By Yusuf Fernandez | Al-Manar | December 10, 2012
The Syrian and foreign rebels, who are conducting operations in several provinces of Syria, have once again tried to expand their field of action to the capital, Damascus, but they have failed to do so despite support from Western and Arab media, which always refers to any one-time or limited rebel success as though it was final and definitive. This media and the insurgent propaganda try to persuade the world, and especially the Qatari and Saudi sponsors of the armed groups, that the rebellion is booming.
Most Western media uncritically reproduces statements made by the pro-rebellion London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) as though they were proven facts. In recent days, the SOHR has suggested that Damascus is (once again) about to fall.
The Egyptian newspaper Al Ahram even claimed that “the inhabitants of the Syrian capital Damascus… are subjected to brutal attacks from military positions on the outskirts and Mount Qasiun overlooking the city”. Claims like this one sought to make the public believe that the rebels were already controlling a part of the city. The newspaper also repeated the rebels´ propaganda as a parrot: “The revolutionaries say that their advance on Damascus will trigger a mutiny by the army against its commanders. They hope that thousands will also defect from the regular army and argue that the establishment of a no-fly zone in the country would automatically bring this about.”
Friday November 16th was dubbed by the armed bands the “Friday of the Advance on Damascus”, indicating a “decisive battle” with the regime. They prepared their offensive and several groups arrived in the Damascus province from several places in Syria, such as Deraa and Deir Ezzor. It is, therefore, clear that the rebels attempted in November their most important effort against the capital since their failure of the summer. But this offensive, like the previous one, appears to have been thwarted.
Despite the Free Syrian Army (FSA)´s operations in some towns of Damascus province, this group has at no time been able to enter the city. There have been clashes in the town of Daraya (South-West of the capital), the agricultural region of the Ghouta and the International Airport area (East). For the rebels, it was especially important to capture Daraya because of its strategic position: it oversees the important military airport of Mazzé.
The army´s counter-offensive
On November 29th, the Syrian army launched a vast operation of cleaning these areas within a radius of 5 to 12 miles around the capital. They had already been cleaned last August, but the destruction of armed bands in a densely-inhabited zone is not an easy task.
The newspaper al-Watan announced on December 2nd an army offensive against the places where terrorists had gathered together. “The Syrian army has opened since Thursday morning the gates of hell to all those who were thinking about approaching Damascus or launching an attack against the capital”, wrote the newspaper. It added that the government forces had inflicted heavy casualties on the rebels in several towns and villages.
After some days of offensive, the village of Daraya is now in the hands of the army. The town of Harasta, emptied of its inhabitants since it was invaded by the FSA, is also under the control of government forces while pockets of rebels remain in the nearby village of Duma.
In Ghouta, in the East, where the battle was at its peak this week around the International Airport, informed sources ensure that the airport and its surroundings have been secured, but gunfire can still be heard in distant regions. In the Sayyeda Zainab area, clashes persist between the pro-government militias protecting the district and armed groups holed up in the zone.
According to the Lebanese channel al-Mayadeen, which quoted a Syrian security official, the most violent combat took place on December 3rd. The site Syria Truth advanced the figure of 500 militiamen killed in the first four days of the army´s counter-offensive, including 40 in Deir al-Assafir, 30 in Nina al-Awamid, 60 in Shaba, 100 near the airport and 200 in the sector of Daraya. Al-Watan spoke of “hundreds of terrorists” killed in these days. On the other hand, the Syrian Air Force, indifferent to the threat of the fifty or so American surface-to-air missiles that the rebels hold, continues its attacks on the rebel positions every day.
On the other hand, the limited strength of the rebels in the Damascus province, where they are only a few thousands, make them structurally unable to seriously threaten a city of more than two million inhabitants, where the government is, for obvious reasons, particularly powerful. Rebel advances are always precarious and the armed bands cannot resist the counter-attacks of the army and the militias fighting alongside with it. In this context, the new rebel offensive on Damascus is already becoming another resounding failure.
There are reports that “Syrian Helicopters have fired on rebel strongholds“
The news preceding that was the “US fears another massacre“
Addressing the first linked story. Where is the information coming from? The articles claim the information comes from the UN monitors. But, is it? Or are the UN monitors getting information from the rebels?
U.N. monitors say the Syrian government is using helicopters for air attacks against rebel strongholds, and there are fears that many civilians are trapped in besieged cities.
Exactly where the news is originating from is not being mentioned. Or intentionally omitted?
The use of helicopters gives NATO the justification to launch airstrikes.
The second linked story- Fears another massacre. In conjunction with news of helicopters being used feels a lot like were being prepped for a false flag to justify intervention
“Mr Hague said that Britain was (HAD?) training activists who were monitoring and recording atrocities, including that in Houla last month in which 108 men, women and children were killed.
Was training or had trained activists to monitor and record?? Or create and video?
Mr Hague, does not rule out intervention. Of course.
From Gulf News
Beirut: Six Syrian soldiers were killed and another 26 were buried with official ceremonies, as attacks by rebels across the country increased the pressure on President Bashar Al Assad’s army.
The soldiers died in Deir Al Zor in the country’s eastern oil-producing region, and rebel fighters also attacked a checkpoint in the village of Qusair in Homs, causing several casualties, the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said in an e-mailed statement on Monday. Four security personnel died when an explosive device hit their vehicle in Idlib in the north, while army helicopters attacked rebels in the city of Al Rastan, the group said.
So, it is the Syrian Human Rights group reporting the helicopter attacks… via e-mail?
“The government is using helicopters more often now because of major losses to its tanks,” Rami Abdul Rahman, the head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said in a phone interview from the UK on Monday.