Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Waiting for Friday!

On the First Day of Eid, our True Dictator gave us more deaths in place of liberty.

Tuesday August 30, 2011

7 people were killed on the first day of Eid, including a 12-year old boy. 4 of the 7 were killed in the town of Harrah and 2 in the town of Ankhel in Hauran/Deraa Province, the Cradle of the Revolution, which has rejoined the protest movement in full force after weeks of intense crackdown by Assad army troops and loyalist militias. Another protester was killed in Homs City, now the Center of the Revolution and the focus of the regime’s violent crackdown.

Several protesters were injured and dozens wounded when security opened fire on protesters in the Damascene suburbs of Douma and Qaboun.

Syrian opposition figures hold a public trial of Bashar Al-Assad in Cairo and announce a new conference for the post-Eid period.

Human rights activists report that the confirmed death toll for Ramadan alone at 687 (taking into account the 110 people killed in Hama City on the day preceding Ramadan). See table below!

Majority of 88 detainees who have died since start of uprising against regime said to have been tortured
An increasing number of Syrian soldiers are quitting the army and joining up with anti-government protesters, according to reports from the central city of Homs and surrounding towns. Now, some wonder whether the largely peaceful movement in Homs — a center of anti-government sentiment — is gearing up for a different approach.
National broadcaster NOS news cites Dick Benschop, head of the company’s Dutch arm, as saying Shell thinks halting its operations there would hurt the Syrian people more than its government.
The officials are Walid al-Moallem, the foreign and expatriates minister; Bouthaina Shaaban, a political adviser; and Ali Abdul Karim Ali, the ambassador to Lebanon. The designations were made under a May 18 executive order that targeted senior Syrian government officials–including Assad himself–for sanctions.
The Turkish government considers these refugees as “Guests,” a status that is open to interpretation and lacks the international protection that the UNHCR can provide. UNHCR has not been allowed regular access to the camps, and EMHRN learned that only those few Syrian refugees who managed with difficulty to reach the organization’s Ankara office were registered as asylum seekers. As the Syrian conflict continues to intensify, refugees told EMHRN they did not feel safe enough to return home in the foreseeable future.
“We are all concerned Yassein will be tortured because of my activities,” said Ziadeh. “He’s not political at all and has never been on a protest. But I am concerned that they will use him to put some pressure on me.”
Ahmad, who did not want to give his last name, is from Baniyas, the Syrian coastal city that became a protest hub before coming under siege by the Syrian army and security forces in May. Large protests haven't been reported there since.

If, come Friday, protesters throughout Syria carried banners supporting the Transitional Council, then, the Street will have spoken, and people who are wondering about the nature of the silence prevailing in the quarters of those nominated to be in the council, will have their answer: the nominees are waiting to see if indeed the protesters and their leaders on the streets are behind the idea.

For our political elite, as we all know, is a dodgy slippery cantankerous bunch, who are in the habit of staining their own history of honest sacrifice by throwing each other under the bus rather than sticking their neck out to assume a position of moral leadership. Theirs is a penchant for political leadership, morality be damned, except in slogans and statements made for public consumption of course.

For this, the political leaders chosen by the people for one of the most important period in our modern history, the transition to democracy, are all waiting for guarantees before stepping into the light to take credit for that which they have not made, the revolution and the council, and to pretend to shoulder the responsibility of leadership, where they are in effect dragging their feet and being dragged by the nose to accept their role in it. Happy Eid Everyone!

In “The 75-year-old smoker who refuses to quit”, Sami Moubayed, editor-in-chief of Forward Magazine in Damascus, Syria writes:
“Real reforms might not silence the Syrian street, but they would create different dynamics and a new social contract between the street and the regime. If an irreversible decision is made to withdraw the Syrian Army from the streets, end single-party rule, arrest all wrongdoers, combat corruption no matter at what level, set political prisoners free, write a new constitution that heralds a parliamentary republic, and call for early and internationally supervised presidential and parliamentary elections, then the Tunisian-Egyptian-Libyan storms could still be avoided in Syria. Those reforms would certainly secure a “soft landing” for the nation, and an honourable exit from power for the Baathists.”

The problem here is that after 11 years of advocacy and proposing all different kinds of reasonable reform scenarios, there are still people out there who refuse to see the obvious, namely, that the “nation” is not exactly the thing that the Assads care about the most, and that, right at this moment, they are the ones who are actively promoting civil strife and foreign intervention scenarios, because that has always been their wild card to preserve their rule. This is an “if only the sun could rise from the West for once” type wishful thought meant to assuage a guilty conscience and stake out a moral position that remains unearned.

Death Toll from Red Ramadan

Death toll
1st day of Hama City invasion by Assad troops which took place on the day before Ramadan
Including 3 in Albou Kamal, 5 in Hama, 2 in Lattakia, 1 in Sermeen in the Idlib province, 3 in Homs City, 1 in the Damascene suburb of Zabadani, and 6 in the Damascene suburb of Arbeen
Including 1 in the Damascene suburb of Kisweh, 3 in Rastan and 3 in Deir Ezzor City
Nawa (Hauran Province), Palmyra (Homs) and Midan (Damascus)
Hauran (Deraa ), Homs and Damascus
Friday. Most deaths happened in suburbs and neighborhoods in Damascus

The invasion of Deir Ezzor City and Houleh Region in Homs – bloodiest day in Ramadan
In Deraa and Deir Ezzor  where a 17-year old woman was shot by a sniper and a mother and her two young sons were shot while foraging for food
Including 8 children, 5 in Taybat Al-Imam in Hama Province. Deaths also occurred in Deir Ezzor, Homs, Idlib, Lattakia and Damascus.
Including 1 protester in Sermeen and 3 in Taftanaz in Idlib Province, 18 in Bab Amr Neighborhood in Homs City, 3 in the suburb of Saqba in Damascus, and 3 in Nawa in Hauran/Deraa Province.
Deir Ezzor (3), Homs’ Al-Bayadah neighborhood (5) and Homs’ Al-Qseir suburb (11)
Friday. 2 protesters in Homs where eyewitnesses report that over 500,000 people took part in demonstrations throughout the restive province. 2 in Sakhour Suburb in Aleppo following mass demonstrations and clashes with security officers. 2  in Hama City where inhabitants defied army troops. 5 in the Damascene suburb of Douma, including a woman and 16-year old boy, and 1 in Saqba. 1 died in the town of Binnish and 1 in Khan Shaikhoon (a woman) in Idlib Province, and 1 in Deir Ezzor City following shelling by army tanks. 
The invasion of Al-Ramel Camp and other neighborhoods in Lattakia
In Lattakia, and Bosra Al-Sham (2) and Alma (1) in Hauran/Deraa Province, Homs (2), Hama (1) and Idlib (1).
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.
In Lattakia and Homs
In Lattakia (2), Homs City (21), 1 in Hama and 1 in Idlib.
In Al-Ramel Neighborhoods in Lattakia, Al-Insha’aat and Bab Al-Sibaa neighborhoods in Homs, Suq Al-Jubaileh Neighborhood in Deir Ezzor, and Jabal Al-Zawiyeh in Idlib.
Friday. As world leaders called on Assad to stop the violence. 18 fell in the Hauran/Deraa province, 5 in Palmyra/Tadmor in Homs Province, 6 in Homs City itself. 2 in Damascus: 1 in Harasta and 1 in Douma
7 in Rastan, including 5 army defectors and 2 civilians. 5 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.
Including 2 inhabitants from Al-Ramel Camp in Lattakia shot by snipers as they tried to cross the Syrian-Turkish Border, and 2 in the town of Misyaf when pro-Assad militias opened fire on protesters denouncing Bashar Al-Assad’s latest pronouncements. The militias proceeded to loot and destroy shops owned by Assad opponents.
6 in Homs City shortly after a visit by UN Human Rights delegation. 2 other protesters were killed in Al-Bayadah Neighborhood in Homs as well, 1 in Hraak in Deraa/Hauran, and 3 in the village of Bdama near Jisr Ashoughour in the Idlib Province.
Including 3 women killed in areas surrounding Hama City.
Including 4 in Homs City in Al-Bayadeh Neighborhood, 2 in the nearby town of Talbisseh, and 1 who died under torture in Khan Shaikhoon Town in the Province of Idlib. 2 more people were killed when security forces carried out “hit and run” operations inside the town of Mayadeen in Deir Ezzor Province.
Including 2 in Jisr Ashoughour and 1 in Jabala Al-Zawiyeh in Idlib Province, 1 in Aleppo, 1 in Al-Rastan and 1, a woman, in Deir Ezzor (Al-Shaheel)
Friday. 3 in Idlib (2 in Kafrouma, and 1 under torture in Ma’arrat Al-Nouman), 2 in Deraa/Haruan (Nawa and Mleiha), 1 in Hama (a defector originally from Bosra), 5 in Deir Ezzor (4 in Deir Ezzor City and 1 in Qouriyeh), 2 in Damascus (Qaboun, Douma and Kafar Sousseh), 2 in Homs (1 by a sniper in Bab Al-Sibaa Neighborhood in Homs City and 1 during a security crackdown in the town of Al-Qseir), and 1 in Lattakia (Skantouri).

3 in Albou Kamal in Deir Ezzor Province, 2 were killed in Khan Shaikhoon in Idlib Province, 1 in Homs and 1 in Ankhel in Hauran/Deraa Province.
5 including a child in the town of Sarmeen and 1 in Kafar Nabbel in the Idlib Province, 3 in Nawa in Deraa/Hauran Province including a woman, and 2 in Heet in Homs Province, and 1 in the town of Qarrah in Damascus. Authorities gave back the bodies of 5 protesters to their families in Al-Houleh Region in Homs Province after holding them for over a month
The average toll is 23/day.

Lattakia City: inhabitants of Al-Ramel visit their makeshift cemetery to pay respects to the martyrs Dawn protesters had carried a sign endorsing the Transitional Council

To say on the coast, in Baydah Village near Baniyas (Tartous Province), where the protest movement has been on the resurgence for the last couple of weeks, pro-Assad militias opened fire on protesters and surrounded the Baniyas cemetery to prevent residents from paying respect to the graves of the local martyrs

And staying with the coast, a Navy Major defects from the navy and joins the Free Syrian Army


Ankhel witnessed a major demonstration , But soon, protesters came under heavy gunfire from tanks  but they kept throwing stones ,

A similar crackdown in Harrah left a 12-year old martyr and led to an Eid-time funeral one of several. This one for Moustafa Farroukh

Same in Nawa to disperse this protest

Deraa City held its first mass demonstration in many weeks on account of heavy security presence throughout the city Protesters carried banners demanding a no-fly zone They saluted the Free Officers who defected from the army And later paid a visit to the local graveyard to pay their respect to the martyrs Then, the city observed a strike on the Eid But security presence is still visible in many neighborhoods especially near Al-Omari Mosque where worshippers out together a small protest for the first time weeks in defiance of arm presence A teenage protester carries a banner with a message to the opposition “save us from your wrangling” 

Hraak, After a brief celebration residents held a funerary procession out respect to their martyrs and visited the home of martyr Muhammad Al-Hairi then Muhammad Salamat then Hussam Qaddah and finally Majdi Al-Turkmani

Basr Al-Harir Nahteh , Tafas – people pay salute to the Free Officers Then accuse the regular Syrian army of treason And tell Assad his execution is near, Bosra Al-Sham Da’el , Abtaa Naseeb Mleihah Sharqiyeh


Douma: the nightly protest In the morning, and for the Eid, children demanding “the execution of the president” , The early morning protest ,

Midan “the people want to execute the president” , Bab Msallah: a funeral for the activist, Muhammad Khair Al-Ilabi , meets with tear gas and gunfire  at Bab Msallah Square. Mourners were forced to drop the coffin Muhammad was killed during the storming of Al-Rifai Mosque. Meanwhile, in the areas around Hassan Mosque, pro-Assad militias and police conduct an arrest campaign to prevent protesters inside the Mosque from taking to the streets This clip is taken from point of view of the protester coming out But people were demonstrating at Zain Al-Abdideen Mosque , But in nearby Zahirah, people were holding another funeral In the Corniche, people still came out at night

In Qaboun, pro-Assad militias raided the neighborhoods and shot at protesters and ran Military officers tried to stop the militias, as protesters chanted “the people and the army are one” Syrian TV was present but of course none of that action was shown on TV.

In Moadamiyah, women and young activists demand the release of all detainees But they get shot at by pro- Assad militias A woman activist films the militias while obviously terrified . Most men in this suburb had been arrested weeks ago. Here, we can hear the militias threatening the women “fuck Moadamiyeh” and telling a mother that they will “skin” her son alive

In Al-Hajar Al-Aswad, locals are being terrorized daily by roving militias and their machine guns

In the suburb of Dmeir, activists did their own coverage of the Revolution , In Kisweh, residents cursed Assad, call for his downfall and celebrate in the evening and before that in the morning Harasta The people of Zabadani held a major Eid protest , In Qadam, pro-Assad militias filled the streets Same in Barzeh In Mojtahed a small flash  protest took place In Qoudsiyah, residents celebrated by raising their voice demanding “freedom or death” , Saqba witnessed its own large protest So did Kanaker And Kafar Sousseh

New video from Al-Ridai Mosque shows how police used tear gas inside the mosque


Mar Tamsareen: for the Eid people decide to cleanse their city of all Assad posters But, due to the recent crackdown, the inhabitants of Sarmeen are forced to receive the Eid with a funeral


Andan: some protesters write Leave in fire and asphalt then they hold a protest in the morning and merge with another local demonstration , before taking to the streets again in the evening , Dar Azzah In Eizaz, protesters face security forces In Tal Rif’at, protesters take their message for toppling the regime to the train station Al-Baab ,


In the province, the town of Hilfaya became the focus of the revolutionary spirit, as the entire province begins to come to life following weeks of crackdown , People dance and sing and insist on celebrating life saying Syria wants freedom, Assad is a traitor The people of the nearby Kafar Zita came out in drove as well to make the same defiant point Taybat Al-Imam witnessed another major protest a well Earlier in the day A small flash protest by women in Sahel Al-Ghab

In the cover of night, people took to the streets in Jarajmeh Neighborhood in Hama City as well But in Sabouniyeh, people took to the streets in the morning as well And near the Stadium, people held the largest protest in the City since the army invasion


In Khaldiyeh, protesters insist on singing and dancing while cursing Assad despite the ongoing crackdown Before dawn, they even had fireworks Indeed, the celebrations began since the morning and people don’t miss a chance to remind us that, at this stage, they want international intervention Waer , , Bayadah , Stadium Bab Dreib “we want freedom, and want Bashar Al-Assad to leave Syria” Qoussour Shammas Insha’aat In Bab Al-Sibaa, a funeral took place

Talbisseh celebrates the Eid , “people don’t want to execute the president, they just want to cut off his head” Tamor/Palmyra

In Houleh, more martyrs to be buried Then, the locals held a major protest, with one lifting a banner explicitly calling for foreign military intervention People are getting angry and desperate While one part of Houleh belonged to the protesters, the other belonged to Tank and army troops