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Entries in Hama (17)


Syria Live Coverage: The Insurgents Close on Hama

Insurgents in Taibet al Imam, near Hama, on Tuesday

See also Israel, Palestine (and Beyond) Live Coverage: US Criticises Israeli "Pattern of Provocation" Over Settlements
Tuesday's Syria Live Coverage: A Battle for Hama?

2036 GMT: Al Jazeera reports that the UN has asked for a historic $1.5 billion in emergency aid in order to help those affected by the Syrian crisis avoid starvation or freezing to death during the winter which continues to get worse.

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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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Syria Special: A Massacre in Tremseh --- What We Know So Far

Rula Amin, of Al Jazeera English, reports on the latest news from Tremseh.

See also Thursday's Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: An Ambassador Defects

NOTE - This Post Has Been Updated. In order to keep the original narrative clean, I will add any further details I collect today at the bottom of this article, and not at the top. I will timestamp the updates. Check back often.

Everyone is talking about a massacre, a killing of epic proportions, in a place called Tremseh (map), a roadside village 15-16 miles northwest of Hama. The range of deaths varies greatly, but there are many reports that between 100 and 220 people were killed in the village, a village of only around 6,000 residents.

Let's recap what we know for sure.

For starters, this massacre did not come fully unanticipated. Early on Thursday morning, EA received reports, and posted videos, that a series of towns, Kornaz, Jalama, and Tremseh (from north to south). What was curious about these reports was both the voracity of the attacks on these towns and their remote location. Previous to this, a large amount of violence has occurred on the road that runs from Kafr Zita to Khan Sheikhoun, or further northwest in Qa'allat al Madiq. I did not know where Tremseh or Jalama were before I made those early reports. The reports, all from different sources, that three villages were heavily attacked on the same road, suggested to us that a fairly major military operation was occurring along that route. It was also interesting that so many buildings in all three villages were reportedly on fire, suggesting that there may have been similar shells used against all three areas.

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Syria Video Special: Today's Protests Across the Country

Anadan, Aleppo:

Sanamein in the south:

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Syria Video Special: "We'll Continue until the Regime is Toppled"

Today was busy, and with so many dramatic pictures, videos, and nuggets of news, the scale of the protests can easily be overlooked. In the liveblog, we have focused on the violence, but what occurred this Friday, like many others, was another mass demonstration of peaceful protesters, in nearly every corner of the country, demanding the resignation of those responsible for the violence.

See Also, Syria, Bahrain, Libya (and Beyond) LiveBlog: Watching the Protests

7. Homs at Night

6. Homs by Day

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Syria Video Special: A Protest Movement Renewed

A massive anti-Assad protest in Douma, an important Damascus suburb, during the funeral of Yusef Al-Toukhi.

Just two weeks ago, I was beginning to think that the protests were losing steam. Every passing day, since the fall of Tripoli, we see larger and larger protests in Syria. Protests in some locations were becoming smaller. In other places, the activists who were protesting seemed almost defeated. Reports from contacts in the country hinted that the spirit of the protesters was very low. At least 473 people had been killed by the Assad military since the beginning of Ramadan, according to rights groups. The bloody month had proven that the protests were not going away, the genie of Arab Spring would never be returned to the bottle in Syria, but it had also proven that the violence had taken its toll.

Some activists in Syria had even begun to question whether a peaceful revolution would be successful

All of that has changed in the last two weeks.

What we are seeing is protests in locations where there were not protests before, which has in turn caused the Syrian military to kill in those locations, intensifying protests in those locations. While Aleppo and central Damascus still seem elusive targets for widespread protests, the areas around these cities are seeing larger and more widespread protest. Eventually, these protests may very well push into the centers of the last two holdouts of dissent.

Below we're collecting just a sample of videos of the day. We'll add to the list as the day goes on:

8. Protests in A'zaz, Aleppo (MAP). Earlier we noted daytime protests in Tall Rifat, halfway between A'zaz and downtown Aleppo, and there are also protests there this evening.

7. A puzzling yet impressive video. This clip claims to have been taken by soldiers during the siege of Daraa, and has apparently been set to (what we would assume is) victorious music, by the soldiers themselves. Smoke can be seen rising from the city, and smiling soldiers take up sniper positions on the rooftop.

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Syria Special: Torture, Intimidation Used to Deter Protests

Syrian soldiers appear to be beating prisoners in a bus. We haven't received a full translation yet, but it appears that the soldiers are forcing these people to chant pro-Assad slogans:

UPDATE: 2011-08-19, 1900 GMT: Al Jazeera posts this translation with additional details:

Activists say the prisoners on the bus were arrested in Hama on July 29, just two days before the military assault on the city.

Men believed to be shabiha thugs dressed in military uniforms beat the prisoners, slamming their heads down and pulling their hair while screaming, "God, Syria, Bashar only!" and "With our blood and souls we sacrifice to you Bashar!" The men’s beards suggest they are not regular soldiers, as beards are banned in Syria’s military.

NPR Reports that the tactics of the Syrian regime have become even more extreme. According to the report, Assad's forces are now torturing some detainees to death (audio of the full report):

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Syria, Libya (and Beyond) Liveblog: The Crackdown has Stopped?


Syria Special: Diane Rehm - Escalating Violence in Syria

In this Friday, July 22, 2011, a citizen journalism image made on a mobile phone and provided by Shaam News Network, Syrian anti-regime protesters gather during a rally in al-Assy square in the western city of Hama, Syria. The Arabic on banner reads:"we will never forget our martyrs and prisoners." A citizen journalism image/AP

Diane Rehm and a panel of experts do an excellent job of summing up the most current news, but the panel also addressed some of the most important questions about the conflict: Why haven't there been larger protests in Aleppo, what are Assad's tactics, what is the role of sectarianism or ethnicity in the conflict, and how might international sanctions effect the regime.


Read the Complete Transcript here...

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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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