who sets rulers up and brings them down.
Newscast Media WASHINGTON, D.C—The Iran-Contra scandal that happened under Ronald Reagan facilitated the illegal sale of weapons to Iran covertly. It became one of the biggest political scandals since the inception of the nation, after the operation turned into an arms-for-hostages exchange undertaking.
Weapons abandoned by Gaddafi were under surveillance in Libya at all times, since the US knew they could fall in the hands of the bad guys if left unmonitored. The CIA had an operation there because it was reported that former Navy SEAL Tyrone Woods was at the CIA annex about an hour away from where Chris Stevens came under attack.
A few months before the attack, the Free Syrian Army (FSA) had requested more weapons because it had come under heavy fire in Aleppo and was forced to retreat. France, that had previously supported rebels under Sarkozy, reversed itself and refused to send any more weapons to the Syrian rebels.
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told France’s Europe-1 radio, “Rebel backers Qatar, Saudi Arabia and others are sending arms to the rebels . We Europeans decided on an arms embargo. We are not going to contradict our own positions.”
“America and Europe just talk, talk, talk, but no one helps,” said Abu Mohammad, an FSA commander in Aleppo who supplies his men with the homemade grenades. “There have been promises from other countries to provide us with arms, but no one has helped us,” reported the Christian Science Monitor.
As we saw in Pt.2 there were fighters identified as Libyans in Syria, and Chris Stevens was the bridge between the US and the opposition. The FSA’s requests for weapons were finally responded to and there is indication that arrangements were being made to ship the weapons to Syria via Turkey. Intending to funnel weapons only to what the US perceived as the “good guys” namely the Free Syrian Army, word must have inadvertently reached the “bad guys” namely al-Qaeda, that they had been left out of the party. Al-Qaeda did not take this too kindly. They had spilled their blood for the sake of the West, and were willing to risk their lives in Syria, and wondered, “Is this how the West pays us back, by snubbing us?”
Benghazi would be the place they got revenge. We know this because the attack had been pre-planned months ahead of time. On September 11, witnesses saw about 150 bearded armed men setting up roadblocks, and sealing off street leading to the US Consulate in Benghazi. Interestingly enough, no US embassy in Benghazi is listed on the list of US embassies, because there is only one US embassy in Libya, and it is in Tripoli. Nevertheless, the trucks of the gunmen bore the logo of Ansar al-Shariah, a powerful local group of Islamist militants, according to the Miami Herald.
The only logical reason al-Qaeda would get involved in such an operation points to taking Chris Stevens hostage, and then making a deal similar to the Iran-Contra deal, by swapping Chris Stevens in exchange for a portion of the weapons that was supposed to be delivered to FSA. According to FOX News, CIA chain of command told the CIA operators twice to “stand down” rather than help the ambassador’s team when shots were heard at approximately 9:40 p.m. in Benghazi on Sept. 11. There were also two drones with live video feeds of the attacks.
U.S. officials argue that there was a period of several hours when the fighting stopped before the mortars were fired at the annex, leading officials to believe the attack was over. Bingo! The only reason there was a period of several hours when fighting stopped, also points to a negotiation taking place, between the gunmen who were holding Stevens hostage and those who had access to the intel being fed to them by the military surveillance drones.
For McCain to mention there was a cover-up, is as a result of putting two and two together based on what happened in the Iran-Contra deal, and most recently the Fast and Furious scandal when the government sold weapons to Mexican drug lords covertly. It would therefore make sense to a military man like McCain to suspect the same was happening in the Stevens case, which would be an enormous scandal that not even the media could protect Obama from.
It was reported that at around 4am, the compound’s building in which Stevens had taken refuge, was hit by mortar fire which killed agents Doherty and Woods. Stevens was not seen by the security team again until his body was delivered to the airport. Officials said, and they still do know how he reached the Libyan hospital where attempts were made to revive him. He obviously did not grow wings, so we can deduce that it was al-Qaeda that dropped his body off at the hospital after a possible failure to secure a weapons deal from the cache that was en route to Syria.
Finally, to conclude this three-part series, we have to place the weapons in Syria. The Russians knew all along that weapons were headed to Syria to be used against Assad. In order to protect their interests in Syria, the Russians have been providing weapons to the Syrian government. Ruslan Pukhov, the Russian defense analyst and director of the Moscow-based Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies, said, “Russia doesn’t see any problems selling weapons to Syria if the CIA and French and British secret services are shipping military hardware via Turkey to the rebels, including the Islamists,” in this video interview with the BBC.
Arab news network Al Arabia reported early in August that surface-to-air missiles, particularly MANPADs,(man-portable air-defense systems), had been supplied to the rebels to help oust Assad.
The New York Times also reported that weapons, including automatic rifles, rocket-propelled grenades, ammunition and some anti-tank weapons, were being funneled mostly across the Turkish border by way of a shadowy network of intermediaries including Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood.
Further evidence reveals that there was squabbling between al-Qaeda and FSA in regard to who got what weapons. FOX News has evidence that a Libyan-flagged vessel reportedly carrying weapons named Al Entisar, which means “The Victory,” was received in the Turkish port of Iskenderun — 35 miles from the Syrian border — on Sept. 6, just five days before Ambassador Chris Stevens, information management officer Sean Smith and former Navy Seals Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty were killed during an extended assault by more than 100 Islamist militants.
Quoting The Times of London, Syria News Agency verified that over 400 tons of cargo included “SAM-7 surface-to-air anti-craft missiles and rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs).” Abu Mohammad, who told The Times that he “helped to move the shipment from warehouses to the border” said “this is the largest single delivery of assistance” the gunmen have so far received.
We have determined why Stevens was sent to Libya, and have been able to place both the Libyan rebels and the cache of weapons in Syria. John McCain’s theory is the only legitimate one of all four, since there has been silence in this administration as to what really happened and why it happened.
Tying all the loose ends together, it is safe to say, based on the available evidence, Chris Stevens was an unintended victim of extortion who was taken hostage by the very people he helped overthrow Gaddafi. The deal went wrong after the militant al-Qaeda could not reach a consensus with the person in charge of the negotiations. The cover-up benefits the parties who gave the order to stand down, since they do not have to take responsibility or stand trial for the lives that were lost.
Should Romney win the election, he will have access to all the intel, and in 2016 if Hillary Clinton attempts to re-run for the presidency, this currently-sealed information could be used as a trump card by the GOP, to “swift boat” her.
Newscast Media LEXINGTON, Va—In a speech to demonstrate his grasp on foreign policy, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney told an audience at the Virginia Military Institute that the incumbent Barack Obama was passive in dealing with the Middle East crisis.
“The greater tragedy of it all is that we’re missing an historic opportunity to win new friends who share our values in the Middle East,” Romney said. “Unfortunately, so many of these people who could be our friends feel that our president is indifferent to their quest for freedom and dignity.”
Romney said he would work with allies in the Middle East and the rebels who refer to themselves as Friends of Syria, in order to bring stability in the region.
“Iran is sending arms to Assad because they know his downfall would be a strategic defeat for them. We should be working no less vigorously through our international partners to support the many Syrians who would deliver that defeat to Iran — rather than sitting on the sidelines,” Romney added.
In regard to the Libyan attacks, Romney once again criticized Obama and said, “As the administration has finally conceded, these attacks were the deliberate work of terrorists who use violence to impose their dark ideology on others.”
However, Romney may not be familiar the ramifications that could come out of attempting to impose western democracy in the Middle East. The possibility of sleeper cells being activated around the world, and Hezbollah’s close proximity to Israel will complicate any attempts to arm one side of the current battle in the Middle East.
The next presidential debate will be held on October 16, in New York, covering foreign and domestic policy. http://newscastmedia.com/romney-syria.htm
Newscast Media WASHINGTON, D.C.—After yesterday’s consultative meeting that was held in Iran, in which 30 countries converged on the capital city Tehran, US ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice said the alliance of Iran, Lebanese Hezbollah and Assad’s government—a group that considers itself the Middle East’s “an axis of resistance”—was “bad for the region.”
“They view this as an axis of resistance along with Hezbollah, so there is no question that Iran is playing a nefarious role, not only in Syria but more broadly in the region, actively supporting the Assad regime,” she told NBC.
“One of the reasons why we are quite clear that the end result must be and will be the departure of Assad, is because this alliance, so to speak, is bad not only for Syria, but it is bad for the region and bad for our interests,” she added.
Iran creates a united nations within the United Nations
On such short notice, Iran successfully created a group of nations united in ideology, and their first meeting was headquartered in Tehran, spearheaded by Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi.
This was a profound achievement considering two of the heavyweights with veto power in the United Nations (Russia and China) were at the roundtable meeting. As time goes on, there is no doubt that other countries whose ideology is different from the West will join the 30-plus countries, and they could even sign trade treaties and decide what currency to use in the global market. This possibility is not sitting well with the West which explains the public statements by Susan Rice, who is opposed to the key players.
About Syria, Ambassador Rice acknowledged, “the Syrian air defenses are among the most sophisticated in the world. Their military is quite a different beast.”
Ahmadinejad—life after the presidency in 2013
According to Al Arabiya News, President Ahmadinejad plans to exit politics after his term ends in 2013.
“Two terms in office is enough,” Ahmadinejad told Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung in its July 16 edition. According to Al Arabiya, Ahmadinejad plans to pursue scientific work at a university as a college professor.
However, the dynamics have now changed. With the assassinations on Iranian scientists, and abductions, Ahmadinejad is less likely to pursue work at a university as a permanent profession. The reason is because he would become an easy target since his schedule would be predictable. If he were to give a lecture in Quantum Physics at a particular university, in Hall C, Room number 100, on Tuesdays and Thursdays, between 9:00 A.M. and 9:50 A.M. those who would want to harm him would know exactly where and when to find him.
Right now Ahmadinejad’s schedule is extremely unpredictable and almost impossible to pinpoint where and when he will make an appearance. Using this logic, it is improbable that he would make himself vulnerable by teaching at a university. He could still teach using video or satellite technology, where he conducts his lectures remotely, and students submit their work using an intranet or via the Web.
The likely role Ahmadinejad may play, considering the success of being able to create a group of nations within the United Nations, is the role of a diplomat. In this capacity as a special envoy, he could act as a mediator, affiliated with no political party, to resolve disputes on a national and international scale.
Newscast Media TEHRAN, Iran—A consultative meeting in Tehran that was attended by about 30 countries, aimed at bringing the Syrian crisis to an end, through dialogue between the opposing parties. The meeting was hosted by Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi, and the focus was on states that are not directly complicit in the Syrian crisis.
Iranian state media said the foreign ministers of Iraq, Pakistan and Zimbabwe were present. Salehi listed those nations as: Afghanistan, Algeria, Armenia, Benin, Belarus, China, Cuba, Ecuador, Georgia, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Maldives, Mauritania, Nicaragua, Oman, Russia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Tajikistan, Tunisia, Turkmenistan and Venezuela. A representative of the United Nations was also present. Kuwait and Lebanon had said before the meeting they would not send representatives.
According to Al Akhbar News, Iran had obtained undertakings from “a fair number” of Syrian opposition groups “to support such talks”, as well as the endorsement of President Bashar al-Assad, who conferred in Damascus earlier this week with the secretary of Iran’s National Security Council, Saeed Jalili.
The revelation that the opposing groups were in support of the meeting makes sense, since their leader of the Free Syrian Army, Abdul Jabbar al-Oqeidi, was killed 48 hours ago, according to reports on the ground by Press TV.
“We want this conference to be a counter to the Enemies of Syria (Friends of Syria) group, which has been promoting militarization, violence and sectarianism,” they said. “The hope is to persuade the maximum number of states to encourage and take part in an intra-Syrian solution.”
In addition, the Iran’s Foreign Ministry is also embarking on diplomatic efforts to secure the release of Iranian captives who were abducted on their way to the Damascus airport on August 4, 2012.
Newscast Media DAMASCUS, Syria—Turkey has set up a secret base near the Syrian border to send military and communications supplies to armed groups fighting against the government of President Bashar al-Assad.
According to a Qatari source, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar are sending weapons and communications equipment for Syrian rebels via the base, which is located in the southern Turkish city of Adana, about one hundred kilometers from Syria’s border, Reuters reported on Friday.
“Three governments are supplying weapons: Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia,” said the unnamed Doha-based source.
“It’s the Turks who are militarily controlling it (the base). Turkey is the main coordinator/facilitator. Think of a triangle, with Turkey at the top and Saudi Arabia and Qatar at the bottom,” the source said adding that Qatar has a key role in directing operations at the base with Qatari military intelligence and state security officials involved. The US intelligence is also believed to be involved in the secret anti-Syria “nerve center” and that they are working through middlemen.
According to the source, the base was set up after Saudi Deputy Foreign Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Abdullah al-Saud visited Turkey and requested it.
Adana is home to Incirlik, a large Turkish-US air force base, but it was not clear from the source whether the secret anti-Syria center was located inside Incirlik base or in the city of Adana.
Ankara has vehemently denied involvement in the Syrian unrest and supplying rebels with weapons, but the presence of the secret anti-Damascus center in Turkey may explain how the Syrian rebels are staging their deadly attacks such as the devastating bomb attack in Damascus on July 18 which killed at least four high-profile security and military officials, including the defense minister and his deputy who is also President Assad’s brother-in-law.
Syria has been the scene of violence by armed groups since March 2011. The violence has claimed the lives of hundreds of people, including many security forces. Damascus blames “outlaws, saboteurs, and armed terrorist groups” for the unrest, asserting that it is being orchestrated from abroad.
Source: Press TV
Newscast Media DAMASCUS—Calm prevailed Wednesday in most of Damascus districts after the wide range operation of cleansing was carried out by the Syrian regime forces. The Syrian Army continues to pursue armed groups in the Damascus countryside, and has inflicted them with heavy losses, particularly in Daraya. Syria state television reported that the national security forces have also inflicted armed groups in each city of Aleppo, Sakhoor, Marja and Neirab with heavy losses.
Also on Wednesday, the Syrian security forces carried out a raid in Qamishli countryside and confiscated a large quantity of smuggled weapons. Earlier in the day, the state-run television reported that an infiltration operation was foiled in the region of Talkakh which caused heavy losses among the rebels in the countryside of Lattakia.
Analysts are saying Assad’s counter-offensive effectively ended rebels’ hopes of capturing Damascus and has brought a swift end to a 16-month uprising that killed over 18,000 people.
How Assad did it -by Yusuf Fernandez
On January 20, Syrian state television reported that the country’s army had cleared the Al-Midan area of the capital of armed groups. The forces regained control of most parts of the neighborhood following heavy clashes with armed gangs. Government forces confiscated ammunition and vehicles equipped with machine guns from the armed opposition.
While some Western agencies, like Reuters, were echoing the Free Syrian Army’s propaganda about an “inexorable” rebel advance inside Damascus, what seemed especially inexorable on Friday July 20, was the destruction of groups that infiltrated the capital. Syrian TV released a video showing the bodies of Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters in the area of Qaboun, ensuring that many of them were “terrorists from other Arab countries”.
A report from Syrian television, which showed soldiers in the sub-district of al-Zahra in Al-Midane, said that the army had declared this area safe and asked residents to return home. In this sense, the quick and easy victory of Syrian forces in Damascus obviously has served to reassure the population and Assad’s foreign allies. Apparently, the thousands of rebels who entered the city were unable to seize it, but they were able to create insecurity and make the news.
The soldiers showed their optimism after Al-Midans’s takeover. One of them said that the assassination of the Defense Minister and other officials on Wednesday had given them more courage and that he and his comrades would destroy all those who had damaged their country. Another said: “This land is forbidden to any foreign hand who wants to bring us evil. This hand will be cut without mercy!” Another soldier exclaimed: “Here it is Syria. Down with Qatar!”
And another: “We are here to defend our land, our people and our blood. We will sacrifice ourselves for Syria! Here in this land of Al-Midane. Only the Syrian Arab army has the right to be there. This land is ours and it is us who control the ground!”
Rewind—Thursday June 19, clashes
During the night of Thursday and early Friday there were no big explosions like the previous days. Those explosions had alarmed residents, some of whom started to move to safer neighborhoods and others who chose to leave the country, according to reports.
The correspondent from Russian news site in English Russia Today, Maria Finoshina, wrote that Thursday’s clashes were the “worst she had seen in weeks”. Columns of black smoke rose on the horizon and sounds of gunfire could be heard regularly. Maria Finoshina added that despite all this and a general climate of tension, life had gone on as if nothing was happening in many neighborhoods which were not directly affected by the fighting, especially in the daytime. “People still frequent cafes and many shops remain open,” she said.
Fighting in other parts of Syria
At the same time, Syrian security forces recaptured a number of key areas across the country from armed rebels. Even newspapers such as the French conservative Le Figaro came to recognize that the government and its army had achieved successes against the rebels: “His troops (those of Bashar) crushed the rebels in Douma, near Damascus, bombed for the first time on Thursday, in a district of the capital, Kfar Sousseh, and launched the same day a deadly offensive against Al-Treimseh, killing over a hundred insurgents.”
The armed forces also regained the control of the Silqin area in Idlib and recaptured the al-Bukamal area near the Iraqi border as well as Bab al-Hawa, a town close to the Turkish border.
The terrorist attack
On the previous day, the news was dominated by the terrorist attack that killed the Minister of Defense, General Daoud Rajha, the brother in law of Bashar al-Assad, Assef Shawkat. The attack also seriously injured the Minister of Interior, Mohammad Ibrahim al-Shaar and other government officials. According to the Syrian Minister of Information, Omrane Zoebi, “the terrorist attack was perpetrated by the intelligence services of countries enemies of Syria. All countries that send money and weapons to terrorist groups take responsibility for what happened in Damascus,” said the minister in an interview with Syrian television, and added that the attack was “the last chapter of the American-Israeli conspiracy against Syria.”
The attack was rapidly broadcast by anti-Syrian media (Al Jazeera, Al Arabiyya etc) to increase their disinformation campaign. They said that General Hassan Makhlouf, the head of State Security was among the killed, which was denied. They claimed the Vice-President Farouk al-Shara has defected (he did an interview for ANB to deny it in person). There was also news on Al Jazeera about some alleged explosions in the site of the Fourth Division of the Syrian army, commanded by the brother of Syrian President, General Maher Al-Assad, which also proved to be completely wrong. Their message was clear: Assad did not control the situation on the ground and the regime would fall in some days or even in hours. The US administration echoed these claims, saying that “it is clear that President Assad is losing control in Syria.”
Israeli media also expressed their delight. The correspondent of the Arabic TV channel Al-Mayadine and editor of the Palestinian agency Maan in the occupied West Bank, Nasser Lahham, reported that Israeli television had announced the information of the murderous attack against the Syrian military officers with rejoicing, and it speculated about the imminent fall of the Syrian president.
Israeli President Shimon Peres could not hide his joy. “After the end of the Assad regime, we want to maintain good relations with Syria,” he said. A limited cabinet was even convened in an emergency meeting.
Meanwhile, the Syrian National Council (CNS), the opposition coalition supported by the West and the Gulf monarchies (and implicitly by Israel), asserted that the following days would be “decisive” and called the Syrians “to prepare themselves for the fall of Bashar al-Assad.”
The Syrian government responds
However, Syrian authorities reacted immediately after the attack. President Assad appointed General Fahd al-Freij, hitherto Chief of Staff, as new Minister of Defense. He inaugurated its functions by an unequivocal statement on the government’s desire to end terrorism, bombs and bands. The Syrian army expressed its determination to “cleanse” the country of “terrorists” after the attack.
“This terrorist act strengthens the resolve of our armed forces to clean the home of the remnants of terrorist gangs,” it said in a statement broadcast by state television. After this statement, an active pursuit operation against the insurgent groups in Damascus took place.
(Several) security experts have also told several Arabic channels that the attack was not likely to undermine the Syrian regime. One of them is Pierre Khalaf, who heads the Beirut-based Center for Strategic Arab and International Studies. Khalaf is certainly on the far side of the Syrian government –but it is in any case opposed to misinformation. He considers that the FSA has currently about 7,000 armed combatants and it is not a serious rival to the Syrian army.
“The Syrian leadership’s plan is to destroy most of the insurgents’ strongholds, whose number is estimated at 7,000 armed men. They also plan to control international frontiers. Having regained control of the countryside of Damascus, where the FSA had vast stores of weapons, operating rooms and underground hospitals, the effort is currently heading towards Homs, in order to pacify and regain control of neighborhoods which are still under the control of insurgents. At the same time, large operations are conducted at a border with Turkey through which weapons, money and men are being introduced into Syria.
“The situation of the rebels has reached a state of weakness and dispersal”, says Khalaf, but opponents living in five-star hotels (in Paris and other cities) are multiplying their statements on the “imminence” of the Battle of Damascus, which will be “decisive”.
Peter Khalaf has asked: “Are these claims realistic? It seems indisputable that the FSA and assimilated groups are on the defensive everywhere and that every serious confrontation with the Syrian military turns for them into a bloody defeat. And we can assume that the army, assured the Russian and Chinese support, will not to stop its deadly pressure.”
Source: Al-Manar News
Yusuf Fernandez is a Spanish journalist who also works for Radio Prague. He is the editor of several Islamic sites in Spanish and English and is currently editor of the Spanish site Al Manar.
Newscast Media TEHRAN, Iran — Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said on Monday that Syria is heading for tranquility as the army is gradually suppressing the armed insurgent groups.
“Enemies imagined that they can create a vacuum in the management of the country by explosions in Damascus but the enemies of the Syrian nation have been defeated… and the army is gradually finding supremacy over the armed opposition,” Salehi told reporters after a cabinet meeting.
The foreign minister presented an assessment of the situation in Syria in which groups with divergent and opposite views are pursuing: One is public legitimate demand that Iran has announced should be met and the second one is a strategy which has resorted to violence with the support of the West and certain regional
countries and because their purpose is to break out civil war and topple the government.
He again repeated that Iran is ready to mediate between opposition groups and the Syrian government, saying, “Since a year go we have been in contact with the Syrian opposition groups.”
However, he said the Syrian opposition is a combination of different groups with different purposes. He added, “We believe that the opposition groups should reach a compromise with the Syrian government to get out of this situation even though Syria is heading toward calm.”
Source: Tehran Times
Newscast Media DAMASCUS, Syria—After a deadly attack by rebels on top Syrian officials, there was much speculation about the whereabouts of Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad. Several rumors suggested that Assad might have left the capital, but the president disproved those rumors by appearing on TV with newly-named Defense Minister Gen. Fahd Jassem al-Freij.
One of the victims killed in the blast was the president’s brother-in-law. The location of the killings took place in one of the most tightly secured neighborhoods in the city. The National Security headquarters is located in Rawda, in the upscale Abu Rumaneh neighborhood. It lies in a square that contains the Turkish, US, Iraqi, and several EU embassies.
President Assad with his newly-named Defense Minister Gen. Fahd Jassem al-Freij
According to Al-Akbar, the ambush which targeted the commanders of the security unit was claimed by the Free Syrian Army (FSA). But there were several accounts. One spoke about a suicide bomber inside the building. Another said an explosive device had been installed inside the meeting room. Others claimed a number of FSA brigades penetrated the security structure and planted an explosive device in the meeting room.
Newscast Media St. PETERSBURG, Russia—Russia has strongly rejected the idea of a voluntary regime change in Syria and the offer of clemency to its president, Bashar al-Assad by the West.
In an interview in St. Petersburg, Russia, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said, “We cannot accept the policy which will be aimed at changing regimes from outside. This has been our policy all along, and we cannot prejudge for the Syrians what the outcome of the political dialogue will be. We strongly support political dialogue. We strongly support the efforts to stop the violence.”
Russia has always insisted on resolving the conflict through peace talks and has used Libya as a reference to what may happen in Syria if there is a regime change. Last year NATO, with support of the West and Al-Qaeda rebels bombed Tripoli, resulting in the ousting of Muammar Gaddafi. The rebels took over the nation which is now in chaos as killings continue to happen, while the West that supported the rebels looks on.
Putin has emphatically stated he won’t allow that to happen to Syria, an ally of Russia. Below is the interview of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov:
Newscast Media DAMASCUS, Syria—The aftermath of killings in Houla, Syria have brought condemnation from across the world with several players pointing fingers at each other. The Syrian government has blamed terrorist groups for the massacre, while the West is blaming the Syrian government. United Nations-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan was in Damascus early this week, for talks about his peace plan and condemned the killings.
However, Kofi Annan has praised the Syrian government for cooperating with international observers, according to the Islam Times.
“In my meeting with the president, I expressed appreciation for the cooperation that the Syrian government had extended to the UN, enabling us to deploy the military observers quickly,” Annan said during a press conference after meeting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus on Tuesday, the Associated Press reported.
Annan traveled to Syria on Tuesday, after over 100 civilians were killed in a massacre in the western town of Houla on May 25.
“The Security Council has made clear the need for these killings to be investigated and for those responsible to be held accountable,” said Annan, adding, “I also note that the government of Syria is organizing its own investigation and that is very encouraging.”
During the meeting, Assad also called for an end to the terrorist activities in Syria, saying Kofi Annan’s peace plan will be successful if weapons smuggling and terrorism is contained.
Newscast Media PARIS, France— French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said Russia’s refusal to attend an international ministerial meeting on Syria in Paris on Thursday isolated the country from the Arab world and the international community.
“I’ve personally invited [Russian Foreign Minister Sergei] Mr. Lavrov, and I regret that Russia sticks to a policy that isolates it from both the Arab world and the international community,” Juppe told journalists in Paris.
Foreign ministers from 15 countries, including the United States, Germany, Jordan, Morocco, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, are expected to attend the Paris meeting, which was initiated by the French Foreign Ministry. Moscow declined to the invitation, describing the meeting as “one-sided,” just as recent meetings of the so-called Friends of Syria group of countries in Tunisia and Turkey, because no representatives of the Syrian government have been invited.
“Russia’s approach to this kind of meeting is well-known,” he said. “This meeting is apparently aimed not at looking for the basis to launch inter-Syrian dialogue, but just the opposite, at deepening the divisions between the opposition and Damascus by encouraging the international isolation of the latter,” he said.
Juppe said on Wednesday the Paris talks were designed to “convey a message of firmness to Damascus,” as well to demonstrate support for the UN and Arab League envoy Kofi Annan’s peace plan for Syria. But Lukashevich said the initiative looked more like “destructive political amateurism.”
His comments echoed Wednesday’s statement by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who criticized attempts by some countries to “privatize” internationally-backed efforts to end the more-than-year-long crisis in the Arab country. The statement came after Tuesday’s meeting on Syria held by a group of Arab League states in Qatar, some of whose participants raised doubts over the Syrian government’s commitment to the Annan peace plan. Annan himself attended the meeting.
Thursday’s meeting in Paris will come just two days after the first meeting of the international working group on sanctions against the Syrian regime held in the French capital. Lukashevich said calls for new sanctions were “against consolidated decisions by the UN Security Council” regarding Annan’s mission.
More than 9,000 people have been killed in Syria since the outbreak of a popular uprising against President Bashar al-Assad last March, according to UN estimates. A fragile ceasefire has been in place in Syria for a week, although there have been reports of numerous violations of the truce by both government and opposition forces. A group of six UN observers have been deployed to Syria to monitor the ceasefire in line with a resolution approved by the Security Council last week, which provides for a 30-strong monitoring mission to be sent to the violence-hit Arab country.
On Wednesday, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon recommended the Security Council approve a mission of 300 observers – 50 more than originally planned.
Newscast Media WASHINGTON, D.C.—Senator John McCain has once again urged the White House to arm Syrian rebels after a ceasefire went into effect in Syria in order to end more than one year of turmoil in the country. It is clear that McCain is not interested in a peaceful resolution to the Syrian conflict, that’s why he continues to advocate war.
“Over there (in Syria), they’re waiting for American leadership. We have announced that we are now providing them with non-lethal equipment — that doesn’t do very well against tanks and artillery,” said McCain who has recently returned from a trip to Turkey where he met with members of the anti-government group of Free Syrian Army.
“We need to get a sanctuary for the Free Syrian Army, we need to get them supplies, we need to get them weapons. And there are many ways to get weapons to them. We showed that in Libya, we showed that in Afghanistan,” he added.
This is not the first time McCain has called for providing Syrian rebels with weapons.
On February 23, McCain said the US “should consider every option ranging from sanctuaries to seeing that weapons are brought to the hands of those who are resisting [Syrian President] Bashar al-Assad.”
On April 13, US President Barack Obama approved providing Syrian rebels with non-lethal aid, including communications equipment and medicines.
McCain’s remarks come while a ceasefire, which is part of a six-point plan proposed by UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan, went into effect as of April 12.
Annan said on April 11 that he had received a written pledge from the Syrian Foreign Ministry to “cease all military fighting throughout the Syrian territory.”
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said on March 6 that the Syrian people have “proven their capacity to defend the nation and to build a new Syria through their determination to pursue reforms along with the fight against foreign-backed terrorism.”