Both inside and outside Syria on the international front, there has been worldwide revulsion at a video which went viral at the weekend showing cannibalistic behavior by an Opposition Commander.
The video, now confirmed as genuine, apparently shows a well-known Opposition commander in the Qusair, Homs area, Khalid al-Hamad, cutting out the organs of a dead Syrian soldier and eating part of one organ, while saying, “We will cut out and eat the hearts and livers of Bashar’s dogs”.
The organ was subsequently identified by a surgeon as the dead man’s lungs.
Al-Hamad says his actions were in revenge for pictures found on the dead man’s phone of a naked woman and her 2 daughters in which the soldier humiliates them.
He claims to have acted in a similar cannibalistic way before.
His actions have been condemned not only by the Assad Government, some of whose troops are almost certainly guilty of similar acts of barbarity, but by the FSA, the Syrian National Coalition (SNC), Governments worldwide and Human Rights Watch.
The FSA’s Supreme Military Council, which claims to control “90% of the armed Opposition groups in Syria”, placed a poster on Facebook, calling for Al-Hamad’s arrest, “dead or alive”.
The SNC, which has been recently been running a series of workshops in northern Syria to teach Opposition fighters about Human Rights and the Geneva Convention on War protocols for the treatment of prisoners, also quickly distanced itself from the Opposition fighter’s actions.
In a Skype interview yesterday, Al-Hamad, who commands the Independent Omar al-Farouk Brigade, told Time magazine that, “Hopefully, we will slaughter all Alawites..”
You can read more of Al-Hamas’s interview with Time magazine, HERE:
DEATH TOLL FIGURES IN SYRIA, JUST 2 DAYS AFTER PREVIOUS ESTIMATES, REVISED UPWARDS BY 12,000 AFTER NEW INFORMATION ON ALAWITES KILLED:
Revised figures for those killed in Syria were released yesterday by the respected Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, just 2 days after it said total recorded deaths have reached 82,257.
The new figure has jumped 12,000 to a total of more than 94,000. The Observatory said that it had revised its figures after receiving new information from 8 sources in Government controlled areas around Latakia, Tartous and Homs, where the deaths of members of the Alawite community are much higher than previously recorded.
Recorded deaths of members of the Alawite community are now put at 41,000, though as the Observatory calculates that both sides are “discrete on their casualties”, the real total on deaths on all sides is likely to be in excess of 120,000 or even more.
OPPOSITION FORCES BREAK THROUGH INTO ALEPPO CENTRAL PRISON AND FIERCE FIGHTING UNDERWAY:
In Aleppo the Free Syrian Army and its allies have broken into the new buildings inside Aleppo Central Prison early this morning and are engaged in heavy fighting with Government units defending the old prison buildings. The assault came after suicide car bomb attacks blew up parts of the prison perimeter wall.
Around 4,000 prisoners including Islamists and common law criminals are usually held in the prison on the outskirts of Aleppo adjacent to Opposition held areas.
Assad Air Force jets are reported to have attacked Opposition areas around the periphery of the prison in order to try and eliminate the attackers. This and heavy shelling is reported to killed a child and wounded 7 members of the same family living near the jail and started fires in some residential buildings.
Mennegh airbase, also in Aleppo province, is currently coming under Opposition tank fire, HERE:
Opposition forces are also on the offensive in Idlib province where they have been targeting the main entrance to the Abu Aldhor Airport which has been under siege for some weeks now, HERE:
2 days ago, Monday, they also shot down with a missile or anti-aircraft gun, or a combination of both, a helicopter over the airbase attempting to resupply the troops inside. It falls to earth in a ball of flames, HERE:
In Deir Ez-Zour operations against the airport there are also continuing with this strike on a nearby artillery unit, HERE:The defection of 200 military personnel in the province is also reported, the FSA encouraging them to “go home to their families”.
In Hama province video emerged of this destruction of a T-72 tank, HERE:
And while there has been concern about the Government retaking the key strategic town on the main highway from Damascus to Deraa, Kherbit Ghazalah (scroll down -see report below), in the country’s southern Deraa province, latest reports suggest that Opposition forces still hold southern parts of the key town.
This recent map (May 12th) shows Opposition controlled areas (in Green – Government Red) in central and southern Syria. There is a larger version of the map, HERE:
In the central Homs province, things for the Opposition look far less certain, particularly around the strategic city of Qusair (see earlier reports below). Government sources say they took the villages of Western Dumayna, Haidariyeh and Esh al-Warwar on Monday in an attempt to cut off supplies to the Opposition fighters in Qusair itself.
In the abandoned village of Western Dumayna, which lies between Qusair and Homs, Government troops found abandoned machineguns and tunnels filled with mattresses and food.
The Opposition Syrian National Coalition has expressed fears about another massacre if Government forces break into Qusair where there are still thought to be as many as 25,000 civilian residents.
From Damascus this morning, Wednesday, there are reports of 2 explosions, 1 in Umayyad Square near the Opera House and another near the Imam-Al-Shaafi mosque in the Mezzeh district. Two women are reported seriously injured. The target in Umayyad Square was thought to be a military checkpoint.
23 Opposition Brigades, including the Al Nusra Front, are reported to have come together in a strategic alliance to try and retake the town of Otaiba from Government troops. The town lies just 3 kilometres (2 miles) northeast of Damascus international airport.
Otaiba was previously important to the Opposition side as it acted as a conduit for smuggling weapons from Jordan into the suburbs of Damascus itself.
After a 2 day black-out on May 7th and 8th, the Internet service in Damascus (including Government websites) went out again this morning, Wednesday, at 10.00 am local time.
This map, compiled to show Internet connectivity across Syria, shows that it is really ever only functional in Government controlled areas (shown in Green). The map does not take into account those with satellite access or to networks in other surrounding contries.
You can see a bigger version of the map, HERE:
Lastly, numerous meetings are being held around the world to try and facilitate a Russian and US sponsored “peace conference” on Syria, now scheduled for Geneva, Switzerland, in early June.
The Syrian National Coalition is meeting in Istanbul to decide on its own position, which until now has been that Assad must step down before any talks take place.
At the same time the Syrian Government has made it clear that they will not be dictated to and Syrian sovereignty is “not negotiable”, their choice of Government and President only being decided “by the ballot box”.
(EDITOR: Though they have done a very “good job” of ignoring the tens of thousands who have consistently democratically demonstrated to say they no longer want Assad.)
(Source / 15.05.2013)