“While the international media focuses on whether al Qaeda has latched onto the escalating Syrian conflict, opposition activists and human-rights observers are less alarmed than the Pentagon about the trickle of foreign fighters arriving in the war-torn country than about the home-grown hardening of sectarian attitudes among Syrians and the adoption by rebels of more muscular Islamist views.” See my Daily Beast dispatch.
“After nine months of preparing a case, Libya still appears ill equipped to give Saif al-Islam, the 40-year-old son and accomplice of slain dictator Muammar Gaddafi, a fair trial.
The trial is slated to take place in Zintan, two hour’s drive from the capital, instead of Tripoli itself, part of a deal with the obdurate town’s militia that captured Saif…The fact that the trial will be in one of the strongholds of the revolution is adding to alarm, prompting further questions about the credibility of the procedure.” See my piece in the Daily Beast.
“Syrian rebels are redoubling their efforts to acquire portable anti-aircraft missiles following government airstrikes on cities and towns in the north of the country.
In the latest such strike, a Syrian Air Force jet bombed the rebel-held town of Azaz near the Turkish border, killing at least 50 people and wounding more than 100.
Rebel commanders and activists say their buyers are now scouring the arms black markets in the region to get the shoulder-fired missiles that can counter the government airstrikes.”
Read more from my recent VOA dispatch here.
From my Daily Beast piece today:
“During a disturbing and at times surreal visit to a detention center in Al Bab in northeastern Syria on August 10, members of the Free Syrian Army (FSA), the main rebel-fighter force, still appeared to be involved in torture and abuse.
Their instruments of pain were on clear display: in the small dusty yard in front of the facility, not far from where guards lounged and smoked cigarettes, wooden sticks and iron bars were scattered in the shade, still coated with blood.”
From my latest depressing filing from inside Syria for the Daily Beast:
“She speaks haltingly. Telling the story isn’t easy for the 38-year-old Syrian Sunni Muslim, and she won’t be explicit about the physical details that suggest her friend had been raped before dying….Her story adds to mounting allegations that Syrian forces—most especially the pro-government Shabiha civilian militia, the ultraloyal enforcers of embattled President Bashar al-Assad’s regime—are using sexual violence and rape to terrify and punish rebels.”
Running low on ammunition and faced by a fierce onslaught from President Bashar al-Assad’s forces, rebels from the Free Syrian Army are finding it tough going in Aleppo. I reported on this last week for the Daily Beast. Yesterday, FSA commanders met in Turkey to discuss what to do about the ammunitions crisis but could come up with no immediate solution. They are encouraging brigades with a surplus to share with those running low, hardly a sustainable policy.