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Monday, July 04, 2005 

Gunfight on Jebl Qassioun with Saddam's former bodyguards

A Syrian security officer has died during a gun-battle with former bodyguards of Saddam Hussein. This fight happened early on Monday morning on Jebl Qassioun, the Mountain in Northern Damascus.

Two members of the group of bodyguards were hurt, as were four Syrian policemen. Two militants have been arrested: a Jordanian - Ayed Al-Semadi - and his wife's brother, who was on the run.

The group of militants - which includes former bodyguards of Saddam - were wanted for "terrorist crimes" according to Syrian officials. It's not clear whether those crimes were in Syria or Iraq. The official said that the group had been under surveillance for some time.

Yesterday the Syrian News Wire revealed that two soldiers and a foreign militant were killed in Homs, and last month a raid on a house resulted in the deaths of militants who were planning to bomb Damascus. Syrian officials have kept quiet on whether the three events are linked.

The US has accused Syria of not controlling miltants within its borders, but last week the Iraqi Deputy Foreign Minister, Hamed Al-Bayati, said that Syria had stopped 70,000 fighters crossing into Iraq. Today's news of a battle between Syrian forces and men linked with the Iraqi insurgency is likely to be well received by American forces, who have condemned Syria for turning a blind eye to insurgents travelling to Iraq from Syria.

UPDATE 1.41am:

A Jordanian expert on Muslim radical groups, Fouad Hussein, has confirmed that the Al-Semadi brothers were close to Jund Ash-Sham - that group was responsible for:
- planning a bomb attack in Damascus and killing a member of the Syrian security service in June 2005,
- a bomb attack on hotels in Sinai, Egypt, which killed 34 people in October 2004,
- a bomb attack in Qatar which killed a British person in March 2005.

Jund Ash-Sham planned to wage holy war on Syria for its secular government, and was planning to attack 'Christian Lebanon'.

things are becoming very merky in the midleast,God ,give Syria the power and the wisdom to stay the course secular arab nationalism, naim

Dear sasa,

only a technical request: your occasional use of red police (letters) is very hard on the eyes and makes for difficult reading.

Since Americans speak out of both corners of their mouth it is difficult to know what they are up to but as a comment said in Joshua's recent post

"It does not matter who becomes president in 2008, Syria will still be a target. Israel wants it so and whatever Israel wants from Congress/President, then Israel gets."

Then we have to hope for a change of leadership in Israel - and that will come. The Israeli people want peace, just as the Syrians do, and within years I am confident that Bashar's offer of peace-talks with Israel will be reciprocated. There will be an Israeli embassy in Damascus.

I have changed the red font! I hope the yellow is more legible.

Thank you all for your comments, but I'd love to know which country you are all from (I understand if you don't want to tell me your names).

Thank you for changing the police.

Since you asked I shall sign; I am not Syrian but I live here and I feel Syrian.
I am from Belgium.

America's dubious past in Syria

It was the Americans who orchestrated the first coup d'etat in Syria in 1949, toppling the democratically elected president Shukri al-Quwatli and replacing him with General Husni al-Za'im, a stooge of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), because the latter promised to respond to US needs in the Middle East. These were mainly a crackdown on communism, a ceasefire with Israel, and privileges to Tapline, a US oil company. The fact that Quwatli had been democratically elected by his people meant nothing to the CIA, the White House or the Pentagon in 1949.


It looks like another example of Saddam Hussein loyalists working with al Qaeda elements.

Why do people continue insisting these people would never work together?

Excellent website by the way.

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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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