Syria Update 1 August (IMEISS … Sherifa Zuhur)
Today’s death toll is 117 including 50 killed in Jdayet Artouz in a massacre outside of Damascus (this was initially reported as 30 killed). Here is a graphic picture of the victims. http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=356647074404693&set=a.134521283283941.23044.131596696909733&type=1&theater
Bashar al-Assad gave an address to government forces to create a sense of existential threat to spur them on to fight the opposition with greater zeal. He said that Syria’s “battle with the enemy takes multiple forms” and “determines the destiny of our people and nation.” Some reports said he referred to a crucial and heroic battle which might mean Aleppo.
Sausan Ghosheh, the U.N. mission spokeswoman in Syria issued a statement which simply said heavy weapons are being used (and captured) in Aleppo, and the U.N. is very concerned about civilians.
The SAA is using MIG-21 fighter jets to strafe and bomb opposition-held areas of Aleppo. Fierce fighting continued there. The FSA attacked a military base in the Salah al-Din area killing 20 and 16 SAA troops were captured.
Sinan Gul, a Turkish photojournalist for the Anadolu Agency was wounded in the foot while covering the clashes in Aleppo and has now been transferred to hospital in Istanbul.
Fierce fighting was reported in Bab Touma and Bab Sharqi, Christian areas of Damascus. The opposition attacked the SAA in Bab Sharqi at 4:00 a.m.
There were clashes in the al-Qadam area of Damascus today.
The SAA shelled the Tadamun suburb of Damascus at dawn this morning.
The SAA shelled Eido and Mzein in Ladhaqiyya.
Near the northern town of Azaz, a SAA sniper who had been firing on civilians and opposition from a minaret was seized by the FSA. He was taken to a grave, “tried” after witnesses statements were taken and executed.
The SAA fired on a funeral procession in Mohaymayda in Deir az-Zur, killing 8 people, mostly women and children.
In northern Ladhaqiyya (Latakia), clashes between Nusayri villages armed by al-Assad and Turkoman communities have taken place, and the latter have been bombed by the SAA.
The SAA has been firing GRAD missiles on the town of Hrak in Dara`a.
The Polish embassy in Syria withdrew its diplomats last week. It had been handling any US affairs and that function has transferred now to the Czech embassy in Syria.
A Ukrainian military airplane evacuated 138 Ukrainians, 15 Poles and 7 Syrians to Kiev from Aleppo. It was supposed to stop to pick up an additional 40 Ukrainians from Damascus. Most of the evacuees were women married to Syrian men.
Human Rights Watch condemned the FSA’s killing (videotaped) of 4 member of the al-Barri tribe (reported here yesterday). Their background and actions on behalf of the Assad regime were not identified in the international media, they were simply referred to as “Assad loyalists.”
Turkey staged tank exercises on Syria’s border.
Turkish foreign minister Ahmet Davotoglu arrived in Iraqi Kurdistan for talks with Masoud Barzani about the Syrian Kurds.
Ten Russian ships plus escort vessels are in the Mediterranean for the Kaskad 2012 exercise. It was announced they would not dock in Tartus about 4 days ago, however blogs quoted the Turkish press announcing that one had docked in Tartus. In fact, the naval base in Tartus is a Russian military naval facility staffed by Russians with the PM-138 floating workshop which provides repairs and replenishments to Russian warships in the Mediterranean. It only has room for four medium-sized naval vessels and cannot host a warship.
Erdogan and Obama’s (earlier reported) 7/30 conversation about Syria apparently covered the two leaders belief that de-Baathification should not take place, and that members of the old regime who had not been responsible for violence could take part in a new government.
Refugees: Turkey’s Ceylanpinar camp is housing 12,000 Syrian refugees in a remote and desolate area. http://www.smh.com.au/photogallery/world/syrian-refugees-in-turkey-20120731-23coe.html
Father Simon Faddoul of Caritas Lebanon, a charity agency said that the real number of refugees in Lebanon is much higher than the 34,096 reported by the government, probably about 100,000 and he also spoke of the 300,000 Syrian workers who have been bringing their families with them to Lebanon. Caritas distributes aid in Tripoli and the Biqa` Valley region. A Catholic Relief Services spokesperson described the mood of the refugees as grim and despairing. http://www.catholicsun.org/2012/08/01/catholic-aid-workers-find-syrian-refugees-are-in-dark-about-the-future/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=catholic-aid-workers-find-syrian-refugees-are-in-dark-about-the-future