Tuesday, August 16, 2011

And Now Ethnic Cleansing?

Are the Assads seriously trying to change the demographic character of the City of Lattakia by deporting all Sunnis? As they watch the current crackdown in Lattakia unfolds, many protesters think so.

Monday August 15, 2011

19 people were killed in security crackdown in Lattakia (6), Homs (12) and Deir Ezzor (1). UNRWA report that 5 to 10,000 Palestinians were driven out of the Al-Ramel Camp on account of the ongoing crackdown. More than 300 residents were reported arrested by army troops and taken to unknown locations.

Even the publications of Syria's traditional allies, such as the Palestinian Hamas movement, whose top leadership is based in Damascus, are giving space to harsh indictments of those loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. In the pro-Hamas, Gaza-based daily Al-Resaleh last week, columnist Moumen Bseiso wrote that the Syrian regime “is extremely hostile to the aspirations and rights of its people” even though it enjoys “an honorable record at the foreign level" as a leader of resistance to Israeli and Western agendas in the region.
Syrian forces shelled residential districts in Latakia on Monday, the third day of an assault on Sunni neighborhoods of the ancient port city that had seen mounting protests against President Bashar Assad’s autocratic rule. Meanwhile, thousands of people fled a Palestinian refugee camp in the coastal city, some fleeing gunfire and others leaving on orders from authorities, a spokesman for the UN Relief and Works Agency said.
The big question now is how relations will develop with Iran, as Syria is the only ally Iran has in the Arab world. With both Turkey and Iran as major stakeholders in Syria, and with their complex relationship creating differing ideas about the Syrian crisis, there will be some tense repositioning in the days ahead.
There's a small, grassless public garden in a residential area just off Hama's Street 40, delineated by a modest metal fence and full of olive trees, their leafy branches laden with unripe fruit. There are also nine fresh graves, for locals whom residents say were killed during the Syrian security forces' recent bloody assault on this scarred rebel city.
It is quite amazing that the protest movement has not been as violent as one would expect given the brutality and sectarianism of the regime.
Official close to Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero visited Syria in July to make proposal, according to newspaper El Pais report; Spain gave up on proposal as Syria regime's crackdown became more violent.

The best response to this piece in the New Republic on the increasing levels of sectarianism in some protest communities is to highlight this observation by Professor Omar Dahi based on a recent trip to Syria:

“It is quite amazing that the protest movement has not been as violent as one would expect given the brutality and sectarianism of the regime.”

The “motley Syrian opposition” did push for a neat revolution, we had a moral obligation to do so, still few of us were surprised to see that things have not been as neat as we wanted. The regime mounted a systematic campaign to stir up sectarian hatred among its supporters and opponents alike, pitting sectarian groups against each other in the hope of generating enough mayhem and chaos to undermine and suffocate the revolution, in doing so, the regime used all the resources of the state under its disposal, especially the media, it was only natural that things turn bumpy. We are not blind to that, and we are not in “denial,” as the author claims. But we have so far managed to keep the sectarian discourse and violence among the revolutionaries in check. The few incidents that have been reported and that seem to be genuine, as opposed to the bulk of fabrications out there, no matter how reprehensible, should not detract from our success in this regard. The battle is far from over of course, and things can still go wrong. But, for all its fractious nature, Syria’s opposition is still doing a great job in pushing forward a message of nonviolence, inclusiveness and tolerance, and will continue to do so.

Bullets holes on the walls and windows of the Hourani Hospital in Hama City http://youtu.be/1siNT_-6GTs Assad security forces patrolling the streets of Hama http://youtu.be/KhB6tVjBZE4 An assortment of the rounds and shells used in Hama http://youtu.be/le5kNFxxyi4 Troops storm Al-Hourani Mosque http://youtu.be/hfqRa7aFghA

Palestine / Ramallah: a demonstration in support of the Syrian Revolution http://youtu.be/nCIxCZ747s0

Al-Ramel Al-Janoubi Neighborhood was originally a camp for Palestinian refugees, but over the years many poor Lattakia natives moved in as well benefitting from the cheap property prices and the willingness of the authorities to look the other way when people improvised their own solutions to make up for the lack of basic services, as is the case in so squatter settlements in so many Syrian cities. Also, the overwhelming majority of the Palestinian refugees have actually been born and raised in Syria and are no less Syrian than other citizens. Hence their willingness to take direct part in ongoing protests. 

The assassination of Oula Jablawi by the coward Bashar Al-Assad: some say Oula was shot by a sniper others that she was shot point blank by a security officer. Be that as it may, she was killed yesterday by an Assad supporter enacting the will of his master, she was 5 years old http://youtu.be/FFJjmdeDY5A

A woman driver falls victim to the random shelling http://youtu.be/0gDXEO8H3fo The martyr Riyadh Shawi http://youtu.be/X5moqTIYHrs

The city observers a general strike http://youtu.be/WH-vSc4hkL4 , http://youtu.be/eM1_33R9K8Q Tanks and troops move into the heart of the Al-Ramel Al-Janoubi http://youtu.be/O9M9ulelzoM , http://youtu.be/stSBs1U3BXg , http://youtu.be/a7KksMgkHbA , http://youtu.be/WUtcbt7HrGE , http://youtu.be/1TcmKtCqHoc A close-up for a tank in action http://youtu.be/FaZwDAGWugM gunfire and explosions http://youtu.be/vx1RF1JZYbA , http://youtu.be/iOsIUHhm5fY , http://youtu.be/DFQMkknCSD4 Still, the people managed to put together a funeral for one of their martyrs, Muhammad Shurayqi http://youtu.be/AzRTcvNQaFA Meanwhile, pro-Assad death squads spread fear in the Sleibeh Neighborhood http://youtu.be/hEI1IDR066I

Expecting the army to storm their city, the best that the protesters of Jableh can do is read a statement asking the army not to intervene http://youtu.be/CKSmvMjBYCI

As Assad forces turn their attention to Lattakia, the province of Hauran, the cradle of the uprising, rediscovers its revolutionary ways and begin fielding mass protests again. “Syria wants freedom” “Assad lost all legitimacy” “The people want to topple the regime” all can be heard again echoed by tens of thousands of protesters. 

Ma’arabah http://youtu.be/nK6iiouBpbA Al-Mseifrah http://youtu.be/i-XPRz5pVBQ , http://youtu.be/G6hgE0Lah90 , http://youtu.be/2cNXOs9R5zU Da’el http://youtu.be/CA73Bh2OAgY Al-Teebeh http://youtu.be/_wJtAn3JL3E Khirbet Ghazaleh http://youtu.be/82RVCrwj15U , http://youtu.be/uaS80ORuFyE Basr Al-Harir http://youtu.be/sR_JIrY1XTc , http://youtu.be/0JYH5Q3G4_0 Meanwhile, reinforcements pour into Tafas http://youtu.be/5OpdZt9qLpo which has been under siege for weeks http://youtu.be/kLQt8c1UxGs  Still, the city manages to field a sizeable protest in the evening http://youtu.be/8Twl7lgCw7E  , http://youtu.be/8c3Xr2Z_WA0 In Deraa City, mass security presence still prevents residents from organizing large protests http://youtu.be/EuVbJRxBIVQ As military units impose new checkpoints along the road connecting Nahteh and Eastern Al-Mleihah http://youtu.be/Wk8Y3Mdqsoc Namar continues to live under virtual occupation http://youtu.be/PBXdHBD3ABk  Smaller protests were organized in Al-Hraak http://youtu.be/OU8nOWuXPrw Ghabaghib http://youtu.be/o4exNoA7JNQ Sanamein http://youtu.be/xk2NRJWd3rU Al-Harrah http://youtu.be/0EWVfLeOrD0


The martyr Zakaria Karraz (died on the 14th) http://youtu.be/YEkNkhljAKA Assad security forces carry out arrests http://youtu.be/qQL6khJO51M Funeral for Jamal Mamdouh (died under torture after weeks in detention) http://youtu.be/dR-XmJvqq6c , http://youtu.be/RUrWZYCzblk His tortured body http://youtu.be/mklEzfKySw0

Talbisseh http://youtu.be/5aXHbjyRvD0 , http://youtu.be/yDUgxM6wu-E (in flames: Lattakia only kneels before God) http://youtu.be/CLbIMrtO12E Deir Baalbah http://youtu.be/fj5Z2pePawA


Protesters came under fire in Ma’arrat Al-Nouman http://youtu.be/iOg4iTFaNvA , http://youtu.be/_ljyod63JF4 Idlib City http://youtu.be/7v7uACebnsk , http://youtu.be/IoJALcSHy4Y , http://youtu.be/B1dYKHxhot4 Jabal Al-Zawiyeh http://youtu.be/kjBf8SURXqA Saraqib http://youtu.be/tG_f6XCb0rA Kafroumah (pro-Assad slogans written on the Mosque dome and walls) http://youtu.be/VnwR_opXz0A Sermeen http://youtu.be/XF0h2FQSzh0 Binnish http://youtu.be/eO34sf02u-Q , http://youtu.be/csgvUnudsuk In the morning, people received some of their released detainees http://youtu.be/_JVF7qcZZdg Khan Shaikhoon http://youtu.be/e_9Gj2sUZB8 Al-Hbeit http://youtu.be/JSz1_zhC_CY


Despite the ongpign crackdown and the siege, the inhabitants of Deir Ezzor are not giving up the fight. Daily and nightly protests still take place.

Deir Ezzor City http://youtu.be/kOA6CdmhrSA , http://youtu.be/KykFDp7hD_M Al-Qouriyeh http://youtu.be/5aedqbev3lY Takaya (Aug 14th) http://youtu.be/f1nlJlEBFG8 Even in distant, beleaguered, isolated Albou Kamal http://youtu.be/ufDXylAfLMA