33 Syrian Officers, Including General and 2 Colonels, Defect to Turkey

By Ali Al-Bassam
Impunity Watch Reporter, Middle East 

ANKARA, Turkey — Thirty-three members of Syria’s military defected into Turkey on Sunday night.  They were part of some two hundred people who crossed between the Syrian-Turkish border into the Hatay Province.  Turkey’s state-run Andalou news agency said the group included a general and two colonels, but a government official claimed that there was no general among the group, only three colonels.  Despite this, the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, did not know the overall number of those who crossed into Turkey.  Andalou also reported that the group of defectors was placed in a refugee camp in Hatay.  Turkey now hosts 33,000 Syrian refugees who have crossed into the country since the revolt against Al-Assad began 16 months ago.

Syrian Refugees
Syrian arrivals have taken refuge in the Hatay Province of Turkey. (Photo Courtesy of BBC News)

The recent defections have increased the number of generals within Turkey since the revolution began to thirteen.  The generals now give logistical support to the Free Syrian Army, even though Turkey denies that they are arming the rebels.  Thousands of soldiers have also abandoned the Syrian regime, but most of them are low-level conscripts.  So far, there is no evidence that their defections have negatively affected the Syrian military’s ability to fight.

Two days prior to the defections, a Turkish aircraft was shot down by Syrian forces who claim that it had violated their airspace.  Bulent Arinc, Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister, said that “all options are on the table”  for Turkey’s response.  Earlier on Monday, Jihad Makdissi, Syria’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman, said that “[t]he Turkish warplane violated Syrian airspace, and in turn Syrian air defences fired back and the plane crashed inside Syrian territorial waters.”  Turkey claims that the plane was in international airspace, and that the plane was on a training flight to test Turkey’s radar capabilities. Turkey also insists that it was not spying on Syria.

Turkey has summoned a meeting with NATO for Tuesday to agree on a response to the downing of its aircraft.  European Union members in Luxembourg requested a calm response from Turkey, saying that they would increase pressure on Assad.  On Monday, EU spokesman Maja Kocijanci said that the EU decided to add another Syrian official and six firms and government institutions to its sanctions list, which already includes 120 individuals and nearly 50 entities.

Analysts believe it is unlikely that Turkey will take immediate military action against Syria.  Cagri Erhan, a professor of political science at Ankara University, said “I don’t think Turkey’s response will be a military one.  War is not one of the options.  Turkey will act in line with measures taken within NATO.”

“I’m not of the opinion that Turkey will immediately respond militarily,” agreed Beril Dedeoglu of Galatasaray University. “But if there is another action, then there will certainly be a military response, there is no doubt.”

For further information, please see:

Anadolu Agency — Thirty-three Syrian Army Defectors Fled to Turkey — 25 June 2012

Al Jazeera — Turkish Cabinet Meets to Discuss Syria Crisis — 25 June 2012

BBC News — Syria General and two Colonels ‘Defect to Turkey’ — 25 June 2012

Gulf News — 33 Syria Military Members Defect to Turkey — 25 June 2012

Reuters — Syrian Officers Defect, Turkey Looks to NATO — 25 June 2012

Syrian Revolution Digest – Sunday 24 June 2012 Part II

THE COMMENTARY IN THIS PIECE DOES NOT NECESSARILY REFLECT THE VIEWS OF IMPUNITY WATCH.  

*WARNING VIDEOS MAY CONTAIN GRAPHIC IMAGES*

On the Road (4)!

The official statement by the White House on the downing of a Turkish jet by Assad air defenses promised that the U.S. will “work with Turkey and other partners to hold the Assad regime accountable.” Let’s see to what further inefficient and laughable policies this promise will engender on Tuesday when NATO is scheduled to meet. Because after 16 months of stupidity, hypocrisy and inefficiency, I do not dare expect anything from international policymakers except more of the same. Of course, that’s what all can expect from us as well, because we are not planning on giving up.

Sunday June 24, 2012

Clashes are now taking place on a regular basis in towns and communities across Syria, including Homs, Idlib, Hama, Aleppo, Deir Ezzor, Daraa and Damascus Suburbs. The average daily death toll is around 150. Recourse to helicopter gunships and heavy artillery by pro-Assad troops and militias continues to be a routine occurrence.

News

Op-Eds & Special Reports

What Russia Gave Syria A guide to Bashar al-Assad’s arsenal.

“The Wounded Will Be Killed” An American photojournalist describes what he saw during the month he spent in a Syrian village under siege. The Martyrdom of Al QusayrImages from photojournalist Robert King’s recent visit to a Syrian community under siege.

Video Highlights

Shelling in Maarbah, Daraa http://youtu.be/naX791iSjKU Daraa City, Daraahttp://youtu.be/a5WlwtikWno Al-Hraak, Daraa – a dead child is mourned by his motherhttp://youtu.be/Btlb1jzbLXY Talbisseh, Homs http://youtu.be/jLDD9CBXGLI Rastan, Homs http://youtu.be/0MHax97PwrU The mangled bodies of the localshttp://youtu.be/gyZDrMovU24 Homs City http://youtu.be/M_Brv5q0pBI ,http://youtu.be/ZxBIoGzwzTY Deir Ezzor City http://youtu.be/BRQhTC_pTM8 Ariha, Idlib http://youtu.be/qatXgmCmd08 Hass, Idlib a tank takes part in the poundinghttp://youtu.be/tFSdnrsUZx8

Syrian Network for Human Rights: Violations Report 25 June 2012

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BMQ0a8PYtvo&feature=youtu.be

A video showing the Joret Ash-Shayah neighborhood of Homs.  It has been completely destroyed due to attacks by the regime forces.

**WARNING: THE VIDEO BELOW CONTAINS GRAPHIC IMAGES**

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kcjKJtnbDx8&feature=youtu.be&skipcontrinter=1

After a shelling and raid campaign residents of Inkhel took to the streets in anger for the 15 victims killed.  The regime’s army and security forces targeted the protestors, killing another 3 citizens.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aIjW-6wcpg8&feature=youtu.be

Regime forces are placed all around towns in order to stifle the movement of citizens.

 

CASUALTY REPORT

70 confirmed casualties killed by the regime on Monday, 25 June 2012.

Hama: 17
Deir Ezzor: 11
Damascus and Rural Damascus: 11
Idleb: 9
Homs: 9
Daraa: 13
Latakia: 3
Al-Hasakah: 3
Aleppo: 3

90 confirmed casualties killed by the regime on Sunday, 24 June 2012.

Deir Ezzor: 28
Aleppo: 17
Idleb: 11
Daraa: 10
Homs: 10
Damascus and Rural Damascus: 9
Latakia: 5

102 confirmed casualties killed by the regime on Saturday, 23 June 2012.

Damascus and Rural Damascus: 27
Deir Ezzor 25
Homs: 19
Aleppo: 11
Hama: 9
Daraa: 8
Idelb: 2
Raqqa: 1

Syrian Revolution Digest – Sunday 24 June 2012

THE COMMENTARY IN THIS PIECE DOES NOT NECESSARILY REFLECT THE VIEWS OF IMPUNITY WATCH.  

*WARNING VIDEOS MAY CONTAIN GRAPHIC IMAGES*

Paper-Tigers & Wimps!

They talk tough but remain missing in action: Turkish and Western leaders better spare us their sympathy is it don’t come with an action plan that can stop Assad NOW.

Sunday June 24, 2012

The average daily death toll is now close to 150, and the worst is yet to come, with more pro-Assad militias perpetrating more and more massacres, selling more and more towns throughout the country.

News

The circumstances of the deaths were not immediately clear, with the state-run news agency saying at least 25 men were killed. In the video — which The Associated Press could not independently verify — the narrator said the victims were members of the “shabiha,” or pro-regime gunmen… It was not clear whether the men were killed execution-style or died in clashes. An activist in the area, Mohammed Saeed, said rebels regularly collect the bodies of the dead from the government side and dump them by the side of the road so troops can collect them later.

Op-Eds & Special Reports

More coverage of AEI Event on Syria, June 18, 2012

“The country is being partitioned.  Waiting will allow for the partitioning to actually take effect.  There will be repercussions that will be felt in Lebanon, in Iraq, in Jordan, in Turkey and perhaps even in Israel as well,” Syrian pro-democracy activist Ammar Abdulhamid said. (Video)

Turkey – A Paper Tiger on the Mediterranean

After making so many on promises on Syria, like vowing not to allow Hama, only to stand and watch the retaking of Hama, and the endless slaughter that followed and to watch on helplessly as Assad troops pursued refugees even inside Turkey’s borders, the downing of a Turkish fighter jet by Assad’s air defenses, mostly likely operated under guidance of Russian experts, and Erdogan’s confused reaction to the matter serve only to consolidate the emerging image of Turkey as nothing more than a paper tiger.

With its continued reliance on Iranian gas supplies, continued problems between the political and military leaderships, and continued inability to effectively address its Kurdish Question, not to mention its Alevi Question the mere enunciation of which remains a taboo, the image of a regional powerhouse that Turkey has been to project over the last few years seem highly exaggerated. Turkey is simply not ready, politically, economically, or militarily, to be a serious player on the regional scene, consideration of Turkish pride notwithstanding. Her leaders are advised to reflect this reality in their pronouncements to avoid having more egg on their faces, and to avoid the continued embarrassment of having to appear nothing more than mustachioed wimps even when confronted by the region’s lankiest and weakest link: Bashar Al-Assad.

U.S. Policy on Syria – another example of wimpishness in action

The interview below with Secretaries Clinton and Baker outline the current U.S. policy on Syria. At the heart of the policy is he continued preoccupation with Iran’s nuclear ambitions, and the belief that Russia can help find a solution for this, hence the unwillingness to anger Russians over Syria and the push for so-called political transition with Nicaragua rather than Yemen providing the model for that. But with no talk of serious enforcement mechanisms, any talk of political solutions risks going in the same direction of the Arab League and Annan plans, and will only buy Assad more time to keep killing and ensuring the de facto partition of the country.

Interview With Charlie Rose of “Conversations on Diplomacy”
Hillary Rodham Clinton Secretary of State, Former Secretary of State James A. Baker III 
Benjamin Franklin Room
Washington, DCJune 20, 2012

SECRETARY CLINTON: On Syria, so far they’ve taken Russia’s lead on Syria. But we’re working on that every single day as well.

MR. ROSE: Why did they do that? Why do they take Russia’s lead?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think both Russia and China have a very strong aversion to interference in internal affairs.

MR. ROSE: Sovereignty issue.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes.

SECRETARY BAKER: Yeah.

SECRETARY CLINTON: And so for the Russians, we – I was with President Obama in Mexico two days ago. We had a two-hour meeting with President Putin. They’re just – they don’t want anything to do with it. They find it quite threatening, and basically they reject it out of hand. So anything that smacks of interference for the Russians and for the Chinese, they presume against. There are other reasons, but that’s the principal objection that they make.

MR. ROSE: Would coming – both different countries and different points, but they somehow come together on these issues – Syria and with respect to Russia and the role they are playing.

SECRETARY BAKER: Yeah, yeah.

MR. ROSE: And the role that the United States is playing and the role that the region can play. What should we be doing and what is the risk of not doing?

SECRETARY BAKER: Well, I’ll answer that in just a minute. But first let me say if we’re going to have differences with Russia – and we do have some differences with Russia – it seems to me the most important difference we might have is with respect to Iran. And we don’t have that now, and that’s really important. And I don’t think we ought to create a problem with Russia vis-a-vis what we want to do in Iran about their nuclear ambitions as a result of something we might do in Syria. I just think the Iranian issue there is far more important really than how we resolve the Syrian issue.

How should we resolve the Syrian issue? I think we should continue to support a political transition in the government in Syria. But I don’t – but I think we ought to support it diplomatically, politically, and economically in every way that we can, but we should be very leery, extremely leery, about being drawn in to any kind of a military confrontation or exercise.

MR. ROSE: Does that include supplying them with arms?

SECRETARY BAKER: That – well, that’s a slippery slope. The fact of the matter is a lot of our allies are already supplying them with arms. Okay? It’s not something –

MR. ROSE: And our friends in the region.

SECRETARY BAKER: Well, I say our allies in the region. Yeah, they’re doing it. And it’s not something we have to do. I look at Syria and I think why are we not calling for something that we – this is – it may not be the right comparison, but in 1989, when we came into office, the wars in Central America were the holy grail of the left, political left in this country, and the holy grail of the political right in this country. We said if we can take these wars out of domestic politics, we can cure the foreign policy problem, and we did.

How did we do it? We put it to both parties – Daniel Ortega, the hardline, authoritarian dictator, if you will, in Nicaragua, and to Violeta Chamorro, the opposition candidate. We said if you’ll hold an election and both agree to abide by the results, that’s the way we’ll get out of this conundrum. That’s what happened. And both of them did agree, finally, to abide by the results. Ortega lost. President Carter was very instrumental in getting him to leave office. Why don’t we try something like that in Syria, I mean, and say look, political transition is what we’re looking for. Everybody – even the Russians, I think – would have difficulty saying no, we’re not going to go for an election, particularly if you let Bashar run. Let him run. Make sure you have a lot of observers in there. Make sure they can’t fix the election. Why not try that?

MR. ROSE: Why not try that?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, actually, that is the path that we are trying. And I spoke with Kofi Annan again today. He is working on a political transition roadmap. We are somewhat disadvantaged by the fact that I think Assad still believes he can crush what he considers to be an illegitimate rebellion against his authority and characterizes everyone who opposes him as a terrorist who is supported by foreign interests. He’s not yet at the point where he understands his legitimacy is gone and he is on a downward slope.

The other problem we have is that the opposition has not yet congealed around a figure or even a group that can command the respect and attention internally within Syria as well as internationally. So what we’re doing is, number one, putting more economic pressure, because that is important, and the sanctions and trying to cut off the Syrian regime, and send a message to the Syrian business class, which so far has stuck with Assad.

We’re also working very hard to try to prop up and better organize the opposition. We’ve spent a lot of time on that. It still is a work in progress. We are also pushing hard on having Kofi Annan lay down a political transition roadmap and then getting a group of nations, that would include Russia, in a working group to try to sell that to both the Assad regime and to the opposition .

So, I mean, the path forward is exactly as Jim has described it. Getting the people and the interests on that path has been what we’ve been working on now for several months.

MR. ROSE: Who would be in that group other than the United States, Russia? Who else?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, you would have to have the Arab League because Kofi Annan is a joint envoy of both the UN and the Arab League. You would have to have the permanent members of the Security Council because that’s who he represents in his UN role. And you’d have to have the neighbors. You’ve got to have Turkey involved because of their long border and their very clear interests. But when I spoke with him today, he’s going to be making another proposal to the Russians, the Turks, and other interested groups to try to get them to agree on this roadmap and then a meeting, in effect to go public with it, so that we can increase the pressure not only on the Assad regime but on the opposition as well.

MR. ROSE: Is there a role for Iran?

SECRETARY CLINTON: At this point, it would be very difficult for Iran to be initially involved. I mean, I’m a big believer in talking to people when you can and trying to solve problems when you can. But right now, we’re focused on dealing with Iran and the nuclear portfolio. That has to be our focus. Iran’s always trying to get us to talk about anything else except their nuclear program.

And then we also have the added problem that Iran is not just supporting Assad, they are helping him to devise and execute the very plans that he is following to suppress, oppress the opposition.

SECRETARY BAKER: If you get the – you’re going to get the attention of the Russians and the Chinese, in my view, in the Security Council if you come with some sort of a proposal for a political transition that might involve an election, if you’re willing to say anybody and everybody can run. That means, of course, you got to make sure that the election is not fixed. But that would put a lot of pressure – the only reason I mention this, it seems to be that would put a lot of pressure on the Russians to support this idea.

With respect to Iran, I agree with the Secretary. This is not the place to involve them. However, I would think there might be a place for them in a group with respect to Afghanistan. They helped us when we first went in there. We talked to them. They were helpful.

Syrian Revolution Digest – Thursday 21 June 2012

THE COMMENTARY IN THIS PIECE DOES NOT NECESSARILY REFLECT THE VIEWS OF IMPUNITY WATCH.  

*WARNING VIDEOS MAY CONTAIN GRAPHIC IMAGES*

Updates from the Road (3)!

 

As the world plays games of hide-and-seek and wait-and-see in regard to our “situation,” “worrying” and “tragic” as it is, the only thing we have is our resistance, our refusal to break even when faced with so much hypocrisy and indifference and with odds that so many would consider insurmountable. For the first time since the introduction of the term of “popular resistance” into our lives, it has finally become a true way of life for us.

 

Thursday June 21, 2012

 

Death Toll: 66The Breakdown: 24 in Hama, 20 in Damascus (17 in the Suburbs, mostly in Douma, and 3 in Damascus City), 7 in Daraa, 5 in Homs, 3 in Aleppo, 3 in Lattakia, 3 in Idlib, and 1 in Deir Ezzor.

 

News

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Op-Eds & Special Reports

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Houla, Homs, the site of infamous massacre is pounded againhttp://youtu.be/nttfHmyzN4o The wounded http://youtu.be/n_Zt7ypo_h4 ,http://youtu.be/Dl4KPZNXswE Nearby Talbisseh is also poundedhttp://youtu.be/pxGN6I594dQ , http://youtu.be/iq_veILEOS0 And Rastanhttp://youtu.be/CUlbFgLRrN4 , http://youtu.be/_C4sPSmoXB4

 

Da’el, Daraa: pounding by helicopters leave two children deadhttp://youtu.be/nSM4Mfe0x54 The nearby Khirbet Ghazaleh gets poundedhttp://youtu.be/4OV6hB-gMAY

 

Hama City is also shelled http://youtu.be/vY4OsbjEzuw

 

Qamishlo: Kurdish protesters clash with pro-Assad security in protest of the continued shelling of the Homs City http://youtu.be/tXh75LmbFOA

 

Anadan, Aleppo: smoke rises over the city as result of continued poundinghttp://youtu.be/iUGExKpgws4

 

Fires rage at night in Al-Kurd Mountain in Lattakia Provincehttp://youtu.be/Hx7gO_GY99Q

 

The True Story of the Al-Qubeir Massacre: Witness Accounts

http://youtu.be/usUdPauqMNQ

The UN video footage, once they were able to enter the village of Al-Qubeir and document the incident.

Location: Al-Qubeir Farm is located 20 KM west of Hama city and 2 KM south of Marzaf Village.
Description: Al-Qubeir Farm is a small community consisting of 25 houses, and its population is approximately 150 people
Date of incident : 06/06/2012
The witnesses:
1.    Ahmad X (survivor) | age:45
2.    X (survivor) | age: in her forties
3.    witness code #12001 | Marzaf villager
4.    witness code #12002 |  Marzaf villager

Reporting of the Incident, Based on Interviews With the Witnesses:

On Wednesday June 6th 2012 at about 12:30 pm an armed group, consisting of 6 personnels who were wearing plainclothes and who carried Kalashnikovs weapons, attacked a checkpoint that belonged to the Syrian army.  This was done to save a person arrested earlier the same day and detained, at the previously mentioned checkpoint.  During the combat, a reinforcement from the Syrian army was sent, it was composed of 3 tanks, T72 type, some military armoured vehicles, and some military trucks, Zell type (Russian made).  These full- armed reinforcement besieged the attacking group and clashed with them; leading to the deaths of all 6 men: (1)Mohammad Hassan Elwan, Hama- Greggis village; (2)Mahdi Ahmad Elwan, Hama-Greggis village; (3)Sari Ali Al-Hamdou, Hama-Greggis village; (4)Emad Ismail Elwan, Hama-Greggis village; (5)Mohammad Saleh Elwan, Hama-Greggis village; (6)Salah Jameel Elwan.

Afterwards, the tanks headed towards Al-Qubeir village along with the Zell trucks, six white buses, oil-colored armoured vehicles with the words “Riot Control” on the side of one, and other  pick-up trucks carrying forces outfitted in the Syrian Armed Forces uniform.  These troops all had personal weapons,most of the weapons displayed were Kalashnikovs  and BKC machine guns.

The witnesses said that there were other civilian vehicles –2 pick-up Hyundai white tucks, other pick-up trucks, and small trucks (the natives call them Torteera or Torzena), these vehicles had civilians who accompanied the military forces.  The people in them wore plainclothes and carried small weapons such as: sticks, knives, and daggers.  Some of them carried pistols and Kalashnikovs

Between 1:40 and 1:50 pm, the previously mentioned armed forces besieged the village from three axis (The Northern Axis: Mezrav village direction; the Eastern axis: Al-Majdal direction; and the western axis: Al-Taweem village direction).

Once all of the forces took up positions, 4 shells were launched directly on the houses, without any earlier warning.  Next, the heavy and medium guns were used to fire at random on the houses.  After roughly 10 minutes, the tanks stormed into the village along with the security forces, wearing the alternative uniform that belongs to the Syrian Armed Forces, and the civilians, who wore plainclothes.  They began shooting heavily.  The sound of gun fire lasted intermittently inside the village for about an hour and a half, however the forces remained in the village until 7:30 PM.

According to one female survivor’s  report, Feda Al-Yateam, the forces would get the people out of their houses and would shoot them directly.  She added that the forces, wearing the plainclothes and carrying sticks, took her husband along with other civilians from the village.  The villagers take were made to lay down on the ground  and then were beaten on their heads with sticks, until those administering the beating knew the villagers were dead.  After that the attackers burned the bodies, another witness, with the code #12001, said that  he saw the army retreat from the village.  Witness #12001 then dared to enter the village, so that he could administer aid to any survivors.  Upon entering the village, he reported seeing a woman who had been shot in the chest with her right hand cut off at the wrist.  Next to her there was a baby’s body, he had been stabbed in his chest with a sharp tool and enough force that his internal viscera had fallen out onto the ground.

Witness #12001 also added that he saw in front of another house three children’s bodies.  All of them were behind a woman’s body.  The four bodies were in sitting positions, and the scene displayed implied that the woman was trying to protect the children when they were all shot at point blank range.

Another survivor, a male, Ahmad Al-Yateam, said that he was hit repeatedly with sticks and shotguns on his head and his body.  Some of his attackers wore the Syrian military uniform, and others wore plainclothes.  Al-Yateam said that he was brutally beaten until he became unconscious.

Another witness, code #12002, said that before the military forces withdrew from the village, there were 6 ambulances that arrived and took some of the bodies.  The witness said that the number of bodies taken was between 25-30, then the ambulances also withdrew from the village, accompanied by the forces.

Witness #12001 recalled that a bold green armoured vehicle, belonging to the Syrian Armed Forces, attached two bodies with a rope to the truck and dragged them on the ground while heading west to a place known locally as Aseela Road.

While the survivors and the locals claimed that there were over 100 people killed in this massacre, we managed to document 54 victim’s names.  In addition to the 6 individuals killed in the clash at the checkpoint.  The reason only 54 victims were documented is due to a variety of reasons.   First, the bodies of some of the victims were completely disfigured or deformed, to the point that the locals couldn’t recognize it to identify.  Second, there exists an incapacity to find some of the victims as their bodies are missing, or taken by the attacking force.  Additionally, the Syrian government and military refused to make a comment on the Al-Qubeir incident, after failing to conduct a real and honest investigation.

Furthermore; the government and the security forces refused to let the international observers, who were stationed in Hama city, enter the area and document the incident.  Those who attempted to enter the next morning, on June 7th, were stopped, and told to return to Hama city, at one of the many checkpoints surrounding the area where the massacre took place.  The observers were thus prevented from heading into the village to gather accurate information.

 

The information contained in this report was provided by:

Syrian Network for Human Rights and Damascus Center for Human Rights Studies

Syrian Network for Human Rights: Syrian People’s Casualties Exceeds 15,000

The Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) and Damascus Centre for Human Rights Studies (DCHRS) observe rigorous documentation standards to verify each piece of information by seeking testimonies from two people, who do not know one another, before it is included in the casualties’ record.

Syrian citizens killed by the Syrian regime; from the start of the revolution on 18 March 2011 until 16 June 2012

  • Confirmed death toll (documented by name): 15,163
  • Children: 1,114
  • Women: 957
  • Killed under torture: 579

Victims killed by the Syrian regime, throughout the duration of the suspended UN observers’ mission, between 12 of April 2012 and 16 June 2012

  • Total figure of victims documented by name: 3,087
  • Children: 277
  • Women: 193
  • Under torture: 137

 

Statistics and information provided by Syrian Network for Human Rights and Damascus Center for Human Rights  Studies.  For further information, please see:

Syrian Network for Human Rights – Confirmed Death Toll Report – 19 June 2012

Syrian Network for Human Rights – UN Observers’ Death Toll Report – 19 June 2012

Syrian Revolution Digest – Wednesday 20 June 2012

THE COMMENTARY IN THIS PIECE DOES NOT NECESSARILY REFLECT THE VIEWS OF IMPUNITY WATCH.  

*WARNING VIDEOS MAY CONTAIN GRAPHIC IMAGES*

Updates from the Road (2)!

Syrian Revolution Digest – Tuesday 19 June 2012

THE COMMENTARY IN THIS PIECE DOES NOT NECESSARILY REFLECT THE VIEWS OF IMPUNITY WATCH.  

*WARNING VIDEOS MAY CONTAIN GRAPHIC IMAGES*

Updates from the Road (1)

Russia will not be part of the solution in Syria. Yemeni-style scenarios are unlikely. Obama needs to hit the reset button again. There is little time left to save a country and a region from a meltdown.

Tuesday June 19, 2012

News

Op-Eds & Special Reports

Sectarian realities in Homs

USA Politics and Syria

On the personal front

Getting Serious on Syria: my participation in a panel at the American Enterprise Institute where the keynote speaker was Senator McCain: Excerpt from my intervention, the whole event.

More fall-outs from our April trip to Kosovo: The Pristina-Damascus Connection

Over the next 5-7 days, I will be taking part in a series of activities that will take up most of my time and might, therefore, be unable to update the blog as regularly and extensively as I want. But I will be back in full force soon.

Syrian Network for Human Rights: Documenting the Widespread Massacres

In the past few weeks the number of massacres taking place around Syria drastically increased.  The Syrian Network for Human Rights, in collaboration with the Damascus Center for Human Rights Studies, have documented a number of them.  Below is their summarized reports for the past four massacres; beginning with the most recent.

Douma | 16 June 2012

The Syrian regime’s combat forces launched a fierce and concentrated attack on the city of Douma, located to the east of the capital Damascus. The residents came under continual mortar shelling by the forces surrounding the city; additionally there was intense shelling originating from the vehicles administration headquarters, which is located in the neighbouring city of Harasta. The shelling went through the night until dawn; it stopped around 3:00 am.

Artillery shelling was concentrated on residential quarters located behind the mosques of Haseeba and Al-Agha. Eight people, including three women, were killed at the onset, when shelling targeted a residential building. This was a clear indication that shelling was random with the intent of killing for the sake of killing. This building, the first target, is located between the Great Mosque and Haseeba Mosque and the area is one of the most densely populated quarters of the city.

We were not able to access the inflicted area to provide assistance due to the full siege and the Syrian government’s refusal to give access to any Human Rights or relief organization to work on the Syrian territories.  By contacting locals and victims’ relatives, we were able to confirm eight names of the victims who fell to the shelling and documented at least 40 wounded, including four people with very critical injuries.

There is a severe shortage of medical necessities because the Syrian government hinders the transport of the wounded and the injured to hospitals, so they are treated in houses that lack real medical supplies or preparation facilities.

Saqba | 16 June 2012

The Syrian regime forces moved from Douma to Saqba on this same day.  Upon entering the city, which is located east of Damascus, they quickly took control and began to instill terror in the residents.  Tanks, armoured vehicles and infantry advanced from the south (from the Kafr Batana region), the north (from the Hamouriya direction), the west (from the Hazza direction), and the east (from the Jesreen direction). This entry in the city was followed by raid campaigns, around a square known as Al-Jameiya, while other combat troops moved to the secondary school street, and remaining troops moved to the northern area of Al-Jouzeh.

One of the tanks, positioned in the city centre, fired a shell on a residential building; this caused severe damage in the building and several injuries, including a child who received an injury to the eye.  Dozens of residents were arrested. We were able to identify a few of them from the Al-Khawaja family. Following this, troops moved to the Al-Mahfara area, to the west of the city, where they looted commercial shops.

The horrendous massacre harvested the lives of 19 civilians including a woman and a child. We have been able to contact residents to confirm and document the names of victims. To add insult to injury, some of the victims were slaughtered by knives in a revengeful, sadist fashion that was reminiscent of the Dark Ages and reflected a mindset of the utmost savagery.

Maarat Al-Numan | 10 June 2012

 During the night, the Syrian regime’s army forces shelled the city of Maarat al-Numan with many mortar shells, which are internationally considered to be inaccurate.  This mortar shelling is hard evidence, and a clear indicator, that the Syrian regime does not discriminate between the killing of a child, a woman or a young man. This reality is readily apparent on the ground as a high number of children and women are killed.

The preliminary death toll stands at thirteen victims.  The victims’ body parts were scattered in the streets following the attack.  More than 90 people were wounded, 25 of whom suffer from severe and critical injuries. As usual, the Syrian regime has cut off all means of communications and prevented doctors from treating the wounded or transporting them to safer zones where medical care necessities are available.  Many houses and shops were damaged from the attack as well.

Dar’aa | 9 June 2012

The Syrian regime’s army and security forces launched a fierce attack on the city using mortars, which the international community considers to be random inaccurate projectile, and heavy machineguns. Those shells hit the houses of:

Suliaman Shihadeh Aba Zeed, Adnan Dyab Aba Zeed, Ibrahim Mifleh Aba Zeed, Muhammad Kheir Aba Zeed, Yusuf Aba Zeed, Abu Nasir Abu Al-Qayasin al-Bajabja neighbourhood

A shell fell on al-Dallou family house killing 7 members of the family and burning down the house.  Residents recovered the bodies of Mansour Rizq Aba Zeed, Rita Rizq Aba Zeed and Rizq Hasan Shihada from under the rubble.

The regime’s army snipers, stationed at the roof of the national hospital, targeted citizens who came to donate blood following the attack.  The regime’s army checkpoint, stationed at Al-Sad road, targeted a civilian car that was transporting the wounded to the makeshift hospital, killing the volunteer in the process.

 

For further information, please visit the website listed below:

Syrian Network for Human Rights 

Syrian Revolution Digest – Sunday 17 June 2012

THE COMMENTARY IN THIS PIECE DOES NOT NECESSARILY REFLECT THE VIEWS OF IMPUNITY WATCH.  

*WARNING VIDEOS MAY CONTAIN GRAPHIC IMAGES*

Obama’s Legacy!

In the first major battle of Cold War II, Russia and its allies (the Assad regime, China, Iran, Belarus, Venezuela, etc.) are winning, so far. Forget about killing Bin Laden and ousting Qaddafi, if Obama loses Syria, that and the regional chaos that will ensue will be what he is remembered for. If Obama’s strategy is to wait for November, the battle might just be lost by then, and his legacy set in blood and stone.

Sunday June 17, 2012

Death tolls: 60. The Breakdown: 17 in Homs, 18 in Damascus (15 in Suburbs and 3 in City), 11 in Hama, 5 in Deir Ezzor, 5 in Daraa, 4 in Aleppo.

News

Associated Press journalist wounded in Syria

Op-Eds & Special Reports

Group of Tel Aviv Arabs post Anti-Assad signs in Nazareth: But Israeli Arabs remain deeply split over events in Syria.

The rebels risked a great deal in allowing journalists to embed with them, but they needed to get their message out, not through the opposition “leaders” in London, and in answer to the regime’s version of events. Commander al Sheikh told Shelton, “We want the people of the world to understand us as people, to see our revolution from a human prospective. The Syrian people cannot turn back. We must fight until victory.”

A great roundup by Rhonda Parker, with reference to the Digest and a personal interview

Excerpts

In an interview published yesterday by American PBS Newshour, self-proclaiming Alawite “Shabiha active member” Abu Jaafar, said he is “ready to kill women and children to defend his friends, family and president.” “Sunni women are giving birth to babies who will fight us in years to come, so we have the right to fight anyone who can hurt us in the future,” said the Alawite militiaman, a member of the ancient offshoot of Shiite Islam to which Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and the powerbase of his regime belong.

Syrian dissident and pro-democracy activist in exile, Ammar Abdulhamid, has been calling for more active international intervention in Syria, and added another addendum in his Syrian Revolution Digest Syria report last night.

Stated Abdulhamid, “I wouldn’t ask for intervention had it not been a reality of our lives already, had Russia, China, Iran, Iraq, Belarus and Venezuela not chosen to intervene from the onset in our affairs, siding with the Assads, arming them to the teeth, helping circumvent sanctions, (and) shielding them from accountability. Things need to be made equal. We need to be given a fighting chance. Assad is conducting a war of attrition against the rebels, while carving out his own personal fiefdom, hedging his bets. We only have one bet: staying the course, come what may.

Meanwhile, in an opinion piece for A&E the National had the soul-searching title, “When tanks crush children, Syrians must ask: who are we?”

The piece documents activists who feel there is a military strategy behind the madness and civilian carnage – including the brutal massacres and targeting of children.

“By outsourcing the dirty work to local militias, the regime distanced itself from the monstrosity of the crimes while deceptively placing the perpetrators within the blurry category of ‘armed gangs,’ said one hama activist.

Another activist from Homs said: “This is what they want to see: we are 20 massacres away from an opposition-free Syrian coast.”

Abdulhamid also stated in an email interview late tonight that he didn’t feel the Free Syrian Army had the time or resources to take civilian hostages, as some pro-Assad media have been alleging in regards to the Christian and Sunni civilians trapped in Homs.

“Basically, at this stage, the few local fighters in Homs City are locked in a fight for survival against pro-Assad militias, they do not have the time or the capacity to take hostages, and the regime does not care about the well-being of hostages anyway. Having hostages – even Alawites – will not stop pro-Assad militias, who, for months now, have been bombing both Sunnis and Christian neighborhoods, destroying mosques and churches, without any hesitation.”

Said Abdulhamid, “The truth of what is happening in Syria is quite simple: Assad and his militias are trying to re-subjugate their opponents using all means at their disposal, including resorting to ethnic cleansing along the coast and in central Syria in preparation for a possible breakup of the country.”

He also stated that Assad and his supporters realize “they have lost control of major swathes of the country, and that their opponents are committed to staying the course until Assad is brought down.”

 For this reason, Abdulhamid said, “…They are carving out a territory that will remain, by virtue of its ethnic makeup, completely loyal to Assad, and so it can serve as a base that will keep the Assads as active players in the regional scene even after the state falls apart.”

He added, “With the help of Russia and Iran, Assad is creating a win-win scenario for himself: reestablishing control over all the country, or becoming the undisputed leader of a critical chunk of it that might be declared as an independent state at a certain point in the future.”

Video Highlights

Qudsaya, West Damascus: the impact of shelling by pro-Assad militiashttp://youtu.be/Agn9qsreFTA , http://youtu.be/TgfOGvYQSkg Buildings catch firehttp://youtu.be/6X234GKD2xo

Zabadani, West Damascus: playing cat-and-mouth with snipershttp://youtu.be/Yjbzi6jAQy8

Douma, East Damascus: buildings catch fire due to shellinghttp://youtu.be/439C6HMQ4g8 Martyrs http://youtu.be/SJ4tbVaCzRE The pounding resumes at night http://youtu.be/wNhHQoZPreY

Dmeir, East Damascus: locals leaving the town at night to escape the shellinghttp://youtu.be/OpzmCM3mySU

Rastan, Homs: a child martyr http://youtu.be/EH40I07gJlQ Martyrshttp://youtu.be/vR1cgbITI5I The cemetery is pounded even as people try to bury their deadhttp://youtu.be/S20e3lCOc2Q The pounding continues http://youtu.be/HFnjOYeFL7E

Houla, Homs: pro-Assad militias set houses on fire http://youtu.be/KtMHHWr69CU At night, the pounding resumes http://youtu.be/7dQV5jtRs2g

Syrian Revolution Digest – Friday 15 June 2012

THE COMMENTARY IN THIS PIECE DOES NOT NECESSARILY REFLECT THE VIEWS OF IMPUNITY WATCH.  

*WARNING VIDEOS MAY CONTAIN GRAPHIC IMAGES*

Hedging Bets!

I wouldn’t ask for intervention had it not been a reality of our lives already, had Russia, China, Iran, Iraq, Belarus and Venezuela not chosen to intervene from the onset in our affairs, siding with the Assads, arming them to the teeth, helping circumvent sanctions, shielding them from accountability. Things need to be made equal. We need to be given a fighting chance. Assad is conducting a war of attrition against the rebels, while carving out his own personal fiefdom, hedging his bets. We only have one bet: staying the course, come what may.

Friday June 15, 2012

Death tolls: 48. The Breakdown: 14 in Damascus City and Suburbs (most in Douma), 9 in Homs, 10 in Daraa, 6 in Deir Ezzor, 6 in Aleppo, 2 in Idlib, and in Raqqah.

News

Mr. Isaykin, a powerful figure in Russia’s military industry, openly discussed the weapons being shipped to Syria: the Pantsyr-S1, a radar-guided missile and artillery system capable of hitting warplanes at altitudes well above those typically flown during bombing sorties, and up to 12 miles away; Buk-M2 antiaircraft missiles, capable of striking airplanes at even higher altitudes, up to 82,000 feet, and at longer ranges; and land-based Bastion antiship missiles that can fire at targets 180 miles from the coast.

My comment: I guess Assad will have to make do with Russian caviar just he is doing with Russian tanks.

Op-Eds & Special Reports

Syria: Sexual Assault in Detention Security Forces Also Attacked Women and Girls in Raids on Homes.

Syria: Shabiha Militia Member Tells It Like It Is An active member of Syria’s feared shabiha militia says he is in a “win or die” fight for his president (and a little bit of cash).

Houla Again

Germany’s FAZ, its main source, Mother Agnes, and John Rosenthal from the National Review Online are sticking to their story that the Houla Massacre was perpetrated by jihadists against Alawite inhabitants. But neither FAZ, nor Mother Agnes nor Rosenthal offer any new proof to back their claims. They simply stick to their story that unidentified sources from the opposition and inhabitants from the village of Kafar Laha were behind the revelation.

Bear in mind here that even the Assad regime does not make or endorse this claim. Bear in mind as well that no one tried to explain why and how Sunni rebels were allowed to bury the bodies of their alleged Alawite victims in open daylight in shallow mass graves while documenting the entire event via YouTube, and while pro-Assad checkpoints were all over the place. Moreover, we have not heard any similar assertions from any of the Alawite communities in the area despite the regime’s access to them.

So, why is it that we can always provide videos and often eyewitnesses to back our stories, while the regime and its supporters, and whoever choose to believe them, for whatever reason, have only their assertions and their unidentified and unidentifiable sources? They certainly have more resources than we do to document their “suffering.” And locals who are sympathetic to the regime have cameras and smartphones as well, and open access to the Internet. How come, then, we are always left having to take their words and only their words for it?

Pointing out that an eyewitness said that people with long beards and shaved heads were the ones who committed this massacre is evidence of nothing in itself: because this is how many Shabbiha members (pro-Assad militias) look like.

Telling us that 80,000 Christians were forced to leave Homs City, well, so did 500,000 Sunnis. The question is why? Mother Agnes and the regime, and she is an unabashed supporter of the regime of course, want us to believe that this is the work of Sunni extremists and Jihadi elements. The evidence we have, not only the videos and testimonies offered by local activists, but those offered by foreign journalist as well, suggest that the intensive indiscriminate pounding of residential neighborhoods by pro-Assad troops and militias did in fact pave the way to this.

Who do you want to believe? Your eyes? Your people? Or the assertions of killers and their supporters? Don’t tell me Mother Agnes is a nun, I know nuns can be wonderful, Sisters Danielle and Jordanie, the nuns from the private school I briefly attended in Lebanon in my childhood, definitely were: cruel but wonderful. On the other hand, I know enough history and watch enough news to know that the habit and the cloth are not shields against prejudice and avarice. So, nun or not, the good old mother needs to offer proof other than her say so to back her stories, and it better be damn convincing. Because knowing Mother Agnes, and yes, I do know Mother Agnes, I know very well that she is no Mother Teresa, or an Angel or Mercy, or a good preacher or practitioner of Christian love.

But to each his source.

Syrian Revolution Digest – Wednesday 14 June 2012

THE COMMENTARY IN THIS PIECE DOES NOT NECESSARILY REFLECT THE VIEWS OF IMPUNITY WATCH.  

*WARNING VIDEOS MAY CONTAIN GRAPHIC IMAGES*

The Revolutionary Imperative!

When people demonstrated peacefully, they were shot it by snipers and attacked with tanks, when they finally began fighting back, they were pounded by heavy artillery and helicopters, when armed fighters withdrew from towns and cities after they ran out of ammunition, pro-Assad militias went in and perpetrated massacres, and yet, and yet, somehow, the resistance continues, and the revolution spreads. With light weapons, and little help from outside, the Syrian popular resistance is taking on a criminal consortium that stretches from Russia and China to Iran, Iraq and Lebanon. Add in Venezuela and Belarus for good measure. We don’t plan on being defeated, and we’re no longer waiting for help. While geopolitical imperatives continue to trump the oral ones in policy circles around the world, the only thing that counts for us is staying the course, bitter be the end or sweet. Backing down is a breaking of our spirit, something we cannot live with anymore. We’ve been there, we’ve done that, and it didn’t feel right. So we rebelled. And that’s that.

Thursday June 14, 2012

Death tolls: 78. The Breakdown: 28 in Damascus, 19 in Homs, 13 in Daraa, 5 in Lattakia, 4 in Deir Ezzor, 2 in each of Aleppo, Idlib, Hama and Hassakeh, and 1 in Raqqah.

9 of the dead in Damascus were executed in the town of Hammourieh by pro-Assad militias. Some were shot, others had their throats slit http://youtu.be/sneRJRxdkPM ,http://youtu.be/eZPRDvD4aig , http://youtu.be/ZW1AbTgeR5s ,http://youtu.be/UM3bi9kY-RQ

The town of Anadan in Aleppo is undergoing intense poundinghttp://youtu.be/dsHNK_9YKn0 , http://youtu.be/fnlrPGoHv-k Pro-Assad militias put fire to the crops http://youtu.be/f_VcAjXGvZU

In Daraa Province, 5 were killed in the pounding the town of Heet and many were injured in the pounding of the town of Nasseef near the border with Jordan. The Martyrs of Heethttp://youtu.be/ira5mlvT95E , http://youtu.be/hEv8C5YyolU Impromptu funeralhttp://youtu.be/-ERpc5D-DBU

Meanwhile, Jordanian authorities continue to deny entry through its airport to Syrians trying to get to Amman. Refugees in Jordanian camps complain of restrictions on their movement, and of poor living conditions.

News

‘Stench of dead bodies’ in Syria’s al Haffe (My Comment: No bodies were found, because they were all taken by pro-Assad militias to hid traces of their crime. We will not know the full extent of the massacre that took place for a while to come.)

The overnight barrage from nearby hills followed the withdrawal of hundreds of troops backed by tanks that had entered the city on Wednesday to root out rebels, the sources said. About 200 people were wounded in the shelling, they said.

Op-Eds & Special Reports

The creation of safe havens will save civilian lives and reduce the influence of Islamists in the Syrian opposition. It will show the Syrian elite that the Assad regime is finished. And it will end Putin’s perverse free ride.

Syrian opposition activists tell me that the Russian Embassy in Washington has scheduled several meetings with different factions of the external opposition. “The Russians offer power-sharing with Assad,” says a leading Syrian human-rights and pro-democracy activist, Ammar Abdulhamid. “They want to push the opposition to talk to the regime.” Abdulhamid said Russian Embassy officials “told opposition activists: ‘The Americans won’t help you. You had better come to us.’ “Syrian activists regard the Russian proposals as a mere face-saver for Assad. Indeed, the Kremlin firmly believes the Assad regime can survive the current upheavals.

Syrian oppositionist Ammar Abdul- Hamid and the Christian Science Monitor newspaper, for example, first detailed the use of attack helicopters against civilian protesters in Syria on June 15, 2011.

In Syria, life goes on despite violence (A report on daily life in Al-Qusayr, Homs Province)

Sign this petition by Amnesty International: “Stop the Assault on Syria’s Civilians

Videos from my participation at “From glasnost to the Arab Spring: the moral foundation of anti-authoritarian revolutions,” an 1-day conference organized by the American Enterprise Institute, on June 13, 2012 Unity of Expectations http://bcove.me/wh9zrderDeath but not Humiliation http://bcove.me/hixtkf0p Entire Panelhttp://bcove.me/hixtkf0p

Statement from the People of Houla

We write this letter in the name of the residents of the four cities of Houla (Taldo, Kafarlaha, Taldahab, al-Tiba al-Gharbiya), in response to a disgusting slur published in the weekend in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung German newspaper, which shamefully presented lies as facts in the report written by reporter Rainer Hermann and published on June 7, 2012. The report cast the 108 people who died here at the hands of the regime as conspirators instead of victims.  In almost four weeks since this dreadful act of savagery was brought to our village, we have been contacted by numerous reporters from many countries, all of whom have been in search of the truth. None of us recall being contacted by a German or non-German reporter that works for the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. We most certainly have not been contacted by Rainer Hermann or any representative of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

The least that can be said about the claims of the newspaper that the families killed were Alawite and that the FSA is responsible for the massacre, is that they are ridiculous. Everyone who is involved with the Syrian issue knows that the four cities of Houla are exclusively Sunni, and all the families who lost members to this slaughter are identifiably Sunni.

To anyone foolish enough to doubt this we invite you to look at the Sunni burial rituals, which are there for all to see on videos posted on YouTube.

The FSA is an essential part of Houla. They are our brothers, fathers, uncles and sons. Any reporter suggesting that they are in fact the villains in this plot are woefully blind or lying.

To conclude we say without reservation that this reporter spoke to no one from Houla before compiling his disgusting report from Damascus. If he has spoken to anyone at all it is stooges put up by the regime in an attempt to deceive. Despite the renewed anguish that this reporter has caused our community and the shame he has brought to himself and his newspaper, we invite him to come to our village to interview survivors and meet the community he has defamed. We guarantee him protection from justifiably angry residents here but wonder whether he first has the courage to slip from the grip of his masters in Damascus.

Video Highlights

It should be borne in mind that the peaceful pro-democracy rallies continue throughout the country, despite my inability to keep reporting them.

Deir Ezzor City: funeral http://youtu.be/wmvcgtFg6sE

Aleppo CityBoustan Al-Qasr http://youtu.be/4LSgb0xI4_Y Sukkarihttp://youtu.be/AKICZpCAH90

AleppoManbij http://youtu.be/-5Td_gkYSKc Protesters come under firehttp://youtu.be/zzeeoc6QqaM

DaraaDaraa City (funeral) http://youtu.be/qPQPDjhLL0o

Homs CityWa’er (funeral) http://youtu.be/hdQfrGqp6PM

Syrian Network for Human Rights: Violations Report 14 June 2012

**WARNING: THE VIDEOS BELOW MAY CONTAIN GRAPHIC IMAGES**

Al-Houla | Homs

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m_CI6hdLZD8

A clip showing the body of a man who was tortured to death by regime forces.

Homs | Al-Rasten

After regime forces besiege a village for four days with shelling, a make-shift hospital is full of the victims and wounded, most of them women and children. 

Lattakia | Hama

Pro-government Shabeeha militias stop a UN international observer’s car to prevent the workers inside from reaching Al-Hiffeh and documenting the crimes and abuses being perpetrated for the fourth day in a row. 

 

CASUALTY REPORT

78 confirmed casualties killed by the regime on Thursday, 14 June 2012.

Damascus & Rural Damascus: 27
Homs: 19
Dar’aa: 13
Lattakia: 4
Deir Ezzor: 4
Aleppo: 3
Idleb: 2
Hama: 2
Al-Hasakah: 1
Raqqa: 1

74 confirmed casualties killed by the regime on Wednesday, 13 June 2012.

Homs: 26
Deir Ezzor: 13
Dar’aa: 8
Idleb: 7
Latakia: 4
Aleppo: 2
Damascus and Rural Damascus: 2
Hama: 10
Raqqa: 1
Qunaitera: 1

65 confirmed casualties killed by the regime on Tuesday, 12 June 2012.

Homs: 20
Aleppo: 15
Latakia: 8
Damascus & Rural Damascus: 6
Idleb: 5
Deir Ezzor: 3
Hama: 3
Raqqa:2
Daraa: 2
Qunaitera: 1

91 confirmed casualties killed by the regime on Monday, 11 June 2012.

Idleb: 34
Damascus & Rural Damascus: 15
Homs: 14
Deir Ezzor: 14
Hama: 5
Aleppo: 4
Latakia: 3
Daraa: 2

66 confirmed casualties killed by the regime on Sunday, 10 June 2012.

Homs: 26
Latakia: 9
Idlib: 14
Aleppo: 5
Damascus: 6
Daraa: 5
Al-Hasaka: 1

 

For further information, please see:

Syrian Network for Human Rights – Violations and Casualty Reports  – 10–14 June 2012

 

 

Syrian Revolution Digest – Wednesday 13 June 2012

THE COMMENTARY IN THIS PIECE DOES NOT NECESSARILY REFLECT THE VIEWS OF IMPUNITY WATCH.  

*WARNING VIDEOS MAY CONTAIN GRAPHIC IMAGES*

Assad the Warlord!

A dismal failure as president, Assad is emerging as an accomplished warlord. After all, all it takes is a willingness to kill and destroy with an air of nonchalant.

Wednesday June 13, 2012

Death tolls: Tuesday 65. Wednesday 77 (23 in Homs, 12 in Hama, 12 in Daraa, 10 in Deir Ezzor, 9 in Idlib, 7 in Aleppo, 2 in Lattakia, 1 in Raqqah, 1 in Daamscus Suburbs).

On Tuesday, most local resistance fighters withdrew from the besieged town of Haffeh, Lattakia Province, having run out of ammunition. But the situation was still tense on Wednesday despite reports that loyalist troops and militias have retaken villages surrounding the town.

In Deir Ezzor City, war conditions continue to prevail. Clashes between the local resistance and pro-Assad militias continue http://youtu.be/sWbKDHJSiA0 But reports from local activists indicate that defections are increasing, so are and casualties among loyalists. The massacre caused by the shelling of a rally on Monday leaving over 50 dead, was “avenged” on Wednesday, when attacks by local fighters left over 60 loyalist troops dead and 17 tanks destroyed http://youtu.be/hILRWjE5fJM Loyalists, however, continue to pound the city with heavy artillery and helicopters http://youtu.be/KclXHk1TBds ,http://youtu.be/pm_bVUi3p5Y .

Pounding of Rural Aleppo, Old Homs neighborhoods, Rastan, Qusayr, Talbisseh on Rural Homs, and Daraa communities, and Damascene suburbs continues. Helicopters are now taking over from tanks as the main weapons for attacking specific targets in restive communities.

News

Op-Eds & Special Reports

Though rebels have also been found to have kidnapped, tortured and killed Syrians fighting for the government or backing it, the vast majority of abuses were carried out by Syrian government forces and allied militias, Amnesty International said, in a widespread and systematic campaign against civilians.

Accurate reporting in Syria is difficult, and has been made more so by the widespread violence. And despite the existence of legitimate data furnished by Syrian citizens, there is a cottage industry of nonsensical reports presented specifically to alter the perceptions of observers. Autocratic regimes retain their own propagandists and have a cordon of “useful idiots” disseminating the former’s data for their own reasons; Syria is no different. Damascus has its “Baghdad Bobs”; they’ve just been taken more seriously. As the West sits on its hands to see what may become of Syria, analysts must be circumspect in assessing the situation.

The cannons taking part in the pounding of Homs City http://youtu.be/0gYWKJXB5_M ,http://youtu.be/AoYSyXVmLuE I have asked before and I ask again, why can’t such position be struck from the air? Why can’t this crime in action that we are all watching be stopped?

The pounding of Rastan continues http://youtu.be/M71DEESe5Ds Using heavy artillery and helicopters http://youtu.be/eP3qURsstys So does the pounding of Talbissehhttp://youtu.be/V0xpLm2bNxE and the old neighborhoods in Homs Cityhttp://youtu.be/H2UghNtCgIw , http://youtu.be/9ArA_PRPYKQ ,http://youtu.be/ZYleI9JWHEo , http://youtu.be/tJeT2ksIE5o , http://youtu.be/4-2EZGeBByE , http://youtu.be/6_qjMQUzj_M

Nighttime in Homs City http://youtu.be/J8R8QAVS8bw Nighttime in Rastanhttp://youtu.be/ZZTfqdBz6GY

Rastan: children are among the victims of pounding http://youtu.be/GFgBSjA5osk Whole families continue to be victimized http://youtu.be/X0umnLIsEwI

In Bosra Al-Sham, Daraa, helicopter take part in pounding the cityhttp://youtu.be/MkqNs3AYCy0