Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Unraveling!

The current battles taking place in and around Damascus may not yet lead to the unraveling of the regime, but the illusion of normalcy that the Assads have sought hard to maintain in the capital since the beginning of the Revolution has surely unraveled. Once illusions unravel reality soon follows.

Saturday 28, 2012 – Today was dedicated to showing solidarity with the people of Aleppo City and Nawa.

Today’s death toll: 65, including 3 children, a woman, 89 defectors and 4 who died under torture. The Breakdown: 23 in Homs (including a child, a woman and 2 victims of torture), 4 in the town of Rastan in Homs Province, 16 in Rural Damascus, 7 in Deraa Province (including 4 defectors), 7 in Hama City (including a child, 2 defectors and 2 victims of torture), and 2 in Damascus itself (including a child)…

From the basement office of his home in the U.S., Ammar Abdulhamid does his part to support what he calls the Syrian revolution.  Like many Syrian expatriates, Abdulhamid keeps in regular contact with people inside the country, following events and forwarding what he learns through his blog: Syrian Revolution Digest (Video)

Too many tragic developments have been taken place simultaneously, it’s getting extremely hard to keep up and sift through the various reports of pounding, deaths and mayhem. But, it seems that the increased bloodshed has had a ripple effect within the upper ranks of the army, a fact that was reflected in increased confusion within the ranks of loyalist troops on the ground. The ability of defectors to hold their ground, despite all the violence has exacerbated the situation as well.

The towns of Rankous and Assal Al-Ward in the Qalamoun Region in northern Damascus have been under siege and pounding for almost 10 days now, but the intensity of the pounding has increased dramatically over the last 2 days, with dozens of reported deaths and wounded in both communities. But loyalist troops are still being kept at bay.

More significantly, in the Damascene region of Eastern Ghoutah, local members of the FSA seem to have halted once again the advance of loyalist troops in their territories benefiting from major defections in the ranks of loyalists amounting to more than 300 soldiers and a number of high level officers, including a major general. Defectors claim to have taken 4 tanks with them. In the process, defectors destroyed a number of tanks and armored vehicles and caused numerous casualties. Reports from the region now speak of active negotiations between the two sides, and internal bickering within the ranks of loyalists. Meanwhile reinforcements are being sent to loyalist troops fighting in Kafar Batna and nearby communities.

Clashes between loyalists and defectors have taken place as well in the town of Rastan in the Homs Province, where defectors managed to repel the loyalist attack. Meanwhile, the towns of Saraqib and Khan Shaikhoon in Idlib Province have reportedly also come under attack.

The only reason the Assads are now able to fight this multifocal war is the recent arms shipments they received from the Russians and the Iranians.


The City

Deir Baalbah: at dawn, the neighborhood comes under automatic gunfire

Baba Amr: the neighborhood gets pounded again , , , , , , Martyr Still, local take to the streets at night led by local activist Khalid about Salah who leads them in prayer for the victims of massacres in Aleppo City. For even in their hour of need, protesters remain mindful of the suffering of their colleagues elsewhere

Khalidyeh:  A martyr Bayadah: a mother mourns her son

Insha’aat: a local hospital was damaged by the pounding

Asheerah: impact of pounding on the neighborhood , Rescuing a wounded

Malaab: mass funeral for a child and his mother , Meanwhile, in the local mosque, worshippers call for declaring holy war against the Assads Attacks by sniper killed the occupants of this car

Bab Tadmor: the search for bodies under the rubble continues

Midan: the neighborhood comes under automatic gunfire at night

Bab Houd: nighttime protesters ignore the bullets and keep chanting

Daytime Rallies Wadi Arab Madentein

The Province

Qseir (AKA Qusayr): The pounding of the town continues: A jet overflew the town

Talbisseh: the town gets pounded , Impact of shelling on homes

Houleh: A funeral for this martyr

Rastan: Tanks lay siege to the city Local members of the FSA take to the streets to defend the city from an impending attack by loyalist troops The battle begins, defectors destroy several tanks belonging to the loyalist and manage to repel their attack The aftermath of battle Wounded defector A member of the FSA explains what happens, and says that they have destroyed 7 BMPs


The City

Midan: a child martyr

Rallying has become so much ingrained in the popular culture that in the neighborhood Naher Eisheh it has become a favorite game for children

Naher Eisheh: nighttime protesters come under fire but remain defiant and hurl stones the loyalist security forces ,

Daytime Rallies Midan

Eastern Ghoutah

Clashes took place between loyalist troops and local members of the FSA in different communities, with rebels managing to hold off the advance of loyalists into their territories. Five tanks have reportedly been destroyed, 4 in Hamouriyeh and 1 in Arbeen.

The pounding of Eastern of Ghoutah can be heard from Central Damascus stripping once and for all the veneer of normality that the regime tried its best to maintain

Hamouriyeh: mass funeral for one of yesterday’s martyrs , But later, the local mosque comes under fire Targeting religious symbols continues to be a favorite tactic of the loyalists

Saqba: black smoke rises over the skies of this suburb that received its fair share of pounding as well CNN’s Arwa Damon was in the suburb just before the arrival of loyalist troops and produced this report

Zamalka: loyalist security officers storm the suburb A martyr A funeral

Douma: local FSA unit manages to repel an attack by loyalists. Loyalist on their in and here they are on their out under heavy fire Leaked clip of a teenage martyr who fell on January 26

Hatetet Al-Turkman: black smoke over the skies of the neighborhood as it gets pounded , Treating the wounded  

Ain Terma: a martyr

Damascus South

Moadamiyeh: a funeral , , , , Crackdown on funeral by loyalists left many wounded A drone overflies the neighborhood during the funeral Loyalists patrol the streets

Nighttime Rallies Qatana

West (Zabadani and Wadi Barada)

Zabadani: nighttime protesters burn Iranian flags

Nighttime Rallies Zabadani Hamah

North (The Qalamoun Region )

Rankous: the pounding of the town continues  Most of the 25,000 inhabitants have left, leaving less than 50 family behind and, of course, the local FSA unit. Casualty estimates vary, but the 2-day total is put around 40. We are told that journalists from NY Times have paid a visit to the town recently and had to be smuggled out.


The City

Hamidiyeh: martyrs and loyalists

Daytime Rallies Al-Karameh Sawa’iq

Nighttime Rallies Janoub Al-Malaab

The Province

Daytime Rallies Taybat Al-Imam


Saraqib: the city comes under automatic gunfire from armored vehicles at night

Mastoumeh: a martyr

Khan Shaikhoon gets pounded again

Kafar Takhareem: locals hold a rally under the protection of the local FSA unit

Urm Al-Joz: funeral for a defector

Daytime Rallies Kafroumah


Deraa City

Hauran Province

Tafas: a child martyr his funeral

Nahteh: a little girl is hit by a shrapnel  


The City

Marjeh: The crackdown on yesterday’s rally in the neighborhood that left 15 dead did not have the desired effect of intimidating locals, who took to the streets again today saluting the FSA and calling for the Assad regime. The rally began near the house of one of yesterday’s martyrs The it moved to the main streets , , , , Protesters paraded a donkey around as a stand-in for Assad Naturally, loyalists opened fire on protesters today as well , , A martyr Local take to the streets again at night And loyalists fired at them again

Aleppo Province

Daytime Rallies Tal Rif’aat

Deir Ezzor

Qourieyh (January 27): a nighttime rally comes under fire , Then the entire town comes under intensive pounding , An explosion ruptures the pipelines that runs near the town

Tayaneh: intensive nighttime clashes between local FSA unit and loyalist troops ,

Deir Ezzor City: students at the College of Literature stage a rally

Nighttime Rallies Khareetah Deir Ezzor City (Hamidiyeh) (Takaya Street) Shouaytat


Lattakia City: Despite heavy security measure, locals in Sleibeh neighborhood organized a mass rally, the first in months , , , The rally was in fact a funeral for the children of a detained doctor and activist ,

Others expressed themselves within the relative safety of the Soufan Mosque Others took to Quwatli Street