Last Updated 8:43pm pst
7:43pm pst BREAKING NEWS: #Damascus Suburbs:# Deir #Al-Asafir: #Assad #Regime forces surround the town amid fears of an invasion. There is a lot of migration from the city out of fear of another military operation
Suddenly my tweeter feeds are alive with reports of big explosions followed by heavy gun fire in Damascus.
I consider that confirmed. Something big just started in Damascus.
More as this develops.
Apparently now the Assad Regime is shelling various parts of Damascus from the Qasiyoon Mountain according to @IbnOmar2005
Big explosion from shelling on #Damascus from Qasioun mountain | 4:51pm pst 30 July 2012
At 5:18pm pst we have this report:
Damascus Suburbs : Beit Sahm: A shell landed on the outskirts of town and several buildings were damaged
The fear is gone | Protest in Damascus today | 30 July 2012
Anti government demonstration took place in the Salihiyeh area of Damascus | 30 July 2012
Night anti government demonstration in the Duma suburb of Damascus | 30 July 2012
In the face of the growing strength of the Free Syrian Army as growing revolutionary force in Syria, the US government wants to see the apparatus of state violence preserved without Bashar al-Assad. according to an new article from Reuters:
US defense chief: Syria military must remain intact when Assad goes
FSA Statement on the treatment of Assad detainees | 5:36pm pst 30 July 2012
Mon, 30 Jul 2012 23:31 GMT
WASHINGTON, July 30 (Reuters) - Government forces in Syria should be held together when President Bashar al-Assad is forced from power, the U.S. defense secretary said on Monday, warning that the mistakes of the Iraq war must not be repeated.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, in an interview with CNN during a visit to Tunisia, said maintaining stability in Syria would be important under any scenario that sees Assad leave power.
"I think it's important when Assad leaves, and he will leave, to try to preserve stability in that country," Panetta said.
"The best way to preserve that kind of stability is to maintain as much of the military and police as you can, along with security forces, and hope that they will transition to a democratic form of government. That's the key." More...
The Washington Post is reporting:
Syrian rebels seize rural territory while Assad forces focus on major cities
By Liz Sly, Updated: Monday, July 30, 7:06 PM
AL-BAB, Syria — War came late to this little farming town set amid rolling hills in the Syrian countryside east of Aleppo, where the absence of upheaval was long construed as an implicit signal of support for the government led by President Bashar al-Assad.
But once the battle started in May, it unfolded at lightning speed, at least by the standards of a revolt that is dragging into its 17th month. Residents are celebrating their near-complete victory over regime loyalists after the town’s last army garrison fled Sunday, its food supplies gone and its morale shredded.
With that, al-Bab became the farthest point in a swath of rural territory stretching south from the Turkish border toward the city of Aleppo that has slipped beyond government control in recent weeks.
The unraveling of the regime’s authority here in this northern province has been overshadowed by the battles for control of the cities of Homs, Damascus and, most recently, the provincial capital Aleppo, where government forces are waging a full-scale offensive to recapture neighborhoods seized by rebels in recent days.
But even as Assad’s forces have poured resources into sustaining their hold on major population centers, they have steadily been losing control of the countryside, in a series of seesawing battles that have not yet proved decisive but that appear to be giving the momentum to the rebels. The story of the battle of al-Bab, an overlooked front in a war of many fronts, suggests that the government’s hold here was always more fragile than had been thought and that it has become significantly more so in the past few weeks.More...
Here are my related diaries on Syria:
UPDATED: Syria's Charge D'Affaires Quits London Post
BREAKING: Ground assault on Aleppo begins!
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