Sunday 11 March 2012

Remembering the Kurdish struggle, and in particular the killings, torture and arbitrary arrests of Qamishlo – 2004: Qamishlo today 11 3



and Kurds in London outside the Syria Embassy


Syrian Uprising 2011 Information Centre: Summary (11/03/2012): At least 80 martyrs have fallen today, most of them in Homs and Idlib, both under military assault. The clashes between the FSA and Assad’s forces which are going on strongly in Idlib, Homs, Hama, Deir Ezzor, Daraa also reached the heart of the capital Damascus today where Thawra St., Baghdad St, Addawai and Rukn Eddin saw heavy shooting. One last thing, please don’t let the daily number of martyrs make the idea of killing Syrians something normal. Syria – Sunday 11/03/2012 – Google Maps

UPDATE (11/03/2012): At least 10 martyrs have fallen today in Idlib and Homs where Ashira and Bab Dreib districts are under shelling. They have already driven out the inhabitabts of Baba Amru and Insha’at, it looks like they are following the same strategy in other area, emptying the city of its anti-regime inhabitants. Meanwhile, there are heavy clashes going on in many places, including ath-Thawra street and Rukn Eddin district in central Damascus.

Mustafa Jarkas, 12 years old from Deir Ezzor. Mustafa was arrested for one month and his tortured body was returned to his family on 05/03/2012.

UPDATE (11/03/2012): At least 46 martyrs have fallen today. At least 20 of the martyrs including 2 kids fell in Idlib province where the cities of Idlib (pop: 175,000) and Ariha (pop: 55,000) are under heavy shelling, as shown in the video…Idlib 11/03/2012

English Speakers to Help The Syrian Revolution via We are all Hamza Alkhateeb: ##72 HOURS IN HOMS AS SEEN BY CNN## PART ONE: Exposure of Assad’s crimes and atrocities in Homs-Syria while the whole world is watching and making cosmetic condemnations or blessing the criminal Assad in case of Russia and China.
 72-hours-under-fire-1. CNN / Syria Homs

 72-hours-under-fire Part 2 CNN /syria

NOW! Lebanon
[local time]  22:05 Security forces killed 20 civilians in Edleb, activists told Al-Jazeera Sunday.
 21:22 Syria’s Sunday death toll has risen to 73 people, activists told Al-Arabiya television.
 19:03 Forty-five people have been killed by the security forces on Sunday, and the Free Syrian Army says it destroyed several army tanks in Edleb, Al-Jazeera reported.
 18:33 The Free Syrian Army destroyed two army tanks and a vehicle carrying a number of Shabeeha members in the Edleb town of Ehsem, Al-Jazeera reported.
 17:49 At least 34 people, almost half of the civilians, were killed across Syria on Sunday as peace envoy Kofi Annan held a second round of talks with President Bashar al Assad, a monitoring group said.
 17:09 Eleven people were killed by the security forces’ shelling of Homs neighborhoods on Sunday, activists told Al-Arabiya.
 16:05 UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan said on Sunday that he was optimistic after his talks with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, but added that his mission will be “tough,” AFP reported.
 15:13 A Syrian boxing champion, Ghiath Tayfour, was shot dead on Sunday in the northern city of Aleppo, which has been largely spared the unrest sweeping the country, the state news agency SANA reported.
 15:07 International peace envoy Kofi Annan said he handed over a set of “concrete proposals” aimed at defusing the Syria crisis during a second round of talks Sunday with President Bashar al-Assad.
 14:59 Syrian rebels on Sunday clashed with the Syrian army in Edleb’s Ariha where they destroyed three military vehicles and a tank, Al-Jazeera television reported.
 14:02 Syrian forces have raided Al-Qouriya town of Deir Az-Zour, Al-Jazeera television quoted activists as saying on Sunday.
 13:23 Al-Arabiya television is broadcasting live footage of the shelling that is targeting Karm Az-Zaytoun in the city of Homs
 12:00 Former UN chief Kofi Annan was set to hold a second round of talks with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Sunday on his mission to end a year of bloodshed, after the army stormed a rebel stronghold.
 11:18 Syrian forces have raided many neighborhoods located in the cities of Hama and Daraa, Al-Jazeera television quoted activists as saying on Sunday morning.
 9:16 Syrian rebels on Sunday destroyed two military vehicles belonging to the Syrian army in Edleb’s Jisr al-Shoghour, Al-Jazeera television quoted activists as saying.
 8:35 The world powers are on course for a new diplomatic clash over Syria when foreign ministers from the main UN Security Council nations meet on Monday.

Reuters: Annan meets Assad again, says tough to reach deal

U.N.-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan said it would be hard to reach a deal to halt bloodshed inSyria, but expressed optimism after meeting President Bashar al-Assad for a second day on Sunday.

“It’s going to be tough. It’s going to be difficult but we have to have hope,” he told reporters in Damascus.

“I am optimistic for several reasons,” Annan said, citing a general desire for peace in Syria. “The situation is so bad and so dangerous that all of us cannot afford to fail.”

The former United Nations chief, who is from Ghana, said: “I have urged the president to heed the African proverb which says: ‘You cannot turn the wind, so turn the sail’.”

Annan, speaking before departing for Qatar, said he had left “concrete proposals” with Assad for a way out of a conflict that has cost thousands of lives.

“You have to start by stopping the killings and the misery and the abuses that are going on today, and then give time (for a) political settlement,” he said.

There was no immediate word from Syrian officials on the outcome of the talks, but Assad told Annan on Saturday that “terrorists” spreading chaos and instability were blocking any political solution, according to the state news agency SANA.

But it said the 46-year-old president had also told Annan he would help in “any honest effort to find a solution”.

Syrians involved in a popular uprising against Assad say there can be no meaningful dialogue with a leader who has inflicted such violence and suffering on his own people.

“Him (Assad) stepping down is definitely a first condition of any discussion or negotiation,” Bassma Kodmani of the opposition Syrian National Council told the BBC on Sunday.

The United Nations says Assad’s forces have killed more than 7,500 people in a year-long crackdown on protesters and insurgents. Authorities say rebels have killed 2,000 soldiers.

Annan’s mission has coincided with a Syrian military offensive against opposition strongholds in the northwest.

Activists said at least four people were killed in the town of Idlib on Sunday after troops and tanks moved in a day earlier. Three soldiers and a civilian were also killed in fighting in the village of Janoudiya in Idlib province on Sunday morning, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

State news agency SANA said “terrorists” shot dead a former boxing champion, Ghiath Tayfour, in the city of Aleppo and also killed a leading Baath Party member in Homs province.

The Observatory said 39 civilians, including 25 in Idlib province, were killed on Saturday, along with 39 rebels and 20 government soldiers, giving an overall death toll of 98.


Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who met Annan in Cairo on Friday, told the Arab League his country was “not protecting any regime”, but did not believe the Syrian crisis could be blamed on one side alone.

He called for a ceasefire and humanitarian aid access, but Qatar and Saudi Arabia sharply criticized Moscow’s stance.

Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani, who has led calls for Assad to be isolated and for Syrian rebels to be armed, said a ceasefire was not enough. Syrian leaders must be held to account and political prisoners freed, he declared.

Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal said shortcomings in the U.N. Security Council, where Russia and China have twice vetoed resolutions on Syria, had allowed the killing to go on.

Their position, he said, “gave the Syrian regime a license to extend its brutal practices against the Syrian people”.

Saudi Arabia and Qatar, which are both ruled by autocrats and espouse a strict version of Sunni Islam, are improbable champions of democracy in Syria. Riyadh has an interest in seeing Assad fall because this could weaken its Shi’ite regional rival Iran, which has been allied with Syria since 1980.

International rifts have paralyzed action on Syria, with Russia and China opposing Western and Arab calls for Assad, who inherited power from his father nearly 12 years ago, to quit.

The United States has drafted a fresh U.N. Security Council resolution, but Washington and Paris have said they are not optimistic it will be accepted.

Despite their differences, Lavrov and Arab ministers said they had agreed on the need for an end to violence in Syria.

They also called for unbiased monitoring of events there, opposition to foreign intervention, delivery of humanitarian aid and support for Annan’s peace efforts.

But the exiled opposition Syrian National Council ruled out talks while Assad is in power.

“Negotiations can never take place between the victim and torturer: Assad and his entourage must step down as a condition before starting any serious negotiations,” it said.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will meet Lavrov in New York on Monday when the Security Council holds a special meeting on Arab revolts, with Syria likely to be in focus.

(Additional reporting by Marwan Makdesi in Damascus and Peter Griffiths in London; Writing byAlistair Lyon)


Syria fighting Kofi Annan leaves Syria after talks with Assad

Former UN secretary general says he offered Syrian president concrete proposals ‘which will have a real impact on the ground’

CNN:  Annan optimistic, but says Syria peace deal will be tough to reach

The U.N. special envoy to Syria, Kofi Annan, met with Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad for the second time in as many days Sunday, seeking a diplomatic solution to violence that opposition groups said claimed at least 32 more lives.

“It’s going to be tough, it’s going to be difficult but we have to have hope,” Annan said Sunday.

On Saturday, Annan proposed a cease-fire, the release of detainees and allowing unfettered access to agencies like the Red Cross to deliver much needed aid, a U.N. statement said.

Annan, a former U.N. secretary-general, also proposed a start to an inclusive political dialogue that would “address the legitimate aspirations and concerns of the people.”

He had a second meeting with al-Assad on Sunday before his scheduled depature to meet with the emir of Qatar, whose prime minister on Saturday called for military intervention in Syria.

Even as Annan and al-Assad were talking, opposition groups said fresh protests and violence had erupted once again across the country.

Opposition groups reported violent clashes between Syrian government forces and defectors, and said government forces were randomly shelling civilian areas.

In the Idlib province village of Aljanoudeyah, the Local Coordination Committees of Syria said shelling by government forces destroyed three buildings. It was unclear how many, if any, died because continued shelling made it impossible to reach the buildings, according to the LCC.

The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Syrian forces also shelled a bridge over the Assi River west of Rastan. The bridge had been used by residents trying to flee the city, according to the group.

The attack destroyed the bridge, the group said.

Meanwhile. the state-run SANA news agency said a terrorist group was responsible for the destruction of another bridge in the province of Hama. The group, citing an official in the province, said terrorists planted a bomb at the base of a bridge connecting al-Rasif and Shateha. The explosion partially collapsed the bridge, SANA reported.

At least 32 people died Sunday in places such as Idlib, Aleppo, Latakia, Homs, Latakia, Daraa, Hama and the Damascus countryside, opposition activists said.

Among the victims were a mother and son killed by heavy machine gunfire in Areh, according to the Observatory.

One of the dead, Wael Masri, was shot in the neck in Arbeen, the opposition Syrian Network for Human Rights said. “The Assad military refuses to hand over the dead body to his family unless they sign a document blaming terrorist gangs for his death,” the group said.

Clashes also also broke out between the Syrian army and rebel fighters in the Damascus suburbs and Aleppo, said the Local Coordination Committees of Syria, a network of opposition activists. Another opposition group said three regime soldiers were killed in clashes in Idlib.

And in a phone call with a Binish town elder, a major general in al-Assad’s military demanded the people of Binish hand over weapons used by defected soldiers and the rebel Free Syrian Army within 24 hours — or the town will be bombed and stormed early Monday morning, according to the Binish Coordination Committee, part of the LCC.

SANA reported that what it called terrorist groups killed a boxing champion in Aleppo and two special forces troops in the province of Hama. The news agency also said an official of the Baath Arab Socialist Party was kidnapped in the al-Ghouta area of Homs.

Despite the violence, the LCC said protesters marched iin several locations around the country, demanding the downfall of the al-Assad regime.

The reports come after 63 people were killed across Syria on Saturday, the LCC said. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, another opposition group, said 98 people died, including 39 military defectors, 39 civilians and 20 government troops, including a brigadier general.

The meetings Saturday and Sunday between al-Assad and Annan was the first time in Syria’s year-long crisis that al-Assad met with such a high-level diplomat. But the Syrian president quashed the possibility of negotiating with the opposition anytime soon.

Syrian state-run media said al-Assad told Annan that he was ready to find a solution, but that such an effort would first require a look at reality on the ground and not rely on what “is promoted by some regional and international countries to distort the facts and give a picture contrary to what Syria is undergoing.”

He also reiterated that “political dialogue or action cannot take place or succeed if there are terrorist armed gangs on the ground that are working on spreading chaos and target the stability of the homeland,” the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) said.

The Syrian regime has insisted it is not slaughtering dissidents; rather, it says, armed thugs are responsible for killing thousands.

But opposition activists and residents tell a very different story.

Heavy shelling rained on the Karm al Zaytoun neighborhood in Homs on Sunday, leaving “major destruction,” the LCC said.

“The Assad armed gangs are burning and ransacking the houses,” the group said.

In the Bab Qabli neighborhood of Hama, pro-Assad troops evacuated some residents from their homes and were using the houses to host their troops, opposition activists said.Amid the fighting, Annan’s visit presented “a small sign of hope, yet so dim,” said Abdel Aziz al-Khair, a member of the National Coordinating Body for Democratic Change.

“There is no way that we can have any dialogue with the regime until the security campaign ends,” he said. “They keep playing the victim role, (saying) that they are defending the innocent civilians while they slaughter them and blame the bloodshed on others,” he said.

Annan distanced himself from military intervention as did opposition members, agreeing that an armed conflict would only worsen the predicament of civilians, said al-Khair, who met with Annan Saturday.

Both Annan and opposition members agreed that plans for a resolution cannot be implemented as long as the bloodshed continues.

“It is too early to apply a plan to resolve the crisis, ” al-Khair said. “The situation on the ground … is catastrophic.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice said Annan was trying to “broker a swift transition in which ultimately Assad steps aside and the people of Syria are able to choose an interim government that’s representative and leads to elections.”

Rice said she wants the situation to be resolved peacefully, “to the extent that that remains still a viable outcome.”

But Arab leaders called for intervention given the situation within Syria and held firm to their position that al-Assad must step down.

Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani said the Arab League supported Annan’s mission, but also said it is time to send in Arab and other international troops into Syria.

After his meeting again Sunday with al-Assad, Annan was due to leave for Doha in the afternoon. Annan is also scheduled to travel to Saudi Arabia and Turkey, according to his spokesman Ahmad Fawzi.

The United Nations says more than 7,500 have died in the past year, and at least one activist group says more than 9,000 people have been killed.

CNN cannot independently confirm opposition or government reports of casualties or attacks from across Syria because the government has severely restricted the access of international journalists. But the vast majority of reports from inside Syria indicate the regime is killing civilians en masse in an attempt to wipe out dissidents seeking al-Assad’s ouster.

Haytham Manna, of the opposition Coordinating Committee of Democratic Transition in Syria, said time is running out for a diplomatic solution.

“We are getting to the point of no return,” said Manna, a Paris-based dissident. “The regime is pushing the country as a whole toward a full scale armed struggle between the very well organized military institution and our people.”