Saturday, July 30, 2011

Your Silence Is Killing US!

Friday July 29, 2011

By latest count, 20 protesters have been killed in today’s crackdown (including 1 in Lattakia’s suburb of Qneinees, 3 in Deir Ezzor City, 2 in Albou Kamal, 5 in the Damascene suburb of Kisweh, 2 in Douma and 1 in Midan. 1 in the Al-Mseifra in Deraa/Hauran Province and 1 in Homs, and 1 in Hama City) … Syrian state-run media announced today that Bashar Al-Assad has been promoted to the rank of Field Marshal in the Syrian army in recognition for his success in completing the formation of the 4th Regiment of the Army …  

…Which path will this year's musalsalet take? Will they be ill-poised to accommodate the changing political sensibilities of many Syrians? Or will they afford the average family with a break from the "chaos" in the streets?
…In the following month, Hala sought recourse the only way she could from Washington – she sued Bashar Al Assad and members of his regime under an American legal clause that gives US citizens the right to sue foreign governments for torturing or killing their relatives.
(CNN) -- Malek Jandali, a pianist who performed last week at a rally in Washington in support of the Syrian opposition, blamed his work for what he said was an attack Thursday night by government security forces on his parents.
"The government won't be able to control all the demonstrations if people come out every night after extra prayers as we expect," said Radwan Ziadeh, a U.S.-based human-rights activist from the Damascus suburb of Daraya. "Religious leaders will also speak out if the government continues to kill people."
"I think the month of Ramadan will indeed be a turning point for the revolution," said Ammar Abdul-Hamid, a Syrian opposition activist and dissident in the United States. "During Ramadan, every day will likely be a Friday, and Assad's security forces, army troops and death squads will have tremendous difficulty dealing with this situation without resorting to extreme violence. This will be a red Ramadan."
(Reuters) - Syrian forces shot dead at least 20 civilians in attacks on pro-democracy demonstrations across the country Friday, the Syrian human rights organization Sawasiah said.

What does the promotion of Bashar Al-Assad to the rank of Field Marshall signify at this stage?

I look at it as a symbolic act that came at the conclusion of a new pact between the Assad family and the upper ranks of the Syrian army, security forces and certain figures of authority within the Alawite community, be they religious or lay. If this is correct, then, this is an ominous development, because it means that the battle lines have been drawn, and that they will straddle confessional lines. Over the last few weeks, the Assads seem to have reorganized the army bypassing the usual structures, in a process that have allowed them to pool their loyalists together under a new command system that allows for easier mobilization. The same process, however, seem to be facilitating the breakup of the army along sectarian lines, which might be why we are witnessing more and more high level defections these days.

The Assads may not have been unaware of this eventuality, but they seem to have resigned themselves to it, and decided that regrouping is more important than keeping the army together, because in their mind sectarian war is coming because they themselves are manufacturing it.

Already clashes between loyalists and free officers are under way, not only in Deir Ezzor and Albou Kamal, but also in the Damascene suburbs of Madaya and Zabadani, where eyewitnesses report that defectors fought on Thursday against security officers and pro-Assad militia leaving 10 dead. In Homs, local residents say, 100 officers in the Military Academy rebelled, 80 managed to escape, after briefly barricading themselves there, but that 20 were killed.

Indeed, silence is killing us, but our dying will be a noisy affair. So, will our rebirth.

Regarding developments in Deir Ezzor City yesterday, this is the best summary so far:
The governor and the security chief have not been killed as previously reported, but reports from state media in Damascus indicate that the army is preparing to undertake major operations in the Deir Ezzor region.

At least eight people, including a child, reported killed while tanks have been used in Deir al-Zor province

… Activists earlier said security forces killed at least six people during overnight raids in Deir al-Zor province and the suburbs of Damascus, the AFP news agency reported.

This came amid reports of defected troops clashing with soldiers loyal to the ruling Baathist party.

"Tanks entered the city overnight, but there is talk of entire army units defecting. Electricity and communications have been cut," a resident, who declined to be named, told Reuters.

On Sunday, Assad replaced the civilian governor of Deir al-Zor province with Samir Othman al-Sheikh, a secret police officer, two days after roughly 500,000 people held demonstrations against his government.

Last week the army surrounded the town of Albu Kamal on the easternmost edge of Deir al-Zor after 30 soldiers defected after the killing of protesters, residents said.

In Deir Ezzor City, despite reported violent clashes between security officers, pro-Assad militias and loyalist army troops on the one side, and defecting army units on the other, especially in Al-Huwaiqah Neighborhood, tens of thousands of peaceful protesters still took to the streets calling for toppling the regime,,,,, Still, there were casualties, including these teenagers,, and fatalities, These are shots of funerals that took place, Choppers were seen flying around certain parts of the city,

Elsewhere in Deir Ezzor Province, protests took place in Qouriyeh, Al-Mayadeen,

Choppers were also filmed flying over the Albou Kamal. We remind that major defections had already taken place in the city of Albou Kamal on July 16

In Damascus, protests took place in suburbs around the city and in many key neighborhoods in the city itself.

In Midan thousands took to the streets calling for Bashar’s departure,,

In Kanaker, and despite the massive detentions campaign and the killings that took place over the last few days, people were out in the thousands, defying the regime and its security forces The residents of Kanaker had held a pretest yesterday as well denouncing the crackdown On Wednesday, security forces raided Kanaker, killing 15 residents,

In Kisweh, security opened fire on protesters killing 5 in the morning,, and more in the evening

In Douma, security forces and pro-Assad militias filled the streets to prevent demonstrations, still protesters managed to take to the streets to make their anti-regime message heard,,

In Al-Hajar Al-Aswad, thousands of protesters carried two large flags, the current one, and the independence flag Eventually, security forces and army troops open fire on the protesters to disperse them

In Al-Tall, protester tried to appeal to the army and security forces surrounding their town, by repeating the famous slogan “the people and the army are one” and by offering dates and water bottles (they can be seen lined up in the middle of the streets near the mid-point in the video)

In Darayyah, security forces patrolled the streets in the hope of preventing demonstrations, still people demonstrated

Despite military siege and the mass detentions campaign that has been taken place over the last two weeks, thousands took to the streets in Qaboun, Madaya, Moadamiyeh,, Jobar,, Zabadani,, Boukain, Zamalka, Arbeen

In Deraa Province, army units stormed into the city of Jassem, a day after it witnessed massive anti-regime demonstration, as we can see here with the demonstration chanting accusing Syrian media of being traitorous: Now, tanks fill up its streets:, and security forces fire at protesters

Tanks are also omnipresent in the streets of the nearby community of Da’el, still, their presence did not prevent residents from holding an anti-regime demonstration on Friday,,,  

In Al-Mseifrah, residents wielding rocks drove away security forces and pro-Assad militias when they tried to storm the local mosque and held an anti-regime demonstration, but security forces did not leave before opening fire on protesters killing at least one local resident:

In Bosra City, troops open fire on protesters

In Deraa City, despite massive army presence, people still managed to hold a demonstration, sporadic clashes ensued between protesters wielding stones and army troops resulting in several casualties,,, Army troops also stormed the Abazid Neighborhood and conducted many arrests

Despite massive security presence in their areas these days, the regime realizing that the country’s Kurdish population cannot be bribed into remaining on the sidelines of the revolution, Kurdish activists organized several anti-regime protests in their communities across the country. Indeed, protests took place in Kobani, in Dirbassiyeh, in Amoudah, in Ras Al-Ain, in Al-Qamishly, where security officers opened fire and used tear gas against the protesters This was the scene before the crackdown,

In Homs City, due to massive security and army presence in the city, the protesters could not converge on one central location, so they held small protests in their neighborhoods calling for toppling the regime. Protests in Al-Bayadeh & Al-Khaldiyyeh, in Bab Al-Sibaa,, near the Stadium:, Al-Insha’at,, Bab Amr, Midan, Al-Ghoutah, Al-Qousour, Al-Soultaniyeh, Al-Wa’er, Al-Qaseer, Jouret Al-Shayah
In the larger Homs Province, protests took place in Rastan, Al-Holeh,

In Hama City, hundreds of thousands gathered in Al-Aassi Square in what has become a weekly tradition now:,, Still, elsewhere in the city, gunfire was heard in Al-Masafi Neighborhood  Elsewhere in the Hama Province, protests took place near Al-Madeeq Citadel:, Hilfaya, Kafarzita, Al-Salamiyyah, Salamiyyeh, Taybat Al-Imam,, Karnaz, Sauran, Al-Latamneh 

In Lattakia, despite mass arrests and detentions over the last few days, thousands took to the streets calling for toppling the regime in Al-Ramel Neighborhood:,, Abdul-Rahman Mosque As punishment to the protesters, security forces and pro-Assad militias raid and loot local shops Elsewhere in the City, in the suburb of Qneinees, security officers and pro-Assad militias can be seen filling the streets to prevent any protest Still, protests did take place, and the militias ended up shooting at the protesters This is a funeral for one of the martyrs. The body had to be smuggled out of the hospital because security forces refused to release it

Another high rabnkign defector: Colonel Ahmad Hijazi 
Damascus / Moaddamiyah: protesters cleaning after themselves

Protests also took place in Al-Rayhaniyyah refugee camp in Turkey, and in Jableh City along the coast, in the village of Bayda near Baniyas In Baniyas itself, security officers attacked worshippers as they left Al-Qubayat Mosque,

In Al-Hassakeh City, security forces chase after protesters

In the city of Izaz, in the Aleppo Province, security forces were deployed in great numbers to prevent protests