Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Sinjar

 

 

I survived a local cease-fire in Syria 

this February 20, 2015

Kassem Al-Haj Eid is also known by the nom de guerre Qusai Zakarya.

U.N. special envoy Staffan de Mistura has been working furiously to secure a local cease-fire, or “freeze zone,” in the battered Syrian city of Aleppo.

This week, de Mistura reported that the Assad regime was prepared to suspend its attacks on the city.

I believe I can offer some insight into what such a pledge really means. I survived a local cease-fire in Syria.

At the start of 2014, I was a hunted man.

After blocking food and other critical supplies from reaching us for more than a year, Bashar al-Assad’s forces had just strong-armed my home town, Moadamiya, into signing a local cease-fire.

In protest, I resigned from Moadamiya’s local council and denounced the terms of the deal live on Al-Arabiya television. This made me one of Moadamiya’s most wanted men.

Suddenly, I began to find on my doorstep notes threatening me and my extended family with death unless I turned myself in. Friends I had not spoken to in years were arrested, interrogated and tortured for information on me.

The regime raided my childhood home and attempted to arrest my family in Damascus and other places. Eventually, I came to believe that my detention was inevitable. I agreed to a meeting, figuring that I was about to die.

To my surprise, however, I was given the royal treatment.

The regime put me up in a five-star hotel and offered me scrumptious meals of a kind I had not experienced for 18 months.

Gen. Ghassan Bilal, an aide to Bashar al-Assad’s brother Maher, offered me and my entire family a safe, comfortable place to live in Damascus. I was asked to do only one thing in return: Promote local cease-fires in the media.

I told Bilal that in 2011, Syria’s freedom protesters had asked for a better future for everyone, including for him, but received only bullets in reply. He conceded to me that the crackdown had been wrong and had forced Syrians to take up arms, and he told me that Assad had tried to stop the attacks, only to be overruled by his intelligence services.

But when I asked about the use of sarin gas against civilians in August 2013, I clearly crossed a line. His demeanor changed, and a menacing smile crept onto his face. “We both know the who and why,” he snapped. “Don’t ask questions you know the answer to!”

This conversation convinced me that Bilal felt no contrition for all the innocent blood on his hands. I knew I could not accept his offer.

As a desperate gambit for my life, however, I pretended to agree, arguing that I needed to leave Syria to fulfill my new calling. If I were to praise the cease-fires from Damascus, I pointed out, my media contacts would assume I was doing so under duress.

The ruse worked. Bilal arranged for my passage to Lebanon, and from there, I made my way to the United States.

Today, I remain in regular contact with my friends in Moadamiya. Now enough time has passed to evaluate the success of this supposed cease-fire.

With the cease-fire, basic services were supposed to be restored, checkpoints removed and prisoners freed. None of this has happened.

The regime continues to cut off power, gas and other basic services to Moadamiya. Some humanitarian aid is allowed to enter, but not nearly enough for the town’s residents.

The regime is also pressuring civilians to return to Moadamiya, which is undermining living conditions and forcing the local council into more concessions.

My initial suspicions have all been confirmed.

Most egregiously, bombardments continue and the regime has resumed arrest raids on civilians. Dozens of people have been tortured to death. The politicians and diplomats say a local cease-fire is in effect in Moadamiya, but they have abandoned us to the Assad regime’s brutal hands.

De Mistura said this month that “President Assad is part of the solution,” but the regime has already shown that it is not serious about compromise and has no regrets for destroying the country.

If the United Nations cannot even enforce a local cease-fire in a single town, what makes de Mistura think he can do it in Syria’s largest municipality?

In recent months, my conversations with friends back home have grown more difficult. Many are seriously considering joining the Islamic State, even though they oppose everything it stands for.

They are sick of the world’s hypocrisy and double standards. The world protects Kobane but lets Aleppo burn (it is the local who defended their town for weeks before any rescue showed up).

Starving Yazidis in Sinjar receive urgent food airdrops while starving Syrians in Moadamiya are left to die.

Coalition warplanes crisscross Syria every day. Where are the airdrops of food or medical supplies for the hundreds of thousands of Syrians besieged by the Assad regime in Moadamiya and elsewhere?

Such glaring hypocrisy is bound to turn more Syrians toward the Islamic State. Correcting the hypocrisy should be a morally obvious choice. The world cannot help Syrian civilians by prodding us into negotiations with bloodthirsty murderers.

(The Syrians have two options: find a political resolution to efficiently fight ISIS and Al Nousra Front or join these extremist Islamic movements.)

Note: Fighting from the USA is not a convincing patriotic position or a serious opinion that will make any inroad in our societies.

 

Testimonies from Mosul, Sinjar, Zummar: How Yazidi minorities are coping with the ISIS onslaught?

‘We need to act, and act now’ says US president, as military carries out aid drops to Iraqi civilians forced to flee by Islamist ISIS group
And Obama dispatched 130 military advisers to Erbil to secure the US consulate and started to bomb by drones and F18 moving artillery regiments of ISIS near the Erbil borders.
For many months all kinds of minorities living in the northern provinces of Iraq, particularly Mosul,  have been fleeing the carnage and exactions of the extremist Wahhabi terrorist factions.  All kinds of Christian sects, Yazidi, and all Muslim sects that  are considered heretics have been persecuted.
And Obama and all the Western governments kept their silence and refused to react to the atrocities and genocides committed in Iraq and in Gaza.
So why Obama decided to act now a little and reluctantly?
Obama said it clearly: The ISIS have crossed the red lines and approached quickly toward the refugee camps near Erbil in Kurdistan Iraq.  The US has vast investment in Kurdistan, a self-autonomous province where businesses are mushrooming as during the Far West style of “Faite comme chez vous”.
And Obama has no confidence that the Kurdish Bishmerka militias can stop the advances of ISIS.
Actually, these Kurdish autonomous armies have fled promptly as ISIS advanced toward their positions and left the minorities fend for themselves and refused to provide them with necessary means for fleeing or survival.

This report was sent to us by Ms. Christina Patto, VP Assyrian Aid Society of Iraq.

Here what she wrote: Here is our report and some of our testimony concerning the events happening now in North of Iraq.

It is a tragic situation, nobody can imagine how terrible it is, as much as I write to you and send you reports it will not be enough to describe the suffering of people.

For Zummar and Sinjar: they are under Da’esh control, thousands of Yazidis died in the last two days, they are facing a real genocide.  Hundreds have been buried alive in mass graves.

Till yesterday (45) children died of thirst. Some families throw their children from the top of Sinjar mountain in order not to see them die from hunger or thirst, or not to be taken by the terrorists. (1500) men were killed in front of their wives and families, (50) old men died also from thirst and illness.

More than (70) girl and women (including Christians) were taken, raped and being captured and sold. More than (100) families are captured in Tel Afar airport.

Yazidi women who fled the violence in the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar sit Tuesday at a school where they are taking shelter, in the city of Dohuk in Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan region. (Safin Hamed/AFP/Getty Images)

Report from Iraq: families throwing children from a mountain to keep them from terrorists

The nightmare that is Iraq gets worse. This was just posted at the CNEWA blog:  

There is about (50) Christian families in Sinjar. The terrorists were able to control the Syriac church there and cover the Cross with their black banner.

Till now we do not know anything about those Christian families.

For Nineveh Plain: As a reason to the continuous bombing on Telkeif, Deacon (Lujain Hikmat Nano) died, most of the families left their houses and would leave one member of the family in the house, but this tragic led to an exodus from Telkeif. the same thing happened in Shekhan and the surrounded villages (shekhan center, Karanjo, Dashqotan and Ein biqri). Ba’ashiqa: an exodus from there because there was boming and battles near Ba’ashiqa as the terrorists are trying to control that area too.

Ba’ashiqa Monastery is being evacuated from the inhabitants and from IDPs.

Ein Sifni: an exodus of the Yazidi families which forced the christian families to flee too.

Mosul Falls (Dam where most electricity is produced for the province) are now under the control of the terrorist, these fall are about (10-15 Km) from Ein sifni.

Batnaye and Tellisquf: also an exodus because of the threats and bad circumstances they are going through.

Duhok: Our Dorm, the empty houses in the villages, the halls of the churches, school and mosques are full of IDPs and in very bad conditions. I cannot give you the exact number of those families. Also it is very hard to describe their needs in food baskets only, on one can imagine this tragedy, one may cry to see those people in this situation. Concerning Zakho and Center Duhok: Till now they are under the KRG control.

Meantime, additional details from The Washington Post:

Stranded on a barren mountaintop, thousands of minority Iraqis are faced with a bleak choice: descend and risk slaughter at the hands of the encircled Sunni extremists or sit tight and risk dying of thirst.

Humanitarian agencies said Tuesday that between 10,000 and 40,000 civilians remain trapped on Mount Sinjar since being driven out of surrounding villages and the town of Sinjar two days earlier. But the mountain that had looked like a refuge is becoming a graveyard for their children.

Unable to dig deep into the rocky mountainside, displaced families said they have buried young and elderly victims of the harsh conditions in shallow graves, their bodies covered with stones.

Iraqi government planes attempted to airdrop bottled water to the mountain on Monday night but reached few of those marooned. “There are children dying on the mountain, on the roads,” said Marzio Babille, the Iraq representative for the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

“There is no water, there is no vegetation, they are completely cut off and surrounded by Islamic State. It’s a disaster, a total disaster.” Most of those who fled Sinjar are from the minority Yazidi sect, which melds parts of ancient Zoroastrianism with Christianity and Islam. They are considered by the al-Qaeda-inspired Islamic State to be devil worshipers and apostates…. …

“Children have died because of dehydration and lack of food,” Vian Dakheel, a Yazidi parliamentarian from Sinjar, said through tears. “My people are being slaughtered (and women and girls sold in open markets as slaves)” she continued, referring to reports of mass killings of those who had stayed behind.

Note 1: Vian Dakheel, woman deputy of Kurdistan, explained that refugees in the south side of Mount Sinjar has no exit route, are trapped and encircled by ISIS and will certainly die, one way or another. Those who managed to reach the northern side of Mount Sinjar have an opening to flee to neighboring towns and have been receiving airdrop supplies.
Vian recounted a typical testimony: A mother with 6 children had her husband and male sons slaughtered. She fled with the little girls. Two of the youngest died of thirst. A crippled daughter was left to die. The mother is trying to save her remaining daughter by walking, and keep walking to safety and water and food.
Note 2: Israel has a major Mossad headquarter in Erbil since 1980’s and is the agency distributing the funds received from Saudi Arabia to the various extremist Islamic factions in Iraq and Syria.
When Iraq PM Maleki declared that ISIS main headquarter is in Erbil, he meant exactly the close association of Israel and these salafist factions for funding and planing the expansion of this “Islamist State”.

adonis49

adonis49

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