Syria Forecast, Dec 1: Almost 60 Killed by Regime “Barrel Bombs” on Al-Bab



Employees of Opposition Syrian National Coalition Go on Strike
Regime Objects to Involvement of Some Opposition Groups in “Peace” Conference


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Almost 60 people have been killed since Saturday by Syrian airstrikes on the town of al-Bab, 40 kilometers north of Aleppo.

Yesterday 27 people were slain, and sources in the town said attacks by helicopters on a market districts killed at least 30 people on Sunday.

Activists said that many people were severely wounded in the raids.

The activists claim that the warplanes dropped “explosive barrels”, a common tactic in the Syrian military’s attacks in Aleppo Province.

The aftermath of the bombs:

Footage of unidentified bodies covered by blankets:

The LCC claim 125 people were killed across Syria on Saturday, including 61 in Aleppo Province, 32 in Damascus and its suburbs, and 12 in Idlib Province.

The Violations Documentation Center document 80,037 deaths since the start of the conflict in March 2011. Of the dead, 59,197 were civilians.

Employees of Opposition Syrian National Coalition Go on Strike

At least 25 employees of the opposition Syrian National Coalition have gone on strike, claiming “corruption and disruption of effective workflow” within the Coalition’s aid branch.

The employees say that the head of the Assistance Coordination Unit, Suheir Atassi, has refused to meet them to discuss their concerns.

They declare that, if the matter cannot be resolved, it “will be opened to the public…in the interests of the Syrian people”.

Regime Objects to Involvement of Some Opposition Groups in “Peace” Conference

The Assad regime has objected to the involvement of some opposition groups in the “peace” conference proposed for Geneva in January.

Deputy Foreign Minister Feisal Mikdad told Al-Mayadeen TV on Saturday that the regime has reservations on the participation of “terrorist groups involved in shedding Syrian blood”.

State news agency SANA did not identity any specific groups named by Mikdad, merely saying that he asserted “that the Syrian Government will go to Geneva 2 without preconditions, restrictions, or foreign interference”.

However, it cited his “hope that there will be an actual Syrian opposition which understands the nature of the current stage and the challenges facing Syria and which treats Syria as their country instead of behaving like followers of Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the US, Britain, or any other country”.

Mikdad declared that “compared to Arab and regional countries including Turkey, Syria would rank first in terms of reform, democracy, and human rights”.

The Deputy Minister accused “experts and military personnel from the Israeli Mossad, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, the US, and some European countries” of running “operations rooms in Jordan” to work with the insurgency. He claimed “a lot of evidence that Israel is supporting terrorists in Syria, including the treatment of injured in Israeli hospitals”, while “Saudi Arabia is the largest supporter” of the insurgents.

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  1. Out of Syria, Into a European Maze
    (NYT) As war rages on, more refugees are risking a journey to what they hope will be prosperous new lives. This report includes the incredible journey of one Syrian family who made it through the maze, crossing over land and sea, all the way to Sweden.

    From the outset, Europe’s response to the Syrian refugees has pitted the ideals of the Continent against the hard reality of European immigration and asylum laws. After the October shipwrecks, European leaders pledged to increase patrols and rescue operations in the Mediterranean — long a demand of southern countries like Italy, which have complained of bearing Europe’s burden.

    But Europe’s broader policies on migration and asylum remain riddled with contradictions and mixed signals. This year, Germany and Sweden promised generous benefits and asylum for Syrian refugees, which inspired thousands of Syrians to pay extortionate fees to smugglers to make the dangerous journey across the Mediterranean.

    Yet upon reaching Italy, the gateway to Europe, the Syrians have been ensnared in red tape: European law requires that the police immediately fingerprint and register them as refugees in Italy — and asylum seekers must make their applications in the country where they are first fingerprinted and registered.


    You can tell these journalists are not military experts. Either that or they deliberately manipulate the evidence to arrive at a desired conclusion. Some folks might reach more cynical conclusions.


    1. The alleged regime seizure of Deir Atiyeh, near Qalmoun.
    2. Any un-achieved regime plans are quoted as if they were sure to succeed (i.e., “We are going to surround rebels in Qalamoun,” or “We are going to reopen the Damascus-Homs road shortly,” or After that we’re going to take Aleppo and push the rebels out of southern Damascus.”). Have you notices.

    These journalist may as well just take handouts from SANA or some local Hezbollah commander or “anonymous source.” I make no bones of being biased against this regime for the same reason I’m not fond of Hitler, Stalin, Milosevic, Kim Il-Jong, the Khmer Rouge, etc. However I TRY to be honest in my analysis. However ooptimistic I may be I have no doubt I’m closer to reality that these duds. Either they are biased but try to hide it or they are totally incompetent.


    #1: Deir Atiyeh hadn’t completely fallen at the time (In fact there are reports rebels have retaken it today which, if true, won’t be reported or will be placed in one sentence near the bottom of any story.

    #2: The limited strategic value of any one location along the Damascus/Homs highway in terms of the regime’s “must” objective (opening the Homs/Damascus road) and the fact that reaching that object remains about as distant as ever. How many days has the road been closed now”

    3. Rebel multi-victories in East Ghouta (played down)

    4. Unanswered and repeated rebel victories in Quneitra (not even mentioned, so either it never happened and I’ve made it all up or it has happened and the failure to notice reveals enough about NY Times and AP reporting on the war.

    5. The blunting and partial reversal of the regime offensive in Aleppo.

    6. Major strategic factors working for the rebels.

    The blockade of Damascus from Homs and the coast is hardly a rebel achievement. The regime’s extreme manpower shortage compared to the rebels means nothing, etc.


    Unlike the above sources, I’m not treating it as fact or a done deal but as possible. It’s clear that at minimum the town is contested. Here you go:

    “Deir Atyieh: #FSA re-takes control over the city after fierce clashes with regime force.” Source: Rien4djri

  3. some claims that Deir Atyieh is back in rebel control , UNCONFIRMED (yet)

    #Damascus Suburbs: Deir Atyieh: #FSA re-takes control over the city after fierce clashes with regime forces #LCCSy #Syria 20m

  4. Nabek is at 60% controlled by the syrian army. The Qalamoun front is going very well for the Syrian Army. It was supposed to be an hard battle, but victories are coming quickly and smoothly. After Nabk, there is Yabrud.

    The airstrikes waves on Al Bab may indicate that this is the army next target, the softening up of the city defense may be the goal of these airstrikes.

    After taking Tiraya yesteday, the SAA has two options, going north to Al Bab or going east to break the siege of the Kweires base.

    • If the regime mounts an offensive to sieze land in Qalamoun then it must withdraw men from another area. After the dust settles, the regime will have given up an amount of land equal to Qalamoun – plus a slight increase for any soldiers lost during the Qalamoun offensive. It is pointless to bray about regime victories. The victory is not in the land possessed but the number of pro-regime militia removed from battle.

      At the start of demonstrations the regime demographic only included about 250,000 men of fighting age. You can roughly confirm this by looking up internet photos of the pro-Assad demonstrations of 2011. In particular look at the flag demonstration. Underneath the flag is empty and people along the edges are evenly distributed. Knowing the length of flag you can calculate an approximate crowd size. It is surprisingly small.

      On the other hand, the opposition demographic includes 3,600,000 men of fighting age.
      Aleppo alone staged demonstrations of over 250,000 people. Again you can check internet records and confirm that ter were roughly 700-1000 anti regime demonstrations every friday.

      Rebel victory is not gained capturing land. Rebel victory is gained by erecting headstones in Latakia. Assad is running out of men to sacrifice.

      150 people run this mafia called Ba’ath. Is it really worth it to protect them from justice? Wouldn’t it be so much smarter for the Alawi to use them as scapegoats?

      • Pretty sad that you see a victory for the rebels (Rebel victory is not gained capturing land. Rebel victory is gained by erecting headstones in Latakia) an operation where the rebels massacred +200 civilians, and kidnapped about the same number.

        Every victory for the rebels is a devestating defeat for the local population, as their lifes and houses get destroyed, for something called “democracy” which other people see as a sad proxy fight between ideologies that dont care about “the people” very much.

        Be very afraid of a rebel victory, because the militia leaders of today, would become community and business leaders of tomorrow. Imagine having an illiterate, religiously fanatic elite in your country.

        Saudi Arabia n.2?

      • Alawis, Christians, Shia, Druzes, Kurds are all standing up now against sunnis extremists, as well as are moderate sunnis who don’t want Al Qaeda.

        The most radical islamists are even discouraging the first rebels and activists, with a growing part of them quitting the insurgency, the country and even wishing they should not have started it.

        This article by New York times is telling

        Rebels groups have dozens of different agendas, warlords, thieves, islamists, jihadists and even more hardcore jihadists have all started to fight each others and will push the moderate to the governement side.

        Meanwhile, the loyalists have never been more pumped that now. Alawites are fighting a fight they can’t afford to lose and have thrown everything behind the governement. Christians will do the same. Druzes have sided with the governement in Suweyda while PYD leader said that Assad should be part of Syria’s future (with a federal view), while its troops are decimating the islamists.

        The opposition demographics is increasingly looking like the typical islamic caveman. And these people are playing with a losing hand.

    • Rebels have already retaken Deir A, returning regime forces close to where they began while rebels rampage in their abasence. Today was a big day in Daraa Province with nice gains in Aleppo as well.

      As I noted in a previous analysis, the regime mus take the entire highway and retain it in order for Damascus not to be cut off from Homs and the coast as it has been for almost two weeks now. HOw does a month sound or two or six?

      • Don’t you think it makes EA looks like an opposition website and can raise question about the independance of the website?

        • Genome,

          EA’s commitment is to full and fair reporting and analysis. As we are independent and do not receive any funding, we accept donations and advertising to cover a part of our operating costs.


        • This is a anti-assad site and ea does a good job of reporting the truth good or bad.
          If you are looking for a pro-regime website try SANA or Sana on facebook. Lots of good news there for regime supporters.

      • With respect, SSG is not just an advocacy group – it also funnels financial and other aid to armed fighters in Syria. Its own website states that it has directly funnelled “nearly $500,000 to combat units”.

        Based on a quick review of the available data online, SSG has a less than distinguished track record. For example, it was caught red-handed earlier this year trying to broker oil deals using looted Syrian oil fields. Also, its current Chairman resigned as Obama’s “Muslim-Outreach Coordinator” in 2008 after he was exposed as having links to fundamentalist preachers and shadowy Islamic investment funds.

        And yet, SSG – which directly funds and incites violent armed conflict – shares advertising real estate with Tavaana, a civil society and educational tool. Does Tavaana know about this? Does it mind being paired alongside a group that finances non-state armed fighters?

    • Concerned,

      I am aware of the claims of insurgent attacks — any links to confirmed information will be posted.


    • “National Defense MIlitia spread in panic when rebels approached the town. The regime’s 14th division has been shelling civilian houses.ever since as usual.

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