Syria Second Update, August 4, 2012 (IMEISS … by Sherifa Zuhur)
Saturday’s current death toll is 113.
Clashes took place between the SAA and the FSA near Aleppo’s Immigration and Visa office.
MIG fighter jets and other aircraft bombed Aleppo today and also on Friday. The FSA moved from the Salahaddin neighborhood into al-Adhamiyya today, but was forced to retreat from the second area after clashes. The SAA was shelling from helicopter to try to break through the front lines of the FSA in the Salahaddin neighborhood. Shelling and ground assaults continued on Salahaddin into the evening.
Snipers are active in the Old City in Aleppo.
The FSA has taken over wheat warehouses in Aleppo’s suburbs and is baking bread for the opposition and residents. Business owners are supporting set groups of fighters (with food) or supporters of the opposition. In the face of greatly increasing consumer prices some Damascus businessmen are providing government-subsidized fuel, water, and bread to the opposition (NYT).
Clashes took place in al-Salhiyya and Rokenedin in Damascus today.
An FSA woman solider explained that (contrary to the Angry Arab’s assertions) many women are working with the FSA as intelligence. Training was provided in Turkey at secret camps. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-19124810
Fresh battles marked a continuing SAA offensive in Damascus today with heavy bombing by helicopters since dawn. The SAA shelled the Tadamun area more heavily this morning than ever before and clashes took place there and in the Jobar area.
The International Red Cross appealed to all parties in the Syrian conflict to respect humanitarian law.
Doctors in Syria who are helping the opposition have been receiving smuggled medical supplies from Jordan.
Al-Nusra, a shadowy militant group announced that it had executed Mohammed al-Saeed, a television presenter which the group had kidnapped from his home in July.
Forty-eight Iranian pilgrims were captured on the airport road outside of Damascus on their way to the airport by “armed groups.”
The SNC’s Basma Kodmani said the SNC is working hard on a blueprint for Syria without Assad and did not rule out a role for Manaf Tlass.
The Qatari Prime Minister said that the Arab states will not accept another UN international envoy for Syria unless his mandate is clearly defined to effect a transfer of power.
The European Union called on Lebanon not to render Syrian refugees back to Syria (which Lebanon has already done) as they are unprotected and will face torture.
About a dozen protested against the Olympic participation of Syrian equestrian, Ahmad Saber Hamcho. Hamcho’s father, Mohammed and his company, Hamsho International is named on the US and EU sanctions list on the regime of Bashar al-Assad. He has been a part of the group controlling the Syrian economy for decades.
Manaf Tlass held meetings with Turkish Foreign Ministry officials during a visit to Ankara.
China defended its UN vote by strongly criticized Western countries for sabotaging a political process toward transition in Syria by advocating regime change.
Israeli soldiers shot and wounded a Syrian man who was trying to cross the border fence in the Golan.
Defections: Four army officers including a general and a colonel defected from the SAA.
Refugees: Another 650 Syrians fled to Turkey over the last 24 hours.
Basic Facts about Syria:
Population: 22,530,746 Ethnicities: Arab 90.3%, Kurds, Armenians, and other 9.7% Religious Groups: Sunni Muslim (74%, other Muslim (includes Alawite, Isma`iliyya, Druze) 16%, Christian 10%, Jewish (very small numbers)
GDP Growth Rate: -2% (2011) GDP: $64.7 billion
GDP Growth Rate: -2% (2011)
Unemployment: 8.3% Youth Unemployment (ages 15-24): 19.1% (female unemployment in that age category is 49.1%
Internet Users: 4.469 million
Exchange Rate: 46.456 Syrian pounds per US dollar
Military Expenditures: 5.9% of GDP (2005)
Population Growth Rate: -0797.% (since the conflict)
Population Age Structure: 0-14 years: 35.2%; 15-64 years: 61%; 65 years and over: 3.8%
Literacy: male 86% female 73.6% Syrian Arab Army (prior to the conflict) 220,000 regular and 280,000 reserves. Of the 200,000 career soldiers, 140,000 are Alawi.
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