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Entries in Deir Ez Zor (12)


Syria Analysis with Videos: The Insurgent Advances Across the Country

Free Syria Army units in control of an artillery piece and other equipment, reportedly in northern Idlib province, where the base of the Regular Army's 46th Regiment was located:

UPDATE: More video has been added to the bottom of this entry:

In Idlib and Aleppo Provinces, the Free Syrian Army is expanding its hold on territory and has not suffered a military setback in these two regions in more than two months. The insurgents are no longer lightly armed, accelerating the pace of their advance.

In Damascus, the regime still holds the upper hand, and the probability of a sudden collapse of the Assad strength is minimal. However, the Free Syrian Army is still winning battles. Despite intense bombing campaigns by the regime, the FSA is keeping Assad forces on the defensive in some locations.

Having to concentrate on the capital, the stretched regime forces have failed to retake Ma'arrat al Nouman, the key in the northwest to Aleppo and Idlib. Assad forces appear to be retreating in the east, with only one remaining airbase in Deir Ez Zor Province.

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Syria Opinion: Opposition Is Letting Down Residents in the East (Hassan)

Insurgents in Deir Ez Zor Province

Every region of the country can be an asset to the uprising in its own way. Aleppo has been an important province to secure supplies through Turkey, and to bring the fight to the regime in the country's second city. Deir Ezzor is also a vital province for the regime because of its resources, and it could be the key to freeing the country's east from regime control. Why cannot the political opposition take advantage of all of its potential assets?

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Syria, Bahrain (and Beyond) Live Coverage: End of a Red Ramadan

2340 GMT: Syria. Since this morning, a rumor, pushed initially by Russian media RT, spread that a high ranking Syrian general had died in a Russian hospital. Syrian State Media denied the story, and there have been debates and rumors all day as to the identity of the dead general.

Now, an activist who has a great rack record lately posts this report:

A German news agency is also carrying the report that Jamil Hassan has died.

We have to stress that this rumor is completely unconfirmed.

2320 GMT: Syria. A note on our last update - Bashar Fahmi, one of the missing journalists, apparently works for Alhurra, described as "a United States-based Arabic-language satellite TV channel funded by the U.S. Congress that broadcasts news and current affairs."

More information on what happened today (noted, this is still unconfirmed):

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Syria Snap Analysis: Deir Ez Zor & Human Rights Watch is a comment on the article I wrote last night, Syria Special: Welcome to Phase Two Insurgency, responding to today's news.

Basically, I argue that the Free Syrian Army has reached a new level of sophistication in their attacks, and have entered a stage that will be characterized by ambush attacks, improvised explosive devices, and other guerrilla tactics. I also respond to Joshua Landis' claim that we are likely to see more terrorism and a move towards a more sectarian opposition. Basically, I argue that the terrorism that is on the rise in Syria doesn't seem to be directly linked to the main-stream opposition (a major difference from Iraq or Afghanistan) and so far the most sectarian violence is evident in Homs and Idlib, but it is fairly isolated.

But there are two developments today that intersect my article.

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Syria Video Special: This is What Assad Calls "Withdrawing"

Even as the Syrian government, and the Syrian State Television channel SANA, were claiming that the soldiers and tanks were pulling out of Lattakia and Deir Ez Zor, we started to receive video of tanks repositioning to other locations, most notably Homs. Now, there are reports that most of the troops and tanks have not left Deir Ez Zor or Lattakia.

Is this what Assad calls "withdrawal?"

See Also, Syria, Libya (and Beyond) Liveblog: Pulling Out of Deir Ez Zor?

Once again, every night since the start of Ramadan, protests are reported in almost every area of Syria:

Jobar, Damascus:

Al Korah, Deir Ez Zor:

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Syria, Libya (and Beyond) Liveblog: Pulling Out of Deir Ez Zor?

See Also, Syria Video Special: This is What Assad Calls "Withdrawing"

2100 GMT: It is claimed that 10 Turkish F-16s have bombed several PKK camps in northern Iraq. However, no official confirmation has come from Ankara yet. 

1929 GMT: In our separate video entry, we've posted a clip claiming to show Syrian soldiers breaking in and looting a store in Hama.

1900 GMT: The number of killed Turkish soldiers has risen to 12. Meanwhile, the so-called "second man" of PKK, claimed to have been captured by Iranian forces, announced that PM Erdogan's "no tolerance" speech is nothing short of a declaration of war! He went further and threatened Ankara:

PM shall know that we have not used even five percent of our forces. We are waging a controlled defensive war now. If we take an official decision of war and order accordingly, then Ankara will be upside down. 

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Syria, Libya, (and Beyond) Liveblog: 1 if by Land, 2 if by Sea

2104 GMT: James Miller is wrapping up the liveblog (but only because he has to start it again in 5-8 hours).

Our closing thought, the AP has compiled some video of Lattakia, taken today:

2038 GMT: The Local Coordinating Committees of Syria are reporting protests, heavy security, and the use of live ammunition against crowds in Homs, Deir Ez Zor, Aleppo, and the Qadam district of Damascus. Large protests are reported, once again, in almost every corner of Syria.

2025 GMT: Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmed Davutoglu expressed his frustration at the situatio today in Syria:

“We are asking Assad to actualize the steps we agreed on in our talks with him,” he went on to say, referring to his meeting with Assad last Tuesday. “He had taken some positive steps in the first few days. Such as the withdrawal of tanks from Hama and providing the transportation of our press members to Hama, but operations have continued in various cities since Friday. It is not possible to condone these operations, which have claimed the lives of many civilians,” he said.

“We have requested an immediate halt of these operations, and we will continue to do so. We are calling on the Syrian administration to be more sensitive to its own people and not to further increase the tension. The necessary steps must be taken immediately. The operations causing civilian losses should be stopped, particularly in this holy month of Ramadan. We will keep on with our contacts in the coming days. The Syrian issue is a matter we have been following very closely; it is a matter we are directly concerned with in every aspect.”

Davutoglu went on to deliver his strongest words yet to Syria's Bahsar al Assad:

“This is our final word to the Syrian authorities: Our first expectation is that these operations stop immediately and unconditionally,” Mr. Davutoglu told a news conference in Ankara, Turkey. “If the operations do not end, there would be nothing more to discuss about steps that would be taken,” he said, without saying what that action might include.

Jordan also condemned the actions in Syria:

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The Latest from Iran (15 August): The World According to the Regime

1557 GMT: This update via Scott Lucas:

Claim of Day. Emruz, the website of the reformist Mojahedin of Islamic Revolution, claims it has a tape of President Ahmadinejad's right-hand man, Esfandiar Rahim-Mashai, making some admissions about the 2009 Presidential election....

The site asserts that, in a private meeting with Ahmadinejad supporters, Rahim-Mashai acknowledged that Mir Hossein Mousavi received at least 15 million votes --- the official total was 11 millions v. more than 23 million for Ahmadinejad.

And there's more: Rahim-Mashai supposedly warned that "the opposition" is strong and that the President has been trying to attract its supporters.

1424 GMT: Cartoon alert - The result of the cooperation between Khatam al-Anbia, a large engineering firm with close ties to the Revolutionary Guard Corps, and the oil ministry (Kowsar):

1416 GMT: Molavi Abdolhamind, a very well renowned Sunni cleric in Iran, reiterated that the unity and national security of Iran depends on government non-interference in religious matters. The statement, made at Friday prayers in Zahedan, are likely a response to the new enforcement of a law that would require a representative of the Supreme Leader to oversea all Sunni seminaries. The law is seen as both a political and a religious power play, particularly in southeast Iran.

1408 GMT: Professors and employees of the Sanandaj Free University have staged a sit-in to protest an article, which appeared in the university journal last week, that insulted Sunni Muslims.

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Syria Video Special: The Destruction of Deir Ez Zor

Even as the Syrian regime claims it has withdrawn military forces from Hama, Deir Ez Zor in the northeast is still under attack. In the dramatic video above, the top of the minaret of the Othman bin Afan mosque is blown off by military shelling of the city. Around the city, other signs of destruction are clearly evident.

See also Syria Video Analysis: Assessing Propaganda and "Truth" on Both Sides
Wednesday's Syria (and Beyond) LiveBlog: Raising Shoes to Assad

As we pointed out in a separate feature, the regime denies that there are tanks in Deir Ez Zor. The video below, including another clip of the minaret, tells a different story....

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Syria Video Analysis: Assessing Propaganda and "Truth" on Both Sides

Some news agencies have occasionally been duped by propaganda promoted by individual "activists", but those observers tuned in, after months of experience, to the claims of the activists now know which individuals or groups produce credible information, and they know when to be extra-sceptical about reports. However, many of these claims are reliable, and the media who drop in on the Syria story need to pay attention to the journalists who are working hard to separate the "good" reports from the "bad".

Because in Syria --- to take a position --- one side is lying, one side is mostly truthful, and thousands of lives are in the balance of the two.

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