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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.
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.
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