From La Monde… Chemical warfare in Syria
La Monde’s reporters experience chemical attacks by the Assad regime first-hand. The article details the apparently systematic use of chemical weapons in order to break the rebel lines in the capital Damascus. This is a cynical manipulation of President Obama’s “red line”. These are chemical weapons attacks that will be let off on a technicality.
Searching for words to describe the incongruous sound, he said it was like ‘a Pepsi can that falls to the ground.’ No odor, no smoke, not even a whistle to indicate the release of a toxic gas. And then the symptoms appear. The men cough violently. Their eyes burn, their pupils shrink, their vision blurs. Soon they experience difficulty breathing, sometimes in the extreme; they begin to vomit or lose consciousness. The fighters worst affected need to be evacuated before they suffocate.
Reporters from Le Monde witnessed this on several days in a row in this district, on the outskirts of Damascus, which the rebels entered in January. Since then, Jobar has become a key battleground for both the Free Syrian Army and the government. In two months spent reporting on the outskirts of the Syrian captial, we encountered similar cases across a much larger region. Their gravity, their increasing frequency and the tactic of using such arms shows that what is being released is not just tear gas, which is used on all fronts, but products of a different class that are far more toxic.
In the tangled web of the Jobar front, where enemy lines are so close that the fighters exchange insults as often as they kill each other, gas attacks occurred on a regular basis in April. The gas was not diffused over a broad swath of territory but used occasionally in specific locations by government forces to attack the areas of toughest fighting with the encroaching opposition rebels. This sector is the place where Free Syrian Army groups have penetrated most deeply into Damascus. A merciless war is being waged here.
The Destruction of Free Yabroud
reposted from http://racanarchy.com/2013/05/17/the-destruction-of-yabroud/
THE DESTRUCTION OF YABROUD
For almost a year now we have been hearing loud cries for a political solution in Syria. The goal, some would have you believe, is to end the conflict in a way that sheds the least amount of blood. It is really a simple premise, the Syrian people’s representatives will meet with the representatives of Assad’s government to come to an agreement that will end the loss of life in Syria and restore peace. While it sound’s great on paper I would like to demonstrate to you why a political solution will never truly materialize despite it’s good intentions. Yabroud, Damascus is a small town North East of Damascus’ city center. During the last two years of revolution Yabroud has remained a bastion of non-violent resistance against the regime. Rallying against the regime and eventually succeeding in freeing themselves from Assad’s militants without shedding blood. The following video will demonstrate how beautifully Yabroud’s people have come together in order to improve their town and their country.
Can you think of a solution any more peaceful than this? Peaceful demonstrations succeeded in ousting Assad from this town and the people followed up by cleaning up their streets, organizing their society, and letting all know that whether you are with the regime or against it, let’s respect one another. Yabroud remained peaceful, free, and flourishing for almost a year until the regime decided they wanted ‘their territory’ back. This is a video from Yabroud today as Assad’s military attacks the peaceful town in order to reclaim it.
Video of ‘carpet-bombing’ style attack on Yabroud, Duma, Damascus (cannot be embedded):
Now I ask you, do you believe a political solution is attainable with Assad?
Thanks Racanarchy blog http://racanarchy.com
Evidence of Torture in Syria’s liberated Raqa
Documents and torture equipment found in Syrian security buildings in rebel-held Raqa show detainees were tortured when President Bashar al-Assad’s regime held sway over the city, Human Rights Watch said on Friday.
A team of researchers working for HRW toured Raqa in northern Syria in April, a month after the city fell into rebel hands, and found the incriminating evidence, the New York-based watchdog said in a statement.
“The documents, prison cells, interrogation rooms, and torture devices we saw in the government’s security facilities are consistent with the torture former detainees have described to us since the beginning of the uprising in Syria,” said HRW deputy Middle East director Nadim Houry.
Among the implements the watchdog said it found is a cross-shaped contraption known as “bsat al-reeh” (flying carpet), which “former detainees have said has been used to immobilize and severely stretch or bend limbs.”
Torturers used the device to “tie a detainee down to a flat board, sometimes in the shape of a cross, so that he is helpless to defend himself,” HRW said, citing former detainees.
“In some cases, former detainees said guards stretched or pulled their limbs or folded the board in half so that their face touched their legs, causing pain and further immobilizing them.”
HRW researcher Lama Fakih told AFP that although the watchdog has interviewed countless former detainees during the two-year conflict, “being inside the facility makes it so much more real.”