Syria Update, September 27, 2012 (Institute of Middle Eastern, Islamic and Strategic Studies. By Sherifa Zuhur)
Early death toll: 109
Revised death toll for September 26: More than 300 Syrians including 189 unarmed civilians of whom 13 were children.
Aleppo province: The opposition fired 20 shells falling on the Syrian regime-controlled neighborhood of Sleimaniyya in Aleppo, killing 4 persons. The Syrian military shelled the Khalasa neighborhood. The Syrian military shelled al-Meyser and Masaken Hanon in the morning.
Bashir al-Hajj, commander of the Tawhid battalion says a decisive battle has begun in the city of Aleppo around 4:00 pm there: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/middle-east-live/2012/sep/27/syria-bloodiest-day-yet-live#block-5064736e58f99afdfd4eb17c
The Syrian Arab army began sending out an ominous text message today reading “Game over” on Syria’s two main cell phone services. http://www.knoxnews.com/news/2012/sep/27/syria-tells-rebels-on-mobile-phones-quotgame/
The Free Syrian Army now controls Manbej. The Syrian military shelled Anjara. Clashes took place near the Nayrab airport. Clashes between the Syrian military and the opposition took place at the outskirts of the town of Khan al-Asal, killing 3 Syrian military troops. The Syrian military’s artillery hit a civilian car on the Deir Hafar-Maskana road. Clashes in the city of Afrin killed a member of the Revolutionary Kurdish Popular Defense Committees and a member of the Salah al-Din Battalion. The Syrian military bombarded the town of Anadan, klling one civilian, and last night it shelled the villages of al-Hoota, Bshenter and Kafar Da’el last night.
Damascus province: A protest of the Youth of the Revolution took place in the al-Midan area of Damascus today:
Syrian military were posted around the same area today:
Al-Nusra Front also claimed responsibility for yesterday’s suicide attack on an Army headquarters building in Damascus.
The Syrian military heavily shelled al-Ebada, Jdeidat Artouz and al-Zabadani. A huge explosion was reported in Qudsyya and there were reports of casualities.
Dara`a province: The Syrian military heavily shelled the towns of al-Karak al-Sharqi and al-Mzeirab. The Syrian military carried out raids, arrests and set homes on fire in the town of Hrak. Syrian regime forces swept through farms around the town of Tassel, searching for opposition and three farmers were found dead.
Deir az-Zur province: Clashes took place between the Syrian military and the opposition in the city of Deir az-Zur, and shelling by the Syrian military on the city killed two civilians, one of them a physician in the morning.
Hama province: An explosion rocked the al-Bayyad neighborhood of Hama, injuring civilians. The Syrian military went on a raid and arrest campaign in the neighborhood of al-Arba`een, and set buildings on fire.
The Syrian military heavily shelled the towns of Breidji, Hawash, Huwieija, Karnaz, Khatamlo, and al-Jabin. The Syrian military fired on the village of al-Zaka this morning from machineguns stationed at checkpoints in that village.
Hassake province: A pipeline transporting crude oil exploded in the Um Madfa’ area of southern Hassake after midnight. The manager of the Tal al-Bayda oil terminal has been kidnapped.
Homs province: Fierce clashes between the Syrian military and the opposition took place in the al-Jobar and al-Sultaniyya areas of Homs and in the village of Naqeera as well as shelling by the Syrian military. The Syrian military also shelled the Khaldiyya, Jourat al-Shayyah and old neighborhoods of Homs. The Syrian military resumed its heavy shelling on al-Rastan.
The Syrian military shelled al-Dar al-Kabira, al-Ghento, Jousiyya, al-Nizariyya and al-Zira`a.
Idlib province: The Syrian military shelled the city of Kafranbel, killing two civilians and destroying homes. The Syrian military also shelled the towns of al-Aliya, Khan Shaykhoun and Meghtrem. The corpse of a young man from Saraqeb was found near the military barracks in Mastouma, dead from a gunshot and with marks of torture. Yesterday, the Syrian military carried out a massive arrest campaign in the city of Idlib, and gathered 100 young men to verify their military service. Roadblocks were set up where arrests and interrogations took place. The Syrian military badly beat a young man, cursing him and stepping on his head, as he lost consciousness. They shot and cursed at those onlooking or who tried to help the young man.
Clashes between the opposition and the Syrian military occurred near the village of Bsanqoul. The Syrian military shelled the towns of Kafarmeed, Khan Shayhoun, Mhambel and Sarmin today. The Syrian military carried out raids in the town of Ghasaniyya and clashes occurred there. A car bomb exploded near a military checkpoint on the Damascus highway, in one report identified as the Ikard checkpoint.
A 5 year old girl, Fatima Abd al-Hakim Rajwan Hani from Ma`arat Nouman died in Turkey yesterday from injuries sustained during the Eid. She had been hit by shrapnel, and her leg had been amputated.
The Syrian military shot at homes in Ariha and burned a school yesterday. A sniper killed Ahmad Albo while he was riding his motorbike.
Yesterday, in Jisr al-Shughur, Syrian military wearing civilian clothes were stopping drivers and hijacking their cars.
Latakia province: Clashes broke out between the Syrian military and the opposition in the villages of the Turkman mountain. The Syrian army has begun an offensive in the northern part of the province which is mostly controlled by the opposition in the Kurd and Turkman mountains.
The Syrian military shelled the town of Balkas.
Tartus province: In Banyas, the Syrian security forces have released some of the women whom they have detained over the last five days, but not the male detainees
Refugees: The numbers of Syrians fleeing the country is climbing rapidly. Although not all are registered refugees, already half a million have left Syria and the United Nations and other agencies are certain the numbers will rise before the end of the year. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/28/world/middleeast/un-says-syrian-refugee-numbers-are-surging.html
In Jordan, state security prosecutors charged 8 Syrian refugees with unlawful assembly and carrying out riots at the Zaatari refugee camp. The offenders would face three years in jail in convicted.
International: The Syrian military fired three shells on the city of Urfa in Turkey.
Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister spokesman, Ramin Mehmanparast was briefly pursued and shouted at by angry Syrians near the U.N. in New York. The news report does not mention that they are Syrians, see the video.
President Ahmadinejad of Iran said that Iran seeks to set up a contact group on Syria (similar to, but composed differently from that established by President Morsi of Egypt – comprised of Iran, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Egypt). He did not divulge which countries had been contacted.
Recip Tayyip Erdogan, Prime Minister of Turkey criticized Russia, China, and Iran’s stances on the Syrian crisis, saying this has permitted a massacre to continue. http://www.todayszaman.com/news-293643-turkeys-erdogan-slams-russia-says-it-stands-by-massacre-in-syria.html
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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.