Syria Update, December 23, 2012 (Institute of Middle Eastern, Islamic and Strategic Studies. By Sherifa Zuhur)

23 Dec

Syria Update, December 22, 2012 (Institute of Middle Eastern, Islamic and Strategic Studies. By Sherifa Zuhur)

Deathtoll: At least 158

Russian military advisors are manning Syria’s SAMs and other systems put in place to defend the country since the uprising began. (only the first paragraph of this story discusses this) http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/dec/23/syria-crisis-russian-military-presence

A nurse from Canada worked in a cave to save to help care for wounded Syrians as part of a Médecins Sans Frontières mission.
http://www.thestar.com/news/world/article/1305990–toronto-nurse-kirsty-robertson-cared-for-hundreds-in-cave-in-syria

Who are the members of the Syrian National Coalition?
http://carnegie-mec.org/publications/?fa=50104

Liberated Saraqeb puts up a Christmas tree
http://www.juancole.com/2012/12/liberated-christmas-christians.html

Several opposition factions have joined to create an Islamic Front in Syria (as an alternative to the military council representing the majority of fighters in the FSA) and whose goal is an Islamic state in Syria.

The opposition states that 194,000 Syrians are being held in detention; 9,000 of them are children. This is a difficult number to estimate because people have been detained and then released, re-detained, and detained and then “disappeared.”

The Theater:

Aleppo province:
https://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&q=map+of+aleppo+province&ie=UTF-8&hq=&hnear=0x152ff85ac00b17c9:0xf68ea3d8dc74b61b,Aleppo+Governorate,+Syria&gl=us&ei=R9DLUKfTFoWO0QHBuIHABA&ved=0CC8Q8gEwAA

Aleppo province: Clashes took place between al-Nusra Front fighters and regime forces in the area near the defense factories close to the town of al-Safeira. The Syrian air force is also shelling the town of al-Safeira where several buildings collapsed, with people reportedly trapped and one child was been pulled out of the rubble. 12 were killed in yesterday’s shelling of al-Safeira.
The Ansari neighbourhood of Aleppo was bombarded by regime forces, no reports of losses yet. The town of Hureitan was also bombarded by regime forces.

The al Nusra Front has declared a no-fly zone over Aleppo. It argues that the Syrian government is using commercial flights to transport military troops and equipment.

It has issued a warning to any civilians boarding commercial flights, and it is besieging al-Nairab airfield and will fire at any airplane over Aleppo’s skies.

In Northern Aleppo Col. Anas Ibrahim Abu Zeid commanded 200 fighters who took over the 135th Infantry Brigade base at the village of Hawa, capturing weapons and Syrian regime soldiers. The operation took 4 hours. About 150 Syrian troops were at the base.

Damascus province:
https://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&q=map+of+damascus+province&ie=UTF-8&hq=&hnear=0x1518e6dc413cc6a7:0x69e5b88ad5b0817b,Damascus+Governorate,+Syria&gl=us&ei=_s_LUPTwHqWw0AHTtYDQAg&ved=0CC8Q8gEwAA

Shelling on the al-Qa`a neighborhood killed a civilian. A mortar strike on al-Qusoor on Saturday night killed a child. Haydar al-Samadi, a Syrian photojournalist working for the Syrian News Agency was assassinated by fighters in the Kafarsousah neighbourhood of Damascus, yesterday.

A little girl was killed as regime forces attacked near a bakery in the Eastern Ghouta.

Shabiha or pro-regime informers killed the commander of the al-Ghouta Martyr’s Brigade, Abu Bashir al-Ajweh.

According to the Damascus Military Council of the opposition yesterday, 200 army troops at the Damascus International airport have defected

https://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&q=yarmouk+camp+damascus+google+map&ie=UTF-8&hq=&hnear=0x1518e0fc136705b9:0xb2e471ad896d9f06,Al+Yarmouk+Camp,+Damascus,+Syria&gl=us&ei=elTRUK6TCI6J0QHs0YHQAg&ved=0CC8Q8gEwAA

A Palestinian official, Zakharia al-Agha (of the PLO) said at least 700 Palestinians have died in the conflict in Syria, including in recent violence in Yarmouk (which has involved opposition-on-PFLP-GC violence, but also the Syrian military on civilians and on Palestinians fighting with the opposition). A Syrian official claimed that no Syrian troops fired on Palestinians (the reader can consult past Syria Updates to see this claim appears to be without substance).

Dara`a province: https://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&q=map+of+daraa+province&ie=UTF-8&hq=&hnear=0x15195fa1016e8de7:0xff6b41761235d49c,Daraa+Governorate,+Syria&gl=us&ei=u9DLUPDfIcXq0gGRwIHADQ&ved=0CC8Q8gEwAA

A woman moves to retrieve a man shot by a sniper in Dara`a.

The regime forces shelled a makeshift hospital in Tariq al-Sadd.

Deir az-Zur province:
https://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&q=Dayr+Az+Zor+province+map&ie=UTF-8&hq=&hnear=0x1548153314d3dbad:0x9d5a68804221c27f,Deir+ez-Zor+Governorate,+Syria&gl=us&ei=WtLLUJL5NanI0QGozIH4Bw&ved=0CDMQ8gEwAA

The aftermath of shelling on Hamidiyya in Deir az-Zur on Sunday.

Hama province: https://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&q=hama+governorate&ie=UTF-8&hq=&hnear=0x15248293d5052f19:0x6e6de1581c39ed96,Hama+Governorate,+Syria&gl=us&ei=CdPLUKKbIqyF0QHB94HQAw&sqi=2&ved=0CIEBELYD

The Syrian regime forces shelled Taminah killing a 3 year old child and wounding 3 women.

The Syrian military shelled a bread line in Halfaya. At least 60 have been reported killed and more than 50 wounded (the queue was apparently very large).

The Syrian military shelled the towns of Karnaz, Kafarzeita and Kafarnbouda today.

Hassake province:
https://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&q=AlHasakah+Governorate,+Syria,+google+maps&ie=UTF-8&hq=&hnear=0x400976912dee2dfb:0x1735b67e4a2454b0,Al-Hasakah+Governorate,+Syria&gl=us&ei=UMLTUOKtN4ra0QG9-oHYBg&ved=0CC8Q8gEwAA

Demonstration held on Friday in Hassake

Homs province: https://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&q=homs+governorate+google+map&ie=UTF-8&hq=&hnear=0x15230eeab10528a7:0x65655b88027a8699,Homs+Governorate,+Syria&gl=us&ei=BFPRUM6RBaTI0AHw1ICoCQ&ved=0CDMQ8gEwAA

The Syrian military shelled Talbisa and damaged the Umar bin Khattab mosque

The Syrian regime and opposition troops clashed in Deir Ba`lba while the Syrian regime heavily shelled the area.

The Syrian regime troops sprayed the neighborhood of al-Bayada in Homs, which is held by the opposition with some type of poison gas, according to medics who treated a civilian for poison inhalation. bombardment of the area. Tens of rockets fell on the neighbourhood in the past hour. Initial reports indicate human losses on both sides.

Idlib province: https://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&q=idlib+governorate+google+map&ie=UTF-8&hq=&hnear=0x152500e6cc6ed27b:0xe59a7e2f651fc24c,Idlib+Governorate,+Syria&gl=us&ei=51PRUIiREsaB0AHN_YD4BQ&ved=0CC8Q8gEwAA

Heavy shelling of Jisr al-Shughour and heavy shelling of Kafranbel was reported. The opposition is unable to enter the citadel of Harem which Syrian troops are holding.

Latakia province: https://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&q=latakia+governorate+google+map&ie=UTF-8&hq=&hnear=0x15241c8bc2bf561f:0xdbb2edac5c45c32b,Latakia+Governorate,+Syria&gl=us&ei=U1TRUMyzBYaM0QHtpoHABg&ved=0CC8Q8gEwAA

Meanwhile, in Tartus, some claim the locals are enjoying their normal lives.
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/23/world/middleeast/syrian-resort-town-is-stronghold-for-alawites.html?partner=rss&emc=rss&_r=1&pagewanted=all&

International:
Lakhdar Brahimi arrived in Syria to speak with Bashar al-Assad. Instead of flying into the country, he flew to Beirut and traveled overland to Syria due to fighting near Damascus airport.

According to NATO: Germany will deploy its [Patriot missile] batteries to Kahramanmaraş, the Netherlands will deploy its batteries in Adana, and the United States will deploy its batteries in Gaziantep.”
http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/patriots-to-be-deployed-in-three-turkish-cities.aspx?pageID=238&nID=37498&NewsCatID=338

The OIC (Organisation of the Islamic Conference) condemned threats by a militant Syrian opposition fighters against Syrian Christians in Mharda and Sqilibiyya (in Hama province) accused of hosting Syrian troops. Many residents have already fled these towns. https://now.mmedia.me/lb/en/nowsyrialatestnews/muslim_group_slams_rebel_threats_against_syria_christians
_
On Syria’s militant Islamists by Aron Lund: http://www.alternatives-economiques.fr/syrie–les-islamistes-conquierent-la-rebellion_fr_art_1180_61574.html

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