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Syria warns West against intervention

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Re: Syria warns West against intervention

Post  kitti on Thu 16 Feb - 14:35

What gives Asad the right to turn off electricity in maternity wards so newborns die.



What right has he to bomb hospitals so that people he has fired on can't get help.


Someone HAS to do something to stop him murdering his own people just because they don't agree with him.



Somebody has to step In and take the responsibility of saving these people's lives...


We are sitting here and watching women and children die....every bloody day.....FOR GODS SAKE SOMEBODY DO SOMETHING!!!!!!

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Re: Syria warns West against intervention

Post  Panda on Thu 16 Feb - 14:56

Hi Kitti, the UN voted to take action but Russia and China as usual voted against. Russia sent an evoy to negotiate with Assad but didn't achieve
anything and now China is trying. Assad is a Despot who has no conscience for what he is doing to the people ogf Homs and elsewhere. His English wife
agrees with his actions.

It is looking like a Civil War, but please God , don't let Britain agree to send any troops, too many of our young soldiers have died in vain. Is Afghanistan
any better off, Iraq?.......NO.

The turmoil in the Middle East is dreadful , one Country after another.

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No one lifts a finger to help Syrian Rebels

Post  Panda on Thu 16 Feb - 16:42

Europe – Syria

No one lifts a finger to stop Assad





16 February 2012

R

Kap






How to oppose the massacres in Syria? While the question
grows more pressing by the day, the West, and Europe in particular,
seems indecisive and helpless. Is it because conditions have changed
following the intervention in Libya.




Octavian Manea



February 8. A two-year old boy lies on an operating table at a
hospital in Homs besieged by the forces of President Assad. He is dead.
The house where he lived with his parents was hit by a government shell.
“What is the UN still waiting for? For all the children and women of
the city to die?” The images posted on YouTube,
with commentary by Danny Abdul Dayem, a British citizen born in Syria,
are shocking. “Dead bodies on the asphalt, bits of people scattered
everywhere. Why is no one helping us? Where is the world’s humanity?
Where the hell is the UN?” he asks desperately. For 11 months, Assad’s
forces have repressed citizens’ demonstrations with an industrial
efficiency. The number of civilian casualties has gone past 5,000.

A recent UN Security Council resolution that demanded an immediate
end to the violence, though, was blocked by Russia and China.
Increasingly, international public opinion appears split between two
positions.

On one side are those advocating international intervention under the
Responsibility to Protect doctrine, or R2P, adopted in 2005 by the UN
General Assembly. This doctrine gives the international community the
right to intervene, by peaceful or military means, when a state commits
crimes against humanity under the cover of national sovereignty. In
Syria’s case, it would mean the Arab League and Turkey, with the support
of NATO, establishing a buffer zone free of government forces to
protect the rebels.

On the other side of the argument stand the voices of prudence. Their
argument is that Syria is not Libya and that the conditions on the
ground that made NATO’s Libya operations succeed are absent in Syria.
The opposition in Syria is much smaller and more fragmented, and there
are no “borders” between the two camps that can be secured by air
forces, as happened outside Benghazi. The fact that executions in Syria
are occuring in densely populated urban areas further complicates
matters.

Russia most aggressive defender of Assad regime



But who in the West is still tempted to support a fresh intervention
in the Arab world? At the time of the revolt in Libya, a debate on the
collapse of the euro was still in the realm of science fiction; today it
is very much reality. And then, it is unlikely that, in an election
year, and with their domestic economies in a bad way, the leaders of the
United States and France would show the same enthusiasm.

Not only that, but the Franco-British Entente Cordiale seems to have
broken down following the doomsday EU summit in December, when the “City
of London” was forced to jump off the integration train under pressure
from the French ally. Might Germany rediscover an interventionalist
calling? That would certainly be the surprise of the year.

In recent months, Russia has been the world’s most aggressive
defender of the Assad regime’s interests. “It may be because Syria hosts
the sole Russian naval base outside of the former USSR,” explains
Dmitry Gorenburg, of the Davis Center in Harvard. That base, in Tartus,
is a Russian bridgehead in the Middle East, essential for supplying
Russian ships passing through the Mediterranean. And crimes against
human rights have not deterred Russia from supplying arms to Syria. In
2010, Damascus bought nearly 6 percent of all Russian arms sold, while
Russian investments in natural-gas drilling in Syria come to nearly 20
billion dollars.

Finally, a spark in Syria could ignite an powder keg that would end
up exporting civil war around the region, to Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq.
And American memories of Iraq are fresh enough to keep them out of any
new adventures in the Levant.












European diplomacy
Ashton hits bottom





Obsessed with the euro crisis, Europe is incapable of taking
any action over the situation in Syria – final proof of “the failure of
European foreign policy, theoretically reinforced by the Lisbon Treaty”,
says international politics analyst José María de Areliza in the pages of the Spanish daily ABC. According to Areliza –


... the Arab Spring offers several case studies on the shrinking
effectiveness of European action, which is based on a power of
attraction, or soft power. Up against the killings in Libya or the civil
war in Syria, that power is useless.
Areliza criticises, in particular, the role of Catherine Ashton.
According to the researcher, the High Representative for External
Affairs of the EU has –


... hit bottom, which seemed a difficult feat. But she pulled it off,
by negotiating an agreement that left the actions of her foreign
service depend on bureaucratic authorisations from the three
commissioners who are openly competing with her within the EU executive.










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Re: Syria warns West against intervention

Post  Panda on Fri 17 Feb - 4:50

17 February 2012
Last updated at 02:28











Syria crisis: UN assembly adopts Arab-backed resolution





















The moment when the UN approved the resolution






Continue reading the main story














Syria Crisis








  • Sliding into civil war?

  • Complex and bloody drama

  • Homs maps and videos

  • Army under pressure









The
UN General Assembly has voted in favour of a resolution condemning
human rights violations in Syria and calling for an end to the violence.

The Arab-backed initiative, which also calls on President
Bashar al-Assad to resign, is the latest of several attempts to bring an
end to the crisis.

Syria said the move would only worsen the crisis and encourage "terrorists".

Earlier, China said it was sending a senior envoy to Damascus to negotiate a "peaceful and proper" solution.

The non-binding resolution adopted by the General Assembly
backs an Arab League plan aimed at stopping the killings. It was
modelled on an earlier resolution in the Security Council that was
vetoed by Russia and China.



Continue reading the main story Analysis





Barbara Plett
BBC News, United Nations



The General Assembly was very much a Plan B - the Arab
sponsors of the resolution and their Western allies had wanted the legal
weight of the Security Council backing their political plan to end
Syria's crisis.

But with the Council blocked by Russian and Chinese vetoes,
they turned to what is in effect the "world's parliament," hoping that a
non-binding endorsement from the 193-member body would lend moral and
political clout to their initiative. They hailed the strong majority
vote as a clear message of international support to the Syrian people
and a demonstration that Bashar al-Assad had never been more isolated.

But there was no disguising that the major powers are as
deeply divided as ever. Russia continued to argue that the text was
unbalanced, because it made no specific demands of the armed opposition
and attempted to sideline the Syrian leadership.

Even some countries which voted yes said Russia had a point
(these issues will have to be addressed sooner or later, said Serbia;
India said much the same). But in the meantime the impasse continues,
which suggests diplomacy will increasingly look elsewhere for a
solution, and the violence in Syria will probably get worse.



Unlike its precursor, the
resolution endorsed by the assembly has no legal authority, but the
BBC's Barbara Plett, at the UN, said its backers hope it would increase
political pressure on Damascus to end the violence.

'Promoting civil war'
Egypt introduced the resolution to the chamber and urged
delegates to reach a consensus which would send a strong message to the
Syrian authorities.

"We demand that the Syrian government heed the demands of the
Arab and Syrian people and staunch the bloodshed," said deputy
ambassador Osama Abdelkhalek.

But Syria's ambassador Bashar Jaafari said a yes vote would
only be a message of support to the "extremists and terrorists" Damascus
declares it is fighting.

Mr Jaafari said the resolution "would only lead to a tightening of the crisis, and more violence in the region as a whole".

As expected, China and Russia again voted against the
measure. Both have firmly opposed what they see as forced regime change
and have raised concerns about the possibility of international military
involvement.

Before the vote, Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady
Gatilov said the resolution was "unbalanced" so Moscow would not back
it.

"It directs all the demands at the government, and says nothing about the opposition," Russian media quoted him as saying.





Syria's ambassador Bashar Jaafari said the vote would make the violence worse

Venezuela, which also voted no, said the motion denied Syria
its sovereignty and was being used by some parties to "promote a civil
war on a large scale".

The resolution was approved by 137 votes to 12 against, with
17 abstentions. Vetoes are not allowed in the assembly. Three countries
said technical problems prevented them from voting.

The US voted in favour, with ambassador Susan Rice saying it
"sent a clear message to the people of Syria - the world is with you".

"An overwhelming majority of UN member states have backed the
plan put forward by the Arab League to end the suffering of Syrians,"
she said. "Bashar al-Assad has never been more isolated."

Massacre fears
Earlier in the day, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon had
called on Syrian authorities to stop killing civilians, and said crimes
against humanity might be taking place in the country.

"We see neighbourhoods shelled indiscriminately, hospitals
used as torture centres, children as young as 10 years old killed and
abused. We see almost certain crimes against humanity," he said.

Mr Ban said the previous vetoes were "regrettable", but that
the lack of agreement "does not give the government licence to continue
this assault on its own people".

Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister Zhai Jun, who will go to
Damascus on Friday, condemned violence against civilians and called for
the government to respect the people's "legitimate" desire for reform.

But in the interview, posted on the Chinese foreign ministry website, he also said sanctions or the threat of sanctions were "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.

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






In Syria itself, at least 40 people were killed on Thursday, activists said.

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 began.

The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said
there were fears of a massacre in the Deraa province village of Sahm
al-Julan, where dozens of civilians had disappeared.

"Witnesses said security forces shot at the civilians and
then piled them onto pick-up trucks. Their fate is unknown," the group
said in a statement.

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.

Shelling by government forces was reported in Homs, which has along with Hama been hit by major government offensives.

There were also reports that prominent pro-democracy blogger
Razan Ghazzawi had been arrested, along with Mazen Darwish, head of the
Syrian Centre for Media and Freedom Of Expression, and a dozen other
people.

Restrictions on journalists mean such reports are difficult to verify.

Human rights groups say 7,000 civilians have been killed in Syria since the uprising against Mr Assad began last March.























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Re: Syria warns West against intervention

Post  Panda on Fri 17 Feb - 4:54

A Syrian resistance leader's plea to the world





By Muhammad Zuka, Special to CNN
February 16, 2012 -- Updated 1831 GMT (0231 HKT)






Syrian activists say this photo shows a mass funeral February 4 in Homs after they say the regime killed more than 200 people.



STORY HIGHLIGHTS

  • A resistance leader: Protest leaders counted on the world's support for their cause
  • Instead, they have been left alone to fight, their appeals for help ignored, he says
  • Writer: "Our suffering increases under the weight of the violent and brutal crackdown"
  • He calls for support for the Syria Free Army, humanitarian corridors, safe havens



Editor's note: Muhammad
Zuka, a pseudonym, is a Syrian resistance leader in his mid-30s from
the Qalamoun region, north of Damascus. He owned a small business but
lost it in the crackdown. He recently participated, with six colleagues,
in a Skype call with U.S. journalists and others hosted by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
This commentary was translated from Arabic and facilitated by Ammar
Abdulhamid, author of the daily blog Syrian Revolution Digest and a
foundation fellow. Ken Ballen, author of the book "Terrorists in Love" (Free Press, 2011) and president of Terror Free Tomorrow, a nonprofit institute that researches attitudes toward extremism in Syria and elsewhere, also assisted.


North of Damascus, Syria (CNN) -- The Syrian
revolution has taken place as a long-delayed response to the misery and
helplessness visited upon the Syrian people by a narrow authoritarian
clique that treated the country as its own private fiefdom.

Occurring within the context of the Arab Spring, and considering what
world leaders already knew about the nature of President Bashar
al-Assad's regime, protest leaders had believed that world reaction
would be far more sympathetic to our desire for freedom. Unfortunately,
we were wrong. The world has been slow to condemn al-Assad's atrocities
and sanction his behavior. Worse, the international community has failed
to develop a plan or vision of what should come next.

Syrian protesters have been entirely left to our own devices, to fend
for ourselves against a barbaric regime actively supported by its
historical allies. We have tried to appeal to the world, to argue our
case in the arena of international public opinion and to suggest courses
of action, using the Internet and YouTube videos, and by talking to the
few foreign correspondents who managed to find their way to us.
Meanwhile, our suffering increases under the weight of the violent and
brutal regime crackdown. International sanctions have been inadequate to
stop the bloodshed and could easily backfire when there is no endgame
in sight.

When the death toll reached 5,000 and the number of detainees 50,000,
we were finally forced to resort to violence. Our protests started
entirely peacefully. Yet after months of seeing unarmed protesters mowed
down by tanks and children targeted by snipers, we needed to start
defending ourselves. Defectors from al-Assad's loyalist army joined with
us and have led to the establishment of the Free Syrian Army.

Stopping our resistance is no longer an option. Talking to al-Assad
and the people who drove us to the brink, who called us "infiltrators,"
"germs" and "terrorists" is tantamount to betraying everything we have
stood for. Al-Assad's promises of reform sound as disingenuous now as
they did when he first made them in 2000.

Today, as the regime's brutality increases and entire residential
neighborhoods and towns are being targeted indiscriminately with
howitzers and tanks, we are more committed than ever to defending
ourselves while protecting the civic nature of our movement.

For those who doubt our ability to do this, just remember that not a
single massacre or act of revenge has taken place in any of the
communities that have been under the control of the protesters. The
regime makes claims and spreads rumors but offers no verifiable proof.
Meanwhile, its atrocities have been meticulously documented by our
colleagues and more recently by the foreign correspondents who gained
access to the country.

The world has no reason to be afraid of us. This revolution was
launched to reclaim the future for freedom and democracy. For this, we
should be engaged and supported. We are not one color, but a rainbow,
committed to protecting our national diversity and the values of
tolerance for which Syrian society has always been known -- not because
the world wants it, but because it is our heritage. Had we had any other
agenda, the world would have already seen signs of that on the ground.
It has been almost a year since the revolution began, yet, despite the
regime's provocations, we remain committed to national unity, and we
shall not waver.

Here is what we ask of the world:

• Recognize the Free Syrian Army, whose soldiers stand among us and risk their lives to protect us;

• Provide material and logistical support to the Free Syrian Army so
it can protect protest hubs while developing the necessary command
structure to act in accordance with the professional standards required
for leading the transitional period with the civilian leadership;

• Engage the protest leaders on the ground, for we are the ones
responsible for ensuring that this revolution remains committed to civic
and democratic values.

• Help establish safe havens along Syria's borders with her neighbors; and

• Help establish humanitarian corridors to embattled Homs
communities, where the specter of famine grows by the day, and where
residential neighborhoods are getting bombarded around the clock.

We know these are not simple or easy demands. But it's clear by now
that, long before the Russian and Chinese vetoes of the U.N. Security
Council resolution, international reluctance and confusion have given
al-Assad's regime a green light for further escalation.

Today the death toll is approaching 8,000, with 60,000 detained and
20,000 missing. When will it be the right time to help us? What other
option is there that hasn't been tried yet?

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Re: Syria warns West against intervention

Post  Panda on Fri 17 Feb - 18:14

Are you there? Send us your images or video

(CNN) -- Thousands of Syrians sloughed off their
regime's relentless, bloody crackdown as angry throngs defiantly staged
public protests and braved heavy gunfire Friday.

Demonstrators took to the streets of Idlib, Daraa, Homs, Hama and
suburban Damascus, chanting for the end of President Bashar al-Assad's
regime, and focused their attention on "popular resistance" -- the theme
of the protests.

Video showed a large crowd of protesters gathered in Daraa Friday
under a banner that read: "Shed the blood, cast off the cowards," a
reference to the regime.

Activists in Syria have been staging mass protests every Friday, the
Muslim holy day, since the unrest began rippling across the country
nearly a year ago. They focus on a different theme every week..

The popular resistance theme comes as calls for armed struggle
against the regime intensify and the Free Syrian Army, the anti-regime
force of military defectors, attempts to grow.

Conflict has occurred every day in Syria for months and it flared Friday amid the mass protests.

At least 56 people died across Syria Friday, including 12 military
defectors executed in the town of Jassem in Daraa province and an
11-year-old boy in the Damascus suburbs, said the Local Coordination
Committees of Syria, an opposition activist group.

While protesters took to the streets in some areas of the volatile city of Homs, unrest engulfed other areas of the city.

Security forces shelled the flashpoint city on Friday, the 14th
consecutive day of constant bombardment as Syrian forces targeted
neighborhoods such as Baba Amr, a bastion of anti-government sentiment.
There were 15 deaths in Homs on Friday, and they occurred in that
neighborhood, the LCC said.

Dima Moussa, a Syrian activist in Chicago, said the regime is
planning a particularly huge ground offensive on Baba Amr Friday night.
Moussa said activists have received that information from "cooperative
officers" in the military and is in touch with Free Syrian Army officers
on the ground.

"They are planning a massive ground invasion of Baba Amr, no matter
what the cost is and no matter what the number of casualties is, even if
they have to annihilate everyone in the neighborhood. Assad force
started their moves from all directions since noon today," said Moussa,
who is a member of the Revolutionary Council of Homs and the Syrian
National Council.

Earlier, Syria TV said terrorists sabotaged an oil pipeline Baba Amr
and another nearby neighborhood, Sultania. It is the second such
pipeline incident in three days.

The dark plumes rising from the pipeline could work in the military's favor, Moussa said.

"The massive amounts of smoke have certainly made the regime's movements and preparations a lot easier," she said.

The perils for foreigners are reflected by a British travel advisory
on Friday, which urged its citizens "to leave now by commercial means
whilst these are still available."

The violence has enraged world powers, including many in the West, and it has outraged many in the Muslim world.

In neighboring Iraq, for example, hundreds of demonstrators took to
the streets in Falluja on Friday to support the Syria uprising. Falluja
is in Anbar, a province that is largely Sunni -- much like Syria's
opposition. The al-Assad regime is dominated by the Alawite minority.

Attempts by international forces to stop the violence have failed.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy urged Syrian opposition forces to unite if it wants to prevail.

"We will not accept that a dictator is allowed to massacre his own
people but the revolution cannot come from the outside, it must be born
from within," Sarkozy said Friday at a joint news briefing with British
Prime Minister David Cameron at the Elysee Palace in Paris.

On Thursday, the U.N. General Assembly passed by an overwhelming
margin a nonbinding resolution endorsing the Arab League plan for the
Syrian president to step down. The vote was 137 in favor and 12 against,
with 17 abstentions.

It is unclear what, if any, effect the resolution will have on what
many world leaders see as a relentless campaign by al-Assad's forces to
stamp out opposition.

The symbolic resolution was introduced into the General Assembly
after China and Russia blocked the Security Council from approving
enforceable measures aimed at curbing the violence. China and Russia
were among the dissenting votes.








Syria map



The resolution marks the strongest U.N. statement to date condemning
al-Assad's regime. It calls on Syria to end human rights violations and
attacks against civilians immediately, and condemns violence by
al-Assad's forces and the opposition.

"We have marshaled the great weight of international opinion against
the Assad regime," said Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, speaking on
Friday to reporters with European Union foreign policy chief Catherine
Ashton.

"The vote yesterday in the General Assembly was overwhelming," she
said. "We have not been deterred by the vetoes in the Security Council."

Clinton said the United States and others are working "to determine
ways forward, to strengthen the opposition, to help them convey to the
entire Syrian population that they are seeking an inclusive, peaceful,
democratic transition."

For nearly a year, al-Assad has denied reports that his forces are
targeting civilians, saying they were fighting armed gangs and foreign
fighters bent on destabilizing the government.





Inside Syria: View of U.N. condemnation





Violence intensifies inside Syria





Bombardment intense in Homs, Syria





CNN reporter hiding in Syrian safe house

But the vast majority of accounts from within the country say that
Syrian forces are slaughtering civilians as part of a crackdown on
anti-government opposition calling for al-Assad's ouster.

The United Nations says that well over 5,000 people have died in more
than 11 months, though it does not have a recent death count due to the
conditions in the country. But more than 7,000 have been killed,
according to the LC

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Re: Syria warns West against intervention

Post  Panda on Sat 18 Feb - 9:19

ebruary 18, 2012 -- Updated 0833 GMT (1633 HKT)


















Damon: Syrians are bracing for the worst







STORY HIGHLIGHTS

  • A Chinese envoy is in Damascus to meet with Syrian leaders Saturday
  • Opposition activists: At least 61 people died across Syria on Friday
  • An activist says the regime is planning a "massive" assault on Baba Amr on Saturday
  • She says many would rather be killed because the wounded often face slow deaths



Are you there? Send us your images or video

(CNN) -- Resolute in the face of their government's
bloody, incessant crackdown, opposition activists are planning a massive
protest and joint funeral Saturday -- not far from President Bashar
al-Assad's palace.

"Protesters are planning a funeral for three martyrs that were killed
by Assad forces. The place we are going from is only two kilometers
(1.2 miles) away from the Assad palace," opposition activist Abo Yasser
said.

Across town, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zhai Jun is scheduled to
meet with al-Assad and Foreign Minister Walid Moallem "to explore ways
to boost bilateral ties" and discuss the situation in Syria, according
to China's state-run Xinhua news agency.

During his trip, Zhai will "push for a peaceful and proper solution
to the Syrian crisis," Xinhua said, quoting China's Foreign Ministry
spokesman.





Early to revolt, Syrian town now suffers





Tabler: UN action not enough on Syria





Comparing Syria with Libya





Dempsey on arming Syria's opposition

China, along with Russia, have vetoed attempts by the U.N. Security
Council to pass a resolution condemning the Syrian regime for what many
countries call a massacre of civilians. Both China and Russia have major
trade ties with Syria, and critics of China say Beijing fears that
condoning a resolution that could lead to regime change might one day
threaten its own rule.

But China, which has a long-standing policy of noninterference in
other countries' domestic affairs, has said Syrian authorities and
opposition forces should "solve their disputes through dialogue."

The meeting between Zhai and Syrian leaders -- and the planned
protest Saturday against the al-Assad regime -- follow a particularly
gruesome day Friday, when at least 61 people were killed across the
country, said the Local Coordination Committees of Syria, an opposition
group that organizes and documents demonstrations.

The casualties included 12 military defectors executed in Daraa
province and an 11-year-old boy killed in the Damascus suburbs, the LCC
said.

The state-run Syrian Arab News Agency reported that six members of
the army and law enforcement who had been killed by "armed terrorists"
in the Damascus countryside, Homs, Idlib and Daraa, were buried Friday.

While protesters took to the streets in some areas of the volatile city of Homs, unrest engulfed other areas of the city.

Security forces shelled the flashpoint city on Friday, the 14th
consecutive day of bombardment during which Syrian forces targeted
neighborhoods including Baba Amr, a bastion of anti-government sentiment
where 15 people died Friday, the LCC said.

Dima Moussa, a Syrian opposition activist in Chicago in contact with
army officers, said the regime is planning to launch an invasion
Saturday morning on Baba Amr.

"They are planning a massive ground invasion of Baba Amr, no matter
what the cost is and no matter what the number of casualties is, even if
they have to annihilate everyone in the neighborhood," said Moussa, who
is a member of the Revolutionary Council of Homs and the opposition
Syrian National Council. "Assad forces started their moves from all
directions since noon today."

All services had been cut to Baba Amr, where residents were
collecting rain because they have no running water, she said. The only
news from the neighborhood was coming from the few people who had
satellite devices, she said.





'Dire conditions' in Syria





Cries for help unanswered





Searching for the truth in Syria





Syrian town held by opposition

"Medical supplies and food are nearly completely unavailable," Moussa
said about the neighborhood, which has been under siege for two weeks.
"People are now at a stage when they are hoping to get killed if they
are going to be bombed, instead of getting injured, as getting injured
only means a slow death or living forever with some sort of a disability
or disfigurement," she said.

In neighboring Iraq, hundreds of demonstrators took to the streets of
Falluja to support the uprising. Falluja is in Anbar, a province that
is largely Sunni -- much like Syria's opposition. The al-Assad regime is
dominated by the Alawite minority.

On Thursday, the U.N. General Assembly passed by an overwhelming
margin a nonbinding resolution endorsing the Arab League plan for the
Syrian president to step down. It was unclear what effect, if any, the
resolution might have on what many world leaders see as a relentless
campaign by al-Assad's forces to eliminate the opposition.

For almost a year, al-Assad has denied reports that his forces are
targeting civilians, saying they are fighting armed gangs and foreign
fighters bent on destabilizing the government.

But the vast majority of accounts from within the country indicate
Syrian forces are slaughtering civilians as part of a crackdown on
anti-government opposition calling for al-Assad's ouster.

The United Nations has said well over 5,000 people have died in more
than 11 months, though it does not have a recent death count due to the
conditions in the country. The LCC puts the number at more than 7,000.

CNN cannot independently confirm opposition and government reports of
violence because the Syrian government has severely restricted the
access of international journalists.


CNN's Joe Sterling, Samira Said, Holly Yan,
Saad Abedine, Salma Abdelaziz, Pierre Meilhan, Nada Husseini, Nick Paton
Walsh and Eunice Yoon contributed to this report












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Re: Syria warns West against intervention

Post  Panda on Sun 19 Feb - 5:25

Syria crisis: Deadly shooting at Damascus funeral





















The BBC's Jim Muir: "We're told that security forces opened fire." This footage has not been verified.






Continue reading the main story














Syria Crisis








  • Sliding into civil war?

  • Complex and bloody drama

  • Homs maps and videos

  • Army under pressure









Syrian
troops have fired on mourners during a funeral that turned into a
demonstration in Damascus, killing at least one person, activists say.

The shooting occurred at a funeral for people killed during a protest against President Bashar al-Assad on Friday.

The violence comes during a visit by a Chinese envoy, who urged dialogue in a bid to defuse the 11-month crisis.

State TV quoted him as saying he backed government plans for a referendum on a new constitution followed by elections.

The opposition has called for a boycott of the 26 February referendum, saying it cannot be held as violence continues.

Appeal for calm
Activists say there was a huge turnout for Saturday's funeral
in the Mezzeh district on the western edge of Damascus. Mourners were
burying three youths shot dead during protests following Friday prayers.

The funeral procession turned into one of the biggest
demonstrations the capital has seen, with thousands of people chanting
slogans calling for an end to the Assad regime.

According to activists, security forces opened fire, killing at least one protester and injuring several others.





Zhai Jun said that "a nation cannot develop without stability"

Despite the current crackdown, there were similar protests after Friday prayers in many parts of the country.

Opposition activists say government forces on Saturday renewed their bombardment of the restive central city of Homs.

The violence came after Chinese envoy Zhai Jun held talks with President Assad in Damascus.

Syrian TV quoted Mr Zhai as saying: "The position of China is
to call on the government, the opposition and the rebels to halt acts
of violence immediately.

"We hope that the referendum on a new constitution as well as the forthcoming parliamentary elections pass off calmly."

After the meeting, Mr Assad was quoted as saying: "What Syria
is facing is fundamentally an effort to divide it and affect its
geopolitical place and historic role in the region."

China was one of the nations that voted against a recent UN
General Assembly resolution calling on Mr Assad to stop his 11-month
crackdown on dissent and step down.

Beijing, along with Moscow, has insisted outsiders cannot force regime change in Syria.

'Torture'
Opposition activists said government forces were continuing
their two-week rocket and artillery attack on the opposition stronghold
of Baba Amr in Homs on Saturday.

Activist Mohammad al-Homsi told Reuters news agency: "Troops
have closed in on Baba Amr and the bombardment is mad, but I don't know
if they are willing to storm the neighbourhood while it is snowing.

"There is no electricity and communications between districts are cut, so we are unable to get a death toll."

The BBC's Jim Muir in neighbouring Lebanon says the Syrian
government clearly wants to quell all armed resistance and seal its
borders to prevent supplies to the opposition.

Meanwhile the human rights group Amnesty International said
it had obtained new evidence of torture being used by Syrian forces
against opponents.

Amnesty researcher Neil Sammonds said one man told him that
part of his hand was blown off with explosives after he refused to pray
to a photograph of President Assad.

Other Syrians at a camp in Jordan said detainees were
subjected to protracted beatings. One prisoner said he had been forced
to witness the rape of another male detainee.

Syria restricts access to foreign media and it is often not possible to verify some reports and casualty figures.

Human rights groups say more than 7,000 people have died throughout Syria since last March.

The government says at least 2,000 members of the security forces have been killed combating "armed gangs and terrorists".























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Re: Syria warns West against intervention

Post  Panda on Sun 19 Feb - 13:26

Local attorney general, judge among latest killed in Syria





By the CNN Wire Staff
February 19, 2012 -- Updated 1158 GMT (1958 HKT)


















Damon: Syrians are bracing for the worst







STORY HIGHLIGHTS

  • NEW: Egypt recalls its ambassador to Syria, state-run media reports
  • NEW: Egypt says Syrian leaders must stop violence and respond to the demands of the people
  • Opposition: Government forces kill residents in Aleppo and Homs on Sunday
  • At least 295 doctors have been arrested in 11 months, opposition activists say



Are you there? Send us your images or video

(CNN) -- A provincial attorney general and a judge
were assassinated Sunday in Syria in what the regime called another
attack targeting officials.

Attorney General Nidal Ghazal of Idlib province, Judge Mohammed
Ziyadeh and their driver were fatally shot on their way to work by an
"armed terrorist group," the state-run Syrian Arab News Agency reported.

The opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also acknowledged
the deaths, but said the three were killed by "unknown assailants."

The deaths follow the Saturday assassination of Aleppo city council
member Jamal al-Bish, who was also killed by an "armed terrorist group,"
SANA said. And last weekend, SANA reported a Syrian general was gunned
down in Damascus -- perhaps the first significant hint that the
resistance is spreading to the seats of power.

But in a country where some civilians live in constant fear of
government attack, opposition activists said two more residents died
Sunday at the hands of regime forces.

One civilian was shot to death at a security checkpoint in Aleppo,
and a woman was killed by indiscriminate gunfire in the embattled city
of Homs, the Syrian Observatory said.

As violence spiraled unabated, opposition activists say the regime has snatched up hundreds of doctors.

At least 295 doctors have been arrested during the 11-month Syrianuprising
as part of a "fierce campaign" against physicians, according to the
Local Coordination Committees of Syria, a network of opposition
activists.

In the past three days, security forces seized three doctors from
Damascus -- including two from their clinics, the LCC said Sunday.

For weeks, opposition activists have bemoaned a shortage of doctors and medical supplies as parts of Syria came under siege.

Residents -- particularly in the opposition stronghold of Homs --
describe an endless nightmare of random shelling on houses, snipers
perched on rooftops and wounded civilians dying long, painful deaths
because they can't get the medical care needed to save their lives.

Even those mourning the dead can't escape the government's relentless onslaught.

At least two people were killed at a massive funeral and protest
Saturday in Damascus, the LCC said. Security forces confronted the tens
of thousands of mourners and protesters with gunfire and tear gas, the
group said.

The two were among 17 killed across Syria on Saturday, according to the LCC.

More than 8,500 people have been killed since the Syrian government's
crackdown on peaceful demonstrators started almost a year ago, LCC
spokeswoman Rafif Jouejati said. The United Nations has said well over
5,000 people have died, though it does not have a recent death count due
to the conditions in the country.

In recent months, more opposition fighters have taken up arms against government soldiers, police and militia.

World powers decry the violence but have been unable to stop it.Some countries have pulled their diplomats out of Syria.

Egypt decided Sunday to keep its ambassador to Damascus, Shawky
Ismail, "in Cairo until further notice," state-run EgyNews.net reported.

The Egyptian Foreign Ministry issued a statement "calling for a
response to the demands of the Syrian people, and that it is an
obligation for the Syrian leadership and government to stop the violence
and begin to respond to the demands of the people particularly after
the events of Homs," EgyNews.net said.

On Saturday, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zhai Jun met with
President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus, not far from where the deadly
violence at the mass funeral took place.

"I exchanged clear and profound viewpoints with President al-Assad
about the Syrian issue. ... China, as a friendly country to Syria, is
following with great concern the developments here," Zhai said,
according to state-run Syrian Arab News Agency.

China, like Russia, has vetoed attempts by the U.N. Security Council
to denounce the al-Assad regime amid escalating reports of government
brutality in Syria.

Zhai said China urged all sides "to sit on the dialogue table to reach a comprehensive political plan."

"I briefed President al-Assad on China's basic stance image over the
Syrian issue. This stance is represented by calling on the Syrian
government, armed men and the opposition to an immediate halt of acts of
violence against civilians."

CNN cannot independently confirm opposition and government reports of
violence because the Syrian government has severely restricted the
access of international journalists.

The Syrian regime has denied reports that al-Assad's forces are
targeting civilians, saying they are fighting armed gangs and foreign
fighters bent on destabilizing the government.

But the vast majority of accounts from within the country indicate
Syrian forces are slaughtering civilians in an attempt to wipe out
dissidents calling for al-Assad's ouster.

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Re: Syria warns West against intervention

Post  Panda on Sun 19 Feb - 19:51


Advertise on NYTimes.com




Frustrated Protesters Fill the Streets in Syria’s Capital



ReutersAntigovernment protesters thronged the middle-class neighborhood of Mezze in Damascus on Saturday despite scattered gunfire from troops.
By NEIL MacFARQUHAR

Published: February 18, 2012







BEIRUT, Lebanon — Hundreds and hundreds of antigovernment protesters braved scattered gunfire from Syrian soldiers to march through a middle-class neighborhood in Damascus on Saturday, the biggest demonstration witnessed close to the heart of the capital since the country’s uprising started 11 months ago.






C




Bulent Kilic/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

In northwestern Syria a body lay near a canal on Saturday after a crackdown in the city of Idlib.



The neighborhood, Mezze, skirts the hill on which the sprawling white presidential palace sits, and as row upon row of demonstrators walked along, wrapped tightly in heavy coats amid a snowstorm, more than a few expressed the wish that President Bashar al-Assad could hear them.
“I hope President Assad opens the window of his office and sees how Damascenes are shouting against him and his regime,” said Usama, 22, a university student from the neighborhood, giving only his first name out of fear of retribution. “The regime thought we were asleep, but it doesn’t know that when we wake up his regime will be gone.”
The relative calm of Damascus, as well as Aleppo, Syria’s largest city, throughout the uprising has been cited repeatedly by the Assad government to buttress its argument that it enjoys wide support in Syria. Officials maintain that the demonstrations and unrest in rebellious cities like Homs, Hama and Dara’a, all sites of brutal government crackdowns, are the work of foreign infiltrators.
That argument will be much harder to sustain if mainstream, middle-class districts of the capital like Mezze begin rising up to demonstrate, as it did on Saturday. The march was prompted by the deaths of three men at a smaller protest a day earlier. Several marchers said it was one thing to deploy tanks in provincial cities to fight antigovernment protesters, but it would be impossible to say that foreign armed gangs had penetrated an area close to the presidential palace.
“If the rallies have reached Damascus and are big enough, we will no longer need an armed revolution,” said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition group based in Britain.
Some demonstrators carried palm fronds, spotted on videos of the event posted on YouTube, to indicate their peaceful intent.
The observatory said a Damascus demonstrator was killed by gunfire from the security forces, which also used sound grenades and tear gas in a vain attempt to disperse the march. Around Syria, at least 14 other people were also reported killed on Saturday.
Ten soldiers killed in antigovernment violence around the country were buried on Saturday, the official Syrian Arab News Agency reported.
In Mezze, dozens of demonstrators were also arrested, as security forces chased them into alleyways and searched houses, according to witnesses and activists.
The Mezze neighborhood houses important government and private offices, including the Ministry of Information and the cellphone company MTN, as well as many foreign missions. The Iranian mission, with its distinctive Persian blue tile exterior, was a focus of demonstrators’ ire.
“This is the embassy of the armed gangs,” said one voice on camera in a video posted on YouTube, mocking the boilerplate accusations the Syrian government has issued against demonstrators. Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps is believed to have trained the Syrian security forces in crowd control, and many Syrians believe that Iranian troops are helping as well.
“We are demonstrating here, very close to Iran’s embassy, to say to the Iranians, ‘Look, we are peaceful protesters who want democracy, dignity and freedom,’ ” said Fadi, a 24-year-old protester interviewed in Mezze on Friday.
During a smaller demonstration after the Friday Prayer sermon at the largest neighborhood mosque, three men were shot dead by security forces, and it was their funeral that prompted Saturday’s outpouring.
Some activists burned posters of Mr. Assad and chanted for him to step down. The demonstration started small outside the main mosque around 10:30 a.m. Saturday, but it gradually swelled as more and more men and women from the neighborhood joined in, witnesses and activists said. In other parts of the country, women have all but disappeared from demonstrations as violence has intensified.



Hwaida Saad contributed reporting from Beirut, and an employee of The New York Times from Damascus, Syria.

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Re: Syria warns West against intervention

Post  Panda on Mon 20 Feb - 11:14

Syrian rebel: Uprising is an 'orphan revolution' without foreign support





By the CNN Wire Staff
February 20, 2012 -- Updated 0727 GMT (1527 HKT)


















Walking through a deserted Homs







STORY HIGHLIGHTS

  • NEW: Syrian-American families react to reports of violence
  • Syrian forces resume 17th consecutive day of shelling in Homs
  • The commander says rebels are going without the foreign support shown in other revolts
  • Gen. Martin Dempsey says its "premature" to decide whether to arm rebels



Are you there? Send us your images or video

(CNN) -- The principal military adviser to President
Barack Obama says it is premature to aid in arming the Syrian
opposition, reinforcing the belief of a rebel commander that the
uprising is an "orphan revolution" without the international support
prevalent in other Arab Spring revolts.

The claims follow opposition reports Monday that Syrian forces began a
17th day of shelling of opposition strongholds in the besieged city of
Homs, while President Bashar al-Assad's regime lashed out over the
killings of a provincial attorney general and judge. Rebels denied the
killings, saying the judge was an opposition sympathizer.

It is this type of near daily see-saw claim of violence that has
added to the growing frustration over how to bring about an end to
al-Assad's brutal crackdown that has left thousands dead in a nearly
year-long campaign to crush the opposition.

Diplomatic efforts have all but failed, with two of the most powerful
nations -- China and Russia -- vetoing a U.N. Security Council
resolution calling on al-Assad to relinquish power, and the Arab League
suspending an observer mission amid escalating violence in the country.

There has been a growing call among some in the international
community to arm the opposition, which is best described as a network of
faceless activist and opposition groups that include a loosely
organized rebel army and militias.

But not everyone, including the United States, is in agreement.

"I think it's premature to make a decision to arm the opposition
movement in Syria, because I would challenge anyone to clearly identify
for me the opposition movement in Syria at this point," Gen. Martin
Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Sunday on CNN's
"Fareed Zakaria GPS."

In one rural village in northern Syria, the face of the opposition is
farmers, carpenters and university students, according to CNN's Ivan
Watson, who is one of the few reporters in Syria, where the government
has placed strict restrictions on international journalists and refusing
many of them entry at all.

Watson said the men of village of Binnish describe themselves as
members of the rebel Free Syria Army, "but it would be much more
accurate to call them an impromptu village guard. Many of them are
defending the olive groves that surround their community, with little
more than hunting shotguns."

The rebel commander in Binnish -- who defected from the Syrian army
six months ago -- said the men don't have enough guns or ammunition.

He called the Syrian uprising as an "orphan revolution" because
unlike the revolts in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and Yemen, the Syrian rebels
have received the foreign support.

Like many members of the opposition, the commander covered his face
during the interview to hide his identity out of fear of reprisals by
Syrian forces.

But Dempsey, an Army general who served two tours of duty in Iraq,
warned that Syria is "an arena right now for all of the various
interests to play out."

Those interests include neighbors such as NATO ally Turkey; the
region's Sunni and Shiite Muslim powers, Saudi Arabia and Iran, which is
Syria's leading ally; and the al Qaeda terrorist network, which has
shown signs of interest in the conflict, he said.

"There's a number of players, all of whom are trying to reinforce
their particular side of this issue. And until we're a lot clearer
about, you know, who they are and what they are, I think it would be
premature to talk about arming them," Dempsey said.

Syria's uprising began amid the "Arab Spring" demonstrations in March
2011, when longtime autocrats fell in Tunisia and Egypt and others
found themselves battling popular revolts.

Syria's government responded by unleashing police and troops on
anti-government protesters calling for more political freedoms, a
movement that quickly spiraled into opposition calling for al-Assad's
ouster.

Al-Assad has, for the 11 months of the uprising, blamed "terrorists" and foreigners for threatening the stability of Syria.

Nearly all other reports from within the country, however, tell a different story.

Amateur video footage and opposition reports released via social
media and telephone calls from the embattled city of Homs have
documented 17 straight days of bombardment, with explosions from mortars
and tank shells launched by Syrian forces every few minutes, people
bleeding to death in the streets for lack of medical attention, and
snipers picking off civilians running for cover.

"Is today Sunday? Wednesday? Saturday? I honestly don't know all days
have become same here in #Homs- they begin and end with shelling
#Syria," tweeted @Samsomhom.

Ten people in Homs were among the at least 23 killed across Syria on
Sunday, according to the Local Coordination Committees (LCC) of Syria,
an opposition network. In the 11 months of Syria's uprising, almost
9,000 people have been killed, the LCC estimates.

CNN cannot independently verify opposition and government reports of casualties.

Meanwhile, al-Assad's regime lashed out Sunday after the
assassinations of a provincial attorney general and a judge in Idlib
province.

Attorney General Nidal Ghazal, Judge Mohammed Ziyadeh and their
driver were fatally shot on their way to work by an "armed terrorist
group," the state-run Syrian Arab News Agency reported.

The opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights acknowledged the
deaths, but said the three were killed by "unknown assailants."

Idlib rebels denied responsibility for the assassination, claiming that Ghazal was an opposition sympathizer.

"The regime continues with a series of assassinations of leaders and
officials who sympathize with the rebels," said a member of the
opposition coordination committee in Idlib province, who asked not to be
identified because of security reasons.

"What the regime is trying to do is frame the rebels as criminals,"
said the opposition member, citing the recent killing of the Red
Crescent director in Idlib, Dr. Abdel Razak Jibaro, as an example of
this strategy.

Rebels said they kidnapped the son of a top security official in
Idlib, Brigadier General Nofal Hussein, in retribution for Ghazal's
murder.

Outside Syria, reports of the violence have rattled those with families still in Syria.

In northern New Jersey, several generations of Syrian-Americans
gather every week week to share news about and try to find answers about
what is happening in the country.

"Even though all these forces seem to be working against us or not
working with us at least, the power is still with the people," said one
attendee, Racan Alhoch. "And this revolution is going to succeed and our resolve just get greater with time."


CNN's Kareem Khadder, Richard Roth and Chelsea J. Carter contributed to this report.












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Re: Syria warns West against intervention

Post  Panda on Mon 20 Feb - 15:37

20 February 2012
Last updated at 13:58











Syria unrest: West stirring civil war, says China paper












China's Vice Foreign Minister Zhai Jun visited Syria last weekend


Continue reading the main story














Syria Crisis








  • Sliding into civil war?

  • Complex and bloody drama

  • Homs maps and videos

  • Army under pressure









The official newspaper of the Chinese Communist Party has accused the West of provoking a civil war in Syria.

In a front page commentary, the People's Daily said that
Western support of Syria's opposition would lead to "large-scale civil
war".

In that case armed intervention would become unavoidable, it added.

A Syrian opposition activist in Homs has called for women and children to flee from the heavily bombarded area of Baba Amr.

Hadi Abdallah told the AFP news agency that residents of the
suburb were living in cold and "unsustainable" conditions, and that they
were "awaiting death".

Activists say government forces are strengthening their siege
of Homs, where hundreds of opposition fighters are believed to be
holding out.

Boycott call
President Bashar al-Assad is pressing ahead with his plan to hold a referendum this Sunday on a new constitution for Syria.

China's Vice Foreign Minister Zhai Jun held talks with Mr
Assad in Damascus at the weekend and backed his plans for the
referendum.

Mr Zhai called for all sides to end the violence immediately.

Opposition groups have called for a boycott of the referendum, saying it cannot be held while violence continues.

On Sunday, the UK Foreign Secretary William Hague told the
BBC that the international community's ability to prevent a civil war in
Syria had been constrained by Russia and China vetoing the recent UN
Security Council draft resolution.

Mr Hague again called for the Syrian president to step down.

The People's Daily, the mouthpiece of the party, said in its
commentary: "If Western countries continue to fully support Syria's
opposition, then in the end a large-scale civil war will erupt and there
will be no way to thus avoid the possibility of foreign armed
intervention."

The 11-month uprising against Mr Assad has claimed thousands of lives.

Human rights groups believe more than 7,000 people have been
killed - while the government says at least 2,000 members of the
security forces have died fighting militants.








More on This Story











Syria Crisis













Features and analysis






















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Re: Syria warns West against intervention

Post  Panda on Tue 21 Feb - 4:56

20 February 2012
Last updated at 21:53











Syria crisis: Red Cross presses for humanitarian truce












The Red Cross is the only international aid agency working in Syria


Continue reading the main story














Syria Crisis








  • Sliding into civil war?

  • Complex and bloody drama

  • Homs maps and videos

  • Army under pressure









The
International Committee of the Red Cross says it is in talks with "all
those concerned" in Syria's conflict to negotiate a ceasefire.

The group says it wants to negotiate a brief truce in the most affected areas to allow it to deliver aid packages.

Correspondents say the fact that the ICRC has spoken publicly
about the negotiations shows just how concerned it is by the situation
in Syria.

Thousands have died there in an 11-month uprising against the government.

ICRC spokesman Bijan Farnoudi said the group was "discussing several possibilities" to enable humanitarian aid to be delivered.

He said the aim of the discussions was "to facilitate swift Syrian Arab Red Crescent and ICRC access to the people in need".

"The content of the discussions we are having with the Syrian
authorities and all those involved in the fighting remains bilateral
and confidential," he added.

The Red Cross indicated that any such ceasefire would probably be only for a limited period, possibly only a few hours.





Homs has been repeatedly shelled by government forces

The ICRC has been delivering food and medicine to civilians in
Syria since the start of the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad.


It is the only international aid agency operating inside the
country, but it has had difficulty reaching the areas badly affected by
the conflict.

The BBC's Imogen Foulkes in Geneva, where the ICRC is based,
says it is very unusual for the organisation to discuss any talks it
might be having with participants in an armed conflict.

Russian talks
Following a visit at the weekend by China's Deputy Foreign
Minister Zhai Jun, Mr Assad hosted prominent Russian politician Alexei
Pushkov on Monday in Damascus.



Continue reading the main story Analysis





Imogen Foulkes
BBC News, Geneva



The ICRC says conditions in Homs and Bludan are deteriorating,
and that the sick and wounded are bearing the brunt of the violence.

It is likely the Red Cross wants a ceasefire in these areas
in order to deliver food and medical supplies, and to evacuate the
wounded.

A senior official from the Syrian Red Crescent was shot dead last month while travelling in a clearly marked vehicle.

The ICRC also says its ambulances have been regularly subjected to harassment and unnecessary delays.

It seems that without at least a temporary ceasefire, the ICRC does not believe it can do its job in Syria at all.



Syria's Sana state news agency
said Mr Assad had thanked Mr Pushkov for Russia's support, repeating his
insistence that his country is tackling "armed terrorist groups
receiving funding and arms from foreign parties, aiming to destabilise
Syria".

Mr Pushkov had stressed the need for all parties to "to
continue working for a political solution to the crisis based on
dialogue between all concerned parties, without foreign intervention",
Sana reported.

After Mr Zhai's visit, the official newspaper of the Chinese Communist Party accused the West of provoking a civil war in Syria.

Russia and China have both refused to join the growing
international condemnation of Mr Assad's regime. Both countries vetoed a
resolution in the UN Security Council condemning the violence and voted
against a similar General Assembly resolution, saying they amounted to
forced regime change.

However, Arab League Secretary-General Nabil Elaraby said on
Monday there were "indications coming from China and to some extent from
Russia that there may be a change in position", without giving further
details.

'Awaiting death'
The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 16
people people were killed across the country on Monday. Nine of them -
including three children in one family - died in renewed shelling of the
city of Homs, they said.

Activists say government forces are being reinforced around Homs, and they fear that a ground assault on the city is planned.

Hadi Abdallah, an activist in Homs, has called for women and children to flee from the heavily bombarded area of Baba Amr.

He told the AFP news agency that residents of the suburb were
living in cold and "unsustainable" conditions, and that they were
"awaiting death".

Another activist told the Associated Press that government
forces would face stiff opposition in Homs and the residents would fight
until "the last person".

Mr Assad is pressing ahead with his plan to hold a referendum
on Sunday on a new constitution for Syria. The vote has been dismissed
as "farcical" by the US and others.

Opposition groups have called on Syrians to boycott the
referendum. Omar Idilbi, a Beirut-based member of the main opposition
movement the Syrian National Council (SNC), said it "cannot be held
while parts of Syria are a war zone".

Human rights groups believe more than 7,000 people have been killed since the uprising began.

The Syrian government says at least 2,000 members of the security forces have died fighting militants.

Syria restricts access to foreign media and it is not possible to verify casualty figures.










More on This Story












Syria Crisis


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Re: Syria warns West against intervention

Post  Panda on Tue 21 Feb - 19:05

The British-born activist who has become the face of the Syrian uprising has
told Sky News if the international community will not stop the slaughter they
should arm the activists to help defeat President Bashar al Assad.



Danny Daayem has arrived in the UK after spending
weeks in the besieged city of Homs - videoing attacks by regime forces to try to show the
outside world what is happening.

The 23-year-old described seeing children killed in the street - and said he
does not care if he dies, as long as the world steps in to help.

The UN estimates at least 5,400 people, most of them
civilians, have been killed in the 11-month uprising against Mr Assad.

But that figure was given in January and hundreds more have been reported
killed since then.



Danny Daayem pictured in Syria (left) and UK


Activists said there has been more government
shelling against the rebel stronghold of Homs, with at least 16 people killed, as fears were raised of an
imminent ground attack.

The Red Cross has called for a daily two-hour
ceasefire in Syria so it can deliver emergency aid and reach people
who are wounded or sick.

Mr Daayem, who has dual British-Syrian nationality, said: "If they (the
international community) are not going to interfere militarily, then arm the
Free Syrian army.

"They need heavy weapons and would then defeat the Assad regime and get
control of the country.

"Half the weapons they get in don't work. With all that, they are still
defending and standing."



Danny Daayem posted a series of videos from Homs


Mr Daayem, who has a British mother and a Syrian father, said the house he
was sleeping in was hit by a rocket.

He said: "You can't cross the streets. Every time you want to cross the
street, you have to run, the sniper will shoot you.

"And if you try to take away a body you will be shot too.

"In Homs, it is a crime against humanity what Assad is doing. Also it is a
crime against humanity that no-one is interfering, just watching it happen.

"It is just becoming a number. 'One hundred dead today, 70 dead tomorrow'. We
are just becoming a number

"You get used to rockets, snipers, being shelled at - no food, no
medication.




"If a doctor tries to come in to help us, they will shoot him, or torture him
to death. The Red Crescent tried to come in and they (Assad forces) shot three
ambulances."

His mother, Helen Abdul Dayem, told Sky News: "The most horrific thing is to
imagine what he is seeing every day because he does videos of people who have
been so desperately injured, with half their faces missing.

"I think my 23-year-old-son is having to look at this, and that is
heartbreaking."

She added: "A couple of weeks back they hit the field hospital and there were
literally piles of bodies.

"You find yourself watching TV, going through the videos on Facebook, seeing
if you recognise your own son's boots or you own son's shirt in amongst the
mess.

"And then suddenly the green light comes on on Skype and you think he is
still alive because he is talking to somebody."

In one of his videos, he is inside a house he says is in the Baba Amr
district of Homs.

He points to group of small children huddled together, one bandaged around
the head and face and with blood on their t-shirt.

He angrily speaks to the camera, saying: "Look at these children. Is this is
how the Assad regime is supposed to treat our children? Now you see that the
Assad regime is killing children.

"What is the UN going to do about this? What is the UN going to do about
this? Nothing.







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The Syrian Troops have bombed Homs, Allepo and Damascus today.............when is the U.N. going to act?, words are no good, Assad won't stop until the rebellion is crushed. If they do decide to send in Troops leave Britain and America out, they have fought in too many Wars, let other Countries go to the aid of the Citizens, there is a UN Force.
























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Re: Syria warns West against intervention

Post  Panda on Wed 22 Feb - 6:02

Syrian Activists Claim 100 Deaths In One Day










  • 20 Comments










Property damaged by shelling in Homs, the focus of the rebellion against the government





11:36pm UK, Tuesday February 21, 2012




Syrian activists say 100 people have been killed by government troops in a single day, as the Red Cross calls for ceasefires.


Women and children were among those killed, according to monitoring group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.


The Local Coordination Committees said 100 had died in Homs and in
raids on towns and villages in the province of Idlib, near Turkey.


Washington, which is preparing for a "Friends of Syria" meeting of
Western and Arab states opposing President Bashar al Assad, declined to
rule out eventually providing arms to rebels seeking to overthrow him.












Activists said the regime appeared to be sending infantry
reinforcements including tanks to Homs, with the aim of storming
rebel-held neighbourhoods.


Mustafa Osso, a local activist, said residents were preparing for the
expected assault and planned to fight "until the last person".


Pictures posted online showed the Babr Amr area of the city being shelled for a 17th day.


Elsewhere in Homs province, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights
said five other civilians, including a child, were killed on Tuesday
when security forces opened fire at the border town of Qusayr.


Others were killed in the northern province of Aleppo and when regime
forces opened fire on a bus in the village of Tronba, in the northwest
province of Idlib, the monitoring group said.


It is difficult to verifiy reports of deaths because foreign reporters are given only limited access in the country.











Syrian army tanks near the Baba Amr neighbourhood in Homs




Members of the Syrian opposition have warned the government may
intensify its attacks ahead of the February 26 referendum on a new
constitution.


The referendum was announced by President Bashar al Assadas an apparent concession, but it has already been dismissed as worthless by his opponents.


The International Committee of the Red Cross said it had asked
authorities and rebels to agree daily ceasefires so life-saving aid can
reach civilians in hard-hit areas including Homs.


On Sunday, gunmen assassinated a prosecutor and a judge in the
northwestern province of Idlib, an area largely controlled by the
opposition.


The government blamed an "armed terrorist group" for the attacks, but
activists claimed the two were killed by the regime's own security
forces because they were considered traitors.


The killings followed the death of a senior politician in the pro-Assad city of Aleppo in an apparent hit-and-run attack.


Over the weekend, tens of thousands joined a mass protest in Damascus
in one of the biggest demonstrations so far against the government in
the capital.


Security
forces fired tear gas and bullets to try to disperse the crowds who had
gathered to mourn a local activist killed by government troops.



Rights groups say 6,000 people have been killed in the Assad regime's crackdown on protests that began in March last year.









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Re: Syria warns West against intervention

Post  Panda on Wed 22 Feb - 10:54

2 Western journalists reportedly killed in Syria

Feb 22, 4:43AM by Tucker Reals Topics Syria , Arab Nations




(Credit:
Youtube)

Syrian opposition activists said Wednesday that
two Western journalists were killed in intense shelling by President
Bashar Assad's regime in the central town of Homs.
Al
Jazeera, citing activists, said both were killed in the shelling of a
makeshift media center in the hard-hit neighborhood of Baba Amr early
Wednesday morning.
Continue »
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Syria blogger reportedly killed in shelling

Feb 22, 3:44AM by Tucker Reals Topics Syria , Arab Nations




(Credit:
Youtube)
Ferocious shelling by Bashar Assad's security forces in the
battered central Syrian city of Homs claimed at least 45 lives on
Tuesday, according to activists, including that of a prominent video
blogger whose horrifying images of the bombardment spread across the
globe on social networking websites, but failed to spark any
intervention from the international community.
In his
last posting on Facebook, activist Rami al-Said, told people around
world he appreciated their emotional backing, but begged the Syrian
people's supporters to rally outside Syrian embassies against the
shelling, and told them their inaction would not be forgiven.
Al-Said
shot a great deal of the internet video which has been the only window
for the world into the 18-day bombardment of Homs - a city so dangerous
that few foreign journalists have ventured inside for weeks.
Continue »
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South Korea's legacy battle with tuberculosis

Feb 21, 6:59AM Topics Asia




(Credit:
CBS/Handout)
Yun Yeo-jin, a South Korean college student engulfed in his
computer engineering studies, had never given much thought to
tuberculosis. He assumed it was a disease which plagued poor countries.
Then, at 22, he was diagnosed with the pulmonary disease early in 2008. When
Yun got a mandatory physical as a cadet for the Reserve Officers
Training Corps (ROTC), a doctor told him that his chest x-ray results
looked abnormal. Yun was referred to a bigger hospital, where a more
advanced scan showed his left lung specked with white dots, some as big
as quarters. The diagnosis was active pulmonary tuberculosis.
"When
I asked the doctor how I could have contracted TB, he simply said,
"It's a disease you get if you're out of luck,'" the now-healthy Yun
recalls with a chuckle.
South Korea has the highest
incidence rate of tuberculosis among the world's wealthiest countries,
nations which belong to the 34-member Organization for Economic
Cooperation and Development (OECD).
Continue »
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A U.S. double-standard for Bahrain?

Feb 20, 2:26PM by John Bentley Topics In The News , World Watch , Arab Nations




(Credit:
AP Photo/Hasan Jamali)
Last Updated 4:52 p.m. ET

MANAMA, Bahrain - Screaming at the riot police, dozens of women
dressed head-to-toe in black excoriated the police for dragging away a
teenage boy. The police, dressed in shiny white helmets and black flak
jackets, held their billy clubs in check. A policeman with a megaphone
finally dispersed the crowd, threatening them with jail if they stayed.


The boy was allegedly picked up by plainclothes officers for organizing a protest.


"Welcome to living under a dictatorship," said a young
Bahraini-American, an architect from Ohio who was back in Bahrain for
the one-year anniversary of the uprisings here.


Those uprisings didn't result in a regime change, the way many of the
protests in the Arab Spring did, but they did raise an uncomfortable
question for the United States: How long can the U.S. maintain close
ties with a regime accused of human rights violations?


Continue »
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Chinese envoy calls on Syrians to stop acts of violence

Feb 18, 9:42AM by George Baghdadi Topics In The News , China , Middle East




(Credit:
Muzaffar Salman/AP)
Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zhai Jun urged all Syrians to
immediately stop the violence and told Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad
that Beijing backs plans for a referendum leading to parliamentary
elections as a way to resolve the Syrian crisis.
The Chinese
envoy, who arrived Friday night for a two-day trip, wanted to step up
diplomatic efforts for ending the 11-month violence in Syria, two weeks
after his country drew global condemnation when it vetoed a resolution
that backed an Arab plan urging Assad to quit.
"We hope that the
referendum on the constitution and the parliamentary elections take
place in a continuous way," Jun said, following his talks with Assad.
"China's
stance is embodied in calling the government, the opposition and the
armed groups to immediately stop acts of violence," he said, according
to Syrian state television.
Continue »
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Inside the plans of Capitol bomb suspect

Feb 17, 7:43PM by John Miller Topics In The News , Terrorism , Yemen
CBS
This Morning senior correspondent John Miller, a former assistant
director of the FBI, wrote this piece for CBSNews.com on the arrest
today of Amine El Khalifi on charges of attempting to suicide bomb the
U.S. Capitol.




(Credit:
CBS)
Sidi Mohamed Amine El Khalifi came to the United States on
June 27, 1999 with his parents on a trip to Orlando, Florida. The
baby-faced, brown-eyed Moroccan teenager would overstay his tourist visa
and remain here for more than a decade, moving from Kissimmee, Florida
to Northern Virginia. He worked at odd jobs and had occasional minor
scrapes with the law, including a marijuana charge and traffic
infractions.
Khalifi stayed illegally, never applying for
citizenship; he flew under the radar of law enforcement and immigration
officials until the early days of 2011.

Continue »
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Iran offers to fund pipeline through Pakistan

Feb 17, 9:54AM by Farhan Bokhari Topics Pakistan




(Credit:
AP)
Iran's president Mahmoud Ahmedinejad has quietly offered to
finance the Pakistani portion of a multinational gas pipeline project
opposed by the United States, in a strong signal of Tehran's intent to
build closer ties with its neighbor.

Ahmedinejad left
Pakistan Friday after meeting with Pakistan's president Asif Ali Zardari
and Afghan president Hamid Karzai, a trilateral summit seeking a
formula to stabilize conditions in Afghanistan.

A joint
statement issued by Pakistan's foreign ministry after the meeting said
the three countries agreed to "develop mutually beneficial cooperation
in the energy, mining and minerals, agriculture and other sectors"
without providing further details.
Continue »
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China seeks "peaceful" resolution in Syria

Feb 17, 9:51AM by George Baghdadi Topics Syria , World Watch , China




(Credit:
AMOS GUMULIRA/AFP/Getty Images)
Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zhai Jun arrives in Damascus on
Friday to try to step up diplomatic efforts for ending the 11-month
violence in Syria. The visit comes two weeks after China drew global
condemnation for vetoing a U.N. Security Council resolution that backed
an Arab plan urging Syrian President Bashar Assad to quit.

Before leaving Thursday, Zhai Jun said his country does not approve
of armed intervention to force regime change in Syria, adding that his
two-day trip was intended to end the violence in "peaceful" ways.


The visit comes only days after Beijing said the United Nations
should tread carefully in the strife-torn country or risk worsening
violence in the government's crackdown on opposition groups.


"He will exchange views with the Syrian government and parties
concerned in Syria on the current ... situation to push for a peaceful
and proper resolution" of the crisis, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Liu
Weimin told a regular briefing on Wednesday.


He added that the Chinese will play "a constructive role in mediation."

Continue »

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Report: U.S., Taliban, Afghans in secret talks

Feb 16, 12:11AM Topics Afghanistan




(Credit:
AP Photo/Hoshang Hashimi)
In a bid to end the 10-year war effort in Afghanistan,
President Hamid Karzai said his country has begun facilitating secret
three-way talks with the Taliban and the U.S., The Wall Street Journal reports.
Karzai told the Journal he believes the Taliban are "definitively" interested in a peace settlement.
"There
have been contacts between the U.S. government and the Taliban, there
have been contacts between the Afghan government and the Taliban, and
there have been some contacts that we have made, all of us together,
including the Taliban," Mr. Karzai said in the interview Wednesday in
his office at the Arg Palace in Kabul.
Continue »
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Syria's Assad calls referendum on new constitution

Feb 15, 5:40AM by George Baghdadi Topics Syria , World Watch




(Credit:
AP)

Syrian President Bashar Assad on Wednesday
approved a draft for a new constitution that would end his ruling Baath
party's monopoly on power in the fraught nation and open the door for
all political parties to compete.
In announcement
carried on state-run television aimed at quelling an 11-month uprising
which has posed the greatest threat to his family's rule in decades,
Assad declared that a national referendum on the draft would be held on
Feb. 26.

Presidential sources say Assad, who met this
week with the newly-established 29-member constitutional charter
committee, "wanted the people to have their say on this move, the first
step on a democratic Syria," with a simple "yes-no" vote.
















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Re: Syria warns West against intervention

Post  Panda on Wed 22 Feb - 23:44




























































UN Humanitarian Chief To Head To Syria




























8:53pm UK, Wednesday February 22, 2012




The UN's humanitarian chief, Baroness Amos, is to travel to
Syria to negotiate access for aid workers in the conflict-torn country
as the reported death toll rises.



It comes amid reports of continuing violence and increasing concerns
of a humanitarian disaster in the country, and on the day it emerged Sunday Times reporter Marie Colvin and French photographer Remi Ochlik had been killed in an artillery attack in the city of Homs.


The UN said Baroness Amos, a former leader of the House of Lords, would be dispatched to Syria "to assess the humanitarian situation and renew the call for humanitarian access" to help residents trapped in conflict zones.












Meanwhile, the international community remains divided on how to tackle the crisis.


Russian president Dmitry Medvedev and his Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad have rejected foreign intervention, the Kremlin said.


In a telephone call on Wednesday the pair - whose countries are the
Assad regime's closest allies - reportedly said they favoured a peaceful
resolution of the crisis "by the Syrian people themselves".


Human rights groups have made repeated calls for a ceasefire
so help can be given to civilians caught up in the violence. Activists
say residents need food, medical care and other provisions.


But forces loyal to Syria's president, Bashar al Assad, have
continued to bombard Homs with rockets and bombs, reducing buildings to
rubble and reportedly killing more than 20 people on Wednesday -
including Ms Colvin and Mr Ochlik.













Syrian soldiers who defected to Free Syrian Army seen in Idlib on February 21




The city has been subjected to a three-week onslaught from government
troops, and is now the focal point of a nationwide uprising against Mr
Assad's 11-year rule.


Opposition group the Syrian National Council
said it is coming to the view that foreign military intervention is the
only way to end the deadlock, having previously argued that the Syrian
people had to fight their own battles.


The US has made the strongest hint yet that it could arm the
opposition forces of the Free Syrian Army, with Washington saying in a
statement: "We don't believe that it makes sense to contribute now to
the further militarisation of Syria. What we don't want to see is the
spiral of violence increase.


"That said, if we can't get Assad to yield to the pressure that we
are all bringing to bear, we may have to consider additional measures."













Britain's Foreign Office earlier summoned Sami Khiyami, Syria's
ambassador to London, for a meeting in which it was stressed that the
Government was "horrified" by "unacceptable" violence in Homs.


A Foreign Office spokesman said it was made clear that on Wednesday
alone "the world had witnessed the death of more than 60 civilians,
including children, on the single street of al Hakoura in the Baba Amr
neighbourhood".


This week an international conference in Tunisia on how to end the
bloodshed will be attended by the Syrian opposition and not the regime.

Russia announced it would not attend the "Friends of Syria" meeting
because it was being convened "for the purpose of supporting one side
against another in an internal conflict".


US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who will participate, said Syria was increasingly under pressure.


The Friday meeting will "demonstrate that Assad's regime is
increasingly isolated and that the brave Syrian people need our support
and solidarity," she said.


The UN estimates at least 5,400 civilians have been killed since the beginning of protests against the Assad regime last March.













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Re: Syria warns West against intervention

Post  Panda on Thu 23 Feb - 12:03
























  • MP Suspended Over Commons 'Fight'






















































Syria Rejects Blame For Journalist Deaths










  • 11 Comments

















11:39am UK, Thursday February 23, 2012




The Syrian government has denied responsibility for the
deaths of the two foreign journalists killed in Homs, as Foreign
Secretary William Hague ruled out the possibility of military
intervention.



The Syrian foreign ministry said Marie Colvin and Remi Ochlik,
who were killed when a rocket struck the makeshift media centre in
which they were staying, "sneaked" into the country, and were there
illegally.


"We reject statements holding Syria responsible for the deaths of
journalists who sneaked into its territory at their own risk," said a
ministry statement read out on state television.


Activist Hadi Abdullah, a member of the General Commission of the
Syrian Revolution, said it was clear the government was responsible.


"We are sure that the centre was targeted, because 11 rockets struck in and around it," he said.



"The regime forces intercepted a transmission signal," he added.


Following the denial, the UN announced that Syria had committed
crimes against humanity under orders from "the highest levels" of the
army and government.


The UN said the report also includes a confidential list of
commanding officers and senior officials who appear responsible for
international crimes.


:: Who's who in the Assad regime?


While political discussions continue, the regime stepped up its
assault on Homs and armoured tank divisions moved into the restive Bab
Amr neighbourhood for the first time since the current onslaught began
20 days ago.













Many areas of the Bab Amr district of Homs have been reduced to rubble during the crackdown




"We hear terrifying explosions," Mr Abdullah continued.


He said that the international outcry over Wednesday's deaths
appeared only to have strengthened the regime's determination to
eliminate all opposition in the city.


"The more the condemnations pile on, the heavier the bombing becomes," he said.


Communications in the city have been cut off regularly as the
crackdown has intensified over recent months, but Mr Abdullah said that
activists had now been left virtually totally isolated as even satellite
signals were being intercepted.


Homs activist Omar Shakir said food, water and medical supplies are
running dangerously low in Baba Amr, which has sustained some of the
most ferocious attacks in recent months.


"Every minute counts. People will soon start to collapse from lack of sleep and shortages in food," he said.


Meanwhile, William Hague said addressing the deepening humanitarian
crisis in the country should be the international community's priority,
rather than military intervention.


Mr Hague, speaking at today's major conference on Somalia
which is being held in London, said he would be discussing how best to
intensify the economic and diplomatic "stranglehold" on Syria at an
upcoming Friends of Syria meeting in Tunisia.


"I will be discussing today with (US Secretary of State) Hillary
Clinton and many of the Arab leaders what we can achieve at the meeting.
I think part of that has to be tightening a diplomatic and economic
stranglehold on the Assad regime," he said.












He went on to rule out military action against Syria, which would be
"much more complicated and would have to be on a much greater scale than
in Libya," which made it "not something we're likely to embark on".

Mr Hague said the international community had "supplied food rations and
other emergency supplies" to Syrians affected by the violence.

"People have been dying in their thousands, that continues, the Assad regime continues to act seemingly with impunity.


"But I think we can agree a wider set of measures across a large
group of nations, I think we can tighten the European Union sanctions on
Syria when we meet on Monday."

He added: "Clearly the economic measures that we are adopting make life
much more difficult for the Assad regime. We have cut off a quarter of
their revenues for instance by stopping all oil imports to Europe."


:: Read more on our dedicated Syra topic page









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Re: Syria warns West against intervention

Post  wjk on Thu 23 Feb - 12:44

Thanks for the updates Panda
Much appreciated.

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Re: Syria warns West against intervention

Post  Panda on Thu 23 Feb - 14:46

wjk wrote:Thanks for the updates Panda
Much appreciated.


Believe it or not Assad's Wife, a good looking educated Woman believes what he is doing is right .!!!!!! He is a brutal Dictator but the Arab League, Russia
and China have all failed to get him to see reason. I can see the U.S. arming the Rebels secretly but please God don't let Britain send troops in.

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Re: Syria warns West against intervention

Post  wjk on Thu 23 Feb - 15:12

Isn't his wife British. I think I heard she was?

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Re: Syria warns West against intervention

Post  Panda on Thu 23 Feb - 15:25

wjk wrote:Isn't his wife British. I think I heard she was?

Yes she is wjk and a goodlooking woman, I think I posted a photo of her on here if you scroill back. Assad was educated in England which is how they met.
His Wife comes from a wealthy background.

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Re: Syria warns West against intervention

Post  Badboy on Thu 23 Feb - 16:23

HIS WIFE COMES FROM A SUNNI FAMILY THAT ORIGINATED FROM HOMS.

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Re: Syria warns West against intervention

Post  Panda on Thu 23 Feb - 16:36

Badboy wrote:HIS WIFE COMES FROM A SUNNI FAMILY THAT ORIGINATED FROM HOMS.

Yet she doesn't mind Assad bombing the Town to smithereens.??? Shame on her Badboy.

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Re: Syria warns West against intervention

Post  Panda on Fri 24 Feb - 5:41

24 February 2012 Last updated at 01:22




Syria faces ultimatum from international conference





Hillary Clinton: "The obstruction of a few countries cannot be
allowed to stop the world community from coming to the aid of the Syrian people"


Continue
reading the main story


Syria
Crisis






A major world conference is being
held in Tunisia to seek a breakthrough in the increasingly bitter Syrian
unrest.

The US, Europe and Arab countries plan to challenge President Bashar al-Assad
to provide humanitarian access within days to the worst-affected areas.

There is growing pressure on Damascus to give access to civilians trapped by
the onslaught on Homs, which has lasted for more than two weeks.

Activists say another 50 or 60 people died across Syria on Thursday.

Russia and China will not attend the Tunisia "Friends of Syria" conference,
organised by the Arab League.

The two countries have faced Western and Arab criticism for blocking a UN
Security Council resolution that would have backed an Arab League peace plan for
Syria.

Around 70 other nations, including the US, UK, France and Turkey are
attending.

The conference will agree a declaration on Syria, expected to demand an
immediate ceasefire and humanitarian assessment, with the threat of further
sanctions if ignored.

The declaration may also boost the standing of the main opposition umbrella
group the Syrian National Council, by naming it as a "legitimate" representative
of Syrians, but stopping short of giving it full endorsement.

On the eve of the conference, the UN and Arab League appointed Kofi Annan as
their envoy to Syria.

Mr Annan, a former UN secretary general, has in recent years acted as a
diplomatic troubleshooter in several long-running conflicts.

The UN said in a statement he would "provide good offices aimed at bringing
an end to all violence and human rights violations, and promoting a peaceful
solution to the Syrian crisis".
'Assad's
stranglehold'
Activists say many civilians
have been killed and injured in the bombardment of Homs
On the eve of attending the Tunisia conference, US Secretary of State Hillary
Clinton said all countries should "aggressively implement" measures they had
already agreed.

"We look forward to concrete progress on three fronts - providing
humanitarian relief, increasing pressure on the regime, and preparing for a
democratic transition," she said.

"To that end, we hope to see new pledges of emergency assistance for Syrians
caught in Assad's stranglehold, and international co-ordination and diplomatic
pressure on Damascus to allow it to get to those who need it most. We also
expect additional nations to impose effective sanctions against the regime."

The UK Prime Minister David Cameron said it was vital that the international
community came together on the issue of Syria.

The French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe, speaking in London before leaving
for Tunis, said the conference needed to exert the maximum pressure on the
Syrian government and also on Russia.

He said there was no military option on the table and France could not
envisage such an option without an international mandate.
Journalists' plea
The conference comes two days after journalists Marie Colvin and Remi Ochlik
died during shelling in Homs.




Edith Bouvier: "I need an urgent operation"

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has described the killing of the two
journalists as "murder", according to AFP.

"Those who did this will have to account for it," Mr Sarkozy said, alleging
that the journalists were specifically targeted.

Two journalists wounded in the same attack have made internet appeals for
medical help. Frenchwoman Edith Bouvier is being treated by Syrian medics but
needs surgery which they are unable to perform. Paul Conroy, who is British,
also asked for outside help to bring him to safety.

Meanwhile, a United Nations panel has drawn up a confidential list of Syrian
military officials - believed to include President Assad - who could face
investigation for crimes against humanity.

It says these include shooting unarmed women and children, shelling civilian
areas and torturing the wounded.





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Re: Syria warns West against intervention

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