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.

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


Homs City

Bab Al-Sibaa: The neighborhood gets pounded shortly after dawn , Picking up human remains from the streets as the pounding continues Treating the wounded Martyrs , , , , , , Martyr and parents Saving people trapped in their homes The remains of a martyr hit by a mortar round Local members of the FSA rise to defend the neighborhood and are joined by new defectors equipped with a tank , , , , Locals celebrate their success in repelling the attack 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” A destroyed BMP loyalists left behind

Boustan Al-Diwan comes under heavy pounding A house is hit by a mortar Soldiers defect with their armored vehicle , The local church is hit by the pounding

Al-Rifai: the neighborhood gets pounded again

Baba Amr: Two martyrs The local mosque was shelled Kerosene shortages continue to plague the lives of locals Impact of pounding

Khkaldiyeh: locals organize a blood drive a martyr

Adawiyeh: impact of pounding

Karm Al-Zeitun: a tour of the local makeshift hospital courtesy of local activist Abou Moaz Another tour even as the pounding continues A house catches fire on account of the pounding Helping the wounded a martyred girl

Daytime Rallies

Nighttime Rallies

Homs Province

Rastan: The town comes under pounding new defections take place local activist shows off a demolished home 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 The aid has come from the rural communities surrounding the town A martyr Locals give a warm welcome to members of the FSA who came to save their town Treating the wounded in the local field hospital ,

Qseir: dead man in the street, a victim of snipers

Houleh: a martyr

Daytime Rallies

Nighttime Rallies


Damascus City

Daraya: high school girls continue to lead protest rallies: inside their school , and throughout the suburb , ,  Elsewhere, the boys stage their own rally

Qaboun: shortages of bread continue to plague the restive neighborhood

Moadamiyeh: Loyalist troops patrol the neighborhood brandishing their machine guns , , Snipers take up position Armored vehicles take part , A martyr: killed in front of his kids by loyalists after he was released from detention where he was subjected to torture His funeral , His mother Local women take part At night, local women hold a major ally

Daytime Rallies

Nighttime Rallies

Eastern Ghoutah

Saqba: loyalist troops control the central parts of the neighborhood , Armored vehicles patrol the streets Helping the wounded is a dangerous undertaking

Arbeen: the dome of the main mosque was pounded Impact of pounding Tanks patrol the streets of the suburb at dawn And throughout the day

Hamouriyeh: burying local martyrs in the courtyard of houses to avoid the treacherous trek to the local cemetery

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 An unidentified martyr Martyrs of the pounding , , , Impact of pounding on Deir Qanoun , As the pounding resumes, a gun battle between loyalists and local rebels takes place Helping the wounded , Martyrs from Bseemah Their funeral Local FSA members manage to repel the attack and confiscate a vehicle belonging to loyalist security 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

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

Ain Al-Fijeh: local consign the Assads to the dustbin of history

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

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.”

Nighttime Rallies


Hama City

Nighttime Rallies

Hama Province

Reinforcements arrive into Sahel Al-Ghab Region

Daytime Rallies

Nighttime Rallies
Al-Hosn citadel


Idlib City: Locals say that this man is a paramedic who was injured as he was treating the wounded in the streets Martyr Mass funeral for four martyrs , ,

Ma’arrat Al-Nouman: unidentified bodies showing signs of torture were found by the wayside of the highway leading to Aleppo

Ariha: the pounding of the town by loyalist troops continues A martyr His funeral

Taftanaz: Impact of shelling by mortars

Saraqib: a local boys high school comes under fire Impact of shelling , Treating the wounded Nighttime funeral for two local martyrs

Daytime Rallies
Kafroumah , Mhambel Kafar Takhreem Ferkaya , Binnish Al-Dana (funeral) Ma’arrat Al-Nouman Kafrenbel (all women) Banner “To the First Lady, we promise to make you the Last Widow” Elteh

Nighttime Rallies


Deraa City

Nighttime Rallies

Deraa/Hauran Province

Ankhel: protesters come under fire

Khirbet Ghazaleh: loyalists pour into town

Na’eemah: a martyr

Karak Sharqi: Locals organize a mass funeral , for this martyr

Daytime Rallies

Nighttime Rallies


Aleppo City

Firdoss: nighttime protesters come under fire

Aleppo Province

Nighttime Rallies

Deir Ezzor

Daytime Rallies

Nighttime Rallies


Daytime Rallies

Nighttime Rallies