organization:syrian government

  • Dutch government faces outcry over reported support for Syrian rebels
    https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/dutch-government-faces-outcry-after-report-over-support-syrian-rebels

    The Dutch government faced a storm of protest from lawmakers on Monday after a news report said it supported a Syrian opposition group which Dutch prosecutors had labelled a “terrorist” organisation.

    Parliamentarians demanded answers after the report aired by the national public broadcaster said the Netherlands gave “non-lethal assistance” (NLA) to 22 armed opposition groups battling Syrian government forces.

    The television programme, which worked together with the respected Trouw newspaper, identified one group as Jabhat al-Shamiya, which it said had been supplied with pick-up trucks, uniforms and other equipment last year.

    But at the same time, Dutch officials in the port city of Rotterdam were prosecuting a suspected militant for belonging to Jabhat al-Shamiya, which they labelled in court papers as a “Salafist and jihadist movement striving for a caliphate”.

    It was nothing more than a “criminal organisation with a terrorist aim”, the prosecutors added in the court papers.

    Jabhat al-Shamiya, also known as the Levant Front, is an umbrella group for Turkey-backed rebel fighters based in northern Syria. In 2016, Amnesty International accused it of carrying out summary executions and establishing courts that enforce a strict Islamic-based penal code.

    Monday’s revelations come days after Dutch foreign minister Stef Blok’s announcement that the government was cutting all support to “moderate” opposition groups.



  • Is Yemen’s Man-Made Famine the Future of War ? | The New Yorker
    https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/is-yemen-intentional-starvation-the-future-of-war?mbid=social_facebook

    The U.S.- and Saudi-backed war here has increased the price of food, cooking gas, and other fuel, but it is the disappearance of millions of jobs that has brought more than eight million people to the brink of starvation and turned Yemen into the worst humanitarian crisis in the world. There is sufficient food arriving in ports here, but endemic unemployment means that almost two-thirds of the population struggle to buy the food their families need. In this way, hunger here is entirely man-made: no drought or blight has caused it.

    In 2015, alarmed by the growing power of a Shia armed group known as the Houthis in its southern neighbor, Saudi Arabia formed a coalition of Arab states and launched a military offensive in Yemen to defeat the rebels. The Saudis believed that the Houthis were getting direct military support from the kingdom’s regional archrival, Iran, and its Lebanese proxy, Hezbollah. The offensive quickly pushed the Houthis out of some southern areas, but then faltered; the rebels still control much of the country, including the capital.

    A blockade of the rebel-held area is intermittently enforced by the Saudis, with all shipments of food and other imported goods subject to U.N. or coalition approval and inspections, driving up prices. Saudi-led aerial bombing has destroyed infrastructure and businesses, and has devastated the economy inside rebel-held areas. The Saudi-led coalition, which controls Yemen’s airspace, has enforced an almost complete media blackout by preventing reporters and human-rights researchers from taking U.N. relief flights into Houthi-controlled areas for much of the last two years. In June, I reached the capital by entering the coalition-controlled part of Yemen and then, travelling by road, crossed the front line disguised as a Yemeni woman in local dress and a face veil.

    Human-rights groups question the legality of the Hodeidah offensive, as well as the Saudi-led blockade and aerial bombing campaign, on the grounds that they have created widespread hunger. The Geneva Conventions prohibit the destruction of “objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population.” Alex de Waal, the author of the book “Mass Starvation,” which analyzes recent man-made famines, argued that economic war is being waged in Yemen. “The focus on food supplies over all and humanitarian action is actually missing the bigger point,” de Waal told me. “It’s an economic war with famine as a consequence.”

    The world’s most recent man-made famine was in South Sudan, last year. There, the use of food as a weapon was clearer, with civilians affiliated with certain tribes driven from their homes—and food sources—by soldiers and rebels determined to terrify them into never coming back. In the epicenter of the famine, starving South Sudanese families told stories of mass murder and rape. Entire communities fled into nearby swamps and thousands starved to death or drowned. Gunmen burned markets to the ground, stole food, and killed civilians who were sneaking out of the swamps to find food.

    In Syria, the images of starving children in rebel-controlled Eastern Ghouta, at the end of last year, were the latest evidence of the Assad regime’s use of siege-and-starvation tactics. With the support of Russia and Iran, the Syrian government has starved civilian enclaves as a way to pressure them to surrender. In Yemen, none of the warring parties seem to be systematically withholding food from civilians. Instead, the war is making it impossible for most civilians to earn the money they need buy food—and exposing a loophole in international law. There is no national-food-availability crisis in Yemen, but a massive economic one.

    Martha Mundy, a retired professor of anthropology from the London School of Economics, has, along with Yemeni colleagues, analyzed the location of air strikes throughout the war. She said their records show that civilian areas and food supplies are being intentionally targeted. “If one looks at certain areas where they say the Houthis are strong, particularly Saada, then it can be said that they are trying to disrupt rural life—and that really verges on scorched earth,” Mundy told me. “In Saada, they hit the popular, rural weekly markets time and again. It’s very systematic targeting of that.”

    De Waal argued that man-made famines will become increasingly common aspects of modern conflict, and said that defining war crimes related to food and hunger more clearly will become increasingly urgent. Hunger and preventable diseases have always killed many more people than bombs and bullets, he said, but if they are a direct result of military strategy, they should not be considered the product of chance. The war in Yemen and other wars being waged today are forcing a new legal debate about whether the lives of many people killed in conflict are lost or taken. “It is possible that they could weasel out from legal responsibility,” de Waal said, referring to commanders in such a conflict. “But there should be no escape from moral responsibility.”

    #Guerre #Famine #Salopards


  • Russia can mediate a grand bargain on Syria – Indian Punchline
    By M K Bhadrakumar – July 6, 2018
    http://blogs.rediff.com/mkbhadrakumar/2018/07/06/russia-can-mediate-a-grand-bargain-on-syria

    The prevailing impression is that Russia plays a hugely influential role in the Syrian conflict. But it is equally the case that there are serious limits to what Russia can do and/or is willing to do to influence the future trajectory of the conflict.
    Russia and the US have managed through joint efforts to bring the conflict in southwestern Syria to an end. This has been possible because the Syrian government forces undertook the operations against extremist groups in Daraa province without involving the Iranian military advisors or Hezbollah (overtly, at least.) In turn, this provided Israel with a a face-saving pretext to swallow the bitter pill – namely, accept the fait accompli of the decimation of its proxy groups in the border region with Syria.
    However, Israel still swears that it will ensure the rollback of Iranian presence in all of Syria. PM Netanyahu is meeting Russian President Vladimir Putin on July 11 to discuss the subject ahead of the Helsinki summit on July 16 between President Trump and Putin.
    What are the prospects of Russia playing ball with Israel and Trump to “evict” the Iranians from Syrian soil? Frankly, “zero”. When asked for comment on the subject at a media interaction in Moscow on July 4, this is how Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov responded:

    Let us first agree on some basic things. There are many non-Syrian forces in Syria. Some of them stay there with the agreement of the legitimate Syrian government, a UN member-country, while others stay there illegally, in violation of the principles of international law.


  • THE BATTLE OF DARAA IS HAPPENING : AL-RIDWAN, HEZBOLLAH’S SPECIAL FORCES WILL PARTICIPATE.
    https://ejmagnier.com/2018/06/19/the-battle-of-daraa-is-happening-al-ridwan-hezbollahs-special-forces-will

    The Syrian command ignored the US and the Israeli requests to exclude Hezbollah and the Iranian allies from being present in Daraa. Thus, the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad asked Hezbollah al-Ridwan Special Forces to take positions in Daraa and around it to participate in the forthcoming attack.

    Sources on the ground believe the US is not expected to pull out of al-Tanf crossing between Syria and Iraq – as requested by Damascus in exchange of Hezbollah and Iran absence in Daraa – because Israel believes the battle is not going to take place. Therefore, the Syrian government has decided to engage in the Daraa’ battle and remove all jihadists from the south to regain total control of the territory or even impose a negotiation by force to reached a withdrawal of the US forces from al-Tanf.

    The Syrian Army is also aiming to end the southern battle so it can move all offensive forces to the north and al-Badiya afterwards, to attack the remaining ISIS forces present in that part of Syria.

    The US faces a dilemma with thousands of trained, supported and funded Syrian proxies militias in the border area between Syria and Iraq. These militias can be a burden if the US decides to withdraw because they are Arab and non-Kurdish forces.


  • ’Nothing is ours anymore’: Kurds forced out of #Afrin after Turkish assault

    Many who fled the violence January say their homes have been given to Arabs.
    When Areen and her clan fled the Turkish assault on Afrin in January, they feared they may never return.

    Six months later, the Kurdish family remain in nearby villages with other Afrin locals who left as the conquering Turks and their Arab proxies swept in, exiling nearly all its residents.

    Recently, strangers from the opposite end of Syria have moved into Areen’s home and those of her family. The few relatives who have made it back for fleeting visits say the numbers of new arrivals – all Arabs – are rising each week. So too is a resentment towards the newcomers, and a fear that the steady, attritional changes may herald yet another flashpoint in the seven-year conflict.

    Unscathed through much of the Syrian war, and a sanctuary for refugees, Afrin has become a focal point of a new and pivotal phase, where the ambitions of regional powers are being laid bare and a coexistence between Arabs and Kurds – delicately poised over decades – is increasingly being threatened.

    The small enclave in northwestern Syria directly reflects the competing agendas of four countries, Turkey, Syria, Russia and the US – though none more so than Ankara, whose creeping influence in the war is anchored in Afrin and the fate of its peoples.

    Turkey’s newfound stake has given it more control over its nearby border and leverage over its arch foe, the Kurdistan Workers’ party (PKK), which had used its presence in Afrin to project its influence northwards.

    But the campaign to oust Kurdish militias has raised allegations that Ankara is quietly orchestrating a demographic shift, changing the balance of Afrin’s population from predominantly Kurdish to majority Arab, and – more importantly to Turkish leaders – changing the composition of its 500-mile border with Syria.

    Ahead of the January assault, the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, said: “We will return Afrin to its rightful owners.”

    Erdoğan’s comments followed a claim by US officials that it would help transform a Kurdish militia it had raised to fight Islamic State in northeastern Syria into a more permanent border force. The announcement incensed Turkish leaders, who had long feared that Syria’s Kurds would use the chaos of war to advance their ambitions – and to move into a 60-mile area between Afrin and the Euphrates river, which was the only part of the border they didn’t inhabit.

    Ankara denies it is attempting to choreograph a demographic shift in Afrin, insisting it aimed only to drive out the PKK, not unaffiliated Kurdish locals.

    “The people of Afrin didn’t choose to live under the PKK,” said a senior Turkish official. “Like Isis, the PKK installed a terrorist administration there by force. Under that administration, rival Kurdish factions were silenced violently. [The military campaign] resulted in the removal of terrorists from Afrin and made it possible for the local population to govern themselves. The vast majority of the new local council consists of Kurds and the council’s chairperson is also Kurdish.”

    Many who remain unable to return to Afrin are unconvinced, particularly as the influx from elsewhere in Syria continues. Both exiles and newcomers confirmed to the Guardian that large numbers of those settling in Afrin came from the Damascus suburb of Ghouta, where an anti-regime opposition surrendered to Russian and Syrian forces in April, and accepted being transferred to northern Syria

    Between bandits, militiamen, and wayfarers, Afrin is barely recognisable, say Kurdish locals who have made it back. “It’s not the Afrin we know,” said Areen, 34. “Too many strange faces. Businesses have been taken over by the Syrians, stores changed to Damascene names, properties gone. We feel like the Palestinians.

    “The Syrian government couldn’t care less to help us reclaim our property, they won’t even help us get back into Afrin. We want to go back, we couldn’t care less if we’re governed by the Kurds or Turks or Assad, we just want our land back.”

    A second Afrin exile, Salah Mohammed, 40, said: “Lands are being confiscated, farms, wheat, furniture, nothing is ours anymore; it’s us versus their guns. It’s difficult to come back, you have to prove the property is yours and get evidence and other nearly impossible papers to reclaim it.

    “There is definitely a demographic change, a lot of Kurds have been forcibly displaced on the count that they’re with the PKK when in fact they weren’t. There are barely any Kurds left in Afrin, no one is helping us go back.”

    Another Afrin local, Shiyar Khalil, 32, said: “When the Kurds try to get back to their house they have to jump through hoops. You cannot deny a demographic change, Kurds are not able to go back. Women are veiled, bars are closed; it’s a deliberate erasing of Kurdish culture.”

    Umm Abdallah, 25, a new arrival from Ghouta said some Kurds had returned to Afrin, but anyone affiliated with Kurdish militias had been denied entry. “I’ve seen about 300 Kurds come back to Afrin with their families in the past month or so. I don’t know whose house I am living in honestly, but it’s been registered at the police station.”

    She said Afrin was lawless and dangerous, with Arab militias whom Turkey had used to lead the assault now holding aegis over the town. “The Turks try to stop the looting but some militias are very malicious,” she said. “They mess with us and the Kurds, it’s not stable here.”

    Both Umm Abdallah and another Ghouta resident, Abu Khaled Abbas, 23, had their homes confiscated by the Assad regime before fleeing to the north. “The Assad army stole everything, even the sinks,” said Abbas.

    “These militias now are not leaving anyone alone [in Afrin], how do you think they will treat the Kurds? There are bad things happening, murder, harassment, rapes, and theft. They believe they ‘freed’ the land so they own it now.”


    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/jun/07/too-many-strange-faces-kurds-fear-forced-demographic-shift-in-afrin
    #Kurdes #Kurdistan #occupation #dépossession #Syrie #déplacés_internes #IDPs #destruction
    cc @tchaala_la


  • Russian electronic warfare firm to upgrade products after studying US Tomahawks downed in Syria — RT World News
    https://www.rt.com/news/428105-russians-study-tomahawks-syria


    Alleged fragments of missiles fired by the US-led coalition on April 13-14 and shot down by the Syrian air defense forces, as shown by the Russian defense ministry.
    © Igor Ermachenkov / Sputnik

    A Russian military contractor, specializing in electronic warfare, will use information gained from dissecting a US Tomahawk cruise missile, used during an attack on Syria, to boost the capabilities of its own equipment.
    The missile, delivered to Russia after the tri-party night attack on Syrian government targets by the US, the UK and France in April, is of particular interest to KRET, a leading developer of electronic equipment for the Russian military, according to Vladimir Mikheev, an aide to the company’s First Deputy Director Vladimir Zverev.

    Our new equipment needs to cover all spectra, optical and radio, which we found in the products of our counterparts,” Mikheev told Radio Sputnik.

    As specialists we were very interested in seeing the real-life use of various weapon systems in Syria, including the Tomahawks. Now having this missile in our hands we clearly know what channels it uses to communicate control, navigation and geolocation information,” he explained.

    Mikheev said incorporating the knowledge gained from studying the US cruise missiles will take KRET two to three years. It will help Russian electronic warfare systems be better in countering American missiles “on all stages of combat deployment” he said.

    Earlier reports claimed that Russia obtained at least two US missiles fired at Syria on April 14 in relatively undamaged state.


  • Russia says only Syrian army should be on country’s southern border with Israel

    Israel believes Russia may agree to withdrawing Iranian forces and allied Shi’ite militias from Israel-Syria border

    Noa Landau and Reuters May 28, 2018

    https://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-news/syria/russia-says-only-syrian-army-should-be-on-country-s-southern-border-1.61198

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Monday that only Syrian government troops should have a presence on the country’s southern border which is close to Jordan and Israel, the RIA news agency reported.
    Lavrov was cited as making the comments at a joint news conference in Moscow with Jose Condungua Pacheco, his counterpart from Mozambique.
    Meanwhile, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman will leave on Wednesday for a short visit to Russia. He is scheduled to meet with his counterpart, Russia’s Defense Minister Sergei Shvigo, the ministry said in a statement on Monday. Lieberman is expected to discuss with his hosts the recent events in the Middle East, primarily the tension between Israel and Iran over the Iranian military presence in Syria.
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke at the Knesset Monday, saying that “there is no room for any Iranian military presence in any part of Syria.”
    Lieberman said that “these things, of course, reflect not only our position, I can safely say that they reflect the positions of others in the Middle East and beyond the Middle East.”
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    On Sunday, Haaretz reported that Israeli political and military officials believe Russia is willing to discuss a significant distancing of Iranian forces and allied Shi’ite militias from the Israel-Syria border, according to Israeli officials.
    The change in Russia’s position has become clearer since Israel’s May 10 military clash with Iran in Syria and amid Moscow’s concerns that further Israeli moves would threaten the stability of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime.
    Russia recently renewed efforts to try to get the United States involved in agreements that would stabilize Syria. The Russians might be willing to remove the Iranians from the Israeli border, though not necessarily remove the forces linked to them from the whole country.
    Last November, Russia and the United States, in coordination with Jordan, forged an agreement to decrease the possibility of friction in southern Syria, after the Assad regime defeated rebel groups in the center of the country. Israel sought to keep the Iranians and Shi’ite militias at least 60 kilometers (37 miles) from the Israeli border in the Golan Heights, east of the Damascus-Daraa road (or, according to another version, east of the Damascus-Suwayda road, about 70 kilometers from the border).

    FILE – Iran’s Army Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Mohammad Bagheri, left, in Aleppo, Syria, in photo provided October 20, 2017/AP
    According to Israeli intelligence, in Syria there are now around 2,000 Iranian officers and advisers, members of the Revolutionary Guards, around 9,000 Shi’ite militiamen from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq, and around 7,000 Hezbollah fighters. Israel believes that the Americans are now in a good position to reach a more effective arrangement in Syria in coordination with the Russians under the slogan “Without Iran and without ISIS.”
    The United States warned Syria on Friday it would take “firm and appropriate measures” in response to ceasefire violations, saying it was concerned about reports of an impending military operation in a de-escalation zone in the country’s southwest.
    Washington also cautioned Assad against broadening the conflict.
    “As a guarantor of this de-escalation area with Russia and Jordan, the United States will take firm and appropriate measures in response to Assad regime violations,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement late on Friday.
    A war monitor, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, reported on Wednesday that Syrian government forces fresh from their victory this week against an Islamic State pocket in south Damascus were moving into the southern province of Deraa.
    Syrian state-run media have reported that government aircraft have dropped leaflets on rebel-held areas in Deraa urging fighters to disarm.
    The U.S. warning comes weeks after a similar attack on a de-escalation zone in northeastern Syria held by U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces. U.S. ground and air forces repelled the more than four-hour attack, killing perhaps as many as 300 pro-Assad militia members, many of them Russian mercenaries.
    Backed by Russian warplanes, ground forces from Iran and allied militia, including Lebanon’s Hezbollah, have helped Assad drive rebels from Syria’s biggest cities, putting him in an unassailable military position.



  • Debate: Syria, Ghouta, and the Left
    http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=21337

    Yasser Munif répond à côté,

    AARON MATÉ: Yasser, let me put to you a clip from Joe Biden that I think that captures what I find puzzling about the Syrian war, which is what the Syrian government was supposed to do in response to the role that outside players that are trying to overthrow it have played. I mean, no one can justify cracking down on peaceful protesters, but what happens when it becomes a proxy war. On this front, I want to play what Joe Biden said in 2014 about what the US allies in the Gulf did in Syria.

    JOE BIDEN: Our biggest problem is our allies. Our allies in the region were our largest problem in Syria. The Turks were great friends and I have a great relationship with Erdoğan, which I just spent a lot of time with. The Saudis, the Emirates, etc. What were they doing? They were so determined to take down Assad and essentially have a proxy Sunni-Shia war, what did they do? They poured hundreds of millions of dollars and tens of thousands of tons of weapons into anyone who would fight against Assad, except that the people who were being supplied were Al-Nusra and Al-Qaeda, and the extremist elements of jihadists coming from other parts of the world.

    AARON MATÉ: That’s Joe Biden speaking in 2014, so yeah. What about that? Does the Syrian government have the right to fight those forces, especially the jihadist forces, who are not just a threat to the Syrian government, but also especially to minorities like Christians and Jews and Shiites inside Syria?

    YASSER MUNIF: I mean, the Syrian conflict is very complex and I think one of the dangers of the narrative described by Rania and others is this very reductive kind of...kind of binary, where there is only the west and Europe and the intervention on the one hand, and then the Syrian regime. When in fact, it’s a very complex conflict. And I think the most important element is the Syrian Revolution, the grassroots movement, the popular revolt against the Syrian regime that a part of what happened in 2011 that is an aspiration for democracy and freedom and dignity.

    Debate: Syria, Ghouta, and the Left (2/2)
    http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=21336


  • U.N. Links North Korea to Syria’s Chemical Weapon Program - The New York Times
    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/27/world/asia/north-korea-syria-chemical-weapons-sanctions.html

    North Korea has been shipping supplies to the Syrian government that could be used in the production of chemical weapons, United Nations experts contend.

    The evidence of a North Korean connection comes as the United States and other countries have accused the Syrian government of using chemical weapons on civilians, including recent attacks on civilians in the Damascus suburb of eastern Ghouta using what appears to have been chlorine gas.

    The supplies from North Korea include acid-resistant tiles, valves and thermometers, according to a report by United Nations investigators. North Korean missile technicians have also been spotted working at known chemical weapons and missile facilities inside Syria, according to the report, which was written by a panel of experts who looked at North Korea’s compliance with United Nations sanctions.

    The report highlights the potential danger posed by any such trade between Syria and North Korea, which could allow Syria to maintain its chemical weapons while also providing North Korea with cash for its nuclear and missile programs.

    The possible chemical weapons components were part of at least 40 previously unreported shipments by North Korea to Syria between 2012 and 2017 of prohibited ballistic missile parts and materials that could be used for both military and civilian purposes, according to the report, which has not been publicly released but which was reviewed by The New York Times.
    […]
    Though experts who viewed the report said the evidence it cited did not prove definitively that there was current, continuing collaboration between North Korea and Syria on chemical weapons, they said it did provide the most detailed account to date of efforts to circumvent sanctions intended to curtail the military advancement of both countries.
    […]
    The report, which is more than 200 pages long, includes copies of contracts between North Korean and Syrian companies as well as bills of lading indicating the types of materials shipped. Much information was provided by unidentified United Nations member states.

    #WMD, le retour. Ça manquait…


  • Now Mattis Admits There Was No Evidence Assad Used Poison Gas on His People
    http://www.newsweek.com/now-mattis-admits-there-was-no-evidence-assad-using-poison-gas-his-people-

    Lost in the hyper-politicized hullabaloo surrounding the Nunes Memorandum and the Steele Dossier was the striking statement by Secretary of Defense James Mattis that the U.S. has “no evidence” that the Syrian government used the banned nerve agent Sarin against its own people.

    This assertion flies in the face of the White House (NSC) Memorandum which was rapidly produced and declassified to justify an American Tomahawk missile strike against the Shayrat airbase in Syria.

    Mattis offered no temporal qualifications, which means that both the 2017 event in Khan Sheikhoun and the 2013 tragedy in Ghouta are unsolved cases in the eyes of the Defense Department and Defense Intelligence Agency.

    US has no evidence of Syrian use of sarin gas, Mattis says
    https://apnews.com/bd533182b7f244a4b771c73a0b601ec5

    The U.S. has no evidence to confirm reports from aid groups and others that the Syrian government has used the deadly chemical sarin on its citizens, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Friday.

    “We have other reports from the battlefield from people who claim it’s been used,” Mattis told reporters at the Pentagon. “We do not have evidence of it.”

    He said he was not rebutting the reports.

    “We’re looking for evidence of it, since clearly we are dealing with the Assad regime that has used denial and deceit to hide their outlaw actions,” Mattis said.

    #allons_bon


  • ISRAEL’S “SAFE ZONE” IS CREEPING FARTHER INTO SYRIA

    https://theintercept.com/2018/01/23/israel-syria-safe-buffer-zone-golan-heights

    ISRAEL IS EXPANDING its influence and control deeper into opposition-held southern Syria, according to multiple sources in the area. After failed attempts to ensure its interests were safeguarded by the major players in the war next door, Israel is pushing to implement the second phase of its “safe-zone” project — an attempt to expand a buffer ranging out from the occupied Golan Heights deeper into the southern Syrian provinces of Quneitra and Daraa. The safe zone expansion marks a move toward deeper Israeli involvement in Syria’s civil war.

    The Intercept learned the outlines of the safe-zone expansion plan through a monthslong investigation relying on information from a variety of sources, including Syrian opposition activists on the ground in the south, Syrian opposition figures based in Jordan, Syrian government sources, and an Israeli-American NGO directly involved in the safe-zone project.

    The safe zone appears intended to keep the Syrian army and its Iranian and Lebanese allies as far away from Israel’s border as possible, as well as solidify Israel’s control over the occupied Golan Heights. Israel seized the Golan from Syria in 1967’s Six-Day War. Expanding a buffer zone would likely make any negotiations over the return of the Syrian territory more difficult in the future, because the Golan Heights will be surrounded on both sides by areas with significant Israeli influence.

    Over the last two years, Israel started building out the first phase of a safe zone in southern Syria. The project enabled the Israeli army, through humanitarian organizations and military personnel, to gain access to opposition-held areas in return for supplying aid, medical treatment inside Israel, and basic goods.

    According to sources, the second phase, which is currently underway, includes, among other things, the establishment of a 40-kilometer, Israeli-monitored buffer beyond the Golan Heights, a Syrian border police force armed and trained by Israel, and greater involvement in civil


  • U.S.-led coalition helps to build new Syrian force, angering Turkey
    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-syria-sdf/u-s-led-coalition-helps-build-new-syrian-force-angering-turkey-idUSKBN1F30O

    The force will deploy along the border with Turkey to the north, the Iraqi border to the southeast and along the Euphrates River Valley, which broadly acts as the dividing line separating the U.S.-backed SDF and Syrian government forces backed by Iran and Russia.

    Syrie : les Kurdes vont constituer une force frontalière avec la coalition internationale - France 24
    http://www.france24.com/fr/20180114-syrie-etats-unis-turquie-kurdes-frontieres-coalition-fds-ypg


  • BBC Betrays the Most Basic Journalistic Principles When It Comes to Syria - American Herald Tribune
    https://ahtribune.com/world/north-africa-south-west-asia/syria-crisis/2096-bbc-journalistic-principles.html

    The BBC makes marvellous wildlife documentaries and excellent feature films but in its reporting of the Syrian conflict it has completely betrayed the most basic journalistic principles of objectivity and balance. Along with the rest of the media it runs whatever the ‘rebels’ and ‘activists’ choose to tell it. The allegation goes into the headlines, is not substantiated but fulfils the central task not of reporting but of smearing the Syrian government, which never gets the opportunity to state its case beyond ‘the Syrian regime denies the allegations.’ This symbiotic game between terrorist groups and the media has been in motion for the past seven years. Through its false reporting the media has supported the war on Syria and must share the responsibility for the massive death and destruction that has ensued.

    #syrie


  • Russia Accuses U.S.-Led Coalition of Trying to #Partition Syria | World News | US News
    https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2017-11-29/russia-accuses-us-led-coalition-of-trying-to-partition-syria

    MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia’s ambassador to the United Nations accused the U.S.-led coalition in Syria on Wednesday of trying to partition the country by setting up local governing bodies in areas seized from Islamic State, Russian news agencies reported.

    Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia was cited as complaining that the coalition was discussing measures to restore the economy with the new bodies, but not with the Syrian government.

    “What the coalition is doing amounts to concrete steps to partition the country,” Nebenzia was quoted as saying.

    #Etats-Unis #Syrie #Kurdes


  • Syria, ’#Experts,’ and George Monbiot - Antiwar.com Original
    http://original.antiwar.com/cook/2017/11/21/syria-experts-george-monbiot

    Par #Jonathan_Cook

    That is not to say Assad, or at least sections of the Syrian government, could not have carried out the attack on Khan Sheikhoun. But it is to argue that in a matter like this one, where so much is at stake, the evidence must be subjected to rigorous scrutiny, and that critics, especially experts who offer counter-evidence, must be given a fair hearing by the left. It is to argue that, when the case against Assad fits so neatly a long-standing and self-serving western #narrative, a default position of skepticism is fully justified. It is to argue that facts, strong as they may seem, can be manipulated even by expert bodies, and therefore due weight needs also to be given to context – including an assessment of motives.

    This is not “denialism”, as Monbiot claims. It is a rational strategy adopted by those who object to being railroaded once again – as they were in Iraq and Libya – into catastrophic regime change operations.

    #guerre_contre_la_dissidence #homogénéisation


  • Le premier ministre libanais, Saad Hariri, annonce sa démission
    http://www.lemonde.fr/proche-orient/article/2017/11/04/le-premier-ministre-libanais-saad-hariri-annonce-sa-demission_5210238_3218.h

    Le premier ministre libanais, Saad Hariri, a annoncé sa démission, samedi 4 novembre, à la surprise générale. Il a accusé le Hezbollah chiite et son allié iranien de « mainmise » sur le Liban et a affirmé avoir peur d’être assassiné.

    « J’annonce ma démission du poste de premier ministre », a ainsi déclaré M. Hariri, qui se trouve actuellement en Arabie saoudite, dans un discours retransmis par la chaîne satellitaire Al-Arabiya. Selon les informations du Monde, un des conseillers de M. Hariri lui avait déjà suggéré de démissionner il y a quelques semaines, mais l’idée avait alors été écartée.

    « L’Iran a une mainmise sur le destin des pays de la région (…). Le Hezbollah est le bras de l’Iran non seulement au Liban mais également dans les autres pays arabes », a dénoncé le premier ministre démissionnaire. Et « ces dernières décennies, le Hezbollah a imposé une situation de fait accompli par la force de ses armes », a-t-il ajouté.

    Bien entendu, le Monde-avec-AFP (ainsi que l’ensemble des médias francophones) qualifie la démission de Hariri de « totalement inattendue »… Si ces gens faisaient un tout petit peu leurs devoirs, ils sauraient que le renversement du gouvernement et la mise en accusation du Hezbollah ont été très clairement annoncés lundi par les Séoudiens :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/641376
    que Hariri s’était déjà rendu en Arabie séoudite ce même lundi, et y et retourné hier :
    https://www.lorientlejour.com/article/1081985/hariri-se-rend-a-nouveau-en-arabie-saoudite.html

    Le chef du gouvernement libanais se rend à Riyad pour une visite de travail. Lors de son dernier déplacement, il avait été reçu par le prince héritier saoudien, Mohammad Ben Salmane. M. Hariri avait affirmé être totalement en phase avec Riyad pour ce qui a trait à la stabilité du Liban.

    • L’aspect évidemment ridicule de l’événement, c’est que Saad se rend deux fois en Arabie séoudite en quelques jours, applique ce qui a été annoncé par un ministre séoudien en début de semaine, rencontre le nouveau Séoud-en-chef ben Salmane et dans la foulée annonce sa démission depuis l’Arabie séoudite, tout ça paraît-il pour dénoncer la « mainmise » de l’Iran sur le Liban.

    • Malgré cet aspect ridicule, on peut être particulièrement inquiet. Que l’Arabie séoudite décide de porter (à nouveau) son affrontement régional sur la scène libanaise ne présage d’absolument rien de bon pour le pays (tu as vu l’état des pays où l’Arabie a prétendu « contrer » l’influence iranienne ?).

    • http://www.raialyoum.com/?p=772730
      Commentaire des Iraniens : "La démission de Hariri a été arrangée par Trump et Muhammad ben Salmane, en fionction d’une décision manifeste des Saoudiens de s’en prendre au Hezbollah."
      طهران : استقالة الحريري جاءت بترتيب من ترامب ومحمد بن سلمان وبقرار سعودي واضح لمواجهة “حزب الله”

    • November 2, 2017
      Targeting Lebanon Again
      Edito d’ABA. Cela date du 2 novembre mais, comme c’est en anglais, je suppose que cela a dû être publié un peu avant.
      http://www.raialyoum.com/?p=771836

      We do not know what instructions Hariri was given when he met Saudi strongman Crown Prince Muhammad bin-Salman. But it would not come as a surprise to learn that he was told either to withdraw from the government or sack its Hezbollah ministers in order to create another government crisis in Lebanon. Hariri would have no option but to comply. That would mean the collapse of the hard-won political accommodation that enabled him to return to office and Gen. Michel Aoun to be elected president.

    • Angry Arab: Hariri resignation in Beirut
      http://angryarab.blogspot.fr/2017/11/hariri-assassination-in-beirut.html

      It is funny: people of the Saudi and Israeli lobbies on social media are jubilant about Saad Hariri’s resignation (from Riyadh, no less and through Saudi regime media) and treating the matter as if it was a purely Lebanese matter. The resignation was days in the making. Saudi minister (for Gulf affairs but he also seems to be in charge of Lebanese affairs as well) has been threatening the Lebanese people and government for many days and warning of an impending action. In fact, he threatened hours before Hariri resignation that Saudi Arabia will “cut off” the hands of Iran—which was the same expression used by Hariri in the speech which was prepared for him. Hariri was sitting with Hizbullah ministers and defending the political arrangement in which all parties were represented against critics in his quarters. He also met with a senior Iranian delegation HOURS before his resignation (above) (the delegated was headed by Ali Akbar Welayeti, who said after the meeting that it was “constructive”). Just after the meeting, Hariri was summoned to Riyadh and he took a selfti with Minister Sabhan (the latter posted it on Twitter (above) and said it was after a long meeting), and then the speech of resignation was aired on Saudi media. Its text was counter to all the speeches that Hariri has been giving for many months. The best part is that Saudi regime media announced that there was an assassination attempt on Hariri’s life just before he departed for Saudi Arabia. The pro-Saudi branch of the Lebanese security services promptly told Lebanese media that they never heard of any of that and that they were not sources for this fable.

    • Au sujet de la prétendue tentative d’assassinat contre Hariri, le démenti des FSI (généralement pro-séoudienne et proches du camp Hariri) :
      http://nna-leb.gov.lb/fr/show-news/83957/Les-FSI-mentent-les-rumeurs-sur-la-tentative-39-assassinat-jou-contre-Sa

      La direction générale des FSI a démenti, ce samedi dans un communiqué, les informations qui circulent dans les médias, réseaux sociaux et sites électroniques, selon lesquelles son service de renseignements aurait déjoué une tentative d’assassinat contre le Premier ministre démissionnaire Saad Hariri.

      « La direction des FSI précise que ces informations sont erronées, qu’elle n’a fourni aucun détail et qu’elle ne dispose d’aucune donnée à cet égard », précise le communiqué.

    • Saad Hariri Quits as Lebanon Prime Minister, Blaming Iran - The New York Times
      https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/04/world/middleeast/saad-hariri-lebanon-iran.html

      On en est là, il faut lire un article du NYT pour se rendre compte combien les articles des MSM français et les reportages de France 24 sur le sujet sont lamentables.

      The surprise announcement — which shocked even his own staff — was an ominous sign of the escalating regional rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran, analysts said, indicating the growing dominance of Iran and Hezbollah as well as the Saudis’ increasingly assertive response.

      Lebanese and regional analysts, whether supporters or opponents of Hezbollah, said it appeared that Mr. Hariri had been pressured to resign by his patrons, the Saudis , as they and the United States ratchet up efforts to counter Iranian influence. The resignation came after weeks of sharp American and Saudi condemnations of Iran, including from President Trump, and new American sanctions against Hezbollah.

      By pushing out Mr. Hariri, analysts said, Saudi Arabia could deny Hezbollah a credible Sunni governing partner — an attempt to isolate it and deny it the fig leaf of a national unity government.

      “They concluded that Hariri was serving as more of a cover for Iranian and Hezbollah influence than as a counterweight to them,” said Rob Malley, a former special Middle East adviser to President Barack Obama and the vice president of the International Crisis Group.

      Yet the resignation also shows how few options Iran’s opponents have. Without Mr. Hariri in power, the United States and Saudi Arabia lose their main partner in the Lebanese government.

      Across the political spectrum, analysts and officials said the resignation ushered in new dangers. If the next government is more pro-Hezbollah, they said, that could lead to devastating sanctions. It could even increase the chances of a new war with Israel, which would see added justification for its argument that there is little distinction between Hezbollah and the Lebanese state.

      Mr. Hariri even raised the specter of internal violence. [si jamais des attentats contre le camp du 14 mars reprennent on aura été averti] He compared the atmosphere in Lebanon now to the days before the 2005 assassination of his father, former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, saying he believed his own life was in danger. “I sensed what’s being woven in secret to target my life,” he said.

      Mr. Hariri’s father was killed when his motorcade was bombed on Beirut’s seafront. Several Hezbollah members are being tried in absentia in a special United Nations-backed tribunal in The Hague, although the militant group has denied involvement in the assassination.

      [...]

      Mr. Hariri headed a 30-member national unity cabinet that was crafted to protect the country from any spillover from the multisided war in neighboring Syria, where Iran backed the government and Saudi Arabia backed the insurgents.

      That mission has largely been successful , even though Hezbollah has sided with the Syrian government, Lebanese Sunni militants have joined insurgents there, and well over one million refugees flooded this small Mediterranean country.

      In Lebanon’s political system, power is divided between a prime minister, who must be Sunni; a president, who must be Maronite Christian; and a speaker of Parliament, who must be Shiite.

      The exercise of real power in the country is a more complicated affair of alliances, rivalries and division of spoils between the leaders of sectarian groups, including former warlords from Lebanon’s civil war.

      Hezbollah, which rose to prominence fighting the Israeli occupation of south Lebanon, is the strongest because of its powerful militia, which can act independently of the state and in recent years has served as an expeditionary force across Syria.

      In recent years Lebanon’s rival blocs have essentially agreed to confine their fight to Syria. But tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran have only increased.

      In addition to Hezbollah’s decisive role in helping President Bashar al-Assad of Syria hold on to power, Iran has supported several militias in Iraq that have managed to defeat Islamic State forces in that country and remain a fighting force.

      Iranian leaders say their interference is needed to stop terrorism, and to create a security zone for their country. The country’s influence started to rise after the withdrawal of American troops from Iraq in 2011, leaving behind an incomplete army and a pro-Iranian government.

      Iran’s filling of the vacuum created by the departure of the United States military has been an extremely worrying development for Saudi Arabia and some other Arab states, who have seen their efforts to fight proxy wars with Iran largely fail.

      And now that the Syrian war seems to be entering a new phase, with Mr. Assad still ruling a devastated country, there are fears that tensions that had been pushed to the back burner — inside Lebanon, between Hezbollah and Israel, and elsewhere — could re-emerge.

      The United States has stepped up sanctions on Hezbollah in recent weeks after President Trump criticized Iran and the landmark nuclear deal it reached under Mr. Obama.

      “It signals a new phase of escalation,” said Ali Rizk, a pro-Hezbollah Lebanese analyst, adding that the imminent defeat of Islamic State by the United States would put new pressure on what it sees as Shiite extremists. “Lebanon is in for a hard time,” Mr. Rizk said.

      The resignation brought sharp words from Israel and Iran. Bahram Ghasemi, a spokesman for Iran’s foreign ministry, said Mr. Hariri’s speech was driven by a Saudi, American and Israeli effort aimed at “creating tension in Lebanon and the region.”

      And in Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the resignation “a wake-up call for the international community to take action against the Iranian aggression.”

      The pressure now is on the Lebanese president, Mr. Aoun, who will hold consultations with Parliament about appointing a caretaker government, said Imad Salamey, an analyst at the American University of Beirut.

      “If he indeed is going to bring in a pro-Hezbollah government, then he has to face the consequences,” such as new sanctions, Mr. Salamey said. “It will be a massive U.S. and Saudi response. The economy will collapse for sure.”

      In his speech, Mr. Hariri said he wanted to unite Lebanon and free it from outside influence. He pronounced himself “full of optimism and hope that Lebanon will be stronger, free, independent, with no authority over it except that of its own great people.”

      But in the streets of Tariq al-Jdeedeh, a mostly Sunni neighborhood of Beirut that is part of Mr. Hariri’s political base, anger and confusion contrasted with the posters of Mr. Hariri that festooned the buildings.

      “Hariri didn’t do this for Lebanon, he did this for Saudi against Iran,” said Nabil Idriss, who was tending his son’s fabric shop. “Now with this move, the picture is more transparent than ever. Saad Hariri was never in control.”

      #Liban #Hezbollah #Israel #Etats-Unis #Arabie_saoudite


  • France / Syrie / Lafarge : Arrestation de Firas Tlass aux Émirats Arabes Unis
    http://www.renenaba.com/france-syrie-lafarge-arrestation-de-firas-tlass-aux-emirats-arabes-unis

    L’arrestation de Firas Tlass apparaît rétrospectivement comme un dommage collatéral de la guerre médiatique que se livrent 3 pétromonarchies contre le Qatar, en ce que la révélation de son lieu d’arrestation, les Émirats Arabes Unis, viserait à contrario à désigner Abou Dhabi comme un complice du financement du terrorisme international et à dédouaner en conséquence le Qatar de cette accusation.

    […]

    Officiellement son interpellation a été présentée comme étant liée à des problèmes concernant son passeport syrien à des questions financières : Lafarge Syrie, dont Firas Tlass était membre de son conseil d’administration, lui versait près de 100.000 dollars par mois en vue d’assurer la protection du site et de ses employés, dont l’homme d’affaires syrien en reversait le quart, soit 20.000 dollars, au groupement terroriste Daech.

    Détail savoureux, c’est le même Firas Tlass qui servait à expliquer (oui, encore en janvier dernier) que c’était Bachar Assad qui « sponsorise des jihadistes » : Quand Bachar al-Assad "favorisait l’idée du jihad en Syrie" pour faire revenir l’Occident vers lui
    http://www.huffingtonpost.fr/2017/01/22/quand-bachar-al-assad-favorisait-lidee-du-jihad-en-syrie-pour_a_21659

    Dans ce reportage, le réalisateur donne la parole à Firas Tlass, ex-proche du dictateur syrien, et aujourd’hui en exil. Ce dernier rappelle une chose utile : c’est Bachar al-Assad qui a favorisé l’émergence des jihadistes en Syrie pour ensuite, s’ériger en rempart contre le péril islamiste qui tétanise les occidentaux. Mieux, il explique comment le dictateur syrien sponsorise des jihadistes depuis 2003.

    (M’enfin avec la Syrie, ça fait bien longtemps qu’on a passé toutes les bornes du n’importe quoi…)


  • Cela va peut-être arriver mais, pour l’heure, je ne vois pas de reprise dans la presse non arabophone de l’entretien donné par Hamad ben Jassim Al Thani, ancien premier ministre et ministre de l’Intérieur du Qatar sur la chaîne nationale de son pays. Il y déclare tout de même, avec une grande franchise, que son pays, Qatar, les Saoudiens, les Turcs et la CIA s’étaient mis d’accord pour faire tomber le régime syrien. Secret de polichinelle, sans doute, mais première reconnaissance officielle, à ma connaissance, par un acteur impliqué de l’existence d’un complot contre la Syrie.

    الفريسة السورية التي “تهاوشت” على صيدها السعودية وقطر ونجت بجلدها.. قراءة في المقابلة التلفزيونية للشيخ حمد بن جاسم وما اذا كانت ادت اغراضها في ارضاء السعودية والنتائج التي يمكن ان تترتب عليها | رأي اليوم
    http://www.raialyoum.com/?p=768797

    #syrie #qatar


  • Free Passage Deal For ISIS In Raqqa - U.S. Denies Involvement - Video Proves It Lies
    http://www.moonofalabama.org


    الرقة تذبح بصمت‏@Raqqa_SL
    30 buses + 10 trucks were used to transfer #ISIS fighters from #Raqqa city yesterday afternoon .
    https://twitter.com/Raqqa_SL/status/919852067417739264
    https://twitter.com/Raqqa_SL/status/919852067417739264

    After free passage negotiations with the U.S. and its Kurdish proxy forces, ISIS is moving its fighters out of Raqqa city. When the Syrian government reached similar agreements the U.S. childishly criticized it. The U.S. coalition claims that it was “not involved in the discussions” that led to the Raqqa free passage agreement. A BBC News report shows that the opposite is true.


  • Mapping the Battle Against ISIS in Deir Ezzor
    https://www.newsdeeply.com/syria/articles/2017/09/26/mapping-the-battle-against-isis-in-deir-ezzor

    In recent weeks, the so-called Islamic State has suffered a string of defeats in eastern Syria. It has lost swaths of territory in Deir Ezzor city to advancing pro-Syrian government forces and has been driven from villages and oil fields on the eastern banks of the Euphrates River by a U.S.-backed paramilitary group.

    The two simultaneous but separate offensives by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and Syrian government loyalists may have resulted in quick gains in their first few weeks, but fighting is ongoing in many parts of the province, much of which remains under complete militant control.

    ISIS still controls roughly 74 percent of the Deir Ezzor province and commands two main strongholds in the areas of Boukamal and Mayadin, south of the provincial capital. The group also controls a resource-rich region east of the Euphrates River that contains most of the oil and gas fields in the province.

    With a long and grueling campaign still underway to expel the militant group from its last bastion in Syria, Syria Deeply examines the battle for Deir Ezzor by looking at the main groups, their objectives and their advances in the region.


  • Damascus says Syrian Kurdish autonomy negotiable : report
    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-syria-kurds/damascus-says-syrian-kurdish-autonomy-negotiable-report-idUSKCN1C10TJ

    BEIRUT (Reuters) - The Syrian government is open to negotiations with Kurds over their demand for autonomy within Syria’s borders, the foreign minister has said, striking a conciliatory tone as military tensions worsen between the sides in eastern Syria.

    Walid al-Moualem said the government could discuss the Kurdish demand once Islamic State is defeated, state news agency SANA reported, citing an interview with Russia Today.

    “This topic is open to negotiation and discussion and when we are done eliminating Daesh (Islamic State), we can sit with our Kurdish sons and reach an understanding on a formula for the future,” Moualem said.

    #Kurdes #Syrie


  • MoA - Syria - Russia Accusing U.S. Of Attacks, Abduction Attempts, Team-play With Al-Qaeda
    http://www.moonofalabama.org/2017/09/syria-russia-accuses-us-of-attacks-direct-coordination-with-al-qaeda.

    The U.S. wants to keep Syrian government forces away from the oil fields north of the Euphrates. It has plans to build and control a Kurdish proto-state in north-east Syria and control over the eastern Deir Ezzor oil would give such a state the necessary economic base.

    But the U.S. has too few proxy forces available to actually take the oil area away from the Islamic State. Only the Syrian army has enough resources in the area. The U.S. is now cheating, attacking Syrian-Russian forces, and rushing to get an advantage. According to the Russians the U.S. Kurdish proxies have even stopped the fight against ISIS in Raqqa and moved forces from that area to take the oil in the east. I doubt that Syria and Russia will allow that to happen without taking measures to counter it.

    With the al-Qaeda diversion attack in north-west Syria defeated and more reserves available the Syrian alliance should think about a fast air-assault on the oil fields. As soon as the oil wells are under Syrian government control and the ISIS presence eliminated the U.S. has no more excuse to continue the current deadly game.


  • Le savon d’Alep ?

    Je me suis demandée comment, alors que la guerre en Syrie s’éternise faisant des victimes de plus en plus nombreuses, que les populations qui le peuvent fuient les violences, on peut encore trouver du savon d’Alep en France made in Syria.

    Dans cet article de 2014, le pays exporte ses stocks qui étaient conséquents mais depuis 2014 ils ont dus disparaitre.
    http://www.lefigaro.fr/mon-figaro/2014/04/25/10001-20140425ARTFIG00297-le-savon-d-alep-emporte-par-la-guerre-civile-en-s

    Dans cet article de 2016, les stocks syriens sont épuisés et les savons dits d’Alep sont fabriqués dans d’autres pays.
    http://www.francetvinfo.fr/monde/revolte-en-syrie/syrie-le-savon-d-alep-une-fabrication-menacee-mais-toujours-vivante_140

    Pourtant, celui que j’achète à la Biocoop est made in Syria. Hier j’ai regardé dans les rayons de Nature & Découvertes, leurs savons d’Alep sont aussi made in Syria.

    Spécialistes de la région, savez-vous si la productions des savons en Syrie continue, et si oui, à qui elle profite ?

    • • en février 2017, la réponse est de Turquie, mais ça reviendra

      Aleppo soap : Balsam from a war zone - Qantara.de
      https://en.qantara.de/content/aleppo-soap-balsam-from-a-war-zone

      Although the mere mention of the city of Aleppo conjures up images of war and destruction, Aleppo soap is flying off the shelves in Germany’s organic shops and supermarkets. But how does this popular product get from war-torn Syria to Germany? And is it really made in Aleppo?

      En juillet 2017, il vient d’Alep, à condition de choisir les bons fournisseurs (sans faire de pub aux interviewés…)

      • à Lyon
      Syrians sell Aleppo soap in France | All media content | DW | 13.07.2017
      http://www.dw.com/en/syrians-sell-aleppo-soap-in-france/av-39626681

      Syrians sell Aleppo soap in France
      In war-torn Syria, hundreds of people in Aleppo survive by making laurel soap and exporting it to France. The city is famous for its Aleppo soap, which is made by hand using olive oil, lye and laurel oil.

      • à Montréal
      Soap from Aleppo resurfaces — a sign of hope | Montreal Gazette
      http://montrealgazette.com/news/local-news/soap-from-aleppo-resurfaces-in-montreal-a-sign-of-hope

      Some soap artisans survived in the shadows, however, and have begun to rebuild their factories in Aleppo. They are a glimmer of hope for those who stayed in Syria — and those watching from abroad — that the situation there will get better. 
      […]
      The price of both olive oil and laurel oil skyrocketed, said Tarzi-Bachi. But getting the finished product to the Mediterranean coast for export also became much more expensive — and dangerous.

      My costs went way up,” she said. “All the routes were blocked. We had to pay off either the (government) soldiers or the Islamist factions to get through to Latakia or Tartus (cities in Syria).
      […]
      Even before the siege of Aleppo was lifted, however, a few soap makers began rebuilding, Tarzi-Bachi said, including Ali Miri. He reopened his factory in downtown Aleppo, an area already under government control, in January 2016, six months before the siege was over.
      […]
      The ongoing war and sanctions against the Syrian government also mean that getting the soap to Canada has been a formidable bureaucratic challenge, however.

      Sharbo’s container of herbs from Syria — including za’atar and thyme — arrived in Montreal last month but was held for inspection at the Port of Montreal for 22 days, Sharbo said. He had to pay $6,000 in customs duties and inspection fees.

      Tarzi-Bachi said it took her a whole year to secure a special permit to import soap from Aleppo. It was her second time applying for a permit, which the Canadian government has made contingent on the ability to prove one is not working with any of the warring factions inside Syria, she said. Starting in 2011, Canada has prohibited all imports from and exports to Syria, except with a special permit (food is exempted).

    • Les stocks, effectivement, avec des trajets totalement délirants pour faire sortir la marchandise jusqu’à la reprise d’Alep par l’armée syrienne comme le signale Simplicissimus. Le « savon d’Alep » est aussi fabriqué dans la zone qui se trouve entre Lattakié et Alep, avec des situations très différentes mais, dans certains cas, relativement propices au négoce (pour peu qu’on ait les bonnes relations).

    • Au delà de ses propriétés émulsifiantes bien connues, le savon est aussi utilisé pour ses qualités lubrifiantes, en ébénisterie par exemple un tiroir un peu trop ajusté retrouvera une fluidité d’usage en frottant un savon sur ces flancs. De là à penser que certains pourraient lubrifier les tiroirs-caisses voire des culasses de Kalach... avec des savonnettes, c’est une question qui mérite d’être posée.
      Mais au fond j’espère que ça sert juste à mettre un peu de beurre dans d’hypothétiques épinards, pour des gens qui en ont bien besoin.