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China says U.N. chemical inspectors should be objective in Syria

BEIJING - China said on Thursday that U.N. chemical weapons experts should be objective and "fully consult" with the Syrian government in their work,according to Reuters.

"China's position is very clear. It does not matter what side in Syria uses chemical weapons, China resolutely opposes it," the Foreign Ministry said in a statement send to Reuters in China's first public response to the attack.

"At present, the U.N's chemical weapons inspection team for Syria is on the ground beginning its investigations, and (China) hopes that the team fully consults with the Syrian government and maintains an objective, impartial and professional stance".


Fahmi: Egypt calls for political solution in Syria

CAIRO, (ST)- Nabil Fahmi, the Egyptian Foreign Minister, reiterated his country's stance as regards calling for  a solution to the crisis in Syria through dialogue .

"Egypt rejects foreign military intervention in Syria, "underscored Fahmi.

Fahmi's remark was made during an interview with Russia Today channel.

" Egypt is committed to Syria's territorial integrity and believes in the importance of holding the international conference on Syria in Geneva to find a political solution to end the crisis," underlined Fahmi.

The Egyptian diplomat made it clear  that the  crisis in Syria could have many repercussions on the stability of the Middle East as a whole.

He referred to the efforts being exerted for Egypt to regain its central role and foreign policy on the basis of achieving its interests.

It is to be noted that Fahmi , upon taking his office, affirmed that he has commissioned the Foreign Ministry's directorates to review Egypt's relations with all the countries, including Syria.


Syrian gov't ready for cooperation with UN experts in chemical attack probe - Moscow

The Syrian government is ready for "maximum" cooperation with UN experts working to clarify the alleged use of chemical weapon in attacks, Voice of Russia correspondent Polina Chernitsa reports from the Russian Foreign Ministry's press conference. Syria will provide all materials related to the investigation.

"The government of Syria has reiterated its readiness to cooperate with the UN experts as broadly as possible and provide them with complete logistical support, including access to the previously collected documents that address the incident in the Khan al-Asal district," Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said at a press briefing in Moscow on Thursday.

The UN experts and "the Syrian authorities are discussing the practical aspects of their cooperation in a quiet and constructive atmosphere," the Russian diplomat said.

The agreement reached by the Syrian government and the UN allows the inspectors to question eyewitnesses, people injured in the alleged incidents and representatives of the local authorities, Lukashevich said.

The UN inspectors are expected to stay in Syria for 14 days, but their mission may be prolonged with both sides' consent, should such a need arise.

"The mission plans to visit three sites in Syria where chemical weapons were allegedly used, including the Khan al-Asal district near Aleppo," Lukashevich said.

The UN mission will have to receive the agreement of the Syrian government before going to the site of the alleged chemical attack, which mass media has just revealed, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman said.

"As far as we know, this region is under militant control and we assume that the mission should clear this maneuver with the Syrian government as the one hosting this mission," Lukashevich said.

The Russian Foreign Ministry is hoping that the results of the work of UN experts in Syria will eliminate speculation on the use of chemical weapons there.

"We are hoping that the results of the experts' work will help clarify this issue and will eliminate speculation on the use of Syrian chemical weapons, which will simultaneously create a positive background for progress towards the political settlement of the crisis in Syria," Russian Foreign Ministry official Alexander Lukashevich told a briefing on Thursday.



Al-Muallem Underscores Improvement of Friendly Ties with Iran

TEHRAN ,(ST)-Foreign and Expatriates Minister Walid al- Muallem in a message to his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif reiterated Syria's intention to further enhance brotherly and friendly relations with Tehran.

In a message on Wednesday, al-Muallem referred to the brotherly and friendly relations and common fate of both countries in confrontation with common enemies, above all the Zionist regime.

He also pointed to common intention of both nations in strengthening relations in all fields, especially in foreign policy, which needs more cooperation and coordination in defending cultural values and international principles, national sovereignty, denying foreign interference and commitment to the UN Charter goals and principles.

Al-Muallem also felicitated Zarif on his appointment as Iran's new foreign minister.

Iran and Syria have forged an alliance ever since the victory of the Islamic Revolution in Iran and the two countries' officials exchange visits on a regular basis.

The two countries enjoy strategic relations in a wide variety of fields.


American, European Jihadists in Syria Raise New Domestic Terror Fears

Wave of terror could result from training, expertise gained in fighting with al Qaeda rebels

Significant numbers of American and European jihadists are traveling to Syria to join Islamist "rebels", prompting new fears of a future wave of al Qaeda terror attacks in the United States and Europe, according to U.S. officials.

Several thousand foreign terrorists, as well as Americans, are joining the Islamist faction of the now-divided Syrian "rebels" battling the Syrian Army.

Most are joining the al-Nusra Front, al Qaeda’s main terrorist group in Syria, along with smaller Islamist militias made up of nationals from more than a dozen foreign countries.

A U.S. official familiar with intelligence reports said the influx of Americans and Europeans to Islamist "rebel" forces in Syria is increasing the threat of future terrorists attacks here and in Europe.

“There’s a real concern in the U.S. government about what happens to these guys when they are done and they come home,” this official said. “Right now they are getting training to be al Qaeda terrorists.”

 A second official said: “The Syrian opposition is benefiting from a steady flow of foreign fighters who seem to be joining a variety of Islamist-oriented brigades or starting up nationality-based units.”

He continued, a few hundred Europeans currently are in Syria and are mainly extremist Muslims who traveled over land to reach the opposition groups. “Of course there’s concern that trained-up in Syria they could eventually reverse course and threaten their home countries,” this official said.

U.S. intelligence agencies have been closely monitoring the flow of foreign terrorists into Syria for the past year. They have watched scores of jihadists joining mainly the al-Nusra Front each month. Others have joined the Chechen-led Jaysh Al Muhajirin wal Ansar, which has fought together with al-Nusra.

Al-Nusra also joined forces with the Iraqi al Qaeda group, Islamic State of Iraq, to create a new group called the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

U.S. intelligence estimates put the number of foreign fighters in Syria at up to 6,000 people, of which around 17 percent are thought to be from outside the region.

Most of the foreign fighters are from Middle Eastern, North African, and Central Asian states, including Libya, Egypt, Jordon, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Algeria, and United Arab Emirates.

However, the terrorists that are entering Syria from the West are raising new concerns about future domestic terror attacks. Included in this group are jihadists from the United States, Chechnya, Canada, France, Ireland, Kosovo, and Britain.

For many, the fighting is the first experience of putting their radical Islamic faith into action on the battlefield, the officials said.

Germany’s Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich was quoted in the online Neue Oz Online in May as saying there were as many as 700 European jihadists in Syria.

A spokesman for the National Counterterrorism Center had no immediate comment on the number of American jihadists estimated to be fighting in Syria.

Matthew G. Olsen, director of the National Counterterrorism Center, said during a speech to the Aspen Security Forum last month that his centers major concern is the flow of foreign fighters to Syria.

“Syria has become really the predominant jihadist battlefield in the world,” Olsen said. “We see foreign fighters going from Western Europe and, in some cases, in a small number of cases from the United States to Syria to fight as part of the opposition.”

Olsen said the security concern is that the fighters will become further radicalized and train end “then returning as part of really a global jihadist movement to Western Europe and potentially to the United States.”

According to the officials, most of the western jihadists are either Muslim immigrants or converts.

It is these Caucasian converts that are raising security concerns, the officials said. Al Qaeda has been trying for years to recruit Americans and Europeans as terrorists because they are believed to be capable of more easily evading western security monitoring.

Patrick Poole, a private counterterrorism analyst, said terrorist groups have welcomed Americans joining their ranks.

“Their presence serves as a vehicle for recruitment and fundraising from the West, which is what we saw in recent years with al-Shabaab recruiting and fundraising from the Somali communities in the United States,” Poole said in an interview.

Outgoing Deputy CIA Director Michael Morell said the threat of terrorism emanating from Syria is now the top priority threat for the agency.

“It’s probably the most important issue in the world today because of where it is currently heading,” Morrell told the Wall Street Journal in an interview published Aug. 6.

are now sneaking into Iraq,” Maliki was quoted as saying at a youth meeting.

Meanwhile, Germany’s Bild newspaper reported Aug. 19 that al Qaeda is plotting attacks on Europe’s high-speed rail network.

Source: free