THE COMMENTARY IN THIS PIECE DOES NOT NECESSARILY REFLECT THE VIEWS OF IMPUNITY WATCH.
*WARNING VIDEOS MAY CONTAIN GRAPHIC IMAGES*
When regime propagandists begin describing the majority population in their country as Relics, especially after their president declared war against said majority, chances for the success of a new plan that lacks enforcement mechanisms drop to null, while those for ethnic cleansing on an even larger scale than witnessed so far increase to 100%. But if world leaders expect the relics to go gently into that good night, they are as delusional as Assad and his militias.
Thursday June 28, 2012
Today’s Death toll: 139. The Breakdown: 59 in Damascus Suburbs (mostly in Douma), 26 in Homs, 17 in Daraa, 15 in Deir Ezzor, 9 in Hama, 9 in Idlib, and 2 in Aleppo.
Lebanese police is reportedly increasing its crackdown against Syrian anti-regime activists living in Lebanon, with new arrests reported. Previously Lebanese authorities surrendered Syrian activists to the Assad regime despite their refugee status. International community should act now to pressure Lebanese authorities into complying with all norms and regulations pertaining to treatment of refugees.
Op-Eds & Special Reports
The Massacre of Douma (Damascus Suburbs)
Victims: 38 dead, and 150 wounded. Most died in the continuous shelling of the town, but 14 people were executed when pro-Assad militias stormed their neighborhoods, they belonged to one family: Al-Tomei. The dead included 7 children and a 90-year old grandmother
http://youtu.be/3LQpsWk-qzE The victims http://youtu.be/OH2l_6ma1qE ,http://youtu.be/KyEySQA_0Zc The fridge http://youtu.be/86_YL2gdnDI The pounding sets buildings on fire http://youtu.be/k_tN8xJ_pn8 The invading tanks pound their way into the neighborhood http://youtu.be/P50ZWFyQoTg , http://youtu.be/e0zxDte4WcYHelicopter gunships took part in the pounding http://youtu.be/M9c_2nWuzSk Tank in action http://youtu.be/TLVANdGP9pc Nearby Kafarbatna is also poundedhttp://youtu.be/8X83i9CofDo In Arbeen, helicopter gunships take part in the poundinghttp://youtu.be/Ij2b3tUZ_hA
Unfortunately, what could have been a good point to make on the need for providing structural and constitutional protections to the country’s minorities in the future reads like an exercise in pro-regime propaganda. The authors, self-proclaimed intelligence analysts focusing on Syrian-Lebanese issues, adopted regime line on the expulsion of Christians from Old Homs and the nearby town of Qusayr.
Rather than attributing the exodus of 80,000 Christians to the same reasons that paved the way for the simultaneous exodus from adjacent neighborhoods of over 500,000 Sunni inhabitants, that is: indiscriminate and well-documented shelling of neighborhoods by pro-regime troops, our “intelligence” analysts claim that Sunni fighters took the time to risk their lives to go on a suicidal house-to-house mission to order Christian families out. The presence of Christians in the middle of areas targeted by pro-regime militias was a major complicating factor for the regime, their departure facilitate the intensification of the bombing campaign. Yet, our intelligence analysts want us to believe that local Sunni fighters made this major miscalculation not once but twice: in Old Homs and Al-Qusayr.
A better take on the threat to Christians in Qusayr can be found here.
To date, experts simply refuse to see the real patterns emerging on the ground, patterns which denote active planning for the creation of a future enclave in the coastal and central parts of Syria where the overwhelming majority population is made up of Alawites and Christians. The only beneficiaries of massive population shifts in the country are Assad and his loyalist militias. In fact, most Christians who left Old Homs went to live in Alawite-majority neighborhoods in Homs City and most those who left the town of Qusayr went to live in towns and villages close to majority Alawite towns and villages, although some escaped to Lebanon, and from there to western countries.
Syria’s Turkish Relics
But the most telling development of late is the declaration of war enunciated by Bashar Al-Assad against his enemies, i.e., the majority of the Syrian people, even as world leaders keep speaking of political solutions and peaceful transfer of power. Assad is not interested in taking part in power-sharing arrangements even if they keep him in power for a while or afford him a face-saving exit to U.K. Whether as President of the country, or a warlord with his own major turf, Assad wants to stay in Syria, and no amount of coaxing, plans or talks can change his mind. His bombs speak louder than all words, and his propagandist are already trying to draw a scenario that can justify further ethnic cleansing in the country, on a more mass scale.
The recent dismissal by pro-Assad ideologue on Addounia TV, the network owned by Assad’s cousin, Rami Makhlouf, of the Sunni inhabitants of Homs as “Turkish Relics” from Ottoman times comes as the latest attempt at justifying the ethnic cleansing that took place there. The Assad regime has moved from blatant denial into defiant admission and justification of the crimes its militias are perpetrating all over the country. This is both a sign of weakness and strength. Assad and his advisers know that they are losing the country, they also know, however that their plans for the creation of a loyalist enclave on most ethnic lines are progressing nicely. Putin is buying them the time they need for that.
In this light, plans for unity government proposed by Kofi Annan seem completely unrealistic, especially considering the absence of any enforcement mechanisms. What would make an Assad who just declared war against 80% of his people and whose militias are busy ethnically cleansing huge swathes of lands from native Sunnis, now deemed as Turkish Relics, stop and decide to allow for such unity government to take place and to pave the way for his replacement, absent any serious threats to is very existence?
The War in Videos
In Khan Al-Sibil, Idlib province, where fighters managed to take control of an anti-aircraft battery, they now target the helicopter gunships targeting their communityhttp://youtu.be/UDkLOYVs52o
Dead and wounded in Da’el, Daraa http://youtu.be/wX5h_LWx33c ,http://youtu.be/ds2NB8jVQXk , http://youtu.be/G9CP4uowta8 ,http://youtu.be/n1XbT1zl3oY , http://youtu.be/Psib_9CPi0A The mass funeralhttp://youtu.be/Y8FJYArtP7o
Basra Al-Harir, Daraa, comes under fire at night http://youtu.be/u7nPZWd84jo Al-Hraak gets pounded at night http://youtu.be/fTNyaS3ZI-w Daraa City (Sadd) comes under fire at night http://youtu.be/DRVjuOLHODQ , http://youtu.be/lWRuLgJdBqQ ,http://youtu.be/8MD1Rhk3DNM
Zamalka, Damascus Suburbs, comes under fire at night http://youtu.be/WLNtD3L6Bg8 ,http://youtu.be/ctFdQtnCwI8
The sounds of war in Deir Ezzor City http://youtu.be/os9DlVXzw68where ,http://youtu.be/TIHCt2PcldI local fighters destroyed three attacking tanks, and mass defections continue to take place on a regular basis. Pro-Assad militias in these parts often draw on members from Sunni Arab tribes in Hassakah and Raqqah which is why defections are quite common. The aftermath of pounding http://youtu.be/dk–JjUQVz8 Helicopter gunships take part in the pounding http://youtu.be/ZHQ_u5wdIrk The tanks taking part in laying siege to the city http://youtu.be/sW8ibkRtu4o
In Homs Province, the pounding of Talbisseh continues http://youtu.be/i7COl3Q4S_c ,http://youtu.be/cii6BMh_Ocs and the pounding of Houla http://youtu.be/XLdeOc_TKngand the pounding of Rastan http://youtu.be/aX0GbRIwLuQ The pounding of Old Homscontinues (Jouret Al-Shayah) http://youtu.be/l08ueytnkOg , http://youtu.be/p_Q-wkZH0qI , http://youtu.be/qHNEdwlaM68
The pounding of Jabal Shahshabo, Hama Province, continueshttp://youtu.be/sJFxdC_TjRI
Lattakia, Jabal Al-Akrad, the pounding continues http://youtu.be/mtQuri00GX4
Still, whenever people have the chance to demonstrate peacefully, they do in droves:
In Damascus: Daraya http://youtu.be/aQ9HzUhifCQ Dafalshawkhttp://youtu.be/g4Kgi4KxGgY Barzeh http://youtu.be/O0_64MvOssQ Qabounhttp://youtu.be/qrgdaT-nhhQ Halbouni http://youtu.be/iucP9OOxZcQ
In Hama: Bab Qibli http://youtu.be/ZWOvTM6vIPQ
In Aleppo: Salaheddine http://youtu.be/Id_NIa0ENKI Bza’ahhttp://youtu.be/rsFZOjmN_3g Boustan Al-Qasr http://youtu.be/iYHSZWJtMCkManbej http://youtu.be/-x9ZOQ0BSzw
In Homs City, Wa’er http://youtu.be/jYLaCSAnVho
In Idlib: Marrat Al-Nouman (funeral) http://youtu.be/SO88LjB-OjY Kafar Ouaidhttp://youtu.be/gYZvRa7QRR8