Posted by: Water Modem ||
Happy Birthday/Daily Gam Shot
Ali Landry aka April in "Me Again (2012)" aka Teacher in "Crescendo I (2011)" aka Celia in "Bella (2006)" aka Kate in "Repli-Kate (2002)" aka Rita Lefleur in "Eve (TV 2003--2006)" aka Bella in "Outta Time (2002)" aka Miss USA (1996) aka Doritos Girl from her 1998 Super Bowl commercial (age 39)
[Dawn] A roadside kaboom killed five Afghan coppers, including a district police chief, when it destroyed their vehicle in a volatile part of southern Afghanistan, provincial authorities said Friday.
"Four police bodyguards along with district police chief, Ahmadullah, were killed in Sarab district in Uruzgan province late last evening," Abdullah Himmat, the provincial governor's front man, told AFP.
"Initially, the Taliban snuffies attacked a security checkpost. When the district chief along with his men went to respond, his vehicle struck a roadside kaboom," provincial police investigative director, Gulab Khan said.
IIRC sparkle is what you get from some one else's laser designator in the new FLIR's. It presents as a dashed box in the Hud, goggles, or screen? It can come from an UAV, ground unit, another helicopter, or recon aircraft.
I can see why there is a push for smaller missles, the Hellfire is just a tad bit of overkill for a soft target. You could carry more smaller ones also. Shame they can't haul more 30mm.
(Sh. M. Network)-The security forces of Somalia' semi-autonomous region of Puntland ...a region in northeastern Somalia, centered on Garowe in the Nugaal province. Its leaders declared the territory an autonomous state in 1998. Puntland and the equally autonomous Somaliland seem to have avoided the clan rivalries and warlordism that have typified the rest of Somalia, which puts both places high on the list for Islamic subversion... , have on Friday seized a foreign male with huge weapons
It is a change from the more usual huge tracts of land thingie, but even so.
after launching security operations in Bari province.
Police chief, told news hounds in seaside Bosasso ...Puntland's major (maybe only) port, population about 250,000, most of them shady characters who hang around waterfront dives and carry knives and brass knuckles... town, the capital of Bari region that the local forces managed on Friday to intercept and capture a foreign man with a boat ferrying large quantity of small weapons, including AK 47 rifles, pistols and bombs intended destabilize Puntland, as he put it.
Sources said the tossed in the calaboose Keep yer hands where we can see 'em, if yez please! man, a white male with Yemen citizenship is reportedly cooled for a few years Maw! They're comin' to get me, Maw! along with a Somali national as they were coming fromYemen to Somalia through the sea voyage on Friday by the local security forces of Puntland.
[Bangla Daily Star] Rapid Action Battalion members in separate drives incarcerated Drop the rosco and step away witcher hands up! 17 members of banned thug outfit Hizb-ut-Tahrir from different parts of the capital on Thursday night and yesterday.
A team of Rab-1, following a tip-off, conducted a drive in Nikunja Boro Masjid of Khilkhet around 1:30pm yesterday and incarcerated nine members of the outfit.
The arrestees were found to be holding anti-government rally and distributing leaflets containing anti-state statement among people of the area during the drive.
In another raid at Gandaria, Rab-10 personnel incarcerated ... anything you say can and will be used against you, whether you say it or not... four operatives of the outlawed party around 1:55pm while they were holding an anti-government rally.
The law enforcers also recovered leaflets and other publications of the banned ...the word banned seems to have a different meaning in Pakistain than it does in most other places. Or maybe it simply lacks any meaning at all...
organization from their possession.
During the preliminary questioning, all the arrestees had admitted their involvement with the outfit, Rab officials said.
Around 11:30pm on Thursday, a team of Rab-2 conducted a drive at New Market area and incarcerated ... anything you say can and will be used against you, whether you say it or not... Dr Md Manirul Haque, 27.
Following information extracted from Manirul, Rab officials raided Mohammadpur and Dhanmondi areas early yesterday and captured three operatives of the outfit.
The elite force recovered a large number of jihadi books, magazines, leaflets, a laptop and a personal computer from their possession.
Raihan Uddin Khan, senior ASP of Rab-2, told The Daily Star that the arrestees had been carrying out organizational activities secretly for a long time.
"Recently, the outfit has been engaged in bringing out impromptu procession, pasting posters on walls and distributing leaflets. That is why we have strengthened our intelligence operations," he said.
The activities of the banned outfit have not stopped though their top leaders are still behind bars, the ASP said.
The operatives have been conducting motivational activities targeting school, college and university students in a bid to increase the number of their members, he added.
[ABC.net.au] The South Korean government is investigating unconfirmed intelligence reports that a shootout, leaving between 20 and 30 soldiers dead, broke out when the North Korean regime removed army chief Ri Yong-ho from office.
Since when are they issued bullets?
The Chosun Ilbo, a South Korean daily newspaper, reported that some intelligence analysts believe Mr Ri, who has not been seen since his abrupt sacking earlier this week, was injured or killed in the confrontation.
Citing South Korean government officials, it said the shootout erupted when vice marshal Choe Ryong Hae, director of the People's Army General Political Bureau, tried to detain Mr Ri while carrying out North Korean leader Kim Pudge Jong-un's ...the hereditary potentate of North Korea... order to sack him.
Guards protecting Mr Ri, who was a vice marshal, apparently opened fire.
"We cannot rule out the possibility that Ri was injured or even killed in the firefight," one source said.
North Korea's state media said in a surprise announcement on Monday that Mr Ri, a close aide to Mr Kim, had been removed from all his posts due to "illness", sparking speculation he may have been purged amid a power struggle in the core of the Kim regime.
Meanwhile, ...back at the Hubba Hubba Club, Nunzio had his hands full of angry bleached blonde... North Korean soldiers in Pyongyang have celebrated leader Kim Jong-un's appointment as the head of the military with mass choreographed dancing. NOTE: That statement is not inline. It's in the original, so help me...
Turkish Energy Ministry official says blast likely caused by sabotage
An kaboom and fire has shut down twin pipelines that carry oil from Iraq to the Mediterranean, an official said Saturday. No one was hurt in the blast.
The kaboom late Friday hit a section of a pipeline that carries oil from the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk to the Turkish port of Ceyhan, near the southeastern town of Midyat, said an Energy Ministry official. A second line that runs parallel was not damaged, but was also shut down as a precaution, the official said.
Kurdish rebels, fighting for autonomy in Turkey's Kurdish-dominated southeast, have bombed the pipeline before, cutting oil flows from Iraq for days.
The official said firefighters were still trying to extinguish the blaze and repairs would begin as soon as the fire is put out. It was not clear when oil flows to Ceyhan would resume..
At least nine people were killed and 16 others injured when a suicide bomber detonated his explosive laden car in northwest Pakistan's tribal region Saturday. The bomber blew up the vehicle just outside the compound of anti-Taliban militant commander Maulana Nabi, in the Kurram tribal area.
Senior administration official Zakir Hussain said, "It was a suicide attack, the target was militant commander Nabi's center."
Local residents said he survived the attack.
Nabi's security stopped the vehicle and the attacker blew up his car after he was unable to enter the compound.
There has been significant infighting over turf and leadership positions within the Pak Taliban, an umbrella organization set up in 2007 to represent roughly 40 cut-thoat groups, many of whom are waging a bloody campaign against the government. They're Paks. When they're not out-fighting they're in-fighting...
The compound that was attacked in Spin Dal village in the Orakzai Agency ... crawling with holy men, home to Darra Adam Khel, the world's largest illegal arms bazaar. 14 distinct tribes of beturbanned primitives inhabit Orakzai agency's 1500 or so square kilometers... was owned by myrmidon commander Mullah Nabi, said senior tribal police official Amjad Khan. Nabi was once a lover close friend ally to a prominent Pak Taliban capo from Orakzai, Mullah Toofan, but the two are now heated rivals. "Stop looking at the bitch Mullah Mahmoud!"
"Stop telling me what to do! You don't own me!"
No one has grabbed credit for the attack, but suspicion will likely fall on Toofan, a lover close ally to the head of the Pak Taliban, Hakimullah Mehsud. "Sometimes when you're with me you're thinking about Mullah Nabi! I can see it in your eyes!"
The bomber tried to enter the guest quarters in Nabi's compound "Special delivery for Mullah Nabi!"
and detonated his explosives when he was challenged by guards outside, said Khan, the tribal police official. "Buzz off, Mac!"
Three dancing boys children were among the nine killed, and 15 other people were maimed, said Sabar Gul, another tribal police official. So-o-o-o! He wants to play rough, does he? Mullah Mahmoud!"
"Send for... Mullah Kaboumi!"
[Dawn] At least seven people, including two coppers, were killed in the city and a police kiosk was attacked with a hand grenade on Thursday, when President Asif Ali Ten Percent Zardari ... husband of the late Benazir Bhutto, who has been singularly lacking in curiosity about who done her in ... and the Pakistain Mohammedan League-Nawaz chief were present in the city.
A sub-inspector and a constable were killed and a passer-by was maimed when unknown assailants targeted the two coppers on Nishtar Road on Thursday night.
SI Munir Ahmed, 50, and constable Abdul Hafeez, 35, were reportedly riding a scooter from the Pak Colony cop shoppe, where they were posted. The unknown suspects, who were apparently following them, targeted the two at Albela Chowk, Nishtar Road, sub-divisional police officer Qasier Ali Shah said. "The incident is clearly a assassination," the SDPO said.
A passer-by, identified as Javed, 30, was also injured in the firing. The three victims were rushed to the Civil Hospital Bloody Karachi ...formerly the capital of Pakistain, now merely its most important port and financial center. It may be the largest city in the world, with a population of 18 million, most of whom hate each other and many of whom are armed and dangerous... , where the two coppers were pronounced dead on arrival, while the maimed man was admitted for treatment.
Quoting hospital sources, police said both coppers had suffered multiple gunshot wounds in the upper half of the body.
Police said both coppers were in civilian clothes and were heading home after work.
However, a clean conscience makes a soft pillow... the motive for the killing was unclear and was being seen as part of a string of attacks against law-enforcement officials in the recent days in the city.
Earlier on Wednesday two coppers posted at the same Pak Colony cop shoppe had been attacked near Bismillah Hotel in Old Golimar.
Constable Sohail Haroon was killed and his associate Shafqat was maimed in the targeted attack. Haroon had remained affiliated with the so-called Bloody Karachi Operation in the early 1990s, his associates and seniors said.
Robbers kill man
A man was killed and two alleged dacoits were beaten up when area people overpowered them during an armed robbery in Landhi.
During the hold-up, the dacoits shot at a man who later died at the hospital.
Police said the incident took place in Landhi No 6 at the Ghafoor Sweetmeat mart, where the two suspects barged into the shop, held the occupants of the shop at gunpoint and started looting the shop.
Meanwhile, ...back at the bunker, his Excellency called a hurried meeting of his closest advisors. It was to be his last. They discussed the officers's efficiency rating system... people from the neighbouring shops raised alarm over the hold-up, the suspects opened fire and maimed a man later identified as Shakir Husain. However, a clean conscience makes a soft pillow... as the suspects were fleeing the enraged people caught hold of them and gave them severe beating.
Area police reached the scene and intervened and set to sit in solemn silence in a dull, dark dock, in a pestilential prison with a life-long lock Book 'im, Mahmoud! the two suspects. Police recovered two pistols and a stolen cycle of violence from them, SP of Shah Faisal Town Latif Siddiqui said.
"They did not suffer any gunshot wounds. The area people gave them sever beating", SP Siddiqui said.
The two suspects were identified as Iqbal and Shahid.
Shakir Husain was a resident of 37-C Area, Korangi No 5, the SP added.
Jamait Ulema-e-Islam (Fazl) SITE town chapter amir Maulana Abdul Rehman was bumped off early in the morning when he was going to a mosque to offer Fajr prayers.
Police said the incident took place near the Valika Hospital, where two suspects on a cycle of violence fired at the pesh-imam within the remit of the Pirabad cop shoppe.
The victim was taken to the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. He's dead, Jim! on arrival.
SHO Rao Rafique said the killing did not appear to be sectarian in nature. He suspected enmity as a likely motive for the murder.
The funeral prayer of the dear departed was offered at Valika Ground near Banaras, attended by a larger number of people belonging to various walks of life.
JUI-F leaders condemned the killing of Maulana Abdul Rehman and demanded that the government arrest the killers.
The body of a zoo employee was found in the Garden area early in the morning, police said. The victim, identified as Mohammad Asif.
Police said Asif was an employee of the Bloody Karachi Zoological Garden. When he did not return from work on Wednesday evening, his family reported the matter to the police. He was a resident of Usmanabad.
The motive for the murder was not clear but according to police sources Asif was a supporter of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement ...English: United National Movement, generally known as MQM, is the 3rd largest political party and the largest secular political party in Pakistain with particular strength in Sindh. From 1992 to 1999, the MQM was the target of the Pak Army's Operation Cleanup leaving thousands of urdu speaking civilians dead... Bank employee
A bank employee was killed by unknown persons in the SITE area.
Police said the incident took place in Metroville, where Naeem Gondal, an officer in the State Bank of Pakistain was approached by gunnies on a cycle of violence and shot him. The victim was struck down in his prime.
Police quoting the family sources said the victim did not have any political or religious associations.
A duty officer of the SITE-A cop shoppe said the family will lodge an FIR following the victim's burial.
A man was killed over a family feud in Sohrab Goth.
Police identified the victim as Ansar Raza Riaz, 40.
DSP Iftikhar Lodhi said initial information suggested the killing took place due to a family feud.
CID constable maimed
Two CID constables were maimed when their mobile van was fired at in F.B Area.
Constable Wahid Bakhsh and Abid Rizvi, both posted at Garden, suffered serious gunshot wounds in the attack. A civilian, Asif, was also injured.
The maimed constables were admitted to a private hospital.
[Dawn] Three bullet-riddled bodies were found in different areas of Bajaur tribal region on Thursday, sources said.
Two bodies were found in the border area of tehsil Salarzai.
"The bodies of two rustics were found early in the morning in the fields," Ajab Gul, a resident of the area, told Dawn.
He said the bodies were riddled with bullets. Signs of torture were also visible on the bodies, he added.
An official said that a team of Levies personnel rushed to the site of occurrence and shifted the bodies to Khar. The dear departed were identified as 30-year-old Misbahud Din and 33-year-old Hidayatullah.
"Both the dear departed belonged to Sharif Khana area of Nawagai tehsil," the official said, adding the bodies were handed over to their relatives for burial.
Family sources said that both the dear departed were missing for the last few days. They said that they had no enmity with anyone.
Also, body of an unidentified man was found in Faja area of Khar. The body of a man, who seemed to be of 27 years, was found near the bank of a canal, the official said.
[Dawn] Police defused a bomb planted near Safoora Chowrangi on Bloody Karachi's ...formerly the capital of Pakistain, now merely its most important port and financial center. It may be the largest city in the world, with a population of 18 million, most of whom hate each other and many of whom are armed and dangerous... University Road on Friday, DawnNews reported.
Police said the bomb, containing 15 to 16 kilograms of kaboom, had been planted near a school building.
The bomb was locally made and could have caused a major disaster however the bomb disposal squad managed to defuse it in time.
Following meeting with senior intelligence officials PM discloses that over 20 terror attacks abroad have been thwarted
Somebody sure is trying hard.
In the past year Israel successfully prevented numerous terror attacks against Israeli targets abroad -- most of which were not reported.
Yedioth ahronoth reported Friday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday revealed never before published information about one of the foiled attacks. He said that an attack against Israelis was prevented in South Africa, but did not disclose any further details.
Netanyahu held a situation assessment attended by the IDF chief of staff, and heads of the Mossad and Shin Bet. The discussions dealt with the attack in Bulgaria and the situation in Syria.
A very senior defense official said that since May 2011 more than 20 terror attacks have been prevented, including in Azerbaijan (twice), Kenya, Turkey, Thailand, Cyprus and Bulgaria (prevented at the beginning of the year) and in Turkey (an attempt to attack the Israeli Consul in Istanbul).
"Iranians and Hezbollah members are incarcerated in jails throughout the world, the security bigshot said. "We don't know how long the wave of terrorism will continue -- it's global."
The official said that when a terror state that supports and organizes terror such as Iran joins forces with with an organization that is prepared to take the risks like Hezbollah, no country is safe from possible attacks.
"It is clear to us that this is not an isolated case," he added. The official noted that Israel has intelligence information that ties the attack in Bulgaria to the attack that was prevented in Cyprus. In both cases the modus operandi was the same.
The official explained the reason why no travel advisory was issued for Burgas: "When we have information we announce it and when we don't have information we don't announce it," he said.
"We felt that something was in the works but we could not connect it with a time or place. Therefore we did not issue an advisory."
Exclusive - New York police link nine 2012 plots to Iran, proxies
(Rooters) - New York police believe Iranian Revolutionary Guards or their proxies have been involved so far this year in nine plots against Israeli or Jewish targets around the world, according to restricted police documents obtained by Rooters.
Reports prepared this week by intelligence analysts for the New York Police Department (NYPD) say three plots were foiled in January, three in February and another three since late June. Iran has repeatedly denied supporting turban attacks abroad.
The documents, labelled "Law Enforcement Sensitive," said that this week's suicide kaboom in Bulgaria was the second plot to be unmasked there this year.
The reports detail two plots in Bangkok and one each in New Delhi, Tbilisi, Baku, Mombasa and Cyprus. Each plot was attributed to Iran or its Lebanese Hezbollah hard boy allies, said the reports, which were produced following the bombing in Burgas, Bulgaria of a bus carrying Israeli tourists.
Wednesday's bombing in the Black Sea city is listed in a document headed "Suspected Iranian and/or Hezbollah-linked Plots Against Israeli or Jewish Targets: 2012 Chronology", the latest of the nine 2012 plots linked to the Islamic Theocratic Republic or its proxies.
A second U.S. official said U.S. federal authorities' tally of alleged Iran-linked plots in 2012 largely paralleled the NYPD list.
After the Bulgaria bus bombing, a senior U.S. law enforcement official said New York police had increased their counter-terrorism focus on Jewish neighbourhoods and institutions, over concerns of Iranian attacks on U.S. soil should U.S. or Israeli tensions with Iran escalate.
In a two-page paper summarizing its assessment of the alleged pattern of Iranian-related plots this year, NYPD analysts said that through its own Revolutionary Guard and Hezbollah, Iran had "sharply increased its operational tempo and its willingness to conduct terrorist attacks targeting Israeli interests and the International Jewish community worldwide".
But the paper noted that many of this year's plots lacked the sophistication and precision that characterised earlier plots linked to Iran.
Some bombs used in the recent plots shared certain features such as the use of military grade plastic explosives and magnets to attach the device to metal targets. While some had been detonated by remote control, others had relied on the "crude but effective tactic of pulling the pin on a hand grenade."
The summary said the plotters had on occasion used small-time Mister Big elements, citing a plot in Baku where Iranian Revolutionary Guards agents provided weapons, equipment and selected the target for attack by Azeri criminals.
Possibly it was posted after deadlines here, and will show up in the Sunday papers. But a quick google of the Reuters headline "Exclusive - New York police link nine 2012 plots to Iran, proxies" reveals that the blogosphere has noticed.
Security measures have been stepped up in the deep South after a car bomb attack in Narathiwat province yesterday morning. Regional commander Udomchai Thammasarorath ordered all military units in the South to strengthen security measures to deter any further attacks by terrorists militants.
Col Pramote said, "This is the holy month for Muslims and there should be no violence during this period. Unfortunately, the separatist militants just ignored it." Yesterday was the first day of Ramadan.
The bomb attack happened about 6:15 a.m. Police said the explosion came from a 50-kilogram gas cylinder placed inside a pickup truck parked on Charoen Khet Road in Sungai Kolok municipality.
The blast completely destroyed the truck, damaged three cars and a motorcycle parked nearby, and set on fire the building of a company which occupies four adjoining units of four-story shophouses. The company is the biggest supplier of electronic devices and electrical appliances in the region.
It took more than ten fire engines more than three hours to extinguish the blaze. Firemen had to rescue people who were trapped on the top floor of the building. Eight people were wounded.
Police found that the pickup truck had been stolen from Chalong Nuana, a 46-year-old local of Pattani province. Chalong and his associate were gunned down in a housing estate in Narathiwat on Nov 20 last year while they were unloading furniture from the truck.
The vehicle bore licence plates of another vehicle that belonged to Suchart Suwanchaluay, from Muang district of Yala province. Suchart was gunned down in front of his house on June 21 this year and his vehicle was stolen.
Police believe the bombing was an act of the Runda Kumpulan Kecil (RKK) terrorist separatist group. Police have already issued warrants for their arrest. A security source identified the suspects as Alawuddin Sohko, Nasree Mueree and Muhammadsakree Sosing.
Waedueramae Mamingji, chairman of the Pattani Provincial Islamic Committee, yesterday rebuked those who carried out the car bomb attack. He said, "It is an unacceptable action. Allah will punish them and bring them to disgrace. They must be brought to justice soon."
He wondered why they chose the Ramadan to carry out their attack since it requires Muslims to do good things for Allah, themselves and others. He also said he wanted to see suspected terrorists insurgents join the process of reconciliation within the nation.
In another incident, an armored military vehicle was hit by a bomb buried in the road in Rangae district of Narathiwat about 5:20 p.m. yesterday. Two soldiers and five military rangers suffered broken bones as a result of the blast. Shrapnel from the buried bomb injured a 28-year-old female motorcyclist.
The explosive was placed within a 20-kilogram fire extinguisher that was wired to a battery hidden in roadside shrubs.
Syrian rebel information operations have taken more than a few pointers from Pallywood, but the facts on the ground remain pretty hairy for them. The departure of loyal minorities towards Tartus and Latakia is possibly so that (1) they can be accounted for and mobilized for a universal draft of anti-Sunni Arab minorities and (2) the regime can flatten the rest of the country with high explosives without any fear of hitting friendlies. If the rebels are to win, NATO will need to jump in soon. This is the relative calm before the storm.
(Reuters) - Syrian truck driver Abu Sara used to feel scared when he crossed the border into Iraq, fearing attacks in a country gripped by sectarian violence. Now, as he exits a Syria in even greater turmoil, he feels a sense of relief.
"Us drivers, we feel the danger of the road as we enter the Syrian territories, but we feel safe when we are near the crossings between the two sides," he said at the northern Iraqi border crossing in Rabia, 100 km (62 miles) west of the Iraqi city of Mosul.
Rabia was still in the hands of government forces, he said on Friday night. The Syrian flag fluttered above the border crossing and a huge mural of Hafez al-Assad, the late father of embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, was on display.
Other crossings with Iraq and Turkey have fallen in the hands of the rebels, the first time they have held sway over Syria's frontiers.
On Thursday, the rebels claimed control of the Abu Kamal crossing with Iraq - one of the most important trade routes in the Middle East and the main border post on the Baghdad-Damascus highway - and of the crossings at Jarablus and Bab al-Hawa at the border with Turkey.
With the rebels making gains in the fighting, some Iraqi officials were reported as saying that the rebels had captured all four border posts with Iraq, while others said only Abu Kamal had fallen.
Abu Sara said the roads around Rabia remained dangerous. He parks his truck close to Syrian military checkpoints to feel safer, he added.
"Every day we are exposed to the danger of the road, we face bandits, not necessarily armed operations. But this indicates how fragile the security situation is in Syria - it is not able to control the roads and the thieves."
The reporting so far has mostly covered explosions and such. It would be interesting to find out the % of each population that has been mobilized. A lot of military-age Alawite interviewees appear to be bystanders and onlookers, commenting on events as if they were occurring in a foreign country instead being active participants in combat. If Assad has a manpower shortage, why aren't these young men on the front lines? Unless Assad's the most inept war leader in the world and has no concept of a universal draft, my feeling is that a lot of the rhetoric coming from the media is the usual hyperventilation we get from them - wherein explosions = impending defeat or collapse for whatever regime is out of favor with them (or their stringers) at the moment. The media certainly came up with a bunch of stupid reasons why Iraq would fall to Sunni rebels if the US left. They were also wrong about South Vietnam, which did not fall to internal rebels, but was conquered via invasion from the North.
Many Syrians were headed to stay with relatives, some to apartments they already owned and a few to hotels. But many without means staggered to the nearest village, Majd al-Anjar, where the local mosque set up a charity center where volunteers said that they had just distributed several hundred thin foam mattresses and food kits.
The mayor, Anwar Hamzeh, said Thursday night that he was stunned to see Syrian families parked by the side of the road, uneasy about where to go next. "They were afraid if they ended up in a Shiite village they would be killed," he said. Hezbollah, the main Shiite party in Lebanon, supports the government of Bashar al-Assad, and many of those fleeing are Sunni Muslims.
So Majd al-Anjar opened its homes and one of its seven schools to the Syrians. Many more will come, they are sure. "There are seven million people in Damascus; where will they all go?" said Omar Abdel-Rahman, responsible at the charity center for distributing aid.
For everyone reaching Lebanon, there were hundreds more fleeing the capital into the Syrian countryside as the mood in Damascus shifted markedly -- not least because the government warned residents that it would shell rebellious neighborhoods.
Many of those arriving were well-to-do young families, the parents saying all they wanted was to get their children out of harm's way while they were sure they still could. Some were obviously coming for the long haul, cars stacked with extra suitcases and children's bicycles and kitchen utensils like a colander.
For those without much knowledge about Alawites, they apparently don't do mosques (re Daniel Pipes) - and the mosques set up by their Turkish rulers for them during the Ottoman era were used as livestock pens. This is one of the reasons that bought-and-paid for fatwas aside, very few rank-and-file Muslims (Sunni or Shiite) think of Alawites as Muslims. In addition, Alawites don't fast during the month of Ramadan, even though they observe Easter and Christmas.
The Alawites call their outward declarations of fealty to the Muslim faith taqiyya, a deception necessary to avoid persecution or even slaughter at the hands of Muslims who might otherwise seem them as heretics or apostates.
[An Nahar] Black smoke billowed from ruined homes and three bloodied corpses lay on Friday in a square in Midan, the Damascus ...Capital of the last overtly fascist regime in the world... district retaken by regime forces early in the day after fierce firefights with rebels.
The Syrian military escorted journalists in two armored personnel carriers into Midan in the south of the Syrian capital after saying it had "cleaned" the district of "terrorists" -- a term the regime uses to describe rebel fighters.
In Assakhane Square, an Agence La Belle France Presse news hound saw three rebels sprawled lifeless alongside a pick-up truck mounted with a heavy machinegun and a vehicle loaded with a rocket launcher.
The military said the square had been the site of fierce fighting, and thick black smoke still billowed from several completely destroyed apartments.
The silence was broken only by the crackle of intermittent gunfire.
"There are still some snipers," a soldier said. "We will remove them."
Rebel slogans were still scrawled across the walls of several buildings.
"Protect the revolutionary Midan! We will not kneel! Homs is strong, but Deir Ezzor bleeds!"
In several apartments that had been occupied by rebels, holes were gouged through interior walls so they could move from house to house, avoiding the dangers of the open street and snipers.
The stink of spent powder filled the air, and a minaret at the neighborhood's Al-Majid mosque had been pierced by a shell. Two armored personnel carriers mounted with heavy machineguns were stationed outside the mosque.
The building was a focus of the fighting and had been a regular site for anti-regime demonstrations on Fridays.
At a nearby grocery stall, potatoes, tomatoes and onions rotted under the hot sun, and ransacked stores suggested traders had fled in panic with no time to even close their shops. An abandoned sports shoe shop was littered with shards of broken glass.
The facades of several buildings were riddled with bullets or had been shattered by shellfire.
There was no sign of any civilians in Midan, just some soldiers still wearing helmets and flak jackets as they lounged at a local barber's shop.
One soldier said the elite Republican Guard led the assault on the neighborhood traditionally popular for selling sweets during the holy Mohammedan fasting month of Ramadan.
In one street an AFP news hound saw a bus had hit a traffic light and a minibus struck by an anti-tank rocket was completely burnt out. There was also an ambulance and an abandoned vehicle with U.N. stenciled on it.
State television had announced earlier on Friday that regime forces had "cleaned" the Midan area.
"Our brave army forces have completely cleaned the area of Midan in Damascus of the remaining mercenary gunnies and have reestablished security," the broadcaster trumpeted.
One officer who declined to give his name said on television that "armed elements entered neighborhoods and attacked the residents, who begged us to rescue them. We began the recapture the day before yesterday, in the evening, and finished our work today (Friday) at dawn."
State television broadcast images of handcuffed prisoners to a soundtrack of martial music, and for the first time since the uprising began more than 16 months ago, it also showed footage it said was of the bodies of rebels killed in Damascus, without specifying in which district the footage was taken.
Later, it ran interviews with Syrian troops in Midan, with one telling the channel "we cleaned Midan of these bastards."
"My companions and I, our morale is very high, we are going to return hope to Syria."
The Syrian military has said that a huge quantity of arms including rockets and communications equipment was also seized in Midan.
An opposition activist calling himself Ahmed Midani said: "The Free Syrian Army pulled out of Midan at dawn because of fierce bombardment."
"The rebels took with them 200 women and kiddies so they would not be raped or killed. Houses are still being searched and people placed in long-term storage Don't shoot, coppers! I'm comin' out! ," he added.
Britannia-based watchdog the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that after Friday prayers in Midan several people came out of mosques and staged demonstrations.
[An Nahar] General Hisham Ikhtiyar, the head of Syrian national security maimed in a Damascus ...Capital of the last remaining Baathist regime in the world... kaboom that killed three bigwigs, died of his wounds on Friday, state television ... and if you can't believe state television who can you believe?
announced, as state funerals were held in Damascus for the three brass hats who died on Wednesday.
"The leadership of the (ruling) Baath party offers its condolences to the people on the death of the comrade, General Hisham Ikhtiyar, chief of national security, who succumbed to his wounds before noon," the broadcaster said.
Ikhtiyar was maimed along with Interior Minister Mohammed al-Shaar in the Wednesday bombing at National Security headquarters, which was claimed by the rebel Free Syrian Army.
There was still no official word on Shaar's condition, but the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights earlier said it was "unstable."
Defense Minister General Daoud Rajha, Assad's brother-in-law Assef Shawkat and General Hassan Turkmani, head of the regime's crisis cell on the uprising, were all killed in the kaboom.
Ikhtiar, aged 71, was a key figure in the Assad regime's repression of an uprising that erupted last year and has claimed more than 17,000 lives.
On May 20, he and a number of other bigwigs survived an attempt to poison him. Three days later, he was included in a new list of people on which the European Union ...the successor to the Holy Roman Empire, only without the Hapsburgs and the nifty uniforms and the dancing... imposed sanctions.
[Dawn] Syrian military forces have routed rebel fighters from the Midan district of Damascus ...Capital of the last remaining Baathist regime in the world... , state television ... and if you can't believe state television who can you believe?
said Friday, but a monitoring group said fighting was still ongoing.
"Our brave army forces have completely cleaned the area of Midan in Damascus of the remaining mercenary cut-throats and have reestablished security," the broadcaster said.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, in a statement, said "seven tanks and two armed personnel carriers stormed the district" of Midan, in southern Damascus.
The assault was ongoing, and kabooms could be heard in the area, the group said.
The attack came after a night of fighting in several other districts across the capital, the Observatory said.
"Fighting broke out in Kfar Sousa, where a taxi driver was killed by gunfire, and Al-Hajar Al-Aswad," the Britannia-based watchdog chief Rami Abdel Rahman, told AFP.
As rebels seeking to overthrow the government of Hereditary President-for-Life Bashir Pencilneck al-Assad Light of the Alawites... step up their offensive in the capital, the army has responded in kind, launching an assault on the Qaboon district for the first time on Thursday.
The Observatory said "more than 15 tanks and armed personnel carriers" were taking part in the attack on Qaboon, in the east of the city.
[Al Ahram] A Syrian brigadier-general and 20 other military officers, including four colonels, were among 710 people who fled from Syria to Turkey overnight, a Turkish official said on Friday. The latest defections brought the number of Syrian generals sheltering in Turkey to 22, the official said. A total of 43,387 Syrian refugees are registered as living in Turkey.
[Al Ahram] Up to 30,000 Syrians have fled into Lebanon over the past 48 hours, the UN refugee agency said on Friday. "Thousands of Syrians crossed into Lebanon yesterday. Reports vary between 8,500 and 30,000 people having crossed in the past 48 hours," UNHCR spokeswoman Melissa Fleming told reporters in Geneva.
[An Nahar] Syrian forces launched an all-out assault on opposition strongholds in Damascus ...The place where Pencilneck hangs his brass hat... Friday amid unprecedented fierce fighting in the city of Aleppo ...For centuries, Aleppo was Greater Syria's largest city and the Ottoman Empire's third, after Constantinople and Cairo. Although relatively close to Damascus in distance, Aleppans regard Damascenes as country cousins... , Syria's second city, a day after rebels seized crossings on the Iraq and Turkey borders on the 16-month conflict's deadliest day so far.
Rebel fighters also clashed with troops in several neighbourhoods of Aleppo in what a human rights One man's rights are another man's existential threat. watchdog said was the fiercest fighting so far in Syria's second city.
State television trumpeted the news of the military's Damascus offensive.
"Our brave army forces have completely cleansed the area of Midan in Damascus of the remaining mercenary gunnies and have re-established security," it said, using the regime term for rebels.
Reporters taken on a regime-organized trip saw three bodies, empty streets, shuttered shops and buildings pockmarked with bullet holes.
A security services source told Agence La Belle France Presse the military has launched a general offensive in Damascus.
The assault comes after a Wednesday bombing that killed four senior members of the regime, including the national security chief, who died on Friday.
General Hisham Ikhtiyar had been maimed along with Interior Minister Mohammed al-Shaar in the National Security headquarters bombing, which was claimed by the Free Syrian Army (FSA).
Defense Minister General Daoud Rajha, Hereditary President-for-Life Bashir Pencilneck al-Assad Oppressor of the Syrians and the Lebs... 's brother-in-law Assef Shawkat and General Hassan Turkmani, head of the regime's crisis cell on the uprising, were all killed in the kaboom.
A state funeral was held for the three in Damascus on Friday ahead of their burials in their native provinces, the official SANA news agency reported, adding that Vice President Farouq al-Sharaa had attended but not Assad himself.
After Wednesday's bombing, a security source warned that the regime would step up its operations against the rebels.
"The army has so far exercised restraint in its operations, but after the attack, it has decided to use all the weapons in its possession to finish the gunnies off," the source said.
State television broadcast footage it said was from Damascus showing weaponry reportedly captured from rebels, including material marked "Made in USA," as well as scenes of prisoners seated on the ground, their hands bound.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that regime forces stormed the Jubar neighborhood of Damascus.
"Syrian regular forces, including trucks and cars packed with heavily gunnies, stormed the district of Jubar," the Britannia-based watchdog said.
The Observatory also reported what it said was the fiercest fighting so far between troops and rebel fighters in Syria's second city Aleppo.
"Violent festivities are taking place in the Salaheddin, Azimiyeh, Akramiyeh and Ard el-Sabbagh neighborhoods between the regular army and the rebels," the watchdog said, reporting unspecified "casualties."
It said 16 people were killed in Aleppo, 10 of them civilians. They were among 128 people dead nationwide, including 85 civilians, at least seven of them children.
The Observatory said 302 people were killed on Thursday, the deadliest day of the uprising so far.
Clashes took place even on Syria's frontiers, activists and witnesses said.
An AFP photographer reported that FSA fighters fought a raging battle with Syrian troops at the Bab al-Hawa border post with Turkey and that some 150 rebels controlled the crossing on Friday.
On Thursday, Iraq's deputy interior minister Adnan al-Assadi told AFP that the FSA had seized control of all three crossings along their common border.
At the al-Bukamal border point, an AFP photographer saw a watchtower apparently empty and crossing buildings deserted.
He reported that a poster of Assad had the head torn off, and that no flags were raised above the border point.
Despite the bloodshed, demonstrations were held in several cities, the Observatory reported. Most were small but the watchdog said troops had opened fire on one large protest in Aleppo.
[Al Ahram] Syrian leader Bashir al-Assad is ready to give up power but only in a "civilised manner", Russia's envoy to Gay Paree Alexander Orlov told Radio La Belle France International (RFI) in an interview Friday. Assad had accepted a transition plan agreed by world powers in Geneva and named a representative for talks with the opposition, Orlov said. "That is to say, he is accepting to go -- but to go in a civilised manner," he said.
Asked if Assad's departure was only a matter of time, Orlov said: "Personally I share your opinion. I believe it will be difficult for him to stay after everything that has happened."
He said that by vetoing UN resolutions on Syria Russia was not defending the Assad regime but principles of non-interference in internal affairs.
"We do not have any particular links with the Assad regime, with the Syrian president. But for us this is a case of principles that goes far beyond what is happening in Syria," he said.
He said Russia had done all it could to bring the regime to talks but that the West had not done the same with Syria's opposition.
"Unfortunately our Western partners... did not work sufficiently hard with the Syrian opposition to encourage them to come to the negotiating table," he said.
In a quick response, Syria's Information Ministry said on Friday that comments by Russia's ambassador to La Belle France that Hereditary President-for-Life Bashir Pencilneck al-Assad Supressor of the Damascenes... has accepted leaving power in an orderly way were "completely devoid of truth".