The Revolting Syrian-يلا إرحل يا بشار

EVERY SINGLE DAY FOR MORE THAN A YEAR. THIS IS WHAT LIFE IS LIKE. Damascus (Madamiya): Sept 10, 2013 - Non-stop rocket attacks by Assad’s forces continue to rain down on the people in the suburbs of Damascus.

20 days ago Assad’s forces unleashed an apocalyptic attack on the residents of this town with sarin gas.

Today, nothing has changed.

Tomorrow, nothing will either.

In 20 days time? …. nothing.

The world may just wait to ‘act’ when there are no more humans left.

One of several airstrikes by Assad’s forces in another area of Damascus called Barzeh.

International institutions have done little more than count the bodies and conduct generally inconclusive trials of a comically tiny proportion of the offender
A quote from Michael Neuman () on his latest:  A Dozen Bad Reasons For Staying Out of Syria. Read the entire piece here.
This used to be a park in Deir Ezzor, Syria. It’s now a graveyard. All thanks due to Assad’s municipal works program of killing so many Syrians that there is no place to bury people anymore.

This used to be a park in Deir Ezzor, Syria. It’s now a graveyard. All thanks due to Assad’s municipal works program of killing so many Syrians that there is no place to bury people anymore.

Click here for the full report.

Available evidence strongly suggests that Syrian government forces were responsible for chemical weapons attacks on two Damascus suburbs on August 21, 2013. These attacks, which killed hundreds of civilians including many children, appeared to use a weapons-grade nerve agent, most likely Sarin.

The 22-page report, “Attacks on Ghouta: Analysis of Alleged Use of Chemical Weapons in Syria,”documents two alleged chemical weapons attacks on the opposition-controlled suburbs of Eastern and Western Ghouta, located 16 kilometers apart, in the early hours of August 21. Human Rights Watch analyzed witness accounts of the rocket attacks, information on the likely source of the attacks, the physical remnants of the weapon systems used, and the medical symptoms exhibited by the victims as documented by medical staff.

“Rocket debris and symptoms of the victims from the August 21 attacks on Ghouta provide telltale evidence about the weapon systems used,” said Peter Bouckaert, emergencies director at Human Rights Watch and author of the report. “This evidencestrongly suggests that Syrian governmenttroops launched rockets carrying chemical warheads into the Damascus suburbs that terrible morning.”

The evidence concerning the type of rockets and launchers used in these attacks strongly suggests that these are weapon systems known and documented to be only in the possession of, and used by, Syrian government armed forces, Human Rights Watch said.

Human Rights Watch analyzed publicly posted YouTube videos from the attacked areas as well as higher-resolution images of weapon remnants provided by a local activist in Eastern Ghouta.  Two separate surface-to-surface rocket systems believed to be associated with the delivery of chemical agents were identified. The first type of rocket, found at the site of the Eastern Ghouta attacks, is a 330mm rocket that appears to have a warhead designed to be loaded with and deliver a large payload of liquid chemical agent. The second type, found in the Western Ghouta attack, is a Soviet-produced 140mm rocket that, according to reference guides, has the ability to be armed with one of three possible warheads, including one specifically designed to carry and deliver 2.2 kilograms of Sarin.

The Syrian government has denied responsibility for the attacks and has blamed opposition groups, but has presented no credible evidence to back up its claims. Human Rights Watch and arms experts monitoring the use of weapons in Syria have not documented Syrian opposition forces to be in the possession of the 140mm and 330mm rockets used in the attack or their associated launchers.

While Human Rights Watch was unable to go to Ghouta to collect weapon remnants, environmental samples, and physiological samples to test for the chemical agent, it has sought technical advice from an expert on the detection and effects of chemical warfare agents. The expert reviewed accounts from local residents, the clinical signs and symptoms described by doctors, and many of the videos that were taken of the victims of the August 21 attacks.

Three doctors in Ghouta who treated the victims told Human Rights Watch that victims of the attacks consistently showed symptoms including suffocation; constricted, irregular, and infrequent breathing; involuntary muscle spasms; nausea; frothing at the mouth; fluid coming out of noses and eyes; convulsing; dizziness; blurred vision; red and irritated eyes and pin-point pupils (myosis). Some young victims exhibited cyaonis, a bluish coloring on the face consistent with suffocation or asphyxiation. None of the victims showed traumatic injuries normally associated with attacks using explosive or incendiary weapons.

Such symptoms, and the lack of traumatic injuries, are consistent with exposure to nerve agents such as Sarin, Human Rights Watch said. There is laboratory evidence that Sarin gas has been used in a previous attack in April on Jobar, near Damascus, when a photographer for Le Monde newspaper who was present at the time later tested for exposure to Sarin. 

The use of chemical weapons is a serious violation of international humanitarian law. Although Syria is not among the 189 countries that are party to the 1993 Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling, and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction, it is a party to the 1925 Geneva Gas Protocol. Customary international law bans the use of chemical weapons in all armed conflicts.

The August 21 attacks on Ghouta are the first major use of chemical weapons since the Iraqi government used chemical weapons on Iraqi Kurdish civilians in Halabja 25 years ago, Human Rights Watch said.

“The increasingly evident use of chemical weapons in Syria’s terrible conflict should refocus the international debate on deterring the use of such weapons and more broadly protecting Syria’s civilian population,” Bouckaert said.

From the people of Kafranbel, Idleb (Syria). Actual anti-war activists. 

From the people of Kafranbel, Idleb (Syria). Actual anti-war activists. 

Journey for Truth-The Real Images of the Conflict in Syria

With my photos I hope to spread awareness of the devastation of the current situation in Syria

In order to continue my work as a photographer in Syria in the hopes of capturing more images and footage for a potential documentary, I need funding to help with travel costs, camera equipment and advertising to numerous media outlets. I also would like to put on my own photo exhibition so that people can view the images in person.

In addition half of all proceeds will go to the established non-profit The Karam Foundationwhichseeks to enhance the dignity and quality of life of the impoverished and underprivileged by eliminating barriers to success for the Syrian people both within the refugee camps and within Syria itself. http://karamfoundation.com

Because the situation in Syria is growing worse every day it in vital that people in first-world countries have a true understanding of the conflict and the suffering that it brings on the country’s most innocent. That is the ultimate goal of my photos as well as my footage.

Click here to donate at Indiegogo.

Video made courtesy of Luna Vigilo Productions

http://lunavigilo.com/#

The Bloodless Massacre - English Subtitles.

A heartbreaking and short documentary on the chemical attack by Assad’s forces in the Eastern Ghouta area in the suburbs of Damascus.

Where were all the ‘anti-war’ protesters when this happened?

WHERE IS YOUR OUTRAGE?

This is one of thousands of documented videos showing what we, Syrians are outraged about. This is what we have been living under for 40 years. Tyranny, death and humiliation. We’ve had enough. Please help us.

Visit www.syrianoutrage.com and find out how you can help. Find out how you can make a difference. 

***GRAPHIC*** A BOY HAS HIS HEAD BLOWN OFF BY ASSAD’S FORCES WHILE RIDING A MOTORBIKE. Idleb (Taftenaz): Sept 5, 2013 - This town, famous for protesting peacefully right infront of Assad’s forces for many months at the start of the revolution was liberated a long while ago. However, being liberated in Syria does not mean one is safe. It only means that instead of being shot or bludgeoned to death by Assad’s forces, you are instead bombed by his ariforce. 

This morning Assad’s airforce launched an attack on the only standing mosque in this town. The attack killed 6 people, including this young boy who was decapitated while riding his motorbike. 

Thanks @RadioFreeSyria

A Syrian-American writer finds her voice, with help from Libya’s most famous novelist.  

I had two New Year’s resolutions in 2011: to read Leo Tolstoy’sAnna Karenina and Marcel Proust’s In Search of Lost TimeAnna was completed by Jan. 25 — just when our lives turned into a 24-hour TV marathon tuned to Cairo’s Tahrir Square as the world watched a dictator fall in 18 short days. We Syrians knew our country was not Egypt or Tunisia, but when even Libya ignited on Feb. 15, we collectively held our breath with hope. The weeks passed, the uprisings around the Arab world grew larger and more determined, and the seven volumes of Proust slowly collected dust on my nightstand.

Another writer entered my life instead.

I had never heard of Hisham Matar before February 2011. But after reading one of his early op-eds about the Libyan revolution, I immediately downloaded In the Country of Men, his Man Booker Prize-shortlisted novel about a 9-year-old boy in Tripoli whose father is abducted by Muammar al-Qaddafi’s secret police. I finished it in two days. Matar portrayed a Libya that at once cradles the novel’s young protagonist, Suleiman, and disillusions him. It was an intimate introduction to a country I knew virtually nothing about, except that its eccentric dictator with his crazy outfits was definitely worse than our own strongman, Bashar al-Assad. I was taken by the fact that such a courageous book, originally published in Britain and now widely translated, had been released back in 2006, when Qaddafi’s oppressive regime and police network were still strong.

Matar’s personal essays often revolve around an all-too-similar subject: the real-life abduction of his father, Jaballa, a high-ranking Libyan opposition figure who was seized from their family’s home in Cairo in 1990 and imprisoned in Qaddafi’s notorious Abu Salim prison in Tripoli. “My loss is self-renewing, insistent and incomplete,” Matar wrote in one essay, published just after In the Country of Men. “What I want is to know what happened to my father.” But Matar’s demands remained unanswered: He lost contact with his father in 1996 and never found out what happened to him, even after returning to Libya 16 years later in the months following the revolution that toppled Qaddafi.


In that revolution, Matar found new cause for speaking out. On Feb. 15, 2011, during the very first protest in Libya, citizens demonstrating in Benghazi’s streets held up posters of Jaballa Matar and other political prisoners, demanding their release, Matar was told. Over the next few days, demonstrators were shot and killed as they chanted for their rights. “I appeal to Colonel Gaddafi and his security forces,” Matar wrote in the Guardian three days later, “for the sake of the mothers, for the sake of those who died, for the sake of Libya, please don’t shoot and torture your people.” As the revolution progressed, Matar set up a makeshift media office in his London apartment and worked around the clock connecting activists to journalists. When his sources confirmed that regime troops were massing outside Benghazi, preparing to raid the city and potentially kill thousands of Libyans, Matar was one of the voices that called for the international community to help prevent a massacre — “to assist the uprising and limit the soaring loss of innocent life,” as he wrote in the New York Times

Click here to read the rest … 

THE MOMENT A 2ND AIRSTRIKE HITS A CROWDED STREET MOMENTS AFTER THE INITIAL STRIKE. Homs (Rastan): Sept 3, 2013 - The overwhelming feeling of humans to help each-other in time of need is too great of an emotion to ignore. As is almost always the case, after an initial strike by Assad’s forces, locals rush to the scene in order to rescue the injured, knowing full well that Assad’s forces almost always attack the same position twice in order to kill as many people as possible. So is the case as you can clearly see.

It should be noted, that no ‘anti-war’ protester was outraged at this bombing. No so-called ‘leftist’ labeled this strike an atrocity. These people do not utter a word as Assad bombs Syrians every single day. Yet they fiend outrage at a yet to happen event.

Thanks @ANA_Feed

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Like early-morning fog, Iraq hangs heavy over every discussion of military intervention in Syria. It hovers in the background, the ready counter-example, the implied warning.

And, truthfully, the two do look similar. Here, again, a mere decade on, is talk of weapons of mass destruction and the thundering pronouncements from western capitals that something must be done. Here again is the blind moral certainty that the muscular militaries of the West will not “allow” the use of chemical weapons; here again the spectre of the only country to use nuclear weapons fulminating at the use of chemical warfare. Here again the sudden interest in a brutal dictatorship that western countries previously ignored or even feted. Here, again, is the divide among politicians and commentators between timid uncertainty and bellicose bellowing. And here again is the lack of a United Nations mandate and the willingness on the part of America to ignore legal niceties in favour of shattering a city and maybe a whole country.

So there are similarities and it would be foolish to deny them. Iraq and Syria, after all, share a long border and much history. But the idea that military intervention in Syria today is equivalent to the 2003 invasion of Iraq is fanciful. Indeed, it is dangerous. We are rehashing the arguments of the last decade, while Syria burns.

I was against the invasion of Iraq. Not because I liked Saddam Hussein or was in any doubt about the brutality of his regime. Not because I wanted to condemn Iraqis to living under his regime nor because I was against the idea of foreign intervention in general. But it seemed to me in the run-up to the sudden interest in Iraq after the September 11 attacks that two vital questions were not answered, often not even asked: Why Iraq? And why now?

The regime of Saddam Hussein in Iraq in 2003 posed no greater threat to the outside world or to Iraqis than it had the year previously or even the decade previously. It was a brutal dictatorship, no doubt, but it wasn’t clear why it was especially dangerous all of a sudden. If Britain and America were so keen on intervention to “save” the population from a brutal regime, well, there were plenty of other candidates.

The idea that the calculus of risk had changed after September 11 was spurious. Despite Condoleezza Rice’s quip that “we don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud”, there was no evidence that Saddam had nuclear weapons or was on his way to acquiring them. There was no casus belli. Indeed, Tony Blair, in a curiously unguarded moment, admitted that the Iraq invasion had happened only because it could have happened at that point. Meaning that Saddam Hussein had been in America’s crosshairs for years, a bitter foe in the strategically vital Middle East, and now there was an opportunity to remove him. Everything - the weapons of mass destruction, saving Iraqis, women’s rights - all of that was just icing on the cake. The substance was elsewhere.

But Syria today is not Iraq 10 years ago. Most vitally, it is a nation in the midst of a revolution. Ordinary Syrians did not ask for this war, but the Assad regime launched it anyway. For two and a half years, Syrians have been fighting to overthrow him. For two and a half years, they have staved off one of the region’s toughest militaries. Syrians are not asking anyone else to fight this war, they are merely asking for some help. Syria is a burning building and its people are calling for help.

Moreover, there is no ambiguity over Bashar Al Assad’s actions, as there was with Saddam. The only ambiguity is why he unambiguously used chemical weapons. But on everything else, there is no mystery: Mr Al Assad has thrown everything he has at his people, torturing, raping, murdering, and destroying his way through Syria. What ambiguity is there? In Iraq, we didn’t know what Saddam might do. Here we know exactly what Mr Al Assad is doing and we are leaving him to finish the job.

And that’s why the hand-wringing over Syria is so astonishing. Because, while Iraq was bubbling under the surface, Syria is openly in flames. This is not the case of fighting a war of choice for undefined ends. This is a humanitarian intervention to end the massacre of civilians.

In the years after the massacre of Hama in 1982, people asked whether the world should have acted sooner. In Hama, then, perhaps 20,000 people lost their lives in a single, bloody month. In Syria today, five or six times that number, at least, have been killed, in a bloody war that has shattered almost every single major city in the country.

There must come a point where the international community says no more, when the number of civilians killed is so large that it provokes a response. Those who believed that number would have four or five digits have been proved cruelly wrong. The number of dead is well into six figures and keeps rising.

Haunted by its failures in Iraq, the international community sees everything washed in the light of Mesopotamia. The fear of failure has become fatalism.

Unable to see past Iraq, the international community is paralysed by the fog of a past war, even as a cloud of gas descends on Syrian civilians.

falyafai@thenational.ae

On Twitter: @FaisalAlYafai

PLEASE SPARE A THOUGHT FOR THE STARVING CHILDREN LIVING IN THE SUBURBS OF DAMASCUS. Damascus (Madamiya): Sept 2, 2013 - As was the case for a child a few days ago in the same town (see here) please spare a thought when you sit down for your next meal and realize just how lucky you are. Not only do the children who live here face malnutrition, it was only two weeks ago they were gassed by Assad’s forces in addition to the ‘regular conventional’ killing his forces carry out daily.

Thanks @SyriaDayofRage

You Can Make A Difference Today.

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You don’t need money to do it either. You don’t need anything but a little bit of time and some compassion. To those of you that follow my blog and are from the United States, please click on the link below to view a list of your local representatives. These are the people you voted for to represent your opinion in Washington DC. These people are the ones you empowered to speak and act on your behalf. 

I would never ask anyone to vote one way or another, that is up to you and your freedom of choice. Those who visit this blog know where I stand and that I support almost any action that will bring about the end of Assad’s reign of tyranny.

What I will ask of you is to review everything you know about Syria and the suffering we are enduring to make your voice heard and let your representative know how they should vote and lobby in favor (or against) Obama’s planned strikes against Assad.

You will decided whether the strike on Assad will happen or not. Congress is merely your voice. Do what so many other people on Earth don’t have the luxury, privilege or right to do and voice your opinion and tell them how to vote.

Click here, enter your ZIP code and send a letter to your representative and to President Obama: Petition 2 Congress.

You can also click here and find out how to contact your representative directly:

http://www.house.gov/representatives/#state_ne

A TRULY HEARTBREAKING STORY. A DAUGHTER DOES NOT RECOGNIZE HER OWN MOTHER. Damascus (Zamalka): Aug 21, 2013 - The scene opens with the cameraman interviewing a mother who survived the Chemical Attack by Assad’s forces a day earlier in which more than 1,400 people were killed, most in Zamalka. The lady describes how shortly after the shells hit panic ensued as people started to succumb to the gases and in the chaos she was separated from her family and eventually passed out only to find herself here.

Her entire family is missing, most are presumed dead. The cameraman then pans to the little girl next to the lady and asks her what happened and she too explains details from the attack. She then says that her mother covered her with a blanket to protect her from the shrapnel of the shells during the attack and saved her. The man asks where her mother is and she says “she was just here, she came and kissed me on the cheek and left”. Then the cameraman says “Ok, then you should be happy that your mother came!” To which the girl says “Oh I am!”

Then the lady says to the cameraman, “I am her mother … this is my daughter Iw as telling you about earlier … she does not remember me”. The girl then protests “no she is not my mother, I swear to god she is not! my mother was just here and she left!”

Doctors at the clinic then confirm to the cameraman that the girl is indeed the daughter of the lady next to her, but that for some reason she cannot remember and that they think it’s a reaction to the drugs they gave her to counteract the effects of the chemical attack.

Not only is this mother suffering the agony of losing her entire family. But the only surviving member does not even recognize her.

Thanks @syrianhr