[An Nahar] Afghan officials said Thursday that five bully boyz linked to the Haqqani network were killed in a pre-dawn gunbattle, claiming to have foiled a major attack on an area of Kabul home to Western embassies.
A front man for Afghanistan's National Directorate of Security intelligence agency told Agence La Belle France Presse that three vehicles loaded with explosives were seized, along with boom jackets, rockets, hand grenades and machine-guns.
Lutfullah Mashal said forces discovered maps pinpointing intended targets in central Kabul, including the diplomatic enclave of Wazir Akbar Khan and nearby Shar-e-Naw, but refused to provide further details for security reasons.
The bully boyz -- who also had all-enveloping burqas to disguise themselves as women -- had planned to seize a tall building from which to fire on their targets, he said.
The scale of the preparations and the targets, as unveiled by Afghan officials, suggest an attempt at an assault along the lines of the biggest coordinated attack on the capital in 10 years of war, which occurred on April 15 this year.
Then, three squads of suicide kaboomers -- described later by Western officials as members of the al-Qaeda-linked Haqqani network -- took up positions in high buildings and fired on government offices, embassies and military bases.
Seventeen hours of fighting left 51 dead, including 36 attackers.
Acting on intelligence reports Thursday, security forces raided a house in the eastern Pul-e-Charkhi neighborhood and a shootout erupted after the bully boyz refused to surrender, Mashal said.
"The shootout lasted for six hours and a total of five bully boyz were killed," Mashal said.
Foreign ministry front man Sediq Sediqqi confirmed the corpse count was five and added that "all indications and evidence shows they were linked to Haqqani".
The Haqqani network is a faction of the Afghan Taliban whose leaders are based in neighboring Pakistain, where Islamabad has come under immense U.S. pressure to wage an offensive against the group.
The U.S. Senate last week passed a resolution urging the State Department to put the Haqqani network -- accused of a series of spectacular commando-style raids in Kabul -- on the U.S. list of terrorist groups.
U.S. and Afghan officials say the network commands the support of Pakistain's intelligence agency, the ISI.
The NATO ...the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. It's headquartered in Belgium. That sez it all.... commander in Afghanistan, U.S. General John Allen, held talks in Islamabad Thursday with The Mighty Pak Army chief, General Ashfaq Kayani ... four star general, current Chief of Army Staff of the Mighty Pak Army. Kayani is the former Director General of ISI... , and said later that "significant progress" was being made in improving cooperation.
No reference was made to the Haqqani network.
The alleged attack was foiled in the capital after NATO reported an escalation in Death Eater attacks in recent months, and amid growing unrest in areas neighbouring Kabul.
NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said last week that attacks in the second quarter of this year were 11 percent higher than in the same period last year.
The month of June alone saw the highest number of attacks in nearly two years, with more than 100 assaults a day across the country, including firefights and roadside kaboomings, the U.S.-led coalition said.
In the latest attack, on Thursday, two NATO soldiers were killed by a roadside kaboom in southern Afghanistan, ISAF said.
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates: A negotiator says seven crew members of a Malaysian-owned ship held by Somali pirates since late 2010 are heading home to Pakistan under a partial ransom deal that still leaves 15 merchant seamen held.
Negotiator Ahem Chinky says Pakistani families and groups raised $1.1 million for the release of the crew members from the MV Albino. But that fell short of the $2.85 million sought by the pirates under a deal reached earlier this year by Dubai-based intermediaries.
The freed crew passed through Dubai en route to Pakistan on Thursday.
The remaining crew still held by pirates include seven Sri Lankans, six Bangladeshis, one Iranian and one Indian. The Kenya-bound ship was hijacked in November 2010 in the Gulf of Aden.
[Bangla Daily Star] The government has banned operations of three international NGOs in Ukhia and Teknaf of Cox's Bazar from last Monday for illegally providing aid to Rohingya intruders.
The NGOs are La Belle France's Doctors without Borders (MSF), Actions against Hunger (ACF), and Britannia's Moslem Aid.
"Any NGO wishing to work in border areas must obtain approval from the NGO Affairs Bureau which in this case the three organizations did not have," said Joynul Bari, deputy commissioner of Cox's Bazar, adding that the illegal operations had been encouraging Rohingyas to intrude into Bangladesh territory.
Meanwhile, ...back at the argument, Jane reached into her purse for her .38... detectives on Wednesday night nabbed Please don't kill me! nine unregistered Rohingyas at a residential hotel in the capital's Fakirerpool area.
The decision of banning the activities of the NGOs came at a time when hundreds of Rohingya refugees were trying to enter Bangladesh due to the sectarian violence in the Rakhaine state of Myanmar that left around 80 people dead over the last two months.
During the time, Bangladesh authorities had been pushing back refugees seeking shelter here. The action drew criticism from various rights bodies, but the government had responded saying that the global community should ask Myanmar to address the longstanding problems with Rohingyas.
For a map, click here. For a map of Durango state click here.
By Chris Covert
A total of seven unidentified individuals have been killed or were found dead in drug or gang related violence in Durango state.
Two unidentified armed suspects were killed and six others were wounded in a shootout in Durango city Wednesday morning. A news account posted on the website of El Contexto de Durango news daily reported that police were called to a location on Calle Francisco Villa in Arturo Gamiz colony on reports of armed suspects travelling aboard a Jeep Cherokee SUV.
Two police agents who had arrived on the scene were fired on, and called for reinforcements. Before reinforcements arrived, the suspects managed to flee the area aboard several stolen vehicles. The gunfight lasted 20 minutes and may have involved as many as 10 armed suspects. Four police agents were wounded and two armed suspects were detained.
Following the firefight, police seized three AK-47 rifles, three AK-47 weapons magazines and two other vehicles including a Nissan Murano SUV and a Toyota Tacoma pickup truck.
One of the dead suspects was identified as Pedro Antonio Canales Gutiérrez, who died of his wounds as he was receiving medical attention.
Four unidentified men were found dead and partially decapitated in San Bernardo municipality Tuesday, according to a news item posted on the website of El Contexto de Durango news daily. The dead were found near the village of 5th de Julio, and apparently had been beaten.
A news item posted on the website of El Siglo de Durango news daily reported that in Santiago Papasquiaro municipality, Policia Estatal Acreditable (PEA) agents were dispatched to a bus stop near the village of Sandias on a report of a dead body. When police arrived at the scene, they came under small arms fire. Reinforcements were called, and presumably the shooters fled. Security forces later found an abandoned pickup truck that had been used by the shooters.
Chris Covert writes Mexican Drug War and national political news for Rantburg.com
MADRID: Spanish police arrested three suspected Al-Qaeda members thought to have been planning an attack in Spain or elsewhere in Europe and seized explosives, the government said Thursday.
Good going! Now roll up their networks, financing and supporters...
Interior Minister Jorge Fernandez Diaz told a news conference that one of the three men was "a very important operative in Al-Qaeda's international structure."
Two of the men were arrested on a bus heading for the French border and the other in a flat in the town of La Linea de Concepcion, in the southern province of Andalucia, where police also discovered the explosives. The arrests came within hours of each other on Wednesday.
"This is one of the biggest investigations which has been carried out up until now against the Al-Qaeda terrorist group at an international level," said Diaz. He described the men as "extremely dangerous people."
Police also found documents relating to flying light aircraft.
The two on the bus were arrested in Almuradiel in the central province of Ciudad Real while traveling from Cadiz to Irun near the French border.
"There is a clear indication that those arrested could have been planning an attack in Spain or in Europe," Diaz told reporters.
The suspect detained in the flat at La Linea is a Turkish national -- described by the minister as an Al-Qaeda logistics expert -- while the other two are from former Soviet republics which the minister did not name. Earlier on Thursday Cadena Ser radio, citing police sources, said the suspects were two Chechens and a Turk and were in possession of poison as well as explosives.
The minister said police had so far found no poison but he said the secret services of other nations had informed Spain that one of the suspects "has extensive experience in the manufacture of poison and car bombs."
He declined to comment on Spanish media reports that the three men had links to Pakistan's Lashkar-e-Taiba militant group blamed for the November 2008 attack on Mumbai that killed 166 people.
The minister said one of the two men detained in Ciudad Real "used uncommon strength to resist arrest, using the military training he received, and special forces had to intervene."
Police had the men under surveillance and decided to arrest them when it appeared that they were going to leave Spain.
The investigation has been assigned to a judge at Spain's top criminal court, the National Audience which has jusridiction over terrorism cases and international crimes.
[Dawn] Around 22,000 Pak children are at risk in Bloody Karachi ...formerly the capital of Pakistain, now merely its most important port and financial center. It may be the largest city in the world, with a population of 18 million, most of whom hate each other and many of whom are armed and dangerous... after the World Health Organization suspended polio ...Poliomyelitis is a disease caused by infection with the poliovirus. Between 1840 and the 1950s, polio was a worldwide epidemic. Since the development of polio vaccines the disease has been largely wiped out in the civilized world. However, since the vaccine is known to make Moslem pee-pees shrink and renders females sterile, bookish, and unsubmissive it is not widely used by the turban and automatic weapons set... vaccinations over a spate of bloody shootings, a UN official warned Thursday.
WHO, a partner in government efforts to eradicate the disease, suspended activities in part of Pakistain's largest city last month and has not yet been approved to take part in the next campaign due in September.
On July 17, a UN doctor from Ghana working on polio eradication and his driver were shot in Gadap town and three days later a local community worker who was part of the same campaign was rubbed out in the same area.
"We had a successful campaign in Bloody Karachi until those attacks," said Elias Durry, senior WHO coordinator for polio vaccination in southern Sindh province.
The campaign targeted 2.2 million children in Bloody Karachi, but 22,000 children in Gadap town were not administered polio drops because of security fears, he added.
"We fear the children of Gadap could be in danger of polio if we cannot go to them during our next campaign in September," Durry said.
Maryam Yunus, WHO spokeswoman in Pakistain, said activities would remain suspended in the area until police gave the go-ahead.
Police said they were still investigating the July shootings.
"We are investigating the incidents and trying to ensure fail-safe security for health workers in the future," said Mohammad Sultan, a local police official.
Pakistain, Afghanistan and Nigeria are the only three countries where polio remains endemic.
[Dawn] Police on Wednesday registered an FIR of the killing of two Rangers personnel on a complaint of Mohammad Shabbir, a personnel of the paramilitary force, against unidentified attackers.
The FIR (182/2012) was lodged at the Pirabad cop shoppe under Sections 302 of the Pakistain Penal Code and 7 of the
Anti-Terrorism Act and an investigation initiated.
Two Rangers personnel -- Inspector Gul Bahar and Sepoy Noorullah -- were bumped off when they were sitting at a teashop near Banaras Chowk, Orangi Town, on Tuesday night.
The victims were associated with the intelligence wing of the Rangers.
Police said at least two men riding a cycle of violence came close to the victims and opened fire on them.
Following the killings, a heavy contingent of Rangers conducted an overnight door-to-door search operation in parts of Orangi Town, including Banaras, Aligarh Society and Gulfamabad.
Police remained on the outer cordon of the search operation while Rangers carried out the operation and cooled for a few years Keep yer hands where we can see 'em, if yez please! about 30 persons. The entry and exit points were sealed off and no one was allowed to go in or out of the area during the operation.
The suspects were later moved to Qazi's guesthouse an undisclosed location for questioning.
The victims' funeral prayers were held on Wednesday at the Bhitai Rangers Headquarters in Malir. Rangers and police officials attended the prayers. Later their bodies were dispatched to their hometown in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa ... formerly NWFP, still Terrorism Central...
"Police said at least two men riding a cycle of violence came close to them ... "
Ha! make snides remarks if you must. But it is no easy task to mount an RPG launcher to the handlebars of an old Pakistani bicycle. No sirreee. More than a few goons have lost their fingers trying to make that design work, and rumor has it that one poor Punjabi fried his jellybeans when the grenade launched early. Now that is human sacrifice.
[Dawn] A Death Eater, reportedly the head of banned Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistain (TTP), south Punjab chapter, was killed on Wednesday in Dera Ghazi Khan in an encounter with police and law-enforcement agencies, according to a handout issued by the Punjab police.
Abdul Ghaffar Qaisarani, of Taunsa, who was wanted in a terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore in 2010 and a bank robbery in Taunsa in 2011, was killed in the operation near Ghazi Ghat, 19km from Dera Ghazi Khan, in the Drahma police remits.
Law enforcers had learnt that Ghaffar was traveling in a bus from Khanpur to Rajanpur. The personnel picketed Ghazi Ghat on the Indus and started checking vehicles.
During checking of the bus, Ghaffar threw a grenade and tried to escape. The grenade did not explode. Ghaffar then tried to flee while firing. Law enforcers shot and killed him before he could target any one.
A member of the operation team seeking anonymity told Dawn that Qaisarani had a hand-grenade and two sophisticated guns on him. He said Qaisarani, alias Saifullah, was associated with the banned TTP. He had been tasked with raising funds through bank robberies.
Qaisarani is survived by his widow, two daughters and a son. Dera police had been kept unaware of the operation. According to a handout issued by the police, Multan City Police Officer Aamir Zulfiqar Khan said Ghaffar -- alias Ghaffari, alias Moulvi Saifullah and son of Ghulam Husain was a resident of Taunsa and head of the banned TTP, southern Punjab.
He said the suspect had links with Imran and Arshad Punjabi, Taliban capos in North Wazoo. He said he was wanted in a bank robbery, which took place in Taunsa and in another case of keeping kaboom.
The CPO said he was also wanted in another robbery at the Habib Bank Limited in the Sheetal Mari area of Multan a few days ago.
Two security guards were killed in the robbery. The handout said Multan police had set up a picket near the Chenab on a tip off that a few terrorists, traveling by a bus, were arriving in Multan. The police signalled the bus driver to stop but he accelerated and tried to flee.
Later, a CIA team stopped the bus at a picket near Ghazi Ghaat and began physical search of the passengers. In the meantime, Ghaffar threw a hand-grenade after removing its pin to target the passengers. The coppers managed to capture the terrorist but he opened fire on the police as he was off-loaded from the bus. The police also retaliated and killed him.
[An Nahar] Indian police have charged a journalist with conspiring to carry out a kaboom on an Israeli diplomat in New Delhi in February, a senior police official told Agence La Belle France Presse Wednesday.
Syed Kazmi, a freelance journalist who worked part-time with Iran's IRNA news agency, is accused of helping a group of Iranians to plan and execute the attack which saw a man on a cycle of violence attach a magnetic bomb to an Israeli embassy car.
"We charged Syed Kazmi yesterday under the prevention of unlawful activities act. He has been charged with planning and conspiracy in the February attack," said anti-terrorism official Ashok Chand, who is supervising the investigation.
Kazmi is the only person to be charged in India in connection with the bombing.
A 42-year-old Israeli diplomat, the wife of the defense attaché at the embassy, was badly maimed in the kaboom near the prime minister's residence in the center of the Indian capital.
A report in the Times of India newspaper on Monday said Delhi police had informed Iran that the plotters were members of the country's powerful Revolutionary Guards, a branch of the military.
Delhi police, however, later denied the report, stressing that it had only asked Tehran for "the details of six persons of Iranian origin suspected to be involved".
Interpol issued international arrest warrants for four of the suspects named in the report in March.
The main plotters were believed by police to have entered India on tourist visas and left after the attack, which Israel immediately blamed on Iran.
[Dawn] Seven cut-throats and a security man were killed in a clash in Dabori area of Orakzai Agency ... crawling with holy men, home to Darra Adam Khel, the world's largest illegal arms bazaar. 14 distinct tribes of beturbanned primitives inhabit Orakzai agency's 1500 or so square kilometers... on Wednesday, sources said.
They said that cut-throats attacked an advance party of security forces at Kago Qamar Darra locality of Dabori at 8am. The security personnel, backed by tanks and artillery, were advancing to Mamozai to conduct a search operation there.
The clash between cut-throats and security forces continued for more than two hours and both the sides used heavy weapons including rockets and missiles against each other.
Officials said that solider Shehzad was killed and soldier Sabir received injuries in the attack. The injured soldier was taken to agency Seven krazed killers, soldier killed in Orakzai clash headquarters hospital in Kalaya. They said that seven cut-throats were killed and one of their vehicles was destroyed in the clash.
In Kurram Agency ...home of an intricately interconnected web of poverty, ignorance, and religious fanaticism, where the laws of cause and effect are assumed to be suspended, conveniently located adjacent to Tora Bora... , three security personnel were maimed in a blast inside a compound of political administration in Sadda on Wednesday evening.
Officials said that an bomb was planted in Tehsil Office of the political administration. Three Levies personnel received injuries when the device went off, they added. The injured coppers were rushed to a local hospital.
In Lower Dir district, an educationist, who had led an armed lashkar against krazed killers, was rubbed out by unidentified persons when he was going to his school at Lagharai Thal area on Wednesday morning.
Sources said that Ghulam Syed, vice principal of Government Higher Secondary School Bagh Maidan, was rubbed out on the first day of reopening of schools after one month summer vacations.
They said that Ghulam Syed had no enmity with anyone, however, he played active role in organising youth of the area against krazed killers. He was also a member of the local peace committee.
A large number of teachers, students and area people attended his funeral prayers and demanded of the government to provide security to teachers.
A resident of Maidan told Dawn that cut-throats were active again in the area. He said that a pro-government local person identified as Wakil Khan was also killed by unidentified attackers three days ago at Lajbok Darra. He said that both the incidents were assassinations.
[An Nahar] Attacks in Iraq killed 17 people on Thursday, including four members of a family who were murdered with knives, security and medical officials said.
Militants attacked the house of a Turkmen family in Kirkuk in northern Iraq, killing a father, mother and two daughters with knives.
An Agence La Belle France Presse journalist at the scene said that the bodies of the husband and wife were in one room, and the two daughters in another. Blood was everywhere.
A police source said that nothing was stolen, and that it appeared to be a Dire Revenge™ attack.
Gunmen also rubbed out four police in Tikrit, north of Storied Baghdad ...located along the Tigris River, founded in the 8th century, home of the Abbasid Caliphate... , while three members of the Sahwa anti-Qaeda militia were killed by a bomb near Balad, also north of the capital, security and medical officials said.
In north Storied Baghdad, a car boom in the Husseiniyah area killed three people, an interior ministry official said, adding that incensed residents then attacked federal police and burned some of their vehicles.
A health ministry official put the toll at five killed and 17 maimed.
Gunmen attacked a checkpoint near a cop shoppe northeast of Samarra, killing one police and one Sahwa member, a police captain and a medical source in Samarra hospital said.
An army officer said that gunnies also attacked a checkpoint near Dujail, also north of Storied Baghdad, killing a soldier and kidnapping four others.
With diplomatic efforts dead and the future of Syria playing out on the battlefield, many of the Syrian government's most powerful weapons, including helicopter gunships, fighter jets and tanks, are looking less potent and in some cases like a liability for the military of President Bashar al-Assad.
Rebels have turned part of Mr. Assad's formidable arsenal on his own troops. Anti-Assad fighters on Wednesday shelled a military airport in the contested city of Aleppo with captured weapons. On Tuesday, rebels used commandeered Syrian Army tanks in a skirmish with Mr. Assad's troops.
Perhaps even more worrying to Mr. Assad, his military has come to rely more heavily on equipment designed for a major battle with a foreign enemy, namely Israel, rather than a protracted civil conflict with his own people. Close observers of his military say Syria is having trouble keeping its sophisticated and maintenance-intensive weapons functioning.
The strain is likely to grow more acute as the government depends on helicopter gunships to extend its reach to parts of the country rendered impassable to logistics convoys and even armored vehicles by the rebels' improvised bombs. More at the link
According to his bio, Chivers is a former marine who served in Desert Storm. His website talks about how Gaddafi met his end from weapons taken from his own inventory, but conveniently omits the fact that these self-same weapons were impotent against Gaddafi's armor, artillery and air attacks, until NATO jumped in and took out those assets. This guy's not an observer bloodlessly analyzing both sides' military capabilities based on numbers, equipment, organization and so on. He's already picked a winner based on a NATO intervention that may or may not materialize.
From the NYT: C.J. Chivers takes up a growing issue for the military of President Bashar al-Assad: troops have weapons that do not match well with the civil war they are now fighting.
Here, this guy's talking about how Assad has too many heavy weapons. I have to shake my head in disbelief. Heavy weapons are how you minimize friendly casualties. They are why powerful countries have large numbers of them, and armies that have very few are merely a step up from militias. How does he think the US achieved 20 to 1 kill ratios in Vietnam? Via light infantry one-shot one-kill engagements?
Syrian rebels shelled an airport near Aleppo on Thursday... opposition activists warned that fighting for the city, the country's main commercial center, would likely intensify...
President Bashar al-Assad's army appeared to be preparing for an all-out assault...."We have seen military reinforcements making their way to Aleppo,"...
Some reports from Turkey also suggested that Syrian government forces were trying to cut rebel supply lines, with fighting raging in a rebel-held town near the Turkish border...
opposition leaders said they had found dozens of bodies in a suburb of Damascus in the aftermath of the Syrian Army's house-to-house search for rebel fighters and activists. This claim of a new massacre came as the rebels faced severe criticism themselves for what appeared to be their brutal summary execution, one day earlier...
the United Nations said on Wednesday what rebels had been saying for days: the Syrian Army was using jet fighters in its operations. And they are not just flying, as in the past; now, according to the United Nations monitor mission in Syria and videos showing flashes of light bursting from dark jets, they are firing.
as of nightfall Aug 3, Assad forces were still making minor tactical infantry moves near Aleppo while also firing artillery into rebel held areas.
The rebels were also making tactical moves, taking some police stations, etc. The rebels have now been in Aleppo long enough that some of the locals are complaining about them (especially relatives of the dead ones) and some rebel forces are firing at each other.
Rebels are taking causalities as are the forces of Assad as are locals and some Paleos are also being killed. Assad's forces in the Aleppo area continue to be reinforced by troops from elsewhere but also suffering some additional AWOL loses.
Posted by: lord garth ||
BEIRUT: The unsteady, hand-held video shows several bloodied prisoners, one in boxer shorts, being led into a noisy outdoor crowd and placed against a wall. The prisoners crouch and seem to avert their eyes as men carrying assault rifles shout slogans and take aim. The gunfire lasts for more than 30 seconds.
The international community has accused Syrian President Bashar Assad's forces of war crimes, but the gunmen in this gruesome video were rebels. Their slogans: "Free Syrian Army Forever!" and "God is Great!"
No one has clean hands in a civil war...
The video, which surfaced online this week, is fueling concerns that opposition fighters are capable of brutality that matches that of the regime they are seeking to topple -- a charge that could badly damage the rebellion's ability to claim the moral high ground in the Syrian civil war. As rebels gain more territory and a multitude of militias, jihadists and criminals join the fight against Assad, reports of serious human rights abuses committed by armed opposition elements are on the rise.
"As the Free Syrian Army and armed opposition gain more ground control, they are at a crossroad," said Nadim Houry, researcher at the New York based Human Rights Watch. "They can either go down the route of revenge and killings and replicate the behavior that we have seen by pro-government forces, or take a genuine decision showing that what they're fighting for is not just about revenge but about human rights and justice."
It's more likely that the rebels will compromise: they'll do the first for a while, and then (maybe) the second...
The video sparked international condemnation, including a rare rebuke of rebel tactics from the Obama administration on Thursday.
"This is abhorrent and inconsistent with the type of struggle for freedom and a new Syria that the broad opposition is looking for," State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell told reporters.
Ventrell said the US was encouraged that opposition commanders have condemned abuses, but stressed that "summary executions committed by any party are abhorrent and inconsistent with international law, and those responsible must be held to account."
Summary executions committed by rebel forces -- albeit on a far smaller scale than the regime's alleged atrocities -- put the West in a difficult position as it seeks to persuade Russia and China to stop blocking tough UN action against Assad.
"In the areas they control the rebels bear responsibility for preventing acts of revenge and violence against defenseless persons," German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said Wednesday. "We clearly expect them to be aware of this responsibility."
Representatives of the Free Syrian Army, the Turkey-based umbrella group of Syrian rebels, acknowledged that the executions shown in the video were wrong but said the rebels, unlike Assad's forces, do not attack ordinary civilians.
"The Free Syrian Army does not attack civilians," said spokesman Ahmed Kassaem. "We do not support killings and are not Sadists like the regime."
An Associated Press reporter who spent two weeks with rebels in northern Syria in June found little evidence of rebel attacks on civilians, but the rebels were often merciless with regime troops and Assad loyalists. Some boasted freely about sending captured soldiers or loyalists deemed as collaborators "to Cyprus," which the rebels use as a euphemism for execution usually by gunfire.
In another video, posted Thursday, a group of about nine prisoners stand against a wall with their hands behind their backs, captured by rebels after they seized a police station in the embattled city of Aleppo. A rebel fighter says they would be put on trial in front of a Sharia (religious) court made up of "honorable judges."
The Syrian uprising began in March 2011 with largely peaceful protests but has since morphed into an insurgency and civil war. Activists say the conflict has already killed more than 19,000 people -- a figure which may soar with reports that foreign jihadists and extremists are streaming into Syria to join the fight against the regime.
The AP reporter counted almost two dozen rebel groups operating with little or no clear command structure. Some were more brutal than others. And there are doubtless countless of others who answer to nobody but themselves. It is therefore difficult to call anybody to account for the increasingly ugly sectarian nature of Syria's conflict, where an opposition largely based among the country's Sunni majority has risen up against Assad's regime, which is dominated by members of the Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shiite Islam.
Many Iraqi Shiites, streaming back to their homeland in the past month to escape the war in Syria, reported a rash of attacks against their community, apparently by Sunni rebel gunmen. In July alone, 23 Iraqi Shiites have been killed in Syria, some of them beheaded, according to the Washington-based Shiite Rights Watch. In one gruesome case, the UN said an Iraqi family of seven was killed at gunpoint in their Damascus apartment.
The motives for the attacks on Iraqis are unclear. They may be revenge against any Iraqi because the Shiite-led Iraqi government is seen as siding with Assad. They may also be fueled by sectarian hatreds, with resentment of Syria's Alawite leadership flaring into anger at Shiites.
Nevertheless, the rebels' main targets are not Iraqis, but rather Syrian security forces and regime loyalists. And the main battleground is now the country's largest city, Aleppo, where the new video of summary executions was shot.
According to activists, the executed prisoners were members of the powerful Barri clan, which has long had close ties to the Syrian government. Among them was the clan's leader, Ali Zinelabedine Barri, known as Zeino. An earlier video shows Zeino sitting on the ground among a group of other prisoners, wearing only black underwear, with blood seeping from above one of his eye. The narrator says the prisoners had been terrorizing residents and earlier in the day killed 15 members of the "Brigade of Unification," the main group of rebel fighters in Aleppo.
A local activist who goes by the name of Abu Adel confirmed the executions, saying they took place on Tuesday at the courtyard of a school after major fighting between the FSA and members of the Barri clan in Aleppo's Bab Al-Neyrab district.
The Barri clan, which Adel said numbers in the few thousands, were known to be hard-core regime loyalists and for months had intimidated residents who took part in peaceful anti-government protests. He said they were outlaws, drug dealers and "very well armed."
"Everyone in Aleppo hates them," Adel said, adding that they were given a "trial" before they were gunned down. "I wish it didn't happen, but the rebels are human after all. Sometimes it's hard to control people. We should understand their motives."
In a nod to criticism of rebel brutality, Abdel Razzaq Tlass, leader of the Farouk Brigade of the Free Syrian Army in central Homs province, pledged that his group would comply with Geneva conventions and treat captives according to international law.
"We are revolting against a barbarous regime that always tortured and treated detainees and arrestees in brutal ways that led to the death of many," Tlass said. "That's why we can never adopt the behavior of that very entity that we are revolting against."
Tlass made his pledge in a video that was posted on Monday -- a day before the Aleppo executions.
ALEPPO: Syrian rebels shelled yesterday an air base being used by regime forces to pound the northern city of Aleppo.
"Menagh military airport was bombarded yesterday morning by a tank captured previously by the rebels," the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said of the base 30 kilometers (18 miles) northwest of the country's commercial capital.
An AFP reporter who witnessed the bombardment said rebels told him it was "an attack to take this airport being used by helicopters and planes that are firing on Aleppo."
The United Nations confirmed on Wednesday that rebels battling President Bashar Assad's regime now had heavy armour, and that its military observers had seen the Syrian military use a fighter jet to attack rebels in Aleppo. AFP correspondents on the ground have reported that rebels have captured a number of tanks, and some armoured units have defected with their vehicles.
The Observatory and an activist said mobile phone and Internet services in Aleppo have been cut since Wednesday, and a security source in Damascus told AFP such cuts are "generally the precursor to a major military offensive."
[Dawn] President Barack Obama My friends, we live in the greatest nation in the history of the world. I hope you'll join with me as we try to change it... has signed a secret order authorizing US support for rebels seeking to depose Syrian Hereditary President-for-Life Bashir Pencilneck al-Assad Despoiler of Deraa... and his government, US sources familiar with the matter said.
Obama's order, approved earlier this year and known as an intelligence "finding," broadly permits the CIA and other US agencies to provide support that could help the rebels oust Assad.
This and other developments signal a shift toward growing, albeit still circumscribed, support for Assad's armed opponents -- a shift that intensified following last month's failure of the UN Security Council to agree on tougher sanctions against the Damascus ...Capital of the last remaining Baathist regime in the world... government.
The White House is for now apparently stopping short of giving the rebels lethal weapons, even as some U.S. allies do just that.
* WAFF > IRAN BANK CHIEF CALLS [new US] SANCTIONS AKIN TO "WAR".
* DEFENCE.PK/FORUMS > [IRGC] SOURCE: IRAN READIES ATTACK AGZ SAUDI ARABIA, [US-Base-too-far] QATAR, as well has Regional, International US-Allied Commanders + Targets, etc. iff ally Baby Assad's Govt. appears to about to collapse.
* SAME > FORMER MOSSAD CHIEF [Efraim Halevy]: IRAN SHOULD FEAR THE NEXT TWELVE WEEKS.
ARTIC focuses on possible Netanyahu-pushed Israeli mil attack agz Iran's NucProgs before the US Elections, but methinks its the outcome of the US POTUS Election per se which is what Iran will fear, i.e. Pro-War Romney versus anti-War Bammer.
* SAME > US CONGRESSMAN [Dana Rohrbacher] CALLS FOR UNION OF NORTH + SOUTH AZERBAIJAN, + US support for independence of Azeris in Iran.
[An Nahar] Syrian rebels used tanks to attack a military airport northwest of Aleppo ...For centuries, Aleppo was Greater Syria's largest city and the Ottoman Empire's third, after Constantinople and Cairo. Although relatively close to Damascus in distance, Aleppans regard Damascenes as country cousins... on Thursday, a rebel commander said, as a human rights ...which are usually open to widely divergent definitions... group reported 67 people killed in violence nationwide.
"We had already attacked the airport several times, but this was the first time we used heavy weapons," which were "four tanks taken from Anadan," rebel commander Abdel Aziz Salameh told Agence La Belle France Presse, referring to a strategic military checkpoint outside Aleppo that the rebels captured on Monday.
"The destruction was greater than the time before," he added.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights earlier reported the rebel attack on Menagh military airport, 30 kilometers (18 miles) northwest of the commercial capital.
An Agence La Belle France Presse news hound who heard and saw the bombardment said rebels told him it was "an attack to take this airport being used by helicopters and planes that are firing on Aleppo."
The rebel Free Syrian Army has said it now controls "50 percent" of Aleppo, where the army is bombarding rebel-held areas, notably Salaheddin in the southwest, but has yet to advance on the ground.
Questioned about the lack of retaliation by the army, which is massed around Aleppo, a security source said that "the regime is testing the terrorists' defenses in order to uncover their hiding places before annihilating them in a major surgical operation."
Mobile phone and Internet services, cut since Wednesday night, were being gradually restored in Aleppo by Thursday afternoon.
In the capital Damascus ...Home to a staggering array of terrorist organizations... , heavy fighting ... as opposed to the more usual light or desultory fighting... erupted in the southern Tadamun district, the Syrian Observatory said.
"Syrian troops withdrew from the neighborhood following heavy festivities with rebel battalions, which resulted in the killing of four rebels and at least three soldiers," the Britannia-based watchdog added.
And for the first time, regime forces raided the exclusive Muhajireen neighborhood of north Damascus, arresting about 20 young men.
At least 67 people -- 36 civilians, 16 soldiers and 15 rebels -- were killed across the country Thursday, according to the Observatory.
[An Nahar] Syrian shells hit at dawn Thursday an area in the northern district of Akkar that lies six kilometers away from the Lebanese-Syrian border, injuring two people, the National News Agency reported.
NNA said this was the first time that shells hit an area relatively far from Leb's northern border.
Seven shells landed near the towns of al-Bireh and Kherbet Daoud, damaging several houses and injuring a woman identified as Mariam al-Zohbi and a man called Tayseer Merheb, Kherbet Daoud's municipal chief, Mahmoud Abdul Majid, told NNA.
"This is very dangerous and the Lebanese state should assume its responsibilities regarding ... the violations," he said.
The incident caused panic among the residents who moved to other areas and returned to their houses in the morning when the shelling stopped.
On Wednesday night, around 12 shells landed on the outskirts of the border towns of Hekr Jneen, Qashlaq, Ammar al-Baykat, Eastern Dbabiyeh and al-Noura that lie near the Kabir River.
A multi-volume chronology and reference guide set detailing three years of the Mexican Drug War between 2010 and 2012.
Rantburg.com and borderlandbeat.com correspondent and author Chris Covert presents his first non-fiction work detailing
the drug and gang related violence in Mexico.
Chris gives us Mexican press dispatches of drug and gang war violence
over three years, presented in a multi volume set intended to chronicle the death, violence and mayhem which has
dominated Mexico for six years.