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Kessab Issues Hits LA & DC, UNSC Delay, Why Not Kardashian Arria?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, April 3, updated twice -- The issue of the over-running of largely Armenian Kessab has been brewing for days, including around the UN Security Council, in Hollywood and in Washington.

  On April 2 Inner City Press asked UN deputy spokesperson Farhan Haq if the UN had any access to or knowledge about Kessab, including who did what there. Haq said the UN doesn't know that. Video here, from Minute 13:50. Shouldn't it?

  Kim "Famous For Being Famous" Kardashian has gotten involved, due to the Armenian connection; this played a role in US Ambassador Samantha Power being asked about the issue when she testified about the Obama Administration's international organizations budget.

At least one UN wag muses that Russia might want to convene Kardashian to the UN for an Arria formula meeting on Kessab, or Kassab -- others from Hollywood have come to testify on other issues, why not this one?

  Power is quoted (mostly in the Armenian press) as saying, " I would note that, unfortunately, the extremist group that appears to have taken hold of that town is not one that the United States and the United Nations overall has a great deal of leverage over."

Update: but here is a photo of Syria Coalition Jarba, here.

  Some are saying that it was ISIL / ISIS -- that is, the extremists -- did it, but on April 2 Ahmed al Jarba's Syria Coalition put this out:

Syrian Coalition: Russian accusations against rebels in Kasab are false

Khalid Saleh, President of the Media Office, commends "the heroes of the Free Syrian Army for their honorable treatment of the Armenian inhabitants of Kasab following the liberation of the town." Saleh described Russia's calls for the UN Security Council to discuss "the extremist militants' violations" against the Armenian population of the town as "baseless accusations through which Russia seeks to shuffle the cards and to deflect the attention of the international community away from the massacres committed by the Assad regime against the Syrian people. "The Armenians are a fundamental part of the Syrian fabric and the rebels continue to protect them in Aleppo and Kasab. We expect the Russians to demonstrate seriousness in reaching a political solution to end the bloodshed, but the only language that the Assad regime and its allies understand is the language of militarization and bombing of civilians," Saleh said. In a similar vein, The Syrian Coalition has renewed confidence in the Free Syrian Army’s ability to protect all civilians, regardless of religious, ethnic and political affiliation. Recently, different fighting groups issued a number of statements, in which they reiterated their commitment to protecting civilian population across Syria. "Every time rebels gain ground, the Assad regime leads a smear campaign to discredit rebels. As the rebels advance in the Kassab area, Assad continues to create smear ads. Activists posted a video on social networks reaffirming their commitment to protect holy places. In the video the Armenian Church appears intact." The Syrian Coalition also stresses that it is committed to the unity of Syrian society and the FSA is committed to the protection of civilians against Assad’s militias. It is vital that the international community realize that the Assad regime has to be removed, so that the Syrian people can decide their own future and build a pluralistic, democratic, and free Syria." The Syrian Coalition also demands that the international community put pressure on the Assad regime to stop the fierce military campaign waged against the people of Mount Turkman. "The Assad regime is attempting to eliminate the cultural components that have long enriched the Syrian civilization throughout history. It should have also followed the example of the FSA fighters, who liberated the town of Kassab without committing any violations against the Armenian population of the town, nor did they attack churches or houses of worship." The Syrian Coalition also calls on the FSA fighters not to harm any of the people in the coastal region, including Kassab, which contains one of the most important historical monuments in the world. "We have to protect the civilians in the areas that we liberate, regardless of their views or orientation. FSA fighters must fight those who are armed and that kill the civilians on charges of supporting the revolution. The Assad regime poses a threat not only to Syrian culture, but also to the regional and global culture.” Mohammed Sarmin, Advisor to the interim Prime Minister, visited the town of Kassab north of Latakia and met with the leader of the Western Front, Colonel Mustafa Hashim, and leaders of the Ansar Al Sham brigade. Sarmini handed them the aid sent by the Syrian interim government to the coastal front. He also toured some medical centers and field hospitals, stressing the readiness of the Ministry of Health in the interim government to provide all kinds of medical support. The Shariah Committee in Mount Turkman condemns the murder of two young men by Assad's shabiha in the dominantly Turkman neighborhood of Ali Jamal in central Latakia as a retaliation to the victories of the Free Syrian Army in Latakia province, in which the Turkman fighters played a vital role. The spokesman for the Sharia Committee also said that the battle for the Syrian coast has not witnessed any revenge killings, based on ideology, religion or race. The Syrian minorities, which the Assad claims he protect, are playing a vital role in the battle, which proves to the whole world that the Assad regime lies when it talks about protection of minorities. (Source: Syrian Coalition)

  And here is Jarba's tweeted photo. So now what? Watch this site.

Update 2: After Inner City Press asked about Kassab on April 2, when it asked again on April 3 UN deputy spokesperson Farhan Haq said he'd sent some information to those who asked about Kassab on April 2 - but not to Inner City Press. After Inner City Press asked about a letter from Armenia's foreign minister on April 3, Haq's office squawked confirmation then sent this:

Subject: Your question on Kassab
From: UN Spokesperson - Do Not Reply [at]
Date: Thu, Apr 3, 2014 at 2:38 PM
To: Matthew.Lee [at]
Cc: Stephane Dujarric [at]

The Office of the Spokesperson can confirm that the Secretary-General has received a letter from the Foreign Minister of the Republic of Armenia, concerning the attacks in Kassab, Syria.

  Now what?


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