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Thread: Syria

  1. #61
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    Default Re: Syria

    Clinton says Iran backing “vicious” Syria crackdown

    US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Tuesday accused Iran of backing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's "vicious assaults" against pro-democracy protesters.

    "Iran is supporting the Assad regime’s vicious assaults on peaceful protesters and military actions against its own cities," Clinton said, comparing its response to Iran's crackdown on pro-reform protests in 2009.

    "Two years ago this week, Iranian citizens went to the polls in the hopes of expressing their democratic rights. But the authorities in Tehran had no interest in the will of the people," she said.

    "When the people reached for their aspirations, the government responded with brutal repression. Two years later, that repression continues."

    Syria's uprising was triggered in mid-March by the arrest and torture of 15 children and adolescents accused of spraying anti-regime graffiti in the southern town of Daraa, which then became the epicenter of the revolt.

    The UN children's agency UNICEF has since said that at least 30 children have been shot dead in the revolt against the Assad family's 40-year rule.

    The revolt gained new strength last month with the release of gruesome pictures of the body of 13-year-old Hamza al-Khatib, whom activists say was severely tortured, a charge denied by authorities.

    Clinton compared Khatib to Neda Agha-Soltan, a young Iranian woman who became an emblem of the 2009 protests after she was shot during a demonstration and shown bleeding out on a widely circulated online video.

    "The world was shocked by images of a 13-year-old Syrian boy, tortured and mutilated by Syrian security forces. It reminded us of a young Iranian woman, killed in the street two years ago for all to see," she said.

    She added that the United States would "stand with citizens - including the citizens of Syria and Iran - who yearn to be free and to exercise their universal rights."

    Washington has repeatedly called on Syria to halt the violent crackdown that has killed hundreds of civilians and sent thousands of people streaming across its border with Turkey.

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    like overripe fruit into our hands."



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    Default Re: Syria

    June 17, 2011 Despite Crackdown, Syrian Anti-Government Protesters Pour Into Streets

    VOA News







    Thousands of Syrians have poured into streets across the country with renewed calls for the president's resignation, as the government widens its crackdown on dissent.

    Witnesses and activists say anti-government rallies got underway on Friday in cities including Homs, Daraa, and Latakia as well as near the capital, Damascus. There are scattered reports of security forces opening fire on demonstrators who reportedly sustained casualties.

    Earlier Friday, security forces mounted new assaults in the country's restive northwest, sending tanks and troops into two more cities.

    Rights activists and witnesses say the military sent large numbers of soldiers into Maaret al-Numaan, a city that is on the highway linking the capital and the large city of Aleppo. In addition, the security forces moved into the town of Khan Sheikhun.

    Meanwhile, Turkish officials say the number of Syrians who have crossed the border to flee from the unrest is nearing 10,000. The al-Jazeera television network said Friday that some Syrians who have gathered near the Turkish border also demonstrated against President Bashar al-Assad.

    World powers are increasingly condemning the crackdown. On Friday, French officials voiced support for additional European Union sanctions on President Assad's regime.

    On Thursday, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on the Syrian president to "stop killing people" and negotiate with the protesters "before it's too late."

    Rights activists and witnesses say more than 1,300 civilians and 340 government troops have been killed since mid-March.
    Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.
    Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
    and discuss them on our Facebook page.
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  3. #63
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    Default Re: Syria

    http://www.jpost.com/MiddleEast/Article.aspx?id=227061


    'Warning to Assad: Attack us, we'll hit you personally'
    By JPOST.COM STAFF AND OREN KESSLER
    06/29/2011 10:48

    Israel reportedly sent message through Ankara following intelligence reports of unusual troop, missile movement, Kuwaiti paper reports.

    Israel sent a message to Syrian President Bashar Assad in recent days, warning him that if he started a war with the Jewish state in order to divert attention from domestic problems, Israel will target him personally, Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Jarida reported on Tuesday.

    According to the report, the personal warning was sent through Turkey following intelligence reports of unusual Syrian troop movements, including the moving of long-range ballistic missiles that could be used to target Israel.

    The report added that the IDF has increased its preparedness on the northern border out of fear that Hezbollah may attempt to stage another kidnapping of soldiers or civilians along the Lebanese border.

    Last month, following deadly attempts to breach Syria's border with Israel, US-based Syria experts accused the Assad regime of being behind the Naksa Day protests on the Israeli border in order to distract from the prolonged uprising challenging Syria's rulers.

    “It’s almost a cliché – this is what he always does. He’s under pressure at home, so he deflects attention,” Andrew Tabler, a Syria expert at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy said. During the 2006 Second Lebanon War, “it was by rallying the people around resistance to Israel, and this time it’s with the Palestinian cause. This is not going to work.

    Government sources on various continents also accused Assad of at least enabling, if not spurring the deadly protests that turned into the most volatile clashes on the Golan border since the 1973 Yom Kippur War.


    Saint Paul in the Ephesians 6:12


    "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms."



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    Default Re: Syria

    July 01, 2011
    Syrians Take to Streets as Clinton Warns Assad Regime

    VOA News


    [IMG]http://media.voanews.com/images/480*300/AP_SyriaProtest_1jul11.jpg[/IMG] Photo: AP
    Syrian supporters of President Bashar Assad carry a giant national flag during a protest in al-Qarya village, in the southwestern Suwayda province, Syria, July 1, 2011




    Activists say at least three people were killed by Syrian forces as tens of thousands took to the streets nationwide in protest of a continuing crackdown by the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.
    VOA's Susan Yackee speaks with Robert Powell of the Economist about the ongoing unrest in Syria:

    The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the three died in a military incursion early Friday in the Jabal al-Zawiya region near the Turkish border.

    The deaths and Friday protests come as U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says time is running out for the Syrian government.

    Clinton made the comments Friday at the "Community of Democracies'' gathering in Lithuania's capital, Vilnius. She said the government must make genuine reforms or face increased resistance.


    Hillary Clinton Comments on Syria

    Clinton also said Assad's efforts to reach out to the opposition through one meeting earlier this week was not "sufficient." She added that allowing an opposition meeting in Damascus while deploying tanks in the north was not sending a coherent message.

    Syria has continued a brutal crackdown on anti-government protesters calling for the president to step down. In the latest violence, security forces killed at least 12 people in two days during an ongoing military operation near the Turkish border in the country's northwest.

    Pro-government forces also appeared to be preventing residents in recent days from crossing into Turkey, where more than 12,000 Syrians have fled to escape the violence in their homeland. Hundreds more Syrian refugees have left for Lebanon.

    Turkish officials said only five Syrians made it across the border Thursday, the lowest number in days.

    Details of events in Syria are difficult to independently confirm because the government allows very few foreign news reporters into the country and restricts their movements.

    Rights groups say more than 1,400 people have been killed in the violence, most of them unarmed protesters.
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    Default Re: Syria

    Clinton: 'The Syrian government is running out of time'

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    1 July 2011 Last updated at 07:44 ET Help
    US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has warned time is running out for Syria's government to usher in reforms.
    She said President Assad would face more organised resistance to his rule unless the country saw "a genuine transition to democracy".
    Human rights groups estimate that about 1,700 people have been killed in three months of anti-government protests.
    "We know what they have to do," Mrs Clinton said at a news conference during a visit to Lithuania.

    Read More


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  6. #66
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    Default Re: Syria

    http://www.businessweek.com/news/201...syria-now.html


    State Department Urges All U.S. Citizens to Leave Syria Now

    August 05, 2011, 9:38 PM EDT

    By David Lerman
    (Updates with department’s statement in third paragraph.)
    Aug. 5 (Bloomberg) -- The State Department today urged all U.S. citizens in Syria to leave the country immediately, citing “ongoing uncertainty and volatility” as protests mount against President Bashar al-Assad.
    Those who must remain in Syria should limit all non- essential travel within the country, the department said. The warning also advised U.S. citizens to defer all travel plans to Syria.
    The State Department said several Syrian cities, including the capital, Damascus, have been placed on “heightened security,” while travelers on Syrian roads have encountered “an increased number of checkpoints and roadblocks.”
    With the Assad regime attributing the country’s protests and violence to foreign influences, detained U.S. citizens could find themselves accused of incitement or espionage, the department said.
    The travel warning came on a day when Syrian security forces killed at least nine people as Assad’s army pressed its attack on the central city of Hama.
    Tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets in cities such as Aleppo and Homs.
    Secretary of State Hillary Clinton yesterday said Assad has “lost his legitimacy to govern,” though she stopped short of calling for him to step down.
    More than 2,000 people have been killed since demonstrations against the Assad regime began in March, Clinton said.
    April Alert
    In April, the State Department ordered all eligible family members of U.S. government employees, along with some non- emergency personnel, to leave Syria.
    The U.S. embassy in Damascus was attacked by pro-Assad demonstrators in July, resulting in the embassy’s closure for one day.
    Clinton said the U.S. is working “around the clock” to build international support for increased measures to isolate the Assad regime, including economic sanctions.
    The United Nations Security Council issued a statement this week condemning Assad’s military crackdown.
    --Editors: Don Frederick, Paul Tighe.
    To contact the reporter on this story: David Lerman in Washington at Dlerman1@bloomberg.net.
    To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Silva at msilva34@bloomberg.net.

    Saint Paul in the Ephesians 6:12


    "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms."



  7. #67
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    Default Re: Syria

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/0..._n_920957.html


    Kuwait, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia Pull Ambassadors From Syria


    08/ 8/11 10:00 AM ET

    DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Two Gulf Arab nations are joining Saudi Arabia in recalling their ambassadors from Syria in the wake of bloody crackdown, further isolating President Bashar Assad's regime.
    Kuwait's deputy prime minister and foreign minister told state news agency KUNA on Monday that his country is pulling its envoy home "for consultation." Sheik Mohammed Sabah al-Salem Al Sabah says Gulf foreign ministers will meet soon to discuss the Syrian situation.
    Bahraini Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa announced on his official Twitter feed that the island kingdom is also recalling its ambassador.
    Bahrain earlier this year got help from its Gulf neighbors in putting down its own uprisings. Activists say at least 32 died in those protests.

    Saint Paul in the Ephesians 6:12


    "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms."



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    Default Re: Syria

    Leave Syria?

    First I heard that....
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    Default Re: Syria

    Syrian forces kill 13 as protests erupt nationwide

    Syria, despite warnings from Turkey and the U.S. to stop military operations against unarmed civilians, continues its campaign against dissent, witnesses and activists say. Turkey, Syria's neighbor, may regard the violence along its border as an affront.

    Supporters of Syrian leader Bashar Assad rally at the Turkey-Syria border. (Ayse Wieting / Associated Press / July 3, 2010)



    By Ellen Knickmeyer and Alexandra Sandels, Los Angeles Times August 12, 2011, 8:41 a.m.

    Reporting from Beirut—


    Syria shrugged off warnings from neighboring Turkey, the United States and other countries to cease military operations against unarmed civilians, killing at least 13 people Friday as protests erupted countrywide despite the growing security crackdown, according to accounts from witnesses and activists.

    Among the dead were some killed in the eastern town of Dair Alzour by security forces who opened fire when worshippers emerged from Friday prayers, according to a resident reached by telephone. The city, an opposition stronghold near the Iraq border, has been under attack by Syrian forces for the past week.

    "Directly after they came out of the mosques the security forces rushed toward the demonstrators and shot live ammunition at them," said the resident, who would identify himself only by his first name of Abdullah. Security forces had burned bakeries in the town since beginning their offensive a week ago, forcing civilians to roam wide distances in search of bread, the resident said. He said three people had been killed in Friday's violence in the town.

    In Khan Sheikhon near the Turkish border, tanks and troops stormed the town at dawn, killing a pregnant woman, according to the Local Coordination Committees, a coalition of Syrian opposition groups. The group detailed other alleged deadly attacks on civilians Friday in the Damascus suburb of Saqba, where a man was reportedly shot and killed in a protest that followed dawn prayers, and in the cities of Aleppo, Hama, Homs and elsewhere.

    In Aleppo, the second-largest city and a center of support for Syrian President Bashar Assad, protesters and security forces clashed. Video posted on the Internet showed young men running through a poor district as bursts of gunfire sounded.

    Friday's biggest protests appeared to have been in the Damascus suburbs and in the coastal city of Latakia, where thousands of protesters unfurled a huge Syrian flag.

    Fridays have been the main day of protests throughout the Arab revolutions. Friday's demonstrations posed a test for Assad following increasingly tough warnings from the international community. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Thursday that she was pushing other countries, particularly China and India, to join in before the United States would call for Assad to step down.

    Turkey, Syria's more powerful and wealthier neighbor, was likely to regard the violence, especially that along its border, as an affront.

    Turkey's foreign minister traveled to Damascus this week to press Assad to stop attacks, and Turkish officials had said their government would be closely watching Syria's actions in coming days. Turkey's diplomatic move ''would actually qualify as an ultimatum ... for Assad to reexamine his stance and his policy," Sinan Ulgen, an analyst and former Turkish diplomat, said by telephone Friday.

    Turkey's Zaman newspaper reported that the Turkish military, apparently alarmed by the Syrian raids near the Turkish border, had called up recently retired officers and sent many to provinces along the frontier with Syria.

    The border area has been the scene of repeated offensives that Turkey says have pushed more than 7,000 Syrians into refugee camps just inside Turkey. Syrian forces stormed the town of Saraqbe near the border on Thursday, and killed 11 people in a raid on a western town near Lebanon.

    Syria's military is blocking roads leading to Turkey, preventing new refugee flows, Omar Miqdad, a Syrian activist who has fled to Turkey, said by telephone.

    Knickmeyer and Sandels are special correspondents
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  10. #70
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    Default Re: Syria

    http://www.wnd.com/?pageId=333897#ixzz1VIZfaeSQ


    Brace for another U.S.-Mideast war
    First Libya, now sources say next country warned of NATO attack


    Posted: August 15, 2011
    8:31 pm Eastern

    By Aaron Klein
    © 2011 WND



    Bashar Assad

    JERUSALEM – Turkey secretly passed a message to Damascus last week that if it does not implement major democratic reforms, NATO may attack Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime, according to Egyptian security officials speaking to WND.

    The Egyptian security officials said the message was coordinated with NATO members, specifically with the U.S. and European Union.
    Assad has been widely accused of ordering massacres on militants and protesters engaged in an insurgency targeting his regime.

    The Egyptian officials said Turkish leaders, speaking for NATO, told Assad that he has until March to implement democratization that would allow free elections as well as major constitutional reforms.

    Read what we'll need to accomplish to restore America to greatness.

    The officials said the NATO message demanded Assad halt attacks against the insurgency and begin the process of democratization immediately.

    Last week it was widely reported Turkey gave the Syrian government a two-week ultimatum to come up with a set of reforms and asked Assad's regime to withdraw its security forces from protest cities.

    (Story continues below)

    The reports, however, did not mention any message passed to Assad on behalf of NATO.

    Yesterday, the Spanish newspaper El Pais reported Spain sent a secret mission to Syria in July to attempt to find a solution to the current conflict there and offer asylum to Assad and his family.

    While it is not clear what form any NATO military action would take against Assad's regime, the Egyptian security officials told WND they would expect such action to mimic the international coalition that has been targeting Libyan leader Muammar Gadhafi.


    Soros-funded doctrine with White House ties

    The Libya bombings have been widely regarded as a test of a military doctrine called Responsibility to Protect.

    In his address to the nation in April explaining the NATO campaign in Libya, Obama cited the doctrine as the main justification for U.S. and international airstrikes against Libya.

    Responsibility to Protect, or Responsibility to Act, as cited by Obama, is a set of principles, now backed by the United Nations, based on the idea that sovereignty is not a privilege but a responsibility that can be revoked if a country is accused of "war crimes," "genocide," "crimes against humanity" or "ethnic cleansing."

    The term "war crimes" has at times been indiscriminately used by various U.N.-backed international bodies, including the International Criminal Court, or ICC, which applied it to Israeli anti-terror operations in the Gaza Strip. There has been fear the ICC could be used to prosecute U.S. troops.
    The Global Centre for Responsibility to Protect is the world's leading champion of the military doctrine.

    As WND reported, Soros is a primary funder and key proponent of the Global Centre for Responsibility to Protect.
    Several of the doctrine's main founders sit on boards with Soros.

    WND reported the committee that devised the Responsibility to Protect doctrine included Arab League Secretary General Amre Moussa as well as Palestinian legislator Hanan Ashrawi, a staunch denier of the Holocaust who long served as the deputy of late Palestinian Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat.

    Also the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy has a seat on the advisory board of the 2001 commission that originally founded Responsibility to Protect.

    The commission is called the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty. It invented the term "responsibility to protect" while defining its guidelines.
    The Carr Center is a research center concerned with human rights located at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

    Samantha Power, the National Security Council special adviser to Obama on human rights, was Carr's founding executive director and headed the institute at the time it advised in the founding of Responsibility to Protect.

    With Power's center on the advisory board, the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty first defined the Responsibility to Protect doctrine.

    Power reportedly heavily influenced Obama in consultations leading to the decision to bomb Libya.

    Two of the global group's advisory board members, Ramesh Thakur and Gareth Evans, are the original founders of the doctrine, with the duo even coining the term "responsibility to protect."

    As WND reported, Soros' Open Society Institute is a primary funder and key proponent of the Global Centre for Responsibility to Protect. Also, Thakur and Evans sit on multiple boards with Soros.

    Soros' Open Society is one of only three nongovernmental funders of the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect. Government sponsors include Australia, Belgium, Canada, the Netherlands, Norway, Rwanda and the U.K.

    Board members of the group include former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, former Ireland President Mary Robinson and South African activist Desmond Tutu. Robinson and Tutu have recently made solidarity visits to the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip as members of a group called The Elders, which includes former President Jimmy Carter.

    Annan once famously stated, "State sovereignty, in its most basic sense, is being redefined – not least by the forces of globalization and international co-operation. States are ... instruments at the service of their peoples and not vice versa."


    Soros: Right to 'penetrate nation-states'

    Soros himself outlined the fundamentals of Responsibility to Protect in a 2004 Foreign Policy magazine article entitled "The People's Sovereignty: How a New Twist on an Old Idea Can Protect the World's Most Vulnerable Populations."
    In the article, Soros said "true sovereignty belongs to the people, who in turn delegate it to their governments."
    "If governments abuse the authority entrusted to them and citizens have no opportunity to correct such abuses, outside interference is justified," Soros wrote. "By specifying that sovereignty is based on the people, the international community can penetrate nation-states' borders to protect the rights of citizens.

    "In particular, the principle of the people's sovereignty can help solve two modern challenges: the obstacles to delivering aid effectively to sovereign states, and the obstacles to global collective action dealing with states experiencing internal conflict."


    More Soros ties

    "Responsibility" founders Evans and Thakur served as co-chairmen with Vartan Gregorian, president of Carnegie Corp. charitable foundation, on the advisory board of the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty, which invented the term "responsibility to protect."

    In his capacity as co-chairman, Evans also played a pivotal role in initiating the fundamental shift from sovereignty as a right to "sovereignty as responsibility."

    Evans presented Responsibility to Protect at the July 23, 2009, United Nations General Assembly, which was convened to consider the principle.

    Thakur is a fellow at the Centre for International Governance Innovation, which is in partnership with an economic institute founded by Soros.

    Soros is on the executive board of the International Crisis Group, a "crisis management organization" for which Evans serves as president-emeritus.

    WND previously reported how the group has been petitioning for the U.S. to normalize ties with the Muslim Brotherhood, the main opposition in Egypt, where longtime U.S. ally Hosni Mubarak was recently toppled.

    Aside from Evans and Soros, the group includes on its board Egyptian opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei, as well as other personalities who champion dialogue with Hamas, a violent offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood.

    WND also reported the crisis group has petitioned for the Algerian government to cease "excessive" military activities against al-Qaida-linked groups and to allow organizations seeking to create an Islamic state to participate in the Algerian government.

    Soros' own Open Society Institute has funded opposition groups across the Middle East and North Africa, including organizations involved in the current chaos.


    'One World Order'

    WND reported that doctrine founder Thakur recently advocated for a "global rebalancing" and "international redistribution" to create a "New World Order."

    In a piece last March in the Ottawa Citizen newspaper, "Toward a new world order," Thakur wrote, "Westerners must change lifestyles and support international redistribution."

    He was referring to a United Nations-brokered international climate treaty in which he argued, "Developing countries must reorient growth in cleaner and greener directions."

    In the opinion piece, Thakur then discussed recent military engagements and how the financial crisis has impacted the U.S.

    "The West's bullying approach to developing nations won't work anymore – global power is shifting to Asia," he wrote.
    "A much-needed global moral rebalancing is in train," he added.

    Thakur continued: "Westerners have lost their previous capacity to set standards and rules of behaviour for the world. Unless they recognize this reality, there is little prospect of making significant progress in deadlocked international negotiations."

    Thakur contended "the demonstration of the limits to U.S. and NATO power in Iraq and Afghanistan has left many less fearful of 'superior' western power."



    Last edited by BRVoice; August 17th, 2011 at 17:31.

    Saint Paul in the Ephesians 6:12


    "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms."



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    Default Re: Syria

    Responsibility to Protect, or Responsibility to Act, as cited by Obama, is a set of principles, now backed by the United Nations, based on the idea that sovereignty is not a privilege but a responsibility that can be revoked if a country is accused of "war crimes," "genocide," "crimes against humanity" or "ethnic cleansing."
    I question the ability of ANYONE to be able to do this either accurately or effectively, but I agree that if there are OBVIOUS war crimes, SOMEONE needs to do SOMETHING. However, it doesn't have to be the USA
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    Default Re: Syria

    Here we go....

    Obama just issues an "Executive Order" about Syria. I don't have details yet, but FNC was reporting something to the effect that "it's time for the Syrian people to take back what is theirs".

    So, I assume Obama is calling for the Syrians to attack their own government... and of course this will be led by the Muslim Brotherhood, I'm sure.
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    Default Re: Syria

    Hellery Clinton is speaking now.

    We are "supporting" the Syrian people now.

    Look for new air strikes.
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    Default Re: Syria

    Ok... Banning American imports of oil, dealing with Syria, investing with the country and America has frozen money of Syria (anything we have access to).
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    Default Re: Syria

    Special session of UN-HRC is being scheduled.

    (Human Rights Council).
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    Default Re: Syria

    Obama calls on Syria's Assad to resign



    Updated 1m ago









    WASHINGTON (AP) — President Obama said the time has come for Syrian President Bashar Assad to resign for the sake of his brutally repressed people.

    • AFP/Getty Images
      Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) shows embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad

    AFP/Getty Images
    Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) shows embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad




    In a stinging written statement, Obama said Thursday that Assad has overseen a vicious onslaught of his people as they protest for freedoms. He said the Syrian people will decide their country's future but Assad is standing in their way and must go.
    Obama said Assad's calls for reform ring hollow while he is "imprisoning, torturing and slaughtering his own people."
    This was Obama's first explicit call for Assad to step down. His administration was also slapping new sanctions on Syria.
    Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton echoed the language in an on-camera appearance.
    Until now, the administration had said Assad had lost all credibility to rule with his ruthless crackdown on pro-reform demonstrators.
    Although U.S. officials acknowledged the move is not likely to have any immediate impact on the Syrian regime's behavior, they said it would send a powerful signal that Assad is no longer welcome in the international community. And they noted that the additional sanctions would further boost pressure on Assad and his inner circle.
    As Syrian protesters have called for an end to his regime, Assad has unleashed tanks and ground troops in an attempt to retake control in rebellious areas. The military assault has escalated dramatically since the start of the holy month of Ramadan in August, with Assad's forces killing hundreds and detaining thousands.
    Thursday's new formulation of policy will make it clear that Assad can no longer be a credible reformist and has to leave, the officials said.
    The administration had planned to make the announcement last week but postponed it largely at the request of Syria's neighbor Turkey, which asked for more time to try to convince Assad to reform, and because Clinton and other officials argued it was important to build a global consensus that Assad must go. Clinton on Tuesday publicly questioned the effectiveness of the United States acting alone.
    "It is not going to be any news if the United States says Assad needs to go," she said. "OK, fine, what's next? If other people say it, if Turkey says it, if (Saudi) King Abdullah says it, there is no way the Assad regime can ignore it."
    Since then, however, the coordination strategy appears to have born fruit.
    Ahead of the U.S. announcement, a high-level U.N. human rights team in Geneva said Thursday that Syria's crackdown "may amount to crimes against humanity" and should be referred to the International Criminal Court. U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay is expected on Thursday afternoon to urge the U.N. Security Council to make that referral
    The investigators say they found "a pattern of human rights violations that constitutes widespread or systematic attacks against the civilian population." In their report, they said they had compiled a confidential list of 50 alleged perpetrators at "various levels" of Assad's government. Syria insists it is rooting out terrorists but rights groups accuse Syrian troops of killing more than 1,800 civilians since mid-March.
    Jordan's foreign minister said Thursday that his country is "angered" and "extremely worried" by the killings of civilians in Syria and Switzerland recalled its ambassador. A day earlier, Tunisia recalled its ambassador from Syria, following the lead of several other Arab nations, including Saudi Arabia, that the U.S. has been lobbying to show displeasure with Assad.
    Meanwhile, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday has compared Assad to Libya's Moammar Gadhafi for refusing to heed calls to change. Turkey has joined calls for Gadhafi to leave power and Erdogan said Wednesday he had personally spoken to Assad and sent his foreign minister to Damascus, but "despite all of this, they are continuing to strike civilians."
    In New York on Wednesday, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon spoke to Assad demanding the immediate end of all military operations and mass arrests. In response, Assad said military and police operations had stopped, according to a U.N. statement said.
    But the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which documents anti-regime protests, said Thursday that Syrian troops had shot dead nine people in the central city of Homs on Wednesday night. Another rights group said Assad's crackdown also killed nine people elsewhere in Syria on Wednesday.
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    Default Re: Syria

    Syria Kills 25 as UN Officials Consider Legality of Crackdown




    Enlarge image
    Syrian soldiers sitting atop a tank reading in Arabic "The soldiers of Assad" leave the eastern city of Deir al-Zour following a 10-day military operation. Photographer: -/AFP/Getty Images



    Syrian security forces killed at least 25 protesters yesterday, activists said, as UN officials prepared to advise the Security Council that President Bashar al-Assad’s five-month crackdown has violated international law.
    At least 15 people were killed in the central governorate of Homs, eight in the port city of Latakia and the eastern town of Deir al-Zour, and one in each of the provinces of Hama and Idlib, Mahmoud Merhi, head of the Arab Organization for Human Rights and Ammar Qurabi of the National Organization for Human Rights in Syria said today. Protesters held evening rallies in Aleppo, Hama and suburbs of the capital, Damascus, they said.
    United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay is ready to tell the Security Council today that there is evidence the government’s deadly suppression of dissent has violated international law, according to a UN diplomat briefed on the findings who wasn’t authorized to discuss them publicly. The UN has withdrawn non-essential staff from Syria, the office of its Special Coordinator for Lebanon said yesterday.
    The UN report, amid growing international outrage, may add momentum to a European-led push to overcome Russian resistance to firmer UN action against Assad. Faced with the most serious threat to his family’s 40-year rule, he has deployed tanks, armored vehicles, artillery and helicopters to crush the uprising that began after revolts ousted the leaders of Tunisia and Egypt, and sparked a conflict in Libya.
    The International Criminal Court, which tries those charged with war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity, issued an arrest warrant for Libya’s Muammar Qaddafi in June.
    Says Operations ‘Stopped’

    Assad told UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in a phone conversation yesterday that military operations against protesters had “stopped,” said Farhan Haq, a UN spokesman.
    Syrian forces have killed more than 2,400 people since the unrest began in March, according to Merhi and Qurabi. More than 500 members of the security forces have died during that time, the government has said. The U.S. State Department said more than 30,000 people have been detained, some in cages.
    “So long as the Syrian army and security forces remain loyal, it will be difficult to topple Assad,” said Patrick Seale, a biographer of Bashar’s late father, former President Hafez al-Assad. “His main asset is that no foreign country has any appetite for a military intervention and the Russians and the Chinese will certainly veto any attempt to condemn him at the UN Security Council.”
    Possible U.S. Demand
    U.S. President Barack Obama is close to asking Assad to leave office, a demand that would come more than a month after the administration said Assad had lost legitimacy, a U.S. official said last week. The official asked not to be identified because the timing of an announcement was still being discussed.
    Switzerland’s Foreign Ministry said the violent actions of the Syrian security forces against civilians are “not acceptable” and that it is recalling its ambassador from Damascus for consultations.
    “Switzerland cannot tolerate the systematic human-rights violations perpetrated by the Syrian security forces against the civilian population,” the ministry said today.
    Assad Isolated

    Criticism by nations in the region has left Assad increasingly isolated, leaving Iran as his only unwavering ally among them. Obama, Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah and British Prime Minister David Cameron have called on Syria to stop attacking its people. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Aug. 12 urged nations doing business with Syria to cut off trade and arms sales. Canada is extending sanctions against Assad’s government.
    The foreign minister of neighboring Turkey, Ahmet Davutoglu, said on Aug. 15 that the “time for words will be over” unless Syria ends military operations against its people.
    The Syrian government, which has blocked access to aid workers and journalists, may allow a UN team to enter Syria to assess the humanitarian situation, said the UN’s emergency relief coordinator, Valerie Amos.
    “We hope that we are very nearly at the point where a mission will be able to go,” she said yesterday in New York.
    To contact the reporters on this story: Massoud A. Derhally in Beirut, Lebanon, at mderhally@bloomberg.net; Flavia Krause-Jackson in New York at fjackson@bloomberg.net.
    To contact the editors responsible for this story: Andrew J. Barden at barden@bloomberg.net; Mark Silva at msilva34@bloomberg.net.
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    Default Re: Syria

    Syria intimidating expats abroad, threatening relatives back home

    Published August 18th, 2011 - 15:23 GMT via SyndiGate.info


    Intimidation of expat 'dissident' Syrians by home regimes is not something unique to Assad's cronies: the 1980s witnessed Gaddafi-stamped political assassinations.
    Enlarge Image




    Syrian diplomats are intimidating expatriates who speak out against the regime, and reporting back home where dissidents’ relatives are then threatened and arrested, according to Wednesday’s Wall Street Journal, as the Syrian troops continued their violent crackdown on protesters.

    The Obama administration told the Journal it had “credible” evidence that the regime of Syrian President Bashar Al Assad is using the reports from its embassies abroad to target relatives of those living overseas, particularly Syrian-Americans who have joined peaceful US protests.

    The daily, citing interviews with six Syrian-Americans, said embassy staffers were tracking and photographing protesters, and that Syrian diplomats including the ambassador to Washington have gone to Arab Diaspora communities to brand dissidents as “traitors.”

    “They want to intimidate us wherever we are,” Philadelphia-based Syrian-American scientist Hazem Hallak told the daily.

    Mr. Hallak said his brother Sakher was tortured and killed in May by Syrian intelligence after he returned from a conference in the United States. Mr. Hallak said agents in the Syrian city of Allepo sought to obtain a list of activists and US officials that Sakher had allegedly met during his US stay, and that Syrian agents tracked his brother in the United States.

    He said his brother was not involved in anti-regime activities.

    The Journal, citing three people interviewed by the FBI in recent weeks, also said the Federal Bureau of Investigation was probing allegations that Syrian Ambassador Imad Mustapha and embassy staff have threatened Syrian-Americans.

    The US State Department publicly rebuked Mr. Mustapha last month after reports that embassy staff were “conducting video and photographic surveillance of people participating in peaceful demonstrations in the United States.”

    On Tuesday in an interview with the Journal, Mr. Mustapha dismissed the allegations by Syrian-Americans and US officials as “slander and sheer lies,” and that “the Embassy of Syria challenges the State Department to provide a single shred of evidence that the embassy has harassed or conducted surveillance on anyone.”

    The paper cited several incidents of intimidation by Syrian officials against dissidents in the United States, as well as in Europe and Latin America.

    Rights groups say the ongoing crackdown in Syria has killed 1,827 civilians since mid-March, while 416 security forces have also died, according to AFP.

    Violent crackdown
    While no sanctions are announced, while there are no orders or directions from the government, we are obliged to fulfill our contractual obligations, which we are now doing
    Anatoly Isaikin, Rosoboronexport
    Hundreds of Syrian security services raided homes in the port city of Latakia on Wednesday, pressing their crackdown on dissent in defiance of rising condemnation abroad, activists said.

    The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, contacted from Nicosia, said more than 700 members of the security services took part in the operation in the southern district of Al Raml, arresting people on lists.

    “Heavy gunfire continued in most opposition neighborhoods” overnight, the Britain-based group said, according to AFP.

    On Tuesday, British Foreign Secretary William Hague stepped up the pressure and warned that President Assad was “fast losing the last shreds of his legitimacy.”

    And US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged Arab heavyweight Saudi Arabia and Syria's neighbour Turkey to push Assad to step down.

    But the head of Russia’s arms export agency, cited by the Interfax news agency, said Wednesday Moscow was continuing to supply weapons to its traditional ally Damascus.

    “While no sanctions are announced, while there are no orders or directions from the government, we are obliged to fulfill our contractual obligations, which we are now doing,” Rosoboronexport chief Anatoly Isaikin said.

    "Crime against humanity"
    Syrian tanks fired on low-income Sunni Muslim districts in the port city of Latakia on Tuesday, the fourth day of an assault which has killed 36 people and forced thousands of Palestinian refugees to flee, activists said.

    A senior Palestinian official described the military offensive in the city as “a crime against humanity,” adding to Arab condemnation of President Assad’s crackdown on popular demonstrations calling for his overthrow, according to Reuters.

    After five months of unrest, Mr. Assad, from Syria’s minority Alawite community, has broadened and intensified the military assault against main urban centers of protest since the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan on August 1.

    The Local Coordination Committees said President Assad’s forces killed at least two people in Latakia, including 13-year-old Mohammed Shohan, hit by sniper fire in the Raml Al Filistini slum district, bringing the death toll to 36 in four days.

    The activists’ group said the death toll was probably higher, but roadblocks and disrupted communications made it hard to gather information on casualties in the stricken city.

    Syria has expelled most independent media since the unrest began, making it difficult to verify reports from the country.

    Attack on Al Raml
    A security official cited by Syria's official state news agency said security forces backed by an army unit had completed a mission in Latakia’s Al Raml neighborhood against “armed terrorist groups who have terrorized the citizens.”

    A Latakia resident, a university student who did not want to be named, said tank machinegun fire could still be heard in the neighborhood and that tanks and armored vehicles moved deeper into the city, including the main Port Said street.

    “We can only hear the tank fire. Anyone who goes near Al Raml Al Filistini risks being arrested or shot,” he said, according to Reuters.

    The United Nations agency which cares for Palestinian refugees said on Monday four had been killed and 17 wounded.

    Syrian forces killed a 16-year-old boy when they fired on a protest in the eastern city of Deir Al Zor, residents said, hours after the authorities said the army was pulling out.

    Nibras Al Sayyah was hit by bullets fired by military intelligence personnel to disperse hundreds of people who marched at night after Ramadan prayers, the residents said.

    Witnesses said most tanks and troop carriers had pulled out of Deir Al Zor, which they attacked on August 7, and moved to the outskirts. Many troops remained in the city and were storming houses looking for wanted dissidents, they said.

    “The regime seems intent on breaking the bones of the uprising across the country this week, but the people are not backing down. Demonstrations in Deir Al Zor are regaining momentum,” one activist in the city said.

    Apart from Deir Al Zor and Latakia, Syrian forces have already stormed Hama, scene of a 1982 massacre by the military under Mr. Assad’s father, the southern city of Deraa and several northwestern towns in a province bordering Turkey.

    Syrian authorities blame others for the violence, saying anti-government forces have killed 500 soldiers and police. Rights groups say at least 1,700 civilians have been killed by security forces since protests erupted in March.

    Mr. Assad has been repeatedly told by the United States, European Union and Turkey to halt the bloodshed but said last week his army would “not relent in pursuing terrorist groups.”

    The Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council will hold an emergency session next week to decry Syria’s military crackdown after enough states backed the initiative, diplomats said, according to Reuters.
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    Default Re: Syria

    RAW DATA: Background on Syria's Crackdown


    Published August 18, 2011
    | FoxNews.com


    Over the last six months, some 1,800 to 2,000 protesters have been killed by the government, more than 12,000 arrested, and tens of thousands have fled as refugees.


    Bashar Assad
    Bashar al-Assad, 45, came to power in 2000 after the death of his father who ruled Syria for 30 years.
    • President Assad's Syria has near-complete control of the media, while internet and cell phone access has been repeatedly shut down during the chaos.
    • In speeches, Assad has accused protesters of causing civilian deaths, arguing "saboteurs" are leading a conspiracy against the Syrian people.
    • Assad's security forces have used kidnappings, abductions, and torture - including brutal death of a 13-year-old named Hamza - in an attempt to quell the protests that have included hundreds of thousands of Syrians.
    • Aug 17: Assad told U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on that military and police operations against protesters had stopped.
    • Bashar has the power to change the country’s Constitution at will.
    • Assad’s Baath Party has ruled Syria since 1963 with almost no dissent. It counts about 10 percent of Syrians (about 2 million people) as members.


    Syria
    • Nearly 20 percent of Syria is unemployed.
    • About 55 of the population is 25 years and younger.
    • In 2002, the "Axis of Evil" was expanded to include Syria.
    • Syria has been designated a State Sponsor of Terrorism since Dec 29, 1979.
    • Parliamentary Republic? Syria's executive branch holds the power to pick and choose what political parties can participate in the political process, effectively giving the Baath Party total control over parliament, this parliamentary republic is actually considered an authoritarian government.
    • Oil Production: 401,000 bbl/day (2010).


    Sources: Syrian National Human Rights Organization, U.S. Department of State, Council on Foreign Relations, Christian Science Monitor, Wall Street Journal.
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    Default Re: Syria

    18 August 2011 Last updated at 14:57 ET Share this page



    6





    Syria unrest: Why the world has waited so long

    By James Robbins Diplomatic correspondent Cannot play media.You do not have the correct version of the flash player. Download the correct version


    Hillary Clinton: "The transition to democracy in Syria has begun, and it is time for Assad to get out of the way"

    Continue reading the main story Syria Crisis





    The pressure on Syria's Bashar al-Assad to step down is now intense: from the United States, from Europe, but also - perhaps more importantly - from his neighbours, including Turkey, and from his fellow Arabs, led by Saudi Arabia.
    President Obama and European leaders have been widely criticised for being slow to cut Assad loose and to abandon him.
    A large part of their defence until now has been that it is not moral to pledge support to protesters in any country when they face death at the hands of a dictator, unless you mean to back them decisively.
    Politicians point to a deep sense of guilt about the encouragement from the West to the Kurds of Northern Iraq in 1990 and 1991 to rise up against Saddam Hussein after his invasion of Kuwait.
    It was followed by failure to protect them when the Iraqi dictator wreaked his terrible vengeance.
    Overwhelming force
    The US and its allies still rule out any military intervention in Syria - even to protect civilians - but the new calculation in Washington and major European capitals is that the balance has now tipped against Assad's political survival.
    Continue reading the main story US sanctions against Syria


    • Syrian government assets frozen
    • New investment banned
    • Imports of Syrian petroleum banned
    • Assets of 32 Syrian and Iranian individuals frozen and dealings with US citizens prohibited, including President Assad, his brother Maher and other government officials

    Source: White House



    The UN's head of human rights, Navi Pillay, has said the Syrian government may be guilty of crimes against humanity.
    In a report, the commissioner said the UN Security Council should consider referring the case to the International Criminal Court.
    Despite the growing pressure, there are no signs that President Assad is ready to resign.
    He has few allies left - and reliance on Iran is unlikely to save him. That is not to say he will not still try to rely on overwhelming force.
    It worked for his father before him - but the difference this time is that so few countries now judge that regional stability would be at grave risk if the Assad family finally lost power.
    In fact, most governments now take the opposite view - that it is the Assad family which represents present danger.

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    Are you in Syria? What is the situation like where you are? Send us your comments and experiences using the form below.

    Send your pictures and videos to yourpics@bbc.co.uk or text them to 61124 (UK) or +44 7624 800 100 (International). If you have a large file you can upload here.
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