Flashpoint Syria

The situation in Syria is extremely serious. This is a crisis that has been a lot slower to develop than the crisis in Libya. I believe that it has now reached the point where there needs to be a very strong resolution of condemnation in the UN. The difference between this situation and Libya is that you do not have a group such as the National Transitional Council, and you do not have the people calling for the implementation of a no-fly zone. Up until this week no aircraft had been used against the rebels in Syria, whereas in Libya, the Daffy Duck regime began employing its aircraft as soon as the protests started. Other than that, the mounting death toll means that the crisis is now at the same stage that Libya had reached within about a week of their first protests. One more big difference is that Syria has been using the Iranian Republican Guard in its brutal crackdown.

As a result of the crackdown and the extraordinary threats against one northern Syrian town, the number of citizens seeking refuge in Turkey has increased dramatically. The events leading up to this particular crackdown included the death of 120 military and police in that region. What the Assad regime left out of its propaganda is that these men were shot not by the people in that town, but by the military. These were men who had refused to fire upon their own people, and they were shot in the back. In some cases ambulance officers were forbidden from picking up the wounded, and when they did, they too were shot. Some actually survived the slaughter to tell their tale.

The flight of refugees into Turkey has led to Erdogan doing an about face with regard to his attitude towards Syria. He also did an early about face over Libya and now supports the rebels in Libya.  According to the site BigPeace, Turkey is contemplating sending troops across the border and into Syria:

Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has now condemned, in the harshest terms, the man he used to call “a good friend of mine.” Referring to Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, as well as his younger brother Maher, he said, “Sadly, their actions are inhumane. The savagery right now… think about it, the images they are playing in the heads of the women they kill is so ugly, these images are hard to eat, hard to swallow.” He indicated that he now supports a UN Security Council resolution condemning Syria — a reversal of his previous position. Zaman and Al-Jazeera

Map of Jisr al-Shughour in Syria and Yayladagi in Turkey

Nearly 3,000 Syrians have fled into southern Turkey, into the refugee camp at Yayladagi, fearing a military assault by regime armed forces, but Turkey now fears that thousands may turn into hundreds of thousands of refugees. Turkish officials have neither confirmed nor denied a report that they have drawn up plans for an operation that would send several battalions of Turkish troops into Syria itself to carve out a “safe area” or “buffer area” for Syrian refugees inside Assad’s “caliphate.” From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, Syria is in a generational Awakening era, and can’t have a crisis civil war at this time. However, there’s nothing stopping Syria from becoming the theatre of a proxy war between other countries which, like Turkey, are in generational Crisis eras. Zaman


As I have stated on a number of occasions, I remain uncertain about the elements involved with the unrest in Syria. I am not totally convinced that these people are on the level, but I have no idea about the ones who are in fact armed. Yes, there are some groups of armed individuals. However, Assad will not allow journalists, not even those from Lebanon into the country. In the past few months several journalists have been detained and then released. Most of them have worked for Al Jazeera. The BBC news site has further information on the Syrian situation:

Syrian government forces have advanced into the northern town of Jisr al-Shughour, state media say, as part of a widespread government crackdown.

Witnesses reported an attack using tanks and helicopter gunships, after an early-morning bombardment.

The government says it is trying to restore order after it claimed 120 security personnel had been killed.

But residents say the dead were killed after a mutiny and fighting between the security forces.

The government advance sent more people fleeing towards the Turkish border, to join thousands who have already crossed.

BBC correspondents on the border say the number of those who have crossed is probably now much higher than the official figure of 4,300 given 24 hours ago.

State media said the operation began after explosive devices were defused on the approaches to the town.

Tanks came from the south after shelling randomly and sending volleys of machinegun fire all over the town,” one resident told Reuters news agency.

Helicopter gunships were also seen hovering overhead.

There are reports that the troops are part of an elite unit commanded by President Bashar al-Assad’s younger brother Maher.

The BBC’s Jim Muir, in neighbouring Beirut, says there are reports of members of the feared Shabiha militia group fighting alongside the soldiers.

It is not clear how much resistance the army is facing in the town, our correspondent adds, with so many people having fled.

“There are only a few people left. I escaped on my motorcycle through dirt tracks in the hills,” one man told Reuters.

Syria has prevented most foreign journalists, including those from the BBC, from entering the country, making it difficult to independently verify reports from there.

However, an Associated Press reporter who has been permitted to travel with Syrian troops said he saw “gunmen” arrested, and at least two dead in the town hospital.

State media said two command groups of armed organisations had been detained, and others killed or wounded. Arms and ammunition were seized.

One account said some of those who tried to flee towards Turkey were intercepted, while others were shot and killed.

On Saturday witnesses described homes being bulldozed in nearby villages and crops and fields burnt and uprooted.

Violence has also been reported in the nearby town of Maarat al-Numan, with armed men attacking the courthouse, police station and strategic fuel depot.

Meanwhile there are continuing but unverifiable reports of army defections, with the latest saying that an officer and 50 men had changed sides rather than fire on civilians in Jisr al-Shughour.

Protests against President Bashar al-Assad began in March and have spread across the country.

Rights groups say hundreds of people have been killed and there are reports the army has been using aircraft to open fire on people



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