BAGHDAD — For the first time in decades, Iraq has attacked neighboring Syria.
The government of Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki said the Iraq Army attacked a convoy in eastern Syria.
Officials said Iraqi helicopters fired missiles toward vehicles sent by Al Qaida’s Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.
“The army struck eight tanker trucks in Wadi Suwab inside Syrian territory as they were trying to enter Iraqi territory to provide the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant with fuel,” Iraqi Interior Ministry spokesman Brig. Gen. Saad Maan said.
Maan said the helicopter strike on April 27 killed at least eight people. The official said Syria was not informed of the attack.
“There was no coordination with the Syrian regime,” Maan said.
LiveLeakThis savage massacre took place in the village of Qmenas, Idlib. The terrorists run over the checkpoint and mutilated the corpses after executing/beheading them. The other massacre took place in Sarmeen, Idlib.
A group of jihadist ideologues, including a sharia official in the Al Nusrah Front, have called on Ayman al Zawahiri to address the specific problems that the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS) has caused inside Syria.
The message, which was obtained by The Long War Journal, is being disseminated on Twitter. A photo of Zawahiri next to a sealed envelope, shown above, as well as a hashtag are accompanying the message. Oren Adaki, a research associate and Arabic language specialist at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, has provided a translation of the missive.
The ideologues argue that the infighting has led the jihad in Syria astray.
Syrian President Bashar Assad this week said he expects that major military operations in Syria will conclude by the end of 2014. Following this, all that will remain will be the need to deal with the ongoing problem of “terrorists.”
The bullish confidence of the Syrian leader followed recent remarks by Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah, who said in a speech that the danger that the Syrian regime could fall has now been averted.
A member of the Syrian opposition recently said that “it is in our interest today to engage in a peace process” with Israel. The comments were made by opposition activist Dr. Kamal Al-Labwani, who spoke in a March 19, 2014 interview with the Syrian Orient News TV channel. The interview was translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI). He also noted, in his push for peace, that “Israel has genuine fears about its security. If we realize that and allow Israel to feel secure in its Sunni surroundings – after all, it is Arab Sunni land that Israel has taken – and if we make Israel feel more welcome, it may yet give up its hostile mentality which is the cause for the destruction.” When the interviewer told Al-Labwani that “Israel has expansionist goals” he replied, “Not true. The people of Israel fled persecution in the Nazi Holocaust, and they want to live in peace.”
The statements are not the first time that Syrian opposition members have reached out to Israel. In February, the Syrian opposition thanked Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu for visiting an IDF field hospital where wounded Syrians are being treated. Leaders of the opposition who spoke to Kol Yisrael radio said that Netanyahu’s public support for wounded Syrians sends an important message to the Syrian people, particularly after the failure of recent talks in Geneva between the opposition and the regime in Damascus. One of the leaders of the Syrian opposition said as far back as 2012 that if the Assad regime falls, the Syrian people will seek regional peace, including with Israel. In September, one of the rebel leaders in northern Syria expressed his appreciation for Housing Minister Uri Ariel’s comments regarding the chemical attack near Damascus last August. Ariel had said that, as Jews who suffered during the Holocaust, Israelis could not be silent over what was going on in Syria. “Allow me to send a message of thanks and appreciation to Housing Minister Uri Ariel for his humane and valuable statements and for his beautiful expression of emotion toward the children killed in Syria and toward the women being killed in Syria,” the Syrian rebel leader told Channel One News at the time. Israel has clarified that it is not a part of the civil war in Syria and does not take sides in the fighting, but Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad has claimed that Israel is assisting the rebels fighting to topple his regime. A commander in the Syrian opposition at one point claimed the exact opposite, that Israel was collaborating with Iran and Hezbollah to keep Assad in power.
JERUSALEM — The disintegration of the Syrian state into warring enclaves is bringing with it new challenges and threats for Israel. Alarm bells have now been sounded on Israel’s shared northern border with Syria.
“For the moment, they [Jihadis] are not fighting us, but we know their ideology. . . . It could be that, in the coming months, we could find ourselves dragged into confrontation with them,” said a top-level Israel Defense Forces officer.
In addition to the Jihadi threat, the Iran-sponsored terrorist entity Hezbollah remains Israel’s most potent security threat in the north. Just last month, Israel reportedly struck a Syrian weapons convoy on its way to Hezbollah.
Evidence is now beginning to emerge of the methods the Jewish state is adopting to meet this new reality.
Some express their loyalty in general displays of patriotism, while others explicitly call on the 48-year-old president to announce he will stand in the vote, which is due to be held by July.
Just 18 months ago, Assad’s grip over his capital seemed to be slipping as rebels gained ground around Damascus. Since then his forces have consolidated control in central Syria. Rebels still insist his departure is precondition for any peace deal, but having lost military momentum they are unable to dictate terms.
At a gathering in southern Damascus last month to honor victims of Syria’s conflict, local officials and clerics turned the solemn memorial into a political rally.