Shocking New Revelation About 20% Of Syrians Will Terrify Countries Accepting Refugees

A newly released poll finds that one in five Syrians think that ISIS is having an overall positive effect on their nation. Further, over 80 percent in both Iraq and Syria believe ISIS is a foreign/American made group.

Syria has been under the dictatorship of the al-Assad family since 1971, with other dictatorships and military rules in the immediate decades prior. The country has been in a state of civil war since 2011, with ISIS and other anti-Assad regime factions seeking to gain supremacy. President Bashar al-Assad is backed by Iran and Russia.

The poll was conducted by ORB International, a British marketing firm, between June 10 and July 2. “ORB interviewed a nationally representative sample of 1365 adults across all 14 governorates throughout Syria – including those under the control of ISIL,” according to the company’s website.   

As for the over 4 million refugees that have fled the country, one Middle Eastern official believes at least two percent, or one in 50, could be radicals. “Asked if IS – also known as Isil and Isis – could be sending militants under cover of being refugees,”  Lebanese Education Minister Elias Bou Saab told reporters: “Yes, they bring some people, the smugglers. They organise groups and send them out,” according to the Belfast Telegraph.  

Reuters reports that Lebanon has taken in over one million refugees (one in four people in the country). Saab recounted: “When the Lebanese army were kidnapped in Lebanon, the people who kidnapped them came out of the camps. We had them in camps in Lebanon and we were taking care (of them) and all of a sudden they came out of the camps, they went against the army, they kidnapped the soldiers and they took them to the mountains.”

As reported by Western Journalism, the Obama administration announced last week that it plans to increase the number of Syrian war refugees admitted into the United States over sixfold during the next fiscal year.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest stated that the U.S. will have admitted approximately 1500 refugees by the end of this fiscal year on Sept. 30. During the next fiscal year, it will “accept at least 10,000 refugees,” he said.

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, issued a statement following the Obama administration’s announcement which reads in part: 

“…before agreeing to accept tens of thousands of Syrian refugees, the Obama administration must prove to the American people that it will take the necessary precautions to ensure that national security is a top priority, especially at a time when ruthless terrorist groups like ISIS are committed to finding ways to enter the United States and harm Americans.”

h/t: Breitbart

Did Al-Qaeda Really Declare War On The Islamic State?

On Thursday evening, Israeli television network Channel Two’s security expert, Ronnie Daniel, reported on the stunning developments in Syria this week where Russia intervened to give a boost to the ailing regime of President Bashar Al-Assad. Daniel said that not only did Russian troops arrive in Syria to participate in the battle against Sunni opposition groups, but Iranian troops did as well.

Until now, regular troops of the Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps were not stationed in Syria, but rather advisors who were aligned with Shiite militias, such as Hezbollah and the Syrian Army.

A source in the Israeli Defense Ministry told Daniel that the Iranian troops will help Hezbollah’s forces in the northwest and southwest of Syria in the Al-Zabadani area along the Lebanese border and the northeast of the Golan Heights. Rebel forces such as Jabhat al-Nusra which already control most of the border area with Israel on the Golan Heights have repeatedly tried to push Assad’s army and Hezbollah out of the area of the Druse village Khader on the Golan Heights, but to no avail.

Control of the strategically important area along the Israeli border is contested by various groups fighting in Syria–but especially by Hezbollah, which wants to expand its front with Israel into Syria.

After Daniel’s report about the Iranian troops built up in Syria, Channel Two reported a second scoop when the Channel’s renowned Middle East expert, Ehud Yaari, said that Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri had called for cooperation with Islamic State in the war against the Russian and Iranian-backed Syrian dictator.

Yari showed a fragment taken from an Al Qaeda video with an audio message from Ayman al-Zawahiri that was released on Wednesday. In the audio message, Al-Zawahiri said that despite his rejection of the caliphate – that was declared by ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi last year – he acknowledged that Islamic State has made an impact ‘despite their many mistakes.’

The al-Qaeda leader then stated that he was interested in “cooperation with ISIS in the war against the crusaders, the apostates, the Alawites (Assad belongs to the Alawite sect) and the Iranians in Syria” despite the fact that he didn’t recognize the Islamic caliphate of al-Baghdadi.

Yaari explained that a coalition of Al Qaeda branch Jabhat al-Nusra and Islamic State would be a game changer that would not only be dangerous to the Assad coalition but to Israel as well. Such a coalition would bring Islamic State on Israel’s border with Syria, he warned.

Ya’ari’s report totally contradicted other media reports about the same audio message that said the Al Qaeda leader had declared war on Islamic State. British and U.S. media omitted the fragment about al-Zawahiri’s proposal for cooperation with Islamic State.

Instead, they focused on the ‘irreconcilable divide’ between the two groups and highlighted the counter-terrorism experts’ hopes that the divide between the two organizations could be an opening to exploit.

Al-Zawahiri’s criticism of Islamic State and its leader al-Baghdadi was portrayed as a declaration of war; but in fact, the al-Qaeda leader only blasted the ISIS leader for establishing the caliphate without consulting with other Muslims.

ISIS was originally the Al Qaeda branch in Iraq but split from al-Zawahiri’s organization two years ago.

Islamic State And Jaish al-Islam Close In On Damascus; Assad’s Regime In Danger

“Islamic State has Damascus in its crosshairs” wrote Times of Israel analyst Avi Issacharoff in an analysis that was published this weekend. Issacharoff paints a bleak picture of the future of the central government of President Bashir al-Assad, who faces the slow but steady advances of both the Islamic State and Jaish al-Islam (Army of Islam) toward the Syrian capital Damascus.

Jaish al-Islam already has strongholds in the two Damascus suburbs of Douma and Ghouta al-Sharqiyah, and Islamic State holds parts of the former Palestinian refugee camp, Yarmouk, that has been the scene of intensive fighting that caused most of the population to flee.

Assad has shown that he is willing to defend Damascus at any price. Just last week, his air force bombed a crowded marketplace in central Douma, killing and wounding hundreds of citizens. The Syrian dictator has also used chemical weapons against the population of the Jaish al-Islam strongholds in the Damascus area. In August 2013, Ghouta al-Sharqiyah was attacked with chemical weapons, an incident that almost triggered U.S. intervention in Syria and led to international action to strip Assad of his chemical weapons arsenal.

Despite these war crimes, Assad has not been able to stop the Islamic State and the Islamist coalition from closing in on the seat of his government.

The Islamic State has already advanced to Bir Qassab, 40 kilometers southeast of Damascus.

A map published on August 13, 2015 shows ISIS is moving to strangle the Syrian capital while at the same time trying to cut off the supply routes from Damascus to the coastal plain in Latakia and Tartous, which is home to Assad’s Alawite minority. The grey areas are under the control of the Islamic State, the green fields are controlled by the Nusra dominated Islamist coalition Jaish al-Islam, and the pink areas with the red dots are still under control of the regime. Assad has lost 18% percent of Syrian territory so far this year and is now in control of only five-sixths of the country.

Islamic State is also trying to set up camp at the Lebanese border.  As Western Journalism reported last week, Islamic State is “threatening Hezbollah’s rule in the Qalamoun Mountains in west Syria and reportedly is trying to seize border crossings on the Syria-Lebanon border. These border crossings are the last ones under regime control–all the other border crossings in Syria are controlled by rebels and Islamic State.”

Syrian civil war

The map shows why the Islamic State opened an offensive against Hezbollah’s rule in the border area. If the group succeeds in connecting the areas under its control in this part of Syria, Damascus will be cut off from the coastal plain and the port cities.

Issacharoff notes that Assad’s army appears to be exhausted and that “one major incident, such as the fall of a base or a strike against a leader of the regime or the army, could bring about the collapse of Bashar’s military system and the abandonment of the capital.”

This is precisely what seems to be happening right now. The Jaish al-Islam coalition is battling Assad’s forces at the Abu Al-Duhur military air base in northwestern Syria. The base has been the scene of intense fighting before; but this time, the opposition seems determined to seize control of the air base.

The intensification of the fighting and the looming collapse of Assad’s rule caused the parties to resort to even more brutal tactics. Last week, regime forces beheaded eight ISIS fighters during a battle in the area of the Kweris airbase. Assad’s air force uses large amounts of barrel bombs against not only the opposition but also against the civilian population. The attack on the central marketplace in Douma last week was only one in a long series of such attacks.

Islamic State sank to a new low when it used the outbreak of AIDS among its fighters to develop a new sort of suicide attack. AIDS-infected ISIS members who contracted the disease – as a result of the rape culture in Islamic State – are requested (or forced) to volunteer for suicide attacks that will kill two birds with one stone. The attacks will ensure the spread of the disease among the enemy and ensure that ISIS has enough suicide bombers.

ISIS reportedly also used chemical weapons against its opponents for the first time. Doctors at a hospital in Marea, a city 25 kilometers north of Aleppo (Syria’s second largest city), reported they had treated over 30 people who suffered from suppurating blisters after ISIS had shelled their neighborhood.

“On Friday, (a) US official confirmed that the Isil (ISIS) had used ‘a class-one chemical agent’ against Peshmerga forces in an attack earlier this month. Military sources had previously told American media that the substance was a mustard agent,” The Daily Telegraph reported.

Some observers fear that in the final stage of the battle for Syria, Jaish al-Islam and Islamic State will cut off the water supply to Damascus to ensure the surrender of Assad’s forces. This tactic has been used before, but only temporarily. In July, for example, Jabhat al-Nusra cut off the water supply to Damascus to force Assad’s army and Hezbollah to suspend a military operation against its forces in the area of Zabadani, close to the border with Lebanon.

Analysts of Jane’s Defence told the International Business Times that Assad is now facing defeat for the first time in the devastating civil war. “The bigger picture is that Assad is not going to last much longer,” they said.

Issacharoff doesn’t agree; he thinks the balance of power will not change anytime soon in Syria. But recent developments tend to prove the analysts of Jane’s right.

Assad’s fate, however, will be dependent on Iran and Hezbollah -his main allies- and on the coalition against Islamic State.

The latest news is that Turkey and the United States will soon launch a ‘comprehensive operation’ against Islamic State that must result in an ISIS free buffer zone in Syria. Washington and Ankara completed talks about the joint operation on Sunday.

However, a closer look at the plan reveals that the operation will be limited to the border area between Turkey and Syria and aims to prevent the establishment of an autonomous Kurdistan in Syria by the Kurdish PYD militia.

Last week, the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) announced that it had moved to establish autonomous zones in southeast Turkey. The move has further increased tensions in the Kurdish areas in Turkey and Syria and could lead to all out war between the Kurds and Turkey.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

WATCH Unique Footage Of Kurdish Battle Against Islamic State In Syria

There are few Western reporters who are still willing to go to the battle fields in Syria since ISIS kidnapped and decapitated several Japanese, American and British journalists. VICE News has made several movies about Islamic State in Iraq and Syria in the past, but now a VICE reporter has made a series of video reports on the war between the Kurdish YPG militia and Islamic State in northern Syria.

The footage offers a unique view on the inside of the battle against Islamic State in Rojava in the north of Syria, where the YPG succeeded in driving ISIS out of the town of Hasakah after the terrorist organization defeated Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces at the end of June. YPG is now almost in control of all of Hasakah.

The first VICE video deals with the conquest of Hasaka by YPG forces and contains an interview with an Arab commander of the Kurdish militia who used to work for Assad’s intelligence services. He dismissed the Turkish claims about ethnic cleansing of the areas liberated by YPG and said that the claim is a lie. He said that Islamic State displaced and beheaded members of the Christian and other majorities who live in Rojova.

(Warning: contains some graphic images)

The second video by VICE reporter Aris Roussinos shows a YPG night operation against Islamic State in the Hasaka area. A YPG commander says there isn’t a single night without battles between the Kurds and ISIS. He also says that after liberating the area of Islamic State, the Kurds will unite their lines and advance in the southern direction, something that is strongly opposed by the Turkish government.

The Kurdish commander also shows Roussinos tunnels that ISIS dug to undermine the positions of the enemy and to ambush YPG units. A second commander says that since the liberation of Kobane and Hasaka, the world should know that the Kurds are the only ones who know how to fight against ISIS. The commander says that ISIS is a professional fighting force and that it will take a few days before the last remaining ISIS positions will be conquered by YPG.

The VICE crew filmed the nightly battle against the ISIS units, which were surrounded by the Kurds. The video also shows how in the distance, coalition airplanes bomb ISIS positions ahead of the YPG assault.

(Warning: contains some graphic images)

Finally, the third video shows a female YPG unit that took part in the battle for Hasaka against Islamic State. The Kurdish militia in Syria and Iraq is the only military force in the Middle East that uses female combat units in the war against ISIS. They took this idea from the IDF, which has a female combat unit too.

The video shows new coalition airstrikes on ISIS positions on the outskirts of Hasaka and contains interviews with female YPG soldiers.

One female commander tells VICE News that the battle in Hasaka is for Christians, Armenians, Arabs and Syrians, and not only for the Kurds. She says that ISIS doesn’t know what humanity is.

Another female commander calls upon refugees to return home and to join YPG in the battle against Islamic State.

One of the commanders tells Roussinos that female soldiers had a fundamental role in forcing ISIS to leave Hasaka and that regime forces are abandoning their positions because they understand that there is no place for them in Hasaka.

The Kurdish female soldiers know that for ISIS, defeat at the hands of women is more than a humiliation–it is an unbearable ignominy that demands revenge. They also know what awaits them if ISIS would be able to capture them.

The VICE reporter concludes that the Assad regime is the main loser in this battle.

At the end of the video, Kurdish soldiers can be seen dancing close to the last remaining positions of Assad’s army while corpses of ISIS fighters are decomposing nearby.

This is the reality in Syria, where more than 250.000 people have died since the start of the uprising against Assad. Four million people fled from Syria, and 7.6 million people are internally displaced as a result of the war. Most of the country lies in ruins, and the economy is devastated; 12.2 million Syrians are in need of humanitarian assistance.

(Warning:  video contains some graphic images)

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

Secret Deal Between Turkey And U.S. Will Sell Out The Kurds


Last week, Western Journalism reported that Islamic State had succeeded in drawing Turkey into the Syrian war after a suicide attack by a Turkish terrorist affiliated with ISIS killed 32 young Kurds in the border town of Suruc in Turkey.

Turkey responded to the attack by launching airstrikes on ISIS positions in Syria. This happened a day after a telephone conversation between President Obama and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan in which the latter agreed, for the first time, to allow the US-led coalition against ISIS to use a Turkish air force base for strikes against Islamic State.

Shortly after Turkey entered the battle against Islamic State, it became clear that the government in Ankara had another reason to interfere in Syria and Iraq. Turkish airplanes attacked Kurdish positions in northern Iraq, and the Syrian Kurdish militia YPG reported on Monday that Turkey had shelled their positions in the border area.

Turkish media revealed at the same time details of a deal between the Obama administration and the AKP-dominated government in Ankara and reported a conflicting narrative of why Turkey intervened in Syria and Iraq.

A Syrian journalist reported that US administration officials contacted the Turkish government last month after the Turkish army amassed forces along the Syrian border. This happened after the Kurdish YPG militia conquered vast territories in northeast Syria and seized the strategic border town Tal Abyad in Syria.

Erdogan and Turkish Prime Minister Davutoglu vehemently oppose the establishment of a Kurdish autonomous area or an independent Kurdish state along the Turkish border because they fear it will lead to increasing separatism among its own six million-strong Kurdish minority.

The Turks told Administration officials that they had drawn a red line from Aleppo to Kobani and that they would not allow more Kurdish advances along the border. The Americans were receptive to this message and saw an opportunity to finally enlist Turkey as a member of the anti-ISIS coalition. Negotiations started; and after a month, a deal was reportedly closed.

The US Air Force could use the Incirlik air force base in Turkey but had to allow Turkish oversight of the targets it would strike in Syria and Iraq from Incirlik. This means that strikes that would help the YPG seize more territory along the Turkish border would be vetoed, according to the Turkish outlet Today’s Zaman.

In return, the U.S. would cooperate with Turkey to establish a so-called ISIS free buffer zone in the north of Syria. Officially, the Turkish government says that it wants this buffer zone to keep ISIS away from its border and to relocate the one and a half million Syrian refugees in Turkey. The Syrian Kurds, however, think that Erdogan and Davutlogu want to drive a wedge between the three Kurdish cantons in Syria–and by doing so want to prevent the establishment of a Kurdish autonomous area in Syria, Reuters reported.

The U.S. administration denies that it is collaborating with Turkey to create a buffer zone based on the Turkish model, Bloomberg reported.

“We’re not out there staking out zones and doing some things that I know have been discussed in years past — no-fly zones, safe zones. What we’re trying to do is clear ISIL,” a senior administration official said. “I think it’s important not to confuse that with staking out these zones that you can identify with road signs and on big maps, and that’s just not what’s happening.”

“On Monday, a White House official told an audience in a closed-door meeting at the Middle East Institute in Washington the same thing about there being no safe zone inside Syria, according to two people who were inside the meeting. The Obama administration is sending a delegation back to Turkey next week to work on exactly what the new cooperation along the northern Syria border will look like, the official said,” according to Bloomberg.

The Turkish government, however, insists that a buffer zone will be created; so it’s hard to see how the U.S. Administration will prevent Turkey from doing so. Besides, the Obama official Bloomberg quoted said the U.S. is “trying to clear ISIL”; so in the end, the territory will be free of ISIS if everything goes well.

There is more.

Some Turkish media and the outlawed Kurdish Workers Party PKK say that Turkish intelligence and security forces might have been complicit in the Suruc suicide attack. They point to the fact that shortly before the blast, PKK activists were banned from entering the building where the attack took place while the terrorist got through security control.

This might sound far-fetched; but this past weekend, the British paper The Guardian delivered new evidence that the Turkish government has given support to Islamic State in an attempt to overthrow the government of Bashar al-Assad in Syria.

An anonymous Western official told The Guardian that when US Special Forces raided the compound of ISIS commandant Abu Sayyaf in Syria in May, they found proof of an oil trade between ISIS and Turkey worth tens of millions of dollars per year.

“There are hundreds of flash drives and documents that were seized there. They are being analyzed at the moment, but the links are so clear that they could end up having profound implications for the relationship between us and Ankara,” the Western official Told the Guardian.

As Western Journalism reported last week, the Turkish Intelligence Service MIT has been delivering weapons and ammunition to Islamic State as well.

The Turkish government has clearly used Islamic State to get rid of the Assad regime but has apparently come to the conclusion that direct intervention in Syria has become necessary because of Kurdish national aspirations and because of the overall situation in the country. It has become clear that Syria as we know it has ceased to exist, and Erdogan wants to be in the position to determine the future of the areas that border Turkey. So the Turkish government has clear goals and acts accordingly.

The same cannot be said of the U.S. administration, thinks military affairs analyst Jennifer Dyer.

She wrote that the U.S. military does not understand the new partnership with Turkey because there are no territorial or operational objectives–and there are no clear directives on the use of military power. She recalled how another U.S. operation to improve the situation in Syria without clear objectives became a huge failure. Dyer was referring to the training of a new local ground force that was supposed to turn the tide in the never-ending war. Nine months after the announcement of this plan, only sixty fighters have been recruited and trained. Basically, the U.S. is in this partnership for the convenience of Turkey, she concluded.

Some analysts say that there is another conclusion that can be drawn. By entering into a partnership with Turkey at a time when Kurdish forces were the only ones who succeeded in driving Islamic State out of territories in Iraq and Syria, the Obama administration seems to be selling out the Kurds.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth