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’)