Is Aleppo Slipping out of Government Control?

A friend from Aleppo wrote me over the weekend that he believes that the northern suburbs of Aleppo are falling out of government control. In particular, the poorer towns of Azaz, Hreitan, and Anadan, which are on the road to Turkey, have been taken over by opposition groups. On February 27, a number of local residents were killed by the military, setting off protests and violent confrontations with local security. He does not believe the regime’s end is imminent because the armed groups are not centrally organized. All the same, the migration of neighborhoods out of government control is unceasing. Although the government has retaken Homs, it is losing Aleppo and the broader North, an area that has long been fertile ground for Islamist currents.

He writes:

I just had a long conversation with friends and family in Aleppo. It may not be long before the city joins the revolution, I believe. My father could not travel by car to the border with Turkey. No driver dares take the roads north any longer. The drive to Turkey is only a half-hour. The working-class neighborhoods of Azaz, Hreitan and Anadan have largely fallen out of government control. Friends who own factories in the industrial regions outside of Aleppo complain that for a week now they have been unable to visit them. Lack of security, frequent anti-regime demonstrations and clashes between militants and the army make the excursion impossible.

I am a partner in one Aleppo factory that was attacked Sunday night (March 4). The attackers beat up the two night security guards and bound them. They then lifted the whole safe box and carried it out of the factory. Thankfully, the safe only contained syp 350,000 and not more. Also thankfully they did not burn the place down, as has happened to some Aleppo factory owners.

The fact that neighborhoods, such as Azaz, Hreitan and Anadan have fallen out of government control is significant because cars can no longer travel, even in daylight, to Turkey from Aleppo. The entire boarder area is becoming unsafe. This is much worse than Baba Amr or Khaldiye falling out of government control from the point of view of security because Turkey is the base for the Free Syrian Army, arms exports into Syria, and most opposition groups.

To make maters worse, the Syrian Pound has fallen to 83 to the dollar. This means that the net worth of every Syrian has fallen by over 70% since the beginning of the uprising. People do not have enough to eat. More than half the country is living on two dollars a day or less. Hunger and fear are spreading.

Even the middle and upper classes that live in the city centers are beginning to panic and look for a way out of the country. Plane flights to Lebanon from Aleppo are booked for the next month. The exodus has begun.

This is the first real breakdown of Aleppo control. My sister says law and order is deteriorating in the center of Aleppo as well. Armed elements are kidnapping folks for ransom, breaking into houses, and beating people up and stealing their jewelry and money. My wife’s relative, the Gharo family, was invaded in Aleppo today.  A guy rang the intercom and said he was from the security service. He was buzzed in and went upstairs to their apartment. When the Gharos opened the door, a group of thugs went in, grabbed their young son and held a knife to his neck and demanded every valuable in the apartment. When they got their loot, they fled!

Government forces are doing their share of damage. Michael Aswad, a patriach of a prominent Christian family, was killed by the security service last week, apparently by accident when he didn’t stop the taxi he was in as he entered the security zone around his apartment. A high-ranking official lives in his apartment. His death has mortified upper-class Aleppines because he was killed in the city center.

The ability of the government to supply basic goods and services has crumbled. Now security is evaporating. More and more Syrians realize that the state is losing control and are taking maters into their own hands.

On Feb 27, fighting in Aleppo’s northern suburbs resulted in this news

Aleppo Suburbs: The number of martyrs for today has reached 11 martyrs as a result of the continuous shelling by regime’s army on several areas of the suburb. Helicopters are being used to bomb some of the areas.

Aleppo: Andan: Mr. Adnan Abu Ghafour was martyred due to the shelling by the security forces in the city.

Aleppo: Aazaz: Alaa Shawki Al-Shash was martyred by helicopter bombing in the city.

News Round Up

Bearing Witness in Syria: A Correspondent’s Last Days
The armed opposition in Syria is led by the under-equipped Free Syrian Army.
By TYLER HICKS, March 04, 2012


Here are some recent videos of militant brigades that have announced their formation in Syria. They are taking shape with growing frequency.

حلب – صوران إعزاز – 23 / 2 / 20

قسم كتائب الفرقان ان تكون رايتنا لا إلة إلا الله ومحمد رسول الله وان نحكم القران في اعمالنا

تشكيل كتيبة الشيخ حمد بن جاسم في ريف معرة النعمان.‬

إدلب كللي || الجيش السوري الحر || تشكيل كتيبة الفرقان
الأعلان عن تشكيل كتيبة صقور العقيدات في حمص العدية و ريفها التابعة الى الجيش السوري الحر توجه نداء الى الشعب السوري و الى عشائر جزيرة الشام للإنضمام الى صفوف الثوا

ريف ادلب 28 02 2012 اعلان تشكيل كتيبة عمار بن ياسر

U.S. sees ‘no fracturing’ of al-Assad regime

(CNN) — After weeks of collecting intelligence on Syria and watching the attacks by the forces loyal to Bashar al-Assad, the U.S. sees “no fracturing” of the Syrian regime and assesses al-Assad could remain in power for some time to come if the …

The European Union announced its recognition of the Syrian National Council as a legitimate representative of the Syrian people, and called for other opposition factions to unite and work with the Council.

Senator McCain

the Arizona Republican said in an impassioned speech in the U.S. Senate. “The only realistic way to do so is with foreign air power.”

The goal, added the ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, should be to establish and defend safe havens, primarily in northern Syria, where opposition forces could organize their efforts. “These safe havens could also help the Free Syrian Army and other armed groups in Syria to train and organize themselves into more cohesive and effective military forces, likely with the assistance of foreign partners,” he said.

McCain, a Vietnam War veteran, said that any such effort would require taking out Syria’s air-defense systems. “We’re the only ones who can do that,” he said.

But he predicted that some kind of intervention will happen, even if the United States does not act. “So the real question for U.S. policy is whether we will participate in this next phase of the conflict in Syria, and thereby increase our ability to shape an outcome that is beneficial to the Syrian people, and to us. I believe we must.”

McCain said that any effort must include other nations. “We should seek the active involvement of key Arab partners,” such as the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Qatar “and willing allies” in the European Union, NATO and Turkey, he said.

McCain acknowledged that his proposal is a risky one, that the opposition lacks cohesion and that the American public has wearied of war, but said that should not dissuade U.S. officials from moving forward. “There are no ideal options in Syria,” he said. “We need to deal with reality as it is, not as we wish it to be.”

He added, “The Syrian people deserve to succeed. Shame on us if we fail to help them.”

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta was non-committal. “The secretary is interested in exploring options that could help end the brutal violence in Syria, but he also recognizes that this is an extremely complex crisis,” a senior Pentagon official said. “Intervention at this time could very well exacerbate problems inside the country.”

By Soner Cagaptay
CNN Global Public Square
March 2, 2012
To view this article on our website, go to:

A new argument against intervention in Syria is that since the opposition consists of radical Islamist elements, the United States and other countries should shy away from supporting the rebellion against the Bashar al-Assad regime for fear that they might empower Islamists.

I recently visited Turkey, stopping in cities near the Syrian border such as Antakya and Gaziantep. During this trip, I talked to people who are in daily contact with Syrians, including professors at Zirve University in Gaziantep, an international school that has Syrian students, and American journalists who had just returned from Syria. I did not find any evidence that Islamists run the uprising, yet I left Turkey thinking that delayed intervention against the al-Assad regime could surely lead to building Islamist resentment towards al-Assad to the point of empowering radicals in Syria.

In this regard, there is a lesson to be learned from the war in Bosnia in the 1990s. When the Yugoslav Army started its attack on Bosnia in 1992, Bosnian Muslims (also known as Bosniacs) held the distinction of being the world’s “most secular Muslims.” The Bosniacs’ embrace of Islam was non-political, and one’s level of religiosity was a personal matter. The Bosniacs even ate pork liberally, a violation of orthodox Islam that shocked even their fellow liberal Muslims in Turkey.

Only a couple of years after the onslaught against the Bosniacs began, though, Bosnia’s “pork-eating” Muslims were flirting with radical Islamists, including Iranian agents and jihadists. As the outside world watched Serbian forces slaughter Bosniacs, these people increasingly came to view their persecution through a religious lens. They started to believe that (Christian) Serbs were targeting them because of their (Muslim) faith and that the outside world turned a blind eye to their persecution because of their Islamic religion. This process led to a rapid politicization of the Bosniacs’ Muslim identity. Previously secular and even irreligious Bosniacs started to view the world through a religiously-guided Manichean perspective.

This persecution-driven metamorphosis — a historical phenomenon not uncommon among Muslim communities — transformed the Bosnian political landscape quickly and radically. Jihadists, previously considered alien and shunned by Bosniacs, could now find refugee in Bosnia. In fact, when the outside world, led by the United States, decided to intervene in Bosnia in 1995, it was justified by the fear of speedy Bosniac radicalization.

Even though the conflict in Syria lacks an inter-religious dimension, it has a sectarian overtone that could lead to Islamic politicization in Syria akin to that in Bosnia.

The al-Assad regime’s inner circle is composed of Alawites, an offshoot of Islam, while the opposition is mostly made up of Sunni Muslims. Even if the protestors’ demand for democracy is non-religious, the fact that the al-Assad regime and its (Alawite) supporters are brutally killing (Sunni) demonstrators is already giving the conflict in Syria a sectarian hue. Persecution-driven metamorphosis of Islamic identity can reshape the conflict as a religious one — one pitting Alawites against Sunnis, and Sunnis against Alawites.

As anecdotal evidence suggests, some protestors already view their persecution through a religious lens, believing that the regime is targeting them not because they demand democracy, but because it is an Alawite machine trying to massacre the Sunnis. And the more the outside world sits idly by as Syrians are slaughtered, the more the Sunnis in Syria will believe that the world turns a blind eye to such horrors because of their religion.

Add to this the fact that some orthodox Sunnis do not consider Alawites rightful Muslims, and it could be a matter of months before radical elements such as al Qaeda start a propaganda war to depict the Syrian conflict as one of “non-Muslim” Alawites killing Muslims. This perception would transform the fighting as well as send sectarian waves across the Middle East’s fragile landscape. At the same time, it could lead to the radicalization of Syria, turning the country into a fertile recruitment ground for radical groups.

The sooner the international community is able to help end the killing in Syria, the more likely it will be able to prevent the radicalization of the country’s population along sectarian and even religious lines. In Bosnia, after some soul searching, the international community concluded that intervention was the way to end the radicalization of Muslims. What was true in Bosnia appears to also be true in Syria.

Now, An Intervention Must Take Place in Syria
Bernard-Henri Lévy: 02/28/2012

On March 19th, it will be a year, day for day, since squadrons of French planes, later followed by British, American and Arab aircraft, saved Benghazi from what would have been its inevitable destruction.

Well, things being what they are and if the international community does not pull itself together, this anniversary may have the bitter taste of ashes and failure.
For today, there is a new Benghazi.

There is a city in the region that is in precisely the same situation as was Benghazi. To be exact, there is a city that finds itself in even more dire straits than Benghazi was, since the same type of tanks, stationed in the same manner, at the same distance from unarmed civilian populations have, this time, already gone into action, and this for the past several months.

This city is Homs. This is the Syrian capital of pain, where they target journalists and massacre civilians indiscriminately.

And the fact is: what we did there, we are not doing here; the same tanks our aviators nailed to the ground in Libya, just hours before they let loose their fire, are operating in Syrian with complete impunity. Of course, I am aware that the two situations are not identical…..

India refuses government guarantee on Syria oil imports: sources
NEW DELHI | Fri Mar 2, 2012 6:49am EST

(Reuters) – India has refused to provide its sovereign guarantee for oil imports from Syria, two government sources said, frustrating refiners looking for alternative sources of crude to hedge against possible supply disruptions from sanctions-hit Iran.

The Oil Ministry had hoped that the government would underwrite Syrian oil cargoes after Indian insurance firms failed to find re-insurers for shipments from the Middle East nation, which is also targeted by Western sanctions.

New Delhi’s stand on Syrian oil comes after it voted last month in favor of a U.N. resolution endorsing an Arab League plan calling on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down.

“This is true that the government has denied sovereign guarantee for import of Syrian oil. This was done because of India’s vote against Syria in the United Nations,” said one of the sources.

Both sources had direct knowledge of the decision and declined to be named because of the sensitivity of the matter.

Indian refiner Hindustan Petroleum Corp and explorer Oil and Natural Gas Corp, which has a stake in Syrian fields, wanted to import oil from Syria but insurance problems halted their plans.

HPCL had even engaged the Shipping Corp of India to hire a vessel to import Syrian crude. The India government is now weighing options, including extending sovereign guarantees for its shipping lines and buying Iranian oil on a delivered basis to ensure cargoes from July.

Iran is India’s second-largest crude oil supplier, meeting about 11 percent of the South Asian country’s imports. Tehran is facing Western sanctions over its nuclear plans that many say is aimed at making a bomb. Iran says it wants to produce power.

The sanctions have made it difficult for its Asian customers to pay for oil imports. India currently pays Iran for its imports through a bank in Turkey but that conduit is vulnerable to Western sanctions. India currently does not buy any crude oil from Syria.

France announces it’s closing embassy in Syria

Nick Heras, “The Revolution Will Be Uploaded: Citizen Journalism in Homs.” It is published in Fair Observer and it explores how Syrian citizen journalists are taking the leading role in reporting the battle for control in Homs.

Greg Djerejian of Belgravia Dispatch discusses several recent op-eds recommending intervention in Syria, especially Nakleh’s op-ed in the FT


EU De-lists Ghreiwati, Names Seven Blacklisted Ministers: The seven new Syrian individuals on whom the European Union imposed sanctions on Monday have been named, while a prominent businessman has been taken off the blacklist.

Syria to Conduct Barter Deals for the Purchase of Key Food Commodities
: The Syrian Government has decided to carry barter deals to circumvent the impact of international sanctions on the Syrian economy, according to a local newspaper.

Russian Companies Stop Operations in Syria
: Russian companies have interrupted their operations in Syria because of the security situation in the country, according to Georgy Petrov, Vice President of the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Libya Offers USD 100 million to Syrian Opposition: The Libyan Government has announced that it would give USD 100 million in humanitarian help to Syria’s opposition.

Comments (179)

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151. ann said:

Obama calls unilateral military action against Syria “mistake” – 2012-03-07

WASHINGTON, March 6 (Xinhua) — U.S. President Barack Obama said on Tuesday that it is a “mistake” to think that the United States could take unilateral military action in Syria and that there is a simple solution to the crisis there.


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March 7th, 2012, 12:29 am


152. son of Damascus said:


“I’m not sure what you want to prove in the video you linked. The roof is broken at the entry of the market where nobody got hurt, the victims killed ‘together’ at the far end of it.”

It shows the trajectory of the shell. The shell went through the roof,the metal bearing, the shop entrance, the shops back wall, and through adjacent buildings wall.

“In anyway, what we know that some people were killed either by the army as you are trying your best to prove or by the usual terrorists of fsa, which isn’t that far fetch from the crimes they did already or from the logical evidence put out by many.”

Actually you and Mick keep bringing it up, I am not going out of my way at all, it is actually the activists on the ground that are going out of their way to show what really happened.

Jad the Syrian government is commenting the atrocities then they are bringing in Al Dunnia to film it. 6 days and the Red Cross has not been in, yet every day the camera men are running around Bab Amr, that does not sound at the very least suspect to you, if not all out criminal? How can you keep blaming the gangs for everything?

“What you think of the story Ghufran linked, killing a 12 years old kid just for media purposes by the mighty terrorists, it’s Sari Sa3oud all over again. Bunch of criminals”

If this is true it is deplorable and down right barbaric, to kill a child for the sake of airtime is cheap and criminal at best. However you can excuse me if I don’t believe anything that comes out that garbage station (The Syrian TV Station, not Ghufran just to be clear), may I remind you that this was the same station that aired Hamza AlKhateeb’s father saying his son was not tortured and horribly murdered.

If any station is guilty of aflam moufabrakah thats exhibit A.

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March 7th, 2012, 2:22 am


153. Juergen said:

Syrian Revolution for dummies

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March 7th, 2012, 3:10 am


154. Amir in Tel Aviv said:


Thank you for the Flicker collection. It’s lovely.
A 5000 years synagogue?? What an exaggeration… I’m sure the person who told you that wasn’t a Jew. And let me guess, he asked you for a donation (bakshish ) after this review of Jewish “history”.

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March 7th, 2012, 3:17 am


155. Juergen said:


yes he was jewish.:)

Forgot to mention about 100 jews are left in Damascus, and many are very old ladies and gentlemen. They keep some of the biggest and nicest old houses in the old city. I was invited by one old lady who lives in an 400 year old house, all her relatives are in Israel and they pay her to stay, they fear that the house will go otherwise to God knows who. You find easily those mezuzahs, many intact with the thora part in it, to me a sign that many fled the country in despair and in hurry.

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March 7th, 2012, 3:28 am


156. Areal said:

Terrorist Confesses to Assassinating Businessmen, Destroying Properties in Aleppo
Mar 07, 2012

DAMASCUS, (SANA) – Terrorist Yasser Fouzi al-Abd on Tuesday confessed to assassinating businessmen Mahmoud Ramadan and Mahmoud al-Sourani, in addition to committing acts of killings, robbery and sabotage in Aleppo Province and its countryside.

In confessions broadcast by the Syrian TV, al-Abd said ” Mohannad Jafala and I were close friends, we had the same salafi ideas.”

He added that Jafala was a jihadist in Iraq, adding that he had stayed in Tikrit city for three months during the war.

“We made a group and named it ‘Abu Amara Battalion’, its members were Mohannad Jafala, Hassan Othman, Abdul-Fattah Abdu-Majid, Said Hajj Othman and I.” He confessed.

Al-Abd added that they set fire to many cars in several neighborhoods, the cars were for people who support the government.

He confessed to looting several shops and stores in order to buy weapons and to rent a house to be their center.

“We were stealing cars and sending them to ‘Abu Ali’ in Dabiq town, Abu Ali would paint the cars and change their panels. As for explosives, we got them from ‘Huzayfa Jandouri’, he was specialized in manufacturing home-made explosive devices.”

“One day, four persons visited us and said they want us to kill a businessman named ‘Mahmoud Ramadan’, they asked us to help them in planning the assassination because we had weapons and experience in this field.”

Terrorist al-Abd said that they had a ‘Facebook’ page and they were listing posts on all of their operations, adding that the name of the page was ‘Abu Amara Battalion’.

“After we killed Mahmoud, we were surprised that he was a brother of one of Istanbul Council’s members whose name is ‘Ahmad Ramadan’. Istanbul Council asked Ahmad to delete the post about the assassination from Abu Amara Battalion page because they had other plan.”

“At that time we had an account in Turkey opened and funded by two persons, Hassan Hashem Abu Omar and Yassin Abu Ahmad who had connections with Turkey. I told them that if they want to delete the post from the page, they must support the battalion financially through our account in Turkey and they agreed. We sent them the account number and deleted the post. After two hours, the Council issued a statement in which Ahmad Ramadan accused the Syrian security forces of killing his brother Mahmoud, but they didn’t send us any money.”

He added that he brought two pump-action shotguns to a person named ‘Jihad Albo Assi’, adding that he turned to be a member of al-Qaeda.

“I was told that they are preparing for something big in Aleppo, they gave me a list of materials to bring, they told me these materials are the recipe used by al-Qaeda to make explosives.”

“They had a leader in each town in Aleppo Countryside, they called the leader ‘The Hajji’ –religious rank-, the Hajji of Mari’a town was a jihadist in Afghanistan, The Hajji of Indan city ‘Abdul-Aziz Salama’ was the general leader of the countryside, they told me that he takes direct orders from al-Qaeda.” He concluded.

Obviously in English , the style of Syrian ANA article does not match Syrian HAMSTER’s comments
but only Syrian events really count.

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March 7th, 2012, 4:51 am


157. Mina said:

Yemen, another great exemple of French-US democratic steps toward total war
“According to Yemen’s Aden News Agency, the opposition accused Saleh of being behind recent armed clashes in Yemen.
Aden quoted Fakhr Al-Azab, spokesperson for the organisational committee of the Yemen Popular Youth Revolution, saying that there is no difference between Al-Qaeda on one side and the national security apparatus and the presidential guard on the other who control the militant organisation.
He added that Saleh is sending a message to the international community that without him and his sons, violence will soar.
Saleh still heads the ruling General People’s Congress party.”

The media has a total blackout on the Arab street… After Tunisia, Egypt and Yemen presidents have quit, no one has heard about their people anymore. Why no interviews? Isn’t it open for the medias? Even the Nobel Prize is not enough to draw attention when the journalists are asked not to write on a topic? Remarkable silent in France about Benghazi and the cemetary vandalisation. After all it was some sort of party to kick out a self-proclaimed “autonomy” yesterday (without consultation of the street… no referendum whatsoever).

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March 7th, 2012, 5:09 am


158. ann said:

Wonder how many of them are posting on this board

Mossad, CIA and Blackwater operate in Syria – report – 07 March, 2012

“The captured gunmen held Arab nationalities, including Gulf, Iraqi, and Lebanese. Among them were also Qatari intelligence agents and non-Arab fighters from Afghanistan, Turkey, and some European countries like France,” the agency quotes Syrian expert in strategic affairs Salim Harba as saying.

Harba also confirmed to the agency that “a coordination office was established in Qatar under American-Gulf sponsorship. The office includes American, French, and Gulf – specifically from Qatar and Saudi Arabia – intelligence agents, as well as CIA, Mossad, and Blackwater agents and members of the Syrian Transitional Council.”

“The Syrian army also uncovered tunnels and equipments there,” he told to the agency, “advanced Israeli, European, and American arms that have not yet been tested in the countries of manufacture, in addition to Israeli grenades, night binoculars, and communication systems were confiscated by the security forces.”

Salim Harba however said the Syrian authorities are not planning to reveal all the obtained information now, but assured all the evidence is of high value.

“The Syrian security forces have documents and confessions that could harm everyone who conspired against Syria, and could make a security and political change, not just on the internal Syrian level, but also on the regional level,” he said.

The recent Stratfor leak and hacked email of the company’s director of analysis also suggest undercover NATO troops are already on the ground in Syria.


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March 7th, 2012, 7:07 am



An Arabi/English news summary for today (March 7, 2012) on Syria from the truly “network of the free,” Aljazeera-where educated Palestinian journalists are over-represented (thank God) in the network’s staff:

(P.S., I apologize for the brainwashed followers of al-Manar, al-Dunia, Russia Today, Press TV, al-Alam, etc. because everything below may seem like a conspiracy against the so-called “resistance” that kills its own people who demand freedom 🙂 ).
قتلى واقتحامات ومظاهرات بدمشق
الاقتحام والدهم والاعتقال، كما خرجت مظاهرات الليلة الماضية ضد نظام الرئيس بشار الأسد في عدة مناطق من العاصمة السورية أبرزها مظاهرة في ساحة العباسيين التي تعد ثاني أهم الساحات العامة وسط دمشق.

وكان 42 شخصا قتلوا أمس برصاص قوات الأمن والجيش معظمهم في مدينة حمص، في حين أعلن ضابط سوري كبير انشقاقه عن الجيش النظامي وانضمامه للجيش السوري الحر.

وقال المتحدث باسم تنسيقية القصير إن من بين القتلى شخصا قضى تحت التعذيب. وأضاف في حديث للجزيرة أن أكثر من نصف السكان البالغ عددهم خمسين ألفا نزحوا منها خوفا من تكرار تجربة بابا عمرو، مشيرا إلى الحالة الاقتصادية المزرية التي تعيشها المدينة مع نقص الوقود والمواد الغذائية والطبية.

بدورها قالت الشبكة السورية لحقوق الإنسان إن الأمن قتل عسكريا منشقا في منزله فجر اليوم ببلدة حاس بريف إدلب. وفي حمص أفادت لجان التنسيق المحلية بأن قوات النظام قتلت ثمانية أشخاص من عائلة واحدة بينهم طفل في منطقة البساتين في حي بابا عمرو.

وفي بابا عمرو أيضا قال عضو مجلس الثورة محمد الحمصي إن الأمن جمع النساء اللواتي لم يغادرن الحي في ملجأ ويقوم عناصر الأمن على التناوب على اغتصابهن وهذا ما تحدثت عنه أيضا نساء هربن من حي بابا عمر أمس.

وقد بث ناشطون على الإنترنت صورا لما قالوا إنها مجزرة ارتكبت بحق عائلة سورية في بلدة الحراك بدرعا، وأضافوا أن قوات الأمن قتلت أربعة أفراد, هم أب وثلاثة من أبنائه أمام النساء والأطفال, وذلك بسبب دعمهم للثورة.
القوات السورية تشن حملات اعتقال ودهم تشمل أغلب المناطق الثائرة (الجزيرة-أرشيف)

اقتحامات وجثة أجنبي
كما شيع أهالي مضايا في ريف دمشق ثمانية أشخاص قال ناشطو الثورة إن الأمن السوري اعتقلهم ثم قتلهم.

وفي جبل الزاوية في منطقة إدلب قالت الهيئة العامة للثورة إن الأمن السوري يهدد بقتل المدنيين إذا لم يستسلم المنشقون.

ميدانيا أيضا قالت لجان التنسيق المحلية إن قوات الجيش مدعومة بالدبابات والحافلات اقتحمت مدينة قارة في ريف دمشق. كما دوت أصوات انفجارات في يبرود في ثاني اقتحام للمدينة صباح اليوم.

وتحدث ناشطون عن اقتحام بلدة كفرنبل في إدلب وعمليات إطلاق نار عشوائي واعتقالات.
وتحدث الناشطون أيضا عن اقتحام بلدتي سلمى والمارونيات في ريف اللاذقية.

في المقابل ذكرت صحيفة سورية اليوم أن إحدى الجثث المكتشفة في بابا عمرو قد تعود إلى شخص أوروبي من “القياديين” في بابا عمرو.

وذكرت صحيفة “الوطن” شبه الرسمية أن “اللغز الأكثر غموضاً بالنسبة للمتابعين هو لغز الجثة التي أعلن أنها تعود للصحفي الإسباني خافيير سبينوزا الذي تبين لاحقاً أنه حي يرزق وموجود في لبنان”.

ونقلت الصحيفة المقربة من الحكومة السورية عن مصادر لم تسمها أن القتيل الذي اعتقد أنه الصحفي الإسباني كان بحوزته جواز سفر سبينوزا وبطاقته الصحفية.

ولكن الصحيفة نقلت عن “خبراء أمنيين” أن الجثة “تعود لشخص أوروبي كان من القياديين في بابا عمرو”، وأضاف الخبراء “أن الجثة تعود دون أدنى شك لشخصية قيادية ذات ملامح أوروبية جنوبية”.

وأضافوا “أن الجثة قد تكون إما لشخصية تتبع لجهاز أمني أو لإحدى الشركات الأمنية التي تنشط في لبنان وكان من مهامها في الأسابيع الأخيرة إخراج أكبر عدد ممكن من المقاتلين من بابا عمرو”.
Senior UN official arrives in Damascus
Valerie Amos in Syria for talks aimed at securing access to deliver supplies and evacuate wounded from devastated areas.

The United Nations’ top humanitarian official has arrived in Damascus to urge the Syrian government to allow relief workers to access civilian areas devastated by Syrian security forces in weeks of artillery attacks.

Valerie Amos, the UN’s under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs whose request to visit Syria was rejected earlier this month as government forces bombarded an opposition stronghold in Homs, is due to hold talks with senior government officials from Wednesday until Friday.

The aim of her visit is “to urge all sides to allow unhindered access for humanitarian relief workers so they can evacuate the wounded and deliver essential supplies,” according to Amos.

Amos’ arrival comes days before Kofi Annan, a joint UN-Arab League envoy appointed to find a way to end the violence in Syria, is due in Damascus.

Li Huaxin, a Chinese diplomat, is also currently in the Syrian capital for talks with Walid al-Muallem, the country’s foreign minister, in which he was expected to outline Beijing’s six-point plan for halting the violence.

Her trip comes amid reports of growing numbers of Syrians fleeing the government’s crackdown into neighbouring Lebanon, with at least 2,000 people crossing the border in the past two days, according to the UN refugee agency.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad faces mounting international pressure over his government’s apparent refusal to allow medical aid into the devastated, largely anti-government Homs district of Bab Amr, in addition to alleged rights abuses by government forces.

Dozens of men, women and children have returned on foot to Baba Amr, passing buildings riddled with bullet holes and other damage.

The return comes days after opposition fighters pulled out of the neighbourhood following a sustained heavy military assault.

‘Smell of death’

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) says it is still awaiting approval to distribute aid in Baba Amr after the month-long siege.

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March 7th, 2012, 8:02 am


160. zoo said:

Rastan, which activists expect to be the next target of a drive by regime forces to expel rebels who have regrouped from Homs, 20 kilometres (12 miles) away, came under renewed shelling, the Observatory said.

“What’s happening in Rastan is exactly what happened in Baba Amr: a siege, artillery fire and rockets,” said Hadi Abdullah, an activist in Homs of the Syrian Revolution General Commission.

“Free Syrian Army fighters are still in Rastan. They will not give up because nobody wants another Baba Amr,” he said.

The violence in Homs province has sent more than 1,500 Syrian refugees, mainly women and children, fleeing across the border into Lebanon in the past few days, UN and Lebanese officials said on Tuesday.

Read more:
(The Daily Star :: Lebanon News ::

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March 7th, 2012, 8:09 am


161. Tara said:


Come on. Someonelse needs you. One of the poster does not feel well. She is up very early today. Not her usual. Show some solidarity. You know, holding hands, touching hair, acknowledging the good link she posted, profusely thanking her for it, agreeing with everything she has to say even when she says the sky is green.. Just like yesterday….

Common. Yallah…what are you waiting for?

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March 7th, 2012, 8:14 am


162. majedkhaldoun said:

Yabrood has been burglerized by Shabbiha, they are steeling everything, stores,cars ,a bunch of thieves are let free by the goverment to steel.
In Homs more murders are committed by the Assad regime,placing young men against the wall and shooting them.
More Assad troops are going to Idleb to kill people there.
This is what syrian army is getting to be, instead of protecting people of Syria,and they are paid by syrians, the army is killing syrians and robbing their properties, what a shame, and you still see people who consider this army as good,the assad army is getting to be a filthy army, and has to be cleaned and we must start all over .
In Damascus, people assembled in Abbaseen square, saying down with Assad, The dictaor, who lives in space, get angry, let him and his supporters go to hell.

More defection,Colonel Adnan ferzat,is joining the FSA.
God bless the FSA.

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March 7th, 2012, 8:14 am


163. zoo said:

Libya leader threatens ‘force’ over east’s autonomy bid
By Dominique Soguel | AFP – 11 mins ago

Does he mean the ‘friendly’ Qatar and KSA?

“On Tuesday, Abdel Jalil charged that some Arab nations were supporting and financing sedition in eastern Libya in a bid to prevent the so-called Arab Spring from reaching their doorsteps.”

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March 7th, 2012, 8:21 am



While Iran is busy jamming Aljazeera broadcasts ( block the truth about Bashar M.D. (Murderous Dictator) and his war crimes, EVEN Hamas has abandoned the SECTARIAN Iranians (in Iran, Sunnis cannot build mosques!). Could it be that Arabs would do what Iran did in 2003 when Iraq was invaded: happily cheer and watch the destruction of Saddam, and then take control of Iraq through Iraqi SECTRIAN puppets (al-Maliki, al-Sadr, al-Hakim, et al.)?!

Hamas rules out military support for Iran in any war with Israel

Senior figures say Gaza-based Islamic militants would not launch rockets into Israel at request of Tehran, a key sponsor

Hamas will not do Iran’s bidding in any war with Israel, according to senior figures within the militant Islamic group.

“If there is a war between two powers, Hamas will not be part of such a war,” Salah Bardawil, a member of the organisation’s political bureau in Gaza City, told the Guardian.

He denied the group would launch rockets into Israel at Tehran’s request in response to a strike on its nuclear sites. “Hamas is not part of military alliances in the region,” said Bardawil. “Our strategy is to defend our rights”

The stance underscores Hamas’s rift with its key financial sponsor and its realignment with the Muslim Brotherhood and popular protest movements in the Arab world.

Bardawil’s words were echoed by a second senior Hamas figure, who declined to be named. Hamas, he said, “would not get involved” in any war between Iran and Israel.

Speculation in Israel about the repercussions of a military strike on Iran has encompassed the likelihood of the Jewish state coming under sustained rocket fire from Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon. Both organisations are routinely described by Israeli officials as “proxies” for the Iranian regime.

However, Hamas has never given “complete loyalty” to Tehran, said Bardawil, pointing out that Iran’s population is overwhelmingly Shia, whereas Gaza is Sunni. “The relationship was based on common interests.”

Tehran has withdrawn its patronage of Hamas over the Palestinian group’s refusal to support the Syrian regime against a year-long uprising. According to a Gazan academic who specialises in Islamic movements, this has included the termination of financial support worth $23m (£14.5m) a month.

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March 7th, 2012, 8:25 am


165. zoo said:

Foreign jihadists fighting in Syria battlefields
By Marc Bastian | AFP – 2 hrs 41 mins ago

The proportion of foreigners “is probably very slim,” said Bitar, while warning that it was “likely to grow now that Qatar and Saudi Arabia have openly announced that they favour militarisation of the Syrian revolution.”

He said some foreign fighters were “members of Al-Qaeda, who responded to the call by Ayman Al-Zawahiri (the leader of the group), who has openly encouraged them to lead the fight in Syria.”

“Most of these previously fought in Iraq. Other jihadists are more or less independents, from Libya or elsewhere, who were mobilised by images from Syria,” he said.

One such fighter is a 29-year-old Lebanese, who goes by the name of Al-Baghdadi, and “enlisted” in the Free Syrian Army.

He said he was a sniper in Baghdad supporting former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein during the US-led invasion of the country and returned to Lebanon after Saddam was ousted.

Pointing to a Christian comrade, he said in the Syrian rebellion religion “does not matter” and explained that he is fighting “the unjust regime of Assad to protect Syrian children from death.”

Another jihadist who declined to give his nationality and wore a salwar kameez, a tunic common in Afghanistan, said he fought US forces in Afghanistan and Iraq, gaining the nickname “The Taliban.”

He said France should establish a “no-fly zone” over Syria, and added jokingly “otherwise we will attack France after killing Bashar.”

Suddenly turning serious, he said: “We do not want anything from the Americans; they are our enemies.”

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March 7th, 2012, 8:26 am


166. zoo said:

Annan to offer Assad ‘honorable exit’ way

Offer may be ‘the last chance’ for Syria’s al-Assad as Turkish PM Erdoğan urges an aid corridor amid US call for diplomatic solution

Veteran diplomat Kofi Annan, the U.N.-Arab League envoy for Syria, will offer “a last chance” to President Bashar al-Assad when he visits Damascus on March 10, a Turkish diplomatic source said yesterday.

The offer will give al-Assad the chance to “honorably exit the scene,” the source told the Daily News. Annan will go to Damascus on the same day Russia joins an Arab League foreign ministers meeting in Cairo.

Suggesting that the turmoil in Syria was fast becoming a civil war, Kılıçdaroğlu said the situation was more complex than a simple government-opposition conflict. “The AKP did not exercise prudence to prevent the turmoil in Syria. They expected a similar international intervention in Syria as happened in Libya. But the Western powers ignored military intervention in Syria,” he said.

“The prime minister said ‘push has come to shove’ before,” Kılıçdaroğlu said. “Now blood is being shed in Syria, and he is watching. Erdoğan is also responsible for this bloodshed […] He should take a lead to secure peace in Syria. Turkey, Russia and Iran should come together to secure peace in Syria. If Erdoğan can succeed in this, he would hold an important role in the region.”

Meanwhile, the prime minister met with Iraqiya leader Iyad Allawi and was scheduled to meet with Australian-American media mogul Rupert Murdoch when the Daily News went to press yesterday.

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March 7th, 2012, 8:32 am


167. Tara said:

Robert Fisk: Is Homs an echo of what happened in Srebrenica? 

No entry to the International Red Cross. Not yet. Maybe in a few days, when the area has been secured. Men and boys separated from the women and children. Streams of refugees. Women, children, the old, few males. Stories of men being loaded on to trucks and taken away. Destination unknown. Devastation. No journalists, no freedom of movement for the UN. The place was called Srebrenica.

Parallels are seductive, dangerous, frightening, often inaccurate. Nasser was the “Mussolini of the Nile” to Eden in 1956, Saddam the “Hitler of the Tigris” to Bush and Blair in 2003. Standing up to tyrants – unless they happen to be “our” tyrants – has been quite the thing. It’s only when we don’t stand up to them that we get a bit queasy and start asking awkward questions. Why did we “stand idly by”? Hafez el-Assad’s massacre of his Sunni Islamist opponents at Hama in 1982 comes to mind. Saddam’s massacre of his Shia and Kurdish opponents in 1991. Srebrenica, of course. And now Homs. In Libya, as Gaddafi advanced on Benghazi, it was “chocks away!” During Homs, our chaps lingered at dispersal and the “scramble” never sounded.

Yes, the phantoms of Srebrenica move across our planet faster than we realise, high-speed ghosts whose shadows darken the prisons of Libya and then the towns of Syria. Or maybe those ghosts of Hama – Hama of the nouriya water-wheels, still creaking away as the Syrian Defence Brigades battled their way through the city’s underground tunnels 30 years ago, fighting Islamist suicide girls with grenades strapped to their bodies – had visited Srebrenica before its fall in 1995. Mass killings, executions are a kind of revolving wheel. Now you see them. Now you don’t. And afterwards, we all ask “why?” How did we let it happen?

In Hama, perhaps 10,000. In Srebrenica, more than 8000. In Homs? Well, if all Syria has lost 8,000 souls in a year, Homs’s sacrifice must be far smaller. But then the UN statistics do not appear to include the thousands of Syrian army casualties. Government soldiers were also killed in Homs. As they were in Hama. Not many Serbs in Srebrenica. Of course, Benghazi could have been the next Srebrenica if Nato hadn’t bombed the Gaddafi tanks which were already nosing into the city last year. Even the Syrians made fun of Gaddafi’s “zenga, zenga” – “from alleyway to alleyway”, to be sure a loose translation – in Benghazi. Now the Syrian government forces are doing a little “zenga, zenga” of their own.

There are other parallels, of course, between Srebrenica and Homs. In Srebrenica, the local Muslim commander – Naser Oric, mysteriously rescued before the Serb onslaught – had been killing Serb civilians around the town since 1990. In Homs, the armed defenders had indulged in sectarian killings of their own. NGOs retreated from Baba Amr during the siege with terrible stories of “Free Syria Army” soldiers boasting of cutting their opponents’ throats. In Srebrenica, Serbs claimed they were fighting “Islamist terrorists” – a favourite claim of Messrs Karadzic and Mladic – and this is exactly whom the Syrian Baathists claimed to be fighting in Homs.

Then there are the terrifying mirrors of Srebrenica and Homs with which these reflections began; no Red Cross entry, no journalists, men and boys separated from women, the female refugees and their stories of slaughtered menfolk, men taken away in trucks. The failure of the “international community”.

In fact, there are a lot of differences, too, enough to take our foot off the indignation pedal for moment. In Srebrenica, Christians were killing Muslims – because they were Muslims. In Homs, Muslims are killing Muslims, albeit that one side is biased towards Shia Alawites, the other towards Sunnis. The UN had granted Srebrenica “safe haven” status. Indeed, the Dutch UN battalion (albeit one of the world’s more pathetic military units) was there at the time, watching the Serbs taking the men away. Neither the UN nor Nato had blessed Homs with such dodgy protection.

Indeed, quite the contrary. Our brave leaders have spent much time telling us how they absolutely, totally and completely refuse to interfere militarily in Syria. And odd, isn’t it, how we’re almost as keen to publicise our impotence over Syria as we are to threaten Iran over its real or mythical nuclear weapons programme, when Iran isn’t massacring anyone at all. The West’s R2P – “right to protect” – isn’t given out freely, especially if the victims are a little too near the fault-lines of the Middle East to be worthy of our guardianship.

Compassion we have for them in spades. Indignation. Homs the “martyr” city has a good ring about it, not least because it bears the merit of truth. But pity is cheap, commiseration easy, sorrow a pain-killer, at least for guilty consciences. The Syrians are going to be left to themselves – as were the Bosnian Muslims for so many years – while those all-purpose sanctions bite away with rubber teeth on the regimes we blame for these horrors. And heaven knows – let us ascend, briefly, to the halls of power and silence – what would happen if the Israelis and the Americans decided to attack Iran while we squandered our strength protecting the people of Homs, Idlib or Deraa.

Then there’s the all-purpose al-Qa’ida. The Syrian regime says it is being attacked by al-Qa’ida. The Americans suspect this is true, at least when it comes to the suicide bombings in Damascus and Aleppo and Deraa, and even al-Qa’ida says it is true. Just as the Serbs claimed they were fighting Islamic extremism “in the heart of Europe”. Bin Laden’s ghost appears to be working for everyone, except the victims.

We will eventually get to Homs, of course, broken and crushed and with its people only quietly admitting the horrors they have undergone. I briefly got into Hama during the 1982 battles and I went back afterwards and the most I could elicit from a frightened trader with a barrow of sweetcorn were three words: “God knows everything.” Ergo Homs, I suppose.


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March 7th, 2012, 8:44 am


168. zoo said:

Profile: Nasser al-Kidwa
By Asharq Al-Awsat
London, Asharq Al-Awsat – Nasser al-Kidwa has been appointed as deputy to Kofi Annan, the joint UN-Arab League special envoy to Syria. For the first time since being entrusted with the post last month, Annan will visit Damascus on 10 March in an effort to promote a political solution to the Syrian crisis, with al-Kidwa expected to accompany him.

Nasser al-Kidwa is the former Minister of Foreign Affairs for the Palestinian National Authority, and nephew of the late Palestinian President Yasser Arafat. He currently serves as Chairman for the Yasser Arafat Foundation and is a member of the Central Committee of Fatah.

Al-Kidwa possesses extensive political and diplomatic experience accumulated over a period of 36 years, becoming involved in political and diplomatic work at a young age. He joined Fatah in 1969 whilst still a student, eventually graduating from Cairo University in the field of dentistry a decade later.

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March 7th, 2012, 8:47 am



A WAR CRIMINAL (see this on Qana Massacre of 1996:, SHIMON PERES, receives the American “Medal of Freedom” Award!!!! Could the Serial killer Ted Bundy (posthumously) be the next person to receive this award 🙂 ?!!!!!!!

Obama announces Medal of Freedom honor for Shimon Peres

Israeli President Shimon Peres meets with President Obama in Washington… (Moshe Milner / Israeli Government Press Office via Associated Press)
March 04, 2012|By Ian Duncan
Reporting from Washington — Israeli President Shimon Peres will receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom this spring, President Obama announced at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference in Washington.

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March 7th, 2012, 8:48 am


170. Juergen said:

“Now the Syrian government forces are doing a little “zenga, zenga” of their own.” Fisk seems to get things right, we see that he is posted not only by anti Assadis alone.

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March 7th, 2012, 9:13 am


171. Juergen said:

The revolution is coming closer: Abbaseen square in Damascus

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March 7th, 2012, 9:43 am


172. son of Damascus said:

THE DOVES OF DAMASCUSAs Syria slides into civil war, moderate voices inside the country want to know: Why isn’t anyone listening to us?

By Jess Hill
POLITICS | March 7, 2012 | The Global Mail

Fresh from his gladhanding tour of the Middle East, United States Senator John McCain returned to the Senate this week and made the call for war. “Time is running out. Assad’s forces are on the march. Providing military assistance to the Free Syrian Army and other opposition groups is necessary, but at this late hour, that alone will not be sufficient to stop the slaughter and save innocent lives,” he implored from the Senate floor.


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March 7th, 2012, 10:23 am


173. Mina said:

A so-called new Alawi pro-revo militia announces its formation, but half the guys burst out laughing when they hear repeatedly the word “Alawis”.

(spotted by Angry Arab)

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March 7th, 2012, 10:23 am


174. Alan said:

Mossad, CIA and Blackwater operate in Syria – report
UN Syria draft: US attempts to get Russia and China aboard
Warmongers & Chickenhawks: ‘McCain ( moron ) still very dangerous’

Leading Senator John McCain has become the first U.S. politician to publicly call for airstrikes against the Syrian regime. He says Washington has a ‘moral and strategic obligation’ to force Assad out. California State University professor Paul Sheldon Foote told RT that John McCain is still very dangerous. Immediately candles of paracetamol to him.

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March 7th, 2012, 10:48 am


175. Juergen said:

Revolutionary matchboxes, and a new song. I love it.

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March 7th, 2012, 10:49 am


176. Alan said:

Syrian Red Crescent enters Baba Amr district in Homs( breaking news )

The Syrian Red Crescent accompanied by UN humanitarian chief Valerie Amos has entered the Baba Amr district of the restive city of Homs, the International Committee of the Red Cross says.

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March 7th, 2012, 10:52 am


177. Alan said:

U.S. Seeks to Provide Direct Aid to Syrian Opposition
The United States is preparing to provide direct humanitarian and communications assistance to the Syrian opposition in a move that would be a serious step towards the U.S. plan to oust Syrian President Bashar al-Asad, the Foreign Policy journal reported on Wednesday.
“These moves are going to invest the U.S. in a much deeper sense with the opposition,” Foreign Policy quoted an unknown official in President Barack Obama’s administration as saying. “U.S. policy is now aligned with enabling the opposition to overthrow the Assad regime. This codifies a significant change in our Syria policy.”
The official told Foreign Policy that more serious options, including the introduction of a no-fly zone in Syria or close cooperation with the opposition Free Syrian Army, were not on the agenda so far. It echoes Obama’s statement yesterday, in which he said military action against Assad’s regime would be a “mistake.”
The U.S.-backed Syrian rebel assistance plan, which involves the State Department and United States Agency for International Development (USAID), will, however, fail if government troops don’t grant access to affected areas, the U.S. official told Foreign Policy.
Last week the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) was denied access to the besieged city of Homs, which has seen heavy shelling by Assad’s forces.
Syria has been the scene of continuous anti-government protests for nearly a year. According to the United Nations, more than 7,500 people have died in the unrest, which Syrian President Bashar al-Assad blames on “armed terrorist gangs.”

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March 7th, 2012, 11:01 am


178. Maher said:

I have been reading SC, among others, for over a year now. Here is my personal thought on the “Way out for Syria”. Please scroll down and take the poll at the end of the post.

Mr moderator, I apologize for not embedding my thought as a comment here, but it is simply too long, so I setup a blog page to do so.

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March 9th, 2012, 12:43 am


179. Leo Syriacus said:

363 days of unrest
11,000 martyrs
35,000 detainees
85% devaluation of the Syrian pound
50% of Syrians living on $2 a day

How can any body with any intellectual ability defend Bashar and a government that incompetent??!
Even if you are a basharophile and believe in the Cosmic Conspiracy and the armed gangs theory.. your president has been having his rear end kicked by a few thugs for a year and you want him in power??
Oh, forgot to add crimes against humanity, children killing, gross corruption and embezzelment..but don’t you worry Basharophiles you are winning the earth battle and the space battle..Hail Grendizer!!!

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March 12th, 2012, 6:36 pm


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