Jordan militant warns of Syria attacks

2012-09-09 20:41

Amman - A Jordanian militant leader linked to al-Qaeda warned on Sunday that his extremist group will launch "deadly attacks" in neighbouring Syria to topple President Bashar Assad, as Damascus lashed out at France for backing Syrian rebels.

In a speech delivered to a crowd protesting outside the prime minister's office in Amman, Mohammad al-Shalabi, better known as Abu Sayyaf, told Assad that "our fighters are coming to get you".

Abu Sayyaf is the head of the Salafi Jihadi group, which produced several al-Qaeda linked militants who fought US forces in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past 10 years. They are also blamed for the 2002 assassination of US aid worker Laurence Foley outside his Amman home.

The militant leader was himself convicted in 2004 of plotting attacks on Jordanian air bases hosting American trainers, but served his term and was released last year.

Militants linked to al-Qaeda, many from Iraq but also reportedly several from Jordan, are believed to have made inroads among Syrian rebels as the civil war their intensifies.

The warning came hours after Syrian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Jihad Makdessi criticized France, saying its growing support for the opposition does nothing but undermine the mission of the new UN envoy tasked with brokering a diplomatic solution to the conflict.

France, Syria's one-time colonial ruler, has been one of the most outspoken Western critics of the Assad regime, and announced earlier this month that it has begun sending direct aid and money to five rebel-held Syrian cities as part of its intensified efforts to weaken Assad.

It was the first such move by a Western power amid mounting calls for the international community to do more to prevent bloodshed.

French schizophrenia

Makdessi said France suffers from "schizophrenia" in its approach to the country's conflict.

"On the one hand, it supports Brahimi's mission, while at the same time it makes statements demonstrating that it supports the militarization of the crisis in Syria," Makdessi told The Associated Press.

French officials have acknowledged providing communications and other non-lethal equipment to Syrian rebel forces, but say they won't provide weapons without international agreement. France played a leading role in the international campaign against Libya's dictator Moammar Gadhafi last year.

Diplomatic efforts to solve the seemingly intractable conflict have failed so far. A peace plan by former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan never got off the ground and Annan quit his post as special UN envoy. He was replaced on 1 September by Lakhdar Brahimi, a 78-year-old former Algerian foreign minister.

Makdessi said Sunday that Syria is "fully committed to co-operating with Brahimi," adding that "the only way to make Brahimi's mission a success is the co-operation of all parties to enable him to bring about calmness and then the political process."

The Assad regime made similar public statements of cooperation when it signed on to Annan's peace plan, only to frequently ignore or outright violate its commitments by refusing to pull its troops out of cities and cease its shelling of opposition areas.

Makdessi was implicitly referring to France and Arab countries, like Saudi Arabia and Qatar, which Damascus accuses of supporting the rebel Free Syrian Army fighting Assad's military onslaught.

Makdessi said the only way to end the Syrian conflict is a "cease-fire by all parties." He said Assad's army will pull out from the streets "once there is a political process as it is now in a state of self-defense and to protect the civilians."

In Jordan, security officials say in private that Abu Sayyaf's group comprises several hundred activists. The group regularly faces crackdowns and arrests, but longterm detention without the filing of criminal charges - a tactic that has been used by other Arab states to keep radical Islamists in prison indefinitely - is not regularly used against the Islamists.

Prompts jihad

Syria's rebels enjoy widespread sympathy across Sunni Arab countries. Western officials say there is little doubt that Islamist extremists, including fighters from other Muslim countries, have made inroads in Syria as instability has spread. Al-Qaeda-style suicide bombings have become increasingly common.

Many of the foreign jihadists going to Syria are believed to come from Iraq, but in June Jordanian police said they arrested two members of Abu Sayyaf's group near the northern border as they tried to cross into Syria.

In his speech, Abu Sayyaf condemned "crimes" committed by Assad's ruling Alawite minority against the majority Sunni Muslims in Syria and said the situation there "prompts us to jihad".

"Take your dirty hands, which are stained with the blood of innocent people, off Sunni Muslims in Syria, or face our deadly attacks," he said. The crowd of about 200 responded with cries of "Allahu Akbar," or God is great.

The rally demanded the release of 40 jailed group members convicted of crimes, like Foley's assassination, links to al-Qaida and terror plots in Jordan, Afghanistan and Iraq.

The Syrian uprising, which began in March 2011 with mostly peaceful protests calling for change, has turned into a civil war. Activists put the death toll at 23 000.

Clashes in refugee camp

Meanwhile, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights - a Britain-based monitoring group - said fighting raged across Syria on Sunday, with at least 28 reported killed and scores wounded.

It said an air raid on a residential district in the commercial capital of Aleppo in the north killed at least four people, wounded several more and flattened a residential building. The Free Syrian Army said the strikes came hours after rebels overran army barracks in the Hananu neighborhood.

Activists also reported clashes between government forces and rebels in a Palestinian refugee camp on the outskirts of the capital, Damascus, in the central city of Homs, in the northern city of Idlib and in the eastern city of Deir el-Zour.

The Observatory said the heaviest fighting was taking place in Homs, where two bombs exploded in a bus, killing and wounding several military officers and civilians. It did not elaborate.

The Syrian state news agency put the death toll in the explosion at four, including a woman. It said a roadside bomb struck the bus as it was travelling toward Damascus along the Mussyaf-Homs highway.

It said the explosion wounded 35 people and left a large crater in the ground.

  • Madhi - 2012-09-09 20:54

    No amount of terrorism will deter the government to protect its people against internationally and regionally sponsored terror attacks. Pity only the peaceful civilians will suffer most, as their houses are used as military bases by these tafrirs wahabi killers.

      Shane Loxton - 2012-09-09 21:38

      one wonders what Al Qaeda has to gain from these actions

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-09-10 06:18

      It's an absurd idea that Jihadists are being supported by the West. Jihadists make up 5% to 10% of those fighting to remove Assad from unelected power.

      Shane Loxton - 2012-09-10 08:36

      Evn if that were true Fred i would like to see u buy a bos of apples with 5 or 10% of them bad

      shane.loxton - 2012-09-10 11:43

      BTW Fred, like Toos over there, who likes to google stuff put this "Al-Qaeda Leader Strikes Deal With U.S., Saudis To Send 5,000" in your google search and refute all the reports!!! If you to lazy, arrogant here's the link, we can even have it in brail for u if you blind --->,+Saudis+To+Send+5,000+Fighters+to+Syria&hl=en&prmd=ivns&ei=IqVNUIe5HMmzhAeUioCwCg&start=0&sa=N

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-09-10 14:23

      What does your first post mean? It doesn't make sense. Regarding your second post, you've already put that up here. You're believing a Jihadist terrorist. What are you thinking? It's plain stupid to believe crazed extremists. Everyone knows this.

      allcoveredinNinjas - 2012-09-10 14:41

      Alex Jones consipracy - seriously? Known fraud ?

      Shane Loxton - 2012-09-10 16:24

      once again comments but no denials or evidence given

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-09-10 16:47

      Shane believes the US attacked itself on 9/11.

      Shane Loxton - 2012-09-11 10:40

      Hey Fred records stuck again, BTW what do u base your ststement on?

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-09-11 18:13

      Your posts on this website.

  • derek.bredenkamp.3 - 2012-09-09 21:01

    agree 100% Madhi.

  • AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-09-10 00:13

    . NO amount of terrorism will deter Syria's opposition, to defeat theis assad MONSTER They are demanding THEIR country back, and they WILL succeed. FOR SURE !!!

  • AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-09-10 06:07

    .. """Most of the roughly 500,000 Palestinians in Syria initially sought to stay out of the conflict, and a Palestinian militia based in Yarmouk has stayed loyal to Mr. Assad. But some Palestinians said Sunday that the government attacks were pushing them closer to the rebels. “I advise the Assad regime not to lose the half-million Palestinian refugees in Syria,” said a 50-year-old Palestinian who gave his name as Abu Amjad, noting that he and thousands of others had combat experience in Lebanon’s civil war. “We are old fighters.” Still, Khalid, 28, a fighter near Yarmouk, insisted that despite the shelling, the rebels still controlled the streets and operated underground in Damascus. “I don’t want anything,” he said, holding his Kalashnikov rifle. “I just want to see Bashar dead with his family, who killed thousands of our people."""

  • Fidel - 2012-09-10 12:49

    Fighting Islamist extremists in Iraq and Afghanistan and funding them in Syria. Don't you just love the hypocritical West.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-09-10 14:26

      Fidel believes Nelson Mandela is a phony, a lackey of the West, a modern-day Uncle Tom. His words in the US/Mandela story a few weeks ago. Such is his delusional mindset. Imagine that: Nelson Mandela is a phony. Can anything be true coming from that mindset?

      allcoveredinNinjas - 2012-09-10 15:01

      Sticking to princples , you can contort it to suite your own mind set but that has remained the same (freedom from oppression , universal sufferage, democracy , liberty ). Provide any reputable link to funding terrorists and i'll acknowledge the hypocracy,the conflict will attract terror groups as it is oppertunity for them but to allege the US ect are funding them is another tall claim on sweet f'ol evidence . However , chopping and changing to suite your needs to fit a set paradigm does require a level of hypocracy . Admit they fighting islamic terrorists in Afgan and Iraq and then the next day they not depending on the news story.

      Shane Loxton - 2012-09-10 15:49

      Fred and the broken record again

      Fidel - 2012-09-10 16:08

      @Ninja It's a commonly spun-out argument you have there, it is one of the denialists' most conceits that truth cannot exist in the absence of revealed evidence. If intelligence means anything, it means not only the collection of facts, but arranging them into some sort of pattern of probability so we can understand more than we actually know. Your ostentatious scepticism would be fine if you applied it equally in both directions, but you don't. And therefore you are not a sceptic, but merely a Denialist. The are plenty of articles on the web, some quoting US government officials regarding their "non lethal support" to these terrorists.

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-09-10 16:40

      Patrick, HOW thickheaded can anyone get ???????? You were wrong with TUNESIA----EGYPT, ver very wrong-----Libya---unbelievable wrong, and you still want to come to this site and talk BS about Syria. HOW PATHETHIC !!!

      allcoveredinNinjas - 2012-09-10 16:50

      @Fidel- I don't think i denied anything like they not providing non lethal assistance to the free syrian army , however i seriously doubt the US would fund Al-queada or linked groups (that would require a very reliable piece of evidence). What i don't do is have an outcome and then arrange the evidence to make it work. I'm not a denialist but i'd rather have no theory than a ficticous one . The tiny sliver of truth from Assad (foreign militants but not to the scale implied) doesn't forgo the largely convincing evidence (populasr uprising) on the other. Ultimately , its almost immpossible to get the real , untouched and contextual truth from whats happening in Syria , so a healthy dose of scepticism is in order as well as (especially when making dramatic claims) sticking to principles and values. To me Assad falls flat on all, ergo my support for the FSA which I believe represents the people of Syria ,not all but majority and enough for the civilians not to turn them in to regime forces.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-09-10 16:51

      Patrick, Fidel stated that Nelson Mandela is a phony, a lackey of the West, a modern-day Uncle Tom. He did this in the US/Mandela thread a few weeks ago. If you prefer to not see this, it is your prerogative. While I respect Fidel as a person, what is there to respect in that opinion? It's obviously wrong, totally distorted like almost everything he posts here. Many people have pointed this out to him. And to you for that matter.

      Fidel - 2012-09-10 17:05

      @Ninja You have accepted the "non lethal assistance" nonsense official version of the truth, without requiring the US government to prove its case, while demanding of critics of that official version the most exacting tests of evidence, is simply ideological disingenuous. But never mind the evidence you can't see, what about the evidence you can, on a number of issues, including support from the Gulf countries, who are US sapstrapies. The principle of "plausible deniability" works only at beauracratic level, and not on a news thread.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-09-10 17:07

      Fidel, again, this is a South African website. You have stated that Nelson Mandela is a phony, a lackey of the West, a modern-day Uncle Tom. You stated this a few weeks ago on the US/Mandela story. You have since said nothing, notwithstanding that it's been pointed out to you many times. Your silence means you stand by that belief. On a South African website it is untenable. On any website it is untenable. It has to be the most arrogant statement made by anyone on this site, don't you think?

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-09-10 17:19

      Fidel, HOW thickheaded can anyone get ???????? You were wrong with TUNESIA----EGYPT, ver very wrong-----Libya---unbelievable wrong, and you still want to come to this site and talk BS about Syria. HOW PATHETHIC !!!

      Fidel - 2012-09-10 17:23

      @Anthony I just love this high-testosterone non-intellectual debating style, devoid of any form of logic, unencumbered by any facts, insights or analysis, long on emotion, short on intellect. Brilliant! Are you proud of this level of debate, does it make you feel better about yourself?

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-09-10 17:34

      You respect the comment that Nelson Mandela is a phony? Re-spect means to look at something more closely, to re-spect it. What is there to re-spect about that comment, that belief? It's so obviously wrong. Just like your belief that you and African leaders are victimized by the evil West. Nothing to re-spect there either. It's obviously wrong. Leaders are leaders. They're supposed to lead, make choices. In the case of African leaders, it is well known they have been among the most corrupt and violent the planet has experienced. There is the problem, not the pseudo-evil West.

      Fidel - 2012-09-10 17:35

      @Anthony You are truly an imbecile, failing as always to follow the structure of the conversation. If the shoe fits.......... Switching your fingers on before your brain as usual?

      Fidel - 2012-09-10 17:53

      @Patrick Anthony likes making ad hominem attacks because he has no argument and he tries to stifle debate on issues by being rude and ignorant. Fred is a computer software, a sock puppet or a paid shill, and its posts have no effect on me!

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-09-10 18:13

      Fidel, again, this is a South African website. You have stated that Nelson Mandela is a phony, a lackey of the West, a modern-day Uncle Tom. You stated this a few weeks ago on the US/Mandela story. You have since said nothing, notwithstanding that it's been pointed out to you many times. Your silence means you stand by that belief.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-09-10 18:16

      Patrick, the question is answered. You have to take off your pseudo-victimhood to see it though. Based on the way you prove things to yourself, shown in your posts here, it is no surprise that you have proven to yourself that the opposition to Assad is hardly made up of Syrians. This has to be one of the most absurd ideas posted here, second only to Fidel's belief that Nelson Mandela is a phony.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-09-10 19:28

      Patrick, you're not making sense again.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-09-10 22:32

      Patrick, you're losing your mind. Get it together man.

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