• Il y a quelques semaines j’ai posté des tweets d’Iyad Badhdadi sur Les différents courants dans l’islam et comment distinguer les extrêmistes de non extrêmistes.
    Voici la suite de sa conférence - Désolée c’est en anglais.

    There’s a lot of anxiety about the MB and Salafi parties and while I don’t think it’s unfounded, I think it’s short-sighted. I’ve said several times that Islamism is a very wide spectrum. On this spectrum the MB is a range rather than a point. It’s important to note that the MB was initially formed in the crucible of the late 1920s and shaped through to the 1960s.

    The MB is not the child of the Arab Spring, or the father of the Arab Spring, and wasn’t formed in the crucible of the Arab Spring. Until the Arab Spring, the MB had a grudging truce with the tyrants, like a long-nagging couple who just learned to live with each other.

    When the Arab Spring started, the MB was merely the most politically organized non-state group at the time. Tweep @APHClarkson described it as a crisis of organization – that ideological alternatives to the MB exist but are simply not organized.

    @iyad_elbaghdadi a crisis of organisation. The alternatives to MB are there but, with exception of Libya’s NFA, have not built mass parties


    I’d like to challenge that, though. I don’t think an ideological alternative is truly ready. And if one was, it probably should wait. The MB goes on because there’s no alternative to the MB. That says a lot about our intellectual crisis and not much about the MB.
    The Islamism of the Age of Tyranny is on the way out, and it shouldn’t be obstructed. It should be allowed to run itself into the ground.
    I truly believe that standing in a way of an idea prolongs its run; better just step out of its way and let it fall on its face.
    Several Islamisms are around today that were forged in an Age of Tyranny, born of the same womb as the Mubaraks, Assads, and Gaddafis.
    With the Mubaraks, Gaddafis, and Assads (almost) gone, these “Islamisms” think they own the scene. But they’re actually in hostile waters.
    The Arab Spring has low tolerance for authoritarians and totalitarians. But it also longs for a reconnection to (or rediscovery of) Islam.

    So these ideologies in the Arab Spring are like a huge salt water fish in a river. It’s thinks it owns the place, but it’s actually dying. When you remove a fish from water it thrashes around a lot. This isn’t a sign of vivaciousness. It’s a sign of imminent death. That’s why I’m not worried about the MB or Salafism. As per the analogy above, they’ll have to either grow fresh-water lungs, or just die.

    What I’m truly worried about, though, is the reintroduction of the idea of change through violence into the Muslim psyche. This is where we get to #Syria, folks. And this is what I’m really worried about.

    To truly understand what I’m saying you should know I’m more concerned with ideas than events.
    I’d rather if the idea of liberty wins decisively 30 years from now, than if it takes parliament today but last no longer than a generation.
    What Tunisia and Egypt said, very loud, was that we don’t need violence to achieve change.
    Libya and Syria challenged that. I hereby declare that it was naïve of me to think that someone like Assad or Gaddafi can be removed peacefully.
    In fact, I truly believe that if Ben Ali or Mubarak or Saleh had the chance, they’d have done what Assad and Gaddafi did. Libya introduced the idea of a national liberation war not from a foreign enemy but from a tyrant of our own flesh & blood.
    Syria, however, is reintroducing some very dark ideas into the Muslim psyche.
    (By “Syria” here, I mean the Syrian conflict/situation as it stands today.)
    Syria is saying: The world doesn’t care, even if you all get slaughtered.
    Syria is saying: You are on your own, not only against your tyrant but against the world behind him.
    Syria is saying: Foreign powers want us to remain subjugated. They are not a friend, they are an enem ;
    Syria is saying: The West only talks of your liberty and your human rights if you live in an island of oil.
    Syria is saying: If your land has no oil, then the West does not deem you worthy of liberty or human rights.
    Syria is saying: The chemical weapons the tyrant has are more important to the world than the blood of all those women & children.
    The Syria situation is, in short, saying all these things that Alqaeda and the Jihadists have been saying for decades.
    Ideas die when events disprove their logic, and live & grow when ideas confirm them.
    That’s why fighting Alqaeda circa 2003-4 was so frustrating; no matter how many the US would kill in Iraq, it was proving their logic. That’s also why a single man, Mohammad Bouazizi, did more to challenge the idea of Alqaeda than the entire US army.
    The Syria stalemate is vindicating all of the ideas that made Alqaeda and Jihadism popular.
    As the West worries about Alqaeda finding safe haven in Syria, I worry about it finding safe haven again in the Muslim heart & mind.
    Shortly after Bin Laden’s death, I wrote this: http://bit.ly/izrjxw – arguing that when he died, Alqaeda was already a fossil.
    The Syria stalemate has resuscitated that fossil and blew new life into its lungs, and new blood into its veins.
    So once again I say, if something isn’t done about Syria, Alqaeda’s idea (if not Alqaeda itself) will live again.

    It may be already too late.

  • May 6, 2012
    photo sources; Homs, Hama, Idlib, Damascus and more
    Documenters of the protests, the signs and the destruction: part 4

    Free Syria: http://www.flickr.com/photos/63126038@N03/show
    200 pieces of graphic art, cartoons, signs, manipulated photos and montages (latest upload: March 15. 2012).

    basselymail: http://www.flickr.com/photos/49967528@N04/show
    90 photographs documenting destructions, protests, protest signs and armed resistance (latest upload: April 18. 2012).
    location: Homs


  • May 6, 2012
    photo sources; Homs, Hama, Idlib, Damascus and more
    Documenters of the protests, the signs and the destruction: part 3

    Abu Ahmed: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bjoern_dk/sets/72157629627165426/show
    9 photographs documenting the destruction. High resolution versions can be supplied on request (latest upload: May 8. 2012.).
    location: Homs

    arabspringff: http://www.flickr.com/photos/77966992@N04/show
    – Destruction of shelling in Baba Amr, Homs:http://www.flickr.com/photos/77966992@N04/sets/72157629707477113/detail
    – Shelling and Destruction from Regime Shelling in Inshaat - Homs: http://www.flickr.com/photos/77966992@N04/sets/72157629584785445/detail
    – Shelling from regime forces in Inshaat, Homs - Part 2: http://www.flickr.com/photos/77966992@N04/sets/72157629220095710/detail

    – victimes from Houla [graphic]: http://imgur.com/a/wGmhr#0
    65 photos of vicitmes of the massacre in Houla, Homs on May 25. 2012.
    – Recent images by @HamaEcho: http://twitter.com/HamaEcho/media/grid
    About 40 photos on Photobucket. These are photos attached to tweets and they keep changing: documenting destruction, cartoons, armed resistance, vicitmes and more.
    locations: changing

  • May 6, 2012
    photo sources; Homs, Hama, Idlib, Damascus and more
    Documenters of the protests, the signs and the destruction: part 2

    Huda.Sy: http://www.panoramio.com/user/6825385?with_photo_id=74500185
    570 photographs documenting protests and destructions (latest upload: July 23. 2012).
    locations: Homs, Hama, Douma, Damascus and Palmyra

    engahns546: http://www.panoramio.com/user/5868803
    652 photographs documenting protests, protest signs and destructions (latest upload: July 29. 2012).
    locations: Homs, Talbisah, Idlib, Kafr Laha, Maarat al-Numan and Rastan. photographs mainly documenting destructions (latest upload: June 28. 2012).

    zanzoun: location: http://www.panoramio.com/photo/74491691
    287 photographs mainly documenting destructions (latest upload: June 28. 2012).
    location: Homs, Old Homs, Hama and Douma (Damascus).

  • May 6, 2012
    photo sources; Homs, Hama, Idlib, Damascus and more
    Documenters of the protests, the signs and the destruction:

    Besides the videos coming out form the Syrian opposition there are also some who use photography to document the protests and the destruction caused by the regime. In this post I have compiled some of those sources:

    Please notice: the contents of the accounts linked-to in this post are sometimes changed by their owners, therefore - in some cases - my introductions will be outdated (latest check-up: July 30. 2012.).

    (Syrian Revolution Memory Project)
    16,149 photographs documenting the uprising all over the country and demonstrations abroad (latest upload: this account has until now uploaded daily).
    Photos are supplied to the account by Shaams News Network and @HamaEcho and are organized in 716 photo-sets labelled with location and date.

    I have not been able to review more than a fraction of the content of this account, but never the less; to offer some points of entrance I have linked to three sets here. Use the arrow tabs to shift photos. To navigate the entire account you can exit any of the sets or use the link in the top of this introduction:
    – Al-Balad, Dera’a, Syria, July 24, 2012: http://www.flickr.com/photos/chroniclesyrianuprising/sets/72157630753733584/detail
    – Jouret Al-Sheyah, Homs, Syria, July 24, 2012: http://www.flickr.com/photos/chroniclesyrianuprising/sets/72157630753633514/detail
    – Binnish, Idlib, Syria July, 23, 2012 : http://www.flickr.com/photos/chroniclesyrianuprising/sets/72157630736825300/detail

    location: Syria

    photo from مشروع ذاكرة ثورة السوريه (Syrian Revolution Memory Project) uploaded to this Flickr account on July 21. 2012.

    Syrian Revolution Memory Project also posts a number of daily photos to their tumblr account.

    FreedomHouse: http://www.flickr.com/photos/syriafreedom/show
    200 photographs documenting: protests, protest signs, cartoons, activist leaflets and destruction (latest upload: May 16. 2012).
    200 photographs on a second Flickr account, documenting: victimes of Houla massacre [graphic], protests, signs, armed resistance and UN observers (latest upload: May 26. 2012).
    photo uploaded to FreedomHouse2’s Flickr account May 20.

    locations: Homs, Houla, Idlib, Damascus, Zabadani, Daraa, Al-Hasakah and Amman (Jordan)

  • Taint of Baathist ideology has poisoned Syria for too long

    In 2003, on my way from Damascus to my hometown in eastern Syria, near the Iraq border, my driver offered to drop me off at a border point where Syrian fighters were taken to join the Iraqi insurgency. I couldn’t believe that Syria’s secular, Baathist regime was allowing fighters to cross the border to engage in the Iraqi “jihad” against the US-led invasion.

    My driver insisted this was the case, and thus the offer to show me the border crossing. He said there was a fleet of drivers who made a living by picking up young men in the Syrian city of Al Bukamal and taking them to the city of Al Qaim, which lies directly across the border with Iraq. It was unclear, my driver said, who handled these young aspiring fighters after that point.

    I remained sceptical until I reached home. There, I learnt that two of my distant relatives had already left for Iraq to join the insurgency.

    more: http://www.thenational.ae/thenationalconversation/comment/taint-of-baathist-ideology-has-poisoned-syria-for-too-long#full

  • Ma prochaine bataille sera un printemps arabe pour les femmes. Je ne supporte plus qu’on se sert du viol comme arme de guerre
    Un excellent article sur le viol des femmes en Syrie:

    For female victims of war, their own side fails to forgive:
    Her father killed her," ran the news in my village in eastern Syria. An underage girl had been shot by her father for having sex with a group of men. She had been lured into sex by one of the men, who later invited his friends to join.

    The father found out after the girl’s pregnancy started to show. During interrogation by her family, the girl named the men, one by one. Apparently, she was still unaware of the magnitude of her compromised situation; by all accounts, she was walking from one side of the house to the other, oblivious to any danger, when her father ran towards her and pulled the trigger.

    The household’s verdict had been carried out, but the higher social ruling had yet to come. After the family members “washed” the
    shame, they were asked to leave the area. Meanwhile, one of the assailants was handed over to the police to be tried - or, rather, to be protected - and the rest were acquitted by the court of public opinion.

    It is a story that took place a few years ago, but it underlines how a trend in Syrian society deals with female victims of sexual assault. It is still true today and will be in the foreseeable future despite the enlightened popular revolts across the Arab world.

    Read more: http://www.thenational.ae/thenationalconversation/comment/for-female-victims-of-war-their-own-side-fails-to-forgive

  • iyad_elbaghdadi
    This is the final final version of your tweet session. I believe it is complete.

    #Syria OK guys, I’m starting an important tweet session on #Syria and Islamist/Jihadist fears. I urge you to pay attention.

    This may be all over the place because I’m typing as I go, so please do have patience with me. #Syria

    As many of you know, I’ve been warning about #Syria becoming a Jihadist magnet for nearly a year now.

    For example, I tweeted this some six months ago: bit.ly/PkOI40 - and we may be witnessing it happening. #Syria

    What ticks me off is when everything is jumbled into the statement “There are Alqaeda in #Syria”.

    So I’m going to try to do what I can do demystify this maze of Islamism & Salafism & Jihadism & and how they relate to #Syria's revolution.

    I’ll have to start with “Islamism”, notoriously difficult to define. #Syria

    Islamism is a wide spectrum. The acid test for an Islamist is they believe Islam has something to say beyond the personal sphere. #Syria

    Non-Islamists (Seculars) are happy enough with Islam being restricted strictly to private life. #Syria

    That there is a wide umbrella. There are all sorts of people under that “Islamist” umbrella. But I’ll focus on what’s relevant for #Syria.

    What’s urgently relevant for #Syria concerns these titles: Salafi, Jihadi, Alqaeda, Takfiri. Yes, there’re not all one and the same.

    Why this is significant is because you have to know a group’s ideology to predict what it will or won’t do. #Syria

    Today in #Syria there are both Salafi & non-Salafi Islamists, and there are a few Jihadists. No Alqaeda link is proven and no Takfiris.

    A useful generalization is that Islamism is the superset, and Salafis, Jihadis, Alqaeda are successive subsets. #Syria

    Salafis are Islamists but not all Islamists are Salafis. #Syria

    Jihadis are Salafis but not all Salafis are Jihadis. #Syria

    Alqaeda are Jihadi Salafis but not all Jihadi Salafis are Alqaeda. #Syria

    So I guess I have to start with Salafism, another word that causes so much confusion. #Syria

    I have to distinguish between Salafism as a Sunni school of jurisprudence and as a specific socio-political group. #Syria

    As a Sunni school, Salafism is a legitimate “manhaj” (or method) associated mostly with Hanbali jurisprudence. #Syria

    As a socio-political group, Salafism refers to certain groups with known leaders, political positions, and spheres of influence. #Syria

    When we use “Salafi” today we mostly mean the socio-political group. Specific positions, leaders, a religious hierarchy. #Syria

    I think I’ll have to take a step back here and talk about what distinguishes Salafis from other Islamists wrt political vision. #Syria

    Islamists generally believe the Prophet established a unique form of government in Medina, an Islamic state. #Syria

    Islamists are deeply divided about how much of this “state” is mandated, and how much is open to human interpretation. #Syria

    Salafis generally tend towards looking upon the entire early Islamic political experience as religiously mandated. #Syria

    (This itself is contradictory since the early Islamic state did not have a religious police for example, but I digress.) #Syria

    Most Muslims (and many Islamists) believe that modern democratic instutions are compatible with Islam. #Syria

    Salafis however tend to reject democracy since it entails putting Islam to the vote rather than mandating or establishing it. #Syria

    So if you speak to an Islamist who rejects democracy he’s probably a Salafi. Not Alqaeda, just Salafi. #Syria

    #Eypt's recent experience tells us that even this is flexible. Salafis who for years badmouthed democracy eventually formed parties. #Syria

    Now lemme establish how this applies to #Syria specifically. We hear “Jihadi” a lot, it’s actually short for “Jihadi Salafism”.

    Salafism itself is deeply divided into mainstream (or government-approved, or Islahi) Salafism and Jihadi Salafism. #Syria

    Islahi Salafis wish to bring about their vision through reform ("Islah"), by propagation while coexisting with current regimes. #Syria

    Such Salafis have an unspoken win-win with rulers - they can preach, so long they teach people that revolt is a form of corruption. #Syria

    That’s how you understand the positions of certain Salafi leaders towards the Arab Spring, Mubarak, and SCAF. #Syria

    Diametrically opposite are Jihadi Salafis, who believe that their vision of an Islamic state can only be achieved through making war. #Syria

    Salafi Jihadis consider virtually all modern Muslim rulers to be infidels, and consider anyone who works for them to be an infidel. #Syria

    For Salafi Jihadis, anyone who willingly serves in Assad’s army, or works directly for him, is under suspicion of having apostatized. #Syria

    Salafis (all, not just Jihadi) are notorious for extreme enmity towards what they consider heretical Islamic sects, especially Shias. #Syria

    Anti-Shiism fits the agendas of some governments who pour more gas on the fire, allowing overt sectarianism in the name of Salafism. #Syria

    So, recapping - Some Muslims are Islamists, some Islamists are Salafi, and some Salafis are Jihadist. Now on to Alqaeda. #Syria

    Alqaeda is a Jihadi Salafi organization but it doesn’t have a monopoly there. Not every Jihadi Salafist is an Alqaeda. #Syria

    There just isn’t any evidence so far that any group in #Syria has organizational or operational links with Alqaeda.

    Many have unfortunately pinned the label “Alqaeda” on anyone raising the black-and-white Islamic flag. Kinda ticks me off. #Syria

    The black & white banner has been an Islamic symbol for centuries. Alqaeda uses it, but they don’t own its copyrights. #Syria

    The black flag does not equal Alqaeda. It means Islamists. How do you know?Check if they’re raising another flag next to it. #Syria

    Jihadi Salafis do not believe in the nation-state and deride the word “watan” (nation) as a “wathan” (idol). #Syria

    Therefore Jihadi Salafis will not raise any national flag. If they’re raising #Syria's national flag they’re not Jihadi Salafis.

    If they’re raising the black flag only, they may be Jihadi Salafis. (Saying they’re Alqaeda is a speculative jump from there.) #Syria

    If they’re raising the black flag next to #Syria's independence flag, they are Islamic-inspired Syrian fighters, but not Jihadi Salafis.

    So, recapping, there are Islamic-inspired fighters in #Syria. There are a few Jihadi Salafis. There may be Alqaeda but there’s no proof.

    Once again the reason this is important is that to predict what these groups will do or plan strategically you gotta know them. #Syria

    So after finishing with all of this I’m going to look back and see which part of this is scary and which is just overblown. #Syria

    Of cousre I’m not vindicating Alqaeda but you gotta know them to know what can and cannot be attributed to them. #Syria

    Now, if you interpret “Takfiri” more narrowly, then you can say that Salafi Jihadis do have an element of Takfir, and here’s how. #Syria

    Some Salafis (not all, mind you) consider Shias and heretic Muslim sects to be infidels; in this specific case they’d be “takfiris”. #Syria

    Note that this is a contentious issue even within Alqaeda. Zarqawi for example considered Shias infidels while Al-Zawahiri did not. #Syria

    Now I can go into more details and nuances but let’s zoom out and see why this information is so important for #Syria's revolution.

    The details I just narrated can help you predict the action of groups, and help you attribute certain actions to certain groups. #Syria

    Takfiris for example will kill just about everyone (Algeria’s massacres come to mind), but even Alqaeda aren’t that kinda Takfiris. #Syria

    That’s why when #Assad tried to pin the Houla massacre on Alqaeda I saw the BS there. #Syria

    It’s probably easy to just look at all Jihadis as criminals but they’re ideologically inspired so you gotta read them right. #Syria

    What Alqaeda (or Jihadi Salafis) would do is attack the regime with reckless abandon regardless of civilian casualties. #Syria

    (Once again there’s no proof that Alqaeda is in #Syria, just Jihadi Salafi groups, and their presence is tiny and recent.)

    Also, Jihadi Salafis may deliberate attack minorities, especially Alawites, with spectacular (suicide) attacks. #Syria

    Importantly, Jihadi Salafis would be opportunistic, leaning towards spectacular attacks to give them a bigger size than they have. #Syria

    Jihadi Salafis would also use statelessness to bring in recruits from all over the Arab/Muslim worlds. #Syria

    Now looking at past few tweets I wonder, if there are established Jihadis in #Syria why didn’t we see suicide attacks on Alawite villages?

    All of this leads me to believe that the Jihadi Salafi presence in #Syria is tiny and recent and not firmly established.

    Now let me look at the regular Islamic-inspired fighters who aren’t Jihadi Salafis but just devout Syrian Muslims. #Syria

    Those “regular” Islamic-inspired fighters will fight the regime along with the #FSA and won’t give trouble just as yet. #Syria

    I mean, such Islamic-inspired fighters may raise the black flag; some may badmouth democracy; but won’t go on a Shia killing spree. #Syria

    Anyway in light of all this, who should we be afraid of? Which groups would be truly nefarious and destructive to #Syria?

    Non-Salafi Islamist fighters may give a hard time afterwards (will resist a secular state) but won’t destroy #Syria's society. Not scary.

    Jihadi Salafis, especially non-Syrian, would be scary indeed and may have a deeply negative impact on #Syria's society.

    Jihadi Salafis are right now a tiny faction but they can still launch spectacular suicide attacks to show a bigger size. #Syria

    To sum up, the #FSA has Islamists, some may be Salafi, but #FSA is neither Alqaeda nor Jihadi Salafis. #Syria

    It’s Suhoor time here so I have to take a break, but I’ll be back to discuss what the #FSA should do & what foreign powers should do. #Syria


    I’m back for a little while to complete this tweet session coz I’ll probably get too busy to do later. #Syria

    I’ve talked about Islamists, Salafis, Jihadis, Alqaeda, Takfiris, and how all of that relates to #Syria & the #FSA.

    One thing I missed is that whole “#Syria Jihadis are being funded by KSA & Qatar” issue, which I find rather BS.

    As discussed earlier Salafi Jihadis believe that virtually all Muslim leaders are in fact infidels, KSA & Qatar included. #Syria

    Salafi Jihadis hate all Muslim rulers, but have a special place for the rulers of the KSA whom they consider to be the worst. #Syria

    In fact you can find impassioned diatribes against the KSA in the Salafi Jihadi library here: tawhed.ws (Arabic) #Syria

    Basically, “Alqaeda is funded by KSA/Qatar” is a stupid statement. The KSA is Alqaeda’s sworn enemy. #Syria

    For this reason I doubt Salafi Jihadis (especially Alqaeda) will ever want to have anything to do with the KSA or Qatar. #Syria

    If Salafi Jihadis ever accept KSA help it would be on the basis of an intersection of interests, waiting for to pounce on them too. #Syria

    Of course the KSA/Qatar know that nurturing Salafi Jihadis would be like keeping a scorpion for a pet. Eventually it’ll bite you. #Syria

    Essentially if KSA & Qatar are funding any rebel party, it would be the #FSA itself rather than the Jihadi Salafis or Alqaeda. #Syria

    And if Salafi Jihadis are getting any support from KSA (which I doubt) it would be from individual donors, not the state. #Syria

    Finally I want to close this where I started - my year-long warning that #Syria can become a Jihadist magnet...

    For #Syria to become a Jihadist magnet two things are required: attraction & opportunity.

    The attraction factor isn’t lacking with enough bloody footage to recruit any sufficiently passionate/gullible young Muslim. #Syria

    The opportunity however is recent - significant areas beyond regime control so Jihadist groups can slip in. #Syria

    In fact, with regime control shrinking, Jihadists can not just slip in but actually set up shop and start operating. #Syria

    To avoid this, both the #FSA and the world at large have responsibilities. The FSA must become more organized and centralized. #Syria

    To avoid this, both the #FSA and the world at large have responsibilities. The FSA must become more organized and centralized. #Syria

    The #FSA should also attempt some form of local governance in liberated areas, even if by the residents themselves. #Syria

    Finally the #FSA must make a clear stand against any opportunistic groups attempting to establish their own command in #Syria.

    If the #FSA is lousy & disorganized enough, such groups may be able to organize and operate in liberated #Syria.

    However if the #FSA organizes and centralizes, and a credible provisional government is formed, things won’t get that bad. #Syria

    As for the rest of the world, they must first realize the risks involved if #Syria devolves into a sectarian civil war.

    If #Syria devolves into civil war it will spread to Lebanon, Turkey, and Iraq; Jordan & Israel will suffer as well.

    If #Syria or part of it become a Jihadi Salafi safe haven, the risk won’t be contained to Syria or even the Middle East alone.

    I strongly believe that a major factor that made the world intervene in #Libya was to avoid it becoming a Jihadist magnet/safe haven. #Syria

    With the mix of regime Migs, Jihadis, FSA gains & chemical weapons, I think a #Libya-style intervention in #Syria can be back on the table.

    The worst outcome in #Syria would be a sectarian civil war. The best would be a totally peaceful, #Tahrir-style revolution.

    However, right from the start we said that in #Syria we’re not looking for the best option but for the least bad exit.

    Let’s not kid ourselves - #Syria under Assad will not have a Tahrir square. That ship as long sailed.

    The least we can do, then, is make sure the worst of the worst outcomes (sectarian civil war) is avoided. #Syria

  • SyriaUprising
    At least 165 martyrs have fallen today including many women and kids. The advance of the FSA in Aleppo has pushed Assad to move thousands of troops and tanks from Idlib and Hama to Aleppo where they are now preparing for a counterattack while aircraft continue to attack parts of the city and its countryside. Damascus also had a bloody day, when helicopters and tanks shelled densely populated areas in the south and west of the city – Yarmouk camp, Hajar Aswad and Daraya. There was a massacre of 22 defected soldiers near the Jordanian border, and we leave it to your imagination how bad the situation is in Idlib, Homs, Deir Ezzor, Hama… See the map for more info.


  • Christian priest bears witness to Syrian bloodbath

    A Jesuit priest thrown out of Syria for criticizing Bashar Assad’s brutal crackdown on pro-democracy forces is visiting North America and will be in Toronto Friday and Saturday. He’s bringing a message for fellow Christians and others: It’s un-Christian and immoral to be fretting only or mostly about the possible plight of the Christian minority in post-Assad Syria, while doing little to save the overwhelming majority of Syrians being massacred by the Assad regime.

    Rev. Paolo Dall’Oglio says the regime is “ethnic cleansing” those who oppose it, and is sowing sectarian divisions much the same way Slobodan Milosevic did in Bosnia in the 1990s.

    Father Paolo is no ordinary priest. He’s world renowned for having dedicated his life to restoring a 6th-century desert mountain monastery in Syria.

    He did so inspired by a Canadian expert on Byzantine and Islamic art.