Friday, July 13, 2012

Another Opportunity To Miss An Opportunity?

Judging by previous reactions, the new massacre at Treimseh will only serve to provide international leaders with another opportunity to do nothing, except to underscore the meaninglessness of existing international order, and such lofty ideals and promises as the Responsibility to Protect.

Thursday July 12, 2012

Today’s Death toll:  287. The Breakdown: 247 in Treimseh (Hama Province), 22 in Homs, 23 in Damascus (12 in Damascus City: 8 in Barzeh, 3 in Jobar, and 1 in Al-Hajar Al-Aswad; 11 in Damascus Suburbs: Sayida Zeinab, Yalda, Zamalka, Daraya), 7 in Daraa, 6 in Deir Ezzor, 56 in Idlib, 3 in Aleppo, 1 in Hassakeh.

6 officers defect in the coastal city of Tartous, including three Alawites. Meanwhile, local resistance claim to have mounted a surprise attack on the Russian naval base in the city: no major damage was reported but one of the assailants was said to have been martyred. If true, the operation is the first of its kind. Be that as it may, not all is quiet on the coastal front.

News
Massacre Reported in Syria as Security Council Meets Syrian opposition activists said nearly 200 people were killed in a Sunni village on Thursday by government forces using tanks and helicopters… Antigovernment activists also posted videos online claiming that Syrian forces had added unguided cluster bombs, an indiscriminate weapon designed to maximize damage and casualties, to their arsenal of attack helicopters, artillery and tanks… “These videos show identifiable cluster bombs and submunitions,” said Steve Goose, the arms division director at Human Rights Watch in a statement. “If confirmed, this would be the first documented use of these highly dangerous weapons by the Syrian armed forces during the conflict.”
Syrian army accused of attacking hundreds In what may be the worst single incident of violence in 16 months of conflict in Syria, more than 200 people are reported dead. Due to restrictions on journalists within the country, the reports cannot be verified. People in the region say they're 'terrified.'


Evidence exists to bring Syria war-crimes case: French diplomat France's top human rights diplomat says 'the raw material is there' in the Syria conflict to refer case to the International Criminal Court at The Hague.
Sunni 'cannon fodder' abandon Syria's Alawite-led military Opposition groups say increasing number of foot soldiers defecting to Turkey
Deserter Manaf Tlas 'in touch with opposition' Manaf Tlas, a Syrian general who fled the country last week, has been in contact with members of the opposition, France's foreign minister has said.
Syrian regime must be ousted, says diplomat defector Nawaf al-Fares Former envoy to Iraq dismisses peace plan and calls for violent removal of president Bashar al-Assad.


Op-Eds & Special Reports
To Topple Assad, Unleash the CIA Turkey and even Iraq's Kurds would help Syria's rebels if the U.S. showed it is serious.

Is the Syrian Regime Using Rape as a Tactic of War? Reports suggest troops loyal to the embattled government of Syrian President Bashar Assad are carrying out a systematic campaign of rape.

The influential Syrian general who could bear Assad no more The Tlass family were once acolytes of the Assad dynasty, but as the regime crackdown targeted their fellow Sunni clansmen, they hatched a plan to flee to Paris.
Syrian ambassador's defection boosts idea of booting Assad, keeping others The defection of two top Syrian officials, including the ambassador to Iraq, is prompting foreign policy experts to explore the idea of removing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad but keeping lower level.

In Syria: Why is Turkey reluctant to take the lead? Turks hope that peace between the two countries can be restored. But Syrian refugees hope Turkey will take a more aggressive stance.

Al-Treimseh Massacre – Hama Province:

Pro-Assad militias laid siege to the town at 5 am local time, cutting off power and communications. Then intensive shelling took place for two hours followed by a more sporadic bombardment as pro-Assad militias reportedly stormed certain neighborhoods, burned down houses after killing their occupants, then pursued those who escaped into the nearby fields where some were executed on the spot. Entire families were slaughtered. Many of the dead families were already refugees from the nearby village of Khneizeer. Local resistance was poorly armed and was unable to push back the invading pro-Assad militias. The massacre seems sectarian in character. 

Treimseh lies in the middle of Sahel Al-Ghab region, the farmlands that have been reclaimed from swamps over the last few decades and where Sunni and Alawite villages lie adjacent to each other. Pro-Assad militias, composed of mostly Alawite villagers with some support from Alawite recruits from the Alawite heartland in the mountainous regions along the coast, and few Sunni recruits, have been carrying out an ethnic cleansing campaign against the local Sunni population for months now.

Syrian TV claimed that security forces clashed with the terrorists responsible for the massacre and that they have managed to arrest some of the perpetrators. Local activists say the security forces were in league with perpetrators and provided cover through the use of heavy artillery, just as they did in Houla.

The immediate popular reaction at this stage is anger towards all: the regime, its loyalists, the silent segments of the population, Russia, China, Iran Hezbollah, the Shia, the Alawites, the Americans, and other western powers, the opposition, especially the Syrian National Council and its executive office whose members were faulted and dismissed for visiting Russia. In short: everyone. The impotence of the opposition and continued dithering by international leaders seem unfathomable to locals after so many months of bloodshed, and so many massacres. Who can blame them?


Video Highlights

On the morning of July 12, 2012, tanks lay siege to the town and begin pounding the neighborhoods http://youtu.be/uXoequ1b9mM And the dying begins http://youtu.be/_e0QbpT50_g


Benefitting from a brief lull in the pounding, the inhabitants stream into the nearby fields, where many were caught and killed http://youtu.be/fE40EnObg4k

On January 25, 2012, pro-Assad carried out a raid against Treimseh and looted the houses of the locals. On their way out, they were greeted and cheered on by Alawite inhabitants of nearby villages. Now, some pro-Assad websites are trying to circulate this YouTube claiming that the Treimseh people were punished by rebels because they cheered Assad’s troops http://youtu.be/u32zRFzspLM But this is what the people of Treimseh were doing before the raid: rallying against Assad http://youtu.be/QBJ1w6nIMZw And this is what pro-Assad militias did to Treimseh four days after the raid http://youtu.be/lwNdaSZF46A Much like Houla, Treimseh has been under siege since. The people of Treimseh joined the revolution ever since July 5, 2011 as this clip with them taking their revolutionary vows shows http://youtu.be/QOxv11S3-Pc

Treimseh was not the only Hama town to be attacked: Hayaleen was pounded was well http://youtu.be/zihTz90rk0Q a child was injured http://youtu.be/E5g0e2KTDWk Karnaz was intensely targeted http://youtu.be/rOSqYVfdM1Q The village of Jlimeh was also pounded with helicopter gunships http://youtu.be/9GhA7akMgEI

The Damascene Neighborhood of Barzeh was pounded today in new escalation. The pounding left 8 dead and scores wounded http://youtu.be/T2yTgni8vuI , http://youtu.be/pPOwjMv9wCE The nearby neighborhood of Kafar Sousseh was also pounded http://youtu.be/f6uNhgq0c38 , http://youtu.be/6AqGQvlxtLM A chopper overflew the neighborhood earlier http://youtu.be/M8nF6mw_t3E the nearby neighborhood of Daraya is also pounded from the direction of the Military Airport of Mazzeh http://youtu.be/nyzwDPtUNYg


In Homs Province, the pounding of Houla continues http://youtu.be/12e3i-u-bCE , http://youtu.be/nacUKqiIa_8 , http://youtu.be/qJG1pjU-xl0 Talbisseh was also pounded http://youtu.be/YMqRyOX2Cyw , http://youtu.be/47K2nwBm3so Rastan was pounded http://youtu.be/TSmGY8Pt2yI , http://youtu.be/EFm3FqoNQyM , http://youtu.be/v37h2mZypXc , http://youtu.be/0gFUyUpZemI The artillery positions taking part in the pounding http://youtu.be/QP7T97IdAy8 A helicopter gunship takes part in the pounding http://youtu.be/qLvFBsJsKSw


The pounding of Tal Rif’aat in Aleppo leaves many dead when they were trapped under the rubble of collapsed homes http://youtu.be/GAj0mwZjMag Mnay neighboring communities were also pounded, including Anadan where nighttime shelling leaves many homes on fire http://youtu.be/l-AwcA-XKzc Local resistance groups around the town of Anadan manage to destroy a tank an take its occupants prisoner http://youtu.be/9Y0xxWlYWVQ

In Lattakia Province, Hiffeh District, the pounding of the last Sunni strongholds continues: Salma http://youtu.be/0E_i76ev11Q and the pounding continues into the night http://youtu.be/AYzNz77FuQU

The pounding of Deir Ezzor City continues: Jourah http://youtu.be/t5s4HmZR7qo Takaya http://youtu.be/NppHZADVjwY

In Idlib Province, the village of Al-Rami near the Turkish border continues to be pounded http://youtu.be/byNOsHli-IU , http://youtu.be/55mN75JAdHo