Syria (Second) Update 2 August (IMEISS … Sherifa Zuhur)
Thursdays death toll is at least 130
The SAA shelled the town of Saraqeb in Idlib killing several people.
The Syrian foreign ministry says it “regrets” the resignation of Kofi Annan and that Syria was always completely engaged in the Annan plan (see below).
Syrian Kurds are now cooperating to some degree with the SNC. Last week the two main Syrian Kurdish entities, the Democratic Union Party and the Kurdish National Councils signed an agreement to establish a Supreme Kurdish Council. Their defense force has defected to Iraqi Kurdistan and is being trained there. Abd al-Basset Sieda, the new head of the SNC is a Kurdish activist which is seen as a positive sign. (However the SNC’s insistence on the word “Arab” in Syrian Arab republic is a problematic stance to the Kurds)
The FSA used a tank captured from the SAA to bombard the Menagh military airport outside Aleppo. The FSA has not as yet used much of the heavy armaments it has captured. It was the great disparity in the FSA’s small arms and the SAA’s heavy artillery, mortars, warplanes, helicopter gunships that had some experts predicting that the opposition could not hold out for long, and must instead select points for fighting, then retreat and regroup in new areas. The SAA’s heavy weaponry is designed for Syria’s designated primary threat, Israel. They are not as effective in a war with internal guerilla forces. Read more in this vein here: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/03/world/middleeast/as-conflict-continues-in-syria-assads-arms-face-strain.html?pagewanted=all
Mobile phone and internet services have been cut off in Aleppo. Syriatel is working, but only for calls.
The SAA shelled the Salahaddin area of Aleppo as clashes with the FSA took place there.
The SAA attacked the area of Araba`een in the northeastern part of the city of Hama since last night and through the day. At least 12 were killed and many wounded. The adjoining area of Tareeq Halab was also attacked. Homes were looted, electricity was cut off in these areas.
Burhan Ghalioun of the SNC said that if the opposition captures Aleppo, they will set up a headquarters at the presidential palace. Victory in Aleppo would allow the opposition to fight for a zone on up to the Turkish border. That is precisely why the SAA is battling so fiercely to retake Aleppo.
The SAA shelled the town of Azaz, at the checkpoint on the Turkish border.
The SAA carried out a series of raids on neighborhoods to the south of Damascus, including Yalda where 20 were killed and 47 reported killed in Jdailat Arsouz. It raided Muhajireen and arrested 20 persons. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that some of those killed in raids by the SAA in Damascus today were tortured and then executed.
Clashes between the SAA and the FSA took place in the Tadamun area of Damascus.
Doctors in Turkey are appealing for help and involvement by other countries to treat all the Syrian wounded who are being brought up to the border to be treated. Field hospitals in Syria are badly needed as the travel time to Turkey is so lengthy that many injured do not make it there. The heavy weaponry is causing more and more severe trauma cases. The injured need expensive and specialized surgeries they are not receiving.
The Turkish military held a military exercise on the southwestern border near Syria.
Lebanon’s General Security arrested and deported 14 Syrians today, one of whom may be a political activist as he contacted Human Rights Watch.
Kofi Annan will step down as special envoy of the United Nations and the Arab League for Syria as of the end of August. He has not been able to negotiate any ceasefire in the conflict. Nor did the Syrian government honor or implement his March ’12 six-point proposal and he was unable to obtain a forceful threat or action against Bashar al-Assad by the U.N. Security Council. He specifically said that name-calling and finger-pointing on the Security Council motivated his resignation. Annan and Nabil ElAraby are discussing his successor. His full statement is here: http://www.un.org/sg/statements/index.asp?nid=6223
A vote is scheduled for Friday in the U.N. General Assembly on a resolution drafted by the Arab League nations which asks for Bashar al-Assad to step down and relinquish power to a transitional government.
Hugo Chavez of Venezuela issued a statement in support of Russia and China’s support of Bashar al-Assad and criticized European governments for supplying Syrian “terrorists” with money and weapons.
U.S. Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta and King Abdullah of Jordan discussed a post-Bashar al-Assad Syria today, agreeing that Assad must be strongly pressured to go.
The UK’s David Cameron held talks with Russia’s Vladimir Putin, in London to watch judo at the Olympics, his first visit to England in 7 years. On Syria, Cameron said there are differences in their views, but they are agreed on the need for a stable Syria.
Barack Obama approved an additional 12 million dollars in humanitarian aid to Syria due to what he called the “horrific atrocities” committed by Bashar al-Assad.
Brown Lloyd James, the New York PR firm that the Assads engaged to promote Syria’s image claims it did not work for Syria after December 10th. Up to then, Asma al-Assad paid BLJ $5,000 per month. However, correspondence in Syria’s WikiLeaks shows that BLJ continued to offer advice beyond that date, including the Vogue magazine interview of Asma. BLJ has represented the Qadhdhafi regime, the Mujahidin al-Khalq and BLJ partner, Mike Holzmann, a former Clinton staffer, worked on behalf of Ayad Allawi and Qatar’s bid for the FIFA World Cup site. Holzmann defended his actions saying that the “official work” came when the US still had hopes for Syria’s reforms. In fact, the Vogue article and other work was conducted while the repression of the uprising was ongoing.
The FSA captured a customs border outpost in the town of Mamlaha on the Iraqi border.
There was a clash early Thursday on the Jordanian border and the SAA injured 2 Syrian refugees and a Jordanian soldier. The SAA opened fire on Jordanian patrols which were waiting to transport Syrian refugees. This is the first time the SAA has targeted Jordanian forces.
Refugees: A convoy of 43 trucks from Saudi Arabia departed Riyadh for Jordan’s Syrian refugee camps on Thursday evening with the first dispatch aid for the refugees. A 10 day national appeal for aid has raised $125 million so far.
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