Archive | July, 2013

Syria Update, July 26, 2013. (Institute of Middle Eastern, Islamic and Strategic Studies. By Sherifa Zuhur)

27 Jul

Syria Update, July 26, 2013. (Institute of Middle Eastern, Islamic and Strategic Studies. By Sherifa Zuhur)

Thursday’s death toll: More than 160 killed.

Wednesday’s death toll: More than 180 people killed.

Tuesday’s death toll: 131 killed including 9 children.

Will Russia place Iskander surface missiles in Syria? http://www.hurriyet.com.tr/english/world/9691338.asp

The death toll in Syria has surpassed 100,000 (and is probably higher than any estimates due to the difficulties of identifying missing and deceased persons)
http://www.france24.com/en/20130725-un-leader-ban-ki-moon-says-syria-death-toll-tops-100000

Territorial divisions in Syria’s new “normal” (war)
http://www.economist.com/news/middle-east-and-africa/21582319-territorial-divisions-are-deepening-regardless-regime-and-rebel-advances

Amnesty International shows that pro-government forces were behind the killings of 138 killed in Baniyas and 130 in Baydah and said that civilians are at risk of summary execution in Tartous. http://www.amnestyusa.org/news/news-item/syria-stop-extrajudicial-executions-of-civilians-for-military-gains

Egyptian-American man reported killed in Syria in a battle between Islamist opposition groups and Kurdish militia fighters. http://triblive.com/news/editorspicks/4415705-74/ibrahim-syria-syrian#axzz2aBwWDEc7

Hof explains key blocks to US military aid to Syria. http://beta.syriadeeply.org/2013/07/capitol-hill-syrian-fault-lines/#.Ue_osWT71cQ

US Congressional blocks on aiding opposition lifted (?) http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/07/22/us-usa-syria-arms-idUSBRE96L0W520130722

Sectarian cleansing. Version 1. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jul/22/syria-sunnis-fear-alawite-ethnic-cleansing

Sectarian cleansing. Version 2. Assad’s plan is to cleanse many areas of Homs province of Sunni Muslims. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/syria/10195849/Bashar-al-Assads-militias-cleansing-Homs-of-Sunni-Muslims.html?fb

Syrian Islamist leader, Abu Musab freed on Sunday after clashes between opposition groups. http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Middle-East/2013/Jul-22/224559-syrian-islamist-freed-after-inter-rebel-clashes.ashx#axzz2ZieLNGXS

Refugees and Relief:

The United Nations is concerned about the detention of Syrian refugees in Egypt.

Syrian refugee crisis Guardian animation: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/middle-east-live/2013/jul/25/syria-refugee-crisis-a-day-in-the-life

Kidnapped/Abducted:

The French foreign ministry confirmed that photographer Jonathan Alpeyrie has been released from captivity in Syria
https://now.mmedia.me/lb/en/nowsyrialatestnews/franco-us-photographer-held-in-syria-released

Vigil held for journalist James Foley
http://bigstory.ap.org/article/prayer-vigil-us-journalist-missing-syria

Prisoners:

One of thousands of prisoners Maher Tahan: a member of the national coordinating body , a nonviolent political and humanitarian activist. Born in 1981. MA in English literature. He worked in the translation field for a while, and has also worked in the relief field. He was detained with Dr. Abdul Aziz Al-Khair in 09/20/2012 from Damascus International Airport while returning from a visit to China, and was never heard of until now.
We, the undersigned, want the freedom of Maher Tahan
https://www.facebook.com/notes/stop-the-torture-of-the-syrian-detainees-أوقفوا-تعذيب-المعتقلين-السوريين/حملة-للإفراج-عن-ماهر-طحان-campaign-for-the-release-of-maher-tahan/555956181127185
Overview http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/07/26/us-syria-crisis-idUSBRE96P0GM20130726

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

Regime forces launched a surface-to-surface missile into the Bab al-Nayrab neighborhood, targeting the ISIS and other opposition branches, but it hit civilian buildings killing many and injuring others. Regime forces also bombarded the Salahuddin and Rashdin neighborhoods and clashes took place in Rashdin.

Opposition fighters bombarded the Military Academy in al-Hamadaniya with Grad missiles and clashes took place on the Aleppo-Damascus highway.

Yesterday, 6 fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham were killed by an airstrike on their base, which was a children’s school, near Qadi Askar roundabout. The opposition attacked the Hamadaniya stadium checkpoint with 2 home-made rockets. Two rockets hit the al-Qatana neighborhood and one hit near the al-Huda mosque in Saif al-Dawla yesterday early in the morning.

The air force bombarded the town of al-Huta, near Anjara city. The opposition attacked regime positions in the towns of Nubul and Zahra’ Fighters from the ISIS, based in al-Maliya by A’zaz, detained 6 fighters from the Asifat al-Shamal battalion who have been fighting at the Mengh airport because the latter had taken issue with ISIS raiding homes A’zaz.

Earlier this week: Clashes between regime forces and Liwa’ Jabhat al-Akrad took place Ashrafiya. The Shari’a Council of Aleppo detained 4 fighters from the Saddam Hussein battalion in the Tariq al-Bab neighbourhood. (That battalion had tortured a civilian on a video released a few days ago). A rocket hit near the high school in al-Midan and there were clashes near the gas plant.

On the 22nd and 23rd of July the opposition killed 150 regime forces in Khan al-Asal. About 51 of these were summarily executed by the opposition.

The air force bombarded the Qadi Askar neighbourhood while the opposition bombarded the towns of Nubul and Zahra’

Opposition offensive captures three villages in Aleppo province. http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Middle-East/2013/Jul-23/224700-syrian-rebels-capture-three-villages-near-aleppo.ashx#axzz2ZpFVHfUQ

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 Free Syrian Army liberated several buildings overnight which were being used as regime bases in the industrial district north of the district, including the building of the electricity company and the oxygen factory.

Early this morning, regime continued its bombardment of Zabadani injuring several people. Clashes resumed on the al-Bahariya front and the eastern Ghouta.

The Syrian air force bombarded areas of the Jobar neighborhood and also hit it with mortars. Clashes took place between regime and rebel forces on the edges of al-Qaboun after the regime forces had tried to storm the area. The regime forces bombarded Barzeh and al Qaboun neighbourhood, 2 opposition fighters were killed in clashes with the Palestinian Popular Committee in Yarmouk camp and with regime forces in Jobar.

On Thursday: 17 people including women and children were killed in a car-bomb that went off in the al-Suyouf square in the Jaramana suburb.

Also 6 civilians from Yarmouk camp were killed. 4, including a child were killed in the shelling of the camp.

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

Regime forces bombarded the city of an-Naimah today, three times in less than five hours. The regime forces launched rockets on Tseel and shelled al-Harrah.
On Thursday, 2 rebels, 10 civilians were killed including 2 children killed in the town of Jasim.

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 Sheikh Yassin neighbourhood of Deir Ezzour was bombarded by regime forces, no reports of casualties. The Jbeila and Muwazafeen neighbourhoods were bombarded by regime forces at dawn.

Thursday was the 404th day of Assad’s military campaign on the city of Deir az-Zur. Heavy clashes took place in al-Sinaa. Two of those killed are here:

Hussein Abdulrahman Al-Hamoud

Ahmed Hamdan Altama

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

One civilian killed 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

On Thursday night the ISIS and its allies bombarded the village of Sweidiyya and then, clashes broke out between the YPG and the ISIS, al-Nusra and opposition battalions carrying on until morning. The ISIS and its allies also attacked the village of al-Yusifiya, and the al-Sheikh gas station, which is on the Tal Kojar road under the control of the YPG. Sporadic clashes are continuing.

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

Shelling of Khaldiyya today http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xb2q04IMq5A&feature=youtu.be

Two missiles hit Waar today, and eight people were killed today in Homs.

Damage here in the tomb and mosque of Khalid bin al-Walid in Homs http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2F83AIA0OhU&feature=youtu.be

Regime shelling of as-Sikhneh killed three civilians from Tadmor.

Late last night it was reported that regime forces bombarded the area by the Omari mosque, the Ferzat clock, the area south of the security branch in Rastan, and near Talbisa. The regime bombarded Khaldiyya and the Old neighbourhoods of Homs at dawn. A regime sniper killed woman from the Houla area.

Yesterday, the 7-storey building opposite to Kaheel tower was turned into dust as a result of the 
brutal shelling on Jorat Al-Shayyah.

Four surface-to-surface missiles hit al-Khaldyiah on Thursday in addition to hundreds of shells and rockets are falling onto the districts of Al-Khaldyiah , Al-Qosour and Old Homs districts.

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 Syrian military bombarded the village of Basamis in Jabal al-Zawiya from the Latakia-Ariha road, killing 10 civilians. The air force bombarded the town of Kafarlata killing 6 civilians including 2 children and the air force bombed the village of Nahla twice.

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

Clashes between the ISIS, Jabhat al-Nusra and other rebel fighters and the YPG resulted in the deaths of 2 YPG, and several opposition and ISIS fighters between the village of al-Yabsa and th Tal Abyad. Kurdish activists reported that the YPG captured several fighters and took over several cars with heavy machine-guns and weapons.

Earlier this week Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham blew up several houses belonging to Kurdish families in Tal Abyad. The ISIS claimed these houses belonged to people from Liwa’ Jabhat al-Akrad or the YPG, or that weapons had been fired from these homes. The ISIS also blew up the People’s Assembly building run by the Kurdish Democratic Society Movement. The YPG and Jabhat al-Akrad took over the village of Tal Fanda.

The air force bombarded areas of the city of al-Tabqah.

Tartous province. http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&bav=on.2,or.r_qf.&bvm=bv.46865395,d.dmg&biw=1024&bih=633&q=Tartus+governorate+Google+maps&um=1&ie=UTF-8&hq=&hnear=0x15217de6195521ad:0x22456cab24b7bb7d,Tartus+Governorate,+Syria&gl=us&sa=X&ei=KH2dUdqEDu2j4AO27oCoCw&ved=0CC4Q8gEwAA

Russia evacuated its military personnel from its small naval station in Tartous.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/russia-reports-pullout-from-small-base-in-syria/2013/06/26/4602b63e-de55-11e2-b797-cbd4cb13f9c6_story.html

International:

British Ambassador, Mark Lyell Grant said Ahmed al-Jarba, the Syrian National Coalition president gave a positive message to the United Nations Security Council today. http://blogs.aljazeera.com/topic/syria/british-ambassador-said-un-security-council-received-very-positive-message-syrian

More on Syrian opposition leaders meeting with the UNSC http://www.voanews.com/content/syria-opposition-leaders-meet-un-security-council/1711013.html

The Turkish government is concerned by the actions of militias of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party in Syria and met with them today. http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Middle-East/2013/Jul-26/225175-turkey-to-warn-syrian-kurdish-group-over-dangerous-moves-erdogan.ashx#axzz2aCrBGO42

The Pentagon presents options on Syria showing its reluctance to get involved. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/23/world/middleeast/pentagon-outlining-options-to-congress-suggests-syria-campaign-would-be-costly.html?_r=0

Opinion: Obama Needs a Policy on Syria
http://www.gulf-times.com/Mobile/Opinion/189/details/360512/Obama-administration-needs-a-policy-on-Syria

Salafist radicalization in Lebanon as a result of the Syrian spillover: http://www.ctc.usma.edu/posts/the-syrian-spillover-and-salafist-radicalization-in-lebanon

Syria Update Feature. “Iranian Support of the Assad Government in Syria.” By Sherifa Zuhur, IMEISS

21 Jul

Syria Update. “Iranian Support of the Assad Government in Syria.” July 21, 2013. By Sherifa Zuhur, Institute of Middle Eastern, Islamic and Strategic Studies.
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Institute-of-Middle-Eastern-Islamic-and-Strategic-Studies/168189513225439?ref=hl

By now, even those less familiar with Syria know that the dominant sect are Alawis including President Bashar al-Assad’s family, but they are outnumbered by Sunni Muslims. Iran is predominantly Twelver Shi`a, and Syria has a tiny Twelver Shi`a population. None other than the charismatic leader of Lebanese Shi`a, Imam Musa Sadr issued a fatwa declaring the Alawis to be Muslims in order to shore up Bashar’s father’s (Hafez) religious legitimacy, but Sunni Muslims, particularly of the salafi strain consider the Alawis suspect, and under the secular Ba`th, the persecution of Sunni anti-government groups and opposition in general heightened these tensions. http://iranprimer.usip.org/blog/2013/jun/03/part-i-iran-syria-religious-ties

There is no “natural” religious reason for Iran to support Syria, as with its support of the Twelver Shi`i Hizbullah in Lebanon, rather the alliance was fostered by Hafez al-Assad as a way of countering the strength of Saddam Hussein in Iraq. Iranians travel to Damascus to visit the shrine of Sayyida Zeinab in Damascus and the shrine of the head of Hussein bin `Ali located at the Ummayad Mosque and the Iranian-funded mosque of Sayyida Ruqayya were always tightly shepherded by Iranian minders.

At least 150 IRGC (a conservative estimate) were in Syria and have also been involved in conducting special weapons tests.

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/concoughlin/100219439/assad-might-yet-win-in-syria-thanks-to-irans-revolutionary-guards/

Iran admitted that “advisors” were present. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-09-16/iran-revolutionary-guard-has-advisers-in-syria-lebanon.html

Deaths of Iranians and also a kidnapping of 48 “pilgrims” with IRGC ID cards showed their presence. http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/02/14/us-syria-crisis-iran-idUSBRE91D0EY20130214

http://jihadology.net/2013/06/14/hizballah-cavalcade-irans-losses-in-the-35th-province-syria-part-1/

Assad’s government swapped 2,100 opposition prisoners for the 48 “pilgrims.”
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/iran-blog/2013/jan/14/pilgrim-iranian-kidnap-syria-revolutionary-guards

Earlier, a claim was made that an additional 1500 IRGC were sent to Syria
http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/iran-sends-army-syria-revolutionary-1871848

In June it was reported that 4,000 more IRGC would be sent to Syria. Although this was based on an possibly unreliable report by Robert Fisk, who banks on Assad, where there is smoke there may be fire …
http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2013/06/16/Report-Iran-to-send-4-000-troops-to-aid-Bashar-al-Assad.html

On June 18th, Iran denied this plan to send more IRG, however, this too is unreliable as we know they are already present.
http://www.panarmenian.net/eng/news/162687/

Iran’s support is related to Hizbullah’s – both groups are training special militias loyal to Assad. But even with their help, the tide may be turning against Assad. I agree here with Andrew Terrill that the opposition remain armed – while he does not say this, I conclude that pacification of the bulk of the country appears impossible for Assad. http://www.thestar.com.my/News/World/2013/07/21/Insight–By-relying-on-Iran-Syrias-Assad-risks-irrelevance.aspx

Iran and Russia may also be sending Syria’s Assad cash as his funds have been plummeting. Russia is definitely doing so. The level of Iran’s support is unclear but one source estimates that the country has given $ 5.8 billion to Assad. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/07/15/iran-syria-aid_n_899840.html

Iran continues to send arms, and Iraqi authorities state they are unable to prevent the movement of these arms through their air space (they have grounded a # of suspected flights). http://www.rferl.org/content/iraq-iran-arms-syria-homs/25045094.html

Sanctions on the Iranian government for support to the IRGC have been ineffective: http://www.policymic.com/articles/29761/syria-civil-war-iran-tensions-ramp-up-by-sending-arms-to-assad-regime

Hizbullah is dependent on Assad’s government for the passage of Iranian arms – this has been ongoing for years. http://www.jpost.com/Defense/In-Depth-How-Iranian-weapons-go-through-Syria-to-Hezbollah-314313

Iran is allegedly involved in plans to relocate Syrians to the advantage of the Assad government. Consider the possibility of the fall of the Assad government or that it lingers on relinquishing control of some areas of Syria. This would likely leave a mini-state controlled by Alawis in Latakia, and given the resettlement of Alawites in certain areas of Homs province, greater Damascus (and possible in the Golan), some sort of contiguous entity in the center of the country. This would connect from Homs (not far from Hermel and the Shi`i dominant northern Biqa` valley) into Lebanon, where Iran has been buying up property and plans to grant Iran has been accused of paying the Syrian Real Estate Bank, $2 billion to purchase land in southern Homs province where many Sunni property owners have been driven out (and into refugee status in Lebanon or Jordan). The Syrian regime has been destroying property records in Homs, as well, according to Walid Jumblatt, the Lebanese Druze leader (who opposes Assad) where it has carried out a siege over the last year.

Iran also plans to give Syrian nationality to 750,000 Shi`a Muslims throughout the Middle East (but the article does not specify how one country grants the nationality of another). http://www.dailystar.com.lb/Opinion/Columnist/2013/Jul-18/224071-is-iran-altering-syrias-sectarian-map.ashx#axzz2ZieLNGXS

It seems that Iran’s new President Rouhani is committed as deeply to Syria (which one official called Iran’s 35th province) as was Ahmadinejad. http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/iran-president-backs-syrias-assad-hezbollah-19677492

Western nations have not come through as promised for Syria’s opposition. The U.S., France and the UK’s primary concern with Iran is to curb and control its nuclear program. Perhaps they should be more concerned about the Iranian Revolutionary Guard’s international activities and the precedent they set. At any rate, what else can the West negotiate with to convince Iran to cease its support of Assad, than some type of softening of sanctions?

And as this is not likely, what other sorts of leverage might there be?

Former President Morsi of Egypt worked to create a regional meeting bloc – Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Egypt, but that forum did not effect any progress on the issue of Syria. Under Egypt’s new government headed by Adli Mansour which Turkey’s Erdogan has insulted and refused to recognize, it appears there is some consensus with Saudi Arabia which along with Qatar, has supplied some weapons to the opposition. However, the new Egyptian government wishes to back away from the explicit support of jihadism by Egyptians for the Syrian opposition expressed by Morsi at a Syria conference attended by a spectrum of Islamists, including radicals on June 15, 2013. http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/1/64/74123/Egypt/Politics-/Morsis-Syria-stance-influenced-by-US-Egyptian-oppo.aspx

One may conclude that any regional or Arab League driven effort to lean on Iran to diminish support for Syria is unlikely.

Syria Update, July 7, 2013 (Institute of Middle Eastern, Islamic and Strategic Studies. By Sherifa Zuhur)

8 Jul

Syria Update, June 27, 2013. (Institute of Middle Eastern, Islamic and Strategic Studies. By Sherifa Zuhur)

Preliminary death toll:  At least 90 killed.

Saturday’s death toll: More than 70 including 19 civilians.

Ahmad Jarba, the newly elected head of the SNC offers a truce in Homs for the month of Ramadan. (Israeli, Chinese and a few western sources have reported so far) http://big5.xinhuanet.com/gate/big5/news.xinhuanet.com/english/world/2013-07/08/c_132520113.htm

The Muslim Brotherhood of Syria calls for arms from the West: http://in.reuters.com/article/2013/07/07/syria-crisis-brotherhood-idINDEE96605N20130707

Ahmad Assi Jarba was elected to represent the Syrian National Coalition on Saturday. http://www.arabnews.com/news/457274
http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5iS26zNaKrcy_iBJXs4DKA4FzbWgg?docId=CNG.c6daad104643c7ac987efb54041cd934.61
http://reliefweb.int/report/syrian-arab-republic/syrias-main-opposition-picks-ahmad-assi-jarba-new-leader

Israeli submarine may have hit http://osnetdaily.com/2013/07/did-an-israeli-dolphin-submarine-just-bypass-the-russian-s-300-batteries-in-syria/
See also under Latakia below.

A Tamarrod Syria was set up and after only 12 hours, the Syrian regime arrested its Facebook administrator

Prices have risen and are squeezing Syrians as the Syrian pound falls: http://www.newsdaily.com/world/599bbe88ce3324cffb67094f287a5826/economic-disaster-adds-to-syrians-woes

Assad was enthused by the fall of President Morsi, but hardline groups (which Reuters portrays as representing most of the opposition) are unhappy. http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/07/07/us-syria-crisis-islamists-idUSBRE96606K20130707

Fidaa al-Bali, known as Mohammed Moaz, citizen journalist killed in Syria. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/07/world/middleeast/activist-who-documented-syrian-wars-toll-became-its-victim.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

Kuwaiti doctor killed near the Turkish border: https://www.facebook.com/sawsanoor/posts/10151756895397812

Refugees and Relief:
Two of three kidnapped German aid workers are released: http://www.dw.de/dangerous-situation-for-christians-and-aid-workers/a-16934286

The market place at Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan is nicknamed the Champs Élysées http://www.unmultimedia.org/tv/unifeed/2013/07/jordan-zaataris-champs-elysees/

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

Aleppo Central Prison was shelled, killing at least 6 and others were wounded when the prison was fired on later. Clashes continue as the prison is besieged, besieged between the regime forces and the Islamic State of Iraq, al-Sham and the Ahrar al-Sham battalions.

Clashes between pro-regime gunmen, regime forces and opposition forces took place on the eastern side of Zahra and Nubul: http://bigstory.ap.org/article/syria-rebels-pound-besieged-shiite-towns
Near Zahra, three opposition fighters were killed including one non-Syrian Arab and 25 were wounded.

In Aleppo, clashes were fought in the Sheikh Maqsoud and the Ashrafiya neighborhoods, in the farmland near the Rashdin neighbourhood, and near the police department in the Salhin neighborhood. The Syrian air force bombarded areas in the city of Tel Rif’at. The opposition targeted regime arms depots at the Kweiris military airport, causing explosions and fires to break out.

In western Aleppo province, the Syrian military is trying to make inroads against the opposition in Rashedeen http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=60fWDT5b1-4

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 Syrian air force bombarded Douma killing 7 people (1 child and 6 men) and injuring at least 10.

Today, the regime forces based at the Mezzeh military airport bombarded the towns and cities of the eastern Ghouta.

A special report and appeal from/on the Eastern Ghouta addressed as: “Letter to Western Intellectuals ” by Yassin al-Hajj Saleh (appeared today in Le Monde) – “Eastern Ghouta is a region inhabited today by a million people, about two million less than it had before the revolution. After the establishment of the armed revolution and being the starting point for fighters in the Damascus [area], the Ghouta has been completely encircled for several months. This reversal of the situation is due to the significant military and logistical support to the regime by Russia, Iran and the Lebanese and Iraqi militias loyal to Tehran. In addition, I witnessed the cruel lack of arms and ammunition on the side of freedom fighters, as well as the lack of food. Many fighters take only two meals a day. The situation would be worse if they were not the children of the region, defending their homes and families.

Cities and villages of the Ghouta that I visited during the last three months are undergoing blind daily aerial bombardment as heavy artillery, and every day people are killed, mostly civilians. I lived for a month at a medical center under “civil protection” and I saw all those who died from the bombs.”
http://vendredis-arabes.blogspot.com/2013/07/lettre-aux-intellectuels-en-occident.html?spref=fb

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

Regime warplanes bombed the village of Saida.

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
Today is the 388th day of the Assad regime’s military campaign on the city of Deir az-Zur.

On Friday, the regime forces targeted al-Ordi, al-Kanamat, al-Shekkh Yassin and in al-Sina’a, clashes were fought. Regime forces launched a campaign of raids and arrests, which targeted many young civilians. Effects of the shelling in al-Sina’a http://youtu.be/0t434Hwj-k4

The regime forces targeted the town of al-Mrei’ah.

Killed in Deir az-Zur : Saleh Khalil Hussein, Yasser Ammar Thallaj, Hassan Adnan Thallaj, and in the village of Htalh, Saleh Alwan.

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 IED hit a bus in the city of Salamiyya which was carrying workers from the al-Bataniyat factory, which is part of the defense industry with reports of casualties. The regime forces shelled the villages of Jabal Shihshbo and the village of Hurbinafse. Regime forces with heavy vehicles and bulldozers stormed the town of Hayalein, and they detained some citizens of the town.

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

Regime forces continue to bombard the Khaldiya neighbourhood and the Old neighborhoods of Homs, using mortar and artillery shells in all-out effort for the ninth day. Shelling continued on through the night. Several buildings were destroyed and some are on fire. The air force earlier bombarded the neighbourhoods.

Two-thirds of Homs has been destroyed according to some sources due to bombardment: http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2013/07/07/Two-thirds-of-Syria-s-Homs-rebel-area-destroyed-NGO-group-says-.html

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

A large number of people were killed in the town of al-Dana by fighters of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, yesterday following clashes. The leader of the Hamza Assad Allah brigade and his brother were decapitated according to a leader of an opposition brigade and their bodies were found near a garbage container.

Also see: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/08/world/middleeast/tension-between-rebel-groups-intensifies-in-syria.html?partner=rss&emc=rss&utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

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

The regime shelled Salma and nearby villages from Nabi Younis. Here raids on rural areas: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CjjsHXUzMp8

A huge explosion destroyed the Latakia depot near Tartous last week. This was an attack by Israel, even though the Free Syrian Army took credit: http://www.richardsilverstein.com/2013/07/07/israel-destroyed-syrian-weapons-depot/

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
Rebel fighters stormed a house in the Saif al-Dawla neighbourhood of Raqqah city, 2 civilians were detained. Activists report no reason for their detention.

International:

Two small roadside bombs, detonated minutes apart and wounded four people this morning near Hermel, Lebanon. The first bomb exploded on Sunday as a civilian vehicle passed along the main highway from the town of Baalbek towards the Syrian border, just 200 meters from an army checkpoint at the entrance to the town of Hermel at the al-Mahatta junction. The second bomb exploded when a military vehicle, a pickup and a van carrying schoolchildren arrived on the scene. Security officials believe the incident is related to the Syrian crisis. http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Local-News/2013/Jul-08/222887-hermel-blasts-wound-four-near-army-checkpoint.ashx#axzz2YP7PhlCc
The United Kingdom has increased military aid to Lebanon to protect its border with Syria. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/syria-civil-war-britain-increases-military-aid-to-lebanon-to-protect-border-8690929.html
The United Nations’ Human Rights Office expressed its concerns about some 4,000 civilians trapped in Homs. http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=45348&Cr=syria&Cr1=#.UdoCFGCmK5I
Basic Facts about Syria:

Population: 22,530,746
 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 
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%
 
 Syrian Arab Army (prior to the conflict) 220,000 regular and 280,000 reserves. Of the 200,000 career soldiers, 140,000 are Alawi.

If you want to keep informed on Syria and other issues in the Middle East and Islamic world, you might “like” the Institute of Middle Eastern, Islamic, and Strategic Studies on Facebook.

Morsi Ousted, Egyptian Army Declares Transitional Period

3 Jul

Declaration by El Sisi, the head of the Egyptian military and Morsi’s former Minister of Defense to the people of Egypt.

“The Army does not want and will not lead the country or be in power. We only want to apply the (Egyptian) people’s will. The Egyptian people have called on us for help and we have responded. We tried repeatedly to bring (about a) dialogue including the presidency. We began calling everyone to dialogue but presidency declined although everyone else agreed.

We tried repeatedly internally and externally to draw attention to the dangers surrounding Egypt. No one was listening. We met with Morsi and expressed our rejection of presidency’s threats against the people and against state institutions. But Morsi’s speech (of last week – the long disastrous one that I tweeted) disappointed us and the people and we therefore decided to consult politically involved people including the Muslim Brotherhood to end the clashes. We decided on suspending the current constitution; that the head of the Constitutional court will lead country during transitional period (except it will be the deputy head); forming a committee to write a new constitution; asking the Constitutional Court to approve a law for new elections; forming a technocratic government; forming a committee for reconciliation.

We ask people to be peaceful and not resort to violence. We warn that we’ll strongly deal with violence.

Also speaking to the public were the Shaykh al-Azhar, the highest-ranking Muslim official in Egypt, Pope Tawadros, the highest-ranking Coptic (Christian) authority, and Mohammed El Baradei, on behalf of the coalition of groups which supported the 30th of June protests including the youth movement Tamarrod.

Protests of June 30, 2013 against the Morsi Government in Egypt. (Institute of Middle Eastern, Islamic and Strategic Studies. By Sherifa Zuhur)

3 Jul

Here is all the footage from 6/30 – maybe you’d like to save it in one place and I will also provide a link to my blog: P

rotests of June 30, 2013. According to CNN/Google – 33 million protested. Other estimates were 14 million and 17 million (the Egyptian military estimate).

Just prior to the demonstrations of june, 30th, some began in Egypt as Tamarrod (Rebel) obtained 22 million, 14 thousand and 465 signatures on its call to withdraw confidence from Pres. Morsi’s government and call for new elections.

30th June in Cairo aerial footage – Qasr al-Nil bridge, Tahrir square and to Ittihadiyya

Still photo from Tahrir

and at Abdin

Tamarrud’s first declaration
https://sherifazuhur.wordpress.com/2013/07/01/tamarrods-first-statement-of-the-revolution-institute-of-middle-eastern-islamic-and-strategic-studies-sherifa-zuhur/

Demo in Sharqiyya (Morsi’s hometown)

Protests on Haram Street (this photo might be inaccurate to the date)

Protests in Isma’iliyya

Women protesting in Mansoura

Still photo from Mansoura (huge crowds)

Dessouk protests. The man says at the beginning, “Today is the 30th of June …”

Demonstrations in Tanta

Demonstrations in Mahalla al-Kubra

Protesters in Tahrir at prayer time

Morsi supporters and one waving an al-Qa’ida flag

Protesters against Morsi in Zagazig shouting “Irhal (leave), irhal)”

Protesters in Aswan

Demonstration against Morsi in Alexandria

Shibin al-Qum calling for early elections

Demonstrators in Suez calling for Morsi’s resignation

Demonstrators in Sohag calling for Morsi to step down

The protest continued at night in Tahrir and into the next day,

And still protesting by July 2, 2013:

Clashes at Cairo University on July 2, 2013
http://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=em-upload_owner&v=Zzx2ZlXpKmE&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DZzx2ZlXpKmE%26feature%3Dem-upload_owner

Tamarrod’s First Statement of the Revolution (Institute of Middle Eastern, Islamic and Strategic Studies. Sherifa Zuhur)

1 Jul

I am writing hurriedly to explain to non-Egyptian friends or readers the demands of Tamarrod. The failure of the first Islamist government in Egypt deserves an analysis, and the implications for such cases as Syria are very serious, possibly encouraging. (The reasons that Egyptians are “impatient” or according to certain journalists and pro-Islamist academics are “not giving democracy a chance” also deserve some attention.)

Tamarrod (Rebel) is the grassroots movement of no-confidence in President Morsi and his government in Egypt. It began officially on the 28, April, 2013 and resembles the Kefaya (Enough!) movement which had organized against President Mubarak.

Tamarrod gathered more than 22 million signatures (22,134,460) by June 29, 2013 on a petition calling for the President to step down. They call for Manar al-Beheiry, the head of the Supreme Constitutional Court to head the country in a temporary caretaker government until new elections are held.

Tamarrod’s demonstrations of June 30, 2013 were reportedly the largest in history; far larger than the nation-wide demonstrations which forced President Hosni Mubarak from power. After a period of military rule, elections were held last year, but the choice was a bitter one for many – a vote for Ahmad Shafiq who symbolized the Mubarak regime, or for Mohammed Morsi, longtime member of the Muslim Brotherhood. What followed was even more bitter, a struggle over a new Constitution and sidelining of the liberal opposition.

People remained in the streets in Egypt today; some will remain or protest again on Tuesday. Here is Tamarod’s statement:

First statement of the revolution

In the name of God
In the name of the people
In the name of the revolution

On behalf of more than 22 million Egyptian citizens who signed the “Tamarod” (rebel) form to withdraw confidence on behalf of the Egyptian people, we announce today that Mohamed Mohamed Morsy Eissa El Ayat is no longer the legitimate president of the Arab Republic of Egypt.

Therefore, we declare the following points:

First: The Egyptian people demands its pillar institutions, army, police and judiciary, to explicitly side with the will of the people represented in the rally of the “General Assembly” of the Egyptian people in Tahrir Square, Presidential Palace, and all squares in all governorates.

Second: We declare our sit-in will continue in Tahrir Square, Presidential Palace, and all squares in all governorates.

Third: We confirm our commitment to PEACEFUL demonstrations as spilling any Egyptian blood is sinful. We will not allow any organization or terrorist group to drag our dear Egypt into a civil war.

Fourth: We confirm that it is no longer possible to accept any compromise nor a substitute for the peaceful termination of the authority of the Muslim Brotherhood and of the Guidance Bureau representative in the Presidential Palace, Mohamed Morsy. We call for early presidential elections.

Fifth: Mohamed Mohamed Morsy Eissa El Ayat has an ultimatum until no later than 5:00pm of next Tuesday, July 2, evening, to relinquish power to allow the institutions of the Egyptian state get ready to hold early presidential elections.

Otherwise, the “General Assembly” of the Egyptian people is required to:

1 – Congregate in all fields of the Republic of Egypt and crawl [proceed] to Qobba Palace.
2 – 5:00pm of next Tuesday, July 2, evening, is the start of the call for a comprehensive civil disobedience in order to fulfill the will of the Egyptian people.

Victory to the revolution .. Glory to the martyrs!

First statement of the revolution