Syria Faces A New Economic Reality – By Ehsani

Syria Faces A New Economic Reality
By Ehsani for Syria Comment
Sept 26, 2011

The recently announced import suspension prohibits the import of  all products that have a customs duty of over 5 percent. This notice also covers countries that Syria signed a free trade agreement with (Turkey, Ukraine and the Arab countries for example).  The original signed free trade agreements will no longer be fully adhered to.

As expected, the Ministry did issue a list of products which received an exemption from the ruling.  There are 51 items on this list. The first 17 are of the food products variety like meat, fish, cashew nuts, almonds and bananas.  Some of the details on the list are mind-bogglingly trivial.  The type of fish that was exempted from the ban for example was sword fish which made it to item number 5. Fish (with teeth) from the south pole or Australia also made it to the exemption list at number 6. But the sword fish were dropped again in item 7 which allowed all fish other than sword fish or those from the south pole and Australia.

The rest of the items are mostly medical in nature. Examples include x-ray machines, various Lab equipments, Dental chairs, and prescription and sun glasses.  The only vehicles allowed are buses for the local public transportation companies, fire and ambulance trucks as well as fork lifts. Mobile phones (current customs duty of 10%) were also exempt from the ruling.  This suspension is effective for all imports after September 22, 2011 (those who used a local bank prior to this date are exempt). Overall, the complexity of this ruling can only be appreciated when one delves into even more detail of what is banned and what is not.

The General Reaction to the Ruling:

The deputy Minister of the Economy and Trade was in Aleppo today. He was in a packed room of businessmen at the city’s Chamber of Commerce. Several passionate pleas were made to rethink the decision and to exempt more products. Many explained how they already have goods on the way and wondered what they would with them (they did not have an L/C open before September 22nd).  One wondered why cashew nuts were exempted when the U.S. used to be the largest supplier of this product (Vietnam and India are now the world’s largest exporters).  To every question, the deputy Minister’s response was to ask that they do so in writing and when the Ministry receives their written questions, it will study them in detail and see how they can help. To which one food importer responded that it would be too late as his goods are already at the border and by the time his letter reaches Damascus and be read he would have already thrown away his rotting produce.

One can read more about these shock waves hitting the Syrian business community. In the meantime, government has tried its best to argue that the decision has both pluses and minuses. On the minus side, the government is aware that prices of the recently banned items will rise rather significantly. Indeed, reports of price hikes close to 40 percent have already been reported on few electronic items while companies like Sony, Sharp and others have suspended their sales in the country altogether. While the government did not mention it, the other minus will stem from the fact that the grey market will now flourish as illicit trade fills the inevitable void that will develop. On the plus side, the Minister of the economy and trade has tried to argue that this decision will help local producers and employment. The argument appears logical at first. However, by referring to the measures as “temporary”, one fails to see how local producers will add to expensive capacity and hire new employees knowing that the decision can be reversed anytime. Local manufacturers are unlikely to invest in new machinery and equipment in this atmosphere. As it is, a number of industrialists have put expansion or new projects on hold over the last few years as the government has proved incapable of delivering sufficient electricity capacity.

Syria’s external Accounts undermined by its fixed exchange rate

This article argues that while the decision to suspend imports for these products appears to have been caused by the recent sanctions imposed by the US and EU, Syria’s external accounts were already being undercut by the fixed exchange rate policy that had encouraged imports and discouraged exports for years.  In the end, the authorities have found it expensive and difficult to finance the insatiable demand for foreign made products at the rate of SYP 47 to the dollar while revenues from oil production and exports fell steadily.

The 2012 Syrian Budget Rises by 59%

In addition to the pressure stemming from an imbalance in its foreign trade position, the other main problem in the economy comes from the government budgeting situation.  Just yesterday, the state increased its expenditures by 59 percent when it announced its new budget for 2012. The Social subsidies alone will amount to 29% percent (US$ 7.72) of all government expenditures . This means that one third out of every Dollar that the government spends will go to supporting a hugely expensive subsidy program that has spiraled out of control thanks to the country’s demographics and illicit trading (especially in mazot – fuel oil). How large is the budget and total government expenditures this year? The number is $US 26.5 billion or 50 per cent of total nominal GDP. This is an astoundingly high number.

Failure to Tax

The US$9.8 billion jump in expenditures this year needs to be funded by increased tax collection in a business environment that will be extremely challenging. One of the examples of an obvious and gaping hole in the government’s ability to collect taxes comes from custom duties on imports. While the government imposes duties close to 50% on many products, the 2009 government revenue from this area indicates that the treasury was only able to collect US$ 0.56 billion or 4.3% of the total value of goods imported. Following the recent sanctions on Syrian crude exports, it seems that the country was able to export around 110,000  barrels per day.  Revenues from such exports used to be in the range of  $3.0 billion. Given the recent sanctions and even when alternative buyers are found, it is expected that this can only take place after a hair cut is offered on the globally traded price. This is likely to further erode the government’s ability to earn much needed foreign exchange. It is possible that the difficulties of finding buyers will be such that talk of barter trades will soon be discussed. Iran already does this with its own crude exports. Indeed, this morning the Financial Times claims that Syria is unable to find any buyers for its oil (See Story below).

The pros and cons of a stable exchange rate:

Since the last currency crisis in the mid-1980, Syria has defined both political and economic success by the stability of its foreign exchange regime.   The central bank used the stability of its foreign exchange as the main metric of successful economic management.  This metric did not include economic growth, employment level or the balance of payments as targets. Stable exchange rate led to inflation stability and this is all that mattered to the economic planners.

In a flexible exchange regime, a loss of competitiveness or a widening trade imbalance usually results in a weaker currency which acts as self-correcting valve that restores the initial imbalances over time. Artificially fixed exchange rates deprive an economy from such a correcting mechanism. This is what happened in Syria. While this policy seemingly held imported inflation in check, it was causing significant damage to external accounts.  As the country adopted the new social market economy and import restrictions were lifted, an import orgy was now underway.  This was augmented by free trade agreements with the Arab world and later with Turkey.  Local producers who lived for decades under the comfortable protection of “himaye wataniye” were now under assault from a global market place that was more efficient and competitive than them.  It did not take long for Syrians to dump their manufacturing hats and transform themselves into importers. Throughout this worsening export/import imbalance, the currency value did not budge.  The Central Bank intervened at any sign of SYP weakness.

For Syria to continue to finance importers at the rate of SYP 47 to $1 dollar, it needed matching foreign currency receipts from its exports, remittances or tourism.  The hopes were high when it came to the latter two.  Thanks to a steady fall in oil production and exports however, the country’s ability to accumulate serious foreign currency was becoming harder to accomplish.  In spite of such trends, the foreign exchange regime was never modified to weaken the SYP to help make imports more expensive and/or to give local producers a much needed slight competitive advantage.

Proponents of the stable fixed Exchange rate regime pointed to stable inflation as the primary objective and how allowing the SYP to devalue will harm the economy. In reality, however, what transpired is that the government exhausted its ability to finance the country’s increasing appetite to import. Much has been discussed of the fact that the Central Bank sits on a comfortable foreign exchange reserve position of nearly US$ 18 billion. In reality, this number is impossible to verify. The official government data and accounting is simply not transparent enough to confirm such claims. More transparency is highly desirable in an effort to reduce speculation and rely on factual data during such a critical period. In the meantime, the only thing certain is that the government has decided to conserve on whatever foreign reserves it has at its disposal to prepare for an extremely challenging economic times in the period ahead.

News Round Up

Ban forces Syria to cut oil production – Financial Times

Syria has told foreign oil companies to cut production due to a backlog of crude that has filled its storage capacity because the government has been so far unable to bypass an embargo on crude oil exports imposed by the European Union.

Syria has sought to sell its oil to nations outside the EU, which before the ban imported around 95 per cent of the country’s output.

But industry executives and oil traders said the country had been so far unable to attract new
buyers in spite of offering discounts.

The failure has forced foreign oil companies to pump crude originally earmarked for export into storage. “There is a backlog of crude in the country,” said an industry executive.

“Storage is filling up,” the executive added, saying that some companies had been told to reduce output.

Gulfsands Petroleum, the London-listed company which operates in Syria, has cut its production by around 40 per cent at the request of the authorities. The company is now pumping about 14,500 barrels a day, down from about than 24,000 b/d in August.

Industry executives said other international oil companies operating in the country, which include Royal Dutch Shell, Total of France, and state-owned CNPC of China and ONGC of India, have also recently received orders to cut back.

Although international oil companies hope the cuts are temporary, and will end when Syria finds nations willing to take its crude, others see the drop lasting as long as the EU embargo remains.

Brussels imposed the oil ban in response to a crackdown by the regime of Bashar al-Assad on pro-democracy activists that
has seen more than 2,700 people die in the past six months.

Syria produced in August around 370,000 b/d of low quality crude oil, according to the International Energy Agency, the western countries’ oil watchdog.

The country exported around 150,000 b/d, with the rest consumed domestically. Germany and Italy accounted for roughly two-thirds of Syria’s oil exports last year.

Imad Moustapha, Syria’s ambassador to Washington, said in a recent interview with the Financial Times that the country would have no problem finding markets for its oil.

“It’s not that we are approaching people, it’s the other way around. We
are being approached,” he said.

But so far this month not a single cargo of Syrian crude oil has left the nation’s main export oil ports, according to shipping data. Several tenders of low quality, high sulphur Souedie crude, the country’s main export stream, have failed to attract any interest, traders said.

Oil traders said the impact of the EU ban on Syrian oil was wider than previously expected as international banks refused to open letters of credits – a common instrument used in trading – with Syrian entities, even when to destinations outside the EU. Tanker-owners were also reluctant to send their vessels to Syrian ports, they said.

The production losses compound the tight supply and demand balance in the Mediterranean and European region, home of four of the world’s 10 largest oil importing countries: Germany, France, Spain and Italy.

But the shortfall is not nearly as big as that created by the civil war in Libya, which produced before the start of the revolution 1.6m b/d of high quality, low sulphur crude oil.

Shell directed questions about production in Syria to the Damascus-based Al-Furat Petroleum Company, which could not be reached. Al-Furat is a joint venture between Syria’s state-owned General Petroleum Corporation, which controls a 50 per cent stake, Shell Oil and CNPC. Total did not responded to calls and e-mails.

Also from the FT, Syrian to look east for oil markets

Imad Moustapha, Damascus’s envoy in Washington, says the country will be able to offset the impact of western sanctions by looking east.

Mr Moustapha would not elaborate on which companies or countries had contacted his government but Syria’s bravado underlines the difficulty that western nations have in trying to inflict economic pain on President Bashar al-Assad’s regime in a bid to make it stop its violent crackdown on six months of pro-democracy protests.

“It’s not that we are approaching people, it’s the other way around. We are being approached,” Mr Moustapha told the Financial Times. “But no contracts have been signed yet.”

The US has imposed repeated rounds of sanctions on the Syrian regime since the unrest began in March, most recently banning any US investment in Syria’s crucial energy sector and prohibiting US companies from buying Syrian oil.

The sanctions were mainly symbolic as the US has minimal involvement in Syria’s energy sector. But the European Union, which buys more than 90 per cent of Syria’s crude oil exports, followed suit with an oil embargo of its own.

The 27-member bloc, however, said members had until mid-November to stop importing oil, a grace period during which Syria could line up other buyers for its oil, thereby possibly limiting the immediate impact.

Mr Moustapha brushed off the American sanctions, saying the US had been taking such actions since the 1950s. But the European sanctions were a different story.

“Of course they are going to have a negative effect. They create a challenge for us to find a way to develop our economy and we are not denying that it will be a challenge,” he said.

Syria would be forced to shift its economic gaze eastward, Mr Moustapha said, just as Iran increasingly looked to China after chilling sanctions on its energy and financial sectors.

“We will re-orient our economy towards Asia, Africa and South America. We have a whole spectrum of options open to us,” he said.

Syria exports a heavy, sour crude oil called Souedie, chiefly to refiners in Germany, Italy, France and the Netherlands. Although it would be expensive to transport it beyond the Mediterranean Sea, both China and India have the technical capacity to refine this type of oil.

Ayham Kamel, a Middle East analyst at the Eurasia Group in Washington, said he would not be surprised if customers had been knocking on Syria’s door, looking to take advantage of the political situation to get a cheap de

Harvard website hacked by Syria protesters – BBC

Along with a picture of Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, the hacked home page showed a message saying the “Syrian Electronic Army Were Here”.

A further message made terror threats against the United States and criticised its opposition to the Assad regime.

Harvard said this has been the work of a “sophisticated individual or group”.

“The university’s homepage was compromised by an outside party this morning. We took down the site for several hours in order to restore it. The attack appears to have been the work of a sophisticated individual or group,” said a Harvard spokesman.

The website was hacked on Monday morning by what appeared to be sympathisers of President Assad of Syria, with a picture of the president in military uniform appearing in front of a Syrian flag.

This was linked to another image of Syrian national colours, with a message accusing the United States of involvement in the uprisings against President Assad.

Brief Note:

The Sarkozy story from the previous thread has elicited many responses questioning the accuracy of the report and why the story was published without investigating further into the claim. It is indeed the case that SC did not do more than link to the story as it appeared in Al Diyar. Another reader asked the source of the information behind Hotbird’s decision to stop carrying addunia. It was here.

Comments (1,388)

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1301. Ghufran said:

Why would the government kill Hassoun and Dr Omar,neither of whom was associated with any opposition group. Hassoun’s father in particular was attacked almost daily on this
Blog for his pro regime stance.
Abboud kept saying that he is Homs and most here accepted his claim,however,there is no way for you or me to be sure he is in Homs. In my case,I think he has the right to state his opinion regardless where he lives.
Before the ink on the SNC announcement dried,two founding members deviated from Galioun’s statement and gave interviews to foreign press about the virtues of international intervention. It is now clear that the SNC and the inside opposition compliment each other but can not assume sole ownership of the opposing voice in Syria,my vote will certainly go for the opposition inside Syria for obvious reasons.

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October 3rd, 2011, 8:57 am


1302. Areal said:

Peaceful protesters in Syria


Armed Terrorist Group Assassinates

Professor of History at Aleppo University Dr. Mohammad al-Omar on October 2nd

Saria Hassoun, son of Grand Mufti of the Republic Ahmad Badreddin Hassoun, second year student at Ebla University on October 2nd

Chairman of Thoracic Surgery Department at Homs National Hospital Dr. Hassan Eid on September 25th,

Engineer Aws Abdel Karim Khalil, a nuclear engineering specialist and charge d’affaires at al-Baath University on September 28th,

Deputy Dean of the Architecture Faculty Mohammad Ali Aqil on September 26th

Amin al-Masri, Abdul-Wahab al-Masri, Abdul-Muneim Ramadan and Hannoush al-Khudr four citizens (and injuring a child) in al-Qadam neighborhood in the capital Damascus on Saturday

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October 3rd, 2011, 8:58 am


1303. Areal said:

Cheap labour in Homs to be investigated

Terrorist Bilal Abdelhalim Hassoun confessed to being a member of an armed terrorist group that assassinated Dr. Hasan Eid a few days ago in Homs, in addition to opening fire on military personnel, civilians, funerals and schools.

Hassoun said that he committed his crimes for money, starting with participating in protests in exchange for SYP 500 given out by Afara.
Later, Afara gave him a pistol and camouflaged military clothing and instructed him to wear them and walk behind protestors and shoot at them to make people think that security forces are opening fire on protesters, promising him 1,000 pounds for each time he shoots at the protesters.

“After three days from shooting at protesters, Afara came and asked me to shoot at mourners in funerals taking place in Bab al-Siba’a area and I agreed… I then started attending each funeral and opening fire at mourners in exchange for 1,000 pounds for each time,” he said.

Hassoun said that Afara told them that no student must go to school, … After that, they opened fire at the school’s gates to scare children from attending, and on the next day they went to another school and opened fire on its gates.

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October 3rd, 2011, 9:16 am


1304. Mango said:

هل تصلح فزاعة معاداة السامية اطلاقها على العرب ؟
للاطلاع حسب ويكيبيديا:
الساميون، كلمة اصطلحت لتشمل الشعوب الأساسية التي هاجرت ابتداء من سنة 3500 ق.م. من الصحراء العربية إلى ضفاف نهري دجلة والفرات حيث الحضارات المزدهرة. فالأكاديون الذين سكنوا سومر دعيوا بالساميين، كذلك العرب (سكان الجزيرة العربية) بالإضافة إلى الشعوب المعتنقة لليهودية.
الميزة المشتركة لهذه الشعوب لم تكن عرقية بقدر ما كانت خصائص لغوية متشابهة. كانت هذه اللغات غنيّة بالأصوات النابعة من أعماق الحنجرة ومنها الآرامية والأمهرية والعربية والعبرية والأكادية..
In linguistics and ethnology, Semitic (from the Biblical “Shem”, Hebrew: שם‎, translated as “name”, Arabic: ساميّ‎) was first used to refer to a language family of largely Middle Eastern origin, now called the Semitic languages. This family includes the ancient and modern forms of Akkadian, Amharic, Arabic, Aramaic, Ge’ez, Hebrew, Maltese, Phoenician, Tigre and Tigrinya among others.
As language studies are interwoven with cultural studies, the term also came to describe the extended cultures and ethnicities, as well as the history of these varied peoples as associated by close geographic and linguistic distribution.

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October 3rd, 2011, 9:21 am


1305. Areal said:

New millionaire ( garbage man ) in Daraa and movie director in Damascus


Young Men from Daraa: We Videotaped Areas in Damascus to Fabricate Protests

Sep 30, 2011

DAMASCUS, (SANA) – Two students from Daraa province confessed to participating in fabricating footages of protests and videotaping areas in Damascus to fabricate footages of protests inside Damascus.

Shkr al-Bardan told the Syrian TV on Thursday that he filmed protests and sent them to TV channels and filmed the police headquarters in Khaled bin al-Walid St. in Damascus and sent the film to other terrorists who wanted to fabricate footages of protests there.

For his part, Mohammad Meri said he took part in three protests in his village in Daraa, adding that he knew that the people who invited him to participate in the protests received SYP 3 millions from al-Jiza village intended to be given to the protesters.

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October 3rd, 2011, 9:28 am


1306. Areal said:

From Law College in Lebanon to terrorist in Syria : well paid job


Four Terrorists Confess to Killing Pharmacist Qantari in Maaret al-Numan

Sep 25, 2011

DAMASCUS, (SANA)- Four terrorists confessed to killing the pharmacist Samir Qantari, chief member of the Syrian Social Nationalist Party, in Maaret al-Numan city in Idleb Province, north Syria, and taking part in the attack against the Security Detachment in the city, in addition blocking roads.

The 20 year old terrorist Firas Mandeel, who recently left the Law College in Lebanon, said in his confessions broadcast by the Syrian TV on Saturday that he and his acquaintances planed to kidnap the pharmacist Qantari during the period of protests in Maaret al-Numan which they participated in coordinating.

“One day when I was sitting with Youssef al-Saeed and Abdulqader Abu Hajar in Youssef’s barbershop, we came up with the idea to kidnap Qantari since he works with the State…We contacted Yehia al-Sheikh Bakir, who is an arms dealer, to supply us with the needed weapons” Mandeel confessed.

He explained that on the 3rd or the 4th of last August, wearing camouflage clothes with their faces covered, they took off the license plate of a silver Kia Rio car they rented to carry the two guns and a pump-action rifle which Bakir provided them with and headed towards Qantari’s pharmacy.

“Bakir and Abu Hajar went into the pharmacy first and I followed them. There were two other persons beside Qantari whom I forced to get out at gunpoint. Few minutes later, I heard a gunshot. When I went in, I saw Bakir aiming the rifle at Qantari’s face and then he fired at him. Abu Hajar and I also fired shots at him and then we fled away,” said Mandeel.

For his part, the terrorist Youssef Mohammad Deeb al-Saeed, 31 years old, said the when the protest movement started, he and his cousins used to go out to the main road on Damascus-Aleppo highway and block it with tires and stones for one or two hours daily.

The terrorist confessed that some of the protesters were holding weapons which they brought from the eastern and western villages in Pick Up cars.

“At one point, I took part in an attack we launched against the State Security detachment and I was carrying a military pistol. A number of the members were killed. I saw two of them,” said al-Saeed.

He referred to the conversation with Mandeel and Bakir in which they planned to kidnap the pharmacist Qantari.

He related how someone called Maher Sarabi, nicknamed ‘Abu Shahoud’, gave them the Kia Rio car and the camouflage clothes in exchange of SYP 5000.

“I was driving the car…they got into the pharmacy…instead of kidnapping Qantari they killed him,” al-Saeed admitted.

He pointed out that about two weeks before being killed, Qantari had visited him to advise him that all who were involved in riot acts and turn themselves in they will be exempted from punishment.

“Later, I went to him for this purpose…He helped getting my arrested brothers out of jail and helped other arrested people as well. Nevertheless, we planned to kidnap him,” al-Saeed pointed out.

The 30 year old terrorist Yehia al-Sheikh Bakir, who works as a butcher, confessed to providing al-Saeed and his friends with two guns and pump-action rifle which they would need to kidnap the pharmacist Qantari.

“We changed our clothes and headed to the pharmacy…All of us fired at him. I shot him in his face,” said Bakir.

The terrorist Abdulqaser Mohammad Walid Abu Hajar, 24 years old, who works in inlaying stone, confessed to shooting Qantari after Bakir already shot Qantari fired at him in his face.

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October 3rd, 2011, 9:37 am


1307. Syrian Nationalist Party said:

Fictitious account, acted independently… SANA FICTION. Syria still covering up for the perpetrators and backers of this and other murders.

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October 3rd, 2011, 9:45 am


1308. Haytham Khoury said:

شبح حرب أهلية يخيم على حمص.. ومعارضة قوية لحمل السلاح

معارضون يخشون من أن حمل السلاح سيمثل ذريعة للحكومة كي تعمد إلى إجراءات قمعية وحشية
صورة من موقع للمعارضة على الانترنت لاحد الشبيحة في حمص
بيروت: أنتوني شديد*
ترفرف أشباح حرب أهلية على مدينة حمص، ثالث أكبر المدن السورية، حيث يطلق محتجون مسلحون على أنفسهم لقب «ثوار»، وتحدث كل ساعات قليلة معارك بالأسلحة النارية، وتنفذ القوات الأمنية وخصوم عمليات اغتيال، وبلغ سعر البندقية 2000 دولار، وبدأت تغمر المدينة من الخارج، وذلك بحسب ما أشار إليه سكان بالمدينة.

ومنذ بدء الانتفاضة في مارس (آذار) الماضي، ظهرت مدينة حمص كأحد أهم المدن السورية المتنازع عليها، ويأتي شبابها من بين أكثر الشباب تنظيما وعنادا في مواقفهم، ولكن في وسط الطيف السياسي، يتحدث سكان محليون عن تحول حاسم خلال الأسابيع الماضية، حيث تفسح انتفاضة سلمية بدرجة كبيرة الطريق أمام صراع طاحن جعل مدينة حمص عنيفة ومخيفة.

وينبه محللون إلى أن النزاع داخل حمص لا يزال خاصا بهذه المدينة، ويعارض الكثيرون في المعارضة العنف، لأنهم يخشون من أن ذلك سيمثل ذريعة للحكومة كي تعمد إلى إجراءات قمعية وحشية.

ولكن على ضوء عمليات القتل المستهدفة، ونقاط التفتيش الأمنية المنافسة، والمشاعر الطائفية المحتدمة، تقدم المدينة مشهدا كئيبا قد يخبر عن مستقبل الانتفاضة السورية، حيث تستعد الحكومة والمعارضة على السواء لصراع طويل الأمد يختبر استمرارية أربعة عقود من الديكتاتورية.

وقال طالب بكلية الهندسة، يبلغ من العمر 21 عاما، شريطة عدم ذكر اسمه خشية الانتقام: «لقد انتهينا من مرحلة الاحتجاج، وندخل الآن إلى مرحلة أكثر أهمية». وتعد مدينة حمص نموذجا مصغرا لسوريا بالكامل، حيث توجد بها أغلبية من المسلمين السنة وأقليات مسيحية ومن الطائفة العلوية، وهي الطائفة التي يعتمد عليها الرئيس بشار الأسد في الكثير من قياداته.

وقد قوضت ستة أشهر من الاحتجاجات والإجراءات القمعية العلاقات بين هذه المجتمعات، ووفرت الظروف لنزاع حضري، وتقوم معارضة مسلحة بالدخول في معارك مع القوات الأمنية بالمناطق الأكثر اضطرابا. وقد حاول متمردون حماية المتظاهرين السلميين الذين تسعى الحكومة لإلقاء القبض عليهم، وقد باتت التوترات كئيبة لدرجة أن أفراد إحدى الطوائف يترددون في السفر إلى أحياء يعيش فيها أفراد طوائف أخرى، وداخل بعض أجزاء المدينة يمشي الرجال حاملين الأسلحة بشكل صريح.

وربما يظهر أحد أكثر صور الصراع درامية في سلسلة من عمليات الاغتيال، خلال الأسبوع الماضي، خلفت نحو اثني عشر قتيلا، بينهم أساتذة جامعيون وأطباء ومخبرون، في نوبة مفاجئة من أعمال العنف تذكر بأعمال عنف طائفي لا تزال تحدث في العراق. وفي عكس الأيام الأول للانتفاضة، عندما كانت الحكومة تحتكر تقريبا أعمال العنف، بدأ الخوف ينتشر في الاتجاه الآخر، بينما يسعى متمردون لقتل أنصار الحكومة ومخبرين، بحسب ما يذكره أهل المدينة.

ومن بين القتلى الدكتور حسام عيد، رئيس قسم جراحة الصدر في المستشفى الوطني داخل دمشق، المنتمي للطائفة العلوية، وكان يعيش في حي الزهراء، وهو من الأحياء التي تشكل فيها طائفته العلوية أغلبية، وما زالت الشوارع والمباني عليها صور الأسد. قُتل عيد بطلق ناري أمام منزله بينما كان عائدا من عمله، بحسب ما ذكره سكان محليون.

ووصفته صحيفة «العروبة»، وهي صحيفة موالية للحكومة، بأنه «رمز للإخلاص»، وقالت إنه كان يعالج ضحايا أعمال العنف «من دون تمييز بين أي منهم»، ولكن في مناطق المسلمين السنة، يصفه السكان بأنه مخبر حكومي ساعد القوات الأمنية على اعتقال الجرحى الذين كانوا يعالجون في مستشفاه.

وبحلول الليل، ظهرت مسحة شعور بالنصر داخل المدينة، بينما كان بعض السكان يحتفون بموته. وذكر شخص يبلغ من العمر 65 عاما، قال إن اسمه رجب: «كان مسؤولا عن موت الكثير من الشباب، لقد قُتل لأنه يستحق ذلك». وبعد فجر اليوم التالي، علا صوت إطلاق النيران بينما كان الأطفال في طريقهم إلى المدرسة. وقال رجل كبير السن يجمع القمامة وينظف الشوارع في المنطقة: «لقد أطلقوا النار على أبو علي». وذكر سكان بالمدينة أن أبو علي مخبر آخر. وقال ناشط في أواخر الأربعينات، قال إن اسمه أبو غالي: «كنا نحن الشباب منتبهين إليه منذ وقت طويل، ولكن الوضع مختلف تماما، فقد استمر في كتابة تقارير، ولذا اضطروا لقتله، ولا أعتقد أنه مات فورا»، وقال أبو غالي إنه ليس من الصعب الحصول على معلومات عن المخبرين، وأضاف: «يمكنك القيام بأي شيء باستخدام المال.. ما عليك إلا أن تقدم رشوة لضابط شرطة، وأن تكون سخيا معه، ويمكنك الحصول على ما تود».

وقد وقعت حوادث القتل خلال يومين دمويين في حمص، وهي مدينة تقع على طول نهر العاصي، وليست بعيدة عن قلعة الحصن التاريخية، التي تعود لحقبة القرون الوسطى، وقال السكان إنه بعد موت أبو علي قتل ثلاثة مدرسين علويين في مدرسة في حي بابا عمرو (صحف الحكومة لم تؤكد هذه الوفيات). وعثر في فترة بعد الظهر على محمد علي عقيل، وهو عميد مساعد في جامعة البعث في حمص، ميتا في سيارته على الطريق السريع. وقد قال الطلاب إنه أبدى تأييده للانتفاضة وانتقد قيادة الرئيس الأسد في محاضراته.

وقد كتب أحد الطلاب على موقع «فيس بوك»: «صحيح أننا كنا نخاف أثناء محاضراتك، ولكنك كنت أستاذا رائعا، فلترقد في سلام، ونحن لن ننساك أبدا».

وتأخذ حمص وضعا غريبا بالقرب من الحدود اللبنانية، حيث يقول السكان إن الأسلحة تتدفق عبر الحدود السهلة الاختراق من تركيا، فالكثير من السكان يشعرون في آن واحد بالخوف والفخر، مستمدين القوة من معارضتهم للديكتاتورية، بينما الكثير من العلويين مرعوبون، فهم غالبا ما يكونون ضحايا وضعهم في صور نمطية مبتذلة وربطهم في الأحاديث الشعبية بالنظام الحاكم.

ولا يشاهد السكان في القرى العلوية سوى قنوات التلفزيون الحكومية، ولكن القيام بمثل هذا الفعل في الأحياء السنية يصل إلى مرتبة الخيانة، حيث قناتا «الجزيرة» و«العربية» هما القناتان المفضلتان. ويعطي الشك الفرصة لانتشار أغرب الشائعات، ويقال إن جزارة في حمص تدعى أم خالد تطلب من العصابات المسلحة أن تجلب لها جثث العلويين الذين يأسرونهم حتى تقطعهم وتبيع لحموهم إلى زبائنها. وتعمل العلاقات التاريخية الممتدة منذ قرون بين الطوائف على بقاء المدينة متماسكة، حتى مع نذر الحرب الأهلية التي تهدد بقطع هذه العلاقات للأبد، ويشتعل الريف، كما يقول السكان، بدرجة أشد من الكراهية الطائفية، حيث تفصل نقاط تفتيش حكومية بين السنيين والعلويين.

وقال ناشط (46 عاما): «عندما يقتل أحد الجانبين علويا، يقتل الجانب الآخر سنيا». وقد كانت الحصيلة الإجمالية للانتفاضة قاتمة، فقد لقي أكثر من 2700 شخص حتفهم، حسب إحصاء الأمم المتحدة، ولا تزال الانتفاضة تستمد الكثير من قوتها من الريف، بينما لا تزال المدينتان الكبيرتان، حلب ودمشق، هادئتين نسبيا. وعلى الرغم من ضعف موجة الاحتجاجات في الآونة الأخيرة، فإن حمص لا تزال على تحديها. وفي كثير من الأحيان يحمي رجال مسلحون نطاق الاحتجاجات في أماكن مثل باب السباع والخالدية وبابا عمرو، حيث تم إغلاق بعض المحلات، وحيث تشوه النوافذ المكسورة وثقوب الرصاص شكل المباني. وقد قام بعضهم بتنفيذ عمليات الاغتيال ضد بعض الواشين، أو «العوانية» كما يسمونهم، بينما قام البعض الآخر بمراقبة نقاط التفتيش الحكومية وعمل نقاط تفتيش مؤقتة خاصة به.

وقال سائق في أواخر الخمسين من العمر ويعيش في حي الخالدية: «إن لديهم قذائف صاروخية وبنادق كلاشينكوف، وينبغي أن يكونوا مسلحين ليتمكنوا من حمايتنا».

وقد أبقى إطلاق النار امرأة قالت إن اسمها هو سليمة، تقطن في شارع الجورة في بابا عمرو، وتكسب عيشها من بيع الكبة، وهو طبق من اللحم المفروم مع البرغل، في منزلها لمدة ثلاثة أيام، بينما كانت خطوط الهاتف مقطوعة، وقالت: «لا نعرف متى سيبدأ إطلاق النار مرة أخرى»، وقد كانت غاضبة ومنهكة، وأعلنت عن حيادها في صراع يزيد من صعوبة مفهوم الحياد.

وقالت بينما هي جالسة في منزلها الذي تسكن فيه مع ابنتها: «الجيران يتهمونني بأنني موالية للنظام، فلا أملك سوى الضحك، إذ ما الذي أعطاه لي هذا النظام؟ فهو لم يعطني شيئا على الإطلاق، والثوريون كذلك لم يعطوني شيئا. وأنا آكل من عمل يدي، وإذا لم أعمل فسأجوع.. وأنا على الأقل كنت أعمل في السابق، أما الآن فأنا أجلس في المنزل، ونادرا ما أغادره، وأكسب رزقي بالكاد».

* خدمة «نيويورك تايمز» (أرسل هذا التقرير مراسل «نيويورك تايمز» في حمص.. وكتبه أنتوني شديد من بيروت)

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October 3rd, 2011, 9:49 am


1309. Revlon said:

تفريغ الجيش (1 من 2)
مجاهد مأمون ديرانية

لو أردتم ترتيب الأجهزة التي يستعملها النظام ضد الشعب من حيث إجرامها وأذاها فكيف ترتّبونها؟ غالباً سوف تختلف الإجابات ويختلف الترتيب بين جواب وجواب، أما أنا فأرتبها على النحو التالي (من الأشد ضرراً إلى الأقل):

(1) المخبرون (العواينية). وضعتهم على الرأس لأنهم أصل بلاء الثورة، وسوف أتحدث عنهم وعن شرهم في مقالة قادمة مستقلة بإذن الله، ولي رأي شبه متطرف في الطريقة المناسبة للتعامل معهم (قد لا يرضى عنه المغرقون في السلمية الذين يعتبرونها موقفاً يمليه المبدأ لا موقفاً تمليه المصلحة كما بينت في مقالة تعريف السلمية).

(2) الشبيحة، فهؤلاء مجرمون وقَتَلة غير نظاميين، لا يتحركون فقط لحماية النظام كما تفعل أجهزة الأمن النظامية، بل أيضاً للمكاسب والأهواء الشخصية كالسرقة والانتقام. أيضاً سأتحدث عنهم في مقالة قادمة، وأيضاً لن يرضى عن رأيي فيهم دعاة السلمية المطلقة.

(3) أجهزة الأمن والمخابرات، وخبرهم معروف.

(4) القوات العسكرية المصمَّمة لحماية النظام، وهي تضم: فرقة الحرس الجمهوري، والفرقة الرابعة (وريثة سرايا الدفاع سابقاً ثم الوحدة 569 لاحقاً)، والقوات الخاصة التي تتكون من نخبة مدربة على الولاء المطلق للنظام، وهي موزعة على نحو عشرة أفواج مستقلة تتبع لقيادات الفيالق مباشرة وليس لقيادات الفرق.

(5) الجيش النظامي.

لا تستغربوا من هذا الترتيب. هل يُجبَر أحدٌ على الانضمام إلى عصابات الشبيحة وممارسة التشبيح، أو على الانتساب إلى أجهزة المخابرات والمشاركة في قمع الأبرياء؟ لا، إنما يصنعون ذلك مختارين ويمارسون القمع والإجرام بتصميم واستمتاع. بالمقابل يتكون الجيش النظامي -في معظمه- من مجنَّدين يقضون خدمتهم الإلزامية، وهم ليسوا سوى أبنائنا وإخواننا الذين لم ينضموا إلى الجيش مختارين بل مجبورين. حتى المتطوعون الذين انتسبوا إلى الجيش أو درسوا في الكلية الحربية وتخرّجوا فيها ضباطاً لا يلزم بالضرورة أن يكونوا أصحاب ولاء مطلق للعصابة الحاكمة، بل ربما تطوعوا في الجيش مدفوعين بوهم الدفاع عن الوطن… ربما باستثناء كبار الضباط الذين يصعب أن يصلوا إلى مناصب عالية إلا إذا كانوا أصحاب ولاء مطلق للنظام أو للحزب الحاكم.

لم أقدم الترتيب السابق من باب الثقافة وزيادة المعلومات، بل ليساعدنا في تصميم خطة مناسبة للعمل. عندما نفكر مثلاً في خيارات الثورة سنجد أن من بينها طلب التدخل الخارجي بصورة من الصور التي ناقشناها في المقالات السابقة وتشمل عمليات جوية واسعة أو حظراً جوياً يسبقه ضربٌ للدفاعات الأرضية ومحطات الرادار ومراكز التحكم، إلخ. عندما نفكر في تلك الخيارات سنجد أن ضحاياها هي أعداء الثورة الخمسة التي ذكرتها سابقاً، ولكن بترتيب معكوس:

(1) سوف يتلقى الجيشُ النصيبَ الأكبر من الضربات فتتحطم آلته العسكرية ويسقط عدد هائل من جنوده ضحايا للقصف.

(2) الفرقة الرابعة وفرقة الحرس الجمهوري ستتلقى ضربات مركزة على الأغلب ولكنها ستُحاط بأشد الدفاعات الممكنة بحيث تكون خسائرها أقل من خسائر الجيش النظامي.

(3) سوف تتلقى مراكز الأمن والمخابرات (العامة والسياسية والعسكرية والجوية) بعض الضربات ولكنّ مَن سيُصاب من مجرميها سيكون عدداً قليلاً جداً لأنهم سيهربون منها قبل وقت طويل من ضربها.

(4) الشبيحة لن يصابوا بأذى يُذكر لأنهم سوف يتجنبون التجمع في مراكز ثابتة ويمكن أن يختلطوا بالمدنيين، فيصبح استهدافهم أقربَ إلى المستحيل.

(5) المُخبرون والجواسيس لن يصلهم شيء لأنهم يعيشون أصلاً وسط جماعة السكان المدنيين.

العرض السابق سبب إضافي يمكننا تقديمه لإقناع الناس بالتخلي عن فكرة طلب التدخل العسكري الخارجي والضربات الجوية، ولكنه ليس هو الغرض من هذه المقالة. الفكرة التي أردت توضيحها هنا هي أن الجيش ليس عدواً بذاته، ليس عدواً أصلياً للشعب والثورة، بل هو أقرب إلى العبيد الذين كان الرومان يجنّدونهم من بلدان معينة ليحاربوا بهم بلداناً أخرى (وقد صنع الفرنسيون شيئاً قريباً من ذلك في بلادنا عندما جندوا الجزائريين -العرب المسلمين- لحربنا أثناء الثورة السورية الكبرى، وكانوا بين مُكرَه ومخدوع).

بما أن الجيش ليس عدواً لنا بالأصل، بل هو منّا وإلينا، فماذا تقترحون أن نصنع به؟ ندمره بأيدي غيرنا؟ فكرة غير حكيمة. نحاربه بأيدينا؟ لا تبدو هذه فكرة جيدة أيضاً. إذن ماذا؟ ببساطة: نسترجعه.

لقد أطلقَت صفحات الثورة قبل شهرين حملة موفَّقة عنوانها “لن نخدم في جيش يقتلنا”، ولكنها كانت حملة مؤقتة للأسف ولم تستمر، مع أن الحاجة إليها مُلِحّة، كما أنها اقتصرت على دعوة المطلوبين للتجنيد إلى عدم الاستجابة لطلب التجنيد. تعالوا نتعاون في ابتكار وسائل أخرى تساعدنا على استرجاع جيشنا، وبالطبع فلن نتوقع أن نسترجعه كله قبل سقوط النظام، بل ولا أكثره، لكن تذكروا أن أي جزء ننجح في استرجاعه منه هو مكسب عظيم للثورة، لأنه سيقلل أعداءها ويزيد أصدقاءها. سأقدم هنا ما يساعدني خيالي المحدود على تصوره من وسائل، ولا بد أن يُبدع قادةُ الثورة وجنودها في الشام أكثرَ منها وأفضل، فاعتبروها بداية وزيدوا عليها، وسوف أقسمها إلى مجموعتين: ما ينبغي توجيهه إلى أهالي المجندين، وما ينبغي توجيهه إلى المجندين أنفسهم. المجموعة الأولى سأعالجها في هذه المقالة، أما الثانية فسوف أناقشها في المقالة الآتية بإذن الله.

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أولاً: الخطاب المطلوب توجيهه لأهالي المجنّدين
علينا أن نوصل المعاني التالية إلى أهالي المجندين وأن ننشرها على أوسع نطاق ممكن، نشراً شفهياً وتحريرياً، بالتواصل الفردي مع الأهل والأصحاب وبالنشر الكتابي في المواقع والمنتديات:

يا أهالي المجنّدين: أنتم تعلمون أن النظام أرسل أبناءكم إلى مدن بعيدة وأرسل أبناء تلك المدن إليكم، فإذا استجاب أبناؤكم للأوامر واستجاب لها أبناؤهم قتلكم أبناؤهم وقتلهم أبناؤكم. اكسروا تلك الحلقة الشريرة؛ اتصلوا بأبنائكم الذين يخدمون في الجيش، مجنَّدين كانوا أو متطوعين، أفراداً أو ضباط صف أو ضباطاً، وأبلغوهم الرسائل التالية:

(1) يا ابني (أو يا أخي): زملاؤك الجنود يحاصرون بلدتنا ويقتحمون بيوتنا لأن قادتهم أخبروهم أن فيها جماعات مسلحة تهاجم المدنيين والعسكريين. لقد أخبروكم بالأمر نفسه فيما يخص المدن والقرى التي تحاصرونها وتقتحمونها. يجب أن تعلم أن قادتكم كاذبون، فليس فينا مسلّحون، وأنت تعلم ذلك. لقد كذبوا على زملائك ليبرروا لهم الهجوم علينا كما كذبوا عليكم ليبرروا لكم الهجوم على غيرنا من أهل سوريا المدنيين الأبرياء.

(2) يا ابني (أو يا أخي): جنود الجيش يهاجموننا ويقتلوننا هنا فيما تهاجمون وتقتلون أهلهم حيث أنتم. توقفوا، تمردوا، حاولوا الهرب، وإذا فشلتم في كل شيء ولم يبقَ إلا خيار القتل فليكن الواحد منكم المقتولَ لا يكن القاتل. هذه الرسالة سيوصلها الأهالي الذين تحاصرونهم الآن وتهاجمونهم إلى أولادهم المجنّدين الذين يهاجموننا ويحاصروننا، فإذا حاصرتموهم أو اعتقلتموهم أو قتلتموهم فسوف يعجزون عن توصيل الرسالة، وبالنتيجة هم ونحن سنشترك في نفس المصير وسنكون ضحايا القمع الظالم.

(3) يا ابني (أو يا أخي): إن الجنود الذين يحاصرون بلدتنا ويقتحمونها ليسوا سيئين ولا يقتلون الأبرياء ولا يسرقون الممتلكات، ولكنهم يوفّرون الحماية والدعم لأجهزة الأمن التي تقوم بذلك وتقوم بما هو أسوأ من ذلك، ولا شك أنكم تعملون الشيء نفسه حيث أنتم، ولذلك فلا شك أنكم تعرفون الكثير عن جرائم عصابات الأمن. إن الجنود الذين يشاركون في الحملة علينا شركاء في الجريمة لأنهم يساعدون المجرمين على تنفيذ جريمتهم، وأنتم أيضاً شركاء في الجريمة إذا شاركتم المجرمين الذين يهاجمون المدنيين الأبرياء.

(4) لذلك فإننا نرجوكم أن تتخلوا عن مساعدة العصابات المجرمة وأن تتمردوا أو تفروا من القطعات العسكرية، ونرجوكم أن ترجوا أهالي المدن التي تقتحمونها أن يرجوا أبناءهم المجندين الذين يخدمون في المناطق الأخرى أن يفعلوا كما تفعلون، فإذا استجبتم أنتم لرجائنا واستجاب الجنود الذين يحاصرون بلدتنا لرجاء أهاليهم فسوف يرتفع ضغط كبير عن الشعب المسكين ويزداد الضغط على عصابات الأمن والشبيحة من المجرمين.

ثانياً: العمل المطلوب من أهالي المجندين
(1) امنعوا أولادكم من الالتحاق بمراكز التجنيد. عليكم -ببساطة- أن تتجاهلوا كل نداءات وطلبات التجنيد، ولا تخشوا العواقب لأن أجهزة النظام مشغولة في هذه الأيام بحيث لن تجد الوقت الكافي للبحث عن أبنائكم وجرّهم إلى الجيش. علمت أن الدفعة الجديدة سوف تُستدعى إلى الخدمة في أول تشرين، أي بعد عشرة أيام، فإياكم أن تستجيبوا لأي نداء استدعاء يا أيها الأحرار. إن متوسط عدد المجندين في الدفعة الواحدة هو 128 ألف عنصر تقريباً، وهذا هو العدد الذي سيكسبه النظام ويستعين به على قمع أهل سوريا الأحرار لو أنكم سمحتم لأولادكم بالالتحاق بالخدمة العسكرية الآن. أكرر: إياكم أن تستجيبوا لنداء التجنيد يا أيها الشرفاء الأحرار.

(2) القاعدة نفسها تنطبق على إعلان التعبئة الذي أطلقه الرئيس المخلوع مؤخراً (ولم يحدد موعد تنفيذه بعد). امتنعوا عن تلبية النداء، لا تلتحقوا بقطعاتكم العسكرية. رجائي هذا موجَّه إلى كل عناصر الاحتياط من ضباط وجنود، وإلى إخوانهم وأخواتهم وأمهاتهم وآبائهم وزوجاتهم وأولادهم… أيُّما واحد من هؤلاء له عنصر من عناصر الاحتياط (ابن أو أخ أو زوج أو أب) عليه أن يضغط عليه وأن يمنعه من الاستجابة للتعبئة. فكروا: هل يخوض الجيش الآن حرباً ضد أعداء الوطن أم أن الاحتياط سيوجَّه لضرب أبناء الوطن؟ التخلف والعقوبة على التخلف (لو وقعت) أهون من تحويلكم إلى قَتَلة لحساب زعيم العصابة. لا تستهينوا بهذا الرجاء بل ادعموه وانشروه، فإن استجابة عناصر الاحتياط لطلب التعبئة العامة سوف يضع في يد النظام 343 ألف عنصر جديد سيستعملهم في قمع الثورة!

(3) اسحبوا أولادكم من الجيش. إذا زاركم ابنكم المجند في إجازة فامنعوه من العودة، وإذا تواصلتم معه بأي طريقة وهو في قطعته فأقنعوه بالهروب. لا تخافوا، فإن فرص القبض على الهاربين تتضاءل مع ازدياد أعدادهم. إن الأمن العسكري لا يستطيع تعقب عشرات الآلاف من الهاربين من الخدمة، وهو يواجه أصلاً مشكلة مع أكثر من اثنَي عشر ألف هارب إلى اليوم، حيث تحمل عناصر الأمن العسكري بطاقات بحث عنهم وتتعقبهم منذ شهور ولم تنجح في الوصول إلاّ إلى أقل القليل منهم. هذا أولاً، وثانياً وهو الأهم: إن عقوبة الهرب من الخدمة هي الحبس وتمديد فترة الخدمة، وربما بعض الإهانات والبهدلة، وهذا كله لا يقارَن بمصير الجندي الذي يرفض تنفيذ الأوامر. إن العصيان في ساحة الحرب يمنح الضابط المسؤول الحق في محاكمة ميدانية وإعدام فوري، وهذا هو ما يحصل باستمرار حيث استُشهد حتى الآن مئات من المجندين الشرفاء لأنهم رفضوا تنفيذ أوامر قادتهم بإطلاق النار على المدنيين. أكرر: اسحبوا أولادكم من الجيش قبل أن يتحولوا إلى قَتَلة أو إلى مقتولين

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October 3rd, 2011, 10:16 am


1310. zoo said:

Hassan Hassoun’s funerals and the moving sermon of his father The Grand Mufti ponctuated by the usual subtle personal interpretations of AFP Bassam Mroue from Amman.

“Also Monday, funeral processions were held for the 21-year-old son of Syria’s top Sunni Muslim cleric who was killed a day earlier in an ambush in a restive northern area.

The cleric, Grand Mufti Ahmad Badreddine Hassoun, who is considered a close supporter of Assad’s regime, told hundreds of people attending the funeral at a mosque in the northern city of Aleppo that the country’s opposition should stop working against Syria from abroad.

“Come and say whatever you want here and if anyone rejects I will be with you in the opposition,” said Hassoun, his voice shaking, in an apparent reference to steps taken by Assad to allow the formation of political parties and promises of free elections. “You want freedom, you want justice then come here and build it with us in Syria.”

Hassoun, who has echoed Syria’s regime claims that the unrest in the country is the result of a foreign conspiracy, blamed fatwas or religious edicts by clerics living abroad for the death of his son. He did not name the clerics or say where they were based.

“My brothers who were misguided and carried arms, you should have assassinated me because some clerics issued such fatwas. Why did you kill a young man who did nothing and harmed no one,” Hassoun, holding back his tears, said in a sermon aired on Syrian TV stations.”

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October 3rd, 2011, 10:18 am


1311. zoo said:

Funerals of Sarya Hassoun and the sermon of the Grand Mufti

“Also Monday, funeral processions were held for the 21-year-old son of Syria’s top Sunni Muslim cleric who was killed a day earlier in an ambush in a restive northern area.

The cleric, Grand Mufti Ahmad Badreddine Hassoun, who is considered a close supporter of Assad’s regime, told hundreds of people attending the funeral at a mosque in the northern city of Aleppo that the country’s opposition should stop working against Syria from abroad.

“Come and say whatever you want here and if anyone rejects I will be with you in the opposition,” said Hassoun, his voice shaking, in an apparent reference to steps taken by Assad to allow the formation of political parties and promises of free elections. “You want freedom, you want justice then come here and build it with us in Syria.”

Hassoun, who has echoed Syria’s regime claims that the unrest in the country is the result of a foreign conspiracy, blamed fatwas or religious edicts by clerics living abroad for the death of his son. He did not name the clerics or say where they were based.

“My brothers who were misguided and carried arms, you should have assassinated me because some clerics issued such fatwas. Why did you kill a young man who did nothing and harmed no one,” Hassoun, holding back his tears, said in a sermon aired on Syrian TV stations.

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October 3rd, 2011, 10:26 am


1312. Revlon said:

ماهو اول شي تقوم به لما تسمع بسقوط بشار

في 3 تشرين الاول, 2011 – 04:27 الصبح

الحكم الفاسد في سوريا سقط ويتنفس اخر انفاسه وهذا كله يعود للشهداء و التضحيات التي قدمها اطفال و شباب سوريا و ليس بفعلي او مجهودك انت بل هم من تجرؤ و خرجو في وجه الوحش القاسي (على شعبه فقط و في الحروب ارنبا ) و كلنا سنكون و نحس كمتطفلين ننعم بما ضحى به غيرنا من روح و الم جسدي و روحي لا اجلي و اجلك و لحرية بلدنا

فلن يكون بشار واخوه ورامي و اعمامه و اخواله و باقي عصابة المافية التي خنقت و باعت سوريا روحا و شعبا و تصور تنزل الى مطار دمشق و يتقبلك شرطي الحدود باادب و نظرة حب بدل التكبر و الازدراء و تصور ان تخرج في طريقك فتجد صور لشباب و شابات يرشحون لا انتخابات بدل صور ال الجحش التي اصبحت تلوث سوريا في كل مكان و حتى المراحيض

تصور ان تسمع بان الوزير و ظابط الشرطة قد عزلا من منصبيهم لمخالفة القانون و تصور ان تسمع تلفزيون الدنيا يرد على رئيس الحكومة و يقول له انتم كذبتم على الشعب و على الهواء مباشر تصور معي تصور ان تسمع ان هناك شركات عالمية تشارك في بناء سورية و لا تخاف من سلطة ال االجحش في الاستثمار في سوريا و تصور ان الشعب و الجواز السوري يحق له الدخول و بكرامة الى دول العالم الاخرى و تصور انك تذهب للجامع بلحية طويلة وتعود من سفرك ببنطال قصير بدون خوف ان يوقفك عنصر لا يستطيع الا البصم بحافره ويحاورك بلماذا و اين و ماذا فعلت

تصور ابنك لا يعيش زمن الرعب و الاحتجاز الذي عاشه كل هذا الشعب
تصور شوارع سوريا مبلطة و تدب فيها روح العمل و الحرية بدل المخابرات والشبيحة الاسدية
تصور بشار و ماهر و رامي و مملوك و مخلوف و طلاس و كل الحرامية اما في السجن او هاربين
تصور انك حر و تقول ما تريد بدون ان تخاف من بيت خالتك

نحلم باالجائزة اللتي بذل اطفال و شباب سوريا كل شئ من اجلها و اقول لكم الا تكونو انانيين حتى في تصوركم فهذه الانانيه هي من اوصلتنا و شعوبنا الى هذا المستوى و البرهان هو تعلق هذه العصابة باالحكم لاانانيتها

طبيب سوري في اوربا قرفان الذل في وطنه

ابو كاسر

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October 3rd, 2011, 10:30 am


1313. Revlon said:

French First Lady calls for Syrian psychoanalyst’s release

Sunday, 02 October 2011


French first lady Carla Bruni-Sarkozy called Sunday for the speedy release of Syria’s first practicing female psychoanalyst Rafah Nashed, arrested on her way to Paris last month.

In a letter to Nashed’s husband, Faisal Mohammed Abdullah, she expressed concern for the 66-year-old cancer patient’s health and the fact that her family was only allowed to pay her two half-hour visits per week.

The first lady stressed that Nashed appeared exhausted at the last meeting with her family, adding: “Everyone who knows her is concerned about her state of health.”

In the letter, published on a French website, she described Nashed as an “independent and accomplished woman, known the world over whose life and work honor Syria, Syrian and Arab women and indeed all women.”

Bruni-Sarkozy added: “I dare to hope that those who are in a position to do so, render Rafah Nashed to her family without waiting further.”

Nashed founded the Damascus School of Psychoanalysis and until recently hosted meetings where Syrians could talk about their fears in the face of a deadly crackdown by the security forces on six months of protests against the government of President Bashar al-Assad.

France has accused the Syrian regime of committing crimes against humanity and slammed the UN Security Council for failing to take a stronger stand on the unrest.

Syrian authorities detained Nashed, who suffers from cancer, heart trouble and high blood pressure, as she was preparing to board a flight to Paris from Damascus on September 10, her husband has said.

President Nicolas Sarkozy’s wife said she was “appalled” by the arrest.

“It seems to me inconceivable that this clinician, who dedicates herself to therapeutics and study, can be a threat to public order, to state security,” she said, expressing admiration for Nashed’s courage.

Nashed, a French-speaking Syrian psychoanalyst, obtained her degree in clinical psychology from the University of Paris-Diderot, and was the first female psychoanalyst to practice in Syria.

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October 3rd, 2011, 10:35 am


1314. jad said:

Invitations for NATO and Israel to bomb Syrian military targets
Look at this (before they remove it):
scroll down and look at the map posted on this Syrian opposition group’s website (a reader sent it to me from Burhan Ghalyun’s page).  They have specific locations of military targets to be bombed presumably by NATO and Israel.  These lousy opposition groups are a gift for the propaganda of the Syrian regime and they are stigmatizing the real inside opposition.  (thanks Karim)
Posted by As’ad AbuKhalil at 6:07 AM 

Yet another Syrian exile opposition council

So yesterday, it was announced in Istanbul that yet another exile opposition group was formed.  It has no head: there were conflicts among the various constituent groups.  But I will tell you this lesson from Arab contemporary history: there has never been a case in which leftists or secularists were aligned with fundamentalists (Sunni or Shi`ite, lest you make a distinction) and in which the fundamentalists were not the dominant party.  Not one case.  Usually, when leftist or secularists were strong (like the Lebanese National Movement in the early phase of the Lebanese civil war) they don’t align themselves with fundamentalists.  The lousy Muslim Brotherhood are the dominant party in this new front yesterday (picture above is from the first meeting (AFP) from As-Safir).  But the lousy Riyad Ash-Shaqfah, the “general inspector” of the Syriam Ikhwan was in charge of questions and answers and he was the one who was invited to Aljazeera for an interview.  The suspicions I had about those Ikhwan and their front liberals were only confirmed.  This bunch is playing a cute game: they, on the one hand state that they are opposed to foreign intervention, and yet in the same breath they say that they call for international protection of civilians.  Do those folks think that we are stupid?  Did NATO not bomb the hell out of Libya under the pretext of “protecting civilians”?  Even civilians supporting the NATO rebels were not immune from NATO bombs.  I don’t know which way it will play out in Syria: but the lousy regime has been blessed with such lousy opposition.  No wonder the Syrian opposition in the inside has been quite critical of the exile opposition.  The meeting in Istanbul yesterday only needed Ahmad Chalabi.

Posted by As’ad AbuKhalil at 5:52 AM 

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October 3rd, 2011, 10:38 am


1315. Areal said:

1303. Haytham Khoury said:

Among the dead were Dr. Hossam Eid, head of thoracic surgery at the National Hospital in Damascus, who belongs to the Alawite sect, and was living in the neighborhood of al-Zahra, one of the neighborhoods that make up the majority of his community ….


Sectarian assassination in Homs

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October 3rd, 2011, 10:40 am


1316. Syrian Nationalist Party said:

اي مين انت جاي تتفلسف علينا عم نتصور هل الشيء من خمسين سنة. اللي ماعم نقدر نتصورو شلون طريقتك الفاشلة بتحطنا على طريق جديد ما مهتر ومعترس اكتر.

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October 3rd, 2011, 10:43 am


1317. uzair8 said:

Syrian economy weakens under strain of insurrection and sanctions

Assad’s government, desperate for cash, imposes special tax on state workers and ban on importing cars

Wednesday 28 September

Six months of insurrection and crackdown have taken a severe toll on the Syrian economy, with the currency weakening, recession deepening and the government so short of cash that it has been forced to levy a special tax on state workers.

The vital tourism industry has all but ground to a halt, depriving the country of more than £5bn in annual revenues. Cash reserves are so short that the government has suspended the import of cars to “conserve the country’s foreign reserves and to reallocate it to the lower income groups”, according to the Sana state news agency.

“In February both of my hotels were booked up months in advance – and all were cancelled. Today I do not have a single booking for now or any time in the future,” said the manager of a chain of boutique hotels in Damascus’s old city.

Workers at the Central Bank of Syria in Damascus said the government had asked public sector employees to “contribute” about £6.50 of their monthly salary to a fund for the government. Employees in the state sector earn on average about £160 per month.

[Read more:]

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October 3rd, 2011, 10:43 am



Are the protestors crazy? Rising up against this vicious regime! And that for 7 months!!!

Are they out of their minds?

What is the world coming to?

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October 3rd, 2011, 10:46 am


1319. zoo said:

#1268. Shami

I have no doubts the arabs can recreate the golden age of the Islamic civilization. The colonization after the fall of the ottoman empire have fragmented not only the countries but also the mind of the Arabs. With the discovery of oil, generosity among Arabs has transformed into selfishness.
When you think about the money now in Gulf countries and the misery in Egypt, Soudan and other Arab countries, you wonder what happen to the cohesion of the Islamic world.
If revolution is seriously needed, it is in rich Gulf countries who live in luxury and indifference. Instead of creating institutions to let the Islamic golden age reborn, in Arts, Sciences, Literature, they just build commercial malls, ridiculous tower and consume products while using cheap Asian labors, not even Arabs.
Young Arabs have incredible intellectual potential, but the money is in the hands of narrow-minded leaders, who only care about maintaining their rich and vain style of life.

If you wish for a Islamic Golden age, then you should encourage a complete cultural revolution in the rich Arab countries, not the poor ones!

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October 3rd, 2011, 10:47 am


1320. uzair8 said:

Geagea: Syria’s allies in Lebanon are nervous

October 03, 2011
The Daily Star

BEIRUT: Syria’s allies in Lebanon are nervously watching developments in their neighboring country that might lead to the fall of President Bashar Assad’s government, Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea said.

“Allies of the Syrian regime in Lebanon are in a state of nervousness to the point where they are now asking for dialogue,” Geagea said during a call with the annual conference of the LF party in North America, according to a statement released Monday.

Geagea said that Damascus’ allies in the country feel that the popular uprising in Syria, which has been met with a violent crackdown by the Syrian authority, will bring down Assad’s government.

“Syria’s allies feel that the regime is going to fall so they are trying to take all possible measures to protect themselves in case this happens. Consequently, everyone in Lebanon today is monitoring the events.”

Since the beginning of the uprising Syria’s main ally in the country, Hezbollah, has supported Assad’s views on the protests there, describing demonstrators as part of a larger conspiracy aimed at targeting the country. The party’s leader, Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah, has accused the West of plotting to divide Syria in an attempt to create a new Middle East.

Other lawmakers, such as Free Patriotic Movement leader Michel Aoun, have repeatedly expressed confidence that Assad’s government is resilient and will overcome what he described as a “crisis.”

A staunch critic of Syria’s influence in Lebanon, Geagea also said that neither the March 8 nor the March 14 coalitions would take any steps in the country except for the daily work of the government.

[Read more:] (the remainder of the article is on local issues)

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October 3rd, 2011, 10:56 am


1321. zoo said:

# 1309 Jad

The ‘unity’ of the opposition is totally flawed. It is only a facade to please the USA and the Turks who has been pressing these groups to give an apparence of cohesion.
They hope to get funds, but the difference between Ghalioun and the MB is so deep that this ‘unity’ will last just the time when they will fill up their pocket.
Hilary Clinton, in total confusion, is now flirting with the MB in Egypt and in Syria, under the watchful eyes of Erdogan who naively believe that the Arab MB are nice sheeps and he is promoting their ‘moderate’ agenda when we all know they are wolves in disguise.
The wakeup will be hard when they will presents the new government program based on the Sharia Law that, we all know, Ghalioun likes very much.

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October 3rd, 2011, 11:00 am


1322. Areal said:

1307. Revlon said:

French First Lady calls for Syrian psychoanalyst’s release

Sunday, 02 October 2011


French first lady Carla Bruni-Sarkozy called Sunday for the speedy release of Syria’s first practicing female psychoanalyst Rafah Nashed, arrested on her way to Paris last month.


A free press journalist made a report “pretending” that she declared in some public gatherings :

“The paradox is, everyone is scared in Syria,” says Rafa Nashed, a psychoanalyst and one of the organisers of the gatherings at a Jesuit home in the centre of Damascus.

“Why does the regime use violence and repression? Because it is scared of losing power. And the people who protest, do you think they are not scared? They are very scared, but they are still going.”

which her husband refutes

Something tells me that she has been framed by the journalist and that the opposition is blatantly using the case for propaganda with no respect for her fate.

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October 3rd, 2011, 11:00 am


1323. majedkhaldoun said:

I hope you come back
Voice of truth should never turn silent

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October 3rd, 2011, 11:11 am


1324. jad said:

Emotional speech by Mr. Hassoun in his son’s funeral

خطبة سماحة المفتي في تشييع ابنه الشهيد سارية حسون

كلمة سماحة المفتي في رثاء نجله الشهيد سارية :

أسال الله أن يرحم كل شهيد في وطننا، واسأل الله أن يرد كيد من أراد سفك دماء أبنائنا، وليجعل كيدهم في نحورهم. وأسألك ربي أن تتقبل ولدي سارية عندك من الشباب الذين نشأوا في عبادة ربهم، فما رأيته إلا قواماً لليل وصواماً للنهار، محباً لأهله محباً للناس. فجزاكم الله خيراً وكما ذاق كل أم وأب من آباء وأمهات شهداء وطننا، أراد الله أن يكرمنا بولدنا سارية، وأشهد ا…لله لكم أني كنت أصبح وأمسي وأقول اللهم اجعلني فداء لهذا الوطن وهذا الدين.
واضاف حسون: وقد كانوا يقصدونني أنا، ولو استشهدت أنا كان أسهل علي، ولكن أضعه عند الله، وأحتسبه عند الله وأهبه لله، فبعدك يا سيدي يا أبا عبد الله الحسين عليك السلام، من شاء أن يبكي فليبكي، وبعد أن وزعت أحبابك يا سيدي يا رسول الله، من شاء بعدك أن يبكي فليبكي، أنت الذي قلت لنا “من أصيب منكم بمصيبة بعدي فليذكر مصابه بي فإن مصابه بي أعظم من كل مصاب”.
واضاف المفتي أنه سيتم نقل جثمان الشهيد سارية من غرفته التي كان يسهر بها مع أعمامه ومع أهله إلى المسجد ليصلى عليه ويدفن بجوار جده الذي أحبه وأسماه سارية.
واختتم بالدعاء: “أسأل الله له الشهادة، وأسأل الله أن يجزيكم خيراً والا يفجعكم بأولادكم، أما أنا فأقول: اللهم إن العين لتدمع وإن القلب ليحزن، وإني على فراقك لمحزون يا ولدي، ولكني لا أقول إلا ما يرضي الله، إنا لله وإنا إليه راجعون، له ما أخذ، وله ما أعطى”.
واضاف حسون: “أقول لمحمد أديب وعناية الله وعبد الرحمن وملهم أهنئكم بأخيكم فقد تقدمكم إلى الله عز وجل، وكلنا ذاهبون في هذا الطريق، ولا أفجعكم الله بعزيز”.
وأوصى حسون أن يكون التشييع بهدوء كامل وبدون أي هتاف، وختم حديثه هذا بتلاوة سورة الفاتحة للشهيد سارية ولكل شهداء الوطن.

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October 3rd, 2011, 11:15 am


1325. uzair8 said:

First Published: 2011-10-03

How Syria Works

[Select quotes]

“The Syrian army is the army of the Syrian security services,” said Muhammad, a senior Sunni Muslim army officer.


Fear is the cement of the security edifice, and it is this that the current revolt has swept away.

I asked Muhammad how many men there were in the army and the security services. He told me there were more than 700,000 — 400,000 in the regular army, 100,000 in the police and intelligence, and tens of thousands employed part-time by the security services. These form the battalions of the shabbiha and the irregular forces. The shabbiha are made up of people from the countryside, and probably criminals freed at the start of the revolt.

When a commander is Sunni, his second in command is Alawite, and vice versa. The same principle governs the allocation of ministerial posts in the government: Every non-Alawite minister is overseen by an Alawite deputy who makes all the political decisions… Decisions in the army and security services are always made by Alawites — Sunnis have no influence.


“Sectarianism is widespread, but unspoken.”

“All security service officers come from the army. It is the security services that tell the army chief of staff which officers to appoint and promote. All the decisions made in the repression of the revolt were taken by security service officers, even down to moving a tank. The Syrian army is the executive arm of the security services, and not the chief of staff.”

What about the officers and soldiers killed in the revolt? Muhammad said: “No Syrian soldier would doubt that the security services would eliminate anyone who didn’t carry out an order. Within the logic of the regime, the security services would happily kill several Alawites to provoke a sectarian conflict, or make it look like one…. But the deaths of soldiers or members of the security services could also be linked to individual acts of revenge, local initiatives.

Could the army divide? “What we have here are individual dissidents, and not a split within the entire military. These isolated dissidents cannot deliver a strong message to the regime….

What are the prospects for the uprising? “It’s difficult to say they are anything but bleak. The regime has lost its way. The demonstrators are determined not to give in, but the regime is not willing to give ground…..

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October 3rd, 2011, 11:16 am


1326. sheila said:

Dear #1296. Ghufran,
Even though I agree with your logic when you say: “Why would the government kill Hassoun and Dr Omar, neither of whom was associated with any opposition group. Hassoun’s father in particular was attacked almost daily on this Blog for his pro regime stance”. I think you would agree with me that the situation in Syria is quite chaotic. It is impossible to verify who is doing what. In addition to that, I have heard that Hassoun was voicing his discontent to the “higher authorities” and suggesting a change in tactic that did not sit well with those who are for force as a final solution. This is why I am saying it could have also been the regime as a way to silence him and prevent him from going public with his concerns.
I really do not know the truth. It could have been either or.

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October 3rd, 2011, 11:20 am


1327. Jihanne said:

La vague colonialiste se brisera en Syrie
3 Octobre 2011
par Pierre Khalaf, chercheur au Centre d’Etudes Stratégiques Arabes et Internationales de Beyrouth

Les élites occidentales colonialistes se comportent comme si elles avaient repris l’initiative après l’occupation de la Libye et le lancement d’une contre-attaque avec la collaboration d’Israël, de la Turquie et des pays arabes tournant dans leur orbite, contre la Syrie et la Résistance libanaise.
Les États-Unis, la France et la Grande-Bretagne agissent avec arrogance, alors qu’ils vivent une crise financière sans précédent. Ils s’investissent en Tunisie et en Égypte dans l’espoir de cueillir les fruits des révolutions populaires, alors que rien n’indique qu’ils engrangeront les dividendes souhaités. Le concept des guerres préventives a prouvé son échec et il sera suivi, très prochainement, par celui des guerres humanitaires, sorti à la hâte des tiroirs et dépoussiéré.

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October 3rd, 2011, 11:22 am


1328. Areal said:

1315. zoo said:

# 1309 Jad

The wakeup will be hard when they will presents the new government program based on the Sharia Law that, we all know, Ghalioun likes very much.

REALITY in Libya : Lessons to be learned

Do you have the new program government in Libya ?
Do they have a government in Libya ?
Libya’s interim prime minister Mahmoud Jibril, currently chairing the executive committee of the National Transitional Council said Thursday that he will not be a part of the new government of Libya, the formation of which has been postponed until the end of the country’s conflict.

The dissenters pointed to cracks in a rebel movement that has been striking in its unity around a common flag and the common goal of toppling Al Qathafi

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October 3rd, 2011, 11:27 am


1329. jna said:

Three related Nir Rosen articles in Al Jazeera. The most detailed reporting on the protests in Homs that I have seen (re: Sheila 1293).

Ghosts in the mosques

Syria’s symphony of scorn

The tides of mosques

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October 3rd, 2011, 11:31 am


1330. sheila said:

To all those who keep quoting SANA and Aldunyah please STOP.
I do want to insult you personally, but I do not know any person with any measurable IQ who accepts anything that SANA or Aldunyah broadcasts. Even before the revolution started, SANA was always the butt of jokes for their outlandish newscast.
Please give our intelligence and yours some respect and stop quoting these two propaganda machines.
Also, please stop broadcasting who admitted to what under Syrian custody. We all know that a camel would admit to being a chicken after spending a few hours under the “hospitality” of the Syrian intelligence services. So, also, please stop. No one believes these confessions to be true. It is the Syrian regime being the prosecutor, judge and jury. If they have nothing to hide they will allow independent news media into Syria and please do not tell me they do because we all know it is not true.
I want to second Mohammad’s motion:لا للاستحمار

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October 3rd, 2011, 11:39 am


1331. Jihanne said:

Areal #1316

or how a Daily Star journalist Sammy Ketz contributed to the jailing of Rafa Nached and how the press continues to put Mrs Rached life in danger.

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October 3rd, 2011, 11:55 am


1332. zoo said:


With all my respect, could you avoid dictating what can we post or not. I and others are regularly skipping your posts, so you can skip the ones you don’t like. No hard feelings.

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October 3rd, 2011, 12:00 pm


1333. Revlon said:

National Council of Syria website; It is delightful to browse!
Its facebook menu has a real time live update of Syrian news.
It offers a glimpse of what future Gevernment Syria website would look like!!!
I can not wait for its blog section to work!

Congratulations Free Syria!

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October 3rd, 2011, 12:15 pm


1334. Some guy no longer in damascus said:

Zoo is right. You can’t say who gets to post what. That being said, im glad people are posting from SANA, because the regimes media hurts the regime More than than opposition can hurt the regime. مطر، مجسمات لساحات سورية، و عدم وجود مظاهرات في الميدان
Not once did these pathetic news agencies call any one from the opposition for an interview.
So pleeeeeaaaaase post the regime bs, I’ve refuted it before and il do it again :). Your epic failure is my win .

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October 3rd, 2011, 12:16 pm


1335. Areal said:

1320. sheila said:

Dear #1296. Ghufran,
I think you would agree with me that the situation in Syria is quite chaotic.
It is impossible to verify who is doing what.
In addition to that, I have heard that Hassoun ….

This is why I am saying it could have also been the regime as a way to silence him and prevent him from going public with his concerns.

I really do not know the truth. It could have been either or.


Classic MB propaganda from someone who denied the assassinations by these MB terrorists back in the 70’s and 80’s.

Maybe “she” was not born then , nor “her” parents living in Syria.

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October 3rd, 2011, 12:18 pm


1336. N.Z. said:


Yes, there is a war in Syria, the Syrian government is killing the Syrian people. This is tyranny.

Aljazeera is not responsible. To the contrary, the team is partly, if not greatly influential in this great “Arab Awakening”.

The sole responsibility lies squarely on the regime. The people wants freedom, and everyone who hinders their demand, twist the facts or invent excuses is to be blamed.

Does that answer your question? Humanist!

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October 3rd, 2011, 12:20 pm


1337. SANDRO LOEWE said:

Hassoun son could quite well been executed by both sides. But I am afraid this is the typical killing from inside the regime against those inside the regime who show discontent with the procedures in the regime. Hassoun is a respectable personality in a portion or sector of syrian islam and because of this he is a dangerous person if he fails to repeat word by word what he is obligued to say.

Anyway I am afraid and scared when a see a religious person shouting and crying at the same time, dressed in religious clothes, feeling sorrow for his son, giving a message that mixes love and hate. When I hear him shouting I feel God will descend at any moment with a kalashnikov or scud misile ready to send people to the judgment day. This is the drama od Islam, moral, politics, economics, religion, all in one. Who in the world voted this man to be the mufti, Allah? God bless all syrians who have no power, political or religious.

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October 3rd, 2011, 12:23 pm


1338. Syrian Nationalist Party said:

“…..Congratulations Free Syria!…”
Yeppp. Khaddam said that back in 05′ and we said BULL.

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October 3rd, 2011, 12:33 pm


1339. majedkhaldoun said:

The timing of the murder of Saria Hassoun ,at the time of formation of SNC,makes me suspect the pro regime has done it ,to get sympathy to the regime and cause anger against the rebels.

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October 3rd, 2011, 12:37 pm


1340. Areal said:

1324. sheila said:

To all those who keep quoting SANA and Aldunyah please STOP.
I do want to insult you personally, but I do not know any person with any measurable IQ who accepts anything that SANA or Aldunyah broadcasts. Even before the revolution started, SANA was always the butt of jokes for their outlandish newscast.
Please give our intelligence and yours some respect and stop quoting these two propaganda machines.


I expect all the 700+ victims of your terror to raise and say that it is propaganda.

I never read a proof that a fact reported by SANA has been rebutted.

Remember when the train derailed near Homs on July 23th , one MB commentator here claimed that it was “poor maintenance” ,

now we have another incident


Terrorist Group Targets Freight Train in Idleb, Injuring the Driver and His Assistant

An armed terrorist group targeted early Sunday morning a freight train in Oubin area in Idleb province, north Syria.

The driver and his assistant were injured as three cars were diverted off the railway.

Governor of Idleb Khaled al-Ahmad said an explosive device planted on the railway exploded around 6 am causing the driver’s railcar to divert off the main track along with the following two railcars, injuring him and his assistant.

The governor added that the initial information imports that the bombing planners had planned to target instead of the freight train a passenger train which was scheduled to pass at the time of the explosion, but there had been a change in the train schedules and the passenger train trip was put off for reasons related to the company.

Al-Ahmad pointed out that the targeted train was carrying pipes and a number of materials needed for different service uses.

Eng. George Mqa’bari, Director General of the General Establishment of Syrian Railways, told SANA that the train was targeted as it passed the area between the towns of Bdama and al-Younisiyeh where the railway was bombed.

He added “The damage is estimated at millions of Syrian pounds and the technical committee is working on assessing the precise value of the damage.”

The Establishment will work on replacing and maintaining the damaged part, about 75 meters of the railway and mending it to be put in service as soon as possible and the Establishment will also fix the railcar, he pointed out.

He noted that the train was loaded with 26 cargo trucks that contain irrigation pipes.

A source from Mine Dismantling Engineering Unit said that two explosive devices, one to the right and the other to the left of the railway sides, were linked together by a wire and a remote control in order to carry out the terrorist crime yet as the wire broke, only one device exploded, which reduced the volume of the damage.

Also on the 23rd of July, armed terrorist groups targeted a passenger train in al-Sawda in Qazhil area in Homs province as it was heading from Aleppo to Damascus, carrying 500 persons.

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October 3rd, 2011, 12:41 pm


1341. zoo said:


Why is anyone surprised that the opposition is resorting to violence to silence anyone who does not support them? (Facebook’s shame list is becoming a hit list). It was accepted and condoned officially by the US, a self-fulfilling prophecy…

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October 3rd, 2011, 12:44 pm


1342. Some guy no longer in damascus said:

When Abdul massih shami was asked about the attack on Ali ferzat, he gave a similar response to what majed khaldoun just said. I don’t think we can jump to conclusions. What happened to the grand mufti’s son is a disgraceful act, but it does not add to the regimes legitimacy. This is me as a Syrian citizen speaking. The regime must go, first and foremost and those who murdered innocent people must be held accountable. I also think it was stupid of hasoun to tell us demonstrators to have dialogue with the regime, more than 2700 syrians have been killed and he still thinks we can have dialogue with the monsters killing people in midan.all I can tell Hasoon is, welcome to the club, I lost some one too. I’m sure those that murdered his son won’t see justice, because of the regime mismanagment.

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October 3rd, 2011, 12:53 pm



Bassma Kodmani V Buthaina Shaaban

Cant wait.

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October 3rd, 2011, 12:53 pm


1344. zoo said:

Raid, rift cloud Syrian opposition’s unity deal
Sunday, October 2, 2011
ISTANBUL – Hürriyet Daily News
Representatives of Syrian tribes and members of the Syrian opposition inside Syria raid a meeting of the Syrian National Council, a collection of Syrian opposition movements

Syrian dissidents fight on the sidelines of a gathering of Syrian opposition leaders and activists in Istanbul on Sunday. AFP photo

Syrian opposition groups meeting in Istanbul on Sunday announced they had reached agreement on a united front, but their achievement was overshadowed by representatives of Syrian tribes who raided the hosting hotel and delayed the start of the gathering.

Representatives of Syrian tribes and dissidents who call themselves “Opposition on the Streets” raided the meeting of Syrian opposition movements and claimed they were being excluded from the opposition-formed Syrian National Council.

Representatives of the Syrian opposition movements were holding a meeting Sunday to announce that they had formed a common front uniting all groups that oppose the regime of President Bashar al-Assad. But the meeting started with a one-hour delay because the Syrian tribal representatives raided the hotel where the meeting was being held. More than 100 Syrian dissidents came to the hotel and wanted to attend the meeting of the Syrian National Council that was announced in Istanbul in August.

A verbal confrontation erupted between opposition groups after the representatives of the Arab tribes were not let inside by the other members of the council.

Police forces were called to the hotel to prevent a clash between the two groups.

“We are from inside Syria. Many Arab tribes have sacrificed themselves in Syria for the revolution, and we are not being represented here in the National Council that is being formed by Syrians outside Syria,” President of the Arab Tribes Ben Wafian Methgal told the Hürriyet Daily News in an interview.

“We will give the leaders of this council one month. If they don’t fulfill the Syrian street hopes of ending and finishing the Assad regime and giving the Syrian resistance their freedom, then we will create another council that must be named from the Syrian streets, not from the exterior opposition, which will be considered illegitimate by the Syrian opposition inside,” Methgal said.

Members of the Syrian National Council refused the claims and said the Arab tribes and representatives of the revolution were already represented in the council.

“The Syrian National Council is open to all Syrians. It is an independent group personifying the sovereignty of the Syrian people in their struggle for liberty,” Paris-based Burhan Ghalioun told reporters. “The council rejects any outside interference that undermines the sovereignty of the Syrian people.”

Ghalioun, a France-based academic, was recently designated leader of the opposition group National Transitional Council, which has Islamist and nationalist supporters.

The new opposition grouping announced on Sunday unites Syrian opposition movements across the political spectrum and includes local coordination committees that group activists on the ground, liberals, and the long-banned Muslim Brotherhood as well as Kurds and Syriacs.

Representatives of Syria’s six-month-old protest movement and opposition had been meeting since Tuesday to forge a united front against Assad’s regime, which the U.N. says has killed at least 2,700 people since protests erupted in mid-March.

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October 3rd, 2011, 1:06 pm


1345. Areal said:

1328. Some guy no longer in damascus said:

Zoo is right. You can’t say who gets to post what. That being said, im glad people are posting from SANA, because the regimes media hurts the regime More than than opposition can hurt the regime. مطر، مجسمات لساحات سورية، و عدم وجود مظاهرات في الميدان
Not once did these pathetic news agencies call any one from the opposition for an interview.
So pleeeeeaaaaase post the regime bs, I’ve refuted it before and il do it again


1) How do you know that SANA never call any one from the opposition for an interview ?

2) SANA reported on the opposition

The journalists, who went to cover the meeting, in particular Satellite TV channels, including the Syrian TV, which were ready to transmit live the meeting, were caught by a surprise when the sessions of the meeting were held behind closed-doors. The journalists were only allowed few minutes to take some pictures.

YOU NEVER refuted any fact from SANA !!

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October 3rd, 2011, 1:06 pm


1346. sheila said:

To #1329. Areal,
You said: “Classic MB propaganda from someone who denied the assassinations by these MB terrorists back in the 70′s and 80′s.
Maybe “she” was not born then , nor “her” parents living in Syria.”

1- She was born then.
2- her parents live in Syria.
3- She had a big post about the assassination of the MB s back in the 70s and 80s.
4- She is the last person you can call an MB.

Sorry Areal. Wrong on all fronts.

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October 3rd, 2011, 1:06 pm


1347. Amir in Tel Aviv said:

The Mufti Hassoun addressed Haled Mish’al (the head of the Palestinian MB) during the funeral of his dead son. This reminds me of the fable about the frog and the scorpion, crossing the river.

And the epigram: If you sleep with the dogs, don’t be surprised to wake up carrying fleas.

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October 3rd, 2011, 1:11 pm


1348. sheila said:

To #1326. Zoo,
With all my respect, the whole idea of contributing to a blog is opening your mind to other people’s perspectives on things. If you regularly skip my posts, First, it is your loss and second, why are you even here if you do not want to hear the other side?. I am not trying to dictate what you can or can’t post. Please read my post carefully and try to comprehend it. No hard feelings.

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October 3rd, 2011, 1:13 pm


1349. zoo said:

BBC excerpts

“Mr Ghalioun was named last month as chair of the council, which has Islamist and nationalist supporters and includes the Local Coordination Committees, which organises activists on the ground.
Syrian dissidents fight on the sidelines of a gathering of Syrian opposition leaders and activists in Istanbul, on October 2, 2011. Despite the announcement, there were some disagreements on the sidelines

The board also includes Bassma Kodmani as spokeswoman, Mohammed Riyad al-Shaqfa of the Muslim Brotherhood, and representatives of the so-called Damascus Declaration for reform.

The council, which is to elect a president, will hold a general assembly of 190 members next month, Ms Kodmani said.

It will have a 29-strong general secretariat representing seven Syrian opposition factions”

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October 3rd, 2011, 1:21 pm


1350. sheila said:

To #1338. Areal,
No one can answer you when you quote SANA because:
1- SANA is not a news agency, rather a propaganda tool for the Syrian regime.
2- There is no free press on the ground in Syria.
You can keep repeating these allegations until you are blue in the face. Only those who are part of the regime or directly benefiting from the regime will believe you. The rest of us will just sit there and shake our heads with dismay.

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October 3rd, 2011, 1:22 pm


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