Saturday, 14 March 2015

destroyed aleppo

With World's Attention Turned To ISIS, The Syrian Regime Ramps Up Bombings On Civilians
“Every day, [Bashar al] Assad’s fighters drop barrel bombs,” 24-year-old Suliman Alhalaby, who lives in a rebel-controlled area of divided Aleppo, told The WorldPost over Skype. He says he’s lost 20 friends and relatives to the bombs -- cylinders filled with fuel, nails and shrapnel, and chucked out of helicopters. “It’s a horrible sound,” he explained. “Year after year, Assad is becoming more dangerous.”
“All our people have [been] disappointed,”  said Ahmad, a 27-year-old law student-turned-aid worker in Aleppo. “All the governments in the world don’t care about the suffering of my people.We know that ISIS was made by Assad to say to the international community: ‘I am fighting terrorists,’”

Free Free Syria

 The widow of Dr. Abbas Khan spoke at the end of the march for Syria in London today. Syrians must kill Assad before he kills all of them. Paul Conroy said that history will judge, Assad and those who left Syria defenceless against him.

 There were about 400 people on the march, maybe a dozen from the far left.


Embedded image permalink

"The state of emergency is not limited to schools. Health clinics in Douma have also limited their operating hours from 6am to 9am., Abu Adnan, the spokesman for Douma’s Unified Medical Office told Syria Direct on Wednesday."

Is letting Syrian refugees drown in the Med to deter others now UK policy?

MIgrants rescued by Mare Nostrum patrol
 The hostility of the British government to desperate Syrians contrasts shockingly with the generosity of countries such as Germany and Lebanon 

 A better example of generosity might be Turkey rather than Lebanon; the former hasn't attacked refugee camps, and doesn't have a semi-state actor like Hezbollah creating refugees by engaging in a sectarian war against Sunni Muslims in Syria.

Friday, 13 March 2015

Kashmir Images
'My home in Syria had everything … now we live in a caravan' 
This is how the conflict got militarised, it was fight back against Assad or die.
"By the beginning of 2013, existence in his village in the southern Syrian governorate of Daraa had become impossible. In March the previous year, government soldiers looking for opposition spies found the sheltering villagers and began a random slaughter.  “They went along us, saying ‘You’re going to heaven’ to one man, and ‘You’re going to hell’ to another one,” says Younis. “If they sent you to hell, you were either stabbed or shot. If they sent you to heaven, they let you live. I thought I was going to die, but the soldier said I was going to heaven.”
Eight months later, he watched most of a family die as their car drove over one of the mines the soldiers had sown around the village.
The device itself was a small one but the family, who were fleeing a neighbouring village, had a gas cylinder in the back of the car. Younis helped drag out and bury the bodies of the mother and her four children. The father, who was driving, was hit in the leg but survived to join the Free Syria Army (FSA)."

Syrian refugees attend a Portuguese class at the Do Pari mosque in downtown Sao Paulo, Brazil on March 4, 2015

Fleeing war, Syrian refugees seek new life in Brazil
"I am not a Muslim, I am a communist," says Victorios Bayan, a 39-year-old journalist and an "opponent of the government of Bashar al-Assad since before the revolution."
Bayan says he reached Sao Paulo two months ago and took language classes at the mosque.
Lessons stop for prayers and Bayan takes the opportunity to have a quick smoke.
"I was detained, beaten and maltreated," he explains, gesturing with his cigarette.
"When will I be able to return? Will there be a solution?"

Syria revolution four years on: Don't bet against President Assad – a ruler willing to see his country destroyed so long as he can cling to power

Image for the news result

Robert Fisk's support for Assad becomes more irrational as time goes on. If the threat to bomb Assad was hollow, why should we believe "we hate Assad," or "we supported the opposition"? The original Syrian opponents of Assad are the same ones opposing him now, it is ISIS that is largely composed of non-Syrians (or indeed Assad's support from Lebanon and Iran). The secret mythical intermediary between Assad and ISIS has been exposed as one Mr. Haswani*. They have taken a few villages south of Qamisleh in the wake of the Kurdish YPG doing more damage to ISIS in the area and they have collapsed without a fight**. I can't find any trace of them fighting ISIS north-east of Latakia, but rather the Free Syrian ZArmy and Ahrar al-Sham***. Maybe he's talking about the August 2013 Latakia offensive**** in which ISIS played some small part. It's soldiers have been murdered en masse when their officers abandoned them, hardly the sign of an army on a mission to destroy ISIS. There a a couple more lies to mention, that the Free Syrian Army is nothing but "supposedly pro-Western" guerrillas, and that everyone's crimes in Syria are much the same because blood sticks to everyone's hands, though of course those of the Islamists are always worse. Fisk is completely detached from reality.
 "Their threat to bomb Assad out of Damascus was hollow – and Assad’s self-confidence blossomed. Those who hero-worshipped the original Syrian opponents of Assad (brave men indeed) are now creating a new and dark scenario for us, in which Assad has all along encouraged the Islamists – indeed allied himself to Isis – via a series of secret but mythical negotiators, and in which Assad’s army fights only its internal opponents and lets Nato bomb Isis to its heart’s content. But Assad’s army is fighting Isis – south of Qamishleh, for example, and north-east of Latakia – and its soldiers have been shot into mass graves by the black-hooded men of the “Islamic Caliphate”.
So who will win? At first, we supported the opposition and hated Assad. But now that Isis is ruling much of Syria (though few of its cities) and killing Christians and Westerners, we hate Isis even more than we hate Assad. That’s why we bomb Isis but didn’t bomb Assad. And as long as both “sides” think they can still win, the war will go on for another year or two. Or three. Which means that Assad survives. But after perhaps 300,000 dead, would that be a victory?"

***"The Islamist Ahrar al-Sham claimed rocket strikes on Slanfeh and Aramo, regime positions south of Dorin, while the FSA’s First Coastal Division said it had struck government posts in Dorin as well as Nabi Younes, the highest point in the region. A commander from the First Coastal Division—the largest FSA formation in Latakia Governorate—said in an interview that the regime had attacked the rebels’ mountain position to raise the morale of Assad supporters."

‘Iranization’ of Syria: Why has
the conflict lasted so long?

"Although one might make the argument that Iran cannot be blamed for all these tragedies, Tehran’s support for Assad and his forces have directly impacted the militarized character, viciousness and direction of the civil war. Without the robust and unshakable support of Tehran, Assad’s fate would have resembled that of Mubarak and Ben Ali.
As the international community, and particularly the United States, are silent and soft on Iran when it comes to its military, economic, and intelligence support of Assad, there is no pressure on the Islamic Republic to shift its support of Assad. Thus it follows that the Syrian civil war will continue, the death toll with increase, and there exists no end to the conflict anytime soon."

Netanyahu fantasies aside, Iran is part of the problem

Netanyahu fantasies aside, Iran is part of the problem

Sam Hamad"Iran is neither a nuclear threat or the new Third Reich. But it is stoking sectarian war in Syria on behalf of the Assad regime and reinforcing sectarianism in Iraq. These have been the most immediate factors in the current chaos that has engulfed these two countries and which threatens to engulf the entire region. Netanyahu and the US hawks that hang on his every word may not provide any solutions, as they themselves are part of the problem, but the realpolitik that lies behind this new phase in the seemingly endless and wholly destructive “war on terror”, namely the current rapprochement of the US and Iran, is yet another major blow for all those forces within the region that support freedom and democracy."

The lights have gone out over Syria, just like our humanity

Free Syrian Army fighters in Aleppo

The west is appeasing Assad while he massacres Syrian civilians and spares the butchers of Isis
"Filiu believes the west has contributed to creating the monster it is fighting. Not in the way some proponents of anti-western conspiracy theories like to suggest (no, Isis is not a creature of the CIA), but by abandoning the Syrian revolutionaries and failing to provide them with the support that would have allowed them to change the balance of forces on the ground.

Filiu identifies wasted opportunities, including President Obama’s August 2013 decision to give up on airstrikes against Assad’s military after its use of chemical weapons. In early 2014 there was another lost chance when Syrian rebels expelled Isis from Aleppo, but still didn’t receive the outside help they hoped for. Filiu is convinced that by creating a vacuum, the west let radical Islamic networks based in the Gulf states become enmeshed in the Syrian quagmire – thus helping spread the ideology Isis thrives on.
While we bomb Isis, Assad spares it and prefers to barrel-bomb Syrian civilians in the pockets of territory still controlled by the rebels fighting his rule. Filiu says Isis is winning because, unlike the west, it has a strategy – and it has galvanised many young Sunnis. Isis is proactive, the west reactive. The actions of Isis draw us into kneejerk military operations with no political strategy whatsoever.Filiu identifies wasted opportunities, includingPresident Obama’s August 2013 decision to give up on airstrikes against Assad’s military after its use of chemical weapons. In early 2014 there was another lost chance when Syrian rebels expelled Isis from Aleppo, but still didn’t receive the outside help they hoped for. Filiu is convinced that by creating a vacuum, the west let radical Islamic networks based in the Gulf states become enmeshed in the Syrian quagmire – thus helping spread the ideology Isis thrives on.
The west started a bombing campaign after its citizens were beheaded last year in Iraq – the images of these crimes were intolerable. Yet the west failed to do anything decisive after 200,000 people were killed in Syria. If you dwell on this fact for a minute, it is hardly surprising that many young Muslims – wherever they are – are likely to conclude that western policies are racist."

Thursday, 12 March 2015

syria children

Millions Of Children Are
Trapped By War In Syria

"In the fourth year of the conflict, government forces carried out at least 1,450 indiscriminate attacks from the air, Human Rights Watch said last month.
According to the New York-based group, these attacks often use barrel bombs, containers packed with explosives and projectiles that are dropped from helicopters.
Life expectancy has plunged from 75.9 years in 2010 to an estimated 55.7 at the end of 2014, a U.N.-backed study has said.
"Our organization should be running some of the largest medical programs in its 44-year history," Dr. Joanne Liu, MSF's international president, said in a statement on Wednesday. "But it's not. And the question is, why not?"
The United Nations Security Council is "failing Syria" by not implementing its own resolutions, the NRC and 20 other aid groups, including Oxfam and Save the Children, said on Thursday.
The unanimously passed resolutions, which authorize U.N. aid missions to enter the country without the Syrian government's consent, have been "ignored or undermined," the report said.
"I haven't seen the Security Council so defunct since the build-up to the Iraq war in 2003," said Egeland. "I think they are not willing." "

Syria regime blamed for killing over 600 doctors: rights group

 'The Assad regime is responsible for 97 percent of medical personnel killings, it said.Attacks on medical staff and hospitals have devastated the medical infrastructure, said the report entitled "Doctors in the Crosshairs: Four years of Attacks on Health Care in Syria." '

 "The consequences of the international community’s failure to protect Syrians from systematic and repeated violations of both human rights and humanitarian law have been devastating. Yet, one in particular stands out: the erosion of the long-established principle that neither militaries nor armed groups can target medical workers and the health care system for attacks.Since 2011, the Syrian government has systematically violated this principle and is using attacks on medical workers and facilities as a weapon of war. It began when the government interfered with and compromised health care services by arresting injured protesters in emergency rooms, but quickly escalated into bombing hospitals in opposition-held areas and detaining, torturing, and executing doctors who were adhering to medical ethics by treating the wounded regardless of their political beliefs. The doctors who have risked their lives to remain in Syria and treat the injured have been decimated by Bashar al-Assad’s forces, which consider it a crime punishable by death to provide medical treatment to “the other side.”

 As we approach the fifth year of the conflict, at least 610 medical personnel have been killed, and there have been 233 deliberate or indiscriminate attacks on 183 medical facilities. The Syrian government is responsible for 88 percent of the recorded hospital attacks and 97 percent of medical personnel killings, with 139 deaths directly attributed to torture or execution."

The Daily Star

Homs rebels relieved after
exit but pledge return
'He used to sell car parts and owned a cake factory, but the revolution turned him into a poet. He wrote the lyrics for several protest chants that became known in the Arab world.
“But the regime didn’t understand the language of song and poetry, and with its violence, it pushed us into taking up arms.” Hajj Ayman'
Some news outlets would rewrite this as ,"Western Proxies In Syria Are Used Car Dealers And Worse."

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Syrian rebels free dozens from ISIS detention in Syria’s al-Bab

Syrian rebels free dozens from ISIS
detention in Syria’s al-Bab

Abu Malek al-Babi, commander of Liwaa al-Tawheed of the FSA, said that FSA-linked “sleeper cells” have freed dozens of prisoners from IS detention centers in the city of al-Bab.

A warning at the exhibition of the ‘Caesar’ photographs at the UN headquarters in New York

Images of Syrian torture on display at UN: 'It is imperative we do not look away'

Graphic exhibition of photographs showing the victims of atrocities carried out by Assad regime goes on display at UN headquarters
"The pictures show 27 men (some elderly), two children and one woman in various positions, almost all displaying signs of prolonged starvation. Some had their eyes gouged out, others had flayed or badly bleeding skin. One body was entirely charred. But all of the photographs had identifiers embedded within them and the numbers of regime facilities where the people had been killed."

Syrian rebels' march on Damascus
becomes fight for their survival

“For us, the path to saving the revolution, saving the Free Syrian Army and the Syrian people is clear – it runs from Daraa to Damascus. If we can arrive at Damascus, the whole conflict would change. It is our last best hope.” 


Wrestling With the U.S. to Expose Assad

"Despite the Obama administration’s stated policy of opposing the Assad government, the U.S. hadn’t done much to force him out. In some instances—like the removal of chemical weapons—Washington and Damascus even worked together.
At the time, the Obama administration was sensitive about critiques of its Syria policy. Shortly after the hearing, a bipartisan group of lawmakers met with President Obama at the White House. Responding to the suggestion that he should have armed the Syrian rebels earlier, the president said that criticism was “horseshit.”
Some in Congress believed that this attitude spilled over to Foggy Bottom, and that it made the State Department less than eager to highlight Assad’s atrocities."

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Cartoon by Amjad Wardeh depicting Bashar al-Assad snorting dust as if it were cocaine

It’s a revolution: the cultural
outpouring fueled by Syrian war
"Most pundits claim that if there was a revolutionary moment it was brief and now it’s civil war. Artists and intellectuals beg to differ. With pens and brushes they have insisted on the importance of naming and representing the protests and demonstrations “revolution.” Charif Kiwan, one of the founders of the Abou Naddara documentary film production, said: “We don’t feel we are dealing with a war. We are dealing with a revolution. I don’t know what revolution is; I can’t explain what it is, but we have the feeling that we are in front of huge breakdowns, ruptures, something very violent and also very beautiful. So, we cannot qualify this. We accept the idea that it is a revolution.” "

Syria homemade weapons

Syria: Rebels unveil home-made Volcano cannon
and other improvised weapons

"Lacking the resources of Assad's government forces, rebels have had to improvise weapons. Mortar shells are turned on lathes in factories and fired using a variety of improvised launchers. Homemade grenades are launched from giant catapults or customised shotguns. In this gallery we look at some of the homemade munitions used by the Free Syrian Army."
It isn't the Saudis and the Americans fighting a proxy war, it's David v Goliath.

Monday, 9 March 2015

Syrians mark Women's Day in Idlib cellar

"Ever since the revolution became armed, people started forgetting that women were at the forefront of protests, holding banners and screaming slogans before the men.We cannot marginalise these women and forget about them. This event was held to honour them."


'The increased pressure from the coalition and local Syrians has caused defections in IS’s ranks and led to numerous attempts to escape, says Abu Mujahed, a former FSA fighter and now citizen journalist in the IS-controlled city of al-Mayadin."Soon enough, in the upcoming months there will be a big revolution against IS. The revolution will happen for many reasons, including oppression against civilians, huge price increases, a lack of services and IS’s killing of young men in front of their families for no reason." '

Do we have to reconcile with Assad?
"It is impossible for Saudi Arabia to reconcile with Assad, who has killed a quarter of a million people, in order to fight ISIS. How can we convince the 10 million displaced people - victims of Assad’s war machine - that we are giving up on them?
When the time comes to discuss Assad’s fate, no one will care about the concept of vengeance. The focus today is on two parallel solutions: supporting the armed moderate opposition - the Free Syrian Army (FSA) - and supporting any peaceful solution based on the reconciliation of the entire Syrian people and on the maintenance of the regime without its senior leaders. A political solution cannot be fairly imposed without supporting the FSA."

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Demonstration in Beit Sahem, in Rif Damascus, against Jabhat al Nusra


 'A mass demonstration was organized on March 7 2015 in the town of Beit Sahem in Rif Damascus condemning  through numerous slogans the various violent and repressive actions of Jabhat al Nusra in different towns (Yalda-Beit Sahem-Babbila), and called for Jabhat al Nusra members to leave these three towns, which are undergoing severe sieges imposed by Assad’s forces and militias.'
Syrian regime 'behind 71 chemical weapons attacks'
Syrian regime 'behind 71 chemical weapons attacks''The director of the Syrian Network for Human Rights, Fadel Abdul Ghani, told al-Araby al-Jadeed that the network had been given reliable reports of attacks in Rif Dimashq, Jubar Hama, Idlib, Daraa and Aleppo governorates since the agreement by Syria in 2013 to give up its chemical weapons under the terms of a UN resolution.Ghani called on the UN to "impose a ban on all sorts of weapons used by the Syrian government and prosecute the sides providing it with funds and weapons".'