Monday, June 13, 2005

Report: Syria Foils Planned Terror Attacks

Report: Syria Foils Planned Terror Attacks:

Syrian forces raided a suspected terrorist hideout near the capital, killing two men, arresting a third and foiling alleged bombing plots that targeted the nation's Justice Palace, the official news agency reported.

A member of the Syrian security forces was killed and another was wounded in the Thursday clash in the Daff al-Shouk suburb of Damascus, according to a late Friday report by SANA.

The group's leader, Abu Omar, and an accomplice were killed and another suspect was arrested, SANA said. Identity cards were found alongside the bodies in the names of Omar Barakat and Arfan Yassin, both Syrian. It was not clear whether the cards belonged to the dead men.

The previously unknown group called itself Jund al-Sham for Jihad and Tawhid.

State-run Syrian TV showed footage from the scene of the confrontation in a rented apartment. The bloodied bodies of two men lay on the floor, one of them partially covered with a blanket. Machine guns, pistols, Jihadist documents and communications equipment, including mobile telephones, were scattered on the floor.

A picture on a Saudi driver's license belonging to Yassin showed a bespectacled man with a black, bushy beard. Next to it lay U.S. dollars and Syrian pounds.

One document described the hierarchy of the group, including emirs in charge of fighters, explosives, missiles and military training. The group also had a civil battalion brigade responsible for kidnappings and assassinations.

One document said the group's jihad should start with countries in the region that are under 'despotic regimes,' such as Syria, 'Christian Maronite' Lebanon _ the president in the neighboring country is always Maronite Catholic _ and Hashemite Jordan.

Attention then should be directed at 'the dictators' in Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Iraq, whose 'people have been afflicted with the Crusaders,' the document said."

Two things: First it appears as if the terrorist chickens may be coming home to roost in Syria. Unable to achieve traction in Iraq, Syria may be seen as a weaker regime to tumble. There are probably many foreign fighters hanging out looking for something to do. Syria, by backing out of Lebanon, also is sending "wussy" signals, which can be trouble in the Middle East. Assad's Alawite regime is less than pure Muslim to Sunnis, but especially to purist Wahhabis.
Secondly: It's intersting to see that the Associated Press, which NEVER uses the terms terrorist, or puts quotes around it to cast doubt on its use as a concrete term people understand, has no problem using it in this article, when it directed at a despotic, unelected regime.

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