Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Battle Moves North!

Anarchy in lattakia. Relative quiet on the Southern Front.  

The momentum of Syria’s ongoing revolution shifted northward on Saturday, with the coastal city of Lattakia becoming the stage for the major events of the day.  The city had joined the revolutionary fray on Friday, and clashes between protesters on the one hand, and security forces supported by gangs of smugglers, known as the Shabbiha, many of whom are of Alawite descent and closely affiliated with different members of the Assad-Makhlouf Clan and who for long treated Lattakia as their favorite in-country playground, continued through the night. 

After the Shabbiha opened fire on protesters from their cars and from rooftops, killing around 17 and wounding dozens, protesters withdrew to the narrow alleyways, where people through rocks and garbage cans on passing security cars.  By late Saturday evening, local notables formed councils that worked on reconciliation with the security forces and some of the Shabbiha. The situation seems to be under official control now.  But the city remains under siege, with no one allowed in or out.

Lattakia - Sheikh Dhaher: “Release the captives, o Bashar”
Lattakia: Protesters carrying bodies of the fallen and talking about attacks by Military Police. One says: “Those who’re shooting are dogs.” Another says: “Fuck Military Police”
Lattakia: Sleibeh
Lattakia – Abbadah Village
Lattakia: one of the fallen protesters, killed by sniper.


The Maher Al-Assad Video at Seydnaya Prison
We have included this video earlier saying that it claims to show Maher Al-Assad standing in the midst of the Seydnana Prison courtyard after his Defense Brigades stormed in July of 2008. We are now more positive asserting that this is indeed Maher Al-Assad, every person who saw this video and who is known to have met numerously with Maher al-Assad until recently had confirmed his identity. A well-known dissident and former political prisoner has also identified the second person in civilian attire shown in the video as being one of the officers who took part in his arrest.

On the basis of this video and of the reports prepared by Human Rights Watch (here and  here) on this matter, as well as the massacres that have recently taken place in Deraa and Lattakia, we believe that the ICC has ample reason to look into this matter closely. We believe that by taken a more proactive attitude on these issues at this early stage might put enough pressures on the Syrian regime to refrain from further acts of bloodshed.

Interviews:
Ammar on PBS NewsHour  Friday, March 25, 2011 (Video) (Transcript) 

Articles & Reports:

Rumors
Summary: Maher and Bashar are reported to have disagreed on the issue of handling protests. Also, after VP Farouq Al-Sharaa voices disagreement on how the issue of Deraa was handled, Maher is reported to have shot him, and w are told that Al-Sharaa is now being hospitalized.