Syrians move to crush rebels

by our Arab Affairs correspondent

SYRIAN troops are driving to Aleppo to drive out the Nato-backed rebels operating in the suburbs of the largest city in the country while others are mopping up the last pockets of resistance in Damascus following a week of fighting in the capital.

Some Turkish papers report that the Syrians have retaliated against Turkey’s open support for the rebels by agreeing to allow the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) to use the northern Syrian Kurdish region as a safe-haven for their guerrillas struggling for autonomy in eastern Turkey.

Calm has returned to Damascus following last week’s battles with Muslim Brotherhood gunmen, which wrecked part of the city’s water supply and a number of power plants.

The civic authorities have been mobilised to get the city back on its feet as soon as possible and Damascus governor Bisher al Sabban reckons that all water and electricity supplies will be back to normal within a week.

The Syrian government has refused to confirm or deny that its air-force had bombed rebel positions in Aleppo this week. But there’s no doubt about the determination of the Assad government to stop the “Free Syrian Army” holding on to any territory that the Nato powers could then claim needed “no fly-zone” protection.

On the diplomatic front the Americans are continuing to press their Nato allies to step up support for the rebels while white-washing their essentially terrorist campaign to overthrow the Assad government.

Russia condemned comments by US State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland condoning last week's attack which killed four of the Syrian leader’s inner circle as not surprising given the Syrian government's conduct.

Meanwhile the Iranian media is reporting claims from a Qatari official, who has recently defected to Venezuela, that Israeli intelligence is working hand-in-glove with Qatar in support of the Syrian rebels.

defected

The unnamed official defected because he opposed the domestic and foreign policies of the Emir, an oil-prince who rules the former British Gulf protectorate with an iron-fist. And he says number of Qatari security officers have been jailed for opposing the emirate’s anti-Syrian stand.

The Qatari defector says that while the Emir’s government knows that the Syrian rebels cannot win they are supporting them because they were ordered to incite unrest in Arab countries who support the Palestinian struggle by the Israelis who, in turn, are following an agenda set in Washington.

Jordan, he thinks will be next, because the Jordanians have been stopping armed Islamic groups infiltrating into Syria. The unnamed official claims that Qatar, with its less than covert links with Israel, has a joint operations centre with Israeli intelligence, monitoring events in Syria via Turkey and that Mossad could even had been responsible for the devastating bomb attack in the Syrian capital last week.

He also said that the Turks agreed to allow its soil to be used for the transit of terrorists into Syria under US pressure, adding that Turkey hosts the main terrorist groups fighting against the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.