They have opened Pandora's box with their draconian move against Syria and the folly of the West will come back to haunt us in many, many ways.
Qatar hands over Syrian embassy to the terrorist opposition.
Qatar has handed the Syrian embassy building in Doha to the National Coalition, Syria’s main opposition group, a statement said on Wednesday.
“Qatar has decided to hand over the Syrian embassy building in Doha to Mr Nizar Al Haraki after his appointment as ambassador to Doha for the National Coalition,” the Coalition statement said.
“Qatar has acted faster than the Friends of Syria coalition,” the opposition statement said, in reference to a string of Western and Arab states, along with Turkey, which support the revolt against Syrian President Bashar Al Assad.
“The flag of the revolution will be raised above the building,” the Syrian National Coalition added.
Ben Hubbard writing at HuffingtonPost:
Hundreds Kidnapped In Syria: Britain's Syrian Observatory for Human Rights Reports 300 Abducted. A rural patch of north Syria has been shaken by a series of tit-for-tat, sectarian kidnappings, anti-regime activists said Saturday, highlighting how much the country's civil war has enflamed tensions between different religious groups.
While all activists agreed that kidnappings had spiked in recent days between armed men in neighboring Shiite and Sunni Muslim villages, reports of the numbers kidnapped by both sides ranged from a few dozen to more than 300.
The kidnappings and the raw feelings they have provoked bode ill for the chances of reconciliation between Syrians, many of whom have come to see the civil war as either a sacred battle to advance their faith or a mortal struggle for the survival of their sect.
Since Syria's crisis began with protests calling for political reforms in March 2011, it has gradually grown more sectarian. Most of the rebels who have taken up arms to topple the regime of President Bashar Assad are from Syria's Sunni majority. Assad himself is an Alawite, an offshoot of Shiite Islam, and has heavily stocked his security forces with fellow Alawites and Shiites.
The rise of Islamic fundamentalists among the rebels makes many among Syria's minorities – including Alawites, Shiites, Christians, Armenians and others – fear that a rebel victory could leave them with no place in Syria.........
Stuart Ramsay writing at NewsSky:
The number of Jihadist groups flooding into Syria two years after the start of the uprising is threatening to eclipse the power of mainstream opposition groups as well as the authority of the Free Syrian Army.
One of the increasingly influential groups, Jabah al Haq (The Front for Justice), told Sky News that Jihad is spreading across North Africa and the Middle East and will not stop at Syria but will include Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq and even Israel.
The frontline in the Battle for Aleppo is constantly changing. You know when you are there; the people disappear.
In these parts of the city only fighters are on the streets, in battered buildings and destroyed alleyways.
From People's MojahedinOrgofIran:
An activist group says a bombing of a military factory in central Syria this week has killed 54 people.
Rami Abdul-Rahman of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Friday that the bombing took place in a government-controlled area Wednesday and that reports on it were slow to emerge.
He says a mini-van packed with explosives blew up near the factory in the village of al-Buraq while employees were waiting for busses after work. Abdul-Rahman says those killed included 11 women and that all were civilians. He says the factory makes military supplies, but not weapons.
Syria’s state news agency reported the blast on Wednesday evening, saying “terrorists” detonated a car bomb near a factory. It said there was an unspecified number of casualties.
....Rebels pressed an offensive in northern Syria on Saturday, attacking Aleppo airport and two airbases, as a rights watchdog and residents reported hundreds of people held in a string of sectarian kidnappings.
Regime troops fended off fierce rebel onslaughts around Aleppo International Airport and the adjacent Nayrab military airbase, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
East of Aleppo, rebel attacks around the Kwiyres military airbase sparked counter-strikes from regime warplanes.
The insurgents launched the “Battle of the airports” on February 12, and have since seized Al Jarrah military airport and a military complex tasked with securing Aleppo’s civilian airport.
Rebels on Saturday also overran a military police checkpoint in the Golan Heights town of Khan Arnabeh just beyond the outer ceasefire line along the demilitarised zone bordering Israel, the observatory said.
Regime forces responded by shelling Khan Arnabeh and the nearby village of Jubata Al Khashab, inside the ceasefire zone, forcing a rebel retreat.
The Israeli military said it had taken five Syrians wounded in clashes on the Golan to a hospital within Israel.
An Israeli military spokeswoman said “soldiers provided medical care to five injured Syrians adjacent to the security fence” on the strategic plateau.......
The death count in Syria's ongoing civil war was revised upwards on Tuesday. Navi Pillay, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, now says that the toll is "probably now approaching 70,000," an increase of 10,000 from the end of November, when a U.N.-commissioned report found 60,000 individual instances in which a name, date and location of death could be determined. The data set from that report suggested that the true number of dead in the Syria conflict was even higher than that, and one of the report's authors told The Atlantic that the figure was "a very conservative under-count." Pillay's 70,000 number has some relationship to two unknown figures: the number of deaths that can be estimated given currently available information, and the actual number of deaths in the conflict, a total which might not be known for several years (if it is ever conclusively known at all). Both of these numbers are higher than 70,000. Perhaps they're even much higher.....
Rasha Elass writing at LATimes:
...Old Damascus remains largely separated from the violence in the suburbs, but its once-bustling art and tourism scenes have contracted, its streets now filled with armed security men...........
J Malcolm Garcia writing at NYTimes:
....What the Islamists conveyed most clearly,
however, was a firm sense of direction. They also managed to deliver much-needed social services in the rebel-held parts of Aleppo.Perhaps their determination and efficiency were meant to silence qualms about their ultimate goals; if so, the tactic seemed to be working. Just as Afghans welcomed the Taliban in the 1990s — not for its harsh interpretation of Islam, but for the prospect of respite from decades of dislocation — some Sunni Muslims in this ancient, multi-sectarian city are now embracing Islamists out of sheer exhaustion from the conflict, which is nearly two years old.
“I had a shop,” one man told me, “but when the revolution came to Aleppo I couldn’t stock it, so I sold everything. Islamic youth organizations now give us flour. We need bread, at least, just to live. We support the Free Syrian Army, but the Islamists let us eat.”............