Friends of Syria Meeting in Tunis Accused of “inactivity”

The Friends of Syria meeting in Tunis is a “challenge” to Assad, not an “ultimatum”, US officials are saying. This means that it will be another exercise in raising the rhetorical bar of condemnation against Syria but will probably not do much damage to the regime or rescue the Syrian opposition in Homs. The Saudi delegation has pulled out of the conference, accusing it of “inactivity.”

Representatives from more than 60 Western and Arab countries are meeting in Tunis, Tunisia today to call for the Syrian government to implement an immediate ceasefire and to allow humanitarian assistance for civilians and people wounded in violence. The group is not expected to discuss military options. They will increase sanctions. Former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan has been appointed as a special envoy by the United Nations and the Arab League to represent them in finding a peaceful solution to the Syrian crisis.

“One of the things you are going to see coming out of the meeting tomorrow are concrete proposals on how we, the international community, plan to support humanitarian organizations … within days, meaning that the challenge is on the Syrian regime to respond to this,” said a senior U.S. official.

Asked if the group’s call would amount to an ultimatum, a second U.S. official told reporters: “It is a challenge.”

The Syrian opposition council announced it would ask the “Friends of Syria” to prioritize the creation of humanitarian corridors….

News Round Up


….At a news conference on Thursday, Mrs. Clinton moved the United States a step closer to recognizing the Syrian National Council though a formal recognition is not expected in Tunis. She also said later, discussing growing pressure on Mr. Assad: “There will be increasingly capable opposition forces. They will — from somewhere, somehow — find the means to defend themselves as well as begin offensive measures. And the pressure will build on countries like Russia and China because world opinion is not going to stand idly by.”

On Friday, Mr. Hague, the British official, urged Moscow and Beijing to revise their pro-Assad policies. “I think the Chinese government is constantly assessing the position and so I hope they will change their position,” he told reporters.

Foreign Policy

Syrian state TV referred to the conference as a meeting of “symbols of colonialism” and said the countries attending were “historic enemies of the Arabs.” Neither Russia nor China, who vetoed a U.N. Security Council resolution based on an Arab League plan aimed to end the Syrian violence, attended the conference. The “Friends of Syria” seem to be favoring the opposition Syrian National Council, but are not giving the group exclusive recognition. The other main opposition group, the National Coordination Committee, is boycotting the conference. They lay out their reasons for the boycott, here.

‘Q&A: Nir Rosen’s predictions for Syria’ (Nir Rosen, Al Jazeera English)

“If the struggle drags on, the local civilian “political” leadership of the revolution will lose influence, and the more moderate Sufi sheikhs who exercise an influence over armed groups will also lose control. The insurgency and its supporters will become increasingly radicalised. They will condemn those leaders who looked to the outside world for support, and those who called for restraint. Those voices who say Islam is the only solution will become loudest; those voices calling for a declaration of jihad will be raised, and they will, in my opinion, target Sunni rivals as well as Alawites and other minorities. This scenario is also possible if the regime kills or captures enough senior leaders of the revolution. On the other hand, even if Assad and his family wanted to leave power – or even leave Syria – how would they explain this sudden about face to their supporters? The regime’s fans, especially its base among the Alawites, may also be radicalised, embracing maximalist violence out of fear. And what happens to the cronies who benefit from the system as it is, and to the security forces who have nowhere to go? Do they just go home — or do they fight to the death out of fear of extermination, and then hang on as some kind of insurgency against any new regime installed with the help of the West, Turkey and the Arab League?…

The insurgency will gradually carve out autonomous zones, from Idlib to Hama to Homs and approaching the suburbs of Damascus. Foreign intelligence agencies will eventually provide covert assistance to the insurgency. But Iranian – and possibly Russian – advisers will likely provide advice to the regime in counter-insurgency. So parts of the country will fall into opposition hands, and parts will remain in the hands of the regime. Alawites in Homs may flee to the villages they originally came from. Christians will flee to their former villages or to Damascus. Both of these trends have already started. Sunni remaining in Latakia will be vulnerable, and in the event of Alawites returning to Latakia’s mountain villages, fleeing from other parts of the country, the region’s Sunni may also be forcibly displaced….

Syria is crumbling before our eyes, and a thoroughly modern nation is likely to be set back many decades.

Human rights in Syria – Commission of Inquiry report published

….20. The activity of the Free Syria Army (FSA) groups resulted in the temporary withdrawal of State forces from cities or areas in the Rif Dimashq, Idlib and Homs governorates. Since December 2011, the army has attacked these areas with heavy weapons, leading to massive casualties and the destruction of homes and infrastructure (see paragraphs 38-46 below).

21. The Government stated that other armed non-State actors not affiliated to the FSA are operating in the country, including Al-Qaida and other religious extremists. In its report, the League of Arab States also makes a distinction between the FSA and “other opposition armed groups”. Numerous sources report the presence of extremist groups in the country. The commission was unable to verify information on the membership, background and operations of such groups.

22. On 23 December 2011, 50 people were reportedly killed in two bombings next to the offices of security agencies in Damascus, which the Government attributed to Al-Qaida. No one, including Al-Qaida, claimed responsibility. In its report, the League of Arab States mentioned that its observers in Homs, Hama and Idlib reported the bombing of a civilian bus (with eight casualties), a police bus (two casualties), a train loaded with diesel fuel, an oil pipeline and small bridges. In other cases, League observers found that alleged bombings were falsely reported. On 10 February 2012, 28 people were reportedly killed and 235 injured in two large explosions at Military Intelligence and police buildings in Aleppo. The Government and other sources attributed these explosions to terrorists. On 14 February, a major pipeline near Homs exploded. The Government blamed “terrorist saboteurs”, while opposition activists attributed the act to State forces shelling in the area.

23. According to all accounts, casualties rose steeply as the violence intensified; thousands of lives have been lost.

24. On 27 December 2011, the Government informed the commission that, according to hospital and police reports, at least 2,131 civilians had been killed in the period from 15 March to 19 December 2011. The Government added that a total of 913 soldiers and 215 police officers (1,128 people in total) were killed during the same period.9 According to the Government, from 23 December 2011 to 10 February 2012, a further 651 members of the army and security forces were killed and 2,292 injured.10 In addition, 519 unidentified bodies were found. On 15 February 2012, the Government provided additional figures, according to which 2,493 civilians and 1,345 soldiers and police officers had been killed in the Syrian Arab Republic in the period from 15 March 2011 to 18 January 2012.

25. The Violations Documenting Centre, affiliated to the local coordination committees, counted 6,399 civilians and 1,680 army defectors killed in the period from 15 March 2011 to 15 February 2012.11 The victims included 244 adult women, 115 girls and 425 boys…..

After a year, deep divisions hobble Syria’s opposition
by Neil MacFarquhar, New York Times, February 24, 2012

“Nearly a year after the uprising began, the opposition remains a fractious collection of political groups, longtime exiles, grass-roots organizers and armed militants, all deeply divided along ideological, ethnic or sectarian lines, and too disjointed to agree on even the rudiments of a strategy to topple President Bashar al-Assad’s government…..

“This is a manufactured problem,” said Burhan Ghalioun, the council president, in a brief interview outside an executive committee meeting last week. “Some independent people don’t want to join the S.N.C., but there is no strong opposition power outside the national council.” …..

Scores killed in wave of al-Qaeda bombings across Iraq – Wash Post (Asaad Alazawi, Ernesto Londoño)

BAGHDAD — A wave of bombings across Iraq killed dozens of people Thursday morning, security officials said, in a grim indication of the strength of the insurgency two months after the U.S. military completed its withdrawal….

Syrian opposition will ‘somehow’ carry out offensive operations against Assad, Clinton says

LONDON — Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Thursday that Syrian opposition forces will become “increasingly capable” of carrying out offensive operations against the government of President Bashar al-Assad….

The Syria Report’s Evelyn Aissa provides a roundup of international reportage and commentary on Syria with close to 100 links! (free access)
UN Accuses Syria of Crimes Against Humanity as Foreign Leaders Prepare for ‘Friends of Syria’ Meeting in Tunisia – Syria Report

Today, a report released by the United Nations and submitted to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, accuses the Syrian government of committing “gross human rights violations” tantamount to “crimes against humanity”. The report, derived from 360 interviews with individuals inside Syria, also charges that security crackdowns constituted state policy from coming from “the highest levels of the armed forces and the government”. The same report, however, also charges the Free Syrian Army, an armed element of the opposition, of committing serious abuses. To that end, as violence continues to deepen across the country, Syrian officials continue to adamantly charge that they are fighting against armed terrorist groups – an allegation now partially echoed in some parts of Washington, as a number of senior American officials claim that the terrorist group Al-Qaeda is behind some of the country’s violence. The same US officials did not publicly put forth related evidence. …

‘How to halt the butchery in Syria’ (Anne-Marie Slaughter, New York Times)

“The key condition for all such assistance, inside or outside Syria, is that it be used defensively — only to stop attacks by the Syrian military or to clear out government forces that dare to attack the no-kill zones. Although keeping intervention limited is always hard, international assistance could be curtailed if the Free Syrian Army took the offensive. The absolute priority within no-kill zones would be public safety and humanitarian aid; revenge attacks would not be tolerated.”

The U.S. and other ‘Friends of Syria’ still search for a strategy to oust Assad
Posted: 22 Feb 2012

Tony Karon writes: “It is time we gave them the wherewithal to fight back and stop the slaughter,” said Senator John McCain on Monday, referring to Syria’s opposition amid the carnage being wrought by the Assad regime’s efforts to quash a year-old rebellion. But McCain’s call is unlikely to be heeded by the Obama Administration or other Western governments as they prepare for Friday’s inaugural meeting in Tunis of a “Friends of Syria” forum established to coordinate an international response to the crisis. That’s because Western decision-makers are not quite sure just who the Syrian opposition would be — there is no single leadership that speaks on behalf of those fighting the regime on the ground in cities across Syria, and there are certainly signs that its ranks may include elements deemed hostile to the West. And also, because it’s far from clear just how arming rebel forces would, in fact, “stop the slaughter” and not intensify it.

The problem confronting international stakeholders as they grapple for a response to the slow-moving bloodbath is that there at least three different narratives playing out at the same time in Syria, each of them complicating the others. There’s the narrative of the brutal authoritarian regime confronted by a popular citizens’ rebellion that it has been unable to crush despite a year of slowly escalating repression — a crackdown that has wrecked the country’s economy and made it impossible for the regime to restore stability, much less regain its legitimacy. (Nobody’s expecting the constitutional referendum to be staged by the regime on Sunday to yield a credible popular mandate for Assad’s rule.)

Then there’s the narrative of sectarian warfare, in which Syria’s ethnic and confessional minorities — the ruling Alawites who dominate the regime and its security forces, but also the Christians, the Kurds, the Druze and smaller sects — shudder in the face of a predominantly Sunni rebellion in which they see a specter of sectarian retribution that prompts many of them to remain on the sidelines or support the regime for fear of the alternative.

And finally, there are the geopolitical stakes, as the Sunni monarchies of the Gulf see an opportunity to hobble their Iranian nemesis by helping their indigenous allies overthrow a Tehran-backed regime. Syria also becomes an arena for China and Russia to block the expansion of Western influence in the Middle East through toppling regimes. [Continue reading…]

New Opposition battalions take on overtly sectarian nature to combat Assad’s shabiha

The Yazid ibn Muawiyah Battalion announces its formation in Biyada, Homs. This video suggests the rise of anti-Shiite militias in Syria.

‘Yazīd ibn Mu‘āwiya ibn Abī Sufyān: يزيد بن معاوية بن أبي سفيان‎  commonly known as Yazid I, was the second Caliph of the Umayyad Caliphate based in Damascus. Many Muslims condemn Yazid’s rule as contentious and unjust because he was appointed by his father, Muawiyah, and because he killed the Imam, Husayn at Karbala in an effort to stamp out the gathering Shiite movement that looked to the house of the prophet for Caliphs as opposed to the emerging Umayyid dynasty that had moved the capital of the Empire to Damascus.

Salafist Muslims, mostly living in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Egypt, in sharp defiance to Shia Muslim belief, maintain that Yazid was a just, noble, religious and administratively efficient ruler.

Husayn ibn Ali, the son of the forth Caliph and grandson of the prophet Muhammad, along with many other sahaba among the Muslims, disapproved of Yazid’s appointment to the caliphate, declaring it a usurpation of power and against the spirit of Islam. They rode forth to contest his rule and were cut down at Karbala.

The dead are regarded as martyrs by Shi’ah Muslims, and the battle has a central place in Shi’ah history and tradition, and has frequently been recounted in Shi’ah Islamic literature.

Mock Homs at Your Own Risk
The epicenter of Syria’s revolt has long been the butt of jokes. But Homs may get the last laugh.

The negative stereotypes about Homsis returned in force during the 11th century, when the Mirdasid dynasty recaptured the city and converted it to Shia Islam. Homsis very soon became victims of the polemical debates between Sunni and Shia clerics. The famous Sunni cleric Ibn al-Jawzi recorded many ironic narratives about the strange habits of Homsi religious officials and the supposed stupidity of their followers.

According to one anecdote, three Homsi religious students were discussing a hadith – a saying of Prophet Muhammad — about the parts of the human body. “The nose is for smelling, the mouth is for eating, the tongue is for speaking,” they concluded. “But what is the ear for?” As the hadith did not give the answer, they decided to ask their sheikh. On their way to the sheikh’s house, however, they saw a tailor patching a cloth. The tailor was cutting pieces of yarn and hanging them on his ear. “God has sent us the answer,” the students concluded, and returned to the mosque.

Homs has long been a bastion of resistance — first as a Muslim stronghold in the efforts to repel European invaders during the Crusades, and then as a base for Mamluk commanders’ war against the Mongols. But such heroism did not rid Homsis of their age-old stigma. Rather, many linked Homsis’ victories to their alleged simple-mindedness…..[This is a lovely article… read it all]

The Ordeal of Syria. Hoover Institution, Stanford University

Now nearly a full year into a terrible struggle between a dictatorial regime and a rebellion determined to overthrow it, what can be done? What follows is a range of opinions and preferences. This is the first of what we envisage to be a periodic online symposium on the contemporary dilemmas of the Greater Middle East. We will draw on the membership of Hoover’s Working Group on Islamism and the International Order….

INSTABILITY IN SYRIA: Assessing the Risks of Military Intervention – CSIS

….A number of countries – including US NATO allies such as France and Turkey – increasingly entertain the prospect of creating a “humanitarian corridor” in Syria, potentially along the border with Turkey, to provide relief to both the Syrian population and dissident groups opposed to the Asad regime. These calls are echoed by Syrian opposition forces both in and outside Syria, including the so-called Free Syrian Army (FSA) and the Istanbul-based Syrian National Council (SNC).

These calls do not address the real world challenges of creating such a “humanitarian corridor”: joint and combined military operations to suppress Syria’s air defense network, the need to neutralize the country’s air force, eliminating Syria’s asymmetric deterrence by containing unconventional threats from long range missiles (potentially armed with chemical or biological agents) and instability along the Golan Heights. They also do not address the risk of eventually having to engage loyal Syrian ground forces (including large concentrations of Alawites) that see few prospects in a post-Asad Syria.

Some consider military intervention in Syria to be a potential next step in shifting the regional balance in favor of the US and its allies. There is little question that sustained military operations in Libya would have been impossible without American logistics, targeting, command and control and sheer military capacity. In the case of Syria, military intervention is similarly unlikely to succeed without US involvement. However, military intervention, in the Middle East, let alone near the epicenter of the Arab-Israeli conflict, always involves serious risks and the impact of the law of unintended consequences…..

Washington’s Syria policy is imaginary
February 23, 2012
By Michael Young, The Daily Star

The administration of President Barack Obama has often been ridiculed for what it describes as “leading from behind.” More often than not this has been an excuse for not leading at all, and nowhere has American vacillation been more on display than in Syria.

For instance, it is the United States that has lent credence to accusations by the Syrian regime that Al-Qaeda is assisting the Syrian opposition. Last week, the director of national intelligence, James Clapper, told the Senate Armed Services Committee that he believed Al-Qaeda in Iraq had infiltrated Syrian opposition groups, and was behind bombings in Damascus and Aleppo. Clapper needn’t have made that statement publicly. Not surprisingly, the Syrian opposition read it as a sign of American hostility toward its aspirations

Politically as well, Washington has been all over the place. In an interview with France 24 just over a week ago, the U.S. ambassador to Syria, Robert Ford, said that the Obama administration was looking for a “peaceful political solution” in Syria. “Even the Syrian people do not want a military solution to this crisis,” he said, before adding: “We believe [President Bashar] Assad should step down, but at the end of the day the Syrian people will make the decision, not the U.S.”

A few days later, Victoria Nuland, the State Department spokeswoman, sounded less affirmative. While also defending a political solution, she observed, “[I]f we can’t get Assad to yield to the pressure that we are all bringing to bear, we may have to consider additional measures.” To many people this suggested that the U.S. might possibly endorse arming Syria’s opposition if that became necessary. Evidently, the Obama administration – amid the carnage in Homs and elsewhere in Syria, and rising calls in the Arab world and even in the U.S. Congress for Assad’s opponents to be supplied with better weapons – feared that it would fall behind the policy curve.

There are no easy answers in Syria, but Washington’s trouble is that it has no strategy for the country. This is proving very damaging indeed, given that the Russians and Iranians do have one, and it can be summarized quite simply: Actively support the repression by the Syrian army and security services, bringing the opposition, or a portion of the opposition, to the negotiating table….

Nikolaos van Dam interview on Syria – “Any Western military intervention will be a disaster”….

…ومع ذلك فإن أي تدخل عسكري غربي سيكون كارثياً كما يرى الدبلوماسي الهولندي السابق ومؤلف الكتاب ذائع الصيت الصراع على السلطة في سوريا نيكولاس فان دام. كسفير هولندي سابق في عراق صدام حسين, يدرك فان دام جيداً مدى قسوة وسوء الديكتاتورية ولكنه يرى أن هناك ماهو أقسى وأسوأ من ذلك وهي الحرب الأهلية كالصراع الطائفي الذي عايشه وخَبِرَهُ في لبنان عندما بدأ عمله بالسلك الدبلوماسي هناك. عندما تتصادم الطوائف ضد بعضها البعض يصبح الجميع معرضين لخطر الموت وفي سوريا المنقسمة دينياً فإن حرباً طائفية تلوح في الأفق كما يرى فان دام. يهمين بعض أعضاء الطائفة العلوية على النظام في سوريا وهم فرقة من الشيعة يشكلون ما نسبته 12% من مجموع السكان بينما تَتَشَكل المعارضة من خليط من جميع الطوائف ولكن السنة والذين يشكلون أكثر من 60% من مجموع السكان يلعبون الدور الأهم داخل المعارضة. يخشى العلويون من العودة إلى فترة الخمسينات والستينات حيث كانوا مضطهدين ومهمشين بينما يتجه الإستياء والسَخط داخل السنة نحو الإنفجار وهذا ما يؤجج الصراع. لا يزال النظام متشبثاً بالسلطة, بدأت المعارضة بمظاهرات سلمية ولكنها مالبثت أن رفعت سقف مطالبها وبدأت ترد على النار بالنار. إذا ما أراد الغرب دعم المعارضة عن طريق تسليحها مثلا فإنه بذلك يكون كَمَن يصب الزيت على النار يخشى فان دام. قد تكون المعارضة أقوى عددياً ولكن النظام يملك وحدات النخبة المسلحة بالأسلحة الثقيلة

وهذا قد يؤدي الى سفك دماء قد يستمر لسنوات وهذا مانراه في العراق. ولذلك لايزال السفير السابق يدعو لحوار مع بشار الأسد. يجب إقناع النظام بالتخلي عن سلطاته ولكن فرصة حوار كهذا تتضائل يوماً بعد يوم يُقر فان دام ولكنه رغم ذلك لايرى بديلاً مباشراً ماعدا استمرار الصراع الدموي والذي سيُخلف نتيجة مغايرة تماماً لما هو مُنتَطر. مايجري في حمص يخلق شعوراً بأن على أحدهم أن يتدخل ولكن يجب عليك أن لا تفكر فقط بأنك تشعر بأنك مسؤول وأن الحالة سيئة وأن عَلَيكَ أن تَتَدخل ولكن عَليكَ أيضاً أن تفكر بما سينتُج عن مثل هكذا تدخل وهنا تكمن المُصيبة. إذا أدى التدخل العسكري إلى حرب أهلية على نطاق أوسع ستقول ” لقد قمنا بالخطوة الصحيحة أخلاقياً ولكن هناك مئات الأف من الضحايا الذين سقطوا نعم للأسف ولكن لم نكن نقصد ذلك   “…..

Comments (450)

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401. jad said:

مؤتمر صحفي لوزير الداخلية بخصوص الاستفتاء ونتائجه

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February 27th, 2012, 10:54 am


402. jad said:

Saudis and Qataris barking for more violence and weapons to be sent to the terrorists in Syria as the ONLY solution…how telling, Alqaeda hub countries of the world are asking for weapons to their ‘agents’ in Syria:

المملكة تحذر من استمرار الموقف “المتخاذل” للبعض تجاه سورية

Qatari Big Bird* wants more weapons to the terrorists to ‘stop’ more blood!? And I thought we heard it all by now!
قطر تدعو الى تسليح المعارضة السورية
“طالب رئيس الوزراء القطري حمد بن جاسم آل ثاني المجتمع الدولي بتسليح المعارضة السورية، مؤكدا ضرورة مشاركة الدول العربية في عمل عسكري دولي في سورية لوقف اراقة الدماء.”

While Ghalyoun is still busy with HA..why don’t they come up with plans to upgrade the LOCAL Syrians issues instead of this shameless and meaningless political stands to give the west
غليون: لن نضحي بحزب الله إذا لم يضح بنا كشعب وكقضية لكن بدأنا نشكك به

*Big Bird rights reserved to Irritated

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February 27th, 2012, 11:16 am


403. jad said:

France started the negotiations with Syria over their captured agents:

فتحت فرنسا باب التفاوض مع سوريا من أجل أن تستعيد 18 عميلا
و ابتدءا من 26 شباط تؤكد شبكة فولتير أن العدد أرتفع إلى 18.
إذا اعترفت باريس بأنهم مكلفون بمهمة رسمية سوف يُعاملون كأسرى حرب ويخضعون لحماية معاهدة جنيف لأسرى الحرب أما في حال نفت باريس إرسالهم فسوف يُعتبرون من المدنيين الأجانب المتواجدون بشكلٍ غير شرعي داخل الأراضي السورية وحينها سيُحاكمون على هذه الجريمة التي قد تصل عقوبتها في سوريا إلى حدّ الإعدام.
فتحت فرنسا ثلاث قنوات تفاوض عبر كل من روسيا الفدرالية والإمارات العربية وسلطنة عمان.

In English
France opens negotiations with Syria to recover its 18 agents

On 13 February 2012, Thierry Meyssan revealed on the first Russian television channel that Syria had captured a dozen French soldiers. Voltaire Network is now in a position to confirm that as of 26 February the number of French prisoners is 18 (eighteen).

If Paris admits that they were on a mission, they will be entitled to prisoner-of-war status and protected by the relative Geneva Convention; but if Paris denies having sent them, they will be considered as foreign civilians and judged in Syria for their crimes, which are punishable by the death penalty.

France has opened three negotiation channels via the Russian Federation, the United Arab Emirates and the Sultanate of Oman.

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February 27th, 2012, 11:21 am


404. majedkhaldoun said:

congratulation to Basharons 89.4 % approved the constitution ,it could have been 99.9%,what a shame
The problem is once bashar is removed we are going to see the opposite results,I guess this is dictatorship,there are too many ways to rigg the voting.

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February 27th, 2012, 11:47 am


405. Equus said:

I couldn’t help but to comment. I heard on the news while driving to work that Canadian prime minister calling Syrian referendum a sham.

But he, himself, Mr. Harper forgot that his party was blasted over the weekend for fraudulent election. And there will be no redo of elections, Canadians just have to digest it and by 2015 it will all be forgotten. ..Democracy à la Canadienne.–conservative-scripts-misdirected-voters-in-2011-election-say-call-centre-staff?bn=1

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February 27th, 2012, 11:58 am


406. ann said:

Russia dismisses Friends of Syria meeting – 2012-02-27

MOSCOW, Feb. 27 (Xinhua) — The Friends of Syria meeting held at the weekend in Tunisia had failed to facilitate a settlement of the Syrian crisis, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Monday.

The meeting was “unilateral” and did not help create conditions for a national dialogue in Syria, Lavrov told a press conference after talks with visiting Myanmar counterpart Wunna Maung Lwin.

Lavrov said Russia “did not understand the status of the document” distributed by the delegates from the Friends of Syria group.

He said Moscow would continue to work for a ceasefire as soon as possible to prevent civilian deaths.

He also welcomed Sunday’s referendum on a new constitution in Syria, hailing it “a movement toward democracy.”

Any new amendments to the Syrian constitution were not a prerogative of external forces, he said.


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February 27th, 2012, 12:11 pm


407. ann said:

Interview: Syria rejects dictates and imposed decisions: deputy FM – 2012-02-28

DAMASCUS, Feb. 27 (Xinhua) — Syria’s deputy foreign minister said Monday his country wasn’t consulted about the issue of sending a UN envoy to discuss the crisis in Syria, stressing that it’s “unacceptable” to impose decisions on the country.

The United Nations and the Arab League appointed former UN head Kofi Annan as a joint envoy to handle the months-long deadly Syrian crisis.

In an exclusive interview with Xinhua, Syria’s Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad said the Syrian government is handling the issue from a strategic perspective and a concept of sovereignty.

Mekdad said Syria has sympathy for the French and U.S. journalists that were, according to Mekdad, killed and wounded by those armed gangs, which would convince the western public opinion of the need to stop providing funds and weapons to those groups.

He indicated that the government has sent a delegation from the Syrian Red Crescent to bring in the two bodies of the deceased journalists and other wounded from the flashpoint Baba Amr neighborhood in the central province of Homs.

He, however, also blamed those journalists for crossing into Syrian territories illegally, adding that foreign journalists and some armed gangs “are trying to impose their own dictates on us and place complicated conditions on how to go out of that area.”

The International Red Cross said that its efforts to gain access to the area and bring out some 27 people, reached a deadlock.

“The problem is theirs and we have no problems,” Mekdad said, adding that the western countries that have funded those armed groups have given “instructions to their agents of armed gangs not to go backward.”

He reiterated what the Syrian government has been claiming since the start of unrest in the country in mid March 2011 about the presence of armed terrorist groups in Syria backed by regional and international powers.

“There are plans by superpowers and the West in general to support those gunmen to disrupt the achievements of the Syrian people and to change Syria’s political path,” he said.

Mekdad said he believes the conditions in Syria are improving, adding that the crackdown in Homs is a “chance to restore security and tranquility to this city via shunning armed gangs that target civilians and hinder the arrival of food stuff provided for them.”

He said the draft constitution that was put for a public referendum on Sunday, is not a “divine document,” raising prospects that the next parliament could work to improve its articles.

“The attacks reflect the barbarism of those groups and their rejection of democracy or any progress in the political and economic life in Syria,” he said.

“The armament of the opposition is a crime and it’s totally rejected,” Mekdad said, adding that the meeting gathered Syria’s foes not friends.

“When antagonists meet, we could imagine what kind of decisions would come out… therefore, we paid no attention to this conference that has come basically to increase pressures on Syria, step up the misleading media campaign, distort facts and lay foundations for foreign interference in Syria’s internal affairs,” he said.

“We don’t want to see the Syrian people suffer under the pretext of a false democracy which they are talking about, while they themselves are farthest from democracy,” he said.


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February 27th, 2012, 12:43 pm


408. DAWOUD said:

408. majedkhaldoun

Thanks brother Majed Khaldoun ماجد خلدون for agreeing with me regarding Bashar’s attempts to “conquer space.” Had King Butcher the Second (Bashar) been a reader of SC, he would have believed that he has already “conquered space” with the abundant favorable comments that he receives here-including posts form SANA (WHICH, ACCORDING TO BASHAR, REFLECTS HIS VICTORY ON “EARTH”), Putin’s “Russia Today,” dictatorial China’s “Xinhua,” etc. , !
Brother Majed: How long do you think it would take the courageous Walid Jumblatt, who has become a frequent critic of Bashar’s war crimes, to leave the Hizballah/Auon gov’t, re-unite with Marwan Hmadah (who survived Hizballah’s/Bashar’s assassination attempt in 2004) and topple the current Lebanese gov’t?
I pray to God to protect the Druze leader, Jumblatt, so that the Syrians wouldn’t kill him in the same way they killed his father, the Arab hero Kamal Jumbalatt! The people who killed al-Hariri in a huge terrorist attack (Bashar and Hasan) may try to kill him. I hope that they fail.
Mr. Khaldoun: Don’t you think that Bashar’s wife seemed so embarrassed to stand next to him while he was trying to “conquer space?” Wouldn’t she liked to sing Um Kulthoum’s song: “give me my freedom, release my hands?!”

Nice article:
The sick man of the Arabs
Al-Assad and his clique have to be routed out, says Ayman El-Amir*

Syria’s President Bashar Al-Assad has become the sick man of the Arab world, hopelessly addicted to Baathist ideology and ruthless autocracy. Like Libya’s colonel Gaddafi before him, he continues to live in a virtual world of illusions, mindless of the fact that the Syrian people are rebellious against him and the authoritarian rule of his family.

More than four decades of iron- fist rule and Baathist indoctrination since the rise of his father Hafez Al-Assad to power in 1970 have failed to endear the family regime to the Syrian people. Al-Assad has developed the mentality of a psychopath. The fact that more than 6,000 Syrians, including women and children, have been killed by his troops, artillery and tanks, that many more have been barbarically tortured and that the country is tottering on the brink of civil war, have not persuaded him that his countrymen want him out.

He is following in the footsteps of his father who, in 1982, shelled rebellious Hama for one month, reducing it to ashes and killing 20,000 of its inhabitants. And, like other Arab dictators, he believes it is worthwhile to kill half the population of the country in order to retain his seat of power. It is doubtful that any set of reforms, constitutional amendments or international diplomacy could resolve the situation. Al-Assad and his clique have to be routed out.

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February 27th, 2012, 12:47 pm


409. ann said:

UN Human Rights Council to hold urgent debate on Syria – 2012-02-27

After initial hesitation, Russia agreed to hold the special meeting but stressed the discussion would not result in a written document as that would not be useful in resolving the situation in Syria.

Cuba said that it hoped that the special meeting would not be used as a pretext to promote military action in the country against the territorial sovereignty of the Syrian nation.


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February 27th, 2012, 12:52 pm


410. DAWOUD said:

أربعة سوريين جمعهم سجن تدمر ثم مخيم بابلاداغي بتركيا
أربعة سوريين جمعهم سجن “تدمر” سنواتٍ طويلة، واليوم يجمعهم مخيم يايلاداغي للاجئين على الحدود السورية التركية. يعكف هؤلاء اللاجئون اليوم على توثيق ذكرياتهم خلال فترة اعتقالهم بسجن تدمر من خلال تأليف كتاب يسجل ما عاشوه من معاناة.

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February 27th, 2012, 1:05 pm


411. Syria no Kandahar said:

Please note new folder insults to ghufran(the king
Of manners here)calling him kazab(liar)and kalb(dog).That is definite red card.

[NOTE: Thanks for the mention of unacceptable personal attack that was missed. The offending words have been removed.]

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February 27th, 2012, 1:08 pm


412. newfolder said:

[WARNING: a repeat of the personal attacks in this comment will lead to a ban from posting to Syria Comment]

# 313 Ghufran [Edited for personal attack], this is the video of the Church Asad’s army shelled yesterday, not the rebels [Edited for personal attack]:

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February 27th, 2012, 1:09 pm


413. Equus said:

SYRIA: US-NATO behind the Killings of Civilians

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February 27th, 2012, 1:49 pm


414. Anton said:

Dear Mr. Dawoud @ 395

Please permit me to tell you another true story

I have a son born in Holland, at the age of 18 and for the first time after getting his own passport , went down to Damascus by his own, to have a Christmas holiday, he insist there to be baptized again in the same church I have had back then in “ Saidnaia” saying it was the real one, and since then he spent each summer and winter holidays year on year until last year in Syria. At his second visit to Damascus he start learning Arabic insisting that one day he should speak only Arabic with his family there, back at his home in Holland the real Syrian flag hanged at the wall beside the president’s picture, and saying always to all people he knows that I am from Syria, and very proud Syrian, even he does not have the Syrian passport.

One of his earlier holiday couple years ago , he wants to visit by his own the Ommiad mosque and the old city of Damascus including Souk Alhamidia , he is tall, good looking young man speaks only foreign language , I said no problem but, take off the cross from your neck , or at least do not show it, but he refused, saying I am Syrian and proud of it .. to be honest I was afraid, as people may not appreciate that … but he insisted, and finally I wished him good day.. when he came back ,, he said Dad I have had the day of my life .. and he was very impressed by the people helping him around especially the the taxi drivers when they knew that his father is Syrian and how proud he is, they refused to let him pay for the transport cost.

Until today he is calling me very regularly asking me about Syria saying I am missing it too much and hope I can go back for holiday very soon , although sometime he disagree , but he always has high respect for his county men and women , to the Syrian flag and to the president, and never ever said any bad word about his county.

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February 27th, 2012, 2:31 pm


415. SALAH ADDIN said:

The video you posted shows a deserted street and a deserted church in a deserted part of town. The only evidence shown is the detonation of an explosive device with sound and smoke with no telltale evidence of a mortar round (shell)or its crater in the ground.
It is a staged clip intended to inflame people using inflaming words that have been a familiar scenario in the Syrian tragedy.
This video is worthless as far as evidence of attacks on churches.
The only evidence it provides is the conniving methods of the hate perpetrators in the Syrian tragedy.

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February 27th, 2012, 2:35 pm


416. Jad said:

First, NYT is not telling the truth at all, especially when a Sunday Times’s reporter who is in the negotiation and in Homs said otherwise, so Alqaeda supporters need to let it go this time like many times before, supporting democracy is needed supporting terrorists is something else.

From Twitter
@HalaJaber: @camanpour Wrong!! This time it was armed Homs rebels who refused to let her body be recovered.

[Link added!/HalaJaber/status/173557828253007872 – for the exchange between Hala Jaber and Christiane Amanpour. Please try to provide links to off-site sources. Twitter posts have unique identifiers that can be used to give a reference. See | How To Link Directly to an Individual Tweet ]

The results of the referendum are the first democratic results Syria saw in decades, when 52% of the total Syrians allegible to vote say YES it means democracy at its finest, again tryin to discredit this outstanding and historical step forward under an unprecedented international war against Syria is the thing we need to ridicule.
Better than the Yamani 99.999% under the American and their Khaliji slaves support and dictations….

I fully agree with Anton and Ghufran on Alhamediyeh attack it was done and orchestrated by the sectarian terrorists of Homs.
The credibility of the terrorists story of Alhamediyeh is zero, they did the same crimes too many times before and this time is not different, as usual the only thing they are good at is violence and crimes based on sectarianism.
تحيا سوريا.

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February 27th, 2012, 2:36 pm


417. JMU said:

Dr. Landis do you have an contacts within Syria who can verify the government’s reports of high participation in the constitutional referendum. I think if a significant portion of citizens participated, we may see support growing for Assad’s reforms rooted in the fact that Syrians are very hesitant of all the violence taking place in the country, fearing a civil war and instability. Furthermore, will Syrian law permit more changes to be made to this constitution even though it has already been voted on and accepted by the majority of voters?

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February 27th, 2012, 2:37 pm


418. jad said:

Praising a Lebanese sectarian warlord who killed tens of thousands of Christians and Muslims and who is now calling for another sectarian war to be upon the Syrian Druze, by someone writing many sectarian messages on SC is very telling.

Thank you Moderator for the twitter link, I didn’t know how to link it.

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February 27th, 2012, 3:11 pm


420. zoo said:

The US and the EU are trying to find all sorts of reasons why Bashar al Assad and the regime are still solidly in power despite the relentless media campaign and overwhelming sanctions.

Is is so hard to understand that the menu proposed to the Syrians by the AL, the SNC, the FSA, the USA and their allies is so repulsive that they’d rather stay with an imperfect system they know and that seems to be adapting to the new realities of the country.

Analyis: Assad’s ‘coup-proof’ rule lacks successor
By REUTERS 02/27/2012 09:05
US probes divisions, but elite remains together for now; Assads spent 40 years planning against coup.

WASHINGTON – The Obama administration along with its Arab and European allies are trying to push Syria’s leader from power, but US officials acknowledge they see no good candidates to replace him, either inside the government or from the nation’s fractured opposition.

That is due in no small part, the officials and experts on Syria said, to President Bashar Assad’s determination to “coup proof” his rule to ensure no challenge emerged from within.

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February 27th, 2012, 3:31 pm


421. jna said:

reply to #418 JMU

If I recall correctly there is an article in the new constitution which states that the newly adopted constitution cannot be amended for a period of 18 months.

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February 27th, 2012, 3:34 pm


422. Son of Damascus said:

Woman voting on behalf of absent family members for the referendum on the Constitution, As seen on Syrian State TV.

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February 27th, 2012, 3:48 pm


423. Amir in Tel Aviv said:

I came now, expecting to find a new thread covering the referendum. Nada.
This shows how unimportant and worthless the so called referendum was.
The most significant event in a nation’s life, not even worth a new post on SC!

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February 27th, 2012, 3:50 pm


424. majedkhaldoun said:

The killing and murders by the regime today in Homs,is so brutal ,one would get severly angry,mad,,cussing and cursing ,and swearing to revenge,this brutality is beyond anyone that could be tolerated, people tried to flee,over 150 person, they were slaughtered by the regime and the children and women were taken to places no one knows what happen to them, ,the fire in the heart of us is so strong,it will burn any politeness and reason we could have, it will be hard to forget , or let it go unanswered.

Joshua , Banning people who respond to this massacre,because they can not stand it anymore is not a fair thing, we have reach a point anyone who support this regime is not human.

Our hearts are hurting badly, our eyes tearing, our voices crying,the banning is so unjust, you might just ban all of us, and leave Syria Comment for the supporters only.

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February 27th, 2012, 3:51 pm


425. bronco said:

According to ministry, the turnout of the referendum is 57,4% despite the difficulties in voting in many areas.
If this number is correct, it confirms that a majority of Syrians ignored the call for boycott and that they are in support of the Syrian government path to democracy rather than the violent and unclear path the Opposition, Qatar, the AL and the western country want to impose on them.

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February 27th, 2012, 3:58 pm


426. irritated said:

#425 Majedalkhaldoon

Let me remind you that you were repeatedly and strongly in favor a few months ago of a “small” civil war and you are now in favor of arming more the opposition to escalate the violence. You seem not to care about the human casualties until they happen.
Instead of cursing and expressing you anger on SC, my advice is that you pack and go to Homs to help.

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February 27th, 2012, 4:06 pm


427. Jad said:

The results are as democratic as it get in such a horrific and war like situation in Syria, not the ridiculous 99.99% of the Yemenis or the old usual Syrian referendum.
This is why the Khalayjeh and those who are in their influence are screaming for more weapons and more violence without any logic so they can destroy what left of the Syrian society today.
Just today Dr boring Zibaleh is saying that giving weapons to the terrorists is NOT enough a full scale NATO intervention along the weapon smuggling is the Solution..
How criminal can someone be to call for such thing…zibaleh!

Check out this news, the US is helping against Alqaeda in Yemen while financing and giving weapons to Alqaeda in Syria

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February 27th, 2012, 4:08 pm


428. JMU said:

Thanks JNA,

18 months is a long time, I wonder if you can request multiple changes to amendments at the same time period. I heard that people were protesting against the article which says that the country’s president has to be Muslim, and a few articles that give the president control over other branches of government. when will thisconstitution be adopted?

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February 27th, 2012, 4:19 pm


429. zoo said:

Al Jazeera absent in Syria’ referendum, but Chinese, Turkish, Indian and foreign reporters are covering the situation in Syria

But that does not explain the arrival of a large delegation of Turkish journalists who came to report on the referendum, despite the sharp political differences Damascus and Ankara.
“A delegation of journalists from Tunisia was heading to Syria three days ago, but its members were prevented by the airline from going there,” said a Syrian official in charge of handling foreign reporters. But other than a few Lebanese and Egyptian reporters, Arab journalists were hardly to be seen at all.

The official was upbeat, however, about the big international media presence that had assembled in Damascus, perhaps believing it would irk the “Arab brethren” or compensate for their “regrettable” absence.

About 75 foreign journalists were said by the information ministry to have been in Syria (with its knowledge) on Sunday. The authorities arranged a separate tour for the Turkish media delegation at its request, and also a 13-strong group of Indian journalists.

Many Chinese reporters could also be found in the Syrian capital. When a group of Chinese journalists toured Damascus on Sunday, a Syrian passerby jokingly told them: “Seek media even in China,” a reference to the old Arab adage, “seek knowledge even in China” attributed to Prophet Muhammad. They smiled back. It turned out that they understood and spoke Arabic too.

Chinese television reporter Li Hang said he’d seen no sign of problems in Syria. But he added: “I have arrived only recently. I have only been in Damascus thus far. All I know is that the situation here is good, and there’s nothing to suggest there is a revolution.”

A German TV reporter, who identified himself as Thomas, saw things differently. He said he had no real complaints about the treatment accorded him by the Syrian information ministry and did not like to discuss his personal political views too much. He sufficed with the remark: “The referendum on the constitution is good, but unfortunately, it has come very late.”

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February 27th, 2012, 4:21 pm


430. Tara said:

The 57% participation is a farce.

Syria is our country and it is business as usual. A person can vote multiple times. The numbers are always fabricated. A family member of mine got her/his driver license without being tested. A parliament member becomes one miraculously without lifting a finger. As long as you get nominated by the “Jabha” , youmiraculously win, etc..Bashar can fool the world but you can not fool the Syrian people because we know better. Syria is a lawless country when it comes to governmental affairs.

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February 27th, 2012, 4:22 pm


431. Tara said:

No offense but, if you have a president’s picture on a wall inside your house, you should be screened for a mental illness.

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February 27th, 2012, 4:28 pm


432. bronco said:


I understood that the new Constitution is largely copied from the French V republic Constitution where large power is granted to the president and where the president is elected directly by the people, unlike other Arab countries. I did not hear any country criticizing the French Constitution on these aspects.
I also understood that this is a “draft’ Constitution and that it will modified once there is a new parlament.
The opposition are saying it’s cosmetic. That’s not true. The major change are the multi party system and the removal of article 8. There is nothing “cosmetic” about that, it is what the opposition has been hammering.
Anyway we have learned what is the one thing that would satisfy the SNC and its western allies: A regime change favorable to the West and ready to dump Iran, Hezbollah and the Palestinians by signing peace with Israel.
This won’t happen.

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February 27th, 2012, 4:35 pm


433. irritated said:

#432 Tara

Most Turkish have a picture of Ataturk prominent in their house and offices. Is this to say that Turks all need a shrink?

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February 27th, 2012, 4:39 pm


434. irritated said:

#431 Tara

Syria’s rigged voting is like Florida’s rigged voting then?

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February 27th, 2012, 4:42 pm


435. Tara said:


You do not chose the art work hanged in your work place. Show me where you get that Turks have Ataturk’s picture hanged in their house?

It is most definitely not a normal sign. If my husband has a president’s picture hanged in his apartment when we were dating, I would’ve not proceeded with the marriage. It is an alarming sign in my eyes.

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February 27th, 2012, 4:52 pm


436. Alan said:

EU hits Syria with toughest-yet sanctions, recognizes SNC
((The EU has recognized the Syrian National Council, one of the main opposition groups, as a legitimate representative of the Syrian people. The decision came as the EU ministers met in Brussels to slap Syria with its toughest set of sanctions yet.))
for us Syrians to spit that EU recognized the Syrian National board, one of the main oppositional groups, as the lawful representative of the Syrian people.
From our point of view the Syrian people will solve all main political problems of the country!

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February 27th, 2012, 4:59 pm


437. jna said:


Text of the constitution…

“Article 153
This constitution shall not be amended before 18 months of coming into force.”

I assume the new constitution comes into effect almost immediately now that it passed the referendum. There’s probably a provision in the constitution.

There is one piece of the constitution I definately do not like:

Article 150

1. The President of the Republic, and so does a third of the members of the People’s Assembly, might propose amending the Constitution

4. The Assembly discusses the proposal for amendment. If it approved it with a three quarters majority, the amendment shall be considered final provided that it is also approved by the President of the Republic.

It seems that the President has a veto over any amendment.

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February 27th, 2012, 5:04 pm


438. Tara said:


I had to pull over to write you this. Now that the EU officially recognized the SNC as the legit rep of the Syrian people, and since I think you are a nice guy, Please take a baby Aspirin today.

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February 27th, 2012, 5:13 pm


439. jad said:

Dementia at its best!

شيخ المعارضين هيثم المالح لـ “عربي برس “: أدين بسمة قضماني وأتمنى لو يقبل الأمير سعود الفيصل رئاسة سورية بعد إسقاط النظام

“إعتبر المحامي هيثم المالح أن ” مجموعة العمل الوطني” التي أعلن عن تأسيسها برئاسته اليوم ليست إنشقاقا عن المجلس الوطني بل تكملة لعمله مخالفا بذلك تصريحات كان قد أدلى بها زميله في المجموعة المعارض الليبرالي المقرب من المحافظين الجدد في أميركا كمال اللبواني.
اللبواني كان قد صرح لوكالات الأنباء اليوم مهاجما المجلس الوطني واعضائه معتبرا أن مجموعة العمل الوطني هي إنشقاق عن المجلس وبديل له .
من جهته ثمـّن هيثم المالح ، رئيس مجموعة العمل الوطني وعضو المكتب التنفيذي في المجلس الوطني، الموقف السعودي في مؤتمر اصدقاء الشعب السوري الذي انعقد في تونس معتبراً إياه من “اروع المواقف والتي تتناسق مع ما يطالب به المجلس الوطني” ، متمنيا ” لو ان سمو الأمير سعود الفيصل يقبل بأن يكون رئيساً لسورية بعد رحيل النظام الحالي”.
المالح وفي حديثه لـ”عربي برس” قال : “ان مؤتمر تونس حقق بعض النجاحات وان كانت لا ترتقي الى الأمال التي بنيت عليه، فجمع سبعين دولة في تونس مهد ثورات الربيع العربي له مغزى كبير، كما ان المجلس الوطني حصل على نوع من الإعتراف الضمني بتمثيله الشرعي والوحيد للمعارضة السورية، كما لا يمكن إغفال مطالبة المؤتمرين بتطبيق قرارات الجامعة العربية والداعية الى رحيل النظام السوري”، مضيفاً : ” سنرى ما سيحدث في المؤتمر الذي سينعقد في تركيا، بالإضافة الى مؤتمر آخر دعا اليه وزير الخارجية الفرنسي وسيعقد في باريس”.
وفي رده على الكلام الذي اطلقه الشيخ عدنان العرعور بحق اعضاء المجلس الوطني والذي اتهمهم فيه بأن ” همهم انحصر بتناول العشاء دون مؤازرة إخوانهم السعوديين الذين غادروا المؤتمر ”
ورد المالح على الشيخ عدنان العرعور فقال :
” كلام (الشيخ عدنان) العرعور غير صحيح وبعيد عن الحقيقة، ومهمتنا حتمت علينا البقاء لضرورة التواصل مع الوفود المشاركة، والشيخ عدنان عضو في المجلس الوطني ولكن لا نعرف اين موقعه ، ومواقفه تتسم بالهجومية دائماً ولنسأل السوريين عن مدى تأثير عدنان العرعور عليهم”.”

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February 27th, 2012, 5:47 pm


440. jad said:

د.عبد العزيز الخير ل(روسيا اليوم):هناك اطراف تريد دفع الوضع السوري الى الانزلاق نحو استنزاف متبادل

“قال الخير: ان وسائل الاعلام الروسية عموما ، والسلطات الروسية ايضا، ماتزال ترتكب خطا متكررا بالحديث عن المعارضة السورية وكأنها ذات موقف واحد ، فليس للمعارضة السورية موقف واحد، وانما هناك مواقف متعددة من القضايا ، واحيانا تكون هذه المواقف غير منسجمة على الاطلاق. وبالنسبة لنا في هيئة التنسيق الوطنية نحن معارضة الداخل السوري بصورة اساسية ، ولنا فرع فعال في الخارج، ولكن نحن الكتلة الاساسية للمعارضة في الداخل.”
“وأكد : ان الوقائع على الارض وسياسة الاطراف المختلفة يمكن ان تسمح بالاستنتاج القائل بان هناك اطرافا تريد دفع الوضع السوري الى الانزلاق اكثر فاكثر نحو استنزاف متبادل داخل صفوف الشعب من جهة وقوى الدولة وامكانياتها من جهة اخرى، اي انهاك الوضع السوري ككل ، الشعب والمعارضة والسلطة. ونعتقد بان هذه الامور لا تجري بعفوية . ولسنا الوحيدين الذين يرون ان الوضع ينزلق نحو هذا الاتجاه ، ولابد ان هناك قوى ذات مصلحة ، ان لم تكن بوعي تام بهذا المنحى، فهي تقبل به على الاقل.”

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February 27th, 2012, 5:52 pm


441. jad said:

Irritated, Alan et al,
Don’t take any ‘aspirin’, it’s not needed, the EU recognition of the SNC is short…..they recognize it as ‘A’ not as ‘THE’ ‘legitimate representative of the Syrian people’
BIG DIFFERENCE between the two, however, this recognition is a very alarming sign since the EU has no right to force on the Syrians any body as their own representative, it’s another form of dictatorship by the west overt the ‘coloured’ people of the world… colonialism is back in a more ugly face.
We will read lots about the same mantra and threats..

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February 27th, 2012, 6:14 pm


442. irritated said:

#439. Tara

The devil is in the details.
“A” or “THE’ ? that is the question!

Gonzo and Basma must be furious. I think they need oxygen, not aspirin.

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February 27th, 2012, 8:29 pm


443. zoo said:

Syria FM expects no Turkey intervention
Hande Aşık – DAMASCUS / CNNTürk
Monday,February 27 2012,

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem has dismissed the possibility of a military intervention led by Turkey while also promising that the Arab republic would “resist” any invasion.

“Frankly speaking, I do not see this [military intervention from Turkey] happening. I believe there is some wisdom left in Turkey,” he said, while also noting Turkey’s stance.

“[Before we can say anything], Turkey has suspicions. They are part of the plan against Syria,” al-Muallem said. “We listen to good advice, but that doesn’t mean you [can] put a timetable before us and we fulfill that. We fulfill [reform promises] according to the interest of the Syrian people.”

“My advice to Davutoğlu is that he should think twice before losing Syria forever.”

The minister also said, “As long as this policy continues against Syria I do not see a future for relations [with Turkey].”
“Turkey is hosting the Free Syrian Army and letting them move across the border. This is not good neighborly policy. But we are not treating Turkey similarly. We respect the Adana Protocol, the security agreement we have signed. The rumors that we are supporting the PKK are inaccurate,” al-Muallem said.

Lt. Col. Hussein al-Harmoush, who was captured by the Syrian forces after he defected from the Syrian military and fled to Turkey, was not captured on Turkish soil but in Idlib, the foreign minister said.

The defector reportedly faces execution.
Al-Muallem said he had “no concrete information” about allegations that around 40 Turkish intelligence officers had been captured by Syrian forces.

The minister also alleged Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan advised Damascus to engage in dialogue with the Muslim Brotherhood when he met with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. “But we have a history about that party,” al-Muallem said. “Al-Assad has always said we will allow them to return to the country as individuals, but not as a party. This made Erdoğan unhappy.”

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February 27th, 2012, 8:42 pm


444. ann said:

Russia lauds Syrian referendum results – 2012-02-28

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said: “I think that those people who see the referendum as a move towards democratization are right. The end to a one-party political system should be welcomed in itself. What additional reforms are needed, what other changes should be introduced into the constitution – this is an internal issue. All political forces, that is both the government and the opposition, have received a signal from abroad that we want them all to sit down around the negotiation table, so that they themselves can determine the fate of their country.”


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February 28th, 2012, 1:30 am


445. ann said:

Tunisia reiterates opposition to military intervention in Syria – 2012-02-28

Tunisia calls for a political solution in Syria and will not support any military intervention due to the special situation in the country and the military intervention’s consequences on the region, the spokesman said.

He also excluded any intention by Tunisia to provide arms to the Free Syrian Army, an armed militia against the Syrian government, as it would be “tantamount to a foreign intervention as well as a military intervention in Syria.”


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February 28th, 2012, 1:34 am


446. ann said:

Visiting PFLP leader says to return to Damascus soon – 2012-02-28

“I’m happy for having the opportunity to visit the Gaza Strip. I will be staying here for several days and then will get back to my office in Syria,” al-Taher told Xinhua as he held talks in Gaza with Ismail Haneya, premier of the deposed Hamas government in the Gaza Strip.

Israel killed former PFLP chief Abu Ali Mustafa in an air strike in the West Bank city of Ramallah in 2002, and put his successor Ahmed Saadat in jail in 2003. As a member of the PFLP politburo, al-Taher has been based in Damascus since 1984.

“I’m basically a refugee, as my family came from the city of Haifa… and I have never been to any part of Palestine or the Palestinian territories since I was born. I have been living all my life in the Diaspora, mainly in Lebanon and Syria,” said al- Taher.

Asked about the situation of the Palestinian refugees in Syria after unrest erupted in the country, al-Taher said that “We wish a good situation and stability for Syria. Syria has hosted the Palestinian people for ages and all what we hope is to see Syria calm down and peace prevail.”


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February 28th, 2012, 1:39 am


447. ann said:

At UN on Syria, Annan Expected in NY Wednesday, Stonewall on How Paid, Pensions

UNITED NATIONS, February 27 — Last week the UN announced that former Secretary General Kofi Annan would be its special envoy to Syria, jointly with the Arab League. But on Monday, UN deputy spokesman Eduardo Del Buey said he had no information when Annan might come to New York, or get started.

Minutes later, Inner City Press and another media were told by a senior UN official that Annan is expected on Wednesday, and appointments are being set up for him on March 1 and 2. There: was that so difficult?

Even easier for the UN to have answer was a question Inner City Press sent to Del Buey and lead spokesman for Ban Ki-moon Martin Nesirky on Friday morning:

What will Kofi Annan’s status be as special envoy? Will he receive a UN salary (on top of his two concurrent UN pensions)? How is Mr. Annan’s mission to be funded? Will payments be made directly to Annan or through a third party?


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February 28th, 2012, 1:48 am


449. Mina said:

I confirm what Zoo says about Ataturk pictures in Turkey. Actually, typing Ataturk + Turkey + tourism on Google you ‘ll find a lot of related notes.
It’s not enough to watch Turkish soaps on Arabic channels, you should see the real people once in your lifetime.

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February 28th, 2012, 3:06 am


450. Tara said:


“It’s not enough to watch Turkish soaps on Arabic channels, you should see the real people once in your lifetime.”

Can a comment get more retarded than that??. My family has a house in Istanbul. additionally, it was Irritated, not Zoo who made the comment about Pictures of Ataturk.

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February 28th, 2012, 7:15 am


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