Syria Round-Up, Oct 5: Assad Taunts Turkey — Will It Backfire?

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LATEST: Supreme Military Council Calls for Unity After Insurgent Break-Away

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SUMMARY: With the threat of US military action gone, President Assad used an interview with a Turkish TV channel to taunt Ankara,. one of the leading backers of intervention.

“You cannot hide terrorists in your pocket. They are like a scorpion, which will eventually sting you,” Assad said in comments broadcast by Halk TV on Friday.

He continued, “In the near future, these terrorists will have an impact and Turkey will pay a heavy price for it.”

The Syrian President also had some sharp words for Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan: “Before the crisis, Erdogan had never mentioned reforms or democracy, he was never interested in these issues. Erdogan only wanted the Muslim Brotherhood to return to Syria, that was his main and core aim.”

The words drew an immediate response from protesters across Syria, who labelled their Friday demonstrations, “Thank You, Turkey”.

The march in the Tariq al Bab section of Aleppo:

That might not concern Assad, who has shown little regard for past protests. However, a response by Turkey could.

While Ankara’s involvement in a no-fly zone rested on the now-evaporated US action, it could turn a blind eye to an acceleration of arms and supplies across its border for the insurgency.

Indeed, it could go farther. There is some evidence that Turkey has been backing the recent boost of Saudi-funded deliveries into northern Syria.


Latest Updates, From Top to Bottom

Video: Regime Airstrikes In Daraa Al Balad

Regime warplanes continue to target insurgent-controlled areas in the key neighborhood of Daraa Al Balad in Daraa City on Saturday. Insurgents from the Free Syrian Army, Jabhat Al Nusra and Ahrar Ash Sham collaborated last week to take the Old Customs Area and the old Daraa-Ramtha border crossing to Jordan, a blow for the regime.

Video: Large Fire In Homs’ Al Waer Neighborhood After Heavy Regime Shelling

Activists in the densely-populated Al Waer neighborhood of Homs report that several civilians were killed on Saturday after a regime surface-to-surface missile targeted the residential area.

This footage from Saturday shows a large fire in the neighborhood, the result of intense regime shelling with surfae-to-surface rockets:

Supreme Military Council Calls for Unity After Insurgent Break-Away

The opposition Supreme Military Council called for unity on Saturday after last month’s break-away by 13 insurgent groups.

The Council said it had decided to “issue a call for closing ranks, renouncing division, and…rejecting all kinds of dissension caused by trying to separate the political wing [Syrian National Coalition] from the military one.”

Last month, the 13 groups — including prominent groups of the Free Syrian Army who had worked with the Military Council — rejected the authority of the Coalition.

The groups also included the leading factions Liwa al-Tawhid, Ahrar al-Sham, Liwa al-Islam, and Jabhat al-Nusra said the Coalition “does not represent us, nor do we recognize it”. Many observers also saw the move as an expression of dissatisfaction with the Supreme Military Council.

The Council statement reiterated “the need to respect institutions of the Syrian Revolution; primarily the Syrian Coalition”.

Video: Statement By Military Council In Ar Rastan, Homs, Ending Dispute With ISIS, Jabhat Al Nusra

A video statement released on Saturday by the military council in Ar-Rastan, Homs Province, agreeing to end the dispute between the Free Syrian Army, the Islamic State of Iraq and Ash Sham and Jabhat Al Nusra. The agreement states that the parties are fighting the Assad regime and that they will stand side by side on the battlefield.

Jabhat Al Nusra Propaganda Video — Distributing Clothes In Damascus

The latest propaganda video from Jabhat Al Nusra’s media agency, Hemm, shows the Islamist faction distributing clothing in Damascus.

Casualties

The Local Coordination Committees claim 81 people were killed on Friday, including 20 in Daraa Province, 17 in Damascus and its suburbs and 11 in Aleppo Province.

The Violations Documentation Center puts the number of dead at 74,861 since the conflict began in March 2011, an increase of 84 from Friday. Of the dead, 55,896 are civilians, a rise of 50 from yesterday.

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6 COMMENTS

  1. Missed Opportunity in Syria Haunts U.N. Official
    NYT: Locked in a disagreement with the Syrian government over access, the United Nations missed an opportunity six months ago to investigate the first suspected chemical weapons attack in that country’s civil war, the organization’s top disarmament official said in an interview on Wednesday.

    The official, Angela Kane, said that the missed opportunity now haunted her. If United Nations inspectors had been able to visit the site, in the northern town of Khan al-Assal, and confirm that chemical weapons had been used on March 19, she said, the findings might have deterred further attacks, like the one Aug. 21 that killed hundreds in the Damascus suburb of Ghouta.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/03/world/middleeast/syria.html?pagewanted=all&pagewanted=print#h%5B%5D

  2. HRW: The Syrian government is unlawfully holding tens of thousands of political detainees solely on the basis of their peaceful activity, Human Rights Watch said today in opening a campaign to cast light on their fate. Many have been held for long periods and tortured.

    The Human Rights Watch campaign, Inside the Black Hole, tells the individual stories of 21 Syrians who have been detained by the government since the start of the Syrian uprising in 2011. All have been detained solely for exercising their rights to free expression and peaceful assembly or for providing medical care to people injured at protests and shelter to people displaced by the conflict. The government should drop charges against political detainees who are before the military field courts and the Counterterrorism Court set up in July 2012.

    http://www.hrw.org/news/2013/10/03/syria-political-detainees-tortured-killed

    http://www.hrw.org/lost-in-syrias-black-hole

  3. Here;s a link to my Syria/Iran roundup today with a description of some highlights not including further updates:

    http://iranian.com/posts/view/post/21982

    #1: POTENTIALLY IMPORTANT ANTI-WAR VIDEO FROM HEZBOLLAH MEMBER?

    Apparently a smiling, handsome young Hezbollah member made a anti-war protest video to be released in event of his death, apologizing to the Syrian people. Since I can’t translate his words, I rely on the description posted in the twitter where I found this. If the video is what it appears to be (you tell me) I think it will get wide circulation in Lebanon where it could cause problems for Nasrallah.

    2. LONDON TIMES REPORTS HEZBOLLAH IS MAKING SIGNIFICANT WITHDRAWALS FROM SYRIA

    This report is being re-tweeted everywhere on the internet. What gives it some plausibility is that Hezbollah spokesmen don’t see to be disputing the withdrawal but only the reasons cited by others.

    3. A costly Regime assault on a Homs neighbor fails.

    4. After just three days Karybdis has been forced to revise and update his Syria situation map. He explains why.

    5. VIDEO: A 70-old women living in a tent describes how she was beaten, robbed and shot in the face by regime forces in Daraa province.

    6. FSA may be getting close to achieving a strategic priority in the Damascus suburbs–one that would shut off any direct Damascus/Homs route via a East Ghouta to Qalaboun linkup. For outside contact with the coast, that would leave the regime dependent on the road west into Lebanon which will be vulnerable as rebels move north after taking Daraa.

    7. Video confirmation: CAPTURED TANKS AT HUGE ARMOR STORAGE BASE DO WORK & REBELS CAPTURED TONS OF SHELLS & AMMO WITH THEM.

    8. More video confirmation: REGIME SUFFERS HEAVY LOSSES IN KHANASSIR

    9. Video: REBELS INFILTRATE AN EXPLOSIVE DEVICE INTO ARMY HQ IN TAFAS

    10. Article: IS IT POSSIBLE TO PROSECUTE WAR CRIMES FOR SYRIA?

    …and others. I’ll likely add at least one more update later.

    • I’ve just added more updates which include:

      –Rebels seem to have made major gains in strategic Jobar today. Among other things they blew up an army barracks.

      –Who was in that car that rebels bagged in Damascus today?

      –A look at what the regime is trying to accomplish in Aleppo

  4. Tank Graveyard Between Jobar and Zamalka Captures Endless Failed Regime Offensives in That Area and Elsewhere.

    Note the location of the map below. Nearby are Barzeh, Harasta and Irbeen—all much fought over.

    This constitutes a second area where regime access to Homs is gradually being cut. However, between Duma to the north and the Qalamoun area (another cutoff point) there are many military locations. I always wonder how poorly some of these are reliably manned with the bulk of Assad’s reliable troops in Damascus and how many troops are Sunni at such bases.

    If you expand the map to include Daraya you’ll notice the road west toward Lebanon. Cutting that off, preferably close to the border would really put regime forces in Damascus in a bad way.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bt6JOmS7LmY

    http://wikimapia.org/#lang=en&lat=33.520932&lon=36.341400&z=15&m=b

  5. A Deeply Hated Regime Shows Once Again Why It Has Zero Chance of Recruiting Sufficient Reliable Manpower to Survive

    In a routine and example of regime thuggery, more than 50 drunk shabbiha stormed the Ismaelite mosque in Qadmus today. Residents tried to stop them-Shabbiha opened fire. Source: Burhan Ghalioun. I

    In”Downfall” (my favorite movie of all time) soldiers in Hitler’s bunker laugh and party frantically as the Red Army is closing in on Hitler’s bunker. I think that is what the shabbiha drunkeness reflects in this instance–—a sense of irreversible doom on the way with those who have committed horrific crimes foreseeing likely consequences.

    Once intimidaton, mass brutality and endless atrocities loses its power, you get rebellion with vast popular support which means virtually endless manpower. The ruling tyrants end up so short of motivated fighters that their prospects of long-range survival plummet to zero. Sheer revulsion blocks any prospect of survival through negotiation.

    Barring a coup in which Alawites with no blood on their hands arrest the Mass Murderers, any negotiated peace is as inconceivable as asking Jews in Auschwitz to help negotiate Hitler’s survival in March of 1945 and his defeat loomed. Nations who enabled Assad’s crimes, directly or through inaction (USA!), cannot stop a rebel victory now and deserve not an ounce of say after Assad’s fall. Putin, Obama, Nasrallah and Khamenei can simply watch the inevitable work itself out.

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