Homs, Syria’s third largest city is in the news because it hosts the largest number of islamist terrorists and criminals.  It is the ancient city of Emessa and a center of intellectual achievement.

February 19, 2012 – NEWS FROM SYRIA, HOT OFF THE PRESS:  It is reported that the Syrian Armed Forces have discovered how the islamist terrorists have been smuggling weapons into Homs. This may be a crucial item of information.  It appears that a tunnel had been completed from Lebanon to Homs at great physical and financial expense.  While some may shake their heads in disbelief, Homs is actually very close to the Lebanese border and a tunnel, although longer than most for smuggling, is possible.  The tunnel’s exit was found in the Baba Amr quarter of Homs by elements of the Syrian Military Intelligence Bureau.  This might be an harbinger for the demise of the criminals holed up in Homs as the noose around them tightens with no supply of ammunition on the horizon.  

The tunnel, it is speculated, required technical knowledge in engineering and geology.  The rumours are that Qatar had engaged the services of Palestinian engineers in the Tripoli area with experience in digging and maintaining subterranean passageways under Beirut before the 1982 Israeli invasion.  These same engineers have apparently been advising Hamas in Gaza in digging tunnels which allow that organization to smuggle weapons and supplies from Egypt.

The so-called “mass demonstration” in the Damascus suburb of Al-Mazzeh was a massively small one.  According to Munzir, my friend on the scene there, there were maybe 300 people who were miffed at the security personnel for shooting dead one demonstrator.  According to Munzer, the young man threw stones at police and was told to cease and desist.  He refused and was shot in the hip causing a massive hemorrhaging that took his life before he reached hospital.  If you read the Western press, you’d think all of Damascus was participating.  In truth, Damascus is very calm and merchants are pushing Dr. Assad to bring the ceiling down on the terrorists.

It is time to explain to the readership the military situation. Syria is not using her army, yet, to squelch the demonstrations or the terrorists.  So far,  the 4th Special Mechanized Armored Division led by Dr. Assad’s brother, Maj. Gen. Maher Al-Assad,  which is part of Syria’s First Army Corps responsible for defending the South of Syria is involved in Homs; while The Republican Guard commanded by Maj. Gen. Hafez Makhlouf is tasked with crushing the rebellion in the South around Der’ah and the province of the same name. At no time, as of this date, has the Syrian army been deployed for anti-protest or anti-terrorist operations.  That might change soon.

      He might not be GI Joe,, but the Syrian army fields a very competent class of officers and men. 
Syria’s army is modern with highly trained and experienced officers.  The Army is made up of 4 Army Corps or Groups (Fayaliq) each containing three Soviet-era sized divisions (13,000 men).  Thus, Syria can deploy 12 armored and mechanized divisions or approximately 156,000 soldiers.
But, behind those forces are Syria’s Air Defense Command, Air Force and Navy.  The total estimated number of standing army regulars in Syria is approximately 300,000.  This army is bigger than the U.K’s or France’s.  Syria has yet to use this massive, overwhelming force against the salafist criminals. 

(Not to the readership: I am having problems with the unstable platform on this blog, so I’m going to publish this and do a second. Please bear with me.)