So long as the debate over Syria still revolves around the issue of whether to intervene rather than how to intervene, delusion will continue to rule the day and disaster will keep inching its way to fulfillment.
Friday June 01, 2012 – A day dedicated to the children of Houla
Today’s death toll: 50. The Breakdown: 21 in Damascus and suburbs including 2 children who were summarily executed, 12 in Homs province including 3 children and 1 defected soldier, 6 in Aleppo including 3 children, 4 in Daraa including 2 women, 3 in Idlib including 1 child, 3 in Hama and 1 in Deir Ezzor.
The Syrian Chargé d’Affaires in Yemen announces his defection and support for the Syrian Revolution.
Op-Eds & Special Reports
Leaked video shows tanks driven by pro-Assad militias crushing the body of a local activist in Al-Barrah Village, Idlib Province http://youtu.be/eX5rU_DBFAY
What needs to be done is quite straightforward: Under the auspices either of NATO or a coalition of the willing, Washington should pursue air strikes against select targets, especially the columns of tanks and heavy artillery that are bombing restive towns indiscriminately.
The U.S. and its allies should provide arms to local resistance fighters, enabling them to secure their communities. They should create safe havens across the Turkish and Jordanian borders. And they should encourage high-level defections by offering amnesty to Assad's key military, security and political figures.
Washington should build a coalition of peacekeepers who can maintain order in the country, and work with opposition groups to piece together an interim governing body that can take over once Assad's regime has fallen.
It won't be easy, and it won't be cheap, but the cost of non-intervention will be much higher.
Comment: If the Russian Church truly wants to protect Syria’s Christian communities, then removing Assad should be Item Number 1 on its agenda, for it is Assad and his family who have paved the way to the current situation and it is their dabbling with Al-Qaeda that brought it to our backyard. Putin and his advisers know that pretty well, and could have informed the patriarch of the Russian Church. Instead, they play them like puppets and motion them to express for Assad and his regime. But, the naivety and/or duplicity of Russian patriarchs notwithstanding, one thing should be clear: Putin and his advisers care as much about the future of Christians in Syria as they do about the concerns, aspirations and basic rights of Russia’s own opposition groups.
Putin’s gambit is clear and simple: he wants to rebuild the foregone imperial prestige of the good old Soviet Union even at the expense of our aspirations for freedom. And yes, many of the experts I met during my recent visit to Moscow reiterated elements of the argument below:
What if the line in the sand that Mr Putin wants to draw is not about Russia's prestige and role in the Security Council? What if his plan is far grander: halting, at the gates of Damascus, what he sees as the green tide of Sunni Islamism stretching from Morocco, through North Africa and the Levant to Turkey and thence almost to Russia's unstable southern border? If that is the case then to prosecute a civil war in Syria, far from being a disaster, is both necessary and desirable - like the one he fought in Chechnya.
Meanwhile, Putin’s dear old friend, Bashar Assad, continues to unleash his thugs so they can bombard the churches of Old Homs and to prevent a Christian family in Damascus from holding a proper funeral for her martyred son. After all, he was killed while documenting the atrocities of pro-Assad thugs.
“Defections in Deir Ezzor City and surrounding areas have increased dramatically over the last few days,” said Ammar Abdulhamid in his daily Syrian Revolution Digest. “Most of the city and the larger province seems to have fallen under the control of the local resistance.”
Abdulhamid, who has been a leading pro-democracy activist in exile from his native Syria, also commented in an email, “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.”
Abdulhamid also reported that authorities and pro-Assad militias in Damascus prevented a funeral for the Christian activist Bassil Shahada in order to avoid what he called “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,” Abdulhamid said.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Thursday that she would talk about Syria during Putin’s visit, which had been scheduled to focus on economics. “A disaster is taking place in Syria, and we will do everything we can to alleviate the suffering of the people,” Merkel told reporters in Stralsund, Germany. “There’s growing demand to do something,” said Stefan Kornelius, foreign editor of the German daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung. “But nobody knows what that something would be.”
In the town of Hamouriyeh, Damascus, a family of two women and two children is found slaughtered. Local blame roving pro-Assad death squads which have been operating in the area for a while http://youtu.be/7GyzIVNCVb4 , http://youtu.be/xQ0_W7bN2iM
Tens of thousands of local residents in Aleppo City march towards the central square chanting for freedom and the Free Syrian Army http://youtu.be/RoysSRWz06s , http://youtu.be/P4RogxTDHag Different rallies come from different parts of town before converging on Saadallah Al-Jabiri Square http://youtu.be/BOC5uF7SSz4 , http://youtu.be/9GiJTRi4obg , http://youtu.be/dG-1zplNlnA , http://youtu.be/KTLtKXHFetA But the moment they arrive at the Square, pro-Assad militias open fire on them http://youtu.be/CkJjiYUqAhk But some protesters hold their ground on the outskirts of the Square and throw stones at the militias http://youtu.be/3QXoglUZ55k In Sakhour suburb, protesters come under fire before they leave the neighborhood http://youtu.be/ZoVIQJFCsos Rescuing the injured http://youtu.be/UCR7nKmMPzo Some children are killed http://youtu.be/J-rG3-TZD-g
The pounding of Homs City continues from morning (Jouret Al0-Shayah) http://youtu.be/F1boBrIvQB8 , http://youtu.be/jd-H9R26dNw , http://youtu.be/8E3sjV4sRHw way into the night http://youtu.be/2tPT4j9m7DQ Setting whole buildings on fire Qoussour http://youtu.be/UWGkB41byBI Malaab http://youtu.be/LePuYnP-rV8 Khaldiyeh http://youtu.be/sgMY2rZrHig , http://youtu.be/2mPOjennRFw Martyrs http://youtu.be/R5JGKP68Ikg , http://youtu.be/oar2MAPBYa4
Tanks continue to pound the town of Rastan http://youtu.be/26QvL217Hrw while others pound Houla http://youtu.be/SXJeMVo1m1c , http://youtu.be/6cd_M8cUoTc And In Qusayr where shelling kills several http://youtu.be/UczJu4B-7qA The shelling was meant to break up this rally http://youtu.be/wSeCwRHLJho
Eastern Bouyadah, Homs Province: UN monitors pay a visit to the site of Thursday’s massacres perpetrated by pro-Assad death squads http://youtu.be/CxkEloj0_gU , http://youtu.be/vrnSSMLf0j0 , http://youtu.be/smkS3D8CtHM
The town of Al-Atarib, Aleppo Province comes under heavy pounding http://youtu.be/UGLSd3BsUK0
Protesters in the neighborhood of Salhiyeh in Central Damascus come under fire http://youtu.be/cDmbWzu_5cU The town of Douma, east of Damascus, comes under heavy pounding http://youtu.be/WREOxgQlTRA The Damascene suburb of Daraya comes under pounding http://youtu.be/pVHZ2oKypLU
Despite the violent crackdown, hundreds of rallies took place across the country, even in Houla and many other communities that have witnessed massacres and still witness bombardments and attacks by pro-Assad militias and death squads.
Homs: Houla http://youtu.be/qKxbq0RhgXw Qaryatein http://youtu.be/9HTThQtwPeo Rastan http://youtu.be/ncMTkbgNpi0 Talbisseh http://youtu.be/v7MqdDLCG6Q Homs City (Wa’er) http://youtu.be/SzsuhcpwaVo Qusayr (funeral) http://youtu.be/4gu3HOeNZuE
Damascus: Barzeh http://youtu.be/si2I561GLgs Zamalka http://youtu.be/6pV_-LyMH-8 Yabroud http://youtu.be/ht3RmR1xM_8 Daraya (funeral) http://youtu.be/lYlE_MoouWU Douma http://youtu.be/XpctnR742gU Qarrah http://youtu.be/3aYNoI3dcFM Yarmouk http://youtu.be/mtYiU6QC4FI Harasta http://youtu.be/UKgA4eSqM9k Mazzeh http://youtu.be/aLL64Y8-yE0
Idlib: Ma’arrat Massreen http://youtu.be/rLOD_fE07Nc Kafar Takhareem http://youtu.be/bGvdM0e8xxE Khan Shaikhoon http://youtu.be/RrK12r3t7gk Ma’arrat Hourmah http://youtu.be/zdRGninl-F4 Kafroumah http://youtu.be/l5JkYRE_6x0 Courine http://youtu.be/vombLqRVjzI Kafrenbel http://youtu.be/PJ5HZiVgl88 Salqeen http://youtu.be/8VxcIA8uJvY Ariha http://youtu.be/2uT_zGqoxKs Tilmens http://youtu.be/K3yRqUNY7Pc Kastan http://youtu.be/yCfTxDNGv-A
Hama: Kafrenboudeh http://youtu.be/I_SMs9fK6vg Taybat Al-Imam http://youtu.be/GHQeA4DgO5A Karnaz http://youtu.be/yOTbE2fc5EQ Ellatamneh http://youtu.be/K6CwfgpdDLs Hama City (Aleppo Road) http://youtu.be/bkLnC4hlzk4 Madeeq http://youtu.be/953fI0HVPJY Kafar Zeiteh http://youtu.be/uwhZdiIL1kk
Deir Ezzor Procvince: Albou Kamal http://youtu.be/8DJIJOdrHVA Jbeileh http://youtu.be/7LkMt_mqxaE Deir Ezzor City http://youtu.be/7Pg8RomeXoo
Aleppo: Dar Azzah http://youtu.be/0cqvAqXn5zM Elbab http://youtu.be/ana3O5jh2p0 Jineh http://youtu.be/OdXT-K-r640 Ibyan http://youtu.be/oWUE5IDbzfI Eizaz http://youtu.be/CpRrw3SYRT0 Tal Rif’aat http://youtu.be/L-Smie2JETw Bza’ah http://youtu.be/VxfmWqJk9Z8 Kobani http://youtu.be/8lrnHR5hnZo Anadan http://youtu.be/T58i9FBS0aY Hreitan http://youtu.be/_VV8r9wmKfo
Daraa: Kafar Shams http://youtu.be/1VvxNfxNTc0 Khirbet Ghazaleh http://youtu.be/gry3Vp1dmRc Nasseeb http://youtu.be/3XMgDe3cvco Bosra http://youtu.be/HUjfs7buWMA Yadoudeh http://youtu.be/Cy_oSgqRDtc Mseifrah http://youtu.be/A_OzOjdtPBg Daraa City (Al-Balad) http://youtu.be/Z4VYVofVSUo Tafas http://youtu.be/_PAIAeA0Fhc
Hassakeh: Qamishlo http://youtu.be/pMiptd3yFho , http://youtu.be/c6mGjlQVJ28 Amoudeh http://youtu.be/MgGJ31Mhy2k Ras Al-Ain http://youtu.be/w4VIwYydkYk Ghuweiran http://youtu.be/1aEnsk019Ok
Lattakia: Hiffeh http://youtu.be/CGXX9G6JboE