Pro Bashar Demonstrations in Aleppo; Shooting in Latakia; 20 Dead in Deraa; 10 Shot in Sanamin

Sa'd Allah al-Jabiri place, downtown Aleppo, around 6pm today (Friday).

I was just told that there has been shooting in Latakia. Syrian security forces have closed roads leading to Latakia city, Al-Jazeera reports. Some believe that it demonstrates a level of organization that suggests more than Facebook opposition. More killings in Deraa; ten people were killed today in clashes between protesters and security forces in the southern Syrian city of Sanamin, a high-ranking official told AFP news agency.

This note comes to me from a German friend in Aleppo, who knows Syria well. I will not use his name unless I get permission from him. He writes:

Hi Josh, Hope this finds you well. I’m in Aleppo this year,  and as always enjoying your blogue, particularly in these heady times.

There was and still is a big demonstration in progress in Aleppo today (Friday 25th), pro-regime of course. There was apparently a small one of some 200-250 people early this morning, basically in support of the wage hikes announced yesterday, and around 12h30 a bigger one started brewing around Sa’d Allah al-Jabiri place, which just kept growing throughout the afternoon. Now (21h00 local) it’s spread out into the residential areas; Mogambo place is absolutely packed with people dancing and a band standing by. I’d send you pictures except that internet is so terribly slow that I can’t upload anything at home.

Obviously it’s orchestrated to some extent, the usual slogans, the usual underclass youths, the usual black leather clad security guys watching from a distance. But everyone we’ve talked to in the last weeks seems genuinely pro-regime, and now doubly so in light of the reform announcements. Guys I was watching Al Jazeera coverage of violence in Sanamayn today were only muttering “kazzab, kazzab” [lies, lies] under their breath.

The Kurds are of course a different matter; the Ashrafiyya and Shaykh Maqsud suburbs were completely sealed off last Monday (21st, Nawruz)–but that’s true every year and nothing special happened this year to my knowledge. Otherwise every one here that I’ve been able more or less to gauge is delighted over Egypt, Libya, you name it, but sees no parallel to Syria, invokes arguments you already know (Dera’a is being led by families with older antipathies to the Asads and allies of Khaddam), and wouldn’t remotely think of calling for Bashar’s removal.

On your blog today you mention reports of demonstrations in Aleppo, by which I understand are meant anti-regime demonstrations. Do you have more information on this, like where exactly they were? Certainly didn’t see anything and have trouble imagining it.

Anyway, it promises to remain interesting here. Talk to you again, all the best,….

The head of CET, a language program in Aleppo sent this today

Although the media has reported on protests in several cities today, our staff and contacts in Syria report that Aleppo and Damascus are calm. They have only witnessed small, peaceful, pro-government gatherings. Our Resident Director is in daily communication with all CET students during this spring break week. CET staff continue to advise students to stay away from any protests or public gatherings they encounter, and they are encouraging them to keep in close touch as the news develops.

At this point, we are optimistic that the program will continue as scheduled as Aleppo has remained safe and calm. We are also confident that our summer and fall programs will run as planned.

8:38pm:  Anas al-Abda, the chairman of the Movement for Justice and Development in Syria, tells Al Jazeera that the pro-regime protests in Damascus are “most probably fabricated and organised by the regime of Bashar Al-Assad”.

8:15pm:  Maamoun Al-Homsi,a leading Syrian opposition figure, called on the international community to intervene to stop “the massacres against civilians by President Bashar al-Assad’s regime” in protests across Syria. “There are killed and wounded and those who are arrested in all the provinces,” he told Reuters by telephone from Canada, referring to protests that spread beyond the southern town of Daraa on Friday challenging Assad’s rule.

7:58pm: The United States calls on the Syrian government to stop violence against demonstrators and the arrests of human rights activists, White House spokesman Jay Carney says.  We strongly condemn the Syrian government’s attempts to repress and intimidate demonstrators.

10:54 (EDT) DAMASCUS, March 25 (Reuters) – Syrian security forces opened fire on protesters in the town of Sanamein, killing 20 people, a witness told Al Jazeera television on Friday. “There are more than 20 martyrs …. they (security forces) opened fire haphazardly,” the witness said.

10:22 (EDT) DAMASCUS, March 25 (Reuters) – Syrian security forces opened fire on protesters in the town of Sanamein, killing 20 people, a witness told Al Jazeera television on Friday. “There are more than 20 martyrs …. they (security forces) opened fire haphazardly,” the witness said.

10:10 (EDT) DERAA,

Syria, March 25 (Reuters) – Protesters in the southern Syrian city of Deraa shouted slogans on Friday denouncing Maher al-Assad, brother of the Syrian president and head of the Republican Guard, a Reuters witness said. “Maher you coward. Send your troops to liberate the Golan,” thousands chanted as they headed to the main square in the city after the funeral of at least five protesters killed by security forces this week. Israel occupied the Golan Heights in 1967.

Maher al-Assad, who keeps a low profile, is the second most powerful man in the country after Bashar. Criticism of Syria’s ruling elite was taboo until protests erupted in Deraa a week ago demanding political freedom and an end to corruption. Up until now, protesters had directed their wrath mainly at Rami Makhlouf, a cousin of Bashar al-Assad who owns large businesses and is under specific U.S. sanctions for what Washington terms as public corruption. On Friday, protests erupted in other Syrian cities in support of Deraa, including in Hama, a city in which late President Hafez al-Assad had sent in troops to quell a 1982 armed revolt by the Muslim Brotherhood, killing thousands. FT Editorial: Gates calls for Syrian forces to move aside.

Gates: The Syrian people should follow Egypt’s lead and the country’s army should “empower a revolution”, Robert Gates, US secretary of defence, said as thousands marched in a southern city. Mr Gates made his comments – some of the toughest …

US Senators Call for Revolution in Syria – The Cable

“Two GOP senators opened another line of criticism of President Barack Obama’s approach to the Middle East on Thursday, this time calling on the administration to more strongly criticize the Syrian government for its deadly crackdown on popular demonstrations and begin engaging the Syrian opposition…. Sens. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) and Mark Kirk (R-IL) want to know if the Obama administration is reaching out to Syrian opposition leaders and offering them support, as it did in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya.
“The Syrian people must know that the United States stands with them against the brutal Assad regime.  We can ill afford another timid embrace of a democratic uprising,” the senators said in a Thursday statement. “We urge the President, Secretary Clinton and Ambassador Ford to publicly condemn the murders committed by the Assad dictatorship and to demonstrate their support for the Syrian people.” By invoking Ambassador Robert Ford, Kyl and Kirk are calling for the administration to make good on its argument that the United States needed an ambassador in Damascus to have maximum influence with the Syrian government. Kyl and others Republicans held up the Ford nomination for 10 months because they saw the appointment of any ambassador as a reward to the Syrian regime, and they wanted the administration to more clearly spell out its Syria policy…
“Ambassador Ford should begin a sustained campaign of outreach from the U.S. Embassy in Damascus to the Syrian opposition movement,” they said.
It is still unclear who has organized the demonstrations in Syria, so the Obama administration may find it difficult to engage with opposition figures, even if it wanted to. Pressure on the administration to get tough with the Syrian regime is growing…That’s why it is essential that the United States and Syria’s partners in Europe act quickly to punish Mr. Assad’s behavior. Verbal condemnations will not be enough.”

Syrian crackdown on protest seen scaring investors
Wed Mar 23, 2011
* Foreign companies reluctant to commit capital-businessman
* Ample foreign currency reserves at central bank
By Khaled Yacoub Oweis

DAMASCUS, March 23 (Reuters) – The Syrian pound has fallen 4 percent and Damascus stock prices have tumbled since protests against Baathist rule erupted last week, threatening efforts to attract foreign investment to improve Syria’s infrastructure.

The government had hoped to use the bourse to raise capital as it opens sectors such as electricity generation and transport to foreign investors, ending decades of state control.

But a violent crackdown on nearly a week of protests in Deraa and other southern towns, in which security forces have killed 10 people, has been a severe setback for the drive to attract badly needed foreign investment.

On Wednesday alone, security forces killed six people in an attack on a mosque in Deraa, site of unprecedented protests against President Bashar al-Assad’s Baathist rule and demands for an end to corruption.

A Syrian businessman who has met Western companies to discuss forming joint ventures to bid for government projects said the projects could well be viable, but the rising political risk had prevented the talks from moving forward.

“There is reluctance to put big money into Syria now,” he said, referring to a billion dollar metro line project and the planned expansion of a highway to Iraq.

Foreign direct investment fell to $1.4 billion in 2009 from $2.4 billion in 2008, according to the World Bank — a fraction of the $85 billion the government says it needs to overhaul the transport system, power, health and communication network.

“Officials are talking about technicalities of projects as if political discontent does not exist,” another businessman said. “They have not figured out that an open political system and rule of law are powerful investment magnets.”

On the 20-company Damascus Stock Exchange, which opened two years ago, every stock that has traded since the protests erupted in Deraa on Friday fell by the 3 percent limit. The main market index has fallen 14 percent from its Jan. 26 2011 peak.

Even before the latest protests, foreigners were deterred from buying Syrian shares by extensive security checks, and by the U.S. sanctions imposed on Syria in 2004 for its support for militant groups, a bourse official said.

“The risk of holding the Syrian pound has gone up. There is demand for foreign currency and people are reluctant to part with their dollars,” said a currency dealer in Damascus.

The Syrian pound, which is not fully convertible — a legacy of Soviet-style economic policies — was trading at 48.75 to the dollar at exchange dealers on Wednesday, though the official rate remained stable at 47 to the dollar.

News Round Up

BBC MidEast: Scholar says problems in Syria “more economic in nature than political”, 2011-03-24

Doha Al-Jazeera Satellite Channel Television in Arabic at 1448 gmt on 23 March carries a live satellite interview with Nabil al- Samman, a Syrian academic and university professor, from Damascus to comment on the situation in Syria. He says: “What happened in Dar’a is a local problem but it became political. In my opinion, the security authorities and the governor were not able to deal with the situation properly.” He added: “Violence from the demonstrators is unacceptable

and violence from the authorities is also unacceptable. Problems can be resolved peacefully. However, I underline that what happened in Dar’a is a local issue as a result of tension, which I will not term as political in nature but rather local tensions among the governor, the security authorities in Dar’a, and the people.”

Anchorwoman Nuran Sallam interrupts Al-Samman and says: “The demands are not only local. Demands, such as lifting the state of emergency, are not tied to a single city or governorate in Syria, neither is releasing political detainees.”

Al-Samman says: “The demonstrators did not raise political banners. Some of them did. These demonstrations began by calling for releasing children who were detained. Some children were detained in an inappropriate way in Dar’a by the security authorities without the approval of the security authorities in Damascus. The demonstrators called for releasing these children.”

Responding to Sallam who points out that the demands have now expanded to involve the whole of Syria, such as lifting the state of emergency, Al-Samman says: “There is no doubt that there are political and economic problems in Syria. Actually, the problems are more economic in nature than political.”

Al-Samman notes that the shift from a socialist-based economy to a capitalist-based one caused the rise of a corrupt segment of society, adding: “This caused a gap in salaries, income, and social statuses, which caused tension in the society. However, I assure you that there will be a batch of reforms that will be implemented soon.” He continues: “Naturally, there are some individuals in this corrupt segment of society that have ties to the ruling Ba’th Party and we cannot blame President Bashar al-Asad for what is happening in Syria as he inherited a heavy burden from the 40-year rule of the Ba’th Party.”

Originally published by Al-Jazeera TV, Doha, in Arabic 1448 23 Mar 11.

The number of killed people reached now 45 while media is reporting 15 apart from BBC

here are the names in Arabic, if you want them in English will send soon.
also listed the name of the village for each person.

1-    معتز ابو زايد – خربة غزالة
2-    فادي المصري – خربة غزالة
3-    حيان حاج على – خربة غزالة
4-    منذر رنس حواش قنبس الشمري – مدينة الحارة- 17 سنة
5-    صلاح عبد الرحمن الحريري
6-    محمد عبد الرحمن الحريري
7-    عيسى محمد الكردي
8-    معاذ نايف الأبازيد- قرية الصورة
9-    محمد أحمد السلامات- البانوراما
10-جمال الجربوعي- الحراك
11-مهاب نايف أبازيد
12-مالك محمود مفضي الكراد
13-علي غصاب المحاميد
14-عباس سعد المحاميد
15-خالد عبد الله المحاميد
16-نايف حسين الأبازيد
17-ابتسام مسالمة
18-رائد أحمد الحمصي
19-منذر عمرو- 22سنة عسكري
20-عمر عبد الوالي مسالمة
21-خالد المصري
22-محمد أبو نبوت
23-حميد أبو نبوت
24-بلال أبو نبوت
25-عزيز أبو نبوت
26-أيهم حريري – 18-3-2011
27-حسام عبد المولى
28-مؤمن منذر مسالمة- 14سنة، 20-3-2011
29-ماهر المسالمة
30-أكرم جوابرة، 18-3-2011
31-  محمد رشراش الجراد (الجرادات) – مدرس- 47 سنة- الحارة
32-  أشرف عبد العزيز المصري- حوالي 40سنة
33-  طلال الفاضل- الحريك
34-  الشيخ وهيب العدوي- الحريك
35-  عبد الغني الأكراد
36-  علي الرواشدة- طفس
37-  عبد الناصر مسلماني- قرية علما
38-  سمير قمبس- 21سنة
39-  محمد قمبس
40-  عبد الله الجراد
41-  وسام عياش- 18-3-2011
42-  …….. أبو عون- 18-3-2011
43-رائد الأكراد
44- محمود دياب داغبر- قرية علما
45-عمر أحمد الحريري- قرية علما

Comments (73)

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51. why-discuss said:

International Crisis Group :

Conflict Risk Alert: Syria
Brussels/Damascus | 25 Mar 2011

Syria is at what is rapidly becoming a defining moment for its leadership. There are only two options. One involves an immediate and inevitably risky political initiative that might convince the Syrian people that the regime is willing to undertake dramatic change. The other entails escalating repression, which has every chance of leading to a bloody and ignominious end. Already, the unfolding confrontation in the southern city of Deraa gives no sign of quieting, despite some regime concessions, forceful security measures and mounting casualties. For now, this remains a geographically isolated tragedy. But it also constitutes an ominous precedent with widespread popular resonance that could soon be repeated elsewhere.

The regime faces three inter-related challenges. First is a diffuse but deep sense of fatigue within society at large, combined with a new unwillingness to tolerate what Syrians had long grown accustomed to — namely the arrogance of power in its many forms, including brutal suppression of any dissent, the official media’s crude propaganda and vague promises of future reform. As a result of events elsewhere in the region, a new awareness and audacity have materialised over the past several weeks in myriad forms of rebelliousness, large and small, throughout the country.

Secondly, at the heart of virtually any locality in the nation is a long list of specific grievances. These typically involve a combination: rising cost of living, failing state services, unemployment, corruption and a legacy of abuse by security services. In a number of places, religious fundamentalism, sectarianism or Kurdish nationalism also form an integral part of the mix. In others, the depletion of water resources and devastation of the agriculture sector add to the tensions.

The third challenge relates to the regime’s many genuine enemies, all of whom undoubtedly will seek to seize this rare opportunity to precipitate its demise. Authorities have ascribed much of the strife to the exiled opposition, home-grown jihadi elements, local “aliens” (notably residents of Palestinian and Kurdish descent) and hostile foreign parties (notably U.S., Israeli, Lebanese and Saudi).

As a result, the regime claims to be fighting critical threats to national unity, such as foreign interference, ethnic secessionism and sectarian retribution. It also stresses the illegitimacy of exiled Syrians they accuse of stirring unrest — some of whom, in fairness, are suspected of crimes no less deserving of investigation than those of the officials they seek to replace.

All this unquestionably forms part of the picture. But these factors are intertwined with others, far more difficult to define or to manage — a popular desire for long overdue, far-reaching change; the simultaneous expression of numerous legitimate demands; and a growing belief that the regime is incapable of shifting from a logic of entitlement and survival to one of accountability. The current blend of mounting repression, blatant disinformation, minor concessions and presidential silence is quickly hardening negative perceptions.

A window of opportunity still exists to change these dynamics, although it is fast closing. Unlike most of his peers in the region, President Bashar Assad has accumulated significant political capital, and many Syrians are willing, for now, to give him the benefit of the doubt. In fact, a broad range of citizens – including members of the security apparatus – are desperately waiting for him to take the lead and to propose, before it is too late, an alternative to spiraling confrontation. Although he has held numerous consultations and sent some signals of impending reform through the foreign media and other officials, he has yet to assume clear and palpable leadership.

Instead, faced with an unprecedented, multi-faceted, fast-paced and critical challenge, the power apparatus at best is implementing chaotic steps that convey a sense of confusion, at worst is reacting according to well-ingrained habits. Left to its own devices, it will send precisely the wrong messages to a population that will not wait much longer for the regime to get its act together and to put forward a comprehensive and credible vision. At this point, only one thing can change swiftly, dramatically and effectively for the better, and that is the president’s own attitude.

President Assad must show visible leadership and do so now. His political capital today depends less on his past foreign policy successes than on his ability to live up to popular expectations at a time of dangerous domestic crisis. Meanwhile, repression perpetrated under his responsibility is costing him dearly. He alone can prove that change is possible and already in the making, restore some sense of clarity and direction to a bewildered power apparatus and put forward a detailed framework for structural change. This should include several steps:

* The President should speak openly and directly to his people, recognise the challenges described above, stress the unacceptable and counterproductive nature of repression, offer condolences to the families of victims, order a serious, transparent investigation into the violence in Deraa, present a package of measures for immediate implementation and suggest an inclusive mechanism for discussing more far-reaching reforms.
* He should announce the following, immediate measures: release of all political prisoners; lifting of the emergency law; authorisation of peaceful demonstrations; opening of new channels for the expression of complaints, given lack of trust in local officials; and action on the many cases of corruption that already have been compiled by the security apparatus but lie dormant due to nepotistic intervention.
* Upcoming parliamentary elections should be postponed pending a referendum on sweeping constitutional amendments which should be discussed with a wide and inclusive range of Syrians. Deeper change requires broad consultation and cannot be arbitrarily implemented.

Many within the regime argue against such a radical course of action. Their points might appear logical, but none should carry the day:

The regime has never responded to pressure, and this time-honoured principle has always served it well over the years, particularly in times of crisis.

While this might have been true in the past, the current situation involves an entirely different and unprecedented kind of pressure, one that is relentless and grounded in deep-seated popular feelings. If resisted, it will only swell. This is not a time for business as usual or for standing still when all around is moving.

Any concessions are likely to be viewed as inadequate and only fuel additional demands.

This almost certainly will be the case. And it is why any initiative must go all the way, from the outset. Only by doing so might the president convince the people that change is real. The question, in other words, is whether the regime can accept fundamental change. If it cannot, it is headed toward a bloody confrontation.

People do not know what they really want and express endless demands, some of which are unacceptable.

Again, this likely is true and, after years of suppression, wide-ranging aspirations cannot but be expressed. But the lack of a clear popular vision for orderly change offers the president the chance to convince citizens of the merits of his own.

The regime’s enemies are stirring things up and must be subdued before they do more damage.

In reality, none of the regime’s enemies possess enough support or influence in Syria to mount a critical threat. At best, they can try to make use of broad popular anger and steer it to their advantage. But by focusing on “enemies”, the regime is giving them more space while deepening popular discontent.

There is, in short, reason to question whether a dramatic approach will prevail. But it is the only realistic way to avoid a perilous confrontation.

After decades of colonialism followed by authoritarian rule, the Middle East and North Africa are facing a new phenomenon: a demand for governments based on popular legitimacy. Rulers in Syria or elsewhere can pass this test of leadership, or they can fail it. Bashar Assad has important assets; he retains significant political capital measured by regional standards, and it is high time that he spends it. As each day goes by, repression will both dissipate that capital and increase popular demands, making constructive action all the more difficult. Hunkering down and waiting for the storm to pass may have served the regime well in days past. But now, it must fight against those instincts if it wants to preserve the possibility of a peaceful outcome.

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March 26th, 2011, 6:07 am


52. Revlon said:

Declaration of Revolution against the System by The Syrian Arab Tribes It was announced by Lawyer Ali Eesa Al3obaidi,
General Secretary
General assembly for the Syrian Arab Tribes

بيان : عشائر سوريا تعلن الثورة على نظام بشار الاسد
21 03 2011

Summary of the preamble:
The tribes of Syria are unified (he cited names of 60 tribes).
Their speaker is both a sheikh and lawyer.
They seem to have taken charge, from Dar3a tribes.
Their address and demands have become national
They have declared the revolution on the Syrian Regime, until victory.
They have become the largest, and most organised driving forces of the Syrian revolution.
The statement appealed for unity among all Syrian citizens, irrespective of their beliefs or ethnicities. (He named kurds, Christians Alawis, Shi3a, Druz, …)

Recommended list of peaceful actions to its descendants and the rest of the nation

1. All Baath party tribal members are to withdraw from the party membership and join the revolution.
2. Armed forces: You swore to protect the nation, not the dictator. Your duty today is to Join the nation. Traitors who side with the dictator will be punished by the coming court of people.
3. Religious leaders are to join the revolution. You are responsible before God and their people.
4. Students of universities to rise with colleagues the Kurds. Kurdish people are part of the Syrian people fabric
5. Raise the Syrian independence flag in your demonstrations

With Gods will, We shall be victorious.

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March 26th, 2011, 6:24 am


53. Revlon said:

49. why-discuss,
Thank you for posting the Analytical report by International Crisis Group, titled: Conflict Risk Alert: Syria
Brussels/Damascus | 25 Mar 2011

I quickly read through the document.
Althought it was posted 25th of March, I belive its pertinence has expired a few days ago.
Events on the ground have become both unpredictable and unstopable.

History making on the grounhd, is out pacing today’s news!

The only way out now is for B Asad and his ruling circle to step down and hand over all powers to an interim governing council.

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March 26th, 2011, 7:00 am


54. Norman said:

With this declaration of revolt, Is it OK with you for the Syrian government to fight back,

DR Landis put up eye witness testimonies from foreign residents in Syria supporting the government story,

It looks to me that the opposition are as bad as the government in their propaganda.


Do you know that Syriatel pays significant amount of taxes to the government
Are there any Syrian Billionaires ?m That is beside you!!.LOL

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March 26th, 2011, 7:25 am


55. OFF THE WALL said:

I have not written in a while because, like Jad, i was becoming disenchanted with the sectarian turn some of the comments have taken.

Joshua and Nafdik
Thanks for highlighting the International Crises Group web page. I am a subscriber to their briefings and find them reasonably thoughtful.

NK #40
And also thanks for reaffirming SC Rules.

LEO #44
Thanks for the well informed legal counter-action, but If I may intervene, i think that your last paragraph is the most important part. Inciting murder should not be tolerated, and you are absolutely right, there are legal remedies for that. Personally, I am against banning, and I recall calling only once, in very subdued manner for banning a character with similar incitement. Yes we do not have an ignore button, but we still can ignore, unless one finds deranged writings by a mukhabarat chief wannabe, entertaining.

To All Syrian Patriots on SC
At the same time, I would like to talk about some of our true compatriots here, Norman, Jad, and Alex. The last thing I would want is to lose their valuable contributions feeling unwelcome due to continuous derogatory remarks calling them “regime supporters” “bashar supporters” and so on. Please note that I am talking about the context in which these labels are sometimes packaged. I have very high esteem of all three, and I consider them all personal cyber-friends and outstanding Syrians who have tried, no less than anyone else on SC to make Syria a better place, to present the justice of the Palestinian cause, dear to all of us, to expose the hypocrisy of neocon and other enemies of Syria, and to envision creative solutions and advises to some of the most complex problems in Syria including issues ranging from health care in Syria, fighting corruption, all the way to election laws and governance. These are serious issues and I value their heartfelt, honest, and dedicated efforts. And I stand vehemently against marginalizing them or their contributions. I am sure that many on all sides are forced by these difficult events to reevaluate positions, exactly as I, thanks to other patriot commenters on SC, have done not long ago. They are as Syrian as I am, and I would even argue that they may have contributed to Syria far more than I have.

Our beloved Syria is entering into very tough times. I am sure all of us look forward to a peaceful path to change. And despite of what seems to be peace shattering response, there is no need to confuse calls for justice with calls for revenge, especially in sectarian terms. Things will never be as they were only three weeks ago. There will be polarizations, righteousness,and stupidity as well. We will need the contributions of every honest, intelligent, well meaning Syrians. Let no one’s voice be silenced and let us give peace a chance. Those on the ground, on both sides, are Syrians, their death is ours, their suffering is ours, and their mothers’ tears are our mothers’.

I have much more to say, but I felt, with all my heart, that the above was a high priority issue.

Love to all.

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March 26th, 2011, 7:27 am


56. majedkhaldoon said:

There are news from Arabiya that the prisoners in Saydnaya has been released,this is good news.

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March 26th, 2011, 7:36 am


57. Norman said:


Thank you and I am so glad to see you here again, you know what i mean,

I will continue to say that what we need is an evolution not a revolution, killing brings more killing and violence brings more violence,

I would rather be in prison for the rest of my life that see Syria broken up, but then, That is me,

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March 26th, 2011, 7:42 am


58. majedkhaldoon said:

Gaddafi forces are retreating, and mean while suffering huge losses, rebels most likely will take over Ras Lanof in two days,Gaddafi has to realize that the end is comming.
In Yemen Saleh is facing pressure to leave and is about to do that, may be this weekend,this will leave us with few countries ,facing problems,Syria is one of them,all eyes are on Syria,so Bashar has to give concessions,and the more he gives the more demands he will face,unless he goes all the way.
Internal shaking in his regime is inevitable,this includes relieving Maher from his positions,and may be Asef too,they must leave Syria.
Small concessions will not work,we are entering a sharp turn in Syrian history,Bashar has to make major deicisions,if he want to play a role in the region in the future.

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March 26th, 2011, 8:02 am


59. Solitarius said:

In the video at the Nadi al Doubbat in Homs.. The demonstrators’ accents do not sound Homsi at all.. They sound Palestinian. A Latakian friend also told me today that many demonstrators in Latakia were actually Palestinians..

How true is that? anybody got any information?

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March 26th, 2011, 8:22 am


60. Off the Wall said:

Dear Norman
Like you, i would rather face jail than see Syria divided and broken up. But I would also rather spend the rest of my life in jail than see the dignity of Syrians continue to be trampled on, their resources stolen, and their freedoms stepped on brutally, (which has been the case for nearly half a century now).

I believe that Arab people are not revolting against rulers, they are revolting against conditions. In every single case, they gave the ruler a chance to change these conditions, and when failing, they acted.

No longer should an Arab citizen be looked on and treated with contempt by security thugs. No longer should a group of mukhabarat appointed members of a single party control the destinies of countries, and no longer should Arabs be bound, to confuse a personality with a nation. Allah Freedom is all what count. And no longer they would tolerate being controlled for eternity by a single party. It seems that the last point has not yet made it to the Syrian regime.

Take for example the current situation in Syria. All decisions are now being made by the Regional Command of the Baath Party, bypassing a parliament ineffectual as it is, a seemingly popular president, and a very unpopular government. No one but their cronies elected them within the party system after being told to do so by the Mukhabarat, which makes them appointed and not elected. Is that a healthy situation?. Just now, the regional command of the baath party is meeting to decide the fate of the prisoners and the next step. From where I stand, this is insulting, for no single party, especially one so intermingled with ill reputed thuggish security apparatus should be able to control the conflict. Notice that they have not consulted anyone, not the opposition, nor the intellectuals or their adversaries. This is not how you resolve internal situation such as what we have. We need inclusion, and not exclusion. They should have called others into the discussion. On this issue, I have become a hardliner for I believe no serious reform can happen unless the legally enshrined monopoly on power by a single party is removed. If it is not, the best we can hope for is to evolve to what Egypt and/or Tunisia were and any opposition party, would be merely a regime-owned opposition party. Syria needs a new political life, and soon enough it should and will have one. The power monopoly has not been good neither for the country nor for the party itself. Of course, I am not calling for things to happen overnight, but I am sorry to tell you that while I do like evolution, you, having studied biology more than anyone of us, should be aware that an integral element of evolution is competition, and when there is no competition, such as the case of a single party (the national progressive front is a charade), what we get is a de-evolutionary overgrowth. This is what happened to the Dinosaurs, absent strong competition, they became too large to survive catastrophe. We are the result of their failure.

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March 26th, 2011, 8:55 am


61. Syrian Patriot said:

Yesterday Al Arabiya, BBC Arabic, and France 24 claimed that a 1000 protestors were chanting anti government slogans in Al Tal. Lies. Not a single person was in Al TAl. I know people living there and I called them to check up on them. There was not one person protesting.
BBC Arabic, Al Hurra, Al Arabiya, and France 24 reported pro government demonstrations claiming that ‘HUNDREDS’ of Syrians were involved. In the last three days it has been almost impossible to drive around Damascus due to the cars and people on foot spread throughout the following areas: Jisr Al Raees, Omawayeen Square, Malki, Abu Rummaneh, and Abassiyeen. More lies.
BBC Arabic interviewed Al Bayanouni a week ago and asked him if he would accept women and/or Christian nominees in any government. After beating around the bush for a few minutes. The interviewer insisted that he answer straightforwardly. His answer was no. Is this the democracy that the people want? An Islamic Caliphate?
Khaddam robbed the Syrian people of billions of dollars and defected.
Protesters even chanted anti hizbollah and Iran slogans. What a joke!!!!!Since when do the Syrian people have a problem with Iran and Hizbollah???
When Dr. Buthaina held the press conference on Thursday and listed the reforms to be introduced in the next few days, I honestly thought that this country was out of the dark. However the ‘ANTI GOVERNMENT PROTESTS’ went on. The opposition claims that the governemnt has been making these promises for the last 11 years. They seem to have forgotten about Septemeber 11, the war on Afghanistan, the war on Iraq,the Hariri assasination, the war on Lebanon in 2006, the war on Gaza, the Hizbollah issue in 2008, and all of the above’s implications on reforms in Syria.They forget tha Colin Powell presented Dr. Bashar with a list of 8 demands in 2004, all of which were rejected. Everyone seems to forget history. Everyone seems to forget that the U.S., the most “Democratic” country in the world implemented “Emergency Law” in the form of the Patriot Act after 2011, as they saw themselves under threat. Whatabout the Guantanamo Bay prisioners that haven’t even been charged for the last 10 years, and don’t even have any rights to a fair trial. And now the US has a problem with Syria’s emergency law? What about the fact that in the UK the are 4 CCTV cameras for every individual there. Is that freedom? Whatabout the millions of people that have been killed in Palestine, Iraq, and Afghanistan? Who gave Obamaa and the US the right to talk to Syria?
Here is the truth. Christians, Druze, Sunnis, Shiites, and Alawites have all been living in peace side by side in this country ever since the Assad government came to power decades ago. Prior to that Syria had been living through copu after coup after the Chees Eating and Wine drinking French left Syria.
People need to wake up. They need to realize that there is something big being brewed for Syria and the Middle East, something bigger than democracy. Something that was planned centuries ago by the Elders of Zion, being implemented today by blood thirsty mercenaries.
Stop listening to the lies, give a chance for these reforms to be implemented.
Wake up, this has the fingerprints of Israel, the US, France, Khaddam, Muslim Brotherhood (formed by the British during the British colonization era).
Remember, our leader, Dr. Bashar, is the last standing Arab leader who has the courage and presence of mind to say no to Israel and the US.

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March 26th, 2011, 9:09 am


62. Off the Wall said:

In my post to Norman, third paragraph, please read the words

Allah Freedom is all what what counts

as being
Allah (Country name) Freedom is all what counts.

I had used the < (less than) before Country name, and the opposite direction sign (Greater than) after it, influenced by programming, but the system took out as an illegal Html tag.

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March 26th, 2011, 9:11 am


63. Norman said:

Dear OTW,
I agree with everything you said, The reason that the changes are coming from the Baath party central committee is that whoever has the power has to give it or taken from and that is the Baath party until now I still believe that the Baath party will survive and be better in a multiparty system, I believed that in the late seventies and still believe it now, as i said before single party system brings opportunists to join the party and they give a bad impression of the party, so WE AGREE, i hope that you and others believe that Baath party should be able to compete not being guarantied a place, otherwise will end up with another single party system ,

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March 26th, 2011, 9:21 am


64. Off the Wall said:

Dear Norman

Well Said my dear friend. YES We agree and I recall your comments about the Party. I do not doubt that some of Baath’s ideals will have a place in a future political debate in Syria, albeit with major evolution such as acknowledging the place of other ethnicities. I hope that they will, for the ideals do ground Syria to its larger Arab environment.

All parties should be able to compete.

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March 26th, 2011, 9:46 am


65. Norman said:

Dear OTW,
The Baath party is not limited to one ethnic group and if you point to the name Baath Arab socialist party, That was adopted when the Baath party made of teachers and intellectuals joined with Akram Hourani Arab socialist party, The Baath party still believe in one Arab nation but all ethnic groups and religous affiliations who live in the Arab nation land can join and retain their culture and be equal, That is the real Baath party,

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March 26th, 2011, 9:54 am


66. Off the WALL said:

Dear Norman
I meant a place in the state-country, not in the party.

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March 26th, 2011, 10:00 am


67. Jad said:

Dear OTW, Thank you!

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March 26th, 2011, 10:43 am


68. Ziadsoury said:

otw, thank you.

I agree with you. I was always and to this date believe that Bashar can still be the president. But the change has to be immediate. I also believe that Alex, Nrman (even though he questioned my intentions), jad, nour and the rest are all good Syrians. We all have the same goal in mind but differ on how to get there. That makes for a health debate. SNP on the other hand is just like AP. He is pure white noise and needs to be ignored but not silenced.

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March 26th, 2011, 12:50 pm


69. Ziadsoury said:

All, you have my permission to send this letter out.

An open letter to Asma Asad

Dear Asma,
I am writing to you as a parent. You have beautiful kids and inshalah byerbouh b3ezkem. Just like the rest of my fellow Syrians, we want the best for our kids and work very hard to make that happen. As a proud parent of 3 kids, I want them to be independent, free, self sufficient and proud of whom they are and their country. If one of them gets sick or just half an hour late for dinner, I also lose a lot of sleep. I am sure you go through the same. Every parent does. No exceptions.
Can you imagine one day one of your kids not coming home at all? No one knows why. He has been arrested and beaten for saying I want to be free. Can you imagine a bunch of teenage boys being shot and killed because they emulated something they saw on TV?
You lived in England and you were honored and respected as a person in that country more than the average Syrian in Syria. You were given ample opportunity to prove yourself and earn a very respected income as a professional. Why a Syrian (a foreigner) gets respected and treated well in England while our Syrian system treats the people as subjects at their mercy.
Look around you and you see mothers, sisters and daughters with tears and sadness in their eyes, hurt in their hearts and no more dignity left in their souls. Would you have come back to Syria and be one of them if you did not marry the president? How could these women raise the next generation of Syrians? Why did this happen and how could we change that? Is killing the men and the boys in their life will get us their? I doubt it.
Just like you, every Syrian wants Syria to be the best place on earth. We want the west and the rest of the world to emulate us instead of making fun of us. We want our scientist, doctors, engineers, artists, teachers, universities, hospitals and businesses to be second to none. But how could get there if these mothers are crying and weeping? How are we going to get there if our society lives in constant fear. How could our children be the best when they are no allowed to think for themselves?
My kids can dream and have the right to become president of the US yet the average Syrian child can’t even dare to dream about being the president.
We do not want to lose any more of young people but the people want change and they are willing to die for it. You should be, as we are, proud of them. The people do not want empty promises. The people are not against Bashar, they are against the system he inherited. That system might have worked fine 50 years ago but we need to let go of it. We know change is hard but it has to happen and happen very soon.
Asma, we need your help. You are a simple of our hope and aspirations for our Syrian mother, sisters and daughters. Be there for them.
Thank you,
The Syrian PEOPLE

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March 26th, 2011, 12:52 pm


70. Norman said:


If we do not question we do not learn.

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March 26th, 2011, 1:22 pm


71. Syria Comment » Archives said:

[…] Aleppo, a hotbed of Muslim Brother support in the 1970s, was completely unaffected by the anti-government movement. Instead, Aleppines turned out in sizable numbers to support the government. […]

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April 3rd, 2011, 11:51 pm


72. As quiet returns, Syrians ponder the future by Joshua Landis | The Middle East Channel said:

[…] Aleppo, a hotbed of Muslim Brotherhood support in the 1970s, was completely unaffected by the anti-government movement. Instead, Aleppines turned out in sizable numbers to support the government. […]

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April 6th, 2011, 1:07 am


73. Latakian said:

So now people are accusing them of importing protesters. LOL
The protests in Latakia started in Tabiat and from Al Slaybeh and these areas are populated by syrians the palestinians live east from there. There is a video of them descending the stairs near Al Rahman mosque (Newly built mosque in Tabiat) and going through Slaybeh. Now during salat al Fajr the Al Rahman mosque is usually packed by the inhabitants of the Area. So your telling us that during the Friday prayers, Palestinians went from their places and prayed in the Al Rehman mosque and it had enough space for them All?
People must understand that the Syrian goverment is hated alot there. Of course they won’t tell you because you are foreigners and you don’t have their trust. But once you have their trust they will tell you how much they hate it. We have been listening to Syrian TV telling us not to fall into sectarianism now we have the goverment supporters telling us that it’s the palestinians’ fault. Talk about a piece of junk.

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April 16th, 2011, 11:58 am


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