Monday, August 29, 2011

Unity, Finally!

As Bashar Al-Assad continues to lie to his people, his death squads continue to kill them, and members of the Assad family go to Spain to celebrate the wedding of the granddaughter of Bashar’s late uncle, Jamil, to the grandson of his infamous living uncle, Rif’at, the miracle workers behind the Syrian revolution finally announce their choices for a national council, an event that will celebrated soon on the soil of an Assads-free Syria.

Sunday August 28, 2011

15 protesters were killed on Saturday, and 12 in Sunday as a result of security crackdown that swept across protest communities all over Syria.

On Sunday, 3 were killed and scores wounded in Albou Kamal on the order with Iraq, as security forces made a new sweep of the community. In what has rapidly become a pattern by now, security forces shelled the minaret of the Great Mosque at the city center. 2 were killed and 9 wounded in the town of Khan Shaikhoon in Idlib Province. 2 more dead were confirmed in Homs and Ankhel Town in Hauran/Deraa Province.

In the Damascene suburb of Harasta, eyewitnesses reported that scores of army soldiers defected then clashed with loyalist troops. No figures on casualties were provided. The defections were confirmed through a YouTube video posted on the internet by the Free Officers Movement. This is the first major defection to take place in Damascus itself.

In the town of Rastan in Homs Province, and shortly after a major nighttime protest, security forces stormed the city and clashed with the scores of defectors who vowed to protect it.

In Deir Ezzor, military sweep operations included raids into the towns of Ayyash, Kharitah and Hawayij culminating in dozens of arrests. In Idlib, operations focused on the eastern suburbs of Ma’arrat Al-Nouman which witnessed mass demonstrations in the last few days demanding departure of Bashar Al-Assad.

The death toll on Saturday includes 2 in the Damascene suburb of Saqba, 2 in Harasta and 1 in Qaboun, 1 in the town of Marei near Aleppo City, 3 in Lattakia, 2 in Ma’arrata Al-Nouman and 1 in Al-Bayadah neighborhood in Homs City and 1 in Ghabaghib town on Deraa/Hauran Province.

“Today in the world there is no place for authoritarian administrations, one-party rule, closed regimes,” Mr. Gul said, adding that such governments could be “replaced by force” if their leaders did not make changes. “Everyone should know that we are with the Syrian people,” he said.
Assad promises to loosen restrictions on access to information; decree bans journalists from publishing 'any content that would prejudice the national unity and security'.
As the smaller of the two countries and facing its own domestic tensions, Jordan has been sensitive to Syrian concerns. When Syrian dissidents, including renegade soldiers, activists and ordinary citizens, began coming across the border, Amman imposed a media gag on refugees. By comparison, the approximately 7,000 Syrian refugees who have cross into Turley, on Syria’s north, have been interviewed by the media while dissident leaders routinely meet in Istanbul, the Turkish capital.
While Syria's president provides valuable support for the pursuit of Hezbollah's objectives, the survival of his regime is not vital.
“I called all my tribesmen not to show weapons or use them. We will work hard to keep our uprising peaceful, but I cannot say what will happen in two months if the regime maintains the military crackdown on us.”
Dubai: Syrians in the UAE have been left stranded after Visa and Mastercard blocked all credit cards issued by Syrian banks. The ban, which was put in place last week, is the result of severe US sanctions imposed on Syria in the face violence against protestors in cities across the country.
"Businessmen think of their business first and do the best for that," said one economist in Damascus. "To get a real split, the opposition needs to prove it can provide a stable alternative."

With thinker Bourhane Ghalyoun selected as leader, representatives of the Syrian protest committees speaking in Ankara announced on Al-Jazeerah the names of the members of the National Transitional Council selected by their colleagues inside the country. I will publish the full list of names tomorrow. But this is the real deal indeed.  

Casualty Figures

There is much controversy these days surrounding the casualty figures offered by the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and its director Rami Abdul Rahman. Innuendos and accusations aside, the figures offered by Rami do indeed fall way below those offered by more established Syrian human rights figures and organizations, especially those operating inside Syria, including the National Organization for Human Rights in Syria, among others.

For example, Rami offers an estimate of 2200 killed since the beginning of the Revolution, a figure that includes security officers, most other organizations agree that the more accurate figure is closer to 3,000. A more glaring example, however, is manifested in Rami’s estimate that only 100 protesters were killed during Ramadan, at a time when all other human rights figures and organizations emphatically assert, as reported on this blog, that over 100 protesters were killed on the first day of the invasion of Hama City alone, which took place in the early days of Ramadan. And there have been killings every day since, for a total closer to 300 so far.

International media organizations should take these different figures under consideration when reporting on the ongoing crisis in Syria. They should also bear in mind that, once the dust settles down, the final figures might be much higher, as was the case in Egypt for instance.

Dirty Rotten Scoundrel

Bashar Al-Assad addressed a crowd of religious scholars in the final days of Ramadan and assured them that the Syrian Army was not responsible for the shelling of the minaret of Othman Mosque in Deir Ezzor City. He says the Minaret was rigged to explore by terrorists. This is of course a clear lie as this video clearly demonstrates

But the reality is worse. The targeting of mosques and minarets have been part and parcel of the official crackdown since the first days of the Revolution and the sacking of Al-Omari Mosque in Deraa City at a time when it was used as a makeshift hospital for wounded protesters        Similar incidents took place in Baniyas (where Ayrout Mosque was virtually occupied by the army) , Talbiseeh (Abou Obeidah Mosque) and more recently Damascus itself , .

Targeting minarets have also taken place in Hama City (Rahmeh Mosque) Homs City (Bin Nafei Mosque) Talbisseh (Ali bin Abi Talib Mosque) and today Albou Kamal  

In his address Assad also described those soldiers and followers of his people who bow to his image and force defectors and protesters to say “there is no God but Bashar” as “kafirs” (unbelievers). In doing do, and considering how widespread the practice is among the ranks of his most ardent followers, Bashar is actually demonstrating a willingness to turn against his own followers for the sake of appeasing the Sunni religious establishment, the one institution that his followers, be they Alawites, Christians or secular Sunnis, hate more than anything else. I bet this might have cost the Assad a few “votes.” In one stroke, he transformed himself from demi-god to demi-man.

One final point, and for all those who keep denying that tanks were being used in cities and that the crackdown is that intense and that serious, here it is, their own illustrious leaders admitting to the use of tanks, albeit he claims that they were used only as a show of force meant “to terrorize the terrorists.”

Assad Embassy staff in Paris attack pro-democracy demonstrators at the gate

Most Damascene suburbs are currently under siege in a move designed to prevent people from pouring into central Damascus

More defections: more officers join the Free Syrian Army In Jabal Al-Zawiyeh Region in the Idlib Province, eyewitnesses claim that the sound of heavy gunfire and shelling heard in this video come from a battle between loyalists and defectors

A video of cartoonist Ali Farzat after the attack His hands were broken, his wrists showed cigarette burns, and his beard was partly burnt.

In Hama City, people are forced to dig up the bodies of martyrs in order to save them from being snatched by army troops trying to hide every trace of their crimes , , ,

More videos from the storming of Al-Rifai Mosque. Here we hear Sheikh Osama trying to admonish security forces not to come in, as worshippers barricade themselves in Security forces go on a rampage inside the Mosque after they come in Protesters had briefly taken one of the security officers as hostage, but they later released him .


Bab Houd “the Arab League ignored us, Russia killed us, Turkey confused us” “We ask for freedom, he detained us, we asked him to leave, he killed us, we asked for democracy, he dispersed us, shelled minarets and defamed mosques. But that only made us more determined” Qoussour “the heart of the army is dead, and all sense of solidarity, why do its soldiers kill us when the people and the army are brothers?” Protesters hope for an academy award for best directed protest And they are so dedicated to that, they also come out at dawn , Dablan “Lift the banner high, Bashar Al-Assad is not worth an old shoe” Meanwhile, shop-owners in teh neighborhood observe a strike Baba Amr: a small gathering on their way to the larger gathering Karm Al-Shami

Thousands took to the streets in the usual communities around Homs City, despite the ongoing siege and the crackdown Rastan , , , Tamor/Palmyra , Deir Baalbah , Qseir Houleh

Despite ongoing military operations, people took to the streets in the thousands in various local communities

Crackdown and martyrs in Khan Shaikhoon the two martyrs , People later held a funeral and prayed for the two martyrs  Meanwhile, In Kafroumah, the army has in effect occupied the city



Dawn of August 29


Douma , , Protesters come under heavy gunfire, as fire engines and security vehicles step in , this comes as a repeat of what took place earlier that morning, and the previous day, Saturday Earlier on Saturday, a large demonstration started at the main mosque in Douma and headed towards Kafar Sousseh in order to reach Al-Rifai Mosque as protest for the crackdown on Friday, and which was eventually by security forces using water cannons

Flash protests (brief small demonstration held in sensitive areas, mostly at night, to make a point)

In Saqba, protesters swear to stay the course Dmeir Harasta


In Mleiha Gharbiyeh, residents try to prevent the passage of tanks going to Hraak through their village

Nawa: military checkpoints around the city tanks in the city

A recently obtained video from March showing the “liberation” of Deraa City by Assad troops



Dawn of August 29


Taybat Al-Imam Protesters carry a large banner asking for Saudi intervention , Kafar Zita on strike

Hama City: (march 15 Streets) , Assad security forces chasing out street peddlers


New videos from the crackdown on August 14 , The martyr Ahmad Soufi ,

Deir Ezzor City (dawn of 29) Nighttime