In policy shift, Turkey moving Syrian refugees inland or to camps
Turkish authorities have begun knocking on doors of thousands of Syrian refugees here to demand that they either enter camps or move deeper inside Turkey, far away from a border region tense with sectarian strife.
The surprise crackdown began this weekend, creating a panic in the community of about 40,000 Syrians living in rented housing in southern Turkey as bewildered families were told by government security agents and police to pack their belongings and move out.
Turkish officials said the Syrian refugees — many of whom have proper papers and are living legally in sanctuary cities such as Antakya — are not being sent back to the violence and chaos in their homeland, though some Syrian activists see it that way.
The tough measures represent a major shift by the government of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who supports the armed rebellion against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad but complains that the United States, Europe and the United Nations have abandoned Turkey on the front line of a conflict seeping across its border.
Turkish officials say the new measures are part of an effort to regain control of the country’s turnstile borders, while calming hostilities in a region of Turkey where many residents do not support the Syrian rebels and instead side with Assad.
Lebanese army frees four Syrian hostages
Lebanese security forces freed four Syrian hostages on Tuesday in a raid on a powerful Shi'ite Muslim clan, which kidnapped more than 20 people last month.
The four told a Lebanese television station they had been tortured when they were held by the armed wing of the Meqdad clan and were forced to confess they were rebels fighting President Bashar al-Assad.
They were among more than 20 Syrian men, as well as a Turkish businessman, abducted in the Lebanese capital of Beirut in mid-August.
The clan said its abductions were in response to the capture of one of its kinsmen by Syrian rebels trying to topple Assad.
The clan later released all but the four Syrians and the Turk, who the Meqdad family spokesman Maher Meqdad said was shot and wounded in the raid and is now the only hostage left.
The army said it had freed the four in a midnight raid in a southern suburb of the capital controlled by the powerful Shi'ite guerrilla group Hezbollah, a longtime ally of Assad in Lebanon. Critics had accused the group of tolerating or authorizing the abductions.
"The army leadership is intent on continuing its raids and imposing the rule of law," the army statement said. "It will not back away from these measures until it has caught all those involved and freed all the hostages."
Syria’s rebels counting on captured anti-aircraft guns to defeat air force
ABU AL DAHOUR, Syria — Most of the civilians already have left this city of about 30,000, and many of those who remained could be seen Saturday piling trucks with their belongings.
Abu al Dahour is the closest city to a military airport that bears the same name. Now it’s become the setting for a strategic confrontation that rebels hope will undercut the military’s dominance of the air, an advantage that’s all but halted rebel advances in nearby Aleppo, Syria’s largest city, and allowed the military to move men and materiel where rebels’ roadside bombs have made land travel dangerous.
Ten days ago, the rebels fighting to topple the government of President Bashar Assad launched a two-day offensive against the base, overrunning a complex that housed air force officers. The government responded by bombing parts of the city to rubble. The rebels vowed, however, to continue to lay siege to the base.
They use garages in the city to hide truck-mounted anti-aircraft weapons, which they’ve used to down at least one air force jet. They also have at their command captured armored personnel carriers, at least one tank and ammunition they seized during the brief time they occupied parts of the base.
The rebels, of course, predict victory. On the outskirts of the city, near a barn full of cattle, rebels from one of the groups that operate here, Syrian Martyrs Battalion, proudly displayed the wreckage of what they, and experts in the United States who viewed video of the wreckage, said was a Russian-made MiG jet fighter.
They said they’d downed two more aircraft last week and had destroyed other aircraft and a runway during their brief foray onto the base nearly two weeks ago. The assault was coordinated, they said, with a strike on another air base near Taftanaz, north of here, that also was being used to fly sorties over Aleppo.
Rebels say the anti-aircraft weapons they’ve captured have given them a new edge in their fight and have cut the number of sorties the government is flying.
“Before we got these, they were flying 24 hours a day,” said one young rebel who was guarding a pair of captured anti-aircraft guns in the city. “Now they are not flying as much. They are afraid.”
Inside a secret Syrian rebel TV channel
With Syria's Bashar al-Assad unwilling to step down, the Syrian opposition is fighting not just on the battleground. It is also fighting from outside Syria -- an information war.
From a secret location in Jordan, a handful of journalists are risking everything to make sure the world doesn't turn its back on Syria.
The opposition channel Syria al-Shaab - meaning Syria of the people - broadcasts powerful and graphic amateur video and live reports from inside the war zone.
Summer Ajlouni left a comfortable life in Virginia and moved thousands of miles away to help launch the channel with her Jordanian father.
"Everyone who has a cell phone or a camera is a journalist now. They want to tell the truth, they want to show people what was going on," Summer said.
Because it's available in Syria, it gives hope to those caught up in the violence that the horrors they're witnessing, the world is seeing too.
Syrian State TV’s Disturbing Broadcast Implying a Journalist is a Combatant.
See Watching Syria’s War take of the manipulative “report” suggesting that Cuneyt Unal, a Turkish journalist captured by loyalist forces and in Syrian government custody since late last month, was a foreign combatant. Mr. Unal works for al-Hurra. In the video, bruises can be seen under his eyes. There is no word in the broadcast of Mr. Unal’s missing colleague, Bashar Fahmi, of Jordan. Mr. Fahmi has not been heard from since his disappearance. He was reportedly wounded just before being taken.
Syria war refugees tell tearful Angelina Jolie of burnt bodies
Syrian refugees stuck in a dust-blown camp in Jordan gave gruesome accounts of civilians incinerated in their country's civil war to U.N. special envoy and actress Angelina Jolie on Tuesday, moving her to tears.
The United Nations is in the process of registering more than 250,000 refugees from the 17-month-old conflict in four neighboring countries, with more than 100,000 arriving in August alone - 85,000 of those in Jordan.
On average around 2,000 Syrians arrive each day in Jordan and the country has already declared the influx is beyond what it can deal with and appealed for international help.
"Little children who were asked what they saw described body parts separated and burnt people being pulled apart like chicken. A little 9-year-old girl said that," Jolie told reporters after a two-day visit to Jordan's Zaatari camp.
"It's been a very heavy experience because often at times you come to these camps ... and rarely do you come when meet them as they cross the border and get to know people the moment they become a refugee," she said, stopping to compose herself.
"They will say: 'As the months go on there will be no more of us, our homes are gone are families are gone'."
NBC Video of Angelina Jolie's visit:
Ahrar Alsham in southern Idlib destroyed an entire checkpoint including 2 tanks and 3 army carriers. They also killed 45 regime soldiers.
7:13 PM - 10 Sep
Youngest martyr in Idlib. Little Salim Alzeer was born and martyred on the same day in Ariha. Syria pic.twitter.com/P5LdDQgv
The regime army that has been trying to enter Salqeen Idlib for days has withdrawn after the FSA stopped it cold!
BREAKING: LCC: Bin Salem Brigade: Explosion targeted #Assad forces stationed at a school in Aleppo
This is the 3rd time Angelina Jolie comes & visits Syrian refugees. In the meantime…bla bla Arab celebrities... **** Arabs.
basically looks like stalemate in SW aleppo. Every few days FSA tries push up hill into Izaa and driven back by heavy shelling
my video- fight for neighborhood turned into a vicious stalemate #Aleppo w both sides firing and cursing from corners http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=buIOG...Dks_hZ5gRKL49Q
Aleppo: Three people were injured, including two children, due to fierce warplane shelling in Haidarie neighborhood, which targeted Ibrahim Al-Yazjy School for Girls