Entries in Aleppo (54)
A senior Pentagon official has said that the US and Jordan are discussing the possibility of sending American Patriot anti-aircraft missile batteries to the Kingdom, amid the Syrian conflict and the training and arming of insurgents from a base in Jordan.
The official emphasised that an agreement over the deployment has not been reached. However, he said the missile batteries could be flown to Jordan within days and used initially as part of a multinational military exercise in June.
The lesson of the minaret: every tyrant will fall and the city remains. History has taught us that the people find a way to pick up the pieces of their city and rebuild. One thousand years from now, these years will be a chapter in history books. The future people of Aleppo will visit this sacred site and will feel the calm and peace once more. The stone will be old again. They will point to the square tower and whisper to their children the tale of this minaret that falls every few centuries when the lesson of tyranny must be taught to a people who had forgotten. Those people of the future are lucky. They will be unaware of the pain of living those years, unaware of the shame of writing this chapter. History is abstract and seamless to them, like it once was for us. It is merely a story they can recite while they trace their fingers over the stone and remember without consequence. I envy them.
The Red Crescent gathers 31 bodies, some lying for months, from the streets of Aleppo during a cease-fire
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Tuesday's Syria Live Coverage: Airstrikes Continue Around Damascus
2020 GMT: Assad Interview
More on President Assad's defiant appearance on pro-regime Al-Ikhbariya tonight....
"We have no choice but victory. If we don't win, Syria will be finished and I don't think this is a choice for any citizen in Syria," Assad said. "The truth is there is a war and I repeat: no to surrender, no to submission."
The President said that the West was "supporting al-Qaeda in Syria, Libya and other places and [would] pay the price later in the heart of Europe and in the heart of the United States."
Assad addressed the effort --- including the US, Britain, France, and Arab States --- to arm insurgents from a base in Jordan:
We cannot believe that thousands of insurgents are entering Syria with their weapons, at a time when Jordan was capable of stopping and arresting one person carrying a simple weapon for the Palestinian resistance.
"The fire will not stop at our border and everybody knows that Jordan is exposed as Syria is.
2150 GMT: Video of Al-Bouti's Assassination. Mohamed Said Ramadan Al-Bouti, often considered Syria's top Sunni cleric, was a staunch supporter of the regime and was killed on the 21st of March by a bomb in a mosque in Damascus. Now, a video, we believe originally posted to a Facebook page, reportedly shows his assassination. The video may be disturbing to some viewers.
Here's what we know. That is Mohamed al-Bouti, and that looks like the Eman Mosque. From this video, this event shows none of the marks of a car bomb, which matches our initial suggestion that the bomb looked like it went off inside the mosque. More interestingly, this may put to rest the question of whether Bouti was assassinated or whether he was collateral damage - he appears to be the target of this attack.
There are many questions about this bizarre video, however. For starters, we appear to be watching video of another screen, perhaps a cell phone or camera, that is playing the video. In other words, we're watching a video of a video. The camera inside the mosque may be hidden. When the explosion goes off, a hole can be seen, perhaps the hole through which the camera is taking the video. In fact, the camera appears to be pushed back and knocked slightly off angle by the explosion. But who filmed this and why was it kept secret? Where is this camera and why does the "hole" visible in the middle of the vido then disappear. We have theories, but we're still analyzing the video.
Image from a video of the aftermath of Saturday's regime airstrike on the Sheikh Maqsoud area of Aleppo
2025 GMT: Aleppo. Journalist Jenan Moussa posts a series of telling observations about the Islamist insurgency Jabhat al-Nusra:
27 martyrs were reported in Aleppo; 23 in Damascus and its Suburbs; 11 in Homs; 8 in Dara;3 in Idlib; 2 in Deir Ezzor; and 1 in Hama.
Several areas are under attack today, shelled by artillery and bombed from the sky, as fighting is intensifying in several districts, including the northeast. That rising violence, and the spread of fighting in some Kurdish districts, has convinced many residents to leave today. A video shared by Red Tornadoes in the comments shows the traffic leaving the Ashrifiyeh district, but it also matches many other reports we've seen today. Orient News interviewed a Kurdish activist who discussed the growing crisis there (video - Arabic):
Britain's Channel 4 features the work of filmmaker Marcel Mettelsiefen, who spent several weeks meeting children in an Aleppo hospital:
Damage in the town of Khan al Asal, west of Aleppo
UPDATED at 1611 GMT.
In the end, what evidence suggests that the insurgents did this? There is none, beyond the late-emerging claims of the regime and its supporters. On the other hand, there is evidence that the regime was firing missiles and dropping bombs on these locations. Only one side, the regime, is known to possess the weapons needed to do this --- both the chemicals, and the delivery systems.
We have documented insurgent crimes before. As recently as last Monday, we published information that might embarrass those in the West who support the rebels. On this occasion, however, the evidence does not support the theory that an insurgent group has conducted this attack.
The bodies in the Quweig River in late January (Photo: Thomas Rassloff/EPA)
In the days following the massacre, Syrian officials blamed "terrorist groups" for the deaths. State television broadcast a ‘confession’ from an alleged member of Jabhat al-Nusra, the jihadist group....
The confession was derided by every one of the 11 people interviewed by the Guardian as well as dozens of others that came and went from the Revolutionary Security centre during the week we were there.