“Who Was Hilal al-Assad?” By Mohammad D.

Hilal al-Assad

Who Was Hilal al-Assad? 
By Mohammad D.
For Syria Comment, April 5 2014

By the time Hilal al-Assad reached Zahi Azraq Military Hospital in Latakia on Sunday March 23,2014, he was already dead. Latakians were already in a state of turmoil and anxiety. Grad missiles had been raining down on the city for a week. That night, at 8 pm, two missiles hit the city-center. The first struck al-Sheikhdaher, a bustling area in the old city and the second slammed into the old post office, less than a hundred yards from an entrance to the Sea Port.  Many were killed and injured in this attack. News that Hilal al-Assad had been signed into the Military Hospital spread like wildfire. Everyone knew within hours. The streets of the city emptied.

Death notice for Halal al-Assad

Death notice for Halal al-Assad

Hilal al-Assad was the commander of al-Difa’ al-Watani in the Coastal Region and a cousin of President Bashar al-Assad.  A  single bullet hit him in the chest. He was in al-Mushrefeh near Kassab north of the city of Latakia, according to parents of an Alawi soldier fighting with him.  This fighter was on his way with his other brother to help lift the siege of pro-Assad groups surrounded in Kassab.  The younger brother of this fighter, was surrounded with his unit in Kassab.  A range of anti-Assad militias, many composed of foreigners, launched a surprise attack called al-Anfal that was followed by a second offensive named Umahat al-Mu’minin.  The attacks were launched near the Turkish border into an area that was poorly defended, by all accounts.  The surprise attack was a total success. Rebel militias conquered Kassab, an Armenian town best known for its beauty, green hills and for being a summer resort. It is also linked to a custom crossing with Turkey and a small village on the Mediterranean called al-Samra.  Today, fighting is raging throughout the region and both sides are calling up reinforcements.  The pro-Assad forces have been able to retake one highpoint, tower 45, but with no major regains since.Hilal al-Assad is the first Assad family member to be killed since Asef Shawkat was killed in a bomb attack on July/18/2012 while attending a high level meeting in Damascus. Syrian official TV announced Hilal’s death, and declared him a martyr, but no public death announcement, known as Na’wa, was printed.  This is unusual. Numerous Facebook pages were created to celebrate and memorialize him and video messages were posted on the al-Difa’ al-Watani web outlets. For them, Hillal al-Assad death in battle is seen as a great honor. But his death also reminded everyone in Latakia that death and danger was at their door, closer than anyone had thought.

Hilal’s full military funeral procession was held on Monday.  His body left the hospital to the music of a marching band and into an army white ambulance.  He was buried in the Alawite Mountains east of Latakia.  Hilal left behind a wife, two sons and three daughters.  Not that much is known about him. Most reports about him are not accurate. The reaction of his infamous, “trouble maker” son Sulayman, who is only seventeen years old, only deepened the fears of Latakians.

Who is Hilal al-Assad

Hilal al-Assad was born in al-Qardaha in 1967.  His father Anwar was the son of Hafez al-Assad’s older brother Ibrahim (some people say that Ibrahim is a half brother from Ali Sulayman’s first wife Sa’ada. He was married to Umm Anwar).  Ibrahim died many years ago and not much is known or written about him, but his wife, Hilal’s grandmother, Umm Anwar was a very strong woman.  She became a household name as a business woman who took advantage of the rising power of her family. As Hafez al-Assad’s power grew so did her’s along with that of her family.  Her son Anwar was not an educated man. Indeed he was reputed to be slow. What is more, he suffered from Albinism.  So, when Hafez al-Assad became a minister of defense in the 1960’s, Anwar became a janitor in a school in al-Qardaha. When Hafez al-Assad became a president in 1971, Anwar became an employee in the Registery (al-Nufus) in al-Qardaha. He remained a resident of Qardaha until his death.

His son Hilal went to elementary, secondary and high school in Qardaha.  He was young when his relatives started consolidating power in Damascus. His relatives in al-Qardaha started a lucrative business in smuggling. From his high school days, Hilal joined local smugglers who brought goods from Lebanon to Syria. Hilal was one of the Original Shabiha; the first wave of smugglers (See my earlier article: “The Original Shabiha“.  He was a few years younger than the most famous: Fawwaz al-Assad.

But, Hilal was different from Fawwaz, who was bombastic and enjoyed making a spectacle of himself. Hilal did not search out the limelight. He preferred to remain in the shadows, driving his big Mercedes between Lebanon and various Syrian cities.  Many say that his grandmother, Umm Anwar, controlled the smuggling ring that Hilal ran with.  In his early days, Hilal hung out in two places: one was an Armenian photography shop and the other was with a Christian barber friend. His car seemed always to be double-parked outside these two haunts. It caused perpetual traffic jams. He rarely hung out with other goons, unlike Fawwaz, who was a goon magnet.

Hilal amassed a fortune from smuggling. But, once Syrian markets were opened in the 1990s, smuggling dried up. Hilal, like Fawwaz and the other original shabiha, who benefited from the trade restrictions of the 1980’s, had to find a new occupation. Some say that Hilal joined the military academy for a bit before enrolling in Latakia’s Tishreen University, where he studied business. Ultimately, he acquired a degree, but I have been told by a friend of his:

He never attended a class and only showed up at the university to sit for exams.  The only challenging part of his formal education was to struggle not to make mistakes copying the answers that he had passed to him.”

Hilal was able to secure a good plum position in one of the most lucrative state industries. In 1998, he was appointed head of Branch 202 in the Mu’assasat al-Iskan al-Askari.  This meant that Hilal run the Latakia branch of a  construction company owned and financed by the defense ministry. It was responsible for housing projects, building dams, and sometimes built roads. al-Iskan al-Askari was established during the rule of Hafez al-Assad and was first headed by Khalil al-Bahlul, who turned it into a construction giant in the Syrian building sector.

Hilal did not have a good reputation at work.  He is accused of holding back the salaries of the employees for months, making a profit on putting it in the newly formed private banks in the area and abroad.  When workers complained about their late wages, they had to face Military Intelligence, which Hilal would summon to deal with them.  At this era, Hilal would still stay out of the limelight for most of the time.  He would spend most of his night playing cards with the same group: a famous Alawite heart doctor and two rich Sunnis: a man from al-Jud family and another from al-Zein family.  Hilal also loved horses.  He collected them and kept them in the stables of the Sports Complex. Some say that these stables were used as Hilal’s private prison.  These allegations are yet to be confirmed, as well many tashbeeh stories about him.

When the Syrian uprising began, the government formed al-Difa’ al-Watani (National Defence Forces) in 2012.  Its head was stationed in Damascus: General Ghassan Nassour.  Hilal al-Assad was put in charge of al-Difa’ al-Watani in Latakia and its countryside.  The first major military action this militia saw was during the famous attack of August 4th 2013, when Sunni groups attacked 11 Alawite villages.  The attack ended, but the military scrimmages continued, especially now with this Anfal attack in the Kassab region. When Hilal died, al-Difa’ al-Watani had grown from being composed of only a few local “popular committees” (Lijan Sha’biyah) into a small-sized army, complet with a few tanks and many pieces of heavy artillery.

Hilal’s Personal Family:

Unknown to many: Hilal married a Sunni.  His wife, Fatima Massoud, is said to be from the Idlib region.  Others say that her father is from Tripoli, Lebanon.  With Fatima, Hilal has two boys, 17 and 9 and three daughters, the oldest is married to a Sunni from Aleppo.  Hilal’s oldest daughter has a baby girl with her husband.

Sulayman is the notorious 17 years old son of Hilal.  He is a trouble maker and stories about him fill the internet.  Some of these stories are true, while others are exaggerations by known anti-Assad agitators, who expound on the bad behavior of members of al-Assad clan.  He is almost always seen with his armed bodyguards, even on the beach, where his favorite pastime was to make hairpin turns with his all-terrain vehicle so that sand would spray those trying to relax at the shore.  Reports of him shooting at people are many, but cannot be confirmed. Sulayman poses frequently with tanks belonging to the al-Difa’ al-Watani. He posts these on his Facebook page.  His reactions after the death of his father added to the troubles of the city.  It increased the level of fear amongst all.  Reports said that Sulayman went on a rampage twice, the first was the day when his father died.  The second was few days later, when he went with some armed men to al-Slaybeh, a traditional Sunni neighborhood in the old city, and destroyed some of the furniture of al-Tabusheh famous cafe as well as that of a few other stores in the neighborhood.  He ran away when the Mukhabarat showed up.  This attack only deepened the sectarian divisions in the city.

Hilal al-Assad also had two brothers: Harun, the head of the Municipality in al-Qardaha, and Ha’el, an officer in the Republican Guards.

Comments (83)

Mjabali said:

Hilal al-Assad one of the Original Shabiha…seen him many times… his grandmother was the leader of his smuggling ring…Umm Anwar..

April 6th, 2014, 7:45 pm


Tara said:

It just occurs to me that President Obama should invite someone like me too for Ramadan dinner. I would like to go in a dress and in one of my shoes and of course I won’t cover my hair except if he has it in a mosque. Why does he invite only sheiks and covered women? Why is the White House under the impression that preachers and covered women only represent Islam. I think Women like me represent the vast majority of Muslims, probably not less than any covered woman in term of sheer numbers.

April 6th, 2014, 8:02 pm


Tara said:


والله والنعم

حتى التيتة مهربة؟

April 6th, 2014, 8:15 pm


Mjabali said:


First you should read the article…then yes the grandmother was the Chief of that gang…We use to hear her name all over…I do not think she left al-Qurdaha except on rare occasions

April 6th, 2014, 8:31 pm


Ghufran said:

Tara in post # 2 made a good point.
Western views about Muslims are unfairly affected by the vocal orthodox Muslim community and the media which for decades showed mostly covered and often oppressed Muslim women along with bearded and backward sheikhs . Keep in mind that mosques in the US and many Muslim organizations are controlled by Wahhabi Muslims who do not want modern Muslims to show up or be leaders.
A friend of mine, a Sunni, and myself ( who also have Sunni roots) were only invited when there was a fund raising event, both of us contributed large sums of money to help the school and some needy families ( while many orthodox muslims only gave speeches) but none of us made it to any leadership position ( in retrospect I do not regret that), even our wives were looked at like strangers and intruders.
The problem is not just in the way the West view Muslim, the main problem is Muslims, they need a regime change as much as Syria does.
A good post, Tara. Thanks

April 6th, 2014, 10:07 pm


Ghufran said:

According to Hersh, Turkey was behind the chemical attack in Ghoutah, many people have already chosen which story to believe:

Investigative journalist Seymour Hersh challenged the official record of the sarin gas attack on Ghouta, near Damascus, in August last year. Hersh ckaimed : The bottom line, Turkey was almost certainly the party responsible for the attack, hoping it would force Obama to honour his threatened “red line” if Assad used chemical weapons. Was the Assad regime to be brought down by a US military campaign, Turkey assumed it would be able to turn Syria into a client state.
Like the earlier article, Hersh could not find a mainstream publication willing to take it. Pundits and analysts will continue to tell us confidently that Assad carried out the Ghouta attack, oblivious to Hersh’s findings.
Here is a summary of Hersh’s main findings:

* Obama’s sudden climbdown on his threatened military strike against Assad was in part forced on him by a chemical analysis of samples of the sarin used in Ghouta, which showed that its signature did not match that of the stockpiles held by the Assad regime.
* Despite US claims, the White House knew that the Syrian rebels had developed chemical weapons production facilities. UN investigators thought the Syrian opposition were the most likely culprits behind earlier chemical weapons attacks, in April and May 2013.
The American and British intelligence communities had been aware since the spring of 2013 that some rebel units in Syria were developing chemical weapons. On 20 June analysts for the US Defense Intelligence Agency issued a highly classified five-page ‘talking points’ briefing for the DIA’s deputy director, David Shedd, which stated that al-Nusra maintained a sarin production cell.

April 7th, 2014, 12:08 am


Hopeful said:

#5 Ghufran

“Muslims need a regime change too”

I like it. Great quote.

Trouble is, Muslimland is like Somalia – controlled by many warlords, or should we call them muslim lords?

April 7th, 2014, 12:33 am


Badr said:

“for Ramadan dinner . . . Why does he invite only sheiks and covered women?”

It does not look that way to me!

April 7th, 2014, 2:44 am


ALAN said:

The solution to today’s problems involve more sunlight and less darkness. This has shown to be the best disinfectant to corruption over time. As we have seen in the white-washed pages of history, politicians will even resort to the deaths of their own citizens if it furthers some distorted view of “national interest.” Turkey is showing us the path taken by governments that view its citizens as nothing more than sacrificial lambs on the altar of their Utopian ideals. We can only hope that the American public can learn more of what’s going on to prevent yet another colossal mistake in the Middle East, and be on guard so as not to trust the official dialog of leaders with ulterior motives.

Turkey plans false flag war with Syria


Obama, the Sauds, and Bottomless Hypocrisy

April 7th, 2014, 6:47 am


Majed97 said:

Seymour Hersh unearths more lies on Syria

“Investigative journalist Seymour Hersh has a second fascinating essay that rewrites the official record of the sarin gas attack on Ghouta, near Damascus, in August last year. As usual, Hersh uses his sources in the US security establishment to throw light on what really took place. The bottom line: Turkey was almost certainly the party responsible for the attack, hoping it would force Obama to honour his threatened “red line” if Assad used chemical weapons. Was the Assad regime to be brought down by a US military campaign, Turkey assumed it would be able to turn Syria into a client state.”

“Despite US claims, the White House knew that the Syrian rebels had developed chemical weapons production facilities. UN investigators thought the Syrian opposition were the most likely culprits behind earlier chemical weapons attacks, in April and May 2013.”


April 7th, 2014, 7:34 am


Tara said:


I them stand corrected. Are these people Muslims or non Muslims staffers and company?

April 7th, 2014, 8:05 am



A cockroach is dead, and the professor is busy blogging about it? and finding the “Alawite” symbolism of the death of a bully…

Talk about “academic” priorities of an historian, when 350 barrels fell on the city of Aleppo in one month taking 5000 lives and the professor found it necessary to focus on a thug.

April 7th, 2014, 9:18 am


Juergen said:

The great father Frans van der Lugt was killed today. He was shot by an unnamed men outside of his church in Homs.
For decades he has influenced many young Syrians from all faiths. He was always an dear mind, friendly and open for anyone. In his workshops he has always stressed to make something out of the lifespan one has, many Syrians have changed their life after learning from him.

RIP Father Frans!



April 7th, 2014, 2:53 pm


Akbar Palace said:

Red Line NewZ

GOI claims they have proof Assad’s army used WMD.


April 7th, 2014, 3:04 pm


ALAN said:

On Monday, Israel’s Debkafile website reported that two moderate Syrian rebel militias — the Free Syrian Army and the Syrian Revolutionary Front — have been supplied with advanced US weapons, including armor-piercing, optically-guided BGM-71 TOW missiles, thanks to the Pentagon.

According to Debkafile’s report, US Gen. Martin Dempsey — the chairman of the Joint Chiefs — asked officials in Israel last week to help get Saudi Arabian fighter jets stationed at the kingdom’s Faisal Air Base at Tabuk near Jordan positioned in a manner that would provide air cover as American forces moved the weapons into southern Syria. Debkafile attributed the claims to unnamed military sources.
It marks a very dangerous turning point in US support of these rebels.
Russians can not possess the restraint to no end.
Russian response would be undesirable for the U.S. administration. The Pentagon knows that the Russians have all kinds of weapons that violate the regional balances! Stop messing!


April 7th, 2014, 3:07 pm


ALAN said:

follow Al-Tamimi in order to solve the mystery! 😉
The Saudis are potential customers!

April 7th, 2014, 3:39 pm


Syrian said:

RIP Father Frans!

April 7th, 2014, 4:17 pm


ALAN said:

/When it comes to news reports on Christians in Syria, the general focus is on the concerns Christian civilians have about their future, if any, in the country. Though such anxieties are not invalid, reports rarely break new ground. H e r e I i n t e n d t o e x p l o r e how Christians play a role on the ground in the civil war, both on the political and military level/.
/Sect affiliation also has implications for ethnic identity, which has been a hot topic for contention among the region’s Christians more generally/.
Religious (Christian) engineering by:

April 7th, 2014, 4:22 pm


ALAN said:


April 7th, 2014, 4:25 pm


Juergen said:

One of the last interviews of Father Frans

People of Homs hungry to lead a normal life, says Dutch Jesuit

“I don’t see Muslims or Christians. I see, above all, human beings. I am the only priest and the only foreigner around, but I don’t feel like a foreigner. I’m head of the monastery. How can I leave it, how can I leave? This is impossible”.



April 7th, 2014, 4:46 pm


jo6pac said:

22. ALAN said:

Yep, if this turns out to be true I can see Russia dropping their embargo vote in the UN on Iran and then finish filling the orders from Iran and Syria. I could also see China getting a little more involved.

I also wonder who will be using these weapons it sure as hell won’t be some clown high on drugs and not very smart to begin with. Contractor maybe?

April 7th, 2014, 5:43 pm


Syrialover said:


It’s wishful thinking and risky to be relying on Seymour Hersh as support for your views.

Now in his late 70’s Hersh’s reputation and credibility has crumbled as he gets older and weirder, like what’s happened with ex-journalist Robert Fisk.

Hersh is now widely seen as non-credible (in journalistic terms, a fraud) and a joke because his stories are always based on highly unlikely “unnamed sources”. He is also a keen spinner of conspiracy theories.

Here’s a random sample of criticisms and warnings about him:

“Seymour Hersh’s loose relationship with the truth”


“Seymour Hersh and his unnamed sources”


“Seymour Hersh unleashed”

Looks at his “rambling, conspiracy-laden diatribe” approach and the bizarre conspiracy theories he pushes


April 7th, 2014, 5:44 pm


Syrialover said:

JUERGEN #14 and #21

Thank you for sharing this information on Father Frans, the caring Christian priest who has just been killed in Homs.

When you read about him you see what a sinister unchristian fake is Assad’s pet nun, Mother Agnes Mariam.

By the way, when you study pictures of that “nun” it seems likely it is a man in nun’s clothing or a transvestite.

April 7th, 2014, 5:58 pm


ghufran said:

So, the NC meets again, and if that was not irrelevant and boring enough, they fight to appoint a Minister for Interior affairs and they failed (again), so they move to the second round of earth breaking thawrajiyyeh work: kicking few people out and bringing new faces in, after all everybody wants to get paid and give press interviews. The end result is not good:

كانت الهيئة العامة للائتلاف الوطني قد انتخبت مساء الأحد وزيرين جديدين للتربية والصحة في الحكومة السورية المؤقتة التي يترأسها أحمد طعمة، في حين بقيت حقيبة الداخلية شاغرة في ظل تعثر محاولات التوافق على مرشح لتوليها.
وبالنسبة لأعضاء الهيئة السياسية الجديدة، فقد أوضحت مصادر في الائتلاف أن كلا من هادي البحرة وأنس العبدة ونذير الحكيم وأحمد رمضان وعبد الأحد أصطيفو حافظوا على مقاعدهم، بينما خرج ميشيل كيلو وكذلك فايز سارة، وموفق نيربية سفير الائتلاف في بروكسل ومنذر ماخوس سفير الائتلاف في فرنسا.
وبقي في مكانه كل من الرئيس أحمد الجربا ونوابه الثلاثة، فاروق طيفور ونورا الأمير وعبد الحكيم بشار والأمين العام بدر جاموس. وعاد إلى عضوية الهيئة بعد غياب ثلاثة أشهر سالم المسلط.
وخسر كل من الناطق باسم الائتلاف ووفد المعارضة إلى مفاوضات جنيف لؤي صافي، إضافة إلى أكرم العساف وكمال اللبواني وعبد الباسط سيدا (رئيس المجلس الوطني الأسبق) ومنى مصطفى وريما فليحان.
Homs proper is on its way to achieve a cease fire but no info on Al-Rastan yet and the people in Latakia are very upset seeing the army fighting around Damascus, Homs and Aleppo while foreign terrorists take pictures around Kasab, and talking about pictures, we know that there are unnecessary pics taken on both sides but this business of foreign terrorists posing with a cross near old churches in Kasab will only inflame Kasab lovers and confirm what we have said for years about why a rebellion that uses foreign jihadists is not a true national revolution.
Assad will open the door for candidates for presidency after 2 weeks but will also open the door for prison for anybody who dares to get in.

April 7th, 2014, 6:15 pm


Syrialover said:

Because I was hit by it again when I scrolled the front page of this site, I want to repeat my strong objection and questioning of the habit of the webmaster of SyriaComment of posting oversized morbid pictures of corpses among smaller pictures of living people.

See my comment on the last thread here: https://www.joshualandis.com/blog/latakia-front-interview-rebel-side/#comment-452370

April 7th, 2014, 6:33 pm


Tara said:


I object too. It is indecent and I wish it stops.

April 7th, 2014, 6:53 pm


sami said:

I wonder those that support the #savekessab campaign led by no other than the geo-political expert Kim Kardashian will also lend their voice to saving Aleppo from the rain of barrel bombs that have killed five thousand Syrians in the last month (and dozens today) vs the imagined and outright lies regurgitated about the supposed massacre of civilians in Kassab.

April 7th, 2014, 7:46 pm


sami said:

I agree, Aymenn’s over use of graphic photographs of dead people is extremely cryptic and very unnerving.

It is a pity that he relies on them so much because they usually distract from his well researched posts and make it seem he over relies on those pictures to hide his lack of research which is not the case at all.

Also it is a pity that there are still those so willing grasping for anything that will somehow show this regime in a better light to propagate lies about verified facts. Seymore Herch is becoming increasingly Seymore Ass, and those pushimg his unverifiable and poorly researched paper are bigger Asses than he is.

April 7th, 2014, 7:56 pm


Ghufran said:

After 3 years of a war that destroyed much of Syria the nature of the conflict is changing.
SOHR posted an article by Na’eem Daher who is referring to the fact that Syrian rebels are shrinking in number among rebels fighting the Syrian army, the author mentioned examples in Homs and Damascus where inside spies were instrumental in providing detailed info to Syrian military intelligence about rebels plans and location which led to a series of targeted bombing of rebel headquarters and their leaders. This is why in Latakia for example most fighters are not Syrian and most Syrian fighters there are members of nusra and Turkman terrorist groups recruited and controlled by Turkey.
This serious development means that the fight is quickly becoming a war between Syrian soldiers and Syrian double agents on one side and foreign jihadists on the other side.
No insurgency can succeed if it becomes dependent on foreign fighters:
لم تعد معارك سوريا تشبه ما كان يحصل على مسافة السنوات الماضية من عمر الأزمة. تبدل المشهد ميدانياً. الجيش السوري درّب مجموعات على “حرب العصابات”، واستفاد من تجربة “حزب الله” في القتال والتكتيك غير الكلاسيكي. لكن الأهم بالنسبة إلى دمشق الآن هو استعادة الاستخبارات السورية لدورها ونجاحها في اختراق المجموعات المسلحة.
استطاعت الاستخبارات السورية توظيف أعداد من المقاتلين في صفوف “الجيش الحر” لخدمة خططها العسكرية.
في القلمون، نجح الجيش السوري وحلفاؤه في خرق الجبهات من يبرود الى فليطا نتيجة معلومات كانت تصل تباعاً لقيادة العمليات العسكرية عن تحركات المسلحين. رصدت دمشق حركة قياديي المجموعات بالتفصيل أحياناً، ولم تقتصر المعلومات حول أعداد المسلحين وانتماءاتهم وجنسياتهم، بل كانت تأتي المعلومات إلى الاستخبارات السورية عن الخطط وطبيعة المعارك وأماكن تواجد القياديين في “جبهة النصرة” و “الجيش الحر”.
Syrian rebels are now looked at with suspicion and the glamor that once surrounded the FSA has been replaced by Facebook posts and photo ops that try to create a world that does not exist in real life.
كل ثوره و انتم بخير

April 7th, 2014, 9:25 pm


Ghufran said:

Pro-Russian protesters seized official buildings in the eastern cities of Kharkiv, Luhansk and Donetsk on Sunday night, demanding that referendums be held on whether to join Russia like the one that preceded Moscow’s takeover of Crimea.
Acting President Oleksander Turchinov, in a televised address to the nation, said Moscow was attempting to repeat “the Crimea scenario”. He added that “anti-terrorist measures” would be deployed against those who had taken up arms.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in a phone call that Washington was watching events in eastern Ukraine with great concern and any further moves by Moscow to destabilize Ukraine would “incur further costs for Russia.”

April 7th, 2014, 10:01 pm


Juergen said:


If things werent so sinister one could think this is an other Monthy Python character in a nunoutfit. Father Paolo told me that Syria has many figures like her, for him they not only stand by the regime, they are part of it.

As I heard, many folks in Damascus are said about the death, this men has touched so many by his unconventional methods. One told me that through him she was introduced to yoga for the first time.

April 8th, 2014, 1:31 am


ALAN said:

‘Blackwater’ footage: Who are the Mercenaries in Eastern Ukraine?

April 8th, 2014, 1:41 am


ALAN said:

Read the hypocrisy and dont laugh!
Spreading terror and claim that they need to fight terrorism!
Setting up dictatorships in the world, as in the Gulf states and others and drawing jobs for themselves to change repressive regimes!
Talk about the fight against terrorism in the Muslim world over the next 50 years! Imagine
Mr. Putin: remove this scattered evil from our people !

April 8th, 2014, 5:51 am


ALAN said:

Roger Wayne, a British scientist at Harvard University, in his article “The Events in Ukraine and the Middle East Reveal the Helplessness of American Politics,” published in the “Al-Hayat” newspaper on April 4, wrote: “If we are to admit that your country is no longer as influential as previously seemed to herself, it means that she must make a firm decision on the implementation of her influence in new ways which are more inventive but more limited, though this is always a difficult road to take. And the best that can be done in this un-American situation is to live these moments as they are instead of thinking about them…”

Indeed, if it’s already frightening to America’s best friends to think about what’s happening, what can be said about America itself…

April 8th, 2014, 7:19 am


ghufran said:

The guilty silence of thawrajiyyeh when mortar bombs are falling daily on Damascus and other cities killing mostly civilians tells a lot about this “revolution” and explains why losing the higher moral grounds by resorting to terrorism was the straw that broke the camel’s back. People are turning against rebels everywhere in Syria and the Assad’s regime could not ask for better enemies. At this rate,especially given the impending fall of Ghoutah and other towns around Damascus, this may be the last summer when rebels hold any Syrian city East of Qaqqa and Dayr Al-zour (which may remain as Al-Qaeda and ISIS haven for a while), and the only thing left for thawrajiyyehs to do will be internet Jihad abroad and mortar / car bombs inside Syria !!

April 8th, 2014, 10:20 am


Rose Damas said:

Hilal al-Assad was a pity thief.

Rami Makhlouf, Bashar al-Assad first cousin, who owns all businesses is Syria is a more interesting subject to learn about. Thanks for the article anyway.

April 8th, 2014, 10:34 am


ALAN said:

ثورة أخلاقية مطلقة في سوريا حلم زهري في مدينة أفلاطون !
يجب على السوريين التعلم و الدراسة و التواضع في التعمق في الدراسة !
مايجري في سورية هو غضب من الله على الفساد المستفحل لدى عامة الشعب السوري ! لن يغير الله ما بقوم حتى يغيروا ما بأنفسهم ! علينا بالنقد الذاتي و اصلاح النفوس! لقد غلب عدد بائعي النفس على عدد حافظي النفس و ما يحصل هو شكل من أشكال العدالة الالهية !!!

April 8th, 2014, 11:57 am


Tara said:


Are you rich?

I am involved in fundraising for humanitarian purpose in Syria. Specifically, I am interested in building underground field hospitals in Syria so Assad does not bombard them to rubble as usual.

If anyone interested. Let me know.

April 8th, 2014, 12:12 pm


Syrialover said:

Reality is proving inconvenient – actually embarrassing – for Putin’s cyber cheer squad.

The IMF has just announced that the US economy has strengthened, and predicted it will see stronger growth this year and next.

Also the IMF lifted its growth forecast for the UK, saying it will be fastest growing economy in the G7 this year.

But Russia’s economy meanwhile is accelerating downwards. The IMF has cut its growth forecast for Russia by around one-third to since January citing “emerging market financial turbulence and geopolitical tensions relating to Ukraine… on the back of already weak activity.”

(source: http://www.bbc.com/news/business-26935148)

COMMENT: I earlier posted a report where a leading Russian economist said Putin’s Ukraine adventure was an effort to distract Russians from his regime’s failure to deliver his promised annual economic growth of 7% (it’s now 1.3% and falling).

Poor Russians! Their genius “leader’s” tactics are digging them into an even deeper economic hole.

(Here’s that earlier report: https://www.joshualandis.com/blog/obama-approval-manpads-rebels-violate-us-agreements-policy-endanger-airliners-james-mcmichael/?cp=all#comment-452167)

April 8th, 2014, 12:48 pm


ghufran said:

Hizbullah may be getting close to declaring a conditional withdrawal of its troops from Syria as soon as military operations in Qalamon ends, the Syrian army entered Rankous today and may be ready to attack Douma and push deeper in Jobar if no agreement is reached on a cease fire and if mortar bombs keep falling on residential areas in Damascus.
The involvement of Hizbullah was instrumental in helping the Syrian army around Damascus and in the Qalamon region but that involvement backfired inside Lebanon and inflamed sectarian feelings in both Lebanon and Syria. A move like this is overdue but its success depends on how things go around Damascus and the Syrian-Lebanese borders.

SL, I do not mind that you copy my style in posting but I hope you stick to the facts and keep your newly discovered (and much welcomed) moderate tone 🙂

April 8th, 2014, 12:54 pm


Syrialover said:

I think there is value and interest in recording the activities of Hilal Assad and others of Bashar’s clan to demonstrate how vermin-infested Syria is, and the disgusting scale and pedigree of the vermin.

But strangely, the lead article above lacked a significant punchline – who is alleged to have killed Hilal Assad, and why?

There are reports he wasn’t killed in battle, but by a single assassin outside his home. And that his death was the result of internal tensions, not an opposition attack.

Why does the article omit any mention of this (even to refute or question it)? Very strange.

April 8th, 2014, 1:19 pm


Syrialover said:

GHUFRAN #44 wrote:

“SL, I do not mind that you copy my style in posting”

What? What?

For a start I put links in and don’t post suspiciously unsourced material.

And I don’t have-it-both-ways when criticizing Assad by automatically adding that his opponents are equally bad.

He adds:

“but I hope you stick to the facts and keep your newly discovered (and much welcomed) moderate tone”

Stick to the facts and have a moderate tone? Well, that could be seen by some as contrary to GHUFRAN’s style as well.

Maybe he needs to be copying MY style?

April 8th, 2014, 1:40 pm


ALAN said:

Unlike you, we are pleased to grow and prosper in the West when goes as the result of the efforts and not a result of wars!
But after the Cold War era the United States,still such as heavy gorillas does not want to re-consider its military budget or it massive consumption of carbohydrates, besides corruption and extravagance.
the camel does not see its hump.

April 8th, 2014, 1:42 pm


Syrialover said:

Hi there ALAN #47,

I am not sure what point you are pushing, but your comment doesn’t deal with the serious issue of Russia being driven into an economic dead end by Putin.

You’ve tempted me into repeating that quote by Russian economist Surgei Guriev:

“Why has [Russian] growth disappeared? Since all previous sources of growth – cheap labour, growing commodity prices, expansion of consumer credit – have already been exhausted, further growth would require incentives for investment.

“But that requires protection of property rights and enforcement of contracts – exactly what corruption in government and the judiciary undermines. Even before Crimea, investors were voting with their feet. Investment suffered. Russian stocks were trading at a 50 per cent discount to other emerging markets.

“Having driven the economy into recession, the Russian elite has to find a new way to stay in power. For an authoritarian regime that is always a difficult task, requiring money, repression and propaganda.” (source linked in #43 above)

PS And whatever bad lifestyle habits Americans have, they are not as deadly as the vodka plague that has lowered Russians’ average life expectancy.

April 8th, 2014, 2:04 pm


Sami said:

Tara and Ghufran,

You both make an excellent observation about the supposed perception of Muslims today. while I was raised to be a Sunni Muslim in my adulthood my beliefs have changed to a point where I would consider myself more of an agnostic than anything else.

This however has not and does not mean I gave up or forgotten the valuable lessons that I have learnt from both Family and my own personal thirst for more knowledge.

One of the first things I remember learning as a youngster was the Constitution of Medina that was written by the prophet Mohammad. This is perhaps one of the very first constitutions ever written and more importantly has the word Ummah in it but to the surprise of many this Ummah is not exclusive to just Muslims, but included Christians, Jews, and Pagans within this Ummah. So this Ummah is built upon mutual respect and community rather than faith or tribes (which was how people saw themselves then). This constitution includes many trail blazing ideas that was not seen during that time and was not emulated in the west till centuries after, including women’s rights, freedom of religion, tribal relations and a judicial system.

The point I am trying to make is that Islam is a far more accepting religion than it is perceived today, and that Muslims are either ignorant or not loud enough in rejecting the extremists within their own community. It is not up to the west to change their perception of Muslims but it is up to Muslims to change the way they are perceived. As long as the 3ar3ours, Khamenis, Nasrallah, and Binbaz’s are considered to be the “leaders” of the muslim world then muslims cannot expect the west to change their perception of them.

when I think of the Jewish community and who represents them to the world it is not Rabbis but politicians, businesspeople, actors, and scientists. I yearn for the day Arabs and Muslims can emulate that.

April 8th, 2014, 2:56 pm


ALAN said:

Why Stalin? To the necessities of Hitler
Why Putin? To the necessities of Obama
There are a huge number of Americans are happy with the presence of Putin as a medicine cures for the American disease!
Even vodka be required some time! Everything you say about Russia is well known and do not be ashamed to acknowledge its existence! But I like to turn your attention to the close relationship between the industry of wars and the gains and profits making in the United States! It’s a demonic approach stems from the western banks rulers ! Take care of yourself

April 8th, 2014, 3:13 pm


ALAN said:

“By insisting “Assad must go,” the West has locked itself in to a losing game in #Syria.” By Flynt & Hillary Leverett

April 8th, 2014, 3:42 pm


Uzair8 said:

For Russia to grow it perhaps needs a taller leader.
President Putin can only take the country so far.

Yeltsin was a big man, huge. Wasn’t it under him Russia grew and the rapid rise in oligarch wealth began?

Look even PM Erdogan, a giant of a man, has overseen significant Turkish growth, much more than under Demirel and co’s time.

Ok Assad is an anomaly that throws a spanner in this theory, however, to be fair to him the poor growth was a given as the rigid sysytem was already put in place by the petit Hafez Assad.

April 8th, 2014, 3:50 pm


ALAN said:

أوه عزير good evening ! how are you? What about the growth of the abdomen that you have to deal British food, genetically modified?(rofl)

April 8th, 2014, 4:19 pm



Sometimes machine translation can be interestingly poetic.

Why so…. to the necessities of so…

April 8th, 2014, 5:00 pm


mjabali said:


Please stop making Islam something it is not.

Try to sell your logic to any minority from the Middle East.

As long as there is Surat al-Tawbah, and similar aggressive texts, Muslims can never accept others. Read it again and talk to me if you want. Or do you want to read al-Jihad Hadiths?

April 8th, 2014, 5:00 pm


mjabali said:

Syria “lover”

So Hilal al-Assad was killed by Bashar al-Assad? …. Your proof?

April 8th, 2014, 5:06 pm


Ghufran said:

Dear SL, I hope you keep your sense of humor, we live to serve, learn and teach, I was trying to give you a compliment. I actually like the new you more than the old me.
Putin short and decisive is better for his country than many tall and indecisive leaders, not that I think that short stature is a virtue, keep in mind that a number of holy men and women were not tall.
I agree that Assad must go but that is something Syrians not chechnyans and Turks and the West have to decide on, for foreigners to tell Syrians who should be their leaders is contradictory to the old and overused freedom slogan. Trying to impose then using foreign jihadists to change a bad regime made things worse and helped the regime.

April 8th, 2014, 6:36 pm


Syrialover said:

MJABALI, you challenged me (#56) with the words:

“So Hilal al-Assad was killed by Bashar al-Assad?…. Your proof?”

Oh, was he? I didn’t say that – but maybe you know more than I do.

I said his death is [alleged to be] the result of internal tensions, not an opposition attack.

Shadowy guys like Hilal Assad live with a seething mass of fear, distrust, rivalries and bitter long-term grudges around them.

We get a sniff of his relationship with the world reading above how he took pride in not paying his workers then setting military intelligence goons on to them if they complained.

It could have been one of his fellow gangsters, “business” rivals or victims, disaffected members of his brigade or a shabiha thug from his circle (maybe even his steroided son with a volcanic temper, angry because daddy wouldn’t give him the car he wanted or something).

And proof? Nobody can get the truth in Syria since the day Bashar’s daddy Hafez seized power. But it will come pouring out in post-Assad Syria when people are no longer afraid to talk.

But maybe you are ahead of this, along with some others who are suggesting Hilal made the mistake of annoying the supersonic thug, the legless Maher Assad.

April 8th, 2014, 6:37 pm


Uzair8 said:


Oh I’m sorry, did I hurt your feelings? I’m sure, in fact I know Mr Putin has a sense of humour as you once posted a video clip to confirm it.

I was only joking of course.

April 8th, 2014, 6:42 pm


Uzair8 said:

Regarding the possibility of Hilal Assad being a casualty of some internal rift I thought about it earlier.

It is quite possible that people within the regime structure may choose to settle scores with each other at this time knowing that Bashar Assad is quite busy and also less able to enquire and exact retribution.

April 8th, 2014, 6:47 pm


Syrialover said:


One of the starkest difference between the phony bear wrestler Putin and leaders of more modern, advanced and democratic nations (of which there are many dozens today, leaving Russia behind in the dust) is that they act in accordance with the interests, welfare and wishes of their citizens.

Putin’s limited comprehension of the world and neurotic “pride” makes him resent such leaders and their status at home and abroad. He has no idea how they do it – all he knows is that he can’t.

To repeat:“Having driven the economy into recession, the Russian elite has to find a new way to stay in power. For an authoritarian regime that is always a difficult task, requiring money, repression and propaganda.”

PS Ghufran, I noticed your signature pattern – saying Assad must go, but then hinting that the only alternative would be control by foreign fanatics.

April 8th, 2014, 6:57 pm


Uzair8 said:

Just seen an interesting blog called ‘All World Leaders Are Tall – A Commonly Held Misconception’

There’s an image of the Obama’s with the Queen. I was surprised to see them tower over Prince Phillip, who I assumed was quite tall. I mean today the Irish President was on a state visit to the UK and expecting the troops with Prince Phillip and the Prince towered over him. I wathced the ceremony on tv earlier today. Here’s some images:


Be warned on that blog there’s also a photo of a very under-dressed Kim Jong Ill. There’s a funny comment about him after the article regarding him wearing high heeled shoes to appear taller.


April 8th, 2014, 7:03 pm


Syrialover said:

ALAN (#53), Are you confident Russians are not drinking vodka made from genetically modified ingredients?

Even Putin admits that Russians’ average life span is shrinking because of vodka.

But maybe there is something in the vodka that is accelerating this?

April 8th, 2014, 7:09 pm


Sami said:


I really do not have the patience to get into it with you. Your visceral hatred of Sunnis and their faith is really tiresome to read and even more so to debate with.

April 8th, 2014, 9:16 pm


mjabali said:

Syria “lover”

You said in your comment# 45 the following regarding the death of Hilal al-Assad:

“There are reports he wasn’t killed in battle, but by a single assassin outside his home. And that his death was the result of internal tensions, not an opposition attack.”

This is what you said…I asked you about what is the proof that this is true?

You mentioned the word “Reports.” You said there are “Reports…” Where are these “reports” you are referring to? That is my question.

Any thoughts…?

Also you seem to be denying the battles that were raging the day Hilal died?

April 8th, 2014, 9:46 pm


Tara said:


Brilliant!. You can’t debate visceral hatred . It is futile. The challenge in my opinion is not to reciprocate it .

April 8th, 2014, 9:51 pm


mjabali said:


I do not hate Sunnis, never did and never will. I critique their teachings and what they did to others, especially the sect I came from.

You, and others, are not accustomed to anyone critiquing your brand of Islam, Sunni that is, like me.

Nothing is perfect.

Reaching a middle ground in this argument is not bad at all.

Debates with people like me improves understanding between the sects in Syria.

You seem to believe in flowery tales…I do not…

April 8th, 2014, 9:52 pm


Mjabali said:


What you say about Iranians, Shia, Alawites is considered hate speech here in America…

What I say about your sect is criticism that you can not handle at anytime.

The examples of your hate speech fill this blog…

April 8th, 2014, 10:03 pm


Tara said:


Do you not get tired of playing the eternal victim? It is the twenty first century and I got tired of hearing it.

I hate them all and equally including their Sunni counterparts. My hate is not visceral and does not stem from their religious or belief system. I hate them because of their role in killing Syrians. There is no two people who believe the same no matter how you characterize them but there is clearly a phenomena of collective visceral hatred from the minorities in Syria toward the majority and you really are a prototype example.

April 8th, 2014, 10:15 pm


apple_mini said:

Majabali, it is a waste of time.

Those people you have been debating with will not change or let along progress.

At their age, the mind has set.

Look at the American south, no one bothers to enlighten those rednecks. There are laws that contain their behaviors. The same treatment as to local gators: let them claim swamps. But if they get close to civilization, cage them.

Syria and all middle east need to kick Islam out of state and public institutions. Only then, we can see truly liberated population taking up the responsibilities of a progressive society by using their unfettered brain power and mind.

April 8th, 2014, 11:35 pm


Sami said:

Rotten Apple,

I am in my early thirties. I do not consider myself a muslim, married to a Christian and have an Orthodox Hungarian for a Grand Mother. My favourite aunt is an Alawite from Qurdaha which scum like you would never even amount to the dust off her shoe.

So in short, shove all your perceived crap about me back up your crap shoot. And remember putting ray bans on a piece of turd and calling it “secular” does not in anyway make the piece of turd anything more than what it is.

April 9th, 2014, 12:28 am


apple_mini said:

Sami, your filthy and vindictive tone and language will not do yourself good here.

If you cannot handle yourself even in a virtual world, how in the world can you conduct yourself in real life.

Without doubt, people here on the forum truly show what they are. That is what their thoughts and entrenched mindset are about. We are not interested in your upbringing, nor your background.

By resorting peevish and impish manners, you are just making yourself look like a fool.

As I expressed before, one of the worst byproducts of this war is that people like you get to crawl out a cesspool.

April 9th, 2014, 1:55 am


SimoHurtta said:

63. SYRIALOVER said:

ALAN (#53), Are you confident Russians are not drinking vodka made from genetically modified ingredients?
Even Putin admits that Russians’ average life span is shrinking because of vodka.
But maybe there is something in the vodka that is accelerating this?

Syrian Lover maybe you should educate your self – sometimes

Russia has indeed a relative high alcohol consumption (recorded+unrecorded), but before Russia are plenty of countries. Like Czech Republic, France, Ukraine, South Korea, Ireland etc.

On the other hand could “we in the west” say that the desperate human rights and democracy lack in Muslim countries is caused by the low consumption of alcohol. And the population explosion there caused by “no alcohol”. Maybe Sunnis and their merry Al Qaida fellows should drink more and use less car bombs.

April 9th, 2014, 4:28 am


Mjabali said:


Whatever you said is nothing but personal attacks… You never come up with any real argument..What you came up with is racist talk…and personal attacks…

Keep on using the failed argument of victimhood, this shows, again, that you have nothing to say.

I hope you are happy these days….there is a rocket attack against Lattakia almost every day… most of the rockets are falling on the Alawites area….? Any thoughts?

Contrary to your claims, many Syrians share my views, amongst them many Sunnis.

April 9th, 2014, 8:50 am


mjabali said:

Apple mini:

You said:

“Syria and all middle east need to kick Islam out of state and public institutions. Only then, we can see truly liberated population taking up the responsibilities of a progressive society by using their unfettered brain power and mind.”

This is very correct. Only then anyone there could have any type of a chance.

April 9th, 2014, 9:00 am


Sami said:

Rotten Toufaha,

well then use your “unfettered brain power and mind” to realize the venom you spew has nothing to do with modernity and everything to do with the dark ages…

And out of everyone here you have shown yourself to be lowest common denominator with your callousness and calls for death which you miserably try to intertwine with peace.

So again, shove your fake modernity facade and your perceived notions back up where the sun don’t shine.

April 9th, 2014, 9:11 am


Mohammed Omer said:

Salaam Alaikum, it is too sad to know that Muslims can be such a fool that they become toys of Russia and America. Russia gives weapons to Asad to kill Muslims. America gives weapons to bloody terrorists to kill Muslims. Muslim nations and their rulers should form a Muslim union joint military to stabilize the Muslim nations and help Muslims to be financially strong and got Islamic education too to have humanity.

April 10th, 2014, 1:20 pm


Mohammed Omer said:

I pray Allah that all Islamic nations and their rulers form a united millalitary of all Islamic nations. Without Islam we never be happy.

April 10th, 2014, 2:37 pm


ghufran said:

An “Armenian genocide” resolution has passed the U.S. Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee on April 10 by bipartisan voice.

Bob Menendez, a Democrat from New Jersey who chairs the Foreign Relations Committee, and Mark Kirk, a Republican from Illinois, had presented the bill last week.

“Next year will mark the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, during which 1.5 million Armenians were killed by Ottoman Turkey … To honor the survivors and the memory of those lost, and to lead globally on human rights, the United States should finally join the European Union and 11 of our NATO allies in officially recognizing the Armenian Genocide,” Kirk had said.

Armenians say up to 1.5 million of their forebears were killed in 1915 and 1916 by the forces of Ottoman Empire.

April 10th, 2014, 9:48 pm


Mohammed Omer said:

Salaam alaikum, Islam is necessary for the betterment.

April 11th, 2014, 6:18 am


Tara said:

Mohammed Omar,

Islam is not the way. Secular democracy that respects human individuality is. Islam should really be left at home. It is an individual submission to God and not a collective one.

April 12th, 2014, 5:32 pm


Mohammed Omer said:

Say no to terrorism against Muslim countries.

April 15th, 2014, 12:44 am


Austin Bodetti said:

I enjoyed this post alongside Aron Lund’s.

May 17th, 2014, 11:33 pm


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