By now it is clear, even to the most casual observer, that an appalling human tragedy is now playing out in Syria. It should also be clear that the engine of this tragedy is the government of Syria, the Assad regime.
Things have gotten to this point because from the beginning of the Arab Spring, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad used the Syrian armed forces to suppress demonstrations against his rule.
The Free Syria Army was founded when 200 SAA soldiers refused orders to fire on protesters and instead, reorganized themselves to protect them. Assad and his supporters will aways direct your attention to the small minority of foreign fighters, but the real engine of resistance, the backbone of rebel army, has been the Syrian defections.
As you might imagine, as the war has intensified, so have things on this front, even as they slip from view while the focus is on international diplomacy and military advances.
The short story is that defections are up! As the FSA edges closer and closer to victory, more and more soldiers are throwing their lot in with them. The opposition is making military advances now not just because they are getting help from jihdists or finally capturing some heavy weapons, but mainly because they are getting a continuous infusion of new blood.
Assad's biggest problem all along has been how to stem the tide of defections he knows will eventually drown him no matter what else happens. This has forced him to severely limit the use of his infantry, he knows them likely to defect on first contact, and instead wages his murderous campaign of "Death from Above."
He has also always used murder as a tool to keep his troops in line. Well, field execution of a soldier who deserts under fire is SOP for most armies around the world, but Assad goes after the soldier's family too. Now he is also using the mass murder of whole units suspected of trying to defect.
So in this diary I want to share with you some of the stuff I've seen recently in this area.
These are stories that deserve to be reported more but aren't. Not by the MSM nor by the Left press.
So I scribble on...
The Washington Post ran this article yesterday:
Syrian defections suggest military morale being drained
These tweets are from sources I trust more than the WPost:
An officer of the general Mukhabarat ranks defect | 12 Jan 2012
Click here for a list of my other Daily Kos dairies on Syria
By Carol Morello
ANTAKYA, Turkey — The Syrian military officer walked around for five months carrying a memory stick loaded with family photos in his uniform pocket, waiting for the chance to defect.
When that moment arrived in late December, Brig. Gen. Mohammed Hassoun went to his Aleppo home for lunch, the only brief period during the day when he said he knew he would not be tailed by intelligence agents trying to stop a wave of defections sweeping the Syrian military.
As he recounted in an interview, Hassoun hastily saw his family off in one direction, then donned an old overcoat and sunglasses and took off in a public bus in another.
Ten days later, he rejoined his wife and three sons in Turkey, leaving behind a privileged life but with no regrets about abandoning an institution he served for 31 years.
“I thought the army was built for the purpose of fighting foreign enemies, not targeting our own civilians,” said Hassoun, 49, looking like a prosperous businessman in a black suit.
What appears to be a growing number of defections by senior military, police and intelligence officers suggests the brutal government campaign to quell the 22-month-old rebellion is sapping morale among some of the most elite members of Syrian society.
Although some officers have remained in Syria and are fighting alongside the rebel Free Syrian Army, the Turkish government has established a separate camp for defecting officers. It will not say how many officers it is sheltering, either in the camp or in private houses around the country. More...