Sunday, July 15, 2012

Tremseh "Massacre" Was A Legitimate Military Operation

This is what the foreign supported insurgency in Syria first claimed:
Syrian opposition activists said more than 200 people were killed in a Sunni village on Thursday by government forces using tanks and helicopters, which, if confirmed, would be the worst in a series of massacres that have convulsed Syria’s increasingly sectarian uprising against President Bashar al-Assad.
Activists in Hama posted a video on YouTube accusing the government of “ethnic cleansing in Hama,” and said the killings in Tremseh were “unlike any massacre that has previously occurred in Syria.” Tremseh
The massacre accusations came just in time for another UN meeting on Syria. But according to the Syrian government the incident was much different from what the insurgents claimed. It had received some intelligence about specific places in Tremseh where foreign supported FSA insurgents gathered and prepared for new attacks. It took the initiative and in the early morning of Thursday raided those places and captured or killed most of the insurgents and their weapons there.
The Syrian government version is largely confirmed by the UN observers who later visited the place:
"The attack on Tremseh appeared targeted at specific groups and houses, mainly of army defectors and activists," the spokesman for the U.N. observer mission to Syria said in an emailed statement.
That storyline is also confirmed by statements insurgency supporters made to AFP:
An activist at a media center in Hama also said "a large number of rebels were killed in fighting between the FSA and the regular army."Identifying herself as Mariam, she told AFP by Skype that the incident occurred when government forces stormed the village in a bid to retake it and the rebels withdrew when they found themselves outnumbered.
Government troops "resorted to excessive force against around 30 members of the FSA inside the village," she added.
Thus far, amateur videos purportedly documenting the killing have shown the bodies only of men.
An NYT analysis of various videos and names of casualties also confirmed the government version:
New details emerging Saturday about what local Syrian activists called a massacre of civilians near the central city of Hama indicated that it was more likely an uneven clash between the heavily armed Syrian military and local fighters bearing light weapons.
Although what actually happened in Tremseh remains murky, the evidence available suggested that events on Thursday more closely followed the Syrian government account.
The picture emerging is that there was a large group of fighters from the town and the local area bivouacked in Tremseh.
“Whenever the Syrian Army knows there are fighters concentrated in an area, they attack,” said the leader of the Observatory, who goes by the pseudonym Rami Abdul-Rahman for safety reasons. “The majority of people killed in Tremseh were either rebel fighters from the village or from surrounding villages.”
The Syrian government, the UN observers, activists, the available facts and even a spokesperson for the insurgency all seem to agree on this case. This was no "massacre" but an ordinary military surpirize attack on an enemy redoubt. The causalities were combatants.
But the truth does not hinder the usual suspects from spewing their lies. Clinton:
There was "indisputable evidence" that the Syrian regime had "deliberately murdered civilians" in a massacre in the central village of Tremseh in which more than 200 people died, US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Friday.
"This inhuman massacre, this attempted genocide, are just early signs pointing to the demise of this regime," Erdogan told a meeting of his Justice and Development party in the north-western town of Kocaeli.
"Why care for the facts when you have a bully pulpit?" those hypocrites may think. They want to create a fake democracy in Syria with their puppets in control. Just like in Libya where human rights are now worse  than under Gaddafi.
But in the end the facts will matter. The Tremseh operation shows that the Syrian government has significant intelligence about the insurgency. It also has the ability to decisively move troops against its enemy when such intelligence comes up. This was not always the case but these days the Syrian army's performance seems to be improving.
Four weeks ago the insurgency distributed maps of allegedly FSA held areas. All the battles of the last days, including the one in Tremseh, took place within the areas the FSA claimed to hold. That fact plus the successful operation in Tremseh seems to support a view that the tide has turned and that the insurgency is, for now, in retreat.

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