Saturday, April 13, 2013

United in Suffering, Divided in Purpose!

With more and more Kurdish-majority areas about to become fully embroiled in the conflict, the fragmentation and destruction of Syria is getting near total, with only few towns in the south and along the coast still spared, for now. But at least more and more of us are now united in suffering. This is probably the only thing that could unite us at this stage. Will a history of joint suffering be sufficient for the formation of a new sense of identity, even as our purposes clash? It remains to be seen.

Friday April 12, 2013This Friday’s Slogan: “Syria is Stronger than Those Who Divide It”

Death Toll: 119 martyrs, including 6 women, 5 children and 10 martyrs under torture: 47 in Damascus and suburbs; 21 in Aleppo; 16 in Homs; 12 in Daraa; 9 in Raqqa; 9 in Hama; and 5 in Idlib (LCC).

News
West claims ‘hard evidence’ of Syria chemical weapons “There are several examples where we are quite sure that shells with chemicals have been used in a very sporadic way,” added the diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity and without giving details of the evidence. A diplomat from a U.N. Security Council nation also said that “quite convincing” evidence had been sent to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to back accusations against Assad’s forces.
Syrian Rebels Break With Group Over Qaeda Wing Alliance “The relentless pursuit of power should not be one of our goals,” said a statement by the coalition, the Syrian Islamic Liberation Front, referring to the alliance between Syria’s Nusra Front and the Qaeda branch. “This is not the right time to declare states, or to unify a state with another state.” Expressing “surprise and dismay” at the development, the coalition statement said, “We don’t need imported charters or a new understanding of the nation’s religion.” And in a further criticism of Nusra’s loyalty to outsiders, the statement said, “We won’t be doing our population, and our nation, any service if we pledge our allegiance to those who don’t know a thing about our reality.”
Syrian Troops Battle Rebels near Lebanon Border The province of Homs and its capital of the same name were the scenes of some of the heaviest fighting during the first year of Syrian conflict. The violence has escalated there in recent weeks, with Syrian war planes hitting the city daily. On Friday, troops clashed with rebels on the edges of the province along the Lebanese border. The border area is strategically important to both sides fighting in Syria‘s civil war and battles there have been frequent in past weeks, particularly in and around the town of Qusair in Homs province. The area is considered vital to the Syrian regime because of its location along a road linking Damascus with the city of Homs, a strategic supply route for the military. The rebels also have been using the road to transport supplies and weapons from Sunni supporters in Lebanon.

Special Reports
Syrian rebel courts restore order to life in Aleppo Marriages, inheritances, commercial contracts ... they are now all passing through courts manned by lawyers and judges who have abandoned the regime of President Bashar Assad and joined the rebellion against it. There are some 20 rebel brigades operating in Aleppo, and the court is run by the most important among them: two jihadi groups – the Al-Qaeda-linked Nusra Front and the Salafist Ahrar al-Sham – and Liwa al-Tawhid, which is linked to the broad-based opposition National Coalition. And while the commanders of these groups are primarily concerned with waging war against Assad’s troops, their presence is also felt behind the lines.
Syria: Proxy war heats up as endgame inches closer Over the past few months the Americans - without being obliged to announce any policy changes involving military commitments - have apparently tipped the wink to their regional allies, mainly Qatar, Turkey and Saudi Arabia, to step up the quantity and quality of arms supplies to the rebels. At the same time, the Americans are reported to be involved in helping train supposedly moderate Free Syrian Army (FSA) elements in Jordan and sending them across the border into southern Syria, where the rebels, enjoying better anti-air and anti-armour weapons than before, have begun to make gains that are being compared to their advances in the far north. With western support being made contingent on loyalty to the FSA and the opposition National Coalition, this has clearly put pressure on the Nusra Front and other jihadi groups.
The Revolution is Being Televised The story of six Syrian activists who risk their lives to capture the horrific daily realities of the conflict.

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

Rebels in the neighborhood of Sheikh Maqsoud, Aleppo city, take a little dance break in between clashes, literally http://youtu.be/G27tjzVLynM

In the town of Talbisseh, Homs Province, rebels storm the little village of Um Sharshouh, a loyualsit strongholds http://youtu.be/fwwD7lHOXSI the storing comes after days of siege and pounding by rebel forces http://youtu.be/G7Om3RAIdQQ

As tensions in the town of Qamishly mount, after its designation as an official governorate by the Assad regime, rebels head there to liberate it http://youtu.be/TauEtu-bOxU It is not yet clear how Kurdish members of the local defense committees (YPGs) will react to this. But the YPGs and Islamist rebels have been working together in Aleppo City for the last couple of weeks. As such, Kurdish and Islamist rebels could be working together here, at least for now. The initial target for the rebels is the military base at Tourtob, and the Qamishly Airport. Indeed, the pounding of the airport with home-made rockets began http://youtu.be/AmOfOnq_9yc , http://youtu.be/RLe8S9ywiyM Loyalist troops hit back and the outskirts of the city of Qamishly get hit http://youtu.be/SfSULmKSLRc Helicopters begin surveying the scene http://youtu.be/dzzD9TsE-A4

Scenes from the clashes in Jobar Neighborhood, Damascus City http://youtu.be/3GXcZTJHM_w , http://youtu.be/YjhGv1q6FZQ The nearby Zablatani neighborhood gets pounded http://youtu.be/2nyhbZs3jgU Meanwhile, fighter jets keep pounding rebel strongholds in the southern parts of the city http://youtu.be/O_K5TmHQdis

An ambush by Islamist rebels in Damascus Suburbs against loyalist militiamen http://youtu.be/E8G0iA51wC4