Syria Today, Dec 15: 100+ Killed in Aleppo by Regime Airstrikes

LATEST: Airstrikes on Damascus Suburbs Kill Dozens

SATURDAY FEATURES

Activists claim that more than 100 people in Aleppo, including many children, have been killed this weekend by regime airstrikes which included barrel bombs.

Journalist Ali El Khalaf reports that at least one of the bombs hit a crowded taxi square in Haydarya.

Aftermath of a barrel bomb in Haydarya on Saturday:

The site of another barrel bombing in Aleppo Province:

The attacks have damaged water supply networks that pass through Hawouz Square. The Red Crescent said three of its volunteers were injured while returning from a mission to fix the networks.


Airstrikes on Damascus Suburbs Kill Dozens

In addition to the more than 100 people killed in Aleppo this weekend, regime airstrikes have taken dozens of lives near Damascus, according to activists.

They claim at least 21 people were killed in attacks on Doumair:

Rescuing people after a strike on Douma:

UN Begins Aid Airlift from Iraq

The United Nations sent its first airlifted delivery of humanitarian aid to Syria from Iraq on Sunday, saying it plans to deliver more food and winter supplies to the northeast in the next 12 days.

The first cargo plane took off from Erbil in Iraq’s northern Kurdistan region for a one-hour flight to Hassakeh Province.

The UN said two planes are contracted to do 23 rotations over the next 10 days. The aid includes 10 planeloads of food, enough to feed more than 6,000 Syrian families for the rest of December.

Using a charted Iluyshin IL-76, the refugee agency UNHCR also plans to send 300 tons of relief items such as blankets, sleeping mats, and kitchen sets to support 60,000 displaced people. A planeload from UNICEF contains health kits, water, and sanitation supplies.

The airlifts were delayed from last week because of a snowstorm which swept across Syria and Lebanon.

Insurgents Explain Media Blackout on Operations Near Damascus

Opposition Activists Claim Mass Killing by Regime near Adra, North of Damascus

Opposition activists and insurgents are claiming that 12 bodies found in Adra, amid fighting for control of the town, are of civilian workers from Sikhna who were heading home in a bus when they were stopped at a regime checkpoint.

Last week State media claimed that insurgents had killed 15 civilians in Adra, 12 miles northeast of Damascus. Opposition sources responded that the 15 were National Defense Force members and Iraqi and Lebanese fighters.

Islamic Front Condemns Syrian Revolutionary Front For Seizure of Warehouses on Turkish Border

Hassan Abboud, the head of the political branch of the Islamic Front, has condemned an alleged statement by a rival insurgent bloc — the Syrian Revolutionary Front — that it will return weapons and equipment stolen from Free Syrian Army warehouses.

Earlier this month, the FSA warehouses at the Bab al-Hawa crossing on the Turkish border were raided by an armed groups. The Islamic Front says it was then invited by the FSA to protect the premises.

The Front accused Jamal Maarouf, the head of the SRF, of organizing the attack.

In the aftermath of the incident, the US and Britain cut off non-lethal aid to insurgents in northern Syria.

The Islamic Front, created in November, is made up of seven large factions in the insurgency. The SRF is composed of Maarouf’s Idlib-based brigade and more than a dozen smaller groups.

Funeral of Member of National Defense Forces on Saturday

Saudi Arabia: “Britain & the US Did Not Provide Necessary Aid to Insurgency”

Former Saudi intelligence chief Prince Turki bin Faisal has continued Riyadh’s public campaign against the US and Britain’s retreat from support for the insurgency.

He said in Monaco on Saturday:

Since the beginning of this conflict, since the FSA [Free Syrian Army] arose as a response to Assad’s impunity, Britain and the U.S. did not come forward and provide the necessary aid to allow it to defend itself and the Syrian people from Assad’s killing machine.

You have a situation where one side is lopsided with weapons like the Assad regime is, with tanks and missiles – you name it, he is getting it – and the other side is screaming out to get defensive weapons against these lethal weapons that Assad has. Why should he stop the killing?”

That to me is why the FSA is in not as prominent position as it should be today, because of the lack of international support for it. The fighting is going to continue and the killing is going to continue.

18 Stories from the Refugees

This morning The Washington Post publishes a photo-essay with 18 stories of those among Syria’s more than 2 million refugees — and more than 4 million displaced within the country.

Accounts include that of a 7-year-old girl badly wounded, with five relatives killed, by a bomb in Aleppo in July; a woman who gave birth to her 7th child in the Zaatari camp in Jordan; an 11-year-old selling tissues in Turkey to raise money for his family; an 18-year-old woman hit by a regime sniper in Aleppo in summer 2012.

One refugee in the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon says, “We don’t even feel like we’re awake. I ask myself if we’re really here.”

Another: “If we could die, it would be better than this.”

LOPForum summarises the accounts of Syrians dying since December 7 because of extreme cold in Syria and neighboring countries.

Syria Deeply posts a feature on the difficulties for unregistered Syrian refugees in Lebanon.

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Scott Lucas is Professor of International Politics at the University of Birmingham and editor-in-chief of EA WorldView. He is a specialist in US and British foreign policy and international relations, especially the Middle East and Iran. Formerly he worked as a journalist in the US, writing for newspapers including the Guardian and The Independent and was an essayist for The New Statesman before he founded EA WorldView in November 2008.

12 COMMENTS

  1. The Dark List
    Mark Lynch, FP

    Excerpt:
    I’ve never been much help with the annual FP Leading Global Thinkers list. But this year, my contribution to the list of the Top Middle East Thinkers would have been easy: nobody. …..

    The list could have gone in a different direction, of course, with a “dark list” honoring the individuals who’ve done the most to make 2013 such a dismal year for the Middle East. Assad surely would deserve to be on it, for figuring out how to survive at any cost. And Iran’s Quds Force commander, Qassem Soleimani, rather than Rouhani, would probably claim a place for mastering the art of foreign support for a local proxy.

    For instance, Time’s popular vote winner for Man of the Year, Gen. Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, clearly had a massive impact on Egypt’s political trajectory in 2013. But FP was right to leave Egypt’s coup leader off its Leading Global Thinkers list. Military coups led by generals who believe that the army must rescue the nation from disastrous civilian politicians and then attempt to rule through a personality cult and compliant civilian front men are historically a dime a dozen. Perhaps in a few years, after the inevitable failure unfolds, Sisi can get together for tea with Gen. Pervez Musharraf and talk about the virtues of rescuing democracy from civilian politicians. In the meantime, though, a coup that empowered the security services, badly divided activists, unleashed mass violence and repression, delegitimized the very concept of democracy, and broke Egyptian politics for years to come should probably qualify him for the wall of shame.

    Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood leaders such as former President Mohammed Morsy and 2011 FP Honoree Khairat al-Shater should probably be on the dark list, too. They failed utterly when given a historic opportunity to govern, proving wholly unable to forge a workable political consensus or to deliver on basic governance. It would have been far better had their incompetence been punished at the polls, of course. Egypt, and the entire region, would be a better place had a chastened President Morsy been forced to acknowledge his failures and change his governing style after anti-Brotherhood forces thrashed Islamists in parliamentary elections this year. But either way, in a single year, Morsy’s failed presidency mortally damaged a mainstream Islamist political project which had been developed over decades.

    Several Gulf leaders could easily make this list as well. True, it doesn’t take that much deep thought for those monarchs to have stayed in power the last few years, given billions of dollars, aggressive and pervasive security services, and supportive foreign partners. It’s hard to even contemplate that the region’s leading thinkers might actually be the monarchs who are jailing citizens for sarcastic tweets — to say nothing of their brutal repression of activists calling for political reform. But more thought, perhaps, has gone into their efforts to block hopes of democratic change and foment sectarian tension beyond their borders. Egypt’s military coup and the subsequent repression and impunity might not have held up without extremely generous financial support from the Gulf. And Syria’s conflict might not have descended into today’s brutal sectarian war and jihadi revival had the Gulf states not been so keen on pouring guns and cash into their preferred armed groups.

    The dark list should also recognize the jihadist thinkers and activists who brought al Qaeda and its affiliates back from the abyss so effectively. Whatever the actual role of the remnants of al Qaeda Central in guiding this new jihadist wave, Ayman al-Zawahiri seems to have had some useful thoughts on how al Qaeda could survive the death of Osama bin Laden. Leaders of jihadist factions fighting in Syria — such as Abu Mohammed al-Jolani of Jubhat al-Nusra, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi of ISIS, and Hassan Aboud of Ahrar al-Sham — seem to have developed some innovative and effective thoughts on how to combine social services and rebel governance with insurgency and radical ideology. If it’s intellectuals we want, how about Abu Musab al-Suri, the grand theorist of the leaderless jihad? And then there’s the public Islamists of the Gulf, from Doha-based Yusuf al-Qaradawi to Kuwait’s Nabeel al-Awadhy, who provided mainstream religious and intellectual sanction to the Syrian jihad.

    Oof. No wonder FP’s editors didn’t take me up on the offer.

    Full article: http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2013/12/10/the_dark_list

  2. The deceptive line, “The Assad Regime or Al Queda” has been promoted by SANA from the beginning. It’s been obvious for some time that now Obama is assisting that campaign after having done everything possible to handicap the moderates in Syria in a revolution that started out with demands for democracy and human rights.

    Catering endlessly to Putin (a four time advocate of Sunni killing in Bosnia, Kosovo, Chechnya and Syria), Obama has,betraying promise after promise to allies as well as the Syrian people. What looked like the ultimate stab in the back to pro-democracy moderateshe (the infamous Rose Garden Switcheroo) is now being topped by this vicious campaign.

    The man has earned so much mistrust. Syrians don’t trust him. Allies don’t trust him. I don’t trust him. Based on past and present behavior I wouldn’t put anything past the man, including covert assistance to Assad if he believes the line he is peddling. Axious for his chemical weapons deal to go through, would he turn over information on rebel plans to the regime or provide satellite intel on rebel plans in Qalamoun and Adra?

    Who knows? But what makes it believable is Obama’s own behavior in Syria from Day One. As much as he gives Putin everything that devious man desires, one can easily imagine Obama selling out Ukrainians as well. The latter should put no trust in him. No one should.

    Like all conspiracy theories, suspicions that Obama is providing the regime with covert intelligence and military advice can’t be disproven (one can’t prove the negative) but such behavior would fit so perfectly with what we’ve seen of Obama so far in Syria. Alternate a hypotheses that could explain his behavior are sheer incompetence/lack of foresight or a political selfishness so inense Obama would sacrifice the Syrian people and American national security to enable his program (assuming there is any) in the second term.

    What counts, whether true or not, is that Sunnis and the entire Sunni world increasingly believes Obama is now covertly aiding the regime. Al Queda is reaping a propaganda bonanza for which the USA and the West are likely to pay a high price in the future. For Al Queda, Obama been like a gift from Allah–the ultimate rejuvenator just when everything was going wrong.

  3. QALAOUN & ELSEWHERE: Rebel Blackout is serious.

    Most pro-rebel sources feel it’s a good thing. In more than an hour and a half on twitter this morning I found no new battle reports form Qalamoun, East Ghouta, Daraa, Raqaa or Deir Ezzor. A few items on Adra, such as the death of two Syrian officers, were things I got last night.

  4. Is EA staff seriously trying to downplay the massacre commited by the islamists from jaysh al Islam and Al Nusra in Adra?

    Even pro rebels sources like SOHR admit that the islamists massacred around 30 civilians, just because they were shia, alawites or druzes.

    The attempt to cover up atrocites by the islamists that this website support is ugly and very disturbing.

    • The “massacre” is a regime claim and may not necessarily be fact unlike the 14 Sunni workers who were found in Adra with hands behind their backs while they were attempting to return to their towns from a job, unlike so many throat-slittting regime massacres involving women and children, and unlike the daily massacres by artillery and barrel bomb on markets and breadlines.

      The other sideof the coin in this claim is that all the dead were male and known members of regime militia (mostly shabbiha who sign up for rape, murder and torture and had previously been involved in carrying out such crimes. Let’s not forget that the regime tortures and murders all legitimate fighters it captures vitually without except AND members of their families as well as friends if known.

    • nah, they are already on Assad massacred the people in Adra narrative by now.

      The islamic rebels are only defending the civilians in Adra, you know the city they attacked a few days ago, first going after the bakery to make the population flee as soon as possible, and to obtain control over food.

      But those are valiant acts, same as the murder of people on a sectarian basis, because they were all shabiha naturally.

  5. Britain has decided to tighten sanctions on the Syrian regime after
    it discovered that Bashar al-Assad and his associates duped
    European governments into releasing hundreds of millions of euros from
    frozen bank accounts.

    “The UK has closed a loophole in EU-Syria
    sanctions to prevent the release of millions of euros of assets
    belonging to the Assad regime and its affiliates,” British Foreign
    Secretary William Hague said on Saturday, according to the Sunday Times.

    Hague said that “hundreds of millions of euros” would no longer be available to “fuel Assad’s war machine.”

    The cash – which had been frozen across the European Union since the
    beginning Syria’s civil war – was diverted by Assad’s regime to feed his
    army instead of war’s starving victims as it pretended.

    “The evidence is clear that the regime and its financial backers will use
    every opportunity available to them to serve their own ends – war and
    profit – rather than help Syrians in serious need of humanitarian help,”
    Hague added.

    (UK again shuts the Stable door after the horse has Bolted!)
    http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2013/12/15/UK-closes-Assad-cash-loophole-.html

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