Syria Update, October 31, 2012 (Institute of Middle Eastern, Islamic and Strategic Studies. By Sherifa Zuhur)
Death toll: More than 130 Syrians killed today including 55 unarmed civilians.
Yesterday’s death toll: 187
The Syrian opposition announced the Liwa al-Asifa (Storm Brigade) a Palestinian-only group at Yarmouk camp which intends to support and defend Yarmouk (where 150,000 Palestinian refugees live) against the Syrian military and the faction of Ahmed Jibril, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – General Command (PFLP-GC) which has backed Assad and fought camp residents as well as FSA fighters.
Aleppo province: The Syrian military’s shelling and snipers killed 4 civilians within the city of Aleppo. The Syrian military shelled a bakery in Kafr Hamra killing a woman and two children.
The Syrian military shelled the towns of Meyer and Anadan today and al-Atarib, where 10 civilians were killed.
Damascus province: An explosive device planted on a motorcycle went off outside the Yasser Hotel at the Sayyida Zeinab shrine killing 8. http://reliefweb.int/report/syrian-arab-republic/bomb-attack-near-shrine-kills-8-south-damascus-watchdog
A huge explosion was heard in Tadamon. The Syrian military shelled the town of Zamalka killing or injuring 15.
A car bomb was reported to have gone off in Mu`adamiyya which killed 1 person. A sniper killed 4 in Mu`adamiyya. The Syrian military bombarded the Eastern Ghouta. Airstrikes and shelling by tanks leveled an area of the city of Duma shown here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=_8KVCcN-dlo
The Syrian military killed 2 in Daraya. The Syrian military’s shelling killed 1 person in Irbeen. One person was tortured to death by the Syrian military in the town of Hamah after detention. A sniper killed 1 person in Harasta. There were 23 deaths in Duma , 18 civilians and 5 opposition fighters
Dara`a province: A nurse from Khirbet Ghazala was killed while aiding the wounded in the town of al-Hrak. A sniper killed 1 person in al-Hrak. Firing by the Syrian military killed one young man in the city of Dar`a.
Deir az-Zur: The Syrian military used warplanes to shell the city of Deir az-Zur today. An oil pipeline in the province was shelled today.
Homs province: A sniper killed 1 in the Deir Ba`lba neighborhood of Homs.
The Syrian military shelled the village of Abel killing 3. One man was killed when those at a military checkpoint fired on his car. Pro-regime elements killed a civilian in the village of Eidoun.
Idlib province: The Syrian military shelled the towns of Binish, Jisr al-Shughour, Kanssara and Taftanaz today. The Syrian military shelled the towns of Temnes, Mahambal and Ma`arat al-Nu`man killing 6 men. 3 unidentified bodies were found near the hospital in Idlib.
Latakia province: Clashes took place in Salma today.
A Facebook page run by Assad supporters claims that Iran and the Assad regime managed to create the Hurricane Sandy using “advanced technology.” The same claim was made by the Syrian Armed Forces. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2012/10/30/pro-assad-page-claims-syria-and-iran-engineered-hurricane-sandy/
International: Syrian opposition groups met for 3 days in a workshop in Silivri near Istanbul under the auspices of the Syrian Center for Political and Strategic Studies, headed by Radwan Ziadeh, and called for the rapid formation of a government-in-exile. The group said it would take Syria’s 1950 constitution as a reference point for the formation of a new constitution.
Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan held talks with Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday and requested Germany’s help in dealing with Syrian refugees. Merkel had praised Turkish restraint in responding to the cross-border fire on Turkish citizens.
Syrian cartoonist, Ali Ferzat, whose hands were broken by Syrian security forces last year, is applying for a license along with former Syrian news anchor, Ibrahim Jubain to publish his satirical magazine, al-Domari (the Lamp Lighter) in Cairo. He had founded al-Domari in Syria in 2000, but the Assad government forced it to close in 2003.
The U.S. plans to support the Riad Saif initiative and a new Syrian opposition body intended to supplant the Syrian National Council to be formed in a meeting in Qatar on November 3 and announced just following the U.S. election. http://thecable.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2012/10/30/obama_administration_works_to_launch_new_syrian_opposition_council Elsewhere this new body is being called the National Initiative Council and has 51 members. Reports have it that Syria’s defected prime minister Riyad Hijab has been named to the council.
UN-Arab League special envoy Lakhdar Brahimi has traveled to China for meetings with Yang Jeichi, China’s Foreign Minister concerning Syria. China has vetoed 3 UN Security Council resolutions on Syria.
Different accounts are circulating about the assassination of Syrian air force commander General Abdullah Mahmoud al-Khalidi. The Free Syrian Army claimed responsibility, but others believe that government agents killed al-Khalidi to prevent him from defecting.
The Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov said that if the West insists on the departure of Bashar al-Assad, then the bloodbath in Syria will continue. He made these remarks after talks with the French minister of foreign affairs, Laurent Fabius.
“Our Name Is Blood” By Mohja Kahf
For decades, Syria was a black hole
in the imaginations of the people down my street.
I had to make jokes about serial killers
or corn flakes, to get across the name
of the country of my first words
and the world’s first alphabet.
Seriously. Today, “Syria-killer” is no joke,
and Syrians bleed across every neighbor’s screen.
The world knows us now, but only by blood.
Not blood like the one-drop rule of race;
blood like tiny throats slit in Houla.
Blood like a family’s limbs blown apart
by a barrel bomb, the kind Asaad keeps dropping
in residential areas. Now we know the phrase
“barrel bomb” too. Syrians enrich the world.