Monday, March 5, 2012

Countdown!

There is a countdown taking place in the background of all developments in Syria today, leading either to the beginning of intervention or the end of human decency. Your call.

Monday March 5, 2012

Death toll: (Sunday) 52, including 8 children and 3 women in Rastan in Homs Province and 13 in a massacre in the town of Harbanafsah in Hama Province. 5 more were killed in Idlib, 4 in Deraa, 2 in Aleppo, 2 in Deir Ezzor, and3 in rural areas of Damascus.  (Monday) At least 11 people In Homs, Deraa, Idlib, Aleppo and Hama, while the shelling of Rastan (Homs Province) continues.

Loyalist forces continue to undertake sweep operations in the rural areas of Hama and Homs, including shelling a number of villages and towns, including Qusayr and Talbisseh in Homs and Hayaleen, Treimseh and Kfarhoud in Hama.

News
Op-Eds & Special Reports

Petition

For those interested in advocacy on behalf of the Syrian people, signing this petition is a must. It seems that, while calling for sanctions on Syria, the U.S. itself has an active contract with the Russian arms dealer that has sold over 4 billion dollars’ worth of weapons to the Assads!!!

Remarkable Remarks

Meanwhile, Senator McCain’s statement in the Senate today made the strongest public argument so far by anyone, Syrian or American, for the need of immediate military action against the Assad. Yes, this is a difficult option, but it is the only decent option left.

The In-laws New Strategy

While Assad’s father-in-law says that he is “horrified” by what is taking place in Syria, and that he “fears” for his daughter, the latter appeared safe and sound on CNN (http://youtu.be/_5r7s81FXfI) where she echoed her father’s sentiments (well, she was actually speaking about the situation in Gaza, but someone made an interesting edits to make sound as if she addressing the situation in Homs City).  So, the Assads and their in-laws’ new strategy seems to call for shedding a few crocodile tears over the blood that they themselves have spilled. Impunity Thy Name Is Assad.

The Popular Resistance: new operations, more organization, a diversifying base

The Lions of the Wilderness Brigade affiliated with the Free Syrian Army carried out a daring raid on March 3 targeting an arms depot near the town of Maheen in the southern parts of the Homs Province. The raid was conducted by close to 300 members who managed to control the camp for over 7 hours during which they battled with local guards, killing close to 250 of them by their count and losing 6 members. They ended up loading 4 trucks with weapons and supplies and leaving by helicopter gunships arrived to wrest back control. On March 4, The Brigade distributed some of the gains to other fighting units in Damascus and Homs. The Lions of the Wilderness Brigade is based in the Qalamoun Mountain range separating Damascus and Homs. Leaders of the Brigade are currently involved in talks with other fighting units from Homs, Damascus, and Deraa over the formation of a larger resistance network to take the fight to the Assads and their loyalists.

Jabal Al-Zawiyah (Idlib): New defectors form new fighting brigade http://youtu.be/gXOxEUsec-c Also in Idlib, a unit purportedly made up only of Alawite recruits is formed under the command of Captain Salih Ali Al-Salih http://youtu.be/Jmc4VdNeJM0

In the town of Harasta (Eastern Ghoutah Region/Damascus), a joint operation by local units affiliated with FSA from different regions in Damascus left the local headquarters of Air Force Intelligence in ruins http://youtu.be/PnPNG3tRpyM

In Hama City, the night is always rife with clashes between FSA members and forces loyal to Assad http://youtu.be/PJRIEADjXwc

FSA Diplomacy

The death of a low-ranking Druze officer in the loyalist troops patrolling Deraa City led a few acts of retaliation against Sunni farmers in Suweida Province, the home of the Druze community in Syria. Even as they serve with the loyalists, Druze officers have often refused to take part in the ongoing crackdown, Alawite officers have been reluctant to punish them or force them to do so in order to avoid angering the Druze community. In return, Druze officers expect not to be targeted by FSA members. The death of Nash’at Aqel, blamed by some on FSA, challenged this understanding, forcing the local FSA commander, Qais Qata’neh to issue a statement denying responsibility for the murder and vowing to protect Druze soldiers http://youtu.be/9__Ycvp8exU

Why Delayed Intervention in Syria Could Cause Radicalization
Read this article by Soner Cagaptay from the Ashington Instittue in conjunction with a note I made yesterday:

But there is anger against the US as well: (Homs City/Jouret Al-Shayah) Signs says “the Obama Administration is a partner to Assad in his crimes, on orders from Israel” http://youtu.be/FnzzLurVBT4 You cannot expect the pragmatic streak that the protesters has exhibited earlier to remain forever. Of course, for now, this is a localized trend which can easily be reversed with the right set of proactive policies, but the window of opportunity will not remain open forever.

Elsewhere, the protesters have turned against SNC leader, Burhan Ghalioun, for his objection to arming the Free Syrian Army in a week that was dedicated to call for arms (Hama City/Aleppo Road) http://youtu.be/LSn37IsTfR8 (Hamas City/Hamidiyeh) “We don’t want Bashar nor Ghalioun, we want a leader not an agent” http://youtu.be/80NDydAlQtA (Ankhel/Deraa) Sign “the people want to oust Ghalioun from the SNC” http://youtu.be/YNK13VCL2eE

In Homs City, the neighborhoods of Karm Al-Zeitun and nearby streets come under renewed pounding http://youtu.be/02q2SneeJ4U Jib Al-Janadali http://youtu.be/1HM15B2Bj5U

Damascus/Yabroud: Assad’s tanks storm right in http://youtu.be/q593Szgkws0

Deir Ezzor/Orfi: Assad’s tanks shoot their way into town http://youtu.be/z2s0Y7S0T_U

Deraa/Ankhel: protesters throw stones at loyalists even as they come under fire http://youtu.be/CXL0klr12Kw Earlier, locals staged a funeral for one of their own http://youtu.be/RdmZjc8gQOA

Damascus/Saqba: chopper overflies the restive community http://youtu.be/RIG-TKDsdmw

And we end with Rastan, where this mother cries for the return of her dead son http://youtu.be/rZEh7RgNUKo , this little girl was target by a sniper http://youtu.be/m-FvRveMqJI

And this girl was killed a couple of days ago, a day after carrying a banner calling on the world to help the children of Homs. Syria as a whole is meeting the same fate.