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Thread: Syria

  1. #121
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    Default Re: Syria

    http://www.npr.org/2011/09/04/140180...ia?ft=1&f=1004


    Deaths, Arrests Reported As Red Cross Visits Syria
    by The Associated Press
    September 4, 2011

    Syria saw a wave of violence and arrests Sunday as the head of the International Committee of the Red Cross visited Damascus to address issues including caring for the wounded and access to detainees during the government's crackdown on a 5-month-old uprising.

    Activists reported military operations and sweeping arrests in flash-point areas including Idlib near the Turkish border and the eastern city of Deir el-Zour. There were reports of deaths, but numbers were unclear.

    The state-run news agency reported that nine people were killed in central Syria in an ambush by armed groups in central Syria. The report, which could not be confirmed, said the victims were six soldiers and three civilians.

    Syria has banned foreign journalists and restricted local media, making it difficult to independently verify reports. The regime blames the unrest on thugs and armed gangs and claims security forces are the real victims.

    The U.N. estimates some 2,200 people have been killed since March as protesters take to the streets every week, despite the near-certainty that they will face a barrage of bullets and sniper fire by security forces. The regime is in no imminent danger of collapse, leading to concerns violence will escalate in coming weeks and months.

    ICRC President Jakob Kellenberger met with Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem on Sunday and was scheduled to meet President Bashar Assad on Monday.

    The government crackdown on dissent has drawn international criticism and sanctions. The European Union announced Friday it was banning oil imports from Syria, which will cost the embattled regime millions of dollars each day.

    While Assad brushed off earlier condemnation as foreign meddling, the oil embargo is significant because Damascus gets about 28 percent of its revenue from the oil trade and sells fuel to France, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands. Some analysts believe Syria is getting financial assistance from Iran, which would cushion the EU blow.

    The United States has hit more than 30 Syrian officials, including Assad himself, with economic sanctions, banned any U.S. import of Syrian oil or petroleum products, and frozen all Syrian government assets subject to American jurisdiction. But the U.S. has isolated Syria for decades and has little leverage with the regime.

    On Sunday, a state-run newspaper in Syria criticized Europe's move.

    "Instead of playing an effective and positive political role, Europe shows its pent-up desire to evoke the colonial past," Al-Thawra newspaper said.

    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

    http://www.nowlebanon.com/NewsArticl...aspx?ID=307891


    Syria agrees to Arab League chief visit

    September 4, 2011

    Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi said on Sunday that Syria has agreed to host him for a probable visit this week to the strife-torn country.

    "I have been informed that Syria welcomes" the visit that would take place "probably this week," Arabi told a news conference at the pan-Arab organization’s headquarters in Cairo.

    "I will express Arab concerns and I will listen," he said.

    Syria said last week that an August 27 statement passed by Arab League foreign ministers on the country's bloodshed contained "unacceptable and biased language," leaving Arabi to await a green light for a proposed visit.

    In a diplomatic note seen by AFP, Syria's delegation said the declaration was issued "despite the meeting having closed with an agreement that no statement would be published or statement made to the press."

    Damascus said it would act as if the statement had never been published.

    The Arab League announced an initiative aimed at solving the crisis in Syria where more than 2,200 people have been killed in anti-regime protests since mid-March, to be delivered in person by its secretary general, Arabi.

    The 22-member organization’s foreign ministers called for an "end to the spilling of blood and [for Syria] to follow the way of reason before it is too late."

    The foreign ministers also called for respecting "the right of the Syrian people to live in security and of their legitimate aspirations for political and social reforms."


    -AFP/NOW Lebanon

    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."



  3. #123
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    Default Re: Syria

    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7...118510,00.html


    UN leader urges world to unite, act on Syria
    Ban Ki-moon urges international community to take 'coherent measures' on Syrian situation, stops short of calling for military intervention
    Associated Press
    Published: 09.06.11, 13:42 / Israel News

    United Nations' Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged the world community on Tuesday to take action on the situation in Syria.

    While Ban stopped short of calling for military intervention, he delivered some of his strongest statements yet condemning the violence he says is perpetrating against his people. Ban said it is time for UN member nations to unite and take "coherent measures."

    Ban, who was in New Zealand attending a meeting of Pacific leaders, told reporters that the aspirations of the Syrian people should be heeded and respected.

    He said Assad needs to take "immediate and bold and decisive measures before it's too late." He later amended that to say "It's already too late, in fact. It's already too late. If it takes more and more days, then more people will be killed."

    The UN puts the death toll in Syria at 2,200 since an uprising began there five months ago.

    Ban has tried for months to resolve the situation using diplomatic means. A UN humanitarian assessment team visited Syria two weeks ago. Activists said that soon after the team left the city of Homs, Syrian security forces killed at least seven people there.

    It has proved nearly impossible to verify events on the ground because Syria has banned international media and severely restricted local coverage.

    After the assessment team left, the UN's top human rights body voted overwhelmingly to demand that Syria end its crackdown and cooperate with an international probe into possible crimes against humanity.


    Reaching out to stop violence

    Ban said he last spoke to Assad on August 17 to express alarm about reports of security forces using excessive force against civilians.

    In an email, Ban's spokesman Martin Nesirky said he was not aware of Ban having any immediate plans to speak again with Assad. Nesirky added that "the secretary-general has consistently said he would do his utmost to reach out to try to stop the violence."

    Ban did not say whether he personally favored military action at this point.

    "It's not for the secretary-general to talk about any specific measures, including this military measure," he said. "It's the member states who should be able to give a mandate on any specific measures."

    He expressed frustration that UN members have not been able to reach agreement on what needs to be done about the Syrian situation.

    The Arab League has put forward a plan under which Assad would immediately cease all military operations, release all political prisoners, begin a dialogue and announce his intention to form a national unity government and hold pluralistic presidential elections by the end of his term in 2014.

    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."



  4. #124
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    Default Re: Syria

    http://www.nowlebanon.com/NewsArticl...aspx?ID=308671


    Arab League chief to propose Syrian polls during visit
    September 6, 2011

    Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi, who is visiting Damascus Wednesday, will propose that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad set up a multi-party government and hold elections in three years, an Arab newspaper reported.

    The London-based Al-Hayat said on Tuesday that Arabi, who was tasked by Arab foreign ministers with relaying the proposal, will also ask Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to free political prisoners and compensate those wounded in a six-month uprising.

    The proposal, agreed at an Arab foreign ministers' meeting last month in Cairo, calls for a "clear declaration of principles affirming [Assad's] commitment to... a pluralistic government and to use him powers to speed up reforms."

    It also demands an immediate end to the Syrian government's crackdown on anti-regime protests.

    At the August 27 meeting, the Arab ministers had called for an end the bloodshed "before it is too late" and for "respecting the right of the Syrian people to live in security and respecting their legitimate aspirations for political and social reforms."

    More than 2,200 people have been killed in Syria since the almost daily mass protests began, according to the United Nations. Assad's regime says it is fighting foreign-backed "armed terrorist gangs."


    -AFP/NOW Lebanon


    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."



  5. #125
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    Default Re: Syria

    http://www.nowlebanon.com/NewsArticl...aspx?ID=308644


    Two dead, five bodies found in central Syria, activists say
    September 6, 2011

    Syrian security forces killed two people, including a teenager, and another five bodies were found in the flashpoint central province of Homs on Tuesday, activists said.

    "Two people died and two were wounded by gunfire south of the industrial town of Rastan" near Homs, where they were employed, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights told AFP in Nicosia, adding one of those killed was aged 15.

    The Observatory also said "the bodies of five people, including a woman, were discovered on Tuesday morning" in Homs. They were still unidentified, and were taken to the city's main hospital.

    Elsewhere in the Damascus region, "the body of a young man who was wounded by gunfire Friday when security forces dispersed a demonstration in Zamalka was given to his family and it will be buried today."

    The man had been "rescued after being wounded and taken to a hospital but security forces arrested him at the hospital."

    The Britain-based Observatory added that demonstrations had taken place late Monday near Homs, where eight people were killed earlier in the day, according to activists.

    The security forces killed another five people across Syria on Monday, they said.

    Since mid-March, Syria has been engulfed in daily mass protests against the rule of President Bashar al-Assad. The United Nations says at least 2,200 people have been killed in the violence as security forces repressed the protests.


    -AFP/NOW Lebanon


    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."



  6. #126
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    Default Re: Syria

    http://www.nowlebanon.com/NewsArticl...aspx?ID=308719


    Norway joins EU sanctions against Syria
    September 6, 2011

    Norway, which is not a member of the European Union, said Tuesday it would adopt the bloc's sanctions imposed on Syria to protest against Damascus' violent repression of demonstrators.

    "Despite international condemnation, the Syrian regime has not renounced using violence against its own people," Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere said in a statement.

    "We therefore agree with the very clear European signals to the Syrian regime and Norway will as a result adhere to the enlarged measures adopted by the EU against Syria," he added.

    The EU on Friday adopted a ban on crude oil imports, expected to hit hard at Damascus as the EU buys 95 percent of Syria's crude, providing a third of the regime's hard currency earnings.

    It has not excluded further sanctions.

    The decision by Norway is largely symbolic, as it is itself a major oil producer and exporter.

    The EU, which had already frozen the assets of and imposed travel bans on 50 people and eight businesses and organizations, has added four Syrian businessmen accused of bankrolling the regime and three businesses to its list.

    It has also had an arms embargo in place since May 9.

    According to the United Nations, the violence in Syria has led to 2,200 deaths since mid-March, primarily civilians.


    -AFP/NOW Lebanon

    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

    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7...118860,00.html


    Arab League Syria visit delayed
    Published: 09.07.11, 07:04 / Israel News

    A planned Arab League visit to Syria on Wednesday to convey concerns over a crackdown on protests against President Bashar al-Assad's rule has been delayed, an Arab diplomat said, in a sign of Syrian unease at a toughening of the Arab position.

    An Arab diplomat at the Cairo-based League, who asked not to be identified, told Reuters late on Tuesday the visit by Arab League chief Nabil Elaraby had been delayed but not cancelled. "It will take place when conditions permit," he added without elaborating.

    Egypt's state news agency MENA said the delay followed a request from Syria, which gave no explanation and did not fix a new date for the trip (Reuters).

    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

    http://www.thememriblog.org/blog_personal/en/40495.htm


    Iraqi Shi'ite Leader: Iran Plans to Turn Iraq and Gulf Countries into 'Areas of Conflict' If Assad Falls


    An Iraqi Shi'ite leader in the governing Iraqi National Alliance has pointed out that Iran "has a key role" in delaying the political process in Iraq because "the Iranian leadership consider al-Iraqiya (under Ayad Allawi) as a Sunni group that poses a serious threat to Iran's presence in Iraq apart from the existence of a red line against Allawi occupying any influential position in Iraq."

    The unnamed leader told the daily al-Sharq al-Awsat that "Tehran is very concerned about the fate of the Syrian regime and it would seek to shift the area of conflict to Iraq and the Gulf region but it will focus on Baghdad as a substitute for Damascus in the event that the regime of President Bashar al-Assad falls."

    He said that the instructions to the Shi'a parties handed over by Iran's Qods Brigade (which is responsible for Iraq and Syria and for terrorism abroad) was to mount a propaganda war against Saudi Arabia in connection with Bahrain and against Kuwait in connection with the Mubarak Port that Kuwait is constructing. He said that the Iraqi Shi'a have refused the advice because they wish to maintain good relations with the two neighbors.

    In view of Iran's objections regarding Allawi, the leader doubted that there would be an early solution to the pending issues about the Defense Ministry or the creation of the supreme Council for Strategic Policies which was meant to be chaired by Allawi.

    Source: Al-Sharq al-Awsat, September 6, 2011


    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."



  9. #129
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    Default Re: Syria

    http://www.thenational.ae/news/world...osition-groups


    Syrian opposition plans 'decisive' meeting to unite opposition groups
    Phil Sands
    Sep 7, 2011

    DAMASCUS // Syrian opposition groups plan to hold what the organisers say will be a "decisive" meeting in Damascus this month that could see the Muslim Brotherhood join a united pro-democracy platform alongside leading secular dissidents.

    In addition, a different coalition of opposition groups - writers, academics, journalists and political thinkers - is soon to announce, perhaps as early as this week, plans to strengthen the anti-regime movement.

    These steps come after an extended period of quiet from opposition figures and old-guard dissidents based in Syria, following a brief flurry of activity in June.

    Hussein Oudat, a Damascus-based publisher and founding member of the National Board of Coordination (NBC), said the group would hold a conference before the end of this month, which he predicted would be the biggest opposition meeting on Syrian soil since the Baath party seized power in the 1960s.

    The NBC was established in Damascus in June by prominent activists and dissidents, including Aref Dalila, Hasan Abdul Azeem, Hazem Nahar and Mr Oudat.

    "It will bring together the established political parties working on the ground in Syria and they will elect a leadership council to represent them," he said. "The NBC is now in discussions with Islamic currents, including the Muslim Brotherhood, and we anticipate them taking part. For that reason, we expect it to be a decisive meeting for the opposition."

    The Muslim Brotherhood is technically still a banned organisation in Syria, with membership punishable by death. That has forced the movement underground, making it hard to gauge how influential it is and how closely its leadership-in-exile reflects the opinions of members inside Syria.

    Its leaders insist they have left behind more militant ideologies of the 1980s and now embrace the principles of a multiparty democracy that protects minority rights and guarantees a circulation of power.

    Dissident groups advocating peaceful regime change from inside Syria are broadly split between young street protesters and older, well-established activists who have spent decades struggling against an autocratic security state. Most have been jailed for their political activity. There is also a growing number of former regime figures calling for a shift to democracy.

    While hundreds of thousands of street demonstrators and the local committees organising them have posed the most serious threat to President Bashar Al Assad's rule, established political parties, including the Muslim Brotherhood, are also playing a part in the uprising.

    Prominent dissidents involved in June's Semiramis Hotel meeting - the first public opposition gathering in Syria in years and the first since the March uprising began - said they expected to announce the formation of a "political current" this week, possibility in the next few days.

    "We are working on creating a 'political current' rather than a political party," said Louay Hussein, one of the Semiramis organisers. "We don't have a licence to start a political party and don't expect to be given one so we will have a bloc that is committed to and agreed to the principles of a multiparty democracy, transfer of power, rule of law and so on."

    Mr Hussein said the group would not try to present itself as leaders of the anti-regime movement but would try to appeal to the so-called silent bloc - the majority of Syrians who have neither openly joined the revolutionaries nor come out in firm support of the regime.

    "Still the majority of the county is not fully with the protesters in the streets but it is also increasingly unhappy with the regime," he said. "We are six months into this uprising now and still there is no politics. The regime is not really involved in dialogue. There is nothing called politics in this country, just empty talk."

    Opposition groups outside of Syria, widely viewed with suspicion by those inside the country, have held a series of meetings and conferences in Turkey and Europe, in an effort to present a unified front. A host of coalitions and leadership committees have been established, but none have been able to claim control over street protesters.

    More than 2,000 civilians have been killed by security forces since March, according to human-rights monitors and the United Nations, which last month condemned the Syrian authorities for breaking international laws banning torture and murder of political activists.

    Mr Al Assad insists his country is facing a violent Islamic insurgency, backed by Syria's international enemies, with insurgents killing more than 400 security officers.

    He has promised a series of political reforms, including parliamentary elections loosely scheduled for February, but has refused to cease deadly security operations against protesters and has ruled out standing down, more than a decade after he inherited power from his father, Hafez Al Assad.

    Anti-regime protests are now an almost daily occurrence in Syria, despite the arrests of tens of thousands of dissidents and the deployment of military units across the country.

    psands@thenational.ae


    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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    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7...119171,00.html


    Arabs to meet on Syria after League visit delayed
    Published: 09.07.11, 15:17 / Israel News

    Arab foreign ministers meet in Cairo next week to discuss Syria after a visit by the Arab League chief to Damascus to convey concerns over its crackdown on popular unrest was delayed, Arab diplomats said on Wednesday.

    Arab governments broke months of silence at a meeting at the Arab League in Cairo last week, demanding Syria stop the bloodshed, and decided to send League chief Nabil Elaraby to Damascus to push for political and economic reforms. (Reuters)

    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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    http://www.nowlebanon.com/NewsArticl...aspx?ID=309007


    Arab League chief to visit Syria on Saturday
    September 7, 2011

    The Arab League said Wednesday that its secretary general, Nabil al-Arabi, will visit Syria on Saturday, three days later than originally planned amid a deadly crackdown on an anti-regime protests in the country.

    "It was decided that the Arab League secretary general will visit Syria on Saturday during a telephone conversation between [Arabi], Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Mouallem and Syria's envoy at the League," the pan-Arab group's deputy leader, Ahmed Ben Helli, told reporters in Cairo.

    Arabi had been scheduled to visit Syria on Wednesday, but the regime in Damascus postponed the trip at the 11th-hour "due to circumstances beyond our control."

    He had been commissioned by the 22-member bloc to travel to Damascus with a 13-point document outlining proposals to end the government's bloody crackdown on dissent and push Syria to launch reforms.

    Assad’s troops have cracked down on protests against almost five decades of Baath Party rule which broke out mid-March, killing over 2,200 people and triggering a torrent of international condemnation.


    -AFP/NOW Lebanon

    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."



  12. #132
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    Default Re: Syria

    http://www.nowlebanon.com/NewsArticl...aspx?ID=308975


    France sees “crimes against humanity” in Syria
    September 7, 2011

    France on Wednesday accused Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime of committing crimes against humanity and expressed hope that Russia would soon join sanctions against its old regional ally.

    "The Syrian regime has committed crimes against humanity," French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said during talks with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov.

    "The way it [the Syrian regime] suppressed the popular protests is unacceptable," France's top diplomat said after a round of Moscow meetings that included talks with President Dmitry Medvedev.

    Juppe was accompanied by French Defense Minister Gerard Longuet for delicate negotiations that also touched on recent disagreements over Libya and the phased withdrawal of NATO troops from Afghanistan.

    But both sides acknowledged that one of their most immediate disagreements concerned finding a peaceful solution to a Syria crisis that comes on the heels of a Libya war that also deeply upset Moscow.

    "I hope Russia will back us in the Security Council even if our positions do not yet fully agree," Juppe said in reference to Russia's past decisions to block UN condemnation of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government.

    Juppe said the Syrian authorities should be sent "a powerful signal that such actions cannot continue."

    But Lavrov gave no signs of being ready to ease a Russian position that last week saw Moscow lash the European Union for imposing a crippling oil embargo on the Arab state.

    Moscow has instead been calling for political dialogue and urging world powers to put more pressure on the opposition to engage in direct talks with Assad's regime.

    Members of the Syrian opposition will meet Mikhail Margelov -- the upper house of parliament's foreign affairs committee chief who represents Medvedev in Africa -- on Friday in a bid to convince Russia to be more forceful with Assad.


    -AFP/NOW Lebanon

    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

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/...78601H20110907


    Syrian forces attack Homs, Arabs send envoy
    By Khaled Yacoub Oweis
    AMMAN | Wed Sep 7, 2011 6:53pm EDT

    (Reuters) - Syrian forces backed by tanks killed at least 20 civilians in the city of Homs on Wednesday in one of the fiercest military assaults on urban centres to crush six months of pro-democracy protests, activists and residents said.

    Residents said the assault concentrated on old districts that have seen daily street demonstrations demanding the removal of President Bashar al-Assad.

    It came as the Arab League said that its secretary general will visit Syria on Saturday and Arab foreign ministers will meet next week to convey concerns over the crackdown.

    "Military helicopters are flying overhead and snipers are shooting from rooftops at anything. Tank machinegun fire is coming at us like rain," a resident of the Bab Sbaaa district who did not want to be further identified told Reuters by satellite phone.

    Human rights campaigners say Syria's ruling hierarchy has stepped up efforts to crush demonstrations in recent weeks, including more frequent military raids, targeted assassinations of protest leaders and the arrest of thousands of Syrians.

    Assad, 45, has repeatedly said he is facing a foreign conspiracy to divide Syria. The authorities blame what they describe as terrorists for the bloodshed, and say 500 police and soldiers have been killed, with the military deployed to protect the public.

    The official state news agency said that "armed terrorist groups" killed eight security personnel in Homs on Wednesday and "assaulted civilians and security forces and attacked public and private property."

    "Specialized security organs dealt with these terrorist groups and a clash with them occurred which resulted in five security forces wounded and the killing of five armed men wanted for murder and theft and kidnapping, as well as the arrest of several of them," the agency said.

    Homs, hometown of Assad's wife Asma, is on the main northern highway 165 km (100 miles) from Damascus. Old districts such as Bab Sbaa, Bab Dreib and Bab Hut have seen the biggest daily protests to demand that Assad step down. Their maze-like streets help protesters escape security forces, activists and residents said.

    Residents of the nearby town of Rastan posted a YouTube video apparently showing 12 defecting soldiers in military fatigues appearing from a balcony of a commercial building to ecstatic cheers and applause of protesters.

    "We will be one hand to bring down Bashar and every traitor," said one soldier from a microphone in the video.

    Arab League Secretary-General Nabil Elaraby had originally been expected to travel to Damascus on Wednesday. Arab diplomats said the visit was delayed at Syria's request.

    An Arab diplomatic source said Syrian authorities delayed the visit after Elaraby met Syrian opposition members and because of a leaked Qatari proposal for possible demands that Arab states would make to Assad. The Qatari proposal had not yet been adopted, the source said.

    Louay Hussein, a prominent opposition figure, told Reuters that the Arab League initiative had not stopped the attack on Homs from being "more random and severely repressive than what we had seen before," leading to more calls for armed resistance.

    He pointed to another YouTube video purportedly filmed in Homs this week, which showed several soldiers in uniform next to light tank shooting a man lying on the street several times over. One soldier congratulates another for continuing to fire at the body, saying: "You are truly a beast."

    A local group, the Homs City Neighborhoods Union, said most telephone lines and Internet connections with Homs had been cut.

    Assad, who inherited power from his father in 2000, has promised change, including a multi-party parliamentary election by February, but independent lawyers said a new political parties law kept an old majority quota system for farmers and workers whose representation is controlled by the state.

    Tanks and troops moved into Homs four months ago and occupied the main square in the city to try to end protests demanding the removal of Assad, who is from the minority Alawite sect in the mainly Sunni Muslim country.

    Alawites dominate senior ranks of Syria's security forces and core army units that have besieged towns and cities.

    Most of the casualties reported in Homs since the army deployed there have been caused by assaults on Sunni areas, but activists have also reported the deaths of several Alawite residents in apparent revenge killings.

    Activists and residents have also reported an increasing number of defections among the mostly Sunni rank and file military in Homs and its surrounding countryside.

    Syrian authorities, which have barred most independent media from the country since the uprising began in March, say there have been no desertions from the military.

    The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said on Tuesday it was seeking access to thousands of demonstrators believed to be in informal detention centers. A day earlier, the ICRC announced Syria had opened a prison for the first time.

    Human rights campaigners say Syrian forces have arrested tens of thousands of people during the uprising, with many being housed in security police buildings off-limits to the ICRC.

    The European Union, which imposed a ban on purchases of Syrian oil on September 3, was working on a new round of sanctions, the French foreign ministry said on Tuesday, to target entities that enable the "daily repression" of civilians.

    Syria's finance minister said in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday that Syria can sidestep European and U.S. import bans by selling its oil to Russia or China, but economic growth and overall exports have suffered.


    (Additional reporting by Mariam Karouny in Beirut and William Maclean in London and Erika Solomon in Dubai; Writing by Dominic Evans; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

    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

    http://www.nowlebanon.com/NewsArticl...aspx?ID=309451


    Arab League chief says Syrian events have “direct impact” on Lebanon
    September 8, 2011

    Arab League Secretary General Nabil al-Arabi said that Damascus holds “a key position” in the Middle East and warned that Syrian events have a “direct impact” on Lebanon and Iraq.

    “Syria is not Libya… The country holds a key position in the region, [and] what happens there has a direct impact on Lebanon and Iraq,” Arabi said in an interview with German Der Spiegel newspaper published on Wednesday.

    He added that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad promised to introduce changes in his country, but added, “I have not seen any reforms [yet].”

    Asked if he supports a regime change in Syria, Arabi said that “it is something for the Syrian people to decide for themselves.”

    “No one can dictate to a sovereign nation how it should change.”

    Arabi also said that “only the United Nations has the right to make decisions on the use of force” in Syria.

    “The Arab League has no mandate to bring about change by force in a member state.”

    Assad’s troops have cracked down on protests against almost five decades of Baath Party rule which broke out mid-March, killing over 2,200 people and triggering a torrent of international condemnation.


    -NOW Lebanon

    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

    http://www.nowlebanon.com/NewsArticl...aspx?ID=309484


    Syrian activists call for UN protection
    September 8, 2011

    Syrian pro-democracy activists on Thursday called for the United Nations to send international observers to Syria.

    "The Syrian people calls on the United Nations to adopt a resolution to set up a permanent observer mission in Syria," activists said on their Facebook page, "Syrian Revolution 2011."

    "We demand access to the international media, we demand the protection of civilians," they said, also calling for fresh demonstrations on Friday, the Muslim day of rest and prayers.

    The UN Security Council on August 3 condemned Syria's deadly attacks on civilians and called for those responsible to be held "accountable."

    The United Nations says 2,200 people have been killed, most of them civilians, since democracy protests flared in Syria in mid-March.


    -AFP/NOW Lebanon

    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

    http://www.nowlebanon.com/NewsArticl...aspx?ID=309536


    Syrian expats demonstrate in Saudi Arabia
    September 8, 2011

    Dozens of Syrians living in Saudi Arabia demonstrated in the Red Sea city of Jeddah on Thursday against the Damascus authorities' crackdown on anti-government protests, witnesses said.

    Police deployed around the venue in Al-Nawras Park on the city's Corniche but did not intervene even though demonstrations are outlawed in the conservative Gulf kingdom.

    The demonstrators, most of whom had come with their families, held prayers in memory of the more than 2,200 people who have died in the Syrian crackdown, according to UN figures.

    "We want to draw attention to the continuing massacres being perpetrated in our country, which make it impossible for our children to go back for the new school year," one activist told AFP, calling for international protection for Syrian civilians.

    Syrian expatriates held similar demonstrations last month in both Jeddah and Riyadh. In the capital, the police intervened and made dozens of arrests.

    "The 164 Syrians who were arrested in Riyadh as they gathered to show their appreciation for the tough line taken by [Saudi] King Abdullah [bin Abdel Aziz] with the Damascus authorities have all been released," the activist said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

    On August 8, the king recalled the Saudi ambassador in Damascus for consultations and called on the Syrian authorities to "halt the death machine... before it's too late."


    -AFP/NOW Lebanon


    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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    Exclamation Re: Syria

    http://www.jpost.com/MiddleEast/Article.aspx?id=237312


    'Assad declares state of war, opposition calls for protest'
    By JPOST.COM STAFF
    09/09/2011 13:13

    "Al-Quds" reports new Syrian military operation seeks to "eliminate armed rebellion proclaimed by terrorists against civilians and the army."

    Syrian President Bashar Assad declared a state of war on Wednesday and issued a general mobilization of troops, Al-Quds newspaper reported Thursday evening.

    Operation "Bayrak al-Assad" was implemented secretly, and is a "major military operation" requiring full mobilization of military forces in Syria for concentrated offensives on cities across the country in order to eliminate "terrorists who threaten us," according to the report.

    On Friday Syria broadcast terrorists confessing to building bombs in order to attack civilians and Syrian forces in Latakia, Israel Radio reported.

    Additionally, Syrian opposition leaders called on protesters to organize large demonstrations this, and every, Friday, according to the report.

    Syria's new military operation is an escalation of President Bashar Assad's violent crackdown against what some call "pro-democracy activists" and others call "terrorists," which began in March.

    This order implies a significant difference between the peacetime efforts carried out by Syrian military forces since March to round up terrorists trying to undermine the Syrian regime, and the newly declared state of war.

    The stated goal of the new offensive, which required the mobilization and full preparedness of the Syrian military, is "the elimination of armed rebellion, proclaimed by terrorist organizations against the civilian population and elements of the army and security forces for several months," according to the Al Quds report.


    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

    http://www.nowlebanon.com/NewsArticl...aspx?ID=310000


    US to “accelerate” UN efforts against Syria
    September 9, 2011

    The United States will next week ramp-up work on a UN Security Council resolution targeting Syria, the State Department said Friday, amid opposition from other member states to approve a forceful resolution.

    "We're looking at accelerating that work next week," State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said in reference to a draft resolution likely to include sanctions.

    "We are consulting in New York, these consultations will continue," she said.

    Russia, a veto-wielding permanent member of UN Security Council, has opposed attempts by Western governments to push through a Security Council resolution targeting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and, together with China, boycotted a Council meeting on sanctions against Damascus.

    Moscow has, meanwhile, circulated an alternative draft resolution calling on Assad to implement reforms, but not stand down.

    Earlier September month, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov also vowed that "the Libyan scenario won't be repeated," in reference to NATO intervention in the North African country that began as a UN Security Council resolution.

    In recent weeks, however, international pressure on the regime has intensified with European Union sanctions targeting Syria's oil and gas exports.

    The United Nations says 2,200 people have been killed in Syria, mostly civilians, since democracy protests flared in mid-March.


    -AFP/NOW Lebanon

    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

    http://www.nowlebanon.com/NewsArticleDetails.aspx?ID=310430


    Syrian group says top activist “severely” beaten
    September 11, 2011

    The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Sunday that prominent rights campaigner Najati Tayara is in "very bad" condition after he was "severely" beaten at a Homs prison.

    The Britain-based observatory said in a statement received by AFP in Nicosia that it "has learned that investigators at the so-called 'Polish' prison in Homs severely beat Tayara on Friday.”

    "He is in a very bad health condition. He has been moved to the military intelligence division in Damascus," it added.

    Tayara, 66, was arrested in Homs on May 12, a day after he reported that shelling and gunfire had rocked the city, the third largest city in Syria.

    "He was referred to court on charges of harming the prestige of the state," the statement said, adding that he was released from Homs central prison on August 31 but later arrested by intelligence officials.

    "The Observatory holds the Syrian authorities responsible for any danger that threatens the life of Tayara," the rights advocacy group said.

    "It condemns the continued arbitrary arrests of opponents and activists, and calls for their immediate release."

    The United Nations says more than 2,200 people - mostly civilians - have been killed in a crackdown on almost daily protests by pro-democracy and anti-regime demonstrators in Syria since mid-March. Rights groups say more than 10,000 people have been jailed.

    -AFP/NOW Lebanon

    Last edited by BRVoice; September 11th, 2011 at 14:04.

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    Default Re: Syria

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/...78A1X020110911


    U.N. push for Syria rights team blocked: official
    By Isabel Coles
    ABU DHABI | Sun Sep 11, 2011 10:15am EDT

    (Reuters) - Syria has repeatedly blocked United Nations requests to admit human rights monitors, said a U.N. official who stressed that regional bodies such as the Arab League are key to reaching a long-term political solution to the crisis.

    U.N. humanitarian affairs chief Valerie Amos said the organization had made clear it was "extremely concerned" about reports of human rights violations, but that the Syrian government had denied entry to rights investigators.

    "The requests have repeatedly been made for a human rights mission into Syria. It hasn't yet happened but they have been made repeatedly," Amos told Reuters in an interview.

    She added that a U.N. mission entered Syria last month but with only limited access.

    French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe earlier on Sunday called the U.N.'s failure to agree on a resolution against President Bashar al-Assad's administration a 'scandal', but Amos said mediating the situation was not the U.N.'s responsibility alone.

    "It's not just about the U.N... I do think that regional organizations like the Arab League are absolutely critical in relation to this, particularly in relation to any longer-term political reform and political developments," Amos said.

    The Arab League has told Assad the violence must stop, but has not taken as hard a line as it did on Libya, where it backed a "no-fly zone."

    Assad has sent in tanks and security forces to crush months of protests by activists demanding an end to his family's 41-year rule. The United Nations says more than 2,200 civilians have been killed since the clampdown began in March.

    In a marked shift in rhetoric, Syrian protesters on Friday took to the streets calling for international protection to stop civilian killings in what has become one of the bloodiest crackdowns on popular uprisings sweeping the Middle East and North Africa.

    Arab League head Nabil Elaraby visited Syria on Saturday and agreed with Assad on a series of measures to help end the violence. Elaraby said he would present these measures to Arab foreign ministers for discussion.

    Last month, a U.N. humanitarian mission allowed into Syria found there was an urgent need to protect civilians from excessive use of force, though the delegation was not given unfettered access.

    "We were able to go in, but they were accompanied at every stage and because of the large crowds they weren't able in every place to speak to the people that they wanted to speak to," Amos said.


    (Editing by David Cowell)


    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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