Friday, June 1, 2012

Liberty & Death!

Increased death and suffering with an end-game in sight is something most Syrians would accept at this stage, because by now the only choice we have is to get to the other side no matter how high the cost will be. It’s the combination of death and abandonment that fuels extremism and kills hope.

Thursday May 31, 2012

Death toll: 51, most of whom fell in Homs Province in Qusayr, Rastan and Homs City.

Most neighborhoods and bazars in the suburbs of Damascus and Aleppo and many local neighborhoods continue to observe the call for general strike.

Defections in Deir Ezzor City and surrounding areas have increased dramatically over the last few days. Most of the city and the larger province seems to have fallen under the control of the local resistance.

Authorities and pro-Assad militias in Damascus prevent a funeral for the Christian activist Bassil Shahada in order to avoid an embarrassing show of anti-Assad sentiments by the city’s large Christian community. Assad and his supporters are still trying to portray the revolution as an exclusively radical Sunni phenomenon, but, in truth, discontent with Assad rule is endemic to all communities in Syria.

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Op-Eds & Special Reports

While USA Today's own editorial cautions against military intervention in Syria at this stage, I was given the opportunity to express the opposite point of view, arguing that "The time for action has come." People can actually vote on whether they agree with the arguments made or disagree.

Highlighted Articles

While many respondents supported religious values in public life, only a small fraction strongly favored Shariah law, clerical influence in government, or heavy emphasis on Islamic education. A large majority (73%) said it was "important for the new Syrian government to protect the rights of Christians." Only 20% said that religious leaders have a great influence on their political views…

Just 5% had even a mildly positive view of Saudi Arabia as a political model. In contrast, 82% gave Turkey a favorable rating as both a political and economic model (including over 40% extremely favorable). The U.S. earned 69% favorable ratings as a political model, with France, Germany and Britain close behind. Tunisia rated only 37% and Egypt 22%. Iran was rated lowest of any country included in the survey, including Russia and China: Not even 2% of respondents had positive views of Iran as a political model. Fully 90% expressed an unfavorable view of Hezbollah, including 78% with the most negative possible attitude…

The survey demonstrates that the core of the Syrian opposition inside the country is not made up of the Muslim Brotherhood or other fundamentalist forces, and certainly not of al Qaeda or other jihadi organizations. To be sure, a revolution started by secularists could pave the way for Islamists to win elections, as has occurred in Egypt. But the Syrian opposition is solidly favorable to the U.S. and overwhelmingly negative toward both Hezbollah and Iran.

“If the Americans are serious about adopting the Yemeni solution and pointing everybody in this direction, then they must do more than negotiate and consult because al-Assad will not accept any deal until after the Yemeni solution is no longer applicable and it is impossible to implement. We must accelerate the arming of the Syrian opposition and support them to besiege the regime until al-Assad accepts stepping down from power via a deal that represents the bare minimum that he has offered others. Unless al-Assad feels that he is being militarily besieged, he will never step down, rather he will accept more and more support from Hezbollah and Iran to create even more chaos, pushing Syria towards a sectarian war, for this is precisely what he wants, as he believes this will allow him to retain control of some parts of Syria, remaining as president of the regions that are – in terms of sectarianism – affiliated or allied to him.”

By Donatella Rovera, Amnesty International’s senior crisis researcher.
“Every protest I observed during three days in Aleppo ended the same way: with the army, security forces and shabiha – the infamous militias who do some of the government’s dirty work – opening fire on non-violent demonstrators who posed no threats to them (or to anybody else).”

Video Highlights

In the village of Eastern Bouaydah near the town of Qusayr in Homs Province, 14 laborers fell victims to summary executions by pro-Assad militias http://youtu.be/T0eP4K2Tibs , http://youtu.be/0nZcaV1WxFI , http://youtu.be/bcFD1-7PNJk

In Qusayr itself, the pounding continues http://youtu.be/JiRImmprk-8 and claims the life of local activist involved in filming and documenting the crackdown against the protesters in his area http://youtu.be/45Tg7lMgLlk Doctors and the field hospital come under fire even as they scurry to treat the injured http://youtu.be/LRPLh9wxfa8 Some of today’s martyrs http://youtu.be/1dFvUskVWAM

In Homs City, the pounding of the old neighborhoods continues http://youtu.be/BHZtlskgi_M  , http://youtu.be/ub5PH78dQnQ Nighttime pounding left many buildings on fire: Qoussour http://youtu.be/1pcGUFOJWTA Hamidiyeh a historic house converted into restaurant is destroyed by the pounding http://youtu.be/CnS-E5fPkGU Home catches fire http://youtu.be/BKyt6C4r5Cc A local church is hit http://youtu.be/rSOgu9CnrC8 Khaldiyeh: homes catch fire http://youtu.be/RbcgPKvjBZw , http://youtu.be/6ZrAL3cGN7A Siraj Mosque catches fire http://youtu.be/E6BmkL14W9Y

The nearby town of Rastan is pounded again http://youtu.be/fZQOo_MMaMU , http://youtu.be/HarxR6hd7-Q , http://youtu.be/GBKv1EHf9gg , http://youtu.be/S9gn8zGVnVE , http://youtu.be/xWjel4NN3zI An activist from the local documentation team is killed http://youtu.be/l_AGxEmdAV4 Clouds of black smoke rise above the town http://youtu.be/pRPe8JrRPn4 Some buildings catch fire http://youtu.be/fjv6LVszO3o

In the town of Dar Azzah, Aleppo Province, choppers take part in bombarding the historic church of St. Simeon http://youtu.be/MMPIV-IPUK8 , http://youtu.be/7SL7AefbPeo

The town of Marei is pounded using choppers destroying many homes http://youtu.be/u1Ceq7odwao , http://youtu.be/ArpHYfYBrwA One of today’s martyrs http://youtu.be/FSrPjZtII1k The chopper that took part in the pounding http://youtu.be/gSO1uK0YgXI

The town of Ma’arrat Al-Nouman, Idlib Province, is pounded http://youtu.be/dxFpY7d8Rlo

The town of Daraya, Damascus Province, is pounded http://youtu.be/hSR2LZg-Jhg

The Massacre of Eastern Bouaydah Village, Town of Qusayr, Homs Province

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