Tagged: Syria

In Syrian Christian town, ISIS executed 116 people before Assad’s army closed in

(NEWSWEEK) — By Jack Moore

Evidence has emerged of another Islamic State militant group (ISIS) mass execution, this time in the Syrian Christian desert town of Al-Qaryatain.

The militant group killed at least 116 civilians in executions committed in the days before the Syrian regime recaptured the town, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), a U.K.-based monitoring group with an extensive network of contacts in Syria.

“ISIS has over a period of 20 days executed at least 116 civilians in reprisal killings, accusing them of collaboration with regime forces,” SOHR chief Rami Abdelrahman told the Agence France-Presse news agency.

ISIS regained control of the town three weeks ago, and then the killings began. Syrian regime forces, backed by Russian air power, arrived and liberated the town on October 21 after dozens of ISIS fighters retreated, at which point the remains of the victims of the mass execution were found.

“After the regime retook it, the town’s residents found the bodies on the streets. They had been shot dead or executed with knives,” Abdelrahman said.

“Most of the ISIS fighters who attacked the town a month ago were sleeper cells…. They are from the town, know the town’s residents and who is for or against the regime,” he said.

A Syrian government official told the Associated Press that it was a “shocking massacre” and that government forces are continuing the search for victims in the town.

Another activist group, known as the Palmyra Coordination Committee, identified 67 civilians killed in Al-Qaryatain and said that figure could increase.

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Trump: ‘End of the ISIS caliphate is in sight’

(CNN) — By Miranda Green, CNN

President Donald Trump said Saturday that the United States would soon transition into a “new phase” of involvement in Syria after US-backed forces drove ISIS members from Raqqa, the city they deemed their capital.

“The defeat of ISIS in Raqqah represents a critical breakthrough in our worldwide campaign to defeat ISIS and its wicked ideology,” Trump said in a statement released by the White House. “With the liberation of ISIS’s capital and the vast majority of its territory, the end of the ISIS caliphate is in sight.

“We will soon transition into a new phase in which we will support local security forces, de-escalate violence across Syria, and advance the conditions for lasting peace, so that the terrorists cannot return to threaten our collective security again,” Trump said.

The US and its allies would support diplomatic negotiations to end the violence, to allow Syrian refugees to return to their homes, and to make way for “a political transition that honors the will of the Syrian people,” the President added.

US-backed forces fighting ISIS in Raqqa announced this week that “major military operations” in the city have ended and that the terrorist group has lost control of its self-declared capital.

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Kissinger warns: ‘Iranian radical empire’ could emerge in a post-ISIS Middle East

(ALGEMEINER) — The downfall of ISIS could be a boon for Iran, former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger cautioned in an article published by CapX this week.

“Across large areas of Iraq and Syria, an ideologically radical religious army, Isis, has declared itself a relentless foe of modern civilization, seeking violently to replace the international system’s multiplicity of states with a single Islamic empire governed by Sharia law,” the 94-year-old Kissinger wrote. “In these circumstances, the traditional adage that the enemy of your enemy can be regarded as your friend no longer applies. In the contemporary Middle East, the enemy of your enemy may also be your enemy. The Middle East affects the world by the volatility of its ideologies as much as by its specific actions.”

“The outside world’s war with Isis can serve as an illustration,” he continued. “Most non-Isis powers — including Shia Iran and the leading Sunni states — agree on the need to destroy it. But which entity is supposed to inherit its territory? A coalition of Sunnis? Or a sphere of influence dominated by Iran? The answer is elusive because Russia and the Nato countries support opposing factions. If the Isis territory is occupied by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards or Shia forces trained and directed by it, the result could be a territorial belt reaching from Tehran to Beirut, which could mark the emergence of an Iranian radical empire.”

Last November, as reported by The Algemeiner, Kissinger said the biggest challenge facing the Middle East was the “potential domination of the region by an Iran that is both imperial and jihadist.”

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READY TO STRIKE: ISIS has flooded Europe with 1,500 highly-trained terrorists ‘ready to launch attacks’, chilling EU report claims

(THE SUN) — An estimated 5,000 European ISIS fanatics went to Syria and Iraq and 15 to 20 per cent of them died on the battlefield.

Around 30 to 35 per cent have returned with “specific missions,” while the other half remained in the battle theater – which amounted to between 2,000 and 2,500 Europeans.

This means as many as 1,750 may have returned, based on the percentages listed in the report which EU counter-terrorism coordinator Gilles de Kerchove will present to EU interior ministers on Friday.

The report said there were two types of ‘foreign terrorist fighters’ returning.

Around a third of the estimated 5,000 European jihadists have returned to Europe – some may have ‘orders to attack’

Earlier this year, three coordinated suicide bombings occurred in Belgium: two at Brussels Airport in Zaventem, and one at Maalbeek metro station in central Brussels
Last month Belgium expressed concern that jihadists were increasingly returning to Europe

Last month Belgium expressed concern that jihadists were increasingly returning to Europe

It warned: “It is important to share information on returnees who are already back in Europe, those that are in transit and … (those) still in the conflict zone.”

“There are largely two categories of returnees: those in the majority who will drift back and those who will be sent back on specific missions, which are of most concern.”

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ISIS has up to 42 million supporters in the Arab world

(THE CLARION PROJECT) — by Ralph Mauro

An analysis of four polls surveying Arab public opinion towards the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) reveals that the group has a bare minimum of 8.5 million strong supporters and that’s a conservative estimate. If you include those who feel somewhat positively towards the Islamic State, the number rises to at least 42 million.

The estimate is based on a March 2015 poll by the Iraq-based Independent Institute for Administration and Civil Society Studies; a November 2014 poll by Zogby Research Services; another November 2014 poll by the Doha-based Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies and an October 2014 poll by the Fikra Forum commissioned by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

The following is a breakdown of the support for the Islamic State in 11 Arab countries:

Iraq

The November 2014 poll by the Doha-based Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies found that 2% of Iraqis view the Islamic State positively and another 4% view it positively to some extent. The March 2015 poll found that 5% do not consider the Islamic State to be a terrorist group.

With a population of 32,586,000 according to the CIA World Factbook, that means the Islamic State has between 651,720 and 1,955,160 supporters in Iraq.

Syria

Seventeen percent of Syrians said that they completely support the Islamic State’s goals and activities in the March 2015 poll. That statistic grows to 27% when you account for Syrians who do not consider the Islamic State to be a terrorist group.

The November 2014 poll interviewed 900 Syrian refugees in Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey and found that 4% are positive towards the Islamic State and another 9% are somewhat positive. This should raise serious concerns for countries that are accepting refugees from the civil war.

With a population of 17,952,000, that means the Islamic State has between 3,051,840 and 4,847,040 supporters in Syria.

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The Mosque: Center of religion, politics and dominance

By Claire Lopez

(GATESTONE INSTITUTE) —

Islamic-style authoritarianism is the dominant characteristic shared by both the military and the Muslim Brotherhood, theocrats and non-theocrats: one or the other must be dominant. The cannot share power. One side or the other must come out on top. Both of these conflicts, in Syria and Egypt, are, at their base, about the inseparability of Mosque and State in Islam, and the burning zeal of those believers who have no tolerance for Arab and Muslim regimes they see as allowing the two to function apart.

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News reports out of Syria are airing graphic footage of extensive interior damage to the historic Khalid Ibn Al-Walid Mosque in Homs. Syrian government troops, backed by Hizballah fighters, captured the mosque from Free Syrian Army (FSA) forces on July 27, 2013 in heavy fighting that has engulfed the northern Homs neighborhood of Khaldiyeh.

Although the mosque holds little strategic value to the Sunni rebels, it holds great symbolic status as the centuries-old mausoleum of Khalid Ibn Al-Walid, revered by Muslims as a companion of Muhammad, as well as commander of the Islamic military forces that conquered Syria after the defeat of the Christian Byzantine forces at the 636 CE Battle of Yarmouk. Syrian television footage showed the dome of the mausoleum had been knocked out in the recent fighting, causing heavy fire damage to the interior, with debris strewn across the floor. Clearly, the mosque assault by Syrian forces loyal to the Alawite regime of Bashar al-Assad, with back-up support from Shi’ite Hizballah, was intended to incite intra-Islamic sectarian rage from the Sunni rebels.

The extent to which that objective will now be met remains to be seen, but is reminiscent of the February 22, 2006 bombing of the great golden-domed Shi’ite Askaria Mosque in Samarra, Iraq, by al-Qa’eda elements, under the command of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. That carefully-calculated outrage is credited with igniting a savage multi-year civil war in Iraq, which, tragically, appears to be breaking out anew: July 2013 attacks on mosques and worshippers have killed at least 700.

Unfortunately, Iraq and Syria are but the current-day iterations of a 1,300-year-old blood feud over who has the greater legitimacy to rule over the Islamic ummah [Nation of Islam]: Shi’ites or Sunnis. After the 632 CE death of Islam’s traditional founder, the companions and bloodline descendents of Muhammad disagreed—vehemently—over whom should be granted the allegiance of his followers, with all the power the position of Caliph entailed. Then, as now, there was never any question about invoking the consent of the governed, or acknowledging the status or natural worth of the individual, to contribute to the political functioning of the Islamic state. As described so starkly by the Greek-American political scientist P.J. Vatikiotis, and cited here by Andrew Bostom, the essentially authoritarian, autocratic ethos of Islam “may be lasting, even permanent,” and shackles its adherents to an endless “No Exit” cycle of coup, counter-coup, revolution and oppression. Shi’ite and Sunni are doomed to internecine combat over the centuries because both Islamic sects are bound to an ideology based on dominance, not good faith mutual concessions or participatory collaboration. The name of this power-obsessed ideology is Islam. As a belief system, it is deeply bound up with the compellingly spiritual dimensions of Islam and cannot be separated from them, but nevertheless, as ideology, prioritizes the political dimensions.

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Another made kid of Allah: ISIS child executes alleged Israeli spy

» Another made kid of Allah: ISIS child executes alleged Israeli spy

The Atlantic: What ISIS really wants

» The Atlantic: What ISIS really wants

Obama’s defense of Islam burned with the pilot

IT IS HARDLY A SURPRISE that immediately after news came out that ISIS had burned a captured Jordanian pilot to death that Barack Hussein Obama absolved Islam of the crime.

ISIS released a video on Tuesday of its execution-by-incineration of the pilot, who was captured in December after his plane crashed in ISIS controlled territory. ISIS had been threatening to execute him if their zealots jailed in Jordan were not released. Read more »

Muhammad and the Made Men of Allah

YOU WOULD THINK THAT ISIS HAD REACHED the limit of its ability to nauseate with its barbaric terror tactics such as beheadings and crucifixions and mass shootings of captured Syrian and Iraqi soldiers and the impaling of severed heads on the spikes of a wrought-iron fence. But it has not reached its limits, and there may never be a limit. The evidence is in a 16-minute video the so-called Islamic State released last November.

This appears to be a recruitment video since it touts the blood-soaked history of ISIS, and the centerpiece is more blood soaking. At the eight-minute mark, it documents the simultaneous beheading of 19 captured Syrian pilots and military officers who have been marched out to the desert in front of 19 executioners and forced to their knees. Read more »