First Published: 2013-01-24

 

Syrian regime resorts to prayers to appeal for security re-establishment

 

Minister of Religious Endowments slams conspiracy ‘led by Wahhabi infidels from abroad’ as clashes rage unabated in west of Homs for fifth day.

 

Middle East Online

Tanks in streets, prayers in mosques

DAMASCUS - Syrian authorities have called for "million man prayers" at mosques on Friday to appeal for the re-establishment of security in the country, ravaged by 22 months of bloodshed, a minister said.

"Prayers will be held after Friday services in Syria's mosques with the appeal for a return to security and safety in the homeland," Minister of Religious Endowments Mohammed Abdel Settar said in a statement.

Syria "will prevail against the conspiracy launched by hostile states, carried out by their proxies and slaves, and led by Wahhabi infidels from abroad," he said in the statement released Thursday by state news agency SANA.

Wahhabism is a strict form of Sunni Islam practiced mainly in Saudi Arabia.

Syrian authorities have consistently labelled the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad's regime as a "conspiracy" backed by the West, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey.

Meanwhile, Syrian troops bombarded besieged districts of Homs on Thursday, as clashes raged unabated in the west of the central city for the fifth day in a row, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

Six rebels were among seven people killed by regime shelling and overnight firefights in the Jobar district, the Britain-based watchdog said.

The Syrian Revolution General Authority, a network of opposition activists on the ground, said regime troops used heavy artillery and clashed with the rebel Free Syrian Army (FSA) in an attempt to storm the west side of the city.

"The Syrian regime has escalated its attack on Homs city and its environs in order to disperse the people on sectarian lines and achieve what it believes will be a final victory over Homs," said the Syrian National Council (SNC), a major part of the opposition in exile.

"The regime uses the most heinous criminal methods against human beings... shelling with heavy weaponry, blocking off areas to prevent the bare necessities -- food, medicine -- from entering, sending in sectarian militia to wreak havoc and kill, and finishing with massacres of entire neighbourhoods and villages."

The SNC called for a nationwide rescue campaign, for the "FSA all over Syria to aid their comrades in Homs with equipment and men" and for aid agencies to give priority to the trapped and displaced people of Homs.

Elsewhere on Thursday, air raids struck the embattled town of Daraya near Mazzeh military airbase southwest of the capital Damascus and the rebel-held town of Yabrud far to the northeast, the Observatory said.

It also reported fighting near Aqraba alongside the Damascus airport road.

Warplanes also raided Busra al-Harir in the southern province of Daraa and Kfar Zeita in the central province of Hama, as rebels clashed with troops near the Nayrab and Kweyris military airports in the northern province of Aleppo.

On Wednesday, 109 people were killed nationwide in Syria, including 42 in Aleppo province alone, according to Observatory which relies on a wide network of activists and medics to compile its tolls.

The anti-regime revolt, which broke out in March 2011 as a peaceful uprising and morphed into an armed insurgency under brutal repression, has killed more than 60,000 people, mostly civilians, according to the United Nations.

 

Turkey, Saudi Arabia could launch anti-ISIS ground operation in Syria

Saudi Foreign Minister: No Assad in the future, period!

Sadr loses patience with stalled progress on Iraq reform package

French PM warns major terrorist attacks will hit Europe again

Pope mends 1,000-year-old rift with Russian Patriarch

Russia sees ‘new Cold War’ amid strains with West

Assad vows to retake whole of Syria ‘while negotiating’

Israel denies dropping controversial Brazil envoy pick

Yemen loyalist forces advance towards Sanaa

Italian PM warns Egypt friendship on the line

Tunisia prepares for possible intervention in Libya

UAE to deploy jets, commandos in anti-IS campaign

100,000 refugees in Syria border camps near Turkey

Greece given three-month ultimatum to remedy border ‘deficiencies’

Ankara hails world powers' Syria ceasefire plan

Five Yemen police killed in ‘Qaeda’ attack in Aden

Kuwait to finalise Eurofighter jet deal with Italy

S.Sudan president names arch-rival his deputy

Berlin film fest competition kicks off with Arab film

War-torn Syria gears towards 'cessation of hostilities'

Iraqi PM urges Kurdistan to drop any plans for independence

Russia accuses US planes of hitting Aleppo

Anti-ISIS coalition looks to decisive new phase

Turkey, Israel open new normalisation talks

Assault on Aleppo displaces tens of thousands

Moroccan King inaugurates Aquaculture Farm in Oued Ed-dahab

Turkish forces end operation in southern town

NATO launches unprecedented Aegean migrant naval mission

Erdogan threatens to send millions of refugees to EU

Suspected PKK militants attack two Turkey pro-govt newspapers

Train derails in Egypt’s Bani Sueif province

Iranians mark 37 years since Islamic revolution

Moscow ready to discuss modalities of ceasefire in Syria

Egypt hires UK firm to review Sharm security

Tunisia makes $500 million from assets of ousted president

Turkey dismisses pressure to open borders as 'hypocritical'

Efforts to form Libya unity government stumble over defence portfolio

Iran blames failure of Syria peace talks on participation of ‘terrorists’

Syria opposition hopes for end of sieges

UAE names women state ministers in major government shake-up

French Foreign Minister steps down with criticism of US role in Syria

Germany hopes Syria talks in Munich will agree to provide aid

Syrian Kurdish separatists open Moscow representation

Jordan rejects France extradition request for 1982 terror attack suspects

Libya parliament extends deadline for formation of new unity government