Al-Jazeerah: Cross-Cultural Understanding
News, May 2016
Syrian Holocaust Reaches 400,000, as NATO-Regime Forces Continue Targeting Sunni Muslim Cities
May 29, 2016
The US-led coalition which fights the Islamic State in northeastern Syria consists of US-led NATO forces, Syrian Alewife 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 Iraqi 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. The end outcome is going to be evicting Sunni Muslim Arabs from the upper Euphrates region of northwestern Iraq and northeastern Syria.
The following news stories from the official US and Syrian websites do not (or rarely) mention any civilian casualties, despite the facts that air strikes and bombardment target cities, including residential neighborhoods!
Syrian regime helicopters drop 12 explosive barrels on the Western Ghouta
SOHR, May 29, 2016
Rif Dimashq Province:
About 35 students got out of Madaya city which is besieged by the regime forces and the Lebanese Hezbollah, to have exams in the nearby town of al-Rawda, while helicopters dropped more than 12 barrel bombs on areas in the farms of Khan al-Shih in the Western Ghouta, while a member from the gunmen loyal to the regime forces was killed during clashes against the Islamic factions in the vicinity of Darayya city in the Western Ghouta.
The regime forces also shelled areas in the orchards of al-Keswah town in the west of Rif Dimashq, while the regime forces raided places in Jdaydet Artouz town west of Damascus, and arrested a person from the town, he was taken to an unknown destination, according to activists in the area.
More than 21 casualties and injuries most of them are children in shelling on Sheikh Maqsood and al-Sakhur
SOHR, May 29, 2016
A man and a citizen woman were killed and others were injured, in the shelling by the regime forces on areas in al-Sakhur neighborhood in Aleppo, while several shells fell on area in al-Zahraa town, which is inhabited by Shiite citizens in the northern countryside of Aleppo, no information casualties.
The regime forces targeted using several shells areas in the town of Anadan in the northern countryside of Aleppo, while warplanes bombed areas in the town Maskanah in the eastern countryside of Aleppo, which caused injuries and preliminary information about casualty, also shells launched by the rebel and Islamic factions and fell on places in Bab al-Faraj area in Aleppo, no information about casualties.
The warplanes bombed areas Hayan town in the northern countryside of Aleppo, no information about casualties, while four citizens at least -3 of them are children- were killed and 17 others were injured -including 11 children and 2 citizen women and a boy- by the shelling by the rebel and Islamic factions on areas in the Sheikh Maqsood neighborhood which is inhabited mostly by Kurdish citizens and controlled by YPG in Aleppo.
Turkey says 104 ISIS militants killed in strikes
SOHR, May 29, 2016
Turkey’s state-run news agency says US-led coalition airstrikes and Turkish artillery fire against ISIS in Syria have killed 104 militants.
Anadolu Agency says on Saturday said the strikes came late Friday, hours after rockets fired from Syria hit a southern Turkish town and wounded five people.
It said the airstrikes and artillery fire also destroyed 7 buildings used as ISIS headquarters. The claim could not be independently verified, and Turkey has not explained how it can count casualties in Syria.
Cross-border fire from Syria has claimed 21 lives and wounded dozens of others in the border town of Kilis this year.
Authorities blame the attacks on ISIS which has a presence in northern Syria. Turkey typically responds by shelling ISIS positions.
Erdogan condemns US support of Kurdish militias in Syria
SOHR, May 29, 2016
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday condemned the United States’ support of Kurdish fighters in Syria after AFP pictures revealed US commandos wearing the insignia of a militia branded a terror group by Ankara.
“The support they give to… the YPG (militia)… I condemn it,” said Erdogan. “Those who are our friends, who are with us in NATO… cannot, must not send their soldiers to Syria wearing YPG insignia.”
Erdogan’s comments came after an AFP photographer captured images of US troops in Syria wearing insignia of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG).
Ankara regards the YPG as a terror group, accusing it of carrying out attacks inside Turkey and being the Syrian branch of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) which has fought an insurgency against the Turkish state for over three decades.
“The PKK, the PYD, the YPG, Daesh (ISIS), there is no difference. They are all terrorists,” Erdogan said.
It had long been public knowledge that around 200 US commandos are in northern Syria helping local militia target the ISIS group’s de facto capital Raqa and guiding in coalition air strikes.
Erdogan, speaking in the majority Kurdish city Diyarbakir, accused the US of being dishonest because of its support for the militia and its political wing the Democratic Union Party (PYD).
“I believe that politics should be exercised with honesty,” he said.
The US seeking to avoid a rift with ally Turkey, swiftly announced Friday that special operations troops in northern Syria would henceforth stop wearing the badge of the YPG guerrillas.
However the State Department played down the spat, insisting that Washington and Ankara remain close partners in the broader fight against the Islamic State, despite disagreements about the role of the YPG.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu accused the United States of “hypocrisy” and “double standards” and said the American soldiers might just as well have worn the logo of al-Qaeda, the ISIS group or Boko Haram.
The United States has blacklisted the PKK as a “foreign terrorist organisation” but regards its Syrian-based sister group the PYG as a useful ally in the face of the ISIS threat.
US military officials say they will continue to work with the YPG, which provides the bulk of the so-called “Syrian Democratic Forces” fighting the ISIS group.
‘Half a million’ Syrians now living under siege
May 29, 2016 Comments Off on ‘Half a million’ Syrians now living under siege 2 Views
The number of Syrians living under siege has grown by some 75,000 to total 592,700, underscoring the worsening plight of civilians in the five-year war, the UN aid chief said Friday.
Stephen O’Brien, the UN under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs, told the Security Council that the use of siege and starvation as a weapon of war was “reprehensible” and “must stop immediately.”
The new figure, up from 517,700, marks a further increase from a previous estimate of 486,700 people living in besieged areas.
It includes the residents of the Al Wa’er area of Homs in western Syria that have been under siege by Syrian government forces since March, said O’Brien.
“Today 592,700 people are living in besieged areas because of the appalling, deteriorating situation in Al Wa’er,” he told the council.
The United Nations is preparing to begin humanitarian air drops over besieged areas starting June 1, after its repeated demands for access to the blockaded towns were refused.
In May, Syrian authorities allowed aid deliveries to 14 hard-to-reach areas, far short of the requests to reach 35 towns on the UN list.
O’Brien said the Damascus regime had denied aid to more than 40 percent of the target population for May, including in Aleppo, Al Wa’er and Talbiseh.
Syrian Ambassador Bashar Jaafari denied that his government was blocking aid and said that 19 of the 26 UN requests for humanitarian convoys had been approved for the month of May.
Of the 19 approved convoys, the United Nations only sent three, said Jaafari.
The ambassador complained that the situation concerning humanitarian aid “is manipulated” and that UN figures were “far from reality, based on unknown sources or unreliable ones.”
According to the United Nations, 452,700 Syrians are living in towns besieged by regime forces, while 110,000 are under siege by the Islamic State group in the eastern city of Deir Ezzor.
Some 20,000 are under siege by rebel groups in Foah and Kefraya in Idlib province and 10,000 are surrounded by both Syrian forces and rebel groups in Yarmouk in Damascus.
Boosting humanitarian aid is a key condition to be met before political talks on ending the war can resume.
The talks are aimed at reaching a settlement to end the five-year war that has left 280,000 dead and driven millions from their homes.
Inherent Resolve Strikes Hit ISIL in SyriaUS Department of Defense
SOUTHWEST ASIA, May 28, 2016 —
U.S. and coalition military forces continued to attack Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant in Syria and Iraq yesterday, Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve officials reported today.
Strikes in Syria
Attack and fighter aircraft conducted six strikes in Syria:
-- Near Raqqah, a strike struck an ISIL vehicle bomb factory.
-- Near Ayn Isa, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL fighting position.
-- Near Manbij, a strike destroyed an ISIL fighting position and an ISIL-used cave.
-- Near Mar’a, three strikes struck three separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed seven ISIL fighting positions.
Coalition Strikes Hit ISIL in Syria
US Department of Defense
SOUTHWEST ASIA, May 27, 2016 —
U.S. and coalition military forces continued to attack Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant in Iraq and Syria yesterday, Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve officials reported today.
Strikes in Syria
Attack and remotely piloted aircraft conducted two strikes in Syria:
-- Near Raqqah, a strike destroyed two ISIL oil pumpjacks.
-- Near Isa, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed two ISIL vehicles.
U.S. A-10s, Tankers Fly Syria Missions 24/7 From Incirlik
By Cheryl Pellerin
US Department of Defense
WASHINGTON, May 27, 2016 —
In a hangar off the flightline at Incirlik Air Base in southeastern Turkey, Army Gen. Joseph L. Votel -- accompanied by 447th Air Expeditionary Group Commander Air Force Col. Sean McCarthy -- greeted representatives from a Marine Corps EA-6 Prowler Squadron, a KC-135 tanker crew and several aircraft maintainers.
The U.S. Central Command commander’s visit to Incirlik May 23 was the final stop in a trip this week that took him to five countries in Centcom’s area of responsibility.
Speaking to reporters traveling with Votel, McCarthy said he commands 550 military personnel involved with his 12 A-10 Thunderbolt II attack aircraft and 12 KC-135 Stratotankers -- 350 to 375 of them associated with A-10 maintenance or operations.
“We handle roughly 33 percent of the air refueling for Operation Inherent Resolve, and on the close-air support side, the A-10 side, we handle about around one-fifth of coalition close-air support,” McCarthy said, “and when you're talking U.S.-only it's just under 30 percent.”
The colonel said right now most A-10 missions are over Syria and include air support for the Syrian Democratic Forces in the northeastern part of the country.
The tempo of operations over Syria is 24/7, McCarthy said.
“And that’s not just the A-10s. That's the coalition,” he added.
The A-10s, commonly known as “Warthogs,” arrived Oct. 18, 2015, just after the Turkish government opened Incirlik up to strike assets, McCarthy said. The A-10 crews at that time were from Moody Air Force Base in Valdosta, Georgia, and they redeployed in late April. Now crews from the Boise, Idaho, Air National Guard fly and maintain the A-10s.
“We have lots of spare aircraft [and] we're priority one with spare parts, so we generally have all the capability to fix our aircraft on hand. In fact,” McCarthy said, referring to an A-10 in the hangar behind him, “this is a jet that's just about ready to go into phase inspection in the next hangar.”
The colonel said a phase inspection is done on an A-10 every 5 days or so, but “with Moody, in six months they did 2.5 years’ worth of phase inspections ... These guys, when you have nothing to do but focus on your job, you're just cranking out the missions.”
More than 400,000 were killed in 63 months of the Syrian revolution
SOHR, May 28, 2016
The daily blood shedding continue on the Syrian soil, and killing the Syrian people also continue in most of the Syrian provinces, in 63 month since the start of the Syrian revolution, amid continued slumber by the international community, covering its ears to the cries of pain caused by the constant killing, where the Syrian Observatory for human rights was able to document 282,283 human losses since the fall of the first casualty in Daraa at the 18th of March 2011, until the dawn of the 26th of May 2016, and they were as follows:
81436 civilian casualties, including at least 14,040 persons under the age of 18, and 9106 females over the age of eighteen.
Number of fighters from the rebel and Islamic factions and The Syrian Democratic Forces: 45986
Defected from the regime forces 2582
Regime soldiers and officers: 56609
Members from Popular Committees, NDF, al-Baath battalions, Jaysh al-Tahrir al-Filastini, Syrian Social Nationalist Party, the National Arab Guard, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Iskenderun, Shabiha and regime’s informers: 39221
Militiamen from Hezbollah: 1247
Shiite fighters loyal to the regime of Iranian and Afghan and other Asian and Arab nationalities and al-Quds al-Filastini Brigade and gunmen of Arab nationalities loyal to the regime forces: 4585
Casualties from fighters of Lebanese, Iraqi, Palestinian, Jordanian, Arab Gulf, North African, Egyptian, Yemeni, Sudanese and other Arab nationalities, in addition to fighters of Russian, Chinese, European, Indian, Afghan, Chechen, Caucasian, American, Australian and Turkestan nationalities; who are fighting in the ranks the “Islamic State”, Jabhat Al-Nusra, the Islamic Turkestan Party, Jund al-Aqsa organization, Jund al-Sham, al-Khadra’a battalion, Junud al-Sham al-Shishan and Islamic movements: 47095
Unidentified casualties documented by pictures and videos: 3522
Also the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights received confirmed information from reliable sources within the regime’s security branches, most importantly the Air Force Intelligence and State Security, in addition to reliable sources in Sednaya military prison, they reported that at least 60 thousand prisoners died within these branches and Sednaya prison during the five past years, either due to direct physical torture, or by privation of food and medicine, where the Syrian Observatory for human rights documented the death of 14464 detainees, including 110 teenagers under the age of eighteen, and 53 citizen women over the age of eighteen years, since the start of the Syrian revolution in the 18th of March 2011, until the dawn of the 26th of May 2016.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights points out that these statistics do not include, the fate of more than 5,000 abducted civilians and fighters in the prisons of the “Islamic State” organization.
Also these statistics do not include the fate of more than 6000 prisoners and missing persons from the regime forces and militiamen loyal to them, and about 2,000 abducted persons by the rebel and Islamic factions, the “Islamic State” and Jabhat Al-Nusra (al-Qaeda in Levant), on charges of being loyal to the regime forces
It also doesn’t include hundreds of non-Syrian Kurdish fighters, who were killed fighting along with YPG in Syria.
Also the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights estimates the real number of those who were killed by the regime forces and militiamen loyal to them from Syria, Arab and Asian nationalities, and fighters of the rebel and Islamic Factions, the “Islamic state” organization and the organizations of Jund al-Sham, Jabhat Al-Nusra, Jund al-Aqsa, al-Umma Brigade, al-Battar battalion, Jaysh al-Mohajereen and al-Ansar, the Islamic Turkestan Party and Junud al-Sham al-Shishan to be about 75 thousand more from the numbers that the Syrian Observatory for human rights was able to document, because of the extreme secrecy about casualties by all parties, and because there is information about civilians casualties the Observatory was not able to authenticate, because of the difficulty to get to some remote areas in Syria.
also, there are about two million Syrians who had different injuries and permanent disabilities, and more than 11 million others of them were displaced both internally and externally, and the infrastructure, hospitals, schools and private and public property are greatly destroyed.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights renews its call to all international sides -despite the horrifying silence by the international community- to work more seriously for immediate stop of the Syrian people’s blood shedding and to put more pressure on the countries members of the members of the UN Security Council so these war crimes and the crimes against humanity are handled by the International Criminal Court. We in the Syrian Observatory demand the punishment of all perpetrators, instigators, collaborators and all individuals and sides who used the Syrian blood as a political card and as means to carry out their personal agendas, as well as those who transformed a revolution for dignity to a sectarian and ethnic civil war.
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