#AceWorldNews – UNITED STATES – October 17 – The US State Department met directly with a Syrian Kurdish group last week in France, in conversations that led to increased American air-strikes against Islamic State militants in Kobani, Reuters reports.
A spokesman for the Kurds said their troops on the ground fed the US military the coordinates of militants in the town, where intense fighting has broken out.
“We have for some time had conversations through intermediaries with the PYD [the Kurdish Democratic Union Party].
We have engaged over the course of just last weekend with the PYD,” said State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki.
#AceWorldNews – TURKEY (Ankara) – October 13 – Ankara has denied allowing Washington to use its bases against Islamic State militants, AFP said.
There is no new agreement with the US about Incirlik, a Turkish government official said of an air base in southern Turkey that the US wants to use to launch air strikes.
“Negotiations are continuing” based on Turkish conditions previously laid out, the source added.
US officials had earlier said Turkey would also host training for “moderate” Syrian rebels.
#AceBreakingNews – TURKEY (Ankara) – October 11 – Turkey has agreed to allow Syrian opposition fighters to be trained on Turkish soil.
At least 2,000 fighters will be trained by Turkish and American special forces, a Turkish official said Saturday, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Turkey’s intelligence service will select and screen the fighters, who will be trained in groups of 400.
#AceWorldNews – KOBANI – October 10 – Islamic State forces have made new gains in Kobani, now controlling about 40 percent of the Syrian town of Kobani on the Turkish border and might well capture it, Deputy US National Security Adviser Tony Blinken has said.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen because again in the absence of any ground force there, it is going to be difficult just through air power to prevent ISIL (IS) from potentially taking over the town,”Blinken told reporters at a briefing in London on Friday.
This information is also confirmed by the the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
“They have taken at least 40 percent (of the town),” the head of the monitoring group, Rami Abdulrahman, said by telephone as reported by Reuters.
Islamic State fighters were now in almost complete control of the “security quarter,” which is home to the administrative buildings used by the local government, he said.
The IS militants have seized control over some of the eastern areas of the town and smaller areas in the south of Kobani, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
They have seized the Kurd headquarters also, a monitoring group said.
“They are trying to advance on the crossing from the east … but the YPG [fighters] are resisting them,”Ocalan Iso, the deputy head of the Kurdish forces defending Kobani, told Reuters.
#AceNewsServices – SYRIA – October 08 – A Franciscan priest and 20 other Christians have been kidnapped by Al-Qaeda-linked militants in a Syrian village near the border with Turkey, the Franciscan mission to the Holy Land said Tuesday.
“On the night of Oct. 5, Father Hanna Jallouf of the Custody of the Holy Land, parish priest at Qunyeh, Syria, was taken by some brigades linked to the Nusra Front,” AFP quoted a statement from the Custody of the Holy Land as saying.
Following their capture, an unspecified number of Franciscan nuns had taken refuge with the villagers, the statement said.
Catholic news agency Fides, quoting Bishop Georges Abou Khazen, the Apostolic Vicar of Aleppo in Syria, said around 20 Christians were taken along with the priest, Reuters reported.
“Among the kidnapped are young people, both boys and girls,” he was quoted as saying.
Qunyeh is a village of several 100 people in the Syrian province of Idlib and lies some 8 kilometers from the Turkish border.
Franciscan official Father Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Custody of the Holy Land, confirmed the kidnapping of the 62-year-old priest and 20 villagers to AFP.
“They are accusing them of being collaborators” with the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Pizzaballa told AFP in Jerusalem, expressing deep concern over the fate of the priest, a Syrian who has worked in Qunyeh for 12 years after a posting in the Jordanian capital, Amman.
“We don’t know what to do.
We don’t know with whom to talk, we’re totally unable to get in touch with anyone,” added Pizzaballa, the guardian of the Catholic Church’s sites in the Holy Land.
AFP quoted a source linked to the Franciscan Order in Aleppo as saying that Nusra Front rebels had forced their way into the convent and “looted everything.”
The source said Nusra Front rebels were “angry with Father Hanna because he refused to give them some of the olives harvested from trees on the convent’s land.”
#AceNewsServices – UNITED STATES – October 04 – Video footage of American officials force feeding inmates at the Guantanamo Bay prison complex in Cuba cannot be kept secret and must be released to the public, a federal judge ruled on Friday.
Specifically, US District Court Judge Gladys Kessler said the US government must release 28 videos that show hunger-striking inmate Abu Wa’el Dhiab – a Syrian man who has been in custody since 2002 – being removed from his cell against his will and fed via a tube that goes through his nose and into his stomach.
The tapes will need to undergo some changes before they are released, however, in order to protect the identities of those carrying out the procedure. Faces and names on uniforms, for example, will be blurred, and other modifications may be applied to obscure voices or block out writing.
The ruling comes just one day after the same judge rejected the Obama administration’s request to keep the public from having access to an upcoming hearing related to the force feeding of an inmate on a hunger strike.
“We are very gratified by this decision, which will enable the American people to see with their own eyes the sorts of abuses that are being heaped on these peacefully hunger-striking detainees,”Dhiab’s lawyer, Jon Eisenberg, told AP.
“Once the truth is fully brought to light, we believe these terrible practices will come to an end,” he added.
#AceNewsServices (Opinion) – September 21 – Russia, which has criticized U.S. plans to launch strikes against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in Syria, could soon become a victim of the militant group, whose members include extremists from Chechnya.
Courtesy of DAHBOO77
The Soufan Group, a New York-based intelligence firm, estimated in June that some 200 Chechen fighters were involved in the Syrian conflict.
Earlier this month, ISIS jihadists released a video threatening Russia shortly after they captured an air base in Raqqa, eastern Syria, and seized Russian-made fighter jets.
In the video, a militant said: “This message is addressed to you, oh Vladimir Putin. These are your aircraft which you sent to [Syrian President] Bashar [al-Assad], and with the help of Allah we’ll send them back to you. Remember this. And with the permission of Allah, we’ll liberate Chechnya and all the Caucasus.”
Marvin Kalb, a senior adviser to the Washington-based Pulitzer Center, told Al Arabiya News: “Putin worries constantly about local insurgents getting field training in Syria, or now in ISIS, and then returning to Russia to implement their new skills.
“Putin doesn’t want them back in Russia, and this is a chronic nightmare for him.”
Alex Melikishvili, a senior analyst at U.S.-based research giant IHS, said it is “entirely conceivable” that returning ISIS fighters would wage war against Russia, just as Chechen insurgents have done over the last two decades.
“The longer it takes to destroy ISIS, the higher the likelihood that some of its battle-hardened militants will make their way to the North Caucasus,” Melikishvili told Al Arabiya News.
Read More: Source:
#AceBreakingNews – TURKEY – September 21 – The number of refugees seeking shelter in Turkey from the Islamic State group’s advance across northern Syria has hit 100,000 in less than a week, an official said Sunday.
The head of Turkey’s disaster management agency, Fuat Oktay, said the figure relates to Syrians escaping the area near the Syrian border town of Kobani, where fighting has raged between IS and Kurdish fighters since Thursday.
#AceBreakingNews – UNITED STATES (Washington) – September 19 – Legislation requested by President Barack Obama authorizing the military to arm and train moderate Syrian rebels fighting Islamic State militants in the Middle East is headed for his signature after a sweeping Senate vote.
The bipartisan 78-22 tally Thursday blended support from Obama’s close Democratic allies and some of his fiercest GOP critics, including top Senate Republican Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.
It put leading contenders for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination on opposite sides. Some of Obama’s liberal allies defected.
#AceBreakingNews – UNITED STATES (Washington) – A new GOP bill would specifically grant the Obama administration limited Title X authority, which would allow it to establish a centre to train and equip members of the Syrian opposition.
The measure includes several provisions intended to satisfy Republicans and Democrats worried about giving the administration blanket authority to arm and train rebel groups, who would be used in the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
By The Hill staff
#AceWorldNews – SYRIA (Hama) – September 12 – Syrian government troops have captured the town of Halfaya in central Hama province that has changed hands several times during the war, AP said, citing the military and activists.
By retaking the key town, troops will be better positioned to defend nearby Christian and Allawite communities that support President Bashar Assad.
The army command said that the current offensive aims “to wipe out terrorists in northern parts of Hama.”
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Halfaya was captured by the army on Thursday.
#AceBreakingNews – UNITED STATES (Washington) – September 11 – House Republicans emerged from a closed-door meeting Thursday split over whether to give President Obama authority to arm and train Syrian rebels fighting against Islamic terrorists.
Both Intelligence Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) and Foreign Affairs Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) made forceful cases for aiding the fighters. But others in the conference had grave reservations about who exactly these fighters are and whether arms could get into enemy hands.
By Scott Wong,Cristina Marcos & Rebecca Shabad @ The Hill
#AceBreakingNews – UNITED STATES (Washington) – September 11 – Legislation to prevent a government shut-down hit a wall Wednesday, as lawmakers splintered over whether to include a White House request for new authority to arm and train moderate Syrian rebels the Hill reported.
The White House is pushing Congress for authority to arm and train moderate Syrian rebels as part of a stopgap spending bill lawmakers hope to pass this week.
The president is seeking an expansion of the administration’s Title 10 authority — part of the U.S. code that governs military powers. The additional Title 10 authority would authorize the White House to train and advise the Syrian rebels — not merely equip them, as has been happening already. The legislation could also enable the U.S. to accept funding from foreign governments to bolster the Syrian opposition.
The official declined to say whether the president believed he could move ahead on those fronts without explicit congressional authorization.
Even though President Obama told congressional leaders on Tuesday he won’t need their authorization to expand his military campaign against Islamic State terrorists.
Obama offered the assurance at a private White House meeting one day before a prime-time address he’s scheduled to give to the nation.
Contributions Justin Sink and Mike Lillis @The Hill
#AceWorldNews – EUROPEAN UNION – June 23 – European Union foreign ministers agreed on Monday to impose an asset freeze and travel ban on 12 Syrian government ministers, Reuters reported.
The officials were accused of “responsibility for serious human rights violations.” The sanctions will take effect Tuesday, when ministers’ names will be published in the EU’s Official Journal.
The decision brings to 191 the number of people targeted by EU sanctions on Syria.
#AceNewsServices – TEHRAN (FNA)- The al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front ordered its members to use chemical weapons against the Syrian army and the people who stand against them.
In the last 24 hours, al-Qaeda offshoot in Syria, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS), executed a teenager accused of robbery in the Eastern city of Deir Ezzur without trial.
Elsewhere, the Syrian army targeted insurgents’ concentration centres and hideouts in several areas in Idlib countryside, killing and wounding tens of rebels.
Army soldiers targeted the militants’ hideouts in Khan Shaikhoun district in Idlib, North Western Syria, killing 56 and rounding a large number of them.
The Syria Human Rights Watch quoted locals in Old Aleppo as saying that the sound of a strong blast was heard in the region on Saturday.
Elsewhere, the media affiliated to the Syrian opposition reported yesterday that retired Lebanese singer Fadel Shaker who had recently turned Salafi was killed in Deir Ezzur.
In the last 24 hours, units of the Syrian armed forces crushed more intrusion attempts by foreign-backed insurgents in several regions as the nation’s enthusiasm for the upcoming presidential election grows.
On Saturday operations, vigilant government troops killed 11 insurgents affiliated with the notorious al-Nusra Front terrorist group in Khan Sheikhoun area of Idlib countryside, the Syrian state news agency reported.
This is while an army unit targeted insurgent hideouts in Murek town in the outskirts of Hama, killing and injuring numerous militants and destroying their armed vehicles.
Citing a military source, the news agency added that the operation also led to the killing of the leader of the so-called Jabhat al-Islam terrorist group Khaled Sarhan al-Jasem as well as an al-Nusra Front commander identified as Ahmad Ibrahim al-Kadeh.
Elsewhere in Syria’s North Western city of Aleppo, twenty people were killed in the mortar attacks carried out by foreign-backed militants.
Fars News – Syrian State News Agency
#AceWorldNews – TEHRAN (FNA)- june 01 – More than 95 percent of registered Syrian voters living abroad cast their ballots in Syria’s presidential election.
The election is scheduled for June 3.
The advanced voting for those living abroad took place on Wednesday across 43 different Syrian embassies, SANA news agency reported.
The final results were received by the Higher Judicial Committee for Elections on Saturday.
The turnout “has dashed all that western propaganda has been propagating against them over three years,” the news agency quoted Deputy Foreign and Expatriates Minister Fayssal Mikdad as saying.
He said the turnout represents Syrians’ “remarkable awareness” and “belief” in their country, adding that “voting proceeded smoothly and democratically, and passed without a hitch”.
Fars News Agency – SANA
#AceWorldNews – MOSCOW – May 30 – (Itar-Tass) – Moscow is concerned over the reports suggesting that the US administration intends to increase the provision of military aid to the “right” gunmen in the Syrian armed opposition, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Friday.
“The media reports that the US administration intends to increase the provision of military aid to the “right” gunmen in the ranks of the Syrian armed opposition cause serious concern,” the ministry said.
“At the same time, there are many publications about the recognition of the facts of supplies of military products to the opposition members, although not that long ago,
Washington referred only to the provision of non-lethal means to the opponents of Bashar Assad in aid.”
“We are certain that the implementation of such plans would result in the further escalation of the murderous conflict in Syria,” the ministry stressed.
#AceWorldNews – ALEPPO – May 21 – The Red Cross has begun a “major distribution” of emergency food supplies on both sides of the front lines in the Syrian city of Aleppo, said the president of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Reuters reports.
Peter Maurer of the (ICRC) stressed that this has become the first distribution “on that scale,” since October.
This comes after the Syrian government finally gave approval to the plan, submitted in January, this week.
A total 60,000 people will receive food aid.
AceWorldNews – MOSCOW – May 21 – Russia will veto a UN resolution to refer the Syrian conflict to the International Criminal Court (ICC), according to Russia’s permanent representative to the United Nations, Vitaly Churkin.
Churkin said Russia believes the move would lead to the escalation of the conflict. Earlier, Russian Deputy
Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov also said Russia would veto the French-proposed resolution.
The vote in the UN is scheduled on May, 22.
RT – Tass