Archive | July, 2012

Syria Update 30 July (IMEISS by Sherifa Zuhur)

30 Jul

Syria Update 30 July (IMEISS by Sherifa Zuhur)

Current death toll for Monday 85

Updated death toll for Sunday 150

The Free Syrian Army claims that it controls 60% of Aleppo. This contradicts the government’s claim last night that it had retaken the city.

The SAA claimed it had overrun a portion of the Salahaddin area of Aleppo in the morning.

The joint command of the Free Syrian Army has issued a national salvation draft, a blueprint for a political transition. It proposes a higher defense council which will include military leaders and high profile defected officers. The higher defense council is to create a presidential council, that in turn will choose 6 civilian and military leaders to lead a political transition. That group is to draft laws to be approved via referendum. There is to be a higher national council to protect the Syrian revolution which would monitor the transition as well.

The Syrian opposition took control of an important checkpoint to the northwest of Aleppo after a 10 hour battle with the SAA. This checkpoint allows them movement between Aleppo and Turkey.

SAA shelling via artillery and mortar in Aleppo this morning. The SAA shelled the town of Deir Hafer in Aleppo with warplanes.

Late yesterday a group of the Syrian opposition announced the formation of a military and security council for the Syrian coast – the area from Tartus to Ladhaqiyya.

SAA shelling via helicopter in Dara`a in the late afternoon.

Omar Khashram, a Palestinian correspondent for Al Jazeera was hit by shrapnel in Aleppo province after a mortar round hit near the car he was in . He is wounded, alive, and has been taken to hospital in Turkey.

Regional: The SNC head Abd al-Basset Sayda is visiting Iraq’s Kurdish region to try to convince Kurdish leaders to join the Syrian opposition.

International:

The UN’s Ban Ki Moon stated that the SAA attacked the convoy of Lieutenant General Babacar Gaye, head of the UN observer mission in Syria over the weekend, but that the armored vehicles had protected him and his companions from injury.
Lieutenant Gen. Babacar Gaye said that he saw heavy shelling of Homs and al-Rastan during his first visit to Syria.
U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta warned Assad that his attack on his own people in Aleppo will be a nail in his own coffin.
Syria closed its embassy in Australia.
Germany’s federal court will try a man employed at the Syrian embassy who passed on information regarding the Syrian opposition (presumably their contacts or whereabouts) to the Syrian government. The information he passed on led to multiple arrests in Syria. He will be tried on 35 counts of espionage.
Defections: The Syrian charge d’affairs in London has resigned.
Another brigadier general has defected from the SAA bringing the number of defected generals to 28.
12 Syrian police officers in the province of Ladhaqiyya have defected and fled to Turkey.
Borders: Greece is anticipating Syrian refugees fleeing from Turkey to Greece and will not allow illegal immigrants (?) in. The government has assigned 1800 officers and is setting up 26 floating barriers on the Evros river.

Syria 2nd Update 29 July (IMEISS by Sherifa Zuhur)

30 Jul

Syria 2nd Update 29 July (IMEISS …. Sherifa Zuhur)

Sunday’s death toll is now 114
Updated death toll for Saturday is more than 180

Late Sunday night a Syrian intelligence officer claimed that the SAA had taken back the Salahaddin area of Aleppo. Reuters journalists could not confirm that this was true, and the SOHR claimed that fighting was continuing in the area, and that the opposition had held off the government’s ground offensive, and close to midnight the government had paused in its effort. Today in Aleppo there were heavy clashes in Arkub, Bab al-Hadid, Zahraa, and al-Hindrat camp and shellings. Helicopter gunships were sighted in Saif al-Dawla and Salahaddin
Nabil ElAraby, who heads the Arab League said the AL supports the calls from the Syrian opposition for an emergency U.N. Security Council meeting concerning the situation in Aleppo, where the Arab League believes that war crimes are being committed. Arab League representatives plan to visit Russia and China to try to convince them not to veto emergency action.

Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood said that Bashar al-Assad is “legally and morally responsible for the death of every victim in Syria;” that Iran and Russia were “drowning the blood of the Syrian people” and that Sergei Lavrov (the Russian Foreign Minister) had given “Assad the green light to carry out a massacre.” Also that the international community is a partner to this violence because it has stayed silent for too long. It warned of a massacre in Aleppo and pointed out that Assad had failed to deliver basic services to much of Aleppo’s population.

Syrian troops killed two men who tried to cross in Jordan.

The opposition took over the hated and feared military intelligence headquarters in al-Bab in northern part of the province of Aleppo. Several members of military intelligence have become prisoners of the FSA there.

The SAA killed 21 in Shaykh Maskeen in Dara`a.

By late morning, the SAA had killed 21 in Idlib and near Damascus.

The SAA shelled al-Harak, al-Yaduda, and Khirbet Ghazali in al- Dara`a.

The SAA shelled al-Rastan, al-Khaldiya, and Houla in Homs.

The FSA liberated a building in the Bab Hood neighborhood of Homs after heavy fighting.

The Syrian opposition has again called on the U.N. Security Council to hold an emergency session to discuss the fighting in Aleppo.

The head of the SNC, Abd al-Basset Sida said that talks will be held in two weeks to create a transitional government in Syria that could replace Assad’s.

The Syrian foreign minister, Walid al-Moallem held a joint press conference with the Iranian foreign minister. Al-Moallem stated that Syria has sufficient defenses (with or without weapons of mass destruction [a reference to chemical weapons]) to defeat the “terrorists” and “plots” and at the same time blamed the conflict on U.S., Western and Arab countries. The Iranian foreign minister said that a managed transfer of power in Syria would be an “illusion.”

Borders: Syrian border guards killed opposition fighters who attempted to cross from Turkey into Syria in the Ayn Bayda area near Jisr al-Shughur.

Refugees: About 12,000 have fled Syria for Algeria. The Syrian opposition said there are already about 18,000 to 20,000 Syrians in Algeria.

Jordan officially opened its first refugee camp for Syrians in that country.

Syria (Update) 28 July (IMEISS .. Sherifa Zuhur)

28 Jul

28 July Syria: Update (IMEISS … Sherifa Zuhur)

The death toll is currently 120.
(The revised death toll from Friday is 160)

The SAA counteroffensive began in Aleppo with the troops and tanks that had been massing around the city moving into the southwestern areas of the business district. Civilians are trapped and moved into crowded basements, or were fleeing on the streets (and being hit). Artillery was fired repeatedly on the Salahadin area from the early morning as troops advanced. Military helicopters were pounding the area as of 4 hrs. ago. The FSA initially repulsed the SAA’s attack on their headquarters in Salahadin (about 11 hrs. ago) and had destroyed 8 tanks, but there were 100 tanks waiting there. Here is a video of some of the shelling of Salahadin

An emergency call went out to doctors to come to Salahadin if they can. There was also shelling in Hamdanieh (which is adjacent to Salahadin).

Since then it seems the FSA has had more success fighting back than initially expected.

Syrian security forces killed 15 people at Maadamiya near Damascus.
The SAA seized the Palestine hospital in Damascus’ Yarmouk camp, detained injured patients and transferred them to an unknown location. The SAA had twice shelled the hospital on Thursday, as it is trying to prevent treatment of any wounded or injured other than the SAA and the medics are treating wounded of both sides at the hospital. The SAA also shelled the Red Crescent medical complex, damaging it badly. This leaves only one hospital in Yarmouk.

The Al Farouk Brigade blew up two of the SAA’s Zell trucks which had been on their way to al-Qusair.

Fighting has been reported in Homs, Dara`a and al-Rastan.

Two Italian electrical engineers, Domenico Tedeschi and Oriano Cantanti, who were subcontractors to the Ansaldo company and who had been kidnapped for 8 days were released late Friday. Syrian state TV said the SAA had freed them.

Defections: The Syrian Ambassador to Belarus, Farouq Taha has announced his defection from the Syrian regime.

Regional: A Saudi Arabian campaign to help the Syrian people has run over the last four days (it will run an additional day). Saudi Crown Prince Ahmed announced the campaign had raised more than SR 246 million (and in addition there are donations of food, medicine, blankets, tents, etc.)(SPA) A different source estimated the total at $72.33 million. That amount included a personal donation of 20 million riyals from King Abdullah.

International: Russia said it refuses to comply with the new EU measures against Syria and will not allow anyone to search ships flying the Russian flag.

Russia’s Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov said Russia has not and “is not even thinking” of offering Assad asylum.

The French President, Francois Hollande has called for the Security Council to intervene in Syria as soon as possible.

Refugees: A UNHCR report today said that 34,000 Syrian refugees are in Lebanon and are receiving aid. Of these, 31, 596 are registered with the UNHCR.

The Angry Arab says there will now be more balance in al-Jazeera’s coverage of Syria because he will appear on al-Jazeera (to blast the rebels and call them stooges of the Saudi ARabians). He also wrote saying the Canadian woman who went to join the FSA is a fake and a long paragraph about the religious language of the FSA, or overuse of religious language (apparently it is improper to say ‘Allahu Akbar’)

27 July Syria Update

27 Jul

27 July Syria: Update (IMEISS: Sherifa Zuhur)

By early afternoon, 61 people had died in Syria.

The SAA engaged in intense artillery shelling of the areas around Aleppo today. Heavy caliber mortar rounds have been targeting the west of the city and helicopter gunships have been bombarding eastern Aleppo.

The SAA has encircled Aleppo and the opposition reports they have no doctors or equipment to treat those injured, although they have stockpiled medical supplies as well as ammunition. The Red Crescent has suspended some of its operations due to the heavy fighting.

The SAA killed 15 people in the Firdaws area of Aleppo when they bombarded a building.

The FSA said it had captured 100 SAA troops in Aleppo.

The SAA surrounded the as-Said hospital in al-Mayadeen in Damascus and clashing with the opposition there. SAA troops moved heavily into and fired on the al-Hajjar al-Aswad neighborhood of Damascus.

The SAA has been shelling the town of Basra al-Sham. The SAA has shelled al-Habeet and Maarat al-Naaman in Idlib.

Clashes took place between the SAA and the opposition in al-Mayadin in Deir az-Zur.

The SAA killed 11 people in Dara`a, 5 of them in a Palestinian refugee camp there. They had shelled al-Harak and al-Kirk.

The SAA shelled Houla in Homs following protests there.

Friday Protests (all were anti-regime): The SAA opened fire against a protest in Idlib. There were protests in al-Kobani and in Hama’s al-Hamidiyya. There was a protest in Zamalka in the Damascus region to support the opposition in Aleppo and Damascus. A protest was held in Sarmin in Idlib. There was a protest on the main road from Hama to Aleppo. The SAA fired on a protest in al-Aouwani in Ladhaqiyya. Protests were held in Houla in Homs in support of the opposition in Aleppo and Damascus. A protest was held in al-Tal. Protests were held in the al-Halak, al-Masakeen Hananou, Tariq al-Bab areas of Aleppo and near the Imam al-Shafi` mosque in al-Masakeen al-Sabil in Aleppo. A protest was held in Jabala in the Ladhaqiyya area. Protests were held in al-Zahira al-Qadima in Damascus and in the town of Harastah in Damascus province. A protest was held in Dael in the Dara`a district. A protest in support of the FSA was held in al-Ghariya. A protest was held in Abu Kamel in Deir az-Zur. Protests were held in the mosques of al-Yaduda in Dara`a and these called for the execution of Bashar al-Assad. Protests were held in Serin, Sayf al-Dawla, al-Shaar, and al-Izaa in Aleppo.

The Red Cross is moving members of its team to Beirut and plans to leave approximately 50 staff in Damascus, the only place in the country where the Red Cross has a presence (the Red Crescent has been operating in Aleppo).

BG (Brigadier General) Fayez Amr said that the establishment of an-inclusive transitional or interim government is the only way to solve the crisis. He complained of a lack of unity within the FSA and the SNC and said the SNC was not supporting the council of army defector-officers (he is among them) sufficiently.

Regional: Hizbullah fighters crossed over into Syria in the area of Hawsh al-Sayyid Ali in Hermel to aid the SAA in their fight against the Syrian opposition. It has already been reported that Hizbullah members of the 910 unit of the Jihad Council have been fighting with the SAA in al-Qusair, al-Rastan and Homs, and has been operating in al-Zabadani (there have been numerous denials of Hizbullah’s involvement including by the Angry Arab).

International:

Robert Mood, the former chief of the UN observer mission said that Assad’s fall from power is only a matter of time.

The Foreign Ministers of the UK, France and Italy have all expressed concerns that the Assad government will commit a massacre in Aleppo and called on “all” to exert pressure on Bashar al-Assad.

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pilay appealed to both the Syrian regime and the opposition to spare the lives of civilians. She also mentioned reports indicating that the opposition had executed prisoners (even if these are SAA personnel, these constitute human rights violations).

Some reports indicate that Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq have allied with a Syrian Kurdish party. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan responded to this news saying that Turkey will strike at “terrorists” in Syria and not permit a Kurdish-run region in northern Syria. This position is notwithstanding the Turkish support for the Syrian opposition.

Defections: Ikhlas Badawi, an MP from Aleppo defected and fled to Turkey saying “I have crossed to Turkey and defected from this tyrannical regime” and that
she is protesting “violence against the people.”

Refugees: The SAA fired on civilians fleeing into Jordan and killed a 3 year child.

26 July Syria Update

26 Jul

26 July Syria Update (by Sherifa Zuhur)

The death toll by the early evening was 145.

The SAA clashed with the FSA near the Commercial Bank in Aleppo, and in the neighborhoods of al-Firdaws and al-Ansari. This is the sixth day of fighting in Aleppo.

A major SAA assault on Aleppo is expected as 80 tanks are stationed outside of southern Aleppo, the SAA has been shelling by helicopter gunship and mortar, and the U.S. has warned of a bloodbath. The opposition in the area of Salaheddin said they plan to fight to the death. The FSA’s Ahmed Zaidan said the SAA was trying to send even more troops to Aleppo, but the FSA was trying to delay them by launching attacks or closing roads.

UNESCA urged the combatants to try not to damage historically-important sites
especially in Aleppo (some have been badly damaged in Homs and elsewhere already)

The FSA is holding al-Bab, about 20 miles east of Aleppo and flying the Free Syrian flag. An army garrison nearby has not capitulated, and the fighters in al-Bab have insufficient arms.

Clashes between the SAA and the FSA near the tomb of the Unknown Soldier in
the Qassiyun area of Damascus

The SAA shelled Homs and Idlib today.

The SAA shelled the area of Daraya near Damascus killing 7.

The SAA killed 16 civilians in the town of Yalda in Damascus province.

SAA has shelled the town of Tel Shehab in Dar`a province and at least 22 were killed.

The SAA shelled al-Khalidiyya and other areas in Homs.

The SAA and the opposition fought through the night in Aleppo. Both sides sent reinforcements in.

Clashes were reported in the Yarmouk camp in Damascus.

International

A meeting which excluded the SNC was held by the Catholic charity Sant’Egidio in Rome where 17 other dissident/opposition participants, all who were pacifists signed a joint appeal for a political solution to the conflict.

Bashar al-Assad has thanked the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-Un for supporting his cause.

Bashar al-Assad has issued a decree to establish specialized terrorism courts.

Ban Ki Moon warned the international community not to repeat the errors in Bosnia as he visited a memorial in Srebrenica where Muslims were massacred.

Russia’s navy is participating in a naval exercise in the Mediterranean near Syria, but said it would not dock its ships at Tartus.

In Paris, prosecutors opened an investigation into the activities of the French company Qosmos which has supplied the Syrian government with surveillance equipment.

Refugees: Have given daily #s of those who fled in these updates. Many are displaced within Syria, sleeping in the streets, not finding shelter or able to travel to the camps on the borders. 120,000 have registered with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, but the UNHCR said the total # is much higher and there are insufficient funds. The EU said three out of four refugees are women or children, fleeing with nothing but the clothes they are wearing.

300 people fled Syria into Turkey on Tuesday night.

25 July Syria Update

25 Jul

I have been writing daily updates – check my FB page. This way you can share a link.

25 July Syria Update (by Sherifa Zuhur)

The death toll had reach 83 by mid-afternoon on Wednesday. (A different news source lists 100) The death count for Tuesday was 182.

By late afternoon, the FSA claimed to hold about half of Aleppo and a major confrontation is expected as a huge number of SAA troops have moved into the area from Edleb. There was fierce fighting in Aleppo over the previous night.

The SAA has been shelling al-Herak, al-Shaykh Maskin and Daraa al-Balad

An SAA air raid on al-Ruston in Homs killed 6 people. The SAA shelled al-Qadam in Damascus. In the al- Qaboun area of Damascus, 20 bodies were discovered which had been tortured and/or burned. (A different news source listed 11 bodies)

The SAA shelled the village of al-Thahiriyya in Qamishli killing 7. The SAA killed 21 people in Hassake. The SAA bombarded al-Hajar al-Aswad in Damascus using helicopters and artillery.

150 of the UN’s 300 international observers have left Syria. The new commander of the observer force, Lt. General Babacar Gaye has just arrived in Damascus and explained that the force would do what it could given the difficult circumstances.

Brigadier-General Manaf Tlas issued a statement from Paris on Tuesday that was aired on al-Arabiyya channel. Tlas, previously close to Bashar al-Assad, made it clear that he had defected and decried the regime’s violence. http://english.alarabiya.net/articles/2012/07/25/228190.html

An Egyptian fighting with the FSA, Muhammad Ibrahim al-Sheikh was killed by the SAA. Reportedly, there are other Egyptians and Libyans fighting with the FSA.

International:
It was announced by a German thinktank, that about 50 members of the Syrian opposition are in Berlin working on a blueprint for political transition after the exodus or ouster of Bashar al-Assad.
Russia announced its readiness to host talks between the Syrian opposition and Bashar al-Assad. Sergey Lavrov, the Foreign Minister said that the reaction by the U.S. to last week’s assassination of 4 of Assad’s security chiefs was tantamount to an endorsement of terrorism. Russia condemned the new EU sanctions against Syria.
Syria sent an economic delegation to Iran to meet there and cooperate in the face of economic sanctions against Syria.
Defections: General Nader Darouch, the commander of the SAA’s 137th division in Deir az-Zur has defected.
2 more Syrian brigadier-generals defected and fled to Turkey overnight. 27 generals thus far are known to have defected.
100 military have defected from the SAA in Aleppo.
Mohammad Tahsin al-Faqir, the security attaché of the Syrian embassy in Oman has defected.
Syria’s envoy to the UAE Abd al-Latif al-Dabbagh has defected. He and his wife are said to be in Qatar.
Syria’s charge d’affaires to Cyprus, Lamia Hariri has defected. She is the niece of Farouk Sharaa, the Syrian vice president.
Refugees:
Over the evening, Tuesday, 300 people fled from Syria to Turkey as the Turkish government promised to keep borders open to refugees. However the Turkish government closed three border crossings on Wednesday to any Turkish nationals attempting to enter Syria.
The Palestinian Coalition for the Syrian Revolution reported that 105 Palestinian families have returned from Syria to Gaza via the Rafah crossing from Egypt.
11:39 Syrian Ambassador to UAE Abdellatif al-Dabbagh defected, Al-Jazeera reported on Wednesday