Palestinians Voice Solidarity with Syria

RAMALLAH, (ST) –Residents of the Palestinian city Ramallah have held a festival in solidarity with Syria at the Lady of the Annunciation Church.

At the beginning of the event, the attendees  observed a one-minute  silence in honor of the martyrs' souls, underscoring  their solidarity with the Syria's people, President and army in the face of the vicious schemes targeting it.

"needless to say, the conspiracy  against Syria is against Palestine, adding that those who sold their conscience for a handful  of dollars are similar to Judas Iscariot who betrayed his master for 30 silver coins, "underlined Archbishop of Sebastia for the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate, Atallah Hanna.

For his part, liberated prisoner Sudqi al-Maqt, said that "We came here from the occupied Syrian Golan. We are the grandchildren of Sultan Bashar al-Atrash and we are the resistance's supporters."


Russia Reiterates Iran's Participation in Upcoming Geneva II Conference

TEHRAN - A senior Russian foreign ministry official once again underlined that Iran should take part in the upcoming Geneva II Conference.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Monday that Moscow and Washington are still divided over Tehran's participation in the conference slated for June, according to FNA.

Nevertheless, the Russian Foreign Ministry believes that the event would not be successful if Iran were not invited, Ryabkov said.

The Russians and Americans agreed during US Secretary of State John Kerry's visit to Moscow to set up a conference of international players to end the crisis in Syria. Moscow wants to involve all the nations which took part in the Geneva conference on Syria last summer, and says without Iran's participation the conference cannot succeed.

Late in May, Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov underlined that Iran should take part in the upcoming Geneva II Conference.

"This issue is not related to the Syrians alone, as there are a number of foreign players involved at that crisis as well, and therefore, Iran's presence at that conference is of key importance for us," Lavrov said.

"In my talks with the US and French foreign ministers John Kerry and Lauran Fabio aimed at solving the ambiguities about the combination of participating countries at Geneva II International Conference on Syria I gained their approval on need for revising their former decision," he added.

Also in May, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Seyed Abbas Araqchi announced that Tehran is likely to take part in the Geneva II Conference on Syria if the co-hosts, the US and Russia, invite it to the international gathering.

"If the Geneva II Conference is held and if Iran is invited, we will study our presence with a positive view," Araqchi said at the time.


A letter From the Turkish People

The violent response to a peaceful protest to save Istanbul’s Gezi Park symbolizes an autocratic government’s increasing encroachment on the civil rights of the country’s citizens. We hope for new dialogue—one that can restore the trust of Turkish citizens in a government that positioned Turkey as a global economic power, but which is now getting recognition around the world for condoning harsh police retaliation that strikes at the pillars of democracy.

This is not just about a park

Before the park came the arrests of journalists, elected officials, systemic de-secularization of future generations through Islamification of school curricula. The plans to demolish Gezi Park despite public opposition and the subsequent police brutality directed at demonstrators finally sparked the reaction against Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s decade-long rule. The demonstrators are from different ideological, religious and socioeconomic backgrounds. They are young, old, religious, secular, gay, straight, foreign, domestic, fringe, mainstream, anarchist, women in headscarves, women in tank tops, Alevi, Sunni, Jewish, and Christian. This is Turkish Democracy in action.

Wake up

This would not have happened had it just been the park. Protests are to no avail. In a true democracy, citizens can question and amend government initiatives.

This wouldn’t have happened had the Turkish government not used excessive teargas, plastic bullets, tanks, helicopters and physical violence to crush the peaceful Gezi park protestors. A true democracy allows for protest and does not use excessive violence against its citizens.

This would not have happened had the big Turkish media channels covered the riots from the start. Unfortunately there are strong ties between media outlets and the government. This is why Turkish protestors use social media to seek the attention of foreign media. In a true democracy, media is independent and reports in a balanced way on events happening.

What you should know:

Turkey is at a pivotal juncture. The violent response to a peaceful protest to save Istanbul’s Gezi Park symbolizes an autocratic government’s increasing encroachment on the civil rights of the country’s citizens.

How it started:

It all began with a small cluster of eucalyptus trees and a peaceful sit-in by a few concerned citizens who had been protesting Gezi Park’s scheduled destruction for months. On May 31, 2013, riot police set fire to the demonstrators’ tents and attacked them with pressurized water, pepper and tear gas during a night raid.

How it grew:

Hundreds and thousands of citizens from all walks of life then poured in to show support for the sitters, only to be met with hostility administered through armored personnel carriers, water cannons and more pepper spray. Clashes resulted in the arrests of hundreds and estimated thousands of people were injured. Demonstrations spread to other cities and citizens were met with similar brutality.

Call to action:

We call for reconciliation, to bridge a divide within our nation before it is too vast to repair.

Please listen to our concerns. Stop the violence on Turkish people. It is time to drop the tear gas canisters, batons, and water guns and come to the table. A leaf of peace, from a small grove of trees, we offer.

We want the world to hear from Turks themselves about what's happening in Turkey. We want the world to support us as we push for true democracy in our country, the Number of dead protestors exceeds 500. Number of arrested protestors is many thousands, none of these protestors are armed or attacking to the police. Excessive torture is continuing in police stations and on streets.  we are safe not terrorists, we are just civilians, who demand their freedom back, please help us, we love Syria, and Syrian people, but Erdogan ah… he has problem, he wants to destroy everything beautiful, please help us to publish our letter, in your newspaper.

Source: Young people from Turkey

Edited by : Butheina Al-nounou

Iranian Envoy: Syria's Anti-Terrorism Campaign Deserves Int'l Praise

TEHRAN - Iranian Envoy to Baku Mohsen Pakayeen called on the international community to praise Syria for its uncompromising campaign against the terrorism, according to FNA.

The Iranian ambassador condemned the western governments for their continued support for the terrorists fighting the Syrian government, and said, "The Syrian army's anti-terrorist moves deserve international appreciation."

He pointed to the Friends of Syria Conference in Tehran a few days ago, and said, "The conference was a step forward to strengthen regional and international efforts to help establish peace in Syria."

Pakayeen underlined Iran's support for international efforts to put an end to the crisis in Syria as well as the efforts made by the international community in opposition to any possible foreign intervention and military confrontation in the country.

The senior diplomat called on international bodies to expedite dispatch of humanitarian aid to Syria, lift economic embargos on the country, facilitate the return to home of Syrian refugees and help reconstruct the country.

Iranian officials have repeatedly underlined that Tehran is in favor of negotiations between the Syrian government and opposition groups to create stability in the Middle Eastern country.

Last November, Iran hosted a meeting between the representatives of the Syrian government and opposition to encourage them to start talks to find a political solution to their problems. The National Dialogue Conference kicked off work in Tehran mid-November with the motto of 'No to Violence, Yes to Democracy".

The meeting brought together almost 200 representatives of various Syrian ethnicities, political groups, minorities, the opposition, and state officials.


Iraq Never Allows its Airspace to be Used to Strike Syria

BAGHDAD-  Iraq has affirmed that it will never allow its airspace to be used by any party to launch aggression against Syria, warning at the same time that it will react to any Israeli attempt to violate the Iraqi airspace to hit Iran.

In a statement to AFP, Iraq’s Deputy Prime Minister Hussein al-Shahrestani said that his country never allows its airspace to be used in order to hit Syria. It won’t also allow any party to use the Iraqi lands to deliver arms into Syria.

He pointed out that Iraq had also asked the Americans not to use the Iraqi airspace or lands for the such purposes.

Regarding the possibility that Israel may strike Iran via the Iraqi airspace, al- Shahrestani said “ We had warned Israel that if it violated our airspace it would suffer the repercussions.”  

On the nature of the Iraqi reaction in case Israel stroke Iran through Iraq, al-Shahrestani said Iraq will never unveil its reaction in order not to allow Israel to take this into consideration.

The Iraqi Deputy premier said that “the United States has assured us that it will not allow the Iraqi airspace to be violated with the purpose of hitting any of our neighbors.”

Al-Shahrestani’s remarks come amid the  escalation of Israeli and American threats to launch an aggression on Syria and Iran, particularly after all attempts to destroy Syria from inside by Arab, regional and West-backed terrorists, were foiled and after Iran’s insistence to continue its peaceful nuclear program.

H. Mustafa