The Armed Gangs Controversy

The Armed Gangs Controversy

I have taken up the “armed gangs controversy” in my last two posts. In the comment section, Syrians have debated whether the opposition has produced militant elements that are killing Syrian soldiers. A number of analysts, such as Majd Eid, who joined in the debate on France 24 yesterday, continue to argue that there is not a violent side to the uprising. They insist that Syrian soldiers are killing fellow soldiers, not opposition elements. This killing is carried out when security personnel refuse orders to shoot at crowds, they insist. So far, no evidence has surfaced to demonstrate that Syrian military have shot their fellow soldiers for refusing to carry out orders. Most evidence supports government statements that armed opposition elements have been shooting security personnel.

This controversy arose in April during the protests in Banyas, when nine soldiers were killed while traveling down the main highway in two transport vehicles outside of the city. Activists claimed that soldiers in Banyas were executed by fellow soldiers for refusing to shoot at demonstrators. This story turned out to be fictional, but was carried by most of the Western Press and never corrected. I wrote about this controversy on April 14 under the title: Western Press Misled – Who Shot the Nine Soldiers in Banyas? Not Syrian Security Forces. The reason I took an interest in this story is because my wife’s cousin, Lt. Col. Yasir Qash`ur, was one of the nine soldiers killed on April 10. We know him well. We spoke with Yasir’s brother-in-law, Colonel `Uday Ahmad, who was sitting in the back seat of the truck in which Yasir and several of the nine soldiers were killed. `Uday told us that two military trucks were ambushed as they crossed a highway bridge by well armed men who were hiding behind the median of the highway and on the tops of buildings at the edge of the road. They raked the two trucks with automatic fire, killing nine. The incident had nothing to do with soldiers refusing orders. His description of what happened so contradicted the reports I was reading in the press that I began to dig around. Later video footage of the shooting surfaced and was shown on Syrian TV. It corroborated Uday’s story. Western press and analysts did not want to recognize that armed elements were becoming active. They preferred to tell a simple story of good people fighting bad people. There is no doubt that the vast majority of the opposition was peaceful and was being met with deadly government force and snipers. One only wonders why that story could not have been told without also covering the reality – that armed elements, whose agenda was not peaceful, were also playing a role.

In the bloody battles at Jisr ash-Shaghour most of the Western Press again repeated opposition claims that some 100 Syrian soldiers were killed not by opposition elements but by their own colleagues. The Western press insisted that Syrian military elements were killed in the city by fellow soldiers for refusing orders to shoot. Government claims that the soldiers were killed by armed elements who ambushed and overwhelmed them, were dismissed. Today, teh video footage that has surfaced is fairly conclusive in corroborating the original government version of events: the soldiers stationed in the town were overrun by armed and organized opposition.  Here is a video of some of the soldiers before they were killed. The first minute or two of this video shows the soldiers after being shot. This is unedited footage of the bodies before they were carried away on trucks.

In the Hama fighting, the video depicting dead bodies being thrown off a bridge into a river has been the subject of controversy. This video made by comparing Google Earth footage of the bridge to the actual video seems fairly conclusive in proving that the footage is new, is from Hama, and does depict opposition elements throwing the bodies of soldiers from the highway bridge into the `Asi River just north of Hama on the highway to Aleppo.

So what is the meaning of the emergence of armed opposition elements?

A prominent anti-government activist speaking on CNN said it best. Here is the CNN report by Arwa Damon and Nada Husseini of Aug. 2, 2011:

One prominent anti-government activist, who asked not to be named because of the dangers that could arise from the release of the information, told CNN the state TV account was correct. The bodies are those of Syrian secret police killed by Syrian fighters from Iraq who have joined the anti-government fight, said the activist, who gets information about the goings-on in Syria from an extensive network of informants.

That same activist stressed that the antagonists are not representative of the protest movement. Violent fringe elements have appeared during the Syrian tumult. One study last month from the International Crisis Group said some anti-government elements have taken up arms. However, that report said, “the vast majority of casualties have been peaceful protesters, and the vast majority of the violence has been perpetrated by the security services.

The activist said the emergence of this video is a double-edged sword for protesters.

On the one hand, the peaceful demonstrators need to become aware of the existence of fringe elements, he said. This would encourage more people to reject both the regime and these types of attacks and maintain the aims of peaceful protest, he said. At the same time, he added, the incident gives credence to the Syrian government’s assertion that it is targeting “armed gangs.” Such violence, he said, could cause the international community to hesitate in continuing its mounting pressure against the Syrian regime.

Most of the supporters of the revolutionary movement have responded to these videos by asking, “What does anyone expect? Are Syrians to simply wait to be killed? Of course violence will be met by violence. It is natural and the only surprise is that it has been so long in coming.”

This is a compelling argument. The Syrian opposition has been slow to arm in its effort to overthrow the Baathist state. The Free Officers Movement is gathering steam. The most recent video statement by the FOM shows that its membership is growing, although it is still only in the earliest formation. The leader declares that they will defend civilians against the “barbaric actions of the regime and their Shabbiha.” Other armed organizations are taking to the streets but none have officially declared their existence and set out political goals. This will undoubtedly happen in the coming months.

From the outset, this has been a war of videos. This video of a wife saying goodbye to her husband, killed in Hama on Aug 2 is heartbreaking. Such videos act as a call to arms.

The regime will battle to the end and still has much fight in it. The military has many advantageous over the fragmented opposition. It is unlikely that the regime will “collapse,” as some activists suggest or just fade away Ceausescu-like. If it is to be defeated, it will be on the battlefield and by force. It is hard to imagine any other ending. Of course, should both Damascus and Aleppo come out to demonstrate in large numbers, the breakdown of order will be hastened, but the military and Baath Party will not give up. Syria’s divisions are too deep. The fear of revenge and ethnic cleansing will galvanize those who have backed the present order for decades.  Had the Syrian leadership been willing to hand over power peacefully or establish some sort of constitutional convention, it would have done so already.

The poverty and loss of dignity for so many Syrians is a crushing part of Syrian reality. Thirty-two percent of Syrians live on two dollars or less a day. That is a scary figure. It will get much worse as the loss of jobs and economic hardships begin to multiply. Syria is filled with people who have little to lose, who have little education, and few prospects of improving their chances for a better and more dignified life. The potential for violence and lawlessness is large. Most worrying is the lack of leadership among opposition forces.

News Round Up follows

Why Damascus, Aleppo are silent for now
The business elite in these Syrian cities have myriad overlapping interests with the political elite
By Sami Moubayed, Special to Gulf News, August 2, 2011

To date, most residents of Syria’s two main cities, Damascus and Aleppo, have tried to look the other way vis-à-vis the uprising that has broken out in every town and city across the country since mid-March. In these two cities, the markets are still open, banks are still in operation, merchants are still trading, entire families are dining at restaurants, young couples are getting married and, in many cases, enjoying the summer in complete denial of what is happening throughout the rest of Syria. So long as Damascus and Aleppo remain quiet, or neutral at best, the Syrian authorities believe the situation will be under control.

A closer look, however, shows that this argument — although applicable four months ago — is now nothing more than wishful thinking. First, it is wrong to compare Damascus to Aleppo because sympathy with the Syrian uprising is high in the Syrian capital, but low and close to non-existent in Aleppo because of the city’s distance, its relative immunity from the economic crisis (thanks to flourishing business relations with Turkey), and the unique relationship the city has had with President Bashar Al Assad, who has paid it plenty of attention since coming to power in 2000. Additionally, Aleppo paid a terrible price for its support of the Muslim Brotherhood uprising of 1982, and sees how the state is retaliating in other cities today, like Hama and Deir Ezzor. It does not want to suffer a similar fate.

It would be wrong to imagine that residents of the old quarters of Damascus — Shagour, Bab Sharki or Bab Srijeh — would be seen on the streets of the Syrian capital, demonstrating against the regime. This is not French Mandate Damascus, after all, where these quarters are filled with swashbuckling quarter bosses like the ones we see in the popular TV series Bab Al Hara. The reason, basically, is that these quarters in the Old City are now empty; the original residents sold their property years ago, transforming their homes into trendy restaurants and boutique hotels. They collectively moved to the suburbs of Damascus, and today, the original inhabitants of the Syrian capital reside in hotspots like Muadamiyeh, Zabadani, Qaboon, Harasta and Duma. It is the Damascenes then who are demonstrating in these districts, in addition of course, to the original inhabitants of these districts. The sameapplies to Aleppo and its suburbs.

Within the new districts of Damascus and Aleppo, the business elite has been staunchly pro-regime although, ironically, it was the business community of both cities that suffered most from socialism of the Baath Party when it first came to power in 1963. That will likely remain the case for now, due to the weight of their clerics (who are allied to the state), along with the political, social and economic interests of their nobility and business community. In many cases, that nobility is “new money” and rose to power and fame only after the Baathists took over in 1963. The have overlapping interests with the political elite and are often allied to them through business partnerships and marriage, giving them no reason to demonstrate against the existing order.

Article continues below

Historically speaking, however, both cities can make or break any political movement — but rarely have they been part of anything that threatens stability and their commercial interests. In 1925, for example, rural Syria erupted in revolt against the French Mandate. Damascus very unwillingly joined the revolt of 1925, and when it did, suffered punishment greater than that of all other Syrian cities combined. It was shelled continuously for 48 hours and entire neighborhoods were set ablaze and looted. And Aleppo was not even part of the revolt of 1925. To be fair, although we make reference to the “Aleppo Revolt” in history books, it was the suburbs of Aleppo that revolted against the French. Aleppo itself remained silent. When the revolt calmed in 1927, it was the business elite of both cities that devised the theory of “honorable cooperation” with the government—diplomacy to extract political change, rather than armed revolt.

In Damascus, the merchants used to moan and groan whenever political parties, or youth movements, called on them to close down their shops for anti-government protests in the 1950s. Simply put, as far as the businessmen were concerned, all that meant was financial losses. That mentality still prevails in the old bazaars of Damascus and in the new posh and trendy corporate culture that has mushroomed around banks, insurance companies, advertising and media firms all over the Syrian capital.

The silence of both cities, however, won’t last for too long, for three reasons.

1) Unemployment: The moment rising unemployment kicks in, young people will take to the streets in both Damascus and Aleppo, regardless of what city elders tell them. Many young people are already jobless since March, and if the stalemate continues, they could start finding themselves penniless as well. Ramadan, no doubt, will be a turning point for these two cities.

2) Lack of community leaders: Back in the 1980s, for example, community leaders like Ahmad Kaftaro (the Grand Mufti) and Bader Al Din Al Shallah (doyen of the Damascus Chamber of Commerce) used their influence to pacify angry citizens in Damascus when they sympathised with the Brotherhood. People respected them, listened to them, and often carried out their without any questions. When Shallah famously asked shopkeepers to break the Damascus strike of 1982, they immediately answered his call. Today there are no community leaders with similar clout and standing in Damascus and Aleppo because the Baathists have not allowed any such independent leaders to emerge.

3) Demographics: Damascus, more so than Aleppo, is a melting pot for all Syrians. It is packed with people from rural Damascus, Daraa, Homs, Hama, Idlib and rural Idlib. It is those people who are likely to demonstrate in Damascus, rather than the Damascenes themselves, and those people, naturally, do not take their orders from the business community of Damascus.

Sami Moubayed is editor-in-chief of Forward Magazine in Damascus, Syria

Sheila said:

[Moubayed’s] article is on the money. I am originally from Aleppo and come from a big family. I can assure everyone on this blog that Aleppo is boiling under the calm surface. It is only a matter of time before the city erupts. Mark my word.

Look at the pattern in this revolution: it starts with one stupid act by the regime in one of the villages, the village is up in arms, the surrounding villages come to the rescue and then the central city starts demonstrating.

U.S. Boosts Syria Pressure With Sanctions Plan
By Nicole Gaouette and Victoria Pelham – Aug 2, 2011

The U.S. is stepping up the pressure on Syria, ….“Our goal here is to isolate Assad both politically and deny” the regime revenue, Mark Toner, the State Department’s acting spokesman, said yesterday. “We do plan to move forward with additional sanctions under existing authorities, and we’re exploring the scope of those sanctions,” he said.

Ford, who met with Obama two days ago, told senators at his confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill yesterday that backing the forces of change could give the U.S. a chance to reshape the region.

“We have a real opportunity with change in Syria to see both Iranian influence and Hezbollah influence in the region diminish,” said Ford, a career diplomat who has been serving as ambassador under a December 2010 recess appointment by Obama.

Syria is Iran’s chief ally in the region and both support Hezbollah, the Lebanon-based Shiite Muslim political group that the U.S. considers a terrorist organization. … Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a New York Democrat, Senator Mark Kirk, an Illinois Republican, and Senator Joseph Lieberman, a Connecticut independent, introduced the Syria Sanctions Act of 2011 to target the one-third of the country’s revenue that come from oil and gas exports.

U.S. law bans most trade with Syria. The sanctions bill would extend those restrictions to foreign companies. The measure would require the president to block access to U.S. financial institutions, markets and federal contracts for those who do business with the Syrian energy sector.

Companies that falsely claim not to do business with Syria would be subject to a three-year ban on government contracts. …Sanctions with allies that have greater trade ties with Syria would be more effective, Ford said. He added that “Europeans and Canadians have greater investments in Syria’s energy sector” and that conversations about sanctions with those countries are under way.

“The Syrian government’s latest action will help trigger action, frankly,” Ford said of the recent violence and the international outrage it has generated.

Asking for More

The Syrian activists asked Clinton to have the U.S. do more to rally that kind of international pressure on the Assad regime.

Aoun defends Syrian regime’s crackdown August 2, 2011 Change and Reform bloc leader MP Michel Aoun on Tuesday defended Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, saying that security forces have the right to suppress “chaos on the streets.”

“It is clear that the intentions of the [Syria] opposition are not good,” he added following his bloc’s weekly meeting.

Syria opposition leader Seif held at Damascus airport

Syrian security agents briefly detained opposition leader Riad Seif at Damascus airport on Monday and prevented him from traveling to Germany to seek treatment for cancer, opposition sources said.

Killing of Libyan rebel commander strengthens resistance to UN condemnation of Syria

By James M. Dorsey

The failure to identify the perpetrators of last week’s mysterious killing of a senior Libyan rebel military commander threatens to undermine fragile unity among Colonel Moammar Qaddafi’s NATO-backed opponents and complicates Western efforts to secure United Nations condemnation of Syrian President Bashar al Assad’s brutal crackdown on anti-government protesters.

The killing highlights the pitfalls of backing a ragtag armed opposition movement, in which former jihadists together with defectors from Mr. Qaddafi’s forces constitute the primary groups with military experience.

It has also – coupled with allegations that NATO military backing of the rebels violates a UN Security Council resolution authorizing the imposition of a no-fly zone in Libya – made countries like India, China, Russia and Brazil weary of endorsing a council resolution being pushed by the United States and the European Union that would condemn Mr. Assad’s brutal efforts to quell demonstrations in his own country.

Critics like China and Russia, concerned about the spillover effect in their own countries of the Arab revolt that has swept the Middle East and North Africa for the past eight months, worry not only that condemnation of Syria could lead to Western efforts to covertly or overtly topple Mr. Assad but that Libya if repeated in any form or fashion could create a legal precedent for intervention across the globe.

Egyptians Turn Against Liberal Protesters

CAIRO—Mobs of ordinary Egyptians joined with soldiers to drive pro-democracy protesters from their encampment in Tahrir Square here Monday, showing how far the uprising’s early heroes have fallen in the eyes of the public.

Egyptian security forces tear down tents of liberal protesters who had camped in Cario’s Tahrir Square to press military rulers for political reforms.

Six months after young, liberal activists helped lead the popular movement that ousted President Hosni Mubarak, the hard core of these protesters was forcibly dispersed by the troops. Some Egyptians lined the street to applaud the army. Others ganged up on the activists as they retreated from the square that has come to symbolize the Arab Spring.

Squeezed between an assertive military and the country’s resurgent Islamist movement, many Internet-savvy, pro-democracy activists are finding it increasingly hard to remain relevant in a post-revolutionary Egypt that is struggling to overcome an economic crisis and restore law and order.

“The liberal and leftist groups that were at the forefront of the revolution have lost touch with the Egyptian people,” says Shadi Hamid, director of research at the Brookings Institution’s Doha Center. “These protesters have alienated much of Egypt. For some time they’ve been deceiving themselves by saying that the silent majority is on their side—but all evidence points to the contrary, and Monday’s events confirm that.”

The Last Stand of Bashar al-Assad?

DOHA, Qatar — As Bashar al-Assad’s shock troops storm cities and towns across Syria, leaving a death toll in the triple digits that has only stoked the fires of rebellion even hotter, Barack Obama’s administration is stepping up measures aimed at fatally weakening the Syrian dictator’s regime.

Critics of the U.S. president’s policy, particularly on the right, have long charged his administration with being soft on Assad. But the United States is now unequivocally committed to his ouster, having lost whatever little faith it had in the Syrian leader’s willingness to reform. “He is illegitimate,” a senior administration official says flatly. “We’ve definitely been very clear that we don’t see Assad in Syria’s future.”


Shaikh also advocates putting together an informal “contact group” of concerned countries — as with Libya — with a core group perhaps consisting of the United States, France, Qatar, and Turkey. But the all-important Turks, who share a border with Syria and have hosted thousands of refugees and several opposition meetings, are still hedging their bets. Sunday’s statement by the Turkish Foreign Ministry called on the Syrian government to “end the operations and resort to political methods, dialogue and peaceful initiatives in order to reach a solution” — options that the protest movement explicitly abandoned several weeks ago.


But few analysts think words will do much to damage the deeply entrenched Syrian regime, and some, like the Century Foundation’s Michael Hanna, worry that Assad could limp on far longer than anyone expects. Nor would multilateral sanctions, even if they do somehow pass the Security Council, have an immediate effect. “It’s unlikely that, short of massive defections within the security services at an elite level, outside pressure is going to change the calculus of the inner circle of the regime,” says Hanna. Instead of being toppled, he cautions, Assad could become another international pariah, like Saddam Hussein or the Burmese junta.

Washington has made its decision, though nobody can say when Assad will go. “He’s on his way out,” says the senior administration official, stressing: “This is about the Syrian people, not about us. They’re the ones that say that they want someone else, and they should be able to choose the government that they want.”

The New Hama Rules By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN, August 2, 2011

…. It worked for a long time in Syria, Iraq, Tunisia, etc., until it didn’t. Today, Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad, Hafez’s son, is now repeating his father’s mass murdering tactics to quash the new Syrian uprising, again centered in Hama. But, this time, the Syrian people are answering with their own Hama Rules, which are quite remarkable. They say: “We know that every time we walk out the door to protest, you will gun us down, without mercy. But we are not afraid anymore, and we will not be powerless anymore. Now, you leaders will be afraid of us. Those are our Hama Rules.”

This is the struggle today across the Arab world — the new Hama Rules versus the old Hama Rules — “I will make you afraid” versus “We are not afraid anymore.”

Good for the people. It is hard to exaggerate how much these Arab regimes wasted the lives of an entire Arab generation, with their foolish wars with Israel and each other and their fraudulent ideologies that masked their naked power grabs and predatory behavior. Nothing good was possible with these leaders. The big question today, though, is this: Is progress possible without them?

That is, once these regimes are shucked off, can the different Arab communities come together as citizens and write social contracts for how to live together without iron-fisted dictators — can they write a positive set of Hama Rules based not on anyone fearing anyone else, but rather on mutual respect, protection of minority and women’s rights and consensual government?

I think the former foreign minister of Jordan, Marwan Muasher, has the right attitude. “One cannot expect this to be a linear process or to be done overnight,” he said to me. “There were no real political parties, no civil society institutions ready to take over in any of these countries. I do not like to call this the ‘Arab Spring.’ I prefer to call it the ‘Arab Awakening,’ and it is going to play out over the next 10 to 15 years before it settles down. We are going to see all four seasons multiple times. These people are experiencing democracy for the first time. They are going to make mistakes on the political and economic fronts. But I remain optimistic in the long run, because people have stopped feeling powerless.”

New sanctions worry Turkish businessmen

Growing turmoil and violence in Syria have the European Union rolling up its sleeves to play a more active role in solving the problem by imposing asset freezes and travel bans. But economic sanctions by countries including Turkey might leave its business interests in the Arab republic in a tight spot

The prospect of more economic sanctions against increasingly strife-torn Syria have Turkish businessmen worried, leading business figures told the Hürriyet Daily News on Tuesday.

Growing turmoil and violence in Syria have the European Union rolling up its sleeves to play a more active role in solving the problem by imposing asset freezes and travel bans. But economic sanctions by countries including Turkey might leave its business interests in a tight spot.

“Sanctions imposed previously on other countries have not brought many sustainable solutions to problems,” Rona Yırcalı, the board chairman of the Foreign Economic Relations Board, or DEİK, told the Daily News in a phone interview Tuesday, though he noted that there was not yet much information available about the content of possible sanctions.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague is among the top European figures calling for tougher sanctions against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government. “The sanctions have to come from both Western nations, Arab countries and regional powers like Turkey,” Hague said in an interview Monday, according to the Associated Press. “The sanctions decision could not be made and applied by only Turkey. If the UN decides to apply sanctions, it is a different thing,” Tolga Uçak, the head of the Turkish Foreign Ministry’s information department told the Daily News on Tuesday. “It is not that easy to unite Arab nations to impose international sanctions against Syria,”

Rızanur Meral, the chairman of Confederation of Businessmen and Industrialists of Turkey, or TUSKON, told the Daily News. “Arab countries would know that a similar sanction might be imposed on their countries in the future.” According to Meral, the imposition of international sanctions against Syria does not seem possible at this time.

It would be “impossible for Turkey to step back from humanitarian help and sending food and medicine” to Syria, Meral said, adding that other trade items might be discussed according to the context of the sanctions. “It would be hard to control the borders for illegal trade,” he added, noting that Turkey shares its longest border with Syria.

Syrian money rushing to Turkey’s safe harbor

Comments (176)

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101. syau said:

Syrian army and security personnel arrested 230 armed gang members in Hama. Assistance from the citizens of Hama led to the arrest of the gang members.
During the arrests, they seized weapons,‘Thuraya’ satellite phones, video cameras and high tech transmission devices.

Security forces also discovered mines planted in sideways leading to the Sukelbieh town, which they dissembled.


Thanks for your answer, but I am actually interested in Majedkhaldoon’s answer regarding the questions I posed.

I believe if you re read posts by Aboud and Aboali, you will find numerous personal insults or ‘targeted personal attacks’ aimed directly at those who oppose this terrorist revolution.
Why do you think that their insults or ‘targeted personal attacks’ belong on this forum if others don’t?

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August 4th, 2011, 8:52 am


102. Tara said:


Personal attacks does not belong on this forum no matter what the source is. It bothered lots of people in the past and it bothers me tremendously.

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August 4th, 2011, 9:02 am


103. norman said:

What is the punishment for threatening the life of the president of the US ?.

The people that threaten the president of Syria deserve no less than in the US.

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August 4th, 2011, 9:08 am


104. syau said:


I totally agree with you.

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August 4th, 2011, 9:13 am


105. Aboud said:

@99 What a silly comparison. Utterly idiotic. In the USA people can go outside the White House and call Obama all sorts of names. In Syria, not loving junior enough will land you in jail.

Who was the last US President to commit genocide against his own citizens?

And if someone is suspected of threatening the president’s life, he is investigated, with the due process of the law. At most, he is punishable by 5 years in jail. In Syria, just being the brother of someone wanted for demonstrating can land you five years in jail.

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August 4th, 2011, 9:16 am


106. AIG said:


There is concept you don’t understand. It is called “consent of the governed”.

It is the basis of functional states.
And that is what Bashar Assad lacks and nothing can repair it except if he wins free multi party elections.

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August 4th, 2011, 9:27 am


107. Aboud said:

Forget it AIG, the Baathists love to put down Western democratic systems (even when they live there), but apparently want to imitate only those parts of it that sanction a person for insulting the head of state 🙂

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August 4th, 2011, 9:32 am


108. AIG said:

From the NY times
August 3, 2011
Who Will Help the Syrians?
As many as 1,600 courageous Syrians have been slaughtered since pro-democracy demonstrations began in March. On Wednesday, after three days of shelling, President Bashar al-Assad ordered his military to storm Hama, the city where his father killed up to 20,000 people three decades ago.

Where has the international community been? Shamefully paralyzed.

On Wednesday, the United Nations Security Council finally issued a statement condemning “widespread violations of human rights and the use of force against civilians by the Syrian authorities” — but with no threat of sanctions. For two months, Russia, China, India, Brazil and South Africa had blocked any action at all. They have allowed Mr. Assad to believe that he can keep killing and pay no price.

The statement, of course, is better than silence. We would like to believe that even this faint change of heart by Moscow — a longtime military supplier and patron — will grab Mr. Assad’s attention. But we suspect that he will instead focus on how Russia managed to water down the language in a ridiculous bid for evenhandedness.

The Security Council’s statement unfairly blames the protesters when it urges “all sides to act with utmost restraint, and to refrain from reprisals, including attacks against state institutions.” And it gives Mr. Assad — who needs to be gone — a lifeline by urging his government to implement its now thoroughly discredited “commitments” to reform.

It is going to take a lot more pressure to persuade Mr. Assad that his time is up — or to persuade those enabling him to switch sides. The Council needs to impose tough sanctions, including travel bans and asset freezes on Mr. Assad and all of his top aides. It should refer the Syrian leader and his thugs to the International Criminal Court for a war crimes investigation and direct states to halt investment in Syria’s government-run energy sector. More dithering will only mean more killings.

The United States and the European Union have done a much better job, although not as clearly and swiftly as needed. They have imposed several rounds of travel bans and asset freezes on Mr. Assad and his henchmen — Europe added more names to its list on Monday. They need to ratchet up the pressure.

One idea is for the top consumers of Syrian oil — Germany, Italy, France and the Netherlands — to stop buying it. The exports are small enough that a suspension would have little effect on world prices but would still have a big impact on Damascus. There should be no new investments in Syria’s energy sector.

Turkey, once one of Syria’s closest allies and now a critic, needs to use all of its leverage. Washington, the European Union and Turkey should also be pressing the cowardly Arab League to stand with the Syrian people.

On Tuesday, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton met Syrian opposition members. Washington and its allies should do all they can to help lay the groundwork for a democratic, post-Assad Syria. Right now, they need to marshal every possible diplomatic and economic pressure to help the Syrian people topple this brutal regime.

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August 4th, 2011, 9:47 am


109. Revlon said:

This is the closest any demonstration has gotten to the lion’s den!
Jaddet AlHasan, Abu Rummaneh, Damascus

The demonstrators roar while chanting “Bashar Ma Minreeedoh” could be heard,
– 1 block away, at the Air Force Command Center
– 3 blocks away, at the cental military complex housing the Chief Army Command center, Ministry of defense, and the Military “Sub-Intelligence”
– 1 mile away, at the lion’s den!
أموي – ‫مظاهرة في دمشق بجانب قيادة الأركان العامة

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August 4th, 2011, 9:54 am


110. Revlon said:

Halabies are rolling

حلب مظاهرات حي صلاح الدين 3-8-2011

3 8 Aleppo أوغاريت حلب مظاهرة حاشدة من بستان القصر مرورا بالملعب البلدي

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August 4th, 2011, 10:03 am


111. Revlon said:

The regime is up to something sinister!
Army units staionted at 3aqrabiyeh strafed a civilian bus whose passengers come from Haweek which is a pro-regime village!
Two injuries have been reported thus far.
Alqsair, Homs Governorate.

Ugarit News | أوغاريت الإخبارية
أوغاريت || القصير حمص :: عاجل :: قامت قوات الجيش الموجودة على حاجز قرية العقربية باطلاق الرصاص عشوائيا على حافلة محملة بالركاب ولدينا أنباء عن اصابتين حتى هذه اللحظة , علما بأن الركاب من قرية حاويك التي معظم سكانها من الموالين للنظام …

about an hour ago ·

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August 4th, 2011, 10:12 am


112. some guy in damascus said:

@ revlon
there have been protests in muhajreen, but i dont know where exactly. i would be really glad if you told me i really want to demonstrate there.
oh and refrain from calling it a den….call it a zoo

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August 4th, 2011, 10:14 am


113. Samara said:


LMAO!!! That is all ive got to say to your… I wont say anything because you ppl are a little too touchy. But saying that i should be stopped from commenting on here just shows what babies you are. “if you dont do what i want, go away!” That is exactly what my 7 year old sister said to me when i told her to stop being a brat. She hated that word, so her retaliation was what all children would say. Just like you just did. Go away. You shouldnt be allowed to comment. Waawaawaa! Oops, now i sound like Aboud. And Aboud, if you were able to comprehend what i wrote ealier, i said an extrimist LIKE you. I did not say YOU. And if you read properly, i said the guy was in AUSTRALIA.

SYAU said it all. I need not go further.


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August 4th, 2011, 10:19 am


114. Revlon said:

#168 Dear some guy in damascus,
You have a point!
Unfortunately I have no direct contacts with ground activists.
I merely follow their news on their facebook blog!
I am eager to know which Jaddeh in Muhajereen featured the demonstration and how far it was from Jr’s!

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August 4th, 2011, 10:27 am


115. Aboud said:

This is a tiresome habit we have been seeing time and again from menhebaks like Samara. They make outlandish statements, and when challenged, backtrack and flip flop.

“Then why is it that an extrimist like yourself was saying recently that any real Muslim hates democracy? ”

*Extremists*. Seriously, I still want someone to explain how is it that every single menhebak here all make the same spelling mistakes. It’s so bizarre.

Your meaning is clear to everyone here. Have the guts to stand by your words. I challenged you to show me one post where I said that real Muslims hate democracy. In typical Baathist fashion, you chicken out like all menhebak chicken-shits.

But then, what do you expect from supporters of a regime that sends thugs to trash embassies, and then has Mammoth-Guts Mu’allem begging the USA’s pardon and forgiveness the next day. Pathetic.

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August 4th, 2011, 10:28 am


116. Ya Mara Ghalba said:

Off-the-Wall, a dissident crank, says (#67): “All I have seen [from the regime and its supporters] are justifications, lies, equivocations, and moral bankruptcy…. We will have our dialog, but among ourselves and only with those who show willingness to join us in our point of departure from a sad, corrupt, and murderous era of our modern history.”

In every Western country you can find alienated dissidents who think that most large-scale private enterprises are riddled with corruption, that the whole capitalist system is corrupt, as well as immoral, and that the Establishment ought to be radically dismantled. The educated dissidents in Syria are another flavour of the same kettle of fish, with an equally small constituency of support. The Syrian Establishment is fundamentally honest and virtuous on the whole. Those people in Syria who think they see the contrary are dissident cranks, and the outsiders who believe them are bigots.

Here’s a dissident crank, who’s a qualified lawyer in the USA, talking about the USA, dated 22 July 2011: “Never in the history of this country [USA] has there existed such widespread corruption, incompetence and weakness…. Our political leaders are spineless; petty; self-serving; and corrupted puppets of the moneyed interests that own them. The divisive bickering that passes for political dialogue is pathetically shallow…. In short, there is such widespread graft and immorality amongst those who run and control our society as to prevent any meaningful change in the self-destructive course the nation is taking.”

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August 4th, 2011, 10:30 am


117. Aboud said:

“The Syrian Establishment is fundamentally honest and virtuous on the whole. ”

Which just goes to show how seriously we should take everything else you say, Mr “There are no tanks in Hama!”

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August 4th, 2011, 10:34 am


118. Ya Mara Ghalba said:

@ SYAU # 87, #97: Thanks for that info and for other info you’ve posted. I ask that in future you also tell us your source for the info. If the source will be on the Net, give us the link, please.


Under the new elections law (not the parties law), “elections campaigns should not include any racial, sectarian, ethnic or tribal indications.” Thus Kurdish parties are banned under the elections law (not the parties law).

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August 4th, 2011, 10:36 am


119. Samara said:


(deleted for personal insult. This is your second warning)

Im a menhebaki. And im proud. Menhebak ya Bashar.


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August 4th, 2011, 10:40 am


120. Khalid Tlass said:

Why the constant recourse to religious and sectarian rhetoric on the part of regime supporters ? Is this what secularsim has taught you ? You are the ones who are badmouthing an entire sect calling it extremist. You really think religion is at the root cause of the problem ?

If that is indeed so, then if all ‘Alawis accepted Abu Bakr, ‘Omar and Othman as Khalifa al Rashida, then the problem would have been over and all Sunnis would be happy.

Its actually not so simple. And no, the protestors don’t have anything aaginst the Army. I myself come from a suppodedly “military family”. But for the opposotion, military service means serving Syria. And for us, Syria is not related to Assad. The Assad name does not relate to naything related to Syria. Those knobheads who always equate Assad name with Syria, whether in the military or outside , are pure psychophants (pun intended). And their psychophancy is costing lives.

@. Samara – Expect undercover Iranian agents who are roaming the steets of Homs and Aleppo to be lynched if they are ever caught by the people.

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August 4th, 2011, 10:42 am


121. Aboud said:

No need to get all emotional Samara. All I asked was that you point to one post that I made, to back up your claims about me. Instead of admitting you made a mistake (or outright lied), you get as hysterical as Reem Hadad (aka Comical Sally) or the other regime trumpets on the satellite channels 🙂

Instead of having the guts to stand by your words, like so many other menhebakites, you backtrack, and whine that you were misunderstood. Man, how many times have I heard that one….

“Havent u heard of something called typos? ”

First time I saw one of the menhebaks say “Ramadan Kareen”, I generously thought it was a typo. I’m not so generous the second time round.

“Oh, thats right, your too slow. ”

Oh, that’s right, you’re too slow. I’m always curious as to the educational level of the menhebaks. What I’ve seen so far has not been very reassuring.

“Im a menhebaki. And im proud. Menhebak ya Bashar. ”

Well, sadly, even after all this time, even Hitler has his admirers. These days, Baathism has become as discredited as Nazism or Fascism. To be identified as a Baathist is to be a social outcast, a freak, as outdated and irrelevant as flying the flag of the old Soviet Union.

“Samara – Expect undercover Iranian agents who are roaming the steets of Homs and Aleppo to be lynched if they are ever caught by the people. ”

I second that. Iran should not expect their scum to be treated kindly once caught.

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August 4th, 2011, 10:52 am


122. syau said:

Khalid Tlass,

Please refer to posts of pro revolution commenter’s and open your eyes as to who is posting sectarian comments.

‘Badmouthing an entire sect’ and exposing the actions of fundamentalist extremists is totally different. The Islamist extremists does not equal the entire Sunni Muslim sect, when people refer to the terrorists, they are referring to the radicals who are a minority, not the whole sect.

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August 4th, 2011, 10:57 am


123. Khalid Tlass said:

Reem Haddad and Comical ‘Ali would make a pretty couple.

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August 4th, 2011, 10:59 am


124. Khalid Tlass said:

@SYAU 118 – No its you guys who’ve been sectarian. Yoi very well know the presence of radical Islamists within the Sunni Muslim community in Syria is very nearly negligible. The AQ terrorists who have been infiltrated into Iraq were done so by the Mukhabarat. in 2007, the Mukhabarat armed and funded the fatah al Islam terrorists in Nahr al Bared in Lebanon.

So we know who encourages radical trends among the Sunnis (to speak nothing about your alliance with extremists such as Hassan Nasrallah and Ayatullah Khamenai).

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August 4th, 2011, 11:04 am


125. sowhat said:


the rabble mobs of Aleppo and Damascus demonstrating with their usual empty slogans in support for the butchers backed by the international mafia

nothing new

in every democratic country the people taking part in such unauthorized demos would be put into jail and get a good “hug” by the law endorsement forces

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August 4th, 2011, 11:04 am


126. Ya Mara Ghalba said:

For non-Syrians, I offer a photo for you of a section of the Syrian Establishment. The photo was taken recently at a meeing in Damascus to honour martyrs, organized by the General Women’s Union.

A Western journalist in Damascus says: “The regime still appears to have support…. The problem [that the regime has support] runs deep, some say, with an entire generation effectively brainwashed by 40 years of Assad rule.” (ref)

As one way they’ve been “brainwashed” [{wink]}, an entire generation has grown up listening to the great Najwa Karam, who isn’t always great, but is still indisputably the greatest Levantine musician of our times. Indisputably, that is, when you don’t pay attention to a tiny minority of dissident cranks. These Najwa videos can be watched for sociology at the given seconds:

Najwa Karam, live, year 2001, Damascus football stadium, Mawal Jebel Assad (crowd roars its approval for the magic word “Assad” at time 2:27)

Najwa Karam, live, year 2010, Tartous, small venue, Mawal Jebel Assad (magic word at time 1:40)

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August 4th, 2011, 11:12 am


127. Syria Turns Bloody: Why the West Is Wary of Intervening in Another Conflict « News Forum said:

[…] if those specific fears proved to be unfounded, there’s plenty of evidence to suggest a violent component is emerging within the rebellion, and it’s a safe bet that the regime’s brutality will […]

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August 4th, 2011, 11:15 am


128. Revlon said:

officer Malek Nou7 supervises torture of political prisnors in Homs Central prison.

The Syrian Revolution 2011 الثورة السورية ضد بشار الاسد
هام : عن أحداث سجن حمص المركزي

بعد أن تم نشر ماحدث في سجن حمص المركزي على وسائل الاعلام قامت القوات الأمنية بإخراج المتقلين السياسيين من الزنزانات الانفرادية واعادتهم الى القبو المخصص لهم تحت سطح الأرض، ولكن أبقت القوى الأمنية في السجن على 6 من الناشطين في الزنزانات الانفرادية وقد تم التعرف على اثنين هما : 1- صلاح ضياء الدين علوان 2- أيمن مشارقة وهم من الاسلاميين الذين تم نقلهم من سجن صيدنايا الى …سجن حمص المركزي، وهناك 4 ناشطين لم نستطع التعرف على اسمائهم
ويتعرض هؤلاء الناشطين الستة لأبشع أنواع التعذيب، وتسمع أصوات استغاثاتهم في جميع أجنحة السجن، ويشرف على التعذيب النقيب مالك نوح، وهو معروف بأنه أثار فتنة بين المسلمين والمسيحيين في منطقة القصير عام 2008، وهو يهدد المعتقلين بإعدامهم تحت التعذيب

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August 4th, 2011, 11:18 am


129. beaware said:

Russia welcomes UN stand against foreign involvement in Syria 2011-08-04 20:49:06
MOSCOW, Aug. 4 (Xinhua) — Russia welcomed a UN Security Council call to refrain from external interference in Syria’s internal strife, the Foreign Ministry said Thursday.

“Moscow is convinced that the settlement of the situation in Syria must be conducted by the Syrians themselves without any interference from the outside and be based on the all-Syrian dialogue, which is the only way to resolve the crisis,” a statement on the ministry’s official website said.

The UN’s statement Wednesday was important backing for this approach, the ministry said.

“Russia insists on speeding up the political and social-economic reforms in Syria, announced by this country’s government, based on non-acceptance of violence, on the search for national accord and an all-inclusive political process,” the ministry said.

Moscow also welcomed the calls for an immediate end to violence and demanded all sides show maximum restraint, including ceasing the attacks on the government’s establishments.

On Wednesday, the Security Council also adopted a presidential statement on condemning the use of force against civilians in Syria.

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August 4th, 2011, 11:22 am


130. beaware said:

Armed groups assassinate chemist in N Syria: paper
2011-08-04 16:35:38
DAMASCUS, Aug. 4 (Xinhua) — “Terrorist and armed” groups have assassinated a chemist in Syria’s northern province of Idlib, the private al-Watan newspaper reported Thursday.

Chemist Samir Qantari, the general director of the National Socialist Syrian party, was shot in his pharmacy at the northern town of Maart al-Numan on the outskirts of Idlib, the paper said, adding that the killing reflected the remarkable development in the “terrorist groups’ tactics and it seems like an immediate implementation of what was posted on the Facebook of the ‘list of assassinations’.”

The chemist’s name was posted on the Facebook two days ahead of his killing, al-Watan said, noting that the list included more than 100 names, most of them civilians or people working at local municipalities.

In a related development, the Syrian TV said Wednesday that ” armed terrorist” groups in the eastern city of Deir al-Zour had attacked public and private properties and stole their contents before smashing them completely.

The groups killed one law-enforcement agent and burned his body, the TV said, adding that security agents had seized a suspicious car loaded with weapons and Molotov bombs.

It added that gunmen broke into a station for the border guards near al-Furat Oil Company, kidnapped three guards and captured their weapons.

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August 4th, 2011, 11:24 am


131. some guy in damascus said:

@ revlon
that why i bought muhajreen up, the demonstration may have been closer. yesterday i went to muhajreen to demonstrate, unfortunately the shabeeha managed to deter the gathering before we started.
today il try again

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August 4th, 2011, 11:24 am


132. R said:

Mr Ford’s protective charm in Hama city waned after he left for Washington DC.
Coward Jr took advantage and massacred over a hundred civilians.
Hama city is now re-occupied by Asad forces.
Hama public men, women, elderly and children are enduring jr’s colective punishment.
Snipers occupy rooftops and spread their terror in the streets and inside homes.

The Syrian Revolution 2011 الثورة السورية ضد بشار الاسد
وصف للأوضاع في حماه اليوم حسبما وردتنا الآن
– انقطاع تام لكل اشكال الحياة عن المدينة: بنزين – مازوت – كهرباء – ماء
– السيارات كلها متوقفة بسبب نضوب البنزين فيها وعدم وجوده في المدينة
الجرحى يملؤون المشافي بدون كهرباء
– الكثير من هؤلاء الجرحى استشهد داخل المشافي دون ان يتمكن احد من اسعافهم
…نفاذ جميع الادوية من المستشفيات والصيدليات
– غالبية واجهات المباني السكنية في حي القصور والحميدية قد تم استهدافها بالقصف المركز بطلقات مضاد طيران
– اقتحمت فرق الموت شارع الزاغة في حي الصابونية يوم امس عند صلاة المغرب اي وقت الفطور وقامت باطلاق رصاص كثيف وعشوائي على المنازل فيه
– يزيد اطلاق الرصاص والقصف العشوائي وقت الفطور بشكل خاص
– الكثير من السكان قامت قوات الغدر باحضار باصات ونقلتهم فيها الى منطقة جسر الضاهرية وانزلتهم هناك في العراء تحت الشمس
– الجيش بكامل سلاحه ودباباته وعتاده انتشر في قلعة حماه المطلة على الكثير من الاحياء
– انتشار للقناصة في اغلب المباني بحيث أنك لا يمكن أن تلتفت هنا أو هناك دون أن تشاهد

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August 4th, 2011, 11:28 am


133. Revlon said:

124. Dear some guy in damascus, Allah yi7meek!

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August 4th, 2011, 11:31 am


134. beaware said:

Presidential Legislative Decree on General Elections Law
(Dp-news – Sana)

DAMASCUS- His Excellency President Bashar al-Assad issued on Thursday the Legislative Decree No. 101 for the year 2011 pertaining to General Elections Law.

The law aims at improving the election process, ensuring the right of the candidates in supervising the process and maintaining the judicial supervision.

It also provides for forming a higher judicial committee for elections with its headquarters in Damascus to monitor the elections and ensure its integrity, in addition to forming judicial sub-committees in every Syrian province affiliated to the higher committee.
The Law stipulates that elections are to be held with public, secret, direct and equal voting where each Syrian voter, who completed eighteen years old, has one vote. The Law does not allow army members and policemen in service to participate in elections.

Among the missions of elections committee are to enable candidates or their agents to supervise voting process, votes counting and to listen to their remarks and objections, and so to enable media means and press to oversee voting process and votes counting.

The Law also stipulates that each governorate form an electoral circle except the Governorate of Aleppo which consists of two circles: Aleppo and Aleppo Countryside.

The People Assembly –the Parliament- consists of representatives from two sectors workers, peasants sector and the rest of the people.

The candidates for the parliament and the local administration should be a twenty-five year old literate Syrian Arab national for at least ten years, according to the Law stipulations.

Elections campaign should not include any racial, sectarian ethnic or tribal indications and candidates should not use foreign media for their election campaigns, which should be halted twenty four hours before the elections ‘ date.

The Law also regulates the counting votes, the procedures of voting, elections disruption penalties and results of votes’ announcement.

Earlier, Academic personalities stressed that the general elections law paves the way for democratic practices through open lists, respects the will of the individual and constitutes an important step on the way to change, development and reform.

In a statement to SANA, Dr. Mohammed Wasel, law professor at Damascus University, said the criteria and procedures of the implementation of this law includes that the local councils and the People’s Assembly elections must be free, honest and transparent.

For his part, Head of the National Initiative for Syrian Kurds Omar Ausi said the law provides for a new contemporary elections law and serves the efforts of the Initiative to integrate the Syrian Kurds into the political national life in Syria.

He pointed out that the law allows those who have been granted the Syrian citizenship according to the decree No. 49 to vote and run the local councils and the People’s Assembly which is a positive point.

Other academics said the law completes the pack of decrees and legislations issued in the framework of the reform program.

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August 4th, 2011, 11:33 am


135. Why the West is Wary of Intervening in Syria said:

[…] if those specific fears proved to be unfounded, there’s plenty of evidence to suggest a violent component is emerging within the rebellion, and it’s a safe bet that the regime’s brutality will […]

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August 4th, 2011, 11:39 am


136. HRB said:

You say “so far, no evidence has surfaced to demonstrate that Syrian military have shot their fellow soldiers for refusing to carry out orders.”

Ian Pannell of the BBC has gone into Syria where he interviewed “Ahmad Suleiman”, a soldier who allegedly was stationed in Latakia. He told Pannell that “[i]f the soldiers at the front refuse to fire on the people then the soldiers behind will fire on the soldiers at the front”. Unfortunately, the article does not make it clear whether this is just what Suleiman expects to happen, whether he has heard about such shootings or whether he has seen such shootings himself, but even if it is just what he fears might happen, it still wouldn’t be a good sign.

While I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that anti-government civilians have indeed attacked military or other security forces, I also wouldn’t be surprised if evidence emerged showing that loyal soldiers have shot at soldiers refusing orders.

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August 4th, 2011, 11:49 am


137. Aliccie said:


I was wondering when anyone would post about Hama because I was seeing tweets during the day about rumours. Apparently people couldn’t contact anyone, and there were reports of 200 deaths, tanks, damage etc. So is all electricity cut off ? What is the real situation ?

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August 4th, 2011, 11:55 am


138. beaware said:

Syrian regime is doomed
Aug 4, 2011 18:32 Moscow Time

Interview with Georgy Mirsky,chief research fellow at the Institute of World Economy and International Relations at the Russian Academy of Sciences:

The regime is doomed, it is in deep crisis, and it is very difficult to imagine that it will last for very long. Nevertheless, in a short-term probably it will be able to cope with the situation, for a while at least. It is the end of the regime, but the agony may last for a certain period. So, the only way out is to continue to prolong this bloodshed until somebody loses its nerve, it is a war of nerves.

Now, Bashar al-Assad is not a strong leader; maybe the opposition reckons that sooner or later he will back down, but nobody knows what is going to happen. As to the next United Nations resolution, it is very strongly hardening on the sanctions, but how effective will it be? For instance, now to prohibit Syrian officials from going abroad is not very serious; economic sanctions in the matter of time will bring very hard pressure on the Syrian government, but it will take time.


Syria:Devil you know is better than devil you don’t
Laaska News April 29,2011

Georgy Mirsky, Chief Research Fellow at the Institute of World Economy and International relations:
…Of course we do not know yet the final outcome of the events in Syria. As to me, I would rather put my money on Bashar Assad.

I think he will drown the country in blood, but he will tough it out, because you know it all depends on the decisiveness and the brutality and ruthlessness of the armed forces, now you see the revolution in Syria is much alike all the other revolutions in the Arab world, it is part of one Arab revolution from the Atlantic ocean to the Persian Gulf, which by the way they call the Arab Gulf…..

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August 4th, 2011, 11:56 am


139. Khalid Tlass said:

The spit of the lowliest beggar in the streets of Syria is 1000 times better than than the entire Assad family.

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August 4th, 2011, 11:56 am


140. beaware said:

Moscow Warns Against Interference in Syrian Conflict
Thursday, 4 August 2011

The Russian Foreign Ministry has warned against outside interference in the Syrian conflict, saying the country’s citizens should solve their problems themselves.

“The settlement in this country should be carried out by the Syrians themselves without outside interference and should be based on an all-Syria dialogue, which is the only way to resolve the conflict,” the ministry said in a statement.

Moscow’s stance was voiced after French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said earlier on Thursday that the UN Security Council may take a tougher stance on Syria if the ruling regime fails to halt its deadly crackdown on protesters.

Juppe’s comments came as Syrian troops and tanks continued their assault on the city of Hama, a center of opposition protest, and just hours after the Security Council adopted a statement condemning the “widespread violations of human rights and the use of force against civilians by the Syrian authorities.”

Speaking to reporters in Paris, Juppe hailed the international body’s condemnation as a “turning point” but warned that the Council may “go further in its decisions” if nothing has changed in a week’s time, when it will meet to “reexamine the situation.”

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said the Security Council statement represented “the clear message of the international community” to President Bashar al-Assad.

Residents and rights campaigners say at least 140 people have been killed in the unrest in Hama. More than 1,600 civilians are believed to have been killed since protests began in March.

Meanwhile, tens of thousands of people rallied in several Syrian cities late on Wednesday.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

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August 4th, 2011, 12:09 pm


141. some guy in damascus said:

i really want to know what theyre going to do with those “thank you russian nation for fidelity” banners now

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August 4th, 2011, 12:11 pm


142. Aliccie said:

(Reuters) – Syrian troops killed at least 45 civilians in a tank assault to occupy the center of the besieged city of Hama, an activist said on Thursday, in a sharp escalation of a campaign to crush an uprising against President Bashar al-Assad’s rule.

Thousands of civilians were fleeing the city, a bastion of protest surrounded by a ring of steel of troops with tanks and heavy weapons.

Electricity and communications have been cut off and as many as 130 people have been killed in a four-day military assault since Assad sent troops into the city on Sunday, activists say.

Reacting to the intensifying assaults on Hama and other Syrian districts, the U.N. Security Council condemned the use of force against civilians — its first substantive response to nearly five months of unrest in Syria.

In Hama, residents said tanks had advanced into the main Orontes Square, the site of some of the biggest protests against Assad, who succeeded his father Hafez al-Assad in 2000. Snipers spread onto rooftops and into a nearby citadel. (more)

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August 4th, 2011, 12:12 pm


144. majedkhaldoon said:

When A attack B , B has the right to respond, but out of B benevolence and superior morality, he may choose to not to respond to A,
Personal attack does not reflect intelligence, and it is not convincing,and it reflects inferiority,
There are commentors I respect,even that they have opposite idea of mine,you can not have dialogue with whom he attacks you,dialogue require mutual respect.

The regime is escalating the conflict,by sending troops with tanks, and killing hundreds of people, and arresting thousands, Hama is mistreated and that what prompted the Un to condemn Syrian regime yesterday, let that be warning,for Russia to help Syrian regime Russia has to make it very clear to Syria, this escalation is not accepted, and Bashar is making grave mistake,
You make mistake, you loose.

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August 4th, 2011, 12:33 pm


145. OFF THE WALL said:

he Syrian Establishment is fundamentally honest and virtuous on the whole.

While I appreciate the ego shattering lessons in democracy and crank dissent, I hate to disappoint you and burst your intellectualizing, the lawyer you are using to demonstrate crankiness is right in the sense that corruption perception index for the US fell from 7.6 in 2002 to 7.1 in 2010, achieving the lowest level in 9 years with only 2003 being slightly better than 2002. In clean Syria under Bashar, and between 2004 and 2010, it went from a superior 3.4 to a whooping 2.5 and reaching an outstanding level of 2.1 in 2009. Guess the uprising is very unfair, since Bashar was reclaiming his earlier Stellar record of 3.4 when those ingrates decided to revolt against his benign fundamentally honest rule.

Having been overwhelmed with the intellectualism of your argument, I am now forced to recognize the wisdom of regime proponents and to adopt your thinking style. Here is a practice, one could easily expand your theory and find that in “your world” corruption does not have much negative impacts on Syria because two of the key effects of corruption are to

1. Undermine democracy
2. Undermine good governance and rule of law

As none of the above exists in Syria under the Assads, therefore corruption has no impacts on Syria. I now understand why you want to keep this regime, and sorry for misunderstanding all along and for being such a crank.

I really don’t know whether our intelligence it is that you are trying to assault or is it yours……

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August 4th, 2011, 12:40 pm


146. 5 dancing shlomos said:

55. Darryl said:
“Will the Arabs ever have a George Washington?”

a few countries constantly interfering in arab/muslim countries: u.s., england, france, israel.

u.s. hasnt been divided into many weak sections with outsiders appointed to kingship.

u.s. has been taken over by jewry, finance, corporations (jewry dominant in other 2). a coup d’etat by bloodsuckers. note the dying economy and dumpsters becoming “homes”.

also note the recent debt ceiling charade on how to get the elderly, poor, and disabled, weak, to subsidize billionaires and war.

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August 4th, 2011, 12:46 pm


147. N.Z. said:

A genocide is taking place in Hama under the watchful eye of the world. Where is Nabil AlArabi ? Where are the Syrians cries, people are being slaughtered like sheep on the streets of Hama, everything moving is shot at, no electricity, the wounded are dying in the hospitals for lack of electricity, medicine and fuel.

Where is the American ambassador? He knew what was planned for Hama, he averted it then, can’t he hear their screams now!

Is the world giving this mass murderer and his savage family, time, thinking that he will subdue the Syrian Revolution?

What is happening in Syria is not an armed gang controversy, it is a genocide and people are dying on the streets of Hama indiscriminately. This tyrant is nuts. He is going berserk, he needs to be stopped, Oh people we need your help, Hamwis are being slaughtered, their only crime, they can no longer tolerate the son.

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August 4th, 2011, 1:09 pm


148. Atheist Syrian Salafist Against Dictatorships (ASSAD) said:

That’s it, I am throwing in the towel, I really thought I was a committed atheist but I have decided to join the Assad worshiping mob now and I faithfully promise to unroll a poster of the father and son and kneel down to them five times a day (I’ll have to write to 3ar3our to get him to teach me the proper way to pray, but I won’t tell him it is to my new gods, the father and son (good thing I chose an appropriate acronym too!).

But I ain’t doing this for nothing, Oh Greatest of all leaders and son of the previously Greatest Leader ever bestowed on humanity. You do have to give me something in return for worshiping you.


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August 4th, 2011, 1:25 pm


149. Khalid Tlass said:

Who the hell cares what Russia or for that matter USA thinks ? Syrians don’t need them. We will resolve this ourselves, InshaAllah. Assad has always been supported by Godless sadists like Russia.

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August 4th, 2011, 1:27 pm


150. KHALID TLASS said:

N.Z @143 – Don’t worry bro, Hama maybe down but not out. Hama will bounce back as it always has. Not easy to destroy it, they tried it in 1982, still 1 week ago 500,000 people came out on the streets. They think they can win by killing 500 people. Hamwis and Syrians have nothing to lose now…..Hama will bounce back InshaAllah

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August 4th, 2011, 1:31 pm


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