Syria Update, November 30, 2012 (Institute of Middle Eastern, Islamic and Strategic Studies. By Sherifa Zuhur)
Early death toll: More than 127 including at least 54 civilians.
Time’s photos of Syria’s war http://world.time.com/2012/04/02/syrias-year-of-chaos-photos-of-a-slow-motion-civil-war/photo/graphic-warning-2/
The UN Disengagement Observer Force’s (which serves in the Golan) convoy of 13 vehicles was again fired on for the second day on the Damascus airport road. The previous shooting wounded 4 Austrian troops.
Demonstrations against the Bashar al-Assad took place today throughout the country following Friday prayers. There were some reports of demonstrations which criticized the FSA and called for the hardline jihadist groups in the north of the country, chanting “The Free (Syrian) Army are thieves, we want an Islamic army,”
Thirteen reporters and citizen journalists have been killed during the month of November in Syria. http://english.alarabiya.net/articles/2012/11/30/252703.html
Also see the report of the International Committee to Protect Journalists http://www.cpj.org/2012/11/at-least-two-journalists-killed-in-syria.php
The UN Commission of Inquiry investigating human rights violations in Syria is being given a Swiss airplane to help its mission. It has conducted more than 1,000 interviews and compiled two lists of names of individuals and groups involved in serious allegations of rights abuses, which were already given to Navi Pillay, the UN Commissioner for Human Rights.
The Damascus airport is still closed to foreign flights, although it reported service of domestic flights and the Internet shut-down continues, preventing news collection and dissemination http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-20552387
Damascus province: The opposition shot down a fighter MIG over al-Dameer. The Syrian military has shelled Tadamon and Hajar al-Aswad in Damascus and Babila, Beit Sahem, Daraya, Mu’adamiyyat al-Sham, A’qraba, Hjeira, Irbeen, and Sabina. Clashes continue through the southern areas of Damascus and the regime has taken the threat against the airport very seriously.
Heavy regime shelling of Daraya and Kafr Souseh took place today.
Muhammad Qureitem of Daraya, non-violent activist, member of Wild Grapes and Freedom Days Syria was killed today. http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=300736370036448&set=a.221349711308448.44145.220124418097644&type=1&theater
Deir az-Zur province: Very important news (strategically) for the Syrian opposition: The Syrian army has retreated from the largest oil field in Deir az-Zur, the al-Omar oil field north of al-Mayadeen. This means there is no Syrian military presence east of the city of Deir az-Zur, and the regime has lost control of the Jafra oil field and the Konoko gasfield from which 45 soldiers ran away & defected on Nov. 27th However, the regime still holds the oil fields west of Deir az-Zur.
The Syrian military continued to shell al-Mayadeen and al-Shahil. Opposition fighters are besieging the Deir az-Zur military checkpoint. Soldiers inside of the airport have defected.
The Syrian military shelled the Rashidiyya neighborhood of the city of Deir az-Zur and clashes took place there and in other neighborhoods. Anti-regime demonstrations were held in al-Hmeidiyya in Deir az-Zur and in the town of Tayana, calling for the execution of the president.
Hama province: Yesterday, 2 civilians were kidnapped by unknown gunmen and killed in the countryside.
Hassakeh province: An opposition fighter at Ra’s al-`Ain filmed himself shooting 10 prisoners and posted the video. http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/11/30/syria-crisis-execution-idUSL5E8MUD5920121130
Yesterday, the Syrian military shelled the area near Tel Nemer killing one Syrian Kurdish civilian.
Homs province: The Syrian military killed 17 young men from Tripoli, Lebanon in a “trap” in Tal Kalakh. They had gone to Syria to fight with the opposition. Two persons were killed in al-Rastan. Yesterday, the Syrian air force killed one civilian in its aerial bombardment of al-Arjoun.
Idlib province: The Syrian military bombed a residential area in Kafr Awad today. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k-hjciPG_uI
Clashes are continuing in the southern part of Ma`arat al-Nu`man and the Syrian military continues to shell that city. Many residents have fled. A child died of wounds received yesterday in the town of Sarmin. Clashes took place in near the village of al-Shughour. Opposition fighters are carrying out a siege of a military checkpoint on the Idlib-Salqin highway. A Syrian military helicopter dropped explosives on the village of Koreen yesterday.
The Assad regime has been extremely effective in threatening minority communities, including Christians and their Churches and Church officials. Nevertheless, significant numbers and figures support a Free Syria, in some cases, rejecting their officials. http://en.qantara.de/wcsite.php?wc_c=20251&wc_id=22066
Refugees: Smugglers have been demanding kickbacks from Jordanian officials and refusing those refugees who are guided to safety by the Free Syrian Army. Some refugees are being turned away by the corrupt officials. (In other reportage, the Syrian military fires on the fleeing refugees)
The U.N’s Ban Ki-Moon has predicted that the numbers of Syrian refugees will rise above 700,000 by January.
International: NATO spokesperson Oana Lungescu said that Patriot (PAC-3) missiles could be deployed to the Turkish border within several weeks if they are approved, possibly by the NATO members foreign ministers’ meeting scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday in Brussels. She added, “Anyone who thinks of attacking Turkey will think twice.”
France asked the Syrian government to restore Internet and phone services now cut off for a second day.
The Friends of Syria “sanctions working group meeting” convened in Tokyo bringing together delegates from 60 countries. Newly represented are Indonesia, Bangladesh, Kazakhstan and Bangladesh. Japan’s Foreign Minister, Koichiru Gemba referred to the group as the international community’s effort in an instance where the United Nations Security Council has failed to act to alleviate the conflict
Dutch police arrested 3 men in Rotterdam who were planning to travel to Syria to fight with the opposition, i.e. to be “international jihadists.”
It has become clear (if it were not earlier) in the last few days that Russia has been moving cash to Syria, circuitously and in defiance of international sanctions. Some of the evidence has been found in a cache of documents provided by the group Anonymous. http://openchannel.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/11/26/15459691-as-battle-raged-in-syria-russia-sent-tons-of-cash-to-damascus-flight-records-show?chromedomain=worldnews&lite
Russia may also have been moving arms into Syria, as indicated by the recently revealed documents. http://world.time.com/2012/11/29/is-russia-running-a-secret-supply-route-to-arm-syrias-assad/
Iraq has also played a role in Syria’s desperate efforts to obtain more helicopters for its war against Syria’s civilians and opposition. http://www.propublica.org/article/docs-to-retrieve-attack-helicopters-from-russia-syria-asks-iraq-for-help
Here is the information from Anonymous in emails from the Syria’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs: http://par-anoia.net/releases.html#mofa
A strike for Syria led by the non-violent movement will take place Dec. 1 and 2, 2012. http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=300637206713031&set=a.221349711308448.44145.220124418097644&type=1&theater
The new National Coalition for the Syrian Revolution and Opposition held its first meeting in Cairo on Wednesday. http://www.egyptindependent.com/news/syrian-opposition-holds-first-meeting-cairo
Reflections on “family” and “safety” by Maysaloon. http://www.maysaloon.org/
Appendix. Syria and Russia: A Brief Q. & A.
Q. Why does Russia support the regime of Bashar al-Assad?
Q. Did communism flourish in Syria?
*personal witnessing of the seizure of communists and Maoists (alleged) by the H. al-Assad regime.
Q. Has the Syrian Communist Party supported the revolution?
A. No. (However, some former communists are part of the revolution)