Hama has suffered for the (at least) past three weeks from lawlessness and nearly complete absence of the entire state and its organs, and from control by groups of armed teenagers and criminals who (left without any other choice, in the opinion of the US and French ambassadors) actually erected roadblocks and expropriated the city. Each criminal among them became the king of his own dunghill, where he could stop anyone to ask to see their ID card, with all the volatile possibilities that such a behavior entails. . . .
Indeed, government officials have become under house arrest in one way or another, unable to wander in the city, and some of them were not even able to leave their home to go to work!
A lot of employees who live outside the city limits were advised against (and sometimes prevented from) trying to go to work in the city.
Criminals fought in the streets with each other because of differences, some of which were quite frivolous, while others were related to schemes aimed to paralyze the city by imposing a strike on every shop and every business.
Gunmen armed with pistols, rifles, and even (medium) machine guns wandered on foot or on motorcycles and spread panic everywhere in the city, which has been abandoned by much of its people. The vast majority of them left, not because they were afraid that tanks would storm the city, as some have rumored, but to escape the danger of the streets which has become a threat to life every moment.
Government buildings were burned and looted, using trucks. Fire trucks, police cars, and ambulances were also looted and became “spoils of the revolutionaries”; and they used them to wander around with their weapons, flaunting their victory. . .
Thousands of Molotov cocktails were manufactured, and weapons were distributed in public in a few places.
This picture is some of the reality shortly before armored vehicles (certainly not tanks, for those who care about having a modicum of credibility, as this is an important military difference) belonging to the Syrian army began an attempt to enter the city at dawn today, the 31st of July.
And we say an “attempt to enter” because the madness of Syrian intellectuals and their satellite TV channels made it seem as if the army had already entered the city, its every street and every neighborhood. The reality on the ground however is that the armored vehicles did not go beyond some squares in the city, because they faced an armed resistance — repeat: armed. This made a determination to enter the city akin to taking a decision to accept the results of a disaster, in every sense of the word, which would spare no one, neither in Hama nor anywhere else in Syria.
This description does not diminish one iota the fact that the fall of some 100 victims in Hama today is a disaster in itself. But that disaster is just a walk in the park compared to what would have likely happened if the decision had been taken to enter all of Hama.
Meanwhile, the aforementioned Syrian intellectuals and their satellite TV channels, mad as always, fabricated a phantom split in the army in Hama, claiming that defectors joined the ranks of protesters. . . .
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Some of Syria’s “Peaceful Protesters” Showing Their Stripes!
by Friday Lunch Club
“Massacred Syrian soldiers thrown in the Assi (Orontes) River!”
Bassam al-Kadi is a Syrian journalist and writer. He is also Supervisor of the Syrian Women Observatory. The original article in Arabic, published on 31 July 2011, is available at his Web site: <www.bassam-alkadi.com/content/view/624/44/>. The text above is excerpted and adapted from an English translation of the article published in Sate’s blog Syrian Musings on 31 July 2011; it is reproduced here for non-profit educational purposes. The video below Bassam al-Kadi’s article was posted on the Friday Lunch Club blog on 2 August 2011. See, also, Camille Otrakji, “An Interview with Bassam Alkadi, President of the Syrian Women Observatory” (MRZine, 5 July 2011). Cf. “Syrian Tweets: ‘Peaceful Protests’?” (MRZine, 3 August 2011).