Reports in that Abu Mohammed al Golani has announced an Islamic Emirate in Syria. A recorded message to be published soon.
Mullah Mohammed Omar approves the establishment of Emaret ash-Sham al-Islamiyah as a replacement for Jabhat al-Nusra.
Unconfirmed reports also say that Abu Mohammed al Golani & Saudi cleric Abdullah al-Moheisini allegedly addressed 100s of fighters yesterday in #Syria
During the 3-hr address after Iftar, Golani allegedly addressed mujahideen around the world & issued threats to U.S, Russia and Israel.
Pro-Nusra sources claim event took place with large Chechen contingent (formerly under Saifullah al-Shishani). A recording will be released.
On Sunday 23rd March, rebels in Syria launched offensive (of which AlNusra, an AlQaeda affiliated group, was but one of many participants) into Latakia province via Idlib and East Latakia (AlAnfal offensive). Among the towns and villages seized from Assad regime troops in the advance, was Kessab and its Turkey border crossing. Three days later the world was hit by the largest viral social media disinformation campaign in history.
A cacophony of hoax images, misused videos, and Syrian State TV reports (including the 80 killed 12 beheaded story, which was then taken and cited by tens of smaller outlets giving the illusion of a large source basin) spread through social media like wildfire. Once again, Assad is pulling the minorities propaganda card.
A “#SaveKessab” trend riled up a global community of expat Armenians, Twitter teenagers, and Keeping Up With The Kardashians viewers; to arms (i.e. iPhone fingers). Catchy propaganda posters with gory images coupled with lent voices from famously stupid famous people fed fuel to the Twitter fire. Hoax images are mostly being posted first to Instagram with the ArmenianUnity and SaveKessab instagram pages being so far the most notorious for posting misused and hoax images.
(Below: Famously stupid famous people lending their fans and followers)
The result thousands of wannabe politically-enlightened good-will “activists” (Who have never heard of Kessab in their lives, don’t know where it is, and utterly blissfully ignorant of the Syrian conflict) ravenously retweeting, tweeting and hashtagging the ongoing “Mass murder and genocide of Armenians in Kessab by the Turkish military and AlQaeda, a continuation of the 1915 genocide” – because as per the rules of Twitter, enough retweets can stop a non-existent genocide from happening. Welcome to the internet.
Makes you think why Kessab earns a global trend, where was such Save_____ hashtags for the brutal massacres in Syria’s Banias? Ghouta? Jdeidat alFadl? Halfiyeh? Deir Ba’albeh? Sanamain? Darayya? etc etc.
Here is a summary of the authentic images, videos and sights from Kessab, showing churches unharmed and residents untouched: http://nshakfeh.wordpress.com/2014/03/30/the_facts_about_kassab/
The only released image from Kessab showing “rebel atrocities” in Kessab that is authentic, is this one of a church with its cross removed, an action which saw sharp rebuke and if direct video proof is anything to go by, has not been repeated. I repeat, I do not condone any action of sectarian basis, desecration of any holy site, or have any support to Jabhat alNusra who participated in the Anfal offensive:
But, Church with cross removed =/= Genocide.
I must stress as I have plenty before, I and “we” acknowledge the horrors of the 1915 Armenian genocide and condemn it along with any discrimination against Armenians who are fully a part of Syria and its society. It must also be stressed that the wave of racist, abusive and outrageously bigoted responses many have received for debunking Assad state media on Kessab, most commonly along the lines of “Go f*** yourself you dirty Muslim pig of a Turk”, are not appreciated.
Now onto the catalysts:
One particular video has been repeatedly shared and posted as the base proof of “mass execution and genocide of Armenians in Kessab” reportedly showing Al-Qaeda affiliated fighters executing Armenian civilians.
Here is the most commonly shared still of the video, which has been repeatedly reposted many hundreds of times:
The video is 4 months old (from 4th January) and is of 10 captive regime troops being executed by AlNusra front in Aleppo. Nothing to do with Kessab.
Here is a re-upload of the video by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights with a report attached: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZljM2NGR5II&feature=youtu.be
Another video seen spread around is of “two Armenians stopped and executed in Kessab by AlNusra”. Seen this uploaded a few times, here’s an example: http://www.veooz.com/videos/hH256Zj.html
Its actually a famous old video of ISIS executing 2 Alawite truck drivers in Iraq, August 2013:
Now to the most famous and widespread gore propaganda poster on Kessab. I cannot bear to think how many times this has been posted on to Instagram and Twitter – The first upload that went viral (I believe) being on the ArmenianUnity Instagram page. In either case it sums up the a few of the most misused images in the SaveKessab hoaxes.
Here is the image compilation tweeted in typical format:
The bottom image has been dealt with so lets take the rest apart.
Top left is perhaps the most famous propaganda hoax of the Syrian conflict and seemingly the second most widespread individual image on the SaveKessab trend- initially used by Assad propagandists to claim Syrian rebels rape and mutilate Christian girls, now recycled for Kessab:
And as has been explained an unbelievable times over the past few years, its from a gore-horror film from 2005, “Inner Depravity”, directed by some twisted person Remy Couture.
Next is the top right image, the one I personally found the most outrageous, claimed to be an “Armenian Christian child in Kessab beheaded by Turks and/or Rebels and/or AlQaeda and/or The Bogeyman”
Here’s another variation of the image also being misused aplenty in the SaveKessab campaign.
This is Fatima Meghlaj, a young muslim girl decapitated by Assad artillery shelling on her house in Idlib, 2012. Her image became one of the symbols of the Syrian revolution:http://www.therevoltingsyrian.com/post/31731941551/her-name-is-fatima-meghlaj-2-years-old-from-kafr
Of course, its not the first time Meghlaj’s image has been misused by Islamaphobic propaganda to demonise rebels: http://themuslimissue.wordpress.com/2013/09/15/graphic-muslim-trophy-in-syria-lifeless-body-of-decapitate-christian-child/
Now the bottom left beheading image:
his is a still from a hoax, of a hoax. Initially used by the Assad regime to claim rebels beheading priest Francois Murad with two other priests in Ghassaniya, North Syria, and prompted a global internet sensation in July 2013.
Of course, it was later debunked to be another unknown execution of prisoners by ISIS in Mashhad Ruhin, and dismissed by Human Rights Watch and the Vatican: http://m.ibtimes.co.uk/syria-catholic-priest-beheading-video-murad-485700
Now it is being used to claim Christians being killed by *insert something to do with Turkey, or AlQaeda, or Turkey, or Israel, or Turkey, or Turkey* in Kessab.
Lastly, the bottom right image:
Earliest uploads of the image claim it to be of Yusuf Abiddin, beheaded by AlNusra front in June 2013, so, also not Kessab: http://thahop.com/blogs/1/2651/warning-man-kidnapped-and-behea
Now here comes another majorly viral image claiming to show a Church in Kessab with its cross removed and replaced by AQ flag.
As is the nature of such things, they will inevitably get picked up and trumpeted by any Islamaphobia propaganda outlet within viewing distance of the internet, Walid Shoebat’s blog in particular.
Anyways the image is from a church in Raqqa, hundreds of km away and under ISIS control (under which the churches were desecrated):
Then there’s this, posted many times making a comparison to the 1915 genocide and claiming the lower image to be of Christians beheaded by rebels in Kessab.
The image is from February 2014, showing four Kurds from the Jabhat alAkrad rebel group beheaded and mocked by ISIS in the town of ‘Azaz before ISIS was driven out of the town by a rebel coalition. The image was widely uploaded and the first detailed report of the beheadings is here: http://aranews.org/en/home/kurdish-region/1049-isil-fighters-behead-four-kurds.html
Now this, self expalantory. Oh lol:
Once again, another ISIS crimes from Raqqa: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s1aPWH0_crU
The crucified man was later identified to be an Islamist rebel fighter from Ahrar alSham, a group which participated in the Kessab assault. Irony is never lost.
This one was also particularly outrageous:
“This is deep, yet some people have the nerves to deny that there’s innocent Christians being killed”
Haha, because there aren’t.
Notice the top of the tweeted image maliciously cropped out to hide the tweet origin, being in 2013 from @Hhassan140, an editor on TheNational?
Honestly if you’re gonna make propaganda make it vaguely plausible at least. The actual image is from Decembr 2013 and it went viral across the internet, showing a boy injured after a barrel bomb attack on Aleppo, the words being reported by a local LCC page apparently.
And of course, what’s an Assad propaganda campaign without recycled Red Cross images from the May 2013 Banias Massacre? Its just not ever complete without it. “WOW” indeed. Moving right along.
This image has also propped up a few times under the SaveKessab trend:
Image is from Aleppo 2012:
Here’s another such propaganda poster, this time claiming to show a boy shot in the head by *insert something turkey turkey erDOGan*.
Not 100% what the origin of the image is but earliest upload dates in 2006 state it as a victim from a bomb blast in Bahrain:
Leaked documents reveal details of meeting between Syrian and Russian officials
London, Asharq Al-Awsat—Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah sent an indirect message to Israel last year in which he described Lebanon’s southern border as “the safest place in the world,” seeking to reassure Tel Aviv that his Shi’a militia have no intention of taking any action against Israel, according to leaked documents seen by Asharq Al-Awsat.
In cooperation with the Masarat Center and the Wathaiq Dimashq [Damascus Documents] website, Asharq Al-Awsat has obtained a copy of the full transcript of a meeting between Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad and his Russian counterpart Mikhail Bogdanov on May 23, 2013, in which the Syrian side passed along Nasrallah’s reassurances to Israel.
During the meeting Bogdanov told Mekdad that he had a three-hour midnight meeting with Sheikh Mohamed Raad and Hassan Nasrallah in Beirut.
According to Bogdanov, Nasrallah told him: “You can tell the Israelis that Lebanon’s southern borders are the safest place in the world because all of our attention is focused on what is happening in Syria,” confirming that Hezbollah “does not harbor any intention of taking any action against Israel.”
According to the leaked document, Mekdad inquired about the role that joint UN–Arab League Special Envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi was playing regarding the Syrian crisis.
“[Brahimi] said there is no solution to the crisis because both sides [the government and the opposition] have adopted the military and security solution and do not have the desire to engage in a dialogue or reach a peaceful solution because they hope to achieve success militarily,” Bogdanov said during the meeting.
As for whether Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad intends to remain in power, Mekdad said: “President Assad . . . has become a basic need,” and without him “there would not be Syria . . . and the Syrian army would turn into terrorist gangs and fragmented factions.”
“Therefore, the main goal of the conference [Geneva I] should be stemming foreign intervention,” Mekdad added.
The meeting was also attended by a number of senior officials on both sides, including senior Syrian Foreign Ministry figure Ahmad Arnous and the Syrian Ambassador to Moscow Riyad Haddad, as well as the director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s department for Middle East and North Africa, Sergey Vershinin.
The leaked document quotes Vershinin as asking Mekdad: “I will meet with the Israelis during my visit, do you want me to convey any message to the Israeli side?”
Mekdad answered: “There are no messages from us to the Israelis, particularly following the attack on Jamraya [military research center near Damascus] and Damascus International Airport, which despite being destructive, failed to achieve its objectives as there were no Hezbollah weapons there.”
“Our message to them is that we will not be silent in the face of any new attack. If next time they fire a rocket [into Syria], we will respond by firing several rockets [at Israeli targets],” Mekdad said.
“We will not allow them to exploit our situation and we will provide Hezbollah with the sophisticated weapons it needs,” he added.
Source: 5 Pillarz
Dr Ilyas Mohammed writes how Bashar al-Assad has foreign battalions from Eastern Europe and the United States fighting on his side against the Syrian rebels.
Until now, the common wisdom has been that only Sunni Muslims from the West are travelling to Syria to fight against the Assad regime. Western countries, along with their security agencies and think tanks have produced countless reports documenting the threat posed by returning Jihadists.
Worryingly, little attention has been paid to westerners from other religions and ideologies travelling to Syria and fighting alongside Assad’s army.
In March 2014, media outlets in the US reported that two American Armenians (Syrian Christians) have travelled to Syria and are fighting against the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and the various jihadist brigades. The report only names two individuals but a higher number of volunteers cannot be ruled out.
Aram Hamparian, the executive director of the Armenian National Committee of America said, “the Armenian community is a non-combatant community, a civilian community caught in a much larger struggle, the actions of any individual does not reflect the views of the Armenian American community or the wishes of Armenians in Syria, which are for an end to the fighting, and a return to peace”.
In a similar way to their jihadi counterparts, the two men uploaded a video on social media networks, announcing to the world their reasons for fighting alongside Assad. One man, identified as Kilajyan claims to be part of the Californian street gang called “Armenian Power”. In a comment posted on the Facebook video, Kilajyan wrote, “I do anything to protect my ppl”. Their motivation, like their Western jihadi counterparts indicates that they were morally compelled to defend their co-religionists because of the suffering endured by Syrian Christians.
Joshua Landis, director of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Oklahoma in a media interview said that “the general Christian community in Syria has supported the Assad regime because they fear Islamic fundamentalism, and that the Islamists would take over and then treat them as second-class citizens. The Armenians have that fear in spades, or have that fear in a much more augmented form, because of their persecution in Anatolia and because [of] the holocaust”.
Syria also seems to have attracted European neo-Nazis. In 2013, the Polish far-right group Falange travelled to Damascus to offer their support to Assad.
There are also reports dating back to last year, which suggests the Greek neo-Nazi group, Black Lily has members fighting for Assad. In media interviews they have stated that “they have a platoon fighting in Syria and that thousands of Russians, Ukrainians and Polish nationalists have declared themselves ready to defend Assad…and are part of the European Solidarity Front for Syria. The ESFS is a group that has organised protests and rallies in support of Assad from all parts of Europe”. In Berlin, neo-Nazis have been “heckling Syrian refugees”.
There is no evidence to suggest that far-right groups from the UK have travelled to Syria, or are part of the ESFS coalition. In 2011 Nick Griffin, the leader of the British National Party (BNP), while visiting Syria, met with officials and rallied against the FSA.
The motivations of European neo-Nazis seem to be unclear but it is plausible that they have allied themselves with Assad because of his anti-Israeli stance. Or they are using the conflict as a proxy to battle harden themselves, so that they can start a race war in Europe.
In security language this would be called blow back.
Israel is reportedly paying $100K for information on the “extremists” (with obvious reference to the Islamists) in Syria.
Wednesday, 19 June 2013
Hamas said on Wednesday its relations with financial backer Iran have suffered as a result of the Islamist group’s support of rebels battling Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, a long-time Iranian ally.
Hamas was also once an Assad ally but last year endorsed the revolt against him in a shift that deprived the Syrian leader of an important Sunni Muslim supporter in the Arab world.
“Our relations with Iran were affected both on the political and the financial levels,” said Ghazi Hamad, deputy minister of foreign affairs in the Hamas-run government in the Gaza Strip.
Hamad declined to provide any figures for the amount of aid Hamas receives from Iran or give details of any cutbacks, other than to say “it did not get to the point of boycott [from Tehran].”
“We have stood by the Syrian people and we have backed the demands of the revolution,” Hamad told reporters, saying those positions had led to a worsening of ties with Tehran.
A diplomatic source in the region said Iran has provided Hamas with up to $20 million a month to help pay the salaries of nearly half of 50,000 Gaza government employees.
Hamad said Hamas was still meeting its payroll and “had lots of other sources” for money. But he added: “Things are not easy… and we are trying to overcome the problem.”
Iran has also provided Hamas with weapons, including long-range rockets that it has used to strike cities deep inside Israel.
Hamad made no mention of any change in Iranian arms supplies to the group, which is boycotted by the West over its refusal to renounce violence, recognize Israel and accept existing Israeli-Palestinian interim peace deals.
On Monday, Hamas urged the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah to withdraw its forces from Syria, where they are battling on Assad’s behalf.
The call marked a further deterioration in relations between Hamas and Hezbollah, two long-time allies who have each fought against Israel and advocate its destruction.
“We are with Hezbollah in their resistance against Israel but we are not in favor of their position in Syria,” Hamad said.
Source: Al Arabiya