Forums - Politics Discussion - The Syrian Civil War Update Thread

http://www.hrw.org/news/2013/06/04/syria-stream-bodies-aleppo-s-river

Excerpts:

Interviews with 18 families of the victims about their last known whereabouts further support the conclusion that the executions likely took place in the government-held area, Human Rights Watch said. Of the 18 cases investigated, 17 families told Human Rights Watch that their relatives had last been seen in a government-controlled area or after they set out to cross into the area through two checkpoints, one manned by opposition forces and the other by government forces.

“Mohammed,” 26, a shop owner in the opposition-controlled area, disappeared on March 5. A relative who spoke to Human Rights Watch said that government forces had briefly detained and beaten Mohammed at the main government checkpoint 10 days earlier. Even though the government soldiers had warned him to not use the checkpoint again, he decided to accompany his mother-in-law through the checkpoint to the government-controlled area so that she could take a bus to her home in the Sheikh Maqsoud neighborhood. Mohammed never returned after he left his mother-in-law at the bus station. 

On January 7, “Ahmed,” a 27-year-old merchant, and his nephew crossed the dividing line, as they had done before, to buy goods in the government-controlled area for their shop. After they arrived in the government-controlled area, Ahmed and his nephew separated. Ahmed did not return, and his body was found in the river on January 29. 

In a similar case, “Mahmoud,” 30, disappeared on March 9 when he left his home in the opposition-controlled area for a market in the government-controlled area where he was planning to buy supplies for his business. His father, who does not know whether he reached his destination, became worried when he didn’t come back as usual around 2 p.m.

A retired forensic expert working with the opposition told Human Rights Watch that he had examined more than 120 of the bodies and that the vast majority of the victims had been killed by gunshot wounds to their head, which in some cases had significantly disfigured the victims’ faces, making identification difficult. The expert said that the significant damage caused by the gunshots indicated that the victims had been shot at close range.

Nearly all the bodies had their hands tied behind their backs with wire or tape, or marks on their wrists indicating that their wrists had been tied, he said. In some cases, the victims’ feet were tied together as well. Most victims’ mouths were sealed with tape. Some bore small burn marks that could have stemmed from an electric shock or cigarette, he said.

A Human Rights Watch examination of more than 350 photographs of the bodies supported the forensic expert’s findings. Many of the photographs show victims with their hands tied behind their back, gunshot wounds to their head, and tape across their mouth.    

The dates for which the photos and videos show the highest number of victims were January 29 (57 bodies), January 30 (27), March 10 (21) and March 11 (10).

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2013/06/2013655429874831.html 3 weeks for the full might of the Syrian military and 5000 of Hizb Allah's hardest fighters to take a town of twenty thousand. And that's with unstoppable air strikes too. The town falls on the crossroads of many key roads and near the border with Lebanon. This is a major regime victory and Hizb Allah is now ready to get involved in more battles which will drag Lebanon into more of the Syrian mess.

http://www.naharnet.com/stories/en/85767-syrian-air-raid-targets-arsal-suleiman-urges-respect-of-lebanon-s-sovereignty

"Syrian regime forces carried out an air raid on the northeastern town of Arsal on Wednesday, with a report saying that helicopters targeted a house owned by a man from al-Hujairi family.

The attack drew the condemnation of President Michel Suleiman, who urged Syria to “respect Lebanon's sovereignty and not to endanger its citizens."

Voice of Lebanon radio (93.3) said that two rockets targeted the house but only one exploded. The raid did not cause casualties.

The state-run National News Agency said three other rockets landed in the town's outskirts, causing material damage only."

Thank you Assad for not being satisfied with bombing your own cities from the air and starting to bomb other countries. I'm sure his defenders will still defend him though. And still no UN or NATO no fly zone over Syria.



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3 threads on syria in the last hour

cant all this go in one thread?

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Hrm. Kowenicki is right. I'm going to dump the other two OPs into this one, and shut down the other two threads.

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Bumping. Apparently Hezbollah's intervention in Assad's favor has boosted his fortunes significantly, as they've now seized the town of Qusair on the Lebanese border.

http://uk.reuters.com/article/2013/06/05/uk-syria-crisis-idUKBRE9530VB20130605

Bad sign in there is that the Free Syria Army's saying they want to go after Hezbollah on Lebanese soil.

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I posted an article about that earlier. Hizb Allah's full blown intervention is a huge boost for Assad. While this town is located at an important crossroads, it's also tiny. 20 to 30 thousand people live there. It took the Assad forces and thousands of Hizb Allah fighters 3 weeks to take this town with air strike support (at much higher casualty rates than Hizb Allah expected).

I think in the short time that HA has been involved on a grand scale in Syria they've lost more of their fighters than the whole 2006 Israeli-Hizb Allah war. Two Hizb Allah ministers' sons have been injured in the fighting, one of them severely. The casualty numbers for Hizb Allah were upwards of 140 a week or two ago.

Since HA's larger scale involvement, the FSA has started launching rockets and mortars into Lebanon, specifically into areas that Hizb Allah controls (like Hermel and Baalbeck). When Hizb Allah first joined the war it was denied by their leadership (until enough coffins returned and funerals were held, Funerals were being held for members with no explanation where they were dying since there is no current war with Israel). Then it was justified under the guise of protecting Shia Lebanese living in Syria from extremist Sunnis then it was to defend Shia holy sites.

Since their involvement in taking over Qusayr (a majority Sunni town) their new explanation is much more honest and now they claim to be fighting to save Assad because he is an ally and is a funnel for arms to the terrorist organization. Of course they blame everything happening in Syria on Israel and America (as usual).

So now you have Shia terrorist jihadists versus Sunni terrorist jihadists from Lebanon killing each other in Syria and in Tripoli (in the north of Lebanon). The last delusional facade that Hizb Allah maintained of being a national resistance movement to defend Lebanon from attack by Israel was shattered years ago for the Lebanese when they decided to use their weapons to take over Beirut to enforce their politics on the rest of the country, but now maybe the whole Arab world can see this illusion destroyed as well as they are spending their time killing other Arabs and Muslims.

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Rebels have captured the Quneitra border crossing between Syria and Israel in the Golan heights according to a Lebanese paper citing army radio.

Edit: Israeli media reporting on it now.

http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/syrian-rebels-capture-only-border-crossing-with-israel-s-golan-heights-1.528105

This is the only border crossing between Syria and Israel. 



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An exciting turn of events in the war now that Hezbollah has entered the conflict for real.

I wonder if Hezbollah really has sent as much as 5,000 fighters in Syria though. That's a lot of very well trained guerilla warfare combatants.

and it continues, i wonder if it spread to other countries. There seems to be alot of border clashes, especially with Lebanon and Turkey. And Turkey is possibly facing it's own revolt right now

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What is happening in Turkey is no different than protests in America or France or any democracy. The party in control won almost 50% of the vote in the last election (the highest in recent Turkish history) but of course it has a segment of the population that opposes it. This is pretty far from a revolt. When the Occupy movement began (which the Turkish revolts are also linked to) did people say it was a revolution?

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Slimebeast said:
An exciting turn of events in the war now that Hezbollah has entered the conflict for real.

I wonder if Hezbollah really has sent as much as 5,000 fighters in Syria though. That's a lot of very well trained guerilla warfare combatants.

The 5000 number is from the rebels, the numbers I've heard about have gone anywhere from 1500 to 5000. The truth is probably somewhere in the middle, but Hizb Allah is the most capable and organized guerilla fighting force in the world and they do have thousands of highly trained fighters with experience fighting in Lebanon and against Israel. But on Lebanese television last thursday, a pro Hizb Allah journalist said that the group sacrificed 1200 of its own in the battle which is a very high number of dead for a group that isn't used to high casualties. 



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