Syria Update, Feb. 10, 2013 (Institute of Middle Eastern, Islamic and Strategic Studies. By Sherifa Zuhur)
Sunday’s early death toll: More than 60, including 21 civilians.
Saturday death toll: 160 killed, including 84 unarmed civilians
Yuhanna Yazigi was enthroned as the new Greek Orthodox patriarch, Yuhanna (John) X in Damascus today, calling for peace and reforms. The regime used snipers on the rooftops around the Church of the Holy Cross, in Qassaa. http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/breaking-news/greek-orthodox-leader-enthroned-in-syria/story-fn3dxix6-1226575008393
Omran al-Zoubi, the minister of information has called for dialogue on Friday. Although he spoke of no preconditions, the talks are to involve “laying down of weapons.” It’s not clear if this is a formal response to al-Khatib’s offer.
Syria’s Druze population is increasingly supporting the opposition to Bashar al-Assad. http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/syrias-druze-minority-is-shifting-its-support-to-the-opposition/2013/02/07/9e3f52c6-6d5d-11e2-ada0-5ca5fa7ebe79_story.html
A teenager from Dara`a was one of those who began the Syrian revolution. Here he speaks in an interview. http://english.alarabiya.net/articles/2013/02/09/265284.html
Refugees and Relief:
Jordanian police fired tear gas on Sunday to disperse 200 Syrian refugees at the Zaatari camp following their attack on the storehouse of a Norwegian charity as it gave away aid, injuring a policeman in a 30 minute riot. (The photograph shows a burnt tent following a previous riot over a week ago) http://www.arabnews.com/jordan-policeman-hurt-syrian-refugees-riot
Rita Zawaideh returned from a visit to Syrian refugees in Jordan, and is again collecting medical equipment for the disabled, medicines, money, and clothing. Read her notes here: http://salaamculturalmuseum.wordpress.com/blog/
Two Americans speak of their trips to Syria to try to help refugees and injured: http://m.npr.org/news/World/170691561?start=10
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
Government forces committed a massacre in Jneid, killing 45 civilians, including women and children as they attempted to move to break the opposition’s siege on a military factory at al-Safeera, yesterday. Today, Syrian government soldiers traveling from Aleppo’s airport toward the same factory engaged in clashes with the opposition and suffered casualties; at least 4 regime soldiers were killed and 20 injured.
An opposition battalion leader was killed in clashes with regime forces around the Kweers military airport, near al-Bab city of Reef Aleppo. An opposition fighter was killed during clashes with regime forces in the village of Dweirna.
On Saturday, bombardment on al-Haydariyya and al-Qatirji neighborhoods of Aleppo killed 2 civilians, and a sniper shot a Kurdish-Syrian in Ashrafiyya. A man’s body was found in the Qweiq river
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 mortar hit a street near Shahbandar square in Damascus, killing 4 people and injuring others. (This regime-held area is where Natasha and I used to live).
A roadside IED exploded on Arnous street, in the heart of the city injuring 2 civilians, and was aimed at the police department on Arnous square. In Roukn al-Din, a suicide bomber blew himself up – 3 were killed.
Clashes occurred in the Jobar neighborhood in which one regular Syrian soldier was killed. A sniper killed two men in Jobar. The regime forces bombarded the areas near the southern bypass road (al-Mutahaleq al-Junubi) – these forces were operating from al-Qabun. A bomb went off in Qudsiyya. The regime forces also bombarded parts of the southern ring road.
The Syrian air force bombarded Douma and Adra and clashes with the opposition took place there. One fighter in Douma and one opposition fighter in Daraya was killed in clashes. The Syrian military also bombarded Daraya, Irbeen, Shab`a, Zamalka, and al-Nabbak. 2 men were killed in the shelling of al-Nabbak, one of them in the bombardment and the ohter under unknown circumstances.
This is the fifth day of an offensive by the opposition to take a key highway outside Damascus which runs to the north. Checkpoints on the road have changed hands several times since Wednesday. The opposition overran the Adnan checkpoint on the highway today.
One man was found dead in the Hala area. Heavy clashes took place near Aqraba and the regime forces shelled the town.
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
Syrian military (regime) bombardment of the Tariq al-Sad neighborhood of Dara`a killed a woman and 3 children. Syrian regime shelling of the town of al-Na`ima killed one woman. A man died of his wounds after a shelling of Busra al-Sham. The regime continued bombarding Busra al-Sham and al-Na`ima.
Deir az-Zur province:
Opposition fighters used tanks to bombard Brigade 113, as regime forces clashed with them north of the city of Deir Izzor city. A rebel fighter was killed today during clashes with regime forces near the brigade 113 in Reef Deir Izzor.
In Deir Izzor city, violent clashes again took place in the Matar al-Qadim neighborhood, and news were received about the progress of rebel fighters in the neighbourhood. Violent clashes are taking place in the Hweiqa neighbourhood.
The Syrian regime killed 10 civilians and opposition fighters in Deir az-Zur yesterday, most of them in clashes in al-Matar al-Qadim. Those killed included: Baibars Salem Ad-Darwish, Nezar Wahbi As-Saleh, Sulaiman Jassem Al-Sulaiman, Mahmoud Subhi Al-Mousa, Abdulsalam Hassan Al-Hamideh, Subhi Albdulmajeed Al-Ali, Isma`il ar-Rashid, Ahmad Ziyad Ar-Rahmou, Majd Ad-Din Fayez Al-Hussein, and Eyad Al-Farran (an FSA leader)
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
An opposition attack on the cement factory in the village of Kafarbhum, killed 5 civilian guards.
Clashes took place between opposition fighters and regime forces, near the town of Kafarnabuda town, and the regime forces bombarded that area.
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 regime forces continued their bombardment of the neighborhoods of Homs, including Jobar and al-Sultaniyya and there were clashes in these areas.
Today, 3 opposition fighters were killed in clashes with regime forces on the Homs-Damascus highway.
The regime forces’ shelling of al-Qusair and the village of Tiba in the Houla area killed 2 civilians, one of them a girl
Footage of the girl killed by the bombardment on al-Tiba:
The regime forces also shelled the town of Ghanto.
Ziad al-Zhouri, age 11, was killed on Saturday in shelling on the town of al-Qusair. His father was killed in the conflict in October of 2012. At least four opposition fighters were reported killed in clashes with regime forces in the village of Kafar Aya, outside of the city of Homs. Regime forces have been constantly bombarding this opposition-held village.
Heavy bombardment by regime forces on Rastan killed two men and one woman yesterday. Another person was killed in the shelling of Talbisah.
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
Intermittent clashes took place between regime forces and opposition fighters from several battalions near Wadi al-Dayf and the Hamidiya checkpoint. The Syrian military resumed bombardment of areas in the city of Ma’arat al-Nu`man city and the town of Kafruma.
Here a child sings violent slogans and sectarian sentiments of some of the opposition fighters: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5U3wwe-ebHQ&feature=youtu.be
The Syrian regime forces shelled the town of Sala in the Akrad mountains and used helicopters.
According to witnesses, the children prisoners at the political security branch in Lttakia are treated even more horribly than the adults. They are routinely raped, their fingernails pulled out. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=357835480966876&set=a.310417002375391.72066.100002212814442&type=1&theater
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
Opposition fighters from Jabhat al-Nusra, the Uwais al-Qarni battalion and the Ahrar al-Tabaqa battalion took over the governorate building in the city of al-Tabqa after the retreat of regular forces. They seized ammunition and heavy weapons.
The families of Lebanese taken hostage by the Azaz Northern Storm Brigade in Syria try to bring attention to the prisoners. The captors claim these are Hizbullah fighters, the families say they are merely Shi`a. http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2013/01/201312304449502882.html
In an interview with Stephen Sackur, Khalid Meshaal, the leader of Hamas explains that Hamas is at odds with Iran’s support of Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria, but does not reject Iran’s support (as Sackur perhaps wishes he would say). At the beginning of Part 2 of the interview: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yl12BgRH62M&feature=player_embedded
UNESCO is holding a 4 day meeting in Amman from Feb. 10 – 13, 2013 on the illicit trafficking of Syria’s cultural holdings. http://www.unesco.org/new/en/unesco/events/programme-meetings/?tx_browser_pi1%5BshowUid%5D=12795&cHash=7da6eba66c
In the United States, calls to arm the Syrians continue, after it was revealed that both Leon Panetta and Hilary Clinton supported such a plan, but the White House opposed it. http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2013/02/08/arm_the_syrian_rebels_now_assad_obama
A Few of Syria’s Historical and Archaeological Rreasures 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.