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Sunday, August 19, 2012

Syria: Turning Battlegrounds into Playgrounds

Some people in Syria celebrated Ead yesterday by turning one of Assad's destroyed tanks into a swing set for the children. He will never defeat these people.

From EAWorldView we have this report on Syria today:
2020 GMT: Syria. The most interesting reports from the LCC today involve Lattakia, Syria's premier port city which is often considered the heart of Assad's power and from where the President's family hails. The city is majority Sunni, with a sizable population of Alawites, Christians, and other minorities, and the rural areas are even more diverse.
We have seen protests and violence in the mountains far to the east, but it has been a long time since there has been this much violence in the city itself. According to some activists, there were post-prayer protests today, disrupted by security forces. According to the LCC, the Qunainis district (map), in the centre of the city, was stormed by security forces who sealed off the neighborhood and made many arrests.
The LCC also reports violence in the Maroniate village to the east (map). The village was reportedly shelled, and this video claims to show damage to the local mosque:

1955 GMT: Syria. Back from a weekend break to find that it has been another bloody day in Syria. According to the Local Coordinating Committees, 135 people have been killed by regime forces today.

47 martyrs were reported in Damascus and its Suburbs, 40 in Daraa, 15 in Aleppo, 15 in Idlib, 11 in Homs, 4 in Lattakia, 1 in Deir Ezzor, 1 in Hassakeh, and 1 in Hama.
First, a note on the source. The LCC is a network of activists operating inside and outside Syria. They serve as the information clearinghouse for the opposition, as they reportedly verify their information before posting. Their numbers populate the VDC database, a record of the names, locations, and circumstances of peoples' deaths in this crisis. The LCC does not record regime casualties, as it has no method to verify those casualties. The Syrian state media has also stopped posting fatality numbers.
Looking at the numbers more closely, what's startling is that many of the casualties in Damascus and Daraa Provinces were not caused by shelling, the common cause of fatalities in recent weeks. Instead, many deaths were caused by gunfire, as demonstrators returned to the streets for Eid prayers. But many of the reports also talk about "clashes" between the Free Syrian Army and the Assad military in these two regions.
It is just one day, and Eid at that, but if this pattern continues tomorrow it could be a sign that Damascus and Daraa are once again preparing to take the fight directly to the Assad regime.
1549 GMT: Egypt. Hundreds came to the iconic Tahrir Square in Cairo to say Eid prayers this morning. A photo galley from Ahram Online captures the cross generational mix of citizens present. Ahram adds that regligious celebration, rather than poiltics, was perhaps foremost on people's minds, noting that "a political speech was served to a seemingly apolitical audience". This video captures the whole event:

Today was also the first time in a decade where Eid prayers were said at Cairo's historic Citadel mosque. Security threats have kept it shut over Eir for the past ten years.

Click here for a list of my other blogs on Syria

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