Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Fahrenheit 40!

Fahrenheit 40 – the temperature at which skin freezes and children die, the temperature which some Syrian refugees will have to endure sheltered only by open skies and Heaven’s grace, as world leaders keep giving them cold shoulders, and hearts. Fahrenheit 40 – the temperature at which humanity loses all meaning, and neither God nor mammon seems to give a damn.

Monday January 14, 2013

Today’s Death Toll: 151, including 21 children and 12 women: 74 martyrs in Damascus and suburbs including 30 in Moaddamiya, 31 in Aleppo, 15 in Daraa, 9 in Homs, 8 in Hama, 7 in Deir Ezzor, 5 in Idlib and 2 in Raqqa  (LCCs).

Points of Random Shelling: 329: including 24 by war planes, 8 by cluster bombs, 2 by vacuum bombs and 2 by explosive barrels. Artillery shelling hit 127 locations, mortar hit 103 and rocket shelling hit 63 locations allover Syria (LCCs).

Clashes: FSA rebels clashed with regime army in 126 locations. In Deir Ezzor, FSA shelled the military airport with mortars; in Aleppo, Hanano Barrack was targeted; in Daraa, FSA captured some soldiers and officers in Basr Alharir, and in Damascus suburbs the FSA liberated the meteorological center located in east of the town in the Widyan Al-Rabie area and arrested a number of soldiers. The center was being used as headquarters for pro-regime militias (LCCs).

Syria refugees say rape is a key reason they fled, report says Rape is one of the primary reasons that Syrian refugees say they fled their country, “a significant and disturbing feature” of the war raging between rebels and Syrian government forces, the International Rescue Committee said Monday. In a new report based on hundreds of interviews in Jordan and Lebanon, the assistance group said refugees recounted Syrian women and girls being gang-raped in front of their families or assaulted by armed men in public. Others were kidnapped, violated, tortured and killed, the refugee aid group was told.
Syria Launches Deadly Airstrikes in Damascus Suburbs The government has mounted attacks for days to push rebels out of Daraya and neighboring Moadamiyeh, trying to increase the buffer zone around the nearby presidential palace and the neighborhood of Kafr Souseh, where some key security offices are.
Syria: Airstrike on Market Kills and Injures Scores The attack in Azaz, a city near the border with Turkey, was particularly devastating. It followed earlier airstrikes that hit health facilities in the city, making it almost impossible for local medical staff to cope with the scale of the latest emergency. The injured were transported to medical facilities elsewhere in the region, including to an MSF field hospital in the Aleppo area.
Syria rebels seize 'game-changing' arms cache Abu Hasan, a commander of Jabhat-al-Nusra, a group taking part in the capture of the base, told Al Jazeera that the weapons fighters seized will be a "game-changer" for the rebels. "These weapons will benefit us a lot in our work on the ground," he said. "And by God's will, we will capture more places like that one. They will have great importance on the battlefield."
Syria: Army Using New Type of Cluster Munition Evidence indicates that Syrian forces used BM-21 Grad multi-barrel rocket launchers to deliver cluster munitions in attacks near the city of Idlib in December 2012 and in Latamneh, a town northwest of Hama, on January 3, 2013. These are the first known instances of Syrian use of ground-based cluster munitions.
Azeris Say Armenians Fleeing Syria Resettled in Separatist Area About 6,000 Syrians have sought refuge in Armenia, the New York Times reported last month, adding that an estimated 80,000 of Syria’s 120,000 Armenians live in Aleppo, where rebels have been battling government forces after pushing into the commercial hub in July.

Special Reports
Some six months after Syria's rebels tried to storm the country's largest city, they can claim the eastern part of Aleppo and perhaps 60 percent overall. In the west, the government army has the remaining 40 percent of the city.
Ibrahim's plight is indicative of the growing anarchy gripping Syria's liberated areas. In a country where the rule of law is vanishing as the state increasingly recedes, every fighter is policeman and prosecutor. Some have embraced their newfound powers judiciously. Most, however, have abused it. This exploitation of the war has reduced support for nationalist FSA units. Instead, Syrians are increasingly backing Islamists who largely eschew the material spoils of war.
Fifty-seven countries on Monday urged the UN Security Council to ask the International Criminal Court at The Hague to investigate possible war crimes in Syria. The call comes as other groups report a spike in sexual violence in Syria.
Six months ago the city of Maarat al-Nu'man was still functioning. Today it's rubble. It's a process that has played out over and over across Syria.
As winter clutches northern Syria, thousands displaced by the civil war take cold comfort in a temporary tent city.
By learning the positions of IRGC personnel operating in Syria, however, we can draw at least three important conclusions: first, the IRGC is deploying active duty combat commanders to Syria; second, the Quds Force is drawing from IRGC-GF personnel, indicating that they seek to draw on the Ground Forces’ training and experience conducting internal security and conventional or counter-insurgent operations; finally, several of the IRGC-GF personnel deployed to Syria hail from provincial units that face tribal and ethnic unrest (East Azerbaijan, Khouzestan, and Fars), further indicating that the Quds Force has tapped specific elements of the IRGC-GF for their unique experience in combating internal uprisings.
For the rebels, the airbase capture indicates that major regime positions in the provinces are vulnerable. But it also suggests that better-defended areas -- such as Damascus and environs, where regime forces are relatively dense and well supported -- will remain a serious challenge. In addition, the battle raises questions about the regime's strategy of maintaining some military presence, in every province. Although this approach allows Assad to maintain the image that he has not lost any province, it is costing the regime a good deal of personnel and equipment while providing the rebels with better arms and ammunition. Currently, several other northern airfields are under attack; if the rebels can overcome their organizational limitations and capture those bases as well, it would be a still greater, even strategic, defeat for the regime.
Syria's sectarian civil war has upended the political equation across the region, from Baghdad to Lebanon.

Video Highlights

Leaked video: pro-Assad militias torture a captive by dragging his body around the streets of his neighborhood. At minute 4.44, the man asks: “For the sake of God, just let me say goodbye to my children.” The answer: “Would you let me fuck your wife? If you let me fuck your wife, I’ll let you see your children.” The man says: “My wife is my soul and the crown on my head.” The man gets struck a few more times for his trouble, the video ends with the men deciding to consult their colonel as to what to do next. We do not see the execution, but local activists report that the man was indeed executed.  http://youtu.be/_KI_t3IpmU0

Treating the wounded women and children of Kfarzeiteh, Hama http://youtu.be/xV72vJXOQFM , http://youtu.be/mkmb_F-74FQ

Locals in Mouadamiyah Suburb in Damascus sift through the rubble in search of victims in aftermath of an aerial raid that killed 30 locals http://youtu.be/0_Bgh5VmWCg , http://youtu.be/pAfi5QfLd3M Dead children http://youtu.be/gyHExsuXxKs , http://youtu.be/8tDjgH1Clfg

Meanwhile, to the East, the suburb of Saqba and other towns in Eastern Ghouta are also pounded http://youtu.be/rjTR74ZcurE

Locals sift through the rubble in Haydariyeh Neighborhood in Aleppo City, in search of victims in the aftermath of an aerial bombardment http://youtu.be/gh67U6Krro0 , http://youtu.be/0e2MwOMqNZU The raid http://youtu.be/Y_dKo75oVpY

Rebels might have liberated the Taftanaz military airbase, but the regime took out its revenge on the town of Taftanaz turning it to rubble http://youtu.be/9VDxO24W3Jg Still, rebels are now in a position of several helicopter gunships http://youtu.be/6lR_uxy2X98

The town of Talbisseh, Homs, is hit with incendiary cluster bombs from a passing warplane. Local activists confuse these bombs with phosphorous bombs http://youtu.be/wFs9mlIb6Og

In the town of Saida, Daraa, rebels stormed the headquarters of the pro-Assad militias after weeks of clashes, many were killed on both sides, but rebels managed to captures 20 officers in hope to setting up another prisoners swap. But, according to local activists, pro-regime militias went on a rampage arresting civilians from buses and threatening to kill the lot if rebels failed to free their comrades. Eventually, both sides released their captives. The headquarters set on fire http://youtu.be/wZT3BnsA_aA Some of the rebels killed during the attack http://youtu.be/qU9EdCaYGVM