Lebanese Army nears victory over Daesh

In this photo released by Lebanon's official government photographer Dalati Nohra, Lebanese Army Commander Gen. Joseph Aoun, center, explains to Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, lower center, about the situation at front line, where the Lebanese army is engaged in a battle against Daesh militants, in Das Baalbek, northeast Lebanon, on Wednesday. (AP)
Updated 24 August 2017
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Lebanese Army nears victory over Daesh

BEIRUT: The Lebanese Army needs to liberate Martbia, Siraj Hiqab Al-Shir and Al-Shahut in the barrens of Ras Baalbek and Al-Qaa to declare victory over Daesh, a Lebanese military source told Arab News.
The Lebanese military command said in a statement that there is “no cease-fire with the terrorist group until their full defeat.”
The source said on Wednesday, the fifth day of Operation Barrens’ Dawn, the army was “clearing the liberated areas from mines… and made them secure after strengthening the military belt around them.”
The army had succeeded in previous days in restricting the militants to a small geographic area of about 20 sq. km. They only had the Martbia crossing to withdraw toward Syria.
The Lebanese Army command mourned Staff Sgt. Walid Mahmoud Freij, who died of injuries he received on the first day of the operation while removing a land mine.
Meanwhile, military operations continued on the Syrian side on Wednesday. Hezbollah said its fighters and the Syrian Army destroyed a Daesh command center in Jib Khawlah, south of the Sin Fikha crossing in western Qalamun.
Hezbollah media reported that they entered Mira crossing, which links the barrens of Qara and Ras Baalbek via Sin Fikha, and that the total area captured amounted to 30 sq. km.

Al-Hariri visit
Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Al-Hariri visited the barracks of the army’s second land border regiment in Ras Baalbek.
Along with the commander of the army, Gen. Joseph Aoun, and senior officers, Al-Hariri inspected the military operation room and was updated on developments. The prime minister and Aoun also inspected army positions on the frontlines.
In a press conference at the barracks, Al-Hariri expressed the “firm support of the whole government of the heroic army, which is conducting a difficult task.”
He said: “Those terrorists who claim to be Muslims have nothing to do with Islam or any other religion. Their only religion is murder and explosions, and God willing, we’ll get rid of them and victory is near.”
Al-Hariri told soldiers: “You’re the ones who decide the timing of this victory, because you know when the operation should finish.”
Concerning the participation of Hezbollah in the military operation, Al-Hariri said: “The Lebanese Army is responsible for the Lebanese borders and their protection. There are battles on the other side (of the border), and when we protect our borders we won’t let anyone enter Lebanese territories.”
When asked whether the army was “incapable” of liberating the barrens of Arsal from Jabhat Fateh Al-Sham (JFS), so “Hezbollah did the job,” he replied: “The army wasn’t incapable. We had a political decision and different calculations as a government and army. We put everything on the table, and we had the priority of protecting the displaced and the Lebanese. The army… achieved great success at that. Its artillery played an essential role in the battle.”
Al-Hariri said all Lebanese political parties “won’t allow any political differences to affect the stability of Lebanon, its economy and security.”


Assad accused of ‘using urban development law to carry out ethnic cleansing’

Pro-government forces stand in the destroyed Thalateen Street in the Yarmuk Palestinian refugee camp on the southern outskirts of the capital Damascus on May 24, 2018, as civilians return to see their homes after the regime seized the camp and adjacent neighborhoods of Tadamun and Hajar al-Aswad earlier in the week from the Daesh group. (AFP / LOUAI BESHARA)
Updated 27 May 2018
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Assad accused of ‘using urban development law to carry out ethnic cleansing’

  • he so-called “Law 10” allows the regime to acquire previously private property in which to create zoned developments, and to compensate the owners with shares in the new projects.
  • Many of the displaced have lost the necessary paperwork, are struggling financially or may not learn of the legal requirements in time.

JEDDAH: The Assad regime in Syria was accused on Saturday of using a new law on urban development to carry out and rid the country of all political opposition.

The so-called “Law 10” allows the regime to acquire previously private property in which to create zoned developments, and to compensate the owners with shares in the new projects.

However, after a seven-year war that has created more than 5 million refugees and 6 million internally displaced people, property rights are in a state of confusion. Many of the displaced have lost the necessary paperwork, are struggling financially or may not learn of the legal requirements in time.

The Assad regime is using the confusion to create a suitable environment for demographic change, Syrian opposition spokesman Yahya Al-Aridi told Arab News. 

“The regime has a two-fold goal,” he said. “First, terrorize the opposition and supporters of the Syrian revolution so that they lose the right to their properties.

“Second, there is talk of reconstruction in Syria now. This law sends out a message to investors that their interests lie with the regime. It is an attempt to tempt companies and business people to support the regime, because the regime is the only party that approves bids and gives grants and contracts. All this merely adds to the Syrians’ plight and misery.”

Al-Aridi said the attempted land grab was being resisted by European countries, especially France and Germany. “The Syrian Negotiating Committee is also exerting a very important effort so that such an evil act will not happen,” he said. 

Also on Saturday, the US warned Damascus it would take “firm action” if the regime violates a cease-fire deal, after Syrian aircraft dropped leaflets on a southern province in advance of an expected offensive.

Al-Aridi said any such offensive would be a breach of agreements between Russia and the US on de-escalation zones, and he warned the regime and Iran against “playing games” with the US. “Such threats are part of a response to the two unanswered Israeli attacks on Iran’s military positions in Syria,” he said.

“They area also meant to divert attention from the American-Israeli intent to kick Iranian militias and forces out of Syria.”

He said the regime and Iran could do nothing without Russian support. “We don’t think the Russians are willing to provide such support, or to mess with the US or Israel. Parallel to such threats, Assad is trying to make certain reconciliation agreements with what they call ‘Syrians in liberated areas.’ We believe that they cannot do anything of the sort.”