Tag Archives: bombings

Egypt: Security, Terrorism, Sinai Update for Aug. 1 – 17, 2015

17 Aug

Aug. 17 Wilayet Sinai, claim to have targeted an army APC near a ‘gas station’ south of Sheikh Zuweid (Joe Gulhane, no source given to me – if provided will list)

Aug 17 Police officer dies from injuries in last Monday’s bombing #Egypt and #AjnadMisr
claims responsibility http://english.ahram.org.eg/News/138099.aspx

Aug 17 New anti-terrorism laws in #Egypt: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-33955894

Aug 17 Omar Ashour criticizes the Egyptian governments campaign in the Sinai and repression. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-33905477

Aug 16 A draft law to end penalties on journalists has been revealed. How this elides with the new penalties on contradicting government sources in the antiterrorism laws is unclear. http://en.aswatmasriya.com/news/view.aspx?id=941b70ff-f377-4d0f-ae8c-b7f296f452ce
Aug. 16 #Egypt’s Min. of Interior says it has broken up 3 #MuslimBrotherhood cells. http://linkis.com/www.kuna.net.kw/I6vaq

Aug. 16 The Egyptian military is continuing its operations near the Libyan border. https://www.facebook.com/Egy.Army.Spox/posts/705497959581189

Aug 16 Online statement attributed to a group calling itself Tahrir Brigades, claims to be defected officers, claimed Barakat assassination

Aug. 16 North #Sinai court returns to #Sinai fllwing 3 mo. relocation due to terrorist
attacks. #Egypt http://www.egyptindependent.com//news/court-returns-sinai-after-relocation-prompted-judges-killings

Aug 16 Body of Palestinian man from Rafah found near the border this morning. http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?ID=767069&utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=twitterfeed

Aug 15 #Rabaa protests had low turnout – some arrests; in contrast to online activism #Egypt http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2015/08/16/rabaa-al-adaweya-anniversary-protests-weak-on-the-street-strong-online/

Aug. 15 #Russia gives #Egypt a Molniya missile corvette http://www.mfs-theothernews.com/2015/08/russia-donates-egypt-molniya-missile.html?http%3A%2F%2Fwww.mfs-theothernews.com%2Ffeeds%2Fposts%2Fdefault=

Aug. 13 Egypt confiscates assets of the chairman of Juhayna for ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. http://en.aswatmasriya.com/news/view.aspx?id=d0878294-cf7d-4f8c-8b97-14bd62e13dd9

Aug. 13/Aug 12 ISIS in Egypt (Wilayat Sinai) beheaded a Croatian captive , Tomislav Salopek http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/news/world/africa/article4525449.ece?CMP=Spklr-_-Editorial-_-TWITTER-_-thetimes-_-20150813-_-World-_-221489122&linkId=16251624
And http://www.wsj.com/articles/islamic-state-affiliate-claims-beheading-of-croatian-hostage-1439380416

Aug 12 A policeman was killed today in #Fayoum, south of Cairo, in #Egypt http://en.aswatmasriya.com/news/view.aspx?id=fc269383-bcb0-4f07-ad20-5b9220ac06bb

Aug 11 253 sentenced in abstentia to life in prison for committing violence in Beheira http://en.aswatmasriya.com/news/view.aspx?id=19878b57-f813-49b2-ad6b-8b44b4d09be1

Aug 11 Badie referred to court in a new trial http://en.aswatmasriya.com/news/view.aspx?id=9189cc36-6e6f-41cd-8dfd-16e457f40fcf

Aug. 12 #Egypt Apache war helicopter strikes vehicle in Al-Kharroubah village, S. Sheikh Zwayyed, N.Sinai killing 3 Daesh-affiliate members aboard

Aug 12 Curfew hours reduced in al-#Arish #Sinai #Egypt http://english.ahram.org.eg/News/137688.aspx

Aug 12 Alaa Selim (photojournalist) found dead in Abu Taweela village near Shaykh Zuwayd, circumstances unclear http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2015/08/12/photojournalist-found-dead-in-sheikh-zuweid/

Aug 11 New York Times Editorial (which has published numerous scathing critiques of Egypt’s government) wants the #MFO out of the #Sinai. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/11/opinion/time-to-reassess-sinai-peacekeeping-force.html?_r=0

Aug 10 Ten persons were recommended to receive death sentences, so their cases go to the Grand Mufti for his opinion http://en.aswatmasriya.com/news/view.aspx?id=04eead09-da99-4563-aeac-cd1af623cbf3

Aug 10 IED blast injures 3 persons outside a court in Heliopolis http://en.aswatmasriya.com/news/view.aspx?id=559102ff-5a26-448c-bc20-76f8e27e0ffc

Aug 9 2 killed in clashes between security forces and group of armed men in #Suez #Egypt http://en.aswatmasriya.com/news/view.aspx?id=78b452d5-080f-49c8-b2ed-f09c9a13cfe2

Aug 9 Revolutionary Punishment group claims attack in El-Sinnuris near ‪#Fayoum‬‬ earlier today. ‪#‎Egypt‬‬ https://t.co/JaEzkR4VVg

Aug 9 World’s largest container ship, the Marstel Maersk crosses the new Suez Canal http://www.thecairopost.com/news/163394/business/worlds-largest-container-ship-marstal-maersk-crosses-new-suez-canal

Aug 9 Policeman killed in al-Arish after a different officer in the same position was killed. http://sinai24.com/%D9%85%D9%82%D8%AA%D9%84-%D9%85%D8%B9%D8%A7%D9%88%D9%86-%D9%85%D8%A8%D8%A7%D8%AD%D8%AB-%D8%AB%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AB-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B9%D8%B1%D9%8A%D8%B4-%D8%A8%D8%B9%D8%AF-%D8%A3%D8%B4%D9%87%D8%B1-%D9%85/

Aug 9 A bomb targeted an armored vehicle in northern Sinai killing 2 security personnel, injuring 3 http://en.aswatmasriya.com/news/view.aspx?id=d0f81e14-3181-4794-8ecb-a993c888e6dc

Aug 8 18 militants were killed over the last 2 days’ shelling of Shaykh Zuweid and Rafah – reportedly by Apaches http://en.aswatmasriya.com/news/view.aspx?id=85e95039-84e4-45da-a93d-dc7ed6b1a62e

Aug 7 Fears mount for the fate of the Croation hostage seized in 22 of July – interesting detail, his driver was released. http://www.iphone.afp.com/afpv3/AFP_V3/News/JI/D4/newsmlmmd.urn.newsml.afp.com.20150806.doc.3v6i4.htm

Aug 6 Raid on a farm in Sanoris in Fayoum – five are killed. A report from Aug 9 including some controversial details http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2015/08/09/extra-judicial-execution-the-story-of-the-fayoum-five/

Aug 6
#Egypt N.#Sinai / Army Helicopter targets 35 #Hamas terrorists in a smuggling tunnel with #Gaza http://albawabhnews.com/1432179

Aug 6 The new Suez Canal (which took only one year instead of five to complete) was celebrated with an inaugural ceremony. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VS1GEtPOARY

Aug 5 ISIS affiliate (Wilayat Sinai) has threatened to kill a Croatian hostage in 48 hours. http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/08/05/us-egypt-islamic-state-hostage-idUSKCN0QA20U20150805

Aug 4 Five civilians killed when their house was shelled during clashes in northern Sinai http://en.aswatmasriya.com/news/view.aspx?id=d6701104-3dfb-4d98-81c0-c28c86df8d13

Aug 4 Unidentified gunmen killed a policeman standing guard outside a police station in Sharqiyya http://en.aswatmasriya.com/news/view.aspx?id=78fde49a-01a6-4fd0-9ae5-2384431c2176

Aug. 2 Army says it has killed 88 suspected militants in the Sinai between July 20 and July 31 http://en.aswatmasriya.com/news/view.aspx?id=45a7499f-d862-474d-b970-706b58ba3643

Aug 2 Car owned by Judge Moh. Abdullah Abbas (al-Khanka court) explodes from bomb. No injuries #Egypt http://almogaz.com/news/crime/2015/08/02/2061488

Aug 1. Egypt’s army says it has killed a leading figure in Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis http://en.aswatmasriya.com/news/view.aspx?id=abd5b813-585b-472d-868a-256af7938c8d


Syria Update, November 8, 2012. (Institute of Middle Eastern, Islamic and Strategic Studies. By Sherifa Zuhur)

7 Nov

Syria Update, November 8, 2012 (Institute of Middle Eastern, Islamic and Strategic Studies. By Sherifa Zuhur)

Early death toll: 93

Tuesday’s death toll: 205 (and 7 more deaths confirmed today)

Monday’s death toll: 234 including 17 women and 11 children.

Sunday’s death toll: 212

The Syrian National Council has been electing a president and two leadership bodies in Doha. However, the reorganization may not stave off the plan to create a new opposition organization as preferred by the U.S. More about the plan and the responses to it can be found here: http://www.carnegieendowment.org/2012/11/05/reactions-to-syrian-national-initiative/ecnn
The SNC will vote on the Riad Seif plan on Thursday and may well reject it.

Tawfiq Chamaa, the spokesperson for the Union of Syrian Medical Relief Organizations said that 95% of all of the international aid in cash and materials sent to the Syrian Red Crescent is being seized by the Assad government and used to aid the Syrian military instead of reaching the civilians for whom the aid is intended. A representative of the UN World Food Program, Elizabeth Byrs, claimed this was not true of its program, however, Chamaa pointed out that a convoy of 11 trucks of the World Food Program (whose aid is primarily distributed by the Red Crescent) disappeared recently. http://reliefweb.int/report/syrian-arab-republic/regime-grabbing-most-aid-sent-syria-red-crescent-ngo

Aleppo province: Clashes took place near the al-Muhalab military barracks and in the Shaykh Sa`ad, Sakhour and Sleiman al-Halabi neighborhoods and 2 opposition fighters were kille.d The Syrian military shelled Bustan al-Basha and Ansari, killing 1 man in Ansari.

The Syrian military shelled Anadan, Deir Hafer, Hreitan and Kafar’ama, killing one man in Heritan and also the towns of Bayanoun, Dabeq, Ikhtibrin, Retyan and Sfeira. Clashes took place in the town of Kafarnaha and the Syrian military are shelling that town. The opposition hit a fighter jet flying out of the Neyrab military airport.

One of the most feared snipers in Aleppo is romanticized.

Damascus province: The Syrian opposition killed 10 members of the PFLP-GC (Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command, the group which has been supporting the Assad government and killing the opposition) on Wednesday near Yarmouk. Fighting between the PFLP-GC and the opposition has intensified in Hajar al-Aswad and Street 30 near Yarmouk over the last few days. The Lions of Islam, one of the opposition groups reportedly fired on Assad’s presidential palace today, but missed the target. Assad has several residences in the city, and it is not known if he was at the palace at the time.
The Syrian military shelled al-Qaboun, Hajar al-Aswad and al-Qadam, killing 1 man in al-Qadam and 3 were killed and 25 injured in Hajar al-Aswad. The opposition fired mortars today at the Mazzeh 86 neighborhood, killing 3 civilians. (The neighborhood is pro-regime and mostly people from the coastal areas, i.e. Alawi) An explosion and gunshots were reported in the Sayyida Zeinab area near the al-Safir hotel.
Two opposition fighters were killed in clashes in Harasta.
Yesterday, three IED explosions killed 10 civilians (later on this was reported as 19 killed presumably due to deaths of the wounded) and wounded more than 40 in the al-Wurud neighborhood of Qudsayya.
Gunmen assassinated Mohammad Osama Laham, the brother of Syria’s speaker of Parliament, Jihad Laham, as he drove to work on Tuesday in the Thuraya area of al-Midan (Damascus).
A judge, Abad Nadhwah has been assassinated today in the Barzeh neighborhood of Damascus. Explosives were planted under his car and detonated.
The Syrian military heavily shelled the town of Beit Sahm in a counteroffensive, so far more than 15 are reported to have been killed, but are not yet identified. The Syrian military invaded the town of Serghaya firing at residents, carrying out raids and detentions. The Syrian military shelled the towns of Deir al-Asafeer, Shab’a and Zamalka. Clashes were reported in the eastern Ghouta. Shelling on Kafr Batna killed 5 civilians.

Dar`a province: The opposition killed 3 security officers in the Dara`a al-Mahatta square. A sniper killed a woman in Tariq al-Sad.

Gunfire killed an 8 year old child in the town of Busra al-Sham. The Syrian military shelled the town of al-Maliha, killing 1 civilian.

Deir az-Zur province: The Syrian military shelled the al-Erdi, Hamidiyya and Shaykh Yasin neighborhoods of Deir az-Zur today.
The Syrian military shelled the city of Bukamel. In clashes in al-Mayadeen, two opposition fighters and one defected soldier were killed.

Hama province: An explosion shook the neighborhoods of al-Sabouniyya and Shari’a. The Syrian military shelled the town of Karnaz..

The opposition in Homs and Hama have formed a united front: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m61mxuclrGs&feature=youtu.be

Homs province: Clashes took place in the Deir Ba`lba neighborhood of Homs killing 2 opposition fighters and a defected soldier. Shelling on Deir Ba`lba killed 1 civilian. The Syrian military have been shelling and attacking this area for several days and there is reportedly a grave shortage of medical aid.

Col. Kaseem Saadeddine, an opposition commander in central Homs escaped an assassination attempt in an ambush by shabiha loyal to Assad. His driver was wounded.

The Syrian military and the opposition clashed in the village of Taldheb killing one opposition fighter.

Idlib province: The Syrian military shelled the village of al-Najiya killing a 5 year-old child and shelled the village of Tel Mardikh and the towns of Kafrouma, Mahambal and Sarjeh. The Syrian military shelled Saraqeb, killing 8 civilians yesterday. An opposition fighter was killed in clashes with the Syrian military near the Wadi al-Dayf military base. Yesterday, the Syrian military shelled Ma`arat al-Nu`man killing at least 7 civilians. Yesterday, clashes took place at Mahambal and at the Wadi al-Dayf base and that area was bombarded by Syrian air power. In clashes near the village of al-Shughour, 4 Syrian military troops were killed.

Latakia province: On Monday, it was reported that fighter jets were dropping TNT on villages in Latakia province.

Raqqah province: The Syrian military shelled the city of Tabeiqa and 4 civilians were reportedly killed. Yesterday, clashes took place at military checkpoints in the towns of Tabeiqa and `Ain ‘A`issa and the Syrian military shelled `Ain `A’issa. An IED was set off on an oil line in the eastern part of the province yesterday.

Kidnapped/Detained. The SOHR reports that it fears for the life of Dr. Abdelaziz al-Khayar, the deputy chairman and head of foreign affairs for the Syrian National Coordination Body for Democratic Change (NCB). He was abducted on 21 September, 2012 by Syrian air force intelligence upon his return from China as part of an NCB delegation along with Maher Tahan and Eyas Ayash.


A Turkish official speaking anonymously said that Turkey and its allies discussed the option of using Patriot missiles to protect a free zone inside Syria.
Lakhdar Brahimi, the UN-Arab League special envoy to Syria has warned that if the fighting continues the country could become like Somalia – “it will mean the fall of the state, [the] rise of warlords and militias.” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/06/mohammed-osama-laham_n_2081764.html
Pope Benedict XVI has cancelled a planned mission to Syria and is instead sending an envoy to Lebanon to meet with Syrian refugees.

Britain will begin establishing contacts with Syrian opposition military figures to aid unification of the opposition of the movement. This effort was announced as PM David Cameron meets with Syrian refugees at the Zaatari camp in Jordan.
On Monday, Cameron lashed out at the United Nations for failing to more strongly oppose the Bashar al-Assad government. Speaking in the UAE, Cameron said, “I think in the case of Syria, the United Nations has let the world down,” … “Like-minded countries like our two countries (Britain and the UAE) should go on working together to try to see what more can we do to help the Syrian people throw off this brutal dictator who’s murdering so many … You know that Bashar al-Assad cannot possibly stay running his country … He has to go.” Cameron has also said that Assad could be given safe passage out of Syria, if that would mean the end of fighting there.

Syria Update, November 3, 2012 (Institute of Middle Eastern, Islamic and Strategic Studies. By Sherifa Zuhur)

3 Nov

Syria Update, November 3, 2012 (Institute of Middle Eastern, Islamic and Strategic Studies. By Sherifa Zuhur)

Early death toll: 82

Friday’s death toll: More than 200 including 74 unarmed civilians.

On Friday, Syrians in various parts of the country demonstrated and protested against the Bashar al-Assad regime and called for freedom. One protest sign in KafrAnbel read: “It is not a civil war. It’s a genocide. Leave us [to] die, but do not lie”. The Syrian opposition has taken control of an area where the highways from Aleppo to Damascus and Aleppo to Latakia and the Mediterranean coast meet, impacting the Syrian military’s ability to resupply its troops in Aleppo. As the Syrian military retreated from their last position in the Saraqeb area, that means the opposition hold an area of about 15 miles (25 kilometers) around the town. The opposition had first seized Ma`arat al-Nu`man on October 8th.
The U.S. announcements regarding its backing of a new opposition entity and implied or explicit criticisms of the Syrian National Council have caused some confusion. Also (see below) a contingent of the opposition met in Amman ahead of the Doha meeting. http://www.sacbee.com/2012/11/02/4957906/us-move-to-de-recognize-syrian.html
Aleppo province: The bodies of 26 persons were discovered in the al-Amriyya neighborhood and Jami`at al-Muhandisin yesterday.

The opposition took control of the Aleppo-Latakiyya road (see above).

An Aleppo hospital is overwhelmed by trauma victims. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-17258397

Damascus province: A car bomb exploded in Ma`adamiyat ash-Sham.
The opposition has taken three military positions in Duma. Yesterday, the Syrian military shelled Duma killing 4 and injuring many. Also, yesterday, 7 Syrian opposition troops were killed as they attempted to take over a municipality building in Duma. Yesterday, two explosions took place in al-Zahra, apparently car bombs which killed 16 according to state television. This was followed by an invasion of Syrian military forces. The Syrian military began a campaign of arrests in Karam al-Joura. 17 bodies were found in Tadamon.

Dara`a province: The Syrian military shelled Da’el yesterday in the early evening and they shelled the neighborhood of al-Saad in Dara`a.

Deir az-Zur province: The FSA shot down a Syrian warplane near Mouhassan yesterday. The Syrian military killed 8 persons in air bombardments in Gharaneej. The Syrian military shelled Karamish causing casualties and injuries.

Homs province: Yesterday, the Syrian military was engaged in clashes with the opposition and shelling in the neighborhoods of Jobar, al-Sultaniyya, and the towns of Mubarakieh and as-Saan, and Nabl and Nakirah.

Idlib province: An offensive began by the opposition against the Syrian military at the Taftanaz air base. The Syrian military have fiercely responded and sent an armed convoy to help defend the base. The rebels, although they possess limited missiles, are essentially without defense against the regime’s air attacks. This air base can be used only by helicopters and devastating attacks have come from here using barrel bombs on civilian areas. http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2012/11/201211391048764834.html
This video shows the opposition launching missiles against Taftanaz

Clashes broke out today in the town of Frika.

The opposition took over the Hmeisho checkpoint west of Saraqeb, and executed 8 Syrian military, after physically abusing them: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6_ttA71FTB8&feature=plcp&bpctr=1351954370

In clashes at Qal`at Harem, the Syrian military killed 15 year-old Nour Eddin Habash. At noon on Friday, it was reported that the opposition had seized the Qal`at Harem. On Friday, the Syrian military killed 70 people in Harem in a massacre. The Syrian military has been heavily bombarding Harem by air today. Fighting has ongoing in this border town for days.

International: Twenty-five figures in the Syrian opposition met in Amman ahead of the Doha meeting which is to bring in a new structure to replace the Syrian National Council. The Amman attendees ruled out any dialogue with Damascus prior to Bashar al-Assad and his entourage giving up power, and they also pledged support for the armed revolt being carried out by the Free Syrian Army (and some other groups). Riad Seif and Riad Hijab took part in the meeting.

After Hilary Clinton, U.S. Secretary of State spoke on the U.S.’s efforts to create a new opposition entity which will be announced from Doha, the Syrian National Council (and many other supporters of the opposition) complained of U.S. interference and that the U.S. had undermined the SNC. U.S. State Department spokesperson, Victoria Nuland defended the move saying that the U.S. is trying to ensure that a broader “spectrum” of opposition is included such as Christians, Druze, Kurds, Alawis, other minorities and women. (The current opposition includes Christians, Druze, Alawis, Kurds and women, hence the U.S. reasons for backing a new entity are likely to be Washingtons’ concerns with the political affiliations of the SNC or its inefficacy to date, rather than its composition by sect)

The Syrian National Council called for the opposition fighters (which it does not command) to be held accountable for the execution of Syrian troops shown on video (above). The U.S. and the spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights also criticized the opposition on Friday, Victoria Nuland, USDoS spokesperson said “there is no justification for that kind of behavior ever.”

An NHS doctor, Shajul Islam will go on trial in June for the kidnapping of a British photographer in Syria. http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2012/nov/02/nhs-doctor-trial-photographer-syriahttp://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2012/nov/02/nhs-doctor-trial-photographer-syria

The 310-member Syrian National Council will soon be superseded by, or join in with a new opposition structure (being supported by the Local Coordination Committees) which is intended to represent those involved in the internally-based opposition as well as those outside of the country. The membership and their profiles are accessible here: http://www.syriancouncil.org/en/members.html?start=15
For archival purposes, here is the mission statement of the SNC and its objectives.
SNC Mission Statement
The SNC seeks to represent the Syrian Revolution politically; embody its aspirations in toppling the regime; achieve democratic change; and build a modern, democratic, and civil state.

SNC Political Program
After sustained efforts by the Syrian opposition, the Syrian National Council (SNC) was founded in response to the urgent need for a political framework that represents revolutionary work being done on the ground since March 15, 2011 to overthrow the regime and its operatives. Seven months after the beginning of the revolution, a consensus was reached on establishing the Council, which was officially announced in Istanbul on October 2, 2011.
The SNC is a political institution that represents most political opposition forces, blocs, and groups, as well as revolutionary movement committees. The SNC works as a national, general, and temporary umbrella organization that reflects the will of the people for revolution and change. The goal of the SNC is to build a democratic, pluralistic, and civil state by the following means:
• Breaking down the existing regime, including all of its operatives and symbols.
• Preserving, protecting, and enhancing the peaceful nature of the popular revolution.
• Uniting the efforts by the revolutionary movement and the political opposition.
• Garnering Arab and international support at the individual, public opinion, and official levels.
• Focusing efforts to support the peaceful revolution; continuing and increasing acts of civil disobedience.
• Mobilizing both the Arab and international societies to increase pressure on the regime by all possible means.
• Diversifying the means and methods of the revolutionary movement to include demonstrations, general strikes, and civil disobedience.
• Working to secure international protection for civilians and supporting joint Arab and international means to secure its implementation within international agencies in the shortest amount of time possible.
• Communicating with committees and action groups participating in the revolution to further mobilize the population and extend the reach of the SNC.
• Enhancing communication and encouraging initiatives and activities among professional groups, business community, intellectuals, and others.
• Maintaining a positive and flexible outlook towards all political opposition forces that are not part of the SNC, and working with them towards joining the SNC – if they approve the founding declaration documents – or, at minimum, coordinating efforts and establishing protocols for collaboration.
• Giving the diversity of Syrian society the appropriate focus by providing clear programs, thoughtful analysis, and political activism, while intensifying efforts to communicate among committees, groups, and members and emphasizing the concept that their participation is the best guarantee for their concerns to be addressed.
• Pursuing the official recognition of the SNC by Arab and foreign states.

Transitional Period
• The SNC will take responsibility, with the military apparatus, to manage the transitional period and guarantee the security and unity of the country once the regime falls.
• The SNC will form a transitional government to manage the affairs of the state.
• The SNC will call for a national and all-inclusive convention with the theme of “democratic change” to implement a program and outline for the transitional period with representatives from all segments of Syrian society whose hands have not been stained with blood or theft of national wealth from among the regime’s officials.
• The transitional government is responsible for creating the appropriate conditions for organizing political life in the country as well as providing conditions to promote the flourishing of civil society through various institutions, including trade unions.
• Within one year at most, the interim government will organize free elections with Arab and international observers to elect a Constitutional Assembly tasked with drafting a new constitution for the country that is then voted on by the people in a referendum.
• Free parliamentary elections shall be held within six months, in accordance with the new constitution.
• The SNC will continue to implement its founding declaration concerning the preservation of state institutions, especially the military institution, throughout the transitional period. These institutions belonged to the people long before the authoritarian regime encroached upon them and stole them from the people. This does not contradict the need to end all expressions and symbols of totalitarianism.
• Releasing detainees and prisoners; investigating the fate of those who are missing; ensuring the safe return of refugees and those in exile; and compensating the families of fallen heroes, the injured, and all those who were victimized.
• The formation of an independent judicial commission whose task is to receive citizens’ grievances and investigate crimes committed against the people, and punishing those found guilty.
• The formation of a national reconciliation commission in collaboration with civil society organizations, human rights groups, and volunteers to cleanse all residue from the era of corruption and tyranny.
• Criminalizing all forms of oppression, exclusionary policies, and discrimination on the basis of ethnic or religious background, or gender.
The New Syria – General Principles
• The new Syria is a democratic, pluralistic, and civil state; a parliamentary republic with sovereignty of the people based on the principles of equal citizenship with separation of powers, smooth transfer of power, the rule of law, and the protection and guarantee of the rights of minorities.
• The new Syria guarantees for all its citizens what is declared by international laws in terms of human rights and basic freedom of belief, opinion, expression, assembly, the press, and other rights. In addition, all of its inhabitants will enjoy equal rights and duties without any discrimination on the basis of ethnicity, religion, or gender.
• The government is committed to ambitious plans for economic and human development.
• The new Syria is committed to combating poverty and focusing on developing disadvantaged areas. It regards achieving justice and equal opportunity among all citizens to be a national duty.
• To achieve equity in the distribution of national wealth, since national resources belong to all Syrians in the context of good governance, and directing benefits from development to raising the capabilities and standard of living of all sectors of society and all regions, particularly the most disadvantaged.
• The new Syria is committed to eradicating illiteracy and providing factual information to the general population.
• The new Syria, with its civil and democratic system and constitution, provides the best assurance to all Syrians from all ethnic, religious, and sectarian backgrounds.
• The constitution guarantees national rights for the Kurdish people and a resolution to the Kurdish question in a democratic and fair manner within the framework of the unity of Syrian territory and people, as well as the exercise of rights and responsibilities of equal citizenship among all citizens.
• The constitution guarantees national rights for the Assyrian people and a resolution to the Assyrian Syriac question in a democratic and fair manner within the framework of the unity of Syrian territory and people, as well as the exercise of rights and responsibilities of equal citizenship among all citizens.
• The new Syria guarantees full rights of women, including ensuring their effective participation in political life and all other sectors.
• The new Syrian state will have a positive role and impact on the stability of the Arab and regional system as well as on the international level.
• The new Syria will work to restore its sovereignty in the occupied Golan Heights on the basis of relevant and legitimate international laws and resolutions.
• The new Syria will support the full and legitimate rights of the Palestinian people.
The new Syria will promote Arab and regional solidarity and cooperation, and will build relations with other states on the basis of mutual respect and national interests.

Syria Update, October 8, 2012 (Institute of Middle Eastern, Islamic and Strategic Studies. By Sherifa Zuhur)

9 Oct

Syria Update, October 8, 2012 (Institute of Middle Eastern, Islamic and Strategic Studies. By Sherifa Zuhur)

Death toll: More than 170 killed including 79 unarmed civilians.

Sunday’s revised death toll: More than 160 killed.

Turkey’s President Abdullah Gul urges international action on Syria where, he said, “a worst case scenario” is unfolding. http://www.rferl.org/content/turkey-warning-gul-urges-international-action-on-syria/24732895.html

The Syrian opposition group holding Iranian hostages has temporarily stayed its countdown to harm them unless the Syrian military releases three female prisoners and two families detained in Ghouta. Turkish authorities established contacts with the kidnappers and negotiations are ongoing.

Aleppo province: The Syrian military shelled al-A’qroub, Bab al-Ni’rab, al-Heidariyya, al-Marja, and al-Sakhour in Aleppo. Clashes took place in al-Eqba. Clashes between the Syrian military and the opposition resulted in the death of an opposition fighter near the Hanano military barracks.

The Syrian military shelled the towns of A’ndan, Maskana, Akhtrin, Darat Izza, Hreitan and Kafr-Hamra. The Syrian military shelled a building on the A’zaz-Aleppo road.

Damascus province: An explosion was heard in al-Qaboun. A bomb went off in al-Jobar and a suicide bomber targeted a Syrian air force intelligence agency compound in al-Harasta and violent clashes took place in Harasta today. The Syrian military shelled Mesraba. Violent clashes occurred on the al-Mutahaleq al-Janoubi road in Jobar neighbourhood. Clashes and Syrian military shelling took place in the al-Qadam neighborhood and an unidentified body was found in al-Qadam.

Syrian military shelling killed a civilian in the town of A’rbin. The Syrian military raided areas around al-Mqeilbiya in search of wanted people. An IED explosion killed at least 6 regime forces when their truck was targeted in the town of Rankous. The Syrian military shelled the towns of Hosh Arab and Deir al-A’safir.

Dara`a province: A sniper killed a young man in the town of Da’el. Seven bedouin were found dead on the Dera’a-Damascus road near Inkhel; they were killed by the Syrian military. The Syrian military heavily shelled the towns of Oum Walad and M’arba and carried out raids and arrests in the towns of al-Karak al-Sharqi and Seida.

Deir az-Zur province: The Syrian military shelled areas of the city of Deir az-Zur and shot two civilians in the al-Joura neighborhood. Heavy gunfire at checkpoints was reported in the city of Bukamal.

Hama province: The Syrian military shelled the town of Mourk. The Syrian military carried out raids and detentions in the neighborhood. One was killed and others injured in the town of KafrZeita.

Homs province: Syrian military forces advanced into the al-Khaldiyya area for the first time in months. Earlier, a group of regime forces entered a building on the outskirts of the al-Khaldiya near the Shar’ al-Qahira roundabout, and then they were trapped in that building as intense gunfire and explosions were reported. An opposition fighter was killed in clashes with the Syrian military in the al-Qusur neighborhood of Homs.
The wounded in Qusair were supposed to be transported to Lebanon for medical treatment but instead were dying of their wounds as the Syrian military imposed a blockade against travel. Explosions were heard in the village of al-Zra’a. An opposition fighter was killed in clashes at the Lebanese border. Shelling resumed by the Syrian military on al-Rastan.

Idlib province: The Syrian military shelled the towns of Afes, Has, Kafranbel, Kafrouma, Kafrsajna, Salqin and Heish resulting in 2 deaths in Afes town, injuries and destruction of homes. A Syrian military rocket hit a building in Ma’arat al-Nu`man killing 9 civilians (6 women, 2 children and 1 man). In Ma’arat al-Nu`man at least 13 men were documented as killed when opposition forces stormed the Arab cultural center which has become a Syrian government troop makeshift facility and a detention facility. It is unclear who the men were, possibly detainees.

Latakia province: The Syrian military shelled the villages of Beit Fares, Beit A’wan and al-Saraya.

Raqqa province: Clashes took place between the Syrian military and the opposition in the center of al-Mansoura village. The opposition stormed the building, and detained persons there.


Turkey launched another strike on Syria after Syria again fired over the border with Turkey. ttp://www.reuters.com/video/2012/10/08/turkey-returns-fire-after-syria-bombing?videoId=238252331&videoChannel=1

Syria fired on the village of al-Turrah in Jordan. Although Syrian-Turkish hostilities have been in the news for five days, Syria has frequently fired into Jordanian territory.

A mortar shell fired by the Syrian military landed in northern Lebanon on Monday and gunfire was exchanged across the government. The shell landed near deserted security agency post in Lebanon

Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney gave a speech at the Virginian Military Institute stating that the primary conflict in the Middle East concerns anti-Americanism vs. pro-Americanism – darkness or light, danger or democracy. On Syria he said “The President [Obama] has failed to lead in Syria, where more than 30,000 men, women, and children have been massacred by the Assad regime over the past 20 months. Violent extremists are flowing into the fight. Our ally Turkey has been attacked. And the conflict threatens stability in the region.” And “In Syria, I will work with our partners to identify and organize those members of the opposition who share our values and ensure they obtain the arms they need to defeat Assad’s tanks, helicopters, and fighter jets. Iran is sending arms to Assad because they know his downfall would be a strategic defeat for them. We should be working no less vigorously with our international partners to support the many Syrians who would deliver that defeat to Iran—rather than sitting on the sidelines. It is essential that we develop influence with those forces in Syria that will one day lead a country that sits at the heart of the Middle East.”
The Syrian opposition has produced its own music – revolutionary music – as in other countries of the Arab spring. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/johnny-farraj/nos-tefaha-band_b_1948874.html?utm_hp_ref=fb&src=sp&comm_ref=false
Photographs and an article for those unfamiliar with the Syrian conflict here: http://edition.cnn.com/2012/08/24/world/meast/syria-101/index.html

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 (2009)
Exchange Rate: 46.456 Syrian pounds per US dollar

Military Expenditures: 5.9% of GDP (2005)

Population Growth Rate: -0797.% (since the conflict) 

Population Age Structure: 0-14 years: 35.2%; 15-64 years: 61%; 65 years and over: 3.8%

Literacy: male 86% female 73.6%

Urban Population: 56% of total (2010)

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

Syria’s Golan Heights is occupied by Israel and 1,000 members of a U.N. Disengagement Observer Force patrol a buffer zone.

Syria Update, September 9, 2012 (Institute of Middle Eastern, Islamic, and Strategic Studies. By Sherifa Zuhur)

9 Sep

Syria Update September 9 (Institute of Middle Eastern, Islamic and Strategic Studies. By Sherifa Zuhur)

Current death toll: more than 90.

Yesterday’s death toll: 178.

Syrian women refugees including young girls are being exploited under the guise of marriage; the Internet seems to be aiding rather than inhibiting this trend. http://www.thenational.ae/thenationalconversation/comment/online-trafficking-of-syrian-women-shames-all-involved

A Syrian film director and journalist, Tamer al-Awam (34) who hails from Suwaida, was killed in Aleppo on Saturday according to the Syrian National Council. He had traveled to Syria from Germany to be part of the uprising. According to a different source, he had been shooting a film of the Free Syrian Army when he was killed. http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/syria/120909/syrian-filmmaker-tamer-alawam-killed-aleppo-amid-gove

Aleppo province: A car bomb killed 17 civilians and wounded 40 in Aleppo on Sunday night. This followed a warning by Abu Sayyaf, although no group had as yet claimed responsibility. http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/syria-criticizes-france-for-pledging-to-support-rebels-vows-to-cooperate-with-un-envoy/2012/09/09/91453c92-fa5e-11e1-a65a-d6e62f9f2a5a_story.html

It was earlier reported that least 27 persons were killed in explosions in the area of al-Kurra Ardiya.

The Syrian military shelled al-Sakhour, where some houses collapsed and deaths are reported and Hanano. There were clashes between the FSA and the SAA in al-Nayal street and the Sayyid Ali neighborhood as well as shelling by regime forces there.

Damascus province: The Syrian military have been shelling the towns of Zabadani and Yelda. Clashes took place on the new highway to Dara`a.

In Damascus, the Syrian military shelled the al-Asali and al-Hajar al-Aswad areas as well as the al-Jobar neighborhood. The Syrian military continued its raids into the Palestinian camps and captured some residents. Clashes took place in al-Qadam and the Syrian military shot and killed one civilian in Tadamon. That civilian was from the town of Kherbat Ghazala.

Dara`a province: The Syrian military bombarded the town of Naf`a killed 3 civilians (including two children).

There were clashes in the al-Lijah area. The Syrian military forces also shelled Heita, Sehm, Wadi al-Yarmouk and al-Yaduda.

Deir az-Zur province: Violent clashes between the Syrian military and the opposition were reported in the city of al-Boukamel and there were also reports of explosions.

Homs province: A bus carrying civilians and military troops was bombed as explosive devices that had been placed on the road from Homs to Masyaf were detonated. At least 4 persons were killed.
A land-mine exploded in al-Qusair killing 3 civilians.

Idlib province: The Syrian military shelled Maarat an-Naaman killing 4 and injuring 7, also one civilian was killed by a sniper. Syrian military jets bombed the town of Deir Sonbol. The Syrian military bombarded the village of al-Rami killing 4 civilians.

During clashes in the town of Harem, the Syrian military killed a defected officer.

Regime forces have shelled the villages of Beftamoun, al-Marghah, Mer’eyan, Meshmeshan, and Sarjeh and earlier in the day, they shelled the villages of Hass and Kafarsanjeh. The regime forces also shelled the towns of Kafrouma and Khan Shaykhoun.

Refugees: Two Syrian refugees, aged 20 and 23, wed today in the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan. http://www.boston.com/news/world/europe/2012/09/09/syrian-couple-wed-jordan-refugee-camp/qYtPBNVu6koO0BTuxuV6IL/story.html


Syrian government representative Jihad Makdisi accused France of supporting the militarization of the conflict and falsely claiming to support the mission of Lakhdar Brahimi to Syria. In the same news report, a doctor, Jacque Bérès from Doctors Without Borders claimed that half of the wounded rebels he was treating were foreign fighters. Dr. Bérès also said that the Syrian government was bombing indiscriminately and that the true death toll is perhaps twice that reported (currently at 21,000+ killed.).http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/10/world/middleeast/syria-criticizes-frances-support-of-rebels.html?partner=rss&emc=rss&utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

U.N.-Arab League special envoy to Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi arrived in Cairo for meetings with the Arab League and has spoken by telephone with Iran’s Foreign Minister, Ali Akbar Salehi. He may visit Tehran after traveling to Damascus.

Turkish analysts have noted Algeria’s support for Iran in its stance on the Syrian conflict and support for Bashar al-Assad instead of the opposition. http://www.todayszaman.com/news-291763-turkey-unnerved-by-iran-algeria-deal-on-syria.html

A Few of Syria’s Historical and Archaeological Treasures:

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.

Among Syria’s Creative Figures:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Issa Touma is a photographer, curator and director of Le Pont Organization, who supports the revolution. http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/5/25/38262/Arts–

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

Basic Facts about Syria:

A brief chronology of events of the last century in Syria – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-14703995

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).

Human Rights Situation in Syria 2012: http://www.hrw.org/world-report-2012/world-report-2012-syria

GDP Growth Rate: -2% (2011) GDP: $64.7 billion GDP Growth Rate: -2% (2011)
Unemployment: 8.3% Youth Unemployment (ages 15-24): 19.1% (female unemployment in that age category is 49.1%

Internet Users: 4.469 million (2009)Exchange Rate: 46.456 Syrian pounds per US dollar

Military Expenditures: 5.9% of GDP (2005)

Population Growth Rate: -0797.% (since the conflict)

Population Age Structure: 0-14 years: 35.2%; 15-64 years: 61%; 65 years and over: 3.8%
Literacy: male 86% female 73.6%
Urban Population: 56% of total (2010)

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

Syria’s Golan Heights is occupied by Israel and 1,000 members of a U.N. Disengagement Observer Force patrol a buffer zone.