This Enormous Syrian Refugee Camp Is Now Jordan’s Fifth Largest City

Video snapshot of military forces massed within 2-3 miles of this Zaatari Camp.  Probable source of jihadi recruitment for invasion force.

[This snapshot from Google Maps shows Zaatri Refugee Camp, next to Baghdad-Damascus Highway, adjacent to King Hussein Air Base, at Al-Mafraq.  These are approximately 20 Miles from Az-Zarqa, hometown to Al-Zarqawi (father of Al-Q In Iraq), Ibn-al-Khattab (father of Chechen terrorists) and Humam Khalil Abu-Mulal al-Balawi (suicide-bomber of CIA drone base near Khost).  The blue polygon is a Google-censored area only at high-resolution, similar to other militarily-significant sites, such as “Point West” (illegal Contra airstrip in Costa Rica) and Colombian Spc. Forces Training Base.]

This Enormous Syrian Refugee Camp Is Now Jordan’s Fifth Largest City [PHOTOS]

The Syrian Civil War has been raging for over two years now and, with it, has come devastation to Syria’s civilian population. Since the war began in 2011, Syrians have been fleeing their borders. Jordan has taken on the bulk of these refugees, housing as many as 550,000 Syrians. Proportionally, that would be like the United States suddenly opening its borders and allowing 25 million people in.

The majority of these refugees have settled in a camp run by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), near the Jordanian city of Mafraq. It is now more populated than Mafraq and has spawned a thriving economy and culture. It is nearly its own city, with United Nations and Jordanian officials struggling to keep up with the rapid influx of Syrians fleeing the bloody conflict.

This is the Zaatari Refugee Camp in Jordan. It is eight miles south of the Syrian border.

Zaatari Refugee CampREUTERS/Mandel Ngan/Pool

The population of the camp is estimated to be more than 122,000 refugees, since opening in July 2012, says the UNHCR. That makes it the fifth largest city in Jordan.

An aerial view shows the Zaatari refugee camp in Mafraq, Jordan, Thursday, July 18, 2013.AP Photo/Mandel Ngan, Pool

This is the main boulevard in Zaatari. Syrian refugees and aid workers call it the Champs Elysees, after the famous shopping thoroughfare in Paris, according to The Daily Mail.

The Champs Elysees at the Zaatari Refugee CampRussell Watkins/Department for International Developmen

There are over 3,000 small businesses in Zaatari now, selling everything from pizza, shwarma, and vegetables to televisions and drugs.

A Syrian woman buys supplies from a make-shift store.AP Photo/Mohammad Hannon

The profits from the stores, like this barbershop in a UNHCR tent, don’t always go to the refugees. Sometimes they go to the Free Syrian Army, says David Remnick of the New Yorker.

The Zaatari Barber cuts a Syrian refugee's hair in his UNHCR tent barbershop.AP Photo/Mohammad Hannon

Organised crime is rampant in the camp. Resources such as electricity and water are “constantly stolen and vandalised,” according to a UNHCR report.

Two women walk through the Zaatari refugee camp in northern JordanRussell Watkins/Department for International Developmen

Local mafia “dons” sell prime spaces on the Champs Elysees and electricity to shopkeepers to house and run their shops.

A Syrian refugee shuts his makeshift shopAP Photo/Mohammad Hannon

A thriving wedding business has sprung up as refugees seek favour with Jordanians, by marrying off their young daughters, according to the BBC.

A man holds Syrian money as refugees go about their daily business.Jeff J Mitchell

There are between 10-15 babies born every day in the camp, says The Jordan Times. Most are delivered in field hospitals and Caesarian sections are common.

Baby Delivered At Morrocan Field Hospital in ZaatariAP Photo/Mohammad Hannon

A team of Koreans are now giving taekwondo classes to children in the camp, according to the AP. They are teaching adults in the camp how to give the classes for after they leave.

Zaatari Taekwondo ClassesAP Photo/Bela Szandelszky

This is Zaatari’s first music group called SMRTE (Syrians Must Release Their Energy). They have been blogging and singing about their experience living in the camp.

hundreds of US, Jordanian armored vehicles at the border

[US, Jordanian military presence growing in southern Syria amid new government offensive ; Israeli, Jordanian Officers, Accompaning Al-Nusra Terrorists Killed In Southern Syrian Airstrikes ; This Enormous Syrian Refugee Camp Is Now Jordan’s Fifth Largest City ]

DAMASCUS, SYRIA (0:00 A.M.) – The US and Jordanian militaries may be prepping a massive invasion of Syria, intelligence reports gathered from surveillance drones suggest.

Damascus is reportedly on high alert after some 400 American and Jordanian military vehicles were located at a Jordanian military base near the Syrian desert border earlier today.

More pictures of the drone surveillance here:

Chris Tomson | Al-Masdar News
Chris Tomson | Al-Masdar News

The foreign convoys may launch an incursion to aid allied Free Syrian Army (FSA) proxies based around the Al-Tanf border crossing.In 2017 alone, FSA satellite forces have entered Sweida and Deir Ezzor while also coming dangerously near Palmyra and Damascus, areas under Syrian Arab Army (SAA) control.

In response to the looming invasion, the SAA has begun a large-scale offensive along the Damascus-Baghdad highway in a bid to dislodge FSA rebels from the Al-Tanf border crossing are link up with friendly Iraqi border guards.

The photos validate previous reports by an Al-Masdar News military source suggesting a major Jordanian and US buildup at the Syrian border.

UPDATE: The military base is located east of Az-Zarqa, 43 km away from the Syrian border. The tanks are supposedly M60 types.

Iran Threatens Saudi-Sponsored Pakistani Terrorists For Killing Border Guards

Saudi Mercenaries to Pay for Attacking Iranian Border Guards: Police Chief





TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Iran’s Police Chief Brigadier General Hossein Ashtari warned “Saudi mercenaries” that their recent terrorist attack on Iranian border guards at the country’s joint border with Pakistan would cost them dearly.

In a meeting with the bereaved families of the martyred border guards on Monday, Brigadier General Ashtari underlined that the move by the “coward terrorists” will definitely not go unanswered.

“The mercenaries who are strengthened with Saudi money and martyred our border guards will certainly pay dearly for their move…,” he underlined.

The commander further said an Iranian delegation that had been sent to Pakistan to pursue the issue has returned with “good news” that would be made public in the near future.

Following a cross-border terrorist attack from inside Pakistan on April 26, ten Iranian servicemen were killed on duty in Mirjaveh, in the southeastern province of Sistan and Balouchestan.

One border guard was also kidnapped by the terrorists.

The attack on the Iranian troops was claimed by the so-called Jaish al-Adl Takfiri terrorist group.

Iran’s Police said the martyrs were killed by long-range weapons fired from Pakistani soil.

One day later on April 27, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani sent a letter to Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif, calling on Islamabad to prosecute and bring to justice the perpetrators of the attack.

Pakistan Claims 50 Afghan Troops Killed, Border Posts Shelled In Latest Cross-Border Incident

[ Pakistan, Afghanistan To Use Google Maps To Settle Border Dispute Over Durand Line “Mysterious,” Massive Explosion At Spin Boldak Military Centre On Afghan Border ]

Pakistan army kills 50 Afghan troops in Chaman: IGFC



IG FC talking to media. PHOTO: EXPRESS

IG FC talking to media. PHOTO: EXPRESS

QUETTA: In retaliatory fire to Afghan army’s Friday’s aggression on the border town of Chaman, Pakistani forces killed 50 Afghan soldiers and border security personnel, injured more than 100 troops and destroyed five Afghan check posts, security officials said.

“At least 50 Afghan soldiers were killed and more than 100 injured after Pakistan retaliated to Afghan forces’ assault on Friday when our census team came under attack near zero-line,” the Frontier Corps (FC) Inspector General Major General Nadeem Anjum told newsmen in Chaman on Sunday.

Eleven people, including women, children and a FC man, were killed and 47 injured when Afghan border forces resorted to ‘unprovoked’ firing at Pakistani troops guarding a census team.


The incident occurred in the Killi Luqman and Killi Jahangir villages of Chaman, which straddle the border and have been a source of controversy between Afghanistan and Pakistan. Kabul claims the villages are part of the war-torn country’s Spin Boldak district, an assertion Pakistan flatly denies.

Clash at Chaman border crossing leaves 3 injured

“Afghan forces had attacked civilian population but we targeted Afghan border guards’ check posts,” the FC director general said, adding:  “We are not happy in striking against Afghan brothers but we have to give them a strong message regarding border violation.”

Commander Southern Command Lieutenant General Aamir Riaz also visited the border town on Sunday as he vowed that the Pakistan Army would not compromise on Pakistan’s territorial rights and continue to deal with ‘armed intruders’ severely.

“Afghans have been given a befitting reply for their mischief. The international border at Chaman will remain closed for an indefinite period until the Afghan government and its forces change their attitude towards Pakistan and its people,” Lt Gen Raiz said while addressing media and tribal elders.

He said Pakistani forces had to destroy five Afghan posts as the Afghans had tried to ‘invade’ Pakistani territory with ‘ulterior motives’, adding that all those forces trying to make Pakistani territory a disputed region will face strong retaliation.

The corps commander said Pakistan was not happy over the casualties of the Afghan forces as they are ‘our Muslim brothers,’ but warned that all armed intruders would meet the same fate.

He inspected the forward positions of the defence forces at the border where officers concerned briefed him on the situation in detail. He also offered Fateha for the martyred and visited Chaman’s District Headquarters Hospital to inquire after the health of the injured persons.

Lt Gen Riaz expressed his complete satisfaction over the performance of the defence forces.

10 killed in Afghan attack on Chaman

“The army and other security forces are enjoying complete support and confidence of the people of Pakistan and will continue to face future challenges with utmost dignity and integrity,” he added.

The situation remained tense in the border town as the Friendship Gate between the two countries remained closed for the third straight day.

Evacuation of people from some border villages also continued due to security situation. “About 15,000 people had to leave their homes as a result of indiscriminate firing and shelling by the Afghan forces,” Qila Abdullah Deputy Commissioner Qaiser Khan Nasir told the press.

He said the government had established a tent village in the foothills of Khojak Pass – far away from the international border to keep internally displaced persons.

The security officials had instructed all the truck drivers and vehicle owners to remove their vehicles from the dangerous border area and clear the place at the earliest.

The closure of border crossing has suspended all trade and business activities. Supplies to Nato forces stationed in Afghanistan has also suffered because of the sudden and unannounced closure of the Friendship Gate.

Meanwhile, security officials continued their consultation with the tribal elders and elite of the area on border management.  They briefed the elders about procedure for checking of documents of people crossing the international frontier at the exit point and timings of the post.

The elders demanded adequate facilities during the census work. The officer assured them that people possessing Pakistani national documents during the census would be given all facilities. It was agreed that the international entry and exit point will operate between 7.30am till 6.30pm.

Hekmatyar Calls Taliban Evil, Says They Don’t Serve Islam

In his public address in just two days, the Hizb-e-Islami leader criticized the insurgent group and said they were being backed by foreigners.


Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, the reconciled leader of Hizb-e-Islami group, has called the Taliban an evil group that does not serve Islam.

In his second public address in two days, this time in the eastern province of Nangarhar, Hekmatyar sharply criticized the resurgent movement, and said the Taliban is backed by foreigners.

Hekmatyar said he doubts the Taliban’s faith and beliefs.

“I am surprised about their (Taliban) faith and beliefs, I am surprised at what kind of faith this is? I feel very sorry for such a faith,” said Hekmatyar.

On the structure of the present political system under President Ashraf Ghani and CEO Abdullah Abdullah, Hekmatyar said the National Unity Government (NUG) seems to be like a vehicle with two drivers, suggesting the NUG leadership either resolve their internal disputes or one of them must step down.

“Come and take a historic and brave decision, one of you step down in favor of other,” added Hekmatyar.

Meanwhile, Ghani’s second vice president Mohammad Sarwar Danish welcomed Hekmatyar’s return and peace deal, but warned that no group will be able to determine their objectives by waging war.

“Come and follow the national, Islamic and the good decision made by Hizb-e-Islami and stop killing your Muslim countrymen and destroying your Islamic country,” said Danish.

Hekmatyar also criticized Afghan women, and called on them to conduct themselves in line with Islamic principles.

On the issue of the MOAB bomb recently dropped by the U.S military on Daesh structures and tunnels in Achin district of Nangarhar province, Hekmatyar said the U.S targeted a small group of Daesh with a large bomb, but it did not hit Taliban insurgents who are the enemies of the people of Afghanistan.

Peshawar Officials Blame Afghan Intelligence For Murder of Senior Afghan Taliban Maulvi Daud

Senior Afghan Taliban leader shot dead in Peshawar




* Taliban suspect involvement of Afghan intelligence in attack on Maulvi Daud


Senior Afghan Taliban leader shot dead in Peshawar
By:  Tahir Khan  29-Apr-17


ISLAMABAD: Unidentified gunmen Friday shot dead a senior Afghan Taliban leader near Peshawar, Taliban officials said.

The gunmen sprayed bullets at the car of Maulvi Daud – a former Taliban governor for Kabul – near Shamshato refugees’ camp late Thursday, a Taliban official told Daily Times. Daud’s driver was also killed in the attack, he said.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack. However, a Taliban leader blamed the Afghan intelligence for assassination. “Agents of Afghan intelligence might have carried out the target attack,” a Taliban leader, requesting anonymity, said.

Days earlier a close aide of Daud was also killed in the same area.

Sources from a Taliban splinter group – Fidaye Mahaz – said that the killing of Daud could be the result of “infighting”, a claim rejected by the Taliban leaders.

There are speculations of the Islamic State (IS) involvement in the incident, as both the Taliban and IS supporters had been involved in fighting in parts of Afghanistan.

“Maulvi Daud was a famous Taliban personality who was living as a refugee in Pakistan,” a Taliban leader said.

Thousands attended his funeral in Azakhel area near Nowshera Friday afternoon, an Afghan national, who attended the funeral said.

The slain Taliban leader was among dozens of Afghan leaders, who had previously been detained in Pakistan, and were freed on the request by former Afghan president Hamid Karzai during 2013-14. However, none of the freed Taliban had joined the peace process during Karzai’s regime.

Maulvi Daud is not the first Afghan Taliban leader, who has been killed in Peshawar. Earlier in June 2015, Maulvi Mir Ahmad Gul Hashmi, a Taliban shadow governor for eastern Nangarhar province, was killed in Peshawar. A former Taliban minister, Abdul Raqeeb, was also killed in Peshawar in February 2014 apparently for joining the peace process with the Kabul government.

Taliban launch ‘spring offensive’: The Afghan Taliban Friday announced to launch much-anticipated “spring offensive” that marks the formal beginning of their annual fighting season.

The Taliban announcement could be seen a serious blow to the recent diplomatic efforts by Russia and other regional countries to press for the political process.

The Taliban leadership said in a statement that they would step up attacks during the “Operation Mansouri” named after Mullah Akhtar Mansour, a slain Taliban leader, who was killed in an American drone strike on May 21, 2016.

Pakistan, Afghanistan To Use Google Maps To Settle Border Dispute Over Durand Line

Pakistan, Afghanistan to use Google Maps to settle border row


The Afghanistan-Pakistan border as shown in Google Maps.

Pakistan inherited its 2,400-km border with its western neighbour when it gained independence from Britain in 1947, but Afghanistan has never formally recognised it.

Pakistan and Afghanistan plan to use Google Maps to help settle a border dispute that led to deadly clashes last week, officials from both sides said on Tuesday.

At least eight civilians were killed on both sides in fighting that began when a Pakistani census team accompanied by soldiers visited disputed villages along the southern border on Friday.

Pakistan inherited its 2,400-km border with its western neighbour when it gained independence from Britain in 1947, but Afghanistan has never formally recognised it.

And while official Afghan maps reflect the so-called “Durand Line”, many nationalists believe the true border of their country ends at the Indus river that runs though Pakistan and gave India its name.

“Officials from the geological survey departments of the two countries will conduct a survey, and they will also make use of Google Maps,” said a senior Pakistani security source in Islamabad who requested anonymity.

Abdul Razeq, police chief of Afghanistan’s Kandahar Province, said: “After negotiations, both sides have agreed that a geological survey should be conducted.

“Technical teams of both countries will use GPS and Google Maps as well as other means to get the answer.”

Google complies with local laws in certain countries that compel it to show borders in line with national demands.

In 2010, Google was embroiled in a Central American border dispute that saw two neighbouring countries dispatch troops and heavily armed police to their joint border.

The incident happened after a Nicaraguan commander cited Google’s version of the border map in an interview with Costa Rican newspaper La Nacion to justify a raid on a disputed area of Costa Rica.

Google later said it made a mistake and corrected its map to reflect one sanctioned by the US State Department.

Pakistan last year began trying to harden the traditionally soft border with Afghanistan through trenching and fencing, but its efforts were met with hostility from Kabul.

Ethnic Pashtuns living in the region have traditionally paid it little heed. Villages straddling the frontier have mosques and houses with one door in Pakistan and another in Afghanistan.

Pakistani forces on Monday elevated their rhetoric when they said they had also killed “more than 50 soldiers” in last week’s border clashes — a claim quickly rejected by Kabul, which said it lost two soldiers.