‘Don’t Drag our Revolution through the Mud!” Farouk Brigade Commander Denies Claims of the self-proclaimed “Executioner of Homs”

The Commander of the Farouk Brigade of Homs denies the claims of the self-proclaimed Executioner of Homs.  made in the article, “The Burial Brigade of Homs: An Executioner for Syria’s Rebels Tells His Story”, published on 29 March 2012 by the German news magazine SPIEGEL online.

A German reporter friend asked me to post the following interview with Abdel Razaq Tlass, commander of Al Farouk brigade (FSA, Homs) which was published by Qantara. The reporter writes:

Today, Syria´s Ambassador to the UN (Jaafari) referred in his speech to this article (minute 6´50) wrongly citing, the important article of the German magazine DER SPIEGEL“ – it was SPIEGEL ONLINE which is independent of DER SPIEGEL). Many Syrians feel that this uncritical report destroys the overall image of the Syrian revolution.

We all know that executions of Shabbihas take place, especially in places like Homs. But the answers of Tlass suggest that there is no systematic system of judging and killing that is being controlled or ordered by the FSA-command. This is, as you know, very important. And for me as a colleague of Ulrike I consider it unprofessional not to doubt any of the descriptions of her witness in Tripoli and to not even try to check these allegations with somebody in Homs.

You know how difficult it is to interview Tlass, the interviewer had to stay anonymous but I know that the interview was properly conducted, translated and authorized.

Unfortunately SPIEGEL ONLINE didn’t see any reason for publishing the interview with Abdel Razaq Tlass. The editors comment:

We carefully investigated the story of the executioner of Bab Amr. Our correspondent as well as several other colleagues of our editorial staff have been following the developments in Syria with accuracy and detailed knowledge for years. I can´t find any sensationalism in our reports. We don´t see any reason to deviate from our reporting.“

Please note that the criticism explicitly refers to the work of SPIEGEL ONLINE, not to the reporting of the news magazin DER SPIEGEL which works independently of SPIEGEL ONLINE.

‘Don’t Drag our Revolution through the Mud!”

In an article entitled “The Burial Brigade of Homs:”, the German news magazine SPIEGEL online asserted that the Free Syrian Army has been responsible for the systematic sentencing, torture and execution of militiamen, soldiers and supporters of the Assad regime.

In an interview with Sakr El Horea, the commander of the Al Farouk Brigade in Homs, Abdel Razaq Tlass, denies the accusations

Have members of the irregular state Shabiha militia group been executed by the Free Syrian Army (FSA)? If so, were these isolated cases or are executions a regular occurrence, for instance, after guilt has been proven?

Abdel Razaq Tlass: From the very start, the task of the FSA in Homs has been to protect the demonstrators and to support the work of activists on the local coordination committees in Homs. This cooperation has allowed us to provide the world with information on the massacres committed by the regime. The Al Farouk Brigade has not conducted any executions of Shabiha militiamen or any captured soldiers. The brigade does not see itself as a court.

The SPIEGEL online article describes an organization that consists of a summary court, interrogation brigade and burial brigade. Does such a structure exist in Homs?

Tlass: No. There is neither an execution brigade nor a summary court brigade. The Al Farouk Brigade interrogates prisoners without resorting to psychological or physical torture. There is no interrogation brigade, as interrogations are usually conducted by the leaders of the brigade.

Abdel Razaq Tlass, one of the first deserters and the nephew of the long-serving Syrian Defence Minister Mustafa Tlass, is regarded as an important figure within the Free Syrian Army

How many soldiers from the regular Syrian Army, how many Shabiha militiamen and how many Assad supporters have been killed?

Tlass: You have to differentiate between two things: many regime soldiers were killed during the fighting between Assad’s troops and the FSA in Homs, during the defence of civilians by the FSA, and as a consequence of FSA attacks on military bases. Unfortunately, I can’t provide you with an exact number. However, the FSA has never conducted any executions or the targeted killing of individuals.

The witness in the SPIEGEL online article describes how a member of the burial brigade cut the throat of a prisoner condemned to death by the FSA.

Tlass: We categorically reject such a form of killing. No executions are carried out on behalf of the FSA.

How does the FSA determine the guilt of prisoners? Does the FSA use torture during interrogation? If so, what form of torture?

Tlass: We do not employ any form of torture during our interrogations.

Is there any cooperation between the local coordination committee and the Al Farouk Brigade when sentencing of prisoners?

Tlass: There is no sentencing of prisoners. The purpose of interrogations is to gain information and to gather evidence. Videos are made in which the prisoners describe their actions. In exchange, we release them. Convictions, however, do not take place….. [continue]

Comments (118)

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51. NASA said:

45. Amnesia

What you are trying to say is well-known to all of us! Syria with current regime is not \\\”utopia\\\” … neither better income Arab countries. However, although I join you with criticism of what you described especially at Syrian borders, but others found worse; having experienced with many friends other neighboring countries borders such as Saudi & Jordan.

We are not supporting blindly! we are not sure of changes to better if happened having assessed changes to worse situation if took over by this current \\\’what so called revelation and those current revolutionists\\\’ whom enjoy the killing and current chaos as long as they are paid by foreign countries.

With upcoming diff. gov. or regime; do you think we will be saints and Syria will be utopia?!

Just let us get out of this chaos w/others interference and hopefully Syrians only, will change step by step towards democracy and better life, maintaining dignity at all times.


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April 15th, 2012, 12:26 pm


52. ann said:

UN observer mission is for Syria’s interest: official – 2012-04-15


DAMASCUS, April 15 (Xinhua) — A Syrian presidential media advisor said Sunday that it is for Syria’s interest to have international observers on its territories because the observers will help in exposing the crimes committed by armed groups.

After the UN-brokered ceasefire went into effect in Syria on Thursday, the armed groups have carried out more than 60 attacks in several Syrian cities, targeting civilians and army and security personnel, the official, Buthiana Shabaan, told BBC Sunday.

She noted that these violations have been documented and sent to the UN envoy for Syria Kofi Annan.

According to Shabaan, the UN observers will carry out their mission in Syria in two stages. During the first stage, 30 observers will be sent to Syria to conclude and sign a protocol to regulate the work of another 250 observers.

The media advisor said during the negotiation on the protocol Syria has the right to agree or disagree with the nationalities of some observers.

She said the timetable for the observer mission and the arrangements for their movement will be set in coordination with the Syrian government, “otherwise Syria can’t be responsible for the safety of those observers.”

She reiterated the Syrian troops’ commitment to the ceasefire, but reserved Syria’s right to repulse any attack and aggression by the armed rebels.


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April 15th, 2012, 12:51 pm


53. Aldendeshe said:

“….Don’t Drag our Revolution through the Mud!…”

How could you avoid that when Mud! driving the revolution.

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April 15th, 2012, 12:58 pm


54. Afram said:

51. Aldendeshe said:

“….Don’t Drag our Revolution through the Mud!…”

How could you avoid that when Mud! driving the revolution.
Hi Aldendeshe

what Revolution!? and what the heck is mud?

this chaos,is Zift X zift.

Isn’t Tar/ Zift is khaliji petroleum byproduct?
God doesn’t like ugly.

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April 15th, 2012, 1:48 pm


55. daleandersen said:

[Green Update Symbol Alan is on moderation, Dale, not banned. Khalid Tlass is not banned. You are not banned. Did you have something to discuss? Your contempt for Syria and Syrians is again noted.


Alan booted out. He joins Tlass What’s-His-Name in SC Moderator’s outer darkness. And the list grows.

Has anyone noted what an anal retentive little putz the SC Moderator is? He’d make a great Syrian dictator. Open your mouth and practice free speech and SLAM! You’re in jail…

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April 15th, 2012, 2:09 pm


56. Alan said:

keep sleeping Strange man !!!!

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April 15th, 2012, 2:50 pm


57. Juergen said:

News update on the german vessel which was headed for Tartous with arms shipments

The vessel has been tracked and its due to arrive tomorrow in the harbour of Iskanderun in Turkey.

No one can tell at the moment why the ship had the transponder signal turned off. I think 80 km off the Syrian coast, it would be possible for the Syrian navy or even the Russians to clear the shipments in due timing.

Nonevertheless the german government is investigating in this matter, even though in judicial terms not much can be done to prevent such activities.


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April 15th, 2012, 2:51 pm


58. Juergen said:

Anyone who want to see the navy map of Cyprus, Turkey and Syria can do so on this site:

There one can see the live transponder signals of all ships in the area and its speed.

The Atlantic cruiser seemed to have turned off its transponder signal ir is off the coverage…

Here is a picture of the vessel:


Anyway, interestingly you can find also the Pjtr Strelkov is in range of the Syrian coast with 8.4 knots the hour.

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April 15th, 2012, 3:21 pm


59. Mina said:

Sandro #21

“The revolution won’t be televised,”

I won’t shed a tear on “those peasants in Homs, Al Badia, Hama, Maarra” for whom revolution means that women have to go back home and cook, and never set up a foot in an office or an administration.

Low-education means manipulation. The best failure of the Assads is to watch that the education system has failed in all sense of the word and that you can find someone to kill anyone for 800 dollars and probably less. But that does not mean I can trust the leaders of the movement and their lies. The SNC are just good to accept bribes and invitations to 5 stars hotels. The real opposition is in Syria, and no way one can expect anything from the Beduins of Ma’arrat or the ultra Sunnis of Homs and Edleb.

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April 15th, 2012, 3:28 pm


60. Alan said:


Advance UN team arrives in Syria

The first six United Nations peace monitors have arrived in Syria. According to Russian UN Ambassador Vilaty Churkin, they will be followed by another 25, who will include a Russian officer.

The office of the Syrian President said the observers cannot expect to work in safety unless they coordinate their action with the authorities. It also said the Syrian government reserves the right to modify the nationality make-up of observation teams.

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April 15th, 2012, 4:07 pm


61. Mina said:

Now that there is a video “it is a grave incident”. But Rachel Corrie is not.

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April 15th, 2012, 4:07 pm


62. SANDRO LOEWE said:


¨The best failure of the Assads is to watch that the education system has failed¨

You are the prototype of the Assad supporter. Even a failure is considered ¨the best¨ and not ¨the worse¨. This is in fact the worse failure. But the education system did not fail, but was simply destroyed by the Assad regime from it roots. Now we are facing the results of 40 years of civil society systematical destruction.

Even you are the typical kind of syrian (or not syrian) that leaves beduins (or arabs as they are usually called as if others were not arabs) aside. They have no rights and no representation. Just the elites can have a word in Syria´s future. I see how democratic is your view of future Syria. It is frankly disgusting.

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April 15th, 2012, 4:16 pm


63. SANDRO LOEWE said:

We have had enough hypocresy. I think supporting the execution of shabihas is the less can be expected from syrian revolution members. Maybe we were supossed to ask Assad to fine them for killing and massacre demonstrators, and civil population as well as for raping, looting, etc?

Most syrians I know would love to make all shabbihas disappear, even before the revolution.

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April 15th, 2012, 4:28 pm


64. Dawoud said:

[Green Update Symbol If you mean Alex Camille Otrakji, no, he is not active as moderator. RT is responsible for its misreporting, not Alex.]

Is the guy who said that the syrian dictator could win free elections doing the moderation now? He is the same person who is expressing pro-dictator views on RT. RT identifies him as one of SC editors. Shame on you for being pro-dictator and biased! I only “slurred” the sectarian Iranian goverment that is sending arms to the dictator, who is killing Sunnis in Homs and Derah.

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April 15th, 2012, 4:30 pm


65. Tara said:


Your comment in regard to not being able to shed tears on the people who died in Hama, Homs, Banias,  Bayda, Maara is a disgrace.  These people deserved to be killed because their women stay home and do not go to an office?  

This is a misanthropic comment and it is hateful and deplorable.   

Mina, can you share why you write on SC?  I can find in my heart a room to forgive fellow Syrians for whatever they have said.  I honestly have no forgiveness for a “self-proclaimed'” Syrian tourist (as you described yourself) who can’t shed a tear on a dead Syrian.  You’ve never said that you have affection to Syria.  Why are you here, Mina? Please go away.

Dear Moderator,

I am sorry.  I may have crossed a redline.  Feel free to trash my comment.  It just kills me when I interact with people who have no respect for the life of human being…  And the reason given that they are Bedouin and their women do not work…now if his is not pure evil, what is?  

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April 15th, 2012, 4:33 pm


66. Alan said:

Media Disinformation and the “Arab Spring” Color Revolutions
The Tainted Legacy of I.F. Stone
by Prof. James Tracy

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April 15th, 2012, 5:00 pm


67. Alan said:

Engdahl: CIA plays ugly role, trains Syrian rebels
Researcher and author of Full Spectrum Dominance, F. William Engdahl talks to RT from across the Syrian border about his take on the latest developments in Syria and Turkey.

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April 15th, 2012, 5:27 pm


68. bronco said:

#46 Tara

“Misinformation or the writer’s interpretation of the text?”

Misinformation is a biased, deformed interpretation of the original text or declaration to mislead the reader.

We have seen that everyday in the Western media on the Syrian crisis.

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April 15th, 2012, 5:41 pm


69. ann said:

Syria vows to fight escalated terrorist attacks ahead of UN observers’ arrival – 15 April, 2012


The Syrian army pledged to continue fighting armed rebels in anticipation of the arrival of a team of UN observers, as armed terrorists have hysterically escalated their attacks following the official halt of all military operations.

The observers will be monitoring the shaky ceasefire that came into force on Thursday. Aggressions against civilians, army personnel, military checkpoints and private and public properties have all escalated since then, a Syrian military source says. The onslaught came “in conjunction with the UNSC resolution to send international observers to monitor the [ceasefire],” the official SANA news agency reported on Sunday.

“Out of their duty to protect the security of the homeland and citizens, the authorities will prevent these armed terrorist groups from continuing their criminal aggressions and acts of killings,” the source said.

Kamel Wazne, a political analyst in Beirut believes that the whole peace initiative is now under threat. And that is not because the Syrian authorities or the rebels oppose the peace, he said, but because Syria’s neighbors like Qatar and Saudi Arabia would very much like to see the bloodshed to continue.

“Probably, we have seen and witnessed, in the past couple days, a major unrest from other terrorist organizations entering from Arab countries into Syria and causing all this havoc against the stability of Syria,” he explained. “Today was a major escalation, an attack and a lot of assassinations by the opposition against civilians and Syrian officials, mostly military men. And this is happening more often now then before.”


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April 15th, 2012, 6:03 pm


70. zoo said:

من باريس إلى دمشق .. قافلة محبة للوطن

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April 15th, 2012, 6:45 pm


71. Afram said:

why arabs are angry all the time?

“Civilized society is perpetually menaced with disintegration through this primary hostility of men towards one another.”

Sigmund Freud.

so i decided it would be best to bring him back to sychoanalys arabs.
Hi Freud;wass up Afram.Qahwa Sada/coffee MR.Freud.later I have some,ok done
Hows the arab doin Afram?Angry,very angry
how come?
well,right now they are in a vicious cycle,they named it arab spring!!,who did?the yankees.

I said long time ago,America is a mistake,yes MR.Freud,Iknow you said that

tell me Afram about the arab culture stuff…ok
the head honcho/president insults the tribal chief

chief insults police man
police insults our fathers

fathers beat mothers
mothers hit their children

children abuse street stray dogs
dogs violently fights with cats

cats aggressively chase away songbirds

Afram,this is sad. you right on Freud

any remedy to our situatian,Freud?
No,you folks are hopeless case,your best diagnosis?yep,hopeless hopeless.

Free your women first..shed their shackles,then hope for freedom-democracy &stay away from Karl Marx opium//religion

can I have my Qahba,you mean QAHWA,MR.Sig?

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April 15th, 2012, 6:46 pm


72. SANDRO LOEWE said:

70. ZOO

This video with people holding pictures of Assad is simply surrealist. Just a joke. Definetely the country needs to come back to ground zero before it is build again. With people like those appearing in the video who live in a mirage it is impossible to build anything.

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April 15th, 2012, 7:18 pm


73. Tara said:

You are a sister no longer.

The poster that illustrates Syria’s anger
A poster of Asma al-Assad by an anonymous writer expresses her and her country’s disgust

How can a London-based writer of Middle Eastern origin protest against the violence in Syria? Here’s one way: enlisting the help of a graphic artist, Shahrazad (a pseudonym) designed this poster expressing her disgust at Syrian first lady Asma al-Assad’s silence.

The poster is free; you can get your copy by emailing Shahrazad at iamnotlikeyou@safe-mail.net. It was first distributed two weekends ago at a protest in London and has been picking up steam ever since: the British Solidarity for Syria campaign took 500 posters, and more will be heading north to Edinburgh with the organisers of Reel Syria 2012. “At first, some Syrians were put off by the image of Asma on the poster,” says Shahrazad. “You might think the photo is glamorous, but if you examine it closely she looks perturbed.” She hopes it will be displayed all over the world.

Shahrazad once saw al-Assad up close when she joined her in a women’s bike ride for peace several years ago and had hoped it was the beginning of a new era in Syria. “We could have been more than friends; we could have been sisters,” she has written on the poster. “But you are a sister no longer, and each and every one of us feels played like a sucker.”


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April 15th, 2012, 8:01 pm


74. Tara said:


FYI,  jut so your “admiration” is informed.

Shahrazad Jaafari

The daughter of Syrian ambassador to the United Nations, Bashar Jaafari, Shahrazad, forwarded an email to Assad on December 7 last year, which she apparently received from someone called “Hazem”, with an attachment ready to be signed by President Assad. The attachment refers to a legal amendment in the judiciary body related to the retirement motives of judges. The sender asks Shahrazad to inform the Syrian President about the content of the message the soonest in order to take the necessary measures next month.

In another letter, Shahrazad al-Jaafari refers to herself as the Public Relations and International Communication manager of the Syrian presidency and asks the President to grant her powers that will enable her to impose her decisions in the palace.

Shahrazad wanted to have the legitimacy to judge what is right and wrong in dealing with visiting delegations and activities related to public relations.
In the email she complains about three specific people in the presidential palace:

Muhyiddin: who works at the presidential palace 

Luna al-Chabel: media and communication manager 

Buthaina Shaaban: the president’s political advisor.

Shahrazaad said that she used all her skills in public relations to be able to contain Chabel’s rude behavior but that she failed, and makes it clear that the former TV anchor is an obstacle to her performance


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April 15th, 2012, 8:19 pm


75. jna said:

ground zero

The origins of the term ground zero began with the Manhattan Project and the bombing of Japan. The Strategic Bombing Survey of the atomic attacks, released in June 1946, used the term liberally, defining it as: “For convenience, the term ‘ground zero’ will be used to designate the point on the ground directly beneath the point of detonation, or ‘air zero.'”[4] William Laurence, an embedded reporter with the Manhattan Project, reported that “Zero” was “the code name given to the spot chosen for the atomic bomb test” in 1945

The term ground zero (sometimes also known as surface zero[1] as distinguished from zero point[2]) describes the point on the Earth’s surface closest to a detonation. (…) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ground_zero

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April 15th, 2012, 8:23 pm


76. Tara said:

I think the Turkish public opinion is ready to follow Erdogan in regard to Syria (excluding of course, the Alevi opposition party)

Iran is not doing Turkey a favor

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad adopted the stance of not taking the nuclear talks to Istanbul as if to punish Turkey on the subject of Syria. The person interfering with that policy was religious leader Khamenei’s. 

After that, Ahmadinejad demonstrated an attitude as if he had involuntarily carried the nuclear talks to Istanbul. To balance the harsh statements about Syria, they tried to give the impression that the gesture was being done for Ankara. 

…From Turkey’s point of view, the nuclear talks are important, but the situation in Syria is a higher priority. It does not bring any more prestige that these talks are held in Istanbul. On the contrary, it is generating an unnecessary risk. It does not serve Turkey’s purpose to be seen on the camp with an Iran that is dragging its feet. The Syrian front is gaining more significance. In short, Iran’s stance is making it lose.


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April 15th, 2012, 8:34 pm


77. Equus said:

Despite the Ceasefire Agreement, Assassinations and Kidnappings Continue in Obama’s Syrian Destabilization Campaign

The last thing Hillary Clinton and her NATO co-conspirators want is to see a legitimate election take place in Syria in the next few weeks. It would make it nearly impossible for them afterward to claim the government of the country is illegitimate. So the endgame here is to make sure that election doesn’t take place and if it does, they need to make sure that it is as flawed as possible.

One way to do that is to make sure candidates back out of the election before it takes place due to fear of being killed for participating in it. As long as the media ignores the REASON they don’t participate, the regime change advocates like Clinton can then blame the Assad regime even though it is clearly her “activists” who are behind the killings and kidnappings.
After all, Tarek Mehanna was just sentenced to 17 years in prison in a Boston courtroom for “supporting al Qaeda” and all he did was translate some of their writings on his website and publicly ponder the idea that perhaps an indigenous population has the right to defend their country from an occupying force.

Is Mehanna’s “aid and comfort” all that more useful to al Qaeda than what the Obama administration just agreed to give them? That’s to say nothing of the paychecks the other “Friends of Syria” will be giving them.
Yet, Obama is disappointed that the Syrian army hasn’t withdrawn from several Syrian towns including Homs where the foreign terrorists have set up shop.

The citizens of Homs have stated that if the government forces pull out of the city leaving them to the mercy of the mercenaries, they too will pull out before they are slaughtered like the pro-government Libyans in the wake of our “democratic victory” in that country.

Imagine if Cuba had provided aid and support to a bunch of Canadians posing as U.S. army “defectors” and Putin had the gall to demand Obama pull his forces out of Michigan leaving it defenseless. This is exactly what is happening.
Imagine if Hugo were paying “activists” to kidnap and murder people like Ron Paul or Mitt Romney just prior to the upcoming election. This is exactly what is happening in Syria only it’s the U.S. and the precious Peace Prize President doing it rather than some “evil dictator” who stole his country back from our glorious corporations and banks.


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April 15th, 2012, 8:37 pm


78. Aldendeshe said:

The last thing Hillary Clinton and her NATO co-conspirators want is to see a legitimate election take place in Syria in the next few weeks…..

LEGITIMATE!!!!! in Baathist Syria? Yeah I guess, as in Presidential decree released criminal Mohammad Nazir Khoudr runnning on slogan “Tartous First”

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April 15th, 2012, 9:09 pm


79. ann said:

Syrian Kurds Unsure on Uprisings and Turkey’s Role – April 16, 2012


Last week, Kurdish opposition bloc has walked away from the SNC meeting in Istanbul, exposing deep and problematic rifts within the umbrella opposition group just days after the international leaders granted the body extra recognition after attempts to unify.

The move disappointed the Ankara officials.

Meanwhile, Godgas adds, “youth groups don’t side with the Syrian Free Army or the SNC. Some do with the Kurdish National Council and others prefer to maintain their relation with the youth revolutionary comities across the country; the latter been considered by those Kurdish youth groups as the only meaningful revolutionary movement”.

Like many Syrian groups, he adds, Kurds in Syria are reluctant to accept any foreign intervention from a neighboring country.


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April 15th, 2012, 10:54 pm


80. ann said:

Prof. Landis in the news

Analysts warn of mission creep in buffer zone plan – 15 April 2012


As Ankara revisits the idea of a humanitarian zone in Syria amid worsening violence along the Syrian border, analysts warned this week that even a limited intervention may rapidly escalate, leading Turkey into unforeseen commitments and a prolonged military engagement.

“If the zone is kept small, maybe it won’t be seen as a major provocation. But it is hard to see how [Syria] would not regard it as a pretty serious infringement of sovereignty and feel forced to respond. Things could get out of hand very rapidly,” said David Hartwell, a Middle East Analyst at the defense think tank IHS Jane’s told Sunday’s Zaman on Thursday.

But Orhan and other analysts acknowledge that the “middle road” description of a humanitarian zone may not hold up in reality — whatever the justification for entering Syria, Damascus is most likely to interpret even a narrowly limited military mission as a declaration of war. “Syria is going to see this as war. Even if you try to limit the mission, it won’t happen without a major military confrontation,” says Orhan.

“It’s hard to imagine a situation where escalation doesn’t occur relatively rapidly,” says defense analyst Hartwell. “If the zone is small, perhaps 10 kilometers within Syrian territory, maybe Turkey can reason that it won’t be seen as a major provocation. … But ultimately Syria has to fight this — they would interpret the move as an invasion or a plot to undermine the state by creating a safe haven for the opposition inside Syria.”

Even if the Syrian military, which is bogged down by a 13 month-long civil conflict, decides not to confront a Turkish intervention, Hartwell says that “a long list of unknowns” could pull Turkey deeper into Syria’s widening conflict. Chief among these would be the temptation to expand operations and attack the Syrian camps of the separatist Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK), which would likely take advantage of an intervention to attack Turkey’s military in Syria and step up attacks inside southwestern Turkey.

Hartwell also says the humanitarian situation could test the mandate. “What if the Turks establish a safe zone, but Syrian soldiers start killing refugees who are fleeing to the zone it is protecting? It would be hard for Turkey to stand by and refuse to expand its protection, and the mandate might grow very rapidly,” argues Hartwell.

“And what if Turkey does limit its mission to a protecting a small humanitarian zone,” asks Joshua Landis, a long-time Syria commentator and director of the University of Oklahoma’s Middle East Studies Department. “What will Turkey do if a million or more Syrian refugees arrive in the safe zone, and the conflict drags on for years? Intervening has tremendous costs; it means committing yourself for the long term,” he writes in correspondence to Sunday’s Zaman.

Such near inevitable complications, the Syria expert says, are reasons to believe Ankara will refrain from even the most limited military mission in the foreseeable future. “Should Ankara invade, it would not be able to extract itself from Syria until the Syrian regime was toppled, Alawite power destroyed, and a substitute government put in place. That is a very tall order,” writes Landis.

Defense analyst Hartwell shared similar views, saying that before it enters Syria, Ankara at the very least needs to recruit strong international partners and possess a clear set of priorities for intervention. As the outlook for the conflict continues to darken, both may prove harder than ever to find.


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April 15th, 2012, 11:15 pm


81. ann said:

Are Turkey and NATO contemplating a military intervention against Syria ahead of the Chicago summit? – April 15, 2012


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April 15th, 2012, 11:35 pm


82. ann said:

India Endorses Sino-Russian Stance At Trilateral Moscow Meeting – 4/16/2012

India endorsed a communique that should please Moscow and Beijing.at a foreign ministers’ meeting in Moscow.


On both the issues of North Korea and Iran, they asserted that a solution had to be reached via peaceful means without outside interference, and in accordance with UN principles (meaning without resort to force of arms).

This was true also in the case of Syria, where Syrian sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity had to be respected and violence had to be renounced by all sides and not just by the Syrian government.

The 3 countries called for shifting economic governance from the G8 to the G 20, as this would ensure a more equitable distribution of voting power between developed and developing countries. Russia is expected to assume the leadership of the G 20 in 2013.

Aside from the communique, India also pleased Russia and China by declaring its readiness for full membership in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, even though full membership for India will probably be balanced by full membership for Pakistan.

This organization is dominated by China and Russia. Some strategists view it as a counterweight to NATO and a land bridge between Europe and the Pacific via Central Asia.


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April 15th, 2012, 11:55 pm


83. Visitor said:

Re: Joshua Landis’ contention about complications of a perceived Turkish intervention.

I read this blog often but I do not comment as I am not interested. This time I found Hartwell’s and Landis’ contentions about perceived complications of a possible Turkish intervention in Syria preposterous, particularly because such contentions are expressed under the guise of supposed punditry of Syria and the region.

I am sorry Dr. Landis and also Mr. Hartwell. You are both wrong and I believe that you both know that you are wrong. I can even contend that the only reason that you two are putting forward such contentions is nothing but an attempt to pre-empt such possibility of a Turkish incursion into Syria under the guise of so-called punditry as I said already.

Here’s what you two have overlooked. The moment the Turkish army steps into Syrian territory a domino effect will take place within the Syrian military establishment. Within less than a week 90% of Syria’s military will defect to the Turkish side. Only the Alawite battalions MAY be left in the battlefield and many may also defect. I foresee a Turkish takeover of Aleppo that will be a walkover with no resistance whatsoever. A chain reaction will then be unleashed resulting in total collapse of the Syrian military by switching sides. In addition, huge popular demonstrations will engulf major cities and the regime will have to withdraw to the mountains hoping to find loyal support.

In this case, Dr. Landis and Mr. Hartwell, the only challenge confronting Turkey in case it intervenes will be to manage the defecting Syrian Army. In fact, Turkish intervention may be the answer to bypass the stalemate gripping the Security Council.

Thank you. And I will not contribute further.

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April 16th, 2012, 12:10 am


84. jad said:

This is a very very very unusual program coming from Aljazeera talking about the fake rebel propaganda and the bias of the western journalists and TV channels in their coverage of Syrian crisis, I wonder why?

Navigating Syria’s slippery narratives

“The authenticity of this footage cannot be independently verified.” This has become the familiar caveat used to frame news reports on Syria. Until recently, those shaky images filmed by activists on the ground have provided the foreign media, themselves unable to get into the country, with the raw material they need to build their story.

But as the violence intensifies, so too does the Western media’s scepticism about who and how much to trust, with activists accused of tailoring material to suit their own political agendas. In this week’s News Divide: social media in Syria under the spotlight.

Quick hits from media world: the phone hacking scandal that has hit Rupert Murdoch’s British print arm spreads to another part of his empire; the battle between al-Shabaab and the Somali government claims the life of yet another journalist: the fourth this year; a Greek journalist is hospitalised after a policeman attacks him while he covers protests against government cuts; and US network NBC gets into trouble for its coverage of the Trayvon Martin story.

Ali Ferzat is one of the best-known cartoonists in the Arab world. Born and raised in Syria, he built his career caricaturing the political elite. In 2000, during a period of relative freedom of the press, Ferzat launched the satirical magazine al-Domari (The Lampalighter), the first independent publication in Syria since 1963. But Ferzat’s references to Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian president, always remained within the realms of the allegorical.

Until last year that is, when he broke the law that prohibits caricatures of the country’s leader. But in August 2011, Ferzat was kidnapped by Syrian security forces. He was later found on the roadside, head bleeding, hands broken: images which spread online, gaining global attention and artists’ solidarity. In the second half of the show, we sit down with Ali Ferzat.


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April 16th, 2012, 12:26 am


85. sf94123 said:

To Ann post 81:

According to the Zaman newspaper, Prime Minister Erdoğan also warned: “Turkey has a unique attitude; history is evidence of this. Turkey will at least take the position other countries would take in a similar situation. Syria should put itself in order. If Syria continues its violence, then, Syria should be ready to pay the consequences of this violence”


Erdoğan is right! “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it ”Safar Barlik and the Arminian genocide are evidence of the ruthlessness of the Ottoman Empire. Say no more Erdoğan!

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April 16th, 2012, 12:47 am


86. Syrian Nationalist Party said:

83. Visitor said:

“..Thank you. And I will not contribute further…””


You welcome. And please keep your promise not to contribute further. Leave this for the experts.

$15-20 per gallon at the pump (if you can find it) and Bio-Chem survival rate and side effects on Arabs and Turkmen alike, are just few reasons for not pulling stupid dog tricks on Syria. Iran and Russia support for prolonged insurgency could drain Turkey and Arabia out of cash in couple of years. That is probably what are people like you hiding as “VISITOR” booting for as an end-game plan or target-goal.

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April 16th, 2012, 1:12 am


87. Juergen said:


thank you for posting sherazads work, i think if there is some justice in this world Asmaa will go from semper aparatus( always ready) into semper in metu .( always in fear)

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April 16th, 2012, 2:57 am


88. Khalid Tlass said:

86. Syrian Nationalist Party said:

If Iran and Assad try to play dog tricks on Arabs and Turkmen, they will merely have to finish the unfinished work left by Sultan Abdul Hamid II and Mouawiya ibn Abi Sufyan.

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April 16th, 2012, 3:16 am


89. Khalid Tlass said:

86. Syrian Nationalist Party said: “……..”

If Safavids and Russia try any “insurgency” on Arabs and Turkmen, they will merely have to finish the unfinished work of Sultan Abdul Hamid II and Caliph Mouawiya to snuff out the substance of the “insurgency”

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April 16th, 2012, 3:21 am


90. Antoine said:


Why do you think Raqqah is not joining the revolt in large numbers ?


Since you are an expert on searching for analyzing various revolts, can you do this job for me :

Can you find me one video each of pro-regime rallies in the towns of Kubaybat and al-Saan in Hama Governorate ?

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April 16th, 2012, 3:39 am


91. Juergen said:

Syria War 2012

mock up of the regimes PR

tara this song I found for our dear Batta

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April 16th, 2012, 3:44 am


92. oab said:

In reply to Post # 83:

Your joking, right?! you seriously believe the Syrian Army will “defect” to the Turkish side in the event of an ill-conceived intervention. Sorry my friend the real world does not work like that, if with all the media and political pressure put on Syria today we have not seen unit level defections, it will not happen with a Turkish invasion. Even the Iraqi Army did not “defect” in either war, they either dissolved or they fought and died where they were (more of the former). Your confidence is misplaced and I certainly hope your views are not what is being discussed among the Turks.

Simply put, if the Turks go in, they have to be willing to invade all the way to Damascus and they have to be willing to stay there until the SNC gets its act together and they have to be willing to fight an expanded PKK campaign as well as a Syrian insurgency. or at least to consider both possibilities before going in. I don’t think Mr Erdogan is as stupid as Mr. GW Bush, not to at least consider what will happen after such a dramatic and dangerous step.

Turkey would be wise to try to take advantage of the situation to improve its influence, but not at the expense of its economy, no matter how much the GCC is willing to pay.

Somehow I don’t think this is on the cards, your thinking is clearly limited to dreams.

I think you need to contribute more – not less, your ideas need more work and fine tuning.

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April 16th, 2012, 3:55 am


93. Juergen said:

There is a facebook webcampaign to influence the shipowner and the chartercompany to reveal the truth of the vessels freight and its destination.

You can send an email to these two addresses:

info@webo-ship.de (Shipping company Bockstiegel, Emden)
chartering@ceg-bulk.de (C.E.G. Bulk Chartering GmbH, Hamburg)

This could be the text of such an plea:

Dear Mr. Lüddeke,
Dear Mr Bockstiegel,
dear whom it may concern,

with great dismay and disappointment, we have been following the events of the cargo ship “Atlantic cruiser.”

We encourage you to explain to the public why the cargo ship with the destination port of Tartous was loaded with weapons from Iran, but was disguised as a supply of pumps and spare parts. After it became public the destination port changed suddenly (Iskenderun) and then for about 24 hours, the detection signals were shut down. The shutdown of the transponder can be done by boat owner only , and it is a very rare event in the shipping industry, unfortunately, it gives the most negative speculations some credibility.

There are obligations for shipowners to investigate these events and to publicly express their opinion. If the weapons were delivered in the meantime to the port of Tartous to the Syrian regime, you are complicit in the killing of the Syrian people and have also violated the arms embargo.

Be assured that we will not rest longer before we have an answer.

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April 16th, 2012, 4:19 am


94. Mina said:

Tara #65
Twisting comments is not answering comments.
I didn’t say I don’t shed a tear on the dead. I say I don’t shed a tear on the violent protestors of these areas (see the video called “a letter from ma’arrat al Nu’man to the president” posted last year in April 2011 on a Thursday, to give the tone of what was expected in the demos), if their dream (sold by Gulf TVs) does not concretize.
The secular Syrian system have achieved one thing: a better equality of women (even though this is still not true is the areas mainly Beduin, such as Deir al Zur).
The fact there are some extremists in Homs and Edleb I know by experience: a Syrian deacon from Aleppo was once telling me that Edleb is the only city where he cannot go around in his black dress.
As for Homs, i personally know in France people who got their jobs and visa through their Salafis connections and are from Homs.

tara, in a democray, everybody has the right to have a view on a issue. Be it the Ethiopian maid, the tourist, or the foreign wife.
Many in the Middle East still need to learn and accept that, even among the US expats.

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April 16th, 2012, 4:40 am


95. Juergen said:

The humor dies at last:

Dear UN observers! Why did you come? In order to ensure that no ketchup, but blood flows?


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April 16th, 2012, 4:50 am


96. Alan said:

There is a facebook webcampaign to influence the shipowner and the chartercompany to reveal the truth of the vessels freight and its destination.

I am not surprised by your unilaterality!give more panoramic of a searchlight we will direct! dig in the German-Israeli suitcase! there is a lot of interesting to readers!

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April 16th, 2012, 5:06 am


97. Alan said:

be exact when you speak about embargo against Syria! also specify that this Western embargo which didn’t oblige another! also there is the Iranian embargo against some countries of EU ! Russia can make embargo then Berlin will precisely freeze 🙂 !”

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April 16th, 2012, 5:27 am


98. SANDRO LOEWE said:


Raqqa is not a large city, you can find most of the population in Raqqa region widespread around main road linking Aleppo and Deir. So there is not a large urban centre that eases anonymous masive popular demostrations.

Also should we consider the fact that Raqqa is the only city in Al Jazeera Region where a considerable minority of shias live. Lately a very large persian style brand new mosque was built near Bagdad Door.

Also we could consider the fact that specially in the area between Al Bab – Menbij – Raqqa most young men and young fathers are working in Gulf countries, Jordan and Lebanon which leaves most inhabitants being children, women, and old people.

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April 16th, 2012, 6:32 am


99. Alan said:

Tuk Tuk ! Salute Jad ! weher are you ?

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April 16th, 2012, 6:36 am


100. Juergen said:


Isnt the fact that the Assad dam is there justify the regimes need of loyal residents? Whenever i visited the dam it seemed like everyone who lived there was with the government.

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April 16th, 2012, 6:38 am


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