Syria Update, December 9, 2012 (Institute of Middle Eastern, Islamic and Strategic Studies. By Sherifa Zuhur)
Early death toll: More than 60.
Saturday’s death toll: More than 100 including 61 unarmed civilians
Is the U.S. sending the Syrian opposition some weaponry from Libya? Framing this as a question because the U.S. government does not discuss covert actions. http://www.businessinsider.com/obama-admin-admits-to-covertly-sending-heavy-weapons-to-syrian-rebels-2012-12
The Free Syrian Army has captured equipment from the regular troops which is meant to be used with the deployment of chemical weapons. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XyKSc0jDPTw&feature=player_embedded
Syria’s Assyrians have a complex relationship with Bashar’s Syria. On the one hand the Assyrian Democratic Organization, along with other groups called for more democracy in 2005 and was targeted by the regime. On the other hand, the Assyrian church has not (or not dared) critique the state whose Ba`thist ideology does not recognize the Assyrian (non-Arab) identity, but which claims to be the protector of religious minorities. http://www.dailystar.com.lb/Opinion/Commentary/2012/Dec-07/197551-syrias-assyrians-caught-in-the-middle.ashx#axzz2EUABngmP
Nine state judges and prosecutors have defected from the Assad regime.
Syrian rebels warn travelers to avoid Damascus airport
Aleppo province: Opposition fighters of the Nusra Front, the al-Battar and Mukhiri al-Sham battalions prevailed over 3 brigades and the command center of the 111th regiment in the Shaykh Sulayman area. This took place after they fought overnight with 2 opposition fighters and 1 government soldier dead. 140 regime soldiers with their officers, fled to the Research Center also in this area.
The FSA captured the town of Khanaser in the southern part of Aleppo province today.
Damascus province: An explosion rocked the al-Fahama area of Damascus near the al-Talaie’ park and the security forces then spread through that area. Clashes took place between the regime and the opposition forces in the al-Qadam neighbourhood. The Syrian regime forces bombarded the southern neighbourhoods of Damascus. A young man was killed in al-A’sali. An electricity converter exploded in al-Qaboun after being hit a shell.
The Syrian military’s shelling continued today on Daraya and al-Mu`adamiyya and there were clashes in the area. The Syrian military shelled the towns of Beit Sahem and `Ain Tarma. Clashes were ongoing outside of the towns of A’qraba, Beit Sahem and Sidi Meqdad and Beit Sahem. The Syrian military carried out heavy shelling on Zamalka.
BBC’s view of Damascus:
The Dara`a-Damascus highway was blocked due to clashes on the road.
Dara`a province: 2 shells fell on the town of al-Karak al-Sharqi The Syrian military stormed Tal Shihab in Dar`a.
Hama province: Syrian government military forces invaded the al-Arb’in neighbourhood of Hama, and carried out raids and arrests.
The Syrian government forces shelled the villages of Jabal Shaheshbo
Hassake province: The FSA is distributing gas near Ra’s al-`Ayn http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dn3fNY6W-qU&feature=youtu.be
Homs province: The regime forces shelled the neighborhoods of Jobar and al-Sultaniya of Homs.
Unknown gunmen fired 4 rockets onto the Armenian neighbourhood of Homs, killing 14 civilians and damaging two buildings. (The above mentioned bombardment via jets hit the parts of Jobar thought to be affiliated with the opposition).
Idlib province: The regime forces shelled the villages of Deir Sharqi and al-Tah Clashes took place between rebel and regular forces in the south western areas of M’aret al-Nu’man while the regime forces also bombarded the northern areas of Ma`arat al-Nu`man and the towns of Deir Sharqi and Talmans. Intermittent clashes are took place near the Wadi al-Deif encampment. The regime forces also shelled the village of al-Bara.
Latakia province: The Syrian government’s military shelled the villages of Ghmam and Qasab as well as Salma and the villages around it.
Quneitra province: The Syrian regime forces shelled the town of Jebata al-Khashab and used heavy machineguns.
Al-Raqqa province: A huge explosion rocked al-Raqqa today.
Syria’s young rappers have censored themselves, but express important truths about the political situation. http://www.arabbeatsandrhymes.com/2012/10/23/fear-threats-and-self-censorship-among-syrian-rappers/
A tribute to a Syrian who died in 1989, and whose life showed how impossible it was to stand up to corruption under the Assads.
Clashes erupting from the Syrian conflict killed 4 and wounded 40 before dawn Sunday in the Bab al-Tebenneh area of Tripoli, Lebanon. The Lebanese Army will be imposing order beginning Monday. http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Politics/2012/Dec-10/197874-army-to-impose-tripoli-security-plan.ashx#axzz2EbRw1Yn6
Romania’s ambassador to Syria has left the country and relocated to Beirut due to security concerns. He will remain there and monitor the situation in Syria.
Israel claims to have special forces inside Syria that are tracking the movements of Syria’s chemical stocks. http://www.algemeiner.com/2012/12/09/report-israeli-special-forces-inside-syria-tracking-chemical-and-biological-weapons/
A few of Syria’s historical and archaeological treasures are: the remains of Palmyra (Tadmur), and the citadel of Ibn Maan, the early Bronze Age site of Ebla, the Citadel of Aleppo constructed by Salah al-Din al-Ayubi and the khans, madaris, suqs and Great Mosque of Aleppo, the theater and ruined town at Bosra (also site of the Mabrak an-Nabi where the Prophet Muhammad’s camel kneeled) the Canaanite city of Ugarit at Ras Shamra, Douro-Europas, the Greek colony on the Euphrates near Salhiye, Tal Faras and Tal Muhammad Diab in Hassake, Tal Brak, the Bronze Age Atchana, Ain Dara, sites at Qanawat, Shahba, and Suwaida, the Ummayad mosque, the citadel, suqs and other sites in the Old City in Damascus such as the Street called Straight, the Azm palace, and the Tekiyye mosque complex in Damascus; the chapel of St. Sergius in Ma`lula, the Hijaz railway station, the Crusader castle, Krak de Chevaliers, Salah al-Din’s castle built on the Saone fortress, Jaabar Castle, the Great Mosque an-Nuri, the mosque of Khalid ibn al-Walid and many churches and older buildings in Homs, and the citadel, Roman era water-wheels and khans of Hama.