Syria Update, November 26, 2012 (Institute of Middle Eastern, Islamic and Strategic Studies. By Sherifa Zuhur)

27 Nov

Syria Update November 26, 2012 (Institute of Middle Eastern, Islamic and Strategic Studies. By Sherifa Zuhur)

Today’s death toll: More than 123.

Yesterday’s death toll: More than 140.

Aleppo province: The Syrian opposition captured the Tishrin Dam in the north just before dawn on Monday. http://arabnews.com/syrian-rebels-seize-major-dam-north-russia-slams-french-support Here the rebels seized the control room yesterday http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=LdSPTP6s-YI

2 opposition fighters were killed in clashes with government forces in al-Leirmon in the city of Aleppo. Clashes took place on the edges of the al-Sakhour neighborhood.
The Syrian military shelled Mare’ and Tal Hasel.

Damascus province: Syrian military shelling resumed today targeting Jobar and Kafrsousa and there were clashes between the opposition and the government forces in Kafrsousa. The Syrian military again shelled the southern neighborhoods of Damascus by air. Clashes took place in al-Zablatani. A mortar shell killed one person at Yarmouk camp. At dawn, clashes broke out between shabiha in the Duweil’a neighborhood and the opposition who were trying to overtake the neighborhood.

Yesterday, the opposition captured a helicopter base at Marj al-Sultan outside Damascus. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/video/2012/nov/26/syrian-rebels-helicopter-base-video Also see
http://www.lemonde.fr/proche-orient/article/2012/11/25/syrie-l-armee-reguliere-bombarde-les-environs-de-damas_1795628_3218.html

An explosion resulting from a mortar shell was heard in Jaramana. The Syrian military shelled Duma and clashes took place there. The Syrian military detained and tortured one civilian from Duma to death. 3 men were killed in Duma yesterday. Clashes took place in Daraya as the Syrian military attempted to take over the town. One opposition fighter was killed in Daraya. The Syrian military also shelled Daraya, Jdeidat Artouz, al-Rihan, Zabadani and Mu`adamiyya, killing 5 men in Mu`adamiyya today. The Syrian military shelled the Ghouta al-Sharqiyya by air. Clashes took place in Hujeira, Sayyida Zeinab, Yalda and Zamalka. In the morning, the Syrian military shelled the town of Irbeen, killing 2 children. Yesterday, the Syrian military shelled Deir al-Asafir, killing 10 children (some reports indicate 8 children). Cluster bombs were reportedly used. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H5wWZ6yGCZ8&feature=player_embedded

Dara`a province: The Syrian military carried out raids and arrests in several parts of Shaykh Maskeen and destroyed houses after shelling the city in the morning. A massacre was reported there by a different source. The Syrian military used tanks to invade the town of Maliha al-Gharbiyya. A sniper loyal to Assad shot an elderly woman, Fatmeh Abd al-Rahman Hariri, in Hreik and civilians retrieved her body after 6 hours. 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z2L7U84LaHc&feature=youtu.be

Hama province: The Syrian military shelled the village of al-Damina today.

Hassakeh province: The Kurdish fighters of the PYD and the Syrian opposition forces have achieved a truce at Ra’s al-`Ain according to leadership of the Ghuraba al-Sham group.

Homs province:
The Syrian military intensely shelled al-Rastan. The entire family of Mahmoud Adnan Farzat was killed or wounded. Earlier 1 civilian (Farzat’s child) and 6 opposition fighters were reported to be killed in the shelling. 1 civilian died from wounds incurred in yesterday’s shelling of Qusayr. 1 killed in al-Houleh. 3 killed in al-Qusayr. Clashes took place near the town of Qteina.

Idlib province: The Syrian air force bombed the opposition at the Bab al-Hawa border crossing at least six times according to observers, injuring many. The Syrian planes also bombed the refugee camps on the Syrian side of the border which are run by a Turkish charity. Fortunately, the tents were empty.
The Syrian military shelled the villages and towns of al-Bara, al-Fatira, KafrAweid and Taftanaz. An unidentified body was discovered in the city of Ma`arat al-Nu`man. The Syrian air force shelled opposition bases in the town of Harem, killing one fighter and wounding others. The air force also shelled the town of Atmeh, which is very close to a refugee camp. Turkey fired back at the Syrian air force there. The Syrian military killed one opposition fighter in the village of Sallat al-Zuhour.

al-Quneitra province: Yesterday, clashes took place near al-Bariqa village in the liberated part of the Syrian Golan.

The Syrian opposition has formed a commission to set up the future army of a new Syrian government and to coordinate with the new National Coalition, the political opposition Some 50 Free Syrian Officers met and were videoed in a meeting where a statement of objectives and a code of conduct was read. (The FSA has claimed to have as many as 70,000 soldiers, but there is no way to confirm that figure)
al-Raqqa province: The Syria opposition cut off the roads going into Aleppo province which have been important to the regime’s supply lines.
International: France will give the new National Coalition of the Syrian Revolution and Opposition 1.2 million Euros to aid its efforts.
http://www.lemonde.fr/proche-orient/article/2012/11/26/la-france-alloue-1-2-million-d-euros-a-la-coalition-de-l-opposition-syrienne_1796216_3218.html

The importance of the opposition’s victories in the east of Syria in an interview with Amr al-Azm
http://www.theworld.org/2012/11/syria-rebels-oil/

The National Coalition of the Syrian Revolution and Opposition appointed a human rights activist, Walid Safur as its ambassador the UK. Safur, 62 and a former teacher originally from Homs is the president of the Syrian Commission for Human Rights.

Musa Abu Marzuk of Hamas said that Iran must reconsider its support for the Syrian regime in order not to lose support in Arab public opinion. He said that Iran had asked Hamas to support the Syrian regime, Hamas refused and the organization’s relationship with Iran has been affected. (Hamas relocated its leadership to Egypt).

The buying and selling of Syrian refugee brides is taking place, partly as a form of survival, partly in response to what might be called marriage market factors.
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/search-for-syrian-brides-unsettles-refugees-in-jordan-8348009.html

The Turkish military announced that Turkish and NATO officials will begin surveying sites for the placement of Patriot missiles to protect its borders against the Syrian military.

UNRWA says that it needs $53 million to care for Palestinians in Syria. 510,000 registered Palestinian refugees are in Syria.

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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