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Entries in Hafez al-Assad (12)


Syria Live Coverage: Insurgents Capture City of al-Raqqa

Residents of al-Raqqa topple statue of late President Hafez al-Assad on Monday

See also Yesterday's Syria Live Coverage: The Regime's Shelling of Homs
Syria Feature: The Young Men from Ireland Who Fight --- and Die --- with the Insurgency (Fitzgerald)
Today's Bahrain (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Authorities Release Body of Man Killed by Police...After 12 Days

2216 GMT: Destroying Highways to Isolate Assad. There's now a pattern that has been well established over the last few days. With the rebels under the impression that Assad is on the run, but with Assad convoys trying to regain momentum, the rebels have destroyed highways and bridges near major Assad bases, and have conducted many IED attacks on the roads to disrupt Assad's reinforcements. Keeping that in mind, this report comes from the LCC (see here on the map):

FSA fighters destroy al-Ghasoula checkpoint on Damascus Int'l Airport highwayand kill many soldiers and destroy 3 tanks and number of cars.

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Syria Live Coverage: A Battle for Hama?

2120 GMT: This is an interesting video - it claims to have been leaked by "shabiha," or at least Assad military. This video reportedly shows artillery pieces firing on the city of Zabadani, the mountain city northwest of Damascus that has essentially been bombarded for many months with hardly any interruption:

Unfortunately, without a closeup of the men, or any dialogue to analyze, it's going to be hard to verify this claim.

2045 GMT: Incredible video, reportedly taken today in Damascus - the mountain appears to be Mt. Kassioun (map), and the target East Ghouta. These could be GRAD rockets, but they could also be Type 63:

2020 GMT: On December 6th we reported that the rebels were making considerable gains near the Al-Safira military base in Aleppo (map). The problem - Al Safira could be, according to some sources, not only the largest chemical weapons depot in all of Syria, but perhaps the largest chemical weapons stockpile in the entire region.

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Iran Feature: PhotoShopping a "Decent" Assad Family

PhotoShop has been a handy tool in the Islamic Republic to ensure the "right" images replace the "wrong" one for the public, from adding test-fired missiles to protecting Iranians from the cleavage of the West's women diplomats to cleaning up films and television shows of the immorality of bare arms and uncovered heads.

And not even a political ally is immune from the censor's changes.

Last week Mashregh News posted a feature on Bassel al-Assad, the elder brother of Syria's current President, killed in an automobile accident in January 1994. The article was a straightforward eulogy of "the symbol of Islamic resistance", with lots of photographs:

One of those pictures was of the Assad family, albeit with a couple of changes.

Here's the original --- long-time Syrian President Hafez al-Assad, his wife, his four sons, and his daughter:

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Syria Feature: Who and What are the Shabiha? (Keller)

Shabiha pursuing protesters at Aleppo University, 16 May 2012

"Women, children and old men were shot dead," Syria's foreign ministry spokesman, Jihad Makdissi, told reporters this week. "This is not the response of the heroic Syrian army."

Then who did kill 108 people in Houla, including 49 children, in cold blood? The answer appears to lie with the armed civilian militias from nearby Alawite villages, who are known to Syrians as shabiha, from the Arabic word for ghosts.

The term initially referred to shadowy gangs of smugglers who grew up around the coastal city of Latakia in the 1970s, and whose immunity from law seemed to come from their tribal and village connections to the ruling Assad family.

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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 (and Beyond) LiveBlog: An Armed Insurgency Builds

Footage of security forces suddenly firing --- those posting the clip claim it was a rocket-propelled grenade --- at a rally in Homs Province in Syria last night

See also Syria 1st-Hand: Observations from Damascus "The Subtle Signs of Turmoil"
Egypt Feature: The Political Battle Beyond Cairo
Tuesday's Syria, Bahrain (and Beyond) LiveBlog: Declaring Reform

2100 GMT: Bikyamasr has more details on the food poisoning suffered by protesters at #OccupyCabinet --- the group that is gathered outside the cabinet building to protest against the Egypt's ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces. According to their reporters, two of whom were victims as well, the perpetrator is being singled out a woman who showed up before the cases broke out and offered protesters hawawshi, a popular Egyptian meat dish. 

Hundreds started vomitting and dozens have been hospitalized. However, Bakyamasr denies that anyone has died so far. Full report here

1930 GMT: Reuters has raised the number of people killed in today's violence across Syria to 30. Their report on Syria also covers the army's assault on the city of Hama to break a 3-day long strike called "The Strike of Dignity". Soldiers fired machineguns and burnts shops that had been closed down in solidarity with the strike. At least 10 people were killed as a result of the assault. 

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Syria Snapshot: The Checkpoints of Defiance in Hama (The Economist)

Hama Anti-Regime Protest, 1 July 2011The city of Hama is both defiant and fearful. Boys with wooden sticks man makeshift checkpoints. Burned-out government cars, rubbish bins, gates, piles of bricks to street-lamps unscrewed at the base and carefully laid across the road have been used to create blockades to prevent the security forces from re-entering the city. Even satellite dishes, with the name of Al-Dounia, a pro-regime channel, scribbled over with Al-Jazeera, have been used. The streets are eerily quiet; shop shutters are locked and the roads are almost empty of cars. No sign of the Assad regime remains. Pictures of the president, Bashar Assad, have been torn down and a plinth where a statue of his father, Hafez, once towers stands empty. Outside the city, the government's forces wait.

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Syria Video: Friday's Protests

Saturday: Funeral of a Slain Protester

Burning the late President Hafez al-Assad in Al-Rastan:

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Latest Syria Video: The Weekend Protests

Tear Gas, Burning Tyres, & Protest in Daraa on Friday;

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Libya (and Beyond) LiveBlog: Not So Fast

2100 GMT: Tonight's take-away from the 40-nation gathering in London to discuss Libya is US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's indication that arms supplies to the opposition may be under consideration: "It is our interpretation that [United Nations resolution] 1973 [authorising the no-fly one and measures to protect civilians] amended or overrode the absolute prohibition of arms to anyone in Libya so that there could be legitimate transfer of arms if a country were to choose to do that. We have not made that decision at this time."

2025 GMT: CNN's Ben Wedeman quotes an eyewitness that residents of Brega are fleeing east after the Libyan army regained control of Ras Lanuf, the next town to the west, tonight.

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