Saturday, December 10, 2011

Battlefield Syria!

Yeah, it’s war.  Judge for yourself…  

Friday 9, 2011

Today’s death toll: 46, including 9 children. The breakdown: 17 in Homs, 15 in Rural Damascus,7 in Idlib Province, 5 in Hama Province, and 2 in DEraa/Hauran Province.  Clashes between insurgents and loyalists were reported in Deir Ezzor and Rural Damascus/Eastern Ghoutah region.

The week beginning with this Friday has been dubbed the Dignity Strike Week.

There are also the Turkmen (750,000), the Armenians (100,000), the Circassians (150,000), the Chechen, the Balkans, the Greeks, etc. even the tiniest minority becomes significant depending on their regional concentration and relation to the regime.


The city is surrounded by hundreds of tanks and thousands of troops, digging trenches and waiting for command to kill. Advanced units are already carrying out sweep operations inside the city. Though lightly armed local residents, in cooperation with defectors, are trying to defend themselves, leading to sporadic clashes with loyalists in different neighborhoods.

Of course, the war on Baba Amr continues

In Khaldiyeh, actress Fadwa Sulaiman leads the local protest Soon afterwards, the neighborhood comes under heavy shelling as tanks move in , , and protesters are trapped

Karm Al-Zeitun: seeking refuge for the living and the dead inside the local mosque as loyalist militias storm neighborhood Earlier in the day, protesters filled the streets , , Then the crackdown began The neighborhood offered a few martyrs including this child and these men People still funerals for the dead, once the gunfire subsided

Bab Al-Sibaa: cameraman trapped by sniper No doctors or any staff member made it to the local hospital today, the children shown here eventually died, the burial was as usual a perilous undertaking Earlier in the day, protesters burnt the Chinese and Russian flags and a poster of Assad and chanted calling for international protection This child bled to death after being shot by pro-Assad militias in his home “we want international protection, and a no fly zone” The Neighborhood comes under heavy pounding

Wa’er local protesters defy authorities and shout anti-Assad slogans And carry signs rejecting the decision to expel Father Paolo And chant “The people want to topple the madman”

Demonstrations took place as well in Deir Baalbah Banner “Three things scare the regime: Facebook, Fridays, and Al-Jazeerah” Bab Tadmor Qoussour Qarabees Shammas Protesters defy authorities in Hamrah Bab Houd Into the night Massakin Bayadah (night)

Jouret Al-Shayah protesters carry sign critical of Ahmad Ramadan, one of the leaders of the SNC who, like Bourhane Ghalioun, has also managed to anger the local population. At end of the clip, protesters come under fire In Bayadah, sign urges Ramadan to move fast on expanding the SNC

In Insha’aat, protesters come under fire , , Earlier, protesters were demanding a no-fly zone People return to the streets at night, as usual

The martyrs of Jib Al-Jandali, they include a child

Meanwhile, rural Homs continue to seethe, and protests took place in dozens of communities, including Firqillis Mheen Qaryatein Sukhnah Talbisseh where protesters exhibit a pole on which they plan to impale Assad Teer M’allah Kafar ‘Aya Kafar Laha Ghanto Tadmor (Palmyra) , Into the night Al-Dar Al-Kabira Za’afaraneh Security officer announces his defection to the throngs

In Houleh District, protesters come under fire, but remain defiant shouting “god is Great” and “We will not bow down” Soon, the entire district come under fire But people take back to the streets at night

The same happens in Qseir “Death is better than humiliation” Eventually, and very reluctantly, the protesters are dispersed , But people return to the streets at night


Loyalists in the restive province exist mostly on the main highways connecting the various communities surrounded by tanks and armored vehicles. They carry out furtive raids before they withdraw quickly to the relative safety of the open roads where they increasingly have to fend off against attacks by units affiliated with the Free Syrian Army.

In Kafrinbel, and soon following this demonstration the town came under fire and a tanks storms its way through In Taftanaz, protesters held their demonstration in the center but on the outskirts of the city, loyalists lurked watching, waiting


The situation in Hama is pretty similar to that in Idlib and rural Homs, but a slightly toned down scale.

Today, demonstrations took place in Taybat Al-Imam , Madeeq


While central Damascus continues to witness small acts of defiance on a daily basis, the Damascene suburbs and other communities in Rural Damascus have become a virtual battleground. There are virtually thousands of protesters living on the run and in hiding in farms and in tunnels dung out in forests of Eastern Ghoutah (including Saqba, Kafar Batna, Harasta, Douma, Hamouriyeh, Jisreen, Zamalka, Arbeen, Jobar, and Daraya) and in caves in Mount Qalamoun (including Yabroud, Rankous, Qarrah and Dmeir) and elsewhere.

Clashes between local insurgents and loyalist militias might be small and furtive, but they take place on a daily basis, keeping tensions high, and Assad security forces bugged down. In some way, this is the real battleground, should the insurgents become more organized and better armed. This is where the fate of Damascus, and perhaps the entire revolution, could be sealed. 

In Saqba, hundreds of pro-Assad militias poured into the local community to carry out sweep operations Earlier in the day In Douma, protesters defy gunfire soon, one of them lies dead, and his body cannot be retrieved due to sniper activity

In Dmeir, protesters come under fire leaving several martyrs, including A young man lies dying And another

At night, Arbeen becomes the scene of a battle between loyalists and insurgents , ,

Kafar Batna, daytime: major explosions rock the community the ensuing battle leaves several dead

Zamalka offers a martyr

Hamouriyeh Shortly after, protesters come under fire And a child is killed


The city itself may not be witnessing major demonstrations, but not for the lack of trying. Every day loyalists have to crackdown against small demonstrations that keep springing up in different locations. Meanwhile, the rural areas have long caught the revolutionary bug from their sister communities in Idlib. Just as is the case in Damascus, the city is virtually surrounded by communities that joined the protest movement. 

Anadan Protesters carry signs saying “your days are numbered,” and “if Assad is not responsible, then he is a nobody” Atareb Bayanoun Hardtaneen Akhtareen Dar Azzah Marei Turkmen Bareh Kafar Nouran Tal Rif’aat Hayyan


Daily clashes between insurgents and loyalists have been taking place for weeks now in the provincial capital of Deir Ezzor and surrounding communities, especially Qrayah. People sleep to the sound of gun battles, and wake to explosions. This is now the norm. Tribal elders are still trying to keep the situation under control, and loyalists in the province do have a toehold. The Assads have for decades recruited the Sunni components of their security apparatuses from the ranks of local tribal communities. The livelihood of so many still depends on this affiliation. But day after day, the situation is getting out of control. 

Demonstrations took place in Qrayah, which has become the local capital of the revolution Into the night Shaheel


The Cradle of the Revolution continues to be as restive as ever. Protests take place daily, and clashes between loyalists and insurgents are becoming more and more frequent.

Sanamein Banner says “He will fall” Protesters soon come under fire But local insurgents soon drive the militias out And the locals hold a funeral for a fallen martyr

Ankhel Soon protesters came under fire leaving several wounded

Today, demonstrations took place in Namar Da’el Abtaa Ataman Hraak Tseel Bosra Al-Sham , Ghrayah Sharqiyah Basr Al-Harir Deraa City (Mahata) and at night In Nasseeb protesters carry signs saying Assad has gone mad and telling his militias that he has abandoned them, in reference to his declarations to Barbara Walters Khirbet Ghazaleh Jizeh Tafas Saham Harrah Um Walad Souran Sheikh Miskeen Taybah Mseifrah


Kurds make up the majority of the residents in this province, followed closely by Arab tribesmen, Assyrians and Armenians – the last two being adherent of the Christian faiths. There are also Arab clans that are Christian as well. Inter-communal relations have always been tense, and the Assads have sought to exploit them to isolate the Kurds from the rest. The Revolution has created major divides as well in all communities. The Revolution has found sympathizers and critics in all communities.

A clear decision by the Kurdish population, however, is bound to change the dynamics completely, but could also pave the way for clashes with local Arab tribes armed over the years by the regime. Kurdish leaders are aware of this, and have to pacify the situation. But Kurdish youths are mostly pro-Revolution and are tired of old party politics. The only thing keeping them from going all the way and forcing the hard choice on the Kurdish parties, are pressures from leaders in Iraqi Kurdistan, including Jalal Talabani, and the inability of Arab opposition groups and figures, including the SNC and the Muslim Brotherhood, to articulate a clear policy on the Kurdish Question. Syria’s Kurdish population simply doesn’t know if they can trust the Arab leaders of the opposition to seriously address their concerns. 

Still, protests have become a fact of daily life in many communities across the province.


Tensions are always high in the coastal regions. Christians, Alawites and Sunnis, Arab, Kurds, Turkmen and Palestinian refugees all live here. The Assads have many supporters here, if not for the love of Assad, then for the fear of the Sunnis, of change and its potential consequences, which, according to t ever-proliferating fear-mongers are bound to be dire for all religious minority groups, regardless of any proffered guarantees. Ever since the invasion of Ramleh Camp in Lattakia, demonstrations have tended to be small, furtive affairs.