Syria Update August 13, 2012 (IMEISS … by Sherifa Zuhur)
Today’s death toll is currently 100.
Sunday’s death toll was 150.
The SAA launched an offensive in the southern suburbs of Damascus on Assali, Nahar Aisha and al-Qadam and also outside Damascus on al-Tal, New Artuz and Irbin. These killed more than 45 people. Clashes also were seen in Harasta, held by the opposition, to the northeast of Damascus. Within Damascus, the security forces raided and made arrests in Qaimreya, al-Shaghur, Qashla, and in the Old City. This is the first time there was such a large-scale incursion into the Old City and the souks there where 22 were arrested. Later in the day, several homes were burned in Mezzeh and there were additional clashes in Damascus suburbs.
15 bodies were discovered in rubble in Hamouriyya in Damascus.
Today, the SAA shelled al-Rastan and al-Talbiseh in Homs killing 17 people.
There was an offensive in Homs in the Shamas area on Sunday which killed at least 16 civilians.
The opposition took over a checkpoint in Dara`a and claimed to have killed 69 SAA troops and shabiha.
A video posted online apparently shows opposition fighters throwing men – possibly shabiha, or possibly postal workers off of a roof to their deaths in al-Bab. Two other videos showed summary executions as well. The SOHR said it condemned such atrocities. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aX82oQ7NgYo&oref=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.nowlebanon.com%2FNewsArticleDetails.aspx%3FID%3D427407&has_verified=1&bpctr=1344891490
An opposition group claimed that it shot down a fighter jet in Eastern Syria near al-Muhassan in Deir az-Zur province. Syrian state news claims that the plane had technical problems and went down. The Revolutionary Youth of the Land of Euphrates mounted a video showing the pilot and a MIG-23 which appears to be
carrying missiles. (BBC)
or see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=98T0gytt04Y
In Aleppo, the SAA advanced into the Sayf al-Dawla area. Opposition fighters in al-Sukari appealed to the West and the world, asking an AFP photographer why his country did not help and commenting, “In Libya, they helped get rid of Qaddafi, but here in Syria, they leave us to die.”
In Ariha, the opposition are attempting to block a main road into Aleppo.
The situation in Qamishli appears to be an uneasy truce between the Syrian military and government and Kurdish parties and opposition who are freer to demonstrate than others in the country.
Defections: Danny al-Baaj, Syria’s top representative at the U.N. Human Rights Council in Switzerland who defected on Friday said that he made his decision some time ago as he felt he could not “help his people any more” and had been in touch with the Paris-based Democratic Forum.
The ministers attending a pre-meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation which is to convene in Mecca have decided to suspend Syria’s membership in the OIC. Ahmadinejad will be attending and Iran’s Foreign Minister, Ali Akbar Salehi has already stated his opposition to Syria’s suspension.
Lt. General Babacar Gaye, head of the U.N. observer mission in Syria which is due to end in 6 days time, said that it was clear that violence was increasing and his teams were monitoring the use of heavy weapons which are “inflicting a heavy toll on innocent civilians.”
White House spokesperson Jay Carney said the U.S. has not ruled out any option that would bring about the departure of Bashar al-Assad. He neither confirmed nor denied the potential for the no-fly zones which had brought up questions for Hilary Clinton after meetings in Turkey yesterday.
China said that Bouthaina Shaaban will visit Beijing as Bashar al-Assad’s envoy on Tuesday and will meet with China’s foreign minister, Yang Jiechi.
The team of French military doctors which traveled recently has now established a mobile hospital in Zaatari camp in Jordan which will assist and provide surgery for refugees and victims.
A protest broke out at the Zaatari camp when about 60 Syrians tried to leave the camp to return to Ramtha (a border town) because of the poor conditions at the camp which houses about 6,000 refugees. Jordanian riot police were called in after clashes began with the camp’s guards.
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 (2009)
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%
Urban Population: 56% of total (2010)
Syrian Arab Army (prior to the conflict) 220,000 regular and 280,000 reserves. Of the 200,000 career soldiers, 140,000 are Alawi.
Syria’s Golan Heights is occupied by Israel and 1,000 members of a U.N. Disengagement Observer Force patrol a buffer zone.