The Assads keep mixing tactics, as the world keep mincing words, and opposition groups keep crossing their fingers.
Tuesday 13, 2011
Today’s death toll: 41, mostly in Idlib Province. 7 loyalists were also killed in an operation organized by local insurgents. The operation came in retaliation for the loyalist raid on M’arr Masreen and Kafar Yahmoul which left 11 dead. The death toll also includes 6 who died in Idlib City when loyalists opened fire on a funerary procession. Neighborhoods in Homs City, the town of Qseir as well as the town of Khirbet Ghazaleh in Deraa/Hauran Province, all witnessed heavy shelling by loyalist forces.
All that talk about a Turkey-sponsored buffer zone that has been in the headlines over the last few weeks must have made the Assads nervous. The province that Idlib already straddling the borders with Turkey has been seething for months, and despite the best efforts of the regime and its relative success in controlling the known checkpoints, not to mention the city of Jisr Ashougour, most communities remain beyond is control, and gorilla warfare has been going on for weeks. Today marked a major escalation though, and might signal a temporary shift in focus for the Assads.
As the Assads wait for the international community to get preoccupied with some matter elsewhere on the planet before moving on with their plans to pacify the city of Homs, a process that is bound to involve multiple mass murders and is bound to leave thousands of fatalities, the pacification of Idlib must have seemed like the right thing to do at this stage as it is unlikely to get the same notice as the invasion of Homs City. The targets are much smaller and scattered, and the massacres that will be taking place will prove more difficult to document, and hence unlikely to attract the same level of attention as a full-scale assault on Homs City.
So, for now, Idilb, and to an extent Rural Damascus and Deraa might bear the brunt of Assad’s wrath.
Be that as it may, the massacres continue.