Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Damascus Yearning! Damascus Burning!

Damascus gave Paul his life changing epiphany – could it do the same for Obama?

Tuesday July 17, 2012

Today’s Death toll: 82. The Breakdown: According to the LCCs, the toll includes 11 members of the FSA, 3 children and 2 women. 37 were killed in Damascus (24 in the City, and 13 in the Suburbs), 13 in Homs, 11 in Aleppo, 9 in Idlib, 6 in Deir Ezzor, 2 in Lattakia, 2 in Hama, 1 in Suweida and 1 in Daraa.


Tanzania: Local Troops for Syria Mission TANZANIA will send between 100 and 200 troops to a peacekeeping mission in war-torn Syria, the National Assembly was told here on Monday.

Op-Eds & Special Reports

Russia and the West lock horns over Syria President Putin offered no indication that Russia will support a UN Security Council resolution backed by the US, Britain, and France that would open the door for military intervention.

Syria's al Qaeda boomerangfor Syria's leadership, al Qaeda's work against the Bashar al-Assad regime is a boomerang.  In an interview with CNN's Ivan Watson, the highest level government official to defect described further how Damascus has collaborated with al Qaeda since the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

Blanket Thinkers To call the Free Syrian Army a sectarian gang is tantamount to calling the Syrian people a sectarian gang. It betrays a willed ignorance of reality. The FSA was formed in response to the sickening violence perpetrated by the Syrian regime, which at this stage is certainly a sectarian gang. Its Alawi military units work with armed Alawi civilians to slaughter Sunnis. This is a disaster for the Alawis and everyone else; it sows the seeds of a potential war which would destroy the country for generations, and it’s one of the first reasons why the regime must go as soon as possible.

Syria's Plan B: An Allawite state? … in interviews with GlobalPost, regime supporters, insiders and experts say the Tremseh killings — in which regime forces used overwhelming firepower to destroy much of the village and eyewitnesses described Allawite militiamen executing dozens — fit a geographic pattern of attacks by forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad that are attempting to carve out a breakaway Allawite state.


In Talbisseh, Homs Province, an airplane ejects a heavy bomb, probably 500-1000 pounds, on the town below, the ensuing explosion is huge: The town continued to be pounded, as we see below, by using heavy artillery

For those claiming that somehow the FSA is receiving sophisticated weaponry, this fighter from Homs sets the core straight: you don’t have to speak Arabic to understand

All those experts busy telling President Obama that his decision not to intervene in Syria is a wise one were the same ones who advised him to engage Assad saying Assad was a reformer. First, they said we are not ready for revolution, now they say we are not ready for democracy. They were wrong then, they are wrong now. But policymaking circles in U.S. are not about right and wrong, they are more often about people making careers for themselves as experts, pundits or politicians. That’s what it boils down to.

Barack Obama’s US government has warned its western allies and Syria’s opposition groups that it can do nothing to intervene in the country’s crisis until after November’s presidential election, The Daily Telegraph has learned.

At an average of 100 deaths daily, Obama’s electoral priorities will cost us 15,000 more lives at least, a figure that is bound to include hundreds of children.

President Obama is in good company when it come moral irresponsibility, for Jordan’s King too is wary of “Military Intervention In Syria,” so are the recently elected Presidents of Egypt and Tunisia.

But, as they say, those receiving the blows might have a slightly more nuanced perspective than those who are counting them. I wonder what the positions of these fine Arab leaders would have been had their former dictators opted to bomb the hell out of their people, instead of bowing out relatively gracefully?

Not intervening in Syria might earn you a career or win you an election, but it will not earn you any respect, or safeguard the national interest.

This doctor at a field hospital, for instance, suggested some months ago that some kind of neurological agent may have have featured in the siege of Baba Amr last February. Patients, he said, suffered from abnormal symptoms such as alopecia, cutaneous rash, muscle pain and memory loss, though of course there was no diagnostic equipment on hand to determine etiology.
For months, activists and opposition figures have been saying that Assad’s endgame is to retreat, once Damascus falls to the rebels, to an Alawite rump state along the Mediterranean where sectarian loyalists can protect their patrimonial and commercial interests. (The Assads come from the province of Latakia.) According to independent opposition figure Ammar Abdulhamid, the Kremlin is at least willing to entertain this doomsday scenario because it believes it will then retain control of its port at Tartus and its “secular” ally in the Levant (albeit one that partners with Hezbollah, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and, according to Ambassador Fares, al-Qaeda).
Now Alawites themselves are confirming that this does indeed seem to be the regime’s plan. The GlobalPost interviewed Haidar, a 30 year-old Alawite whose father is active in the Syrian security services: “The massacres in the Sunni villages are to clean the west bank of the Orontes from Sunnis and the military operations in the area are to drive Sunnis eastward.” Haidar adds that his sect is being told that there are vast oil and gas deposits along the coast that will enrich the inhabitants.
Meanwhile, while no one was looking, another autonomous region was being born in the north-east of Syria – not out of psychopathic malice but out of sheer pragmatism and geopolitical cunning. Rival Kurdish factions have tactically reconciled to form their own de facto regional government, which comes complete with its own military apparatus.

The images below might help clarify the situation even further.

The BBC Map

The Ethnic Map

The Casualties Map

Video Highlights

Bear in mind below that hundreds of rallies continue to take place every day in Damascus and across Syria. This is still one of the main features of the Revolution.

Salaheddine Aleppo City Telmens, Idlib El-Hameh, Damascus Qoudsaya, Damascus Qamishlo, Hassakeh Jarajmeh, Hama Etc.

In Damascus

A video showing clashes in Tadamon on July 15 Today, the neighborhood was pounded again Local snipers take pot shots at  a nearby minaret

In Qaboun: Tanks pour in The pounding start , and intensifies and leaves many dead And lasts into dusk , and into the night, with nighttime pounding leaving several homes on fire Choppers keep pounding But earlier in the day, the local resistance managed to bring down one of the helicopters , that took part in the pounding.

The nearby neighborhood of Barzeh was also pounded And helicopter gunships played their deadly role Clashes last into the night And Al-Qadam , , , And into the night ,

Clashes raged below while a chopper overflew the neighborhood ,

Local resistance manage to gain control of some armored vehicles And promise to fight on, saying “La Ruju’” meaning “no going back”

In other parts of the district, clashes were somewhat subdued But local resistance managed to get their hands of some of the armored vehicles that tried to storm their neighborhood While, some neighborhoods were being pounded, traffic in nearby streets went as normal Elsewhere, local activists tried to clean their neighborhood

Black smoke rises over Naher Eisheh Nighttime clashes in Daf Al-Shawk

In Al-Hajar Al-Aswad, locals take control of official buildings and raise the revolution’s flag over some schools

Blocking traffic with burning tires was how activists in Kafar Sousseh and Shamdeen joined the fight.

Still, the way to Damascus City was not all fun and games for pro-Assad militias and troops, as some local resistance groups managed to attack and destroy some of their more vulnerable convoys

In Sbeineh, Eastern Ghoutah, local resistance, managed to take control of the local police headquarters capturing some of the shabiha in the process They In Yelda, local resistance manage to take control of the local political security branch Here we can see bodies belonging to pro-Assad militias lying un-reclaimed on the highway, after an attack

One of the unit affiliated with the FSA taking part in the fight

Meanwhile, in the eastern suburbs, the suburbs of Eastern Ghoutah, just on the outskirts of Midan and other restive neighborhoods in Damascus City, tanks pour into the suburb of Saqba and Hamouriyeh and Arbeen and Jisreen

A helicopter gunship that flies overhead suddenly fires a series of missiles , More missiles ,

In the suburbs, of Arbeen is pounded with helicopter gunships , Even at night Nearby Hamouriyeh was also targeted

In the Suburbs, the pounding touched several including Moadamiyeh , , , Sounds of clashes Helicopter gunships take part Pro-Assad militias storm in But get pushed back

The pounding of the town of Yabroud on the road between Homs and Damascus leaves many members of the local resistance dead when a missile hit their headquarters The city has been quite for weeks, and local fighters felt free to gather in certain places, which exposed them to this attack.

To the south, Qatana is pounded

Other Video Highlights

Treimseh, Hama, Revisited

Talbisseh, Homs Province, wakes up as it she slept, to the bomb shells and automatic gunfire The pounding was intense , , , , New kind of bombs was used thrown from an airplane

But the local resistance quickly turns to work in support of their colleagues in Damascus, and they manage to mount a surprise operation and take over one of the local checkpoints with all the tanks there , , , , A local activist introduces us to the scene: he claims the entire town now is under their control, and says that they only accept as legitimate those officers fighting alongside them in Syria not those who fled to Turkey or Jordan

In Al-Qusayr, local resistance take control of a tank and begin firing at pro-Assad’s checkpoints at the city’s outskirts

In Tal Kalakh, Homs, nighttime pounding leaves the local bakery, the last remaining bakery in town, on fire The pounding continues

In Rastan, Homs, daytime pounding reduces many home to rubble , Helicopter gunships take part in the pounding Nighttime pounding leaves many homes on fire But the local resistance keep fighting back , ,

The inhabitants of Salqeen, Idlib Province, welcome members of the Free Syrian Army who rushed in to help the city, managing to liberate it FSA clash with pro-Assad militias , Close-up look Plumes of black smoke rise above city At night, a mortar round targets the local Mosque of Rawdah

The nearby Kafar Takhareem gets pounded as well

In Babouline, more soldiers defect

Nearby Al-Hraak is pounded by a helicopter gunship

Al-Lajat Region to the south of Daraa City was also severely pounded Bosra was also pounded

Clashes take place in the border town of Albou Kamal in Deir Ezzor Province: , , But local resistance try to fight back

The pounding of Deir Ezzor City continues One of the positions taking part in pounding the city

In Aleppo, Eizaz was pounded by helicopters Local resistance manage to take control of a truck load of ammunition And a tank Anadan was pounded as well

In Jarablos, Aleppo, local fighters stand ready to defend their city The dead bodies we see here belong to pro-Assad militias They also arrest one of the pro-Assad militia leaders, saying he and his friends were responsible for the death of 8 local fighters The fighters then dine on a meal of bread and vegetables

In Jabal Al-Akrad, Lattakia Province, local fighters are now making their own missiles: here, they are testing one  But the missiles falling on Salma fired by pro-Assad militias are all too devastating