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In comments to my dairy yesterday BREAKING: Massacre in Homs Syria right now! 150 burnt corpses found, some Kossacks questioned whether my reports were accurate or whether that diary should have even been published. For example, InAntalya wrote:

Activists and Al Arabiya 'report' but (8+ / 0-)

no one else has. That might give you an indication of what the media think about the reliability of these reports.

He then went on to double down on his opinion by suspecting the opposition of massacring its own people:
If there was a 'massacre' (6+ / 0-)

it is just as possible that it was committed by rebel forces before or as they were forced out of the area by government forces.

There are many more media sources in the world than those you listed, some of which are very anti-Assad and even they often don't cover these 'reports' because they are known to be unreliable.

InAntalya based his opinion on his expertise. He said he knows
much much more about what is happening in Syria than the dumbass who writes these posts

Yesterday I suggested InAntalya and his supporters wait a day or so. Now we have these reports from the Washington Post, CNN and the SF Chronicle and I expect there will be others.

From today's Washington Post we have:

Brahimi issued his chilling prediction after one of the deadliest 24-hour periods in the conflict, which began in March 2011. Opposition groups that monitor the death toll said as many as 400 people — more than double the typical daily death toll — were killed Saturday. About half of them were civilians slain in an alleged mass killing carried out by government troops at a petrochemical university in central Syria, opposition groups reported.
...
On Saturday, the government announced that it was in control of Deir Baalba, a suburb of the central Syrian city of Homs, after having surrounded the rebel-held town about a month ago. Opposition groups, whose reports were murky and could not be independently verified, said government forces committed a massacre in the battle for the town.

Walid Faris, a spokesman for the Revolutionary Council of Homs, said by telephone that Deir Baalba is surrounded by villages populated by members of the Alawite sect of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. During the army counteroffensive, it was hit heavily by artillery shells and mortars, he said, and the rebel Free Syrian Army managed to clear a small evacuation route to get most civilians out of the conflict zone.

But some remained. As government troops moved back into Deir Baalba, Faris said, 150 to 180 people were rounded up and taken to a petrochemical university, where they were executed. Their bodies and houses were burned before dawn, he said. The count was based on reports from government soldiers sympathetic to the rebels and from residents of a nearby village, who heard the gunfire inside the university and saw the fire and smoke through binoculars, Faris said.

Other reports put the death toll higher. A statement on the Web site of the Local Coordination Committees, a network of activists who monitor and report on the conflict, estimated that 220 people, including women and children, might have been executed.

Suzan Haidamous in Beirut contributed to this report.

Four hours ago the SF Chronicle released:
Syrian Expatriates Organization (SEO) Shocked at Deaths of Over 400 Syrians

SEO is receiving reports of a heinous massacre of over 220 people by Assad regime forces in the town of Deir Ba’alba, near Homs. According to Al-Arabiya, on December 29 over 400 people were killed throughout Syria and 150 charred bodies were found in an abandoned school in Deir Ba’alba. Activists are also reporting that people were slaughtered with knives, including women and children in Deir Ba'alba's main square. The Syrian Army encircled Deir Ba’alba four days ago in a push to take control of the town. More...

And about the same time CNN ran with this:
(CNN) -- The stench of the burnt bodies was so potent, Abu Jafar said, he could smell it from 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) away.
6:18 PM EST, Sun December 30, 2012
"It smells awful because the regime appears to have burnt so many bodies recently," the opposition activist said Sunday from the beleaguered city of Homs.

"Some cars arrived this morning and carried away dead bodies. We are not sure where."

Jafar's account comes a day after what may be the deadliest day yet in Syria's 21-month civil war, according to opposition figures.
...
At least 397 people were killed across the country Saturday, the opposition Local Coordination Committees of Syria said. At least 143 deaths were reported Sunday, including 10 children.
Intense violence kills dozens in Syria

The LCC said Saturday's death toll included more than 200 people who were captured and "field executed" by Syrian soldiers in the Homs suburb of Deir Baalbeh after Syrian forces won a battle there.

The group's representative in Deir Baalbeh said he could only personally account for 27 deaths, but said a Syrian soldier who had been captured by rebels said government forces killed at least 200 people in the suburb.

The group posted video of several men's bodies lined up in a grassy field with wounds to the head, in what it claimed was footage taken by witnesses.

Jafar said he believes Deir Baalbeh was targeted "because it is the main gate to reach the Khaldiya neighborhood, which has been under the control of the rebels." More...

There is also EXTREMELY GRAPHIC VIDEO that show victims that have clearly been shot in the head.


Click here for a list of my other Daily Kos dairies on Syria
 

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (10+ / 0-)

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

    by Clay Claiborne on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 04:52:19 PM PST

  •  The murders and injuring (6+ / 0-)

    of tens of thousands of Syrian innocents is not about you or when you "broke" the "story."  Your over the top posts have completely diminished you as a credible source.

    The Syrians don't deserve the reporting from TM or you.  They are not a "story."  

    " My faith in the Constitution is whole; it is complete; it is total." Barbara Jordan, 1974

    by gchaucer2 on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 04:55:10 PM PST

    •  Clay is merely responding to the constant attacks (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Tettodoro, Clay Claiborne

      he gets in comments.  He's been trying to cover the news in Syria for DK that the mainstream media has been ignoring for months, and spent the whole time being insulted and harassed and accused of 'beating the drum' for war.  While I think he wastes his time when he responds like this, I can completely understand why it happens - his many detractors always throw ad homs making it 'about' him, and it's no doubt extremely tiresome.

      •  Clay placed his presumed authority to (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Claudius Bombarnac, InAntalya

        narrate events in Syria (and Egypt, and Libya et cet) front-and-center almost from the get-go. He's a conduit for SOHR/SNCORF/LCC propaganda for whom I've come to hold as little regard as I do for the SANA/RT/PressTV propagandists. It's also simply not true that the MSM are ignoring developments in Syria; they are, however, typically reluctant to embrace opposition propaganda as wholeheartedly or as early as the diarist and they are acting responsibly when they qualify those reports ("[o]pposition groups, whose reports were murky and could not be independently verified, said government forces committed a massacre in the battle for the town") that the diarist employs in his narrative as unassailable fact. Nor does the diarist ever bother to correct the numerous errors he's made in his "reporting" on Syria, even when those errors are pointed out politely. gchaucer2 is absolutely correct that the diarist has lost any credibility on these issues.

        Real stupidity beats artificial intelligence every time. (Terry Pratchett)

        by angry marmot on Mon Dec 31, 2012 at 05:19:57 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Propaganda re Syria (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Clay Claiborne

          I don't think the Syrian National Coalition have got around to doing "propaganda" yet. But both the LLCs and SOHR are in my experience fairly reliable in general terms. . The SOHR simply transmits information that it receives from sources on the ground (particularly the LLCs). This is a war, and information is a weapon, so there may be some exaggeration, inaccuracies, and even distortion from opposition sources; but nothing comparable to the fantasies that are spun by the regime and allied sources (note by the way that RT rarely engages in direct falsification itself - it relies on interviews with mad western conspiracy theorists to do that)

  •  Your bullshit continues (3+ / 1-)

    just as your inability to tolerate anything which does not exactly match or parrot your point of view does.

    The limited MSM you cite DO NOT report a massacre, they report only that some in the opposition claim there was or might have been a massacre.

    And it's interesting that your ego continues to be so much more important to you than providing reliable information about what is happening in Syria.

    I do know much more about Syria and what is happening there than you do. But that's just too much for you to handle since I don't unquestioningly accept your bullshit as fact.

    Lamb chop, we can quibble what to call it, but I think we can both agree it's creepy.

    by InAntalya on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 05:36:39 PM PST

  •  Just out of curiosity I'd like to ask the poster, (3+ / 0-)

    who is quite proficient at copying and pasting tweet and youtube video embed codes into DailyKos posts, these questions.

    How many times have you been to Syria or a country which borders Syria?

    How many Syrians, especially children, have you seen fleeing the fighting in Syria, having to walk through minefields and squeeze through razor wire to do so?

    How many times have you stood on the Syrian border and watched, as just meters away, rebels terrorized a Syrian town which until their arrival had been safe and peaceful?

    How many times have you been to a Syrian refugee camp?

    How many Syrian refugees who live in these camps have you talked to?

    How many Syrian refugees who either live in these camps or live a very difficult underground life in a country bordering Syria because they will not or cannot live in a refugee camp have you helped?

    How many times have you seen Syrian rebels crossing the border either into or out of Syria under the cover of  darkness?

    How many SNC/NCSROF/FSA or other rebel  representatives have you talked to?

    How many SNC/NCSROF/FSA or other rebel conferences have you been to?

    Who attended, what was discussed, and what decisions were made at the most recent SNC/NCSROF/FSA or other rebel meetings and conferences - particularly the one which was held in Antalya at the beginning of this month?

    What efforts are being made to feed internal refugees in Syria, who are they being made by, and how much financial support do they need and have they received?

    Which areas of Syria have electricity now, and which areas don't and why?

    Who was Syria's main economic and trade partner between 2001 and 2011, and who provided billions of dollars of support for development to Syria during the same period?

    What is the ethnic, religious and economic make-up of the western area of the Homs Governorate, and how does this correlate with rebel forces' operations and Syrian government forces' operations in this area?

    How is the weather in Syria today, usually how is the weather in Syria during January and February, and what effect has the weather had recently and will the weather possibly have this winter on events in Syria?

    What is the current state of relations between the SNC/NCSROF/FSA and the KNC/PYD, what recent events have had an impact on these relations, and did these events have a positive or negative effect on these relations?

    Lamb chop, we can quibble what to call it, but I think we can both agree it's creepy.

    by InAntalya on Mon Dec 31, 2012 at 03:24:42 AM PST

    •  Never mind the weather (0+ / 0-)

      how many children have you lost these weapons Lamb chop?

    •  @InTalya (0+ / 0-)

      This looks like some kind of hysterical smokescreen for something - but I have no idea what. This isn't the way to open a sensible dialogue - if you have any interest in that.
      I don't have any first hand experience of Syria - but I do systematically collate available sources giving particular priority to those who do.(And while first hand knowledge is valuable its not a magic wand - its inevitably fragmentary, and those on the ground also have to depend on secondary sources for the wider picture).
      I could respond to many of your points, but presented in this fashion there seems no point.
      A lot of your questions seems to suggest a poor level of understanding  of the available secondary sources. You refer to SNC/NCSROF/FSA: but which is it? These are not the same by any stretch of the imagination.
      You ask about FSA/PYD relations: I understand that these now appear to have been stabilised, despite the violent confrontations between J-al-N and Gh-al-Sh of last month, with a ceasefire declared on 25 November and a multi-ethnic council set up in Ras al-Ain/Serekani . There are even reports of  of joint YPG/J-al-N checkpoints being established. My information may be wrong or out of date. If you have more accurate sources I would welcome details.

      •  The poster presents himself as (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Claudius Bombarnac, protectspice

        being very knowledgable about Syria and as someone whose information is absolutely reliable and has to be accepted without question.

        He and several who support him also try to denigrate those who have and present any information which the poster lacks or which doesn't exactly match the poster's very narrow point of view.

        These questions are just a few things which I wonder about him personally or which I belive to be some important Syrian related events which he has never brought up in any of his posts.

        I used to post regularly about Syria but have stopped because my involvement with Syrian refugees doesn't leave much time and because doing so could be counterproductive in the political minefield which exists in this work.

        I also know from this work that warmongering and sensationalism (which the poster seems to revel in) are very couterproductive to the serious efforts which are underway to find a resolution to the tragedy which is happening in Syria.

        Regarding the SNC/NCSROF/FSA, they all have representatives and they all have conferences and meetings. My questions are for each of them.

        As to opening a sensible dialogue, I approached the poster several months ago and tried to establish a dialogue and cooperation in the preparation of posts about Syria but it seems that he isn't interested.

        Lamb chop, we can quibble what to call it, but I think we can both agree it's creepy.

        by InAntalya on Mon Dec 31, 2012 at 10:29:09 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I don't think Clay claims this at all - (0+ / 0-)

          He's very engaged with the Syrian situation and feels strongly about it (as should anyone with a social conscience). But as you yourself say what he mostly does on this site is "copying and pasting tweet and youtube video " and other material.  For me this has great value because he often hits on material that I miss in the confusion of the overloaded internet or gets to it before I do. I'm an adult so I don't expect Clay to pre-evaluate things for me (he's not charging for this service, after all) - if something strikes me as significant I can assess it myself, indeed I would insist on it.
          Clay can be short with people who make unsubstantiated claims or just serve up vacuous regime propaganda (fair enough, in my view), but there certainly seems space on this site for serious discussion between people who may have different views but take the trouble to inform themselves.
          If  you have concrete information to chare or questions you want to discuss then do so, but please try posing one issue at  time if you want a serious discussion.

          •  Are you trying to imply (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            protectspice

            that I and others that the poster - as you downplay it - 'is short with' make unsubstantiated claims or serve up vacuous regime propaganda?

            If you are you need to revisit his diaries and these exchanges.

            Lamb chop, we can quibble what to call it, but I think we can both agree it's creepy.

            by InAntalya on Mon Dec 31, 2012 at 01:01:54 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  What I hope I am doing is creating a record. (0+ / 0-)

            I think the most useful thing I can do with this diary and my skill set is to grab the stuff that goes flying by about Syria everyday on YouTube and Twitter and Facebook and all and give it some sort of organization [with links] and nail it down in diaries that can be searched by date.

            My hope is to make info about what is going on in Syria available to a wider audience.

            Of course there are those that don't like that. They have a different narrative about what is going on in Syria and it gives a lot more credence to the regime's propaganda. They aren't too keen on publicizing events in Syria themselves, i.e. I don't get to leave nasty comments in their diaries about Syria, but they never fail to show up in mine to make sure everyone knows the regime's narrative on the latest events in the name of "balance" while they talk trash about me and any sources I use.

            Every time I report another massacre in Syria, they show up in my diary to question my sources, dispute my numbers, and ridicule my use of BREAKING, but the bottom line is that in 2012 some 40,000 people have met with an untimely death in Syria.

            I have been doing my best to tell their stories.

            They have not.

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

            by Clay Claiborne on Mon Dec 31, 2012 at 01:44:28 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  Regime offensive bound to lead to massacres (0+ / 0-)

    It seems fairly clear from a number of sources that the Syrian regime is undertaking a major offensive against opposition areas. There could be a number of reasons for this, but my guess would be that it is in response to developments on the diplomatic front -the renewed Brahimi proposals, and pressures both internal and  from Russia to put on some show of willingness to negotiate. The offensive could be designed to create a fresh "river of blood" that will force the opposition to reject negotiations; or it could be designed to reestablish government control over opposition-held areas, in case negotiations actually become necessary . Or, of course, both.
    Whatever the case, there are good circumstantial reasons for crediting these reports prima facie, although this is not of course definitive evidence.

    •  Recent Syrian government offensives (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Claudius Bombarnac

      may also be the result of these forces taking advantage of growing weaknesses in the rebel forces casused by increasing divisions between different rebel factions and/or by dwindling public support for the rebels caused by growing hardships due to the winter weather and the lack of food, electricity and fuel.

      For a while I have been hearing bits and pieces of information that the winter weather has begun to cause a shift in public opinion and that it is also causing logistical problems for rebel forces - hence my question above about the weather.

      Lamb chop, we can quibble what to call it, but I think we can both agree it's creepy.

      by InAntalya on Mon Dec 31, 2012 at 10:52:32 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Bloody weather (0+ / 0-)

        I agree this is also another possible factor. But if that was the main consideration, why not wait for the situation to deteriorate further, as it surely will?

        •  I do not state that these are (0+ / 0-)

          the 'main consideration' which is why I wrote 'may also be'.

          Only time will tell whether or not the situation deteriorates further and whether or not Syrian government offensives intensify as a result.

          It is possibly that rebel forces will be able to overcome these factors and/or that Syrian government forces will also be effected.

          Lamb chop, we can quibble what to call it, but I think we can both agree it's creepy.

          by InAntalya on Mon Dec 31, 2012 at 01:24:43 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  The MSM you quote all show the very same sources (0+ / 0-)

    BTW, there was an almost identical scenario reported last April in Deir Baalba

    http://observers.france24.com/...
    Massacre of Deir Baalba, Homs: a survivor testifies
    06.07.2012
    ...
    This massacre was committed between 7 and 24 April 2012, during which the army controlled the neighborhood of Deir Baalba, located in the northeast of the city of Homs. The opposition activists based in the neighboring districts, had reported at the time the execution of several people. But only after the withdrawal of the army and the disaster discovery. According to activists, nearly 200 people were killed by security forces and "chabbihas" militia power. Victims who, according to residents of this neighborhood were murdered or executed by gunshot.
    ...
    As soon as the army withdrew [however, there are still areas of this district held by the army], we have returned to Deir Baalba. Traces of the operation by the army were visible in the streets and buildings: houses were destroyed by bombing or fire, the walls had traces of bursts and there was dried blood in front of houses and in the stables, where most of the killings were perpetrated [Baba Amr as Deir Baalba lies at the tip of the city of Homs].

    Of course, we immediately understood what had happened. But we had no proof. The sages of peace committees were then contacted us. These committees are composed of Sheikhs old town which sometimes play as intermediaries between the government and the opposition, including the Free Syrian Army. They told us that just before leaving Deir Baalba, members of the regular army had come to see them come with trucks and equipment to bury the corpses. They are the ones who filmed the bodies and buried with their mobile phones. They are said to have seen decapitated bodies and charred corpses. They say that women even had their hands cut off in order to steal their jewelery.
    ...

    •  Thanks (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Claudius Bombarnac

      For this informative link. But I'm not sure what conclusion you draw from it?

      •  Two conclusions - either the LCC is propaganda (0+ / 0-)

        savvy and is trying for a rerun of a successful press coverage or the town is considered a stronghold for the FSA which caused the SAA to strike exceptionally hard on any moving thing.

        Possibly a bit of both? With the "fog" of war, we may never know.

        This battle area reminds me of the two US actions against Fallujah where a large number of civilians, insurgents and US soldiers died. A large aspect of that battle was revenge and score taking.

        •  How do defend Bashar Assad in 10 easy steps (0+ / 0-)

          Borzou Daragahi's 'guide for Syria analysts and journalists who want to defend Bashar Assad while continuing to retain their credibility in the West.'

          •  Beware the Anti-Anti-War Left (0+ / 0-)
            http://www.counterpunch.org/...
            ...
            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.
            ...
            The anti-anti-war left has no influence on American policy, but that doesn’t mean that it has no effect.  Its insidious rhetoric has served to neutralize any peace or anti-war movement.  It has also made it impossible for any European country to take such an independent position as France took under De Gaulle, or even Chirac, or as Sweden did with Olof Palme.  Today such a position would be instantly attacked by the anti-anti-war left, which is echoed by European media, as “support to dictators”, another “Munich”, or “the crime of indifference”.

            What the anti-anti-war left has managed to accomplish is to destroy the sovereignty of Europeans in regard to the United States and to eliminate any independent left position concerning war and imperialism. It has also led most of the European left to adopt positions in total contradiction with those of the Latin American left and to consider as adversaries countries such as China and Russia which seek to defend international law, as indeed they should.

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