Thursday, February 2, 2012

A Mixed Bag!

A standstill is always a mixed bag of good news and bad news: Assad loyalists retake some communities only but lose others, push forward only to be pushed back. But the stasis is superficial. In reality, the state structure and infrastructure are imploding. The Ancien Régime is coming apart at the seams, but at a very high cost. Building a new one, a democratic one, will be the toughest challenge yet. Even though victory might still be a while in coming and is not necessarily assured, it’s not too early at all to begin articulating what the new regime will be like, beyond the usual generalities.  

Wednesday 01, 2012

Today’s death toll: 40. The Breakdown: 23 in Rural Damascus, 11 in Homs, 4 in Deraa, and 1 in each of Hama and Idlib.

Loyalist troops managed to reestablish their presence in the suburbs of Arbeen and Zamalka in Eastern Ghoutah. To the west of Damascus, loyalist troops pounded the towns of Bseemah and Deir Qanoun, while to the North the pounding of the town of Rankous continued.

But the town of Rastan in Homs Province seems to have fallen completely under the control of rebels affiliated with the Free Syrian Army.

Meanwhile, Iranian media reported that 11 more of its citizens were kidnapped in Syria when their bus was attacked on the road to Damascus, bringing the total of kidnapped Iranians to 16. Iranian authorities said the 11 were on a religious pilgrimage.

Links
An updated version of the op-ed I recently co-authored with Ken Ballen. Main Point: “If Russia exercises its veto at the Security Council on Thursday, the United States should call for an international conference on Syria, with the Arab League, the Islamic Conference, NATO, Japan, India, Brazil and all concerned states. This would be a viable path to legitimate multilateral action while circumventing the Russian veto. In fact, the United States should make clear to Russia immediately that in the event of a Russian veto, it will convene an international conference, so that any Russian veto will be a hollow gesture.”

A major new fighting unit, named Lions of the Wilderness, is formed in Qalamoun Region north of Damascus under the banner of the Free Syrian Army http://youtu.be/Vnsn_rgOANg

Homs

Homs City

Bab Al-Sibaa: The neighborhood gets pounded shortly after dawn http://youtu.be/k4NGCtZd4KY , http://youtu.be/h6TWITG7o8w Picking up human remains from the streets as the pounding continues http://youtu.be/So0ybq7iRHU Treating the wounded http://youtu.be/7WfYGge5hXI Martyrs http://youtu.be/ssGMDf6LjYA , http://youtu.be/c_eJGmEp044 , http://youtu.be/A05b7Vd99f4 , http://youtu.be/y8LoyDTJI4Q , http://youtu.be/Hs1Yq0W7xeQ , http://youtu.be/mCr85ivbUBY , http://youtu.be/JRMpC8-XghQ Martyr and parents http://youtu.be/5xgdfPeqEU0 Saving people trapped in their homes http://youtu.be/vhlQoe3UvII The remains of a martyr hit by a mortar round http://youtu.be/QyDQWhkd2vU Local members of the FSA rise to defend the neighborhood and are joined by new defectors equipped with a tank http://youtu.be/BUU0ImZl3P8 , http://youtu.be/Uy-fgMbdK28 , http://youtu.be/AX1-we6ufQ0 , http://youtu.be/29mvXNUyi88 , http://youtu.be/lTF6h9PyWdw Locals celebrate their success in repelling the attack http://youtu.be/OLnL1dJBUWo Local activist Omar Tellawi interviews the local FSA commander who led the operation that liberated another neighborhood from Assad loyalists. He says “Bashar is not a leader, but a traitor” http://youtu.be/Mob2bDcSeRc A destroyed BMP loyalists left behind http://youtu.be/-9LPAMSJjb0

Boustan Al-Diwan comes under heavy pounding http://youtu.be/mXB0eMlSV-g A house is hit by a mortar http://youtu.be/HzksB9JBqKM Soldiers defect with their armored vehicle http://youtu.be/vcszFEtgO14 , http://youtu.be/0Q9Xjvf0nYg The local church is hit by the pounding http://youtu.be/z3cA179uVYs

Al-Rifai: the neighborhood gets pounded again http://youtu.be/CTPP16X7DME

Baba Amr: Two martyrs http://youtu.be/HC20hoZwuJc The local mosque was shelled http://youtu.be/srmzs-f_Nq4 Kerosene shortages continue to plague the lives of locals http://youtu.be/sgpasDEHCEc Impact of pounding http://youtu.be/EzmZuAHp8KQ


Khkaldiyeh: locals organize a blood drive http://youtu.be/s2YeDW0IDZQ a martyr http://youtu.be/R12kNX_Ee2s

Adawiyeh: impact of pounding http://youtu.be/umNGL1khuMo

Karm Al-Zeitun: a tour of the local makeshift hospital courtesy of local activist Abou Moaz http://youtu.be/DIyh8Xx9hO0 Another tour even as the pounding continues http://youtu.be/HKjHBoCz8AE A house catches fire http://youtu.be/4_aCz4dItV8 on account of the pounding http://youtu.be/LNl7iZk08io Helping the wounded http://youtu.be/za5pGyfCMVw a martyred girl http://youtu.be/aCtlbJx-SY8

Daytime Rallies

Nighttime Rallies

Homs Province

Rastan: The town comes under pounding http://youtu.be/aoQwF1SoHDk new defections take place http://youtu.be/7nL6MMX2nKI local activist shows off a demolished home http://youtu.be/ls29jD93eI4 A truck smuggles bread to the besieged town, local complains that it is not enough to feed the inhabitants of one street for one day http://youtu.be/pnRZtjVaT-s The aid has come from the rural communities surrounding the town http://youtu.be/rpJ12ouAOHo A martyr http://youtu.be/vMxeLn5fS2I Locals give a warm welcome to members of the FSA who came to save their town http://youtu.be/3wotfU1_0vI Treating the wounded in the local field hospital http://youtu.be/VW5JCzxML_s , http://youtu.be/PspwasVdQQ0

Qseir: dead man in the street, a victim of snipers http://youtu.be/4ivI9JDZuN0

Houleh: a martyr http://youtu.be/NBr3ntD6lwA

Daytime Rallies

Nighttime Rallies


Damascus

Damascus City

Daraya: high school girls continue to lead protest rallies: inside their school http://youtu.be/oqyvn17GgQs , http://youtu.be/vZw4dLgEIwY and throughout the suburb http://youtu.be/gR8WrJOZnsU , http://youtu.be/st4usCKeoPo , http://youtu.be/i4UNBt4Y1eU  Elsewhere, the boys stage their own rally http://youtu.be/F5kmZQztBQQ

Qaboun: shortages of bread continue to plague the restive neighborhood http://youtu.be/ry4t5zLcXOA

Moadamiyeh: Loyalist troops patrol the neighborhood brandishing their machine guns http://youtu.be/ETCWEr-EgT4 , http://youtu.be/cVMppC2Y-Mw , http://youtu.be/7ABUQSoKntE Snipers take up position http://youtu.be/qhXlE8A0SAM Armored vehicles take part http://youtu.be/bT5YT_J1kCM , http://youtu.be/huOhNOpUrPU A martyr: killed in front of his kids by loyalists after he was released from detention where he was subjected to torture http://youtu.be/_f31-wvgCNQ His funeral http://youtu.be/eyCgqwRN5Iw , http://youtu.be/MwtptnM2QJY His mother http://youtu.be/tJGawh6weXk Local women take part http://youtu.be/YEq2o98AD2M At night, local women hold a major ally http://youtu.be/Bp_nmyVYrZs

Daytime Rallies

Nighttime Rallies

Eastern Ghoutah

Saqba: loyalist troops control the central parts of the neighborhood http://youtu.be/GyzwySnMIrQ , http://youtu.be/euy8-Mjc_eU Armored vehicles patrol the streets http://youtu.be/UQbmp1Ic8KI Helping the wounded is a dangerous undertaking http://youtu.be/ke9W-8emj9Y

Arbeen: the dome of the main mosque was pounded http://youtu.be/aJYXDK0BrQc Impact of pounding http://youtu.be/Zl2zay0nQZc Tanks patrol the streets of the suburb at dawn http://youtu.be/sMkWMrmFoQs And throughout the day http://youtu.be/h5Z0W5yhAYI


Hamouriyeh: burying local martyrs in the courtyard of houses to avoid the treacherous trek to the local cemetery http://youtu.be/1mHY7l3AYwE

Nighttime Rallies

Damascus South

Nighttime Rallies

West (Zabadani and Wadi Barada)

The small interlinked communities of Wadi Barada, especially, the towns of Deir Qanoun and Bseemah, come under heavy pounding http://youtu.be/e8cK8xD0pmU An unidentified martyr http://youtu.be/VrAzpkvhtOo Martyrs of the pounding http://youtu.be/MeUUNiTWHVU , http://youtu.be/76Xyx_H9G98 , http://youtu.be/mi051zfsC-Q , http://youtu.be/_j0spVN5s6w Impact of pounding on Deir Qanoun http://youtu.be/gfc5CWKCeAc , http://youtu.be/zhj3_ZcM8ss As the pounding resumes, a gun battle between loyalists and local rebels takes place http://youtu.be/XuDxWDW63us Helping the wounded http://youtu.be/1s3ge-29D-A , http://youtu.be/wbjvF6QJTRU Martyrs from Bseemah http://youtu.be/seiWZ6ccHjc Their funeral http://youtu.be/jUcVrEycu3U Local FSA members manage to repel the attack and confiscate a vehicle belonging to loyalist security http://youtu.be/9B_eh3fTXHI The inhabitants of Zabadani and Madaya lend support to their colleagues in Wadi by trying to open up the snow covered roads facilitating their retreat http://youtu.be/jLD04u7yam4

Madaya: Russia has a consulate in this restive town, and the Russian Ambassador in Damascus claimed recently that the consulate was ransacked. Local activist shows here that no sign of ransacking can be seen http://youtu.be/3qTwAet_OyM

Ain Al-Fijeh: local consign the Assads to the dustbin of history http://youtu.be/YsnIHax25sg

Daytime Rallies

Nighttime Rallies

North (The Qalamoun Region )

A major new fighting unit, named Lions of the Wilderness, is formed in Qalamoun Region north of Damascus under the banner of the Free Syrian Army http://youtu.be/Vnsn_rgOANg

Rankous: a local shows off his ransacked house that was set on fire by loyalists. “We will keep demanding our freedom, no matter what Bashar Al-Assad does.”  http://youtu.be/fzAMbz9zJO4

Nighttime Rallies


Hama

Hama City

Nighttime Rallies

Hama Province

Reinforcements arrive into Sahel Al-Ghab Region http://youtu.be/aUf7vNnJ88k

Daytime Rallies

Nighttime Rallies
Al-Hosn citadel http://youtu.be/ihH0lDuOtdI


Idlib


Idlib City: Locals say that this man is a paramedic who was injured as he was treating the wounded in the streets http://youtu.be/p4Epj8hlDDQ Martyr http://youtu.be/OFDMbsc9_14 Mass funeral for four martyrs http://youtu.be/eYuYt-Lzp_o , http://youtu.be/rCotUrlY1dE , http://youtu.be/gnqcXuzMsPw

Ma’arrat Al-Nouman: unidentified bodies showing signs of torture were found by the wayside of the highway leading to Aleppo http://youtu.be/hIRzaqUe9hM

Ariha: the pounding of the town by loyalist troops continues http://youtu.be/YXaMb5P4-mE A martyr http://youtu.be/Egrkjk1sya4 His funeral http://youtu.be/FCYLWZG5ydU

Taftanaz: Impact of shelling by mortars http://youtu.be/ecme9urvPAs

Saraqib: a local boys high school comes under fire http://youtu.be/4HYyHReH0-I Impact of shelling http://youtu.be/w91B7xZ0r5E , http://youtu.be/m4nNFsbeO_c Treating the wounded http://youtu.be/nxG58ALrDso Nighttime funeral for two local martyrs http://youtu.be/gCMtUgpan3Y

Daytime Rallies
Kafroumah http://youtu.be/vgMaT99fgp4 , http://youtu.be/ypgAYYaaBP0 Mhambel http://youtu.be/P0kffCGusss Kafar Takhreem http://youtu.be/ghp_6_wjlp0 Ferkaya http://youtu.be/wBBa4qBzSto , http://youtu.be/iSND8l7GDWg Binnish http://youtu.be/HeDPdmszpUQ Al-Dana (funeral) http://youtu.be/Uzvlkjo2I1w Ma’arrat Al-Nouman http://youtu.be/i_oCKEf_V1A Kafrenbel (all women) Banner “To the First Lady, we promise to make you the Last Widow” http://youtu.be/zZ2JVXaOSqQ Elteh http://youtu.be/aFHdsx0nfLs

Nighttime Rallies


Deraa/Hauran

Deraa City

Nighttime Rallies

Deraa/Hauran Province

Ankhel: protesters come under fire http://youtu.be/VPon4VYrfgY


Khirbet Ghazaleh: loyalists pour into town http://youtu.be/WkLp9U3cgko

Na’eemah: a martyr http://youtu.be/wzwfZPPeoB8

Karak Sharqi: Locals organize a mass funeral http://youtu.be/llCR32UirHU , http://youtu.be/_wxo5sfqgKs for this martyr http://youtu.be/SRLlWfGeoMI

Daytime Rallies

Nighttime Rallies


Aleppo

Aleppo City

Firdoss: nighttime protesters come under fire http://youtu.be/UK-fajNvE70

Aleppo Province

Nighttime Rallies


Deir Ezzor


Daytime Rallies

Nighttime Rallies


Hassakeh


Daytime Rallies

Nighttime Rallies