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SYRIA: Is mystery gunman President Bashar Assad's brother, Maher?

You're the influential brother of your nation's powerful dictator, now being challenged by ragtag groups of peaceful protesters calling for the downfall of your regime and capturing the imagination of the world, which has begun to condemn you and impose sanctions on you and your family.

Maybe you decide to reevaluate your government's actions and consider some fresh, dramatic reforms.

Maher_al-AssadMaybe you start sizing up mansions in the north of Tehran, the capital of your regime's sole steadfast ally, Iran. 

Or maybe you pick up a gun and start shooting at the protesters just to release some anger.

According to activists and observers who've examined an extraordinary video (above) posted to the Internet, that's exactly what Maher Assad, brother of Syrian President Bashar Assad, did on Friday, gleefully shooting at unarmed protesters as they chanted for the downfall of his regime in the Barzeh suburb of Damascus.

Syria-maher-assadSyrian authorities in Damascus have barred foreign journalists from Syria. 

The video footage could not be verified.

It's also not clear whether he's firing live ammunition or tear gas canisters straight into a crowd of what appear to be peaceful protesters calling out, "The people want the overthrow of the regime."

But the man shooting at the protesters in the video does bear a a certain resemblance to Bashar's brother.

The gruff military commander oversees the Syrian army's 4th Armored Division, which has been the premier tool used by the regime in its attempt to crush a nonviolent, pro-democracy movement. 

And he does appear to be some kind of VIP.

The man in the leather jacket is surrounded not only by police officers in riot gear, and possibly intelligence officers, but bands of plainclothes pro-government strongmen, called shabiha by the protesters, who are trying to shield his face, presumably from the scrutiny of cellphone cameras.

Apparently, they didn't consider that someone from behind could be filming the scene. 

SYRIA: Activists report security forces kill three women in Baniyas

SYRIA: Protesters issue online appeal for President Assad to hold elections

Clinton condemns Syrian crackdown on protesters

-- Los Angeles Times

Video: Crowd control Syrian-style in the streets of Barzeh, a suburb of Damascus. Credit: YouTube

Top photo: An undated photograph of Maher Assad. Credit: Syrian Arab News Agency

Bottom photo: A still image taken from an amateur video showing a man in a leather jacket who opened fire on protesters. Credit: YouTube

Comments () | Archives (11)

@Bess jerj. You despicable liar and one who, also embodies, the heart of darkness. For you and your kind, the time is up in the Middle East, more so for you in Syria. Things will never be the same again, ever!, the element of fear is gone. When you have military intelligence officers in Tel Aviv writing off the Assad brothers and their thuggish clan, that is a good day for Syria.
All these despots and autocrats had bamboozled the West about radicalized Muslims because it fits your groups' narrative, it is either us or the "Muslims" and it is not working. Throughout the so-called "Arab Spring", not one, yes one, US or Israeli flag was burnt; and that is beautiful because for hundreds and millions of Muslims/Arabs, life is not all about US or Israel. Now, go back under the rock you crawled out of because that will be safest place for you, soon enough.

Thanks Rand for your huge support

Bess Jerj:
Sir,
How killed more than 800 people?
Why don't the regime permit the media to cover these events?

Why there are thousands arrested?

Why the water, electricity and communication are being cut off in the demonstrations spots? Why are they being sieged?

How do you explain the huge amount of videos spread on youtube of opening on fire the crowd? Are those jihadists?

Why the tanks are going every where in the country?

Why do the regime media is only transmitting the videos that server their point of view?

Why the killing and arrests are only in the places that witness unrest and demonstrations? If their are jihadists?

It's well-known that our dictatorial brutal regime has been counting the breathes of our people all this years! Where did those jihadist come from?

It's a brutal dictatorial regime. Please don't defend their crimes! Massacres are being conducted every where in our country :'(

More than 100 soldiers and army officers have been killed and mutilated by 'peaceful, pro-democracy' demonstrators; isn't that strange? Are the soldiers killing themselves. We have all seen Al-Jazeera footages of soldiers never standing upright, cautiously hiding behind objects that may protect them because of being coldbloodedly targeted by those 'peaceful' demonstrators. Wow, how peaceful! I myself reside in Homs and so frequently these days people hear calls for Jihad from various minarets around Homs, Jihad against whom? It is against their fellow citizens, Christians and Alawite, with whom such extremists cannot peacefully coexist, not to mention chanting, "Alwite to the graveyard, Christians to Beirut"!!!!

Assad and family will face the music soon enough.

They will no doubt dispute actual proof to the end also but to the gallows they will go also.

Keep up the non violent fight for Democracy!

Everybody in Syria knows how brutal maher Assad is. It iv very possible he was shooting at people for fun. Just to check the accuracy by which he can target people's heads and chests. My cousin was shot in the heart for peacefully protesting in the city of Homs. His brother saw the sniper who shot him. He was on the top of a government building. My cousin was a very decent free human being who did not belong to any " armed gangs" . Assad regime belongs to medieval times not the 21st century

Thanks Rand. We as Syrians will try our best, but dont forget that we stand alone in this fight against this corrupt and outdated regime. Not only your government is silent, but everyone is. Even the media isnt allowed in.

Rand Smith: Thank you very much for your noble feelings and courage support!
We, Syrians, are really in need of the support of the free world.

Oh! World! Please help us! Al Asa'ad family and their security forces are killing our armless peaceful people.

SOS!

This is the most outrageous of lies in the 21st century; as long as Maher Assad is commander of whatever army division, why would he endanger his image and life and fire on protestors. Bear in mind that Maher Assad is an engineer who had fine upbringing like his brother's; the 4th division, which he commands, has never left its posts as most of the population inDamascus knows; therefore, i have the right to wonder as a Syrian citizen what in the world is being schemed against my country,knowing that the demonstrations have not been that peaceful and the demonstrators include a majority of extremists whose first demand is to adopt sharia in Syria( calls for Jihad have been frequently heard in most of the cities). It is high time your readers knew what is actually going on in the only secular state in the Arab world.

Thank you Rand Smith, thank you very much
I really think sometimes that there is nobody with us .... We really need the help of all the free people, we need the help of America as soon as possible

Assad Must Go!...'Dear Brave Syrians'...the American people are with you and support your revolution from tyranny...we support your bid for freedom, democracy and universal rights...all is not in vane...I/we apologize for the silence of our government at this time...this silence will not last much longer and we will stand in support of your aspirations and noble goals...God bless.


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