• A drone was shot down in Homs in February. The version given by Christophe Ayad from Le Monde is of course that of a Syrian missile purchased from Iran that was destroyed by the rebels. While the journalist acknowledges that Israeli and U.S. drones are monitoring the region, he dismisses Syria’s ability to shoot them.

• In total disconnect from the Russian press, Le Figaro’s Barluet Alain believes that Russia is annoyed with Syria’s intransigence. It’s been a recurrent mantra for months to announce a possible Russian desertion of Syria. As if Moscow were embarrassed by the Syrian crackdown when Moscow has kept repeating that there is no political repression in Syria, but a foreign military interference.

• The French Catholic daily La Croix dedicates a cover story on Syria with not even a line on the massacres of Christians by the rebels and the confiscation of their property by the Free "Syrian" Army.

The Irish Times observes that the military drift of Syrian dissent has gradually cut it off from the population, pushing it into a corner. Junge Welt, the only anti-imperialist daily in Western Europe, welcomes this development which turned out to be a triumph for the al-Assad government, as shown by the events of 15 March.

• Maria Golovnina raves in The Scotsman about Rami Abdulrahman’s actions, a Coventry shopkeeper who, together with a friend, runs the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Two persons alone, without any logistical support but with many contacts in Syria, managed last year on a daily basis to inform the Western press on the crimes committed by the Syrian government. However, the reporter forgot to ask the London shopkeeper how he could know what was happening in Syria better than the Observer Mission deployed by the Arag League throughout the entire country for a whole month.

• A staunch supporter of the war, the neoconservative Max Boot derides the Pentagon’s dithering on Syria. In the Washington Post, he explains that the Defense Department’s fear that a military intervention may plunge Syria into a civil war makes no sense, since it is already there.

• Jonathan Spyer in the Jerusalem Post points out that in a matter of a few days the Syrian national army regained control of the rebel strongholds (Homs, Idlib, Deraa). But now matter how decisive, this military victory will not be enough for the fire is still smoldering and will light up again.

• According to the FAO, as reported by the Times of Oman, 1.4 million Syrians are likely to be caught up in a food crisis.

• The Khaleej Times reproduced an op-ed by John Podesta and Ken Guide. The coordinators of President Obama’s think tank stressed that the Libyan war has revealed the limits of European armies. The Syrian issue brings to the fore the urgency of a NATO reform and an increase in European military budgets.

Cartoons of the day

© The National

A year later, the rebels are completely surrounded by tanks. The National shows that the rebellion continues, but with no prospect. Paradoxically, the UAE daily recognizes at the same time that the military does not seek to crackdown on the opposition, but to contain it.

The Saudi Gazette implies that Kofi Annan can not believe Assad when he claims that all is well: Syria is painted with blood. On the contrary, the problem is that Kofi Annan appeared to be satisfied with his first contacts with the Syrian president, while being disappointed by the latter’s distrust.

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