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BREAKING: Morsi refuses congratulations from Assad  27-06-2012 01:27 PM

The Amman Post, in Jordan is reporting that the newly elected president of Egypt, Dr. Mohamed Morsi, has refused a telegram of congratulations from Syria's embattled president Bashar al-Assad, saying "we do not recognize Bashar al-Assad" as representing Syria. According to the Al Arabiya satellite news Morsi also refused a lion Assad sent him on Tuesday.

BREAKING: Another mass defection from Syrian army.
Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 11:58 AM PDT

Huge defection to Free Syrian Army is reported today in Rastan, Syria with the formation of al-Hamza at the Rastan media center.

This was after Assad's forces shelled the town of Rastan for 18 consecutive days.

Assad forces shell the town for the 18th consecutive day. ArRastan is located in the Homs province. Homs has been a center of the uprising calling for the down-fall of the Assad regime. The shelling comes as part of the regimes brutal crack-down on a revolution calling for freedom and the downfall of Assad.
Taped on 24-06-2012
ArRastan, Suburbs of Homs, Syria
The wheels are truly coming off the cart for Assad in Syria now. How long before Workers World Party, International Action Center, Party for Liberation and Socialism, and the ANSWER Coalition defect?

BREAKING: Russian media reports Russia canceled S-300 sales to Syria
Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 10:51 AM PDT
According to the Jerusalem Post, the Russian Business Daily Vedomisti is reporting that Russia has chosen to withhold sales estimated at about $100 million in advanced surface-to-air missiles in a deal reportedly signed in 2011. I could not myself confirm the story with Vedomisti because, besides being in Russian [overcome with Google translates], it only makes the current edition available to subscribers online. Needless to say, as I am doing all this for free, I'm in no position to subscribe to a Russian business daily when I don't even speak Russian. From the JPost, 06/27/2012 19:09, we have:

In what could be a possible outcome of Putin's visit to Israel, Russian paper 'Vedomisti' says Russia chose to withhold sale estimated at about $100 million; deal reportedly signed between Russia, Syria in 2011.

Russia has suspended the sale of the advanced S-300 surface-to-air missile system to Syria, a Russian daily reported on Wednesday, in what could be a possible outcome of President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Israel earlier this week.

The New Middle East News is also reporting this story:
The Vedomisti business paper reported that Russia chose to withhold the sale, estimated at about $100 million. The deal, previously unknown, was reportedly signed between Almaz-Antey – Russia’s top defense contractor – and Syria in 2011.

One of the most advanced multi-target anti-aircraft missile systems in the world, the S-300 has a reported ability to track up to 100 targets simultaneously while engaging up to 12 at the same time.

Russia signed a similar deal to sell the S-300 to Iran in 2007 but cancelled it in 2010 due to United Nations arms embargo that had been imposed on the Islamic Republic.
...
While Syria might not have the S-300, it has spent the past few years upgrading its air defense capabilities and is believed to have spent $3 billion on advanced Russian systems such as the SA-15, SA-17 and SA-22.

BREAKING: Report of another Syrian jet defection
Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 08:40 AM PDT

I just got this minutes ago via facebook:

BREAKING NEWS: A #Syrian military jet has just defected and fled to #Jordan and taken asylum there. The #Assad regime tried to shoot it down but couldn't, and when he arrived in Jordan, he ran out of the jet waving the #Syrian freedom flag.
انشقاق طائرة ميغ 21 و هبوطها في الاردن في مطار الزعيترات قبيل ظهر اليوم , و يحاول الامن الاردني منع الناشطين من التصوير و الاقتراب و من يالجدير ذكره ان الدفاعات الارضية الاسدية فشلت في اسقاط الطائرة فيما الطيار البطل يركض في ارض المطار الاردني حاملا علم الاستقلال
وسنوافيكم بأي تفاصيل في حال التأكد من ذلك
This is what Google translates gives us from the Arabic:
Split MiG 21 and landing at the airport in Jordan such as Alzeitrut afternoon, Jordanian security and tries to prevent the activists from approaching and imaging of Aalagdir and said that ground defenses stamens failed to bring down the plane with the pilot hero running around in the airport by Jordan's flag carrier Independence
We will provide you any details, and in the event that the
Help me break this story - it it turns out to be one - check your twitter, google - regional contacts. Leave links in comments or email me at clayclai@gmail.com

On Sunday, Al Arabiya News reported that three more Syrian pilots had defected to Jordan, of a total of seven at that time:

Three additional Syrian military pilots have defected to Jordan earlier today; bringing up the total number of defected Syrian pilots to seven, according to Al-Arabiya’s Amman correspondent.

“The three pilots have entered Jordan in an illegal way and they are currently held by the Jordanian security authorities who are taking them through the regular routine procedures” said Al-Arabiya’s Ghassan Abu Louz quoting sources within Syrian opposition.

According Abu Louz, one of the three pilots is a Lieutenant Colonel who managed to bring in his family to Jordan today as well. The other two pilots are both colonels and are said to have also brought in their families from Syria.

Four other Syrian military officials have entered Jordan since last Thursday following the defection of the colonel Hassan Marei Hamada who landed his Meg21 plane inside the Hashemite Kingdom

UN Reports on Houla Massacre

The UN issued a special report on Houla massecre today and found Syrian government forces ‘may have been responsible’ The Washington Post June 27, 1:55 AM reported:

A report by U.N.-appointed human rights experts says the military or pro-government “shabiha” forces had better access to the sites of the massacre in the Houla village, in Homs province, on May 24-25.

The village leans toward opposition support and most of the victims were women and children who were slaughtered in their homes.

Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, the head of the expert team, told the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva on Wednesday that a final verdict on who was responsible for the massacre would require further investigation by his team.

The Syrian representative to the UN Human Rights Council has rejected the report saying that it was based on the testimony of "people fleeing from justice".

Human Rights Watch Reports on Assad's Indiscriminate Killing

Today Human Rights Watch issued a report and demanded:

Syria: End Indiscriminate Shootings of Civilians Fleeing Country
Border Forces Appear to Shoot on Sight Syrians Fleeing to Jordan - June 27, 2012

(Amman) – Syrian soldiers on the border with Jordan appear to be shooting indiscriminately at anyone - including civilian women and children - trying to flee from Syria, Human Rights Watch said today. The Syrian authorities should immediately order its armed forces on the border to end all indiscriminate attacks and take all feasible measures to avoid injuries to civilians crossing into neighboring countries, and to respect their right to leave the country.

In mid-June, Human Rights Watch spoke with 17 Syrian refugees in Jordan who said that when they fled in May and June across the border in groups of up to 200 civilians accompanied by members of the Free Syrian Army (FSA), Syrian soldiers subjected them to sustained machine gun and sniper fire, killing three civilians and wounding 11. All of the refugees described incidents in which the Syrian army opened fire without warning, and fired on everyone who was crossing the border, FSA fighters and civilian men, women and children alike.

“Syria says it is fighting armed terrorists, yet its border forces appear to shoot at everyone crossing the border without distinction,  attacking civilian men, women, children and the wounded the same way they attack fighters,” said Gerry Simpson, senior refugee researcher and advocate for Human Rights Watch. “By indiscriminately attacking civilians fleeing across its borders, Syria violates fundamental human rights, including the right to life, the right to leave one’s country, and the right to seek asylum in another country.”

A Syrian army defector told Human Rights Watch that fellow defectors from the Jordanian-Syrian border guard told him they had been ordered to shoot at anyone trying to leave or enter the country without passing through an official border post, and that some of the soldiers refused to carry out the order.

While atrocities may at times be committed by people trying to defend themselves, there is no real question about who is responsible for the violence in Syria today.

Question for the US Left:

                WHICH SIDE ARE YOU ON?
The Syrian people's side:
In spite of shelling, helicopter gunships and all manner of government violence directed at the opposition they had a live demonstration yesterday, one of the largest in a long time. uploaded 2/27/12

                                      Mass protest today in Manbej.rural Aleppo

Assad's side:
In this leaked 20 minute video from Derbers, we see Syrian artillery batteries at the military airport in Daralzor going about their mechanized monotonous work of turning Syrian lives into mush in the city of Diralzor and the surrounding countryside. uploaded 2/27/12

                  MORE RECENT VIDEOS
Syria Freedom Fighters Seize Military Airbase at Jebl Simon - Idlib 6-26-12 Take Dictator's Weapons

This is said to be a bomb [unexploded] dropped by Syrian Air Force on other Syrians June 27, 2012.

During the Libyan conflict, some Internet activists were able to provide immediate practical assistance to the people being terrorized by Qaddafi's forces by identifying ordinances, and from that, what their range is, who the supplier is, and of critical importance in cases like this, how to safely dis-arm them. Any Kossack want to take a crack at this one?

In Damascus today freedom fighters stormed a pro-Assad TV channel. Reuters reported:

(Reuters) - Gunmen stormed a pro-government Syrian TV channel headquarters on Wednesday, bombing buildings and shooting dead three employees, state media said, in one of the boldest attacks yet on a symbol of the authoritarian state.

The dawn attack on Ikhbariya television's offices, 20 km (15 miles) south of the capital, as well as overnight fighting on the outskirts of Damascus showed the 16-month-old violence now rapidly encroaching on the city.

Ikhbariya resumed broadcasting shortly after the attack, which killed three journalists and four security guards, displaying bullet holes in its two-storey concrete building and pools of blood on the floor. One building was almost entirely destroyed.

"I heard a small explosion then a huge explosion and gunmen ran in. They ransacked the offices and entirely destroyed the newsroom," an employee who works at the offices in the town of Drousha told state media at the scene.

Syrian media are tightly regulated by the Ministry of Information. Although Ikhbariya is privately owned, opponents of Assad say it is a government mouthpiece.

After Tuesday's fighting unprecedented in its intensity around Damascus, violence appeared to ease off around the capital following the attack on the television complex. But rebel forces were clearly becoming stronger and more ambitious.

Here are my related diaries:
BREAKING: #NATO says No War in #Syria shoot down of #Turkey jet
NATO meetup tomorrow as more defect from Syria
BREAKING: Turkey calls for NATO consult on downing of jet by Syria
BREAKING: Senior Syrian Officers Defect
UPDATED: Russia reported to be preparing to evacuate from Syria
BREAKING: Syria fighter pilot defects
BREAKING: Britain stops Russian ship carrying attack helicopters for Syria
BREAKING: Russian troops headed to Syria
Qaddafi forces Strike Back in Libya
BREAKING: UN suspends mission in Syria
Libya & Syria - two videos - no comment
BREAKING: Russia denies supplying Syria with NEW attack helicopters
Syrian people rise up against the massacre
Another "Houla style" massacre in Syria
Fake Houla Massacre Photo: Was the BBC set up?
Idlib, Syria protest today on anniversary of Kent State killings
BREAKING: Massive protests in Syria following Friday pray
Syria is bleeding
Syria: Ceasefire faltering as mass protests breakout

Thu Jun 28, 2012 at  7:26 AM PT: This bomb has been IDed by Brown Moses who said they are a type of unguided anti-personnel bomb dropped from helicopters:

I believe what we are seeing in these videos are OFAB 250-270 High Explosive Fragmentation Bombs, and I've come to the conclusions by identifying a number of characteristics which I believe collectively are unique to that specific model of bomb.
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