“The rebels appear to have more firepower than in February. Mortars regularly rain down on government-held areas. They may not have as much destructive force as the Syrian army’s artillery, but they are as indiscriminate in their choice of victims.
In the last two weeks of August 123 mortars landed in the Christian quarter of the Old City, an area with no military targets“
“Al-Qa’ida and associated extremist groups have a wide variety of potential agents and delivery means to choose from for chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear (CBRN) attacks…however, most attacks by the group—and especially by associated extremists—probably will be small scale, incorporating relatively crude delivery means and easily produced or obtained chemicals, toxins, or radiological substances…Analysis of an al-Qa’ida document recovered in Afghanistan in summer 2002 indicates the group has crude procedures for making mustard agent, sarin, and VX.”
“One such case is the sad story of a young Christian boy named Salim Nahhas, whose siblings I knew quite well. He was only 19 when he died fighting with the regime against the rebels in the Rashdeen area of Aleppo in July 2013.
But the most remarkable aspect of Nahhas’ story is that most of his family was initially with the uprising and against the regime, some even taking part in protests and later aid work for the displaced. That was before Aleppo was invaded by the rebels in the summer of 2012 and before rebel mortar shells hit Nahhas’ neighborhood, killing some of his friends and neighbors. Since then, many things have changed in Aleppo.”
“In Iraq, we went to war on the basis of lies originally uttered by fakers and conmen. Now it’s war by YouTube. This doesn’t mean that the terrible images of the gassed and dying Syrian civilians are false. It does mean that any evidence to the contrary is going to have to be suppressed. For example, no-one is going to be interested in persistent reports in Beirut that three Hezbollah members – fighting alongside government troops in Damascus – were apparently struck down by the same gas on the same day, supposedly in tunnels. They are now said to be undergoing treatment in a Beirut hospital. So if Syrian government forces used gas, how come Hezbollah men might have been stricken too? Blowback?”
“The Obamas and the Camerons…want – or wanted – to send weapons to the FSA, the secular, “heroic” resistance fighting for “democracy” against the…regime…in Damascus…the FSA are the guys we should be arming, now that the al-Qa’ida outfits have started killing the FSA leadership. If the good guys in the FSA are now fighting the bad guys of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, we should help them.
But history suggests that the good guys might turn into the bad guys and that the bad guys might win. What if the Islamists wipe out the FSA? Then our weapons really will fall into the “wrong hands” rather faster than they would have done anyway – since guns are money in civil wars and al-Nusra and the rest have the cash to buy anything we give the FSA.”
“One of them shouted: ‘Whoever insults the Prophet will be killed according to Sharia’,” she told me.
“I ran down barefoot to the streets. I heard the first shot. I fell to the ground when I got there.
“One of them shot him again and kicked him. He shot him for a third time and stamped on him.
“I said: ‘Why are you killing him? He’s still a child!’ The man shouted: ‘He is not a Muslim – leave!'”
“They do not need arms. It is an unchallenged figure that 3,500 tons of arms have been shipped in by way of Croatia with the assistance of the CIA, funded by the Saudis, funded by the Qataris…”
“If it is the case that Saudi Arabia and Qatar are today funding the very jihadists against which we are fighting, why are we not using international pressure, the United States, the European Union, to persuade Saudi Arabia and Qatar to stop, to prevent this?”
Syria: disillusioned rebels drift back to take Assad amnesty
Hundreds of men who took up arms against President Bashar al-Assad are defecting back to the government side, The Telegraph has learnt.
“The rebels regularly fire mortars into districts of Damascus they do not control. This is difficult to stop because the rebels jump out of a car, take a mortar and a shell from the boot, fire it and are gone in a few minutes.”
“The outside world focuses on the Syrian refugees that have fled the country, but millions have also fled to the uncertain safety of Damascus where they are crammed into houses.”