Category: Disputed Land


Terrified residents fled a new wave of air strikes on rebel-held areas of Syria’s divided city of Aleppo Saturday, as key regime backer Russia rejected calls to rein in its ally.

Aleppo was left out of a new temporary US-Russian brokered truce that appeared to be holding in the regime stronghold of Latakia as well as Damascus and the nearby rebel bastion of Eastern Ghouta.

US Secretary of State John Kerry was to travel Sunday to Geneva in a show of support for the truce and will meet the UN envoy to Syria and the Jordanian and Saudi foreign ministers.

The State Department said his talks will focus on “efforts to reaffirm the cessation of hostilities nationwide in Syria”.

A new round of UN-backed peace talks is set to start on May 10 in Geneva.

In Aleppo’s rebel-held east, dozens of civilians left the battered Bustan al-Qasr district early Saturday, an AFP correspondent said.

“The situation has become unbearable,” Abu Mohammed said as he prepared to flee with his wife and five children. “Everything is paralysed.”

Russia said that it would not ask Damascus to halt air raids on Aleppo.

“No, we are not going to put pressure on (Damascus) because one must understand that the situation in Aleppo is part of this fight against the terrorist threat,” Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said.

Washington has appealed to Moscow to keep President Bashar al-Assad’s regime in check.

Once Syria’s economic hub, Aleppo and its surrounding countryside have suffered some of the worst fighting in a conflict that has killed more than 270,000 people and displaced millions.

Source: Residents flee as air strikes shake Syria’s Aleppo

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We implore and beseech our Jewish brethren to realize that the Zionists are not the saviors of the Jewish People and guarantors of their safety, but rather the instigators and original cause of Jewish suffering in the Holy Land and worldwide.

The idea that Zionism and the State of “Israel” is the protector of Jews is probably the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the Jewish People. Indeed, where else since 1945 have Jews been in such physical danger as in the Zionist state?!

As far as Zionism is concerned, the founder of Zionism and apostate, Theodor Herzl, sought to intensify hatred of the Jew in order to enhance the cause of political Zionism. Here are some of his “pearls”:

“It would be an excellent idea to call in respectable, accredited anti-Semites as liquidators of property. To the people they would vouch for the fact that we do not wish to bring about the impoverishment of the countries that we leave. At first they must not be given large fees for this; otherwise we shall spoil our instruments and make them despicable as ‘stooges of the Jews.’ Later their fees will increase, and in the end we shall have only Gentile officials in the countries from which we have emigrated. The anti-Semites will become our most dependable friends, the anti-Semitic countries our allies.” (The Complete Diaries of Theodor Herzl. Vol. 1, edited by Raphael Patai, translated by Harry Zohn, page 83-84)”.

Additional words from the vivid imagination of this dreamer, from p. 68 of Part I of his Diary.

“So anti-Semitism, which is a deeply imbedded force in the subconscious mind of the masses, will not harm the Jews. I actually find it to be advantageous to building the Jewish character, education by the masses that will lead to assimilation. This education can only happen through suffering, and the Jews will adapt.”

Hateful views of Jews as being subhuman did not have to be invented by Nazi theorists such as Hitler, Goebbels, Rosenberg and Streicher. This ideology was simply adapted from statements of political Zionists such as those found in the writings of the Zionist Yehezkel Kaufman in 1933.

In 1920 there were statements hostile to Jews expressed at Heidelberg University. These statements, arguing that Jews of Germany had caused the turmoil that followed the war; that the Jews of Germany had nothing in common with Germans, and that Germans had the right to prevent the Jews of Germany from intruding into the affairs of their volk were not made by Adolf Hitler in Mein Kampf, but by Nahum Goldmann, who went in to become the President of the World Zionist Organization and head of the World Jewish Congress, and, indisputably, the most influential political Zionist in the world, second only to the Prime Minister of the State of Israel.

Source: Nazi Propaganda was Based on What Zionists Said | True Torah Jews

Rebels have reportedly shelled a mosque in a government-held neighbourhood of Aleppo, killing at least 15 people as they left Friday prayers.

The attack came as government air strikes hit rebel-held parts of the city, killing at least six people, even after the Syrian army unilaterally declared a brief truce in other parts of the country.

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The violence in Aleppo has killed more than 200 civilians over the past week and is likely to continue unchecked, as the government’s cease-fire does not include Aleppo.

At least 15 people were killed and 30 injured when rockets struck Malla Khan mosque in the government-held Bab al-Faraj district shortly after Friday prayers, Syrian state TV reported.

“We want the army to finish them,” an Aleppo resident told state TV outside a hospital where some of the dead and wounded were taken.

The attack followed an early-morning lull in government air strikes on rebel-held parts of Aleppo, following days of deadly violence that killed scores of people.

Yet by late morning air raids resumed on the city, according to activists from the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and the Local Co-ordination Committees (LCC).

The resumption of air raids prompted religious leaders to suspend Friday prayers in rebel-held areas.

The Religious Council of Aleppo, a body that runs religious affairs in opposition-held parts of the province, said in a statement online that it was calling on mosque leaders to call off Friday prayers for the first time.

“The heart of the believers is aching … but preserving lives is an important religious duty,” it said.

The Observatory reported that six people were killed in the strikes on opposition areas, while the LCC said at least 10 people died and dozens were wounded.

The LCC and the Observatory also reported shelling near a clinic in the rebel-held neighbourhood of Marjeh. There was no word on casualties.

The humanitarian situation has deteriorated further in opposition-held neighbourhoods, which are almost encircled.

The sole road leading in and out of rebel-held areas from north-west Aleppo is regularly targeted by sniper fire and shelling.

The carnage in Aleppo – a city contested since the summer of 2012, when opposition fighters took over several districts – was particularly bad on Wednesday and Thursday, when air strikes and artillery killed more than 60 people, including dozens at a hospital.

Also on Friday, the Syrian army declared a temporary truce for the capital Damascus, its suburbs and the coastal province of Latakia – but not Aleppo.

It was not immediately clear what impact this unilateral declaration would have.

The opposition seemed unlikely to abide by the truce after dozens were killed in the latest air strikes.

The cease-fire is due to come into effect at 1am on Saturday, according to an announcement read on Syrian state TV.

The military statement said it will last 24 hours in Damascus and its suburbs and three days in Latakia.

Yet in Aleppo, which has once more become the civil war’s main battleground, aid agencies warned of a potential humanitarian disaster following the collapse of a two-month US and Russia-brokered cease-fire and the stalling of peace talks in Switzerland.

In Geneva, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said the latest reports of civilian deaths in Syria revealed a “monstrous disregard for civilian lives by all parties to the conflict”.

In a statement released on Friday, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein urged all sides to step back from a return to an all-out war.

The UN official said “the violence is soaring back to the levels we saw prior to the cessation of hostilities” in late February.

He added that targeting medical facilities and markets could “amount to war crimes”.

According to the Observatory, air strikes and shelling in Aleppo killed 202 civilians in the past week – 123 in rebel-held parts of the city and 71 and government-held areas.

It said the dead included 31 children on both sides.

Since September 30, 2015, Russia has been carrying out air strikes in Syria in support of its ally President Bashar al-Assad. The campaign has been relentless and growing in intensity, with Russian jets flying 444 combat sorties against more than 1,500 targets between February 10 and 16  alone.

Moscow insists these attacks have been aimed only at fighters from ISIL and other  “terrorist groups” such as al-Nusra Front. But monitoring groups, including the Violations Documentation Center and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, say thousands of non-combatants have also been killed or wounded.

Amnesty International and others have said the bombings may be war crimes. Indeed, Amnesty has also cited consistent reports of second bombardments from planes returning to kill and injure rescue workers, paramedics and civilians attempting to evacuate the wounded and the dead from earlier raids.

So are civilians being deliberately targeted – and could Russia be guilty as charged?

In this exclusive report for People & Power, Danish-born filmmaker and journalist Nagieb Khaja went to investigate. His remarkable film, shot in Aleppo, Idlib and other rebel-held areas of Syria at the end of last year, is a harrowing, tense and at times breathtaking portrayal of life underneath the Kremlin’s bombs. Viewers may find some of the images disturbing.

Editor’s note: Russia and the US announced a ceasefire in Syria from February 26. However, air strikes against ISIL and al-Nusra were excluded from the deal. On March 14, President Vladimir Putin announced to pull out Russia’s main forces from Syria.

Source: Syria: Under Russia’s Fist – Al Jazeera English

BEIJING – Beijing will start construction on a South China Sea islet within the Philippines’ claimed exclusive economic zone this year, as it seeks to project its power in the disputed waters, Hong Kong media reported Monday.

China will establish an outpost on Scarborough Shoal, 230 kilometers (143 miles) off the Philippine coast, the South China Morning Post newspaper cited an unnamed source close to the People’s Liberation Army as saying.

Beijing claims nearly all of the strategically vital sea, despite completing claims from several Southeast Asian neighbors, and in recent months has built contested reefs into artificial islands, some topped with airstrips.

Manila claims Scarborough Shoal, but says China took effective control of it in 2012, stationing patrol vessels in the area and shooing away Filipino fishermen, after a two-month stand-off with the Philippine Navy.

The SCMP cited the source as saying the outpost would allow Beijing to “further perfect” its air coverage across the South China Sea, suggesting it plans to build an airstrip.

The report comes ahead of an international tribunal ruling, expected within months, on a case brought by the Philippines over the South China Sea.

It also follows an announcement by the US and the Philippines that they would launch joint naval patrols in the sea.

The plans were likely to be accelerated in the light of the upcoming ruling from the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague, the newspaper cited the source as saying.

“China should regain the initiative to do so because Washington is trying to contain Beijing by establishing a permanent military presence in the region,” it quoted the source as saying.

Washington has sailed ships close to islands claimed by Beijing, accusing China of militarising the South China Sea and deploying missiles in the area.

Beijing says the South China Sea is an inherent part of its territory and admits building military-capable airstrips and deploying unspecified weapons on some of the islands, but insists US patrols have ramped up tensions.

Source: China to build on disputed Scarborough Shoal this year: report

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