Intellectuals, Help Syrians! (By Yassin Al Haj Saleh)

Introduction by OTW


Syrian Opposition Intellectual Yassin Al Haj Saleh, who spent 16 years in the Assad dynasty regime jails as political prisoner.

A few weeks back, I posted a medical report from Yassin Al Haj Saleh, the Syrian intellectual and winner of  Prince Claus Award for 2012, in which he described the chemical weapon attack by the forces of war criminal Bashar al-Assad in the Eastern Ghouta region of Damascus country side. For a few months, Yassin lived there among the people of the Eastern Ghouta, and he recently summed up his experiences there to cast light on what is happening, and at the same time to issue a last call, or better yet, a plea for decency and humanity to western intellectuals and public opinion makers admonishing them to actively take the only humane and progressive act, which is to support the overthrow of the Assad criminal clan and crime partners and to force the stoppage of importing killers from the regime’s allies in Lebanon, Iraq, Iran, and elsewhere. Yesterday, Yassin’s letter was published in the French newspaper Le Monde under the title “Intellectuels, aidez les Syriens !” after being translated from Arabic to French by the Lebanese intellectual and supporter of the Syrian Revolution, Professor Ziad Majed and his colleague Nadia Aissaoui. The letter, written on June, 28, 2013,  appeared earlier today in its Arabic  original in the Republic for Syrian Revolution Studies as well as in the Lebanese newspaper النهار . I tried to find English translation and failed, so I translated the letter from Arabic to English. I do apologize for the rough edges of the translation, and would be more than happy to replace the text with better translation if someone is kind enough to edit it.

Rabi Tawil (AKA Abu Kareem) has kindly offered to edit the translation. The version posted on (8 July, 2013) is the result of his kind and generous help.  It definitely reads much better.

Update: on 10, July, 2013, an official Spanish version of the letter appeared under the title “Carta sobre Siria a los intelectuales y líderes de opinión en Occidente” in the Spanish newspaper ELMUNDO.

Intellectuals, Help Syrians! 

By Yassin Al Haj Saleh

A letter from Syrian writer Yassin Al Haj Saleh to Western Intellectuals and Opinion Makers.

Dear friends

About three months ago, I headed to the “liberated” Eastern Ghouta region, leaving behind the capital city of Damascus where life has become suffocating. My clandestine departure necessitated weeks of prior-arrangements in a city , which had been dismembered by hundreds of security barricades, and which Bashar al-Assad is determined to keep as the center of the rule he inherited from his father thirteen years ago.

The Eastern Ghouta region is now inhabited by nearly half of  out of the two million who lived there before the revolution. It has been transformed during the past three months from a bastion  where the armed revolution was first launched in the capital  into an area besieged from all sides. This reversal is largely due to the military and logistical support of  the regime has received from Russia and Iran and from Lebanese and Iraqi Militia that are connected to the latter state. During that time, I myself witnessed the cruel lack of weapons, ammunition and even adequate food supply on the side of the rebel fighters. Many of the fighters on the fronts barely receive two meals a day. If they weren’t mostly local residents defending their towns and their families and living off what also sustains their families, the situation would have been immeasurably worse


Destruction of lives and livelihood are the hallmarks of the Assad clan response to the Syrian uprising., The photo was uploaded today (7, July, 2013) showing the aftermath of one of Assad’s bombing raids earlier today in the Eastern Ghouta.

The towns and villages which I visited and lived in during the past months are subjected to daily random shelling from airplanes, artillery and rocket launchers. Every day, victims, a majority of whom are civilians, succumb to the violence.  I spent a month at a civil defense authority site, and there, I saw all of those who were killed. Some of them, including children, were blown into unrecognizable pieces. Among the victims was a fetus of six months whose mother suffered a miscarriage from the the terror she suffered during the shelling near her house. Not a day went during that month without civilians getting killed. Usually it is two or three, but on one day it was 9, 28 on another, and 11 on a third. The numbers killed continue to rise and they are rarely less than half a dozen a day, again including a small fully formed fetus. It was said that he was also six month old, also miscarried by yet another terrorized mother.

In addition to civilians, many young fighters die every day to the weapons of a brutal and more powerful military force that receives  far superior support than they do.

The whole region has been without electricity for 8 months. This has caused a reliance on frequently malfunctioning generators with excessive consumption of fuel, which in itself is becoming increasingly scarce commodity due to the tight blockade. Consequently, cooling and storage of food, vitally necessary in the scorching summers of the region, must be dispensed with. Cellular and landline connections are cut-off;and in recent weeks, flour has become scarce. Two weeks have now passed during which we had barely ate any bread,getting by with crushed wheat or rice instead, or by purchasing our meals from the few restaurants that remain.

For my part, I was content with two meals a day, at least temporarily, as it helped reduce my weight by around 10 Kilos (nearly 21 pounds)

We manage communications via Satellite Internet equipment, smuggled in with great difficulty. We use the equipment to deliver news and information to other Syrians and to the world. Such communication equipment is, however, available to only a small percentage of the population. A shell landed nearby few days ago and disrupted the internet connection for some time. It could have been much worse had the shell  landed on our roof and destroyed two month worth of efforts to secure the equipment. But the ultimate tragedy happens every day to an increasing number of inhabitants. Hastily buried, their funeral processions are joined by few hasty mourners, terrorized by the prospect of another shell falling upon their heads. Such has happened more than once; and in one case, which I witnessed, the martyr was buried within less than an hour of his death without his wife and children taking a final look at him. His body was mutilated and some of his limbs were missing, prompting the elders to decide that this should not be the last sight of him to remain in his  wife’s and childrens’ memory.

We, I and a number of friends, both men and women, are still alive. In Damascus we were threatened with arrest and horrific torture which we may not survive. Here we are safe from that, but not from a shell falling on our heads at any time.

Here, we are partners with nearly a million people having lost complete control of our own destiny, and constantly at the edge of the  abyss of the worst possibilities. Each time I reach the threshold of the house returning from the outside, I feel that I have barely survived death by a shell or a  shrapnel.  And yet  death remains a probability entering randomly through the window or the door.

Today, Friday, June 28, three mortars fell between twelve noon and twelve thirty  on a place not far from where we are staying. The timing is too close to the Friday prayer time observed by faithful Muslims, to be a coincidence. I was most struck in my early days here that calls for Friday prayers in one mosque started about nine thirty in the morning, three hours earlier than the usual time, and this were followed by calls from other mosques each within a half an hour of the next. When I inquired about it, I received a surprising explanation: “The purpose is to avoid gathering large numbers of worshipers in the city’s mosques at any specific time to deprive the regime of the opportunity to kill maximum number of people as it usually desires”. The regime has done this before, in the city where I stayed, there are five destroyed mosques.

More painful is that more than two-thirds of the children here do not attend school, their parents fearing for their safety or  because of the the lack of schools nearby. The few functioning schools operate in underground cellars to avoid bombardment.  But this also prevents the children from playing and running in the open air.

All of the hospitals are also underground.

People engage in this struggle with a sense of desperation because of they realize that a terrible massacre awaits them if the regime succeeds in regaining control. Those not murdered immediately will face arrest and torture that is extreme in its brutality. Their choices are limited to death while resisting the fascist aggression of the criminal regime or death, in the ugliest of manners, at the hands of this same regime if they stop resisting.  The  souls of people shiver, as my own soul shivers from its depth at the mere thought of being ruled by the same regime once again, should the people stop their resistance.

During this long stretch in the life of the Syrian revolution, which has gone through a peaceful phase lasting for more than six months, the outcome of the policies of the influential powers of the world were to let Syrians be murdered at an escalating rate, and to reassure the regime that it can do anything with complete impunity. This is reminiscent of the Western Democracies’ behavior regarding Hitler before the Second World War. The current situation is a direct consequence of the failure of those influential powers to support the Syrian rebels, whilst failing to stop the support for the regime from the powers that provide it with  weapons, money and men, even as they continue to step up their support by intervening more openly and directly. Finally, after it became known to the whole world that the Assad clan regime used chemical weapons, which I myself documented two months ago,  as did other friends on the basis of personal experience, and after the regime was assured that its use of air power and long-range missiles against cities and neighborhoods will result in  nothing but faint and timid protest; after all of this,  Western powers decided to support the Syrian rebels with weapons. However, the objective of this support is to restore balance, a balance that they helped tip in the regime’s favor  in the first place.  Restoring balance means prolonging the Syrian conflict so that both sides lose in ways that have known  precedents in the history of Western Democracies, while what is needed is support that guarantees the overthrow of the regime, or at least force its allies to back-off from supporting its openly criminal war.

Restoring balance is not just a short-sighted policy leading not only to prolonging the conflict, but it is utterly inhumane  as well. There are no two equal evils in Syria, as it is unfortunately portrayed in the Western media, and contrary to what United Nations and international organizations reports, notwithstanding that the Syrian conflict is not one between demons and angels.  There is a tyrannical fascist regime, which has murdered approximately 100,000 of its subjects, and there is a varying spectrum of those rebelling against it. The prolonging and increasing cruelty of the conflict has radicalized some of the rebel groups, whilst weakening the resilience of the Syrian society to extremism. The longer the Syrians are left to their fate, the more likely extremists gain strength and  the moderating logic and rationality among Syrians weakens. From both field and personal experience, this is what is actually happening. At the Civil Defense Authority, and whenever new martyrs fell, especially children, I am met with reproachful looks. These looks are from people  who are skeptical about the value of the calm and “rational” words I usually utter and about their utility in such circumstances.

There is only one correct approach that is in the general interest of Syria and from a humanitarian point of view, and that is to help Syrians get rid of the rule of the Assad dynasty that is acting as if it owns the country and as if Syrians are merely its serfs.  Everything will be difficult in post-Assad Syria, but ridding the country of the public criminal incites more moderate interactions within the Syrian society, and allows Syrians to stand in the face of the extremists among them. It is immeasurably worse to prolong the conflict and extend its human and material costs. Even worse is to watch Syrians being murdered with Russia’s weapons, at the hands of local thugs, as well as Lebanese and Iranian militias. Worse also is to impose a settlement that does not punish the criminals, and that doesn’t seriously address any of Syria’s problems.

I hear American and Western politicians sometimes say that there is no military solution to the conflict in Syria. But where is the political solution? And when did Bashar al-Assad , after about 28 months of the revolution, and after the murder of about 100,000 people, state that he was actually ready for serious negotiations with the opposition and to share power? When did he refrain, even for a single day, from committing murder  in the past 850 days? The truth is that there is no political solution without forcing the slaughterer to step down, now and immediately, and along with the leaders of the slaughter in his regime. While this may give rebellious Syrians something important, which is what they have demanded from the outset by peaceful means, it strengthens the position of moderates in their ranks, making it possible to isolate the extremists, leading to a fair Syrian settlement, something that is badly needed in the region, the world, and by Syrians  before anyone else.

Dear friends

We would not have called upon you if it wasn’t for the fact that the Syrian issue is one of the major and most dangerous issues of the world in recent decades. It has caused the uprooting and internal and external displacement of about a third of the population. There are hundreds of thousands of wounded and disabled, and up to quarter of a million prisoners are subjected to horrific torture, including the raping of women and children as documented in the reports of Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, and by the more reliable of Syrian organizations. The Assad forces have committed numerous massacres, some of which were documented in United Nations reports. All of this so that a ruler, who inherited power without right and without merit from a father who seized power by force and ruled the country with blood,can remain.

Today, we look to you as leaders of public opinion in your countries to pressure your governments to take a strong stand against the killer, a stand that supports the overthrowing the regime of the Assad dynasty. This is the only humanitarian and progressive thing to do. There is nothing more reactionary and fascist in today’s world than a regime that kills its own people, brings in killers from its allied countries and organizations, and incites a sectarian war, which while easy to incite, may be impossible to halt before it it leads to the death of hundreds of thousands of people.

We look forward to your support today. Tomorrow may be too late.

Yassin Al Haj Saleh
June 28, 2013
Eastern Ghouta, Damascus, Syria

translation by OTW and Rabi Tawil (Abu Kareem)


Posted on July 7, 2013, in Bashar Al-Assad, Crimes Against Humanity, Extremism, Geneva 2, Intellectuals, Syria, Syrian Regime Crimes Against Humanity, UN and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 139 Comments.

  1. ‏@lamoosh_82 22h

    يا أغبى و اندل خلق بهالمعمورة ، اذا المعارضة الي ضربت الكيماوي كيف لسا معتبرين عندكم نظام ؟؟ كيف معتبرين عندكم قائد

  2. Nader ‏@DarthNader

    After every massacre by Assad, Syrians have to deal with same BS: “Yeah, but who benefits?” “Strange timing.” “It’s probably photoshopped.”

    I mean, we should really ask ourselves, who benefited the most from white phosphorus attacks against Gaza? Why would Israel do such a thing?

    There’s many ppl who think that a reasonable reaction to a massacre of 100s by chemical weapons is to comment on the “strange timing.”

    Even with all this, even with 100s of videos & eyewitness accounts from CW attack, some have the gall to say it may be an orchestrated plot.

  3. تنسيقية حي العمارة
    ‏@AmaraaBaghdad 3h

    #Syria عـاجــل : المكتب الطبي في الغوطة الشرقية : عشرة الاف إصابة و 1466 شهيدا حصيلة نهائية في #الغوطة_الشرقية من كارثة الكيماوي البارحة.

  4. Breaking News:
    Resignation of all heads of fronts of the Free Syrian Army from the Supreme Military Council. Exposing so called Arab and Muslim friends whom voluntarily promised to help. Saudi Arabia at the helm..

  5. Thomas Pierret
    @ajaltamimi I didn’t say they’re nationalists, only that they’ve been increasingly stressing the Syrian character of their struggle.

    Joshua Landis ‏
    @ThomasPierret @ajaltamimi @Charles_Lister Hard to call even FSA nationalists when they call Shiites, “Majous”, ie, Crypto-Iranians.

    Thomas Pierret ‏
    @joshua_landis Syrian Shia are minuscule group. Rebels r mostly faced with Shiites that are Iranians or Iran-backed Lebanese/Iraqi militias

    Joshua Landis
    @ThomasPierret The term Majous is indiscriminately used to refer to Shiite linked groups: Alawi, Druze and Lebanese Shiites.

    Thomas Pierret ‏
    @joshua_landis All the material I’ve seen/heard suggest that Syrian insurgents don’t consider Alawites/Druzes as “Shia”

    Joshua Landis ‏
    @ThomasPierret But don’t they call them #Majous or Crypto-Iranians, denying both their religious and ethnic belonging to the Syrian nation?

    Thomas Pierret
    @joshua_landis I’ve never heard ‘Majous’ for Alawites; as for the Syrian nation, RIP, alas

    Thomas Pierret
    @joshua_landis Asad supporters cheering #CWattack on Ghuta r not exactly sign of healthy Syrian nation either

    Joshua Landis
    @ThomasPierret Very true

  6. Syrians do not differentiate between a Syrian Alawite accomplice or a Syrian Sunni accomplice. Joshua Landis must stop playing the referee.

    Read the comments below about a Syrian Sunni elitist who is cheering the CW attacks, asking for more. The bastard: Louay Mardam Bey..

    لؤي مردم بيك المقرب من رئاسة الجمهورية وصديق أسماء ومستشارها في شؤون المشتريات والديكور .
    هذا ما كتبه اليوم علي صفحته وهو سعيد باستخدام الكيمياوي


    Posted أغسطس 22, 2013 at 7:32 مساء

    ياشباب هذا الكلب اللي كتب هيك—سني ابن سني—وعند ابوه مرعة في الغوطة تمتد على مساحة 300دونم من الاشجار المثمرة—اهالي الغوطة يعاملونهم بكل احترام وطيبة ولم يبدر منهم اي اساءة لمعاذ مردم بيك ابو هالكلب لؤي وبالعكس عندما مات بشر اخو هالكلب من شي 8 سنين تقريبا لم يجد الا اهل عربين والنشابية والغوطة ليحملو نعشه ويدفنوه في مقبرة الدحداح————لؤي الكلب انسى ان لك مزرعة في الغوطة وانسى محلاتك في الحميدية وانسى شركة الديكور تبعك —-والله لنحولهم لوقف لضحايا الكيماوي اللي تتغنى به ياكلب لعنة الله عليك—–
    Posted أغسطس 22, 2013 at 6:26 صباح

    أوغاد و حثالات و من أقذر ما خلق الله على مر التاريخ, , يباركون لربهم النجس بشار و كلابه قتل الأطفال و النساء و الشيوخ و يشمتون و يحتفلون, محال أن هذه الضباع النتنة تنتمي إلى الجنس البشري. أسأل الله أن يذيقهم ما يتمنون أن يهربوا منه إلى جهنم نفسها, فهؤلاء جهنم قليلة عليهم .
    نبيل السوري
    Posted أغسطس 22, 2013 at 6:22 صباح

    هذا هو مثال الدمشقي القذر الذي وضع عنقه ببسطار السلطة وأمثاله أوصلونا إلى ما نحن عليه
    هذا السافل وأمثاله لا يطيب لهم المقام إلا تحت البسطار
    لكن بسطار الثورة سيدعس رقبة هكذا أوغاد
    وبالنهاية لن يصح إلا الصحيح

  7. Young Syrian children are experiencing firsthand the stressful times their parents are living.
    SO CUTE!

    The daughter of a Syrian television anchor suddenly showed up on camera while her mother was presenting the news to give her a mobile phone.

    Presenter Lina Alloush, who works for the Morocco-based Medi 1 TV, reportedly didn’t hear from her family in Aleppo for days. When she finally received the long-waited phone call, her daughter couldn’t resist but take the phone hastily to her mother.

    A surprised Alloush paused for a second and continued presenting the news.

  8. Dear OTW,

    I saw this video and thought to share it with you, may Tamer and all of Syria’s nobel martyrs rest in peace.


  10. لو ابقينا جورج صبرة رئيسا للمجلس الوطني ورفعنا ميشيل كيلو لرئاسة الائتلاف ٫ وعينا جورج كاسوحة رئيسا لهيئة والاركان ٫ وكلفنا ميشيل سطوف بتشكيل الحكومة ٫ فلن ننجح في اقناع البابا بحسن نوايانا اتجاه كل مكونات وطيوف الشعب السوري ٫ فقد اثبت تاريخ العالم انه يستحيل ان تقنع من لا يريد ان يقتنع

  11. Are you for or against military intervention in Syria after ASSad horrendous crimes against his own people? Very few selected Tweets. They are very telling..

    *A regime that used Scud missiles, cluster bombs & knives to slaughter children will use anything to survive!

    *Those who denied Syrians weapons & no-fly zones for 2.5 years will never act in the interests of Syria or Syrians.

    *Any military intervention on the ground will hijack the revolution, protect what’s left of Assad gangs & divide Syria

    *Half the people in the West don’t even know what Syrians want. They think the FSA want NATO soldiers on the ground. They just want weapons.

    Amal Hanano, tweeted this:

    *For the record, it’s the last place we wanted to be (re: intervention) 2 1/2 years ago. But we also didn’t want our children gassed.

    Followed by this:

    *Dear US: we welcome your help, just don’t pretend that it’s about saving Syria and not face.

  12. majedkhaldoun

    In Lebanon two pro Assad regime criminals were arrested, obviously Assad is behind the crime bombs in Tripoli, and may be in Dahiyeh

  13. Jihad Makdissi interviewed on BBC Radio..

    Is he speaking as an ordinary citizen, now?

    His recommendations for both sides to come together to the negotiation table in light of the hideous crime, Gassing Syrians, NO longer an option. Today, 1300 perished in seconds, tomorrow..?

    The use of WMD in full daylight puts the International Community under real pressure to take a stance. Ignoring this hideous crime will take the World back to the dark ages.

    ASS-SADISM has already taken Syria back to the dark ages, and he is ready to put the whole planet on fire, merely for his survivor and Nations’ dirty games.

    Syrians are not the only ones taken hostage by Assad, the whole world is!

    Ordinary citizens must demand an immediate action.

  14. Hussain Abdul Hussain: “World moves to punish Assad because he threatens world peace with his chemical weapons, not because he kills Syrians with them.”

  15. The American-led attack being contemplated should not be done as punishment for the Syr. Regime’s CW use. It needs to be an ultimatum to the regime and to all the other parties to stop the violence, the killing, the destruction. In other words, they should say -to the regime mostly- “unless you stop waging war on your people we will destroy your ability to make war.”

    We have no need or use for punishment strikes, but ultimately the west will do what is in their (and their ally, Isreal’s) interest, and not because Syria threatens world peace, either.

    BTW, all this noise about strikes against the regime might lead to (intended?) consequences in the form of vicious attacks on the opposition forces between now and the time the strikes eventuate. It is like telling the Assadist murderers to strike really hard while they can!

  16. You can be sure that in case of attack on the regime in Damascus, its retaliation and revenge attacks will mostly fall on the weakest people in Syrian society, such as communities with suspected loyalty in the coastal region, mainly but not limited to Sunni ones. Homs will be another focus. The planned attacks need to be strong enough to sap the regime’s strength and leave it unable to continue its murderous campaign against the people. Otherwise we will be left with a wounded mad, rabid dog that is going to bite anything that is anywhere in the vicinity.

  17. MGB, well said.

    ..but, do you really think the Americans will leave us a rabid wounded dog? Are they as heinous as Ass**?

    Are we their real enemy or is Assad the defiant theirs?

  18. Ming Holden ‏: “This is my 1st time supporting a US military strike. Not a position I take lightly. There’s no bloodless end to a CW-wielding dictator’s war”

    Me too?! From all places, Syria! sad..

    To our Syrian Martyrs…..


  19. majedkhaldoun

    limited attack is just like taking the knife from the thief but let him free,Assad is bent on killing the opposition, CW can defeat the rebels, he will get help from persia, money, arms and more aircrafts, he will quickly repair the airports, soon back to killing Syrians, he must go

  20. Obama and Cameron and Hollande, along with Harper and Rudd, keep telling us that Assad’s use of chemical weapons must not go unpunished. Fair enough, but this punishment they are planning, will it really fall on Assad and his gangsters, or mostly on the Syrian People and the country’s infrastructure and installations paid for with their blood, sweat and taxes. True, the ruling mafia has been the chief financial beneficiary of whatever is publicly owned in Syria, but the loss of such infrastructure will surely set the country back generations and cement into place decades of dependency on foreign (Arab and non-Arab) charity.

    Syrians do not want or need punishment of this sort. They want and badly need their country free from the clutches of the Assadist mafia and dictatorship: they need help with regime change. They can accomplish it themselves without the need for Western cruise missile attacks if they are given the proper weapons and the backing to wrest control back from the oppressors. A no-fly zone in the south and another one in the north also would be great help. Most of all, a solid, serious unwavering commitment from the West to the revolutionaries, similar to the one that Iran and Russia had given the regime, would assure the people fighting for freedom that they will not be abandoned mid-way through. Let the Syrians fight their own fight, but give them the means to make the fight a fair one. Bombing a few targets here and there over a couple of days to show the West’s displeasure at Assad’s naughty toying with chemical weapons will achieve nothing.

    This leads one to ask the question: does the West really want the Assadist regime to go and be replaced by a new Syria controlled by the will of the people?

    I see that NZ has posed the question already; the answer will be known probably in a week’s time. I cannot say I can free myself of my cynicism and expect the answer to my question above to be in the negative.

    And btw, according to posts on fb, the regime has already made another cw attack on Jobar just a few hours ago, so the rabid dog is already lashing out as we expected.

  21. It is more like taking the knife from the hand of the murderer and letting him go free with a hatchet and a gun under his coat, AND the key to a weapons store!

  22. كتب برهان غليون Burhan Ghalioun says the same thing we are saying :

    أود أن أحذر قادة الدول المجتمعة اليوم في عمان لتقرير ما يمكن عمله، من التفكير بضربة – حتى لو كانت موجعة – لا هدف لها سوى تبرئة الذمة من دم السوريين، أو تقليم أظافر الأسد للحد من أذاه. لن يكون نتيجة مثل هذه الضربة الاستعراضية سوى إعطاء حجج جديدة للأسد كي يزيد انتقامه من الشعب السوري واعتبار نفسه طليق اليدين في استخدام كل الوسائل الأخرى لإبادته وتدفيعه ثمن هذه الضربة.

    ينبغي أن يكون ماحدث من جريمة مروعة منطلقا لتحرك دولي شامل من أجل إنهاء المأساة السورية برمتها، وفي أساسها وجوهرها، سعي نظام الأسد الفاشي والفاسد إلى البقاء في السلطة مهما كان الثمن.

    ليس المطلوب عملا عقابياً أو انتقامياً من هذا النظام الذي يستخدم الجريمة وسيلة للحكم منذ عقود، وإنما خطة لتغيير الوضع القائم، والذي لم يعد يحتمل، لا من قبل الشعب السوري ولا من قبل الشعوب المرعوبة المحيطة بها.

  23. The rush to kill and destroy before the cruise missiles start raining down is already turning into action in Homs

    حمص- المنطقة المحاصرة / 28-8-2013 /
    حالة حرب حقيقية تشهدها المنطقة حيث قامت عصابات الاسد بإستهداف حي جورة الشياح بصاروخ ارض ارض وسط قصف عنيف بمختلف انواع الاسلحة يتزامن مع اشتباكات بالاسلحة الفردية و المتوسطة بين مجاهدين حمص الأبطال و بين عصابات الاسد التي تحاول اقتحام المنطقة و تقوم برمي الإسطوانات المعدلة المليئة بمادة ( tnt ) الشديدة الانفجار لتدمر ابنية المدينة بالكامل

    ….. الخالدية …..

  24. david frum ‏ 22 Aug

    “Syria problem more hideous but no easier than before chemical gassing: Assad is a murdering brute; plausible alternatives, no better.”

    The fact that his parents’ generation were gassed makes his babbling as hideous as ASS** brutality!

  25. Do’s and don’ts for progressives discussing Syria
    Ramah Kudaimi on August 27, 2013

    There are 100,000 Syrians dead, majority killed by conventional weapons. So there are a million and one excuses for the US to intervene and faking chemical weapons attacks is not needed.

    There is also no basis I believe in claiming al Qaeda has access and uses such weapons. Al Qaeda fought the US for a decade in Iraq and not once deployed such weapons. But all of a sudden they’re using them in Syria? And if the rebels had these weapons, the regime would’ve fallen a long time ago.

  26. Has Iran’s Position on Syria Changed?

    Hassan Rouhani @HassanRouhani
    Iran gives notice to international community to use all its might to prevent use of chemical weapons anywhere in the world, esp. in #Syria

    Iran expert Suzanne Maloney tells me that while we shouldn’t interpret too much from one statement, Rouhani’s words could indicate a “remarkable shift in the official posture of the Iranian government on the role of the international community” and “even on the sensitive issue of Syria” — but let’s backtrack for a moment.

    For starters, it doesn’t appear like Rouhani tweeted this message by his mistake. Look at the tweets preceding it:

    Hassan Rouhani @HassanRouhani

    Iran suffered chemical weapons attacks by Iraqi forces during the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war 2/2

    Hassan Rouhani @HassanRouhani

    We completely & strongly condemn use of chemical weapons in #Syria because Islamic Republic of Iran is itself victim of chemical weapons 1/2

    Read more..

  27. Whenever I listen to the leaders and foreign ministers of the US, UK and France I am reminded of the utter frustration one experiences when trying to solve a Rubick’s Cube puzzle:t you get a couple of lines of squares matched up only to have two others you had matched up get out of whack. Hague said he was thinking about helping the opposition by giving them advanced weapons, Fabius and his boss agree strongly, but Kerry and Obama don’t seem to want to play ball. Then it is Kerry and Hague that seem to agree on doing something but then the French raise some concerns about this or that group among the armed opposition fighters, telling us indirectly that France is not in line with the others now.

    Then this military response to the use of CW comes up and they all seem gung-ho, raring to go kick some ass-ad, but all of a sudden the French seem to be climbing down, the British are a bit more further ahead but not quite ready and the Yanks are talking tough but hedging their bets with all sorts of caveats. No wonder the menhebakjieh are saying “let them talk until they exhaust themselves before actually doing anything”.

  28. ..and the prize go to ASSad, the indispensable king of the jungle!

    “Israel’s security is tied to Syria”. Rami Makhlouf.

  29. Cameron first British PM in decades unable to deliver British troops to a joint military operation with the US

  30. Members of Cameron’s party voting against him, huh? Well, that takes him and Hague off the hook, dont it? Very convenient indeed. What lame excuse will they come up with to not give the revolutionaries the weapons they now need to stand up to Besho the butcher’s criminal militias and armed thugs? There is nothing that can convince me that the West wants this conflict to end: they want it to go on and on for years with the ass staying in place but considerably weakened. Shame on the British Parliment! Shame on the British People for co-signing the death warrant of freedom, dignity and democracy in Syria!

  31. Arwa Damom, one of the most sensitive, most comprehensive reporters on Syria’s struggle for freedom from inside Syria, on the ground..
    Damon graduated from Robert College in Istanbul, Turkey, with honors in 1994, where her father, Dr. George H. Damon, was a teacher and middle school director from 1988 to 1998. An American, her father went from there to Isıkkent School in Izmir, and is presently headmaster of the American Community School at Beirut. Damon’s mother, Joumana, is Syrian and grew up in Damascus.She is the granddaughter of Muhsin al-Barazi, the former prime minister of Syria who was executed in the 1949 military coup.

    Damon graduated with honors from Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York, in 1999 with a double major in French and biology and a minor in international affairs. She is fluent in Arabic, French, Turkish, and English, having grown up speaking all four languages. She spent her early childhood years in Wayland, Massachusetts, and then moved to Turkey until her graduation from high school. She then spent a year in Morocco before moving to the U.S. to attend Skidmore College. Impressive!

    Recent Tweets:

    man from area hit in attack says “i am not w/US strike bc its going 2 hurt us more than regime & US has given them warning 2 clear bases”

    most #syria activists am talking 2 say strikes r going 2 harm them bc regime will retaliate against ppl & extremist grps will grow stronger

    many also say that regime has detainees in bases & airports, potential sites in missile strikes & R moving their own ppl & leave detainees

    as one man in #syria said “we R stuck between russian & american and Iran & saudi and we are the victims”

    #syria is not #iraq & to assess #syria through the #iraq prism is detrimental & disregards the critical differing nuances in both nations

    syria child refugees reaches 1 million, most under age 11…impassioned plea by UN envoy, says thats more children than in LA

    Syria lost youth: One million child refugees flee brutal civil war

    Many red lines crossed in Syria—death toll of 100k & mounting, refugee crisis of epic proportions—all under global leaders’ watch -@ArwaCNN

  32. Forget the red lines and political egos; we need to save lives
    Yvonne Ridley

    I am a peace activist but at the moment one wrestling with her conscience because, in truth, if someone gave me a gun and Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad strolled into the crosshairs I think I would struggle not to pull the trigger. The former eye doctor is a monster who has no boundaries when it comes to killing his own people. I have known this for many years and so has America, Britain and their allies.

    In fact, until recently, the US has been more than happy to hand over people to the Assad regime in the full knowledge of what would happen to them in the notorious torture dungeons hidden across Syria. As a craven partner in the war on terror, Britain will also have been kept in the loop.

    These same dungeons were set up by Bashar’s father Hafez al-Assad, a man who ordered the massacre of 20,000 Syrian citizens in the city of Hama in 1982. It was a brutal operation supervised by younger brother General Rifaat al-Assad. It seems that the apples do not fall far from the Assad family tree.

    As such, for Obama to talk about red lines and for David Cameron to try and do a Blair, please forgive me for gagging with the stench of hypocrisy.

    A red line was crossed way back in February 2011 when 18 schoolboys were “disappeared” by the Assad regime for daubing some harmless graffiti on a wall in Dera. ; another red line was crossed when the 11-year-olds re-emerged three weeks later with all of their finger nails missing, some of them castrated and every single one with at least one broken bone in his body.

    A red line was crossed when, after six months of public rallies demanding justice over the treatment of the Graffiti Boys, more than 1,000 civilians had been killed; that was the breaking point for ordinary Syrians who had, until then, resisted calls to join the Arab Spring.

    A red line was crossed a few weeks ago when the civilian death toll exceeded 100,000 and millions of Syrian men, women and children were listed as refugees in squalid camps in neighbouring countries.

    The world is now confronted by a humanitarian disaster on a rapidly unfolding scale which can barely be compared with any other in recent times, man-made or otherwise. That the West thinks it can drop some bombs and cure the problem speaks volumes in itself and reveals that nothing has been learned from the mess that is Iraq.

    Nevertheless, the reality is that chemical weapons are being dropped on the Syrian people and they do need help from somewhere; anywhere. So what is a person of conscience to do or think?

    If the US and Britain are really to be taken seriously both need to show more even-handedness, for there is another state in the region which has chemical weapons and has already used them in recent times; step forward Israel.

    I never knew my maternal grandfather; he was gassed during World War One and died prematurely at the age of 50 never having recovered from the mustard gas attack launched on him and his comrades in 1916 as they fought in windswept trenches in France. In Vietnam in the 1960s chemicals called Agent Orange and Agent Blue s well as napalm were dropped by wave after wave of ugly American B52 bombers and the impact is still being felt today.

    Despite knowledge of the horrific consequences, chemical weapons were deployed by Iraq against Iran during the 1980s and in 1988 Saddam unleashed mustard gas and other nerve agents on the Kurdish population of Halabja in Northern Iraq. All of this was with the full knowledge of the CIA and US government.

    In 1993, though, the Chemical Weapons Convention was signed, outlawing all uses of chemical weapons in war, but that didn’t stop Israel using White Phosphorus rounds against Southern Lebanon in 2006 and on a civilian population in Gaza on January 3, 2009. White Phosphorus is an indiscriminate killer, as gas released from the explosion burns exposed flesh and the lungs of the victims, whichever way the wind blows. It is supposed to be used to provide a smokescreen for ground troops; when it is used against civilians, as it was by Israel, it is not only extremely lethal but also extremely illegal.

    So when Obama talks about red lines being crossed, he is right; they have been crossed many times in recent years by friends and foes of the West, but red lines are meaningless if they do not draw a meaningful, uniform response from the international community.

    While the Labour whips were punching the air and cheering on young Ed Miliband in Parliament after voting down the British government on the Syrian issue, Assad’s army used napalm on a school with all the consequences you’d expect from such an evil action. Talk about dancing on the graves of babies.

    What is the solution? Intense diplomatic lobbying, not in the West but in the Arab world accompanied by some serious arm twisting must be done. This is the same Arab world which falls on its knees whenever Washington demands favours for Israel, which has to keep well out of this. Not everything is or should be focused on the Zionist state.

    In the meantime Saudi Arabia, Jordan and other kingdoms in the region need to realise that democracy is not the Devil’s spawn. China and Russia need to start showing some compassion and maybe it is time to revisit the Syrian National Coalition’s (SNC) Moaz al-Khatib’s 16-point initiative to help ensure a peaceful transition of authority and an end to the violence in Syria.

    This is no longer about presidential or political egos, red lines, special friendships, uneasy alliances, revolution, democracy, dictatorships or saving face; this is about saving lives. And that is something that most people seem to have forgotten.

  33. Does America have the moral credibility for a military strike on Syria?

    Chris Hedges on Obama Decision to Attack Syria and “Give Congress a Voice”

  34. Chris Hedges was not convincing. Someone like him should not be peddling regime’s argument about the evidence.

  35. Dear OTW,
    Chris Hedges wanted a clearance from the UN investigative team. I think that is fair. No? If I recall, he never mentioned the mass murderer by name, more importantly, he has no doubt who committed the crime, he simply wants a confirmation -from my understanding.
    He was mainly criticizing the timing the US chooses in every conflict. After so much death and destruction, and three years into the conflicts with millions of refugees, Obama decides that a strike is needed!? Phew..

    A hit and run? Is not in any Syrian interest. For all the obvious reasons. It will embolden the regime and achieve further death, destruction..this scenario will lead to a divided Syria.

    Never thought will i ever support a US strike anywhere in the world..will the outcome be different? I guess it will all depend on its swiftness, what are their targets.

    In my humble opinion, his role has ended and now comes the time to destroy what his regime cannot destroy. Important military targets. Whoever comes next has to start anew.

  36. أيلول ٢٠٠١: اعتقال المعارض السوري رياض الترك الذي سجن ١٨ سنة في عهد حافظ الأسد، وذلك بعد مقابلة نعت فيها الرئيس الراحل بالديكتاتور.

  37. The basics of emotional care for children after trauma. Available as iBook.


    This manual is an introduction to crisis intervention especially for use with children in the context of OperationSAFE child trauma camps. It is meant to give volunteers a basic understanding of crisis intervention, critical incident stress, PTSD, and how to apply interventions to children.

  38. All of a sudden everyone is talking about chemical weapons in Syria!

    Non of the Arab dictators has CW. Not because of fear they’ll use against their people, to the contrary, from fear they might use them against Israel.

    Saddam used CW in Halabja during the Iraq-Iran war. Once.
    His supplier were the Americans, 2-3 decades later his heinous crime came back and ‘hunted’ him. He should have been brought to the Hague then. Moral credibility?

    Ass, like his predecessor, used CW twice, supplied, used, done.

    Let no one hide behind these false flags.

    Will America’s morality shine?

    The world is watching, so are the six million refugees.

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