Syria Update, October 5, 2012 (Institute of Middle Eastern, Islamic and Strategic Studies. By Sherifa Zuhur)

6 Oct

Syria Update, October 5, 2012 (Institute of Middle Eastern, Islamic and Strategic Studies. By Sherifa Zuhur)

Death toll: 90

A commander of the Syrian opposition said that his fighters will execute the Iranian hostages kidnapped in August, if Syrian military forces do not withdraw from the Eastern Ghuta in 48 hours.

Thousands of Syrians demonstrated in anti-regime protests today all over Syria even though Syrian security forces were deployed in some areas to arrest protesters. Protesters in Halfaya called for the arming of the FSA; protesters in Kfar Nabal carried a banner that read “Obama and his coward NATO have taught the world’s rulers the art of telling lies skillfully;” Kurdish children and teenagers marched in Kubani. Protesters gathered in Homs despite heavy air strikes.

Syria’s civilians are bearing the brunt of Syrian military attacks. The Syrian government is rationalizing the heavy bombardment on civilian areas by saying it is trying to “clear these areas of terrorists.” Yet, many of these areas have been clear of the opposition.

Aleppo province: The Syrian military shelled the al-Sha`ar neighborhood. Afer shelling the al-Sakhour neighborhood and engaging in clashes, there, the Syrian military stormed parts of the area. The Syrian military shelled the neighborhoods of Bustan al-Qasr, al-Haydariyya, al-Helk, and Qadi Askar killing 2 civilians in Qadi Askar. Some rockets from the shelling also fell on the Qaterji and Shaykh Maqsud neighborhoods. In the Zahra neighborhood, one civilian was found dead in his car. The Syrian military killed one opposition fighter in the Zahra’ neighborhood.
The Syrian military shelled the village of al-Jafra and the town of Hayan. Syrian military jets attacked a civilian bus killing 3 Syrian Kurds and injuring 7, near Deir Jamal.
3 rebel fighters, including the leader of an armed rebel battalion, were killed in clashes in al-Atareeb

Damascus province: The Syrian military shelled the town of Babila and a body was found in that town. Three men’s bodies were found in the city of Irbeen. Two unidentified bodies were found near Duma. The opposition shot down a military fighter helicopter over the town of Saqba as that helicopter was bombarding the eastern Ghuta. It is not known if the helicopter crew survived or was captured. Heavy clashes took place in Ain Terma.

The body of a civilian was found in the town of Bebila. The Syrian military shelled the town of al-Zabadani. The Syrian opposition captured an air defense base in the eastern Ghuta.

Dara`a province: The Syrian military shelled Msayfra, killing one civilian. The Syrian military also carried out raids and arrests and set many houses on fire.

Deir az-Zur province: The opposition launched an attack on the Dawar al-Halbiyya military checkpoint on the outskirts of the city of Deir az-Zur near the political security center, and took control of that center. During clashes, 5 opposition fighters and 12 Syrian military troops were killed. The opposition shot down a Syrian military MIG near Muhassan.

Hama province: Several exploshions shook the al-Manakh neighborhood of Hama, followed by heavy gunfire. A sniper killed one civilian n the al-Jarajma neighbhorhood.
A huge explosion was set off near the village of Kawkab. The Syrian military heavily shelled the town of Hurbanafsa.
Homs province: The city has witnessed the worst bombing campaign in months.

Shelling in al-Khaldiyya today:

Syrian military shelling of al-Rastan killed one person. Violent clashes took place in the town of Taldheb, in the Hula area. The Syrian military shelled the area of al-Jousiya; they have been trying to take control there. The Syrian military also heavily shelled the village of al-Tiba, in the Hula area. Syrian military shelling of the city of Qseir resulted in 3 men’s deaths. The Syrian military shelled the village of al-Bweida al-Sharqiyya, killing 5 civilians. The FSA took over a police station in Homs province at the Lebanese border.

Idlib province: The Syrian military shelled the village of Bsanqoul, killing 3 civilians (2 women and 1 man). The Syrian military also shelled the town of Sarmin and the town of Ma`arat Na`man.

Latakia province: The Syrian military shelled Nahiyat Rabi’a and the town of Salma town in the Jabal al-Akrad. Eleven soldiers defected near Kufranjeh.

Raqqah province: The Syrian military shelled the town of Tal Abyad, near the Turkish border. Clashes between the opposition and the Syrian military in the village of Ma’dan resulted in the death of one opposition fighter and also unconfirmed casualties on the other side. A military helicopter bombarded the area to the west of al-Tabqa city. A vehicle exploded in the Dubsi A’fnan area of al-Tabqa.

International: The United Nations Security Council condemned the four suicide bombings that took place on Wednesday, October 3, 2012 in Aleppo, Syria about the same time as the Syrian military fired across the Turkish border.

The Turkish military returned fire after the Syrian military fired a mortar bomb at a farm in Hatay province.

Shaykh Subhi Tufayli said that Hizbullah should reconsider its stance toward the Assad regime –that Shi`a leaders should not participate in a conflict which is a “massive crime to the Syrian people:” that Hizbullah should not ignite the conflict but help to stop it. Shaykh Tufayli is a former Hizbullah leader, known for his “Revolt of the Hungry” when his faction broke with the other main faction of Hizbullah in the Biqa`.

Federal prosecutors in German charged a 48 year-old German-Lebanese man, referred to as Mahmud El A. who spied for the Assad government on opponents of the Syrian regime in Germany, passing the information on to superiors.

The largest group of asylum-seekers in Sweden are Syrians. 4,474 Syrians arrived in Sweden this year.

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.”

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.’

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.

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).’s-taming-syrian-prison’s-beast

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.

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.

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.–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:

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