Tuesday, March 5, 2013



Comment: Not Mexico or the US, this time anyway. Why weapons? Why
not coupons for the local grocery store? Or . . . .
Or could it be that the bottom line in a fight to be free from
tyranny is having weapons?
And to stay free? Without those small arms, especially modern
rifles, the people seeking freedom have no hope of reaching the stage
in their liberation where they can employ the heavy weapons needed to
finish the job.
BTW, Syria under Bashar's daddy was the first of the progressive
regimes in the middle east.
Never had any problem with using deadly force, liberally applied, to
keep the population in line.

Syrian rebel chief says fighters desperate for weapons
Published March 02, 2013
Associated Press

BEIRUT – The head of Syria's rebels said Friday that the food and
medical supplies the United States plans to give his fighters for the
first time won't bring them any closer to defeating President Bashar
Assad's forces in the country's civil war.
"We don't want food and drink, and we don't want bandages. When we're
wounded, we want to die. The only thing we want is weapons," Gen.
Salim Idris, chief of staff of the opposition's Supreme Military
Council, told The Associated Press by telephone.

The former brigadier in Assad's army warned that the world's failure
to provide heavier arms is only prolonging the nearly 2-year-old
uprising that has killed an estimated 70,000 people.
In what was described as a significant policy shift, the Obama
administration said Thursday it was giving an additional $60 million
in assistance to Syria's political opposition and said it would, for
the first time, provide non-lethal aid directly to rebels battling to
topple Assad.
The move was announced by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry at an
international conference on Syria in Rome. In the coming days,
several European nations are expected to take similar steps in
working with the military wing of the opposition to increase pressure
on Assad to step down and pave the way for a democratic transition.

But the frustration expressed by Idris is shared by most of his
colleagues in the Syrian opposition, as well as by scores of rebels
fighting in Syria. They feel abandoned by the outside world while the
Assad regime pounds them with artillery and bombs.
The main rebel units, known together as the Free Syrian Army,
regrouped in December under a unified, Western-backed command headed
by Idris and called the Supreme Military Council, following promises
of more military assistance once a central council was in place.
Despite those pledges, opposition members say very little has been
delivered in terms of financial aid, and more importantly, in weapons
and ammunition.

The international community remains reluctant to send weapons,
fearing they may fall into the hands of extremists increasingly
gaining ground among the rebels.

Mouaz al-Khatib, the leader of the Syrian opposition coalition, has
lamented the West's focus on the presence of Islamic militants among
the fighters. In a forceful speech Thursday to the Rome conference,
he said the media reports give "more attention to the length of
fighters' beards than to the (regime's) massacres."
Some Syrians expressed their disappointment on social media websites.
One showed a photo of Kerry carrying a toy gun as a gift for the
rebels. Another depicted a three-wheeled cart, of the kind usually
used by farmers, with the words: "The first of the nonlethal weapons
has arrived."

Idris, a 55-year-old who studied in Germany and taught electronics at
a Syrian military college before defecting in July, said the modest
package of aid — consisting of an undetermined amount of food rations
and medical supplies — will not help them win against Assad's forces
who regularly use warplanes to pound rebel strongholds.
"We need anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles to stop Bashar Assad's
criminal, murderous regime from annihilating the Syrian people," he
said. "The whole world knows what we need, and yet they watch as the
Syrian people are slaughtered."
Still, he said he hoped that the promised aid is delivered, which
would provide some relief to the civilians caught in the fighting.

Russia, meanwhile, sharply criticized the decision by Western powers
to boost support for Syrian opposition forces, saying the promised
assistance would only intensify the conflict. Russian Foreign
Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said the moves announced in
Rome "encourage extremists to seize power by force."
Russia is a close ally of Syria that has continued to supply arms to
Assad's regime as well as shielding the country from U.N. Security
Council sanctions.
Idris denied media reports that the rebels have recently received
arms shipments and said his troops were suffering from "severe
shortages" in weapons and ammunitions.
Croatia's president said Friday his country will withdraw about 100
peacekeeping troops from the Syria-Israel border after reports that
Syrian rebels have been armed with Croatian weapons. The Croatian
government fears its troops could become targets for Syrian
government soldiers fighting the rebels.
Croatian officials have also denied reports by local media and The
New York Times that arms, including machine guns, rifles and anti-
tank grenades used in the Balkan wars in the 1990s have recently been
sent to the Syrian rebels.
Croatian Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic said despite the official
denials, "everyone has read those reports, and our soldiers are no
longer safe."
Fierce clashes continued in northern Syria between government forces
and rebels attacking a police academy near Aleppo, the country's
largest city and commercial hub.
Rebels backed by captured tanks have been trying to storm the police
academy outside the city since launching a new offensive last week.
Activists say the academy, which has become a key front in the fight
for Aleppo, has been turned into a military base used to shell rebel-
held neighborhoods in the city and surrounding countryside.
Syrian's state-run news agency said government troops defending the
academy had killed dozens of opposition fighters and destroyed five
rebel vehicles.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights activist group
also reported heavy fighting around the school and said there were
several rebel casualties.

The Observatory said clashes were still raging around Aleppo's
landmark 12th century Umayyad Mosque in the walled Old City, which is
a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The mosque was heavily damaged last
year just weeks after a fire gutted the city's famed medieval market.
There were conflicting reports about whether the rebels had managed
to force regime troops out of the mosque and take full control of the
holy site.
Mohammed al-Khatib of the Aleppo Media Center activist group said the
mosque was in rebel hands, although clashes were still raging.
"The regime forces left lots of ammunition in it (the mosque), with
guns and rocket-propelled grenades," he said via Skype.
Observatory director Rami Abdul-Rahman said rebels have been in
control of at least half of the mosque complex for days, but he could
not confirm that they had captured all of it.

Near the capital of Damascus, activists said the bodies of 10 men —
most of them shot in the head — were found dumped on the side of a
road between the suburbs of Adra and Dumair. Such incidents have
become a frequent occurrence in the civil war.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/world/2013/03/02/syrian-rebel-chief-

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