The Kurdish Flag Flies over Parts of Syria as Aleppo Ignites

Many Kurdish towns in the Northeast of Syria are now flying the Kurdish flag as Syrian troops have withdrawn from the region to fight back the offensives in Syria’s two largest cities. BBC reports that fighter jets strafed parts of Aleppo. This seems to be their first use and a clear escalation. Turkey has closed its border with Syria, halting the passage of all commercial vehicles between Turkey and Syria. Only refugees can cross into Syria. The borders are too dangerous.

Liberated Kurdish Cities in Syria Move into Next Phase
25/07/2012 06:05:00 By HEVIDAR AHMED

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — Syrian governmental forces have retreated from the Kurdish regions of Syria without a fight; the liberated cities are now being ruled evenly by the People’s Council of Syrian Kurdistan (PYD) and the Kurdish National Council (KNC).

According to the information obtained by Rudaw, the Kurdish cities of Kobane, Derek, Amoude, Efrin and Sari Kani have fallen under the control of Syrian Kurdish forces.

The city of Kobane was the first Kurdish city to be liberated last Thursday, 17 months after the revolution against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad began.

The KNC and PYD agreed to jointly control the liberated Kurdish cities in a deal made in Erbil on July 11, under the supervision of Kurdistan Region President Massoud Barzani.

“According to the treaty of Erbil which was signed by the KNC and PYD, any administrative vacuum in the Kurdish cities of Syria will be occupied evenly — 50/50 — by these two signatories. These two groups will continue ruling the Kurdish regions until an election is carried out,” said Nuri Brimo, a spokesperson of the Democratic Kurdish Party of Syria

The national flag of Kurdistan and the flag of the PKK – which the PYD is affiliated with — are now being raised over the majority of government and public buildings.

However Abdulbaqi Yusuf, a spokesperson of Kurdish Union Party (KUP), said, “The buildings under the control of PYD are using their own flags, but we as the KNC are using the national flag of Kurdistan. This is a problem because we only recognize one flag and that is the national Kurdish flag, but the PYD does not recognize that flag.”

He added, “For example, in the city of Kobane, we controlled some buildings and raised the Kurdish national flag over those buildings, but the PYD came and forced us out with their guns and removed the national flag of Kurdistan and replaced it with their own flag. We could not do anything because they were armed and we were not.”

Yusuf also had concerns about the quality of life for Syrian Kurds. “People are living in bad conditions and have not received any help,” he said, criticizing the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) for not coming to their aid.

“We have requested help from the KRG several times but they have not helped. Nobody listens to us,” Yusuf said.

Brimo admits that “Barzani asked the KNC and PYD to rule the Syrian Kurdish cities evenly between them and in return promised financial and moral support.”

Abdulbasit Sayda, the leader of the country’s largest opposition group, the Syrian National Council (SNC), said they were looking for help for people in the region. “As the SNC, we are holding meetings with international actors in order to receive financial and humanitarian aid and save ourselves from the clutches of the Syrian regime. We need this aid because the economic situation of the Syrian people and the Kurds is very bad and they need help,” he said….

Sayda added, “We are constantly in touch with Barzani regarding the situation in Syria and keep each other updated.”

Brimo explained the withdrawal of regime forces from the Kurdish cities. “The Syrian regime is gathering its forces in Damascus,” he said. “Therefore, they are retreating from other regions.”

He also revealed that the Syrian regime informed the PYD about their withdrawal in advance, so that the group knew beforehand which cities the forces would be leaving.

The Free Syrian Army (FSA) is present in many parts of Syria, but not in the Kurdish regions. “There is a sort of agreement between KNC and SNC. The FSA will not come to the Kurdish regions and the Kurds will not go the Arabic regions,” said Brimo.

Sayda admitted fearing a surprise attack by the Syrian government on these Kurdish regions.

“The Kurds of Syria need to brace themselves for a sudden return of Syrian government forces. It is probable that the regime might return to attack this region again,” he said.

A Friend in Iraqi Kurdistan writes:

Kurdish news here in Iraqi Kurdistan is reporting that Syrian Kurds have taken control of the Kurdish region of northeastern Syria. This has led to a crisis of relations between them and the FSA/rebels, however. Supposedly, some months back there had been a pledge of mutual support between the Kurds and the rebels, regarding resistance against the regime. Now however, the Kurds seem more interested in protecting their homeland than in participating in the nation-wide struggle against the regime. After taking control of Hasake (haven’t verified this), a conflict emerged between them and the FSA that wanted to control the area due to its strategic importance.

Here’s the one decent article (a great one, in fact) that I could find by Aymenn al-Tamimi

Syria’s Kurds stand alone after rejecting rebels and regime
Aymenn Al Tamimi
Jul 23, 2012

Developments in Syria and Iraq have led some to speculate that the birth of an independent Kurdish state might be at hand. A closer analysis shows that a united Kurdistan is still unlikely, although a separate semiautonomous Kurdish community in Syria, with some parallels to the Kurdish Autonomous Region in Iraq, is a growing possibility.

In Syria, Kurds are sitting on the sidelines of the uprising against the Damascus regime. Indeed, the Free Syrian Army has accused members of the militant Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) of hindering its operations in some areas against the Assad regime, according to the Kurdish website Rudaw.net. Leaders of the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), which is affiliated with the PKK, have made it clear that they will not tolerate the spread of Syria’s conflict into the Kurdish-dominated areas of Syria.

The PYD stands separate from the Kurdish National Council, a coalition of 11 Kurdish parties in Syria that has ties to the autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government in Iraq. But leaders of the Kurdish National Council have also indicated to Rudaw that they are aiming to keep Kurdish areas free from fighting between the regime and the rebels.

The Kurdish groups are far from united on most issues – the KNC has in the past clashed with the PYD, but since Syria’s unrest began last year, the two factions have “signed an agreement sponsored by the Iraqi Kurdish leadership to prevent intra-Kurdish tensions”, according to Jonathan Spyer, an analyst at the Israel-based Global Research in International Affairs Center.

This, Mr Spyer writes in the Jerusalem Post, ensures “de facto Kurdish control of a large swathe of Syria’s north-east and the placing of this area off limits to the insurgency against the Assad regime for the foreseeable future”.

Syria’s Kurds are not, by and large, supporters of President Bashar Al Assad, but their scepticism about the Syrian opposition is understandable. For one thing, rebel fighters in Syria have the support of Ankara, which has a bad reputation regarding Turkish Kurds in matters of civil and cultural rights.

In addition, whenever Kurdish groups have tried to engage the Syrian opposition about the shape of a post-Assad Syria, talks have always broken down. The main issue is that the opposition refuses to drop the identification of Syria as an Arab nation (as evinced in the country’s official name: “Syrian Arab Republic”) and accept that Kurds are a distinct people. Thus ended the recent Cairo meeting of anti-Assad groups, attended by the KNC.

With Syrian Kurds declining to choose between Mr Al Assad and the opposition, the idea of a de facto Kurdish autonomous area in the Al Jazira area of north-east Syria becomes a possibility.

In the event of Mr Al Assad’s downfall, Sunni groups and others in Syria might be too distracted by infighting to deal with the question of Kurdish autonomy.

It does not follow, however, that the Syrian Kurds will join with Iraq’s Kurdish Regional Government to form an independent Kurdish state straddling the northern part of today’s Iraq-Syria border.

Turkey Shuts Syria Border
BY JOE PARKINSON AND AYLA ALBAYRAK – WSJ

TURKEY-SYRIA BORDER—Turkey sealed its border with Syria to all traffic except refugees on Wednesday, citing worsening security conditions following escalating skirmishes close to the frontier which last week saw rebel fighters capture at least two crossing points.

Turkey’s economy minister announced the move—which will halt the passage of all commercial vehicles between Turkey and Syria—in a news conference in Ankara, citing “serious concerns” for drivers’ safety and noting that there had already been a 87% drop in trucks traveling to Syria this year. Turkish officials and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees in Ankara …

Syria Conflict: Aleppo Fighting Shifts Regime Forces, Diplomats Defect
Reuters | Posted: 07/25/2012
By Khaled Yacoub Oweis and Erika Solomon

AMMAN/BEIRUT, July 25 (Reuters) – The Syrian army turned its forces on Aleppo on Wednesday, ordering an armoured column to advance on the country’s second biggest city and pounding rebel fighters there with artillery and attack helicopters, opposition activists said.

As hostilities intensified near the Turkish border, Turkey said it was closing its crossing posts, although the United Nations said refugees fleeing Syria would be allowed through.

Two top Syrian diplomats, in the United Arab Emirates and Cyprus, have deserted their posts, becoming the latest officials to abandon the Damascus government, rebels said.

The 16-month revolt against President Bashar al-Assad has been transformed from an insurgency in remote provinces into a battle for control of the two main cities, Aleppo and the capital, Damascus, where fighting exploded last week.

Assad’s forces have launched massive counter assaults in both cities. They appear to have beaten rebels back from neighbourhoods in the capital and are turning towards Aleppo, a commercial hub in the north.

Syrian forces fired artillery and rockets on Wednesday at the northern Damascus suburb of al-Tel in an attempt to seize it from rebels, causing panic and forcing hundreds of families to flee, residents and opposition activists said.

The 216th mechanized battalion headquartered near Tel started bombarding the town of about 100,000 people before dawn and initial reports indicated residential apartment blocks were being hit, they said.

“Military helicopters are flying now over the town. People were awakened by the sound of explosions and are running away,” Rafe Alam, one of the activists, said by phone from a hill overlooking Tel. “Electricity and telephones have been cut off.”

Opposition sources also reported helicopters and machineguns were firing on the neighbourhood of Hajar al-Aswad. The slum lies on the southern outskirts of the capital and has been a haven for rebels sneaking into Damascus from the suburbs.

Opposition activists said thousands of troops had withdrawn with their tanks and armoured vehicles from Idlib province near the Turkish border and were headed towards Aleppo.

Rebels attacked the rear of the troops withdrawing from the north, activist Abdelrahman Bakran said from the area.

Military experts believe an overstretched Syrian army is pulling back to concentrate on fighting insurgents in Aleppo and Damascus, important power centres for the government, while leaving outlying areas in the hands of rebels.

Der Spiegel: The Endgame in Syria Assad’s Bloody Battle to Cling to Power
2012-07-24

The Endgame in Syria Assad’s Bloody Battle to Cling to Power By Christoph Reuter Marcel Mettelsiefen / DER SPIEGEL President Bashar Assad is losing his grip on power in Syria and he has responded by …

US position on Syria directly endorses terrorism – Lavrov

Washington’s reaction to blasts in Damascus is a downright justification of terrorism, slams Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. US State Department announced that terror acts in Syria are not surprising in light of the Assad regime’s actions.

“This is direct endorsement of terrorism. How are we supposed to understand that?” Sergey Lavrov shared his astonishment at a press conference in Moscow. “This is a sinister position, I cannot find words to express our attitude towards that.”

“In other words this means ‘We are going to support such acts of terrorism until the UNSC does what we want’,” Lavrov commented on the US representative’s actions. Lavrov also expressed his surprise that the UN Security Council refused to condemn acts of terror in Syria. The US permanent representative to the UN Susan Rice has stated that terror acts in Damascus contribute to speeding up the adoption of a resolution on Syria according to the Chapter 7 of the UN Statute, which implies harsh sanctions, including resorting to force.

As for the EU unilateral sanctions against Damascus, they contradict the decisions taken by the UN Security Council and agreements reached at the Geneva talks, stated Lavrov.

Comments (303)


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101. zoo said:

Changes in Turkey’s borders?
http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/changes-in-turkeys-borders-.aspx?pageID=449&nID=26374&NewsCatID=409

The fact that some Syrian border posts are no longer controlled by troops loyal to Bashar al-Assad but by Syrian Kurdish rebel groups, and that Kurdish flags have been raised in some Syrian border towns with Kurdish populations, has seriously disturbed the Turkish government.
….
The region is heading towards a dangerously unstable phase because of the civil war in Syria.

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July 25th, 2012, 11:23 pm

 

102. zoo said:

Non stop problems for Turkey…

Turkey to take action against PKK in Syria
http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-to-take-action-against-pkk-in-syria.aspx?pageID=238&nID=26368&NewsCatID=338

Turkey has announced that it will take additional measures against the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in Syria, after news broke that the PKK’s offshoot in there has seized control of a number of villages along the Syria-Turkey border. Top civilian and military officials held a security summit yesterday to discuss developments inside Syria and along the border.

The worst news for Turkey would be if the PKK were to obtain surface-to-air missile and chemical weapons. While the PKK is taking control of the region, it will develop itself politically and psychologically. Its legitimacy among Kurds will expand.

In conclusion, the recent developments could provide the PKK with significant military opportunities. If the government doesn’t take any precautions and wastes this most precious time, Turkey will face serious security problems. The PKK wants to harvest the political opportunities these military advantages would provide, will rise up and be more aggressive about reaching its aims.
http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/the-meaning-of-the-syrian-civil-war-for-the-pkk–.aspx?pageID=449&nID=26332&NewsCatID=419

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July 25th, 2012, 11:26 pm

 

103. Ghufran said:

“Sieda is the not real decision-maker,” complained Khalaf Dawood of the NCB. “He and [predecessor Burhan] Ghalioun are just pawns. The Islamists control the SNC even though there is no democratic basis for that. The Turks and the Saudis are running things and the Americans might be behind them. We don’t want to end up swapping one corrupt dictatorship for another.”

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July 25th, 2012, 11:37 pm

 

104. omen said:

what was it amir said? if syrians are able to topple this regime, anything following it will be easier to replace (if need be.)

The worst possibility for our country is that the regime stays in power. Anything else is less bad. ~ yassin saleh

the loyalists are so afraid of change. 20 years from now, they’ll wonder why they didn’t overthrow the regime earlier.

uzair, you’ve cited him a bit. how would you describe fawaz gerges’ politics? is he considered conservative?

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July 26th, 2012, 12:12 am

 

105. Uzair8 said:

I was going to share a BBC World Service news piece I heard earlier however it seems that channels programmes may no longer be available to listen again (*Not available to listen to on demand from 25 July-12 August*). Maybe they will have a new platform? Perhaps podcasts?

Anyway, they were talking to a french journalist who I’m sure was in Aleppo. A couple of things he said:

- A police station was captured in Aleppo by the rebels today. It had been attacked for 3 days and today they made the final assault after blowing the gate with a gas canister. They entered the station and captured 20 policemen who had been defending the station for 3 days.

- When asked about the news of more regime troops heading towards Aleppo and whether the rebels would dig trenches and stand their ground, he replied that the rebels were aware of these reports. He said one rebel commander said they would not be standing their ground but would be like water, moving, flowing between the streets and destroying tanks. The journalist judged this to be risky with the rebels lightly armed and with very little anti-tank weapons other than RPG.

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July 26th, 2012, 12:16 am

 

106. Uzair8 said:

#104 continued…

The journalist may have been Adrien Jaulmes:

http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/world/111707/syrian-rebels-braced-for-tank-onslaught-on-aleppo

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July 26th, 2012, 12:23 am

 

107. Ghufran said:

استشهد أمس الأربعاء لاعب نادي الاتحاد الحلبي زكريا اليوسف إثر سقوط قذيفة هاون في حي الأنصاري بحلب.
اليوسف استشهد بعد أن هرع إلى مكان سقوط القذيفة مع بعض المواطنين لإسعاف الجرحى،
Five other people were killed.

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July 26th, 2012, 12:29 am

 

108. Uzair8 said:

103. Omen

Fawas Gerges? I’m not sure about his politics.

I’ve heard him since the Libya crisis and he seems ok to me. On Syria early on, at times his analysis and predictions weren’t what I wanted to hear, which I think can be a good thing, as any change in his position can be taken as an indicator of how things may be changing on the ground.

I’ve seen a christian website accuse him of being an apologist for Islamists.

Recently I’ve seen one or 2 salafist types reacting to an article and stating their previous distrust of him.

From his articles and recent books he seems to be all doom and gloom about the US future role (lack of) in the middle east.

I reckon he along with Prof Landis are the 2 most in demand commentators on the Syrian issue.

Don’t know much else about him.

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July 26th, 2012, 12:39 am

 

109. SYRIAN HAMSTER said:

OTW agreed. Will answer on 7ee6an. Answer is too long and contentious for SC.

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July 26th, 2012, 12:49 am

 

110. Uzair8 said:

I was refused permission to edit my previous 2 posts even with about 4 minutes of edit time remaining.

A correction.

In #107 I said a ‘Christian’ website. I was going by memory. Something I read last year maybe?

I just looked it up and it was actually ‘Campus Watch’. It’s an old article from 2003….

Who Is Fawaz Gerges?
Another problem Mideast scholar

http://www.campus-watch.org/article/id/752

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July 26th, 2012, 12:51 am

 

111. Uzair8 said:

An Arabic news channel discussion. I don’t understand it but will share it.

الانتفاضة العربية الشيخ محمد أبوالهدى اليعقوبي قناة الحوار 2012 07 21

Google translate: Intifada, the Arab Sheikh Mohammed Al Yacoubi Abualhdy dialogue 21 07 2012

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MZrwEOUOdCA

25 minute long.

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July 26th, 2012, 1:00 am

 

112. Halabi said:

RT took down it’s major scoop about the $36 billion movie being made in Hollywood to bring down Assad, which was the basis of a crazy report on Syrian TV. Addunya picked up this hilarious bit.

http://youtu.be/vhzw3rh6ia0

People who depend on this kind of news (Riad Al Asaad ran away with $2 million, Mustafa Tlass told the spokeswomen for the FSA to go breast feed her children on France 2, etc.) aren’t seeing some other side of the story that rational observers are missing. Those who believed that “Assad is duck really” studios is real, or that anyone in the history of mankind spent $36 billion on a film, are beyond repair. I don’t think they should be killed, but they definitely need an IQ test before procreating so as not to pollute the gene pool.

المخابرات الصينية تكشف عن عمل هوليوودي للإيحاء بسقوط الأسد بتمويل خليجي

أجرت القناة الروسية “الثانية” لقاءً مع المتحدث باسم جهاز الاستخبارات الاتحادي الصيني أكد من خلاله نجاح المخابرات الصينية بالتوصل الى معلومات تشير الى ان شركة “مترو غولدوين ماير” الأمريكية الشهيرة بصدد تصوير “حيلة سينمائية هي الأضخم في تاريخ الشركة لصالح أجندات سياسية تهدف الى إسقاط النظام في سورية”.

وأشار المتحدث الى التعاون بين “مترو غولدوين ماير” وشركة آسا ديز داك ريلي” ومقرها ولاية نيفادا الأمريكية، والى ان العمل يجري حالياً على قدم وساق لتصوير مشاهد أطلق عليها اسم “السقوط المدوي” توحي بانهيار النظام الرسمي في سورية، بغية زعزعة الثقة لدى المقربين من هذا النظام واستهداف “معنويات عناصر الجيش السوري النظامي والدائرة المقربة من رئيس البلاد بشار الاسد”.

وكشف المتحدث وهو ضابط برتبة عقيد يُدعى إيشما سونغا عن عملاء للمخابرات الصينية نجخوا باختراق هذا المشروع وتسريب معلومات مهمة حوله للمركز، مشيراً الى ان اللقطات التي يتم حالياً الإعداد لتصويرها تشمل تصميم مجسمات للعديد من المواقع المعروفة ذات الرمزية الخاصة في سورية، مثل القصر الجمهوري وجبل قاسيون ومطار دمشق الدولي وملعب العباسيين، بالإضافة الى مبنى القيادة القومية وساحة الأمويين والسبع بحرات ومكتبة الأسد وجسر الرئيس في دمشق، كما يتم تجهيز مجسمات لمطار الضمير وإحدى المزارع التابعة لأحد كبار الضباط في الجيش السوري، على ان يتم تصوير مشاهد معدة للإيحاء بأنها وقعت بالفعل “في إطار مخطط الإطاحة بالنظام الحالي في سورية”.

كما أكد إيشما سونغا ان المشروع “السينمائي” يحتوي على مشاهد انشقاق سياسيين والكثير من كبار الضباط في الجيش، لافتاً الانتباه الى ان تصوير بعض هذه المشاهد سيتم بتقنية 3D، والى ان تكلفة هذه العملية “بلغت 36 مليار دولار تكفلت المملكة العربية السعودية وقطر وسلطنة عمان بها”.

ووصف سونغا الأمر بأنه “مؤامرة كونية على سورية الصديقة للصين”، مشيراً في سياق الحوار الى ان ساعة الصفر المحددة لإسقاط النظام لن تتجاوز منتصف شهر آب/أيلول القادم، وان موعد بث هذه التسجيلات التي أعادت الى الأذهان أحداث فيلم Wag tht Dog حول حرب افتراضية ستتم بعد اختراق محطات التلفزيون السورية واللبنانية والإيرانية “المؤيدة للنظام السوري” وقطع بثها، وذلك تنفيذاً للمرحلة الأخيرة من خطة إسقاط النظام السوري والإطاحة ببشار الأسد. وشدد العقيد الصيني قبل نهاية اللقاء على ان بلاده “لن تترك النظام السوري يواجه هذه المؤامرة بمفرده”، متعهداً بأن بكين ستقدم “دعماً معنوياً ضخماً للتصدي لها”.

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July 26th, 2012, 1:14 am

 

113. Ghufran said:

Kurd support is expensive nowadays,but neither the regime nor the opposition will be able to secure it unless one party in this conflict emerges as a strong victor and that is unlikely in Syria,Kurds have already taken steps to secure their areas and as things heat up near their towns,more steps will be taken. Kurds have one major goal regardless of what their
Politicians say or do not say: a recognition of their unique situation as an ethnic group that wants good relation with Arabs but does not want to be subjected to the rule of any Arab government. Syria will not be able to control the Kurds,Turkey will try,but Kurds will not stop until they have their own country or at least their autonomous entity in each of the countries where they fom a sizable minority.
أكد الناطق باسم «حركة الإصلاح – سورية» والعضو في أمانة «المجلس الوطني الكردي» في سورية فيصل يوسف، أن الأعلام الكردية التي رفعت على بعض المرافق العامة في محافظة الحسكة بدأ العمل بإزالتها وإعادة العلم الوطني السوري بعد قرار بعدم المساس بالمرافق الخدمية والإنتاجية العامة والخاصة، مشدداً على أن الطابع السلمي للتظاهرات المعارضة في المدن الكردية لا يعطي أي مبرر لوجود «الجيش الحر» ولا غيره في هذه المنطقة، مشدداً على أن «الجيش السوري وقوات حفظ النظام مازالت في القامشلي وغيرها من مدن محافظة الحسكة في الذروة وموجودة بشكل قوي».

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July 26th, 2012, 1:34 am

 
 

115. Juergen said:

Dietmar Ossenberg is again in Damascus, he made this report:

http://www.zdf.de/ZDFmediathek/hauptnavigation/startseite/#/beitrag/video/1692490/Weniger-K%C3%A4mpfe-in-Damaskus

in it he wants to show that the there is a normal life possible, he made interviews in the parc near the Four Seasons.
One women was displaced from her apartment due to “terrorist” activities. He wents on to the Omajad square, visit a famous chocolate store( he did that before too) and the owner says that Europe until now has not understand that the regime is fighting against terrrorists.

6 days of fighting in Damascus, but the stores and banks are open, at least in this part of Damascus, where the fighting occurred we arent allowed to visit.

Not a single bad word against Assad or the regime today. Only those in favor of the regime wants to talk to us, those who are against it, will never talk to us in front of the camera.

( now my favorite part)

Scene in a restaurant. It is ramadan like in all muslim countries but here in Syria one can eat during the day. For Assad followers thats a proof of the tolerance.

Visit to a center of the catholic church where the priest Elias is collecting goods to share with the needy. The boyscouts of the church have collected medication and food.

The priest Elias: We are in a religious war. The fanatics come from Libya and Afghanistan to destroy Syria. ( the priest went to say they come also from Iraq, Jordan, but that was not translated into German)

Even though many support the regime for its religious tolerance they no longer believe Syria has a future and many just want to get out.

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July 26th, 2012, 2:48 am

 

116. SANDRO LOEWE said:

According to witnesses:

During last 10-12 days Assad has been sending 15 metres long trucks through Anti-Lebanon mountains to Serghaya unofficial border post with Lebanon. They are supposed to transport long range missiles (chemical or conventional) from Assad to Hizballah military camps in Bekaa Valley south of Baalbek.

Assad may have been ordered by Iran to do it, so missiles are not taken by the enemy and at the same time put extra pressure on Israel.

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July 26th, 2012, 3:00 am

 

117. Mina said:

Tara 75 about the LCC
So finally you join Jad’s position! Beware, he has been threatened of jail and military tribunals by many here, including high in the admin!

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July 26th, 2012, 4:57 am

 

118. Amir in Tel Aviv said:

I salute Ben Ali, SCAF and Yemen’s Saleh. They all are real patriots.

They knew when is the right time to give it up. They didn’t want to burn their countries with themselves. Unlike this murderous Alawi junta, who is dragging Syria into the abyss, the other Arab dictators and juntas wanted to spare their countries from hell.

I salute all Arab ex-dictators who spared their countries and countrymen. I scorn this despicable Alawi junta.
.

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July 26th, 2012, 5:47 am

 

119. habib said:

Some speculation about an Alawite State: http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Middle-East/2012/Jul-25/181965-alawite-mountains-offer-limited-shelter-to-assad.ashx#axzz21gZoJE3A

They make the same mistake as many here by calling it an “inviable rump-state”.

Which is puzzling, since such a state would have exactly the same size, geography, climate and resources as Lebanon. Lebanon has mainly failed due to its many sects, not size, but an Alawite state would be more homogenous, so this problem would be mostly eliminated. So where exactly lies the “inviability?

117. Amir in Tel Aviv

Wish whatever you want, you’re next in any event, lol. The Muslim Brotherhood caliphate that soon surrounds you might be nice to you in the beginning due to Western pressure, but wait a few years, and you’ll be attacked daily by suicidal crazies from all fronts.

Salafists are backstabbers that cannot be trusted, the West didn’t learn from aiding them in Afghanistan or Libya. You’ll soon learn again.

I salute those Jews who leave Israel in the near future. They know to give up before burning the entire region, and themselves.

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July 26th, 2012, 6:38 am

 

120. Tara said:

Mina @117

Wallahi ya Mina you don’t know anything from anything about Syria. You did not know that the killed ex-defense minister was christian and you are confusing the LCC with the NCB( Haytham Manaa group). I told you before, find a Sudan or Mali blog. You’d fair much better.

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July 26th, 2012, 7:25 am

 

121. Mina said:

It looks like Jürgen has forgotten to post this one (Thanks Angry Arab):
“German intelligence estimates that “around 90” terror attacks, which “can be attributed to organizations that are close to al-Qaeda or jihadist groups,” were carried out in Syria between the end of December and the beginning of July. As reported by the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, this was revealed by the German government in a response to a parliamentary question. In response to the same question, the German government admitted that it had received several reports from the German foreign intelligence service, the BND, on the May 25 massacre in the Syrian town of Houla. But it noted that the content of these reports was to remain classified “by reason of national interest”…”

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July 26th, 2012, 7:34 am

 

122. Observer said:

The mask of resistance has fallen again and yet some refuse to accept this
This is from RT on bombing Yarmouk refugee camp
http://arabic.rt.com/news_all_news/news/590576/
Syrian Hamster I could not agree more about Atwan, he is from another generation and is still delusional about a white knight fair dictator that is coming to save Jerusalem

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July 26th, 2012, 7:58 am

 

123. habib said:

Genius move by the Syrians:

“Syrian Kurdish opposition figures say Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces have quit areas of Hassaka and Aleppo provinces, which border Turkey, leaving them under the control of the PKK-linked Democratic Union Party (PYD).”

http://english.al-akhbar.com/content/turkey-mulls-syria-intervention-crush-kurdish-rebels

So if the Turks force their FSA proxies to attack the Kurds, or even if the Turks attack them, they can wave goodbye to Kurdish support for their little revolution-project. Loool.

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July 26th, 2012, 8:13 am

 

124. Tara said:

The massacre’s judge has defected. Is that the result of his investigation?

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/middle-east-live/2012/jul/26/syria-crisis-aleppo-battle-looms-live#block-6

11.06am: Following the Qubair massacre last month, the Syrian government appointed its own commission to investigate, but it wasn’t long before reports started circulating that the head of the commission, Talal Houshan, had defected.

These reports now appear to be confirmed by a video posted on YouTube where Houshan, apparently reading a prepared statement, accuses the Syrian government and its shabiha supporters of killing women and children.

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July 26th, 2012, 8:26 am

 

125. Tara said:

Are Manaf and Bandar going to shape Syria’s future?

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/middle-east-live/2012/jul/26/syria-crisis-aleppo-battle-looms-live#block-7

11.23am: Brigadier General Manaf Tlass, the cigar-chomping defector backed by US officials (see 9.47am) seems to have thrown his lot in with the Saudis rather than the Qataris – unlike many of the other Syrian defectors.

He’s featured today in an interview (in Arabic) with the Saudi-owned Asharq al-Awsat where he thanks King Abdullah “for giving me this opportunity to visit Saudi Arabia” and describes the kingdom as “a friendly country to Syria”.

He also confirms – as we suggested in the live blog yesterday – that he has been in Saudi Arabia performing the umrah pilgrimage. This helps to explain the period of silence following his defection.

In extracts from the interview translated by Reuters, Tlass says:

I am discussing with … people outside Syria to reach a consensus with those inside.

I left (Syria) … to try to help the best I can to unite the honourable people inside and outside Syria to set out a road map to get Syria out of this crisis.

I realise this is a difficult phase … It’s difficult for one person to bear the responsibility of such a phase. A group (including opposition) from inside and outside Syria should cooperate to accomplish this phase.

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July 26th, 2012, 8:27 am

 

126. Mina said:

Tara
Where was I wrong since April 2011 when I said it is all about independent Kurdistan and that as long as Bashar would kill djihadists conveniently gathered there the West would not have problem with it?
I am not interested in the sectarian composition of the Syrian goverment nor in their family affaires, but after listening many here calling for ethnic cleansing of the Alawites consider by them as heretics, it is always interesting to point out the strong Sunni and Christian supports of the regime, no?

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July 26th, 2012, 8:29 am

 

127. Juergen said:

Mina

I didnt have to post that, Karabenehmsi posted it already.

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July 26th, 2012, 9:02 am

 

128. Juergen said:

Tara

Soon we will hear what an criminal Talal Houshan was. The only question to me is why does the regime always choose the wrong persons to do the job? Is it a wasta problem?

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July 26th, 2012, 9:08 am

 

129. zoo said:

TIME Exclusive: Meet the Islamist Militants Fighting Alongside Syria’s Rebels

As foreign jihadists rally around the cause of Syria’s rebels, TIME meets two factions of Islamist fighters seeking to overthrow the Assad regime and set up a political state in their image
By Rania Abouzeid / Idlib Province

The al-Qaeda flag was propped up in a barrel painted with the three-starred Syrian revolutionary banner in the middle of the road at a makeshift checkpoint between the northern Syrian towns of Binnish and Taftanaz in Idlib province

Read more: http://world.time.com/2012/07/26/time-exclusive-meet-the-islamist-militants-fighting-alongside-syrias-rebels/#ixzz21jq5iPsN

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July 26th, 2012, 10:18 am

 

130. Juergen said:

Turkish PM:

“Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and those close to him were about to leave power and preparations are underway for a “new era” in Turkey’s southern neighbour.”

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July 26th, 2012, 10:20 am

 

131. zoo said:

“With Turkey, it’s all talk,”

Turkey a hub for Syria revolution as illegal border crossing points abound
http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/turkey-a-hub-for-syria-revolution-as-illegal-border-crossing-points-abound/2012/07/25/gJQADKO29W_story_1.html

Turkey’s role in the revolt goes far deeper than helping refugees, though to what extent it is actively aiding a war that has spun beyond the reach of world diplomacy is unclear. Turkey seems to be groping for a strategy to address the unfolding chaos on its doorstep, said Hugh Pope of the International Crisis Group in Istanbul.

“Turkey wants to have a say in what happens in Syria,” he said. “But I’m not sure it’s got any easy answers to what is going on. This is all new and unexpected for Turkey.”

Most of the talk is of money and arms, both of which are in inadequate supply, according to fighters and activists. Weapons have been reaching the rebels in small quantities, procured from arms dealers with funding provided by Saudi Arabia and Qatar. But deliveries have been intermittent, and the small arms and ammunition are not sufficient to defeat the well-equipped Syrian army, rebels say.

Some blame Turkey for not doing enough, even as its prime minister, Recep Tayyep Erdogan, delivers strongly worded statements condemning Assad, a former friend and ally, and predicting his demise.
..
WQhat is clear is that the Syrian conflict has already reached deep into Turkey. The quaint and ancient city of Antakya, the preferred destination for most Syrians crossing the border, pulses with the intrigue and gossip of the war next door.

Free Syrian Army fighters stride through its narrow streets, sunburned and sweaty from the battlefield, hoping to meet benefactors to provide them with money and arms.

Salafi Muslims, who have come to offer help from the countries of the Persian Gulf region, huddle over kebabs, their long beards and robes conspicuous in secularist Turkey.

Men who identify themselves as representatives of rebel battalions rent cheap hotel rooms and apartments, swelling the population of a city, once part of Syria, where many still speak Arabic as their native tongue.

“With Turkey, it’s all talk,” said Abu Alaa, a veteran fighter and former farmer who had crossed into Syria to hustle for fresh supplies of ammunition.

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July 26th, 2012, 10:27 am

 

132. irritated said:

#125 Tara

Are Manaf and Bandar going to shape Syria’s future?

Yes if the Baath regime collapses as you have been calling for!
A Sunni-only alliance with excellent relations with the USA, Saudi Arabia and France.
Is that you always wanted, no? or you still prefer Burhan Ghaliun and Basma Qodmani?

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July 26th, 2012, 10:32 am

 

133. habib said:

131. zoo

Erdogan is the epitome of the proverbial “barking dog”, lol.

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July 26th, 2012, 10:42 am

 

134. bronco said:

123. Habib

It seems that there is an agreement behind the scene whereby Bashar Al Assad has promised more autonomy to Syrians Kurds in exchange for either their neutrality and possibly their support if needed.

Aware that it could happen, the SNC had elected a Kurdish leader with the hope he will rally the Kurds against Bashar.
It failed. The non-support of the Kurds (10% of the population) is a blow to the opposition.
In addition it is a threat to Turkey as arms can easily be brought in Turkey to support the PKK. The Turkish media show that Turkey is increasingly worried about the development in the borders in the Kurdish part of the country.
In others words, Saudi Arabia and Qatar are paying for weapons who end up in the hands of Al Qaeeda, the PKK, the Syrian government and what is left to the rebels.

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July 26th, 2012, 10:43 am

 

135. Dawoud said:

Bilal was lucky that Ummayah, not Bashar, was torturing him! This was my thought last night while watching al-Farouk “Omar” on MBC (http://shahid.mbc.net/media/video/29258)! Bilal survived torture, but Hamza al-Khateeb didn’t! The brutal Ummayah Ibn-Khalaf had to have a little more mercy and compassion than Bashar/Maher al-Assad, and certainly more than Hasan Nasillat of Hizbillat, who-according to an artilce in al-Jomhouriyah Newspaper-called the Syrian murderous dictator and offered him Hizbistan’s “full capabilities and support!” Ummayah Ibn-Khalaf had much less innocent blood on his hand than Bashar/Maher and Hasan!

Free Syria & Palestine!

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July 26th, 2012, 10:45 am

 

136. zoo said:

Resurgent al-Qaeda in Iraq’s Target: ‘Heart’ of US

Back from brink, al-Qaeda in Iraq far more dangerous
By Mark Russell, Newser Staff

Posted Jul 26, 2012 3:12 AM CDT
http://www.newser.com/story/150832/resurgent-al-qaeda-in-iraq-vows-to-strike-at-us-heart.html

Newser) – Al-Qaeda in Iraq killed scores of people with its coordinated bombings and shootings around Iraq early this week, but the militant group has bigger ambitions than just local terror attacks. It’s now aiming for the “heart” of the US, reports the Los Angeles Times. “You will soon witness how attacks will resound in the heart of your land, because our war with you has now started,” warned the head of al-Qaeda in Iraq in a recent audio recording. Although al-Qaeda in Iraq was devastated five years ago, since then it has regrouped and expanded, thanks to the upheaval in Syria and new funding from wealthy donors in the region.

“You can say pretty categorically that al-Qaeda in Iraq appears to be strengthening from where it was two years ago,” said an al-Qaeda expert from the Rand Corp., noting “there are networks and recruiting efforts in the US and Canada.” US officials downplayed the chances of the terrorist group conducting a successful attack in the US, but there have been several arrests in Canada and America over the past two years of people connected to al-Qaeda in Iraq.

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July 26th, 2012, 10:49 am

 

137. Juergen said:

Mina
i thought you may like this article

A tv station only with women who wear niqab

Maria TV-Cairo

“Undercover TV” some Egyptians called the new private television station mockingly. All employees – even behind the cameras – are women, and all work as it were covered: covered with the face veil that leaves only a slit for the eyes free. Ultra-orthodox Muslims call him “niqab” and hold him for a religious duty.

“Egypt’s ultra-Orthodox are determined to impose their conservative stamp over the society. Recently in Suez a young man was stabbed by a Salafist hothead because he and his fiancée sat alone in the evening in a park. For the ultra-Orthodox that is immoral. The journalist Heba Hesham is still not worried in general. “We are talking about the activities of some people, which will hurt at the end: Islam. I’m not afraid of what they do. No one can impose anything on the Egyptian society again.”
http://translate.google.de/translate?sl=de&tl=en&js=n&prev=_t&hl=de&ie=UTF-8&layout=2&eotf=1&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.tagesschau.de%2Fausland%2Fmaria104.html

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July 26th, 2012, 10:54 am

 

138. zoo said:

An Arab islamist plot against the GCC? Crackdown on Islamists

DUBAI | Thu Jul 26, 2012 5:40am EDT
http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/07/26/us-emirates-police-brotherhood-idUSBRE86P0EG20120726

….
The comments by Dahi Khalfan, one of the most outspoken security officials in the United Arab Emirates, follow the detention in the UAE since April of at least 20 dissidents, according to relatives of the detainees and activists.

“There’s an international plot against Gulf states in particular and Arab countries in general…This is preplanned to take over our fortunes,” Khalfan told reporters at a gathering late on Wednesday marking the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

“The bigger our sovereign wealth funds and the more money we put in the banks of Western countries, the bigger the plot to take over our countries…The brothers and their governments in Damascus and North Africa have to know that the Gulf is a red line, not only for Iran but also for the Brothers as well.”

Most of the detainees since April are Islamists, targeted by an official clampdown amid concern they may be emboldened by the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in other Arab countries such as Egypt.

UAE Interior Ministry officials have not been available to comment on the arrests. Last week, UAE officials announced that authorities were investigating a foreign-linked group planning “crimes against the security of the state”.

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July 26th, 2012, 10:56 am

 

139. Aldendeshe said:

I scorn this despicable Alawi junta.
_________________________________________________________________

You have no right to scorn them, they are fighting in self defense. It is a life or death battle for them. They will be butchered with dull knives. As an Israeli, you will fight the same as well when faced with Paleo. What you need to do is scorn the revolutionaries and backers/ plotter who plotted and guided the wrong kind of revolution in Syria. One that is designed to fail on purpose,to keep the Assad and take away the parts of Syria needed by Israel, Turkey and the oil and gas inerests.

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July 26th, 2012, 11:01 am

 

140. bronco said:

A dilemma for the Western countries terrified by the sudden surge of Al Qaeeda’s presence in Iraq that has been facilitated by the conflict in Syria.

To chase and stop Al Qaeeda in Iraq, the Western countries will be obliged to help both the Iraqi and the Syrian government, like they are doing in Yemen, before it gets too late.
They are realizing that the FSA is unable to fight Al Qaeeda as it is too weak and itself infiltrated. The only force that could help stop the flow of Islamist fighters and weapons in the region is the Syrian Army. The current efforts of weakening it only encourage Islamist extremists to have a free ride to Iraq.

A major shift in the western attitude toward the Syrian government is expected as soon as Aleppo is fully back in the Syrian’s army controls and the rebels fleeing. The UNMIS will immediately start the cease fire agreement. That’s why they are there, for that moment.

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July 26th, 2012, 11:12 am

 

141. Stick to the Truth said:

Interesting statement by M. Tlass

A group (including opposition) from inside and outside Syria should cooperate to accomplish this phase

Why “Including opposition” in brackets?

http://english.al-akhbar.com/live-event/live-blog-syrian-crisis

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July 26th, 2012, 11:25 am

 

142. sf94123 said:

Bronco at 140,
You are overoptimistic! Hope you are right. By the way, I always look forward to reading your comment and analysis. keep them coming.

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July 26th, 2012, 11:31 am

 

143. AIG said:

Bronco,

According to your logic, the West should be happy that the Sunnis will be fighting the Shia for years to come. They will have no time to fight Israel and Syria and Iraq will be weaker than ever.

No Western country is going to help the Syrian or Iraqi regimes. Assad is much worse than Al-Qaida. He supported Hamas that killed 1,000 Israeli civilians in the second intifada. Then, you cheered him on. Now you think Islamic terrorists are not such a good idea. What happened to change your mind?

So, Assad not only supported the suicide bombings of Hamas against Israel, he also supported jihadists going from Syria to fight the Americans in Iraq. And now you want to scare us with “Islamists going wild” when this scenario was supported all along by Assad? Let’s see Assad deal with this disastrous phenomena that he nurtured. Instead of complaining, accept responsibility for this vile phenomena and deal with it.

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July 26th, 2012, 11:41 am

 

144. AIG said:

Why would the US care if there are Islamic terrorists in Iraq? That will only weaken Iran and their stooge Maliki. What happens in Iraq after the Americans left is an Iraqi problem, not an American one.

They may say a few words but the Americans would not care at all if a Sunni state comprising parts of Iraq and parts of Syria is formed. Neither would Israel.

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July 26th, 2012, 11:44 am

 

145. Juergen said:

Bronco

Its interesting to believe that Syria never was involved in helping AQ to get the number 1 threat to national security in Iraq.
I assume you will make a fine measure to defend the regimes continuous support for salafist Hamas and Jihad islamiyah as well as radical schiite Hisbollah and AQ. If I would have asked a year ago if AQ would exist in Syria most experts would have asked for ones mental health.

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July 26th, 2012, 11:49 am

 

146. bronco said:

#144 AIG

Why would the US care if there are Islamic terrorists in Iraq?

http://www.joshualandis.com/blog/?p=15532&cp=3#comment-320608

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July 26th, 2012, 12:00 pm

 

147. Mina said:

The West can be happy: since the Arab world suffers from a demographic crisis, let’s the Islamists explain that to their supporters. They will certainly find the words and take the measures experimented in the 60 and 70′s by China and India.

Thanks Jürgen,i have posted the ahramonline article about it 2 weeks ago (when you were away for a few days).

Bronco: it’s the law of the free market and free world. Qatar and KSA cannot be held accountable if the PKK and some Syrian army “associates” can pay more than the “rebels” and buy the imported stuff.

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July 26th, 2012, 12:20 pm

 

148. Damascius said:

The menhebekjiyeh of 2011 are back here after the first Damascene scare,replaying their arrogant khelset.

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July 26th, 2012, 12:47 pm

 

149. AIG said:

Bronco,

You quote an article describing that AQ is getting stronger in Iraq. But why should Americans care? It is an Iraqi problem. AQ are killing Iraqis, not Americans. Maliki said he can handle security in Iraq, let him do it. He can get the Iranians to help him. It is not an American problem and Americans do not care.

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July 26th, 2012, 12:54 pm

 

150. Antoine said:

139. ALDENDESHE said :

“They will be butchered with dull knives”

_________________________________________________________________

Are you sure ? What makes you (and them) think so ?

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July 26th, 2012, 1:01 pm

 

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