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ISIS attacking ancient, iconic Palmyra in Syria has been informed of an urgent call from Syria this morning to Australians for Mussahala (Reconciliation) in Syria (AMRIS) spokesperson, Susan Dirgham, to inform her that the the ancient ruins of Palmyra are being attacked by ISIS. The caller in Syria hoped AMRIS could get the information out to the world in an effort to prevent the destruction of the ruins.

The caller pointed out that Palmyra is the symbol of Syria, but it belongs to all humanity, For those who haven't been to Palmyra or seen the images, destroying it would be like destroying the Parthenon, the Colosseum or the Great Wall of China.

For those who don't know the story of Queen Zenobia, this is a good time to read up on it. Her story is known by every Syrian. For some time, she was victorious against the Roman Empire.

"Zenobia (240 – c. 275) was a 3rd-century Queen of the Palmyrene Empire in Syria, who led a famous revolt against the Roman Empire. The eighth wife of King Septimius Odaenathus, Zenobia became queen of the Palmyrene Empire following Odaenathus' death in 267. By 269, Zenobia had expanded the empire, conquering Egypt and expelling the Roman prefect, Tenagino Probus, who was beheaded after he led an attempt to recapture the territory. She ruled over Egypt until 271, when she was defeated and taken as a hostage to Rome by Emperor Aurelian." (From Wikipedia)

ISIS thugs have already gained significant publicity by destroying the ancient city of Nimrod and other world heritage sites.

Syria's President Bashar al-Assad was reelected by a huge majority last year, despite alternative candidates, in an election that was monitored by UN observers who have not been given fair coverage by the UN. Syrians rely on the Syrian army to protect them from ISIS and other so-called rebels, but the United States, NATO and NATO allies like Australia, have pursued ideological policies against Syria and have supported dangerous and brutal anti-government forces which have largely joined now with ISIS. Turkey has been undermining local attempts in the area to help Syria defend its civilisation and people from these terrible loose cannon groups that have risen with the chaos that NATO has caused in the Middle East. Turkey's leader, Erdogan, who Australia supports, is thought to be a closet Islamic Brotherhood fanatic. The Kurds in northern Syria and Iraq are fighting ISIS, and Iran is giving arms support. The West needs to pull its ideological finger out and HELP the Syrian army.

See Attacking Syria is simply illegal by David Macilwain. Discussion of why accusations about barrel bombs and poison gas are far-fetched and misattributed, but purveyed by Western media and used as an excuse by US/NATO and Australia to destroy Syria and its people (of which a large proportion are Palestinians who have rights in Syria where they do not have them anywhere else) with sanctions, support for murdering 'rebels' and bombing of infrastructure purportedly to destroy those 'rebels'.

Read more on this world heritage site of Palmyra.

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Thousands of foreigners are believed by intelligence services to have traveled from across the planet to fight in extremist groups in Syria and Iraq. They are like predators buzzing around dying prey! The flood of young men and women from all corners of the globe to join the Islamic State (IS) and other groups operating in the power vacuums of northern Iraq and Syria has prompted concerns among security agencies in their home countries over the potential threat they represent if and when they return.

Often they recent converts to Islam and sometimes, are scarcely able to articulate the reasons behind their decision to join the fight. These recruits are from a generation that came of age using social media, and their tweets and postings.

Secular moderates are almost gone -- and the Syrian war has become anything but Syrian. President Bashar Assad is often said to be "brutal", by a mass-media that uses tired and refuted 'evidence' of this, but now regional sectarian ties have turned Syria into an international battleground rife with fighters, funding and weapons from around the world.

Iranian's support into Assad’s forces began in late 2012, when the Free Syrian Army was making major gains, thanks to U.S. military advisers.

Hijra is an Arabic word meaning “emigration”, evoking the prophet Muhammad’s historic escape from Mecca, where assassins were plotting to kill him, to Medina. For most Islamic extremists today, the concepts of hijra and jihad are intimately linked.

Overpopulation, and immigration, has irrevocably been a force in the spread of Islam.

According to research conducted by Peter Neumann of King’s College London, along with Atran and others, the particular goal of establishing a state under Islamic law has shifted noticeably to establishing sharia law and supporting the institution of the caliphate, regardless of the wishes of the local Syrian population.

The United States has begun a long-awaited program to train Syrian fighters to go into combat against Islamic State, the Pentagon said on Thursday, deepening America’s role in Syria’s civil war after eight months of airstrikes against the Sunni militants.

U.S. military starts training Syrian fighters to combat Islamic State (7/5/15) | The Globe and Mail

Critics say that theoretical limitation is unlikely to withstand the realities of Syria’s messy civil war. The civil war has killed 220,000 people and displaced millions since 2011, despite repeated diplomatic efforts to resolve it.
Should Assad's government crumble, Syria could face greater instability and control by extremist groups, U.S. security officials are warning. The U.S. is watching closely to see if Iran and Russia step in to bolster Assad with weapons and supplies as they have in the past.

Remarkably, some media outlets reported that Assad told his visitors, "Some European countries are committing a grave mistake by allying with countries supporting terrorism."

The members of a Belgium delegation were reported as saying, "Syria constitutes the first line of defense in the face of extremism and terrorism. It is the only country fighting terrorism on the ground. If this line is defeated, terrorism will largely reach European countries. This is why we have to support Syria in this war." According to reports, the parliamentarians continued, "Many Western parties and officials now believe in this." This quote has been confirmed by former Lebanese Minister Wiam Wahhab, who told Al-Monitor he heard the Belgian delegation say it more than once.

Read more: Belgian delegation expresses support for Assad (17/5/15) | Lebanon Pulse

Any struggling nation, especially a secular one, could now follow this model of migration, extremism and military intervention.

Official: Syrian Armed Forces Withdraw from Ancient City of Palmyra

By Leith Fadel on May 20, 2015 Featured

The Syrian Armed Forces (Syrian Arab Army’s 18th Tank Battalion and National Defense Forces) have officially withdrawn all of their soldiers from the ancient city of Palmyra (Tadmur) after a large-scale assault was launched by the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS) for the second time in six days.

According to a military source, 16 National Defense Forces (NDF) and Syrian Arab Army (SAA) soldiers were killed-in-action (KIA) and another 68 were wounded during the fierce clashes for the Palmyra National Hospital, Palmyra Museum, Palmyra Military Airbase, Desert and Development Office, Badiyah Military Branch Office, and the northern suburbs of this ancient city in the east Homs Governorate of Syria.

The military source unable to confirm the exact number of deaths ISIS sustained during the violent battle for Palmyra; however, he was able to confirm that a force of about 600-800 militants reinforced their entrenched comrades and helped them recapture their lost points to the Syrian Armed Forces.

The Syrian Armed Forces are still on the outskirts of Palmyra, but they hold no positions inside the city itself; if they were to counter-attack, they would launch the assault from Mount Qassoun, where they currently possess the higher ground against ISIS armed combatants.

ISIS gains in Palmyra I think are correlated to the US-coalition ramping up aid to the extremists:

In Israeli intelligence source DebkaFile's weekly newsletter (which you have to pay to get) they note that

"Bashar Assad’s fortunes have been waning in recent weeks. His army’s morale is in the pits. Some units are keeping to the sidelines of battles. Iran no longer rushes forward with fresh military supplies. Hizballah, the strongest force still fighting for Assad, is taking heavy losses at the hands of Al Qaeda’s Syrian arm, the Nusra Front. All this is the outcome of the first heavy weapons to reach the hands of the Syrian opposition in years of civil war from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Turkey – blessed by Washington after long hesitation."

This, coupled with a recent NYT revelation that King Salman

"has shifted toward an activist foreign policy, going to war in Yemen and increasing support for rebels in Syria as he positions his country as the defender of the region’s Sunnis. In some cases, he has sanctioned allying with Islamists to serve the kingdom’s agenda... And his support for Islamists could end up empowering extremists, just as Saudi support for the Afghan jihad decades ago helped create Al Qaeda... In another shift, King Salman appears to have discarded his predecessor’s rejection of political Islamists like the Muslim Brotherhood as a fundamental threat to the regional order... King Salman has a history of working with Islamists. Decades ago, he was a royal point man and fund-raiser for jihadists going to Afghanistan, Bosnia and elsewhere."

King Salman Upends Status Quo in Region and the Royal Family (10/5/15) by Ben Hubbard | New York Times

So in essence, what the NYT is saying without saying, coupled with the Debka report, is that Saudi Arabia, with the blessing of the US, is ramping up aid to ISIS in Syria, and Obama has approved of providing heavier weaponry to the opposition after long hesitation.

And now we see ISIS gaining ground in regions like Palmyra. Coincidence? I think not...