12/11/2012 Hama, #Syria Graphic: This young man who is 18 years of age was arrested by Air Force Intelligence branch. He spent 4 months in their torture prison. They deprived him of food and drink. He was beaten up, electrocuted and was tortured under water during his time in prison. Before he was arrested, he weighed 80kg.
Newly-leaked Syrian classified files obtained by Al Arabiya revealed that the regime of President Bashar al-Assad was behind deadly May 10 bombings in Damascus. (Al Arabiya)
The regime of President Bashar al-Assad was behind a pair of car bomb attacks which killed 55 people outside a military intelligence complex in the Qazzaz area of Damascus on May 10, newly-leaked documents obtained by Al Arabiya reveal.
The documents are part of some highly-classified Syrian security files obtained by Al Arabiya from opposition sources. The channel said that it has verified and authenticated hundreds of these documents and that it has decided to disclose ones with substantial news value and political relevance.
THE QAZZAZ BOMBINGS
A presidential order to Saqr Mannon to carry out the Qazzaz bombing in “the absence of the media.” (Al Arabiya)
Following the twin-bombing in the Qazzaz neighbourhood of the capital Damascus, Syria’s foreign ministry said the attacks were a sign that the country was facing foreign-backed terrorism. The Arab League, on the other hand, stated that the attack was intended to undermine a U.N. monitoring mission in the country led then by special envoy Kofi Annan.
However, the leaked documents implicates the Syrian regime in the deadly Qazzaz explosions.
In a document sent from the presidential palace on May 8, two days before the fatal bombs, Maj. Gen. Dhu al-Himma Shalish, head of the Special Security of the Syrian president, addressed Saqr Mannon, head of the Air Force Intelligence Branch-291, telling him of the need to convince the international public opinion of the presence of terrorist groups in the country.
Shalish said that his orders follow instructions of the Joint Command, possibly in reference to Iran, Russia and the Syrian regime.
Shalish followed-up his commands by describing to Mannon the needed steps for the upcoming explosion.
The major general indicated that he was acting by the direct orders of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad.
An order from Saqr Mannon, in the Army and Air Force headquarters, to Suhail Hassan, a colonel in the Syrian Air Force Intelligence, to carry out the Qazzaz explosion. (Al Arabiya)
A second leaked document, this time signed by Saqr Mannon and sent from the Army and Air Force headquarters, ordered Suhail Hassan, a colonel in the Syrian Air Force Intelligence, to apparently carry out the Qazzaz explosion, and to report back once the mission is accomplished.
According to the leaked files, Assad sacrificed hundreds of citizens and low-ranking security forces in order to convince international public opinion that terrorists have infiltrated the Syrian territory and started conducting mortal operations.
A narrative the regime keeps pushing forward since the start of the Syrian revolution in March 2011.
Al Arabiya’s exclusive series on the newly-leaked security documents continues tomorrow.
To view Al Arabiya’s video please click on the link below!
*Syrian Assistance team can not independently verify the accuracy of this information!
#Syria, Faruq Brigades target a Hbihh vehicle in front of the Air Force Intelligence branch in Homs by Hama 2
Syria’s 16-month revolt has finally erupted in the country’s commercial hub
Aleppo: The route to Aleppo from the Turkish border is a long web of dirt back roads with miles of exposed ground. But undaunted and in total darkness, dozens of young men jump onto white trucks with their AK-47 rifles, keen to join the fight there.
Syria’s 16-month revolt has finally erupted in the country’s commercial hub, but the momentum was not generated inside the city — it was brought into the historic city’s ancient stone alleyways from the scorched fields of the surrounding countryside.
But now the things are heating up.
Troops and rebels fought pitched battles near an intelligence headquarters in Aleppo yesterday, a watchdog said, as a military offensive in Syria’s commercial capital raged into a fourth day.
The fighting erupted when rebels launched an assault before dawn on the powerful air force intelligence branch in Aleppo’s Zahraa district, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. Fighting was continuing into the day.
Rebels armed with rocket propelled grenades attacked Aleppo’s main military court as well as a police station and a branch of the ruling Baath Party in the city’s Salhin district, the Britain-based Observatory said.
Meanwhile, the neighbourhoods of Firdoss, Al Mashhad and Ansari were bombarded through the night by government troops, the watchdog said.
Fighting also flared in Salaheddin, the rebels’ main bastion in Aleppo, which was strafed by government helicopter gunships, according to the Syrian Revolution General Committee, a network of activists on the ground.
A security official in Damascus had said that the army had regained some of Salaheddin but it was facing “a very strong resistance.” The rebels, however, denied that the army had advanced even “one metre”.
The Observatory said violence across the country as of on Monday saw 93 people killed - 41 civilians, 19 rebels and 33 soldiers.
A photo released by Higher Committee of the Syrian Revolution allegedly shows destruction in Baba Amr neighborhood of the flashpoint central Syrian city of Homs on March 11, 2012. (AFP Photo/ Higher Committee of The Syrian Revolution).
DAMASCUS: Two huge bomb blasts killed at least 27 people in Syria’s capital on Saturday, as special envoy Kofi Annan warned of regional fallout from the year-long bloodshed.
An Arab diplomat told AFP Saudi Arabia has started delivering arms to Syrian rebels through Jordan, a claim denied by Amman, while rival Iran is already suspected of sending weapons to its Syrian regime allies.
State television said the early morning “terrorist” attacks, apparently car bombings timed minutes apart, had targeted police headquarters in the Duwar Al-Jamarek area and air force intelligence offices in Al-Qasaa district.
The explosions killed 27 people, mainly civilians, and wounded 140 civilians and security personnel, the interior ministry said.
As angry residents vented their fury at Arab supporters of anti-regime activists, the state broadcaster ran footage of a charred body inside the mangled remains of a smouldering vehicle in Duwar Al-Jamarek.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon denounced the bomb blasts and urged an end to the violence.
Extending his condolences to the bereaved families, “the secretary general calls for all violence to cease immediately,” a statement released by his office said.
From Paris, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said: “France condemns all acts of terrorism, which cannot be justified under any circumstances.”
France has been at the forefront of calls for Assad to quit.
Egypt’s Foreign Minister Mohammed Kamel Amr affirmed Cairo’s “fixed position against terrorism in any form, regardless of the reasons behind it.”
Bombings have hit Syria’s major cities in recent months, provoking
mounting concern that Al-Qaeda has taken advantage of the uprising against President Bashar Al-Assad.
Syria’s opposition, however, has accused the regime of stage-managing the attacks.
Commentators on state television blamed Qatar and Saudi Arabia, Assad’s fiercest Arab critics over his regime’s deadly crackdown on dissent since March 2011. Both countries have called for rebels to be armed.
“Saudi Arabia is sending us terrorists,” a resident of the devastated areas said on television.
Another said “these are the friends… of the Istanbul council,” referring to the opposition Syrian National Council set up in the Turkish city last August.
An Arab diplomat told AFP that Saudi Arabia, which closed its embassy in Damascus this week, was delivering military equipment to Syrian rebels.
“Saudi military equipment is on its way to Jordan to arm the (rebel) Free Syrian Army,” the diplomat said, on condition of anonymity. “This is a Saudi initiative to stop the massacres in Syria.”
Jordan rejected the report.
“Jordan categorically denies the report,” government spokesman and information minister Rakan Majali told AFP. “This is completely baseless.”
Iraq, another neighbour of Syria, has informed Tehran it will not allow arms shipments to the country to pass through or over its territory, Baghdad government spokesman Ali Al-Dabbagh said on Saturday.
The United States has said it was concerned that Iranian cargo flights over Iraq to Syria could be carrying arms to help Damascus crush protests.
Tehran on Saturday condemned the Damascus blasts, blaming them on unnamed countries supplying arms to Syrian rebels, Iran’s official IRNA news agency reported.
On Friday, UN-Arab League peace envoy Annan warned of a regional “escalation” of the Syria conflict and urged the UN Security Council to close ranks to put pressure on Assad.
The former United Nations chief, who met Assad in Damascus last weekend, has ordered a team of UN experts to Syria to discuss a possible ceasefire and international monitoring mission, his spokesman said.
Permanent Security Council members Russian and China have twice vetoed Security Council resolutions on the Syrian crisis that they said were unbalanced.
Syria’s foreign ministry said the country would cooperate with Annan and at the same time pursue its crackdown on “armed terrorist gangs” it blames for the bloodshed.
Thousands of anti-government protesters called on Friday for foreign military intervention as the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least 18 people were killed nationwide.
In London on Saturday, British photographer Paul Conroy — wounded in a bombardment in Homs last month that killed his Sunday Times colleague Marie Colvin and French photographer Remi Ochlik — also urged military intervention.
“It’s about life and death now. We must put enclaves in place, defend them from the air and the ground and save lives. Diplomacy, I’m afraid, has had its chance. It’s failed,” Conroy told the BBC.
In Washington, thousands of protesters gathered outside the White House to demand that the United States “stop the massacre in Syria.”
The Britain-based Observatory said funerals were held on Saturday for two people killed during a Friday protest at Al-Raqqa in the northeast and security forces opened fire on mourners, killing another two people.
Huge rallies in support of Assad were held in Damascus and other major cities on Thursday to mark the first anniversary of the uprising that monitors say has cost more than 9,100 lives in 12 months.
Apart from Annan’s technical team, the UN and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation are to send experts to Damascus on a Syrian government-led humanitarian mission to protest cities devastated in shelling by security forces.
The team members will head to Damascus from New York and Geneva on Monday, Annan’s spokesman said.
A defector in Aleppo talks about the explosions carried out by Air force Intelligence #Syria
Brief English Translation:
My name is Ali Taha Shabaan from Air Defense (military number 8754-541). I am joining the FSA because Airforce Intelligence sent us to fire at protestors in neighborhoods of Aleppo (Hanano and other areas).
(Names of officers who commanded this are mentioned)
Film Crew: Were you a witness to the Aleppo explosions ?
Defector: Yes, under the command of the 80th brigade. Airforce Intelligence informed us there was an explosion at 9AM, . A second explosion occurred 10 minutes later, and after a while shooting began. The shooting was to give us the impression that there were battles with the FSA.
A car was sent from the 80th brigade, ladden with explosives. Under the order of commanders Khalifa Hama Mustafa and Salaah Omran. (2 other names and ranks mentioned)
The explosives were dynamite sticks and pepsi bottles filled with shrapnel and gun powder (and silver nitrate). They then called Dunya and State Television to come and film the capture of terrorists who carried out the explosion.
Watch video here.
Human rights groups say more than 400 children have been killed in Syria’s crackdown on anti-government unrest - some of them deliberately. The BBC’s Fergal Keane speaks to some of those affected in neighbouring Lebanon and Jordan.
Tamer’s mother remembers that on the day he left home he turned and asked her a simple question. It was the kind of question teenage boys, preoccupied with their appearance, are apt to ask. He had been combing his hair and wanted to know if it looked good. “I told him: ‘You are so beautiful’,” recalled Nawal al-Shari.
The next time Nawal saw 15-year-old Tamer, his body was grotesquely disfigured by what the family insists was torture. His father found him in a hospital mortuary 40 days after he left home in April last year to attend a demonstration in the southern town of Deraa against his family’s wishes.
Slowly piecing together the final days of their son’s life, the Shari family learned that he had been taken to the notorious Air Force detention centre near Damascus. His X-rays showed signs of bullet holes and broken bones. Most of his upper front teeth had been knocked out. A fellow detainee has told the BBC he saw Tamer being beaten in custody.
His mother told the BBC that she hoped to see a day when there would be justice for her son. “It is impossible that there are humans that have such stone hearts to do this to their fellow man. Even animals cannot do this to people,” she said.
‘Accounts of torture’
In response to the case of Hamza al-Khatib, a 13-year-old detained around the same time as Tamer, the Syrian government said he had been shot at a demonstration - a claim disputed by human rights groups. State media said the boy’s father had expressed his gratitude for the kindness shown to the family by President Bashar al-Assad.
In all of this it is impossible to verify the truth of every allegation. The Syrian conflict has become a bitter propaganda battle between the opposition and the state.
But the UN says it has gathered “numerous and substantiated” accounts of torture including children.
The UN also accuses the Syrian state of showing “little or no recognition of the rights of children in the actions taken to quell dissent”.
Last December, the UN declared that 300 children had died since the beginning of the uprising against Mr Assad’s regime. Since then, human rights organisations have said the number of dead has risen to more than 400.
The UN Commissioner for Human Rights, South African Judge Navenethem Pillay, has called for the International Criminal Court to investigate the Syrian regime for evidence of crimes against humanity.
Damascus has responded by calling the UN report unbalanced and has consistently accused the opposition of being part of a foreign conspiracy to destroy Syria.
Fleeing the regime
Yet from the refugees who have fled Syria in their thousands, a consistent pattern of allegations emerges.
Many have reported security forces opening fire on crowds of protesters that include women and children. Some have reported being attacked as they attempted to flee the country.
- More than 5,000 civilians have been killed, says the UN
- More than 400 killed since start of Arab League mission on 26 December
- UN denied access to Syria
- Information gathered from NGOs, sources in Syria and Syrians who have fled
- Vast majority of casualties were unarmed, but the figure may include armed defectors
- Tally does not include serving members of the security forces
Source: UN’s OHCHR
In Lebanon, I met seven-year-old twins Mohammed and Munira who were shot when fleeing the country last year.
They said the military had opened fire on a truckload of refugees near a checkpoint close to the Syrian border with Lebanon.
Mohammed said he had been afraid when he heard the shooting. Then his leg went numb and started bleeding.
When I asked his sister Munira who she was running from, she replied: “From the regime…from Assad.”
With Syria’s violence deepening, there is no way home for the child victims and little chance of any justice.
Demonstrations in Tal Refaat, Aleppo, in the blistering cold stands in solidarity with Homs and Indan
- The Inspector General of the Central Financial Monitoring Commission -office of the Prime Minister- and the Defence Ministry’s Chief Inspector announced his defection from the Assad regime and testified the regime spent 2bn Syrian Pounds on the Shabbiha militiamen (USD $34 million).
- Regime forces killed 20 civilians as the killing spree continued even with the presence of Arab observers.
- The army raided the city of Daraya with armoured units and buses filled with militiamen under the supervision of the Air Force Intelligence units.
- Hama: Leaked video shows Assad’s forces opening fire at civilians for fun
- Bab Dreib, Homs: An elderly man severely injured by a nail bomb
- Deir Baalba, Homs: An unknown corpse of a man shot in the head
Summary of Events
The Inspector General of the Central Financial Monitoring Commission at the Prime Minister’s office and the Defence Ministry’s Chief Inspector, Mahmoud Suleiman Haj Hamad, announced his defection and disassociation with the Assad regime and joined ranks with the revolutionaries. Hamad said that the regime spent 2bn Syrian Pounds on the Shabbiha militiamen (USD $34 million). He added that the regime has been getting financial aid from Iraq and Iran.
Security forces killed at least 20 civilians today, most fell in Homs. A defected soldier from Hama warned of the regime’s intention to commit a new massacre in the city, as it plans to punish the residents for attempting to escort the Arab League Observers into the Hamidiya neighbourhood. Security forces also called upon the residents of Hamidiya to keep their house doors open and stay inside after the Observers left town. Additional explosions were heard today in Hama accompanied by heavy machinegun firing in the neighbourhoods of Qosur, South Malab, West Mashtal, Arbaeeb, and Hamidiya. Syrian Telecommunications cut off phone lines of residents who failed to pay their bills on time and then closed all the collection centres leaving only one branch open by the Quatly area to create traffic congestion and show the Observers that life is normal in the city and that there is no strike.
In the suburbs of Damascus, the army raided the city of Daraya with armoured units and buses filled with militiamen under the supervision of the Air Force Intelligence unit. Additional checkpoints were set up all over the main streets and squares, and all the entrances to the city were blocked. Armoured units swarmed the streets accompanied by security personnel and forced residents to remove all anti-Assad posters and graffiti.
Army defectors tell Al Jazeera they left the government side because they were forced to shoot at unarmed protesters.
Al Jazeera has obtained exclusive footage of Syrian army deserters who joined the ranks of the opposition Free Syrian Army, or FSA, a group that is getting larger and more organised by the day.
The soldiers say they defected from the regular army because they were forced to fire on unarmed protesters.
The recent attack by the FSA on an air force intelligence base in the suburbs of the capital Damascus has raised the profile of the band of army deserters, who are seeking to end President Bashar al-Assad’s long rule.
The group is now believed to number between 1,000 and 25,000 divided over 22 battalions spread across the country.
On November 16, the FSA announced the creation of a temporary military council which it said aims to “bring down the current regime, protect Syrian civilians from its oppression, protect private and public property, and prevent chaos and acts of revenge when it falls”.
The main opposition bloc, the Syrian National Council (SNC), has voiced its sympathy with deserters and acknowledged their “legitimate role of protecting unarmed protesters”, but that it did not support the FSA’s offensives.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Burhan Ghalioun, the SNC president, visited the Turkish border recently to meet the commanders of the FSA.
Ghalioun said he had reached agreement with the FSA’s commanders that their military operations would focus solely on protecting Syrian civilians and not on offensive operations.
“We don’t want, after the fall of the regime in Syria, armed militias outside the control of the state,” Ghalioun said.
Kuwaiti newspaper As-Seyassah quoted on Sunday unnamed sources as saying that the Syrian regime thwarted an attempt to assassinate President Bashar al-Assad, his brother, Maher, and other figures close to Assad.
The plan was to shell the Republican Palace, the sources said, adding that it was the second assassination plot foiled in the past two months.
“Sources in Damascus confirmed that Air Force Intelligence thwarted the scheme to shell and destroy the Republican Palace,” the daily said.
The paper also quoted the sources as saying that following the attempt, there are “strict orders preventing pilots from coming near the palace.”
The sources added that more than 14 high-ranking officers and figures were arrested on accusations of being involved in the scheme.
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The United States on Thursday disagreed with Russia’s assessment that attacks by renegade Syrian troops risked plunging Syria into civil war, blaming the regime in Damascus for the violence.
“We think that’s an incorrect assessment,” U.S. State Department deputy spokesman Mark Toner told reporters after Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov made the assessment.
“If it (Russia) characterizes it as a civil war, we view that it is very much the (President Bashar al-) Assad regime carrying out a campaign of violence, intimidation and repression against innocent protesters,” Toner said, according to AFP.
“We don’t view it as a civil war,” he said when asked again if he disagreed with Lavrov, who was reacting to Wednesday’s attack by Syrian army defectors known as the Free Syrian Army on a military intelligence base outside Damascus.
A U.S. State Department official told reporters later on condition of anonymity that the Russian comments only fueled the propaganda of the Assad regime which claims that the uprising is led by thugs and terrorists.
“Civil war …. just plays in the Syrian government’s hands that this is some terrorist movement against the government, and that’s just not the case,” the official said.
“It’s been from the very inception a peaceful movement,” he said.
“We have seen violence, we do believe it takes the country down a dangerous path, but the Syrian regime’s oppression, repression and killing of innocent civilians has exacerbated the situation and led to this,” the official said.
Syria’s allies in Russia called for urgent talks Thursday between Damascus and the opposition, saying an attack by Syrian renegade troops on a government building looks like the start of a civil war.
Activists said at least nine civilians, including a child, were killed by security forces on Thursday.
“This is all looking very much like a civil war,” Lavrov told reporters in Moscow, referring to a pre-dawn attack in the Damascus suburb of Harasta on Wednesday by the Free Syrian Army, a group of army defectors determined to bring down the regime, according to The Associated Press.
Wednesday’s attack could not be independently confirmed, and the Free Syrian Army released no details about the fighting or possible casualties.
The army defectors reportedly fired machine guns and rockets at an Air Force Intelligence base just outside Damascus - a brazen attack that sent a strong signal the popular uprising could descend into an armed conflict.
On Thursday, the dissident group reportedly staged another bold attack, firing rocket propelled grenades on ruling Baath party offices housing security agents in the town of Maaret al-Numan, near the border with Turkey.
Rami Abdul-Rahman, director of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said clashes broke out between the defectors and security forces stationed around the building, but there was no immediate word on casualties.
Lavrov urged Syrian and opposition forces alike to cease violence and negotiate, but he reserved his harshest words for the opposition.
On Monday, the Russian foreign minister suggested Western countries were exacerbating problems in Syria by inciting the opposition.
Lavrov met on Tuesday in Moscow with the head of the opposition Syrian National Council, Burhan Ghalioun, in a failed attempt to persuade him to negotiate with Assad’s regime.
Even as Assad was losing allies in quick succession, Russia and China kept up their long-standing ties with Damascus. In October they vetoed a U.N. Security Council resolution that threatened sanctions against Syria.
But on Thursday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin appeared to suggest Beijing might support a resolution in the future.
“It depends on whether these actions will help to resolve the tensions in Syria and facilitate the resolution of disputes through political dialogue,” he said.
He called on both sides in the conflict to work together.