Sunday, February 17, 2019 

Hi Friend !!!

Hello, Can i talk with you ?

Tuesday, February 12, 2019 

-Recruitment ! -RTT-

Dear Applicant/ Candidate,
Kindly note that Sydney Oil Resources is currently hiring for vacancies in Australia. To apply, kindly supply below requirements and our HUMAN RESOURCE will be in contact with you if you are among the successful candidate.
1. Update CV/Resume
2. Expected monthly salary in USD ...?
3. Three positions you target with us ...?
4. How soon you can relocate ...?
Best Regards,
Sydney Oil Resources.

Monday, February 11, 2019 



DONATION FOR less-privileged My beloved in Christ, My name is Mrs. Nina Clara from Kuwait. own a company in Yemen Country in Asia, I am a sick woman who has decided to donate what I have to charity through you. You may be wondering why I chose you.  But someone has to be chosen. I am 68 years old and was diagnosed for cancer about 2 years ago, I inherited a total sum of $ million dollars from my late husband, This money is deposited in a reliable bank through my account officer in Bank of africa Dakar senegal; presently this deposit was coded under a secret arrangement as a family treasure. I have informed my Attorney about my decision in WILLING this fund to people all around the world. i have directed Mr Mandes my account officer to transfer your donated amount  of $920,000.00 USD, For charity through you to help in working for Gods well to reach out help to the poor and war victims and so on, Mr mandes will transfer this amount through their Western Union from their bank, All you have to do is to send them your personal details through their email under as stated below via their email contacts under and call him after sending the mail to him so he can start the transfer with your name.

Full names:
Your complete address:
Your age:
Telephone number:

Western Union contacts;
Contact person: Mr. Mandes david lopes


Telephone: +221771083526

So contact him he is my account officer in bank of africa dakar senegal contact him as soon as possible and when you get all that money please use ONLY $ 500,000.00 (US dollar) for you and your family and USE THE REST OF THIS FUND FOR CHARITY PURPOSE IN THE WAY IT WILL PLEASE HUMANITY.

Your beloved sister in Christ,
Mrs.  Nina Clara.


Your first Payment of $5000 usd is already been send to you today

Attention Dear Customer

Your first Payment of $5000 usd is already been send to you today, So kindly reconfirm your receiver's name information to the Western Union office for the approval of our fund payment of ($2.800`000`00USD) to be sign and release to you immediately to you send the
below information to them: Note that your payment files will be returned to the IMF within 24 hours this is the instruction given to us by the IMF.You can see that your First payment is Available sender information.MTCN 303-199-7252, sender name.Senders Rose Marcos,

Your Receiver" Name _______
Your Country:__________
Your Telephone: No_______
Your Address: _________
Your Passport Id: ________

Manager:::: MR.Howard Edward

Telephone number:+1 (206) 946-9169
Contact our:Email:(

Our Western Union Office will release your payment to you and the maximum amount you receiving each day from today
is $5000 usd daily until the funds complete transferred. Once we receive your information. The transfer will commence. The IMF is compensating all the scam victims ($2.800`000`00USD) each, and your email address was found in the scam victim's list

Director Western Union Money Transfer,
Head Office Washington Dc USA

Saturday, February 09, 2019 

-/i.INFO -S6:40- OTG 1--/

Dear Good Friend,
How do you do? With every optimism that all is well with you.
I refer to the letter I posted to your address but did not hear from you and decided to email once again. I have the intention to invest in your country and as well seek your services in a private and confidential matter.
On my routine inspection I discovered a dormant domiciliary account with the deposit of (Euro 9.6 Million ) by a deceased client of mine - a nationality of your country without any heir. I write to seek your indulgence and assistance in moving this funds to your country through legal means.
NOTE: My plan is to invest my own share of the money in your country.
1. What other lucrative investments would you suggest as I intend to invest on REAL ESTATE AND HOTELS if they are good business venture in your country.
2. Can you make residential documents and purchase a house for me and my family to relocate and settle in your country after my retirement in 3 months time.
Let me know your availability and willingness to assist me so that we can discuss more on your role and profit in this partnership.
I wait for your response and contact telephone number for prompt communication.
Kind regards,
Adresse :4, Rue Achille Renй-Boisneuf

Thursday, February 07, 2019 


Dear Beloved,

I am sorry for invading your privacy. My name is Duncan Silva. I am from New Zealand but currently in the USA. I have been a successful businessman for the past 20 years, my :Greebusiness interests has spanned the sectors of metals, oil and precious stones in Asia, Africa and Europe, during this time, I have amassed a lot of wealth but recently I was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. It has defiled all forms of medical treatment, and right now I have only about a few weeks to live. I am very rich, but was never generous; I have given most of my assets to my immediate family members but my mind is not at peace since I have a dream

of giving back to the society and helping the needy in our world.I have decided to give alms and donations to charity organizations.I cannot do this myself anymore because of my health. I once asked members of my family to give some money to charity organizations,they refused and kept the money for themselves that made my health heavy and uneasy. I have a huge cash deposit in a secured bank since 2011. I will want you to help me collect this deposit and dispatch it to charity organizations for charity work under your supervision.

You will take out 30% of these funds for your assistance. Please answer these questions(

[1] Full Names:

[2] Your Country:

[3] Direct Telephone

[4] Date of birth:

[5] Occupation:

Duncan Silva.



Dear Beloved,

I am sorry for invading your privacy. My name is Duncan Silva. I am from New Zealand but currently in the USA. I have been a successful businessman for the past 20 years, my :Greebusiness interests has spanned the sectors of metals, oil and precious stones in Asia, Africa and Europe, during this time, I have amassed a lot of wealth but recently I was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. It has defiled all forms of medical treatment, and right now I have only about a few weeks to live. I am very rich, but was never generous; I have given most of my assets to my immediate family members but my mind is not at peace since I have a dream

of giving back to the society and helping the needy in our world.I have decided to give alms and donations to charity organizations.I cannot do this myself anymore because of my health. I once asked members of my family to give some money to charity organizations,they refused and kept the money for themselves that made my health heavy and uneasy. I have a huge cash deposit in a secured bank since 2011. I will want you to help me collect this deposit and dispatch it to charity organizations for charity work under your supervision.

You will take out 30% of these funds for your assistance. Please answer these questions(

[1] Full Names:

[2] Your Country:

[3] Direct Telephone

[4] Date of birth:

[5] Occupation:

Duncan Silva.



Hello! My Name is Chris Ewald, P.A to Mavis L. Wanczyk, He made a donation to you. Contact Email: for more details.    Thank you.  Chris Ewald.
你好! 我的名字是Chris Ewald,P.A到Mavis L. Wanczyk,他向你捐款。 联系电子邮件:christopher.ewd@gmail.com了解更多详情。
Chris Ewald.

Friday, January 25, 2019 

{AMS}....Mail from Turkey Iraq Chamber of Commerce and Industry(TICCI).

Salaam Alaikum ,
Abundant natural and human resources enabled Iraq to become the most prosperous country in the Middle East in the 1970's
after years of heavy conflict and economic uncertainty, a window of opportunity for Iraqi political process and people opened
up accompanying that window is a mighty vacuum for increased commercial engagements between foreign and Iraqi counterparts.
The recent security and economic "vacuum" created by the surge offers real hope for business that Iraq will regain its status as a
beacon of prosperity in the heart of the Middle East. It is important that business maintains its focus and concentrates on
actionable, achievable goals that will advance Iraqi economic development efforts, creating jobs and greater economic
opportunity for both foreigners and Iraqi citizens. Now that this war is over much emphasis in Iraq has turned to rebuilding a
stable, viable and vibrant economy, in this light the Turkey Iraq Chamber of Commerce and Industry(TICCI) here in Iraq has
teamed up with the Iraq Reconstruction Management Office(IRMO) representing the Iraqi government with a renewed mandate
from the Iraqi government to solicit, evaluate and recommend reputable foreign companies to work as partners in the " PROJECT
RE-BUILD IRAQ ", with new streams for bulk supplies/contracts coming up and available we would like to re-confirm your company's
with email address: willingness to participate in this " PROJECT RE-BUILD IRAQ "  by direct bulk supply of 
your products/services en-masse and on long-term bases to the Iraqi Government.
Please view the link below to know more " PROJECT RE-BUILD IRAQ " :
Please do re-confirm by return correspondence to only our email below in order to enable us send the detailed procedures and the
accompanying questionnaire for profiling of your company.Thank you for your co-operation.
Yours Faithfully,
Azab Azraq (Engr.)
Tel: +964-750-211-9067 EXT 102(Arab speaking), +44-70-319-028315 EXT 105(English speaking)
Fax: +964-780-380-0101, +44-70-240-10405
Please strictly reply by email to: ,
This transmission may contain confidential, proprietary or legally privileged information. You must not read, print, copy, store, or otherwise
use them unless you are the intended recipient. If you have erroneously received this message, please delete it immediately and notify the
sender. Although the company has taken reasonable precautions to ensure no viruses are present in this email, the company cannot accept
responsibility for any loss or damage arising from the use of this email or attachments.
Sent from TICCI Server 1 on 1/25/2019 @ 8:36:49 PM

Thursday, January 24, 2019 

Advertisement On Your Site


My name is Aqib Raja.I am the outreach manager here at Globex Writing Services. I think that you'd be a great addition to our inventory.

We are a content marketing agency and we'd be thrilled if you'd allow us to post relevant and non-promotional content on your website.
We would only provide you with unique and high-quality articles that are relevant to your blog and you don't have to include sponsored tags.

Basically, The links would be the do-follow and relevant to your website. No gambling etc.

If this is something you'd be interested in doing,I will pay you through Via Paypal or Payoneer.
I look forward to having a long-term working relationship with you.

Please let me know if you have any questions.

I hope to hear from you soon.

Kind regards,

Aqib Raja

Sunday, January 20, 2019 

From Beline Kra

Hello Friend,

I am Mrs. Beline Kra; I have been diagnosed with Breast and Blood disease which has defied all forms of medical treatment and I have been touched to donate the sum of $ 4.5 million, part of what I and my late husband labored during our time together

Because I'm so weak and fragile to do things myself, I indulge your full assistant.

You should email the followings in your reply message to me:

Your Full Names & Address,
Direct Telephone number and your direct email address if available

Kindly get back to me; for me to tell you more about myself and the humanitarian work.

Yours sincerely,
Mrs. Beline Kra

Saturday, January 19, 2019 

Email secured by SAILISP, Check Point

Friday, January 18, 2019 



DONATION FOR less-privileged My beloved in Christ, My name is Mrs. Nina Clara from Kuwait. own a company in Yemen Country in Asia, I am a sick woman who has decided to donate what I have to charity through you. You may be wondering why I chose you.  But someone has to be chosen. I am 68 years old and was diagnosed for cancer about 2 years ago, I inherited a total sum of $ million dollars from my late husband, This money is deposited in a reliable bank through my account officer in Bank of africa Dakar senegal; presently this deposit was coded under a secret arrangement as a family treasure. I have informed my Attorney about my decision in WILLING this fund to people all around the world. i have directed Mr Mandes my account officer to transfer your donated amount  of $920,000.00 USD, For charity through you to help in working for Gods well to reach out help to the poor and war victims and so on, Mr mandes will transfer this amount through their Western Union from their bank, All you have to do is to send them your personal details through their email under as stated below via their email contacts under and call him after sending the mail to him so he can start the transfer with your name.

Full names:
Your complete address:
Your age:
Telephone number:

Western Union contacts;
Contact person: Mr. Mandes david lopes


Telephone: +221771083526

So contact him he is my account officer in bank of africa dakar senegal contact him as soon as possible and when you get all that money please use ONLY $ 500,000.00 (US dollar) for you and your family and USE THE REST OF THIS FUND FOR CHARITY PURPOSE IN THE WAY IT WILL PLEASE HUMANITY.

Your beloved sister in Christ,
Mrs.  Nina Clara.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019 


Hello! My Name is Chris Ewald, P.A to Mavis L. Wanczyk, He made a donation to you. Contact Email: for more details.


Monday, December 31, 2018 


---------- Forwarded message ---------
From: <>
Date: Monday, December 31, 2018 06:36:21 AM
To: <>

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Thursday, April 05, 2018 


Sunday, January 14, 2018 

This crypto coin could go up fifty thousand percent this year

Dear lio119.haha,

If you don't already own a few coins of something, then surely at the very least, you must have heard about cryptocurrencies.

Bitcoin, the most famous one, minted countless multimillionaires but did you know that altcoins (bitcoin alternatives) are responsible for even more riches?

Among the "big" ones, NEM went up almost 10,000 percent and Ethereum, more than 4,000 percent

Among the small and unknown ones several gained more than 50,000 percent.

To put this in perspective, a small 1,000-dollar coin purchase in one of these small ones could have turned into more than 50 million bucks.

It seems crazy, doesn't it? Well, it's the reality of the cryptocurrency market today.

Raiblocks, a relatively obscure coin at the time, went from 0.20 on December first to $20 by New Year's Eve. It is now in the top 20 largest coins in the world.

All that to say, the next big winner could be found anywhere, and today I believe I've identified the next one.

After spending hundreds of hours looking at hundreds of different coins, I locked down on one specific target.


As the name says, this is a coin created and headquartered in Switzerland. It is one of the only coins in the world recognized as legal tender by the government.

Swisscoin is allowed by the Swiss government and has the potential to climb more than 5,000% before the end of January and more than 50,000% before the end of this year.

This is one of those rare buy-and-hold coins which you WANT to own, and hang onto for the long term, much like those people who bought bitcoin at $1 and kept it for 3 years. FYI, bitcoin is trading at $14,000 now. That's an increase of over 1 million percent.

I recommend you consider putting at least a thousand bucks in Swisscoin immediately. This could quickly turn into enough money to buy a new house, or at the very least a new car.

For those of you who already have bitcoins, all you need to do is open an account at (this is the url/website, and it takes 1 minute to get setup), transfer some btc to your new account and buy SIC (Swisscoin).

For those of you who are still clueless about Cryptos, the process will be a little bit longer but well worth it.

Open an account at a large exchange such as Coinbase dot com or Coinmama dot com, then add some fund using your credit/debit card or Paypal.

That's the fastest way, but you will be limited to a few hundred bucks at most. It should be enough to get you quickly started but consider adding more funds using a bank transfer so that you can really have skin in the game.

Remember, every thousand bucks of SIC you buy today could easily turn into 500,000 by this time next year.

Monday, July 31, 2017 

I guarantee that this company will quadruple before Friday. Check it out

Did you know that markets are at an all time high?

Even non traditional places to stash some savings like bitcoin are out of control at an all time high.

Given that, it's so hard to make any serious scratch these days. Most things are overinflated and offer very little upside.

That's why I was super relieved when I stumbled upon a small medical company that's so undervalued I couldn't believe my eyes.

They just announced the results of trials which were extremely positive and I believe that the share value is poised to quadruple by this Friday.

At this time it's trading at an all time low of just five cents... It literally has no where to go but up.

I am going to grab a nice position this morning, and in your place, I'd seriously consider getting in today before the masses find out what's happening and the price shoots up.

The ticker is. q s m g

Check it out now, you'll be glad you got in at under ten cents. You should also tell all your friends about this. I am expecting it to double today.

Friday, June 16, 2017 

You can make more than ten times your principle with just this 1 stock

It's been at least a few months since the last time I had the chance to share something amazing with you but if you recall you really made a mint on that last company.

Earlier today I got lucky because as I was having a bite with one of my good friends who works at a top banking firm, he let me in on a little "secret".

Basically they're working on closing a deal for a forbes 100 pharmaceutical company to purchase the entirety of a small drug maker that's just completed a cure for prostate tumors.

The company that's being acquired is trading at just a few pennies right now but the big pharma is paying around a buck a share for it.

This means if you grab shares today you'll be able to make at least ten times what you put in.

The symbol which you need to give your broker or put into your brokerage is the first letter of each of these words:


Together they make up the 4 letter symbol which you need. Act quickly before other people get wind of this.

Sunday, April 30, 2017 

good afternoon

Saturday, July 30, 2016 



Tuesday, May 24, 2016 


good afternoon


Wednesday, May 04, 2016 



Wednesday, March 30, 2016 


good morning

Tuesday, February 16, 2016 



Monday, December 21, 2015 



Saturday, November 15, 2008 

The Syria News Wire has MOVED!!!

Write it on the back of your hand now. The Syria News Wire now lives at

You will be redirected in 6 seconds. Hold tight.

Thursday, November 13, 2008 

Forward Magazine launches blog

Forward Magazine has launched its own blog.

It is probably the widest read Syrian magazine written in English. And it features the writing of the brilliant Sami Moubayed and Abdulsalam Haykal. Worth a read.


Britain cuddles up to Syria

Britain's Foreign Minister David Miliband is on his way to Damascus - as Syria's remarkable comeback continues.

Miliband's visit comes after Walid Mu'alim made the trip to the UK last month. He's hoping to meet Bashar Al-Assad too.

Yesterday Miliband said "There has been an important change in the approach of the Syrian government.” He praised Damascus for cutting the number of foreign fighters and weapons over the past year.

It is Britain's highest-level contact since Tony Blair came to Damascus in 2001. Blair was humiliated when Bashar lectured him about suicide-bombing in a joint press conference.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy made the first major hole in Syria's isolation when he invited Bashar to Paris to be guest of honour at the Bastille Day celebrations.

Britain's been stuck to the Bush agenda of ignore-ignore-ignore. But with Bush on the way out, and Obama promising negoations with Syria, Britain has jumped into the let's-talk camp.

But what's more interesting is speculation that Britain is trying to take the lead - and steal France's glory. A few years ago, the West was united in isolating Syria. Now those same countries are competing to be Syria's best friend.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008 

Anti-government film wins prize in Damascus

The winner of Best Arab Film at this year's Damascus International Film Festival is an odd choice. It is about a Syrian political prisoner.

Out of Coverage focuses on the prisoner's best friend, and the prisoner's wife. His friend dedicates his life to trying to free him, and helping his family survive. But in the end, it becomes clear that he is the real prisoner - even though he isn't behind bars.

Along the way, it also raises questions about corruption, wasta, and arbitrary detention.

It is a brilliant film, and worthy of the award. But it is a mystery how it slipped past the censors, and then got singled out for a prize.

Since it was made, Out of Coverage has been - literally - out of coverage. The DVD hasn't gone on sale and the film hasn't been screened at any Syrian cinema - until this year's film festival.

Out of Coverage is now an award winning film on its home turf. But the story behind the film is even more interesting than the film itself.

Out of Coverage. Writer/Director: Abdellatif Abdelhamid. Syria, 2007. 100 minutes.


The countdown is on...

Something big is happening to your favourite Syrian news site. (That's this one, silly!).



Monday, November 10, 2008 

Oh no you didn't

Please tell me you didn't.

I'm going to ruin the end of this story, because it's one of my pet hates. AND THE BIGGEST CLICHE IN STORIES ABOUT DAMASCUS.

"Modern-day travelers to Syria have their own conversion when they realize how much the country has to offer."

Sunday, November 09, 2008 

Sunday articles

To keep you entertained, here are a few interesting articles I've found (they're not all brand new).

Students speak up for merits of cool Damascus

"When I told people at home that I was coming to Syria to study, they were really worried"

Newsflash - reporter finds foreigners in Damascus.

Finding Common Ground in an Uncommon Nation

"The Cham Palace in downtown Damascus — our home for the next week — somewhat dims our good mood. The cavernous lobby, defective neon lighting and sulky employees make you feel that you have somehow landed yourself in the Soviet Union of the 1980s. Furthermore, the hotel has the dubious distinction of allegedly having been the meeting place of al-Qaeda operatives and Iraqi insurgents back in 2003."

Really offensive in some parts - but worth reading just for the people they meet, and the places they go to: Art House, Madina FM, Jebl Qasioun, Palmyra, Saida Zeinab.

In youthful Syria, media is cool, happy and proud

"The Al Kanar Group stations broadcast in the languages most common and most accessible to young Syrians. Al-Manar mixes Arabic – described as “a relaxed informal Arabic rarely if ever heard here in the past” – and English. Rotana FM broadcasts Arabic and French. Mix FM is all English language. MixFM was launched in March 2007 as the first 24 hour English speaking station in Syria. The use of informal Arabic has been a trademark of Syrian film and, most popularly, television."

The first reliable piece about Syrian radio.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008 

George Wassouf released

George Wassouf has been released, after spending three days in jail in Sweden.

He was arrested after a raid on his hotel. It's claimed he had been in possession of cocaine.

Wasouf cried as the judge decided to free him. A crowd of fans gathered outside the court. As he walked out, he said: "I was framed and now I have been released."


Wrong about Syria

I started to critique this article because of a few factual errors. But it quickly became obvious something more sinister was at play. There were reasons for these errors.

Malik al-Abdeh has written his first article for The Guardian. Unsurprisingly it is about Syria. Why do I say unsurprisingly? Because Malik al-Abdeh runs a group calling for regime change in Syria - but that's not mentioned anywhere on the page.

He says of his organisation: "we propose a non-violent strategy, which targets the regime where it is most vulnerable: popular support." And it looks like he is using The Guardian as part of that propaganda strategy.

So on to the article. He talks about the recent two-and-a-half year imprisonment for a number of activists:

"In its desperate attempt to emerge from isolation, the Syrian regime appears to have moderated its treatment of oppositionists to avoid further escalation with the west."

Syria is generally accepted to have moved out of the period of isolation. It is not acting desperately. In fact, many claim it is cracking down on dissidents precisely because it feels emboldened.

"Eight years on, the so-called "reformists" and the "old guard" have been shown to be one and the same."

This shows a very basic ignorance of Syrian politics. The "old guard" have been involved in a sometimes quite visible battle with the reformists - take Aymen Abdel Nour for example, or the attitudes of Abdullah Dardari compared to Walid Al-Muallem.

"Until he was temporarily reprieved by President Sarkozy, Assad's fate looked sealed."

This ignores all of the developments of the past three years, and squeezes them into one incorrect sentence. It wasn't just Sarkozy. It was the EU (Javier Solana), America (Barack Obama, Jimmy Carter, and Nancy Pelosi), Spain (the King visited) and of course - Israel! Plus the Doha Accord, which brought Syria to centre stage in the region.

There are a couple of intriguing sentences: "Despite its defiant rhetoric", followed soon after by, "It is very keen to get back in favour with the west." So which is it?

But best of all, al-Abdeh's basic point of the article contradicts itself.

He starts by saying: "Despite being courted by the leaders of France and Britain in the naive belief that he could be relied on to deliver the reforms expected of him."

But then ends with a plea: "Now is the time for the west to press home the advantage by insisting on only conditional engagement with Syria, engagement which is made provisional on tangible improvements in human rights and political freedoms."

He can't deliver reform. So now the west should demand reform.

Full article here.

Monday, November 03, 2008 

George Wassouf arrested on drugs charges

Syria's biggest singer is being held in Sweden, accused of having drugs. George Wassouf is one of the most famous in the Arab World - a sort of Arab Michael Jackson.

There was a police raid on his hotel in Stockholm on Saturday night. It's claimed the forty six year old had 30 grams of cocaine on him.

The raid happened just before a concert - which had to be cancelled.

There have been rumours of Wassouf's drug addiction for years. His voice seems to have been affected by the problem.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008 

US embassy in Damascus may close

America says it may have to close it's embassy. It follows angry
protests in Damascus following Sunday's invasion.

Extra Syrian police have been guarding the compound since Sunday.

Even during the start of the Iraq war the building stayed open,
although the Syrian army stopped protesters getting near the top end
of Abu Rumani street.

The embassy has been without an ambassador for three and a half years.


Aftermath of the American invasion of Syria

This is a battle of words. True, eight people died, but everyone knows
Syria is not going to attack America - as it has the right to.

Syria has been invaded. America called it "taking matters into our own
hands". But the real debate is over what Syria is calling it.

On the streets, people are calling this an act of war. But officials
are deliberately steering clear of those two explosive words.

Syria does not want a war, no matter how limited, which is what
America appears to be gunning for.

Instead, they're calling it a war crime. That's telling, because it
frames the attack within the context of what's going on in Iraq. Syria
is making it clear it sees the invasion as a misstep in America's war
on Iraq. It is not an outright invasion.

Syria is as stunned as the rest of the world. It has cracked down on
people crossing the border. It's impossible to travel anywhere near
the border without getting stopped, checked or followed.

And America knows it. It has praised Syria for stopping the flow of fighters.

In Damascus, protection has been stepped up at the US Embassy. And on
the night of the attack there was an impromptu demonstration on the
city centre.

Monday, October 27, 2008 

Internet crashes in Syria

The internet is finally back up and running after crashing for much of the afternoon.
None of the servers could connect, from 3pm until 7pm.


America attacks Syria, killing 8 people

America has attacked Syria for the first time. Eight people have died.
It happened in Abu Kamal, on a farm near the Iraqi border. It was five miles inside Syrian territory. Two US helicopters landed in Syria, and around eight troops got out to shoot at a building. The attack apparently lasted around fifteen minutes, with US troops shooting at people trying to escape. This was a comprehensive attack, not a mistake.
It is the first time it has happened since the invasion of Iraq in 2003. A US official told AP that "We are taking matters into our own hands," after blaming Syria for allowing militants to cross the border.
Top US commanders in Iraq have previously said Syria has reduced the number of fighters entering Iraq. Official figures show no more than a handful.

Friday, October 24, 2008 

Syria finally gets the EU deal

It's been on the cards for years. First it was held up because of
political wrangling in Europe but the head of the European Commission
says he expects a deal in a few months.

Javier Solana is in Damascus meeting the president.

The EU Association Agreement effectively puts Syria in the outer ring
of the EU. It is one step away from membership of the EU.

In 2010 all Association signatories will become part of a free trade
zone with Europe providing a massive boost for Syria's economy justas
the oil runs dry.

Most other EU neighbors have signed yw agreement. Syria is one of the last.

It follows Syria signing up to a high profile part of French president
Nicolas Sarkozy's Mediterranean Union earlier this year.


The seatbelt saga continues

It's been getting worse. It started a few months ago. As i explained a
few days ago, taxi drivers would pull their seatbelt across as they
approched the traffic lights.

It's all because of the police crackdown.

But over the past few days every time I get in a taxi I hear the same
line - put your seatbelt on. It comes out in an almost pleading,
apologetic voice.

And this is the reason. Anyone who is stopped by the police because
they or heir front seat passenger aren't wearing a seatbelt gets a
2000 lira fine ($40). It's reduced to 1000 lira if they pay within a

One driver complained to me that many old cars just don't has
seatbelts. That doesn't make them exempt. If they're stopped they have
to take their car to a mehanic, get the belts fitted and then go back
to the police to prove they've had it done.

It's becoming routine for drivers and passengers to wear seatbelts -
and not just when they fear they might be caught.

It's all happened very quickly but it might just make a big difference
to life on Syria's roads.


Replies to comments

Qabbani - thank you very much for your kind offer. I wasn't in Amman
for long, but maybe next time I'll need your help!

Syria Almighty - yes I heard the story about the Bush letter. But what
struck me as odd was that the story came from just one country. And it
wasn't America or Syria!

Amniyah - lots of photos are's worth the wait.

Thursday, October 23, 2008 

Julia Boutrous update

And if you missed your chance last night, there's still time to get your tickets for tonight's final concert.

It starts at 8.30 in the Citadel. Queues build up quickly, and you can't buy tickets at the door.

Tickets have officially sold out (at the Arab Capital of Culture office in Afif), but there are plenty being sold on the streets. You just have to know where to ask. It's not hard. Good luck.


Sound of the Resistance - Julia Boutrous in Damascus

The Damascus Citadel was built to defend the city. Last night, it played host to a woman singing the praises of those who fought to defend Lebanon.

Julia Boutrous was in town for one of the biggest concerts of the year. And she was given the honour of being one of the first people to sing in the Citadel.

The historic building has been closed for years, while foreign archeologists dug away. But this year, it's been opened up to the public for a few precious nights. Julia Boutrous's concerts mark the end of this year's Citadel events.

Getting thousands of people in to such an historic place, installing sound and light systems, a stage and chairs, could all have caused a huge amount of damage. But, thankfully, it was done in a tasteful, delicate way.

Boutrous is known across the Arab World as a nationalistic singer, hitting the headlines in the 1980s when her songs became national anthems for occupied southern Lebanon. So when she came on stage last night, the first thing she did was thank the Syrian nation, and the Syrian resistance.

She was backed by a full orchestra and conductor. Standing in a long black dress, the forty year old rarely moved from behind her microphone stand. At the end of each song, the lights went up, and some fans waved flags at her - the Lebanese flag, and the SSNP flag (one of the Lebanese opposition parties, allied with Hizbollah).

After two hours of non-stop crowd-pleasing, Boutrous ended with a new song - a sweet love song, in stark contrast to the rest of the evening. The crowd went silent for the first time as she sung Khalas, Intihayna (Enough, We're Finished). And with that, she finished.

Except that the crowd were having none of it. To chants of 'Julia, Julia', she made her way back on to the stage. But one encore wasn't enough. She came back an amazing FOUR times to give her fans what they wanted.

The last time, the lights had already gone down and the band was packing up. Boutrous walked to the front of the stage and joked with the crowd, "We're going to be here until the morning at this rate," she said, laughing. The crowd reacted with a cheer - most of them would have had no problem listening to her until dawn.

With no band, Boutrous told the crowd it would be "just you and me". She sang a capella. And what did she choose - the song which made her famous, Shams Al Haqq, released in 1980, during the Israeli Occupation of southern Lebanon.

Sunday, October 19, 2008 

Amman - first impressions

Some more live blogging. This time from Coffee and News -
appropriately! - on Jebl Amman. I'm going to tell you what's caught my
eye. It's all subjective.

A lot has changed. The upmarket shopping area of Sweifiyeh is
unregconisable - its massive pedestrian area is impressive. I seem to
remember it as a building site! And the Abdoun bridge is big, bold and

Shmeisani seems very different too. Two things stuck in my memory of
Amman - one was Frosti the ice cream shop. I struggled to even find it
this time among all the newness surrounding it.

Next, to Jebl Amman, the leafy residential district sitting atop
Downtown. It's as beautiful as I remember. Books@Cafe is still my
favourite spot in town.

People seem angry. Maybe they just don't like me! No one smiles here.
And taxi drivers don't offer cigarettes to their passengers - maybe
that's a Damascene oddity.

There are a lot of public spaces here. Seats on pavements seem to be
well used. But countering that is this place's obsession with the car.

Walking up and down a few of the hills - I can see why.


Live blogging Amman

Live from a streetside cafe in Abdoun, Amman.

I'm jealous that you have so many more Americans - students, workers,
businesses. Not because I particularly like them. Just because it
feels like they are restricting themselves - scared of something they
don't need to be.

Thursday, October 16, 2008 

Seatbelts - Syrian style

Seatbelts have always been a bit of a novelty in Syria.
All new cars are fitted with them, but they go unused. Sitting, untouched, by the door.
But that is slowly changing. For years, it has been illegal to drive - or sit in the front passenger seat - without wearing a seatbelt. But the law has never been enforced. Until now.
Police are cracking down. And not just in the cities. Even in the smallest towns, as you go round the central square, the traffic police are busy looking out for anyone not wearing strapped in.
Syria's high road fatality rate has long been blamed on poorly enforced traffic laws. It's hoped this will be a quick way to cut down on the number of deaths.
But not everyone is taking the new rules seriously. As taxi drivers approach the traffic lights, they tell their passengers to belt up. They do the same. Well, they hold the seatbelt across their chest. As soon as they are safely out of the sight of the police - they let the belt fly back into its usual home.


Deadly bus crash in Damascus

A bus has crashed on the South Bypass Road in Damascus - two people have died.
Another eight are injured - three seriously.
It happened yesterday, during the rain storm. Unusually, the bad weather - and not excessive speed - is being blamed.
The forty seater vehicle careered off a bridge on the Mahlaq Jnoobi - the southern bypass road. The crash happened near to the scene of last month's deadly car bomb.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008 

Here comes the winter

Only in Syria would a heatwave signal the coming of winter.
It has been getting hotter and hotter over the past couple of days. It's now at uncomfortable levels of sweat - we're way into the thirties celcius. It's been accompanied by cloudier skies.
And today it broke. There was a huge rain storm a few minutes ago, taking everyone by surprise.
But this could be another false start. Last month it got very cold, only to return to temperate mid-twenties celcius.
So do we get those winter clothes out or not?


Lebanon and Syria normalise relations

The Lebanese and Syrian Foreign Ministers have finally signed an agreement to recognise and respect each other's sovereignty and independence.
The two men have met in Damascus. It opens the way for the formal demarcation of the border and opening of embassies. They are two of the French and American demands hanging over Syria.


More replies to comments

Yazan - another Mac user! No, I'm too stubborn to give up my MacBook.
I hate PCs. Although I am grudgingly using them. Do you know where the
Mac shop is? I've heard Mezzeh?

Sharks - yes, the yellow does look very good! Not sure about pink
though! Are you in Damascus?

Amniyah - thanks, I know about all those sites/programmes etc. Do they
work on STE lines as well, or just private lines? If so, what's all
the fuss about 'banning' Facebook about, if everyone knows how to get
round it?

Abu Kareem - EXACTLY my thoughts. If only.

Matt - yes, it is impressive.

Norman - there are plenty of pictures, when I get a fast enough connection.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008 

Meeting the President

Eight o'clock. Damascus. The National Orchestra was about to perform at the Opera House.

The audience were taking their seats - and then there was a growing whisper coming from the right hand side. The whisper grew to a chatter.

Down the steps walked a tall man in a grey suit, next to a blonde woman in a purple dress had just entered.

If you didn't know Syria you wouldn't know this was the President. There were no bodyguards and no glass screens. And not even a special seat. He took a place with the rest of the audience - ok, so it was the front row. But these were normal four-dollar seats - just five places in front of me.

At the end, the conductor called the President up on stage - he shook the hands of the performers and walked out - followed right behind by people trying to get his attention.

He spent half an hour talking to members of the public outside. And then left by the front door, and got in a normal car with his wife.


Replies to comments

I'm still having problems getting into my own comments, so this will have to do for now.

Anonymous - what are foreign students telling their families back home, about life in Syria?

My problem is not with foreigners in Damascus - far from it. Damascus has a long history of welcoming immigrants. My problem is with Arabs greeting Arabs in English. It's bizarre, and confined to one square kilometer of the country.

Norman - if you saw how tight their tops were, you wouldn't say they were Hizbollah fans!

Nour - I'm glad that cleared things up. Welcome to the blog.

Matt and Amniyah - I've seen this trend in London too - the yellow fashion - but here it's everywhere!

Sunday, October 12, 2008 

Damascus in Yellow

Does EVERY girl in this city have to be dressed in yellow?

Girls in hijab, with long tight yellow t-shirts. Girls with big hair
in yellow blouses. Girls with blue jeans in - you guessed it - yellow

Some have black writing, some kind of image, or even a tactically
placed butterfly.

But they're all the same shade. Like someone dumped a huge yellow
paint pot on the city.


Colonisation - update

I've just been into a cafe in Kasaa (next to Bab Touma), I said one
word, and I was greeted with 'Hello, welcome'.

(Reply to Matt's comment - no, it's Syrian shopkeepers greeting me
this way! I'm having trouble replying to comments in the normal way at
the moment.)

Saturday, October 11, 2008 

The colonisation of Bab Touma

I guess it's always been like this to an extent. White European Arabic
language students are told they will did life easier living with the

So they arrive in Damaacus, walk around Bab Touma and read one of the
signs - written in English - advertising a room for rent in an 'Arabic

What happens is they end up living in a house full of other European
students. Some rarely leave Bab Touma.

They eat in it's restaurants, go out in its bars, and shop in its

While there's nothing wrong with them being here - in fact it's a very
good thing. There is something wrong with walking up to a shop, as an
Arab and before i open my mouth, I am greeted with 'hello' in English.

Monday, October 06, 2008 

City of Jamine

Jasmine is the flower of Damascus.
No Jasmine in the world smells like the Damascene Jasmine. But as the city jumped head-first into the Soviet-style progress of the 1960s and 70s, that smell was replaced by the odour of petrol fumes, building site work, dust and cigarettes.
By the turn of the century, the idea of Jasmine in Damascus had become just that - an idea, a memory, slowly fading away until it became nothing more than a myth. But people live on myths, and imagined memories. So a massive Jasmine planting programme began a few years ago. 5000 plants sprung up across the capital, surrounding almost every public building.
Walk along the streets at night, especially at this time of year, and the scent of Jasmine becomes overpowering.
I have some Jasmine scent in a bottle that I take with me when I travel. Its job is to remind me what this city smells like. But truth got mixed up with imagination a few nights ago. I was walking through Damascus, and I could smell the Jasmine. I racked my brain trying to think what it reminded me of.
Then it came to me - the flowers brought back the memory of my bottle of scent.

Friday, October 03, 2008 

American in Damascus

This is the best tourist article about Damascus I have seen for a very long time.

It is by London-based NBC journalist F. Brinley Bruton.

She spends a lot of time outside the Old City (yes, there is a Damascus outside the city walls!) and doesn't include the phrase "conversion on the road to Damascus" anywhere in her article.

It is a very thoughtful, original piece. And she clearly has been talking to real Damascenes:

"Someone advised me to not pay too much attention to maps while in Damascus."

"other Westerners tended to look away when we passed. This is the sort of place where tourists appear unwilling to speak to other foreigners, perhaps unwilling to admit that they don’t have the city to themselves."

"Naranj, full of sleek, well-heeled Syrians, has the reputation as the best restaurant in the city."

"The next night we ventured out of the Old City to go to Shameat."

The full piece is here.


John McCain will recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital

McCain's vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin: "building our embassy, also, in Jerusalem, those things that we look forward to being able to accomplish with this peace-seeking nation."

Until now, America's embassy has been in Tel Aviv. Every other country in the world also has their embassy in Tel Aviv (except Micronesia) because they have agreed to wait until the final status of Jerusalem is settled.

Tel Aviv is the de facto capital at the UN. Only Israel - NOT EVEN AMERICA, not even Bush - recognises Jerusalem as the capital.

This is a massive step. There are three main issues in the Palestine-Israel conflict: the refugees, Jerusalem and the settlements.

In 2004, Bush said that some settlements will have to remain - breaking with decades of consistent messages that the settlements will be sorted out in the final status negotiations.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008 

Why The Guardian is wrong on Syria

...this time.

Ian Black has been The Guardian's Middle East editor since the legendary Brian Whitaker moved to a different role at the British newspaper. They were big shoes to fill, but Black has done it admirably.

He knows Syria - ok, not as well as Whitaker did - and he treats it with a degree of intelligence most so-called Syria 'experts' don't.

But in his latest piece he is wrong. Very wrong.

The piece is called Tension grows between Syria and Lebanon after bombings. But the 'Lebanon' position is represented solely by Sa'ad Hariri - a leader on the wane, and certainly not representative of Lebanon - maybe part of the Sunni sect.

Hariri accuses Syria of "infiltrating extremists to north Lebanon to carry out terrorist attacks targeting the Lebanese army and civilians".

Lebanese analyst Nadim Shehadi does back up his view - but it certainly isn't prevalent.

There has never been any claim that terrorists in Lebanon have come from Syria - there have been accusations (by Junblatt - although even he has now retracted these) that FUNDING came from Syria. The opposite is true - there is a widespread belief in Syria that the Damascus car-bombers came from northern Lebanon.

Yes, there is tension between Hariri and Bashar - that's not new. But between Lebanon and Syria? That's a bit more of a stretch of the imagination.

Next point...

"A "Takfiri" group - standard terminology for al-Qaida".

Takfiris simply view the world through very narrow lenses. It is true that al-Qaida does too, but that doesn't make them interchangeable. al-Qaida supporters are takfiri, but not vice-versa. A militant may view Shia as apostates, and want to kill them, but not agree with the al-Qaida world-view. It may sound like nitpicking, but conflating the two is dangerous, because next we'll be combining all Muslim militant groups.

"The apparent target was a Syrian intelligence office near the Shia shrine of Sayyida Zeynab, where many Iraqi refugees live."

We've been over this point so many times. It was nowhere near Sayida Zeinab. It was next to Jaramana, and closer to the Christian shrines of Bab Touma than the Shia shrine of Sayida Zeinab. See this.

"Syrian opposition sources have claimed that one of the victims was an intelligence officer."

Farid Ghadry? Oh, please. His "claims' are more like wet-dreams. Reliability factor zero.

"In Beirut, Hariri denounced the deployment of Syrian troops along Lebanon's northern borders. He urged the international community not to allow Syria to intervene in Lebanese affairs under the guise of fighting extremism."

This was well covered a few days ago. There were legitimate fears that the Syrian army was about to re-enter Lebanon. But that all changed when Syria passed tough new laws to fight smuggling, and the real cost of the problem became clear. Oh, and the "10,000 soldiers" Hariri saw at the border were caught on camera as being more like 500.

I have a better title for the article: "Hariri cries wolf - again".


Syria is favourite for a key position in the UN nuclear agency

Syria is the frontrunner for a seat in the IAEA - the International Atomic Energy Association, which is the UN's nuclear body.

It is a straight fight between Syria and Afghanistan. Initially Syria was the only candidate. But under US pressure, Afghanistan and Kazakhstan also put their names down for the Middle East and South Asia seat. Iran also applied.

The IAEA was investigating Syria after the US and Israel alleged it was building a nuclear weapons factory. The IAEA said there was no evidence, following a months-long investigation.

It would be Syria's highest profile role since it was on the UN Security Council six years ago.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008 

Tess's comment

I'm reposting Tess's comment from the All Eyes on Damascus post, just because it's very apt.

"I find it fascinating how differently people choose to report the bombing: which religious sites are near, how quickly it was reported, the rarity of the bombing, the connections to the last bombing in Syria years ago, a prisoner riot, or a meeting with US officials in New York. Reading those quotes, one would have thought that several different events were being reported, based on how differently the material was presented. Trying to imagine some sort of global understanding is difficult when even the most concrete events, such as this bombing which resulted in 17 deaths, can be turned into just about anything."

Thanks Tess, welcome to the blog.


Eid on Wednesday in Syria

Eid will be on Wednesday in Syria, Egypt, Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Bahrain, Oman, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Mauritania, Sudan and Pakistan.

Eid will be on Tuesday for: Lebanon, Jordan, Saudi, Kuwait, Qatar, the Emirates, Palestine, Yemen, Libya and - controversially - only Iraq's Sunnis.

Could the political split be any more obvious?

Monday, September 29, 2008 

Where was the Damascus bomb? Not near a 'Shia shrine'.

Most western media persist in saying the bomb site was "near the Shia shrine of Saida Zeinab". My map clearly shows that is totally misleading.

As Orientalista points out, the attack was much closer to the Palestinian/Golani/Iraqi area of Jaramana. And it was actually closer to the "Christian shrines" in the Old City, if we are going to pinpoint everything in religious terms.

It was about two kilometers down the airport highway, after you leave the Old City, near Bab Sharqi. It happened at the junction for Jaramana.

Click on the map to enlarge.


Why the Saudi silence?

It has been three days since seventeen innocent people were blown to pieces in Damascus.

The UN, the United States, Britain, France, Russia, Lebanon, Jordan and most of the world has condemned the attack. But one country is missing. Saudi Arabia has not uttered a single word.

The Guardians of the Two Holy Sites have stayed completely silent. They have not said they sympathise with the victim's families. They have not criticised this act of unbelievable terror.

Either they are sickeningly rude, or they agree with the bombing.


Damascus bomb was a suicide attack

Saturday's bomb on the airport road in Damascus was a suicide attack.

A car bomb killed 17 people in the south of the city.

The early results of the investigation show that an Islamist terrorist entered Syria on Friday - the day before the attack.

He came from a neighbouring Arab country - but authorities are not saying which one. That means it could be Lebanon, Jordan or Iraq.

First thoughts will turn to Lebanon, following a report from Britain yesterday claiming that Al Qaeda extremists in Tripoli were planning to attack Syria.


5 dead in Tripoli explosion

At least 5 people have been killed and 17 wounded in a bus bomb in Tripoli.

The bus was carrying soldiers. It happened in the Buhsas area of the city during the morning rush hour.

It's six weeks since the last bus bomb in the city - which killed 15 people including 10 soldiers.

Al-Qaeda allied group Fateh Al Islam has been fighting a two year war with the army in Tripoli. It's claimed Saturday's car bomb in Damascus was carried out by the same group.


SNAP: Explosion in Tripoli

A bomb has gone off in Tripoli.

It exploded near a bus carrying Lebanese soldiers. There have been casualties.

Tripoli is thought to be a centre for Al Qaeda-supporting terrorists. Many have been funded by the Hariri government.

Sunday, September 28, 2008 

It could've been much worse

The bomb happened on a Saturday morning, the second day of the weekend. If it had happened one day later, many many children would've been killed.

The explosion happened outside a school - large parts of the building have been destroyed.


All eyes on Damascus

Here's what the world is saying about Saturday morning's car bomb in Sayida Zeinab, southern Damascus.

"Seventeen dead in car bomb. This is the kind of headline you'd expect in Iraq, not in Syria." - Hala Gorani, CNN, United States.

"It should be said that no American has been killed by terrorists in Syria throughout the entire history of the country." - Syria Comment, United States and Syria.

"The apartments lining the crowded streets around the mosque are home to hundreds of thousands of Iraqi refugees, many of them poor, unemployed and undocumented. News reports from Syria said the bombing occurred near a state security post. There were conflicting reports as to the nature of the post, with one opposition web site saying it was no more than a car park used by state security services." - Washington Post, United States.

"The security post [near to where the bomb detonated] is not a very important or significant security site; it is for petrol for security patrols. It is very near the Saydah Zeinab shrine. At this time of year during Ramadan, it is very significant. Pilgrims come from Lebanon, Iraq and Iran to visit the shrine. The security post has not been harmed." Al Jazeera, Qatar.

"The blast was the deadliest since a spate of attacks in the 1980s blamed on Muslim Brotherhood militants." - Agence France Press, France.

"The exiled head of Syria's banned opposition Muslim Brotherhood Ali Sadreddine Bayanouni said the attack could be the work of extremist groups or part of a "struggle between security forces. The security agencies have set up terrorist groups and sent them to neighbouring countries like Lebanon and Iraq. I don't rule out that they have slipped from their control and are carrying out such acts." - Agence France Press, France.

"The bombing comes as senior Lebanese military sources told The Observer that jihadis - some based in the Lebanese city of Tripoli - had launched a series of attacks against the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad." - The Guardian, Britain.

"In recent years, there have been some reported clashes [with the Muslim Brotherhood], with the security forces killing several suspected Islamist militants, and arresting hundreds more." - BBC, Britain.

"The bombing also occurred less than three months after Islamist inmates rioted at a prison outside the capital, taking hostages and engaging in gun battles with the authorities, in a confrontation that dragged on for weeks." - New York Times, United States.

"The explosion came only hours after Syria's foreign minister held a rare meeting in New York with his American counterpart, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice." - Associated Press, United States.

"Despite claims from Syrian groups that Israel was behind the bombing, political and security officials in Jerusalem [sic - you mean Tel Aviv?] denied any Israeli involvement." - Haaretz, Israel.

"Unusually for Syria, whose media is closely policed, details of the attack were reported immediately, with rolling updates on the casualties and investigation." - The Guardian, Britain.

Images, top to bottom: AFP, BBC, AP.


Rest in peace

To the seventeen innocent men and women who left their houses in Saida Zeinab this morning, and never came home.

And shame on some people who are suggesting the victims were soldiers and police, who deserved to die. Shame shame shame. Your hunger for power at all costs makes me sick. Crawl back into your hole in Washington DC.

Saturday, September 27, 2008 


Latest pictures - aftermath of the car bomb in Damascus

These are the latest pictures from Syrian television:


Car bomb update

It happened on Mahlaq Road, on a junction between the airport road, and the road to Sayida Zeinab.

It was 8km from the shrine of Sayida Zeinab. The bomb would have been much more deadly if it happened near to the densely populated area around the shrine.


History of attacks inside Syria

Saturday's car bomb is the worst attack in Syria since 1986.

Syria has been the safest country in the region. In the past eleven years, there have been no terror attacks (except for extremist attacks on the American embassy, and an Israeli attack on a few rocks).

1997 - 9 died in a bus bomb in Damascus.

1986, March 17 - 60 died in a truck bomb at a military compound in Damascus.

1981, November 29 - 64 died in a car bomb.


More pictures

Nice to see Agence France Press (AFP) (bottom) stealing images from Syrian Television (top), and then SELLING them.


Syrian television wakes up

I'm shocked. Syrian television has already started showing pictures of the car bomb.

When Imad Moughniya was killed in Kafr Souseh in western Damascus, earlier this year, they didn't even MENTION the bomb for a whole day.

Syrian Television this morning



So, it's been a few minutes since the bomb, and already people are spending their time wishing up conspiracy theories based on their filthy politics, instead of thinking about the fact that seventeen lives have been lost.

Here's what I've heard already:

- The bomb was near the Sidi Kadad Intelligence Headquarters, responsible for monitoring Palestinians in Damascus - it must be Palestinians taking revenge

- The bomb was on the airport road - it must be Israelis trying to hurt a symbol of national significance

- The bomb was in Sayida Zeinab - it must be the Iraqi problem being exported

- The bomb was trying to undermine the stability of the Syrian government - it must be the Americans

- The bomb was revenge for the killing of a top government official last month - it must be the Syrians

- The bomb was revenge for the killing of Hizbollah official Imad Mughniya - it must be the Lebanese

- The bomb follows other attacks across Syria by religious extremists - it must be Al Qaeda

Just think about the dead - instead of how the attack supports your filthy view of the world.



17 people have been killed in a car bomb in southern Damascus

It happened in Mahlaq Road in Sayida Zeinab. Another 14 people have been injured. Sayida Zeinab is the Syrian capital's Iraqi area. Most of the 2 million refugees live there.

The car was packed with 200kg of explosives. Buildings 100 metres away have had their windows blown out.

The government says it can not be sure if it is a terror attack

For the past five and a half years, people have been asking how Iraqis who are killing each other back home, can live side by side in Damascus.



17 people have been killed in a car bomb in southern Damascus.

More follows...

Wednesday, September 24, 2008 


Iran is "at the centre of violence and fanaticism".

Iran "holds back chances for peace, while undermining human rights".

Iran's actions "postpone the establishment of the Palestinian state."

Shimon Peres, ISRAELI Prime Minister.


American extremists

Can someone explain how this is a vote winner in the US:

McCain "if elected, would not become actively engaged in Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts and discourage Israeli-Syrian peace efforts".

So keeping the region at war is a policy strategy? Is this what makes Americans happy?

Sunday, September 21, 2008 

Syria passes nuclear investigation

Syria has passed the tests from the International Atomic Energy Agency (the IAEA).

The UN's nuclear watchdog says there is nothing to support America's claims that it was building a secret nuclear reactor in the desert. The tests began following an Israeli air raid on a building which it claimed was being used for a nuclear project.

Israel bombed in September 2007. It stayed unusually silent for days, until Syria made the attack public. America waited until April 2008 to make its claims.

Washington alleged the site was a nearly finished reactor. They showed pictures which looked identical to a reactor in North Korea (although, the photos could have actually been sites in North Korea). Israel released pictures apparently showing North Koreans in Syria.

Satellite images showed the site had been leveled after the attack. America was surprised Syria didn't just leave the bombed-out building as it was. But simply removing the bricks and cleaning the ground would not have removed all traces of nuclear material. The Israeli explosion would have dispersed the materials for hundreds of meters in tiny amounts.

The UN investigation followed soon after the American claims. IAEA investigators were given free access to the site in June 2008.

Thursday, September 18, 2008 

Book burning

Disturbing news from Jordan.

Books@Cafe is coming under attack from the unenlightened.


British Embassy reopens for visitors in Damascus

Syrian nationals will be able to apply for British visas in the normal way from next week.

Even though the British Embassy has been operational in Damascus, it has been closed to visitors for years, because of the security risk.

Anyone wanting to travel to Britain had to apply for a visa through the DHL office.

But now, Britain is opening a new Visa Centre in Mezzeh - it will be Britain's second office in Damascus (the other one is the embassy in Maliki).

The address is Building 13, Ground Floor, Al Jazaieree Street, Mezzeh West Villas, Damascus.
Phone: 612 5270 and 612 5271.

It will be open Sunday to Thursday 9am to 4pm.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008 

Junblatt prepares to join the opposition

Walid Junblatt is a heartbeat away from joining the Hizbollah-led opposition.

Two days after publicly breaking up with his ally of three years, Sa'ad Hariri, his party has had a meeting with Hizbollah. In an interview with the LA Times, he accused Hariri of building his own private army, and supporting religious extremists. He also backpeddled in his previous harsh criticism of Syria and Hizbollah, saying it was all just politics.

Now his party is talking to Hizbollah, and preparing to sign a Memorandum of Understanding - a formal document setting out how they will work together. This is what Michel Aoun did two years ago.

The PSP (Junblatt's party) is insisting that neither party has changed its positions yet.

Saturday, September 13, 2008 

Samir Jaja hints Syria may not be responsible for the Hariri assassination

Samir Jaja, another key March 14 figure has broken ranks, as speculation grows that Saad Hariri will soon be left on his own.

Jaja says the Aridi assassination was connected with the previous killings. That's important because Aridi is a pro-Syrian politician - many of the others who have died have been anti-Syrians. So by connecting the two, he is hinting that Syria couldn't be behind them all.

He also condemned those who suggest the killings aren't linked. Hariri is one of those who has claimed that Aridi was killed by Al-Qaeda allied groups - and that the other politicians were killed by Syrian agents.

The Jaja-Hariri spat comes a day after Walid Junblatt openly criticised Hariri in the LA Times.


March 14 on the verge of splitting up

Walid Junblatt is now openly criticising his March 14 ally Saad Hariri. He has given an interview to the Los Angeles Times.

In the interview, he accuses Hariri of trying to build a militia, and allying with religious extremists.

And admits his most inflammatory anti-Syrian comments were made just because "politics requires it", implying that he doesn't stand by those opinions now.

The March 14 coalition came to power because of the twin pillars - Hariri and Junblatt. But he now realises that they are almost certain to lose their majority - and be thrown out of government - in next year's elections.

Junblatt has been making a number of warm comments in Hezbollah's direction since the battles in May 2008. Could this be the start of a new pragmatic allegiance, just like his clever 2005 allegiance with Hariri got him into power?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008 

Lebanese opposition politician killed

A main figure in Lebanon's opposition has been killed.

Druze politician Saleh Aridi has died in a bomb blast in Aley. He was an ally of Hezbollah - and his party (led by Talal Arslan) humiliated Junblatt in the fighting in May.

Aley is just outside Beirut, and is considered a stronghold of Walid Junblatt.

The two sides were due to come together on Monday to discuss their differences.


Saleh Aridi killed in Lebanon

A bomb has killed Lebanese Druze politician Saleh Aridi. More soon.

Thursday, September 04, 2008 

French President opens school in Damascus

President Nicolas Sarkozy has opened a French school in Damascus.

Sarkozy is aiming to deepen ties between the two countries. He has opened a school in Damascus, named after Charles de Gaulle.

It is making some of the older generation uncomfortable, because they remember France's brutal occupation of Syria.

The two countries have also signed a number of huge economic deals. The most important one is an agreement to allow the French oil company Total operate in Syria for the next ten years.

For the first time in years, the French tricolour flag covers most main roads in the Syrian capital, for Sarkozy's first visit. It is also the first time a western head of state has come to Damascus for five years.

Thanks to Amniya for this.


Presidents chat over a Damascene dinner

But where were Bashar Al-Assad and Nicolas Sarkozy having dinner. I'd say it looks like the rooftop of Laranja, a new Gemini Group restaurant on Medhat Pasha, near Bab Sharqi. It specialises in dishes from the different regions of Syria.

What do you think?


Syria's proposal for peace

Syria has handed over a document outlining its demands, if a peace-treaty is going to be signed with Israel.

It's given the list to Turkey.

The next stage is for Israel to hand a similar outline to Turkey.

They will provide the starting points for direct negotiations.

It comes as the actual negotiations themselves seem like they're slowing down. Israel has lost its chief negotiator, and it's election season in America.

The two sides may not be meeting up for a chat - but the wheels on the peace-mobile are speeding up.


SNAP: Syria-Israel talks postponed

The Syria-Israel peace talks have been postponed because the Israeli negotiator has resigned.

Syria's President Bashar Al-Assad has called the next round "crucial".

Tuesday, September 02, 2008 

Hamas: Meshaal has not left Syria

Hamas has told AFP that Politibureau leader Khaled Meshaal has not left Syria.

It was widely reported this morning that he had gone to Sudan after being kicked out of Syria. The problem is these reports all started life in one place: a Kuwaiti newspaper called Al Rai.

The paper quoted an unnamed 'reliable' Palestinian source.

Kuwaiti papers have developed something of a specialism at selling rumours as fact. As-Siyasseh has become the expert at this. The country's media has targeted Syria before.

The question is now not about the Syrian-Israeli peace talks - but more about what Kuwait is playing at. What did it have to gain?


Hamas leader kicked out of Syria

There are reports that Hamas Politibureau head Khaled Meshaal has left Syria.

The timing is very interesting - one day before French President Nicolas Sarkozy lands at Damascus Airport. And just as Syria and Israel signal they are ready for direct talks.

His presence in Damascus has been a key sticking point in the Israel-Syria talks. Israel says it considers the move a huge sign that Syria is serious about the talks.

Syria Today's editor Andrew Tabler has more here.

Saturday, August 30, 2008 

Shakira to defend Arabs in a new song

Columbian-Lebanese singer Shakira is writing a duet to defend Arabs.

She is teaming up with Arab-American singer Dania Youssef. Dania was born in America and sings in English. But she did study Arabic music for three years. On this song, her vocals will be in Arabic - and her words will be written by Egyptian composer Mohamed Saad.

Shakira visited Lebanon for the first time in 2003 and said it felt like a homecoming. She doesn't speak Arabic, and considers herself Columbian - rarely mentioning her Lebanese roots.

The song, which is an attempt to change the image of Arabs as terrorists, will be out by the end of the year. Dania is also recording her first Arabic album.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008 

Syria says it's ready for direct talks with Israel

This could be the breakthrough. Bashar Al-Assad is ready to come face to face with Ehud Olmert.

The two countries have been involved in indirect talks for most of this year.

Israel has been asking for a direct meeting for months, but Syria has resisted. Now, things are slowing down, and the chance for a deal looks more distant than it has done at any point during the latest round of talks.

Syria has been holding off on direct talks because it is waiting for Bush to leave office. But Barack Obama's adviser recently visited Syria and told Bashar if he doesn't speed this process up, Barack won't get involved if he comes to power. No-one wants to support a process which could fail.

Syria says it just wants the US to back the talks. France has already said it will.

Apparently, the deal is almost concluded. The technical details - who does what, where and when, have been sorted out. It just needs the politicians to sit down and say 'I do'.

Add to the mix the visit from French President Nicolas Sarkozy. He's coming to Damascus in a few days. And he's already supporting direct talks. Bashar's words could spur Sarkozy into talking to Bush.

This has all come from David Ignatius, who has spoken to Bashar's advisers.

So that's it - a few words from Bush - "I support Israel's talks with Syria", and we could be almost there.

Sunday, August 24, 2008 

Damascus experts needed

A good friend is writing a book about Damascus, and needs details about parts of the city's history.

He's also looking for people who know about the Umayed Mosque, its traditions and what goes on there today.

If you think you can help, or if you have any ideas about people who could be useful to speak to, please leave a comment here.

Sunday, August 17, 2008 

Syrian families demand information about missing relatives

Relatives of missing Syrians have staged a sit-in, outside the Ministry of the Interior.

They want to know what has happened to more than 1000 missing in Lebanon. They are demanding that Syrian officials ask Lebanon to investigate.

It follows a request by Lebanese families to learn the fate of their loved-ones, missing in Syria.

Thursday, August 14, 2008 

The anti-Syrians are furious

Bashar Al Assad and Michel Sleiman are meeting in Damascus. Hizbollah and March 14 are working together in Beirut. Syria and Lebanon have healed their wounds.

And Syria is coming in from the cold, internationally.

No wonder the anti-Syrians are having a fit. Have a look at this rant from George Bush's token Syrian friend - the "please invade Syria" cheerleader in Washington:

"If Assad wants to recognize Lebanon, why has he not, as protocol dictates, not visit Lebanon instead of inviting Gen. Suleiman to Syria? When was the last time Assad visited Lebanon? He never did because like a loyal Ba'athist, he considers it as part of Greater Syria. If anyone can confirm this protocol occurring please write me, otherwise, please consider the notion that it is simply too early to roll the red carpet for Assad."

The trouble is, Michel Sleiman has invited Bashar to Beirut, and Bashar has accepted. It was a desperate argument in the first place. And it shows how desperate the 'attack-Syria' lobby in Washington has become.

Start polishing your red carpet, Mr Syrian Chalabi.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008 

Lebanon's worst attack in 18 years

At least eighteen people have been killed in Lebanon's worst single attack since the civil war.

Eleven soldiers are among the dead in Tripoli, and forty people are injured - two seriously.

A roadside bomb exploded when a bus drove past during the rush hour in Tripoli city centre.

The attack happened in Banks Street.

Today is the day when President Michel Sleiman visits Syria. Some Lebanese are angry that a deal has been signed between Hizbollah and March 14. Tripoli is a March 14 stronghold.


UPDATE: Soldiers targeted in Lebanon bus bomb

At least nine people have been killed, including seven soldiers in Tripoli.

The explosion happened on a civilian bus.

It comes a year after the army's battle with Al Qaeda-allied militants in the city.

More live updates soon...



Five people have died - including a number of soldiers - in a bomb blast in Tripoli.

It exploded on a bus early this morning.

The attack happened just after the government finally agreed a unity statement - bringing together Hizbollah and March 14. Al Qaeda's Lebanese stronghold is Tripoli.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008 

On Palestine

I rarely comment on Palestinian issues - because it is overdone elsewhere (I set up this blog to write about Syria at a time when no-one was). And because it is done by people a lot more knowledgeable than me.

But Israel's offer to the Palestinians. No comment, just the facts:

Israel would annex 7.3% of the West Bank, in return for a smaller patch of DESERT.

Israel would keep the largest settlements.

Israel would be allowed to expand the settlements as much as it likes BEFORE the deal is implemented (i.e. the Palestinians would sign up to the agreement, not knowing how much land they'd eventually get their hands on).

The whole of Jerusalem would become Israeli.

The Israel-Palestine border would be where the Wall is (which cuts deep into the Occupied Territory).

Palestine would have no military.

Fatah would have to overthrow Hamas in Gaza.

The Palestinians would have to admit this is a generous deal.

Thursday, August 07, 2008 

Last of the Damascus Spring prisoners released

Campaigner Aref Dalila has been released.

He was jailed in 2002, as the Damascus Spring - a period of openness at the start of Bashar Al-Assad's presidency - came to an end.

Aref is an economist, and former head of Economics at Damascus University, who was charged with trying to incite armed rebellion. He says he will continue to voice his opinions strongly, and his release wasn't conditional on staying silent.

Interestingly, it's just a few weeks since Ammar Qorabi - head of the National Organisation for Human Rights in Syria - made a plea to Bashar for Aref to be freed: "because of a deterioration in his state of health and to turn a new page with the Syrian opposition". Qorabi continues to be the voice of moderation, and seems to be able to get away with a lot, and achieve even more. That man is on the up.

A handful of other dissidents - most notably Riad Seif - are still in prison.

About me

  • Written by sasa
  • From Damascus, Syria
  • From Damascus to London via Beirut. Based in and out of the central Damascene hamlet of Saroujah. News and feelings from the streets every day. I'm talking rubbish? Leave a comment. Welcome to the information democracy. See below for info about this site.
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