Monday, January 14, 2013

Spring Cleaning!

Spring doesn't come very often in our region, but when it does, the accompanying cleaning process tends to be onerous, long and thorough. Taking out centuries-old trash in particular is a thankless job, but one that needs to be done. Sweeping things under our famous carpets and rugs is exactly what brought us to this point in time when drastic measures are needed. As we go about cleaning our ‘hoods, it doesn't help of course that bystanders keep littering rather than lending a hand. It’s simply not enough to come up with Universal Declaration of Human Rights to teach people manners, and about their mutual obligations. That requires a sense of common destiny we have yet to develop. For now, we are not one, although we are the same.

Sunday January 13, 2013

Today’s Death Toll: 141, including 17 children and 4 women. 51 martyrs were reported in Damascus and its suburbs, including 10 martyrs in Douma and 9 martyrs in Hazzeh. 34 martyrs were reported in Aleppo including 20 in Izaz, 16 in Deir Ezzor, 14 in Daraa, 8 in Homs, 5 in Idlib. One martyr was also reported in each of Lattakia and Hama (LCCs).

Points of Random Shelling: 374: 24 points using airstrike bombardments and 6 areas bombarded using cluster bombs. 2 points were bombarded using explosives barrels, one point using thermobaric bombs and one point using phosphorus bombs. 170 points recorded from artillery shelling, 134 points were recorded from mortar shelling, and 44 points were recorded from rocket shelling in various parts of Syria (LCCs).

Clashes: Free Syrian Army clashed with regime forces in 110 points during which a warplane was shot down in Taybat al-Imam in Hama and damaging another one near Kweiris Airport in Aleppo, after FSA had stormed into the airport and shelled it with local bombs (LCCs).

Clashes flare up in strategic Syria suburb Syria government tanks try to enter Dariya, which is also attacked by air. Rebels say a stalemate continues.
Syrian Warplanes Bomb Damascus Suburbs Syrian fighter jets bombed the Damascus suburbs Sunday, killing at least nine people, including a number of children, in a government offensive to dislodge rebels from strategic areas around the capital.
Russia rejects Assad exit as precondition for Syria deal U.S. insists the Syrian president must step down in order to end the civil war. Russia is Assad's main backer during 22-month-old crisis, blocking resolutions aimed to push him from power.
Russia tells Syria rebels: Seek dialog with Damascus "President Assad came out with initiatives aimed at inviting all opposition members to dialog. Yes, these initiatives probably do not go far enough. Probably they will not seem serious to some, but they are proposals," the Interfax news agency quoted Lavrov as saying. "If I were in the opposition's shoes, I would come up with my ideas in response on how to establish a dialog."
Senior Officer Defects As Battles Rage For Airports, Damascus Suburbs Jumaa Farraj Jassem, a section chief in Syria's General Intelligence Directorate, announced his defection and described Assad's regime as "criminal."
Report: Iran Spying on Israel from Syria Iran has been establishing intelligence stations in several parts of the Middle East, including the Golan Heights, U.S. report indicates.

Special Reports
That appears to be Assad’s strategy — to wreak enough havoc that the rebels can’t win, even if he can’t win, either, a scenario that threatens even greater bloodshed than has gone before, said Fred Hof, a former State Department official who was deeply involved in formulating Syria policy before he joined the Atlantic Council last year. “Basically what he’s saying is that the cost of removing me is the destruction of Syria,” Hof said — an outcome many Syrians increasingly fear is the most likely one of all.
After countless meetings and conferences in the Middle East and Europe, there is no clear international game plan.
Some experts suggest that Turkey has gone too far and acted too ambitiously during this crisis. For example David Gardner from the Financial Times claims that “Turkey...may have bitten more than it can chew”, an opinion shared by opposition political movements in Turkey. The AKP government has also been criticized because of Kurdish involvement in Syria, since Turkey’s political struggle against the Assad regime is claimed to be positive for Kurdish groups. Sinan Ülgen summarizes the Kurdish dimension of Syrian crisis by saying: “The fear in Turkey is of Syria’s disintegration into ethnically and religiously purer mini-states, with a Kurdish entity in the north, an Alawite entity in the west, and a Sunni entity in the rest. The Kurdish opposition’s recent unilateral power grab in northeastern Syria rekindled Turkish concerns about the emergence of an independent Kurdish entity linking the north of Iraq to the north of Syria”.

Syrian activists based in the United Arab Emirates report that they are being prevented from using services like Western Union to send funds to support refugees in Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon. This is happening despite the fact that no clear written instructions have been issued by Western Union and similar services, the move, it seems, came as a result of oral instructions from UAE police.  

Video Highlights

The aerial bombardment of restive towns in Eastern Ghoutah, Damascus, resumes: Saqba Jisreen , People run for cover , Scores were killed and injured in Douma Trying to rescue a child dying of exsanguination Many children were killed in Hizzeh

Meanwhile, the siege and pounding of the suburb of Daraya continue , ,

Leaked video (English subtitles): member of a pro-Assad militia executes a captive while talking to his Mom on the phone so she could listen in. Mama’s boys come in all different shapes I guess

But this video shows how one young Syrian is using empty shell casings to create functional art

The town of Deir Sanbil, Idlib, comes under heavy aerial bombardment People run for cover Many children were killed

Rebels storm the military airport in Deir Ezzor , Meanwhile, aerial bombardments against Deir Ezzor City continues