Friday, December 2, 2016

2 US Warships/Amphibious Assault & 4,000 Troops Arrive In Mediterranian

Cause for concern? 

 Four-thousand US sailors and marines from the Wasp Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) have arrived in the Mediterranean Sea after transiting the Suez Canal, according to a release from the US navy.

USS Wasp (LHD 1). © U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Nathan Wilkes
 The Wasp re-entered the US 6th fleet after spending more than three months supporting Operation Odyssey Lightning (OOL) with precision airstrikes from 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) aircraft in Sirte, Libya.

 MEDITERRANEAN SEA (NNS) -- Amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1) and amphibious dock landing ship USS Whidbey Island (LSD 41) with embarked Marines from the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) transited the Suez Canal and entered the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations, Dec. 1.

Travelling through the canal and into the Mediterranean Sea marked a significant milestone for the 4,000 Sailors and Marines of the Wasp Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) as they enter the final stages of their six-month deployment.


"After completing our time in 5th Fleet, the Wasp ARG will now be supporting the maritime security mission in the Mediterranean Sea. This sea lane is vital to our global economy, and it remains secure because of the strong relationships between the navies that operate together here." - Commander, Wasp ARG, Capt. F. Byron Ogden

"Our security team was responsible for making sure that we had a safe transit so we can continue our mission in the Mediterranean. We're fortunate because Wasp's Security Department is augmented by the Marines, who have become a really cohesive part of our team. With both of us on the watch, we have a lot of defensive depth, which is essential during such a long transit." - Senior Chief Petty Officer Albert Spiess, Security Department leading chief petty officer

Quick Facts:

Wasp re-entered U.S. 6th Fleet after having spent over three months supporting Operation Odyssey Lightning (OOL) in Sirte, Libya, with precision airstrikes from 22nd MEU aircraft.

Amphibious transport dock USS San Antonio (LPD 17), the third ship in the Wasp ARG, is currently supporting OOL.

While in the 5th Fleet area of responsibility, Wasp, Whidbey Island, and the 22nd MEU supported theater security cooperation efforts and maritime security operations.

Both ships safely completed the journey north through "The Ditch," as Sailors often refer to the 101-mile-long Suez Canal, in 15 hours.

The canal connects the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea, allowing vessels to avoid the approximately 7,000 kilometer trip around the Cape of Good Hope, the southernmost point of Africa.

Wasp and Whidbey Island are deployed as part of the Wasp ARG to the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations to support maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts. Commander, Amphibious Squadron 6 commands the Wasp ARG, which consists of Wasp, Whidbey Island, and San Antonio. The 22nd MEU is currently embarked on the Wasp ARG.

U.S. 6th Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied, joint, and interagency partners in order to advance U.S. national interests and security and stability in Europe and Africa.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Turkish Airstrike Kills US & German "Officers" in Aleppo, Syria?

German and US Military Officers? My, my, my..... This is certainly interesting.
We've even got names....

As announced by the YPG/PKK. Ooops I mean SDF ;)

 "Michel Israel from the US state of California, also known as Robin Akri, and Antoun Lesjek, also known as Vazana Juan, from Germany were killed in the Turkish air raids on Kurdish positions in the Western part of Manbij city on November 26," the council announced.
Admittedly I'm really wondering if these two were truly from the US and Germany?
Didn't notice the US acknowledging this american's death? 
The council declined to reveal any further detail about the two, including their mission in Northern Syria. Both the US and German armies have deployed spies and military trainers in Northern Syria.”

Turkish Fighter Jets Kill US, German Military Officers in Syria’s Aleppo

Europe/Balkan News

A Turkish airstrike in Syria has killed two militants - one from the United States and one from Germany - from a group allied with the main Kurdish militia in the country, according to a statement from a local Syrian military council on Thursday.
The two were killed near the northern Syrian city of Minbij.


From Earlier Today:

Lavrov Denies Russian & Syrian Role in Turkish Soldier Deaths

Lavrov Denies Russian & Syrian Role in Turkish Soldier Deaths

Contrary to the spin Turkey did not blame the Syrian Arab Army

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Thursday that Moscow and Damascus were not behind an air strike in northern Syria that killed four Turkish soldiers last week.

“Neither Russia nor Syria, its air force, had anything to do with this,” Lavrov told a news conference in the southern Turkish resort of Alanya, alongside his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu.

Our president’s, our views on Assad are known,” said Cavusoglu. “We know that Assad is responsible for the deaths of 600,000 people. We may at times have different views on Assad with Russia, that is natural but in general on cease-fire, on humanitarian aid and a political solution — we are in agreement with Russia.”

Cavusoglu said Turkey wanted to “deepen” cooperation with Russia while Lavrov said the two nations agreed that the “normalization (of ties) must be achieved fast.”
Digital Journal

Moscow and Damascus were not behind an air strike in Syria last week that killed four Turkish soldiers, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Thursday, refuting Turkish claims.

"Neither Russia nor Syria, its air force, had anything to do with this," Lavrov told a news conference in the southern Turkish resort of Alanya, alongside his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu.

"Our (Russian and Turkish) representatives had discussed this issue right after the incident on various levels," he said.
Baku – APA. The airstrikes that wounded Turkish soldiers in Syria were carried out by neither the Russian armed forces or the Syrian armed forces, said Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
Lavrov, who is paying a visit to Turkey, told a press conference following the meeting with his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu.
-Southfront: No Confirmation Of Syrian Strikes on Turkish Mil- One Year Anniversary Date Russian Jet Shootdown

-Putin and Erdogan Talk Syria Etc.- Today

-Putin and Erdogan: Two Talks in Two Days- Oh to be a fly on the wall....

Contained in this post: This Is The End Of Syria (?)

 Turkey and Russia are still communicating.

The latest sees Turkey and Russia Moving Forward With Relations Normalization

- Russian diplomat says Moscow, Ankara taking steps to restore ties

ALANYA, December 1. /TASS/. Moscow and Ankara have been taking specific steps in order to restore full-fledged relations, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexei Meshkov told reporters on Thursday.

"Not only have we been discussing possible measures with our Turkish counterparts, but we also have been taking specific steps on the path to restoring full-fledged relations," he noted. "Today’s meeting is one of these steps."

On Thursday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is holding a meeting with his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu in the Turkish city of Alanya. The two ministers will take part in a session of the Joint Group for Strategic Planning.

And there you have it. No SAA  jets hit the Turkish soldiers. No Russian jets hit the Turkish soldiers
anonymous commenter has raised the prospect, again, of a third party. Similar to what occured with the Belgians:

Belgium scenario?
  1. Interesting... so your suggesting that the strike was done by a third party- with this scenario setting the precedent?

anonymous quoted Lavrov who is clearly alluding to someone..

"We have coordination aimed at avoiding unintentional incidents with the US-led coalition, and Turkey is part of it," Lavrov noted. "So I believe it is necessary to verify through these channels who carried out flights."

Reads to me as if Lavrov is saying ask the US led coalition....

As of now I'm most suspicious about the US. For reasons already mentioned. Rescue has also spoken of  the Israelis as a possibility.
It seems most sensible that Turkey and Russia both  know who did the deed but, they aren't saying.


Wednesday, November 30, 2016

This Is The End Of Syria (?)

I hope it is not the end of Syria. However, the writer from Alternet is clearly not optimistic. The title accompanies the alternet article- The question mark is mine.

Vijay Prashad

The Souk - Old Aleppo

"The Syrian Arab Army is now within sight of taking back all of Aleppo. For several years now, the eastern part of Aleppo – one of Syria’s oldest and most beautiful cities – has been in the hands of the armed opposition. The western part has been in the hands of the Syrian government. Now with the Syrian army hastily taking the Hanano as well as Jabal Badro and Baadeen districts, the corridor used by the opposition fighters to resupply them from the Syrian countryside (via Iraq) and from across the Turkish border is now substantially closed. Apart from small pockets of hardened resistance, the bulk of Aleppo will soon be in the hands of the government.
 Several factors came together to make the assault on the eastern part of Aleppo possible. It was not the presence of Hezbollah and the Iraqi and Iranian militias nor was it the presence of Russian air support that made the difference for the Syrian army. These assets had been available to the Syrian government for several years now. There had been no appetite to use them previously. Attacks had been made on eastern Aleppo, but nothing of the scale as has been seen now – nor with the ferocity and speed with which the Syrian army moves to close the corridor out of eastern Aleppo. Civilian casualties are certainly high, and so too have been the attacks on key infrastructure in this part of the city. The Syrian army is now attacking not to put pressure on the armed opposition, but to defeat it.
The thrust to take all of Aleppo came for other – mainly three - reasons, says a well-informed contact in the Syrian armed forces.
 These three reasons are (1) the withdrawal of Turkish support for the armed opposition, (2) the collapse of the Western-backed rebels in southern Syria and  (3) the Iraqi-Western push against ISIS in Mosul.

 Let's talk about withdrawal of support by Turkey. As reported here at the blog there was an agreement between Russia and Turkey!  

Pretty certain I mentioned this on more then one occasion. Here's one post on the topic: Russia and Turkey Plot The Endgame in Aleppo

You may also want to look at the article written by Ollie Richardson from
subject of the post before this one:Erdogan Declares War on Syria or Just More Sensationalist Spin from Alt Media Analysts
 " Russia’s agreement with Turkey involving the latter’s entrance in the Syrian theatre did not provisionally include any definite red lines. Thus, these lines will be drawn in the sand where ever and when ever it is deemed necessary"

The Souk in Old Aleppo
 But  for now we'll go back to the Alternet piece

(1)Turkey’s withdrawal: The main reason for the Syrian army’s thrust, says my contact, is that the Turkish government has withdrawn its material support for the armed opposition inside Aleppo. Essential supplies from the Gulf Arab states and from Turkey had come across the border crossing at Azaz. (That’s done)
 Previous comments from Rescue who informed us all that this had occurred:
Yes. The Turks removed all their terrorist proxies from the SW Aleppo front & moved them to N. Aleppo. Later they have moved many more from Idlib to their occupation zone. They have also prevented the rebels inside & out from receiving more arms. Encouraged rebel civil wars ect. This has weakened the rebels, & is the cause of the SAA imminent liberation of Aleppo.

The removal of Turkish backed terrorists from
the Aleppo frontline was public news. All analysts are now claiming this is the reason for Aleppos liberation. Pro-rebel accounts are furious with Turkey, right now.

The Citadel
 The alternet author cites some incidents they believe influenced Turkey’s decision to withdraw support- I don’t agree with the way they are presented though they aren’t entirely off base. - Three biggies IMO would be the Reyhanli bombing. The PKK restarting their war with the Turkish state.(The Gezi park protests being part of the PKK kick off)  And finally the coup.

You can read  the authors contention at the linked article

2) Collapse of southern rebels- Note that this author never mentions Israel as a supplier of terrorists and arms- so we're getting a limited hangout even here!

“Collapse of the Southern Front. The West – particularly the United States – has long recognized that the armed opposition are closely linked with one form or another of radical extremism.  Lack of confidence from their main backers – the West – revived tensions within the Front. One of its main constituents, the Syrian Revolutionary Front, faced a leadership crisis. The old al-Qaeda group – Jabhat al-Nusra – had renamed itself Jabhat Fateh al-Sham to attempt to rebrand itself as a nationalist formation. Its leadership – namely Saleh al-Hamwi – called for a new leadership in the Syrian Revolutionary Front, to depose the more nationalist minded leaders and substitute them for Islamists. This was the final blow to the attempt to create a ‘moderate’ force against the Damascus government”
In my opinion, rather then this being about extremism in the 'moderates'- Which, the US was cool with, as was Israel. In fact it suited them just fine!  More sensibly the problem was all the bad PR associated with the US/Israel’s thugs. That was the final straw- No one was believing the moderate rebel meme. No one at all. The battle for your mind and my mind had failed.

 3) Battle for Mosul (Iraq): Finally, the Iraqi government – fully backed (questionable???) by the West – launched a major attack on ISIS-controlled Mosul in Iraq. This was on 21 October 2016. A week later, the Syrian government opened up its own offensive in Aleppo. My Syrian interlocutor who is in the armed forces told me that there were two reasons for the push in November. The first is that the government knew that the attack on eastern Aleppo would bring heavy casualties. They calculated that the Iraqi-Western push into Mosul would also produce a large number of casualties. The West would, therefore, have to be more forgiving of the Syrian advance given that there is no possibility of taking a city without great hardship and death. The French desire to have UN Security Council action to prevent the final push by the Syrian Army will amount to little. The second reason is that once the West helps the Iraqis to take Mosul, they will make a dash for Raqqa. The Syrian army wants to take Aleppo and then turn its energy towards Raqqa.
Agreed that this the Syrian army wants and has to take Raqqa.

And this is where it all goes back to al Bab!

*All Eyes On al-Bab: Putin Confirms- No Russian Jets Struck Turkish Soldiers

 Turkey and Russia are still communicating.

Syria is still working on reconciling.

And there is more to read at alternet, if you choose to, as for me... I'm saying goodnight!

From earlier today- thanks again Ally :)

Erdogan Declares War on Syria or Just More Sensationalist Spin from Alt Media Analysts

Erdogan Declares War on Syria or Just More Sensationalist Spin from Alt Media Analysts

I'm hattipin' Ally for this beauty!! I could have wrote this post myself, thankfully, someone else did the work for me.  Thank- You Ollie Richardson, whoever you are?

Unfortunately I can't put any of it here- But I encourage you to read it.
 Ollie Richardson absolutely takes down Zero Hedge and the Duran for their utter sensationalist nonsense yesterday.

Charles and I had a discussion about so called alt media- No real difference from main stream media.
Charles: "Are you implying all of these news sources are working with the west to demonize Erdogan and destabilize Turkey?"

A good many of them are. And the rest are repeaters. Simple repeaters. Like the Duran. I read their hype yesterday.. NO context. Who was Erdogan's audience?

I ended that comment to Charles with this statement

 However simplistic one dimensional cartoon character like presentations "cult of personality' are always used as a tool of distraction. Which is why I don't get into it.

UPDATED: Mr Ollie Richardson stopped by and kindly provided me with the text for his article- You can read the complete article in the comment section below- I still recommend you go to his article directly for the images included within which include:

 -Zero Hedge's shameless sensational headline, shown for all to see

-And as Ollie Richardson said.. The Duran couldn't make up it's mind on the level of hyperbole it was wanting to engage in- Having two sensationalistic headlines up. Both Duran headlines shown in linked piece.

A brief excerpt as follows:
"In the grand scheme of things, this incident certainly had importance, but nothing like the shooting down of a Russian Su-24 on the Syrian-Turkish border. This resulted in the placement of the S-400 SAM system at Russia’s Hmeymim airbase in Latakia – a move that essentially ended US hegemony in the Middle East.

A more recent example of an event that could be interpreted as a “declaration of war” is the bombing of Damascus by Israeli warplanes on 29th November, 2016. Four missiles were launched from outside Syrian territory, likely at Hezbollah targets. But alas – there were no sensationalist headlines on display regarding this incident from both the mainstream and the “alternative” media. It was just simply another day in Syria.

But Erdogan’s statement about “removing Assad” is apparently different. A few initial questions can be asked in order to examine this combination of words:

1) Did Turkey attack any Syrian Army positions during Operation Euphrates Shield?

The answer here is no. The focus of the operation was the displacement of the Kurds, under the guise of fighting ISIS, and asserting Turkish influence in northern Syria. The recent incident involving the Syrian airforce bombing Turkish proxies outside al-Bab has been logically explained as the “reformatting of the Rules of Engagement”. Russia’s agreement with Turkey involving the latter’s entrance in the Syrian theatre did not provisionally include any definite red lines. Thus, these lines will be drawn in the sand where ever and when ever it is deemed necessary. For Russia, al-Bab is clearly a red line, and Turkey now knows not to cross it

2) Did Russia attack Turkey when it initially crossed the border during Operation Euphrates Shield?

Again, the answer here is no. In fact, Russia was silent about the US air support accompanying the Turkish tanks crossing the border near Jarablus. A statement was made by the Syrian President condemning the incursion, but the Russian side was relatively quiet – no condemnation was forthcoming

3) How did the Russian side react to Erdogan’s statement?

The Russian side is quoted as saying, “We tried to understand whether it was quoted as it had been said. It was not a direct quote, but a retelling of what had been said ‘off-the-record’. We rely on the public statements”. I.e. Russia knows how the PR game works, and will treat “statements” with “statements”. Or in other words, nothing to see here, move on!

So, linking together the chain of events – the actions and reactions – it becomes very difficult to describe Erdogan’s 29th November statement as anything other than political rhetoric"

Again read the article and check the images: "Erdogan declared war on Syria" Or just more sensationalist social media spin

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

All Eyes On al-Bab: Putin Confirms- No Russian Jets Struck Turkish Soldiers

 Not a totally terrible article from the Independent
"The attacks, less than a mile from the Turkish frontier, are in reaction to what is unfolding 30 miles to the north. Three forces which have been engaged in a bitter struggle against each other in Syria’s civil war are closing in on a city which is a strategic prize for an offensive on Raqqa.

Rebel Sunni Arab fighters of the FSA ( Free Syrian Army) with Turkish military backing; A Kudish led alliance with American advisors and air support and the regime’s army with Russian backing are closing in on al-Bab in Aleppo Province.
Al-Bab, or The Gate, is the last remaining significant stronghold left for Isis before Raqqa.
What happens in al-Bab will not only have a major bearing on the future of Raqqa, but also events in Aleppo and the aftermath of the operations there as the Assad regime carries out a push to take the rebel held east of the city"
 Or events in Aleppo will have an effect on al-Bab? As most of us know Aleppo for the most part has been taken back by SAA and allies.

Syrian soldiers fly their flag near Sakhur district, which had been in rebel hands for four years (Reuters)

Syrian forces storm southeast Aleppo as UN warns of rebel capitulation
UN envoy’s concern for terrorists is oh so touching

The UN envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, said on Tuesday that he could not say how long the rebel resistance would last.

"Clearly, I cannot deny - this is a military acceleration and I can't tell you how long eastern Aleppo will last," he told the European Parliament. "There is a constant increase of movement on the military side."

Igor Konashenkov, a major general and spokesman for the Russian defence ministry, said on Monday: "During the last 24 hours, thanks to very well prepared and careful actions, Syrian soldiers were able to radically change the situation,"

"Practically half of the territory occupied by rebels in recent years in the eastern part of Aleppo has been completely liberated."

Back to the Independent:

-Al-Bab supplied the largest contingent of fighters during the battle for Aleppo in 2012

Recep Tayyip Erdogan has publicly declared that he wants the rebels his government is supporting with a 10,000 strong Turkish force, “Operation Euphrates Shield”, to move to the city. Gaining possession would not only provide a natural defence point for the 5,000 square kilometre “security zone” Ankara wants to establish, but act as a check on expansion of regime forces if and when they take Aleppo.
“Opposition fighters supported by Turkish armour and warplanes captured the villages of Umm Shukyaf, Umm Adshah and Anifiyah at the weekend, while at the same time launching attacks against the American backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in nearby Sab Wiran and Sheikh Nassir.
The results of the attacks were inconclusive and the SDF, led supposedly, led DEFINITELY, by the Kurdish militia YPG with (little to no) Arab groups in the ranks, claimed to have destroyed a Turkish tank. Meanwhile the SDF YPG continued its offensive, backed by US air strikes, against Isis, capturing the villages of Tal al-Jijan and Tal Unayb, west of al-Bab after prolonged and intense clashes.”

Regime forces, while continuing its offensive to capture the eastern part of Aleppo from rebels, advanced towards al-Bab, taking the villages of Khirbat Duwayr, Amad Taltinah, Shaalah and Tal Al-Khashkhashat. Hizbullah and the pro-Damascus Kurdish group, Kafr as Saghir Martyrs, took part in the fighting.
Turkish backed rebels maintain that the SDF provided fire support for the regime forces – more evidence, they insisted, to back their charge of collusion between Bashar al-Assad and the Kurds.

Turkey’s rebels clarify this statement, I’ll highlight it.

The complex and violent tapestry on the ground holds the increasing risk of outside players being sucked further into the conflict. President Erdogan called Vladimir Putin at the weekend after air strikes by Assad regime warplanes, had killed four Turkish soldiers and injured nine others near al-Bab. The two leaders, say Turkish officials, are in regular contact with each other over Syria, a process started by the rapprochement which the confrontation following the shooting down of a Russian plane by the Turks last year.

I stand firm that it was US planes that struck the Turkish soldiers.
Russia denies targeting Turkish troops in Al-Bab, Syria

"Russia has confirmed directly, by Mr. [President Vladimir] Putin, that the jets which conducted that attack did not belong to them," Numan Kurtulmus said after a Cabinet meeting in the capital Ankara.
Here's the clarification of the above statement- highlighted
There seems little prospect, however, of the accusations and recriminations on the ground coming to an end. Motassim Khalid Abdullah, an officer with a Free Syrian Army (FSA) acting alongside Turkish troops in Syria spoke of his bitterness about the activities of the SDF. “They are Kurdish, YPG (a Kurdish militia) controlled. They say they are fighting Daesh (Isis) but they are also fighting us and it is for definite that they are helping Bashar when it suits them” he declared.
“We have proof that they were using their artillery when the regime advanced on al-Bab at Amad Taltinah and Shaalah. We are not saying they want Bashar to get al-Bab. They have already said they want al-Bab themselves. They want to create a Kurdistan out of Syria, Iraq and Turkey. The Turks know this and that is the reason they are in Syria. The Americans must also know this, but they keep on supporting the Kurds. It is some kind of a game the Americans are playing.”
US officials announced recently that the SDF would withdraw from Manbij, another town recently captured from Isis, leaving it to the FSA and Arab tribal militias. The Kurds, however, still maintain a presence there and have accelerated operations to gain territory nearby.
Kurdish militias never left, I've already covered this: Here
"My understanding is they were departing and they were doing that today," Dorrian said after being pressed by Anadolu Agency to explain the apparent contradiction.

"But as far as whether every single one of them is gone, I would be very uncomfortable saying every single one," he added”
American backed Kurdish militias  not gone from Manbij!
This lays the ground for another scenario. The outside powers would lose interest – a very real possibility in the case of America under a Trump presidency – or rein back having reached their strategic objectives. The groups they had fed and watered will meanwhile carry on their vicious internecine strife, making the prospect of peace in Syria even more remote.

From Earlier Today:

While the Cat's Away? Israel Plots Largest Settlement In SYRIAN Occupied Golan

Still waiting for an answer to the question posed in today's earlier post? : Egyptian Troops in Syria? " These Allegations Exist Only In the Imagination Of Those Who Promote Them"
"The priority is that we support the national armies to impose control over the territory, deal with the extremists, and impose the necessary stability in Libya, Syria and Iraq," he said.

"When you refer to the National Army in Syria, do you mean the Syrian army?" the presenter asked, to which Sisi replied: "Yes."
Can someone explain how it is that quoted statement turned into Egyptian boots on the ground in Syria?

 Israel Plots Largest Settlement Expansion in Occupied Syrian Golan since 1980

Al-Marsad: Arab Human Rights Center in the Golan announced, in a press release, that it has written to the European Union, European governments and the Permanent Members of the UN Security Council regarding Israel’s plans to expand Katrzin settlement and establish ‘Hermon National Park’ in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights.

The Israeli Finance Ministry approved plans to build 1,600 additional settlement units in Katzrin in October. About 8,000 settlers live in Katzrin atop the destroyed Syrian villages of Qasrin, Shqef and Sanawber. It is the largest settlement in the occupied Syrian Golan.

“This will be the largest expansion of an illegal Israeli settlement in the Occupied Syrian Golan since the 1980s,” a letter from Al-Marsad to the Delegation of the European Union to Israel reads.

Al-Marsad also calls attention to a second Israeli plan for the occupied Syrian Golan, called ‘Hermon National Park.’ The park depends on appropriating 25,000 acres (more than 82,000 dunams) of agricultural land used by residents of Majd al-Shams and Ein Qynia.
Majd al-Shams stands to be particularly devastated by the plan: the park would surround the village from the north and west, thus prohibiting any future expansion of it and essentially besieging it. According to Al-Marsad, about 800 families living in Majd al-Shams are in urgent need of housing, but cannot secure an Israeli construction permit to build.
Israel very big on refugee creation. Always.
In hopes of disrupting the plans, Al-Marsad calls on:
The international community to strongly condemn plans for the construction of 1,600 settlement units in the illegal settlement of Katzrin and the planned expropriation of Syrian land under the guise of the ‘Hermon National Park’ plan; and obtain binding commitments from Israel that it will stop these activities.
The organization also “invites foreign governments and international organizations to send fact-finding missions to the Occupied Syrian Golan to witness, firsthand, the deteriorating human rights situation.”
Israel forcibly transferred 130,000 Syrians from the Golan and destroyed 300 of its towns and villages in 1967 to clear the way for its ongoing illegal occupation.