Rebel Troops Take Two Christian and One Kurdish Neighborhood Thursday Morning (Oct 25, 2012)

Reports from friends inside suggest that Aleppo is falling to rebel troops. Both major Christian areas – al-Syriaan al-Jadide and al-Syriaan al-Qadime have fallen. The regime’s largest Mukhabarat station is in the second area. FSA sharpshooters have gone to the tops of all buildings in these areas with no government opposition. The major Kurdish neighborhood – Ashrafiya – gave no resistance. The government had been counting on the Kurds to hold back the FSA fighters. If opposition troops can hold these neighborhoods in the center of town, it is bad news for the government. Regime seems to have cut it loose. (Correction at 3:oo SET – Syrian Army tanks appeared on al-Faisal street, the main thoroughfare of Aleppo that runs along al-Syiriyaan al-Jadide, causing the rebels to make a “tactical” retreat back into the Ashrafiyya neighborhood.  This is what I am being told by Aleppine friends who are on the phone with relatives inside both these areas. They put sharpshooters on top of their buildings. One said the family’s Filipino maid fainted due to the loud shooting earlier in the day. People are terrified that the regime may try to strike with airplanes. For now (7:00 Eastern S. Time), an eerie silence has settled over the city. Where will the government try to hold the line?

Addendum: (3:30 pm EST) Government tanks were moved into Faisal street, the main thurowfair running the length of al-Syriaan al-Jadide and Qadime. Rebel troops made a tactical retreat back into the Kurdish neighborhood of Ashrafiyya.

It seems that the Kurds of Ashrafiyya changed their attitude toward the rebels, taking a neutral stand and allowing them through to temporarily spread into the Christian neighborhoods mentioned above. The superiority of Gov tanks means that the rebels remain diffident about taking on the Government troops directly.

Here is an email from one friend: (6:00 am EST) “I just got a frantic call from sister in Aleppo. The city of aleppo has largely fallen into rebel hands. They took over syrian jdide overnight. They are minutes from our house. As i have been for a while, this appears over”

Good reports estimate that rebel troops number (correction: 40,000 in city. Regime cannot devote troops in that number. They are trying to impress as many young men into the army as they can. But most young men are staying home and hiding from conscription.

Addendum: (11:00 am EST) A high rebel commander claims that the government troops in Aleppo do not exceed 6,000. The Shabiha are 2,000 and rebel troops are close to 40,000. He says the 70,000 number I had published earlier was an exaggeration. This commander is close to the top of the FSA command and planning.

Aleppine friend writes:

I predict that the city of Aleppo will fall decisevely and completely in the next 10 days. As I have been saying, the scales have tipped in favor of the rebels. The regular army has massive difficulty sending reinforcement into Aleppo to help the limited numbers it has on the ground. The ones remaining in Aleppo are stuck. Does the regime use its planes and long distance shelling to attack the rebels in these areas now? This is what the citizens fear. Or does the regime see the writing on the wall and cut Aleppo loose and look to defend Damascus and the coast?

My bet is that it will resist the decision to pull the trigger as of yet. But, over the next 10 days the facts on the ground will make this a fact.

Obviously all possibility for a cease fire seems off.

Some say the Syrian government is coming back to contest these areas. It is not clear.

The two Christian neighborhoods are here (thanks citizenGeo)

تشهد مدينة حلب اليوم الخميس أحداث ساخنة تتمثل بمعارك عنيفة في مناطق عدة منها ، ويقوم فريق عكس السير بمواكبة الأحداث و نقلها إلى القراء أول بأول ..

ـ مراسل عكس السير: الجيش الحر يحاصر فرع الأمن الجنائي في حي الأشرفية و شهود يؤكدون حمل عناصره مضادات طائرات

ـ مراسل عكس السير في حلب: عواصف رعدية وامطار غزيرة في معظم المناطق، والشوارع تغرقها السيول.

ـ مراسل عكس السير: سماع دوي قصف المدفعي تسمع في كل احياء مدينة حلب والاشتباكات مستمرة في الاشرفية والسريان الجديدة

ـ مراسل عكس السير: الجيش الحر يدخل حي السريان القديمة و يقيم حواجز فيه

ـ المرصد السوري لحقوق الانسان: مقاتلو الجيش الحر يشنون هجوماً عنيفاً على الفوج 46 المحاصر منذ أكثر من 25 يوماً .

ـ مدافع النظام تقصف المناطق التي سيطر عليها الجيش الحر(الأشرفية ، السريان الجديدة ، السبيل خلف جامع الرحمن).

ـ عناصر و قناصة من القوات النظامية ينتشرون في مشفى ابن رشد الحكومي المجاور لفرع الأمن الجنائي .

عكس السير

Addendum (2:30 EST)

Guardian (GB): Syrian rebels advance into Aleppo
2012-10-25

After more than two months of near stalemate, rebel groups have advanced into three regime-held areas of central Aleppo, edging them closer to a tightly-defended security district. While the day-long skirmishes mark the first time that swathes of …

A rebel fighter in Aleppo, Anu Yousef, said: “Brigades of the FSA were able to progress from al-Ashrafiyeh district where the Criminal Security branch is. There was also progress in al-Midan and Sulaiman al-Halabi districts.

“In Khan al-Assal district, there is a police school which was under siege by the FSA for 10 days now. The Syrian army were sending reienfocrements every day to ease the siege on it. Today a convoy was heading towards the school and was faced by fire from the FSA and could not get there.”

Intelligence and security bases, such as the Air Force Intelligence headquarters, are a prime target for rebel groups, partly because they represent pillars of regime power, but also because they are known to house thousands of detainees rounded up since the uprising began 19 months ago “The FSA had to take al-Ashrafiyeh district to be able to reach the Criminal branch – and they did,” said Abu Yousef. “The advance now is just around the Criminal Security and it is not easy to get control.”

“There are spots of power for the Syrian army like the Criminal Security in al-Ashrafiyeh, Political Security in al-Azziziyeh and Air Force security and intelligence in New Aleppo. If the FSA can liberate all these branches, we can say at that time that Aleppo has been liberated entirely.”

Rebels calimed that Kurdish groups, headed by the PKK, had facilitated their entry to the Ashrafiyeh district after a deal was struck for neither side to attack the other. The Free Syria Army has previously accused members of the PKK of siding with the Assad regime.

“The PKK had agreed not to interfere and not to support any side of the conflict,” said Abu Yousef. “We did not attack any members of the PKK [today], in fact they pulled out to clear the way for us. It was a deal that they would pull out before the arrival of the FSA. The clashes were with the Syrian army only. Since the beginning of the revolution the regime has been trying to keep the PKK on its side but I think now it is going to lose them.”

Comments (118)


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101. Warren said:

U.S. Strike on Syrian Territory – October 2008

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October 26th, 2012, 6:23 am

 

102. Warren said:

What next for US-Syria relations? – Inside Story – Oct 29 2008 – part 1

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rv6QKXlOQtU&feature=relmfu

__________________________________________________________________

The same Syrian Jihadis that were attacking US forces in Iraq, are now fighting against the Syrian government. The irony is the Sunnis that were screaming anti-US slogans in 2008 when the US retaliated, are now screaming for US intervention & protection. Tayyiqqa Sunnis at their best!

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October 26th, 2012, 6:27 am

 

103. Tara said:

LLC reported 100 violations of cease fire and 19 death.

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October 26th, 2012, 9:04 am

 

104. zoo said:

Another of these frequent ‘rare’ appearances of Bashar al Assad on TV. Certainly much less rare than the appearances of the SNC leaders in Paris or the FSA leaders hiding in their Turkish bunkers.

Syria’s Assad appears at Eid prayers as truce starts

DAMASCUS – Agence France-Presse
http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/syrias-assad-appears-at-eid-prayers-as-truce-starts-.aspx?pageID=238&nID=33302&NewsCatID=352

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad made a rare television appearance today, attending morning prayers as a ceasefire took effect for the four-day Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha.

State television showed Assad, smiling and seeming relaxed, at an unidentified mosque in Damascus as the ceasefire, which both his regime and the main rebel group have conditionally accepted, took effect

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October 26th, 2012, 9:18 am

 

105. zoo said:

Tara

Your painted and botoxed Cinderella with her XL Pizza.

http://www.foreignpolicy.com/files/images/57189989.jpg

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October 26th, 2012, 9:22 am

 

106. Tara said:

Zoo,

The key word is “unidentified” mosque. Never again he and his wife can hold hand and stroll in the old street of Damascus or Paris..never again he will be seen eating dinner in a restaurant in the old city. What a maerable life. Can you imagine?

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October 26th, 2012, 9:25 am

 

107. zoo said:

Qatar peeling the Moslem “Brotherhood Banana”?

Why Is Qatar Mucking Around in Gaza?
Doha’s meddling in Palestinian affairs is much more about Iran than it is about Israel.

BY DAVID B. ROBERTS | OCTOBER 25, 2012
http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/10/25/why_is_qatar_mucking_around_in_gaza?page=0,1

Indeed, while Israel and the Palestinian Authority may view Qatar’s embrace of Hamas with chagrin, it is Iran that is the central loser in this drama. The emir’s visit is part of a larger Qatari policy to unseat and reorient crucial Iranian allies around the Middle East — and by extension, amputate a long-used, effective limb of Iranian foreign policy. This is a remarkably forthright policy, for Iran will not — and cannot — take it lying down.
..
This move will, of course, catalyze another round of speculation that Qatar is supporting the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood across the Arab world. That Qatar’s supports the Brotherhood is not in doubt — indeed, it hardly tries to conceal its efforts at engaging with the Islamist movement in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Syria and now with Hamas, another Brotherhood offshoot. Yet Qatar is not nefariously trying to replace the Shia Crescent with a Brotherhood Banana, curving from Syria through Gaza, Egypt, and on to Libya and Tunisia.

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October 26th, 2012, 9:28 am

 

108. zoo said:

Tara

I doubt the S.ultan and his Hanum have a better life… These are dangerous professions.
By the way, I have never seen any Middle eastern leader couple, except Bashar and his wife, ” holding hand and strolling in the old street of any city”

Did you see Cinderella and her XL Pizza doing that in Qatar or elsewhere? Or it will create a jealousy crisis with the 2 other wives.

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October 26th, 2012, 9:34 am

 

109. Tara said:

Zoo

Not a good shot of her. The lips are too full, may be botoxed. I take it you do not like that kind of beauty….oh, I know. The Shushu look you prefer… is not what I call understated elegance and is not my style.

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October 26th, 2012, 9:35 am

 

110. zoo said:

#107 Tara

Cinderella looks extremely bitter, sad and hard, somehow I understand her: The metamorphosis of the beast into a prince failed.
What a difference with the luminous, kind and joyful face of Asma.

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October 26th, 2012, 9:47 am

 

111. zoo said:

Iraq, an example of a US lead post-dictatorship failure as it relied on exiles and militias to rebuild the country.

Reading Machiavelli in Iraq

Kenneth M. Pollack
October 24, 2012
http://nationalinterest.org/article/reading-machiavelli-iraq-7611

As always, any discussion of Iraq’s problems after Saddam Hussein’s fall needs to start from an understanding of America’s endless mistakes there. The catastrophically mishandled American occupation of Iraq following the 2003 invasion created a political and security vacuum in the country that produced an ethnosectarian civil war by late 2005. Those mistakes brought forth a new Iraqi political leadership comprised largely of exiles and militia chiefs, many of whom were focused primarily on aggrandizing their own wealth and power.

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October 26th, 2012, 9:59 am

 

112. zoo said:

The Islamist’s Road to Failure

By: Muhammad Dibo
Published Friday, October 26, 2012
http://english.al-akhbar.com/content/islamist%E2%80%99s-road-failure

Observing the actions of the Islamist movement as represented by its more moderate wing, the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), who have gained power in several countries following the Arab Spring revolts, reveals that it is headed down the path to failure.

The Islamists are repeating the same mistakes as their nationalist, Marxist, and liberal predecessors (whether they succeeded in gaining power or not) on the ideological, intellectual and political levels.

This confirms what many suspect – that a deal was struck between the Muslim Brotherhood and Washington, giving the Islamists international legitimacy in return for a process of normalization with Israel to help it gain acceptance as a natural state in the region.

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October 26th, 2012, 10:05 am

 

113. zoo said:

U.N. to probe errant U.S. drone attacks. War crimes?
Published: Oct. 26, 2012 at 3:30 AM

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Oct. 26 (UPI) — An independent U.N. counter-terrorism expert says he will probe U.S. drone attacks and other targeted assassinations that result in civilian deaths or injuries.

He said this summer some drone strikes in Pakistan might amount to war crimes.

Read more: http://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2012/10/26/UN-to-probe-errant-US-drone-attacks/UPI-59031351236600/#ixzz2APjTXKiM

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October 26th, 2012, 10:08 am

 

114. Tara said:

“the luminous, kind and joyful face of Asma,”..,, the children killer.

What else? Go ahead. Elaborate…any poetry too?

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October 26th, 2012, 10:40 am

 

115. Johannes de Silentio said:

Don’t be so hard on Asma. You’ll break Zoo’s heart.

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October 27th, 2012, 5:12 pm

 

116. annie said:

http://youtu.be/k20y84rJF-8

thanks Maysaloon

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October 27th, 2012, 6:20 pm

 

117. Fawaz Alfawaz said:

I am not sure Mr Landis is correct on the spill over to Iraq rather than Lebanon . He is right and only marginally if the Isalmsts have a key role in overthrowing Assad/Makhlouf regime in Damascus ,,but even then the Shiites in Iraq are entrenched and have access to significant money ( espeically given the fact the oil is primarily in the south ) , the money they got in the last 9 years is more than Iraq had in the 28 years prior to Westren invasion of Iraq .As in Syria the majority will ultimately prevail , but the focal and marginalized Sunnis ( no more than small minority of the Sunnis community that will continue the fight. Against the Shiites). Actually a victory for the Sunnins in Syria might work against the Sunnis in Iraq as the Iraqi government will be more vigilant if not vengeful ) which is likely to weaken them further .
I think actually the effect on Lebanon is much more as it is the first time that the one sect ( maybe since the french handed power to the Christians decades ago ) , now the Shiites are feared Beacuse they are the only ones with more weapons than all other sects put together .Yet Hzballah is keenly aware of the limitations once the Syrian client state crumble , just today a British paper reported the Hizballah is thinking of ditching Assad regime , I reckon the reason is not ideological or political but keen awareness that ultimately they could be drawn to war against 15 milion Sunnins in Syria , with no end in sight .Nassr Allah knows that could result in giving Hizballah. A choice of disarming or defeat .

Fawaz alfawaz a Saudi columnist

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October 28th, 2012, 5:45 pm

 

118. Fawaz Alfawaz said:

I am not sure Mr Landis is correct on the spill over to Iraq rather than Lebanon . He is right and only marginally if the Isalmsts have a key role in overthrowing Assad/Makhlouf regime in Damascus ,,but even then the Shiites in Iraq are entrenched and have access to significant money ( espeically given the fact the oil is primarily in the south ) , the money they got in the last 9 years is more than Iraq had in the 28 years prior to Westren invasion of Iraq .As in Syria the majority will ultimately prevail , but the focal and marginalized Sunnis ( no more than small minority of the Sunnis community that will continue the fight. Against the Shiites). Actually a victory for the Sunnins in Syria might work against the Sunnis in Iraq as the Iraqi government will be more vigilant if not vengeful ) which is likely to weaken them further .
I think actually the effect on Lebanon is much more as it is the first time that the one sect ( maybe since thefrench handed power to the Christians decades ago ) , now the Shiites are feared Beacuse they are the only ones with more weapons than all other sects put together .Yet Hzballah is keenly aware of the limitations once the Syrian client state crumble , nay today a British paper reported the Hizballah is thinking of ditching Assad regime , I reckon the reason is not ideological or political but keen awareness that ultimately they could be drawn to war against 15 milion Sunnins in Syria , with no end in sight .Nassr Allah knows that could result in giving Hizballah. A choice of disarming or defeat .

Fawaz alfawaz a Saudi columnist

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October 28th, 2012, 5:51 pm

 

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