Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Regime pounds Idlib city after rebel takeover

"One of the strikes destroyed the Syrian Red Crescent hospital, while airstrikes also targeted nearby villages in Idlib province.

An anti-regime news outlet also posted video footage of Civil Defense personnel evacuating a woman wounded in one of the strikes, from Idlib’s small Christian community, wounded in one of the strikes."

Monday, 30 March 2015

Huthaifah and revolutionary flag

The special shoes
'By the spring of 2012 the optimism of the uprising was already disintegrating into the horror of civil war. Huthaifah saw protesters shot in the street by snipers. He saw bodies dumped outside a barracks by soldiers of the regime. "Every day walking on that street we saw a lot of people beside the garbage, dead. They killed them, and then they just threw them beside the garbage." '
That's a funny definition of civil war.

Imprisoned and Tortured in Syria—

and Then Rejected by Washington

Assad’s victims are being denied U.S. visas to come testify about their experiences—and one who did make it to D.C. for an award left in disgust at what she saw as U.S. indifference.
“I want to talk to the average American and tell them about Syria and the revolution, and the great and high ideals which the Syrian people came out to demand. And how the Syrians were completely abandoned.”
Screen Shot 2015-03-24 at 11.59.48 AM

Al Qaeda and allies form coalition

to battle Syrian regime in Idlib

"This is not the first time Al Nusrah has advertised its use of American-made weapons. In December of last year, the group posted a video and pictures of its 
fighters using a TOW missile in Idlib. It is likely the weapons were captured from Western-backed groups, which have received some American-made arms."
So if weapons supplied to the FSA end up with Jabhat al-Nusra, there is a real danger that they will use them...to fight Assad.
Duplicity at the core of US policy on IS

Duplicity at the core of US policy on IS

'The US does not consider the FSA an ally worthy of air or ground support, and at the same time, it cannot stop providing Kuds with supplies and reinforcements. This even though the FSA was the first to fight months-long successful battles against IS, which had targeted it for more than a year, killing thousands of its leaders, fighters and loyalists.

IS has also fought off the FSA from most liberated areas in northern and central Syria, forcing it into an unequal war on two fronts: IS and the Syrian regime.

In addition, IS adopted fighting methods that led to the infiltration of the FSA, targeting its fighters and seizing its weapons through intimidation, bribery, ideological corruption or beheadings.

During this period, which lasted nearly a year and a half, the US did not notice the battle between the FSA and IS, and it did not want to support the moderates fighting this battle.

Eventually, the White House argued it feared US weapons would fall in the hands of terrorists.

Thus, the US used this excuse to stop supporting the "moderates" instead of increasing their support to enable them to continue their fight against terrorism as a common enemy.

Chalk and cheese is the policy, with practices and outcomes that raise serious doubts and fears.'
Rebel forces set the Syrian flag alight. Idlib is the second provincial capital to be seized from central government control. (Image: AFP/File)

'Army of Conquest' rebel coalition
establishes operations base in Idlib

"  “The Syrian provisional government will strive to make the free city of Idlib an example to the entire world about what Syrians want for the future of their country. It will begin sending its [government bodies] to work inside the city, along with the local council for the province of Idlib, to begin coordinating with its partners and with the [militias] and influential forces to make the city a headquarters for administering liberated regions of Syria.”
he head of the powerful Ahrar al-Sham militia Sunday issued a statement denying that any “Islamic emirate” was in the works.

The militias, according to Hashem al-Sheikh, “have not come to create for themselves a local power base or an emirate.”
He urged residents of Idlib to take part in a “civilian administration” that would take over running local affairs in the vacuum created by the regime’s departure."

The Syrian Revolution struggles on

Demonstration in London, 14 March 2015

 'Despite reports to the contrary, the Syrian revolution is not over. Its flame is kept alive by the Syrian diaspora, who from Brazil to Romania, Germany to Malaysia, Michigan to London, keep actively supporting the Syrian revolutionaries struggling for freedom in terrible conditions.

The revolution stills burns brightly in those parts of Syria which have remained liberated from Assad and Da‘esh (ISIS). In Idlib, the only province largely liberated from Assad, demonstrations occurred in many towns and villages to mark the start of the revolution. In Free Aleppo, threatened by siege and surrounded on three sides by the regime and Da‘esh, rallies were held accompanied by the traditional dancing and singing which has been ahallmark of the revolution from the start.'

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Syria is blocking aid to thousands of its civilians, UN is warned

 'Lady Amos said, "The authority of this Council is being undermined. People trapped in besieged locations are becoming more and more desperate." '

 That's the key to all this. Lady Amos' urgency isn't because of the depth of the suffering, it's that the international community risks losing control. The liberation of Idlib by a force spanning al-Nusra and the FSA, but mainly led by the more Islamist forces, leaves the UN needing to be seen to make an effort to stop Assad's multiple crimes against humanity. Hopefully the improvement in the situation will make al-Nusra grow up a bit, you can't go around kidnapping and killing other revolutionaries, and associating with al-Qaida, and then expect anyone to care if Assad and the US combine to bomb you to shit. And now the Syrian people now have a window where there is the option for better, at least until the UN tries to force a shoddy deal on them that leaves Assad in place, trying to persuade people to their sort of Islamism might be a better strategy than looking like the barbarians of ISIS.

There is a false equivalence in the claim that a UN Security Council resolution passed last year demanding humanitarian aid access to civilians caught in the war has been "flagrantly ignored by all fighting parties". The figure of 'as many as 185,500 people are trapped by the government', may be a severe underestimate*. And we'll wait and see if there's any action over yet another use of chemical weapons, "The attack on Sarmin came 10 days after the United Nations Security Council condemned the use of chlorine as a weapon in Syria and threatened to take action if such arms are used again in the conflict."
Report says nearly 650,000 besieged in Syria

Iran losing in Yemen will give us advantage over Assad

Iran losing in Yemen will
give us advantage over Assad

"The fight in Idlib against the regime began as Ahrar Ash-Sham, al-Nusra and the FSA joined their forces. This is a serious strategic gain because this will break the siege in Aleppo as well. This will result in the total control of the north of the country. The region will be cleansed of Iranian paramilitary and al-Assad forces. Of course, we will have to face ISIS; however, for the time being, al-Assad forces will be losing ground. We have seen that ISIS comes into the play when al-Assad forces are retreating.

Since Kobane, ISIS has suffered a psychological collapse. They started to move their emplacements from Aleppo to ar-Raqqah. ISIS is still there, but with low morale. There were conflicts in ar-Raqqah and Deir ez-Zor. Due to the collapsed morale, they are not able to wage war. This is an advantage for us in the manner of controlling the region and fighting against regime forces."

The Need to End Impunity and Move to Accountability


 "There is no doubt that the Syrian Military, Security and Intelligence Forces under the command of Bashar al-Assad have and continue to commit to act with absolute impunity. Their conduct over the course of the last four years that include arbitrary arrest, detention, torture, mass starvation, extra-judicial killings, use of prohibited weapons and means of warfare constitute the gravest forms of international crimes on a scale not seen since the Holocaust. It has deliberately and indiscriminately bombed civilian areas and used indiscriminate methods and means of war – such as cluster bombs, barrel bombs and chemical weapons– that has massacred civilian populations with the sole intent of destroying any opposition to its dictatorial rule."

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Stop the ‘barrel bombs’ in Syria

"Last month alone — the same month Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad told the BBC that his forces do not use barrel bombs — hundreds were dropped across the country.
The Security Council promised to act if its demands went unheeded — but it hasn’t. Its empty promise has only emboldened the regime.
The suffering in Syria must end. We cannot go on forever listening for the sounds of survivors through the collapsed roofs of schools and clinics. We cannot go on carrying the bodies of children killed in a conflict they had no part in. Every bomb that drops deepens Syria’s cycle of violence and extremism.
Only the international community can stop the bombs — with a no-fly zone, if necessary. We call on the United Nations and the world to remember its promise to the Syrian people. Please stop the bombs."

Ed Miliband is peddling a lie about his volte-face on Syria

Labour leader Ed Miliband during the Battle for Number 10 Debate with Jeremy Paxman

" “Let me tell you - right - let me tell you”, he explained in response to Paxman’s accusation he wouldn’t stand up to Vladimir Putin. “In the summer of 2013 this government proposed action in Syria. The bombing of Syria, right? I was called into a room by David Cameron and Nick Clegg, because president Obama had been on the phone - the leader of the free world, right? I listened to what they said, and over those days I made up my mind, and we said no, right? I think standing up to the leader of the free world shows a certain toughness I would say.”

It was a lie. A total, and utter misrepresentation of what Ed Miliband did, and did not do, over the Syria vote. He knows it’s a lie, the shadow cabinet know it’s a lie, Labour MPs know it’s a lie.
This is the truth about what Ed Miliband did over Syria. He did indeed walk into “a room” to meet David Cameron – it was the Prime Minister’s study in Downing Street. He told David Cameron that he would be prepared to support military action in Syria. He said that the Labour party would need some persuading over the issue, and because of that he would need to win some concessions that he could present to his MPs.
Over the following days the nature of these concessions changed. First Miliband told Cameron he would need to publish legal advice showing military action was legitimate. Cameron agreed. Then Miliband told Cameron he would need to publish the intelligence showing the Assad regime had used chemical weapons. Cameron agreed. Then he said Cameron would need to demonstrate military action had UN approval. Again Cameron agreed, and confirmed he would be submitting a motion to the P5 to that effect. Then Ed Miliband said a vote would have to await the formal publication of the UN weapons inspectors reports into the attacks. Cameron agreed. Finally, Miliband said there would have to be not one but two Commons votes before action could be authorised. And again, the Prime Minister agreed.
Maybe it doesn’t matter any more. The dead of Syria can’t be brought back. The opportunity to draw red lines against Assad’s use of chemical weapons has gone for good. And Ed Miliband has an election to win. Those depending on food banks, or worried about the NHS, or worried about the cost of living crisis won’t mind a bit of historical revisionism. Nor will Labour MP and activists buoyed by their leader’s combative performance.
But the fact still remains. When asked to present his strongest case for being entrusted with the highest office in the land, Ed Miliband chose to build it upon a lie."

ISIS: Hassan/Weiss versus Cockburn


Robin Yassin-Kassab:
 "Cockburn vastly exaggerates Western support of the Syrian opposition, when the Americans’ main role was to prevent Arab states from sending the heavy weaponry Syrians so desperately needed to resist Assad’s blitzkrieg. One justification given by commentators for the failure to support the Free Army early on was that Islamists might benefit. Of course, the opposite happened – starved for funds, guns and ammunition, the moderate leadership was unable to win loyalty, or establish central control and discipline. Many of its fighters either despaired and left the country or gravitated towards the much better-funded Islamist brigades. Unhindered, Assad’s barrel bombs and scuds implemented a scorched earth strategy, traumatising Syrians and producing a vacuum in which jihadism flourished.

 “There is no alternative to first-hand reporting,” he nevertheless opines; and “journalists rarely fully admit to themselves … the degree to which they rely on secondary or self-interested sources”. Which brings us to the question of Cockburn’s reliability. In the book he states, in early 2014, “I witnessed [Nusra] forces storm a housing complex … where they proceeded to kill Alawites and Christians.” This alleged massacre was reported by Russian and Syrian state media (Russia is Assad’s imperial sponsor, providing his weapons and defending him at the Security Council); yet international organisations have no record of it. But Cockburn’s original report of the incident, in a January 28, 2014 column for The Independent, states that, rather than witnessing it, he was told the story by “a Syrian soldier, who gave his name as Abu Ali”.

 Because Cockburn’s a much-awarded, veteran correspondent, his opinions are echoed and magnified until they attain the status of fact, even amongst those who should know better. A group of Syrian leftist revolutionaries invited to meet Noam Chomsky in Beirut were astounded to hear the great man explain that their cause was doomed. Chomsky knew because his friend Patrick had told him, and “Patrick knows what’s happening in Syria better than anybody”.

Increasingly a deluded ‘realism’ calls for cooperation with Assad against the greater jihadist enemy. It was precisely in order to provoke these calls that Assad did his utmost to create a jihadist threat, and why – until June 2014, when ISIS became a threat to his regime – he refrained from bombing the organisation. Even today, when the Free Army and ISIS fight, Assad bombs the Free Army. Former State Department official Fred Hof describes the unofficial ISIS-Assad collusion like this: “Their top tactical priority in Syria is identical: destroy the Syrian nationalist opposition.” "

Friday, 27 March 2015

Syria: Regime attack on mosque leaves 15 dead

Syria: Regime attack on
mosque leaves 15 dead

"Central Idlib is under siege by opposition forces which have cut off all supply roads and destroyed four tanks which were on their way to enforce the central area."

Breaking free in the great Syrian prison

"When we are engulfed by monumental events, no matter how horrifying, sentiments of euphoria can accompany those of revulsion. One has a feeling of having lived an overpowering, grand experience, an exhilarating wave of hyperreality.
This force, allowing psychological rebirth, will harden the spirits of Syrians against the depravities of Assad rule. It is why Assad’s enemies refuse to surrender, even as their conflict takes myriad turns into darkness. And it is why Iran will likely never triumph in Syria. In their search for emancipation, for a second childhood, Syrians will suffer, but they will also struggle against suffering."

A young boy walks past a makeshift barricade made of wreckages of buses to obstruct the view of regime snipers and to keep people safe in Aleppo, Syria on March 14, 2015.

This Is the Surprising Way Some Syrians
Are Protecting Themselves From Snipers

"Some buses in Aleppo, Syria, have been reconverted to serve as protection from snipers loyal to the country’s embattled President Bashar Assad."

The new grand alliance in the Middle East

Children wounded by government barrel bomb, Syria

Nancy Lindisfarne and Jonathan Neale add nothing to our understanding of Syria. They make three references to the armed opposition to Assad, and they are all woefully wide of the mark.

"Saudi Arabia, and various small gulf states, backed various right wing Sunni Islamist rebel groups against Assad’s Syrian government."
No, they have mostly backed the FSA, and all the groups they have supported have been defending Syrians against a murderous government; not the problem here. Complaining about the Islamist character, quite mistakenly in their formulation, could be seen as part of the anti-Muslim prejudice the authors claim to be opposing.

"Assad’s Syrian government is fighting the Islamic State."
As little as they possibly can, as their strategy all along has been to fight jihadis as little as possible, in the hope that they will eclipse the secular opposition and Assad will appear the better option. So they have been engaging in a major offensive, mostly carried by their Iranian and Lebanese foreign fighters, against the moderate opposition in southern Syria, but the only advance in the north-east where ISIS has done a runner.

"The revolt that began in 2011 united a broad range of Islamist and secular groups in resistance, and mixed local alliances. But by 2014 ISIS, a right wing Islamist group, was the largest army opposed to the governments of Syria and Iraq.
This does not mean the secular left was unimportant. But it does mean that for a generation now Islamists have been the strongest force in mass movements against American power and against the dictatorships."
The broad range of Islamist and secular groups are still fighting Assad, and now have to deal with ISIS too. ISIS are not opposed to the government of Syria, but to the Sunni Muslim communities they are parasites upon. To say that there is now just a battle between the US and "dictatorships" and Islamists, in which the important reality is US bombing, ignores the struggle against Assad's genocide.

Egyptian Thuwar Blasts stwuk’s Syria Hypocrisy, Pseudo-Intellectual John Rees Flips


"At this point (thereabouts, memory a bit hazy) you could see he got riled and things really escalated (they were always going to), when he said ‘actually what you’re doing is a typical form of imperialist policy where you’re expecting the West to come in to sort out your problems’.
Now that was the particular button which he pushed which I was waiting for which he shouldn’t have, and at this point I let loose (to be fair, I was already itching for it), and said:
‘My point isn’t whether I ‘want’ Western intervention or not, that’s always been irrelevant since I’ve long said and continue to say that the West do not want to intervene, that they are happy with the situation and would be happy ultimately with Assad coming out on top of a destroyed country, and that’s exactly the point. The whole point is that those Western governments that you have forever portrayed as ‘itching’ to intervene (to topple Bashar) simply don’t want to, seen by the simplest measures they didn’t take such as arming rebels with anti-aircraft weaponry or arming rebels in anyway properly at all beyond 16-bullet per fighter (don’t know if you saw that article) crumbs off the table, mostly supplied anyway through Arab countries.’
My problem was that his organisation, Stop the War Coalition, were portraying the Syrian resistance constantly as mere puppets, terrorists, and the reason for what is happening in Syria. My problem was that they were not talking at all about what the Syrian government was doing, who you, Rees, seem to have forgotten the history of ‘imperialism’. That with all their rhetoric they had become simply ‘progressive neoconservatives’ (don’t think I used that term in particular to him though, used others). He then said that my anger was actually typical of ‘emigre politics’ — I said ‘What?’ (as in the Egyptian sense, ‘eih?’ – don’t comprehend). The irony was great (it was a convenient opening for a few things which I was already going to say re: identity politics). It seems he thought I was born and raised in England or something, when I lived all my life in the Middle East before going to university here. I told him that I was getting shot at by Sisi in January of that year, so don’t talk to me about ‘emigre politics.’ He responded that he was at Tahrir Square during the 18 days (I wasn’t surprised by that; incidentally, it was never the point), so don’t talk to me about not taking risks – etc etc . I said ‘fine you were at Tahrir, but that’s irrelevant innit, it wasn’t me who said anything about emigre politics’."

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Aliah Ajamoughli: A proud Syrian
“One of my family members stood out on a platform on a mosque, asking for people to donate blood, and was shot by a sniper,” Ajamoughli said. “The news segment was a YouTube video that they were showing. Early on in the revolution, when the protests were peaceful, the people captured the deaths of protesters and put it on YouTube. They thought by doing this they could show the world the terrible things of Assad, but they quickly found out the world didn’t care about Assad killing his people.”

Re-stabilizing Syria begins
with the departure of Assad

"The Assad regime now controls only 28 percent of Syrian territory, a military control that does not imply loyalty to it. This percentage continues to shrink daily - as in the governorates of Homs and Hama - the revolution’s most important strongholds. Neutral sources estimate that only 10% of the population remain in support of Assad. This limited control of territory, void of real governance or legitimacy, is maintained through the assistance of blood thirsty sectarian extremist militias, imported from Lebanon, Iraq and Afghanistan, and led by Iranian commanders who issue orders, and roam Syrian from Aleppo to Dara’a. The opposition forces have become increasingly aware of the need to put their differences aside in favor of unity and integration. There is also an increasing certitude of victory as the revolution has shown a tremendous ability to adapt to changing challenges and efficiently coordinate revolutionary, political and military efforts. We are ready and willing to engage in any political process that achieves freedom and dignity for our people. We continue to work to unite all components of our society under one national umbrella and to ensure that all Syrians play a role in the transitional period. The transitional process will preserve institutions - particularly the army and security apparatuses - initiate civil peace and transitional justice projects, and begin the reconstruction of Syria."

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Assad regime is evil, it must go

 Khalid Amayreh:

 "As to the rampancy of rape, mostly by Assad's soldiers and paramilitary thugs known as Shabbiha, a recent study reported "compelling findings" indicting the regime in this regard.

 The study was conducted by Women Under Siege, along with Columbia University epidemiologists, the Syrian-American Medical Society, and Syrian activists and journalists, who spent the past year documenting and mapping incidences of sexual violence in the war-ravaged country

 According to the study, Assad's forces have carried out 56 percent of all acts of rape. But, the study says, if you include pro-regime Shabbiha perpetrators, the number is closer to 80 percent.

 The study adds: "When it comes to men (who were the victims in 20 percent of the cases tracked by Women Under Siege), the figures are even more staggering. 90 percent of the reported sexualized violence against men was committed by government forces, possibly due to the fact that these tend to occur in detention facilities. Meanwhile, the Free Syrian Army has only carried out 1 percent of the documented sexual attacks."

 The Assad regime is a cancer upon the conscience of humanity. That is why it is an expression of criminal hypocrisy and evil moral duplicity to bomb IS in Syria and Iraq while keeping the Assad regime fully immersed in this orgy of evil."

Syrian rebels announce offensive against government-held city of Idlib


Syrian rebels announce offensive against major government-held city of Idlib

'The armed opposition factions announced the campaign to capture the city of Idlib in a message posted online Tuesday. They tell residents the rebels "are at the walls of Idlib" and "have decided to liberate this good town." '

Forget Assad by Bente Scheller

A rehabilitation of Syria would come at an exorbitantly high price, politically as well as financially. How much is the West prepared to pay?

Forget Assad
"Already now many Sunnis in the region perceive their lives as less important than the lives of members of minority groups in the eyes of the West. Most victims of regime brutality are Sunnis. The fact that they have received hardly any support against Assad, that the international community however now is even considering him a potential partner against ISIS, could amplify the perception of a Western-Shiite conspiracy against Sunnis. As uncertain as the gain through a co-operation with the regime in the battle against ISIS would be, as certain is that such a co-operation would trigger an influx of new fighters for ISIS – not for reasons of conviction, but simply because Sunnis could turn to no one else for protection against the regime."

Sunday, 22 March 2015

'You rarely hear any laughter'


Life inside a Syria suburb
'Asked if he would still protest if he had known how Moadamiyeh would suffer, Ahmed pauses before he answers.
"I would still protest," he says. "If the siege and the bombs still happened, then so be it." '

Where the uprising began and still lives on

"Assad has other plans. With an offensive in the South supported by Iran and Hezbollah, he is currently trying to weaken the national resistance and drive moderate rebels into the arms of al-Nusra and IS. Then he can declare his merciless war on Syria's civilian population to be a fight against terror in this region too.
Instead of simply concentrating on IS in Syria, as it has been doing since the summer of 2014, the West should stop neglecting the origins of the radicalisation: Assad's brutal reign. This goes for the South in particular, where the MOC has long had contact with the counterparts it has been asking for and who are in a position to combat the jihadists.
However, if they are to do this, they must do one thing above all else: they must lead the fight against Assad. Only as the spearhead of the resistance will the FSA pull the rug from under the radicals' feet. Only when they can do without military support from the al-Nusra Front will the latter lose its significance and attraction."

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‚Ä®

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.