News Round Up (1 December 2012)

Al-Qaeda affiliate playing larger role in Syria rebellion

Syrian opposition leaders report an alarming growth within their ranks of fighters from Jabhat al-Nusra, an extremist group linked to al-Qaeda.

The Jabhat group now has somewhere between 6,000 and 10,000 fighters, according to officials of an non-governmental organization that represents the more moderate wing of the Free Syrian Army (FSA). They say that the al-Qaeda affiliate now accounts for 7.5 percent to 9 percent of the Free Syrian Army’s total fighters, up sharply from an estimated 3 percent three months ago and 1 percent at the beginning of the year.

The extremist group is growing in part because it has been the most aggressive and successful arm of the rebel force. “From the reports we get from the doctors, most of the injured and dead FSA are Jabhat al-Nusra, due to their courage and [the fact they are] always at the front line,” said a message sent today to the State Department by the moderate Free Syrian Army representatives, warning of the extremists’ rise.

These estimates are very rough, given the scattered and disorganized nature of the opposition. But they are based on detailed reporting from the field by the members’ military councils, which are the closest thing to an organized command structure among the rebels. In reports sent this week to the State Department, the NGO representing the Syrian moderates offered a detailed breakdown of the extremists’ growth:

* In Aleppo, the Jabhat force is reckoned at around 2,000, mostly in the Al-Bab area northeast of the city. This estimate is based partly on reports from a doctor in the area who has treated injured fighters. The total FSA presence in the Aleppo area is about 15,000.

* In Idlib province, west of Aleppo, Jabhat’s ranks number 2,500 to 3,000, or about 10 percent of the total number of FSA fighters there.

* In Deir al-Zor, to the northeast, the extremist group has about 2,000 of the FSA’s total force of 17,000, according to the reports. Among Jabhat al-Nusra’s most spectacular operations were recent seizures of the Al-Ward oil field and a Conoco gas field, the reports said.

* In Damascus, the Jabhat al-Nusra force is somewhere between 750 and 1,000. Another 1,000 fighters are spread around the country in Latakia, in northwest Syria, Homs in the center and Daraa in the south.

The Syrian reports paint a picture of a disorganized rebel force in which the extremists are filling the vacuum caused by the lack of clearly established command and control.

“In some areas, other extreme groups are merging with [Jabhat] al-Nusra, in others many are leaving it because they did not fulfill promises of support,” notes one report sent to the State Department.

In the chaos of the Syrian battlefield, smaller battalions drawn from neighborhoods or small towns are combining forces with larger groups to form brigades, many of them led by extremists. “This means more [mergers] of extreme groups within Jabhat al-Nusra as it becomes more and more franchised,” the report explains. “Their risk is paying off. They are on a high [rate] of growth.”

A message sent earlier this week from the Free Syrian Army representatives touted the new use of anti-aircraft missiles to down a Syrian helicopter: “It’s thrilling to see it [the anti-aircraft weapon] in action finally. The bad news is that it was not through the U.S. but from the regime bases fallen into the hands of the [FSA] battalions. The other bad news is that it’s not under the control or the supervision of the MC [Military Council] commanders.”

“We are feeling the heat, time is closing up, the fall of Assad appears to be in the very near future,” continued this message, sent last Tuesday.

As the rebels gain momentum, the spoils of war apparently are going to the rebel group that captures a particular Syrian army base. This is one factor boosting the rapid growth of Jabhat al-Nusra. Its fighters provide the muscle and weapons and, as a result, explained an official of the NGO that represents the moderate FSA fighters: “They will get all the goodies, reputation and recognition.”

Inside Jabhat al Nusra – the most extreme wing of Syria’s struggle
One of the men behind a series of jihadist attacks inside Syria tells Ruth Sherlock about their battle to overthrow President Assad.
By Ruth Sherlock, Beirut, 02 Dec 2012

…His accounts of the operations conducted by his wing of the Islamist group Jabhat al-Nusra provide an exclusive and terrifying glimpse inside the most extreme wing of the Syrian rebellion – one which many members of the more secular Free Syrian Army loathe, and which may prove to be the West’s worst nightmare.

They also give an insight into the further conflict to which Syria may descend, if or when the Assad regime finally falls….

Syrian rebel films himself shooting 10 prisoners

…”I swear to God that we are peaceful,” begs one of the men to the camera, which is being held by the gunman. Cowering, the man gets up to plead with rebels. As he approaches a rebel off-screen, a shot is heard and he returns holding his bloodied arm.

The cameraman then points the camera along the barrel of his Kalashnikov assault rifle as he shoots the men.

“God is great. Jabhat al-Nusra,” he says,… the video said it was filmed in Ras al-Ain…

Syrian opposition edges toward appointing transition PM
By Khaled Yacoub Oweis
CAIRO | Fri Nov 30, 2012

(Reuters) – Syria’s new opposition coalition edged closer on Friday toward choosing a prime minister to lead a transitional government after three days of talks in Cairo that furthered the dominance of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Former Prime Minister Riad Hijab, a longtime apparatchik in President Bashar al-Assad’s Baath Party before he defected in August, is the strongest candidate for the job, delegates said.

Hijab, who is backed by Jordan and Gulf states, is likely to be chosen before or during a gathering in mid-December of the Friends of Syria, according to coalition insiders.

The grouping of dozens of nations had pledged mostly non-military backing for the revolt but is worried by the influence of Islamists in the opposition.

A popular uprising erupted in March 2011 against Assad’s autocratic rule in which 40,000 people have been killed and hundreds of thousands forced to flee the country

Coalition member Louay Safi said the prime minister would be the point man for the coalition with the international community and act as the head of an alternate Cabinet ready to fill the political and security void if Assad falls from power.

Members of the new government cannot be members of the coalition, which numbers 60.

“I think Hijab has the best chance. He has taken big risks to defect and has since come across as a balanced and composed choice,” said coalition member Munther Bakhos, a veteran opposition figure forced to flee Syria during the 1970s, as bloody repression by Assad’s father, late President Hafez al-Assad, intensified, eventually killing many thousands.

Under internal coalition rules reached late into the night, the prime minister will be elected by a simple majority in the coalition, in which the Brotherhood and its allies have more than 50 percent of the seats.

Candidates must have contributed to the 20-month revolt against Assad and not be tainted by corruption, according to internal rules reached at 2 a.m. (midnight GMT).


The coalition earlier on Friday created an executive body, less than a month after the group came into being with Western and Arab support.

The 11-member “political assembly” will be headed by moderate preacher Moaz al-Khatib, the current president of the coalition.

They will include his two vice presidents and the coalition’s secretary general, Qatari-backed businessman Mustafa Sabbagh, who has emerged as one of the most powerful figures in the new structure.

But the delegates failed to agree on the names of the 11 members after a lengthy election procedure and postponed deciding on the issue, delegates said.

Hardball politics have overshadowed the three-day proceedings in Cairo, with the Brotherhood becoming an overwhelmingly powerful kingmaker.

Since the coalition was set up in Qatar earlier this month, the Brotherhood has swiftly assembled a de facto majority bloc, according to insiders keeping track of changes in the membership of the coalition.

The revolt against four decades of rule by Assad and his late father revived the Brotherhood’s fortunes after decades of repression that killed many thousands of its members, and opened more sources of financing for the organization from exiled conservative Syrians.

France, Britain, Turkey and Gulf Arab states have already recognized the coalition as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people. The United States has been more cautious….

Syria rebels say captured missiles downed army aircraft
(AFP) / 2 December 2012

Syrian rebels say a former army missile specialist in their ranks used captured shoulder-launched weapons to down two government aircraft in as many days last month.

Rebel commanders said that the army helicopter shot down on November 27 and the fighter jet shot down the following day were both hit with Russian-made surface-to-air missiles captured from an army base west of Syria’s second city Aleppo in mid-November.

Defence analysts cited by the Western media had said that the aircraft were likely brought down with surface-to-air missiles provided from abroad, including by the Gulf state of Qatar, an outspoken champion of arming the rebels, over the opposition of the United States.

The rebels said the expertise to use the SA-16 Gimlet missiles, which they said they captured from Base 46 along with other heavy weaponry, came from within their own ranks in the form of a former army missile specialist.

‘This is Musa Abu Omar. He shot down both of the aircraft,’ said Abu Abdel Rahman, a leading rebel commander in the town of Darret Ezza, 30 kilometres (20 miles) northwest of Aleppo, as he introduced the fighter to AFP.

‘Both the missiles came from Base 46,’ Abu Omar said. ‘We’ve got enough of them now to bring down the whole Syrian air force,’ he boasted, refusing to give any specific numbers.

Asked where he got his training on the use of the SA-16, a missile most famous for its use by Saddam Hussein’s forces against coalition aircraft during the 1991 Gulf war, Abu Omar said: ‘It was my specialism in the army during my three year service.’

The 27-year-old showed AFP a photograph of himself holding a shoulder-launched missile that he said was one of the two he fired. The picture’s authenticity could not be independently verified.

Abu Omar said instruction was now being given to other rebel fighters.

‘We’ll impose our own no-fly zone without any need from help from foreign governments,’ he added in reference to the repeated refusals of Western governments to heed opposition calls to intervene to close the skies to President Bashar Al Assad’s warplanes as they did in Libya last year….

But there have been contradictory reports about the likely source of the missiles with the Washington Post reporting on Thursday that they were likely part of a consignment of up to 40 supplied from abroad.

Some of the missiles were supplied by Qatar, the newspaper reported, citing two Middle Eastern intelligence officials it did not identify.

‘It should be worrying to everyone,’ one of the officials said. ‘When Assad is finished, terrorists could end up with these, and commercial flights would be at risk.’

Washington has consistently opposed providing SAMs to the rebels for fear they could fall into the wrong hands.

Flow of Arms to Syria Through Iraq Persists, to U.S. Dismay
NYTimes December 1, 2012

WASHINGTON — The American effort to stem the flow of Iranian arms to Syria has faltered because of Iraq’s reluctance to inspect aircraft carrying the weapons through its airspace, American officials say.

The shipments have persisted at a critical time for President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, who has come under increasing military pressure from rebel fighters. The air corridor over Iraq has emerged as a main supply route for weapons, including rockets, antitank missiles, rocket-propelled grenade and mortars.

Iran has an enormous stake in Syria, which is its staunchest Arab ally and has also provided a channel for Iran’s support to the Lebanese Islamist movement Hezbollah.

To the disappointment of the Obama administration, American efforts to persuade the Iraqis to randomly inspect the flights have been largely unsuccessful.

US accelerates intervention in Syrian war
RT: 29 November, 2012,AFP Photo / Jack Guez

The US government is contemplating significant intervention in the Syria conflict and has discussed employing Patriot Air and Missile Defense Systems in Turkey and directly providing arms to opposition fighters.

In an attempt to defeat Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, government officials told the New York Times that the US might bring its military resources to the region for either intimidation purposes or direct use in Syria.

NATO will likely decide next week whether or not to deploy surface-to-air Patriot missiles in Turkey, which would serve to protect the country from potential Syrian missiles that could contain chemical weapons, as well as intimidate Syrian Air Force pilots from bombing the northern Syria border towns.

The armed rebels currently control much of Northwest Syria along the border of Turkey, making the border a likely conflict zone should Syrian missiles be implemented.

Although State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said the Patriot missile system would not be used beyond the Turkish border, military sources told Israeli news service DEBKAthat all of northern Syria – including Aleppo and Homs – would become controlled by the Turkish-NATO team.

The US has so far hesitated to intervene on the ground in Syria, fearing the risks would be too great for their own soldiers and could worsen the conflict. But 18 months after the start of the civil war, intervention has increasingly entered the US radar.

“The administration has figured out that if they don’t start doing something, the war will be over and they won’t have any influence over the combat forces on the ground,” former Defense Intelligence Agency officer told the New York Times. “They may have some influence with various political groups and factions, but they won’t have influence with the fighters, and the fighters will control the territory.”

The US has so far provided nearly $200 million in humanitarian aid, but has not intervened militarily. But US officials believe the administration is now considering providing arms to the opposition groups. CIA officers located in Turkey have already determined which groups should receive such weapons, but have emphasized the difficulty of preventing them from falling into the wrong hands.

The Obama administration is also preparing to recognize Syria’s new opposition council as the official representation of Syria, likely during a Dec. 12 “Friends of Syria” conference in Morocco which Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will attend, the Associated Press reports. The recognition will likely spur further US involvement in the conflict – if not militarily, then it will at least draw more humanitarian aid. Britain, France and several Arab countries allied with the US have already recognized the council as Syria’s sole representative.

But while the idea of providing arms may be considered, many still believe it to be a bad idea.

“Arms are not a strategy; arms are a tactic,” US Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford said during a conference in Washington. “A military solution is not the best way for Syria. Efforts to win this by conquering one side or the other will simply prolong the violence and actually aggravate an already terrible humanitarian situation. Syria needs a political solution.”

The US government has not made any official announcements that it was considering providing weapons, but the Congressional officials and diplomats told the Times that a decision would likely be made after Obama selects his new national security team.

Syria’s war exposes fault lines of sectarian divisions
Justin Vela, Nov 27, 2012, The National

ANTAKYA, TURKEY // For some Syrian Kurds, clashes between Arab rebels and a Kurdish militia in Syria are not just related to the country’s revolution, but the outcome of deeper societal fissures.

“The sectarian divisions are growing stronger,” said Nassir Al Dean Ehme, a hulking Kurdish refugee who founded Qamishli House, a leaky four-room house in southern Turkey providing temporary accommodation to Syrian refugees and activists.

“We had these sectarian and ethnic divisions in Syria before and now it has deepened. Maybe we were one country on the map but, if we think about the feelings of people, we see many divisions,” said Mr Al Dean Ehme, who named the house after his hometown of Qamishli, the main Kurdish city in Syria.

Are Syria’s rebels about to win?
Syrian rebels have made significant gains in recent weeks as support for Assad shows signs of fraying.
Hugh Macleod and a reporter in Syria – Global Post – November 30, 2012

A man looks out below the shutter of a burnt-out building in the northern city of Lattakia, a stronghold of support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. (Anwar Amro/AFP

LATTAKIA, Syria — With coffins stacking up at the airport in Syria’s Alawite heartland, and funerals now a daily routine for its mountain villagers, support is fraying among the community on which the Syrian regime depends.

“Day by day the military operations are getting harder and harder,” said Abu Haider, 40, a member of the Syrian security forces, near Qerdaha, the home village of President Bashar al-Assad.

“The Alawites will fight to the end to defend President Bashar but are paying a big price. Most of our men are serving in the army or security forces,” he told GlobalPost.

Ali, a 28-year-old Alawite living in Lattakia, the regional capital, said Alawite villages he recently visited had been nearly emptied of men after the regime enforced conscription for any member of the Alawite sect aged between 18 and 50.

Alawites are the minority off-shoot of Shiite Islam to which the president’s family belongs. The conflict in Syria has increasingly become a sectarian war between the Alawites and the Sunni majority rebels…..

“Rebel gains in recent days give them access to weapons that could tip the military balance in their favor in the north,” said Alison Baily, a Middle East analyst at Oxford Analytica, a global analysis and advisory firm. “The regime does not have the manpower to reverse these gains.”

Alongside the capture of another key base in Saraqeb earlier this month, rebels in the north are increasingly able to choke off supply routes for Assad’s troops battling to re-take Aleppo. Despite holding large areas of countryside, the rebels have yet to exert full control over a major city.

“Regime soldiers who joined us recently said some of their units had not been resupplied with food or fuel for weeks,” said Abu Abdu, a fighter with Liwa al Tawheed, a leading Islamist rebel group in Aleppo. “The regime is sending supplies by the airport, so that is what we will destroy next.”

In the remote desert region of Deir Ezzour, home to well-armed tribes that straddle the border with Iraq, rebel fighters also overran the military base at Mayadeen on the Euphrates River, giving them control over most of the river valley, stretching from the regional capital to the border crossing at Al Bou Kamal.

Two of the region’s three oil fields are now in rebel hands, with trucks lining up to buy $5 barrels of the light crude, a smoky but reliable fuel, as winter sends temperatures plummeting and government supplies dwindle to nothing.

Baily said Syria is now facing a de facto partition between tribes in the east, Kurds in the northwest, Islamist rebels in Aleppo and Idlib, and regime loyalists in Damascus and the Alawite heartlands of the west. This leaves the recently united political opposition, based outside Syria, with the challenge of gaining legitimacy inside the country.

“The rebels are in snowball process, strengthening with each base and arms depot they capture,” she said. “As the country fragments, the most likely scenario is that the regime is ground down into a well armed militia.”

In Damascus, Tense Anticipation of Strongest Push Yet by Rebels
Published: December 1, 2012

A quiet tension prevailed downtown, but security checkpoints were proliferating and there were reports that President Bashar al-Assad was preparing loyal divisions to defend the city, the capital and heart of his power.

Military analysts warned that it was impossible to know whether a decisive battle for Damascus was beginning, especially as Syrians lost access to the Internet for 53 hours, limiting the flow of information, before it was restored Saturday. But they said that a government fight to defend its core could be the fiercest and most destructive phase yet of the 20-month conflict.

“We’re waiting for the big battle to begin,” said Emile Hokayem, an analyst based in Bahrain for the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

For decades, the Assad family has settled loyal military families, many from its minority Alawite sect, in the western outskirts of Damascus, where the presidential palace sits on a plateau overlooking the city. The current fighting suggested that the government was trying to insulate those areas, along with the city center and airport, from the semicircle of urban sprawl curving from northeast to southwest, where rebels have strengthened their position in recent days, overrunning a string of small bases.

Analysts say that Mr. Assad, knowing that losing Damascus could be a decisive blow, has been conserving his best and most loyal troops and much of his artillery for a battle there.

Jumblatt urges Syria’s Druze to join the revolution
November 29, 2012

Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblatt condemned on Thursday the bombing that targeted the Jaramana suburb of Damascus , Syria on Wednesday, accusing the Syrian regime of president Bashar al Assad of orchestrating it with aim of eliminating the Syrian revolution by stirring sectarian tensions in the country.

Comments (488)

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451. Visitor said:

Robert Ford is a stupid fool if he thinks he can pull off a government in exile with 7Hijab as PM, Manaf as defense minister and Makdissi as foreign minister.

He is counting on MB’s to endorse his dream.

It will mean a total divorce between people on the ground and those in exile, and end of the coalition. Key Arab country(ies) have not yet recognized the coalition, and rightly so, for very good reasons.

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December 6th, 2012, 8:26 pm


452. Tara said:


Miss Piggy needs lots of work..Yet, it seems that there is no lack of sparkle in Mr. Lavrov’s eyes.

I linked the wrong picture. Here is the correct link.

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December 6th, 2012, 8:38 pm


453. zoo said:

#442 Visitor

“Key Arab country(ies) have not yet recognized the coalition,”

Do you mean the GCC are not Key arab countries?

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December 6th, 2012, 10:08 pm


454. zoo said:

Freshly defected Baathist officials make up the new Syrian government the West has in mind for Syria.
The coalition would become the official opposition..

US, Europe pushing for transitional Syrian government with ex-loyalists, sources say
December 6, 2012 share

The United States and Europe are exerting effort to “impose a formula for the transitional opposition government,” sources close to the opposition Syrian National Council told NOW on Thursday.

According to the sources the government would be headed by former Syrian Prime Minister Riad Hijab, while General Manaf Tlas would hold the position of Defense Minister, with former Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Jihad Makdisi in the role of foreign minister.

To read more:

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December 6th, 2012, 10:30 pm


455. Visitor said:

Ewe @ the Zoo said,

“# 442 Visitor

Do you mean the GCC are not Key arab countries?”

No. I meant you are an idiot bonehead.

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December 6th, 2012, 10:44 pm


456. majedkhaldoun said:

مصبح ممسي
There are news that USA knows where about Bashar

Did you guys notice the cast on the left arm of Lavrov? in Colles fracture we keep the wrist mildly flexed with mild ulnar deviation, and the cast should never extend beyond the MP joint, his cast is not good one.

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December 6th, 2012, 11:00 pm


457. Ghufran said:

GCC regimes have so far managed to protect their crowns, until now, due to oil money that they use to keep their people fat and happy and US support, the tribal and religious fabric of their societies have also helped them, however,this formula can not work in countries like Egypt and Syria, even if Islamists capture the government they will not be able to rule.
It makes perfect sense for Islamists to take a dose of humility and accept partnership instead of trying to dominate,but you can not put sensibility and islamism in the same sentence, it is a perfect oxymoron, islamists in Syria may very well occupy Damascus and divide Syria and inflame a wider civil war but they will never win the support and the respect of Syrians who may hate the regime but they are not in love with Islamists who want Syria to go back to the middle ages in the name of a God they think only listen to them.
لن يمروا

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December 6th, 2012, 11:09 pm


458. Ghufran said:

“We still do not control the air base but the fighters are choking it off. We hope within the coming hours we can take it,” said Abu Nidal, a spokesman for a rebel force called the Habib al-Mustafa brigade”
Most of you believed the news that Aqraba fell in the hands of rebels 5 days ago.
Controlling Damascus may very well lead to the collapse of the government,however, ending the war is another matter.

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December 6th, 2012, 11:21 pm


460. Aldendeshe said:

Controlling Damascus may very well lead to the collapse of the government, however, ending the war is another matter.

Even if the war ended, what is next? Regardless if Assad was the victor or the idiots westerners and devil worshipping Moslem Bedouin picks to rule, where all the billions going to come from to get the place off the ground. By the time the war ends there will be hardly anything in Syria left that can be called assets. Militia and criminality will be for long time the only source of income for the young men. Most businessmen and the educated Syrians will flee to the coastal area or escape to Lebanon, refugees will never or could return, they will live in the tents as refugees for generation just as Palestinian and Iraqi never could return. Even if they get 20 billion up front, that is barely going to cover the first year of salaried government employees, nothing will be left for the economy. Corruption, graft and plundering will skyrocket way beyond it was under Baathism. Mosque leaders and speakers are more corrupt than Riffat Assad. The Syrian Pound will collapse to range above $=3000 LS, hyperinflation will skyrocket beyound what you seen in Iraq. That country and Iran has oil & gas resources, Syria’s are almost depleted.

Assad must provide and be prepared to set up a Republic of Syria on the coast, a place for the minorities, the educated and wealthy of Syria can live and prosper within. Syria will shed its filth and move forward under modern secular National State. The new state can maintain higher value for it’s currency and will be flooded with hard currency, they will also have all the gas reserves off shore.

Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 86 Thumb down 8

December 6th, 2012, 11:45 pm


461. Ghufram said:

Islamists and their backers have destroyed Syria to change the regime, they will be left with rubles and millions of displaced and hungry people. The winners are Israel and the GCC who will buy loyalty with petro dollars. A mini state on the coast is not viable but some form of a confederation may work if it receives support from regional and international powers, Israel will dominate for another generation or two, Syrians failed the test, there is no way to dodge this fact, posters here can only curse the regime and the infidels but have no plan for the future.

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December 7th, 2012, 12:02 am


462. Ghufran said:

Islamists and their backers have destroyed Syria to change the regime, they will be left with rubles and millions of displaced and hungry people. The winners are Israel and the GCC who will buy loyalty with petro dollars. A mini state on the coast is not viable but some form of a confederation may work if it receives support from regional and international powers, Israel will dominate for another generation or two, Syrians failed the test, there is no way to dodge this fact, posters here can only curse the regime and the infidels but have no plan for the future.

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December 7th, 2012, 12:06 am


463. Syrian Nationalist Party said:

The Zion King:

Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 60 Thumb down 6

December 7th, 2012, 12:11 am


464. Aldendeshe said:

We need to leave filth in the desert and move to set up new Syria on the Mediterranean . Leave R***ian and their Islam the pollution to pollute the whole world except the New Republic of Syria. Chinag Kai Chik made it in Formosa; he left China for the Communists and set up new Nationalist China State, we can make it in smaller Syria. Just convert all Mosques into science and trade showroom centers, cultural and performance halls in the new Syria. We can build Syria to look and feel like this with fewer good people that refuses to place the slavery banner of 666 on the forehead. Assad and his Baathist-Arab nationalist thugs are obviously not capable of doing it so my call is for the Syrian army and minorities of Syria to work on this goal of building new Syria without the Talmudic Jewish-Islamic Luciferian filth. We are human born free, to live free.

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December 7th, 2012, 1:03 am


465. MarigoldRan said:

Ghurfan is a regime apologist. He goes and blames the Islamists when in fact it was the regime that destroyed large swathes of the country.

Let this be a lesson to all regime thugs: if you burn down other peoples’ houses, they will come and burn down your house. First Damascus, then Lattakia.

If the Alawites cannot hold Damascus, they will not be able to hold Lattakia. You can forget about your pipe dreams. Unlike the Nationalists of China, the Alawites don’t have an island to hide on.

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December 7th, 2012, 1:12 am


466. MarigoldRan said:

The rebels are making a sustained push for Damascus. Though victory is many months away, the fact that they can fight the regime near its center of power on equal terms shows how far they have come.

Compare the current fighting to the fighting in the capitol in July. The regime today no longer has the strength or the will to push the rebels back.

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December 7th, 2012, 1:15 am


467. Aldendeshe said:

No body of water needed, but will have WMD to exterminate them (enemy of humanity Moslems-stooges and hired help of Talmudic Luciferian Zionists) and very high tech security and defense systems not even the United States Secret Alien Government have now to insure our safety and prosperity. It is very easy for the Nationalist to keep the filth out of Modern Syria.

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December 7th, 2012, 1:23 am


468. Aldendeshe said:

What are they dying for, what is the winning prize, let’s guess, hummm, a pile of dead bodies and rubble called Syria. No food, no jobs, no commerce, no resources, no tourism, no culture, no life, no future. Just humongous new Mosques edifice with 2 minarets rising on each, Boaz and Joachim, the R***ian Stella symbol of domination. The Mosque (Temple) is the neighborhood life and school, each neighborhood had a leader of a mosque, an armed militia, own flag, harem and whores and a whole lot of young children that will be placing banners on their forehead living in slums called Gaza.


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December 7th, 2012, 1:34 am


469. MarigoldRan said:

Aldendeshe, you’re a nutcase or a troll.

Assad has many advisers like you. And that’s why he’s losing.

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December 7th, 2012, 1:44 am


470. Aldendeshe said:

459. MarigoldRansaid:

Aldendeshe, you’re a nutcase or a troll.

Assad has many advisers like you. And that’s why he’s losing.
Your Allah is a troll with horns, he needed a nobody bedouin genocidal and child molester to raise his name up as the GREATEST of all gods ever, ALLAH WA AKBAR, and introduce his ass to humanity. And when mankind thought this god got to be a nutcase, he get to use swords, no more Alrahman Alrahim the Merciful Huhhh, he changed his mind again and again (ALAT), what a nutcase, too bad humanity now has 1 billion plus of them.

Assad has no one like me, that is why he is losing, if he listen to my advise, if Iran listen to me, neither Assad nor Iran will ever be sanctioned economically, no one will dare to do so.

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December 7th, 2012, 1:58 am


471. MarigoldRan said:

Man, I can’t believe I’m saying this, but we’ve just found a potential leader who is even WORSE than Assad.

YOU, Aldendeshe. YOU would be an even worse leader than Assad.

If you ever ran a country, NATO would be bombing the heck out of you within two weeks. Thank goodness you’re nothing more than an internet nutcase and will never get a position of responsibility, ever.

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December 7th, 2012, 3:10 am


472. Syrialover said:

MARIGOLDRAN #459 said “Aldendeshe, you’re a nutcase or a troll.
Assad has many advisers like you.”

Hey, you gotta understand and have some respect. ALDENDESHE/SNP is not just any nutcase and troll. He’s an extremely important and busy one, advising the devil and various extraterrestrial nations and singlehandedly wrapping and burying planet earth now it’s been destroyed by Zionist plots.

And 1. It’s way, way below ALDENDESHE/SNP’s job status and pay grade to advise Assad.

Plus 2. Nobody has “advisers like ALDENDESHE/SNP”. We actually ALL have ALDENDESHE/SNP himself as THE adviser of not just this planet, but the whole universe.

Hope this clears things up and cuts through the confusion, MARIGOLDRAN.

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December 7th, 2012, 3:27 am


473. Syrialover said:


It’s a howling-at-the-moon shame that someone as superhumanly busy and important as ALDENDESHE/SNP has to spend his time and energies posting on SyriaComment, and spamming and fiddling with the votes system to keep his quota up.

The poor guy deserves assistance, not distractions and arguments in his mega missions to sort out and alert the universe.

Any suggestions on how to help him?

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December 7th, 2012, 3:36 am


474. Aldendeshe said:

Those “IT” commenters here are so nobody to SNP, none left a single thumbdown for them idiots. Please don’t, let them simmer and boil in own Kosher kaka.

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December 7th, 2012, 3:36 am


475. Uzair8 said:

Rumor has it: Anissah Makhlouf (Bashar Assad’s mom) is now in Dubai. If true, that means it’s now both Bushra Assad & the mom in Dubai.

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December 7th, 2012, 4:23 am


476. SyriaFree said:

Dear Prof. Landis or admin,

please block this guy “Aldendeshe”. I thought this blog is only for educated people.

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December 7th, 2012, 4:32 am


477. Syrialover said:

Britain to offer increased ‘practical support’ to Syrian rebels

Britain will seek next week to amend an arms embargo on Syria to make it easier to help opponents of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, the Foreign Office said on Thursday.

Foreign Office official said the increased “practical support” that Britain envisaged would be training and non-lethal equipment. Items such as body armour and night-vision goggles are currently caught up in a European arms embargo aimed at stemming supplies to Assad’s forces.

European foreign ministers are meeting in Brussels on Monday.

Last week EU diplomats said they had agreed to reduce the renewal period of a package of sanctions against Syria, including the arms embargo, to three months rather than one year to make it easier to supply the rebels.

“Having successfully amended the EU arms embargo (and sanctions package) by setting a three-month renewal period, we will make fresh arguments in support of amending the arms embargo ahead of the March 2013 deadline in a way that offers sufficient flexibility to increase practical support to the Syrian opposition,” Foreign Office Europe minister David Lidington said in a statement.

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December 7th, 2012, 5:06 am


478. Citizen said:

Analytical program “However”
Americans discovered in Syria deposits of chemical weapons and tear them to develop urgently with missiles and bombs. That’s just today opened. Although it was known about them for a long time. From the Middle East in general feeling is that kerosene stew dynamite.
This week, Washington began loudly to warn the Syrian authorities to the use of the sudden discovery of chemical and biological weapons against his own people and to publicly discuss the possibility of military operations to destroy it. Simultaneously announced by Turkey to air defense systems, “Patriot”, ostensibly to protect against a possible Syrian attack. Proper degree campaign gave Secretary Clinton: “It is enough to say that we, of course, the possibility of the action plan, if there is any chance.”
 This is all reminiscent of the poor as a special Powell with his famous tube. After that was Iraq. But Mrs. Clinton herself out. And, probably, along with their Syrian tube.
Obama is known to be an outspoken critic of the Bush administration. And why did his administration so literally quoted behinds this same Bush rhetoric? There is reason to believe that this is a very powerful operation cover. Just to distract and neutralize adherents of such a policy. Because, if not look at what is being said, and that is, the picture is somewhat different.
Americans Duty demonstrate solidarity with Israel in word and in the vote at the UN. And the so-called “eight-day war” between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas in Gaza ended not impressive Israeli ground operation, and a peace agreement with the partial lifting of the blockade of Gaza. The agreement, brokered by the new Islamist Egyptian President Mursi, perceived in the Muslim world, as the defeat of the Israeli hawks and the victory of Hamas.
 That allowed the Americans to mediate Mursi. And they forced Israel to give up the military operation. That is, did Mursi savior Gaza. It is this political victory allowed Mursi announce constitutional amendments that make it the sovereign ruler of Egypt. There is reason to believe that the notorious mob “liberals” in the streets of Cairo in vain headway. Since their only patrons – the Americans, the choice is already made. More precisely, it did Obama.
Thierry Meyssan, a French orientalist and conspiracy theorist, believes that within the American political establishment is unfolding struggle between the “globalists” and realists Obama, need to reduce the U.S. presence around the world to focus on the real threats to America. Immediately after the announcement of election victory Obama began cleaning in power structures. Were fired CIA director David Petraeus, konmanduyuschy NATO forces in Europe Stavridis and considered his successor, John Allen. Next: Head of Africa Command William Ward and his successor, General Carter Ham. Moreover, each time the dismissal occurred amid a scandal exposing the dirty details or personal lives, or waste and conflicts of interest.
Believe in a one-time decline of morals in the American establishment is difficult. Another thing is that all these people are in some way connected with the implementation of the former U.S. foreign policy.
“As for the State Department – writes Meyssan – then in place of the outgoing Mrs Clinton tipped Senator John Kerry, a supporter of Obama’s new course.” He gives a photograph in which the couple Kerry dinner at a restaurant in Damascus with Assad couple.
Syrian crisis and U.S. involvement in it on the side of the Sunni Islamists – a product of a titanic struggle with Iran, which is becoming increasingly inadequate and useless. So far the only joint venture of US-Iranian is the Palestinian Hamas. But secret talks with Tehran is already under way.
As an advisor to Obama’s national security, Thomas Donilon, the U.S. instead of cycling on hot spots and the non-Middle Eastern countries need to focus on the new centers of global influence in Asia.
We said that the Americans, at least Obama’s will be willing to negotiate with opponents to freeze local conflicts. This means the global changes in the world.
He resembles a huge ship, populated by different tribes, the teams squabbling with each other. Suddenly, the captain of the vessel had received his sight trying to turn around the hummocks and icebergs of the global crisis. One wrong move – and you “Titanic.”
However, up to date!

See original material

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December 7th, 2012, 5:19 am


479. Citizen said:

Syrian rebels declared a military target international aeroport Damascus and warned civilians to stay away from him – Reuters

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December 7th, 2012, 5:25 am


480. Citizen said:

If your hatred prevented from hearing our voice I advise to listen to your rational!!!
Our foreign policy on Syria is the same as al-Qaeda’s – something isn’t right here

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December 7th, 2012, 6:45 am


481. Syrialover said:

Syria: preparing for the end

The last few days have brought a sudden revival of diplomatic activity over Syria.


On Monday, Russian president Vladimir Putin met the Turkish prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in Istanbul. Yesterday, US secretary of state Hillary Clinton, Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov and Lakhdar Brahimi, the international envoy on Syria held a three-way meeting in Dublin. Today, UN secretary-general Ban Ki-Moon is due in Turkey at the start of a Middle East tour.

Underlying these moves is an apparent weakening of Russian support for Assad as the decline of his regime accelerates.

Russia and Turkey have certainly not seen eye-to-eye on Syria up to now but following the Putin-Erdogan meeting the Russian Itar-Tass news agency reported that they had come up with a number of new proposals for a settlement which they would “work on”.

Itar-Tass did not elaborate on what these “identical” assessments of the situation are, but there are signs that Russia is becoming disillusioned with Assad. Yesterday, Vladimir Vasilyev, a key ally of Putin in the Russian parliament, was quoted as saying: “We have shared and do share the opinion that the existing government in Syria should carry out its functions. But time has shown that this task is beyond its strength.”

The CIA reportedly expects the regime to be gone in a couple of months or so, and the Obama administration is said to be worried about its lack of influence with the fighters who will then take control on the ground.

Russia, having previously hitched its colours too firmly to Assad’s mast, has even less influence with the rebels. It also risks losing its naval facility in Tartus – the only one it has outside the former Soviet Union – as well as some business interests in Syria (including armaments).

There are two great dangers in the aftermath. One, which almost everyone is aware of, is the danger of sectarian and ethnic bloodletting along with continued jihadist activity – and obviously it is desirable to minimise that.

The other danger, less often talked about, is that in an international effort to bring stability to Syria the aspirations of its people to determine their own future – the original goal of the uprising against Assad – will become submerged once again.

Source: Brian Whitaker’s blog –

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December 7th, 2012, 7:31 am


482. Syrialover said:

‘Zero hour’: Syrian rebels prepare to mount Damascus attack

Syrian rebels are preparing to mount their ‘Zero Hour’ campaign to take Damascus, with fears the capital is facing total destruction in the coming months.


As rebels fought government troops on the outskirts of the capital, a Damascus based analyst told the Daily Telegraph that the fighting was likely to defeat the aspirations of both sides.

“There is the risk of the total destruction of Damascus,” said Peter Harling, Project Director with the Middle East Programme of the International Crisis Group. “The regime is well entrenched in some key parts of Damascus and the opposition is unable to come up with a political vision to offer an exit to the bulk of people fighting for the regime.

“We could see a repeat of the level of destruction that we have seen in other towns, but it would be worse this time: what transition do you get when you destroy the seat on power?”

Increasingly bullish, this week opposition activists launched a video titled ‘Zero Hour – Your Final Chance’, warning residents in the capital to “change sides” before it is too late.

The video, posted on Facebook, promises an imminent offensive that would seize central Damascus and “check mate” the Syrian president.

It gives instructions on how to react to the attack, and how best to survive: “No one will remain in their house during this hour … we will come out in the millions to all of the criminal Assad’s palaces … The floor will shake under Assad and his supporters’ feet,” narrates a voice backed by rousing music. “We invite all members of the Assad Army to defect in masses from this regime.”

Seeking to further boost their successes, commanders of the Free Syrian Army have gathered in Turkey to settle on a new organisational military structure that is intended to increase co-ordination between groups on the ground and improve weapons supply lines.

Mr Harling however warned that the failure of the opposition’s political wing – first the Syrian National Council and now the National Coalition, to carry a strong message of forgiveness and conciliation to government loyalists means the plan to overthrow the capital is doomed to a bitter and bloody failure that could see Syria become a failed state.

“You can’t just let the armed groups play this out. As the regime is forced into a fighting retreat we could see new conflicts ignite … and the political opposition is totally absent.”

Next week Syria’s international allies, including Britain, will meet for a ‘Friends of Syria’ conference in Morocco where they are expected to endorse the National Coalition with full political recognition, as well as substantial funds.

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December 7th, 2012, 7:39 am


483. Mina said:

Al Jazeera: the modern “Pravda”!

“Moreover, an al-Jazeera correspondent decided to play the devil’s advocate in his interviews with some protesters. He asked, “Did you read the constitution?” Of course, the answer was, “No.” The correspondent replied, “So why doth thou protest?””

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December 7th, 2012, 7:40 am


484. Hanzala said:

Syria chemical weapons scare: Is Assad threatening to use them, or lose them? (+video)

But Mr. Assad also might be sending a different signal to the US and the international community, analysts say. By ordering “activity” at chemical weapons sites, Assad could be reminding the international powers demanding his departure that his fall would likely be followed by chaos – in which radical Islamists could get their hands on Syria’s weapons of mass destruction.

Assad definitely is sending a message to the west. Why would Assad’s men leave major bases in the past without destroying the ammunition or tanks/helicopters before giving them up to the rebels?

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December 7th, 2012, 7:59 am


485. zoo said:

Morsi is trapped in the usual dynamics in the Arab countries: If he backs down, he looks weak, if he does not budge and escalate the repression he becomes a ‘cruel’ dictator.
In both cases, he needs a trustworthy external interference to mediate with the opposition, otherwise he is lost.
The best mediator would be the army who is still trusted by the people. But Mursi has eliminated key army commanders, like Tantawi and it is yet to see if the new commanders may play that role.
Now, Morsi seems dangerously isolated with only Moslem Brotherhood elements that he has surrounded himself with.

This test s crucial. If he is able to deal with the crisis, he will come up as a real leader , otherwise he is finished and teh Moslem Brotherhood with him.
In my view he should be replaced by Abdel Moneim Al Futush!

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December 7th, 2012, 2:15 pm


486. zoo said:


“they are expected to endorse the National Coalition with full political recognition”

The usual UK Telegraph wishful thinking…

My bet is they will be promised a “better” recognition and funds IF they fulfill certain conditions, many of which are almost impossible to meet.

France and UK have already recognized level 4, the questions is which other country will follow when the UN is not.

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December 7th, 2012, 2:21 pm


487. Mina said:

Nice pic

The UN didnt “express alarm” over the fact there was no mention of women in the draft constitution, but it has its say about the unrest! Why, is it bad for business?

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December 7th, 2012, 2:40 pm


488. Is Syria now about to blow? - Page 262 said:

[…] of rebel forces is? Was it empty rhetoric? Well look, Jabhat al-Nusra has between 6,000 and 10,000 fighters according to reps for the FSA and "Many of their fighters are foreign jihadists" so while […]

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March 14th, 2013, 12:27 am


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