Saturday, 28 February 2015

The Syrian Revolution From Kafranbel

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Opinion: It is Time for an Arab Strategy

"Here, it is important to remember that at the same time that Israel and Iran compete for a place closer to Washington’s ears and interests, the Arabs are in a lose–lose situation. If Obama wins this battle then the real victor will be Iran. While if the pro-Netanyahu Republicans in the US Congress emerge victorious their victory will be nothing more than a victory for the hard-line Israeli right-wing.As far as Iran’s strategy is concerned, it has never been clearer than it is today. It is now obvious who has been preventing the emergence of a truly sovereign and united post-Saddam Iraq, particularly during the long term of former prime minister Nuri Al-Maliki. Iran’s hegemony over Iraq can now be seen not only in the methodical sectarian cleansing in several areas of Iraq, but also in the active combat role that has been entrusted to the Tehran-led Iraqi sectarian militias inside Syria. What is ironic is that these militias, as well as the Iraqi regular armed forces—built by Tehran and Washington—are mostly sitting out the continuing battles against ISIS, leaving this task to the Sunni Arab tribes of western Iraq. All the while, Iran is presenting itself to the West as being its main ally in the fight against extremist terrorism.
 It is vital that Turkey should now actively help to save what can still be saved of both Syria and Iraq, where tentative partition maps are all but ready."

Weekly Summary: February 21-27, 2015

Aleppo

Syria kicks out 2 U.N. staffers trying to arrange aid deliveries
Assad will let nothing interfere with his war on civilians."The Syrian government expelled two key U.N. humanitarian staffers because of their contact with armed opposition groups while trying to arrange aid deliveries."

Understanding the Middle East with better clichés



 "For its part, Iran has thrown its weight behind the Shia forces fighting the Islamic State in Iraq, although this has aligned it momentarily with its old foe, the United States. Awkward. But Iran is also full of contradictions as, despite being a theologically-governed Islamic State, it seems to be capable of taking pragmatic decisions in its regional policies. Recent photographic evidence obtained by Western media outlets even suggests that Iranian women, who must wear Islamic clothes in public, actually wear bras under their clothes. They also watch television and laugh with their friends, much like people in the West sometimes do. Western media clearly thought this was important to point out, so it must be so. 

 Another major Sunni player is Turkey, which is allied with Qatar against the Saudi-Egyptian axis. Turkey is led by relatively moderate Sunni Muslim Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, a suited non-bearded Islamist with latent Ottoman impulses. Turkey opposed the removal of president Morsi in Egypt, not least because he was also a suited Islamist. Turkey’s position has been close to that of Qatar in Syria and Libya, where everyone has been competing for influence since Gaddafi’s fall. (Regional Middle Eastern powers are like the nightclub circle, they all want to be seen in the new place.)

 The situation in Libya was complicated by the fact that there are no sectarian divisions in the country, which made things difficult for a while until Libyans decided to create random divisions. (You can get a sense of this by reading any article on Libya and trying to understand who is against whom and why). This greatly facilitated the involvement of external powers and made proxy wars much easier to wage. Although it is a bit unfair to Iran, which being Shia can’t find any allies in an exclusively Sunni Muslim country. 
Oh look, this is almost one thousand words already and we don’t have time to wrap up all the loose strands neatly, so it’s best to end on a timeless-sounding platitude about the Middle East and how it will always be the same. Perhaps even a quote from Khalil Gibran or Omar Khayyam, hinting at our sorrow about lost potential and showing how learned we are."
Syria speakers

Elon forum tackles Syria, extremists and ISIS
Khalil said that the Syrian government also supported ISIS when it was first formed as an attempt to deter former President George W. Bush from invading Syria while American armed forces were fighting in Iraq. The Syrian government released people from their jails during that time who went eventually to be trained at ISIS training camps, according to Khalil.Khalil said the current Syrian government’s attention is toward fighting the moderate opposition groups as opposed to fighting against ISIS.The moderate opposition forces would have benefited greatly in 2012-13 if an external force had provided support at that time, Korkor said. The current military air campaigns led by the United States in the region haven’t met expectations on the ground.“It’s a very messy situation.”

ISIS is proof that the 14-year 'war on terror' has been a catastrophic failure

ISIS with captured tank

"I tried to book a flight to Baghdad on the same efficient European airline that I had used a year earlier. I was told it had discontinued flights to the Iraqi capital, because it feared that insurgents had obtained shoulder-held anti-aircraft missiles originally supplied to anti-Assad forces in Syria and would use them against commercial aircraft flying into Baghdad International Airport. Western support for the Syrian opposition may have failed to overthrow Assad, but it has been successful in destabilizing Iraq, as Iraqi politicians had long predicted."
A series of lies from Cockburn's new book. Cockburn's sectarian friends in the Shia political establishment in Iran may claim that funding Syria's opposition is what has destabilised Iraq, but there never were any anti-aircraft missiles supplied to the Syrian opposition by the US. Quite the opposite, they prevented other states from providing the means to protect civilians from Assad's barrel bomb attacks, which would have slowed the flow of refugees from Syria and the actual destabilisation of neighbouring countries, because the Americans were worried that Syrians would be less interested in defending their communities than attacking Israeli airliners.*This is before we even consider that a people being murdered in their hundreds of thousands, with the help of billions of dollars of Russian weaponry and tens of thousands of Iranian troops should have any attempt to defend themselves seen as the problem.
Cockburn claims that Joe Biden's (that's the same Vice-President Cockburn was recently sourcing the claim that Turkey and Saudi Arabia back ISIS) claim that ISIS and al-Nusra dominate the Syrian opposition means that there is no moderate opposition to receive the $500 million that Obama has promised. And promised, not delivered. An unidentified spook tells us that ISIS can get hold of weapons going to the FSA. This is propaganda, empty of facts. And Cockburn wraps up with the repetition of the lies that it was the attempt by the US to overthrow Assad that destabilised Syria, that the Gulf nations had to be stopped by the US from supporting jihadis in Syria (eliding between anti-Assad groups and ISIS, implying any support really helps the latter), that Assad's control of the centre of most provinces meant he always had the country behind him, that the mass murder of Sunnis by Assad and his Iranian patrons has nothing to do with support for ISIS.
"It was the US, Europe, and their regional allies in Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, and United Arab Emirates that created the conditions for the rise of ISIS. They kept the war going in Syria, though it was obvious from 2012 that Assad would not fall. He never controlled less than thirteen out of fourteen Syrian provincial capitals and was backed by Russia, Iran, and Hezbollah.Nevertheless, the only peace terms he was offered at the Geneva II peace talks in January 2014 was to leave power. He was not about to go, and ideal conditions were created for ISIS to prosper. The US and its allies are now trying to turn the Sunni communities in Iraq and Syria against the militants, but this will be difficult to do while these countries are convulsed by war."
*"The American government became involved, the former American official said, in part because there was a sense that other states would arm the rebels anyhow. The C.I.A. role in facilitating the shipments, he said, gave the United States a degree of influence over the process, including trying to steer weapons away from Islamist groups and persuading donors to withhold portable antiaircraft missiles that might be used in future terrorist attacks on civilian aircraft."[http://claysbeach.blogspot.co.uk/2014/05/benghazi.html]
Burhan Ghalioun

The myth of a political solution in SyriaI think this piece accurately explains where each state stands, even if I disagree somewhat with the motivation imputed; I think Iran's intransigence is due to the amount they've invested in maintaining control in Syria rather than doctrinal insanity, similarly Assad can't go and allow a democratic transition not just because of megalomania, but because the country is now so signed over to Tehran that any compromise that threatens their influence is unacceptable. That the other neighbours want a solution rather than the myth that they want to encourage jihadis to destabilise Syria is on the mark as is the UN's abandonment of the problem. Similarly I think empowering the Free Syrian Army is a better solution than foreign intervention, however well intentioned.
"If the Western countries do not feel the imminent danger that will result from the continued killing and destruction in Syria and are not suffering from the lack of a political solution and decisive military action, this does not apply to the Arab countries or to Turkey; the latter is living in the eye of the storm. This is either because the national security of these countries is suffering from serious threats resulting from the collapse of the Syrian state and the control of Tehran and the Revolutionary Guard forces (which are using Syria as a platform for aggression and pressure against its neighbours), or because of the political and humanitarian projections of the Syrian crisis on them. The Arab countries should not stand idly by and wait for the cancer of violence and fascism to spread; that is not in their best interest. They must make a move and force the UN and the rest of the world to stand behind them in order to defend their national interests and the interests of their people."

Syria air strike

US should use radar to warn civilians of Syrian barrel bombs, group demands
“If we could only get warning that the planes were coming, we could warn families, tell people to run from the markets, get the children out of the schools, let the medical centers know so that they can take cover. Every airport in the world has this technology – it is common, it is civilian. Why can’t they share it with us?”

Friday, 27 February 2015

Syria Op-Ed: How the Assad Regime Wins the Propaganda War as It Kills Civilians

DOUMA RESCUE WORKERS

 "At the end of the day, a Western journalist cannot do much fact checking, since traveling to Syria is far too dangerous, right?If the latter assertion is true, the former is false. There is a steady stream of daily information and years of footage that has come out of Syria. There are still trusted media activists who can do the fact-checking for journalists. However, that takes effort amid lots of noise and few clear signals. Far easier, facing a deadline, to take the easy route and grab a dramatic if often unsupported assertion from the monitoring group, Syrian State media, or the Islamic State.So Syrian rebels, communities, local coordination committees, and individuals — who four years ago had high hopes about world-wide media coverage and took great personal risks to support journalists reporting on the Syrian Revolution — do not reach out any more. They are disappointed and frustrated by a world and a media who, after the hype of the early months, forgot about the mass killing that the Assad regime still commits each day — a world and a media who turned away from the 11 to 12 million Syrians, 50% of the pre-conflict population, displaced when a dictator declared war on his people."

Syrian regime, allies lose decisive battles in Aleppo
"The opposition seemed defiant. Abu Bakr told Al-Monitor that in the town of Ratyan “de Mistura is no longer an honest negotiator,” in reference to de Mistura’s statement that Assad is part of the solution in Syria. He added, “The regime’s plan has failed, and it has lost 300 soldiers on the various Aleppo fronts in two days. … The land, on which we are standing now, will be a grave for anyone who tries to invade it.” During our tour in Ratyan, new reinforcements for the rebels were continually arriving, while the remaining men of the town took up arms to defend their homes against the regime forces and Hezbollah. A resident of the town said that what is happening is an Iranian attempt, in cooperation with Hezbollah and the regime, to occupy their lands. The civil defense forces discovered 34 civilians who were executed by the regime and foreign militias before their withdrawal from the town. This can only be explained as a sectarian massacre."
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More Syrian Horror: Aiming at Doctors and Hospitals
To the Editor:
While we applaud your Feb. 21 front-page article about
 the complex and horrific war of images being fought in
 Syria on all sides
 (“Children, Caged for Effect, to Mimic Imagery of ISIS”),
 we are working with American humanitarian groups to
 raise awareness of another horror being committed in
 Syria by the regime of President Bashar al-Assad: the
 targeted killing of Syrian doctors and the targeted
 destruction of Syrian hospitals, preventing crucial
 medical aid to suffering Syrians.
We believe that these are war crimes and crimes against humanity under international law, and call on world
 leaders and the United Nations to use whatever means necessary to bring the immediate cessation of these
 outrageous acts. Civil society ignores these crimes at its
 own peril.
GEORGETTE F. BENNETT
SHADI MARTINI
New York
The writers are, respectively, founder of the Multifaith
 Alliance for Syrian Refugees and director of
 international relations at the Orient Center for
 Documentation and Human Rights.

Thursday, 26 February 2015

President Bashar Assad in 2014.

Why Bashar Assad Won’t Fight ISIS
“The regime fears the Free Syrian Army and the Nusra Front, not ISIS. They [the FSA and Nusra] state their goal is to remove the President. But ISIS doesn’t say that. They have never directly threatened Damascus. If the regime were serious about getting rid of ISIS, they would have bombed Raqqa by now. Instead they bomb other cities, where the FSA is strong. The more powerful ISIS grows, the more they are useful for the regime. They make America nervous, and the Americans in turn see the regime as a kind of bulwark against ISIS.”

The Daily Star
Ignoring the orphans of Syria’s uprising"Many were duped by the Syrian regime’s manipulation of the war narrative and its claim to be fighting against Islamist extremism. This no doubt contributed to the doubts we are witnessing today with regard to the humanitarian tragedy in Syria. And it surely explains why Assad, who by any standard should be on trial for crimes against humanity and war crimes, is still accorded minimal respect.
But overall the situation leaves a bitter taste. Some victims, it seems, are more equal than others. The Syrian population has endured frightful suffering in the past three years. That the world still has difficulty acknowledging this is profoundly unsettling, even intolerable."

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

The Syrian Revolution from Kafranabel

2015-02-22 Banners
"From Daraa to Aleppo, a new dawn will rise, a path towards victory will be traced and heroics will be written in golden water"

Qatar’s Message to Obama

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 "We believe that the battle against violent extremism will succeed only if the people of the region are convinced that we are committed to ending the tyrannical rule of the likes of Bashar al-Assad of Syria, who is carrying out genocide against his own people."

A couple pushing a pram as they rush to check their house following a barrel bomb attack

Assad ‘dropping chemical barrel bombs’

"Details have emerged of fresh attacks in which President Assad is suspected to have used chemical weapons against civilians only weeks after investigators confirmed that chlorine gas had been dropped from helicopters on to three Syrian villages last year.
On Saturday the civil defence team in Aleppo province reported that a barrel bomb containing a noxious gas had been dropped on Hayan, northwest of Aleppo. Three people were taken to hospital with severe injuries after inhaling the gas. Doctors treating them said their symptoms were consistent with the effects of a choking agent."

Analyst: De Mistura’s Syria Plan Risks ‘Another Srebrenica’

Analyst: De Mistura’s Syria Plan Risks ‘Another Srebrenica’

"The outside backers of the rebel forces are not interested in dealing any military blow to Assad because their whole strategy is to keep the status quo as much as they can. The best example of that is the city of Daraa. These backers never supported any potential rebel move to take over the city although it could have been the first capital city of a governorate to fall into the hands of the FSA, which could have made of Daraa a model and built an alternative administration.
The downfall of Daraa would have undercut Assad’s prestige and claim of military prowess but the powers supporting the opposition in the south – mainly the United States, Jordan and the Gulf Arab states are satisfied with the status quo.
Since the beginning of the revolt, the West has made statements on the need for Assad to go without taking any serious steps to act on these words, and that was before the emergence of Al-Qaeda and the so-called Islamic State. Now containing the militant jihadists have become the priority, covering up for lack of strategy to deal with Assad in the first place. At the same time, Russia has ensured that Assad’s military machine is well supplied through Syria’s Mediterranean ports and the regime has had a clear strategy of targeting civilian areas to subdue the opposition."
chechen man convicted of fighting in syria has sentence slashed

Chechen Man Convicted Of Fighting In Syria Has Sentence Slashed
'Mazhaeyev also argued that he had returned to Chechnya after becoming disillusioned with "jihad" in Syria, where he had gone to "defend Muslims" against the Assad government.It is also not clear which group Mazhayev fought with. Some reports said that Mazhyaev fought with the Free Syrian Army (FSA), which is very unlikely to be the case, as there are no known cases of people from the North Caucasus fighting with any of the local Syrian groups operating under the umbrella of the FSA.'
This is the No True Scotsman* fallacy. He can't have been fighting with the Free Syrian Army, because anyone who goes to Syria to fight Assad must be some sort of mad jihadi. A version of this is how the Western Left writes off the Syrian struggle. The link is from Radio Free Europe, who don't seem to be doing a very good job of carrying on some CIA mission to back radical Islamists against the axis of resistance and Assad's secular government, because none of those things are real. The picture they use to illustrate this story is of course of ISIS fighters, not any of the groups fighting Assad Mazhaeyev might have joined.
*[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_true_Scotsman]

A Lose-Lose in Aleppo

A Lose-Lose in Aleppo

The U.N.’s plan to “freeze” the conflict in Syria is a gift to Bashar al-Assad. No wonder the rebels aren’t buying it.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015


Syria: New Spate of Barrel Bomb Attacks
"One of the doctors treating wounded Syrians from Daraa in a hospital in Amman told Human Rights Watch in late 2014 that women and children make up two-thirds of the victims they receive and that most were being injured by fragments of explosive weapons."

Fall from grace: Hezbollah in the eyes of Sunni Syrians
"From the outset of the Syrian revolution, Hezbollah gave the Assad regime propaganda backing, seeking to justify the murder of peaceful protesters. Hezbollah likes to talk about a foreign conspiracy, I say yes there is one but against the Syrian people – not against Assad, Hezbollah or Iran.
From the very beginning, the West and its supporters were involved to make sure that no credible Syrian Islamist power takes over from Assad. They may to talk to one group or fund another, but the end aim was never to topple Assad. The aim was that if Assad was eventually going to be overthrown in the uprising then no respectable Islamist group would replace him. They can live with Assad, with Hezbollah and Iran inside Syrian borders - but they can't have moderate Islamists becoming too strong."

Syria: Forget About Arming the Opposition?
"Had the Obama administration decided in the summer of 2012 that real support for mainstream Syrian rebels facing a criminal regime and a growing al-Qaeda presence was worth providing, it is hard to imagine that, in early 2015, the region and the world would be facing the possibility and the consequences of Syria divided between two mass murdering entities. Instead, the administration fought the looming threat with talking points. It did so while Iran and Russia enabled a humanitarian abomination, while private Gulf donors sent sacks of money to al-Qaeda terrorists and anti-Assad regional powers competed to divide and dominate the Syrian nationalist opposition, armed and unarmed. Washington was consciously AWOL."


Syrian regime’s crackdown pre-planned
"How can Syrians forget the famous statement from the presidential palace: “Assad remains, or the country will be torched!”  High-level Syrian officials had already decided to crush the revolution in the same manner as the Green revolution was crushed in Iran. 
Again, it became clear a month after the revolution began that the security forces’ warning, “We are ready to face the plot,” meaning to crush the revolution by any means, was contained in Assad’s statement.
Those who are calling for a political solution to the Syrian crisis are doing so now because the “crushing the revolution” project has failed miserably and they have no other alternative after tasting defeat. Whoever negotiates with Assad will be doing him a favour and giving him an opportunity to end this dilemma.
Let’s not forget that the Syrian regime and its allies wanted to crush the revolution from day one. They opted for a military solution and failed; why help them out now?"

The Regime

The Regime's Restructuring of Syrian Society
"The Syrian opposition’s armed resistance emerged as self-defense in response to the regime's heinous crimes against the Syrian people.
Most young men arrested by Assad’s forces are executed in security branches and prisons, as the regime fears their influence upon release. A significant number of cases sees detainees die under torture or are left permanently disabled for this very reason."

Major Essam ar-Rayes: We Will Reach Damascus


Major Essam ar-Rayes: We Will Reach Damascus

"We are fighting to defend our freedom, to liberate our country from all foreign powers and to prevent fear from ruling us again – whether under the banner of the regime or extremist forces."

Keeping the Faith in Syria's Rebels
"Um Mohammed remained as steadfast as ever.  We keep in touch, and her heart still rejoices at each bullet or shell she hears being fired by the revolutionaries. The sounds make her feel that they are close by. She still awaits their return, and ours too."

Monday, 23 February 2015

Deadly rifts hit ISIS ranks in Syria

Deadly rifts hit ISIS ranks in Syria
“The IS group is even afraid of sending their gunmen on missions and patrols outside Manbij. Those militants, who are supposed to perform military missions and come back to their bases, mostly do not return, as in the recent cases in IS-held Amarna and Jazira checkpoints on the road to Jarablus.” 

IdlibNusra2345

RESIDENTS OF IDLIB TOWN PROTEST TO FORCE NUSRA OUT
"We want Jabhat a-Nusra to leave, entirely, from the village and from the area in general, as well as the brigades loyal to Nusra. We've grown tired of their false and unjust laws that they claim seek their guidance from God's law. We want the return of the rule of the honorable FSA, because they don't storm our houses, nor rob us, nor act brutally against us in the name of religion."

Syrian rebels take cover amid flying debris and shrapnel, as a shell fired from a Syrian Army tank hits the wall above them. Goran Tomasevic/Reuters

Why Bashar Assad Failed where His Father Succeeded

"The uprising in 2011 gained momentum through public support as it ignited a popular cause, which was the torture of Daraa’s children. It responded to the people’s political, social, and economic grievances, and was also influenced by the waves of revolutions in the region.
B
y 2011 the Arab Spring demonstrated the changing of people’s consciousness in the region. Those revolutions derived their power from breaking the wall of fear that had been instilled in the people for long decades. The slogan ‘death rather than life in humiliation’ had been absent or forgotten for a long time, so Bashar Assad could not teach the Syrians the “lesson for one hundred years.” In fact, it was the people of the uprising who taught the world lessons in determination and lessons in sacrifice.Bashar Assad, did not realize the changes in the people’s consciousness and underestimated the power of their will. Moreover, he relied on a sectarian strategy to crush the uprising, so the role of the Baath ideology was inoperative in this war. Consequently, Bashar Assad not only failed to suppress the uprising, but in fact, he fueled a vicious and lengthy sectarian conflict in the region that could change the shape of the whole Middle East."

Evidence of new Syrian regime massacre north of Aleppo
Evidence of new Syrian regime massacre north of Aleppo"It is unconscionable that Syrians should continue to suffer as they have for the last four years and have to live in a world where only limited attempts have been made to return Syria to peace, and to seek justice for the victims." 
Fightback: The majority of ISIS' territory lies inside Iraq and Syria but there have been recent reports of defections in Syria, while Iraq plan to retake its second city of Mosul from the Jihadists

How ISIS is funded by black-market oil trading, illegal drugs and internet cafes
"
Unlike the core al-Qaeda terrorist network, ISIS gets only a small share of funding from deep-pocket donors and therefore does not depend primarily on moving money across international borders.In its most recent report on ISIS’s funding, RBSS outlines ten ways the militants fund their crusade to create a Muslim caliphate.
The group claims that ISIS and the Syrian government has struck a secret deal which enables the militants to sell electricity and gas to the Assad regime."

Sunday, 22 February 2015


Aleppo is besieged by the government, not by "violent battles between government and rebel forces".

Suicide bomber kills four in Assad clan's hometown of Qardaha
The big lie of the last three years is that Western public opinion has been moulded by our governments to support an attack on the Assad régime.
As we can see with this Guardian story, the truth is the other way round. The headline is that four people have died in a suicide bombing, which we associate with Islamist terrorism, although two of the four dead are régime soldiers. The news that Assad has killed 48 people including 10 children for being related to rebels is relegated to a subheading. The news that the rebels have re-taken all the territory in the régimes abortive offensive around Aleppo is buried in the story, though with figures suggesting approximately similar casualties on both sides, rather than the video backed evidence* that 300, mostly Afghan and Iranian mercenaries were killed by the rebels and 100 captured in a significant victory.
Meanwhile over at the Independent**, Patrick Cockburn continues to spread confusion. He claims that the chief of staff of the Kurdish president is saying that the Gulf States are funding ISIS just as they were the opposition in Syria, but it's all Cockburn trying to blame the states when it could be private donors with no connection to the government that are being alleged, and it is Cockburn who is claiming that the other rebel groups have all been swallowed up by Jabhat al-Nusra and ISIS. The Independent has a much more sensible piece by Heather Saul*** on how ISIS is shooting itself in the foot, rather than interviewing mates from the Iraqi parliament, she reports the words of an anti-ISIS and anti-Assad activist from Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently. Incidentally, ISIS have banned mobile phones. How is any sort of modern economy supposed to exist when there is no communication?
What is all over the news in the UK is that three girls have gone out to join ISIS. If it hadn't been for Assad's atrocities there would be no support for ISIS, if it hadn't been for the abandonment of the opposition to Assad.
There were also reports of another chemical attack, this time against Hayyan in Northern Aleppo, and pictures of Aleppo residents demonstrating their support for the rebels with a Free Syrian flag, but that's not news in the main media narrative.
*[https://twitter.com/RamiSafadi93/status/568902770331414528]
**[http://www.independent.co.uk/…/isis-has-made-many-enemies-b…]
***[http://www.independent.co.uk/…/isis-infighting-tensions-ris…]


Children, Caged for Effect, to Mimic Imagery of ISIS

" “I’m very sorry to get to this point, to use the kids,” said Mr. Abdulrahman, who uses a nom de guerre for security. “But this is the fact. Our kids are getting killed every day, every moment, getting under the wreckage.”
Broadcast specifically to frighten and manipulate, the Islamic State’s flamboyant violence consumes the world’s attention while more familiar threats, like the Syrian government’s barrel bombs, kill far more but rarely provoke global outrage.
A few human rights advocates and antigovernment activists in Syria are creating shocking if nonviolent images and videos — even herding children in orange jumpsuits into a cage — to call attention to the wider scope of violence. So far, though, their voices have hardly been heard.
hile the Islamic State’s provocations draw pronounced reactions, however, the less-choreographed slaughter that has killed, for instance, more than 200,000 Syrians fades to the background. Those bearing the brunt of the Syrian war’s spillover across the region, and humanitarian workers trying to assist, frequently express anguish that government bombings, the displacement of more than a third of the population and the gutting of the health care system do not bring similar attention — let alone dramatic action."

Saturday, 21 February 2015

I survived a local cease-fire in Syria
Qusai Zakarya: "Most egregiously, bombardments continue and the regime has resumed arrest raids on civilians. Dozens of people have been tortured to death. The politicians and diplomats say a local cease-fire is in effect in Moadamiya, but they have abandoned us to the Assad regime’s brutal hands. De Mistura said this month that “President Assad is part of the solution,” but the regime has already shown that it is not serious about compromise and has no regrets for destroying the country. If the United Nations cannot even enforce a local cease-fire in a single town, what makes de Mistura think he can do it in Syria’s largest municipality?
Coalition warplanes crisscross Syria every day. Where are the airdrops of food or medical supplies for the hundreds of thousands of Syrians besieged by the Assad regime in Moadamiya and elsewhere?
Such glaring hypocrisy is bound to turn more Syrians toward the Islamic State. Correcting the hypocrisy should be a morally obvious choice. The world cannot help Syrian civilians by prodding us into negotiations with bloodthirsty murderers."

Syrian rebels develop "hell cannons" to combat Bashar Assad's forces. (Images source: Daily Mail)

Check Out These Homemade ‘Hell Cannons’ Syrian Rebels Are Using to Fight Back
Veronica Ramadan: "For four years to date we've heard sneering from clueless Western pseudo-leftists about the “Western backed” Syrian rebels." Here in a few sentences you can see the truth is the reverse.
"Syrian rebels are firing propane gas cylinders from howitzers as deadly battles with government forces continue.
With little access to weapons other than small arms such as machine guns, rebels have taken to making their own ammunition.
Fighters using the cannon are also made to watch online videos detailing how it is assembled and given a fact sheet on how to fire it.
It was Assad’s regime, the White House believes, that was responsible for the innocent killings of thousands of civilians, including children, with chemical weapons. Such weaponry is barred under international law.
The U.S. debated military involvement at the time since the White House said the “red line” it previously set for the embattled Middle East country had been crossed. But ultimately, there was no direct U.S. military involvement in Syria until President Barack Obama authorized airstrikes to help contain the Islamic State in late-summer 2014."


Syrian Refugees Collectivizing in

 Jordan Becomes a Security Issue

Somewhat at odds with the conclusion that Jordan could seek to ease its security concerns by reconciling with the Assad government.
"These first-hand accounts support the dominant narrative that recounts the police and military brutality that suppressed the originally peaceful protests in these and other urban centers. Various testimonials also tell of the defections of ex-regime intelligence and military officials that led to the formation of the Free Syrian Army. This was Syria’s main oppositional force before the entrance of multitude of armed, primarily extremist ideological groups, the strongest now being the Islamic State and Jabhat an-Nusra, who have largely overshadowed the FSA in organization and military prowess. Most importantly, many of these testimonials recount the ongoing onslaught by regime forces in civilian areas in Dera’a City and the Dera’a and Damascene countryside, by means of tanks, barrel bombs dropped from airplanes, snipers, and landmines. Syrians who have left their homes for Jordan have frequently explained that their decision to flee Syria preempted or came as a result of these attacks. In other cases, the civilian victims of these attacks were escorted by the Free Syrian Army and then by Jordanian border security to Jordanian hospitals where they received life-saving medical treatment."

Aleppo ceasefire plan in danger as Assad's troops fail to close off city

Rebel fighters


 “After all the promises and initiatives from the international community and De Mistura, and before him Lakhdar Brahimi and so on, the revolutionaries no longer have confidence except in the barrel of the gun.”