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Entries in Friends of Syria (13)


Syria Today: A "Plan B" If International Conference Fails?

Nasrallah: Should Syria fall, the resistance will be confined and Israel will enter Lebanon

In a televised speech on Saturday, Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah warned that "Israel is ready for war" against Lebanon and Syria.

Israel has threatened Lebanon every day since the Second Lebanon War in 2006, Nasrallah claimed, adding that the Jewish State has been mobilizing its troops on the border with Lebanon for months.

The Hezbollah leader claimed that Lebanon's army can fight against Israel like the "Resistance", but only if given proper arms.

Nasrallah went on to argue that the Resistance "has done a lot in Lebanon to face Israel ", and said that the Resistance is not only Hezbollah but all those who exerted efforts against Israel.


He added that should Hezbollah agree to hand over its weapons to the Lebanese state, those "weapons will lose their significance."

Nasrallah accused Israel of building settlements on its borders with Jordan, Syria and Lebanon and is  "recruiting Jews from all over the world as part of its military plan for the region."

Meanwhile, Nasrallah accused the international community of failing to act while Israel completed its "project in Palestine".

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Syria Live: International Support for the Insurgency? 

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and US Secretary of State John Kerry at Saturday's Friends of Syria meeting

See also Bahrain (and Beyond) Live: The Protests, the Opposition, and the Grand Prix
Saturday's Syria Live: "Terrorists Eliminated by Army Operations"

1935 GMT: Opposition Criticises Lack of International Action

Moaz al-Khatib, the leader of the Syrian National Opposition Coalition, has confirmed the resignation he announced last month.

A Coalition official said, "Khatib is resigning to denounce the international community's lack of real action on behalf of the Syrian people," after the opposition requested "specific, precise and immediate action to protect Syrian civilians from the use of ballistic missiles and chemical weapons".

Khatib had met US Secretary of State John Kerry before Saturday's Friends of Syria meeting. Kerry announced a doubling of "non-lethal" aid to $120 million from Washington, but it was not enough to satisfy the Coalition.

"The result in Istanbul was less than the Syrian people expected," Hisham Marwa, a senior member of the Coalition, said. "The US said that the use of chemical weapons was a red line for the Assad regime but the regime is using them and nothing has happened. We expected more. Russia sends Assad tonnes of weapons every week."

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Syria Live: "Terrorists Eliminated by Army Operations"

One of State news agency SANA's standard photographs of soldiers "eliminating terrorists"

See also EA Video Analysis: Introducing "The Love Triangle of Profileration" --- Iran, Syria, North Korea
Iraq (and Beyond) Live: Provincial Elections Amid Spike in Violence
Friday's Syria Live: UN Security Council Condemns Violence by Both Sides

1805 GMT: Aid to Insurgents

US officials have said that Secretary of State John Kerry offered a package of up to $130 million in aid to insurgents at today's Friends of Syria meeting (see 1045 GMT).

The officials said the aid could include body armor, armored vehicles, night vision goggles, and advanced communications equipment.

Earlier this year at a Friends of Syria gathering, in the first US commitment of non-lethal aid, Kerry offered $60 million.

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Syria Live Coverage: Foreign Governments Pledge Support for Opposition --- But How Much?

2136 GMT: Regime Retakes Iraq Border Crossing. According to Now Lebanon, the Syrian military has retaken an Iraqi border crossing at Yaarubiyeh a day after it fell to Jabhat al Nusra.

Al Arabiya, known for its occasional sensationalism, says that there's an even more interesting story - that Iraqi forces loyal to Prime Minister Nouri Al-Malaki joined the Assad troops in attacking "the Free Syrian Army" on the border:

For the first time, Iraqi forces opened fire on Syria shelling the positions of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) days after Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki warned that a victory of the Syrian opposition would spread chaos in the region.

Al Arabiya correspondent near the Syrian-Iraqi border reported that Iraqi snipers took up positions on buildings near the Rebiya crossing while others forces shelled the positions of the Free Syrian Army.

We haven't independently confirmed either report, and we'd be more comfortable if we had additional information before believing the Al Arabiya headline.

2129 GMT: Airstrike in Damascus. Every day there are airstrikes, so maybe videos like this are old news, but they never stop shocking us. This video shows a jet fighter releasing a bomb and then firing flares as it climbs. It was reportedly taken today over eastern Damascus, in the Irbin suburb:

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Syria Live Coverage: Uncertainty Over the Mass Killing in Aqrab

1946 GMT: Syrian Media, SANA, now reports that three different explosions resulted in "martyring of a number of people and the injuring of others" at the Interior Ministry in Damascus. SANA does not say whether any officials have been injured, though rumors are flying, rumors which State TV has already denied. They have posted several pictures, two of which we post here (click for full size):

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Syria, Bahrain (and Beyond) Live Coverage: What Happens After the "Friends of Syria" Meeting?


Bahrain, Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: The Gathering of the "Friends of Syria"

A march in Bilad Alqadeem in Bahrain today, expressing solidarity with political leaders in prison

A protester amidst the tear gas in Salmabad in Bahrain on Saturday

See also Syria Document: Beginner's Guide to The 27 Points of the "Friends of Syria" Meeting
Syria Feature: An Insurgency Running Short of Ammunition
Bahrain Video Interview: Nabeel Rajab on BBC HARDTalk "Why This Regime and This Revolution Are Different"
Bahrain Video Special: A Tribute to Ahmed Ismail Hassan, Citizen Journalist of Salmabad
Syria Wired: The Latest from Social Media and EA's Readers
Saturday's Bahrain, Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: A Teenager is Shot to Death in Salmabad

2005 GMT: CNN posts a video profile of prominent Syrian cartoonist Ali Ferzat --- abducted and badly beaten by gunmen in Damascus last August, he left the country but now hopes to return:

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Syria Document: Beginner's Guide to The 27 Points of the "Friends of Syria" Meeting

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (Photo: Murad Sezer/Reuters)The 27-point summary by the more than 70 national delegations at today's "Friends of Syria" gathering in Istanbul --- the condensed version of the narrative....

The representatives called for a political transition (Point 5) and implementation of the "peace plan" of United Nations envoy Kofi Annan (6), while regretting regime actions, such as the support of violence, that appeared to defy that plan (7).

What to do? The delegations vaguely suggested "additional appropriate measures with a view to the protection of the Syrian people" (7) and "support for legitimate measures taken by the Syrian population to protect themselves" (13).

The most substantial of the decisions was recognition of the Syrian National Council as the sole representative of the Syrian people (10), with endorsement of moves by factions to align with the SNC (8-9). The representatives also called for further sanctions, with emphasis on "prevention of the regime’s access to arms" (12 and 18), and for a daily two-hour "humanitarian pause" to provide aid to Syrians.


1. The Second Conference of the Group of Friends of the Syrian People (“the Friends’ Group”) was held in Istanbul on 1 April 2012.

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Syria Feature: An Insurgency Running Short of Ammunition (Abouzeid)

"Fouad," a rail-thin Syrian in tight jeans who looks at least a decade older than his 25 years, leans forward in a black faux leather armchair in an unheated, sparsely furnished room in this southern Turkish city.

"I need ammunition," he tells Abu Mohammad, a stocky Turkish weapons dealer sitting impossibly upright on the stiff couch. "I'll pay five and a half." He quotes the price in Turkish liras -- about $3 per bullet.

Abu Mohammad smirks. He carefully places his white, half-moon Turkish coffee cup on the small square table in front of him. "They're seven each," he says. "If you can get them for five and a half, I'll buy them from you."

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Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: 65 Dead Amidst Manoeuvres for Talks

A video illustrating that, despite reports of juveniles tried in military courts (see 0847 GMT), all Egyptian children love the ruling armed forces

2040 GMT: According to the Locall Co-ordinating Committees of Syria, the Assad military has begun an assault on the town of Saraqeb in Idlib Province:

Idlib:Saraqeb: The regime's army continues to encircle the city amid a widespread deployment of tanks in the southern part, where continuous gunfire and explosions were reported. The regime's army has also surrounded hospitals to deny entry to the wounded; this led residents to treat the wounded in field hospitals along the city's perimeter. Electricity is still cut off for the fourth consecutive day.

The regime's arrest campaigns are still ongoing as well, and the number of detainees is now in the hundreds. Moreover, residents cannot bury the martyrs who fell during the days-long regime siege on Saraqeb because of the continuous shelling and bombardment. The random shelling has also damaged the Information Office, which therefore cannot post any videos that document the harsh reality in the area

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