Syria Update, October 1, 2012 (Institute of Middle Eastern, Islamic and Strategic Studies. By Sherifa Zuhur)
Current death toll: 156 including 84 civilians.
Revised death toll for Sept. 30, 2012: More than 160 including 74 civilians
Clashes took place again today in Aleppo’s souks. Interview on the fighting in the Aleppo souks with Amr al-Azm:
The opposition claimed to have seized a number of missiles in the eastern part of the Ghuta in Damascus province today.
A You Tube video showed the kidnapped American journalist Austin Tice missing since the middle of August. The clothing of those in the film appears to signal “Islamic” clothing, but the U.S. State Department spokesperson, Victoria Nuland said that the US DoS believes he is in Syrian military custody. The FBI is investigating Tice’s abduction.
Aleppo province: Clashes between the Syrian military and the opposition took place intermittently in Bustan al-Qasr, Halab al-Qadima, and heavy clahses in al-Sakhour and Salahaddin. The Syrian military shelled the neighborhoods of Bustan al-Qasr, al-Halk, al-Haydariyya, Masaken Hanano, al-Sha`ar and al-Sukari and killed more than 40 persons in the Karm al-Jabal neighborhood of al-Sha`ar. Dead and injured in the Masaken Hanano area are shown here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ST7AjvQMAyo&feature=youtu.be
Clashes occurred on the edges of the Sleiman al-Halabi neighborhood, by the traffic department and the surroundings of the al-Sab’ Bahrat square.
The Syrian military shelled the Bab Jnan neighborhood.
The Syrian military shelled the village of Rasm al-Hmeis. A major battle took place in the city of Atarib, west of Aleppo, where the opposition has been attacking a Syrian military entity known as Force 76 for over a week.
Damascus province: The Syrian military carried out raids and arrests in the Rukn al-Din neighborhood of Damascus. Clashes took place between regime forces and rebel fighters in the al-Qadam and al-Asali neighborhoods of Damascus.
The Syrian military killed six in Harasta, shooting 3 this morning while 3 were found dead after yesterday’s military operation. The Syrian military shelled the towns of Duma and A’rtouz causing 1 death in Duma. Heavy clashes took place in the town of Zamalka. Explosions were heard in the town of Babila town. The opposition captured an air defense division (see above) in the eastern Ghouta. The opposition killed two Syrian military officers in an ambush in the town of Rankous in al-Qalamun.
Dara`a province: Clashes took place in the city of Dar`a, including in the Busra Square and an opposition fighter was killed in the Tariq al-Sad area.
The Syrian military has been shelling Mazeireb nightly and killed one woman there. Clashes were ongoing between the Syrian military and the opposition near the Jordanian border, killing a defected colonel from the Palestine Liberation Army. Clashes took place in the town of Kherbet Ghazala A defected colonel from the Palestinian Liberation (al-Tahrir al-Filastini) Army was killed during clashes with regime forces by the Syrian-Jordanian borders. The Syrian military shelled the Mukhayam al-Nazihin refugee camp. The Syrian military carried out raids and arrests on al-Mleiha al-Gharbiyya. The Syrian military shelled the town of Tafs, killng a woman and her father. Clashes with the Syrian military resulted in the death of an opposition fighter in the town of Na`ima., following an attack by the opposition on a car, killing two Syrian military officers. The Syrian military then heavily shelled the town of Na`’ima and sent in troops and tanks. Clashes also took place in Busra al-Sham.
Deir az-Zur province: The Syrian military resumed violent shelling of the city of Boukamel today.
Hama province: The Syrian military carried out raids and moved through homes in the neighborhood of al-Jala’ in Hama.
The Syrian military carried out raids and arrests in the town of Tizin.
Hassake province: An anti-regime demonstration took place in the town of al-Tarqiya calling for the end of the regime and an end to president Assad.
Homs province: IED explosions and an ambush on a Syrian military convoy killed more than 18 troops and injured 30 on the Homs-Palmyra (Tadmur) road.
Idlib province: The Syrian military surrounded and shelled the town of Saraqeb. The Syrian military carried out an air strike on the town of Salqeen killing 21 persons, including 8 children.
Latakia province: Clashes took place in the Sad Bluran area of Latakia province.
Refugees: The numbers of Syrians fleeing the country into Turkey is approaching the number of 100,000.
International: The United Nation’s Ban Ki Moon called for the Syrian government to exhibit “compassion” to its citizens in its war against the opposition.
At the United Nations General Assembly, the Syrian Foreign Minister, Walid Muallem accused the United States, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, France, and Qatar of backing the political opposition (“rebels”) and interfering in Syria’s affairs. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-19788780
Syria’s Historical and Archaeological Treasures include: 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.
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.