Al-Jazeerah: Cross-Cultural Understanding
News, November 2016
Sunni Muslim Arabs in Syria Under Continuous Russian-Regime Attacks, Particularly in Besieged Aleppo, without Electricity or Food Supplies
December 8, 2016
The coalition which fights the Islamic State and other Sunni groups in Syria consists of US-led NATO forces, Russian forces, Syrian Alewite government forces, Iranian-backed Shi'i militias, and Kurdish peshmerga forces. The coalition's continuous attacks have resulted in the killing of thousands of Iraqi Sunni Muslim Arabs and the eviction of thousands as a result of the destruction of their cities and villages.
Millions of Sunni Muslim Arabs have already left their cities and villages as the fighting intensifies towards an all-attack by the US-led coalition on Raqqa and Mosul, as well as by the Russian-regime attacks on other cities. The end outcome is going to be evicting (ethnic cleansing of) Sunni Muslim Arabs from Syria, particularly the upper Euphrates region of northwestern Iraq and northeastern Syria.
The larger context for understanding the Syrian war (and other wars in the Middle East) is the Zionist-Israeli plan of destroying the Arab Middle Eastern states in preparation for the establishment of the greater Israeli empire, from the Nile of Egypt to the Euphrates of Iraq.
For a background, read:
The following are news stories from the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) website (http://www.syriahr.com/en/):
Continued clashes in Aleppo and regime’s bombardment kills 11 civilians
Aleppo province :
Clashes taking place between regime forces and rebels around Job al-Jabali, Zabidia, Salah DIn, Bustan Qser, and al-Meror, amid mutual bombardment from both sides and shelling by regime forces on Salah Din, Mashehad, Zabidia, Ansari and other aeas of the city. Rebels fired dozens of shells targeting regime forces in Bustan Zahra, Merdian, Aazamia, Mashariqa, Saif, Dawla, Jamilia, Akramia, and around the palace and Baron streets which are controlled by the regime. 11 civilians confirmed dead after bombardment by regime forces on old Aleppo neighborhoods,
About 30 soldiers killed by IS massive attacks in Homs countryside
Aerial bombardment targeted the Silos area near al-Sokhna and Taiba towns leading to human losses. SOHR was informed that no less than 26 soldiers were killed by massive attacks by IS around Maher, Jazal and Shaer oil fields, and aroun dHweses area in the eastern Badia, the IS took control on several points in the mentioned areas forcing regime forces to pull back, the clashes accompanied by mutual bombardment from both sides.
22 civilians killed by aerial bombardment targeted IS locations
SOHR was able to document the death of 22 civilians by aerial bombardment targeted areas controlled by IS in the northern countryside of Raqqa in the past 25 hours, including a woman with 7 of her children killed by massacre by warplanes targeted Bazaa village northeast of al-Bab city, and 14 including 3 families killed by the coalition airstrikes targeted the northern countryside of Raqqa in the past 24 hours including 2 siblings killed in al-Abara village in Raqqa countryside, and 11 killed by airstrikes targeted al-Mesherfa in the northern countryside, the number of the dead is likely to rise.
US-led coalition airstrikes kill more civilians in Raqqa
Aerial bombardment targeted Raqqa city the main bastion of IS in Syria, no reports of losses. 3 civilians from one family killed by the coalition airstrikes targeted Raqqa northern countryside. Hama province: Clashes took place between regime forces and IS around Ethria road amid mutual bombardment from both sides, reports of losses. Aerial bombardment targeted areas of Latamina, no reports of losses.
Tens of casualties in the bombing escalation on Aleppo’s neighborhoods and more bombing targets its areas
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights: Warplanes believed to be Russian bombed areas in al-Atareb city and Kafr Karmeen in the western countryside of Aleppo, amid the fall of 8 missiles believed to be ground-to-ground launched by the regime forces on places in an area of a displaced persons camp in Kafr Karmeen town, which injured several people and caused material damage to the property of citizens.
Warplanes renewed the targeting on areas in neighborhoods of Bustan al-Qasr and Kallaseh east of Aleppo, also a loud explosion was heard in Maysaloun Park in Aleppo city, it was caused by an explosion but it is unknown whether it was caused by a bomb from the remnants of warplanes’ bombing or it was a mine explosion planted earlier, which injured several people and information about casualties, while a fighter from Afrin city was killed during clashes against the regime forces and militiamen loyal to them in Aleppo city.
The factions targeted using a guided missile position of the regime forces in Menyan area west of Aleppo, also the factions targeted positions of the regime forces in Jam’eyyat al-Zahra’a area west of Aleppo, while it rose to 19 at least, the number of people who were killed by shelling by the regime forces and warplanes since the morning on the neighborhoods of the Old City of Aleppo, and the neighborhoods that remained under the control of the factions. And in another context, it rose to 24 -including 4 children- the number of people who were killed in the fall of shells on regime forces’ controlled areas in Aleppo city since yesterday.
The regime forces target Beqin and Madaya and the number of casualties rises in Tal Thin
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights: It rose to 5 at least, the number of people who were killed in IED explosion in a passenger bus at the junction of Tal Thin in the countryside of Al-Hasakah, and the death toll is expected to rise because there are some people in critical situation, sources said that they were workers from one of the oilfields in the area.
Rif Dimashq Province:
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights: The regime forces renewed the targeting on areas at Beqin town and Madaya city, which are besieged by the regime forces and the Lebanese Hezbollah, no information about casualties.
Fleeing Aleppo fighting, Syrians describe terrifying choices
by Loaa Adel Dec 4, 2016, 4:48 pm
(Reuters), Iraqi News --
As Syrian government forces advanced into Aleppo’s rebel-held al-Sakhour district, Hasan al-Ali said he faced the choice of staying put and being caught by the army, or fleeing into a shrinking rebel enclave under relentless bombardment.
A father of three children, he opted for the latter, though food, fuel, water and medicine are running critically low in rebel-held areas, such is his fear of the Syrian government that insurgents have been trying to unseat for more than five years.
“I didn’t take anything with me. I took the kids, ran to my car, and left… We took the decision at the final hour, because the army could have swooped in at any moment,” the 33-year-old said, speaking in eastern Aleppo.
For Ali and thousands of others in the areas that fell to the army in recent days, the danger and deprivation of east Aleppo seem a safer bet than the imprisonment or enlistment into the military that they fear if they moved to government areas.
But as some fled deeper into Aleppo’s remaining rebel districts, others decided instead to risk a perilous crossing of the front lines into government-held parts of the city, seeing it as a safer option than staying with the outgunned rebels.
“I hope Syria will return to the way it was, and people get back security and peace like before,” said Abed al-Salam Ahmad, who crossed to the government sector with his wife and six daughters after their house was hit by a shell.
The former construction worker said conditions were so bad that even animals would not endure them, and that inhabitants were badly treated by east Aleppo’s rebels – something the rebels deny. His family fled at dawn, braving gunfire as they crossed the front line.
He spoke to Reuters TV at a disused cotton factory in Aleppo’s Jibreen area, one of two former industrial facilities opened by the government to receive the displaced.
The divergent paths chosen by Ali and Ahmad illustrate the terrifying choices that have faced civilians fleeing one of the most ferocious battles of the Syrian war, with President Bashar al-Assad poised for his biggest triumph of the conflict so far.
Both the rebels and the government have accused each other of manipulating Aleppo residents’ fears to their own advantage.
The military say rebels spread false reports of government abuses to deter people from leaving rebel areas. Rebels in turn say that people who speak of mistreatment by insurgents after fleeing their territory are acting out of fear of authorities.
Since the army swept through the northern part of the rebel enclave a week ago, capturing several large, populous districts, at least 30,000 people have fled across the front lines from the rebel areas, the U.N.’s relief coordinator OCHA said.
Thousands of others – the numbers are more difficult to calculate because international bodies are not present in rebel-held east Aleppo – retreated further into the insurgents’ sector, including to the dense quarters of the Old City. OCHA estimates 5,000 had been displaced within eastern Aleppo.
The U.N. envoy for Syria said on Saturday there may still be more than 100,000 people in rebel-held areas. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said it could be as many as 200,000.
For those remaining in districts held by rebels, conditions are worsening, aggravated by the shortage of basic goods and the constant danger of bombardment in civilian areas and fighting near the quickly shifting front lines.
“We had a lot of starvation. They were giving us every day or two days a bag of bread, so five loaves of pitta bread,” said a woman who gave the name of Um Ali, or ‘Ali’s mother’, who had fled to the government sector from her home in Jeb al-Qubba district.
After the army has finished checking the identity papers of her and her family, she hopes they can move in with her brother in a western district of Aleppo that is in government hands.
Many of those who chose to remain in rebel areas believe that checks of identity papers are a prelude to mass arrests, torture and extrajudicial killing, citing previous media reports of such action – all dismissed by Damascus as fabricated.
The Observatory said on Wednesday the government had detained hundreds of people. A Syrian military source denied that, and said that while identities were being checked, nobody was being arrested.
Khalil Halabi, 35, a pharmacist from al-Shaar district near the new front line, moved with his wife and children to the rebel-held Old City after what he described as 11 days of escalating bombardment.
“The destruction is indescribable – the limbs, burnt limbs. Buildings collapsed and were burned down, mosques were destroyed completely,” he said.
“We lost a lot of people… through barrel bombs and rockets. Some of them died and some of them were permanently injured,” he said. Others from his district fled in the other direction, seeking shelter in government areas.
For the people Reuters spoke to in Aleppo, the decision to leave home, even in the face of such deprivation and after a war that began in Syria in 2011 and arrived in their city in 2012, came as a wrench.
Mahmoud Zakaria Rannan, a tailor from the city’s Sheikh Najjar neighborhood who has six children and owned a small shop, said his family finally decided to leave after he was wounded when their house was shelled.
“I had been in my home for 40 years, was I going to leave it in one day?” he said. The family went to the Sheikh Khudr district and then to the Old City. But as clashes continued, they decided to join his brother in government-held Adamiya.
“We have kids, and I’m injured… so we had to walk very slowly,” he said. His journey included a two-hour trek through the city starting at 4 am. “There was a big group with us. They even fired on us at the airport highway.”
Some of those trapped inside the rebel sector may still be hoping to escape through a deal between rebels and the government, such as those that allowed thousands to leave Daraya near Damascus for insurgent-held Idlib after years of siege.
“I will go to another area, I’ll take my family and seek refuge in another area, a liberated area that doesn’t have the regime. I have no trust at all in the regime to stay in its areas,” said Ali.
Russian and Syrian Regime Air Strikes Kill 73 in Rebel-held Idlib Province: War Monitor
December 5, 2016, 11:51 am
(Reuters) Iraqi News --
Air strikes killed at least 73 people in rebel-held Idlib province, including 38 in the city of Maarat al-Numan, on Sunday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based group monitoring the war, reported.
Russian war planes and Syrian military jets and helicopters have been conducting heavy strikes for months against rebels in Idlib, southwest of Aleppo. Insurgents had previously tried to get help and supplies to fellow rebels in the city from Idlib.
The Observatory said the death toll in Maarat al-Numan included five children and six members of a single family.
The bombardment included barrel bombs, improvised ordnance made from oil drums filled with explosives and dropped from helicopters, the monitor said. The Syrian military and Russia both deny using barrel bombs, whose use has been criticized by the United Nations.
Syria’s civil war, which began in 2011, pits President Bashar al-Assad, backed by Russia, Iran and Shi’ite Muslim militias against mostly Sunni rebels including groups supported by the United States, Turkey and Gulf kingdoms.
Jihadist militants are also fighting alongside the insurgents, including Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, which has a large presence in Idlib province and was known as the Nusra Front until July when it broke its formal allegiance to al Qaeda.
Russia says its air campaign, which began in September 2015, is aimed at preventing jihadists, including both Fateh al-Sham and the Islamic State group, from gaining more territory in Syria that could be used to mount attacks overseas.
The following are news stories from the US Department of Defense website (http://www.defense.gov/News) :
Military Strikes Continue Against ISIL in Syria, Iraq
SOUTHWEST ASIA, Dec. 5, 2016 —
Strikes in Syria
Attack, fighter and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 11 strikes in Syria:
-- Near Abu Kamal, two strikes destroyed two oil manifold valves.
-- Near Shadaddi, a strike destroyed an ISIL command-and-control node.
-- Near Raqqa, three strikes engaged an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed a weapons production facility, a vehicle and a bulldozer.
-- Near Ayn Isa, a strike destroyed an ISIL mortar system.
-- Near Dayr Az Zawr, two strikes engaged an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed two fighting positions, a vehicle and an oil wellhead.
-- Near Manbij, two strikes destroyed an ISIL bulldozer and a vehicle bomb.
Strikes in Iraq
Attack, fighter and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 10 strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of Iraq’s government:
-- Near Asad, a strike destroyed an ISIL vehicle bomb.
-- Near Bashir, a strike destroyed an ISIL-held building and an anti-air artillery system.
-- Near Beiji, a strike engaged an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed a bunker.
-- Near Mosul, five strikes engaged four ISIL tactical units, destroying seven mortar systems, four ISIL-held buildings, two vehicles, a vehicle bomb factory and a front-end loader. Thirty-one supply routes were damaged.
-- Near Qayyarah, a strike engaged an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed a vehicle and a weapons system.
-- Near Tal Afar, a strike engaged an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed a building.
Military Strikes Continue Against ISIL in Syria, Iraq
SOUTHWEST ASIA, Dec. 4, 2016 —
Strikes in Syria
Attack, bomber and fighter aircraft and rocket artillery conducted nine strikes in Syria:
-- Near Abu Kamal, three strikes destroyed three oil wellheads.
-- Near Raqqa, a strike destroyed an ISIL command and control node.
-- Near Ayn Isa, two strikes engaged two ISIL tactical units and destroyed an ISIL-held building and an ISIL command and control node.
-- Near Dayr Az Zawr, two strikes destroyed an oil tanker truck, an oil wellhead, and an oil rig.
-- Near Manbij, a strike destroyed an ISIL artillery piece.
Strikes in Iraq
Attack, bomber, fighter, rotary and remotely piloted aircraft and rocket artillery conducted seven strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of the Iraqi government:
-- Near Huwayjah, three strikes disabled a bridge and destroyed five ISIL-held buildings.
-- Near Mosul, three strikes engaged two ISIL tactical units; suppressed an ISIL tactical unit; damaged a land bridge, an ISIL-held building, and 16 supply routes; and destroyed a mortar, a weapons cache, four ISIL-held buildings, a command and control node, an explosives factory, and a heavy machine gun.
-- Near Rawah, a strike destroyed an ISIL vehicle bomb factory.
Inherent Resolve Strikes Target ISIL in Syria, Iraq
SOUTHWEST ASIA, Dec. 3, 2016 —
Strikes in Syria
Attack and fighter aircraft conducted two strikes in Syria:
-- Near Shadaddi, a strike destroyed a communications tower.
-- Near Ayn Isa, a strike destroyed an artillery system.
Strikes in Iraq
Attack and fighter aircraft and rocket artillery conducted two strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of the Iraqi government:
-- Near Mosul, a strike engaged an ISIL tactical unit, destroyed an ISIL-held building, damaged eight supply routes, and suppressed a tactical unit.
-- Near Rawah, a strike destroyed a vehicle bomb factory.
Inherent Resolve Strikes Target ISILin Syria, Iraq
SOUTHWEST ASIA, Dec. 2, 2016 —
Strikes in Syria
Attack, bomber and fighter aircraft conducted four strikes in Syria:
-- Near Shadaddi, a strike engaged an ISIL tactical unit.
-- Near Raqqah, a strike engaged an ISIL chemical weapon and ammunition storage facility.
-- Near Day az Zawr, two strikes destroyed four oil wellheads, two oil tanker trucks, an oil tanker-trailer and an oil work-over rig.
Strikes in Iraq
Attack, bomber and fighter aircraft, and rocket artillery conducted four strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of Iraq’s government:
-- Near Haditha, a strike engaged an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL-held building.
-- Near Mosul, three strikes engaged two ISIL tactical units and a weapons cache, destroying four heavy machine guns, four fighting positions, two vehicle bombs and a rocket-propelled grenade. A tactical unit was suppressed and eight supply routes were damaged.
Military Strikes Target ISIL in Syria, Iraq
SOUTHWEST ASIA, Dec. 1, 2016 —
Strikes in Syria
Attack aircraft and rocket artillery conducted two strikes in Syria:
-- Near Abu Kamal, a strike destroyed two oil pumpjacks.
-- Near Raqqah, a strike engaged an ISIL headquarters building.
Strikes in Iraq
Attack, bomber aircraft and rocket artillery conducted three strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of Iraq’s government:
-- Near Mosul, a strike engaged an ISIL tactical unit, destroying four ISIL-held buildings, two vehicles, a vehicle bomb, a mortar system, and a rocket-propelled grenade. A bridge was disabled, and an ISIL tactical unit, a mortar system and a heavy machine gun were suppressed.
-- Near Rawah, two strikes engaged an ISIL vehicle bomb staging area and destroyed a bunker.
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