02/19/2013 - #Syria - Damascus - A car bomb has torn through the Jdaydet Artouz suburb of western Damascus. According to the CFDPC, a network of activists working to report on the news in Damascus, earlier reported that at least 3 people have been killed, but that number has risen to 5.
Joint UN-Arab League representative meets with Syrian president after dozens are killed in air strike on a bakery queue.
Lakhdar Brahimi, the UN-Arab League envoy to Syria, has met with Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian president, in Damascus, a day after an air strike killed dozens of civilians in Hama province.
“I had the honour to meet the president and as usual we exchanged views on the many steps to be taken in the future,” Brahimi told reporters at his hotel in Damascus on Monday.
“Assad expressed his views on the situation and I told him about my meetings with leaders in the region and outside,” said the veteran Algerian diplomat, who took over his present task from former UN chief Kofi Annan.
Assad described his meeting with Brahimi as “friendly and constructive”, according to state television.
“The government is committed to ensure the success of all efforts aimed at protecting the sovereignty and independence of the country,” Assad said. State news agency SANA said Foreign Minister Walid Muallem, his deputy Faisal Muqdad and presidential advisor Buthaina Shaaban all attended Assad’s meetings with Brahimi.
Brahimi arrived in Syria on Sunday from neighbouring Lebanon. He had last visited the country on October 19.
Bakery air strike
On Sunday, anti-government activists in the town of Halfaya said that at least 90 people had been killed in an air strike on a bakery in the central Syrian town.
Halfaya was seized by rebels few days ago as part of a campaign to push into new territories in the 21-month-old revolt against President Bashar al-Assad.
Mousab al-Hamadee, an activist in the suburbs of Hama, told Al Jazeera that Halfaya and nearby towns have witnessed heavy shelling since rebels began advancing in the province.
Samer al-Hamawi, an activist in the town, said that more than 1,000 people had been queueing at the bakery. Shortages of fuel and flour have made bread production erratic across the country, and people often wait for hours to buy loaves.
“We hadn’t received flour in around three days so everyone was going to the bakery today, and lots of them were women and children,” Hamawi said.
Syrian state media, however, disputed that account, saying instead that a “terrorist” group had carried out the attack.
SANA, the country’s official news agency, citing residents of the town located in the central province of Hama, said: “An armed terrorist group attacked the town of Halfaya committing crimes against the population, killing many women and children.”
The report added that the Syrian army intervened during the assault and “killed and wounded many terrorists”, a term Syrian officials and state media use to refer to rebels fighting to oust the Assad government.
“Terrorists then shot video images to accuse the Syrian army when the international envoy Lakhdar Brahimi arrived in Syria,” the agency said.
The opposition Syrian National Council blamed the international community for “being responsible for this massacre… by not supporting the Syrian people”.
Both sides in the Syrian conflict have been accused by rights groups of carrying out attacks that could amount to war crimes, including summary executions and attacks on civilians.
#Syria Nov 29/12 Planning, preparation and execution of assault on al Mantib (Mantor) airbase near Aleppo by the Al Sham brigade. Heavy weaponry captured.
Nov 29/12 By James Milner/EA
Why has the regime cut the internet? For a possible answer, one has to understand the duality of the insurgency.
The insurgency has many dimensions, but —- to oversimplify it —- two are notable. The first is what we see in Deir Ez Zor or Aleppo or Idlib Province —- a semi-functional military apparatus, either coordinated at the brigade level or on a larger scale. These units seek military victories, destroying the regime’s resources and capturing bases, equipment, and territory. This element to the Free Syrian Army has been building for many months, and has not lost a battle since September. It has been advancing steadily since June; however, in recent weeks, this force has surged in a series of one-sided victories from Damascus to Aleppo, from al Raqqah to Deir ez Zor, and beyond.
But in Damascus in particular there has been a second dimension: while there is no place for a traditional military to hide, insurgents have been eating away at the Assad regime for months. Despite efforts to put them down, opposition fighters have been able to hit regime targets and then melt away into the civilian population operating very much like insurgents in Iraq or South Vietnam.
This is the imminent threat. While the military wing of the insurgency is creeping forward, slowly encircling the capital, the lurking enemy lies in many neighborhoods across the city and its suburbs. It is this two-pronged threat that has toppled a half dozen bases around Damascus since the beginning of October.
Now the target is the airport: if that is closed, all sense of normalcy will be gone. Over the last several nights, there have been insurgent attempts to take it. Now it appears that the challenge may be serious enough to close the airport —- maybe for good. The news has already shaken the confidence of the international airlines, hesitant to send their people and planes into what looks like a warzone.
Elements of the Syrian opposition military are closing a noose around the cities of Idlib, Deir Ez Zor, and Aleppo. Once these are surrounded, or possibly captured, Al Raqqah and Hassakah in the north, and Hama in the west, will be the new targets. The insurgents are making a play for Daraa, and are attempting to build strength around Damascus while reducing Assad’s military advantage.
Many of the bases recently taken by the insurgents, particularly around Damascus, do not look as though they were vigorously defended, indicating that morale is the lowest it has been. As an insurgent advance takes much of his country, Assad could find his closest defenses dissolving in a matter of days, or even hours.
So the Internet has been cut, in the regime’s hope that a disconnected insurgency, and activists who cannot access each other or the outside world, will have trouble galvanising their supporters or organizing the final push. If bad news can be hidden away from Assad’s own soldiers, defections may not increase as much as they would otherwise.
I don’t think it will work. It did not work when Assad cut the internet in Homs, or in Deir Ez Zor, or in Aleppo, or in Idlib Province. The opposition has been planning for this day. More importantly, this is too little, too late.
An imminent fall of the Assad regime is not an inevitability, but it is a distinct possibility.
Nov 28/12 #Syria
With the help of God we broke into battalion 608 air defense in Aleppo countryside near Assan town. The battalion was responsible for the protection of Aleppo International Airport. The base is fully liberated, we captured weapons: 6 Chilka cannons, 23 anti-aircraft pieces, several anti-aircraft missiles, Heavy missiles, more than five meters long (Volga), ammunition, several individual weapons, military vehicles and radar.
Syria hawks brigade, David Brigade, and the Swords of Righteousness Brigade
Translation by Syrian Freedom team
#Syria Nov 27/12 Raw footage of a drive by attack on a checkpoint by the FSA - unknown location, and date unverified.
Nov 24/12 Irkada checkpoint south of Aleppo on the Aleppo-Damascus highway is reported liberated by the FSA. The stretch from Maraa to Zorba is reportedly controlled by the FSA.
The significance of this is that Aleppo is slowly being cut off, and the regime will find it harder to support its troops in the north.
#Syria Nov 24/12
The first videos are coming in that show the FSA claiming victory over regime forces at the Marj Al Sultan airbase east of Damascus. It is not clear whether the whole base has been taken, and whether or not fighting continues. The second video below appears to show FSA members removing large quantities of munition, and even a tank. This post will be updated with more details when available.
Update: It is also reported that a radar installation has been seized, prisoners taken and troops killed in the fighting, The base is near Damascus International airport and only 15 km from Damascus itself.
Thanks to @markito0171, @DamascusTribune, Enduring America
A mortar shell smashed into a wealthy Damascus district that houses several embassies, killing one person and injuring several others, a watchdog and Syria’s official media said on Wednesday.
The blast in Abu Rummaneh occurred on Tuesday, marking the first time the upscale district has been targeted since the outbreak of an anti-regime revolt in March 2011.
“A mortar attack killed one person and injured several others in Abu Rummaneh,” said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
“A large number of security forces were then deployed in the area,” said the watchdog, which relies on a network of activists, doctors and lawyers to compile and verify its data.
Pro-government Al-Watan daily also reported the attack, saying that “a mortar shell fell near the Madfaa garden in the district of Abu Rummaneh, causing casualties.” It did not elaborate on the number of victims.
Also on Tuesday, two mortar rockets hit the building housing the Ministry of Information in western Damascus, causing some material damage but no casualties, said state news agency SANA.
Meanwhile, the army shelled the southern belt of Damascus on Wednesday, as well as the town of Daraya southwest of the capital, the Observatory said.
The Britain-based monitoring group added that helicopters and warplanes were deployed over the capital’s eastern Ghouta area as the army launched new operations to retake control of Damascus province, home to some of the rebel Free Syrian Army’s fiercest and best organized groups.
On Tuesday, at least 117 people were killed in violence across Syria – 45 civilians, 39 rebel fighters, 29 soldiers, and four Kurdish fighters, the Observatory reported.
At least 39,000 people have been killed across Syria since the outbreak of the revolt against President Bashar al-Assad, according to the watchdog.
#Syria Nov 20.12
FSA statement regarding the storming of an air defense base in the southern area.
Operation involved the following groups:
Ababil Horan, Grandsons of the prophet, Lions of Islam, Iz Bin Abdul Salam, Fuqaha Sliheen belonging to Ansar Islam, Jabhat Nusra and other units and battalions in the Southern region.
Thanks to God we have liberated the air defense base and the Ishara base in the southern region. We layed siege to the base for 3 days preventing reinforcements and supplies from arriving. After this, the mortar team shelled the base for 24 hours. We then stormed the base from the eastern and southern areas.
The regime tried to reinforce the base (on 19/11/2012) by sending a convoy of 1500 soldierrs and 20 tanks from the Sahya-Boweida axis. Our units were waiting, set up ambush points in Boweida on along the road leading to the base. We used a special weapon we have not used before and were able to destroy the armored vehicles. Some APCs and 2 BMPs managed to escape, but we managed to get them.
Thanks to God. Long live free Syria, shame and dishonour to Bashar and his soldiers.
Translation by Syrian Freedom Team