Meanwhile in Syria

UPDATED: Friday, June 8, 2012 02:52
VIEWED: 1810
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Monday, March 5, 2012 10:42 AM


People fleeing the central Syrian city of Homs have told the BBC that security forces are committing atrocities there.

One woman told the BBC's Paul Wood on the outskirts of Homs that soldiers had slit the throat of her 12-year-old son on Friday - a day after rebel fighters withdrew from the Baba Amr district.

She said 35 other men and boys from her area had also been detained and killed.

The government has denied the Red Cross access to Baba Amr for four consecutive days, citing security concerns.

Activists have warned of a humanitarian catastrophe.

Electricity, water and communications have been cut off, and in recent days temperatures have plummeted and snow has fallen. Food supplies are said to be dangerously low, and many people are too scared to leave.

On Thursday, government troops backed by tanks entered Baba Amr after the rebel Free Syrian Army (FSA) announced a "tactical withdrawal".

A terrible fear has seized people here about what the government forces are doing now that they are back in control.

In a house we sat with six women and their 17 children. They had arrived that day. There were no men.

"We were walking out altogether until we reached the checkpoint," said one of the women, Um Abdo.

"Then they separated us from the men. They put hoods on their heads and took them away."

Where do you think they are now, I asked? The women replied all at once: "They will be slaughtered."

Although the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and its Syrian Red Crescent partners have since been told they cannot enter the district because of the risk of booby-traps and mines, state TV reported it had been "sanitised" of "armed terrorist groups".

Opposition and human rights activists have said security forces and pro-government militia have been rounding up men and boys over the age of 14 who are still in Baba Amr, and then torturing and killing them.

The claims could not be substantiated, but people fleeing Homs also told our correspondent that security forces had been committing atrocities, including summary executions and cutting the throats of prisoners.

One woman, who had walked for three days to escape, said that on Friday troops had taken 36 men and boys from one area and killed them.

"My son's throat was cut," she said. "He was 12."

Her husband said he was hiding about 50m away and saw one soldier hold down their son's head with his boot while another killed him.

"I could hear their screams," he added.

Another woman said: "They took our husbands. They took them at a checkpoint. They will slaughter them like sheep."

Several men who said they had defected from an elite army unit last week told our correspondent that civilians were being targeted by security forces and prisoners were being killed.

"A lieutenant gave us the order," he said. "We were told in this operation: 'You shoot anything that moves. Civilian or military - you shoot at it.'

Our correspondent says the people of Baba Amr defied the government and now they are scattered, their uprising crushed.

An independent commission of inquiry set up by the UN Human Rights Council said in February that Syrian security forces had "committed widespread, systematic and gross human rights violations, amounting to crimes against humanity, with the apparent knowledge and consent of the highest levels of the state".

It also found anti-government groups had committed abuses, but not "comparable in scale and organisation to those carried out by the state".

The EU has said it will document alleged war crimes to set the stage for a "day of reckoning" for Syria's leaders. But Russia and China have vetoed two UN Security Council resolutions critical of the government.

UN humanitarian chief Valerie Amos said on Monday that Syria had approved her visit to the country and she planned to travel there on Wednesday.

She said her aim was to urge all parties to allow unhindered access for humanitarian aid.

Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan is also due to visit Syria at the weekend as joint special envoy for the UN and the Arab League.

The director-general of the ICRC, Yves Daccord, earlier spoke of his concern about the humanitarian situation in Baba Amr.

"The situation is extremely difficult, the weather conditions are tragic," he told Swiss Radio and Television (RTS).
Pro-regime supporters in Damascus with posters of President Assad and new Russian President Vladimir Putin Russia is a key Syrian ally and the largest supplier of arms to the Assad regime

"It is very cold, there is fighting and people don't have access to food or water, and above all there is a big problem of evacuating the wounded."

Mr Daccord added: "We hope to get in to Baba Amr today. We have to be firm and not give up. The negotiations are being led on site in Homs with military commanders and also in Damascus."

A second ICRC convoy carrying food for "several thousand people" and other relief supplies also arrived in Homs from Damascus on Monday.

On Sunday, the ICRC and Red Crescent distributed food, baby milk, blankets and hygiene products in neighbouring districts and villages where people have sought refuge, including Inshaat, Tawzi and Abil.

The ICRC said the needs in the three areas were "considerable".

The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) meanwhile said between 1,000 and 2,000 Syrians from Homs were trying to reach the border with Lebanon.

Diplomatic pressure appeared to be growing on Russia on Monday to drop its support for President Bashar al-Assad.

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said he hoped Moscow would "see that it stands on the wrong side of history" in regard to Syria.

Meanwhile, the body of US journalist Marie Colvin is due to be flown back to New York on Tuesday morning.

Colvin, who worked for the Sunday Times, died in a rocket attack in Baba Amr on 22 February.

Her remains, and those of French photographer Remi Ochlik who died in the same attack, arrived in Paris on Sunday after being flown from Damascus.


Monday, March 5, 2012 2:46 PM


John Lee, conspiracy therapist at Hollywood award-winner History Channel-mocked SNL-spoofed wooHOO!!!!!!


Monday, March 5, 2012 3:16 PM


America loves a winner!

As Mal said.. " Yeah, it's a tale of woe. Very stirring "

Syrian girl is smokin', btw.

" I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love only that which they defend. "


Monday, March 5, 2012 9:34 PM


Beir bua agus beannacht

This situation is really awful.

This would be a great job for the Quadruple S, enough of the people want a change, if they had a viable plan then the Quadruple S could swoop in and getter done.

"A completely coherant River means writers don't deliver" KatTaya


Tuesday, March 6, 2012 6:06 AM


*points to the unfolding epic disaster in Libya in stern, silent warning*


Thursday, March 22, 2012 3:03 PM


(Reuters) - Turkish Kurd militants threatened on Thursday to turn
all Kurdish populated areas into a "war zone" if Turkish troops
entered Syria, a sign the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) which has
allies in Syria may be taking sides in the conflict there.


Thursday, March 22, 2012 3:07 PM


Gettin' old, but still a hippie at heart...

I repeat, {{{{shudder}}}}


Wednesday, March 28, 2012 12:14 PM


Arab summit appears divided over approach to Syria =>

BAGHDAD (AP) — Arab leaders gathering here Thursday will call for Syria
to implement a cease-fire, but there's little faith that President Bashar
Assad will do anything to halt his crackdown on the year-old uprising.

That could set the stage for Gulf Arab nations, eager to see Assad's downfall,
to take stronger action on their own.

Arab governments are divided over how strongly to intervene to stop the
bloodshed in Syria ...


Sunday, April 1, 2012 5:28 PM


U.S. Joins Effort to Equip and Pay Rebels in Syria =>

ISTANBUL — The United States and dozens of other countries moved closer on
Sunday to direct intervention in the fighting in Syria, with Arab nations pledging
$100 million to pay opposition fighters and the Obama administration agreeing
to send communications equipment to help rebels organize and evade Syria’s
military, according to participants gathered here.

. . . . .The worst and most frequent consequence of paranoia is that it's self-fulfilling.


Tuesday, April 24, 2012 8:59 PM


Annan alarmed at Syria military action =>

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — International envoy Kofi Annan told the U.N. Security
Council Tuesday that the situation in Syria is "bleak" and expressed alarm at
reports that government troops are still carrying out military operations in
towns where U.N. observers are not present.

He expressed particular concern at media reports that government troops en-
tered the central city of Hama on Monday after U.N. observers departed, firing
automatic weapons and killing a significant number of people. Activists said
more than 30 people were killed.

"If confirmed, this is totally unacceptable and reprehensible," he said.

Annan echoed U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who called the current situation
"unacceptable," and urged President Bashar Assad's government to immediately
implement his six-point peace-plan, which would culminate with Syrian-led talks
between the government and opposition aimed at reaching a peace settlement.

The joint U.N.-Arab League envoy said the speedy deployment of the 300-strong
U.N. observer force authorized by the council on Saturday is "crucial" to verify
what is happening on the ground and potentially "change the political dynamics."
The observer force also would provide the international community with "incontro-
vertible" information to increase pressure for a cease-fire by the government and
opposition, he said.

. . . . .The worst and most frequent consequence of paranoia is that it's self-fulfilling.


Wednesday, April 25, 2012 6:35 AM


Gettin' old, but still a hippie at heart...


government troops are still carrying out military operations in towns where U.N. observers are not present.
Not only that, but they've got a "cute" tactic:

The Syrian military is halting violence in areas entered by U.N. observers but resumes attacking once the monitors leave, the U.N.-Arab League joint special envoy said Tuesday.
In Idlib, security authorities moved 20 bodies from a hospital to an undisclosed location, a move that coincided with the arrival of U.N. observers in the area, the LCC said. More at] "This UN observers thing is a big joke," Douma-based activist Mohammed Saeed said. "Shelling stops and tanks are hidden when they visit somewhere, and when they leave, shelling resumes." More at


In what appeared to be a disturbing pattern of retaliation, security forces attacked hot spots -- including the cities of Hama and Douma -- after U.N. monitors left the areas. More at transparently ridiculous, and shows clearly that Assad is only playing a game--not very effectively. Not that it will change anything, no matter how many observers they send in.

Sickening. I don't know the answer, and certainly don't want to see us involved in yet another conflict, but it makes me sick to think of what's happening.


Wednesday, April 25, 2012 2:19 PM


Beir bua agus beannacht

I wish there was a way to help without "getting involved", because what they're doing now so isn't working. What do the Syrian people want from the rest of us in order to help them get things to a place that they're okay with?

I assume you're my pal until you let me know otherwise.

"A completely coherant River means writers don't deliver" KatTaya.


Saturday, April 28, 2012 8:46 AM


Syria derides UN chief as peace plan in crisis =>

BEIRUT (AP) — Syria derided U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon as biased and called his
comments "outrageous" Saturday after he blamed the regime for widespread
cease-fire violations — the latest sign of trouble for an international peace
plan many expect to fail.

In new fighting Saturday, activists said regime forces battled army defectors
near President Bashar Assad's summer palace in a coastal village and shelled
a Damascus suburb in pursuit of gunmen. State media said government troops
foiled an attempt by armed men in rubber boats to land on Syria's coast, the
first reported attempt by rebels to infiltrate from the sea.

The regime's verbal attack on the U.N. secretary general raised new concerns
that Assad is playing for time to avoid compliance with a plan that could
eventually force him out of office. Under special envoy Kofi Annan's six-point
road map, a cease-fire is to be followed by the deployment of as many as 300
U.N. truce monitors and talks between Assad and the opposition on Syria's
political future. ...

. . . . .The worst and most frequent consequence of paranoia is that it's self-fulfilling.


Saturday, April 28, 2012 12:30 PM


I believe in solving problems, not sharing them.

Does anyone know what the protestors originally wanted? Or do we fall into the same trap that we did with Libya, and side with the anti-government forces w/o knowing a thing about them, only to have them turn out to be radical Muslim fundamentalists who are even less tolerant than the government?


Monday, April 30, 2012 7:17 AM


I believe in solving problems, not sharing them.

BTW- not that I'm defending the Syrian regime. I'm not. But my antenna go up every time the press is relentlessly one-sided. SO one-sided we don't even notice how one-sided it is. I had the same issues with Libya... OH THE POOR PEOPLE OF LIBYA! the press cried, day after day.

"I'm speaking with members of the resistance force..." breathlessly reported from the front lines. Meanwhile, ignoring the fact that there were rather large groups of people on the other side who supported Qadaffi, whom the press failed to interview. Perhaps they would have found equally committed people who thought the government was doing a good job. The press also failed to dig very far into "the rebels" history and goals, and now we have a ex-Al Qaida member who has taken over eastern Libya and is currently agitating for independence.

I know Syrian Xtians and they are rather frightened of the so-called rebels, who they think are fundamental Islamists. They believe that under a new regime ALL minorities will be extinguished or driven out, Xtians included.

There is not enough information to decide who to support, and the lack of information is itself a clue.


Monday, April 30, 2012 11:14 AM


I'm sure you're right, Signym.
I know nothing about Syria. Here's a couple reasons I followed this.

1. The press put some emphasis there, and it sounded really awful for
just the average citizens.
2. The US gave aide to the rebels.
3. Assad agreed to a cease fire negotiated by the UN, but totally reneged.
And he was sneaky about it. His troops ceased fire only when UN observers
were present.

. . . . .The worst and most frequent consequence of paranoia is that it's self-fulfilling.


Tuesday, June 5, 2012 2:48 PM


Syria president: Houla massacre an 'ugly crime'

BEIRUT (AP) — Syrian President Bashar Assad denied Sunday that his government had anything
to do with last week's gruesome Houla massacre, saying not even "monsters" would carry out
such an ugly crime.

In a televised speech to parliament, Assad said his country is facing a "real war" and he
blamed terrorists and extremists for the bloodshed. He expressed horror over last week's
massacre in the central Houla region, which killed more than 100 people, nearly half of
them children.

Syria expels U.S., European diplomats =>

BEIRUT (AP) – Syria barred a string of U.S. and European diplomats Tuesday,
saying they were "no longer welcome" as the country plunged into its most
profound international isolation in decades.

Last week, Western nations expelled Syrian diplomats in a coordinated move
over the Houla massacre, in which more than 100 people were slaughtered over
one weekend in a cluster of small villages.

The U.N. says pro-regime gunmen were believed to be responsible for at least
some of the killings. President Bashar Assad has insisted his forces had nothing
to do with the massacre.

The countries targeted by the expulsion order have already pulled their ambas-
sadors from Damascus, but the move was symbolic of how far diplomatic ties
have disintegrated over the course of the uprising that began last year in March.

"Some countries have informed our diplomatic missions and our embassies' staff
that they are unwelcome," Foreign Ministry spokesman Jihad Makdessi said in a

He said Damascus has decided to take a "reciprocal measure" against ambassadors
from the U.S., Britain, Turkey, Switzerland, France, Italy and Spain. A number
of French, German, Canadian, Bulgarian and Belgian diplomats also are affected,
Makdessi said.

Syria is struggling to crush an increasingly deadly uprising against Assad's rule,
but the regime's deadly crackdown on dissent has brought widespread condemnation.

I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. ~Charles R Swindoll


Tuesday, June 5, 2012 3:07 PM


America loves a winner!

I really fail to see how Russia is still solidly behind President Bashar Assad. I mean, be an ally, if you must but how can you defend his actions?


Friday, June 8, 2012 2:52 AM


America loves a winner!


Originally posted by AURaptor:
I really fail to see how Russia is still solidly behind President Bashar Assad. I mean, be an ally, if you must but how can you defend his actions?

Yet another civilian massacre, and more strongly worded b.s. from the U.N.

Oh, and Russia and China still are stonewalling, saying that 'diplomacy' is the way to go there. How's that working out for everyone, hmm?

" We're all just folk. " - Mal

" AU, that was great, LOL!! " - Chrisisall






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