Saturday, 21 March 2015

An injured Syrian child waits for treatment at a makeshift hospital in the rebel-held area of Douma, following reported air strikes by forces loyal to President Bashar Assad on Feb. 2, 2015.

World yawns as Syria enters the dark ages

"Last Sunday, Syria’s bloody civil war entered its fifth year. If we needed a reminder about that — and, let’s face it, we do — it came on Tuesday when the criminal regime of President Bashar Assad was accused of carrying out a chlorine gas attack against a rebel-held town in northwest Syria. The attack was said to have killed at least six people, including children who were gasping for breath. Amateur videos posted online, widely regarded as authentic, showed children stripped of their clothes lying on hospital beds as doctors tried to revive them.
Even if this attack by Assad’s forces is confirmed, precious little will come of it. Earlier this month, the UN Security Council approved a resolution that threatened military action if toxic chemicals such as chlorine are used in Syria. But Russia, as Assad’s leading ally, is certain to block any action."

I hadn't got around to mentioning Assad's latest chemical attack.* John Kerry seems only disturbed that this might impede him stitching up a deal with the Iranians that leave them in control of Syria.
Christians humanitarian aid

Report says nearly 650,000 besieged in Syria
"Nearly 650,000 Syrians are living in besieged communities in the country’s civil war, more than three times the UN estimate, according to a new report that gives a graphic account of hundreds of deaths in areas the world has struggled for years to reach.
The report says Syria’s government is responsible for the siege tactics that have led to deaths by starvation, dehydration and the lack of medical care."
A couple of paragraphs later, the president of the Syrian American Medical Society describes his organisation as neutral, and that we're talking about families who have nothing to do with armed groups. Which is a problem generally with reporting on Syria. If you say the problem is Assad and he must go, then you are partisan and to be discounted, if you say there are problems on all sides, then obviously we should do nothing to help the rebels in case it makes things worse.

Four difficult and revolutionary years in Syria
Four difficult and revolutionary years in Syria

"The Syrian people are no longer fighting the regime, but fighting Iran's forces and allies who rely on Russian military and political support.
Despite that all, and after hundreds of thousands of martyrs and prisoners and millions of refugees, and despite the continuous barbaric violence, the Syrian people are still fighting for victory in a world that wanted to see them massacred. It is an immense revolution that shall continue."

'Humans Of Syria' Shows Us The Faces Behind The Headlines In Effort To Humanize The Conflict"You know, there are millions of people here with their own dreams. You can’t just leave them here when you get bored."

Assad shell drops next to school

Image result for Assad shell drops next to school

 'A video by journalist Faisal Al-Qassem appears to show a Syrian school at the moments when a Syrian regime rocket lands next to it.

 In the video a teacher can be heard saying: "What is happening to us is history, history that is being written. History is documented on video. [In the past] they used to document history on paper, right? Let us document our history. In the future, if God lets us live, when you grow up, you will tell your grandsons: 'This happened to us and we were in school,' etc."

 While the teacher was talking a rocket can be heard falling nearby and the students quickly take to the ground. The plane dropped a shell that almost wiped out the school.'

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Counter-revolutionary forces have pushed revolutionary aims into near-oblivion

Counter-revolutionary forces have pushed revolutionary aims into near-oblivion

Joseph Daher

Joseph and his comrades seem to be replicating the faults of the far left internationally in equating the Gulf States with Assad's supporters, with believing that building some independent political force can replace the military struggle against Assad. The return of refugees, the lifting of sieges, the end to bombing, none of these things will happen without his governance being threatened. The provision of weapons to the insurgents is not a reactionary act, it may mean that reactionaries have more influence before Assad is defeated but does not mean that they would control Syria thereafter, just as the provision of Russian arms to the Republic in the Spanish civil war was not the problem, though the Stalinist influence that came with it was an unavoidable problem. This is not a matter of supporting one counter-revolutionary faction or another, but cautiously welcoming all support for the fight against Assad.
"The main problem in Syria, and elsewhere in the region, has been that some among the democratic and progressive oppositions have chosen to support one of these two counter revolutionary forces, presenting them as the choice of the ‘the lesser evil’. This actually represents the road to defeat and the maintenance of an unjust system in which the popular classes in the region live. The role of a popular and democratic opposition is not to choose between different factions of the counter-revolution that are supported by various international and sub-regional imperialist actors. The role should be to build an independent front from reactionary forces based on democratic, social, anti-imperialist principles and opposition to all forms of discrimination while working for a radical change of society in a dynamic from below in which the popular classes are the agents of change. In Syria this means to act on two levels. First, on a humanitarian level, it means to do whatever is possible to ease the suffering of the majority of the popular masses so that they are able to regain their capacity to organise and continue their struggle for liberation and emancipation. Foremost, this means the fast return of the refugees to their homes, the lifting of the starvation sieges on “liberated” regions, an end to the bombing and destruction of towns and cities and the liberation of tens of thousands of prisoners. Secondly, on a political level, it means to gather and assist politically and economically all the democratic and popular organisations that constitute the popular movement within and outside of Syria and that still try to maintain the initial objectives of the revolution."

What Happened in Homs
"The mantra so tirelessly repeated by our solemn leaders, “There is nothing we could have done,” is simply not true. Without our callous indifference, cowardice, and short-sightedness, things might have been different.
The Syrian citizen-journalists, like those that helped, guided, and protected us during our stay, still believed that the constant flow of atrocity videos they risked their lives every day to film and upload on YouTube would change the course of things, would shock Western consciousnesses and precipitate strong action against the regime. The people still believed that song, dance, slogans, and prayer were stronger than fear and bullets. They were wrong, of course, and their illusions would soon drown in a river of blood.
America, traumatized by two useless and disastrous wars to the point of forgetting its own founding myth—that of a people rising against tyranny with their hunting guns, helped only by indomitable spirit and idealism—stood back and watched, petrified. Europe, weakened by economic crisis and self-doubt, followed suit, while the regime’s friends, Russia and Iran, occupied every inch of the political space thus made available."

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Inside Syria: 'We had a house and lived with dignity'

Inside Syria: 'We had a house and lived with dignity'
"All we demanded was our own rights, our basic human rights.
This revolution was not a mistake. We were let down in many ways; The world did not take the right decisions to end these crimes.
In the past four years we felt abandoned on all levels but this will not make us stop, retreat or get bored. We will continue working and protecting our revolution.
We all expected the harsh reaction from Bashar al-Assad's regime, but we did not expect the world's reaction. We were let down by the media, we were let down by humanitarian organisations and we were let down militarily."

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Regime and ISIS Agree to Share Electricity in Aleppo Countryside

Regime and ISIS Agree to Share Electricity in Aleppo Countryside"The rebel-held areas were excluded from the arrangement, as power stations in the liberated areas are not supplied.

An anniversary of horrors in Syria

"The Obama administration, which once proclaimed the prevention of genocide a national security priority, has not even pretended to have a strategy for Syria since the collapse of a peace conference in Geneva 13 months ago. Though it is recruiting and training a few thousand Syrians to fight the Islamic State, the administration refuses to commit itself even to defending them if they are attacked by the Assad regime — much less to helping them take the offensive against Damascus. Senior officials say the White House fears a hostile reaction from Iran, which has sent troops and militia forces to fight for the regime.Mr. Kerry’s statements reflected the administration’s real policy, which is to wash its hands of Syria while hoping it can separately strike a deal with Iran on its nuclear program and collaborate with it to defeat the Islamic State in Iraq. At best, Syria’s continued agony will be the price for progress elsewhere in the Middle East. More likely, the Assad regime’s unchecked slaughter will continue to destabilize the region."

Monday, 16 March 2015

Women challenge Islamic militants on their arbitrary rules on “modest dress”
"I have lived with my family in Idlib, which is under regime control, since March 2012. Although we’re against the regime, we have chosen to continue living here rather than seek asylum in a liberated area.
I work as a teacher in a rebel-held area close to Idlib. Many of its residents have fled the brutal oppression of the regime. I persevere for the sake of the children of those who can see through me the city they long for city and the past they have lost. For my part, I find in them a way to assuage my guilty conscience and connect with a revolution I still long for."

#Syria #Revolution timeline on how we got here today

Kerry defending Syrian ‘prison’: Jumblatt“I have never bet on the Americans to change the regime in Syria. On the contrary, I advised all those who bet on the [U.S.] to stop.”

Syria field post: 'I had to do procedures I'd never seen. YouTube helped a lot'

A man stands next to a blood stain in Damascus

 I'd tend to take from this that despite all the reverses they have suffered, the Free Syrian Army and the Syrian people are one.

 "The last hospital I worked at was also destroyed by regime airstrikes. This is because the FSA depends heavily on civil services. The hospital is a main player in the presence of the FSA. If there is no hospital, the FSA doesn’t stay there because they cannot keep up their resistance activities. Any injured person will die. If there’s a hospital, they can be treated and go on with their lives."

Sunday, 15 March 2015

At least 20 dead in Syrian air raids
on Damascus suburb: activists
"President Bashar Assad's air force bombs Douma and other rebellious neighborhoods and towns around Damascus on a daily basis."

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad meets with US Secretary of State John Kerry in Damascus, Syria - 1 April 2010

Syria conflict: We have to
talk to Assad, admits Kerry
"The White House has previously insisted that Mr Assad stand down as part of a political settlement, but it is unclear from Mr Kerry's comments whether the US position has changed."
It's always been unclear whether American statements that Assad should go ever reflected any determination to make it so.

Image result for c-span bob corker Authorization for the Use of Military Force Request

Authorization for the Use of
Military Force Request

Secretary of State John Kerry, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chair General Martin Dempsey testified at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on President Obama’s request for authorization for use for military force (AUMF) against *ISIL.
Bob Corker: Are we going to protect those we train to fight ISIS against Assad's barrel bomb attacks?
Martin Dempsey: No.