Syria's deputy oil minister 'defects'
Abdo Hussameldin, Syria's deputy oil minister, has announced his defection in a video, the authenticity of which could not be immediately confirmed.
If confirmed, Hussameldin would become one of the highest ranking civilian official to abandon President Bashar al-Assad since the uprising against his rule erupted a year ago.
"I Abdo Hussameldin, deputy oil and mineral wealth minister in Syria, announce my defection from the regime, resignation from my position and withdrawal from the Baath Party. I join the revolution of this dignified people," Hussameldin said in a YouTube video.
7 hours 6 min ago
Hicham Hassan, an ICRC spokesman in Geneva, has just been speaking with Al Jazeera about the Syrian Red Crescent's visit to Bab Amr earlier today.
The team that went in spent around 45 minutes inside the neighbourhood of Baba Amr
The objective was to go and see if people ... still need help. The main comment that we got was that the vast majority of people had left Bab Amr. It happens so that today the ICRC and the Syrian Red Crescent were in a village called Abel, that's 10km away from Homs city.
Today we managed to assess that 450 families, the majority of them came from Baba Amr. Two days ago, same, around 250 families. There are many other families that are scattered around other neighbourhoods in Homs, for example Inshaat, which was equally affected by the violence, along with other areas. And this is what we're trying to continue to look for those families and others who are affected.6 hours 26 min ago
UN humanitarian chief Valerie Amos has said that the Syrian city of Homs had been "completely devastated" and heard gunfire there during a visit on Wednesday, her spokeswoman has told the AFP news agency.
Amos was also stopped from going into areas still held by the opposition after Syria's foreign minister had told her she could go to any part of the country, UN humanitarian affairs spokeswoman Amanda Pitt said.
[AFP]5 hours 54 min ago -
A US House of Representatives committee has voted to impose new sanctions on Syria's energy sector and called for referring its president, Bashar al-Assad, to a war crimes tribunal.
The legislation would help bring about Assad's downfall by "tightening the financial noose around Assad's neck - already tied very tight by the Obama Administration," said Representative Howard Berman, a Democrat who co-sponsored it.
The bill must pass the entire House and Senate before President Barack Obama would decide whether to sign it into law. The outlook for passage in the House is good, considering it has bipartisan support; the chief House sponsors are House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Democrat Eliot Engel. In the Senate, similar measures have been proposed by a Democrat, Kirsten Gillibrand.
Concerns about impact on energy prices could slow the measure down, as has happened before with similar sanctions legislation aimed at Iran. If sanctions crimped Syrian oil sales, that could further tighten world oil supplies, boosting oil prices.
Syria: diplomats fear rebels cannot defeat Assad
President Bashar al-Assad could survive for some time and the West does not have a "clear mechanism" for removing Syria's regime, senior Western diplomats conceded on Wednesday.Officials in Western and Arab League governments concede that the regime is unlikely to collapse inwardly.
The leadership is encouraged, they say, by its ability to crush the uprising in key locations such as Homs, and retain its control of the two major cities, Damascus and Aleppo, even if this has come at the cost of some 7,000 lives.
"The regime thinks it can still win, it sees everything through the security prism," said Mr Collis.
---------- Post added March-7th-2012 at 09:50 PM ----------
Main problem is that there's nowhere really safe inside Syria for them to defect to.Defected Syria Minister: Russia and China, your actions have proven that you cannot be any further than friends of the Syrian people. Your actions have proven that you are accomplices to murdering of our civilians with the regime. We have incriminating proof of this support which will go through the necessary channels.
My final message is to my colleagues, I've worked in system for 30yrs but will not finish my time with this murder. Defected Syria Minister: My advice to my colleagues, after one year of silence through this murder you must leave this sinking ship
Interesting idea, although I think Russia's bridges are burned with the people in the Middle East and Syria especially for a while.
To Resolve Syria, Send Annan to Moscow
The key to ending the bloodshed rests more in Moscow than in Damascus as I suggested in early February. Russia provides Assad the critical support that allows the Syrian dictator to survive. Russia has protected Assad diplomatically twice so far, vetoing UN Security Council resolutions critical of Assad. More importantly, Russia provides the Assad regime the arms that it uses to kill Syrians and destroy their towns.
According to the Moscow defense think tank CAST, Russia sold Syria nearly $1 billion worth of weapons in 2011, with some $4 billion remaining in outstanding contracts. The former chief auditor for Syria’s defense ministry, who defected in January, claims that Russia has stepped up its arms supplies to Damascus since the unrest in Syria broke out. Russian arms manufacturers have reportedly increased production to meet the Syrian demand.
****! This isn't good.
And this started hours ago.
I wonder why there's so much less news coming out of Syria lately.
Acc.Syrian srcs: battle began in idleb and regime tries to take back Baba Ranjit, encircling each city w/reinforcements from Tartous, Lattakia