Syria Update, November 12, 2012 (Institute of Middle Eastern, Islamic and Strategic Studies. By Sherifa Zuhur)

12 Nov

Syria Update, November 12, 2012 (Institute of Middle Eastern, Islamic and Strategic Studies. By Sherifa Zuhur)

Early death toll: 107

There was a report that the FSA reportedly gave embassies in Damascus 72 hours to leave and then a report which denied that news.

A deal was hammered out between Syrian opposition groups on the following points:

They agreed: To form a National Coalition of the Forces of the Syrian Revolution and Opposition open to all factions.
To work for the fall of the Bashar al-Assad government and all of its entities, and to destroy its security organizations and prosecute those who engaged in crimes against Syrians.
To not take part in dialogue or negotiations with the regime.
That the statutes of the coalition (discussed) determined the composition of representation.
To support revolutionary military councils to be unified under a supreme military council – has a judicial and other commissions.
To form a provisional government & call for a general congress once the Assad government falls.
The Arab League approved the new opposition group as did the GCC states (see below).

Aleppo province: Clashes occurred in Bustan al-Qasr. The Syrian military shelled al-Zahra. The Syrian military shelled the neighborhoods of al-Sakhour, al-Sukari and al-Sha`ar. A sniper killed 2 in the neighborhood of Maysaloun. Violent clashes near the Air Intelligence Branch between al-Nusra Front and other opposition groups and the Syrian military.

The Syrian military shelled the town of Kafrhama. Clashes took place between the Syrian military and the opposition at the edge of the 46th battalion. Mortar shells fell on the Kafrhamra town.

Damascus province: Heavy shelling by rockets on the Yarmouk camp. 7 were killed there (1 had been previously wounded) – the area between the camp and Tadamon has been heavily shelled by the Syrian military and civilians are fleeing.

A bomb exploded on (or under) a bus in the town of Mu`adamiyya and a civilian was killed at a checkpoint in that town. Two opposition fighters were killed in Aqraba and 3 civilians killed in shelling on the town of Saqba. Two men were killed in Harasta, one by a sniper and the other in clashes.

The Syrian military resumed shelling on Zamalka and Mu`adamiyya, and shelled Irbeen, Harasta, Shifuniya and Yalda.

Clashes took place in Irbeen.

The Syrian military shelled the town of Hamouriyya causing several casualties. The Syrian military shelled the towns of Thiyabiyya and Sayyida Zeinab. The bodies of 4 men were found in al-Thiyabiyya.

Dara`a province: The Syrian military heavily shelled Basr al-Harir and al-Harak today. The Syrian military shelled the town of Othman.

Deir az-Zor province: Shelling resumed by the Syrian military on the neighborhoods of al-A’rdi and al-Sheikh Yasin in the city of Deir az-Zur. An opposition commander was killed in clashes in the city today. Two car bombs went off on the al-Bukamal bridge. Shelling resumed on al-Boukamal.

The opposition damaged a Syrian military helicopter today near the al-Hamdan military airport near al-Boukamal. It landed in the Hawi al-Ghabra area and it was reported that its crew escaped, and another Syrian helicopter destroyed the aircraft so the opposition could not seize it.

Hassake province: The Syrian military shelled the town of Ra’s al-`Ain, killing 16, injuring at least 40. Targets in this town had been taken by the opposition on Thursday. The Syrian military shelled the town of Seri, killing 7.

Kurdish Popular Protection units of the Democratic Union Party took control of al-Malkiya and Syrian security forces retreated.

Clashes took place near a Syrian military checkpoint (which is normally heavily staffed with 75 Syrian troops) in Asfar Najar. The opposition has surrounded the checkpoint, and a Syrian regime helicopter has been bombarding the area to.

Homs province: The Syrian military shelled the neighborhood of al-Khaldiyya. The Syrian military shelled al-Rastan killing a man and a child. The Syrian military shelled the neighborhood of Deir Ba`lba and clashes took place there. The Syrian regime shelled the village of A’qrab in the al-Hula area and the village of Jousiyya on the outskirts of al-Qseir.

Latakia province: The Syrian military heavily shelled Jabal Akrad.

Quneitra province: Clashes in the village of Bi’ir Ajam resulted in the deaths of 3 opposition fighters.

al-Raqqa province: The Syrian military shelled by air the town of Dabsi A’fnan. Heavy clashes are taking place in the town between fighters of the al-Nusra front and other opposition groups and the Syrian military.

Tartous province: An explosion shook the city of Banyas.

Abductions: The Syrian government continues to deny holding American journalist Austin Tice.

International: The GCC states – Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman and Kuwait have decided to recognize the new National Coalition of the Syrian opposition as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people in a statement today by the GCC Council.

Talks were held in Cairo by Arab foreign ministers on Syria to determine support for the new Syrian opposition entity and the League agreed to support the Coalition.
Ahead of this meeting with Lakhdar Brahimi and Nasser al-Qudwa, Brahimi met with Nabil al-Araby who heads the Arab League. The new national Coalition of the Syrian opposition’s leaders is headed by Ahmed Moaz al-Khatib with Riad al-Saif and Suhair al-Atassi as deputies.
The Syrian air force struck Jilan Bnar, a Turkish border town, injuring 6.

Israel fired at Syria after a shell hit near an army post the Israeli-held Golan Heights.

The International Federation of the Red Cross and the Red Crescent made an appeal today for donors to give 32.3 million Swiss francs to provide aid to the more than 170,000 Syrian refugees now in Turkey.

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 from the 3rd of Oct until the end of the month. This initially caused NATO to issue a statement of readiness to defend Turkey.

2012 November: With support from the GCC states and the United States, a new Syrian opposition coalition was created called the National Coalition of the Forces of the Syrian Revolution and Opposition. Elections had been held by the Syrian National Council, but claims were made that the new entity was more broadly representative and the new coalition plans to create a transitional government and work toward the downfall of Bashar al-Assad and his institutions.


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