Syria Update, September 14, 2012 (Institute of Middle Eastern, Islamic and Strategic Studies. By Sherifa Zuhur)
Current death toll: 97
Yesterday’s revised death toll: 190
More than 2,000 of Syria’s schools have been destroyed or badly damaged and 801 are being used as shelters by homeless families. This presents quite a challenge at the outset of the school year, set to begin on September 16th. UNICEF has had its activities limited and has only been able to operate in Dar`a, the outskirts of Damascus and Latakia. Syrian children in refugee camps in Jordan, Turkey and outside of camps in Lebanon are also affected. http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=42889&Cr=syria&Cr1=#.UFPnvWAuihY
Friday protests against the Assad regime and in solidarity with the destroyed cities and towns following the juma`a prayer took place. Certain protests also denounced the film “Innocence of the Muslims.” Protests were held in:
Aleppo city: in the neighbouhoods of al-Ashrafiya, Bustan al-Qasr, al-Furqan, Qadi A’skar, Masaken Hanano, al-Khaldiya, and Tariq al-Bab.
Aleppo province: al-Atareb, Abeen, al-Abzamo, Anjara, al-Bab, Batbo, al-Safeera, al-Abzamo, Ratyan, al-Bab, Tuqad, al-Jeena.
Dar`a province: The towns of Nahta, al-Karak al-Sharqi, Inkhil, al-Yaduda, and Kharbat Ghazala; also in the Sad neighbourhood of the city of Dara`a.
Hama Province: In the neighborhoods of al-Sabuniya, Junub al-Mal’ab, Gharb al-Mashtal, Tareeq Halab, Bab Qibli, al-Qusur, and al-A’lailat in the city of Hama. Syrian regime forces attacked protesters in Sabuniya by throwing hand grenades. Also in the towns of Kafarzaita, Halfaya, and al-Latamna, and the village of Khaldiyya village.
Damascus province: in al-Hajar al-Aswad, al-Zahira al-Qadima, Mokhayam al-Yarmuk, (Yarmuk camp) and in the towns of A’rbeen, Harasta, Kafarbatna, and Yabrud.
Idlib province: In the towns and villages of Areeha, Bansh, Sarmeen, Ihsim, Kafartakhreem, Kafaryahmul, Has Kafruma, Ma’arhama and elsewhere. In the city of Idlib, many security forces were deployed to prevent protests.
Latakia province: in Masyaf Salma.
Shellings, clashes, deaths
Aleppo Province: Syrian military shelling on neighbourhoods of Bab al-Nasr, Bustan al-Qasr, Heidariyya, al-Mayser, al-Sukari, al-Zabdiya and al-Sakan al-Shababi killed 5 civilians. The Syrian military also shelled al-Midan, al-Halk, Bab al-hadid, al-Sakhour, and al-Shaykh Fares neighborhoods. Numerous (“dozens”) of unidentified corpses were found in the al-A’thama neighborhood. The al-Sukkari neighbourhood was shelled last night (it has been shelled nightly. Clashes began again in the Itha’a neighbourhood, and also in al-Midan, Sleiman al-Halabi and al-Shaykh Fares.
One person was killed by a sniper in Bustan al-Zahra and one woman was found dead in Salahaddin along with three unidentified bodies.
Syrian military shelling on al-Bab killed 7 civilians. The Syrian military shot a civilian from Jarablos en route to Damascus. 1 from the Jarablus city was shot by regime forces while on the way to the city of Damascus. The Syrian military also shelled Deir Hafir, Maskan Hreitan, A’ndan, al-Ataret, Kafrkamin and Tadef as clashes took place for a second day near the Mangh military airport. A man was found dead after being executed in the village of Tal Ayoub.
Clashes occurred in the Tishrin neighborhood of the al-Qaboon area. The Syrian military is shelling and clashing with opposition in al-Hajar al-Aswad and al-Qadam. A sniper killed a man in the A’sali neighborhood. The Syrian regime has been carrying out raids and arrests in al-Midan and Nahr `A’isha in Damascus. An unidentified body which had been tortured was found in al-Qadam. Deaths were reported in Sayyid Zainab.
The Syrian military have been shelling Duma, Yabrud, and A’rtuz. 2 civilians died from injuries in the raids on Mazra` neighborhood of Harasta yesterday. Clashes occurred between the Syrian military and opposition in the town of A’rbeen. An unidentified corpse who had been tortured was found in the city of Qatana.
The Syrian military also used artillery on the city of Duma after midnight and at dawn in addition to the shelling and 2 civilians were killed. The Syrian military arrested a Muslim cleric and his wife in Duma and clashes were heard near the town hall. At least 15 Syrian troops were killed or injured when their vehicle was targeted. Helicopters circled and fired on the city.
The Syrian military shelled al-Zabadani today.
Dara`a province: Helicopters targeted the houses of several rebel fighters in the Busra al-Sham town and 11 civilians were killed there. Syrian military forces traveled to different towns in the countryside of Dara`a to try to stop protests today. Raids were carried out in the town of Ghabagheb. The Syrian military carried out shelling on Heit, Inkil and al-Kerk al-Sharqi.
In the morning, the Syrian military carried out raids in the neighborhood of Kashef in Dara`a and arrests.
Deir az-Zur province: The leader of the Jabhet al-Nusra (the al-Nusra battalion) was killed in clashes with the Syrian military in al-Hasaka.
The Syrian military shelled the villages of al-Sial al-Gharbi, Hasrat and al-Baq’an, which are part of the outskirts of al-Boukamal. Seven deaths were reported due to shelling by the Syrian military on the city of Boukamal, including on the Ba’jeen neighborhood and the Quriya area. Clashes were reported at the al-Jusr checkpoint.
The Syrian military bombarded the town of Shaheel using warplanes.
Hama province: The Syrian military heavily shelled the villages of Jabal Shahshabo, Kawkab, Krah and Teebat al-Isim.
A violent explosion was reported in the western sector of al-Mashtal in the city of Hama. were heard.
Homs province: The Syrian military shelled the town of Hula. The Syrian military carried out an ambush in the city of Qseir which killed an opposition fighter. The Syrian military shelled al-Rastan and al-Qseir.
Idlib province: State security was very heavy in the city of Idlib near all the mosques to try to prevent protests today.
The villages and towns of Jabal al-Zawiya, al-Neyrab, and al-Kastan in Reef Idlib were all bombarded by regime forces late at night.
Clashes between the Syrian military and the opposition took place in Abu az-Zuhor killing a woman and three children. One person from the town of Hazano was tortured to death by regime forces. One person died from wounds incurred previously in Ma’arat al-Nu`man.
The Syrian military shelled the villages and towns of al-Bsheiriyya, al-Ghadafa and Kafartakhreem after midnight last night.
Latakia province: Syrian military shelling on Nahiet Kansaba killed a woman and three children.
Lakhdar Brahimi, the Arab League-U.N. Special Envoy to Syria met with an opposition group, but not with the most important groups such as the Free Syrian Army. Instead he met with a group which is tolerated by President Assad, the National Coordination Committee for Democratic Change. http://www.nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/international/15-Sep-2012/brahimi-meets-syrian-opposition
The IAEA believes that the Deir az-Zur site is most likely a reactor that should have been reported to the agency by the government of Syria under its current agreement. It was not, and Robert Woods complained that the Syrian government is showing contempt for the IAEA and using its repression of the Syrian people as an excuse to avoid compliance with inspections.
yria’s ambassador to the IAEA, Bassam Sabbagh, reiterated at Friday’s meeting in Vienna that the site in question was a “non-nuclear military installation” and denied not wanting to cooperate with the agency, diplomats said.http://www.france24.com/en/20120914-syria-showing-contempt-un-nuclear-agency-us
Pope Benedict, who is visiting Lebanon said the importing of weapons into Syria is a “grave sin” (it was not clear if he refers solely to the opposition or also to the Russian and Iranian provision of arms). He also described the Arab uprisings as a “cry for freedom” and positive, so long as they involve religious tolerance.
The Turkish government is issuing restrictions on Syrian refugees. Some in Reyhanli, were given 24 hours to leave as is anyone now without a visa.
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.