Dit was nog van 13 januari.quote:Israel Strikes Iran-Linked Targets in Syria. Dozens reported to be killed in one of Israel’s biggest attacks on Iran-backed militias
Israeli warplanes carried out airstrikes early Wednesday in eastern Syria, killing dozens of people according to independent war monitors, in one of its deadliest raids on sites used by Iran-backed militias.
The strikes took place at several locations, including in and near the cities of Deir Ezzour, Mayadeen and al-Boukamal on the Syria-Iraq border, according to Syria’s state news agency SANA. The strikes targeted Syrian government positions, weapons depots and pro-Iranian militias, according to Syrian state media and Suhaib Jaber, who heads Euphrates Post, an independent war monitor.
Around 40 members of forces allied with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad were killed in the strike, according to Omar Abu Layla, who heads the activist network Deir Ezzor24.
quote:Kabinet stemt in met onderzoek naar hulp aan gewapende milities in SyriŽ
Het kabinet laat onafhankelijk onderzoek doen naar het eigen steunprogramma aan gewapende milities in SyriŽ. Dat schrijft minister Stef Blok vrijdag aan de Tweede Kamer.
quote:Once synonymous with combat fatigues and weapons, Abu Mohammad al-Jolani has undergone an image change, with the Syrian jihadi this month photographed wearing a western-style business suit.
Jolani is the commander of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), the Islamist militants that rules the northwestern region of Idlib, the final bastion of revolutionary opposition to President Bashar al-Assad of Syria after nearly a decade of civil war.
His wardrobe transformation is part of a deliberate rebranding by the group, designated a terrorist organisation by the US and Turkey, as the most powerful Islamist militants in Syria since Isis try to secure a political future for themselves.
Jolani was for many the face of notorious al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra, since merged into HTS and no longer formally connected to al-Qaeda. HTS wants to convince the international community that Idlib is not — as a US official once called it — “the largest al-Qaeda safe haven since 9/11”.
“They know that’s their only chance for survival . . . to become . . . more moderate . . . more palatable to Turkey and the international community,” said a European diplomat in Beirut.
Navvar Shaban, an analyst at Istanbul think-tank Omran Centre for Strategic Studies, described the rebranding as a “PR campaign showing they’re more willing to have some kind of international negotiation with everyone”.
This month International Crisis Group urged Washington to seek ways for the group to prove itself a legitimate partner and eventually “shed its ‘terrorist’ label”. It argues that the label undermines the ceasefire between Russia, which backs Assad, and Turkey, which supports the opposition, that followed a regime advance on Idlib last year.
quote:Under its control the region “looks like a conservative, Islamist society which is undemocratic”, said Khalifa. “But it doesn’t look like a lawless area controlled by a militia.” On a recent visit, Khalifa said, she had noticed that walls carrying jihadi slogans had been whitewashed over.
The group has not enforced strict religious rules in Idlib. Women are not forced to cover their faces and people are allowed to smoke. It has even allowed an investor to spend $300,000 building an entertainment complex named after a quintessentially American brand — Disneyland.
https://www.al-monitor.co(...)y-assad-koblenz.htmlquote:German court convicts ex-Syrian regime officer in historic case
Eyad al-Gharib, a former low-ranking officer in Syria's intelligence services, was sentenced to four and a half years in prison for aiding and abetting crimes against humanity.
https://www.wsj.com/artic(...)-militia-11614299547quote:Biden Orders U.S. Airstrike in Syria, Targeting Iran-Backed Militia
Airstrike follows deadly rocket attacks against U.S. forces in Iraq earlier this month