Syrian Army Deserters Kill 27 Soldiers

Here we go again.

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’15,000 Strong’ Army Gathers To Take On Syria:

An insurgent army which claims to be up to 15,000 strong is being coordinated from Turkey to take on President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, which risks plunging the region into open warfare.

– Global Research’s Michel Chossudovsky: Syria’s ‘Peaceful Protesters’ Are ‘Death Squads Directly Supported By Turkey And Israel’ Armed With Heavy Machine Guns (Video)


U.S. General Wesley Clark (Ret.) (Video), explains that the Bush Administration planned to take out 7 countries in 5 years:

Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Iran.

AP/ Ugarit News

Syrian army defectors kill 27 troops in one of deadliest clashes, Canada tells citizens to go (Washington Post, Dec. 15, 2011)

BEIRUT — Army defectors killed 27 government forces Thursday in apparently coordinated attacks that were among the deadliest by rebel troops since the uprising began nine months ago. The escalating unrest prompted Canada to advise thousands of its citizens in Syria to leave.

The fighting began around daybreak in the southern province of Daraa, where the uprising against President Bashar Assad’s authoritarian regime began in March.Syria has seen a sharp escalation in armed clashes recently, raising concerns the country of 22 million is headed toward civil war. The U.N. raised its death toll for the Syrian uprising substantially this week, saying more 5,000 people have been killed since the revolt began.

“The attacks by army defectors are becoming more coordinated and more deadly. Unfortunately, this will likely lead to a new cycle of escalation by the regime,” said Mohamad Bazzi, a Syria expert at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Sanctions by Western powers, Turkey and the Arab League have added to the growing pressure on Assad from within Syria. U.S. State Department official Frederic Hof told Congress on Wednesday that Assad’s repression may allow him to hang on to power, but only for a short time.

Still, the regime could exploit the escalation of armed attacks by military defectors to escalate the crackdown with full force on pockets of defectors concentrated in Daraa and the northwestern province of Idlib that borders Turkey.

Defectors from the Free Syrian Army, whose leaders are based in exile in neighboring Turkey, fired a rocket-propelled grenade at a bus carrying policemen into the town of Busra al-Harir on Thursday, killing 12 officers, an activist based nearby said.

That set off clashes with an accompanying force of soldiers. The defectors killed 13 of them, said the activist, who would only agree to be identified by his first name, Omar, for fear of retribution.

The fighters then killed two more soldiers in an attack on a checkpoint, he said.

Busra al-Harir is home to about 300 army defectors who have been clashing with regime forces daily for nearly a week, he said.

“The army was shelling the town with tanks shortly before the attack by insurgents,” Omar said.

Syrian troops are usually accompanied by policemen in buses, who round up people after the army enters an area.

Citing witnesses on the ground, the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also reported clashes in Daraa province. Syria has sealed off the country to foreign journalists, making it impossible to confirm the accounts.

Another activist group, the Local Coordination Committees, said three defectors were killed in Daraa Thursday. It did not mention government troops deaths.

Bazzi of the Council on Foreign Relations said the regime’s crackdown has been depending more on the powerful intelligence agencies, whose members mostly belong to Assad’s minority Alawite sect. Syria is predominantly Sunni Muslim.

“As these attacks by the defectors intensify, the army could become torn and splintered,” said Bazzi. “The regime has tried very hard to keep the security forces (such as secret police) instead of the army as the first line of repression against the protesters.”

Because of the turmoil, Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said Canadians living in Syria should leave as soon as possible while commercial flights are still available. Washington issued a similar warning for U.S. citizens in September.

The Canadian ministry said there are about 5,000 Canadians in Syria.

“Our best advice is to leave Syria immediately, by any available means and while options exist,” Baird said.

At the U.N., Russia began circulating a draft Security Council resolution it said was designed to resolve the conflict in Syria. It calls for an end to all violence. Russia has criticized opponents of Assad’s rule for employing violent tactics. Western nations said the Russian draft did not go far enough, because it contained no sanctions against the regime.

Assad, who inherited power from his father in 2000, has denied issuing orders to kill protesters. But New York-based Human Rights Watch said Thursday that dozens of military commanders and officials authorized or gave direct orders for widespread killings and torture.

The 88-page report by the New York-based group is based on more than 60 interviews with defectors from the Syrian military and intelligence agencies. It identifies 74 commanders and officials behind the alleged abuse.

“Defectors gave us names, ranks, and positions of those who gave the orders to shoot and kill, and each and every official named in this report, up to the very highest levels of the Syrian government, should answer for their crimes against the Syrian people,” said Anna Neistat, associate director for emergencies at Human Rights Watch.

All of the defectors interviewed said their commanders gave standing orders to stop the overwhelmingly peaceful protests throughout the country “by all means necessary.” They understood the phrase as an authorization to use lethal force, especially because they had been given live ammunition instead of other means of crowd control.

About half the defectors interviewed by HRW said the commanders of their units or other officers also gave them direct orders to fire at protesters or bystanders and reassured them that they would not be held accountable.

The report quotes defectors as saying that in some cases, officers themselves participated in killings. It said the abuses constitute crimes against humanity and that the U.N. Security Council should refer Syria to the International Criminal Court.

Assad’s regime claims armed gangs and terrorists are behind the uprising, not protesters seeking more freedoms in one of the most totalitarian regimes in the Middle East.

Syria’s former ambassador to Sweden has also fled to Turkey to join the opposition, the Foreign Ministry said. The ministry said he was fired in Stockholm in 2008 and accused him of profiteering, forgery, exploiting his post and fraud.

Syrian army deserters kill 27 soldiers in Deraa (Jerusalem Post, Dec. 15, 2011)

Syrian rebels kill 27 soldiers in south (Reuters, Dec. 15, 2011):

Army deserters killed 27 soldiers in southern Syria on Thursday, an activist group said, in some of the deadliest attacks on forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad since the start of an uprising nine months ago.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the clashes flared in the southern city of Deraa, where protests against Assad first erupted in March, and at a checkpoint east of the city where all 15 personnel manning it were killed.

It did not say how they broke out, but the high casualties among security forces suggested coordinated strikes by the army rebels who have escalated attacks in recent weeks, raising the specter of Syria slipping towards civil war.

Aufstand gegen Assad: Deserteure töten syrische Soldaten (Spiegel, Dec. 15, 2011):

Der Widerstand gegen das Assad-Regime wird radikaler: Deserteure haben laut Nachrichtenagentur Reuters 27 Soldaten getötet. Die Staatsmacht hat nach Angabe von Human Rights Watch einen Schießbefehl erteilt. Die Militärs haben damit offiziell freie Hand, brutal gegen Demonstranten vorzugehen.

Damaskus – Seit mehr als neun Monaten schwelt der Konflikt in Syrien, mittlerweile zählen zu den Gegnern von Präsident Baschar al-Assad nicht nur Demonstranten, sondern auch Bewaffnete. Jetzt haben übergelaufene ehemalige Kämpfer der syrischen Streitkräfte bei Gefechten in der Provinz Daraa am Donnerstag 27 Soldaten getötet. Dies berichtet die Nachrichtenagentur Reuters unter Berufung auf das Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Laut der in London beheimateten Menschenrechtsgruppe nahmen die Deserteure ihre Gegner bei Tageslicht an zwei Orten innerhalb der Stadt Daraa sowie an einem 25 Kilometer entfernten Kontrollpunkt unter Feuer.

Die Nachrichtenagentur AP berichtet dagegen von acht getöteten Soldaten. Die Angaben lassen sich kaum überprüfen, da Syrien ausländische Journalisten des Landes verwiesen hat.

Mit der Attacke sollte offenbar Rache für einen Angriff der Regierungstruppen auf ein Zivilfahrzeug am Mittwoch geübt werden. Dabei wurden in dem Dorf Khattab fünf Menschen getötet, berichtet Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Das Fahrzeug sei nach dem Beschuss “in einem Feuerball explodiert”, so Rami Abdul-Rahman, der der Gruppe vorsteht.

Beobachter berichten von Schießbefehl gegen Demonstranten

In den seit März andauernden Protesten gegen die Herrschaft von Präsident Assad greifen Regierungsgegner vermehrt zu den Waffen. Aus Protest gegen das harte Vorgehen gegen Zivilisten haben viele Soldaten den Dienst quittiert und sich dem Aufstand angeschlossen.

Nach Uno-Schätzungen sind bei den Unruhen bislang mindestens 5000 Menschen getötet worden. Präsident Assad hat “Fehler” eingeräumt, behauptet aber, die meisten Toten seien auf Seiten seiner Streitkräfte zu beklagen, sie seien die Opfer “bewaffneter Terroristen”.

Dagegen berichtet die Menschenrechtsorganisation Human Rights Watch von Anweisungen der Regierung an das Militär, die Aufständischen “mit allen nötigen Mitteln” zurückzudrängen. Laut dem Report habe dies einen klaren Schießbefehl eingeschlossen. Die Menschenrechtler berufen sich auf Dutzende Interviews mit desertierten Soldaten und früheren Angehörigen der Geheimdienste.

Ein Scharfschütze in der Protesthochburg Homs sagte aus, er hätte eine Quote erhalten, wie viele Menschen bei Protesten sterben sollten. “Bei 5000 Demonstranten war die Vorgabe beispielsweise 15 bis 20 Menschen.” Ein Mitglied einer Spezialeinheit zitierte aus den Anweisungen für seine Brigade: “Benutzen Sie so viele Kugeln, wie Sie wollen.”

Es ist das erste Mal, dass offiziell von einem Schießbefehl die Rede ist – er bedeutet, dass Assads Schergen nun offenbar freie Hand haben, brutal gegen Aufständische vorzugehen.”Überläufer haben uns konkret die Namen, Position und Ränge der Personen genannt, die die Befehle gegeben haben. Diese sind teils in höchsten politischen Kreisen beheimatet”, sagt Anna Neistat von Human Rights Watch. 74 Kommandeure und andere Offizielle seien in dem Report namentlich erwähnt.



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