Syria Update, August 12, 2012 (IMEISS …. by Sherifa Zuhur)
The current Sunday death toll is 90.
Death toll on Saturday was 148.
Summary: The SAA is engaged with the opposition in multiple areas of Syria. The battle for Aleppo continues where telecommunication services have been cut off. The SAA claimed to have wiped out the opposition in Damascus. However, daily if not hourly reports continue of clashes, arrests, and continued action by the SAA in Damascus where the opposition remains active in some suburbs. A massive incursion into Homs follows two months of a serious siege there by government forces. If Turkey sets up refuges within Syria and no-fly zones as was suggested today, then safe corridors and areas for the opposition can be maintained under humanitarian principles. The link here may be overstating the current ‘plans’
The SAA shelled al-Shaar, Masken Hanano and Salahaddin in Aleppo where telecommunication services have been cut off.
The SAA launched a major invasion of al-Shamas in Homs where the opposition has been besieged for two months. The SAA forced 350 young men into the square of a mosque and executed at least 10 men. A minivan fleeing Shammas carrying children was fired on and 3 children were killed.
In al-Rastan, severe shelling has caused casualties and injuries.
Clashes took place in various towns in Idlib province on Saturday.
15 civilians were killed by SAA shelling in al-Tal (on the northern edge of Damascus) on Saturday including Yusuf al-Bushi, a defector from the SAA who has been working with news organizations as a citizen journalist. The SAA had been shelling and bombarding by helicopter for three days before launching a tank and ground assault into al-Tal.
There were clashes in al-Qadam in Damascus and house-to-house raids and arrests in Qabr Aatka.
The Syrian state news agency (SANA) announced that reporter Ali Abbas was assassinated Saturday night in his home in the Jdaidet Artouz area of Damascus.
The SAA is shelling the town of Tafas in Dara`.
Defections: The deputy policy commander for the province of Homs, Brigadier General Ibrahim al-Jabawi who hails from Dara`a has defected.
Joma` al-Aanzi who is the Director for Public Prosecutions for ar-Reqqah province announced his defection from the Assad government. He called for the opposition to unify/ He is reportedly in Saudi Arabia.
The Arab League delayed a meeting on Syria planned for today because the Saudi Arabian foreign minister, Sa`ud al-Faisal had to undergo a minor operation.
The German foreign minister, Guido Westerwelle said that Bashar al-Assad should appear before the International Criminal Court but expressed his view that foreign military intervention would only complicate matters in Syria.
The U.S. Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton has set up a working group in Turkey to explore worst-case scenarios in Syria, including the use of chemical weapons. Ms. Clinton and the Turkish foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu met with Syrian refugees in Istanbul. She also announced an addition $5.5 million in aid for Syrian refugees in Turkey.
Both Ban Ki-Moon and Kofi Annan said they support a continued U.N. (or flexible U.N.) presence in Syria.
Egyptian foreign ministry spokesman Amr Rushdy said that more than 1300 Egyptian nationals have been evacuated from Syria in the last 3 weeks. The Egyptian government paid for the travel of 273 Egyptians.
In Lebanon on Saturday, a military court charged two Syrian officers – Brigadier General Ali Mamlouk and a Colonel Adnan with providing IEDs to Lebanese politician Michel Samaha. The three face charges of forming an armed group to spread sectarian violence through political and religious assassinations.
King Abdullah II of Jordan met with the Amir of Qatar, Shaykh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani on Friday and they discussed Syria, expressing solidarity with the Syrian people and the need to find a political solution to the Syrian crisis.
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.