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Entries in Eliot Higgins (4)


Syria Live: A Cease-Fire in Aleppo.... But Just to Gather the Bodies

The Red Crescent gathers 31 bodies, some lying for months, from the streets of Aleppo during a cease-fire

See also Syria Analysis: US Arms to Insurgents, "Al Qa'eda", and Muddled Reporting
Bahrain (and Beyond) Live: Stepping Up the Formula 1 Protests
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.

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Syria Feature: How "Independent Analysts" Are Breaking the Stories of the Conflict

Britain's Channel 4 profiles EA Worldview's James Miller and other independent analysts on Syria

On Saturday, news emerged of a new kind of weapon --- a 12-tube rocket launcher with a range of 8.5 to 13 kilometrees (5.5 to 8 miles) --- that has made it to the front lines of the Syrian conflict.

The news, significant in itself, is the latest development in the wider, important story of how Syrian insurgents are using foreign-supplied Croatian arms to make crucial gains against President Assad's troops.

These advances since January could even prove to be the tipping point in the two-year insurgency.

There may be another tipping point: by developing methods to gather information and analyze open-source intelligence, an emerging group of "independent analysts" are breaking news stories far ahead of any mainstream outlet.

And in doing so, they are changing the international conversation about Syria.

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Syria Feature: The Surge in Foreign Weapons for the Insurgents (Higgins and Chivers/Schmitt)

Colonel Abdul-Jabber Mohammed Aqidi, a prominent insurgent commander in Aleppo, holds up an anti-tank M79 rocket launcher

While Persian Gulf Arab nations have been sending military equipment and other assistance to the rebels for more than a year, the difference in the recent shipments has been partly of scale. Officials said multiple planeloads of weapons have left Croatia since December, when many Yugoslav weapons, previously unseen in the Syrian civil war, began to appear in videos posted by rebels on YouTube....

Officials familiar with the transfers said the arms were part of an undeclared surplus in Croatia remaining from the 1990s Balkan wars. One Western official said the shipments included “thousands of rifles and hundreds of machine guns” and an unknown quantity of ammunition.

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Syria Analysis: A New Insurgent Alliance --- With New Weapons --- Is Changing the War 

Rebel fighters gather men and firepower, including a Yugoslavian M-60 recoilless rifle, to attack the Hamidiyah base near Ma'arrat al Nouman.

Yesterday's dramatic news was the insurgency['s capture of an airbase, complete with working fighter jets, in Aleppo Province and the assault against the largest Assad base in the north, near Aleppo International Airport.

This surge is at least partially the result of new weapons and new organisation of insurgency groups in Daraa and Damascus, with ample evidence that the boost in arms is courtesy of foreign powers.

Now a new piece of evidence bolsters the assessment that these weapons are coming from outside Syria, and also gives insight into the modified organisation of insurgent groups. Eliot Higgins presents this video:

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