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Entries in Bashar al-Assad (267)


Syria 1st-Hand: Getting Behind the Stories of "Revolution" (Aissa)

Claimed footage of a crowd in Homs greeting defecting troops of the 4th Brigade

Given the weaknesses of all the Syrian opposition and activists groups at present, however, it is critical to avoid even the suggestion that the opposition could transform into something of a monolithic force in the near future. This discounts the reality of its divisions and the significance, both symbolically and practically, of debates between its members. To that end, it is also unrealistic to expect Syrian dissidents and activists in and outside of the country to develop, agree upon, and advance a plan for the overthrow of the regime and the subsequent political reconstruction of Syria, in a matter of months. Syrians have spent some four decades under the depoliticization program of the Baath Party, unable to organize or openly discuss the political future of the country. For those inside Syria, the onset of the revolution has shattered the barrier of fear keeping many from expressing their views - but it has done nothing to mitigate the reality that those attempting to organize against the government, do so under threat of violence. Even in the best of circumstances, such issues would take months and years to sort out.

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Syria, Bahrain (and Beyond) Live Coverage: The Arab League Speaks --- Does It Matter?

2141 GMT: Large protests have lasted well into the night in many cities across Syria. This video was one of the more impressive ones, reportedly showing a protest in the Bab Qebli neighborhood of Hama:

2115 GMT: It has been another extremely bloody day in Syria, as the LCCS is now reporting 33 people killed by security forces, "including 2 children and a defected recruit and 2 men who died under torture. 11 martyrs in Homs, 9 martyrs in Idlib, 6 martyrs in Daraa, 3 in Damascus Suburbs and a martyr in each of BoKamal, Raqqa, Damascus and Hasakeh."

The steepest escalation since the last report is in Homs, where reports of heavy attacks have been reported, perhaps in response to a new wave of defections in the city.

Also, the civilian who was killed in Damascus was reportedly, killed in a protest near the Mujtahed Hospital in Midan. This video was taken, reportedly showing the protest:

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Syria 1st-Hand: Lifelong Dissident al-Labwani "I am Seeing My Long-Time Dreams Come True"

One of Syria's most prominent dissidents, who worked for years against the Assad family regime, stepped out of prison two months ago to discover that his country was aflame with the revolution he long hoped for.

Jailed since 2005, Kamal al-Labwani had heard hints about what was happening on the outside the past year from visitors and even from guards. But prison authorities kept him and other prisoners under an information blackout — no newspapers or TV news over the past 10 months when hundreds of thousands of Syrians were taking to the streets nearly daily despite a relentless and bloody crackdown, demanding President Bashar Assad's ouster.

So he was stunned to see the full extent of the revolt when he was freed in November as part of an amnesty Assad's regime ordered as a reform gesture.

"I am seeing my long-time dreams come true, even better. For years, I dreamt of revolution, change. I was astonished to see it all happening," the 54-year-old al-Labwani told The Associated Press this week in the Jordanian capital Amman, his voice welling with emotion.

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Syria 1st-Hand: The Growing Opposition in Damascus (Black)

A rally last night in Harasta, northeast of Damascus

On the face of it, Damascus is calm. The bloodiest frontlines of the revolution may be in Homs, Hama, Idlib and Deraa, but the appearance of normality in the capital is deceptive. Intrigue, fear and anger are just below the surface.

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Syria, Bahrain (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Meaningless Amnesty, Cosmetic Speech?

Demonstration after evening prayers in the Khalidiya district of Homs

See also A Song of Global Hope: We Shall Overcome أغنية سوف ننتصر
Bahrain Special: Nabeel Rajab's Speech "Our Problem is with the King"
Syria Special: The State of the Uprising, 10 Months On --- The Protests
Bahrain Special: The Steel Rods of the Police
Bahrain, Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: The King's Speech

2155 GMT: At this moment, several EA source are reporting that the Syrian army is still besieging the city of Zabadani. The LCCS is also posting these reports:

Zabadani has been under shelling since 6 AM this morning by all kinds of light and heavy weaponry, which caused 5 houses to be totally destroyed and more than 13 injuries. There are areas which were shelled and are inaccessible due to heavy shooting, today Jisr cafe, houses in the western ally and some main streets were targeted.

The city is witnessing a strong movement of displaced people to the nearby areas and the number of displaced families reached about 250 family.

Also, state security forces liquidated 15 soldiers today for refusing to shoot at civilians. Military reinforcements arrived to the city: about 25 tanks and large number of troops carriers (of Zil brand), 20 tanks from brigade 62 in Jdaidet Yaboos have moved towards the city. Regime’s military forces shelled the town of Madaya using the armored vehicles positioned in Francis area in Zabadany landscape.

According to sources, electricity is cut, and food and medical supplies are thin.

LCCS also reports defections in the area, including a whole unit, about 25 soldiers, that defected all at once.

EA sources have been able to confirm the presence of Free Syrian Army soldiers in the area, though it is unclear whether the siege started before they arrived, or whether they traveled to the area in order to defend the city.

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Syria, Bahrain (and Beyond) Live Coverage: A University Under Curfew

A crowd in Tunisia marks the first anniversary of the downfall of the President "Ben Ali, assassin!"

See also Friday's Syria, Bahrain (and Beyond) Live Coverage: How Long Can This Go On?

1550 GMT: A Friday night protest in Imbaba against Egypt's ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces:

1540 GMT: Footage of arrival of Syrian military in Kafrsita in Hama Province today:

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Syria Opinion: The Assad Regime Cannot End this Crisis

CNN's Nic Robertson reports from Homs, where French journalist Gilles Jacquier was killed on Wednesday.

What is beyond dispute is that the Assad regime has lost control of the country. At best, it is no longer capable of defending its citizens, and even its state-sponsored tours by foreign journalists, from attack. At worst, the regime is responsible for planting one of several bombs in the capital, is guilty of killing Gilles Jacquier to frame "terrorists", and is carrying out killings, widespread arrests, torture, and kidnapping campaigns to beat the opposition into submission.

Either way, the government of Syria has failed its people, proving incapable of restoring order. And so far, evidence points to the worst-case scenario more often than it points to the best.

If the Syrian government is incapable of ending this crisis, who is capable, and are they willing to take that responsibility?

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Syria, Bahrain (and Beyond) Live Coverage: An Attack in Homs

Gunfire and explosions in Homs as defectors defend the city against the army

See Also, Morocco Analysis: Where are the Women in the New Government?
Afghanistan Video: Controversial Footage of US Marines Urinating on Bodies of Insurgents
EA Video Feature: A Tribute to Journalist Gilles Jacquier, Killed Today in Syria

2103 GMT: A large protest in Idlib in Syria tonight:

And a mass rally in Khalidiya in Homs chants to the Arab League Secretary General "Nabil El Araby is a traitor":

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Syria, Bahrain (and Beyond) Live Coverage: After the Speech, the Battle

2130 GMT: According to the voice on the video, this was taken in Baba Amr, Homs. It was uploaded today, and claims to show fighters for the Free Syrian Army's Farouq Batallion replacing a regime flag with their own, during what sounds like an intense gunfight:

We are unable to confirm any of these claims at the current time.

2114 GMT: Fuel isn't the only thing that is in short supply in Syria. Due to recent environmental issues, the wheat harvest is down, but the Syrian government appears that it may not be able to import the grain that it plans on using to supplement the shortfall:

Syria's state grains agency, which traditionally purchases soft milling wheat via international tenders, is finding it difficult to secure food at competitive prices, European traders say.

The agency Tuesday said it had rejected all tender offers and made no purchase in an international auction to buy 100,000 metric tons of wheat, citing expensive market prices.

According to the Wall Street Journal, European traders are unwilling to sell grain without adding a risk premium, adding to Syria's inability to secure good pricing.

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Syria Special: To Lighten the Day --- Jokes, Breakdancing, and Assad on Freedom of the Press

It's been a long 10 months for those of us following the crisis in Syria and a far longer 10 months for those going through it. One need go no further than Tuesday's (or any day's) live coverage for the latest reports on dead civilians and on battles between defectors and the regime.

If laughter is the best medicine for this, and EA has three jokes and totally bloodless videos to lift the day.


Fit this under the funny-because-it's-almost true category. As journalists are imprisoned, cartoonists are beaten, and protesters are shot, Samir tries to find out the truth in Syria. As he finds out, there's an app for that...sort of:

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