Syria Update September 9 (Institute of Middle Eastern, Islamic and Strategic Studies. By Sherifa Zuhur)
Current death toll: more than 90.
Yesterday’s death toll: 178.
Syrian women refugees including young girls are being exploited under the guise of marriage; the Internet seems to be aiding rather than inhibiting this trend. http://www.thenational.ae/thenationalconversation/comment/online-trafficking-of-syrian-women-shames-all-involved
A Syrian film director and journalist, Tamer al-Awam (34) who hails from Suwaida, was killed in Aleppo on Saturday according to the Syrian National Council. He had traveled to Syria from Germany to be part of the uprising. According to a different source, he had been shooting a film of the Free Syrian Army when he was killed. http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/syria/120909/syrian-filmmaker-tamer-alawam-killed-aleppo-amid-gove
Aleppo province: A car bomb killed 17 civilians and wounded 40 in Aleppo on Sunday night. This followed a warning by Abu Sayyaf, although no group had as yet claimed responsibility. http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/syria-criticizes-france-for-pledging-to-support-rebels-vows-to-cooperate-with-un-envoy/2012/09/09/91453c92-fa5e-11e1-a65a-d6e62f9f2a5a_story.html
It was earlier reported that least 27 persons were killed in explosions in the area of al-Kurra Ardiya.
The Syrian military shelled al-Sakhour, where some houses collapsed and deaths are reported and Hanano. There were clashes between the FSA and the SAA in al-Nayal street and the Sayyid Ali neighborhood as well as shelling by regime forces there.
Damascus province: The Syrian military have been shelling the towns of Zabadani and Yelda. Clashes took place on the new highway to Dara`a.
In Damascus, the Syrian military shelled the al-Asali and al-Hajar al-Aswad areas as well as the al-Jobar neighborhood. The Syrian military continued its raids into the Palestinian camps and captured some residents. Clashes took place in al-Qadam and the Syrian military shot and killed one civilian in Tadamon. That civilian was from the town of Kherbat Ghazala.
Dara`a province: The Syrian military bombarded the town of Naf`a killed 3 civilians (including two children).
There were clashes in the al-Lijah area. The Syrian military forces also shelled Heita, Sehm, Wadi al-Yarmouk and al-Yaduda.
Deir az-Zur province: Violent clashes between the Syrian military and the opposition were reported in the city of al-Boukamel and there were also reports of explosions.
Homs province: A bus carrying civilians and military troops was bombed as explosive devices that had been placed on the road from Homs to Masyaf were detonated. At least 4 persons were killed.
A land-mine exploded in al-Qusair killing 3 civilians.
Idlib province: The Syrian military shelled Maarat an-Naaman killing 4 and injuring 7, also one civilian was killed by a sniper. Syrian military jets bombed the town of Deir Sonbol. The Syrian military bombarded the village of al-Rami killing 4 civilians.
During clashes in the town of Harem, the Syrian military killed a defected officer.
Regime forces have shelled the villages of Beftamoun, al-Marghah, Mer’eyan, Meshmeshan, and Sarjeh and earlier in the day, they shelled the villages of Hass and Kafarsanjeh. The regime forces also shelled the towns of Kafrouma and Khan Shaykhoun.
Refugees: Two Syrian refugees, aged 20 and 23, wed today in the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan. http://www.boston.com/news/world/europe/2012/09/09/syrian-couple-wed-jordan-refugee-camp/qYtPBNVu6koO0BTuxuV6IL/story.html
Syrian government representative Jihad Makdisi accused France of supporting the militarization of the conflict and falsely claiming to support the mission of Lakhdar Brahimi to Syria. In the same news report, a doctor, Jacque Bérès from Doctors Without Borders claimed that half of the wounded rebels he was treating were foreign fighters. Dr. Bérès also said that the Syrian government was bombing indiscriminately and that the true death toll is perhaps twice that reported (currently at 21,000+ killed.).http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/10/world/middleeast/syria-criticizes-frances-support-of-rebels.html?partner=rss&emc=rss&utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter
U.N.-Arab League special envoy to Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi arrived in Cairo for meetings with the Arab League and has spoken by telephone with Iran’s Foreign Minister, Ali Akbar Salehi. He may visit Tehran after traveling to Damascus.
Turkish analysts have noted Algeria’s support for Iran in its stance on the Syrian conflict and support for Bashar al-Assad instead of the opposition. http://www.todayszaman.com/news-291763-turkey-unnerved-by-iran-algeria-deal-on-syria.html
A Few of Syria’s Historical and Archaeological Treasures:
The remains of Palmyra (Tadmur), and the citadel of Ibn Maan, the early Bronze Age site of Ebla, the Citadel of Aleppo constructed by Salah al-Din al-Ayubi and the khans, madaris, suqs and Great Mosque of Aleppo, the theater and ruined town at Bosra (also site of the Mabrak an-Nabi where the Prophet Muhammad’s camel kneeled) the Canaanite city of Ugarit at Ras Shamra, Douro-Europas, the Greek colony on the Euphrates near Salhiye, Tal Faras and Tal Muhammad Diab in Hassake, Tal Brak, the Bronze Age Atchana, Ain Dara, sites at Qanawat, Shahba, and Suwaida, the Ummayad mosque, the citadel, suqs and other sites in the Old City in Damascus such as the Street called Straight, the Azm palace and the Tekiyye mosque complex in Damascus, the chapel of St. Sergius in Ma`lula, the Hijaz railway station, the Crusader castle, Krak de Chevaliers, Salah al-Din’s castle built on the Saone fortress, Jaabar Castle, the Great Mosque an-Nuri, the mosque of Khalid ibn al-Walid and many churches and older buildings in Homs, and the citadel, Roman era water-wheels and khans of Hama.
Among Syria’s Creative Figures:
Muhammad al-Maghut, poet, noted for his free verse (1934 -2006) born in Salamiyya to an Isma’ili family.
Nizar al-Qabbani, 1923-1998, born in Damascus. His sister, ten years his senior, committed suicide rather than marry a man she did not love and the theme of women’s oppression entered his work as a poet, whose work sharply criticized Arab society and politics of his time. He was also a diplomat and a publisher.
Zakariyya Tamir, born in 1931 in Damascus, famed for short stories, for adults and children. He supports the Syrian revolution and hopes that Syria will be liberated from “tyranny and horror.” http://freesyriantranslators.net/2012/07/22/a-dialogue-with-zakaria-tamer-2/
Ali Farzat, born in 1951 in Hama, a cartoonist. He was attacked by thugs who broke his hands. He is on Facebook and his cartoons of “Highlander” comment on Syria.
Duraid Lahham born in 1934 in Damascus. A comedian and director best known for his character, “Ghawwar al-Toushe.” He was a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in 1999 and is considered to be a supporter of Bashar al-Assad and not of the opposition.
Farid al-Atrash, 1910 – 1974 was born in Suwayda to a Druze family associated with the independence struggle against the French. He became a composer, master oudist, singer and film star in Egypt, starring in 31 movies and recording more than 500 songs.
Asmahan. (Amal al-Atrash) 1912 (or 1915) – 1944 was born at sea as her family traveled from Turkey to Beirut. Sister of Farid al-Atrash, she became a renowned singer of Arabic compositions and an actress in Egypt and challenged conservative attitudes about women with her artistic life-style. Her musical talent was considered to rival that of Umm Kulthum and she sang the compositions of al-Qasabji, Riyadh al-Sunbati, her brother, Farid al-Atrash and others.
Assala Nasri, born in 1969 in Damascus as the daughter of a Syrian composer, Mostafa Nasri. She has produced 23 albums and many singles including “Ah, law ha-l kursi bye7ki” and has a dramatic and powerful singing style. She supports the Syrian revolution.
Sabah Fakhri, born in 1933 in Aleppo is perhaps the greatest traditional-style singer of the Eastern Arab world, of muwashahhat and qudud Halabiyya. He did not follow the typical musical path of pursuing a singing career in Egypt.
Mayada al-Hinnawi, born in 1957 in Aleppo. A great singer whose popularity peaked in the 1980s. She sang the compositions of Baligh Hamdi, Riyadg Sunbati, Mohammad Sultan, Hilmy Baker and others.
Yasin al-Hajj Saleh, born in 1961, an author jailed when he was in his 20’s in 1980 until 1996. He began writing in prison in 1988. He published With Salvation O’Youth: 16 Years in Syrian Prison (al-Saqi, 2012). http://www.aljadid.com/content/yassin-al-haj-saleh’s-taming-syrian-prison’s-beast
Nihad Sirees, novelist, author of The Silence and the Roar. http://www.jadaliyya.com/pages/index/7006/writing-revolution-and-change-in-syria_an-intervie
Saadallah Wannous, 1941 – 1997, a playwright born in Hussein al-Bahr near Tartus. His writing career began in the early 1960s. He introduced a “theater of politicization,” helped to found the Arab Festival for Theater Arts and the Higher Institute for Theater Arts (where he taught).
George Wassouf, born in Kafroun, Tartus in 1961, is a popular singer of Arabic music with more than 30 albums releaed. He has supported Bashar al-Assad and has been criticized for praising the Syrian army.
Issa Touma is a photographer, curator and director of Le Pont Organization, who supports the revolution. http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/5/25/38262/Arts–
Some of the Syrian visual artists whose works include protest: http://www.npr.org/2012/05/14/152496317/even-under-threat-syrian-artists-paint-in-protest
Basic Facts about Syria:
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 2012: 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.