Troops have joined the Syrian regime’s military forces and Hizbollah allies in preparation for a ground attack in the Syrian city, say officials
Thousands of Iranian troops have arrived in Syria to join the regime’s military forces and Hizbollah allies to launch a ground attack against insurgents in Aleppo, two senior regional officials have said.
Control of Aleppo city and the surrounding province in the area near the Turkish border is divided among the Syrian government, insurgent groups fighting Syrian president Bashar al-Assad and Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) that controls some rural areas near the city.
NATO ally encouraged to ‘liberate’ Jerusalem
Turkish and Palestinian flags fluttered like angry birds in a crowd of thousands of people chanting “Allahu Akbar!” and “Down with Israel!”
The chants grew more exuberant as the hulking, bearded man on the speaker’s platform assured them that “God willing, we will liberate Jerusalem together.”
The speaker was Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal and his audience was Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party, gathered for its annual meeting Dec. 27 at a convention hall in Konya, the hometown of Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.
The Turkish prime minister introduced the Hamas leader and then took a seat in the front row, cheering and clapping for the radical Islamist statements being made by Meshaal.
“As Turkey for centuries was the main defender of Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa Mosque, likewise with you are the center of the Muslim Umma (Muslim nation) which will carry on the mission of liberating Jerusalem and al-Aqsa Mosque,” Meshaal told the crowd in an address that received almost no major media coverage. “Know this, that strong Turkey is the strength of Palestine and of Jerusalem. Turkey is the strength that represents all Muslims.”
The Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS or ISIL), a Sunni jihadist group, on Sunday declared the establishment of a “Caliphate” or Islamic state, spanning parts of both Iraq and Syria with the group’s leader as the ruling “Caliph”.
The group, known for its ruthless tactics and systemic abuses during its involvement in the conflicts in Iraq and Syria where it has captured vast swathes of territory, also announced it was renaming itself the “Islamic State” and called on jihadi factions worldwide to pledge allegiance to it.
The Caliphate would be imposed on areas the group controls in Iraq and Syria with its chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as the Caliph, or head of state, and “leader for Muslims everywhere”, ISIS spokesman Abu Mohammad al-Adnani said in an audio recording distributed online. Continue reading