Sunday, April 21, 2013

Guarantees!

Our friends want guarantees, our enemies want guarantees, our people want guarantees, because everybody is afraid of something, everybody has something to lose. Well, the rebels have nothing left to lose, and as such they cannot offer guarantees. They have to be given something first. Shall we say: greater logistical support and a no-fly zone so they can actually control the territories that they liberate? Once that happens, rebels will have something that they are afraid of losing, meaning that they could now venture into the business of providing guarantees.

Saturday April 20, 2013

Death Toll: 82 martyrs, including 2 women and 8 children: 28 in Damascus and Suburbs; 17 in Aleppo; 13 in Homs; 10 in Deir Ezzor; 8 in Hama; 4 in Daraa; 1 in Idlib; and 1 in Raqqa (LCC).

News
Heavy clashes in Syria near Lebanese border The clashes around the contested town of Qusair, close to the Syria-Lebanon boundary, had intensified over the past two weeks amid a fresh offensive by the Syrian army and a pro-government militia known as Popular Committees, backed by the Lebanese militant Hezbollah group. The border region near the provincial capital of Homs is strategic because it links Damascus with the coastal enclave that is the heartland of Syria's Alawites, a sect from which Assad hails, and is also home to the country's two main seaports, Latakia and Tartus.
Syria opposition voices frustration with international backers One senior opposition figure said arms were already being sent from some countries but acknowledging this at the meeting would provide cover for countries like Saudi Arabia and Qatar to openly help the rebels. "The world must know if they don't agree on our right to receive weapons this will be the last meeting the opposition attend. We will not attend any meetings after this," he told Reuters.
Kerry Says U.S. Will Double Aid to Rebels in Syria Mr. Kerry made the announcement at a meeting with foreign ministers from 10 European and Middle Eastern nations that was convened here to decide how to help the opposition in the bitter civil war in Syria, which has killed more than 70,000 people. A portion of the new American aid, the State Department said, will help provide additional “nonlethal” supplies to the military wing of the National Coalition of Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, an umbrella organization formed in November to unite the various rebel groups that have been trying to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad for two years.
Syria opposition must distance itself from "terrorists:" Germany "We expect from the opposition that they clearly distance themselves in Syria from terrorist and extremist forces," Westerwelle told reporters in Istanbul at a meeting of Syrian opposition leaders and their international backers. "We are skeptical as the German government when it comes to delivering weapons because we are concerned that weapons could fall into the wrong, namely extremist, hands, but it is a matter that must now be discussed in the European Union."
Friends of Syria call on Damascus for a solution based on Geneva communiqué U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told reporters during a press conference that Syria’s main opposition National Coalition (SNC) had issued a declaration that focused on a political solution ‘in parallel’ of the communiqué signed June 30, 2012 under the chairmanship of former U.N.-Arab League special envoy to Syria, Kofi Annan. The only way for the Damascus regime is to come to the table and agree the international agreement, Kerry said.  Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu also echoed the words of his American counterpart. “We are calling for an immediate solution based on Geneva communiqué,” Davutoğlu said. SNC’s declaration announced April 21 firmly rejected "all forms of terrorism’" and vowed that weapons it attains would not fall into the wrong hands, as a move to appease Western countries’ worries over the gaining influence of al-Qaeda affiliated al-Nusra Front. The coalition added that it would not allow acts of revenge against any group in Syria, vowing protection of different ethnicities and confessions of the country. Kerry also insisted that the declaration was foreseeing a “plural” Syria.  Meanwhile, the group also agreed that future aid would be channeled through the rebels' supreme military command as General Idris, Chief of Staff of the rebel forces, also briefed the foreign ministers during the meetings.
FBI: Aurora man wanted to join al-Qaida in Syria Abdella Ahmad Tounisi, 18, appeared in U.S. District Court after being arrested Friday at O'Hare International Airport as he was to get on an airplane to Istanbul, Turkey, FBI officials said in a press release. Tounisi, a U.S. citizen, was charged with knowingly attempting to provide material support and resources, namely personnel, to a foreign terrorist organization, a felony.

Special Reports
Rebels battle with tribesmen over oil in Syria's east One dispute over a stolen oil truck in the town of Masrib in the province of Deir al-Zor, which borders Iraq, set off a battle between tribesmen and fighters from the Nusra Front, an al-Qaeda linked rebel group, which left 37 killed, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. The fighting, which started in late March and lasted 10 days, was part of a new pattern of conflict between tribal groups and the Nusra Front, said a report from the Observatory, a British-based group which opposes Syria's government and draws information from a network of activists in the country.
Damascus: The changing face of Syria's capital President Assad was on TV this week. He denied there was any such thing as a liberated area controlled by the rebels in Syria, but the fact is that the only contact the President's men have with large parts of the country is through the sights of a weapons system. That even applies to districts of Damascus. The regime controls the core of the city. But much of the sprawling, impoverished ring of suburbs around it is in the hands of the rebels. That is why all day, and sometimes all night, there is the crump of artillery fire from the Syrian army's positions directed into the concrete jungles on the edge of town. The bangs are not constant. But they are regular and steady and sometimes intense.

My new paper, prepared for a briefing in Washington, D.C. that took place on January 15, 2013, is now out and is titled “Syria 2013: Rise of the Warlords.” It should be read in conjunction with my previous briefing “The Shredded Tapestry,” and my recent essay “The Creation of an Unbridgeable Divide.

Video Highlights

The pounding of rebel strongholds in and around Damascus City continues: Zamalka http://youtu.be/eFq8BmZlDfY , http://youtu.be/hpAxlHiwqLw , http://youtu.be/UlKxhl5Pz7o Daraya http://youtu.be/yjf8bc5lhmM , http://youtu.be/2hSX-fPkh0M , http://youtu.be/7TFdWchxEyU Nearby Moadamiyah was also targeted http://youtu.be/oVhVS3yvuCk , http://youtu.be/PtKAnQ2_1iA Buildings catch fire in Al-Qaboun neighborhood due to continues shelling by mortars http://youtu.be/-G4T6GkrKVY Barzeh http://youtu.be/T2i-0tDamDE

This leaked video shows a fighter jet attacking the Alawite village of Al-Sifsafiyeh, we can hear someone in the background near the end of the clip saying “He’s bombing us, he is a defector, son of a dog.” However, the clip, even though, it was recently uploaded on this count, and is gaining new rounds on social media sites, is actually old, and the incident was actually a pilot error http://youtu.be/XdbwD7GVGiw

Home-made device used by rebels in their siege of the Kuweiris Airport in Aleppo http://youtu.be/I5XDmmphLek

Rebels in Deir Ezzor City destroy an army tank http://youtu.be/214zsqjb75Y