Thursday, September 15, 2011

Syria: the war continues, the wrangling worsens!

If the curse of Gulf States is that they have oil, the curse of Syria is that she does not. No one seems to give a damn about mass massacres in a country that has no oil.

Wednesday September 14, 2011

After 28 killed on Tuesday, pro-Assad militias kill 9 today as the crackdown continues --- Today’s crackdown included raids on border towns with Turkey, including Jabal Al-Zawiyeh region in Idlib Province, and Sahel Al-Ghab region in Hama Province, where many of the defected soldiers are hiding, and on the Damascene suburbs of Madaya, Zabadani and Bukain near the borders with Lebanon, as well as the suburb of Harasta. Hundreds of locals were arrested and moved to parts unknown --- The death toll from Wednesday includes a 7-year old boy killed during killing a barrage in Jisr Ashoughour in Idlib Province, and an 8-year old boy from the Damascene suburb of Douma who was tortured to death ---

Links

Capture of Hussain Harmoush more a blow to Erdogan than the defectors

Syrian TV ran an advertisement earlier for an interview to be aired on Thursday with Hussain Harmoush, the leader of the Free Officers Movement, who disappeared from a refugee camp in Turkey on August 29 http://youtu.be/jGO-qBS3rU8 From the clip, it’s clear that Harmoush, and Syrian propagandists, will be blaming the revolution on the works of external agents and that he will speak of his contacts with Syrian opposition figures and movements during his stint in a refugee camp in Turkey, including former VP Abdul Haleem Khaddam, uncle of Bashar Al-Assad, Rifa’at Al-Assad, members of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Antalya Group, etc. Looking at the brief clip, Mr. Harmoush seemed to be in a far better shape when he lived in the refugee camp, a not too surprising observation.  

But how did Lt. Col. Harmoush end up captured by Assad’s loyalists? This is what all want to find out, including one Syrian dissident who managed to get close to PM Erdogan’s convoy in Cairo earlier in the day.

But after contacting several eyewitnesses from Idlib Province, again, it seems that placing the blame on Turkey may not fair. For, Harmoush, according to these witnesses, was captured in the same military raid that left his brother dead on September 9 in Ibleen in Idlib Province. He was neither kidnapped by Assad agents nor surrendered by Turkish authorities, as the rumor mill has it.

I have referred to these reports before, also on the basis of reports from eyewitness in the Idlib province, but the intensity of the rumors concerning Turkish duplicity circulated in opposition circles, coupled with the dismissive attitude of Turkish officials vis-à-vis repeated inquiries by members of the opposition, allowed the rumors to gain more currency and to appear more believable. If indeed Turkish officials are not to blame for this development, whether in the active sense (surrendering Harmoush) or the negative sense (failing to protect him), then they need to be careful about the public impressions they are creating in opposition circles, and of the Assads’ duplicity in stoking the fires of suspicion. Whether they like it or not, Turkish officials are caught up in this crisis, and they need to learn how to manage it more efficiently than they have already.

Be that as it may, and even while giving more credence to the reports claiming that Harmoush was captured inside Syria, because of how this incident has been perceived by so many Syrians, it constitutes a blow to Mr. Erdogan’s standing, and his advisors now have to rebuild trust with the Syrian opposition, if they indeed care. Allowing the UN and other international organizations greater access to and greater role in managing the refugee camps might help curb these rumors. Allowing easier access to journalists and foreign dignitaries will also help. Limited access creates perfect grounds for spreading malicious rumors.

On the other hand, the development is unlikely to affect the organizational capacity of the defectors, due to their decentralized operational philosophy, and might even facilitate the integration of the Free Officers Movement and the Free Syrian Army under the leadership of Colonel Riayd Al-Asaad, also based in Turkey, provided nothing untoward happens to him.

Bakkour calls for international protection

For his part Hama’s defecting Attorney General, Adnan Bakkour, believed to be still on the run somewhere in the country, deliver this little clip in which he demands international protection for the unarmed civilians http://youtu.be/2FNosGiW2Yc

New leaked videos reveal protester’s bravery and army brutality

This clip shows a couple of security officers as they beat a teenage protester from the town of Ankhel in the Deraa/Hauran Province and try to force him to bow before a picture of Bashar Al-Assad. Instead, the young protester spits on the poster http://youtu.be/-araofSe2vs It is highly unlikely that the young man was allowed to live for longer after that.

In this clip from the Damascene suburb of Douma, pro-Assad militias are making sure that a person they wounded is dead by standing on top of him and using him for target practice http://youtu.be/ES9tjZU0oyU But the lucky fellows here in Douma were only beaten senseless http://youtu.be/fSg2wnFcQfY

And here is a group of pro-Assad militias terrorizing the inhabitants of the town of Talbisseh in Homs Province, in a development reminiscent of what had taken place in Baniyas in the early weeks of the revolution http://youtu.be/M7w7eJLpagk

This clip shows detainees being held in the military security headquarters in the city of Jableh
http://youtu.be/bewIQxvi4Bc According to eyewitnesses, the detainees can left like this for days and weeks, with little nutrition offered and limited access to facilities.

Protesters in Kafar Nabboudeh in Hama Province come under fire, leaving one dead http://youtu.be/S3NTQyfpp5s

HOMS

Homs City – Daytime
Bodies found in 60 Street http://youtu.be/Mk__YyioqIA Baba Amr funeral for Frouq Taha Al-Jouri http://youtu.be/-Qx9p-XZPPg Wa’er an all women protest in which the Russian flag was burnt http://youtu.be/w_VuXpHG5us

Homs City – Nighttime

Homs Province

IDLIB

Daytime
Troops and tanks enter the village of Abdita in Jabal Al-Zawiyeh http://youtu.be/DYh9wPJnOuk where the home of Colonel Riyad Al-Asaad, leader of the Free Syrian Army, was ransacked http://youtu.be/mqa9I7jz-wo Binnish like many protest communities, the town is facing severe fuel shortage http://youtu.be/FEEhr35PRMc Bassamis (Sept 12) http://youtu.be/HaJPo4OfyYs

Nighttime

DAMASCUS

Daytime
The storming of Zabadani http://youtu.be/TGs9Ot6jJwA A civilian airplane flies out of Mazzeh Military Airport, considered by many to be operated as a mini Auschwitz at this stage with several recent reports talking of mass liquidation of defected soldiers and nonviolence activists http://youtu.be/UO2R2hV16RM Kisweh choppers overfly the suburb http://youtu.be/NH9aB3hII30

In Douma, young protesters, mostly teenagers, taunt pro-Assad militias by shouting anti-Assad slogans http://youtu.be/QSGqKidDOzg , http://youtu.be/dM4n3N4M-jQ Midan - Zahirah http://youtu.be/8o9x0cmTx9Y Midan - Zein Al-Abdeen Mosque http://youtu.be/cLYXYWn2URs Zamalka http://youtu.be/Vads0dEOUN8 Assaly http://youtu.be/s8B7AyQKAQ8

Nighttime

DERAA/HAURAN

Daytime
Hraak locals celebrate the release of local figure Riyad Al-Salamat http://youtu.be/MJOMTcYr8vg , http://youtu.be/M_wljttWPPM

Nighttime

ALEPPO


ELSEWHERE

Hama –Ellatamneh http://youtu.be/jG4cbdtYa-g Taybat Al-Imam http://youtu.be/fgdO_h5VHFs Mork loved ones saying goodbye to a local martyr http://youtu.be/L5pkkbzQ2vY Hama City - Stadium South http://youtu.be/nk9XhwnMnIw Madeeq http://youtu.be/zKzG-Wk6-Dw Kafar Nabboudeh a martyr (Sept. 13) http://youtu.be/IsTgyJPwW4k

Deir Ezzor – Deir Ezzor City – Hassan Taha Street http://youtu.be/ESQEZAULL8w , http://youtu.be/aczluGXXRjA


Tartous – Burning the Russian flag http://youtu.be/zT-0kECUHos

Lattakia – Jableh http://youtu.be/tsYcr9Siiyw

Baniyas the local female activists demand international protection http://youtu.be/E2Mo5ECsrtI