Syrian Military Splitting

Ryan Mauro is a fellow with the Clarionproject.org, the founder of WorldThreats.com and a frequent national security analyst for Fox News Channel. He can be contacted at ryanmauro1986@gmail.com.


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At least 5,000 Syrians have fled to Turkey as the Assad regime is crushing Jisr al-Shughour after soldiers and police officers refused to fire on civilians. More and more stories are coming out of soldiers defecting and security personnel being executed for disobeying orders. These fissures in the military bring the threat to the Assad regime to a new height.

The U.S. is now defining the situation in Syria as a “humanitarian crisis” as the death toll approaches 1,500. The regime refuses to allow the International Committee for the Red Cross access, and Assad is ignoring phone calls from the U.N. Secretary-General. The Turkish government has turned on Assad, condemning the “atrocity,” and is preparing to host 10,000 refugees. The Turkish military is considering measures to “control and manage” the situation near Jisr al-Shughour, which is only 12 miles away from the border. Turkey may declare a buffer zone that could potentially extend into Syria.

President Bashar Assad has deployed the Republican Guards under the command of his brother, Baher, to Jisr al-Shughour. This is the regime’s most reliable force as it consists of recruits from the Allawite minority that Assad belongs to. The city became the focal point of the conflict recently after the regime claimed that “armed gangs” murdered 120 members of the security forces there. The opposition says that the truth is that they were executed by the regime for refusing to kill protesters.

The regime began a brutal offensive against Jisr al-Shughour, even using helicopters to attack its population. A “scorched earth” strategy is being employed. The city is blockaded, people are being shot in the streets, houses are being demolished, and crops are being burned up. Only about one-tenth of the 50,000 people who lived there remain. On Saturday, an army captain and 15 of his soldiers defected. An activist also reported that a lieutenant-colonel and 150 of his men about 10 kilometers west of the city have switched sides to unite with the residents of Jisr al-Shughour. About 60 soldiers that defected stayed in Jisr al-Shughour as the city was taken over this weekend. One resident who fled to Turkey said that four tanks switched sides and he saw fighting between military forces.

Videotaped testimonies of soldiers who have abandoned the army and fled to Turkey are streaming out of the country. One officer named Ali Hassan Satouf said, “They are killing my people, whether they are Christian, Allawite or Sunni. We are in the army to defend them against the Israeli enemy. It’s not the job of the army to kill our people, our families.” An officer from the 11th Battalion, Hussein Harmoush, said that the last straw for him was the “massacre” in Jisr al-Shughour.

“I announce my split from the Syrian army and I am joining the Syrian youth alongside a number of the free Arab Syrian army. Our current aim is the protection of the protesters who are asking for freedom and democracy,” Harmoush said on tape. He called on members of the security services to protect civilians and property from destruction.

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  • Chezwick_mac

    The Alwaites who comprise the bulk of the security services have no place else to go. Regime-change means a community-wide marginalization. I suspect they'll fight it out to the bitter end.

    • Chezwick_mac

      Alawites that is …

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  • http://www.confessionsofagreenlivingaddict.com Paul Luca

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  • Amused

    How ironic are the quotes from Syrian soldiers . No problem killing Israelis , but when it comes to their own ? Sorry folks but I'm just plum outta sympathy . Let the chips fall where they may . Lets see if their "arab/muslim " brothers will rescue them .

    • Perdo

      It is always enjoyable to watch someone reap what they have sown… Yet this is overshadowed by the genocidal catastrophe of innocent protesters, again, the world sits and waits TOO LONG!

  • Mike

    Defend from Israel? Israel never attacked Syria, Syria shelled Israel in 1967 and invaded in 1948 and 1973.
    They woul be better off defending Syria from Iran…

  • http://knowbites.com Tracy Alexander

    At this point, those of us who are on the outside looking in have the opportunity to see what's coming sooner or later to our own turf. The Syrian military and enforcement police are not the only ones who face this crucial question of whether or not to fire on or tyrannize the very civilians they are sworn to protect and serve.

    In the US, training of troops and consolidation of policing branches linking states and the feds is well underway. Their target? Under cover of supporting the flow of information to gain better effectiveness, our troops and state officers are being trained to target and take down civilians under the guise of fighting "terrorists" and "militias". To make their agenda easier, the real goal behind attempts to strip civilians of our right to bear arms is obvious. It's a whole lot easier and faster to destroy us if we have no ability to defend ourselves. The evidence is what we are witnessing in too many of these third world nations.

    The toughest part for civilians is discretion, since all wear the same uniforms, making it very difficult to know who the real enemies of the people are. For any law enforcement, military or government authorized person – whether overt or covert – to abuse the authority granted to them BY the people AGAINST the people automatically makes these individuals enemies OF the people.

    There is no excuse for anyone in such a position to plead ignorance or that they are/were "just following orders". Every individual person is responsible for his/her own choices and actions. What is "legal" is not necessarily "executable law", regardless of the nation. Our own Constitution draws the lines very clearly in favor of individual liberties as the highest priority of our government's mandate.

    Beyond any man-made laws, the morality is too obvious to avoid. Ultimately, Nature exacts accountability, for once these individuals have forsaken all others and done what cannot be undone, they will themselves be the next threat to be eliminated by their masters. Only an idiot would think otherwise. The only question each needs to answer is whether "give me liberty or give me death" is the baseline of their own commitment to themselves first and then to those they purport to serve.

    WATCH with open eyes to see these "previews" so that when our own government finishes shedding its sheepskin and the wolves fully emerge into full and undeniable view, we are prepared to act to prevent repetition of these atrocities in our own lands. "Support Our Troops" takes on a whole new meaning now, doesn't it?

  • Deendid

    I think there is no excuse for anyone in such a position to plead ignorance or that they are/were "just following orders". Every individual person is responsible for his/her own choices and actions. What is "legal" with Vehicle signs is not necessarily "executable law", regardless of the nation. Our own Constitution draws the lines very clearly in favor of individual liberties as the highest priority of our government's mandate.