With English Subtitiles
“So, freedom without a price is not real”… this is the heartbreak
h/t to @Syrian_Scenes
With English Subtitiles
“So, freedom without a price is not real”… this is the heartbreak
h/t to @Syrian_Scenes
#Syria Nov 20/12
Al-Bab - A father lost 10 of his family members (Al-Mashoud family) 20-11-2012
Mahmoud was in Turkey since 2 months got hit when they bombed our home from the air, so I had my wife, my son Ahmed, his wife, his daughter and my sister with her 4 sons I had them all martyred; now I got Mahmoud also died in Turkey and we brought him back today
The accident was the plane hit our home with 2 explosive barrels…
People who died here we buried them here, and Mahmoud we rushed him to Turkey for medical aid, he was there for 2 months, and yesterday he died, we can only praise Allah for anything… and today we brought him back
So the reason is the barrels? the barrels from the plane?
Actually I was in hospital, and after I woke up, people were speaking that I am a terrorist and my son was a member of a battalion who were fighting around, and we have an ammo car being shipped out from the house… these are the claims I was hearing after I got out of hospital…
This is all false talking… May Allah suffices and aid us
We had the worst unjust leader, what will he answer tomorrow to the great Allah?
Takbeer, Allahu Akbar
Takbeer, Allahu Akbar
Translation by Syrian Freedom team
The family of a US journalist missing in Syria announced that they would arrive in Beirut “soon” to appeal for his release.
“In order to expand our efforts to bring Austin [Tice] safely home, we are planning to travel to Beirut soon. As we work to be reunited with our son, we are keenly aware of the many families in this region who are also living with uncertainty and longing,” the family said in a statement released Thursday.
“Our eldest son, Austin Tice, an international journalist, was in Syria on his way to Lebanon when we lost contact with him August 13, 2012.”
“Someone knows where Austin is, someone has the power to reach him and to restore him to our family. We ask that person, those people, to show compassion. Allow Austin to contact us, release him to come home.”
An Internet video surfaced in October showing what appears to be Austin Tice, visibly distressed and being led blindfold up a rocky hill by armed men chanting “Allahu Akbar.”
At first glance, the shaky amateur video resembles footage shot by armed Islamic extremist groups in previous hostage situations, but experts noticed discrepancies in the images that complicated analysis of its source.
Previous reports from Western diplomats and press rights organizations have suggested that Tice may be being held by forces loyal Bashar al-Assad’s Syrian regime, rather than insurgent or Islamist forces.
13/08/2012 #Syria: Shelling haunts Syrian family
A Syrian family of six struggles to survive after a shell slams into their home. CNN’s Jomana Karadsheh reports.
***DISTURBING*** AN ENTRE FAMILY IS KILLED DURING ASSAD’S CONTINUOUS SHELLING ON THIS TOWN. Homs (Rastan): July 28, 2012 - The family of seven, a mother, a father and their five children, were all killed when Assad’s forces shelled their home. They had no whee to run, no where to hide. All they could do is wait for the shell to hit their home and end their lives in the most horrific of ways.
In the truck next to them another 3 bodies lay, all horrifically mangled and disfigured. All children.
Next to the trucks carrying the bodies, people prepare the mass grave for the 10 souls that were lost today. How many more will be lost tomorrow?
Reporters covering the ongoing popular revolt in Syria were recently introduced to a new term from the sociopolitical lexicon of the Levant—the shabbiha.
The shabbiha refers to a phenomenon originating in the coastal region of northwest Syria – where the ruling Alawite clan is from – and describes gangs of young thugs working for members of the Assad family, but in no official capacity. In recent days, these unofficial regime affiliates have played a central role in attacking opposition demonstrators in the coastal cities of Latakia, Banias, Tartous and Jable. And that is how the shabbiha appeared on the radar of reporters, Arab and Western alike, who scrambled to properly understand and explain its exact meaning.
The Saudi satellite station Al Arabiya led the way with a short segment introducing the shabbiha to its broader Arab viewers, most of whom are equally unfamiliar with this Levantine term and the specifically Syrian phenomenon it describes. The Al Arabiya reporter defined them as “gangs who consider themselves to be above the law, and who impose their authority by force and muscle”—a fairly accurate, but generic definition.
Attempting to dig deeper into the etymology of the term, the reporter speculated that the root of the term conjured the Arabic word for “ghost” (shabah), intimating the stealth with which these gangs appeared to wreak havoc at any particular moment. This false etymology was adopted by some Western reporters, but in reality, the etymology likely signifies someone with a “long reach”—that is to say, a license to pillage with impunity, with few constraints and little fear of legal repercussion. To them, all criminal activity is permissible, everything is there for the taking, and the shabbiha are entitled to it all.
As the Al Arabiya report explained: “members of these gangs derive this power from the absolute support they receive from powerful figures, especially those who are not visible at the political forefront of the country.”
The powerful figures in question belong to the extended Assad clan. During the days of Bashar’s father, Hafez Assad, one of the most notorious shabbiha gangs belonged to his brother, Jamil, and his sons, Munzir and Fawwaz. Nikolaos Van Dam notes in his excellent book on Syria how they were armed through the military units commanded by Hafez’s other brother, Rifaat, who in turn maintained his own gang, including among the small Alawite community in northern Lebanon.
They, and other shabbiha working for other members of the Assad clan, wreaked havoc in towns such as Latakia, the main city in an area where the Alawites are heavily concentrated, where they had free reign, treating it as their own personal patrimony.
Their criminal exploits were marked by typical mobster behavior, including extortion, assault, flaunting weapons and stolen cars, and private use of public property and roads, to name but a few. Their crime of choice was smuggling, especially Lebanese goods which they resold in Syria. During the Syrian occupation of Lebanon, the shabbiha operated particularly in the border region of the Bekaa, where they enjoyed the protection of the Syrian intelligence apparatuses, and the patronage of whatever Assad family member or regime big shot they worked for.
Various Alawite barons and their shabbiha fought over smuggling routes and rights—turf wars that continue to play out today. Often the sporadic crackdowns and arrests that the regime sells as part of Bashar’s reform program are nothing but evidence of how the regime fights over racketeering privileges and delineates the power hierarchy. For instance, in the late 1990s, as Bashar was paving the way for his inheritance of power, he began to curb the activity of his small time cousins and their shabbiha.
However, his cousins continue to exercise their perceived right to ransack at will. In 2006, an infamous security camera video emerged on YouTube showing one of Bashar’s second cousins, Numayr, as he robbed a currency exchange office at gunpoint and in broad daylight. He was briefly arrested, but broke out shortly thereafter and is now said to be living openly in Latakia. This is what the Assads are all about: a mob family operating at state level.
Today, the shabbiha realize that if they want to maintain their privilege, it’s time to serve the larger interests of the regime—as paramilitary mercenaries terrorizing peaceful protesters. Their unofficial status offers the regime a useful instrument—the shabbiha can kill and intimidate while Assad still has plausible deniability. Moreover, insofar as the shabbiha’s indiscriminate, drive-by-shooting-style violence is likely responsible for the deaths of policemen and soldiers (as Syrian activist Ammar Abdulhamid notes), the regime has used the confusion to label the protestors as the perpetrators of violence. Accordingly, shabbiha bloodshed, now attributed to the opposition, has become the Assad regime’s pretext for the full-blown military crackdown now underway in towns such as Banias, besieged by army tanks.
BOYNUYOGUN, Turkey |
(Reuters) - It took three long days for 60-year-old Abdullah, his wife and son to hike across the hills to Turkey from their Syrian coastal city of Latakia, stopping only to hide from patrolling soldiers or to eat the sandwiches his wife had prepared for their escape.
When they finally reached their destination - a hole cut in the barbed wire fence that marks the Turkish-Syrian border - the grey-bearded father of eight was hungry, frightened and exhausted.
From his new home inside a Turkish refugee camp just across the border, Abdullah frantically recounts his harrowing journey to safety three days earlier and the horrors that drove his escape - now an all too common tale from the thousands of Syrians fleeing into Turkey.
“The secret police come in groups into our homes and take the women away to the police stations. They tear their clothes off and sexually assault them. Some of them, they rape,” said Abdullah, his voice quivering as he speaks.
“They take the women because they want to draw the men out of hiding. They take electric wires and electrocute their feet, ears and genitals. Both men and women,” he said.
“Is there another place in the world where the government does this to its people?”
Abdullah and his family are among a fast growing number of refugees pouring into Turkey day and night through unofficial crossing points, either scrambling through barbed wire or traversing the Orontes river that marks out part of the border.
Over the past few weeks, the number of Syrians crossing has increased dramatically with an average of 200 to 300 now coming into Turkey every day. This week 1,000 crossed in just 24 hours, the highest number since the first wave of refugees last summer.
Around 15,000 registered Syrian refugees now live in tented camps inside Turkey, making up almost half of the 34,000 people the United Nations estimates to have fled Syria since the start of the conflict a year ago. Hundreds of thousands more are thought to be displaced within the country.
Turkey fears a surge of refugees similar to the tens of thousands who crossed from Iraq during the 1991 Gulf War and on Friday it said creating a “buffer zone” inside Syria was one of the options it was considering to protect the fleeing civilians.
Abdullah and his family are Syrian Turkmen, Syrian citizens of Turkish descent whose forefathers settled in the Syrian provinces of the Ottoman Empire centuries ago. He speaks a mixture of Arabic and broken Turkish.
Like the three-quarters of Syria’s 22 million people, Abdullah is also a Sunni Muslim. In contrast President Bashar al-Assad and his security apparatus, including the core of the feared Shabiha militia, are from the minority Alawite sect.
Abdullah says the security forces are singling out Sunni districts in Latakia in their crackdown on anti-Assad protests.
“They have blocked off all the roads. They have split the city into different sections to stop people from travelling from one area to another,” he said.
Reports from Syria cannot be independently verified as the authorities deny full access to rights groups and journalists.
Abdullah picks up an ashtray from the floor and draws a circle around it with his finger.
“Their tanks surround the Sunni villages and fire on them, then the soldiers come into the villages, harass the people and beat the men and sexually assault the women,” he said.
“They take any man over the age of 12 with them.”
As Abdullah tells his story, his voice grows louder until he is shouting. A friend tries to console him, offering him a cigarette. He takes several puffs, filling his tent with smoke.
His 46-year-old wife waits outside the tent holding the entrance shut. She does not want to be seen or interviewed. Abdullah gives only one name and probably a false one. He does not want to be photographed. Even in the safety of Turkey, like many of the refugees, they live in fear of government reprisals.
Abdullah and his wife have also left seven of their children back in Syria and he fears for their safety. They could not come with him, he said, because the group would be too big to evade the secret police.
One of his sons was already imprisoned for 90 days where he was beaten and tortured.
“They take a piece of wood with metal on the end, wire it up and plug it in. Then they stick it into the person’s mouth,” he says, grabbing the television remote control from the cushion next to him and thrusting it into his mouth.
ASSAD IS YOUR GOD
Abdullah paints a picture of repression even before the uprising against Assad began in March last year. He sticks out his tongue and pretends to cut it with two of his fingers.
“I cannot talk in Syria. I cannot say the things I want, or how I feel. We are always under pressure,” he said.
“I cannot even pray, I cannot be a Muslim. They take us to the police stations and say ‘who is your god?’ I say ‘god is my god’ and they put a picture of Assad on the floor and say ‘no, this is your god, pray to him’,” he said.
“Would they do this in your country? They are killing all of us. Why? Why?”
Abdullah said the things he had witnessed finally drove him to escape. He took his 22-year-old son and his wife and left during the night.
“There are taxi drivers that pick people up every night. If the road is clear, they will take two or three people and take them out of the city. The taxi took us from the centre of the city to the outlying villages,” he said.
“From there we walked all the way to the border, maybe 50 kilometers (30 miles).”
They walked for three days across the hills and through farms. Every time they saw government soldiers they would hide, sometimes for hours at a time. Once the soldiers opened fire in their direction, but they managed to escape.
Like most of those who have left, Abdullah wants only one thing - to one day return home.
“With God’s permission, like Libya, like Egypt, like Tunisia this government will fall. Hopefully then we can return to 0Syria. God willing tomorrow, tomorrow,” he said.
*PLEASE SHARE & RT* | Homs, #Syria: Schools are now places of shelter after resident homes were randomly shelled and destroyed in Rastan 18/2/2012
“A tour made in one of Al Rastan schools. This is the first family: “We are a family of six members. What happened to you?
The first family: The army bombarded our neighborhood with 4 or 5 missiles. More than 100 people were killed. The wounded people’s situation is terrible.
Speaker: “How are you managing with food supplies?”
-“The young men here are supporting us with every mean they can”
Speaker: “Do you have any arrested family members?”
- “We have 3 cousins who are arrested”
Speaker: “Do you know with which kind of weapons you were bombarded?”
The second family: we are 15 members, most of us are children. Buildings collapsed in our neighborhoods. The weapons which kill the Syrian people are Russian made. We have close relatives who are arrested. They said the assad issued amnesty. The only amnesty was for his thugs. We demand the Arab and international countries to support the Free Syrian Army.
We demand that the Free Syrian Army would be supported.
Third family: a missile hit our house. We are a family of 6 members. The humanitarian situation in Al Rastan is terrible. The missile hit the water tank. They are bombarding us with heavy artillery. We ran away from our house looking like this.”
Speaker: “why don’t you give the president a chance for reforms?”
-“Give him a chance!? All the Syrian people will be killed by then. Assad is bombarding us with Russian weapons”
Speaker: “What do you think of Russia and Russian government? “
“We demand Russia to stop supporting the Syrian regime. We appeal to the Russian people to not to vote for the current Russian government”
Speaker: “what do you think of the Free Syrian Army, do you consider them as vandalisers? “
“The Free Syrian Army is our protector, without them we would have been slaughtered”
There may have been a problem with picture series posted, here is the article:
BEIRUT (AP) – A “terrifying massacre” in the restive Syrian city of Homs has killed more than 30 people, including small children, in a barrage of mortar fire and attacks by armed forces loyal to President Bashar Assad, activists said Friday.
Details were emerging from an array of residents and activists on Friday, a day after the bloodshed. Residents told The Associated Press they were still gathering information but that the city was rocked by sectarian killings, gunfire and explosions.
“There has been a terrifying massacre,” Rami Abdul-Rahman, director of the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, told the AP on Friday, calling for an independent investigation of the killings.
Syria tightly controls access to trouble spots and generally allows journalists to report only on escorted trips, which slows the flow of information.
Videos posted online from activists showed the bodies of children wrapped in plastic bags lined up next to each other.
Another video shows women and children with bloodied faces and clothes and in a house, with the narrator saying an entire family with its children had been “slaughtered.”
The videos could not be independently verified.
The Observatory and the Local Coordination Committees, an umbrella group of activists, said the death toll in Homs was at least 35, but the reports could not be confirmed. Both groups cite a network of activists on the ground in Syria.
The Syrian uprising began last March with largely peaceful anti-government protests, but it has grown increasingly militarized in recent months as frustrated regime opponents and army defectors arm themselves and fight back against government forces.
The Observatory said 29 people were killed in the religiously mixed Karm el-Zaytoun neighborhood of Homs on Thursday, including eight children, most of them when a building came under heavy mortar and machine gun fire.
Residents spoke of another massacre that took place when shabiha — armed regime loyalists — stormed the district, slaughtering residents in an apartment, including children.
“It’s racial cleansing,” said one resident of Karm el-Zaytoun, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal. “They are killing people because of their sect,” he said.
Syria has a volatile sectarian divide, making civil unrest one of the most dire scenarios. The Assad regime is dominated by the Alawite minority, an offshoot of Shiite Islam, but the country is overwhelmingly Sunni Muslim.
Also Friday, Iran’s official IRNA news agency said gunmen in Syria have kidnapped 11 Iranian pilgrims traveling by road from Turkey to Damascus.
Iranian pilgrims routinely visit Syria — Iran’s closest ally in the Arab world — to pay homage to Shiite holy shrines.
The government crackdown has killed more than 5,400 people since March, according to estimates from the United Nations.
Assad’s regime claims terrorists acting out a foreign conspiracy are behind the uprising, not protesters seeking change, and that thousands of security forces have been killed.
International pressure on Damascus to end the bloodshed so far has produced few results.
In a Twitter message, France’s U.N. mission said the Security Council will discuss Syria on Friday during closed consultations.
The Arab League has sent observers to the country as part of a plan to the end the crisis, but the mission has been widely criticized for failing to stop the violence. Gulf states led by Saudi Arabia pulled out of the mission Tuesday, asking the Security Council to intervene because the Syrian government has not halted its crackdown.
In Cairo, Arab League chief Nabil Elaraby told reporters that he and the prime minister of Qatar would leave for New York on Saturday to brief the U.N. Security Council on the latest Arab plan to end the crisis in Syria. He said their talks, to start Monday, are designed to enlist the support of the council for the Arab peace plan.
The plan is a two-month transition to a unity government and includes Assad handing over his powers. Syria has rejected it as intervention in its internal affairs.