Monday, December 24, 2012

Give Us Our Daily Bread!

Our Father who art somewhere else, like, perennially, give us this day our daily bread, preferably un-dipped in our blood, and deliver us from evil, hopefully, NOW. Let our will be done, for once.

Saturday December 23, 2012

Today’s Death Toll: 208, including dozens of children and women: 106 in Hama including 94 due to the massacre at the bakery in Hilfaya, 51 in Damascus and Suburbs, 32 in Aleppo including 13 in Sfeira, 7 in Homs, 6 in Daraa, 2 in Deir Ezzor, 2 in Raqqa, 1 in Lattakia and 1 in Idlib. Note: the toll will likely increase as we receive more updates on the death toll of the Hilfaya Bakery Massacre. Points of Random Shelling: 316. Clashes: 156. In Deir Ezzor, rebels blocked a military convoy and gained control of an armored vehicle on the main highway to Deir Ezzor City. In Idlib, helicopters shelling civilians in the town of Binnish were blocked. IN Hassakeh, rebels liberated the town of Tal Barak. In Damascus, rebels gained control of the checkpoint at Sahaba Mosque in Tishreen neighborhood and detained several members of the popular committees, recently designated as a terrorist organization by the U.S. In Aleppo, rebels gained control of Tal Annajar Battalion near Manag Airport. Finally, in Hama, they liberated the Meleh checkpoint in Bseireen (LCC).


Syria's war-battered pound floats on rebel funds In Syria's eastern town of Deir al-Zor, a rebel commander flush with cash was swapping his dollars for Syrian pounds to pay fighters battling President Bashar al-Assad's forces. Money changers said that influx of foreign currency earlier this month helped push the pound's black market rate in the impoverished town up by at least 10 percent. Hundreds of kilometers away in Damascus, panicked Syrians bracing for more violence sold pounds for dollars, driving the pound, which has lost half its value since the anti-Assad uprising erupted in March last year, the other way. The events at opposite ends of the country illustrate the contrasting pressures on a currency whose sharp decline has been cushioned by factors including central bank intervention, flows of cash from Assad's friends and foes abroad, and even long term hopes for a wave of foreign investment if Assad were to fall.
Christians jingle grieving bells across war-torn Syria “This is the darkest, most devastating Christmas Syria has ever seen,” said a Syrian mother. She said the probability of Christians attending church services is very slim, as Syrians don’t have the energy, good health and means to get groomed when bread, gas, and electricity have become their wish for Christmas. Christians in the country are concerned about attending church as they’ve done in the previous years, as two Christian towns in Hama were threatened by armed fighters demanding the Christian groups turn away from supporting the Assad regime…. Christians in Syria are known to be supporters of the Assad regime, fearing massacres targeting Christian in the case of Islamist groups taking over the country.
Syria Jets Kill Tens As International Envoy Visits It was unclear from the videos if the building was indeed a bakery. Nearly all the dead and wounded appeared to be men, some wore camouflage, raising the possibility that the jet had targeted a rebel gathering. The attack appeared to be the government response to a newly announced rebel offensive seeking to drive the Syrian army from a constellation of towns and village north of the central city of Hama. Halfaya was the first of the area’s towns to be “liberated” by rebel fighters, and activists saw Sunday’s attack as payback.

The Russian Conundrum
Russian military presence in Syria poses challenge to US-led intervention Advisers deployed with surface-to-air systems bolster President Assad's defences and complicate outcome of any future strikes

Special Reports
Representation on Aleppo's Transitional Revolutionary Council will be determined partially by the number of each community's residents killed in the uprising and the level of destruction there.
Christians, who make up about 10 percent of Syria's population of more than 22 million, say they are particularly vulnerable to the violence that has been sweeping the country since March 2011. They are fearful that Syria will become another Iraq, with Christians caught in the crossfire between rival Islamic groups.
There are no shellings or air raids to interrupt the daily calm. Families pack the cafes lining the town’s seaside corniche, usually abandoned in December to the salty winter winds. The real estate market is brisk. A small Russian naval base provides at least the impression that salvation, if needed, is near. Many of the new residents are members of the Alawite minority, the same Shiite Muslim sect to which Mr. Assad belongs. The latest influx is fleeing from Damascus, people who have decided that summer villas, however chilly, are preferable to the looming battle for the capital.


For insisting, against all odds, on a peaceful Syrian revolution

With Syria mired in sectarian mayhem, a few brave souls still stand as a testament to the possibilities -- and the extraordinary costs -- of nonviolent revolution. When dictator Bashar al-Assad's artillery laid waste to entire neighborhoods this spring, Rima Dali, a volunteer for the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, strode alone into a busy Damascus street with a sign bearing a simple message: "Stop the killing. We want to build a country for all Syrians." She repeated her act of silent defiance the next week, and even more onlookers gathered to cheer her on -- a sign that the spirit of peaceful protest that sparked Syria's uprising in early 2011 endures even after a bloody year and a half of civil war. Dali, a 33-year-old law school graduate, was arrested for her activism, but she has refused to be cowed, either by the Assad regime's intimidation or by the spread of extremism within the ranks of the armed rebellion. "We look for hope, day in, day out," she said after her release from jail.

Defending Free Speech in the Digital Age

Not all those who have publicly defied Assad have been so fortunate. Bassel Khartabil is, or was, a young computer engineer living in Damascus whose innovative programming skills helped integrate Syria into the online community -- fostering an open-source community in a country long on the margins of the Internet’s youth culture. He was hauled off by Assad's security forces in March, and despite a "#FREEBASSEL" campaign launched by his friends, he has not been heard from since. "The people who are in real danger never leave their countries," he tweeted weeks before his arrest. "They are in danger for a reason and for that they don't leave."

Video Highlights

In Homs City, locals claim that regime planes were used to drop poisonous bombs on restive neighborhoods. The gasses caused respiratory problems, paralysis and temporary blindness , ,

Gathering the victims of the “Bakery” Massacre at Hilfaya. The massacre was caused by an aerial raid against the town, the bombing killed many local rebels as well as civilians lining up to buy bread , , , , , , , , The development took place as battles in Hama countryside intensified over the last few days, following a rebel push to liberate various towns and block the main highway connecting the central parts of the country to Damascus and the coastal regions.

Time Magazine is right in questioning this account, videos seem to support an attack against a rebel gathering which comes as part of a government counter-offensive against rebels. Pro-regime forces have made a habit of targeting bakeries, events that have been documented many times before. This may not have been such an incident, but the development was a massacre by any measure. Embellishment was not really necessary.

Mourek in Hama comes under intense shelling

Rebels and loyalists clash in Boustan Al-Qasr Neighborhood in Aleppo City ,