Tag Archives: Arab League

Triple Summit in Saudi Arabia: Drums of War?

4 Jun

Have let this blog languish this year with so much happening, and while trying to write a book.  Spend most of my tracking time on Twitter – follow me there if you like @SherifaZuhur.

The triple summits of the GCC, Arab League and OIC convened in Saudi Arabia were intended to underscore Saudi Arabia’s leadership in regional policy and its centrality to Muslim majority nations. In all three, Saudi Arabia’s King issued an urgent call to support him against Iran’s hostile actions, whether recent or more longstanding and to do so before the end of Ramadan and in Mecca, to remind all of his position as Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques.   Yet, the nations in these three organizations have different ideas about Iran’s intentions, and the U.S.’s role in deepening a crisis with Iran. Iraq and the smaller Gulf nations would rather avoid enlarging any conflict with Iran.   The Arab League is divided with regarded to numerous other issues, the GCC has been paralyzed since 2017 with the blockade on Qatar, and the OIC’s purview is hardly to declare or enter into wars.

King Salman presided, but it’s unclear if the triple meetings were suggested by his Crown Prince and advisors, or were his own initiative (which seems less likely). It is the Crown Prince who has pursued the war in Yemen and a more actively hostile stance to Iran.

 

King Salman injected strong condemnations of Iran’s alleged recent attacks (“terrorist attacks threatening the energy supply”, i.e. the attacks off of Fujeira) and interference in Arab states (via the Houthis in Yemen, directly and indirectly in Syria), and Iran’s ballistic missile and nuclear programs. On these counts, the Arab League called for Iran to abide by United Nations’ resolutions, but there was some dissent or statements of exception.

 

Iraq’s President Barham Salih diverged from the GCC’s final statement arguing against escalation, reminding all of Iraq’s shared border with Iran and that a confrontation could lead to tragedy.

 

Qatar’s foreign minister also rejected the statements on Iran at the Arab League and GCC meetings, saying they had been prepared prior to the meetings and Qatar had no opportunity to consult; that they contradict Doha’s foreign policy, and that he had hoped the meetings would diminish tension with Iran rather than the reverse. He was then criticized by Gargesh and al-Jubair for his response. That Qatar sent representation was a surprise although the FM attended instead of al-Thani and all we saw of any reconciliation was a handshake between Shaykh Abdullah and King Salman arranged by Kuwait’s Shaykh Al Sabah.

 

The Arab League also condemned the escalation at al-Aqsa mosque whereby the IDF protected Israeli settlers who gained access. But the Arab League is also divided between Saudi Arabia and the UAE’s continuing cooperation with the U.S. unveiled peace plan and the intended summit in Bahrain.

Rouhani issued a public letter complaining about the non-invitation to the OIC and said the body should focus on the Palestinian issue, which Iran will aid.  Also Iran’s foreign minister complained about the use of the meetings to mobilize the Arab states against Iran.

The call to unite against Iran was also made at the OIC, where there was condemnation of the persecution of the Rohingya and a lengthy resolution to condemn the “transfer of embassies of the United States and Guatemala to Jerusalem” and urged all members to “boycott” countries that have opened diplomatic missions in Jerusalem.

Pakistan’s PM, Imran Khan was filmed walking away from King Salman without waiting for translation of his remarks, but then met with him, and gave a speech about the OIC’s responsibility to explain Muslim issues – such as blaspheming the Prophet and the Qur’an – to the West, using an example of the Jewish communities’ successful efforts to convince the world not to speak of the Holocaust without sensitivity.   The meeting prompted the Indonesia’s FM, Marsudi to call for greater unity at the OIC and to warn that dissension threatened the OIC’s credibility (Jakarta Post).

Media outlets reported differing angles of the meetings. Some chose to emphasize deepening rifts, others discounted the importance of the meetings, whereas a CNN piece held that they heightened possible action against Iran.

Syria Update, April 21-22, 2013 (Institute of Middle Eastern, Islamic and Strategic Studies. By Sherifa Zuhur)

23 Apr

Syria Update, April 21 – 22 2013. (Institute of Middle Eastern, Islamic and Strategic Studies. By Sherifa Zuhur)

Death toll: 566 martyrs 483 martyrs were reported in Damascus and its Suburbs – most of whom where killed in Jdeidet Al-Fadl (over the last five days), 23 in Aleppo; 21 in Idlib, including 14 in Maghara; 15 in Homs; 12 in Dara`a; 7 in Deir az-Zur; and 5 in Hama.

Saturday’s death toll: 82 killed including 2 women and 8 children:

The interim chief of the National Coalition, Georges Sabra says that Hizbullah’s involvement in Homs (see below) is a declaration of war against the Syrian people.
https://now.mmedia.me/lb/en/nowsyrialatestnews/syria-rebels-warn-hezbollah-fight-role-declaration-of-war

Syrian Army officers create new militias to share in the loot as well as protect the regime. They express distrust of their Sunni rank-and-file. Are we witnessing the end of the Syrian Arab Army?
http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/04/21/us-syria-crisis-paramilitary-insight-idUSBRE93K02R20130421

The clerics of the Greek Orthodox and Assyrian churches in Syria, Bishop Paul Yazigi and Bishop Yohanna Ibrahim were both kidnapped in Aleppo, and their driver killed. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/22/yohanna-ibrahim-paul-yazigi-syria-kidnapped_n_3134606.html

On the Katibat al-Muhajireen, one of the opposition groups in Syria. http://www.kavkazcenter.com/eng/content/2013/04/19/17678.shtml

Here a soldier who tried to defect has been shot by Assad’s forces. He (looks stunned) and opposition shouts, “Don’t look at your wound, come to us.” and then “Don’t be afraid.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=mPCha2uHZqA#!

Syria as “The Dungeons of Heaven” and “Heaven in Doha” https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=507394995988040&set=a.159322220795321.35346.152902998103910&type=1&theater

Refugees and Relief:

The UN World Food Program said the U.S.S. Advantage (an American ship) has carried wheat intended to feed a million Syrian refugees. http://www.examiner.com/article/u-s-ship-brings-wheat-to-starving-syrians

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 chronicle of the destruction of Aleppo: http://alisariram.wordpress.com/2013/04/14/bearing-witness-the-destruction-of-the-old-city-of-aleppo-the-second-oldest-city-in-the-world-part-three/

In the city of Aleppo clashes took place in the Henderat camp.

Clashes are taking place between the Kurdish Defense Units (YPG), the regime forces and members of the Popular Committee militia from the towns of Nebel and al-Zahra’ in the area between Nebel (mainly Shi’a) and the town of al-Ziyara (Kurdish). Regime forces bombarded the town of al-Ziyara, killing a 10-year-old child and injuring his mother and 2 brothers. Then clashes began as fighters from Nebel and al-Zahra headed north towards the Mengh military airport and their own towns. Clashes also occurred on the western side of al-Zahra, between the Popular Committee and opposition fighters from Mayer and Bayanoun (Sunni).

The opposition overran a military battalion near the Mengh military airport following clashes over the previous night, both regime troops and opposition suffered casualties and clashes occurred near the airport.

The Syrian air force bombarded the town of Tel Rif’at.

Footage of the overrun battalion:

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 regular forces bombarded areas of Jobar and there were injuries. Violent clashes broke out between regular forces and opposition fighters at the entrance to the Asali neighborhood and near 30th street in al-Yarmouk with losses on both sides. The Syrian military shelled Yarmouk camp today and two mosques there. Regular forces carried out a series of arbitrary arrests and raids in al-Jusr al-Abyad. Regular forces shelled the neighborhood of al-Tadamun and al-Qadam with rocket launchers and mortar shells. Several mortar shells fell on the al-Ghasoula area which led to casualties. Clashes took place in the outskirts of al-Abada and al-Ateiba, and regular forces bombarded these areas.

The opposition opened fire on a bus in Barzeh yesterday which killed 7 civilians, including a child and a woman. The bus was from the Ish al-Warwar, a largely Alawi area.

Fierce fighting by FSA in the Damascus suburbs led to at least 100 regime forces killed on Sunday.

Regime forces and loyalist militias stormed Jdaeidet Artouz Al Fadl and the surrounding area. About 566 bodies of people executed over the last 5 days of fighting were found. Many were summarily executed. The militia fighters were celebrating in the area afterwards.

Families waited outside the Palace of Justice for the release of prisoners on Sunday. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B8FJuuv92ok&feature=youtu.be

Assad loyalists (identified on one site as republican guards) torture to death two civilians in al-Tal in the Damascus suburbs. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gYkv1MriNPw

On Saturday a sniper killed Muhammad Khaled Allawi of Deir az-Zur in Damascus.

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
The Syrian military shelled the town of al-Katiba and the towns of al-Mleiha al-Sharqiya, Da’el and Tsil.

Deir az-Zur province:

https://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&q=Dayr+Az+Zor+province+map&ie=UTF-8&hq=&hnear=01548153314d3dbad:0x9d5a68804221c27f,Deir+ez-Zor+Governorate,+Syria&gl=us&ei=WtLLUJL5NanI0QGozIH4Bw&ved=0CDMQ8gEwAA

The Jabha al-Nusra has destroyed 30 homes of armed villagers in al-Mesreb including the house of the mukhtar. Clashes occurred in this village and 20 Nusra fighters were killed (6 were from Saudi Arabia and Tunisia) and 17 villagers were killed. al-Nusra has also taken 13 captives.

Sunday saw the 312th day of the Assad regime’s military campaign to destroy the city of Deir az-Zur. Clashes were fought between the FSA and regime forces in Al-Ummal and Al-Haweeqa. The Syrian military shelled Hamidiya and Al-Matar Al-Qadim neighborhoods using rocket launchers and mortars.

FSA targeting the artillery stationed on the mountain


Killed on Sunday: Muhammad Al-Ahmad in clashes in Ar-Rassafa neighborhood

Mehiar Al-Bad’e and Abdullah Omar al-Hajji in the shelling of Hamidiyya


Malek Abdulhamid Al-Nawwarah in the shelling of Sheikh Yaseen

5- Majed Salih Al-Hamran; originally from Mou Hassan city; killed in the J’daidat Al-Fadhel massacre yesterday.

Killed on Saturday: Amneh Hassan Al-H’lal; a woman in regime shelling of the village of Khraiteh village and Iyad Hassan Al-H’lal; a young boy, http://youtu.be/J_XnZ5FN4kQ also Ahmad Hassan Al-H’lal; a young boy; Maji dah Hassan Al-H’lal; a young girl, Ayat Hassan Al-H’lal; a young girl.

The Syrian regime forces shelled al-Hamidiyya, al-Rushdiyya, al-Ummal and al-Rasafa.

Killed in clashes in al-Sina’a in the city of Deir az-Zur was Mohammad Subhi Al-Asker an FSA member from Al-Bou Lail.

Lewa’a Al-Ahmad an FSA member originally from Damascus was killed in clashes in al-Rassafa.

Hassan Al-Mohammad Al-Hamid Al-Ali, an FSA member from al-Quria killed in clashes in Deir Ezzor.

Hassoun J’naid, Omar Jnaid and Maha Jnaid were all killed in the bombing of Hatlah.

A bus was shelled on the Hassakeh-Damascus highway killing the bus driver and a passenger (not identified as of Sunday)

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 role of Hizbullah in Homs. http://www.romandie.com/news/n/_Syrie_le_role_du_Hezbollah_a_Homs_une_declaration_de_guerre_94220420131916.asp

The Syrian military shelled areas of al-Rastan destroying homes and causing injuries. Regular forces resumed their bombardment of al-Hula.

On Sunday, the occupied area of Homs (city) reported y:
The entrances to al-Ensha’at are closed off by prefabricated walls. Land lines, water and DSL Internet have been cut off/out of service for four days. Assad’s forces stationed in the Al Gardenia tower were shelling that area and no water there for three days.
Syrian Red Crescent’s trucks were filling the water reservoirs of the refugees centers and for residents. One entrance to al-Wa’er has opened near the pro-regime al-Mazra’ah village on the western side of 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

The Syrian military killed a man and a woman in the bombarding of the town of Binnish; the shelling came fromthe village of al-Fou’a. The Syrian military also bombarded the town of Jarjanaz and the city of Ma’arat al-Nu’man.

The Syrian regime shot a rocket at a school in the town of al-Maghara which killed 5 civilians, including children. The regime forces also bombarded the towns of Kafrouma, Kansafra and Kafarlata.

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 towns of al-Khadra, al-Kabir, Salma and al-Rihaniya were bombarded by regime forces on Saturday.

International:

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged Arab nations to stop supplying arms to either side in the Syrian conflict but, Nabil el-Araby, the Arab League chief said it’s impossible to halt the flow of weapons at this time “If there is a political settlement or the beginning of a political settlement it could happen, el-Araby said, “but at this point I don’t think it’s possible because the government is getting arms from certain parties, so if the other side gets some arms from certain parties, I think you can get some form of a balance there.” http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130422/arab-league-rejects-ban-call-end-syria-arms-supplies
Le Figaro reported that Jordan has opened up two corridors in its air space so that Israel can use drones to monitor the Syrian conflict. http://rt.com/news/allows-israeli-drones-airspace-192/

Fifty Lebanese political leaders including Sayyid Hassan Nasrallah made a surprise visit to Bashar al-Assad of Syria on Sunday. The group included pro-Assad politicians of all sects. http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Politics/2013/Apr-22/214584-lebanese-figures-make-surprisevisit-to-assad.ashx#axzz2RF0VvRgk

Hazem al-Amin, an al-Hayat journalist criticizes Hizbullah’s military support of the Assad regime and effort to claim that it is protecting religious sites and defending the “resistance.” Al-Amin accuses Hizbullah of inventing a new Shiism in Lebanon. http://english.alarabiya.net/view-renderer?mgnlUuid=e6b93e93-adf0-40e3-ac58-56aa9c09364b

The United States Secretary of State, John Kerry announced following a Friends of Syria meeting in Istanbul that the US will double its “non-lethal” aid to Syria (at 250 million dollars). The Syrian state news condemned the U.S.’s involvement, saying it is pouring oil on the fire.
http://www.euronews.com/2013/04/21/us-doubles-non-lethal-aid-to-syria-rebels/

An Illinois teenager, Abdalla Ahmad Tounisi was arrested en route to Turkey where he planned to join opposition forces. But he had been recruited by an FBI agent. http://bigstory.ap.org/article/fbi-ill-man-planned-join-syrian-extremists
Also see: http://french.moqawama.org/essaydetails.php?eid=9220&cid=287#.UXP2Q4L4ucE.facebook

And just to remind you that a few of Syria’s historical and archaeological treasures are: the remains of Palmyra (Tadmur), and the citadel of Ibn Maan, the early Bronze Age site of Ebla, the Citadel of Aleppo constructed by Salah al-Din al-Ayubi and the khans, madaris, suqs and Great Mosque of Aleppo, the theater and ruined town at Bosra (also site of the Mabrak an-Nabi where the Prophet Muhammad’s camel kneeled) the Canaanite city of Ugarit at Ras Shamra, Douro-Europas, the Greek colony on the Euphrates near Salhiye, Tal Faras and Tal Muhammad Diab in Hassake, Tal Brak, the Bronze Age Atchana, Ain Dara, sites at Qanawat, Shahba, and Suwaida, the Ummayad mosque, the citadel, suqs and other sites in the Old City in Damascus such as the Street called Straight, the Azm palace and the Tekiyye mosque complex in Damascus the chapel of St. Sergius in Ma`lula, the Hijaz railway station, the Crusader castle, Krak de Chevaliers, Salah al-Din’s castle built on the Saone fortress, Jaabar Castle, the Great Mosque an-Nuri, the mosque of Khalid ibn al-Walid and many churches and older buildings in Homs, and the citadel, Roman era water-wheels and khans of Hama.

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

27 Mar

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

Early death toll: More than 100 persons including 46 civilians.

Monday’s death toll: More than 160 persons were killed yesterday including 75 civilians (of these 13 were children)

Syrian opposition leader Moaz al-Khatib took over Syria’s seat on the Arab League. blamed Assad for casualties and appealed for help from NATO. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/mar/26/syrian-opposition-appeals-nato-support
Here is his speech: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2N_84LkW-Yg&feature=player_embedded
In the summit, Suhair al-Attasi then took Syria’s seat. https://twitter.com/aawsat_News/status/316636581706485760/photo/1

Who killed al-Bouti? The elderly Syrian state cleric was allegedly killed in a suicide attack on the 21st of March, but questions remain about his killers and the reasons for his assassination. http://syrie.blog.lemonde.fr/2013/03/26/qui-a-tue-al-bouti-qui-est-responsable-et-pourquoi-est-il-mort/

Al-Thawra, a state-owned Syrian newspaper expressed anger over the Arab League summit in Doha where the Assad government is not represented and claimed it is not a meeting “for Arabs.” http://www.egyptindependent.com/news/syrian-state-paper-vents-anger-over-arab-summit

There are claims that Ansar al-Shari`ah of Tunisia has sent fighters to Syria; some have been martyred recently. http://www.longwarjournal.org/threat-matrix/archives/2013/03/social_media_jihad.php

Refugees and Relief:

Aid workers and Syrian aid groups – -what’s happening: http://www.gpb.org/news/2013/03/26/syrian-aid-groups-train-an-army-of-activists?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+GPBNewsFeed+%28GPB+News%29

The UN has temporarily relocated some of its staff outside of Syria after mortar shells fell near the hotel where they were housed. http://reliefweb.int/report/syrian-arab-republic/un-temporarily-relocates-some-staff-out-syria-owing-insecurity-0

The UNHCR has called for all parties to allow delivery of aid to civilians inside Syria. The UNHCR reports that 437,000 people received relief items as of last week.
http://www.unhcr.org/print/515178956.html

Here is the testimony provided by USAID to the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Syria’s Humanitarian Crisis on March 19, 2013. http://www.foreign.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/Lindborg_Testimony.pdf

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 regime-paid sniper shot a woman in the Karaj al-Hajz area today. An explosion was reported in Halab al-Jadida.

2 children were killed in bombardment of the Haydariya neighborhood of Aleppo and 5 opposition fighters were killed in the province yesterday. Two children were killed by a land-mine in the town of Tel’aran.

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

Mortar rounds struck the Baramkeh neighborhood near a hospital and killed a child in the Bakhityar area where a fire broke out. Mortars also fell on the neighborhood of Bab Touma.
A suicide bomber blew up a van in the eastern area of Rukn al-Din neighbourhood in Damascus killing at least 3 and wounding others. Clashes took place in Yarmouk. The Syrian regime’s forces bombarded the neighborhoods of Qaboun, Hajar al-Aswad, and Barzeh. Rockets fell on the Ish al-Warwar neighborhood killing a child and injuring others (Ish al-Warwar has many residents originally from the Syrian coast). An explosion was reported in Zahra. Several rockets fell near the law faculty and the SANA news agency which injured several civilians. Regime bombardment was resumed on al-Jobar. Several rockets fell on the suburb of Jaramana.

Yesterday, 2 members of the Popular Committees (pro-regime militia) were killed by clashes with opposition fighters on the edges of the Ish al-Warwar neighbourhood of Damascus.

The regime forces bombarded the towns of Buweida, Ain Terma, Zebdeen, al-Ebada, Zamalka and Deir al-Asafir, killing 3 civilians in Deir al-Asafir; 1 child was killed in Kafarbatna and several residents were injured and a woman and a man from the A’in Tarma were killed in Zamalka, The Syrian airforce also bombarded the towns of Shab’a, and al-Eteiba. 1 opposition fighter was killed in clashes in Darayya.

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

The regime forces shelled the towns of Nahta, Umm al-Mayathin and the road between al-Lijah and Busr al-Harir. Regime forces tortured to death a man from Dar`a al-Balad after they detained him. One opposition fighter was killed in the bombardment of Khirbet Ghazala. The regime forces earlier shelling of the town of Jassem has killed four persons.

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 regime forces bombarded the neighborhood of Sina’a, the towns of al-Hsan and al-Jneina, and the Hweija causing injuries and damaging properties.

Sunday was the 285th day of the regime’s bombardment of the city of Deir az-Zur, http://youtu.be/Gzcv5yvgxmI
clashes took place in al-Hweeeqah; a mortar fell onto al-Nur Hospital,

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

2 men were killed by snipers in the Hama neighbourhoods of al-Arba’een and Junoob al-Mal’ab; gunfire was heard in several parts of the city. Yesterday, 6 members from the town of Qamhana were killed by clashes with rebels near Jisr Helfaya, Hama.

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 killed eleven opposition fighters in an ambush in the village of Melbiyya. The fighters were from Mayadeen and A’sharha and apparently other fighters were executed following detention by regime forces.

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

Syrian regular forces have taken full control over the Baba Amr neighbourhood after 2 weeks of intense clashes.
http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/03/26/us-syria-crisis-homs-idUSBRE92P07U20130326

Opposition fighters from several factions stormed Baba Amr, two weeks ago and managed to hold their positions, but they were violently bombarded by the Syrian regime’s airforce and artillery. Several residents of the Baba Amr returned to their homes to check on them, finding them destroyed or uninhabitable.

In Rastan, people tried to help a little girl hit in shelling http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GDsu787mmYY&feature=youtu.be

13 charred bodies, including four children and five women, were found on the outskirts of the village of Abil, southwest of the city of Homs, who were killed by pro-government actors.

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 regime forces shelled Khan Sheikhoun its surrounding villages, as well as Sarmin, al-Bara village in Jabal al-Zawiya and Ma’arat Masrin. A regime sniper killed a man in Ariha.

Warplanes carried out air raids on Salqin. Helicopters were seen throwing food bags on the encampment of Hamidiya, for the tenth day in a row, since the opposition forces have been besieging the encampments of al-Hamidiya and Wadi al-Dayf, for over a month.

On the Umma Brigade which has been operating in this area:
http://syriasurvey.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/the-umma-brigades-political-manifesto.html

And here is its political manifesto:

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 killed one man yesterday in an ambush set close to the village of al-Badroosiya

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

One opposition fighter was killed yesterday.

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

International:

The White House in the U.S. said it would not be providing any defense to the Syrian opposition from the Patriot missiles stationed in Turkey as requested by Moaz al-Khatib at the Arab League summit in Doha. http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130326/white-house-no-patriot-missiles-syria-0

The U.S. has been training “secular” (non-Islamist) Syrian fighters in Jordan over the last few months and providing non-lethal logistical support. Some of the trainees are in turn training Syrians inside Syria. http://www.armytimes.com/news/2013/03/ap-officials-say-us-training-syrian-fighters-in-jordan-032513/

Syrian Shi`i Muslims in Lebanon are defending their homes against attacks by the opposition, moving back across the Lebanese border after taking refuge in Lebanon. Here is their account of the situation there and in the Hermel/Arsaal areas of the upper Biqa`. http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/middleeast/la-fg-0326-syria-shiites-hezbollah-20130326,0,5327323.story

Syria Update, November 12, 2012 (Institute of Middle Eastern, Islamic and Strategic Studies. By Sherifa Zuhur)

12 Nov

Syria Update, November 12, 2012 (Institute of Middle Eastern, Islamic and Strategic Studies. By Sherifa Zuhur)

Early death toll: 107

There was a report that the FSA reportedly gave embassies in Damascus 72 hours to leave and then a report which denied that news.

A deal was hammered out between Syrian opposition groups on the following points:

They agreed: To form a National Coalition of the Forces of the Syrian Revolution and Opposition open to all factions.
To work for the fall of the Bashar al-Assad government and all of its entities, and to destroy its security organizations and prosecute those who engaged in crimes against Syrians.
To not take part in dialogue or negotiations with the regime.
That the statutes of the coalition (discussed) determined the composition of representation.
To support revolutionary military councils to be unified under a supreme military council – has a judicial and other commissions.
To form a provisional government & call for a general congress once the Assad government falls.
The Arab League approved the new opposition group as did the GCC states (see below). http://english.alarwww.abiya.net/articles/2012/11/12/249215.html

Aleppo province: Clashes occurred in Bustan al-Qasr. The Syrian military shelled al-Zahra. The Syrian military shelled the neighborhoods of al-Sakhour, al-Sukari and al-Sha`ar. A sniper killed 2 in the neighborhood of Maysaloun. Violent clashes near the Air Intelligence Branch between al-Nusra Front and other opposition groups and the Syrian military.

The Syrian military shelled the town of Kafrhama. Clashes took place between the Syrian military and the opposition at the edge of the 46th battalion. Mortar shells fell on the Kafrhamra town.

Damascus province: Heavy shelling by rockets on the Yarmouk camp. 7 were killed there (1 had been previously wounded) – the area between the camp and Tadamon has been heavily shelled by the Syrian military and civilians are fleeing.

A bomb exploded on (or under) a bus in the town of Mu`adamiyya and a civilian was killed at a checkpoint in that town. Two opposition fighters were killed in Aqraba and 3 civilians killed in shelling on the town of Saqba. Two men were killed in Harasta, one by a sniper and the other in clashes.

The Syrian military resumed shelling on Zamalka and Mu`adamiyya, and shelled Irbeen, Harasta, Shifuniya and Yalda.

Clashes took place in Irbeen.

The Syrian military shelled the town of Hamouriyya causing several casualties. The Syrian military shelled the towns of Thiyabiyya and Sayyida Zeinab. The bodies of 4 men were found in al-Thiyabiyya.

Dara`a province: The Syrian military heavily shelled Basr al-Harir and al-Harak today. The Syrian military shelled the town of Othman.

Deir az-Zor province: Shelling resumed by the Syrian military on the neighborhoods of al-A’rdi and al-Sheikh Yasin in the city of Deir az-Zur. An opposition commander was killed in clashes in the city today. Two car bombs went off on the al-Bukamal bridge. Shelling resumed on al-Boukamal.

The opposition damaged a Syrian military helicopter today near the al-Hamdan military airport near al-Boukamal. It landed in the Hawi al-Ghabra area and it was reported that its crew escaped, and another Syrian helicopter destroyed the aircraft so the opposition could not seize it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q6Rga50vZco&feature=youtu.be

Hassake province: The Syrian military shelled the town of Ra’s al-`Ain, killing 16, injuring at least 40. Targets in this town had been taken by the opposition on Thursday. The Syrian military shelled the town of Seri, killing 7.

Kurdish Popular Protection units of the Democratic Union Party took control of al-Malkiya and Syrian security forces retreated.

Clashes took place near a Syrian military checkpoint (which is normally heavily staffed with 75 Syrian troops) in Asfar Najar. The opposition has surrounded the checkpoint, and a Syrian regime helicopter has been bombarding the area to.

Homs province: The Syrian military shelled the neighborhood of al-Khaldiyya. The Syrian military shelled al-Rastan killing a man and a child. The Syrian military shelled the neighborhood of Deir Ba`lba and clashes took place there. The Syrian regime shelled the village of A’qrab in the al-Hula area and the village of Jousiyya on the outskirts of al-Qseir.

Latakia province: The Syrian military heavily shelled Jabal Akrad.

Quneitra province: Clashes in the village of Bi’ir Ajam resulted in the deaths of 3 opposition fighters.

al-Raqqa province: The Syrian military shelled by air the town of Dabsi A’fnan. Heavy clashes are taking place in the town between fighters of the al-Nusra front and other opposition groups and the Syrian military.

Tartous province: An explosion shook the city of Banyas.

Abductions: The Syrian government continues to deny holding American journalist Austin Tice. http://edition.cnn.com/2012/11/12/world/meast/syria-missing-journalist/index.html

International: The GCC states – Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman and Kuwait have decided to recognize the new National Coalition of the Syrian opposition as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people in a statement today by the GCC Council.

Talks were held in Cairo by Arab foreign ministers on Syria to determine support for the new Syrian opposition entity and the League agreed to support the Coalition. http://english.alarwww.abiya.net/articles/2012/11/12/249215.html
Ahead of this meeting with Lakhdar Brahimi and Nasser al-Qudwa, Brahimi met with Nabil al-Araby who heads the Arab League. The new national Coalition of the Syrian opposition’s leaders is headed by Ahmed Moaz al-Khatib with Riad al-Saif and Suhair al-Atassi as deputies.
The Syrian air force struck Jilan Bnar, a Turkish border town, injuring 6.

Israel fired at Syria after a shell hit near an army post the Israeli-held Golan Heights.

The International Federation of the Red Cross and the Red Crescent made an appeal today for donors to give 32.3 million Swiss francs to provide aid to the more than 170,000 Syrian refugees now in Turkey.

Syria: A Brief Chronology

1918 October. Troops led by Amir Faisal, the son of Sharif Hussein of Mecca capture Damascus ending Ottoman rule.

1920 March. Faisal is proclaimed the King of Syria.

1920 July. The San Remo conference creates the mandate system placing Syria under the mandate of France. French forces occupy Damascus.

1925-1926. Nationalist uprising known as the Syrian revolution escalates. French forces bombard Damascus, Suwaida and other locations. The rebels led by Sultan al-Atrash go into exile. (Faisal becomes the ruler of Iraq)

1928. A constituent assembly drafts Syria’s constitution.

1936. A treaty between France and Syria is negotiated in which France grants independence but retains military presence and economic management. It is never fully enacted.

1940. After France falls to the Germans, the Vichy government controls Syria.

1941. The Free French and UK forces invade Syria and Lebanon, oust the Vichy government and occupy Syria (and Lebanon).

1946. The French withdraw from Syria.

1947. Michel Aflaq and Salah al-Din Bitar form the Arab Socialist Ba`ath Party.

1949. Three military coups take place, in the third one, Adib Shishakli assumes power.

1958-1961 Syria and Egypt join in the United Arab Republic under President Gamal abd al-Nasser. A group of Syrian army officers overthrow the UAR in 1961.

1963. A military coup results in a Baathist cabinet and the presidency of Amin al-Hafiz.

1966 Salah Jadid leads a coup against the civilian Baathist government and takes office. Hafez al-Assad is defense minister.

1970. November. Hafez al-Assad overthrows Nur al-Din al-Atasi and puts Salah Jadid in prison.

1971. Hafez al-Assad is elected President in a referendum.

1973. Hafez al-Assad does away with the Constiutitional requirement that Syria’s president be a Muslim. Riots result which were suppressed by the army.

1973. In the October war with Israel, Syria fails to recapture the Golan Heights.

1976. June. Syria intervenes in the Lebanese civil war.

1979 – 1980. A network of Muslim organizations begin an uprising against the government, attack the military and are attacked by the army.

1980. Syria backs Iran in the Iran-Iraq war.

1982. Islamist uprising in the city of Hama is put down brutally, as many as 30,000 civilians are killed.

1982. Israel invades Lebanon and forces the withdrawal of Syrian forces from some areas.

1987. Syria redeploys troops to Lebanon.

1989 December. Committees for the Defense of Democracy, Freedom and Human Rights (CDDFHR) formed in Syria, an underground human rights organization with a newsletter, Sawt al-Dimukratiyya.

1991. Syria participates in the Madrid peace conference, but is shocked by the secret Oslo peace agreements.

1994. Basil al-Assad, the president’s son dies in a car accident.

1998. Rifaat al-Assad, the vice president and president’s brother is relieved of his position.

2000. Hafez al-Assad dies and is succeeded by his son Bashar al-Assad despite the fact that Syria is a republic.

2000-1 In the Damascus Spring, intellectuals, artists and writers began meeting and discussing politics in groups like the Kawakibi Forum, the Atassi Forum and the National Dialogue Forum which called for an end to emergency laws and restoration of political freedoms.

2002 Bashar al-Assad and his team, especially Hasan Khalil, the head of military intelligence began a crackdown on the dialogue groups, closing them and arresting their members, incarcerating, torturing and killing them.

2002 The United States alleges that Syria is developing chemical and possibly nuclear weapons.

2003 The CDDFHR held its first public meeting in Cairo. It later opened 9 offices outside of Syria, in the Middle East and Europe.

2003 Israel carries out a air strike on a Palestinian militant camp near Damascus.

2004 March. Clashes take place between Kurds, Arabs and regime forces in the northeast of Syria.

2004 September. The U.N. Security Council calls for all foreign forces to leave Lebanon, a resolution directed at Syria.

2005 Former Lebanese Prime Minister Hariri is assassinated. In April, Syria finally withdraws its forces from Lebanon.

2006 Iraq and Syria restore relations.

2007 Syrian dissidents Kamal Labwani and Michel Kilo are sentenced to lengthy terms in Jail and Anwar al-Bunni, a human rights lawyer is sent to jail.

2007 September. Israel carries out an air strike on an area in northern Syria where a nuclear facility had been under construction.

2008 July. Bashar al-Assad meets with Lebanese President Michel Suleiman and re-establishes relations with French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

2009 The IAEA says it has found undeclared man-made uranium at a reactor in Damascus.

2010 The U.S. reinstates sanctions against Syria because of its support for terrorist groups and provision of SCUD missiles to Hizbullah.

2011 March Peaceful protests begin in Syria to demand political freedom and the release of political prisoners.

2011 May. The Syrian government begins a military crackdown on the protests targeting Homs, Banyas, Dara`a and areas of Damascus.

2011 October. The Syrian National Council brings together dissidents from outside and inside of Syria. Russia and China veto a U.N resolution condemning Syria.

2011 November. The Arab League votes to suspend Syria due to the governments attacks on its own civilians.

2012 May. Government forces and militia members massacre more than 100 in Houla.

2012 July. The Free Syrian Army increases military actions and seizes parts of Aleppo and Damascus. The Syrian military struggle to retake these areas.

2012 August 15 The Organisation of the Islamic Conference suspends Syria due to its attacks on its citizens.

2012 August. The Syrian military and militia members massacre more than 500 people in the town of Daraya over two and a half days.

2012 September 2. The Syrian military begin a campaign to retake opposition-dominated neighborhoods of Aleppo, promising victory within 10 days (but well into October they were still battling in the same areas.) September 5: 45 people were summarily executed by the Syrian regime in al-Akramiyya in Aleppo. September 21: 90 soldiers defected from the infantry academy in Aleppo. A trial of five persons began in Syria of persons who kidnapped a defected Syrian officer, Hussein Harmoush who had handed him back to the Syrian government.

2012 October. Massive shelling of Syrian cities and villages continues. Hizbullah operatives are returned dead to Lebanon after battling in Syria on behalf of the Assad regime. Syria fires into Turkish territory killing five civilians and continues to fire into Syria from the 3rd of Oct until the end of the month. This initially caused NATO to issue a statement of readiness to defend Turkey.

2012 November: With support from the GCC states and the United States, a new Syrian opposition coalition was created called the National Coalition of the Forces of the Syrian Revolution and Opposition. Elections had been held by the Syrian National Council, but claims were made that the new entity was more broadly representative and the new coalition plans to create a transitional government and work toward the downfall of Bashar al-Assad and his institutions.

Syria 2nd Update 29 July (IMEISS by Sherifa Zuhur)

30 Jul

Syria 2nd Update 29 July (IMEISS …. Sherifa Zuhur)

Sunday’s death toll is now 114
Updated death toll for Saturday is more than 180

Late Sunday night a Syrian intelligence officer claimed that the SAA had taken back the Salahaddin area of Aleppo. Reuters journalists could not confirm that this was true, and the SOHR claimed that fighting was continuing in the area, and that the opposition had held off the government’s ground offensive, and close to midnight the government had paused in its effort. Today in Aleppo there were heavy clashes in Arkub, Bab al-Hadid, Zahraa, and al-Hindrat camp and shellings. Helicopter gunships were sighted in Saif al-Dawla and Salahaddin
Nabil ElAraby, who heads the Arab League said the AL supports the calls from the Syrian opposition for an emergency U.N. Security Council meeting concerning the situation in Aleppo, where the Arab League believes that war crimes are being committed. Arab League representatives plan to visit Russia and China to try to convince them not to veto emergency action.

Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood said that Bashar al-Assad is “legally and morally responsible for the death of every victim in Syria;” that Iran and Russia were “drowning the blood of the Syrian people” and that Sergei Lavrov (the Russian Foreign Minister) had given “Assad the green light to carry out a massacre.” Also that the international community is a partner to this violence because it has stayed silent for too long. It warned of a massacre in Aleppo and pointed out that Assad had failed to deliver basic services to much of Aleppo’s population.

Syrian troops killed two men who tried to cross in Jordan.

The opposition took over the hated and feared military intelligence headquarters in al-Bab in northern part of the province of Aleppo. Several members of military intelligence have become prisoners of the FSA there.

The SAA killed 21 in Shaykh Maskeen in Dara`a.

By late morning, the SAA had killed 21 in Idlib and near Damascus.

The SAA shelled al-Harak, al-Yaduda, and Khirbet Ghazali in al- Dara`a.

The SAA shelled al-Rastan, al-Khaldiya, and Houla in Homs.

The FSA liberated a building in the Bab Hood neighborhood of Homs after heavy fighting.

The Syrian opposition has again called on the U.N. Security Council to hold an emergency session to discuss the fighting in Aleppo.

The head of the SNC, Abd al-Basset Sida said that talks will be held in two weeks to create a transitional government in Syria that could replace Assad’s.

The Syrian foreign minister, Walid al-Moallem held a joint press conference with the Iranian foreign minister. Al-Moallem stated that Syria has sufficient defenses (with or without weapons of mass destruction [a reference to chemical weapons]) to defeat the “terrorists” and “plots” and at the same time blamed the conflict on U.S., Western and Arab countries. The Iranian foreign minister said that a managed transfer of power in Syria would be an “illusion.”

Borders: Syrian border guards killed opposition fighters who attempted to cross from Turkey into Syria in the Ayn Bayda area near Jisr al-Shughur.

Refugees: About 12,000 have fled Syria for Algeria. The Syrian opposition said there are already about 18,000 to 20,000 Syrians in Algeria.

Jordan officially opened its first refugee camp for Syrians in that country.