Monday, May 21, 2012

Briefly Noted

As I find myself traveling again, I cannot help but make a few observations on recent developments in Syria.

Regarding rumors of high level assassinations, reported here and denied here, what can be confirmed thus far is this:

1) A major attack by local resistance fighters against the Kafar Sousseh Security compound in Damascus has taken place early Sunday.

2) Someone(s) important to the regime could be receiving treatment at Al-Shami hospital, located near to the Presidential Palace, as can be deducted from a sudden increase in security in the area. The identity of those involved cannot be confirmed. Nor is it clear whether the two events are related.

Recent clashes in Beirut and Tripoli (here and here) indicate the beginning of a spillover effect that could soon plunge Lebanon into sectarian turmoil and argues for immediate action on Syria, which makes the recent remarks by NATO head rather unfortunate and ill-timed.

Reports from the field speak of a major battle that took place on Sunday between local resistance and pro-Assad militias near the Bab Al-Hawa checkpoint along the Turkish border. The area is said to have effectively fallen into the hands of local resistance, at least for the time being. The attack was facilitated by a recent purchase made by local resistance members of the entire supply of weapons located in a nearby military facility whose Alawite commander joined the FSA after his family members were smuggled to Turkey.

Other Items of Interest:

Syria's Television confessions fail to convince many A revealing quote: Aisha, a 42-year-old housewife who comes from the same minority Alawite sect as President Assad, said that although she does not trust the confessions, she knows they have a use. "I watch the confessions in front of my children and try to convince them that they are real because I want them to be scared of what will happen if they look for trouble," she said.