Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is feeling strengthened as international pressure on his regime appears to ease amid growing Western fears of an Islamist takeover and unwavering Russian support, analysts say.
This is alarming as there’s no end in sight in the Syrian conflict. The President won’t step down and it looks like he will run in the next Presidential elections. Rebel gains are at a whim and Qaeda backed groups such as al-Nursa and ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) are gaining power. And hundreds are dying each day, many fleeing to add to a growing number of refugees.
11:30 // 1 month ago
Villagers in Diyala Province saw much death during the worst of Iraq’s carnage over the past decade, but they say what is happening now is far worse.
The orange archway at the entrance to this farming community welcomes visitors in “peace.” The lush palm groves are heavy with ripe dates. For generations, Shiite and Sunni families worked the land, earning a living from their sheep and cows, their wheat fields and lemon trees.
On a recent morning, though, the only talk was of how to stop them from killing one another. The latest strategy: new concrete walls with separate entryways for the different sects.
“So there’s a Sunni way in, and a Shiite way in,” Abu Jassim, a Sunni resident who recently fled his home after sectarian revenge killings by Shiite gunmen, explained to a local representative in Parliament.
And now on Saturday September 21st, Reuters reports at least 65 were killed in an attack that involved three bombs at a Sadr City Shiite funeral gathering. While the focus is on Syria, the ongoing divisive and highly sectarian violence in Iraq is alarming as it confirms that Syria’s war is continuing to inflame conflicts in neighboring countries (also signal in Lebanon, and so on).
10:00 // 2 months ago
Iraq’s al Qaeda wing has united with a kindred Syrian group in the frontline of a struggle to oust President Bashar al-Assad, sharpening a dilemma for nations that back the revolt, but fear rising Islamist militancy.
The leader of the Islamic State of Iraq, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, said his group had trained and funded fighters from Syria’s al-Nusra Front - which is blacklisted by the United States - since the early days of the two-year-old uprising.
He said in a statement posted on Islamist websites and seen by Reuters on Tuesday that the two groups would operate under the joint title of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.
While the group’s work with other Syrian opposition forces is well-documented, the continued presence of al-Qaeda in Syria among rebel forces is unlikely to sway those debating whether or not to increase monetary/military support for those opposing the Assad regime.
15:07 // 8 months ago