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Prepare To Die, Write Your Will If You Are Going For Hajj – Chief Imam of Abuja Warns

New Age Islam News Bureau

28 Aug 2016

Indonesian plainclothes policemen detained a terrorist suspect, center, after an attempted suicide bombing at St. Yoseph Catholic Church in Medan, Indonesia, on Sunday.



 Prepare To Die, Write Your Will If You Are Going For Hajj – Chief Imam Of Abuja Warns

 Libya close to liberating Sirte from Daesh

 Nigerian army are tarnishing the image of the military profession


South Asia

 Elimination Of The Extremists: Bangladesh ‘Free Of Curse’ Now, Says PM Hasina

 Taliban overrun Afghan border district, opening a new front

 Chinese hotels block guests from 5 Muslim countries, Pakistan, Syria, Iraq, Turkey and Afghanistan

 ISIS coordinator arrested in Jalalabad city

 Afghanistan deports 250 Pakistani workers as deadlock persists near Chaman

 3 athletes wounded in an explosion in Jalalabad city


Saudi Arabia

 120 militants leave Damascus suburb as Syrian Army regains full control – Russian military

 New ISIS video shows children, including Briton, killing captives

 Syria: Turkey-Backed Terrorists Occupy More Lands in Northern Aleppo

 Syrian Army Inches Closer to Key Town in Eastern Damascus

 Syrian Army Ready to Launch Final Phase of Seizing Back Project 1070 in Aleppo

 One More Non-Syrian Commander Leaves Fatah Al-Sham Terrorist Group

 Last Convoy of Terrorists Leave Darayya in South-western Damascus

 Terrorists Sustain Heavy Losses in Army Offensive in Dara'a



 Brahamdagh wants talks with govt to focus on Baloch demands

 Three Sri Lankan cricket team attackers killed in Lahore: CTD

 Sindh govt disowns razing of MQM offices

 LHC moved to put MQM men names on ECL

 Time to get rid of Altaf: Minister

 20 legislators picked to lobby for Kashmir cause across world



 Turkey expects steps taken against Syria after proven use of chemical weapons

 Turkish army says 25 PKK/PYD militants killed in airstrikes in Syria’s Jarablus

 Turkish gov’t going too far in post-coup attempt state of emergency measures: CHP head Kılıçdaroğlu

 Turkish warplanes hit ISIL, YPG as rebels clash in northern Syria

 Turkish soldier killed in YPG attack in north Syria

 No casualties after PKK attack on Diyarbakır airport



 India Calls for Closer Cooperation with Iran in Anti-Terror Campaign

 Visitors entry into Taj may be limited, ASI awaits report


Southeast Asia

 Would-be bomber’s explosives fail in Indonesia church

 Philippine extremists supporting IS stage mass jailbreak



 EU membership ‘no panacea’ for Turkey’s closer ties with Europe – Austria's Kern

 US, Russia fail to close deal on ending violence in Syria



 Saved Trump twice from bankruptcy but candidate was ‘Ungrateful’:Saudi prince

 US fears IS rise in Southeast Asia

 10,000th Syrian reaches US this week in resettlement programme

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau




Prepare To Die, Write Your Will If You Are Going For Hajj – Chief Imam Of Abuja Warns


August 28, 2016

(AhlulBayt News Agency) - The Chief Imam of Area 10 Mosque, Abuja, Sheikh Yahya Al-Yolawi, on Friday reportedly advised intending pilgrims to settle their debts and leave their wills behind before travelling to Saudi Arabia.

The Abuja-based Islamic scholar, while delivering Jumma’at sermon titled ‘Essential tips for Hajj Preparations’, said the need to leave a will behind was because the journey to Holy land may be the final journey for some pilgrims.

He explained that it was an invitation from Allah to the most famous acts of worship, adding that hajj was a unique and extra ordinary journey in the life time of all pilgrims.

Al-Yolawi said, “An intending pilgrim should settle his debts and leave behind him a clear record as well as writing all his wills or what he intends to pass to his family.

“Journey to hajj requires high level of patience, because it was always accompanied with difficulties ranging from fatigue to physical and social abnormalities as well as intolerance from other pilgrims.

“One should not allow Shaitan (devil) to hijack him and spoil his hajj out of ignorance or annoyance. This emphasises on the importance of piety as first ingredient of one’s journey to Mecca, which means to maintain good relationship with your Lord by devoting yourself to obey him.”

According to the cleric, the intention behind one’s journey to hajj must be for the sake of Allah alone as, whoever, performs any act of worship in order to please people or gain popularity has done wrong.

While admonishing pilgrims that they should ensure that their sources of income are clean and legitimate as that would please Allah, the cleric said, “Prophets Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: learn your rituals from me, for I do not know whether I would be performing Hajj after this Hajj of mine,” (Muslim Hadith no 1297).”

On taking photographs, Al-Yolawi warned that it was wrong to take photographs for whatever purpose while observing hajj rites, saying that such action could contradict pilgrims’ sincerity of performing hajj for the sake of Allah.

He, however, prayed to Allah to continue to protect Islam and safeguard Nigerian pilgrims as they take off to Saudi Arabia, saying, “May the Lord accept their Hajj, prayers, grant their supplications and bring them back to us in peace and safety.”


Elimination of the Extremists: Bangladesh ‘Free Of Curse’ Now, Says PM Hasina

DHAKA, August 28, 2016

Elimination of the extremists would bolster people’s confidence, she says

Bangladesh’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said the nation is “free of another curse” on Saturday after police stormed a militant hideout, shooting dead the suspected mastermind of a horrific attack on a cafe that killed 20 hostages.

The bodies of three Islamist extremists were retrieved after police staged an hour-long gun battle with militants in Narayanganj, near Dhaka, officers said.

Home-grown militancy

Prime Minister Hasina praised police and intelligence agencies for the operation which killed Tamim Chowdhury, a Bangladeshi-Canadian believed to have planned the attack.

“The main mastermind of the Holey Artisan [attack] has been eliminated,” Ms. Hasina told reporters at her office, referring to the Gulshan cafe incident.

“The nation has become free of another curse,” she said, adding the “elimination of the extremists” would bolster “people's confidence”.

Thirty-year-old Chowdhury, who returned from Canada in 2013, had earlier been named by police as the suspected mastermind of the attack on the cafe in Gulshan, an upscale Dhaka neighbourhood.

The police raid came two days before U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is set to arrive in Bangladesh, the highest-ranked Western official to visit the South Asian nation since the attack.

Officials said security issues, including Dhaka-Washington DC anti-terror cooperation, will feature during Mr. Kerry’s talks with his Bangladeshi counterpart on Monday.

“The operation went on for an hour. We can see three dead bodies. They did not surrender. They threw four to five grenades at police and fired from AK 22 rifles,” Bangladesh national police chief A.K.M. Shahidul Hoque told reporters on Saturday.

“Three extremists were killed. Among them, one of the dead persons looked exactly like the photo of Tamim Chowdhury that we have,” he said.

The Islamic State (IS) had claimed responsibility for the July 1 attack, releasing photos from inside the cafe during the siege and of the five men who carried out the deadly assault and were shot dead at its finale. But police and the Bangladesh government rejected the IS claim, saying a new faction of home-grown militant group Jamaatul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) led by Chowdhury was behind the attack in which 20 hostages, including 18 foreigners, were killed along with two policemen.

Bangladesh police blame the JMB militant group for the deaths of more than 80 foreigners and members of religious minorities over the last three years.


120 Militants Leave Damascus Suburb As Syrian Army Regains Full Control – Russian Military

 28 Aug, 2016 08:46

The Russian Defense Ministry has announced that 120 militants have voluntarily left the Damascus suburb of Darayya with their families. The reported departure comes shortly after Syrian state television announced that a four-year of siege of the area had drawn to a close.

"120 militants and their family members (230 persons in total) have left Darayya city of their own free will. They headed to Idlib ... on buses," the ministry said in a statement on its website.

The Defense Ministry also added that 265 civilians, purportedly mostly women, children and the elderly, had been taken to a settlement in the Damascus province.

On Saturday, Syrian state television claimed that a four-year siege of the area had been halted. The state broadcaster, as cited by AP, said that the Syrian Army had taken control of Darayya, while some 700 gunmen and 4,000 civilians had been evacuated.

Sappers from the Syrian Army have already moved into the southern Damascus suburb in order to try and clear the area of any mines.

"Engineer troops began clearing mines from buildings and streets in Darayya. The city is completely under control of the army. Tomorrow we may allow journalists in the city," a source told RIA Novosti.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that the successful end to the military operation in Darayya, which saw hundreds of militants put down their weapons, could lead to similar occurrences in other parts of Syria.

“In terms of Darayya, I heard that the operation to evacuate everyone who wanted to leave has come to an end,” Lavrov said, as cited by TASS.

“This is an example, which I think will be used regularly… Our representatives in Hmeymim received a message that another region in Syria is interested in carrying out a similar operation with the help of Russia,” he added.

The Syrian Army started an offensive in Darayya in February, stating that the Damascus suburb was almost completely under the control of Al-Nusra Front, as it was known at that time.

Darayya, which used to have a population of around 300,000 before the outbreak of the conflict, is just seven kilometres from the center of Damascus.





Libya close to liberating Sirte from Daesh

August 28, 2016

(AhlulBayt News Agency) - Forces loyal to the Libyan unity government say they are preparing for a final “decisive” push to fully liberate the Daesh-held city of Sirte, in a months-long operation which has seen hundreds of troops dead.

The forces, mainly brigades from the city of Misrata, said on Saturday that the Sirte recapture is imminent as they have managed to bring most of the city under their control and restrict militants to a shrinking residential area in the city centre.

    “We are now preparing for the decisive phase (battle) which will commence in the coming hours, God willing, against the infidels to rid our beloved city from the Daesh,” a local military commander said.

Meanwhile, a Reuters video showed the Libyan troops visiting newly retaken areas and facilities and monitoring the neighbourhoods still controlled by the Daesh elements.

An unnamed medical source in the Misrata Central Hospital said that the Sirte clashes have left 442 Libyan forces dead and 2,100 others injured so far.

Back in May, the loyalists to the UN-backed Government of National Accord launched a military operation to retake the city a year after it fell to Daesh.

They entered the city on June 9, and have liberated several residential districts since then. However, their advance slowed as Daesh hit back with sniper fire, bombings and mines.

Sirte’s recapture would be a major blow to Daesh, which has faced a spate of setbacks in Syria and Iraq.

Libya has been grappling with violence since a NATO military intervention followed the 2011 uprising that led to the toppling and killing of the longtime dictator, Muammar Gaddafi.

In mid-2014 militants overran the Libyan capital and forced the parliament to flee to the country’s remote east, resulting in the formation of two rival administrations in the oil-rich African state.

The two governments finally achieved a consensus on forming the unity government last December after months of UN-brokered talks in Tunisia and Morocco to restore order to the country.


Nigerian army are tarnishing the image of the military profession

August 28, 2016: By U. S. Adam

(AhlulBayt News Agency) - By a mere looking at the topic of discussion, it is a self explanatory one. Military personnel in other part of the world are doing their possible best to save the lives and properties of their host citizens.

There are many instances where certain army sacrifices their lives to save civilians, especially women and children. But unfortunately, in my country Nigeria the level of the Human right violation caused by the Nigerian Army is alarming.

Many Nigerians are victims of military brutality and oppression against humanity which influences citizens’ perception towards the army.

Many have negative interpretation of military in general. In Nigeria, soldiers are considered as Killers, Kidnappers, Destroyers of villages and cities.

It is not the fault of my people to interpret the military with negative thoughts. The Nigerian Army enforced tha interpretation on people with their actions.

They killed numerous innocent lives in the history of my country Nigeria The world is not aware of military excessive violation of Human Right, and that makes the army to occasionally maltreat humanity.

For example, the Nigerian Army are responsible for the massacre of 34 innocent members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria including 1 passerby, Julius Anyawu on 25th July 2014 in the city of Zariya.

Nigerian Army also killed dozen of innocent members of the Islamic Movement in the same year in Potiskum.

They committed the same massacre in December 2015, by firing dangerous ammunition including RPGs on innocent and armless members of the Islamic movement in Zaria which lasted for more than 48hours and resulted in the massacre of 1000+ people including women and children.

It is only a Nigerian Army that will kill a Taxi driver for refusing to give him a bribe of N20. Nigerian Army had killed and are still killing innocent civilians in Borno state.

They also killed so many innocent Biafrans in the southern part of my country Nigeria. I cannot list all the brutality of the soldiers of my country Nigeria in a short piece.

Apart from brutal and merciless killings of its civilians, Nigerian Army also engages in kidnapping and abduction of innocent girls in my country, for an unknown reason.

They can't deny kidnapping of the Chibok Girls who secondary school students are preparing to sit for their final year examination. And Our Zaria Girls that 80% of them are university students, 5% postgraduates and only 15% are secondary school students.

The Human Right activists, ICC and particularly the global military agencies have a task to put an end to Nigerian army brutality, and to bring all perpetrators of war crime to justice.



South Asia


Taliban overrun Afghan border district, opening a new front

By Mujib Mashal NEW YORK TIMES   AUGUST 27, 2016

KABUL — The Taliban have overrun a border district in the southeastern Afghan province of Paktia and inflicted heavy casualties on the Afghan security forces, officials said Saturday, as the insurgent fighters opened a new front in a once-volatile region.

Local officials expressed alarm that the attack in the Jani Khel district overnight Friday was led by fighters of the Haqqani network. The network, an arm of the insurgency based in Pakistan, is known for its urban assaults, and the officials say it is trying to create a foothold to reestablish its headquarters in Afghanistan.

Abdul Rahman Zurmati, Jani Khel’s governor, said his troops had been under siege for nine days. The district fell to the Taliban late Friday, he said, because his forces ran out of ammunition and reinforcements did not arrive.

“We were 90 people, and we had to fight against 1,200 Taliban,” Zurmati said in a phone interview. “Twenty-seven of my men have been killed. At first, some of them were wounded and we brought them to the main road, but then a land mine exploded and they were killed. We killed 130 of the enemy.”

Janat Khan Samkanai, the deputy head of the Paktia provincial council, said senior police officers and army generals were at the front line with reinforcements to try to retake the district.

Samkanai said the insurgents had gathered all of their fighters from across the province, and reinforced them with forces from across the border in Pakistan, to attack the district. He said an Afghan force of about 150 people had been trying to defend the mountainous terrain, and he bemoaned the lack of air support.

“After Jani Khel, they are focusing on the Samkani and Patan districts — they want to create territory and bring the Haqqani network groups back inside Afghanistan,” Samkanai said. He added that the Taliban had seized dozens of vehicles and weapons.

The most brutal wing of the insurgency, the Haqqani network had maintained a level of autonomy even as it had carried out some of the most daring attacks on high-profile targets.

But the network, believed to have the strongest links among insurgent groups to the Pakistani intelligence agency, which has been accused of using the Afghan insurgents as a proxy, has been increasingly integrated into the mainstream Taliban in recent years.

Sirajuddin Haqqani, the network’s de facto leader, was named a deputy to the Taliban’s supreme leader in the insurgency’s first leadership transition last year.

Haqqani’s influence grew as the Taliban went through another leadership change this spring, after their leader was killed in a US drone strike.

The new supreme leader, Mawlawi Haibatullah Akhundzada, lacks military experience, so Haqqani has played a major role in planning the Taliban’s day-to-day operations as the insurgency has made gains in the south and the north, Afghan and Western officials say.

This month, the Pentagon said it was withholding $300 million in military reimbursements to Pakistan because Secretary of Defense Ash Carter had concluded that the Pakistanis had not taken “sufficient action against the Haqqani network.”

The establishment of a foothold for the Haqqani operation in southeastern Afghanistan could mean an increase in high-profile attacks in Kabul, the capital, as well as further instability in the southeastern region.


Chinese hotels block guests from 5 Muslim countries, Pakistan, Syria, Iraq, Turkey and Afghanistan

 [The Nation] 27 Aug, 2016

BEIJING: Police have ordered some low-end hotels in the Chinese metropolis of Guangzhou not to allow guests from five Muslim-majority countries including Pakistan to stay, though China’s foreign ministry said it had never heard of the policy.Three hotels with rooms costing about 150 Yuan ($23) a night said they had received police notices from as early as March telling them to turn away people from Pakistan, Syria, Iraq, Turkey and Afghanistan.“I’m not clear of the reason. We just can’t take them,” one hotel worker said by telephone.The notice appears only to apply to cheaper hotels at the bottom of the price scale.All of the five countries have been beset by terrorist attacks in the past few years, or in the case of Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan have been in states of war.Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post saidon Friday that the rule appeared to be a security measure coinciding with a development forum being held in Guangzhou this week, and also ahead of next week’s G20 summit in Hangzhou, though the two cities are more than 1,000 km (620 miles) apart.Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said that he was not aware that such an order had been issued in Guangzhou.“I’ve never heard that there is this policy being followed in China,” Lu told a daily news briefing.“Moreover, as far as China is concerned, our policy in principle is that we encourage people from China and other countries to have friendly exchanges and are willing to provide various convenient policies in this regard.”The Guangzhou city government information office and police in the southern city could not be reached for immediate comment.Two high-end hotels said they had not been told they had to turn away guest from the five countries.Guangzhou is the capital of the export powerhouse province of Guangdong and is home to a sizable foreign population, many of whom are traders from Africa.China has a Muslim population of its own, many of whom live in the violence-prone far western region of Xinjiang where the government says it faces a concerted campaign from Islamist extremists.China has also been courting the Muslim world and the oil-rich Middle East in particular and has for many years had close ties with Pakistan.


ISIS coordinator arrested in Jalalabad city

By KHAAMA PRESS - Sun Aug 28 2016

Afghanistan-intelligence-498x350A militant coordinating the movement of fighters for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group was arrested in Jalalabad city, the provincial capital of eastern Nangarhar province.

The Afghan Intelligence, National Directorate of Security (NDS), said Abdul Rahman also known as Badam son of Bahram was arrested from the 2nd police district of Jalalabad city.

According to a statement by NDS, Abdul Rahman was involved in coordinating the movement of fighters for the terror group from Jalalabad city to Kot district.

The statement further added that three individuals were also arrested together with Abdul Rahman as he was attempting to shift them to Kot so that they can join the terror group.

The Afghan intelligence operatives arrested four other individuals belonging to Taliban commander Amin ul Haq from Jalalabad city, NDS added.

According to NDS, the group was involved in bombing, explosions and assassination of tribal edlers in Jalalabad.

The detained individuals have been identified as Abdul Razaq son of Malang, Sher Mohammad son of Abdul, Zia ul Haq son of Hazrat Mohammad, and Zakir also known as Bozorg son of Juma Khan.

The anti-government armed militant groups have not commented regarding the reports so far.


Afghanistan deports 250 Pakistani workers as deadlock persists near Chaman

By KHAAMA PRESS - Sun Aug 28 2016

Pak-Afghan tensionsAfghanistan has reportedly deported 250 Pakistani workers as deadlock persists along the Durand Line near Chaman with the crossing remaining closed for the 10th consecutive day.

A Pakistani official quoted in reports by local media said the Afghan officials had expelled over 250 Pakistani laborers during last 10 days after the border was closed.

The crossing, Friendship Gate, was closed ten days ago after the Pakistani officials claimed that several Afghan demonstrators attacked the gate and set the Pakistani flag on fire.

Numerous attempts have been made to resolve the issue and reopen the crossing but no breakthrough has been made so far.

The NATO supplies and cross border trade activities were also suspended on 10th consecutive day on Saturday.

Earlier tensions intensified between the two neighboring countries on several occassions during the past recent months, mainly due to the establishment of gates and other installations.

The Afghan and Pakistani forces exchanged fire in Torkham earlier in June which resulted in to the closure of the gate for several days.

Both the Afghan and Pakistani forces suffered casualties during the clashes that erupted due to the construction of a gate by Pakistan which the Afghan officials called a unilateral move and against a bilateral agreement between the two nations.


3 athletes wounded in an explosion in Jalalabad city

By KHAAMA PRESS - Sun Aug 28 2016

At least three athletes were wounded in an explosion in Jalalabad city the provincial capital of eastern Nangarhar province of Afghanistan.

According to the local government officials, the incident took place earlier today near Behsud bridge.

Provincial governor’s spokesman Ataullah Khogyani confirmed that 3 athletes were wounded after the explosives planted near a park close to Behsud bridge was detonated.

Khogyani further added that the incident took place around 6:00 am local time and the injured individuals were shifted to hospital for treatment.

According to Khogyani the health condition of the injured individuals is satisfactory and are being treated in the hospital.

No group including the Taliban militants has so far claimed responsibility behind the incident.

Taliban insurgents and militants loyal to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group are actively operating in a number of the remote districts of Nangarhar province.

Today’s incident comes as the Afghan security forces are busy conducting counter-terrorism operations against the Taliban and ISIS loyalists in this province.



Saudi Arabia



New ISIS video shows children, including Briton, killing captives

August 27, 2016       Islamic World, News 0 Comments

London [UK]: A new video released by the Islamic State shows five children, one of whom it identifies as British, murdering Kurdish prisoners.

The propaganda footage released overnight Friday, features five boys wearing military-type clothing and holding pistols, while standing in a row behind five men who are kneeling in orange jumpsuits, reports the Guardian.

The video shows each of the children captioned with names that have been used by ISIS before to denote a fighter’s country of origin.

A white boy with blue eyes is labelled “Abu Abdullah al-Britani” (the Briton) but the identity of the child has not been verified.

A child captioned “Abu al-Bara al-Tunisi” (the Tunisian) addresses the men – apparently Kurdish fighters – promising more violence.

The other children are said to be Abu Ishaq al-Masri (the Egyptian), Abu Fu’ad al-Kurdi (the Kurd) and Yusuf al-Uzbaki (the Uzbek).

It is not known where the video was filmed.

In February, ISIS released a video purportedly showing a young British boy, thought to be four-year-old Isa Dare, blowing up a car and killing three prisoners inside.

He is the son of the Muslim extremist Grace “Khadija” Dare, from Lewisham, south-east London, who travelled to Syria in 2012. (ANI)


Syria: Turkey-Backed Terrorists Occupy More Lands in Northern Aleppo

Aug 28, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Terrorist groups, backed up by the Turkish Army and Air Force, engaged in fierce clashes with the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and captured two villages on the Western side of border town of Jarabulus.

Following Turkish Army's occupation of a part of Northern Syria, Ankara-backed terrorist groups captured the villages of Arabic Qarqouyeh and Kurdish Qaryqouyeh near the border with Turkey and then stormed SDF's positions near the village of al-Tarikhim 15 km to the West of Jarabulus.

Nouralddeen al-Zinki is one of terrorist groups that is present in the Turkish-backed operation in Northern Aleppo. Al-Zinki is the same group that beheaded a 12-year-old Palestinian boy in front of the camera last month.

Al-Zinki captured heights of al-Amareneh on Saturday after hours of clashes with SDF.

Turkish-linked terrorist groups engaged in clashes with SDF on the Southern side of Jarabulus, in the meantime, a Turkish tank was targeted in the clashes.

Reports said earlier today that a Turkish soldier was killed and three more were wounded in missile attacks of the Syrian Kurdish group of People’s Protection Units (YPG) on their positions near Jarabulus.

Positions of Turkish military forces near Syria's Jarabulus were pounded heavily in the YPG's missile attacks, ending in the killing of the first Turkish soldier since occupation of a part of Northern Aleppo.

Three other Turkish soldiers were badly wounded in the attacks.

Turkish army's artillery unit, in a retaliatory move, shelled YPG's centers in Jarabulus.


Syrian Army Inches Closer to Key Town in Eastern Damascus

Aug 28, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Syrian Army troops are now very close to seizing back the militant-held town of Douma in Eastern Ghouta after inflicting heavy losses on the Takfiri terrorists in their recent anti-terrorism offensives, field sources said.

"The Syrian army men and popular forces continued to push back Jeish al-Islam terrorists from their strongholds in the Eastern side of the strategic town of Douma, and took control over Ishara 553 Storage Cells and Rahbet al-Ishara in al-Reihan town, and deployed forces  only a few hundred meters away from Douma’s Eastern flanks.

The Syrian pro-government forces also took control of the Tal Reihan and took fire control over Tal Kurdi.

Military sources announced on Thursday that the Syrian Army's engineering units started an operation to defuse landmines and bombs planted by the Jeish al-Islam terrorists in farms near Douma in Eastern Damascus.

"Syrian Army's engineering units have launched defusing of a number of explosive devices and booby-trapped vehicles in farms near Douma, mainly in al-Reihan farms in Northeastern side of Douma," the sources said.

"Most of al-Reihan farms are under control of the Syrian army," they added.


Syrian Army Ready to Launch Final Phase of Seizing Back Project 1070 in Aleppo

Aug 28, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Syrian soldiers and popular forces are getting ready to push Jeish al-Fatah terrorists back from the remaining part of Housing Project 1070 in the South-western part of Aleppo city, military sources announced Sunday.

"Syrian army troops and popular forces are preparing to carry out a large-scale military operation to recapture remaining building blocks in Project 1070 as the pro-government forces have seized back most of the building complexes in recent days," the sources said.

"The operation is expected to begin within the next hours as the soldiers make their final preparations," they added.

Meantime on Saturday, Syrian army soldiers and popular forces continued their advances against Jeish al-Fatah in Housing Project 1070 and military academy buildings, military sources said, adding that the terrorists have sustained a major loss in government forces' attacks.

"In addition to fending off at least five rounds of Jeish al-Fatah's offensives in Um al-Qara'a, the Syrian government forces also pushed back terrorists from more positions in Project 1070 and military academy areas," the sources said.

"The Syrian soldiers beat back terrorists in the North-eastern and North-western sides of the aviation technical college and in a 10-hour-long battle took back a building from the snipers of al-Turkistan and al-Baluchistani groups," they added.

"12 vehicles of terrorist groups were targeted in the attacks and the Syrian soldier blocked the supply line of terrorists to Project 1070," they said.

"The Syrian army, backed by Syrian and Russian warplanes, did not allow Jeish al-Fatah to advance in battlefields near the heights of al-Mahrouqat, Um al-Qara'a and al-Senobarat," the sources went on to say.


One More Non-Syrian Commander Leaves Fatah Al-Sham Terrorist Group

Aug 28, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Another notorious Jordanian commander of Fatah al-Sham (the newly-formed al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorist group previously known as the al-Nusra Front) cut his official membership with the Takfiri group after Fatah al-Sham broke ties with al-Qaeda a couple of weeks ago.

Balal Khreisat aka Abu Khadijah al-Ordoni left Fatah al-Sham mainly due to the possible negligence of al-Qaeda's principles by the Takfiri group.

In the meantime, Abu Jandal, the Jordanian commander of Fatah al-Sham in Dara'a succumbed to the wounds he sustained in a car crash on a road connecting Seida to al-Qariyeh two weeks ago.

Abu Jandal's death was announced by Fatah al-Sham after the Jordanian commander of the Takfiri group cut his relations with Fatah al-Sham.  

Reports said last week that one of the most notorious commanders of Fatah al-Sham Front left the group after Fatah al-Sham broke ties with al-Qaeda, a move that is now seen only as part of a growing trend of defections by veteran commanders and their ring members.

Ayad al-Touibasi aka Abu Habib Ordoni, the Jordanian commander of Fatah al-Sham in Sahel and ex-commander of the group in Dara'a, announced that he has left Fatah al-Sham.

"After Fatah al-Sham brock tie with al-Qaeda, the group started quickly to carrying out some changes in the newly-formed groups' structure, which caused me to cut my organization relations and membership with Fatah al-Sham," Ordoni wrote in his tweeter account.

"Every body must know that al-Qaeda is the only organization which believes in uniting the entire Muslims in war against enemies," he further added.

Ordoni was a fighter of al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and Iraq and then established al-Nusra Front with his leader Abu Mohammad al-Joulani in Syria.

Late in July, al-Nusra Front terrorist group in Syria voted to cut ties with al-Qaeda despite opposition from some of its key members.

The Syrian al-Qaeda affiliate's consultation Shura council reportedly voted to break ties with the terrorist group after a split in its ranks emerged following the announcement of coordinated Russia-US air strikes against the militant group.


Last Convoy of Terrorists Leave Darayya in Southwestern Damascus

Aug 28, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- A long convoy of buses carrying terrorist groups' members and their families left the city of Darayya in Western Ghouta heading towards Idlib, military sources said Sunday.

Al-Mayadeen reported that terrorist groups' members in Darayya were totally around 1,000 out of which 700 militants called for evacuation from the town.

with the last convoy of terrorists' family members, who left Darayya, the total number of militants' families in Darayya did not surpass 2,000 disclosing that the claims that over 4,000 family members of terrorists were trapped in Darayya were shier lies.

After four years of occupation Darayya in now under full control of the Syrian Army.

The total number of militants and their families who left Darayya in two convoys reached 1,532 out of which 524 were militants.

Western and Arab media, in a concentrated propagandistic move, had announced that thousands of militants' family members and civilian were living in very bad situation in Darayya under the Syrian army-laid siege.

As soon as the last convoy of militants left Darayya, Syrian Defense Minister Fahad Jassim al-Freij paid a briefed visit to the newly-liberated city.

In the meantime, military sources announced that the Syrian Army's engineering units have launched a vast operation to demine and defuse the landmines, bombs and explosive traps planted by the terrorists across the city.

On Friday, the militant groups inside Darayya formally agreed to surrender the town after negotiating with a Syrian government delegation.

Under the terms of surrender, the Syrian government agreed to transport the remaining militants from Liwa Shohada al-Islam and civilians to their requested destinations.

Darayya’s civilians would be transferred to the opposition-held Qudsiya District, which is located just West of Damascus City.

The government agreed to provide those civilians humanitarian aid and medical assistance, this would be administrated by UN groups.

The militants would be transported by government buses to Jeish al-Fatah’s frontlines in Idlib province.

In return, the militant groups would surrender the territory they control in Darayya to the Syrian government.


Terrorists Sustain Heavy Losses in Army Offensive in Dara'a

Aug 28, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian army continued its military operations against the terrorist groups in the city of Dara'a, and inflicted heavy losses on them over the past 24 hours.

The Syrian army killed and wounded scores of terrorists in Dara'a city.

The Syrian army also inflicted heavy losses on the terrorist groups in other key regions across Syria.


Syrian Army troops struck the terrorist groups' concentration centers in the Southern and Central districts of Dara'a city, inflicting major losses and casualties on the militants.

Syrian army soldiers stormed the terrorist groups' gatherings South of Dara'a dam and near the old customs building in Dara'a al-Balad, killing and wounding several militants.

The Syrian army men also attacked strongholds of terrorist groups in Eastern side of Khazan al-Kark in Dara'a al-Mahatta, ending in destruction of the militants' sites equipment.

Syrian soldiers, meantime, engaged in fierce clashes with militants in al-Talaibi Square in Dara'a al-Mahatta and killed all members of a terrorist group.

Deir Ezzur                               

Several road-building machinery equipment of the ISIL terrorist group were destroyed in the Syrian army troops' offensive on their strongholds in the Western countryside of Deir Ezzur city.

Syrian Army troop's anti-ISIL offensives near the village of al-Baqaliyeh inflicted several casualties on ISIL terrorists and major damage on their bulldozers that were operating in the region to build new strongholds for the Takfiri terrorists.

The Syrian soldiers also engaged in heavy fighting with ISIL in Huweijat Sakar and Jafra inflicting major losses on their sites, including mortar and anti-tank missile launchers.

Earlier reports said that the ISIL terrorist group gunned down one of the most notorious security commanders of the Takfiri group in al-Sho'eitat region.

Va'el Kassb al-Quweider, known as the right hand of senior commander of ISIL  in Deir Ezzur Jafar al-Khalifeh, was killed by the group's security forces in the village of al-Kashkiyeh.

"Al-Quweider was notorious among the region's civilian for his atrocities against innocent people while occupation of villages of al-Sho'eitat region in 2014," local sources said, adding, "There is no any new about the cause of his execution."


Syrian army soldiers and popular forces continued their advances against Jeish al-Fatah in 1070 Housing Project and military academy buildings, military sources said, adding that the terrorists have sustained a major loss in government forces' attacks.

"In addition to fending off at least five rounds of Jeish al-Fatah's offensives in Um al-Qara'a, the Syrian government forces also pushed back terrorists from more positions in Project 1070 and military academy areas," the sources said.

"The Syrian soldiers beat back terrorists in the Northeastern and Northwestern sides of the aviation technical collage and in a 10-hour-long battle took back a building from the snipers of al-Turkistan and al-Baluchistani groups," they added.

"12 vehicles of terrorist groups were targeted in the attacks and the Syrian soldier blocked the supply line of terrorists to Project 1070," they said.

"The Syrian army, backed by Syrian and Russian warplanes, did not allow Jeish al-Fatah to advance in battlefields near the heights of al-Mahrouqat, Um al-Qara'a and al-Senobarat," the sources went on to say.

Reports said earlier today that Syrian Army troops and their popular allies have significantly advanced against Jeish al-Fatah terrorists in Southwestern Aleppo city and are reinvigorating their defense lines in different parts of the military academy buildings.

"The Syrian government forces, backed up by the army artillery units' shelling, continued to beat back Jeish al-Fatah fighters in the two fronts of Housing Project 1070 and military academy building," the sources said.

"In 1070 project, the army men have only Southern building block to capture," they said, adding, "In the meantime, the Syrian soldiers and their allies stormed Jeish al-Fatah's centers in aviation technical college , captured Northern buildings and fortified their positions in Eastern buildings."

"The army is resolved to cut off terrorists' supply lines from Eastern Idlib to Aleppo," they went on to say.


Hundreds of terrorists have laid down arms and surrendered to government authorities in the city of Darayya in Western Ghouta and hundreds more are being evacuated to terrorist-held regions, meaning that terrorists' rule over the city and its surroundings has ended after four years of occupation, army sources said.

"The Syrian army troops are collecting arms of the militants who turned themselves in to the government forces, and the other units of the army have paved way for evacuation of 5,000-8,000 family-members of the militants of Liwa Shohada al-Islam and Liwa Shohada Kafr Souseh from Darayya," the sources said.

"Darayya is under the complete siege of the Fourth division of the Syrian army," the sources said, adding, "a group of militants' families has left the city already."

"500 militants' of families have been transferred to Damascus countryside and around 300 militants were sent to Idlib province," the sources said.

"Militants have only four days to leave Darayya. They are not allowed to take with them precious things, money and gold, but they can take their own guns," the sources added.





Brahamdagh Wants Talks with Govt to Focus on Baloch Demands

ANWAR IQBAL — August 28th, 2016

WASHINGTON: Baloch separatist leader Brahamdagh Khan Bugti has said that he is not against political dialogue with the Pakistani government but those talks should focus on Baloch demands.

Mr Bugti was among half a dozen speakers, including former ambassador Husain Haqqani, who attended an event held to mark the death anniversary of Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti here at the National Press Club.

“We are political people, we will talk. We are prepared for dialogue on the rights of the Baloch people,” said Mr Bugti, speaking via Skype from Geneva.

He said the dilemma was that even if the present government agreed to some formula, there was no guarantee that the next government or the army would respect such an agreement.

“Why ask us? Why don’t you ask the Pakistani government, the army if they want to talk? If you are afraid of asking them, then admit that you are afraid,” he told a Pakistani journalist who urged him to engage with Islamabad.

Mr Bugti expressed the hope that India was not using Balochistan as a “tit for tat” to get even with Pakistan on the Kashmir issue.

“The two problems — Kashmir and Balochistan — are different with different historical backgrounds,” he emphasised.

The heavy Indian and Pakistani presence at the event betrayed the growing tension between the two neighbours over this question. Some Indians criticised the US State Department for saying that Washington believed in Pakistan’s territorial integrity and did “not support the demand for Balochistan’s independence”.

Pakistanis shouted back, saying that they would never allow the break-up of their country.

Since the organisers — the “American Friends of Balochistan” — did not allow non-journalists to ask questions, they confronted the speakers during the tea breaks of the day-long seminar.

At one tea break, a Pakistani member of the audience asked Husain Haqqani as to how could he demand a ban on US military aid to Pakistan when he also was Islamabad’s envoy in Washington in the recent past. The comment led to a shouting match between the two, and soon others also joined the fracas.

Earlier, Mr Bugti demanded suspension of US military assistance to Pakistan, adding that he hoped unlike the Obama administration, the next US administration would be more receptive to Baloch demands and suspend its assistance to Pakistan.

He claimed that the larger Pakistani society had already alienated the Baloch people by ignoring their plight.

“There are regular debates in the Pakistani media on petty things, but never on Balochistan,” he complained. “No one comes out to stop the genocide, they don’t care about us.”

Mr Haqqani said that as a Pakistani he wanted Balochistan to remain in Pakistan but if the government also had this objective — it should redress the grievances of the Baloch people.

Peter Tatchell, a British scholar, demanded that international aid agencies and human rights groups should be given access to Balochistan.


Three Sri Lankan cricket team attackers killed in Lahore: CTD

IMRAN GABOL28 August 2016

LAHORE: Four accused terrorists three of whom were charged with involvement in the 2009 attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team were killed Saturday night, Punjab's Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) claimed in a statement early Sunday.

"On Aug 27 at about 11pm, a CTD team was taking accused terrorists involved in the Moon Market Iqbal Town Lahore blast of 2008 for pointation of a house in the Lakho Dehr area... where they had prepared for the attack at that time," the CTD claimed.

The CTD said that the team was "attacked by 7-8 terrorists" when they reached the East Service Road of Ring Road near the Mian Town bridge.

"The CTD team took precautions and returned fire in self defence," the statement said. "When the firing stopped, four accused terrorists were found dead by firing of the attacking terrorists."

Those killed were identified as Zubair alias Naik Muhammad, Abdul Wahab, Adnan Arshad and Ateequr Rehman.

"The first three terrorists were also involved in the attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in 2009, in which six police officials were killed... and cricketers were injured," the CTD said.

The attackers fled the scene under cover of darkness, the CTD said, adding that a large quantity of weapons was recovered from the site.

An investigation is underway to arrest the fleeing terrorists.

An anti-terrorism court in June indicted six members of a banned outfit in the Sri Lankan cricket team attack case.

The suspects included Obaidullah, Javed Anwar, Ibrahim Khalil, Abdul Wahab, Zubair and Adnan Arshad. The first three suspects are on bail, while others were behind bars.

All the suspects had pleaded not guilty and decided to contest the case during an in-camera hearing in Kot Lakhpat jail.

The alleged mastermind of the attack, Lashkar-i-Jhangvi chief Malik Ishaq, was killed in July last year during a shootout between CTD personnel and militants who tried to get their leader freed from custody in Muzaffargarh.

Gulberg police had registered a case against Ishaq and others for their involvement in the attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team.

A bus carrying the Sri Lankan cricketers came under a gun and grenade attack at Liberty Chowk, near Qaddafi Stadium, on March 3, 2009. Seven players and an assistant coach were wounded, while eight Pakistanis were killed in the attack.


Sindh govt disowns razing of MQM offices

DAWN REPORT — August 28th, 2016

LARKANA: Adviser to the chief minister on information Maula Bakhsh Chandio has advised the Muttahida Qaumi Move-ment to go to courts to seek legal remedy for the charges they face and come clean about them.

He denied razing MQM offices in Karachi and Hyderabad saying that the Sindh government was not involved in it. “We were told that only encroachments were being removed,” he said.

Mr Chandio told journalists after speaking at a PPP workers’ convention at a local hotel here on Friday night that the PPP had neither jailed Karachi mayor-elect Waseem Akhtar nor indulged in political victimisation of any individual or group.

He said in response to a question that Pakistan was a country of Asif Ali Zardari’s ancestors as well. Mr Zardari had not escaped from the country in the dead of night, he had gone openly and would return openly, he said.

He said that PPP leaders had faced corruption charges in the past and its leaders remained in jail even after being elected members of parliament.

Mr Chandio said the government was not opposed to giving powers to newly elected local government representatives. They would be entrusted powers in accordance with the law and the Constitution, he said.

He said that he was confident anyone blamed in Panama leaks would definitely have to face the music.

Senior Minister for Food Nisar Ahmed Khuhro also addressed the convention.

PSP wants reference against Muttahida

Senior vice chairmen of Pak Sarzameen Party Anis Ahmed Khan and Dr Saghir Ahmed have said Dr Farooq Sattar is trying to befool the establishment and Urdu-speaking community and called upon the federal interior minister to file a reference under Article 17(2) against MQM.

At a press conference in Latifabad late on Friday night, the leaders urged all MQM parliamentarians to come clean about the charges they faced and denounced MQM chief Altaf Hussain’s disparaging remarks about the country in his speeches to workers.

Anis Ahmed Khan said that whenever Altaf Hussain found his grip loosing on the system he had created he resorted to Pakistan-bashing. After having apologized for his earlier remarks, Mr Hussain again badmouthed Pakistan in his speech to party meeting in the US, in which he sought help from Pakistan’s arch enemies, he said.

“MQM’s legislators should come clean about their dissociation from Altaf Hussain and make a clear announcement in this regard at a press conference. Only then the ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ slogan being raised by them now will be acknowledged,” he said. He urged Nisar Ali Khan to expedite measures to ban MQM.

Dr Saghir Ahmed said that Sattar’s move to launch MQM Pakistan after the Aug 22 episode was the country’s darkest hour in the history. Shortly afterwards, Mr Hussain sought help from Israel and India to help him break up Pakistan, he said.

“No good could be expected from Sattar as he always prefers to save his skin. He created a similar MQM in 1992 when offices were sealed and talked about Baani-e-Tehreek [party’s founder],” he said. At that time Azeem Ahmed Tariq and S.M. Tariq were murdered, he said.

He said that Sattar had promised to the Rangers DG he would announce dissociation from Mr Hussain. “He had earlier struck a deal to help Hyder Rizvi and Wasay Jalil escape,” Dr Saghir charged.

He said that today leaders were tweeting on social media. He branded Sattar the puppet of the establishment. Sattar was befooling Mr Hussain, Mohajirs and the establishment. “MQM doesn’t enjoy Mohajirs’ mandate and Sattar is too ‘innocent’ that when his coordinator died in custody he was dancing somewhere. In view of his claim of three-days, he said, Nisar Ali Khan should send a reference under Article 17(2) which was pushed aside by money laundering and Imran Farooq murder cases.


LHC moved to put MQM men names on ECL


LAHORE: A writ petition filed in the Lahore High Court requests that names of three Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) leaders be included in the Exit Control List (ECL).

Barrister Ali Gilani alleged in his petition that Dr Farooq Sattar, Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui and Khwaja Izharul Hassan endorsed anti-Pakistan statements of their party chief Altaf Hussain.

The lawyer stated the respondent leaders were also guilty of sedition by not openly disapproving the allegedly anti-state sentiments of their London-based leader.

He expressed apprehensions that the respondents could flee the country in the wake of government’s action against the MQM. Therefore, he asked the court to place the names of the leaders on ECL.


Time to get rid of Altaf: Minister


LAHORE: Federal Minister for Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage Senator Pervaiz Rashid said on Saturday that Altaf Hussain was not a citizen of Pakistan but of Britain. He added that it was time to get rid of Hussain and take him to task for his anti-Pakistan statements.

The minister said the government had forwarded a reference to the United Kingdom for taking stern action against Hussain for inciting people to violence and attack media houses in Karachi.

“Altaf Hussain has been operating from London for a long time and his single call used to result in shutterdowns, wheel jams, killing of innocent citizens and bringing Karachi’s life to a standstill,” the minister said while speaking to reporters after inaugurating the 16th Textile Asia 2016 Exhibition at the Expo Centre.

Mr Rashid said that in the past a man sitting in London used to deliver anti-Pakistan speeches which resulted in killings of innocent people in Karachi. But now, he added, no one was even ready to discuss him.

He hoped that the British government would not only stop its citizen [Altaf Hussain] from delivering anti-Pakistan speeches, but also take stern action as per its law against him for the offence he had committed.

“We believe British democracy and law will take its course and nab Altaf Hussain for inciting his party workers to extremism and violence.”

Mr Rashid was of the view that all this could not have become possible had Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif not given the nod for the Karachi operation.

After assuming the Prime Minister’s Office, Mr Sharif spent three consecutive days in the port city and took on board all political parties, including the PPP, MQM, PTI, JI, JUI-F, and ANP, as well as the business community, civil society and the media for launching an operation to purge Karachi of terrorism, targeted killings, menace of extortion and street crime, he maintained.

Before the PML-N government, Karachi used to wear a deserted look even on religious festivals and other important days, but for the last two years its markets, shopping malls, markets and bazaars had remained open throughout the nights during Eid, the minister added.

Answering a question, Mr Rashid said that PTI chairman Imran Khan had lost trust in democracy, Supreme Court and even in himself. He argued that when Mr Khan had moved the SC, why he had been staging a sit-in.

He said the government would definitely abide by the decision of the apex court and asked Mr Khan whether he would accept the court’s orders.

In reply to a question over PAT chief Dr Tahirul Qadri’s rallies and protests, the federal minister said the PML-N believed in the politics of development, but some political parties’ motto was negative politics and mischievous activities. “We are doing what we have to do and they are doing what they can do,” Rashid added.

He said the PML-N government would again foil their negative political ideology through its public service and developmental initiatives.

Mr Rashid told a questioner that the National Action Plan (NAP) could not be executed/implemented overnight, as it was a continuing process. He said some of the NAP points had been implemented fully while others would be implemented gradually and in stages.

He said lessons/essays on love, tolerance, fraternity, peace and nationalism should be incorporated in education syllabus/textbooks to end hatred, ethnicity, and extremism.


20 legislators picked to lobby for Kashmir cause across world

AMIR WASIM —August 28th, 2016

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has nominated 20 members of parliament — 16 of them from his own Pakistan Muslim League-N — as special envoys who will lobby for the Kashmir cause in important world capitals.

The special envoys have been nominated to “highlight Indian brutalities in India-Occupied Kashmir and to lobby for the Kashmir cause,” said an announcement issued by Prime Minister Office here on Saturday.

Interestingly, out of the 17 MPs nominated from the ruling party and coalition, seven belong to southern Punjab, indicating that the underprivileged region has been given preference during the selection process.

Nawab Ali Wassan, the Pakistan People’s Party MNA from Khairpur, is the only member from the opposition in the list of envoys. He has been nominated as envoy to Moscow (Russian Federation) along with Junaid Anwar Chaudhry (MNA from Toba Tek Singh) and Raza Hayat Hiraj from Khanewal.

According to the announcement, the envoys will perform their tasks in 12 cities in nine countries and the United Nations.

The selection criteria are not clear and interviews with some of the nominated envoys reveal that they had not been consulted before the nominations were made.

When contacted, Information Minister Pervez Rashid simply said the nominated politicians were “parliamentarians and Pakistanis” and they would go abroad to present the government’s viewpoint on the Kashmir issue.

He said there were many other parliamentarians who were already lobbying for the Kashmir cause because of their positions.

When his attention was drawn towards the representation from southern Punjab, he said the nomination of legislators from the region should be welcomed as they had been entrusted with an important national task. Moreover, he said, for the outside world, they were all Pakistanis and they would not be treated as representatives of Sindh or southern Punjab.

PML-Q Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed — who is head of the Senate Committee on Defence and has been nominated as special envoy for Washington (US) and New York (UN) — said he came to know about his nomination through one of his journalist friends. He, however, termed it a good move by the government.

He expressed the hope that because the Kashmir issue was above political considerations, there would be no objection from any party over the nominations.

However, vice-chairman of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and former foreign minister, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, expressed disappointment over the nominations and said the list of nominees showed the “government’s seriousness towards the Kashmir cause”.

Mr Qureshi expressed surprise at his own exclusion from the list, saying the rulers did not choose a parliamentarian who had served as foreign minister and who had raised the Kashmir issue at the UN, OIC and Arab League. He said that only those people should have been selected who could raise the issue in an effective and articulate manner.

Others who have been nominated are Ijazul Haq and Malik Uzair (for Brussels, Belgium); Khusro Bakhtiar and Alamdad Laleka (for Beijing, China); Senator Ayesha Raza Farooq and Rana Afzal Khan (for Paris, France); Maulana Fazl ur Rehman, retired Major Tahir Iqbal and Muhammad Afzal Khokhar (for Riyadh and Jeddah, Saudi Arabia); Mohsin Shahnawaz Ranjha and Malik Pervaiz (for Ankara, Turkey); retired Lt Gen Abdul Qayyum and Qaiser Sheikh (for London, UK); Dr Shezra Mansab Ali Khan (for Washington, US, and New York, UN); Awais Leghari (for Geneva, UN); and Abdul Rehman Kanju (for Pretoria, South Africa).

In a statement, Prime Minister Sharif said: “I am standing behind these special envoys to ensure their toil for highlighting the Kashmir cause resonates across the world so that I can shake the collective conscience of the international community during my address at the UN this September.”

He said Pakistan would remind the UN of its long-held promise to help grant the people of Kashmir their right to self-determination and would make it clear to India that it was the country that had approached the UN several decades back over the Kashmir dispute.





Turkey Expects Steps Taken Against Syria After Proven Use Of Chemical Weapons

ANKARA: August/28/2016

Turkey has said it expected steps would be taken against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, as a U.N. body has ascertained the liability of Damascus in the use of chemical weapons during the Syrian civil war.

“Considering the fact that the regime has heedlessly continued to use chemical weapons up to now, Turkey expects steps will be taken regarding the regime, which is a party to the CWC [Chemical Weapons Convention], so that it is held accountable by necessary sanctions called for by this crime,” the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a written statement on Aug 27.

Turkey’s statement after the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)–United Nations Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) ascertained the liability of the Syrian regime in some of the cases under investigation. The mechanism was established pursuant to U.N. Security Council Resolution 2235, in order to identify perpetrators using chemical weapons in Syria.

It also found that the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) also used chemical weapons in one incident.

“JIM’s findings also clearly indicate that Turkey has been justified by its previous warnings,” read the statement.

“The use of chemical weapons is a crime against humanity and constitutes a war crime. As a responsible member of the international community, Turkey expects the OPCW, which is responsible for supervising the implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention, to continue monitoring and reporting on the gaps and discrepancies in the declaration of the Syrian regime pertaining to its chemical weapons program,” it added.

Recalling that the report also cited ISIL using chemical weapons, Turkey said: “The use of chemical weapons by DEASH [ISIL] amid its vicious terrorist acts has also been established by the JIM in its report. Our efforts to counter DEASH will continue with resolve.”


Turkish army says 25 PKK/PYD militants killed in airstrikes in Syria’s Jarablus


A total of 25 militants of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) were killed on Aug. 28 in an air operation in the Jarablus region of Syria as a part of the U.S.-led coalition, the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) has announced.

It added five buildings used by the militants were also destroyed.

The military also noted it was paying utmost attention to prevent the civilian population in the region from being harmed.


Turkish gov’t going too far in post-coup attempt state of emergency measures: CHP head Kılıçdaroğlu

ANKARA: August/28/2016

The leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) has criticized the government for “going too far” in the implementation of authorities granted by Turkey’s ongoing state of emergency.

“I remember [the military coups] of March 12 [1971], Sept. 12 [1980]. There was polarization and conflict. But not even this many people were arrested [in either coup]. Trade unions were not closed down. But now they are rapidly closing trade unions,” CHP head Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu told private broadcaster CNN Türk on Aug. 27.

“The rule of law is the fundamental criteria that will give you [the government] righteousness. The limits have been passed in some cases,” Kılıçdaroğlu added, accusing the government of opportunism in the aftermath of the coup attempt.

The government declared a state of emergency for three months in July, saying it was necessary in order to more effectively fight against the Fethullahist Terror Organization (FETÖ), said to have been behind the coup attempt. The government has since issued three separated decree laws to purge all Gülenists from state institutions and to re-structure these institutions, ostensibly to avoid future coup attempts.

Along with dismissing tens of thousands of civil servants from the state offices, a number of media outlets, trade unions, civil society organizations have also been closed down through decree laws over alleged links with FETÖ.

CHP head Kılıçdaroğlu stressed that state of emergency measures against civil servants and other individuals must not create a new group of “victims.”

“A large number of civil servants have been dismissed and they will never be able to return their jobs. There was a similar measure taken by soldiers [after the coup] in 1980. But they later removed the word ‘lifelong’ from the dismissals, considering that they might have made mistakes in the dismissals,” he said.

‘Aslı Erdoğan should be released’

Kılıçdaroğlu also criticized the pre-trial arrest of renowned Turkish writer Aslı Erdoğan for “praising terrorism” and the closure of daily Özgür Gündem over links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

“We can never accept newspapers’ lending support to terror. As a matter of principle, we are also against the silencing of any media organization. If a newspaper is to be closed, it should be through the courts,” he said, recalling that Özgür Gündem and other recently closed media outlets have been silenced through decree laws without formal court decisions.

“Author Aslı Erdoğan should not have been arrested. She just expressed her thoughts. Journalists and artists can be put on trial for crimes committed, but you will fail to explain it to the modern world if you impose pre-trial arrest on them,” Kılıçdaroğlu added.

Recalling claims that Erdoğan has not been given her required medicine while in prison, the CHP head described it as a “shame.”

“She was already ill. Why don’t you give her medicines? It’s a shame. She should be released,” he said.


Turkish warplanes hit ISIL, YPG as rebels clash in northern Syria

ANKARA: August/27/2016

Two Turkish F-16 warplanes struck six Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) targets and a position of the U.S.-backed Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) in Syria on Aug. 27, Turkish security sources told Reuters.

The strikes came as Syrian rebels backed by Turkey clashed with fighters opposed by Ankara at the village of al-Amarna, some 10 km south of the border town of Jarablus that was seized by the Turkey-backed rebels from ISIL this week.

The sources did not give further details on the air strikes.

The Kurdish-led administration in northern Syria said on Aug. 27 Turkish tanks had advanced on al-Amarna, where they clashed with the Jarablus Military Council, an ally of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) alliance that is in turn backed by the Kurdish YPG, Reuters reported.

The administration's media office said the rebels were fighting alongside the Turkish tanks, and Kurdish forces had no role in the fighting.

The leader of one of the Turkey-backed rebel groups however told Reuters the rebels were battling the YPG on the outskirts of the village.

Ahmed Osman, leader of the Sultan Murad group, also denied any Turkish tanks were taking part in storming the area. 

The Turkish Armed Forces are taking part in the “Euphrates Shield” operation launched on Aug. 24 to back Syrian rebels’ bid to clear ISIL from territories bordering Turkey.

Some 200 soldiers from mechanized units and 150 Special Forces soldiers are involved in the operation, which is still ongoing after it secured its first aim of liberating the Syrian town of Jarablus from ISIL.

The ground forces and Ankara-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters are supported by intense air operations by the international anti-ISIL coalition forces.


Turkish soldier killed in YPG attack in north Syria

ANKARA - Anadolu Agency: August/28/2016

A Turkish soldier has been killed and another three have been injured in a Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) rocket attack in northern Syria, a military official has said.     

Specialized Sgt. Ercan Çelik was killed in the attack, marking the first casualty for Turkey since the launch of Operation Euphrates Shield to rid the border region of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) jihadist group on Aug. 24.   

Three soldiers were also wounded in the attack. 

The official said rockets were launched at two Turkish tanks operating 7 kilometers south of Jarablus, the northern Syrian city freed from ISIL during the operation. 

The source said fighters from the YPG, the armed-wing of the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), carried out the attack.

Turkish forces retaliated with artillery fire, the source added.     

Euphrates Shield saw the Turkish military back the Free Syrian Army (FSA) with artillery, tanks, air power and Special Forces in taking Jarablus, which lies to the west of the Euphrates River and around a kilometer to the south of the Turkish border. Aircraft from the anti-ISIL coalition also backed the operation.


No casualties after PKK attack on Diyarbakır airport

DİYARBAKIR - Anadolu Agency: August/28/2016

There were no casualties after outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants launched a rocket-propelled grenade attack on an airport in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır early on Aug. 28, the local governor’s office has said in a statement.     

It said the attack in the Bağlar district caused minor damage at the airport complex.     

Flights continued after a momentary pause during the police investigation at the scene, the statement said.   

it added the target was a police checkpoint at the airport.     

A larger investigation is underway to apprehend the perpetrators responsible for the attack.





India Calls for Closer Cooperation with Iran in Anti-Terror Campaign

August 27, 2016

(AhlulBayt News Agency) - Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed deep concerns over the spread of terrorism across the world and called for joint efforts between Tehran and New Delhi to fight against the inauspicious phenomenon.

“Today, the most serious danger that threatens humanity is terrorism and extremism,” Modi said in a meeting with visiting Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Ali Shamkhani in New Delhi on Friday.

He further described Islam as “the religion of compassion and mercy”, and said Takfiri terrorists who are acting in the name of Islam have nothing to do with the religion.

The Indian premier went on to say that since 1400 years ago, no phenomenon has been able to harm the religion as Takfiri terrorism has done so.

Modi stressed the necessity to fight against ideological roots of Takfiri terrorism and said Iran-India cooperation in the fight against terrorism should be put on the agenda of the two countries.

Shamkhani, for his part, described Tehran-New Delhi relations as “historical and constructive”, saying that the relationship has never posed any threats to other countries and followed no approach other than helping to promote regional stability and security.

The Indian prime minister paid a visit to Iran back in May, when the two countries signed 12 memorandums of understanding to develop cooperation in various areas.

Modi also had a meeting with Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei, who said Iran and India can join hands in a genuine fight against terrorism, unlike what the West is doing.

In recent years, the Middle East region has been plagued with Takfiri terrorist groups like Daesh (also known as ISIS or ISIL), which are believed to have been created and supported by the West and some regional Arab countries.

The terrorist groups, which claim to be Islamic but whose actions are anything but, have been committing heinous crimes not only against non-Muslims, but mostly against Muslims in the region.


Visitors entry into Taj may be limited, ASI awaits report

PTI | Aug 28, 2016

NEW DELHI: Entry of visitors into Taj Mahal may be capped with the government considering a comprehensive conservation and crowd management plan at the 17th century Mughal monument, which is a world heritage site.

Top officials of Archaeological Survey of India said a decision on limiting visits to Taj Mahal complex would be taken based on the study being carried out by National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI).

They said ASI will take certain steps to protect the famed monument, which receives a large number of visitors daily.

It is understood that among the proposals being considered include cutting the existing visiting hours.

ASI has commissioned the Nagpur-based institute to conduct the study to assess the impact of tourist activities on the monument on a long-term basis as also environmental effects on it.

"The NEERI study, for the first time, would also give us a report on optimum footfall at Taj Mahal. Once we receive the final report on it, we would analyse it and then take a call on deciding the eventual footfall for this monument," a senior ASI official said.

Its Director General Rakesh Tewari said, the ASI has plans for comprehensive conservation and crowd management.

"Taj Mahal is a very significant monument and, of course, there are concerns as to the impact of so many people visiting the site as also the environmental impact on it.

"The NEERI in its draft report has suggested several permutations and combinations on crowd management and on carbon dioxide level, among other matters. Now, it is up to the government to take the final call," ASI Agra Circle Superintending Archaeologist Bhuvan Vikram said.

Following the Supreme Court's direction, the ASI had in 2012 commissioned the study to gauge the Taj Mahal's "carrying capacity". Based on the final recommendation in the report, the maximum number of tourists to be allowed to visit the monument will be worked out.

Taj Mahal is considered one of the finest specimens of Mughal architecture. In 1983, the Taj Mahal became a UNESCO World Heritage Site and was cited as "the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world's heritage."

According to Culture Ministry, 7.43 lakh foreign tourists visited the Taj in 2012. However, the number fell to 6.95 lakh in 2013 and slumped further to 6.48 Lakh in 2014.

The ASI had effected a hike in the entry fee to its 32 world heritage monuments from April 1 this year.

The entry fee for domestic visitors to Taj Mahal is Rs 40 and for foreigners Rs 1,000. It includes the ASI fee as well as the road tax levied by the Agra Development Authority, Vikram said.


Southeast Asia


Would-be bomber’s explosives fail in Indonesia church

AP AUGUST 28, 2016

JAKARTA, Indonesia — A would-be suicide bomber’s explosives failed to detonate in a packed church in western Indonesia during Sunday Mass, and he injured a priest with an axe before being restrained, police said.

The 18-year-old assailant left a bench and ran toward the priest at the altar, but a bomb in his backpack only burned without exploding, said national police spokesman Maj. Gen. Boy Rafli Amar.

Before he was restrained by members of the congregation, the man managed to take an axe from the backpack and attacked the Rev. Albert Pandiangan, causing a slight injury to the 60-year-old priest’s hand, Amar said.

The motive for the attack at the Roman Catholic St. Yoseph Church in Medan, the capital of North Sumatra province, was not clear, but the perpetrator carried a symbol indicating support for the Islamic State group.

Police were interrogating the man, who told them he was not working alone, Amar said, without providing details.

Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation, has carried out a sustained crackdown on militant networks since the 2002 Bali bombings that killed 202 people.


Philippine extremists supporting IS stage mass jailbreak

AFP — 28 August 2016

MARAWI: Extremists who support the militant Islamic State (IS) group staged a daring jailbreak in the southern Philippines, freeing 23 detainees in the latest in a series of mass escapes, officials said Sunday.

About 50 heavily armed members of the Maute group raided the local jail in the southern city of Marawi on Mindanao island on Saturday and freed eight comrades who were arrested barely a week ago, police said.

Fifteen other detainees, held for other serious offences, also escaped in the raid, said provincial jail warden Acmad Tabao.

Police earlier said that 28 inmates escaped but Tabao clarified the figure.

In a report Tabao said two women came to the prison gate, asking the guard to take delivery of some food for the detainees. When the guard opened the gate, hooded men forced their way into the compound.

They overwhelmed the guards, forcing them to their knees and taking two rifles before freeing the inmates.

The hooded men shouted "God is great" before fleeing in a prison vehicle to a nearby lake. The Maute gang members then fled by boat while the other inmates scattered, Tabao said.

At the jail, two bullet holes and a shattered television set were the only evidence of the attack.

The eight Maute group members were arrested on August 22 after soldiers manning a checkpoint found improvised bombs and pistols in the van they were driving.

The Maute group is one of several Muslim gangs in Mindanao, the ancestral homeland of the Muslim minority in the largely Catholic Philippines.

The group has carried out kidnappings and bombings and is believed to have led an attack on an army outpost in the Mindanao town of Butig in February.

The fighting there lasted a week, leaving numerous fatalities and forcing thousands to flee their homes as helicopter gunships fought off the attackers.

During the Butig fighting the group's members were seen carrying black flags of the IS, and bandanas bearing the militant group's insignia were found in their base, the military said.

Authorities said they were investigating the jailbreak and the reason why security had not been increased after high-risk suspects were brought in.

It was the latest of several mass escapes from poorly secured Philippine jails, with the incidents often involving extremists.

In 2009 more than 100 armed men raided a jail in the strife-torn southern island of Basilan, freeing 31 prisoners including several guerrillas.

The southern Philippines has been plagued by separatist insurgencies for over four decades, with the conflict leaving more than 120,000 dead.

President Rodrigo Duterte is pursuing peace talks with the largest insurgent groups, the Moro National Liberation Front and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front which have ceasefires with the government.

Smaller bands like the Maute group and the Abu Sayyaf group are not covered by the ceasefires and are not part of the peace process.





EU Membership ‘No Panacea’ For Turkey’s Closer Ties with Europe – Austria's Kern

28 Aug, 2016

Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern has hit out at the EU Commission chief for still courting Turkey for eventual membership, arguing that this ignores Ankara’s drifting away from the union. Instead there should be a “new form” of relations, Kern said.

“The negotiation process, which is considered a panacea for Turkey getting closer ties with Europe, has not brought exactly anything,” Kern said in an interview with the Oesterreich newspaper on Saturday.

The official lashed out at the EU commission chief, Jean-Claude Juncker, saying that such tactics will yield no results.

 “If anyone, as Juncker does, promises to the Turks that we will conduct talks with you and at the same moment says that Turkey will not join in any case, then it is not a reasonable stance in regard to either Turks or Europeans.”

In early August, Kern, a staunch opponent of Turkey’s EU membership, said Ankara’s accession to the bloc is a “diplomatic fiction” and cannot become reality “within the coming decades.”

Back then, the official also demanded the EU countries discuss the suspension of membership talks.

In the immediate reaction to the move, Juncker claimed the decision should be taken “by all members” and labeled the potential suspension a “severe mistake in foreign policy.” 

Yet, at the same the Commission chief said that “Turkey in the current situation cannot become a member of the Union.” Potential introduction of death penalty was one of the key reasons cited by the eurocrat. Turkey vowed to bring back the measure following a foiled coup on July 15.

Kern on Saturday countered that officials in Brussels simply ignore concerns of the people, including those of Austria.

“If you sit in Brussels in the Commission building, one naturally has a different perspective than if you speak with the people [on the street],” Kern said, referring to the fallout of EU opening borders to Turkey.

Kern, however, said that Turkey will still remain a partner for the EU in areas like refugees and security and that he “would not want to lose” Ankara in that regard.

“We simply need a new form of cooperation,” the chancellor added.

Following the coup in Turkey, Luxembourg’s foreign Minister Jean Asselborn also vowed to “keep the door open” for Turkey to enter the EU. He insisted that it was important to think about the people in the country, who “set lots of hope into the European Union”.

The view was countered by the Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz in an interview to the German Focus on August 16.

“We must not give in to blackmailing and we do not need a Plan B, but a solid Plan A. We need a strong Europe that protects its own external borders,” Kurz said, referring to European concerns that Ankara might suspend refugee deal with the EU.

He also said that the bloc should not cave in to pressure from Turkey to introduce visa-free travel with the country.

In June, Turkey once again warned it will hold a referendum on whether to press on for EU accession, unless there is progress in negotiations on visa-free travel with the bloc. The comments were the reaction to earlier calls by Juncker for Turkey to fulfill “all of the 72 conditions for lifting the visa requirement.”


US, Russia fail to close deal on ending violence in Syria

Reuters | Aug 27, 2016

The United States and Russia failed on Friday to reach a breakthrough deal on military cooperation and a nationwide cessation of hostilities in Syria, saying they still have issues to resolve before an agreement could be announced.

US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, addressing a joint news conference after more than nine hours of off-and-on talks in Geneva, said teams from both sides would try to finalize details in coming days in the Swiss city.

Kerry said the talks with Lavrov had "achieved clarity on the path forward" but together they offered few details on how they planned to renew a February cessation of hostilities and improve humanitarian assistance.

"We don't want to have a deal for the sake of the deal," Kerry said. "We want to have something done that is effective and that works for the people of Syria, that makes the region more stable and secure, and that brings us to the table here in Geneva to find a political solution."

The talks have been complicated since initial meetings in July by new government attacks on opposition groups, and a significant offensive in the southern part of the divided city of Aleppo led by opposition fighters intermingled with the Nusra Front, an al-Qaeda affiliate also seeking to topple Russian-backed President Bashar al-Assad.

In the days ahead the technical teams, which include U.S. and Russian military and intelligence experts, will try to figure out ways to separate the opposition groups, backed by the United States and Gulf Arab countries, from the jihadis.

It was unclear after Friday's meetings whether outstanding issues could all be resolved between Moscow and Washington, which back opposing parties in the Syrian conflict. The United States has insisted that the Syrian air force, which has dropped barrel bombs and chlorine on residential areas, be grounded but Lavrov said on Friday that was not the goal.

Assad's future is not part of the current talks. Instead, discussions are focused on finding an effective and lasting solution to end the violence, which would open negotiations on a political transition in Syria.

"If the remaining details can be completed, we believe we will be able to address the two primary challenges to the cessation of hostilities - the regime violations and the increasing influence of the al-Nusra Front," Kerry said.

Kerry believes the plan is the best chance to limit fighting that is driving thousands of Syrians into exile in Europe and preventing humanitarian aid from reaching tens of thousands more.

The talks came as opposition groups effectively surrendered the Damascus suburb of Daraya to the government after a grueling four-year siege.

Kerry said the Syrian regime had "forced the surrender" of Daraya in contravention of the February cessation of hostilities agreement, but Lavrov said the local accord was an "example" that should be "replicated".

The Russian foreign minister said another besieged area was "interested in such an operation with mediation of the Russian Federation." He did not name the area.

Residents and insurgents in Daraya began to leave the besieged area where civilians have been trapped since 2012 and the U.N. and the International Committee of the Red Cross expressed concern for their safety.




Saved Trump twice from bankruptcy but candidate was ‘Ungrateful’: Saudi prince

August 27, 2016

Turkey: Saudi prince Al-Waheed Bin Talal said that he himself had twice saved US presidential candidate Donald Trump from bankruptcy, but the he is a “bad guy” and ungrateful person”, reports

In an interview with Turkey’s Hurriyet newspaper, the Saudi prince said that he bought the Republican front-runner’s hotels after they were acquired by the banks which demanded his fellow billionaire repay his debts.

The Prince Bin Talal added that the yacht had used to come to the beaches of Antalya (south-western Turkey) is the same yacht that he bought earlier from the real-estate mogul when he was exposed to bankruptcy.


US fears IS rise in Southeast Asia


SINGAPORE: Islamic State jihadists are eyeing expansion into Southeast Asia by joining forces with local extremists, a senior US counter-terrorism official warned.

IS has a history of partnering with militant groups around the world, including in Egypt, Libya and Nigeria, and wants to broaden its reach in the region, according to Justin Siberell, acting coordinator for counter-terrorism at the US State Department.

“My understanding is that they have looked at existing groups across the region,” Siberell said in a conference call from Washington with Asia-based journalists.

“There have been people that have pledged affiliation and allegiance to IS at the group level. We’re certainly concerned about that, we’re concerned about the rise of new IS affiliates and we’re working with governments to do what they can to prevent that.”

Siberell also noted that militants from Southeast Asia fighting with IS in Iraq and Syria have been deployed in a unit called the Katibah Nusantara, and could pose a threat when they eventually return to their home countries.

“We’re certainly concerned about IS’ ability to expand or to establish branches,” he said.

There have been only relatively minor attacks and plots blamed on IS affiliates in the region, but analysts fear the group could become more effective.

Indonesian police earlier this month arrested six suspected militants over a plot to launch a rocket attack on an up-market Singapore waterfront district from the nearby Indonesian island of Batam.

The suspects’ alleged leader, Gigih Rahmat Dewa, is accused of planning the attack with Bahrun Naim, a leading Indonesian militant who is believed to be fighting with IS in Syria.

In January, IS-linked militants launched a deadly gun and bomb attack in Jakarta which left four attackers and four civilians dead.

Singapore on August 19 announced it had detained two men under its tough internal security law after discovering they intended to travel to Syria to fight for IS.

Siberell spoke Friday after he traveled to Bali earlier this month for a meeting on preventing the cross-border movements of known or suspected terrorists. He also visited Jakarta, Malaysia and Singapore before returning to Washington.


10,000th Syrian reaches US this week in resettlement programme

August 28, 2016

Alice Wells, the U.S. ambassador to Jordan, said on Sunday that keeping Americans safe and taking in some of the world’s most vulnerable people are not mutually exclusive.

The U.S. will reach its target this week of taking in 10,000 Syrian war refugees in a year-old resettlement programme, the U.S. ambassador to Jordan said on Sunday, after meeting families headed to California and Virginia.

The resettlement programme has emerged as an issue in the U.S. presidential campaign, with Republican nominee Donald Trump alleging displaced Syrians pose a potential security threat.

Alice Wells, the U.S. ambassador to Jordan, said on Sunday that keeping Americans safe and taking in some of the world’s most vulnerable people are not mutually exclusive.

“Refugees are the most thoroughly screened category of travellers to the United States, and Syrian refugees are subject to even greater scrutiny,” she said.

Ms. Wells said the target of resettling 10,000 Syrian refugees in the U.S. in the 2016 fiscal year will be reached on Monday, as several hundred Syrians depart from Jordan over 24 hours.

The Jouriyeh family, which attended Sunday’s short ceremony, is headed to San Diego, California.

Nadim Fawzi Jouriyeh (49), a former construction worker from the war-ravaged Syrian city of Homs, said he feels “fear and joy, fear of the unknown and our new lives, but great joy for our children’s lives and future.”

Mr. Jouriyeh, who suffers from heart problems, will be travelling with his wife, Rajaa (42), and their four children. Their oldest son, 14-year-old Mohammed, said he is eager to sign up for school in San Diego and hopes to study medicine one day.

The resettlement programme focuses on the most vulnerable refugees, including those who were subjected to violence or torture or are sick.

Close to 5 million Syrians have fled civil war since 2011. Most struggle to survive in tough conditions in neighbouring countries, including Jordan, which hosts close to 660,000 Syrian refugees.

Only a small percentage of Syrian refugees have been resettled to third countries. Instead, donor countries are trying to invest more in job creation and education for refugees in regional host countries to encourage them to stay there instead of moving onward, including to Europe.

Ms. Wells said the U.S. has taken in more refugees from around the world over the years than all other nations combined.



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