Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Goodness Gracious…!

… Great balls of fire cover the skyline of Damascus as MIGs pound restive suburbs, and the skyline of Aleppo as rebels bring MIGs down to earth, capturing the essence of the current stalemate.  

Monday October 15, 2012

Today’s Death toll: 100. The Breakdown: toll includes 7 children and 3 women. 34 reported in Damascus and suburbs, 29 in Aleppo, 15 in Deir Ezzor, 5 in Idlib, 4 in Daraa, 4 in Raqqah, 4 in Homs, 3 in Hama, 2 in Lattakia. Other Developments: Local rebels downed 3 planes: 2 in Aleppo and 1 in Alboukamal and destroyed a loyalist military convoy on the road between Aleppo-Raqqah (LCC).


Special Reports
There are now tens of thousands of Syrian children – both in and outside the country – whose memories don’t extend back far enough to remember a time before the war.
Most of the arms shipped at the behest of Saudi Arabia and Qatar to supply Syrian rebel groups fighting the government of Bashar al-Assad are going to hard-line Islamic jihadists, and not the more secular opposition groups that the West wants to bolster, according to American officials and Middle Eastern diplomats.
If hard evidence emerges of the Shiite militant group's involvement, it would increase tensions in Lebanon where armed partisans on opposite sides live in close proximity.
Turkey has twice turned to NATO for support in the face of attacks from Syria. But the transatlantic alliance has responded with words rather than deeds. To preserve its credibility in Turkey and the region, NATO should offer radar aircraft and/or rapid reaction forces.
Of course, Obama is not solely responsible for this mess. But his serial miscalculations have had the consistent if unintended effect of enabling Syria’s Bashar al-Assad — first to avoid international isolation, then to go on slaughtering his own population with impunity.
…rebels attack many points at the same time, while the Syrian military is only able to focus its counterattacks on a few points at any given moment. For the regime, this is a losing proposition in the long run. Bashar al-Assad still has a large, well-armed military, and the Iranians and Russians will likely keep restocking his arsenals for a while. But unless he can create a counter-swarm of his own, his days are numbered.
To Ammar Abdulhamid - a prominent opposition member in the United States who is adjunct fellow at the Foundation for Defence of Democracies - exile is the wrong place to look for Syrians around whose charisma, political ingenuity and force of intellect an opposition will somehow coalesce. "Syria's future leaders are in Syria," he says. "The political process will be determined by Syrian actors, despite all the dabblers and the dabbling taking place."
Oct. 15 - Clusters bombs were discovered outside of Damascus and in several Syrian cities --- suggesting to many that the government is intensifying its efforts to beat back the insurgency.

Arabic Press (Prepared by Steven Miller, FDD Research Associate)
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that the Syrian government traded two prisoners from al-Raqqah Province, who had been sentenced to death, in exchange for the son of Dr. Ali al-Shuaibi, a tribal leader who has mediated with the opposition on behalf of the government. Syrian National Council member Mohamed Sarmini said that a helicopter delivered the two detainees to the rebels in al-Raqqah, but they were in poor-health after being subjected to severe torture, and would be moved out of Syria for treatment. In response to the reports, Free Syrian Army chief of staff Ahmed Hijazi said that FSA leadership did not have any specific information about the exchange, but he did not rule out that it had been coordinated by militias or regional leaders on the ground in al-Raqqah, who are not required to clear such operations with FSA leadership beforehand. Hijazi also noted that this was not the first exchange between the rebels and the regime, claiming that there have been many previous swaps.

Ammar Abdulhamid & Khawla Yusuf: The Shredded Tapestry: The State of Syria Today

Video Highlights

The pounding of Damascene suburbs of Eastern remains quite intense: Kafar Batna http://youtu.be/m0eWe2ogGmY , http://youtu.be/emjkdFCmkas

Pounding by MIGs is really indiscriminate, the victims shown here are pro-Assad militias http://youtu.be/oKvP_aCMy94 , http://youtu.be/RUjJc70nHn0

MIG brought down by rebels in Aleppo Province http://youtu.be/pFPGT1yBIk0

Deir Ezzor City remains under siege and under shelling by tanks http://youtu.be/Ol2XC242w68

Activist Suheir Al-Atassy joins the ranks of opposition figures who are paying visits to liberated areas in Syria alongt he border with Turkey. She visits the town of Tal Abyad in Raqqah Province, and is given an official reception by local rebels http://youtu.be/PwOyIuMrjBA , http://youtu.be/GIE8Lel9Cpg