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21 Feb 2012 21:00


World: Video: What the massive mortars hitting Syrian rebels look like

  • The largest mortars used by the U.S. military are 160mm. The bad boys shown in this video of a torn-apart building in Homs are a much-larger 240mm (according to Human Rights Watch), and can be fired from as far as 20 kilometers away. Where did they get these heavy mortar rounds from? Most likely Russia, which produces the “Tulip” weapons system that fires weapons of this nature. (The towed M240 might also be used in these attacks.) So, to put it simply, Syria is lobbing giant weapons in its fight against the rebel movement. source

15 Feb 2012 20:39


World: Syria’s Assad sets date for constitutional referendum

  • A plan for reform, or a play to credulity? Considering the Arab League deal Syria accepted then ignored, the complete lack of efficacy of the peace monitors they allowed the AL to send in, and the recent surge of violence (even in relative terms), it’s hard not to assume the latter. Bashar al-Assad has, nonetheless, set a date for a constitutional referendum, ostensibly for Syrians to approve a democratic system, and presidential term limits (of two, seven-year terms). The vote is scheduled for February 26th, but it begs the question; who would vote in an election if the integrity of it relies on Assad’s word alone? It would also force dissenters to publicly congregate at a place of the government’s choosing; not a welcome idea, we suspect. source

22 Nov 2011 15:11


World: UN passes resolution condemning Assad, Syria government

  • Some notable and important countries passed on sponsoring it, though. A committee in the United Nations has passed a non-binding resolution, which decries the gross human rights violations and widespread murder undertaken by the government of Bashar al-Assad in Syria. Since the violent crackdowns began in March, the UN’s own estimates suggest that over 3,500 Syrians have been killed. The resolution, perhaps most significantly, passed with support from many Arab states; Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Morocco, and Kuwait were all co-sponsors. Of note voting against the resolution: UN Security Council members Russia and China. source

16 Nov 2011 20:36


World: Arab League may impose economic sanctions on Syria

  • 3 day deadline for end to violence in Syria, Arab League says source
  • » Suspended and sanctioned? That’s the possibility facing Syria in the days to come. It was last Saturday that the Arab League voted to suspend Syria today if there was not a halt to the brutal violence and oppression by the government (Syria had already flagrantly ignored an agreement with the Arab League to facilitate this on November 3rd). Should the violent oppression not stop within three days, the price would be economic sanctions imposed by the League, which could have significant consequences for the Syrian citizenry as well.

03 Nov 2011 15:22


World: Syrian government already in defiance of Arab League deal

  • 30 Syrians killed in separate attacks just after the Arab League deal source
  • » It didn’t take long: Syrian citizens skeptical of the deal struck between the Arab League and the Assad government seem to have been proven right. The deal stipulated that Syrian security forces would withdraw from cities, a free domestic and international media presence would be allowed, and the government would free its political prisoners. And yet, just one day later, security forces (not having withdrawn from the city of Homs, obviously) have killed 11 people. Another 19 died in a tank shelling in the activist-heavy Bab Amro district. Maybe it wasn’t right to expect much to come of the Arab League deal, given the abysmal human rights record of Bashar al-Assad’s government, but this is horribly discouraging.