Syria Update November 25, 2013. (Institute of Middle Eastern, Islamic and Strategic Studies. By Sherifa Zuhur)
Death toll: 200 were killed on Friday (11/22/13) including 49 civilians
At least 160 opposition fighters were killed over two days (Saturday and Sunday) in an effort to break the regime siege on areas of southern Damascus. No estimates given on regime soldiers casualties, as yet.
11 deaths reported in Aleppo today.
Reaction from the opposition on the planned Geneva II talks http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2013/11/25/syria-geneva-un-peace-talks/3695995/
11,420 children have been killed in Syria: http://www.imra.org.il/story.php3?id=62449
The Free Syrian Athletes Union mourned the death of Mustafa Al-Nakdali, Syrian wrestling champion, killed while fighting alongside opposition forces against regular troops in the eastern Al-Ghouta, in Rif Dimashq on Sunday.
Iranian fighters are shown here in Syria (along with fingers of the cameraman). You can briefly hear them communicating in Farsi. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gsh59Gxg8ig
Sunday, An assassination attempt on Syria’s Reconciliation Minister, Ali Haidar, killed his driver, but Haidar was not in the car according to the Syrian state news agency http://rt.com/news/minister-assassination-syria-negotiations-215/
However, the opposition said that Haidar was wounded in the attack.
An unsympathetic portrait of the changes in several of the largest salafi-jihadist fighting groups. http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2013/11/21/rebels_inc?page=full
4 British Muslims have been identified as among those killed fighting in Syria. http://europenews.dk/en/node/74498
A newly-leaked cable (from 2010) on U.S.-Syrian intelligence cooperation. Suggests that Syria was exploiting U.S. fears of salafi-jihadist groups even then. Mamlouk claimed Syria was successful because “In principle, we don’t attack or kill them immediately. Instead, we embed ourselves in them and only at the opportune moment do we move.” http://www.theguardian.com/world/us-embassy-cables-documents/250462
Refugees and Relief:
Some Syrian victims of the fighting are being treated in Israel http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-24998618
Jamie Dettmer, a Beast reporter tells how he was almost kidnapped by Syrian soldiers in Qamishli and much about the three-way struggle (rebels, Kurdish forces, Assad’s forces in the area, see below under Hassake) http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/11/25/how-i-escaped-assad-s-army-in-syria.html
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
11 were killed in Aleppo as rebels fired on Jamilia and 20 were injured according to SANA. http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Middle-East/2013/Nov-25/238878-11-dead-in-mortar-fire-on-aleppo-city-syria-state-media.ashx#axzz2lhn9HuAG
Today, the FSA blew up a building in Sheikh Maqsud with a mine.
Yesterday opposition battalions (of ISIS and Ahrar al-Sham in the new Islamic Movement alliance) strengthened their control over multiple villages in the southern Aleppo countryside, following a few days of fierce battles. Opposition forces gained control over the towns of Rasm Al-Sheikh, Rasm Ikerish, Yaman and Rasm Al-Helou, in addition to Sad’aya and Mazare’a Azan, among other towns. http://syrianewsdesk.com/en/2013/11/24/news-opposition-forces-seize-multiple-towns-southern-aleppo
Yamen Naddaf, a media activist was killed yesterday in Sheikh Saeed. http://syrianewsdesk.com/en/2013/11/24/news-media-activist-yamen-naddaf-killed-aleppo
Yesterday, the FSA targeted Brigade 80, targeted the towns of Nubl and Zahra and both military airports Alnayrab Kweiris . The FSA shot at regime forces in the neighborhood of Ashrafieh
Fighting also focused on Khanaser.
On Saturday, regime airstrikes killed at least 40 in Aleppo. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-25068112
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 rebel forces are taking over villages and checkpoints in the Eastern Ghouta in an advance. http://reliefweb.int/report/syrian-arab-republic/syria-rebels-press-advance-around-damascus-aleppo-monitor
Yesterday, the FSA hit the regime forces’ barracks at Kamal Masharaqah in Jobar with Grad missiles; also Dumayr military airport, and targeted regime forces’ enclaves in Barzeh . The FSA targeted the vehicles administration [building] in Harasta, and the Republican Guard headquarters on Mount Qasioun.
Rebel forces’ consolidated their grip on the international highway #Homs to #Damascus in #Qalamoun area http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=96kAHXcl9RM …
The much-touted “Qalamoun offensive” (reported on by various journalists for about a month) may not start for a while. (Some on the Web claim it started on 11/15.) http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/security/2013/11/syria-opposition-qalamoun-battle-war.html?utm_source=&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=8604
However, 20 regime air strikes hit al-Nabk in al-Qalamoun on Saturday.
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
HRW’s Nadim Houry on Dara`a: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kd3D3rhO7YU&feature=youtu.be
Deir az-Zur province:
Rebels gained control of the al-Omar oilfield and a number of tanks and vehicles, killing a number of soldiers.
On the seizure of the oil field: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/24/world/middleeast/syria.html?partner=rss&emc=rss&smid=tw-nytimes&_r=0
From Qanat Deir al-Zur:
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
Yesterday: The FSA controlled the villages of Asafra and Albarghotah in the countryside east of Hama. The FSA fired mortars at the Alhamamyat checkpoint and the Saman checkpoint killing regime forces. The FSA liberated the Abidha checkpoint and also inflicted casualties there.
Saturday: Four martyrs are listed in (from) Hama — Abdul Kader Ahmad al Sayfi killed in shelling onto Hama countryside.
2. Ahmad Faisal Yousuf al Hasan killed in a battle at al-Quneitra
3. Khaled Sha’ban of the FSA killed in the clashes in the city of Douma. 4. Jameel Shaleesh killed by regime forces in Harem
Regime forces stormed al Faraya neighborhood blocking all entrances, and arrested many young men. Regime forces made many arrests in Tareeq Halab al-Qadim and took them to al A’laf checkpoint.
There was shelling with barrel bombs on the town of Eqerebat. And al-Hamadaniyya. Intense shelling from the al-Rahjan checkpoint onto the villages outside of Salamiyya. Shelling with barrel bombs on the mosques of Kaferzeita.
Helicopters (regime) flew over and dropped barrel bombs on the mosque of Kafrenboda.
Western Hama province: Shelling from al Azezya , al Nahel and Joreen checkpoints onto the villages of al-Salhia and Zayzoon villages and al Jood farm.
Southern Hama province: Heavy shelling by the regime from checkpoint in the loyalist villages on the town of Aqrab
The FSA forces liberated Asmad , al Barghoteya , al Asafra villages and killed 35 regime troops near Abu Balaya, also inflicting casualties with a bomb to the east of Ma’ar Shohur. There were heavy clashes at the al-Kafer checkpoint to the west of Taib al-Imam.
The FSA liberated the checkpoint of al Webda farms inflicting casualties and taking cars and ammunition; also the checkpoint of Ibn al-Noona
Sunday: The FSA destroyed the PKK barrier in the village of al-Moharraket near alQahtaniyah.
Saturday: Was al-Hassakeh Martyrs Day – activists documented the killing of three villagers of Alaguebash who had been detained by shabiha of the PKK. They were among 30 detainees who were charged with cooperating with the FSA (the FSA killed 21 on the other side).
Major bombings in the city of Qamishli and 2 explosions inside of the city (believed to be at the headquarters of the Worker’s Party and also a car bomb).
Another car bomb hit a checkpoint 10 km. southeast of the outskirts of Qahtaniyya. Hospitals in the city were full. (Much of this report was unclear as posted, so not including it)
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
FSA targeted a regime forces compound in the refinery yesterday.
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
Rebels blew up the Haboosh checkpoint; casualties reported. They also shelled he brick factory.
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 rebels targeted the military airport and also shelled regiment 17.
Pope Francis (along with Putin, with whom he is meeting) calls for a negotiated settlement in Syria. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/05/pope-francis-syria_n_3872435.html
2 Swedish journalists have been kidnapped in Syria http://www.taiwannews.com.tw/etn/news_content.php?id=2353580
John Kerry, U.S. Secretary of State says a peace conference planned for January 22, 2014 in Geneva is the best opportunity to form a “new transitional governing body.” http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/11/25/us-syria-crisis-talks-kerry-idUSBRE9AO0P420131125
At Geneva, the parties are supposed to work out a way to implement the principles in this full final communiqué for the Action Group for Syria (from June) http://www.un.org/News/dh/infocus/Syria/FinalCommuniqueActionGroupforSyria.pdf
From Amal Hanano
That the Iran-US agreement will not likely affect the Syrian revolution:
That the Iran-US agreement will not help negotiations on Syria