Newscast Media TEHRAN—Iran has called rumors that Tehran embraces an overthrow or regime change of Syria “sheer lies” and has pledged its steadfast support for the Syrian people and Bashar al-Assad, Fars News Agency reports.
According to FNA, Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Amir Abdollahian said on Wednesday that Iran’s stance on Syria is “clear and transparent”, and stressed the recent claims that Iran has consented to the fall of the Syrian president are “untrue”.
“Supporting the Syrian people and Bashar Assad’s reforms has always been at the center of Iran’s attention,” Abdollahian underscored.
He pointed to the meeting of the so-called Contact Group on Syria in Cairo, and reminded that the group has agreed on “political solution to Syria, cessation of hostilities and stop of arms shipments to rebel groups, negotiations between the Syrian government and opposition groups, and democratic decision-making about the future of Syrian by the country’s people and through election”.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran is serious about defending Syria’s national sovereignty as (part of) an axis of resistance against the Zionist regime and will stay on the side of that nation,” Boroujerdi said in a meeting with head of the Syrian parliament’s Foreign Affairs Commission Fadiya Daib and head of the National Security Commission Mohammad Sobhi Abu al-Shamat here in Tehran.
Iran’s Ahmadinejad is currently in New York attending his last UN General Assembly meeting as president. When asked in an interview yesterday by Al-Monitor whether he will retire from politics after his presidency he replied, “Of course, I cannot be away from a political atmosphere. Wherever I am, politics will follow me.” http://newscastmedia.com/iran-syria.htm
Newscast Media, DAMASCUS—President Basahar al-Assad slammed Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey for supporting armed groups fighting in Syria, as he insisted that these militants would not win the battle.
“They suddenly saw money in their hands after a long period of poverty and think they can buy history and play a regional role,” Assad told Al-Ahram al-Arabi, which put excerpts from the interview on its website on Thursday.
“The widespread idea that Saudi Arabia, Syria and Egypt are the cornerstone of stability in the region is false. It has always been, and will remain, Syria, Iraq and Egypt,” said President Assad.
He said that before the conflict, Riyadh served only as a “mediator with the West that does not appreciate the axis of resistance against Zionism advocated by Syria.”
The Syrian leader said Qatar “uses the power of money and revolves in the orbit of the West by providing weapons and money to terrorists to repeat the scenario of Libya.”
“The Qataris were the quickest to fuel the violence,” he said.
President Assad also criticized Turkey, saying it was unconcerned “about the interests of its people, focusing solely on its ambitions that include ‘the new Ottoman empire’,” he said.
He reiterated that “armed men were using terrorism against the Syrian state,” but they “have no support among the people. Ultimately they will not emerge victorious.”
“It will take time” for regime forces to win, he said, adding that the “door to dialogue is open — only talks with the opposition will solve the crisis.”
Source: Al Manar news
Newscast Media DAMASCUS—Syrian Security forces destroyed several vehicles filled with weapons, and seized a dozen more of the vehicles carrying ammunition and weapons to Aleppo. According to Press TV, cars were identified in the suburb of Kafar Hamra on Wednesday, and were captured as they tried to enter Aleppo from the North.
On Tuesday, Syrian authorities captured dozens of insurgents near the Souq al-Hal area in the northern province of Aleppo, Syria’s state-run SANA news agency reported. Syrian forces also destroyed seven cars equipped with DSHK machine guns and occupied by insurgents in the al-Bab area.
Another key neighborhood of Bab al-Hadid was also liberated by Assad’s forces. This has been confirmed by Iran’s Press TV that also has reported the top insurgent leader Wa’el Mohammed al-Majdalawi was killed in Syria’s capital, Damascus. According to media reports in the region, Iranian Parliament National Security and Foreign Policy Committee Chairman Alaeddin Boroujerdi said the atmosphere in Syria was improving.
“The improvement curve in Syria is ascending,” he said, and mentioned the 30-country meeting that took place in Tehran yielded positive results. “The proposal put forward by Iran’s foreign minister [at the meeting] about a three-month truce is a logical one,” Boroujerdi stated, as reported by Press TV.
Meanwhile, the Free Syrian Army (FSA) has confirmed to BBC news it has retreated from Salah al-Din (Salaheddin), a densely packed area of narrow streets on the south-west side of Aleppo, where rebel fighters had been heavily dug in. State media had reported the army was in full control of the district, saying it had inflicted heavy losses on hundreds of “terrorist mercenaries”.
“We have staged a tactical withdrawal from Salah al-Din,” rebel commander Hossam Abu Mohammed of the Dara al-Shahbaa Brigade in Aleppo told the AFP news agency by phone. “The district is completely empty of rebel fighters. Regime forces are now advancing into Salah al-Din,” BBC news reported.
Syria has been waging war against the rebel gangs for the past 18 months, in a battle the President Bashar Assad believes will determine Syria’s destiny.
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 GENEVA—The spokesman of Joint Special Envoy Ahmad Fawzi of the United Nations and the League of Arab States said, the Syrian government has begun withdrawing troops from some conflicting areas, to comply with the cease fire proposal by Kofi Annan.
“We are in the process of verifying,” Fawzi said, adding that the opposition had made it clear that once the government abides by the April 10 deadline, they will also lay down the weapons.
According to the spokesman, all forms of violence should be ceased by all parties in Syria within 48 hours since April 10.
Annan said on video, “We must silence the tanks, helicopters, mortars, guns and stop all other forms of violence too – sexual abuse, torture, executions, abductions, destruction of homes, forced displacement and other abuses, including on children,” Fawzi said Annan will be briefing the UN General Assembly on Thursday afternoon on the latest development on Syria and will visit Teheran on April 11.
A team headed by Norwegian Major-General Robert Mood will arrive in Damascus to discuss the eventual deployment of a UN supervision and monitoring mission, he said.
Newscast Media DAMASCUS, Syria—The Syrian authorities should “make the first step” towards restoring peace in the country by pulling troops and tanks out of rebellious cities and towns, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Monday.
“We agree that the Syrian government should make the first step and order the beginning of security forces and army units’ pullout from residential areas,” the minister said.
However, he said, “ending this process will be impossible without reciprocal steps from those fighting the government.”
Lavrov’s statement came during his speech at an Armenian university in Yerevan. The Syrian government, he said, “has made a lot of mistakes over the past year, first of all, in terms of its inadequate reaction to the protest movement,” which he said involved “armed provocateurs” along with “peaceful demonstrators.”
“The Syrian authorities have been clearly slow to implement reforms – although it would also be wrong to screw up eyes to the fact that reforms do take place,” he said.
He described calls by Syrian opposition groups for President Bashar al-Assad to step down as an “invitation for bloodshed,” adding that Russia was not considering Assad’s removal from power as an option to end the violence in Syria.
More than 9,000 people have been killed in Syria since the breakout of a popular uprising against Assad in March 2011, the UN has estimated. The Syrian authorities blame the unrest on “armed terrorist gangs” affiliated with al-Qaeda.
On Sunday, during a “Friends of the Syrian People” meeting in Istanbul, 70 countries, including the United States, pledged to send several million dollars and communications equipment to Syrian rebels fighting Assad. Russia, which along with China and Syria’s main regional ally Iran, was absent from the meeting, criticized the initiative. Lavrov said it was at odds with a peace plan for Syria proposed by UN and Arab League envoy Kofi Annan.
All members of the UN Security Council have backed the Annan Plan, which calls for an immediate ceasefire by both government troops and opposition fighters, provision of humanitarian aid to those in need and launch of a broad Syrian dialogue without foreign intervention.
Source: Ria Novosti
Newscast Media DAMASCUS, Syria —Huge crowds of Syrians gathered at Saba Bahrat Square in Damascus and Al-Raees (the president) Square in Hasaka to voice their support to the ongoing reforms in Syria.
The masses rejected all attempts of foreign interference in Syria’s internal affairs, expressing determination to foil the conspiracy, according to SANA news agency.The participants in Damascus expressed deep appreciation for the sacrifices of the Syrian army in confronting armed terrorist groups.
Political and media figures from Tunisia and Lebanon joined the crowds where Secretary General of the Tunisian Unionist Democratic Union Party, Ahmed Al-Inoubli, said that what is taking place in Syria is a hopeless attempt by the West to undermine an important defender of the Arab rights.
In al-Hasaka, a youth group organized a national event at the Al-Raees Square in the province to express appreciation to the role of the Syrian army in defending the homeland.
Source: SANA News Agency
Newscast Media DAMASCUS, Syria — According to the Islam Times, thousands of gunmen are training in Jordan to fight alongside the Syrain rebels who want to topple Assad’s regime. Over 10,000 Libyans are reportedly being trained in a closed-off zone in Jordan, before being snuck into Syria to fight for the opposition. These men are allegedly paid around US$1,000 a month, funded by Saudi Arabia and Qatar, Islam Times reports.
Jordan-based AlBawaba news website says most of the gunmen who are being trained are actually part of the Libyan armed opposition, who have not had the chance to lay down arms following the toppling of Muammar Gaddafi’s regime. The allegations of funding from Riyadh and Doha were not attributed to anyone, but AlBawaba did draw attention to the fact that both Saudi Arabia and Qatar actively support the Syrian opposition.
At the same time, several Iranian news sources report that some 50 Turkish officers arrested in Syria last week have confirmed that they were trained by the Israeli Special Forces to carry out insurgent acts against the Syrian government and President Bashar al-Assad.The arrested officers also, according to Iran’s Fars news agency, admitted to initiating contact with Qatar and Saudi Arabia, inadvertently lending support to the countries’ involvement in the ongoing conflict in Syria.
Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, post-war Libya, Turkey, Israel – this list of countries drawn into conspiracy media speculation would be incomplete without recent remarks from the Russian Foreign Ministry. British MI6 agents entered the Syrian ground, the Ministry said on Friday.
What’s the capital of free Libya?
Just like Syria, Libya experienced the same influx of foreign fighters who joined the rebels to oust Muammar Gaddafi. According to REUTERS, the Libyans have accused Qatar of interfering with their country’s affairs. In some of the bluntest public comments from liberals yet, Libya’s U.N. envoy, Mohammed Abdel Rahman Shalgam, told reporters: “They (Qatar) give money to some parties, the Islamist parties. They give money and weapons and they try to meddle in issues that do not concern them and we reject that.”
“We are very grateful to Qatar but they have no right to interfere in our internal affairs,” Abdullah Naker, a rival militia commander in the capital told reporters, warning he could turn his guns on a puppet NTC government just as he had against Gaddafi. “We will not accept domination by Qatar or by anyone.”
Retelling a local joke – “What’s the capital of free Libya? Doha” – another said of the Qataris: “Libya is their project. What is the end game? I don’t know, but they are omnipresent,” as reported by REUTERS in this article.
The United Nations and Arab League have appointed former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan as special envoy to help resolve the Syrian crisis. Annan will seek to “facilitate a peaceful Syrian-led and inclusive political solution that meets the democratic aspirations of the Syrian people through a comprehensive political dialogue between the Syrian government and the whole spectrum of the Syrian opposition,” a released statement read. http://newscastmedia.com/rebels-in-syria.html
Newscast Media DAMASCUS, Syria—Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov says a Western-backed UN Security Council resolution on Syria will pave the way for a “civil war” in the Arab country. Gatilov told Russian media on Tuesday that a draft resolution on Syria “will not help in the search for a compromise” if it is approved.
“Pushing it through is the path towards civil war,” Gatilov added.
On January 27, the UN Security Council met to consider the draft, which was presented to the UN body by Morocco and supports an Arab League plan that calls on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to resign and hand over power to a deputy to form a national unity government “with the opposition within two months.”
The United States, the United Kingdom and France have supported the new Arab League plan. Gatilov had earlier said Moscow would “not support any measure which orders Assad to leave office.”
Arab League Secretary General Nabil al-Arabi said in a statement issued on January 28 that the organization had decided to “immediately stop the work of the Arab League’s mission to Syria” due to “the critical deterioration of the situation” in the country.The observer mission had been in Syria since December 26, 2011 and was tasked with monitoring the implementation of the Arab League resolution to end the unrest in the country.
The Syrian government said on Saturday Damascus “regrets the decision taken by Arabi to suspend the observer mission” and that the decision called for “foreign intervention” and encouraged “armed groups to increase violence.”
This is not the first time Russia opposes measures against the Syrian government. On January 18, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Moscow was strongly against the imposition of any sanctions against Damascus or the deployment of foreign troops in Syria. Lavrov made the remarks after the European Union planned new sanctions against Syria on the same day. Syria has been experiencing unrest since mid-March 2011, with demonstrations being held both against and in favor of President Assad.
Damascus says “outlaws, saboteurs and armed terrorist groups” are responsible for the unrest, which it says is being orchestrated from abroad. On January 11, Assad joined thousands of government supporters in the capital Damascus and said Syria will “undoubtedly triumph over foreign conspiracies.”
Source: Press TV
by Marc Bennetts
Newscast Media MOSCOW — Moscow would agree to host talks between the Syrian authorities and opposition forces in a bid to end the violence the United Nations says has so far claimed the lives of over 5,000 people, Russia’s foreign minister said on Wednesday.
“As concerns the venue [for talks], we would welcome any choice agreeable to all sides,” Sergei Lavrov said. “If the opposition does not want to go to Damascus, this could be Cairo – the headquarters of the Arab League – Turkey or Russia.”
Russia has been one of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s staunchest supporters during the more than ten-month uprising against his regime. Damascus has rejected international criticism of its human rights record during the conflict and says some 2,000 police and members of the security forces have been killed by “terrorists and extremists.”
“Russia and Syria enjoy old, solid ties that strengthen every year,” the new Syrian ambassador to Russia, Riyad Khaddad, told a news conference in Moscow later on Wednesday. “Syria does not take one step in the international arena without consulting with its Russian colleagues.”
He also thanked Russia for its refusal “to stay silent in the face of Western exploitation of the UN Security Council” and slammed the international media for its “lies and delusions” on Syria.
Moscow vetoed in November a UN Security Council resolution harshly condemning Syria and warned against attempts to end the crisis by the use of what it called “the Libya scenario.” Russia abstained in the March 2011 UN vote on authorizing military intervention in Libya, but sharply criticized the NATO bombing raids that helped end the four-decade-long reign of Muammar Gaddafi last fall.
Russia has also spoken out against unilateral sanctions imposed on Syria by the European Union and the United States last year. On Wednesday, Lavrov again said Moscow would stonewall attempts to gain UN approval for the sanctions. Moscow has proposed its own draft UN resolution on Syria, but Western members of the Security Council have criticized it as too weak.
But one Middle East analyst suggested that Russia’s backing for Syria had ulterior motives.
“Russia’s support for Syria, it seems to me, has been agreed on with the U.S. and other leading European countries,” said Sergei Demidenko of the Moscow-based Institute of Strategic Studies and Analysis.
Demidenko suggested that Western powers have no stomach for military intervention in Syria, which he said could see the rise of Islamic extremism – dangerous for both Russia and the West – throughout the region. “Russia is playing the bad guy,” he told RIA Novosti. “The West can therefore wash its hands of Syria, saying Russia and China block us at every step.”
Russia has rejected international calls for an arms embargo against Syria, saying this would leave the authorities without a source for legal arms deliveries, while doing nothing to prevent backdoor weapons shipments to opposition forces. It has also refused to explain or justify its own arms deliveries to the violence-stricken Middle East state.
Human Rights Watch’s UN advocacy director, Philippe Bolopion, criticized Russia on Tuesday for its stance.
“Russia has continued selling and delivering weapons to Syria, which is really an insult to the Syrian people who are at the receiving end of these weapons,” he said. “They should try to prevent an escalation of the crisis and instead they are really fueling the fire by sending more weapons.”
His criticism was echoed – albeit without direct mention of Russia – by Western members of the UN Security Council on Wednesday. “It is glaringly obvious that transferring weapons into a volatile and violent situation is irresponsible and will only fuel the bloodshed,” said British UN envoy Mark Lyall Grant. The head of the Rostekhnologii state corporation that controls official arms exporter, Rosoboronexport, Sergei Chemezov, said on Wednesday that Moscow faced losing its leading position in the Middle Eastand North African arms market if it ailed to maintain arms deliveries to Syria.
Newscast Media MOSCOW— Russia is under no obligation to provide an explanation for a recent alleged delivery of arms to Syria, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Wednesday.
“We don’t consider it necessary to explain or justify ourselves, as we are not violating any international agreements or any [U.N.] Security Council resolutions,” Lavrov told an annual news conference.
“We are only dealing with Syria in those items not outlawed under international law,” he added.
Lavrov’s comments followed the arrival last week of a Russian-operated ship in Syria. An official in Cyprus, where the vessel was briefly held up, said the ship was carrying ammunition.
The United States later said it had raised the issue of the ship’s cargo with Moscow. U.S. envoy to the United Nations Susan Rice said on Tuesday that Washington had “very grave concerns about arms flows into Syria from any source.”
Russia and China in October vetoed a U.N. Security Council resolution that would have imposed an arms embargo on Syria. The UN says some 5,000 people have died since an uprising against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad began in March.
Moscow has insisted, however, that violence in Syria is being instigated by both government forces and rebels and on Wednesday Lavrov repeated calls for the two sides to lay down their arms.
“Weapons are being supplied to fighters and extremists in Syria who are trying to exploit the protest movement to seize power…this is unacceptable and non-productive,” he said. “We consider necessary a halt to any form of violence in Syria, wherever it might originate, and the start of an all-inclusive national dialogue.”
Lavrov also slammed unilateral sanctions imposed by the U.S. and Europe against Syria.
“Unilateral sanctions are always an undermining of collective efforts,” he said, “be they against Iran, Syria or any other country.” http://www.newscastmedia.com/armsdelivery.html
Newscast Media DAMASCUS, Syria — Usually before something big happens in a chaotic nation, the US government asks its citizens to leave as it has just done in Syria. The US State Department also said some non-essential embassy staff and all embassy dependants would be leaving, in addition, the Obama administration is contemplating sanctions against Syria.
Several media outlets have reported violence, crackdowns and arrests in Syria despite the lifting of an emergency law last week. More than 350 people are reported to have been killed in the violence since the protests started in March. In a statement carried by the official news agency, the Syrian government said it had sent troops to several cities on the request of citizens who were worried about “armed extremists”.
Arrests were made and those people would be processed through the civil courts, the government statement added, following the lifting of emergency laws last week.
“The bullets continue against the people, but we are resisting,” local activist Abazid Abdullah told AFP news agency.
The British Foreign Secretary, William Hague, has called for an end to the “violent repression” of protests in Syria, and said London was working to send a “strong signal” to Damascus.
“This includes working with our partners on the United Nations Security Council to send a strong signal to the Syrian authorities that the eyes of the international community are on Syria, and with our partners in the European Union and the region on possible further measures.”
According to a UN Security Council diplomat, the UK and other European states are circulating a draft statement condemning the violence in Syria. The Obama administration is considering sanctions to put pressure on the government of President Bashar al-Assad to stop its crackdown, US officials say. The steps could include a freeze on the assets of Syrian leaders and a ban on business dealings in the US, but no time scale has been given for the measures.