SDF spokesman issues rebuttal to Syrian Armed Opposition Commander: “‘Afrin will be your graves!”

The news story below is one of many reports of statements made by the SDF spokesman Talal Ali Silo. The SDF are based in the North Eastern part of Syria, cut off from the PYD, currently fighting alongside the Syrian regime against the opposition in Aleppo. Some analysts have previously claimed that the two Syrian Kurdish groups are separate geographically and militarily, making unproblematic for countries like the US and other Western countries to support the Syrian Armed Opposition and the Syrian Democratic Forces. However, the solidarity between YPG in Aleppo and Hasakeh is clear, and in spite of the contradiction in US policy concerning Syria. This contradiction is illustrated by the article below, in which an SDF spokesman (US-backed and militarily supported comprising mostly of YPG) is answering to threats made by a Syrian Opposition commander in Aleppo (part of an alliance of groups who are being directly supported by the US).

SDF spokesman issues rebuttal to Syrian Armed Opposition Commander: “‘Afrin will be your graves!” – 11 of August 2016

Gaziantep (Qasioun news agency)  – The Kurdish news network “Kurdstreet” reported statements made by “Talal Silo”, the official spokesperson for the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), in reply to the statements of “Fath Halab” [Conquest of Aleppo] operations room commander.

Major “Yaser Abdul Rahim”, the commander of the operations room, part of the Syrian opposition, said in statements exclusive to Qasioun that the opposition “won’t leave the Castello road in the hands of regime forces and the People’s Protection Units (YPG)”, at the end of which he promised to “avenge the blood of the fallen opposition members who were killed while fleeing by the YPG, part of the Syrian Democratic Forces”.

The SDF spokesman Mr Silo said that these threats “are nothing new, and shows the level of cooperation between the Syrian opposition and foreign governments”, according to Kurdstreet reports.

Silo then turned to those who are supporting the opposition, saying “their movement seeks to spread discord within society” underlining that his forces are capable of answering the threats with force “‘Afrin will be your graves, if you are considering attacking it”.

In his statements, Silo also disputed the BBC reports that British special forces are present on Syrian territory to fight the Islamic state group, saying “there are no British forces present in the country”, emphasising that “there is limited support of military experts and advisors, as for the participation of some people from European countries and the US”, he added “is purely personally motivated, and not state sanctioned”.

The president of the European Center for Kurdish Studies, Eva Savelsburg warned of the the abuses the PYD are committing on civilians in the areas under their control in Syria.

Savelsburg, researcher and president of the centre based in Germany that has conducted research on Syrian Kurds for 17 years, said that the war in Syria cannot serve as a justification for the human rights abuses that the PYD is committing, especially the oppression and execution of the population, journalists and Kurdish politicians. Savelsburg added that the centre has launched a campaign called “No to child soldiers in the PYD” in order to deter the PYD from enlisting children pushing them into battle with the Islamic State group.

The German researcher said that the abuses that the PYD are committing are similar to those the regime of Bashar al-Asad have also committed in Syria. She compared the regime that the PYD has set up to that of the Syrian ruling party. Savelsburg added that the PYD rose up in a revolution against al-Asad at the beginning of 2011, during which the regime killed thousands of those who took part in the protests, made millions homeless outside of the country.

This is happening at a time during which the Syrian Democratic Forces, whose core is made up of the YPG (an arm of the PYD), announced that is close to securing complete control over Manbij in the Aleppo countyside, from the Islamic State Group.




Activists from the Idlib countryside meet to form a unified political entity

Written by Abdal Razzaq Al-Sabih, published on Kulluna Shuraka’ on Sunday 10 January 2016.

Activists from the Idlib southern countryside finished their conference yesterday, the 9th of January, under the banner “For the sake of a unified political decision”, with the aim of forming a new unified political entity, which will consult with all armed groups in the Idlib countryside.

A large number of human rights activists, political activists, members of organisations, NGOs and local council, for the sake of writing an inclusive plan for unified political work — on the Idlib provincial level.

Several meetings of this kind have been held in many areas of the Idlib countryside, like a conference in the city of Binnish, one held in the Jisr Al-Shugour area [made famous in international media through 2015 for the great gains rebel factions made against the regime in this area], as well as other conferences held in different areas of the Idlib countryside. Attendance was registered in all of the sessions, to assemble a summary of the decisions reached at the conferences in the whole province. All of this was gathered into one document for a general future vision, which can be realised in the future.


Photo Credit: Kulluna Shuraka’

The common denominator in all of the conferences was the condition of Bashar Al-Asad, and other symbols of the regime, to step down before negotiating a political solution. The attendees of the conferences agreed with the decisions of an opposition negotiating body [created in the Riyadh meetings in December], talking with the Syrian regime, so long as the Authority’s decision serve the Syrian revolution.

Lately, different political movements, organisations and different armed groups have appeared on the political scene in the Idlib countryside, each with their own public service institutions.


Jaysh Al-Fath emblem Photo Credit: Wikipedia/Creative Commons

Recently, the armed group Jaysh Al-Fath has helped to bring back life to some service facilities. However, there are still some gaps in services at other facilities due to the disagreements between some revolutionary groups.

“We are aiming to create a unified political entity in the Idlib countryside, subordinate to no-one, consulting with all the revolutionary groups in the area” Muhammad Al-Salameh, one of the human rights activits in the south Idlib countryside said, talking to Kulluna Shuraka’.

The conference attendees also touched upon the sieges of Zabadani and Madaya, and held a moment of silence – mourning those who have died due to hunger. The activist Radwan Al-Atrash told Kulluna Shuraka’ that “We gathered donations to those who are being besieged in Zabadani and Madaya, and we hope to find a way to deliver them, where Asad’s troops, as well as militias loyal to him, have completely besieged the civilians in those two towns.”


Activists from Khan Shakhyoun … Madaya Won’t Die. 9/1/2016 Photo Credit: Kulluna Shuraka’

The activists and politicians in the Idlib countryside hope that there will be unity in their political messaging, to unite the different factions in Syria, and for the politicians to be an umbrella for the armed revolutionaries — and lastly to replicate the experience in all parts of Syria that are no longer under the Syrian regime’s control.

Article found at


Syrian opposition activists on the wanted lists of the Syrian Regime and ISIS

Originally published by Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently, on Friday 1st of January 2016.

The assassination of the Syrian journalist Naji Jerf, the editor-in-chief of the Hinta magazine, in the Turkish city of Gaziantep again stirred debate around the targeting of Syrian journalists and opposition activists abroad as well as around the actors that make use of assassinations. This assassination also brought back to mind the issue of two journalists working for “Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently” in the end of October, less than two months before this last assassination, in the Turkish city of Sanliurfa. Both were killed silently; the two victims were found in their houses. There have been numerous of other assassination attempts, some of which have been successful, and some unsuccessful, in different parts of Turkey. All of them targeted Syrian opposition members or former fighters from the Free Syrian Army.

Turkish press has pointed to the possibility of ISIS being behind those assassination attempts, as the two slain journalists in Urfa were documenting ISIS’ crimes in Raqqa, which the group has named the capital of its Caliphate. No investigation following the events has yielded any results as to the culprit. One should note that Turkish security authorities have indicated a possibility that the suspect in the case of the assassination of the two mentioned journalists, Ibrahim Abdulqader and Faris Hamadi that were killed by beheading, may have left Turkey for an area under ISIS control.


Naji Jerf (Photo Credit:

As well as this, the assassination of Naji Jerf was connected with ISIS, as he directed a film titled “ISIS in Aleppo”, in which he uncovered the actions of the group before it was ousted from the city. It has been reported that he received threats during and after filming.

Due to the ease for Syrians to enter Turkey, of which Turkish authorities announced the tightening by requiring visas for Syrians, starting from the 8th of January, a lot of regime supporters and its security apparatus move freely from and into Turkey, and try to get into contact with activists. Most of this happens with Chem Wings Airlines, owned by Bashar Al-Asad’s cousin Rami Makhlouf, which makes regular journeys between Turkey and Damascus, transporting activists close to the Syrian regime and its security agents.

There are many assassinations and kidnappings of Syrian activists on Turkish soil, however none of these operations have targeted pro-Government Syrian activists. I do not want these sorts of things to happen to anyone, as any extra-judicial punishment is unacceptable and should be condemned. Whoever demands equality before the law for himself should also demand this for others. However, the question of why no pro-Government activists have been killed needs to be asked, especially if ISIS is behind these assassinations, officially or semi-officially through implicit or explicit support on websites closely linked with ISIS. Why does ISIS not target activists who cooperate with the Syrian intelligence services who are working in Turkey?

ISIS does not hide that Syrian opposition members are at the top of its target list, calling them “agents of the Crusaders”. As a result, any assassination attempt on Syrian activists is tied to ISIS. Perhaps this is what is stimulating the relationship between ISIS and the Syrian regime. Both of them pursue the same people, to the point when you could say that there is a sort of mutual coordination between Syrian regime’s wanted list and the ISIS regime’s wanted list.

The argument that supports this suspicion is that despite the claims of Russia and Iran of fighting ISIS in Syria, the reality on the ground shows the opposite. The Russian airstrikes are targeting, for the most part, the poor people that were not able to find a safe place to hide, as well as the armed groups that are fighting ISIS.

Two fighting sides can have similar goals; there are numerous examples throughout history of this. The Soviet Union allied itself with the capitalist countries against Nazism, which it saw as a greater threat. So, it is not strange for the Regime to ally itself with ISIS, because it considers the democratic opposition a greater threat. The great calamity is the claim of both sides that they are fighting each other, and the casualties are poor innocent people. Perhaps the latest news about the Syrian regime’s agreement with ISIS to exit south Damascus, headed for the capital of the Caliphate, with Russian air cover, without any fighting, is nothing but the latest of many cases of these similar goals. Who is it that really let them enter into an area that the regime was besieging, anyway?


Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently.

The goal from the beginning was for the regime to show an example worse than itself, so the world can compare the two and come to the conclusion that the Syrian regime is better than ISIS and in turn support the regime. However, the democratic forces, or those forces that have been called ‘moderate’, especially those forces that do not belong to the Sunni majority, like Naji Jerf, complicate these plans. The Syrian regime put Naji’s name onto the death list, meaning to the section of the Regime’s intelligence wing, from which the majority of the Caesar photos of the victims who were killed under torture were taken, and affected the entire world — however after this only silence came.

ISIS negotiates with world in the same way that the Taliban in Afghanistan did. As a result, any alternative force or alternative to the regime has an effect on its strategy. ISIS wants to get rid of these moderate forces in any way possible in order to gain recognition.

Not only do the strategic goals and the wanted lists of the Syrian regime and ISIS align, but also the nomenclature for the accusations used by the two sides. The type of Syrian opposition members that ISIS accuses of being “agents of the Crusaders”, the Syrian regime accuses of being “agents of the West”. Perhaps this naming that the Syrian regime uses fits better with the Islamist tradition, because the Muslims during the time of the Crusaders did not use the word “Crusaders”, instead they called them the Franks.

Original source

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Nablus collects a million shekels to rebuild houses Israeli Occupation destroyed

Published by MaanNews on 13 December 2015

Nablus – Palestinian youths recently launched a campaign to rebuild homes, which have been demolished by the Occupation. On Sunday night, the campaign announced it has succeeded in collecting a million shekels worth of donations.

Mazen Al-Danbak, head of the campaign’s youth committee, told MaanNews, “The campaign was able to collect more than 800,000 shekels, roughly 200,000 of which came from mosques alone. Another roughly 200,000 shekels came from in-kind donations.” Contributions included: 5,000 dinars for construction material; furniture, electrical material, and doors; and relocation costs.

Al-Danbak confirmed the committee, which is composed of five members, has deposited all monetary donations into its national account in Nablus until such time as a decision is reached regarding how to allocate the funding. Funding will focus on helping to find accommodation for four families whose homes the Occupation Forces razed after accusing their owners of carrying out the Itamar attack that resulted in the death of one settler and his wife.

Al-Danbak added that the Occupation Forces prevent the homes from being rebuilt, so the campaign’s goal is to purchase apartments for the victims. He affirmed the campaign has largely succeeded, and now merely awaits committee procedures. He noted that Nablus has sent a firm message that Palestinian citizens are still resolute, determined, and engaged in robust community solidarity.


Translated by Christian Sorensen


(Last accessed 13 December 2015)

All journalistic rights belong to MaanNews.

Nablus trade unions launch donation drive for victims of Israeli occupation

Published by MaanNews on 12 December 2015

Nablus – On Saturday, Nablus trade unions held a rally to launch a donation drive for victims whose homes were demolished by the Israeli military occupation. The campaign, named “We’re With You”, aims to support families victimized or harmed by the Israeli Occupation.

The head of the engineers’ union, Majdi As-Saleh, affirmed the importance of community solidarity with victims of Israeli policies and crimes. He stressed the need to stand side-by-side, stick together, and project an image of communal and national unity in order to disrupt the Occupation’s plans and crimes, which aim to undermine the Palestinian national spirit.

The assembly of union workers had earlier announced holding Friday prayers in the engineering union headquarters – with hundreds of different representatives and engineers from national organizations, local institutions, and service industries – followed by the donation drive’s launch. The drive will continue for one full week. Interested parties may donate unlimited amounts at the union headquarters in Nablus.

Translated by Christian Sorensen


(Last accessed 12 December 2015)

All journalistic rights belong to MaanNews.


Razan Yaseen: I dream of being a pro and representing my country abroad

Published by MaanNews on 10 December 2015

Nablus – Razan Yaseen is quite the athlete. She plays many sports, including basketball, handball, and track & field. A student in the West Bank village of ‘Asira Ash-Shamali, Razan says her dream is to be a famous coach and professional athlete who will help improve Palestine’s performance at local, regional and international athletic competitions. “Cooperation and sportsmanship are our secrets for success in provincial championship play,” Razan admits.

“The games I love to practice are volleyball, basketball, handball, and track & field events like the triple jump. I began practicing sports at age eleven. Two coaches – Maha Samara and Ibtisam Hamadna – soon discovered my talent. My sisters and friends were a big help in improving my game. I love these sports so much, and now they’re a huge part of me. I practice a ton.

“I got my start in running. Soon I got into volleyball, basketball, handball, and the triple jump in school. In no time, I made the team in these sports, winning many local and regional West Bank championships and titles throughout my time in school. I really hope to continue to do well athletically and eventually become part of the Palestinian national team. It would be a huge honor to represent my country in one of these awesome games.”


Name: Razan Sameer Yaseen

Age: 15

All-Girls School: Jawaharlal Nehru, ‘Asira Ash-Shamali

Coaches: Maha Samara and Ibtisam Hamadna



Translated by Christian Sorensen


(last accessed 10 December 2015)

All journalistic rights belong to MaanNews.

Nablus vigil in solidarity with child prisoners

Published by MaanNews on 9 December 2015

Nablus – Hundreds of students, many from a local Nablus convent, participated in the solidarity vigil as part of an international campaign supporting child prisoners. A group of students spoke during the vigil, calling on the U.N. Secretary General pressure Israel to release child prisoners being held in Israeli Occupation jails.

Ra’id ‘Amir spoke on behalf of the Palestinian Prisoners Association, affirming the importance of student participation in the international campaign, which was launched in order to secure child prisoners’ release.

Mr. ‘Amir pointed to the solidarity campaign’s slogan – “give us space to learn” – emphasizing Palestinian children’s right to education, just like the rest of the world’s children. He added that the campaign will include all countries of the world in cooperation with civil society organizations and human rights groups. Mr. ‘Amir called upon all such institutions throughout the world to join in the campaign supporting child prisoners.


Translated by Christian Sorensen


(Last accessed 9 December 2015)

All journalistic rights belong to MaanNews.