Posted by Joshua on Sunday, January 13th, 2013
This is the saddest Friday demonstration video- town of Binnish. via Ben Hubbard
Syrian foreign ministry in a letter to UN claims that more than 1000 factories have been dismantled in Aleppo and sold to Turkey by rebels and gunmen. I have asked an Aleppine factory owner if this is true. His answer:
“I don’t know about the numbers, but many factories have been stripped and sold. Of course, Assad is responsible for this by not offering to step aside and setting in place a process for a smooth transfer of power.” My own factory has not been stripped, but the safe box with all operating expenses was taken by the local militia commander. My foreman negotiated with him and he has since protected the factory building. It is closed and all employees have been dismissed. A factory near to mine, which is owned by a Christian who was known to be close to the regime, has been stripped.
Speaking of distressing, read what Ribal and Rifat al-Assad are trying to do to Chris Doyle and his wonderful wife, Rim. Extra-ordinary. Thuggery reaches into the British parliament. MP Daniel Kawczynski has taken up the Assad cause and savaged the Doyles on Rifat’s behalf. Why would he do that? See Syria: Lies and slurs for those who dare to challenge Ribal and Rifat Assad – Global Arab Network.
Video: Latest developments in Syria following Assad’s speech – Aljazeera presenter Hazem Sika discusses with guests Fawaz Gerges, director of the Middle East Centre and professor of International Relations at London School of Economics; James Jatras, a former US diplomat and a senior fellow at the American University in Moscow; and Shashank Joshi, an associate fellow at Royal United Services.
“Assad still confident that he can control Syria,” by Liz Sly in Wash Post
First Legislative council established by National C0uncil for Idlib province
إدلب تشهد تشكيل أول مكتب تنفيذي للمحافظة غير خاضع للحكومة السورية13
يناير 2013 – 06:16 م : إدلب، أكرم الإدلبي
مؤتمر تشكيل المكتب
شهدت مدينة الريحانية التركية اختيار مكتب تنفيذي عن محافظة ادلب، وهو أول مكتب تنفيذي غير خاضع لسلطة الحكومة السورية المركزية، يتم تشكيله في محافظة سورية، منذ اندلاع الأزمة عام 2011.
وقال رئيس المكتب المنتخب، وعضو الإئتلاف الوطني عن محافظة ادلب الأستا عدنان ناصر الرحمون، لـ”سيريا بوليتيك” إنه “بلغ عدد الحاضرين للمؤتمر 400 ناشط من محافظة ادلب، منهم 120 ناشط يشكلون الامانة العامة، وقام أعضاء الأمانة العامة باختيار 10 أعضاء للمكتب وأضيف اسمي كوني عضو الائتلاف عن محافظة ادلب، حيث جرى انتخاب رئيس المكتب, وحُصر الانتخاب والترشح بين أعضاء المكتب”.
“Securing Lebanon’s Offshore Energy Fields Raises New Security Challenges.” by Nick Heras – Jamestown
Syria: A jihadi paradise
By Pepe Escobar, Jan 11, 2013, Asia Times
….If you want to know what’s really going in Syria, look no further than Hezbollah secretary-general Sheikh Nasrallah. He does tell it like it is.
Then there’s what Ammar al-Musawi, Hezbollah’s number 3 – as in their de facto foreign minister – told my Italian colleaguem Ugo Tramballi. The most probable post-Assad scenario, if there is one, will be “not a unitary state, but a series of emirates near the Turkish border, and somebody proclaiming an Islamic state”. Hezbollah’s intelligence – the best available on Syria – is adamant: “one third of the combatants in the opposition are religious extremists, and two-thirds of the weapons are under their control.” The bottom line – this is a Western proxy war, with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) acting as a “vanguard” for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
Rebel area shows limits of rebel push for Damascus
By By BEN HUBBARD | Associated Press
Twin airstrikes by government jets on a large, rebel-held suburb of Damascus on Thursday sheered the sides off apartment towers and left residents digging through rubble for the dead and wounded.
The bombing of Douma came amid a wave of attacks on rebellious districts of the Syrian capital, part of the government’s efforts to keep rebel fighters out of President Bashar Assad’s seat of power. Late Thursday, a car bomb exploded at a gas station inside the city itself, killing at least nine people, activists said.
Douma, the largest patch of rebel-held ground near Damascus, illustrates why the opposition’s advance on the capital has bogged down. Despite capturing territory and setting up committees to provide basic services, the rebels lack the firepower to challenge Assad’s forces and remain helpless before his air force….In November, residents formed a civilian council to provide services for the estimated one-third of Douma’s residents who have not fled the violence….Douma has more than a dozen rebel brigades, and the city’s fighters have joined battles in many other areas around the capital….
Post by Extension Blog
October 22, 2012
Mark Tomass, former research fellow at the Harvard Center for Middle Eastern Studies, provides insight into the Syrian civil war and a suggested path ahead for US policy. Tomass was born and raised in the Assyrian Quarter of Aleppo, Syria. He lived through the Muslim Brother’s rebellion of 1979–82 and the Lebanese Civil War of 1975–90.
The truth about US support of Syrian rebels
…The administration is betting this kind of qualified support will help overturn the regime. And the United States will appear to be on the side of victors. Its real motive is to weaken Iran’s regional influence by a proxy war that would destroy its ally….US support for the rebels and those who call for an interventionist US policy are under the illusion that the antigovernment rebellion is a prodemocracy one. But the rebels have no conception of freedom and democracy in the Western tradition….
“Iraq War Poll Finds Most Think War Was Mistake” (Huffington Post)
…”I was stopped at a checkpoint. The (pro-government) gunmen asked me where I was from. They asked for my passport and ID. They took everything I had on me: my phones, my gold rings. They put me in the boot of a car – four other guys were already in it. And they took us to an air force intelligence building.
“After three days with no food or water, late at night, the gunmen told us that they would take us to another station. They took us and they put all of us into a car – there were 21 of us. They drove us to a deserted area.”
Mohammed peeked from his blindfold.
“They put us all on our knees – all 21 of us. They began firing. I passed out when they shot at us. I woke up after 10-15 minutes and saw the gunmen’s car leaving. I saw that everybody around me was dead.”
Mohammed was seriously injured.
“I was hit by five bullets,” he says, pointing to each of the wounds in turn. “One of them hit my ear, one went into my shoulder. Two hit in my leg, and another hit my hip.”
He rolls up his trouser leg to show the wounds in his ankle.
“I got up and started walking but kept falling every 10 metres. I knocked on a door and a woman answered…
Hospitals targeted in the Syrian war as the wounded face dwindling options - CNN International
Beirut (DPA) — Syria’s state-run media Thursday lashed out at United Nations envoy Lakhdar Brahimi, calling him a “puppet” of the West after he criticized a plan by President Bashar al-Assad to end the country’s nearly two-year conflict.
“Why didn’t Mr. Brahimi, when he visited Syria last month, express such views to President al-Assad? He waited until he got his instructions from the Western countries and made his statement on Wednesday,” Syrian television said.
Al Watan, a state-run newspaper, said Brahimi “has taken off the mask of impartiality he has worn” since he was appointed for the mission in August.
Syria And Iraq: A Five State Solution?
January 9, 2013, By Jacob Wolinsky
…Split up Iraq and Syria into five separate states. A druze state in southern Syria, Alawite state on the coast, a Sunni state spanning across the borders, a Shia state in Southern Iraq, and a Kurdish state across the Northern borders of both countries. As noted, I do NOT want the US or Europe to do this, but it could be an option for the citizens of each country to implement. I doubt the five state solution will happen, but want to throw out the idea as one way to decrease a tension in the region….
Role of Syrian Women Evolves as War Rages On By Carol Morello | The Washington Post
…because the men in their lives urged them to stay away as the revolt turned into a much more dangerous civil war — they are playing a more traditional role in humanitarian relief, bringing food, medicine and clothing to refugees. The fighting is almost exclusively the province of men, and relatively few women are among opposition political leaders….
But at the grass-roots level, few women attend the political conferences held around Turkey to discuss building a transitional government and institutions if Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is toppled. “About 200 people were at a conference I attended. Maybe 10 of them were women,” said Rania Kisar,….“A lot of women could do a great job in politics,” she said. “But society, and the traditional culture, won’t take them seriously.”
Karen Leigh – January 08, 2013 – Syria Deeply
An Alawite Nurse in a Sunni Hospital
Traveling through rebel-held parts of Latakia province, in the Jebel Turkman region, we met 34-year-old Umyara, an Alawite nurse working in a field hospital. In Latakia, a stronghold of President Bashar al-Assad, Sunnis and Alawites have lived side by side for centuries. Now, with intense fighting in the Alawite-led regime and the mostly Sunni-led Free Syrian Army, many fear that the animosity could spread to civilians across the religious divide.
The nurse, who asked us not print her full name or photo, speaks on the stairwell outside the hospital’s new surgery room, built with donations from two American medical NGOs. She met us alongside Dr. Mohammed, the Sunni orthopedic surgeon who serves as her boss and the chief of this hopsital.
The hospital has only been open for 20 days; the surgical unit is located underground for safety, as the area is heavily bombed and rocketed by regime forces.
“Before I came here, I worked for 14 years in the Assad Hospital in Latakia City,” she says. Now her husband and five children have moved to the mountains with her, to hide from regime forces who might be angry with her defection to a Sunni hospital in FSA territory. “I never feel any tension working here – we’re all people with the same degrees, no difference between Sunnis and Alawites in the hospital. We are one medical team.”
But the fact still stands that should Assad be removed from office, Alawite civilians like Umyara could face reprisals from angry Sunnis. “I am surely afraid for my safety after Assad falls,” the nurse says, despite assurances from local FSA leaders.
For now, within the hospital walls, Dr. Mohammed doesn’t see a distinction.
“Most of our patients are Sunni, but it’s no problem with us if someone who comes in is an Alawite…this is why she came to work with us.”
Every day, he says, his staff sees 20-35 patients, most of them injured in the war. A few days ago he treated a patient with cancer and has seen others with diabetes and hypertension. But the hospital doesn’t have have the medicine or resources to properly treat those patients – part of what he describes as a crisis in specialized care, one that now affects nearly every Syrian city.
When we met the doctor had just performed surgery on a young rebel fighter whose palms had practically been blown to pieces in an explosives accident.
The nurse says that as a Sunni fighter, his treatment would have been varied, at best, at her old regime-supported hospital. “I am working here now to help people, all people. Before, the treatment was specialized just for the Alawites.”
At the Assad Hospital, they might treat Sunnis, “but afterwards, the Assad forces come and get them and take them away. This has happened since the beginning of the revolution, since March of last year. I feel better now,” working here….
Dr. Haj was gentle and polite, but spoke with bitterness at how he hears the West assess Syria’s war. “They say that chemical weapons are the red line,” he said, referring to President Obama’s public warning to Syria’s government that a chemical strike might prompt an American military response.
“But we are dying from other ways. It is not good enough to die from shelling or disease? The international community laughs at our suffering.”…
Mr. Saleh rattled off what he and his family faced: No heat, no electricity, no money, no medicine, no doctor and no home, except this unlit, borrowed room.
The children sat silently, under shared blankets, bundled in thick clothes. Their father’s soft voice filled the space.
“We don’t know how we will survive the winter,” Mr. Saleh said. “We wait for the mercy of God.”