Syria Today – Assad Denies Holocaust; U.S. Senators Introduce Resolution on Syria Attacks

Your daily brief of the English-speaking press on Syria

Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad has said that there is no proof that six million Jews were killed by the Nazis, claiming that the holocaust is a fabrication to justify the creation of Israel. Senators Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) jointly introduced a resolution today denouncing assaults carried out by Iranian military proxies on U.S. armed forces in Iraq and Syria. The resolution underscores the importance of promptly addressing and preventing such attacks.

Syria’s Assad claims the Holocaust was a lie fabricated to justify the creation of Israel

Syrian President Bashar Assad earlier this week declared that there is no evidence that six million Jews were killed during the Holocaust and accused the United States of funding the German Nazi party.

In a video of a speech by Assad translated and published by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) on Monday, Assad can be seen telling a listening crowd that “there is no evidence that six million Jews were killed” during the Holocaust.

“True, there were concentration camps, but what shows you that this is a politicized issue, not a humanitarian one and not a real one, is that we talk about these six million, but why don’t we talk about the 26 million Soviets who were killed in that war? Are the six million more precious?”

While some 26 million people from the Soviet Union were killed during World War II, the bloc’s population in 1939 equalled roughly 170 million people, compared to some 9.5 million Jews.

Furthermore, more than 8.5 million of the Soviets killed during World War II were killed in military battles.

Continuing his tirade, the Syrian dictator claimed that “there was no specific method of torture or killing specific to the Jews. The Nazis used the same methods everywhere.”

Despite Assad’s claim, other groups targeted by the Nazis were not systematically murdered in the same way that Jewish people were.

The only other ethnic group targeted for genocide in a similar way to Europe’s Jews were the Romani, of whom between 220,000 and 1,500,000 were killed.

According to Assad, the issue of the Holocaust “was politicized in order to falsify the truth and later to prepare for the transfer of Jews from Europe to other areas, to Palestine.”

Reaching the crux of his argument, Assad claimed that “the Jews who came to Palestine are Khazar Jews from the east of the Caspian Sea, they were pagans who converted to Judaism in the eighth century.

“They emigrated to Europe and from there came to this region. They have nothing to do whatsoever with the people of Israel” of antiquity, he added.

The claim that modern Jews are descended from Khazars, a Turkic people who lived in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, is an antisemitic conspiracy theory long used by people trying to discount Jewish claims to the land of Israel.

Syrian regime warns military personnel against using “suspicious applications”

The Operations Department of the Syrian regime’s army has issued a circular indicating the spread of “suspicious applications” among military personnel, which requests them to photograph military areas in exchange for financial rewards.

According to the internal circular obtained by Enab Baladi, issued by the Minister of Defense in the regime’s government, Ali Mahmoud Abbas, on November 4, information has reached the General Command of the Army about the spread of “suspicious applications” on social media platforms, especially in southern areas of Syria.

The circular specifically mentioned the application “Sahabat al-Khair” that sends a weekly free balance of around 10,000 Syrian pounds to its users, then later asks them to “photograph military units and points in return for financial rewards and attempts to recruit them,” according to the circular.

The circular indicated that the majority of the application’s users are military personnel in the regime forces.

The circular requested military authorities to warn all personnel against dealing or communicating with any “suspicious or unknown pages,” especially the “Sahabat al-Khair” application.

The Military Intelligence Directorate in the regime’s army issued a circular on March 20 that requires the periodic registration of contact information and social media accounts for officers, volunteers, and conscripts under the acceptance of liability. 

According to the internal circular that Enab Baladi has seen a copy of, security officers in each military unit have become responsible for collecting the specific information listed in the circular from the military personnel.

According to several conscripted military personnel in the Syrian regime’s army that Enab Baladi interviewed, the Military Intelligence branch has requested the International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) for the mobile phones of individuals working in the army sector. Additionally, they were required to provide their phone numbers, social media accounts, and email addresses.

Recently, the Ministry of Defense has issued several circulars related to preventing the leakage of military information or documents, including prohibiting military personnel from discussing military matters except through official channels.

The military personnel in the regime forces resort to any means that can bring them financial income, including applications that offer monetary rewards. This comes in light of the financial crisis that the regime forces have been suffering since 2022. A group of officers and unit leaders previously requested the command of the Syrian army to allow conscripts in the army to work for 15 days a month to support their families.

Senators introduce resolution to condemn attacks by Iranian military proxies on U.S. troops in Iraq and Syria

U.S. Senators Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) today introduced a resolution condemning attacks by Iranian military proxies on U.S. armed forces in Iraq and Syria and emphasizing the urgency of responding to and deterring such attacks.

American troops in the region have been targeted by Iranian proxies more than 115 times since mid-October in the wake of the terror attacks committed by Hamas against Israel. Iran provides financing, training, and other support to militia groups throughout the region, including the Houthi rebels in Yemen. In addition to targeting U.S. troops and infrastructure, attacks by Iran-backed militias have forced global shipping companies to stop using the Red Sea as a travel route, slowing down critical supply chains throughout the region.

“Attacks on American troops are reprehensible, and Iranian support for these attacks has rightfully earned a swift and forceful response from the Biden administration,” said Senator Coons. “I join Senator Cruz in introducing this resolution to condemn these attacks, increase pressure on Iran to cease its support for violent militia groups, and support efforts to deter Iranian-backed militia attacks on U.S. troops and the international community. I also commend the resiliency and bravery of American service members across the Middle East and hope this resolution makes clear Congress’ support for U.S. Central Command’s mission of countering terrorism and maintaining stability across the region.”

“The Iranian regime is attacking Americans, our allies, and our interests across the Middle East,” said Senator Cruz. “They are not only launching attacks and massacres against our Israeli and Arab allies, but their Houthi proxies are now trying to shut down freedom of navigation that is vital to the American and global economies. It is clear that they are not deterred, and it is long past time for the Biden administration to take all necessary steps to deter and counter these activities. Enough is enough.”

Iran’s growing aggression against America shows Biden’s weakness: John Bolton

In an op-ed by John R. Bolton, published in The Washington Post, he critiques President Biden’s approach to Iran’s increasing aggression in the Middle East. Bolton, a former National Security Advisor under President Donald Trump, argues that Biden’s focus on the Hamas-Israel conflict is dangerously distracting from Iran’s actions through its proxies against American interests in the region.

Bolton details incidents of Iranian surrogates’ attacks on U.S. military and civilian targets in Syria and Iraq, as well as on commercial vessels in the Red Sea, orchestrated by Yemen-based Houthi terrorists. He stresses that these attacks, which have resulted in casualties and increased maritime insurance rates, are coordinated and financially supported by Iran. Bolton accuses Iran of retaliating against U.S. support for Israel and warns of its ambition to drive America out of the Middle East and isolate Israel.

Criticizing the Biden administration’s response as minimal and ineffective, Bolton argues that the U.S. has failed to establish deterrence against Iran and its proxies. He suggests the Biden administration lacks a strategic vision for U.S. interests in the region, causing dismay among allies. Bolton recommends a stronger stance, including redesignating the Houthis as a Foreign Terrorist Organization and considering direct strikes on Iranian military assets and bases as a deterrence strategy. He argues that a forceful U.S. response is necessary to counter Iranian ambitions and establish a credible deterrent. 

Bolton concludes by asserting that U.S. restraint is perceived as a weakness by Iran and calls for decisive action to change this narrative, emphasizing the importance of power and performance in establishing deterrence.

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