"The thing that we know fully well is that there are no army presence in Homs. My parents left the city then came back Saturday morning on the day of the alleged massacre and there was nothing. They usually call a hotline (115) and ask if the roads are safe and security operator will tell you to come to Homs or not. This time they told them to come and indeed there was nothing to be seen or heard. This of course doesn't mean that most of the city and particularly the old city is under the control of the gunmen. Our old neighborhood where I grew up (the Christian Bustan al-Diwan) was completely taken over by the gunmen. YouTube videos show how the FSA cleared the army roadblock in the previous neighborhood (Bab al-Dreib) and then proceeded to destroy the one guarding our neighborhood.All this dovetails with an explanation by fine journalist Nir Rosen, author of the indispensable Aftermath: Following the Bloodshed of America's Wars in the Muslim World; Homs is essentially a question of rebels seizing government checkpoints -- and government forces shelling a few neighborhoods with mortars. According to Rosen:
"People in my neighborhood did not complain of any major harassment or problem, however the 'revolutionaries' did indeed break into a couple of homes that their people left either days earlier or at the time, also into a school, Homs Newspaper (operated by the Orthodox church for more than 100 years) and a few other restaurants but no other complaints. I mean, considering what these FSA do to Alawites, then the Christians are really getting very fair treatment so far.
"What many believe now is that the bodies shown tied up and shot in Khalidiya and which are alleged to be 'men, women and children' killed by a bombardment of the Syrian army were nothing but kidnapped Syrian soldiers. Add to them kidnapped Alawites who were not liberated (or actually exchanged). When the FSA kidnap some people, Alawites started to kidnap in return to exchange the prisoners. This doesn't always work and some people who weren't 'exchanged for' turned up dead in Khalidiya.
"All in all up to this point there really isn't any offensive by the Syrian army on the city. The rebels continue to attack other checkpoints. People are completely in the dark as to what the government is thinking regarding Homs. It's devastating for me to see my neighborhood become another battleground and many of my friends leaving."
"There was no fighting in Homs, just shelling from these safe locations (from the point of view of the regime), suggesting they are unable to actually attack Khalidiya with regime fighters ... No opposition fighters were killed in the attack. And up to 130 people in Khaldiyeh were killed and 800 wounded (like I said not fighters). Now that's a lot of people but if you were watching the news ... you would think that Homs was destroyed while in fact this attack can also be seen as a sign of the regime's weakness in the city."Compare this with my Syrian source worried that "people are completely in the dark as to what the government is thinking regarding Homs."
Imagine an armed insurrection in a mid-sized city in the US; the whole world saw how peaceful Occupy Wall Street was dealt with by billionaire mayor Michael Bloomberg. The "disgusting" BRICS have made it clear; there will be no NATOGCC humanitarian bombing of Syria. But NATOGCC may be succeeding in its plan B: to plunge Syria into civil war.
1. Here's a partial summary of US vetoes at the UN.
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