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.

 

Hamas calls US unity comments ‘blatant interference’

Power shifts again in Iraq's multi-ethnic Kirkuk

Erdogan says may shut Iraqi border at any moment

Haley: Iran must be judged in totality of its aggressive behaviour

Jobless Tunisians seek new migration routes to Europe

OPEC chief pleased with oil market rebalancing

Turkish police detain leading civil society figure

G7, tech giants meet to tackle terror online

Iraq’s Kurdish regional government open to Baghdad talks

Tensions flare among Yemen's rebels

Baghdad court issues arrest warrant for Iraqi Kurd VP

Erdogan, Nigerian counterpart to ramp up cooperation

Russian medics operate on Yemen's Saleh despite embargo

Baghdad condemns oil deal between Russia’s Rosneft, Kurds

Syrian general accused of journalist deaths killed in Deir Ezzor

Raqa liberators ready for civilian handover, on to next battle

Revolutionary Guards say Iranian missile program will continue

Erdogan calls on three major mayors to resign

ICC investigating several war crimes in Mali

Tunisian couple jailed for 'public indecency' over car kiss

Next round of Syria talks at end October

Gazans hope Palestinian reconciliation ends their woes

PSG's Khelaifi to be quizzed in Swiss World Cup probe

UN urges de-escalation in Iraq

EU says Israeli settlements illegal under international law

Kurdish independence goes from dream to dust

Female commander more than just poster girl for Raqa victory

Saudi airline flies to Baghdad for first time in 27 years

Wanted Dead: France's approach to IS jihadists

Saudi Arabia to monitor interpretations of prophet's sayings

Italy busts Libyan diesel smugglers

Khamenei vows to 'shred' nuclear deal if US pulls out

Fate of IS fighters in Raqa uncertain

Turkish Red Crescent concerned by Idlib humanitarian ‘drama’

US firm to build solar plants in Gaza

Ghost city Raqa scanned for survivors, bombs

Bahrain accuses Iran of harbouring 160 'terrorists'

Qatar says Gulf crisis hindering fight against IS

Qatar emir calls for talks on visit to Indonesia

Iraq calls on BP to help develop Kirkuk oil

Israeli forces raid Palestinian media offices linked to Hamas

French parliament is set to pass new anti-terror law

Baghdad says mission accomplished in Kurd operation

Israel says no to Palestine talks until Hamas disarms

IS territory down to almost 10% of 2014 ‘caliphate’