Syria Update, January 3, 2013 (Institute of Middle Eastern, Islamic and Strategic Studies. By Sherifa Zuhur)
Deathtoll: At least 170.
Wednesday’s deathtoll: 220.
A report on torture in Syria.
Clashes took place at the Menagh airport today. The Free Syrian Army reported that it shot down two helicopters today. The opposition clashed with the Syrian regime forces near Aleppo international airport, and fought up to military Brigade 80 in an effort to invade the airport.
Clashes with regular forces near the al-Kandi hospital resulted in the killing of two opposition troops.
The Syrian military tortured one civilian from Aleppo to death after detaining him. Syrian military shelling killed 1 civilian in al-Ansari. A sniper killed 1 civilian in the Handrat camp. Clashes took place between fighters from al-Nusra Front and the Syrian military near the defense factory in al-Safeira.
The Syrian military carried out aerial bombardment of Hayan killing 8 civilians, including 4 women and 3 children.
The military shelled the towns of al-Safeira, Anadan, A’zaz, and Hreitan.
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 exploded in Masaken Barzeh at the Qasoun petrol station, killing 9 civilians including women and children.
Regime shelling of Douma has killed 20 civilians and 12 other civilians were killed as Saqba was also shelled and air raids targeted Daraya, and in shelling of A’rbin, Bana, al-Zabadani, Shab’a, al-Maliha, and Yabroud. These included 4 women and 9 children.
Clashes took place in al-Hjeira and the Syrian military shelled al-Hjeira.
10 opposition fighters were killed either in clashes or shelling on A’qraba, Yelda, al-Mu’adamiyya, Daraya and Harasta.
The Syrian air force struck a petrol station in Damascus killing more than 30 people on Wednesday.
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
The Syrian military shelled Da’el, Dara`a al-balad, al-Herak, Inkhil,al-Katebeh, Kuhail, Busr al-Sham, Ma’rabeg, al-Nujaih, Shaykh Meskeen, and the refugee camp.
Here a boy and other children at Da’el. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xgzK45WrgiQ&feature=youtu.be
The Free Syrian Army has been battling regime forces for 8 days at Busr al-Hareer. The regime forces are shelling (reportedly dropping cluster bombs and barrel bombs) and trying to invade Busr al-Hareer, and they suffered losses today while 3 FSA troops were killed. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oclyAXNw8p8&feature=youtu.be
Heavy clashes and shelling took place near al-Gharyah.
A new Brigade named for Ahmad al-Khalaf was created today, led by Major Hisham al-Shoker. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DXDVrDgUzkI
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 Omar bin al-Khattab Brigade announced that it shot down a Syrian military MiG aircraft in Deir az-Zur today.
Shelling of the city of Deir az-Zur killed one adult civilian. 5 opposition fighters died in clashes and Syrian regime shelling of Deir az-Zur.
Syrian regime shelling of al-Qouriyya killed 2 girls.
The Syrian military carried out raids in al-Qusour. Syrian military shelling of al-Latamna killed 1 civilian. A bomb exploding in al-Latamna killed another civilian. 1 civilian from Qamhana died from wounds incurred in torture while being detained by Syrian government forces. Three civilians from Hur Banafsa were found dead at Hama national hospital – they had been missing for 20 days after disappearing at a checkpoint.
Syrian military shelling of al-Qseir killed a child. Syrian regime forces tortured to death a 1 civilian from Jouret al-Shayah. 7 opposition forces were killed in clashes with regular forces near al-Rastan. The Syrian military shelled al-Houla and Talbisa.
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
The Syrian opposition (al-Nusra Front, Ahrar al-Sham, al-Tali`a al-Islamiyya and Dawood battalions) stormed areas of the Taftanaz military airport; they have been trying to do so since Wednesday morning. The main sections of the airport are still controlled by the regime’s troops, but the opposition broke in and destroyed a fighter jet and a helicopter parked there, before retreating. The regime forces bombed some areas by air both outside and inside the airport.
The Syrian military bombarded Kafarsanja. Syrian military shelling of Qmeinas killed 5 civilians.
Clashes continued near the Wadi al-Deif encampment between different opposition groups and the Syrian military forces. 2 Libyan and 1 Palestinian fighters were killed.
Shelling on the city of al-Tabaqa killed 4 civilians.
A demonstration took place in Shahba, Suwayda today. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9MeAWDyQ0Yk
Sayyid Nasrallah of Hizbullah spoke on the occasion of Arba`in, and warned that the Syrian conflict is splitting Lebanon; that Lebanon cannot close its border to Syria, but that refugees must be helped whether they support Assad or not. https://now.mmedia.me/lb/en/lebanonnews/hezbollah_chief_sayyed_hassan_nasrallah_speaks_live_on_occasion_of_arbaeen_
Senior Iranian officials and clerics appear to be more divided now than previously on Syria. Some predictions that Assad might fall have appeared in the media, whereas up to two months ago, support for Syria’s government had been unshakeable. http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/middleeast/la-fg-syria-iran-20121229,0,7524005.story
Slovenia has recognized Syria’s National Coalition as a legitimate representative of the Syrian people.
According to the U.N. High Commissioner Navi Pilay, at least 60,000 people have been killed in Syria (more than the L.C.C.’s estimate of 46,000). The highest numbers of casualiteis have been in Homs (12,560), Damascus (outside the city, 10,862) and Idlib (7,686). In Aleppo, 6,188 have been killed 6,034 in Dara`a and 5,080 in Hama.
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.