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[Transcript]  Mosaic News - 06/07/11: World News From The Middle East [VIDEO]

Syrian 'city of ghosts' braces for army assault

Al Jazeera, Qatar
Presenter, Male #1
Syrian activists confirmed that squads of military vehicles carrying soldiers are headed to the region of Jisr Shughour in Idlib province in northwestern Syria, in preparation to attack and quell pro-democracy protests. The Syrian government announced that what it referred to as armed terrorist groups killed more than 120 security members in the region.

Presenter, Female #1
Under these circumstances, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppé said that the Syrian president Bashar al-Assad has lost his legitimacy. The French official added that his country is ready to submit a draft resolution to the UN Security Council to condemn Damascus for what he described as brutal repression of the protests.

Reporter, Male #1
France is sharpening the West’s tone toward Syria and moving to urge the Security Council to issue a resolution condemning the crackdown on the pro-democracy protests against Bashar al-Assad's regime, on the same level as Colonel Muammar al-Gaddafi's regime.

Guest, Male #1 (Alain Juppé, French Foreign Minister)
The situation is now very clear in Syria. The reform process is dead. I believe that Bashar al-Assad has lost his legitimacy. We believe that we can gain 11 votes for the resolution. And we will see what Russia will do. If they use the veto then they will take the responsibility for it.

Reporter, Male #1
Europeans spent the past month attempting to condemn the Syrian regime in the Security Council for Syria's way of dealing with the protests, but it was hindered by objections from Russia, China, and India. As the US secretary of state has indicated before, some Arab countries are opposed to the international community dealing with Syria with the same rationale that it is dealing with Gaddafi. The Europeans and Americans have surpassed this disagreement and imposed sanctions on Syria, against President Bashar al-Assad and a number of prominent officials in his regime. Meanwhile, local and international human rights organizations are raising their voices to the Security Council, demanding that the Syrian issue be referred to the International Criminal Court. They accuse the Syrian regime of committing crimes against humanity, based on images spread online showing military operations in Dara'a, Talbisa, Rastan, Talkalakh, and other areas.
They indicate that some detainees have been tortured to death, and dozens of children were killed during the security forces' crackdown on protests. This was confirmed by military officer Abdul Razaq Talas's testimony after he announced his defection from the Syrian army. The regime's decisions to form a committee to build the groundwork for a national dialogue and a committee to draft a new law for political parties and even grant amnesty to detainees did not meet the aspirations of the opposition. It appears that the timeline and objectives given to the two committees were an attempt to buy more time for the regime's military trucks to move and crush the protests. The most recent destination of these trucks is the Jisr Shughour region in Idlib province in the northwestern part of the country.

Guest, Male #2 (Adnan Mahmoud, Syrian Minister of Information)
The civilians were surprised in some rural areas of Idlib.

Reporter, Male #1
The Syrian minister of information said that military units are moving to put an end to what he referred to as armed terrorist groups that clashed with security forces and killed over 120 police and security members. The interior minister pledged to take decisive measures against any attacks targeting the citizens.

Guest, Female #1
They deployed the army all over our town. We don't want the army to come here, our children are being killed.

Reporter, Male #1
However, the director of a human rights organization said that the death toll figures were contradicotry. He indicated that the clashes in Jisr Shughur were between the army and members of the military who defected from the army, according to the local residents' accounts. But an activist described what happened in Jisr Shughour as insurrection, and warned of the severity of the situation. Between these two different stories stands a historic event that links Jisr Shughour to Hama, which witnessed an incident described as brutal repression after disobeying the authority of President Assad, the father in the early 1980s. In between the past and now lies the possibility of more than one regional and international change, because Assad the son may not succeed in confronting the opposition with the same methods used by his father.

US, Saudi Arabia push for immediate transition in Yemen

Al-Alam, Iran
Presenter, Male # 1
In Yemen, Sheikh Hammoud Saeed al-Mikhlafi, the head of the tribal council in Taiz, located to the north of the capital Sana’a, said armed opposition members now control the city following confrontations with President Ali Abdullah Saleh's forces. Agence France-Presse reported on Sheikh Hammoud's confirmation that Taiz is effectively held by the revolutionaries. Sheikh Hammoud vowed to protect the demonstrators and strikers and said he believes the revolution remains peaceful. A representative of the Yemeni youth revolution said a million-person march will be launched this afternoon from Taghyeer, or Change Square in Sana’a. The march will demand that President Ali Abdullah Saleh not return to the country; he is currently being treated in Saudi Arabia. Meanwhile, 15 people were killed, including nine soldiers, in violent clashes between the army and al-Qaeda gunmen in the city of Zinjibar.

Reporter, Female # 1
Will the Yemeni people's joy persist in the absence of Ali Abdullah Saleh from the political scene? This question is preoccupying Yemenis as well as Western and Arab observers who are examining the different scenarios that could unfold in a once-happy Yemen. Announcements made by regime officials in Sana’a in the absence of Saleh do not indicate a quick transfer of power but rather his soon return to Sana’a. This, after the people paid a high price to turn over Saleh's page and forget it ever existed. Amid outside intervention and conflicting reports on Saleh's return, the Cooperation Council's initiative is making another comeback to the Yemeni scene. The plan's sponsor, Saudi Arabia expressed hope that all partners will sign the Cooperation Council's power-transfer plan. The council's secretary-general views the initiative as the best solution to the crisis, confirming the readiness of the council's countries to reactivate the plan. Meanwhile, Washington believes the Yemeni people would benefit from an immediate transfer of power. In a press conference in Washington, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said her country wants the Yemeni government to capitalize on President Saleh's absence to implement a peaceful and organized transition of power.

Guest, Female # 2 (Hillary Clinton, US Secretary of State)
We think an immediate transition is in the best interests of the Yemeni people. The instability and lack of security currently afflicting Yemen cannot be addressed until there is some process that everyone knows is going to lead to the sort of economic and political reforms that they are seeking.

Reporter, Female # 1
On the ground, violent battles raged between the army and al-Qaeda gunmen to the south of Zinjibar. They started after army units advanced into the city to storm it, leading to deaths and injuries. Also on the ground, the British Ministry of Defense in London announced that a British assessment delegation was deployed near Yemen. A spokesman for the ministry described the deployment as routine. Observers believe calm will not be quickly restored in Yemen and that the struggle over power has started between the parties that are trying to foil the peaceful revolution's path and replace its demands with their own agendas. The US and Saudi Arabia fear that Saleh's absence, as with his presence, will lead to a transfer of power in an unwanted direction. This is probably why the two countries are emphasizing the need to seize on Saleh's medical treatment to transfer power while they're still in control.

NATO warplanes pound Tripoli while Russia calls for negotiations

BBC Arabic, UK
Presenter, Female #1
NATO warplanes launched over 20 air strikes today on targets in the Libyan capital Tripoli in one of the most violent strikes that NATO has launched during the daytime. Buildings in the city shook as fighter jets hovered at low altitudes and bombed the Libyan government's headquarters and military organizations subordinate to the Republican Guard. On the other hand, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's special envoy to Benghazi Mikhail Margelov held talks with leaders of the Transitional National Council. Upon his arrival to Benghazi, he announced that Russia was ready to mediate between the revolutionaries and Gaddafi in order to find a political solution to their ongoing conflict.

Reporter, Male #1
For the first time since NATO's military intervention began in Libya, the international forces launched over ten air strikes during the daytime on areas close to Bab al-Aziziya complex, the headquarters of Libyan leader Muammar al-Gaddafi. Fierce battles continue on the frontlines between the armed opposition and Gaddafi's battalions. Opposition forces say they are advancing west toward the capital Tripoli and they have achieved military gains on the ground. This development on the ground was reflected diplomatically. China, which abstained from voting on the international resolution authorizing military intervention in Libya, sent a delegation to Benghazi for the first time since the crisis began in Libya. It also announced the Libyan foreign minister's visit to Beijing on behalf of Colonel Muammar al-Gaddafi's regime.

Guest, Male #1
Libyan Foreign Minister Abdul Ati al-Obidi will visit China from June 7 to June 9 as a special envoy from his government. During his visit, the Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi will meet with him. The two sides will exchange opinions on the current situation in Libya to find a political solution to the crisis.

Reporter, Male #1
However, so far China has insisted on its official neutral position on the current conflicts in Libya. China's move coincided with Russia sending a special envoy from Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to Benghazi to mediate and find a political solution to the ongoing conflicts in Libya. Even though the two countries are still holding on to their neutral stances regarding the conflicts in Libya, Beijing and Moscow's diplomatic moves may indicate their realization that Gaddafi's departure is closer to becoming a reality. They may be preparing for the era after the Libyan leader, which may be decided by NATO’s air strikes and the ongoing battles on the frontlines. Abdul Qadir Balhaj, BBC.

Libyan victims seek care in Tunisian hospitals

Dubai TV, UAE
Presenter, Male #1
Amid the political and military advancement of the Libyan revolutionaries, the war continues to claim more lives, not only among members of the rival forces but also among civilians. The situation is far worse in the besieged cities and towns, especially amid the sharp shortage of food and medical supplies. In a country where health services are very poor even during times of peace, Libyan casualties of war, especially in the west, were able to find their way to Tunisian hospitals. Mahmudi Mohamed reports from Tunis.

Reporter, Male #2
The causalities of war in Libya are being brought to medical centers across Tunisia. Hundreds of Libyans were transported to the Dhuheiba camps, where a field hospital was set up to treat the wounded, most of whom came from the western Libyan mountain region. In the city of Tataouine, another hospital was set up to receive more victims. The appropriate authorities were unable to give a specific causality toll, citing that many of the injured are being admitted without prior consultation with them. These are some of the injured brought from Misurata to this hospital in the Tunisian capital.

Guest, Male #3 (Adel Ramadan, Member of Consultative Committee for Casualty of War in Libya)
There are nearly 50 cases. In the coming weeks, we are expecting 50 or 70 more cases to arrive by sea. God willing, we will be ready for them despite reports that Tunisian hospitals are near capacity. We will try to offer them medical care so they can return to Libya.

Reporter, Male #2
Abdullah came from Misurata by sea. He was sitting safely in the courtyard of a factory he works at when a shell fell in the area. He sustained injuries to his leg, hip, and right eye.

Guest, Male #4 (Abdullah, injured from Misurata)
Some of us were on break, sitting in the courtyard eating lunch. Then we performed the Asr, the afternoon prayer. As we were sitting down, the shells started falling over us.

Reporter, Male #2
Despite the emotional stress and the dire conditions in Libya, the injured believe they will soon cry tears of joy, marking victory. And despite their different injuries, the Libyans who we met in Tunisian hospitals share the same dream: the ouster of Muammar Gaddafi's regime. Mahmudi Mohamed, Dubai TV, from the Manar Medical Center, Tunis.

Israeli settlers burn and deface West Bank mosque

Press TV, Iran
Israeli settlers have set fire to a mosque in the occupied West Bank, and scrawled Hebrew graffiti on its walls. The Palestinian mayor of al-Mughayer village said a tire was burning inside the village mosque, indicating an apparent attempt to set the entire building ablaze, the Associated Press reported. Faraj al-Nassan said the villagers discovered the fire when they went to the mosque for morning prayers on Tuesday. Israeli police say the graffiti reads “price tag,” referring to a settler policy to attack Palestinians whenever Tel Aviv takes action against settlement outpost. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has condemned the attack. Last week, Israeli forces demolished a settlement outpost in the same village. West Bank mosques have come under repeated settler attacks. Previous investigations of the assaults have produced no results.

IDF on high alert for al-Quds day

IBA, Israel
We open with the placement of security forces on high alert nationwide as Palestinians and their supporters vowed to mark Jerusalem, or al-Quds Day today with continued attempts to breach Israel’s borders. This year’s al-Quds Day commemorates the 44th anniversary that Israel captured East Jerusalem during the 1967 six day war. Earlier this week, hundreds of Syrian protestors converged on the northern border but their infiltration attempts were repelled by security forces. At this hour there have been no reported disturbances and the nation’s troops will remain on high alert until the end of the Shavuot holiday, which begins this evening at sundown and ends tomorrow night.

Iraq continues crackdown on al-Qaeda

Al-Iraqiya TV, Iraq
Presenter, Female #1
Iraqi security forces have arrested four members of the al-Qaeda terrorist group in the city of Fallujah. The four terrorists confessed to killing several security recruits.

Presenter, Male #1
The suspects used silenced guns and bombs to target the homes of several residents.

Reporter, Male #2
In a series of operations targeting the terrorists and their hideouts, Iraqi security forces in Anbar have arrested four terrorists affiliated with the al-Qaeda network. The suspects confessed to launching several attacks in the city of Fallujah, including planting bombs and killing civilians and security recruits with silenced guns.

Guest, Male #3 (Hina Mahdi Farhan, terrorist)
We followed him on bicycles. Yes, we were watching him. We stalked him for a while. We went in there, killed him, and exited through the back gate. Mishtaq and I took part in the murder. We used silenced firearms, including 7 mm caliber guns. Yes, we used silenced guns.

Guest, Male #4 (Jamal al-Adedi, victim's uncle)
Thank God, justice has prevailed. We demand punishment for these individuals. They are oppressors. Their families need to know what they have done to this city.

Reporter, Male #2
Their crimes were not limited to a specific group, but included killing women and destroying homes. In addition, they confessed to supplying other groups with arms and bombs. Evidence was found that each crime was committed.

Guest, Male # 5
They are all from the city of al-Fallujah. We interrogated them and confronted them with conclusive evidence. They openly confessed to a number of incidents, including the assassination of the late Sheikh Mohammad Khalil, the Imam of al-Tawfiq Mosque in the city of al-Fallujah.

Reporter, Male #2
Day-by-day, security agencies prove their capabilities and readiness to impose security and foil the plans of those who intend to commit crimes against civilians by killing them in cold blood. However, the will of God failed all their ugly plans. From al-Anbar, Ahmad el-Dreyme, al-Iraqiya.

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