Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Monitor This!

The monitoring begins, but the killing does not stop, and will escalate.

Tuesday 27, 2011

Today’s death toll: 42. The Breakdown:  17 in Homs City (including 4 children), 7 in Hama City, 3 in Damascus University, 4 in Rural Damascus, 4 in Deraa, 4 in Idib Province, 2 in Deir Ezzor Province and 1 in Lattakia City. 

Over 30,000 protesters took part in a rally in Khaldiyeh and other neighborhoods in Homs City to welcome the arrival of the Arab League monitors and demand international protection.

Today’s demonstrations were dedicated to the imprisoned activist Najati Tayarah.

In Damascus, blogger Tal Al-Mallouhi imprisoned on bogus charges since 2010, declared an open-ended hunger strike to protest her continued incarceration, according to statements by her lawyer.

The clashes between defectors and loyalists that took place near and around the Damascene suburb of Douma on Monday reportedly left over 30 defectors and dozens of loyalists dead.


New videos of the Kafar Ouaid Massacre of December 20: the video is shot on the scene of the massacre in Bidama Valley in Idlib Province People have their hands tied behind their backs and are shot execution-style This is what the Assads want you to forget.

This is why they needed to fabricate all these stories about Al-Qaeda infiltration and stage bombings. Pro-regime social media outlets and websites, Dounia TV and other official media sources are flooded with bogus reports of all sorts for the benefit of the pro-Assad camp. Meanwhile, the memory of the revolutionaries is being dulled with the scene of new massacres in Baba Amr, Douma and elsewhere.

The ante has been upped so high, there will be no let-down in bloodshed from now on. The sad and tragic part of it is that the world has grown oblivious to all things Syrian. Even the statements of White House Spokesman Mark Toner below, ring hollow somehow.

The Situation in Damascus & Surrounding Regions 

Reports of use of fighter jets in the crackdown on the farmlands around the Suburb of Douma were inaccurate, only helicopters seem to have been used, like this one But the bombardment of the farmland areas around the suburb that took place on Monday, especially in the villages of Al-Shifoniyeh and Hosh nasri, reportedly left over 30 dead and dozens wounded. Dozens loyalists were also killed in clashes with local defectors. The situation remains tense.

 Damascus City is completely besieged by protest communities. But the most active ones are located to the East in what is known as the Eastern Ghoutah, or the Lung of Damascus – a huge swath of farmland and forests that have witnessed over the last two decades a steady migration from the City itself and from all over the country.

To the Northwest of the City lies the famous Wadi Barada, that narrow riverbed that passes to the north of the town of Qudsaya. Communities alongside the Wadi are part of the protest movement. So are the communities of the Bloudan Valley along the borders with Lebanon, with the towns of Madaya, Zabadani and Sirghaya leading the way.

To the North stretches the Qalamoun Mountains Range, all the way to Homs City. Many communities along the mountains form part of the protest movement: Al-Tal (Eltal), Rankous, Ad-Dumayr (Dmeir), Al-Ruhaibah (Ruheibeh), Yabroud and Qarrah. The Christian communities of Seydnaya, Maloula and Deir Atiyeh, and the mixed community of Al-Nabk remain neutral.

To the South, protest communities separate Damascus from the Hauran Valley (Deraa Governorate) and the volcanic Druze Mountain (Suweidah Governorate): Al-Hajar Al-Aswad, Qadam, Daraya and Moadamiya are practically part of Damascus City itself. The communities of (northwest and counterclockwise) Qatana, Khan Al-Sheeh, Kanaker, Zakya, Taybah, Kisweh, Zbeineh, and Sitti Zeinab are also major players in the movement.

EASTERN GHOUTAH: Douma one of the martyrs who have fallen during the pounding on Monday His funeral Security has gathered in the neighborhood trying to prevent the funerals, but they eventually had to withdraw and the funeral took place  Another funeral and A rally

Shoufinyeh the impact of the Monday’s pounding: destroyed homes , burnt-out cars

DAMASCUS – NORTHWEST: Zabadani Wadi Barada Qudsaya

DAMASCUS – SOUTH: Kisweh security breaking into strike-observing shops Kafar Katna

DAMASCUS CITY: Jobar Demonstration in Mazraa neighborhood in Central Damascus People chanted anti-Assad slogans and saluted the FSA Another demonstration in Central Damascus Salhiyeh Qadam ,  Midan Zahirah Barzeh Qaboun

The Saga of Homs:

Pounding of neighborhoods stopped only in the early mornings, and tanks pulled out of Baba Amr and other target neighborhoods, without leaving the city.

Early in the morning, people in Bayada and Deir Baalbah neighborhood could hear and see the explosion that destroyed major segments of the gas pipeline running near the city.

Later in the day, over 30,000 protesters took part in a major rally in Khaldiyeh neighborhood to greet Arab league monitors and demand international protection. Local activists handed over names of martyrs and detainees.

Many neighborhoods remain without power, food and medical supplies are scarce.

Baba Amr: The neighborhood receives some pounding up to the last minute before the arrival of monitors tanks can still be seen at the outskirts of the neighborhood and snipers can still be seen on top of buildings People take advantage of the brief cessation of hostilities to bury their dead The AL delegation arrives in the neighborhood and pass by the tank But snipers are not taken a holiday

Still, the inhabitants of Baba Amr held a major rally in defiance demanding a “no fly zone” as one of the local activists met with the delegation and explained that their presence brings with it some hope a woman demanded freedom of all detainees. Other protesters handed the leader of the delegation samples of the shells being used against them. Then people chanted “we want international protection.”

The local activists tries to prevail on the leader of the delegation to come tour the inner parts of the neighborhood, but another delegation member objects, because, in his words, “people are still getting shot there,” at this point, one of the local activist encourages his friend to keep the camera rolling by way of documenting this admission. The delegation member objects saying that only the head of the delegation can talk to the media Finally, the locals manage to take the delegation on a tour of the inner streets showing the destruction and havoc brought about by the recent pounding AL Monitors also met with local orphans, and reportedly cried

Baba Amr: together in life, together in death – a husband and wife martyrs Their funeral People saying goodbye to a local martyr More martyrs , Sniper targeting passing vehicles

In Asheerah Neighborhood, these protesters are pinned in their place by snipers Injuries were also reported in Wadi Arab neighborhood

And loyalist forces still fire at protesters who tried to move to the Clock-tower Square , , , ,

In Malaab, thousands took part in a mass funeral for Sheikh Manhal Al-Attassy killed on Monday , The funeral started from Omar Bin Al-Khattab Mosque Meanwhile, in Khaldiyeh people held a major rally to receive the AL monitoring delegation , Later, the rallies merged and chanted demanding international protection And “Curse your soul Hafiz” and “Who can challenge this Revolution”

AL monitors passed through the Ghoutah Neighborhood Once monitors leave, the pounding resumes in some parts, leaving a house on fire And protesters trying to reach the old Clock-Tower Square (redubbed Freedom Square) get shot at , , Still, some had made it as far as Khalid Bin Al-Waleed Mosque , And some had made it to the outskirts of the Square itself And other to the Square itself Loyalist security forces then moved in and protesters withdrew chanting “God bless the Free Army” Crackdown left several injured , Loyalist try to take out the activist with the camera

Wounded in Wadi Arab a wounded child Food aid from Wadi Arab Neighborhood to besieged Baba Amr

Bab Tadmor all women demonstration Karm Al-Zeitun another all women demonstration ,

The rally in Bab Al-Sibaa , , which, according to this activist, is meant to receive the AL monitors who have not arrived in the neighborhood yet was broken up by loyalist gunfire , , This was the rally before

 At night, people took to the streets again in Qoussour , then the neighborhood comes under fire   Bab Dreib Karm Al-Shami Bayadah Jouret Al-Shayah

Malaab “I love freedom to death” a rally in honor of the late sheikh Al-Atassy who was buried earlier in the day

HOMS PROVINCE: Qseir mother saying goodbye to her martyred son , the body of a child martyr is removed from the streets Parents say goodbye

Houleh tanks withdraw to outskirts of city A nighttime rally A funeral in Al-Dar Al-Kabireh Demonstrations took place in Tadmor (Palmyra) Teer Ma’allah

Talbisseh Impact of earlier shelling on Talbisseh

Rastan demonstrations , This man was held captive for 14 days by Assad security officers and was tortured to death

HAMA: Karnaz Hilfaya Ellatamneh Misyaf a small demonstration in this highly mixed town Sahel Al-Ghab (Al-Hawash) A funeral in Khattab for yesterday’s three martyrs

Hama City (Hamidiyeh) (Hadir) , Security crackdown follows (Assy Square) protesters driven out from Assy Square , , , Some got to give Assad the shoe treatment Cameraman can be heard demanding a visit by AL monitors. Other parts of town were shelled (Marabit) protesters come under fire , As usual, snipers are part of the action Another life claimed by a sniper And another (Sharqiyeh) protesters come under fire , The crackdown leaves several dead, including and many injured, including , Tear gas was also used (Bab Al-Balad) A woman among the injured

At night, demonstrations take place in (Bab Qibli) (Hamidiyeh) (Aleppo Road) comes under fie

Deraa City (Sabeel) (Sadd) a funeral for a local activist A martyr Loyalists all over the neighborhood , (Near Omari Mosque) protesters get shot at after trying to stage a demonstration to meet with AL monitors , a local mother describes how her son was killed back in May and his body was snatched from its makeshift grave by loyalists. She also described the miserable living condition in the City since then At night, people take back to the streets (Mahata) a martyr in (Deraa Al-Balad)

DEIR EZZOR: Deir Ezzor City (Jourah) the neighborhood comes under intense gunfire at night Jirthy

TARTOUS: it might sound strange, but these in-house rallies are effective ways of keeping the revolutionary fires alive in the most repressed communities, scuh as the highly mixed coastal town of Tartous

LATTAKIA: Hiffeh heavy security presence But that does nots top the local junior high students from holding an after school rally

Regime Violence in Syria
Press Statement | Mark C. Toner | Acting Spokesperson, Office of the Spokesperson |Washington, DC
December 27, 2011

We condemn the Syrian military's escalation of violence in Homs, Daraa and other cities prior to the deployment of the Arab League monitors. We have seen horrific pictures of indiscriminate fire, including by heavy tank guns, and heard reports of dozens of deaths, thousands of arrests, as well as beatings of peaceful protestors.

These repressive actions are not consistent with the terms of the Arab League initiative that the Syrian regime agreed to on November 2 or the protocol on observers that the regime agreed to on December 19. These agreements, designed to protect civilians, called for removal of military forces from the cities; allowing peaceful demonstrations; stopping violence by security forces, including the government’s shabiha militia; releasing all political prisoners; and allowing Arab League monitors and members of the international media to report freely on events throughout the country.

In keeping with the Arab League agreement, we expect that Arab League monitors will be able to deploy and move freely within Homs and other Syrian cities as protestors peacefully gather in reaction to the regime’s excessive violence. The monitors should have unfettered access to protestors and to areas most severely affected by the regime's crackdown. They bear a heavy responsibility in trying to protect Syrian civilians from the depredations of a murderous regime.

The next steps that the United States and the international community take will consider the extent of genuine cooperation from Syrian authorities with the Arab League monitoring mission, and the government’s degree of compliance with the other elements of the Arab League initiative. If the Syrian regime continues to resist and disregard Arab League efforts, the international community will consider other means to protect Syrian civilians.

Comment: I say, go to the next step already, and do consider those other means. Tis about time.