Syria Update, May 14, 2013 (Institute of Middle Eastern, Islamic and Strategic Studies, [IMEISS] by Sherifa Zuhu).

15 May

Syria Update May 14, 2013. (Institute of Middle Eastern, Islamic and Strategic Studies. By Sherifa Zuhur)

Death toll:

The SOHR, based on newly-received reports of previously undocumented deaths now estimates the documented casualties since the beginning of the Syrian uprising as being more than 94,000. It estimates the actual # of violent deaths at more than 120,000.

A new Syrian opposition group, the Union of Syrian Democrats has formed, according to media sources, to counter the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood in the National Council. The leadership includes Michel Kilo, Christian writer and human activist. http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2013/05/14/New-Syrian-opposition-group-formed.html

This video showing a person called “Abu Sakkar” (identified in Time as Khalid al-Hamad) in Homs from the independent Omar al-Farouq brigade eating the heart and liver of a Syrian soldier has circulated to disgust and criticism. He says “”I swear to God we will eat your hearts and your livers, you soldiers of Bashar the dog,”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iFZBxT7JHZw

Here HRW comments: http://www.hrw.org/news/2013/05/13/syria-brigade-fighting-homs-implicated-atrocities

The Syrian National Coalition discuss their efforts to impact the rules of war followed by the Syrian opposition and as shown in videos online. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=zrqC6OKLEng

The Assad family’s portrait artist tells people to go ahead and destroy his paintings. http://www.latimes.com/news/columnone/la-fg-syria-artist-20130514-dto,0,5930524.htmlstory?fb_action_ids=10200968829763553&fb_action_types=og.recommends&fb_ref=s%3DshowShareBarUI%3Ap%3Dfacebook-like&fb_source=other_multiline&action_object_map=%7B%2210200968829763553%22%3A344206152369464%7D&action_type_map=%7B%2210200968829763553%22%3A%22og.recommends%22%7D&action_ref_map=%7B%2210200968829763553%22%3A%22s%3DshowShareBarUI%3Ap%3Dfacebook-like%22%7D

A tribute to the women of the Syrian revolution here collected by Mohja Kahf.
https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150591186772016.374857.667627015&type=1

Refugees and Relief:
The ICG’s report on Syrians in Lebanon. http://www.crisisgroup.org/en/regions/middle-east-north-africa/egypt-syria-lebanon/lebanon/141-too-close-for-comfort-syrians-in-lebanon.aspx?utm_source=lebanon-syria-report&utm_medium=1&utm_campaign=mremail

Andrew Harper, the UNHCR’s representative to Jordan tweeted that “Last night another 1,314 #syrian @refugees x’d to the safety of #jordan. This incl. over 700 children who have fled the fighting.”
Here you can see the physical enlargement of the Zaatari camp in Jordan. http://reliefweb.int/map/jordan/evolution-al-zaatari-refugee-camp-mafraq-governorate-jordan-14-may-2013

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

Clashes broke out today between opposition fighters from the Ghuraba’ al-Sham battalion and those opposition battalions which follow the Shari’a council (al-Hay’a al-Shari`a) These clashes occurred on the airport road, between Tariq al-Bab and Jabal Badro, and in the souq, after the fighters f the Shari’a council arrived to open the road which provides access to the northern countryside. The Ghuraba’ al-Sham had closed the road in retaliation to the Shar’a council battalions closing up their bases. Tensions also arose between the militias after the Shari’a council detained the leader of Ghuraba’ al-Sham.

The Ghuraba’ al-Sham and the al-Hay’a al-Shar’ia fighters kept on clashing as the Hay’a rebels stormed several houses near of the Ghuraba’ battalion leaders’ bases, using mortar and tank shells. One child was injured by the rebel fighting in Tariq al-Bab.

Tank shell shrapnel killed a rebel in Sheikh Maqsoud. Regime forces based in Sleiman al-Halabi fired a tank shell on the Sakhour neighborhood. Several mortar shells fell on the Bab Qinsreen neighborhood, reports of injuries and houses were damaged. Rocket bombardment injured residents of Kafar Kalbein village. The regime forces bombarded the area around the Mengh military airport, which is surrounded by rebels.

Clashes in the Jeb al-Jebli area resulted in opposition fighters taking some buildings from regime forces a defected officer was killed and there were other casualties on both sides. Several regular soldiers were killed when rebels launched mortar rockets on their position by the al-Hatab square in the al-Jdeeda neighborhood. Clashes took place in the town of Aziza.

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

The regime forces hit the Qaboun and Tadamun neighbourhoods with mortars and multiple rocket launchers, several people were injured

In Wadi Barada, the Free Syrian Army responded to the regime forces attack in the village of Efrah. They destroyed three tanks and a Dushka and the SOHR reported that 300 soldiers were killed or injured (this seems a very high number, worth re-checking for accuracy).

The regime forces shelled the Fakhor area and resumed shelling of the orchards around Zabadani and Harasta. There were heavy clashes near the airforce intelligence branch in the town of al-Sabina. Clashes in al-Maliha resulted in the death of one opposition fighters. The regime forces shelled the city of Zabadani. Military helicopters bombarded Yabrud, and the town of Zabdeen was hit as well. Regime forces bombarded al-Nabk and there were clashes near the al-Nabk bridge. One opposition fighter was killed outside of Daraya. Some areas of the eastern Ghouta were heavily bombarded by the Syrian airforce.

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

Raef Mofid Al Masri, a child, killed by regime forces’ shelling of Dara`a.

The regime forces carried out artillery shelling at al-Karak al-Sharki resulting in casualties and injuries.

According to Naharnet, Hizbullah fighters have advanced to Dara`a
http://www.naharnet.com/stories/en/82909

The bodies of 4 men were found killed with their hands bound in the al-Bakar area of Yarmouk valley. The regime forces shelled towns of al-Herak and Da’el.

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

On Monday
Farouq Al-Hama of the FSA was killed during clashes at Deir Ezzor Military Airport

The regime forces shelled the city of Deir az-Zur with artillery and missiles in these areas: al-Urthi, al-Jbeili, Sheikh Yasin, al-Omal and Hawiqeh.





Smoke rising from the State Security building.

The regime forces shelled the city of Mouhassan with artillery fire from Deir Ezzor military airport (also on Monday).

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 regime forces attacked al-Furiya village. They burned down houses, causing the residents to flee. Regime forces stormed houses in the Manakh neighbourhood of the city of Hama. Clashes continue in eastern part of Hama province between armed men from the al-Zeghba village and regime forces. The airforce also bombed the area. 1 rebel was killed in clashes yesterday (Monday) in Helfaya. Bombardment was resumed on Helfaya on Tuesday.

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

Regime forces stationed in the Qamishli airport bombarded several surrounding villages with multiple rocket launchers. Several rockets fell on the village of Khirbet Hatem.

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

At Bustan al-Qasr a nighttime demonstration: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=naqsDGk9Jj8

In the Qusayr area, the regime troops captured three villages.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/gallery/2013/may/14/syria-middle-east-troops-qusayr-homs

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

Violent clashes occurred around the Qarmid and Shabiba military camps. The regime forces bombarded the Jabal Arb’een area and the villages of Bzaboor and Ma’arbleet.

Latakia province:
https://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&q=latakia+governorate+google+maps&ie=UTF-8&hq=&hnear=0x15241c8bc2bf561f:0xdbb2edac5c45c32b,Latakia+Governorate,+Syria&gl=us&ei=ghv_UOaOOMGW0QH88YDYDw&ved=0CC0Q8gEwAA

Seven civilians were killed as they ran to Salma seeking safety.

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

A demonstration in Raqqa this evening http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dORbUcF9JCY&feature=youtu.be
In the city of Raqqa, the Islamic State in Iraq and Bilad al-Sham summarily executed three officers of the Syrian army. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=369179069857104&set=a.150495128392167.28686.121855461256134&type=1&theater

Tartous province.
https://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&q=tartous+syria&ie=UTF-8&hq=&hnear=0x15217e77890fb9a3:0xa072a491096e24b,Tartus%E2%80%8E,+Syria&gl=us&ei=LvGSUYanIc-n4APeo4H4Dg&sqi=2&ved=0CKABELYD

In Tartous, Omar lost count of the bodies after 46.
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/15/world/middleeast/grisly-killings-in-syrian-towns-dim-hopes-for-peace-talks.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

International:

Russia and the United States plan talks on Syria which have been pushed ahead to June. https://now.mmedia.me/lb/en/nowsyrialatestnews/us-russia-plan-for-syria-talks-slipping-to-june

The Jordanian foreign ministry announced that Jordan will host “Friends of Syria” meetings next week. http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2013/05/14/Jordan-to-host-Friends-Of-Syria-next-week-ministry-says.html

Britain and France have postponed a Syrian request that the United Nations designate the al-Nusra Front a terrorist group because Britain and France want the group to be listed as an alias of al-Qaeda, diplomats said on Tuesday.
The death toll from twin car bombings in Reyhanli has risen to 51. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan rejected the idea of a Syrian-Turish investigation into the bombings. He said: “The administration in power in Damascus is illegal … how can we recognize a structure that isn’t even recognized by its own citizens.” Erdogan will meet U.S President Barack Obama in Washington on Thursday.

Among Syria’s Creative Figures:

Muhammad al-Maghut, poet, noted for his free verse (1934 -2006) born in Salamiyya to an Isma’ili family.

Nizar al-Qabbani, 1923-1998, born in Damascus. His sister, ten years his senior, committed suicide rather than marry a man she did not love and the theme of women’s oppression entered his work as a poet, whose work sharply criticized Arab society and politics of his time. He was also a diplomat and a publisher.

Zakariyya Tamir, born in 1931 in Damascus, famed for short stories, for adults and children. He supports the Syrian revolution and hopes that Syria will be liberated from “tyranny and horror.” http://freesyriantranslators.net/2012/07/22/a-dialogue-with-zakaria-tamer-2/

Ali Farzat, born in 1951 in Hama, a cartoonist. He was attacked by thugs who broke his hands. He is on Facebook and his cartoons of “Highlander” comment on Syria.

Duraid Lahham born in 1934 in Damascus. A comedian and director known for his character, “Ghawwar al-Toushe.” He was a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in 1999 and is considered to be a supporter of Bashar al-Assad and not of the opposition.

Farid al-Atrash, 1910 – 1974 was born in Suwayda to a Druze family associated with the independence struggle against the French. He became a composer, master oudist, singer and film star in Egypt, starring in 31 movies and recording more than 500 songs.

Asmahan. (Amal al-Atrash) 1912 (or 1915) – 1944 was born at sea as her family traveled from Turkey to Beirut. Sister of Farid al-Atrash, she became a renowned singer of Arabic compositions and an actress in Egypt and challenged conservative attitudes about women with her artistic life-style. Her musical talent was considered to rival that of Umm Kulthum and she sang the compositions of al-Qasabji, Riyadh al-Sunbati, her brother, Farid al-Atrash and others.

Sadeq Jalal al-Azm, philosopher and scholar was born in Damascus in 1934 and earned a Ph.D. in 1961 from Yale. His 1969 book, Naqd al-Fikr al-Dini in which he criticized the misuse of religion and caused his imprisonment in Lebanon. He wrote at least six books and many articles since, including a critique of ‘Orientalism.’ http://en.qantara.de/wcsite.php?wc_c=15850

Shadi Jamil, great Syrian singer of the Allepine qudud, born in 1955 in Aleppo.

Hamam Khairi, another singer of the Allepine qudud and muwashshahat, a student of Sabah Fakhri and Shaykh Omar al-Batsh.

Assala Nasri, born in 1969 in Damascus as the daughter of a Syrian composer, Mostafa Nasri. She has produced 23 albums and many singles including “Ah, law ha-l kursi bye7ki” and has a dramatic and powerful singing style. She supports the Syrian revolution.

Sabah Fakhri, born in 1933 in Aleppo is perhaps the greatest traditional-style singer of the Eastern Arab world, of muwashahhat and qudud Halabiyya. He did not follow the typical musical path of pursuing a singing career in Egypt, preferring to remain in Syria.

Mayada al-Hinnawi, born in 1957 in Aleppo. A great singer whose popularity peaked in the 1980s. She sang the compositions of Baligh Hamdi, Riyadg Sunbati, Mohammad Sultan, Hilmy Baker and others.

Adonis (Ali Ahmad Said), a poet, born in 1930 in al-Qassabin, Latakia to a farming family. After being imprisoned for a year, he left Syria in 1956 for Beirut. He has published many collections of poetry in which he experimented with various modernist forms and received numerous awards for his poetry. He lives in Paris. http://www.charlierose.com/view/interview/9297

Yasin al-Hajj Saleh, born in 1961, an author jailed when he was in his 20’s in 1980 until 1996. He began writing in prison in 1988. He published With Salvation O’Youth: 16 Years in Syrian Prison (al-Saqi, 2012).
http://www.aljadid.com/content/yassin-al-haj-saleh’s-taming-syrian-prison’s-beast

Hanna Mina, novelist, born in 1924 in Iskenderun and raised in Latakia, he would later be an exile in China. He described his education as the “university of dark poverty.” He wrote 40 novels including the autobiographical, The Swamp. http://english.al-akhbar.com/node/5584

Mohammad Malas, filmmaker, born in 1945 in Quneitra and studied cinema in Moscow. He won awards for his many films including Ahlam al-Madina, al-Layl and Bab al-Maqam.

Selwa al-Neimi, poet and author, was born in Damascus and left for Paris in the mid-70s. She has published three volumes of poetry, a collection of short stories and is best known for her erotic novel, The Proof of Honey.

Nihad Sirees, novelist, author of The Silence and the Roar. http://www.jadaliyya.com/pages/index/7006/writing-revolution-and-change-in-syria_an-intervie

Saadallah Wannous, 1941 – 1997, a playwright, born in Hussein al-Bahr near Tartus. His writing career began in the early 1960s. He introduced a “theater of politicization,” helped to found the Arab Festival for Theater Arts and the Higher Institute for Theater Arts (where he taught).

Nabil Maleh, born in Damascus, film director since his first release “The Leopard” 1972, now living in the Gulf. http://www.jadaliyya.com/pages/index/9845/a-leopard-in-winter_an-interview-with-syrian-direc

Issa Touma is a photographer, curator and director of Le Pont Organization, who supports the revolution. http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/5/25/38262/Arts–Culture/Visual-Art/Art-sees-light-within-the-Syrian-Revolution.aspx

George Wassouf, born in Kafroun, Tartus in 1961, is a popular singer of Arabic music with more than 30 albums released. He has supported Bashar al-Assad and has been criticized for praising the Syrian army.

Samir Zikra, filmmaker, born in Beirut in 1945 and raised in Aleppo. His films include al-Sakran Yanfi (based on a Naguib Mahfouz novel) al-Matar Saba`in, Lan Nansa, al-Shuhud, `Anha, Hadithat al-Nusf Metr, Waqa`ih al-`Amm al-Muqbel. He coauthored a script for Baqaya Suwar (based on a Hanna Mina novel), coauthored the script for Mohammad Malas’ Ahlam al-Madina, and directed Turab al-Ghuraba (about Abd al-Rahman al-Kawakibi) in 1998 and `Alaqat `Ammah in 2005.

Some of the Syrian visual artists whose works include protest: http://www.npr.org/2012/05/14/152496317/even-under-threat-syrian-artists-paint-in-protest

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