The following reports from Tabqua airport (located between Aleppo and Raqqa) should not come as a complete surprise at a time of rising defecions and internal feuds following the chemical weapons attack. Two serious develpments are reported.
VIRTUALLY CERTAIN: the two pilots who defected to Turkey brought their copters with them and bombed the base's arm supplies today, according to several sources. By itself, this would help accelerate Tabqa's fall--a strategic biggie coming not long after Mennegh.
POSSIBLE, EVEN PROBABLE: Assad forces may be fighting one another inside the base though it hasn't been confirmed. Two sources report explosions and machine gun fire coming from inside the base.
In event of a cruise missile attack Tabqa defenders would be sitting ducks. Because the base is surrounded, they can hard hide in nearby towns like their comrades in Damascus. That's a big motive for wanting out. On the other hand, certain parties, (pilots and the base commander for example) cannot defect or surrender, having committed known war crimes. The defecting pilots should be able to clear this part up.
Will we see similar problems as other surrounded air bases in the north await cruise missile attacks?
REGIME POISONED WELLS IN A STRATEGICALLY LOCATED TOWN?
Supposedly that's the case in Der Khabeyah, located where several roads intersect ssw or Daraya. After all the regime dumped the bodies of massacred civilians down wells in the Al Safira area previously and has bombed breadlines and set fire to crops.
Oops! I must apologize. The extremely well infomed and leading GOP presidential candidate Rand Paul assures us that the regime wouldn't attack its own citizens, citing that as "proof" that the rebels must have attacked themselves with chemical weapons. This is the same genius who tells us the rebels are "all Al Queda" with no exceptions. I suppose the regime is also defending democracy.
SURPRISE!: German poll favors bombing Assad by a wide margin (54 to 41).
BRITISH PARLIAMENT REJECTS INTERVENTION BUT IT MAY NOT MATTER
THe White House has made clear it would go it alone if necessary and Obama may have no choice about some attack after being publicly slapped in the head by Assad. France will likely go along. Its military forces are on the move and its president requires no parliamentary approval. Turkey and the Arabs will definitely support any bombing of Assad and have even agreed to finance it so as to nullify and Tea Party objections.
HAMA: Unusual amount of traffic at the airport where a civlian airplane has arrived.
AL RAQAA: Rebels reportedly fought off Kurdish PKK fighters trying to break the siege of Division 17.