Syria Update, October 9, 2012 (Institute of Middle Eastern, Islamic and Strategic Studies. By Sherifa Zuhur)
Early death toll: 106 were killed.
Yesterday’s (Monday) revised death toll: More than 210 killed including 106 unarmed civilians.
Insights: Casualties are again rising and bear in mind these death tolls underreport casualties which previously indicated a high rise in daily deaths, beginning in August with the Syrian government’s efforts to “wipe out” the opposition, which has failed. As a purely anecdotal observation, interest in the conflict outside of Syria is waning – the attention span, even of regional news-watchers is very limited. The opposition is trying, desperately, to keep Syria alive in the news by pointing to human rights issues, survival needs of refugees, but news about the riots provoked by “Innocence of the Muslims” and even by cross-border hostilities between Turkey and Syria far outweighs the interest in this now-lingering conflict. NATO has pledged its intent to defend Turkey in a conflict, although it would rather not, http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/10/09/us-nato-turkey-rasmussen-idUSBRE8980FH20121009
but will not intervene on a humanitarian basis otherwise. With Turkish fighter jets now at the border, a broader conflict is possible. While Lakhdar Brahimi has unveiled no new strategy, many voices have stated their readiness to accept Syria’s vice president, Farouk Shara`a as an acceptable leader, should anyone (Russia? China? Iran? Other Syrian regime supporters?) be able to convince Bashar al-Assad to step down and exit the country.
The first official refugee camp inside of Syria for internally-displaced civilians opened today close to the Turkish border. Refugees arrived from Atme by bus. 40,000 square meters of land have been purchased for the camp which is to house 5,000 persons. http://www.france24.com/en/20121009-first-formal-displaced-persons-camp-opens-inside-syria
Turkey has once again warned Syria that it will retaliate against any strike against its citizens or territory, and has sent fighter jets to the border.
An opposition official, Jamal al-Wadi claimed in Okaz that Hizbullah fighters are actively fighting in Syria and that some are pretending to be PFLP-GC fighters by wearing their clothing (who have been clashing with the opposition in the last few months). Hizbullah’s media responded saying merely that this claim is all “lies.” http://www.english.moqawama.org/essaydetails.php?eid=20674&cid=258
Aleppo province: The Syrian military shelled the neighborhoods of Bustan al-Basha, al-Fayd, Tariq al-Bab, al-Halk, al-Itha’a, Masaken Hanano, Karm al-Jabal, al-Sha’ar, al-Heidariya, al-Hamdaniya, al-Qaterji, Qadi Askar, al-Sukari, al-Sakhour, and al-Shaykh Khudr. Fierce clashes took place in the Sleiman al-Halabi neighborhood. Protesters marched in the neighbourhoods of al-Ashrafiya, al-Firdaws and al-Mghaye calling for the fall of the regime and in solidarity with Syria’s other besieged cities.
The Syrian military shelled al-Bab, al-Msfeira, Maskana, and Tal Ref`at causing a death in Mseifra. A child died from his wounds in the shelling of A’ndan.
Damascus province: 25 burned bodies were discovered between al-Qadam and al-Daraya. The Syrian military shelled al-Qadam and al-Asali following lengthy clashes in the Bor Sa`id area of al-Qadam.
A double suicide attack hit air force intelligence security buildings in Harasta and the fate of prisoners held in the building is unknown. http://www.ndtv.com/article/world/dozens-killed-in-double-suicide-attack-near-damascus-ngo-277405
The Syrian military shelled Sayyida Zeinab and the city of Duma. The Syrian military carried out raids in Deir al-A’safir and killed 4 there as they stormed the town. An unidentified corpse marked by torture, was found in Babila.
Dara`a province: The Syrian military heavily shelled the town of al-Ghara al-Sharqiya. Gun fire emanating from the checkpoints in the towns of Busra al-Harir, Izre’ and Namer was reported. An unidentified body was discovered in al-Karak al-Sharqi. The Syrian military heavily shelled al-Yaduda.
Deir az-Zur province: Clashes took place in the city of Bukamal.
Hama province: The Syrian military shot 2 civilians from the town of Qastoun at a checkpoint. The Syrian military shelled the town of Kafrzeita.
Homs province: At least 400 Syrians from the area of al-Qusayr have fled to Lebanon over the last 24 hours, crossing by foot, motorbike and donkey over heavily-mined territory near the border. The Syrian military shelled the towns of al-Hula, Talbisa, and al-Bawaida al-Sharqiyya.
In the city of Homs, violent clashes between the opposition and the Syrian military took place at the edges of Homs al-Qadima and al-Khalidiyya neighborhoods. The Syrian military have been trying to recapture al-Kalidiyya and have repeatedly announced in the media that they have taken al-Khalidiyya in the last few days.
Idlib province: The Syrian military shelled the town of Ihsem and heavily shelled the town of Sarmin. Rebel fighters took control of the city of Ma’arat al-Nu’man after clashes that lasted for 48 hours. Some Syrian forces surrendered and some defected, the opposition has promised that there will be no executions. Regime forces used helicopters and fighter airplanes to shell the outskirts of the Wadi al-Deif camp in Ma`aret al-Nu’man. The Syrian military shelled the towns of al-Bara, al-Bsheiriya, al-Hamama, al-Kastan and Meshemshan. Violent clashes occurred in Fariq Darkoush, which has been, for the most part, under opposition control.
Latakia province: Heavy clashes took place between the Syrian military and the opposition in Jabal al-Turkman and Nahiet Rabi`a. The Syrian military shelled al-Haffa and the villages around it, Jabal al-Turkman and the town of Sharqaq.
al-Raqqa province: The Syrian military shelled the village of Hamam al-Turkman.
President Bashar al-Assad appointed Sattam Jadan al-Dandah as Ambassador to Iraq to replace Nawaf Fares who defected from Bashar al-Assad’s government in July.
International: The United Nations’ Ban Ki-Moon demanded that the international community call an end to the war in Syria. Meanwhile, U.S. President Barak Obama has pledged support for the Syrian people who oppose Bashar al-Assad. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/25/syria-un-ban-ki-moon_n_1914691.html
Venezuela’s president Hugo Chavez says he supports Syria’s government, called the Syrian opposition “terrorists” drawing parallels to Libya, and blamed the United States as one of those responsible for the violence.
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.
2012 September 2. The Syrian military begin a campaign to retake opposition-dominated neighborhoods of Aleppo, promising victory within 10 days (but well into October they were still battling in the same areas.) September 5: 45 people were summarily executed by the Syrian regime in al-Akramiyya in Aleppo. September 21: 90 soldiers defected from the infantry academy in Aleppo. A trial of five persons began in Syria of persons who kidnapped a defected Syrian officer, Hussein Harmoush who had handed him back to the Syrian government.
2012 October. Massive shelling of Syrian cities and villages continues. Hizbullah operatives are returned dead to Lebanon after battling in Syria on behalf of the Assad regime. Syria fires into Turkish territory killing five civilians and continues to fire into Syria for six days from 3 Oct – 9 Oct. causing NATO to issue a statement of readiness to defend Turkey.