I hope Geneva 2 conference will convene soon - Kofi Annan

MOSCOW, (ST) - The U.N. is only a secretariat and there is no need to sidestep all responsibility on it for the situation in Syria. “I hope that the Geneva-2 conference would be convened as soon as possible. The state will succeed in reaching agreement. Iran should be one of the countries, which will take a decision,” Annan said.

There is no need to sidestep all responsibility on the U.N. for the situation in Syria, former U.N. secretary-general Kofi Annan asserted.

By presenting his book, “Interventions: A Life in War and Peace”, in Moscow on Monday, Annan said he took part in solving the crisis in Syria as a mediator.

 “In Geneva in June 2012 we adopted the communique on the need to settle the crisis by political means. Measures should be taken to stop the chaos. A year later an idea was put forth to convene a new conference on Syria in Geneva,” Annan said.

 “I said the political efforts, including from President Barack Obama, were indispensable. Then progress can be achieved,” he said.

On May 7, Russia and the United States agreed in Moscow to convene an international conference on Syria, which will serve as a follow-up to an earlier Geneva meeting held in June 2012.

The unrest in Syria erupted over two years ago and many people, including large numbers of Syrian soldiers and security personnel, have been killed in the violence.

Damascus says the chaos is being orchestrated from outside the country, and there are reports that a very large number of the "militants" operating in Syria are foreign nationals.

Iran has repeatedly expressed its opposition to any foreign intervention in Syria's internal affairs, stressing that inclusive dialogue and national reconciliation are the keys to resolving the crisis  in Syria.


More Islamic Extremists Leave Pakistan to fight in Syria

ISLAMABAD, (ST))_  Suleiman is a Pakistani , who identified himself using only his first name for fear of being targeted by authorities, is one of an increasing number of militants who have left Pakistan for Syria in recent months. The fighters have contributed to a growing presence of Islamic extremists fighting the Syrian people and government.

Most of the foreign fighters in Syria are from Arab countries, including al-Qaida militants from Iraq on the "rebel" side The flow of militants from Pakistan adds a new element to that mix.

Pakistani Interior Ministry spokesman Omar Hamid Khan said provincial authorities throughout Pakistan deny that militants have left the country for Syria.

But three Pakistani intelligence officials based in the tribal region that borders Afghanistan, as well as militants themselves, say the fighters leaving Pakistan for Syria include members of al-Qaida, the Pakistani Taliban and Suleman's group, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi.

This group includes members of al-Qaida who trained the Pakistani Taliban in areas such as bomb-making and are now moving on to the battlefield in Syria, said Pakistani Taliban fighters, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of being targeted by the government.

An activist based in northern Syria, Mohammad Kanaan, said there are Pakistanis fighting in his area but not in large numbers.

"Most of the muhajireen are Arab fighters from Tunisia, Algeria, Iraq and Saudi Arabia," he said Sunday, using the Arab term for foreign fighters. "But we have seen Pakistanis and Afghans recently as well."

The second group leaving Pakistan includes mostly domestic members of the Pakistani Taliban and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi who are heading to Syria because they are being so closely monitored by Pakistani authorities that it makes it difficult for them to carry out operations at home, said a Pakistani Taliban fighter who identified himself only as Hamza for fear of being targeted by authorities.

These militants are under surveillance because they have been detained previously in connection with attacks, or are on Pakistan's radar because of their importance in their organizations, Hamza said.

The group includes Suleiman, who was detained during a 2009 attack on an intelligence building in the eastern city of Lahore that killed at least 35 people. He was eventually released, he told the AP in an interview before leaving for Syria more than a week ago.

"Our aim and purpose is to fight against them " the Syrians" and eliminate them," said Suleman, who is in his mid-30s and has a closely trimmed black beard. "It is more rewarding if you first fight against the evil here and then you travel for this noble purpose too. The more you travel, the higher the reward from God."

Suleiman is one of about 70 militants who have been sent to Syria in the last two months by a network jointly run by the Pakistani Taliban and Laskhar-e-Jhangvi, Hamza said. The militants came from various parts of Pakistan, including the provinces of Baluchistan, Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and the southern city of Karachi, Hamza said.

Another group of 40, including Hamza, is expected to leave in the coming weeks, he said. These militants are not going to fight with Jabhat al-Nusra, or the Nusra Front, the most powerful Islamic militant group in Syria, Hamza said. But he did not know which group they would join.

The head of the network sending these militants is a former Lashkar-e-Jhangvi leader named Usman Ghani, Hamza said. Another key member is a Pakistani Taliban fighter named Alimullah Umry, who is sending fighters to Ghani from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Hamza said.

The militants are traveling to Syria by various routes, and some are taking their families. The most closely watched are secretly taking speed boats from Baluchistan's coast to the Omani capital of Muscat and then traveling onward to Syria, Hamza said.

Others are flying from Pakistan to various countries, including Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, the United Arab Emirates and Sudan, and then making their way to Syria. The financing is coming from sources in the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, Hamza said.

Suleiman flew to Sudan with his wife and two children using fake passports, he said. He will leave his family in Sudan and then travel to Syria. There are families of other Pakistanis who have gone to Syria already living in Sudan and being taken care of, Suleiman said.


T. Fateh

Irish Writer: Syrian Army Face Terrorists

PARIS,(ST)_ Irish  writer and political analyst Geroad Coleman said  the Syrian army is facing terrorist groups coming from  more than 29 countries, who  commit massacres, robberies, looting and rape against the Syrian people.

Coleman said in a television interview that these Western and Arab Gulf -funded groups terrorize the Syrian people since two years and commit war crimes against them , expressing hope  "the Syrian Arab Army to defeat these  criminal terrorists, who do not have any legitimacy."

Coleman explained that the only  legitimacy in Syria now is the Syrian government, describing  Doha coalition which was  formed by the Western powers  to serve its interests in the region as does not have any legitimacy  nor  represent the interests of the Syrian people.

He  pointed out that the European Union's decision to support Doha  coalition in order to steal Syria resources , deal with terrorists and buy stolen oil from them is defective and constitutes a violation of the  international law and the UN principles, and must be stopped.

Coleman said that these terrorists have no right to access the resources of the Syrian people and  can not be dealt with according to international law , noting that these terrorists are  fighting each other for controlling  oil wells.

"Should  there were  armed groups roaming in France , carrying guns and trying to take over Paris, the legal position to be taken by the French government then is to send  air force and deploy the army to the streets to arrest and kill the militants , if necessary,  because countries have the right to defend themselves".

" I have not seen any evidence of one crime  the Syrian army charged by, but I saw thousands of evidenced crimes committed by those  terrorists they call "rebels". He underscored.


Opposition Group Slams US Aggression on Syria

TEHRAN - Come Home America, a US opposition committee, condemned the US war against Syria that started with slapping sanctions against it and then with covert support through allies and now with overt provision of arms for anti-government forces, according to FNA.

The committee demanded in a statement published on ''Dissident Voice'' website an immediate cessation of the US bellicose policies towards Syria as ''sanctions and military intervention in Syria are not in the interests of the American people; nor are they in the interests of the Syrian people", .

''We are far from alone in our opposition. Fully 70% of Americans are opposed to armed intervention in Syria – a number that has only increased over the months according to Pew polls,'' the statement pointed out, adding '' And yet the President and a majority in Congress favor intervention, revealing a crisis of our political institutions, which are far removed from the will of the people on this and many other issues. ''

The group which said it consists of ''traditional conservatives, progressive activists, libertarians of the Ron Paul type, old-fashioned Leftists, religious people appalled by war and non-religious who also harbor disgust over our numerous wars for over a century now,'' said that any war must be defensive and a last resort, not a constant option to further the perceived interests of American elite.

''We protest our government’s actions not simply because of the specific conditions in Syria but based on general principles,'' said the statement, indicating that ''The same principles would have kept us from launching the recent wars on Iraq and Libya and many others over the past century and longer.''


Scores of Americans protest US intervention in Syria

Scores of Americans protested in Oklahoma City on Friday night against the US intervention in the Syrian domestic affairs.

The protestors came from across the US political spectrum as Democrats, Republicans, Liberals and Conservatives took part in the gathering.

A US website quoted Paul Wesselhoft, a Republican member of the Oklahoma House of Representatives as saying ''We do not have a political or ethical commitment to intervene in Syria, '' adding ''the American forces were depleted after a 10-year fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. ''

Director of Oklahoma Peace House, Nathaniel Batchelder said he hopes this gathering would preclude a US intervention in Syria.


Corry Williams, a Democratic member of the Oklahoma House of Representatives said ''numerous reasons stop us from intervention in Syria as we have nothing to do there,'' indicating that '' we need to invest in the US domestic agenda.''

Protestors were vocal in expressing opposition to American intervention and wars worldwide.

A poll conducted recently by Fox News network revealed that the majority of Americans oppose a US intervention in Syria. 68 per cent of the voters said that the US should abstain from interference in the Syrian domestic affairs and stop backing the extremist groups there.


Venezuela Reiterates Solidarity with Syria in War against Terrorism

 CARACAS- The Bolivarian Military-Civilian Front in Venezuela has reiterated solidarity with Syria in its war against terrorism and foreign-backed mercenaries.

In a statement handed to the Syrian Ambassador to Venezuela Ghassan Abbas during his meeting with some Front members, the Venezuelan Front condemned all forms of direct and indirect foreign interference by world and Zionist imperialist forces in Syria’s internal affairs. It affirmed rejection of the global war waged against Syria and backed by the U.S., NATO countries and Zionist organizations which keep supporting armed terrorist groups in Syria and providing media cover for their terrorist activities.

The Front urged the international community not to allow such practices to be repeated in other countries, calling on UNSC member states like Russia and China to adopt a decisive stance in this respect and not to permit any attempt to violate Syria’s sovereignty.

 The Front demanded the international community to work hard to launch national dialogue in Syria to solve the crisis and put an end to the armed terrorist groups attacks on the Syrian people and their institutions.

The front condemned the Israeli attacks on some sites in Damascus Countryside and expressed concern over the serious damage caused to these sites.

“Continuous aggressions may push the region towards a destructive war that threatens international peace and security,” the Front warned.

“These attacks proves Israel’s direct involvement in the crisis in Syria and provides a clear-cut evidence of its relation with the armed groups that keep threatening the peaceful life of the Syrian people and trying to violate the sovereignty of their state,” it affirmed.

The Front reiterated its commitment to join efforts by international and regional organizations as well as those of the political parties, social movements and student organizations in Latin America so as to support the Syrian government to attain peace through political dialogue taking into consideration the complete respect of Syria’s independence and right to determine its destiny and preserve its land integrity.  

For his part, the Syrian Ambassador highly appreciated the solidarity voiced by friendly countries like China, Russia, Iran and Latin American states with Syria in the confrontation of the global war waged against the country.

He stressed that Syria is at the frontline of every confrontation with world imperialism, therefore, solidarity with Syria is necessary to enhance the struggle of all the peoples who suffer the hegemony schemes of imperialism.

 Abbas reiterated Syria’s ability to confront the war and withstand the crisis thanks to the Syrian people’s solidarity and support for their leadership.

H. Mustafa       

Meddling in Syria's internal affairs will prolong the crisis,says Malaysian FM

Moscow, (ST)_ "the Syrian people are only to decide their own destiny without foreign interference, "said  Malaysian Foreign Minister, Hanifa Aman .

"actually, meddling in the Syria's internal  affairs will definitely  complicate and prolong the crisis, "underscored Aman.

Interviewed by  the RT TV channel on Friday, Aman stressed  that Malaysia welcomes the Russian-US initiative for organizing an international conference on  Syria.

''without dialogue, it will be difficult to reach a solution to the crisis, 'added Aman.

The Malaysian diplomat made it clear that  his country's foreign policy is based on the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of other states, adding ''We, in Malaysia, empathize with the suffering of the Syrian people, and believe that violence has to stop and not drag on any longer.''

"the  foreign intervention in the Muslim countries' affairs complicates matters,"concluded Aman.


Russia stages large-scale military drills

MOSCOW-On Friday, during a meeting with Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu , Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an unexpected military drill, urging all forces to enter a state of full combat readiness on the night of July 13.”

Russia has staged large-scale military exercises in the country’s Eastern military district aimed at enhancing the defense capabilities of its armed forces, Defense Ministry says.

The drills, which are the largest surprise check of combat readiness of the Russian military in the post-Soviet period, started on Saturday.

The surprise training exercise involves over 80,000 troops, some 1,000 tanks and armored vehicles, 130 aircraft and helicopters 70 warships and will continue until July 20.

 “The main goal of the drills is to check the readiness of units to carry out their missions, and to assess the quality of their training and technical preparedness,” Russia’s Defense Ministry said in a statement.

Earlier in May, Putin said that surprise military drills was a perfect way to keep the armed forces in good shape and pledged to continue similar practices in the future.

The Eastern Military District, which was formed in 2010, is considered as one of the four operational strategic commands of the Russian Armed Forces


Russia to continue humanitarian aid to Palestinians

MOSCOW- Russia will continue providing humanitarian aid to the friendly Palestinian people within the bilateral format and within specialized international organizations, the Foreign Ministry reported on Friday,according to ITAR Tass.

n Thursday, July 11 the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry planes delivered 700 tonnes of humanitarian aid to the Syrian city of Latakia, including foodstuffs and other essentials, for Palestinian refugees staying on the territory of Syria.

 “The Palestinian leadership and Palestinian refugees themselves expressed gratitude to Russia’s humanitarian aid,” the ministry said.