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Thread: Syria News

  1. #81
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    Muslim Refugees Pressured to Convert to Christianity

    Syrian refugees in northern Greece are being pressured to convert to Christianity.

    video: https://www.facebook.com/ajplusengli...1011651040344/

    Muslims didn't try to convert the Christians when they started their world war and then ran to Muslim countries to save their sorry lives, or when Muslims sent aid to famine stricken Ireland, or any other occasion.

    The fact of the matter is that when your religion isn't good enough to accept on its own merits then you have to force and coerce other people to join it.

    These Christians are doing the same thing to Syrian refugees in Jordan.

    'Christian Missionaries Exploiting Conditions of Syrian refugees in Jordan' on ViewPure

    videos: http://viewpure.com/YfScs8fxQq8?start=0&end=0

    'How Syrian Muslim refugee Converted to Christianity by Missionaries in Jordan' on ViewPure

    videos: http://viewpure.com/ZIzKvt0phZo?start=0&end=0

  2. #82
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    Islamophobe Hungary gives 10-year sentence to Syrian man for border riot


    A Syrian man was sentenced to 10 years in prison by a Hungarian court on Wednesday (30 November) for his part in a riot on the border with Serbia last year.

    Ahmed Hamed, 40, was handed down the longest sentence by a Hungarian court in connection with the migration crisis, and was also sentenced to be expelled from the country.

    He was sentenced for throwing rocks at police in an attempt to push through the border gate, which was an "act of terror," according to Hungarian law.

    The man was part of a group that crossed illegally into Hungary in September 2015 at the Roszke point. He spoke to the crowd standing at the Serbian side of the border before hundreds of migrants pushed through the border gate, while Hungarian police used water cannon and teargas to stop them.

    Hamed pleaded not guilty to a charge of terrorism, and he cried as he was given his sentence.

    He had lived in Cyprus for 10 years, and had an EU residency permit. He joined the more than 1 million migrants coming into Europe last year to help his parents and other relatives make their way through the Balkans into Europe from war-torn Syria.

    According to Amnesty International, news footage taken at the time of the riot in September shows Hamed using a megaphone to call on both the refugees and the police to remain calm. Ahmed admitted in court that he was involved in hurling stones as clashes intensified.

    Ahmed's father and mother were also arrested, and, along with eight others, were charged with illegally entering Hungary and participating in a mass riot. They spent eight months in prison in Hungary.

    According to the court, Hamed was a leading figure in the riots. Among the 11 people who were detained at Roszke, only Hamed was charged with terrorism.
    Hamed and his family arrived to the Hungarian border just as the country erected a fence on its Serbian border to stop the mass flow of people.

    Hungary's prime minister Viktor Orban has been a staunch opponent of migration, being the first EU leader to erect a border fence last year, and has refused to participate in the EU's refugee relocation scheme.

    On Wednesday, a small group of protesters gathered outside the courthouse in Szeged, in southern Hungary, to demand the release of Hamed and the "Roszke 11".

    "The Roszke trials are show trials," the group said in a leaflet they handed out, according to Reuters.

    "Throwing stones and entering a country irregularly does not constitute terrorism and cannot justify this draconian ruling," Gauri van Gulik, of Amnesty International, said in statement.

    Hungary during the summer passed a constitutional amendment that grants broad powers to the government to declare a state of "terror threat emergency".



    After they engage in their proxy wars in syria, they want to charge syrians with "terrorism", what hypocrisy! as is their so called justice system that is giving him 10 years and others 8 years while crime of rape in their stupid land is only 1 year. This is their so called demoncracy and justice.

  3. #83
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    "Aleppo right now is MOST need of dua! Russia and Iran militia have besieged the last area remaining area (Sukari & Sayf al-dawla district) of #EasternAleppo where there are currently 80,000 civilians trapped in a 2km radius!! News confirm that Assad regime entering these areas are executing civilians on the streets - more than 200 so far! What has happened of oppression against innocent men, women, and children in the past month has never happened in recent history! They are in the worst situation imagineable with no exist. Some children are still under rubbles alive but they can't go help them because the regime will kill them. The evil regime executed all the medical staff in the Hayat hospital in al-Kilasa! O God, help the remaining people of Aleppo and grant them Your relief. O God, be with them and support them. Ya Allah!"


    Turkey needs to step up, Allah is with those who helps His believers


  4. #84
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    Demonstration in turkey condemning Asad massacres against the Muslims of Aleppo


    Reports of children burned alive and mass executions in the street as Aleppo falls to Syrian Army

    There are fears of a genocide in the city of Aleppo after it fell to the Syrian Army last night.
    Local media claim civilians have been lined up and shot in mass executions.

    Aleppo24, which describes itself as an independent news source, claims there has been at least one incident of children being burned alive.

    President Assad's forces appear to have taken control of Aleppo which has been at the centre of the country's bloody civil war for the past four years.

    There are now concerns for up to 100,000 civilians in the city who fear reprisals as the Syrian Army takes control from rebel forces.

    They are said to be trapped in an area no more than five miles wide and are calling on the UN to facilitate their passage to safety.

    Many have been tweeting heartbreaking final messages calling for help.

    Lina Shamy, an activist tweeting from inside Aleppo, posted a video message on Twitter saying: "To everyone who can hear me."We are exposed to a genocide in the besieged city of Aleppo. This may be my last video."

    The Secretary General of the United Nations Ban Ki Moon has said he is "alarmed" by the reports of atrocities.

    There has been no official response from the Syrian government or its ally Russia on the cliams.
    The White Helmets, a group of volunteer Syrians who act as first responders, has published an impassioned plea for the UN to intervene.

    In a message the group wrote: "The bombs are falling as we write this. For years our humanitarian volunteers have worked to save the lives of our people in Aleppo: operating in underground hospitals, rescuing entire families buried under rubble and risking our lives to document what the daily war crimes committed by Assad regime and its ally Russia. We can do no more.

    "Now we are with 100,000 civilians trapped in an area of five square miles with non-stop bombs, shells and advancements on the ground. In one building more than 500 people are sheltering.

    People have been underground for days.""We are calling on you in the International Community to provide safe passage out of Aleppo for the remaining 100,000 people. We know that the uN has a plan to get us out across the 4 kilometres of Western Aleppo to safety: with a few dozen buses and lorries we could all be evacuated in twenty-four hours. However, we need you to guarantee the safety of their workers and our own.

    "If we stay we fear for our lives. The women may be taken to camps, the men disappeared and anyone who is known to have supported civilians will face detention or execution. We’ve watched thousands of our boys and men be detained. Countless White Helmets, doctors, nurses and humanitarians have been targeted and killed in the regime’s cruel assault on Aleppo. The regime has been trying to kill us for five years. Please don’t get them this chance.

    "We cannot believed that the world’s most powerful countries cannot get 100,000 souls four kilometres to relative safety."

    "The Secretary-General is conveying his grave concern to the relevant parties."

    "He has instructed his Special Envoy for Syria to follow up urgently with the parties concerned," UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.

    Millions of people have fled Syria during the civil war into Europe and elsewhere.

    An estimated 10,000 have fled in last 24 hours alone.

    The US and Russia made attempts over the weekend to agree on a ceasefire to allow civilians to leave but failed.

    The UN humanitarian adviser on Syria, Jan Egeland said in a tweet, that the Syrian and Russian governments must be held responsible.

    "The Gov'ts of Syria & Russia are accountable for any and all atrocities that the victorious militias in Aleppo are now committing!," Egeland tweeted, as Assad's forces bombarded the last rebel-held pocket of besieged eastern Aleppo.

    Rebels withdrew from all districts on the east side of the Aleppo river on Monday afternoon after losing Sheikh Saeed in the south of their pocket in overnight fighting "The battle in eastern Aleppo should end quickly.

    "The (rebels) don't have much time. They either have to surrender or die," Lieutenant General Zaid al-Saleh, head of the government's Aleppo security committee, told reporters in the recaptured Sheikh Saeed district of the city.

    British ministers will come under pressure today to help rescue civilians.

    Former Cabinet minister Andrew Mitchell has secured an emergency debate on the humanitarian crisis and will urge the UK to use its "immense diplomatic muscle" to help secure a ceasefire in the besieged Syrian city.

    Commons Speaker John Bercow granted him an emergency debate on the issue, which will see ministers forced to respond in Parliament.

    The debate was granted shortly after Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon warned it is "almost impossible" to use air drops to get aid into the city while Russia controls the air defences in Syria.

    Mr Mitchell said: "The debate would enable us to explore with the Government how Britain's immense diplomatic muscle, the finest foreign service in the world, can do more to secure a deal that will ensure a ceasefire for at least 24 hours to enable innocent civilians to be rescued from the hideous circumstances which now prevail in east Aleppo."

    He cited reports that sarin and chlorine gas have been used in the city, which would constitute a war crime, as evidence of the need for immediate action.

    He said: "Many of these terrified civilians trapped in this hell hole, which now resembles Stalingrad at the end of its destruction, are children.

    "They have few places to hide."

    With temperatures plummeting to below freezing in Aleppo, Mr Mitchell said it was not a question that "something must be done" but rather "what in the name of humanity we the international community will do to save those who today are in such dreadful jeopardy".

    Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has described the situation in Aleppo as "dire" and demanded that the Assad regime and its backers allow humanitarian access.


  5. #85
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    'Civilians killed' as battle for Aleppo nears end

    Reports of civilians summarily executed and trapped in buildings as Assad troops near takeover of Syria's biggest city.

    Pro-government forces have reportedly executed scores of civilians in Aleppo, including women and children, according to the UN, as the battle for Syria's largest city nears its end.

    Forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad have in some cases entered homes and killed those inside, and in others "caught and killed on the spot" fleeing civilians, Rupert Colville, the UN rights office spokesperson, said on Tuesday.

    He called the situation "a complete meltdown of humanity".

    Colville said government forces on Monday killed 82 civilians - including 13 children and 11 women - in the neighbourhoods of Bustan al-Qasr, al-Kalleseh, al-Firdous and al-Salheen - taken over that day by government forces.

    Fears have been growing for thousands of trapped civilians as the rebels make a desperate last stand in their remaining pocket of territory in the former opposition stronghold of east Aleppo.

    After weeks of heavy fighting, government forces were poised on Tuesday to take full control of Aleppo, dealing the biggest blow to Syria's rebellion in more than five years of civil war.

    The Syrian army said on Tuesday evening it could declare full control over east Aleppo "at any moment" as it advanced against rebels holed up in just a handful of neighbourhoods.

    About 80,000 civilians are now trapped in the few square miles of east Aleppo that remain under opposition control.

    In an alarming statement made on Tuesday, UNICEF said that nearly 100 unaccompanied children were trapped in a building under heavy attack in east Aleppo, citing an unnamed doctor in the city.

    "According to alarming reports from a doctor in the city, many children, possibly more than 100, unaccompanied or separated from their families, are trapped in a building under heavy attack in east Aleppo," said Geert Cappelaere, UNICEF regional director.

    Scenes of carnage

    Witnesses described scenes of carnage in previously opposition-held areas, with bodies lying amid the rubble of eastern Aleppo's streets as desperate residents sat on pavements with nowhere to shelter.

    "Our fate is sealed. Why would we hide? It won't do us any good. We will either die or be captured," said Ibrahim Abu al-Laith, a spokesman for the White Helmets rescue service.

    Jan Egeland, UN special adviser for Syria, said the past 24 hours had been the most dramatic so far in "the bloody, bitter, horrific battle for Aleppo".

    He gave warning that those responsible would be held accountable for the bloodshed.

    Lina al-Shami, an architect and well-known social media activist based in Aleppo, says dozens of people are trapped in the rubble and that civil defence forces can do nothing to extract them.
    "I know I may die or get arrested by this criminal regime, but I have to let the world know what is happening here in Aleppo," she told Al Jazeera by Skype on Tuesday.

    "We are facing genocide. There are people lying injured in the streets, still alive under the wreckage, and civil defence can't do anything to help them."

    Citizens and social media activists across Aleppo's remaining opposition-held districts sent out "last messages" on social media late on Monday night as the bombing intensified and government forces continued to advance.

    "Don't believe any more in United Nations ... don't believe any more in the international community. They are satisfied that we are being killed, that we are facing ... the most horrible massacre in [recent] history," said Abdulkafi al-Hamdo, a well-known social media activist in east Aleppo.

    Zeid Ra'ad al Hussein, the UN human rights chief, appealed on Tuesday to the international community to demand that Syria allow monitoring of its treatment of people fleeing eastern Aleppo.

    He gave warning that populations of other opposition-held towns could face the same fate.

    "The crushing of Aleppo, the immeasurably terrifying toll on its people, the bloodshed, the wanton slaughter of men, women and children, the destruction - and we are nowhere near the end of this cruel conflict," Zeid said in a statement.

    "What is happening with Aleppo could repeat itself in Douma, in Raqqa, in Idlib. We cannot let this continue."

    All-out offensive

    Syria's army said it had taken 98 percent of the territory once held by opposition fighters in east Aleppo, after launching an all-out offensive last month to seize control of the entire city.

    Scores of men who fled from the city's east to the west have been detained by the Syrian authorities and forced into military conscription, reports say.

    The government assault has been backed by heavy artillery fire and air strikes, with at least 463 civilians, including 62 children, killed in eastern Aleppo since mid-November, according to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR).

    Another 130 people, including 40 children, have been killed in the city's western districts by opposition rocket fire.

    Diplomatic efforts to end the conflict have repeatedly failed, with the latest talks between Russia and the US on a ceasefire to allow the evacuation of civilians making no breakthrough.

    Russia, a crucial Assad ally, launched an air war in support of his forces last year, while the US and other Western nations backed the opposition.

    Turkey, which has also supported opposition forces in Syria, said on Tuesday it would intensify talks with Russia on a ceasefire.

    "Today, tomorrow, every day, we will intensify our talks with Russia and other countries so we can find a solution to this humanitarian tragedy," Mevlut Cavusoglu, the Turkish foreign minister, said.

    "Our efforts continue in particular for civilians to be able to leave and for a ceasefire."

    The UN estimates that nearly 400,000 people have been killed since the Syrian conflict began in March 2011, and more than half the population has been displaced.



    Latest update from our brother Bilal Abdul Kareem in besieged #Aleppo...

    A deal has been reached between rebels & the regime & it's allies for fighters & civilians to exit Aleppo.


  6. #86
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    This is an example of how innocent people from #Aleppo are tortured by the Assad (Shia) regime.


    Residents of the Bosnian capital, Sarajevo, held a solidarity rally for civilians trapped in the besieged Syrian city of Aleppo. The gathering was emotional for some who remembered that Sarajevo endured a bloody siege itself during the 1992-95 Bosnian war.


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    Daughters in Aleppo ask fathers to kill them before facing rape by Assad and Hezbollah forces

    Warnings circulated on social media claiming that fathers in Eastern Aleppo are asking religious scholars if its permissible to kill their daughters before they are captured and raped by Assad, Hezbollah, and Iranian militias.

    Syrian regime forces and sectarian militias carried out on Monday nearly two hundred executions in Aleppo, which included women and children, according to eyewitnesses from within the city, Al Arabiya News Channel reported.

    According to activists on the ground, Hezbollah militia carried out most of the mass executions in the war-torn city.

    Sources confirmed to Al Arabiya that militias loyal to the regime killed nine children and four women, by burning them to death.

    Other Imams were receiving questions from Aleppo, including whether “a man can kill his wife or sister before she is raped by Assad Forces in front of him.”

    A separate message on Facebook was posted by a Syrian activist relaying a heartbreaking message from a girl in Aleppo that read :

    “To all the religious leaders and scholars of the world. To all those who are supposedly carrying the burden on their shoulder. I am one of Aleppo’s girls who awaits rape within a few hours. There are no men nor arms to stand between us and the monster whom are called the Syrian army.

    I don’t want anything from you, not even prayers. I am still able to talk and I believe my prayers are more sincere then yours. All what I am asking for is don’t take God’s place and judge me when I kill myself. I am going to kill myself and I don’t care if you doom me to hell.

    I am committing suicide because I didn’t survive all those time in my father’s home for nothing!! My father who died from sorrow and fear for who he left behind. I am committing suicide so my body isn’t any sort of pleasure for those who couldn’t even dare to mention Aleppo’s name a few days ago.

    I am committing suicide in Aleppo because the day of judgment just happened and I don’t think hell is worse then what we are living.

    I will kill myself and I know you are going to unite over judging my destiny to hell. I know the only thing that will unite you all is a girl committing suicide. I am not your mom or your sister or wife. I am just a girl you don’t care about.

    I am going to finish my statement with saying your fatwa doesn’t mean anything to me and doesn’t interest me anymore. Keep it for your family.

    I am killing myself and when u read this You should know I just died pure and untouched in spite of you all.”

    Residents of Aleppo are either being forced to flee to government held areas, or fearfully await the Syrian army’s arrival.

    Want a reliable platform of helping the Syrians, click here.


    More Than 82 Killed By Pro-Assad Troops, But Know Aleppo Did Not Fall, Aleppo Resisted. Humanity Fell, Humanity Failed Them!


    Syrian pro-government forces have carried out at least 82 execution-style killings of civilians in recent days, including women and children, the UN said Tuesday, citing credible reports from the ground as reported by SBS.

    The United Nations human rights office said it had received reports of “pro-government forces killing at least 82 civilians including 11 women and 13 children in four different neighbourhoods in eastern Aleppo,” spokesman Rupert Colville told reporters in Geneva.

    But let’s get one thing straight, here is what Muhammad Waqas says on his Facebook page:

    #Aleppo did not fall. Aleppo resisted. Aleppo fought. Aleppo looked evil straight in the eye and did not bow down. Aleppo gave its blood sweat and tears. Aleppo stood up to the Pharaoh of this age and did not surrender. Aleppo was starved, bombed, raped, mutilated, tortured, mocked, but, Aleppo stood. Aleppo. Did. Not. Fall.

    Humanity fell. The world looked on as evil ripped apart the heart of Aleppo. The very same world which said never again after Hitler, stood and watched silently as Aleppo bled. Aleppo will forever live on far beyond this worthless earth. The innocent martyrs, the men, women, children, young and old of Aleppo will leave behind a legacy of resistance. The rest of us will just be an example of cowardice…

    Aleppo. Did. Not. Fall. Humanity fell.


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    War correspondent Clarissa Ward spoke at the UN Security Council and gave one of rare accounts of what happened inside of #Aleppo during the Assad regime’s siege on the city


    Syrian Officials Use Iraqi Photo to Fake Praise Assad Forces

    Syrian regime envoy uses photo from Iraq and claims it was from Aleppo to defend Assad forces

    December 14, 2016

    The Syrian regime's U.N. ambassador tried to trick the United Nations Security Council on Tuesday by using a photo from Iraq and claiming it was from Aleppo.

    After being accused of carrying out revenge attacks against civilians and executing them, Bashar Ja'afari decided to prove them wrong by showing photographic evidence of the 'good deeds' the Syrian regime was doing in the war-torn city.

    Hailing "the liberation of Aleppo", Ja'afari told the U.N. Security Council that regime forces had liberated civilians from foreign fighters and any possible "terrorists", referencing opposition fighters.

    Responding to criticism by the U.N. and U.S., Ja'afari said that the regime's aim in Aleppo was "to protect civilians and preserve life".

    "This is what the Syrian [regime] army is doing in Aleppo," he says, holding up a photo showing a woman being helped down from a truck, with a soldier kneeling as to provide her a step.

    "This is a Syrian soldier. She is a woman fleeing eastern Aleppo," he says assertively.

    However, soon later media outlets and Twitter users called out on Ja'afari's fake photo.

    The photo he displayed at the UNSC meeting was in fact from Iraq, and was showing a woman in Fallujah being helped by a solider of the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Units.

    The photo was from June, 2016 when Iraqi troops forced Daesh out of Fallujah.

    Earlier, Ja'afari had come under a lot of criticism, especially from U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power as well as from the U.N. envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, who both accused regime forces of committing war crimes.

    Power had said: "To the Assad regime, Russia and Iran -three member states behind the conquest of and carnage in Aleppo - you bear responsibility for these atrocities."

    De Mistura had said that the UN's top priority was that civilians who want to go with the fighters to opposition-held Idlib province be allowed to do so. He also expressed concern that Idlib could become the next target of the Syrian regime.

    With an estimated 1,500 opposition fighters and 50,000 civilians still believed to be trapped in Aleppo, De Mistura warned that such figures must be taken "very cautiously" because the U.N. isn't there.

    Turkey, the United States, Britain and France are accusing Syria's Bashar Assad of committing atrocities against civilians in the opposition-held area.

    Over the course of the last 27 days, some 990 civilians have been killed in eastern Aleppo in attacks by the Syrian regime and allied militias, local sources report.

    The recent escalation comes amid attempts by the Russia-backed Assad regime to reestablish control over parts of Aleppo captured four years ago by armed opposition groups.

    Syria has been locked in a devastating civil war since early 2011, when the Bashar al-Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests -- which had erupted as part of the "Arab Spring" uprisings -- with unexpected ferocity.

    Since then, hundreds of thousands of people have been killed and millions more displaced by the conflict.


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    Russia tested over 160 new weapons in Syrian operation – defense minister

    Published time: 22 Dec, 2016

    While the primary goal of Russia’s military operation in Syria is to prevent the disintegration of the country, it has also provided a chance to field-test 162 advanced Russian weapons, Russia’s defense minister reported.

    “During the operation in Syria, 162 advanced and upgraded weapons have been tested in combat. They have proven to be highly efficient,” Sergey Shoigu told a Thursday meeting of senior Russian officials. The session, chaired by President Vladimir Putin, was focused on the annual report of the minister.

    Among the systems tested in Syria were Su-30SM and Su-34 fighter jets, Mi-28N and Ka-52 helicopters, and Kalibr cruise missiles, as well as other arms. According to Shoigu, 10 of the 162 weapons tested revealed flaws that had not been identified on test ranges, prompting the ministry to stop buying them and ask the developers to fix them.

    Shoigu said Russia’s involvement has “prevented the disintegration of the Syrian state, broken the chain of ‘color revolutions’ in the Middle East and North Africa, and launched a process for reaching a political settlement and reconciliation between warring parties.”

    So far, 18,800 sorties and 71,000 airstrikes have been carried out by the Russian Air Force as part of the operation, the minister said. Russian warplanes have hit hundreds of militant training camps, arms workshops, military vehicles, and artillery systems.
    NATO watching & preparing

    This year has also seen NATO members sharply step up their surveillance of Russian military assets, Shoigu reported.
    “The intensity of naval surveillance near our territorial waters has increased by 50 percent. We are monitoring the situation and preventing any attempts to violate our naval borders,” the minister said.

    He added there is a similar situation in the air, where NATO flights have tripled over the past decade, necessitating an increase in the deployment of Russian fighter jets to shadow the NATO planes.

    The alliance has also carried out twice as many military exercises, “most of which are targeting Russia,” according to Shoigu. As an example, he described British Army war games that used old Soviet tanks and civilian contractors dressed in Russian uniforms.
    Countering US nukes & Tomahawks

    The US is upgrading its nuclear arsenal in Europe, the Russian minister said, adding that Russia “cannot leave such actions without a response.”

    He said that Russia has taken measures to counter Tomahawk cruise missiles that could be launched from anti-missile sites in Europe that use the same launcher systems as US warships. Shoigu said that 150 to 300 missiles could be secretly deployed that would be capable of hitting Russian territory within 10 minutes.

    While he did not explain exactly how this threat was to be countered, Russian defense officials have previously said that Russia has no choice but to target the anti-missile sites with its own weapons and be prepared to destroy them in the case of an armed conflict.
    Procurement plans

    Shoigu went on to describe the Defense Ministry’s procurement plans for next year. Among the weapons Russia plans to deploy in 2017 are four new batteries of mobile Yars ICBMs and five strategic bombers.

    Russia is also planning to launch a new satellite that will become part of the country’s early missile warning system, which will also include powerful long-range radar stations. The old Soviet satellites used for this purpose have long needed replacing, and the process started in late 2015.

    The Russian military will also continue to expand its drone fleet, which has grown more than tenfold over five years and currently includes 2,000, according to Shoigu.

    Meanwhile Putin said that, while Russia’s armed forces are fully capable of deterring any potential aggressor, this is not an excuse to be idle.

    “If we allow ourselves to relax, even for a minute, and allow a single significant failure in the modernization of our Army and Navy, or the training of our troops, the situation may change very rapidly, considering how fast events happen in the world,” the Russian president warned.


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    Reports of children burned alive and mass executions in the street as Aleppo falls to Syrian Army

    By Steve Robson - 13 DEC 2016

    There are fears of a genocide in the city of Aleppo after it fell to the Syrian Army last night.

    Local media claim civilians have been lined up and shot in mass executions.

    Aleppo24, which describes itself as an independent news source, claims there has been at least one incident of children being burned alive.

    President Assad's forces appear to have taken control of Aleppo which has been at the centre of the country's bloody civil war for the past four years.

    There are now concerns for up to 100,000 civilians in the city who fear reprisals as the Syrian Army takes control from rebel forces.

    They are said to be trapped in an area no more than five miles wide and are calling on the UN to facilitate their passage to safety.

    Many have been tweeting heartbreaking final messages calling for help.

    Lina Shamy, an activist tweeting from inside Aleppo, posted a video message on Twitter saying: "To everyone who can hear me.

    "We are exposed to a genocide in the besieged city of Aleppo. This may be my last video."

    The Secretary General of the United Nations Ban Ki Moon has said he is "alarmed" by the reports of atrocities...

    ...Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has described the situation in Aleppo as "dire" and demanded that the Assad regime and its backers allow humanitarian access.

    video: http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-n...e-mass-9446656

    Syrians of Allepo Evacuation

    Syria - Buses ready to evacuate civilians from besieged Aleppo. Pray for their safety.
    What we are witnessing in besieged Aleppo is Assad's policy of ethnic cleansing of Sunnis, just like what they did in besieged Daraya.

    Idlib is the next target!


    Mocking Allah and Islam


    How Bashar's Soldiers Abuse Syrian Muslims

    Forcing Muslims to prostrate to Bashar and saying there is no God except Bashar. Who is your God? Who do you worship? To whom do you prostrate? Who creates you? He must answer Bashar


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    Welcome to Idlib, ‘the next Aleppo’

    Amid the evacuation of rebel fighters and civilians from east Aleppo, there have been signs of a diplomatic push. Last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin said he and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan were working to organise a new series of Syrian peace talks.

    On Tuesday, despite the previous day’s assassination of Moscow’s ambassador in Ankara, a meeting took place between the foreign ministers of Russia, Turkey and Iran, resulting in a declaration to revive peace talks.

    However, no one should be fooled into thinking that we are on the cusp of a negotiated settlement to the Syrian conflict. President Bashar al-Assad has repeatedly vowed to retake the whole country, typically prior to the start of ceasefires.

    His regime’s negotiating strategy throughout the conflict has been to attend talks, behave intransigently and limit the scope of discussion, then use the talks’ resulting failure as a pretext to launch a major military campaign. The regime only engages concertedly in negotiations to arrange local ceasefires and evacuations.

    So even if talks do take place anytime soon – whether under the auspices of the UN or of Russia, Turkey and Iran – they are likely to simply be a prelude to another military onslaught by the regime and its allies, buoyed by their recent victory in Aleppo.

    As such, speculation is rife as to the next target. In this regard, UN envoy Staffan de Mistura was right to warn last week that Idlib province, in northwest Syria, risks becoming “the next Aleppo”.

    Why target Idlib

    From a strategic standpoint, it makes sense for pro-regime forces to eye Idlib as their next target. It is a major rebel stronghold bordering Turkey, which serves as an important supply route.

    Capturing Idlib would secure the Damascus-Aleppo highway, which rebels have also used as a supply route, and also neighbouring Latakia, Assad’s home province and a regime stronghold.

    Idlib has served as a launch-pad for rebel attacks into Latakia, which is home to Russia’s largest foreign electronic eavesdropping facility and also hosts Khmeimim Air Base, the strategic centre for Russia’s military operations in Syria.

    In October, Moscow ratified a treaty with Assad making Khmeimim Russia’s first permanent air base in the Middle East. This makes Latakia an obvious place from which to launch an offensive into Idlib.

    Similarly, it would be relatively easy for pro-regime forces to be directed toward Idlib from neighbouring Aleppo province – where they were massed to retake the rebel-held eastern part of Aleppo city – compared, for example, to being sent to Palmyra to the south, which the Islamic State (IS) recaptured earlier this month. In any case, the US is carrying out airstrikes against IS there.

    Corralling those who resist

    With Latakia to the west, Aleppo to the east, and largely regime-held Hama province to the south, pro-Assad forces would be able to target Idlib in a multi-pronged assault.

    t is in this context that the Aleppo evacuation deal, and others like it, including truces in besieged towns near Damascus and Homs' al-Waer neighbourhood, should be seen. It is by no means a coincidence that they have entailed relocating rebels to Idlib. This is likely a deliberate strategy, as corralling them into a specific location makes it far easier to target them.

    Forcing rebel groups with differing ideologies and allegiances into one area may also be a means of encouraging divisions among them. Infighting among east Aleppo’s rebels, who are now being sent to Idlib, contributed to the regime victory there.

    Sending civilians to Idlib may be a regime tactic to put them under the repressive authority of Jabhat Fatah al-Sham (formerly the Nusra Front) and Ahrar al-Sham – the two predominant rebel groups in the province – either as a punishment, or to make them yearn for Assad’s rule.

    Since they are jihadist groups, he and his allies would certainly play up their propaganda that they are engaged in a ‘war on terror,’ as a means of justifying an onslaught on Idlib.

    Furthermore, since the US-led coalition and pro-regime forces agree on the designation of Jabhat Fateh al-Sham as a terrorist organisation, there may be less international condemnation of an onslaught in Idlib.

    We may even see coalition, Russian and regime warplanes hit the same targets, particularly given the good relationship thus far between Putin and US President-elect Donald Trump, who will be inaugurated in a few weeks.

    Suffering and disaster

    The difficulty in attacking Idlib is that, unlike east Aleppo and other former rebel-held territory, it is not surrounded by the regime on all sides as it borders Turkey, so it cannot be besieged.

    However, the diplomatic embrace of Ankara by Moscow and Tehran may be a means of ensuring that it does not get in the way of an assault on Idlib, and limiting its involvement to negotiating terms of opposition surrender and providing humanitarian aid.

    Sending rebels to Idlib as a result of evacuation deals means there is the potential for a large and formidable rebel force, one that may recognise the need to close ranks to hold back pro-Assad forces. The problem in that regard, however, is that it plays into the propaganda of the regime and its allies that all rebels are extremists and terrorists, or at least happy to collaborate with such fighters.

    Regardless of how this likely campaign plays out, civilians in Idlib are already suffering, with aid workers describing the situation there as a humanitarian disaster, and warning that the influx of refugees from Aleppo will makes matter worse. Talks may be on the horizon, but this will not deter the military ambitions of Assad and his allies.


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    Holocaust survivors call for perpetrators of Syrian atrocities to be indicted

    'Today when I turn on the news I see once again that the world is standing by'


    Holocaust survivors have called on the international community to indict those responsible for mass deaths in Syria, and to act immediately to end the violence there.

    The atrocities must stop now, a Canada-based group of octogenarians and nonagenarians told a crowd in Toronto on Wednesday.

    Howard Chandler, 88, said aspects of the situation in Syria today reminded him of what he experienced in Poland during the Second World War.

    "We are asking the international community to please intervene before it is too late," he told CBC News.

    "Today when I turn on the news I see once again that the world is standing by," he said. "Scenes from Aleppo in Syria are sickening."

    He added: “People who commit crimes have to know that, at the end of the day, if they're still alive, they will have to account for their activities."

    Mr Chandler was 10 and living in Poland in 1939 when the Nazis occupied the country, and murdered almost his entire family. Only he and his brother were left alive when the Second World War ended in 1945.

    Thousands of fighters and civilians have left Aleppo and the surrounding area in buses this week, after Syrian government forces and their supporters took control of the rebel-held areas of Aleppo this month, razing entire neighbourhoods.

    The evacuation had stalled after rebel forces said pro-government militias fired on a convoy carrying evacuees and robbed them.

    About half a million people have been killed since the start of Syria's civil war five years ago.

    According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, 4.8 million people have fled the country, and about 74,000 refugee children are living without their fathers or both parents.

    Vera Schiff said watching the scenes in Aleppo on television make her cry.

    "After my liberation in 1945, I thought the world would have learned its lesson yet here we are again watching news from Aleppo," said the 90-year-old, who was sent to a concentration camp when she was 15. She spent four years detained there and lost every member of her family.

    “You see those pictures come out of there with all this heartbreak with those maimed and crying children. It breaks my heart because I can see the replay of those children, of our children which were lined up to be gassed in the camps and the mothers who could not save them,” Ms Schiff said.

    She added that she feels it is her duty to speak out to try to prevent further atrocities against innocent civilians.

    “That this is still allowed to happen, that people look at horrible pictures, shrug their shoulders and go about their day — it's not permissible," she said.

    Gerda Frieberg, 91, said she knows what it is like to be all alone, like the children orphaned in Syria.

    “After what we went through, we thought the world would learn something, but I see they didn't," she said. "That's the worst that could happen”.

    Avi Benlolo, president and CEO of the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Centre for Holocaust Studies, which invited the survivors to speak, said the atrocities must stop.

    “If we don't speak out, and speak out forcefully, against these atrocities I'm concerned it's going to become normalised,” Ms Benlolo said.

    “In 20 years from now, we're going to look back at ourselves and say, 'Where were we? Why didn't we speak out?'”


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    Refugees in Greece 'could freeze to death' in snow due to inadequate winter preparations, warn aid groups

    Thousands of people due to be moved out of temporary accommodation before December dealing with temperatures as low as minus-18 degrees Celsius


    Humanitarian agencies have warned that without adequate housing refugees in Greece may die as the country continues to be gripped by freezing winter weather.

    Parts of the country have seen more than a metre (three feet) of snow and temperatures as low as minus-18 degrees Celsius over the weekend, and communication lines and roads are out of action on several islands.

    In Moria, a large camp on the island of Lesbos, around 4,500 people are still living in overcrowded conditions in thin summer tents.

    At least one Afghan man died in the cold conditions last week, Greek media reported, as the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) rushed to distribute thermal blankets and heating fuel and instal electric heaters and insulation.

    Some 2,100 places have been found to accommodate those most at risk from the weather in apartments with host families, with another 700 places found for unaccompanied children, but rights groups are calling on the Greek government to act quickly to reduce overcrowding by moving the most vulnerable people on Greece’s islands to the mainland.

    The authorities have also been criticised for not preparing properly for the life-threatening winter weather. “Europe should stop making the lives of migrants and refugees more miserable,” a statement from Medicins Sans Frontieres read.

    “We are worried,” Adrian Edwards, a spokesperson for UNHCR said in Geneva. “Slowness in registration or identifying vulnerable individuals and, previously, a shortage of suitable spaces on the mainland have been factors delaying moves.

    “Among other things this has contributed to serious overcrowding of facilities built for far fewer people, and increased protection risks,” he added.

    In December, the EU, aid groups and the Greek authorities were accused of bungling the handling of €90 million worth of jointly-managed funding which was supposed to be set aside for “winterising” camps before the first snows fell last month.

    The European Commission said in a statement on Monday that the Greek refugee situation is “first and foremost” the responsibility of the Greek authorities.

    A total of 182,500 refugees and migrants reached Greece in 2016, the UN says, down one third on 2015, largely thanks to the EU policy implemented early last year of detaining people on the Greek islands and deporting them to Turkey.


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    Iran repopulates Syria with Shia Muslims to help tighten regime's control

    New communities are settling in areas where Sunnis have fled or been forced out as Tehran seeks an arc of control stretching from its borders to Israel


    In the valleys between Damascus and Lebanon, where whole communities had abandoned their lives to war, a change is taking place. For the first time since the conflict broke out, people are starting to return.

    But the people settling in are not the same as those who fled during the past six years.

    The new arrivals have a different allegiance and faith to the predominantly Sunni Muslim families who once lived there. They are, according to those who have sent them, the vanguard of a move to repopulate the area with Shia Muslims not just from elsewhere in Syria, but also from Lebanon and Iraq.

    The population swaps are central to a plan to make demographic changes to parts of Syria, realigning the country into zones of influence that backers of Bashar al-Assad, led by Iran, can directly control and use to advance broader interests. Iran is stepping up its efforts as the heat of the conflict starts to dissipate and is pursuing a very different vision to Russia, Assad’s other main backer.

    Russia, in an alliance with Turkey, is using a nominal ceasefire to push for a political consensus between the Assad regime and the exiled opposition. Iran, meanwhile, has begun to move on a project that will fundamentally alter the social landscape of Syria, as well as reinforcing the Hezbollah stronghold of north-eastern Lebanon, and consolidating its influence from Tehran to Israel’s northern border.

    “Iran and the regime don’t want any Sunnis between Damascus and Homs and the Lebanese border,” said one senior Lebanese leader. “This represents a historic shift in populations.”

    Key for Iran are the rebel-held towns of Zabadani and Madaya, where Damascus residents took summer breaks before the war. Since mid-2015 their fate has been the subject of prolonged negotiations between senior Iranian officials and members of Ahrar al-Sham, the dominant anti-Assad opposition group in the area and one of the most powerful in Syria.

    Talks in Istanbul have centred on a swap of residents from two Shia villages west of Aleppo, Fua and Kefraya, which have both been bitterly contested over the past three years. Opposition groups, among them jihadis, had besieged both villages throughout the siege of Aleppo, attempting to tie their fate to the formerly rebel-held eastern half of the city.

    The swap, according to its architects, was to be a litmus test for more extensive population shifts, along the southern approaches to Damascus and in the Alawite heartland of Syria’s north-west, from where Assad draws much of his support.

    Labib al-Nahas, the chief of foreign relations for Ahrar al-Sham, who led negotiations in Istanbul, said Tehran was seeking to create areas it could control. “Iran was very ready to make a full swap between the north and south. They wanted a geographical continuation into Lebanon. Full sectarian segregation is at the heart of the Iranian project in Syria. They are looking for geographical zones that they can fully dominate and influence. This will have repercussions on the entire region.

    “[The sieges of] Madaya and Zabadani became the key issue to prevent the opposition from retaking Fua and Kefraya, which have exclusive populations of Shia. Hezbollah consider this a security zone and a natural extension of their territory in Lebanon. They have had very direct orders from the spiritual leadership of Iran to protect them at any cost.”

    Iran has been especially active around all four towns through its Hezbollah proxies. Along the ridgelines between Lebanon’s Bekaa valley and into the outskirts of Damascus, Hezbollah has been a dominant presence, laying siege to Madaya and Zabadani and reinforcing the Syrian capital. Wadi Barada to the north-west, where ongoing fighting is in breach of the Russian-brokered ceasefire, is also part of the calculations, sources within the Lebanon-based movement have confirmed.

    Elsewhere in Syria, demographic swaps are also reshaping the geopolitical fabric of communities that, before the war, had coexisted for centuries. In Darayya, south-west of Damascus, more than 300 Iraqi Shia families moved into neighbourhoods abandoned by rebels last August as part of a surrender deal. Up to 700 rebel fighters were relocated to Idlib province and state media announced within days that the Iraqis had arrived.

    Shia shrines in Darayya and Damascus have been a raison d’etre for the presence of Hezbollah and other Iranian-backed Shia groups. The Sayeda Zainab mosque on the capital’s western approach has been heavily fortified by Hezbollah and populated by families of the militant group, who have moved in since late 2012. Tehran has also bought large numbers of homes near the Zainab mosque, and a tract of land, which it is using to create a security buffer – a microcosm of its grander project.

    Abu Mazen Darkoush, a former FSA commander who fled Zabadani for Wadi Barada said Damascus’s largest Islamic shrine, the Umayyad mosque, was now also a security zone controlled by Iranian proxies. “There are many Shia who were brought into the area around the mosque. It is a Sunni area but they plan for it to be secured by Shias, then surrounded by them.”

    Senior officials in neighbouring Lebanon have been monitoring what they believe has been a systematic torching of Land Registry offices in areas of Syria recaptured on behalf of the regime. A lack of records make it difficult for residents to prove home ownership. Offices are confirmed to have been burned in Zabadani, Darayya, Syria’s fourth city, Homs, and Qusayr on the Lebanese border, which was seized by Hezbollah in early 2013.

    Darkoush said whole neighbourhoods had been cleansed of their original inhabitants in Homs, and that many residents had been denied permission to return to their homes, with officials citing lack of proof that they had indeed lived there.

    “The first step in the plan has been achieved,” he said. “It involved expelling the inhabitants of these areas and burning up anything which connects them to their land and homes. The second step will be replacing the original inhabitants with newcomers from Iraq and Lebanon.”
    In Zabadani, Amir Berhan, director of the town’s hospital, said: “The displacement from here started in 2012 but increased dramatically in 2015. Now most of our people have already been taken to Idlib. There is a clear and obvious plan to move Sunnis from between Damascus and Homs. They have burned their homes and fields. They are telling people ‘this place is not for you anymore’.

    “This is leading to the fragmentation of families. The concept of family life and ties to the land is being dissolved by all this deportation and exile. It is shredding Syrian society.”

    At stake in postwar Syria, with the war beginning to ebb, is more than who lives where when the fighting finally stops. A sense of identity is also up for grabs, as is the bigger question of who gets to define the national character.

    “This is not just altering the demographic balance,” said Labib al-Nahas. “This is altering the balance of influence in all of these areas and across Syria itself. Whole communities will be vulnerable. War with Iran is becoming an identity war. They want a country in their likeness, serving their interests. The region can’t tolerate that.”


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    Default Egyptian billionaire offers to buy Island for Refugees

    Egyptian Billionaire's $200 Million Refugee Island Proposal Ignored by Greece and Italy

    The Egyptian billionaire proposing to buy a Greek or Italian island to host thousands of refugees and ease the burden on Europe says he is yet to receive a reply from the two countries over the offer. In an interview with Newsweek, he also challenged those who criticize his plan to come up with a better idea or "shut the **** up."

    Naguib Sawiris, CEO of Cairo-based Orascom Telecom Media and Technology and Egypt's third-richest man, with a net-worth of at least $2.9 billion, has promoted the idea of "Aylan Island," named in memory of Aylan Kurdi, the three-year-old Syrian child who was pictured washed up on a Turkish beach after a failed attempt to reach the Greek island of Kos by boat.

    He originally tweeted about his "crazy plan" to host up to 100,000 refugees on an island on September 1. He says that he has written letters to the Italian prime minister, Matteo Renzi, and Greek prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, but has not even received a response to confirm receipt of the letters.

    "It has been five days since I sent the letters and I have not received a response, not even an acknowledgement of receipt," says Sawiris, 61, in a phone call from Montenegro on Friday.

    "I sent a letter saying that I need them to provide me permission to take the refugees there and if they have an island to sell, I am a buyer," he adds. "It would help me much and what I need from them is the approval to get the refugees there and the administrative support."

    Sawiris's idea, inspired by the images of the plight of the refugees attempting to cross the Mediterranean and in Hungarian camps, includes the building of infrastructure such as housing, hospitals and schools for inhabitants on any island. He says that he is willing to spend as much as $200m on the plan and has received a raft of offers to help build or fund the island and make it a reality.

    "100 to 200 million dollars. I think that's how much it would cost me. It would be over time," he says. "With the cost of building, houses, schools, it could be more but I would just do it until the money is done."

    "I have got around 10,000 emails. Many people said they would volunteer to come and help me build this city, I have two people saying they want to donate $10m and so on," he adds. "In my office, I have [my staff] collecting all the requests so when we start we can call on these people."

    The support the idea requires is mainly administrative because the islands will fall under the jurisdiction of Rome or Athens, Sawiris says. He claims to only need the permission, customs and passport control and a small unit for security. However, he is yet to identify a target island for the project and a sizeable Greek island such as Omfori is listed on Private Islands Online for as much as $55 million. This represents more than a quarter of what Sawiris is willing to spend on the project, and it only has planning permission to build on 20% of its 1,112 acres.

    The search for an island may prove to be Sawiris's biggest challenge both financially and practically but he is confident that the project is possible as it would also have practical benefits for the countries, particularly Greece.

    "I know that the Greek government owns a lot of islands that are uninhabited and they need the money. It would be doing the EU a favour, that is giving [Greece] the money anyhow," he says. "So it would look good that they are helping a humanitarian idea. It would be saving the EU from a burden and helping to do something [about the refugee crisis]."

    Germany is currently trying to persuade other EU countries to take greater numbers of refugees. Around 800,000 asylum applications are expected in Germany this year, and although Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel has said it can take 500,000 per year, German reception centers are currently being overwhelmed by the number of arrivals. France has agreed to take 24,000 Syrian refugees, while the U.K. has said it will take 4,000 per year.

    "It lives and dies with the support of the Italian government or the Greek government," says Sawiris of his plan to house 100,000. If they don't give me the support which means providing the administrative support, then the idea will die. I hope the politicians start to think this is a serious guy and that this is not such a bad idea."

    Sawiris rules out the option of taking refugees to Egypt, as he would not get the permission, or Jordan, as the country has already absorbed more than a million refugees. He has also received offers of small islands elsewhere, such as one in the Maldives, but he says these plots of land are too small and he wants to help the refugees in the countries they have fled to. They would be transported to any potential island by cruise ships that Sawiris would hire.

    He adds that he would himself live on the island, traveling back and forth to oversee its development with his team. He passionately challenges any critics who say his idea is unrealistic to come up with a better plan to help the refugees.

    "I would tell them that's what I came up with, if you have a better idea, you are welcome. The rule in my corporate world, anybody who criticized my solution and does not have any better solution, I would tell them to shut the **** up."


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    Egyptian Billionaire Offers $100 Million To Help Refugees


    Last September, Naguib Sawiris, one of the world's most audacious and ultimately successful entrepreneurs, offered to buy an island for refugees in the Mediterranean and help them build a community.

    The media scoffed. Greece, though overwhelmed by refugees, turned him down; Italy passed, too.

    "I am actually frustrated," said Sawiris, the CEO of Cairo-based Orascom Telecom Media & Technology, in an interview last month in his office overlooking the Nile. "Because they have a problem. And someone comes and said they have a solution, and they don't act."

    Now, Sawiris is offering $100 million and other aid to a government that will work with him to pick out land for a community and help him establish it. Whether anyone will take him up on the offer remains to be seen -- it's public for the first time here.

    "Any government that will give me land, that will allow me to build on this land, I will do it," he said. "I will spend $100 million."

    It might not be easy to say yes to an untested idea like Sawiris'. Entrepreneurs can never match the scale of a government, and they don't have the public accountability of either governments or NGOs. But given how devastating the crisis is -- and how far short the establishment's response has been -- shouldn't someone at least be entertaining the idea?

    In 2016 so far, 184,456 refugees have arrived on the shores of Europe, and 1,357 have died or are missing, according to the International Organization for Migration.

    Sawiris -- who built a telecom empire in the 2000s and is one of the most prominent men in Egypt -- said he was prepared to manage the entire project. He just wanted the Greek government to run passport control and to give him some guidelines for how many people he could allow on the island; the Greek prime minister's office didn't respond to two requests for comment.

    Sawiris said he also reached out to the UN's High Commissioner For Refugees, to no avail. Meanwhile, governments' efforts to handle the crisis continue to founder: The latest official effort to manage the crisis is a controversial deal to pay Turkey up to $6.8 billion in aid to take refugees shipped back from Greece, while Turkey in turns sends some vetted refugees back to Europe.


    Reader Comments:

    It would be interesting to know more about why the Greek government and others seem reluctant to try this, but they haven’t returned my calls.
    Well, he offered the $100 million to any country who would take him up on it. I’m planning to check to see if anyone called!

  18. #98
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    Concern over spate of deaths in Greek refugee camps

    At least three people die in a week in the overcrowded Moria refugee camp on Greece's Lesbos island.

    A third person has died in a week in the Moria refugee camp on Greece's Lesbos island, raising alarm about the grim winter conditions in overcrowded facilities that critics have denounced as deplorable.

    The dead man is believed to be about 20 years old and from Pakistan, a police official on the island said. Another man who shared his tent was critically ill and taken to hospital.

    The death at the island's Moria camp follows those of a 22-year-old Egyptian and a 46-year-old Syrian who shared a tent and died days apart. Greek media reported they had inhaled fumes from a heater, but authorities would not confirm or deny that.

    Greece's migration minister Yannis Mouzalas ordered an investigation into the deaths, the causes of which remain unclear.

    Steps would be taken "to make the situation more manageable", he was quoted by the Athens News Agency as saying.

    "We wonder how many deaths it will take for the government to wake up," said Stavros Theodorakis, leader of the small centrist party To Potami.

    At least 3,000 refugees and migrants are living in Moria, a hilltop former military base where conditions have deteriorated as they await, for months, word on their future.

    The United Nations refugee agency and other international organisations have urged Greece to improve conditions at its overcrowded facilities.

    'Wanton loss of life'

    "Something has got to give. We cannot tolerate this wanton loss of life," said International Rescue Committee Greece director Panos Navrozidis, acknowledging that conditions in Moria did not meet humanitarian standards.

    As a mid-winter freeze gripped parts of the country earlier this month, thousands of asylum seekers endured sub-zero temperatures. Summer tents on Lesbos were weighed down by snow.

    Across Greece, more than 60,000 refugees and migrants - most from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan - have been stranded since last March, in formal or makeshift camps, which US-based group Human Rights Watch has described as "deplorable and volatile."

    "We don't know yet how they died, but we do know the thousands stuck on the Greek islands have been suffering horrendous conditions in the cold, trapped by the failure of the EU to offer protection and dignity," said Gauri van Gulik, Amnesty International's Europe director.

    Earlier this month, Germany announced its intent to start deporting newly arrived asylum seekers back to Greece, despite a five-year suspension of such returns due to the poor conditions in Greek camps.

    That decision came just a month after the European Commission recommended that member countries return refugees and migrants who first entered the EU in Greece back to that country.

    The announcements have been widely condemned by rights groups and humanitarian organisations.


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    A Refugee has Drowned while Tourists Laughed and Told Him to 'Go Back Home'

    by Steve Topple - January 26th, 2017

    Shocking footage has emerged of the moment a refugee drowned in Venice, Italy.
    The man, thought to be from Gambia, a country which has been on the brink of war, died in the icy waters of the Grand Canal. But instead of helping him, onlookers filmed, laughed and told him to “go back home”.
    “Let him die”

    The man, named as 22-year-old Gambian Pateh Sabally, died on Sunday 22 January. He got into difficulties in Venice’s Grand Canal as tourist boats went past. But onlookers didn’t care. They filmed the man’s last moments, and shouted abuse.

    One person can be heard saying: “He’s stupid. He wants to die.” Another said: “Go on. Go back home.” Someone else said: “Let him die at this point.”

    And in the video, people can also be heard laughing: https://safeshare.tv/x/ftec7FgeGlY

    Bystanders did throw three life rings towards the man, but he failed to reach them. And no one went into the water to try and save him.
    Unfounded speculation

    This situation led much of the media to report that the man might have wanted to take his own life. Without any evidence from the police.

    The Mirror
    At least three life rings were thrown into the water near the man… But the victim did not appear to reach for them, raising speculation he wanted to commit suicide.

    The Times, meanwhile, said that the man didn’t try to reach the rings, “prompting suggestions that he was committing suicide”. But the paper didn’t say who the “suggestions” were from. And The Daily Mail claimed that “hundreds of people” had watched him jump into the canal, and it cited a witness who said:
    He threw himself from the pier. At first I thought he slipped but when I saw they threw lifebuoys and saw that he refused, I realised that he had decided to call it quits.
    The world in chaos

    Gambia, where Sabally was reportedly from, has been on the brink of war for several weeks. In December, Adama Barrow of the United Democratic Party defeated former President Jammeh in an election. But Jammeh refused to step down. On Thursday 19 January, soldiers from Nigeria, Mali, Togo, Ghana, and Senegal began to assemble in mass at Gambia’s borders, preparing to invade and overthrow Jammeh who had been in power for 22 years. And as the Red Cross reported, around 45,000 have fled Gambia, with Jammeh labelled a “dictator” by many.

    Italian magistrates have opened an investigation into Sabally’s death, with Italian media reporting that he had residency papers for Italy. In recent months, the country has seen a rise in the popularity of the far right. This is coupled with more than 181,000 refugees arriving in Italy by boat in 2016. An increase of almost 18% compared with 2015.

    Regardless of the rise of the far right, or the increase in people fleeing their own countries, the shocking behaviour witnessed while Sabally was dying is surely inexcusable. But it is symptomatic of the attitudes of many politicians, and that may well underscore 2017.

    Get Involved

    Support Médecins Sans Frontières – doctors working in war-torn countries.
    Read more from The Canary Global.



    The so called civilized westerners and their western values...

  20. #100
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    Syria: 13,000 secretly hanged in Saydnaya military prison - shocking new report

    ‘Cold-blooded killing of thousands of defenceless prisoners’ revealed

    Hangings carried out in batches of 50 middle of night

    Executions, mostly of civilians, part of deliberate policy of ‘extermination’

    Amnesty UK director Kate Allen, who heard shocking testimonies, available for interview

    A chilling new Amnesty International report published today has exposed the “cold-blooded killing of thousands of defenceless prisoners” in a Syrian government jail where an estimated 13,000 people have been hanged in the past five years, and where mass hangings of up to 50 people at a time occur every week, sometimes twice a week.

    The mass hangings have taken place at Saydnaya military prison near Damascus between 2011 and 2015 - and there are clear indications that the mass hangings are ongoing.

    Most of those hanged were civilians believed to have been opposed to the government, with the killings taking place in great secrecy in the middle of the night. The executions take place after one- or two-minute lawyer-less “trials” using “confessions” extracted through torture.

    Survivors of Saydnaya have also provided spine-chilling and shocking testimonies about life inside the prison. They evoke a world carefully designed to humiliate, degrade, sicken, starve and ultimately kill those trapped inside. These harrowing accounts (see below) have led Amnesty to conclude that the suffering and appalling conditions at Saydnaya have been deliberately inflicted on detainees as a policy of "extermination".

    Amnesty’s 48-page report - Human slaughterhouse: Mass hangings and extermination at Saydnaya prison, Syria - shows that on top of these extrajudicial executions the Syrian authorities are deliberately inflicting brutally inhuman conditions on Saydnaya detainees, with systematic torture, deprivation of food, water, medicine and medical care. The very few detainees who eventually leave Saydnaya often do so weighing half their body weight compared to the time of their arrival. Amnesty considers these practices to be part of a policy of deliberate “extermination”, with massive numbers killed as a result. Meanwhile, all detainees at Saydnaya Prison are forced to obey a set of sadistic rules, including absolute silence even when being tortured.

    These practices, which amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity, are authorised at the highest levels of the Syrian government.

    Following a year of research involving first-hand interviews with 84 witnesses (including former detainees, guards and officials), Amnesty has been able to establish that the Sadnaya hangings follow a set procedure. Carried out in the middle of night and often twice a week, usually on Mondays and Wednesdays, those whose names are called out are told they’re to be transferred to civilian prisons in Syria. Instead, they’re moved to a cell in the basement of the prison and severely beaten over the course of two to three hours (the intensity of the beatings is such that one former detainee described people "screaming like they had lost their minds"). The prisoners are then transported to another prison building (the “White Building”) on the grounds of Saydnaya, where they’re hanged in the basement. Throughout the process, they remain blindfolded. They are informed they have been sentenced to death only minutes before they're executed, and they do not know how they are about to die until a noose is placed around their necks.

    A former judge who witnessed the hangings said: “They kept them [hanging] there for ten to 15 minutes. Some didn’t die because they are light. For the young ones, their weight wouldn’t kill them. The officers’ assistants would pull them down and break their necks”.

    Detainees held in the building on the floors above the “execution room” have reported that they sometimes heard the sounds of the hangings. “Hamid”, a former military officer arrested in 2011, said: “If you put your ears on the floor, you could hear the sound of a kind of gurgling. This would last around ten minutes … We were sleeping on top of the sound of people choking to death. This was normal for me then.”

    After execution, the prisoners’ bodies are taken away by the truckload to be secretly buried in mass graves. Their families are given no information about their fate.

    Last August, another Amnesty report on Sadnaya estimated that more than 17,000 people have died in prisons across Syria as a result of inhuman conditions and torture since 2011. However, that figure does not include the estimated 13,000 additional deaths as a result of the extrajudicial executions exposed in this report.

    Lynn Maalouf, Deputy Director for Research at Amnesty International’s regional office in Beirut, said:

    “The horrors depicted in this report reveal a hidden, monstrous campaign, authorised at the highest levels of the Syrian government, aimed at crushing any form of dissent within the Syrian population.

    “The cold-blooded killing of thousands of defenceless prisoners, along with the carefully crafted and systematic programmes of psychological and physical torture that are in place inside Saydnaya Prison cannot be allowed to continue.

    “Those responsible for these heinous crimes must be brought to justice. We demand that the Syrian authorities immediately cease extrajudicial executions and torture and inhuman treatment at Saydnaya Prison and in all other government prisons across Syria. Russia and Iran, the government’s closest allies, must press for an end to these murderous detention policies.

    “The upcoming Syria peace talks in Geneva cannot ignore these findings. Ending these atrocities in Syrian government prisons must be put on the agenda. The UN must immediately carry out an independent investigation into the crimes being committed at Saydnaya and demand access for independent monitors to all places of detention.”
    The role of the ‘Military Field Court’

    Not one of the detainees condemned to hang at Saydnaya Prison is given anything that resembles an actual trial. Before they are hanged, victims are put through a perfunctory, one- or two-minute procedure at a so-called “Military Field Court”. These proceedings are so summary and arbitrary that they don’t even constitute a judicial process. The convictions issued by this so-called court are based on false confessions extracted from detainees under torture. Detainees are not allowed access to a lawyer or given an opportunity to defend themselves - most have been subjected to enforced disappearance, held in secret and cut off from the outside world. Those who are condemned to death do not find out about their sentences until minutes before they are hanged. One former judge from told Amnesty that the “court” operates outside the rules of the Syrian legal system:

    “The judge will ask the name of the detainee and whether he committed the crime. Whether the answer is yes or no, he will be convicted … This court has no relation with the rule of law. This is not a court.”
    Harrowing testimonies

    Harrowing accounts point to policy of extermination Many former prisoners at Saydnaya said they were raped or in some cases forced to rape other prisoners. Torture and beatings are used as a regular form of punishment and degradation, often leading to life-long damage, disability or even death. The cell floors at the prison are covered with blood and puss from prisoners’ wounds. The bodies of dead detainees are collected by the prison guards each morning, around 9am. A former Saydnaya detainee “Nader” said:

    “Every day there would be two or three dead people in our wing … I remember the guard would ask how many we had. He would say ‘Room number one - how many? Room number two - how many?’ and on and on ... There was one time that … the guards came to us, room by room, and beat us on the head, chest and neck. Thirteen people from our wing died that day.”
    Meanwhile, food and water are regularly cut off for prisoners. When food is delivered, it is often scattered over the cell floors by the guards, where it mixes with blood and dirt. Saydnaya also has its own set of “special rules”. Prisoners are not allowed to make any sounds, speak or even whisper. They are forced to assume certain positions when the guards come into the cells and merely looking at the guards is punishable by death.


    Syrian grand mufti 'given power to approve thousands of executions'


    Amnesty documents ‘human slaughterhouse’ in Assad’s Syria

    Syria's grand mufti, who toured Europe last year and addressed Irish MPs, has been exposed as one of three men who signed execution orders for thousands of political prisoners in a Syrian jail, a human rights investigation has said.

    According to a report by Amnesty International, Ahmed Badreddin Hassoun was deputised by President Bashar al-Assad to approve the execution of up to 13,000 inmates in Saydnaya prisoner over the last five years.

    Hassoun, the highest Islamic authority in Syria, addressed the Irish parliament's foreign affairs committee last year after he was allowed entry into Ireland as part of a religious delegation urging the EU to reduce sanctions imposed on the Syrian government.

    His entry to Ireland came as a surprise after the mufti had previously said that he would "train suicide bombers" to launch attacks in Europe and US if the west launch air strikes on "Syria and Lebanon".

    Hassoun has been a staunch supporter of the Syrian government since the start of the civil war and has been pictured on numerous occasions with Assad.

    During his visit to Ireland, Hassoun denied that Russia was involved in perpetrating atrocities against civilian targets during its intervention in the Syrian civil war.

    Hassoun became the Grand Mufti of Syria in 2005 after the death of Ahmed Kuftaro in 2004.

    The Grand Mufti is regarded as the most senior appointed Sunni Muslim representative in Syria and involves issuing religious edicts on behalf of the Syrian government.

    Dr Ali Selim, who is a senior member of the Islamic Cultural Centre in Ireland, told Middle East Eye that Hassoun's involvement in approving the executions of political opponents "gives legal justification for all the crimes perpetrated in Syria".

    "The killers are not only the people who carry guns but also everyone contributing to the process. The mufti of Syria takes full responsibility for every incident of murder in Syria," Selim told MEE.

    The Irish foreign affairs office told MEE that it did not invite Hassoun to speak and that the decision was made by a private committee.

    A spokesperson for the Irish foreign affairs committee also told MEE that "it has no plans to invite him to address it in the future".

    Other individuals deputised to approve the execution of political opponents in Saydnaya prison, included the minister of defence and chief of staff of the Syrian army.

    Prisoners executed in Saydnaya were often hanged en masse before being dumped into mass graves.

    According to Amnesty's report, prisoners were subject to a "programme of abuse" by the Syrian government.

    Former prisoners told Amnesty that they were transferred from the various branches of the security forces to Saydnaya in "white delivery trucks known as meat fridges".

    Upon their arrival at the prison, detainees were immediately subjected to severe beatings, widely known as the "welcome party".

    Detainees told Amnesty that these beatings were often directed toward the head sometimes "led to the death of their fellow detainees".

    According to the report, if a prisoner in a group cell dies, his cell mates were asked to put his body in a blanket and hand it to guards.

    The body was usually picked up in the morning when the guards visited the cells and asked whether there was a "carcass" to be removed.

    Prisoners were also deprived of food and water while being denied adequate food, which led to malnutrition and starvation.



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