Sunday, December 30, 2012


Russia’s Foreign Minister says Assad insists on staying in power. Indeed, Assad underscored his determination today by having his militias perpetrate a new massacre against 220 residents of Deir Baalbah. Meanwhile, the self-appointed "heroes" and “guardians” of the revolution, the brave men of Jabhat Al-Nusra were busy fighting against immorality in Aleppo City by emptying Arak bottles into the drains of history, the same drains where their ideas will follow one day. As for Russian officials, it is about time they learned some necessary humility and began coping with blowbacks stemming from their idiotic and murderous policies in our region. While so many leftwing and Islamist pundits keep focusing on America’s alleged role in our misery, it is Russia’s all too real role that is now coming into sharp focus. In fact, it is insisting on Assad’s staying in power and backing that up with weapons and vetoes that has cost us so many lives.

Saturday December 29, 2012

Today’s Death Toll: 399, including more than 20 children and 20 women: 227 in Homs 220 of them were field executed in Deir Baalbah, 62 in Damascus and Suburbs (10 of them in Nashabiya), 40 in Aleppo (13 in Tal Rifaat ), 22 in Deir Ezzor including 15 unidentified bodies, 17 in Daraa, 14 in Hama, 10 in Idlib, and 5 in Raqqa. Points of Random Shelling: 399: 34 by warplanes, 2 points by Phosphorus bomb, 3 by vacuum bombs, 5 by cluster bombs, 152 by heavy caliber artillery, 124 by mortar and 80 by missile and rockets. Clashes: 112. In Damascus, rebels shelled several military centers inside Mazzeh Military Airport using domestically-manufactured rockets, they also managed to repel an attack by regime forces on the town of Darayya. In Daraa, rebels repelled an attack on the town of Basr Al-Harir (LCCs).

Bassem al-Sayid, son of acting Minister of State, Muhammad Turki Al-Sayid, was martyred on Friday in the town of Sarmada, Idlib, while fighting for the rebel group, Jundullah. His death comes as more and more family members of the official establishment come out against Assad and his lot, including in recent days Assad’s own sister-in-law, Rasha Al-Akhras.

Deadly day in Syria as diplomats talk At least 399 people were killed Saturday, the opposition Local Coordination Committees said… The figure includes 201 people who a captured Syrian soldier said had been executed in Deir Balbah, outside of Homs, after Syrian forces won a battle there, an LCC spokesman said.
Assad's forces seize Homs district from rebels: activists The army moved into Deir Ba'alba, a neighborhood on the northeastern edge of Homs, they said, leaving the rebels controlling just the central neighborhoods around the old city and the district of Khalidiyah, immediately to the north.

Insisting on Assad’s Exit Will Cost More Lives, Russian Says Russia’s foreign minister, Sergey V. Lavrov, said on Saturday that there was “no possibility” that President Bashar al-Assad of Syria could be persuaded to leave and that the opposition’s insistence on his departure as a precondition for peace talks would only cost “more and more lives of Syrian citizens” — suggesting slender hope for a breakthrough in negotiating an end to a conflict that has already killed more than 40,000… “He has repeatedly said, both publicly and privately, including during his meeting with Lakhdar Brahimi not long ago, that he has no plans to go anywhere, that he will stay in his post until the end, that he will, as he says, protect the Syrian people, Syrian sovereignty and so forth,” Mr. Lavrov said. “There is no possibility of changing this position.”
Syria opposition leader rejects Moscow invitation for peace talks Moaz Alkhatib, whose National Coalition opposition group has been recognized by most Western and Arab states, demands Moscow apologize for supporting Assad's regime.
Assad is panicking, Russia is frustrated - and Asma's cousin calls for blood While a vehement letter by a member of Assad's family spreads across the Arabic web, a resolution for the strife in Syria has no end in sight.
Syria doomed to "hell" without political deal: envoy U.N.-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi said in Moscow that responsible people inside and outside Syria should "help the Syrians stop their descent into more and more bloodshed, into more and more chaos and perhaps a failed state".
Syrian refugee influx could break Lebanon and Jordan, UN envoy warns Lakhdar Brahimi said: "If you have a panic in Damascus and if you have 1 million people leaving Damascus in a panic, they can go to only two places, Lebanon and Jordan." Both those countries could break if faced with half a million refugees, he said on Saturday after meeting the Russian foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, in Moscow. "If the only alternative is really hell or a political process, then we have got, all of us, to work ceaselessly for a political process," he said.
Syrian airline cancels flight to Aleppo Syria's national airline canceled a flight to Aleppo on Saturday because of fighting near its international airport, while the United Nations' top envoy to the country said it faced "hell or a political process" but gave no sign a truce was in sight. The two developments underscored just how far international efforts to end the violence in Syria have fallen behind developments on the ground, more than 21 months into the conflict.
Blood spattered on the bricks where Syria bomb falls Blood was spattered on the bricks that littered the area around the bomb site. A child's teddy bear lay in the wreckage and nearby cars were marked by shrapnel and bullet holes. A bulldozer cleared the heavy rubble while young boys dug through the debris with their hands, hoping to find people still alive amid the broken bed frames and crushed furniture.

Special Reports
(CNN) -- For the third time, Mahmoud Al-Qassab lowers the body of one of his children into the ground. He steps back as neighbors and relatives shovel dirt over his teenage daughter's grave. He does not cry or wail. "I thank God this is my third martyr: Ahmed, Abdullah and now her. I thank God, and I will not say anything against his fate," Mahmoud told an activist filming the small funeral. Just a few months ago, 18-year-old Ayat Al-Qassab sang and danced with her mother and aunts as they dressed the bride in her wedding gown. Now, her shattered and bloodied body lies in a grave below the crumbling, bullet-ridden buildings of Homs… A 120 mm rocket fired into the family home struck Ayat in the head, killing her and her unborn child instantly. Ayat's father, who was standing nearby, was hit in the shoulder and wounded.
The sudden departure from Beirut of the Syrian interior minister, Mohammad al-Shaar, was a sign of how much has changed in the Syrian-Lebanese relationship. Shaar allegedly took to the skies after being warned by the Lebanese that Interpol might issue an arrest warrant for him, and that Lebanon would have to implement it.
… the crisis is the result of the brutality and ruthlessness of ruler Bashar al-Assad and the family clique around him, and their supporters in Iran and Russia. But it is also reflects a massive failure of Western — and particularly American — leadership, the worst since the Rwandan genocide two decades ago.
The more than 40,000 refugees might be tucked into a barbed-wired corner of the high desert, but their arrival - and their country's turmoil - is being felt all the way to Amman. The effects on Jordan's economy and on its royal family's always-precarious grip on power could be serious, especially now, as protests unfurl in a country outraged by the government's decision to chop fuel subsidies - a necessary action for it to secure $2 billion (1.5 billion euros) in loans from the International Monetary Fund.

To make things clear, leader of the Syrian National Coalition (abbreviated as SOC: Syrian Opposition Coalition, to distinguish it from its predecessor: the Syrian National Council), Moaz Alkhatib, did not reject the Russian government invitation to Moscow outright, he simply laid certain conditions, including: Russian government should offer an apology to the Syrian people for standing by Assad for so long, the Russian government should recognize SOC, and the initial meeting should take place in an Arab country.

To the Russians, this reply smacked of a political lack of experience, but to the Syrians, Alkhatib’s primary audience, this was exactly what they needed to hear. Alkhatib follow up to Moscow’s criticism connected him even more to the larger grassroots and further legitimated his position as a leader. Perhaps, it should be Alkhatib himself who should lead the transitional government as well. Too many changes at the helm of the opposition will only confuse people, and Alkhatib is steadily showing that he can connect to the grassroots. Mr. Alkhatib is himself a technocrat (a chemical engineer) and is such he should be capable of leading a technocratic transitional government.  

As for Russian officials, it is about time they learned some necessary humility and began coping with blowbacks stemming from their idiotic and murderous policies in our region. While so many leftwing and Islamist pundits keep focusing on America’s alleged role in our misery, it is Russia’s all too real role that is now coming into sharp focus. In fact, it is insisting on Assad’s staying in power and backing that up with weapons and vetoes that has cost us so many lives.

Video Highlights

First video from Deir Baalbah, site of a new massacre by pro-Assad militias that claimed the lives of over 22o people by early counts With the assault in Deir Baalbah, the encirclement of restive neighborhoods of Old Homs is now complete, pro-Assad militias intensify the pounding: Khaldiyeh , , ,

Aerial attack on Nashabiyeh in Damascus leaves many dead , A similar attack on Douma leaves many dead as well, including children The raid on Douma The suburb of Saqba was also targeted among other communities of Eastern Ghoutah The town of Yabroud to the north, also comes under attack

Rebels strike the Damascus International Airport with homemade rockets

In Aizaz, Aleppo, locals pull the body of a dead boy from under the rubble in the aftermath of an aerial raid The attack

Collecting the dead in Tal Rifaat, Aleppo ,

In Aleppo City, rebels try to take down a helicopter

Rescuing the children from under the rubble in Karnaz, Hama , The attack as seen from outside the city