Syria Daily, June 3: Re-Election Day for Assad


LATEST: Video — Syrian Youth Cast “Votes” in Remains of Barrel Bomb in Daraa Province


UPDATE 2030 GMT: Opposition activists are claiming that the regime is inflating the turnout by allowing any Syrian, anywhere in the world, to send in a vote by mobile phone:

UPDATE 1550 GMT: Russian monitors are hailed by a crowd at a polling station:


UPDATE 1300 GMT: Activists claim that Kurdish officials confiscated ballot boxes in areas such as Qamishli in northeast Syria, and claim the boxes were “pre-filled” with votes for President Assad:


UPDATE 1200 GMT: Al Jazeera America’s Nick Schriffin reports on an unusual — and appropriate — way to vote in what the opposition has called “Syria’s blood election”:

UPDATE 1000 GMT: President Assad, accompanied by wife Asma, votes:


The Assad regime holds Syria’s first multi-candidate Presidential election on Tuesday.

President Assad faces two nominal challengers, businessman Hassan al-Nouri and MP Maher Najjar, but the regime’s overriding objective will be to proclaim a high turnout — in the areas where Syrians can vote — supporting its legitimacy.

State media features the call of Prime Minister Wael al-Halqi for participation: on a “historic day…the government is confident that citizens will swarm polling stations to drive home a message of unity and resolve to make the process a success”.

Assad’s office used Facebook to support the call and thank Syrians for “the civilized manifestations they have shown” during the campaign.

The vote will be watched by observers from nine countries, including Assad’s allies Russia and Iran. Activists from the US, Canada, Ireland, and other countries are also present — Speaker of Parliament Mohammad Jihad al-Laham welcomed the Americans with the message, “The Syrians’ fundamental problem lies in the US administration which never tires from making foolhardy mistakes and commits crimes against the nations of the region.”

Videos: Protesters Stage Their Own “Elections”

A novel election protest in Daraa Province in southern Syria, with youth dropping “ballots” into the remains of a barrel bomb:

“Voters” in Deir Ez Zor Province in eastern Syria cast ballots, with a shoe in President Assad’s face:

And an elaborate production featuring a polling station in a makeshift graveyard — goats, toilets for votes for President Assad and his father Hafez, cash rewards for the “right” ballots, and sudden detentions for the “wrong” ones:

Idlib Province: No Elections and No Love for Assad

The BBC reports from opposition-held Idlib Province in northwest Syria, where there will be no voting in the Presidential election — and no love for President Assad, from residents to the leader of the insurgent Islamic Front, Hassan Abboud:

Kafranbel: “Election is a Raping Scene Directed by Russia”

The residents of Kafrenbel in northwest Syria, known for their protest banners, issue their verdict on Tuesday’s Presidential election:

Head of Opposition Coalition Denounces Elections, Renews Call for US Support

The head of the Syrian National Coalition, Ahmad Jarba, has used the Presidential election to renew his call for US support — including military aid — of the opposition.

Writing in The Washington Post, Jarba said, “Assad’s attempt to pretend — after bombing, starving and slaughtering his own people for more than three years — that he is holding a legally recognized election is intended to provide him and his tyrannical regime with a veneer of legitimacy, however false.”

The opposition leader then looked beyond the vote:

Together, we can turn the tide. If our key international supporters, particularly the United States, work quickly to step up assistance to our forces on the ground, it will level the playing field and put the moderates of Syria in a position to negotiate a lasting political solution to the conflict.

Turkey Lists Jabhat al-Nusra as Terrorist Organization

Turkey has listed the Islamist faction Jabhat al-Nusra as a terrorist organization.

A Cabinet motion from November was updated to add Jabhat al-Nusra to the list of “organizations that are affiliated with al-Qaeda”.

Jabhat al-Nusra pledges allegiance to Al Qa’eda while emphasizing that it is working with the Syrian people and organizations in its fight against President Assad.

The group was listed as a terrorist organization by the US in December 2012. It is also listed by several other countries, including Britain and Australia.

Insurgents: No Targeting of Voting Centers on Tuesday

A statement by four leading insurgent factions has announced that voting centers will not be targeted on Tuesday:

We ask all our rebel brothers to adhere to this. We will not contribute to making things worse on our people by adding the shelling of the voting centers to the oppression of the regime against them by leading them to the election by force.

At the same time, the groups warned Syrians of the dangers of going to the centers. The Islamic State of Iraq and as-Sham which has been fighting insurgents since January, has not declared the locations off-limits for attacks, and insurgents also claim the Assad regime may attack the polling stations and blame the incidents on the opposition.

The signatories to the statement are the Islamic Front, Jaish al-Mujahideen, Ajnad al-Sham, and Failaq al-Sham.

Video: 10 Killed by Regime’s Barrel Bomb in Sha’ar Section of Aleppo

Aftermath of Monday’s barrel-bombing near a mosque in the insurgent-held area of Sha’ar in Aleppo, with the collapse of a large building:

Claims are circulating on social media that insurgent rocket fire killed 50 people over the weekend in regime-controlled sections of Syria’s largest city.

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    Hezbollah came to Syria on Khamenei’s orders to maintain minority rule and to help Assad carry out his genocide against Sunnis. The funeral incident occurred at Bosrah Sham in southern Daraa Province which raises the question of why Hezbollah was where it did not belong and is highly unpopular.


    Tunnel warrior Abu Assad struck again yesterday, killing over 30 Militiamen. A day earlier Rebels killed well above 100 in fighting in Sheik Najjar. The day before that 40 members of Atrocity Forces died in a suicide bombing. If you include genociders who lost legs, arms, eyes, jaws, etc. the losses are much higher.

    Attrition or revenge? Whatever you call it the hate inspiring regime has no prospect of stopping it.


    They won’t fit any problems for the regime and will simply add to the scorn it enjoys worldwide. Loyalists are going to be sore disappointed if they imagine anything else. They simply can’t imagine that a regime can commit such horrific crimes with their assistance and win back the people. It’s a no go.

    If case you missed it because of a late post, I wrote yesterday about how Stalin was the first dicator to use phony and totally rigged elections in any attempt to give legitimacy. Now it is standard practice for every two bit dictator–a “gift to civilization” from Russia.

    As George Orwell would say the central aim of all totalitarian propaganda, refined under Putin, is to convince people to believe in opposites that defy common sense and are the reverse of actual reality. See my piece on that in yesterday’s Syria roundup. I posted it a bit late there.,

    • Red Tornadoes,

      I don’t think that video is a re-creation of the March 2011 Dara’a protest by schoolchildren. I believe it is a campaign video for President Assad, proclaiming that children support him.


      • That’s what happens when you don’t understand Arabic. In that case, it’s a strange and ironic choice for a pro-Assad ad, isn’t it?


    Well, Belarus is part of Putin’s Backwardia after all! Welcome to the future.


    Article: Since Joining Russia, Crimea’s Economy Has Been Sliding Downhill Fast

    How about 25 to 50% inflation depending on the product? How about hotel occupancy rates (10%) for summer where they’d usually be booked solid? How about all the folks who work in those hotels and restaurants? Most banks were Ukrainian and have closed. Just wait until it dawns on peope how corrupt and one-dimension Putin’s economy, how elections are totally rigged and free speech gets you a bullet in the head or a clubbing with a two by for. Those who though life in Putin’s Russia would be terrific are in fo a shock.

    Some Crimeans are kidding themsleves that this is short time and that once the storm caused by Russia’s invasion goes away, things will be fine. They are wrong. As Assad is about to learn in Syrian, you don’t commit massive crimes and then anticipate that people will “get over” them easily.

    People will blame Putin for what he did in Crimea and the eastern Ukraine to create instability via armed proxies and Russian troops with Russian weapons and identification removed. I’ll name three groups of people who won’t be vacation in the Crimea or any any Russia resort for decades: Virtually all Ukrainans. Virtually all neighbors threatened who PUtin has threatened with similar schemes. Virtually all western Europeans except neo-Nazis and skinhead nationalists.

    A good portion of external investment that Russia badly needed won’t be returning either. Meanwhile Putin had t agree to a deal with China that gave him a much lower price than desired for oil and that allows China new demographic inroads into its stolen Silberian territory. A new report says China has more potential shale oil than the USA and Canada combined. That should have implications for the future of Backwardia’s one-dimensional economy.

    Suddenly everyone except the extreme right detests Russia. Have you noticed?

    • I have noticed many pro rebel syria supporters are very sectarian with an unusual genocidal hatred for shia and minorities in Syria.Now you guys have all jumped on the anti Putin,lets hate Russia bandwagon.Whats with the mass clone propaganda?I dont get how you guys have the exact same hatreds.Some moderate rebel supporters are not like this i should add.Just the more extreme.

      • What’s so hard for you to understand?

        Re: Shia in Syria; Alawites backed and carried out genocide against the Sunni majority to preserve special privileges. They imported 50,000 of their comrades to do likewise unless Shia dominance was accepted. Why not complain its unfair for Jews to hate Nazis after Auchwitz, etc.? It’s silly.

        Re: Hostility to Putin, Khamenei, Nasrallah, North Korea. The bad guys stick together and act together. Putin has created an international equivalent to Czar Alexander’s post-Napoleonic alliance under which all absooute monarchs would team up to fight internally against any country in which the people demanded democracy. Then, as now, the Bad Guys want to preserve their dictatorships and fear infection should new democracies replace even on of them, however deep the popular support. In Syria’s case, it is very deep which is why Assad had to call in his Sectarian allies. If up to Syrians, he’d have been long gone.

        Re; My joy over the Crimea’s economic situation and that of Russia. The system doesn’t work but when Putin even imagines he has the upper hand, he wields it like a whip, as in the way he raises oil prices to bully or imports neo-Nazi extreme Russian nationalists in to neighboring countries to cause problems.

        I’m glad you admit Crimea has problems at least. They aren’t going away.

        • Thanks for the reply.I didnt mention Crimea and have no interest in it so not sure how you came up with that.To be fair i have also noticed some pro Assad people have jumped on the pro Putin bandwagon.I am suspicious of people from both sides who jump on these bandwagons.Probably paid propagandists.

      • Magpie–I have no idea who you are but your comments and commenting style are taking on the form adopted by the Russians who infested then abandoned this site last year. This comment of yours reads like the propaganda you claim to condemn. People don’t criticize Putin because of an irrational hatred of Russians; they criticize him because he’s a murderous, corrupt, poorly educated thug. They criticize his trolls because their arguments are obviously orchestrated by equally poorly educated thugs. It is inevitable that these campaigns will fail because they are produced by products of a deeply corrupted society–just look at Russia’s universities, the sort that gave Putin his ridiculous degree. Not long ago they numbered among the world’s best; today they would require massive reforms to ascend to third-rate status. It is neither prejudiced nor irrational to point out the problems this commodity dictatorship is posing to people and nations around the world, especially Syria.

        • Yes you dont know who i am.Yet you seem to imply i am some Russian,usually the word nazi is included,spy-troll-cyber villain of some type.I wish.If you think Russia is on its own with its involvement in Syria and everyone else are choir boys throwing flowers as their only involvement.Then to be nice,you are extremely naive.Nobody ever mentions chinas vetos.Why?India isnt on board?Thats a lazy 2+ billion people.Who cares what those yellow and brown people think will probably be the reply?

  3. Just out of interest, how many elections has the Syrian opposition had so far? I can count at least three. Does not the opposition even have its own “defence minister” and whatnot?

    • No syrian citizens vote in these elections.Just self appointed big shots in 5 star hotels in Turkey.Those elections make Assads look legit.

    • Politically the revo doesnt barely exist. Its a moltitude of private interests and foreign powers agenda. Mostl, it hardly rappresents the scenario on the ground. No wonder the lack of interest or real support from western countries.

      • The upper echelons of those in power in western countries seem to back the rebels.Camerons attempt at pushing his agenda through the parliament showed how much resistance there is to these policies.The western public in general was turned off the rebellion once it became clear religious extremist groups like Nusra and ISIS were big players in the battle against Assad and his Baath regime.Game over once the general public picked up on this fact.

  4. Excellent news regarding Turkeys decision on listing Nusra as a terrorist group.Long overdue.Though i have noticed American people openely support this group.Including on this comment section,and somehow not get arrested.Hopefully the authorities are paying attention.

    • magpie, the us first amendment to the constitution specifically protects speech. It would be very troubling if people were to be arrested just for the content of their comments.

      • You would think if there was malice in what was being put up on boards and comment sections there would be some restrictions,and openely supporting groups whos aim is to destroy the US and kill its people (like 9/11) and (boston bombing) would raise some alarm bells.


    QUOTE: “The White House’s nonchalance about the five Taliban detainees also had people scratching their heads. Press Secretary Jay Carney tried arguing that they presented no threat to the U.S.”

    QUOTE: “Among other errors and deceptions, the administration played up the service of a soldier who has been accused of desertion.”

    In Obama’s second term, political benefits have taken precedence over national security interests. Why make such a stupid deal and why now? LIke Chamberlain after Munich, Obama expected everyone to cheer and now faces pie in the face. Almost certainly this is going to cost thousands of lives around the world.

    Repeatedy Obama has made astounding giveaways just to get a deal, in this case with the Taliban. He sold out Syrians partly to get a nuke deal with Iran which you don’t want to see. Obama tuned out all aid to moderate rebels to please Putin and pressure rebels to attend the Putin Peace Conference in Geneva. Assad played Obama for a fool in the chemical weapons deal, delaying removal and switching to copter cropped chnorine instead of sarin and substituting mass barrel bombing of civilians.

    Does Obama’s law professor background explains this? If Obama were a DA he’d do anything to up the conviction rate—two years for John Wayne Gacy fand perhaps five for Ted Bundy. What has Obama’s Do Nothing Ever act accomplished in Syria? It helped Assad crushed democracy. It aided genocide, It radicalized the population. It added to mistrust of America from which Al Queda will benefit. It assisted the spread of sectarianism not just in Syria but everywhere in the region for decades to come.

    And why does Obama lie so blatantly to justify all this? He tells us “this is only a civil war” but it isn’t. He tells us his opponents are demanding “boots on the ground,” but they don’t. He informs us “Doing nothing was my only choice because there were no other alternatives” but Do Nothing and All Out were definitely all the options. Obama didn’t he try to do much in Syria.

    One underlying belief lies at the heart of Obama’s foreign policy: “If you are really, really nice to Bad Men and if you show them your heart and good intentions, they will turn into sugar plums.” So why did Putin, Assad and Khanemei become more aggressive than ever before. Each concessions sparked their appetites. By Obama’s reasoning we should have come close to nuclear war under Nixon (see China) and Reagan (see Russia) but got the opposite.

    I can’t believe Obama has a 18 months remaining to inflict such damage. What bungle will he pull off next?

  6. DARAA: The latest “Friendly Fire” Incident Sounds Like a Gem

    Helicopters cast 2 explosive barrels mistakenly to Assad’s forces in the south-eastern front of Daraya. As Arab Chronicle’s last map demonstrated, almost all regime positions there are either already surrounded or at risk of being so.

    CNN: Former U.S. Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford: I could no longer ‘defend the American policy’


    Rebels may not be doing much in the city itself, where regime snipers have broken the truce by randomly firing on Sunni civilians. However, the are making big gains in the countryside which. Control of the countryside, combined with attrition, will eventually bring the regime down, manpads or no manpads. And to hell with Obama afterwards.

    Shamm News Network reports that the FSA has gained control of Um Sharshooh village near Talbisi, killing two dozen Bad Guys. A bus full of them was blown to pieces. The regime fortress there had been shelling civilians in nearby towns. Regime forces resume shelling most areas in the north as usual but militarily they never accomplishes much. Sooner or later Hama to the north could be cut off from north, west, east and south.


    Rebels have retake Maamal Roundabout at the northern entrance of the city from Assad’s ISIS allies.


    In a leaked audio, Jabhat al-Nusra (AQ in #Syria) commander “Abu Mariya” has indicated that ISIL’s al-Baghdadi is detained by his own group. That would be big news if true. The twitter came from “Flashpoint Partners is a New York-based research and analysis enterprise focused on global security.

    If this did occur, two possible explanations are total opposites. Either he was detained by pro-regime intelligence for balking at helping Assad, or he was detailed by anti-regime elements for assisting Assad. In any case, there appear to have been some recent attacks on regime forces which had become very, very rare. That suggests to me that something may have changed ISIS policy. Reports that JAN has vowed to execute any ISIS fighters who surrender in retaliation for the slaughter of civilians, including young children, could have sparked conflict within ISIS.

    ALEPPO: Johnny Six reports rebels have retaken Azzizza near Al Safira.

    That would threaten to sever the supply line between defense factories there and regime forces further north. Much further south, rebels east of Salimeyah may have already severed connections with Central Syria.

    POTENTIALLY IMPORTANT: JS also reports, “Rebels are pushing on the 7th Division support Battalion”

    Unfortunately he often does not include locations. This suggests it is a supply base for an entire division. Capturing that would be especially nice if so.

    BREAKING NEWS: 13 Regime Soldiers have another sign of trouble for the regime

    On twitter Johnny Six reports the defections and provides a link (in Arabic) and photo of a defector holding his ID. There has been a noticable uptick in defections lately and a big increase in surrenders and captured equipment. There could be two explanations.

    In the case of defections, the regime may be using Sunni conscripts to make up for high attrition. In the case of abandoned posts and easy surrenders—especially common between Morek and Idlib of late—I think regime defenders have been demoralized by a combination of tunnel bombs, suicide bombs (9 in one day recently!) and awareness they are hopelessly cut off.

    Morale clearly is plummeting on certain fronts no matter what SANA (state media) may say. Front line regime fighters reportedly sneer at state media and claim loyalists on the coast and in Damascus have no idea how badly this war in going from their perspective.

    CONTROVERSY: Did Col. Nehman betray rebels at K. Ghazeleh or not. If he did, on whose orders?

    There are many theories circulating. It is possible a rebel unit withdrew on its own and the colonel had nothing to do with it. Possibly he acted as a regime double agent. Possibly he backstabbed the rebels on Obama’s orders, which would surprise no one at this point. Everyone—including America’s allies has learned the hard way not to trust any promises from President Red Line. A report from The National (UAE) is the best account of this confusion.

    A quote from JAM explains why the colonel was unpopular with all sides including the FSA and will remind you of how Obama has come to enjoy similar mistrust:

    “Nehmeh was always making promises to everyone, saying that he would get us weapons and ammunition but in the end they never came, or not in the amounts he talked about. He was just a series of empty promises,” said a senior FSA officer. “It might not have been his fault, Nehmeh may have been made empty promises by the MOC but in the end he was the one people saw lying to their faces.”

    DAMASCUS: The Islamic Front claims to have capture regime tanks (plural) in the Mlieha area today.


    I do think the difference between Daraya (the Damascus suburb) and Darra (the provincial capital much further south near the border with Jordan. Nevertheless, with names so similar, I can sometime screw up. A post above on a friendly fire bombing in Daraa is accompanied by a reference to a map of Daraa.

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