Monday, July 30, 2012

The Mother of All Infamies!

All advice and no weapons makes the White House a fickle ally.

Sunday July 29, 2012

Today’s Death toll: 138. The Breakdown: 111 in Damascus and Suburbs (including 70 in Moadamiyah where 18 where slaughtered in the fields between Moadamiya and Daraya), 33 in Daraa (most in Sheikh Miskeen Massacre), 11 in Aleppo, 9 in Homs, 9 in Dier Ezzor (+ undetermined number of dead bodies found under the rubble today and yesterday), 7 in Idlib, 4 in Lattakia and 1 in Hama.

Cities & Towns Under Shelling: Harasta, Arbeen, Moadamiah, Harran Al-Awameed, Zabadani, Madaya, Eltal, Dmeir, Hameh, Yelda, Rankous, Qarrah (Damascus Suburbs), Sit Zeinab, Al-Qadam, Modan, Al-Hajar Al-Aswad, Yarmouk, Kafar Sousseh, Mazzeh, Qaboun, Barzeh (Damascus City), Daraa City, Khirbet Al-Ghazaleh, Tafas, Bostra Al-Sham, Na’eemah, Mseifrah, Jimreen, Hraak (Daraa), Rastan, Talbisseh, Houla, Tal Kalakh, Al-Qusayr, Al-Hosn, Al-Ghanto, Al-Bouaydah, Old Homs (Homs Province), Hreitan, Elbab, Eizaz, Marei, Bayanoun (Aleppo Province), Haffeh, Jabal Al-Akrad (Lattakia), Deir Ezzor City, Mouhassan, Albou Kamal (Deir Ezzor Province), Kafar Zeiteh, Hawash, Shahshabo, Hama City (Hama Province), Jabal Al-Zawiyeh, Ma’rrat Al-Nouman, Saraqib, Maar Shoureen, Ariha, Kafroumah, Al-Rami, Khan Shaikhoon (Idlib).

While no videos have been made available, local activists say that pro-Assad militias have committed a massacre in the town of Sheikh Miskeen in Daraa Province, in which over thirty people were executed in cold blood. Clashes between rebels and pro-Assad militias are currently taking place.

News
Syria rebels say world must intervene to stop Aleppo massacre Some 200,000 people have fled Aleppo in the last two days of battles between the Assad regime and rebel forces, according to United Nations estimates.


Op-Eds & Special Reports

Why Syrian refugees protest While criticism of the AKP is either ideological or nationalist, the Turkish people’s reactions to Syrian refugees are marked by anti-Arab sentiments.

Syrian Rebel Leader Mustafa al-Sheikh Says Victory Against Assad Not in Sight The general who heads the Free Syrian Army says his forces are dangerously divided and underfunded, al Qaeda is gaining a foothold in the conflict, and a major win that could topple the regime, like seizing Aleppo, is still out of reach.

Syria Faces Economic Endgame Amid Chaos as Sanctions Bite The Assad regime remains, though its fate appears more precarious with the spread of the uprising to Damascus and Aleppo, Syria’s largest cities, in mid-July and after a blast killed four security chiefs.

The Fate of Syria is in the Hands of … Palestinians? Indeed, it is already clear that the Syrian conflict has placed Assad's Palestinian clients into an untenable position. It’s hard for Palestinian groups to claim they are fighting for justice when their patron is in the midst of slaughtering its own people—18,000 souls and counting—in cold blood. That is why an ever growing number of Palestinians are now working to topple the regime that once supported them.

Manaf Tlass and the future of Syria A solution that includes the Tlass family is not worthy of the sacrifices that many ordinary Syrians have made.

Enough Manaf

Abdurrazzaq Tlas, leader of the Al-Farouq Brigade, an FSA fighting unit active in Homs and parts of Damascus and Hama, issues a statement welcoming the defection of his cousins Manaf and Firas, but refutes statement made by Firas to the effect that they have provided support to Al-Farouk. Abdurrazzaq explains that Al-Farouq was built and is being funded by honest people, and that, for this reason, it’s completely independent in its decision-making, and that its particular position vis-à-vis a political solution can only be enunciated by its political cadre http://youtu.be/qteey2O9md0

Meanwhile, in Talbisseh, fighters from Al-Farouq repel a tank attack on their city http://youtu.be/m5GUgCfce9Q

Curious Conversion: A Buddhist Defection

A Japanese journalist fighting in the Turkmen Mountain in Lattakia converts to Islam in a ceremony supervised by the Mamdouh Jolhah Brigade affiliated with the FSA. His Muslim name is Moustafa. He doesn’t seem to have done it under any duress http://youtu.be/pBIGJOZGDZc Moustafa then proceeds to learn how to perform ablutions http://youtu.be/10y58J_hK-0

Iran and Russia

Some still advocate a role for Russia, even Iran, in diplomacy concerning Syria. But considering that some Russian officials, according to other Russian officials, are telling Assad to “to adopt much harsher methods, carpet bombing, total destruction,” while Iranians are busy supplying him with drone and funds to buy Russian weapons, it’s really surreal to keep advocating such an approach. For Iran and Russia, the endgame they want is clear: defeating the revolution or partitioning the country.

US Policy

According to U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, Assad’s attack on Aleppo “will be a nail in Assad's own coffin.” With the attack, Mr. Panetta noted, the regime has “lost all legitimacy,” and the question ahead is “no longer… whether he's coming to an end, it's when."

Well, Assad has lacked legitimacy from the day he came to power, yet he is still with us. Despite the advances made by the opposition, including the attack that left 5 security chiefs dead, and the “liberation” of Aleppo, the end of Assad rule, as General Mustafa Al-Sheikh explained yesterday, “is not in sight.” As much as Obama officials want to, the end of this regime cannot come without actual involvement by U.S. the kind of weapons the rebels need to get the job done cannot be acquired without at least a tacit approval from the U.S. that approval, as can be deduced from Mr. Panetta’s responses is not there.

There are so many experts and officials out there who seem to think that the rebels will be able to topple the regime on their own and without U.S. involvement, thus justifying the do-nothing approach by the Obama Administration. Well, it won’t happen. The price of waiting and betting on this policy is inheriting a bloody mess, and having to midwife processes down the road that will drag the U.S. back into the region from which it is trying to disentangle itself. It’s the do-nothing approach of the Obama Administration that will make its nightmare scenarios come true. 

Video Highlights

The pounding of Deir Ezor City continues for the 6 consecutive week. Away from the spotlight, her people are dying under the shelling http://youtu.be/nuaMohQnzKo  , http://youtu.be/6NyklPw9Gz4 But local fighters keep trying to fight back, with the few weapons they have http://youtu.be/hoI24j9cfCg , http://youtu.be/8I02Jy2VJ0o , http://youtu.be/7Zeezh4L9TY Offering more martyrs http://youtu.be/3lS7cD1fbBI , http://youtu.be/874NLyTsC6Q Still, many neighborhoods now look like this http://youtu.be/k3MFKKdJJ0I , http://youtu.be/YcBynbTSpGE The pounding of the city continues http://youtu.be/Xqw2HVS_PSQ And more people get killed. These bodies belong to people shot by a tank as they tried to cross the street http://youtu.be/2e4PjYPFdEs Local parks have been transformed into makeshift cemeteries http://youtu.be/I2ydJljbfX8

In Damascus, a number of massacres perpetrated by pro-Assad militias took place in different suburbs and neighborhoods

The suburb of Moadamiah witnessed the largest massacre, over 70 locals, including women and children were slaughtered in their homes and nearby fields, some were burnt alive. Pro-Assd militias entered some neighborhoods in the suburb following hours of intense pounding: Some of the homes where the bodies were found http://youtu.be/7orROt8HC9M , http://youtu.be/S68-XxC5oqs Two martyrs being transported in the back of truck http://youtu.be/5S-VGIWHWd4 Some of the dead bodies prepared for burial http://youtu.be/H4VIqDEnglQ , http://youtu.be/ywl3KXcXgtk Impact of pounding http://youtu.be/qb4-IPDceqI

The nearby suburb of Daraya witnessed a smaller scale massacre: 5 men and two women, slaughtered by pro-Assad militias http://youtu.be/iVyyY5r83ko

Diyabiyyeh Suburb (Also Ziyabiyeh), Damascus: a new massacre http://youtu.be/b8gg96lmtbc , http://youtu.be/QlUKafXKWDc , http://youtu.be/qA8CMeLtvng , http://youtu.be/o_C27OWwbFw

Al-Hajar Al-Aswad, Damascus City: a new massacre http://youtu.be/uP7W2sv_4NU In Al-Qadam Neighborhood local find two unidentified bodies that bear the signs of torture http://youtu.be/l2pzrO5czic In Kafar Sousseh, locals uncover a new mass grave http://youtu.be/8IgGbSHwgfE

From the beginning of the revolution, local activists throughout Syria have been claiming that doctors working for pro-Assad militias often harvest the organs of the martyrs without any consent. This case comes from Yelda, Damascus Suburbs http://youtu.be/SwGtcyKv3hk

In Aleppo, the shelling and clashes continue claiming many lives and leaving many injured.

Airplanes take part in the pounding http://youtu.be/a2s60mO1eqs of Al-Sukkari Neighborhood http://youtu.be/tQuMGuQRQC4 among others http://youtu.be/VP1_z8iA2LM Black smoke rises over Boustan Al-Qasr http://youtu.be/YHQaEepKjIY A helicopter gunships pounds Salaheddine http://youtu.be/1YZi9mqZXJ0

Zaydiyeh Neighborhood: trying to rescues an injured little girl even as the shelling continues http://youtu.be/kT96Rzrs_lQ The local mosque is hit http://youtu.be/AT11g_iS62Q

Salaheddine Neighborhood: Tanks and armored vehicles storm their way in http://youtu.be/zXm_bY7JZ50 bodies lie strewn in the streets after Assad troops passed on their way to the Old City http://youtu.be/ULggkcS6QzU  , http://youtu.be/cOxLJ1AnCqE Some were killed in their home http://youtu.be/CciM0J2goNA Local fighters hang on amidst the ruins http://youtu.be/5OUCx79ROL4 The sounds of automatic gunfire from a helicopter gunship taking part in the pounding http://youtu.be/Em_TuzXs8Fs

Some of the martyrs who fell today http://youtu.be/FgJ9xickHc0 , http://youtu.be/FgJ9xickHc0

In Mashhad Neighborhood, rebels trap a few pro-Assad militiamen inside a local structure http://youtu.be/bjU2z4DtgUU then proceed to blow it up http://youtu.be/G2Dbho0DZ04 One of the pro-Assad snipers is captured http://youtu.be/F_0v6lHEb4o Local rebels target a helicopter gunship http://youtu.be/91mTKHN2vrs One of the local fighters is injured http://youtu.be/25BXDgPa9xY

Some of the pro-Assad militiamen who were captured http://youtu.be/ZEOY1nzZUmQ

A building catch fire in Boustan Al-Qasr Neighborhood http://youtu.be/DSLUcsQyg6E

The campus at Aleppo University is now being used to house refugees http://youtu.be/vkWvHIjuIBo

Mounds of garbage fill the streets of Al-Sukkari Neighborhood http://youtu.be/JAkl8EnhUYk Local fighters survey the scene and promise victory http://youtu.be/Du6NTuzQ-I4 Parts of the neighborhood get pounded http://youtu.be/f_am7CqMV7M , http://youtu.be/BZhBWk_1Z10 Locals stream out of the neighborhood http://youtu.be/GzFcyH8ZUpo

In Bab Al-Hadid Neighborhood, local rebels direct traffic http://youtu.be/ik7VEoEKhI4

In a video that surfaces now, the leader of Al-Tawhid Brigade is seen given a speech to some of his lieutenant before they were sent to fight in Aleppo City. He says that the legitimate targets for their operations are the police, the military and gun-toting pro-Assad militias. He forbids them to assault civilians or take part in robberies, and insist that protecting public institutions is one of their main duties   http://youtu.be/gRSfwTiruus Another Al-Tawhid leader tells his soldiers the eyes of the world are on you http://youtu.be/zybI8acUbOM More fighting units join Al-Tawhid http://youtu.be/eqk7pH7-xyg , http://youtu.be/sLyAw2tMZZo

Other Videos

The Syrian Council in Armenia, Muhammad Hussam Hafiz, joins the ranks of defectors http://youtu.be/FNpUwTZEfRE 

In the Eastern Ghoutah Region of Damascus Suburbs, more defections and new brigade is formed http://youtu.be/c5qGJ5SnL6U Douma was pounded by a helicopter gunship http://youtu.be/LsTsuV-NV9M

In Lattakia, a military council affiliated with the FSA is formed http://youtu.be/eRS1bI-F1UQ

In Dmeir, Damascus Suburbs, a leaked video shows some of the artillery and cannons used in pounding the town http://youtu.be/O6aKN0z1-y0

In Qaboun Neighborhood, Damascus City, authorities continue to raise down parts of the neighborhood as form of mass punishment http://youtu.be/MNFiCqjttLo , http://youtu.be/Tu2ScS7Rias

Hama City comes under heavy nighttime shelling http://youtu.be/0wvE11nnxD8 , http://youtu.be/yOO8eqdRAFs

In Daraa, captured militiamen explain how they liquidated local civilians held at a detention camp in the local stadium http://youtu.be/GZN2WAuVLg8

A leaked video from Bosra, Daraa province, shows tanks pounding the city http://youtu.be/WEQdGRuB0JQ

Fighters from Al-Motassim Brigade near Maarabah, Daraa, clash with loyalist troops to repel an attack on their town http://youtu.be/ajH8a9ceedU , http://youtu.be/EAdPp39lk0A This was how the rebels approached the positions of the loyalist troops http://youtu.be/P8me5F0x5iI Here we see some rebels using a local abandoned home to mount their attack http://youtu.be/5xiQe38TpzI , http://youtu.be/ZAOiteq8Vbc

A video edited by local activists in Al-Rami village, Idlib Province, showing scenes from as recent battle with loyalist troops http://youtu.be/7GBLy0vUzyE Elsewhere in the province, in Saijar Region to be particular, a new fighting unit is formed funded it seems by a French engineer, of Syrian origins, Abdel Rahman Ayachi http://youtu.be/RUuP6xI81HU

In the village of Dourine in Al-Akard Mountains, Lattakia Province, clashes between local rebels and pro-Assad militias trying to take control, of the town left many militiamen dead http://youtu.be/zyynWZT7PtI , http://youtu.be/4xki8bFp4pw The nearby village of Qassatel comes under heavy pounding http://youtu.be/q1-w5gj2ffw Shalaf as well comes under pounding http://youtu.be/3_2Ehe_CM_s

The pounding of Homs City continues: Qarabees http://youtu.be/tnA9uAEJ7bI Khaldiyeh http://youtu.be/RCIwmOHZRLA And the daily street battles between rebels and loyalists http://youtu.be/Qo7XhaYLzz8 Occasionally, the rebels manage to retake some of the buildings used as headquarters by pro-Assad militias http://youtu.be/9lsnYU-t110 As the slow-mo Dresdenificaion of the city continues http://youtu.be/GzV09erDxyA

Saturday, July 28, 2012

500 Days of Night. 500 Days of Light.

Judging things through the visor of international reactions, the past 500 days in Syria were an age of darkness and missed opportunities. But examining the situation from the point of view of an activist, every day that passed brought more people to the cause, and for all the complications still involved, that is a major achievement. Things will never be the same. Fear is gone. The spell is broken.

Friday July 27, 2012

Today’s Death toll: 110. The Breakdown: 30 in Daraa, 23 in Damascus and Suburbs, 22 in Aleppo, 11 in Deir Ezzor, 10 in Hos, 5 in Idlib, 3 in Hama, 2 in Lattakia, and 1 in Raqqah.

Cities & Towns Under Shelling: Harasta, Arbeen, Moadamiah, Harran Al-Awameed, Zabadani, Madaya, Eltal, Dmeir, Hameh, Yelda, Rankous, Qarrah (Damascus Suburbs), Sit Zeinab, Al-Qadam, Modan, Al-Hajar Al-Aswad, Yarmouk, Kafar Sousseh, Mazzeh, Qaboun, Barzeh (Damascus City), Daraa City, Khirbet Al-Ghazaleh, Tafas, Bostra Al-Sham, Na’eemah, Mseifrah, Jimreen, Hraak (Daraa), Rastan, Talbisseh, Houla, Tal Kalakh, Al-Qusayr, Al-Hosn, Al-Ghanto, Al-Bouaydah, Old Homs (Homs Province), Hreitan, Elbab, Eizaz, Marei, Bayanoun (Aleppo Province), Haffeh, Jabal Al-Akrad (Lattakia), Deir Ezzor City, Mouhassan, Albou Kamal (Deir Ezzor Province), Kafar Zeiteh, Hawash, Shahshabo, Hama City (Hama Province), Jabal Al-Zawiyeh, Ma’rrat Al-Nouman, Saraqib, Maar Shoureen, Ariha, Kafroumah, Al-Rami, Khan Shaikhoon (Idlib).

News



Op-Eds & Special Reports
Brief History of Aleppo: A Great World City Now in the Grip of War As Syrian government forces and rebels clash in Aleppo, TIME takes a look at the history of this ancient, cosmopolitan city now locked in a state of war

Syria's Christians, Caught in the Middle of Worsening Chaos Every effort must be immediately made to anticipate the potential for post-Assad retaliation against civilians such as Alawites, Christians, and other minorities associated with the regime (or who simply stayed out of the fight)- and to form a real and workable strategy to prevent it, or to stop it if all hell begins to break loose.

Kurdish worries drag Turkey deeper into Syria war Turkey may be some way from acting on Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's threat to strike Kurdish separatists in Syria, but week by week it finds itself sucked ever further into its neighbor's worsening war.

By Ceding Northeastern Syria to the Kurds, Assad Puts Turkey in a Bind Ankara has been a key backer of Syria's rebellion, but the prospect of an Iraq-style autonomous Kurdish zone has Erdogan threatening to intervene

Syria regime 'reeling, armed to the teeth' with chemical weapons Like a three-card monte player, the Syrian government has been shifting its chemical weapons around the country in the midst of the country’s increasingly violent and chaotic civil war, leaving foreign intelligence agencies to guess where the outlawed weapons of mass destruction might end up – and under whose control.

Meeting the Syrian Opposition in Antakya and Istanbul It is very difficult on the ground to be sure who it is that you are really talking to and what they represent… Turkish officials maintain a striking degree of control over Syrian opposition forces inside Turkey... the Muslim Brotherhood is pervasive not only within the Syrian National Council (SNC), but among many opposition groups… there is a striking cynicism and anger among fighters within Syria toward the outside world for not providing enough practical support.

Alawistan Bashar al-Assad may be gearing up to create an Alawite statelet along Syria's coastal mountains. And he has the means to do it.

Kurdish flag-waving unnoticed in Syria Whatever has happened on the ground, which restricted media access to Syria makes very difficult to confirm, the recent assertion of Kurdish authority in northern Syria has led to speculation about Kurdish demands in a post-Assad era.

Assad’s Theater of the Absurd

An example of the kind of propaganda espoused by Assad’s official media organs:

This footage was originally broadcast on the official Souriyya Ikhbariyyah TV network and uploaded by supporters of Bashar al-Assad on July 23, 2012. It depicts a news report claiming that American corporations funded by Qatar and Saudi Arabia are constructing life-size replicas of major Damascus neighborhoods in Hollywood to stage the fall of the capital. It also claims that senior level defections are being staged "and will be played by famous actors." http://youtu.be/GjW5jlSqsRU

The inspiration for this storyline came out of a joke on Facebook, a joke that was actually mocking the Syrian regime’s propaganda. Regime supporters, it seems, did not get the joke and ended up believing and adopting the story!

Another story in this vein concerns the arrival in Doha of an Assad look-alike who is meant to play him delivering a concession speech. The included picture can be downloaded and amplified for the English version.

Some of the news anchors in Assad’s propaganda machine, however, could not stomach having to peddle these lies. Here is Oula Abbas, an anchorwoman at Ikhbariyyah, announcing her defection and accusing the regime of stoking sectarian sentiments http://youtu.be/J0UzfzK0fAI

Meanwhile, there were more political defections, including the Syrian Ambassador in Belarus, Taha Farouq http://youtu.be/ETMm_DOgzkI and an MP representing Aleppo, Ikhlas Badawi.

Now it’s Official

After so many months of lies on part of Assad’s propagandists speculations on part of international experts, and dithering on part of international leaders, the incitements and the neglect combined to create a vacuum in areas around Syria that was finally filled by the wrong elements that we were all fearing and warning against. Al-Qaeda is here. But guess who is trying to contain them: the FSA.

Here is Colonel Afif Solaiman, head of the Military Council of Idlib, explains how they freed two western journalists kidnapped by AQ and held for ransom http://youtu.be/lzknOugbvSo

The FSA is unlikely to try to fight against the emerging AQ network at this stage, since both have a common enemy they are fighting against: the Assads. But eventually, the two sides will have to battle out. This is another reason why the FSA should be supported.

Video Highlights

In Mayadeen, Deir Ezzor Province, the indiscriminate pounding http://youtu.be/EQr-NDqZG7Q claimed many lives and left many injured http://youtu.be/I6dmizQTxoo , http://youtu.be/g1xVkjylPo8 But local FSA unit still fought back and destroyed an invading tank http://youtu.be/pPLLTKAvPfU

In Aleppo City, the pounding by helicopter gunships http://youtu.be/RlgWVZEqLmQ of Firdos Neighborhood leaves many dead http://youtu.be/2OjXHu5aXxs But members of Al-Tawhid Brigade managed to capture the local police station arresting over 100 pro-Assad militias http://youtu.be/IGgNcM68aGM  

In Daraa City, the indiscriminate pounding http://youtu.be/tkHwBH2SEIM , http://youtu.be/4wPD5TmvEbk of the Mokhayam District left many dead http://youtu.be/fNdzjVDofYU , http://youtu.be/dWGgWQivM1M The Mokhayam’s population is a mix of Palestinians and Syrians.  

In Damascus, the pounding by helicopter gunships of other restive suburbs and neighborhoods continues: Moadamiyah http://youtu.be/ZyD5MlkEUnE

In Homs Province, Old Homs, Rastan, Talbisseh and Houla continue to be pounded: Houla http://youtu.be/yFGHktDjgiE Rastan http://youtu.be/mcd7fEy8CZU Talbisseh http://youtu.be/1sLhwTCi64Q Old Homs (Baba Amr) http://youtu.be/kkmlnRcsRyc

While the pounding of cities and towns continued unrelenting, Friday witnessed as well the usual protest rallies still calling for toppling the regime, and the birth of a new democratic Syria.

Kafrenbel, Idlib: http://youtu.be/5Zcy9UZ7-vs Binnish, Idlib http://youtu.be/e1tg3iOrlC4

Shaar Neighborhood, Aleppo City: protesters chanted for Al-Tawhid Brigade which is now in control http://youtu.be/Rc8ZtUSFvZo


Janoub Al-Malaab, Homs City: http://youtu.be/6cqiQVQXJOw


Abtaa, Daraa Province: People chant “the Syrian people are one: Muslims and Christians” http://youtu.be/THh4ZrX6SiM

Friday, July 27, 2012

Solution Or Collusion?

A “solution” that keeps Assad in play and the Revolutionaries at bay when it comes to managing the transitional period is not a solution. It’s a collusion. The Revolutionaries get it, and will oppose it.

Thursday July 26, 2012

Today’s Death toll: 200. The Breakdown: 48 in Aleppo, 46 in Damascus and suburbs, 30 in Daraa (including 22 in Wadi Al-Ajami), 27 in Idlib, 21 in Homs, 14 in Deir Ezzor, 6 in Hama, 4 in Raqqah, 2 in Lattakia, 1 in Hassakeh and 1 in Qunaitra.

Cities & Towns Under Shelling: Harasta, Arbeen, Moadamiah, Harran Al-Awameed, Zabadani, Madaya, Eltal, Dmeir, Hameh, Yelda, Rankous, Qarrah (Damascus Suburbs), Sit Zeinab, Al-Qadam, Modan, Al-Hajar Al-Aswad, Yarmouk, Kafar Sousseh, Mazzeh, Qaboun, Barzeh (Damascus City), Daraa City, Khirbet Al-Ghazaleh, Tafas, Bostra Al-Sham, Na’eemah, Mseifrah, Jimreen, Hraak (Daraa), Rastan, Talbisseh, Houla, Tal Kalakh, Al-Qusayr, Al-Hosn, Al-Ghanto, Al-Bouaydah, Old Homs (Homs Province), Hreitan, Elbab, Eizaz, Marei, Bayanoun (Aleppo Province), Haffeh, Jabal Al-Akrad (Lattakia), Deir Ezzor City, Mouhassan, Albou Kamal (Deir Ezzor Province), Kafar Zeiteh, Hawash, Shahshabo, Hama City (Hama Province), Jabal Al-Zawiyeh, Ma’rrat Al-Nouman, Saraqib, Maar Shoureen, Ariha, Kafroumah, Al-Rami, Khan Shaikhoon (Idlib).

News




Op-Eds & Special Reports



Russia and Syria’s Assad: The End of the Affair? It has become clear to many officials in Moscow that the Assad regime cannot restore the pre-rebellion status quo in Syria, forcing them to consider backing away from a longtime client.

Al Qaeda's War for Syria Now is the time to begin moving against the terror group's Syrian assets.

Insight: Cautious on Syria, Obama moves to help rebels One of the most telling signs that the administration sees few good options in Syria is the apparent lack of major policy disagreement among Obama's advisers. "There was more on Egypt and Libya," a senior administration official said.

As Syrian Troops Pour Into Aleppo, Rebels Warn of Drawn-Out War The Syrian Army is trying to prevent the country’s commercial capital from becoming a base for a rebel offensive against Damascus. Damien McElroy, Adrian Blomfield, and Magdy Samaan report.

After Assad: What’s Next for the Future of Syria? If Syria is allowed to fracture, each ethnic group hunkering down, says Ammar Abdulhamid, an exiled Syria opposition leader in Washington, “it won’t be easy to put humpty dumpty back together again. It would take decades of instability and violence to sort itself out. And that is what we’re most worried about.”

Video Highlights

The following video purport to show clashes between the Syrian and Jordanian armies near Tal Shihab http://youtu.be/HueiEPXCEJ0 The clashes came at the heel of a cross-border shooting by the Syrian army that left a 3-yerl0ld Syrian refugee boy dead. The clashes were confirmed by Al-Jazeerah, but the Jordanian government refuted the report saying the Syrian army fired at refugees who were crossing into Jordan, but no clashes took place.

The pounding of Kafroumah, Idlib province, leaves several dead and wounded, including many children http://youtu.be/r3T4xKxSWoY Trying to rescue the wounded http://youtu.be/ECwHyOv2Geo , http://youtu.be/GXfI9dXFdXA Funeral for four of the dead http://youtu.be/zeiF2vZTsk4

The call for general mobilization made by the Commander of the Military Council of Aleppo, affiliated with FSA, with English subtitles http://youtu.be/nZmg0e4kaCo

A video surfaces of Assad celebrating the birthday of his wife’s brother back in August 2011 when his troops were busy committing massacres http://youtu.be/lhbYI9WO0zY

Mhardeh, Hama Province: the judge appointed for investigating the Massacre of Qoubair defects and accuses the regime of the massacre http://youtu.be/4UcTPQfdMlc

People in the Damascene suburb of Yelda rush to pull bodies from underneath the rubble after the suburb was shelled by helicopter gunships http://youtu.be/CvfhLHljy7Q The dead and wounded include many children http://youtu.be/NbkaTPcPdRA , http://youtu.be/kX0tEvJi1Bg

The pounding of the town of Dmeir to the North leaves many buildings and shops on fire http://youtu.be/AqhtDOnXJrs

The suburb of Daraya was also heavily pounded by helicopters http://youtu.be/dIsaqojh6cM , http://youtu.be/dIsaqojh6cM

In Damascus City, the regime bulldozed parts of Qaboun Neighborhood as a form of collective punishment destroying many homes and shops in the process http://youtu.be/AKZFVOm80bo , http://youtu.be/iK5Q3WDrrU0

MIGs still taking part in the pounding in Aleppo Province. This video is from the town of Manbej http://youtu.be/gDzdtaskTh0

A little boy takes his last breaths in Albou Kamal, Deir Ezzor Province http://youtu.be/1mrgx9Sru0Q

In Aleppo City, preparing for battle is not just about establishment checkpoints and barricades, in Sakhour, it’s about collecting garbage and cleaning the neighborhoods: and the fighters are doing the job http://youtu.be/1u9wLwhkdxc , http://youtu.be/9u1-CbG2mJI

The pounding of Deir Ezor City continues http://youtu.be/k0jLXiJSMVc

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Battlefield Aleppo!

With the current use of MIGs in the pounding of Aleppo and Homs, Assad has deployed every weapon in his arsenal but the WMDs. By now, it’s a toss-up as to what is more senseless and shameless: Assad’s crackdown, or the reaction of world leaders.

Wednesday July 25, 2012

Today’s Death toll: 146. The Breakdown: 27 in Damascus and Suburbs, 23 in Aleppo, 21 in Homs, 15 in Hassakeh, 12 in Hama, 12 inidlib, 11 in Deir Ezzor, 9 in Daraa, in Lattakia and 1 in Qunaitra.

Cities & Towns Under Shelling: Harasta, Arbeen, Moadamiyah, Haran Al-Awameed, Zabadani, Madaya, Eltal, Dmeir, Hameh, Yelda, Rankous, Qarrah (Damascus Suburbs), Sit Zeinab, Al-Qadam, Modan, Al-Hajar Al-Aswad, Yarmouk, Kafar Sousseh, Mazzeh, Qaboun, Barzeh (Damascus City), Daraa City, Khirbet Al-Ghazaleh, Tafas, Bostra Al-Sham, Na’eemah, Mseifrah, Jimreen, Hraak (Daraa), Rastan, Talbisseh, Houla, Tal Kalakh, Al-Qusayr, Al-Hosn, Al-Ghanto, Al-Bouaydah, Old Homs (Homs Province), Hreitan, Elbab, Eizaz, Marei, Bayanoun (Aleppo Province), Haffeh, Jabal Al-Akrad (Lattakia), Deir Ezzor City, Mouhassan, Albou Kamal (Deir Ezzor Province), Kafar Zeiteh, Hawash, Shahshabo, Hama City (Hama Province), Jabal Al-Zawiyeh, Maar’at Al-Nouman, Saraqib, Maar Shoureen, Ariha (Idlib)

The defection of the Charge d’affaire in the Syrian Embassy in Cyprus, Lamia Hariri, was soon followed by the defection of her husband, Abdelfattah Sabbagh, the Syrian Ambassador in the UAE. There are also reports that the security chief in the Syrian Embassy in Oman has also defected.

News

Op-Eds & Special Reports
Moral mantle for action in Syria slips from UN to Obama The Obama administration has all but given up on the UN acting on Syria. It's beefing up aid to rebels taking other steps. But China and Russia can still save the UN's moral leadership by backing tougher sanctions on Assad.

Five things international community must give Syria after Bashar al-Assad Syria sits at the crossroads of a region undergoing tremendous upheaval and fragile democratization. Transition in Syria after Bashar al-Assad will be impossible without constructive international support. While the future of Syria must be in the hands of its people, the end of the Assad era, however it comes, will require resetting the way in which the world engages with the country. From outsiders, Syria will need these five key things…

In Syria, Kurdish Groups Divided Over Taking Up Arms Against Assad Though the regime made an early effort not to anger the minority group, the killing of a top Kurdish leader has led some groups to support violent resistance

Splits widen within Syrian opposition As Syria's rebels look beyond Bashar al-Assad's overthrow, distrust and jostling for power are eroding their credibility.

Syria's cyberwars: using social media against dissent Social media fueled the Arab Spring. In Syria, it's helping the government quash it. The Syrian uprising has opened a new chapter in the history of cyber-espionage, and activists and experts are watching closely to see how it plays out.

Syria crisis: 'a huge snowball that can destroy everything' The regime faces insurrection everywhere, but rebels warn that without western help, they will pay a heavy price for victory

Searching for the Truth Behind the Houla Massacre Initially, the United Nations was convinced that the Syrian government was behind the brutal Houla massacre. But then, some began to have doubts. SPIEGEL traveled to the town to interview survivors and witnesses -- and was able to reconstruct the horrifying slaughter.

Al Qaeda Taking Deadly New Role in Syria’s Conflict Al Qaeda and other Islamic extremists are doing their best to hijack the Syrian revolution, with a growing although still limited success that has American intelligence officials publicly concerned, and Iraqi officials next door openly alarmed.
Inside Syria: Foreign fighters join Syrian rebels in Aleppo battle On Wednesday, CNN’s crew met a Libyan fighter who had crossed into Syria from Turkey with four other Libyans. The fighter wore full camouflage and was carrying a Kalashnikov rifle. He said more Libyan fighters were on the way.

Cause for Celebration in Syria The fall of Assad’s pro-Iranian regime is a net gain for the U.S., even if what replaces it isn’t a reliable ally

The Time for Kurdistan Region of Syria Has Come The Kurdistan Region of Syria? Yes, it is possible. Now is the time to declare it. Today, the Kurds of Syria are in a position to be a strong player in the new Syria and the Middle East. But this depends a great deal on their Kurdish neighbors and co-fighters – namely, the KDP and PKK.

Syria Conflict: Breakaway Alawite State May Be President Bashar Assad's Last Resort In the recent sectarian violence in Syria, some observers see a grim pattern: Alawite fighters from President Bashar Assad's minority sect, they say, are trying to carve out a breakaway enclave for themselves by driving out local Sunnis, killing entire families and threatening anybody who stays behind.

Guile, Gas and Germs: Syria's Ultimate Weapons Part I of a two-part examination of Syria's chemical and biological weapons—how Syria built them, configures them. Poisoned Missiles: Syria's Doomsday Deterrent Part II catalogues Syria's present CBW stocks, investigates how Damascus has weaponized them, and ponders possible scenarios for their use.

Christian priest bears witness to Syrian bloodbath A Jesuit priest thrown out of Syria for criticizing Bashar Assad’s brutal crackdown on pro-democracy forces is visiting North America… He’s bringing a message for fellow Christians and others: It’s un-Christian and immoral to be fretting only or mostly about the possible plight of the Christian minority in post-Assad Syria, while doing little to save the overwhelming majority of Syrians being massacred by the Assad regime. Rev. Paolo Dall’Oglio says the regime is “ethnic cleansing” those who oppose it, and is sowing sectarian divisions much the same way Slobodan Milosevic did in Bosnia in the 1990s.

Key Role Floated for Syrian Defector "Someone like Tlass is difficult to sell to the Syrian people," said Ammar Abdulhamid, an anti-Assad activist based in Washington. "He certainly can't play any leading role in a transition."

How and when to intervene are the only questions.

In “It's Time to Engage Iran, Russia on Syria,” Andrew Parasiliti, the executive director of the International Institute for Strategic Studies-US, argues against the establishment of safe havens in Syria because:

Safe havens can also prolong rather than end the violence, creating a de facto partition and potentially increasing the prospects of the division or collapse of the state. A safe haven can also be a catalyst for mission creep, an enticement for further military intervention by the US and others, and facilitate an increase in the presence of foreign fighters, including terrorists.

His alternative is to have Washington

open an urgent new diplomatic front with Russia and Iran, the two countries which retain the most leverage with Assad.

These are valid points of course. The problem is that history is equally informative about the results of diplomatic engagement with Iran and Russia. It, too, can prolong conflicts and/or lead to the fragmentation of countries.

The reality is quite simple: you want to prevent the fragmentation of Syria, you have to intervene in Syria: it will be messy and thankless mission, but it’s far better than the much more messy and thankless alternative.

Video Highlight’s

Pro-Assad militias stormed the neighborhood of Qaboun and executed people in their homes http://youtu.be/2M9lHu0zSgE , http://youtu.be/aa81gnKEy_I The neighborhood and its shops were ransacked http://youtu.be/AoMky2fLhqY

The pounding of the neighborhood and other restive neighborhoods in Damascus City continues: Qaboun http://youtu.be/w-luEShen8A Al-Qadam http://youtu.be/wWXLJZNccq4 Al-Hajar Al-Aswad http://youtu.be/JQ8zpi53j2U And choppers did their part http://youtu.be/4xoeQbNWv64

In Kinsafrah, Jabal Al-Zawiyeh Region, Idlib Province: the dead we see her are the pro-Assad troops killed shortly following their capture http://youtu.be/SE2UNat8yxM during the liberation of the village http://youtu.be/bLcWGkmZeUo Assad had pulled most of his troops from the region to send to Aleppo, allowing the region to fall under the control of rebels http://youtu.be/z_MEYxTIhKI  This is the leader of the local FSA unit explaining what happened http://youtu.be/gMGl7sd0fd0

Battles continue to rage in Aleppo City: Sakhour http://youtu.be/scoOY1UxuaY Children keep paying the price http://youtu.be/yH8NeLnINfQ smoke rises over the City as the sounds of battle continue http://youtu.be/n7phXie5Np8 , http://youtu.be/YTGdp4DUduM Helicopter gunships take part in the battles http://youtu.be/2c9QHqgCQ-Y , http://youtu.be/v3lv6GW3Cy0 , http://youtu.be/O8Z87nlXYHg Impact of pounding is all too visible in Salaheddine http://youtu.be/DQURLE7l_hc Zibdiyeh http://youtu.be/1WJm-faJtWs Kallasseh’s police station http://youtu.be/7UvRjYAgQf8 , http://youtu.be/haVG3KsFucc

The pounding of Old Homs continues: Abou Zar Mosque is hit http://youtu.be/IwabAbNj4zA In Jouret Al-Shayah, tanks pound buildings into the ground http://youtu.be/rDR1cH6AIQY And mortar rounds keep falling indiscriminately http://youtu.be/3bJByKt0I7I , http://youtu.be/zh9oDT3d1qw

The pounding of Talbisseh, Homs Province, continues http://youtu.be/4VCuQtbrCy8 , http://youtu.be/gFqWTj5hCec MIGs take part in the pounding of the town http://youtu.be/isUgAffyAB4 The explosions resulting from MIG action are spectacular http://youtu.be/w0DGygZmPxs , http://youtu.be/RIbjceF_-Go , http://youtu.be/IgOfV7e6X1k

In Lattakia, the pounding of Sunni-majority villages in Jabal Al-Akrad continues http://youtu.be/cwE2gFjFSrQ , http://youtu.be/Pg3HveppeJs