BREAKING: Incredible mass rally in Aleppo, Syria today!

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The non-violent mass movement is far from dead in Syria. Thousands marched in the streets of Aleppo, Syria today in a show of support for the cities being attacked by Assad's goons right now.

Given everything else we have heard about Syria today, given the torture and police state conditions I reported about in my earlier diary, this is truly an amazing video.

It is six hours old.

The Small Wars Journal came out with their assessment of The Syrian Revolution: A Report After 15 Months of Conflict by Daniel R. DePetris today and it makes for very informative reading. It has a section that gives us some background in which to appreciated the Aleppo protest video above:

Demonstrators Rise Up in Aleppo

For the first time in the 15-month old revolt, Syrians in the city of Aleppo took the streets in massive numbers last May to protest a raid by the security forces a week earlier that left four students at Aleppo University dead. Other students were picked up by regime forces and thrown into prison after the operation was completed, prompting thousands of angry students and residents of the city to speak out against what they claimed was an unprovoked, unnecessary, and brutal offensive operation and peaceful demonstrators. It appears that this latest security operation. Similar to dozens made across Syria every day, the awakening of Aleppo has elicited a response that Bashar al-Assad may have been unprepared for.

While the exact size of the Aleppo protests are hard to pinpoint, activists on the ground have claimed that approximately 10,000-15,000 people participated. If these numbers are indeed accurate, it would suggest that the same residents who were once either apathetic or unsympathetic to the Syrian resistance are now finding themselves immersed in the action. 15,000 demonstrators in a city like Hama is not at all surprising, but for the same amount of people to come out in Aleppo could be a game-changer for the regime and a sign that Assad is starting to lose support from constituencies that he once depended on.

Aleppo, Syria’s most populous city, has been under the thumb of the Assad regime since the uprising began in March 2011; many of its residents have benefited from the regime’s economic policies over the past decade. The Syrian army and police understand that retaining the backing or acquiescence of Aleppo would help bolster its case that the opposition inside the country does not have much domestic legitimacy. The spread of street demonstrations in Aleppo would destroy that narrative and deal a major blow to Assad’s remaining support base. The ironic part of this story is that were it not for the regime’s heavy-handed response to the initial protests on the Aleppo University campus, the vast majority of the city may still be in the regime’s camp.

This video of a protest in Cham Idlib is three hours old:

I say again:

"Two things know no limit: Syrian bravery and world hypocrisy."

Posted on facebook one hour ago:

دمشق : نهر عيشة : قوات الامن والشبيحة تطلق الرصاص الحي على المظاهرة التي خرجت قبل قليل بالقرب من مسجد علي بن أبي طالب في حي نهر عيشة نصرة للريف الدمشقي الجريح ...
Damascus: the river of life: security forces walshbihah launches live on the demonstration that came out shortly before the close of the Ali Ibn ABI Taleb mosque in the neighborhood of Damascus rural life victory Stella ... (Translated by Bing)

Damascus: River existence: the security forces and Cbihh fired live bullets on the demonstration that came out a while ago near the mosque, Ali ibn Abi Talib, in the neighborhood of the river support the existence of the countryside of Damascus wounded ...(Translated by Google)

More Defections Today!

Defection of a Colonel of the First Armored Division, Homs, Syria

FSA Victory Battalion of the Brigade of the province of Hama is formed

Assistant Youssef Hadji defected in Ugarit

Major Mohammad Anhqakkak Sarmini joining Free Syrian Army

More soldiers and officers defect in Idlib

Colonel Mamedalamr defects and forms a drigade of the FSA | Azza July 2

Today's EAWorldView report:

Just Another Day --- 114 People Die on Monday

1948 GMT: Syria. It's been another bloody day in Deir Ez Zor, as battles for control of key areas continue to rage.

Our understanding of the state of the battle there is, admittedly, a bit hazy. Our understanding that there IS intense battle there is more clear. This video purports to show Free Syrian Army soldiers firing on Assad forces. Though we don't see what they are firing at, tactical they seem fairly secure and confident:

It's not the only sign of FSA success. Though we're not sure the location of the video, this video was also posted today by the same Youtube channel that has been supplying many Deir Ez Zor videos, and claims to show FSA fighters who have captured a tank. We cannot confirm the video:

There is a resource published today that may be useful to people looking at these videos: A rough guide to Syria's tanks

Either way, there was thousands of reports saying that there are heavy battles in Deir Ez Zor. Exactly how heavy, or what the results are, we cannot say at this moment.

1914 GMT: Syria. The headlines in Syria may be about death and battle, but in many places the protesters still rule. This video, posted by the LCC, reportedly shows a large rally in Kobani, in northern Aleppo (map). As the area i very remote, we cannot verify the details:

This protest is important. First of all, this small town is located on the border between Aleppo and Turkey, a key area where insurgents could operate from. Secondly, the protesters carry Kurdish flags, yet another sign that the opposition crosses ethnic lines.

Other videos, such as this one also posted by the LCCS, showed protests on the campus of Aleppo University. We've seen video of several off-campus protests in Aleppo as well:

The protests are still the heart of the opposition. In areas where there is not intense violence, the protests have been raging for several weeks, a clear sign that the insurgents, not the regime, have overwhelming popular support in many areas.

In Aleppo, in particular, support of the countryside is firmly in the opposition's hands, and the insurgents are winning territorial and military victories there as well. Inside the city, Assad's supporters are less staunch than they once were, and the opposition is steadily growing, a sign that even in Assad's strongholds he is steadily losing power.

1527 GMT: Syria. Bill Neely reports that Irbeen, a key Damascus suburb that appears to be completely controlled by the Free Syrian Army (map). He also reports heavy fighting and artillery shelling in Douma (map). Dozens of videos posted today, similar to the one below, show widespread damage in the suburb.

Here are my related diaries on Syria:
BREAKING: HRW releases torture report on Syria
BREAKING: Syrian General defects with 293 to Turkey
BREAKING: Items not in the MSM on Syria
My response to Phyllis Bennis: Where is the non-violent opposition in Syria?
BREAKING: Syrian Air Force attacks Douma, 10m from Damascus, thousands flee
BREAKING: As Syria Burns, UN Blows More Smoke
BREAKING: Kofi Annan to propose Syrian unity gov't sans Assad!
BREAKING: Douma, Syria under massive attack, another massacre feared
BREAKING: Another mass defection from Syrian army
BREAKING: #NATO says No War in #Syria shoot down of #Turkey jet
NATO meetup tomorrow as more defect from Syria
BREAKING: Turkey calls for NATO consult on downing of jet by Syria
BREAKING: Senior Syrian Officers Defect
UPDATED: Russia reported to be preparing to evacuate from Syria
BREAKING: Syria fighter pilot defects
BREAKING: Britain stops Russian ship carrying attack helicopters for Syria
BREAKING: Russian troops headed to Syria
Qaddafi forces Strike Back in Libya
BREAKING: UN suspends mission in Syria
Libya & Syria - two videos - no comment
BREAKING: Russia denies supplying Syria with NEW attack helicopters
Syrian people rise up against the massacre
Another "Houla style" massacre in Syria
Fake Houla Massacre Photo: Was the BBC set up?
Idlib, Syria protest today on anniversary of Kent State killings
BREAKING: Massive protests in Syria following Friday pray
Syria is bleeding
Syria: Ceasefire faltering as mass protests breakout