28.12.2012 – A friend on Alawites:

I remain skeptical regarding the Alawite community’s plan B. in my view there is no plan A, no plan B and no plan C. to make things worse there is no Alawite community.

The original community’s communal structures, its forms of leadership, its elites, its identity, its religion and its rapport to its own territory have all been gutted, to a large extent, by the regime. This explains in part why Alawites both loath Bashar and desperately cling to him. They have nowhere to go, no alternative, no ability to organize enough to produce one of their own. They are confused by their absorption into a state that has proved to be a fiction. they are offered no exit by an opposition of eradicators who whisper nice words and think murder. I believe — and was just in Damascus — that the regime will go down fighting, in the capital, which it will destroy in the process. that doesn’t preclude other struggles in other places, such as Latakia. of course, and as always, I hope I’m wrong.

The Secular Idiot’s Guide to Syria’s Jihadist Groups [an absolute must read] Even Syria watchers need an honest laugh sometimes.

The dollar crossed the 100 pound threshold in black market trading this week in Damascus.

Syrians’ Moscow visit seeks Russian rejection of Ibrahimi points regarding limited future Assad authority and ineligibility for third term. — Murhaf Jouejati (@mjouejati) December 28, 2012

Two Syrian Air Force generals, five colonels, two majors, two captains, four lieutenants, three major sergeants and their families entered into Turkey at the border village of Bükülmez in Hatay’s Reyhanlı district.  With the latest defections, the total number of defected Syrian generals Turkey is housing has risen to 49. – Zaman

Regime warplanes have carried out four attacks on Darya, rural Damascus, 28-12-2012 so far today, dropping missiles and cluster bombs on residential areas near the town centre. At least one martyr, a youth named as Tariq Mahmoud, has been confirmed killed in the brutal aerial bombardment. Moadamiyeh, Damascus, 28-12-2012: Moadamiyeh is under bombardment by MiG warplanes in conjunction with heavy artillery shelling by the regime’s notorious Fourth Division.

Syria jihadists eye post-Assad Islamic rule – AFP

In an audio tape posted online on Friday the head of the group, Abu Mohammed Al-Jawlani, said clearly – and repeatedly – that Islamists must rule in post-Assad Syria.