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Syria warns West against intervention

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Re: Syria warns West against intervention

Post  Panda on Fri 27 Jan - 16:40

Those children are tomorrow's Terrorists.

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Re: Syria warns West against intervention

Post  Panda on Sun 29 Jan - 11:02

Sharp Rise in Violence Halts Monitoring by League in Syria






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A commander from the Free Syrian Army talked to reporters inside a house in Rankous, north of Damascus.
Fighters from the Free Syrian Army discussed plans as Rankous came under attack by army tanks.
The Arab League suspended its monitoring mission in Syria on Saturday, citing deteriorating security.
Fighters from the Free Syrian Army took their positions in Rankous as tanks fired on the town.
A fighter from the Free Syrian Army was helped after he was hit by sniper fire.
Fighters from the Free Syrian Army planned during the attack on Rankous.
A spokesman for the Free Syrian Army said that more than 100 soldiers defected Saturday, bringing three tanks along with them.
Civilians stood at the entrance of Rankous. Some 60 families remained in the besieged town.
A sniper from the Free Syrian Army looked for snipers from the government surrounding the town.
A woman cried in her home in Rankous as the government forces began closing in.








By KAREEM FAHIM and NADA BAKRI

Published: January 28, 2012






RANKOUS, Syria — The Arab League suspended its monitoring mission in Syria on Saturday, saying that a harsh new government crackdown made it too dangerous to proceed and was resulting in the deaths of innocents across the country.

Related


  • Syrian Rebels Make Inroads With Help of Armed Fighters(January 28, 2012)








The head of the Arab League, Nabil al-Araby, said in a statement Saturday that after discussions with Arab foreign ministers, the 22-member body had come to its decision because of “a severe deterioration of the situation and the continued use of violence.” And he blamed the Syrian government for the bloodshed, saying that it had decided “to escalate the military option.”
A final decision about the mission is due in the coming days.
The suspension came after days of bloody civil conflict in cities across Syria, leading to criticism of the observers’ effectiveness, as they traveled to the edge of neighborhoods wracked by violence in recent days, only to be turned back.
Their hesitation outside Rankous on Saturday, a town emptied of people after five days of clashes and government shelling, seemed to encapsulate the shortcomings of a mission accused by government opponents of providing cover to President Bashar al-Assad’s crackdown. Warned by army officers that insurgents could use explosives against them, a driver working with the observers refused to drive their heavily armored Mercedes into town.
Opposition activists in Rankous said they would have welcomed the visit. Despite the criticisms, the observers, with offices in several cities, were often the only outside witnesses to fighting that the United Nations said has killed more than 5,400.
Jaafar Kibeida, one of the Arab League observers, said he feared any restraint the government had shown in their presence would now vanish.
“I guess they will take a firm hand now,” he said. “There will be a heavy crackdown.”
Anti-government activists also said they feared the worst was yet to come. Hours after the observers left Rankous on Saturday morning, tanks appeared on the outskirts of town.
The opposition Local Coordination Committees said at least 78 people were killed across the country on Saturday, including more than 20 people in the ongoing bloodshed in the central Syrian city of Homs. The group, whose estimates could not be confirmed, said that the security forces opened fire on a demonstration in Aleppo, marking a second day of violence in a city that had been relatively calm.
Arab League observers and Syrian officials said at 26 soldiers had been killed in the last two days, including many in fighting in the suburbs of Damascus.
The beginnings of the Arab League monitoring mission, more than a month ago, emboldened protesters but ultimately did little to stanch the violence: hundreds of people were killed in the mission’s first month.
The suspension came a week after the Arab League called on President Bashar al-Assad to step down and said it was going to take an peace proposal to the United Nations Security Council. Mr. Araby and other Arab League officials were traveling to New York on Saturday to talk about the plan, under which Mr. Assad would hand power to a vice president while an interim government was formed.
On Saturday morning, on what may have been one of their final forays in Syria, Arab League observers traveled to the edge of Rankous, a defiant city near the Lebanese border that has withstood repeated incursions by the army, according to residents.
On the approach to the city, after the observers had gone, four families were seen driving out of town on Saturday, in minivans packed with belongings and children. They said it was a ghost town, where all but about 60 families in a town of 23,000 had fled.
Men in a town square pointed to the distance, where three tanks were moving in a valley below. They said that the army, which surrounded the town, had been shelling for days and all of Friday night.
Some who stayed behind said they did not have the money to move.


Kareem Fahim reported from Rankous, Syria, and Nada Bakri from Beirut, Lebanon. Huwaida Saad contributed reporting from Rankous, and an employee of The New York Times from Beirut.





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Re: Syria warns West against intervention

Post  Panda on Sun 29 Jan - 15:13

2:58pm UK, Sunday January 29, 2012


Violence has escalated in Syria leaving scores dead after the Arab League
decided to halt its observer mission, with the government launching a campaign
to re-take parts of Damascus that had fallen under rebel control.



Activists said at least 22 people were killed on Sunday as the situation in
the country continues to spiral out of control, taking the death toll in the
last four days to at least 230.

Syrian state TV said "terrorists" had ambushed a bus carrying soldiers on a
road south of Damascus on Sunday, killing six and wounding six others.

An explosive device was detonated by remote control as the bus was travelling
in the suburb of Sahnaya, some 12 miles south of the capital. A further 10
soldiers were killed in a separate incident when their convoy was attacked in
Jebel al-Zuwiya in the northwest of the country.


Syria Activist Talks To Sky








Activists said five civilians and a deserter were also killed as around 2,000
soldiers in buses and armoured personnel carriers, along with at least 50 tanks
and armoured vehicles, moved at dawn into the eastern Ghouta area of Damascus to
reinforce troops surrounding three large suburbs.

Reports also circulated that one of the regime's elite branches, the
Republican Guard, had been deployed and were shelling indiscriminately into
residential areas.

One activist said the military offensive against the town of Rankus, which is
in the Ghouta area, was the regime's way of punishing residents for providing
shelter to defected soldiers.

"People are unable to leave their houses,"
he said, adding snipers perched on rooftops around the town were also shooting
at random.

He said the intensity of the assault has brought down dozens of
buildings.

In an interview with Sky News, one activist in Homs said he was "expecting a
big attack" in the coming days following the League's withdrawal.

He called for international intervention, saying that the regime's attacks on
civilians and the lack of immediate medical care had left many dead - and that
some had even been forced to perform serious medical procedures with little or
no training.

"We don't care who comes to help us. We want anyone to come and help us," he
said.

The renewed attacks came as Russia criticised the Arab League for suspending
its observer mission.

"We would like to know why they are treating such a useful instrument in this
way," Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said. "I would support an increased number
of observers.




"We are surprised that after a decision was taken on prolonging the
observers' mission for another month, some countries, particularly Persian Gulf
countries, recalled their observers from the mission."

Arab League chief Nabil al Arabi said on Saturday the mission was suspended
after "consultations with Arab foreign ministers because of the upsurge of
violence whose victims are innocent civilians".

The 165 observers travelled to the country a month ago to assess the Syrian
government's pledge to end the violence against protesters - a mission activists
have said they failed.

The latest League resolution which moves for Mr al Assad to hand power to his
deputy was rejected by the regime, which it says constitutes "an attack" on its
sovereignty.

Arab foreign ministers are due to meet on February 5 to discuss the situation
and decide on whether to extend the mission and if intervention can be seriously
considered.

There are fears of sectarian civil war following an
increase in targeted assassinations and kidnappingsand
interior minister Mohammed al Shaar saying the authorities were determined to
"cleanse" Syria and restore order.

The UN estimates that at least 5,500 people have died since protests began 10
months ago against the rule of President Bashar al Assad.

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Re: Syria warns West against intervention

Post  Panda on Mon 30 Jan - 7:47

5:22am UK, Monday January 30, 2012


Violence has escalated in Syria leaving scores dead after the Arab League
decided to halt its observer mission, with the government launching a campaign
to re-take parts of Damascus that had fallen under rebel control.



Reports of the dead are difficult to verify but up to 66 people may have been
killed on Sunday as the situation in the country continues to spiral out of
control, taking the death toll in the last four days to at least 250.

Syrian state TV said "terrorists" had ambushed a bus carrying soldiers on a
road south of Damascus on Sunday, killing six and wounding six others.

An explosive device was detonated by remote control as the bus was travelling
in the suburb of Sahnaya, some 12 miles south of the capital. A further 10
soldiers were killed in a separate incident when their convoy was attacked in
Jebel al-Zuwiya in the northwest of the country.


Activist Abdul Omar Talks Of Syrian Bloodbath








Activists said five civilians and a deserter were also killed as around 2,000
soldiers in buses and armoured personnel carriers, along with at least 50 tanks
and armoured vehicles, moved at dawn into the eastern Ghouta area of Damascus to
reinforce troops surrounding three large suburbs.

Reports also circulated that one of the regime's elite branches, the
Republican Guard, had been deployed and were shelling indiscriminately into
residential areas.

One activist said the military offensive against the town of Rankus, which is
in the Ghouta area, was the regime's way of punishing residents for providing
shelter to defected soldiers.

"People are unable to leave their houses,"
he said, adding snipers perched on rooftops around the town were also shooting
at random.

He said the intensity of the assault has brought down dozens of
buildings.

In an interview with Sky News, one activist in Homs said he was "expecting a
big attack" in the coming days following the League's withdrawal.


Syria Activist Talks To Sky








He called for international intervention, saying that the regime's attacks on
civilians and the lack of immediate medical care had left many dead - and that
some had even been forced to perform serious medical procedures with little or
no training.

"We don't care who comes to help us. We want anyone to come and help us," he
said.

The renewed attacks came as Russia criticised the Arab League for suspending
its observer mission.

"We would like to know why they are treating such a useful instrument in this
way," Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said. "I would support an increased number
of observers.

"We are surprised that after a decision was taken on prolonging the
observers' mission for another month, some countries, particularly Persian Gulf
countries, recalled their observers from the mission."

Arab League chief Nabil al Arabi said on Saturday the mission was suspended
after "consultations with Arab foreign ministers because of the upsurge of
violence whose victims are innocent civilians".




The 165 observers travelled to the country a month ago to assess the Syrian
government's pledge to end the violence against protesters - a mission activists
have said they failed.

The latest League resolution which moves for President Bashar al Assad to
hand power to his deputy was rejected by the regime, which it says constitutes
"an attack" on its sovereignty.

Arab foreign ministers are due to meet on February 5 to discuss the situation
and decide on whether to extend the mission and if intervention can be seriously
considered.

There are fears of sectarian civil war following an
increase in targeted assassinations and kidnappingsand
interior minister Mohammed al Shaar saying the authorities were determined to
"cleanse" Syria and restore order.

The UN estimates that at least 5,500 people have died since protests began 10
months ago against the rule of President Assad.

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Re: Syria warns West against intervention

Post  Panda on Mon 30 Jan - 10:30

UN considers resolution amid reports of heavy fighting in Syria



By the CNN Wire Staff
January 30, 2012 -- Updated 1017 GMT (1817 HKT)






Syrian anti-regime protesters wave the country's pre-Baath flag during a demonstration in Helfaya on Sunday.


STORY HIGHLIGHTS


  • NEW: The dead and wounded litter the streets of a neighborhood in Homs, an activist says
  • Gas pipeline is "sabotaged" by armed group, state-run media reports
  • The Security Council is taking up a resolution that calls on Bashar al-Assad to step down
  • The opposition reports heavy fighting between Syrian forces and rebels in Damascus suburbs





(CNN) -- The U.N. Security Council will take up a
draft resolution this week that calls on Syrian President Bashar
al-Assad to step down and transfer power.

The move follows news that the Arab League suspended a mission to
monitor whether al-Assad was abiding by an agreement to end a brutal
crackdown against anti-government protesters.

Arab League Secretary General Nabil el-Araby arrived Monday in New
York where he was scheduled to deliver the monitoring mission's findings
to the Security Council the following day.

The news came amid opposition reports of renewed fighting Monday
between Syrian forces and the rebel Free Syria Army in suburbs of the
capital city of Damascus, where Syria forces have been battling to take
back neighborhoods in Saqba and Maleiha.

The country has seen a sharp increase in violence in recent weeks,
with hundreds killed in clashes between government forces, rebels and
anti-government protesters.

It was that escalation of violence that led the Arab League to suspend its mission on Sunday.

Ali Erfan, senior advisor to the Arab League's secretary general,
said Sunday that observer activity has been suspended, and all observers
who were outside Damascus would be redeployed to the capital.

Some will leave the country, he said. Others will stay on for the
moment in Damascus, but they will not be conducting any missions, he
said.

Erfan did not have immediate details on how many monitors were leaving Syria or how many would stay in the country.

A day after opposition groups reported 64 people were killed in
clashes with Syrian forces, the Local Coordination Committees of Syria
-- a group that organizes anti-government protests and documents
violence -- called on Syrians on Monday to remember all those killed.

"Please join us in observing a moment of silence as we remember the
sacrifices of our fallen heroes, whose pure blood has saturated the
earth of our beloved country," the group said in a statement.

CNN cannot independently verify or confirm opposition or government
reports of those killed or wounded as access to the country is limited.

Meanwhile, the state-run Syrian Arab News Agency reported Monday that
a gas pipeline extending from Homs to Banys near the Lebanese border
was sabotaged by an "armed terrorist group." The news agency, which
posted a banner on its website, did not specify what type of sabotage
occurred at the pipeline.

Heavy fighting was reported in Saqba, where there were reports of
shelling and gunfire, the LCC said. Smoke could be seen rising from the
center of the city, the group said.

In the suburb of Maleiha, explosions were heard and its main roads
were cut off by Syrian forces, the LCC said. Youths were burning tires
in the city, the group said.

At least seven people were killed, including a Syrian soldier, in violence across Syria.

In the western Homs province, one person was killed and two were
wounded in fighting in Rastan while one soldier was killed and several
more were wounded in clashes with rebel forces in Qusour, the LCC said.
In the provincial capital of Homs, a doctor was killed and 11 others
were wounded in fighting in the neighborhood of al-Shamas, an opposition
activist told CNN by telephone.

In the flashpoint city of Daraa, where the anti-government uprising
began last year, four people were killed in clashes with security
forces, the group said.

Heavy fighting also was reported between Syrian forces and the rebel
army in the Damascus suburb of Ghouta, where al-Assad's forces were
fighting to retake control of the city from rebel, the LCC said.

Fighting also was reported in the Homs neighborhood of al-Qusour
where Syrian forces battled to take back the neighborhood from the rebel
army and anti-government protesters, said the opposition activist,
whose asked that his identity be withheld over a fear of government
reprisal.

The dead and wounded littered the streets of the neighborhood, which was under siege, the activist said.

The United Nations last month estimated that more than 5,000 people
have died since March, when the government launched a crackdown against
demonstrators. Opposition groups estimate a higher death toll, with
counts near or exceeding 7,000 people.

The opposition has blamed the deaths on government actions. The
Syrian government says terrorists are responsible for the casualties.


CNN's Hamdi Alkhshali and Arwa Damon contributed to this report.

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Death toll in Homs now around 350

Post  Panda on Sat 4 Feb - 12:00

The death toll from shelling by Syrian security forces in the city of Homs
has soared to around 350, an opposition member has told Sky News.



It had earlier been reported that more than 200 people had died in the attack
which lasted more than three hours.

Abu Rami Alhomsy of the Syrian Revolutionary General Commission said. "It was a
normal day for a demonstration but last night they started shelling this
neighbourhood.

"We have many injuries. Many women and children have been killed and
injured."

As explosions sounded in the background, Mr Alhomsy said: "I am hiding in the
street with many people around me. They are shooting into here from an outside
area.

"Oh my God."

It is not possible to verify activist reports as the Syrian government
restricts access for independent media. State media blamed the attacks on armed
gangs.

As news of the violence spread, activists used social media to orchestrate protests at
Syrian diplomatic outposts around the world.

Embassies in Egypt and Germany were attacked, with
at least 30 people storming the Berlin premises.

Sky's Simon Newton witnessed more than 150 protesters chanting outside the
London embassy at 3am this morning.

Five arrests were made by police after paint
was hurled and a window smashed
at Belgrave Square.

Other overnight protests were arranged in the US,
Middle East and Australia. Activists live streamed some of the events.

The Syrian Observatory for Human
Rights
said at least 217 people were killed in the Khalidya district of
Homs.

"This is the worst attack of the uprising, since the uprising began in March
until now," Rami Abdul-Rahman, head of the London-based observatory, said.

"Syrian forces are shelling the district with mortars
from several locations," he added.

Activists said hundreds of people were wounded in the attack, north of the
capital Damascus.

Homs has become a flashpoint of the 10-month revolt
against the regime of President Bashar al Assad.

The night assault comes ahead of a UN Security Council vote later today on a resolution
condemning the violence in Syria.

It is still not clear whether the council will support an Arab League plan
calling for President Assad to stand down.

Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov warned that the text of the resolution
"does not suit us at all", and warned of a "scandal" if the draft were brought
to a vote.

Britain's UN mission posted a Twitter message and said: "After the horror in
Homs Friday (it is) vital all Council members back (the) resolution".

Russia has balked at any language that would open to door to "regime change"
in Syria, its crucial Middle East ally where Moscow operates a naval base.

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6 arrested outside Syrian Embassy in London

Post  Panda on Sat 4 Feb - 12:05

Six people have been arrested outside the Syrian embassy in London after 150
people gathered to demonstrate against the shelling of Homs.



Five of the arrests were on suspicion of breaking and entering, while the
sixth was for alleged assault, according to the Metropolitan Police.

Sky News' Simon Newton, reporting from the scene, said: "A small group of men
tried to storm the front door of the embassy.

"The entrance was lightly protected by diplomatic police and one WPC was
crushed against a door.

"In the melee, several protesters then scaled
scaffolding on the adjacent building and got onto a canopy over the Syrian embassy door."

Protesters smashed a first-floor window above the
entrance and kicked in a security grill to gain entry into the building, in an
apparent response to hundreds of reported deaths in
Syria.

"The police then forcibly evicted them during which some officers were
assaulted," Newton said.




"I also saw one female sergeant splattered with paint."

Although it was a bitterly cold evening, dozens of people remained outside
the embassy in Belgrave Square, central London, at 3am.

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: "Officers (were) at the scene and
appropriate policing in place.

"Five males gained entry to the building. They have now been arrested."

Activists have turned to social media sites, using the Twitter hashtag
#occupysyrianembassies, to arrange worldwide protests at Syrian embassies.

Ronan McNern, a supporter of the Occupy London movement, attended the protest
and went to the scene out of solidarity for the demonstrators and to bring them
sweets for support.

He said: "The protesters are keeping their spirits up by singing, dancing and
playing drums. Some of them are waving Syrian flags."

Pro-democracy campaigners are hoping to see mass protests around the world
today ahead of the UN Security Council convening to discuss the violence in
Syria.


Read more on Syria:

:: The who's who

:: View from the Arab world

:: Tim Marshall's blog on Homs












Recommended Stories

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Re: Syria warns West against intervention

Post  Panda on Sun 5 Feb - 8:53

Why is it that always Russia and China apply the Veto???




5 February 2012
Last updated at 07:17











Syria unrest: West deplores UN veto by Russia and China




















The BBC's Paul Wood and cameraman Fred Scott were smuggled into Homs








Western
nations have deplored the vetoing by Russia and China of a UN
resolution condemning the crackdown in Syria on anti-government
protests.

The US said the veto was "shameful", while Britain said it
"lets the Syrian people down". France also condemned the block at the UN
Security Council.

Russia and China said the proposed draft was "unbalanced".

The document was rejected just hours after activists accused Syrian troops of killing at least 55 people in Homs.

The BBC's Paul Wood, who entered the Syrian city with rebels after the vote, says gun and shell fire can be heard there.

On Sunday, opponents of the Syrian government ransacked the country's embassy in the Australian capital, Canberra.


Continue reading the main story At the scene





Barbara Plett
BBC UN correspondent




In broad terms, Russia's decision was coloured by a
decades-long alliance with the Assad regime, and by their policy of
non-intervention in the affairs of a sovereign state.

But there were two other reasons why they refused to accept this specific resolution.

First of all, they were never happy with the way it came
about. They supported the Arab League observer mission despatched to
Syria in December, but they didn't think its conclusions warranted the
subsequent league decision to promote a political process that in
essence saw Mr Assad step aside.

Rather, the Russians suspected that the observer mission had
been hijacked by Qatar and Saudi Arabia backed by Western powers, and
that their proposal was a thinly disguised attempt at regime change.

Secondly, the Russians highlight the element of armed
conflict in the violence, rather than simply focusing on government
repression of civilians. They say the Security Council should also be
making demands of the armed opposition, not just the regime, or it will
be taking sides in a civil war.





  • UN Syria plan in tatters


Police said a group of at least 40 men smashed through the front door, broke some of the furniture and stole computers.

The attack follows a number of similar incidents at Syrian embassies in the Middle East and Europe.

'Disgusted'
American UN envoy Susan Rice described the veto on Saturday as
"shameful", saying Russia and China aimed to "sell out the Syrian
people and shield a craven tyrant".

"Any further bloodshed that flows will be on their hands," she said.

She later wrote on Twitter: "Disgusted that Russia and China prevented the UN Security Council from fulfilling its sole purpose."

Britain's Foreign Secretary William Hague said in a statement
that the approach by Moscow and Beijing "lets the Syrian people down,
and will only encourage President [Bashar] Assad's brutal regime to
increase the killing".

In Paris, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said in a
statement that he "strongly deplores" the veto but promised to carry on
seeking a solution.

Mohammed Loulichki, Morocco's ambassador to the UN and the
sole Arab member of the current council, voiced "great regret and
disappointment" that Moscow and Beijing had struck it down.

The Arab draft resolution had adopted an Arab League call for
a "Syrian-led political transition to a democratic, plural political
system".

However, Russia said it singled out the government and did not contain measures against armed opposition groups.

Russia's UN envoy Vitaly Churkin said the draft had lacked balance.













US envoy Susan Rice: "For months this council has been held hostage by a couple of members"






"Some influential members of the international community
unfortunately... have been undermining the opportunity for political
settlement, calling for a regime change, pushing the oppositionists to
power," he said.

Beijing's UN ambassador Li Baodong said putting pressure on
the Syrian government or "imposing a solution" would not help to resolve
the issue.

Pro-Assad residents in the Syrian capital Damascus welcomed the Sino-Russian stance.

"I believe there are more important issues for the Security
Council to take care of... such as the starvation in Somalia, and Gaza,"
one told BBC News.

'Hysterical campaign'
Early accounts of the casualties in Homs on Saturday talked of
as many as 200 deaths, but one of the main activist groups later
revised its confirmed toll down to 55.






The BBC's Paul Wood says he and his cameraman heard heavy
machine-gun fire and explosions when they entered Homs on Saturday
afternoon.

He says Homs appears to have come under a pretty relentless
bombardment and parts of the city that oppose the regime have been cut
off.

Homs was one of the first cities to join anti-Assad protests,
and became one of the focal points of dissent after government forces
fired on crowds in April last year. Many army defectors have sought
refuge in the city.

State media dismissed the Homs casualty reports as a
"hysterical campaign of incitement" by armed gangs designed to influence
the UN.

International media outlets are restricted in Syria, making it difficult to verify the claims of either side.

Syria has been gripped by nationwide protests against Mr
Assad's government for almost a year, in a struggle that has claimed at
least 5,400 lives, according to the UN.

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Re: Syria warns West against intervention

Post  Panda on Mon 6 Feb - 14:13













1:50pm UK, Monday February 06, 2012





Deadly New Attacks By Syrian Forces On Homs




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1:50pm UK, Monday February 06, 2012


At least 50 people have been killed in a fresh wave of attacks by government
forces on the city of Homs, according to activists.



Sky's chief correspondent Stuart Ramsay, near Homs, said 12 separate areas of
the city are being attacked.

Many people are dead and injured inside buildings coming under fire from
heavy weaponry, said Ramsay.

Syrian forces shelling the city have hit a makeshift medical clinic and
residential areas, according to activists.

The cities of Aleppo, Idlib and Zabadani "are all being attacked at the same
time", added Ramsay. "This really is a major offensive but the real focus is on
Homs."

Arabic satellite TV channels have broadcast images from Homs, showing plumes
of smoke billowing into the sky as calls to prayer went out from mosques across
the battered central city.

"This is the most violent bombardment in recent days," said one activist in
Syria who is in touch with Homs residents.

:: Inside Syria: See more stories and video from the
country



The cities of Aleppo, Idlib and Zabadani are reportedly
under attack from Syrian troops as well as Homs



"Much of Homs has been surrounded by tanks and infantry," said Ramsay. "There
are reports there will be a full-on offensive in the Baba Amr district."

According to unconfirmed reports from an eyewitness who called into a local
radio station, some 78 tanks, 40 buses loaded with militia and 150 armed
vehicles are all on the outskirts of Baba Amr, Ramsay went on.

"We don't know if that's true but it certainly coincides with the spotters
and others who have been reporting back to the people here."

The opposition stronghold of Baba Amr has come under heavy tank and mortar
bombardment from Assad's forces, according to activists.

:: The Assad Regime: Who's Who?

The government has denied shelling the city, saying "armed terrorist groups"
are attacking civilians and police in several neighbourhoods.


foreign affairs editor tim marshall on homs situation








State television said the alleged gangs had been planting bombs which
exploded while they were being primed, killing many of the "terrorists".

And the country's official news agency, Sana, said gunmen have killed three
soldiers and captured others at a checkpoint in the Jabal al Zawiyah region in
the country's north.

Reuters reported an explosion ripped at an oil pipeline feeding the main
refinery in Homs.

The latest violence comes as the US and Europe promised new sanctions against
Syria after Russia and China vetoed a UN Security Council resolution condemning
President Bashar Assad's regime.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called the vote
against the resolution - which would have backed an Arab plan urging President
Assad to give up power - a "travesty".

However, Barack Obama has warned it is important to resolve the ongoing
conflict without outside military intervention.

The US president said not every situation allows for the type of military
action taken by America and the allies in Libya, which led to the removal of
Colonel Gaddafi last year.

Downing Street has called Russia and China's veto "incomprehensible and
inexcusable".

"Clearly there is a tragedy unfolding in that
country," said Prime Minister David Cameron's official spokesman.

"Russia and China are protecting a regime which is killing thousands of
people. We find their position both incomprehensible and inexcusable."

But Russia's foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, has condemned the West's
reaction as "hysterical".

"Some comments from the West on the UN Security Council vote, I would say,
are indecent and bordering on hysteria," he said.

"Such hysterical comments are aimed at suppressing what is actually
happening."

He reaffirmed Russia's position that the resolution is wrong to blame
President Assad's regime for the violence, saying it should have also taken aim
at the opposition.

:: Q And A: The Syrian Uprising Explained


The resolution backed an Arab plan to urge President Assad
to give up power



"In Syria there is more than one source of violence. There are several
there," he said.

Moscow is sending Mr Lavrov to Damascus on Tuesday.

Activists reported that 56 people died in Syria on
Sunday, half of them civilians, in fresh attacks after what was the worst night
of bloodshed during the uprising on Saturday.

More than 200 people were said to have died during a bombardment overnight on
Friday by Syrian forces on a district of Homs, which has been a focal point for
violence in recent months.

Mrs Clinton said the US would work with other nations to try to tighten
"regional and national" sanctions in a bid to prevent funding and arms shipments
reaching the Assad regime.

"We will work to expose those who are still funding the regime and sending it
weapons that are used against defenseless Syrians, including women and
children," she said.

"We will work with the friends of a democratic Syria around the world to support the opposition's
peaceful political plans for change."

She did not give further details about which nations might band together or
precisely what they might do.

But it appeared that the US might seek to help organise a "Friends of Syria"
group - proposed by French President Nicolas Sarkozy after the veto - to advance
the Arab League initiative, given the inability to make headway at the UN due to
Russia and China.

Washington's UN ambassador Susan Rice said she was "disgusted" by Russia and
China's vetoes, and claimed "any further bloodshed that flows will be on their
hands".




Foreign Secretary William Hague said Moscow and Beijing
had turned their backs on the Arab world and France's Alain Juppe said they
"carried a terrible responsibility in the eyes of the world and Syrian
people".

But Russia said the UN resolution was biased and would have meant taking
sides in a civil war.

Its UN envoy Vitaly Churkin accused the resolution's backers of "calling for
regime change, pushing the opposition towards power and not stopping their
provocations and feeding armed struggle".

"Some influential members of the international community, unfortunately
including those sitting around this table, from the very beginning of the Syrian
process have been undermining the opportunity for a political settlement," he
said.

Syria is Moscow's only big ally in the Middle East, home to a Russian naval
base and customer for its arms. China's veto appeared to follow Russia's
lead.

All 13 other members of the Security Council had backed the resolution, which
would have "fully supported" the Arab League plan for Assad to cede powers to a
deputy, a withdrawal of troops from towns and a start to a transition to
democracy.

The opposition group, the Syrian National Council, called the veto "a new
licence to kill from these two capitals for Bashar al Assad and his criminal
regime".

It said it held Moscow and Beijing "responsible for the escalating acts of
killing and genocide".

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Re: Syria warns West against intervention

Post  Panda on Mon 6 Feb - 14:19

Posted by: Big-Al on February 6, 2012 1:59 PM
I
am an experienced ex soldier and my brother is an astute businessman
and has just returned from Syria. We had a discussian and both agreed,
not once, In any pictures, video's or any footage in fact has there been
any proof of a Syrian tank, soldiers of any amount or any
artillery/rockets launchers.
And remember he has been there the last six months and the people there
do NOT want any interference and on the whole are happy with Assad...
There have been however, Police and anti riot because west funded thugs
have been going throught towns, spreading lies and smashing windows,
lighting fires etc....the people know that there are Qatar, Saudi, west
funded extremists amongst them....this is how we see it and from what
locals told him....also Assad and his family have had thier lives
threatened by the opposition, something you forgot SKY? You have no
proof SKY, just useless clips of a smokey building.
Posted by: Dilinger on February 6, 2012 1:58 PM
Again, according to activists!!!


When is this one sided reporting going to stop??
Assad has support of over 70% of the Syrian populaion; I don' seem to see Sky reporting what those people think, feel or say.

I am proud of Russia and China vetoeing the proposed one sided / micky
mouse resolution by the UN or should I say the United States.
Thesame propaganda used in Iraq, Lybia, Eygpt etc is still been used and
I am surprised how some people canno see through this ploy to
distabilise the mid east.
So far where is Iraq, Lybia, Eygpt, Afghanistan??? I do not see the
people of these countries rejoicing, all I hear is deaths, deaths and
more deaths!

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Re: Syria warns West against intervention

Post  Panda on Tue 7 Feb - 15:14

Russia is acting a peacekeeper and Assad has asked him to talk to the Rebels.



































































Homes In Homs Turned Into Makeshift Hospitals


























1:21pm UK, Tuesday February 07, 2012



Stuart Ramsay, chief correspondent, in Homs






Last night our safe house in Homs turned into a makeshift
field hospital for injured fighters and today funerals are taking place -
as residents fear a full-on regime assault.



The first indicator last night came when injured soldiers started
running into the house where we were staying, looking for medics.


The first guy had been shot in the leg and had a large gash across his eye and so they started treating him.












A wounded Free Syrian Army soldier at a makeshift hospital in Homs





Within 20 minutes trucks started to pull up and fighters began to
carry in wounded fighters - the first one had been shot in the back and
leg.


Soft cushions, as typical in Arab houses, were moved into the centre
of the room and used as padding to put the wounded fighters on for
treatment.


Then another man was brought in. He had been shot in the chest and
head. They used drips, tried painkillers, and started to work feverishly
on him.


A third guy came through the door but collapsed right there and died - he had been shot in the heart.












Fighters in Homs destroyed Syrian security force armoured vehicles on Monday





Incredibly, he was left there and they simply carried other injured fighters over him.


One of those had also been shot in the chest but he was still conscious and in great pain.


There were two medics treating him as best they could but it was all very chaotic.


The family members of the young fighter who had died in the doorway
in the middle of the night were trying desperately to get to him at the
house.


His body was taken away and, with a small ceremony, buried in a cemetery.












This morning, quite early, the bombing started again. It is quite windy today and the sound of explosions travels.


We have moved from the house and the people of Homs are absolutely scared that the security forces are coming after them.


I know one of the Free Syrian Army commanders. He is very young and very down about the situation as they cannot see any way out of this for them.


There is another martyr, as they call it, being buried now.












A funeral in Homs on January 31 became a rally focal point





Hundreds of men are coming from around the area, gathering outside the local mosque for what is a fairly big service.


Already, there are about 1,000 people gathered. Like other big funerals it is becoming a large political rally.


The army is not far from here but the funeral bolsters the fighters and their determination to oppose the regime.




Read more on Syria:


:: Russia's Foreign Minister Arrives In Damascus


:: The Assad Regime: Who's Who


:: Q&A: The Syrian Uprising Explained


:: Syria's First Lady Backs Her Husband
























Recommended

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Re: Syria warns West against intervention

Post  Panda on Tue 7 Feb - 23:27

l





































































Syria's First Lady Backs Regime Amid Attacks









  • 27 Comments














Syria's First Lady spoke exclusively to Sky's Dominic Waghorn in 2009





11:26am UK, Tuesday February 07, 2012





The British-born wife of Syrian leader Bashar al Assad has
spoken out for the first time about the country's turmoil and expressed
support for her husband.



According to The Times, it received an email from the office of Asma Assad via an approved intermediary.


The statement said: "The President is the President of Syria, not a faction of Syrians, and the First Lady supports him in that role.


"The First Lady's very busy agenda is still focused on supporting the
various charities she has long been involved with and rural development
as well as supporting the President as needed."












The email continued: "These days she is equally involved in bridging
gaps and encouraging dialogue. She listens to and comforts the families
of the victims of the violence."


The Times said the 36-year-old first lady approved the email text,
after it questioned her thoughts on violence meted out by her husband's
security forces.


Mrs Assad was raised in Acton, west London, and studied at Imperial
College in the city before working for investment bank JP Morgan.


:: The Assad Regime: Who's Who?


The daughter of a respected Harley Street cardiologist, she is also a Sunni Muslim whose family comes from Homs - the besieged Syrian city where hundreds have reportedly died since last Friday night.


She once graced the pages glossy fashion magazines in the West, but disappeared from view after the uprising began last year.


In 2000 she married Mr Assad,
from the minority Alawite sect - a Shia offshoot - less than a year
after he succeeded his father as head of the authoritarian state.


Regime critics have condemned the statements attributed to Mrs Assad.












London-based opposition spokesman Ausama Monajed told The Times: "The regime is still living in denial.


"Asma Assad is no different than her delusional husband. She is also responsible for being a silent part of this mafia family."


:: Q&A: The Syrian Uprising Explained


A source added that although Mrs Assad did meet victims of violence
in the early phase of the 11-month uprising, she has not done so in
recent months.


Sky News' Dominic Waghorn interviewed Mrs Assad three years ago, when she spoke of her despair at seeing violence in the Middle East.


At the time she offered Barack Obama the chance to visit Damascus, after he spoke of a "new beginning" in relations between the US and the Muslim world.


But in a sign of deteriorating relations between the countries, the US closed its embassy in Damascus on Monday - as Britain also withdrew its ambassador for consultations.

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Re: Syria warns West against intervention

Post  Panda on Wed 8 Feb - 5:57

Feb 7, 5:37 PM EST


Russia pushes Syria reforms as bloodshed mounts



By ELIZABETH A. KENNEDY
Associated Press













AP Photo/Muzaffar Salman











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BEIRUT (AP) -- Days after blocking a U.S.-backed peace plan at
the U.N., senior Russian officials pushed for reforms Tuesday during an
emergency meeting with Syrian President Bashar Assad, promoting a
settlement to end the uprising without removing him from power.
Thousands
of flag-waving government supporters cheered the Russians in the Syrian
capital of Damascus, while to the north, Assad's forces pounded the
opposition city of Homs - underscoring the sharp divisions propelling
the country toward civil war.
The violence has
led to the most severe international isolation in more than four
decades of Assad family rule, with country after country calling home
their envoys.
France, Italy, Spain and Belgium
pulled their ambassadors from Damascus, as did six Gulf nations,
including Saudi Arabia. Germany, whose envoy left the country this
month, said he would not be replaced. The moves came a day after the
U.S. closed its embassy in Syria and Britain recalled its ambassador.
Turkey,
once a strong Assad supporter and now one of his most vocal critics,
added its voice to the international condemnation, with Prime Minister
Recep Tayyip Erdogan saying his country cannot remain silent about
massacres in Syria. He said Turkey would "launch a new initiative with
countries that stand by the Syrian people instead of the regime."
His
comments reflect a growing movement by the U.S., Europe and countries
in the region to organize a coalition of nations to back Syria's
opposition, though what kind of support remains unclear. Over the
weekend, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton called for
"friends of democratic Syria" to unite and rally against Assad's regime.
On
Tuesday, the Obama administration suggested it might provide
humanitarian aid to the Syrian people, but did not specify how or to
whom.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov
flew into Damascus on Tuesday, accompanied by his foreign security
chief, to try to boost a plan that would keep Assad in power, even
though many prominent members of the opposition reject that entirely.
"It's
clear that efforts to stop the violence should be accompanied by the
beginning of dialogue among the political forces," Lavrov said,
according to the Russian news agency ITAR-Tass. "Today we received
confirmation of the readiness of the president of Syria for this work."
The
visit was also a sign that Moscow wanted to get a firsthand assessment
of the situation on the ground in Syria - and the raucous welcome the
diplomats received from thousands of regime supporters appeared aimed at
showing that Assad's grip is firm, at least in Damascus.
Syria
has been a key Russian ally since Soviet times, and Moscow remains a
major arms supplier to Damascus even as Assad unleashes his forces to
crush not only peaceful protesters, but army defectors who are fighting
the regime.
The U.N. estimates the government
crackdown has killed more than 5,400 people since March, making Syria's
conflict one of the deadliest of the Arab Spring. Hundreds more are
believed to have died since the U.N. released that figure in January,
but the chaos in the country has made it impossible for the world body
to update its figures.
Tuesday's visit by
Lavrov and intelligence chief Mikhail Fradkov was evidence that Russia
does not want to be seen as giving Assad a free hand to crush his
opponents in the wake of Saturday's veto at the U.N. Security Council.
Both
Russia and China blocked a Western- and Arab-backed resolution
supporting calls for Assad to hand over some powers as a way to defuse
the 11-month-old crisis.
Russia has opposed
any U.N. call that could be interpreted as advocating military
intervention or regime change. Russia and China also used their veto
powers in October to block an attempt to condemn the violence in Syria.
On Tuesday, Moscow delivered its own message to Syria, calling on all sides to hold a meaningful dialogue.
"Necessary
reforms must be implemented in order to address legitimate demands of
the people striving for a better life," Lavrov told Assad, according to
ITAR-Tass."
Assad replied that Syria is
determined to hold a national dialogue with the opposition and
independent figures, saying his government was "ready to cooperate with
any effort that boosts stability in Syria," according to the Syrian
state news agency SANA.
Repeated efforts by
the Arab League and Russia to broker talks have been rejected by the
Syrian opposition, which refuses any negotiations while the crackdown
continues. The opposition has also said Assad's proposed reforms,
including a new constitution and eventual multiparty elections, are
aimed at keeping his hold on power.
In
Tuesday's talks, Assad told Lavrov that Russia's position has played "a
key role in saving our motherland," according to ITAR-Tass.
As
Lavrov's convoy snaked its way along Damascus' Mazzeh Boulevard, it was
greeted by a sea of Assad supporters cheering the vetoes at the U.N.
"Thank
you Russia and China," read one banner that had photos of Assad and the
Russian president. Many stood in the rain carrying Syrian flags as well
as the red, blue and white Russian banner.
"I
am here to thank Russia for its stand in the face of the world
conspiracy against Syria," said Manya Abbad, 45. "I wish the Arabs
adopted similar stances."
The Assad regime
says terrorists acting out a foreign conspiracy to destabilize the
country are behind the uprising, not people seeking to transform the
authoritarian regime.
But in the flashpoints
of the conflict, witnesses, residents and human rights workers say
Assad's forces are shelling and firing indiscriminately. On Tuesday, the
troops renewed their assault on one of the main centers of the
opposition, the city of Homs, with activists saying tanks were closing
in on a restive neighborhood.
Despite the assault, members of the rebel Free Syrian Army pledged to protect the besieged Baba Amr neighborhood.
"We
are just here to respond and defend the local residents from Assad's
army snipers," said one fighter, according to Associated Press
television footage.
Shielded in the corridors
of a deserted building once occupied by Assad's forces, the rebels moved
carefully from one position to another overlooking suspected sniper
hide outs.
At a makeshift medical clinic, the
dead were wrapped in white sheets and piled on a pickup truck outside.
Doctors appeared overwhelmed by the number of wounded and the severity
of their injuries.
"Can someone help, please!" wailed a man kneeling by a wounded relative on the floor, "Someone come and see him!"
Activists said at least 15 people were killed in violence around the country Tuesday.
Homs
was the site of the deadliest assault of the uprising on Saturday, when
activists reported more than 200 people were killed in an overnight
bombardment hours before the U.N. vote. The government denied the
deaths.
Syria has blocked access to trouble
spots and prevented most independent reporting, making it nearly
impossible to verify accounts from either side.
In
Washington, White House spokesman Jay Carney said the U.S. was not
considering arming opposition groups in Syria, despite calls from some
U.S. lawmakers to consider such an option.
Carney
said current deliberations inside the administration were focused on
how the U.S. could provide humanitarian aid to the Syrian people and
ratchet up pressure on the Syrian government.
U.S.
senators John McCain and Joe Lieberman urged the U.S. to explore the
prospect of arming opposition forces. "It's an option that now should be
on the table," McCain said.
McCain conceded
the situation in Syria was more complicated than in Libya, where
opponents of Moammar Gadhafi quickly gained control of an eastern city,
but he insisted it was necessary.
"I feel very
strongly that what's happening in Syria is exactly what we got into
Libya to stop Gadhafi from doing," said Lieberman. "The question is what
do you do. One of the things is giving support to the Syrian Free
Army."
---
Associated
Press writers Albert Aji in Damascus, Zeina Karam in Beirut, Jim Heintz
in Moscow, Donna Cassata in Washington and Selcan Hacaoglu in Ankara,
Turkey, contributed to this report.
© 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadc


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Re: Syria warns West against intervention

Post  Panda on Fri 10 Feb - 7:05

Thousands of Syrian troops with tanks and artillery are massed to destroy Homs and areas around to stamp out the rebellion, villagers are resigned to the
fact that they will die today .

Bombs are being dropped on Aleppo and a Syrian rebel is showing all the devastation in Homs and asking where are the UN ? Where is America? where is
any help? The rebels only have enough ammunition for a few days and many children are among the dead at Home.


So much for the Russian Peace mission.!!!!!!!! How can Russia and China veto help for this crisis.?

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Re: Syria warns West against intervention

Post  Panda on Sat 11 Feb - 4:59

6:44pm UK, Friday February 10, 2012



Stuart Ramsay, chief correspondent, on the Syrian border






The city of Homs is locked down, they are short of
everything and they are still being attacked by government tanks and
artillery.



It is utterly horrendous in the Syrian city and it is about to get worse in towns and villages all the way to the Lebanese border.


A Free Syrian Army
(FSA) fighter pulled me aside as we listened to an argument develop
amongst the locals in the village where we were staying, on the
outskirts of Baba Amra, the most attacked anti-government enclave in
Homs.












Syrian army tanks have fired on rebel fighter positions in Homs





He said that they believed 10,000 government troops were being
deployed along with more tanks, armoured personnel carriers and
artillery pieces.


Urging me to leave the area, he said there was no way that they could
defend any of their positions for even an hour if an assault began.


Most believe that Syrian President Bashar Assad's
is following in the footsteps of his father who, 30 years ago, killed
tens of thousands who rose against him. History is repeating itself.


The attacks on civilian areas are unrelenting. People are being shot
by snipers in the street when they have managed to escape the areas
being hit by the barrage of artillery and mortars.












A resident of Baba Amr holds up the remains of mortar bombs





Desperate people make human chains to drag the fallen to covered ground. Often it is far too late.


Children cower in buildings. Their parents are unable to protect
them. If a full on assault happens then all men of a fighting age will
be picked up. In Syria’s restive areas today that is virtually every
male.


For a week we have lived beneath the sound of crunching artillery and
tank rounds - everyday people have been killed or wounded. It doesn’t
let up.












The overwhelming feeling is of utter hopelessness and disbelief that
the international community is doing nothing to stop the barbaric
destruction of residential housing areas by the Syrian government
forces.


The FSA
is certainly visible everywhere one travels. But they are pockets of
armed resistance, nothing more. The people are against the government
but have no desire to pick up arms and fight.


Quite the opposite, in fact. The want to demonstrate and show their anger but they have no interest in armed conflict.












Young demonstrators near Idlib protest against foreign inaction amid a Russian UN veto





With the government forces closing in on Homs we left by car through
deserted towns, through fields and back roads to the last FSA
stronghold. A breeze block building in a forest next to a minor road.


Inside they were handing out weapons. Sometimes their commander had to show his young fighters how to operate the weapons.


They are pitifully short of ammunition. They are counting bullets and handing them out - against a proper army this is hopeless.


Nobody doubts that from here to the Lebanese border everything and everyone is a target. But the commanders remain upbeat.












Islamists in Lebanon protest against the regime violence in Homs





Abu Waleed, a young commander who has a reputation something akin to
Robin Hood, in these parts, admits privately that things are very bad
and that the FSA are totally powerless.


But he says they will attack.


“The only way they will get in here in their tanks is if they drive over our bodies,” he said.


“It may happen like that.”


The numbers of dead and injured in cities towns and villages across
the country are growing. Apparently there is nothing to stop this,
certainly not by the outside world.


Arab League monitors may soon return. They will certainly go to Homs. They may not recognise it any more.




More on Syria:


:: Violence Spreads As Bombs Hit Aleppo


:: Syria Bloodshed: 'Why Isn't World Helping Us?'


:: The Assad Regime: Who's Who

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Re: Syria warns West against intervention

Post  Panda on Sat 11 Feb - 11:44

Shelling has begun in Homs again as Saudi Arabia ratcheted up the diplomatic
pressure on Syrian president Bashar al Assad at the UN.



Mortars fell on the Homs neighbourhood of Baba Amr on Saturday, activists
said. On Friday activists told Sky News' Stuart Ramsay they feared a "huge
offensive" coming from the regime of Syrian president Bashar al Assad.

The report came as Saudi Arabia again attempted to
rally world powers around Syrian rebels by circulating a draft resolution at the
United Nations General Assembly.


Tanks fire upon Homs



The resolution is similar to the UN Security Council resolution condemning the regime that was
vetoed by Russia and China in a move that triggered unusually harsh diplomatic
language from the US and the UK
.

However the Saudi resolution also calls for a UN special envoy to be
appointed. General Assembly resolutions have no legal force, unlike those of the
Security Council.





:: See more video and stories on our dedicated Syria
page


:: Read and watch Sky News' Alex Crawford's dispatch from
Idlib


:: Read and watch Sky News' Stuart Ramsay's report on his escape
from Homs



It is believed that up to 450 people have died in Homs, the epicentre of the
rebellion against Assad, alone over the past week.


British And Syrian Activist's Video Plea



    Why isn't anyone helping us, where is the humanity in the
    world?... That was another rocket landing over there. This is happening every
    day. Where is the UN? where is the humanity?



Danny Abduldayem, 22








American analysts are now seriously examining the possibility that al Qaeda
may be involved in some of the attacks in Syria.

On Friday, twin suicide car bombers carried out an attack on Syria's second
city of Aleppo
. The attack is believed to have killed 28 people and
wounded 235.

No one has claimed responsibility for the blast. The Syrian state blamed
"armed terrorists", while the rebel Free Syria Army initially said it had
carried out the attack, then quickly issued a denial.

The New York Times quoted unnamed analysts who said they were examining the
possibility that al Qaeda's affiliate in Iraq was responsible for the attack,
which they said bore the hallmarks of a Sunni extremist group.

One American official told the newspaper: "It is opportunism, plain and
simple".




In addition to the victims of the attacks in Aleppo, activists said another
44 people were killed across Syria on Friday - 28 civilians, nine soldiers and
seven deserters.

Security forces deployed heavily outside mosques nationwide, firing on
worshippers in some areas to prevent protests denouncing Russia's steadfast
support for the Assad regime, activists said.

The total number of people to have died since the uprising against Assad
began 11 months ago is believed to have soared past 7,000.


:: Syria Opposition Stronghold Prepares For Attack

:: Sky News' Stuart Ramsay's Escape From Homs

:: Asad Regime: Who's Who

:: Q&A: The Syria Uprising Explained

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Re: Syria warns West against intervention

Post  Panda on Sun 12 Feb - 1:52

(CNN) -- A Syrian general was gunned down in the
heart of the capital on Saturday, according to state media, as fresh
violence flared in several cities and world powers mulled a way to halt
the government's bloody offensive against civilians.

An "armed terrorist group" assassinated Brig. Gen. Issa al-Kholi, a
military physician who was the director of Hamish Hospital, in front of
his Damascus house Saturday morning, the state-run Syrian Arab News
Agency said. Three gunmen shot him to death, the media outlet said.

The killing occurred "In the framework of targeting the Syrian
intellectuals and the medical and technical cadres," SANA reported.

"A number of efficient, skilled and specialized national cadres were
assassinated by armed terrorist groups," said SANA, which cited the
killings of a professor, a nuclear specialist, a teacher and a couple of
engineers.

Al-Kholi once headed the arthritis division at Tishreen Military Hospital and received medical training in Romania and Paris.

Andrew Tabler, a Syria expert at the Washington Institute for Near
East Policy, said al-Kholi is from a powerful Alawite military family
and is a relative of Mohammed al-Kholi, the former head of air force
intelligence under Hafez al-Assad, President Bashar al-Assad's father
and predecessor.

The al-Assad family is Alawite, a minority in Sunni-dominated Syria that has a major presence in the military and government.

Tabler said air force intelligence is a powerful unit that is in
charge of missile systems and investigating military defections. Hafez
al-Assad was in that military branch.

Jeffrey White, a defense analyst also at the institute, told CNN that
al-Kholi was not likely a senior officer or affiliated with a key
regime unit. White said he believed the assassination was the first of a
higher-ranking Syrian officer in the capital.

The capital has not been engulfed with the same kind of daily
violence other cities have during the 11-month Syrian uprising, but the
killing and recent attacks in Damascus could be a sign that the
resistance is spreading to the seats of power.

Free Syrian Army Lt. Col. Mohamed Hamado said al-Kholi is "definitely
close to Bashar's inner circle" and that his family has been close to
both Bashar al-Assad and his father. The FSA is the anti-regime
resistance group led by military defectors.

The deputy head of the Free Syrian Army said the killing could have been carried out by the regime itself.

The al-Assad regime "is now assassinating and targeting anyone they
suspect of joining the revolution or thinking of defecting. That may
have been the case with General al-Kholi," Col. Malek Al Kurdi told CNN.

Al Kurdi claims the regime "assassinated" the deputy head of the
armed forces, Gen. Bassam Najm el-Din Antakiali, in September, even
though state media reported that he died of an "acute heart attack."

At least 30 people were killed in Syria on Saturday, including 12 in
Homs, according to the Local Coordination Committees of Syria, a network
of opposition activists. Homs, located in the country's west, is
Syria's third largest city. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights,
another opposition group, put Saturday's toll at 46, 32 of them
civilians.

Over the past week, 687 people, including 59 children, have died, the
LCC reported late Saturday. About two-thirds of those occurred in Homs.

"Today is the seventh day in a row we're under shelling -- nonstop
bombardment," an activist named Omar said Saturday. He said government
forces have surrounded the area with thousands of soldiers and dozens of
tanks: "Not the normal tanks. Big tanks. Russian tanks."

"We just want from Assad to give us permission to move the injured
baby -- they are just the babies," Omar said, referring to al-Assad.
"They have to leave the area to have a good treatment. ... He don't even
let us save and treat our (injured) babies."




Satellite images show damage in Homs





Syria activists plead for help





Activist: 'We're all going to die here'





Doctors: Syria withholding basic care


Unrest rippled in the south as five men in the southern province of
Daraa were killed when a a tank attacked them in the town of Al Musefra,
LCC activist Abu Oudai said. They were among 13 people killed in Daraa,
where the government security crackdown and the nationwide uprising
started in mid-March.

Funerals were held, meanwhile, for 39 members of the Syrian army and
law enforcement units. SANA said the officers were targeted while on
duty near Damascus and in Homs.

World leaders have tried to pass resolutions denouncing the regime's
bloody crackdown, but have been stymied by Russia and China in sending a
unified message.

Almost a week after Russia and China vetoed a U.N. Security Council
resolution intended to stop the killing, Saudi Arabia has drafted a
similarly worded document -- but one that lacks the same punch.

The Saudi draft resolution will be submitted to the U.N. General
Assembly, where vetoes are not allowed, but resolutions are not legally
binding.

The three-page draft "strongly condemns" the violations of human
rights by Syrian authorities. It cites "the use of force against
civilians, arbitrary executions, killing and persecution of protesters,
human rights defenders and journalists, arbitrary detention, enforced
disappearances, interference with access to medical treatment, torture,
sexual violence and ill-treatment, including against children."

The text was provided to CNN by a diplomatic source on the condition
that it not be posted in full because it could be amended. The U.N.
General Assembly will convene Monday.

Both Russia and China, which have major trade ties with Syria, have
said they support an end to the violence but disagreed with the text of
the draft resolution they rejected last week.

"We do believe that, in order to stop violence, armed methods must be
stopped not only by the government, but also by the opposition," said
Russia's U.N. ambassador, Vitaly Churkin. "That was the key flaw of the
draft resolution."

CNN cannot independently confirm details of the fighting in Syria
because the government has severely limited the access of international
journalists.

But virtually all reports from within the country indicate al-Assad's
forces are slaughtering protesters and other civilians en masse.
Opposition activists in Homs describe relentless bomb explosions from
Syrian forces, wounded people bleeding to death in the streets because
they can't get medical attention and snipers picking off civilians
running for cover.

U.N. officials estimate 6,000 people have died since protests seeking
al-Assad's ouster began nearly a year ago. The LCC says the toll has
far exceeded 7,000.

Al-Assad's regime has insisted its crackdown is aimed at armed gangs and foreign terrorists bent on destabilizing the regime.

But U.S. Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford said the truth is obvious.

"We know who's shelling Homs," he said. "It's not the opposition, it's the government."


CNN's Salma Abdelaziz, Ivan Watson, Amir
Ahmed, Joe Sterling, Richard Roth and journalist Mohamed Fadel Fahmy
contributed to this report.







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Re: Syria warns West against intervention

Post  Panda on Sun 12 Feb - 7:35

:30pm UK, Saturday February 11, 2012


Syrian forces loyal to President Assad have entered the besieged town of
Zabadani on the Lebanese border, according to reports.



The regime troops moved on the town, east of Beirut, after agreeing a
ceasefire with rebels, according to opposition leader in exile Kamal
al-Labwani.



:30pm UK, Saturday February 11, 2012


Syrian forces loyal to President Assad have entered the besieged town of
Zabadani on the Lebanese border, according to reports.



The regime troops moved on the town, east of Beirut, after agreeing a
ceasefire with rebels, according to opposition leader in exile Kamal
al-Labwani.




The agreement was reached after a week-long tank and artillery
bombardment.

The onslaught in Zabadani, a town of 20,000 people, left at least 100 people
dead.


:: See more video and stories on our dedicated Syria
page


:: Read and watch Sky's Alex Crawford and her dispatch from
Idlib


:: Read and watch Sky's Stuart Ramsay on his escape from
Homs



The ceasefire stipulates that rebels return weapons and armour seized from
loyalist forces, who agreed they would not pursue the rebels, Mr Labwani told
Reuters.

The military movement comes hours after gunmen assassinated an army general
in Damascus.


British And Syrian Activist's Video Plea



    Why isn't anyone helping us, where is the humanity in the
    world?... That was another rocket landing over there. This is happening every
    day. Where is the UN? where is the humanity?



Danny Abduldayem, 22








The killing of Brig Gen Issa al Khouli in the Syrian capital came as shells
once again rained down on the city of Homs, the epicentre of the uprising
against President Bashar Assad's regime.

On Friday, twin suicide car bombers carried out an attack on Syria's second
city of Aleppo
. The attack is believed to have killed 28 people and
wounded 235.

No one has claimed responsibility for the blast.

Syrian state TV blamed "armed terrorists", while the rebel Free Syria Army
initially said it had carried out the attack, then quickly issued a denial.

The New York Times quoted unnamed analysts who said they checking whether al
Qaeda's affiliate in Iraq was responsible for the attack, which they said bore
the hallmarks of the Sunni extremist group.


:: Syria Opposition Stronghold Prepares For Attack

:: Assad Regime: Who's Who

:: Q&A: The Syria Uprising Explained







The agreement was reached after a week-long tank and artillery
bombardment.

The onslaught in Zabadani, a town of 20,000 people, left at least 100 people
dead.


:: See more video and stories on our dedicated Syria
page


:: Read and watch Sky's Alex Crawford and her dispatch from
Idlib


:: Read and watch Sky's Stuart Ramsay on his escape from
Homs



The ceasefire stipulates that rebels return weapons and armour seized from
loyalist forces, who agreed they would not pursue the rebels, Mr Labwani told
Reuters.

The military movement comes hours after gunmen assassinated an army general
in Damascus.


British And Syrian Activist's Video Plea



    Why isn't anyone helping us, where is the humanity in the
    world?... That was another rocket landing over there. This is happening every
    day. Where is the UN? where is the humanity?



Danny Abduldayem, 22








The killing of Brig Gen Issa al Khouli in the Syrian capital came as shells
once again rained down on the city of Homs, the epicentre of the uprising
against President Bashar Assad's regime.

On Friday, twin suicide car bombers carried out an attack on Syria's second
city of Aleppo
. The attack is believed to have killed 28 people and
wounded 235.

No one has claimed responsibility for the blast.

Syrian state TV blamed "armed terrorists", while the rebel Free Syria Army
initially said it had carried out the attack, then quickly issued a denial.

The New York Times quoted unnamed analysts who said they checking whether al
Qaeda's affiliate in Iraq was responsible for the attack, which they said bore
the hallmarks of the Sunni extremist group.


:: Syria Opposition Stronghold Prepares For Attack

:: Assad Regime: Who's Who

:: Q&A: The Syria Uprising Explained

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Re: Syria warns West against intervention

Post  Panda on Sun 12 Feb - 20:06

CNN) -- Syrian government forces are using detained
civilians as human shields, placing them on tanks in the besieged city
of Homs to prevent the opposition Free Syrian Army from fighting back,
an opposition activist said.
The latest tactic came as shelling rained on city's Baba Amr
neighborhood once again Sunday, residents say, marking at least the
eighth straight day President Bashar al-Assad's troops have pummeled
Homs in an attempt to wipe out the opposition.

"My house is dancing. I am almost dead because of the siege," said the opposition activist, named Omar.

At least 23 people were killed Sunday, including a woman and two
children, according to the opposition Local Coordination Committees of
Syria (LCC). The death toll included nine people in Daraa, five in Homs,
four in Idlib, two in Hama, two in Damascus suburbs, and one in
Damascus, the group said.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, another opposition activist
group, reported different numbers, including 14 dead in Homs. A child
was killed by a sniper in Daraa, the group said.

The observatory also said a member of Syria's army was killed in
Daraa and eight were killed in Hama, as were civilians in each city.

Three civilians were killed in Sunday's shelling on Baba Amr,
according the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition
activist group. A fourth civilian was killed by gunfire near the town of
Bab Houweid, the group said.

CNN cannot independently confirm details of the fighting in Syria
because the government has severely limited the access of international
journalists.

While residents in Homs wonder whether their house will be the next
attacked, Arab League members gathered in Cairo on Sunday to discuss its
next steps on Syria.

Nabil el-Araby, the league's secretary general, suggested that the
United Nations deploy a joint force of U.N. and Arab League military
experts on the ground as an observatory mission, a league official said,
speaking on condition of anonymity because the official is not
authorized to speak to the media.

Abdel Baset Sida, a senior official from the Syrian National Council
who was at the Arab League meeting, said his group had discussed several
options with el-Araby , including the possibility of a joint U.N.-Arab
League mission.

Russia has accepted the Arab League proposal, according to a foreign
minister of one of the Arab States taking part in the league meeting.
Russia and China vetoed a Security Council resolution aimed at halting
the violence, drawing anger from many world leaders.

The Arab League will impose unprecedented sanctions on Syria,
according to the foreign minister, who spoke on condition of anonymity
because he was directly involved in ongoing discussions.

But Syria issued a statement saying it "rejects the Arab League
decisions in its entirety and it stresses that any decision that the
Arab League takes in Syria's absence is not binding." It added that the
league's statements reflect "the state of hysteria affecting some Arab
governments, especially Qatar and Saudi Arabia, after Qatar's failure to
pass a U.N. resolution that allows foreign intervention in Syria."

Meanwhile, Lt. Gen. Mohammad Ahmad al-Dabi, of Sudan, resigned as
head of the league's monitoring mission in Syria, according to the Arab
League official who spoke with CNN. The mission was suspended late last
month amid increasing violence in the country.

"The Syrian leadership has chosen chaos," Saudi Arabia's Foreign
Minister Saud al-Faisal said Sunday. "It is killing its people and
destroying the nation only to maintain its authority. What is happening
in Syria leaves no doubt that it is not ethnic or sectarian war or urban
warfare. It is a campaign of mass cleansing to punish the Syrian people
and enforce the regime's authority without any humanitarian or ethical
regards."

Syria, which routinely blames the violence on "armed terrorist
groups," said Sunday on state-run news agency SANA that "martyrs" of two
terrorist attacks in Aleppo were buried.

Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri weighed in on the conflict as well,
in a new video posted online Saturday, calling al-Assad "the butcher
son of a butcher" and praising the Syrian people for waging "jihad."

"Oh our brothers in Syria, do not rely on the West or the Arab
leaders or Turkey. Do not rely on the Arab League because you cannot
give what you do not have. Only rely on God ... All of these parties do
not want Syria to be a free, Muslim, stable, strong nation against
Israel, but instead weak and divided from its tradition, and they want
Syria to recognize Israel and engage in international injustice."

He called on the fighters to insist on a "government that governs
with Islam" and is free of corruption. "I call on all free Muslims to
dedicate themselves to Syria with prayers, money, knowledge," he said.
And Zawahiri complained that Syria "protects Israel" and joins the
United States in a "fight against Islam."

It was not known exactly when Zawahiri taped the message.

Meanwhile, Pope Benedict XVI called for peace.

"I renew a pressing appeal to put an end to violence and bloodshed,"
the pope said at St. Peter's Square. He called on "everyone, and above
all the political authorities in Syria, to favor the paths of dialogue,
reconciliation and commitment to peace. It's urgent to respond to the
legitimate aspirations of the various components of the nation, as well
as the wishes of the international community concerned about the welfare
of the entire region, the entire society and the region."

The international community has repeatedly failed to convince
al-Assad's regime to stop the massacre, so it's unclear what effect the
Arab League talks could have.

But U.N. diplomats are mulling another draft resolution -- this one
brought forth by Saudi Arabia -- and are expected to convene Monday.

The Saudi draft resolution will be submitted to the U.N. General
Assembly, where vetoes are not allowed, but resolutions are not legally
binding. Russia and China have vetoed previous U.N. Security Council
attempts at passing a resolution condemning the Syrian regime.

The latest, three-page draft "strongly condemns" the violations of
human rights by Syrian authorities. It cites "the use of force against
civilians, arbitrary executions, killing and persecution of protesters,
human rights defenders and journalists, arbitrary detention, enforced
disappearances, interference with access to medical treatment, torture,
sexual violence and ill-treatment, including against children."

The text was provided to CNN by a diplomatic source on the condition that it not be posted in full because it could be amended.

At least 687 people, including 59 children, died in the past week,
the Local Coordination Committees of Syria reported late Saturday. About
two-thirds of those deaths occurred in Homs, said the opposition LCC.

The capital city of Damascus has not seen the level of bloodshed
other cities have endured in the 11-month Syrian uprising, but the
reported killing a Syrian general there could indicate the resistance is
spreading to the seats of power.

An "armed terrorist group" assassinated Brig. Gen. Issa al-Kholi, a
military physician who was the director of Hamish Hospital, in front of
his Damascus house Saturday morning, SANA reported. Three gunmen fatally
shot him, the media outlet said.

Andrew Tabler, a Syria expert at the Washington Institute for Near
East Policy, said al-Kholi is from a powerful Alawite military family
and is a relative of Mohammed al-Kholi, the former head of air force
intelligence under Hafez al-Assad, President Bashar al-Assad's father
and predecessor who ruled Syria for three decades.

The al-Assad family is Alawite, a minority in Sunni-dominated Syria that has a major presence in the military and government.

While al-Kholi was not likely a senior officer or affiliated with a
key regime unit, his assassination is believed to be the first of a
higher-ranking Syrian officer in the capital, said Jeffrey White, a
defense analyst at the institute.

Free Syrian Army Lt. Col. Mohamed Hamado said al-Kholi is "definitely
close to Bashar's inner circle" and that his family has been close to
both Bashar al-Assad and his father. The Free Syrian Army is the
anti-regime resistance group led by military defectors.

The deputy head of the Free Syrian Army said the killing could have been carried out by the regime itself.

The al-Assad regime "is now assassinating and targeting anyone they
suspect of joining the revolution or thinking of defecting. That may
have been the case with General al-Kholi," Col. Malek Al Kurdi said.

Al Kurdi claims the regime "assassinated" the deputy head of the
armed forces, Gen. Bassam Najm el-Din Antakiali, in September, even
though state media reported that he died of an "acute heart attack."

Five people in Turkey have been detained in the probe into the
disappearance of a Syrian military defector who supported the
opposition, Turkey's semi-official Anatolian Agency reported Sunday.

Hussein al Harmoush announced last year he would help lead the
movement from exile in Turkey. He then disappeared one morning when he
stepped out of the makeshift refugee camp he and his family were living
in in the Turkish border town of Altinozu.

After going missing for more than two weeks, Harmoush suddenly
resurfaced in a "confession" aired on Syrian state TV. In the September
15 broadcast, Harmoush recanted his support for the opposition. His
whereabouts now are unknown.

Anatolian Agency said a second person, Mustafa Kassum, disappeared as
well. The five suspects have been charged with "political espionage and
eliminating one's freedom," the report said.

There was no immediate mention of the report on Syria's news agency SANA.

Al-Assad's regime has insisted its crackdown is aimed at armed gangs and foreign terrorists bent on destabilizing the regime.

But virtually all reports from within the country indicate al-Assad's
forces are slaughtering protesters and other civilians en masse.
Opposition activists in Homs describe relentless bomb explosions from
Syrian forces, wounded people bleeding to death in the streets because
they can't get medical attention and snipers picking off civilians
running for cover.

U.N. officials estimate 6,000 people have died since protests seeking
al-Assad's ouster began nearly a year ago. The LCC says the toll has
far exceeded 7,000.


CNN's Ben Wedeman, Salma Abdelaziz, Ivan
Watson, Amir Ahmed, Joe Sterling, Richard Roth, Josh Levs, and
journalist Mohamed Fadel Fahmy contributed to this report.


















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Re: Syria warns West against intervention

Post  Panda on Tue 14 Feb - 0:44

United Nations (CNN) -- The U.N. high commissioner
for human rights said Monday she is outraged by Syria's "ongoing
onslaught" on its citizens as she spoke before the General Assembly,
which is expected soon to issue a formal condemnation of the Syrian
regime.

The harsh comments by Navi Pillay prompted an angry defense from
Syria's ambassador, who complained of an "unprecedented" media and
political campaign to incite the opposition in his country.

As they spoke, some Syrian towns and cities came under fresh attack
with soldiers going door to door rounding up civilians, rolling their
tanks through towns, or continuing their shelling of neighborhoods,
according to activists and residents.

"The nature and scale of abuses committed by Syrian forces indicates
that crimes against humanity are likely to have been committed since
March 2011," Pillay said, referring to the start of the popular uprising
against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, which prompted
his government to crack down on protesters.

"Independent, credible, and corroborated accounts indicate that these
abuses have taken place as part of a widespread and systematic attack
on civilians.

"Furthermore, the breadth and patterns of attacks by military and
security forces on civilians and the widespread destruction of homes,
hospitals, schools, and other civilian infrastructure indicate approval
or complicity by the authorities at the highest levels," Pillay said.

General Assembly members were expected to consider at any time a
three-page draft resolution brought forth by Saudi Arabia that would
"strongly condemn" Syrian human rights violations.

The vote would be nonbinding but would be the strongest U.N.
statement yet on the violence. Russia and China vetoed a previous
attempt by the U.N. Security Council to condemn Syria for the crackdown.

"The people of Syria justifiably feel that the United Nations has
shamefully abandoned their cause. We must, as individual member states
and collectively, send them a clear signal that this is not the case,"
British Ambassador to the U.N. Mark Lyall Grant told diplomats.

Syria's U.N. ambassador, Bashar Jaafari, said the "aggressive,
illegitimate" criticism of his country is designed to undermine the
government.

An Arab League proposal over the weekend for a joint U.N.-Arab
peacekeeping force in the country is an "incitement to terrorism," he
said, because it would provide support to opposition fighters.

Jaafari also said the proposal seeks to trample on Syria's sovereignty.

"We in Syria could not imagine sending soldiers to defend Occupy Wall
Street protesters. Neither we or any other government can imagine
sending forces to protect demonstrators in London or Paris," he said.
"The state has exclusive responsibility for defending security on its
national territory."

Russian officials said Monday they were studying the Arab League
proposal, but they indicated reluctance to sign on, saying the
permission of the host country is necessary for peacekeepers to enter.

A peacekeeping mission also implies there is peace first, which is
not the case in Syria, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said.

China supports the league's mediation in Syria, said Foreign Ministry
spokesman Liu Weimin, but he stopped short of saying whether Beijing
would approve the proposal.

Along with a peacekeeping mission, the Arab League urged member
states to provide political and financial support to the Syrian
opposition and to cut ties with Damascus.

Syria has said it is simply fighting armed terrorist groups in its
country. Jaafari cited last week's bombing of two government buildings
in Aleppo, which killed 28 people, and a January bombing in Damascus
that killed 26 as examples of terrorist groups -- specifically Al Qaeda
-- that are active in the country.

"The vast losses in Syria among civilians and security forces is a
deep wound," Jaafari said. "We are sad, but we place the responsibility
for those losses at the door of those who are attempting to obtain
political interests by using Syrian blood as currency."

Residents of besieged Syrian areas such as Homs, where hundreds have
died in the past nine days, say it is civilians who are bearing the
brunt of the attacks. They describe indiscriminate bombings of homes,
snipers in the streets, arbitrary arrests and attacks on hospitals by
government forces.

More than 680 people died last week in Syria, most of whom were
killed in Homs, according to the Local Coordination Committees of Syria,
a network of opposition activists.

So far on Monday, 30 civilians -- including two children -- were
killed in violence, the LCC said. Most were in the areas of Homs and
Idlib.

CNN cannot independently confirm details of the events in Syria
because the government has severely limited the access of international
journalists.

The destruction by al-Assad forces has also yielded a humanitarian
crisis. Residents in Homs report scarce or nonexistent access to food,
water and electricity.

The United Nations is putting humanitarian supplies in place for
distribution as soon as access is granted, Martin Nesirky, a spokesman
for the U.N. secretary-general, said Monday.

Syrian Arab Red Crescent volunteers were able to distribute food,
blankets and other supplies to Homs and another city thanks to a brief
cease-fire but say other areas are too dangerous for them to enter, the
International Committee of the Red Cross said.

Pillay said most of the wounded avoid going to public hospitals for
fear of being arrested or tortured. Instead, they are being treated in
underground hospitals where hygiene and sterilization conditions are
rudimentary and medical supplies are scarce, she said.

Pillay said at least 5,400 people have died since protests seeking
al-Assad's ouster began nearly a year ago. The LCC says the toll has far
exceeded 7,000.


CNN's Alla Eshchenko, Nada Husseini, Nick Paton Walsh, Mick Krever, Richard Roth, and Eunice Yoon contributed to this report.








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Re: Syria warns West against intervention

Post  Panda on Tue 14 Feb - 11:30

Syria (CNN) -- Fear and horror paralyzed residents
in the Syrian city of Homs Tuesday, with snipers preventing anyone from
moving and heavy shelling blasting through the air, opposition activists
said.

"The snipers are even targeting those who intend to get bread from
the bakeries," said one activist, who uses the pseudonym Abu Omar.
"People now getting their groceries and bread carried over the fences of
private homes."

While U.N. diplomats slammed the Syrian regime for the country's
mounting bloodshed, residents wondered out loud what the implications of
total war might be.

"Everyone we've been talking to ... believes that the country is
heading towards, or already is in, a full-blown war, and recovering from
that is going to be incredibly challenging," said CNN's Arwa Damon, who
reported from inside Syria early Tuesday.

She spoke from an opposition safe house, describing a near constant
flow of people and information. CNN is not disclosing her exact location
because of concerns for her safety.





Increased intelligence activity in Syria





UN to vote on new Syria resolution





Syrians 'dismissive of diplomacy'





Syrian activist's escape to freedom

"What a lot of people are realizing and accepting at this stage is
that this is going to be a bloody battle -- that more lives are going to
be lost," Damon said.

Her report came a day after the U.N. high commissioner for human
rights denounced the Syrian government's "ongoing onslaught" against its
citizens. Navi Pillay spoke before the U.N. General Assembly, which
could issue a formal condemnation of the Syrian regime.

"The nature and scale of abuses committed by Syrian forces indicates
that crimes against humanity are likely to have been committed since
March 2011," Pillay said.

Her harsh comments prompted an angry defense from Syria's ambassador,
who complained of an "unprecedented" media and political campaign to
incite the opposition in his country.

But Tuesday morning, like clockwork, government forces once again
shelled the Baba Amr neighborhood of Homs at dawn, activists said.
Tuesday's shelling was among the heaviest in the past five days,
according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition
activist group.

More than 680 people died last week in Syria, most of whom were
killed in Homs, according to the Local Coordination Committees of Syria,
a network of opposition activists.

On Monday, 30 civilians -- including two children -- were killed in
violence, the LCC said. Most were in the areas of Homs and Idlib.

CNN cannot independently confirm details of the events in Syria
because the government has severely limited the access of international
journalists.

But Pillay said evidence proves President Bashar al-Assad's forces are carrying out a gruesome crackdown.

"Independent, credible and corroborated accounts indicate that these
abuses have taken place as part of a widespread and systematic attack on
civilians," Pillay said.

By end of the day Monday, a General Assembly draft resolution that
would condemn Syrian human rights violations had not been formally
introduced. It was unclear when the draft would be presented and when
diplomats would vote on it.





Satellite images show damage in Homs





Arab League's blunt talk on Syria





Activist: 'We're all going to die here'





Russia calls for Syria cease-fire

The vote would not be binding, but would be the strongest U.N.
statement yet on the violence. Russia and China vetoed previous attempts
by the U.N. Security Council to condemn Syria for the crackdown.

"The people of Syria justifiably feel that the United Nations has
shamefully abandoned their cause," British Ambassador to the U.N. Mark
Lyall Grant told diplomats. "We must, as individual member states and
collectively, send them a clear signal that this is not the case."

Syria's U.N. ambassador, Bashar Jaafari, said the "aggressive,
illegitimate" criticism of his country is designed to undermine the
government.

An Arab League proposal over the weekend for a joint U.N.-Arab
peacekeeping force in the country is an "incitement to terrorism," he
said, because it would provide support to opposition fighters.

Jaafari also said the proposal seeks to trample on Syria's sovereignty.

"We in Syria could not imagine sending soldiers to defend Occupy Wall
Street protesters. Neither we or any other government can imagine
sending forces to protect demonstrators in London or Paris," he said.
"The state has exclusive responsibility for defending security on its
national territory."

Along with a peacekeeping mission, the Arab League urged member
states to provide political and financial support to the Syrian
opposition and to cut ties with Damascus.

Syria has said it is simply fighting armed terrorist groups in its
country. Jaafari cited last week's bombing of two government buildings
in Aleppo, which killed 28 people, and a January bombing in Damascus
that killed 26 as examples of terrorist groups -- specifically al Qaeda
-- that are active in the country.

But residents of cities such as Homs, where hundreds have died in the
past 10 days, say innocent civilians are under siege by government
forces. They describe indiscriminate bombings of homes, snipers in the
streets, arbitrary arrests and attacks on hospitals by government
forces.

The destruction by al-Assad forces has also yielded a humanitarian
crisis. Residents in Homs report scarce or nonexistent access to food,
water and electricity.

"The humanitarian situation very bad -- big shortage in medications,
limited water supply," Abu Omar said from the Homs neighborhood of
Khaldiya. "All three field hospitals are full with wounded, most of them
in a bad medical conditions."

The United Nations is ready to deploy humanitarian supplies to Syria
as soon as it gets access, Martin Nesirky, a spokesman for the U.N.
secretary-general, said Monday.

Pillay said most of the wounded avoid going to public hospitals for
fear of being arrested or tortured. Instead, they are being treated in
underground hospitals where hygiene and sterilization conditions are
rudimentary and medical supplies are scarce, she said.

Pillay said at least 5,400 people have died since protests seeking
al-Assad's ouster began nearly a year ago, but has admitted it is
difficult to update that figure due to the chaos on the ground. The LCC
says the death toll has far exceeded 7,000.

Damon said every person interviewed has a horror story to tell, but
some are too petrified to speak publicly with their full names.

"One man we met, he had four members of his family executed as
government forces, he said, were raiding their village," she said.

She said some members of the opposition believe the regime will fall
someday, but it's uncertain how many more lives will be lost before that
happens.

"If there is military intervention, then yes, there will be a lot of
bloodshed. But it's going to be over a lot quicker," one young activist
said. "If there isn't military intervention, there is going to be even
more bloodshed, and it's going to take a lot longer to bring down the
regime."


CNN's Hamdi Alkhshali, Nada Husseini, Mick Krever, Richard Roth, Holly Yan and Brian Walker contributed to this report.

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Re: Syria warns West against intervention

Post  Panda on Tue 14 Feb - 21:01

Syria Resumes Shelling, Rejecting U.N. Rebuke

By NEIL MacFARQUHAR and RICK GLADSTONE

Published: February 14, 2012







BEIRUT, Lebanon — The Syrian government on Tuesday brushed aside a stern castigation from the top United Nations human rights official about its deadly attacks on civilians, calling her assessment propaganda as Syria’s military resumed what one activist described as the “brutal shelling” of the city of Homs.




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Civilians fled from fighting after Syrian army tanks entered the northwestern city of Idlib, Syria, on Tuesday.



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Damaged houses in Homs on Monday.

Readers’ Comments


"While our diplomatic pressure and protests may accomplish nothing and countless civilians will die, our nuanced approach is certainly better than going in with guns blazing and booting Assad out."
The Buzzer, Detroit, MI

A day after the official, Navi Pillay, the United Nations’s high commissioner for human rights, offered a grim appraisal of the Syrian conflict, activists said the shelling resumed in earnest at 6 a.m. on Tuesday, with rockets and tank shells whistling into parts of the city as often as every two minutes.
It was the heaviest shelling in at least five days, activists said, particularly targeted at the neighborhood of Baba Amr. Videos uploaded on YouTube showed gray and black smoke billowing high overhead as shells crashed into the buildings, while the staccato rattle of machine gun fire sounded constantly.
“The idea of safety doesn’t exist anymore in Baba Amr,” said Omar Shakir, an activist in the neighborhood reached via Skype. “Scary is all that exists.”
The neighborhood was hit by occasional mortar shells overnight, he said, with the heavier shells starting at first light. Although some people managed to flee the heart of the area, it was hard to leave entirely because it was hemmed in by government forces as it has been since the shelling started on Feb. 4.
Food was running low, despite efforts by residents to open a shuttered mini-market to get what they could. “We are under full siege, it is horrible here,” Mr. Shakir said. “I have not tasted bread for the past five days.” He estimated that some 60 percent of the buildings in the neighborhood had been damaged by the shelling.
Explosions erupted in the background as he spoke. Another activist said four men from Hama had managed to reach the neighborhood overnight to deliver much needed medical supplies as well as baby milk, blankets and clothes. The men wore four layers of clothes to carry as many items as they could, said the activist, identified only by Abu Omar, his nickname.
The Syrian government claims it is attacking foreign-inspired terrorist gangs in Baba Amr, and that the fires are tires set alight to make it seem like the buildings are burning. Syria has severely limited access by foreign media to the country, so claims about the fighting in Homs were impossible to verify independently.
But with diplomacy stalled, the renewed onslaught seemed to reflect Ms. Pillay’s accusation at the United Nations that the Syrian authorities were interpreting the repeated international failure to end the violence as a green light to escalate deadly attacks on its political opponents with indiscriminate brutality and “overwhelming force.”
Sana, the Syrian government news agency, said Tuesday that the Foreign Ministry had sent Ms. Pillay a letter emphasizing its “absolute rejection” of her claims. “The Ministry pointed out that the commissioner has been turned into a tool in the hands of some countries targeting Syria and ignoring the terrorist crimes committed by the armed groups,” Sana said.
Ms. Pillay’s appraisal, delivered in a tone of cold frustration, was presented at an unusual meeting of the 193-nation General Assembly devoted entirely to the Syrian conflict, despite strenuous objections from Syria and a few of its dwindling number of allies, notably Iran and North Korea.
Ms. Pillay’s remarks, and the support for her expressed by the United States, the Arab League and a wide spectrum of diplomats at the public forum of a General Assembly meeting, amounted to a strong rebuke to Syria. But her frustration also seemed directed at the inability of the United Nations, the Arab League or any other group to devise a workable proposal to help resolve the crisis in Syria, now nearly a year old.
“The longer the international community fails to take action, the more the civilian population will suffer from countless atrocities committed against them,” Ms. Pillay said.
On Tuesday, China, which with Russia vetoed an Arab and Western plan to urge President Bashar al-Assad to step aside, said it had taken new soundings in the region, sending a Foreign Ministry envoy, Li Huaxin, to Cairo for what were called “frank and useful” talks with Nabil al-Araby, the head of the Arab League, news reports said.
Mr. Araby has been canvassing support for a joint Arab League-United Nations peace-keeping force in Syria, but the Damascus authorities have rejected the idea outright and Russia has spoken dismissively of it.
In a statement, the Chinese Foreign Ministry did not go into specifics about the talks but said: “Given the constantly escalating Syrian situation, the aim of this visit to Cairo was to explain China’s position and policies to the Arab League and Arab countries, and listen to their opinions,” according to The A.P. The mission however seemed to have produced no immediate initiative.
Ms. Pillay spoke more than a week after a proposed Security Council compromise resolution, aimed at ending the violence and starting reconciliation talks in a plan advanced by the Arab League, collapsed with a veto by Russia and China, which feared it was a pretext to depose President Assad and possibly invite outside military intervention, as happened in Libya last year.



Neil MacFarquhar reported from Beirut and Rick Gladstone from New York. Reporting was contributed by Hwaida Saad from Beirut, Alan Cowell from London, Liam Stack from Cairo and Steven Lee Myers from Washington.

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Re: Syria warns West against intervention

Post  Panda on Wed 15 Feb - 17:36

sky news



4:20pm UK, Wednesday February 15, 2012




At least 14 people have been killed in gun attacks between security troops and armed forces in Syria's largest city Aleppo.


Residents in the city said they had been hearing gun shots since two car bombs exploded there last week.


The attacks mark the beginning of a new, violent chapter for the formerly peaceful city, compared to the escalating violence in other parts of the country.


More than 90 people have been injured in the gun attacks.


Seventeen-year-old Abdu was one of the innocent citizens injured during the fight.












"Masked people in a black car kept shooting citizens randomly and my son was shot," Abdu's mother said.


A doctor at the city's Laqi Hospital said he had never seen so many people injured or killed.


"The injured includes security soldiers and citizens but most were security soldiers," he said.


"Aleppo wasn't like this before," he added.


Meanwhile, an oil pipeline in the central city of Homs has also been
hit, setting off a huge blaze, according to a Syrian activist group.


The Local Coordination Committees said the pipeline was hit on
Wednesday morning in the neighbourhood of Baba Amr, which has been
shelled by regime troops for the past 12 days.









Syria: Homs Pipeline Hit










Video by Homs activists broadcast on social networking sites shows
thick black smoke billowing from what appears to be a residential area.


Homs is home to one of Syria's two oil refineries. It is also one of the cities hardest hit by President Bashar Assad's crackdown on a popular uprising that began in March.


The UN said in January more than 5,400 people have been killed in the crackdown.


Oil and gas pipelines have been subjected to attacks in Syria in the past months.


Elite Syrian forces backed by armoured personnel carriers also stormed part of Damascus
on Wednesday, firing machine guns in the air, in the closest deployment
of troops to the centre of the capital in an 11-month uprising,
residents and activists said.


Troops from the Fourth Armoured Division and Republican Guards
erected roadblocks in main streets of Barzeh neighbourhood, searched
houses and made arrests.













The pipeline attack sent a huge plume of smoke into the air. (Pic: Baba Omer / www.bambuser.com)




Residents said the troops were looking for opposition activists and
members of the Free Syrian Army, which has been providing security for
protests against President Assad in the district.


The increasing violence across the country comes after Mr Assad
ordered a referendum to take place on February 26 on a new constitution
that would allow political parties other than the ruling Baath Party to
govern the country.


Amendments to the country's constitution were a key demand by the opposition at the beginning of the country's uprising.


However, many opposition leaders now say they will settle for nothing less than Mr Assad's departure.

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Re: Syria warns West against intervention

Post  Panda on Wed 15 Feb - 17:40




Feb 15, 10:12 AM EST
Syria to hold referendum on new draft constitution



By BASSEM MROUE
Associated Press













AP Photo/Anonymous











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Documents














Indictment of Monzer al-Kassar





















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BEIRUT (AP) -- Syrian President Bashar Assad ordered a
referendum for later this month on a new constitution that would allow
political parties other than his ruling Baath Party, the centerpiece of
reforms he has promised to ease the crisis, even as the Syrian military
on Wednesday besieged rebellious areas.
The
opposition quickly rejected the move, saying that the regime was
stalling and that Syrians in the uprising would accept nothing less than
Assad's ouster. The referendum call also raises the question of how a
nationwide vote could be held at a time when many areas see daily
battles between Syrian troops and rebel soldiers.
Amendments
to the constitution once were a key demand by the opposition at the
start of Syria's uprising, when protesters first launched demonstrations
calling for change. But after 11 months of a fearsome crackdown on
dissent that has left thousands dead and turned some cities into war
zones, the opposition says Assad and his regime must go.
"The
people in the street today have demands, and one of these demands is
the departure of this regime," said Khalaf Dahowd, a member of the
National Coordination Body for Democratic Change in Syria, an umbrella
for several opposition groups in Syria and in exile.
Top
Syrian ally Russia has presented Assad's promises of reform and
dialogue as an alternative way to resolve Syria's bloodshed after Moscow
and Beijing earlier this month vetoed a Western- and Arab-backed
resolution at the U.N. Security Council aimed at pressuring Assad to
step down.
The referendum, announced on Syrian
state TV, was set to take place Feb. 26. The current Syrian
constitution enshrines Assad's Baath Party as the leader of the state.
But according to the new draft, obtained by The Associated Press, "the
state's political system is based on political pluralism and power is
practiced democratically through voting."
The
draft also says the president can hold office only for a maximum of two
seven-year terms. Assad, who inherited power from his father, has been
in power for nearly 12 years. His father, Hafez, ruled for 30 years.
The
vetoes at the U.N. infuriated the West and Arab states, which are now
considering giving greater support to the Syrian opposition. Russia says
it rejects any U.N. calls on Assad to step aside because they would
prejudice attempts to find an internal solution - even as the opposition
says that promises of reform and dialogue are a dead end.
In
the Netherlands, Russia's foreign minister said he will meet his French
counterpart in Vienna on Thursday and discuss a plan to rework the U.N.
Security Council resolution.
Sergey Lavrov
said Wednesday he could not comment on the French plan without having
seen the language of the proposed resolution. French Foreign Minister
Alain Juppe said earlier Wednesday that his country is trying to rework
the resolution to overcome Russian resistance. France has been on of the
harshest critics of Assad's crackdown.
Lavrov
praised the referendum call, saying "a new constitution to end
one-party rule in Syria is a step forward ... It is coming late
unfortunately but better late than never." He said the international
community should press on the opposition to enter negotiations with
Assad.
The Syrian revolt started in March with
mostly peaceful protests against the Assad family dynasty, but the
conflict has become far more violent and militarized in recent months as
army defectors fight back against government forces.
Many
observers fear it is taking on the dimensions of a civil war. U.N.
human rights chief Navi Pillay told the General Assembly this week that
more than 5,400 people were killed last year alone, and that the number
of dead and injured continues to rise daily in Syria.
Wednesday's
referendum announcement came during one of the deadliest assaults of
the uprising. The government has been shelling the rebellious city of
Homs for more than a week, and the humanitarian situation was
deteriorating rapidly. Activists say hundreds have been killed, and
there was no way to treat the wounded.
The
violence continued Wednesday. Thick black smoke billowed out of what
appeared to be a residential area of Homs in amateur video posted
online, after an attack on an oil pipeline that runs through the city.
Activists
accused regime forces of hitting the pipeline. It runs through the
rebel-held neighborhood of Baba Amr, which has been shelled by regime
troops for the past 12 days, according to two activist groups, the Local
Coordination Committees and the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for
Human Rights.
The state news agency, SANA,
blamed "armed terrorists" for Wednesday's pipeline attack. It said the
pipeline feeds the tankers in the Damascus suburb of Adra, which
contribute in supplying gasoline to the capital and southern regions.
Last
week, an oil refinery in Homs - one of two in Syria - was hit and
caught on fire during the fighting. Syria's oil and gas pipelines have
been attacked before during the 11-month uprising.
Also
Wednesday, regime troops stormed several residential neighborhoods in
the nearby city of Hama, activists said. The LCC said 13 people were
killed in violence around the country on Wednesday, while the
Observatory put the death toll at five.
Late
Tuesday, pro-Assad forces and army defectors battled for hours in
intense clashes in the northern town of Atareb, activists and the state
news agency SANA reported. The Observatory said nine civilians, four
defectors and seven soldiers were killed. SANA put the toll at said five
soldiers and nine gunmen.
Also Wednesday, the
government organized a trip for journalists to Harasta, one of several
suburbs of Damascus that saw heavy fighting between troops and defectors
before Assad's forces retook the areas in late January.
Two
checkpoints were set up at the entrance of the town of about 60,000. A
large shop that sells cars had its wide windows riddled with bullets.
Harasta's mayor, Adnan al-Wazzi, told reporters that the checkpoints were necessary to prevent gunmen from entering.
"There
were masked gunmen who used to open fire especially at night," said
Nour Faraj a 16-year-old worker. "Now we feel security with security
presence. We did not dare go out in the streets before."
Syria
has largely prevented any independent reporting inside the country,
making it nearly impossible to independently confirm reports of
casualties. But the regime will escort reporters on occasional organized
trips to areas it controls.
---
Bassem Mroue can be reached on twitter at http://twitter.com/bmroue
© 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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Re: Syria warns West against intervention

Post  Panda on Thu 16 Feb - 14:23

16 February 2012
Last updated at 14:01











Syria crisis: China sends senior envoy












Syrian army tanks at the entrance to the Baba Amr neighbourhood in Homs


Continue reading the main story














Syria Crisis








  • Sliding into civil war?

  • Complex and bloody drama

  • Homs maps and videos

  • Army under pressure









China says it is sending a senior envoy to Syria in a bid to find a peaceful resolution to the country's crisis.

Deputy Foreign Minister Zhai Jun will go to the capital, Damascus, on Friday.

China was widely criticised for vetoing a UN Security Council resolution urging Syria's leader to step down.

The UN General Assembly will vote later on an Arab-sponsored
resolution condemning the Syrian government. Rights groups say some
7,000 civilians have been killed there since March.

The resolution also backs an Arab League plan calling for President Bashar al-Assad to hand power to his vice-president.

The measure cannot be vetoed in the assembly, but the resolution would be non-binding.

Ahead of the vote, the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon
called on Syrian authorities to stop killing civilians, and said crimes
against humanity might be taking place in the country.



Continue reading the main story Analysis






Martin Patience
BBC News, Beijing



Officially, Beijing has a policy of non-interference in other countries' affairs.

But as China's become more influential, it's a policy that
it's finding harder to maintain. In the case of Syria, Beijing remains
wary about Western intentions.

An editorial in the People's Daily newspaper - the mouthpiece
of the Communist Party - warned that the violence in Syria could worsen
if foreign powers intervened.

It also stated that America's aim was to establish a friendly government in Syria - in order to counter the influence of Iran.



"We see neighbourhoods shelled
indiscriminately, hospitals used as torture centres, children as young
as 10 years old killed and abused. We see almost a certain crimes
against humanity," he told reporters during a visit to Austria.

Violence condemned
In Beijing, Mr Zhai said that China does not approve of armed intervention or forcing so-called "regime change" in Syria.

In an interview posted on the Chinese foreign ministry website, he condemned violence against civilians and called for the government to respect the people's "legitimate" desire for reform.

He also said sanctions or the threat of sanctions "are not conducive to the appropriate resolution of this issue".

A Chinese foreign ministry spokesman would not say if Mr Zhai
would also meet Syrian opposition representatives during the two-day
visit.

"I believe the message of this visit is that China hopes for a
peaceful and proper resolution of the Syrian situation, and that the
Chinese side will play a constructive role in the mediation," spokesman
Liu Weimin said.

Last week, Mr Zhai met a Syrian opposition delegation in Beijing.






In Syria itself, government forces are reported to have
launched a new attack on the town of Deraa in the south of the country,
where the rebellion first started in March last year.

There are also reports of violence on the eastern border with
Iraq, and in Kfar Nabuda in the central Hama province, where a number
of rebel soldiers are reported to have been killed, along with several
civilians.

Activists say at least 20 people were killed across the country on Thursday.

There are also reports of more shelling by government forces
in Homs, which has along with Hama been hit by major government
offensives.

In an interview with the BBC, Prince Hassan of Jordan said
there was a danger of Syria "subdividing" along its various ethnic and
religious lines, with each group "afraid for their own future".

He called for "heavyweight diplomacy" to draw attention to
the opposition within Syria, and said "a conversation has to be held"
between the Syrian authorities and all opposition groups.























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