Syria Update, December 28, 2012 (Institute of Middle Eastern, Islamic and Strategic Studies. By Sherifa Zuhur)

29 Dec

Syria Update, December 28, 2012 (Institute of Middle Eastern, Islamic and Strategic Studies. By Sherifa Zuhur)

Deathtoll: 160 Syrians killed today including 52 civilians (and of these, 12 children)

This Friday was called the bread of blood Friday to commemorate those killed at bakeries and many protests held today recognized this issue.

Earlier this month, it was reported that Assad might have requested asylum with several governments in South and Central America, and it was confirmed by Turkey that his government did make such a request of Hugo Chavez in Venezuela.
http://www.todayszaman.com/news-302248-turkey-confirms-syrias-assad-asked-venezuela-for-asylum.html

The involvement of women in the revolution against Bashar al-Assad in the town of al-Zabadani. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Otc6J9EQGiw

Defections: There were unconfirmed reports on 12/27 that Col. Anwar Ruslan, Deputy head of investigation in the Syrian General Intelligence and Col. Ya’roub al-Shara the chairman of the political security division will defect. On 12/28, Turkish reports said that two regional Syrian Air force commanders had defected and were in a camp in Turkey.

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

The regime forces shelled all through the night into the morning (12/29) hours in Aleppo. Many civilians were injured near the al-Nairab airport and al-Dowairneh as they’ve fled trying to escape the shelling. Opposition fighters are battling around 4 airports in Aleppo province.

A sniper shot two civilians in the neighborhoods of al-Qasr and Qastal Harami in Aleppo.

The Syrian military shelled Fasira killing 1 civilian. A sniper shot one civilian in al-Fasira. Shelling of al-Zarba killed one young man and clashes there resulted in the deaths of 5 regular soldiers and the regular troops have retreated. Clashes near the Kweiris airport and Khan al-A’sal occurred in which 2 opposition fighters were killed.

Heavy clashes took place near the Aleppo International airport between the al-Nusra Front fighters and the government troops. Clashes took place in Hendrat and near the al-Kendi hospital. The regime forces at the Aleppo prison have said they were execute the Islamist prisoners in the prison if the opposition attacks them.

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

A car bomb detonated in Rijah square of the Yarmouk camp. A sniper shot one man in al-Qaboun. Assad supporters executed Samir Murshed Alsaud,a native of Deir Ezzor in Tadamon today.

The Syrian military used airpower, mortars and artillery to bombard Douma, Shab’a, Daraya, Harasta, Irbeen and the area near the motor vehicle department, killing a child in Douma. There were also clashes in Irbeen, Daraya and near the motor vehicle deparment, killing one opposition fighter in Irbeen.

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

Shelling took place all through the night of 12/28 into the early morning hours in the province.

A sniper shot one civilian in the Palestinian camp in the city of Dara`a.

The Syrian military shot one civilian in the town of Basr al-Harir. Heavy clashes between Syrian troops and the opposition took place at Busr al-Harir in which 7 opposition fighters were killed.

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 opposition captured the Tanak oil field today outside Deir az-Zur. Opposition fighters were killed: Hamza Abd Alkhalif Albidyowi Alwakaa, from the village of Sweidan Jazira

and Abdullah Eid Aljlood http://youtu.be/2puAn04yH_k

This was the 198th day that the Assad regime has carried out a campaign of bombarding the city of Deir az-Zur. The Syrian military shelled Huweiqa, Rushdiyya, Khsarat

The Huweiqa, Rushdiya, and Khsarat neighbourhoods of Deir Ezzour were bombarded by regime forces and they shelled al- Jbeileh, al-Arfi, al-Muathafin and Shaykh Yasin. Clashes also took place with rebels in the Khsarat neighbourhood. An opposition leader in the city of al-Mayadeen was killed was killed during clashes.

Pro-Assad thugs killed Hajj Marwan Muhammad Yasin al-Hadidi (over 76 years old) in al-Jbayla.

After being arrested in his home in Alwadi in al-Jura, regime security killed Imad Khidr Almadi.

Government actors shot Mheidi Saleh Almuhammad at al-Mi’bar in Huweijat Sakr where he was buried.

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 air force shelled the village of Latmeen today causing injuries. The Syrian military also shelled the town of Kafarzeita, destroying homes and causing injuries.

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

27 Christian officers defected in Qamishle earlier this week.

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 Houla and the city of Rastan causing injuries and destroying homes.

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

A Palestinian, Muhammad Ahmad Quneita, 35 of Gaza was killed while fighting with the Ahrar al-Sham and Nusra Front against regime forces near the Wadi al-Dayf military encampment. He was reportedly a previous member of the al-Qassam Brigades who has been fighting in Syria for 5 months.

The Syrian airforce bombarded the village of Ma’arshurin and the area around the Wadi al-Dayf military encampment. Two opposition fighters were killed and 6 regular troops deserted from the al-Hamadiyya checkpoint.

A protest in Salqin was held to denounce the regime’s bombing of bakeries and civilians waiting for bread and to support the revolution today. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zeEGbPa7PVA

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

The Syrian military launched intense shelling on the town of Salma today and the villages around it.

Quneitra province: https://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&q=map+of+quneitra+province&ie=UTF-8&hq=&hnear=0x151eb4afcd3e069f:0xbcbbd63808a65623,Quneitra+Governorate,+Syria&gl=us&ei=GaDbUNjUF8Xm0QHmwIDgDQ&ved=0CC8Q8gEwAA

Heavy fighting was reported today near the Golan Heights.

Raqqa province:

https://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&q=map+of+ar-raqqah+province,+Syria&ie=UTF-8&hq=&hnear=0x153719cee4c60ce7:0x9d4657e00e899ab6,Ar-Raqqah+Governorate,+Syria&gl=us&ei=PJ_bUKrTBObF0AGMuYHwBw&sqi=2&ved=0CC8Q8gEwAA

Heavy shelling took place all through the night (of 12/28) into the morning hours.

Opposition fighters attacked the 17th division on the outskirts of the city of al-Raqqa, killing 3 opposition fighters.

There was a shelling on a bakery today.

Suwaida province:

https://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&q=map+suwayda+governorate&ie=UTF-8&hq=&hnear=0x15198e45f1726311:0x21daec3963f8161e,As-Suwayda+Governorate,+Syria&gl=us&ei=XFreUNinG-jO0QHxzoD4Cg&ved=0CDMQ8gEwAA

2 civilian activists were shot on the way to work on their land to the west of the town of al-Qariya.

International: Islamic Jihad has denied involvement in the Syrian government’s efforts to put down the opposition in Yarmouk camp in Damascus. http://www.kuna.net.kw/ArticleDetails.aspx?id=2284140&language=en

Moaz al-Khatib, the head of Syria’s National Coalition for the Revolution was invited to Moscow for talks on the crisis but refused to go because his group will not negotiate with Assad and neither Russia nor the Syrian government has recognized the opposition. http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/12/28/us-syria-crisis-idUSBRE8AJ1FK20121228

International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI, the Philippine port operator which has a contract to operate the port of Tartous is leaving Syria due to the instability and danger in the country.

Selected Bibliography on Syria by Sherifa Zuhur

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_________. “Syria’s Muslim Brethren.” Middle East Reports. Vol. 12. No. 110, November-December, 1982.

_________. Syria’s Peasantry, The Descendants of Its Lesser Rural Notables, and Their Politics. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1999.

Betts, Robert B. The Druze. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1988.

Blecher, Robert. “History as Social Critique in Syrian Film: Muhammad Malas’ al-Leil and Ryad Chaia’s al-Lajat.” Middle East Report. No. 204, July-September, 1997.

Clawson, Patrick. Unaffordable Ambitions: Syria’s Military Build-up and Economic Crisis. Washington D.C.: Washington Institute for Near East Policy, 1989.

Davis, Uri. “Citizenship Legislation in the Syrian Arab Republic.” Arab Studies Quarterly. Vol. 18, No. 1, Winter 1996.

Devlin, John. The Ba`th Party: A History from Its Origins to 1966. Stanford, Calif.: Hoover Institution Press, 1976.

Drysdale, Alasdair. “The Succession Question in Syria.” Middle East Journal. Vol. 39, No. 2, 1985.

Drysdale, Alasdair and Hinnebusch, Raymond. Syria and the Middle East Peace Process. New York: Council on Foreign Relations, 1991.

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Gelvin, James. “The Social Origins of Popular Nationalism in Syria: Evidence for a New Framework.” International Journal of Middle East Studies. Vol. 26, No. 4, 1994.

_________. Divided Loyalties: Nationalism and Mass Politics in Syria at the Close of Empire. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998.

Hinnebusch, Raymond. Authoritarian Power and State Formation in Ba’thist Syria: Army, Party and Peasant. Boulder, Col.: Westview, 1990.

__________. “State and Civil Society in Syria.” Middle East Journal. Vol. 47, No.2, Spring 1993.

__________. “State, Civil Society and Political Change in Syria.” In Civil Society in the Middle East. Edited by Augustus R. Norton. Leiden: Brill, 1995.

Hopfinger, Han and Boeckler, Marc. “Step by Step to an Open Economic System: Syria Sets Course for Liberalization.” British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies. Vol. 23, No. 2, November 1996.

Hopwood, Derek. Syria, 1945-1986: Politics and Society. London: Unwin Hyman, 1988.

Kanovsky, Eliahu. “Syria’s Troubled Economic Future.” Middle East Quarterly. Vol. 4, No. 2, June 1997.

Kaplan, Robert. “Syria — Identity Crisis.” The Atlantic. Vol. 271, February, 1993.

Kayali, Ghalib. Hafiz al-Assad: Qa’id wa risala. Damascus, 1977.

Kedar, Mordechai. “The Public Political Language of the Asad Regime in Syria: Messages and Means of Communication.” Ph.D. dissertation. Bar-Ilan University, 1998.

Khoury, Philip. Syria and the French Mandate: The Politics of Arab Nationalism, 1920-1945. Princeton: Princeton University, 1987.

_________. “A Reinterpretation of the Origins and Aims of the Great Syrian Revolt 1925-1927.” In Arab Civilization: Challenges, Responses, Studies in Honor of Constantine Zurayk. Edited by George Atiyeh and Ibrahim Oweiss. Albany: State University of New York, 1988.

_________. “Syrian Political Culture.” In Syria: Society, Culture, and Polity. Edited by Richard T. Antoun and Donald Quataert. Albany: State University of New York, 1991.

_________. “Syrian Urban Politics in Transition: The Quarters of Damascus during the French Mandate.” In The Modern Middle East. Edited by Albert Hourani, Philip Khoury, Philip and Mary Wilson. Berkeley: University of California, 1993.

Kienle, Eberhard. Ba’th versus Ba’th. The Conflict Between Syria and Iraq, 1968-1989. London: I.B. Tauris, 1990.

Kienle, Eberhard, ed. Contemporary Syria: Economic Liberalization between Cold War and Cold Peace. London: British Academic Press, 1994.

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_________. “Domestic Transformation and Foreign Steadfastness in Contemporary Syria.” Middle East Journal. Vol. 48, Winter 1994.

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Longuenesse, Elisabeth. “The Syrian Working Class Today.” Middle East Report. Vol. 15, No. 134, July-August 1985.

Ma’oz, Moshe. Ottoman Reform in Syria and Palestine. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1968.

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__________. Asad, Sphinx of Damascus. London: Weldenfeld and Nicolson, 1988.

Ma’oz, Moshe and Yaniv, Avner, eds. Syria under Assad: Domestic Constraints and Regional Risks. New York: St. Martin’s 1986.

Mardam Bey, Salma. Syria’s Quest for Independence. Reading: Ithaca, 1994.

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__________. Paysans de Syrie et du Proche-Orient. Paris: Gallimard, 1946.

Zisser, Eyal. “The Syrian Army: Between the Domestic and the External Fronts.” Middle East Review of International Affairs. Vol. 5, No. 1, March 2001.

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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.

Basic Facts about Syria:

Population: 22,530,746
 Ethnicities: Arab 90.3%, Kurds, Armenians, and other 9.7% Religious Groups: Sunni Muslim (74%, other Muslim (includes Alawite, Isma`iliyya, Druze) 16%, Christian 10%, Jewish (very small numbers).

GDP Growth Rate: -2% (2011) GDP: $64.7 billion 
 GDP Growth Rate: -2% (2011)
Unemployment: 8.3% Youth Unemployment (ages 15-24): 19.1% (female unemployment in that age category is 49.1%


Internet Users: 4.469 million (2009)
Exchange Rate: 46.456 Syrian pounds per US dollar

Military Expenditures: 5.9% of GDP (2005)

Population Growth Rate: -0797.% (since the conflict) 


Population Age Structure: 0-14 years: 35.2%; 15-64 years: 61%; 65 years and over: 3.8%

Literacy: male 86% female 73.6%
 

Urban Population: 56% of total (2010)

Syrian Arab Army (prior to the conflict) 220,000 regular and 280,000 reserves. Of the 200,000 career soldiers, 140,000 are Alawi.

Syria’s Golan Heights is occupied by Israel and 1,000 members of a U.N. Disengagement Observer Force patrol a buffer zone.

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