Syria Update, November 23, 2012 (Institute of Middle Eastern, Islamic and Strategic Studies. By Sherifa Zuhur)
40,129 Syrians have been killed in the 20 months since the revolution began.
Today’s early deathtoll: 54.
Deathtoll for 11/22: More than 130 killed including 54 civilians, 40 opposition fighters, and 34 Syrian military troops loyal to Assad.
The new National Coalition for the Syrian Revolution and Opposition, based in Cairo, will soon open an office in Istanbul. http://www.todayszaman.com/news-299070-syrian-national-coalition-to-open-office-in-istanbul.html
How aid from Turkey reaches hungry Syrians who can no longer harvest their crops in areas like Jabal Akrad in Latakia province. http://humanitariannews.org/20121123/syrian-arab-republic-syrian-aid-smugglers-haggle-flour-turkey
Aleppo province: Clashes between the Syrian military and the opposition were again fought at the Aleppo citadel. The Syrian military shelled the al-Sakhour neighborhood and killed 2 opposition fighters in the previous shelling on Itha’a. Reports of 10 unidentified bodies in Midan. Anti-regime Friday demonstrations took place in Shaykh Fares, Firdaws, Ma’adi, Masaken Hanano, Qadi Askar, Salaheddin, and Sukkari. Here is the demonstration in Ma`adi http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bms4C85Cs3w
Anti-regime demonstrations were also held in the towns of al-Bab, Darat Izza, Deir Hafer, al-Halazoun, Hreitan, Manbaj, and Mare’.
Damascus province: The Syrian military shelled the al-Qaboun neighborhood in Damascus killing 1 person. In al-Qaboun a very large anti-regime demonstration took place today. 2 bodies that had been tortured were discovered in the Hajar al-Aswad neighborhood. Clashes took place in Kfar Soussa today. The bodies of 7 summarily executed persons were found in al-Qadam today.
The Syrian military shelled al-Mezzeh early Thursday, injuring a woman inside her apartment and destroying buildings. Another mortar shell hit a middle school just as 900 students were about to take an exam. The students took shelter in the basement.
Yesterday, a bomb blast went off under the car of a PLFP-GC activist, wounding him and killing 4 others in Yarmouk camp.
Wednesday, opposition fighters assassinated Syrian journalist, Basel Yousef, who worked for the Syrian General Organization for Radio and Television, in the Tadamon neighborhood.
The Syrian regime shelled the towns of Mu’adamiyya and Daraya killing 5 opposition troops and 1 other person. The Syrian military is heavily shelling Saqba. Clashes are continuing in Daraya. The Syrian regime is also shelling Jisreen and Sabina.
Dara`a province: The Syrian regime shelled the towns of Mzeyreb and Da’el. Anti-regime demonstrations took place in Busra al-Sham, Mseifra, Ma’arba, Tafas and Yaduda, and in the Kashif and Tariq al-Sad neighborhoods of the city of Dara`a.
A wounded civilian who had been shot by sniper in Busra al-Sham died today.
Deir az-Zur province: The decomposed body of Muhammad Rashid al-Ruweili, a Syrian novelist and former head of the writer’s union in Deir az-Zur was discovered last night. It has been 2 months since he was kidnapped.
The Syrian military shelled the Shaykh Yasin and Hamidiyya areas of the city of Deir az-Zur. This city has been devastated due to the current increase in Syrian military airstrikes (here & in other regions Syria) especially in the last 4 days.
Hama province: Anti-regime demonstrations took place in several neighborhoods of the city of Hama today.
The Syrian military is shelling the village of Huweiz. Clashes between the Syrian military and the opposition have killed 2 opposition fighters near the Uqayrabat branch. Anti-regime protests moved through the towns of Kafarzeita and Khattab today. The Syrian military invaded the village of al-Sheir, destroying homes and detaining village residents.
Hassake province: Clashes were ongoing yesterday in Ra’s al-`Ain between the Kurdish People’s Defense units and opposition fighters from the Ghuraba al-Sham and Jabhat Nusra (Nusra Front). By early a.m. today, 8 had been killed from the Nusra Front and 1 Kurdish fighter was killed.
A Kurdish fighter claimed that the Kurdish national councils in western Kurdistan agreed that PYD (DUP) forces will unite with other Kurdish dissidents who are fighting the Syrian opposition.
Kurdish sources report that the Syrian opposition will not recognize Kurdish autonomy, but believe that Kurds are a part of the Syrian nation. http://ikjnews.com/?p=4614
A Syrian Catholic bishop of Hassake-Nisibe, Monsignor Bahnen Hindo issued an appeal to the United Nations and Pope Benedict XVI asking that the FSA and other armed opposition groups not move into Jezirah, an area to which 400,000 internally displaced Syrians have fled. He fears that the Syrian military will bomb and destroy the area in response (as it has done in other Syrian provinces. He also called for the armed groups to leave Ra’s al-`Ain, a border town from which some 30,000 people have fled. http://www.naharnet.com/stories/en/61993-syrian-bishop-appeals-for-refugees-in-jezireh-region
Homs province: The Syrian military shelled al-Rastan today.
Idlib province: The Syrian military is shelling the towns of al-Bara, Kafranbal, Kafrouma, and Sarmin. Anti-regime demonstrations took place in Banash, Kafarnabal, Ma`arat Masrin, and Taftanaz. A car-bomb exploded at a military checkpoint near the military barracks in the city of Idlib close to the highway to Sarmin. Three Syrian military troops were killed.
Refugees: Some Syrian refugees do not want to confined to refugee camps and are moving into other towns or cities, in Turkey, for example. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-20433238
International: The Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov is to discuss his country’s opposition to Patriot missiles being placed at the Turkish border by telephone with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen. The Syrian government and the Iranian government have also complained about the Turkish request to NATO.
A Hizbullah official was wounded in al-Qusayr while fighting with the Syrian military loyal to Assad against the Syrian opposition and taken to hospital in the Biqa`.
Qatar asked the new National Coalition for the Syrian Revolution to appoint an ambassador to Qatar. http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Middle-East/2012/Nov-23/195965-qatar-asks-syrian-opposition-to-name-ambassador.ashx#axzz2D4Mttr00
The UN refugee agency says that the numbers of Syrian refugees who have fled to neighboring countries and registered their refugee status has doubled since September. They set that number more than 440,000.
The Iranian speaker of parliament, Ali Larijani met with Syria’s Bashar al-Assad today after traveling to Damascus. Prior to his meeting with Assad, Larijani met with the officials of the PFLP-GC in Syria and then traveled to Lebanon where he congratulated the Palestinian people on their “victory” against Israel.
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, which was recognized by Turkey, the Arab League, France, the UK, and the EU.
By the end of November, more than 40,000 Syrians have been killed since the outset of the uprising March 15, 2011.