an inside look at life in Latakia under terrorist attacks

On Tuesday, in addition to the massacre of civilians in Homs by multiple terrorist car-bombings and a rocket attack, and the terrorists’ mortar attack-murder of 14, mostly children, in the west of Damascus’ old city, there were attacks as well as in other areas of Damascus and outskirts.
Yesterday, mercenaries attacked Latakia.
Lilly Martin, an American living in Syria for the past 22 years, had this to say yesterday:
“Today, in Latakia, this afternoon there were 2 long range missile attacks.  Both landed in a crowded residential area inside the city  which is called “Bastan al Rayhan”.  One home was destroyed, but no deaths and no injuries reported.
These long range missiles started landing in Latakia on March 9th.  Since then many have landed, but not every day.  They are random and sporadic.  Some have hit without death and injuries, and one hit with 15  dead and dozens injured seriously.  So it is very ‘hit and miss’.
None of the missiles have a TARGET.  They do not calculate and target an Army base for example.  It seems the terrorists have these long range, military grade missiles, but they don’t have a method of targeting.  Or, they don’t know how to use them, or they don’t care?
In each case, the missiles are put in the back of a pick up, driven from Turkey to a spot inside Syria, then shot off, then the truck drives back to Turkey.  The military can trace each missile.  Today’s missiles came from Rabiah.  Rabiah is a village which is within hiking distance of of Turkey.  Driving it would take 20 minutes, going fast.  Rabiah is in the Latakia province, it is located just north and east of Latakia.  This Rabiah area has been a constant source of terrorists.  It is the Turkish government support of the terrorists which allows these missiles to be shot.  The terrorists count on the Turkish official support.  When they get to Turkey, they are ‘home-safe’.

Meanwhile, the refugees from Kassab are still at the church here.  Kassab remains occupied.  Is Kassab the ‘new’ Palestine?  Will the residents of Kassab wait 60-70 years to go back home?  I am very upset about Kassab, and not just because my own home there was destroyed, but because I really hate and hold the Turkish gov’t responsible.  By contrast, I don’t hold the Lebanese gov’t responsible, I don’t even consider Lebanon as having a gov’t or a military.  I blame the terrorists themselves who have come in from Lebanon.  But, in the case of Turkey, that is a very sophisticated and well organized gov’t.  I have spent a lot of time in Turkey, it is a high-class place, it is not run by idiots.  This is why it hurts so much to see their direct involvement in crimes against humanity in Syria.  I really would not have guessed they could be so evil.”
Lilly isn’t the first to have told me that the mortars and missiles the mercenaries/terrorists are firing are largely un-guided. However, although they are not guided, the terrorists do seem to have a system of firing and when someone on the ground confirms the hit, more mortars are fired from the same position, which is quite likely the case as with Tuesday’s repeated mortaring of the school in Damascus’ west part of the old city.
The Damascus countryside: Jobar and al-Maliha are the two largest areas for manufacturing mortar bombs in Damascus’ Eastern Ghouta. This is mainly due to the presence of many scrap metal yards in both areas, which have provided materials for iron smelting factories that are also abundant there. 
…The barrel of the mortar looks like an eggplant before it takes its new shape after it is hollowed out so it can be filled later with gunpowder and other metal pieces to ensure more injuries after the shell explodes.  
…During the firing process, some of the armed opposition fighters use applications on tablet devices to locate the target more precisely. This method, however, cannot remedy the problem that the mortars’ targeting is very imprecise.
…Mortar shells land on random and imprecise sites, that is why armed opposition fighters resort to another method to ensure the most accurate targeting possible. The method is based on trial and error as a way to locate the target.
When the target is hit, they bolt the mortar’s bipod to make sure the building will be hit with dozens of shells later on….”
In a longer post on her FB page, Syria is My Home, Lilly lists some of the recent attacks on Latakia:
March 9, 2014: Two long range missiles, #107 GRAD, landed behind Orange Mall, and in a residential neighborhood in North Latakia city, killing one small boy and injuring his family, who were in a taxi. Windows were blown out of homes in the neighborhood from the power of the blast.

March 19, 2014: a long range missile landed in the residential neighborhood called Zeerah, which is near to the University of Tichrine, in Latakia City. Several cars were destroyed, and the missile left a large crater near the sidewalk, which is home to numerous sidewalk cafes. There were numerous injuries.
March 22, 2014: Mother’s Day in Syria: a long range missile attacked and landed at the Engineering Department at the University of Tichrine, in Latakia. No injuries reported, as it was Friday, and the students were not in class.
March 23, 2014: Saturday, long range missiles attack Latakia city. They landed on Baghdad Street, near the Main Police station, and not far from the Latin Church, which is an old Roman Catholic Church.
The Commander of the Home Defense Forces, Hilal Al Assad, died while defending Latakia. The Home Defense Force is an armed and trained volunteer Army, which is under the direction and Command of the Syrian Arab Army. The Military Hospital, and other free government health care hospitals, is filling up quickly with injured soldiers and civilians, from the fighting in and around Kasab, and the Latakia countryside.

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