Syria Update May 7, 2013. (Institute of Middle Eastern, Islamic and Strategic Studies. By Sherifa Zuhur)
Monday’s death toll: 130 Syrians were killed yesterday including 37 civilians, 48 opposition fighters, and 29 regular soldiers
Internet connections in Syria were cut off today. Many websites were unreachable. It is thought that the government has initiated the shut-down.
Syria’s Children: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OfqT3ioJ02g
Anthony Cordesman of CSIS discusses Syria’s air defense capabilities in light of Israel’s recent attacks.
Video of the Israeli airstrikes on Syria http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2013/05/06/astonishing-video-from-the-israeli-air-strikes-on-syria/
Here a commander speaks about the need to cleanse Baniyas of the Sunnis who support the revolution . Note the shaykh seated to his left. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zjF1r7VzcHA&feature=youtu.be
Important report on religious freedom in Syria in light of the conflict.
Refugees and Relief:
The UN Humanitarian office said the number of internally-displaced Syrians has reached 4.25 million. The numbers doubled over last month.
Riots take place and there are attacks on FSA members by the Syrian mukhabarat in the Syrian refugee camp, Zaatari in Jordan. https://now.mmedia.me/lb/en/reportsfeatures/zaataris-mukhabarrat-wars
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
A number of local councils demonstrated peacefully in Masaken Hanano to denounce the silence of the Arab world on the crisis in Syria.
Regime forces targeted Azaz and Menagh airports with heavy machine gun fire today.
A man from the town of al-Zbadiya was killed Monday. The Syrian regime bombarded the market of the town of Safira Monday killing a child, 2 men and one unidentified man.
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
FSA shelled the Division 67 at al-Qalamun with a cannon 106. Morsed Seydnaya is now under FSA control – ammunition there includes a cannon 23 mm http://youtu.be/k26UaAtmcko – http://youtu.be/nq40PWBE-http://youtu.be/tRtoEnNNi-A
Heavy clashes took place at Masken Najha near Division 58 where officers, security forces and shabbiha were staying, burning a large part of it and which killed many inside with rockets. http://youtu.be/xtWXFFD94Jk
At Al Abbasiyeen, in Damascus, a sniper unit killed two of Assad’s shabbiha http://youtu.be/nuUg4vSrpvE who had been targetting d cars at the Al Qabun Highway.http://youtu.be/Msr6bm9EY4c
Two mortars were launched into the Qudseyya suburb this morning. Regime shelling of Darayya killed two rebels and there were clashes in the town of Hazarma. In clashes between regime forces and opposition in Douma, three rebels were killed. Douma was shelled with mortars. The regime forces bombarded the town of Adra near the 14th military base.
The opposition launched a rocket into the Mezzeh 86 neighborhood where there are security and shabiha enclaves http://youtu.be/-CqbFKNo8vo
(and which is inhabited by civilians from the Syrian coast (Alawites)). Regime forces bombarded the Jobar and Qaboun neighborhoods. In Barzeh, clashes took place from late last night.
Violent clashes occurred near the town of Beit Sahm and there was heavy artillery bombardment on that 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
Opposition fighters in the Golan Heights abducted four UN peacekeepers from the Philippines according to Josephine Guerrero of the U.N. The four were patrolling near the al-Jamlah locality in the ceasefire zone between Israel and Syria just where 21 Filipino peacekeepers were seized by Syrian rebels in March. The opposition claimed they were trying to protect the UNDOF peacekeepers from clashes and said they would soon release them.
Deir az-Zur province:
On Monday (the 6th) 2 civilians and a rebel fighter were killed. 2 men were shot to death near entrances to the city of Deir az-Zur.
The Assad government carried out its 326th consecutive day of military attacks on the city of Deir az-Zur on May 5th
Adham Jasem Nayef Al-Jneid, an FSA member was killed in clashes in the neighborhood of as-Sina`a in Deir az-Zur.
A sniper (Assad-loyalist) killed Samer Nabeel Al-Furati, 22 years old in As-Sina`a in Deir az-Zur.
The Syrian military shelled the village of Marrat killing Heba Turki al-Hammadi; a young girl, as well as Ibrahim Turki al-Hammadi (a young boy) and Rahaf Turki al-Hammadi.
A regime sniper killed Ibrahim Al-Ibrahim, 18 years old at the Death passageway in Deir az-Zur
Recently “documented” martyrs.
Ammar Saleh Al-Hosson died in the regime shelling of HamidiyYa neighborhood, 2-5-2013
A sniper killed Hammadi Khalaf Al-Hussein, FSA member from Al-H’sainiyeh village. He was killed in Rushdiyya in Deir az-Zur (4-5-2013)
In clashes with the regime military, Oudai Abboud Al-Khalaf, a 27 year old FSA member was killed in as-Sina`a 4-5-2013.
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
Syrian troops carried out a series of raids and arbitrary arrests in the al-Hmeidiya neighbourhood and there were summary executions in the area on Monday. The Syrian military shelled the town of A’rfa (on Monday). Clashes took place between regular and rebel forces in the al-Baroudiya neighborhood of the city of Hama with casualties. The Syrian air forces bombardment of Kafrzeita killed two men from Tibet al-Imam.
The regime shelling on Aleppo Way in Hama leaves smoke
Regular forces bombarded the village of Kherba. An IED exploded in al-Wahda street of al-Qameshli on Monday.
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 pro-regime Hezbollah popular defense committees clashed with opposition fighters near al-Sloumiya. There were reports of casualties on both sides. Regular forces shelled the fields outside the al-Wa’er neighborhood on Monday and caused injuries.
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
Regular forces shelled Taftanaz and M’artmasrin on Monday.
Syrian regime forces killed two Jordanian fighters and several Saudi Arabian snipers in their operations against the opposition in Salmeh, Tartiah, Kafar Dalbeh, al-Dareh, and Borj al-Ahrash where the Saudi fighter, Mash’al al-Saleh was killed. http://www.islamicinvitationturkey.com/2013/05/07/syrian-troops-kill-several-saudi-jordanian-terrorists-in-outskirts-of-latakia/
Here, bombs explode that had been dropped by aircraft in Salma.
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
Eighteen opposition fighers were killed in clashes with regular forces in al-Quneitra. (Four of the fighters were from Jasem in Dara’a, five from Inkhel, two from Nemr 1 from al-Hara, 2 from Samlin, 1 from Zamrin and 3 from the Kafr Shams)
Violent clashes took place in the town of Ghadir al-Bustan, in the liberated Golan territories, between rebel and regime forces. Regime forces are bombarding parts of Ghadir al-Bustan, Qarqas and al-Hiran. Oposition fighters reportedly took over he 2nd company, the 23rd and 29th battalions and the security branch in Kodna. The opposition targeted the 61st brigade’s checkpoints in the area.
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
Two opposition fighters were killed in clashes with regular forces near the al-Tabaqa military airport yesterday.
The city of Tartous and surrounding areas are calm and the regime forces are no longer carrying out detentions and raids. Two massacres were committed in the area: in the Ras al-Nabe’ neighbourhood of Banias and in the village of al-Beyda killing about 80 persons including many children. Hundreds fled the coastal areas after the massacres. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-05-05/hundreds-flee-amid-reports-of-syria-massacres/4670066
Here is the commander of the Baniyas operation discussing his goals
Ali Akbar Salehi, the Iranian foreign minister met with President Assad on Tuesday and said it was time to dissuade Israel from any further attacks on Syria.
A press conference was held in Amman with Nasser Judeh and Ali Akbar Salehi of Iran who said “We refuse any solution forced from outside. We are against any foreign intervention in Syria. We have seen what has happened in some countries, which I will not name, after they faced foreign intervention. We don’t want history to repeat itself in Syria… Israel would not dare to attack Iran, you can be sure of that. However we are ready for any worse case scenarios, but at the same time, we are sure that Israel would not undertake such an operation.” Judeh claimed there are no foreign troops in Jordan.
Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Erdogan called Israeli air strikes on Syria unacceptable but also said the strikes give Assad an opportunity to cover up the massacre of civilians at Baniyas. http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2013/05/07/Turkey-PM-says-Israeli-air-strik
John Kerry, US. Secretary of State began talks in Russia with President Vladimir Putin on Syria today, seeking “common ground” with Russia. Russia said it will act to maintain stability in Syria. http://www.aljazeera.com/news/europe/2013/05/20135716287710849.html
Lady My Friend, Being Arab Tires Me (popularly called the “Green Land of Tunisia” poem)
By NIZAR KABBANI, 1980
(translated by Mohja Kahf)
Green land of Tunisia, here I come, a lover,
bearing with me book and rose.
Carthage, here comes to you the Damascene
who takes love as a calling. Where he goes,
boughs bud at his beckon and bloom green.
Damascus’ moon and domes and wheat
and songbirds go with me wherever I go.
Water has its beginning in my hometown;
wherever you lean your head, you hear it flowing.
Poetry’s a little bird that wings around Damascus,
well-met by poets who rise quickly to respond.
White jasmine started in Damascus too,
and so did Time. My townfolk
worship Beauty; it melts them,
and they melt it. Thus, Love happened first
in Damascus. So did the horse gallop
from Damascus first to victory. In Damascus,
ancient languages and lineages live. It is Damascus
gives meaning to the name of Arab.
Sea nymphs of Carthage, riverbeds run dry
and, though there should be no turning back from love,
old friends are gone, and paths divided; why?
Where now are the women who love like they pray?
I have forgotten not one woman’s name,
not one woman’s breasts.
Some wore my poems and my tears,
some loved, and some mistrusted me.
I loved them all, and now I am betrayed.
Shall I take them to account? A man
can never win with women by account.
I don’t repent my having loved—I cannot stand
the silly scene of lovers going around
repenting of their love.
Now we come to it: the night’s festivities.
Am I supposed to rhyme on demand?
Am I the palace singer with no clothes?
My tongue can’t find my tongue,
my mouth is full of stones. Carthage!
Where does a poem come from, you suppose,
when God is dead, and charlatans are lords?
Tyrannized by day, we’re terrorized by night.
Our breadloaves smell of state surveillance.
They pull apart our phrases, and our fingers from our hands.
With what is a writer left to write?
Poetry comes not just from the pen;
it comes from underneath the eyelids,
from the vision. But poets
of today are some third sex: they speak
not Arabic, not speech of foreign lands,
their syntax jumbled and their words a fog.
They blab into a void to nobody;
they buzz, so many flies
on the mere surface of the wine, while those
to whom writing is a fire
and they are wood and match, and burn their lives in it,
and give us joy, get no reward. Whores
and thugs wear silks, and leave the writers rags.
Lady my friend, being Arab tires me
The map has made exiles of us all.
The state of our nation is a joke.
In clear Arabic I call my tribe and call—
no one answers. If not for their robes,
I would not think our leaders Arab folk at all.
They kiss-kiss, by Arab way of greeting,
but behind each other’s necks, their fangs are bared.
Carthage, shall we raise a toast to our downfall?
The cup cannot hold enough drink
to bring me to enough oblivion.
From Fertile Crescent to North Africa, we’re cursed:
dictatorships, police states, guard patrols.
We fight amongst ourselves with daggers thrust,
and over what? Some dried-up pits of dates.
It’s all the same, with or without the oil.
Our leaders seem to stash it in their balls
to piss away while people bleed and toil.
Green land of Tunisia, what will save us?
There are no holy books left in the land.
All the caliph’s horses have dropped dead—
of embarrassment. High honor’s a mirage
melting on the Arab sand.
Lady my friend, being Arab wears me down.
The edges of my wound are riverbanks.
So if I scream at those I love in these our times,
it is to wake up love and all the lovers.
And if I call the Arab world a darkened pit,
it is a world I live in and would light.
If I rage at Arab chiefs it is so that
they may yet find some spark inside those robes.
Oh Carthage, Carthage, Carthage,
can I ever hope now to return to your bosom?
Do not hate my passion,
for passion is my nature,
and God, Glorious be His Glory,
doth pardon all the sins of poetry.