Syria opposition outraged as regime cements comeback - Lebanon news - أخبار لبنان
Connect with us
[adrotate group="1"]

Middle East News

Syria opposition outraged as regime cements comeback

Efforts underway to bring Damascus back into Arab fold DAYR BALLUT, Syria: A Syrian boy carries firewood as he returns to a camp for the displaced northwest of Aleppo province yesterday. — AFP BEIRUT: Almost eight years into Syria’s devastating war, opponents of the regime are watching in dismay as President Bashar Al-Assad’s government looks…

Published

on

Syria opposition outraged as regime cements comeback

Efforts underway to bring Damascus back into Arab fold

DAYR BALLUT, Syria: A Syrian boy carries firewood as he returns to a camp for the displaced northwest of Aleppo province yesterday. — AFP

BEIRUT: Almost eight years into Syria’s devastating war, opponents of the regime are watching in dismay as President Bashar Al-Assad’s government looks set to secure its comeback at home and abroad. Holed up in the last major rebel stronghold or unable to return home after fleeing abroad, they are frustrated to have been abandoned by the international community. “Today, I’m looking for a homeland,” activist Shady Matar told AFP from exile in neighboring Turkey. “I can’t go home while the regime is still in power,” said the 27-year-old, whose hometown of Daraya near Damascus was retaken by the government in 2016. And “most countries whose governments say they support the Syrian people have closed their borders” to us, he said.

Sparked by the brutal repression of anti-Assad protests in 2011, the conflict has killed more than 360,000 people and displaced millions at home and abroad. But fighting has failed to topple Assad, endless diplomatic efforts have been unable to reach a peaceful transition, and the regime now appears stronger than ever. With backing from Russia and Iran, the government has expelled rebels and jihadists from large parts of Syria, and now controls almost two-thirds of the country. The government also looks set to increase its influence in a large swathe of territory under Kurdish-led control, after the shock announcement last month of a US military pullout.

On the diplomatic front, efforts seem underway to bring the Damascus regime back into the Arab fold after years of frosty relations. The Arab League suspended Syria’s membership in Nov 2011 as the death toll mounted and several regional powers bet on the demise of the Assad regime. But Sudan’s president last month made the first visit by an Arab leader to Damascus since the start of the conflict. The United Arab Emirates last week reopened its embassy in the Syrian capital, and fellow Gulf state Bahrain has followed suit.

Bilal Bayush, a media activist in the last major rebel stronghold of Idlib, said he was not surprised. “Their interests with the opposition have ended, and they now have interests with the Assad regime,” he said. Political opposition chief negotiator Nasr Al-Hariri was outraged. “While our people are dying of cold in refugee camps drowning in cold winter rain, some of our Arab brothers are racing to open up to the criminal who is responsible,” he said last week on Twitter. “Yes, Bashar the criminal may win, he may triumph in the face of the colluding international community,” he wrote. “But he has not and will not defeat the will of the free Syrian people.” He said a solution in Syria required “a real political transition and holding the criminals to account”.

Endless rounds of UN-brokered peace talks have failed to stem the bloodshed and have been overtaken by a parallel track led by Moscow, Tehran and rebel backer Ankara. The armed opposition is faring no better on the ground. In Idlib, rebels and militants have been hemmed in by a buffer zone under a September deal between Russia and Turkey to avert a massive regime offensive there. It was the latest agreement to be reached under the Russia-Iran-Turkey negotiations track.

Analyst Nawar Oliver said the opposition – both political and armed – was in dire straits. “The military opposition has no choice except to follow what is decided on an international level,” said the analyst at the Turkey-based Omran Center. It must do this “to preserve what it still has”, he said. Naji Mustafa, a spokesman for the Turkey-backed National Liberation Front rebel group in Idlib, said the international community had dropped the Syrian opposition. “The revolution has been orphaned,” said the 38-year-old, who defected from the Syrian army in 2012. “The whole world abandoned it.”

But in the town of Azaz, close to the Turkish border, lawyer and human rights activist Muthana Nasser was determined years of death and destruction would not go to waste. “The sacrifices and suffering of Syrians will not be in vain,” he said. Whatever the final outcome, “I will tell my children when they grow up about the greatest revolution in contemporary history,” said the father of three. I will recount “how the international community watched the bloodshed of innocents only to denounce it and not intervene to stop the massacres,” he said. – AFP

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

code

Middle East News

UK spy chief warns China, Russia racing to master AI

MI6 chief Richard Moore says Beijing and Moscow ‘pouring money’ into technological advances that will reshape espionage and geopolitics.The chief of the United Kingdom’s foreign spy service is to warn that China and Russia are racing to master artificial intelligence in a way that could revolutionise geopolitics over the next 10 years. Richard Moore, who…

Published

on

By

UK spy chief warns China, Russia racing to master AI

MI6 chief Richard Moore says Beijing and Moscow ‘pouring money’
into technological advances that will reshape espionage and geopolitics.The chief of the United Kingdom’s foreign spy service is to warn that China and Russia are racing to master artificial intelligence in a way that could revolutionise geopolitics over the next 10 years.
Richard Moore, who heads the Secret Intelligence Service, known as MI6, is due to make his first public speech since becoming chief of the organisation on Tuesday.
In extracts of the speech released in advance by the British government he will say quantum engineering, engineered biology, vast troves of data and advances in computer power pose a threat that needs to be addressed by democratic powers.
“Our adversaries are pouring money and ambition into mastering artificial intelligence, quantum computing and synthetic biology, because they know that mastering these technologies will give them leverage,” Moore, who rarely makes public speeches, will say when he sets out his view of current threats.
The world’s spies are trying to grapple with seismic advances in technology that are challenging traditional human-led spying operations, which have dominated espionage for thousands of years.
Moore, a former diplomat, became MI6 chief in October 2020.
Speaking at the Institute for International and Strategic Studies think tank, he will stress that technological progress over the next decade could outstrip all the tech advances made over the past century.
“As a society, we have yet to internalise this stark fact and its potential impact on global geopolitics. But it is a white-hot focus for MI6,” he will say.
Of particular concern to the spies in the world’s liberal democracies are Russian and Chinese intelligence agencies, which have rushed to harness the power of a range of sophisticated technologies, sometimes at a faster pace than in the West.
Western intelligence agencies fear Beijing could dominate all key emerging technologies within decades, particularly artificial intelligence, synthetic biology and genetics.
China’s economic and military rise over the past 40 years is considered one of the most significant geopolitical events of recent times, alongside the 1991 fall of the Soviet Union, which ended the Cold War.
MI6, depicted by novelists as the employer of some of the most memorable fictional spies from John le Carré’s George Smiley to Ian Fleming’s James Bond, operates overseas and is tasked with defending the UK and its interests.
Moore says the service will have to give up some of its deep-rooted secrecy and work with technology firms to combat the rapidly developing threats.
MI6 and western intelligence agencies will have to “become more open to stay secret” in a world of destabilising technological change, he will say.
“We cannot hope to replicate the global tech industry, so we must tap into it.”
The agency has become more open in recent years, even allowing publication of an authorised history although it only covers the period up until 1949.
MI6 began publicly naming its chief, who uses the code name C and is the only publicly identifiable member of the organisation, in the 1990s.

Continue Reading

Middle East News

Pentagon to review deadly 2019 US bombings in Syria

US will look into whether procedures were followed after NY Times reported dozens of civilians were killed in bombings.United States Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin has ordered a review into US military bombings in Syria in March 2019 that the New York Times recently reported killed dozens of civilians during the battle for the final…

Published

on

By

Pentagon to review deadly 2019 US bombings in Syria

US will look into whether procedures were followed after NY Times reported dozens of civilians were killed in bombings.United States Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin has ordered a review into US military bombings in Syria in March 2019 that the New York Times recently reported killed dozens of civilians during the battle for the final stronghold of ISIL (ISIS).
Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby announced the probe on Monday, saying it would be led by General Michael Garrett, the head of US Army Forces Command.
Earlier this month, the US military acknowledged that civilians may have been killed in the bombings in Baghouz, near the Iraqi border in 2019. At the time, the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) were leading the fight on the ground with American air support.
“Likely a majority of those killed were also combatants at the time of the strike. However, it is also highly likely that there were additional civilian casualties,” Bill Urban, a US military spokesman, said in a statement on November 14.
He added that “investigations were unable to conclusively characterize the status of more than 60 other casualties that resulted from these strikes”.
US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin ordered the review into the 2019 US military bombings, the Pentagon spokesman announced [File: Patrick Semansky/AP Photo]Urban’s statement came a day after the New York Times, citing anonymous sources and classified documents,  published a report that accused the US military of concealing the bombings.
The newspaper reported that the bombing struck a “crowd of women and children”, killing 64 people.
“Without warning, an American F-15E attack jet streaked across the drone’s high-definition field of vision and dropped a 500-pound bomb on the crowd, swallowing it in a shuddering blast. As the smoke cleared, a few people stumbled away in search of cover. Then a jet tracking them dropped one 2,000-pound bomb, then another, killing most of the survivors,” the Times wrote.
On Monday, Kirby said the review would look into “record keeping and reporting procedures” and “whether mitigation measures identified in previous investigations into the incident were in fact implemented effectively”.
The probe, which is due in 90 days, will also assess whether “accountability measures” will be appropriate, Kirby added.
The US-led coalition started a bombing campaign against the ISIL (ISIS) group in Syria and Iraq in 2014, and the American military maintains troops in both countries with the stated goal of preventing the group’s resurgence.

Former US President Donald Trump touted the territorial defeat of ISIL (ISIS) as a major policy achievement in his failed 2020 re-election bid.
Rights groups previously accused the US-led coalition of killing civilians during their bombing campaign. A 2019 investigation by Amnesty International, for instance, found that the coalition had killed 1,600 civilians in Raqqa, the ISIL (ISIS) group’s former de-facto capital.
The Associated Press news agency reported on Monday that after the New York Times story was published, Austin received a briefing on the Syria bombings from General Frank McKenzie, the head of US Central Command.
AP reported that McKenzie’s command said “an initial investigation concluded that the strike constituted legitimate self-defence in support of Syrian partner forces under fire from ISIL”.
The probe into the Syria bombings comes after the Pentagon admitted in September that a US drone attack previously described as “righteous” by a top general had killed 10 civilians, including children, in Kabul during the chaotic US withdrawal from Afghanistan.
But a subsequent internal review by the Pentagon concluded that the bombing did not violate the laws of war or amount to criminal conduct or negligence, prompting outrage.

Continue Reading

Middle East News

Arab Coalition carries out 15 strikes against Houthi militants in Marib

JEDDAH: An influential watchdog body of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation has called for an end to Israel’s occupation of Palestine as the only way to stop ongoing human rights abuses against Palestinians. The OIC’s Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission made its appeal on Monday to coincide with the UN-run International Day of Solidarity with…

Published

on

By

Arab Coalition carries out 15 strikes against Houthi militants in Marib

JEDDAH: An influential watchdog body of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation has called for an end to Israel’s occupation of Palestine as the only way to stop ongoing human rights abuses against Palestinians.

The OIC’s Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission made its appeal on Monday to coincide with the UN-run International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People 2021.

In a statement, the IPHRC pointed out that the solidarity day highlighted the urgent need for the global community to recognize the inalienable right to self-determination of Palestinian people.

“Today is not only an opportunity for the international community to remember that the question of Palestine remains unresolved, but it is also an opportunity to focus attention on the increasing suffering of the Palestinian people, under the Israeli occupation, and to unify all efforts for assisting them to attain their fundamental rights, including the right to self-determination and the right to return for Palestinian refugees to their homes and property, from which they have been displaced,” the commission said.

It also expressed grave concerns over the increasing, “range of violations committed by Israel … particularly the recent draconian measures against Palestinian prisoners and detainees as well as the harassment of Sheikh Jarrah (neighborhood of East Jerusalem) families who remain under the threat of eviction from their houses under baseless and illegal arguments.”

The IPHRC statement urged all human rights groups to raise awareness of what it described as “egregious human rights violations” aimed at “separating Al-Quds (Jerusalem) from its original inhabitants, which is yet another vicious attack on the right to self-determination of the Palestinian people.”

In addition, commission members condemned the recent Israeli designation of six Palestinian human rights and civil society groups as terrorist organizations, a move the IPHRC claimed represented Israel’s misuse of counterterrorism and security legislation to silence opponents and innocent Palestinians.

Israel’s demolition of Palestinian homes and forced evictions of residents in Jerusalem and other areas was also slammed by the commission.

It added that there was a “need to investigate these abuses by relevant international mechanisms with a view to holding Israel, the occupying power, accountable for violating international human rights and humanitarian laws.”

Continue Reading
error: Content is protected !!