Syrian Social Nationalist Party (SSNP) and the War in Syria

 By Jesse J. McDonald

The larger and more influential groups fighting in Syria have garnered much media attention for all the obvious reasons.  However, one organization is sparsely mentioned considering it has existed since 1932[1].  This party is the Syrian Social Nationalist Party (SSNP).  Members do not come from one religious background (although often portrayed as a Christian organization).  Members are not technically fighting for the Ba’ath party to indefinitely remain in power.  Members are not involved to protect the interest of powerful foreign governments.  Members also are not participating on the conviction of any divine religious mandate.  So what are individuals in the SSNP fighting for in Syria?  In order to grasp the SSNP’s outlook and motivation to join the Syrian conflict one must take a closer diagnosis of the party’s beginning stages as well as its founder.  A full analysis of the SSNP’s history however is beyond the scope of this article since much is widely known.  Nevertheless, I will attempt to provide a brief background in order for the reader to gain a perspective of the party’s views regarding the Syrian nation and how they fit into the current battle.  The preceding section will shed light on their relationship with the Syrian Ba’ath regime followed by some of the SSNP’s recent military activities in Syria and what this could entail looking to the future.

Founded in 1932 by Antoun Saadeh, a Greek Orthodox Christian from just outside Beirut[2], he felt that a long history of subservience to foreign occupation and intellectual and economic decadence had left a population with no direction, no true self -identity and no belief in self-worth.  The SSNP’s ideology is thoroughly secular (their first reform principle calls for the separation of religion and state) so consequently they are not as concerned with various religious affiliations or ethnicities.  The elimination of social barriers between the various sects and creeds is a basic principle of the SSNP.  Saadeh wrote a letter from prison in 1935 emphasizing this point by saying the SSNP is united in a single faith- “Syria for the Syrians.”[3]  National loyalty should surpass and supersede religious and ethnic loyalties and affiliations.  The party therefore, Saadeh wrote, is not based on the principle of xenophobia but on the principle of social nationalism.  This nationalist ideology is based neither on Islam nor on Arabism.  Hence, minority groups in Syria and Lebanon were immediately attracted to their message.

 

ssnp flag

There are four fundamental pillars to the SSNP’s nation- freedom, duty, organization, and power- which are symbolized by the four pointers on their flag.[4]

Nevertheless, the SSNP found it difficult to gain more power and influence over the years in both Lebanon and Syria.  The death of Antoun Saadeh in 1949 certainly diminished the cogency of the SSNP considering his personality and literary accomplishments created a cult-like following.[5]  This setback is also partially due to its ideological outlook in a region populated predominantly by Arab Muslims and the politicking of nationalism by those ruling in the two abovementioned countries.  Syria in particular has had in the Ba’ath regime not only a competing ideology for the hearts of minorities but also has been more successful at drawing Sunni’s into its orbit.

The SSNP has a long history of opposition to the Ba’ath Party and over the decades has suffered the consequences.  The party was only recently legalized again in 2005 (banned in 1955) under Bashar al-Assad’s “reformation” and integrated into the “National Progressive Front.”  In fact, the leader of the SSNP in Syria- Ali Haidar- is the Syrian Minister of State for National Reconciliation Affairs.[6]  However, tensions came to a boiling point in 1955 when an SSNP member shot and killed Lieutenant Colonel ‘Adnan al-Maliki, a leading Ba’athist and one of the most powerful officers in the Syrian army.  The killing of al-Maliki created a bitter atmosphere between the two parties and witnessed thousands of SSNP members sent to prison.  One SSNP affiliated Facebook page last November honored those party members who suffered in Syrian jails after the killing of al-Maliki claiming they were falsely accused.  Interestingly, this post first pays respect to Hafez al-Assad and reiterates how Bashar has now strengthened their presence.

 

 

ssnp 2

Picture from an SSNP Facebook post praising the Assad’s and honoring those who went to prison after the assassination of al-Maliki. One can clearly notice the pictures of Bashar with SSNP flags

The breaking up of the United Arab Republic (UAR) between Syria and Egypt in 1961 harnessed certain elements of the Syrian Ba’ath regime to focus more on Syria and less on the Arab world.  Those adhering to the latter were pan-Arab nationalists of the old-guard Ba’ath leadership under Michel Aflaq, while those in the former, placing an emphasis on Syria, became known as regionalists (Neo-Ba’ath).  The Assad’s fall into the regionalist camp-an important point when analyzing the close cooperation currently displayed between Bashar’s government and the SSNP.  Such close support is not surprising considering both parties offer a similar set of attractions to roughly the same constituency.  In particular, secularism, which attracts minorities but also appeals to pockets of upper class elites (in this case the Sunni merchant class).

Although the SSNP’s ideology of “Greater Syria” and the Ba’athist outlook on pan-Arabism clashed, the two sides also intimately worked together at times.  Asaad Harden, who is the leader of the SSNP in Lebanon, stated at a conference in 2008 honoring his new leadership position the following, “Our party has found in Damascus the beating heart of the nation…we call on all great Lebanese to realize the truth of the positive role of Syria in preserving Lebanese unity and Arabism.”[7]  In addition, leader of the SSNP in Homs, Nouhad Samaan recently said, “In response to the current high tide of sectarian intolerance, our party decided to cooperate with the (Syrian) government.”[8]  Closer cooperation materialized significantly when both parties softened the tone of their messages.  The SSNP found it useful to ease their criticism of Arabism while the Ba’ath party embraced Syrian nationalism more at the expense of the larger Arab world.  One clear example addressing this originates from an early SSNP pamphlet written by Saadeh stating, “Those who believe that the Syrian Social Nationalist Party seeks Syria’s withdrawal from the Arab world, because they do not distinguish between Syrian national awakening and the pan-Arab cause, are grossly mistaken.  We shall never relinquish our position in the Arab world, nor our mission to the Arab world.”[9]  For now, differences have not gotten in the way of their similarities, even if tentative at times, and this is in large part due to the so-called Islamic State’s advances.  Which brings us to today.

The threats posed by jihadists in Syria strikes at the SSNP’s ideological core.  Any attempts to fracture, divide, or invade the nation will be met with deep hostility from the organization.  Jihadists and their foreign backers are the antithesis of what the SSNP’s vision of an independent Syria represents.  Syrians are suddenly being gathered together by religious affiliations or ethnic groups.  On top of this one can further split depending on which end of the spectrum their religious zeal swings.  Foreigners are beholden to their home countries or wealthy donors.  Ultimately, in the eyes of the SSNP, identity is lost.  In Antoun Saadeh’s first major policy address delivered to members of the SSNP he said, “Every member of the Syrian Social Nationalist Party feels that he is being liberated from foreign hegemony and external dominating factors.”[10]  Consequently, the SSNP once again finds itself fighting alongside the Assad government to confront what they view as an existential threat to the unity of Syria and the Syrian people.  For the leaders of the SSNP, the emphasis was on the nation (Syria) and her independence.  Hence their slogan- “survival of the nation.”

The SSNP is no stranger to armed conflicts.  The party was very active during the Lebanese civil war and in addition to fighting the Phalangists on behalf of the Assad government[11], SSNP fighters also engaged Israeli troops stationed in Lebanon with deadly suicide missions.  This may come as a surprise considering many might not associate suicide bombings with secular (in the SSNP’s case also largely Christian) organizations.  However, the SSNP claimed responsibility for eight of the eighteen suicide bombings directed against Israel in southern Lebanon between March and November 1985.[12]  In fact, a young SSNP woman from southern Lebanon is considered to be the first female suicide bomber in the region.  On April 9, 1985, Sana’a Mehaidli (“Bride of the South”) was 17 years old when she willingly drove her vehicle towards Israeli troops stationed in southern Lebanon.  At least two Israeli soldiers were killed.  Sana’a recorded her own video before the bombing asking, “All young women and my youth to join the ranks of the national resistance because they alone are able to expel the enemy from our land…”  She concluded by saying, “I am going to a greater future, to the unspeakable happiness.”[13]

 

 

sanaa

Sana’a Mehaidli (“Bride of the South”)

Following the Lebanese civil war the SSNP’s military activities significantly abated.  As a result, the group in both Lebanon and Syria witnessed a bit of a lull in its popularity and relevance.  However, the Syrian civil war has rejuvenated the organization both in terms of its military prowess and in its propaganda encountering fewer restrictions.  More Syrians are exposed to the vast amounts of literature from SSNP websites that otherwise may have been confined had the fighting not escalated.  Seemingly symbolic, the SSNP nevertheless had a handful of fighters participating in battles with the Syrian army and National Defense Forces (NDF) during the nascent stages of the war.  It was not until mid to late 2014 however when the SSNP clearly played more of a direct role.  This is especially noticeable from social media sites paying homage to their martyrs killed in battle.  Steadfast in their rejection of the Free Syrian Army and jihadists groups- SSNP members found themselves more involved along the front lines especially around the time Syria experienced an explosion of foreign fighters.  Aligning with the Ba’athists has proven favorable, even if just for the time being, as SSNP fighters are handsomely supplied with weapons and support.

During the past several years the SSNP has become more of an organized fighting force while simultaneously growing in popularity.  The armed wing of the SSNP is Nusur al-Zawba’a (Eagles of the Whirlwind) which more or less guarantees security in several towns of Syria after rebels were expelled.  The Assad regime is simply too overstretched and undermanned to govern every city once rebels lose control.  Outsourcing security to other groups with a significant support base has been a tactic used by the regime.  However, such distance may prove costly as those taking advantage, in this case the SSNP, continue to gain power and supporters.

Side by side with the Syrian army, the SSNP has benefited tremendously in the last two years by engaging in more battles against a seasoned enemy.  This particularly holds true in northern Latakia countryside; in the countryside of Homs province near the town of Sadad; as-Suweida province in southwestern Syria close to the Jordanian border; Dara’a province also in southwestern Syria; Damascus countryside (notably in Douma and Ghouta); and around the city of Mahardeh in the countryside of Hama province.  It is reported members are even governing in the old city of Homs.[14]  Such close coordination with the Syrian army also puts them into close contact with Hezballah where the alliance carries into neighboring Lebanon.[15]

 

zawbaa emblem

Nusur al-Zawba’a emblem

Most recently they have been very active in the mountainous regions of northern Latakia.  The Assad regime is seeking to secure victories close to their Alawite strongholds while driving an array of jihadists and Islamists groups further away from their supply arteries.  The following fronts are several locations SSNP fighters are stationed in northern Latakia: Jabal al- Turkman; Jabal al-Akrad; Salma and Ghamam and also Deir Hanna.   This strategic launching area for operations adjoins the Turkish border and provides supply routes for Jabhat al-Nusra, Chechens and Turkmen factions.  Additionally, control of this area blocks future advances into Latakia countryside while opening corridors into Idlib province.

 

deir hanna

Fighters in Deir Hanna- northern Latakia province. Posted on their social media outlets on 11.17.15

Just south of Latakia in northern Hama province lies an active district with a significant SSNP presence.  Sahl al-Ghab is one such area.  Hotly contested, this plain runs alongside the western coastal mountains as well as being in close proximity to the provincial capital of Hama city.  Controlling the al-Ghab plains creates a buffer zone which is paramount to securing the coastal areas while potentially penetrating into Idlib province not far from the city of Jisr al-Shughur.  Near the al-Ghab plains are the towns of Mahardeh and as-Suqaylabiyah- both Syriac Christian towns located in the northern Hama countryside with a heavy contingent of SSNP fighters.  Situated along one of the front lines to push al-Qaeda aligned jihadists and other Islamists groups further north, both towns are teeming with violent actors and intense battles.  The SSNP has been influential keeping Mahardeh and as-Suqaylabiyah in the overall grasp of the Syrian army. Several hundred SSNP fighters (mostly locals) are on the front lines in or around both towns.

 Further south, in the countryside of Homs province sits the town of Sadad, which is also a popular front for SSNP fighters.  Inhabited primarily by Syriacs as well, Sadad has been in the spotlight several times due to attacks by al-Qaeda and their allies in addition to the so-called Islamic State.  Opposition fighters and the al-Qaeda-linked Nusra Front first captured Sadad from October 21-28 in 2013.  Human Rights Watch described at the time how 46 Syriacs were killed, some dumped in a well, and churches vandalized.  Forty-one of the dead were civilians including fourteen women and two children.[16]  The Syrian army eventually was able to push these groups out of Sadad after intense clashes.  Two years later at the end of October/ beginning of November 2015, the so-called Islamic State descended upon Sadad after capturing the nearby town of Muheen.  However, locals with help from the Syrian army, in addition to 500 Syriac Christian fighters, including 200 from the SSNP and 200 more Syriac fighters from the Qamishli-based Sootoro militia were able to block any further advancement.[17]  This act of utilizing Sootoro members on a different front outside their sphere of influence was unprecedented in the Syrian conflict.  Considering fighters were transported to Sadad from al-Qamishli in north eastern Syria, via a Russian cargo plane, to defend the town showcased a new level of coordination and cooperation.[18]   

 

sootoro

Fighters with Sootoro in Sadad helping with the defense.  Notice the ‘Gozarto Protection Forces’(GPF) flag on the right which is a combination from another Syriac group- Khabour Guards.  Their flag is similar to the Nineveh Plains Protection Units (NPU) based in northern Iraq.

 

 

sootoro to sadad

Sootoro fighters from al-Qamishli in north eastern Syria on their way to Sadad

 

ssnp sadad 

More extraordinary was the visit by Mor Ignatius Aphrem Karim II, the Patriarch of the Syriac Orthodox Church, who travelled to Sadad to visit the fighters, attend a funeral, and boost morale as this town is one of the last remaining Syriac towns to hold out against the vast array of rebel and jihadi groups.  Ultimately the SSNP and their allies were successful in beating back the so-called Islamic State.

 

aphrem in sadad

Mor Ignatius Aphrem Karim II, the Patriarch of the Syriac Orthodox Church, visiting fighters in Sadad.

 

aphrem in sadad 2

 

 

 

ssnp fighter from sadad

Christian SSNP fighter from Sadad killed in the nearby town of Muheen

Despite the fact these two cities mentioned above are almost exclusively inhabited by Syriac Christians does not take away from the actuality that members of all faiths find the SSNP attractive and consequently have died fighting for the organization.  Amidst the battle for Sadad several Muslim SSNP members lost their lives fighting not for a Christian city, but in SSNP methodology, a Syrian city.  Fighters of all faiths have been deployed throughout many regions in Syria (as previously mentioned) despite the religious component of a particular city.  Pictured below are a few Muslim SSNP fighters who lost their lives within the last year including two who were killed alongside Christian fighters in or around the town of Sadad.    

 

mohamed taamer

Mohamed Taamer Raslan killed on 11.2.15 near Muheen and Sadad

 

anas hussein 

Anas Hussein al-Ahmed killed on 11.5.15 near Muheen and Sadad

 

Important to point out here that in the battle which Anas Hussein (pictured above) was killed, another Muslim as well as a Christian fighter were killed as well.  This is a small sample of Muslims and Christians fighting together regardless if a town has a certain religious element.

 

ahmed hajj

Ahmed Hajj Mahmoud killed on 4.20.16 in Latakia countryside

It is no secret minority groups historically have been drawn to the SSNP’s secularism and inclusive culture of not emphasizing ethnicity or religion.  However, more recently its armed wing (Nusur al-Zawba’a) has been portrayed as a means for the Assad government to pull more Christians into the fight on the side of the Syrian army.  It is interesting to note here that when pro-government media outlets report on the various groups fighting alongside the Syrian army the SSNP is always listed separately from the National Defense Forces (NDF).  Christians in Syria have been extremely hesitant to join the Syrian army or NDF and fight in remote areas far from their ancestral roots.  The popularity of the SSNP on the other hand is allowing many people to join a force where they can exclusively protect their land somewhat independently from the decision makers in Damascus.  We will have to wait and see how this plays out.

Ultimately, the SSNP’s ideology is at odds with the pan-Arab Ba’ath regime of Bashar al-Assad.  The question is not about ideological disagreements at the moment, but rather, how long this marriage of convenience will last.  A Facebook post commemorating the SSNP’s 83rd anniversary (occurred on November 16, 2015) states how they are fighting with the Syrian regime in order to defend their civilization, land, cultural identity, and freedom.[19]  In remarks stated by Daniel Pipes over twenty seven years ago, bearing similarities to their current relationship, he determined that the SSNP’s close alliance with the Assad (Hafez) regime will ultimately not be a platform for future growth.   He went on to further say, “The potential danger was clear; by agreeing to work so closely with Syria’s rulers, the party forfeited the strength that made it an important force over the decades- its visionary politics and fierce independence.  Asad’s success in dictating terms restricted the SSNP’s capacity for autonomous action.  If money and arms from Damascus allowed the SSNP to flourish temporarily, absorption by a police state rendered its future bleak.  Alliance with Damascus contained the likely seeds of the SSNP’s demise.”[20]  The outbreak of the Syrian civil war somewhat muddies the comparison to today simply because neither Assad nor the Ba’ath party can exert quite the same pressures.  After all, their number one priority is survival.  Judging by the amount of propaganda pouring out of SSNP portals boasting about their popularity the future appears bright (at least for the short term).  New recruits sickened by the sheer amount of killing in the name of religion have found the SSNP’s inclusiveness comforting.  In addition, a sense of alienation precipitated by the fighting seems to have fostered a new appreciation (especially the younger generation) for the SSNP’s vision of a “Greater Syria.” Interestingly, many fighters who have died in battle only recently joined the party.  The SSNP’s reputation is clearly resonating but for the time being they are still too reliant on and attached to the Ba’ath party.  However, for many this is also a long term project and what seems certain is that the SSNP will experience a level of independence not seen in decades.

*Jesse J. McDonald is an independent researcher with a background in Middle East Studies.  He spent two years in Cairo and plans on attending graduate school next year.

Footnotes

[1] Saadeh and several of his lieutenants were apprehended on November 16, 1935.  The founding of the party took place in the fall of 1932, but without a specific date, the 16th of November was subsequently adopted by the SSNP as its founding day.

[2] Antoun Saadeh was born on March 1, 1904 in the town of Shweir which is a district of Mt. Lebanon.

[3] Antoun Saadeh, “What Motivated me to Establish the Syrian Social Nationalist Party,” SSNP.com.   Note: This letter was written by Saadeh during his first imprisonment in 1935.

[4] There were initially two designs put forward to Saadeh- the current one with four points and another one with three points. The idea being that a slogan displaying three points would avoid similarities with the Nazi emblem.  Saadeh chose the one with four denying there was any similarity.  The SSNP emblem shown above is a convergence of a straight line and semicircular meeting together (some argue a cross and a crescent).

[5] On July 7, 1949, Syrian dictator Husni al-Za’im betrayed Saadeh and delivered him to the Lebanese authorities who tried and executed him within 24 hours.

[6] In 2012, the Office of Foreign Assets Controls (OFAC) designated Ali Haidar to their Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) list.

[7] “Asaad Harden assumes SSNP’s reins,” The Daily Star, June 04, 2008.

[8] John Eibner, “Footnotes on the SSNP-Comments from Nouhad Samaan, Head of SSNP in Homs,” Syria Comment, January 02, 2015.

[9] Dr. Haytham A. Kader, “Ideology,” SSNP.com

[10] This speech was given on June 1, 1935

[11] Habib al-Shartuni, the man arrested for killing President-Elect Bashir Gemayel of Lebanon in September 1982, was a member of the SSNP.

[12] Daniel Pipes, “Radical Politics and the Syrian Social Nationalist Party,” International Journal of Middle East Studies, August 1988.

[13] Latakia SSNP Facebook post on November 22, 2015.

[14] [14] John Eibner, “Footnotes on the SSNP-Comments from Nouhad Samaan, Head of SSNP in Homs,” Syria Comment, January 02, 2015.

[15] The two parties are in the March 8 Alliance (SSNP has two seats out of 128 in the Lebanese parliament).

[16] “Syria: Opposition Abuses During Ground Offensive,” Human Rights Watch, November 19, 2013.

[17] Jack Moore, “Hundreds of Christian Fighters Scramble to Defend Syrian Town as ISIS Advance,” Newsweek, November 10, 2015.

[18] The Sootoro is a Christian self-defense group located primarily in the north eastern Syrian city of Qamishli.  Sootoro members fight on the side of the Syrian army and is not to be confused with the Hasaka based Sutoro which is the armed wing of the Syriac Union Party (SUP).  Sutoro’s more military wing is the Syriac Military Council (MFS) and fights alongside the Kurdish YPG.

[19] SSNP FanPage Facebook post on November 16, 2015.

[20] Daniel Pipes, “Greater Syria: The History of an Ambition,” New York: Oxford University Press, 1992, (Page 129).

 

Comments (37)


1. Ghufran said:

There was a time when the ssnp was a promising political movement that attracted many educated Syrians and Lebanese, then the party was split into two, many blame the regime for that split. The ssnp should stop promoting or supporting assad but instead focus on things that most Syrians agree on. Antoun Saadeh, the founder and charismatic leader, was executed by the Lebanese government in 1949, he spent 6 years in prison before that, and was handed to Lebanon by Hisni Alzaeem, Syria’s president at the time. SSNP may regain its status if the war ends and the party leaders separate themselves from albaath.

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May 11th, 2016, 9:19 pm

 

2. Akbar Palace said:

Wow, another terrorist group is being glorified by Syria Comment. How cheerful!

If we posted one terror group each week, it would take a few years to get through them all!

Let us know when you’ll be featuring a tolerant and moderate, pro-democracy group, assuming they exist somewhere….

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May 11th, 2016, 10:08 pm

 

3. Ghufran said:

Which country considers the ssnp a terrorist group other than israel which was founded by terrorists ?

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May 11th, 2016, 10:41 pm

 
 

5. Jo said:

These people are quintessential Nazis, this movement fascist roots are most certainly still there. I don’t understand how you can use the term ‘secular’ on an organization that is so obviously raging antisemitic. And it not something that can be blamed on Israel either, when the SSNP was founded there was no Israel and there was still a large native Arab-Jewish community living in Syria (mainly Aleppo) that were about as Zionist as Saadeh was. Yet they were decisively excluded from this ‘greater Syria’ dream and branded enemies for their religion/race.

For crying out loud, even if you turn a blind eye to the swastikas and Nazi salutes, the pictures of the deceased attached to this article say they were killed ‘fighting the internal Jews’.

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May 12th, 2016, 7:08 am

 

6. Akbar Palace said:

Ghufran,

Canada. Reading about their intolerant ideology and past actions certainly lends me to believe they’re a terror organization…

http://meurrensonimmigration.com/ssnp-members-immigrating-to-canada/

Otherwise, a number of “academics”…

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/1987/06/behind-the-terror/376326/

http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2011/11/the_syrian_social_nationalist_party_the_worlds_assassination_party.html

Apparently the SSNP isn’t active enough to be designated anything…

http://www.start.umd.edu/tops/terrorist_organization_profile.asp?id=4278

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May 12th, 2016, 7:50 am

 

7. Tara said:

Akbar,

Yes they are terrorists and has also terrorized innocent Syrian citizens. Many of them are shabeeha

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May 12th, 2016, 6:32 pm

 

8. Amir in Tel Aviv said:

I have no respect for people who destroy their country. Same disrespect for both sides.

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May 12th, 2016, 11:04 pm

 

9. SANDRO LOEWE said:

SSNP is the nazi party of the arabs. Kill them all.

Where is ALAN, has he been killed ¨liberating¨ Aleppo from its inhabitants ?

By the way, good news about the killing of Mustafá Badreddin, the chief commander of intelligence in Hezbollah. Israel has hit this bastard when he was planning more genocides in the outskirts of Damascus.

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May 13th, 2016, 3:50 am

 

10. habib said:

5. TARA

Then every single armed group in Syria is a terrorist group.

Every single one has killed plenty of civillians. There is no moral high ground. Either you only support unarmed dissent, or you support terrorists.

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May 13th, 2016, 5:59 am

 

11. Akbar Palace said:

Tara,

Thanks. It wasn’t clear. Their ideology seems built on huge borders beyond Syria’s current borders and they do seem to copy the “National Socialism” theme from the Nazi party.

Then every single armed group in Syria is a terrorist group.

Habib,

Yes, it all boils down to their stated goals and methods. There are countless “armed groups” in the Middle East, most of which, are based in “resistance” to something (usually Zionism) and employ methods such as suicide bombs and target civilians.

Once in a while you find a group who’s stated goal is the fall of the self-elected regime with goals of freedom, and only use peaceful methods of protest. I can support that.

I have no respect for people who destroy their country. Same disrespect for both sides.

Amir,

It seems to me the average Syrian is caught between the Assad regime and ISIS. These two forces destroyed Syria. The average Syrian, I think, has hid, fled, and watched, totally powerless.

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May 13th, 2016, 7:32 am

 

12. Observer said:

The posts on this blog are completely irrelevant and comparing the boy president to Abe is like comparing a fart to a good morning sunshine.

The price of one kg of rice has jumped from 15 pounds in 2011 to more than 1000 this week. The salaries of the people barely suffice to feed a family for more than a few days. The central bank is pumping as much as a measly 10 million dollars into the market to stabilize the pound and they are promising 100 million ( probably shipped by air from Tehran ) and they are calling it an economic war on the country.

In the meantime a much more relevant news come from Lebanon and it is not the death of another commander; it is the fierce attack on the director of the Central Bank for complying with the new US law specifically targeting all institutions and persons that finance the party of God. HA is beside itself and is threatening a collapse of the entire Lebanese banking system.

On the ground however we have

أقيم صباح اليوم سباق 5000 متر في بلدة حندرات… وحققت إيران المركز الأول، تلاها حزب الله في المركز الثاني، ولواء القدس الذي أضاع طريق القدس في المركز الثالث… أما الميليشيات الأفغانية والعراقية وشراشيح الأسد فقد احتلوا المركز الأخير لعدم اجتيازهم خط البداية!

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May 13th, 2016, 8:04 am

 

13. Mina said:

More chemical used by rebel groups
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-36284164

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May 13th, 2016, 11:20 am

 

14. Akbar Palace said:

Rights group Amnesty International said armed groups including Ahrar al-Sham and the Army of Islam may have used chemical weapons in attacks on a mainly Kurdish neighbourhood of Aleppo

Mina,

I didn’t know “rebel” groups are Islamist. But if you say so…

Observer,

Meanwhile back in the US, the biggest problem facing the US Government is where transgenders will go to the bathroom.

November can not come too soon…

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May 13th, 2016, 11:41 am

 

15. mjabali said:

Ahrar al-Sham is a terrorist international Jihadi group that was involved yesterday 5/12/2016 in the killing of Alawite women in their own homes in al-Zarah village.

They even took pictures stepping on the head of the dead Alawite young girl they killed in her home along with two other females…

Ahrar al-Sham went with al-Nusra/al-Qaeda house to house killing Alawite civilians yesterday.

Never to mention: the Alawite women and children they kidnapped yesterday adding them to the other Alawite women and children being held these Sunni fighting groups.

By the way: Jaysh al-Islam holds at least hundreds of Alawite women and children…they used to parade them in cages in Duma to prevent al-Assad from bombing them…

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May 13th, 2016, 4:12 pm

 

16. Ghufran said:

Regime media did not mention the number of civilians slaughtered and kidnapped by nusra and “moderate” Rebels at Al-Zara village (southern Hama). Opposition media is in denial but SOHR reported that Rebels killed 19 civilians including 9 women and kidnapped dozens. Zara is an alawite village.

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May 13th, 2016, 7:03 pm

 

17. Majedkhaldoun said:

Who killed Mustafa Badr Alden? HA says it is Israel , but the real suspect is the criminal sitting in Muhajreen Palace
The killers of Hariri are dead except very few left , Maher Assad,Ali Mamlook , and Bashar himself

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May 13th, 2016, 8:04 pm

 

18. Ed Jazairi said:

The statement that the SSNP is a party of minorities is very much incorrect.Most of its backbone in the 1940’s and 1950’s consisted of Sunni Muslims especially in Syria. My uncle whom I shall not name is from a Sunni family and was implicated in the assasination of Adnan A-Maliki in the mid 1950’s. He ran away and sought refuge in Morroco for many years until the advent of Hafez Al-Assad. That is one, two, it was Hafez Al-Assad not his son Bashar who legitimized the SSNP and allowed their returns back into Syria. Please you need to get your history straight.

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May 14th, 2016, 1:27 am

 

19. SANDRO LOEWE said:

Dont talk stories about the head of your alawite girl when 500.000 syrians of all confessions have died in a war planned by Iran, Assad, Russia and Israel to redraw the middle east by ethnic-sectarian cleanse…. and your alawite king is the architect chief in charge.

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May 14th, 2016, 5:16 am

 

20. Observer said:

Terrible indeed in every corner and every village but what goes around comes around.

Some have always asserted that had the father been alive today none of this would have happened for
1. He would not have allowed his family to have so much power and so much independence in carrying out independent decisions anywhere in Syria like when the governor of Der’a acted so harshly against the kids writing slogans
2. He would have quickly reformed even cosmetically as he did after Hama when he extended a hand to many other factions in the country to bring them together to move forward after the MB follies were crushed.
3. Like the King of Morocco he would have seen the writing on the wall and defused the situation.

http://all4syria.info/Archive/313882

On a different note this article is also worth reading especially for those that continue to abdicate any responsibility for what is happening to them as an endless Western conspiracy: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/14/world/middleeast/iraq-war-kanan-makiya.html?ref=middleeast
As for the death of another HA operative it seems that the HA press is not giving a coherent message:
1. A huge explosion near Damascus became
2. A huge artillery attack by rebels
This is at at time when SOHR has denied that there was any attack near the International Airport
He must have died elsewhere or he have committed suicide with four bullets to the back of the head.

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May 14th, 2016, 8:19 am

 

21. majedkhaldoun said:

Yemen was the graveyard of Anadhole, Khan Touman is the graveyard of Shiite alliance led by Persia, the attack was recorded by a drone ,it satrted with artillary attack, it was a slaughter, it is spreading shock waves in Iran and demoralizing to the Assad regime ,most of Iranian Casualties are from northern Iran ,from area called Mazandarine, HA lost several soldiers and then came the death of Mustafa Badr alDeen , probably by missle ,in a way similar to the death of Samir Quntar , in December,2015, I was told by reliable sources that Israeli soldiers are roaming Damascus street freely,, truly a black week for Iran

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May 14th, 2016, 9:49 am

 

22. Ghufran said:

The story given by hizbullah about the assassination of Badr Eddin is not convincing but hizbullah is not ready to open a second front against Israel and by claiming that islamist terrorists killed Badr they want to somewhat soothe the angry crowd of hizbullah supporters who demand a decisive action against Israel. Islamists have the intention to kill Badr but the location of the explosion and the precision of the bomb,or missile, makes it very unlikely that it was the work of islamists unless Badr was not killed near DIA or that Nusra terrorists managed to send a suicide bomber to that sensitive location, another unlikely scenario. Israel is almost certainly behind the killing and the response will come inside Israel (like the assasination of a Mossad officer at Dizengoff st in Tel Aviv) or against a military target on the borders with Israel. It was a difficult two weeks for iran and its allies in Syria but the truth is that the opposition (and their Turk and GCC backers) is now dependent on Nusra, a terrorist organization, and Israel and that can not be good in the long term. Millions of Syrians today see no choice but to support the Syrian army even if they hate the regime because they look at areas under rebels and Nusra control (not to mention isis) and they conclude that they are better off staying with the regime until the opposition comes up with a better game plan. The garbage posted on this blog by thawrajiyyeh is not worth a response. Keep in mind that people who oppose the regime and islamists and call things by their names are not thawrajiyyeh they are like most Syrians who understand that Syria today is a failed nation and that the regime which ruled Syria since 1963 bears most of the blame directly or indirectly, that analysis does not mean that Syrians should accept Nusra and islamist thugs as an alternative.

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May 14th, 2016, 2:22 pm

 

23. mjabali said:

Sandro PPP (Paid per post) Low:

I was wondering which paid troll is going to show up.

You are not a Syrian and this is obvious. If any Syrian is going to say something about that horrible act they would say something like what mr. Observer had said.

Your answer is a paid cliche that is sponsored by those destroying Syria.

So, you would step of the head of that little girl that was killed in her own home because al-Assad killed 500,000 Syrians…. you can fool no one here….

So you support the international Jihadis who stormed the Alawite village and made recruiting videos about it.

Take beer Sandro o low….

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May 14th, 2016, 3:56 pm

 

24. mjabali said:

Observer this video is for you:

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May 14th, 2016, 4:04 pm

 

25. Ghufran said:

A syrian General, Nabil Al-Dandal, who defected from regime’s security forces gave an interview to
Yedioth Ahronoth asking Israel to help Syrians topple the regime. He also claimed that Nusra and isis were made by the regime. One of the general’s prior jobs was the head of political security in Latakia which basically means he was in charge of arresting and torturing dissidents who oppose regime’s policies and albaath ideology. Dandal said that Israel prefers Assad over the opposition because of Nusra and Isis.
The contradictions and confused thinking process in Nabil’s case are not unique among opposition ranks who raise the banner of freedom and democracy but ask for foreign intervention and support Takfiri islamist terrorist and terrorist lite groups.
دعا العميد المنشق عن الجيش السوري نبيل الدندل إسرائيل إلى ما أسماه “مد يد العون للشعب السوري في مواجهة الرئيس بشار الأسد”
وقال الدندل الذي شغل سابقا رئاسة فرع الأمن السياسي في اللاذقية، وكذلك رئاسة فرع الهجرة و الجوازات في دير الزور إنه على استعداد للتفاوض مع إسرائيل من أجل التوصل إلى سلام مع الدولة العبرية، مشيرا إلى أن موقفه “يعكس موقف غالبية الشعب السوري”.
وأرسل الدندل برقية مفتوحة بهذا الخصوص عن طريق باحثين إلى رئيس الكنيست يولي إيدلشطاين دعا فيها الإسرائيليين إلى “فتح حوار مع الشعب السوري لتحقيق السلام”.
وأشار الدندل في تصريح لصحيفة “يديعوت أحرونوت” الإسرائيلية، نشرته السبت إلى أن “الرئيس السوري الراحل حافظ الأسد فوت الفرصة عندما رفض السلام مع إسرائيل ولم يحذ حذو نظيره المصري أنور السادات، قائلا: “عندما تكون جزءا من النظام يتوجب عليك أن تقول ما يريده النظام وليس ما تفكر به..هناك فرصة فريدة لدى إسرائيل لصنع السلام مع الشعب السوري”
ونفى الدندل أن تكون “إسرائيل تعمل ما فيه الكفاية بالنسبة للشعب السوري” مشيرا إلى أن “تل أبيب تتبع سياسية الحياد”، معتبرا أن “الأسد أفضل لها من المعارضة وذلك بسبب “داعش” و”جبهة النصرة”… جبهة النصرة وداعش صنع مباشر لنظام الأسد”، حسب تعبير الدندل الذي انشق عام 2012.

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May 14th, 2016, 4:43 pm

 

26. Tara said:

ghufran ,

Do you really think that Syrians being butchered by the Malali view Iran more favorable than Israel? Do you think that they shy out from saying this publicly? . Do you still subscribe to takhween mentality ? Iran is the syrian archenemy , much much much more than Israel can ever be. Israel occupied jolan heights but did not kill syrians. Iran butchered 500k and displaced 12 millions. Had Israel done that to Syrians? . Israeli received wounded Syrians and treated them. Do you really still believe that we are still scared by the takhween mentality ? PLEASE!

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May 14th, 2016, 7:39 pm

 

27. Tara said:

To Shiite mujaheddin on this site:

We officially changed the name of خان تومان to
خان لطمان. Inshallah, every city and twin in Syria be a place a لطمان place for you . Please keep the tradition and the songs.

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May 14th, 2016, 7:44 pm

 

28. Tara said:

The death of Badrddine: نهاية-ارهابي

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May 14th, 2016, 8:01 pm

 

29. Ghufran said:

Tara, my position on Iran was stated clearly multiple times on this blog but I see no reason to ally with Israel, you can call the campsign to befriend Israel real politics but others may call it treason,however, it is obvious that israel should not be given a pass just because it treated wounded islamists who were fighting Israel’s enemy hizbullah. As for iran killing 500,000 syrians and israel killing none, we both know it is not true. The party that lost most people relative to their size was the Syrian army, many of those soldiers were alawites, things got this bad because rebels want war against a brutal regime thinking that they can overwhelm alawites and the army by their(rebels and their sympathizes) number advantage and they were led to believe that Ksa and Turkey are going to send troops to topple the regime and establish a new state that takes orders from ksa and turkey instead of Iran as if one is better than the other.
Rebels again and again showed that they are fully capable of committing war crimes and sectarian killings and that they do not care about civilian lives, so to portrait rebels as pure good and iran and the regime as pure evil is a distortion of the truth. This is a dirty war where KSA and Iran are fighting for influence, fighters from both sides are mostly foot soldiers and useful idiots.
يا امة ضحكت من جهلها الامم

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May 15th, 2016, 1:32 am

 

30. Akbar Palace said:

blog but I see no reason to ally with Israel, you can call the campaign to befriend Israel real politics but others may call it treason,however, it is obvious that israel should not be given a pass just because it treated wounded islamists who were fighting Israel’s enemy
hizbullah.

Ghufran,

One thing this war has exposed is how the obsessed anti-Israel crowd can’t stop obsessing about Israel and Zionism while Arabs and Muslims keep murdering each other in such unheard of numbers. I guess Tara and a few other participants here haven’t bought into the BDS narrative and can think for themselves.

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May 15th, 2016, 10:50 am

 

31. Observer said:

Tara the UN figure is 2.3 million between dead and wounded and there is no such thing as a Syrian army any longer there are militias from Iran and Lebanon and Iraq and Afghanistan that have been propping up the regime since 2012.

The number of displaced is 12 million and the degree of hatred is no longer measurable and the farm of the mafia regime is crumbling no matter how many are pontificating now they are no longer in charge and are in the hated West’s think tanks.

What goes around comes around and we will have Libya style disintegration for today the regime is just another warlord with a few embassies.

How ignorant and stupid and backward the regime and its supporters turned out to be and how thin the veneer of so called modernity and sophistication has turned out to be. How deep sectarian and dehumanizing the minorities turned out to be. How insulting blaming the victim instead of the butcher has been revealed by this regime and its supporters. How terrible the revenge will be and how blind the supporters are to the coming storm.

I agree they remain backward no matter how many LeBouton shoes or Hermes ties of iPads they have.

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May 15th, 2016, 10:51 am

 

32. Observer said:

I also remind you Tara that the first person to call for cooperation with Israel was Rami Makhlouf who wrote an op-ed in 2011 in the New York Times essentially stating that the security of Israel will be guaranteed by the current regime in Syria.

Some of the minorities have allied with Israel for decades and with foreign powers on multiple occasions. Oppression will make you ally with whomever to save yourself.

Oppression is the backbone of all of these ills and lack of freedom and dignity is the greatest ally of Israel for an enslaved people and a dictatorial regime that would risk its end by fighting with Israel will never liberate any land.

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May 15th, 2016, 10:56 am

 

33. Tara said:

Ghufran,

I am not calling to befriend Israel . I am simply describing facts. Iran and the Mallali ideology is the arch enemy of Syrians and all Arabs, not Israel! . The second archenemy I will add is Isis and its ideology . In my opinion , they are the second not the first enemy cause it is much easier to defeat them by Sunni Syrians than defeating Iran . Iran has an empirial dream of controlling Arab land , Israel doesn’t . The logic ensues that in on our scale of enemies, Israel scores the last .

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May 15th, 2016, 11:20 am

 

34. ALAN said:

former presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio:
The Golan is the point, of which will start the end of your dreams.

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May 15th, 2016, 11:31 am

 

35. Ghufran said:

Muslims are the only people today who call religious figures ” Ulamaa” (scientists). You can find educated muslim adults taking directions from sheikhs with high school degree (educated sheikhs) and use Fatwas from crooked sheikhs to justify immoral and unethical behavior especially when the subject is women. Before you get rid of your dictators look at yourself in the mirror and repent. Theocracy is the worst type of dictatorship. It matters a lot if you are as bad or worse than the dictator you want to replace. Islamist opposition and the regime are only different on paper, do not kid yourself.
“Give me a secular non sectarian opposition and I will gladly join you to topple the regime, until then I have no choice but to support the Syrian army as the last line of defense against islamists who want to slaughter people who are different from them”.
The funny part is that many sunnis actually support that line of thinking. Hating the regime does not mean supporting those islamist thugs !!
يا أمة ضحكت من جهلها الامم

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May 15th, 2016, 1:34 pm

 

36. Akbar Palace said:

I also remind you Tara that the first person to call for cooperation with Israel was Rami Makhlouf who wrote an op-ed in 2011 in the New York Times essentially stating that the security of Israel will be guaranteed by the current regime in Syria.

Not exactly Observer. Makhlouf did not guarantee anything. He was appealing to those who are pro-Israel that only the Assad regime can provide “stability”.

http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/assad-cousin-to-new-york-times-no-stability-in-israel-if-there-s-no-stability-in-syria-1.360907?v=88334F6A386979DB13DFC600A55F7CAB

Recent history proves that this meant a nice quiet Israel-Syria border while Hezbollah gets unlimited missile technology through Syria and Lebanon. As we all know, that statement is horse shit.

…lack of freedom and dignity is the greatest ally of Israel for an enslaved people and a dictatorial regime that would risk its end by fighting with Israel will never liberate any land.

And so Assad’s quiet Syria border while arming Hezbollah is not security. Furthermore, democracy for Arabs is the best Israel can hope for. If Arabs want peace or war, it is up to them. They’ll choose peace, once they determine, like Tara, that Israel can live peacefully with responsible Arab neighbors.

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May 15th, 2016, 5:41 pm

 

37. Syrialover said:

OBSERVER & AKBAR PALACE

“Rami Makhlouf who wrote an op-ed in 2011”

You mean a NY PR firm was paid big bucks (with funds stolen from the people of Syria) to write a propaganda piece for a sleazy criminal who is part of a thug dictatorship.

What a bad joke.

Let’s watch. If the global anti-corruption system gets into gear cheap thief Rami could have have a hard and humiliating time that no PR company can fix.

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May 16th, 2016, 5:09 am

 

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