In his first-ever TV interview, the leader of the insurgent faction Jabhat al-Nusra, Abu Mohammed al-Joulani, has told Al Jazeera Arabic, "We will achieve victory soon."
UPDATE: Al Jazeera Arabic has now broadcast the full 50-minute interview with the head of Jabhat al-Nusra:
Al-Joulani said from an undisclosed location within Syria:
The battle is almost over, we have covered about 70 percent of it, and what’s left is small….We pray to God to culminate these efforts with victory. It’s only a matter of days.
Al-Joulani said Jabhat al-Nusra wants consultations with Muslim scholars who support the Syrian uprising to draft a plan for running the country according to Sharia.
He said the faction would not accept the outcome of any US- and Russian-led "peace" conference scheduled for Switzerland in January, since it would be designed to sustain the current leadership in Damascus:
We will not recognise any results that come out of the Geneva 2 Conference, nor will the children or women of Syria do [so]. Those taking part in the conference do not represent the people who sacrificed and shed blood. Besides, who has authorised them to represent the people?…
They have no presence on the ground. We cannot allow the Geneva 2 game to fool the nation, to push us back 50 or 100 years….
If the Assad regime remained in power, which is in the interest of the superpowers and the Safavids [Iranians], then the next target will be the Arabian Peninsula, now known as Saudi Arabia.
Al-Joulani also criticized US-Iranian rapprochement, marked by last month’s interim nuclear deal over Tehran’s nuclear program:
Those regimes [such as Saudi Arabia] are now running out of options as a result of the superpowers turning against them. The ferocious tide of the Safavid [Iranian] regime is now coming. All these states are now in jeopardy since the international community replaced them with a new ally, Iran….
The majority of oil is located to the east of Saudi Arabia, in al-Ihsaa, Qateef, and Dammam. These areas would be targeted… taken away and given to the new ally, Iran.
Opposition: Regime Kills More than 50 Fleeing Civilians in Damascus Suburb on Wednesday
Claimed footage of civilians running from regime gunfire as they try to leave the besieged Damascus suburb of Beit Sahm on Wednesday:
The Local Coordination Committee claim that more than 50 people were killed and hundreds wounded after the breakdown of a reconciliation committee’s attempt to evacuate them from Beit Sahm, south of the capital.
THe LCC has posted the names of 42 victims.
State media claim that "terrorists attacked a number of families who were accompanying their sons who were intent on turning themselves into the authorities", killing three people and injuring 22.
Britain & US Deny Reports "West Ready For Assad to Stay"
The British Foreign Office’s Special Representative to the Syrian Opposition, Jon Wilks, has used Twitter to deny stories, based on statements from members of the opposition Syrian National Coalition, that Western countries are preparing to accept President Assad’s stay in power.
Dina Badawy, a US State Department spokeswoman, told The Jerusalem Post that the claims of the West’s acceptance of Assad are "patently false".
Barrel Bombs Dropped on Kafar Zeta in Hama Province, Airstrikes Continue on Aleppo
Claimed footage of regime "barrel bombs" dropped in Hama Province on Thursday:
Meanwhile, Syrian warplanes are attacking insurgent-held areas of Aleppo Province for the 6th consecutive day on Thursday.
Oppositive media centers said bombs were dropped on the village of Tal Alam, near as-Safira, and on Daret Ezza, Marea, Manbej, and Anadan, north of Aleppo city.
The Local Coordination Committees claim 54 people died in Aleppo Province on Wednesday.
The LCC said 111 people were killed across Syria yesterday.
Video: Islamic Front Put Priority on Aid Through Bab al-Hawa Crossing
The insurgent bloc Islamic Front has declared a priority for aid trucks passing through the Bab al-Hawa crossing on the Turkish border:
Factions in the Front have overseen operation of the crossing since it was taken from regime forces earlier this year.
The Front has also countered allegations that it seized nearby warehouses of the Free Syrian Army, saying it came to the FSA’s protection after armed gunmen raided the facilities.
UN: Regime Using "Enforced Disappearances" In "Campaign of Terror" Against Civilians
A UN enquiry has condemned the Assad regime for "enforced disappearances…perpetrated as part of a widespread campaign of terror against the civilian population".
Using testimony from former regime officials and families of the missing, the Independent International Commission of Inquiry concluded, "There are reasonable grounds to believe that enforced disappearances were committed by government forces, as part of a widespread and systematic attack against the civilian population, and therefore amount to a crime against humanity."
The report also cited "specific anti-Government armed groups [who] have begun to abduct certain categories of civilians and hold them hostage".
Son of Iranian General Killed in Fighting
The son of an Iranian brigadier general has been killed in fighting in Syria.
The Iranian site Asr-e Iran said Abolfazl Shiravanian, a member of the Basij militia, was buried in Isfahan after he was killed defending the Sayyada Zeinab shrine in southern Damascus.
Shiravanian is the son of Brigadier General Mojtaba Shiravanian.
Iranian media use the reference to the Sayyada Zeinab shrine to cover the death of any member of Iran’s forces in Syria.
Video: Jabhat al-Nusra Celebrates Attack on Target in Lebanon
A PR video celebrating an attack by Jabhat al-Nusra on a Hezbollah target in Hermel in Lebanon on Tuesday:
Jabhat al-Nusra said 10 Grad-type rockets had been fired because of "Hezbollah involvement in Syria and the killing and detention of Sunni youths in Lebanon".
The Lebanese army said two military personnel were injured.
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