The U.S. Military Being In Syria Is An Illegal Act Of War

 

This commentary today is simply my belief’s on the issue of the U.S. still having troops, combat or otherwise within the borders of the sovereign State of Syria. When our mission there was to destroy the illegal Caliphate of ISIS we had a defined reason and mission for being inside the borders of Syria. Since ISIS is now just another run of the mill terror group without a ‘State’ foothold our ‘mission’ there is done. The reason I say that we have no right to be there is because the legitimate government of Syria under its President Mr. Assad has said several times that we are not welcome there and that he wants us out of their country, now.

 

Just because we don’t like the Leader of a country this is not a legal reason for our government leaders to conduct military operations in that country. The last I heard the U.S. is conducting military operations in about 30 countries, why isn’t this enough for the military hawks in our government? As long as the government of these 30 or so countries have asked us in, asked us for help against honest to goodness terrorists, then we have a right to be there, if we so choose to help them. But, in a case like Syria where the government does not want us there and has said that they will attack any of our troops that are on their soil, we have no legal right to be there!

 

What could possibly be the reasoning behind our government keeping troops in Syria? Is our military and our government trying to start a direct war with Syria? Yet a bigger question would be, is our government trying to start not just a direct war with Syria but a proxy war with Iran and with Russia? If this is the case folks there is no doubt that we will end up being in a direct shooting war with Syria, Iran and Russia, is this really what we the people of the U.S.want? I really don’t think so. About the only member of President Trumps Cabinet that I have been backing so far is our Secretary of State Rex Tillerson but about two days ago he made the statement that we (the U.S.) need to be in Syria ‘long term’. I am not such a fan of his now folks.

 

Here in the United States if a country, any country, came inside our borders and started shooting and bombing any of our citizens we would declare War on that country. This would be the case even if our direct neighbors like Canada or Mexico attacked any group of our people whether they be Hispanic, Indian, Oriental, Black or White, we would actively repel them, neighbors or not. Why does our government feel that they have any right to be in Syria without the blessings of the Syrian government? Folks, we don’t have any right to be there, none! I do not like the Leadership of Syria nor the Supreme Leader of Iran nor his flunkies but they are a reality that we have no legal right to depose. It is a shame that we have the relations that we now have with President Putin and Russia and it appears that as long as President Putin is in charge there we will not be able to have the friendship between our Nations that I wish we had. No matter what you or I like or think, by the laws of our Country it is illegal for us to have any troops inside the borders of Syria. Without a Congress approved declaration of War it is also illegal for the U.S. Military to fire any missiles into the sovereign Nation of Syria. We need to get out right now before we blow this up into a World War.

Yazidis Accused of Executing Civilians in Nineveh

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Yazidis Accused of Executing Civilians in Nineveh

Thursday, 28 December, 2017 – 12:30
AFP
Baghdad – Asharq Al-Awsat

The US-based rights group, Human Rights Watch (HRW), has accused Yazidi fighters in Iraq of forcibly kidnapping and killing 52 civilians from the Imteywit tribe earlier in June.

It said in a report on Wednesday that it has information from relatives of the victims that on June 4 Yazidi forces detained and then executed men, women and children from eight families from the Imteywit tribe.

The families were fleeing fighting between ISIS and Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) west of Mosul.

Deputy Governor of Nineveh province Abdulrahman al-Luizi stressed that the massacre had taken place and called for holding the perpetrators accountable for their crimes. However, a Yazidi official from the PMF claimed that the dead were ISIS members.

Yazidi forces were also implicated in two other incidents of enforced disappearances of members of the Imteywit and Jahaysh tribes in late 2017, HRW said.

“Past atrocities against the Yazidis don’t give its armed forces a free pass to commit abuses against other groups, whatever their past,” said Lama Fakih, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch.

In early 2017, Yazidi fighters formed the Lalish Brigades and the Ezidkhan Brigades, units under the PMF, a force of the Iraqi prime minister, and therefore part of the state’s armed forces.

Two Yazidi community leaders told Human Rights Watch that the Ezidkhan Brigades were responsible for the abduction and killing of the 52 Imteywit tribe members.

Senior Yazidis have alleged that the Imteywit and Jahaysh tribes participated with ISIS in the executions and abuse of Yazidi men and women in August 2014.

Members of the two tribes denied these allegations, claiming the Yazidis were scapegoating them for ISIS atrocities.

“Few months before launching the operation to liberate Sinjar, a Yazidi militia linked to the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) northern Sinjar region committed a crime,” Luizi told Asharq Al-Awsat.

“After the liberation battles, which were overseen by the PMF in Sinjar and Tal Afar areas, a Yazidi faction, under the umbrella of the PMF, killed 52 people, including 27 women, 10 children and 15 men. They also kidnapped eight farmers from the Arab tribes in another incident and their fate is still unknown,” he further explained.

Elite Soldier Dubbed Britain’s ‘GI Jane’ After Killing 3 ISIS Militants

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF ‘TASK AND PURPOSE’)

Elite Soldier Dubbed Britain’s ‘GI Jane’ After Killing 3 ISIS Militants

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A female sergeant with the British Army’s Special Reconnaissance Regiment is being lauded as the U.K.’s “GI Jane” after reportedly killing at least three Islamic State militants in a town near the Syria-Iraq border after an intelligence mission went awry in September, according to the Daily Star.

The woman — who was not identified in the original Daily Star report — was on a team with Special Air Service (SAS) troops, SRR personnel and an MI6 officer, tasked with arranging a meeting around a female ISIS informant. The informant came forward after she was forced to marry a “prominent terrorist commander,” and she offered to provide U.K. forces with intel on the militant’s location, in exchange for safe passage, Daily Star reports.

After meeting with the informer, the team made their way through an “urban area” to a predetermined rendezvous point, the Daily Star reports, but as they were pulling out, they came under attack by Islamic State militants.

The team dismounted their vehicles and returned fire with small arms; the female sergeant took up a position as a rearguard to cover the vehicles, armed with a Heckler and Koch MP5K — a submachine gun geared more toward delivering a high volume of “f— you and die” in close quarters than precision marksmanship.

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“Every time a terrorist appeared she dropped them,” one source told the Daily Star, adding that she kept her teammates apprised of what was happening in the rear with a “running commentary” — which, if I had to guess, probably sounded like this: “I’m up, he sees me — ratatatatatat! — okay, all good, he’s down.”

“She took down at least three terrorists who were very close to over-running her position,” the source continued. “She reacted in the way the special forces are trained to do when they are involved in close quarter battle. She had her colleagues’ backs throughout the firefight and no doubt saved lives.”

The elite SRR was established in 2005 and is the only special forces unit in Great Britain that recruits both male and female personnel from all branches of the military, according to the Telegraph. Tasked with covert surveillance operations, its members and their identities are a closely guarded secret, the Telegraph notes.

Though the unnamed sergeant’s actions have earned her significant praise (and a lot of media attention), she’s not the only woman in Britain’s ranks to go toe-to-toe with Islamic State fighters in recent years. Last January, two female British soldiers — both in their twenties, fluent in Arabic and serving in the SRR — shot their way out of an ambush in Iraq alongside British SAS soldiers, the Daily Star reports.

As for the MP5-rocking sergeant? After the team broke the ambush and made their way back to base, “her colleagues were giving her high fives and calling her Britain’s first GI Jane” — though unlike Demi Moore’s character in the 1997 action flick, she’s real.

Being a professional, she chose to downplay the event, with one source telling the Star that “she made the point women are more than capable of serving on the frontline in special forces units and are just as good as men.”

Iraqi Christians in Mosul Celebrate Christmas For First Time in 3 Years

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CHRISTIAN POST)

 

Iraqi Christians in Mosul Celebrate Christmas For First Time in 3 Years

(PHOTO: REUTERS/MUHAMMAD HAMED)Ameen Mukdad, a violinist from Mosul who lived under ISIS’s rule for two and a half years where they destroyed his musical instruments, performs at Nabi Yunus shrine in eastern Mosul, Iraq, April 19, 2017.

Christians in Iraq attended a Christmas service in Mosul for the first time since Islamic State militants took over the city in 2014, hoping they will soon be able to return to their homes.

Armoured vehicles guarded Saint Paul’s, the only functioning church in Mosul. Its bombed-out window frames were covered with white sheets during the Christmas service, the BBC reports.

The patriarch of Iraq’s Chaldean Catholic Church, Louis Raphael Sako, urged the worshipers to pray for “peace and stability in Mosul, Iraq and the world.”

Islamic state, also known as IS, ISIS, ISIL or Daesh, was driven out of Mosul in July, but Christians are yet to rebuild their lives and their homes. Less than a dozen Christian families have been able to return to the city thus far.

“The situation made us so sad,” Voice of America quoted Fadi, a worshiper, as saying. “This is our city, our grandparents’ city. We lived here, we grew up here. We built our schools, universities, churches families and friends here.”

In the Nineveh Plains, which was also liberated from IS a few months ago, Christians earlier this month celebrated the reconsecration of the first church, St. George’s, to be reopened there since IS was driven out of the region.

“ISIS wanted to eliminate the Christian presence here — but ISIS is gone and the Christians of Telleskuf are back,” Chaldean Archbishop Bashar Matti Warda of Erbil, Kurdistan, said at the ceremony in Telleskuf.

“I am moved by the fact that the church of St. George has not only been reopened, but that it has become more beautiful and glorious than before. That is the way God’s Providence work,” the archbishop declared.

About 80,000 Christians have yet to return home and remain displaced inside of the country as winter has arrived, Juliana Taimoorazy, an Assyrian Christian who founded the Iraqi Christian Relief Council and serves as a senior fellow at the Philos Project, told The Christian Post last week.

She said as many as 50,000 Christians have returned to their homes. Between 150,000 and 180,000 Iraqi Christians were displaced when IS took over in 2014.

“There are many who left Iraq. They went to Turkey. They went to Lebanon. They went to Jordan. The number of Iraqi Christians that are in Turkey is about 45,000. In Jordan, it is about 20,000. In Northern Iraq, we probably would want to say that there are at least 80,000 to 100,000 are displaced in the Northern Part of Iraq.”

Taimoorazy added: “While those aren’t official numbers, as there isn’t a way of counting these people with no census system in place, these numbers are provided to Iraqi Christian Relief Council by various aid organizations and officials from Iraq.”

Pakistan Church Attacked by 2 Suicide Bombers

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE NEW YORK TIMES)

 

Photo

A family fleeing after a suicide bombers attacked Bethel Memorial Methodist Church in Quetta, Pakistan, on Sunday. Credit Naseer Ahmed/Reuters

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Two suicide bombers attacked a church packed with worshipers on Sunday in southwestern Pakistan, killing at least eight people and injuring at least 30 others, several critically, officials said.

The Islamic State, also known as ISIS, claimed responsibility for the attack in Quetta, the capital of the restive Baluchistan Province, in the country’s southwest. The group’s Amaq News Agency posted a statement online Sunday that said attackers had stormed a church in Quetta, but gave no further details.

The assault raised concerns about the security of religious minorities, especially Christians, in a country with a dismal record when it comes to the treatment and protection of religious minorities, analysts say.

Pakistani officials denied that ISIS had an organized presence in the country, however, even though the terrorist group has claimed responsibility for several other attacks in Baluchistan in recent years.

Continue reading the main story

Photo

The main hall of the church in Quetta, Pakistan, after the deadly assault. ISIS claimed responsibility. CreditArshad Butt/Associated Press

“Law enforcement agencies have badly failed in protecting common citizens, and minorities in particular,” said Shamaun Alfred Gill, a Christian political and social activist based in Islamabad.

“December is a month of Christian religious rituals,” Mr. Gill said. “We had demanded the government beef up security for churches all over the country. But they have failed to do so.”

Christians make up at least 2 percent of the country’s population of about 198 million. Most of them are marginalized and perform menial jobs.

The attack, a week before the Christmas holiday, unfolded in the early morning hours at Bethel Memorial Methodist Church. About 400 people had gathered for Sunday service when an assailant detonated his explosives-laden vest near the door to the church’s main hall.

Continue reading the main story

Photo

A woman wounded in the attack. CreditBanaras Khan/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Another attacker failed to detonate his suicide jacket and was shot by security forces after an intense firefight, officials said.

Sarfraz Bugti, the provincial home minister, said the death toll could have been higher had the attacker managed to reach the main hall of the church, which is on one of the busiest roads in the city and near several important public buildings.

Local television networks broadcast images of terrified worshipers running out of the church as the attack was underway. Several young girls, wearing white frocks and holding red bags, could be seen fleeing the compound. Witnesses told local news outlets that people, panicked and frightened, had rushed out after hearing a loud explosion, followed by the sound of gunfire outside.

As security forces moved inside the main hall after the attack, they were confronted by a scene of bloody destruction. Several benches and chairs were overturned. Musical instruments were turned upside down.

Continue reading the main story

Photo

Security forces at the site of the attack, which raised questions about Pakistan’s ability to protect religious minorities. CreditNaseer Ahmed/Reuters

A Christmas tree with decorative lights stood at one corner, and a pool of blood lay outside the door where the suicide bomber had detonated explosives.

Two women were among the dead, and 10 women and seven children were among the injured, hospital officials said. Most of the injured were taken to the Civil Hospital nearby.

Quetta has been the scene of violent terrorist attacks recently, and a large number of military and paramilitary troops, apart from the police, have been deployed to maintain security.

Officials have repeatedly claimed that they have reduced violence in Baluchistan, a rugged and resource-rich province bordering Afghanistan and Iran. But the ease with which the attackers managed to carry out their assault on Sunday seemed to belie those claims.

Continue reading the main story

Photo

About 400 people had gathered for Sunday service when a bomber detonated explosives, sending worshipers fleeing. CreditBanaras Khan/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

“The army repeatedly claims that it has broken the backbone of terrorism in the country,” Mr. Gill said. “But terrorism is still very much present and destroying the lives of common people.”

An insurgency by Baluch separatists has long simmered in the province, and the Taliban and other militants maintain a presence in the region.

Some officials were quick to shift blame toward Afghanistan, pointing to the presence of havens there for militants.

“The terrorists have safe sanctuaries across the border in Afghanistan,” said Anwar-ul Haq Kakar, a spokesman for the Baluchistan government. “They have become a major source of terrorism inside Baluchistan.”

Many minority leaders, however, stressed that there was a bigger need to look inward to ensure security for religious minorities, especially Christians.

“This attack is a serious breach of security,” Mr. Gill said.

Iraq Holds Military Parade Celebrating ISIS Defeat  

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Iraq Holds Military Parade Celebrating ISIS Defeat

Sunday, 10 December, 2017 – 10:00
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi delivers a speech in Baghdad, Iraq, December 9, 2017. Iraqi Prime Minister Media Office/Handout via REUTERS
Baghdad- Asharq Al Awsat

An Iraqi military parade celebrating final victory over Islamic State is underway in Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone, Reuters quoted an Iraqi military spokesman as saying on Sunday.

Almost one year after the launch of military operations from Mosul, north Iraq, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced on Saturday that his country’s forces have “completely controlled” the Syrian-Iraqi borders, declaring that the war against ISIS has officially ended.

“Our forces are in complete control of the Iraqi-Syrian border and I, therefore, announce the end of the war against ISIS,” Abadi told a conference in Baghdad.

The Prime Minister added that Iraq’s enemy “wanted to kill our civilization, but we have won through our unity and our determination. We have triumphed in little time.”

In another speech delivered at the Defense Ministry in the presence of representatives from the entire armed forces, Abadi announced that Iraq’s next battle would be to defeat the scourge of corruption.

“Weapons should only be in the state’s hands,” Abadi confirmed.

He said that the rule of law and respect for it are the way to build the state and achieve justice, equality, and stability, adding that the unity of Iraq and its people is the most important and greatest accomplishment.

Authorities in Iraq announced a public holiday on Sunday “to celebrate the victory.”

The prime minister’s declaration came three years after the militant group captured some third of Iraq’s territory.

Meanwhile, Naim el-Kaoud, leader of the al-Bounmar tribes in Anbar told Asharq al-Awsat on Saturday the “battles that continued following the liberation of Rawa, including the western desert, were now completed and the area is now combined to the entire border with Syria after clearing ISIS militants.”

For his part, Hisham al-Hashemi, an expert on jihadist groups, told Asharq Al-Awsat that although the terrorist group was military defeated in Iraq, ISIS would still hold some pockets in some Iraqi areas.

He said that around 800 fighters were still present in the country, especially in east Tigris, and the Hamrin Mountains.

Jerusalem, Israel, And The Palestinian People

Jerusalem, Israel, And The Palestinian People

 

So, tomorrow December the 6th President Trump is supposed to say whether or not he is going to officially recognize Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel and if the U.S. is going to move our Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. So, this article this evening is simply my thoughts on this issue, I am not consulting other writers nor any pre-written documents. I am only going by articles that I have already read during my lifetime, up to this point in time. I know that no matter what I say, I am going to get a lot of people angry simply because I don’t agree with them.

Today the President of Turkey, Mr. Erdogan threatened to cut relations with Israel if Mr. Trump goes ahead with the Jerusalem Capital issue. To me, this is a fraudulent concept, if Mr. Erdogan wants to cut relations with any country it should be the U.S. not Israel. Israel cannot control what comes out of the mouth of Donald Trump, no one can. It is said that the whole of the ‘Arab League’ will cause many deaths if Mr. Trump goes through with this announcement. These type of threats help show the ‘low road’ of the Islamic leaders, not their intelligence. It is also because of threats like this that would cause a narcissists like Trump to not bow down to such a threat because it would/will make him look weak and in this case, that is actually true.

Now, for my personal thoughts on how to make the Jerusalem Capital issue work for all sides, yet at the same time not make any side totally happy. Isn’t that pretty much what the definition of what a compromise is? My idea is for Jerusalem to be declared the Capital of Palestine, all of Palestine. This would encompass all of Palestine and all the people of Palestine, Israeli Jews, Israeli Arabs, the people of Gaza and of the West Bank. This way it is everyone’s Capital. All people of this region, no matter if they are Israeli Jews or residents of the ‘so called’ Palestinians of the West Bank can prove that they are capable of recognizing each others right to exist, in peace with each other.

Because of the current security issues raised by terrorist groups like Hamas, Hezbollah, ISIS and the PLO plus the fact that Jerusalem was the Capital of Israel at least 1,600 years before Mohammad was even born, Israel would have to have control of the security issues within all of the city. Maybe in time these folks who are hell-bent on violence will mature into civilized human beings and the ‘walls’ of security can be let down. Israel on their side would need to allow the Palestinian people to have such things as their Embassy in Eastern Jerusalem once there is a two State agreement in place. All sides of this issue should be allowed to call Jerusalem their Capital. Jerusalem is the ‘City of God’ and it should be able to be an ‘International’ City. Yet the only way for this to come about is if groups like Hamas who refuse the existence of the State of Israel to lay down all of their weapons. Israel can not allow its citizens to continue to be fodder to murderers, so until all Islamic groups in the Palestine region agree to commit no violence, there can not be a safe and secure two State compromise.

Another reality is that even though Mr. Trump seems to think that he decides if Jerusalem is the Capital of Israel, he actually has no say so in the matter. Jerusalem is and has been the Capital of the people of Israel for more than 2,600 years. It is God who decided that Jerusalem is His City. The world can call Tel Aviv Israels Capital, but it has never been Israels Capital, Jerusalem is. But there is no reason that all of the people of Palestine can not call Jerusalem their Capital as it is the Capital of all of Palestine.

 

 

ISIS Holiday Horror, ‘Christmas Blood’

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CHRISTIAN POST)

 

ISIS Holiday Horror, ‘Christmas Blood’ Attack Warnings Must Be Taken Seriously: Security Expert

(PHOTO: REUTERS/FABRIZIO BENSCH)Police work at the site of an accident at a Christmas market on Breitscheidplatz square near the fashionable Kurfuerstendamm avenue in the west of Berlin, Germany, December 19, 2016. 

A security expert has warned that the Islamic State terror group’s warnings of violence and bloodshed over the Christmas holiday season need to be taken seriously, given the lone wolf attacks that continue rattling the world.

“The recent spate of threats to attack during the upcoming holiday are significant and should be taken seriously by law enforcement agenciesm,” said Jeffrey Treistman, an assistant professor of national security at the University of New Haven, according to The Hill. “It is essential that security experts remain vigilant during the upcoming Christmas holiday and closely scrutinize their list of radicalized individuals who are most likely to heed the Islamic State’s call for violence.”

Treistman, who previously worked for the U.S. Department of State as a policy advisor in Baghdad, Iraq, and was a consultant for the Department of Defense’s African Command, pointed to the slaughter in Berlin on a Christmas market last year, when 12 people were killed by an IS-backed truck driver.

“Similar mistakes must not be repeated this year,” he urged.

Though IS has lost much of its territory throughout Iraq and Syria following a series of major military defeats this year, the terror group continues claiming responsibility for lone wolf attacks around the world, including in America and Europe.

Earlier in November, the jihadists published a poster warning of “Christmas Blood” this season, seemingly targeting St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican.

As Epoch Times reported, IS also made specific threats against Christmas markets in the U.K., Germany and France.

Posters circulated by the group feature images of jihadists holding bloody knives and eyeing up landmarks, such as the Eiffel Tower in Paris, above a caption reading “soon on your holidays.”

Another image appears to show Santa Claus on his knees with his hands tied, with a jihadi dressed in black looming over him, which is reminiscent of many of the beheading videos IS has published.

The U.S. Department of State has issued a travel warning for Americans visiting Europe this holiday season, with Berlin and other major cities looking to bolster their security around public events.

“Holidays are an especially attractive time for terrorists to strike. First off, the multitude of crowded markets and religious gatherings increases the likelihood that an attack will yield a high casualty rate. Christmas festivities often draw large crowds that constitute a soft civilian target,” Treistman positioned.

“Islamist terrorists also seek to strike during the Christmas holiday because they recognize the emotional and symbolic impact that a terrorist attack would have on a public’s psyche. Indeed, in the aftermath of the failed Christmas day airline bombing in 2009 the Yemen-based al Qaeda cleric, Anwar al-Awlaki, justified the attack on the American people by recognizing that Christmas is ‘the holiest and most sacred days to you.'”

The security expert noted that IS enjoys the media attention around holiday terror attacks, and is especially looking to strengthen its image after a year of heavy losses.

Treistman offered that IS’ reliance on lone-wolf operatives can be seen as a sign of weakening, as it signals the terrorists are unable to carry out large-scale attacks on their own.

“This is not to suggest, however, that ISIS does not constitute a viable threat. Indeed, law enforcement and counterterrorism agencies need to be on high alert this holiday season for a potential attack,” he warned.

“Lone-wolf attacks can be notoriously difficult for intelligence agencies to anticipate since some radicalized individuals rarely have direct contact with a terrorist group’s command structure.”

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Suicide attack kills 9 in Syria’s Golan Heights (Druze) village

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE PAKISTANI NEWS AGENCY ‘DAWN’)

 

A suicide car bomb attack killed nine people in a government-held village in Syria’s Golan Heights on Friday, state media said, reporting clashes between government forces and militants afterward.

State news agency SANA said the car bomb hit the outskirts of the village of Hader, which lies near the disengagement line that divides the Syrian-controlled part of the Golan from that occupied by Israel.

“A suicide bomber from Al-Nusra Front detonated a car bomb in the midst of the village, located on the outskirts of Hader, killing nine people and injuring at least 23,” the agency said.

Al-Nusra Front is the old name for a militant group that was formerly Al Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria and is now known as the Fateh al-Sham Front.

“In the aftermath of the terrorist attack, terrorist groups carried out a heavy attack on Hader, and army units and the Popular Defence units [pro-government militants] clashed with the attackers,” SANA added.

The agency said the toll was expected to rise because a number of those wounded in the bombing were in serious condition and the ongoing assault on the town made it difficult to remove the injured to a safe place.

Hader is a majority-Druze village and has been attacked in the past by rebel and militant groups.

It lies in southwestern Syria’s Quneitra province, around 70 per cent of which is held by either rebel or militant groups, with the government controlling the other 30pc, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitor.

Israel seized 1,200 square kilometres of the Golan Heights from Syria in the Six-Day War of 1967 and later annexed it, a move never recognised by the international community.

The Israeli army said on Friday that a civilian in the town of Majdal Shams in the Israeli-occupied part of the Golan was lightly wounded as a result of “shots fired from Syria”.

It said the shots were “stray fire resulting from the intense fighting on the Syrian Golan Heights”.

Israeli army spokesman, Brigadier General Ronen Manelis, said the military was ready to “prevent Hader from being harmed or occupied, as part of our commitment to the Druze population”.

Nearly 140,000 members of the Druze minority, which follows a secretive offshoot of Shia sect, live in Israel and the Israeli-occupied Golan.

In Majdal Shams, residents approached the disengagement line but were prevented from crossing to support villagers in Hader by the Israeli army, which closed off the area.

Some Syrian Druze have expressed sympathy for the opposition since the start of the civil war but the community has largely been loyal to the regime.

Russia accuses US of blocking humanitarian aid in Syria

Russia on Friday accused the United States of committing a “war crime” in Syria, saying its army had denied Syrian refugees access to humanitarian aid.

“The most severe humanitarian situation remains in the Al-Tanf region,” the Russian defence ministry’s Syria reconciliation centre said, referring to a garrison where US and other foreign troops train anti-Islamic State group fighters.

Tens of thousands of Syrian refugees from the Al-Rukban refugee camp on the Jordanian border are deprived of humanitarian aid because of the United States, which “illegally placed their military base there and forbids approach within 55 kilometres under the threat of death,” the centre said.

“The actions of the US military and the so-called international coalition in Al-Tanf are a gross violation of the international humanitarian law and could qualify as a war crime,” it said in a statement quoted by Russian news agencies.

Earlier this month Moscow accused the US of supporting IS militants and enabling them to mount counter-offensive attacks in eastern Syria from near the Al-Tanf garrison.

Al-Tanf, on the key highway connecting Damascus with Baghdad, has been repeatedly menaced by a surge of Iran-backed troops loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Washington says the garrison is used by US and British special forces to train rebel Syrian groups fighting IS militants.

Russia has been flying a bombing campaign in Syria since 2015 when it stepped in to support the Assad regime and tipped the conflict in his favour.

15 Killed in Airstrikes in Eastern Libya  

(THIS ARTICLE IS THE COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

15 Killed in Airstrikes in Eastern Libya

Tuesday, 31 October, 2017 – 10:00
A general view shows the eastern Libyan city of Derna on March 15, 2011. (AFP)
Asharq Al-Awsat

At least 15 people were killed, including women and children, in airstrikes on the eastern Libyan city of Derna late on Monday night, said a medical source.

The National Libyan Army has been besieging the city for months and has carried out intermittent airstrikes against it.

Military officials refused to comment on the latest strikes.

A resident of the city said that the shelling last about an hour and that they targeted the al-Dhahr al-Hamr neighborhood in southern Derna and the mountainous al-Fatayeh region, 20 kms away from the city.

The medical source said that at least 17 people were wounding in the strikes, adding that so far all victims were civilians.

The coastal city of Derna lies 265 kms away from the Egyptian border in the west. It is currently under the control of an alliance of extremists and former members of the “Shura Council of the Derna Mujahideen”.

The ISIS terrorist group captured Derma in late 2014, but the Council managed to expel it in the following year.

Damien Parrott

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