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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351. Syrialover said:

See below, “Homs,the gateway to the Alawite safe haven”

Any comments?

Article from the Financial Times:

Syria savagery suggests regime in despair

… The army, forced to carry out and repeat regional offensives on a sequential basis around the country, shows signs of exhaustion – even demoralisation. In April, a video-clip leaked to al-Arabiya, the Saudi TV network, showed one commander reassuring his officers that reinforcements would soon be with them. New troops were being trained, in and outside the country. Whether or not this is true, what was the question to which this was the answer?

… The Assads are not just bleeding legitimacy across their Sunni majority country but inside their Alawite community. “Bashar keeps on telling them he is going to impose a military solution and then he is unable to do it”, says a leading Lebanese politician with long experience of Syria. “He is losing credibility within his own community”.

… The recent massacres may also speak of a more radical despair. They had no military rationale beyond the sectarian cleansing of mixed Alawite and Sunni areas in north-west Syria. Indeed, the current week-long bombardment of Haffeh in the coastal foothills of the north-western mountains targets a Sunni town in the Alawite heartland. Since the uprising began there have been tell-tale signs the regime was clearing lines of retreat to this region as a fallback position. That helps explain the repeated attempts to subdue the city of Homs, the gateway to the Alawite safe haven. Refugees from the area say army engineers have been deployed there to upgrade its often basic infrastructure.

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June 13th, 2012, 10:17 pm


352. AJ said:

“354. SYRIALOVER said:

See below, “Homs,the gateway to the Alawite safe haven”

Any comments?

Article from the Financial Times:

Syria savagery suggests regime in despair”

Absolutely, to add to this point, a recent article from the telegraph mentioned the following:

“Fearful of losing their privileged status, a growing number of Syria’s Alawites believe the president should show the remorselessness of his father and predecessor. ”

Note that the article failed to point out the many Sunni Assad supporters who are also calling for Assad to act tougher. However it is clear that the regime supporters as a whole are under increased stress and panic.

Here’s a recent video from the FSA listening to an Assad soldier literally crying for help

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June 13th, 2012, 10:30 pm


353. Syrialover said:

Quote: “If these kind of attacks take place unremarked and uncondemned by the wider world, it increases the chances that they will multiply and become the norm should Mr Assad leave power.”

Which is what the Assads would wish for Syria. That’s the real failure they face and are fighting to stop – that Syria goes on to become a safer, happier, more economically sustainable and better respected place with their removal.

Excerpts from article from the Financial Times:

External aid needed to reveal Syria

…as the situation in Syria grows ever murkier there is a need for outside help in bringing factual clarity as well as stability to the country.

…As military skirmishes – many in civilian areas – grow more intense, there has probably never been a more dangerous time to be a Syrian civilian.

… In the absence of an authoritative independent narrative about what is going on, the varying doubts regarding each of these instances risks leaving at least some outside Syria with an impression that the country is in the grip of an intractable and atavistic conflict best left to play itself out. A proper, internationally run investigation of atrocities would help counter that by laying out the evidence impartially and, in this realm of probabilities, drawing provisional conclusions about responsibility.

An independent outside inquiry would further help by exposing the truth or otherwise behind reports – some from opposition activists themselves – of killings of Alawites by Sunnis.

If these kind of attacks take place unremarked and uncondemned by the wider world, it increases the chances that they will multiply and become the norm should Mr Assad leave power. In Libya, victorious rebels have taken brutal revenge on Muammer Gaddafi’s supporters.

Highlighting abuses by both sides in Syria does not mean suggesting a false equivalence between them if the wrongdoing of one is found to be far greater. On the contrary: a full reckoning can sharpen moral divisions that are clouded by doubts and partial information.

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June 13th, 2012, 10:32 pm


354. Syrialover said:

AJ# 355.

True. But I was also looking for comment on this:

“…bombardment of Haffeh in the coastal foothills of the north-western mountains targets a Sunni town in the Alawite heartland. Since the uprising began there have been tell-tale signs the regime was clearing lines of retreat to this region as a fallback position. That helps explain the repeated attempts to subdue the city of Homs, the gateway to the Alawite safe haven. Refugees from the area say army engineers have been deployed there to upgrade its often basic infrastructure.”

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June 13th, 2012, 10:38 pm


355. AJ said:


It’s unfortunate but I’ve heard this point from other sources and it sounds very possible.

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June 13th, 2012, 11:01 pm


356. omen said:

236. MAJEDKHALDOUN said: The Will to fight for freedom,
the way to live in honor and dignity.


i’m not one to be enthralled with celebrities, but i happen to stumble across this. i like this expression.

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June 14th, 2012, 12:02 am


357. zoo said:

“One of the most terrible developments of this war is that terrorists are forcing civilian males to stay together and fight against security forces. They offer money, shoot family members if they don’t co-operate and even go so far as to transfer family members of forced fighters to Turkey. If civilian males continue to refuse to fight side by side with the terrorists and insurgents, these civilians are not let go but sometimes shot summarily, sometimes whole families, as happened in Houla.

Terrorists are using psychological pressure to force some civilians to carry improvised explosives by taking hostages. ”

Horrifying outline of the military activities in Syria

Terror zone shift: Syrian insurgents ‘try to set up new belt of strongholds’

Published: 14 June, 2012, 01:43

While Homs is nearly under control of the government, terrorists and insurgents try to escape north and east. The Syrian military’s strategic task is to keep them from building a new belt of strongholds on Syrian territory along the Turkish border.

Consultant and peace activist Christoph R. Hörstel told RT that his information “is directly obtained from Syrian security personnel of various origins personally taking part in battles and other operations, and/or close relatives of such personnel – some are even well-known people.

“The information reaches me through a partner in Turkey. I counter-check all information obtained this way as best as possible under the circumstances,” Hörstel said.

He gives an outline of the military’s activities from Syria.

House-to-house clearing is almost complete, but is continuing in nearby Rastan and the city district of Khaldiyeh.

Insurgents and terrorists are escaping now in the direction of Hafeh, where safety was restored only last weekend. But now insurgents and terrorist forces from the Turkey-Idlib area are gathering there, joined by the escaping forces from Rastan, Homs and Khaldiyeh.

These forces now try to set up a new stronghold in Hafeh as a replacement for the lost base in Homs. Hafeh is an important and vital crossing point into Turkey and exit to Idlib, from where more transfer routes lead further east to terrorist camps in Turkey.


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June 14th, 2012, 12:06 am


358. Syria no Kandahar said:

Crimes of (Revolutionists):
1-Destruction of Syria as unified nation.
2-collaborating with foreigners.
3-Killing at least 4000 Syrian soldiers
4-destruction of Syrian economy
5-kidnapping many innocent Syrian citizens and torturing and killing them or bargain them for the money
6-destruction of peace and security in Syria and turning Syrian highways into the most dangerous in the world
7-performing many massacres prior to important UN meetings to influence their decisions
8-causing at least one million Syrians to be refugees inside Syria and at least 200000 outside Syria
9-using sectarian language with the help of gulf money and spreading fitna inside
Syrian communities with the help of dedicated fitna stations like :Alwissal ,Safa,Aljazera and Alarabia.
10-killing many Syrians because of their identity .
Any positive results of this (Revolution )so far?

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June 14th, 2012, 12:21 am


359. omen said:

358. SYRIA NO KANDAHAR said: Crimes of (Revolutionists)

/holds a mirror in front of snk’s post to see if he can see the regime’s reflection.

p.s. i give him points though for crediting the opposition enough to call them revolutionists instead of terrorists.

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June 14th, 2012, 12:37 am


360. AJ said:


This is the price your regime is going to pay for having killed and tortured our children. Rest assured this will continue until we have Bashar and Maher’s heads.

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June 14th, 2012, 12:38 am


361. Tara said:

Haffa is considered “cleansed” by SANA….I am looking forward to when Syria is going to be cleansed from the Assad family and it’s Shabeehas.

The battle for Haffa, in the mountains of Latakia province, raged for eight days as regime forces shelled the village to drive out rebels. The operation apparently was part of a larger offensive to retake areas that had fallen into rebel hands.
State television said regime forces had “cleansed” Haffa of “armed terrorist groups” and the Foreign Ministry urged U.N. observers to immediately head there “to check what the terrorist groups have done.”
U.N. observers did not go to Haffa on Wednesday and are assessing the situation to determine when they can successfully reach the town, U.N. peacekeeping spokesman Kieran Dwyer said. On Tuesday, an angry crowd hurled rocks and sticks at the U.N. mission’s vehicles, forcing them to turn back. None of the observers was hurt.
Sausan Ghosheh, a spokeswoman for the observers, said they have been trying to reach Haffa since June 7.
Hundreds of rebel fighters believed to have been holed up in Haffa and nearby villages pulled out overnight, said Rami Abdul-Rahman, director of the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, citing a network of activists on the ground.
On another front, fireballs of orange flames exploded over the central city of Homs, where Syrian forces fired a continuous rain of shells that slammed into the rebel-held neighborhoods of Khaldiyeh, Jouret al-Shayyah and the old city.
Recovering Haffa was particularly significant to the regime because the town is about 20 miles (30 kilometers) from President Bashar Assad’s hometown. Latakia province is the heartland of the Alawite minority to which Assad and the ruling elite belong.
As the violence spiked, both sides in the conflict appeared to be using heavier weapons.
U.N. observers reported Syrian helicopters were firing on Haffa and other restive areas, and amateur videos posted online by activists suggest the opposition is using powerful anti-tank missiles.

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June 14th, 2012, 12:45 am


362. Syria no Kandahar said:

Omen /Aj
It is not (my regime) nor (my revolution )
I am just a lay Syrian who hates all this violence and destruction which happened to Syria . If you goal is just to chop of heads then you really have a wonderful plan
To save Syria ,people who think like you are the problem.If your defense is that
The regime has crimes too then you are in agreement that many revolutionists are criminals.

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June 14th, 2012, 12:48 am


363. AJ said:

Here’s a story you will never see the regime apologists ever mention:

“Rania Hawari was just a little girl when she was shot dead by an Assadist sniper. She is one of 1,000+ children to have been murdered by Assad’s forces since March 2011.

Rania’s short life is worth more than the whole Assad, Akhras and Makhlouf families put together.

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June 14th, 2012, 12:50 am


364. omen said:

snk, if i may ask, how long has it not been your regime?

The regime has crimes too then you are in agreement that many revolutionists are criminals.

rebels have kidnapped, yes, but the rest are lies. loyalists, in an attempt to muddy the waters, falsely attribute to the rebels crimes the regime itself committed.

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June 14th, 2012, 12:55 am


365. AJ said:


Omen /Aj
It is not (my regime) nor (my revolution )
I am just a lay Syrian who hates all this violence and destruction which happened to Syria . If you goal is just to chop of heads then you really have a wonderful plan
To save Syria ,people who think like you are the problem.If your defense is that
The regime has crimes too then you are in agreement that many revolutionists are criminals.”

The first months of the revolution was peaceful until Assad started decapitating our children. Any government who is responsible for such an act should be eliminated.

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June 14th, 2012, 1:00 am


366. irritated said:

350. AJ :

“No stability in Israel if there’s no stability in Syria”

That’s why the USA is hesitating… The chaos in Syria will means extreme danger for Israel. For the first time there may be armed islamist jihadists just at the border of Israel: a premiere

Rami Makhlouf is perfectly right.

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June 14th, 2012, 1:03 am


367. omen said:

The regime has crimes too then you are in agreement that many revolutionists are criminals.

the difference between rebels and regime:

-the rebels specifically target military/security targets. this is a valid form of self defense. this is matching force against force.

-the regime inflicts indiscriminate slaughter/collective punishment of unarmed civilians.

the two are not comparable.

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June 14th, 2012, 1:11 am


368. omen said:

366. IRRITATED said:
“No stability in Israel if there’s no stability in Syria”
Rami Makhlouf is perfectly right.


first loyalists say syria is being targeted by western powers because the regime (with hezbollah) represents a threat to israel. now they are saying having no regime would be a threat to israel.

which is it? can’t have it both ways.

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June 14th, 2012, 1:18 am


369. Juergen said:

Î dont cecall if this Al Houla account was yet posted. Very moving account of an older mother who has seen how her whole family got killed.!

Amnesty International has filed a new report on Syria ( they had their own investigators in the country)


“They killed my sons, the dearest things I had, and
then they desecrated their bodies by setting them
on fire. How can a mother endure such pain?”
The mother of three brothers dragged from their home, killed and burned in Sarmin on 23 March 2012″

the whole 69 pages report as pdf

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June 14th, 2012, 1:21 am


370. zoo said:

Exclusive: Arab states arm rebels as UN talks of Syrian civil war
( with the complicity of Turkey and with USA-Israeli made weapons)
Saudi Arabia and Qatar ‘supplying weapons’ to anti-Assad forces, while fears mount for civilians
Justin Vela

Istanbul Wednesday 13 June 2012

Syrian rebels are being armed by Saudi Arabia and Qatar, The Independent has learnt, in a development that threatens to inflame a regional power struggle provoked by the 15-month-old uprising against the Assad regime.

Rebel fighters from the Free Syrian Army (FSA) have received weapons from the two Gulf countries, which were transported into Syria via Turkey with the implicit support of the country’s intelligence agency, MIT, according to a Western diplomat in Ankara. Opposition fighters in Syria have hitherto been handicapped by a reliance on an old and inadequate arsenal, while the regime in Damascus has been able to rely on a supply of arms from Russia and Iran. Moscow is arming Syria with attack helicopters, Hillary Clinton, the US Secretary of State, claimed yesterday. “We are concerned by the latest information we have that there are attack helicopters on the way from Russia to Syria, which will escalate the conflict quite dramatically,” she told a conference in Washington.

Since the start of the uprising, anti-regime activists have only smuggled small quantities of weapons, purchased on the black market, from Hatay in southern Turkey into Syria’s Idlib province.

However, three weeks ago, members of the loose assortment of rebel groups that comprises the FSA said they had received multiple shipments of arms including Kalashnikov assault rifles, BKC machine guns, rocket-propelled grenades and anti-tank weaponry from Gulf countries and that Turkey was assisting in the delivery of the weapons.

“The Turkish government helped us to be armed,” said one member of the FSA living in the Turkey-Syria border area. He claimed that the weapons had arrived at a Turkish port via ship and were then driven to the border without interference from Turkish authorities.


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June 14th, 2012, 1:23 am


371. irritated said:


“which is it? can’t have it both ways”

The opposition has managed to bring Al Qaeeda and islamist jihadists at the doorstep of Israel. Compared to these, Hezbollah are angels.
Soon Islamist Syria and Islamist Egypt will threaten Israel: well deserved.

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June 14th, 2012, 1:27 am


372. omen said:

irritated, on the contrary, the opposition did not bring such extremists on board. it is the regime who is on record as having released alqaeda members from prison.

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June 14th, 2012, 1:34 am


373. irritated said:


We know how they got there, from Turkey, Jordan and Iraq. Who helped them to move in instead of preventing them? The result is that, unless stopped urgently, Al Qaeeda will soon be at the doorstep of Israel.
Who do you think should stop them now for moving forward? Your guess…

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June 14th, 2012, 1:41 am


374. Juergen said:

Well and its the regime who is an expert how to train and support extreme terrorist groups such as Hisbollah and Hamas.

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June 14th, 2012, 1:42 am


375. zoo said:

The USA is worried about a civil war that would threaten its allies Israel and Jordan

White House sees no civil war in Syria

WASHINGTON, June 13 (Xinhua) — The White House on Wednesday would not characterize the situation in Syria as a civil war, but warned of such a scenario as the window of opportunity is closing.

White House spokesman Jay Carney would not say directly whether Syria is in the midst of a civil war, but said “What the administration believes is that the situation there is deteriorating, it is deteriorating quickly.”

“Carney warned that if countries do not act quickly to bring about a transition in Syria, “we will be in a situation, or we will likely be in a situation where Syria is experiencing a sectarian civil war that could spill beyond its borders, that could destabilize the region, that could involve other countries in the kind of proxy conflict that can be very damaging not just to the region but to the world.”

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June 14th, 2012, 1:42 am


376. irritated said:

#374 Juergen

“Well and its the regime who is an expert how to train and support extreme terrorist groups such as Hisbollah and Hamas.”

The USA (and Germany) are expert in training and arming the Israeli terrorists.

Training Hamas and Hezbollah was the best thing the regime did and Arabs should be forever grateful to Bashar al Assad.

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June 14th, 2012, 1:48 am


377. Tara said:

People who keep repeating that Assad is vital for Israel’s security in order to may be keep the US from fully supporting the revolution should be embarrassed.

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June 14th, 2012, 1:50 am


378. Juergen said:


Yes, dream on, in Assadistan those may be respected and meaningful resistance groups, to me they are weird religious movements which calls for killings of civilians and are responsible for terror throughout the ME. Its funny to see that Assad is financing and supporting an 100% Salafi movement like Hamas, well I think its all an big game isnt it?

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June 14th, 2012, 1:53 am


379. omen said:

does this count as the first plausible threat the u.s. has leveled against russia?

from pbs newshour:

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned Russia that its interests in Syria will be harmed if it does not attempt to stop bloodshed.


[responding to a question that asks if the u.s. would resort to using unilateral force, outside of un sanction.]

Of course, you know, the Obama administration is extremely, extremely unwilling to do that. But we just can’t exclude that possibility that the situation in Syria will get that unbearable. And that’s where we come to Russian interests. We may come to that moment where the United States and others in the international community say to Russia, we know you have interests in Syria. Do you want to secure them? Because you have to act. Otherwise, we will.

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June 14th, 2012, 1:55 am


380. ann said:

Syria Speech Cut Off on June 7 Was Ordered by UN’s DuBach, ICP Learns, UN Stonewalls

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, June 10 — When UN Television went dark just as Syrian Ambassador Bashar Ja’afari began speaking in the General Assembly on June 7, Inner City Press linked it to the total black out of Ja’afari in an early session on Syria held in the ECOSOC chamber.

But UN spokespeople insisted to Inner City Press that it was just a “technical glitch.” At the June 8 UN noon briefing, Ban Ki-moon’s spokesman Martin Nesirky called it a miscommunication.

Sources in UN Television have provided further information to Inner City Press. They said it was no mis-communication, much less technical glitch: rather, they were ORDERED to effectuate the turn-off by the UN’s Michele DuBach, Acting Deputy Director-News & Media Operations.


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June 14th, 2012, 2:18 am


381. ann said:

Syrian Islamist opposition casts out Christians – 14 June, 2012

The Christian minority in Syria is facing a growing threat and thousands are being forced to flee their homes as they face harassment and discrimination from radial Islamist factions of the opposition.

At least 9,000 Christians from the western Syrian city of Qusayr were forced to seek refuge after an ultimatum from a local military chief of the armed opposition, Abdel Salam Harba, Fides news agency reports.

In the latest outburst of violence a Christian man was shot dead by a sniper in Qusayr, which neighbors the restive city of Homs.

There have been reports last week that some mosques in the city have announced from the minarets: “Christians must leave Qusayr within six days, which expires this Friday.”


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June 14th, 2012, 2:32 am


382. ann said:

Terror zone shift: Syrian insurgents ‘try to set up new belt of strongholds’ – 14 June, 2012

The Syrian Army is carrying on with house-to-house operations and has destroyed a massive amount s of stockpile of smuggled weapons and communication devices. They claim to have killed more than 1200 insurgents and terrorists in recent days and at the same time are concentrating on preventing the establishment of the aforementioned terror zone in the Hafeh-Hassakah border belt.


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June 14th, 2012, 3:37 am


383. ann said:

6 injured in 6.0-magnitude quake off Turkey’s Mediterranean coast – 2012-06-11

Moderate quake hits Turkey-Syria-Iraq border area – 2012-06-14

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June 14th, 2012, 4:23 am


384. omen said:

381. ANN said: Syrian Islamist opposition casts out Christians – 14 June, 2012

from ea worldview:

Vatican’s ambassador to Syria, Archbishop Nuncio Mario Zenari, has denied that Christians are being targeted by Sunnis. Archibishop Zenari said that for all people, “the descent into hell has started,” and even cited UN reports of children being used as human shields.

Archbishop Zenari also signaled that the Church may be in a position to help negotiate:

“It is the Christians’ mission to play the role of a link at all levels,” he said.

“They’re active in very painful situations, such as in Homs where we have priests, nuns and monks … who are setting an example and risk their lives.”


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.


video of a church in homs taking direct hit from regime shelling.

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June 14th, 2012, 4:28 am


385. Alan said:

383. ANN!
look for assistant of Djabarov in Tel Aviv !

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June 14th, 2012, 5:11 am


386. Mina said:

Tareq Ramadan discovering the centre

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June 14th, 2012, 5:48 am


387. Juergen said:


you post Ramadan, is there hope?

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June 14th, 2012, 6:02 am


388. Dawoud said:

Terrorists from Lebanon, Iraq, and Iran helping Bashar (War Criminal) al-Assad kill Syrians!

Free Syria Army Catches Iraqi Shiite Militia Fighter Sent to Kill Sunnis in Sectarian War 7-April-12
Report: Top Iran military official aiding Assad’s crackdown on Syria opposition
Prominent Syrian lawmaker says the commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard’s elite Quds Force has recently arrived in the country to help manage Assad’s regime brutal suppression of a 11-month-long popular unrest.

Syrian army being aided by Iranian forces

Iran confirms Quds force’s presence in Syria with Revolutionary Guards commander saying troops ‘helped prevent more massacres’
FSA: Hezbollah fighters in Syria, carrying out raids


By Nadia al-Turki and Yousef Diab

London/Beirut, Asharq Al-Awsat – As the Syrian military continued to shell various areas of the country yesterday, Free Syrian Army [FSA] sources informed Asharq Al-Awsat that Lebanese kill-squads affiliated to Hezbollah had entered Syrian territory, specifically the al-Qasir region, close to the Lebanese border.

FSA commander of Homs, Colonel Qasim Saad al-Din, revealed that Hezbollah forces raided several villages in Al-Qasir, including Al-Safsafah, Al-Masriyah, Al-Sawadiyah, Mutribah, and Zaytah. He stressed “these forces arrested 37 Syrians, including women, and also erected roadblocks at the entry point of each of these villages.”

The FSA commander asserted that the Hezbollah fighters entered these areas accompanied by Syrian security forces, adding that there were a total of around 200 Hezbollah fighters, divided into 20 separate groups, in the al-Qasir region yesterday. He also claimed that the Hezbollah fighters had illegally entered Syria via Shiite border villages known to be loyal to the Lebanese organization.

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June 14th, 2012, 8:16 am


389. Syria no kandahar said:

You should give an answer to why the terrorists are occupying churches in the first place? Churches occupied by terrorists in Alhamedia(Homs) and turned
Into command center,and 40000 Christian Homsis were kicked out from their houses and 9000 from Alkesseer,they were not allowed to take any valuables with them,they tortured and killed many of them,they occupied their houses illegally and used it for their terrorists activities.The terrorists know when they occupy churches that destruction will happen to these churches because they move all
Their RBGs,Klashinkof and Israeli weapons inside the churches and continue to fight.fighting from inside churches is in clear violation of Islam if they care about that.
What if Christians occupy mosques and kick Moslems from their houses?how many car bombs,chopped heads and burned churches we will see?

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June 14th, 2012, 8:19 am


390. Tara said:

Do they not speak good English in Iran? What is the most common second language taught in Iran?

Iran’s state media has been blamed for mistranslating Lavrov’s reported claim about the US arming the Syrian opposition, Bloomberg reports.
Iran’s state-run Mehr news agency had Lavrov saying:
Unlike the US, which supplies arms to the Syrian opposition that can be used against the Syrian government, we don’t take such action.
Audio recording reveal that what he actually said was:
We aren’t shipping to Syria or anywhere else things that can be used against peaceful demonstrators. Unlike the United States, for example, which regularly delivers such special equipment to the region, including a recent delivery to one of the countries of the Persian Gulf.


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June 14th, 2012, 8:19 am


391. Mina said:

Hope of what, that I am going to support excision, like him?
Certainly not. I see he is taking some distance from the fundamentalists and is almost close to Hassanein Heikal.
You think that we should post only things we endoarse?
Anyway, his position is mild in everything in this interview, like a good Oxford professor, so it will be hard to find someone who does not agree with him. Did you notice? He says the people who took to the streets were manipulated by people trained abroad. One more minhibak according to the criteria of most commentators here.

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June 14th, 2012, 8:28 am


392. irritated said:

#378 Juergen

“Its funny to see that Assad is financing and supporting an 100% Salafi movement like Hamas, well I think its all an big game isnt it?

There is nothing funny in the plight of the Palestinians.

Obviously you are not able to make a distinction: Hamas is not Salafist, it is a Moslem Brotherhood group, just like the Egyptian MB and the Turkish AKP.
Syria was hosting them and supporting them politically. The funds to the Hamas is coming from Qatar, KSA, Iran and Turkey.
Inform yourself better maybe you’ll see the light.

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June 14th, 2012, 8:53 am


393. zoo said:

I wonder who is confused and continue denying the facts
Famous Tony Badran or Famous John Rosenthal ?

There were obvious indicators that the German article was false and based on claims made by the regime and its fellow travelers. For instance, the report stated that the supposed Alawite victims were from the “Shomaliya” family. The confused German author – and everyone who uncritically picked up his report – didn’t even bother to check his facts or his sources. There is an Alawite village by the name of al-Shumariya, near Houla, which the regime’s media and its third party amplifiers claimed was attacked by “armed gangs.”
Hence, we’ve heard senior officials in the Obama administration, from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to UN Ambassador Susan Rice, say that arming the opposition could be tantamount to arming al-Qaeda, since we don’t know who this opposition really is.

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June 14th, 2012, 9:06 am


394. zoo said:

Tunisia exports its bad boys to Syria.

The Next Revolution: Islamists In Tunisia Take Their Jihad To Syria

A trip to Tunis’s slums finds young Salafi Islamists who were at the vanguard of the Arab Spring, and are now set to take the fight to Syria to take down the ruling secularist regime.

After the Arab Spring, the Islamist Summer (Magharebia)

By Domenico Quirico

LA STAMPA/Worldcrunch

TUNIS – Just a few blocks from the hotels, the restaurants, and the government offices, Balancine is a labyrinth filled with piles of garbage and stray dogs. Teenage boys are lying around, laughing, some of them drunk.

We came here to find the new radical Islam which has become so popular since the Arab Spring. This is the house we are looking for. Going up a dark and slippery staircase, which smells of urine, sawdust and ammonia, we arrive at the third floor. We enter a darkened room, lit by a single dim light bulb hanging from the ceiling. A curtain is barely hiding the dirty toilet. A big couch, which also serves as a bed, occupies almost all the room. A 22-year-old man, Yusef, is sitting cross-legged on the couch.

We have come to meet him before he leaves for Jihad in Syria. He is a Salafi Islamist, part of a movement that is fast becoming a major player in the region. This is not the pragmatic secularized Islam, nor the social democracy of the Muslim Brotherhood or of the moderate Ennahda movement (the Renaissance Party) whom the Western world found so reassuring after the Arab revolutions.

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June 14th, 2012, 9:09 am


395. zoo said:

The opposition’s islamist allies is trying to stir Iran in Syria by attacking Shia holiest sites

Car bomb explodes near Shiite shrine in Damascus
By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 8:55 AM EDT, Thu June 14, 2012

(CNN) — A suicide bomber blew up an explosives-laden car near a revered Shiite shrine in the Syrian capital Thursday, the state news agency said.

The bombing occurred at a parking lot near the holy shrine of Sayyidah Zaynab, which houses the tomb of the Prophet Mohammed’s granddaughter, the state-run Syrian Arab News Agency said.

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June 14th, 2012, 9:13 am


396. majedkhaldoun said:

what he actually said was:
We aren’t shipping to Syria or anywhere else things that can be used against peaceful demonstrators.

The regime is saying(and Russia agrees),that there is no peaceful demonstrators.
So what is the difference?
Russia is sending attack helicopters, and the regime will use it against peaceful demonstartors claiming it was not peaceful.the regime lies,and Russia is defending him.

if we get to this point,anti planes weapons will be necessary,and I love to see those helicopters falling like dead birds.

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June 14th, 2012, 9:14 am


397. AJ said:

“377. TARA said:

People who keep repeating that Assad is vital for Israel’s security in order to may be keep the US from fully supporting the revolution should be embarrassed.”

The problem is this argument is used by the same people who claim to be defenders of Palestine and the Arab resistance fighting the Zionist entity. They even have the audacity of calling us Zionist. As OMEN noted in post 368, they can`t have it both ways. This blatant hypocrisy is another reason why this regime is doomed.

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June 14th, 2012, 9:15 am


398. Tara said:

For those of you waiting for the UN’s investigation.  Undercover Amnesty International officer documenting war crimes.  Is this good enough?  

• Amnesty International has documented fresh evidence of crimes against humanity and war crimes being perpetrated as part of state policy, based on the more than 200 interviews with eyewitnesses, victims and their families. Donatella Rovera, who spent several weeks undercover in Syria conducting the research, urged the UN to take decisive action to stop attacks civilians.
For more than a year the UN Security Council has dithered, while a human rights crisis unfolded in Syria. It must now break the impasse and take concrete action to end to these violations and to hold to account those responsible.
The report calls on Russia and China to halt arms sales to Syria and for Assad regime to be referred to the international criminal court.

Read more..

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June 14th, 2012, 9:15 am


399. Syria no Kandahar said:

Next UN meeting about Syria:July 20 th
Next massacre(designed by FSA and SNC): July 19th

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June 14th, 2012, 9:16 am


400. AJ said:


what he actually said was:
We aren’t shipping to Syria or anywhere else things that can be used against peaceful demonstrators.

The regime is saying(and Russia agrees),that there is no peaceful demonstrators.
So what is the difference?
Russia is sending attack helicopters, and the regime will use it against peaceful demonstartors claiming it was not peaceful.the regime lies,and Russia is defending him.”

This is the same exact tactic used by the Israelies when they bombarded Gaza. Except the “evil Israelies” showed to be far less brutal than Assad`s shabi7a

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June 14th, 2012, 9:18 am


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