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Entries in Mikhail Bogdanov (8)


Syria Today: A Chemical Weapons "Game-Changer"?

Insurgents seize a regime tank near Homs

1625 GMT: Limited Use of Chemical Weapons Part of Assad's Strategy? Pundits are arguing for or against foreign intervention in Syria, and much of their analysis of this week's chemical weapons claims are shaped by that goal. Chemical weapons analysts have focused on the available evidence, and have offered their criticism or support of the claims that Assad used of chemical weapons in that light. Today, however, two analysts focus on the wider strategic situation in Syria, and how chemical weapons claims fit into that picture.

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Syria Live Coverage: A Mass Killing in Idlib Province?

2308 GMT: Summary - The LCC summarizes today's events:

By the end of Wednesday the LCC managed to document 92 martyrs (including 9 children and 4 women), 29 martyrs were reported in Damascus and its Suburbs, 27 martyrs in Aleppo, 14 martyrs in Hama, 7 martyrs in Idlib, 8 martyrs in Homs, 4 martyrs in Daraa and 3 martyrs in Deir Ezzor

The LCC also documented 180 points of shelling, 2 points were shelled by warplanes, Cluster Bombs were used in Teftenaz and Omar Oil Field in Deir Ezzor, 86 points were shelled by artillery (the fiercest was reported in Damascus Suburbs), 51 points by missiles and 42 points by mortars

The FSA clashed with the regime forces in 77 locations (the fiercest among them was reported in Damascus Suburbs, Idlib and Aleppo), the FSA stormed several buildings in Teftenaz Military Airport and targeted its main building, the FSA blocked many attmepts by the regime forces to storm Daraya, Mouadamiya in Damascus Suburbs and Basr Al-Harir in Daraa

The FSA also targeted Saman checkpoint in Taibat Al-Imam in Hama and destroyed several military vehicles in different parts of Syria

See our note on the information published by the LCC.

2208 GMT: Images of the Mastoomeh Massacre - The first video claiming to show some of the bodies of those killed in Mastoomeh has surfaced...

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Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Brahimi's Futile Mission to Moscow?

2124 GMT: Syria. A message from Kafranbel:

It may be hard to make out, but the "Pac Man" is really the opposition flag, gobbling up AK-47s on its way to eating Assad. The "ghosts" chasing Pac Man are the flags of Russia, China, Iran, and (perhaps) the US (it's hard to see, but it's red and blue).

2110 GMT: Iraq. Across much of Iraq, large protests have been held today against government policies and behaviors that some Sunni Muslims view as sectarian in nature. In Fallujah alone there may have been tens of thousands in the streets. AP reports:

Tens of thousands of Iraqi Sunnis angry over perceived second-class treatment by the Shiite-led government massed along a major western highway and elsewhere in the country Friday for the largest protests yet in a week of demonstrations...

The biggest of Friday's demonstrations took place on a main road to Jordan and Syria that runs through the cities of Fallujah and Ramadi in the Sunni-dominated desert province of Anbar, west of Baghdad.

Several thousand protesters took to the streets in Fallujah, holding aloft placards declaring the day a "Friday of honor." Some carried old Iraqi flags used during the era of former dictator Saddam Hussein, whose Sunni-dominated government was ousted in the U.S.-led invasion nearly a decade ago.

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Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: The Assad Regime Negotiating a Deal in Moscow?

See also Syria 1st-Hand: Aleppo --- Hunger, Disease, & Little Hope
Wednesday's Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Insurgents Take Another Town in the North

2315 GMT: Bahrain. Claims are circulating that leading human rights activist Zainab AlKhwaja was released from prison on bail today.

Zainab's husband said he was collecting her from prison. He described her as the "apple of the eyes of the people of Bahrain".

Yesterday, the New York Times published an article written by Zainab behind bars. Her trial verdict was also postponed until 20 January.

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Syria Live Coverage: The Humanitarian Crisis

2145 GMT: The situation near the palace may be unknown, but the CFDPC reports that shells (or rockets) have killed many tonight in Kafr Batna, to the east (map):

situation of chaos in the Kafar Batna suburb of Damascus which was shelled by regime forces with rocket launchers; there are reports of injuries also among the medical staff,

Bashar al Assad will likely live for more nights, but how many will have to die before his regime comes toppling down?

2028 GMT: This video was sent to us by Zilal, who has been speaking to people inside Damascus. It was taken from the south of the Presidential Palace in Damascus. The occasional gunshot or explosion, far in the distance, can be heard. More importantly, though, it reportedly shows the ambulances lined up on the road to the palace. Zilal describes the video:

This is Damascus tonight. [Zilal's sources] say that there are ambulances on the road leading to the presidential palace but we cannot see anything.

What we can see is that electricity is cut in many areas as you said before.

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Syria Live Coverage: Protests, Bombs, and A Victory That "Cannot Be Ruled Out"

An insurgent in Aleppo tries to rescue a woman lying shot in the street

1715 GMT: According to the Local Coordination Committees, 66 people have been killed so far across Syria:

35 martyrs were reported in Damascus and its Suburbs (including 4 martyrs due to shelling in Hajar Aswad and 4 martyrs due to gunfire at funeral of yesterday's convoy in Barza), 11 in Idlib, 7 in Daraa, 5 in Homs, 3 in Hama, 3 in Aleppo and 2 in Deir Ezzor.

The Local Coordination Committees (LCC) is an activist network operating both inside and outside of Syria. They claim to use stringent verification processes to ensure that a member of the LCC can vouch for any information posted either on their Facebook page or their website. The LCC also populates a database of those killed in the Syrian conflict, which can be seen at the website for the Center for Documentation of Violations in Syria.

The LCC's casualty figures are a mix of insurgents and civilians, and never include regime casualties. Syrian State Media has stopped reporting regime casualty figures.

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Syria Live Coverage: "A Political Process to End the Crisis is Still Possible"

2040 GMT: The US decision to place Al Nusra Front on the terrorist watch list will have complicated repercussions. Since we've started covering this conflict, we've been very impressed with both McClatchy and The Institute for the Study of War. As such, we're not surprised that experts from both organizations have, even before the decision was announced, condemned the move because it will complicate the realities on the ground in Syria and potentially isolate Washington from the Syrian rebels:

Some experts warned that declaring Nusra a foreign terrorist organization was likely to hurt the anti-Assad uprising by fueling tensions between the group and other opposition units. The designation could disrupt the coordination behind recent rebel advances and even risk clashes among rebel groups.


“I’m not saying they aren’t a terrorist group. But given the circumstances and given their cooperation with the opposition as a whole, designating them now would be disastrous,” said Elizabeth O’Bagy, an analyst with the Institute for the Study of War who recently returned from touring rebel-held areas to research Nusra and other Islamist groups.

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The Latest from Iran (7 July): Warning the Green Movement

See also Iran Audio Feature: Nuclear Talks, Domestic Politics, & a Worried Regime --- Scott Lucas with Monocle 24
The Latest from Iran (6 July): Tehran Puts Out Positive Nuclear Messages

1730 GMT: Oil Watch. The National Iranian Oil Company has suspended a contract worth $107 million for the development of the Dayyer oilfield by the Italian company Edison.

NIOC said Edison, which signed the deal in 2006, had failed to meet its contractual commitments, with slow progress of the project to study two-dimensional seismographic information on 7500 square kilometers of the oilfield and to drill an exploration well.

A number of major contracts with foreign companies have been suspended in the last two years amid technical issues and sanctions.

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