Jordan Shudders Under 331% Increase in Refugees as Conflict in Dera’a Intensifies

by Matthew Barber and the Syria Video team
 

Mile-long line of Syrians fleeing into Turkey

If you haven’t yet watched it, allow me to strongly encourage you to view the Frontline documentary Syria Behind the Lines. Superior even to this documentary, however, is a segment of extra footage from the journalist who filmed the documentary (Olly Lambert). A single, unbroken walk-through of just one day in just one village in the Syria conflict, narrated by Lambert himself, the work is simultaneously enlightening as to the journalist’s own experience and to that of the people in the community featured, beyond what the primary documentary (or most documentaries for that matter) can offer. A masterful piece of footage and commentary, please view (full screen recommended): The Bombing of al-Bara. Witnessing a single afternoon in al-Bara is a sobering experience when considering that it is just one example of a reality being experienced in countless locations in Syria every day.

Ghabagheb 1

Attack on Ghabagheb

 

Destruction in Ghabagheb

Destruction in Ghabagheb

One such recent location was the locale of Ghabagheb and nearby al-Sanamayn, attacked on the 10th of April. The day of the attack, a friend from Ghabagheb wrote saying: “The regime attacked my town today, they used tanks, cannons, missiles, nine people were killed one of them is a friend of mine (Ebraheem Alhorany) I have never seen him without a smile on his face… a house about 150m from ours was completely  destroyed.” In his conversation with me, he said that the regime attacked the town “for no reason.” I’m certain it felt that way for everyone in the town, but emerging reports claimed that the army’s motivation was to go after defectors who had taken refuge in the area. Of course, the communities were collectively punished with the usual brutality leaving women and children dead, houses destroyed, and numbers of men rounded up and executed. Ghabagheb and al-Sanamayn are located in the Dera’a muhafiza on the main highway, but are so far north within it that they are actually closer to Damascus than to the city of Dera’a. Areas within the muhafiza that previously avoided direct conflict (including parts of the north) are seeing intensified action after earlier rebel gains in the southern part of the muhafiza.

Destruction in Ghabagheb

Destruction in Ghabagheb

Al-Sanamayn (C on the map) suffered even more than Ghabagheb (D on the map). On April 10, videos emerged indicating that a massacre occurred there. Syria Video contains examples showing mass graves, large numbers of bodies, and the bodies of women and children. This Sham News Network report documents the names of 49 deceased victims. This all4Syria report explains that the attack happened after a meeting between the village elders of Sanamayn and the commanders of the 9th Division, in which the commander threatened the elders, saying that he would “burn the village” if they would not hand over soldiers who had defected and were hiding in the village.

daraa-mapMany other towns have been attacked by the regime in the period since these events, but we mention these incidents to highlight the situation facing the Dera’a muhafiza, contributing to the mounting problem of refugees fleeing southern Syria for Jordan. Fighting is continuing in locations around the Dera’a muhafiza, with daily skirmishes in Kherbet Ghazalah, a strategically-important site that the army wants to win back from the rebels. Videos emerging from the village (B on the map) indicate an ongoing battle for the control of the Damascus-Dera’a City highway passing near the town. Commentators in videos recorded and uploaded daily keep count of the number of days they’ve been successful in repelling government attempts to secure the highway and keep ammunition flowing to the governorate capital, Dera’a city. They named the confrontations The Horan Bridge Battle (معركة جسر حوران) ,and yesterday was the 44th day. Another video shows a checkpoint near the village, heavy explosions and gunfire in the background.

Other videos show daily casualties: rebels, more rebels, families, and the last moments of the media activists recording and uploading the videosand their funerals.

The conflict in Dera’a has also seen the recent destruction of the historical Omari Mosque in the city of Dera’a, an icon of the beginning of the uprising. (Several previous reports of the mosque’s destruction during the development of the conflict had turned out to be fabricated, but it seems that now it is finally the case.) The mosque had been a field hospital in the early days of the uprising. Newer videos show the aftermath of the recent destruction.

The past week has produced a number of stories of regime successes in Idlib and other provinces, but there have also been sporadic reports of successful rebel counter-offensives retaking important sites. In Dera’a it’s difficult to say which way the pendulum is swinging, but amidst growing talk of an overall “stalemate,” it’s clear that it is not a static stand-off; both sides are exhibiting a tough determination responsible for the back-and-forth pattern of gains and losses.

As the conflict lengthens, the number of villages that have evaded direct military assault grows less and less as fighting constantly moves into new locations, as Ghabagheb has experienced. A recent video revealed that a military base in Busr al-Harir (eastern Dera’a, right on the Sweida border), responsible for transportation and ammunition, was surrounded by rebels. The regime campaign to regain control in Dera’a is directly influencing growing levels of refugees entering Jordan (a 331% increase within just four months), something that is stretching the Jordanian state’s coping capacity to the maximum.

 

The Exodus

 

The violence of these ongoing contests has made life impossible in many towns, fueling more surges of refugees from Dera’a into Jordan. Refugees are exiting Syria through every border, but Jordan has seen the highest influx of people on the run. We’ve created the following graphs based on the most recent UN data. Lebanon was previous host to the largest number of refugees until Jordan moved into first place. The first two charts are derived from the UN count of “total persons of concern” which include both those already registered and those awaiting registration.

syrian-refugees-per-country

The governments of the states hosting the refugees offer their own estimates with numbers exceeding those accounted for by the UN so far:

syrian-refugees-per-un-and-goverments-estimates

UN numbers place Jordan in the lead as host, but as governments report, Lebanon is hosting the highest number of refugees. It is possible that Lebanon maintains a high estimate because it wants to include a large number of Syrians who already had extended family systems or secondary housing in Lebanon and who have now relocated there permanently but who do not refer to themselves as refugees. Many Syrians already have long-term connections to Lebanon. (Other reasons could be responsible as well.)

The following two charts show change in the number of refugees over the last 4 months and are based only on registered persons (they do not include those waiting to be registered).

Actual numbers of UN registered refugees between December 24 and April 17:

syrian-refugees-per-country-by-date

Based on these changes, the percentage of increase for each country over the last four months is as follows:

percentage-of-increase-in-refugees-by-country

Of the bordering countries, Iraq has received the least number of refugees. The biggest percentage of recent increase has occurred in Egypt, but the number of refugees it has received is far less than that of any of the bordering countries. Based on these percentages, the average of increase for bordering countries for the last four months would be 237.75, and Jordan is 1.58 standard deviations above average, which suggests an abnormal level of increase. Though all countries have witnessed significant increases, the likelihood is very strong that something is different about Jordan. The heightened war activity occurring in Dera’a is certainly part of it, but refugees also come to Jordan from other parts of Syria.

The UN’s current total of Syrian refugees (total persons of concern) for today, April 21, is 1,369,206. Government estimates put the number at 1,970,000, which do not include Iraq; adding Iraq’s UN count (133,840) breaks 2 million (bringing the total to 2,103,840). Other reports put 4 million more Syrians displaced inside Syria. This means that close to 1/4 of the Syrian population (or even more) are currently displaced.

The particularly severe burden that this is placing on these states has prompted tension and outbursts recently in the Jordanian parliament. In a recent chaotic session, a shouting match ensues following MP Mohammed al-Dawayima’s demand that those with Palestinian documents and children of Jordanian women married to non-Jordanian men be given the same rights as Syrian refugees:

In the same session, MP Maysar al-Sardia delivered some alarming statements. She asked the Jordanian government to begin searching for an alternative homeland for the Jordanian people, who she said have been taking in refugees from 1948 to the present, stating that they can’t cope with it any longer. She questioned why Syrians from northern and western Syria flee to Jordan instead of to Turkey and Lebanon, and suggested that the Jordanian government discuss this with those countries, also asserting that though Obama gives aid to the Syrian refugees, Americans will make back all of those donations through reconstruction projects that they’ll have when the war is finished. She deplored the phenomenon of Gulf Arab males visiting the refugee camps to exploit the vulnerable through “pleasure marriages.” (The temporary “mut’a marriage” is a Shi’i institution, but a Sunni practice called “misyar” can fulfill the same function.) In her attack on this trend, she referred to Arab Countries (her comments seem directed primarily at Saudi Arabia and Qatar) as “the Jews of Khaybar” (a reference to a community of Arabian Jews near Medina who underwent a war with the Prophet Mohammed; in other words, she is calling those she castigates enemies of Islam). These and similar statements have led to Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh apologizing to the Qatari and Saudi ambassadors.

Some Syrians choose to brave the situation back in Syria rather than remain in the Jordanian camps: Syrian Refugees Return from Jordan

Jordan has allowed 3,900 Syrian refugees to return to their home country over the last three years following protests against the poor living conditions in the Zaatari refugee camp.  A total of 32,409 Syrian refugees have returned from Jordan since the outbreak of the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad in March 2011.

The refugees requested to return to Syria and received the approval of the Jordanian authorities after a series of protests at the Zaatari refugee camp, located 58 km northeast of Amman, during which dozens of people were arrested and interrogated, according to the camp’s head.

The return of refugees to Syria is miniscule in contrast with the flow of people in the opposite direction.  Approximately 2,000 Syrians cross the border into Jordan every day to escape the violence, according to UN figures.

It has been reported that some Syrians are taking advantage of their refugee status to gather supplies Jordan, which they then bring back to Syria before returning to Jordan with other groups of refugees.

… The constant flow of Syrian refugees has aggravated the economic crisis in Jordan, contributing to a split in the country’s political class between those who are for or against the regime in Damascus.

Refugees don’t take kindly to Jordanian authorities telling them when they can or can not leave. As the above article mentioned, some come to the Jordan camps just to collect goods to take back into Syria. Safety is also a concern motivating the authorities restrictions: A riot broke out among Syrian refugees after Jordanian authorities prevented Syria-bound buses from transporting them back to their country, due to the increased level of warfare in Dera’a. Riots in the camps are not isolated events, but continue:

10 Jordanian police injured at Syrian refugee camp

A Jordanian official says 10 Jordanian policemen have been injured in a riot that erupted at a Syrian refugee camp near the Jordan-Syria border. Anmar Hmoud says the Friday afternoon riot in Zaatari camp occurred after handful of refugees tried to sneak out of the camp.

Hmoud, a government spokesman for the Syrian refugee camps in Jordan, says that when police stopped them, 100 other refugees turned up, showering the policemen with stones. Police say tear gas was used to disperse the crowd.

Videos of the riots and Jordanian riot police can be seen on Syria Video here, here and here. According to video information, the incident started after a family tried to leave to the camp but was pushed back by the police.

Water is a significant issue for the country: Will Syria’s Refugee Crisis Drain Jordan of its Water? – Time

Jordan is one of the most water-stressed countries in the world, subject to an ongoing drought that has devastated agricultural prospects in the country’s northern areas for nearly a decade. The large and rapid influx of Syrian refugees into the border cities of Ramtha and Mafraq, home to the Za’atari refugee camp, has strained water supplies to the breaking point — for two weeks in February, parts of Mafraq town had no water whatsoever. Summer’s soaring temperatures will put additional demands on a poor region that can hardly support its own population, let alone the surge of new refugees that are expected as the war in Syria grinds on. When the peaceful Syrian uprising evolved into a bloody conflict nearly two years ago, residents of Mafraq welcomed refugees fleeing the violence. That hospitality is starting to wane. Competition between Syrian refugees and local residents over limited resources, from water to electricity, food, schooling, housing and health care could boil over, potentially causing unrest in one of the few stable countries left in the Middle East. “As temperatures rise, so too will tensions,” says Nigel Pont, Middle East Regional Director for Mercy Corps, an international development agency actively involved with the Syrian crisis. Resentment among the Jordanians is palpable, he adds, and could easily escalate into violence if the underlying issues are not addressed.

Aid is not enough for the 2,000 to 3,000 (the latter figure from the Time article above) entering Jordan every day: Jordan Needs Support

“Jordan urgently needs the support of the international community in order to cope with the immense necessities of the hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees whom it harbours on its territory. Merely fulfilling the basic needs of the 140,000 Syrian refugees placed in the Za’atri camp, which our delegation visited, costs a million dollars a day. And over 2 000 new refugees are arriving at Za’atri every day,” Josette Durrieu (France, SOC), Chair of the Assembly Sub-Committee on the Middle East, declared today after their visit to Jordan on 6 and 7 April.

Canada sends $13 million in aid, the US sends $200 million, Russia sends a few plane-fulls.

U.S. feeds Syrians, but secretly” – Washington Post

In the heart of rebel-held territory in Syria’s northern province of Aleppo, a small group of intrepid Westerners is undertaking a mission of great stealth. Living anonymously in a small rural community, they travel daily in unmarked cars, braving airstrikes, shelling and the threat of kidnapping to deliver food and other aid to needy Syrians — all of it paid for by the U.S. government.

So secretive is the operation, however, that almost none of the Syrians who receive the help are aware of its American origins. Out of concern for the safety of the recipients and the delivery staff, who could be targeted by the government if their affiliation to the United States were known, the Obama administration and the aid workers have chosen not to advertise the assistance.

… “America has done nothing for us. Nothing at all,” said Mohammed Fouad Waisi, 50, spitting out the words for emphasis in his small Aleppo grocery store, which adjoins a bakery where he buys bread every day. The bakery is fully supplied with flour paid for by the United States. But Waisi credited Jabhat al-Nusra — a rebel group the United States has designated a terrorist organization because of its ties to al-Qaeda — with providing flour to the region. “If America considers itself a friend of Syria, it should start to do something,” he said.

Source: U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. The Washington Post. Published on April 14, 2013, 8:06 p.m.

Source: U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. The Washington Post.

The UN has announced it will have to cancel food aid to 400,000 refugees in Lebanon if it doesn’t receive more funding (Reuters):

The cash shortage is part of a wider financial shortfall that the organization says is threatening its efforts to help nearly 1.3 million Syrian refugees and almost 4 million more people displaced inside Syria by the two-year conflict. “The speed with which the crisis is deteriorating is much faster than the ability of the

international community to finance the Syrian humanitarian needs,” Panos Moumtzis, the U.N. refugee agency’s regional coordinator for Syrian refugees said.

…All refugees currently receive food when they register and then get monthly food coupons worth $27 a month, Labande said…

The United Nations says that so far only $400 million out of more than $1.5 billion pledged by international donors in late January to cover Syrian refugee needs for the first six months of this year has actually been committed.

New camp opened, Jordanians frustrated – France Press

Jordan, already straining from hosting hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees, is increasingly feeling the heat from its own citizens who are fed up with the growing influx.

Jordan says it is hosting more than 500,000 Syrian refugees and the authorities last week opened a new refugee camp in the Mrigeb al-Fuhud area east of the capital Amman as thousands continue to flee the war across the border. The 13,000-acre (5,200-hectare) camp, built and run by the United Arab Emirates northeast of Amman, has 750 caravans, a hospital and a school and can accommodate 5,500 people. The seven-million-dinar ($9.8-million, 7.5-million euro) facility was opened nine months after Jordan set up the sprawling Zaatari camp that houses 150,000 Syrian refugees outside the northeastern city of Mafraq.

Now Jordanians, who are already suffering from high unemployment, prices and inflation as well as poverty, accuse the refugees of taking their jobs and prompting greedy landlords to raise rents. “More than 160,000 Syrians hold various jobs in Jordan, though most do not have work permits,” Hamda Abu Nejmeh, secretary general at the labour ministry, told AFP. “It is a huge number that has a very negative impact.” He said Syrians “are depriving Jordanians from having jobs. If this continues, unemployment will rise and our plans to help citizens work will be affected negatively.”

Abu Nejmeh said Syrians accept less than the monthly minimum wage of 190 dinars ($268, 203 euros) and work longer hours. Unemployment is officially around 14 percent in the country of 6.8 million people, 70 percent of them under 30, but other estimates put the figure at 30 percent.

“Rents have doubled in the (northern) cities of Ramtha and Irbid. An apartment that is usually rented for 125 dinars a month now costs 250 dinars,” said Fathi Bashabsheh, who owns a housing complex in Ramtha where 35 Syrian families live.

“Around 130,000 people live in Ramtha now, including 40,000 Syrians. This is a problem for Ramtha residents who face many problems in finding jobs and renting houses and shops.” …

More Syrian Refugees will Cause Crisis in Jordan

“We cannot keep paying for refugees while the international community is showing little support. We need more help or pressure will mount to close the borders,” a senior Jordanian government official told The Media Line.

… “I do not advise any refugees to return to Syria, they will face certain death. People in Dael are waiting for the bombing to stop and then plan to leave for Jordan,” he added. The rebels say they are powerless to stop people from returning, which is a personal choice, but had issued warnings about doing so which were not always heeded.

… Abu Hamza, leader of the rebels’ Houran Brigades, meanwhile said the rebels would not wait for an international resolution to establish a no-fly zone in Syria. “We have enough anti-aircraft missiles to create a no-fly zone,” he told The Media Line, adding, “We only need to advance near the border and push government forces out.”

Photograph: IBL / Rex Features

Photograph: IBL / Rex Features

Buffer Zones

The discussion of buffer zones grew as the reality of Syrian territory controlled by hardline Islamists became clearer. First there was the plan to bolster the nationalist opposition:

Jordan to spearhead Saudi Arabian arms drive – Guardian – Fears over rising power of al-Qaida-linked groups drives move to channel weapons to moderate rebel fighters through Jordan

Jordan has agreed to spearhead a Saudi-led push to arm rebel groups through its borders into southern Syria, in a move that coincides with the transfer from Riyadh to Amman of more than $1bn (£650m).

It marks a significant change for Jordan, from a policy of trying to contain the spillover threat posed by the civil war across its border to one of actively aiming to end it before it engulfs the cash-strapped kingdom.

Jordan’s role as a conduit for arms has emerged in the past two months as Saudi Arabia, some Gulf states, Britain and the US have sharply increased their backing of some rebels to try to stop the advances of al-Qaida-linked groups among them.

A push to defeat al-Qaida, rather than an outright bid to oust Syria’s leader, Bashar al-Assad, is Jordan’s driving force. Officials in Amman concede it heightens a risk of retaliation from its increasingly cornered neighbour.

But beyond the problem of al-Qaida’s influence on the ground, the destabilization of Dera’a through the intensified battle between the regime and the rebels is pointing toward a destabilization of the border. This weekend alone, almost 8,000 new refugees have entered Jordan. The possibility of creating a buffer zone is gaining currency in Jordan, who on Thursday revealed that they would be hosting US troops. Al-Monitor:

Jordan acknowledged for the first time yesterday [April 18] that it would be hosting American troops. At the same time, it emphasized its rejection of any military intervention in Syria, and called for a comprehensive political solution that halts the cycle of violence there. This comes amid reports that Amman is considering the creation of a buffer zone in Daraa, Syria, to stop the flow of Syrian refugees into its territory.

Government spokesman Mohammed Mumuni said, “The US Department of Defense suggested deploying 200 troops on our territory, in light of the security repercussions that may result from the Syrian crisis.”

He added: “The kingdom’s position regarding what is going on in Syria has not changed. Jordan is against any military intervention, and calls for a comprehensive political solution that halts the cycle of violence and bloodshed there.” He stressed that “sending members from the US army to Jordan is part of the standard joint cooperation between the Jordanian armed forces and the US Army.”

A Jordanian army official, however, said: “Sending 200 US troops has nothing to do with the situation in Syria.” Speaking to the official Jordanian news agency [Petra], he said, “These soldiers represent the first unit among others that will take part in the Eager Lion exercise, which is held annually in Jordan.”

… The Jordanian government is considering using the city of Daraa, which is the largest in southern Syria, to test the possibility of creating a buffer zone there and its ability to contain the conflict and its repercussions.

Images from the camps:

(Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

(Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

refugees 2

(Bulent Kilic/AFP/Getty Images)

(Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

(Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

 

 

 

 

Comments (296)


Pages: « 1 2 3 4 5 [6] Show All

251. Tara said:

Zoo

To answer your question:

Zoo,

I made no assumptions.  I just used elements that you revealed without being asked.  You expressed your extreme empathy to Alawis, Shiaa, and Christians’ plot while at the same time failed to acknowledge even partly the plot Sunnis have experienced under Assad’s regime even when Alawis themselves admit it, your swift condemnation of parading the Alawi supporter and your complete silence towards parading masses and masses of ordinary non-supporter Syrians,  your upper class education, your politeness,  your refrain from filthy and vulgar insults even towards those who insulted you, your deep resentment towards the Sunni ideology and your generalization towards “terrorism made in Sunnistan” as opposed to your infatuation to everything Shiaa, and much much more.  All points towards life experience that either non-exist or unpleasant with Sunni Syrians.  

Oh, I forget.  And the most important element of my argument is your insistence that Persian women are more beautiful than Syrian women is what really sealed the conclusion.     

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April 23rd, 2013, 7:23 pm

 

252. majedkhaldoun said:

Syrialover
The secretary napolitano said they were aware of his trip to Russia

Also my question is Russia knew of him being in Daghestan

A.P
there are more news,just wait

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April 23rd, 2013, 7:26 pm

 

253. Tara said:

Reve@236

I am sorry Reve that I come off sounding arrogant when I respond to you. You are polite in general and in like that but your call for carpet bombardment, unleashing chemical weapons, gazing the “rats”, your incitement of genocide, and cleansing 70% of the population make me angry and unable to respond with humility.

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April 23rd, 2013, 7:55 pm

 

254. revenire said:

Tara I am sorry to tell you this but you really have no say in Syria. You admit leaving Syria and not being inside Syria. You are not even part of the opposition.

None of the pro-terrorist rabble at SC who post against the Syrian government have anything to say – they’re just noise and a sideshow.

On another note, all women are beautiful. Perhaps if you removed your ugly positions on Syria your beauty might shine through.

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April 23rd, 2013, 7:56 pm

 
 

256. revenire said:

Syrian Perspective

HOMS:

ALL VILLAGES WEST OF THE ASSI RIVER ARE NOW RAT-FREE!! All Jabhat Al-Nusra snakes, cockroaches, reptiles, rats and apes are gone.

Homs City: A sophisticated camera and equipment to manufacture missiles were unearthed by security today inside the northern part of the Episcopalian Center for the Aged. Security also found IEDs. Big score for our government.

Hayy Al-Waawiyyaat: A tunnel built in the direction of Jubb Al-Jandali used to store ammunition and weapons was destroyed completely.

Northwest Al-Nufoos in the Baab Hood area, a safe house filled with rats was put to the torch with a confirmed 10 dead. 4 were wounded and taken prisoner. No names.

Khitmallu east of Homs near Jubb Al-Jarraah: Dumb apes trying to arm a car with C-4 went into the cosmos as vapor when the ordnance exploded unexpectedly. Everybody inside was killed. Wael tells me the scene was particularly gruesome because the bodies were blown apart.

Haalaat: Another botched effort to infiltrate from Lebanon went awry when the sneaky rodents found 300 well-equipped militia waiting in the countryside for them after being alerted to their exact locations. The actual confirmed dead are 12. Their bodies are decomposing as I write. The other rats went back to the comfort and safety of the Lebanon.

F`

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April 23rd, 2013, 8:16 pm

 

257. Akbar Palace said:

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished, Part III

All the more reason to stay out of Syria??

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev told investigators that the brothers were self-trained and self-indoctrinated, and were striking back at the U.S. for killing Muslims.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324235304578440843633991044.html?mod=WSJ_hppMIDDLENexttoWhatsNewsSecond

The Tsarnaev brothers and their family didn’t quibble when they were allowed to immigrate to the “Great Satan”. Even Reverse, the Big Assad Supporter, lives comfortably in the USA.

Anyway, it getting clear that most terrorists are:

- not poor or destitute
- spoiled
- bored
- stupid
- angry
- misguided
- brainwashed
- and confused

The uncle from Maryland is the only one not in denial.

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April 23rd, 2013, 8:22 pm

 

258. zoo said:

Tara

I can’ bear anyone who expresses superiority over others, religion, ethnicity or social class. Unfortunately these days the ones who show that in all forms and shape by calling Shias and Alawites heretics on this blog and in the real world happen to call themselves Sunnis. That’s unfortunate for you that your condone such behavior .

No one can deny that todays’ Iranian culture is far superior than anything done in Saudi Arabia or Qatar and in most of the Sunni dominated countries. Even Turkey’s modern culture is still not at the level of the Iranian’s. Istanbul is being disfigurated by horrible buildings. Obviously you have never been to Iran to observe the respect and attention given to arts, architecture and history. Everybody admits it, even if they disagree with the political system. .
The same way I admire the modern English culture much more than the French one, it does not make infatuated with the UK.

Therefore as far as culture and arts are concerned my admiration does not need to be justified and until the Arab countries that are mostly dominated by Sunnis, are able to produce more than foreign made malls, towers and glittering hotels, I will still stick to my first choice.
Iran happened to be Shia dominated. Is it a coincidence? I would not know but even if it was Zoroastrian or Budhisth, it would not have changed my opinion.
If you feel disturbed by these evidence, sorry that’s not my problem.
By the way I am capable of compassion, despite your insinuations
I hope this close that subject once for all.

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April 23rd, 2013, 8:31 pm

 

259. zoo said:

Tara

I will not argue with you or try to explain my attitude toward the conflict that has destroyed the country in the name of ‘dignity and freedom of speech’. You are far too emotional, heinous and radical. Therefore it is a useless dialog.

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April 23rd, 2013, 8:40 pm

 

260. majedkhaldoun said:

Zoo said
“I can’ bear anyone who expresses superiority over others, religion, ethnicity or social class.”
Then Zoo says
No one can deny that todays’ Iranian culture is far superior than anything done in Saudi Arabia or Qatar and in most of the Sunni dominated countries. Even Turkey’s modern culture is still not at the level of the Iranian’s

Zoo propably can not bear himself

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April 23rd, 2013, 8:41 pm

 

261. ann said:

Syria slams EU decision to lift oil embargo for rebels benefit – 2013-04-24

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/world/2013-04/24/c_124622008.htm

DAMASCUS, April 23 (Xinhua)–Syria’s Foreign Ministry said Tuesday that the EU’s move to ease an oil embargo on Syria to allow “rebels” to sell crude oil is tantamount to an act of aggression, according to the country’s official SANA news agency.

In a letter sent to the UN Security Council, the ministry said the EU decision to allow importing Syrian oil and its derivatives and investing in Syrian oil industry through exclusive transactions with the oppositional National Coalition violates the principle of noninterference in the countries’ internal affairs.

In its letter, the Syrian Foreign Ministry dismissed the EU decision as “an unprecedented step,” accusing the EU of being involved in the “political and economic campaign” to target the country’s economy.

“Neither the EU nor any other party has the right to take any measures that would affect the state’s sovereign rights over their national resources,” said the ministry.

The EU countries “have gone even beyond that to allow the possibility of investing these resources in favor of one group that claims to be an opposition and represent the Syrian people while it actually represents no one by its masters and their interests that are connected to foreign sides,” it said.

“Syria demands that the UN Security Council take necessary measures to prevent the implementation of this illegitimate decision that contradicts with the rules of international law and the UN Charter,” the ministry urged.

It warned that “Syria will practice its natural right to take the necessary measures to maintain its sovereignty over its natural resources in the face of the attempts of piracy and looting.”

It reiterated that the sanctions which the EU imposed on Syria since the beginning of the crisis are “illegal” and “illegitimate”, adding that the sanctions have resulted in nothing but increasing the suffering of the Syrian people.

Deputy Russian Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov also criticized the EU’s decision to buy oil from the Syrian opposition as “counterproductive and contradicts the international law.”

In a statement, Bogdanov said “the legitimate Syrian government still exists and that such unilateral steps would deepen the crisis and won’t contribute to the achievement of a political settlement.”

In Damascus, Maher Merhej, leader of the Damascus-based National Youth Party, told Xinhua on Tuesday that the EU move aimed to partitioning Syria.

The West plans to set up new pipelines from northern and eastern Syria into Turkey at the Iskenderun hub in the province of Hatay on the Mediterranean coast of Turkey, he said, pointing out that such a step aimed at “eliminating all political solution and also setting a stage for dividing Syria.”

The move totally infringes upon the sovereignty of Syria, said Merhej.

[...]

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/world/2013-04/24/c_124622008.htm

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April 23rd, 2013, 8:52 pm

 

262. Tara said:

#

“You are far too.., heinous..and .,,. ”

You heinous.!

If you want to use insult, please do not have a conversation with me.

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April 23rd, 2013, 8:53 pm

 

263. Syrialover said:

# 257. AKBAR PALACE

Your list of terrorists’ attributes excludes some of the most significant factors.

Some or all of these will apply to almost all of them (including jihadist salafis):

- mental problems
- social disconnection and feelings of inadequacy
- failure to find direction and career
- extreme immaturity

Basically losers, with fantasies of becoming important.

I also believe some of the the holy warrior jihadists are atracted and thrilled by the violence. It gives them the chance to kill and terrorize and control people because they can never do that in their home country.

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April 23rd, 2013, 9:04 pm

 

264. zoo said:

Tara

Aren’t you expressing your hatred for Bashar al Assad on a daily basis and calling for killing and torturing him and other as a revenge?

If these calls are not heinous, what are they ?

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April 23rd, 2013, 9:10 pm

 

265. Ghufran said:

This video is a must see regardless of where you find yourself on the political spectrum:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BAmfiZWzPYs&feature=youtu.be
I find that most people in this video are good Syrians who were mistreated by the regime, to put it lightly, and are now being left out in the dark, to end this war , the grievances of those people have be addressed in a fair and humane manner.

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April 23rd, 2013, 9:17 pm

 

266. Tara said:

#

Aren’t you expressing your hatred for the rebels on a daily basis and calling for killing and cleansing and disinfecting cities and towns, cheering for HA and IRG flocking in to perform more extensive cleansing?

If these calls are not heinous, what are they ?

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April 23rd, 2013, 9:17 pm

 

267. zoo said:

Who thought that there were so many Tunisian terrorists roaming the world? They are beating the Saudis and the Chechens. Obviously they don’t feel at ease in a rather liberal Tunisia.

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April 23rd, 2013, 9:18 pm

 

268. Ghufran said:

A lesson in foreign policy for the incompetent French president:
A car exploded outside the French embassy in the Libyan capital Tripoli Tuesday morning in what was likely a planned attack. No group has claimed responsibility for the explosion, which wounded two French security guards and damaged part of the embassy’s compound. In a statement, French President Franςois Hollande demanded a swift investigation: “France expects the Libyan authorities to shed the fullest light on this unacceptable act, so that the perpetrators are identified and brought to justice.”
Certain things stood out as notable in Tuesday’s blast — number one being that no one was killed. And it went off at 7 a.m., before Libyans were up, and hours before the customary line for visa-seekers usually starts forming outside the embassy.
Scrutiny now falls on militant Islamist groups active in Libya who are furious about France’s war against their comrades in Mali and the Sahel. “None of the recent attacks in Libya were major,” said Rami El-Obeidi, former intelligence chief for the Libyan rebels, by phone from Tripoli. “The militants don’t want Libyan casualties because they fear a backlash. The only thing that comes to mind is that this is retaliation for Mali. It’s a very clear message to Hollande.”
Read more: http://world.time.com/2013/04/23/whats-behind-the-bombing-of-the-french-embassy-in-tripoli/#ixzz2RL79lFLH

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April 23rd, 2013, 9:25 pm

 

269. revenire said:

Tara should the Tunisian and Libyan rats roaming around with guns be left alone?

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April 23rd, 2013, 9:26 pm

 

270. MarigoldRan said:

The retard is retarded. ‘Nuff said.

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April 23rd, 2013, 9:52 pm

 

271. Visitor said:

While weakling Khatib resigns from a meaningless post, wannabe Hitto continues to recede towards irrelevance and so-called NC and SNC become synonymous with failures due to reasons we enumerated here on this website on more than one occasion, our most holy warriors of the Nusra Front and associates continue to score resounding victories in Qusair today where 18 criminal thugs of the Hezbo terrorist outfit were sent to deep Jahannam.

————————————–

Akbar Palace,

I will have to answer your questions regarding the fall of the towers over the weekend, when I’ll be back from my trip.
In the meantime, I maintain the A&E for 9/11 videos which I linked here to you and others present compelling evidence to implicate the US government in staging those events.

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April 23rd, 2013, 10:01 pm

 

272. Akbar Palace said:

Your list of terrorists’ attributes excludes some of the most significant factors.

Syrialover,

I agree with you 100% and thank you for the additions. I think we all have to come face-to-face with the reality that most of these terrorists are not in any bad way really, certainly not as bad off as MANY other people who don’t even think of doing these things.

A few comments on your additions:

“mental problems” – one could say that anyone who takes the life of an innocent person has a “mental problem”. But this is not a simple question to answer. The Sandy Hook killer was a 20 yr old with Aspergers Syndrome. In his case, killing kids in a school may be similar to killing Nazis in a video game (this is why I hate video games). They have difficulty between fantasy and reality.

“social disconnection and feelings of inadequacy” – apparently the older terrorist said he didn’t have one american friend, yet he was married to an american. He was an accomplished fighter who trained around lots of people. Were his feelings of loneliness and isolation perceived incorrectly? The younger brother had LOTS of friends at school both in college and high school.

“failure to find direction and career” – yes, this could have been an issue with the older man. The younger was still in school. Who paid for the Mercedes? The University. Probably a large factor was just not having the parents around?

“extreme immaturity” – yes, for sure. What can you do about it?

There was a movie with Tom Cruise about a society where people get arrested BEFORE they commit their crimes. Is this something we need to do? Can we do it? No, we can’t.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minority_Report_%28film%29

Basically losers, with fantasies of becoming important.

Yes.

I also believe some of the the holy warrior jihadists are atracted and thrilled by the violence. It gives them the chance to kill and terrorize and control people because they can never do that in their home country.

This is something I don’t even want to understand. Total brutality. Sounds like Baathism.

A few cartoons from my favorite (conservative) cartoonist, Michael Ramirez:

http://townhall.com/political-cartoons/michaelramirez/2013/04/21/108737

http://townhall.com/political-cartoons/michaelramirez

_______________________

I will have to answer your questions regarding the fall of the towers over the weekend, when I’ll be back from my trip.

Visitor,

That’s fine. The people interviewed seemed very knowledgable and respectable. Yet, as much as they don’t believe the NIST reports, there does not seem to be any information proving explosives were used to bring down the WTC bldg #7. No one alerted authorities about hole being drilled and wiring being installed. Two things that would survive the collapse. OTOH, the NIST models do show (using sophisticated structural analysis programs, the same one I use) a “domino effect” once one of the major floor beams collapses.

So we can discuss this further if you’d like.

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April 23rd, 2013, 10:39 pm

 

273. zoo said:

What makes a terrorist?

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/04/23/the-terrorist-tipping-point-what-pushed-the-tsarnaev-brothers-to-violence.html

The keys to the development of most terrorist minds are not really about their ethnicity, religion, or race.

Here are three surprising factors that contribute to creating deadly terrorists, whether they are from al Qaeda or the IRA: testosterone, narrative, and theater. Testosterone, narrative, and theater: TNT, if you will. That’s the truly critical and explosive mix inside the terrorist’s mind.

First: testosterone. Almost all of the people who carry out terrorist attacks are young men….

Second: narrative. This is perhaps the most important and most misunderstood element in the shaping of a terrorist’s thinking. It is often confused with ideology and, in the case of Islam, with religion. But testosterone-driven young men looking for glory are not, by and large, given over to theological exegeses. Often their religion is self-taught, cherry-picking slogans from the religious texts or, these days, from videos on the Web….

Third: theater. Terrorism is all about spectacle and always has been….

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April 23rd, 2013, 10:40 pm

 

274. zoo said:

#266 Tara

I have no desire to discuss as you just are throwing undocumented accusations when the Blog is full of you expression of hatred and your anger at anybody who disagree with you.
Sorry Tara, here you don’t own the truth. Get used to that.

Just watch what you write because you are only judged on what you write not what you think.

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April 23rd, 2013, 10:46 pm

 

275. Ghufran said:

  قامت مساء اليوم الثلاثاء عناصر من المخابرات الجوية بمداهمة مقهى ساروجة الكائن في حي ساروجة بدمشق واعتقلت جميع من كان فيه من الشباب والشابات عرف منهم :
1-    وائل سعد الدين
2-    ميساء الصالح 
3-    شيار خليل
4-    وعد الجرف 
5-    بشار فرحات 
6-    أحمد زغلول
7-    أسامة عزو
8-    معاذ الفرا
9-    لينا الصمودي 
10-   مؤنس حامد
11- أماني إبراهيم
12-   ندى الجندي 
وعلق شاهد عيان على عملية الاعتقال بالقول : “الأمن يشن حملة اعتقالات جديدة من أجل التعويض عن بضع عشرات أفرج عنهم بموجب العفو الأخير”. وأضاف: لكنني لم أشاهد مع هؤلاء الشابات والشباب سوى كتب وبعضهم يحمل جهاز لابتوب”  وختم بالقول ” يروحوا يتمرجلوا على مسلحي الجيش الجيش الحر وجبهة النصرة يلي صرعوا راسنا فيها مو يتمرجلوا على شباب وصبايا عزل إلا من  القلم والكتاب”.

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April 23rd, 2013, 10:46 pm

 

276. Syrialover said:

# 272. AKBAR PALACE

The older brother bomber was apparently not telling the truth when he said he had no American friends. But his best friend and two (of the friend’s) Jewish friends were murdered with their throats cut on the anniversary of 9/11. The police are now reexamining the case with the bomber in mind.

Both the bombers and their mother turned off people with their conspiracy theories about 9/11. The younger one is referred to in the media as a “9/11 denier”.

Just saying.

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April 23rd, 2013, 10:56 pm

 

277. Sami said:

“Just watch what you write because you are only judged on what you write not what you think.”

Says the man with 101 monikers denying massacres and calling for the bombardment of Syria and Syrians.

Just take a look at the mirror and you will see the real face of heinous, or tap one of the other propagandists sitting beside you pasting crap all day…

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April 23rd, 2013, 10:58 pm

 

278. Akbar Palace said:

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished, Part IV

What makes a terrorist?

Zoo,

That’s exactly my point. In most cases, it is a perceived and often warped sense of injustice or grievance that never even affected them. That’s where the brainwashing comes in.

Boston bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has told interrogators that the American wars in Iraq and Afghanistan motivated him and his brother to carry out last week’s deadly attack, according to the Washington Post. The paper cites “U.S. officials familiar with the interviews” as its source.

http://news.yahoo.com/report-boston-bombing-suspect-tells-interrogators-wars-iraq-165838834.html

Why doesn’t he bomb the Baathist headquarters in Syria or Iraq?

Meanwhile the US took this family in a provided them a lot of opportunity, including a $2500 university grant.

Syrialover,

Thanks for the additional info. I heard about the murder of the 3 people they are investigating. I didn’t know they were jewish.

Pretty sick.

The younger one is referred to in the media as a “9/11 denier”.

Yes, the 19 Saudis and Mo Atta were really Yeshiva students…

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April 23rd, 2013, 11:01 pm

 

279. Sami said:

Ghufran,

The educated and the moderates are the biggest threat to the regime for they are the real promise of a better Syria.

So many of our youthful promises have been either rotting in jail or six feet under from torture.

The thug would rather burn Syria down and call himself the lord of rubble than step down.

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April 23rd, 2013, 11:03 pm

 

280. ann said:

267. zoo said:

Who thought that there were so many Tunisian terrorists roaming the world? They are beating the Saudis and the Chechens. Obviously they don’t feel at ease in a rather liberal Tunisia.

They’re unemployed, cheap and stupid ;)

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April 23rd, 2013, 11:12 pm

 

281. Syrialover said:

Iran is now making Hizbollah earn its funding.

Article: Hizbollah’s strategy in Syria will acecelerate sectarian war.

EXCERPT:

“The escalation of Hizbollah’s involvement in Homs follows a series of media reports that suggests the party, in coordination with Tehran, has moved aggressively and openly to back the regime of Bashar Al Assad. According to the Kuwaiti newspaper Al Rai, Nasrallah visited Tehran this week and met with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and the commander of the Al Quds Brigades, General Qasim Sulaimani.

“On Monday, Mr Al Assad expressed resentment towards Lebanon’s “dissociation policy” during a meeting with a pro-Hizbollah Lebanese delegation. The Syrian president said: “A person cannot dissociate himself if that person is within a circle of fire and that fire is getting closer to him.”
http://www.thenational.ae/thenationalconversation/comment/hizbollahs-strategy-in-syria-will-accelerate-sectarian-war#ixzz2RKfFVCjv

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April 23rd, 2013, 11:22 pm

 

282. revenire said:

My God you are a boring sort SL.

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April 23rd, 2013, 11:39 pm

 

283. Tara said:

Zoo,

And the blog is full of expression of your hatred towards the 16 millions Syrians who hate Bashar. Sorry, I know it is a tender subject talking about the gem in your mind. You may want to check Batta’s toes worshiper FB to maintain a balance . They definitely share THE LOVE.

In your case, you deny your hatred to non-minority Syrians. In my case, I offer no apology hating Batta, his regime, and his shabeeha and I do not deny that I wish them a divine justice to be served in its glory. And if you loving heart can not handle my anti-Bashar sentiment, I am sorry. There is nothing I can do in response to killing 70,000 Syrians, and displacing millions.

I have no desire to discuss either, additionally I have lost my patience in regard to your inability to acknowledge the legitimacy of my feeling towards thug one and his entourage not that I need your validation. Please do not expect any different answer in case this subject is brought upnagain.

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April 23rd, 2013, 11:40 pm

 

284. Tara said:

Posting again

*YOUR COMMENT IS AWAITING MODERATION.*

Zoo,

And the blog is full of expression of your hatred towards the 16 millions Syrians who hate Bashar. Sorry, I know it is a tender subject talking about the gem in your mind. You may want to check Batta’s toes worshiper FB to maintain a balance . They definitely share THE LOVE.

In your case, you deny your hatred to non-minority Syrians. In my case, I offer no apology hating Batta, his regime, and his shabeeha and I do not deny that I wish them a divine justice to be served in its glory. And if you loving heart can not handle my anti-Bashar sentiment, I am sorry. There is nothing I can do in response to killing 70,000 Syrians, and displacing millions.

I have no desire to discuss either, additionally I have lost my patience in regard to your inability to acknowledge the legitimacy of my feeling towards thug one and his entourage not that I need your validation. Please do not expect any different answer in case this subject is brought upnagain.

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April 23rd, 2013, 11:42 pm

 

285. Syrian said:

One of the main factor of the elder bomber in Boston behavior,is his childhood’s scars from the war in Chechnya.All the good life in the US could not make them go away.
Now in Syria we have a whole generation of young kids that have been through ten times the violent war of Chechnya,who will grow up with more scars, no amount of regime propaganda will make them forget what they saw by their own eyes,
All who have bet everything on one man,will never escape the wrath of their scars for very long time.
Long after Batta’s is gone.mostly those who supported him and their kids will suffer for the choices they made.

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April 23rd, 2013, 11:42 pm

 

286. Juergen said:

Uzair,

please reconsider. One has labled many here for being anti alawite, totally out of the blue, so dont take it serious, we all know you have a good heart.

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April 24th, 2013, 12:16 am

 

287. Juergen said:

may be something all can agree on:

Fairuz son has said yesterday that they work on a new album. Some folks in Beirut sugest that Fairuz new album will come out this summer. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WX-1qbNEUZU

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April 24th, 2013, 12:18 am

 

288. Juergen said:

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April 24th, 2013, 12:45 am

 

289. Juergen said:

Dschumblatt:”It is permissable to kill anyone who is with the regime.”

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April 24th, 2013, 12:48 am

 

290. revenire said:

Uzair see you in Damascus… don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

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April 24th, 2013, 12:59 am

 

291. Syrialover said:

JUERGAN #288

Daniel Pipes has a clear contempt for the Arab peoples and has made a career of it.

He’s a creep and intellectual charlatan. He has nothing to say except to those who think like him.

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April 24th, 2013, 2:33 am

 

292. Hopeful said:

#284 Tara

This is what “ideology” is all about. Syria’s conflict is much harder than Egypt or Libya precisely because there are many people like Zoo and others who strongly believe in the ideology propagated by the regime and its leadership. It is not much different from Nazism or Fascism. It cannot be ignored if a political solution is to be achieved.

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April 24th, 2013, 2:35 am

 

293. revenire said:

This one will cause a few to be VERY uncomfortable:

Western spies in Syria behind abduction of archbishops: Moaz al-Khatib

The former leader of Syria’s opposition National Coalition Ahmed Moaz al-Khatib says Western spies currently active inside Syria were behind the recent abduction of two archbishops in Aleppo.

According to Khatib, tens of Western spy agencies are currently active in Syria, reports show.

The reports also added that the former head of the opposition has claimed that it was also possible for a foreign intelligence agency to work in Syria to instigate more tension in the country.

He said that those responsible for the abduction of the archbishops are trying to add to the unrest in Syria.

Syriac Orthodox Archbishop of Aleppo Yohanna Ibrahim and Greek Orthodox Archbishop of Aleppo Paul Yazigi were abducted as they were reportedly carrying out humanitarian work in a village in Aleppo governorate on Monday.

According to Aleppo residents, Ibrahim went to pick up Yazigi from the rebel-controlled Bab al-Hawa crossing with Turkey. Their car was intercepted on the way back by militants who kidnapped the archbishops and killed their driver. The two were later released on Tuesday.

Khatib submitted his resignation in March, in protest against the institutional limitations of the foreign-backed body.

On Monday, George Sabra was named the caretaker of Syria’s opposition National Coalition.

The Syria crisis began in March 2011, and many people, including large numbers of soldiers and security personnel, have been killed in the violence.

The Syrian government says that the chaos is being orchestrated from outside the country, and there are reports that a very large number of the militants are foreign nationals.

http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2013/04/24/299938/western-spies-abducted-syria-bishops/

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April 24th, 2013, 2:37 am

 

294. Badr said:

Qatar faces backlash among rebel groups in Syria

By ZEINA KARAM and BRIAN MURPHY
Associated Press

“Qatar is working to establish an Islamic state in Syria,” Abu Ziad, the commander of a brigade in the Damascus suburb, said sullenly, . . .
“With their money, the Qataris and a bunch of other countries are exploiting the Syrian revolution, each for their own gains,”
. . .
Abu Ziad said tensions resulting from diverging allegiances among rebel factions have led to setbacks on the ground. He cited the case of Jobar,
. . .
There is also mistrust of Qatar on the opposite end of the rebel spectrum, among the more hard-line Islamic fighters.

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April 24th, 2013, 3:09 am

 

295. It’s Impossible to Talk about Islam (Syria After Boston) | jewish philosophy place said:

[...] Alain Badiou has said what? Last night I watched this  Frontline video,  which I found posted at Syria Comment, a site by Joshua Landis which always plays it straight down the middle re: that conflict. The [...]

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April 24th, 2013, 9:40 am

 

296. Mina said:

Jordan: Zaatarai refugee camp
http://angryarab.net/2013/04/26/what-is-happening-in-zatari-camp-in-jordan/

As to mustard gas and sarin gas they have been already used in Bahrein, Egypt and Yemen. Pictures of the suffocated protesters were on al Jazeera for a short while before the heat turned to Libya/Syria.
just a quick look at google gives results but on twitter in Arabic it would be much more

on the web a report by “physicians for human rights” about the use of mustard gas in Bahrein is available
https://s3.amazonaws.com/PHR_Reports/Bahrain-TearGas-Aug2012-small.pdf

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April 26th, 2013, 3:30 pm

 

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