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.

Links
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.

HOMS

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 http://youtu.be/4c7WYHXGc40

In Khaldiyeh, actress Fadwa Sulaiman leads the local protest http://youtu.be/5wKjBb3ef-4 Soon afterwards, the neighborhood comes under heavy shelling http://youtu.be/zLVzmEnIq3s as tanks move in http://youtu.be/LrPnxO6ZBPQ , http://youtu.be/mV4ngWEu_Ok , http://youtu.be/XuHC0YXJMrI and protesters are trapped http://youtu.be/EfiBqGaFIlw

Karm Al-Zeitun: seeking refuge for the living and the dead inside the local mosque as loyalist militias storm neighborhood http://youtu.be/Sdgvgzk92N0 Earlier in the day, protesters filled the streets http://youtu.be/y70AFclLfYA , http://youtu.be/2ndq9ffOE_U , http://youtu.be/qr-ssMF1LRg Then the crackdown began http://youtu.be/ao_pSggOluw The neighborhood offered a few martyrs including this child http://youtu.be/tcjpiuvof84 and these men http://youtu.be/RtvSNs0HbXk People still funerals for the dead, once the gunfire subsided http://youtu.be/P7agDapuwBU

Bab Al-Sibaa: cameraman trapped by sniper http://youtu.be/JGl3h3QmlpY 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 http://youtu.be/J_x7RgRZO6Y Earlier in the day, protesters burnt the Chinese and Russian flags and a poster of Assad http://youtu.be/OaySpZI474k and chanted calling for international protection http://youtu.be/wVienbKvgVs This child bled to death after being shot by pro-Assad militias in his home “we want international protection, and a no fly zone” http://youtu.be/4kwdAC-pKZI The Neighborhood comes under heavy pounding http://youtu.be/DJanu-CxijM

Wa’er local protesters defy authorities and shout anti-Assad slogans http://youtu.be/3nwpcbiTHMQ And carry signs rejecting the decision to expel Father Paolo http://youtu.be/EFjzU1rgBL4 And chant “The people want to topple the madman” http://youtu.be/wZtVE8HaniU

Demonstrations took place as well in Deir Baalbah http://youtu.be/kb-WWi6Y8N4 Banner “Three things scare the regime: Facebook, Fridays, and Al-Jazeerah” http://youtu.be/VOdjAbmJKxQ Bab Tadmor http://youtu.be/f1zG4z46PRE Qoussour http://youtu.be/FBGdgjw-hzg Qarabees http://youtu.be/Wnp6C0vFoJ0 Shammas http://youtu.be/8yivGdBDjD0 Protesters defy authorities in Hamrah http://youtu.be/BMiAehtCB2w Bab Houd http://youtu.be/-vwCFkouFlI Into the night http://youtu.be/CBpWBU7L0Kc Massakin http://youtu.be/uwOqmyTCs8Y Bayadah (night) http://youtu.be/1HqpGxFdlBY

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 http://youtu.be/7QmGPKPyA1Y In Bayadah, sign urges Ramadan to move fast on expanding the SNC http://youtu.be/_NDYFDYgPpU

In Insha’aat, protesters come under fire http://youtu.be/p7ZrLIikgP0 , http://youtu.be/Fum417H-gbg , http://youtu.be/9F_TH00vJwk Earlier, protesters were demanding a no-fly zone http://youtu.be/3a7bKEi6Qr4 People return to the streets at night, as usual http://youtu.be/Ipy4LcKnyic

The martyrs of Jib Al-Jandali, they include a child http://youtu.be/2tYKD-ZX1Lo

Meanwhile, rural Homs continue to seethe, and protests took place in dozens of communities, including Firqillis http://youtu.be/bnYzcmQKdB4 Mheen http://youtu.be/etUJMIiNsFA Qaryatein http://youtu.be/jHn33ttEPRY Sukhnah http://youtu.be/KojFD5eR_CI Talbisseh where protesters exhibit a pole on which they plan to impale Assad http://youtu.be/MNWk7IM_63M Teer M’allah http://youtu.be/40phFDjFLzI Kafar ‘Aya http://youtu.be/3oBoQoN_1_4 Kafar Laha http://youtu.be/wYkK0lnKcUA Ghanto http://youtu.be/QV44gM-0jnY Tadmor (Palmyra) http://youtu.be/8n8OQ7YwsWk , http://youtu.be/7ET6VzKNToU Into the night http://youtu.be/OJm-pUUGRMA Al-Dar Al-Kabira http://youtu.be/l393aSZQOzQ Za’afaraneh Security officer announces his defection to the throngs http://youtu.be/xu3b4Vg8tgQ

In Houleh District, protesters come under fire, but remain defiant shouting “god is Great” and “We will not bow down” http://youtu.be/R_fPt8xh2Y0 Soon, the entire district come under fire http://youtu.be/s8vKzuicp9Q But people take back to the streets at night http://youtu.be/sRyFF2yFYBg

The same happens in Qseir “Death is better than humiliation” http://youtu.be/NTtnimZiqGg Eventually, and very reluctantly, the protesters are dispersed http://youtu.be/Ya4JTKOCjxk , http://youtu.be/5W5_Zhy8JEA But people return to the streets at night http://youtu.be/UO2_XTM-zVw

IDLIB

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 http://youtu.be/nK5q4YcHUSQ the town came under fire http://youtu.be/nIvW6pQJLho and a tanks storms its way through http://youtu.be/36NehFoELW4 In Taftanaz, protesters held their demonstration in the center http://youtu.be/PEtYPhENguM but on the outskirts of the city, loyalists lurked watching, waiting http://youtu.be/FB1M5MZbIxA

HAMA

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 http://youtu.be/OoeZRYH-OnU , http://youtu.be/ybSLoItg-h8 Madeeq http://youtu.be/A1vRMUfvzaQ

DAMASCUS

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 http://youtu.be/CDST14r71bY Earlier in the day http://youtu.be/dCFAfxTLnD4 In Douma, protesters defy gunfire http://youtu.be/YswQYwZqOCE soon, one of them lies dead, and his body cannot be retrieved due to sniper activity http://youtu.be/hloGBuYrfXA

In Dmeir, protesters come under fire http://youtu.be/Ymhsa4q7wQ0 leaving several martyrs, including http://youtu.be/7GYav8fA2to A young man lies dying http://youtu.be/DeUjHj9oJ0c And another http://youtu.be/t_jfSdoeq9Q

At night, Arbeen becomes the scene of a battle between loyalists and insurgents http://youtu.be/j6PJ1OQNOWE , http://youtu.be/hX9U-5kanHk , http://youtu.be/CSF0oDQVmsM

Kafar Batna, daytime: major explosions rock the community http://youtu.be/ud2tYI3rccc the ensuing battle leaves several dead http://youtu.be/QEkar0aZNrs

Zamalka offers a martyr http://youtu.be/ipDGRYfeKyo

Hamouriyeh http://youtu.be/qnr2cT0kejE Shortly after, protesters come under fire http://youtu.be/jWlnQIwIa3I And a child is killed http://youtu.be/r5dIEkY8jX4


ALEPPO

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 http://youtu.be/QwkZB1NEmx8 Protesters carry signs saying “your days are numbered,” and “if Assad is not responsible, then he is a nobody” http://youtu.be/al7BonIFfdo Atareb http://youtu.be/Daf92klRjjQ Bayanoun http://youtu.be/MRhuiFLZ1zg Hardtaneen http://youtu.be/YAGsSanBVCc Akhtareen http://youtu.be/WDDLCj1x2x8 Dar Azzah http://youtu.be/4Kp9lzqSfZk Marei http://youtu.be/Hk7yjsv8lpw Turkmen Bareh http://youtu.be/ai8t_87TEzg Kafar Nouran http://youtu.be/ItMybUhfW4s Tal Rif’aat http://youtu.be/Vouv-e6ckwQ Hayyan http://youtu.be/uVdScw_bYTw

DEIR EZZOR

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 http://youtu.be/LM59RX1pKas Into the night http://youtu.be/mwpmkTEBFkM Shaheel http://youtu.be/ooLKtrJkv6k

DERAA/HAURAN

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” http://youtu.be/ZoSl0tQa278 Protesters soon come under fire http://youtu.be/oEiTNmwKT1I But local insurgents soon drive the militias out http://youtu.be/7e0Qh5rEN_E And the locals hold a funeral for a fallen martyr http://youtu.be/ceMeQmFFdr4

Ankhel http://youtu.be/ZeFJBjJTnWw Soon protesters came under fire leaving several wounded http://youtu.be/UVIjTJBP0iE

Today, demonstrations took place in Namar http://youtu.be/_nKiUBhloXc Da’el http://youtu.be/SahBJtkhD4Y Abtaa http://youtu.be/dGy8_2-gMCU Ataman http://youtu.be/jpXHy7GLsa8 Hraak http://youtu.be/BGxB7N0toFE Tseel http://youtu.be/srq6UhMvmhw Bosra Al-Sham http://youtu.be/F_f5Rxeb1k8 , http://youtu.be/774fmZv0b80 Ghrayah Sharqiyah http://youtu.be/a5iUFiVvMOU Basr Al-Harir http://youtu.be/LK8ymqe0-V8 Deraa City (Mahata) http://youtu.be/o0CkcVYRmRk and at night http://youtu.be/p4Heqd3Wx_Q 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 http://youtu.be/PzgmxOIAk2U Khirbet Ghazaleh http://youtu.be/-m5GqRAcl6o Jizeh http://youtu.be/ILe0DBftSyQ Tafas http://youtu.be/AQNPeM24F0o Saham http://youtu.be/E7C4c1D469s Harrah http://youtu.be/zUC9BRD-zRc Um Walad http://youtu.be/8YBzZ0WdY8Q Souran http://youtu.be/hS4x-Hnpmx4 Sheikh Miskeen http://youtu.be/EUZNqztuZ7M Taybah http://youtu.be/Q4V_CF29EwI Mseifrah http://youtu.be/PLs0mVVJ2Hk

HASSAKEH & QAMISHLY

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.


COASTAL AREAS

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.