Thursday, 30 June 2011

US Official: 'Stalemate in Syria, though ugly, is good!'


"... “I feel like we’re in a stalemate, and while the stalemate is not pretty — in fact, it’s ugly — it only works in the opposition’s favor,” said an Obama administration official in Washington, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “Time is on the opposition’s side.”...
Hama is a city whose name remains seared in the memory of many Syrians... Some residents said that Hama’s place in history had made the state more reluctant to crack down this time."We learned from our mistakes,” said a teacher in Hama, who gave his name as Abu Omar. Like many interviewed there, he agreed to speak only on the condition of partial anonymity. “To make a revolution halfway,” he added, “is to dig our own tombs.”
On June 3, government forces and protesters clashed in the city, which is along a strategic highway linking Damascus, Homs and Aleppo. By activists’ count, as many as 73 people in Hama were killed, though Syrian officials said their security forces also suffered casualties. Syrian officials said an agreement was reached afterward according to which protests would be permitted, as long as they remained peaceful and no property was damaged. Some residents confirmed that an agreement was indeed concluded this month.Since then, some said, even the traffic police had withdrawn."The security and the army are completely absent,” said a resident who gave his name as Abu Abdo. “They are not harassing us at all, neither before nor during the daily rallies, which have been gathering day and night. There are no patrols. Life is normal.”...
Syrian officials played down the idea that the departure of government forces suggested a void in their authority. Since the beginning of the uprising, the government has said that much of the violence has occurred in clashes with armed opponents and, indeed, American officials have corroborated the existence of insurgents in some areas in Syria.
“Our policy has been that if the demonstrators are peaceful, if they do not wreak havoc or destroy public property, no security will harass them,” Imad Moustapha, the Syrian ambassador to the United States, said in an interview. “The universal orders are not to harass demonstrators as long as those demonstrators are peaceful.”
Mr. Moustapha estimated that 9 out of 10 protests began and ended peacefully...
“Everyone is stuck, at this point,” said Mr. Tarif, the human rights advocate. “The regime is stuck, the protesters are stuck and the opposition is stuck.”

Syrian TV Broadcasts Confessions of Three Members of Armed Terrorist Groups that Terrorized Jisr al-Shughour
Jun 25, 2011

DAMASCUS, (SANA) – The Syrian TV broadcast on Friday confessions of three members of the armed terrorist groups that murdered and mutilated security forces personnel, terrorized citizens and committed rape in Jisr al-Shughour.

Ahmad al-Yehea, born in Mherda in 1970, said he met people from Jisr al-Shughour and the nearby areas and joined them after calls were made for peaceful protests, saying that he went out with them on each Friday in Jabal al-Zawye area and that one day the protests escalated and the protestors attacked security posts in the town of Ariha and seized the weapons in them, burning public buildings.

Al-Yehea said that this led the group in Jisr al-Shughour to mimic the acts of the group from Jabal al-Zawye, attacking police departments and security posts, in addition to border police stations like the one in Kherbet al-Joz village, seizing weapons with each attack.
He added that a second group began participating with the goal of financial gain, including smugglers and instigators, saying that smugglers began smuggling weapons through Kherbet al-Joz, and that smugglers and protestors established contact and began to cooperate, at which point a nearly organized operation began.

Al-Yehea said that there were people who specialized in media, while others served as medics, and when tensions increased the group in Jisr al-Shughour began a surprise operation by attacking security posts, coordinating with the group in Kherbet al-Joz to protect them and prevent aid from arriving to the security forces.

He said that he was tasked with surveillance and reporting any movement on the part of army, security forces or anyone in Jisr al-Shughour.

Kutaiba Daaboul, another member of armed terrorist groups, said that participated in the first protest in Jisr al-Shughour, and that sheikh Sabah and members of al-Kees and al-Masri families came to the protestors then and told them that the army and security forces will enter the city and begin acts of destruction and burning, instructing them to set up roadblocks, close down roads and carry arms.

He said that members of al-Kees and al-Masri families distributed weapons, and that he received a pump-action shotgun and ammo from a man named Yasser Yousef who told him that they are to attack the post office's security post.

Daaboul said that they attacked the post and opened fire, killing everyone inside. Afterwards, they pillaged it and burned it.

He said that afterwards, there was talk of groups moving from various areas to attack the military security post in the area, and indeed 400 people from nearby villages attacked the post and opened fire on the personnel in it, who returned fire. Afterwards, the armed groups used a bulldozer carrying a gasoline drum to drive through post's wall, detonating the drum inside, killing most of the personnel inside, and later the gunmen entered the building and killed the survivors and mutilated their bodies.

Daaboul said that one time he was on guard duty at a roadblock with Bilal al-Kees, Ahmad al-Arrak and two people he didn't know when a white car with women inside it approached. He said that the women's accent indicated they were from Aleppo, and that they forced the women out of the car and raped them.

He concluded by saying that a man named Mumtaz al-Kees gave him 25,000 Syrian pounds to participate in protests.

In turn, Anas Daaboul, a member of the terrorist groups who was born in Jisr al-Shughour in 1985 and was arrested three times for desertion, pederasty and theft, said that when the post office was attacked, he and another group opened fire on the security forces from the military security post to prevent them from joining the post office security force.

Anas said that he was posted at the top of a factory with an AK47 rifle and six magazines, and that there were groups of 4 or five people at every corner, and they opened fire on the military security post until midnight when they were joined by the group that attacked the post office. The second group threw dynamite sticks at the post as the first group opened fire.
He said that on the next day, a man named Jamal provided a bulldozer in which they placed a gasoline drum, placing the drum inside the post and detonating it, adding that 8 members of security personnel survived the explosion and were in the basement of the building.

Anas said that after killing the eight survivors, they took all the bodies out of the buildings and used a three cars to transport the bodies, with Anas himself driving a pickup truck to a nearby location where fifteen people from his neighborhood were waiting, and these men dug a large hole and buried the nine bodies he brought with him, adding that the other cars headed to the nearby quarry where the remaining 22 bodies were buried.

He said that he was given money and weapons by a man named Mohammad Osfour, and that a man called Hilal al-Jahsh, a member of al-Kees family and members of Riha family brought weapons from Turkey, and that they paid him 25,000 Syrian pounds and promised him 75,000 more when "the mission ended" and that they took back the rifle they gave him when the mission was over and didn't give him any money.

He also said that there were around 700 gunmen in Jisr al-Shughour when the attacks began.

H. Sabbagh

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