Monday, April 22, 2013

Humpty Dumpty Has Fallen!

As world leaders continue to obsess over guarantees that no one is in a position to provide, Assad and his militias continue their slaughter, and the country continues to fall apart. We have passed the point of no return. The old is dead, and the new is stillborn. Syria is no more. This is the dawn of the age of warring fiefdoms. Who will rake in the spoils of their wars, I wonder? Who will benefit from our suffering? It will be a pity if it went to waste.

Monday April 22, 2013

Death Toll: 566 martyrs, including tens of women and children: 483 martyrs were reported in Damascus and its Suburbs most were killed in Jdeidet Al-Fadl Massacre; 23 in Aleppo; 21 in Idlib, including 14 in Maghara village; 15 in Homs; 12 in Daraa; 7 in Deir Ezzor; and 5 in Hama (LCC).

Slaughter Reported Near Damascus Shamel al-Jolani, an activist who lives nearby, said area residents were able to document the names of 80 people who had been killed. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a British-based group that tracks the conflict through a network of contacts in Syria, said the victims included 71 men, 3 children and 6 women. It said 19 of the men were rebel fighters. Residents said the death toll was much higher — and the Observatory said the total could reach 250 — but that it was difficult to identify and count the victims because the fighting was continuing and because many of the bodies had been disfigured. “They’re just scattered limbs and charred bodies that are completely unrecognizable,” Mr. Jolani said in an interview conducted over Skype.
Syrian activist group: Record number of dead found The bodies of at least 566 people who were killed over a six-day period across Syria were found Sunday, according to Local Coordination Committees in Syria, an opposition group based in the country. That is the highest number of victims discovered in a single day since the war began in March 2011, according to LCC spokeswoman Rafif Jouejati. At least 450 bodies were found in the Damascus suburb of Jadidat al-Fadel, LCC activist Abu Aasy said. Over the past six days, some 3,000 members of the security forces stormed the area, and the dead include at least 300 civilians and 150 members of the Free Syrian Army, he said.
Syria aid package falls short of opposition demands for arms The U.S. is doubling its non-lethal aid to opposition forces in Syria to $250 million, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry announced Sunday, falling short of opposition demands for military aid. At the Friends of Syria meeting in Istanbul late Saturday, the Syrian National Coalition called on international backers to carry out "surgical strikes" on positions used by President Bashar Assad's regime to fire missiles on civilians. While this latest U.S. aid package will not include arms, Kerry said Sunday that the rebels' foreign backers were committed to continuing support to them and "there would have to be further announcements about the kind of support that that might be in the days ahead" if Syrian government forces failed to pursue a peaceful solution to the crisis. Kerry also said that foreign backers have agreed to channel all future assistance through the rebels' Supreme Military Council.
New Aid To Syria Comes With Fear Of Funding The Wrong Opposition Western governments are still investigating claims of chemical weapons use, but the Syrian opposition arrived at the meeting seeking interventions to neutralize Syria's chemical weapons and ballistic missile capabilities. They also want a no-fly zone, and a lot more weapons. But many among the opposition's backers are wary of shipping arms to the fractious Syrian rebels, for fear that they'll end up in the hands of Islamist units like the al-Nusra front, that recently announced an alliance with al-Qaida.
Syria fighting flares both sides of Lebanese border Syrian troops and Lebanese Shi'ite militias attacked rebel-held areas on the two countries' border on Sunday, in the heaviest clashes of Syria's civil war in the strategic region, Lebanese and Syrian sources said. At least two towns held by Sunni Islamist rebels in the al-Qusair region near the Orontes River were overrun after sectarian clashes escalated early last week, threatening to bring in Iranian-backed Hezbollah openly into the battle, the sources said. On Saturday, in the first attack well inside Lebanese territory, rockets hit the town of Hermel, a Hezbollah stronghold in the Bekaa Valley, causing damage but no casualties. A Hezbollah fighter was killed in the Shi'ite border town of Zita, inside Syria, residents said. Six rebels were killed in clashes in the Syrian city of Qusair on Sunday and one woman was killed in Syrian air strikes in the region, opposition campaigners said.
Germany will ‘respect’ Syria embargo changes Speaking in Istanbul after a “Friends of Syria” meeting Saturday, Westerwelle said the embargo would be discussed when EU foreign ministers meet in Luxembourg Monday. “If there are one or two countries in the European Union who think there is no risk that arms will fall into the wrong hands,” then Germany “will have to respect that,” Westerwelle said.
Syrians held over violence in Jordanian refugee camp Eight Syrians have been arrested on suspicion of inciting violence at a refugee camp in Jordan, officials say. The arrests come after an incident on Friday in which some 100 camp residents threw stones at police who would not allow them to leave the camp. Ten police officers were injured - one so badly he had to undergo surgery, said a government spokesman. UN officials have warned the flood of refugees fleeing Syria threatens to overwhelm those providing assistance.
'Jordan opens skies for IAF drones flying to Syria' 'Le Figaro' quotes Western military source as saying armed Israeli drones conducting surveillance in Syria by way of Jordan.

Investigative Reports
In Syria, kidnappings on the rise as lawlessness spreads “People are taken just for the money to release them,” said the director of the Britain-based watchdog Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, who uses the alias Rami Abdulrahman. Kidnapping was relatively unknown in Syria before the uprising began. The first reported abductions in the conflict occurred in summer 2011 and involved Sunnis, many of whom support the opposition, and Alawites, who mostly support the government. In many cases, there were tit-for-tat kidnappings in which one group took a set of hostages to negotiate the release of others, activists and monitoring groups say.
THE RIVER MARTYRS: Day by day, a city at war with the regime collects its dead. In recent months, the jetsam has included bodies. At the end of January, a hundred and ten murdered men and boys were fished out and laid on a concrete bank, their hands bound behind their backs, their skulls broken by bullets. The killings became known as the River Massacre. Those whom no one recognized, or who were unrecognizable, were taken to Cobblers’ Garden. Since then, the graveyard has steadily grown. Recently, while I was there, a small pickup arrived with the two-hundred-and-thirty-fourth victim from the river, the ninety-fourth delivered to the park.
Kurdish women warriors battle in Syria “Women can shoot machine guns, Kalashnikovs and even tanks – just as well as men,” said Engizek, 28, wearing trousers and a sleeveless jacket, her dark hair bound tightly behind her head. “Women are an integral part of our rebellion,” she told AFP in a deserted alleyway squashed between bullet-riddled and blasted buildings amid the sporadic crackle of sniper fire. Fighters like Engizek – whose Committees for the Protection of the Kurdish People (YPG) brigade is 20 percent women – are the hidden face of Syria’s armed rebellion against the regime of Bashar Assad.
Syrian activist communities, the battle inside The third kind of activist is still true to the peaceful aims of the original protest and still active. Although they are the fewest, they are the most vulnerable to brutal arrests, executions and torture, given that they are considered the most dangerous by the regime.

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

Some of the dead in the latest and largest massacre so far: the massacre at Jdeidet Al-Fadl, Damascus. The clips that have emerged so far are few , , This leaked video was reportedly made by a member of the pro-Assad militias who perpetrated the massacre. We can hear someone in the background addressing the bodies of the dead rebels saying “You’re going to see the Houris (maidens promised to martyrs in Paradise), you sons of bitches?”

An aerial raid on the suburb of Moadamiyah, Damascus. We can clearly see the bombs as they hit their targets in the first clip , , , Nearby Daraya continues to be pounded as well ,

The vicious pounding of rebel strongholds in the eastern parts of Damascus City and Suburbs continue: Zamalka , Jobar

Leaked video from the town of Maarabah, near Damascus shows pro-Assad militias torturing two captives to death, including setting the head of one of them on fire while he is still alive, then outing out the fire, and continuing the torture  

Rebels in the neighborhood of Sheikh Maqsoud, Aleppo City, renovate a church that was hit during the regime bombing campaign

In Khaldiyeh, Aleppo, rebels use the few tanks under their command to pound loyalist positions , Some of the shells used Preparing the automatic machineguns

Rebels use homemade rockets in pounding Kuweiris Military Airport, Aleppo