Sunday, August 21, 2011

Homs Defiant!

Assad defies the international community as his people continue to defy him.

Saturday August 20, 2011

Assad security forces and army troops stormed several neighborhoods in and around the city of Homs shortly after dawn on Saturday. 12 people were killed on the previous night, 12 in Homs City, and 7 in Palmyra/Tadmor, but that did not stop thousands of protesters from gathering in their local neighborhood and towns demanding an end to Assad regime. Today, helicopters and tanks were reportedly used to bombard the neighborhoods of Baba Amr, Al-Khaldiyeh, Bab Al-Sibaa and Insha’aat, as army troops carried out a raid in the towns of Rastan and Za’faraniyeh. Machinegun fire and shelling continued throughout the day and into the night. 13 people in all were killed in today’s crackdown: 7 in Rastan, including 5 army defectors who seem to have been the target of the raid, and 2 civilians. 5 more were killed in Za’faraniyeh. In Homs City itself, there a dozen wounded, and over 1,000 new refugees are said to have left the province and crossed into Wadi Khalid region in Lebanon as a result, 5 had bullet wounds.

Meanwhile, the crackdown continues in Lattakia City, Deir Ezzor and the Hauran Province, with security forces making dozens of new arrests, and killing one protester in Al-Hraak. In Deir Ezzor, troops raided the village of Mou Hassan, and carried out a mass detention campaign. Elsewhere, 5 shells fired by the Syrian army landed in the areas between the Syrian and Turkish borders, in a new escalation on part of the Assads.

In Damascus, an all-women demonstration took place in Midan, and thousands of people took part in funerals in Douma, Harasta and Rhaibeh suburbs.

In the mixed city of Misyaf, a mass funeral for Muhammad Watfeh, an Alawite recruit in the Republican Guard who was shot by colleagues on Friday for refusing to fire at unarmed protesters in the Damascene suburb of Harasta. Attempts to “hijack” the funeral and transform it into a pro-Assad rally failed repeatedly. Mourners were adamant in their refusal for the official version that Watfah was killed by armed gangs.

UN team arrived in Syria to investigate human rights violations, as Assad plans to address country tomorrow.

Multiple reports by eyewitnesses over last three weeks indicate that a massacre has taken place in Hama Central Prison when security officers took charge of it. People put the death toll at 132. The strange thing is that except for 5 prisoners, none of the inmates were for political purpose or for taking part in the protests. They were all just criminal inmates.

President Bashar al-Assad increases military patrols along frontier to dissuade Turkey from intervening in domestic unrest

When will all this nightmare be over? I was asked. Not soon enough unfortunately, and the situation is bound to get even worse, before it gets better. How much more? Some of it depends on Assad says tomorrow, to be specific, on the level of denial he will exhibit. Judging from the man’s past, things are going to take an uglier turn. But this is Syria we are dealing with here, you know, the country that can boast “been there, done that” repeatedly when it comes to going through rough times. No matter how long this transition takes, at the end of day, Syria will emerge stronger and more democratic. Even if the opposition remains defiantly fractious and hopeless.  

Damascus / Al-Rhaibeh: security forces raid a funeral tent ad break up the condolence session

Homs / Al-Za’faraneh: the bodies of the 5 defecting soldiers killed by Assad loyalist troops The soldiers belonged to a company affiliated with the Free Syrian Army, led by Lt. General Riyad Al-Assad. They were stationed in Al-Za’faraneh to protect the inhabitants of the region, which include Al-Rastan. Other members of the rebellious company managed to escape. The incident, nonetheless reflects the growing organizational capacity of defectors, and the real existence of the Free Syrian Army.

Deir Ezzor City: hiding tanks in the middle of the city

In Homs city, the people buried their dead , and went back to business as usual: protest in face of all crackdowns, no matter how violent , , , ,

Rastan: after a raid by the army, protesters take to the streets where middle and high school students burn their civic education textbooks because they are laden with Baath propaganda and lies Then protesters begin chant the new slogan that is being echoed all through Syria today: “the people want to execute the president” The civilian martyrs

Talbisseh the protest festival continues despite all the violence , Deir Baalbah

Palmyra/Tadmor: the city begins the day with a funeral , then observes a general strike in mourning for her 5 martyrs But residents take to the streets in the afternoon and at night

Thousands took to the streets in several Hauran communities, as the spirit of revolution picks up again in the Cradle of the Syrian Revolution. 

Al-Hraak / Aug 19: a lone woman challenging Assad’s officers Soon after The martyr Muhammad Al-Hariri It was during Muhammad’s funeral today that another martyr fell.

Ankhel / Aug 19: scene from yesterday’s crackdown ,


More than 10,000 protesters take part in the funeral of Bassem al-Beik in Harasta , , , An all women protest takes place in Al-Midan (daytime) (nighttime) Douma: the day begins with a funeral , but people come out again after night prayers Al-Kisweh Al-Rhaibeh: funeral Kafar Batna Tal Mnein , Zamalka Flash protests in Al-Mazra’ah in Central Damascus Also in Midan Qaboun


Elsewhere, tanks take up positions in several towns in Jabal Al-Zawiyeh



Hama City: security convoy patrols the streets at night (Al-Sabouniyeh) Still, residents organize a flash protests nearby