Monday, July 30, 2012

The Mother of All Infamies!

All advice and no weapons makes the White House a fickle ally.

Sunday July 29, 2012

Today’s Death toll: 138. The Breakdown: 111 in Damascus and Suburbs (including 70 in Moadamiyah where 18 where slaughtered in the fields between Moadamiya and Daraya), 33 in Daraa (most in Sheikh Miskeen Massacre), 11 in Aleppo, 9 in Homs, 9 in Dier Ezzor (+ undetermined number of dead bodies found under the rubble today and yesterday), 7 in Idlib, 4 in Lattakia and 1 in Hama.

Cities & Towns Under Shelling: Harasta, Arbeen, Moadamiah, Harran Al-Awameed, Zabadani, Madaya, Eltal, Dmeir, Hameh, Yelda, Rankous, Qarrah (Damascus Suburbs), Sit Zeinab, Al-Qadam, Modan, Al-Hajar Al-Aswad, Yarmouk, Kafar Sousseh, Mazzeh, Qaboun, Barzeh (Damascus City), Daraa City, Khirbet Al-Ghazaleh, Tafas, Bostra Al-Sham, Na’eemah, Mseifrah, Jimreen, Hraak (Daraa), Rastan, Talbisseh, Houla, Tal Kalakh, Al-Qusayr, Al-Hosn, Al-Ghanto, Al-Bouaydah, Old Homs (Homs Province), Hreitan, Elbab, Eizaz, Marei, Bayanoun (Aleppo Province), Haffeh, Jabal Al-Akrad (Lattakia), Deir Ezzor City, Mouhassan, Albou Kamal (Deir Ezzor Province), Kafar Zeiteh, Hawash, Shahshabo, Hama City (Hama Province), Jabal Al-Zawiyeh, Ma’rrat Al-Nouman, Saraqib, Maar Shoureen, Ariha, Kafroumah, Al-Rami, Khan Shaikhoon (Idlib).

While no videos have been made available, local activists say that pro-Assad militias have committed a massacre in the town of Sheikh Miskeen in Daraa Province, in which over thirty people were executed in cold blood. Clashes between rebels and pro-Assad militias are currently taking place.

Syria rebels say world must intervene to stop Aleppo massacre Some 200,000 people have fled Aleppo in the last two days of battles between the Assad regime and rebel forces, according to United Nations estimates.

Op-Eds & Special Reports

Why Syrian refugees protest While criticism of the AKP is either ideological or nationalist, the Turkish people’s reactions to Syrian refugees are marked by anti-Arab sentiments.

Syrian Rebel Leader Mustafa al-Sheikh Says Victory Against Assad Not in Sight The general who heads the Free Syrian Army says his forces are dangerously divided and underfunded, al Qaeda is gaining a foothold in the conflict, and a major win that could topple the regime, like seizing Aleppo, is still out of reach.

Syria Faces Economic Endgame Amid Chaos as Sanctions Bite The Assad regime remains, though its fate appears more precarious with the spread of the uprising to Damascus and Aleppo, Syria’s largest cities, in mid-July and after a blast killed four security chiefs.

The Fate of Syria is in the Hands of … Palestinians? Indeed, it is already clear that the Syrian conflict has placed Assad's Palestinian clients into an untenable position. It’s hard for Palestinian groups to claim they are fighting for justice when their patron is in the midst of slaughtering its own people—18,000 souls and counting—in cold blood. That is why an ever growing number of Palestinians are now working to topple the regime that once supported them.

Manaf Tlass and the future of Syria A solution that includes the Tlass family is not worthy of the sacrifices that many ordinary Syrians have made.

Enough Manaf

Abdurrazzaq Tlas, leader of the Al-Farouq Brigade, an FSA fighting unit active in Homs and parts of Damascus and Hama, issues a statement welcoming the defection of his cousins Manaf and Firas, but refutes statement made by Firas to the effect that they have provided support to Al-Farouk. Abdurrazzaq explains that Al-Farouq was built and is being funded by honest people, and that, for this reason, it’s completely independent in its decision-making, and that its particular position vis-à-vis a political solution can only be enunciated by its political cadre

Meanwhile, in Talbisseh, fighters from Al-Farouq repel a tank attack on their city

Curious Conversion: A Buddhist Defection

A Japanese journalist fighting in the Turkmen Mountain in Lattakia converts to Islam in a ceremony supervised by the Mamdouh Jolhah Brigade affiliated with the FSA. His Muslim name is Moustafa. He doesn’t seem to have done it under any duress Moustafa then proceeds to learn how to perform ablutions

Iran and Russia

Some still advocate a role for Russia, even Iran, in diplomacy concerning Syria. But considering that some Russian officials, according to other Russian officials, are telling Assad to “to adopt much harsher methods, carpet bombing, total destruction,” while Iranians are busy supplying him with drone and funds to buy Russian weapons, it’s really surreal to keep advocating such an approach. For Iran and Russia, the endgame they want is clear: defeating the revolution or partitioning the country.

US Policy

According to U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, Assad’s attack on Aleppo “will be a nail in Assad's own coffin.” With the attack, Mr. Panetta noted, the regime has “lost all legitimacy,” and the question ahead is “no longer… whether he's coming to an end, it's when."

Well, Assad has lacked legitimacy from the day he came to power, yet he is still with us. Despite the advances made by the opposition, including the attack that left 5 security chiefs dead, and the “liberation” of Aleppo, the end of Assad rule, as General Mustafa Al-Sheikh explained yesterday, “is not in sight.” As much as Obama officials want to, the end of this regime cannot come without actual involvement by U.S. the kind of weapons the rebels need to get the job done cannot be acquired without at least a tacit approval from the U.S. that approval, as can be deduced from Mr. Panetta’s responses is not there.

There are so many experts and officials out there who seem to think that the rebels will be able to topple the regime on their own and without U.S. involvement, thus justifying the do-nothing approach by the Obama Administration. Well, it won’t happen. The price of waiting and betting on this policy is inheriting a bloody mess, and having to midwife processes down the road that will drag the U.S. back into the region from which it is trying to disentangle itself. It’s the do-nothing approach of the Obama Administration that will make its nightmare scenarios come true. 

Video Highlights

The pounding of Deir Ezor City continues for the 6 consecutive week. Away from the spotlight, her people are dying under the shelling  , But local fighters keep trying to fight back, with the few weapons they have , , Offering more martyrs , Still, many neighborhoods now look like this , The pounding of the city continues And more people get killed. These bodies belong to people shot by a tank as they tried to cross the street Local parks have been transformed into makeshift cemeteries

In Damascus, a number of massacres perpetrated by pro-Assad militias took place in different suburbs and neighborhoods

The suburb of Moadamiah witnessed the largest massacre, over 70 locals, including women and children were slaughtered in their homes and nearby fields, some were burnt alive. Pro-Assd militias entered some neighborhoods in the suburb following hours of intense pounding: Some of the homes where the bodies were found , Two martyrs being transported in the back of truck Some of the dead bodies prepared for burial , Impact of pounding

The nearby suburb of Daraya witnessed a smaller scale massacre: 5 men and two women, slaughtered by pro-Assad militias

Diyabiyyeh Suburb (Also Ziyabiyeh), Damascus: a new massacre , , ,

Al-Hajar Al-Aswad, Damascus City: a new massacre In Al-Qadam Neighborhood local find two unidentified bodies that bear the signs of torture In Kafar Sousseh, locals uncover a new mass grave

From the beginning of the revolution, local activists throughout Syria have been claiming that doctors working for pro-Assad militias often harvest the organs of the martyrs without any consent. This case comes from Yelda, Damascus Suburbs

In Aleppo, the shelling and clashes continue claiming many lives and leaving many injured.

Airplanes take part in the pounding of Al-Sukkari Neighborhood among others Black smoke rises over Boustan Al-Qasr A helicopter gunships pounds Salaheddine

Zaydiyeh Neighborhood: trying to rescues an injured little girl even as the shelling continues The local mosque is hit

Salaheddine Neighborhood: Tanks and armored vehicles storm their way in bodies lie strewn in the streets after Assad troops passed on their way to the Old City  , Some were killed in their home Local fighters hang on amidst the ruins The sounds of automatic gunfire from a helicopter gunship taking part in the pounding

Some of the martyrs who fell today ,

In Mashhad Neighborhood, rebels trap a few pro-Assad militiamen inside a local structure then proceed to blow it up One of the pro-Assad snipers is captured Local rebels target a helicopter gunship One of the local fighters is injured

Some of the pro-Assad militiamen who were captured

A building catch fire in Boustan Al-Qasr Neighborhood

The campus at Aleppo University is now being used to house refugees

Mounds of garbage fill the streets of Al-Sukkari Neighborhood Local fighters survey the scene and promise victory Parts of the neighborhood get pounded , Locals stream out of the neighborhood

In Bab Al-Hadid Neighborhood, local rebels direct traffic

In a video that surfaces now, the leader of Al-Tawhid Brigade is seen given a speech to some of his lieutenant before they were sent to fight in Aleppo City. He says that the legitimate targets for their operations are the police, the military and gun-toting pro-Assad militias. He forbids them to assault civilians or take part in robberies, and insist that protecting public institutions is one of their main duties Another Al-Tawhid leader tells his soldiers the eyes of the world are on you More fighting units join Al-Tawhid ,

Other Videos

The Syrian Council in Armenia, Muhammad Hussam Hafiz, joins the ranks of defectors 

In the Eastern Ghoutah Region of Damascus Suburbs, more defections and new brigade is formed Douma was pounded by a helicopter gunship

In Lattakia, a military council affiliated with the FSA is formed

In Dmeir, Damascus Suburbs, a leaked video shows some of the artillery and cannons used in pounding the town

In Qaboun Neighborhood, Damascus City, authorities continue to raise down parts of the neighborhood as form of mass punishment ,

Hama City comes under heavy nighttime shelling ,

In Daraa, captured militiamen explain how they liquidated local civilians held at a detention camp in the local stadium

A leaked video from Bosra, Daraa province, shows tanks pounding the city

Fighters from Al-Motassim Brigade near Maarabah, Daraa, clash with loyalist troops to repel an attack on their town , This was how the rebels approached the positions of the loyalist troops Here we see some rebels using a local abandoned home to mount their attack ,

A video edited by local activists in Al-Rami village, Idlib Province, showing scenes from as recent battle with loyalist troops Elsewhere in the province, in Saijar Region to be particular, a new fighting unit is formed funded it seems by a French engineer, of Syrian origins, Abdel Rahman Ayachi

In the village of Dourine in Al-Akard Mountains, Lattakia Province, clashes between local rebels and pro-Assad militias trying to take control, of the town left many militiamen dead , The nearby village of Qassatel comes under heavy pounding Shalaf as well comes under pounding

The pounding of Homs City continues: Qarabees Khaldiyeh And the daily street battles between rebels and loyalists Occasionally, the rebels manage to retake some of the buildings used as headquarters by pro-Assad militias As the slow-mo Dresdenificaion of the city continues