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Author Topic: The Arab Spring: Hope for democracy in the Middle East?  (Read 15238 times)

Yowbarb

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The Arab Spring: Hope for democracy in the Middle East?
« on: November 09, 2011, 09:31:16 AM »
First here is a wikipedia page on "the Arab Spring"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Arab_Spring
.......................
This is an interactive page with updates on each of the countries in the Arab Uprising,
also known more hopefully by some, as "The Arab Spring." - Yowbarb

........................................
http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/world/middleeast/middle-east-hub.html?ref=iran

UPDATED October 20, 2011
Region in Revolt
Arab World Uprisings: A Country-by-Country Look
With the death of Libya’s longtime leader, Col. Muammar el-Qaddaf, on Oct. 20, the most violent of the Arab Spring uprisings enters a post-revolution phase. Several countries in the region remain in turmoil with regular clashes between security forces and protesters. [continues]





« Last Edit: November 09, 2011, 02:34:15 PM by Yowbarb »

Yowbarb

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Re: The Arab Spring: Hope for democracy in the Middle East?
« Reply #1 on: November 10, 2011, 07:03:42 AM »
All we can do is try to keep a good thought there.
Wouldn't it be nice if they actually ended up with vastly reformed government, and way better representation. That (as opposed to radical looney tunes taking over.)
- YB


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Re: The Arab Spring: Hope for democracy in the Middle East?
« Reply #2 on: November 10, 2011, 07:16:53 AM »
We can only hope and pray. 

Mary

Yowbarb

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Re: The Arab Spring: Hope for democracy in the Middle East?
« Reply #3 on: November 10, 2011, 02:03:00 PM »
We can only hope and pray. 

Mary

Yes, I feel it is out of our hands, not in control of the average person...
I will wish for the best,
 :)
Bye for now all,

Yowbarb

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Re: The Arab Spring: Hope for democracy in the Middle East?
« Reply #4 on: July 18, 2012, 07:47:41 AM »
Some of Assad's top people and even people he has been friends with since childhood have
defected from him. The massacre of Homs and other recent atrocities do have something to do with that.
Also what has brought it to the forefront more are all the slain journalists who risked their lives in Homs and other locations. - Yowbarb
...
http://www.allvoices.com/contributed-news/12577875-defecting-syrian-ambassador-has-left-iraq-and-is-now-in-qatar

Defecting Syrian ambassador has left Iraq and is now in Qatar
Baghdad : Iraq | Jul 12, 2012 at 11:22 AM PDT BY saleh1966

The Syrian ambassador to Iraq, Nawaf Fares, who announced his defection to the opposition, is now in Qatar, the Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari told the media during his visit to Paris on Thursday.
"The Syrian ambassador Nawaf Fares, who announced his defection, left Baghdad and is now in Qatar," Zebari said.
Fares has defected from the regime of President Bashar al-Assad on Wednesday and called on Syrian soldiers to follow his lead and turn their guns on the Damascus leadership, in a video statement posted on Facebook.
"I announce my defection from my post as ambassador of Syria in Iraq and my withdrawal from the ranks of the Baath party."
"From now on, I am on the side of the Syrian people, which I think is natural, in such difficult circumstances."
Fares also called on all Syrians to abandon Assad and his regime.
"Where is the honor in killing your countrymen? Where is the national allegiance? The nation is all the people, not one person in particular," he said. "The allegiance is to the people, not to a dictator who kills his people," Al-Jazeera news reported.
In response to Nawaf Fares defection, the Syrian Foreign Ministry announced Thursday that Fares was removed from office following reports about his defection. The Syrian foreign ministry said Fares had made media comments that were contrary to his duties, which is to defend his country.
The Syrian statement also indicated that the ambassador should face justice in response to his media remarks and his decision to leave Baghdad without permission from the Syrian authorities.
The ministry further noted that the embassy in Baghdad will continue to serve the interests of Syrian nationals in Iraq.
In Washington, U.S. State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell said that if true, Fares would be the first senior diplomat from the regime to defect.
Meanwhile, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said on Thursday that Brig. Gen. Manaf Tlass, who fled Assad regime last week, is in contact with Syrian opposition rebels.
Tlass was an officer in the elite Republican Guard charged with protecting the regime. He is the son of former defense minister Mustafa Tlass,, a close friend of Assad's late father and predecessor, Hafez al-Assad, AFP reported.
Source: http://www.rappler.com/world/8506-defected-syrian-ambassador-is-in-qatar-iraqi-minister
saleh1966 is based in Gaza, Ġazzah, Palestine, and is an Anchor for Allvoices.   
« Last Edit: July 18, 2012, 11:20:27 AM by Yowbarb »

Yowbarb

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Re: The Arab Spring: Hope for democracy in the Middle East?
« Reply #5 on: July 18, 2012, 11:25:49 AM »
Bomb blast kills four members of Assad's inner circle...
Rebels celebrate in the streets... Yowbarb
........................................................................................
http://www.cnn.com/2012/07/18/world/meast/syria-unrest/index.html

Yowbarb

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Re: The Arab Spring: Hope for democracy in the Middle East?
« Reply #6 on: July 18, 2012, 03:27:09 PM »
Well it wasn't all joyous but there was a lot of celebrating about most of the inner circle being killed off.
- Yowbarb
...
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/18/syria-conflict-white-house_n_1683519.html

Syria Conflict: White House Says Assad Losing Control
Reuters  |  Posted: 07/18/2012 1:11 pm Updated: 07/18/2012 2:32 pm

Yowbarb

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Yowbarb

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Re: The Arab Spring: Hope for democracy in the Middle East?
« Reply #8 on: August 03, 2012, 07:26:34 AM »
Since my last posting here, Libya got rid of its dictator and Syria now has a full scale uprising,
which you probably all know. The Rebels Opposition has made some progress but there was
just another massacre (similar to Homs) by Assad's military in a town near Aleppo. The rebel stronghold is in Aleppo.
The Brit reporters seem to be getting in there and reporting more.
There have been two announcements from our country in the past few days.
1) US intelligence is aiding the rebels and 2) humanitarian aid will increase a lot.

The aid to rebels is so far "non lethal," meaning not arms but helping them with intelligence and communications, non lethal supplies etc. and this will increase dramatically.

If anyone has doubts about whether al Assad should be taken down it is verified hundreds of boys
were imprisoned, raped and tortured by the official government troops under al Assad. Virtually all were raped and most of them were tortured to death. In Homs after the massacre had happened and women were defenseless, troops raped many of them. Al Assad murdered many thousands of his own people rather than give in to any demands for free elections and other reforms, etc.
I have been following this for awhile. No news links at this time...
Hoping this doesn't turn into some political debate.
Will post here stories from standard news sources.
No doubt there is always some other way to interpret events.
- Yowbarb

...
http://www.cnn.com/2012/08/02/world/meast/syria-aid/index.html?iref=allsearch

U.S. boosts humanitarian aid to Syria
By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 8:53 PM EDT, Thu August 2, 2012

Washington (CNN) -- The United States is sending an additional $12 million in humanitarian aid to Syria, the White House announced Thursday, warning of a "dire and rapidly deteriorating" situation inside the country.
Citing U.N. estimates, the White House said up to 1.5 million Syrians are in need of aid, including more than 130,000 who have fled the country amid a widespread uprising against President Bashar al-Assad.
Read more about how Obama authorized support for Syrian rebels
"With these additional funds, the United States is now providing over $76 million in assistance for food, water, medical supplies, clothing, hygiene kits, and other humanitarian relief to those most urgently in need," the White House said. The statement repeated U.S. calls for al-Assad to step down and "enable a peaceful political transition to a government that is responsive to the aspirations of the Syrian people."

 Obama authorize covert aid to rebels
The move comes a day after U.S. officials told CNN that President Barack Obama had signed a directive authorizing covert, nonlethal U.S. support for Syrian rebel fighters by the CIA and other agencies. It was unclear exactly what the secret order, referred to as an intelligence "finding," authorized and when it was signed, but the sources said it was within the past several months.

The Obama administration had said it would step up its assistance to the opposition after last month's failure by the U.N. Security Council to agree on tougher sanctions against the Assad regime. But the administration has ruled out arming the rebels for now, providing only nonlethal assistance such as communications equipment.
Syrian state TV reacted to American news reporting about the directive, saying Obama has decided to "support terrorists."
U.S. officials have told CNN that Washington is cooperating with countries that are arming the rebels, including Saudi Arabia and Qatar, to help find groups worthy of aid. Diplomatic sources have also said the United States is providing intelligence on Syrian troop movements, which is then passed to rebel groups.
« Last Edit: August 03, 2012, 03:20:26 PM by Yowbarb »

Yowbarb

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Re: The Arab Spring: Hope for democracy in the Middle East?
« Reply #9 on: August 03, 2012, 07:41:40 AM »
The wild rose - a symbol of protection...
- Yowbarb
...

Syria's UK envoy defects in disgust at Assad violence as 200,000 flee the siege of Aleppo
Khaled al-Ayoubi now staying in safe location in UK
Foreign Office urges others to disassociate themselves from Syrian regime
More than 200,000 people have fled their homes in Aleppo after gunfire and many more are trapped
Civilians caught up in the fighting have been forced to crowd together in buildings and basements to escape the heavy shelling
UN requests secure access for those who need to provide relief
British expert claims fighting is unique in that both sides are strong enough to avoid defeat but none is strong enough to subdue the other
By SAM GREENHILL
PUBLISHED: 03:57 EST, 30 July 2012 | UPDATED: 18:45 EST, 30 July 2012


Walk-out: Charge d'affaires Khaled al-Ayoubi told the British authorities that he was 'no longer willing' to represent the Syrian government at the embassy in London
Syria's most senior diplomat to Britain yesterday defected in ‘revulsion’ at the violence.
He deserted his post as a refugee crisis erupted in Aleppo, Syria’s largest city.
Khaled al-Ayoubi, the charge d’affaires in London, told the Foreign Office he could no longer represent President Bashar al-Assad’s brutal regime.
More than 200,000 have fled Aleppo after Assad unleashed helicopter gunships and fighter jets on rebels who had seized swathes of the city.
An unknown number are still trapped and a serious food shortage is developing.
Mr Ayoubi’s unexpected defection represents another crack in Assad’s government, whose suppression of the 18-month uprising has claimed 19,000 lives.
The Foreign Office said: ‘Mr Ayoubi has told us that he is no longer willing to represent a regime that has committed such violent and oppressive acts against its own people.
‘We urge others around Bashar al-Assad to follow Mr Ayoubi’s example, to disassociate themselves from the crimes being committed against the Syrian people and to support a peaceful and free future for Syria.’
A spokesman said it was not known if Mr Ayoubi would transfer his support to the rebels.
He was staying in a safe location in the UK and was in contact with British officials, he said.
Mr Ayoubi’s departure leaves five staff at the Syrian embassy after his predecessor and two others were expelled at the end of May, and Syria’s ambassador to the UK Sami Khiyami quit, citing ‘ill health’.
Britain withdrew its ambassador to Damascus earlier this year.


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2180951/Syrias-UK-envoy-defects-disgust-Assad-violence-200-000-flee-siege-Aleppo.html#ixzz22Uh3Rn88

Khaled al-Ayoubi, the charge d’affaires in London, told the Foreign Office he could no longer represent President Bashar al-Assad’s brutal regime

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2180951/Syrias-UK-envoy-defects-disgust-Assad-violence-200-000-flee-siege-Aleppo.html#ixzz22UhWJ2dB

Yowbarb

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Re: The Arab Spring: Hope for democracy in the Middle East?
« Reply #10 on: August 03, 2012, 08:08:53 AM »
An excerpt or two from this article, there is far more to the situation.
Yowbarb
...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_rights_in_Syria

Human rights in Syria
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In 2009 Syria was included in Freedom House's "Worst of the Worst" section and given a rating of 7 for Political Rights: and 6 for Civil Liberties.[14]According to Human Rights Watch, as of 2009 Syria’s poor human rights situation had "deteriorated further". Authorities arrested political and human rights activists, censored websites, detained bloggers, and imposed travel bans. Syria’s multiple security agencies continue to detain people without arrest warrants. No political parties were licensed and emergency rule, imposed in 1963, remained in effect.[1]
During the 2011 Syrian uprising, a UN report described actions by the security forces as being "gross violations of human rights".[15] The UN report documented shooting recruits that refused to fire into peaceful crowds without warning, brutal interrogations including elements of sexual abuse of men and gang rape of young boys, staking out hospitals when wounded sought assistance, and shooting of children as young as two.[16]In 2011 Human Rights Watch stated that Syria's human rights situation is among the worst in the world.[5]

In June 2010, Mohannad al-Hassani, head of the Syrian Organisation for Human Rights (Swasiya) and winner of the 2010 Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders, was convicted of "weakening national morale" and "conveying within Syria false news that could debilitate the morale of the nation". He was sentenced to three years in prison.[18]
Sednaya prison alone houses more than 600 political prisoners. The authorities have kept many for years behind bars, often well past their legal sentence. The estimated 17,000 prisoners who have disappeared over the years suggests that Syria may have hidden mass graves.[8] 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_rights_in_Syria#Political_prisoners

Yowbarb

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Re: The Arab Spring: Hope for democracy in the Middle East?
« Reply #11 on: August 07, 2012, 10:35:28 AM »
http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gZ9eamfmKiZPZre-Xs9ba35hp2XA?docId=8a1a7b8e29e24faca51068781494505b 
With diplomacy dead, US banks on Syrian rebel win
By BRADLEY KLAPPER, Associated Press – 10 hours ago 
WASHINGTON (AP) — With Syrian diplomacy all but dead, the Obama administration is shifting its focus on the civil war away from political transition and toward helping the rebels defeat the Syrian regime on the battlefield.
The U.S. still wants to avoid any military involvement, banking on a complicated policy of indirect assistance to the rebels and hope that the ragtag alliance of militias can demoralize President Bashar Assad's better-armed forces and end the war without far greater casualties.
It's a scenario analysts see as unlikely, even as the opposition gains ground in Aleppo, Damascus and elsewhere, and as the cadre of high-level defections from Assad's government grows. Prime Minister Riad Hijab became the latest to abandon Assad on Monday, rebels said.
The defections are "the latest indication that Assad has lost control of Syria and that the momentum is with the opposition forces and the Syrian people," White House spokesman Tommy Vietor said.

[ Continues ] 
http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gZ9eamfmKiZPZre-Xs9ba35hp2XA?docId=8a1a7b8e29e24faca51068781494505b

...

http://timesofpakistan.pk/?p=61325

AMMAN, Jordan : Syrian Prime Minister Riyad Hijab has defected to the opposition seeking to overthrow President Bashar Assad, a spokesman for Hijab said on Monday, marking one of the highest profile desertions from the Damascus government.
“I announce today my defection from the killing and terrorist regime and I announce that I have joined the ranks of the freedom and dignity revolution,” Hijab said in a statement read in his name by the spokesman, which was broadcast on Al Jazeera television. “I announce that I am from today a soldier in this blessed revolution.”The opposition Syrian National Council said two government ministers and three senior army officers had defected to Jordan along with Hijab, but the assertions could not be immediately verified.
SNC executive member Bassam Ishak said three officers with rank of brigadier-general and two ministers, whose names were not disclosed, had joined Hijab in deserting Syrian President Bashar Assad 17 months into a revolt against his rule.An official source in the Jordanian capital Amman confirmed that Hijab had gone over to the anti-Assad opposition after fleeing across the border with his family.“There were a number of officials with (Hijab) but we are still taking some steps so there is no hurry in identifying them,” said another SNC member, Ahmed Ramadan.
“In order to prevent some pre-emptive strikes, there must be caution in some of the announcements.”Ramadan said another 15 Syrian diplomats and political figures were planning to defect. “We consider that the unraveling of the regime has entered a very sensitive phase and the SNC is dealing with it very seriously,” he said.
 
‘Fired’
Syrian state television said Hijab had been fired, but an official source in the Jordanian capital Amman said he had been dismissed only after he fled across the border with his family.Syrian state television reported Hijab’s dismissal as government forces appeared to prepare a ground assault to clear battered rebels from Aleppo, the country’s biggest city.Hijab was a top official of the ruling Baath party but, like all other senior defectors so far from the government and armed forces, he was also a Sunni Muslim rather than a member of Assad’s Alawite sect, which has long dominated the Syrian state.
“Hijab is in Jordan with his family,” said the Jordanian official source, who did not want to be further identified. The source said Hijab had defected to Jordan before his sacking.Assad appointed Hijab, formerly agriculture minister, as prime minister only in June following a parliamentary election which authorities said was a step toward political reform but which opponents dismissed as a sham.
Hijab’s home province of Deir Al-Zor has been under heavy Syrian army shelling for several weeks as Assad’s forces try to dislodge rebels from large areas of countryside there.
Syrian television said Omar Ghalawanji, who was previously a deputy prime minister, had been appointed to lead a temporary, caretaker government on Monday.Assad and his father, who was president before him, have consistently appointed premiers from the majority Sunni community.
However, the position is largely powerless and control has remained with Assad, his family and security chiefs from the Alawite community, an offshoot of Shiite Islam.“Defections are occurring in all components of the regime save its hard inner core, which for now has given no signs of fracturing,” said Peter Harling at the International Crisis Group think-tank.“For months the regime has been eroding and shedding its outer layers, while rebuilding itself around a large, diehard fighting force,” he said. “The regime as we knew it is certainly much weakened, but the question remains of how to deal with what it has become.”
 
Bomb blast
Earlier in the day, a bomb blast hit the Damascus headquarters of Syria’s state broadcaster as troops backed by fighter jets kept up an offensive against the last rebel bastion in the capital.The bomb exploded on the third floor of the state television and radio building, state TV said. However, while the rebels may have struck a symbolic blow in their 17-month-old uprising against Assad, Information Minister Omran Zoabi said none of the injuries was serious, and the channel continued broadcasting.
Rebels in districts of Aleppo visited by Reuters journalists seemed battered, overwhelmed and running low on ammunition after days of intense shelling of their positions by tanks and heavy machine gun fire from helicopter gunships.Emboldened by an audacious bomb attack in Damascus that killed four of Assad’s top security officials last month, the rebels had tried to overrun the Damascus and Aleppo, the country’s commercial hub, near the Turkish border.
But the lightly armed rebels have been outgunned by the Syrian army’s superior weaponry. They were largely driven out of Damascus and are struggling to hold on to territorial gains made in Aleppo, a city of 2.5 million.
Damascus has criticized Gulf Arab states and Turkey for calling for the rebels to be armed, and state television has described the rebels as a “Turkish-Gulf militia,” saying dead Turkish and Afghan fighters had been found in Aleppo.Paralysis in the UN Security Council over how to stop the bloodshed forced peace envoy Kofi Annan to resign last week, his cease-fire plan a distant memory.The violence has already shown elements of a proxy war between Sunni and Shiite Islam which could spill beyond Syria’s border.
The rebels claimed responsibility for capturing 48 Iranians in Syria, forcing Tehran to call on Turkey and Qatar — major supporters of the rebels — to help secure their release.On Monday, Syrian army tanks shelled alleyways in Aleppo where rebels sought cover as a helicopter gunship fired heavy machine guns.Snipers ran on rooftops targeting rebels, and one of them shot at a rebel car filled with bombs, setting the vehicle on fire. Women and children fled the city, some crammed in the back of pickup trucks, while others walked on foot, heading to relatively safer rural areas.
 
Aleppo gateway
The main focus of fighting in Aleppo has been the Salaheddine district. One shell on Sunday hit a building next to the Reuters reporting team, pouring rubble on to the street and sending billows of smoke and dust into the sky.State television said Assad’s forces were “cleansing the terrorist filth” from the country, which has been sucked into an increasingly sectarian conflict that has killed about 18,000 people and could spill into neighboring states.
The army appeared to be using a similar strategy in Aleppo to the one used in other cities where they subjected opposition districts to heavy bombardment for days, weakening the rebels before moving in on the ground, clearing district by district.Syria’s two main cities had been relatively free of violence until last month when fighters poured into them, transforming the war. The government largely repelled the assault on Damascus but has had more difficulty recapturing Aleppo.
Rebel commanders say they anticipate a major Syrian army offensive in Aleppo and one fighter said they had already had to pull back from some streets after army snipers advanced on Saturday under cover of the fierce aerial and tank bombardment.“The Syrian army is penetrating our lines,” said Mohammad Salifi, a 35-year-old former government employee.
“So we were forced to strategically retreat until the shelling ends,” he said, adding the rebels were trying to push the army back again.Late on Sunday rebels clashed with the army in Aleppo’s southeastern Nayrab district, a fighter who called himself Abu Jumaa said. The army responded by shelling eastern districts. There were also clashes on the southern ring road, which could be a sign the army was preparing to surround the city.
Ruins
Once a busy shopping and restaurant district where residents would spend evenings with their families, Salaheddine is now white with dust, broken concrete and rubble.Tank shell holes gape wide on the top of buildings near the front line, and homes of families have been turned into look-outs and sniper locations for rebel fighters.
Large mounds of concrete are used as barriers to close off streets. Lamp-posts lie horizontally across the road after being downed by shelling.Civilians trickle back to collect their belongings and check on their homes. Late on Saturday, a confused old man stumbled into 15th street as rebels exchanged fire with the army.“Get out of the way! Get off the street!” fighters shouted, grabbing him and taking him to shelter.
“I just wanted to buy some blackberry juice,” he told the fighters, his face reflecting confusion and horror at the damage to his street. Instinctively, he took his personal ID card out of his chest pocket to show the rebels, a habit from the strict days of the Assad security officials.During the day, others emerged from damaged buildings.
A couple stood shaking with fear at an intersection a few meters from the fighting as a medic waved a car down to take them to safety.“Just to hold power he is willing to destroy our streets, our homes, kill our sons,” wept Fawzia Um Ahmed, referring to Assad’s determined counter-offensive against the rebels.“I can’t recognize these streets any more.”
Iranian support
Assad is supported by Shiite Iran and Lebanon’s armed Shiite Hezbollah movement.But the Sunni-ruled Muslim Gulf Arab states have called for rebels to be armed and Turkey has provided them with a base, angering Damascus and prompting Syrian state television on Sunday to refer to the rebels as a “Turkish-Gulf militia.”It said the bodies of Turkish and Afghan fighters had been found in Aleppo, without giving details.
On Sunday Syrian rebels said they were checking the identities of the captured Iranians to show that Tehran was involved in fighting for Assad, a rebel officer said.Iran says the captives were pilgrims visiting holy sites in Syria, abducted from a bus in Damascus.A senior Syrian intelligence officer defected to Jordan, Al Arabiya television reported on Sunday.
It said Yarub Shara was head of the Damascus branch of Political Security, an intelligence organization responsible for monitoring and suppressing dissent.In Damascus, residents said the bodies of six Palestinians arrested during a security sweep by the army in the southern Tadamon district were discovered on Sunday. Another nine men were missing, they said. Accounts from the capital could not be verified because the government restricts access. – Arabnews

..............

Yowbarb

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Re: The Arab Spring: Hope for democracy in the Middle East?
« Reply #12 on: August 19, 2012, 11:03:35 AM »
The CNN report I heard this AM said the Rebels are trying to help
Syrian Vice President Farouq al-Sharaa safely. out of the country. - Yowbarb

..........................
Rebels say Syrian vice president defects, regime denies claim

AFP
WTVR‎ - 15 hours ago
Conflicting reports emerged Saturday about whether Syria's vice president has defected

Posted: 08/18/2012
DAMASCUS (CNN) -- Conflicting reports emerged Saturday about whether Syria's vice president has defected.
A spokesman for the rebel Free Syrian Army said Saturday that Syrian Vice President Farouq al-Sharaa has fled the regime.
Syrian state-run TV did not explicitly say whether al-Sharaa had defected, but reported that the vice president's office issued a statement saying al-Sharaa "has never at any moment thought of leaving the homeland to whatever direction."
[CONTINUES ]

Read more: http://www.kjrh.com/dpp/news/rebels-claim-syrian-vp-defects-regime-denies#ixzz2414EltwS

Yowbarb

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Re: The Arab Spring: Hope for democracy in the Middle East?
« Reply #13 on: August 21, 2012, 07:16:56 AM »
Syrian forces kill 23 rebels in town near Damascus
By Hamza Hendawi, Associated Press Updated 3h 9m ago

BEIRUT – Government forces stormed a rebel-held town outside Damascus Tuesday after days of fierce fighting, killing at least 23 fighters according to an activist group and a rebel spokesman.

In Aleppo, a Japanese TV reporter was killed Monday while covering the fighting in Syria's largest city. She was the first foreign journalist to die in the city since clashes between rebels and regime forces erupted there almost a month ago.
Damascus and its suburbs have witnessed a dramatic spike in fighting over the past month two months. And regime forces were further stretched when a major battle for control of the northern city of Aleppo erupted around the end of July. Before that, the fighting had been concentrated outside the big cities during the 17-month-old uprising.

It has proved difficult for President Bashar Assad's forces to put down the rebel challenge in the big cities, a sign that the regime's grip on power over the country is loosening.
The Local Coordination Committees activist group and a rebel spokesman said regime troops entered the rebel-held town of Moadamiyeh at dawn from four points. They searched homes looking for rebels. The rebel spokesman asked to be identified by his first name only, Ahmed. He said three men in their late 20s and early 30s were shot dead execution style in the town soon after its fall in the hands of the regime forces.
The report could not be independently verified.
Moadamiyeh, west of the capital Damascus, has been under siege for more than two weeks. Its capture followed days of intense fighting and shelling by government troops.
Japan's Foreign Ministry confirmed overnight that veteran Japanese war correspondent Mika Yamamoto was killed in Aleppo. She worked for The Japan Press, an independent TV news provider that specializes in conflict zone coverage.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Masaru Sato said the 45-year-old was hit by gunfire while she and a colleague were traveling with rebels from the Free Syrian Army, who are fighting to topple the Assad regime.
Yamamoto had covered the war in Afghanistan after 2001 and the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq from Baghdad as a special correspondent for NTV, according to the Japan Press website.
In northern Syria, an activist who goes by the name Abu al-Hassan said warplanes and helicopters attacked a number of towns and villages north of Aleppo early Tuesday, killing two civilians, including a young boy, and damaging homes. Several people were wounded.
After strafing a number of villages overnight, government fighter jets dropped two bombs on a residential part of the village of Marea, about 20 miles north of Aleppo, Abu al-Hassan said via Skype.
Amateur videos posted online showed a huge gray cloud of smoke rising over the village and a crater in a road that was strewn with rubble and two houses whose ceilings had collapsed. Residents were searching through the rubble for survivors and carrying the wounded to pickup trucks. A second video showed a number of people, including a small boy, with serious injuries.
The videos could not be independently verified.
Marea is a relatively quiet farming village in the Aleppo countryside that was not known for being a hub of rebel activity although one rebel group runs a prison in one of the village's schools.
"Since the strike, all I can hear outside are cars coming and going," Abu al-Hassan said. "Actually, most of them are going."[/font]
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Posted 3h 10m ago | Updated 3h 9m ago

Yowbarb

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Re: The Arab Spring: Hope for democracy in the Middle East?
« Reply #14 on: August 21, 2012, 07:21:50 AM »
Good news for the Free Syria Army.
Yowbarb

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http://english.alarabiya.net/articles/2012/08/21/233442.html

Last Updated: Tue Aug 21, 2012 16:08 pm (KSA) 13:08 pm (GMT)
Free Syrian Army claims control of two-thirds of Aleppo, regime denies

Syria’s opposition fighters control almost two thirds of the northern city of Aleppo, a top Free Syrian Army commander said on Tuesday, in a claim denied by a security source in Damascus.

“We now control more than 60 percent of the city of Aleppo, and each day we take control of new districts,” Colonel Abdel Jabbar al-Okaidi told AFP news agency by telephone. His claims could not immediately be verified.

“Every time we seize an area, the army responds with shelling,” Okaidi said.
[Continues]  http://english.alarabiya.net/articles/2012/08/21/233442.html

 

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