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Entries in Bashar al-Assad (267)


Syria Live Coverage: The Country Goes Dark as Internet Cut Off

A poster showing President Assad standing against the enemy militaries of the US, France, Britain, Turkey, and Arab States

See also Syria Analysis: A Threatened Regime Cuts the Internet
Palestine, Egypt (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Statehood for the Palestinians, A Constitution for Morsi
Thursday's Syria Live Coverage: Insurgents Take More Bases as Damascus Hit by Bombs

2121 GMT: Today is Friday, and while the world is focused on battles and meetings and organizations and diplomatic recognitions, on Friday there is always another story. Every Friday since March 2011, protesters have taken to the streets in Syria. Even in towns where bombs fall and bullets fly, somewhere close by it is possible to find an anti-government protest somewhere in Syria.

Also, every Friday has a theme, agreed upon by activists ahead of time by voting on Facebook. Today's theme does not translate well into English, but according to Zilal, it means roughly "the sign of victory over the palace" or "The Fingers of Victory over the palace." The meaning is clear --- the opposition believes it is winning, and is close to grabbing control from President Assad.

There were interesting twists this week.

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Syria Feature: After Insurgent Victories, US Again Considers "Deeper Intervention" (Sanger/Schmitt)

David Sanger and Eric Schmitt write for The New York Times:

The Obama administration, hoping that the conflict in Syria has reached a turning point, is considering deeper intervention to help push President Bashar al-Assad from power, according to government officials involved in the discussions.

While no decisions have been made, the administration is considering several alternatives, including directly providing arms to some opposition fighters.

The most urgent decision, likely to come next week, is whether NATO should deploy surface-to-air missiles in Turkey, ostensibly to protect that country from Syrian missiles that could carry chemical weapons. The State Department spokeswoman, Victoria Nuland, said Wednesday that the Patriot missile system would not be “for use beyond the Turkish border.”

But some strategists and administration officials believe that Syrian Air Force pilots might fear how else the missile batteries could be used. If so, they could be intimidated from bombing the northern Syrian border towns where the rebels control considerable territory. A NATO survey team is in Turkey, examining possible sites for the batteries.

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Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: The Insurgents Challenge the Regime in the Air

2122 GMT: Syria. The Free Syrian Army has captured yet another anti-aircraft base near Aleppo, this time near Assan, south of the city (map).

Another source suggests that this base is the headquarters of the 608 regime, though that is unclear. Still, there are plenty of videos that have been posted in the last few hours:

Another major victory? There's also a trend. The FSA is targeting relatively small anti-aircraft bases, capturing equipment that can be used against the Assad regime, but also looking for ways to confront the Assad airforce. Furthermore, there is a suspicion that they may have received encouragement to specifically target anti-aircraft bases, as this removes a threat to any foreign aircraft that could potentially engage in a no-fly zone.

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EA Video Analysis: Syria --- Is Assad's Military Crumbling?

For weeks, we have reporting on insurgent advances across Syria. Reviewing that coverage, we ask, "Are we at the point where President Assad's military is crumbling?"

Answer: "We are not ready to declare that, but we are now past the point where the regime has any prospect of a successful counter-attack to regain control. Assad and his forces now have to rely on holding on to major cities."


Syria Video and Transcript: President Assad's Interview with Russia Today

RT: There are many people who were convinced a year ago that you would not make it this far. Here again you are sitting in a newly renovated presidential palace and recording this interview. Who exactly is your enemy at this point?

BA: My enemy is terrorism and instability in Syria. This is our enemy in Syria. It is not about the people, it is not about persons. The whole issue is not about me staying or leaving. It is about the country being safe or not. So, this is the enemy we have been fighting as Syria.

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Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: What Next for the Opposition?

President Assad, in an interview with Russia Today, warns against foreign military intervention

Wednesday's Bahrain, Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Stripping Opponents of Citizenship

1807 GMT: Bahrain. A source shares with us a video reportedly taken yesterday in Bilad Al-Qadeem. It appears to show men in plainclothes armed with tear gas launchers, firing them in the direction of what we are told was a march by protesters.

The men arrive in two vehicles, fire several shots, then drive off. It is unclear if they are civilians or members of the security forces.

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Syria Feature: Obama Administration Seeks a New Opposition Council (Rogin)

Opposition figure Riad SeifSyrian opposition leaders of all stripes will convene in Qatar next week to form a new leadership body to subsume the opposition Syrian National Council, which is widely viewed as ineffective, consumed by infighting, and little respected on the ground.

The State Department has been heavily involved in crafting the new council as part of its effort oust Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and build a more viable and unified opposition. In September, for instance, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met with a group of Syrian activists who were flown in to New York for a high-level meeting that has not been reported until now.

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Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Ceasefire Theatre While Fighting Continues

1856 GMT: Syria. 78 people have been killed by the Assad regime so far today, according to the Local Coordination Committees:

33 martyrs were reported in Damascus and its Suburbs most of them in Douma; 14 in Aleppo; 14 in Idlib: 10 in Homs; 3 in Daraa; 2 in Deir Ezzor; 2 in Lattakia; 1 in Raqqa; 1 in Hasakeh and 1 in Hama.

The Local Coordination Committees (LCC) is an activist network operating both inside and outside of Syria. They claim to use stringent verification processes to ensure that a member of the LCC can vouch for any information posted either on their Facebook page or their website. The LCC also populates a database of those killed in the Syrian conflict, which can be seen at the website for the Center for Documentation of Violations in Syria.

The LCC's casualty figures are a mix of insurgents and civilians, and never include regime casualties. Syrian State Media has stopped reporting regime casualty figures.

According to the latest tally by the VDC, 31534 have been killed so far in this conflict.

1846 GMT: Libya/Egypt A suspect in the September 11th embassy attack in Benghazi was killed in a raid in Cairo, and several others were arrested. Ahram Online reports:

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Lebanon, Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: A Day of Rage, 19 Months of Protests and Deaths

Claimed footage of Syrian forces lining up detainees in Deir Ez Zor Province --- activists claim some of those held were later among 75 dead found in a cemetery on Friday

See also Saturday's Syria, Lebanon (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Will a Beirut Bomb Widen the War?

2011 GMT: Morocco. Mamfakinch reports that police broke up a protest by the February 20th Movement in Casablanca today before it even began, detaining demonstrators who were gathering.

The website names four of the activists who are still held.

1947 GMT: Lebanon. Scenes from Beirut today, captured by Antoun Issa on his camera phone:

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Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: On a "Quiet" Sunday, 220 People Die

2046 GMT: Syria. More than 30,000 people have been killed so far. A number. In an area like Daraa, hundreds of shells fall every day. Numbers. But if you start watching this video from the 7:30 mark or before, you will be reminded of the horror that has become Syria:

2025 GMT: Syria. A disturbing video feed - a source we've used before for information from Hama posts a livestream of an incredible hail of bullets reportedly being fired in the city as we speak. We cannot confirm the video, but violence this intense won't stay quiet for long.

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