Assad says ready to discuss everything, vows to take back all Syria

admin   •   January 9, 2017   •   4276

Syria's President Bashar al-Assad speaks to French journalists in Damascus, Syria, in this handout picture provided by SANA on January 9, 2017. SANA/Handout via REUTERS Syria's President Bashar al-Assad speaks to French journalists in Damascus, Syria, in this handout picture provided by SANA on January 9, 2017. SANA/Handout via REUTERS

Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad speaks to French journalists in Damascus, Syria, in this handout picture provided by SANA on January 9, 2017. SANA/Handout via REUTERS
Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad speaks to French journalists in Damascus, Syria, in this handout picture provided by SANA on January 9, 2017. SANA/Handout via REUTERS

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said his government is ready to negotiate on “everything” in proposed peace talks in Kazakhstan but it was not yet clear who would represent the opposition and no date had been set.

Assad also said a ceasefire brokered by Turkey and Russia, his most powerful ally, was being violated and the army would recapture all of Syria including a rebel-held area near Damascus where a vital water supply had been bombed out of service.

He made the remarks in comments to French media that were published by the Syrian state news agency SANA.

Russia said last month it had agreed with Assad, Iran and Turkey that the Kazakh capital of Astana should be the venue for new peace talks after rebels suffered their biggest defeat of the war by being driven from eastern Aleppo.

Russia and Turkey, a major sponsor of the anti-Assad opposition, have also brokered a truce as a step towards reviving diplomacy, though the warring sides have accused each other of many violations.

Assad said the government delegation was ready to go to Astana “when the time of the conference is set”.

“We are ready to negotiate about everything,” he said. Asked if that included his position as president, Assad said “yes but my position is linked to the constitution”.

“If they want to discuss this point they must discuss the constitution,” he said. He indicated that any new constitution must be put to a referendum, and it was up to the Syrian people to elect the president.

Assad said: “Who will be there from the other side? We do not yet know. Will it be a real Syrian opposition?”.

Dismissing groups he said were backed by Saudi Arabia, France and Britain, Assad said discussion of “Syrian issues” must be by Syrian groups. The main Syrian opposition umbrella group, the High Negotiations Committee, is backed by Riyadh.

Rebel groups operating under the “Free Syrian Army” banner earlier this month said they had frozen any talks about their possible participation in the Astana talks due to violations of the ceasefire, chiefly in Wadi Barada near Damascus.

WADI BARADA

The Syrian army backed by its Lebanese ally Hezbollah has been trying to recapture the Wadi Barada valley where the capital’s main water source is located. Rebels and the government at the weekend failed to agree a plan to repair the springs, and air strikes escalated there on Sunday.

Assad said the Wadi Barada area was held by a jihadist group not covered by the ceasefire. “The terrorists occupy the main water source for Damascus, denying more than 5 million civilians water for more than three weeks,” he said.

“The Syrian army’s role is to liberate that area,” he said.

Rebel groups deny that the jihadist group Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, formerly known as the al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front, controls the Wadi Barada area.

Asked if the government planned to recapture the Islamic State-held city of Raqqa, Assad said it was the Syrian army’s role to liberate “every inch” of Syrian land and all Syria should be under state authority.

“But the question is related to when, and our priorities. This is a military matter linked to military planning and priorities,” he added.

The United States is backing an alliance of militias including the Kurdish YPG in a campaign aimed ultimately at recapturing Raqqa city.

(Writing by Tom Perry; Editing by Andrew Heavens and Toby Chopra)

PNP says no ISIS threat in Bulacan, probes leak of draft memo

Robie de Guzman   •   September 11, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine National Police (PNP) is now investigating the leak and circulation online of a draft memorandum stating about the alleged presence of “ISIS affiliates” in Bulacan.

The said document posted on social media states that the Bulacan Provincial Police Office was on full alert status because of threats posed by the terrorist group. It said ISIS-inspired militants from Tuguegarao are moving to Bulacan to attack religious communities in the province.

According to Bulacan provincial police director Chito Barseluna, the document was not official and was not intended for public release.

He added that there was a miscommunication in drafting the memo as this should have been written to alert police units following recent bombings in Mindanao.

Barseluna confirmed that Bulacan police was indeed on full alert but this is because of the celebration of the Singkaban festival in the province.

The police official also denied receiving an intelligence report about the presence of an ISIS-inspired group in the province.

Barseluna also called on the public to stay calm and assured that tight security measures are in place. RRD (with details from Correspondent Lea Ylagan)

TAGS   ,

ISIS will never gain foothold anywhere in the Philippines—Duterte

Aileen Cerrudo   •   April 10, 2019

(L-R) President Rodrigo Duterte and the ISIS flag | Courtesy : PCOO

President Rodrigo Duterte is confident that ISIS will never gain foothold anywhere in the Philippines.

During his speech in Jolo, Sulu on Tuesday (April 9) in commemoration of the Day of Valor, he said that the government is close to crushing violent extremism and is pleased with the military efforts against the Abu Sayyaf Group.

“Your efforts have brought us even closer to our ultimate objective of totally crushing the violent extremism at its roots. With this, I can confidently declare that ISIS will never gain foothold anywhere in the Philippines,” he said.

ISIS-linked militants held Marawi City hostage back in 2017. The military was able to retake the city after five months killing almost 900 insurgents including Isnilon Hapilon, considered leader of the Islamic State in Southeast Asia.

The Chief Executive assured that he will continue the modernization of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) while he is still in office. He will also provide assistance to the military and their families.

He committed to release P500 million fund for the military.

“I will continue to release 500 more and 500 more millions to my soldiers who do something for their country. I will see to it that you will have funds when you retire and that your school—your children and their schooling will be assured even if we are no longer there either by natural or by any other means of saying goodbye to this world. I have your back covered,” the president said.

The Chief Executive is eyeing on appointing former military officials to government posts. However, he denied using the military to empower himself.

He said that he prefers the military because he has seen failure and corruption in the bureaucracy.

“Hindi ako sabihin na pinapalakas ko ang sarili ko sa (I am not empowering myself using the) military because I do not need that. The people elected me. But I have a special fondness for the military for being fundamentally honest at (and) industrious. Kaya as you would see, the next few officials coming in would be military guys,” he added.—Aileen Cerrudo (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

PNP hunts down Jolo suicide bombers’ alleged daughter

admin   •   February 20, 2019

Photo courtesy of Ahmad Sajan

QUEZON CITY, Philippines — The Philippine National Police (PNP) is on the hunt for the alleged 10-year-old daughter of the two suicide bombers responsible for the Jolo cathedral blast.

According to a suspect turned witness, the suicide bombers were an Indonesian couple and was with their daughter when they met at the airport in Tayhaji, Buto Tiyam Caltex from Zamboanga. They took the Indonesian family to Bastiong Langub, Patikul Sulu.

He also described the couple which matches the statement of eyewitnesses at the Mt. Carmel Cathedral saying the suicide bombers were a man and a woman.

The man was 5’4 in height and was wearing a black shirt and the woman was 5’2 and was wearing a hijab. Their daughter was wearing a turong.

“Based on account and intelligence information at other accounts ng other witnesses ay talagang merong isang babae at isang lalaki, ang lumalabas sabi nila yung babae ang nasa loob at lalaki ang nasa labas” PNP chief PDG Oscar Albayalde said. (Based on account and intelligence information and other accounts of other witnesses, there was really a man and a woman. They said the woman was inside while the man was standing outside.)

DILG Sec. Eduardo Año previously said the suicide bombers left their daughter to Abu Sayyaf sympathizers before the blast

Meanwhile, Albayalde wants to find the alleged daughter for DNA testing to prove if the suicide bombers are really her parents as well as to confirm their nationality.

“Iyong information na meron silang iniwan na anak dito sa Pilipinas hopefully makita natin dahil paglaki niyan posibleng maging potential suicide bomber din. Of course nakita nila sa kanilang parents.” (There is information that they left their child in the Philippines. Hopefully we can find her because she could end up becoming a suicide bomber herself as she had seen from her parents. )

Albayalde also wants an immediate action to prevent the child from getting influenced by terrorists.

He also confirmed that the two pairs of feet found in the blast site belonged to a man and a woman based on the test done by the PNP Crime Laboratory.

The woman’s feet also matches the DNA of the nape also found in the blast site.

“So the same person, yung isang pares na pangbabae at yung part ng batok na nakuha, at walang nag match sa mga ito doon sa 23 na namatay, walang nag match doon sa DNA nila.” (So one pair of feet and a part of the nape are the same person. It also did not match with the 23 fatalities, their DNAs did not match.)

The PNP chief also explained they have all the parts of the 23 victims but the man and woman whose feet were found recently remains to be unidentified.

“Iyong babae ang sabi nila ay hindi nagsasalita kasi base on witness and source ay bago bago lang siya dito sa Pilipinas, yung lalaki medyo matagal na kaya nakakapagsalita na sya ng konting Tausug.”(Witnesses and sources said, the woman hardly spoke because she hadn’t been in the Philippines long. The man, on the other hand, had been in the country for long so he could speak a little Tausug.)

He also confirmed that the Indonesian Police, who also investigated the 2002 Bali Bombing, arrived in the country and had already taken DNA samples from the blast site. — Aileen Cerrudo

REACH US

The Philippine Broadcast Hub

UNTV, 915 Barangay Philam,

EDSA, Quezon City M.M. 1104

(+632) 8396-8688 (Tel)

info@untv-newsandrescue.com (General inquiries)

ABOUT UNTV

UNTV is a major TV broadcast network with 24-hour programming. An Ultra High Frequency station with strong brand content that appeal to everyone, UNTV is one of the most trusted and successful Philippine networks that guarantees wholesome and quality viewing experience.