O Mouggos

Media misinformation: DEBKAfile claims Assad’s forces conducted a massacre in Daraa

The battle for Daraa is intensifying (image from almasdarnews.com)


According to Israeli news outlet DEBKAfile Assad’s forces have perpetrated a terrible massacre, killing 140 in Daraa, a town in southern Syria which is currently the scene of fierce fighting between regime forces and a variety of rebel groups. Based on DEBKAfile’s own article and articles from other news agencies, it appears that their claim of such a massacre is highly dubious or at the least willfully made out of context.

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Ibrahim Karagul: ISIL’s attacks in Iran and the GCC-Qatar crisis could be first moves in the future war over Mecca

Turkish journalist Ibrahim Karagul (image from seslimakale.com).

Turkish journalist Ibrahim Karagul (image from seslimakale.com).

Turkish columnist Ibrahim Karagül has been warning that Iran and Saudi Arabia may come to blows in an Islamic civil war over control of the holy site of Mecca.1 In his most recent article he argues that the recent ISIL attacks in Tehran and the ongoing spat between Qatar and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) nations led by Saudi Arabia may be the first steps leading to such a conflict.2

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ISIL strikes Iran

ISIL launched a terrorist attack against Iran for the first time (image from cbsnews.com).

On Tuesday ISIL unleashed coordinated attacks on Tehran, striking the parliament building and the Mausoleum of Ayatollah Khomeini.1 The attacks involved multiple gunmen and suicide bombers and killed at least 13 people and wounded 43.

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Is the US military underestimating civilian casualties caused by its anti-ISIL bombing campaign in Iraq and Syria?

US air force has been bombing ISIL in Iraq and Syria since August 2014 (image from iraqinews.com).

Since August 2014 the US has been bombing ISIL in Iraq an Syria. If we are to believe the Pentagon this air campaign has killed 70,000 ISIL fighters, a number which is double the CIA estimated of ISIL’s fighting strength and therefore rather dubious.1 While the US is likely overestimating the number of ISIL fighters they have killed, it appears they are also underestimating the number of civilians killed by their air strikes.

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Ramadan, jihad and terrorism

Ramadan has started and has been accompanied by increased Islamic terrorist attacks (image from indianexpress.com)

The Islamic holy month of Ramadan is upon us. According to the High Judicial Court of Saudi Arabia, based on sightings of the new crescent moon, Ramadan began on Saturday May 27, but in Bangladesh, Pakistan and India it started on Sunday.1 It will continue till approximately June 24, when the holiday of Eid al-Fitr will be celebrated to mark its end.

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Erdogan comments on the 564th anniversary of the Fall of Constantinople

The Battle of Constantinople in 1453 (image from greece.org).

Today marks the 564th anniversary of Mehmet the Conqueror’s capture of the Constantinople, which effectively marked the end of the Byzantine Empire and the beginning or solidification of the Ottoman Empire. Turkish celebration of this momentous event–an event which modern Turks understandably consider as a great and seminal past accomplishment–appears rather low key, at least not like it was last year.1

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US strikes convoy of Assad’s army and allied forces in southern Syria

The al-Tanf border crossing between Syria and Iraq could become a flashpoint between US-led coalition forces and Assad’s (image from radionz.co.nz).

While many were hoping that the US cruise missile strike against Bashar al-Assad’s al-Shayrat airbase 6 weeks ago would remain an isolated incident, that is no longer the case as US-led coalition warplanes have bombed a pro-Assad militia convoy near al-Tanf.

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ISIL reportedly beheads captured Russian soldier in Syria

Russian officer about to be beheaded by an ISIL member.

According to the SITE intelligence group, ISIL has released a video purporting to show the beheading of Russian intelligence officer Col. Evgeny Petrenko.1 The release of the video coincides with Russia’s commemoration of their victory over Germany in the Second World War (Victory Day).

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Iran and Saudi Arabia exchange bellicose threats. Harbinger of war between the two countries?

Iranian Defense Minister Hossein Dehqan has threatened to wipe out Saudi Arabia if they do anything stupid towards Iran.

Thus far the ethnic and religious rivalry between Iran and Saudi Arabia has been limited to indirect conflict between the two countries in the ongoing civil wars in Syria and Yemen. However, if current Iranian and Saudi rhetoric is an accurate indication, then direct conflict may be a likely occurrence in the future.

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Has Qassem Soleimani been wounded in Syria?

IRGC Commander Qassem Soleimani.

It has been reported by anti-Assad sources that Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Commander Qassem Soleimani has been wounded in Syria’s Daraa province.1 If such unconfirmed reports are true, and if he dies as a result or is taken out of commission, then this will be a major blow to Iran, as Soleimani appears to be an important architect of its foreign machinations.2 Saudi media has even gone so far as to call him “the arch-terrorist satan.”3

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