Syria Update, November 20, 2012. (Institute of Middle Eastern, Islamic and Strategic Studies. By Sherifa Zuhur)
Early death toll: 108 persons including 40 civilians.
Revised death toll for Monday: 134 killed.
The UK has agreed to recognize the new National Coalition of the Syrian Revolution and Opposition as the sole legitimate representative of the Syrian people.
Aleppo province: The bodies of 6 civilians who had been summarily executed by the Syrian military were found in Tariq al-Bab. The Syrian military killed one man in shelling on Salahaddin. Shelling of Manah injured several persons. A sniper killed a woman in Jami`yat al-Zahra. The Liwa al-Tawhid Brigade, the Aleppo Military Council and the Transitional Military Council announced their allegiance to the new National Coalition of the Syrian Revolution and Opposition today. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=-VB95oTJdS8
Yesterday, base 46 of the Syrian military was taken by the Syrian opposition and today, reporters of Associated Press saw the bodies of 7 Syrian troops there.
The Syria military shelled the village of Hoor killing one child. Two opposition fighters were killed in clashes near the air defense base in Shaykh Sleiman.
Damascus province: Heavy shelling destroyed buildings and killed 10 civilians in Daraya today http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZdlOnIqD_SM&feature=youtu.be
Shelling on Hajar al-Aswad killed 4 civilians today. A body was found in al-Jobar and a body discovered in al-Qadam. 2 mortar shells were launched into the Syrian Ministry of Information building in central Damascus. 3 dead bodies showing the marks of torture were found in Mu’adamiyyat al-Sham. A mortar shell fell on my former neighborhood of Abu Rumaneh in Damascus (I used to live underneath the perennially unscheduled Constitutional Court) http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=aI-8hyQcPzM
Shelling on al-Shifoniya killed one civilian. Three men’s bodies were found in Harasta, and a sniper killed one in Harasta. In Harasta,and Irbeen 4 opposition fighters were killed by Syrian troops. Opposition fighters killed one man in Yabrub, presumably for sectarian reasons. One opposition fighter was killed in gunfire at a checkpoint in the city of Dumeir. A sniper killed a civilian from the village of Qalat al-Faki in the town of Sehnaya today.
Dara`a province: Heavy clashes between the Syrian military and the opposition were reported near Dara`a’s highway today.
Deir az-Zur province: 3 Syrian troops were killed here today. Ahmad Amir Abboud al-Hajr was killed today as well. ttp://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=449531371748691&set=a.193299227371908.37088.193044387397392&type=1&relevant_count=1
Syrian military air strikes on al-Mayadden killed Ammar Ibrahim Al Shlash, a child.
and Khalifah Ahmad Abdulfattah.
Hassake province: Renewed fighting in Ra’s al-`Ain resulted in the deaths of 4 members of the Kurdish defense units (of the DUP). 14 opposition fighters from the Nusra Front and the Ghuraba al-Sham brigade were killed in clashes with the Kurdish fighters.
al-Homs province: The Syrian military shelled the city of al-Qseir killing 1 civilian. Pro-regime shabiha killed one civilian today. 1 civilian was killed by the bombardment on the city of al-Qseir. 1 civilian was killed after he was kidnapped by pro-regime gunmen. 11 Syrian troops were killed today in Homs province.
Idlib province: The Syrian military killed one opposition fighter in Ma`arat al-Nu`man and shelled that town today. 5 Syrian troops were killed in the province today. A Syria fighter jet blasted the town of Taftaz. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KFvjqoI7o64&feature=player_embedded
Latakia province: The Syrian military shelled Jabal al-Turkman. 2 opposition fighters were killed in clashes with the Syrian military in the Latakia countryside. 5 Syrian troops were killed in this province today.
Al-Raqqah province: 1 Syrian soldier was killed today.
The UK has agreed to recognize the new National Coalition of the Syrian Revolution and Opposition as the sole legitimate representative of the Syrian people. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324352004578130834104211440.html
NATO member states agreed to supply Turkey with Patriot missiles to defend its borders against Syrian attacks. http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/11/20/us-syria-crisis-turkey-idUSBRE8AJ0FE20121120
The head of the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party rejected the new National Coalition of the Syrian Revolution and Opposition today. http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/11/20/us-syria-kurds-opposition-idUSBRE8AJ1FV20121120
The Friends of Syria group which supports the Syrian opposition is set to convene in Marrakesh, Morocco on December 12th and Hilary Clinton, currently, US Secretary of State, is to attend along with more than 100 delegations.
Iran has started building a $10 million natural gas pipeline to Syria which is to pass through Iraq. http://www.arabnews.com/iran-starts-building-gas-pipeline-syria
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