Saturday, December 22, 2012

Of Soccer and Scuds!

As 2012 draws to a close, Syria makes soccer history and a historic exit out of the list of viable states. The Mayans might have been right in her case at least. But the Syrian people have nowhere to go: they will outlive both the regime and the state. Whatever happened during the course of this revolution, and whatever happens next, we will learn from it, and we will be all the better for it, as human beings, because the moment we chose to shed our fear, we stopped being zombies, and we became capable of learning again, capable of improving ourselves, and our lot. Herein our real victory. No Scud can take that away.

Friday December 21, 2012

Today’s Death Toll: 169 (including 11 children and 5 women): 58 in Damascus and Suburb (most in Yarmouk Camp, Hajar Aswad, Hamouria and Mouadhamiya), 39 in Hama, 24 in Daraa, 11 in Homs, 11 in Idlib and 1 in Raqqa. Number of Rallies: 291. The largest number of rallies took place in Hama with 87 demonstrations to salute the Free Syrian Army, followed by Deir Ezzor with 61 demonstrations to salute the martyrs and to vow to continue the fight. In Aleppo, 39 demonstrations set out to demand that the Free Syrian Army commit to its duty to protect civilians. In Idlib 31 demonstrations demanded the release of all detainees from Syrian prisons; in Damascus and Suburbs, 28 demonstrations vowed to continue the revolution until the ouster of the regime and declared solidarity with the Palestinians in the Yarmouk refugee camp. In Daraa, 17 demonstrations demanded unity of opposition and commitment to the morals and ethics of the revolution. In Homs, 13 demonstrations took place in solidarity with the displaced people. In Hassakeh, 11 demonstrations asserted the importance of national unity. In Lattakia, 3 demonstrations declared solidarity with the detainees, and, in Raqqa, 2 allies took place. Points of Random Shelling: 291. Clashes: 138. Rebels in Damascus took control of Battalion 81 headquarters in Rhaiba. In Hama, rebels liberated Abu Shafeeq checkpoint west of Mourek City (LCC).

News

Syrian rebels say will target Aleppo airport Syrian rebels warned on Friday they will target the international airport of the northern city of Aleppo after firing at an airliner preparing to take off, the first direct attack on civilian a flight in the 21-month-old revolt.
Soccer-War-torn Syria beat Iraq to savour rare soccer success "I give this win and this worthy title to the Syrian people. I thank God that we succeeded in bringing happiness to the sad people," striker Omar Al Soma said in a televised interview after the match.
Australians rush to join war in Syria Australian security agencies believe more than 100 Australians have joined the civil war in Syria, sparking fears the conflict could produce a wave of home-grown jihadists hardened with combat skills and training.
Twice-exiled Palestinians flee Syria for Lebanon The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine refugees (UNRWA) says some 13,000 Palestinian refugees have fled Syria’s 21-month conflict for neighboring Lebanon.

Special Reports
A psychiatric hospital on the front line in Syria's war-ravaged second city of Aleppo, home to some 60 patients, has suffered from chronic shortages since fighting first broke out in July. "They've had no medication for months, and it gets worse each day. There's no light, no heating, not even running water -- and the patients have hardly anything to eat," said nurse Abu Abdo, who helps to run Dar al-Ajaza hospital. "If residents of the area hadn't given them food they would have died of starvation ages ago," he added.
Economists say President Bashar Assad’s regime has effectively gone broke, and is running out of ways to raise revenues and keep most of its soldiers properly fed and paid. “The economy is the basis of everything,” says Samir Seifan, a prominent Syrian economist who fled last year. He spoke by phone from Dubai. “Without services, boots, money, you cannot do anything. If the government cannot finance the army, they [soldiers] will simply go away.” That tipping point, in which the government faces all-out financial collapse, seems to be drawing near—between three to six months from now, according to the calculations of Seifan and others who have examined Syria’s finances.
If and when the Assad regime implodes there is a rift beyond repair, between the outcomes we want to see in Syria and what U.S. policy is set to deliver. Diplomacy is racing against the battlefield. The U.S. and its allies moved too slowly on Syria; in the time it took to pivot on the opposition and shuffle support to a new set of political leaders, facts on the ground changed dramatically.
A Yemeni citizen of Iranian origin and living in Paris, Ms. Assabalani, 27, spent just two years in the Syrian capital before she had to flee on a snowy day last February, crossing the border to Lebanon, with little idea of where to go next. Yet Damascus has marked her forever. The day before she left, she watched in horror as Syrian security forces rounded up 15 friends and colleagues at the Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression. Five are still in Syrian prisons, held without charge.
Removing Mr. Assad and laying the groundwork for a stable Syria would require a deal with some members of the existing government and parts of Syria’s military that would preserve some government institutions — at least during a transitional period — and protect the Alawites and others groups that have backed Mr. Assad. Russia would most likely support a process that retained some less odious officials in order to sell it to Mr. Assad’s supporters, including die-hards in the Syrian military. Moscow would probably prefer Syria’s vice president, Farouk al-Sharaa, as an interim leader, but informed Russian sources say that the Kremlin would most likely accept a rebel leader who is not an Islamic extremist — a goal that dovetails with American aims.
How jihadists are winning hearts and minds in Syria…. Residents of Deir Ezzor appear to be largely unaware of the grand aim of groups like Jabhat al-Nusra, and judge them based on their services and conduct. They generally take issue with how Jabhat al-Nusra and similar groups run the fledgling sharia-based court system, where fighters with religious background often take over the role of judges.
As battle fatigue grows in rebel-controlled areas, the United Nations is appealing for $1 billion to help Syrian refugees.
the choices for Syria’s president are diminishing: negotiate over a transition to rebel rule, and terrify the Alawites; quit Damascus and move to the coast, thereby angering the Alawites; or fight until the bitter end in Damascus, so that the chances that Assad will end up like Moammar Qaddafi become be very real. He would be butchered, just as he has butchered others, without pity and without remorse.


Video Highlights

A demonstration in Boustan Al-Qasr Neighborhood in Aleppo city serves to illustrate the growing divide between secularist and Islamist groups on the ground, as well as popular outcry against the behavior of rebels in their areas. According some accounts, secularist demonstrators chanted “God, Syria, Freedom and nothing more,” while Islamist demonstrators chanted in support of Sharia. Secularists then chanted against all armies saying “All armies are thieves: the regular [loyal to Assad], the free [Free Syrian Army], and the Islamic.” At that point, Islamic rebels, some of whom affiliated with Jabhat Al-Nusra, fired in the air to disperse the crowd and tried to arrest the activists with cameras to prevent the story from getting out, but people rallied around them and managed to save them.

The clips we managed to find so far do not show any of the slogans mentioned earlier, but the black flags of Islamists were conspicuously absent http://youtu.be/XpBVH9M3WuQ , http://youtu.be/nCD8ymMep8A Then, this clip shows when the shooting began http://youtu.be/fw-rhLqQDvc Then, we have this clip showing a rebel firing at a sniper’s position http://youtu.be/5FjSC2BIKiw

Videos leaked by a recent defector document the launching of Scud missiles from a base in Damascus in the direction of Aleppo http://youtu.be/Oz_f8-M0hAk

Rebels in Damascus managed to secure the defection of over 200 soldiers from the loyalist army taking part in defending the Damascus International Airport http://youtu.be/pibD5xNSDfg

The pounding of Daraya, Damascus, with missile launchers continue http://youtu.be/wtnVnpMWDkM

Dozens of rallies took place throughout Syria today, like this one in Jobar, Damascus City, http://youtu.be/UrBRVEqWfCc and this one in Sha’ar, Aleppo City http://youtu.be/piKMGWOqPOY Sheikh Hamid, Hama City http://youtu.be/rg9WBY1RXeM Menbej, Aleppo http://youtu.be/90JOwd8jN-s Kafrenbel, Idlib http://youtu.be/IwDmlBGVpDU