Want the Truth About What’s Going on in Syria? Listen to Father Daniël Maes

The gentleman giving the talk in the video above is Father Daniël Maes, a Flemish priest who lives in Syria and who has said that news coverage of the conflict there is “the biggest media lie of our time.” Father Maes, who spoke in Belgium on June 3, lives and serves God in the 1400-year-old Mar Yakub Monastery, located in the village of Qara, some 60 miles northeast of Damascus.

The martyr celebration he speaks of at the beginning of the talk commemorates the deaths of 21 Arab nationalists (both Syrian and Lebanese) who were executed by Turkish authorities on May 6, 1916 for their resistance against the Ottoman Empire. The Arab nationalists, long suffering under Ottoman rule, had supported Britain and France in World War I though later were betrayed–by both, but by the French in particular–in a series of events leading up to the signing of the infamous Sykes-Picot Agreement (an agreement which set up the two European countries as the primary colonial powers in the region, giving the British control over Palestine and establishing the French as the overlords in Syria and Lebanon).

Thus when Father Maes says, “I was a little bit ashamed. I think: ‘I am from the West’,” he is presumably referring to this history, although I would qualify that statement by pointing out that the actions of Britain and France today in backing US goals for regime change are if anything even more ignoble than their treacherous behavior of a century ago.

In his talk, Father Maes also makes a prediction–call it a prophecy if you will–that the war in Syria will take the world from a unipolar to a multi-polar world order.

He also makes reference to a soup kitchen set up by Mother Agnés-Mariam in the city of Aleppo and which serves 25,000 hot meals per day five days a week. You may remember Mother Agnés. I did a series of articles on her back in 2013 and 2014 after she released a 50-page report on the August 21, 2013 chemical attack in Ghouta. The report provided evidence that some of the videos uploaded to the Internet immediately after the attack were staged and faked, but for her efforts, Mother Agnés found herself under attack by liberals like Jeremy Scahill and Owen Jones, both of whom refused to appear at a conference she was scheduled to speak at in London. This was in November of 2013.  I wrote an article about it at the time, which I entitled Mother Agnes and the Self Destruction of the Political Left, and which I reproduce below. I wonder how Scahill and Jones would feel if they knew the woman whose name they besmirched four years ago is now serving food to 25,000 hungry people a day in a war zone. God works in mysterious ways, and this is certainly an example of it. Jones, Scahill and all the other “liberal interventionists” who attacked Mother Agnés should be ashamed of themselves.

As for Father Maes, I first put up a post about him back in January of this year. At that time he told an interviewer, “Do you not know that the media coverage on Syria is the biggest media lie of our time? They have sold pure nonsense about Assad: It was actually the rebels who plundered and killed.”

And in the talk in the video above, he notes that the Syrian Army has recently been making “more and more and more and more progress,” and he expresses hope for an end to the conflict soon.

“We hope that with the Russians and Iran, and of course the Syrian Army and the Hezbollah, that they will finally take out all the terrorists.”


Mother Agnes and the Self Destruction of the Political Left

By Richard Edmondson

Leftist luminaries Jeremy Scahill and Owen Jones attempted to cast aspersions upon Mother Agnes, but instead they have brought discredit not only upon themselves, but upon the conference at which they are to speak in London next Saturday. We should not be surprised at the way all this has turned out.

As I reported previously, Scahill and Jones announced they would not take part in an antiwar conference organized by the Stop the War Coalition should they have to share the same platform with Mother Agnes Mariam of the Cross, a Syrian nun who has worked tirelessly to bring about an end to the bloodshed in her country. As yet, no explanation or elaboration has been offered by the pair as justification for their laying down of such an ultimatum. But for her own part, Mother Agnes has taken steps to ensure they will not have to undergo the abhorrent ordeal of appearing with her. She has pulled out of the conference.

In the war in Syria, or more precisely in the way the war has been reported, radically different narratives have been presented, narratives that are, and have been, almost completely counter to one another. In one view, that reported by Western mainstream media, Syrian President Bashar Assad is a brutal, criminal dictator intent on killing his own people, while those fighting to bring his government down are freedom fighters (although following the posting of a video showing one of the freedom fighters eating a human organ, the media shifted slightly and began allowing that “some” of the insurgents were extremists). By contrast, the picture presented by Russian and other foreign media, and on blogs like this one, is that Assad has the support of a sizeable portion of the Syrian people and that the conflict has little or nothing to do with democracy. Instead it is aimed at effecting regime change to the benefit of Gulf oil monarchies as well as the West and Israel. Also in this view, Assad, while not perfect, is not nearly as ogreish and demonic as he is made out to be in the Western media.

It comes down to who has the greater credibility—the Western, and principally US, media, which promoted the war in Iraq on the basis of false claims about weapons of mass destruction, or Russian media outlets like RT, who have no record of peddling lies in an effort to justify wars. You would think that for leftists the choice would be clear. But for some reason, Scahill, a reporter for The Nation, and Jones, who has a column in The Independent, have taken a position that possibly would suggest they accord the Western media the greater credibility—at least insofar as the Syrian war in general, and Mother Agnes in particular, are concerned.

Those favoring US intervention in Syria no doubt had their hopes raised by the August 21 chemical weapons attack. An all out escalation into a regional and possibly even global conflict seemed imminent, but the hopes of warmongers were dashed through some clever statesmanship by Vladimir Putin and also after Mother Agnes released a 50-page report introducing evidence that some of the videos uploaded immediately after the attack had been staged and scripted and suggesting that the attack might have been carried out not by the Syrian government but by the opposition. You can read the full report here. Decide for yourself whether you think it’s credible.

My own take on it all is that through her report, as well as through her presence, her holiness, and her actions—including the evacuation of more than 5,000 people from a besieged town in October—Mother Agnes has considerably undermined the Western narrative on events in Syria. And that obviously has upset a lot of plans and made a lot of people mad.

“Why did the invitation from Stop the War to a nun working to stop war raise objections?” asks William M. Boardman in an article posted Thursday. Boardman goes on to comment, “It’s hard to find any evidence that Mother Agnes has committed anything worse than what others consider thought-crimes and politically incorrect obeservations, some of which are actually correct.”

So was somebody pressuring Scahill and Jones to disassociate themselves from Mother Agnes? Did they think doing so would advance their careers? Did Scahill think it would win him additional appearances on the Rachel Maddow Show or CBS Evening News? Is Jones hoping for more exposure on Sky News and the BBC? I don’t have an answer to these questions. I would note only that intoxication of power is not something leftists are especially immune to any more so than anyone else. The main problem is succumbing to such impulses at the expense of someone making a genuine effort to achieve peace.

When faced with a choice between taking a stand based upon principle and one based upon convenience, the left seems to opt more and more for the latter these days, and it is attitudes such as this that are leading it, much like Western society as a whole, toward self destruction. So what should the organizers of the conference do? Here is my suggestion: Re-extend the invitation to Mother Agnes. Do so publicly. She may decline. But you will at least regain some credibility. Should she accept, all the better. And if Jones and Scahill wish to pull out as a result, even better yet. Their presence at the podium at this point is probably more of a liability than an asset in any event. Proceeding under the present conditions—with Scahill and Jones on the bill and the curtain in effect drawn on any participation by Mother Agnes—will cheapen and devalue the event.

Why Obama Prioritizes Ousting Assad Over Defeating Syria’s Jihadists

Why Obama Prioritizes Ousting Assad Over Defeating Syria’s Jihadists (I)

ERIC ZUESSE | 16.04.2016

Part 1

Dr Christina Lin, a leading young scholar on jihadist groups, opens her April 8th commentary at Asia Times: «In a blunder reeking of the fallout caused by supplying Stinger anti-aircraft missiles to 1980s mujahideen in Afghanistan, civilian airline passengers are now under threat from Syrian jihadists armed with portable surface-to-air missiles (MANPADS).

Reports say some American-backed jihadi groups are being equipped with US-made MANPADS. Indications are they’re obtaining these advanced weapons either directly or indirectly from the US or its Mideast allies in connection with a recent escalation in the fighting in Syria.

On April 2, fighting broke out between western-backed al-Qaeda affiliates and the Syrian army, ending the Syrian ceasefire. The groups that broke the ceasefire included al-Qaeda in Syria (al-Nusra), the Chinese Uyghur Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP), The Levant Brigade, the Freemen of Syria (Ahrar ash-Sham), Division 13, and other jihadi groups. According to AP, the US-trained and armed Division 13 is now fighting alongside al-Nusra and Ahrar al-Sham. The latter two are part of the Turkey/Saudi/Qatar-backed Army of Conquest».

That report goes on to document, essentially, that US President Barack Obama is continuing his efforts to replace the the only secular, non-sectarian government in the Middle East, that of the Ba’athist Party, which has always been the only non-religious political party in the Arab world – everything else in Arabia has been fundamentalist-Sunni, to at least some extent. (Think of it: after 9/11, the US government aiding al-Qaeda! The US government is more against Russia than it’s against jihadists – though Russia never invaded the US, and communism is gone!)

Dr Lin quotes a Saudi official as saying (in Germany’s Spiegel), «We believe that introducing surface-to-air missiles in Syria is going to change the balance of power on the ground… just like surface-to-air missiles in Afghanistan were able to change the balance of power there». He was referring there to this in 1979, where Obama’s friend Zbigniew Brzezinski explained why the Americans and the Saudis were supplying SAMs to the mujahideen who became al-Qaeda, and he was also referring to this in 1998, where Brzezinski, when asked whether he thought that arming those fundamentalist Sunnis had been a mistake, said that it certainly was not. Obama is continuing in that vein. Brzezinski still was talking there as if Russia equals the USSR, equals «the enemy». Obama acts from that same viewpoint – the viewpoint that will end either in WW III, or in Russia’s capitulation to the US aristocracy.

In their view, the end of communism, and the end of the Soviet Union, and the end of the Soviets’ Warsaw Pact (which was their counterpart to America’s NATO alliance), made and make no difference, and Syria should be ruled by jihadist groups, because its current government is allied with Russia, and Russia always tries to kill jihadists, never allies with them (as the US does).

Obama overthrew the Russia-friendly government of Ukraine and replaced it with an anti-Russian government; he also led the NATO bombing campaign that overthrew the Russia-friendly leader of Libya, Muammar Gaddafi; and he has since been trying to do the same thing in Syria, to Assad.

Dr Lin continues:

«Now, if it turns out that al-Qaeda affiliates in Syria are indeed armed with MANPADS, it would amount to what former CIA director David Petraeus called ‘our worst nightmare’. The missile would do far more than improve terrorist groups’ military capabilities to conduct future attacks.

A 2005 RAND study also concluded that Jihadists shooting down a civilian airliner would put a temporary freeze on worldwide air travel, causing a $15 billion loss to the world economy. More than a decade after this study, the present-day economic loss would be substantially higher than $15 billion».

Dr Lin’s calling this a «blunder» from Obama is based upon an assumption that Obama isn’t aware of the harms that he’s causing by what he’s doing; but, on the same day, a report, including shocking documentation from Jane’s (the specialist site about military matters), makes clear that Obama is determined to overthrow Assad no matter what the consequences.

The anonymous «Moon of Alabama» blogger posted at Global Research on April 8th, «US Delivers 3,000 Tons Of Weapons And Ammo To Al-Qaeda and Co. in Syria». Shown there is the «Simplified packing list for December 2015 arms» that were sent. The anonymous blogger explained:

«One ship with nearly one thousand tons of weapons and ammo left Constanta in Romania on December 5. The weapons are from Bulgaria, Croatia and Romania. It sailed to Agalar in Turkey which has a military pier and then to Aqaba in Jordan. Another ship with more than two-thousand tons of weapons and ammo left in late March, followed the same route and was last recorded on its way to Aqaba on April 4.

We already knew that the ‘rebels’ in Syria received plenty of weapons during the official ceasefire. We also know that these ‘rebels’ regularly deliver half of their weapon hauls from Turkey and Jordan to al-Qaeda in Syria (aka Jabhat al-Nusra):

Hard-core Islamists in the Nusra Front have long outgunned the more secular, nationalist, Western-supported rebels. According to FSA officers, Nusra routinely harvests up to half the weapons supplied by the Friends of Syria, a collection of countries opposed to Assad…

US and Turkey supported ‘rebels’ took part in the recent attack on Tal al-Eis against Syrian government forces which was launched with three suicide bombs by al-Qaeda in Syria. This was an indisputable breaking of the ceasefire agreement between Russia and the US. It is very likely that some of the weapons and ammunition the US delivered in December were used in this attack».

Consequently, Obama is clearly determined to supply weapons to the jihadists until they win. This is no «blunder». It’s a determination to beat Putin, no matter what. It has consequences not only for the US and for Russia, but for the countries that America invades or whose governments America overthrows. Here are those consequences.

The «2016 Global Emotions Report» by Gallup, surveying over a thousand people in each one of 140 different nations, found that, by far, the people in Syria had «the lowest positive experiences worldwide», the people there were far more miserable than in any other nation. The score was 36 (on a scale to 100). Second and third worst were tied at 51: Turkey because of the tightening dictatorship there as Turkey has become one of Obama’s key allies in toppling Assad; Nepal, on account of the earthquake. Then tied at 54, were three countries, the fourth, fifth, and sixth, most-miserable places to live: Georgia, which still hasn’t recovered from the US-backed wars against Abkhazia and South Ossetia, where the majority want to be part of Russia; Serbia, where the majority are opposed to the government’s move to enter NATO; and Iraq, which still hasn’t recovered from Bush’s 2003 invasion. Then tied at 55, are five countries, the seventh-through-eleventh-most-miserable nations: Yemen, where America’s ally the Sauds are dropping American bombs onto Shiite neighborhoods; Bosnia and Herzegovina, which still hasn’t recovered from the civil war and the US bombing; Lithuania, which became impoverished by IMF-imposition of economic austerity, which has prevented economic recovery; Belarus, which will probably be the last country in the world to break away from Marxism; and, finally, the 11th-worst, Ukraine, which prior to the US coup, was less miserable than 29 countries and had a score of 60, which was 5 points higher than today’s – Obama’s coup there has definitely immiserated the Ukrainian people (not to mention displaced millions and slaughtered thousands by the ethnic-cleansing campaign against residents of the former Donbass region of Ukraine).

To what extent would it be sincere, or even honest, then, for the US President to say this?:

«America’s willingness to apply force around the world is the ultimate safeguard against chaos, and America’s failure to act in the face of Syrian brutality or Russian provocations not only violates our conscience, but invites escalating aggression in the future… In Ukraine, Russia’s recent actions recall the days when Soviet tanks rolled into Eastern Europe. But this isn’t the Cold War. Our ability to shape world opinion helped isolate Russia right away. Because of American leadership, the world immediately condemned Russian actions; Europe and the G7 joined us to impose sanctions; NATO reinforced our commitment to Eastern European allies; the IMF is helping to stabilize Ukraine’s economy; OSCE monitors brought the eyes of the world to unstable parts of Ukraine. And this mobilization of world opinion and international institutions served as a counterweight to Russian propaganda and Russian troops on the border and armed militias in ski masks».

Those «armed militias in ski masks», incidentally, were US-CIA-hired mercenaries. He had to know that; he simply lied.

Part 2

Why Obama Prioritizes Ousting Assad Over Defeating Syria’s Jihadists (II)

In the US Presidential contest this year, the big foreign-affairs issue that separates Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump on one side, and all of the other candidates on the other, is whether to prioritize killing jihadists, above defeating Assad and any other ally of Russia.

Both Sanders and Trump say that killing jihadists is definitely the top priority. Hillary Clinton and the other Republicans say that both priorities are equal and must be pursued with equal vigor, even though that will mean helping the jihadists whenever they’re causing damage to Russia or to Russia’s allies – such as to Assad in Syria. Judging Obama by his actions not his (lying) words, he’s on the side of Clinton and the other (the self-acknowledged) Republicans. The reality is that anyone (such as Clinton, Cruz, and Kasich) who says that both priorities are equal, is really in favor of placing the defeat of Russia as being a higher priority than killing jihadists – but for political reasons can’t afford to admit it publicly. Those candidates are actually the candidates who (like the Bushes and the Clintons) represent the Saud family, who financed al-Qaeda before 9/11, and who continued doing it after 9/11, and whose friends the other Arab royal families, are financing the other jihadist organizations.

On the one side in this ongoing international war are Russia and its few allies, which include the Shiites, both the secular Assad in Syria, and the fundamentalist Khamenei in Iran; and, on the other side are the United States and its many allies, which include the fundamentalist Sunni royal families, which own Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, UAE, Bahrain, and Oman, but which also include the fundamentalist Sunni, Tayyip Erdogan, in Turkey, who is the Saud family’s agent in the US-led NATO anti-Russian military club. And, of course, NATO and Japan are also on the American team. And so is Israel.

This is geopolitics, the contest for power between the two blocs of aristocracies – the US-Saudi-led bloc on the one side, versus the much smaller Russia-led bloc on the other.

Here is how Brzezinski put it, on page 46 of his classic 1997 statement of the position of the US-Saudi-led bloc, in his book The Grand Chessboard, where he was discussing specifically Ukraine, and also explaining why the West must support the fundamentalist Sunni, or jihadist, groups that threaten to break up and thus weaken or destroy Russia:

«Ukraine, a new and important space on the Eurasian chessboard, is a geopolitical pivot because its very existence as an independent country helps to transform Russia. Without Ukraine, Russia ceases to be a Eurasian empire. Russia without Ukraine can still strive for imperial status, but it would then become a predominantly Asian imperial state, more likely to be drawn into debilitating conflicts with aroused Central Asians, who would then be resentful of the loss of their recent independence and would be supported by their fellow Islamic states to the south … However, if Moscow regains control over Ukraine, with its 52 million people and major resources as well as its access to the Black Sea, Russia automatically again regains the wherewithal to become a powerful imperial state, spanning Europe and Asia».

Brzezinski was born a Polish nobleman, to a family who were dispossessed by Russians, and he never lost his hatred of Russians. In 1973, he and his friend David Rockefeller (like the Arab royals a hereditary oil-billionaire) founded the Trilateral Commission, to coordinate America and Europe and Japan, so as to conquer Russia by breaking it up – classic divide-and-conquer aristocratic thinking. That’s what his Grand Chessboard is all about: conquest, for global dominance. To understand not only Obama but the Bushes, and the Clintons, that book is the classic. And the reason why the American aristocracy loathes both Sanders and Trump – different though those two candidates are – is that both candidates present the first possibility since the end of the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact in 1991 to end the purely aristocratic war that has continued on since then (with the public financing it via their taxes, and providing the corpses for it in Libya, Ukraine, Syria, and a few other places) to conquer Russia.

Obama is an extraordinarily gifted politician, notwithstanding any deficiencies he has as a national leader, and so here was from his brief exchange (and there was no follow-up on this question) dealing with his biggest achievement and his biggest error as President, speaking with Chris Wallace of Fox News and telecast on April 10th:

«WALLACE: Worst mistake?

OBAMA: Probably failing to plan for the day after what I think was the right thing to do in intervening in Libya».

But, even without any follow-up question, that actually says a lot: it says that, though Obama didn’t even «plan for the day after» (a shocking admission, which really shows the abysmal caliber of the man), his bombing Libya till Muammar Gaddafi was killed «was the right thing to do». (George W Bush feels the same about his having gotten rid of another Russia-ally, Saddam Hussein.) And, of course, the unasked question there was: Why? Why was it «the right thing to do»? But, if his foreign policy is driven obsessively by the goal of taking down the leader of any nation who is friendly toward Russia, then it does make sense, after all – the same sense as what Obama also did to Yanukovych in Ukraine, and is still so persistently trying to do to Assad in Syria. (And Chris Wallace’s having not even noticed that he had, just then, elicited from Obama the most shocking statement in Obama’s entire Presidency, showed that that TV network of psychopaths was functioning true-to-form – the interviewer didn’t even care that the US President had perpetrated a huge bombing campaign without even concerning himself about what the consequences would be – other than to get rid of a leader who was friendly to Russia.)

And, as regards America’s future international relations, the continuance (or not) of this psychopathic goal, is the top issue in the current US Presidential campaign. Whereas the American public don’t even think much about it, America’s billionaires certainly do, which is why they’re pouring billions into the campaigns of Hillary Clinton, Ted Cruz, and the other candidates who want to continue that goal (taking control of Russia), but with even more intensity than Obama has been doing.

Properly understood, history isn’t only about the past; it is, far more importantly, about the future. That’s why the aristocracy don’t finance the careers of truthful historians: the public is supposed to believe the myths, which have been shaped by the aristocracy in the past. Truthful history would endanger the aristocracy. And that’s why the public isn’t supposed to know such things as, «Why Obama Prioritizes Ousting Assad Over Defeating Syria’s Jihadists», nor even to know that he does. But, he does; and here has been provided an explanation as to why he does (and understanding why, will pose an even greater threat to the aristocracy – which is why few media will publish this).

The con isn’t supposed to be known; or, if it’s known, it’s not supposed to be noticed.

«OBAMA: Probably failing to plan for the day after what I think was the right thing to do in intervening in Libya».

And that’s also the reason «Why Obama Prioritizes Ousting Assad Over Defeating Syria’s Jihadists». He says: doing it in Libya was his «worst mistake». But he cares so little, that he’s trying to do it again, in Syria. He’s true-to-form, for a psychopath.

And this answers the question, as well as it can be answered. It’s not a matter of corpses, and bloodshed, and immiserated nations, to him; it’s «The Grand Chessboard». He simply wants to be the person at the mountaintop, even if it’s a mountain of corpses. Or, maybe, especially if it’s a mountain of corpses. This has been the way of aristocracies for thousands of years, and he’s a natural at it. Just a natural. Especially because the CIA has been aiming since at least 1957 to overthrow the Ba’ath Party as Syria’s leadership, and to replace them with a partitioned Syria, whose key oil-and-gas pipeline route would be controlled by a fundamentalist-Sunni ally of the Sauds.

After all, the Grand Chessboard may be just a game, but it can be a very profitable one, for the right people.

Related

Syrian fighter jets pound Daesh oil tankers in Dayr al-Zawr

10.01.2016 | 13:10

PressTV – The Syrian Air Force has targeted a convoy of 20 tankers smuggling oil from territories held by Daesh Takfiri terrorist group in the Arab country’s east.

Syrian warplanes bombarded the tankers on the al-Mayadin Highway near the eastern city of Dayr al-Zawr on Sunday.

In another development, a top commander of al-Qaeda-linked Ahrar al-Sham terrorist group, called Abu Talib, was killed in a booby trap explosion in Syria’s northwestern Idlib Province.

Meanwhile, Lebanon’s al-Ahed news website reported that a number of civilians sustained injuries after terrorist groups launched mortar attacks on the northern part of the Syrian province of Hama.

Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since March 2011. More than 260,000 have reportedly lost their lives and millions displaced as a result of the violence.

Syrian forces have been battling militants, particularly Daesh terrorists, on different fronts throughout the country. They have recently been making rapid advances against terrorists in operations backed by the Russian air cover, which began on September 30 last year at the request of the Damascus government.

On Sunday, some 30 militants belonging to the al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front were killed by Russian airstrikes in the southern part of Idlib.

 

 

TERRORISTS ROUTED IN LATAKIA AGAIN AS SYRIAN ARMY REACHES TURK BORDER

 

LATAKIA:  More news pouring in as the terrorist rats of Nusra/Alqaeda eat dirt while running for cover in Erdogan’s Turk-Occupied Syria (Hatay).  We can confirm the liberation of the following areas:

Elevation 754.5

SyriaTel Tower

Al-Aswad Al-Kabeer Mountain

‘Utayra on the Turk border

The Syrian Army has expanded its artillery control over these areas:

Bayt Malik

Al-Qantara

Bayt Shurooq

Al-Khadhraa`

Zaahiya

Al-Kubayr

Al-Sawwaaf

Qal’at Bujaak

_______________________________________________________

PHOTO OF THE DAY:  DR. ASSAD AND THE FIRST LADY, ASMAA` AL-ASSAD, VISIT THE CHURCH OF THE LADY OF DAMASCUS TO CELEBRATE CHRISTMAS WITH THE CHRISTIANS OF THE CAPITAL:

Would that reeking, syphilitic pig, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdaadi, do this?  Would Abu Muhammad Al-Jawlaani?  Would the Wahhabist heretics allow a church on their holy sands?  Hardly.  This is the face of secular Syria.


Read more


Syrian Army Establishes Control over Strategic al-Sayyed Mountain in Lattakia

The Syrian Arab army is advancing further in the northern countryside of Lattakia among other areas, killing more terrorists and destroying their heavy weaponry, SANA agency reported.


With cooperation from the popular defense groups, the army established control over the strategic al-Sayyed Mountain in the northern countryside of Lattakia province,” a military source announced on Thursday.


Terrorists positioned in the area were fired at intensively, with many of them getting killed and the rest escaped, the source told SANA.


During combing operations in the mountain, the army units dismantled many explosive devices and mines planted by terrorists and found at its foot a 50 m tunnel equipped with lighting that contained vehicles and equipment used by the terrorists to dig trenches and tunnels to hinder the army’s advance in the region, according to the source.


The new achievement came one day after the army established control over the strategic al-Noubeh Mountain in Lattakia northern countryside.

Source: Agencies

18-12-2015 – 16:57 Last updated 18-12-2015 – 16:57


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Snagging the Pipelines Cobweb: a checkmate for the US?

Strategic Culture Foundation

EDITOR’S CHOICE | 13.12.2015 | 12:00

The civil war in Syria, the attempts of ousting Bashar Al-Assad from Syrian Government and the consequent formation of new terrorist groups have deep roots and untold causes that have to be investigated, yet. What about their consequences in the near future?

US is gambling credibility away in the Syrian conflict. As a matter of fact, Barack Obama’s administration in foreign policy has become closer to George W. Bush’s in terms of results and involvement in different war scenarios. Stars and stripes-mojo is now fading away and Fukuyama’s “End of History” is going together with Samuel P. Huntington “Clash of Civilization” in the ash heap of History. The promotion of global American leadership seems to be a long-gone concept if compared to the geopolitical strategy and the moves that US is making now on the worldwide geopolitical chessboard.

Russia is now emerging from the ashes of post-soviet destruction (remember “Black October 1993”?) and seems to be in advantage in every field previously occupied by the US. Russian preponderance is clear in the Syrian scenario: on one side, Russia and Syria are really fighting Islamic extremism, on the other US are showing worldwide, despite the coverup made by Western media, their “throwing pillows” attitude at terrorists. US and their allies are playing a dangerous game on the edge of the razor in order to regain lost ground. It seems that they are paving the path for another war centered on geopolitical and strategic advantages.

For those who really analyze international politics, human rights and humanitarian reasons have little to do with the real interests in the Near-Middle East Region. Despite the undeniable Russian interests in Syria, especially for the Tartus area where the URSS built a naval supply and maintenance base in 1971, it’s also obvious that Syria is a meeting point of US and their allies’ interests. The interests of US have a reflection on the ‘bureaucracy empire’ of EU and its subjugated states. Europe has been long looking for energetic independence, but it seems there’s no way alternative to Russia to achieve it, despite some leading-to-nowhere proposals.

iran-pars1It becomes clear that a further implementation of a US-friend state role in the field of energy, would be a strategic advantage in order to divide again the Eurasian continent. Starting from this background context we can assume that there’ll be a great competition to gain access to european energetic market. In order to achieve this objective, two states, Qatar and Iran began fighting a strategic war. Qatar and Iran have control on the South Pars natural gas consolidate field, located in the Persian Gulf. Each of these two states has a different project in order to expand its turnover. On one side, Iran has been planning for years a cooperation project with Iraq and Syria with the construction of a 5.600 km natural gas pipeline named “Islamic Pipeline”. On the other side, Qatar has its own alternative project called the “Qatar-Turkey Pipeline” involving Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Turkey and necessarily Syria. Of course, Bashar Al-Assad’s government is unwilling to approve the construction of this pipeline and here comes the necessity for Qatar to bring chaos inside the Syrian State and hope in a forthcoming turnover of the Syrian government.

The shooting down of the Russian SU-24 in Syria led to the suspension of the negotiations on Turkish Stream, another natural gas pipeline connecting Russia and Turkey via Black Sea. US “divide and conquer” tactic, is again producing its consequences in Eurasia, but it seems that the new front in the “War on Terror” is bringing many negative consequences to their own allies and proxy actors, while foreign fighters and the so called “moderate rebels”, once smuggling oil in Turkey, are creeping away from Syria leaving behind their back proofs of weird connections – as denounced in a Amnesty International report about Islamic State weapons indirect supply.

US and their loyal petrol-states are making for the economic annihilation of their own allies, and it seems that only Russia and China have the power to pull them over before the “point of no return” in Syria.

The final question question is: will the US allies (European Union and others) continue to follow a foreign policy based on the “Assad must go” mantra or they will start building a new Eurasian dimension in their policy realizing the losses they suffer as a result of NATO and US unilateral actions in Syria?

Marco Nocera, orientalreview.org

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What Obama did NOT (but should have) mentioned in address from Oval Office

 
United States President Barack Obama addresses the nation shortly after the Islamic State-related San Bernardino shooting. Obama is speaking to the nation from the Oval office for the third time in his presidency. The two previous addresses took place after an oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and the end of Iraq war.


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Uprising against Assad was Engineered in Washington

Eric ZUESSE | 10.11.2015 | 00:02

A terrific news report by Jonathan Marshall at Consortium News provides the first-ever presentation in the West of the event that sparked the demonstrations that sparked the Syrian civil war, and of the entire origin of that war.

Unlike so many online ‘news’ reports that are merely authoritarian trash because they don’t link to any of their sources (they rely instead upon dumb readers’ faith or trust in the ‘reporter’ or in the publisher, such as The New York Times or Fox News), this one from Marshall is top-notch: not only does it provide intelligently skeptical readers with instantaneous access to documentation for each one of its key points, but those sources are credible ones. Taken all together, the sources, and Marshall’s presentation of them, constitute a solid historical account of how the war to bring down Syria’s leader, Bashar al-Assad, actually started. It didn’t start by Assad’s dumping (as U.S. President Barack Obama loves to claim) “barrel bombs,” upon merely peaceful protesters in Syria. It started actually in Washington, years before that. The Obama Administration itself was taking advantage of not only the “Arab Spring” protests throughout much of the Arab world, but, specifically, of an ongoing economic catastrophe in Syria that had started five years before the anti-Assad demonstrations did: an extended drought. Here is how the source that Marshall linked to describes it, two years before the “Arab Spring” even began:

In the past three years, 160 Syrian farming villages have been abandoned near Aleppo as crop failures have forced over 200,000 rural Syrians to leave for the cities. This news is distressing enough, but when put into a long-term perspective, its implications are staggering: many of these villages have been continuously farmed for 8000 years.

That source had been published on 16 January 2010. The drought continued on; the situation only got even worse right into 2011 and up through the public demonstrations in Aleppo that started the war. There were no “barrel bombs” then. There was instead surging economic dislocation. Obama merely took advantage of it. He knew that it was coming, and he planned so as to exploit it.

In fact, a wikileaked confidential 26 November 2008 cable from the U.S. Embassy in Damascus to the CIA and other associated agencies referred to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization by saying:

UNFAO Syria Representative Abdullah bin Yehia briefed econoff and USDA Regional Minister-Counselor for Agriculture on what he terms the “perfect storm,” a confluence of drought conditions with other economic and social pressures that Yehia believes could undermine stability in Syria. Because he is working with such limited resources, Yehia plans to target FAO assistance to small-holding farmers in the hardest-hit province of northeast Syria, Al Hasakah. (Note: This province shares a northern border with Turkey and a southern border with Iraq. Mosul is approximately 100km from Al Hasakah province.) Because the UN appeal has, thus far, not been entirely successful, Yehia has had to prioritize aid recipients.

That was institutional U.S. federal government knowledge three months prior to Obama’s becoming President. Obama as the President-elect at the time was privy to such information. Once he got into the White House, he needed to understand what was going on in Syria. Was it dumb of Yehia to trust the U.S. government with this information? Was he naive about the type of people who sit in America’s Oval Office nowadays? Is a deer in the forest naive to move when a hunter is stalking it? Is the deer supposed to just stand still, instead? Barack Obama during his electoral campaign had provided the public with no reason to suspect that he might have been harboring aggressive designs against the Syrian government, nor even against the Russian government that has been supporting it. Yehia was just seeking help, like the deer in fear.

Obama knew what was going on. He knew that the Syrian situation wasn’t just “barrel bombs” showing up suddenly out of nowhere, from no cause, and for no reason. He knew more than was published to the public in the American press. His repeated references to “barrel bombs” after the situation in Syria blew up, suggests that he takes advantage of the fact that the American public isn’t aware of such facts. It suggests that he’s playing the American public as trusting gulls, rather than as citizens.

In fact, America’s own National Academy of Sciences recently published a study (17 March 2015), “Climate change in the Fertile Crescent and implications of the recent Syrian drought,” which opens (though propagandistically blaming Assad as having contributed to the drought): “Before the Syrian uprising that began in 2011, the greater Fertile Crescent experienced the most severe drought in the instrumental record. For Syria, a country marked by poor governance and unsustainable agricultural and environmental policies, the drought had a catalytic effect, contributing to political unrest.” (Of course, Obama doesn’t claim to be bombing Assad’s forces because Assad had ‘unsustainable agricultural and environmental policies.’) In the section of that report “Significance,” the investigators-propagandists close: “We conclude that human influences on the climate system are implicated in the current Syrian conflict.”

So, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, in this recent study, is arguing, in effect, that Syria should have a different government. Perhaps the failed state that Obama insists upon producing there would be the ‘solution’? To what extent is the U.S. National Academy of Sciences (its PNAS) nowitself  politicized, nationalistic, propagandistic — that they are retrospectively publishing something like this, which fails to criticize the U.S. Government itself for having turned down the Syrian Government’s years-long pleadings for assistance on the matter? The PNAS study ignores this. Instead, it argues only that, “The rapidly growing urban peripheries of Syria, marked by illegal settlements, overcrowding, poor infrastructure, unemployment, and crime, were neglected by the Assad government and became the heart of the developing unrest.”

Wow, the NAS argues that Assad should have been more dictatorial! That would have helped prevent the effects of the drought? Does nothing that comes from the U.S. Establishment possess credibility anymore — publishing garbage like this inPNAS?  Is Assad more of a dictator than Obama? Does the U.S. National Academy of Sciences really think he should have been? How absurd does the propaganda need to be in order for the U.S. to become a laughingstock to the entire world for its ‘democratic’ pretensions? After all: it’s not a democracy. And the one scientific study that has been done of that has confirmed that it’s not. So: the U.S. now insists upon installing ‘democracy’ in Syria, where all polls show that Assad would win any free election (and the latest polled finding is that he’d win at least 55% of the votes) but Obama insists that he must be ousted, so that there can be ‘democracy’ there?

Marshall’s news report about the origin of the Syrian war was published at Consortium News on 20 July 2015, but was picked up and reported to a broader audience only at a very few news-sites, each no larger (or even smaller) in audience-size than is the publisher (Consortium News) itself. Only RINF, CommonDreams and Truthout republished it. Reddit posted that story’s headline, “Hidden Origins of Syria’s Civil War,” linking to the Consortium News report, but no one up-marked it there, and still no reader-comments have been posted to it there. It was just another voice of real news unheard in the wilderness of propaganda that causes an individual tree to be ignored among the forest.

Thus: This blockbuster three-month-old news-report still remains news in the U.S., even today.

Marshall’s news report was one of the most important of all news reports on the Syrian war, and it certainly deserves larger public distribution than that. So:

Here is his historical account of the origin of the Syrian war.

—————

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

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SAUDI ARABIA: REIGN OF TERRORISM IN THE KINGDOM OF SLEAZE; LATAKIA: ARMY AND AF SLASH LIFELINES TO TERRORIST ERDOGHAN

(Image courtesy of Middle East Monitor and caricaturist Latuff)

Yesterday, I discussed Saudi Arabia’s almost guaranteed role in the downing of the Russian Metrojet airliner which departed Sharm Al-Shaykh, Egypt, carrying over 200 passengers and crew returning to St. Petersburg in Russia.  This is hardly the beginning of the intimate relationship this barbaric Stone Age kingdom of apes and cockroaches has with international terrorism.  The roots of the love affair with mass murder actually goes back decades to the Saudi flair for building mosques around the world and plying their Wahhabist clerics with enough money to insure obedience whenever the circumstances require.

Forget for a moment the deep Saudi involvement with the September 11 attack on the World Trade Center.  Forget the fact that the Saudis and Qataris have a vital stake in blocking the natural gas pipeline from Iran, across Iraq, to Syria for export to Europe which will put to death the banana plantation of Qatar.  Forget that Saudi Arabia is the most oppressive regime on earth with laws reminiscent of those promulgated by Hammurabi, Assur-Nasir-Pal or Neanderthal Man.  Forget that women cannon drive cars in their monarchy of squat; that you can’t have a cold beer on a hot day; that you can’t go to the cinema even though you can watch the same thing on satellite television; that a woman cannot travel without permission from her simian husband or some even more apelike male close relative; that you have to believe in their fake god or else; that you cannot build a church on their stinking sand dunes; that they crucify people they behead.  Forget all these things, but, remember this:

That they have swindled their own people out of trillions of petrodollars by siphoning off profits from oil and concluding illusory contracts for arms and technology most of which resulted in absolutely nothing but the purchase of England.  If the Saudis and Qataris were to withdraw their money from banks on the Isle of Man, the entire sceptered island with all its pretensions would sink like a stone merd in a cesspool of memories.  If you want to know why Cameron is the slave of these monkeys and why he is so bloody terrified of doing anything to offend them, “cherchez l’argent”.  The banks on the Isle of Man know fully well how the Saudi regime is financing terror.  The English government deliberately ignores all reporting statutes to permit the Saudis to prosecute their war crimes against the people of Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Yemen, Egypt, and, now, Russia.  Nobody fears this disclosure more than David Cameron whose own crimes against humanity are now fully ripe and parallel to those of his predecessor, Tony Blair.  If you want to know why he is so vehement in his opposition to Jeremy Corbyn’s potential rise to power in the U.K., it’s because Corbyn will put an end to this charade and rid England, once and for all, of the Arabian troglodytes who infest the English corridors of power.  And, it’s not only England, as so many Americans now know.

We have said this before: it all started out in 2007 as revealed by Wikileaks.  The plan to destabilize Syria and overthrow its legitimate sitting government was hatched back then by a committee of criminals made up of Saudis, Englishmen, Americans, Jordanians, Germans and French.  Turks did not participate because at that time, Erdoghan enjoyed excellent relations with everybody on the block.  Right?……..Right.   The “mindermast” for the project was none other than the CIA-spook and crypto-diplomat, Robert Ford. (“Mindermast” is a mastermind invented by the great British comedy team of Beyond the Fringe in one of their legendary skits. Using the word “mastermind, you see, demoralized those trying to capture him.)  He was aided and abetted by his French counterpart in Damascus, Eric Chevalier (no relation to Maurice).  Together they assembled the teams which would coordinate the war crimes against the people of Syria.  This was the democratic and civilized West at its best and most predictable.

The project required the right moment.  Syria’s vaunted internal security system was frightfully adept at keeping rats out and the Ford team knew that a mere blip on the radar inside Syria would be tantamount to rushing at a nest of wasps.  They had to have the right time.

They also needed the right president.  Hafez Al-Assad, Dr. Assad’s father and predecessor,  fought an ugly 4 year war with a kaleidoscope of terrorists, referred to conveniently as the Muslim Brotherhood, and finally annihilated them at Hama where your editor, Ziad, was situated in February of 1982 to watch the events unfold.   Dr. Assad was analyzed by the CIA’s Psychiatric Profile Office as a modest person with an aversion to excessive force.  He was also, to some degree, westernized with an obsession for the internet and science.  In other words, he would be a soft touch.  But, you still needed the right moment in order to vex the entrenched security supremos who would more than make up for the president’s sheepish personality.

You also had to have, as part of this plan, a member state capable of financing the revolt.  That was a no-brainer.  Both Qatar and Saudi Arabia had, at that time, reams of cash deposited in British banks.  All it took was a look askance and the process would move very smoothly.

Time?  Which time?  When would the project start?  Enter the Arab Spring.  President Assad was interviewed about this phenomenon and he brushed aside suggestions that events in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen and Libya could spread to Syria.  He felt that the economy, which was at a 6% annual growth rate, with hundreds of millions of dollars being deployed for massive tourist development, thanks to the Arabian plutocrats, with excellent cooperation from Turkey, would dispel any fear of such a metastatic process in his country.  It just couldn’t happen.  The people were too happy.

To make this section a bit shorter and more to the point:  the project depended upon two events:  The first was an on-going demonstration of popular discontent.  That was started in Der’ah and spread to cities like Homs and Idlib.  Surprisingly, it did not catch on in Hama, a city which already pocketed the wages of insurrection in 1982.  The second was predicted to be “mass defections from the army and security services”.  The Americans, especially, studied the downfall of Romanian dictator, Caucescu, whose reliance on the security services was misplaced once the army took the side of the people.  It was imperative that the army also join the Syrian insurrectionists – who would be mostly discontented Sunnis with some minorities backing them.  BUT, THE PROJECT WAS A FLOP.

The Army did not lose many soldiers or officers to defections.  With the exception of some bigoted dead-career failures like ‘Abdul-Jabbaar Al-‘Uqaydi and Riyaadh Al-As’ad, the army remained very cohesive and loyal to the state.  What to do now that the force which was arrayed against the government simply did not have the oomph to assault the capital or even occupy a neighborhood?  You needed to get “support”.  The word “nusra” means exactly that.  You had to get support for the nascent insurrection against the massive Ba’ath infrastructure in Syria.  Without hundreds of thousands of mercenaries to give support,  the poorly trained, underpopulated and incompetent gangs of terrorists would be facing the full weight of the 300,000 man standing army of Syria, its hundreds of thousands of Ba’ath Party stalwarts and the pervasive, ubiquitous, all-seeing internal security services.  But, how can you get the “supporting” savages?

The Saudis stepped up to the plate as the only member of this cabal of mass murderers.  They had deep contacts with the terrorists of Iraq – even deeper with many disgruntled former Sunni officers in Saddam’s army, Alqaeda in Iraq, and its leaders.  They also had the tens of thousands of mosques they had financed all over the world.  The mosques they funded were inevitably led by militant Wahhabist money-grubbing hypocrites who would not hesitate to spread the call of “Jihad” in Syria.  And that’s exactly what they did.  Imagine how effective they were in snookering thousands of their “pious” degenerates from mosques in England, Germany, France, Belgium and Spain.  And now imagine how critical it was to maintain the financial health of these mosques in Morocco, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Iraq and all the peninsular countries who would form the backbone of the “support” forces which would engulf Syria and its people in a cauldron of fire that would continue until the ouster of its sitting secular president, Dr. Bashar Al-Assad.  BUT,  IT DIDN’T WORK.

All the money spent on buying reporters like Charley Rose, CNN, ABC, NBC, the NYT, WSJ, and the list goes on ad nauseam….all this and the attempt to shake down Vladimir Putin….the drop in oil prices which boomeranged right in their hideous Wahhabist faces…all that and more, with chicanery reaching levels of obnoxiousness worthy of Zionism…..open dealings with Mileikowski……millions upon millions spent on Turkish cooperation and salaries for downtrodden Third World grunts dreaming of the Paradise which, if they were truly lucky, would be death and respite from the unctuous hypocrisy of the stinking Wahhabist regime which daily robs its own people of any self-respect or dignity.

Biden admitted it. Saudi Arabia funds terrorism. But, Saudi Arabia is your ally, Mr. Biden.  Turkey aids and abets terrorists.  Turkey is a member of NATO.  France has a war criminal in office by the name of Hollande – his popularity level now below 12% – and he calls our president illegitimate.  He hungers so much for Saudi lucre, you can smell his froggy sweat all the way across the lake.  He has sold out to the devil.

Today, Saudi students don’t have the money to study overseas because the House of Saud has stolen every penny.  They stole money and sent it to terrorists.  They preferred the interests of terrorists over those of their own people.  They are illegitimate.  They have no future in any Arabian government.  They have no future in Arabia.

____________________________________________________________

LATAKIA:  With all the noise now about the impending SAA attack on the terrorist lines in Kuwayris, you would think there is no other news.  Not so.  We are seeing a sea-change in the balance of forces on the Turkish border in Latakia.

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Ghumaam:  The SAA has now successfully dismantled all booby traps and IEDs in this area.  The entire Ghumaan area is rat free.  This means, you will not see any more missiles being fired at the provincial capital.  It was here, from Ghumaan where the Turk-supported murdering rodents fired Saudi-supplied rockets at our people in Latakia.  All the mountaintops here are cleansed.  A command-control center for all terrorist groupings was found yesterday and it contained a treasure-trove of CDs and other very incriminating evidence which will be used to prosecute the war criminals of Turkey and Saudi Arabia.

Jabal Al-Firk:  All hills surrounding the area now liberated by the SAA.

Jubb Al-Za’roor:  The SAA killed 22 rodents here an took over 15 prisoners.  3 field hospitals were discovered filled with Turk-manufactured pharmaceuticals and Saudi-supplied cocaine.  The Captagon slated for delivery is still in Beirut with its Saudi mule.  A Hell Cannon was also destroyed along with a 23mm Doschka, 20 gas canisters readies for detonation, C-4 and TNT and stolen pharmaceuticals from Syrian clinics.

_________________________________________________________________

NEWS AND COMMENT:

Nuland a liar?  No. No way. Try this one:

John Esq. sends this stimulating video about a Syrian medical student. Very fine production:


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Vienna Talks Agree to Defeat ISIL, Maintain Syria’s Integrity, Reach Ceasefire

Local Editor

US Secretary of State John Kerry (L), Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (L)The foreign ministers of 16 countries and Chinese deputy foreign minister as well as representatives of the European Union and the United Nations agreed during their meeting in Vienna on Friday to find a political solution to the Syrian crisis.

Following is the full text of a joint communiqué issued by the meeting after the foreign ministerial talks:

Meeting in Vienna, on October 30, 2015, China, Egypt, the EU, France, Germany, Iran, Iraq, Italy, Jordan, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, the United Nations, and the United States (the participants) came together to discuss the grave situation in Syria and how to bring about an end to the violence as soon as possible.

The participants had a frank and constructive discussion, covering major issues. While substantial differences remain among the participants, they reached a mutual understanding on the following:

1. Syria’s unity, independence, territorial integrity, and secular character are fundamental.

2. State institutions will remain intact.

3. The rights of all Syrians, regardless of ethnicity or religious denomination, must be protected.

4. It is imperative to accelerate all diplomatic efforts to end the war.

5. Humanitarian access will be ensured throughout the territory of Syria, and the participants will increase support for internally displaced persons, refugees, and their host countries.

6. ISIL [the so-called ‘Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant’ takfiri group], and other terrorist groups, as designated by the UN Security Council, and further, as agreed by the participants, must be defeated.

7. Pursuant to the 2012 Geneva Communiqué and the UN Security Council Resolution 2118, the participants invited the UN to convene representatives of the Government of Syria and the Syrian opposition for a political process leading to credible, inclusive, non-sectarian governance, followed by a new constitution and elections. These elections must be administered under UN supervision to the satisfaction of the governance and to the highest international standards of transparency and accountability, free and fair, with all Syrians, including the diaspora, eligible to participate.

8. This political process will be Syrian-led and Syrian-owned, and the Syrian people will decide the future of Syria.

9. The participants together with the United Nations will explore modalities for, and implementation of, a nationwide ceasefire to be initiated on a date certain and in parallel with this renewed political process.

The participants will spend the coming days working to narrow remaining areas of disagreement, and build on areas of agreement. Ministers will reconvene within two weeks to continue these discussions.

Source: IRNA

31-10-2015 – 00:24 Last updated 31-10-2015 – 00:24


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Le Figaro poll: Over 70% want Syria’s Assad to remain in power

31 Oct, 2015 12:53Syria's President Bashar al-Assad  © SANA

 

A recent poll carried out by France’s Le Figaro newspaper has indicated that at least 72 percent of respondents want Syrian President Bashar Assad to remain in power.

The survey, published on Thursday, asked“Should world powers demand Bashar Assad to leave?” At least 28 percent from 21,314 respondents have voted “Yes” so far, while the majority – 72 percent – have said “No”. 

READ MORE: Assad: ‘West uses terrorism as new instrument to subjugate Middle East’

The poll was conducted ahead of the Vienna talks, where 19 global powers gathered to find a solution for a nationwide ceasefire in Syria. The fate of Assad remained the stumbling block during discussions.

The US and its allies including Saudi Arabia repeatedly said the Syrian president, whose term expires in 2021, must resign.

“There is no way President Assad can unite and govern Syria,” US Secretary of State John Kerry said during the meeting, adding, “Syrians deserve a different choice.”

READ MORE: Vienna talks: 19 global powers to work to establish nationwide Syria ceasefire

However, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said the Syrian people “should define the future of their country… including Assad’s fate.”

Earlier in October, a member of Moscow’s parliamentary delegation told TASS that Assad had agreed to hold preliminary elections in the country, provided the move has the people’s backing.

Syria has been caught up in a civil war since 2011, when violent protests erupted as part of the so-called Arab spring. During the turmoil, Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIL/ISIS) militants managed to capture large amounts of territory in Syria and Iraq.

On September 30, Moscow launched a military operation targeting IS positions following a formal request from Assad.

 

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Al-Jaafari: Crisis Only Solved by Implementing UN Res., Coordinating with Syria

Syria’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Bashar al-Jaafari said that some sides claim to want to resolve the humanitarian crisis in Syria, but they refuse to give priority to fighting terrorism and refuse to coordinate with the Syrian government regarding humanitarian aid.

JaafariDuring a Security Council session for discussing the humanitarian situation in Syria, al-Jaafari said that resolving the main cause of the crisis in Syria – that reason being the spread of terrorism backed by foreign sides – can only be achieved by carrying out the UN Security Council’s resolutions on counter-terrorism and by coordinating and cooperating fully with the Syrian government, SANA reported.

He also said that it’s not possible to talk of ending the humanitarian crisis in Syria while there is silence over the fact that Turkey and Jordan are still using their territories as bases and passages for foreign terrorists, and while the Saudi and Qatari regimes and others prefer to openly and generously support terrorism instead of funding the humanitarian response plans.

Source: Agencies

27-10-2015 – 21:06 Last updated 27-10-2015 – 21:06

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CrossTalk : Situation Syria


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Syrian Army Starts Operation in Rural Aleppo

Local Editor

The Syrian army continued on Friday to advance and gain more progress on ground in various provinces after establishing control over several areas throughout the past week.

Army units, joined by Popular Defense groups, launched this morning a military operation in the southern countryside of Aleppo province, a military source announced.

The units and defense groups advanced on several sites and have already established control over the towns of Ebtin and Hadadin al-Gharbiyeh and al-Kassarat and al-Madajen areas in the olive farms, having inflicted heavy losses upon the terrorist organizations.

The source noted that the army units are hunting down the fleeing terrorists in the areas on which they are advancing.

Moreover, the Syrian army continued its military operations in several areas of Homs countryside, restoring control over a number of villages.

The army units and the defense groups advanced on Friday in the towns of Snaysel and Jawalek, as well as the Masharie’ area west of Addar Al-Kabira village in the northern countryside of Homs province.

Source: Websites

16-10-2015 – 17:14 Last updated 16-10-2015 – 17:18


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LATAKIA: TIT-FOR-TAT AND RATA-TAT-TAT; ALL FALL DOWN; SYRIAN ARMY INSIDE SALMAA; MAJOR AREAS LIBERATED FROM RAT MENACE; IDLIB IN THE CROSS HAIRS

Ziad Fadel 

ميداني

LATAKIA:  This report starts from the beginning of the assault on Salmaa October 8, 2015 when the SAA’s vaunted anti-aircraft batteries shot down a military drone operated by British rodents in Gaziantep was shot down over the Syrian hamlet of Bayt Haleebiyya.  The drone was flying over positions where the SAA was starting operations to wipe out the rat presence in the province while acquiring crucial sites looking over the Waadi Al-Ghaab in anticipation of the operation which will result in the immolation of the Saudi crackpot murdering savage, ‘Abdullah Al-Muhaysini.

 

Al-Rubay’ah:  On October 9, 2015, the SAA killed these rodents who were the only ones out of 21 who were Syrian:

Muhammad Minlaa

Muwaffaq Al-Saayigh

Muhammad Qubaaji

Muhammad Jameel Qubaaji

 

Al-Rubay’ah:  On October 9, 2015, in another event at this much-fought-over town, 20+ vermin went to a blazing Hell when the car they were arming with an IED went BOOM! So sad.  The Saudi Arabian “officer” who was a supposed expert was literally “hoisted by his own petard”.

 

Al-Murayj Village near Salmaa:  The SAAF and RuAF struck hard at a moving pack of rodents and killed an estimated 19.

 

Heavy fighting in these areas: Al-Safsaafa Village,  ‘Araafeet, Al-Mugheeriyya, Tartiyaah, Al-Sindiyaan, Duwayrika, Al-Ghaabaat area.

1

 

Arraamu Village liberated!  That’s right.  This little Christian village sitting atop some of the best tasting water in the world was deloused on October 9, 2015 by the SAA.  Some of my wife’s relatives live in the village.

 

The Syrian Army is moving toward Salmaa with an eye toward wiping out the remnant scum, most of whom are Chechens.  The RuAF and the SAAF are very active over this area destroying terrorist infrastructure.  Yesterday and today, 3 warehouses storing weapons and ammunition were set ablaze by air-to-ground missiles.  In the process of softening up the area, the SAA conquered and liberated the town of Jubb Al-Ahmar.  This is a very highly-situated town looking down on to the Ghaab Plain of both Hama and Idlib.  The SAA is now digging in to prevent any relapse.  But, it is completely rat free and represents a major setback for the terrorist filth.  It was attacked from 3 axes:  Jubb Al-Ghaar, Usitriyyaa and Kitf Khaleel.  

 

And the news gets better.  The Syrian Army has liberated Ruwaysat Al-Batteekh and Jawrat Al-Batteekh.  The Syrian Army also has liberated Kafr Dilba, Kafr ‘Ajooz. 

 

URGENT NEWS:  THE SYRIAN ARMY HAS JUST CONFIRMED IT HAS ENTERED SALMAA AND HAS TAKEN OVER SEVERAL BLOCKS IN THE TOWN.  THE TERRORIST DEFENSES APPEAR WEAK WITH RODENTS RUNNING IN THE DIRECTION OF TURKEY. 

 

http://static.hypercomments.com/data/images2/guest/1444407449728583

Thanks, DT.

These pigs are supported by Obama, inter alia.  They are supposed to be “moderate”.  So what’s that black flag?  (Thanks, Vasili)

Thanks, Vasili.

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The anniversary of the October War




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Putin : President Assad’s Enemies Are Portrayed as ‘Opposition’, But They Are Terrorists

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Interview to American TV channel CBS and PBS

Vladimir Putin gave an interview to American journalist Charlie Rose in the run-up to his address at the UN General Assembly’s 70th session.

September 27, 2015

Full text of the interview will be published on September 29.


CHARLIE ROSE: You will speak to the United Nations in a much-anticipated address on Monday. It will be the first time you have been there in a number of years. What will you say to the UN, to America, to the world?

VLADIMIR PUTIN: Since this interview will be aired prior to my speech, I do not think it reasonable to go into much detail about everything I am going to speak about, but, broadly, I will certainly mention some facts from the history of the United Nations. Now I can already tell you that the decision to establish the United Nations was taken in our country at the Yalta Conference. It was in the Soviet Union that this decision was made. The Soviet Union, and Russia as the successor state to the Soviet Union, is a founding member state of the United Nations and a permanent member of its Security Council.

Of course, I will have to say a few words about the present day, about the evolving international situation, about the fact that the United Nations remains the sole universal international organisation designed to maintain global peace. And in this sense it has no alternative today. It is also apparent that it should adapt to the ever-changing world, which we discuss all the time: how it should evolve and at what rate, which components should undergo qualitative changes. Of course, I will have to or rather should use this international platform to explain Russia’s vision of today’s international relations, as well as the future of this organisation and the global community.

CHARLIE ROSE: We are expecting you to speak about the threat of the Islamic State and your presence in Syria that is related to that. What is the purpose of your presence in Syria and how does that relate to the challenge of ISIS?

VLADIMIR PUTIN: I believe, I am pretty certain that virtually everyone speaking from the United Nations platform is going to talk about the fight, about the need to fight terrorism, and I cannot avoid this issue, either. This is quite understandable because it is a serious common threat to all of us; it is a common challenge to all of us. Today, terrorism threatens a great number of states, a great number of people – hundreds of thousands, millions of people suffer from its criminal activity. And we all face the task of joining our efforts in the fight against this common evil.

Concerning our, as you put it, presence in Syria, as of today it has taken the form of weapons supplies to the Syrian government, personnel training and humanitarian aid to the Syrian people. We act based on the United Nations Charter, i.e. the fundamental principles of modern international law, according to which this or that type of aid, including military assistance, can and must be provided exclusively to legitimate government of one country or another, upon its consent or request, or upon the decision of the United Nations Security Council. In this particular case, we act based on the request from the Syrian government to provide military and technical assistance, which we deliver under entirely legal international contracts.

CHARLIE ROSE: The Secretary of State John Kerry said that the United States welcomed your assistance in the fight against the Islamic State. Others have taken note of the fact that these are combat planes and manpad systems that are being used against the conventional army, not extremists.

VLADIMIR PUTIN: There is only one regular army there. That is the army of Syrian President al-Assad. And he is confronted with what some of our international partners interpret as an opposition. In reality, al-Assad’s army is fighting against terrorist organisations. You should know better than me about the hearings that have just taken place in the United States Senate, where the military and Pentagon representatives, if I am not mistaken, reported to the senators about what the United States had done to train the combat part of the opposition forces. The initial aim was to train between 5,000 and 6,000 fighters, and then 12,000 more. It turns out that only 60 of these fighters have been properly trained, and as few as 4 or 5 people actually carry weapons, while the rest of them have deserted with the American weapons to join ISIS. That is the first point.

Secondly, in my opinion, provision of military support to illegal structures runs counter to the principles of modern international law and the United Nations Charter. We have been providing assistance to legitimate government entities only.

In this connection, we have proposed cooperation to the countries in the region, we are trying to establish some kind of coordination framework. I personally informed the President of Turkey, the King of Jordan, as well as the Saudi Arabia of that, we informed the United States too, and Mr Kerry, whom you have mentioned, had an in-depth conversation with our Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on this matter; besides, our military stay in touch and discuss this issue. We would welcome a common platform for collective action against the terrorists.

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WikiLeaks: US Plans to Destabilize Syria back in 2006

Local Editor

A Wikileaks document of a telegram sent from Damascus appears to show the US had big plans when it came to Syria — long before the conflict began in 2011.

In the 2006 document classified as “secret,” the US wrote plans to destabilize the Syrian government, starting by expressing discontent towards Syria’s stability and calling for exploiting its points of weakness before getting much stronger.

Moreover, the document reveals a conspiracy made by the US regarding its involvement with the so-called ‘Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant’ (ISIL) takfiri organization — creating the militant group to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad and destabilize the region.

“Possible actions” to destabilize the Syrian government addressed lots of issues that continue to play on Middle Eastern politics today, often seeming to have a disregard for the consequences for Syrians. Strategies included using the media to cause “Bashar personal angst and may lead him to act irrationally.”

Another listed strategy was playing on “Sunni fears of Iranian influence,” a description that seems to fit the militants who formed ISIL.

Take a look at the full document here.

Source: Websites

20-09-2015 – 16:58 Last updated 20-09-2015 – 16:58

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Syrian Army Controls Hasakah Completely makes progress on several fronts, kills large numbers of terrorists

Local Editor

Syrian Army

The Syrian army managed on Tuesday to expel ISIL terrorists from all the neighborhoods of Hasakah, controlling the city completely and inflicting heavy losses upon the militants.The Syrian military also continued its antiterrorist operations across the country, killing or injuring scores of militants and destroying their vehicles as well as equipment.

Source: Al-Manar Website

28-07-2015 – 19:47 Last updated 28-07-2015 – 19:47

——-

  Tuesday, 28 July 2015

PROVINCES,(ST)_Syrian army killed  55 terrorists in Daraa and Idlib and destroyed convoy of ISIS vehicles on Palmyra-Sekhneh road a day after it made progress in Jobar quarter near Damascus and in Zabadani city outside Damascus.

In details, a military source declared today that an army unit destroyed a rocket launcher and a tunnel for terrorist organizations in Daraa al-Balad, killing over 15 terrorists and wounding 10 others.

The source added that another army unit targeted terrorist outposts belonging to the ‘al-Nusra Front’, the so-called the ‘brigade of unifying the south’ and the ‘the sejjel cannon’ battalion on the outskirts of the ‘al-Hussin’ Mosque and destroyed a weapons-laden car in the same area [Daraa al-Balad].

In the same southern front, army units struck al-Nusra Front terrorists on the outskirts of Tal Ahmar and Harsh Tranjeh areas in the northern countryside of Quneitra nd in Rasm Shredeh farm, which is located between Abo Shbta and Ofania towns in Quneitra countryside.

Many terrorists were killed and injured in the strikes.

The US, Israeli, Saudi, Qatari, French and Turkish intelligence agents run the Amman Military Operations Center (MOC) which gives order to terrorist organizations operating in Daraa and Quneitra countryside.

Airstrikes kill 40 terrorists

In another development, army units foiled terrorist groups’ attacks on al-Msherfeh town and on the outskirts of al-Frikeh town in the southwestern countryside of Idlib and struck al-Nusra Front hideouts in Ishtabraq, Tal al-Mentar, Tal A’awar, Tal Hamka, Tal al-Sararif and Maqalea Bzit areas in Jer Esh Shugur area outside Idlib.

Scores of terrorists affiliated to the so-called the ‘Jaish al-Islam’ [the army of conquest] and al-Nusra Front were killed in the clashes flared up during the attack on towns in Idlib countryside. While 40 terrorists affiliated to the al-Nusra Front were killed and 4 vehicles belonging to them were destroyed in airstrikes in the same province.

Further terrorists were eliminated in airstrikes on terrorist hideouts in the northern countryside of Hama.

Advance in Jobar quarter and Zabadani city

Yesterday, Army units recaptured several buildings in the eastern edge of Jobar quarter near Damascus in parallel with the continuity of military operations against the ‘al-Nusra Front’ and the ‘Jaish al-Islam’ terrorists in the eastern Ghouta of Damascus.

A military source confirmed the death of large numbers of terrorists who were inside the buildings.

The fresh progress coincided with killing over 15 terrorists affiliated to the ‘Jaish al-Islam’ [Islam Army] near municipality building in Duma city in Damascus countryside.

Another progress was made by Syrian army and the Lebanese resistance in Zabadani city outside Damascus after fierce clashes with terrorist organizations.

The progress manifested in recapturing buildings in the heart of Zabadani city, according to SANA.

The agency added that ISIS ringleader in Madaya town, dubbed Khalil  Watfih, was killed and 18 terrorists were wounded in a qualitative operation outside Zabadani.

Separately, the Syrian TV channel reported today that ISIS terrorists detonated an explosive device they had planted on the outskirts of al-Salaleyeh town in the eastern countryside of Hasaka, killing one person and wounding a child.

Another terror attack took place in Damascus as terrorists fired 5 mortar shells on al-Adawi quarter in Damascus, wounding a child.

Basma Qaddour

—–

army-Aleppo 3

Update 3- Army destroys hotbeds of terrorist organizations in Aleppo, kills all members of a terrorist group in Quneitra

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IDLIB: BRITAIN’S CANNIBAL HEROES EXECUTE 3 JUSTICES IN COLD BLOOD; JISR AL-SHUGHOOR ENCIRCLED

lZiad Fadel 

 

IDLIB:  Yesterday, David Cameron’s creation, the Jaysh Al-Fath which contains another group called the Jund Al-Aqsaa (Army of the Aqsaa Mosque) executed without trial three famed justices of the Syrian judicial system after torturing them and before mutilating their bodies in acts that must be called a brazen insult to the religion of Islam.  These British-trained cannibals are the offspring of the vicious blood-thirsty sociopath, David Cameron, the Prime Minister of the U.K.  They were convinced to join in the new umbrella group, Jaysh Al-Fath, by English rat-spies and terrorism enablers in Adana, Turkey.

 

The murdered judges were:  Justice Ismaa’eel As’ad, Justice Muhammad Jamaal Saflu and Justice Muhammad Ziyaad Rajab.  The Ministry of Justice in Damascus has condemned the torture-killing of these eminent jurists and vowed to bring their murderers to justice.  They will not escape the wrath of the Syrian people and all people who value the ancient principles of fairness and equality in the courts.  The murderers are known to the Syrian Intelligence Services and have been identified by witnesses who tell the government that the judges were killed because they refused to abandon their loyalty to the state and government.  Despite repeated torture, which included using flames and bludgeons, they would not agree to have their forced tortured statements video-taped.  They died as heroes of the Syrian people.   I will publish the names of the murdering heretics when I receive them.

 

I received notice of this event from Wael in Latakia and Arabi Souri via Email.  The judges will not be forgotten and the skinning-alive of the murderers is coming to a theater near you.

 

JISR AL-SHUGHOOR:  The news blackout continues as Syrian Army units and those of volunteers continue to rack up town after town around this arterial city whose location on the Aleppo-Latakia Highway is crucial to maintaining the powerful position of the SAA on the coast and in the mountains.  As of this date, the highway remains open and I can assure all readers that goods from Aleppo are being shipped off by road to Latakia.  The rats inside the city are not sufficient to pose a threat to the highway.  The ranting Saudi rat, ‘Abdullah Al-Muhaysini, continues to send messages about the vulnerable character of the defenses at Jisr Al-Shughoor.  He can see the massing forces arrayed against him and knows his time has come.

 

Abu Dhuhoor Air Base:  The SAAF flying out of the base has struck 4 vehicles, one of which was a pickup with 23mm cannon on Monday.  The number killed based on aerial assessment is 8.

 

Sallat Al-Zuhoor (The Basket of Roses):  SAAF in action here as more convoys carrying supplies to rats in both Idlib City and Jisr Al-Shughoor are intercepted and destroyed.

مقتل 13 إرهابياً بعمليات للجيش في الزبداني والغوطة الشرقية بريف دمشق
Areehaa (Jericho): Jaysh Al-Fath, the British-created monstrosity, took 11 fatalities and over 20 wounded in an aerial assault by newly retooled Sukhoi bombers armed with the latest Russian laser-guided missiles.

 

URGENT NEWS:  THE SYRIAN ARMY HAS ESTABLISHED COMPLETE CONTROL OVER THE AREEHAA-JISR AL-SHUGHOOR HIGHWAY.

 

Jannat Al-Quraa  (The Heaven of all Villages):  SAAF flew 3 sorties bombing the stuffing out of the rat terrorists huddling there in their miserable packs.

 

Al-Baraagheeti Village:  The SAAF killed every rat in a pack which was moving in a westerly direction.  6 vans and 2 pickups with 23mm cannons were destroyed.  The carcasses of the rats were everywhere.  The SAAF gave an aerial assessment of 27 killed.  Nobody survived.

 

Tal A’war southeast of the city:  Attempted infiltrations by Alqaeda/Nusra into 3 SAA military strongpoints were a miserable failure.

 

مقتل 36 إرهابياً بعمليات مكثفة للجيش في ادلب وريفها

Tal Himka:  Nusra/Alqaeda bolstered by 2 pickups with 23mm cannons was sent scurrying back to the hills.

 

Tallat Khattaab southeast of Jisr Al-Shughoor:  Jaysh Al-Fath made an attempt to assault a Syrian Army column and was annihilated as our soldiers, using new tactics, fanned out in small formations and surrounded the rodents very quickly.  Kornet rockets blasted all vehicles and set the state for a turkey shoot.  We can confirm the death of 63 cannibal vultures here with 7 vehicles still burning.  All the rats were, evidently, foreigners and have not been satisfactorily identified.

 

Khaan Shaykhoon:  1 pickup with 23mm cannon was destroyed by the SAA and PDC.  The group here was Kataa`ib Al-‘Izz.  11 rats counted dead:

Sadreddeen Al-Jamal

Ahmad Firaas Al-Ballaat

Muhammad Hussayn Akraad

 

image: http://albaathmedia.sy/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/syria6.jpg

syriaA Syrian Army spotter looks down on the Waadi Al-Ghaab and at the road which leads up to the coastal mountains and Latakia Province.  I have traveled this road hundreds of times. To his right is Jisr Al-Shughoor. 

 

Jabal Sha’shabu:  6 rodents killed in a firefight with 2 pickups destroyed.  I have no names.

 

army airSirmeen:  The leader of Harakat Bayaan,  one Bassaam ‘Abdul-Razzaaq, was killed by another rat group as he was planning to sit down in his car.  An IED exploded and tore his carcass to shreds.  Boo hoo hoo.

 

Rat websites have announced the names of 2 vultures who were killed by the SAA yesterday:

Mahmoud Sulaymaan

Muhammad Ahmad Al-‘Ajal

 

____________________________________________________________

Before they are cremated, this member of our all-volunteer Popular Defense Forces, shows the world what these hirsute dung beetles look like when they are very dead.  Like any sportsman, he takes pride in his daily tally.  They should be fed to their stinking rat mothers. 
Read more at http://www.syrianperspective.com/2015/07/idlib-britains-cannibal-heroes-execute-3-justices-in-cold-blood-jisr-al-shughoor-encircled.html#bZHKPgMYp3xzhe8F.99

    Read more 

 

Twin suicide attack kills senior rebel leader in northern Syria

 
BY  ON JULY 15, 2015

 11

At least 6 commanders from the Ahrar Al-Sham Islamic Movement, including Abu Abdurrahman Salqin, were killed, and scores of others injured as two suicide bombers blew themselves up in the northern province of Idlib.

The two attackers, believed to be ISIS members, stormed a building in the town of Sarmin where the commanders held a high-level meeting, and detonated their explosives.

Ahrah Al-Sham, established in 2011, is a hadline Islamic group mainly active in Hama, Idlib and Aleppo. The Movement is engaged in fierce fight against both government forces and the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

In March 2015, Ahrar Al-Sham, along with al-Qaeda’s Syrian Branch “Jabhet Al-Nusra”, became the backbone of Jaysh Al-Fateh (Army of Conquest); an alliance of forces that includes different rebel factions recently established to fight the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) in northern Syria.

The newly-formed rebel alliance, backed and financed mainly by Saudi Arabia and Turkey, managed to take over large swathes in Idlib province, including Jisr Al-Shughour and Ariha.

The Group’s worst nightmares occurred in September 2014. Up to 40 commanders from Ahrar Al-Sham, including supreme commander Hassan Abboud, were killed as an unidentified suicide bomber detonated himself in an underground bunker in central Hama.

On July 12, 2015, the prestigious Washington Post published a prolonged interview with Labib Nahhas, head of foreign political relations of Ahrar Al-Sham, who slammed the Obama administration for denying the group a proper support to topple president Bashar al-Assad.

RECENT POSTSUN envoy meets Southern rebel commanders in Jordan

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Daraa 2011: Syria’s Islamist Insurrection in Disguise

Global Research, July 05, 2015

SYRIA-CONFLICT

“I have seen from the beginning armed protesters in those demonstrations … they were the first to fire on the police. Very often the violence of the security forces comes in response to the brutal violence of the armed insurgents” – Jesuit priest Father Frans Van der Lugt, January 2012, Homs Syria

“The claim that armed opposition to the government has begun only recently is a complete lie. The killings of soldiers, police and civilians, often in the most brutal circumstances, have been going on virtually since the beginning.” – Professor Jeremy Salt, October 2011, Ankara Turkey

“The protest movement in Syria was overwhelmingly peaceful until September 2011” – Human Rights Watch, March 2012, Washington

A double story began on the Syrian conflict, at the very beginning of the armed violence in 2011, in the southern border town of Daraa. The first story comes from independent witnesses in Syria, such as the late Father Frans Van der Lugt in Homs. They say that armed men infiltrated the early political reform demonstrations to shoot at both police and civilians. This violence came from sectarian Islamists. The second comes from the Islamist groups (‘rebels’) and their western backers, including the Washington-based Human Rights Watch. They claim there was ‘indiscriminate’ violence from Syrian security forces to repress political rallies and that the ‘rebels’ grew out of a secular political reform movement.

Careful study of the independent evidence, however, shows that the Washington-backed ‘rebel’ story, while widespread, was part of a strategy to delegitimise the Syrian Government, with the aim of fomenting ‘regime change’. To understand this it is necessary to study the outbreak of the violence in Daraa, in March 2011. Central to that insurrection were shipments of arms from Saudi Arabia to Islamists at the al Omari mosque.

In early 2011 Syrians were well aware of a piece of history few western observers would remember: a strikingly similar Islamist insurrection took place in the town of Hama, back in 1982. Yet this was crushed within weeks by the Syrian Arab Army. Reviewing this conflict is useful because of the myths that have grown up around both insurrections.

US intelligence (DIA 1982) and the late British author Patrick Seale (1988) give independent accounts of what happened at Hama. After years of violent, sectarian attacks by Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood, by mid-1980 President Hafez al Assad had ‘broken the back’ of their sectarian rebellion, which aimed to impose a Salafi-Islamic state. One final coup plot was exposed and the Brotherhood ‘felt pressured into initiating’ an uprising in their stronghold of Hama. Seale describes the start of that violence in this way:

‘At 2am on the night of 2-3 February 1982 an army unit combing the old city fell into an ambush. Roof top snipers killed perhaps a score of soldiers … [Brotherhood leader] Abu Bakr [Umar Jawwad] gave the order for a general uprising … hundreds of Islamist fighters rose … by the morning some seventy leading Ba’athists had been slaughtered and the triumphant guerrillas declared the city ‘liberated’ (Seale 1988: 332).

However the Army responded with a huge force of about 12,000 and the battle raged for three weeks. It was a foreign-backed civil war, with some defections from the army. Seale continues:

‘As the tide turned slowly in the government’s favour, the guerrillas fell back into the old quarters … after heavy shelling, commandos and party irregulars supported by tanks moved in … many civilians were slaughtered in the prolonged mopping up, whole districts razed’ (Seale 1988: 333).

Two months later a US intelligence report said: ‘The total casualties for the Hama incident probably number about 2,000. This includes an estimated 300 to 400 members of the Muslim Brotherhood’s elite ‘Secret Apparatus’ (DIA 1982: 7). Seale recognises that the Army also suffered heavy losses. At the same time, ‘large numbers died in the hunt for the gunmen … government sympathizers estimating a mere 3,000 and critics as many as 20,000 … a figure of 5,000 to 10,000 could be close to the truth’ He adds:

‘The guerrillas were formidable opponents. They had a fortune in foreign money … [and] no fewer than 15,000 machine guns’ (Seale 1988: 335). Subsequent Muslim Brotherhood accounts have inflated the casualties, reaching up to ‘40,000 civilians’, and attempting to hide the vicious insurrection by claiming that Hafez al Assad had simply carried out a ‘civilian massacre’ (e.g. Nassar 2014). The then Syrian President blamed a large scale foreign conspiracy for the Hama insurrection. Seale observes that Hafez was ‘not paranoical’, as many US weapons were captured and foreign backing had come from several US collaborators: King Hussayn of Jordan, Lebanese Christian militias (the Israeli-aligned ‘Guardians of the Cedar’) and Saddam Hussein in Iraq (Seale 1988: 336-337).

The Hama insurrection helps us understand the Daraa violence because, once again in 2011, we saw armed Islamists using rooftop sniping against police and government officials, drawing in the armed forces, only to cry ‘civilian massacre’ when they and their collaborators came under attack from the Army. Although the US, through its allies, played an important part in the Hama insurrection, when it was all over US intelligence dryly observed that: ‘the Syrians are pragmatists who do not want a Muslim Brotherhood government’ (DIA 1982: vii).

In the case of Daraa, and the attacks that moved to Homs and surrounding areas in April 2011, the clearly stated aim was once again to topple the secular or ‘infidel-Alawi’ regime. The front-line US collaborators were Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey. The head of the Syrian Brotherhood, Muhammad Riyad Al-Shaqfa, issued a statement on 28 March which left no doubt that the group’s aim was sectarian. The enemy was ‘the secular regime’ and Brotherhood members ‘have to make sure that the revolution will be pure Islamic, and with that no other sect would have a share of the credit after its success’ (Al-Shaqfa 2011). While playing down the initial role of the Brotherhood, Sheikho confirms that it ‘went on to punch above its actual weight on the ground during the uprising … [due] to Turkish-Qatari support’, and to its general organisational capacity (Sheikho 2013). By the time there was a ‘Free Syrian Army Supreme Military Council’ in 2012 (more a weapons conduit than any sort of army command), it was two-thirds dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood (Draitser 2012). Other foreign Salafi-Islamist groups quickly joined this ‘Syrian Revolution’. A US intelligence report in August 2012, contrary to Washington’s public statements about ‘moderate rebels’, said:

‘The Salafist, the Muslim Brotherhood and AQI [Al Qaeda in Iraq, later ISIS] are the major forces driving the insurgency in Syria … AQI supported the Syrian Opposition from the beginning, both ideologically and through the media’ (DIA 2012).

In February 2011 there was popular agitation in Syria, to some extent influenced by the events in Egypt and Tunisia. There were anti-government and pro-government demonstrations, and a genuine political reform movement that for several years had agitated against corruption and the Ba’ath Party monopoly. A 2005 report referred to ‘an array of reform movements slowly organizing beneath the surface’ (Ghadry 2005), and indeed the ‘many faces’ of a Syrian opposition, much of it non-Islamist, had been agitating since about that same time (Sayyid Rasas 2013). These political opposition groups deserve attention, in another discussion. However only one section of that opposition was linked to the violence that erupted in Daraa. Large anti-government demonstrations began, to be met with huge pro-government demonstrations. In early March some teenagers in Daraa were arrested for graffiti that had been copied from North Africa ‘the people want to overthrow the regime’. It was reported that they were abused by local police, President Bashar al Assad intervened, the local governor was sacked and the teenagers were released (Abouzeid 2011).

Yet the Islamist insurrection was underway, taking cover under the street demonstrations. On 11 March, several days before the violence broke out in Daraa, there were reports that Syrian forces had seized ‘a large shipment of weapons and explosives and night-vision goggles … in a truck coming from Iraq’. The truck was stopped at the southern Tanaf crossing, close to Jordan. The Syrian Government news agency SANA said the weapons were intended ‘for use in actions that affect Syria’s internal security and spread unrest and chaos.’ Pictures showed ‘dozens of grenades and pistols as well as rifles and ammunition belts’. The driver said the weapons had been loaded in Baghdad and he had been paid $5,000 to deliver them to Syria (Reuters 2011). Despite this interception, arms did reach Daraa, a border town of about 150,000 people. This is where the ‘western-rebel’ and the independent stories diverge, and diverge dramatically. The western media consensus was that protestors burned and trashed government offices, and then ‘provincial security forces opened fire on marchers, killing several’ (Abouzeid 2011). After that, ‘protestors’ staged demonstrations in front of the al-Omari mosque, but were in turn attacked.

The Syrian government, on the other hand, said that armed attacks had begun on security forces, killing police and civilians, along with the burning of government offices. There was foreign corroboration of this account. While its headline blamed security forces for killing ‘protesters’, the British Daily Mail (2011) showed pictures of guns, AK47 rifles and hand grenades that security forces had recovered after storming the al-Omari mosque. The paper noted reports that ‘an armed gang’ had opened fire on an ambulance, killing ‘a doctor, a paramedic and a policeman’. Media channels in neighbouring countries did report on the killing of Syrian police, on 17-18 March. On 21 March a Lebanese news report observed that ‘Seven policemen were killed during clashes between the security forces and protesters in Syria’ (YaLibnan 2011), while an Israel National News report said ‘Seven police officers and at least four demonstrators in Syria have been killed … and the Baath party headquarters and courthouse were torched’ (Queenan 2011). These police had been targeted by rooftop snipers.

Even in these circumstances the Government was urging restraint and attempting to respond to the political reform movement. President Assad’s adviser, Dr Bouthaina Shaaban, told a news conference that the President had ordered ‘that live ammunition should not be fired, even if the police, security forces or officers of the state were being killed’. Assad proposed to address the political demands, such as the registration of political parties, removing emergency rules and allowing greater media freedoms (al-Khalidi 2011). None of that seemed to either interest or deter the Islamist insurrection.

Several reports, including video reports, observed rooftop snipers firing at crowds and police, during funerals of those already killed. It was said to be ‘unclear who was firing at whom’ (Al Jazeera 2011a), as ‘an unknown armed group on rooftops shot at protesters and security forces’ (Maktabi 2011). Yet Al Jazeera (2011b) owned by the Qatari monarchy, soon strongly suggested that that the snipers were pro-government. ‘President Bashar al Assad has sent thousands of Syrian soldiers and their heavy weaponry into Derra for an operation the regime wants nobody in the word to see’. However the Al Jazeera suggestion that secret pro-government snipers were killing ‘soldiers and protestors alike’ was illogical and out of sequence. The armed forces came to Daraa precisely because police had been shot and killed.

Saudi Arabia, a key US regional ally, had armed and funded extremist Salafist Sunni sects to move against the secular government. Saudi official Anwar Al-Eshki later confirmed to BBC television that his country had sent arms to Daraa and to the al-Omari mosque (Truth Syria 2012). From exile in Saudi Arabia, Salafi Sheikh Adnan Arour called for a holy war against the liberal Alawi Muslims, who were said to dominate the Syrian government: ‘by Allah we shall mince [the Alawites] in meat grinders and feed their flesh to the dogs’ (MEMRITV 2011). The Salafist aim was a theocratic state or caliphate. The genocidal slogan ‘Christians to Beirut, Alawites to the grave’ became widespread, a fact reported by the North American media as early as May 2011 (e.g. Blanford 2011). Islamists from the FSA Farouq brigade would soon act on these threats (Crimi 2012). Canadian analyst Michel Chossudovsky (2011) concluded:

‘The deployment of armed forces including tanks in Daraa [was] directed against an organised armed insurrection, which has been active in the border city since March 17-18.’

After those first few days in Daraa the killing of Syrian security forces continued, but went largely unreported outside Syria. Nevertheless, independent analyst Sharmine Narwani wrote about the scale of this killing in early 2012 and again in mid-2014. An ambush and massacre of soldiers took place near Daraa in late March or early April. An army convoy was stopped by an oil slick on a valley road between Daraa al-Mahata and Daraa al-Balad and the trucks were machine gunned. Estimates of soldier deaths, from government and opposition sources ranged from 18 to 60. A Daraa resident said these killings were not reported because: ‘At that time, the government did not want to show they are weak and the opposition did not want to show they are armed’. Anti-Syrian blogger, Nizar Nayouf, records this massacre as taking place in the last week of March. Another anti-Government writer, Rami Abdul Rahman (based in England, and calling himself the ‘Syrian Observatory of Human Rights’) says:

‘It was on the first of April and about 18 or 19 security forces … were killed’ (Narwani 2014). Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mikdad, himself a resident of Daraa, confirmed that: ‘this incident was hidden by the government … as an attempt not to antagonize or not to raise emotions and to calm things down – not to encourage any attempt to inflame emotions which may lead to escalation of the situation’ (Narwani 2014).

Yet the significance of denying armed anti-Government killings was that, in the western media, all deaths were reported as (a) victims of the Army and (b) civilians. For well over six months, when a body count was mentioned in the international media, it was usually considered acceptable to suggest these were all ‘protestors’ killed by the Syrian Army. For example, a Reuters report on 24 March said Daraa’s main hospital had received ‘the bodies of at least 37 protestors killed on Wednesday’ (Khalidi 2011). Notice that all the dead had become ‘protestors’, despite earlier reports on the killing of a number of police and health workers.

Another nineteen soldiers were gunned down on 25 April, also near Daraa. Narwani obtained their names and details from Syria’s Defence Ministry, and corroborated these details from another document from a non-government source. Throughout April 2011 she calculates that eighty-eight Syrian soldiers were killed ‘by unknown shooters in different areas across Syria’ (Narwani 2014). She went on to refute claims that the soldiers killed were ‘defectors’, shot by the Syrian army for refusing to fire on civilians. The Washington based group Human Rights Watch, referring to interviews with 50 unnamed ‘activists’, claimed that soldiers killed at this time were all ‘defectors’, murdered by the Army (HRW 2011b). Yet the funerals of loyal officers, shown on the internet at that time, were distinct. Even Rami Abdul Rahman, keen to blame the Army for killing civilians, said ‘this game of saying the Army is killing defectors for leaving – I never accepted this’ (Narwani 2014). Nevertheless the highly charged reports were confusing, in Syria as well as outside.

The violence spread north, with the assistance of Islamist fighters from Lebanon, reaching Baniyas and areas around Homs. On 10 April nine soldiers were shot in a bus ambush in Baniyas. In Homs, on April 17, General Abdo Khodr al-Tallawi was killed with his two sons and a nephew, and Syrian commander Iyad Kamel Harfoush was gunned down near his home. Two days later, off-duty Colonel Mohammad Abdo Khadour was killed in his car (Narwani 2014). North American commentator Joshua Landis (2011a) reported the death of his wife’s cousin, one of the soldiers in Baniyas.

Al Jazeera, the principal Middle East media channel backing the Muslim Brotherhood, blacked out these attacks, as also the reinforcement provided by armed foreigners. Former Al Jazeera journalist Ali Hashem was one of many who resigned from the Qatar-owned station (RT 2012), complaining of deep bias over their presentation of the violence in Syria. Hashem had footage of armed men arriving from Lebanon, but this was censored by his Qatari managers. ‘In a resignation letter I was telling the executive … it was like nothing was happening in Syria.’ He thought the ‘Libyan revolution’ was the turning point for Al Jazeera, the end of its standing as a credible media group (Hashem 2012).

Provocateurs were at work. Tunisian jihadist ‘Abu Qusay’ later admitted he had been a prominent ‘Syrian rebel’ charged with ‘destroying and desecrating Sunni mosques’, including by scrawling the graffiti ‘There is no God but Bashar’, a blasphemy to devout Muslims. This was then blamed on the Syrian Army, with the aim of creating Sunni defections from the Army. ‘Abu Qusay’ had been interviewed by foreign journalists who did not notice he was not Syrian (Eretz Zen 2014).

Journalist Nir Rosen, whose reports were generally against the Syrian Government, also criticised the western consensus over the early violence:

‘The issue of defectors is a distraction. Armed resistance began long before defections started … Every day the opposition gives a death toll, usually without any explanation … Many of those reported killed are in fact dead opposition fighters but … described in reports as innocent civilians killed by security forces … and every day members of the Syrian Army, security agencies … are also killed by anti-regime fighters’ (Rosen 2012).

A numbers game was being played to delegitimise the Syrian Government (‘The Regime’) and the Syrian Army (‘Assad loyalists’), suggesting they were responsible for all the violence. Just as NATO forces were about to bomb Libya and overthrow the Libyan Government, US voices began to demand that President Assad step down. The Brookings Institution (Shaikh 2011) claimed the President had ‘lost the legitimacy to remain in power in Syria’. US Senators John McCain, Lindsay Graham and Joe Lieberman said it was time ‘to align ourselves unequivocally with the Syrian people in their peaceful demand for a democratic government’ (FOX News 2011). The big powers began to demand yet another ‘regime change’.

In June, US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton dismissed the idea that ‘foreign instigators’ had been at work, saying that ‘the vast majority of casualties have been unarmed civilians’ (Clinton 2011). In fact, as Clinton knew very well, her Saudi Arabian allies had armed extremists from the very beginning. Her casualty assertion was also wrong. The United Nations (which would later abandon its body count) estimated from several sources that, by early 2012, there were more than 5,000 casualties, and that deaths in the first year of conflict included 478 police and 2,091 from the military and security forces (OHCHR 2012: 2; Narwani 2014). That is, more than half the casualties in the first year were those of the Syrian security forces. That independent calculation was not reflected in western media reports. ‘Watchdog’ NGOs such as Human Rights Watch, along with US columnists (e.g. Allaf 2012), continued to claim, well into 2012, that Syrian security forces had been massacring ‘unarmed protestors’, that the Syrian people ‘had no choice’ but to take up arms, and that this ‘protest movement’ had been ‘overwhelmingly peaceful until September 2011’ (HRW 2011a, HRW 2012). In fact, the political reform movement had been driven off the streets by Salafi-Islamist gunmen, over the course of March and April.

In June reporter Hala Jaber (2011) observed that about five thousand people turned up for a demonstration at Ma’arrat al-Numan, a small town in north-west Syria, between Aleppo and Hama. She says several ‘protestors’ had been shot the week before, while trying to block the road between Damascus and Aleppo. After some negotiations which reduced the security forces in the town, ‘men with heavy beards in cars and pick-ups with no registration plates’ with ‘rifles and rocket-propelled grenades’ began shooting at the reduced numbers of security forces. A military helicopter was sent to support the security forces. After this clash ‘four policemen and 12 of their attackers were dead or dying. Another 20 policemen were wounded’. Officers who escaped the fight were hidden by some of the tribal elders who had participated in the original demonstration. When the next ‘demonstration for democracy’ took place, the following Friday, ‘only 350 people turned up’, mostly young men and some bearded militants (Jaber 2011). Five thousand protestors had been reduced to 350, after the Salafist attacks.

After months of media manipulations, disguising the Islamist insurrection, Syrians such as Samer al Akhras, a young man from a Sunni family, who used to watch Al Jazeera because he preferred it to state TV, became convinced to back the Syrian government. He saw first-hand the fabrication of reports on Al Jazeera and wrote, in late June 2011:

‘I am a Syrian citizen and I am a human. After 4 months of your fake freedom … You say peaceful demonstration and you shoot our citizen. From today … I am [now] a Sergeant in the Reserve Army. If I catch anyone … in any terrorist organization working on the field in Syria I am gonna shoot you as you are shooting us. This is our land not yours, the slaves of American fake freedom’ (al Akhras 2011).

Notes:

Abouzeid, Rania (2011) ‘Syria’s Revolt, how graffiti stirred an uprising’,Time, 22 March

Al Akhras, Samer (2011) ‘Syrian Citizen’, Facebook, 25 June, online:https://www.facebook.com/notes/sam-al-akhras/syrian-citizen/241770845834062?pnref=story

Al Jazeera (2011a) ‘Nine killed at Syria funeral processions’, 23 April, online:http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2011/04/20114231169587270.html

Al Jazeera (2011b) ‘Deraa: A city under a dark siege’, 28 April, online:http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2011/04/2011427215943692865.html

Al-Shaqfa, Muhammad Riyad (2011) ‘Muslim Brotherhood Statement about the so-called ‘Syrian Revolution’’, General supervisor for the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood, statement of 28 March, online at: http://truthsyria.wordpress.com/2012/02/12/muslim-brotherhood-statement-about-the-so-called-syrian-revolution/

Allaf, Rime (2012) ‘This Time, Assad Has Overreached’, NYT, 5 Dec, online:http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2012/02/06/is-assads-time-running-out/this-time-assad-has-overreached

Blanford, Nicholas (2011) ‘Assad regime may be gaining upper hand in Syria’, Christina Science Monitor, 13 may, online:http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Middle-East/2011/0513/Assad-regime-may-be-gaining-upper-hand-in-Syria

Chossudovsky, Michel (2011) ‘Syria: who is behind the protest movement? Fabricating a pretext for US-NATO ‘Humanitarian Intervention’’, Global Research, 3 May, online: http://www.globalresearch.ca/syria-who-is-behind-the-protest-movement-fabricating-a-pretext-for-a-us-nato-humanitarian-intervention/24591

Clinton, Hilary (2011) ‘There is No Going Back in Syria’, US Department of State, 17 June, online: http://www.state.gov/secretary/20092013clinton/rm/2011/06/166495.htm

Maktabi, Rima (2011) ‘Reports of funeral, police shootings raise tensions in Syria’, CNN, 5 April, online: http://edition.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/meast/04/05/syria.unrest/

Crimi, Frank (2012) ‘Ethnic Cleansing of Syrian Christians’, Frontpagemag,29 March, online: http://www.frontpagemag.com/2012/frank-crimi/ethnic-cleansing-of-syrian-christians/

Daily Mail (2011) ‘Nine protesters killed after security forces open fire by Syrian mosque’, 24 March

DIA (1982) ‘Syria: Muslim Brotherhood Pressure Intensifies’, Defence Intelligence Agency (USA), May, online: https://syria360.files.wordpress.com/2013/11/dia-syria-muslimbrotherhoodpressureintensifies-2.pdf

DIA (2012) ‘Department of Defence Information Report, Not Finally Evaluated Intelligence, Country: Iraq’, Defence Intelligence Agency, August, 14-L-0552/DIA/297-293, Levant report, online at:http://levantreport.com/2015/05/19/2012-defense-intelligence-agency-document-west-will-facilitate-rise-of-islamic-state-in-order-to-isolate-the-syrian-regime/

Draitser, Eric (2012) ‘Unmasking the Muslim Brotherhood: Syria, Egypt and beyond’, Global Research, 12 December, online:http://www.globalresearch.ca/unmasking-the-muslim-brotherhood-syria-egypt-and-beyond/5315406

Eretz Zen (2014) ‘Tunisian Jihadist Admits: We Destroyed & Desecrated Mosques in Syria to Cause Defections in Army’, Youtube Interview, 16 March, online: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fQ8awN8GLAk

FOX News (2011) ‘Obama Under Pressure to Call for Syrian Leader’s Ouster’,29 April, online: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2011/04/29/obama-pressure-syrian-leaders-ouster/

Ghadry, Farid N. (2005) ‘Syrian Reform: What Lies Beneath’, Middle East Quarterly, Vol 12 No 1, Winter, online: http://www.meforum.org/683/syrian-reform-what-lies-beneath

Haidar, Ali (2013) interview with this writer, Damascus 28 December. Ali Haidar was President of the Syrian Social National Party (SS NP), a secular rival to the Ba’ath Party. In 2012 President Bashar al Assad incorporated him into the Syrian government as Minister for Reconciliation.

Hashem, Ali (2012) ‘Al Jazeera Journalist Explains Resignation over Syria and Bahrain Coverage’, The Real News, 20 March, online:http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=8106

HRW (2011a) ‘We’ve never seen such horror: crimes against humanity by Syrian Security Forces’, Human Rights Watch, June, online:http://www.hrw.org/reports/2011/06/01/we-ve-never-seen-such-horror-0

HRW (2011b) Syria: Defectors Describe Orders to Shoot Unarmed Protesters’, Human Rights watch, Washington, 9 July, online:http://www.hrw.org/news/2011/07/09/syria-defectors-describe-orders-shoot-unarmed-protesters

HRW (2012) ‘Open Letter to the Leaders of the Syrian Opposition, Human Rights Watch, Washington, 20 March, online:http://www.hrw.org/news/2012/03/20/open-letter-leaders-syrian-opposition

Jaber, Hala (2011) ‘Syria caught in crossfire of extremists’, Sunday Times, 26 June, online: http://www.thesundaytimes.co.uk/sto/news/world_news/Middle_East/article657138.ece

Khalidi, Suleiman (2011) ‘Thousands chant ‘freedom’ despite Assad reform offer’, Reuters, 24 March, online: http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/03/24/us-syria-idUSTRE72N2MC20110324

Landis, Joshua (2011a) ‘The Revolution Strikes Home: Yasir Qash`ur, my wife’s cousin, killed in Banyas’, Syria Comment, 11 April, online:http://www.joshualandis.com/blog/the-revolution-strikes-home-yasir-qashur-my-wifes-cousin-killed-in-banyas/

Landis, Joshua (2011b) ‘Syria’s Opposition Faces an Uncertain Future’, Syria Comment, 26 June, online: http://www.joshualandis.com/blog/syrias-opposition-faces-an-uncertain-future/

MEMRITV (2011) ‘Syrian Sunni Cleric Threatens: “We Shall Mince [The Alawites] in Meat Grinders”’, YouTube, 13 July, online:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bwz8i3osHww

Nassar, Jessy (2014) ‘Hama: A rebirth from the ashes?’ Middle East Monitor,11 July, online: https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/articles/middle-east/12703-hama-a-rebirth-from-the-ashes

Narwani, Sharmine (2012) ‘Questioning the Syrian “Casualty List”, 28 Feb, online: http://english.al-akhbar.com/content/questioning-syrian-%E2%80%9Ccasualty-list%E2%80%9D

Narwani, Sharmine (2014) Syria: The hidden massacre, RT, 7 May, online:http://rt.com/op-edge/157412-syria-hidden-massacre-2011/

OHCHR (2012) ‘Periodic Update’, Independent International Commission of Inquiry established pursuant to resolution A/HRC/S – 17/1 and extended through resolution A/HRC/Res/19/22, 24 may, online:

http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/HRBodies/HRCouncil/CoISyria/PeriodicUpdate24May2012.pdf

Queenan, Gavriel (2011) ‘Syria: Seven Police Killed, Buildings torched in protests’, Israel National News, Arutz Sheva, March 21

Reuters (2011) ‘Syria says seizes weapons smuggled from Iraq’, 11 March, online: http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/03/11/us-syria-iraq-idUSTRE72A3MI20110311?hc_location=ufi

Rosen, Nir (2012) ‘Q&A: Nir Rosen on Syria’s armed opposition’, Al Jazeera,13 Feb, online: http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2012/02/201221315020166516.html

RT (2012) ‘Al Jazeera exodus: Channel losing staff over ‘bias’’, 12 March, online: http://rt.com/news/al-jazeera-loses-staff-335/

Salt, Jeremy (2011) Truth and Falsehood in Syria, The Palestine Chronicle, 5 October, online: http://palestinechronicle.com/view_article_details.php?id=17159

Sayyid Rasas, Mohammed (2013) ‘From 2005 to 2013: The Syrian Opposition’s Many Faces’, Al Akhbar, 19 March, online: http://english.al-akhbar.com/node/15287

Shaikh, Salman (2011) ‘In Syria, Assad Must Exit the Stage’, Brookings Institution, 27 April, online: http://www.brookings.edu/research/opinions/2011/04/27-syria-shaikh

Sheikho, Youssef (2013) ‘The Syrian Opposition’s Muslim Brotherhood Problem’, Al Akhbar English, April 10, online: http://english.al-akhbar.com/node/15492

Truth Syria (2012) ‘Syria – Daraa revolution was armed to the teeth from the very beginning’, BBC interview with Anwar Al-Eshki, YouTube interview, video originally uploaded 10 April, latest version 7 November, online:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FoGmrWWJ77w

Seale, Patrick (1988) Asad: the struggle for the Middle East, University of California Press, Berkeley CA

van der Lugt, Frans (2012) ‘Bij defaitisme is niemand gebaat’, from Homs,13 January, online: https://mediawerkgroepsyrie.wordpress.com/2012/01/13/bij-defaitisme-is-niemand-gebaat/

Wikstrom, Cajsa (2011) Syria: ‘A kingdom of silence’, Al Jazeera, 9 Feb, online: http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2011/02/201129103121562395.html

YaLibnan (2011) ‘7 Syrian policemen killed in Sunday clashes’, 21 March, online: http://yalibnan.com/2011/03/21/7-syrian-policemen-killed-in-sunday-clashes-report/

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