Syria Update, June 13, 2013 (Institute of Middle Eastern, Islamic and Strategic Studies. By Sherifa Zuhur)

14 Jun

Syria Update, June 13, 2013. (Institute of Middle Eastern, Islamic and Strategic Studies. By Sherifa Zuhur)

Death toll: The UN says the death toll in Syria now exceeds 93,000 and may have even exceeded 100,000.

The U.S. government reported that it would be providing military support to the Syrian opposition although the details are not all clear. The decision was made based on the evidence that the Assad government has used chemical weapons. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=yPPUl_s4Ljc

The opposition seized Quneitra on Thursday, a U.N.-manned border crossing between Israel and Syria.

Egypt’s, Saudi Arabia’s and Qatar’s top clerics declare jihad in Syria. Islamic scholars agreed to a bayan (proclamation) read by Shaykh Muhammad Hassan, a prominent Egyptian preacher: “Jihad is necessary for the victory of our brothers in Syria – jihad with mind, money, weapons; all forms of jihad.”
Hassan said that more than 70 organisations represented had called for “support, whatever will save the Syrian people”.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kIsL6gGUxgY&feature=youtu.be

Refugees and Relief:

UNHCR replaces a doll left behind by a little Syrian girl thanks to another little girl living in Thailand. http://www.unhcr.org/51b837789.html

About 840 Syrians flooded into Jordan bringing the number over the last 2 days to more than 1,300 as the FSA and Hizbullah exchanged fire in Dar`a province.
http://jordantimes.com/refugees-flood-jordan-as-hizbollah-engages-with-rebels-across-border

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

Extremely violent clashes took place outside al-Sakhour in Aleppo as regular forces tried to storm the neighborhood from the al-Shaykh al-Khudur side and the side where the electricity company is located. A tank was destroyed and several regular troops were killed and injured. The regime forces shelled the neighborhood, killing two men. Regular forces also bombarded Tariq al-Bab, Jabal Badro, and Tariq al-Hamra. Rockets fell on the al-Jazmati neighborhood and at its outskirts, regime forces bombarded the village of Hamima. Clashes took place in Salahadin and as the opposition targeted the artillery battalion in the al-Zahra neighborhood.
Clashes occurred in the town of Ma’arat al-Artiq. The outskirts of the Kweiris military airport was subject to aerial bombardment. Regime bombardment of the city of al-Bab killed 4 children under the age of 14 . Regime forces also bombarded Kafarhamra, Rasm Assan, al-Safeera and Ma’arat al-Artiq. There were reports that the opposition shot down a helicopter that was dropping bags of food to the regime forces in the town of Nubul.
Clashes took place in the Sleiman al-Halabi neighbourhood, and alongside mortar and tank fire on the Sheikh Khudur neighborhood. The regime forces bombarded Sheikh Maqsoud. One source reported that the opposition freed Bab Jnen. A mortar shell was launched into the area near the al-Ba’ath party branch in the Jamiliya neighborhood. Violent clashes took place by the traffic police branch in Bab Antakya, between rebels and regime and pro-regime militia as the opposition tried to break into the neighborhood. Violent clashes took place near the Aleppo International airport, and the Syrian airforce bombarded rebel positions; there were reports of injuries.
On Wednesday, the body of a man was found with gunshots to his head and neck near a mosque in al-Bab city. Unknown gunmen had thrown his body by the mosque. Local activists reported that the man was detained several months ago by the Shari’a Council of al-Bab, in a theft case.
Syrian rebels had made advances on Monday in their battle to seize the Minnigh airbase, by taking the radar tower.
A 15 year old (some sources wrote 14 year old) boy, Muhammad al-Qatta was executed by opposition fighters in the Sha’ar neighborhood of Aleppo on Monday. Fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham’s Shari’a Committee detained the young boy at 10 p.m. where he worked selling coffee in the Sad al-Lawz area of al-Sha’ar, they captured him for blaspheming during an argument while he was working; apparently in response to a customer who wanted to be served on credit, he said “even if Muhammed comes back to life, I won’t [do it]”.

They later returned with the boy to the area, the child’s shirt was covering his head and he had been beaten and tortured. The fighters then publicly announced (speaking not in a Syrian accent but in a classical Arabic one) that apostasy and cursing the prophet is a terrible vice and that anyone who does so will face similar fate. They then shot the boy twice with a automatic rifle in front of the gathered crowd, in the neck and the head.

The Shari’a court of Aleppo has a security branch in the area but did not stop the summary execution of the boy. Despite complaints, no investigation has been undertaken so the SOHR made known which factions which were involved.

Testimony by the father of Muhammad Qatta (who was present)

Testimony of the mother of Muhammad Qatta

Testimony of the younger brother of Muhammad Qatta and a passerby by Muhammad’s coffee stand, who were present during the detention and execution:

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 shell fell on the al-Zahira al-Qadima, near the entrance to the Yarmouk camp. Another mortar fell on the Tadamun neighbourhood, and the Qaboun neighborhood was bombarded which caused the death of one man. A sniper shot a woman from Qaboun. Violent clashes broke out between opposition and regular forces at the entrance to the al-Yarmouk camp. Mortar shells fell on the al-Rawda area of Jaramana.

Opposition fighters bombarded the Damascus International Airport. Mortars fired caused delays of two landings and one take-off, and an airport worker was wounded.

On Wednesday, 10 unidentified bodies were found in the Qadam neighbourhood, activists said that they were summarily executed by regime forces.

How people are carrying on with their daily lives behind the battle lines in Damascus. https://twitter.com/BBCWorld/status/344754752460050432/photo/1

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
Free Syrian Army forces and Hizbollah fighters traded fire for several hours on the outskirts of Daraa late Wednesday, marking the first clashes between rebel forces and the Lebanese Shiite group since their arrival in southern Syria 8,000 Hizbollah and Iranian fighters had encircled Daraa in a bid to lay siege to one of the final rebel strongholds in southern Syria.

Clashes took place north of Jasim city between rebels and a regime motorcade that was heading to Jasim, reports that a tank was destroyed. Clashes by the Der’a refugee camp, as regime forces try to storm the camp, they are bombarding parts. Regime forces renewed mortar bombardment on the south-western parts of al-Hara city, no reports of casualties. 1 woman from the town of Sheikh Miskeen was killed by a regime sniper by the al-Dawwar checkpoint.

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 village of Hatla is under regime bombardment, 2 men were killed as a result. 1 man from the town of Buqrus was killed by a regime sniper in the Husseiniya area. The Sheikh Yassin and Hamidiya neighbourhoods of Deir az-Zur were bombarded by regime forces – this was the 365th consecutive day that the Assad regime bombarded the city of Deir az-Zur.

These individuals were killed today: Adel Al-Mehia, civilian killed in shelling on the village of Alsalhea; Ali Al-Hebish, a civilian from Boqros Town, killed by a sniper in the village of al-Husainiyya.

– Muhannad Sobhi Hasan Aljaruo, martyred in Hatla Village because of shelling

Abdelnaser Hasan Aljaruo and Ahmad Nuri al-Jablan, both civilians killed in shelling of the village of Hatla.

Salah Jasem al-Ammash, defected soldier from the regime army, was tortured to death today by regime forces who arrested him 4 months ago.

Ahmad al-Thiban, of the FSA, killed in chashes in al-Rasafa.

Mohammad Touma, a defected soldier from the eastern Ghouta was killed in clashes in al-Rasafa.

Anas Aysar Saqur, and Aysar Saqur both of the FSA were killed in shelling on al-Hamidiyya.

A sniper shot an unidentified truck driver on al-Siysiya bridge.

Opposition fighters from several factions had captured the Hatla village, inhabited by Shi`a, following clashes, shellings and attacks on at least 60 Shi`a. It was alleged that most were fighters armed by the Assad regime. Some Shi’i civilians fled to the nearby villages At least 10 opposition fighters were killed in the clashes which erupted on Monday night when Shi’i fighters attacked an opposition battalion, killing 2 fighters and injured 8. After this, thousands of fighters attacked Hatla, they were in turn bombarded by Syrian regular forces stationed at the Deir Izzor military airport.

On Tuesday, this video was posted, and in it a man says they’ve burned all the houses of the Shi`a apostates. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h5kgnh2SCMY&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

Regime forces bombarded the village of Atshan and the farmlands by the city of Latamneh. Helicopters dropped explosive barrels on the village of al-Na’imiya, as regime forces also bombarded on the ground.

Violent clashes broke out at dawn today between opposition fighters and regular forces near a military stronghold at the southern outskirts of the town of Mourk town which that lies on the Damascus-Aleppo international road. Opposition fighters took hold of the stronghold, seized weapons and ammunition and killed at least 6 regular soldiers.

Regime forces bombarded the town of Kafrnbouda at dawn on Thursday.

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

An armed group kidnapped 10 Kurdish civilians in the al-Busra roundabout from a bus belonging the al-Rafidein company and also stole the bus.

Clashes took place this morning between opposition and regime forces who manned the Kherab Askar checkpoint, south of Tel Hamis town. The opposition forces took over the checkpoint.

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

Two civilians from the We’er neighbor hood of Homs were killed, 1 was shot by a sniper and the other died from wounds received in a sniper attack two weeks ago. Clashes took place in the Wadi al-Sayeh neighborhood. Regime forces and Hizbullah forces have stormed the village al-Husseiniya village.

A husband and wife were killed in an airstrike on Old Homs.
Moving a little girl to a field hospital after she’s hit in an airstrike in Old Homs. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U4Kkkim93yQ

On Sunday, shabiha (militia members) were brought by bus by the regime into al-Qusayr to hold a rally for the President. https://twitter.com/Abukraim/status/343735942227578880/photo/1

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

Regime fighter planes carried out an air raid on the Taftanaz military airport. Regime forces bombarded the towns of Deir al-Sharqi and Deir al-Gharbi, causing injuries.

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

Regime forces bombarded the villages of Ara and al-Maroniyat, near the town of Salma as well as Nahiyat Rabi’a.

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 leader of a Syrian Kurdish rebel faction from Kobani was killed when regime forces bombarded a sugar storage space in the city of Raqqah city yesterday setting it on fire. The airforce bombarded the area by the 17th division, north of Raqqah. Fires broke out in the Tabqa military airport. Seven rebel fighters, including a field commander were reportedly killed in the clashes by the 17th division.

A mortar shell fell near the al-Asfar warehouse by the al-Qitaran station, and it was reported that 7 were injured.

International:

Egyptians are told they may go to Syria to fight the Assad regime as Sunni clerics call for jihad. http://www.newser.com/article/da6t0hho0/egypts-presidency-says-it-citizens-free-to-fight-in-syria-as-sunni-clerics-call-for-jihad.html

U.S. Deputy national security advisor for strategic communications Ben Rhodes issued a formal statement on the U.S. governments position on Assad’s use of chemical weapons and will now be assisting the Supreme Military Council of the Syrian opposition. http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2013/06/13/white-house-statement-on-use-of-chemical-weapons-in-syria/

U.S. Senators McCain and Graham call for a no-fly zone in Syria. http://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/senate/305495-mccain-graham-called-on-obama-to-establish-no-fly-zone-in-syria

Former U.S. President Clinton expresses comments critical of Obama’s sitting on the sidelines in Syria (if he continues to do so). http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2013/06/13/bill_clinton_on_syria_obama_risks_looking_like_a_fool_and_a_wuss.html

Kuwait’s parliament condemned sectarian rhetoric over the Syrian conflict today, apparently in response to an anti-Hizbullah demonstration outside the Lebanese embassy where a fiery speech was given by a Muslim cleric against Hizbullah’s involvement. http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/06/13/us-syria-kuwait-idUSBRE95C1BP20130613

Basic Facts about Syria:

Population: 22,530,746
 (minus 93,000 to 100,000) 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.

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