Sheikh al-Yaqoubi Elected to the NC—its first non-Brotherhood-aligned religious figure

The Rise of the Sufis

Matthew Barber

by Matthew Barber—This story first appeared on Syria Comment


Newly-elected to the Syrian National Coalition, Sheikh Mohammad al-Yaqoubi is moderate, influential, and ready to go to work


From the beginning of the uprising, mainstream Syrian Sunni ‘ulema—the traditional scholars who have spoken for Islam for centuries and who most Syrians recognize as the quintessential voices for religious interpretation—have been marginalized in the Syrian opposition, as Islamists of Salafi and Muslim Brotherhood persuasion steamrolled their way to dominance in both the SNC and the National Coalition. But an emerging Sufi current within the Syrian resistance could soon provide an alternative to Muslim Brotherhood hegemony and change the dynamics of the political opposition.

Sheikh Muhammad al-Ya’qoubi has just been elected to the National Coalition, the first figure of the Sufi ‘ulema to break through the Islamist exclusivity that has kept them out until now. His appointment will be announced shortly at a National Coalition conference. Along with other Sufi sheikhs, al-Ya’qoubi is heading up efforts to solidify a Sufi bloc of political leadership and nationalist-oriented rebel groups fighting in Syria who give allegiance to the leadership of Sufi ‘ulema. He also supports efforts to train Syrian rebels in Jordan.

Early on in the uprising, the Muslim Brotherhood worked to dominate the political opposition. The SNC primarily consisted of parties loyal to the Muslim Brotherhood. The National Coalition was later created to break this one-sided disparity, but ended up being dominated by others with Muslim Brotherhood connections, as well.

Sheikh Muhammad al-Yaqoubi

Sheikh Muhammad al-Yaqoubi

While this was the reality of the external opposition, an imbalance also formed on the ground inside Syria, as Islamist rebels received more foreign support and rose to prominence. Sheikh al-Ya’qoubi feels that the U.S. made the mistake of “leaving of the ‘Syrian file’ to the regional powers,” which allowed this trend to intensify as Gulf powers targeted Islamist groups with their aid. Qatar and Saudi Arabia have been primarily involved in arming rebels, but the Saudis recently pulled back their level of support. They have an ambivalent relationship with Islamist movements; on the one hand, they support the proliferation of one of the most extreme and anti-Sufi forms of Islam, Wahhabism, throughout the Muslim world. Simultaneously, they fear Islamist movements such as the MB who pose a political threat to monarchy. As the character of the militarized opposition has evolved increasingly toward Islamism, with a recent climax of Jabhat al-Nusra announcing allegiance to al-Qaida and declaring an Islamic state in Syria, reports suggested that the Saudis decided to cut off support they had been offering.

Declining aid, however, has ironically resulted in the end of much of the support that nationalist-oriented rebels were receiving, and many rebels have complained that the remaining contributions from Qatar are reaching only the Islamist fighters. Continuing trends solidifying Islamist domination of both the political and military oppositions have further weakened the desire of the international community for intervention in Syria, though the fact that several regions are now controlled by al-Qaida-linked groups has prompted some to call for the preparation of a drone strategy for Syria, prompting fears that it will end up looking like another Afghanistan.

Sheikh Muhammad al-Ya’qoubi’s entrance into the political opposition marks a development running counter to the dominant Islamist trend. Al-Ya’qoubi is respected as one of the leading scholars and Sufi clerics in Syria, and has been ranked as the second-most influential Muslim religious figure of the country. The brand of Islam he represents is expressed in a statement of sympathy he issued following the Boston Bombing. He studied in the West and is fluent in English and Swedish.

Traditional ‘ulema like Sheikh al-Ya’qoubi served for centuries as the interpreters of Islamic sources and traditions, but after the fall of the last Islamic empire, the process of modernization that accompanied the rise of the nation state presented a challenge to their role of traditional authority. The erosion of their power was further aggravated by the emergence of Islamist movements like the Muslim Brotherhood who introduced new interpretations of Islamic texts, contrary to the classical traditions that had existed for centuries.

Under the Ba’athists, some of Syria’s ‘ulema became seen as coopted figures who stayed close to the regime and lent it legitimacy. Others however, remained at arm’s length from the regime, and when the uprising began, they asserted their criticism of it, as did Sheikh al-Ya’qoubi. In addition to his widespread recognition among Syria’s majority Sunni Muslims, his credibility is bolstered by being the cleric who issued the first fatwa against Bashar al-Assad, in July of 2011.

After publically criticizing the regime’s violence against demonstrators in two sermons delivered at mosques in April and May 2011, he fled Syria and issued his fatwa against the regime. Sheikh al-Ya’qoubi represents the kind of moderate, traditional Islam that most Syrians are familiar with, the Islam challenged by both the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafists. Though taking an unambiguous stance against the regime’s violence, injustice, and terror, he also continues to exert his influence encouraging rebels to avoid terrorism through fatwas condemning tactics such as car-bombings, kidnapping, landmines, the killing of prisoners, and violence against non-combatants politically aligned with the regime. Sheikh al-Ya’qoubi has combatted the fatwas of extremist clerics who have called for the targeted sectarian killing of Alawite women and children by issuing his own fatwas prohibiting the killing of civilians of the Alawite minority. He maintains a very clear position defending the rights of all minorities, including those condemned by extremists as heterodox.

Sheikh al-Ya’qoubi also differs with the Islamist agenda to “Islamize” Syria’s laws. The Muslim Brotherhood and Salafist groups promote a kind of activism that seeks to implement a greater degree of Islamic law in the state. The growing use of “Islamic law” by Jabhat al-Nusra and other Islamist groups in territory controlled by rebels likely prompted the announcement by Mu’az al-Khatib of an effort to introduce a “code” of Islamic law sanctioned by the opposition that the rebels could implement—an apparent attempt to assuage this desire manifesting in a stampede toward “shari’a” while ensuring that such a law would be relatively moderate. Where does Sheikh al-Ya’qoubi stand on this issue? He thinks Syria’s current family laws are just fine, and are already sufficiently compatible with the shari’a. He also believes that legal reform should not be pursued before a constitutionally-based committee can be formed which would tackle any needed changes, after the regime has fallen and a new Syrian government has been created.

Despite being well-known in Syria and playing an important role in the history of the uprising, Sheikh al-Ya’qoubi and other Sufi ‘ulema like him have been excluded from the political opposition. Desperation following the slow, groaning crisis of the opposition’s ineffectiveness, as well as fears that figures like al-Ya’qoubi may band together and form an alternative opposition have led to his appointment to the National Coalition, following a letter he drafted to Mu’az al-Khatib, signed by 25 Sufi sheikhs and containing an ultimatum about the need for their participation in the political process.

One obvious question is: what level of real influence will the Sheikh have? Does his participation mark the beginning of a trend, or will he merely be the NC’s token member of the ‘ulema?

In addition to having already played an important role throughout the uprising, Sheikh al-Ya’qoubi and other Sufi leaders have been building influence lately, working together for about six months to form an umbrella organization for rebel groups comprised of Sunnis and Sufis aligned with Syria’s mainstream values, rather than Islamist agendas. The organization is called the Movement for Building Civilization. He and his peers have produced a charter document which rebels groups can sign, pledging agreement with a set of foundational principles, including:

  1. Removing the regime while not destroying the state—protecting public institutions;
  2. The rejection of revenge, retaliation, and execution during the uprising, keeping the trials of war criminals for after the collapse of the regime and the establishment of a new government;
  3. After the collapse of the regime, rebel groups should cease to carry arms and their members should return to civilian life or join the national army;
  4. All ethnic and religious communities are to be defended as equal citizens under the law;
  5. No ethnic or religious group is to be held responsible for the crimes of the regime;
  6. A future Syrian government must operate according to a separation of judicial, legislative, and executive powers;
  7. The future government must be a democracy of political multiplicity and the 1950 Constitution should be in effect during the interim period until a new parliament is elected and a new constitution is agreed upon.

Many young sheikhs who joined the Syrian uprising are frustrated with their lack of options regarding conservative political movements to be aligned with. The three main options are Salafis, Hezb al-Tahrir, and Muslim Brotherhood movements, none of which well-represent mainstream Syrian Sunnis who look for the legitimacy of ‘ulema leadership. This concern was a primary motivation for the creation of the Movement for Building Civilization. Al-Ya’qoubi and the sheikhs he works with are in contact with over 200 rebel groups who consult them regarding principles, goals, and methods, but many of these groups are disillusioned with the inability of the Sufi and ‘ulema leadership to offer them any kind of practical monetary support. Lacking funding, groups that would like to follow moderate figures of the ‘ulema will remain vulnerable to recruitment by Islamist forces.

The formation of a Sufi bloc within the opposition could provide an alternative to the Muslim Brotherhood, one that would represent far greater numbers of Syrians. Sheikh Ya’qoubi has stated that he supports a government in which the Muslim Brotherhood can operate, but that he opposes a monopoly of any one faction. He told me in a recent conversation: “We may have to deal with an Ikhwaani prime minister in the future Syria. That is democracy. But the real question is: will the government be of all one color, or will it be inclusive?”

There’s no question about which demographic will win this war: the next power in Syria will be Sunni. And the question goes beyond “how big” a Sunni win will occur. The real question is: which Sunni group’s brand of Islam will define the political paradigm of the new state? The influence of ‘ulema who respect Syria’s diversity, promote a tolerant social sphere, and support an inclusive government structure will be extremely important in the nation’s future, and the international community should be in conversation with them.


Addendum: see the following post for an update on how Yaqoubi, though confirmed as a new member of the NC, subsequently had his appointment reversed at an opposition conference in Istanbul.

Comments (454)

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401. revenire said:

Seen on Twitter: “The so-called ‘Syrian National Coalition’ doesn’t really have to convene, since all the decisions are made by the US. SNC only reads them.”

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May 27th, 2013, 12:46 am


402. ann said:

George Sabra’s Al-Qaeda Friends Admit To The Kidnapping

“Syrian Rebels” Says Kidnapped Arch Bishops OK – May 26, 2013

The two Orthodox Bishops, Yohanna Ibrahim and Boulos Yaziji, who were kidnapped at the end of April, reportedly near the town of Kafr Dael, near Aleppo in northern Syria, are good in health as an official of the Syrian opposition said in Istanbul, without being able to give any news on their whereabouts.

“Two or three days ago, a doctor visited the two bishops. They are in good health,” said Abdul Ahad Steipho, member of the main opposition’s National Coalition and of its committee established to follow up on the kidnappings. That was on May 16.

Steipho said that the committees’ efforts to communicate with the bishops by telephone failed. He also said: “We are receiving a lot of contradictory information on the identity of the kidnappers and their demands for ransom.”


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May 27th, 2013, 12:49 am


403. ann said:

Syrian troops advance in al-Qussair city, killing 50: report – 2013-05-27

• Syria’s government troops continued to advance in al-Qussair Sunday, killing 50 rebels
• Clashes were still going on in the southern part of al-Qussair
• Army seized road connecting al- Daba’a military airport with al-Qussair, cutting off all rebels supply lines

DAMASCUS, May 26 (Xinhua) — Syria’s government troops continued to advance in the strategic city of al-Qussair on Sunday, killing 50 rebels, pro-government Sham FM reported.

The troops regained the al-Hamidieh town in northern al-Qussair on Sunday, while clashes were still going on in the southern part of al-Qussair, where violent and decisive battles have been raging on for over a week already.

Also in al-Qussair, the army fully seized the eastern entrance of the city’s northern neighborhood and the road connecting al- Daba’a military airport with the city, cutting off all supply lines of the rebels, according to the report.

The army dismantled tens of explosive devices planted by the rebels along public roads and residential buildings in the focal point city, demolished many trenches in the area, and also destroyed a number of dens in al-Haidariya, Arjoun, al-Dhabaa villages in the countryside of al-Qussair.

The pan-Arab al-Mayadeen TV placed the overall number of rebels currently fighting against the government troops in al-Qussair at 3,000.


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May 27th, 2013, 12:49 am


404. revenire said:

Dave where are your two favorite videos? For the past 3-4 weeks you’ve posted them 2-3 times a day. What happened? Slowing down?

C’mon Dave!

Free Palestine (except you won’t lift a finger to do so and are against the ONLY Arab nation that has fought for Palestine), Free Syria (already free), Bahrain is Arab forever (keep the Shia out right ‘non-sectarian’ Dave?)!

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May 27th, 2013, 12:58 am


405. ann said:

Rand Paul: Senate Is Arming Al-Qaeda and Rushing to War in Syria – 25 May 2013

“This is an important moment. You will be funding, today, the allies of al Qaeda”

That was the declaration Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.; pictured) made on May 21 during a hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Paul’s comments were directed at his colleagues, nearly all of whom voted to send arms to Syrian rebels.

Senators Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) co-sponsored the bill that authorizes “critical support to the Syrian opposition through provision of military assistance, training, and additional humanitarian support.”

The bill sailed through the committee, passing with bipartisan support by a vote of 15-3.

Senator Paul offered two amendments to the bill — officially styled the Syria Transition Support Act — one that would have forbidden the transfer of weapons to the rebel forces fighting to oust the government of current Syrian president Bashar al-Asad, and another that would have prevented the use of U.S. military armed forces in Syria.

Both of Paul’s amendments were rejected by the committee.

Apart from supplying lethal and non-lethal weaponry to Syrian opposition forces, the Menendez-Corker bill contains several other regime-toppling provisions, all of which are boastfully reported by Mendendez on his website. They include:

• “Creation of a $250 million transition fund each year through FY2015 drawn from funds otherwise appropriated for regional transition support”;

• “Sanctions on arms and oil sales to Assad: Targeting any person that the President of the United States determines has knowingly participated in or facilitated a transaction related to the sale or transfer of military equipment, arms, petroleum, or petroleum products to the Assad regime.”; and

• “Amendment to the Syria Accountability Act: To allow for sanctions removal once a transitional government is in place and certain terrorism and WMD criteria have been met.”

Neither Paul’s warnings nor his amendments were enough to counteract the powerful politicians pushing to arm the Syrian rebels. A cadre of lawmakers from seemingly distinct bands of the political spectrum lined up behind the move to add Syria to the list of Middle Eastern countries with U.S.-approved ruling parties. As in the case of Iraq and Afghanistan, these dictators-in-waiting will walk a path to power paved with American money and likely covered in the blood of American soldiers.

Senator Corker tried striking a less hostile tone, arguing that arming rebels vetted by Congress — as called for in his bill — would prevent U.S. weaponry from being funneled into more radical segments of the coalition of anti-Asad armed forces.

Seing through Corker’s false dilemma, Paul responded, saying, “It’s impossible to know who our friends are.” He later said that the vote was nothing more than a “rush to war.”

In an exclusive interview with The New American, Senator Paul pointed out the irony in the fact that the original Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) enacted after September 11, 2001 called for finding and destroying al-Qaeda, while the legislation passed on May 21 by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee would arm known associates of that very organization.

“These people [Syrian rebels] will say they love America knowing that that’s how to get weapons. They lie to us and then shoot us in the back,” Paul explained.

Another bit of irony apparently lost on 15 members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is the fact that the United States has walked this road before. In the 1980s, Congress voted to arm militant Islamic forces under the pretext that the enemy of our enemy was our friend. Then, within 20 years, the very beneficiaries of U.S. military largesse in Afghanistan seized control of that country and reportedly sheltered and trained the men who carried out the attacks of September 11.

One wonders how (or if) the Senate fails to appreciate the destruction that will surely come from once again sowing the wind and reaping the whirlwind that comes from arming those who would do us harm. Some senators, however, seemed determined to deploy troops in every corner of the planet, regardless of the fact these young men and women could be killed by militants armed with weapons supplied by their very own government.

Rand Paul has been banging another drum, however. During the hearings on the attack on the American mission in Benghazi, Libya, Paul brought up the possibility that the Obama administration was covering up the existence of a gun running pipeline running throughout the Middle East.

Paul, in fact, tried to get answers to these questions from then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during the Senate’s investigation of the Benghazi raid that left four people dead, including U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens. Addressing Secretary Clinton, Paul asked directly, “Is the U. S. involved with any procuring of weapons, transfer of weapons, buying, selling, anyhow transferring weapons to Turkey out of Libya?”

Clinton demurred, claiming that she’d never heard about that allegation.

Undaunted, Paul continued, “It’s been in news reports that ships have been leaving from Libya and that may have weapons, and what I’d like to know is the annex that was close by, were they involved with procuring, buying, selling, obtaining weapons, and were any of these weapons being transferred to other countries, any countries, Turkey included?”

Always the savvy politician, Clinton responded, “Well, Senator, you’ll have to direct that question to the agency that ran the annex. I will see what information is available.”

“You’re saying you don’t know?” asked Paul.

“I do not know,” Clinton said. “I don’t have any information on that.”

Americans have a right to know, however, who’s receiving millions in tax dollars taken from them.

A Reuters article from last August, which detailed a secret order signed by President Obama providing support to Syrian rebel forces opposing the regime of Bashar al-Assad, noted, “Recent news reports from the region have suggested that the influence and numbers of Islamist militants, some of them connected to al Qaeda or its affiliates, have been growing among Assad’s opponents.”

Later, The New American covered the same story, writing that “Western governments, brutal Sunni-Arab dictatorships, an assortment of terror groups including al-Qaeda, and other powerful interests have all been backing the uprising since long before violence even broke out last year.”

In a story covering the violence of the Syrian uprising, the BBC added credibility to the accusations:

The al-Qaeda-styled group in Syria is Jabhat al-Nusra li-Ahl al-Sham (the Front for the Protection of the Syrian People).

Like other al-Qaeda affiliated groups, al-Nusra’s statements and videos are usually issued by its own media group, al-Manara al-Baida (the White Minaret) in Syria.

Al-Nusra has claimed responsibility for several attacks against the Syrian army, security and shabiha (state-sponsored thugs) since it announced its formation early this year.

Finally, under a headline reading “Al-Qaida turns tide for rebels in battle for eastern Syria,” the Guardian (U.K.) reported:

They try to hide their presence. “Some people are worried about carrying the [black] flags,” said Abu Khuder. “They fear America will come and fight us. So we fight in secret. Why give Bashar and the west a pretext?” But their existence is common knowledge in Mohassen. Even passers-by joke with the men about car bombs and IEDs [improvised explosive devices].

According to Abu Khuder, his men are working closely with the military council that commands the Free Syrian Army brigades in the region. “We meet almost every day,” he said. “We have clear instructions from our [al-Qaida] leadership that if the FSA need our help we should give it. We help them with IEDs and car bombs. Our main talent is in the bombing operations.” Abu Khuder’s men had a lot of experience in bomb-making from Iraq and elsewhere, he added.


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May 27th, 2013, 1:07 am


406. revenire said:

حزب الله يودع شهدائه | 26-05-2013 | البقاع – بعلبك – الضاحية – القصر

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May 27th, 2013, 1:16 am


407. Ziad said:

REV #403

When Dave says Free Palestine, he is calling for it to be free of its Arab citizens.

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May 27th, 2013, 1:18 am


408. revenire said:

Ha ha Dave told me Israel wants Assad to remain in power. Well, they have a funny way of showing it.

I guess that makes Hezbollah and Israel allies – they both want Assad to remain in power.

Ha ha.

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May 27th, 2013, 1:38 am


409. ann said:

Iran begins ‘massive’ deployment of long-range missile launchers – May 26, 2013

As the Islamic Republic of Iran prepares for presidential elections next month it is fielding a “massive” number of new long-range missile launchers, Iranian media reported on Sunday.

Defense Minister Gen. Ahmad Vahidi was quoted as saying the new weapon systems give Iranian forces the ability to “crush the enemy” with the simultaneous launching of long-range surface-to-surface missiles, according to Fars, the semi-official Iranian news agency.

The report did not specify the type of missile that would be fired, or provide details on the number of launchers allegedly deployed.

Iran’s military does possess surface-to-surface missiles that are capable of traveling over 2,000 kilometers (1,200 miles), able to reach of targets inside Israel and US bases in the region.

Vahidi did not specify who was the “enemy,” and emphasized that Iran would never start a war.

Although Tehran occasionally announces military achievements that cannot be independently verified – like the claim it developed a state-of-the-art stealth drone capable of evading enemy radar – they come in the face of relentless external pressure.

Only last year, as the United Nations slapped Tehran with another round of harsh sanctions, Iran threatened to shut down the Strait of Hormuz, through which 18 million barrels of oil flows every day – roughly 35 percent of the world’s total. Any disruption of this supply route would have a huge impact on oil prices, and by extension the global economy.

The stand-off resulted in a tense military parade as the US sent three full US carrier groups, each accompanied by dozens of support vessels and carrying more aircraft than the entire Iranian air force, to participate in the Hormuz exercises. Tehran watched with apprehension as the fleet came and went.


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May 27th, 2013, 1:40 am


410. revenire said:

SNC meeting has fallen apart, begs the question Assad always poses: who would Syria negotiate with?

Syrian opposition shake-up falters ahead of peace conference

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May 27th, 2013, 2:03 am


411. ann said:

Published on May 23, 2013

إعتراف خطير من فتاة حول جهاد النكاح

Nouvelle fréquence de TunisnaTV sur NileSat 7W/10922/V/27500
Rejoignez nous sur :

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May 27th, 2013, 2:17 am


412. majoos said:

You guys shouldn t spent your times arguing or even moving on Dave and Tara, there are just here to distract you from the real issues, probb. working on a low scale for security services.
What you should rather ask yourself is why didn t Russia step in in 2011 and protect the Syrian-Turkish border?
They could have just announced som sort of an Defence Alliance with Syria which would ve stoped Erdogan from setting up training camps at the border and …

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May 27th, 2013, 3:18 am


413. SANDRO LOEWE said:

Ali Ferzat at the Oslo Freedom Forum 2013

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May 27th, 2013, 4:46 am


414. Juergen said:

Le Monde journalists stayed in Syria for 4 months and collected evidence for the usage of chemical warfare by the regime against rebel controlled areas

Chemical warfare in Syria

“In the second half of April, gas attacks became almost a strange kind of routine in Jobar. On the front lines, the rebels of the Free Syrian Army got used to keeping their gas masks beside them. They held regular eye-washing sessions and had syringes ready with a special serum. The aim of the attacks seemed to be essentially tactical at this stage – an attempt to destablise rebel units in areas where government soldiers have been unable to dislodge them, and at the same time a test. If Syrian army forces could dare to use chemical weapons in their own capital without setting off a serious international reaction, would that not be an invitation to pursue the experiment a bit further? So far, cases of the use of gas have not be isolated. The only ophthamologist in the region, who was trained abroad, sees patients in a small hospital in Sabha which he prefers not to identify. He said he had seen 150 people affected by gas in the space of two weeks. Near the zones most exposed to gas, he has organized a system of showers so that rebel fighters exposed to chemical products can wash and change clothes to avoid contaminating health workers at clinics.”

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May 27th, 2013, 6:03 am


415. Dawoud said:

Another Syrian regime’s chemical attack? Do Bashar the murderous dictator need any more reasons to call him war criminal? NO

Free Syria, Free Palestine, End the terrorist occupation of al-Qasir by the terrorist invaders from Lebanon’s Shia Hizbass!

Syria fighting rages amid reports of chemical attacks

(Reuters) – Heavy fighting raged on Monday around the strategic border town of Qusair and the capital Damascus, amid renewed reports of chemical weapons attacks by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces.

Opposition activists said Syrian troops backed by Lebanese Hezbollah fighters were advancing in areas around Qusair, pressing a sustained assault on a town long used by rebels as a way station for arms and other supplies from Lebanon.

For Assad, Qusair is a crucial link between Damascus and loyalist strongholds on the Mediterranean coast. Recapturing the town, in central Homs province, could also sever connections between rebel-held areas in the north and south of Syria.

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May 27th, 2013, 9:04 am


416. dawoud said:

Evidence of Syrian regime’s criminal use of chemical weapons! What the fuc$ happened to Obama’s “red line?”

شاهدان يؤكدان استخدام سوريا أسلحة كيمياوية

أكد مراسلان لصحيفة لوموند الفرنسية كانا في عين المكان، أن الجيش السوري استخدم أسلحة كيمياوية ضد مقاتلي المعارضة في ضواحي دمشق خلال شهري أبريل/نيسان ومارس/آذار الماضيين، ونشرت الصحيفة شهادتهما.

وقال المراسل جان فيليب ريمي إنه كان مع زميله “شاهدين لعدة أيام متتالية” على استعمال متفجرات كيمياوية، ورأيا مفعولها على مقاتلي المعارضة على جبهة حي جوبر الواقع عند مدخل دمشق والذي دخلته المعارضة في يناير/كانون الثاني الماضي، حسب الشاهد.

وشاهد المصور لوران فان درستوك يوم 13 أبريل/نيسان الماضي كيف أن المقاتلين “بدؤوا يسعلون ثم وضعوا أقنعة واقية من الغاز ببطء” فسّره المصور بتأثير الغاز. وقال “جلس بعض الرجال القرفصاء وهم يختنقون ويتقيؤون”.

وجمع الصحفيان شهادات عن استعمال تلك المواد “في محيط أوسع بكثير” من حول العاصمة السورية.

ووصف مقاتلون وطبيب في تسجيل فيديو صوره فان درستوك وهو منشور على موقع لوموند الإلكتروني، الأعراض التي تتسبب فيها تلك المواد، وهي عبارة عن صعوبة في التنفس وصداع وضيق في حدقة العين مع الغثيان، و”إذا لم يعالج الأمر مباشرة فهو الموت” كما شرح طبيب طلب إخفاء هويته بمستشفى الفاتح في كفرطنا بالغوطة.

وأكد تقرير الصحفيين نقلا عن أطباء أن عينات أخذت من بعض الضحايا ويجري تحليلها حاليا.

وكتب ريمي أن “الغازات المستعملة على الجبهات تستخدم من حين لآخر تفاديا لانتشارها بكثافة، مما قد يشكل أدلة دامغة”، غير أن النظام السوري ينفي استعماله أسلحة كيمياوية.

وقد استند تقرير الصحفيين إلى “مصدر غربي حسن الاطلاع” أفاد بأن السلطات السورية تلجأ -من أجل التعمية- إلى “خلط مواد مثل الغازات المدمعة ليصعب التعرف على طبيعة المواد المستعملة عبر ملاحظة الأعراض”.

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May 27th, 2013, 9:09 am


417. zoo said:

The ‘love ‘ for Qatar expressed by Egypt song with a large orchestra

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May 27th, 2013, 9:16 am


418. Dawoud said:

Le Monde’s investigation of Syrian regime’s usage of chemical weapons.

videos pictures after clicking on the link:

Chemical warfare in Syria
Le | 27.05.2013 à 05h58 • Mis à jour le 27.05.2013 à 10h49

eporters for Le Monde spent two months clandestinely in the Damascus area alongside Syrian rebels. They describe the extent of the Syrian tragedy, the intensity of the fighting, the humanitarian drama. On the scene during chemical weapons attacks, they bear witness to the use of toxic arms by the government of Bashar al-Assad.

Jobar, Syria, by our special correspondent, Jean-Philippe Rémy

A chemical attack on the Jobar front, on the outskirts of the Syrian capital, doesn’t look like anything much at first. It’s not spectacular. Above all, it’s not detectable. And that’s the aim: by the time the rebel fighters of the Free Syrian Army who have penetrated furthest into Damascus understand that they’ve been exposed to chemical products by government forces, it’s too late. No matter which type of gas is used, it has already produced its effects, only a few hundred meters from residential areas of the Syrian capital.
At first, there is only a little sound, a metallic ping, almost a click. And in the confusion of daily combat in Jobar’s Bahra 1 sector, this sound didn’t catch the attention of the fighters of the Tahrir al-Sham (‘Liberation of Syria’) Brigade. ‘We thought it was a mortar that didn’t explode, and no one really paid attention to it,’ said Omar Haidar, chief of operations of the brigade, which holds this forward position less than 500 meters from Abbasid Square.

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May 27th, 2013, 9:17 am


420. zoo said:

As the opposition meeting is a disaster and the EU has not agreed on stopping the weapons embargo to rebels , the “chemical” and ‘human rights’ pop up again from France and Qatar as desperate distractions.
Big yawn….

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May 27th, 2013, 9:45 am


421. Tara said:

One more casualty of HA.  She could very well died from indiscriminate shelling of HA.

Syrian TV reporter killed covering conflict
Government blames death of Yara Abbas, war correspondent for state-owned Al-Ikhbariya, on rebel attack in Qusayr.

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May 27th, 2013, 11:07 am


424. revenire said:

More chemical weapons stories? Yawn.

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May 27th, 2013, 11:30 am


425. revenire said:

For all the cannibal fans: there will be no lifting of the arms embargo on Al-Qaeda. It takes unanimous consent of all 27 EU members.

God is great.

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May 27th, 2013, 11:35 am


426. Dawoud said:


Bahrain bans political groups from contacting Hezbollah
Gulf state’s foreign minister brands Nasrallah a ‘terrorist’ after Hezbollah leader proclaimed that his fighters would help deliver victory for Syria’s Assad
Published: 05.27.13, 18:01

Bahrain on Monday banned political groups from making any contact with Lebanese movement Hezbollah, a day after the Gulf Arab state’s foreign minister called the head of the Shiite Muslim group a “terrorist.”

The move reflected sectarian tensions within Bahrain and across the Sunni Muslim-dominated Gulf region stoked since 2011 by Syria’s civil war, and exacerbated further after Hezbollah’s leader openly acknowledged it was fighting on Syrian President Bashar Assad’s side against mainly Sunni rebels.

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May 27th, 2013, 11:47 am


427. Ziad said:

آخر تقرير للشهيدة يارا عباس – حماة الديار يلاحقون فلول الارهاب في القصير

She was killed by an FSA sniper on her way from Qusair to Homs.

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May 27th, 2013, 11:48 am


428. Dawoud said:

So, Hizbass through its al-Mayadeen propaganda outlet (and one three-lettered named SC commentator) claimed that a missile was launched from the Hizbass-occupied Lebanon toward Israeli colonies. We now know that this was false because Hizbass only wants war with fellow Arabs (that’s if Hizbass considers itself Arab not Iranian) who can’t defend themselves. Only a distraction so Arabs think that Hizbass is a “resistance” movement.

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May 27th, 2013, 11:52 am


429. revenire said:

It is sickening to see those who claim to be for freedom cheer the death of a reporter.

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May 27th, 2013, 11:52 am


430. Tara said:

دجال المقاومة the Iranian boy

نصرالله يقاتل الى جانب نظام قاتل ومجرم

He rushed to use the Palestinian cause sensing that his credibility is lost.  No one in the Arab world bought his speech yesterday.  He represents the chief thug of a sectarian militia that does not acknowledge the Lebanese government, the Lebanese army or any one else.  How could HA be part of the political body in Lebanon when his allegiance is to Iran?  

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May 27th, 2013, 11:54 am


431. Dawoud said:

424. Ziad

I heard that she was killed by one of Hizbass indiscriminate shells. I also heard that she had been subjected to repeated sexual harassment by the Hizbass occupying terrorists in al-Qasir.

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May 27th, 2013, 11:55 am


432. revenire said:

Dave can you share where you heard that from? Or is that Top Secret?

I don’t believe you and I say you’re lying. How would anyone know such things?

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May 27th, 2013, 12:08 pm


433. revenire said:

Tara I will relay your message to Sayyed Nasrallah. I am quite sure he is very concerned with your opinions of the Resistance.

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May 27th, 2013, 12:09 pm


434. Ziad said:

Qatar seeks to send Yemen’s military elite to fight alongside the Free Syrian Army

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May 27th, 2013, 12:29 pm


435. Ziad said:

Obama: Defending the Indefensible, Heckled during Speech: ‘Will you apologize to Muslims you’ve killed?’

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May 27th, 2013, 12:41 pm


436. zoo said:

Sounds familiar. It was expected after Erdogan’s business trip in Saudi Arabia.

Hezbullah should change its name to ‘Hezb-evil’, Turkish Deputy PM

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May 27th, 2013, 12:55 pm


437. DAWOUD said:

Yes, it should change its name form Hizbass to Hizb-evil! This Lebanese Shia terrorist party is EVIL

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May 27th, 2013, 1:01 pm


438. zoo said:

#429 Revenire

Like most of the anti-Assad, Dave has a wild imagination and an acute sense of persecution.

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May 27th, 2013, 1:06 pm


439. zoo said:

Tensions build over coalition
Monday 27 May 2013

The developing crisis in the Syrian opposition ranks deepened today when a Western and Arab-backed bloc was offered only token representation in the Islamist-dominated Syrian National Coalition.

To the dismay of the Western and Arab nations which had been attempting to manipulate four days of opposition talks in Istanbul to reduce the Islamist influence, the 60-member coalition thwarted a deal to admit a bloc headed by opposition campaigner Michel Kilo, described as a “Marxist secularist” with up to 22 new seats.

His group received an offer of only five seats after a session that stretched nearly to dawn.

Mr Kilo said: “We were talking about 25 names as the basis for negotiations, then there was agreement on 22, then the number dropped to 20, then to 18, to 15, then to five.

“I do not think you have a desire to co-operate and hold our extended hand. We wish you all the best.

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May 27th, 2013, 1:12 pm


440. Tara said:

I find it an infantile argument to dismiss the revolution supporters categorically as having some sort of mental problem. Would the regime and its supporters ever grow up?

Had the regime acknowledged from day one the legit calls of the Syrian people for freedom and dignity and not tried to morph it into a cosmic conspiracy, we would not have gotten here.

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May 27th, 2013, 1:17 pm


441. zoo said:

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May 27th, 2013, 1:18 pm


442. majoos said:

Two points to reconsider for every1:

1. Erdogan is as Barzani a devout member of the Naqshabandi Sufi Order, whose chief “Sheik” Nazim proclaimed that “King” Hüsseyin should be the next Khalifa.

2. Even though Salafi/Walafi preachers ask “Muslims” to shave their mustaches, Qatars “King” as the Saudi “King” do otherwise.
Kind of reminds me of catholic priests who wear a kippa in church and ask regular christans to take of their headgear.

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May 27th, 2013, 1:21 pm


443. revenire said:

The chemical weapons story is so boring now. Everyone knows this is a pretext for intervention. It is ridiculous.

Dave has proven himself less than honest over and over. He is sectarian to the extreme. He could not back up his wild claims about Palestinians. His news sources are most often the Saudis and Qataris.

Tara many would describe your beliefs as delusional regarding Syria.

I have no proof that anyone supporting Al-Qaeda/Nusra is mentally ill but to support cannibals you would have to be crazy wouldn’t you? Sane people don’t stand with beheaders and liver-eaters.

The war continues. 🙂

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May 27th, 2013, 1:22 pm


444. Tara said:


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May 27th, 2013, 1:47 pm


445. zoo said:


I guess the puppets shamefully fighting in Istanbul about choosing between Qatar or KSA as their main boss and puppeteer, are really only concerned by the ‘freedom and dignity’ of the Syrians…

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May 27th, 2013, 1:48 pm


446. majoos said:

Some commentators are obviously afraid to get dizzy when looking behind their nose.
First rule in Middle-East politics is to assume always the exact opposite of what your are told! There is no enmity between Assad, Erdogan, Netanyahu, Abdallah, Ahmadinajad, Nasrallah, Thani,,,,
There are all united in their stance of dividing and suppressing the people.
There s nothing as false or right religious!

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May 27th, 2013, 1:52 pm


447. majoos said:

It s also interessting how Europe s salafi group were bolstered up by many converts some of them, like Pierre Vogel or Sven Lau are now considered as the leaders of this movenment in Germany. As soon as 2006 they got prominently presented in Germany´s leading talk shows.
For most of the muslim community it s more than evident that they are working for the German interior secret service, whose sole purpose is to raise hatred and rage against Germanies/Europes Muslim communities.

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May 27th, 2013, 2:07 pm


448. majoos said:

wiki quote: Graham Fuller
After government
Fuller left the CIA in 1988 for the RAND Corporation, remaining as a senior political scientist until 2000.[8][10]
An active author and media spokesman, Fuller is an adjunct history professor at Simon Fraser University.[10]
After the Boston Marathon bombings, it was revealed that Fuller’s daughter Samantha Ankara Fuller was married to Ruslan Tsarnaev (Tsarni), the terrorists’ uncle.[15]

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May 27th, 2013, 2:09 pm


449. Ilya said:

Here its now USA openly supporting terrorists

McCain visits rebels in Syria
Sen. John McCain visited rebels in Syria on Monday, his communications director confirmed to CNN, making the Arizona Republican the highest ranking elected official from the United States to visit the war-torn country.

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May 27th, 2013, 2:12 pm


450. Hopeful said:

So Hizballah is now fighting foreign jihadis in Syria which is bearly surviving economically through financial support fom Iran, and politically though aid from Russia, all the while a US congressman enters Syria without the knowledge of the Syrian government.

So much for sovereignty and independence Mr. Assad. Supporters, why the hell are you still hanging your hopes on this loser of a leader? what a joke!

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May 27th, 2013, 2:35 pm


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