Tremseh: Lopsided Battle with Rebels; Rebel Commanders Angry; Fares Says Assad Ordered Al-Qaida Bombings;

I will be traveling for the next month and spending time in Vermont on vacation. Syria Comment will be published only intermittently.  Best, Joshua

Details of a Battle Challenge Reports of a Syrian Massacre – New York Times

The United Nations observers still on the ground in Syria sent a team in 11 vehicles to the village of Tremseh on Saturday to investigate what had happened, …

Their initial report said the attack appeared to target “specific groups and houses, mainly of army defectors and activists,” Ms. Ghosheh said in a statement. It said a range of weapons had been used, including artillery, mortars and small arms.

The report seemed to indicate that some people had been killed at close range — it said there were pools of blood and blood spatters in several houses along with bullet cases. The team also found a burned school and damaged houses.

The picture emerging is that there was a large group of fighters from the town and the local area bivouacked in Tremseh. The Syrian Army moved in early Thursday, blocking all exits and blasting away with machine guns, tank shells and rockets fired from helicopters, laying waste to the town.

“Whenever the Syrian Army knows there are fighters concentrated in an area, they attack,” said the leader of the Observatory, who goes by the pseudonym Rami Abdul-Rahman for safety reasons. “The majority of people killed in Tremseh were either rebel fighters from the village or from surrounding villages.”…

Syrian state television paraded several captured fighters on air on Saturday who said Tremseh had been a regional center of operations for the past 20 days. The captives said that 200 to 300 fighters had gathered there to plot attacks on checkpoints and other military targets.

“We clashed for hours in Tremseh, and even the leader of the local division was killed,” said a man identified as Mohammed Satouf, who said his role had been to produce YouTube videos from the area. He said the rebel fighters used mostly small and light weapons…..

U.N. says Syria killings targeted opposition | Reuters, July 14, 2012

Abdo writes from Aleppo

Yesterday a crowd of villagers and their relatives in Aleppo occupied apartments in the Youth Housing Project in Inzarat region, north of Aleppo city. Eyewitnesses say that refugees from Izaz broke into the buildings and started occupying apartments and calling relatives in Aleppo for assistance and sharing. The Youth Housing Project in Inzarat region has 1800 apartments ready to be handed over to their owners. The governor of Aleppo reportedly gave those occupants 6 days ultimatum to evacuate the apartments. Some occupants said they will leave as soon as the situation in Izaz calms down, but others insisted they will remain.

Exclusive interview: why I defected from Bashar al-Assad’s regime, by former diplomat Nawaf Fares

….Yesterday, in a wide-ranging interview conducted by telephone from Qatar, where he has now sought refuge, Mr Fares made a series of devastating claims against the Assad regime, which he said was determined to be “victorious” whatever the cost.

* Jihadi units that Mr Fares himself had helped Damascus send to fight US troops in neighbouring Iraq were involved in the string of deadly suicide bomb attacks in Syria

* The attacks were carried on the direct orders of the Assad regime, in the hope that it could blame them on the rebel movement

* President Assad, who had a “violent streak” inherited from his father, was now living “in a world of his own”

Mr Fares spoke out as the violence in Syria continued unabated, with at least 28 people killed across the country yesterday. The town of Khirbet Ghazaleh in southern Syria was attacked by hundreds of troops backed by tanks and helicopter gunships, according to the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Meanwhile, United Nations observers visited the village of Treimsa, in central Hama province, in which up to 200 people are feared to have died on Thursday.

It was precisely such atrocities as these that forced Mr Fares to gradually question his own allegiance to the regime, ending 35 years of loyal service in which he worked as a policeman, regional governor and political security chief, becoming entrusted with some of its most sensitive tasks.

“At the beginning of the revolution, the state tried to convince people that reforms would be enacted very soon,” he said. “We lived on that hope for a while. We gave them the benefit of the doubt, but after many months it became clear to me that the promises of reform were lies. That was when I made my decision. I was seeing the massacres perpetrated – no man would be able to live with himself, seeing what I saw and knowing what I know, to stay in the position.”

Mr Fares’s most damaging allegation is that the Syrian government itself has a hand in the nationwide wave of suicide bombings on government buildings, which have killed hundreds of people and maimed thousands more. By way of example, he cited the twin blasts outside a military intelligence building in the al-Qazzaz suburb of Damascus in May, which killed 55 people and injured another 370.

“I know for certain that not a single serving intelligence official was harmed during that explosion, as the whole office had been evacuated 15 minutes beforehand,” he said. “All the victims were passers by instead. All these major explosions have been have been perpetrated by al-Qaeda through cooperation with the security forces.”

Such allegations have been aired in general terms by the Syrian opposition before, and Mr Fares would not be drawn on what exact proof he had. He is, however, better placed than many to make such claims. One of the reasons for his rise in President Assad’s regime was that he is a senior member of the Oqaydat tribe, a highly powerful clan whose population straddles the Syrian-Iraq border. Following the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003, their territory became part of the conduit used by Syria to smuggle jihadi volunteers into Iraq, with Mr Fares playing an important role.

“After the invasion of Iraq in 2003, the regime in Syria began to feel danger, and began planning to disrupt the US forces inside Iraq, so it formed an alliance with al-Qaeda,” he said. “All Arabs and other foreigners were encouraged to go to Iraq via Syria, and their movements were facilitated by the Syrian government. As a governor at the time, I was given verbal commandments that any civil servant that wanted to go would have his trip facilitated, and that his absence would not be noted. I believe the Syrian regime has blood on its hands, it should bare responsibility for many of the deaths in Iraq.”

He himself, he added, knew personally of several Syrian government “liaison officers” who still dealt with al-Qaeda. “Al-Qaeda would not carry out activities without knowledge of the regime,” he said. “The Syrian government would like to use al-Qaeda as a bargaining chip with the West – to say: ‘it is either them or us’.”

Mr Fares, who has six grown-up children, said he made his decision to quit five months ago, after a particularly bloody Friday, which has become the regular day for opposition protests. “The number of killings was unusually high that day, especially in my area, and that was the final straw – there was no hope any more,” he said.

Mindful that such a display of disloyalty could lead to reprisals against his family, he slowly began getting his relatives out of the country. He himself was then smuggled out of Baghdad last week by the Syrian opposition. He declines to give details of the operation, but says he made a point of continuing his normal duties up to the last minute so as not to alert the authorities, who he suspected would have been monitoring his phone calls as a diplomat anyway.

Since his defection, he regretted, many cousins within his extended family had been questioned by Syrian intelligence, with some forced into hiding. However, any doubts he had harboured prior to jumping ship had gone after a final visit he made a month ago to his home city of Deir al-Zour, near the Iraqi-Syrian border.

“There was tremendous destruction there and thousands of people had been killed, many of them from my tribe,” he said. “Life in the city was almost non-existent. What I saw there broke my heart, it was tragic and unbelievable, and if people there have not joined the uprising already, they will now. The majority of the tribe, I think, are already on the side of revolution.”

Indeed, the last time he had spoken to President Assad, in a face-to-face meeting six months ago, the Syrian leader had asked him to use his influence in Deir al-Zour, promising him promotion if he did.

“He was saying that we should insist that this is a conspiracy from the West aimed at Syria,” Mr Fares said. “I spoke with the local sheikhs and leaders, but the people’s response was that you cannot trust Assad.

“I think he does believe it is a conspiracy against him, but he is now living in a world of his own.”

However, on the question of whether Mr Assad was directing the violence personally, Mr Fares was equivocal. On the one hand, he claimed the Syrian leader was being “led” by powerful members within his own family, and also his Russian backers. On the other, he pointed out that President Assad’s late father, Hafez, had been equally ruthless during his rule, which included the massacre of more than 10,000 people during a Muslim Brotherhood uprising in the city of Hama in 1982.

“Bashar doesn’t strike you as being extremely intelligent, he seems to be someone who is led rather than who leads. But nobody has the ability to carry out these decisions except him, and he definitely has the genes of his father, who was a criminal by all accounts. This is what he grew up with, this is the hallmark of the family.”

Like President Assad, Mr Fares now faces an uncertain future. To the regime, which formally sacked him from his job last week, he is now a traitor and a marked man. To the opposition, meanwhile, he is a boost to morale but not necessarily someone who can be entirely trusted.

In his message announcing his defection last week, he urged other diplomats to follow in his wake. Yet his own familiarity with the workings of Syria’s police state means he knows that they will most likely keep their plans to themselves. “These things are extremely sensitive so I don’t know of others planning to defect. Sometimes you are frightened someone will hear if you think it yourself.”

Firas Tlass: 45 officers of Tlass family defect from regime

Speaking exclusively to Asharq Al-Awsat during a telephone interview from Paris, Syrian business tycoon Firas Tlass strongly denied reports that the al-Farouq Brigade commander had been killed. He also revealed that he is personally providing humanitarian relief and assistance to the brigade, but stressed that he is not arming the FSA. The Syrian businessman also refused to discuss his younger brother’s defection from the al-Assad regime, saying that he is waiting for the dust to settle following this shocking news.

[...]

As for the fate of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Tlass said that al-Assad remains part of the solution, despite the fact that he is the major reason behind the crisis. He said that the best solution for Syria would be for Bashar al-Assad to hand over power to a national council, adding this can be viewed as a mixture of the Yemeni and Egyptian solutions.

However the Syrian tycoon told Asharq Al-Awsat this the most likely solution would see the “rise of a strong internal current that unites an important part of the revolutionary trend, and which possess a strong and clear political program to govern the next stage” adding “this current would impose itself on the scene and would be capable of negotiating with the regime.” He nominated his cousin Abdul Razzaq Tlass as a figure who can represent the Syrian revolution.

Fresh From Syria, Rebel Commanders Unite in Frustration
By C. J. CHIVERS, July 13, 2012, New York Times

ANTAKYA, Turkey — Abu Moayed, a commander in an armed Syrian opposition brigade, stood and waved his arms emphatically at the fellow rebel commanders who filled the sweltering room.

His fighters, he said, needed money and weapons. But they were not getting the support promised from the donors and opposition leaders outside Syria.

“We are borrowing money to feed our wounded!” Abu Moayed shouted. “There is no distribution of the weapons,” he added. “All of our weapons, we are paying for them ourselves.”

The meeting of the rebel commanders, held after Friday Prayer in this Turkish city near Syria’s northern border, said much about the priorities of the Syrian opposition fighting groups at this stage of the conflict, now 17 months old. There was limited discussion of the mass killings in the village of Tremseh the day before — even though the commanders had heard about it and at least one had lost relatives. There was no talk about United Nations cease-fire monitors, the peace envoy Kofi Annan, or endless Security Council debates to halt the conflict. These commanders were focused on the basics of waging war against President Bashar al-Assad.

Abu Moayed, from Idlib, was one of dozens of commanders who converged on the meeting, called by the Idlib Revolutionary Command Council. Held high above the street in a pair of large rooms in an apartment building, the gathering framed both a degree of expanding coordination among anti-Assad fighting groups inside Syria and their frustrations with the opposition’s political leadership outside.

One complaint throughout was that the Syrian National Council, the coalition of exile opposition groups based in Istanbul, was disconnected from the battles fought on the ground. Another was contained in the field commanders’ suspicion that unnamed members of the Syrian political opposition in Turkey were either diverting funds or playing favorites in funneling weapons and money across the border.

“Yesterday we were supposed to receive mortars and cartridges,” said another commander, Issam Afara, addressing his peers. “But we didn’t receive them. I called and demanded: Where are they? Where?”

Since late this spring, the war in parts of Syria has entered a bloody stalemate punctuated by days of intense violence, like the mass killing on Thursday in Tremseh, the Sunni village in western Syria where by some opposition groups’ estimates more than 200 people were killed by Syrian armed forces and pro-Assad militia members using tanks, artillery and helicopters.

International outrage over those killings, which the Syrian government said were carried out by rebels, has injected new urgency into diplomatic efforts to settle the Syria conflict at the Security Council. There, diplomats were negotiating privately on Friday over a new resolution to force the antagonists to honor a cease-fire and peace plan engineered by Mr. Annan, the special envoy from the United Nations and the Arab League. A vote on that resolution is likely next Wednesday.

The diplomacy seemed a world away, and possibly too late, when viewed through the prism of the anti-Assad fighters, who have driven much of the Syrian military forces from certain rural zones in the northern mountains, carving out small but mostly stable areas now under their de facto control, though these areas still face shelling and attack from the air by Mr. Assad’s military.

As they have realized tactical success, the anti-Assad fighting groups, once underground, now face a problem common to armed uprisings.

At least 80 different fighting groups operate in Idlib alone, the fighters said, most of which began as small personal networks or groups of army defectors, and have since grown.

The groups sometimes share names and often operate in the same areas. And as they have added members and sought more weapons and external support, some of them have found themselves competing for resources and frustrated with Syrians who claim leadership positions in the opposition and do not fight, but disburse funds that many fighting groups say they do not receive.

Mr. Afara, for example, said money funneled through the Muslim Brotherhood was not shared with fighting groups seen as secular, which angered fighters who had turned back the Assad military at great cost, and now are told they do not match a foreign donor’s ideal.

“We tell them, ‘We are not brothers?’ ” said Mr. Afara, who leads a unit in a larger group called the Idlib Martyrs’ Brigade. “How? We are Muslims, and we want a full popular revolution, with Muslims and Christians and Druze.”

Another commander, Abdul Ghafour, echoed the fighters’ anger. “Don’t think we are blind, as we have 600 martyrs,” he said, referring to those who have died. The Syrian National Council, he said, “does not represent us. The revolution is the people who are here, who fought from slavery.”

Mr. Ghafour said soliciting funds or weapons risked becoming as frustrating as dealing with private aid groups and nongovernment organizations, which sometimes offer assistance in exchange for sharing their point of view. “The whole revolution could be transferred into an N.G.O. project,” he said. “This is what I object to.”

A spokesman for the Syrian National Council, Mohamed Sarmeeni, disputed the complaints of financial favoritism from the commanders. “There is no discrimination,” the spokesman said in a telephone interview from Istanbul. The council, Mr. Sarmeeni said, had also started to devote more attention to financing the opposition fighters and “we are about to pay salaries for all officers.”

Small-arms prices have climbed sharply during the war, with machine guns costing several thousand dollars each, and assault rifles costing as much as $2,000 each when new, the commanders said.

To underwrite their weapons purchases to date, the fighters and commanders present said, they raised money themselves. Sometimes they gathered donations from their villages and neighborhoods. Other times, they said, they sold their cars and their land. One young commander, who called himself Captain Bilal and had a partly healed bullet wound to his lower right leg, said he needed weapons so badly a few months ago that he asked his fiancée to return the jewelry he had given her.

“She said ‘No,’ ” he said. “So I broke up with her and took it back and bought the weapons I needed.”

The weapons, the commanders said, were obtained through corrupt Syrian officials or through what they called a “Turkish and Russian mafia” in Turkey.

At times the meeting of the commanders descended into shouting. At one point, several commanders vented their fury at a commander who said he had in fact been given arms. But as the hours passed, the mood calmed, and the commanders said they intended to work together and called for the meeting to make things better.

One commander, who uses the name Abu Hamza, said though it did not look “correct” to see commanders argue so intensely, it was ordinary to a revolution as its ranks and prospects grow. The meeting, he said, showed a willingness by many groups to become more coordinated and for the rank and file, which is suffering and risking the most, to gain a greater voice in the politics of the war.

Abu Moayed agreed, as the meeting gave way to a shared meal. “We want to be like one hand,” he said, “one front.”

Terrified villagers tell of the horror of Tremseh
Chilling evidence of Syria’s worst atrocity as bodies are packed into mass graves
Loveday Morris, Beirut, 14 July 2012

….According to activists, the attack began at dawn on Thursday, when a convoy of 25 military trucks carrying troops, accompanied by three armoured vehicles and flatbeds with heavy artillery, were spotted trundling through the nearby town of Murhada, taking the road west towards the village. Tremseh was surrounded, its electricity cut off and mobile networks jammed to be sure residents had no way of broadcasting news of the massacre that was about to take place.

The army has been engaged in a fierce offensive in the Hama countryside for weeks and many villagers are said to have fled to Tremseh, a Sunni community staunchly against the regime. Colonel Qassim Saadeddine, of the Joint Command of the Free Syrian Army (FSA), said those families included those of FSA fighters – perhaps one of the reasons the village was targeted so brutally. Others said around 30 defected soldiers lived in the village

When the shelling began, activists say it was precise. The home of the village’s only two doctors were targeted, as were those of defected soldiers. Helicopters picked off those trying to flee. “Some of the wounded gathered in the school, but then that was attacked too,” said local activist Manhal.

A team of observers stationed about five kilometres away confirmed the use of heavy weaponry and helicopters in the area by regime troops. After the initial assault, pro-government militias, known as Shabiha, backed by the army, were said to have moved in, terrorising residents as they detained some men and executed others with knives or at gunpoint.

Around 35 FSA fighters tried to fend them off, according to Col Saadeddine, but, outnumbered and outgunned, soon stood down. Abu Adnan, another activist in the area, said the FSA attacked a checkpoint in an attempt to allow civilians an escape route, but failed. “It’s unimaginable what’s happened there,” said one Hama resident whose sister fled from the village with her three children.

“When she arrived for the first few hours she was so afraid and traumatised,” he said. “Her children still can barely speak and her husband was arrested by soldiers during the attack.

The stories she reported back were brutal. Yesterday morning, when she visited a neighbour’s house destroyed by fire, the air was thick with the smell of burning flesh and inside were two charred corpses. She believes they were locked in and burnt alive.

A local doctor Munsef al-Naji who was found treating two wounded men was dragged outside and shot in the head. “The villagers are still worried that the Shabiha will return,” the woman’s brother continued. “At the moment we are still desperately trying to get people out. The situation is dire.”

Syria cooperating, but lack of money hurting humantarian aid – CNN
By Jill Dougherty

Facing a “serious escalation” of violence in Syria, the chief United Nations organization that coordinates emergency aid is warning that more Syrian civilians will die if contributing nations do not follow through and fund its relief operation.

“We have used the terminology ‘appalling,’ ‘desperate’ and ‘deplorable,’ says John Ging, operations director and chair of the Syria Humanitarian Forum for the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

“We have run out of language to describe how it is for the civilian population. It is physical and it is psychological.”

Humanitarian agencies such as the World Food Program, the United Nations Children’s Fund and the World Health Organization, Ging says, have launched a major operation in Syria but are facing “an incredibly complex and dangerous situation to develop networks to be able to deliver to the areas that have been affected by the conflict.”

The main challenge remains lack of security, which prevents the agencies from reaching all the people in Syria who need food, medicine and blankets.

But there has been progress, he says. In April food assistance was reaching 200,000 people; through June this increased to 500,000 people and into July they expect delivery to 850,000.

A senior U.N. humanitarian officer who briefed reporters Friday on the situation in Syria said there has been a “breakthrough” in dealing with the Syrian government. “Bureaucratic delay and obstructions, the officer said, “have been largely removed.”

The Syrian government is following through on what it has agreed to do, but some difficulties still remain.

One of the biggest obstacles right now, OCHA’s John Ging says in a statement, is lack of international funding. OCHA’s appeals are only 20% funded at the moment, he says, and “that means they are 80% short.”

Al-Qaeda tries to carve out a war for itself in Syria
By Ruth Sherlock, Idlib Province,  12 Jul 2012, Telegraph

Al-Qaeda has infiltrated into Syria and is working to establish footholds in the war-torn northern provinces.

Whilst the militant Islamic organisation’s influence remains small, home-grown jihadist groups that are linked with, or sympathetic to the ideals of movement are growing.

The Daily Telegraph has seen al-Qaeda’s flag flying openly in some areas of Idlib and Aleppo provinces that straddle the borders with Turkey and Iraq and fighters in the rebel Free Syrian Army have told how representatives of the militant group have tried in past months to win control of towns and villages.

“An al Qaeda group led by a man who called himself Abu Saddiq took control in Der Tezzeh,” said one FSA rebel speaking on condition of anonymity. “I was a member of the Revolution Council there. Suddenly there was a new way of thinking. Abu Saddiq was installed as the ‘Emir’, or ‘Prince’ of the area for three months. I was told to put my hand on the Koran and to obey him.

“He wanted to build a religious country. He did not want democracy but a religious leader in power. He wanted to use suicide bombers as a way of fighting government troops in the area.”

Opposition activists have also told of a similar events inside Idlib, a city that continues to see fierce fighting between government soldiers and rebel groups.
“Al Qaeda tried to set up an Emir there and ran bombing operations against the Syrian military. The members were all Syrian,” said a medic working with the opposition.

In both cases local activists and rebel fighters reported that the groups had failed to win hearts and minds. “The local people didn’t like their way of thinking. They did not like their methods,” said the opposition doctor. “Now he has a small group of only around 25 people with him and they have moved to live in the surrounding mountains {…}

“We killed thirteen men,” said a fighter proudly. At a headquarters in Saraqeb bearded men sat squatting on the floor counting piles of bullets. One man in his early twenties proudly revealed a powerful home made bomb; nuts and bolts embedded in a powerful and deadly wedge of TNT.

“Our brothers, mujahideen from Iraq and Afghanistan have taught us how to make these,” he said. “Tell Nato we can make them some if they need.”

Comments (944)


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501. Syrialover said:

# 500. Atheist Syrian Salafist Against Dictatorships

Interesting theory. Such pathological liars and manipulators of reality would be capable of that. Keep the thoughts coming.

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July 18th, 2012, 8:44 am

 

502. Bruno said:

@Juergen
( Do you have yet a picture of the eyedoctor to cry onto? It could well be soon an hard thing to find in Assad free Syria.)

Isn’t that what you have been saying for the least 17 months ago? you know joshualandis Moderators i have been hearing such similar statments from these users such as.

(Assad will be soon dead)
Or
(Sryia will be Free)

And now from the user Juergen who stated the following.

(well be soon an hard thing to find in Assad free Syria)

I have to ask how you know this is going to happen eh? its almost you could see into the future.

For example i could say.

Soon i will be winning 50 Million at least very soon, but even though that would never happen, now it would make sense though.

Unless your some government agents that have Intel on the matter on whats going in Sryia.

For example Juergen.

Whats a user from israel doing in here?

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July 18th, 2012, 8:46 am

 

503. VISITOR said:

Congratulations are due to all freedom-loving Syrians on the great achievement of the Syrian heroes who succeeded today in exacting justice on two notorious criminals.

We assure you that victory is near and that more criminals will meet their fitting and just end exactly like the two who have met theirs today. Very soon free Syrians will celebrate their great achievement made possible by the sacrifices of this great people.

These sacrifices are necessary in order to cement the victory, and to ensure that never again will despots and thugs hijack Syria and its people.

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July 18th, 2012, 8:51 am

 

504. irritated said:

Do many of you have such little trust that the FSA with Al Qaeeda or Western support can do such a thing that they suspect Bashar to be behind it?

It is not flattering that you don’t cheer up that as a great victory for the chaos-seekers.
It may come, as you wished for, and you will thank God you live abroad, and abroad you’ll probably stay for a long long time.

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July 18th, 2012, 8:54 am

 

505. Bruno said:

Unbelievable people on here cheering for terrorist tactics and the death of a Christian orthodox.

Whatever or not on whose side he was on there is no expectations from this killing an minority, at least this shows that this uprising is another Islamist uprising.

Which wont care for minorities and this attack is the proof of that.

Thanks for showing me what real side you are on, i guess people who support the terrorists and there comments wont be deleted eh? so much for freedom of speech.

Unless you support the terrorists that is.

This was a cowardly tactics which was used in Kosovo as well by the KLA.

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July 18th, 2012, 8:54 am

 

506. Syrialover said:

The world is watching and cheering them on. I hope we do not lose too many Syrian heroes in this round. But they fight smart and know when to retreat.

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July 18th, 2012, 8:58 am

 

507. Bruno said:

@Syrialover
(The world is watching and cheering them on. I hope we do not lose too many Syrian heroes in this round. But they fight smart and know when to retreat.)

Thank you for proving my point yes cheering upon terrorists and using terrorist tactics, i guess when Israel kills innocents the world cheers to.

So i am not surprised rebel supporters are cheering this cowardly tactic.

Well when The Free Sryian Army losses the war don’t blame us blame yourselves for using coward tactics of terrorism.

I guess when FSA commanders say they have all of Sryia under there control i guess they only mean the outskirts of city limit zones.

Which sometimes terrorists in other countries do that for recruiting purposes.

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July 18th, 2012, 9:01 am

 

508. Syrialover said:

Bruno, are you having fun? Here to amuse yourself again? Saying nothing that makes sense and showing how little you’ve been following.

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July 18th, 2012, 9:06 am

 

509. Bruno said:

@Syrialover

(Bruno, are you having fun? Here to amuse yourself again? Saying nothing that makes sense and showing how little you’ve been following.)

Oh believe me you are very wrong i have been following this little uprising since last year, but it seems you have a problem with my post, how come?

Also in a NPR report Syrian Rebels Say They Carried Out Damascus Attack and Riad al-Asaad said in a phone interview from his headquarters in Turkey that rebel forces planted a bomb inside a room where senior government officials were meeting Wednesday.

Then denies the claim it was an suicide attack. But i am starting to not to believe Riad al-Asaad words.

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July 18th, 2012, 9:08 am

 

510. Amjad said:

“Whatever or not on whose side he was on there is no expectations from this killing an minority”

What? “no expectations from this killing an minority”? How on Earth did a supposed “Westerner” manage to cram so many mistakes into such a short sentence?

Hitler was a Catholic, did that make WW2 a war of persecution waged by Protestants and the descendants of Martin Luther against the Catholic Church of Rome? *rolls eyes*

I don’t care if the man was a direct descendant of Mohamad, if he was a high ranking member of the junta, then good riddance.

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July 18th, 2012, 9:30 am

 

511. annie said:

“332. irritated said:

330. annie

Better suggestion: Sign a peace treaty with Israel and get some Israeli companies to do the reconstruction.”

Don’t you think that Syria has enough engineers and skilled workforce to do it by itself ? I guess you were joking

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July 18th, 2012, 9:33 am

 

512. bronco said:

Russia and China will probably veto the resolution.
Without the resolution imposing Annan peace plan, this is a greenlight for the Syrian government to continue the cleanup of the “70%” of the Syrian territories pockets without being watched over. The UNMIS, that the opposition have rejected from the start, will close down.
Turkey has just opened new camps for the rebels fleeing Syria.

As the military wing of the FSA is running out of steam, they resort to terrorist attacks, like in Algeria in 1990. While it may radicalize for a while, and drag for a while, it won’t bring victory to the opposition even more divided now. Algeria is an example of the failure of such approach with huge casualties.
In fact the opposition is in total disarray. The SNC demands at the UNSC have been rejected and the Western countries have no money and desire to enter in the middle of a civil war to separate the warring factions. These murders are supposed to cheer up momentarily the morals of the opposition, faced with a somber dead end.

The next week will be crucial to determine who is more determined.

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July 18th, 2012, 9:50 am

 

513. zoo said:

The Palestinians in Syria are playing a very dangerous game, like the one they did in Kuwait. They may all be pushed back to Jordan refugee camps. I just hope their leaders will intervene before its too late.

Palestinians join Syria revolt: activists, FSA
By Serene Assir | AFP – 37 mins ago

http://news.yahoo.com/palestinians-join-syria-revolt-activists-fsa-132156817.html

A number of Palestinian refugees living in Damascus have joined the uprising in Syria, according to activists and rebels, with some taking up arms alongside rebel Free Syrian Army fighters.

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July 18th, 2012, 10:04 am

 

514. Amjad said:

Does anyone else notice how Bronco’s somber-funeral-like-tone predictions seem to change in content every week? It’s a terrible fortune teller who can’t seem to keep a consistent view of the future :)

“These murders are supposed to cheer up momentarily the morals of the opposition”

LOL! Just like the Battle of Britain was momentarily supposed to boost British morale, or Stalingrad was supposed to be a mere morale booster for the Red Army, or the battle of Midway was just a plot by Roosevelt to boost the morale of the US forces.

Seriously, the regime loses three of its top people and the menhebajkis don’t even question its competence? Such a blunder hasn’t been seen since King Alexander of Scotland fell off a cliff while riding towards a night of romp and fun with his new bride.

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July 18th, 2012, 10:05 am

 
 

516. zoo said:

Syria: No End in Sight
By Fawaz Gerges
July 18, 2012
http://www.realclearworld.com/articles/2012/07/18/syria_no_end_in_sight_100145.html

Despite Annan’s persistent efforts, the odds are against a political breakthrough. The trust deficit between the two warring camps has grown, leading both the opposition and the Assad regime to view the struggle as existential and hunker down for a prolonged fight. The opposition has repeatedly stressed unwillingness to negotiate with the Syrian regime unless Assad steps down. Assad still acts on the premise that there’s a security solution, continuing to deploy massive force to crush the opposition with little success.

For all these reasons, protracted armed conflict is likely to continue. The lack of credible information about the Syrian regime’s machinations makes predictions hazardous. Starving Assad out of power is a working strategy, not a proven tactic. Although pressing sanctions are bleeding the Syrian economy, the government has found means to adjust. Syria can sustain itself only as long as Iran maintains its current level of support, increasingly challenging because of its own suffocating economic sanctions.

Ultimately, the balance of power in Syria will determine whether Assad goes. Can Assad maintain cohesiveness of his narrowing ruling coalition? Though Assad’s days are not as few as Clinton suggests, there are signs that the regime is not durable and that the likelihood of a rupture within is real.

The flight of the middle and professional classes, in addition to senior officers and senior diplomats, is proof of growing doubts about Assad’s capacity to survive and his coercive power. Tlass’ and Fares’s defections seem to be more related to the destruction in their hometowns rather than a change of heart about Assad. Nevertheless, recent defections in the military, along with loss of territory, have not reached a critical mass that threatens the regime’s immediate survival.

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July 18th, 2012, 10:07 am

 

517. bronco said:

Amjad

The fireworks of the “Volcano of Damascus” compared to Stalingrad.
The murder of 3 replaceable leaders compared to the “Battle of Britain”

Paranoia is often a good remedy to despair

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July 18th, 2012, 10:25 am

 

518. PATRIOT said:

To all of the doubters, the final piece of the puzzle is in place, mass defections are taking place, and the rebels have cleaned house. This is the end of Al-Assad. May god protect the Syrian people…عاشث سورية حرة أبية

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July 18th, 2012, 10:32 am

 

519. Halabi said:

وبشر القاتل بالقتل ولو بعد حين

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July 18th, 2012, 10:35 am

 

520. irritated said:

#517 Patriot

Sources please?

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July 18th, 2012, 10:36 am

 

521. bronco said:

Sandro

Insulting is a also remedy to despair

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July 18th, 2012, 10:44 am

 

522. zoo said:

Biden security adviser warns of Syria spillover
AFP – 21 mins ago
http://news.yahoo.com/biden-security-adviser-warns-syria-spillover-142504570.html

US Vice President Joe Biden’s national security adviser discussed the Syrian crisis and the threat of unrest spilling into nearby countries with Iraqi leaders on Wednesday, he told journalists.
..
“That is, for example, the danger that what’s happening within Syria becomes a full-blown sectarian conflict that spills over into neighbouring countries, including Iraq, which is in no one’s interests. The longer this goes on, the more likely that becomes.”

“And so, what I talked about was the urgent need to advance a political transition in Syria, that that is the best path forward.”

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July 18th, 2012, 10:49 am

 

523. Amjad said:

“The murder of 3 replaceable leaders”

It’s actually four now. The minister of interior also snuffed it. And seriously dude, they haven’t even been buried yet and you’re calling them “replaceable”? After all their years of service to your regime?

When the menhebakjis say “replaceable”, they actually mean “expendable”. To save his own skin, Bashar will sacrifice his entire sect and even closest family.

Rami Makhlouf should take note; he is “replaceable”. Maher is replaceable. And after the leak of Batta’s saucy emails with young ladies, so is Asma.

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July 18th, 2012, 10:49 am

 

524. PATRIOT said:

@Irritated

Watch the news. It’s over.

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July 18th, 2012, 10:52 am

 

525. Expatriate said:

Ten days ago Hillary Clinton warned:

“The sooner there can be an end to the violence and a beginning of a political transition process, not only will fewer people die, but there is a chance to save the Syrian state from a catastrophic assault that would be very dangerous not only to Syria but to the region,” Clinton said at a news conference.
Were the recent attacks and today’s bombing the “catastrophic assault” she warned of? How did she know of them?

Syria: After Deadly Strike Gloves Will Come Off
http://www.moonofalabama.org/

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July 18th, 2012, 10:52 am

 

526. irritated said:

524. PATRIOT

Watch the news. It’s over.

Which news? what’s over?

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July 18th, 2012, 10:56 am

 

527. SANDRO LOEWE said:

516. BRONCO

Deleted for insult. Sandro, this is a warning. Time updated. This was a previous comment

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July 18th, 2012, 10:57 am

 

528. bronco said:

#523 Amjad

The capability of a government to replace key persons without affecting the core of its policies is a sign that it is not dependent of individuals but on a large group.

That’s what we see in the USA every 4 years

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July 18th, 2012, 11:03 am

 

529. Juergen said:

The problem is Bronco in the US at least with every change of the presidency we witness not only an change in personal but also in politics and policies, in Assad Syria we witness the same dull policies since decades. And the question should be who decides such matters? Is it Anise at her coffeetable?

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July 18th, 2012, 11:23 am

 

530. majedkhaldoun said:

So far four has been pronounced dead, Asef Shawkat,Imad Rajha, Hasan Turkomani, and M Sha33ar minister of interior,
The meeting include many more, and Shami Hospital is full of others who are wounded, such as Hafez Makhloof,Hisham Bikhtiar and Ali Mamlook.
The regime has nervously responded , they are attacking Al Hajar Al Aswad,bombing them by rockets from helicopters.

Bronco said
“As the military wing of the FSA is running out of steam, they resort to terrorist attacks, In fact the opposition is in total disarray.the Western countries have no money and desire to enter in the middle of a civil war to separate the warring factions.”

This statement is delusional,FSA is getting stronger and their morals is much higher.And please stop calling them terrorists, no one believe you any more, As for money there is plenty of money will be paid by some countries ,Iran is supporting Assad, and KSA and Qattar will give money to the FSA.

Bronco you were asked If Assad used chemical weapons would you denounce Assad?

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July 18th, 2012, 11:43 am

 

531. Karabennemsi said:

Mr Khaldoun how come you are still posting here although you wanted to join the fight for Damascus?

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July 18th, 2012, 11:51 am

 

532. Uzair8 said:

Can someone please translate this tweet from Sh. Yaqoubi from 15 hrs ago? Thanks. Google translation isn’t very good:

بركان دمشق يا أهل دمشق لقد آنا للشام تفجر بركانا كي يهدم هذا الطغيانا ويعيد المجد لناديكم

Google translation:

‘O People of the volcano Damascus Damascus has to Anna Cham volcano eruption in order to destroy this Tgaana and restore the glory of your club’

https://twitter.com/Shaykhabulhuda/status/225379578795917313

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July 18th, 2012, 11:56 am

 

533. Uzair8 said:

Now where is that ‘premonition’ by Sheikh Nazim from 1st August 2011…….?

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July 18th, 2012, 11:58 am

 

534. Antoine said:

Daood Rajha (MoD), Assef Shawkat ( Real MoD), Mohammed al Shaar (MoI), Hassan Turkmani (Asst. VP) DEAD.

Ali Mamluk, Hafez Makhlouf, Nassif Kheirbek, Rustam Ghazaleh dying and definitely losing several fingers and toes.

Lets not forget the explosion was in a closed room. Its impact must have been very severe,I don’t think anybody present in that room have regained consciousness yet.

Btw lily-livered Farouk Sharaa may try to jump ship, thats if the shabbiha don’t kill him in the process.

But Mouallem and Makdissi will be with Bashar till the end.

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July 18th, 2012, 12:00 pm

 

535. Antoine said:

Tomorrow I will be treated to a delicious Mansaf at a Jordanian home hosting me and some of their Syrian refugee relatives.

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July 18th, 2012, 12:02 pm

 

536. Antoine said:

Fahad Jasem al Freij is new MoD and Muneer Adanov ( Circassian) is Chief of Army Staff.

Btw who will replace Shawkat in the curious designation of “Deputy MoD” ( which basically means “Real MoD”) ?

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July 18th, 2012, 12:04 pm

 

537. Antoine said:

Has anyone noticed that except Russa-China-Iran none of the Governments have yet offered a formal condolence ?

A regime which has assassinated political and State leaders of other countries with impunity cannot expect condolences when they get a taste of their own medicine.

Millions of Lebanese Christians, Sunnis, Druze and even Palestinians are definitely celebrating today.

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July 18th, 2012, 12:09 pm

 

538. Uzair8 said:

Expect remnants of Assad loyalists to lash out. We are already hearing reporst of raids on Hajr aswad in Damascus and elswhere.

Here is another tweet. I hope the local police defend the people from the thugs:

‘BREAKING “@NMSyria: Thugs attacks residents of several neighborhoods in #Damascus. Policemen defended residents with their guns. #Syria” ‘

http://yallasouriya.wordpress.com/2012/07/18/breaking-nmsyria-thugs-attacks-residents-of-several/

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July 18th, 2012, 12:17 pm

 

539. bronco said:

MajedAl Khaldoon

You seem to be extremely worried about the chemical weapons. I am glad to know that the morals of the armed rebels and their allies the terrorists are high. I hope it lasts until the next ‘decisive battle’

I gave my reply to the WMD questions a long time ago

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July 18th, 2012, 12:26 pm

 

540. zoo said:

The sparks of Egypt and Saudi Arabia honeymoon

Egypt lawyer charged with drug trafficking in Saudi
AFPAFP – 1 hr 24 mins ago
http://news.yahoo.com/egypt-lawyer-charged-drug-trafficking-saudi-150504387.html

The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information, an Egyptian organisation, said Gizawi was held following a sentence of one year in prison and 20 lashes delivered against him in absentia for criticising the Saudi government.

According to the group, Gizawi was being targeted for his activism in favour of Egyptian detainees in Saudi prisons.

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July 18th, 2012, 12:32 pm

 

541. Atheist Syrian Salafist Against Dictatorships said:

#531

بركان دمشق يا أهل دمشق لقد آنا للشام تفجر بركانا كي يهدم هذا الطغيانا ويعيد المجد لناديكم

This translates roughly into:

O People of Dimashq (Damascus), the volcano of Damascus, it is time for the land of Sham (a name given to all of Syria and also to Damascus) to erupt and destroy the tyrant and bring back glory to your community /country (your midst).

BTW, I was happy to translate what your beloved Sheikh tweeted because it was nothing religious…some of us have their limits too, you know. :-)

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July 18th, 2012, 12:32 pm

 

542. majedkhaldoun said:

Bronco
No you did not answer the question ,If Assad used chemical weapons will you condemn Assad?

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July 18th, 2012, 12:33 pm

 

543. Ulook2 said:

After an event like this, you would expect ANY leader of a country to speak to the people of the country! Not Bashar – he seems to be always above the fray. He should write a new book on leadership.

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July 18th, 2012, 12:35 pm

 

544. Hopeful said:

After an event like this, you would expect ANY leader of ANY country to speak to the people of the country. Not Bashar – he is always above the fray. He should write a new book on “leadership”!

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July 18th, 2012, 12:38 pm

 

545. SYR.EXPAT said:

What a great piece of news. To hear that the war criminals and terrorists who have been terrorizing the Syrian people have been killed is so sweet. Assef Shawkat in particular had a lot of innocent people’s blood in his hand. He took part in the Hama massacre of thousands of innocent men, women, and children. I am not talking here about fighters. I am talking about noncombatants who were massacred whole sale back in 1982. This includes a Christian young man who was lined up with other people in Hama by drunk soldiers and were summarily executed without having done anything. They just got them out of their homes and executed them for fun. Not only that, but one of the soldiers refused to leave until the mother of the Christian young man gave him, the soldier, his ujrah (fee) for killing her son. The grieving mother was forced to give him her golden bracelet so he can let her go. That’s just one of the many stories of what took place in Hama. So hearing that Asif Shawkat was killed must have brought a lot of joy to the hearts of grieving mothers across Syria.

Those people were meeting to decide how to use even more brute force, genocide, and ethnic cleansing to quell this revolution. Killing is an act of bravery, especially after the failed attempt on their lives a month or so ago. The fact the crisis cell was penetrated twice should send chills up the spine of the terrorists running the Syrian regime. I am sure Batta is feeling the noose tightening around his neck. He must be feeling particularly paranoid. Could one of his guards turn on him?

You can feel the huge boost in morale the opposition has received and the exact opposite being experienced by the supporters of the this terrorist regime.

The game is not over yet, but all indications are that time is running out for the Batta, the terrorist-in-chief. Time will tell.

Finally, a message to those who have not yet defected. Do it today before it’s too late. Learn the lessons of history. Supporting a war criminal against his people is not wise. However, if you decide to stick with him, don’t whine later when the tables are turned.

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July 18th, 2012, 12:41 pm

 

546. Tara said:

I think bringing the fight to Damascus suburbs and declaring a Damascus volcano was intentional not for the fight itself rather for the sole purpose of having these people meet and bomb them.

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July 18th, 2012, 12:45 pm

 

547. Tara said:

Bronco

Thank you for your answer in regard to the WMD. I agree with you. It is a deterrent but should never be used.

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July 18th, 2012, 12:48 pm

 

548. Uzair8 said:

540. Atheist Syrian Salafist Against Dictatorships

:-)
Lol…Thank you.

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July 18th, 2012, 1:02 pm

 

549. Antoine said:

At least all the Sunni soldiers, officers, bureaucrats, Judges, diplomats, who are still not thinking of defecting, may be forced to make some serious plans.

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July 18th, 2012, 1:13 pm

 

550. omen said:

i had hoped focusing on damascus would cause troops to be pulled back from other regions, but no.

Although focus on ‪Damascus‬ now, its outskirts, ‪Homs‬ + ‪DeirEzzor‬ all being heavily shelled ‪‬

and this…

Syria‬ Urgent Retweet getting intl that Assad Regime haning out 1000s of Gas masks to Elite units and Security forces in ‪Damascus‬

what should people do? tape the windows? leave damascus?

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July 18th, 2012, 1:27 pm

 

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