- Posted July 18, 2012 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
The Mideast Watch - Special Editioin - Syria
The situation in Syria continues to deteriorate. With the International Red Cross now in essence declaring Syria in the throes of a civil war, the rules of war now apply to both sides. This includes possible charges of war crimes at the conclusion of the war.
The biggest concern is that the conflict in Syria could pull other nations in the region into the war which could pit the US and other Western powers in direct conflict not just with Syrian ally Iran, but face-to-face with Russia and China.
I have been the beneficiary of information from within the UN contingency of the latest battles now erupting throughout the capital city of Damascus. No longer is the war contained to regions and cities removed from the seat of power, but now government troops are in direct confrontation with opposition forces.
The source within the UN contingency provided the following information about the current state of affairs inside the capitol:
Central Damascus was at the core of heavy fighting and exchange of gunfire between government troops and opposition forces on Tuesday. A main thoroughfare within Damascus, Baghdad Street, which is near the center square, was scene to more gunfire. For a brief time two of the squares entry points were closed off, but have once again been opened to traffic.
While the back-and-forth took place in city central, Army helicopters were reported to have fired upon civilians in the Qaboon sector in eastern Damascus. Likewise near city central the Midan sector saw government troops hitting hard for the 2nd day in a row.
Rebel forces announced a full-scale assault on Damascus a few hours before the fighting intensified on Tuesday. In announcing their intentions to take the capitol, the opposition stated that the offensive was "the first strategic step towards bringing Syria into a state of complete and total civil disobedience."
The usual activity has been restricted to night time incursions and skirmishes. However, now that the opposition is in full battle mode, war activity has ratcheted up during the daylight hours as well.
There is a belief within the UN contingency that unless the Syrian military is not able to quickly contain the volatile situation the end of the regime of President Bashar Al-Assad may be near.
While the IRC has declared Syria in a state of civil war and thus could lead to human rights charges against both the government and the opposition, it is unlikely without a change of heart by both Russia and China that the International Court will ever be involved.
The prognosis is that in the days to come that the Syrian military will be throwing everything it has against the rebels, if it hopes to keep the oppposition from toppling the government.
Other news sources are also reporting on the uptick in hostilities within Syria. To read those accounts just follow the links at the end of this report.
In other news coming from Syria:
Ex-Syrian Ambassador: The most senior Syrian diplomat to defect and publicly embrace his country's uprising is calling for a foreign military intervention to topple President Bashar al-Assad. He also accused the Damascus regime of collaborating with al Qaeda militants against opponents both in Syria and in neighboring Iraq.
"I support military intervention because I know the nature of this regime," Nawaf al-Fares told CNN. "This regime will only go by force."
Chemical Weapons Concern: The Obama administration on Tuesday said it was concerned that Syrian President Bashar Assad would use his nation's stockpiles of chemical weapons to put down the 17-month uprising against his government.
“What we have seen is inhumane brutality from the Assad regime, and that is something that has aroused the concern — against his own people I should say – and that has certainly aroused concern not just by the president and U.S. officials, but by the leaders of countries all over the globe, including a number of countries in the region,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters on Air Force One, according to a transcript from CQ.
What’s worse than a power-mad dictator with weapons of mass destruction? A power-mad dictator who may be about to lose them. This is the situation the world may soon be forced to face in Syria as the Assad regime begins to crack. It is a potential nightmare that ultimately might lead to the use and proliferation of WMDs across the region.
How bad is it? Earlier in the year, reports surfaced out of the Pentagon that it might take up to 75,000 troops to handle Syria’s illicit arsenal. And that’s one of the better scenarios. In the last few days open source reports indicated that the Assad regime is moving Syria’s chemical weapons from their storage locations. This has fueled speculation about possible use against rebel forces and stoked fears of regional proliferation.
Syrian Opposition to US President: The head of a prominent Syrian opposition group says U.S. President Barack Obama should take greater action on Syria and not be worried about whether the "right decision" will hurt Obama's re-election campaign.
"We want for America and the Western countries to carry out their responsibilities through the (U.N.) Security Council and work to adopt a resolution under Article 7 to force this regime to stop killing Syrians," Abdulbaset Sieda, chairman of the Syrian National Council, said in an interview that aired Sunday on CNN's Fareed Zakaria GPS.
"With regard to America, specifically, we would like to say to President Obama that waiting for election day to make the right decision on Syria is unacceptable for the Syrians. We cannot understand that a superpower ignores the killing of tens of thousands of Syrian civilians because of an election campaign that a president may win or lose. That's why we are saying there is work that must take place at the Security Council."
From the Cornfield this is a special edition of the Mideast Watch with Syria at its focus.
To my anonymous source who has provided insight nto the Syrian situation, thank you.