January 2, 2012 – Over the holidays, SyrPer editor in chief, Ziad, spend a good deal of time on the telephone with family members in Lebanon and Syria, gleaning information from real people who are actual eyewitnesses to events in the Levant.  Unlike the BBC, NYT and other major news organizations, Ziad actually talks to individuals who have no agenda and have proven very reliable when they report on events.  The BBC and NYT, inter alia, consistently deliver news from the mouths of salafists, takfiris and others with an anti-government agenda or ideology.  Not so here. 

On Christmas Day, my wife and I called her sister, Georgette, in Aleppo to exchange holiday greetings.  Georgette and my wife’s nephews were at home and told us that Syria’s second city, hub of industry and trade, was very calm with no reported unrest of any kind.  George, my wife’s nephew, told Aida that both Muslims and Christians in the city were totally eye-to-eye against the hooligans, traitors and criminal elements who make up the psychology of unrest in the country.  The important thing for us was that the family was safe.  This we were assured of except that Georgette reported that travel between Aleppo and Latakia was sometimes dicey owing to the presence of armed gangs, some defectors and criminal elements stealthily waiting for slow-moving buses or trucks so that they could either shake them down or take hostages. 

Latakia was completely normal with Muslims, Christians and Alawis exchanging Christmas well-wishes.  Aida’s family was going up to Al-Hiffa and Slinfeh over the holidays with no reports of any problems whatsoever.

My wife’s niece lives in Tartous and reports complete calm all along the Syrian coast including Banias.  The army is virtually invisible with most military units now deployed north of the area near the border with Turkey.  This is to prevent weapons smuggling being accomplished right under the nose of the Turks.  SyrPer believes that the Turkish government is part and parcel of the problem and is allowing smuggling.

Damascus is totally calm with the people there of one mind in preventing the kind of problems that have infected parts of the city of Homs.  People live a normal life there with traffic, celebrations and movement completely as it was last year.

Our relatives, Nicola and Zaina, in Al-Raqqa report that Deir El-Zor and Al-Hasakeh, completely normal with people denouncing the terrorist agitators.  We are looking forward to an excellent agricultural crop this year despite efforts by terrorists to disrupt Syrian economy.

My cousins and friends in Lebanon, especially Khalil and his wife, report going to Syria and seeing absolutely nothing unusual. 

Syrian army martyrs on their last march after being killed by those terrorists given support through the fabrications of the BBC and the NYT.  The army is with the government of Syria to the end.

Renee Haddad, my brother-in-law’s sister in Homs, in Baba Amr, says that the situation is calm but volatile with agitators trying to get the attention of the Arab League monitors.  In general, there are only two areas of Homs which are being targeted by the army.  The city is effectively sealed off to prevent terrorists from sneaking out and attacking infrastructure and security personnel.  It is tense in the city.  Most residents want life to back to normal and support Dr. Assad.  However, it cannot be denied, that significant numbers of Muslim fundamentalists and Libyan terrorists have found a niche in the city.  With the monitors on the ground,  it is difficult for the army to operate effectively and rid the city of the rats digging into and under the sewers.