Syria Update August 9, 2012 (IMEISS … by Sherifa Zuhur)
Death toll is currently 105
The Director of Aleppo’s Religious Endowments and Administration, Ahmad Eissa Mohammad has defected and arrived safely in Egypt.
The FSA announced that the Chief of Protocol at the Syrian Presidential Palace, Muhi al-Din Maslamani had defected from the al-Assad government. However, Maslamani returned to Syria saying he had been in Lebanon for medical treatment and returned to set the record straight.
The SAA is using warplanes and tanks to shell and fired missiles on the towns of Tel Rifat and Hreitan which are north of Aleppo, and the point of origin for the resistance which has moved into Aleppo. In Tel Rifat an air force jet was seen nosediving as missiles blew up civilians’ homes, farms and trucks. The SAA is trying to cut the main lines of the FSA from Tel Rifat to Aleppo by so doing.
The Red Cross delivered food and medical supplies to Aleppo today for the first time since the current standoff between the SAA and the FSA began.
The FSA took over the town of Binnish in Idlib.
The FSA is in control of the town of al-Dana to the north of Aleppo, but the town’s population appear nervous. Business has plummeted, food prices have risen, and there is a fuel shortage affecting the whole area. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0r3Yicjd3V0&feature=player_embedded
There was a fresh offensive by the SAA in Aleppo. The FSA destroyed three tanks in the Salahaddin area of Aleppo. Reports indicated the FSA has partially or fully withdrawn from Salahaddin earlier in the day, however, clashes broke out later in the day after the SAA returned and continued fighting. The FSA is operating in other areas of Aleppo.
The SAA shelled al-Harak and Daal in Dara`a province.
The SAA shelled the town of Hass in Idlib. The SAA shelled the town of Ariha near Idlib.
There were clashes in the morning in Ain al-Neen in Damascus.
The Syrian government will try a prominent human rights activist, Mazen Darwish in a military court. The group Reporters Without Borders condemned that decision today.
Bashar al-Assad appointed Wael Nader al-Halqi, age 48, currently the minister of health to be the new prime minister today, since the previous prime minister has defected.
International: More than 25 nations including Russia, Iran, Mauritania, Jordan, India, Pakistan, Cuba and others (but no Western nations) attended a Tehran meeting aimed at presenting an alternative solution to the Syrian crisis. The participants signed a joint statement which calls for a three month ceasefire during which the participants want the “rebels” to talk to the Syrian government about needed reforms.
Kuwait declined to attend the conference on Syria in Tehran.
Michel Samaha, a former Lebanese minister and former MP with close ties to Bashar al-Assad was detained early in the morning. His home was searched, telephones and a laptop confiscated. He had confessed to planning attacks in Lebanon at Syria’s orders. http://www.naharnet.com/stories/en/49451-michel-samaha-arrested-for-security-reasons
A team of 25 French military doctors is on its way to the Jordanian-Syrian border to set up a mobile hospital to treat the Syrian refugees there. (This news was misreported by Press TV as “French troops sent to Jordan” without disclosing their purpose). Currently there is an Italian field hospital in northern Jordan.
Refugees: The Turkish government reported that 2,000 Syrian refugees fled into Turkey over the last 2 days. A different source reported that 3,000 Syrian refugees fled from their country into Turkey today.
About 160 Syrian refugees (68 men, 25 women and 65 children) arrived by fishing boat in Crotone, Italy on Wednesday. They were transferred to the Isola di Capo Rizzuto temporary detention camp.
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights stated that there 1.5 million internally displaced persons in Syria and urged the Syrian government to allow humanitarian actors access to aid these internally displaced persons.
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.