Homs Intense Fighting; Bakkour Taken by Gov; Roadside Bomb Wounds 11 Soldiers; Defections

Homs is the scene of intense fighting. One Homsi writes, “Bullets and explosions heard heavily and simultaneous attacks on the police station and the political security buildings [are taking place.] Another writes: “Liberation forces are assembling around town.” There have been a growing number of military defections in the Homs and Rastan region, leading some activists to suggest that the cohesion of the military is finally coming unglued, as they had hoped.

Death of Aleppine Imam Angers Followers

A large bomb injured 15 people in southern Syria, reports the Xinhua news agency. About 11 law-enforcement members and four civilians were injured Wednesday when an explosive device exploded in Syria’s southern town of Naeima, the official SANA news agency reported. The blast ripped through a military bus carrying law-enforcement and security members near Daraa.

Adnan Bakkour, Hama’s Attorney General, has been “Freed from his Captors by Syrian Special Forces”, claims Sana and Syria Steps, government sources.  They report that مشيرا الى أن خاطفيه اجبروه على تصوير مقاطع من الفيديو يتهم فيها النظام السوري بالقمع. If the opposition has failed to spirit Bakkour out of the country, it will act as a grim warning to other potential defectors who may be thinking of placing their safety in the hands of the opposition forces within the country.

The Arab League has been asked to delay its visit.

This Youtube of demonstrators in Rastan cheering military defectors demonstrates the growing problem of the collapse of military moral that the regime faces.

Five More soldiers defect and announce joining the Free officersأوغاريت انشقاق الملازم عدي العلي وانضمامه لكتيبة الضباط الأحرار 3 9 2011

Explosion of violence in Syria caught in series of horrifying video clips, Ian Black, guardian, Wednesday 7 September 2011

Horrifying film clips were posted on YouTube, one showing a dead or injured man in the central city of Homs apparently being shot by uniformed men. Another showed a young man named Abdel-Hadi Mustafa dying after being shot by a sniper. A third recorded the death of 15-year-old Zakaria Firzat from al-Rastan on Tuesday. None of the incidents could be independently authenticated as most foreign journalists have been banned from Syria. Casualty figures cannot be easily verified either.

A plea from the Free Officers Movement To PM of Turkey,

May peace be upon you. We are displeased and stunned at receiving the news of the disappearance of our Spokesman Colonel H Harmoush after meeting with a turkish security officer, in one of the Syrian refugees camps in turkey on 29-08-2011.

Such an incident is bound to damage relations between Turkey and Syrian people and to have happened with the full kinowledge of the Turkish authorities. We hereby urge you to clarify the whereabouts, and gurantee the safety of Colonel harmoush!

Here is Adnan Bakkour’s second video, where he says Syrian regime reports that he was coerced are a lie.
31 August 2011

SYRIA: Death of popular Sunni cleric stirs unrest in Aleppo
September 6, 2011 | LATimes

The funeral of an outspoken Sunni cleric who died under tight security in a hospital Tuesday interrupted the calm that has largely prevailed in the Syrian commercial center of Aleppo throughout the nation’s six-month uprising. Plainclothes pro-government security forces attacked mourners, and mourners and activists calling for an end to President Bashar Assad’s regime.

Videos posted on the Internet showed at least several hundred people joining the funeral procession, chanting “death but not indignity,” a slogan of the anti-government protests.

The paid, pro-government militiamen known as “shabiha” and the regular government security forces with them beat and detained mourners when the funeral march reached the cemetery, activists said.

Dr. Ibrahim Salkini, 77, the Sunni mufti of Aleppo and dean of theology at Damascus University, died earlier Tuesday after spending several days in the hospital. According to the Union of Aleppo Coordinators, the Aleppo branch of Syria’s activist network, the Local Coordination Committees, the mufti suffered a heart attack after security forces visited him following what some deemed a defiant Friday sermon by the cleric last week.

According to the Union of Aleppo Coordinators, the family of the sheikh was not allowed to visit him in the hospital and his room was under tight security. Suspicions that the death involved foul play spread quickly Tuesday.

Firebrand `Ar`our risks playing into Assad’s hands
By Abigail Fielding-Smith in Beirut in Financial Times…

Burhan Ghalioun claims in this video recorded in 2007 that 90% of Arabs are Islamists and that Islamists are not better than dictators in that they do not tolerate differences.

France Says EU Pushes New Round of Syria Sanctions: Reuters, 2011-09-06

PARIS, Sept 6 (Reuters) – The European Union is working on a new round of sanctions against Syria that would target economic entities, a French foreign ministry spokesman said on Tuesday, days after the bloc imposed its last punitive measure.

Syrian merchants are stockpiling raw materials and products before things get worse.

One friend writes: I just spoke to my dad. He exports tires from turkey to Syria. His Syrian clients called asking him to send as much as he can as they intend to stock up. They fear more trade restrictions soon.

COMMENTS FROM READERS

Atassi:

HOMS will be a free city soon. Liberation forces are assembling around town.

Kinda Khamasmie in Homs:

“To those who are asking what’s happening in Homs right now:

  • Traffic is Almost Paralyzed, all shops are closed including the Pharmacies.
  • Bullets and explosions heard heavily even at 6 am, and simultaneous attack on the police station and the political security buildings.
  • Gunmen heavily deployed with Kalashnikovs and RPGs and sounds of jihad are everywhere.
  • Khalid ibn al-Walid Brigade appear publicly in the streets and give guidance to the people on how to act.
  • All the banks and private institutions have sent invitations to their employees not to come to work.
  • Mobile coverage is very bad and electricity is cut off from some places.
  • Internet is available in all areas.
  • Currently the army is deployed in some areas of Homs and talking about a quality operation coming in Homs.
  • Everyone who is carrying Kalashnikov and RPG and calling for Jihad should die, because enough is enough!”

SANDRO LOEWE said:

Last week I was in Syria once again. During last 6 months I have been visiting Syria and my parents on a regular basis. I can have
an idea of what is going on through friends and colleagues who explain their experiences and positions.

In Damascus city (bussiness center) many medium to high class people keeps on defending the idea that this regime never will fall and that they are fighting the West and their armed gangs in Syria. But at the same time there is an increasing feeling that bussiness is going to a cathastrophic situation if things do not improve. Anyhow from last 6 months I keep on hearing the same (yet old) story; that last days things are more under control and that in 15 days crisis could be over.

At Damascus suburbs and some in city center medium and low class people I know attack the regime and ask for inmediate change and even death penalty to regime capos.

Outside Damascus, Rif, Homs and Idlib the situation is dramatically going to worse every day. People is absolutely crazy about destroying every single sings and detritus of this regime. But the feeling is generated by killings more than by political ideas in itself.

Even towns that had never seen problems are beginning to dare to express against the regime. There are many many stories about innocent people who refused to cooperate in any way with Security Services men and were arrested sine die. This are 2 last stories I saw and I can personally confirm:

1- My friend’s brother was asked by security services to drive its van to transport security services to arrest activists.
He denied and told the services that if he was seen cooperating with them he would get killed. Following day he disappeared. Two months later their family received news from the services in Damascus that he was in prison. Notice that this person had no idea nor previous political contacts. He is still in prison.

2- While in a restaurant in Amman a person began shouting like a possessed person in the kitchen. When I asked some one I know in the restaurant he told me he is a Syrian who received word that his brother died one month ago in Idlib. He was serving in the army and their family informed him that security services killed him. Last thing I heard was:

WRITE “MEAL FOR THE ASSADS” AT THE GARBAGE BASKET…

3- Some one living in Rif Dimashq told me “muasiqeen” began distributing light arms even to young people aged 16-18 years old but asking them not to use by now because it could cause a massacre

Draw your own conclusions.

NZ Writes:

Dear Tara, you have asked “When is it in your individual opinion justified to defend your country when it is invaded by an enemy?”

It is my personal belief that there is currently a dire need for a professional organized armed resistance.

The goal is to neutralize security forces and shabbeeha and disrupt the lines of communication and logistics to the organized armed forces.

The FOM and the FSA need to consolidate and be given logistical and reconnaissance support. They would be very instrumental in
– deterring and disrupting Jr’s killing machine, and thus save lives.
– expediting defections and the collapse of the armed forces,
– Forming a nucleus for a freedom and people conscious armed forces.
– averting a real threat of emergence of less controllable form of armed resistance, namely revolutionar militias.

Some guy in Damascus

Homsi, there are no armed rebels In Damascus city. Rif dimashq is another story. Do you think taking up arms is a legitimate action?

MNA writes:

Thank you Tara for inviting us to participate.
Whether one agrees or not with your question, it is flawed by false assumptions and statements that even many hard core opposition figures would find objectionable.

First, you are assuming that “revolutionaries” have not yet taken up arms against the regime. Many people would disagree with you.

Second, Equating the national army with the that of an occupying foreign army is just a prime example of your flawed statements. I know that many of the commentators on here will jump and start siting many examples of the brutality with which the army handled the situation on the ground in Syria, but most of the evidence is nothing more than part of a propaganda war. I m not saying that it did not happen, but it is expected when you send any army or armed forces anywhere? Can anyone tell me with a straight face that the revolutionaries forces in Libya did not commit atrocities, or in the event of a Libya like scenario in Syria, the “armed revolutionaries” would not commit such atrocities?

Let me remind you that this is the army that fought many wars against Israel and gave thousands of martyrs in the line of duty. I know that many of the commentators will jump up again and say “fought wars and lost”, but this does not diminish the fact that it is the army that fought against Israel more than any other in the region and gave thousands of martyrs. At least this is how many Syrians still see it. Let me remind you also that you can hardly find a family in Syria that does not or did not have a son or daughter serving in the army. So your statement might be an insult to millions of Syrians.

Third, your statement ” the regime in the eyes of the Syrian people is the enemy!” is flawed as well. Even the worst optimistic views still agree that between the different minorities, the beneficiaries, the elite, etc..this regime still commands at least 40% support. this is a sizable chunk of the population that would straight out disqualify your statement.

Fourth, you statement “I will support the decision of the youth on the ground who are sacrificing themselves and their families for us.” is at best is not shared by many Syrians. No ONE HAS THE EXCLUSIVE RIGHT TO MAKE SUCH A DECISION.

So to answer your question, the majority of Syrians believe that it is never justified. I still believe that Syria could still benefit from this terrifying experience, but the moment that more people decide to take up arms is the moment that Syria will be lost for ever.

Muhammad writes:

If Alawis want to defend Assad regime at all costs then they are asking for a sectarian war. It\’s so sad. Bashar does not even care about the Alawis.

People came out asking for democracy, you called them armed gangs. It soon became a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Give people a third way of genuine reform and they will take it. If the only options available to them are worshiping the village idiot (aka Bashar) or sectarian war then it is no wonder they will take the war option.

And don\’t BS us about Alawis and Shias being brothers. Shias considered Alawis as heretics until Assad came to power. I bet you the Alwais would not be allowed to practice their religion on Iran.

Abboud Wrote:

I’ve stated time and again on this forum that;

1) I will personally turn Hafez’s grave into a public urinal

2) I believe that soldiers who abuse and kill civilians should be boiled in their own urine.

3) The security men killed at Jisr al Shoghour deserved what they got. I hope to hear of many more such retributions.

4) Alawites have pillaged this country for 40 years, and since they have done nothing to remove this murderous regime, they have failed the test of a modern and pluralistic society, by instead pandering to sectarian hate and allowing themselves to be tools in a barbaric oppression of a people yearning to be free. Therefore, Alawite power must be severely curtailed and their bases of power utterly destroyed.

Feel free to quote me far and wide. I’d be happy to remind you if you ever forget.

SS Writes:

The regime supporters left this forum [Syria Comment] months ago. When I am board I come over to Syria Comment to write and vent a little bit, also I feel sorry for you as you do not have anyone to keep you busy so I throw a comment like a bone to hungry ———–.

Aboud also is supported by many…. This is why the Syrian army is chasing the criminal radical thugs who want to wipe out and kill minorities. They want to send Christians to Lebanon. …

“Khalid Tlass wrote “Alawis are not Muslims, Christians can sit in the lap of MICHEL AOUN for all I care”. His other fellow reformers instead of attacking him and disagreeing with him, they asked him to cool off and relax. The radicals on SC are well educated and not lay people. They represents the best of the best of the Syrian society and they do not hesitate to threaten minorities, and mass killing them.

Khalid Tlass is a Sunni and a friend of the so called reformers on SC. He wrote:

“We will convert the fake shrines of al-Hussein and Ali in Iraq to public toilets.” This is an example of the hatred Sunni hold to minorities.

He went on to threaten the minorities by stating “Qurdaha will be Halabja…lets see what your Majoosi Iranian daddies will do.” Halabja is where Sadam Hussein massacred Kurds and killed them with chemical gases. Khalid Tlass is supported by many on SC and has many of the opposition on SC consider a friend. I think they all share the bloody personality but some of them are calm and will not show it until the gain power in Syria and then they will kill minorities including Christians, Alawi, and druze.

Khalid Tlass is dreaming to reestablish Caliph. Basically he is a radical Sunni who wants an Islamic Imara in the middle east. Look what he wrote “Sunnis deserve to rule the Middle East; Shia are fake and creations of Abdullah ibn Saba”….

HA, Iran and Alawites will be your masters forever….

NEWS ROUND UP

Opposition Leader asks for International Military Intervention to Solve the Syrian Crisis: The following article quotes Ashraf Miqdad, Australia based head of the Damascus Declaration, who says that there is no escape from the necessity for military intervention.

معارض سوري: التدخل الدولي عسكريا الحل الوحيد للأزمة في سوريا
القاهرة: هيثم التابعي – صحيفة الشرق الأوسط
All4Syria  2011/09/06

أعرب المعارض السوري أشرف المقداد، رئيس «إعلان دمشق» في أستراليا، عن اعتقاده أن التدخل الدولي العسكري في سوريا أصبح حلا لا بديل عنه، مبررا موقفه بقوله إن النظام السوري يحتكر السلاح، وبالتالي لا رادع له، موضحا أن السيناريو البديل هو دعم انشقاق واسع في الجيش لإسقاط نظام الأسد دون الحاجة لتسليح مدنيين، كاشفا عن أن ضباطا كبارا بالجيش السوري أعربوا عن نيتهم الانشقاق حال تعرض الجيش لضربات جوية حاسمة.
ويرفض المقداد، الذي يعد أبرز المعارضين السوريين في الخارج، فكرة تسليح الثوار، حيث أبدى تخوفه من انتشار السلاح بيد الثوار، وهو ما قال إنه سيؤدي إلى معضلات جمة بعد انتهاء الثورة، ويعتبر المقداد أن الوقت سلاح كبير ومهم في صالح الثورة لا النظام، حيث أوضح أن الثورة ذات الأشهر الستة حققت انتصارات كبيرة على نظام الأسد.

Saydnaya Prison Massacre Explained via latest Wikileaks

Gulf to help EU as Syrian oil banned, Sep 4, 2011

The Gulf is poised to help Europe to meet its energy needs as a ban on Syrian oil comes into play. Yesterday, the EU formalised an embargo on Syrian oil, increasing pressure on the regime of Bashar Al Assad, the Syrian president, to halt its violent clampdown on protests.

The fresh sanctions come at a particularly tough time for the EU, which relies on Syria for 1.5 per cent of its oil supply, as demand grows for winter fuel and oil production from Libya remains stalled.

Sanctions cloud Syria’s big plans, Sep 4, 2011
The National

The EU’s ban on oil from Syria has further jeopardised energy projects in the country, where pressure is being put on the Al Assad regime over the violent treatment of political protesters. With foreign investors reluctant to get involved, there is much at stake — and little time, April Yee reports

Until recently, Syria was not a big presence in energy markets, coming in at number 33 on the list of the world’s top oil producers.

Yet it hoped to transform itself from a minor crude exporter into a major transit point for the world’s energy.

News Analysis: Syria rummages around for other markets after EU
2011-09-03, DAMASCUS, Sep 03, 2011 (Xinhua via COMTEX) — by Hummam Sheikh Ali

Oil embargo lately slapped by European countries on Syria would inevitably overburden its stagnant economy, but experts believe that the country that has been put into a tight squeeze after nearly six months of unrest is still able to withstand the sanctions and find alternatives.

Warning: Syria is much stronger than Libya, September 7th, 2011, CNN Blog
By Shashank Joshi – Special to CNN

Syria’s elite units and officer corps are dominated by the Alawi sect, to which the Assad dynasty belongs. They have neither disintegrated nor turned on Assad. In Libya, a very large portion of the army, particularly in the east, melted away at the beginning of the conflict. In Syria, defections are much more sporadic, and that’s despite months of severe violence against unarmed protesters. That means any armed rebellion would face far worse odds of success, and intervention in support of such a rebellion would involve a longer and more serious commitment.

None of this is guaranteed to avert war. If refugee flows reached unacceptable proportions, or a civil war began to seep outside the country, the US might judge that strategic – rather than simply humanitarian – interests were at stake. But we should be under no illusions that a war in Syria would look identical to the one being wrapped up in North Africa.

Why Rushing to the Polls Could Reignite Civil War
Dawn Brancati and Jack L. Snyder
September 2, 2011

With Libya still in the hands of armed regional and tribal factions — each challenging the other’s pretensions to political authority — it seems wishful to believe that the country will enjoy a smooth and quick transition to stable democracy. Even so, Libya’s National Transitional Council and the United Nations are already planning for Libya’s first elections.
……
The UN memo is right to stress the need for preconditions. Our research on all first elections after civil wars since 1945 underscores the dangers of hasty voting. We found that the sooner a country went to the polls the more likely it was to relapse into war. On average, waiting five years before holding the first election reduced the chance of war by one-third…..

Tribunal Concealed Evidence Al-Qaeda Cell Killed Hariri
Analysis by Gareth Porter*

WASHINGTON, Aug 31, 2011 (IPS) – In focusing entirely on the alleged links between four Hezbollah activists and the 2005 bombing that killed Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, the indictment issued by the Special Tribunal for Lebanon earlier this month has continued the practice of the U.N investigation before it of refusing to acknowledge the much stronger evidence that an Al-Qaeda cell was responsible for the assassination.

Several members of an Al-Qaeda cell confessed in 2006 to having carried out the crime, but later recanted their confessions, claiming they were tortured.

However, the transcript of one of the interrogations, which was published by a Beirut newspaper in 2007, shows that the testimony was being provided without coercion and that it suggested that Al-Qaeda had indeed ordered the assassination.

But the United Nations International Independent Investigation Commission (UNIIIC) was determined to pin the crime either on Syria or its Lebanese ally Hezbollah and refused to pursue the Al-Qaeda angle.

Detlev Mehlis, the first head of UNIIIC, was convinced from the beginning that Syrian military intelligence and its Lebanese allies had carried out the bombing and went to extraordinary lengths to link Ahmed Abu Adas, who had appeared in a videotape claiming responsibility for the assassination for a previously unknown group, to Syrian intelligence…..

Hariri Bombing Indictment Based on Flawed Premise
Analysis by Gareth Porter*

WASHINGTON, Aug 29, 2011 (IPS) – The indictment of four men linked to Hezbollah in the 2005 assassination of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri made public by the Special Tribunal on Lebanon Aug. 17 is questionable not because it is based on “circumstantial evidence”, but because that evidence is based on a flawed premise.

The evidence depends on a convoluted theory involving what the indictment calls “co-location” of personal mobile phones associated with five distinct networks said to be somehow connected with the plot to murder Hariri.

The indictment, originally filed Jun. 10, says that, if there are “many instances” in which a phone is “active at the same location, on the same date, and within the same time frame as other phones”, but the phones do not contact each other, then it is “reasonable to conclude from these instances that one person is using multiple phones together”.

Based on that assumption the indictment asserts that “a person can ultimately be identified by co-location to be the user of a network phone.”

On that reasoning, one of the four accused, Salim Jamil Ayyash, is said to have participated in a “red” network of phones that was activated on Jan. 5, 2005, only contacted each other, and ceased operations two minutes before the blast that killed Hariri. The “red” network is presumed to have been used by those who carried out surveillance as well as prepared the logistics for the bombing.

But Ayyash is also linked by “co-location” to a “green” network that had been initiated in October 2004 and ceased to operate one hour before the attack, and a “blue” network that was active between September 2004 and September 2005. The only basis for linking either of those two sets of mobile phones to the assassination appears to be the claim of frequent “co-location” of Ayyash’s personal cell phone with one of the phones in those networks and one red phone.

But the idea that “co-location” of phones is evidence of a single owner is a logical fallacy. It ignores the statistical reality that a multitude of mobile phones would have been frequently co-located with any given phone carrying out surveillance on Hariri in Beirut over an hour or more on the same day during the weeks before the assassination.

In the area of Beirut from the parliament to the St. George Hotel, known as Beirut Central District, where the “red” network is said to have been active in carrying out its surveillance of Hariri, there are 11 base stations for mobile phones, each of which had a range varying from 300 metres to 1,250 metres, according to Riad Bahsoun, a prominent expert on Lebanon’s telecom system. Bahsoun estimates that, within the range of each of those cell towers, between 20,000 and 50,000 cell phones were operating during a typical working day.

Given that number of mobile phones operating within a relatively small area, a large number of phones would obviously have registered in the cell tower area and in the same general time frame – especially if defined as an hour or more, as appears to be the case – as at least one of the red network phones on many occasions.

The indictment does not state how many times one of Ayyash’s personal phones was allegedly “co-located” with a “red” network phone.

To prove that Ayyash was in charge of the team using the red phones, the indictment provides an extraordinarily detailed account of Ayyash’s alleged use of red, green and blue phones on seven days during the period between Jan. 11 and Feb. 14, the day of the assassination.

But according to that information, during the final nine days on which the red network was active in surveillance of Hariri, including the day of the bombing itself, Ayyash was in phone contact with the red and blue networks on only three days – a pattern that appears inconsistent with the role of coordinating the entire plot attributed to him….

Bernazzani called that use of link analysis by SIDE “speculative” – the same word that Brammertz used to describe the U.N. investigation’s employment of the same tool. Such speculative use of link analysis “can be very dangerous”, Bernazzani said. “Using that kind of analysis, you could link my telephone to [Osama] bin Laden’s.”

*Gareth Porter is an investigative historian and journalist specialising in U.S. national security policy. The paperback edition of his latest book, “Perils of Dominance: Imbalance of Power and the Road to War in Vietnam”, was published in 2006.

Russia to oppose any moves to arm Syrian opposition
By Antoine Ghattas Saab
September 06, 2011 02:08 AM

According to Western diplomats and political observers watching the developments in Syria, the next stage of the international community’s response to events in Damascus will move from supporting the people’s uprising and condemning the oppression of the regime by waving the stick of economic and financial sanctions – including the travel ban on political officials who have been blacklisted – to arming the Syrian opposition, similar to what was done in Libya.

There, rebels were able to take control of the country, including areas that were subject to Col. Moammar Gadhafi’s rule, and assume power gradually through the National Transitional Council which is now recognized by the international community, as was demonstrated by last week’s conference in Paris.

The U.S., France and Britain will participate in strengthening the military side of the opposition in Syria to create a balance with the security apparatus controlled by President Bashar Assad and his regime. It’s likely that Turkey will spearhead the operation to arm the opposition given the overlap of political, geographic and demographic factors between it and Damascus, which have led Ankara, more than once, to show its discontent with the Syrian regime’s elusive promises of reform.

However, diplomatic sources expect that this course would face the objection of Russia, which has previously rejected draft resolutions against Syria by using its veto in the U.N. Security Council and opposing the Western community by dealing unilaterally with Syria.

The sources explain the reasons behind Russia’s rejection of the West’s evolving response and their opposition to the consensus of the international community on the battle between the Syrian regime and the opposition:

First, the Russians have decided not to fall again for the trick they encountered when NATO failed to uphold its commitment to Resolution 1973 – which limited the mission in Libya to a narrow framework of protecting civilians from aerial bombardments by Libyan forces – by expanding their mission to strike Gadhafi’s positions and supporting rebels’ military operations.

These sources also speak of the struggle over the Middle East in which geo-strategic weapons – from oil to expanding political influence to strengthening military bases – are used and such actions would advance any country’s position internationally. Russia has a military base in the city of Tartus which it will never give up and is protected by Assad’s regime. If the opposition backed by the West takes power, it will constitute a real threat to the base.

The sources also say that it seems that the United States-Russian struggle is the dynamo that is driving the regional and international initiatives on Syria, especially as Washington attempts to compensate for its declining influence in Iraq and Afghanistan by riding the wave of change in the Arab world.

Turkish opposition in Syria: We are not here to decry Syrian regime
05 September 2011, Monday / TODAYSZAMAN.COM,

Deputy chairman Faruk Loğoğlu, who is heading a committee of deputies from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) has said the opposition is not in Syria to decry the Syrian regime but to investigate matters closely.

Stressing the brotherhood between Turkey and Syria, Loğoğlu said they traveled several regions in Syria accompanied by local administrators and officials, and that they will present their findings as a report to CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu.

Loğoğlu also noted that the committee met with Syrian President Bashar Al Assad and Parliament speaker Mahmoud Al Abrash in Damascus.

Before going to Mediterreanian city of Latakia, five CHP deputies visited the Yayladağı district of the southern province of Hatay in Turkey along the Syrian border on Sunday to meet with Syrian refugees who had fled the violence in their country. Hatay deputy governor Akgün Corav and Yayladağı district governor Tolga Polat briefed the investigative team on the situation in the refugee tent camp.

Loğoğlu then told reporters at the camp that they came to Yayladağı to help prepare them for their visit to Syria. “We want to witness events in Syria on the ground,” he said.

In Damascus, Abrash and Loğoğlu reviewed in the meeting the current events in Syria, the foreign interference, incitement campaigns to undermine Syria’s role and destabilize its security, Syria’s state-run Sana news agency, which often distorts facts related to the incidents in the country, reported on Monday.

According to Sana, Abrash stressed that the reform process will continue in order to build a strong Syria, adding that the awareness of the Syrian people will foil all attempts of weakening their national unity.

Loğoğlu said the CHP considers Syria’s stability and security to be important to Turkey and that Syria’s freedom, independence, sovereignty and unity are essential to CHP’s principles.

CHP’s deputy chairman reportedly stressed the CHP’s rejection of any interference in Syria’s internal affairs, adding that the Syrians are able to solve this problem.

The report also said that Loğoğlu visited Homs and Hama and briefed by local officials.

Loğoğlu reportedly stressed his support to Syria and the reform steps taken by the Syrian leadership, Sana alleged.

Life in Syria’s Capital Remains Barely Touched by Rebellion
2011-09-06, By THE NEW YORK TIMES

DAMASCUS, Syria — As protests broke out across a restive Syria on a recent Sunday, and crowds were dispersed yet again by gunfire that left many dead, the conversation in the capital dwelled not on the uprising but rather on nails, along with the choice of polish and hair color and the latest in makeup trends.

“I want either fuchsia or orange to match my dress,” a woman in her 50s said as she rummaged through a box of nail polish in an upscale beauty salon in Damascus. “Either one.”

It does not take long to realize that there is a disconnect between Damascus and the rest of Syria. With a mix of denial and fear, and occasionally even satisfaction at the government’s determination to stanch dissent, many Damascenes insist on another reality. …

Comments (326)


Pages: « 1 2 3 4 5 6 [7] Show All

301. Haytham Khoury said:

Guys:

Just to change the subject. I knew Bashar personally in 1987. I spent a year of training in Damascus, Bashar was in my group of clinical training. Bashar was so simple (even naif) at that time. I told Burhan Ghalioun how Bashar transformed from from a naif boy to a ruthless leader. Dr. Ghalioun asked me if I can write an article about that. Indeed, I wrote it in French with the title “Immaturité comme origine du mal: étude clinique du cas de Bachar el-Asaad’. The English translation “Immaturity as origin of Evil: A clinical study of Bashar al-Assad’s case”.

http://haytham-khoury.blogspot.com/2011/09/immaturite-comme-origine-du-mal-etude.html

Thumb up 3 Thumb down 7

September 9th, 2011, 12:11 pm

 

302. N.Z. said:

Just read on Twitter, that Mr. Ghalioun has a surprise, it will be announced in the next 48 hours, any hints?

Thumb up 3 Thumb down 6

September 9th, 2011, 12:16 pm

 

303. Tara said:

  
SEPTEMBER 9, 2011, 9:57 A.M. ET
EU Closing In On New Round Of Syria Sanctions – Diplomats

http://online.wsj.com/article/BT-CO-20110909-707401.html

BRUSSELS (Dow Jones)–The European Union is closing in on a fresh round of sanctions on Syria, whose centerpiece would be an investment ban preventing European energy companies signing new contracts with their Syrian counterparts, diplomats said on Friday.

The measures are the latest in the EU’s efforts to isolate the regime of President Bashar al-Assad over his violent crackdown on protestors. Last week, the EU imposed an embargo on Syrian oil exports and broadened the scope of its sanctions to permit new companies and individuals to be targeted.

The diplomats said the EU’s aim is to put the sanctions in place before the United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York on September 22-23.

The diplomats said an investment ban had been agreed in principle but that details still needed working out. The ban wouldn’t apply to existing investment contracts. One diplomat said the ban would impact “key sectors” of the Syrian energy sector.

Member states are currently looking at adding five entities to the list of companies whose assets are frozen but that number could yet change. One diplomat said those companies are tied in some way to the Syrian military.

There has also been discussion of adding a telecommunication company to the sanctions list and taking action to block Syria’s access to bank notes.

There are currently no plans to add other Syrian officials to the list of individuals targeted by an asset freeze and travel ban, the diplomats said.

Discussions on the new sanctions will continue next week in Brussels.

The EU has so far imposed sanctions on fifty four people and 12 entities. Last week, the regional bloc agreed to target not only people involved in the crackdown but others who supported or benefited from the Assad regime.

In August, the EU joined the U.S. in calling on Assad to step down.

-By Laurence Norman, Dow Jones Newswires; +32-(0)2 741 1481; laurence.norman@dowjones.com

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September 9th, 2011, 12:37 pm

 

304. 5 dancing shlomos said:

301. Haytham Khoury

(edited for insult)

responsible institute took a poll of leader preferences in ME, SW Asian countries.

citizens of almost every country(libyans were happy with gadhdhafi with 78%) would replace their current govt with the bashar al-assad govt with 70% – 82% saying yes.

92% of legitimate syrians support their current govt.

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September 9th, 2011, 12:37 pm

 
 

306. uzair8 said:

299. Akbar Palace said:

Just to make clear I wasnt making any threats.
I had seen a few sneaky posts by a couple of worried Isreali supporters attacking Turkey and Erdogan. Perhaps they thought they may get some sympathy. I felt somebody had to respond.

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September 9th, 2011, 12:54 pm

 

307. shabbi7 said:

Haytham Khoury you are such a joke. You remind me of the other (edited for insult) Ammar Qurabi who claimed he was good friends with Bashar and proceeded to write the stupidest articles, just like you’re doing. “Immaturity as Origin of Evil”? Based on a year of clinical training, supposedly with Bashar? Why don’t you talk about how he treated you instead of going off on pathetic tangents like referring to Bashar simply as “evil” based on “immaturity”? Do the “revolution” a favor and stay out of it. You’re making it look more pathetic than it already is.

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September 9th, 2011, 1:02 pm

 

308. Son of Damascus said:

@ Dr. Haytham Khoury
Thank you for your posts! They are very enlightening. I as well am proud to be Syrian, I have many christian friends that I consider like family. We never saw each other by our religions, but rather as friends. I too believe in tolerance and education, because the more you know the better you understand. All the minorities in Syria have as much right to Syria, as the majority.

Am reminded by a song by a US folk singer Woodie Guthrie, “This land is your land” change the words, and thats how I feel about Syria.

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September 9th, 2011, 1:04 pm

 

309. Interpol issues Gaddafi arrest notice | foodsecretrecipe said:

[…] expert Joshua Landis (him again) said the state new agency Sana had announced that he had been “freed from his captors by Syrian special… There is no mention of the claim on Sana’s English language […]

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September 9th, 2011, 1:04 pm

 

310. Ghat Al Bird said:

This link shows non-arabs doing their favorite things.

http://theuglytruth.wordpress.com/2011/09/06/exposing-israel/

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September 9th, 2011, 1:09 pm

 

311. shabbi7 said:

N.Z., 302

Here is the surprise: http://dai.ly/iBzQg8

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September 9th, 2011, 1:12 pm

 

312. uzair8 said:

@294 Husam

“It is not just 2500 killed, 10-15k hostages, it is the families and extended families of these people that will never let it go. I mean seriously if a brother, son, daughter was killed or tortured what would any family member feel?”

The regime’s own crimes are coming back to haunt them. The crimes weren’t without consequences.

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September 9th, 2011, 1:17 pm

 

313. Humanist said:

Re. Syria comment conspiracy theorist number one, 5 dancing shlomos:

“libyans were happy with gadhdhafi with 78%…”

EEEH?
Really?
No logic?
I guess that’s why they are so happy NOW WHEN HE IS GONE!
(don’t you watch the news recently?)
BTW: May I ask are you currently living in the Evil West or in Free Syria?
And “legitimate Syrians”, what does that mean? Who is an ilegitimate Syrian accoring to you?

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September 9th, 2011, 1:20 pm

 

314. 5 dancing shlomos said:

at #304 that was fact not an insult.

anyway

(deleted for insults. This is a warning)

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September 9th, 2011, 1:24 pm

 

315. uzair8 said:

A very revealing and chilling article about the crackdown.

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-syria-defectors-20110909,0,7078041.story

By Ellen Knickmeyer, Los Angeles Times
September 9, 2011

Reporting from Tripoli, Lebanon—

Days before Syrian forces launched a deadly offensive against street protesters in the western city of Baniyas, the colonel leading the attack gathered up six of his officers. The colonel, one of the officers later recounted, put his cellphone on the loudspeaker setting, for all to hear.

The voice of Syria’s then-defense minister, Ali Habib, boomed out, providing chilling orders for a crackdown on Baniyas’ civilian protesters:

“Any kind of gathering, you disperse it with sheer force. You shoot,” the minister said that day in May, recalled a 21-year-old lieutenant in the quwat-al-khassat, or special forces, who said he was one of the six gathered around the colonel’s phone.

“And the officer who cannot handle that and disagrees, we will deal with them directly.”

The Los Angeles Times spoke to three Syrian military men, all members of the nation’s Sunni Muslim majority, who, reached independently, said they fled between May and August to avoid being forced to shoot unarmed civilians, or being shot themselves for refusing.

A fourth Syrian interviewed by The Times identified himself and was identified by one of the other defectors as a first lieutenant in the military intelligence service, or mukhabarat.

Together, their accounts offer insight about the planning and
organization behind the deadly offensive that activists, rights groups and Western governments allege Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime has unleashed against predominantly peaceful street demonstrations by citizens demanding governmental change.

The four all said orders to shoot protesters came from top officials and were explicit. Officials of the United Nations and Human Rights Watch say actions of that sort may constitute crimes against humanity.

The men also said that Assad’s forces have been augmented in their attacks by Revolutionary Guard forces from Iran and by members of the shabiha, the Syrian civilian militia composed of otherwise unemployed and underemployed men whom the government is said to pay by the day for missions that include shooting at civilians.

Three of the interviews were conducted in person or on the phone in neighboring Lebanon. The fourth, with a man who said he was living in a Syrian town bordering Turkey, was conducted by Skype.

The three Syrian army men — a captain, a lieutenant and a sergeant — produced the same type of salmon-colored military ID cards. The cards displayed their names and photos in uniform, under the emblem “Syrian Arab Republic, General Leadership of the Armed Forces, Administration of Officer Affairs.” The sources asked that their names be withheld because they feared retribution.

The sergeant said his last hours of service in the Syrian armed forces came one day in early June, when he and others under the command of a high-ranking Defense Ministry official were sent to the northern town of Jisr Shughur to crush an uprising.

“The town was empty,” recounted the sergeant. “We heard the distant voice of a muezzin’s call to prayer, and then the chanting of a protest.”

“We were ordered to shoot in that direction, without knowing who, and where, we were shooting.” Fellow soldiers, he said, “started shooting.”

Unwilling to fire on unarmed people, he said he fell back with another soldier, who was from the town and knew the backstreets. Soon, he said, they dropped their guns and were fleeing down narrow lanes past the corpses of civilians, some of them children, in the streets and on doorsteps.

“Usually, there is a whole line of security forces behind our backs” to shoot soldiers who refuse to fire on protesters, the sergeant recounted.”I was lucky to be able to run away.”

“When you reach a point where you have to shoot at civilians, when a bullet has to come out of your gun and hit a civilian, then you’ll understand how easy a decision it was to run away,” he said.

Many other soldiers “share my opinions but are afraid of putting their families at risk,” he said. “We are a police state.”

All three military men described the planning with which Assad’s government allegedly cracked down on civilian protesters.

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September 9th, 2011, 1:33 pm

 

316. Mango said:

London and UK riots day three aftermath – Tuesday 9 August 2011

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/blog/2011/aug/09/london-riots-violence-looting-live

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September 9th, 2011, 1:35 pm

 

317. Haytham Khoury said:

Dear shabbi7

Believe, I have no hate for Bashar, but I have Sympathy. I explained in the article how Bashar in 1987 was very modest and nice.
However, seeing him smiling all the time during his first speech during the uprising while people dying in the streets shocked me. In order to be able to do that. He should be able to deny completely his conscious.

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September 9th, 2011, 1:41 pm

 

318. Humanist said:

Re. AbuGhassan:
“most Iraqis actually regret allowing outsiders to come and “fix” their problems”

Are you sure? I’ve heard what you wrote many times but not so much from Iraqis themselves: many Iraqis instead seem to blame neighboring dictatorial arab countries like Syria and Saudi Arabia for their main problems(=terrorists), not the invasion itself.. It’s not that they loved war and “neo-cons” (nobody does…) it’s just that they HATED Saddam so much that many thought invasion was the only way to get rid of him (like the libyans did with Ghaddafi more recently)

BTW: this is not my personal opinion, I just try to find out what is more or less correct. Too many people tend to wiew “the reality” from what fits their own political/religious view-point. But the world is not black-and-white… Western policies are not always good, but neither are they always to be blamed….

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September 9th, 2011, 1:49 pm

 

319. ann said:

*** To our humiliated israel MENHEBAK posters on this blog ***

Turkey threat of warships to Gaza ‘grave and serious': Israel

10 September 2011

http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/afp_world/view/1152124/1/.html

JERUSALEM : A top Israeli minister on Friday described as “grave and serious” a threat by Ankara to send warships to escort any aid vessels trying to reach the Gaza Strip in defiance of Israel’s naval blockade.

But Alon Liel, a former Israeli ambassador to Turkey and expert on the relationship between the two countries, said Erdogan’s warnings should not be taken lightly.

“This warning should be taken more seriously than a hypothetical expression of support for any Gaza-bound flotilla, taking into account Turkish interests in the region,” Liel told AFP.

“Such an action would involve additional complications with Cyprus and Greece,” he said.

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September 9th, 2011, 2:42 pm

 

320. Aboud said:

@304 “libyans were happy with gadhdhafi with 78%”

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Well, where are the 78% who were happy with Mr Zinga Zinga now he’s been overthrown? Did it occur to you that the poll’s methodology was completely crap? Link it anyway, let’s take a look at it.

Know what, why don’t you take another poll of those same countries and see how he does.

Anyway, if they like him so much, they can have him. The important thing is that the overwhelming majority of Syrians want him on the first plane to anywhere else. Don’t believe me, I dare junior to hold an election. But he won’t. The wimp.

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September 9th, 2011, 2:58 pm

 

321. ann said:

Islamic Shariah court in Nigeria orders 2 men be amputated

http://news.yahoo.com/shariah-court-nigeria-orders-2-men-amputated-175102076.html

KANO, Nigeria (AP) — A Shariah court in northern Nigeria has ordered that two men have their right hands amputated for stealing a farmer’s bull.

The decision by the Shariah court in Zamfara state came Friday. In the Judge Muhammadu Abubakar’s ruling, the court will carry out the sentence against 23-year-old Auwalu Abubakar Tsaure and 22-year-old Lawalli Musa Tsaure on Oct. 8 during a market day for the public to witness.

The court estimated the cost of the bull at more than $800. The 23-year-old said he would appeal the sentence, while the younger man said he wouldn’t.

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September 9th, 2011, 3:17 pm

 

322. ann said:

EU tells Turkey not to threaten Cyprus – 9 September 2011

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/displayarticle.asp?xfile=data/international/2011/September/international_September394.xml&section=international&col=

He said Turkey, a NATO member, has taken steps to patrol the Mediterranean, and vowed to stop the Jewish state from exploiting natural resources in the area.

“You know that Israel has begun to declare that it has the right to act in exclusive economic areas in the Mediterranean,” Erdogan said, apparently in reference to Israeli plans to exploit offshore gas reserves found in areas that are also claimed by Lebanon.

“You will see that it will not be the owner of this right, because Turkey, as a guarantor of the Turkish republic of north Cyprus, has taken steps in the area, and it will be decisive and holding fast to the right to monitor international waters in the east Mediterranean,” he said.

Turkey argues the oil deals are illegal as the borders of Cyprus remain undetermined while Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots pursue reunification talks.

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September 9th, 2011, 3:43 pm

 

323. SYRIAN HAMSTER said:

Polls

And 135% of North Koreans are elated with their eternal leader family.

Half a dozen minus one Dancers
Careful, somone will soon claim you are Lamia Shakkour, she has a good size shabbe7a gang.

Ambassador Extra- Sub-ordinary and Plenipotentiary

OTW, SHEILA, TRUE, MAJEDKHALDOUN, ABOUD, and ZIADSOURY

Imad is not SNK, or better yet, SNK is no Imad Mustapha. But the ambassador has long since abdandoned the Ambassadorship, and is hanging on to the plenipoteniary part of the job.

ssHaBi7
suites you, realy suites you.

Battle of the Bridge
SGID
You guys are awsome, true heros each and every one of you. Did you see any of the SC shabee7a under the bridge.

Artificial Neural Network (ANN)
What’s wrong, the mouse wheel isn’t working and it is harder to cut and paste very long confused articles. Common, you could do better.

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September 9th, 2011, 3:45 pm

 
 

325. Aleppo said:

Assad is suicidal. There is no way out of the situation he got himself in. Before there were pockets of resentment, not this feeling is being extended everywhere and across all social classes and even religion. These are not the 80s anymore, you can’t just cover up, distribute some favours and go back to “normal”. People are on the edge. Thugs and assorted low lives are also very much on the edge. All this on a background of very poor economic conditions in the country and a deteriorating global picture.

But the president doesn’t see it. He needs to go to an ophtalmologist.

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September 12th, 2011, 9:33 am

 

326. Aleppo said:

Imad Mustapha(rt) on Newsweek after Israel bombed Deir el zor:

So Israel will pay a price.

“It will. And there will always be a price for everything.”

LOL

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September 12th, 2011, 9:37 am

 

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