Tag Archives: Syria’s

Blasts near hospital in Syria’s Homs city kill 16: monitor

BEIRUT Twin explosions in a government-controlled neighborhood of Syria’s Homs city killed at least 16 individuals and wounded scores a lot more on Saturday, a group monitoring the war said.

The blasts come days right after the government extended its handle of western city with the implementation of a truce deal in Waer, the last insurgent-held region of Homs. Some fighters and civilians have left Waer, and help was permitted in.

Waer is located on the western side of the city’s outskirts.

A car bomb detonated close to a hospital in the mostly Alawite neighborhood of al-Zahra in the east of Homs city, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group stated.

The second huge blast, originally suspected to have been a bomb, appeared to have come from an exploding gas canister and wounded individuals who had come to tend to victims of the very first explosion in the densely-populated neighborhood, state media stated.

State tv had earlier described the attack as “two huge terrorist explosions”. News agency SANA said the automobile bomb had been packed with 150 kg of explosives. It published a photo of two guys carrying a woman away from burning wreckage.

Footage on state television showed a chaotic scene with black clouds of smoke rising above twisted metal debris. People stumbled more than the rubble as they attempted to ferry men and women away from the website.

(Reporting by Sylvia Westall Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)

Agen Sabung Ayam

Syria’s Assad says he will not negotiate with armed groups

BEIRUT/MOSCOW Syrian President Bashar al-Assad declared on Friday that he would not negotiate with armed groups, appearing to scupper peace talks that Russia and the United States hope to bring about subsequent month.

Washington helped broker an agreement reached on Thursday by far more than one hundred members of Syria’s opposition parties and far more than a dozen rebel fighting groups ranging from Islamists to Western-backed Cost-free Syrian Army (FSA) groups – but not Islamic State – to send a joint team to meet the government below U.N. auspices next month.

The initiative is driven at least partly by their concentrate on defeating a common enemy in the kind of Islamic State, which has seized massive parts of Syria and Iraq and is increasingly ordering or inspiring attacks on the West and Russia.

But in an interview with the Spanish news agency EFE, Assad stated he would not hold political talks with any armed groups, and accused Washington and its ally Saudi Arabia of wanting “terrorist groups” to join negotiations.

He stated Syria had contact with armed groups for one purpose only: “to attain a predicament exactly where they give up their armaments and either join the government or go back to their typical life … This is the only way to deal with the militants in Syria.

“There’s no point in meeting in New York or anyplace else without having defining terrorist groups,” he said. “For us, in Syria, everyone who holds a machinegun is a terrorist.”

Foreign ministers of nations opposed to Assad are due to meet in Paris on Monday to prepare for talks with Russia and Middle Eastern nations in New York on Thursday with a specific concentrate on trying to kind the opposition delegation for the peace talks.

Prior to Assad’s remarks have been published, Washington said U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry would travel to Moscow on Tuesday for talks with President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

The experience of a failed peace conference in Switzerland two years ago had kept expectations for the newest push low.


The rebel groups issued a statement at the finish of their two-day conference in Riyadh saying Assad need to leave energy at the start of a transitional period, and calling for an all-inclusive, democratic civic state.

Despite the fact that the demand goes beyond what Western powers are calling for, it is rejected by Assad’s patrons Russia and Iran.

A list of 34 members of a secretariat designated to choose the opposition’s negotiating group contained 11 representatives of rebel fighting groups, nine members of the exiled political opposition, six from Syria’s internal opposition and eight independents.

The potent Islamist insurgent group Ahrar al-Sham was represented, along with a quantity of FSA groups that have received military help from states opposed to Assad, such as Saudi Arabia and the United States.

At one point on Friday, Putin appeared to hold out an olive branch to the West, creating what appeared to be Russia’s first explicit statement of support for rebels opposed to Assad in the fight against Islamic State.

At an annual meeting at the Defense Ministry, he mentioned the Totally free Syrian Army was engaged in “offensive actions against terrorists, alongside regular forces, in the provinces of Homs, Hama, Aleppo and Raqqa”.

“We assistance it from the air, as properly as the Syrian army, we help them with weapons, ammunition and supply material assistance.” he said.

But FSA groups dismissed any suggestion of Russian help.

Russian air strikes have targeted a number of FSA groups in western Syria, notably factions that have received military support from Assad’s foreign enemies, which includes anti-tank missiles. A senior Western diplomat said only about 20 % of Russian strikes had been aimed at Islamic State.

A couple of hours later, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov declined to repeat Putin’s assertion, saying: “Russia supplies weapons to the legitimate authorities of the Syrian Arab Republic.”

Asked whether Putin had been speaking about supplying FSA groups, he added: “Please do not cling to meanings in this case. Such an interpretation is feasible.”

The U.S. State Division mentioned on Friday it was unable to confirm Putin’s claims. Spokesman John Kirby stated, “It is unclear to us … whether or not these claims of assistance to the FSA are correct.”


Meanwhile, Islamic State claimed a triple truck bomb attack that killed dozens of folks in a portion of northeastern Syria where Kurdish YPG forces have been pushing back the Islamist militants in recent weeks.

The three blasts, carried out by at least two suicide bombers, went off outside a hospital, at a market and in a residential region in the town of Tel Tamer on Thursday evening, the YPG’s Redur Xelil stated through an internet messaging service.

He put the toll at at least 50 dead and 80 wounded. The Asayish, a Kurdish internal security force, put the death toll at 26.

The YPG has been the most successful companion on the ground in Syria for the U.S.-led coalition that is pounding Islamic State from the air.

But it operates only in northern Syria, and is distrusted by other rebel groups, which shut it out of the Riyadh conference along with the al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front, fighting alongside other rebels against Assad in western Syria.

Variations also stay between the groups that did attend, with numerous fighters contemplating Damascus-based political opposition figures to be also close to Assad – the same purpose the YPG was excluded.

But the virtually five-year-old conflict, in which a lot more than 250,000 men and women have died, has also spawned unlikely alliances of convenience.

Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan said he would go to Saudi Arabia, a sturdy supporter of the anti-Assad rebels, quickly.

“I will check out Saudi Arabia at the end of the month for an official pay a visit to and we will talk about a number of matters and join hands with Saudi Arabia with regard to the region’s troubles,” he mentioned in an interview with Al Jazeera.

Senior U.S. Treasury Department official Adam Szubin stated in London on Thursday that Islamic State had created more than $ 500 million selling oil from territory it controls, with substantial volumes sold to Assad’s government and some finding its way to Turkey.

The United Nations says the war has left 13.five million Syrians in want of support and protection, like 400,000 living below siege and four.5 million in regions that are difficult for humanitarian help to attain.

U.N. Emergency Relief Coordinator Stephen O’Brien was to meet senior government officials in Damascus on Saturday to seek techniques to get much more help to those in most want.

(Extra reporting by Tom Perry in Beirut Writing by Kevin Liffey Editing by Janet Lawrence and Louise Ireland)

Agen Sabung Ayam

Opponents of Syria’s Assad agree joint group for peace talks

RIYADH Opponents of Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad agreed on Thursday to bring with each other political and armed factions in a single physique in preparation for attainable peace talks with his government, an opposition member said.

The opposition meeting in Riyadh comes amid escalating conflict in Syria and accelerated diplomacy to uncover a political resolution to a war which has drawn in regional military powers and driven millions of refugees to seek safety abroad.

Delegates from Islamist insurgent groups, exiled political opposition figures and Damascus-based activists are aiming to bridge variations which have plagued preceding attempts to unite Assad’s opponents about a frequent method.

The conference agreed on Wednesday that Assad and his lieutenants must play no component in a transition to democracy.

Monzer Akbik, a member of the National Coalition opposition group, said the Riyadh conference had agreed to set up a 25-strong leadership group, which includes six coalition members, six from rebel factions, five from a Damascus-based group and eight independent figures.

“These are representatives of all the opposition factions, political and military, and they are going to be the choice makers in terms of the political settlement,” said Akbik.

He was speaking from the United Arab Emirates after becoming briefed on Thursday morning’s talks. A separate negotiating team of 15 members would also be appointed, he told Reuters.

There was no immediate indication of agreement on the figures who would be chosen to fill these positions, and a single delegate highlighted the potential difficulties that remained. “Only God knows” if delegates could agree on names, he said.


Akbik mentioned that bringing the armed rebels collectively with the political opposition in a single group was a essential step for negotiations with the government.

“During the negotiation process you may possibly require to attain a ceasefire agreement, and this requires that the armed factions be component of the negotiating process,” he mentioned.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, speaking in Paris, stated the Riyadh talks appeared to be “very constructive” and making progress. “I think everybody is moving in the direction that they want to quickly get to a political process,” he mentioned.

“So we created progress but we have some difficult concerns to get over,” he stated. A attainable Dec. 18 meeting to advance the Syrian peace talks in New York is “not locked in yet” and sides are awaiting the outcome of the Saudi conference, he added.

At the Riyadh talks a declaration of principles was nevertheless getting drafted, a rebel commander mentioned.

Yet another commander added that there was agreement on keeping Syria united, on the departure of foreign forces and militias and that there must be no sectarian quotas in Syria’s government, which a political opposition leader also confirmed.

The role that Islam must play in a future Syria, and what status the country’s religious and ethnic minorities will have, has been a point of contention among the country’s rebel groups which include hardline Islamists.

Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir stated he hoped the opposition would come together in Riyadh to a enough degree to “move the globe to impose the required pressure to reach a peaceful settlement” in Syria.

“Bashar al-Assad has two options. Either he leaves through negotiations and this is the quickest, easiest and ideal for everybody, or he will leave by way of fighting due to the fact the Syrian men and women reject that this man stays in energy,” he mentioned.

International efforts to resolve the conflict which has killed 250,000 people and displaced 12 million have been lent added urgency by a wave of deadly attacks across the planet claimed by the Iraq- and Syria-primarily based Islamic State and by an escalating refugee flow which has triggered a crisis in Europe.

Major powers agreed in Vienna final month to revive diplomatic efforts to finish the war, calling for peace talks to begin by January and elections inside two years.


The conference agreed on Wednesday, the 1st day of the meeting, that Assad and his lieutenants must play no part in the transition to democracy, a number of delegates stated.

That marked a tougher stance than several Western countries which back Assad’s opponents. The United States, France and Britain all known as for Assad to step down shortly after protests broke out against his rule in March 2011.

Despite the fact that they all say Assad ultimately should go, they have been significantly less distinct about the timing of any departures, indicating that they could accept he keep in an interim period.

Assad’s fate was one of many questions left unresolved at the Vienna meeting final month which was attended by Russia, the United States, European and Middle Eastern countries which includes Saudi Arabia and Iran, which back opposing sides in Syria.

Saudi Arabia is a primary backer of the rebels along with Turkey and Western countries. Iran and Russia help Assad. Iran has openly criticized the selection by Saudi Arabia to hold the talks, saying they had been made to harm the Vienna procedure.

Russia launched air strikes in Syria 10 weeks ago, helping the Syrian army – backed by Iranian troops, Hezbollah fighters and allied militia – to contain rebel advances.

Russia says it is bombing Islamic State militants, who control massive locations of eastern Syria and western Iraq, but Western and Arab states which have been carrying out air strikes against Islamic State for a lot more than a year say the Russia jets have mostly hit other rebel forces in the west of Syria.

Moscow’s intervention has not swung the war decisively Assad’s way and a number of Western-backed rebel groups, some of whom were represented in Riyadh, have been emboldened by the elevated flow of foreign-supplied anti-tank missiles which have helped stem parts of the army’s counter-offensive.

(Added reporting by Tom Perry in Beirut, Suleiman al-Khalidi in Amman, Sami Aboudi and Dominic Evans in Dubai, editing by Peter Millership)

Agen Sabung Ayam

Russia attempting to carry out ‘ethnic cleansing’ in Syria’s Latakia: Turkish PM

Planet | Wed Dec 9, 2015 10:10am EST


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ISTANBUL Russia is attempting to carry out “ethnic cleansing” in Syria’s northern Latakia province, forcing its Turkmen and Sunni population out to develop a protected haven and shield Russian and Syrian bases, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu stated.

“Russia is attempting to make ethnic cleansing in northern Latakia to force all Turkmen and Sunni population who do not have great relations with the regime, they want to expel them, they want to ethnically cleanse this region so that regime and Russian bases in Latakia and Tartus are protected,” he told members of the foreign media in Istanbul on Wednesday.

(Reporting by Nick Tattersall Writing by Daren Butler)


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Agen Sabung Ayam

Syria’s fractured opposition seeks elusive unity against Assad

RIYADH Syria’s divided rebel and opposition groups are trying to forge a common stance to oust President Bashar al-Assad but the absence of prominent activists and a principal Kurdish force from their talks in Riyadh shows that unity remains elusive.

Saudi Arabia, a robust supporter of rebels fighting for 4 years to topple Assad, is hosting the opposition this week in the most ambitious try but to find an agreed platform ahead of talks with the government to finish Syria’s conflict.

Bringing the fragmented opposition together is observed by its backers as a critical step to end a civil war which started with protests against Assad in 2011 and rapidly drew in rival Sunni and Shi’ite Muslim powers across the Middle East.

Shi’ite Iran, Assad’s primary regional supporter, has criticized the meeting in the Sunni Muslim kingdom, saying it is designed to harm efforts to attain a peaceful resolution to a war which has killed 250,000 men and women and displaced 12 million.

At a Riyadh hotel exactly where the talks will start on Wednesday, security was stepped up and journalists were ejected as fighters and opposition leaders gathered. Particular forces soldiers with physique armor and assault rifles manned checkpoints.

An initial list of 65 invitees to the Riyadh talks has grown substantially, but critics say it nonetheless falls short of a completely inclusive meeting.

The Kurdish administration that runs swathes of north Syria was not invited. Rebels in western Syria do not trust the primary Kurdish militia, the YPG, due to the fact they say it cooperates with Damascus rather than fighting it.


“It is not all-encompassing. It is not the consolidated, general opposition platform,” a Western diplomat following Syria said of the Saudi meeting. “I do not count on Riyadh to be a constructive step … The complete point has been extremely acrimonious, and it appears like a Saudi-Turkish want-list.”

Alongside Saudi Arabia, Turkey is one of the major foreign backers of the rebellion against Assad.

Syrian Kurdish, Arab and Turkmen groups held their own opposition conference in the Kurdish-controlled town of al-Malikiya at the Syrian-Iraqi border on Tuesday.

Haytham Manna, an activist in exile, stated he would not attend the Riyadh meeting because it integrated “individuals who help an Islamic emirate”.

With Iran decrying the meeting as damaging to peace prospects and Western countries concerned by the function that Islamists will play, Saudi Arabia might struggle to unite the enemies of Assad.

For Saudi Arabia, Syria has been secondary to Yemen this year as the primary cockpit in an overarching struggle for regional influence with Iran, but the ruling Al Saud continue to regard the Syrian civil war as a pivotal battlefield in the rivalry.

Fighting has escalated in Syria in current weeks and Russian warplanes have intervened to help Damascus even though a U.S.-led coalition has stepped up strikes against Islamic State targets from the crowded skies over the nation.


Enhanced bloodshed, an influx of Syrian refugees into Europe, and a wave of international attacks claimed by Islamic State revived international efforts to include the violence.

“This is the initial meeting exactly where we have all the opposition, the politicians and the armed groups,” stated Hadi al-Bahra, a member of the Turkey-based SNC opposition coalition.

These talks ought to begin by Jan. 1, under the terms of an agreement reached by globe powers and regional states at a meeting in Vienna a month ago.

Participants invited to the Riyadh meeting contain Islamist factions Islam Army and Ahrar al-Sham, a group whose founders had links to al Qaeda. Ahrar al-Sham fights alongside the Nusra Front, al Qaeda’s Syrian wing, whilst espousing a nationalist agenda.

A dozen rebel groups who fight beneath the banner of the Free Syrian Army are also due to attend, which includes groups vetted by the United States that have received foreign military help.

Of the two most powerful armed groups in Syria, Islamic State has not been invited and the al Qaeda offshoot Nusra Front is also not anticipated.

National Coalition member Nagham al-Ghadri said the two-day meeting aimed to agree on a document to take to any talks with the Damascus government, as properly as an agreed negotiating group.

She said the opposition would not back down from its demand that Assad step down as quickly as a transitional ruling physique – which an international meeting on Syria named for 3 years ago – is established.

“The minute the transitional period must commence, he ought to leave. We do not agree that he could stay in the course of the transitional period,” Ghadri stated.

The Syrian government has dismissed any talk of a transitional physique getting imposed in Syria, saying any adjust in energy in Damascus must be decided by the Syrian individuals.

Some Western nations which known as for Assad to step aside in 2011 have softened their demands, suggesting he could at least remain for an interim period.

Ghadri said the outside globe was sending mixed messages over Syria, showing that international divisions ran even deeper than any splits in the Syrian opposition.

“It is not just us. We know what we want,” she stated. “Some countries never know what they want from Syria.”

(Further reporting by Tom Perry and Sylvia Westall in Beirut, and Suleiman al-Khalid in Amman Writing by Dominic Evans, editing by Sami Aboudi and Peter Millership)

Agen Sabung Ayam

Advisor to Iran’s prime leader calls fate of Syria’s Assad a ‘red line’

DUBAI A best advisor to Iran’s Supreme Leader on Sunday stated the future of Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad could only be determined by the Syrian folks and this was a “red line” for Tehran.

Assad’s fate is a sticking point in talks between planet powers aimed at discovering a political answer to the crisis in Syria. Iran and Russia want him to stay in power till elections are held, whilst Western and Arab powers say he need to go.

“Bashar al-Assad is the Islamic Republic of Iran’s red line due to the fact he was elected president by the Syrian men and women,” mentioned Ali Akbar Velayati, the top foreign policy advisor to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

“The Syrian individuals have to make a decision their own fate, and nobody outdoors Syria’s borders can pick for the Syrian men and women,” he added.

Velayati also mentioned Iran would try to ease tensions between Turkey and Russia. Turkey shot down a Russian fighter jet last month that it said had violated Turkish airspace while flying a mission in Syria.

“There is no benefit to tensions mounting up in the region. We have to not take the side of either celebration, and have a duty to lessen tensions between these two countries,” he stated.

(Reporting by Sam Wilkin Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

Agen Sabung Ayam