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Saturday, December 2, 2017

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Exclusive: Revealing the feud between Al-Qaeda and HTS (Part 1)

Posted: 02 Dec 2017 03:51 PM PST

DAMASCUS, SYRIA (1:28 A.M.)

Uncovering the background information that led to the strife between Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham and its mother organization, Al-Qaeda: Part 1.

Al-Qaeda attempts to build a new vassal jihadist group in Syria:

In the horizon, the signs of the new coming of a jihadist group in Syria have increased in the rebel sphere. Matching rumors traverse the jihadist vacuum about this new mysterious faction and its foundation has perhaps become only a matter of time unless new developments storm the scene.

The founders of this group are former leaderships in Jabhat al-Nusra who have abandoned the latter following its final breakoff from the mother Al-Qaeda organization as a protest to this step which they described as disgracing the pledge of allegiance to Ayman al-Zawahiri.

Spearheading this initiative are Samer al-Areidy (former head Sharia judge in Nusra), Abu Juleibib al-Ordoni (former Nusra emir in Dara’a and Quneitra), Abu Khadija al-Ordoni, and Abu Humam al-Shami as well as Abi al-Qassam al-Ordoni the infamous al-Qaeda commander who came to Syria about a year ago.

Based on the most recent published speech of the terrorist leader Zawahiri in which he denounced HTS for cracking down on many such figures and denied his approval of their separation from Qaedat al-Jihad, it is implied that their plots and actions have been in full coordination with al-Qaeda communication channels.

What will this development mean for HTS which is already struggling to counter the government threat in the Badiya and the growing ISIS threat in northern Hama? What implications will it exert on the rebel power struggle in Idlib?

To be continued…

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Hamas call out the PA over lack of effort to help lift the Gaza seige

Posted: 02 Dec 2017 03:18 PM PST

DAMASCUS, SYRIA (1:12 A.M)- What was supposed to be the historic hand over of Gaza’s civil authority – on the 1st of December – to the Palestinian Authority (PA), instead is yet another occasion where sparks fly between Hamas and the PA.

Hamas have officially called upon the Palestinian Prime Minister to begin making “real efforts” to lift the illegal seige of Gaza.

Hamas stated that they, “demand that the government of (prime minister) Rami Hamdallah assume its responsibilities in full and lift the unjust sanctions imposed on our people in Gaza”.

In the past few months the PA have decreased their payments for the Israeli electrical supply into the war torn Gaza Strip, earlier this year refusing to pay for deisel fuel supplies, as well as decreasing the salaries of their members in the strip.

Hamas are not having any of this and are calling upon their fulfillment of the ‘unity deal’ promises they signed on to.

The hand over of Gaza’s civil authority, has been delayed as a result of this for at least another 10 days.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Exclusive: Libya’s Haftar is employing Sudani mercenaries in his war against UN-backed government, islamists

Posted: 02 Dec 2017 03:14 PM PST

DAMASCUS, SYRIA (1:03 A.M.) – Leaked documents found by Libyan rebels in Bar’asi’s office who is the commander of the Southern Region under the control of Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) revealed details on Haftar’s mobilization of Sudani fighters.

The documents revealed orders from high-ranking commanders in the LNA’s Jafrah Operation Room to ease the movement of mercenaries affiliated with the Sudani Justice and Equality Movement to the Sabha front.

The Tobruq Authorities is likely employing the Sudani militia to aid it in the fight against the Islamist Ansar al-Sharia movement that is in control of Derna and other smaller pockets within LNA territory.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Iraqi Security Forces launch major operation to stem out ISIS cells in Diyala

Posted: 02 Dec 2017 02:56 PM PST

DAMASCUS, SYRIA (12:48 A.M.) – The commander of the Tigris Operations Room Lt. Colonel Muzher al-Azawi confirmed the launch of an extensive military campaign aimed at rooting out the ISIS sleeper cells that infest eastern Diyala.

Azzawi said in a media statement on Saturday that the Iraqi Security Forces with the support of the army, the police, and the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) launched their extensive operation from two axes in Hawd al-Nada east of Ba’aquba all the way to the Qazlaq region.

He added that the operation is ongoing with full coordination with the Iraqi Air Force as the government’s general strategy aims to eradicate all activities of the extremist group that has taken this area as a launchpad of its insurgency campaign.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Hamas warns US against relocating embassy in Israel to Jerusalem

Posted: 02 Dec 2017 02:21 PM PST

The statement comes amid rumors of Donald Trump's allegedly going to deliver a speech on the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital next week.

The Palestinian resistance movement Hamas has called on the US to abandon its plans to move the country’s embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, according to the statement issued by the organization on Saturday.

“This would represent a US assault on the city and give legitimacy to [Israel] over the city,” the statement quoted by Press TV reads.

The statement describes such move as a violation of the international law concerning Jerusalem and a cover for the possible expulsion of all Palestinians, calling on them to unite against such “brutal decision.”

“Any decision whatsoever would not change the fact that al-Quds [Jerusalem] is of Arab and Islamic identity, and is part of the Palestinian land,” Hamas pointed out.

The statement comes amid media speculations that US President Donald Trump is expected to deliver a speech next week, recognizing Jerusalem as the Israeli capital, with no official confirmation following so far. At the same time, the US president has to decide next Monday on the renewal of a six-month waiver on the relocation of the embassy.

The rumors come in the wake of Trump’s campaign pledge to transfer the US Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, which he hasn’t fulfilled when becoming president.

The Palestinians have been seeking to create their own state on the territories of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank for decades. Since 2007, Hamas has been governing the Gaza Strip, while rivaling Fatah maintained control of the West Bank. The two main forces in Palestine have recently reached a breakthrough reconciliation deal.

Source: Sputnik

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Syrian Army kills, injurs dozens while repelling rebel attack in west Damascus

Posted: 02 Dec 2017 01:25 PM PST

DAMASCUS, SYRIA (11:16 PM) – Vicious battles erupted in Tal Barda’aya after rebels launched a counteroffensive aimed at dislodging loyalist presence in the strategic hill chain.

The government forces had managed to capture the aforementioned hill after days of clashes and incessant preliminary shelling two days earlier. Whilst the rebel assault on the hill has not ceased yet, all attacks so far have been repelled with a death toll on the insurgent side exceeding 15 with dozens injured.

The Hay’at al-Tahrir led militant coalition “Ahrar al-Haramoun” will throw everything at this battle as the loss of Barda’aya hills means SAA fire control over the remaining towns of the Syrian Golan Heights enclave including Mazra’et Beit Jin which serves as the operational base of the local rebel groups.

Unless rebel groups manage to reverse the gains of the elite 42nd Brigade of the 4th Mechanized Division, their fate will resemble that of their counterparts in West Ghouta, Zabadani, Barada Valley, and Darayya.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Syrians from Tell Rifaat return home

Posted: 02 Dec 2017 01:11 PM PST

By Adel Karim, Independent Journalist
Edited By:

Currently, the process of eliminating ISIS and other radical terrorist groups is coming to its logical conclusion as peace and common life return to the cities and towns throughout Syria.

This has become possible due to the successive steps of the Syrian Arab army (SAA) as well as the concentrated effort exerted by the Official Government. Both of them create favorable conditions for the return of residents to their homes where they previously lived in peace.

Tell Rifaat which is located north of the Aleppo governorate is a prime example of the successful implementation of the “de-confliction” regime implemented with the assistance of Russia.

In order to avoid provocations and to strengthen the ceasefire, the government troops and the Russian military police have been deployed in the region.

The protection of the outer fronts of the de-confliction zone is provided by the SAA whereas Russian units ensure the security of locals inside the zone.

During the turmoil, locals lost their lands and houses, many fled, and those who remained were tortured or killed by the radicals. Today Tell Rifaat is a model of a quiet place, free of terrorists.

Even in the unlikely case of an attack, it will be successfully repulsed by the Russian AF, which establishes control over the area round the clock from the air.

The guarantees of the Syrian Government and Russian military have created favorable conditions for the return of refugees and internally displaced. According to the local activists, the town has already taken in 188 families or 941 locals.

The Official Government calls on its nationals to return to their homeland more actively.

The state makes every effort to rebuild the infrastructure destroyed, to organize uninterrupted food supplies, and to ensure the security of the locals.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Syrian Army displays foreign weapons seized from Daesh near Deir ez-Zor (VIDEO)

Posted: 02 Dec 2017 01:00 PM PST

Syrian Army units discovered a huge pile of US- and European-made weapons inside Daesh dens in Deir ez-Zor's countryside.
The Syrian military demonstrated an arsenal of weapons seized in areas southeast of the province of Deir ez-Zor, with a video being published on the YouTube channel of SANA news agency.

The arsenal includes a thousand small arms, a stock of barrels for anti-aircraft installations and large-caliber tank machine guns. In addition, the footage shows that the army units captured several trucks with artillery guns.

Earlier, the Syrian Army reported that the weapons found in the warehouses were manufactured by US and European companies.

In October, local media reported that Syrian troops had found weapons in the city of Mayadin, which had been the largest Daesh stronghold in the region, that were from Belgium, Great Britain and Israel.

As the Syrian military noted, the jihadists allegedly received these weapons, which were allegedly purchased under Pentagon programs, in order to help the allies.

Source: Sputnik

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Syrian Air Force unleashes hell on rebel strongholds in northern Hama: Video

Posted: 02 Dec 2017 12:06 PM PST

DAMASCUS, SYRIA (9:14 P.M.) – Video footage revealed intense bombardment of rebel positions in Zakat and Latamina in Hama’s northern countryside.

The Syrian Arab Air Force (SyAAF) and MLRS launchers had targeted those towns in retaliation after militants launched grad rocket attacks on the nearby Christian villages of Salhab and Mahardeh injuring dozens of civilians.

Notably, this area is mostly held by the FSA faction Jaish al-Izza. Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) also maintains heavy presence in the strategic series of towns that stretch across Hama’s northern countryside.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

New satellite images reveal increased aerial presence of Russian forces in Syria

Posted: 02 Dec 2017 11:44 AM PST

DAMASCUS, SYRIA (9:30 PM) –

New satellite images from November 17th of Hmeymim Air Base in Latakia revealed the presence of 35 RuAF jets including 3 MiG-29s, 8 Su-24s, 4 Su-25s, 4 Su-27/35s, 2 Su-30s, 14 Su 34s, 4 IL-76 cargo planes, 2 IL-20/22s, and 1 An-26 jet.

Compared to the last satellite pictures from the 26th of September a month earlier, Russian aerial assets in the strategic airbase have bolstered in numbers with an addition of a Su-30 jet and two Su-34 warplanes.

Below are pictures of the most recent shoot of Hmeymim:

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Egyptian President Al-Sisi steps up repression to cover policy failure

Posted: 02 Dec 2017 11:16 AM PST

Egyptian general-turned-president Abdul Fattah Al-Sisi would likely be the first to admit that an iron fist is no guarantee for retaining power. Not because of the fate of the country's longest-ruling autocrat, Hosni Mubarak, who was toppled in 2011 by a popular revolt. But because Mr. Al-Sisi's iron fist has not squashed resistance, nor has it enabled him to properly deliver badly needed public goods and services.

Mr. Al-Sisi has, however, not concluded in advance of elections expected next year that he should perhaps loosen the reigns, reduce the role of the military in the economy that is drowning out much of the private sector, and opt for economic policies that are not centred on huge, white elephant infrastructure projects but instead target job creation and lifting millions out of poverty.

Instead, backed by the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, Mr. Al-Sisi is tightening his grip on youth groups and sports clubs that were at the core of the 2011 revolt. He is also believed to be attempting to ensure that credible presidential candidates are prevented from running in the election for which he has yet to declare himself a candidate.

Mr. Al-Sisi's failed policies, insistence on repressive state-centred control of public life, and electoral processes that are everything but free and fair, raises questions about the sustainability of UAE-Saudi-led counterrevolution that aimed to roll back the achievements of the 2011 popular Arab uprisings in which the leaders of Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and Yemen were overthrown. Mr. Al-Sisi came to office in 2013 in a UAE-Saudi backed military coup that toppled the country's first and only democratically elected leader.

Egypt has proven resistant to the policy formula adopted by the UAE and Saudi Arabia at home and advocated elsewhere in the region. The two Gulf states have embraced economic reform and greater social freedom while employing repression to retain ever-tighter political control. Repression and absolute political control appear to be the only aspect of the UAE-Saudi formula that Egypt has wholeheartedly adopted.

Mr. Al-Sisi's policies forced US president Donald J. Trump, who has deemphasized human rights in his administration's policy and is a fan of the Egyptian leader, to cut off some military aid earlier this year in compliance with US law.

The Washington Post, commenting in an editorial on last month's jihadist attack on a Sufi mosque in the Sinai that killed more than 300 people, effectively described Mr. Al-Sisi as part of the problem rather than part of the solution. "The regime has used terrorism as a pretext for the most severe repression in Egypt's modern history," the Post said.

Former Egyptian prime minister and senior air force commander Ahmed Shafiq, potentially Mr. Al-Sisi's most serious challenger, charged this week that the UAE had barred him from traveling to his home country. UAE minister of state for foreign affairs Anwar Gargash denied the charge but acknowledged that his country had "severe reservations about some of his (Mr. Shafiq's) positions."

Mr. Shafiq moved to the UAE in 2012 after he was charged with corruption and acquitted in the wake of his defeat in presidential elections that were won by Muslim Brother Mohammed Morsi, whom Mr. Al-Sisi forced out of office a year later.

Despite being financially dependent for support from the UAE and Saudi Arabia, Mr. Al-Sisi has differed with them on policies towards Iran and Syria but joined the two states' six-month-old diplomatic and economic boycott of Qatar because of its support for the Muslim Brotherhood.

In a move that is likely to provoke ire in the United States, Egypt and Russia this week agreed on a draft agreement that would allow the Russian air force to operate from Egyptian bases. The agreement would permit the UAE and Saudi Arabia to enhance arm's length military cooperation with Russia, particularly in Libya where they support controversial military commander Khalifa Haftar.

Mr. Al-Sisi, following years of failed efforts to forge a politically controlled dialogue with Egyptian youth, has launched a two-pronged effort to control youth and sports organizations, potentially alongside Mr. Shafiq, the greatest threat to his continued rule.

Militant soccer fans, who played a key role in toppling Mr. Mubarak and student protests against Mr. Al-Sisi that were brutally repressed in 2013 and 2014, rejected several overtures by the president and have in recent months again witnessed the blunt side of his rule.

Hundreds of ultras — battle-hardened, anti-authoritarian fans opposed to the commercialization of soccer — were arrested in recent months for wearing jerseys with the number 74 on them in commemoration of supporters of storied Cairo club Al Ahli killed in 2012 in a politically loaded soccer brawl in the Suez Canal city Port Said. The incident, the worst in Egyptian sporting history, was widely seen as an effort by security forces that got out of hand to teach fans a lesson.

Another 500 members of Ultras White Knights (UWK), the militant support group of Al Ahli arch rival Al Zamalek SC, were arrested in July as they tried to attend their team's match against Libya's Al Ahli Tripoli. Many have since been released.

Egypt's parliament last month approved in principle a new law governing youth and sports organizations that although portrayed as a gift to Egyptian youth bans clubs from engaging "in any political or partisan activity or promoting any political or partisan activity" or even "promoting any ideas or political objectives."

Many Egyptian clubs, including Al Ahli and Zamalek were founded in the early years of the 20th century as politically motivated groups and have retained their aura despite having long moved on. Al Ahli was established as an anti-monarchical, anti-colonial, and pro-republican club while Zamalek identified itself as pro-monarchy and pro-British.

Parliament's gift was in advance of a World Youth Forum in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, one of several such gatherings intended to give Egyptian youth a sense of participation, however, limited, by connecting them to policymakers. While the law banned discussions where youth gather, the forum was held under the motto of "we need to talk."

Saudi Arabia signaled the significance it attributes to control of sports clubs by having its ambassador in Cairo attend this week's election of soccer icon Mahmoud Al-Khatib as Al Ahli's president.

The absence of senior Egyptian government officials was likely intended to avoid attracting intention to the fact that the government, in violation of world soccer body FIFA rules, owns a majority of the country's premier league clubs, and to its increased political control of the sport. FIFA has long looked the other way in countries like Egypt and Iran.

Mr. Al-Sisi's tightening of the reins comes in advance of Egypt's participation for the first time in 28 years in World Cup finals in Russia in 2018. Football success in the Middle East often equals heightened emotions in a soccer-crazy part of the world and amounts to a double-edged sword for autocrats.

Identification with successful teams offers autocrats an opportunity to polish their tarnished images, certainly if success sparks nationalist fervor. Yet, heightened soccer-driven emotion can also result in an anti-government protest, one reason Egyptian stadiums have largely been closed to the public for the last six years. The new law governing youth and sports organizations is unlikely to reduce the risk of stadiums again becoming platforms of protest if, and when, the ban is lifted.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

HTS declares cessation of hostilities as rebels launch reconciliation talks

Posted: 02 Dec 2017 11:01 AM PST

DAMASCUS, SYRIA (8:50 P.M.) – Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham released a statement earlier today declaring full cessation of hostilities between all rebel groups in northern Syria and the establishment of the Al-Sulhu Khairon (Reconciliation is Good) sharia council.

The council which is headed by Abu Abdelkarim, Abu Malik al-Shami, Abu Qatada al-Albani, Mukhtar al-Turki, and Abu Mus’ab al-Shami aims to resolve the most outstanding issues between the warring rebel factions HTS, Zinki, and Ahrar al-Sham and releasing the fighters imprisoned by each group.

Once those issues are resolved, talks on the possible formation of a joint operations room like Jaish al-Fateh to counter the loyalist threat in Hama and Aleppo will begin. Rebels will have to fix their problems swiftly if they are to repel the imminent government campaign on Idlib, the last significant insurgent stronghold in the war-torn Mediterranean nation.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Violence escalates in Sanaa as Saleh loyalists battle Houthis

Posted: 02 Dec 2017 07:48 AM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (3:40 P.M.) – Heavy smoke billowed over Sana’a, Saturday, as clashes between Houthi fighters and forces loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh continued for the fourth consecutive day.

The fighting has reportedly involved heavy artillery and rocket launchers, killing scores of fighters on both sides and forcing many local residents to leave their homes.

The violence erupted on Wednesday after Saleh’s supporters allegedly refused to allow Houthis to enter the Saleh Mosque to commemorate the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The next day, Saleh’s General People’s Congress reportedly accused Houthi forces of violating a truce by allegedly carrying out an attack on the house of Saleh’s nephew, Tarek Saleh, and killing three guards.

The two groups have fought against the Saudi-led coalition, which intervened in Yemen in 2015 in a bid to reinstate the government of ousted President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi. In October, the Saudi-led coalition imposed a blockade on Yemen, following an intercepted missile attack on Riyadh, for which Houthis claimed responsibility.

Earlier in the day, Saleh stated that he is open to talks with the Saudi-led coalition battling Houthi fighters, if the coalition halted its attacks on Yemen.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

This posting includes an audio/video/photo media file: Download Now

Former SDF spokesman reveals US created Syrian group as a ‘cover’ to give weapons to Kurds

Posted: 02 Dec 2017 07:22 AM PST

The revelations come amid repeated calls on Washington by senior Turkish officials, insisting on the cessation of weapons deliveries to the Syrian Kurds, which eventually resulted in the US promise to halt arms supplies to the force fighting against Daesh.

The former spokesperson of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), Talal Silo, who previously fled to Turkey, told the Anadolu news agency on Saturday that the rebel group was allegedly created by the US as a cover to provide weapons to the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) that is thought to be affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) listed as a terrorist organization by Ankara.

“It is only a name. Nothing else. We take everything, including our salaries, from YPG. The U.S. authorities wanted to give arms to Kurds. The announcement of SDF’s establishment was only a drama. The US gave the leadership to the Kurds and PKK,” Silo told the agency.

According to him, the SDF was just signing documents to receive arms, but all of them went to the PKK. At the same time, despite talks about fighting terrorism, the US was trafficking Daesh terrorists via an agreement reached with the regional PKK leader.

He voiced the belief that all the ideas came from Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL (Daesh) Brett McGurk, who allegedly wanted to establish a force, during the Raqqa operation, in the name of the Arab Coalition.

Thus, according to Silo, the coalition provided huge amounts of arms, but only a small part of them went to the Arabs, Turkmens and Assyrians, with all the schemes having been created to “cover that these arms were actually delivered to the PKK. But we were sure that these advanced arms were going to PKK and YPG.”

The US didn’t care where the arms would go and when the YPG claimed that it was “out of arms,” the US would send a new delivery of weapons.

Though, during the Barack Obama presidency the support was limited, the situation dramatically changed, when Donald Trump became president as even armored vehicle started to come to the region, Silo said.

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, left, and US President Donald Trump shake hands prior to their meeting in New York, Thursday, Sept. 21, 2017. Erdogan is in New York for the United Nations General Assembly.

According to the ex-spokesman, the SDF has some 50,000 militants including both men and women, with 70 percent of them belonging to the YPG and the YPJ (the female wing of the organization).

The revelations come amid repeated calls on Washington by senior Turkish officials, insisting on the cessation of weapons deliveries to Kurds.

Last week, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu announced that Donald Trump had reassured his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan that he had ordered to cease supplies of the US armaments to Kurds.

Following the statement, the White House confirmed the information, saying that the move was “consistent with our previous policy.”

Most recently, Erdogan’s spokesman Ibrahim Kalin urged Washington to take back weapons delivered to the Syrian Kurds.

Source: Sputnik

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Syrian Army captures 5 towns in southern Aleppo – video

Posted: 02 Dec 2017 07:00 AM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (4:35 P.M.) – The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) scored a big advance in the southern countryside of Aleppo this week after launching a powerful attack from the southwestern axis of the Khanasser Highway.

Led by their Republican and 3rd Legion, the Syrian Arab Army managed to capture five towns from the jihadist rebels of Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham in the southern countryside of Aleppo.

Among the localities captured by the Syrian Army this week were the towns of Abisan, ‘Azizah, and Al-Ramleh – all but the latter are still under the government’s control in southern Aleppo.

The video footage below shows the Syrian Army’s advance in southern Aleppo, along with several corpses of Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham fighters that were killed during the battle.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Mass protests continue to grow in Bahrain

Posted: 02 Dec 2017 06:53 AM PST

DAMASCUS, SYRIA (4:50 PM) – Mass anti-government protests continue to swell in Bahrain on the second day of intensified popular unrest in the small Gulf kingdom.

Protest marches were held in the village of Sanabis on the outskirts of the capital Manama, as well as in the Abu Sabi' neighbourhood of the capital, the Maqsha' District and in the towns of Ma’ameer and Diraz. This was reported by Lualua television network.

The protests, organised under the banner of “the Rage of the Revolution”, are aimed against the repressive rule of the ruling dynasty’s regime, led by King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa. More specifically, many protest the Saudi-influenced monarchy’s treatment of the Shia majority population of Bahrain.

The recent wave of protests was sparked by reports of the health condition of revered Shia Ayatollah Sheikh Isa Qassim, who has been under house arrest for over 500 days. Sheikh Qassim, founder of the Al-Wefaq National Islamic Society, which was Bahrain’s most popular political party until being banned by the regime in July 2016, is facing possible expulsion from Bahrain on charges of “illegal fund collections, money laundering and helping terrorism”.

Recently, reports have surfaced that the Sheikh is suffering from numerous medical conditions and is facing rapidly deteriorating health conditions that could prove fatal if appropriate care is not given quickly. On Thursday, United Nations Spokesman Stephane Dujarric demanded that Sheikh Qassem be released, and asked for immediate medical attention for the cleric.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

VIDEO: Syrian Tiger Forces advance upon As Salihiyah

Posted: 02 Dec 2017 06:32 AM PST

DAMASCUS, SYRIA (4:30 PM) – The media office of the Syrian Tiger Forces have released video footage of a military offensive that recently took place in the Deir Ezzor province of Syria.

The featured operation was carried out by the Syrian Arab Army’s elite Tiger Forces, against ISIS in the south-east of Deir Ezzor region, between the towns of Mayadeen and As Salihiyah, the latter of which was liberated from terrorist forces by the Syrian Arab Army on November 19.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

IRGC uncovers large web of IS tunnels around liberated Albukamal

Posted: 02 Dec 2017 06:21 AM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (4:05 P.M.) – Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) uncovered a large web of tunnels belonging to the so-called Islamic State (IS) this week while combing through the liberated city of Albukamal in southeast Deir Ezzor.

The large web of tunnels led from Albukamal to the city’s outskirts and several other sites in southeast Deir Ezzor; this allowed for several Islamic State terrorists to flee before losing the entire area to the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and their allies.

The IRGC unit placed explosives inside the tunnels and detonated the bombs in order to destroy entire web so that the Islamic State could no longer use them.

The video footage shows above shows the tunnels the IRGC uncovered this week in Albukamal – the Syrian Army still believes several other tunnels exist in this part of Deir Ezzor.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Putin calls on Orthodox Church to contribute to Syrian reconstruction

Posted: 02 Dec 2017 06:14 AM PST

DAMASCUS, SYRIA (4:20 PM) – Russian president Vladimir Putin has expressed his hopes that the Russian Orthodox Church will aid in the reconstruction of Syria after the civil war.

“I do hope that the Russian Orthodox Church, with reliance on its authority in the world, will be able to promote concerted action by the international community for the sake of Syria's revival, for providing humanitarian assistance to its citizens and for restoring its ruined cultural and spiritual centers,” the President stated while addressing a Bishops' Council in Moscow on Friday.

“Already now we can see the traditional values being eroded in many countries. This breeds degradation and mutual estrangement in society and de-personification of individuals. Indifference and loss of moral bearings bring about an upsurge of radicalism, xenophobia, and religious conflicts. Egoism ruins the person and turns into aggressive nationalism. Extremists and ideologists of terrorism and enemies of progress and the whole civilization fill the spiritual vacuum,” Putin continued.

Vladimir Putin is known for his policies of rapprochement between the Russian state and religious communities, most notably the Russian Orthodox Church, but also the Islamic and Jewish communities in the Russian Federation. The Russian Orthodox identity has also often played a role in Russian feelings of patriotism, something which Putin has always encouraged.

“I am certain that to provide a proper response to the challenges of the future we must stand for justice and truth, retain our identity and rely on our culture, history and the basis of moral values and move forward to absorb everything new and progressive while remaining Russia – forever,” the president concluded.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Intense clashes breakout between Houthi, Saleh loyalists in Sanaa

Posted: 02 Dec 2017 05:58 AM PST

The Saudi-led coalition has been fighting the Houthi movement backed by former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh since March 2015.

The long-time former Yemeni leader, Ali Abdullah Saleh, has addressed the Saudi-led coalition forces during his TV speech, urging them to turn a “new page” in relations after almost three years of the civil war by ending attacks on Houthi rebels and lifting a blockade imposed on the country.

“We vow to our brothers and neighbours that, after a ceasefire is in place and the blockade is lifted… we will hold dialogue directly through the legitimate authority represented by our parliament,” Saleh said.

Reacting to the Saleh’s speech, the Saudi-led coalition has reportedly expressed confidence that he would return to the Arab fold, though accusing him of betrayal of the country’s neighbors by joining the Houthi-led forces.

The Houthi movement has also responded to the Saleh’s statement, accusing him of the deception.

“Saleh’s speech is a coup against our alliance and partnership… and exposed the deception of those who claim to stand against aggression,” a Houthi spokesman said in a statement carried by the rebels’ Al Masirah TV.

The Saudi-led coalition has started an operation in Yemen in 2015 at the request of the internationally recognized government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi after Houthi rebels allied with Saleh forced him into exile.

Clashes in Yemen’s Capital

On Thursday night, representatives of the forces loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh and the Houthis engaged in clashes at a mosque in Sanaa, which spread to other parts of the city. According to Saleh’s General People’s Congress (GPC) party, the Houthis allegedly attempted to carry out a coup. The party promised safety to Houthi commanders if they remained neutral.

At the same time, the clashes between the forces, which have been allies in the fight against the Yemeni government and the Saudi-led coalition, have been underway during the last four days, with residents reportedly claiming there is a kind of “street war” with loud explosions heard overnight across the city.

Local military sources told Sputnik that the Houthi rebels had already withdrawn from most parts of the Yemeni capital of Sanaa, “where now Republican Guard, special task forces, and forces of Central Security Organization loyal to Saleh are deployed.”

Source: Sputnik

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

IS terrorist caught while attempting suicide attack in Deir Ezzor – video

Posted: 02 Dec 2017 05:42 AM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (3:35 P.M.) – An Islamic State (ISIS) terrorist managed to infiltrate the Syrian Arab Army’s (SAA) front-lines at the town of Al-Asharah, yesterday, in order to carry out a suicide bombing.

The terrorist was attempting to reach a Syrian Army camp when he was caught by a group of soldiers inside Al-Asharah.

Unable to move any further, the terrorist was given an ultimatum by the Syrian Army – surrender or die.

The IS terrorist refused to surrender and chose to detonate his explosive belt instead, killing only himself in the process.

Video footage of the exchange was captured by local media:


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Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

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Saudi FM accuses Iran of aiding Al-Qaeda at MED summit – video

Posted: 02 Dec 2017 05:23 AM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (3:15 P.M.) – Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir discussed a wide array of issues including Syria, Iran, Yemen and Lebanon during the second day of the third Mediterranean Dialogues (MED) summit in Rome on Friday.

Speaking about the Syrian peace talks between the Syrian government and opposition delegations, al-Jubeir stated that Saudi Arabia supports “an interim governing council and elections” in the country.

Al-Jubeir then touched extensively on Iran, accusing it of “aiding and abetting terrorism" and dealing with al-Qaeda. He alleged that Iran had the objective “to have a land bridge to the Mediterranean” and established Hezbollah in Lebanon to serve “Iran's interests, and not Lebanese interests”.

Saudi Arabia has “good relations with almost every country in the world, except Iran and North Korea,” al-Jubeir said, stressing his country's willingness to build bridges.

Regarding the war in Yemen, Al-Jubeir said that Saudi Arabia had responded to the request of Yemen’s President to restore his legitimate government.

He lauded Saudi Arabia as a robust fighter of terrorism, and stressed the need to fight “the men, the money and the mindset” of terrorism in order to defeat it.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

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