Tuesday, December 18, 2012


Call it a civil war wrapped in a revolution wrapped in an enigma wrapped in a guess – it’s all that and more, I profess. It’s a holy war slowly morphing into an unholy descent into hell. Not that anyone can really tell how it will all end.

Tuesday December 18, 2012

Today’s Death Toll: 128, including 11 children and 9 women: 42 in Damascus and Suburbs (including 4 in Tal Mneen), 21 in Daraa (including 5 executed publicly in the Naziheen Refugee Camp), 16 in Hama, 14 in Homs (including 3 were publicly executed in Al-Nuqeira), 13 in Aleppo, 12 in Idlib, 9 in Deir Ezzor, and 1 in Hassakeh. Points of Random Shelling: 242. Clashes: 143. Rebels managed to liberate the town of Hilfaya in Hama Province, and were joined by many defectors from the loyalist militias. In Damascus, rebels took complete control of District of Hajal Al-Aswad (LCC).

Reporters Without Borders grants its Freedom of the Press Award to Mazen Darweesh, the well-known Syrian human rights activist currently languishing in jail.


Richard Engel of NBC Is Freed in Syria The identities of the kidnappers and their motives were unknown. But an article on the NBC News Web site quotes Mr. Engel as saying their captors “were talking openly about their loyalty to the government” of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Special Reports
As the civil war escalates around the capital, doctors are treating up to 100 injured a day at the 400-bed Damascus Hospital and have had to use local anesthetics even for complicated operations, WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic said. Cases of severe acute malnutrition in children being referred to the hospital from rural Damascus, Deir al-Zor, Hassakeh, Deraa and Homs have risen to 7-8 a month from 2-3 in previous months, he said, and staff and patients have difficulty reaching health care facilities due to deepening insecurity.
… perhaps the greatest justice could be found in ensuring a way for the international community to act, to prevent such slaughters. For whether they are yesterday's mass graves in Bosnia, or today's mass graves in Syria, the sick, sticky scent of death will linger, long after the international community fails to act.
Given that Lesch has consulted for the American government, and that his access to al-Assad was itself an act of public diplomacy on the part of Syria’s Ba’athist regime, the value of his work is to shed light on the deeply ambiguous relationship between Western officialdom and that regime in the last few decades—and the embarrassing series of about-turns that ensued when this relationship was confronted with the Arab Spring in 2011.
As temperatures drop and the weakened government’s artillery thunders on, Aleppo is administered by no one and slipping into disaster. Front-line neighborhoods are rubble. Most of the city’s districts have had no electricity and little water for weeks. All of Aleppo suffers from shortages of oil, food, medicine, doctors and gas. Diseases are spreading. Parks and courtyards are being defoliated for firewood, turning streets once lined with trees into avenues bordered by stumps. Months’ worth of trash is piled high, often beside bread lines where hundreds of people wait for a meager stack of loaves.

Syria Deeply
Abu Furat defected after he received orders to shell a village in Latakia earlier this year. He joined the Islamist Tawheed Brigade, the largest rebel group in Aleppo, and would often pop up in videos from the frontlines, always ready with an uplifting and compassionate message.

Video Highlights

Leaked video documents use of missile launchers by pro-regime militias in the battles in the Eastern Ghoutah Region, Damascus http://youtu.be/PW83A_CIr_A Another leaked video documents the use of heavy artillery in pounding the town of Zabadani http://youtu.be/zSqNk9f2c2I

Meanwhile, MiGs keep pounding Eastern Ghoutah: Douma http://youtu.be/mmyaZowElkU , http://youtu.be/Dmw_ZncTTaE Kafar Batna http://youtu.be/B57IV4iJSQQ Arbeen http://youtu.be/GQu6ta6VldQ Harasta http://youtu.be/412LWvVDxpw Hamouriyeh http://youtu.be/32WgVSY2Fx4 and helicopters keep dropping explosive barrels: Saqba http://youtu.be/Go2HS6eKTfA Dead and wounded in Arbeen http://youtu.be/WjTgPFBFtUE

To the West, the town of Moadamia was also pounded http://youtu.be/yMYpzHXU4U4

In Damascus City, the pounding of Yarmouk Camp continues http://youtu.be/omBVykFCL3w MIGs took part http://youtu.be/1HDbAWpVntQ

In Hama, rebels celebrate the liberation of the town of Kafar Zeitah http://youtu.be/6ezfrAnk1xw