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Last updated  28 July 2012 | 6:49pm

The head of the Syrian Consulate in Armenia, Huhammad Hosam, has defected from the Assad regime, according to tweets.
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UPDATED 6:40pm pst | 180 people were killed totoday by the Assad regime, including 21 childern, the Revolution Council reported [Al Arabiya Sun Jul 29, 2012 21:25 pm (GMT) ]:
Four buildings were set ablaze early in the day in Aleppo’s Salaheddin district as opposition fighters battled a long-anticipated army offensive.

“It started at 4:00 am (1:00 GMT) and eight hours later it’s still hell. This is madness,” an AFP correspondent reported on Saturday.

The much dreaded ground assault by the Assad regime with the full fiery of its mechanized army began about 8 hours ago with reports of the entry of 50 tanks into Salah Al Din and people fleeing. @BBCiPannell says "A number of FSA fighters wounded & killed. Rebels edgy"


About that same time the tweets from Aleppo yet silent as reports that the Internet and/or the mobile phone network has been cut off in Aleppo.

As this was happening, we received new reports of fresh clashes between the Syrian and Jordanian armies around the Hajaneh border crossing. A gas station was said to be on fire.

And there have been more defection. Syrian Ikhbariya TV reporter, Ola Abbas, announced her defection "from the lying arm of the Assad regime" in this video:

          Damascus Bab Srigh, an evening rally in support of the cities affected | 28 July 2012

        Al-Sha'ar | Aleppo | FSA soldiers surrounded by protesters - Free Syria  | 28 July 2012
6:42 PM PT:




Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is calling upon the international community to take steps to address the Assad regime's assault and the threat that it will use chemical weapons. From Today's Zaman we have:
Erdoğan says can’t remain spectator to looming Aleppo offensive

International steps must be taken to deal with President Bashar al-Assad's military build-up around the Syrian city of Aleppo and his government's threat to use chemical weapons, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Friday.

International concern was mounting on Friday over a looming massacre as Syrian troops bombarded the besieged city of Aleppo with artillery, strafed it with aircraft and pulled in major reinforcements ready to crush the outgunned opposition fighters.

The battle is one of the most important of the 17-month-old uprising. With a population of about 3 million, Aleppo is Syria's largest city and commercial hub, a key pillar of support for Assad's regime.

"There is a build-up in Aleppo and the recent statements, with respect to the use of weapons of mass destruction, are actions that we cannot remain an observer or spectator to,
" he said at a joint news conference in London with British Prime Minister David Cameron.

"Steps need to be taken jointly within the United Nations Security Council, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the Arab League, and we must work together to try to overcome the situation," said Erdoğan. More...

Reuters has this report:
Military helicopters pound Aleppo as onslaught looms
By Erika Solomon
TAL RIFAAT, Syria | Sat Jul 28, 2012 10:24am EDT

(Reuters) - Military helicopters pounded a rebel-held district of Aleppo on Saturday and armored units positioned themselves for an onslaught that could determine the fate of Syria's biggest city, opposition sources said.

Turkey, once a friend but now a fierce critic of the Syrian government, joined growing diplomatic pressure on President Bashar al-Assad, calling for international steps to deal with the military build-up.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition group which collects information on the 16-month-old uprising against Assad, reported helicopter attacks on the central Salaheddine district of Aleppo and fighting elsewhere in the city.

"Helicopters are participating in clashes at the entrance of Salaheddine district and bombarding it,"
the group said in an emailed statement. "There are also violent clashes at the entrances to Sakhour district."

One opposition activist said he had seen tanks and armored carriers heading for Salaheddine.

On the approaches to Aleppo from the north many villagers were still shopping or tending their fields. But fighters from the rebel Free Syrian Army (FSA) were also in evidence, while a military helicopter clattered overhead in the distance.

One man in his forties, carrying his family on a motorcycle, said he was fleeing the fighting in Aleppo and heading to the town of Azaz near the Turkish border.

"We are living in a war zone," he told Reuters. "I and my relatives are just going back and back and forth, trying to stay away from the fighting. We left Aleppo when we saw smoke and helicopters firing."

On the road south from the Turkish border to Aleppo rebel soldiers had set up checkpoints bearing the sign: "This is an FSA checkpoint. May God protect you." More ...

The International Business Times has this story:
Syria Civil War: Has Aleppo Massacre Begun? [VIDEO]
President Bashar al-Assad's forces step up bombardment on Syria's largest city
July 28, 2012 11:44 AM GMT

President Bashar al-Assad's forces are conducting coordinated ground and air attacks on Aleppo, Syria's largest city, prompting fears that a massacre maybe under way. Scores of rebels belonging to the Free Syrian Army (FSA) have been killed or badly wounded. Several casualties have been reported across the city as bombardment in the rebel-controlled districts has escalated.

Hovering helicopters and tanks are shelling the region. Western nations, the UN and Syria's neighbouring countries had earlier expressed concern that the Syrian regime was planning a massacre in Aleppo.

Forces loyal to Assad are reported to have moved tanks into the south-western districts of the city.

"Helicopters are participating in clashes at the entrance of Salaheddine district and bombarding it. There are also violent clashes at the entrances to Sakhour district," Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights told Reuters.

Salaheddine is the central district in Aleppo. Skirmishes were also reported in several other parts of the city.

An unverified video has emerged showing the intensity of the Syrian forces' shelling.

In an orchestrated move, military aircraft were seen flying at a low altitude over the region joined by ground forces and tanks closing in on the rebels.

The armed opposition groups claim that they have retaliated by destroying several military tanks.

The Syrian regime has been mustering heavy weapons and troops in Aleppo over the last few days, in a bid to crush the rebels. Both sides feel capturing Aleppo will give them a strategic advantage. More ...



Ian Pannell of the BBC is on the ground in Aleppo and he filed this report:
Aleppo: BBC journalist on Syria army moving in on city
28 July 2012 Last updated at 04:30 ET

We came into the city last night and since first light, we have been hearing the amplification of artillery bombardment.

There have been gunfights in a number of areas and helicopters flying overhead.

We are hearing that there is a government offensive targeting Salah el-Din, which has been one of the most restive neighbourhoods - perhaps the key district - and which has been in the hands of the opposition Free Syrian Army for a number of days now.

We had heard that government troops were massing outside the city, though on this occasion we believe they are coming from an area they control inside Aleppo.

The rebels are saying that they have destroyed a number of tanks. Though this cannot be verified, there is evidence that they have been able to do that - they have rocket-propelled grenades and know how to use them to target these vehicles.

But the truth is they are outgunned and outmanned.  More...


The Guardian also has a man in Aleppo and he thinks the regime is running on empty. Luke Harding filed this report yesterday:
Syrian army supply crisis has regime on brink of collapse, say defectors
General who swapped sides says regime can last 'two months at most' as troop morale sinks and petrol trucks are ambushed
Friday 27 July 2012 12.15 EDT

Bashar al-Assad's military machine is on the brink of logistical meltdown and collapse, because it lacks petrol and food, and is having problems resupplying its soldiers, according to a Syrian general who has defected to the opposition.

Much has been made of the Syrian military's supposed superiority over the opposition, but General Mohammad Al-Zobi told the Guardian: "The benzine is nearly finished. They are running out of rockets. There is scarcely any bread or water for the soldiers."  More...


Al Arabia News is giving us the Russian take on Aleppo this morning:
Russia warns of looming ‘tragedy’ in Syria’s Aleppo
Sat Jul 28, 2012 13:18 pm (KSA) 10:18 am (GMT)

Russia warned Saturday that a “tragedy” was looming in Syria’s second city of Aleppo but said it was unrealistic to expect the government would stand by when armed rebels were occupying major cities.

“We are persuading the government that they need to make some first gestures,” Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told a news conference alongside his Japanese counterpart.

“But when the armed opposition are occupying cities like Aleppo, where yet another tragedy is brewing as I understand,... it is not realistic to expect that they (the government) will accept this,” Lavrov added.

The Syrian army launched a fightback against rebels in Aleppo on Saturday, amid concern among Western governments about reprisals against the civilian population of the country’s second city.

“How can you hope that in such a situation, the government will simply reconcile itself and say ‘All right, I was wrong. Come on and topple me, change the regime’?” Lavrov asked rhetorically.

“It’s just not realistic -- not because we are holding onto this regime -- but it simply doesn’t work,” he said in the news conference in the southern city of Sochi which was broadcast live by state media. More ...

EAWorldView is also reporting on the assault on Aleppo. This morning they filed this report:

1204 GMT: Syria. The Local Coordination Committees report 60 deaths, including 17 in Damascus and its suburbs, 12 in Aleppo Province --- including three bodies found of people slain on Friday --- and 11 in Hama Province.

1147 GMT: Syria. Sky News Arabia reports more than 50 regime tanks have entered the Salaheddin section of Aleppo.

Claimed footage of a regime attack repelled by insurgents --- there are bodies of soldiers in the sreets and a stricken armoured vehicle:

1037 GMT: Syria. The Local Coordination Committees report 51 deaths so far today at the hands of security forces.

1015 GMT: Syria. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has commented about the situation in Aleppo, "We are persuading the government that they need to make some first gestures. But when the armed opposition are occupying cities like Aleppo, where yet another tragedy is brewing as I understand,...it is not realistic to expect that they (the government) will accept this."

Lavrov continued with criticism for the "West":

Pressure must be put on everyone. Unfortunately, our Western partners prefer to do something a bit different and essentially, along with some countries neighbouring Syria, encourage, support and direct the armed fight against the regime.

The price of all this is still more blood.

The Foreign Ministry also reported that it would not cooperate with a new round of European Union sanctions against Syria, commenting through a spokesperson and a statement on its website:

We do not plan to take any part in measures carrying out European Union decisions directed against Syria. Among other things we will not consider requests and give consent to the search of ships sailing under the Russian flag, nor to the use of other restrictive measures.

0955 GMT: Syria. The Local Coordination Committees report that 41 people have died at the hands of security forces today. Despite the news of regime attacks in Aleppo, only six fatalities so far are reported from the city.

0925 GMT: Syria. Reuters' report from Aleppo this morning:

More images and sounds, from distance, of shelling and gunfire:

0910 GMT: Syria. Back from a Saturday break to find a report from BBC's Ian Pannell:

From first light, the sound of a heavy artillery bombardment reverberated across this city. The rebels say tanks and armoured vehicles have started to advance towards Salah al-Din, one of the most restive neighbourhoods in Aleppo, where they have apparently met fierce resistance.

Many casualties are being reported and an emergency call has gone out to doctors to help. Pro-government forces are said to have entered another area too, and the sound of heavy skirmishing can be heard all around.

Cars and trucks packed with families are heading out to the countryside, fearing there will be a massacre in the city. Both sides are determined to control this place, but the overwhelming firepower belongs to President Assad's men, and they are prepared to use it to retake Aleppo.

Scott Peterson of the Christian Science Monitor is also reporting from the city:

Evidence of need is everywhere. On one street, the tail fins of a 120mm mortar shell have buried themselves in the asphalt. Shrapnel smashed the windows of a car nearby and struck at least one person, who left a trail of blood splashes on the sidewalk for a full city block.

“We can’t do anything but sometimes only watch them die,” says Umm Huda, the female doctor who runs this makeshift emergency ward. “There are children, ten or three years old, they have done nothing and you see them die. They are angels.”

She says the lack of international help has been a mixed blessing.

The US “can do a lot of things; they know how to end it,” she says in between treating casualties. At the same time, the Russian and Chinese vetoes of intervention “is a good thing... we want to win, but we want it ourselves, with no help from anybody.”

0725 GMT: Syria. The Syrian Ambassador to Belarus, Farouq Taha, has announced his defection.

In an interview with Al Jazeera on Friday night, Taha said that the regime did not refrain “from threatening to attack the families and properties of the officials who want to defect". He continued, “I could only announce my defection recently since the regime practices its oppression on the inside and outside the country.....Silence is not an option anymore, but rather treason.”

Taha, who has been in Government service for 44 years with 26 as a diplomat, is the 4th Ambassador to defect.

0720 GMT: Syria. Activists are reporting a regime attack to push into the Salaheddin section of Aleppo, the area first taken by insurgents this week --- an image and sounds of shelling this morning:

0550 GMT: Syria. In another sign of the growing --- if not necessarily overt --- US Government support for the insurgency, the Treasury has given the Syrian Support Group a waiver to provide logistical and financial backing to the Free Syrian Army.

The waiver allows the SSG to put money towards FSA salaries and provisions, as well as --- according to an SSG official --- “communications equipment, satellite imagery, paying for satellite imagery, logistical support for transport, which could mean everything from buying a 4x4 to supporting someone’s travel to Turkey". Soon, there could be "intelligence support, drone support, eyes in the sky, an intelligence platform".

Articles this week in outlets like The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal have outlined the US Administration's involvement --- along with European partners, Arab States, and Turkey --- in covert support for the insurgency. The effort is being coordinated from Adana in Turkey, near the Syrian border, with US operations "through a middlemen" and supervision by the CIA.

0515 GMT: Syria. Having entered Friday with the expectation of widespread conflict in Aleppo, the day was a relatively quiet one --- if 795 protests and 100 deaths at the hands of security forces, according to the Local Coordination Committees, can be called "relatively quiet".

There were big rallies in Aleppo, despite shelling of some areas and news of regime reinforcements moving towards Syria's largest city, and across the country. It appears that the Assad military has conceded control of much of the north, at least for the foreseeable future, to deal with the crisis. Conversely, the insurgents have released pressure --- because they were defeated, according to regime supporters; because they made their point, according to the opposition --- on Damascus.

Loud rally in the al-Hamdania section of Aleppo in Syria on Friday night

12:44 PM PT:
 

From Al Jazeera:

Frances calls for immediate UN intervention in Syria

July 28, 2012 - 18:31

Francois Hollande, the French president, has called for the United Nations Security Council to authorise intervention in Syria "as quickly as possible" to pre-empt the threat of "civil war".

"The role of the countries of the Security Council is to intervene as quickly as possible," he said, specifically addressing Damascus allies Russia and China and warning that failure to do so would mean "chaos and civil war."

Here are my related diaries on Syria:
BREAKING: Protests across Syria in spite of Assad regime violence
ALEPPO: Step outside the Matrix and witness the Horror
UPDATED: US fears massacre in #Aleppo, #Syria
BREAKING: Reports of clashes between Jordan Army & Assad's Syrian army
BRAKING: Obama stops Putin from re-arming Assad in Syria
Syria: Foreign meddling increases as crisis builds
BREAKING: Aleppo, Syria bombed with fighter jets
BREAKING: Syria issues a correction, it has no WMD to use
BREAKING: Arab League asks Assad to step down!
Bashar al-Assad: New images released as slaughter continues in Syria
no blood for oil
BREAKING: Activists report toxic gas attack in Deir ez-Zor, Syria
Glenn Greenwald sees Islamist Terrorism as main issue in Syria
Will Syria's Assad make a chemical attack in Damascus on Saturday?
BREAKING: I know where Syria's President Bashar al-Assad is!
BREAKING: Massive Fire near #Assad's Presidential Palace in #Damascus, #Syria
BREAKING: Is Syria's Bashar al-Assad dead or dying?
BREAKING: Damascus explosion kills Defense Minister, other key figures
The battle for Damascus is coming
BREAKING: General Strike in Damascus
BREAKING: Intense fighting reported in Damascus now!
BREAKING: Syrian defector spills beans as important new defection reported.
Does Syria's Assad have something on Kofi Annan?
Tremseh Massacre in Syria: What we know
BREAKING: ~227 reported massacred by Assad's forces in Tremseh, Syria today!
Syria: Is Assad regime on the verge of collapse?
BREAKING: Russian Warships reported in Syria
BREAKING: #Russia changing on #Assad but not as fast as conditions in #Syria
UN Observers say violence in Syria is ‘Unprecedented’
BREAKING: Defection of major Assad insider reported in Syria
BREAKING: WikiLeaks releases 2.4 million #Syria emails
When did "Never Again" become "Whenever?" | #Douma
BREAKING: Incredible mass rally in Aleppo, Syria today!
BREAKING: HRW releases torture report on Syria
BREAKING: Syrian General defects with 293 to Turkey
BREAKING: Items not in the MSM on Syria
My response to Phyllis Bennis: Where is the non-violent opposition in Syria?
BREAKING: Syrian Air Force attacks Douma, 10m from Damascus, thousands flee
BREAKING: As Syria Burns, UN Blows More Smoke
BREAKING: Kofi Annan to propose Syrian unity gov't sans Assad!
BREAKING: Douma, Syria under massive attack, another massacre feared
BREAKING: Another mass defection from Syrian army
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
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Comment Preferences

  •  Trying to follow news from Syria on Twitter (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cynical Copper

    but the topic searches produce huge amounts of junk for some reason, celebrity tabloid stuff and porn spam way out of proportion. Didn't happen when I was following events in Libya or Iran on Twitter, it is very frustrating.

  •  Crimes by both the regime and the rebels (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    InAntalya, Claudius Bombarnac

    There is no question that both sides are committing terrible crimes in Syria.   I find hypocritical though any support for the rebels.   The Free Syrian Army is supported by the Saudis who provide them with weapons and they seem not to care about civilians.   Why would they go to civilian areas in big cities and try to provoke the regime's army to attack them?  In other wars they would be accused of using civilian human shields.

    The Assad regime is terrible, but the rebels are not any better.   They are mixture of some who sincerely believe in democracy, but also jihadists, islamic fundamentalists and mercenaries/foreign fighters.    

    •  In the battle between the Salafists and the (0+ / 0-)

      Alawites, why can't both lose?

      You may think that. I couldn't possibly comment.-- Francis Urqhart

      by Johnny Q on Sat Jul 28, 2012 at 11:47:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I'm sure the defenders of the Warsaw ghetto also (0+ / 0-)

      "committed terrible crimes."

      Your standard for any fighting force is obviously perfection on the question of human rights violation. This is an extremely difficult thing to achieve in actual combat.

      Still, I strongly believe that the only way Assad will be stopped will be by force of arms. If he could be talked out of what he's doing, he would have stopped a long time ago.

      This is a good versus evil fight and you keep trying to make perfection the enemy of the good. That's your whole approach and it is objectively pro-Assad.

      It is not true that the FSA is using civilians as "human shields." How do you explain attacks, including artillery on areas with no FSA?

      Remember history, Clay Claiborne, Director Vietnam: American Holocaust - narrated by Martin Sheen

      by Clay Claiborne on Sat Jul 28, 2012 at 12:04:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  BS (3+ / 0-)

        I am not defending the Assad regime and you know it.    On the other hand, you seem to be an enthusiastic supporter of the Saudi backed rebels.   But, objectively, the ones who talk the war within densely occupied civilian areas are the rebels.   They went into civilian areas and use them as bases to attack the regime.   That is obviously why there are fights in narrow streets and civilians are killed.   It seems that the goal of the FSA is to fight the regime within densely populated areas, in order to minimize their casualties, without caring at all about the civilians who would get killed by such approach.   That is exactly what using human shields is.

        This is not good versus evil fight.   It is evil versus evil and it is completely unclear who is more evil from the 2 sides.

    •  There is a good number of people in Syria who (3+ / 0-)

      sincerely do want political reform and to see Syria develop and prosper, but they want to do this without destroying the country, without foreign intervention, and without Syria losing its independence.

      Regarding your list:

      ... but also jihadists, islamic fundamentalists and mercenaries/foreign fighters.
      There are also many who want to settle their own scores, or carve out what they hope will be their own little fiefdoms, or are just opportunists who see this as an opportunity to do really horrible things to others or to get rich.

      Lamb chop, we can quibble what to call it, but I think we can both agree it's creepy.

      by InAntalya on Sat Jul 28, 2012 at 12:06:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  A little information about Aleppo (4+ / 0-)

    whıch might help those interested in understanding events a little better.

    Aleppo, which is the capital of the Aleppo Province, has a population of about 2.5 million and is very densly populated.

    Aleppo has an area of only 190 sq. km (73 sq. miles). The main part of the city is an area about 12 km (7.5 miles) east to west and about 10 km (6 miles) north to south.

    For comparison - the city of Houston (not metropolitan Houston) which has a similar population has an area which is nine times bigger than the area of Aleppo.

    Aleppo extends out from this central area

    to the northwest along the highway which goes north to Azaz,

    to the soutwest along the highway which goes south to Hamah,

    to the northwest, including an area which is being developed,

    to the east near the airport,

    and to the south, which is an industrial area.

    According to the information I have the areas where the FSA has taken up positions are mostly along the western and southern edges of Aleppo.

    The Turkish border is about 35 km (22 miles) to the east of and about 45 km (28 miles) to the north of Aleppo.

    I understand that there is a strong Kurdish presence north of Aleppo especially around the town of Azaz and that the area north of Aleppo is partly, possibly mostly, under the control of Kurdish groups. I also understand that most of the trafic into and out of Turkey takes place to the east of Aleppo.

    Lamb chop, we can quibble what to call it, but I think we can both agree it's creepy.

    by InAntalya on Sat Jul 28, 2012 at 11:28:43 AM PDT

  •  How are the Kurds involved with this? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Claudius Bombarnac

    It appears that the Turks are mostly focused on PKK groups within Syria rather than on the insurgency per se. They've been focused on them since well before the current crisis. Are the Kurdish separatists within Syria tightly connected to Iraqi Kurds? And are the PKK groups supporting Assad? It seems to me that the Syria-based PKK are about to play a mighty important role in all this, but I don't really understand how they are linked to the other players.

    For example, from the Turkish point of view, could this basically just be an opportunity for them to get NATO backing to take out some PKK groups that have been pestering them for a long time?

    •  Replying to myself... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Claudius Bombarnac

      I did come across this article
      http://www.rue89.com/...
      which, while in French, does discuss the issue of the Kurds.

      They are basically saying that the pull-back of the Syrian army from the region has given control to the Kurds, primarily, and that this has in fact put a lot of stress on the Turks. They also mentioned that there are ongoing strategic connections and meetings going on between the Iraqi & Syrian Kurds.

      Finally, they finish with

      La partie qui se joue dans cette part de la Syrie peut semble périphérique par rapport à la bataille d’Alep et au soulèvement qui, depuis dix-huit mois, a gagné l’ensemble du pays.

      Mais elle peut peser lourd dans la définition de la future Syrie, lorsqu’il s’agira de trouver les équilibres entre la majorité sunnite et les minorités ethniques et religieuses, de choisir un modèle institutionnel adapté aux lendemains de dictature, et de réévaluer les rapports de force régionaux. Il faudra compter avec les Kurdes.

      Basically, that their role right now is secondary to the main action which is taking place elsewhere, but given their current situation, they are likely to have a strong effect on the structure of post-Assad Syria.
      •  Pepe Escobar has an interesting take on it (0+ / 0-)

        showing the hypocrisy of who is a "freedom fighter" and who is a "terrorist".

        E Welcome to the Kurdish Spring

        Turkish foreign policy, codified by Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, used to be known in shorthand as "zero problems with our neighbors". When Turkey started calling for regime change in Syria, it turned into "a major problem with one of our neighbors" (even tough Davutoglu himself admitted on the record the policy change failed).

        Now, in yet another twist, it's becoming "all sorts of problems with two of our neighbors". Enter - inevitably - Ankara's ultimate taboo; the Kurdish question.
        ...
        Davutoglu must have seen it coming; when a formerly "zero problem" foreign policy evolves into housing the weaponized opposition to a neighboring government, you're bound to be in trouble.

        Especially when you start itching to kill "terrorists" living in your neighbor's territory - even though your Western allies may view them as "freedom fighters". Meanwhile you actively support Salafi-jihadis - "insurgents" formerly known as terrorists - back and forth across your borders.

        An increasingly erratic Erdogan has invoked a "natural right" [5] to fight "terrorists". But first they must produce an ID; if they are Sunni Arab, they get away with it. If they are Kurdish, they eat lead.

  •  Robert Fisk: Syrian war of lies and hypocrisy (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    protectspice
    http://www.independent.co.uk/...
    Sunday 29 July 2012

    Has there ever been a Middle Eastern war of such hypocrisy? A war of such cowardice and such mean morality, of such false rhetoric and such public humiliation? I'm not talking about the physical victims of the Syrian tragedy. I'm referring to the utter lies and mendacity of our masters and our own public opinion – eastern as well as western – in response to the slaughter, a vicious pantomime more worthy of Swiftian satire than Tolstoy or Shakespeare.

    While Qatar and Saudi Arabia arm and fund the rebels of Syria to overthrow Bashar al-Assad's Alawite/Shia-Baathist dictatorship, Washington mutters not a word of criticism against them. President Barack Obama and his Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, say they want a democracy in Syria. But Qatar is an autocracy and Saudi Arabia is among the most pernicious of caliphate-kingly-dictatorships in the Arab world. Rulers of both states inherit power from their families – just as Bashar has done – and Saudi Arabia is an ally of the Salafist-Wahabi rebels in Syria, just as it was the most fervent supporter of the medieval Taliban during Afghanistan's dark ages.
    ...
    And all the while, we forget the "big" truth. That this is an attempt to crush the Syrian dictatorship not because of our love for Syrians or our hatred of our former friend Bashar al-Assad, or because of our outrage at Russia, whose place in the pantheon of hypocrites is clear when we watch its reaction to all the little Stalingrads across Syria. No, this is all about Iran and our desire to crush the Islamic Republic and its infernal nuclear plans – if they exist – and has nothing to do with human rights or the right to life or the death of Syrian babies. Quelle horreur!

  •  Adnan Al Arour says that they will chop the (0+ / 0-)

    Alawaites who oppose the Syrian revolution a News

  •  The Syrian Accountability Act and the (0+ / 0-)

    Triumph of Hegemony

    http://www.commondreams.org/...
    October 30, 2003

    On October 15, the U.S. House of Representatives, with an overwhelming bipartisan majority, passed the Syria Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Restoration Act of 2003, which imposes strict sanctions against the Syrian government. (A similar bill was introduced earlier this year in the Senate and is pending.)
    ...
    Ironically, both politically and economically, Syria has liberalized significantly over the past decade or so. The level of repression is far less than it was during its peak in the 1970s and is significantly less than a number of other Middle Eastern countries, including close U.S. allies like Saudi Arabia. Similarly, the size and power of Syria�s military has been reduced dramatically from its apex in the 1980s as a result of the dissolution of its Soviet patron. Syrian links to international terrorism have also declined markedly.

    This begs the question as to why this resolution was passed now?

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