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As these maps published Friday by the Institute for the Study of War show, Bashar al-Assad now controls less than half of his capital city of Damascus, and is basically holding up in his stronghold of downtown Damascus. It is these facts on the ground that are now driving this recent flurry of international activity around Syria.

The Syrian people are on the verge of winning this war with very little help from the US or anyone else in the international "community" and NATO and Russia and everyone else are all scrambling for a way to deal with that.

The Battle for Damascus: The Current State of Play in Syria
by Institute for the Study of War on Dec 07, 2012
Recent rebel victories in the Syrian capital region, such as the closure of the Damascus International airport, have led to speculation that the Assad regime may be close to collapse. While this is possible, it is also important to recognize that the regime still maintains control of downtown Damascus despite these significant victories for the opposition. This elevates the question of where specifically the regime still maintains control in Damascus.
Were any Syrians invited to this meeting today?
Russia and US in Geneva talks over future of Syria
But foreign minister says 'brainstorming session' with UN envoy does not signal Moscow's support for Assad is waning
    Julian Borger, diplomatic editor
    guardian.co.uk, Sunday 9 December 2012 11.46 EST   
Russian and American diplomats have met in Geneva to discuss the future of Syria with the UN envoy, Lakhdar Brahimi, according to the Russian foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, who insisted the meeting did not imply Moscow had softened in its support for the Syrian leader, Bashar al-Assad. More...

They describe the regime's tactics this way:

The regime has consolidated much of ita forces in Damascus city center and reduced patrolling in suburbs with robust opposition presence. In retaliation for rebel activity in these neighborhoods, the regime is responding broadly with air strikes and artillery, and with civilian massacres in the Sunni southern neighborhoods of Damascus.
Whatever crimes and mistakes may have been made by fighters on the opposition side, they don't rely on tactics that specifically target civilians the way Assad does.

That is why I will continue to point out that those Kossacks who promote the view that both sides in this civil war are equally bad are spreading Assad's propaganda and are objectively on the side of the regime and in support of its policy of mass murder.

The so-called anti-interventionist "left" is still in complete denial as to the true nature and current situation in Syria as a glance at today's Global Research quickly shows. They still fully support the fascist Assad regime.

Post these statements under delusional:

[I]t appears that the hounds of hell are desperately barking for some action on Syria. Frustrated by the successful efforts of the Syrian government to turn back the western backed and armed terrorists, their stooges and proxies, they have gone back to old tactics again...here they go again, trying to put the international community in a receptive mood to the idea of attacking Syria by claiming that the Assad government, not them, is desperate enough to use chemical weapons, specifically sarin gas.
...
“I think there is no question that we remain very concerned, very concerned,” Panetta said, “that, as the opposition advances, in particular in Damascus, that regime might very well consider the use of chemical weapons.”

Panetta has things backwards, like all of them. The terrorist “opposition” is not making advances, even though they try. They are getting their collective behinds kicked. The Syrian Arab Army remains very strong and in good spirits.
Clearly they are lying or completely delusional about how the tide of battle is going, but the troubling thing about all this talk, coming from the pro-Assad forces, about  a Western-backed false flag chemical attack, makes me fear greatly that Assad is planning to use chemical warfare in spite of all the warnings. In fact, for Global Research, that is already a foregone conclusion. We don't even have to wait for the attack to see how they'll call it:
Any use of chemical weapons will obviously have the fingerprints of terrorists, not the Syrian government, all over them. Cui bono (to whose benefit) is such an attack? It’s obvious, as has been since the beginning of these fascist, imperialist wars.
and why not, they already blame US imperialism for all the deaths in Syria:
The hungry monster of US imperialism is not satisfied with having killed around 35,000 Syrians, a large number of them defense forces.
Is it the US imperialists that are dropping cluster bombs on Syrian cities or is it that US imperialism is forcing Assad to do it?

Carl Davidson once recommended Global Research to me as a creditable source. I wonder if he still does?

In this evenings broadcast, the channel formerly known as Russia Today is also expecting chemical attack in Syria but they are also claiming that it is the opposition that has and will be using chemical weapons. This is very troubling talk from a source that rarely bothers to mention how many people are being murdered in Syria.

GRAPHIC VIDEO: This is what Bashar did today | 9 December 2012

Here are my related diaries on Syria:
Syria: Obama's moves Assad's "red line" back as SOHR reports 42,000 dead!
UPDATED: #Syria goes dark as "cleansing" begins in Damascus
BREAKING: #Assad's Troops Wipe Out a Playground Full of Children in #Syria
BREAKING: #Russia denies #Syria-n army on brink of collapse
BREAKING in Syria: Explosion rocks #Damascus as people use "Truce Day" to protest regime
We condemn Israel. So why the silence on Syria?
Norodom Sihanouk at his finest & more on Syria
Meet a Syrian who doesn't think both sides are equally bad and is betting her life on it!
Two statements about Syria
Syria Today: New videos from the revolutionary war
Syrian Defector: Assad behind "terrorist" bombs
How Assad fights "terrorism" in Syria
REVISITED: FSA says it killed Russian General in Syria
Turkey attacks Syria
Truth Out: How Assad helped France kill Qaddafi
Panetta: Unilateral U.S. Military Intervention in Syria Would Be a Serious Mistake
BREAKING: 305 Syrians slaughtered in bloodiest day yet
Syria: Secret source of rebel arms revealed
BREAKING: Amnesty on Syria - Assad Regime guilty on indiscriminate slaughter
Syrian Revolution Digest shows "disgusting" photos!
Syria: The Killing Field the World is Learning to Live With
Barack Obama's Courtship of Bashar al-Assad
LIVE VIDEO: “World Silence is Killing #Syria” Rally in #DC
Free #Syria responds to Robert Fisk
UPDATED: #Assad: "#Syria doesn't need a green light!"
#Obama opposes French support for #Assad's opposition in #Syria
BREAKING: Amnesty site hacked, Assad propaganda posted
BREAKING: 630 Slaughtered in new massacre in Syria
Special message from Syrian children to Obama
Assad's Redline and Obama's Greenlight!
General Meade at Gettysburg
Tell US gov't to stop endangering Syrian activists
UPDATED: #Obama "green lights" #Assad's slaughter in #Syria
Syria: Turning Battlegrounds into Playgrounds
BREAKING: Bashar al-Assad is alive as deaths in Syria reach 25,000
The Left and the Arab Spring
Iran increasing its intervention in Syria
Syria: Images from the Battle of Aleppo
Fears grow of WMD attack in Syria
UPDATED: FSA says it killed Russian General in Syria
BREAKING: Syria releases new images of Bashar al- Assad | Are they fakes?
NOT BREAKING NEWS: Just another massacre in Syria
UPDATED: Syrian prime minister defects
Syria: FSA says Iranian pilgrims really Republican Guard
Syria: Aleppo under Siege!
BREAKING: UN votes to condemn Assad Regime as Reuters posts false story on Syria
BREAKING: Kofi Annan resigns as envoy to Syria
Syria: Bashar al-Assad not heard from on Armed Forces Day!
BREAKING: Senior Syrian diplomat to Armenia defects
BREAKING: Big Explosion hits #Damascus #Syria
UPDATED: Syria's Charge D'Affaires Quits London Post
BREAKING: Ground assault on Aleppo begins!
BREAKING: Protests across Syria in spite of Assad regime violence
ALEPPO: Step outside the Matrix and witness the Horror
UPDATED: US fears massacre in #Aleppo, #Syria
BREAKING: Reports of clashes between Jordan Army & Assad's Syrian army
BRAKING: Obama stops Putin from re-arming Assad in Syria
Syria: Foreign meddling increases as crisis builds
BREAKING: Aleppo, Syria bombed with fighter jets
BREAKING: Syria issues a correction, it has no WMD to use
BREAKING: Arab League asks Assad to step down!
Bashar al-Assad: New images released as slaughter continues in Syria
no blood for oil
BREAKING: Activists report toxic gas attack in Deir ez-Zor, Syria
Glenn Greenwald sees Islamist Terrorism as main issue in Syria
Will Syria's Assad make a chemical attack in Damascus on Saturday?
BREAKING: I know where Syria's President Bashar al-Assad is!
BREAKING: Massive Fire near #Assad's Presidential Palace in #Damascus, #Syria
BREAKING: Is Syria's Bashar al-Assad dead or dying?
BREAKING: Damascus explosion kills Defense Minister, other key figures
The battle for Damascus is coming
BREAKING: General Strike in Damascus
BREAKING: Intense fighting reported in Damascus now!
BREAKING: Syrian defector spills beans as important new defection reported.
Does Syria's Assad have something on Kofi Annan?
Tremseh Massacre in Syria: What we know
BREAKING: ~227 reported massacred by Assad's forces in Tremseh, Syria today!
Syria: Is Assad regime on the verge of collapse?
BREAKING: Russian Warships reported in Syria
BREAKING: #Russia changing on #Assad but not as fast as conditions in #Syria
UN Observers say violence in Syria is ‘Unprecedented’
BREAKING: Defection of major Assad insider reported in Syria
BREAKING: WikiLeaks releases 2.4 million #Syria emails
When did "Never Again" become "Whenever?" | #Douma
BREAKING: Incredible mass rally in Aleppo, Syria today!
BREAKING: HRW releases torture report on Syria
BREAKING: Syrian General defects with 293 to Turkey
BREAKING: Items not in the MSM on Syria
My response to Phyllis Bennis: Where is the non-violent opposition in Syria?
BREAKING: Syrian Air Force attacks Douma, 10m from Damascus, thousands flee
BREAKING: As Syria Burns, UN Blows More Smoke
BREAKING: Kofi Annan to propose Syrian unity gov't sans Assad!
BREAKING: Douma, Syria under massive attack, another massacre feared
BREAKING: Another mass defection from Syrian army
BREAKING: #NATO says No War in #Syria shoot down of #Turkey jet
NATO meetup tomorrow as more defect from Syria
BREAKING: Turkey calls for NATO consult on downing of jet by Syria
BREAKING: Senior Syrian Officers Defect
UPDATED: Russia reported to be preparing to evacuate from Syria
BREAKING: Syria fighter pilot defects
BREAKING: Britain stops Russian ship carrying attack helicopters for Syria
BREAKING: Russian troops headed to Syria
Qaddafi forces Strike Back in Libya
BREAKING: UN suspends mission in Syria
Libya & Syria - two videos - no comment
BREAKING: Russia denies supplying Syria with NEW attack helicopters
Syrian people rise up against the massacre
Another "Houla style" massacre in Syria
Fake Houla Massacre Photo: Was the BBC set up?
Idlib, Syria protest today on anniversary of Kent State killings
BREAKING: Massive protests in Syria following Friday pray
Syria is bleeding
Syria: Ceasefire faltering as mass protests breakout

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (8+ / 0-)

    Remember history, Clay Claiborne, Director Vietnam: American Holocaust - narrated by Martin Sheen

    by Clay Claiborne on Sun Dec 09, 2012 at 06:20:35 PM PST

  •  I see he still holds the Al-Assad neighborhood (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Judge Moonbox

    Now that would be an embarrassing loss.

    You know, I sometimes think if I could see, I'd be kicking a lot of ass. -Stevie Wonder at the Glastonbury Festival, 2010

    by Rich in PA on Sun Dec 09, 2012 at 06:23:09 PM PST

  •  Really. "objectively in support of mass murder"? (10+ / 0-)
    That is why I will continue to point out that those Kossacks who promote the view that both sides in this civil war are equally bad are spreading Assad's propaganda and are objectively on the side of the regime and in support of its policy of mass murder.
    I have no idea which kossacks you're talking about, but I can be fairly certain this is a load of crap.

    We were not ahead of our time, we led the way to our time.

    by i understand on Sun Dec 09, 2012 at 06:32:52 PM PST

    •  this is the author's consistent POV (7+ / 0-)

      as he views the issue as black/white; us vs them and has in the past castigated those who comment on the situation in Gaza and the IP situation while ignoring the Syrian civil war.  

      The only question is what should the US do since it appears US boots on the ground is not an option for a variety of reasons; neither is aerial support such as was done in Libya a viable option either for the West again for a variety of reasons.

      This latest diary indicates the rebels are winning the battle without Western input so the question is if any sort of Western intervention is either necessary or even desirable.

      •  Well, I won't be reading more diaries by Clay (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mickT, chuckvw, pollbuster, KenBee, JesseCW

        So if Clay's objective is to drive away support for his views, well, mission accomplished.

        We were not ahead of our time, we led the way to our time.

        by i understand on Sun Dec 09, 2012 at 07:41:50 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I continue to read his diaries (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          KenBee, pimutant, mookins

          because he sometimes has sources which are not readily available to many Western readers or else from Arabic sources (I admit my own efforts to learn Arabic have not been particularly successful)

          However I do so with the understanding he has a particular POV and that sometimes that POV is less than polite or politic.  Therefore I read him askance, looking for kernels of information and then reading his primary sources and evaluating them.

          If you choose to not read any more of his diaries I would encourage you to at least peruse them for the links to other articles

      •  to be fair (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mookins

        there are commenters who assert that all the massacres are done by "al qaeda terrorists" that the US has supported in an effort to advance it's geopolitical interests.    I kid you not.

        So, between that and the supporters of St. Barack the Infallible who were saying loudly that the FSA and rebels should never be supported, I can see why Clay is a little frustrated at this point.

        Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

        by Mindful Nature on Sun Dec 09, 2012 at 09:38:41 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  It's a truly FUBAR state of affairs when (10+ / 0-)

    the removal of a genocidal dictator from power is the easy part - the hard part will be what follows, when the secular Syrians have to deal with the jihadis who've been armed to the teeth by Saudi Arabia.

    In Roviet Union, money spends YOU!

    by Troubadour on Sun Dec 09, 2012 at 07:29:06 PM PST

    •  It was always going to be a nasty civil war (4+ / 0-)

      This is Lebanon on a larger scale.

      Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

      by Mindful Nature on Sun Dec 09, 2012 at 09:39:23 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I hope the right people win. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mookins

        The people of that region deserve a win once in a while.

        In Roviet Union, money spends YOU!

        by Troubadour on Sun Dec 09, 2012 at 11:34:12 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  It's odd that we're considering the salafists and (3+ / 0-)

          Al Qaeda to be the "good guys" in this situation, But I guess saying I don't like either side just makes me a rabid supporter of the Status Quo.

          Whoever wins, Joe Syrian loses.

          You may think that. I couldn't possibly comment.-- Francis Urqhart

          by Johnny Q on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 01:30:45 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I obviously wasn't talking about those shitbirds. (0+ / 0-)

            In Roviet Union, money spends YOU!

            by Troubadour on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 01:35:12 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  It's a nice aesthetic stance (0+ / 0-)

            you've got there, as do a lot of people.  The game stays the same and no one gets eliminated for contention for power until Assad falls, though.  After that more factions get eliminated, including some or most of those on the rebel side.

            I just can't stand the internalized creationism that Left conservatives bring to this and similar problems.  I.e. the weird assumption that the evolution/devolution of power and forms ends at the immediate problem.  

            Syria has a long ugly history of remarkable brutality and scores being kept by the groups who are the victims and the perps of it.  That's a reality that Assad falling will unveil.  That isn't ultimate reality, but it's one that will be dealt with.  Assad not falling soon simply keeps that pent up and it will emerge whenever he does.

            Joe Syrian knows his country's history and its consequences into the present and middle future.  It's not love of it that drives the rebellion, it's acceptance that how ever horrible will be what comes, it has inevitability to it.  It's a legacy that cannot be escaped.  There is nothing to be done- the cause is a history without justice or correction- but survive it.

        •  It's very unlikely that anyone is going to "win" (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Claudius Bombarnac

          in the short term.

          I'd put a repeat of Lebanon in the 80's at about twice as likely as any kind of medium term peace.

          This place needs a PVP server.

          by JesseCW on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 05:59:29 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  the puzzle is who are the "right" people (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Claudius Bombarnac

          the options seems to be brutal secularists vs. batshit crazy religionists.

          Hardly a "win-win" scenario.

  •  Map Overlay by Ethnic Breakdown (0+ / 0-)

    Any chance that we could also be shown a map of the Damascus area broken down by the predominant ethnic group in each area?  I suspect that we could have seen a map similar to those shown here of Damascus for Baghdad before Hussein's overthrow or especially after.

    Any support for the insurgents really should be predicated on their total acceptance of total freedom of religion in Syria, given its fractured confessional state.  Otherwise, we are being told that it's OK to support a rerun of the Thirty Years War, only displaced by 1500 miles and four centuries.

    "Love the Truth, defend the Truth, speak the Truth, and hear the Truth" - Jan Hus, d.1415 CE

    by PrahaPartizan on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 07:50:42 AM PST

  •  US declares al-Nusra a Global Terrorist Org. (0+ / 0-)

    The US has been fighting these jihadist organizations for over a decade in Iraq, Afghanistan, and many other countries in the MENA with no end in sight. They are now more numerous and widespread than a decade ago. A few thousand of these fighters have kept the largest and most advanced military force in the world occupied for well over a decade at a cost of trillions.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/...
    U.S. designates Syrian group as terrorist organization
    Monday, December 10, 8:56 AM

    The State Department has designated Syria’s Jabhat al-Nusra Front as a Global Terrorist organization. The new designation identifies the group as an alias of previously designated al-Qaeda in Iraq.

    The designation, which will be announced Tuesday, is part of a fast-moving effort by the Obama administration to recognize and bolster Syria’s hand-picked rebel coalition and marginalize extremists who have become an increasingly powerful military force within the opposition.
    ...
    FSA officials estimate Jabhat fighters now account for 7.5 to 9 percent of total rebel forces, and that they are regarded as some of the fiercest front-line troops against the military force of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

    Administration officials say the Jabhat group consists largely of Syrian fighters who joined al-Qaeda in Iraq some years ago and have returned to their own country, along with additional Iraqis and other foreigners. Al-Qaeda in Iraq was one of the leading Sunni insurgent groups that attacked U.S. troops there.
    ...

    Jihadist Groups Operating in Syria

    i am a supporter of the revolution, but i cannot deny there are hundreds of jihadists fighting in Syria.
    http://www.liveleak.com/...

    •  Syrian rebels defy US and pledge allegiance (0+ / 0-)

      to jihadi group.

      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/...
      10 Dec 2012

      Rebel groups across Syria are defying the United States by pledging their allegiance to a group that Washington will designate today a terrorist organization for its alleged links to al-Qaeda.

       A total of 29 opposition groups, including fighting "brigades" and civilian committees, have signed a petition calling for mass demonstrations in support of Jabhat al-Nusra, an Islamist group which the White House believes is an offshoot of al-Qaeda in Iraq.

      The petition is promoting the slogan "No to American intervention, for we are all Jabhat al-Nusra" and urges supporters to "raise the Jabhat al-Nusra flag" as a "thank you".

      "These are the men for the people of Syria, these are the heroes who belong to us in religion, in blood and in revolution," read a statement widely circulated on Syrian opposition Facebook pages.

  •  Perhaps this is what the Obama admin fears? (0+ / 0-)

    BTW, Foreign Policy is a division of the influential Washington Post Company and as such gives us an inside look at the current thinking in Washington

    http://www.foreignpolicy.com/...
    Don't Let the Syrian Rebels Win

    An outright victory by Assad’s enemies would be a disaster.
    DECEMBER 10, 2012
    ...
     The fall of the House of Assad will likely be celebrated by many in the West. But banking on the well-heeled Syrian expatriate community to come to power for any length of time is a losing bet. The exiles may have won the support of the Obama administration and others, but have little chance of holding power in Syria for any length of time, barring international occupation of the country. And nobody thinks the United States has any appetite to occupy another Arab country militarily, even for a relatively short period of time.

    In other words, forget about the expats. The people that will ultimately take power in Syria are the armed men who control the country's streets, villages, and towns right now. They do not speak with a single voice, and are often people just looking to protect their families and communities from the Assads' onslaught. As for the rebel "Free Syrian Army," it is no army at all in the sense of having any kind of command and control over its constituent units.
    ...
     Many of the fighters currently battling the Syrian regime honed their guerrilla skills in Iraq, learning urban combat techniques fighting Americans in Iraq from 2003 to 2007. Those who were not killed in Iraq made their way back to Syria (the largest entry point for foreign jihadis entering Iraq during that war), and have taken up arms against their own regime. Their ability to kill a large number of regime forces from the outset of this current round of civil war is indicative of the skill set they already possessed 19 months ago. The body count of 4:1 during the early months of this civil war -- that is, four opponents killed for every soldier killed -- is quite good for unorganized insurgent groups.

    In fact, the insurgents might be too good. Neither Syria nor the region would be well served by a decisive victory by either the Assad regime or by the opposition. Breathless supporters of Syria's revolution need to be careful what they wish for. The most powerful elements of Syria's armed opposition would almost certainly be no friend of liberal democracy were they to seize power for themselves.
    ...

  •  There are atrocities being committed by BOTH sides (0+ / 0-)

    Since you always link to videos showing atrocities by the regime, I'll add one by the FSA.

    WARNING - GRAPHIC


    FSA terrorists let child behead unarmed prisoner with a sword - GRAPHIC !

    http://www.liveleak.com/...

  •  Fighting in Damascus spearheaded by Nusra (0+ / 0-)
    Syrian Rebels Tied to Al Qaeda Play Key Role in War
    http://www.nytimes.com/...
    December 8, 2012

    BAGHDAD — The lone Syrian rebel group with an explicit stamp of approval from Al Qaeda has become one of the uprising’s most effective fighting forces, posing a stark challenge to the United States and other countries that want to support the rebels but not Islamic extremists.

    Money flows to the group, the Nusra Front, from like-minded donors abroad. Its fighters, a small minority of the rebels, have the boldness and skill to storm fortified positions and lead other battalions to capture military bases and oil fields. As their successes mount, they gather more weapons and attract more fighters.
    ...
     The Nusra Front “defends civilians in Syria, whereas America didn’t do anything,” said Mosaab Abu Qatada, a rebel spokesman. “They stand by and watch; they look at the blood and the crimes and brag. Then they say that Nusra Front are terrorists."

    He added, “America just wants a pretext to intervene in Syrian affairs after the revolution.”
    ...
    On Friday, demonstrators in several Syrian cities raised banners with slogans like, “No to American intervention, for we are all Jebhat al-Nusra,” referring to the group’s full name, Ansar al-Jebhat al-Nusra li-Ahl al-Sham, or Supporters of the Front for Victory of the People of Syria. One rebel battalion, the Ahrar, or Free Men, asked on its Facebook page why the United States did not blacklist Mr. Assad’s “terrorist” militias.
    ...
    “They are well trained mentally and militarily,” Major Issawi, the official in Anbar, said. “They are so excited about the fighting in Syria. They see Syria as a dream coming true.”
    ...
    “After the fall of Bashar there will be so many battles between these groups,” he said. “All the groups will unite against al-Nusra. They are like a snake that is spreading its poison.”

  •  Jihadists making great gains against Syrian regime (0+ / 0-)
    http://www.yalibnan.com/...
    Syria rebels overrun Aleppo military base
     December 10, 2012

    Rebel fighters are reported to have captured large parts of a big military base in northern Syria, the latest in a string of losses by government forces.

    The attack on Base 111 at Sheikh Suleiman, about 25km (15 miles) west of the city of Aleppo, on Sunday, was said to have been led by Islamist militants.
    ...
    Black flags
    Rebel forces are said to have entered Base 111, whose headquarters are in Sheikh Suleiman, on Sunday afternoon after weeks of fighting.

    The videos posted online showed rebels driving around in a captured tank and manning anti-aircraft guns. They also showed the rebels sporting the insignia and black flags of radical jihadist militants.

    A journalist for AFP news agency on the ground said many of them were from abroad, and that the attack had been led by the al-Nusra Front and related groups.

    The rebel Free Syrian Army was not involved in the assault, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), a UK-based activist group.
    ...
    In Aleppo itself, rebels are still in control of at least half the city, despite attempts by government forces to dislodge them.

    There too, jihadist groups are reported to have largely displaced the FSA, highlighting the dilemma of Western countries as they ponder whether to allow sophisticated weapons to pass to the opposition, our correspondent adds.
    ...

    Damascus, Syria: Recent booty

    Rebels keep getting their hands on heavier and heavier equipment. This rocket launcher sure sent their spirits up sky high...

    http://www.liveleak.com/...

  •  Assad strategy shift in Damascus (0+ / 0-)
    http://www.independent.co.uk/...

    Assad's strategy shift keeps rebels at gates of Damascus
    Sunday 09 December 2012

    A rebel assault on Damascus has failed to make serious gains in the Syrian capital, diplomats have said, warning that the struggle between the regime of Bashar al-Assad and the opposition is now likely to drag on longer than had been expected.

    The diplomats say that the Syrian government has adopted a new strategy in recent weeks whereby it withdraws its troops from bases that are indefensible in order to concentrate them in Damascus and other cities it views as strategically crucial. This pull-back enabled the army to launch a successful counter offensive in the past week, relieving the military pressure on the capital and improving its negotiating position.

    "The government says it made a strategic choice not to defend smaller outposts," says one analyst in Damascus who did not want to be named.
    ...
    If the government can keep control of most of Damascus, its negotiating position will improve. The capital is full to bursting with people because so many have fled violence elsewhere in the country but do not have the money to go abroad. The streets are clogged with traffic because of the checkpoints, closed roads and increased number of vehicles. Apartments once occupied by refugees from Iraq are now rented out to Syrians, while a small house will contain five or six families.

    The government also has a measure of support in Damascus and Aleppo that it does not have in impoverished country villages and small towns. A weakness of the army's tactics in the past is that, while it has the fire power to retake a rebel-held district, it has not had the manpower to keep control of it. In some cases the government is setting up local committees to try to maintain its authority. In others, shantytowns on the outskirts of towns, seen as being likely to support the rebels, have been bulldozed.
    ...

  •  Beware the Anti-Anti-War Left (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    protectspice
    That is why I will continue to point out that those Kossacks who promote the view that both sides in this civil war are equally bad are spreading Assad's propaganda and are objectively on the side of the regime and in support of its policy of mass murder.
    http://www.counterpunch.org/...
    Beware the Anti-Anti-War Left
    Why Humanitarian Interventionism is a Dead End
    December 04, 2012
    ...
    A favorite theme of the anti-anti-war left is to accuse those who reject military intervention of “supporting the dictator”, meaning the leader of the currently targeted country.  The problem is that every war is justified by a massive propaganda effort which is based on demonizing the enemy, especially the enemy leader.  Effectively opposing that propaganda requires contextualizing the crimes attributed to the enemy and comparing them to those of the side we are supposed to support. That task is necessary but risky; the slightest mistake will be endlessly used against us, whereas all the lies of the pro-war propaganda are soon forgotten.
    ...
    What is also remarkable is that most of the anti-anti-war left shares a general condemnation of the revolutions of the past, because they led to Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot etc. But now that the revolutionaries are (Western backed) Islamists, we are supposed to believe that everything will turn out fine. What about “drawing the lesson from the past” that violent revolutions are not necessarily the best or the only way to achieve social change?
    ...
  •  State Dept: Al Qaeda Linked Al-Nusra Has Moved (0+ / 0-)

    Operations into Syria

  •  Video - black al Qaeda flag flies over Aleppo base (0+ / 0-)

    Al Qaeda linked al Nusra Front and other militant jihadis groups have been absolutely key in the successes of the rebel advancement throughout Syria. It is highly doubtful that the US and it's NATO allies will be able to control them w/o direct intervention using military means. The situation in Syria is becoming a replay of Afghanistan when these same jihadists pushed back the Soviet backed government.

    Rebels capture 'key Aleppo base' after weeks of fighting + Spoils
     Part of channel(s): 2011 Syrian uprising (current event)

    09/12 10/12 Parts of the Sheik Suleiman base captured by the mujaheddin in Aleppo. Regiment 111.

    Tank, Anti-aircraft machine guns and ammunition.

    http://www.liveleak.com/...

  •  Charles Glass on Syria’s Mutual Destruction (0+ / 0-)

    Very balanced report on conditions within Aleppo.

    Veteran journalist Charles Glass joins us to discuss his recent trip to Syria and its largest city, Aleppo.

    "civil  war - the great majority of the population is suffering to no benefit"

    http://www.democracynow.org/...

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