Syria Update, November 29, 2012 (Institute of Middle Eastern, Islamic and Strategic Studies. By Sherifa Zuhur)

29 Nov

Syria Update, November 29, 2012. (Institute of Middle Eastern, Islamic and Strategic Studies. By Sherifa Zuhur)

Early death toll: 83

Wednesday’s death toll: 135

The Internet and telephone services were cut today all over Syria. Casualty figures have not been updated as a result.

The opposition used surface-to-air missiles twice in the last 24 hours in the north of the country.

A video of kidnapped Ukrainian journalist Anhar Kochneva was posted about 16 hours ago:

Aleppo province: The Syrian military bombarded the Ansari neighborhood causing two buildings to collapse. At first 35 casualties were reported. A later report referred to 15 deaths and at least 20 injuries.
Syrian government military shelling of Deir Hafer caused injuries.

The Syrian military killed 4 unidentified children in the town of al-Sfeira, where clashes took place and the opposition set off explosives in the homes of regime supporters. An oppostion leader from the city of al-Bab died of wounds received during clashes at the Tishreen Dam.

A British doctor, Abbas Khan has been detained by Syrian security services in Aleppo. He had been treating the wounded in Saraqeb and just transferred to Aleppo on Sunday. He is not a foreign fighter.

Damascus province: An explosion heard in the Wurud neighborhood in Qudseyya was a car-bomb. The Syrian military shelled al-Hajar al-Aswad and carried out raids and arrests in al-Zahra al-Qadima.

Heavy clashes are being fought between opposition and government forces near A’wamid, A’qraba, Babila, Beit Saham, Douma, Harasta, al-Hjeira, and Hran at the outskirts of Damascus international airport with casualties on both sides. A sniper killed a civilian in Babila. Also there have been aerial bombardments in some locations and helicopters are hovering over the Ghouta al-Sharqiyya. Bloggers report that “Operation Line of Sunrise” has begun. The opposition killed 50 Syrian government soldiers at outposts in the town of Harna.
The government responded with heavy fire on the opposition campaign directed towards the airport. Flights ceased late Wednesday morning. Although an Algerian flight arrived today, other carriers have been directed not to land and the airport road was closed. Yesterday, two Austrian UN soldiers stationed with the UN force in the Golan were traveling to Damascus airport and were fired on and injured.

Reports earlier today indicated the opposition had claimed the airport road.

Reports at about 20:39 GMT (and 13:00 EST) claimed that the Syrian military had recaptured the airport road but unconfirmed reports at 17:30 EST said the opposition had taken the airport.

Yesterday a video was sent out of the local governor of Daraya who has been kidnapped by the opposition. The Syrian military shelled A’rbin and Douma, and also Daraya killing 3 civilians there.
Today, other reports of a “massacre” by the Syrian government in Daraya were received.

In Jaramana, primarily a Druze and Christian neighborhood two car bombs set off simultaneously killed more than 50 civilians yesterday. A physician, Dr. Ahmed Iyad al-Fateyeh from Deir az-Zur, was killed in Mu’adamiyyat al-Sham treating the wounded.

Dara`a province: The Syrian government forces have burned more than 200 houses and raided businesses in the town of Tafas. A sniper shot a man in Tafas and the government forces shot a woman and her husband. The Syrian military shelled al-Mzeirib and a huge explosion took place in the al-Safari neighborhood in Dara`a

Deir az-Zur province: The Syrian government’s military resumed shelling on the town of Mouhasan. Clashes took place between the opposition and the Syrian military near the Deir az-Zur military airport. 20 member of the Syrian military defected from the government today; one officer defected yesterday in the city of Deir az-Zur. Yesterday, the Syrian military shelled the village of al-Boulayl, al-Shihal and al-Husseiniyya.

Yesterday, the Syrian military shelled al-Arfi, al-Mu’athafeen, al-Omal, Hamidiyya, the al-Hal market, schools, churches and Cinema Fouad street in Deir az-Zur. Here is the condition of the city center at Cinema Fouad street:

A girl, Huda Abu Bakr al-Mishwih was killed in aerial shelling of her grandmother’s funeral procession at Mayadeen yesterday near a mosque. Her grandmother had died of grief over her son’s (an activist) death at the hands of the Syrian military.

Homs province: The Syrian military renewed its shelling of the town of Talbisa..
The Syrian military shelled the village of al-Qar’oun of al-Qsayr and the village of al-A’rjoun, which killed a young man.

Idlib province: Clashes took place when opposition forces attacked a checkpoint at the edge of the city of Idlib.

The Syrian military shelled al-Bara, Bansh, Kansafra, Kafranbel, Kourin, Taftanaz, and T’oum. Clashes took place after the opposition attacked a military column on the Idlib-Salqin road. The opposition shot down a war plane in the Banash neighborhood of Idlib. The opposition launched an assault on Wadi Deif military base.

Clashes occurred in the southern part of Ma`arat al-Nu`man and the Syrian military used artillery to shell the city. Yesterday, the government forces had pulled back from Ma’mal al-Mkhalal and Zeidan checkpoints on the Idlib-Salqin road and opposition fighters then claimed these checkpoints.

Al-Raqqa province: The opposition took over the al-Qarya al-Qadima area of the city of Tabaqa after clashes that continued for hours.


Comments by Lakhdar Brahimi, UN-Arab League special envoy to Syria following his briefing at the U.N. are here:

Lebanon: Walid Jumblatt renewed a call to the Syrian Druze to join the opposition. Although the article doesn’t mention it, they have supported the opposition for quite some time in the south of the country.

Spain: Spain recognized the new National Coalition of the Syrian Revolution and Opposition as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people.

Austria: Austria’s foreign minister, Michael Spindelegger has asked the Austrian embassy in Damascus to file a protest with the Austrian government and summoned Syria’s ambassador in Vienna in response to the shooting of the two Austrian UN soldiers on the Damascus airport road (see above.) Their convoy was fired on and the Syrian foreign ministry has blamed the opposition.
The International Campaign to Ban Landmines notes the use of landmines by the Syrian government along its borders with Turkey and Lebanon. Casualties of two dozen Syrians, many children, took place this year due to the Soviet-made land mines, and the actual rate of death and injury may be higher than that.

Further Reading on Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood
and even if you dislike T. Friedman, his most hopeful comments on the end of Hama rules.
Abdullah, U. I. The Islamic Struggle in Syria. Berkeley: Mizan Press, 1983.
Batatu, Hanna. “Syria’s Muslim Brethren.” Middle East Reports. Vol. 12. No. 110, November-December, 1982.
Mayer, Thomas. “The Islamic Opposition in Syria 1961-1982.” Orient. Vol. 24, 1983.
Porat, Liad.

Seurat, Michel. L’État de barbarie. Paris: Éditions du Seuil, 1989.
Zuhur, Sherifa. “Syria: From Arab Nationalists to a Security Services State.” In Zuhur, The Middle East: Politics, History and Neonationalism. Philadelphia: Institute of Middle Eastern, Islamic and Diasporic Studies, 2005.

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