Tuesday, May 13, 2014

War Watch May 13 , 2014 -- Taliban starts their annual Spring Offensive ( Presidents may come and go but the Taliban remains. ) ....... Iraq death dealing continues unabated as Iraq attempts to maintain the appearance of control even as jihadists turn parts of Anbar Province of Iraq and adjoining Syria into a ISIS no man's land ...... Iran nuclear talks continue ( can the US decide what it actually wants to accomplish - a resolution or war with Iran too ? Syria updates on the war with insurgetns / freedom fighters / mercenaries /jihadists rolls on , the in- fighting between various opposition groups displacing the fighting against Syria's Government it appears at times !


Taliban Attacks Hit Afghanistan Is ‘Spring Offensive’ Begins

10 Killed in Jalalabad Attack

by Jason Ditz, May 12, 2014
The Taliban announced the beginning of their “Spring offensive” last week, and it began in earnest today, with a major attack in the city of Jalalabad leaving at least 10 people dead, and other attacks reportedly on the outskirts of Kabul.
The Taliban statement said this year’s offensive would focus on foreigners in the country as well as the Afghan government and its employees. The Jalalabad attack targeted a Justice Ministry building.
The attacks around Kabul focused on military buildings, and rockets were fired against a military compound near the airport. The exact toll of this incident was unclear.

Iraq ......

47 Killed, 80 Wounded in Fresh Iraq Attacks
by , May 12, 2014
The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS) is now, according to reports, killing more Syrian rebels than is the Syrian army. This is the group that has taken over parts of Anbar province and is attempting to take over more or Iraq. They are also known as ad-Dawla al-Islāmiyya fi al-’Irāq wa-sh-Shām (DAASH).
Although there were fewer reports from Anbar today, there were plenty from other provinces. At least 47 people were killed and 80 more were wounded.
In Anbar:
Clashes took place in FallujaTwo people were killed and 11 more were wounded by artillery.
In Baghdad, a bomb killed four people and wounded 17 more in the Shabb district.Two gunmen were killedThree dumped bodies were found. Seven lawyers werekidnapped from their office.
Two soldiers were killed and five more were wounded when gunmen fired upon aLatifiya checkpoint.
Mortars in nearby Yusufiya killed one person and wounded seven more.
Two policemen were killed as they tried to defuse a bomb in Jurf al-Sakhar. Another bomb killed an army captain and wounded 10 soldiers.
An I.E.D. in Mahmoudiya killed one civilian and wounded seven more.
In Madaen, gunmen killed two people.
civilian was killed in Hilla.
A roadside bomb in Tarmiya killed three soldiers and wounded five more.
A sticky bomb killed a policeman in Meshahda.
In Mosul, a bomb killed a soldier and wounded three others, including a civilian. Two soldiers were wounded in a second blast. Another bomb wounded four soldiers. Security forces killed three gunmen.


Iraq: 178 Killed, 67 Wounded As Militants and Soldiers Attack Each Other
by , May 11, 2014
Many were killed during security operations in Anbar province. These figures cannot be independently confirmed, but they could be much higher or much lower than what the army is reporting. At least 178 were killed and 67 were wounded.
In Anbar:
Security forces reported killing at least 100 militants in the Falluja region. Eleven were wounded in Saqlawiya, while 10 more were wounded in the city.
Also in Falluja, militants kidnapped then killed 22 soldiers. The Iraq army may be using barrel bombs, which is against international conventions. Shelling killed two people and wounded 11 more.
Two areas of Jurf al-Sakhar, in neighboring Babel province, were recovered from militant control.
Militants killed 20 soldiers sometime this week at an army base in Ein al-Jahash. The soldiers had been executed, perhaps kidnapped, and some were bound before being killed.
Gunmen attacked a police station in Baaj were they killed six policemen and wounded three more.
Seven Sahwa members were gunned down at an Adhaim checkpoint.
Gunmen killed five security personnel on vacation in Ishmait.
Near Kirkuk, gunmen killed four soldiers and wounded another at a checkpoint.
Security forces killed a bomber in Baghdad. A civilian was gunned down. Mortar fireinjured a woman, while a sticky bomb killed a cab driver.
A roadside bomb killed one policeman and wounded three more in Dawr.
A sniper in Saniya killed a soldier.
suicide bomber in Abbasid wounded ten family members, including a colonel.
Gunmen wounded three soldiers at a checkpoint in Saidiya.
In Baiji, a bomb wounded two officers.
Gunmen kidnapped a police officer in Albu Ajeel, but they also wounded his fatherin the process.


Vienna Talks With Iran Seek ‘Grand Compromise’

State Dept: Comfortable With Talks on Deal

by Jason Ditz, May 12, 2014
Beginning Tuesday in Vienna, the P5+1 are starting a particularly important new round of nuclear talks with Iran, this time focusing on drafting a “grand compromise” that will be the basis for a final settlement.
The State Department insists they are “absolutely comfortable” with starting work on the draft deal, saying they think it is at least possible for a deal to be finalized by July 20, when the interim pact expires.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) say that Iran has been “ahead of schedule” in implementing the interim deal, and has been cooperating closely with them on answering questions.
Israel has been loudly opposing the idea of a final nuclear deal, and lobbying Congress to block any US involvement in any pact. The Obama Administration has tried to calm this lobbying by downplaying the chances of a deal.



‘Panic’ in Homs’s besieged al-Waer amidst bombs, snipers
The Syrian army bombarded the Homs district of al-Waer with heavy machine guns and barrel bombs early Tuesday morning, according to pro-opposition Sham News Network, as government forces continue their attempt to seize control of Homs’s last rebel-held neighborhood. Tuesday’s attacks come after the regime shelled the al-Jazeerat a-Sabaa neighborhood along al-Waer’s western flank on Tuesday, according to an al-Waer based activist who calls herself Judy al-Homsi, adding that government snipers have surrounded the district and are targeting civilians inside of it. “There are a huge number of women and children in al-Waer, and a constant state of panic due to snipers’ use of exploding cylinders,” al-Homsi told Syria Direct on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, the opposition Syrian National Coalition issued a statement condemning ongoing government attacks in northern Homs province. "The regime’s shelling of the town of Addar al-Kabira north of Homs, to where rebels of Homs retreated in line with a deal organized by the UN, makes evident the falsity of the truces that the Assad regime seeks to promote,” said Coalition representative Nasser Hariri Monday.
Last week, rebels inside the 13 neighborhoods of Old Homs surrendered themselves after nearly 700 days of government siege in exchange for safe passage to northern Homs province and the release of dozens of rebel-held prisoners; their surrender leaves al-Waer district, home to hundreds of thousands of displaced Syrians, the only remaining rebel-held district in Syria’s third largest city.
HRW reports five chlorine attacks in mid-April
Human Rights Watch released a report Tuesday citing “strong evidence” that Syrian government forces had launched five separate attacks using barrel bombs filled chlorine gas in three separate towns in northern Syrian, bolstering allegations made last week by the opposition Syrian National Coalition at press conference in Istanbul. “According to doctors who treated the victims and subsequently spoke to Human Rights Watch, these attacks killed at least 11 people and resulted in symptoms consistent with exposure to chlorine in nearly 500 other people,” HRW writes. Among the incidents was an April 21 attack on the town of Telmans in southeastern Idlib governorate “that killed 3 people and affected an estimated 133.”
HRW’s report largely corresponds with statements from the Syrian opposition’s Interim Defense Minister Asaad Mustafa at a May 7 press conference, in which he charged that government helicopters had dropped two chlorine-filled barrel bombs on Telmans on April 21, killing a six-year-old girl and affecting 400. Chlorine was not specifically included on the list of chemicals to be removed from Syria per a September 2013 agreement, but its use as a weapon is banned under an international treaty joined by Syria in October 2013. 
Aleppo water crisis continues, Damascus blames ‘terrorists’
The Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs penned two letters on Monday to the United Nations' Secretary General and the head of the Security Council blaming opposition forces for the ongoing water crisis in the city of Aleppo, which has been deprived of clean water for nine consecutive days. "Terrorists have prevented the pumping of water through the Suleiman al-Halabi station," the ministry stated, "which is the main source of drinking water for the city—this has led to cutting access to water in all city neighborhoods.” The Foreign Ministry described the water blockade as criminal "collective punishment," which has prevented three million inhabitants from accessing clean water because of their opposition to rebel groups.
Opposition sources, meanwhile, have quoted local officials as stating that a barrel bomb attack by regime forces had polluted the city’s water supply after striking Aleppo’s water facilities. “The reason for the water interruption goes back to regime shelling of the a-Sakhour Transfer Station with barrel bombs,” engineer Amr Mohammed told Syria Direct. Pro-opposition Halab News Network reported that between 200 and 300 cases of poisoning—due to drinking from dirty wells—have been registered at the Aleppo University Hospital.
Rights group: Regime killed 145 in April attacks on markets
The Syrian Network for Human Rights announced the publication of a new report on Monday detailing the Syrian government’s practice of bombing of public markets. The report, based on eyewitness testimony from seven residents of targeted areas, and on videos and pictures sent to the SNHR by activists, states that the regime has recently escalated its campaign of systematically bombing markets across Syria.
People run upon hearing a nearby plane bombing during a protest against Syrian President al-Assad in AleppoThe Syrian Network for Human Rights claims four attacks targeting Syrian markets in April killed 145 people. Photo courtesy of SNHR.
Between April 2 and May 1, government forces bombed four markets in Aleppo, Outer Aleppo and Outer Damascus, resulting in 145 dead and 210 wounded. Of the dead, SNHR claims that 141 were civilians. “There was no hint of discrimination or balance in this use of force, or any warning prior to the attacks,” charges SNHR. “All this is a clear violation of international humanitarian law, reaching the level of war crimes.”


Regime tries to take al-Waer, last rebel-held district of Homs
Rebels forces battled government troops in part of the al-Waer district of Homs Monday, pro-opposition activists Hassan Abu al-Zain told Syria Direct Tuesday, as “government forces attempted to seize the area, resulting in two martyrs and a number of wounded peoples.”
The fighting took place in the al-Jazeera al-Sabaa neighborhood of the rebel-held, government-encircled al-Waer. The pro-opposition Youth Coalition of the Revolution confirmed the battle, adding government troops had targeted al-Waer with heavy machine guns in addition to mortar shelling. Meanwhile, pro-government newspaper al-Watan reported that regime forces had “destroyed terrorist positions” in northern Homs province.
Last week, rebels inside the 13 neighborhoods of Old Homs surrendered themselves after nearly 700 days of government siege in exchange for safe passage to northern Homs province and the release of dozens of rebel-held prisoners; their surrender leaves al-Waer district, home to hundreds of thousands of displaced Syrians, the only remaining rebel-held district in Syria’s third largest city.
Fears of poisoned water in Aleppo
The al-Jama’a Hospital in Aleppo received a number of cases of poisoning Sunday, Aleppo News Network reported, “evidently as a result of groundwater pollution” exacerbating the humanitarian crisis in Syria’s largest city. Conflicting reports have since emerged about the cause of the toxic water.
Pro-government Lebanese channel al-Mayadeen and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rightsaccused rebels from al-Qaeda-affiliated Jabhat a-Nusra of cutting the water supply after seizing a transfer station west of the city eight days ago.
Pro-opposition Shahba Press quoted a city administrator saying the city’s water had been contaminated after a barrel bomb struck the pumping station, one of two in the city. “The reason for the water interruption goes back to regime shelling of the a-Sakhour Transfer Station with barrel bombs,” said engineer Amr Mohammed. On Monday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported water was gradually returning to the city, where in recent months hundreds of thousands of citizens have fled a brutal, block-by-block battle. 
AleppoThurstChildren fill pails of water in Aleppo Tuesday as fears spread that the water supply in Syria's largest city had been contaminated. Photo courtesy of Twitter user @Yathalema.
Paris closes embassy over ‘parody’ elections
The Syrian Foreign Ministry announced Sunday that the French government had officially closed Syria’s embassy in Paris in protest over Damascus’s plans to hold presidential elections on June 3 despite widespread international condemnation and the country’s ongoing civil war.
The move will prevent Syrian citizens in Paris from casting votes in the poll. “The Foreign Ministry regrets that Syrians in France will not be able to participate in the presidential elections due to the French government’s objection,” wrote state-run SANA news agency. SANA also reported a “major protest [in Paris] condemning the French government’s unjust decision to forbid Syrians…from exercising their constitutional right to vote,” and published photographs showing several dozen citizens waving Syrian flags in a public square.
The news came Sunday as Damascus announced the start of the official campaigning period for Syria’s upcoming presidential elections, which the French government has described as a “parody of democracy.”