President Assad greets children freed from ISIS captivity!

Residents in Suwayda Province demonstrate their support for President Assad and wave their national flag in the freed city of Suwayda
Residents in Suwayda Province demonstrate their support for President Assad and wave their national flag in the freed city of Suwayda

THE Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has greeted children, who were released from Daesh’s captivity in Suwayda Province, during a meeting in Damascus on November 13, 2018.

A group of Syrians, who have been freed by army forces from Daesh’s captivity, have expressed their gratitude to President Bashar al-Assad, whose government has been leading the nation’s fight against terrorism. The Syrians, from the Druze minority community, were taken hostage by Daesh in southern Suwayda Province in late July, but they were freed last week following a counter-terrorism operation by the Syrian army there.

During a meeting in Damascus on Tuesday, the liberated abductees and their families lifted Assad into the air, with one man lifting up the Syrian president on his shoulders, as shown in a video clip released by the al-Watan media outlet. They also chanted slogans in support of Assad and Syria, appreciating the sacrifices of ‘army heroes’ in their fight against terrorists.

Assad, for his part, thanked the army and stressed that without them ‘the abducted people would not have been freed’. ‘We owe a great debt to (the army) and as for you… your responsibility is even greater,’ he said. ‘The determination of the army heroes … will be a lesson in patriotism and national act.’

The Syrian state, he added, sees it as a top priority to search for each and every Syrian held hostage by terrorists, and that ‘it has put all its capabilities to achieve this mission’. Over the past few months, Syrian troops, backed by the Russian air force and Iranian military advisors, have made sweeping gains against foreign-sponsored Takfiri elements who have been wreaking havoc in the Arab country since 2011.

The pro-government forces have managed to regain control over most parts of Syria. They managed to rid Daesh of its territorial rule last December. Now, Daesh only holds a small area in the far east of Syria and a patch of desert in the country’s south.

• Meanwhile, the Zionist regime of Israel experienced yet another military defeat in the besieged city of Gaza this week. The Palestinian resistance group of Hamas has rightfully described the subsequent resignation of Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman as a ‘political victory for Gaza, amid threats to an uneasy ceasefire.

Palestinian group’s spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said Lieberman’s resignation signals a ‘recognition of defeat and failure to confront the Palestinian resistance’ adding that ‘Gaza’s steadfastness sent a political shockwave’ through Israel. Lieberman resigned in protest over an Egypt-brokered ceasefire reached with Hamas in Gaza.

The truce, announced on Tuesday, was intended to end two days of failed Israeli aerial attacks on Gaza after a botched undercover Israeli operation inside the strip, to which Palestinian factions responded with successful rocket fire.

Lieberman had advocated for a more decisive blow against Hamas and quit in protest. But the usurper regime knows full well that it’s not going to happen. This is not the first time that the Zionist regime has been forced to surrender to the Palestinian resistance and certainly it won’t be the last.

The truce has severely harmed Israel’s so-called invincibility and there’s nothing the regime could possibly do to reverse that. The situation is so similar to the 50-day conflict in 2014 in which at least 72 Israelis were killed during the Palestinian rocket fire and intense fighting.

However, that does in no way mean that Israel will now call it a day. Quite the opposite, the occupying regime will try and find another excuse to attack Gaza, while prolonging the illegal blockade. This is not surprising, because Israel still has the backing of the United States and the diplomatic inaction at the United Nations.

As is, the United States government is in many ways deeply complicit in Israeli war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity. This complicity comes mainly through military and financial aid, which is the part and parcel of their unholy alliance; corporations, as the military aid is also a boon to the Military-Industrial Complex; and diplomatic support, which enables Israeli attacks across occupied Palestine by shielding it in diplomatic forums, including at the UN Security Council.

Meaning, Israeli leaders and commanders will continue to commit war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity as defined in the Rome Statute for the International Criminal Court. What’s more, the US will continue to aid, abet and assist the commission of these crimes by providing Israel with the military means.

Considering the above and reading the tea leaves, war crimes and genocide charges could and must be brought under the Genocide Convention against Israel. The convention also punishes complicity in genocide; Washington’s decision to provide more military aid constitutes complicity.

Although Israeli and US leaders continue to claim that Tel Aviv only acts in self defence, the weight of world opinion and legal cases points in the opposite direction. There is overwhelming opposition to Israeli blockade and military aggression in Gaza and calls for justice and accountability. Both Israeli and US leaders must be criminally prosecuted for committing, aiding and abetting these crimes. There is no other way to bring justice to Gaza.

In between, the international community must remedy its moral responsibility to the victims of Israeli war and occupation, by working to end Israel’s occupation and other abuses of Palestinian rights, and by holding Israel to account for this week’s atrocity in Gaza. Failure to do so will only embolden Israel to carry out yet more botched undercover operations into the besieged city, with deadly consequences for its long-suffering civilians.

• The Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang and Russian President Vladimir Putin have applauded an expansion of mutual ties after meeting on the sidelines the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit in Singapore.

‘Thanks to the efforts of our governments, trade and economic ties are developing at a noticeable and impressing rate, creating a good basis for our special strategic partnership,’ said Putin on Thursday. The Russian president urged regular top-level communication between the countries to be further maintained to advance cooperation in fields of energy, aviation, space, science and technology as well as digital economy.

The Chinese premier, on his part, conveyed President Xi Jinping’s greetings to Putin, highlighting the positive outcomes of the two presidents’ meetings earlier this year. Li noted that the China-Russia strategic partnership has been functioning positively at high administration levels and called for added investment opportunities and a reduction of trade restrictions.

Putin and Jinping are expected to meet at the G20 summit in Argentina in late November as the two countries expand ties in the face of heightening aggressive behaviour on the part of the United States. The US has increased troop presence in Eastern Europe and the Asia-Pacific in a bid to ‘contain’ what it describes as a growing threat from the two countries.

Subsequently, heavy American naval build-up in the South China Sea has occasionally led to potentially dangerous stand-offs with Chinese forces. Observers believe the US seeks to further exert control over the area’s oil and gas-rich waterways.

Speaking at the ASEAN summit on Thursday, US Vice President Mike Pence Pentagon indirectly denounced Chinese presence in the Indo-Pacific, saying that ‘empire and aggression have no place’ in the region.

US Vice President Mike Pence said there was no place for ‘empire and aggression’ in the Indo-Pacific region, in a remark apparently aimed at China. The US along with NATO have also increased military garrisons and drills around Russia in the past four years, deploying missile systems along the Russian border.

Moreover, Pentagon officials recently announced the withdrawal of thousands of troops from their Africa-based ‘counter-terrorism operations’ in order to relocate more resources to ‘countering Russia and China’. Russia and China have, however, denied the American manoeuvres as destabilising provocations.

• The Head of the Russian Journalists’ Union Vladimir Solovyov hailed the role of Syrian journalists and their high professionalism in conveying the truth of what is going on in Syria in the war against terrorism.

Solovyov, in an interview with SANA reporter in Moscow on Friday, referred to the cooperation agreement inked by journalists’ unions of Syria and Russia in Moscow, pointing out to his desire to visit Syria to brief on the reality of media and on what has been destroyed in the country due to the terrorist war.

He stressed the importance of developing relations of cooperation with Syria’s Journalists Union. For his part, General Secretary of International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) Anthony Bellanger clarified that the Federation includes more than 700,000 journalists, saying that the Syrian Journalists’ Union is part of the International Federation.

‘Syrian journalists have done their press duty with high professionalism and have provided great lessons in the press work during the war circumstances as many of them were martyred.’ Bellanger said.

For his part, Head of the Syrian Journalists’ Union, Mousa Abd al-Nour, said that the agreement signed between Journalists’ Unions in Syria and Russia stipulates the expansion of the relationship between the two sides and upgrading cooperation to the level of strategic relations between the two countries. The agreement also provides for exchanging experiences and facilitating the journalists’ job during missions in Syria and Russia.