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Erdogan: Syria’s Afrin city center ‘entirely under control,’ Kurds ‘fled’ (VIDEOS, PHOTOS)

March 18, 2018
The Turkish military and allied forces have taken full control of the Syrian city of Afrin, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced on Sunday. Kurdish YPG forces had previously maintained control of the area.

The pro-Turkish forces entered the city before dawn and faced no resistance from Kurdish fighters, who had already withdrawn, according to reports. Erdogan said in a televised speech this morning that all measures would be taken to protect Afrin’s residents. He praised the “heroic” actions of the armies, Turkey’s NTV reports.

Erdogan said that Turkey and its allies have not invaded Afrin, but rather “saved” the city from the “oppression” of terrorists. “This operation has shown the whole world that Turkey sides with the oppressed,” he said, as cited by Rudaw.

The Turkish Army released a number of videos and photos reportedly from inside Afrin. The footage shows tanks rolling down the street, as soldiers wave Turkish and FSA flags.

During his announcement, Erdogan made reference to past Ottoman military triumphs, comparing the Afrin operation to the Turkish defense of Gallipoli during World War I. “We are fighting the same way we did in Canakkale,” he said, using the Turkish name for the historic battle. “They thought that Turkey is not as strong as it was in Canakkale.” Coincidentally, March 18 marks the start of the ill-fated Allied assault on the Dardanelles in 1915.

Kurdish officials deny that they have abandoned Afrin, however. Hediye Yusuf, a founding member of the self-declared Democratic Federal System of Northern Syria, said that Kurdish fighters left the city as part of an effort to safely evacuate civilians from what he termed a “massacre” by pro-Turkish forces. According to Rudaw, Mustafa Bali, a former spokesperson for the SDF, said that “the resistance in Afrin is entering a new phase and will continue.”

Turkish Defense Minister Nurettin Canikli praised Turkey’s “hero” army. Writing on Twitter, Canikli said that Turkish forces in Syria guarantee “peace, security and peace” for Turkey and the region.

The Turkish operation was conducted in coordination with the Free Syrian Army (FSA). FSA fighters encountered improvised explosive devices (IEDs) as they entered the city, Turkish state media Anadolu Agency reported.

Anadolu has released video and photographs allegedly showing a large munitions depot that has been seized by pro-Turkish forces in the city.

On January 20, Turkey launched a cross-border offensive into Syria, with the aim to dislodge Kurdish “terrorists” from Afrin. The assault, codenamed Operation Olive Branch, has strained relations between Ankara and Washington. The Kurdish YPG are key US allies in the fight against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS), but Ankara views them as an offshoot of the terrorist-designated Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Kurdish forces claimed earlier this week that Turkey’s bombardment of the city had forced 10,000 civilians to flee their homes over the course of two days. On Thursday, Turkey dismissed a non-binding resolution approved by the European Parliament that called for a halt to Ankara’s military offensive in northern Syria, saying it demonstrated “clear support” for militants.

Photos purporting to show FSA fighters tearing down a statue of a blacksmith named Kawa, a central figure in a Kurdish legend, have angered Kurdish forces. A statement on a Whatsapp group run by the Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces described it as the “first blatant violation of Kurdish people’s culture and history since the takeover of Afrin,” Reuters reports.

Turkish forces and Free Syrian Army are deployed in Afrin, Syria March 18, 2018 © Khalil Ashawi / Reuters

WATCH: Fatah Honors Murderer of 10 Israelis, Says ‘We Need More Men Like You’

March 18, 2018

Mar 18, 2018

Palestinian terrorist Thaer Hammad (Palestinian Information Center)

Abbas’s Fatah Movement is glorifying a terrorist who killed 10 Israelis during the Second Intifada, calling on more Palestinians to join the “Resistance.”

The Bethlehem branch of Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah Movement, the PA’s ruling party, has announced that the Palestinian people needs murderers.

In a post on Facebook glorifying terrorist Thaer Hammad, who killed three Israeli civilians and seven soldiers by shooting them with a sniper rifle from a hilltop between Ramallah and Nablus (Shechem) on March 3, 2002, Fatah stated that the Palestinian people “need more men like you.”

In a letter sent from prison, Hammad called for a return of the “resistance” – a Palestinian euphemism for violence and terror attacks against Israelis. “It is the ideal way to protect our cause and our existence,” he wrote, the official Palestinian daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida reported March 7, 2018.

(Source: Palestinian Media Watch)

Disclaimer: Views expressed in this video do not represent those of Palestinian Media Watch in any way. PMW monitors and analyzes the Palestinian Authority through its media and schoolbooks. For more info visit:

We have traveled a long, VERY long road !

March 18, 2018

WATCH: Hatikva – Join Israel in Celebrating 70 Years of ‘Hope’ and Achievement

Pompeo – great news for Israel, bad news for Iran

March 18, 2018

Trump’s choice of CIA director Pompeo as secretary of state is great news for Israel and bad news for Iran.

By: Daniel Krygier, World Israel News

CIA Director Mike Pompeo (AP/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
President Donald Trump’s firing of Rex Tillerson and appointment of CIA director Mike Pompeo as new US secretary of state is great news for Israel and bad news for Iran. Pompeo is a great admirer of Israel and a vocal opponent of diplomacy with the Iranian ayatollah regime.

A recent Gallup poll recorded the highest American support for Israel since the 1990s. While 75% of Americans today view Israel favorably, the US State Department has a long history of hostility towards the Jewish state and pro-Arab bias. Tillerson was part of this history, and the State Department disapproved of Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Tillerson even tried to belittle Trump’s historic decision by stating that it would take at least three years to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Trump recently announced that the American embassy will be inaugurated in Jerusalem on the State of Israel’s 70th anniversary.

Unlike Tillerson, Pompeo shares Trump’s and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s skepticism towards the controversial Iran nuclear agreement. In late 2014, before the deal was signed, Pompeo indicated that he believed that military strikes on Iran’s nuclear facilities were more efficient than diplomacy to stop Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons.

At his Senate confirmation hearing in January 2017, Pompeo did not mince his words of criticism towards the Iranian regime. “Iran, the world’s largest state sponsor of terror, has become an even more emboldened and disruptive player in the Middle East,” he stated.

The Iranian regime and its supporters are clearly unhappy with the appointment of Pompeo as America’s top diplomat. This unease is also shared by the Europeans, who overwhelmingly support the nuclear agreement with Iran, which also opens up the large Iranian market for European businesses.

President Trump has repeatedly stated his displeasure with the Iran deal, vowing to pull out if Iran does not fix its “flaws.”

The appointment of Pompeo may indicate a prelude to Washington’s withdrawal from the agreement with the terror-sponsoring regime in Tehran. This is exactly what Netanyahu predicts. Addressing his ministers, Netanyahu said: “I believe Trump is very close to canceling the nuclear agreement.”

Not only Israel, but also Sunni Arab states have expressed their concerns regarding the Iran deal, which has already emboldened Tehran and likely paves the path to eventual Iranian nuclear weapons. This would make the volatile Middle East even more unstable by triggering a nuclear arms race. Saudi Arabia recently warned that it would also seek nuclear weapons if Iran gets an atomic arsenal.

Only time will tell what Trump intends to do about the Iran agreement. Meanwhile, Israel enjoys the pleasantly rare combination of a friendly US president and a friend heading the State Department.

The New Palestinian Jihad to Obliterate Israel

March 18, 2018
  • If and when Hamas is ever removed from power in the Gaza Strip, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) will most likely seize control of the coastal enclave, where nearly two million Palestinians live.
  • PIJ’s new “political document” exposes the Palestinian terror group’s plan for “real peace” in the Middle East. This “real peace,” according to the jihadi group, can be achieved by eliminating Israel after “liberating Palestine, from the river to the sea, and after the original owners of the land return to their homes.”
  • This genocidal “peace” plan appears to be shared by other Palestinian terror groups, such as Hamas, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine and even certain parts of Mahmoud Abbas’s ruling Fatah faction.

The Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) group is the second-largest terror group in the Gaza Strip after Hamas. Like Hamas, PIJ does not recognize Israel’s right to exist and believes that violence and terrorism are the only way to “liberate all Palestine, from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River.”

Like Hamas, in the past three decades PIJ has carried out thousands of terror attacks against Israel, including suicide bombings.

Recently, the PIJ wished to remind us again of its dangerous and poisonous ideology. This reminder came in the form of a new “political document” published by the Iranian-backed terror group in the Gaza Strip.

The document contains important information about the group’s strategy to destroy Israel and provides insight into the role Islam plays in the Israeli-Arab conflict.

Some may argue that there is nothing new in the PIJ document. However, PIJ is not just another Palestinian “resistance” faction, as some Middle East experts tend to describe it. Rather, it is one of the most dangerous Palestinian terror groups. It aspires to eliminate Israel and kill as many Jews as possible.

If and when Hamas is ever removed from power in the Gaza Strip, PIJ will most likely seize control of the coastal enclave, where nearly two million Palestinians live.

Western journalists often ignore the power and threat of PIJ, mainly because the representatives of the terror group rarely give interviews to the foreign media.

Besides, it is easier for Western journalists to take the short trip from Jerusalem to Ramallah to interview a Palestinian Authority official, who uses his or her fluent English to lie about the Palestinians’ desire for peace and coexistence with Israel.

Western journalists rarely, if ever, present to their readers and viewers what the terrorists preach to their own people.

That is precisely why there is a need to bring the main points of the PIJ document to the attention of the international media and decision-makers around the world. The PIJ is a major player in the Palestinian arena, and its political and military power can be ignored only at great peril.

Pictured: Members of Palestinian Islamic Jihad hold a parade in Gaza City. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Here is what the preface to the terror group’s document states:

“Palestine is the homeland of the Palestinian people, from the early days of history. Palestine is an integral part of the Arab and Islamic homeland, and it was usurped by the Zionist Jews with the support and encouragement of Western colonialist powers.”

Explaining the timing of the publication of its document, PIJ said:

“To maintain a clear vision and the unity of our goals, away from intellectual chaos dominating the Palestinian landscape, Palestinian Islamic Jihad saw the need to formulate this document to explain and affirm the intellectual basis and features governing its jihad and policies.”

Translation: the PIJ fears that it has fallen off the world’s radar. It worries that its ideology and plans to destroy Israel may be lost amid the “intellectual chaos” plaguing the Palestinian arena.

Defining its ultimate mission, PIJ says in its new document:

“Our number-one priority and main task is to carry out the duty of jihad and resistance to liberate Palestine. We are an Islamic national liberation movement and part of the Palestinian people’s and Muslim’s jihad against invaders and colonialists. We see ourselves as being part of the general Islamic trend in the world, which regards Islam as the source of our power and pride.”

Which “Islamic trend” the Palestinian terror group is talking about is not clear. Does it referring to the Islamic State terror group, ISIS, which has slaughtered tens of thousands of innocent civilians, mostly Muslims, in the past few years? Or perhaps the PIJ is referring to Al Qaeda, the murderous terror group founded by Osama bin Laden?

What is certain, however, is that PIJ is not referring to the Muslim Brotherhood organization. Why? Because PIJ believes that Muslim Brotherhood’s ideology and policies are too “moderate” compared with its genocidal agenda. Ironically, the PIJ views the Muslim Brotherhood as being too “pragmatic,” largely because of the latter’s failure to engage in a worldwide jihad against Jews and all infidels.

The PIJ document, which the Western media is doing a fine job ignoring, states:

“Palestine is an Arab, Islamic land, where the Arabs and Muslims possess natural religious and historic rights. It is forbidden to give it up or compromise it under any pretext.”

The Jews, the document emphasizes, “have no right in the land of Palestine.” It says that the fact that some Arabs and Muslims have recognized Israel does not give the Jews any right to the land.

“The Palestinian people’s right to all their lands and homeland, Palestine, is a comprehensive right that can’t be fragmented. This includes our right to own the land, our right to resist and liberate it, and our right to return to it and live in it. No one is entitled to give up the right of the Palestinians to return to their homeland. This is a non-negotiable issue.”

The PIJ document views Israel as a Zionist colonialist project imposed on Arabs and Muslims by Western powers. Revealingly, these are the same words that Israel’s secular peace partner and the darling of the West, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, recently used in a speech he delivered in Ramallah, during a conference of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s Central Council:

“The Europeans wanted to bring the Jews here to preserve their interests in the region. They asked Holland, which has the world’s largest fleet, to move the Jews. Israel is a colonial project that has nothing to do with the Jews.”

Abbas and PIJ also share more of the same views. In its document, the Palestinian terror group states:

“The Zionist entity is a functional colonialist entity and a tool of the [Western] project to seize control and dominance over Palestine. The source of this entity’s power lies with Western parties, especially the US.”

The PIJ document defines the conflict with Israel as an “existential conflict, and not a border conflict.” The Palestinian cause, it says,

“is not about the Palestinian territories occupied in 1967, or parts of them. Rather, it is the issue of the occupation of the entire land of Palestine, from the river to the sea. It is the central cause of all Arabs and Muslims, and not the Palestinians alone.”

In its document, PIJ outlines its plan to achieve its goal through “jihad and resistance against the Zionist enemy, with all means and methods, first and foremost the armed struggle.” The armed struggle, it adds, is the “main method and strategy in our struggle.”

For those who do not know, “armed struggle” is the euphemism for all forms terrorism, including rocket attacks and suicide bombings. The “armed struggle” also means that a Palestinian terrorist can storm the home of a Jewish family and murder women and children as they prepare dinner.

The PIJ document, which has been distributed among the group’s followers in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, also praises suicide bombings against Israel by describing them as the “most noble acts of self-defense.”

The document also warns Arabs and Muslims against recognizing Israel’s right to exist or establishing any ties with it. “We reject all forms of normalization with the Israeli enemy by any Arab or Muslim,” it stresses.

Finally, the document exposes the Palestinian terror group’s plan for “real peace” in the Middle East. This “real peace,” according to the jihadi group, can be achieved by eliminating Israel after “liberating Palestine, from the river to the sea, and after the original owners of the land return to their homes.”

This genocidal “peace” plan appears to be shared by other Palestinian terror groups, such as Hamas, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine and even certain parts of Mahmoud Abbas’s ruling Fatah faction.

The peace they seek is one that would result in the total destruction of Israel and the expulsion of all Jews from the Middle East. As the remarks of Abbas and PIJ show, Palestinians see Israel only as an alien body that was imposed upon Arabs and Muslims by imperialist Westerners, and not as people who have lived on that land for more than 3,000 years.

The PIJ document, which serves as the group’s “national charter,” is a valuable text. Every word in the document reflects the true sentiments on the Arab and Islamic street, especially with regards to recognizing Jews’ rights and history.

This is a document that is currently being taught in Islamic Jihad training bases, and schools and mosques. It is a document that will help raise another generation of Palestinians on the glorification of terrorism and anti-Semitism.

This is a document that deserves to be placed on the desks of all those Westerners who continue to tell us that peace is possible and that Israel just needs to make more concessions to achieve that goal.

Bassam Tawil is a Muslim based in the Middle East.

Trump Admin Defends Bid to Give Terror-Tied Qatar $200M in Military Tech

March 15, 2018

Sale comes as Congress calls for investigation into Qatar’s Al Jazeera network

Donald Trump and Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani

Donald Trump and Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani / Getty Images


Trump administration officials are defending new plans to provide Qatar with nearly $200 million in advanced military equipment amid efforts by Congress to investigate the country’s ties to terror groups and backing for a recent stealth spy operation on American citizens, U.S. officials told the Washington Free Beacon.

The administration has come under fire in recent days from conservative allies for signing off on a $197 million military sale to Qatar, the source of much regional controversy due to its ongoing financing of terror groups and efforts to spy on American citizens via its propaganda network Al Jazeera.

The military sale has come under criticism from some White House allies who told the Free Beacon that Qatar’s behavior continues to undermine the United States, particularly its efforts via Al Jazeera to spy on the U.S. Jewish community.

Asked if the sale is being reviewed in light of Qatar’s terror financing and efforts to undermine the United States in the region, a State Department official defended the $197 million sale.

“Qatar is an important partner in the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS and we share the common goal of working collectively to establish a stable, secure, and prosperous Middle East,” the official, speaking on background, told the Free Beacon.

The U.S. administration continues to honor a memorandum of understanding, or MOU, reached between America and Qatar in July. This includes increased information sharing on regional terror groups, the administration official said.

“As a result of the MOU the [former] secretary signed with the Qatari foreign minister in July, the United States and Qatar have increased information sharing on terrorists and terrorist financiers, participated in counterterrorism technical trainings, and rolled out programs to improve aviation security and passenger screening measures,” the official explained.

“We continue to work with Qatar to crack down on terrorists and their financiers through the implementation of an improved terrorist designation program,” according to the administration.

Qatar has promised the United States that it will review funding efforts identified as benefiting terror groups, the administration official maintained.

“Qatar is also reviewing their charitable and financial sectors to identify and eliminate the vulnerabilities exploited by terrorist financiers,” the official disclosed.

“All of our Gulf partners do important work to fight the terrorist threat, and all must do more to combat terrorism and terrorism finance.”

Despite criticism of the latest military sale, the United States remains committed to ensuring that “Qatar is able to safely and effectively coordinate their military air operations, and be interoperable with the United States,” the official said.

Information provided by the Trump administration has not assuaged fears that the military sale will moderate Qatar’s terror financing activities, according to multiple sources who spoke to the Free Beacon.

Jonathan Schanzer, a former U.S. terrorism finance analyst, said the United States is continuing to look the other way when it comes to Qatar’s support for regional terror groups, which include Hamas.

“It’s understandable that Qatar needs weapons,” said Schanzer, senior vice president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. “They are under a blockade by their Gulf Arab neighbors and therefore feel threatened. But Washington continues to ignore the fact that Qatar’s support for a range of terrorist groups—from Hamas to the Taliban to al-Qaeda—makes them an entirely unreliable ally. It sends the wrong message, indeed a dangerous one, when we throw our weight behind them without holding them to account.”

Another source with knowledge of the matter said the latest military sale is part of a rogue policy pursued by recently fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. The Free Beacon first reported earlier this week that Tillerson’s efforts to balk White House policy, particularly regarding Iran, led to his dismissal from the administration.

“This isn’t exactly why the president replaced Tillerson with [Mike] Pompeo, but it’s also not unrelated,” said the source, a veteran foreign policy adviser who works closely with Congress on Middle East issues.

“The State Department under Tillerson tried to lock in many of Obama’s worst Middle East policies, including turning a blind eye to Qatar’s support of terrorist groups and anti-American groups including the Muslim Brotherhood,” added the source. “It may take years for Pompeo to unwind all of this, but at least he’ll be pursuing the right policies instead of making up excuses for the wrong ones.”

Other sources pointed to Al Jazeera’s recent spy operation on American Jews as a reason to revaluate the sale.

“Qatar still finances Hamas and allows its state propaganda outlet, Al Jazeera, to spy on Americans on U.S. soil,” said the source, who has been working on efforts to see Al Jazeera designated as a foreign agent under U.S. law.

“We’ve seen that Congress has taken the lead in standing up to the Qataris and Al Jazeera in a strong, bipartisan way,” the source said. “I’m surprised that the Trump administration is taking a back seat on fighting terror. This seems more like a Tillerson move than a Trump move. Someone should check with him.”

IDF tanks pound Gaza after bomb explodes along border

March 15, 2018

March 15, 2018

The IDF launched one of the largest strikes against targets in the Gaza Strip since Operation Protective Edge in response to the latest aggression.

An IDF tank in action. (IDF spokesman)


Several improvised explosive devices (IED) were detonated adjacent to the Israel-Gaza border fence Thursday morning. No ןnjuries were reported, and IDF tanks returned fire at Hamas targets inside the Strip, including at least one Hamas lookout point.

The incident was the latest in a series of incidents along the border fence in recent weeks. Last month, four IDF soldiers were injured, including two seriously, when an IED exploded as sappers checked for suspicious devices.  Two days before that attack, hundreds of Palestinians rioted on the Gaza side of the border fence; IDF officials believe the events served as cover to place the explosives that seriously injured the soldiers.

In response to that incident, the IDF launched one of the largest strikes against targets in the Gaza Strip since the 2014 Operation Protective Edge, including a Hamas attack tunnel running from the Zeitoun neighborhood of Gaza City toward Israeli territory, and Hamas military compounds in the Netzarim and Khan Younes regions.