Syria Daily, Feb 6: As Insurgents Attack Damascus, Regime Kills More Than 130 Elsewhere


LATEST: Twitter Suspends Account of Insurgent Leader Alloush


Syria Feature: How Iran Tried to Protect Assad From Chemical Weapons Condemnation

In one of the deadliest days in Syria in months, regime operations killed more than 130 people — most of them civilians — while insurgents launched more than 100 rockets into Damascus.

The headline developments were in the capital, with the faction Jaish al-Islam firing the rockets towards military positions in southern Damascus and the regime using mortars in its own attacks, apparently seeking to discredit the insurgency. State media said at least six civilians died and scores were wounded, without giving further details of the locations.

See Syria Daily, Feb 5: Insurgents Begin Rocket Attacks on Regime Forces in Damascus

However, almost all the deaths were from regime operations elsewhere. Even as the insurgents said they were attacking Damascus in response to Syrian airstrikes on civilians in the East Ghouta area near the capital, the bombing continued. More than 40 airstrikes were carried out on Douma, northeast of Damascus, with other deadly aerial, artillery, and mortar assaults nearby.

The Local Coordinating Committees said at least 76 people were killed and hundreds wounded in East Ghouta on Thursday. The Douma attacks left 29 dead, and another 29, mostly women and children, were killed by five airstrikes on a public market in Kafar Batna.

The LCC said shelling struck medical and civil defense centers and several ambulances carrying wounded.

Syrian State news agency SANA does not refer to the civilian casualties — or the airstrikes — preferring to declare, “The Army eliminated scores of terrorists…destroying dens of terrorists in center of Douma.”

In Aleppo Province in northern Syria, 38 people were slain. Most of them died on the Baedeen roundabout in central Aleppo city from a regime barrel bomb that hit a bus.

Eleven deaths were documented in other parts of the country.

A field hospital receives the wounded from the regime attack in central Aleppo:

Meanwhile, insurgents claimed that they killed 30 Hezbollah, Iranian, and Iraqi fighters when they blew up a militia headquarters west of Damascus.

Twitter Suspends Account of Insurgent Leader Alloush

Twitter has suspended the account of Zahran Alloush, the leader of Jaish al-Islam and military commander of the Islamic Front bloc.

Alloush has used the account in the past two weeks to announce both the start and finish of rocket attacks on military positions in Damascus, warning civilians to avoid the regime positions.

Islamic State: American Hostage Killed in Sustained US-Led Coalition Airstrikes on Raqqa

The Islamic State is claiming that an American hostage was killed on Friday in sustained airstrikes by the US-led coalition in and near Raqqa, the jihadists; central position in northern Syria.

Mueller first went to the Turkish-Syrian border area in late 2012, joining the humanitarian organization Support to Life since late 2012 to help civilians fleeing the conflict. She was abducted in August 2013 as she worked in an Aleppo hospital with with Spanish Doctors Without Borders.

The Islamic State demanded a ransom of several million dollars from Mueller’s family, threatening to kill her if the ransom was not paid.

Her name had not been made public at the urging of her family and the FBI.


Abu Ibrahim Raqqawi of the activist group Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently put out a series of reports on Twitter since noon local time about the airstrikes. He said the warplanes were accompanied by drones to spot targets.

The attacks are likely to be framed as part of Jordan’s promised retribution for the execution of one of its pilots, Moaz al-Kasasbeh, by the Islamic State.

Video released by the jihadists this week showed Kasasbeh, whose jet was downed in northern Syria on December 24, being burned to death in a cage.

See Syria & Iraq Audio Analysis: Islamic State’s Burning of Jordanian Pilot Shows Its Strengths — and Its Weaknesses

Insurgents and Kurdish Militia YPG Agree To Fight Against Assad Regime in Aleppo

Insurgents have announced what they hope is a breakthrough deal with the Kurdish militia YPG in Aleppo.

As the two sides have begun fighting together against regime forces, the insurgent Sham Front posted an agreement with provisions on local courts and offices overseeing mosques.

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  1. sad but not surprising death of civilians by the genocidal assad. for other good news part of the join Insurgents and YPG in Aleppo. certainly help kobane FSA was not gratuitous

  2. URGENT! Syria and Allied Dictatorships (Update #1)


    Last night–not long before today’s Syria Daily appeared, I posted a report on the above. It’s a “must read,” along with Ivan’s response and my related analysis/rebuttal. Read both and reach your own conclusions. Yes I want the rebels to win and the regime to go down and I’m an optimist but I believe my analysis is right.

    Go back to the top of the comments section to see all three here:

    I’ll try to find a working link to the Aleppo map to which I alluded. If I find it, I’ll post it directly underneath.


      Rebels destroyed 3 T-72 tanks. 1 BMP & killed 29 #Assad-forces in Tel Kurdi area between Douma and ADRA (!)

      In my response to Ivan, I’ve noted how the timing of the rebel attack near Salimiyeh in conjunction with events in Aleppo and ISIS withdrawals does not suggest mere coincidence. A move on Salimiyeh would make sense given that context. As I also pointed out, a simultaneous move on Adra would add to the regime’s predicament as a look at any map of Syria shows. Again, I have to wonder if this is a coincidence of someone is coordinating better in a nationwide sense.

      Speaking of Adra, any strong rebel presence there or in eastern Qalamoun would also pose the risk of cutting Damacus off from Homs. If the regime moves to counter from Damascus, what happen further south where rebel gains, regime surrenders and defections, sizable and well organized rebel and the alleged flight of the government suggest things are deteriorating fast for the regime. Can it risk shifting forces northward from its core positions in Damascus which is getting shelled from eastern Ghouta?

      This is getting interesting.

      • I forgot to mention source for the Adra item (Markito0171) and to include the following map which shows how close it was to Adra.
        Zoom back further to see why rebel possession of the Adra-Palmyra highway together with Salimiyeh would threaten the regime.

        Meanwhile the sole consequences of Assad’s brutal bombings today in Aleppo and Damascus–an example of Chechnya Strategy misapplied where variables work against it— will be to further motivate the rebels, rather than the reverse s intended. Assad is as much a slow learner as Obama and Putin: leaders who keep trying whatever doesn’t work instead of learning lessons.


        Once upon a tie the regime had plenty of allies with ISIS (now an enemy), Now most such allies are gone or getting hammered while the regime’s own recruiting base is badly attrited and faces lots of grumbling.

        Once upon a time, the rebels had no allies and–in contrast to Assad–only one-tenth as much outside help at best. Now the rebels have a very effective ally in the north and could soon have another in the south. The Druze–like Daraa’s governor–can see which way the wind is blowing and have lots of bones to pick with Assad. Prediction: They’ll wait as long as possible then abandon the Obvious Loser either to jump on the winning side or at minimum declare neutrality to avoid being bombed. Meanwhile instead of being “all-enemy,” ISIS is a half and half job, fighting both rebels and Assad but inflicting far more losses on the latter due to its “unfortunate” and vulnerable geographic locations.


        As rebels continue to grab chunks of the country, they freed up forces for further assaults elsewhere, improved their own supply lines and cut those of the regime. Tank improvements (mostly done in Al Safira) and aircraft improvements (part of Putin’s expensive War on Sunnis) cannot offset this. There is now a 90% probability that the regime will totally lose four provinces (Idlib, Deir Ezzor, Quineitra and Daraa) by the end of 2015. The chances of losing at least one if not more of the following by year’s end also ranks at 90%: Aleppo Province, or Sweida Province or the Palmyra area. The morale effects of any two or more such losses could ring down the curtain before things go that far since regime backers inside and outside Syria may see no point in proceeding further. It’s economic equivalent would be “throwing good money after bad.”


        A major premise the regime depended on was that Hezbollah could save the day, being more talented than Assad’s own militia and much of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA). If so, Hitler’s most talented army, the Sixth, should have won at Stalingrad. Instead only 15,000 returned home to Germany in 1955 out of 300,000. The problem is that urban war against a determined enemy–especially one deeply motivated by one’s own crimes–can neutralize the most “talented” force especially, as in this case, when the talented force is much smaller, overstretched and increasingly battered. The American military pulled it off in Iraq, though will high casualties, but neither Hezbollah or the IRCG is on the same level.

        Hezbollah’s losses are mounting fast as its fighters have had to replace dead Alawite loyalists and replace losses that in theast have fallen on others. Hezbollah is too battered and too spread out trying to save too many “at risk” locations it can’t afford to leave without the ceiling giving way: Qalamoun, Aleppo, Damascus, Iraq (?) and possibly southern Daraa Province. Those casualties, along with other blowback in Lebanon, must undermine Hezbollah’s popularity and that of its leaders (Khamenei, Nasrallah) at home.

  3. The document posted in this article doesn’t say anything about military efforts. It does three things:

    A unified legal system to ensure consistent court procedures.

    The opening of religious jurisprudence offices to deal with mosque affairs in Aleppo and Afrin

    The pursuit of “corrupt” people and looters in order to restore rights to the people and ensure security in liberated areas covered by this agreement (Aleppo and Afrin).

    • As I’ve said, I don’t read arabic and the letter, along with any cooperation it suggests, is only part of the story.

      The Kurds reportedly have agreed to helping Aleppo and have a presence in the operations room. Liberating Aleppo would make them far less vulnerable to ISIS. I think we’d agree that the Kurds might not be willing to help much further south. The Kurds can see five things which Obama and his advisors stubbornly refuse to admit.

      1. The regime absolutely can’t be trusted (true of Obama a well)
      2. On the ground the rebels are far more effective (The YPG-FSA-Coalition Air alliance in Kobane illustrated what might be accomplished with the troublemaking regime out of the picture).
      3. The regime won’t fight ISIS except if attacked by ISIS. Even when it bombs Raqaa, it concentrates on killing civilians as usual.
      4. The regime will attack those who fight ISIS–mainly the rebels but sometimes the Kurds whose civilians it bombed in the northeast.
      5. The regime helped create ISIS and its crimes continue to feed ISIS.

      • Remember when I suggested there had been a deal struck between the US, Turkey and the YPG fro adi to Kobani in exchange for the YPG allying with the FSA against Assad and Daesh?

        Remember when you insisted that was absurd?

    • Jon,

      Apologies for lack of clarity. You are right about the document — the military efforts are coming in practice, at least in certain cases, in Kurds joining insurgents in fighting against regime forces.



    A normal military would employ such forces against enemy fighters. However, Putin assured Assad that “Chechnya” strategy–aimed primarily at civilians and pursued brutally enough, would “force” the opponent to come to the table hat in hand simply because it worked in Chechnya, a rare exception with tremendous variables aiding Russia.

    Assad might have been better advised to note how poorly a similar strategy worked for Hitler everywhere in Russia. Ukrainians who had good reason to hate Stalin–had no choice but to join the war on Stalin’s side. Also, would we have seen the dogged sacrifices of Russian fighters in Stalingrad if not for Hitler’s approach?

    Note that Putin is also employing his one-size-fits-all Chechnya approach in the Ukraine (as Machiavelli said, “Let them hate me as long as they fear me.”).

    Whether Putin will succeed there remains open to question, unlike Syria and Chechnya. What is already clear is that it has already been far more costly to Russia in economic terms because of a key variable that wasn’t present in Chechnya–the reaction of the West and neighbors. It is also certain that Russia will be hated as much by Ukranians as by Chechens, which wasn’t the case earlier.

    Also certain: any hatred will be long lasting while Russia will never recover the economic costs. Ironically he succeeds in taking the Ukraine or parts of it, the economic costs will burden Russia for decades. The greater the destruction, the greater the burden.

  5. Syria and Allied Dictatorships: Update #2



    On ignoring Syria’s role in the rise of ISIS


    Militant: ‘Infidels, Pagans, Half-Naked Women, Musicians, Actors Are Against Us’


    Foreign Affairs Quarterly Explains Why the President’s Days Are Numbered

    Lead paragraph: The longer the Russian war against Ukraine continues, the more likely it is that President Vladimir Putin’s regime will collapse.

  6. If the Alawite/Shi’ite forces are on the retreat (as some posters suggest,) then Iran has a major decision to make. It can reverse the battlefield losses by flying in tens of thousands of Iranian troops (etc.) and reverse the losses but will Iran eventually win the war? I think not. The opposing forces are supported by extremely wealthy nations (SA, the UAE and some Gulf States) and I think that monetary wealth will eventually determine the outcome of the war.

    So what are the remaining options? It can limit/reduce its involvement in the war so that the history books will reflect the outcome as a victory by the Sunnis over the Alawites/Assad regime. The alternative is to attack and destroy the oil producing facilities of SA etc. so that oil wealth does not determine the outcome of the war.

    (An underlying assumption I am making is that Iran would not want future generations of Shi’ites to have to endure the thought that the so-called Takfiris defeated the forces supported by Allah [PBUH])

    • The longer Iran tries to prop up the Quisling Regime the sooner they will themselves fall from power. If they try to invade Syria they will just be flushing what little is left of their money down the pan. Frankly the only Iranian industry that will benefit from Iran getting armpit deep in counterrevolution will be the coffin factories.

      • I think Iran can spell the writing on the wall that it lost Syria, thats why it hasnt given the 3.6 billions dollar credit line Assad is begging for. But I think it took Yemen in its place. One loss in Syria was thus replaced by a win by the Houthis (iranian backed) in Yemen.. there was more news on that front today with the Houthis dismantling the Yemeni Parliament.

        But Obama is still on board for helping the Iranians so he can get his Nuclear “deal.” Obama is making sure that ISIS attrites the FSA/revolution and suck in the Arabs as well. He hopes they will come to beg Assad/Iran for help and the America and Turkey will be the new middlemen making peace with the strong Iranian power and the weak Arabs… but the burning of the pilot has turned the attention on Obama again, will he help destroy ISIS for real or will he just let them grow as he continues to call them a JV team.

        I think its clear if you can ignore what Obama says and just look at what he does, that he is doing everything in his power avoid upsetting Iran… and he does this by calling people who want justice and accountability WAR MONGERS..

        This is a great article on Obama and his Iranian back-deal:

        Its lengthy but worth it I think.

        • Any attempt to predict Iran’s actions has to factor in Khamenei’s health and the possible succession.

          He’s 75 and recently underwent prostate surgery. Rumors about his health have been circulating for years.

          He’s been working for the past few years to shore up the conservatives within the Assembly of Experts who will elect his successor.

          The regime wants a nuclear deal and to avoid escalation of their involvement in Syria to ease any possible challenge to the succession.

        • Great article, just out of touch can Obama be? How has he deluded himself and his gang into believing Iran will do anything to help them? In the Horrible Histories tv show they do a sketch of the 2nd world war as a news report, and news man Bob Hale has a great line that ring home to Obama in Iran “Adolf’s got invasion fever after conquering Poland, he takes over Denmark, Norway, Holland, Belgium and then France…and after promising that he would never ever invade Russia he then goes ahead and invades Russia. Honestly its like we can’t trust him or something”.
          Still since Obama will be out in about two years the wannabe-Sassanids will be in for a shock, since I doubt any new President Republican or Democrat will sucker up to Iran like this even if Jimmy is re-elected. But since the blood Baath is being drained so much recently(boy that pun never gets old) I don’t actually think Bashar’s black heart will still be beating by the time of the next election.

  7. In case anyone is wondering why the Kurdish fighters are sometimes called YPJ instead of YPG its because YPG is the men fighters while YPJ is the women fighter since in Kurdish culture has no barriers on women fighting, while they still many in Arab and to a lesser extent Western.

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