Syria Update September 12, 2012 (Institute of Middle Eastern, Islamic and Strategic Studies. By Sherifa Zuhur)
Current death toll: 160
Aleppo province: Twenty five people were killed in the Al-Aadamiyah neighborhood of Aleppo. Syrian regime forces shelled al-Sfeira causing casualties including a woman and a child. 4 civilians were killed by the after midnight tonight in shelling on the Karam al-Jabal area. Clashes took place between the opposition and the Syrian military near the Citadel and in Salahaddin. The Syrian military also shelled Hanao, al-Intharat and al-Haydariyya.
The Syrian military shelled the towns of Retyan, Tel Qirah and Tel Jenin. Fighting took place between the FSA and the Syrian military in the Nayrab area near the international airport at Aleppo at dawn.
Damascus province: Syrian regime forces destroyed many houses in the Tadoamon neighborhood. Due to shelling on Hajar al-Aswad, one young man died from his injuries.
The Syrian military shelled the towns of al-Nashabiya, Hosh Arab and al-I’sali. A corpse which had been tortured was found in Babeela. body. The Syrian military shelled the town of Qatana.
Dara`a province: Clashes occurred in the city of Nowa. The Syrian military shelled the town of Busra al-Sham and carried out raids and arrests, and burnt homes in the towns of Inkhil and al-Sanamayn.
Hama province: The Syrian military killed 20 people in Halfiyya near Hama. 2 children were killed in shelling in Hama. The Syrian military shelled the town of Qastoun in Hama today. The Syrian military shelled the town of Murk and Jabal Shahshabo and carried out many raids and arrests in the town of Teebat al-Imam.
Idlib province: The Syrian opposition killed 18 Syrian regime soldiers in a car bomb and also in a ground attack in Saraqeb. The Syrian military heavily shelled the cities of Kafar Takhareem and Ma’arat al-Nu`man and the town Salqin. The Syrian military resumed the shelling of Saraqeb, and also shelled the village of Jisr al-Shughour and Kafartkharim.
Latakia province: The Syrian military shelled the town of Qastal Ma`af, and Syrian regime soldiers were killed there today.
Inflation has hit Syria. The prices of basic commodities has risen according to state media. Price rises have hit energy and the costs of transporting goods as well.
Some Syrian activists were dismayed by the strong response to the recent U.S.-made film which denigrates the Prophet Muhammad and Islam given the ongoing violence in Syria, to which (in their view) many Arabs and Muslims do not react. http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/world_now/2012/09/syrian-activists-libya-egypt-protests-mohammed-video.html
Angelina Jolie who is a U.N good-will ambassador to refugees, met with Syrian refugees in Lebanon and noted that Lebanese were opening their homes to Syrians, since no camps have been set up for them and commented on Lebanese generosity and kindness.
The Phillipine domestic workers who arrived in Manila told stories of the horrible cruelty and violence they had seen in the past months. Some had to flee from their employers who would not give permission for them to leave the country. http://jordantimes.com/filipinos-flee-war-in-syria-with-tales-of-horror
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said today that Assad’s government “ has now become a terrorist state,” as he spoke at a Justice and Development Party (AK Party) meeting in Ankara.
Saudi Arabia has taken steps to discourage its citizens from joining the opposition in Syria. The country has already encountered many problems with some who joined the jihad in Afghanistan and Iraq. http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/09/12/saudi-syria-jihad-idUSL6E8J98BN20120912
Syria: A Brief Chronology
1918 October. Troops led by Amir Faisal, the son of Sharif Hussein of Mecca capture Damascus ending Ottoman rule.
1920 March. Faisal is proclaimed the King of Syria.
1920 July. The San Remo conference creates the mandate system placing Syria under the mandate of France. French forces occupy Damascus.
1925-1926. Nationalist uprising known as the Syrian revolution escalates. French forces bombard Damascus, Suwaida and other locations. The rebels led by Sultan al-Atrash go into exile. (Faisal becomes the ruler of Iraq)
1928. A constituent assembly drafts Syria’s constitution.
1936. A treaty between France and Syria is negotiated in which France grants independence but retains military presence and economic management. It is never fully enacted.
1940. After France falls to the Germans, the Vichy government controls Syria.
1941. The Free French and UK forces invade Syria and Lebanon, oust the Vichy government and occupy Syria (and Lebanon).
1946. The French withdraw from Syria.
1947. Michel Aflaq and Salah al-Din Bitar form the Arab Socialist Ba`ath Party.
1949. Three military coups take place, in the third one, Adib Shishakli assumes power.
1958-1961 Syria and Egypt join in the United Arab Republic under President Gamal abd al-Nasser. A group of Syrian army officers overthrow the UAR in 1961.
1963. A military coup results in a Baathist cabinet and the presidency of Amin al-Hafiz.
1966 Salah Jadid leads a coup against the civilian Baathist government and takes office. Hafez al-Assad is defense minister.
1970. November. Hafez al-Assad overthrows Nur al-Din al-Atasi and puts Salah Jadid in prison.
1971. Hafez al-Assad is elected President in a referendum.
1973. Hafez al-Assad does away with the Constiutitional requirement that Syria’s president be a Muslim. Riots result which were suppressed by the army.
1973. In the October war with Israel, Syria fails to recapture the Golan Heights.
1976. June. Syria intervenes in the Lebanese civil war.
1979 – 1980. A network of Muslim organizations begin an uprising against the government, attack the military and are attacked by the army.
1980. Syria backs Iran in the Iran-Iraq war.
1982. Islamist uprising in the city of Hama is put down brutally, as many as 30,000 civilians are killed.
1982. Israel invades Lebanon and forces the withdrawal of Syrian forces from some areas.
1987. Syria redeploys troops to Lebanon.
1989 December. Committees for the Defense of Democracy, Freedom and Human Rights (CDDFHR) formed in Syria, an underground human rights organization with a newsletter, Sawt al-Dimukratiyya.
1991. Syria participates in the Madrid peace conference, but is shocked by the secret Oslo peace agreements.
1994. Basil al-Assad, the president’s son dies in a car accident.
1998. Rifaat al-Assad, the vice president and president’s brother is relieved of his position.
2000. Hafez al-Assad dies and is succeeded by his son Bashar al-Assad despite the fact that Syria is a republic.
2000-1 In the Damascus Spring, intellectuals, artists and writers began meeting and discussing politics in groups like the Kawakibi Forum, the Atassi Forum and the National Dialogue Forum which called for an end to emergency laws and restoration of political freedoms.
2002 Bashar al-Assad and his team, especially Hasan Khalil, the head of military intelligence began a crackdown on the dialogue groups, closing them and arresting their members, incarcerating, torturing and killing them.
2002 The United States alleges that Syria is developing chemical and possibly nuclear weapons.
2003 The CDDFHR held its first public meeting in Cairo. It later opened 9 offices outside of Syria, in the Middle East and Europe.
2003 Israel carries out a air strike on a Palestinian militant camp near Damascus.
2004 March. Clashes take place between Kurds, Arabs and regime forces in the northeast of Syria.
2004 September. The U.N. Security Council calls for all foreign forces to leave Lebanon, a resolution directed at Syria.
2005 Former Lebanese Prime Minister Hariri is assassinated. In April, Syria finally withdraws its forces from Lebanon.
2006 Iraq and Syria restore relations.
2007 Syrian dissidents Kamal Labwani and Michel Kilo are sentenced to lengthy terms in Jail and Anwar al-Bunni, a human rights lawyer is sent to jail.
2007 September. Israel carries out an air strike on an area in northern Syria where a nuclear facility had been under construction.
2008 July. Bashar al-Assad meets with Lebanese President Michel Suleiman and re-establishes relations with French President Nicolas Sarkozy.
2009 The IAEA says it has found undeclared man-made uranium at a reactor in Damascus.
2010 The U.S. reinstates sanctions against Syria because of its support for terrorist groups and provision of SCUD missiles to Hizbullah.
2011 March Peaceful protests begin in Syria to demand political freedom and the release of political prisoners.
2011 May. The Syrian government begins a military crackdown on the protests targeting Homs, Banyas, Dara`a and areas of Damascus.
2011 October. The Syrian National Council brings together dissidents from outside and inside of Syria. Russia and China veto a U.N resolution condemning Syria.
2011 November. The Arab League votes to suspend Syria due to the governments attacks on its own civilians.
2012 May. Government forces and militia members massacre more than 100 in Houla.
2012 July. The Free Syrian Army increases military actions and seizes parts of Aleppo and Damascus. The Syrian military struggle to retake these areas.
2012 August 15 The Organisation of the Islamic Conference suspends Syria due to its attacks on its citizens.
2012 August. The Syrian military and militia members massacre more than 500 people in the town of Daraya over two and a half days.
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).
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.