Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Update

I am absolutely mortified by what’s taking place in Syria today and would like to keep documenting it for the world to see, but I have to take some time to attend a workshop on the transitional challenges ahead. It’s a project that I have been working on for a while with a few Syrian colleagues from different political backgrounds in cooperation with a number of international experts. I will resume updating this blog as soon as I can, meanwhile I recommend following the developments as they happen on NOW Lebanon: http://www.nowlebanon.com/NewsArticleDetails.aspx?ID=253828

Monday, February 20, 2012

Delaying the Inevitable!

Until they are brought down, the Assads still labor under the belief that they can finish off the resistance in Homs and throughout the country through a combination of bombardment, ground assault, arrest, torture, assassination, terror attacks and lies, i.e. – the famed security solution. The Assads can’t change their spots. It’s the international community that has to change its tactics when dealing with them, by admitting that its diplomacy has failed and that intervention, for all its complications and potential pitfalls, is needed. The more this decision is delayed, the worse and more complex the situation on the grounds will get.

Sunday February 19, 2012

Today’s death toll: 27, including the district attorney of Idlib City and a district judge, whose assassination is subject to controversy with the regime claiming that armed gangs were responsible for the act, while local activists point the finger at pro-Assad militias.

Meanwhile, the pounding of Bab Amr and other restive neighborhoods in Homs continues with Assad loyalist militias seeming to gear up for a ground attack. Many suburbs in Damascus City today including those in Mazzeh, Midan, Naher Eisheh, Barzeh, Qaboun and Kafar Sousseh observed a call for general strike.

The family of the local activist Samer Al-Khateeb who was killed in Mazzeh yesterday was forced to bury him at dawn to avoid having another mass rally in the increasingly restive neighborhood.

3 protesters were killed in the neighborhood of Bab Qibli in Hama City when loyalists opened fire on an anti-Assad rally. 4 more were killed at the outskirts of the City when loyalist militias opened fire on a passenger bus.  

News
U.S. military chief dubious about arming Syrian rebels (My Comment: Well, then establish some contact with the FSA and the rebels in order to evaluate their readiness, know who they are and understand what they stand for. Maintaining a policy of aloofness, standoffishness and leading from behind is not going to help with that.”
Op-Eds & Special Reports

According to the Russian newspaper, Pravda, I seem to be part of the American conspiracy against Syria:

“The FUKUS axis has used as its agents the ex-Syrian Vice President Abdel-Halim Khaddam, AIPAC member Farid al-Ghadry, Brookings Institution Fellow Ammar Abdul Hamid, Jeffrey Feltman from the US State Dept and multiple Syrian Muslim Brotherhood leaders to fund, incite, train, guide, organize and direct their agents within Syria to bring down the Assad government.”

If there were a conspiracy, the activists and the rebels would have enough communications equipment, enough medical supplies and enough weapons to help them in their fight against the Assads, instead of being so outmatched and embattled. Moreover, after 11 months, I trust there would have been an intervention by now. Unfortunately, the only provable conspiracy is the one woven by Assad and their allies, including the Russians of course, against our freedom. 

Homs

Homs City

Baba Amr: A message from local activist Khalid Abou Salah to the SNC: you haven’t done anything of substance since the beginning of the bombardment. You should immediately contact the Red Cross to encourage delivery of humanitarian aid to the neighborhood, and you should do more press conferences to inform the world of what’s happening in Baba Amr. We gave you legitimacy, and we can take it away http://youtu.be/iKeKx4bOAyo a young activist who was involved in smuggling humanitarian supplies to the neighborhood is killed http://youtu.be/8PnU6aum-G8 


Injuries to the heads by sniper bullets and shrapnel remain very common: Old man http://youtu.be/4KZfyvja99I a child http://youtu.be/7u2ZNVg6vK4

Khaldiyeh: Martyr http://youtu.be/Z-pqcZXVDJU A funeral for three http://youtu.be/mjo9KHOiw5U

Karm Al-Zeitun: Martyrs http://youtu.be/Qjir_VKI6Ko , http://youtu.be/64QS9-16DOQ , http://youtu.be/QaiWhzHcCJU Omar Tellawi takes us on a tour of the neighborhood under bombardment http://youtu.be/7LjtR7JoPMw

Insha’aat: tanks take up position near the local headquarters of the Baath Party http://youtu.be/rRqE1Hgnig0

Bab Al-Sibaa: the pounding continues http://youtu.be/MVi8MBN6dHk

Daytime Rallies
Qoussour (all-girls) http://youtu.be/8hwb6aTqUrY

Nighttime Rallies

Homs Province

Rastan: new fighting unit formed under FSA umbrella http://youtu.be/kER9OI9cKX0 New defectors http://youtu.be/QlqB84oiXjM , http://youtu.be/VEgCHkHN6WY Impact of shelling http://youtu.be/DqCrc-LK4Hs

Houleh: funeral http://youtu.be/ZmHvuJYgpx4 Mourners come under fire and take cover while chanting defiantly http://youtu.be/Zc7UdO1l09o One of the injured http://youtu.be/K1_2IOC5bsc


Damascus

Damascus City


Blocking roads by using burning tires and garbage dumpsters has become common practice in many suburbs and neighborhoods close to main roads: Assaly http://youtu.be/i7sO15fnrx0 Barzeh http://youtu.be/kyMdKanes84

Daytime Rallies

Nighttime Rallies

Damascus East (Eastern & Western Ghoutah)

Kafar Batan: tanks still in position throughout the neighborhood http://youtu.be/bxjpJl5rjH0

Dmeir: tanks and armored vehicles continue to be stationed in the city http://youtu.be/6hQFckJdUKc , http://youtu.be/cVPmfI77FdY

Nighttime Rallies

Damascus South (Southern Ghoutah)

Nighttime Rallies

North (The Qalamoun Region )

Nighttime Rallies


Hama

Hama City

Nighttime Rallies

Hama Province

Kafrenboudeh: new clips from the pounding that took place on Feb 16 showing the victims of the random shelling still lying in the streets amidst the ruins http://youtu.be/eQvPQCyU3uA

Shaizar: child hit in the head by a shrapnel during the bombardment of the town http://youtu.be/eHj-BxdDbvw

Daytime Rallies


Idlib


Ma’arrat Masreen: Martyr http://youtu.be/Rz3QqXJOM04

Ma’arrat Al-Nouman: Funeral http://youtu.be/fnLJNsC-hWI


Nighttime Rallies
Ma’arrat Al-Nouman http://youtu.be/dLjVjS7xgvo


Deraa/Hauran

Deraa/Hauran Province


Basr Al-Harir: impact of pounding http://youtu.be/RxFXQcDF6lE , http://youtu.be/SEhduoY78Sg

Harrfah: funeral http://youtu.be/x0NnB-IJLEA

Daytime Rallies

Nighttime Rallies


Aleppo

Aleppo City

Sukkari: protesters come under fire http://youtu.be/mkCSHYKDmhk

Nighttime Rallies

Aleppo Province

Al-Atareb: snipers take up positions around town http://youtu.be/Ex56lnxTXGc and tanks roam the streets http://youtu.be/3FNijmC8pGw Funeral http://youtu.be/we7PiR9tdBg The pounding of the city begins http://youtu.be/qVGclmzHEQw

Nighttime Rallies


Deir Ezzor


Asharah: martyr http://youtu.be/X_nBHZ7dMsY

Daytime Rallies

Nighttime Rallies


Hassakeh


Ghuweiran: nighttime protesters http://youtu.be/99wnAW8Cr5c come under fire http://youtu.be/vPT1rqleIRA , http://youtu.be/sU4VRp2V_uQ

Nighttime Rallies



Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Martyrs are Marching In!

It seems that the only way we have to reclaim Syria is to do it one mass funeral at a time. The protesters seem ready and willing, and the battle for Damascus is bound to heat up.

Saturday February 18, 2012

Today’s death toll: 35, including 18 soldiers who tried to defect and were shot by loyalists in the town of Al-Atarib in Aleppo Province. The dead also include 2 mourners who took part in a major funeral/rally in Damascus City, walking distance from the presidential palace. The rest were killed in various communities in Homs City (10, including 3 women and 3 soldiers killed as they were trying to defect), Deraa (3), Hama (including 2 children), Idleb (2) and Raqqah (1) provinces.

In Damascus, mass funerals took place not only in Damascus City near the presidential palace, but also in the suburbs of Douma (Eastern Ghoutah) and Elhameh (West of Damascus).

News
Op-Eds & Special Reports

Leaked video shows victims of loyalist snipers being filmed and ridiculed. The cameraman refers to them as “Arours” after a known Salafi scholar who, according to official propaganda, is one of the masterminds of the revolution, despite the fact that he had issued a fatwa against conducting a revolution in Syria before he was forced by popular pressure to change his views after the beginning of the revolution http://youtu.be/eQ_imD6o07I

A defector’s testimony: a new defector from Aleppo says that he used to be part of a group sent by Air Force intelligence and the 80th Brigade in civies to crackdown on protesters in Sakhour and Hanano neighborhoods in Aleppo city, and their activities were blamed on armed gangs in pro-regime media. Their leaders included Taal Ghareeb, Emad Al-Shayib, Muhammad Hasasn and Wa’ed Hamdan. Regarding the explosions that took place in Aleppo, he says there were two explosions, one at 9 am and one at 9:10, followed by gunfire, although there were no real clashes with anyone. At 12:30, he says, a truck loaded with makeshift explosives were loaded up by officers from Air force intelligence, and ADdounia TV and other pro-regime media were asked to film it saying that it belonged to the armed groups responsible for the explosions http://youtu.be/eWSRjRlN-Zo

Homs

Homs City

Baba Amr: snow and gunfire at night http://youtu.be/1NaEsSrUydE By mourning, the streets were covered with snow http://youtu.be/9JNKF3kTLvY Then the pounding resumes http://youtu.be/fApD3Vpepx0 , http://youtu.be/lbr17_QV_Xg But no matter how bad things get, people find ways to go one and “enjoy” the day, if such is still possible, like this fellow here who devised a hookah from tanks and artillery shells http://youtu.be/E3o1Am8wxNg

A mother grieves for her martyred son  http://youtu.be/4aiEUydf5uI Martyr http://youtu.be/qDN_qErU-7E Three soldiers who tried to defect are killed http://youtu.be/l9E6dZh0Of0

Karm Al-Zeitun: Local activists gather in the morning to inspect the neighborhood and have a snow fight http://youtu.be/NMZVhZ_UifU A woman martyr http://youtu.be/3om3ApL3rMk

Insha’aat: the pounding continues http://youtu.be/BNsmmQGXDw8

Elsewhere in the city, more soldiers and officers defect and join the Free Syrian Army http://youtu.be/_t9dPdlcbsA

Bab Tadmor: locals never miss a chance to express their feelings, here by stomping on a banner with the pictures of Putin and Assad http://youtu.be/Cw8DX8DIAP0

Bab Al-Sibaa: protesters come under fire from snipers http://youtu.be/HCMrAygzZ90

Bab Dreib: recent defector and locals form a new fighting unit http://youtu.be/PfJsZasItVA

Nighttime Rallies

Homs Province

Tal Kalakh: more defections http://youtu.be/VaNJEB_McPE

Rastan: nighttime pounding leaves a home on fire http://youtu.be/1kpGNWFtOtI

Daytime Rallies


Damascus

Damascus City

Mazzeh: 30,000 locals took part in a mass funeral for yesterday’s martyrs, despite the ongoing snow storm. The event began in the Bassateen Neighborhood of Mazzeh then, mourner crossed the major highway (Mazzeh Autostrad) passing by the Iranian Embassy on their way to the Great Mosque and the nearby cemetery in the Sheikh Saad Neighborhood, just 15 minutes walking distance from the Presidential Palace, where they merged with thousands of other mourners already waiting for them there http://youtu.be/Brz11MBjifA , http://youtu.be/TZQqYOx9qeg

The snow did not damper the enthusiasm of the mourners/protesters http://youtu.be/t0bXY7psGng , http://youtu.be/nr6zUO11_0M Immediately after mourners were done with the burial ceremony and as they headed out of the cemetery http://youtu.be/GhVNoCE84Ig Loyalist security forces opened fire http://youtu.be/0OD1Yv-0otg wounding 4 and killing 2 protesters http://youtu.be/ml2ZY5Y9HPs , http://youtu.be/1y4A-zExplQ , http://youtu.be/Tqq2swvqioU , http://youtu.be/beu7azKrnk4 People disperse into the side streets after the shooting http://youtu.be/5SFdbVtPNjw , http://youtu.be/FA8PnP3E2JI Men and women of all ages took part http://youtu.be/cR786Th_1ps The event was broadcasted live on ustream http://youtu.be/dJnVZiLNawo

The women in the rally hoisted the independence flag and chanted in support of the Free Syrian Army, second later, security fire straight into the crowd http://youtu.be/GvVy9cONoxo The injured are treated harshly as they lies in the streets http://youtu.be/zScPr6c-FzE Some protesters remain defiant shouting “Freedom forever, in spite of you Assad” http://youtu.be/xcfRZt4TWLs

Barzeh: the people of the neighborhood observes a strike in protest over the continued crackdown and their inability to bury their own dead http://youtu.be/A6GeUB8fw_g , http://youtu.be/lOHdv0wzwQM

Nighttime Rallies
Kafar Sousseh http://youtu.be/NLwtryp6ydw , http://youtu.be/pldBxfjwRxk Assaly http://youtu.be/mPrvUF64A1I Wadi Al-Masharei (Zor Afa – A Kurdish neighborhood) http://youtu.be/g7v8QDnB8kI

Damascus East (Eastern & Western Ghoutah)

Douma: Another mass funeral under the snow for 2 activists http://youtu.be/Tk4xD0ZSCY4 , http://youtu.be/SRX6cxi7wrI The two martyrs http://youtu.be/YwpPU7bnZhs , http://youtu.be/teLzOA_t6e8 At night, another mass rally is held http://youtu.be/4BZpoMgrEk0 , http://youtu.be/BDVghNVvUjw , http://youtu.be/kIqC-zaZjEU

Daytime Rallies

Nighttime Rallies

Damascus South (Southern Ghoutah)

Daytime Rallies

Nighttime Rallies

West (Zabadani and Wadi Barada)

Elhameh: Another major funeral took place in this Damascene suburb to the northwest of Damascus http://youtu.be/meeQBwGQp6E , http://youtu.be/sUz_mM_facw Snow does not dampen the morale of the mourners http://youtu.be/EV4cbfrA6ZI , http://youtu.be/Sr5ScK4oqnA Post-funeral rally http://youtu.be/uMEuQ-qit5Q , http://youtu.be/HwXV9dwu29Q , http://youtu.be/tBCJars5e_4 , http://youtu.be/SEQhGBfNFxo , http://youtu.be/myXBXcHztTc

North (The Qalamoun Region )

Daytime Rallies


Hama

Hama City

Nighttime Rallies

Hama Province

Taybat Al-Imam: Funeral http://youtu.be/XE9IykGymlA

Daytime Rallies


Idlib


Kafrenbel: tanks roam the streets http://youtu.be/SU4ju4icmAc

Ma’arrat Al-Nouman: Martyr http://youtu.be/lumXDG-cKWQ

Ihsem: The body of a man found in the street showing signs of torture http://youtu.be/5zCoRI9LwEY

Daytime Rallies

Nighttime Rallies
Ma’arrat Masreen http://youtu.be/3ZIS5uabKB4


Deraa/Hauran

Deraa City

Deraa City: martyr http://youtu.be/U4VxQRhMh_A

Deraa/Hauran Province

Kafar Shams: Funeral http://youtu.be/DSQAwMQzB6c

Basr Al-Harir: tanks roam the streets http://youtu.be/rvDVPf4g41w , http://youtu.be/dNnVWF7HvCI

Harrah: Trying to save a protester who was shot http://youtu.be/xj-b9GGMNx0

Daytime Rallies


Aleppo

Aleppo City

An officer affiliated with the Military Court declares his defection http://youtu.be/4OyhVND_5-o

Nighttime Rallies


Deir Ezzor


Qouriyeh: tanks roam the streets http://youtu.be/MIhcJcPdzgY

Deir Ezzor City: funeral http://youtu.be/gDgF0vKa2Dc

Nighttime Rallies
Deir Ezzor City (Jbeileh) http://youtu.be/Fhp740Oemy8


Hassakeh


Hassakeh City: Protesters in Ghueiran neighborhood http://youtu.be/3uqp48ckg4Q come under heavy gunfire at night http://youtu.be/7b2BOG4eSZ0 , http://youtu.be/JZQHUoSVcMY

Daytime Rallies