Syria Update, October 2, 2012 (Institute of Middle Eastern, Islamic and Strategic Studies. By Sherifa Zuhur
Early death toll: More than 127 including 86 unarmed civilians.
The death toll for the Syrian conflict since its inception stands at 31, 022 – mostly civilians.
The video reported yesterday showing Austin Tice, the abducted American journalist in Syria is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=dNdA0q9j040
Ali Hussein Nassif, a Hizbullah leader was buried in the Biqa` valley. He and two other fighters were traveling in a car near al-Qusair when the car was attacked by the opposition. This is the fate of other Hizbullah fighters recently who are being killed in Syria where they fight to aid the Bashar al-Assad government, yet their actions are not being made public since Hizbullah denies its support of the Syrian military. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-19801884
Aleppo province: Clashes between the Syrian military and the opposition continued for hours around the Aleppo International Airport and clashes also took place in the Sleiman al-Halabi neighborhood of Damascus. The Syria military shelled the neighborhoods of al-Aweija, Bustan al-Kasr, Karm al-Jabal, al-Kalasa, al-Marja, al-Mayser, al-Salhin. al-Sha`ar, and al-Sukari in Aleppo. The bodies of 15 who had been summarily executed were found in al-Zahra.
The Syrian military shelled the towns of al-Bab, Hreitan and KafrHalab causing the deaths of 4 civilians including 3 women in al-Bab. An anti-regime protest took place in the village of Masqan calling for an end to the current regime, the current president and demanding freedom.
Damascus province: The Syrian military shelled the Haramla area of the neibhorhood of al-Jobar in Damascus. The Syrian military and the opposition clashed in the Yarmouk camp today.
Syrian security forces detained Khalil Ma’touk, a prominent lawyer and legal activist in Sehnaya, and it is not known where he was taken. area of Reef Dimashq, he was taken to an unknown location.
The Syrian military heavily shelled the eastern part of the al-Ghouta area. Violent clashes took place in Zamalka. Syrian military shelling of the city of Harasta killed at least 11 people including 2 women. The Syrian military resumed its shelling of al-Zabadani, destroying houses there. A sniper killed a man from Deir al-Asafir on the highway to the airport. Reports of the Syrian military firing at will in the town of Hezza.
Dara`a province: In the Tariq al-Sad neighborhood of the city of Dara`a, a child was killed.
The Syrian military shelled the al-Lijah area and the town of Umm al-Mayathen. Syrian military searched through the areas around the town of A’lma seeking opposition fighters. An explosion near the al-Nakhle area killed 9 opposition fighters. Six civilians including a pregnant woman were killed in Dara`a’s refugee camp as well as three opposition fighters in that camp. One civilian was shot in the town of Seida.
Deir az-Zur province: The Syrian military shelled the town of al-Shahil, killing 3 civilians and injuring several others.
Hama province: A sniper shot a civilian in the neighborhood of Msha al-Arba`in. An anti-regime demonstration took place in the Tariq Halab neighborhood of Hama calling for an end to the regime, an end to the president and for freedom. The Syrian military shelled the town of Qala`at Madiq. The Syrian military also shelled the village of Buri al-Sharqi and tried to storm the village, although 12 regime troops were killed and an opposition fighter was killed. The Syrian military invaded the village of Suha. The Syrian military bombarded the towns of Aqeirbat, Mas`oud and Qabr Feda.
Hassake province: The Turkish army killed a Syrian Kurd who was a member of the Kurdish popular Defense Committtees as he patrolled the border near the village of Tel Liyoun and two other Kurds were wounded.
Homs province: The Syrian military shelled the town of al-Ghanto and al-Talbisa. Shabiha shot a civilian in the village of Jbourin. A defected soldier, Youssef Masalmeh (who came from Dara`a) was shot by the Syrian military while evacuated civilians from al-Ghento. The Syrian military killed 5 people as they shelled the village of Buwaida al-Sharqiyya in the city of Qusair and clashes took place in that city. A sniper shot a child in al-Hula.
Idlib province: The Syrian military clashed with the opposition killing one opposition fighter in the city of Idlib. The Syrian military shelled Deir Sunbul, Has, Kafranbel, and Sahl al-Roj. The Syrian military shelled the town of Taftanaz and troops at checkpoints in the town of Mhambal fired on civilians.
Quneitra province: The Syrian mitliary used machine guns on the tow of Jabata al-Khashab and the village of Taranja at the ceasefire line, where clashes have been taking place between the Syrian military and the opposition.
Raqqa province: Clashes took place between the Syrian military and the opposition at the checkpoints into the city of al-Tabqa.
More than 500,000 Syrians have fled to al-Raqqa to escape violence. The conflict has doubled this northern city’s population. However, this point of refuge has now increasingly become a hot spot in the conflict.
The Syrian regime may have been deeply involved in stirring up conflict in northern Lebanon, more deeply than was thought previously. If the secret documents al-Arabiya claims to have are correct, then orders came from Syria to the Lebanese army to attack a known anti-Assad cleric in Lebanon. http://english.alarabiya.net/articles/2012/10/02/241431.html
International: Iraq stopped a cargo plane flying from Tehran to Damascus and searched it for weapons. The plane was allowed to continue as nothing prohibited was found according to Nasser Bandar, Iraq’s head of the civil aviation authority.
A week-long session of the U.N. General Assembly came up with no solution on the Syrian crisis although speech after speech alluded to the crisis. http://www.boston.com/news/world/united-nations/2012/10/02/syria-ever-present-general-assembly/cuKIeuqNqSbGdsz5rJWNuI/story.html
Russia warned or threatened NATO from intervening in Syria, citing tensions at the Syrian-Turkish border as a possible spark for a Turkish military response. http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/10/02/syria-crisis-russia-nato-idUSL6E8L29N520121002?type=marketsNews
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 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.
Sadeq Jalal al-Azm, philosopher and scholar was born in Damascus in 1934 and earned a Ph.D. in 1961 from Yale. His 1969 book, Naqd al-Fikr al-Dini in which he criticized the misuse of religion and caused his imprisonment in Lebanon. He wrote at least six books and many articles since, including a critique of ‘Orientalism.’ http://en.qantara.de/wcsite.php?wc_c=15850
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, preferring to remain in Syria.
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.
Adonis (Ali Ahmad Said), a poet, born in 1930 in al-Qassabin, Latakia to a farming family. After being imprisoned for a year, he left Syria in 1956 for Beirut. He has published many collections of poetry in which he experimented with various modernist forms and received numerous awards for his poetry. He lives in Paris. http://www.charlierose.com/view/interview/9297
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).
Hanna Mina, novelist, born in 1924 in Iskenderun and raised in Latakia, he would later be an exile in China. He described his education as the “university of dark poverty.” He wrote 40 novels including the autobiographical, The Swamp. http://english.al-akhbar.com/node/5584
Mohammad Malas, filmmaker, born in 1945 in Quneitra and studied cinema in Moscow. He won awards for his many films including Ahlam al-Madina, al-Layl and Bab al-Maqam.
Selwa al-Neimi, poet and author, was born in Damascus and left for Paris in the mid-70s. She has published three volumes of poetry, a collection of short stories and is best known for her erotic novel, The Proof of Honey.
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).
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–Culture/Visual-Art/Art-sees-light-within-the-Syrian-Revolution.aspx
George Wassouf, born in Kafroun, Tartus in 1961, is a popular singer of Arabic music with more than 30 albums released. He has supported Bashar al-Assad and has been criticized for praising the Syrian army.
Samir Zikra, filmmaker, born in Beirut in 1945 and raised in Aleppo. His films include al-Sakran Yanfi (based on a Naguib Mahfouz novel) al-Matar Saba`in, Lan Nansa, al-Shuhud, `Anha, Hadithat al-Nusf Metr, Waqa`ih al-`Amm al-Muqbel. He coauthored a script for Baqaya Suwar (based on a Hanna Mina novel), coauthored the script for Mohammad Malas’ Ahlam al-Madina, and directed Turab al-Ghuraba (about Abd al-Rahman al-Kawakibi) in 1998 and `Alaqat `Ammah in 2005.
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