The Damage to Assad’s Security; Death Rate Soars; Fighting in Damascus; Border Crossings Taken

Landis on C-SPAN at Woodrow Wilson Institute talking about Syria and the Revolution: Joshua Landis spoke about political unrest and violence in Syria, as well as strategies to …

Video of the Syrian Army troops after their “victory in Midan” with proclamations that their moral is high, The Midan is a downtown Damascus neighborhood that FSA had taken under its control on Thursday. Government troops now claim that they have The soldiers we made this video seem to all be Alawites based on their accents. Those that speak all pronounce the “qaff” in the manner of the coast. They stick out in the Midan, the heart of Sunni middle-class and religiously conservative, old Damascus. Older Damascenes used to speak of the Alawites who came to Damascus with the Baathist takeover in the 1960s as “muwaffidiin” or alien interlopers. Today, they undoubtedly seem more alien than ever.

Claiming victory in Midan, Syrian state television declared: “Our brave army forces have completely cleaned the area of Midan in Damascus of the remaining mercenary terrorists and have re-established security.” Rebels said they had staged a “tactical withdrawal” from Midan to avert civilian casualties.

On Thursday, helicopters blasted the northern Damascus suburb of Qaboun with rockets, while the armed forces warned residents of a wide area of the southern part of the capital to evacuate ahead of an assault. Thousands of people fled to neighboring Lebanon.

The number of dead in fighting across the land on Thursday was reported to have risen above 300 – the largest number dead in a day since the uprising began. Of the dead, 98 were soldiers, 139 civilians and 65 rebels, rebels said.

Observer writes:  “My family that just left Damascus tell me that the sound of explosions was continuous day and night and that whole units defected.”

Fadi Writes: I’m in Aleppo now. Too many weird stories of liberated this and liberated that! All BS. Just drove around the city during and after the prayers. Some demos here in the usual places. Many shabbiha there too. Tanks entered and left Salaheddin neighborhood after armed clashes earlier today. Here is video of a demo in the square…. [Fadi writes later in the day] Distant sounds of explosions and firearms heard in central Aleppo now. Meanwhile, streets, shops, cafes are crowded!

On the assassination of four of Assad’s top security men, the last word must go to Peter Harling, of the International Crisis Group, who said:  “This is a regime of networks, not institutions.  They are all senior officials, but absolute power tends to be vested elsewhere,” he said.  “What counts is this symbolism of all of this.”

It is also a regime built on loyalty to the Assads and based on the family. Thus the death of Asef Shawkat, the brother-in-law is big. The number of Assads is not infinite and Asef was one of the smarter and more experienced members of the family.

National Security Chief Hisham Bakhtiardied from Wednesday’s bombing in Damascus. The attack, which killed the Defense Minister Daoud Rajha, Assad’s brother-in-law Deputy Defense Minister Assef Shawkat, and the head of Assad’s crisis team Hassan Turkomani, is being called the “turning point“. The New York Times writes: Washington Begins to Plan for Collapse of Syrian Government. Here are the profiles those killed in the blast.

News reports said the funerals of the three men were scheduled for Friday. Maher al-Assad, President Assad’s brother who commands the praetorian guard protecting the family, and Vice President Farouk al-Sharaa were said to have presided over a ceremony honoring them.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said it was “clear that Assad is losing control.” The bombing appears to be part of a coordinated assault referred to by opposition fighters as the “liberation of Damascus.”

Jordan’s King Abdullah said he expected the Syrian government to show “fortitude” following the attack, which was a “tremendous blow” to the regime, and expressed fears of a civil war.

CNN quoted the king saying:

This was a tremendous blow to the regime but again, Damascus has shown its resilience, so I think maybe we need to keep this in perspective. Although this is a blow, I’m sure the regime will continue to show fortitude at least in the near future.

If it breaks down, if civil order breaks down to the point of no return, it will take years to fix Syria. I have a feeling we’re seeing the signs of that. The only people that can bring us back from that brink is the president and the regime. This is the last chance they have.

Assad is in the coastal city of Latakia, opposition sources and a Western diplomat told Reuters. Assad has not made a public appearance since Wednesday’s attack.

Syria denies report of Assad’s readiness to renounce power, 2012-07-20

DAMASCUS, July 20 (Xinhua) — Syrian information ministry on Friday denied as “totally baseless” media reports which cited the Russian ambassador to France as saying that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is ready to leave office in a “civilized way.”

In a statement carried by the state media, the ministry said the interview of Russian Ambassador to France Alexander Orlov with the International Radio France has been altered, adding that Orlov did not make the remarks.

Assad Accepts Need for ‘Civilized’ Exit, Russian Envoy Says, 2012-07-20
By James Hertling

(Bloomberg) — Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has accepted the need for his eventual departure under the terms of an agreement struck in Geneva June 30, said Alexander Orlov, Russia’s ambassador to France.     “It will be hard for him to stay,” Orlov said today in a French-language interview with Radio France International. “He is accepting to go, but to go in a civilized manner.”

Syrian rebels seize all border posts with Iraq

…“After the Free Syrian Army took control of the post, they detained a Syrian army lieutenant colonel, cut off his arms and then “executed 22 Syrian soldiers in front of the eyes of Iraqi soldiers,” AFP cited Iraq’s Deputy Interior Minister Adnan al-Assadi as saying.”…

Rebels attacked Syrian forces Thursday along the nation’s porous border with Iraq, killing at least 21 soldiers and seizing control of all four major border posts, a senior Iraqi army official said. Additionally, rebels took control of two major crossings on the border with Turkey, Reuters reports. Syrian rebel spokesmen said they seized control of the customs and immigration buildings on the Syrian side of the northern Turkish frontier gate of Bab al-Hawa, as well as the Jarablus crossing.

[addendum] Iraq: Syrian rebels took only 1 border crossing, Associated Press

“Spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh on Friday refuted earlier reports that rebels had seized all four major border crossings between Syria and Iraq.”

Iraq has reportedly thrown up blast walls to seal its main border crossing with Syria while thousands of Syrians fled toward Lebanon.

Syria forces recapture key areas across the country from rebels – Reuters

Syrian Troops Clash with Armed Rebels in Qaboun District of Capital – 20 July 2012 – xinua

Syria’s state-media said government troops have inflicted hefty losses to armed groups in the Damascus neighbourhood of Qaboun on Thursday. Unspecified large number of armed men were killed in the military crackdown, said SANA news agency, adding that the armed men started to burn the bodies of foreign fighters, so their bodies would not be identified, xinua reported.

Meanwhile, pro-government media reports said the Syrian troops have completely regained control of the Midan neighbourhood, which has been a stage of armed conflict between government troops and armed rebels over the past four days. The capital’s clashes mark the death-match between the two sides, trying to eliminate one another once and for all. […]

DER SPIEGEL: According to the UNHCR Iraq has sent two planes to evacuate Iraqi citizens willing to leave Syria. In the past days 80 buses have already left Syria with Iraqui citizens. Also more than 30.000 Syrians have fled to neighboring Lebabnon within the last 48 hours.

‘It’s all about Iran!  Vitaly Churkin, Russia’s envoy to the UN claims that the UN veto on Syria is all about IRAN. Don’t be duped by US & UK, “the great humanitarians” – remember Iraq’

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Russia and China have vetoed the latest Western-backed draft resolution on Syria at the UN Security Council. RT exclusively talks to one of the men who raised his hand in that ‘NO’ vote – Moscow’s envoy to the United Nations, Vitaly Churkin.

CBS News: Clinton on Syria: U.S. has done all it can do

Hillary Clinton has said she plans to step down as secretary of state in January regardless of whether President Obama is reelected. She’s on an extended diplomatic farewell tour, and was met with protests Monday in Cairo. She also sat down with CBS …

US refuses to help Syrian rebels until after election
Barack Obama’s US government has warned its western allies and Syria’s opposition groups that it can do nothing to intervene in the country’s crisis until after November’s presidential election, The Daily Telegraph has learned.
By Peter Foster in Washington, 16 Jul 2012, Telegraph

Despite mounting fury from the Syrian rebels, who are seeking assistance for their efforts to overthrow the Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, the White House has refused all requests for heavy weapons and intelligence support.

Syrian lobby groups in Washington, who only a few weeks ago were expressing hope that the Obama administration might give a green light to the supply of anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles, said they had now been forced to “take a reality pill” by the US government.

The Telegraph understands that the Syrian Support Group (SSG), the political wing of the Free Syrian Army (FSA), recently presented American officials with a document requesting 1,000 RPG-29 anti-tank missiles, 500 SAM-7 rockets, 750 23mm machine guns as well as body armour and secure satellite phones. They also asked for $6m to pay rebel fighters as they battle the regime. All their requests were rejected.

“Basically the message is very clear; nothing is going to happen until after the election, in fact nothing will happen until after inauguration [Jan 2013]. And that is the same message coming from everyone, including the Turks and the Qataris,” said a Washington lobbyist for the group.

The Obama administration has also made clear to its allies that it will not intervene, a message that was carried to London last week by Tom Donilon, the White House National Security Adviser, who made a low-profile stop en route to Israel…..

What Americans would do for Syria – FP reviews recent polls to explain how most Americans don’t want much greater intervention in Syria.

A Syria writes:

My friend who just arrived back from Turkey, recounted to me the story of a Syrian man he met there. This 30 year old, a volunteer from Jisr Alshughour, was helping the refugees to Turkey from Syria. My friend was shocked that this young man did not have a single tooth in his mouth. After a brief inquiry, he found out that this man was arrested in Syria for participating in a demonstration and while in custody, he was tortured by pulling out all his teeth. Needless to say, they were not pulled out properly, so the man needs a lot of surgery that he can not afford.

This is one of many stories of arrest and torture that many of our young and old recount. I say: God damn us all. Each and every one of us, who for years accepted this as part of normal life. Our collective silence allowed this to happen and continue to happen for years in Syria. While we were going to school, our friends were in Tadmor being treated with the utmost cruelty and some tortured to death, yet we kept our mouths shut. God damn each one who is still supporting these murderous criminals for whatever reason.

Syria refusing visas for Western aid workers: U.N. By Stephanie Nebehay | Reuters

Government Increases Gas Oil Price: The Ministry of Economy has raised the price of gas oil, or mazout, for the second time in two months. (Syria Report)

Trade with Lebanon Resilient: Bilateral trade between Lebanon and Syria remained remarkably stable in the first five months of this year.

Economy President Appoints new Governors: The Syrian President has appointed seven new governors and a new head for the State Planning and International Cooperation Commission.

Russia sees the West’s attempts to hold it responsible for the escalation of the Syria conflict due to Moscow’s refusal to vote for the UN resolution that would slap sanctions on the Syrian authorities as unacceptable.

Robert Fisk: Syria rebels will not claim their greatest prize

The appalling scenes in Syria begin to reflect the barbarism of Bosnia, Croatia and Serbia….

They have gone for the jugular now. ….Assassinations take time to plan, but this was on an epic scale, to match the bloodbath across Syria. Bashar al-Assad’s own sister, Bushra, one of the pillars of the Baath party, loses her husband in a massive explosion in the very centre of Damascus. No wonder the Russians talk about the “decisive battle”.

It won’t be a replay of Stalingrad, but the tentacles of the rebellion have now moved towards the heart. And, of course, there are massacres to come. Why else would thousands of Syria’s citizens flee to the Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp yesterday, to seek protection from the most betrayed citizens of the Arab world?….

“At the time, a Syrian friend of mine looked at it bleakly. The torture goes on below ground, he said. “You don’t even want to know what happens there.” But whoever emerged from there would be happy to kill his tormentors, let alone the chief torturers.”

Towards the endgame, 21 July 2012, The Economist

The world should start preparing for what comes after Syria’s President Bashar Assad…  IN EVERY revolution, there is a moment when the tide turns against the regime…. In Syria it may have happened on July 18th, when a bomb struck at the heart of Syria’s military command. If the attack shifts the balance of power decisively against President Bashar Assad,…

Bashar al-Assad has amassed fortune of up to £950m, analysts estimate, The Guardian‎

The Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, has amassed up to $1.5bn (£950m) for his family and his close associates, according to analysts, …

Many of Assad’s assets are held in Russia, Hong Kong and a range of offshore tax havens to spread the risk of seizure, according to London-based business intelligence firm Alaco.

A myriad of companies and trusts are understood to have been deployed to disguise assets that ultimately belong to members of the Syrian regime.

Iain Willis, the head of research at Alaco, said the millions of pounds frozen in UK bank accounts make up just a fraction of the regime’s estimated global wealth.

In peacetime, the Assads and their close friends owned around 60% to 70% of the country’s assets, from land and factories to energy plants and licences to sell foreign goods. But Assad would find it difficult to liquidate such assets in the event of his regime’s collapse.

“In terms of realisable assets, it’s likely to be in the region of $1bn to $1.5bn (£636m to £950m),” said Willis. “This would be in line with Egypt’s Mubarak and the Marcoses of the Philippines.

“These are held, not just by Assad himself, but by extended family members, by second cousins, uncles, business partners and their advisers…

Comments (256)

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201. Observer said:

Syrian Hamster for President

This video clip is worth a thousand words.

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July 21st, 2012, 11:27 am


202. Uzair8 said:

A tweet.

Gas bottles for home use that previously cost 70 #Syria|n pounds currently costs ~5,000 p and are nowhere to be found. via @SyrienNyheter

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July 21st, 2012, 11:30 am


203. omen said:

200. observer, do you have any tips as to how people who lack gas masks can protect themselves from cyanide gas?

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July 21st, 2012, 11:31 am


204. Tara said:


Bravo Manaf that he defected. All defections are welcome. The goal is to encourage defections to hasten the fall of the Mafia family. That is not to say that any defector is a presidential candidate. Tlass family has a dark history and they should not be part of the new democratic Syrian goverenmrnt,

Got it? Or do I really have to explain one more time. I am very patient if needs to.

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July 21st, 2012, 11:36 am


206. omen said:

88. IRRITATED said: 73.
I disagree, the State has the responsibility toward its citizens, terrorists only to themselves.
For some Syrians the state is the terrorist, for others it is their protector. It is not up to you to decide who is right or who is wrong.

this demonstrates the depth and strength of propaganda. it wasn’t until later on that i realized bashar assad isn’t “the state.” he’s profoundly illegitimate. he doesn’t have the right to rule.

if it requires genocide to maintain the status quo, that should tell you right there that something is deeply out of whack. the current order is not sustainable. you cannot force a square peg into a round hole.

if you need to kill people in order to feel comfortable, i’d suggest moving.

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July 21st, 2012, 11:42 am


207. Stick to the Truth said:

203. Tara said:

Got it? Or do I really have to explain one more time. I am very patient if needs to.

No thanks you, its enough. I have got it, obviously he has disappointed many hopes.

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July 21st, 2012, 11:42 am


208. irritated said:


he’s profoundly illegitimate. he doesn’t have the right to rule

Who are you to decide? what percentage of the Syrian population you represent : 0% ?

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July 21st, 2012, 11:45 am


209. omen said:

Syria embodies the end of colonialism

This week’s fighting in Damascus and the bombing of the national security council meeting indicate that if the regime cannot protect its top military officers, whom can it protect? That is the question certainly being asked by thousands of Syrians who now serve in the regime’s military and political organizations. If Bashar and Maher Assad cannot protect their brother-in-law and chief muscle man and enforcer Assef Shawkat, how can they possibly protect lowly foot soldiers, senior officers, Shabbiha gangs, and the three-dozen remaining Baath Party faithful in the country? The consequences of such hesitation and questioning by regime loyalists and apparatchiks when it comes to the regime’s will determine the pace of the regime’s collapse.


At some point soon, the movement of those loyalists deciding to flee the regime will abruptly increase. Panicked low- and mid-level security personnel will abandon their posts and uniforms and melt back into civilian life, and opposition forces will take control of key installations, such as border crossings and provincial police posts. When opposition fighters obtain more sophisticated anti-tank and shoulder-mounted ground-to-air missiles, as is happening now, the regime will lose two of its key military advantages, and the end will then come quickly.

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July 21st, 2012, 11:46 am


210. Uzair8 said:

A tank hit. Close up and dramatic footage. 50 sec long.

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July 21st, 2012, 11:46 am


211. irritated said:

#200 Observer

Now you finished your obsession with Corleone, you became obsessed by Hitler… Next will be the “Desperate Housewives”?

same reply:

“Observer #925
Great clip: Hitler looks much more like Ryad al Assad in his bunker in Turkey, panicking.

Bashar is in his regular office, while Ryad and his clique of defected generals are in a bunker protected by Turkish soldiers. Would they ever dare to show up in Syria without their Turkish pretorian guards.”

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July 21st, 2012, 11:49 am


212. omen said:

207. irritated, let’s say i gave you that point. what about the others raised? do you think genocide is a defensible response?

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July 21st, 2012, 11:50 am


213. irritated said:

#208 Omen

At some point soon,

A month, a year, a decade?

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July 21st, 2012, 11:51 am


214. irritated said:


if you need to kill people in order to feel comfortable, i’d suggest moving.

Is it what the FSA feels after mass killing officials of the government and throwing 40,000 fearful Damascenes to neighboring countries? I doubt.
The opposition is having its hands getting bloodier than what they accuse the government to have.

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July 21st, 2012, 11:55 am


215. Karabennemsi said:
-> نقاط استقبال اللاجئين _ منقول من مجموعة check and share
(بث الطوارئ المدني في دمشق Damascus Civil Emergency Broadcast)
-> خطوات التجهز للأزمات
-> “check and share”
(لحتى نشوف و ننشر أي خبر أو طريقة منقدر ..أي نساعد فيا الأشخاص اللي بحاجة لأي نوع إغاثة. الصفحة غير سياسية بالمطلق هي إلنا منشان نساعد بعض و نكون صلة وصل لأي حدا موجود ب مكان ساخن و بدو مساعدة و لحتى نعرف كمان شو عميصير ب مراكز الإغاثة المنتشرة ..)

PLEASE SHARE / JOIN if in Dimashq

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July 21st, 2012, 11:56 am


216. Tara said:


You have not got it entirely…only partially. He did not disappoint.. There was and will not be expectation or hope from him or his family. Tlass’ chapter ends with his defection, that is all.

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July 21st, 2012, 11:57 am


217. zoo said:

A taste of chaos to come: “Members of the Free Syrian Army had done nothing to stop their fellow rebels from looting, he complained.”

Turkish truck drivers accuse rebel fighters of looting
By Fulya Ozerkan | AFP – 42 mins ago

Dozens of Turkish truck drivers on Saturday accused rebel fighters of the Free Syrian Army of having burned and looted their lorries as they stormed a border post in Syria.

A group of truck owners, traders and transporters have been waiting since Friday at the Cilvegozu border crossing, in Turkey’s southern province, which lies opposite to Syria’s Bab al-Hawa post.

Rebel fighters captured the Syrian border post after battling President Bashar al-Assad’s loyalist troops.

“We barely escaped when the rebel fighters took full control of the Bab al-Hawa border post in Syria,” said Hasan Abbasoglu as he retrieved his vehicle from Syria after the looting.

While the truck was not damaged, its cargo had been ransacked. And he had to pay $700 (575 euros) in bribes to get his truck back, he said.

“I’ve been exporting carpets via the Syrian border crossing for seven years,” he told AFP. “But this time we narrowly escaped with our lives.”

Members of the Free Syrian Army had done nothing to stop their fellow rebels from looting, he complained.


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July 21st, 2012, 12:01 pm


218. omen said:

209. wow, that took timing.

how do they train to fire those things? do they start out with blanks?

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July 21st, 2012, 12:06 pm


219. zoo said:

Is a fully veiled woman still attractive enough for a ultraconservative Sunni cleric to fall in the devil’s temptation

Egyptian sheik gets jail after fondling report

CAIRO (AP) — An Egyptian court sentenced an ultraconservative former lawmaker and cleric to a year in prison for public indecency on Saturday, after police said they found him fondling a woman on his lap in a parked car at night.

Police have said in a report that the man was touching and caressing the fully-veiled woman when they approached him while parked alongside an agricultural road outside Cairo last month.

Ali Wanees has denied the charges. He claimed that he pulled the car over to assist his ill niece, but police say he is not her uncle.

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July 21st, 2012, 12:07 pm


220. Expatriate said:

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July 21st, 2012, 12:08 pm


221. Expatriate said:

Putin Warns Against Bypassing Security Council Syria Veto
Russian President Vladimir Putin opposes any action related to Syria not authorized by the United Nations Security Council, his spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Friday.
“In the Russian president’s opinion, any attempt to act without the [UN] Security Council’s approval will be inefficient and will undermine the authority of this international organization,” the spokesman said.
After Russia and China vetoed the Western-backed UN Security Council resolution, U.S. Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice said that the United States and its partners “have no choice but to look to partnerships and actions outside of this council to protect the Syrian people.”
Putin met with members of Russia’s Security Council on Friday to discuss the latest developments on Syria, including the veto.
“Members of Russia’s Security Council stressed that attempts to link the aggravating situation in Syria to Russia’s stance were inappropriate and inadmissible,” Peskov said.

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July 21st, 2012, 12:12 pm


222. Mina said:

With Yahoo and the NYT, always expect morals to be safe. Reality has another taste. It is not one year in jail, it is a “suspended sentence”.

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July 21st, 2012, 12:12 pm


223. Uzair8 said:

216. Omen

I’m not clued up on these (military) matters. I guess they don’t upload the failed (or mistimed) attacks. LOL.

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July 21st, 2012, 12:19 pm


224. Stick to the Truth said:

200. Observer said:

Syrian Hamster for President

This video clip is worth a thousand words.

Thanks Observer,

.. and this video is worth 1001 words

I count on your sense of humor.

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July 21st, 2012, 12:38 pm


225. omen said:

207. IRRITATED said: Who are you to decide? what percentage of the Syrian population you represent : 0% ?

you know what? if you want to talk percentages, i agree with you. what right does the regime have telling the sunni majority what to do?

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July 21st, 2012, 12:41 pm


226. zoo said:


It is not one year in jail, it is a “suspended sentence”.

So he can do it again? I hope his wife( ves) watch over him. In any case not such a good example to his followers…
The story does not say if the ‘niece’ was willing or not

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July 21st, 2012, 12:52 pm


227. irritated said:

#223 Omen

what right does the regime have telling the sunni majority what to do?

Because the regime (The Baath party) is made of more than 50% sunnis

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July 21st, 2012, 12:54 pm


228. Juergen said:

Allah yunawwir ‘alayki bardo ya Mina!

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July 21st, 2012, 1:05 pm


229. Tara said:


From the story, it appears that “Salafism” is more like a job for living as it can never be a human appears that the “niece” was willing.

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July 21st, 2012, 1:06 pm


230. zoo said:

More direct accusations of looting on the FSA in Turkish media.
Will Erdogan scold Ryad al Assad? Who will pay the damages?

Turkish truck drivers accuse rebels of looting

Dozens of Turkish truck drivers on Saturday accused the Free Syrian Army of having burned and looted their lorries as they stormed a border post in Syria.

At Bab al-Hawa, four kilometres (two and a half miles) from Turkey’s Cilvegozu, Syrian rebels ransacked customs buildings and pulled cargo from the back of stranded trucks.

“All of our trucks were burned,” said trader Ali Cengiz, who exports to Saudi Arabia via Syria. “The rebel fighters destroyed our trucks during the clashes.”

Traders however argued that as long as the border crossing at Cilvegozu remained open, they have to keep trading via Syria in order to stay in business.

“How will we earn our living then?” asked Cengiz. “We have debts, will the government make up for our loss?

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July 21st, 2012, 1:11 pm


231. zoo said:

#227 Tara

In view of the appearance of the guy on the photo, her veil must have been very opaque…

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July 21st, 2012, 1:13 pm


232. zoo said:

Syria: “Propaganda and hype” ( In french)

Günter Meyer, director of the Institute for Research on the Arab world at the University of Mainz, this assumption is “totally preposterous” because the use of chemical weapons would be tantamount to political suicide. He accuses the Syrian opposition to swell its reports, for propaganda purposes.

However, even assuming that Assad has such an arsenal, he knows that by using chemical weapons against its people, he would cross a red line and it would cause a massive reaction and the international community. In this case, even Russia could no longer continue to support the Syrian government.
The purpose of this propaganda is to convince world opinion that Assad would be about to use chemical weapons. In fact, information has been a real hype in most Western media. The propaganda orchestrated by the Syrian National Council opposition worked perfectly.
The fear is that in case of collapse of the Syrian regime, all these weapons of mass destruction may into the hands of Al Qaeda fighters. Some fear that these chemical weapons may reach Hezbollah, Hamas and other terrorist organizations that can use worldwide. As long as Assad is in power, he controls the arsenal for the troops involved in it are composed of Alawites, ultra loyal to the regime. It’s from the moment Assad would lose control of the arsenal that the potential risk would become enormous.

What does it take to anticipate the fall of Bashar al-Assad?

Günter Meyer: If indeed there is a fifty deposits of chemical weapons, then the figure advanced by the U.S. Secret Service, 75 000 men to secure them, seems quite consistent. But how to involve foreign troops? In view of the Syrian military and air defenses supplied by Russia, a military intervention in Syria in the short and medium term is excluded. But all this is just a set of speculations on political strategy games that are still very far from ground realities.

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July 21st, 2012, 1:34 pm


233. Observer said:

I do not know how to make gas masks for cyanide I am sorry.

Stick, nice clip I am not sure whether you identify with the Arab revolt or the Turkish garrison. Please explain which side you are on.

My clip clearly shows delusional Fredo detached from Reality.

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July 21st, 2012, 1:42 pm


234. Ghufran said:

There is consensus now even among some hardcore regime loyalists that Bashar needs to transfer power to another person,or a group of people,but not until certain conditions on the ground are met,I do not believe Bashar himself will be around much longer, the focus now is what to do with the regime as a whole and the nervous and well armed alawite community. GCC media is circulating news about a possible deal that includes manaf and other known figures but the story has too many holes in it. The most difficult obstacle to a solution is some armed rebels who may not be willing to listen to anybody and are not interested in any solution that includes any degree of compromise.
Expect the army to push hard in the next few days,armed rebels will not consider a cease fire if they think a total collapse of the army is near,the army is months or years away from being defeated by the FSA,so the right thing to do is to spare Syria more blood shed and let people live as they should free from fear,oppression and violence.

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July 21st, 2012, 1:56 pm


235. Mina said:

This fits with the fact that the people who have advised the hardcore insurgents in the latest days to launch some well televised attacks on the borders’ checkpoints, in Damascus and now Aleppo’s Salah al-Din, seem to have had a double agenda. These poor folks have been very ill-counselled. It looks like their mentors are now in a hurry to get rid of them.

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July 21st, 2012, 2:40 pm


236. ryan said:

This seems significant – from the Guardian piece on Aleppo:

>Another brigadier, Adelnasser Ferzat, defected to FSA fighters in Aleppo, it was claimed. In a video address in fluent Russian, he urged Moscow to dump Assad and back “freedom” and the rebels’ side.

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July 21st, 2012, 2:44 pm


237. zoo said:

French TV admits that the Syrian army has recovered all of the rebels stronghold in Damascus and are deploying strongly in Aleppo to dislodge the pockets occupied by armed rebels.

While the Bab Al Hawa border post is still in the hands of FSA fighters, they are now trapped between the Turkish border and the Syrian army less than a 1km away that is waiting for the right moment to storm the border and get it back under their control.

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July 21st, 2012, 3:01 pm


238. Halabi said:

Yes, Assad is just hours of way of securing the country and defeating the foreign, Islamic terrorists, and only weeks away from liberating Golan.

Al Jazeera in 3zaz, the tank graveyard.

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July 21st, 2012, 3:09 pm


239. omen said:

225. IRRITATED said: Because the regime (The Baath party) is made of more than 50% sunnis

bashar does not remain in power because of the baath party.

the very fact he has to rely on force should tell you something.

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July 21st, 2012, 3:11 pm


240. Tara said:


It is not important that the Assad Army taking the border posts back or even the rebels’ stronghold. It is important that it fell off to the rebels to start with.. How long Assad army can play whack a mole all over the country and remain cohesive and intact with all the defections?

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July 21st, 2012, 3:12 pm


241. omen said:

232. GHUFRAN said: possible deal

5 stages of grief (because the regime is dying)






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July 21st, 2012, 3:14 pm


242. Syrialover said:


If you sincerely think a hereditary dictatorship, won and kept unchallened by state terror, is legitimate, you need to find another planet to live on.

Human civilization has moved on and won’t turn back.

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July 21st, 2012, 3:25 pm


243. Aldendeshe said:

If you sincerely think a hereditary dictatorship, won and kept unchallened by state terror, is legitimate, you need to find another planet to live on.

Sorry to give you the bad news. Those other planets maintain the same violent, hereditary dictatorships rule like earth. We human in fact are far more compassionate and fairer. In fact, human/ earth only problem, is that those other planets interfering in our lives and forcing own systems on us humans to keep us backaward and subservient for their resource interests.

We need to free the earth of alien bondage.

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July 21st, 2012, 3:50 pm


244. omen said:

welcome back, aldendeshe.

what do you make of the bombing?

do you know ali haidar, the man bashar picked to head the reconciliation effort?

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July 21st, 2012, 4:05 pm


245. omen said:

234. zoo,

wonder how much weapons/supplies rebels were able to smuggle through the border crossings for whatever short amount of time they held it.

i wish rebels would deploy on a mission to win the release of political prisoners. i saw an earlier report that the regime had shelled a stadium in damascus. and there were troubling rumors last night about prisoners in homs being executed.

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July 21st, 2012, 4:53 pm


246. irritated said:

#239 Syria Lover

And you continue to trust the only real allies of the opposition: Qatar and KSA? What about Jordan, Kuwait, Bahrain etc…? I guess all these are not part of the ‘human civilization’. Are you sending them to the Moon or Venus?

Yet they helped the opposition to drag Syrians into a bloody quagmire without offering a valid model for a change, except their rotten one.
After this turmoil and the increased awareness of the greed and manipulation of foreign powers and the discovery of who is a friend and who is not, Syrians are becoming mature enough to welcome gradually a real secular democracy, probably the only one in the Arab world.

Yet, let see who are the candidates for such a change. Until now nobody worthwhile at the horizon.

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July 21st, 2012, 4:54 pm


247. irritated said:

45. omen

I wonder how much weapons/supplies rebels were able to smuggle through the border crossings for whatever short amount of time they held it

I doubt they were able to smuggle anything through this open air borders, as the Syrian Army was waiting one km away.
The intention was to create a ‘free zone’ where they could regroup and make it easy for defectors to join them. It failed miserably and after the FSA looted the trucks, the Turks won’t be very helpful anymore. Because of their behavior, it is becoming obvious that the FSA fighters are just a bunch of thugs not even capable of respecting their hosts, the Turks.

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July 21st, 2012, 5:02 pm


248. zoo said:

Increased burden and pressure on Turkey on its non-transparency for Syrian refugees in camps that are kept closed to NGO and media

The plight of Syrian refugees

Refugee groups also criticize Turkey’s continued reluctance to allow NGOs and the media to monitor its operations. Although a small number of international and national delegations have visited Hatay province, almost none have been given permission to enter the camps there. As the Council of Europe and Amnesty International emphasize, this policy raises concerns about transparency and oversight of practices in the refugee camps. Last February, a Turkish daily reported the refoulement of some high-profile Syrian dissidents,

It needs to grant refugee and human rights NGOs and the media regular access to monitor practices in the camps to ensure transparency. Ankara also needs to ensure that all refugee camps are at a safe distance from the border, where the Syrian military occasionally carries out operations.

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July 21st, 2012, 5:12 pm


249. zoo said:

Syrian forces battle rebels in Aleppo, families flee
By Dominic Evans and Khaled Yacoub Oweis | Reuters – 3 hrs ago

BEIRUT/AMMAN (Reuters) – Syrian troops and armored vehicles pushed into a rebel-held district of Aleppo on Saturday and struck back in Damascus against fighters emboldened by a bomb attack against President Bashar al-Assad’s inner circle.

Opposition activists in Aleppo, Syria’s biggest city and a northern commercial hub, said hundreds of families were fleeing residential areas after the military swept into the Saladin district, which had been in rebel hands for two days.

Fighting was also reported in the densely-populated, poor neighborhood of al-Sakhour.

“The sound of bombardment has been non-stop since last night. For the first time we feel Aleppo has turned into a battle zone,” a housewife, who declined to be named, said by phone from the city.

The Syrian army’s push in Aleppo occurred after rebels assassinated four of his top security officials this week and mounted a six-day attack in the capital that they dubbed “Damascus Volcano”.

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July 21st, 2012, 5:19 pm


250. Tara said:

Syria crisis: rebel push quelled in Damascus but spreads to northern city of Aleppo

While government forces claimed on Saturday to have largely quelled resistance in Damascus, fierce street battles erupted in Aleppo…

Armed guerrillas from the Free Syrian Army were reported to have entered from the surrounding countryside, bringing fighting for the first time into the downtown area. The city has previously been considered a regime stronghold.
“This night was very bad, there were huge explosions and the gunfire didn’t stop for several hours,” said Mohammad Saeed, an Aleppo-based pro-democracy activist, as hundreds of families fled the city in convoys of cars. “The uprising has finally reached Aleppo.”


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July 21st, 2012, 5:20 pm


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