Syria Update 6 August (IMEISS … by Sherifa Zuhur)

7 Aug

Syria Update August 6, 2012 (IMEISS …. by Sherifa Zuhur)

Death toll: At least 155 people died in Syria today.

Syria’s Prime Minister, Riad Hijab defected to Jordan along with 10 families who are his relatives and among them are others who held governmental posts. It was announced early Monday that Hijab was fired from his post; he was first appointed on 23 June and thought to be a loyalist in the Baath Party. Hijab (age 46) is from Deir az-Zur, where most of the tribal population backs the resistance. He was previously the minister of agriculture and holds a doctorate in agricultural engineering. He was president of the Deir az-Zur of the National Union of Syrian Students from 1989 to 1998 and led the Baath Party in Deir az-Zur in 2004. He has been governor of Quneitra and of Ladhaqiyya (Latakia).

U.N. observers have been pulled out of Aleppo because of worsening security and were moved back to Damascus.

The SAA continued shelling areas of Aleppo, including Salahaddin district and there were casualities, including at least 17 children. The SAA shelled the Palace of Justice and the neighborhoods of Marjeh, al-Shaar, Salahaddin, Sayf al-Dawla, Bab al-Hadid, and Sakhur.
The SAA shot a civilian who was aiding the wounded in Bab al-Nayrab, Aleppo.
In Aleppo, foreign correspondents witnessed 2 MIG fighter jets fire missiles onto a residential home killing two families hiding in the basement.
A Palestinian resident of Aleppo described how he and a co-worker were picked up by security, bound, beaten, taken to jail where they were never fed. After 4 days, 11 were taken to an execution site in Khaldiya, shot and killed, yet this one man survived. http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/survivor-describes-syria-mass-killing-16942686#.UCB3xWAuihY
A bomb exploded on the third floor of Syria’s state television and radio building in Damascus. Three were wounded.
Clashes between the SAA and the FSA broke out in the Shaykh Ibrahim area of Damascus. The SAA ordered civilians to evacuate the area.
In Damascus the group which has seized 48 Iranian civilians said that 3 of those civilians were dead as a result of government shelling
The SAA attacked the village of Harbnafsa in Hama province killing 40 people according to the SNC.

Defectors: More would defect if they could arrange for their families to leave Syria as has Riad Hijab. Hosam Hafez, the defected former ambassador to Armenia said that the family of the first defected officer, Hussein Harmoush was killed. Hafez also said more diplomats would defect, but many have been recalled to Syria and that his own defection was difficult to plan and execute. Lieutenant-General Abu Furat al-Garabolsi an army tank brigade commander explained that the government would be alerted if any officer or politician sent his family out of Syria. He managed to send his own family out of Syria under the pretext of a vacation during school holidays. Then when ordered to carry out a tank operation against the FSA, he defected and escaped. His family was safe, but his home was burned to the ground.

International: Iran is hosting a meeting of governmental ministers from countries which are “realistic” on Syria (meaning they support Bashar al-Assad).

A Twitter message from @MiniInterRussia, the account of Russian Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev claimed Bashar al-Assad and his wife had been attacked and killed in Latakia. The message spread rapidly. The Ministry denied that he had posted the message and claimed it was a hoax by an Italian journalist

Basma Kodmani of the Syrian National Council said that Qatar, Saudi Arabia and possibly Libya were supplying light arms and conventional weapons to the Free Syrian Army, which is also buying weapons from the black market.

Americans will now be able to legally contribute to the Syrian opposition. The United States has granted the Syrian Support Group a license to begin raising money for Syrians to be used for financial, communications, logistical and other services.

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.

If you want to keep informed on Syria and other issues in the Middle East and Islamic world, you might “like” the Institute of Middle Eastern, Islamic, and Strategic Studies on Facebook.

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