http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/wo..._123050334.htmDAMASCUS, April 27 (Xinhua) -- A string of bombings hit the Syrian capital of Damascus on Friday, leaving at least 11 people killed. The surge in violence dealt a tough blow to a peace plan brokered by the Arab League (AL)-UN joint envoy Kofi Annan.
About four bombings hit Damascus Friday, the deadliest of which took place in the central al-Midan neighborhood, when a suicide bomber blew himself up near a security forces' bus stationed under a bridge near a mosque apparently to prevent worshipers from staging anti-government protests, witnesses said.
Hours following the suicide bombing, the ministry of interior vowed to beat with an "iron fist" all those who might intimidate residents and spread anarchy in the country.
In a statement carried by state-run SANA news agency, the ministry called upon citizens to report any suspicious case and give information that they might obtain on terrorist activities, adding that it will not tolerate armed terrorist groups.
It said that a suicide bomber, with an explosive belt, blew himself up Friday on the main road near Zein al-Abidin Mosque in al-Midan, as worshippers were leaving the mosque, killing nine, scattering human remains of two unidentified persons and injuring 26 civilians and law-enforcement members.
It added that authorities headed to the site and took samples of the human remains to identify the terrorist, adding that investigations are underway to reveal the details of the attack.
http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/wo..._123050220.htmMOSCOW, April 27 (Xinhua) -- Ceasefire in Syria is unstable mainly due to provocations of the armed opposition, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday.
"The ceasefire, announced on the basis of Kofi Annan's plan and supported by the UN Security Council, is not being stable yet, mostly because the armed opposition groups are trying to stage provocations, explosions, terror attacks and shootings," Lavrov told the Rossiya-24 TV channel.
Certain Syrian opposition groups are also seeking external intervention, he warned.
Meanwhile, Lebanese officials said Saturday they intercepted a ship that may have been trying to smuggle weapons to the Syrian rebels.
Officials said the Lutfallah II sailed from Libya and stopped in the Egyptian port of Alexandria before making its way to Tripoli. At least three shipping containers were removed from the ship. Officials said the containers had been loaded with shells, rockets, grenade launchers and other equipment.
So were the rebels planning for a ceasefire?? or for a you cease-we-fire scenario?
Gunmen in inflatable dinghies have attacked a military unit on Syria's Mediterranean coast, state media say, in the first seaborne assault of a 13-month-old uprising.
The official SANA news agency said several gunmen and soldiers were killed in a firefight that followed the coastal attack near the northern port of Latakia, 35 km south of the Turkish border.
So the activists were "protesting" at sea when they got fired on by the Syrian army??
The most likely point of origin would be Turkey if they were from inside Syria they would have attacked from land.
Syrian rebel gunmen in inflatable dinghies have attacked a military unit on the Mediterranean coast, with deaths on both sides, state media report.
It is thought to be the first rebel assault from the sea. Separately, Lebanon says its navy has seized weapons destined for the rebels.
Clashes between security forces and deserting troops left heavy casualties near Damascus and Aleppo, reports say.
The violence comes despite a shaky ceasefire in force since 12 April.
On Thursday UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon warned that Syria's government was "in contravention" of a UN- and Arab League-backed peace plan.
ClashesSaturday's violence came after the Lebanese navy said it had found and confiscated three containers full of arms and ammunition bound for the rebels.
The ship, the Lutfallah II, is reported to have begun its voyage from Libya, stopped off in Alexandria in Egypt, and then headed for the port of Tripoli in northern Lebanon before it was intercepted.
About 15 UN observers are monitoring a shaky ceasefire in Syria
The BBC's Jim Muir in Beirut says it is believed the consignment was destined for the rebels in Syria, with whom the new Libyan regime strongly sympathises.
Tripoli in north Lebanon is a hotbed of support for the Syrian opposition, and the authorities in Damascus have frequently complained about arms being smuggled from the areas into the country, our correspondent says.
The dinghy attack reportedly took place further north, about 30km (19 miles) from the border with Turkey.
Syria's official news agency Sana said a military unit had foiled a "terrorist attempt" to infiltrate the country overnight by boat in Latakia province.
Continue reading the main storyAnnan's six-point peace plan
1. Syrian-led political process to address the aspirations and concerns of the Syrian people
2. UN-supervised cessation of armed violence in all its forms by all parties to protect civilians
3. All parties to ensure provision of humanitarian assistance to all areas affected by the fighting, and implement a daily two-hour humanitarian pause
4. Authorities to intensify the pace and scale of release of arbitrarily detained persons
5. Authorities to ensure freedom of movement throughout the country for journalists
6. Authorities to respect freedom of association and the right to demonstrate peacefully
"An official source told a Sana reporter that members of the military unit clashed with the terrorists who were boarding inflatable boats, forcing them to flee," the agency said.
"The source stated that the clash led to the martyrdom and injuries of a number of [members of the] military unit." Sana said it was not clear how many rebels had been killed "as they attacked the military unit at night".
The fighting north of Damascus broke out after a group of soldiers defected to the rebels and were pursued by forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad into the village of Bakha, activists said.
One account said four rebels and six civilians had been killed, but the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said all those who died were army defectors.
Similar clashes were reported in the village of Burj al-Salaam near one of the presidential palaces close to the coastal city of Latakia, after a group of soldiers deserted there.
None of violence could be independently verified because of government restrictions on the media.
More observersThe UN currently has about 15 observers in Syria monitoring a shaky ceasefire, which came into force on 12 April, and hopes to have the full advance team of 30 in place by Monday.
Violence has been continuing despite the truce.
On Friday an explosion in the centre of the Damascus killed at least 10 people and wounded 20 others, state media said. Activist organisations accused the regime itself of carrying out the attack.
Mr Ban has demanded that Damascus comply with the peace plan brokered by international peace envoy Kofi Annan without delay.
The Security Council has approved the deployment of up to 300 monitors. Norwegian Maj Gen Robert Mood, who is to lead the team, was heading to Damascus on Saturday, reports said.
Our correspondent says he must be wondering how much of a ceasefire there is left for his team to monitor
Russia says “Syria terrorists need decisive rebuff”
http://www.nowlebanon.com/NewsArticl...aspx?ID=390736Russia on Saturday said it backed delivering a "decisive rebuff" to "terrorists" operating in Syria a day after state television reported 11 people killed in a bomb blast outside a Damascus mosque.
"We are convinced that the terrorists operating in Syria need a decisive rebuff, and that all domestic and outside players need to prevent any support" from reaching the rebel forces, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
Syrian state television on Friday reported that 11 people were killed and 28 wounded in a suicide attack in the historic Midan neighborhood in the heart of the capital.
It said the attack near the Zein al-Abidine mosque took place "while worshippers were making their way out."
Russia has previously argued that a ceasefire brokered by international envoy Kofi Annan was largely holding despite periodic episodes of violence and has urged ll sides to engage in direct talks.
But its criticism of the rebels has been more explicit than its condemnation of attacks observers pin on the Syrian army.
Damascus is a long-standing Russian ally and Moscow blocked two rounds UN sanctions against Bashar al-Assad's regime in the past year.
Russia on Saturday accused the rebels of trying to undermine Annan's peace efforts as part of a broader campaign to get foreign powers drawn into the conflict.
"Moscow resolutely condemns these barbaric acts," the foreign ministry said.
"We are especially concerned by attempts by Syria's intransigent opposition – even at the cost of the death of innocent civilians – to intensify the situation in the country and incite violence," the statement said.
http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/wo..._131560920.htmDAMASCUS, April 30 (Xinhua) -- At least eight people were killed and dozens of others were injured in the twin blasts that ripped through two districts in Syria's northern province of Idlib on Monday, state-run SANA news agency reported.
SANA said two "terrorist" bombings hit Monday the Hanano Square and the Carlton Street in Idlib respectively.
There were no immediate details from officials about the blasts, but initial speculation suggested that they were the work of two suicide bombers.
The first blast targeted a military security compound, while the other hit an aviation intelligence headquarter in Idlib, local media said.
Meanwhile, a pro-government news website said at least 52 people were reported to have been killed and wounded. It said the blasts caused damages to five buildings surrounding the explosion site.
The report said that the hotel where two UN observers are residing at, has been damaged, adding that material damages have even spread to one kilometer away from the blast site.
In urban area? Does anyone knows how strong that bomb had to be?adding that material damages have even spread to one kilometer away from the blast site
Syria’s sealed-off rebels
Baba Amr in Homs, once an opposition stronghold, is now isolated by a 10-foot high concrete wall
http://www.salon.com/2012/04/30/syri...els/singleton/A GlobalPost journalist whose name has been withheld for security reasons, reported this story from Baba Amr, Syria. Hugh Macleod and Annasofie Flamand contributed reporting and wrote the story from Beirut, Lebanon. This article originally appeared on GlobalPost.
BABA AMR, Syria — For Syrians on both sides of the concrete wall that now surrounds this neighborhood, the comparisons to the region’s longest running conflict are unavoidable.
“When my wife described the wall to me I immediately thought of the wall built by the Israelis to isolate Palestinian villages and towns in the West Bank,” said Abu Annas, formerly a resident of Homs’ devastated Baba Amr district.
“I can understand that Israel built a wall to protect Israeli settlers from Palestinians. But I cannot understand how a national government builds a wall to separate its citizens from each other.”
Since forcing the retreat of rebel fighters from Baba Amr after a brutal month-long bombardment in February, government forces have constructed a massive concrete wall to seal off the former opposition stronghold.
A reporter for GlobalPost recently visited Baba Amr and the wall, describing it as up to 10-feet high and made of cement. It’s still so new there is no graffiti. Since most residents have long fled, the neighborhood behind the wall has become “a dead land for cats and dogs,” as one former resident described it.
Soldiers and secret police guard the few narrow passages through the wall, arresting any male aged between 13 and 60, said Annas, whose wife and young daughter recently went to check on what remained of their home inside Baba Amr.
“They spent half an hour arguing with the security officer who said his men would have to check them before they passed through,” he said. “She came back crying, saying, ‘There is no Baba Amr.’”
Those houses not destroyed in February’s siege have been taken over by soldiers, Annas said. Electricity and phone lines have been cut for months and now cars cannot enter, nor delivery trucks, meaning shops are almost all closed.
Activists in the area said the neighborhood — once home to some 28,000 people — has now been all but abandoned, with only about 1,000 still living inside the wall.
In other Sunni-majority opposition neighborhoods throughout Homs, such as Karm al-Zeitoune, where whole families were killed in recent sectarian massacres, and Deir Balbah and Qarabes, the majority of residents have also fled.
With the UN-Arab League ceasefire plan in tatters — at least 462 people have been killed since April 16 when the UN resolved to send ceasefire monitors, according to the opposition Local Coordination Committees — and veto-wielding Russia blaming the armed opposition for the majority of attacks, the Assad regime appears to be taking steps to re-exert long-term security control and collectively punish rebellious communities.
On Saturday, Abu Bakr Saleh, a spokesman for the Baba Amr media center who lived through the bombardment, said other security measures were preventing residents from traveling between Baba Amr and neighboring Joubar neighborhood, to the far southwest of the city.
Last week, GlobalPost witnessed continued shelling in Khaldiyeh and Bayada, Sunni-majority neighborhoods in north Homs that support the opposition and lie adjacent to Zahara, a neighborhood of mainly Allawites, an offshoot of Shiite Islam, to which the ruling Assad family and a majority of government elites belong.
Cairo Street, which leads from north Homs into Zahara in the east of the city, has been renamed “Death Street” by locals after the deadly snipers deployed to rooftops, presumably to protect the pro-regime neighborhood.
On their first visit to Homs on April 21, members of the advance team of UN observers, the first of 300 due to be deployed to monitor violations of the ceasefire agreement, were forced to take cover after shots rang out as they walked down Cairo Street from Bayada.
“The regime will not adhere to the Annan plan and the near future will prove that,” said Omar, a 24-year-old member of the rebel Free Syrian Army, told GlobalPost in an interview at his home in Homs’ Deir Balba.
“The regime is preparing for the post-Annan cease-fire by building walls around Sunni districts to block our movement and is digging a long trench around Homs two meters wide.”
Reports of Assad’s forces digging trenches around the south and west of Homs, where Baba Amr is located, first emerged last November. A video journalist working with GlobalPost witnessed the trench during a visit to Homs this February. The purpose of the trench remains unclear, but it appears to be a another military tactic to hinder access to rebellious neighborhoods.
In Daraa, the first city to rise up against the regime and suffer a sustained military assault, GlobalPost recently witnessed a labyrinth of checkpoints and deployment of tanks, troops and snipers, effectively sealing off the population from surrounding areas and the capital.
The regime blames “armed terrorist groups” for the breakdown in the ceasefire agreement. Information Minister Adnan Mahmoud told state-run Syrian Arab News Agency last week that the “terrorists” had committed more than 1,300 violations.
Russia last week echoed a similar line. Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich accused the opposition of shifting “to tactics of terror on a regional scale,” claiming Western governments were arming the rebel fighters.
Rather, it appears post-revolutionary Libya, which strongly supports Syria’s opposition, has made the first serious effort to arm the rebels. On Saturday Lebanese authorities announced they had discovered guns and rocket propelled grenades aboard a ship attempting to dock in north Lebanon’s Tripoli, a Sunni-majority city also widely supportive of Syria’s opposition.
Omar, the young rebel fighter from Homs, said the FSA was now restructuring after suffering a strategic defeat in Baba Amr.
“We will adopt guerilla tactics,” he said. “We are fighting in small groups and moving from one district to another so we don’t let the regime block this district and kill us. The FSA leaders made a big mistake when they tried to hold Baba Amr.”
As the rebels seek new strategies for their armed struggle, the Assad regime has made its contempt of the international diplomatic effort clear. Assad himself revealed his scorn for last December’s Arab League monitoring mission in an email, first obtained and verified by the Guardian.
Writing to Hadeel Ali, his young media consultant, the president forwarded a YouTube video ridiculing the mission’s inability to spot hidden Syrian tanks, to which she responded, “Hahahahahahaha, OMG!!!”
That same contempt appeared to be on display more recently as Kofi Annan, the Arab League envoy, briefed the Security Council on a letter received from Syrian Foreign Minister Waleed Mualem on April 21. The letter stated that the government had now withdrawn all heavy armor and troops from population centers, the first step in Annan’s cease-fire plan.
But daily videos of smoke billowing above Homs and troops opening fire in urban protest centers have told a very different story.
Syrian officials see Annan’s plan as “a license for the regime to do more of the same,” the respected International Crisis Group, one of the only international think tanks able to still interview Syrian officials, wrote in its April 10 report.
“As the regime sees it, Annan’s mission, far from presenting a threat, can be a way to drag the process on and shift the focus from regime change to regime concessions,” ICG reported, “granting humanitarian access, agreeing to a ceasefire and beginning a vaguely defined political dialogue, all of which can be endlessly negotiated and renegotiated.”
As that process unfolds, the wall in Baba Amr stands as a physical symbol of the deep-seeded sectarian hatred that a year of relentless violence in Syria has engendered in former neighbors.
“The Sunni districts are hosting terrorists and armed gangs so the government should close them off by all means. If this needs a high wall, why not?” Haidar, a 35-year-old Allawite from Homs’ Zahara neighborhood, told GlobalPost.
A member of the Popular Committees, the official name for armed civilian militias fighting for the regime, Haidar said the possible collapse of the regime would mean no future for three million Allawites in Syria’s big cities. “We would return to our villages in the mountains,” he said.
“We have been occupying senior positions in the army, security agencies and government in Syria for four decades and we will keep the power in our hands, whatever this costs us.”
What is going in Syria? A much were killed in the last days? It seems that Assad will remain for a long time.
What ever happens in any country it is good to be in the construction business.
The man understands Israeli wall but does not Syrian wall? It does seem the Syrians are adapting and learning from US experience in Iraq.