Rebels Massacre 25 “Shabiha;” An Assad Taken; High Level Military to Defect; Turkish Fighter Shot Down

According to reports from people who recently left Syria, moral among even high Syrian officials is down. They openly criticize Assad and talk about his mistakes and being unable to help someone who cannot help himself.

CBS News: Syrian gov’t: Rebels massacre dozens of “shabiha” – CBS News
2012-06-22

(CBS/AP) BEIRUT – A video emerged Friday showing more than a dozen bloodied corpses in Syria, some of them piled on top of each other and in military uniforms, in what the government said was a “massacre” by rebels in the northern province of … SANA, said terrorist groups had killed and mutilated at least 25 people in Daret Azzeh, a rebel-held area in the Aleppo countryside…..

Mood said the opposition had clearly become better at fighting over the course of the past 15 months of the uprising, according to the diplomat.

CBS News national security correspondent David Martin reports that the rebel fighters are becoming increasingly better equipped, thanks to weapons and money supplied by Arab countries hostile to Assad.

The opposition consists of roughly 100 different groups, and as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told Charlie Rose the U.S. is trying to organize them into a more unified force.

“We’re also working very hard to try to prop up and better organize the opposition. We’ve spent a lot of time on that. It’s still a work in progress.”

The U.S, is not providing weapons to the insurgents, but Martin reports the CIA has begun advising other countries about which opposition groups should receive arms and money.

Correction

Mu`ayin Yahiya al-Assad captured: Presumably [not] a relative of the president because he is a mere captain in the police, Assad is featured in this video as one of the captured shabiha. This is presumably the last image of him before he was killed unless he is being held for ransom. His last name is Assad, which makes him a particularly valued target and this video although he is unlikely to be a relative of the president because of his low rank. There are a number of Assad families.

The Daily Telegraph reports that senior military officers from Syrian president Bashar al-Assad’s regime are preparing to join the opposition. U.S. officials told the newspaper that these figures have started to communicate with opposition forces and Western governments as they make contingency plans for the fall of the regime. The military officers have also started to move their money into Lebanese and Chinese banks. A senior opposition activist said “I know for sure there are some high-ranking officers who are waiting for the right chance to defect. We have names of people in the presidential palace.” This report comes a day after a Syrian pilot, flying a MiG-21 fighter jet, defected to Jordan where he was granted asylum on ‘humanitarian grounds.’ The pilot, Col. Hassan Merei al-Hamade, had been ordered to bomb Dera’a before he flew into Jordan’s King Hussein air base. At least three other pilots flying MiG-21s on that same mission also considered defecting, according to the Telegraph.

…at least 104 civilians, 54 soldiers, and 10 rebel fighters were killed throughout the country. The bloodiest areas were Homs and Douma, near Damascus.

A pan-Arab TV says Syrian air defense system has shot  down a Turkish fighter jet near the seaside city of Latakia on Friday. Al-Mayadeen TV said the fighter jet was shot down over the coastal town of Ra’es al-Baseet near Latakia, adding that other jet had also been shot at, without giving further details. June 22, 2012 (Xinhua) –

*TURKISH PILOTS IN SYRIAN CUSTODY, HABERTURK SAYS

*SYRIA APOLOGIZED TO TURKEY FOR SHOOTING PLANE, HABERTURK SAYS

Can a Moderate Kurd Unite the Syrian Revolution?
June 20, 2012 By David Arnold – Voice of America

The Syrian National Council (SNC) announced earlier this month the selection of Abdulbaset Sieda, a little-known moderate Kurd from Uppsala, Sweden, to – for the next three months – lead the opposition group of mostly Syrian exiles in its effort to dislodge the government of President Bashar al-Assad…..

Will Syria’s minorities follow Sieda’s lead?

The day he was chosen, Sieda told a reporter for the Kurdish online newspaper, Rudaw, that he has invited the Kurdish National Council (KNC) to join the Syrian umbrella group. The KNC leadership expressed some optimism that the two groups would work together. KNC leadership praised Sieda for his patriotism but added that success will be determined by his effectiveness as “a bridge of communications to improve relations.”

Kurdish issues loom large in that conversation. Kodmani told Middle East Voices the SNC opposed discrimination against Kurds, supports citizenship for all Kurds, and endorses compensation payments for some of the grievances they have against the Assad regime. But she said the SNC cannot endorse other demands such as Kurdish autonomy or federalism without the consensus of the council.

Syrian Kurds generally do not trust the SNC because they see it as a political group created by and in Turkey, says Ayub Nuri, the editor of Rudaw. “The council he leads right now is not liked by many Syrians: Arabs, Christians, Kurds and the other Syrian minority groups.”

Uniting these opposition groups will be a major challenge, said Nuri. “They are deeply divided. They don’t like each other. So anyone, no matter how experienced or how loyal or how hard-working, will have the challenge of satisfying all of these different groups, which I think is impossible.”

Nuri also described the majority of Syria’s Kurds – approximately 10 to 15 percent of Syria’s total population of an estimated 22.5 million – as disengaged from the revolution. Most are unemployed and very poor. They tend to avoid violence because their own struggle with the Assad regime in 2004 ended in the deaths of hundreds of Kurds. “Now, they say the others should do it: ‘We are tired of bloodshed and imprisonment.’”

Can Sieda restructure the Syrian National Council?

Critics of the SNC say future success will be determined not by who is chosen to lead the organization but whether the council is prepared for a structural reorganization on many fronts. The SNC’s Kodmani said reorganization is taking place, but others are skeptical that significant improvements will be made.

The council he leads right now is not liked by many Syrians: Arabs, Christians, Kurds and the other Syrian minority groups – Amr al-Azm, a Syrian American invited to SNC ‘s first meetings. “These problems include issues of transparency, decision-making, how finances are managed, and the lack of a clear vision,” said Amr al-Azm, a Syrian American who teaches archaeology at Shawnee State University in Ohio. A Sunni whose father is a recognized opposition figure and who remains in the SNC, al-Azm was invited to the organizational meetings of the group but declined to join.

“One of the key problems I have with the council is that it is dominated by Islamists, not just members of the Muslim Brotherhood,” al-Azm said. Others have said that Ghalioun – who is a Christian – was put forward by the Brotherhood to downplay their Islamists image. Al-Azm said the Brotherhood supported Sieda for the same reason.

Another member of the SNC, George Sabra – a Christian with close links to Syria’s street activists – was in the running for the leadership position, said Al-Azm. But Sabra was perceived as a threat to the status quo of the leadership, Al-Azm said.

“The Muslim Brotherhood refused to let him take that seat because he is independent-minded. He can make decisions and I think that, in itself, may have interfered with the current balance of power in the SNC.”

The SNC’s short history

The short history of the SNC includes charges of the failure of Ghalioun to consult the membership before making important decisions, as well as the failure of the executive to call for votes among the membership. Three months ago, Gulf newspaper Al Arabiya reported that three of the SNC’s founders – a former judge, a human rights lawyer and opposition leader Kamal al-Labwami – complained about Muslim Brotherhood dominance, the council’s failure to arm the rebels. Having charged the leadership with corruption, they left the council. Two have since returned.

Can a Moderate Kurd Unite the Syrian Revolution?

Kurds are reluctant rebels these days but demonstrated in Qamishli last year with this sign: “We call for a new constitution in which all sects and nationalities in the country can participate.”

“They lurch from crisis to crisis,” said al-Azm. “I don’t see how expanding the SNC to include a few more members of the minorities will fundamentally address the core problems of the SNC, the issues of transparency, leadership and a clear vision.”

Al-Azm is concerned that time is running out for the SNC.

“There is no connection left anymore between the SNC as a sort of political entity and the street which has moved beyond and is not protesting and acting totally independent of such a leadership.”

Comments (416)


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401. bronco said:

#399 Tara

It is not an “allegeance” that implies subordination, it is a spiritual guidance.
Catholic’s spiritual leader is the Pope. Anything wrong with that?

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June 25th, 2012, 12:36 pm

 

402. ann said:

At UN, “Not First Time Turkey Flies Into Syria,” Skeptic Says, Ban Silent – June 25, 2012

By Matthew Russell Lee

http://www.innercitypress.com/syria2turknato062512.html

[...]

The non-Western diplomat was decidedly more sceptical. He exclusively told Inner City Press this is not the first time Turkey flies into Syrian air space.

We need to know the purpose of those flights, he said, and what exactly shot the Turkish jet down.

He said NATO is “not ready” for military intervention, so why come to the Council?

[...]

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June 25th, 2012, 12:36 pm

 

403. ann said:

Those who live in glass houses … 8)

Lira Weakens for Third Day After Syria Downs Turkish Warplane – Jun 24, 2012

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-06-25/lira-weakens-for-third-day-after-syria-downs-turkish-warplane.html

The lira weakened for a third day to the lowest level in 11 days after a Turkish warplane was shot down by Syrian forces.

[...]

“This is a major development and we will see selling until it becomes clear how this will be resolved and the uncertainty is ended,” Onur Bayol, a currency and fixed-income trader at Denizbank AS in Istanbul, said in e-mailed comments.

[...]

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June 25th, 2012, 12:44 pm

 

404. ann said:

Those who like to have their cake and eat it too 8)

Turkish markets fall after jet shooting – Mon 25 Jun 2012

http://www.itv.com/news/update/2012-06-25/turkish-markets-fall-after-jet-shooting/

Turkish markets have fallen as investor confidence has been left shaken by Syria’s shooting down of a Turkish jet late last week.

[...]

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June 25th, 2012, 12:48 pm

 

405. Tara said:

Bronco

I think the difference is that the pope is purely a rigorous figure and has no political influence, wherease Wali al Faqih is a head of a regional power looking to influence the whole region. Politics and religion, as I think you agree, do not mix..when they do, spirituality does not exist. HA is now a political entity ruling Lebanon. It’s only allegiance should be to the Lenanese people and to the Arab in general.

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June 25th, 2012, 12:54 pm

 

406. ann said:

This paper tiger is destroying his own economy 8)

Turkey Bond Yields Jump Most in 11 Weeks as Syria Downs Warplane – June 25, 2012

http://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-06-25/turkey-bond-yields-jump-most-in-7-weeks-as-syria-shoots-warplane

Bond yields in Turkey rose for the first time in five days, jumping the most in almost 11 weeks, and the lira weakened after Syrian forces shot down the country’s warplane, escalating tensions.

[...]

“We need to wait until Tuesday when Turkey discusses a possible reaction with NATO allies,” Felix Herrmann, an analyst at DZ Bank AG in Frankfurt, said in e-mailed comments. “But for sure, downside risks for the lira have risen.”

[...]

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June 25th, 2012, 12:55 pm

 

407. Son of Damascus said:

Bronco,

It was not just a speech by some low level excited cleric, but the official spokesperson for HA in 1985, this is the declaration of the group when it was formed. This same declaration was published by Al-Safir newspaper simultaneously, on the 16th of Feb. 1985.

Both HA and MB are religious political entity, both are extremely similar except for the obvious, one is Shia the other Sunni.

Frankly I can’t stomach either, both use the “resistance” as a cover to push their ideological agendas. I strongly support a separation between state and church (or Mosque if you like), but I also respect other peoples individual choices however the line is drawn when their choices impede on my individual freedoms.

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June 25th, 2012, 12:55 pm

 

408. ann said:

It’s NATO’s Turn To Be HUMILIATED :D

Syria warns NATO against action over Turkish plane

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/06/25/us-syria-crisis-idUSBRE85D0IS20120625

Syria described its shooting down of a Turkish warplane as an act of self-defense and warned Turkey and its NATO allies against any retaliatory measures.

[...]

“NATO is supposed to be there to strengthen countries,” Syrian Foreign Ministry spokesman Jihad Makdissi told a Damascus news conference. “If their meeting is for hostile reasons (they should know that) Syrian land and waters are sacred.”

[...]

“The plane disappeared and then reappeared in Syrian airspace, flying at 100 meters altitude and about 1-2kms (0.6-1.2 miles) from the Syrian coast,” he said. “We had to react immediately, even if the plane was Syrian we would have shot it down.”

“The Syrian response was an act of defense of our sovereignty carried out by anti-aircraft machinegun which has a maximum range of 2.5 km.”

[...]

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June 25th, 2012, 1:08 pm

 

409. omen said:

345. ALAN said: United States knowingly and willfully attacked the submarine Kursk

if there was an ounce of truth in your accusation, it wouldn’t be some shadowy conspiracy theory. putin would have raised holy hell. we would all heard about it.

two, if there was proof the americans sank a russian sub, putin would have launched a retaliatory strike against an u.s. ship. he wouldn’t let an attack go unanswered.

he didn’t, did he?

three, if putin felt americans guilty, or even thought it an accident, russia would have sued for reparations.

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June 25th, 2012, 1:31 pm

 

410. omen said:

the piece juergen posted, that loyalists got excited about, argues fsa responsible for having committed the houla massacre – claims one of the rebels is named osama bin laden.

it’s one thing to be delusional and buy into these unfounded BS stories – it’s another to insult our intelligence and expect other people to buy into them. how stupid do regimeists think we are?

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June 25th, 2012, 1:46 pm

 

411. bronco said:

#405 Tara

Politics and religion are mixed in Islam as it mixed with the Catholic Church for centuries before the separation of state and religion.
The teachings of Islam are not only spiritual. Like conservative Jewish religion or Christian Mormons, they’re supposed to tell you how to lead your everyday life, religious, social and political.
Yet, I am sure they don’t call explicitly for an Islamic government in all the countries where there are moslems.
That’s the interpretation of the MB and the salafists, not of HA in Lebanon.

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June 25th, 2012, 2:05 pm

 

412. omen said:

today is one month since the houla massacre.

it’s bad enough the regime slaughtered innocent civilians, but to add insult to injury, loyalists have to compound the crime by concocting baseless fantasies that attempts to relieve war criminals of accountability.

in doing so, they are slandering the dead. have you no shame?

everyday, this regime kills innocent civilians with their ceaseless shelling. the regime has so debased reality that we all accept this as normal.

loyalists expect us to believe a regime that kills everyday with mortar shells, tanks and sniper fire – is somehow too exceptional and too principled to have sent in death squads to murder women and children.

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June 25th, 2012, 2:05 pm

 

413. bronco said:

#407 SOD

Hezbollah has changed completely since 1985. Its strongest ally in Lebanon is a christian Maronite political movement.
It is obviously a movement in constant evolution while the MB that has been persecuted and discarded from power in Egypt has remained stagnant for decades.

Now is the time the MB shows if they can adjust, like HA did in Lebanon, to the social, religious and political realities of the country they are now allowed to rule.

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June 25th, 2012, 2:13 pm

 

414. zoo said:

Rebel-held Syrian town struggles to keep the peace
By BEN HUBBARD | Associated Press – 1 hr 16 mins ago

http://news.yahoo.com/rebel-held-syrian-town-struggles-keep-peace-170918224.html

MAARET MISREEN, Syria (AP) — The electrical supply merchant had barely arrived for work when the day’s troubles began: Residents were complaining of fuel shortages, rebels had detained teenagers accused of robbing the high school and — most alarmingly — Shiite gunmen from a nearby village had kidnapped five Sunnis.

By mid-morning, a dozen men pensively sipped tea in Yasser Mamaar’s shop, hoping the head of their town’s revolutionary council would know what to do.

Puffing on a cigarette in a long, brown holder, the short, wrinkled, 55-year-old in a gray robe and matching sport coat made calls on an old green phone to find the missing men.

“There is no police station, there is no state, so who else can they go to?” said Mamaar, who now dispenses advice, mediates disputes and issues orders in addition to selling light bulbs, power cords and circuit breakers. “We have to solve people’s problems.”
….

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June 25th, 2012, 2:29 pm

 

415. omen said:

223. STICK TO THE TRUTH said: Turks oppose Syria intervention: poll
The majority of Turks believe President Recep Tayyip Erdogan should adopt a more neutral approach to the crisis in Syria, a new poll has found.

The opinion poll, which was conducted before the downing of a Turkish plane by Syrian forces on Friday, found that more than two-thirds of Turks opposed any intervention by Turkey in Syria.

The Ankara Social Research Center poll also revealed that a majority believed Ankara should not take sides in the conflict.

.

it’s nice to see the rigidly pro authoritarian, anti democracy contingent suddenly develop a new appreciation for the concept of majority will. unfortunately, they only expect turkey’s leadership to bend to and abide by public sentiment.

why not apply the same standard for the war criminal regime in syria?

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June 25th, 2012, 3:18 pm

 

416. Stick to the Truth said:

#291 TARA

“I am not versed on Syrian presidential history prior to papa Hafiz. I don’t even know most of their names or their stories and I do not want to learn it.”

You don`t even know the history of Syria but you want o talk about its future?

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June 28th, 2012, 4:07 pm

 

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