SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – Palestinian architect Naseer Arafat has dedicated much of his life and work to the restoration and preservation of buildings in the occupied West Bank city of Nablus. Last year, his extensive research and work came to fruition as Nablus, City of Civilizations, an impressive and extensive architectural and historical survey of the ancient city.
Through twelve detailed units, the book describes Nablus’ long history, from the Canaanite era to the second intifada, when many of its historical buildings were demolished or damaged during the Israeli invasion. Historical photographs, maps and building plans describe the many architectural treasures of the city. Beyond this, through oral stories, Arafat includes a social history that breathes life into the city as it exists today.
Published in Nablus by the Cultural Heritage Enrichment Center, the book is available in Arabic and English. Arafat recently spoke to The Electronic Intifada contributor Daryl Meador.
Daryl Meador: Can you speak a little bit about your history and relationship with Nablus and architecture?
Naseer Arafat: It’s the city where I live; I was born here. The relationship with architecture was built by the stories I got from my parents. They lived in a big house, 675 square meters, three floors; it was demolished by the British in 1938. So not only my parents, but my aunts and uncles from both sides were all living together in that house. My aunt, whenever the house was mentioned, she would sadly remember the moment when, with her hair wet, she was tossed out of the house into the street, and the British blew it up.
Also, my father’s uncle all the time spoke about the visitors who would come to the house because he was selling costumes and clothes out of it. Visitors would stay in the guest part of the house for three days, fed and hosted.
So that memory of the place, of the building, made me always imagine the size of the house and the situation of my family in it. I sadly connected this with loss, especially because where I live now is in a house that is in the garden of the old house. The old house is partially now a garden and partially a street where I used to walk every day. I would imagine which part of the house I was walking on. So that was the passion towards an ancient house and what it meant to my family.
I studied architecture at Birzeit, and volunteered to bring visitors to the university on tours in Nablus. After that I worked as an architect responsible for the national register of historical buildings in Palestine. This enabled me to discover Nablus as a treasured place with an urban fabric, with monuments. This was not known to me before. The more I worked in the city, walked through the alleys and streets, I discovered the richness of it.
Then as I worked, I decided I would write something about the city. I started collecting data and photographs, maps — whatever I could collect on the city.
DM: What kind of resources did you use?
NA: At that time I went to the Rockefeller museum in Jerusalem and saw documents and old photos of Nablus. Later I went to study restoration at York University and I visited what is called the Palestine Exploration Fund, which is a small association off Oxford Street in London. There I found huge old photographs of Nablus printed on glass.
I managed to collect unique photographs from the Ecole Biblique in Jerusalem, which is the French antiquities school. I managed to collect photos from Istanbul, the archive of the Sultan Abd al-Hamid II, from Berlin, the antiquities department and the Mandate Museum in London. At all these places I could find old photos of Nablus and use some for the book.
I also collected family photos. From some families you have photos of their houses and there was an Austrian researcher who came to Nablus in ‘96, and took photos of all of the houses in Nablus. So I managed to find some photos of houses destroyed by the Israelis in 2002. This was very emotional for the people whose houses were lost.
Two soap factories which were demolished, I managed to find photos of these as well. And by chance I was able to survey one factory before it was demolished, so its plan and façade are in the book.
DM: Does the book discuss the Israeli invasion and destruction?
NA: Yes it does. What the Israelis are doing to Nablus and the old city has been continuous since the occupation started. So the book is not just architectural; it starts with an architectural description, but also has social, political, economical, cultural interpretations of the buildings described. This is, I think, what makes the book special. I am an architect, so the starting point of my research and writing was architecture. But architecture is just a building, and it is a rigid description to just talk about the look and materials of a building. I felt that the richness of the building is the social life of the building, maybe the economical life of the market, also the cultural livelihood of the fabric.
So whenever there was a linked story to a building, I never hesitated to write it.
DM: And how did you find the stories?
NA: From people. Especially elderly people, I interviewed many of them. And they told me real stories.
DM: What are some examples of the personal stories linked to buildings?
NA: There are so many — one of them is about a mufti, he had the highest seat in Islam, who was from Nablus, appointed by the Ottomans. The British commander in Nablus wanted to meet the community leaders in Nablus. This man made an appointment to meet the sheikh. The reception is always downstairs and the house is above, all the time. So he gathered community leaders of Nablus to meet the guy, and when they were waiting, the mufti was nervously walking and not relaxed. People were asking what was wrong with him. All of the sudden, he went upstairs to his house.
The people were surprised because this is not the way you receive your guests, but they couldn’t have a word with him; he was upstairs in his house. The British commander came, they called upon the mufti and he came down and had a chat and the people left.
But the Nabulsis still didn’t understand, and they asked the mufti why he did that. He said, “Guys, if I was sitting and waiting for the guest, when he came I would have to stand up to respect and welcome him. But I went up, and when he came I came down to him, and he stood up for me. That’s how we should receive the occupier.”
Another story that is very nice is related to what we call in modern times, gender-sensitive issues. In one of the Turkish baths, if you look at the sides of the main hall there is a higher stage where people sit. When I surveyed this in 1992 — I was a student then — there used to be couches, fancy and relaxing seats, not like the stones on the other side. It indicated that this was a special place for people to sit.
The wife of the judge in Nablus, which was the highest position in town, she wanted to have a bath here. The lady who looks after the guests told her “Madam, you can’t sit there, this is only for VIPs, you are not allowed to sit there.” The wife of the judge left angry and didn’t have a bath.
She told her husband, and as the story goes he slapped the table, and he said “I will show them.” What can we expect from the most powerful person in town? He built a special bath for his wife. And he built a tunnel in between his house and the bath so that the bath is only reserved for her, and so that no one can see her when she leaves.
DM: Does the bath still exist?
NA: Yes, and it’s called al-Qadi; it means “the Judge” bath. It is used as a sweets factory now, not as a bath.
DM: The book features poems that are inscribed on buildings in Nablus. Are those common on all historical buildings?
NA: Every monument in Nablus, and some of the houses, have a written inscription which most of the time is a poem. This poem is the most honest documentation of the building date. So I managed to read some, [and] copy what others have read from what were lost.
From the poems I could calculate when the building was built. In Arabic, every letter has a corresponding number — alif is one, ba is two, etc. So if you take the letters of the last phrase of the poem, and you find the equivalent number of each letter and sum them up, you get the year that each building was built. It is a brilliant way of writing a poem.
DM: And they are included in the book?
NA: All of the poems are included with a photo and a copy of the text of the poem.
DM: Can you say one final thing about why Nablus is unique, historically and architecturally?
NA: There is a lot to say about Nablus. I would say that Nablus, at the time that it was built as an Islamic city, during the Mamluk Ottoman period, it was the center of everything. It was the capital of trade. The city was well known for its powerful economy that attracted not only the plans for making the olive oil soap from Jordan, but also the costumes that were exported to Europe and exhibited during the Ottoman period.
The fields of Nablus were where olive trees and cotton plants were planted, because we have four water springs and cotton needs a lot of water.
Also, it was the center of science. Students from Azhar [University] in Egypt would come study in Nablus. There were four schools in the old city of Nablus.
In modern history, before Israeli occupation, there were four buses leaving Nablus every morning — one to Beirut, one to Damascus, one to Jerusalem, and one to Amman. Every morning. My father used to say he would arrive in Damascus before shops opened. The Hijaz train, which took pilgrims from Palestine, Jordan and Syria to Saudi Arabia, started from Nablus. So I could say simply, Nablus was the center of everything for the neighboring countries. You could say it is a unique city.-www.shfaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – The Mayor of Qom underscored that the holy city of Qom can be introduced as the center of unity among Islamic denominations.
In an exlusive interview with Taqrib News Agency (TNA), the Mayor of Qom, Muhammad Delbari said, “The holy city of Qom can be introduced as the center of unity among Islamic denominations."
Delbari mentioned that regarding the importance and the place of Qom city in the system of Islamic Republic of Iran and also in other Muslim countries, this city can be a proper ground for increasing unity and rapprochement among Islamic denominations.
He pointed to the remarks of the Supreme Leader of Islamic Republic of Iran, Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei and underscored that the leader described Qom as an international city.
“From the other side, the presence of universities, religious instructors and books with Islamic theme can make this area as the international center of unity among Islamic schools of thoughts,” the Mayor underscored.
The Mayor of Qom pointed to the effective role of holding International Muslim Unity conference by the World Forum for Proximity of Islamic Schools of Thought and mentioned that any meeting, conference and seminar can give Muslims voice to send their message to their brothers and sisters and also to their enemies who are after increasing dispersion in Muslims countries.-www.shfaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) plans to establish a center that will deal with disputes over intellectual property and online copyright issues, reports Sina Tech (link via Google Translate).
Slated to launch later this year, the center will be part of the MIIT, which made the announcement at a meeting of the Internet Society of China and the Mediation Center of Internet Legal Professionals held in Beijing on January 17. The conference, convened to discuss the surge in intellectual property disputes and litigation, was attended by more than 100 people representing the Chinese government and court system, as well as Internet companies like Baidu, Sina and Taobao.
The MIIT hopes that technology companies will use third-party mediation and dispute resolution as a cost- and time-efficient alternative to litigation. Beijing’s High Court vice president Zhang Xuesong said that IP cases jumped by 17 percent from 2011 to 2012, of which 16 percent were related to online piracy. Last year, China tightened online piracy laws on how Web sites can be held liable for recommending unlicensed work from content including movies, music and books.-www.shfaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – Astronomers using ESO's Very Large Telescope have discovered a pair of white dwarf stars orbiting each other at the center of the unique Fleming 1 Nebula. The astronomers say the stars circle each other every 1.2 days. The astronomers say this is what is responsible for the symmetric appearance of material being flung out from both sides of the nebula. You can view a larger version of the above image here.
Henri Boffin (ESO, Chile), leader of the research team, said in a release, "The origin of the beautiful and intricate shapes of Fleming 1 and similar objects has been controversial for many decades. Astronomers have suggested a binary star before, but it was always thought that in this case the pair would be well separated, with an orbital period of tens of years or longer. Thanks to our models and observations, which let us examine this unusual system in great detail and peer right into the heart of the nebula, we found the pair to be several thousand times closer."— www.shafaqna.com/English
Source: Science Space Robots
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) - A planned 10,000-capacity ‘mega mosque’ in East London is under consideration by city authorities as locals mount a campaign to halt construction amid fears it will become a hotbed of Islamic extremism.
The gigantic mosque, four times the size of St. Paul’s Cathedral, will sport towering 40-foot minarets, an Islamic library, sports facilities and eight apartments.
Planning permission for the place of worship is being considered by Newham Council, despite controversy and fierce opposition from the local community, including many Muslims.
The plans were submitted by Tablighi Jamaat, a Muslim missionary movement, which some have described as an ‘antechamber of fundamentalism’.
Critics claim the Islamic group preaches separatism and segregation. Two of the July 7, 2005, London bombers – Shehzad Tanweer and Mohammad Sidique Khan – are believed to have prayed at a Tablighi mosque in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, before committing their terror attack.
“They teach that if you want to be a good Muslim you must separate off from non-Muslims…It's only Tablighi Jamaat – of all the Islamic groups – that has created ghettos over in Toronto, in Canada. They're all around the world, this is a huge group and wherever they go they create barriers, hostility, division, they create separatism," Alan Craig, campaign director of ‘Mega Mosque No Thanks,’ which is actively opposing its construction, told RT.
If given the go-ahead, the massive mosque could be the first Sharia-law-controlled area in Britain. Many East Londoners are worried that flouts Prime Minster David Cameron’s policy of a multicultural Britain that embraces all ethnic groups.
“The grounds on which they're trying to set-up here in Britain are anti-British, anti-Western. This is not just going to be a Mosque – this is going to be a centre of training, where they are going to try to reach out to Islamist Muslims. To harden up and medieval-ize the Islam of ordinary Muslims in this country. And I meet so many Muslims, who don't want that," journalist and cultural analyst Dr. Jenny Taylor, founder of religious literacy consulting group Lapido Media, explained to RT.
That view is shared by many Muslims in East London. Asqhar Bukhari, a spokesperson for the UK branch of the Muslim Public Affairs Committee, told RT, “Muslims themselves oppose this mosque. Not on the grounds that, they don't want to worship their God, but on the grounds that women aren't allowed, the local population, the Muslim population, has no say in how the mosque itself is governed."
The proposal has sparked intense opposition in the years since the plans were first submitted in 1999.
In 2001, Tablighi Jamaat agreed worship would only be on a temporary basis at the site of the proposed mosque. In 2010, Newham Council issued an enforcement notice, but Tablighi successfully appealed it in 2011 and now more than 5,000 people worship at the ramshackle site every week.
The plans had initially included a provision for retail units and 300 houses, which were shelved in place of the mega mosque. The Muslim community refused to allow their donations to contribute to commercial businesses.
Newham Council, which received the proposal from Tablighi on September 5, 2012, issued a statement in response: “We can confirm we have received a planning application. As this is currently being processed it would be inappropriate to comment further at this stage.”
The Mega Mosque No Thanks website contains a checklist for mobilizing activists, including signing an e-petition on the government’s website and contacting local MPs.
Craig explained to RT, “If this went ahead it would be like a tipping point – there will be no stopping fundamentalist Islam. If that happens – well we'd all need to leave the county."
Tablighi Jamaat maintains that their purpose is peaceful missionary work. Spokesperson for the group’s charitable trust and site owner Anjuman-E-Islahul-Muslimeen previously told reporters, “The door is always open and we are happy to meet and discuss in depth our proposals.”— www.shafaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) — While those of us stateside are enjoying the blazing fast 4G LTE speeds offered to us by certain carriers, those living in the UK are not as fortunate as carriers have yet to roll out 4G LTE networks. While that is currently underway, in the meantime, a new research center has been created which will be taking a look at 5G networks. Dubbed the 5G Centre, this will be a partnership between the University of Surrey and mobile companies, such as Huawei, Samsung, Telefonica Europe and Fujitsu Laboratories Europe. So what’s the rush with 5G networks, especially since 4G LTE has yet to be widely adopted around the world, let alone in the UK?
According to Professor Rahim Tafazolli, head of the University of Surrey’s Centre for Communication Systems Research, “The growth in the number of new applications running on the networks is accelerating, as ever more mobile devices become the preferred route for internet access […] Such unprecedented data traffic growth requires the urgent introduction of new 5G advanced technologies that maximise the use of the limited available radio spectrum.” He also added that by starting on 5G research now, this will hopefully help the UK avoid being behind in technology like they did with 4G.
However since 5G has yet to be defined by the International Telecommunications Union, it is unclear as to what sort of work and research will be conducted by the 5G Centre. In any case it will be interesting to see what they will come up with although we do not expect to see results any time soon.— www.shafaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) — Al-Qaeda, backed by Turkey, the US and its regional Arab allies, has set up a new camp in Northern Waziristan in Pakistan to train Wahabi and Jihadi terrorists and dispatches them to Syria via Turkish borders, sources said.
“A new Al-Qaeda has been created in the region through the financial and logistical backup of Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and a number of western states, specially the US,” the source told FNA.
Ali Mahdian said that the US and the British governments have been playing with the al-Qaeda through their Arab proxy regimes in the region in a bid to materialize their goals, specially in Syria.
He said the Saudi and Qatari regimes serve as interlocutors to facilitate the CIA and MI6 plans in Syria through instigating terrorist operations by Wahabi and Arab Jihadi groups, adding that the terrorists do not know that they actually exercise the US plans.
“Turkey has also been misusing extremist Wahabis and Al-Qaeda terrorists to intensify the crisis in Syria and it has recently augmented its efforts in this regard by helping the new Al-Qaeda branch set up a camp in Northern Waziristan in Pakistan to train Al-Qaeda and Taliban members as well as Turkish Salafis and Arab Jihadis who are later sent to Syria for terrorist operations,” said the source.
He said the camp in Waziristan is not just a training center, but a command center for terrorist operations against Syria.
Yet, the source said the US and Britain are looking at the new Al-Qaeda force as an instrument to attain their goals and do not intend to support them to ascend to power, “because if Salafi elements in Syria ascend to power, they will create many problems for the US, the Western states and Turkey in future”.
“Thus, the US, Britain and Turkey are looking at the Al-Qaeda as a tactical instrument,” he said, and warned of the regional and global repercussions of the US and Turkish aid to the Al-Qaeda and Salafi groups.
“Unfortunately, these group of countries have just focused on the short-term benefits that the Salafis and the Al-Qaeda can provide for them and ignore the perils of this support in the long run,” he said.
“At present, the western countries, specially Britain which hosts and controls the Jihadi Salafi groups throughout the world are paving the ground for these extremists to leave their homes – mostly in Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the Untied Arab Emirates (UAE) as well as those who live in Europe and the US – for Waziristan,” the source added.
In relevant remarks, Syrian Prime Minister Wael al-Halqi last week blamed certain states, the Salafis and the Al-Qaeda for terrorist operations which have claimed the lives of thousands of people in his country, and said terrorist groups supported by certain foreign actors are misusing differences in his country to bring Syria into turmoil.
Addressing the 16th heads-of-state summit of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) here in Tehran on Thursday, the Syrian premier noted terrorist attacks on his nation, and said the “terrorists are backed up by certain foreign states”.
“Many countries allege to be supporting peaceful solutions in Syria, but they oppose Annan’s plan in practice,” he said, and cautioned, “The responsibility for the failure of this plan lies on their shoulder as they strove to keep the Syrian crisis going and falsified events.”
“The world should know that the Syrian crisis, in fact, rises from foreign meddling. Certain well-known countries from inside and outside the region are seeking instability of Syria,” the Syrian prime minister complained.
Elaborating on the recent developments in Syria, al-Halqi said, “It has been proved that foreign-backed terrorist groups have been misusing events and killing the innocent people.”
“These terrorists include Salafis and Al-Qaeda Takfiri groups,” he reiterated, and added, “Those states that support terrorism and oppose talks should be given moral and economic punishments as they are part of the problem in Syria.”
Syria has been experiencing unrest since March 2011 with organized attacks by well-armed gangs against Syrian police forces and border guards being reported across the country.
In October, calm was eventually restored in the Arab state after President Assad started a reform initiative in the country, but Israel, the US and its Arab allies are seeking hard to bring the country into chaos through any possible means. Tel Aviv, Washington and some Arab capitals have been staging various plots in the hope of stirring unrests in Syria once again.
The US and its western and regional allies have long sought to topple Bashar al-Assad and his ruling system. Media reports said that the Syrian rebels and terrorist groups have received significantly more and better weapons in recent weeks, a crime paid for by the Persian Gulf Arab states and coordinated by the United States.
The US daily, Washington Post, reported in May that the Syrian rebels and terrorist groups battling the President Bashar al-Assad’s government have received significantly more and better weapons in recent weeks, a crime paid for by the Persian Gulf Arab states and coordinated by the United States.
The newspaper, quoting opposition activists and US and foreign officials, reported that Obama administration officials emphasized the administration has expanded contacts with opposition military forces to provide the Persian Gulf nations with assessments of rebel credibility and command-and-control infrastructure.
Opposition activists who several months ago said the rebels were running out of ammunition said in May that the flow of weapons – most bought on the black market in neighboring countries or from elements of the Syrian military in the past – has significantly increased after a decision by Saudi Arabia, Qatar and other Persian Gulf states to provide millions of dollars in funding each month.—www.shafaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) — Data backups come in all shapes and sizes. For some, they take the form of external hard drives or a slice of the amorphous cloud. As for Facebook, its upcoming solution is low-power deep-storage hardware contained within a 62,000 square-foot building in Prineville, Oregon near its existing Beaver State data center. Unofficially referred to as "Sub-Zero," the facility will store a copy of the social network's data in case its primary servers need to be restored in an emergency. Rather than continuously power HDDs that are only occasionally used, the new setup can conserve energy by lighting-up drives just when they're needed. One of the company's existing server racks eats up around 4.5 kilowatts, while those at Sub-Zero are each expected to consume approximately 1.5 kilowatts once they're up and running. Tom Furlong, Facebook's vice president of site operations, told Wired that there are hopes to create a similar structure alongside the firm's North Carolina data center. Since the Prineville project is still being planned, Zuckerberg & Co. have roughly six to nine months to suss out all the details before your photos are backed up at the new digs.—www.shafaqna.com/english
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) — Two women hurled hunks of pig carcasses this week outside a San Bernardino County home where Muslims prayed inside, prompting calls for a federal hate crime investigation and stoking tension within the area’s Muslim community.
In a letter to the U.S. Justice Department, the Council on American-Islamic Relations urged federal prosecutors to launch a probe of the incident at the site of the proposed Al-Nur Islamic Center near Ontario. The letter said two women in a white pickup truck threw the carcass pieces at three different places at the mosque site shortly before 10 p.m. Tuesday, the council said.
Muslims are prohibited from eating pork or any pig byproducts. The act was especially offensive because it occurred during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, said Hussam Ayloush, executive director of the council’s Greater Los Angeles chapter.
“The intention was to create fear, intimidation and offense of the intended target,” Ayloush, said Friday, Aug. 10. “That’s the nature of a hate incident.”
Rashid Ahmed, the chairman of the mosque, said the live-in caretaker of the four-bedroom home where the mosque members were praying is worried for his safety — as are worshippers. On the other hand, he said he has received more than 200 emails supporting the mosque since the incident, including emails from Christians, Jews and Hindus.
About 20 members of the congregation were gathered for a late-evening Ramadan prayer when the carcass pieces were tossed onto the property, Ahmed said. A security guard witnessed the act, he said.
The Justice Department is aware of the incident and looking into the matter, spokesman Thom Mrozek said. He said he could not confirm whether a formal investigation is under way. The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department is investigating, spokeswoman Cindy Bachman said.
Deputies were called to the property Wednesday morning and took a report for the alleged crime of vandalizing a place of worship, Bachman said. No arrests had been made.
The Islamic center was founded in 2000. About 70 people, mostly Bangladeshi, worship on Fridays at a temporary location in a Montclair office park. Ahmed said the congregation hopes to begin construction of the new, 7,000-square-foot building in 2013.
The San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors approved the project earlier this year, but opponents of the mosque have filed a lawsuit seeking to block it.
Victor Otten, a Torrance attorney who represents the opponents, said most of the plaintiffs are people who live near the mosque site.
They oppose it not because the congregants are Muslim, but because they believe the septic system in the area is inadequate for the proposed mosque and because the building would destroy the rural, single-family character of the neighborhood, Otten said.
Ayloush said such issues often veil religious-based opposition to mosques. Some of the opponents have vocalized their fears about Islam, he said. According to the letter sent to the Justice Department, members of the congregation recently have seen people parked near the site taking photos.
“There is no doubt that many people opposing this mosque are driven by ignorance and fear and bigotry,” he said.
A proposed mosque in Temecula also faced opposition, including protests and anti-Muslim epithets.
The City Council gave final approval to the project last year, and the Islamic Center of Temecula Valley announced this week that groundbreaking on the new building will begin in September.
The vandalism in Ontario is the latest in a string of perceived anti-Muslim acts around the country in recent days and weeks, Ayloush noted.
A Missouri mosque was destroyed in a fire that news reports say was suspicious; four teenagers were arrested Saturday for pelting worshippers at a Bay Area mosque with oranges and lemons; and a Rhode Island mosque was vandalized, he said.
Ayloush said the incidents may be related to an uptick in anti-Muslim rhetoric in recent weeks in the wake of allegations by U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn, of Muslim infiltration of the U.S. government.
“Every time a public official engages in a national process of demonization and dehumanization of Muslims, immediately afterward there is always an increase in hate incidents and hate crimes,” he said.—www.shafaqna.com/english
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) —yrian troops have stormed armed groups’ command center in the northern city of Aleppo, killing at least 150 terrorists fighting against the government.
According to reports coming from Syria, the army attacked a rebel-held school in Aleppo’s Salahuddin district, which was being used as a command center, on Wednesday and inflicted heavy losses on anti-Damascus armed groups.
Press TV’s correspondent in Syria says calm has returned to Aleppo and Syrian forces have cleared most areas of the city of armed gangs although clashes are still continuing on the outskirts.
The terrorist Free Syrian Army has vowed to step up its attack in Aleppo by targeting the city’s security centers.
Meanwhile, a video has been circulated online showing the execution by rebel gunmen in Aleppo of four supporters of President Assad’s government.
Armed groups fighting against the Syrian government have been operating in Aleppo since July 20 after they were defeated in the capital, Damascus, and were forced to flee.
The Syrian government says the rebels are committing “horrific crimes” against civilians in Aleppo and Damascus.
In two letters addressed to the head of the United Nations Security Council and the UN chief, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem said on Tuesday that the rebels, who are backed and funded by Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey, are using civilians in Aleppo as human shields and killing anyone who does not support their crimes.
Syria has been experiencing unrest since March 2011. Damascus says outlaws, saboteurs, and armed terrorists are the driving factor behind the unrest and deadly violence while the opposition accuses the security forces of being behind the killings.
Western states have been calling on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down. However, Russia and China are strongly opposed to the Western drive to oust Assad.
The Syrian government says that the chaos is being orchestrated from outside the country, and there are reports that a very large number of the armed militants are foreign nationals, mostly from Egypt, Algeria, Saudi Arabia, and Afghanistan.—www.shafaqna.com/english
Source: WR NEWZ