Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Mother of All Transitions Looming!

… But into what exactly? As deadly battles rage on throughout the country, and the international community continues to differ any decision on intervention to some undermined point in a seemingly mythical near future, in the hope that the situation will miraculously work itself out, somehow, while, somehow, producing all the “right” results, Syria’s myriad opposition groups and coalitions are now rushing headlong to form myriad competing transitional governments, each armed with its own detailed transitional plan. Moreover, we now have the Americans and the Germans competing to take credit for helping some in the Syrian opposition form a transitional plan in what was supposed to be an exercise wholly-owned by the Syrians! But initial suppositions change, I guess, especially when the Americans and the Germans need to show that they are doing something at a time when they are doing absolutely nothing. Meanwhile, the killing, the pounding of cities, the cold-blooded massacres, continue, unfettered, unabated, unrelenting. Oh, this will be the Mother of All Transitions all right. But again, into what exactly?

Tuesday July 31, 2012

Today’s Death toll: 86. The Breakdown: 24 in Damascus and Suburb, 19 in Aleppo, 13 in Idlib, 11 in Homs, 10 in Deir Ezzor, 7 in Daraa and 1 in Lattakia.

Cities & Towns Under Shelling: Harasta, Arbeen, Moadamiah, Harran Al-Awameed, Ain Terma, Zabadani, Madaya, Eltal, Dmeir, Hameh, Yelda, Rankous, Qarrah (Damascus Suburbs), Sit Zeinab, Al-Qadam, Midan, 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).


Op-Eds & Special Reports
Syria's Kurds Unite against Assad, but Not with Opposition A sudden political shift among Syria's three million Kurds, who now control much of the country's border with Turkey, provides an opportunity for the United States to better coordinate its policy with regional allies and to encourage the Syrian opposition to respect minority rights.

As Syrian War Drags On, Jihadists Take Bigger Role As the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad’s government grinds on with no resolution in sight, Syrians involved in the armed struggle say it is becoming more radicalized: homegrown Muslim jihadists, as well as small groups of fighters from Al Qaeda, are taking a more prominent role and demanding a say in running the resistance.

Spinmeister Ammar al-Wawi Peddles Upbeat Message of Syrian Rebellion As the Assad regime bombards Aleppo, the rebels are desperate not only to repel the military, but to shore up morale and build outside support. Ammar al-Wawi, the Free Syrian Army’s leading spin doctor, tells Mike Giglio the government is “like the walking dead.”

For besieged Syrian dictator Assad, only exit may be body bag “In his mind he is fighting against the imperialists and their pernicious allies for the people of Syria,” Lesch said. “He believes that’s his legacy. Perhaps that is the way he will want to go down.”

Syria rebels suspicious over defector's motives Ammar Abdulhamid, a Washington-based Syrian dissident, said that while Tlass could provide valuable information, the opposition on the ground will not accept him as a leader. After so many months of "confrontations and sacrifice," he said, "legitimate leaders of the transitional period can only rise from the ranks of the internal revolutionary movement."

In cooperation with Impunity Watch and the Summer Institute for Human Rights and Genocide Studies in Buffalo, it's my pleasure to announce the launch of the "I Am Syria" Campaign - an effort designed to raise awareness in the U.S. and the world regarding the revolution in Syria and the massacres perpetrated daily by pro-Assad militias and troops, highlighting the need for immediate international action. You can follow our activities on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and our official website. Please, "Like" us and spread the word…

The Battle for Aleppo City

One of the main factors helping the rebels in their fight for the city so far is the increased number of desertions in Assad armies, while not all deserters are choosing to become defectors at this stage, but clearly, and as reports by locals who came in contact with the deserters and often provided them shelter, soldiers in Assad’s army, especially the Sunnis, are becoming increasingly aware and resentful of their role as fodder. Many are also clearly ill-fed as well as ill-informed about the situation, they don’t believe their commanders, but they don’t enough about the rebels to know if they could trust them. Many just want to go home to their families, or at least they regions.

Scenes from the Battle of Salaheddine: A MIG in action The pounding , , , More MIG action , Al-Jazeerah correspondent is hit during his coverage of the battles At end of the day, the rebels remain in control, as one of their leaders speaking from his headquarters in Salaheddine assures us Impact of shelling , More scenes from the ballte

In order to control Aleppo City, Assad relied heavily on two Sunni clans of smugglers: Al Birri and Al Hmeideh. Today, rebels put an end to the rule of al Birri, killing and capturing many of their senior members including their top leader, Ali Zein Al-Abdeen Birri, shown here Despite specific instructions from rebel leaders to refrain from summary executions, Ali and few of his commanders were executed

In Bab Al-Nayrab Neighborhood, rebels wrest control of the local police station killing everyone inside The protests we hear at the end is against shooting the dead bodies in order to conserve the dwindling supplies of ammunition. The rebels lose fighters too Scenes from the battle

In Salihein, rebels capture and kill the local police chief, Ali Nasr, who chose to fight to the end, and drag his body in the streets , Rebels had given the General a chance to give himself up along with his men, but he refused some of the soldiers who surrendered himself Rebels celebrate their victory More scenes from the battle The battle started at dawn

In Marjeh, rebels battle to “liberate” the local police station ,

The police station in Hanano, after “liberation” , , One of the torture devices used in Hanano station

On July 30, head of the Aleppo Military Council, Abdul Jabbar Okaidi, toured parts of the liberated neighborhoods, Al-Shar Neighborhood, and was warmly welcomed by then local inhabitants , , Un Monitors also paid a visit to the city and met leaders of Al-Tawhid Brigade

Other neighborhood in Aleppo city remain under the control of pro-Assad troops and militias ,

While Aleppo City and the Rural areas to the North have come under rebel control for the most part, the regrouping process to the south continues, with the formation of a new brigade But more units are formed in the north as well

Other Highlights

In Damascus Suburbs, the pounding of Eastern Ghoutah Region continues: Harasta tanks and helicopter gunships subject the suburb of Zamalka to heavy pounding The dead line the streets , Saving the injured In nearby Yelda, the pounding claims more lives (July 30) In harasta, People in Eastern Ghoutah keep regrouping as they welcome more defectors In Ain Terma, rebels fight back and destroy a tank ,

In Yabroud to the north, flood gave people a respite from the shelling

In Damascus City, another massacre uncovered in Al-Hajar Al-Aswad

Sheikh Miskeen, Daraa Province: mew massacre (July 30) , Locals say the people were burnt alive

In Daraa City, we can see pro-Assad troops as they remove the bodies of the dead and injured from a car they hit and take them away on board their tank The continuous pounding of Daraa City claims more lives

The pounding of Talbisseh, Homs Province, continues , Locals keep finding bodies in the nearby fields The pounding of Old Neighborhoods in Homs City continues In Qusayr, people the spirit of defiance alive, despite the continuing siege and pounding

The pounding of Ghneimiyeh Village in Lattakia Akko

In Deir Ezzor Province, the pounding of the town of Mayadeen continues , But defections keep plaguing Assad troops, as more of them form a new rebel unit Scenes from a local battle ,