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The Future of Syria Is Already Here

Designed by Jobran Damascus - Syria

A magazine issued monthly by Syrian American Alliance SAA Editor in chief: Eiad charbaji •• Public Communications Director: Layla Rahmeh •• Translated by: Ragheed Muhra

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Issue December 2012

Word from the Chairman Dear Members, brothers and sisters in beloved Syria, This is the first issue of our monthly Magazine. The Magazine is designed to put a spotlight on the correspondence and coordination with Syria from inside, collect their demands and needs, and to pass them along to the Syrian community in the states, in order to provide support and aid. The Magazine also aims at sustaining the continuous relationship with the organization’s members, providing insights into the activities on the ground, and giving them the chance and opportunity to collaborate and be part of the progress. We all are passing through difficult times, making everyone confused and prone to loose track. We all see how the criminal regime of Bashar Al-Assad has committed crimes against the Syrian people by destroying villages and cities, historical monuments and heritage sites, including roads, bridges and buildings over the heads of its habitants. It has Cut off all means of life in our country, killing children, torturing men and women, raping girls and displacing thousands of families. The crimes that the regime of Assad has committed are beyond description. Yet we, the Syrian people, are a great, brave people; we stood up to the cruelest and most criminal regime on earth, stood for our rights and demanded freedom, and despite the disengagement of the entire world, we kept focused and determined to reach our goal and gain our freedom. There will be no stepping back or down, no matter how long it will take and how many will give their lives for this noble goal. Dear Brothers and Sisters, at this stage, I urge you all to be responsible and give to this revolution whatever it requires to reach its destiny. With the efforts from each and every one of you, we can do miracles. Syria is strong because of you all, and we are determined to keep working for this revolution until the end, until we get rid of the criminal regime and achieve freedom for the Syrian people and build up the new free Syria, a country that is proud of its people, generous and open to every honest Syrian, a Syria where the Christ meets the crescent, where Muslims and Christians live side by side, brothers and sisters, as they have been for ages and ages. Chairman of the Board Dr. Mahmoud Khattab

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Successful Meetings to Introduce our Organization and Potential Projects

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SAA has started receiving requests for funding civic projects in Syria

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The Cartoon that Almost Killed its Artist

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Letter from the inside This is how you can help

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Wide Worldly Participation in the Walk for Children of Syria

Syrian American Alliance (SAA) The Syrian American Alliance (SAA) is a member of the Coalition for a Democratic Syria (CDS) along with the five biggest Syrian organizations in the United States. SAA was founded by a group of resident Syrian Americans to support the Syrian Revolution and to contribute in reconstructing a free, democratic Syria after the fall of its dictatorial regime through a wide array of projects in human rights, freedom of speech, relief, education and sustainable development inside Syria.

16 888th Street, NW, Suite 800 - USA- Washington DC, 20006 Phone: 2023490893 - Fax: 2023551399 www.syrianaa.org - info@syrianaa.org


Our News

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Issue 1 December 2012

The Coalition for Democratic Syria review its political strategies Washington DC, November 10

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he Coalition for Democratic Syria (CDS) held its strategic retreat in Washington DC to review its political strategies with the U.S. administration in regard of the Syrian crisis. The meeting focused on three points: • The progress thus far • In light of such progress, the CDS should adopt a mechanism to adjust its demands and points of focus and interests. • Based on the previous two points, the know-how to modify its strategy. Progress Thus Far: When the Coalition was formed as a way to coordinate the governmental relations, there were three primary goals: ďŹ rst, to request an American-sponsored no-y zone. Second, to persuade the U.S. to supply the FSA with arms and third, to effectively direct the U.S. support towards relief operations. Regarding the ďŹ rst point, we admit that there has been no progress whatsoever; a no-y zone has yet to be put in place and we do not appear to be any closer to that prospect. On the second point, while the U.S. government has been supporting the idea of arming the FSA, but the arming itself has been extremely limited and it is unlikely that our efforts have made any difference to the U.S. decision-making. As for the third point, though, it seems that we have been moderately successful at directing US aid to where it was more effective and feasible. We have also counseled the US government about how to better receive credit for the 100$ million that has already spent in support of Syria.

In conclusion: It seems that the Coalition was too ambitious in most of its demands; as it was pointed out, aiming for results beyond our capacity to affect can only result in failure and frustration. The truth of this can be seen in the one request where we saw progress; it was the least ambitious, but it was the one that was not dependent on factors beyond our control and therefore most easily accomplished. New requirements and Tasks: • Better activate the Syrian American community, especially by reaching out to those representing a minority in Syria • Provide regular and effective feedback to the US government on the effectiveness of their policies on the ground • Act as intermediaries between the US government and the new Syrian Coalition • Be more precise and realistic in our materialistic demands, especially regarding military equipment and establishing a military liaison ofďŹ ce(r) • Ask the US government to apply more pressure on Saudi Arabia and Qatar to be more discerning in their military aid distribution • Requesting U.S. recognition of the new Syrian Coalition as the sole legitimate representative body of the Syrian people

• Push US to increase the amount of aid allocated to Syria • Reach out to like-minded nonSyrian organizations for advice and collaboration • Generate regular reports on developments in US policy on Syria • Generate monthly reports on the activities of the Coalition Structural Adjustments: Given the aforementioned failure to gain our requests and given the nature of the new demands and tasks to be taken up by the Coalition, serious thought is being given to restructuring the Coalition in a way that will make it more effective in pursuing these aims.


Issue 1 December 2012

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Successful Meeting to Introduce the Organization and its Projects D

uring the month of November 2012, Dr. Mahmoud Khattab, Chairman of SAA, TawďŹ q Al Hallak, a member of the board of directors, and Eiad Charbaji, a journalist and the outreach coordinator of SAA, visited many cities and states including Sacramento, San Francisco, New York, Boston, and Chicago where

they met with individuals of the Syrian community. During those meetings, the interviewer TawďŹ q Al Hallak pressed the importance of the media in connection with what is happening in Syria in order to clarify some missing facts and remove the confusion about the Syrian revolution among the American public. The journalist, Eiad

Charbaji, also talked about the rebuilding projects in education, sustainable development, and the civil society that will beneďŹ t the Syrian people directly. The SAA is already supporting some ongoing projects and expects to receive new ones from Syrian civil activists. Dr. Mahmoud Khattab, in his turn, introduced the Syrian American Alliance, its goals, vision, and projects to the audience and talked about the political activities the SAA performs through its ofďŹ ce in Washington DC run by public and governmental relations coordinator, Hayvi Bouzo and her team. The ofďŹ ce works directly with the American administration, discusses the political aspects and offers suggestions to

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Our News

support the Syrian issue. At the end of the meetings, members of the SAA answered the audience’s questions and discussed the different aspects of the Syrian revolution. The community’s interaction with the SAA members was quite remarkable in that most of them expressed their full support to the SAA and emphasized the urgent need for such efforts on behalf of Syria at this moment in order to enhance development and restore its position after decades of oppression and injustice. At the end of the meetings, a large number of individuals joined SAA to help support it and enhance its strategic vision. It is worth mentioning that the organization offers medical and relief services; in this regard, Dr. Khattab is going to visit the Syrian refuges in Turkey and some free areas inside Syria along side with a medical delegation to give medical and relief support. Moreover, a new ofďŹ ce for SAA will open soon in Turkey to be closer to the events and work more efďŹ ciently.


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The SAA Office in Washington DC Great Efforts to support the Syrian Issue

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he SAA team in Washington, DC ofďŹ ce is making great and effective efforts to support the Syrian cause. The team has already built close relations with the lawmakers in the Congress; the team also periodically holds meeting with the U.S. State Department to discuss the U.S. stance towards what is happening in Syria and to help make it more effective in the interest of the Syrian

people’s revolution against their dictatorial regime. The team also portrays the real humanitarian situation, which requires urgent intervention to help the civilians subjected to arrest, murder and displacement under miserable living standards. Moreover, the team communicates with the inside Syria to determine the real situation and then clariďŹ es details to the U.S. administration and answers

SAA in the American University in Washington DC

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ith the lead of the Governmental Relation Director, Ms. Hayvi Bouzo, American University in Washington, DC hosted a panel about Syria, where Ms. Bouzo spoke about the

Syrians are demonstrating for the children of Syria in front of the white house

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undreds of Syrians living in America gathered in front of the Abraham Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, as part of of the Global Walk for the Children of Syria, which took place on the 17th of November, hosted by the SAA.

current situation in Syria, the ongoing bloody events, the terrible conditions, and the suffering of the people under the Assad Regime. Ms Bouzo also explained the violation

and crimes that the brutal regime is commiting every day against civilians, women and children. She also tackled some political views and the political stance that the

Ms Dorothy Shea from the Population Bureau at the US State Department, spoke about the humanitarian aid that the American government has provided to help the refugees and most of all the children of Syria, to help them survive the extremely bad conditions they are going through, and overcome the impact of human rights violations perpetrated against them by the criminal regime.

In addition, Ms. Marah Bukai and Mr. Eiad Charbaji also spoke about the basic civil rights that the Syrian people are seeking, and mostly the rights of children that are daily violated by the Assad regime. They also spoke about the need for the international community to stand beside the Syrian people in his cause and put an end to their suffering, as there will be no other way to stop the crimes and

Issue 1 December 2012

any questions in that regard. The SAA team in Washington, DC ofďŹ ce works closely with the other members of CDS and coordinates with them to increase the inuence of their lobby. The ofďŹ ce is run by Hayvi Bouzo, Coordinator of Public and Government Relations for the SAA, who works closely with Policy Fellows William Lacy, Tyler Dixon and Aram Baghdjian.

American Government and the international community are taking, the deep effect of this unexplained silence on the situation inside of Syria, and the damage and the negative impact it has on the future of Syria and its people. Ms. Bouzo also encouraged and urged the students of American University to push their government to help and support the Syrian people in their ďŹ ght against the crimes of the Assad Regime. After the panel, a question and answer session took place where students voiced their queries and received answers.

violation if the world will keeps silent and indifferent about it, day after day. Later on, the people at the march walked towards the White House, raising the ags of the revolution and signs that demonstrated a rejection of violence, and calling for the freedom of the Syrian people. Many Americans joined the march, and showed their sympathy with the Syrian cause.


Issue 1 December 2012

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Announcement SAA has started receiving requests for funding civic projects in Syria SAA is honored to announce the start of accepting proposals for civic projects in support of the Syrian issue. Syrian applicants of all categories are welcome (individuals, groups, organizations) to submit their proposals to the SAA to be funded and executed in Syria and the countries hosting Syrian refugees. Proposals to be accepted by SAA • All kinds of peaceful civic work proposals • Democracy support, freedom of opinion and expression in Syria and promoting values of citizenship. • Humanitarian, psychological and medical support for those affected by the Syrian crisis. • Training and rehabilitation in the social and political areas • Cultural proposals (art, literature, theatre, music and cinema) • Media and documentary support of the revolution.

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Our Projects

Types of support: 1. Financial support: SAA will directly fund proposals that meet any of the previous purposes. 2. Advisory: SAA will provide the accepted proposals with advisory expertise to help the projects succeed. 3. Media support: SAA will help market and promote the accepted proposals in the media for the audience to identify the target and to achieve the maximum beneďŹ t. When and how it works: The SAA will ďŹ rst examine the proposals to select the best considering the following: 1. The needs of the project 2. The idea, the objectives and the vision of the proposal 3. The quantity and quality of the target 4. The short- and medium-terms sustainability 5. The efďŹ cient management and the project cadre.

How can I apply? Applicants are welcome to ďŹ ll the application form available on SAA website www.syrianaa. org Applications are available at all times without deadlines for proposals; the SAA will examine all received proposals then announce the winning ones regularly on our website above at speciďŹ c dates to be determined later.

Upcoming Projects Upcoming events

• The relief project: The Warm Winter Work is underway to launch the project “the Warm Winterâ€? which aims to provide displaced Syrians in and outside Syria with warm cloths and blankets to help them cope with the winter. The SAA has set up a specialized humanitarian committee to follow up with the project and the donors to select the best suppliers for such materials in Turkey and the best delivery methods to the camps there and in Syria. • The TV Show: Sons of Syria Preparations for ďŹ lming the ďŹ rst episodes of the TV show, Sons of Syria, are underway in Washington DC. An Eye on the Revolution is a weekly program to be set up and presented by the expert interviewer TawďŹ q Al Hallak. The show aims to bridge Syrians in and outside Syria and deliver the truth about our revolution to the public opinion. The show will also host Syrian and foreign characters to talk about the revolution in addition to reports from the inside. The show will be broadcasted in agreement with a number of opposition satellite channels and via a special channel on YouTube.

• The book: The Revolution Album The ďŹ nal stages of the Revolution Album are being ďŹ nished; it is a comprehensive book documenting, with pictures collected by activist photographers and journalists in Syria, the history of the Syrian Revolution since its inception in March 2011 up to now. SAA will print and distribute the book to the decision makers in the U.S. to clarify the truth in Syria and will sell copies of it and use the proceeds to support its humanitarian and civic projects in Syria. • The book: The Psychological supporter for Children The SAA is preparing to launch a booklet, The Psychological Supporter for Children, which is a specialist book that includes information on the best psychological and educational ways to support children who experienced or witnessed violence in the course of the recent crisis in Syria. The book, which is to be printed and given to parents in the camps in and outside Syria, aims to educate parents on how to support their kids psychologically; teams of specialist volunteers will provide the guidance for parents to make the most of it.

On 01 /4 /2013, the SAA branch in San Francisco is having a live concert to support the Syrian Revolution with the participation of WasďŹ Al Masarani and Yahya Hawa. During the period of 15 - 16 -17 March, 2013, SAA with the group of “Like 4 Syriaâ€? will arrange an international walk around the world celebrating the second anniversary of the Syrian


Opinions

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Al Qaeda and the Assad regime:

penetration, cooperation or hostility.

The Republic Center for Studies, Damascus, Syria

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uge explosions rocked Damascus and Aleppo last year and this year; the Assad regime accused the allegedly Qaeda-linked opposition of masterminding those suicidal attacks while the opposition accused the regime of fabricating such attacks to support its propaganda about the people’s revolution. An unknown faction called itself “Jabhet el Nusrah,â€? claiming links to al Qaeda, however, had declared responsibility for the attacks through videos on Youtube. Could it really be Al Qaeda? Before we answer this question, let’s explore any possible relationship, if there is any, between the Syrian regime and Al Qaeda. The Syrian regime did not do any proper investigation to ďŹ nd who was responsible for

the explosion on December 23rd, 2011, and after only ďŹ ve minutes the regime announced that Al Qaeda responsible for it. However, following the advice of Hussein Murtadha, the Iranian ambassador’s media advisor, the regime changed its story to accuse the west and the opposition in addition to Al Qaeda. Surprisingly enough, a hacked email from Assad’s personal account, published in the Guardian, appears as follows: “It is not in our interest to say that al Qaeda was behind the operation because that recovers the U.S. administration and the opposition ‌we have to say that the U.S. administration as well as the opposition which smuggled weapons into Syrian are the ones behind it as for us to start the attack‌â€? Murtadha goes further to reveal calls from Iran and Hezbollah not to mention anything about al Qaeda responsibility: â€œâ€ŚI have received calls from Iran and

Hezbollah, being a director of several Iranian and Lebanese TV channels, in which I was directed not mention al Qaeda to be behind the incident because it’s a fatal media and tactic error that is not in our interest‌â€? SANA, the Syrian Arab News Agency followed the advice and upon an interview with Waleed Sukaryyeh, a Lebanese parliament representative for the Hezbollah coalition, kept to the Syrian regime’s story as well as the Iranian addition; Sukaryyeh emphasized “the two terrorist attacks on security headquarters in Damascus fall under the Zion-American project‌and (that) this criminality that started as terrorist operations targeting civilians and military personnel has developed to al Qaeda-like suicidal terrorist attacks.â€? Another unexpected surprise came up when SANA announced the names of victims twice; the second time was four days after when they added the father’s name as it appeared in an article published by the Local Cooperation Committees in the links they provided for the ďŹ rst and second accidents. The Palestinian agent, Shaker Al Abssi, who worked for the Syrian intelligence founded the organization of Fatah El Islam to penetrate and spy on the Palestinian refugees camps in Lebanon. After Assad was forced to end his occupation of Lebanon, Al Abssi was used to destabilize Lebanon. Moreover, Professor Barry Rubin said in his article “the Truth about Fatah El Islamâ€? that it was meant to control the Lebanese people and threaten them not to support the international tribunal that was investigating the assassination of the former most popular Prime Minister RaďŹ k Al Hariri and 22 other victims on February the 15th 2005 since all the evidence pointed at the Syrian regime at the time; consequently, eliminating the investigation its top priority. Rubin also

Issue 1 December 2012

referred to the repetitive phenomenon in which a big explosion or incident anticipates any important international event relating to the tribunal: “the explosion coincides the Security Council voting on the court‌ and this is the smartest part of the plan: to blame your terrorist acts on your victim, the Lebanese government and on your enemy, the U.S.â€? When the Lebanese army stormed Nahr Al Bared camp, many members and senior leaders in Fatah El Islam disappeared only to show up again in Syria during the revolution. One month before this date, the website, Kulluna Shorka’a broadcasted an interview with a Palestinian individual, very close to Hamas decision makers, who refused to reveal his identity fearing the regime may retaliate from his family. He said that the Syrian regime’s relationship with Fatah El Islam is one of mutual beneďŹ t, rather than an adversarial one, and that he himself witnessed the good treatment of Syrian Security towards the arrested members of Fatah El Islam who were kept in special prisons. The source also said that the last batch of Fatah El Islam members (800 in number), who were jailed with their families in a Palestine intelligence branch, were set free in the beginning of the crisis in Syria and big numbers of them were trained to serve the regime agenda. On 16 March, 2012, the Al Qaeda-linked Al Ansar site broadcasted a statement by Abdullah Assam militias in which they denied any relationship with a cell recently discovered cell at the end of that month and led by Hezbollah. The Lebanese government accused Hezbollah for fabricating such a thing. The statement also threatened Hezbollah with exposing the offers they received from Hezbollah and the Syrian orders to attack

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Issue 1 December 2012

targets in Lebanon in return of money and services. Furthermore, the statement indeed exposed one of those offers as follows: “It’s enough to set an example of such offers which was your request to assassinate the Druze leader in Lebanon MP Walid Jumblatt in return for releasing some jihadist leaders from the Syrian prisonsâ€?. It is clear that the militias have agreed to kill one of the leading opponents of the Syrian regime in Lebanon in return for the release of some its leaders captured because of “penetrations,â€?. However, it’s not clear whether other organizations have accepted such offers. Mahmoud Gul Agassi has executed another breakthrough for the extremist organizations though the organization of Ghoraba’a Al Sham; after the U.S. invasion of Iraq, Agassi who was an Imam in Aleppo who started to train and send ďŹ ghters to Iraq. Many of his men were arrested either in Iraq or when they came back to Syria while he was still free. The World Islamic Information Center published on its page on Yahoo a warning message for the jihadists to stop dealing with Agassi because he is an agent for the Syrian intelligence in which the center said: “this traitor has played a major role in the arrest of some Arab jihadists who came to visit him before they went to Iraq when he informed on them to have them arrested.â€? The center also sentenced Agassi to death: “so, we call on our jihadist brothers in our beloved Iraq speciďŹ cally and our Syrian brothers in general to treat this inďŹ del and slaughter him like a sheep to be a lesson for those who consider doing the same.â€? Agassi was assassinated on September the 27th, 2007; the Syrian media suggested Al Qaeda was behind his assassination, which Al Qaeda denied. The Syrian government investigations,

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if there were any, cannot be relied upon at any rate. The policy of releasing jihadists in return for services, as was offered to the Abdullah Azzam Brigades, has always been the regime’s policy. The CIA arrested the commander Mustafa Sitmeriam Nassar, known as Abo Musab Al-Suri, and deported him to Syria, his country of birth, who kept him in prison for six years. Abo Musab was the Al Qaeda chief operational commander and was accused of plotting the London bombings in 2005, wanted for planning Madrid metro attacks in 2004, is linked to metro Paris attacks in 1995 and suspected of having ties with Muhamed Al Marah in France, 2012. The Wall Street Journal reports: “Mr. Al-Suri was released recently from his prison in Damascus, Syria and his current location in unknown. Mr. Al-Suri was handed over to Syria in late 2005 after the CIA had arrested him only to be released in December by the Al Assad regime (according to some intelligence and jihadists sites).â€? The purpose of his release is most likely to threaten the West of the consequences of opposing the Assad’s regime‌ his release also serves as a reminder that the continued rule of Assad is not only a threat to his own people only but to the civilians in the West also. Thus we can see that the Syrian regime’s history is full of inďŹ ltrations, deceits and lies. Allowing for the absence of any concrete evidence or professional investigation, we ďŹ nd that all theories are possible, though the theory of “inďŹ ltrationâ€? or “dealâ€? with Abo Musab Al-Suri or any other jihadist organization to carry out bomb attacks in Damascus and Aleppo for money and services is more likely. Although we should not confuse the puppet and puppet master, still both are known because the puppet master is a threat not only on his people but also on the civilians in the west.

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Opinions

The concept of Democracy TawďŹ q Al Hallak

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ccept me as I am and I shall accept you the way you are to make, together, a colourful bouquet, to build a free, beautiful, developing country...it is wise for me to accept your KufďŹ yyah (Taqiyah) and for you to accept my hat, for me to like your song and for you to like my music. We’d better respect each other’s desire in what we drink. Feel free to express your opinions and let me do the same, let me hang the art I like on my wall; you shall be able to do the same. Allow me to elect the person I am convinced by for the parliament on the basis of his honesty, sincerity to his or her people instead of on the basis of his religion, sector and speciďŹ c race. Force not your beliefs on me; I shall do the same. We are similar and equal; we are not two different numbers in the equation of minority and majority. Let’s agree that governments and their approach should be elected freely under the Law, which prohibits oppression of any kind or name. This is how countries were built in the ďŹ rst place, this is how people become happy and feel secure about the future. Did not God create us from one person to be equal in front of him? Then why do some people think they are better? Did not God distinguish us from each other by our individual ďŹ ngerprints and mindsets? Then why some people want to force one ďŹ ngerprint and one mindset on the rest of us? Each one of us has his own path to God, why do some insist on their way? I am free just as you are. Respect my approach, I shall respect yours; I will not disrespect your beliefs, you shall do the same. I like you the way you are because you are a human being like me, you will not hurt me; and you shall do the same. We are not negotiating our share in the future democratic Syria on the basis of region, religion, sect or race but rather on the basis of nationalism, efďŹ ciency and sincerity; I am afraid that any different model will lead us unconsciously to a torn rivalry government like in Iraq and Lebanon. We Syrians, are leading the most honest revolution to set an example and be a role model in excluding intolerance of any kind. We should be proud of our heritage, which is distinguished not between Arab or Persian, white or black, male or female except in piety. The freedom is to debate the other’s ideology on the basis of respect rather than impact.


From the Revolution

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Issue 1 December 2012

The Cartoon that Almost killed its owner Short before ďŹ ve o’clock in morning of Thursday, August the 25th, 2011, at the entrance of the Umayyad Square tunnel in the middle of the capital city of Damascus, near the buildings of Military Staff leadership and the television and just a few hundred meter distant from the house of the Syrian president Bashar Al Assad, an unknown car struck the car of the famous cartoonist Ali Farzat while returning from his studio. The car stopped, four masked men stepped down and beat Farzat violently then carried him to their car, covered in his own blood, full view of dozens of security and intelligence staff who are usually stationed in that important place in the middle of Damascus.

The car continued to drive while the masked men beat Ali Farzat, especially on his hands, till they broke his ďŹ nger telling him: “This is because you are being rude to your superiors; let’s see if you can draw againâ€? After half an hour of continuous beating, they threw Ali Farzat on the side of the

Damascus International Airport highway; the blood and the marks of the sticks they beat him with were still on his skinny body. The reason for this was a simple cartoon that had annoyed the Syrian regime Bashar Al Assad attempting to get a ride from a eeing Al GhadafďŹ .

Ali Farzat: A Syrian cartoonist who received many international awards 1980: ďŹ rst prize in the World Festival, Berlin, Germany 1987: ďŹ rst prize in SoďŹ a International Film Festival, Bulgaria 1990: Gold medal for the best Arab Cartoonist from the Middle East Foundation 1994: was elected to be one of the best ďŹ ve cartoonists in the world at the Festival of Morag, Switzerland 2001: founded and published AlDomari, ďŹ rst independent opposition Syrian newspaper that was closed down by Syrian authorities in 2003.

Martyrs of the Revolution

Ibrahim Al Sheeban

Facts and umbers

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n Friday morning October 14, 2011, a father awake his son from his peaceful sleep who jumped up eagerly motivated for the after-prayers weekly demonstration. His father and two of his brothers followed the crowds of worshipers calling for freedom, Ibrahim bouncing happily among them. When the regime’s sniper’s bullet knocked him to the ground, thugs quickly tried to steal the body in order to hide any evidence against them, but his father and some others managed to smuggle the body out. However, they were unable to resuscitate him. The funeral of Ibrahim Al Sheeban took place in Al Meedan, Damascus; it was the then-biggest demonstration with more than 20,000 people. The hated, malicious regime did not stop here, though, attacking the demonstration and shooting at the funeral procession, killing two more and injuring nine others. Ibrahim Al Sheeban was born in Damascus on July 23th, 2001.

Since the start of the revolution on Mars 15, 2011 and till November 27, 2012 the number of registered martyrs is 39495 . • Number of killed children 3546 , among them 1068 baby girls and 2478 boys; 28 of them died under torture • Number of dead under torture is 1070, among them 25 children, 18 women and 40 soldiers For the period of 19.5 months/ 596 days/14304 hours • Every 3 minutes, the regime arrests a citizen • Every 2 minutes, the regime displace a citizen • Every 10 minutes, the regime injures a citizen • Every 11 minutes, the regime put a citizen in a coma • Every 20 minutes, the regime kills a citizen • Every 5 hours the regime kills a child.


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December 2012

u can help

This is how yo

side

Letter from the in

My friends and families in the United States of America, Let me introduce myself. I am called the Damascene Eagle (Nisr el-Sham). This is, of course, a fake name; I have to hide my name so I can continue working in publishing and humanitarian aid. I am a student at Damascus University, in my second scholastic year, originally from Duma, and come from a family that have suffered a great deal from the Syrian regime; many members of my family have been killed, tortured, or displaced and have had their homes destroyed. I am sad for my city, but I am even sadder and pained for the rest of the country; we are all now suffering the same and face the same destiny. I got the chance to talk with Mr. Eiad Charbaji who has told me about your esteemed organization, its vision and

Abu William.... Grandpa steadfast under Bombing In April 2012, while an activist was eeing from the Bustan Al Qaser area in Homs under bombardment, he saw an 80-year-old man sitting on a wooden chair nonchalantly drinking coffee on his destroyed balcony. The activist took a picture of him and ran away; he uploaded it to Facebook and wrote a description of it and how he took it. The picture quickly spread widely among Syrians who started talking about the elderly man who did not care about the bombing around him while drinking his coffee. As a result of the unexpected attention the picture and story got, the activist returned to ďŹ nd the elderly man, he talked to him and videotaped him. Known as “Abo William,â€? he is Saeed Anini, an elderly Christian man who lived in he Bustan Al Diwan of Homs, an area which has been destroyed completely by the Syrian regime’s army and almost all of its inhabitants have ed. Abo William, in the video, said: “As you see, my house is demolished; my wife came back from Damascus today‌ she saw what she saw and ran back to Damascus after 15 minutes.â€? He continued, “She ran away‌she has the right‌ how can she live in the middle of this dirt, dust and bombs‌!!â€? The activist asked him, “Who demolished

mission, objectives and programs, as well as the magazine that your organization is intending to publish. I want to acknowledge here what you are doing and show my appreciation; yet we urge you to keep thinking of us, the people inside Syria, who are undergoing all kinds of torture, killing and bombardment by the criminal regime. We are asking you please to: 1. Keep demonstrating in the United States, in all ways and means; never stop doing this, even if it means doing the same thing over and over again, because you know for sure that the United States of America has the keys to solutions. By your demonstrations you are also placing yourself as responsible Syrians abroad and you show your care for your brothers and sisters inside Syria, making us here relieved to know there are people out there standing up for us and supporting us on the inside. 2. Continue your good work in supporting us ďŹ nancially and through humanitarian aid to the people inside; as we know you have done a lot in the past months, just keep reassured that the little you pay now will save millions for the future of the country and its people. Your battle for us is the salvation of the revolution. You support is a great investment. 3. We are in need for your expertise and your knowledge for planning for the phase

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From the Revolution

after the fall of the regime. Get ready for the rebuilding, as the destruction that the regime has caused is massive and we should collaborate to rebuild the country you were forced to leave unwillingly to seek a better future, in order to prevent this from happening to the coming generation. 4. We also have came to know that the revolution has a damaged reputation in the American media, especially the reputation of the Free Syrian Army, and we count on you to straighten this out and prevent the poor image that the regime is trying to broadcast. After all, these fears about setting the region aame and mixing agendas may come true if the American government fails to interfere and help remove the Assad and his gang. 5. We need your help not only in criticizing the revolution and pointing out to its drawbacks, but also to help overcome those errors, faults and mistakes in order to prevent them from overcoming the revolution’s good will and loosing track. There is more to come, and I wish you all peace and dignity, Salutations from the inside of Syria, with hopes that you would be as responsible as we dream you to be‌ we have high expectations for you out there.

Your brother, The Damascene Eagle

your house?â€? He replied: “The Syrian regime number of views; the story came up again army, which was bombing the whole alley, among Syrians who started talking about did‌ who else is shelling? Who has tanks but his courage, steadfastness and his honest the Syrian army? Who has missiles but the witnessing for the Muslim guys who were bringing him food and drinks despite being a Syrian army? “ The activist: “How do you live under these Christian. Everybody talked about uncle Abo William praising his heroism and strength, and conditions?â€? Abo William: “Under God’s mercy‌and with soon the story was considered as an example of national unity in Syria. Some activists, help from the guysâ€? later on, started a page on facebook under The activist: “Are you going to stay here?â€? Abo William (emphatically): “Yes, until it the name “Abo William Al Homsi represents me;â€? 7000 people have subscribed to it and comes (death)â€? Responding to a question about who protects his story appeared on many local and Arab them in the neighborhood, Abo William papers. After three months, a rumor said that answered: “some guys of the revolution‌they Abo William was killed bu the bombing, but bring me food and drink‌ but I am‌but I am nobody has been able to conďŹ rm or deny the news because of the siege of Homs and the ashamed‌ I am embarrassed‌â€? At the end of the video, Abo William sends ongoing war there. a message to whom it may concern in Syria and outside Syria alike: “Enough‌ enough bombing‌ it is enough, leave us alone‌ if there is 10 or 20 days left in our lives leave us live them happily and may God have mercy on all.â€? Then he steps back going to his silence and meditates. The video posted The page of (Abo William Al Homsi represents me) on facebook: on Youtube www.facebook.com/abo.william.homs received a huge


Syrian Projects

10

Syrian American Alliance ‍×?  ×?    ×?×›×?‏

Online School Madrasa online or the Online School was found in a very short time by a group of volunteers of teachers, administrators and technicians in the beginning of the schooling year of (2012 - 2013). The idea was initiated by a Syrian lady who holds a masters degree in e-learning who now works with a small cadre of teachers and administrators

The goal Helping Syrian students to study for free in light of the severe conditions where it is difďŹ cult to reach the school in addition to the main idea of e-learning. Stages taught Online School will teach the main stages of elementary, junior and high schools. The reality of education in light of the crisis in Syria There is a number of 5.6 million students in the elementary and high stages who join schools every year, reports have stated however that this year, more than 50 percent could join because of the dangerous conditions such as: • Displacement • DisqualiďŹ ed and unready schools • Schools full with displaced people • Parents refused to send their kids to school for security reasons. For the aforementioned reason, there are around 3 million students outside schools, so that there was an urgent need to provide an untraditional alternative gives opportunity for such a percentage of students to receive classes and consequently the continuity of learning process. What’s the solution..? This is how the initiative of “Madrasa Onlineâ€? or Online School has emerged in the ďŹ rst place; since the beginning of the current crisis, Syrians became more connected with the internet as an important resource of information and interaction among each other. So that that idea popped up that it is possible to deliver information across the web to

bigger numbers of students in and outside Syria. Thus, the paused educational process in the many hot areas could be awakened again through the web net. The importance of the Online School: The Online School delivers Syrian curriculum main subjects for the elementary school and getting ready to launch new pages for the secondary stages thus it covers all stages. Online School looks forward to boost the educational process level in Syria through the usage of most up-to-date techniques through the internet depending on an interaction module. Currently‌and in the First Place We chose facebook to start with since it is free, well spread, and has big number of users of all age groups, as well as the interaction techniques facebook provides. It started off with 100 students in each classroom and reached the 500 users in class now. The School structure: • A specialized website (under building) • A group of connected pages on facebook, which are the classes and curriculum. • A group of volunteer teachers and supervisors specialized in the different subjects. • A specialized administration of e-learning of two work teams: educational and technicians. The number of whole cadre currently has

Issue 1 December 2012

reached 100 in all ďŹ elds. Obstacles and difďŹ culties in Syria: • Electricity breakdowns • Internet breakdowns • Too many students of different age group in each household using one computer • Disability to reach students in hot spots and refuges • Online School has limited capabilities, it lacks any income that can help develop its tools and techniques, and thus we can’t beneďŹ t the available technology. Solutions: • Concerning the internet and electricity breakdowns, students can log in any time and keep up with their classes which are going to be saved on the pages; students can also comment and interact with their teachers. • The school has set a 12 hours schedule to avoid conicts among the different age groups of the many students at same home. • In its try to reach the biggest number of students everywhere and especially the hot spots the school has thought of many solutions that still need to be ďŹ nanced. 1. Providing the hot areas with computers and internet to help families and students continue their education 2. Recording the classes and playing them on big screens without the need of internet. 3. Printing out the lectures and classes on the form of notes and giving them to the students to ease reading them again and again. The Vision and goals On the short run Helping students continue their education and keep the learning process on On the long run • Lighting the spark of interactive e-learning in Syria • Developing the educational curriculum, as for the current curriculum is suitable for the traditional education but not for e-teaching Anyway, in short, for Madrassa Online to continue and achieve its goals and vision; there must a guaranteed continuity at work with the help of our cadre of teachers and administrators. However, as for the volunteer work cannot be continues, Madrassa Online needs ďŹ nancial and media support to guarantee the sustainability, the good service, development of techniques and wide spread.

The Online School website on Facebook www.facebook.com/MdrstAwnLayn Channel on Youtube http://www.youtube.com/user/schoolonline1?feature=mhee


Issue 1 December 2012

Syrian American Alliance ‍×?  ×?    ×?×›×?‏

11

Syrian Regime versus Civilian Activists

Eiad Charbaji Since the beginning of the Syrian people’s revolution on March the 18th of 2011, a number of leader civilian activists emerged and organized the peaceful demonstrations. First, the Syrian regime has intensiďŹ ed its work against this particular group to prevent any potential future political leaders, as it happened in Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen. Second, it has worked to eliminate any civil characteristics of the revolution which may embarrass the regime locally and internationally and make it more difďŹ cult to suppress. On April 6th, 2011, the

Air Intelligence managed to ďŹ nally arrest Ghiath Mattar, Yahya Charbaji and his brother Ma’an, Tayseer Khollani, and Mazen Ziadeh in the city of Darya near Damascus after a long process of investigation and pursuit. The ďŹ ve aforementioned were symbols of the non-violent opposition; they waved roses and prevented any violent aspects by protestors. Days after the arrest, Ghiath Mattar’s dead body, with heavy marks and effects of torture, was handed to his family. The rest are still in detention up to now, getting tortured periodically; a thing that often happens to many civilian activists all over Syria. It was clear right in the beginning that the purpose of the regime’s activities against the peaceful demonstrations and civilian activists had been to: ďŹ rst, force the revolution to get armed and defend itself after the failure of peaceful solutions. Second, push the

ordinary people towards religious extremism, since those who are suppressing and killing the majority Sunni belong to the minority Alawite sect that controls the levers of the army and security; thus, the revolution loses legitimacy and appears to the world as a sectarian armed rebellion against a regime that protects minorities. Unfortunately, the regime has succeeded in portraying a big portion of the revolution as such, and a number of articles in international papers summarized the Syrian crisis as “ asectarian conict - a civil warâ€?. A number of ofďŹ cials in the UN as well as some foreign ministers of member countries in the Security Council also repeated the same statement. Consequently, the revolution has lost its lustre and legitimacy in the eyes of many; Syrians had better intensify their focus on supporting those

Syrian Projects

civilian activists at home that embody the truth and legitimacy of the Syrian revolution and also the ones who may be relied on to rebuild Syria after the fall of the dictator Al Assad and his criminal regime. In spite of prosecution and suppression, there are still tens of thousands of Syrian civilian activists who are relieving affected and displaced people, who evacuate and treat the wounded, educate the forcefully displaced students, organize peaceful protests, videotape and document them, issue papers, websites, and radio stations to convey what is happening on the ground and they also organize the work in areas outside of regime’s control. In this occasion, the SAA, the Syrian American Alliance, will solicit and support such types of projects as may be run by Syrian non-violent activists at home to help Syrian civil society overcome the ongoing violence and destruction and its effects in Syria, reconstruct what has been destroyed and incorporate for Syria a civil, democratic state which protects freedoms and rights of all.

Radio Baladna

A new born Syrian radio station has seen the light on the 27th of August 2012. The station has been established by a group of young activists in the Syrian revolution, some with past experience in media and the majority rest has none. The radio station members are 60 with age ranging from 19 - 35, and from all over Syria, who are staying inside and outside the country. Objective: The objective of this radio station is to build a bridge and a vital link between Syrians, based on trust and open communication, all over the world and make all Syrians feel that they are connected through the one destiny no matter where they are and where they live, aiming at building a new mindset for a new Syria after revolving over dictatorship. The radio station is a project of a nongovernmental organization called “the Syrian Compact “ which is a move lead by young Syrian patriotic culturists, aiming at rending peace to the Syrian community

and participating seriously in its development and progress of the civil society in Syria, to reach high level of civilization and sophistication. The station programs include: - Political and cultural news by reporters inside Syria - Local stories from the daily lives of Syrians, in the voice of the story teller or actors replacing the real personalities - Educational programs aiming at raising social awareness and build concrete knowledge about the power of civil work and volunteerism, as well as the revolution ethics. - Interviews with Syrian

personalities and activists who had real impact on the revolution - Coverage of the women role as well as the students role on the revolution. - Raising medical and health awareness as well as psychological support - Sharing lessons learnt from other countries that may enlighten the Syrian community about ways of cultivating in the future of their country - Songs and poems as well as politics jokes and humors, in addition to advocacy about the situation of the Syrian refugees all over the world In the process of developing

the program of the radio station, Baladna has made connections and agreements with different sources of magazines and codes such as “Enab baladiâ€? ( grape of my country); “Syrian daysâ€?; the new Syria news networkâ€?; “Basmat Hurriaâ€? ( freedom smile); and the page of “ I am the art of revolutionâ€?; “waii moveâ€? (move of awareness); “vocalâ€?; the security consultancy ofďŹ ce of the revolutionâ€? and the page of “ words that changed the worldâ€? Website of radio Baladna http://www.baladna.com


12

Syrian American Alliance ‍×?  ×?    ×?×›×?‏

Issue 1 December 2012

Wide Worldly Participation in the Walk for Children of Syria On November the 17th, 2012, nearly 50 cities all around the world witnessed great participation in the event “Walk for the Children of Syria,� organized by the Syrian American Alliance (SAA). The Walk took place in cities all over America, Canada, Europe, Australia and the Arab World, where Syrian demonstrators and their Arab

and foreign friends took to the streets to give the public an idea of what is happening to the children of Syria at the hands of the Assad regime, where they became subjected to murder, torture, displacement, dropout, malnutrition as well as the terrible psychological inuence due to the ongoing violence there.

The protestors carried signs expressing their disagreement and demanded that the international community intervene and stop the tragedy of children of Syria. SAA deeply thanks those who responded to its call in this great international event.

London - UK

Boston - USA

Copenhagen - Denmark

Copenhagen - Denmark

Calgary - Canada

St.Louis Missouri - USA

Sacramento - Canada

California - USA

Syria Echo 1 En  

Syria Echo 1 En

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