SNC Gets New Leader; Insurgency Grows; Foreign Jihadists Flock to Syria; Some Claim Houla Dead are Alawis

Syrian Forces Shell Cities as Opposition Picks Leader
Associated Press
By NEIL MacFARQUHAR, June 10, 2012, NYTimes

ISTANBUL — Syrian government forces shelled rebel strongholds across the country on Sunday, opponents of the government said, while the main opposition group in exile, the Syrian National Council, chose a new leader….

Abdelbaset Sieda, a Kurdish professor of Arabic and philosophy who promised the organization would be overhauled.

“We will expand and extend the base of the council,” he told reporters at a news conference, “so it will take on its role as an umbrella under which all the opposition will seek shade.”

The Syrian National Council, formed last fall, has been plagued by infighting and has been criticized as ineffective, amounting to little more than a front for the long-exiled Syrian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood with little influence inside the country. Its top post was supposed to rotate every three months, but Bourhan Ghalioun, another exiled academic, held on to it until an outcry over his most recent re-election in May, especially from inside Syria, prompted him to step down.

Council members involved in the process hailed Mr. Sieda’s election as proof that the Syrian opposition was committed to upholding democratic principles and the idea of a “leaderless revolution.” He ran unopposed.

“The ideal leadership of the council is not through one person — because no one is elected and has actual legitimacy,” said Bassma Kodmani, a member of the executive committee. Until such time as there are free elections in Syria, she said, the choice of the president of the council should be made by consensus.

“The revolution does not want to see a big leader, or one individual who leads everything,” Ms. Kodmani said. “Personalization leads to polarization.”

Still, critics both in the wider membership of the council and outside the group said Mr. Sieda had emerged as the consensus choice precisely because he represents no one, either inside Syria or out. Both the Muslim Brotherhood and liberals in the council concluded that he did not pose a threat or provide an advantage to any bloc within the council, they said, but for the same reasons he will have little real authority, and the bickering will continue.

“The Muslim Brotherhood, especially, does not want a strong person, neither someone with political strength nor a strong personality,” said Hasan Kasem, a young liberal activist.

Mr. Sieda, who turns 56 on Tuesday, has lived in Sweden for the past 17 years, and calls himself an independent. As a Kurd, he belongs to a minority that was oppressed for years by the Syrian government. Most Kurdish opposition groups do not take part in the council because it has not promised to back a federal government structure for Syria that would give Kurdish areas some measure of autonomy.

At the news conference, Mr. Sieda defended his long record of opposition to the governments of President Bashar al-Assad and his father, Hafez. To counter criticism of the council, he noted that the executive committee had just added three members with experience running local leadership councils who had fled Syria recently. Answering complaints that not enough humanitarian aid was being sent to areas affected by the conflict, Mr. Sieda said the council would soon distribute $3 million worth of aid inside Syria.

Sunday was the sixth straight day that al-Heffa and neighboring villages were hit with rocket, mortar and tank shelling, opposition groups said. But the official news agency, SANA, gave a different account, saying that “armed terrorist groups” — its label for all opponents of the government — looted and burned public property in al-Heffa and killed residents.

In his first public comments, Abdelbaset Sieda, urged government officials to defect.

In Deraa thousands pledge to Allah, praise Muhammad, threaten Nasrallah | 9 June ’12

Report: Rebels Responsible for Houla Massacre
By John Rosenthal, National Review, June 9, 2012 4:00 A.M.

According to a new report in Germany’s leading daily, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ), the Houla massacre was in fact committed by anti-Assad Sunni militants, and the bulk of the victims were member of the Alawi and Shia minorities, which have been largely supportive of Assad. For its account of the massacre, the report cites opponents of Assad, who, however, declined to have their names appear in print out of fear of reprisals from armed opposition groups.

According to the article’s sources, the massacre occurred after rebel forces attacked three army-controlled roadblocks outside of Houla. The roadblocks had been set up to protect nearby Alawi majority villages from attacks by Sunni militias. The rebel attacks provoked a call for reinforcements by the besieged army units. Syrian army and rebel forces are reported to have engaged in battle for some 90 minutes, during which time “dozens of soldiers and rebels” were killed.

“According to eyewitness accounts,” the FAZ report continues,

the massacre occurred during this time. Those killed were almost exclusively from families belonging to Houla’s Alawi and Shia minorities. Over 90% of Houla’s population are Sunnis. Several dozen members of a family were slaughtered, which had converted from Sunni to Shia Islam. Members of the Shomaliya, an Alawi family, were also killed, as was the family of a Sunni member of the Syrian parliament who is regarded as a collaborator. Immediately following the massacre, the perpetrators are supposed to have filmed their victims and then presented them as Sunni victims in videos posted on the internet.

The FAZ report echoes eyewitness accounts collected from refugees from the Houla region by members of the Monastery of St. James in Qara, Syria. According to monastery sources cited by the Dutch Middle East expert Martin Janssen, armed rebels murdered “entire Alawi families” in the village of Taldo in the Houla region.

Already at the beginning of April, Mother Agnès-Mariam de la Croix of the St. James Monastery warned of rebel atrocities’ being repackaged in both Arab and Western media accounts as regime atrocities. She cited the case of a massacre in the Khalidiya neighborhood in Homs. According to an account published in French on the monastery’s website, rebels gathered Christian and Alawi hostages in a building in Khalidiya and blew up the building with dynamite. They then attributed the crime to the regular Syrian army. “Even though this act has been attributed to regular army forces . . . , the evidence and testimony are irrefutable: It was an operation undertaken by armed groups affiliated with the opposition,” Mother Agnès-Mariam wrote.

Survivor says slaughtered Syrian village had been warned not to shelter anti-Assad activists
By David Enders | McClatchy Newspapers

NEAR HAMA, Syria — A massacre that took as many as 80 lives in Qubeir may have had its origins in a warning that government sympathizers issued to the village’s residents against harboring known anti-government activists.

A resident of Qubeir who survived the massacre said Friday that the attack took place shortly after an activist wanted by the government, known as Abu Hassan, went to Qubeir. When an army unit based nearby was notified of Abu Hassan’s presence, it began to shell the village and then sent in six tanks, accompanied by local militiamen, who killed the villagers with gunfire, sticks and knives.

“There had been threats against the village before not to harbor people who are wanted,” said the resident, who used the pseudonym Laith al Hamawy for fear of retaliation from the Syrian government…. Other rebels said the militiamen responsible for the attack came from the nearby Alawite villages of Tuwaim and Tal Sakheen. Qubeir’s residents were Sunni Muslims. In recent weeks, according to Sunni villagers in the area, Alawite militiamen, known as shabiha, have made threats against Sunni villages that have participated in demonstrations against Assad or have sheltered the armed rebels fighting the government….

Thomas Pierret writes: Here is news from a Syrian friend:
My home town Talbiseh has been under heavy bombardment and shelling by mortars, missiles,and  military aircraft for over three days. About 20 have been killed, many many injured, crops burned, houses destroyed. People including my family are fleeing the town and sleeping in open farms, under trees, in dry irrigation canals.
Sharmine Narwani writes on Facebook:
“Joshua Landis, please explain yourself: “Syrians have abandoned the regime in spirit, even if they have yet to defect in body. Sunni Syrians continue to go to work and turn up in their offices in the morning, but they hate the Assad regime in their hearts. Assad’s army is being taken over by shabiha and security forces manned by Alawites. The massacres leave no doubt about that.” That’s a HUGE paintbrush you use here – with no evidence whatsoever. Would genuinely like to know how you arrived at this conclusion, when most of my information indicates a massive escalation on the part of armed groups provoking confrontation w/ the army and pro-regime civilians, including expulsion, kidnappings, killings. In May there were more Syrian soldiers killed than “civilians.” I place the word civilians in quotes because we know them to also include armed opposition individuals and pro-regime civilians. Looking forward to your response.”

According to the Kuwaiti paper al-Qabas, tens of Kuwaitis have crossed the Turkish boarder with Syria to join the Jihad along side other foreign fighters from Algeria and Saudi Arabia.

عشرات الكويتيين يقاتلون إلى جانب الجيش السوري الحر
مواضيع مترابطة

مجموعة دون الـ 18عاماً لم يُسمح لها بـ«الجهاد»
راشد الشراكي

علمت القبس ان عشرات المواطنين عبروا الحدود التركية نحو سوريا للمشاركة في عمليات «الجهاد» إلى جانب «الجيش السوري الحر» ضد قوات نظام بشار الأسد.
وقالت مصادر مقربة من المواطنين، الذين يتواجدون حالياً في سوريا، ان مكاتب الجيش السوري الحر تستقبلهم إلى جانب جماعات كبيرة من السعوديين والجزائريين والباكستانيين، ويتم تسليمهم هويات سورية تحسباً لأي طارئ، ومن ثم يتم تسليحهم ويوزعون على فرق في شتى المحافظات. وأكدت المصادر ان عددا من المواطنين لم يُسمح لهم بالدخول لأنهم دون الـ 18 عاماً

S.A. Writes in the Comment Section:

I must admit that I was alarmed at your latest article on SC because it sounded like you have a very clear picture of what’s taking place in Syria right now. I think that you have only presented one side of the story.

I know people who have very clear accounts and even names of people who were killed, kidnapped, murdered and raped by the so-called revolutionaries or ‘rebel armies’. They are targeting Alawites for just being Alawites. There are detailed accounts of people who had relatives’ bodies returned to their families after being mutilated in the worst form. This and the assassination of the Alawite educated elite from prominent families has continued up till now. There are clear accounts of this and of people who know families who have been affected. The style of these attacks is very similar to the assassinations that took place in Syria in the 1980s when the Muslim Brotherhood tried to rebel against the government and were crushed.

Common sense tells us that there is no reason for the government troops to kill women and children from the villages. It is obvious that what’s happening now is a sectarian tit-for-tat war which is similar to what happened in the former Yugoslavia.

People who I have been able to talk to in Syria are very anxious that the ‘rebels’ stop the violence and fighting the government. And also yes what is being done inside Syria is terrorism and nothing less. I know families whose children on school busses barely missed the bombs that were targeting government buildings. Is this killing children on the way to school a tactic to fight for democracy? Friends in Syria ask the question “what is the government supposed to do to protect us from terrorism?” They say that the government has a duty to protect its citizens from terrorist acts.

Fighting in Haffe, outside of Latakia:

….The fighting between government troops backed by helicopter gunships and armed groups in the area of Haffa began on Tuesday. Rami Abdul-Rahman, the director of the Observatory, said at least 58 soldiers have been killed and more than 200 wounded in the operation there since it began.

He said the heavy losses indicate the seriousness of the challenge in the mountainous area where “hundreds” of rebels are entrenched. His estimated death toll could not be independently verified.

State-run news agency SANA said “terrorist groups” in Haffa attacked public and private institutions on Saturday and committed “heinous” crimes against civilians, setting fire to the national hospital and forcing people to leave their homes. It said troops killed a number of them and arrested several others, adding it was still pursuing gunmen and working to restore security to the area…..

Syrian rebels tried to get me killed, says Channel 4 correspondent
The Guardian

Alex Thomson says his crew was led to ‘free-fire zone’ as deaths would discredit Bashar al-Assad’s regime.  By Ben

New Leader – Abdel Basset Sayda (Kurd living in Sweeden)- Chosen to lead the Syrian National Council

Leaders of the exiled Syrian National Council (SNC), Muhammet Faruq Tayfur (R), Burhan Ghalioun (C) and Abdel Basset Sayda (L), wait before the start of a meeting in Istanbul to pick a new leader after the resignation of Ghalioun last month to avert divisions.

The opposition Syrian National Council chose Abdulbaset Sayda (Seated to the right of Ghalioun in photo).

“We are now in the process of repairing the relationship between the SNC and the forces working inside Syria so that we may reach common grounds between us,” he said. “There will be changes in the coming weeks both within the forces inside the SNC and the forces that will hopefully join the group,” he added.

His elevation to the post of SNC chief could be part of an attempt to appeal to Syria’s significant Kurdish minority, which has largely stayed on the sidelines of the uprising. The community is deeply suspicious that Sunni Arabs who dominate the opposition will be no more likely to provide them greater rights than what they have had under Assad’s regime.

Sieda said he was already engaged in talks with the main Kurdish umbrella group, the Kurdish National Council, whose delegates walked out of an SNC gathering in March after the group ignored Kurdish demands it support political decentralization and Kurdish rights in a post-Assad state.

“He is an academic. He’s also well-known, a moderate man. We shouldn’t claim that he has Islamic tendencies or secular tendencies. He has been approved and accepted by everyone,” Abdel Hamid Al Attassi, a member of the SNC, said of Sieda.

A sleeping dragon awakes: Kurds Take Centre Stage in West Asia
By James M. Dorsey

As popular uprisings and post-revolt transitions change the political, economic and social structures of the Middle East, Kurds, the world’s largest nation without a state of their own, are emerging as the force that could spark a redrawing of borders and rewriting of minority rights in West Asia.

As popular uprisings and post-revolt transitions change the political, economic and social structures of the Middle East the struggle for Kurdish rights, including autonomy if not independence, moved center stage in the past week with a Syrian Kurd becoming head of the opposition Syrian National Council (SNC), Iraqi Kurdistan hosting an international tournament for nations that world soccer body FIFA refuses to recognize, and the hardening of attitudes of Turkish Kurds…..

83 civilian deaths reported after heavy fighting in Syria
Arab News – 10 June, 2012

Bullets and shrapnel shells smashed into homes in the Syrian capital overnight, as troops battled rebels in the streets, in the heaviest fighting yet in Damascus. The violence marked an increased boldness among rebels in taking their fight against the regime of President Bashar Assad to the center of his power.

For nearly 12 hours of fighting that lasted into the early hours Saturday, rebels armed mainly with assault rifles fought Syrian forces. UN observers said rebels fired a rocket-propelled grenade at the local power plant, damaging parts of it and charring six buses, according to video the observers took of the scene.

Assad’s Response to Syria Unrest Leaves His Own Sect Divided

BEIRUT, Lebanon — After Jaber Abboud, a baker from Baniyas, Syria, first lashed out publicly at President Bashar al-Assad for failing to promote real change, his neighbors ignored it.

But Mr. Abboud and most of his community are Alawites, the same religious sect as the president. When the popular uprising broke out, many believed that if the Assad family fell, they were doomed. They closed ranks and turned on Mr. Abboud, boycotting his pastry shop and ultimately forcing him to leave town.

“The neighborhood is split — half are dejected and subservient, the rest are beasts,” he said in a telephone interview from nearby Latakia. “It is depressing to go there, it’s like a town full of ghosts, divided, security everywhere.”+

As the Syrian conflict escalates to new levels of sectarian strife, Mr. Assad is leaning ever more heavily on his religious base for support. The Alawite core of the elite security forces is still with him, as are many Syrians from minority groups.

But interviews with a dozen Alawites indicated a complex split even within their ranks. Some Alawites are frustrated that security forces have not yet managed to crush the opposition, while others say that Mr. Assad is risking the future of the Alawites by pushing them to the brink of civil war with Sunni Muslims.

Mr. Assad’s ruling Baath Party professes a secular, pan-Arab socialism, but Sunnis, who make up about 74 percent of the population, have long bridled at what they see as sectarian rule by the Alawites, who are nominally Shiite Muslims and make up only 13 percent of the population.

People like Mr. Abboud say they feel stranded in a no man’s land. Blackballed by their own Alawite community, they find that the Islamists who dominate parts of the armed opposition regard them with murderous suspicion. A few with opposition credentials have been killed.

On the other extreme are Alawites who criticize Mr. Assad as being too soft, saying that his father and predecessor as president, Hafez al-Assad, would have quashed the threat by now.

With Alawite youths dying by the hundreds to defend the government, voices are raised at funerals and elsewhere asking questions like, “Why is the government not doing enough to protect us?” according to the Alawites interviewed.

There were also anti-Assad chants in Alawite neighborhoods like Zahra in Homs, like: “Bashar became a Sunni!” (Mr. Assad’s wife, Asma al-Akhras, comes from a prominent family of Sunni Muslims from Homs.)

Alawite-Sunni tensions reached a new peak after a spate of mass killings, particularly the May 25 Houla massacre of 108 Sunni Muslims, including 49 children. Survivors from Houla and people living near the slaughter last Wednesday in the farming hamlet of Qubeir said the attackers came from Alawite villages. The United Nations said suspicions in Houla were focused on pro-government militiamen known in Arabic as shabiha. Alawites dominate their ranks.

“For the first time, we began to hear directly from our Sunni neighbors that we should leave Damascus and return to our villages,” said Abu Ali, 50, a real estate agent. He said that once the school year ended he expected a flood of such departures out of fear of revenge attacks.

Fear of reprisals has prompted dire warnings from some Alawites that their future is on the line. Afaq Ahmad, a defector from the air force intelligence branch, posted a 10-minute plea on YouTube saying that Alawites have to stop committing collective suicide. He has gained prominence partly because Alawite defectors are rare.

“Does the family of Bashar al-Assad deserve to be the leaders of the Alawites?” Mr. Ahmad asked. “In the face of crimes like this, we cannot stay silent. We should stick to our religious and humanitarian principles because otherwise, history will show no mercy.” ….

All the soldiers at a small military base in a village called Ghanto near Homs defected to the rebel side on Sunday, and that government helicopters bombed the base soon after the soldiers fled.

More than a million need aid in Syria
As refugees stream across the border, Jordan issues appeal for international assistance
David Randall Author Biography , Azar Zaidi,  Sunday 10 June 2012

At least 1.5 million people need urgent humanitarian assistance in Syria, aid agencies said yesterday – evidence that the impact of what is now a civil war goes far beyond the probable 10,000 dead reported since the insurgency and protests began.

More and more civilians are fleeing their homes on a daily basis to escape the fighting, and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said that those caught in the violence find getting medical treatment, and basic food items, increasingly difficult.

An ICRC report stated: “The situation in many parts of Syria is very tense… The number of displaced people has been growing day by day. Many of the displaced have seen their assets looted or destroyed. Many are staying with family members or friends, others in public structures,[which often] lack basic services such as water and electricity.”…

UN Openly Waging War on Syria – (for those who believe that the US is intervening in Syria for regime-change and not humanitarian concerns.)
by Tony Cartalucci

….Western policy makers openly admit that the goal in Syria is not to restore peace and order, but to topple the government, even if it means purposefully, and indefinitely prolonging the violence to do so. Brookings Institution in their March, 2012 Middle East Memo #21 “Assessing Options for Regime Change (.pdf),” openly states that:

“The United States might still arm the opposition even knowing they will probably never have sufficient power, on their own, to dislodge the Asad network. Washington might choose to do so simply in the belief that at least providing an oppressed people with some ability to resist their oppressors is better than doing nothing at all, even if the support provided has little chance of turning defeat into victory. Alternatively, the United States might calculate that it is still worthwhile to pin down the Asad regime and bleed it, keeping a regional adversary weak, while avoiding the costs of direct intervention.” -pages 8-9, Assessing Options for Regime Change, Brookings Institution.

Confirming this, Clifford May of the Neo-Conservative Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) openly admits that “humanitarian concerns” has nothing to do with the West’s involvement in Syria, and that it is rather a proxy war being fought against Iran, and by extension, Russia. May also clearly states that ousting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is the objective of Western machinations, not the restoration of order or any sort of brokered ceasefire that ends the killing…..

Inside Syria: Who Arms the Rebels?
pbs newshour

In any revolution, getting weapons is a key challenge. Syria’s rebels have found an interesting solution.

As they loaded the store room with new bullets and rocket-propelled grenades, Hamza Fatahallah, an army defector who joined the Free Syrian Army nine months ago, described the transaction that had taken place.

“We have caught many army prisoners,” he said. “We send them back home for a small amount of money on the condition they do not return to the regime. We use the money to buy weapons.”

For the release of this prisoner, Ahmed Haseeba, the group received $500. With this money, Fatahallah said they were able to buy ammunition from their main supplier: Syria’s national army, also known as the enemy.

This strange cycle of exchanging prisoners for weapons has been playing out between rebel forces and President Bashar al-Assad’s army since the beginning of the revolution.

Fatahallah estimated that his village purchased 40 percent of their weapons from the regime. Prisoner exchanges have so far contributed almost $80,000 toward weapons purchases, he said. And they obtain an additional 50 percent of their weapons during battle. The remaining 10 percent are donated and smuggled from outside the country, or are purchased from private merchants, mostly from Iraq.[…]

For the regime, or at least the duplicitous members of it, supplying the enemy is a big business. Government officers also sell Kalashnikov bullets, which typically sold for less than 40 cents before the uprising, for about $4 each, according to Ahmed Al Sheikh, the leader of the armed opposition in Jabal al-Zawiya. He leads about 6,000 men from eight battalions that are collectively known as the Sham Falcons.

Kalashnikovs are bought for about $1,000, he said. Rocket-propelled grenade launchers, complete with a set of four rockets, cost up to $4,000, as does a BKT machine gun.

“These officers sell to us not because they love the revolution but because they love money,” Al Sheikh said of his chain of suppliers. “Their loyalty is to their pockets only, not the regime.”

While most of the sellers are corrupt officers, they said lower ranking soldiers have occasionally stolen supplies from government weapons storage and sold them to the rebel forces.

The Houla Massacre And The Subversion Of The Peace Plan
By Dr. Chandra Muzaffar

Instead of responding positively to some of the democratic changes introduced by the government, the US has been coordinating the supply of weapons to the opposition paid for by states such as Qatar and Saudi Arabia. An article in the Washington Post (16 May 2012) reveals this, and admits that as a result of large shipments of arms, the opposition “overran a government base” and “killed 23 Syrian soldiers” on 14 May. It is significant that this intensification of weapons supply to the opposition had occurred after the ceasefire under the Peace Plan had come into effect on 12 April. In fact, there has been a series of horrifying acts of violence since the ceasefire — devastating bomb attacks in Aleppo and Damascus some associated with Al-Qaeda and Salafist elements— aimed at creating chaos and anarchy. They offer incontrovertible proof that certain governments in the West and in West Asia do not want the Peace Plan to succeed.

Inflation at %31.4  – Syria Report

Syria’s annual inflation rate reached 31.45 percent in April, according to the Central Bureau of Statistics.

Cooking Gas – Syria Report

The Ministry of Economy has reduced the average weight of a cooking gas cylinder to 10 kg but kept its price unchanged, in effect increasing its cost by some 16 percent, as it battles with continuous shortages.

Bank Indicators Stabilize – Syria Report

The aggregate balance sheet of Syria’s private sector commercial banks rose 13.4 percent on a quarterly basis in the first three months of this year thanks to a surge in the assets of Syria International Islamic Bank.

Riyad Hijab New Prime Minister (Considered honest)

The Syrian President named on Wednesday June 06 a new prime minister, Riyad Hijab, in replacement of Adel Safar, whose government will have lasted little more than a year.

Comments (677)

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1. DAWOUD said:



Brother Salah (unlike the well-known regime apologists here, I put it in my favorable category):

NasrIllat’s loss of his son while resisting Zionists’ colonial occupation in the Lebanese south DOES NOT give him the right to defame the martyrs of the ongoing Syrian revolt. Hamza al-Khateeb, who was murdered and tortured by Bashar’s Shabiha state, deserves no less respect/glorification than Nasrillat’s son. Hizbistan has lost ALL respect as far as most Arabs are concerned for two reasons:

1)its Shabiha have been assisting Bashar’s dictatorial regime, which is proven not only by activists’ videos, but also by leaked Syrian gov’t documents.

2)Hizbistan has unleased a massive media propaganda campaign to defend the Syrian Shabiha state and to DEFAME the courageous Syrian revolutionaries. Robert Fisk and the NYT (as I commented and posted a few weeks ago on this blog) wrote on how Nasrillat’s media (e.g., al-Manar) and supporters have been using similar vocabulary as those used by the Israeli occupiers. For example, they claim that the Syrian demonstrators use civilian “human shield,” which is 100% borrowing for the Zionist occupiers.
3)Every time you watch Arab media you find most of Bashar’s propagandists from Lebanon and supporters of Hizbistan. Their language is preposterously outrageous in their propaganda defense of Syria’s dictatorship, which is the worst in modern Arab history. Raping Syrian women, as the regime has done, is something that even the Zionist colonial regime has not done to the Palestinians! Shame on them and their apologists.

Finally, as a word about history, please remember that Mousa al-Sadr (the one who was unjustly imprisoned by al-Qadhafi) was no fan of the Palestinians and their resistance. He died while seeking money and arms from Libya, which he wanted to use to arm his Amal movement in order to fight the Palestinians. Most Shi’a residents of South Lebanon, as I saw them on Israeli televsision (I was pre-teen in 1982) welcomed the invading Israeli army. They thought that they were their liberating allies. They wanted them to destroy the Palestinian resistance. However, Israel was dump enough to put its colonial ambitions first, and it stayed in S.Lebanon 18 years longer. This made it personal for NasrILlat and his Shi’a community. They were fighting to save their land and dignity. All Arabs supported them. However, their fight against Israel does not give them the right to resist Syrians’ struggle for justice and dignity.
To be continued in the future as I have to go to work…..!

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June 11th, 2012, 8:35 am


2. Afram said:

Allies to Limit Airstrikes on Afghan Homes

After an airstrike in Afghanistan last week that killed 18 civilians.
coalition forces have issued new restrictions on airstrikes on (((militants who hide in residential homes)))the COWARDS fake syrian army are too,hide in residential homes?!

The move comes after a NATO apology and a weekend meeting between President Hamid Karzai and the US ambassador to Afghanistan.

“Given our commitment to protect Afghan civilians, restricting the use of air-delivered munitions against insurgents within civilian dwellings is a prudent and logical step in the progression in the campaign,” said a NATO spokesman.

N.Times reported.

I think that’s -What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.What the hell? might is right,Assad has the right also to go after the bearded salafi ganders and pull their switcheroo off

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June 11th, 2012, 9:00 am


3. Uzair8 said:

I’m an Assad thug: It’s the final battle

A member of the militia blamed for Syria’s worst atrocities gives a chilling insight into his world of indoctrination, paranoia and mafia crime

10 June 2012

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June 11th, 2012, 9:17 am


4. habib said:

Lol, the West is digging its own grave. First they help the Salafists take over the Middle East, then they take over Europe. You reap what you sow.

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June 11th, 2012, 9:19 am


5. Uzair8 said:

While the pro-regime obsess about the alleged ‘troubles’ of the SNC in an attempt to undermine and demoralise the opposition, the LCC and the FSA grow stronger by the day.

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June 11th, 2012, 10:31 am


6. Son of Damascus said:


From previous thread re: Air Base

While you are correct the video the BBC showed is spliced, however it is spliced from videos that came out of Al Ghanto. Below are the videos in chronological order:

this video is of the Captian Ahmad Yousef from the battalion 743 of brigade 72 of division 26 that defected explaining what had happened:

These are videos of the Assad army reacting to the defection by sending in a Helicopter to strafe the area and destroy the base:

Aftermath of the helicopter attack with the base burning in the background:

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June 11th, 2012, 10:37 am


7. jna said:

Ultimatum to Christians: “Leave Qusayr”

Qusayr (Agenzia Fides) – Exodus of Christians in the west of Syria: the Christian population has left the town of Qusayr, near Homs, following an ultimatum from the military chief of the armed opposition, Abdel Salam Harba. This is what local sources of Fides report, indicating that, following the outbreak of the conflict, out of the ten thousand faithful who lived in the town, only a thousand have remained, who have now been forced to flee in haste to fury. Some mosques in the city have re-launched the message, announcing from the minarets: “Christians must leave Qusayr within six days, which expires this Friday.” The ultimatum, therefore, expired yesterday, June 8, and produced fear among the Christian population who had begun to hope again after the presence of Father Paolo Dall’Oglio, the Jesuit who stayed in Qusayr for a week, with the idea of “praying and fasting for peace in the midst of the conflict” (see Fides 30/5/2012).

….read more
(Vatican missionary publication)

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June 11th, 2012, 10:46 am


8. ghufran said:

reports about the death of up to 30 alawites in alhoula area were posted on this site from day one,but the herd mentality that dominates the brain of many Syrians today made it impossible for any “different” view to be heard. having said that,there was killing and counter killing from both sides and there was shelling by the army in Houla area,it is a civil war,stop being surprised that people are getting killed,claims that this is David against Goliath only fool those who want to be fooled.

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June 11th, 2012, 11:10 am


9. Son of Damascus said:

Syria Opinion: The Vatican’s dangerous game of “persecution” plays into Assad’s hands

James Miller

The Guardian has posted a response by the Syrian opposition to allegations, emerging from Syrian Chistians and amplified by the Vatican, that Christians in Al Qusair have been forced out of the city by Islamists in the opposition and specifically by the insurgents of the Free Syrian Army. According to the allegations, the message has been blasted from loudspeakers that Christians must leave the city within 6 days.

The Al Qusair Revolution, an activist network comprised of activists in the city, denies the claim, and has denied the allegation and condemned the statements from the Vatican:

We, the people of Alqusair, confirm that we have lived together with our beloved Christian brothers and sisters for decades, working together and living alongside one another. We have been united since before the birth of the filthy sectarian Albaath regime and we are in complete shock as to the statement released by the respected Vatican.

We condemn the statement by the Vatican as the mosques never called out for our Christian brothers and sisters to leave the city and we also confirm that most of the Christian families fled with the Muslim families around 2 months ago due to the barbaric shelling as the regime used (and continues to use) heavy artillery and mortar shells on civilians. These regime tanks do not differentiate between Muslim or Christian. The snipers have targeted people from both religions and not chosen one over the other.

The Guardian also notes an investigation of these allegations, by the Israeli daily Haaretz, which casts serious doubt upon the validity of the claims. The investigation points out that the initial reports sent from church leaders in Syria were “copy & paste” quotes from the pro-regime website Al Haqiqa (Syrian Truth).

Haaretz not only throws cold water on the reports published by Fides, the Vatican news outlet, but also notes that the claims are completely inconsistent with reports of anti-Christian persecution in Iraq:

Besides, the claims of straightforward ethnic cleansing by Islamist militants do not add up, because that is not how jihadist groups deal with Christians. For example, the standard practice in Iraq for jihadist groups like Al-Qaida – renowned in Iraq for its brutality – is to first demand jizya, which is a “poll tax” imposed on Christian and Jewish minorities, in traditional Islamic theology.

If the minorities fail to pay jizya, they face bomb attacks or other violence. Yet the reports in Al-Haqiqa and Fides make no reference to imposition of jizya.


The Haaretz article that James Miller is alluding to in his piece:

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June 11th, 2012, 11:17 am


10. majedkhaldoun said:

Son of Damascus
Don’t you agree that the Alawi officers who are defecting to the FSA are smart?

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June 11th, 2012, 11:49 am


11. Son of Damascus said:

Even the best PR firm can’t clean up the image of the brute, once a thug always a thug!

Oh really Miss Walters, your relationship with the Assad’s is a conflict, you just figured that out!

Syria’s Assads Turned to West for Glossy P.R.

For some journalists, Syria has been one of the least hospitable countries in the Middle East, a place where reporters — if they can get in — are routinely harassed and threatened as they try to uncover the repression that has propped up the Assad government for decades.

For other journalists, Syria has until recently been a country led by the cultivated, English-speaking President Bashar al-Assad who, along with his beautiful British-born wife, Asma, was helping usher in a new era of openness and prosperity.

That second impression is no accident. With the help of high-priced public relations advisers who had worked in the Clinton, Bush and Thatcher administrations, the president and his family have sought over the past five years to portray themselves in the Western media as accessible, progressive and even glamorous.

Magazines and online outlets have published complimentary features about the family, often focusing on fashion and celebrity. In March 2011, just as Mr. Assad and his security forces initiated a brutal crackdown on political opponents that has led to the death of an estimated 10,000 Syrians, Vogue magazine ran a flattering profile of the first lady, describing her as walking “a determined swath cut through space with a flash of red soles,” a reference to her Christian Louboutin heels.

Fawning treatment of world leaders — particularly attractive Western-educated ones — is nothing new. But the Assads have been especially determined to burnish their image, and hired experts to do so. The family paid the Washington public relations firm Brown Lloyd James $5,000 a month to act as a liaison between Vogue and the first lady, according to the firm.

This web of politics and public relations ensnared Barbara Walters recently. After she conducted an aggressive interview with Mr. Assad on ABC News in December, she offered to provide recommendations for Sheherazad Jaafari, the president’s press aide and the daughter of the Syrian ambassador to the United Nations, who was applying for a job at CNN and admission to Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs.

Ms. Walters issued a statement on Tuesday expressing regret for her actions, which she called “a conflict.”


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June 11th, 2012, 11:53 am


12. Son of Damascus said:


I agree that any soldier that does not turn his weapon against his own people for the sake of Assad are doing the right thing, whatever their creed or faith might be.

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June 11th, 2012, 12:00 pm


13. habib said:

12. Son of Damascus

Erm, but that’s not exactly what defectors are doing. They simply redirect their bullets to other Syrians.

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June 11th, 2012, 12:06 pm


14. Son of Damascus said:


umm, did you miss the part that said: “for the sake of assad”?

Fighting for your freedom, or your country is noble. Fighting for a butcher is not.

And this coming from someone that is a pacifist and does not believe an armed struggle alone will bring down this regime.

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June 11th, 2012, 12:13 pm


15. Alan said:

4. HABIB said:
Lol, the West is digging its own grave. First they help the Salafists take over the Middle East, then they take over Europe. You reap what you sow.
!يسـلم فمك
Therefore, these lovers of war deliberately cultivate radical Islamic terrorism and the political to the next stage to be the cause of their wars to cut the roots of this terrorism! It’s actually the seed stage to the next causes of wars

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June 11th, 2012, 12:18 pm


16. Alan said:

Vladimir Putin Nemesis of the New World Order
by Sartre Batr
Putin provided a vision that conflicted with the cabal. Eurasian Project a Threat to New World Order provides an alternative to the West.
Mother Russia is a much different country from the Stalin gulags. With all the faults of a long tradition of authoritarian rule, it is natural for observers in the West to be suspect of the latest would be Czar.

The remnants of the cold war linger with concerns of the true motives and goals of a second Vladimir Putin era. By most reliable accounts, he never left the power circle prior to his return as President. Upon his latest election, The Guardian published an article Putin’s election victory is a headache for the west. “Nobody is any doubt that the Putin who returns to the Kremlin in May is the same Putin who has effectively run Russia for the past 12 years – prickly, uncompromising, suspicious and fond of snide remarks about western hypocrisy and double standards.”

The context for any serious discussion on foreign affairs must start with the admission that the New World Order is the dominant controller of political power, especially in western countries. The NeoCon/NeoLib cabal dictates worldwide compliance. Nations conform to the financial supremacy of banksters, administered by handpicked political stooges. Global governance is the end game destined for all states. Individual nations slated for extinction are doomed as long as the NWO advances their worldwide imperium.

Putin provided a vision that conflicted with the cabal. Eurasian Project a Threat to New World Order provides an alternative to the West…/../..

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June 11th, 2012, 12:25 pm


17. Alan said:

Arab Spring benefited only Israel – Lebanese Interior Minister

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June 11th, 2012, 12:29 pm


18. Alan said:

سيناريو يوم القيامة !
US accelerates preparations for ‘no-fly zone’ in Syria
The United States may soon take on a formal role in the Syrian uprising after reports surfaced this week that suggest the White House wants an air offensive targeting the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.
After over a year of unrest in Syria, Israel’s Debka news agency reports that US President Barack Obama has asked the US Navy and Air Force to accelerate plans that would aid in the ousting of Assad. According to their sources, President Obama hopes that by initiating a temporary air strike in locales instrumental to the Syrian government, the US may be able to decimate Assad’s control by attacking his regime’s military command centers.
The US would call for a no-fly zone over Syria, reports Debka, then send their own personnel to strike Assad-aligned targets.
Murmurings of the latest plans out of Washington come less than two weeks after Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) called for the implementation of a no-fly zone. Speaking to reporters last month, Sen. Graham said that ousting Assad from control in Syria is much more crucial for America’s interests than the issue of Libya; last year the US aided in the removal of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi from Libyan rule.
“Compared to Libya, the strategic upside of taking out (Syrian President Bashar) Assad is far greater,” said Graham, who currently sits on the US Senate Committee of Armed Services. “We’ve used force to stop slaughter less strategic and egregious than this.”
Debka’s reports also come days after White House Press Secretary Jay Carney confirmed that, in terms of US involvement in Syria,”military action is always an option,” although he added, “We do not believe that … further militarization of the situation in Syria at this point is the right course of action.” Less than two weeks later, however, the White House may have already changed their stance../../..

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June 11th, 2012, 12:32 pm


19. anwar said:

Assad has no hope of surviving this but he is making sure this country is driven into mayhem before his execution. I have faith syrian will rebuilt. Happy to see his internet army getting agitated on here, it’s pretty funny to see how desperate they are.

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June 11th, 2012, 12:44 pm


20. KDD said:

There are a lot of accusations flying around with respect to how the Rebel forces are conducting themselves in Syria. More recently, reports have emerged that “Sunnis” massacred “Shiites and Alawis” – and not the other way around. This is difficult to understand and accept given the demographics of Houla – being a Sunni dominated enclave in Allawite country. It is also hard to accept given that Houla in its entirety has been virtually emptied out now of all persons. If there was a Massacre of Allawis by ‘terrorists’ the government would have known about it. They would have undoubtedly seized this PR opportunity. I also perceive any attempted massacre by said militants as suicidal – would not have Allawis from nearby areas, who are armed heavily by the regime, flooded in to stop it? What about the said government forces which were in and around the site during and after the event?

This is not to say that the Rebel and FSA forces, whom I sympathesize with the most, can do no harm. I just have a harder time believing it given that their goal is to uphold the cause of freedom and to protect civilians from further harm. If there are elements in the FSA that are commiting such atrocities, show us. If mosque loudspeakers are demanding christians to leave the area, show us. How come I cannot find a YouTube video of this? Everyone has the technology to report the facts nowadays. Right now, the images we see on the ground are painting the picture.

As of now, I have only seen videos and documentation which confirm the opposite scenario. We’ve heard purported testimony from civilians in the area which blame government forces. We’ve seen kids strewn on the ground, and their relatives pouring over them explaining the situation to UN oberservers who have indicated this is the work of Shabiha and Assad’s forces. As a supporter of the opposition movement, I certainly do not want any allied force to manufacture context or pretext. This is the domain of government forces, not us. Our biggest asset is truth – and above all else, we need to maintain it. That said, the only evidence preferred by the regime is entirely hearsay – which does not fly given the deminimis credibility remaining to their credit.

Finally, I want to reiterate that I am and have to be accepting of facts even if they turn out to undermine my cause. We all need to be realistic in our assessment and accept the realism behind them. Mistakes are made. I will not stubbornly bury my head in the sand when facts turn out against what I believe in – I will address them directly and denounce such actions. I really wish Regime supporters would do the same. Eventually, we all will have to live together again. The only key to peace is truth, and then reconciliation.

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June 11th, 2012, 12:45 pm


21. Alan said:

How US will provide ‘no-fly zone’ in Syria ?
Arms supplied to Syria cannot be used against civilians — Rogozin
PARIS, June 11 (Itar-Tass) —— Under no circumstances can the arms that Russia supplies to Syria be used against the civilian population, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said at the Eurosatory arms exhibition in Paris on Monday, June 11.
“Weapons do not shoot all by themselves. It is people who shoot from them. Unlike its partners, Russia has never tried to add oil to the flame,” Rogozin said.
He stressed that Russia has “strict requirements” concerning arms supplies.
“Under no circumstances can the arms supplied to Syria be used against the civilian population. We urge all sides to the Syrian conflict to drink water and calm down, and all those who wish to make a good hand of the conflict to stop supplying arms to rebels,” Rogozin said.


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June 11th, 2012, 12:55 pm


22. majedkhaldoun said:

They sure are agitated, they twist facts,fabricate, look how pathetic they were twisting facts about the crime against the children in Houleh, none of them express sorrow and regret for those kids and other victim of their shabiha, those who don’t show sorrow they have no conscious,they have their God , they worship him, and Assad doesn’t deserve the dirt on their shoes

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June 11th, 2012, 12:59 pm


23. Tara said:


And the last twist was that the victims of the Houla massacre were Alawis. Yeah right… Witnesses’ account was very clear that the Shabeeha killed children to take revenge for imam Ali. But of course,lies, lies, and more lies.

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June 11th, 2012, 1:23 pm


24. Alan said:
Lavrov to visit Iran June 13 to discuss Syria situation, sextet meeting
MOSCOW, June 11 (Itar-Tass) —— Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will visit Iran on June 13 to discuss with leaders of that country the situation in Syria and preparations for the sextet meeting, a source at the foreign ministry said on Monday.
“The focus will be made on the general situation in the Middle East and Northern Africa, including special attention to the current transformation processes in the Arab world and to the state of affairs in Syria,” the source said.
“The most vital objective remains to be assistance in carrying out the plan of the UN and LAS special envoy Kofi Annan, approved by the United Nations Organisation, and in eliminating problems on its way,” the ministry said. “In this context, the minister will discuss in detail the Russian initiative to organise an international conference on Syria.”

“Humanitarian War Criminals” in High Office: Was the Houla Massacre Ordered by the Western Military Alliance?
by Prof. Michel Chossudovsky
Saudis, other Arab nations keep arming Syrian opposition – McCain
News | 11.06.2012 | 10:54

Saudi Arabia and some other Arab countries keep supplying arms to the Syrian opposition in defiance of world community appeals.
This was reaffirmed by the US Senator, John McCain, in an interview with the CNN television network.

The Conservative Republican has urged the US Administration to embark on a path of direct military aid to the Syrian rebels.

Russia says foreign interference in Syria’s affairs is unacceptable.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has again called for an urgent international conference on Syria.

The proposal won the support of the British Foreign Secretary, William Hague

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June 11th, 2012, 1:24 pm


25. Hans said:

SNC can’t put lip stick on a pig it stays pig! enough said.

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June 11th, 2012, 1:32 pm


26. Tara said:

From UZair’s article.  White shoes is a trademark of Shabeeha.

..WITH his massive, tattooed muscles, shaved head, bushy black beard and trademark white trainers, Abu Jaafar, 38, likes to pump iron at the gym before heading for the nightclubs of Latakia, Syria’s Mediterranean port.

In an interview with a Sunday Times reporter in Latakia, Jaafar gave a disturbing insight into the world of the shabiha, a poisonous cocktail of religious indoctrination, minority paranoia and mafia crime.
He was first recruited into the murky world of Syria’s security services during military service, where uniformed officers worked with thugs in regime-sanctioned smuggling. “I was bigger than the others so I got picked to be the bodyguard of a senior officer. After military service he asked me to be his man in dealing with some Alawite smugglers.”
Jaafar left his gang and opened a liquor store in Latakia. “Last June friends from the shabiha asked me to return to work with them,” he said. “They said we must defend President Assad and his family and keep power for the Alawites.”

Soon, Jaafar’s occasional pay of 1,000 Syrian pounds (about £10) for a day’s thuggery had risen to a steady monthly salary about six times the average wage. “We started by facing the protesters, but when the opposition became armed we attacked them in their villages,” he said. “In addition to our salaries we take whatever we can get during the attacks: TVs, video players, electronics.”

“We got money and arms from our government to fight those Wahabi radicals who will force my wife and daughters to wear the veil and will close all wine shops,” he said.

Mixed with his fear of religious conservatism is a lethal sense of persecution: Jaafar says Sunnis have held power wrongly for 1,400 years and that the balance was restored only after Hafez al-Assad seized power in 1970 and stacked his security services with Alawites.

Jaafar said: “I know the Sunnis will take revenge for what we’ve done. I’m fighting to guarantee a good future for my sons and grandsons. So this is the final battle: win, or die.”

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June 11th, 2012, 1:34 pm


27. Karabennemsi said:


Your comment above was obviously a very honest one and when i read your words i felt warm in my chest because i could tell your intentions are well.

I don’t want to take part in any speculations about who exactly the perpetrators in houla were, since the press is my only information source and i was very disappointed a lot of times during the last year when i had to read obvious misinformation in the main newspapers. However it seems clear to me that the massacre would not have happened if Bashar had started a serious reform process at some point during the last decade.

Regarding the ‘missing’ youtube videos i’d like to make two points:

1. Not everybody is as courageous as the activists who uploaded the demonstrations.

2. A youtube video and especially the nonexistence of one should really not be regarded as proof for any incident, it is merely an indication.

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June 11th, 2012, 1:46 pm


28. Hans said:

By the week we are inching to the American election, what ever Mr. O does with Syria he is going to pay the price for it, unless he does nothing which is the safest bit. Mr. O took a notice of his close friend Mr. Sarkosy loss and is taking wait and see approach to Syria. it helps his friends the Israeli that Arabs are killing each other at much hire rate than any Israeli-Arabic conflict.
The weapon plants are making more money for everyone but the Arabs who are paying for it. Makes the US and the European economy get a boost.
The GCC are spending all the money they are getting for their oil.
If the USA decide on doing anything before the election this is going to be the end of Mr. O presidency.
No one in the USA is ready or wanting any action except the Israeli packed senators.
The american people are not fan of supporting the fanatics to take power in Syria or elsewhere in the Arab world.

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June 11th, 2012, 1:53 pm


29. omen said:

External aid needed to reveal Syria truth
(google this title to pull up the financial times article.)

The past week has seen several episodes of great violence occur in some obscurity. A massacre in the hamlet of Qubeir killed tens of people, according to Kofi Annan, international peace envoy to Syria, with opposition activists saying the number was as high as 78. By the time UN monitors and journalists arrived, all the bodies had been removed.

how do loyalists explain all the bodies removed? let me guess…rebels snuck past regime military guards blocking entry into the village and carted away the dead bodies right under the army’s nose. all to make the regime look bad.

not only that, rebels hung around long enough to clean up the carnage. that would make the fsa anal retentive killers. who knew?

i think loyalists prefer fanciful tales. the more convoluted, the better.

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June 11th, 2012, 1:56 pm


30. Juergen said:

just in:

In protest against the massacre in Al Hula back with 108 deaths, the Syrian Honorary Consul in the U.S. state of California, Hazem Chehabi, resigned from his post. He also has left his loyalty towards the government in Damascus, according to media reports.”It gets to the point where a silence or sparred action is ethically and morally unacceptable,” said Chehabi. He was one of the highest-ranking Syrian diplomats in the United States and is the first to the government of President Bashar al Assad who has decided to resign from his post.

thank you

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June 11th, 2012, 2:14 pm


31. Alan said:

Stay Connected! all the subtleties and secrets of what is happening in Syria is located in the offices of the Kremlin! life has a lot to teach! though in the end wins!

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June 11th, 2012, 2:41 pm


32. Stick to the truth said:

After reading yesterday the terrifying news on SC I was very worry about my familiy in Syria, so I tried to call home many times but no one answered. I tried to call the mobile of my sister but there was also no answer. I admit, I as very upset and feared the worse.

An hour later I received a call from my sister. She said: Sorry, I did not hear you, I am in the swimmingpool -In Damascus-

Thats Syria today. Whatever happens the syrian will never stop enjoying life and will overcome whatever happens.

Dear SC, please do not moderate this posting, its not about politics. Its just to describe the discrepancy between news and reality.

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June 11th, 2012, 2:51 pm


33. Osama said:


Thanks for going through the trouble of posting all the links to the vids. The most interesting one is the one of Captain Ahmed.

I have no doubt that the FSA managed to take-over the site, as they were clearly loading their trucks with the ammunition… and the videos resemble the Google Satellite images of the site (north of Ghinto).


– Where is the other officer and 8 soldiers reported in Alarabiya story, there were a total of 10 defectors.
– Why is “Captain Ahmed” not wearing his uniform and why did he not do the obligatory flashing of his military ID we’re so used to seeing.
– the interview with “Captain Ahmed” seemed practiced, I mean the only one at ease was the guy asking the questions.
– The guy asking the questions in his closing of the “report” mentions that the unit defected with ALL its equipment and then he ends the video by saying that they are in Rastan?!? which is more than a few kilometer’s to the north.


No proof of “defection” – although it is clear that the site was over-run. The narrative that the unit defected serves the NATO/GCC strategy to try create an atmosphere of uncertainty and doubt among the regime loyalists or people waiting for the right opportunity, leading to general panic, and eventual breakdown of military discipline.

I have the luxury to analyze and judge, the Syrian Army officers on the ground don’t have that choice. One thing is clear, unless the Army has major defections – and I mean Armored units – this will take an intervention to end it. Sorry, but the FSA can’t do it against Syrian Army, even if it was severely demoralized, without massive external support. if the FSA try to take an hold ground without these prerequisites, they will be at the mercy of the Syrian Army, as we have seen several times already. The orders from NATO/GCC are clear, keep the psychological pressure on the regime and its followers and an opportunity will present itself eventually.

Its not my intent to undermine the FSA or it abilities, but this is the reality – it is not a question of bravery or good intentions. What we are seeing is pure psy-ops, nothing more.

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June 11th, 2012, 2:57 pm


34. Aldendeshe said:

He was one of the highest-ranking Syrian diplomats in the United States and is the first to the government of President Bashar al Assad who has decided to resign from his post.


Since 2003 he removed Bashar picture off the wall at the consulate and kept it laying on the couch, or on top of the copy machine, never he, his sister (an adminstrator) or the other young man helping, ever found time to hang it. They never did. I understood from his sister years ago that “Syria is not a country”. This is basically the archtype of all the Baathists Diplomats the Dictator maintained in foreign service. Syria is an Alawi/Baathi Mazraaa.

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June 11th, 2012, 3:04 pm


35. Alan said:
While the world stares at the Persian Gulf discussing date of military operation against Iran, the situation in Syria has fallen into the shade. Any military intervention in one of these countries would instantly trigger reaction of another one. Moreover, the odds are it is Syria but not Iran who would fall the next victim to “Arab Spring” which is unfortunately turning into “Arab Winter”.
Why Syria may become a Number One Target?
Just because Iran possessing nuclear technology looks more prepared for retaliation and can inflict unacceptable damage. Just because Syria is drawn in mass civil commotions. Just because Syria is a secular state where religious fanaticism and terrorism are out of favor.

At the same time, Syria is the only ally of Iran in the Middle East. As for political analysts, much of Iran’s stability is owed to Syria, and if the regime of Bashar Assad falls down, Iran would either go into compromise or share the fate of Iraq. Looks attractive for those who got used to pull chestnuts out of fire by someone else’s hands, doesn’t it?

Of course, it does. Especially if one takes into account that it is Iraq where Iran strives to augment its power with the view to reconstruct the Shia “crescent” Iran-Iraq-Syria as a counter to Turkey and the pro-American Sunni Arab world headed by Saudi Arabia. In such a way it is possible to determine fate of the three formerly independent countries at a time.

Besides, “civilized global community” is pretty well tired of Syria. Through recent 25 years, Syria has strengthened Hezbollah’s standing in Lebanon becoming a bridge between Iran and that organization.

It is Syria who intermediates Iran’s armament exports to Palestine and relations with Hamas. Syria and Lebanon are states which territories may be used by Iran for a strike upon Israel in case of direct confrontation. Syria is the only country in the Mediterranean and worldwide where Russian Navy has overseas base, i.e. technical maintenance center in Tartus.

Setting up control over Syria where Sunnites constitute majority would give, say, Turkey access to the Arab Middle East.

“Considering all those things, we may say that overthrowing of current Syrian government – as was seen in Egypt and Libya, implying collapse of political system and causing chaos – may have disastrous effects on Iran’s regional policy. In this context, keeping Assad’s regime in Syria looks regional priority for Iran”, said Sevak Sarukhanyan.

It can be expected that it is change of leadership in Syria but not interfering in Iran’s nuclear program which is a prime objective of political game played in the Middle East, because Iran would remain alone then. It is Syria who may become the next-after-Libya Mediterranean country where outcome of inside political storm would be determined by no means a civil war but intervention of a third force (Arab League, Turkey, and Israel) jointly with air-sea operation of the US and Allies.

UN Resolution will imply opening of hostilities
Such actions must be only legitimated. For instance, by UN Security Council’s resolution analogous with notorious Resolution 1973 on Libya.

As is known, in October 2011 Russia and China vetoed the resolution on Syria. British foreign minister William Hague commented it as a “great mistake”. On January 23, 2012 when Syria declined to adopt an anti-crisis plan made by Arab League, the UK repeated that a UN resolution on Syria was a long-felt need. And it won’t be a long time coming even though not only Russia and China oppose force scenario in the UN but all other BRICS members.

The conflict escalation is inevitable. But there must be a casus belli!

Situation will definitely become aggravated either at attempt of economic embargo on Syria (scenario offered by League of Arab States), or as a result of Iran’s countermeasures to pressing on its nuclear program, or in case of an incident in the Strait of Hormuz (scenario offered by NATO)../../..

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June 11th, 2012, 3:25 pm


36. Uzair8 said:

Syria: Vogue’s Anna Wintour disowns Asma al-Assad

Anna Wintour, the editor-in-chief of Vogue, has disowned Bashar al-Assad’s wife Asma in the wake of a highly complimentay article the magazine ran last year.

11 Jun 2012

[Selected quote]

“Like many at that time, we were hopeful that the Assad regime would be open to a more progressive society,” she said. “Subsequent to our interview, as the terrible events of the past year and a half unfolded in Syria, it became clear that its priorities and values were completely at odds with those of Vogue.

“The escalating atrocities in Syria are unconscionable and we deplore the actions of the Assad regime in the strongest possible terms.”

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June 11th, 2012, 3:40 pm


37. Uzair8 said:

Mrs Assad hasn’t made an appearance since the ‘charity’ food packing?
Must have damaged her nails.

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June 11th, 2012, 3:46 pm


38. Syrialover said:

We read that the US is gathering evidence and monitoring regime attacks by surveillance drones.

Now we hear that Assad is using small drones to help direct his shelling of civilian areas.

Assad likes small drones? I hope he’s reading this:,0,3893056.story

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June 11th, 2012, 3:56 pm


39. Syrialover said:

I feel the shock, the terror, the frantic desperation of people being relentlessly shelled by their own “government”.

For those who survive, the trauma and nervous shock will badly affect them for the rest of their lives.

This is the proud work of the ugly cowards, lazy, mindless thugs, the vicious killers Assad and his gang.

Let’s hope their own end does not come instantly and they, their wives and children experience a long, deafeningly loud siege and shelling without food, water or medical help.

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June 11th, 2012, 3:56 pm


40. Osama said:

We are reaching the climax of the information war on Syria.

All the MSM news stories are now talking about rebel strongholds, shelling of rebel area, helicopter gunships strafing, etc etc

The choice of words clearly intended to give the uninformed the image that rebels are actually holding area’s and that the Syria government is indiscriminately killing civilians…

Op-eds are full of pundits pleading for the west to step in and save the Syrians from themselves!

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June 11th, 2012, 4:43 pm


42. Syrialover said:

Watch Putin. He’s just had gangs of masked security men with assault rifles raiding the homes of suspected demonstrators and removing money and private papers. Oh yes, and banners and computers and mobile phones as well.

Being close to Assad is giving him a new sense of what can be done and how to do it.

A big demonstration is planned in Russia today. Putin is using state terrorism to stop it in advance. What if that doesn’t work? Will he keep moving down the Assad path?

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June 11th, 2012, 5:02 pm


43. Alan said:


what is the meaning of this ? is this that climax what you mentioned ?

Obama speeds up limited air strike, no-fly zones preparations for Syria

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June 11th, 2012, 5:41 pm


44. SANDRO LOEWE said:

45. Alan

So you are american with syrian ancestors.

Sure Google Earth helps you know where to locate many places you did not hear in your whole life about Syria.

If you (or family or friends) had lived and suffered just one of the consequences of a totally corrupted regime you would not dare to defend the mafia state. But it is very easy to make yourself believe that Assad is fighting against adopted US. In the pro-Assad expats position there is some kind of refusal against the country that has welcomed you. This kind of disease is typical of many expats who tend to believe that they can find in Syria what they do not find in the place they live. This could be true in rare cases but you could find it in the people not in the regime.

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June 11th, 2012, 5:47 pm


45. ann said:

Syrian army regains control of rebel-held neighborhood in restive Homs – 2012-06-12

DAMASCUS, June 11 (Xinhua) — Syrian mainstream media said Monday the Syrian army regained full control of the rebel-held areas in central Homs province.

Pro-government media said the army recaptured the central neighborhood of Khalidieh and Bab Sba’a, which had been controlled by the rebels of Free Syrian Army.

The latest army operation indicates that the Syrian government has become more impatient with the bold and brazen attacks by the armed rebels, who have tried recently to stir battles in the heart of the capital Damascus.


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June 11th, 2012, 6:04 pm


46. ann said:

Armed groups blast gas pipeline in eastern Syria – 2012-06-11

DAMASCUS, June 11 (Xinhua) — Armed groups on Monday blasted a gas pipeline in Syria’s eastern Deir al-Zour province, causing a leakage of gas without conflagration, state-run SANA news agency reported.

The blast, caused by an explosive device, led to the leakage of around 400,000 cubic meter of gas, SANA said.

Quoting an official source at the ministry of oil, the report said the gas pumping was immediately stopped, adding that reparation process will start Tuesday. It said the line will rework again in few days.

Several oil and gas pipelines have been targeted since the eruption of anti-government protests last year, causing losses estimated at millions of U.S. dollars.


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June 11th, 2012, 6:08 pm


47. ann said:

Israel mulling wartime, disaster mass evacuation plans – 2012-06-11

JERUSALEM, June 11 (Xinhua) — An Israeli ministerial committee will soon consider the ramifications of evacuating hundreds of thousands of residents to safe ground in case of a wartime mass missile barrage, or cataclysmic natural disaster.

The Ministerial Committee on Home Front Affairs will next week weigh an existing contingency plan, which includes dispersing the populations of whole cities that lay within the bulls’ eye of Iranian, Hezbollah or Hamas long-range rockets to spread out, sparsely inhabited areas, according to the Ynet news site.

All three have vowed to launch rockets at Israeli urban areas in case of war, specifically mentioning Tel Aviv and the port city of Haifa.

As well, Israeli Army Deputy Chief of Staff Maj.-Gen. Yair Naveh on Sunday warned that the growing civil war in Syria could prompt President Bashar al-Assad to attack Israel as a diversionary pretext.

Assad would “treat us the same way he treats his own people,” Naveh said at a ceremony for fallen soldiers held in Jerusalem, hinting that the Syrian leader might opt to use his stores of chemical and biological weapons against the Jewish state.

Military officials here are also concerned that the bombs and precise long-range rockets that they would be mounted on could fall into the hands of rebel forces, or Hezbollah in Lebanon.

They have said in recent weeks that they are monitoring that prospect, and have said they will do whatever is necessary to keep the deadly gas and biological agent munitions out of the hands of the Lebanon-based Shiite group.

Meanwhile, on the home front, “there are some 1.7 million residents living in Israel who don’t have a bomb shelter or a bunker,” Knesset parliament member Zeev Bielski (Kadima) said in March.

“We’re talking about some 400,000 homes and apartments, most of which were built in the 1950s,” he said. “In case a war breaks out, these residents will be told: ‘Sit under a doorpost,'” according to Bielski, who chairs the Foreign Affairs and Defense Subcommittee for the Examination of Home Front Readiness.


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June 11th, 2012, 6:15 pm


48. Syrialover said:

The world created with great deliberation by Assad.

Look at the killers:

Then read about the victims.

Names and details of a 4-month old baby shot in the head, a disabled child killed with a hatchet. Teenaged twins. This man who lost his wife and 5 children in the massacre had been arrested in anti-regime demonstrations. Definitely no mention of rebels doing it. Clearly no suggestion he is Alawi.

This story will be easy enough to verify or expose if it’s

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June 11th, 2012, 6:22 pm


49. ann said:

US Accelerates Preparations For ‘No-Fly Zone’ In Syria – June 11, 2012

Search Eurasia Review

By: RT
June 11, 2012

The United States may soon take on a formal role in the Syrian uprising after reports surfaced this week that suggest the White House wants an air offensive targeting the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

After over a year of unrest in Syria, Israel’s Debka news agency reports that US President Barack Obama has asked the US Navy and Air Force to accelerate plans that would aid in the ousting of Assad. According to their sources, President Obama hopes that by initiating a temporary air strike in locales instrumental to the Syrian government, the US may be able to decimate Assad’s control by attacking his regime’s military command centers.

The US would call for a no-fly zone over Syria, reports Debka, then send their own personnel to strike Assad-aligned targets.

Murmurings of the latest plans out of Washington come less than two weeks after Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) called for the implementation of a no-fly zone. Speaking to reporters last month, Sen. Graham said that ousting Assad from control in Syria is much more crucial for America’s interests than the issue of Libya; last year the US aided in the removal of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi from Libyan rule.

“Compared to Libya, the strategic upside of taking out (Syrian President Bashar) Assad is far greater,” said Graham, who currently sits on the US Senate Committee of Armed Services.


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June 11th, 2012, 6:24 pm


50. zoo said:

Drones are not the exclusivity of Obama and Israel anymore

Updated June 12, 2012 07:03:13
Video: Fresh shelling of Homs in Syria

United Nations monitors say Syrian government forces appear to be using a surveillance drone to hunt for targets as they intensify an assault on the city of Homs.

New video shows shells landing in built-up areas of the city, which has seen heavy fighting during the more than year-long uprising against president Bashar al-Assad.

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June 11th, 2012, 6:31 pm


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