Syria: Islamist factions fight each other in Idlib, Syrian army advances

Al-Nusra Front fighters stand among destroyed buildings near the front line in Yarmuk Photo: AFP/Getty

Al Masdar News reports:

The conglomerate Islamist factions in northern Syria “Jaysh Al-Fateh” (Army of Conquest) is experiencing its first taste of infighting, as both Harakat Ahrar Al-Sham (largest Jaysh Al-Fateh faction) and the Syrian Al-Qaeda group “Jund Al-Aqsa” (Jabhat Al-Nusra offshoot) combat one another inside the city of Al-Tamaneh in the Idlib Governorate’s southern countryside.

Jund Al-Aqsa reportedly left Jaysh Al-Fateh last week after the group announced their willingness to fight the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS) inside Syria; however, according to Islamist social media activists, the Al-Qaeda linked faction rejoined the group following Jabhat Al-Nusra’s facilitation to end the disagreements.

Tensions have reportedly resurfaced after Jund Al-Aqsa and Harakat Ahrar Al-Sham members were confined to the city of Al-Tamaneh, where they were both tasked with the duty of protecting the area from the encroaching soldiers of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and the National Defense Forces (NDF).

While the Syrian Armed Forces have continued to bombard Al-Tamaneh from their fortifications in Sukayk, they have backed-off in the recent days in order to allow for the Russian Air Force to carry out their relentless airstrikes over the Islamist rebel positions.

There have been no reports of a ceasefire between the Islamist rebel factions; however, they are likely to stop the infighting once their fellow allies inside Jaysh Al-Fateh get involved.

Video of Al-Nusra militants in Ariha, the capital of the Idlib province, after taking the city from government forces in May 2015:

Al Masdar News further reports:

Breaking: Syrian Army and Hezbollah Capture Al-Sufayrah in Southern Aleppo

Russian Choppers Execute Several Raids in Northern Homs to Help the Syrian Army Advance

Russian Air Force Destroys the FSA Command in Latakia as the Syrian Army Storms Salma

The SAA, local pro-government militia fighters and civilians celebrate advancing upon the gates of Eastern Ghouta in Damascus.

co-founding editor of OffGuardian (retired)

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co-founding editor of OffGuardian (retired)

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Those guys should get together with their boy John McCain and form a group, “John McCain and the Criminally Insane.” Prisoner Songbird has a great voice just ask the Vietnamese who have heard him sing their requests many times. Together the bombardier and the takfir are so hot they’d be the wasabi of Wahhabi.

They’d make a fun target for the Russians, at least.


Here in Slovenia, we are now dealing (again) with the flow of migrants in the Balkan route. In the last few days, about 20,000 migrants entered Slovenia across the Croatia-Slovenia border. The problem is our limited capacity to process and take care of very many refugees in a short time (Slovenia is very small with only 2 million people).

The press releases of our government in English are available here:

Note that both Slovenia and Croatia are in the EU (and in NATO), but Slovenia is in the Schengen zone while Croatia is not. So the Croatia-Slovenia border is also an outer border of the Schengen zone (which is always controlled according to the strict Schengen rules).

According to our legislation, the police is in charge of guarding the borders (including prevention of people illegally entering across the ‘green border’ = in the fields outside the official border crossings), controlling the entry of people (e.g. checking the validity of their travel documents), keeping order and containing any unrest related to crowds of people etc.

We simply do not have enough police force to do all the tasks related to managing the large flow of migrants. Some policemen are working 16-hour or even 20-hour shifts. Besides, much of our police force is not equipped for crowd control (i.e. the riot police) as needed often to keep order with crowds of migrants (which are sometimes quite nervous) and their organised movement.

So yesterday our parliament had an emergency session to adopt legislation which gives our army temporarily some powers otherwise reserved to police (e.g. for guarding the border, crowd control) to help out our police with keeping order at our border. (Before, some soldiers were deployed to help with the migration crisis, but previous legislation only allowed them to help with logistics, putting up tents, cooking for the migrants etc.). We have 90 MPs: 66 voted in favour of the new legislation, 5 against (the others were absent). A two third majority of those MPs present during the voting was required to pass the legislation (66 votes out of 90 MPs = 73% of ALL MPs).

During the debate in the parliament, several MPs pointed out that the ‘west’ and in particular the US is to be primarily blamed for the total mess and destruction in the Middle East (including the rise of ISIS) which also largely generated the refugees. Notably, other MPs did not counter this line of argument (while there were quite many replies to some other arguments raised in the debate).

Yesterday, our PM Cerar said that Slovenia has requested assistance from the EU for management of the migration crisis (finance, equipment for police, policemen from other EU members) and already has assurance from the EU for such assistance. It will be interesting to see how this plays out. As far as I know, this would be the first case of a joint EU police force deployed in the EU. Eight policemen from Austria have been in Slovenia for several weeks now, but they are primarily helping with organisation of the migrants’ movement (coordination between Slovenia and Austria about migrants coming to Austria’s border) and not in actual operations.

Our president Pahor was yesterday in Brussels and discussed the situation with Tusk, Juncker, Timmermans and Avramopoulos (the latter will come to Slovenia on Thursday).

Of course the possibility of deployment of foreign police in Slovenia also raises some legal questions. Anyway, I hope that the EU will finally come together to address the crisis in some coordinated way. We really need ‘more Europe’ to handle the situation efficiently and in some fair way. And we need action, not words.

Here is an article in English about the situation (including also a map showing migration flow and the type of border controls on the Balkan route):

And an article from the EU Observer:


Migration news from Slovenia:

Juncker calls EU-Balkans mini-summit over refugee crisis

European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker has called a mini-summit in Brussels on Sunday (25 October) to tackle the migrant crisis along the western Balkans route, his office said.

The leaders of Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Romania and Slovenia will meet their counterparts from non-EU states Macedonia and Serbia, Juncker’s office said Wednesday (21 October).


The EU surely moves as somewhat non-supersonic speed. On Sunday? And even then we can only expect (if anything) some political decisionsby the PMs, with a long way for operational implementation in practice. There are 5,000 to 8,000 migrants per day on the Balkan route! So by Sunday some 25,000 to 30,000 more migrants arriving to Slovenia’s borders, where we are overwhelmed with the situation.

To top it all up, a couple of hours ago there was a big fire at one of our largest refugee centres, where the majority of the tents burned down (27 tents destroyed, 19 still ‘usable’). It is not clear yet if this was an accident (due to migrants lighting fires to warm up) or deliberate arson caused by migrants (there was some unrest before the fire). Well, at least some migrants seem to be enjoying the fire, taking selfies with V signs at the burned-down tents… So now we need to re-locate these migrants too.

Oh, and 1,000 migrants broke through the police cordon (again) at a refugee centre close to Austrian border and started walking towards the Austrian border …


I strongly recommend you watch this video (it is well worth taking a few minutes):

Putin Tells Everyone Exactly Who Created ISIS

Here’s something you probably never saw or heard about in the west. This is Putin answering questions regarding ISIS from a US journalist at the Valdai International Discussion Club in late 2014. [October 2014 = a year ago!]

Note: The overall meeting’s theme was The World Order: New Rules or a Game without Rules?.

Oh, and interestingly enough, Putin is saying somewhat similar things as Obama:

President Obama claims rise of Isis is ‘unintended consequence’ of George W. Bush’s invasion in Iraq

Independent, March 2015

Mr Obama said: “Isis is a direct outgrowth of al-Qaeda in Iraq that grew out of our invasion.


(1) The US created Al Qaeda (in Afghanistan).

(2) The US created ISIS.

(3) The US warns Putin that he is not ‘allowed’ to bomb the US creations.


These people need to pick up their guns and head back to jordan/ Turkey /qatar or where ever they were trained. It’s over.
Who in their right mind would support such rabble to take over a country – to become like libya.
No coherent, reasonable opposition has emerged in all these years of war. Just voices from outside in Turkey, the US and the gulf states calling for regime change.
Those countries themselves should take the beam out of their eyes