Syria Update, January 19, 2013. (Institute of Middle Eastern, Islamic and Strategic Studies. By Sherifa Zuhur)
Today’s early death toll: More than 120, including 54 civilians.
Friday’s death toll: 141 including 56 martyrs in Damascus; 41 in Aleppo, 19 in Idlib; 16 in Daraa; 5 in Hama; 2 in Dayr az-Zur, and 2 in Homs
Hizbullah and Iraqi Shi`i fighters’ recruitment video (aiding Assad forces in Syria).
Understatement of the day: a cyberwar is raging over the Syrian conflict. http://www.defensenews.com/article/20130118/C4ISR01/301180018
Refugees: Human Rights Watch cautions Egypt not to return Syrian refugees to Syria. http://www.hrw.org/news/2013/01/18/egypt-don-t-force-palestinians-back-syria
A miserable situation for the more than 212,000 Syrian refugees in Lebanon.
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 FSA reported that it had captured the air defense base at Aleppo International Airport. 3 opposition fighters were killed in clashes near Managh military airport and in the Saif al-Dawlaw area. 3 civilians were killed by mortars falling on the Jisr al-Haj roundabout in Aleppo. 4 civilians, including 2 children were killed by rockets which hit Haydariyya and Dahr Awad. The Syrian military’s bombardment of al-Sfeira killed one child.
On Thursday, French journalist Yves Debay was killed by a sniper in Aleppo. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=551682634841822&set=a.458668167476603.111426.438082926201794&type=1&theater
On Monday, January 21st, some faculty and university students will observe a vigil for those killed at the University of Aleppo earlier this week.
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
6 civilians (all women) were killed by a rocket which hit wedding hall in the Rukn al-Din neighborhood. The Syrian regime forces shelled Hajar al-Aswad As many as 80 explosions were heard in Daraya on Saturday morning, following airstrikes by the Syrian military. Military reinforcements were seen heading to Daraya which the government has been attempting to recatppure.
The Syrian military employed fighter aircraft in 2 air raids on the Douma. Clashes took place in al-Mleiha as well as bombardment of that town. The Syrian military also shelled the town of Wadi Barada.
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 opposition and government forces clashed in the city of Dara`a, Busra al-Sham and Busr al-Harir killing 4 opposition fighters including a commander. The Syrian military resumed shelling of Busr al-Harir A sniper killed 2 men in Da’el and al-Hrak and mortar shells were fired on al-Hrak. The Syrian regime forces killed a man from Tafas in Jeleen. The Syrian military carried out a series of raids and arrests in Kafarshams.
Opposition fighters assassinated a member of the National Reconciliation Committee, Khaled al-Hilal, and 3 companions on the Sheheib-Tel Saqr road.
Soldiers at the checkpoint outside of al-Hara began firing and wounded civilians. The Syrian military forces carried out raids and arrests in Qerfa, and burnt homes there. A sniper in Da’el shot a nurse there.
Yesterday, Al Jazeera reporter Mohammad Hourani was killed in Dara`a by a regime-paid sniper.
A UN delegation set off from the Syrian capital, Damascus on Saturday for a visit to the southern city of Dara, led by John Ging, the Operations Director at the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
They also intend to visit Homs, as well as rural areas of Damascus province.
Deir az-Zur province:
The Syrian military continued its heavy shelling of the neighborhoods of the city of Deir az-Zur today.
Abd al-Aziz al-Haroon was killed by the Syrian regime and here is a video of his funeral procession http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9BXpq3oGroE&feature=youtu.be
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 military bombarded Kafarzeita from the air, killing at least 3 civilians. The Syrian military also shelled the village of Senjar.
Here is footage from Kafarzeita:
The Syrian military also shelled the town of Latmin.
The Syrian opposition and Kurdish Defense Unit fighters have engaged in clashes for two days in the city of Ra’s al-`Ain resulting in 33 casualties (28 opposition fighters and 5 KDU fighters). Clashes also took place in Karzero to the east of al-Rmeilan. 23 regular Syrian troops have defected from the battalion near that location in the last 48 hours.
The local branch of the Kurdish National Council called on the opposition to intervene in a (jihadist) assault in Ra’s al-`Ayn, saying that the offensive is targeting civilians and is “detrimental to the principles of the revolution.”
Here is footage of Syrian Kurdish civilians captured by opposition fighters in the city also known as Serekaniyeh, abusing and beating them.
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 today:
The Syrian military shelled the al-Khaldiya neighborhood of Homs today.
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 opposition destroyed at least one tank near the town of Khan Sheikhoun. The opposition has been trying for weeks to take control of the military bases at Hamdiyeh and Wadi Deif and are now trying to cut off the supply routes to these bases.
In Salqin, Syrian air force targeted a mosque and a school building where displaced Syrians were eating in Salqin. Dozens were killed and 30 wounded were taken to Turkey for treatment.
The Syrian military bombarded the town of Taftanaz, and the towns of Babluween, al-Habeet and al-Teh.
Quneitra province: https://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&q=Quneitra+governorate+Google+maps&ie=UTF-8&hq=&hnear=0x151eb4afcd3e069f:0xbcbbd63808a65623,Quneitra+Governorate,+Syria&gl=us&ei=Ch77ULCILuyP0QG67YDoDQ&ved=0CC0Q8gEwAA
Opposition fighters of the Liberation of Quneitira Battalion captured a Syrian regular mitliary officer and 4 soldiers after attacking their unit in the village al-Zebeida al-Gharbiya. Here they threaten to put them on trial according to “Islamic shari`ah” (although Islamic rules of war forbid ill-treatment of prisoners of war.)
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
The Syrian air force bombarded the city of al-Tabqa killing 5 civilians, all from the same refugee family from Idlib, 3 were children, and their mother and grandmother were also killed.
The Syrian military and opposition clashed near the 17th division in the countryside of al-Raqqah and 2 opposition fighters were killed.
U.S. Senator John McCain said that Washington could do more to back Syrian efforts to end the rule of Bashar al-Assad. He was leading a group of US senators in a trip to the region and his remarks preceded a meeting with Israeli President Shimon Peres.
The National Coalition of the Syrian Opposition and Revolution is meeting in Istanbul in an effort to form a Syrian transitional government. http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/01/19/us-syria-crisis-opposition-idUSBRE90I0DZ20130119
UNICEF denounced the killings of civilians and particularly children over the last week in Syria. 3,538 children have been killed since the non-violent demonstrations against the Assad government were first met with regime violence in March of 2011.
The government of Croatia has recognized the Syrian National Coalition as the representative of the Syrian people. http://www.kuna.net.kw/ArticleDetails.aspx?id=2287787&language=en
The Stances of Some Syria “Scholars”
Fred Lawson and Amr al-Azm
Omar Dahi, Samer Abboud
Mordechai Kedar, Tony Badran, Marina Ottoway (not a Syria expert)
Aron Lund – has written a book on Syria, and a book on Libya – on Syrian jihadism here
Peter Sluglett and James Dorsey
miriam cooke (she uses lower case for her name)