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The look of Syria online is a mess, of course, with the stickiest part becoming the internecine war between rebel forces, one part Islamic moderates, so intimated in coverage, intent on deposing President Bashir al-Assad with help from Saudi Arabia in complex alignment with the west, the other part Jihadists of, roughly, the “Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant” determined to make Syria but a stepping stone in the establishment of a global caliphate.

Throughout the Islamic Small Wars, the collapse of physical fronts, literally physical boundaries, margins, and fixed front lines keep the encounters and road blocks moving around the landscape, which today, so damaged, in places so depopulated, in others so ad hoc and weirdly organized, I would call painted with the fragments of a new frontier.

Still, Assad’s state remains where it has so far managed to remain.

From Al-Akhbar English:

Visitors to Damascus will find that they are not the only ones rediscovering the city. The capital’s own residents are reacquainting themselves with its neighborhoods and geography, trying to keep up morale in the face of a deepening crisis.

Zaraket, Maha.  “Damascus: The Military Geography of Normalcy.”  Al-Akhbar English, July 12, 2013.

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Who knows what to think as regards Syria’s fate somewhere between its brutal and disingenuous dictatorship, its seemingly well intended base of rebels willing to support a secular civil democracy, and its AQ-type rovers far gone on their own trip but also powerful in their agility, arms, and ruthlessness in the field?

As I type, I do wonder about “news aggregation” — so here is the snapshot of what I drifted through in information this morning — and I also wonder how long before those of us scanning war reportage from our computers start hooking into live feeds.

Twitter’s coming close, but what I read, of course, is what you read coming off AP, BBC, CNN, Reuters, and other feeds.

The Jihad videos from the field that show up with “0” views are a little different: those could be flying on to the web by phone or laptop at close to real time, but how to vet them without getting further into those labyrinths?

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Live Leak.  “Deranged dictator assad orders more of Syria’s capital destroyed: (July 12th, ’13).  Videos.

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The Free Syrian Army commander, stocky, bearded, dressed in camouflage, oozed menace and seethed with righteous anger.

We were speaking about the biggest jihadi group in Syria, the Nusra Front, who had kidnapped his brother.

BBC.  “Syrian rebel fighters’ civil war within a civil war.”  July 12, 2013.

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“We will not let them get away with it because they want to target us,” a senior FSA commander said on condition of anonymity after members of the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant killed Kamal Hamami on Thursday.

“We are going to wipe the floor with them,” he said.

Reuters.  “New Front Opens in Syria as Rebels Say Al-Qaida Attack Means War.”  VOA, July 12, 2013.

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“One has to concentrate on their strongholds and on their dwellings and their infrastructure. If (Alawites) continue living as they’re doing in peace and safety while wedded to the regime they will not be affected. They will not think of abandoning Assad,” said Islamist Sheikh Anas Ayrout.

Oweis, Khaled Yacoub.  “Syrian rebel sheikh calls for war on Assad’s Alawite heartland.”  Al Arabiya, July 10, 2013.

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Published June 7, 2013:

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Since then I’ve spent – I don’t know, many, many times, always undercover, clandestinely, always alone [in Syria]. I don’t keep count, but I was basically spending a week of every month in my home base, Beirut, and the rest of the time I was on the road, in Syria and Turkey.

I don’t use fixers, I don’t use translators. I don’t have anybody giving me tips. It’s just me.

Leigh, Karen.  “One on One: Rania Abouzeid, Journalist.”  Syria Deeply, July 12, 2013.

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In north-eastern Syria, al-Nusra finds itself in command of massive silos of wheat, factories, oil and gas fields, fleets of looted government cars and a huge weapons arsenal.

Abdul-Ahad, Ghaith.  “Syria’s al-Nusra Front – ruthless, organised, and taking control.”  The Guardian, July 10, 2013.

I referenced the above a day or two ago.  Basically, the greater the chaos introduced to the field, the greater the potential for the armed and ruthless to impose their will in patches, a condition not much different than that familiar to Somalis since Said Barre’s step-down and the ensuing anarchy and conflict latent in the motivations of powers left on the land.

Additional Reference

Free Syria Media Hub