Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Who Speaks for Rayaan?

Pro-Assad militias describe their operations against the rebels in Damascus, Homs and elsewhere as “clearing slums,” but considering that millions of people have been displaced as a result of these operations, the overwhelming majority of whom are Sunnis, the development is nothing less than a massive ethnic cleansing effort. Since, for now, an Alawite enclave along the coast has already been secured, except for regions in north Lattakia, the current drive seems aimed simply at disrupting rebel activities, irrespective of long-term impact. The slums have for decades provided shelter to immigrant families from rural areas searching for jobs and advancement opportunities and emigrant middle class families from the inner cities driven out by inflationary pressures. By pushing them out, the “clearing” operations have produced a major humanitarian disaster. But, judging by increased rebel activities in these areas, the operations have proven a total failure in terms of military strategy. Still, the madness continues, coupled with opposition irrelevance and international indifference. So, who speaks for Aisha and Rayaan? Who speaks for the thousands of children that have been killed in this conflict?

Monday November 26, 2012

Today’s Death Toll: 168, including 6 women and 5 children: 90 in Damascus and suburbs (including 28 who died under torture in Daraya and 6 in Dahadeel), 35 in Aleppo, 11 in Hama, 10 in Homs, 8 in Daraa, 7 in Idlib, 4 in Quneitra, 2 in Deir Ezzor; and 1 in Raqqah Points of Random Shelling: 248: 75 by mortar, 140 by artillery, 33 by missile, 10by warplanes including three uses of barrel bombs, and 2 uses of cluster bombs. Clashes: 140. Rebels liberated a police station at the Jordanian-Syrian border, attacked checkpoints in Quneitra, and repelled multiple regime attempts to storm Daraya and the cities and towns of Eastern Ghoutah in Damascus (LCC).

Syria opposition names London 'ambassador' Originally from the central city of Homs, the 62-year-old former teacher set up the SCHR in 1986 and was imprisoned several times, before moving to London, where he represented the Syrian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Special Reports
The United States has kept its hands in its pockets so far, in part because our diplomats say that the Syrian rebels have long been too fragmented and disorganized for any hope of real cooperation. Will a playground full of dead children sway the State Department to take a more assertive stance? Probably not.
For the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, the stakes in Damascus are nothing short of retaining control of the nation itself. "If they lose Damascus, they lose the state," says Patrick Seale, a British author and Syria expert. Senior security officials within the Assad regime say partial demolitions of pro-rebel neighborhoods in and around Damascus are a key element of an ambitious counterinsurgency plan now unfolding. The plan also involves the expansion of regime-funded militias known as "Popular Committees" within the capital.
As the conflict between the Syrian government and opposition fighters continues, kidnapping has become a source of much needed money in a struggling economy, the BBC's Lina Sinjab in Damascus reports.
Just 25 miles from Aleppo, which has been pounded into dust by Bashar al-Assad's air force, the Syrian town of Afrin is a picture of domestic tranquility. But that's because it's being run by a relatively unknown player in Syria's civil war: Syrian Kurds.
Syrian rebel officers have formed a commission to lay the foundations for a future army and liaise with the political opposition on issues such as arming fighters on the ground, a spokesman said on Monday.
When Syrian rebels seized the border post at Ras al-Ayn on Nov. 8, they celebrated the victory and went on to "liberate" the town, a place where both Arabs and Kurds live on Syria's northeast border with Turkey. But the Kurdish inhabitants quickly saw their "liberation" as a disaster. Within days, dozens were dead in clashes between Kurdish militias and the rebels.
Teen group shows support for Syria


The Foreign Policy Initiative (FPI) invites you to its 2012 Forum to be held on Tuesday, November 27th, at the Newseum's Knight Conference Center, where Members of Congress, foreign dissidents, and leading policy experts will discuss “The Price of Greatness: The Next Four Years of U.S. Foreign Policy.” (RSVP Here).

I am glad to be an adviser in this effort

Students around the country are getting involved in something global and something powerful. With a click of a mouse and a bit of green paint, teenagers across the United States are reaching out, pledging their support and making a difference. Students around the country are becoming ... Syria. “I Am Syria is a campaign for the Syrian people, and its purpose is to let them know that we support them and that they are not alone,” said Abby Cordaro, a sophomore at Immaculata Academy. “Its main goal is to spread awareness about the conflict in Syria.”

More on the I Am Syrian Campaign can be found on its dedicated website. Educators will find this page in particular to be of interest and use.

Meanwhile, no one seems in a position to speak for this little girl. Her name was Rayaan.

Video Highlights

Leaked video shows pro-Assad militias abusing the injured after they stormed a field hospital for rebels. The go from one injured to another asking him to tell them where the weapons are hidden threatening to shoot him if he failed to reply http://youtu.be/p3Bex1oMAHA

This leaked video is from Deir Ezzor City shows part of the “sweep” operations conducted by pro-Assad militias in the old market http://youtu.be/FgT7qimaWUk

Rebels attack a checkpoint in Ruknaddine Neighborhood, Damascus City http://youtu.be/gMnAVukcGDg Sounds of mortar fire can be heard in the plush Mazzeh Neighborhood http://youtu.be/xxawwjAdDjs , http://youtu.be/TPGZYMLU25U

The shelling of the town of Zabadani continues http://youtu.be/s8GJ5_I_6E8

The pounding of the town of Rastan, Homs Province, continues http://youtu.be/03cPoBiJ3ns , http://youtu.be/gKGJvQfFa3Q

Fighter jets keep pounding neighborhoods and towns in Aleppo: Bab El-Hawa http://youtu.be/gr2vQv2qp5Y , http://youtu.be/36M489AwmYk Dar Azzah http://youtu.be/DSrzhSBUv-M Elsewhere http://youtu.be/7yaE6NQYuQo

A local rebel leader calls on “tent officers,” as defectors based in Antakya are known, to come join him and his comrades in the trenches, “there is more honor and dignity in it for you.” http://youtu.be/3JCAeY46zso