Syria Update, September 5, 2012 (Institute of Middle Eastern, Islamic, and Strategic Studies. By Sherifa Zuhur)
Today’s death toll: The SOHR reports 180 persons. This includes 107 civilians, 42 SAA troops, 26 opposition troops.
The Local Coordination Committees report 272, with 115 killed in Aleppo.
Aleppo province: The SAA shelled and bombarded the Bustan al-Basha area of Aleppo today, killing 20. The SAA shelled al-Marja, al-Bustan al-Basha, al-Sukari, al-Kalasa, al-Nirab, Hanano and B`idin; 10 died in the shelling on al-Bustan al-Basha.
Forty-five people (more than in any other single action of this type, thus far) were summarily executed by Syrian regime forces today in the al-Akramiyya neighborhood of Aleppo.
Damascus province: An explosion occurred in al-Baramkeh in central Damascus.
Eight bodies summarily executed were discovered in the neighborhood of Jawbar, Damascus. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lIP_s0GMmD8&feature=youtu.be
Clashes took place near Sayyida al-Zeinab and 4 Syrian troops have been killed.
The SAA shelled Yalda and clashes broke out there killing 3, while a sniper killed one. The SAA shot a civilian in Jaramana. 4 unidentified corpses were found – 3 in Ain Tarma and 1 in Mleiha.
Clashes between the SAA and the opposition took place in al-Tadamon.
Dar`a province: The SAA shelled Dael today.
Deir az-Zur province:
The FSA has been targeting the Hamadan military airport in Deir az-Zur since last week because it is used by helicopters in bombing missions against the opposition. A local tribal leader, Nawaf al-Bashir said there had been many defections from troops at the airport which had effectively “fallen” to the opposition.
A sniper killed one within the city of Deir az-Zur. Two persons were killed in the al-Qusur neighborhood of Deir az-Zur. A sniper killed 1 child in al-Kanamat. The SAA shelled al-Jala killing 14.
There were clashes at the al-Sab`a Kilomatr checkpoint, killing 6 opposition troops. Six other opposition troops were killed in clashes in al-Boukamel.
Homs Province: The SAA shelled al-Houla today, killing 3 children. The SAA killed 3 opposition troops today near al-Qusair. The SAA shelled Talbisa, killing 1; and also shelled Yabroud killing 1 civilian. The SAA shelled al-Rastan killing 1 woman.
Idlib Province: The SAA shelled and used heavy artillery today on the city of Babila and 2 opposition troops were killed. The SAA shelled the villages of Iqsat and Ahlem, Sahleen and Zardna killing 9. The SAA bombarded Heish and Abu az-Zohor. A woman was killed at a checkpoint at Ma`aret al-Nu`man. The
Latakia Province: The SAA killed 3 opposition troops in clashes in Jabal al-Turkme and Nahiet Qastal. The SAA bombarded the village of al-T’ouma, killing one civilian.
Paul Maurer, who heads the International Committee of the Red Cross met with the Syrian government today to possibly expand the IRC’s activities (the IRC has not been able to travel outside of Damascus and has a limited presence in Syria). However, Syria’s Health Minister, Saad Nayef said he had asked Mr. Maurer to “see the situation as it is and not as transmitted in misleading Arab and western media” and that the government offers medical services to all Syrians.
International: The U.S. State Department urged Iraq to ask Iranian aircraft flying over Iraq to land, and inspect the cargo to make certain that these planes are not transporting military equipment to Iraq as has been reported by three U.S. legislators, including Senator Joe Lieberman, who visited Baghdad.
Following an appeal by Egyptian President Mohammad Morsi for Bashar al-Assad to step down from the presidency of Syria, and his message to the Arab League that the Syrian crisis is an “Arab responsibility,” the state-controlled satellite television company, Nilesat stopped broadcasting Syrian, Syria News and Ad-Dunia news channels today for “contractual reasons.”
In Venezula, hundreds of people have demonstrated against the Chavez’ government’s support of Bashar al-Assad which has included three shipments of oil to Syria. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WOG_baP6Fds
China’s foreign minister, Yang Jiechi called for all parties in Syria to cease fighting and said, in a news conference shared with US Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton that China was impartial.
Basic Facts about Syria:
Here is a brief chronology of events of the last century in Syria – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-14703995
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).
Human Rights Situation in Syria: http://www.hrw.org/world-report-2012/world-report-2012-syria
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.