What we saw in Syria
September 5th, 2012
10:46 AM ET

What we saw in Syria

By Ole Solvang, Special to CNN

Editor’s note: Ole Solvang is researcher with the Emergencies Division at Human Rights Watch. The views expressed are his own.  You can follow him on Twitter: @olesolvang

After a month investigating human rights violations in the northern Syrian province of Aleppo, we were hoping that the last day of our mission would be relatively quiet. It didn’t turn out that way.

We started the day at an emergency hospital in the opposition-controlled area of Aleppo city. As a nurse listed the names and ages of civilians who had been killed in artillery and aerial attacks in Aleppo city the last couple of days, we heard a strike. An artillery shell hit a house just 200 meters from the hospital, and within minutes, the wounded started pouring in. Someone brought in a little boy. There was nothing the doctors could do – half of his head was blown away.

We visited several sites of attacks around the city, speaking to witnesses and victims, examining the sites, looking at the remnants of ammunition, and taking photos. As we returned to the hospital in the afternoon, we suddenly saw people looking warily at the sky, and minutes later heard a fighter jet. We ran for cover just in time – a rocket slammed into a building two houses over from the hospital, collapsing the top floors. Five little kids, all covered in blood and dust, were brought into the hospital, while the neighbors were struggling to reach others under the ruins. Later, we learned that the attack killed two people and wounded 17, 10 of them children.

That day, aerial attacks continued outside Aleppo city. Just minutes before we returned to Marea, a town in northern Aleppo, a fighter jet dropped two bombs in the middle of the town, destroying several homes. Nobody was inside, but several children playing in the street were injured.

Opposition forces recently drove the Syrian military out of most of the northern Aleppo countryside and about half of Aleppo city. For the last month, the two sides have taken turns advancing and retreating, a couple of streets at a time, with neither party making much progress.

As part of their combat strategy, government forces have attacked areas away from the frontlines, using artillery, helicopters and fighter jets. We have documented that many of these attacks have killed and wounded dozens of civilians.

More from GPS: 'They burned my heart'

Parties to a conflict are, of course, not allowed to deliberately target or indiscriminately attack civilians. Sometimes, civilians might be killed in lawful attacks on military objectives. But that does not seem to have been the case with many of the recent attacks that we have documented in Aleppo.

During an investigation of artillery and aerial attacks like these, one of our top priorities is to look for potentially legitimate military objectives – opposition military bases, checkpoints, troop movements, weapons’ depots – which might have been the intended target. We examine the sites and interview witnesses and local residents who can tell us exactly what was going on before the attacks.

In some cases, we were able to identify potentially legitimate targets. In the town of Azaz, for example, an aerial attack that hit a residential area might have been intended to strike an old Baath party building that opposition military and civilian leaders were using. The building, however, was located 300 meters from where the bombs landed. If the Baath party building indeed had been the target, the fighter jet completely missed it, destroying instead dozens of civilian homes, killing at least 46 and injuring more than 100.

Other attacks, such as the fighter jet attack that struck a house close to the hospital on the last day of our mission, didn’t seem to be targeting any legitimate military objective. We walked past the house five minutes before it was hit. No opposition troops were there and there was nothing in the debris afterward to suggest military activity.

Most disconcertingly, however, we found evidence suggesting that some of the attacks targeted civilians. In the course of three weeks in August, government forces attacked at least 10 bakeries in Aleppo province, sometimes killing and injuring dozens of civilians who had lined up to buy bread. In one of the deadliest attacks, on August 21, on a bakery in the Bab al-Hadid area in Aleppo city, a helicopter had been circling overhead for hours. When a line formed in front of the bakery as it was about to open in the early evening, a helicopter dropped a bomb, which killed at least 20 people standing in line, witnesses told us. One of the witnesses we spoke to gave us a video that he filmed right after the attack, showing dozens of people lying on the ground, some with missing arms and legs. We could see no weapons. It seemed that everybody wore civilian clothes, as opposed to camouflage clothes and ammunition vests usually worn by fighters, supporting witness accounts that all the victims were civilians. Reckless indiscriminate attacks and deliberate attacks on civilians are war crimes.

Thousands of people in Aleppo have fled their neighborhoods, or even the country, fearing these attacks. But many are still there. While some neighborhoods and towns are almost completely deserted, others are bustling with life.

Local activist groups say that August has been the deadliest month since the beginning of the uprising, with more than 4,000 civilians killed. Increased use of artillery and aerial attacks, some of which have been recklessly indiscriminate or deliberately targeted against civilians, have contributed to the high death toll. The international community should send a clear message to the Syrian government that such war crimes will not be tolerated.

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Topics: Syria

soundoff (190 Responses)
  1. svpyadav

    Respected Mr. Ole Solvang Garu,
    Northern Syria province of Aleppo City struggled by out siders. For dependable purpose , Democratic Govt. of Syria using artillery, Helicpter arieal attacks.These problems all are came from U.S Govt. When U.S stopped this type of malpractices, then automatically all problems will solve by enthusiasm, because , U.S support to Rebels and they provided money and weapons to Rebels.

    September 5, 2012 at 12:09 pm |
    • Marine5484

      That is correct dingbat, the US is bombing Aleppo and not the Syrian gov.
      What are you talking about?

      September 5, 2012 at 12:35 pm |
      • Mayank

        Dude, get back to your senses, try looking at the broader picture.

        This all is actually happening due to US support to rebels forces. In all Anti-West countries US is trying to replace govt with "Puppet Govt" which are pro US. There is 0% of sympathy in West for common Syrian civilian, all they are looking for is economic gain, there is no Human Rights perspective involved in it.

        Look at Libya. What happened there? There were severe violations of UN RtoP done by NATO forces. Now look at the conditions over there. There is a Pro West Govt which is giving all Oil Contracts to all US companies.!!!

        September 6, 2012 at 12:33 am |
      • chad

        No, it is not happening due to supporting the rebels.
        Its because Assad killed, imprisoned, and tortured protesters igniting a rebellion of the opressed 18 months ago.

        Support for rebels happened after Assad continued to murder his own people.
        Assad is a coward, a skinny, effeminate coward without a chin. Without bodyguards/shabiha/military, a woman could probably kick his ass.

        September 6, 2012 at 1:10 am |
      • Justine Smith

        Assad has no balls whatsoever. He's a total loser of a leader- hence a dictator.

        September 6, 2012 at 9:52 am |
      • Justine Smith

        Ever seen a 'lion' without balls? He he, wishful thinking buddy. I hope eventually he will come to grips with his atrocities and gouge his own eyes using surgical protocol.

        September 6, 2012 at 9:54 am |
    • Thor

      Ah, the old "they MADE me massacre them." excuse. That one never gets old in the middle east

      September 5, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
    • Mop

      Democratic Govt. of Syria ?

      Syria has been run since 1970 by a military dictatorship
      who took control in a coup.

      Saddam Hussein once boasted that he won re-election by 99% of the vote.
      He was the only one on the ballot.

      September 5, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
    • sawtooth354

      I just love it when Muslims, kill Muslims

      September 5, 2012 at 7:01 pm |
      • krm1007©™

        yeah right, and then you switch monikers and start screaming islamaphobia.
        You're a schmuck.

        September 5, 2012 at 8:39 pm |
      • bluesquid

        You just like the killing no mind… Sad when a human likes the smell of blood, why is that Sawtooth? Why do you hate people you never met or places you have never been too? I think ignorance, racism, prejudice and hatred for no cause exists within you. Don’t take it personal.

        September 6, 2012 at 3:44 am |
      • Joseph McCarthy

        I read somewhere that when islamic pups are born, they are fed blood from innocents so they learn to love it.

        September 6, 2012 at 9:11 am |
      • Justine Smith

        I bet you love seeing Americans killing Americans too. What's your freakin' point?

        September 6, 2012 at 9:55 am |
    • sean

      thats right svpyadav! the USA bought Russian made AK47's and Chineese APM on the open market and gave them to the rebels! you hit the bull on the nose! why is it everytime shiet hits the fan its the fault of the west? give it up allready!

      September 5, 2012 at 11:47 pm |
    • parabolid71

      Unfortunately these stories are another political tool, and they are used to gain popularity at home (USA) for war that most of the USA population does not want. Our undercover units are already there and involved in war, so civilian suffering is not of intrest to the people making decisions. They do not care. Some might even be enjoying it, while they are making money.
      What we think it does not matter. Who will ever ask us. BIg business and geopolitical startegists are pulling all the strings over there and they do not care or want to know about littel people suffering. Syria is just a prelude to what the next target is going to be.

      September 6, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
    • Nadia

      U r one lost soul and completely brainwashed by the syrian government. The regime HAS BEEN KILLING FOR 40 YEARS to stay in power. What is happening in syria is not cause of US or the martians invading syria but i caused by Assad and his regime thugs who would kill anything and everything to stay in power.

      September 6, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
  2. chris

    marine5484, it makes no difference what lies you tell or what ths propoganda printing reporter from CNN tells because it has already been confirmed that the rebels are foreign jihadist! what ios assad supposed to do? turn his country over to a bunch of al-qaeda backed terrorist who want to implement sharia law?

    what would the white bigots here in america do if a bunch of terrorist invaded america as is happening in syria? you bigots would wipe out the entire muslim race for the acts of the people who illegally invaded america thats what you would do. the only dingbat here is you! you are worse than a dingbat! you a habitual liar also.

    americans will tell any lie that they can think of to get the results that they want! america's lies in libya are biting us in the but every day! but the american media refuses to print any truth that shows those al-qaeda terrorist in a bad light. and last but not least,makes no difference what lies you,or that sociopath hillary clinton tells on syria because the russians have already warned us that if we attack assad,the russians will defend assad!

    now you lying piece of filth that you are,you tell me,is it worth going to war with nuclear armed russia and china simply to try to implement regime change ILLEGALLY in syria just to prop up a phony democracy as we have done in libya? all while knowing that the rebels are foreign jihadist who are not even from syria? what coast do you live on?

    September 5, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
    • Quigley

      Chris, why do you use a Christian name when you are obviously a muslim?
      Since muslims lie so much, how are we to believe anything you say?
      When you say "terrorists" have invaded the country, are you talking about the current Syrian government or the so-called rebels?
      Who is killing the Syrian populace, in your opinion?
      You seem angry, have you had your Wheaties today?

      September 5, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
      • chris

        quigley...please forgive me for sounding so angry. but it does anger me to see americans tell one lie after another on syria attempting to show concern for the syrian people. if our govt truely cared about the syrian people,those liars in DC. would STOP illegally arming the foreign jihadist who are illegally invading that country under the disguise of syrian rebels wanting democracy and freedoms.

        the leaders in africa who were duped by that fraud OBAMA in libya now know that he is a liar and an imperialist just as any other white president that came before him. those so called rebels in libya are al-qaeda terrorist! and FOREIGN MEDIA sites have given eye witness accounts and INTERVIEWS from the so called syrian rebels,the only problem is that they are NOT from syria.

        the foreign invaders fighting to overthrow assad comes from terrorist havens like YEMEN,and LIBYA,and PAKISTAN and IRAQ and even our new allies in AFGHANISTAN! I am as american as they come,but it sickens me to see our govt supporting the killings that is going on in syria all while lying to us and the world that they are supporting democracy seeking rebels!

        here is one fact that the liar OBAMA cant deny,the russians will blow us up if we attack syria! who will you blame for that? what lies will you or our govt tell then? we will get what we deserve!

        September 5, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
      • Dayna

        Quigley, What do you know know about Muslims to say they lie so much? Why are you so angry??
        If you are going to judge, you shall be judged. I'm a christian that appreciates all people of all religions, ethnicities and cultures. My only hope is that we can have civil societies around the world where people don't suffer the inhumanities that we see here.

        September 5, 2012 at 7:32 pm |
      • Willie 12345

        Muslims lie because Mohammed the pedophile told them that allah said it was OK!
        Bukhari:V7B67N427 "The Prophet said, 'If I take an oath and later find something else better than that, then I do what is better and expiate my oath.'"
        Qur'an 9:3 "Allah and His Messenger dissolve obligations."
        Qur'an 66:2 "Allah has already sanctioned for you the dissolution of your vows."
        Qur'an 4:142 "Surely the hypocrites strive to deceive Allah. He shall retaliate by deceiving them."

        September 5, 2012 at 7:38 pm |
      • Willie 12345

        Chris or Abdul, whatever your name is, I appreciate you care about your people and that is commendable. However, this is a muslim thing and I see no reason for any civilized country to help.

        September 5, 2012 at 7:39 pm |
      • bluesquid

        Is everyone that disagrees with you a muslim? I bet your family is all muslim then.

        September 6, 2012 at 3:46 am |
      • Joseph McCarthy

        Who is causing problems all over the world?----–> MUSLIMS

        September 6, 2012 at 9:13 am |
      • Justine Smith

        Willie: far from being 'a muslim thing'. 'This' ought to concern you as a human being.

        September 6, 2012 at 9:56 am |
      • Joseph McCarthy

        The minute muslims show themselves to be human, I will consider your statement.

        September 6, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
      • Say You Say Me

        This goddess was married to five brothers. Which one would become the legitimate father of his child should she have one? Dr Charles (renowned author and an authority on India) says that instances of incest are common in Hindu scriptures.

        September 6, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
    • Richard Stroker

      Syrian Electronic Army propaganda.

      You are such a tool and so is your dirty dog Assad.

      He will be hung from a lamppost in the center of Damascus.

      September 5, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
      • chris

        really? and let me guess,YOU are going to lead the assault on damascus? correct?

        September 5, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
      • Joseph McCarthy

        Chris or Abdul, whatever your real name, are you going to be there to defend your owner Assad?

        September 6, 2012 at 9:51 am |
      • Nadia

        you say the truth and hopefully that will happen

        September 6, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
    • chad

      Assad started the war. He killed civilians protesting over a year ago, sparking rebellion. Assad is 100% to blame for what has happened.
      He now has 2 choices, live a life in exile, or die in Syria. It is impossible for him to stay in power in the Future Syria.

      You are obviously either a Syrian or Iranian propoagandist paid by Assad to spread lies that no one believes. There are many of you, and you are extremely obvious. No rational human being that has love in their heart could post what you have with good conscience. Your hands are as bloody as the soldiers killing the civilians. Your name is not Chris either.

      September 5, 2012 at 6:04 pm |
    • Mop

      Nut case,

      September 5, 2012 at 6:15 pm |
    • Christophe

      Spot on, Chris. The 'Syrian War' is nothing but a US sponsored invasion. Imagine the leaders of any other country getting away with an attack on a sovereign state, providing those invading terrorists with weapons and equipment, shooting anybody in a uniform or whoever looks like a Syrian public servant? True justice will only be served when Hilary and Obama are in the dock for war crimes, but I don't know if we'll see that day. At least....not in this life.

      September 5, 2012 at 7:50 pm |
      • chad

        The only "sponsored" attacks are the ones where Assad pays the Shabiha and Military to slaughter innocent women and children.

        Assad started the war by killing civilian protesters, no Western influence necessary after that. The people did not want him, that scares the coward Assad, so he resorted to violence.

        Civilized governments and leaders do not kill their civilians. Assad does though because he is not civilized, he is a murderous barbarian. He is an unelected, tyrannical dictator.

        In the free world, civilians choose their leaders, and dont fear them. Assad chooses fear/horror, so that he does not need his civilians.

        September 5, 2012 at 8:04 pm |
      • chadBUSTER

        sad chad is full of it. Pretty sure he is part of the mindless digital ARMY created by carefully shaped propaganda, evident in this article... a zombie, sad chad

        September 6, 2012 at 4:28 am |
      • Joseph McCarthy

        sad chadBUSTER
        You have nothing better to do than support your owner Assad. Stay in the basement.

        September 6, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
      • Nadia

        Assad is an Ass just like his name. And if america would have attacked syria by now the war would have been over. What is happening in syria is a genuine revolution cause 80 % of the country is against this man but afraid of him.

        September 6, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
    • Adam

      You need to check your facts before you post online. First, only %5 of the rebels are foreigners, or what you call "Jihadists" and that only happened because the world was mostly silent to what has happened in Syria!
      Remember, Bashar is a dictator who wasn't elected LEGALLY to the presidency, he inherited it from his father Hafez Al Asad who was a dictator too.
      I also want to remind everyone here, that the Syrian government has an agency called, "The Syrian Electronic Army" which recruits people to post Pro-Syrian propaganda online.

      September 6, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
    • Say You Say Me

      In many Hindu temples there are sculptures depicting men having s@x not only with men but also cows. What is the meaning of this? Is not the cow sacred? If it is, then it should be worshipped not s@xually assaulted!

      September 6, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
    • Spikeman

      Let me put it to you in simple terms that you may understand Chris, you are a complete idiot!

      September 6, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
    • Adam

      lol!! Russia and China will not protect you, your not important enough to start a war over (giving up billions in trade with each other and launching nukes over Syria Baaahahah!!!) What they will do is play both sides of the fence for economic reasons, you can be sure when this all ends, and the chinless wonder is dead. China and Russia will be some of the first ones to recognize and Ingratiate themselves with the new government.

      September 6, 2012 at 10:17 pm |
  3. 100 % ETHIO

    This is ridiculous. Something...must be done to stop the fighting. This is the Syrian government responsibility, to look after each Syrian Citizens. But, he failed. Why don't he leave his post and let the people choose the next Government who could care for them, under International observance.

    For the future, the West and other Weapon manufacturers must stop shipping-out Weapons to Middle-East and Africa. The Weapons are killing people. Stop sending it. Don't you have other positive things to send???

    Currently, the U.S Armies are exercising joint Military derails with Egypt. What is this??? Every time when U.S causes war with other Countries, 99% of U.S. Citizens are suffered at home, with massive lay-offs, foreclosure, ethnic or community backlashes and more gun crimes. All these happens during wars.

    What is the current U.S. motive on joint Military exercises with Egypt? To attack who??
    I think, all the past and present, unpopular Militarily use, without the support of 99% of American Citizens, might have sever consequences to U.S. itself by U.S. Armies and Citizens.

    The U.S. Armies, must not be used to satisfied 1% and to punished 99% of U.S Citizens. Think about it.

    September 5, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
  4. bccream

    I do not know who is right and who is wrong. World leaders must work hard to bring both parties to the negotiation table, military intervention would be evil, throwing fuel in the fire in a hope to cease it. Violence must be stopped NOW.

    September 5, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
  5. tom

    What American with half-a-brain would want to put his life on the line for syria?

    September 5, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
    • Justine Smith

      You must be one of them if you don't understand that Syria concerns you as a human being.

      September 6, 2012 at 9:39 am |
      • Joseph McCarthy

        Justine – What do you get out of attacking like a pit-bull?

        September 6, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
  6. Fawaz

    So, swearing and spewing profanity will make your arguments more valid? We, Syrians, recognize right away members of the Syrian secret service from their style, which is always but a pile of garbage. So, according to your reasoning, Al-Qaeda is causing the uprising in Syria and the US is helping them! These are exactly the type of lies the murderous Syrian regime repeats everyday, but even them do not believe their nonsense. Al-Qaeda, who is on the run in far recesses in Yemen and Afghanistan because of the relentless attacks of the US, are instigating an uprising of a whole country of 23 million people? What about the long history of oppression, torture, massacres and terrorism of the Assad regime that destabilized the whole region for decades? What about the yearning for freedom and justice of the Syrian people? Could that not be the cause of the uprising, not the Islamists? According to the regimes propaganda, that you obviously trust, all the world is lying and plotting against the marvelous president of Syria, including the US, Europe, the UN, NATO and, yes, CNN and all free press in the world. And who are the good guys who stand with your regime? Iran, Russia, China, Venezuela and...Hizbullah. Does not this fact alone tell the whole story?

    September 5, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
    • chris

      fawaz or fred,I dont believe for one NEW YORK second that you are syrian! what part of FOREIGN MEDIA SITES have already identified the rebels as foreign jihadist do you not understand? lying doesnt make you smart! CNN has printed one lie after the next on libya and syria,but even they were forced to print the truth just over a month ago and even identified the rebels as foreign jihadist!

      america's media sites are nothing but propoganda sites for the american govt! why dont you use your own brain and find out for yourself what I am telling you? the worst part of your post is that you knew you were typing lies when you posted it.

      let me give you a little bit of advice. go to russia and shout your lies out there and see what will happen to you? if you believe in the rebels from syria so much,why dont you go and lead the assault against assad yourself? makes no difference what lies you post because the russians will defend syria!

      now after all of the lies that you have wasted time from your life and mine by posting,are you ready to fight a war against nuclear armed russia all based on your lies? your lies are just that, your lies!

      September 5, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
      • ed

        you never explained Assads torture centers and mass killings chris. you just started talking about war with russia. nice try.

        September 5, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
      • chad

        There are MANY more confirmed Iranian Guard forces in Syria than any jihadists.
        Iran is the biggest offender of foreign involvement in the Syrian civil war. Fact. Their time will come too, not soon enough though.

        September 5, 2012 at 6:07 pm |
      • Adam

        Fawaz, well said, you hit the nail on the head! Chris is nothing but a paid secret service who works for the Syrian Electronic Army, spreading propaganda.

        September 6, 2012 at 7:27 pm |
  7. Fawaz

    I agree with you that it is not easy to risk ones own life for strangers. But, then, there is something called humanity and civility. Besides, may it is useful to remember that not one American life was lost in helping Libyans to gain their freedom. We only need the same help: protection from the government's air raids which claims hundreds of civilian lives everyday and turns our towns to a wasteland. But this costs money and, unlike Libya, we do not have oil. So, the correct wording of your question should be: "What American with half a brain would want to put his dollar on the line to save thousands of Syrian lives?"

    September 5, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
    • believeinpeace

      let me just say that my heart is with you and your community. I feel such an incredible amount of guilt that I can sit at home and be at peace in my country (Canada) while your entire nation is suffering and basically just trying to survive. I wish there was something that I could do to help your nation. But all I can do is pray that the suffering will end soon and Syrians will finally be able to have a happy life.
      I just wanted to offer you these words of compassion in such a difficult time.

      September 5, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
      • Fawaz

        Thank you believeinpeace. Do not underestimate the value of your words of empathy and care–they go a long way.

        September 5, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
    • chris

      dude,all you do is post one lie after another! there is no FREEDOM in libya! why dont you just use your brain and google "Ibrahim Bin Qumu" and see who the libyan rebels are? your just an habitual liar!

      Ibrahim bin Qumu

      Abdel Hakim Al- hisadi

      Abdel hakim El berage

      those are the new leaders in libya,google them then post more of your lies if you dare?

      September 5, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
      • Fawaz

        All those you mentioned have lost the last elections (the first free elections in fifty years in Libya) and the Secular Coalition won. Again, google it.

        September 5, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
      • chris

        THE ELECTION WAS A SHAM!! guess you dont know that your beloved rebels in libya BOMBED THE US EMBASSY IN BENGHAZI just over two months ago? guess you also do not know that yoru beloved rebels in BENGHAZI attempted to ASSASINATE THE BRITISH AMBASSADOR TO LIBYA by firing an RPG at his car?

        the only thing that saved his hide was the armor plated car he was driving in! guess you also dont know (no way you can defend this) that the libyan rebels also KIDNAPPED four lawyers from the ICC who were in the country to interview gadaffi's son?

        they then claimed that they were (and I am not making this up) UNDER ARREST for passing secret information to gadaffi!!
        ooh and by the way,who is the new leader of this so called new democracy in libya after the sham of an election you are trumpeting?

        September 5, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
      • Fearless Freep

        Hey Chris,
        Why dont you pick up a rifle and put it behind that lying mouth of yours,
        Go fight if it means that much to you, but your lies
        about America starting this and funding it are BS.

        September 5, 2012 at 6:20 pm |
    • Karim

      Fewaz!??? Humanity !!!are you talking about Humanity!? and USA and Isreil are helping Humanity!? In Ghaza did those
      13,435 peoples killed by Isreil air strike most of them women and children !? did CNN showed any pictures of Women and Childrens in blood as in Syria CNN show hundrerd times Humanity !? common you are brained washed at least these days social media can have effect don,t just listen to CNN or BBC or ABC NBC CBS ......these are tools in west

      September 5, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
      • chris

        Karim,fawaz is actually FRED from HOBOKEN!! he is a bigger liar than CNN's own fareed zakaria! and fareed just came off a suspension for PLAGERISM!! should have fired that liar and propoganda spin doctor for the obama admn!

        September 5, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
      • Fawaz

        What is left? The Syrian Agency News?

        September 5, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
      • Fearless Freep

        Dont shoot at Israel and Israel wont shoot back.
        Guess you MORONS dont understand that, do you ?

        September 5, 2012 at 6:21 pm |
      • Joseph McCarthy

        Karim , blatant lies will not help your cause.

        September 6, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
  8. Alecia

    i have family from Syria -Aleppo specifically who refuse to believe what is going on (they relocated to the US last year). They speak with their relatives who are still in Aleppo and hear the bombs being dropped, but are still in MAJOR denial. They think if they admit what is going on, it becomes a slight on their country and they feel they need to save face (so to speak). I do find it interesting they are happy to blame Americans for just about everything, but happy to move here and be taken care of. I have been to Syria several times and it is a BEAUTIFUL country with WONDERFUL people. I feel so sorry for all of the innocent people caught in the middle.
    Chris sounds like one of my relatives – in denial on what is going on. All of my family who left Syria years ago knows plain well the news they receive over there is pro Assad only. To deny what is going on and say it is foreign jihadists trying to overthrow Assad only adds to the stereotype that Arabs are ignorant.
    You can of course believe whatever you want Chris- but the rest of can certainly comment on your stupidity.

    September 5, 2012 at 3:01 pm |
    • chris


      Syria: foreign jihadists could join battle for AleppoJihadists, many with al-Qaida sympathies, are said to be planning to join a decisive battle against regime troops

      Scores of foreign jihadists have crossed into Syria from Turkey in the past two weeks, some of them telling Syrians that they are planning to travel to Aleppo to join a decisive battle against regime troops.

      Syrian residents and a Turkish smuggler interviewed by the Guardian say many of the men have come from the Caucasus, while others had arrived from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Gulf Arab states.

      According to locals who have dealt with them, the new arrivals embrace a global jihadist worldview that sets them apart from most leaders in the armed Syrian opposition and is stirring deep discontent among the rebel leadership.

      Rebel leaders inside Syria say about 15-20 foreign fighters have been crossing each day since mid-July, trying to join up with an estimated 200-300 foreigners in Syria.

      "There have been Tunisians, men from Uzbekistan too and from Pakistan," said the smuggler. "They say the Syrians are brothers and that they are going to help them."

      September 5, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
      • chris

        PART TWO..........

        Some of the new arrivals have told local people they will also try to connect with a small number of homegrown Syrian groups in the country who at least partly share their ideology and who fought against US forces in Iraq.

        The Syrians' journeys to Iraq during the height of the Sunni insurgency from 2004-07 had proved instructive in the violence in Iraq's Anbar province, which borders eastern Syria. And their border crossings had been facilitated by the Syrian regime's security apparatus, which had also acted as a conduit for arriving foreign fighters.

        A former adviser to senior ministers within the Iraqi administration said: "There were two aspects to the Syrian efforts in Iraq. First there was their obvious support for the old Iraqi Baathists and then there was the evidence of people coming across and being caught. The intelligence showed strongly that they could not have done so without the help of the Syrian regime."

        One Syrian veteran of the Iraq war said: "The brothers who came to join us (in Iraq), particularly from the Maghreb, all flew into Damascus airport and were directed to the border by the intelligence services.

        "They crossed the borders the same way that we did. The intelligence officers were responsible for the crossings."

        September 5, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
      • chris

        PART THREE......

        Almost 18 months into the Syrian uprising, the spectre of the Syrian veterans of the Iraq war has loomed large in a series of clashes in the north of the country, particularly in the past two weeks as both sides have been braced for the showdown in Aleppo.

        Rebel leaders fear the recent arrivals also adds an unwanted dimension to the Syrian uprising, which was inspired by the popular revolts that ousted entrenched old orders elsewhere in the Arab world but has since evolved into violent insurrection.

        Ever since the first signs of revolt in the southern Syrian city of Deraa, regime officials have cast the instability as a plot by such jihadist groups, backed by western and gulf states.

        Now, as the once impregnable fortress of state power in Syria starts to erode, the prophecy is partly being fulfilled – to the annoyance of many rebel leaders who say that they will fight the new arrivals if they try to impose themselves.

        "The regime said [the uprising] was always about Islamists," said Abu Manaf, a rebel major from Idlib. "It wasn't then and it isn't now. This was a street uprising, just as it was elsewhere."

        September 5, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
      • chris

        PART FOUR........

        Free Syria Army officials in southern Turkey say there are at least four groups not aligned to them who are fighting regime forces, a Libyan guerilla brigade among them, although the actual number is likely to be higher.

        The groups have been especially active in detonating roadside bombs against regime targets – skills they had learned in Iraq. Prominent are groups such as Jibhat al-Nusra and Ahrar al-Sham, who have acknowledged that they adhere to aspects of the al-Qa'ida worldview.

        "They are with us, but for the wrong reasons," said one officer of the Free Syria Army. "They see this war as something bigger than Syria. They are 'takfir

        September 5, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
    • VoiceOf Truth

      "To deny what is going on and say it is foreign jihadists trying to overthrow Assad only adds to the stereotype that Arabs are ignorant."

      Just to add to the thread, there is precedent for this pattern of foreign operative invasion in targeted countries, not just in the Middle East, but elsewhere. In the years leading up to the Russian Revolution, there were foreign operatives pouring into Russia to set the stage for overthrowing the Czars. The average citizen was not privy to the motives for such an undertaking. They merely observed what the masterminds behind the invasion wanted them to observe. Fast forward 100 years, and the same thing is happening in Syria. Assad has been targeted for removal just like the other "enemy" leaders in the region during the Arab Spring Uprising that started in Tunisia. America's foreign policy is based on an upgraded version of Manifest Destiny

      September 5, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
      • Quigley

        Just because it happened somewhere else in the world, it does not mean that it is happening in Syria today.
        There is no precedent!

        September 6, 2012 at 9:16 am |
    • gamersliverfang

      Yeah i doubt that you have a family in Sryia i have seen your type before on the internet before.

      September 5, 2012 at 7:39 pm |
  9. James Davidson

    I hate to watch the news on Syria each day but I watch it anyway. Like most of us, I don't know the answer. It's clear diplomacy is dead. What's more is that the U.N. is useless. If the structure of the U.N. determines that nothing can be done in such a deplorable situation, let's scrap it. China and Russia will always oppose whatever interests Europe and the U.S. might have. What is happening in Syria is evil; what we are not doing is also evil.

    September 5, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
    • KillerO'Bama

      So why do you want the UN to become involved in a muslim thing?
      Maybe so you can vilify the UN instead of your muslim brethren?

      September 5, 2012 at 7:52 pm |
  10. Tahir

    USA is the real evil. It has triggered the war in Syria.Syrian terrorists cannot fight a single day without US help.Who is giving them weapon and money to fight (The innocent states of America).

    September 5, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
    • chris

      well said tahir!

      September 5, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
    • Fearless Freep

      Careful Tahir,
      The great satan will bite you.

      September 5, 2012 at 6:37 pm |
  11. doubledees

    Those poor people, living in constant fear like that. The deaths and destruction is mind blowing.

    September 5, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
  12. Alecia

    Tahir -think about what you are saying. It makes NO sense. Stop blaming the US for everything. People in Syria want to be free and do not want Assad to rule anymore. Espcially since his family is the minority and gives power only to their own. People are sick of the oppression. THEY DESERVE THE HELP THEY GET. go back to Assad's army and kill your countrymen, women and children. since you see nothing wrong with what the government is doing. You and people like you are the evil ones.

    September 5, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
  13. nebelbal

    Ha Ha didn't you know the US supports terrorist regimes? Few days ago UN Amb. Susan Rice glorified the Ethiopian Genocidal Maniac,on his funeral. Maybe this is the new "it" thing helping terrorists. Obama campaign should be proud.
    Voter Ethiopian-Americans are furious about this and are demanding she take it back. If Obama's "big vision" is sending out envoys around the world praising and cheerleading dictators,mass murderers and genocidal maniacs ,where is her next stop Iran?

    September 5, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
  14. Alecia

    chris- While there are certainly others coming into the country to fight -the vast MAJORITY are from Syria. The uprising started in villages there- there were not foreign fighters coming in and starting the entire thing. This is a major difference. If 10% are foreign fighters (which is probably high)–90% or the VAST MAJORITY are not foreigners. They are ordinary Syrians trying to make a change. Not to mention the many Syrian citizens around the world lending money and support to getting rid of Assad. They know the truth.

    September 5, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
    • chris

      what you say is another lie! guess you dont know that the former syrian army leaders who defected early in the revolt NOW WANT TO GO BACK TO SYRIA AND FIGHT FOR ASSAD!! they now know that the sunni's from SAUDI ARABIA are funding this revolt with AMERICA! will copy and paste that for you also if you like?

      and even if you are telling the truth (which you are not) assad has every right to use what ever weapons that he has to crush the foreign invaders in his country.........correct?

      September 5, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
      • Adam

        Syrian Electronic Army propaganda!!!

        September 6, 2012 at 8:37 pm |
    • chris

      A former colonel in the army said he would not have defected to join the rebels had he known he would end up in a refugee camp. “We thought the regime would collapse in two months,” said the colonel, who gave his name as Mohamed Sultan.

      “The Syrians are getting killed in a war between Saudi Arabia and Iran,” he said, referring to regional supporters of the two sides.

      September 5, 2012 at 5:10 pm |
      • Fearless Freep

        A former colonel in the army said he would not have defected

        and he gave his name ?
        Nut case.

        September 5, 2012 at 6:41 pm |
      • Adam

        Syrian Electronic Army propaganda!! This is what you would hear all day on the Syrian government sponsored TV channel, Al Dunya.

        September 6, 2012 at 8:39 pm |
  15. j. von hettlingen

    In a NYT article Iran is alleged to be using the Iraqi airspace for logistic and military transport to Syria. Joe Biden had tried to persuade Iraq's prime minister Nuri al-Maliki to secure the country's air bases.

    September 5, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
    • chris

      Syria conflict: Photographers' UK jihadist claim considered

      Reports that Britons were among Islamist militants who kidnapped and wounded two photographers in Syria are being taken "very seriously" by ministers, the Foreign Office has said.

      The claims were made by photographers John Cantlie and Jeroen Oerlemans, who were held at a camp for a week in July.

      The Foreign Office said it was closely "monitoring the situation".

      The Free Syrian Army group, which is part of the opposition trying to oust Bashar al-Assad, helped them to escape.

      September 5, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
      • chris

        The FSA is said to be scrutinising jihadists in Syria very closely.

        They are considered to be "a real threat after the Assad regime falls", a senior FSA officer told the BBC.

        Mr Cantlie told BBC Radio 4's Broadcasting House programme he and his colleague were regularly threatened with death.

        "When you're held captive, you're blindfolded and you have a guy sticking a gun at your head, it's very real," he said.

        "It was inferred that we would meet our God. We had sowed the seeds of our own destruction. We would be shot or beheaded.

        "At one point they even started sharpening knives for a beheading. It was pretty frightening."

        September 5, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
      • chris

        The photographer said he entered Syria across the border with Turkey, using the same route and guide that he had earlier in the year.

        But on this occasion he and his companions were detained after passing through a camp inhabited by Islamic jihadists who, he said, were not from Syria.

        "They were from anywhere but Syria," he told the BBC.

        "They were from Pakistan, Bangladesh, the UK and Chechnya. A real mix."

        He said there were "between 10 and 15 young jihadists from the UK" who he described as being "a mixed bunch".

        Some seemed "shocked at what had happened" and may have left the camp, arguing that it was not what they had come for.

        September 5, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
      • chris

        The photojournalist said: "I think these are disenchanted young men from the UK who are now unified under this jihadist banner. I think they took out their angst on us."

        Mr Oerlemans has already told Dutch media that some of the captors were British.

        A Foreign Office spokesman said the government "takes very seriously any claims or reports that indicate there are British nationals amongst foreign fighters in Syria".

        He said: "We are monitoring the situation as closely as possible. Clearly, the deteriorating security situation in Syria leaves a dangerous space for foreign fighters.

        "The solution lies in securing robust international action to resolve the crisis."

        September 5, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
      • chris

        Mr Cantlie and his Dutch colleague escaped when four members of the FSA intervened and gave the photographers an opportunity to flee the camp.

        The pair ran amidst a hail of bullets which he likened to "a shooting gallery". Both were shot.

        Mr Cantlie was shot in the arm and a bullet passed through Mr Oerlemans's thigh.

        September 5, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
      • chris

        Oerlemans, a famous Dutch photo journalist, and John Cantlie, another photographer from the UK, were captured by a group of between 30 and 100 anti-Assad fighters when crossing the Syrian border from Turkey last week. They were then blindfolded.
        "One of the black jihadists freaked out and shouted: 'These are journalists and now they will see we are preparing an international jihad in this place.'" Oerlemans told NRC Handelsblatt newspaper. He said that none of the fighters was Syrian.

        September 5, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
      • Fearless Freep

        You must be lying Chris.
        Al Assad says there are NO foreign journalists allowed in his country.
        If you arent lying, than he is.

        September 5, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
      • Justine Smith

        This guy's is from Assad's Office of Mass Indoctrination and Suppression. Check them on FB too.

        September 6, 2012 at 9:49 am |
      • Adam

        Syrian Electronic Army propaganda!

        September 6, 2012 at 8:41 pm |
    • j. von hettlingen

      Iraqi militia fighters, once trained by Iran to fight Saddam Hussein could be on their way to Syria to help Assad out. Therefore this brute can still hang onto power and the Syrians see no end of his atrocities.

      September 5, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
  16. kilimanjournal

    "Ole Solvang is researcher with the Emergencies Division at Human Rights Watch. The views expressed are his own." The views expressed are shared by sane people everywhere.

    September 5, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
  17. chris

    alright alicia and fawaz,after reading all of the FACTS that either of you check for yourselves,is it STILL worth it to risk going to WAR with NUCLEAR ARMED RUSSIA AND CHINA over the lies that you all and AMERICA'S media sites are knowingly lying about?

    September 5, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
    • chad

      You must read STATE RUN Syrian and Iranian news. The free world has news that is not STATE RUN. Russian news reports similar stories to Western Media, as do most East Asian news sources (no idea whats reported in N Korea).

      The ONLY media that doesn't make sense is that which is delivered from the two oppressive governments of Iran and Syria. It takes an absolute fool to believe that propaganda. It is 100% controlled by Assad and Khamenei and can not be trusted, just like you "Chris".

      September 5, 2012 at 6:12 pm |
    • Fearless Freep

      Nuclear war between the US and Russia over Syria ?
      You are crazy.

      September 5, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
      • Joe Collins

        Bring on the Caliphate hey Chris!
        Set up one side against the other.
        This is kids with shortpants thinking. How old are you?

        September 5, 2012 at 8:00 pm |
  18. Rauf

    This regime does not mind killing what ever it takes so they can stay in power. They can whipe out a whole city if they had to. Murderers.

    September 5, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
    • gamersliverfang

      The FSA are nothing then terrorists its no wonder why now they renaming themselves its like a failed brand.

      September 5, 2012 at 7:59 pm |
  19. Self Defense Syrian Air Force


    I am an entrepenaur, engineer, and founder of my company: Soliton Hedge Fund @


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    September 5, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
    • Fawaz

      On top of all what we are going through, this is what we need...a scam!

      September 5, 2012 at 6:34 pm |
      • Self Defense Syrian Air Force

        On what basis / logic / facts do you base your statement ?

        September 5, 2012 at 7:09 pm |
    • Fearless Freep

      your camels have fleas.

      September 5, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
      • Self Defense Syrian Air Force

        illiterate hick.

        September 5, 2012 at 8:05 pm |
      • Justine Smith

        Dumba*ses like you make this world a better place.

        September 6, 2012 at 9:47 am |
    • Joe Collins

      What, is this muslim comedy?

      September 5, 2012 at 8:02 pm |
      • Self Defense Syrian Air Force

        the above comment applies here also.
        If you have a brain, then you will use facts, and logic, instead of your hate 🙂
        to destroy my comment.


        September 5, 2012 at 9:05 pm |
      • Quigley

        I have met plenty of good hearted muslims but when it comes down to it, muslims will lie, cheat, steal, ignore the truth even when their faces were shoved into it, to protect other muslims. Deny that silly muzzie!

        September 6, 2012 at 9:20 am |
    • chad

      no such thing, easy to figure out a scam with some simple googling

      September 5, 2012 at 8:13 pm |
  20. Terrible_Ted

    When the election in the USA is over, the good ol' days of Bashar bombing his citizens is hopefully over. He will soon be the leader of the pile of rubble formerly known as Syria, if he is allowed to continue the bombings. He is murdering women and children, just to keep in power. I see the Syrians, doing a Mussolini on him and his family eventually. The world can look forward to those photos on CNN.

    September 5, 2012 at 6:49 pm |
  21. Steve

    The utter horror going on in Syria illustrates the backward and brutal nature of the middle-eastern culture. Women are treated as second-class people, children are slaughtered with impunity, and the insanity of the Assad regime is allowed to continue by the so-called civilized world.

    If the killing of innocents cannot be stopped then what exactly does this country stand for? Covert military ops can eliminate the evil Assad and his family rather quickly; why the delay?

    September 5, 2012 at 7:15 pm |
    • Joe Collins

      If the civilized world helped, the muslims would hold us responsible.
      We know your style and if muslim wants to kill muslims, go for it.

      September 5, 2012 at 8:03 pm |
      • chad

        Exactly...their is no accountability in Syria or much of the Islamic world. Assad and the other ruling elite think they should be able to do anything they want, and the citizens living in poverty because of his abuses should just live with it. He treats them as slaves, or livestock.

        dont help? its the West's fault.
        help? its the West's fault.
        This is 100% Assad's fault.

        All his paid E-Mercenaries that are posting this misinformation (that a 5 year old could tell is bull crap) will probably all be dead along with Assad in months (well, Assad may live in exile, but his loyalists will die). Iran trained Syria on how to fight the online wars...what they forgot is that people outside of Iran/Syria live in reality and can see lies and propaganda for what they are, unlike their own citizens who get their news only from the government.

        September 5, 2012 at 8:26 pm |
      • Patrick

        I am in full agreement with your comment Chad.
        What muzzies do not understand is that the civilized world has been well educated, unlike their brethren.
        Unfortunately, you can take the muzzie out of the cave but you can not take the cave out of the muzzie.

        September 5, 2012 at 8:57 pm |
  22. USA Support Islamic extremists?

    Chris....LOL what a joke........Didn’t the USA spend 1.5 trillion dollars and withstand 5,000+ military casualties to fight Al-Qaeda? But know you’re saying the USA is secretly supporting Al-Oaeda in some grand illusion? This great grand conspiracy, perpetrated by Obama and LOL Hilary Clinton? LOL Chris you are a joke….nothing more than a joke. Your English sucks…..dead giveaway!…JOKE

    September 5, 2012 at 9:20 pm |
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