The Assad regime finally responded to opposition leader Moaz Alkhatib’s offer for talks. The response was somewhat “positive,” and with it, the game is now afoot. Opposition members had better take a crash course in negotiation skills. Lucky for them, someone had already prepared a handbook on political negotiations for dummies and the ideologically impaired. Meanwhile, rebels continue their advances in hotspots throughout the country. Now, we can be engaged on both fronts: the military and the political, until something gives, the state collapses, or both.
Ali Haidar, head of the newly established Ministry of National Reconciliation is not the right caliber person for opposition leader Moaz Alkhatib to meet. But Alkhatib can delegate someone to go meet with the Minister on his behalf. That person should be tasked with reiterating opposition demand for the resignation of Bashar Al-Assad and assuring that a provisional government formed by the Coalition will be representative of all communities and regions in Syria and that it will set itself immediately to the task of preparing for presidential and parliamentary elections. No further details should be brought out at this early stage. But it would be interesting as well to have the Coalition representative ask Minister Haidar to offer his ideas as to what exactly is meant by national reconciliation as far as the Syrian regime is concerned: are they talking about national reconciliation between sects, regions or political parties? It will be interesting to see to what extant Syrian officials still want to cloak communal and regional dynamics in the garb of political ideologies?
As for place of the proposed meeting, Haidar opted for Geneva, but Alkhatib had earlier in the day offered areas in the liberated north as an alternative. I think Alkhatib should stick to his position. Meeting on Syrian soil to discuss Syrian affairs makes far more sense, and since the meeting will take place under the auspices of the UN, both sides should feel safe.
Rebels claim to have recently killed the number 2 man in the 4th Division, Gen. Said Zarifah, in an operation that official sources in Syria has not recognized. The number one man in the Division is Bashar Al-Assad’s brother, Maher Al-Assad, himself rumored to have been injured in a previous attack http://youtu.be/u9puWfyO0R8
Scenes from the explosion in Bab Al-Hawa border crossing with Turkey http://youtu.be/07zfRVVQz0U , http://youtu.be/X8TimI-qqOE While some pro-regime sites claimed that the explosion was a security operation carried out by regime infiltrators, Turkish authorities remain unsure as to what exactly took place, with speculating that this could have been an accident. Members of the Syria National Council and the Syrian Opposition Coalition claimed that an opposition convoy was supposed to go through the crossing around the same time the explosion took place. Around 20 people were reportedly killed, and many wounded, including Turkish border police.
Scenes from the battle for the liberation of Al-Jarrah Military Airport (the tank in this video belong to the rebels) http://youtu.be/k95wUZjhHNs , http://youtu.be/z_68UITZiEY , http://youtu.be/nfZxqHtX4Lo
A delegation representing the Jordanian Baath Party meets with Bashar Al-Assad and declare their solidarity and loyalty http://youtu.be/KEzhd81Epfg
Rebels in Tabqa, Raqqa Province, take control of a security branch in the city, as they consolidate their hold over the city and the nearby dam http://youtu.be/Nnnj3Xjl_mQ , http://youtu.be/V8Lrnpv8trg A tour of the liberated headquarters http://youtu.be/pINm-09_VFM Rebels allow regime forces to withdraw from the building and escort them to the town’s outskirts http://youtu.be/zUZv8amXwoY Detainees are freed and go on celebrating their freedom http://youtu.be/ROqF5Y-WvRM Destroying a statue of Hafiz Al-Assad http://youtu.be/iExHn1YASLk Setting the statue on fire http://youtu.be/3KAFIIrJ1sA Rebels take us on a tour of the Tabqa Dam http://youtu.be/osNEZrAQk2Y
Rebels in Damascus storm a security headquarters in the town of Adra and imprison some pro-Assad officers http://youtu.be/bhsVuVQbTSk Meanwhile, clashes in the towns and suburbs of Eastern Ghoutah intensify Douma http://youtu.be/i2vQMoyzNdg MiGs take part in the pounding http://youtu.be/4-RypR4igmo putting out fires http://youtu.be/krlhcgY23h0 , http://youtu.be/qeTzTY37enc MiGs pound Saqba as well http://youtu.be/gjPY-n-pNWQ
Tot the West, the regime continues its pounding of the town of Moadamiyah http://youtu.be/h8W8vXUXnlk
In Daraa City, rebels take over the Harsh barracks http://youtu.be/ABfyTqlSk6k , http://youtu.be/ySdFdY1Vtdc Meanwhile, clashes continue in the nearby town of Al-Harrah http://youtu.be/TY5kfvrqE1M , http://youtu.be/3SvT-vEC6k8 , http://youtu.be/FXhX_Gl6NJk