Tag Archives: conflict

Syria Update, June 16, 2013 (Institute of Middle Eastern, Islamic and Strategic Studies. By Sherifa Zuhur)

17 Jun

Syria Update June 16, 2013. (Institute of Middle Eastern, Islamic and Strategic Studies. By Sherifa Zuhur)

Death toll:  140 including 52 civilians.

U.S. military proposal calls for a no-fly zone inside Syria to be enforced from Jordan. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323734304578543761501124132.html

The Syrian opposition fought Hizbullah brigades loyal to Bashar al-Assad on Sunday, in Aleppo, trying to take back territory lost to the regime forces. http://news.yahoo.com/rebel-brigades-check-loyalist-advances-aleppo-opposition-154205539.html

Refugees and Relief:

Canada pledged 25 million Canadian dollars to aid Syrian refugees in Jordan. http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5j1R-Hk_jRmzjZw7m7AjQdxlsxNXQ?docId=CNG.291f7198f79dfb18227784dffcad7b20.2d1

Michel Platini, the president of European football’s UEFA toured the Zaatari camp and pledged to help Syrian refugees. http://ph.sports.yahoo.com/news/platini-vows-help-young-syrian-refugees-184624621.html

Will the United States allow more Syrian refugees to be resettled in

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

As explained above, the Syrian regime forces and Hizbullah fighters battled the opposition in Aleppo today as the latter attempted to re-seize territory. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3gJDgtpnqBU

The body of a civilian from the town of A’zaz was found in a well in the Ard al-Hamra neighbourhood, having been tortured and shot. A mortar shell fell on the Qadi Askar neighborhood. Clashes took place in the Ashrafiya neighborhood.

2 men from the city of al-Sfeira were killed and regime forces bombarded al-Sfeira. Regime forces used fighter jets with machine guns on the town of Tel Rif’at. Clashes took place between opposition and regime forces, with support from the Popular Committee militia from the towns of Nubul and al-Zahra’. Clashes in Jabal Shweina killed one opposition fighter from Qubtan. Regime forces targeted and burned the farmland near Anadan.

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

20 regular soldiers were reportedly killed or wounded in an explosion targeting a military checkpoint near the Mazza military airport. This video shows the explosion at Mezzeh (it may or may not load): http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=U4nHvXw4Bf4

Regime forces bombarded areas in the Jobar neighborhood and clashes occurred there.

Opposition fighters from the Barza neighborhood targeted A’sh al-Warwar. At least 20 regular soldiers were killed in clashes in the southern neighborhoods. 1 child was killed and others when IED that had been planted by the sand barrier by the al-Madrasa part of Yarmouk camp exploded. Regime forces shelled the Yarmouk camp at dawn, and clashes were fought near the camp’s entrance.. 2 mortar rockets fell on the al-Bawaba al-Qariba in the Midan neighborhood.

Clashes took place on the Damascus-Dar`a highway near al-Qadam in which 2 opposition fighters were killed, a tank was destroyed and there were also losses by regime forces. Regime forces opened fire with machine-guns on the orchards of Barzeh.

Regime bombardment on Erbin killed three children and the rest of their family were injured. Regime forces blew up and destroyed homes on the western side of city of Harasta, near the highway. Regime forces bombarded areas of Bebila, al-Sabina, Hazza, Mou’adamiya, Yalda, towns, southern and western areas of Darayya, the Ahmadiya area, and the road linking Kafarbatna and Hazza. Regime forces bombarded areas in Beit Sahm and there were clashes there nearthe airport highway, reports of losses on both sides. Regime forces positioned in buildings in Jaramana also fired locations in Beit Sahm. A man from Zabadani was tortured to death after being detained by a military checkpoint several days ago.

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

An opposition fighter from Jabhat al-Nusra from the town of Mzeyrib was killed during clashes with regime forces in Dara`a today. Regime bombardment killed 1 civilian in Inkhil. Regime forces killed a woman from Da’el who worked as an emergency paramedic. In the al-Kashif neighborhood there was a report of the discovery of 6 more bodies of men tortured to death by the Syrian authorities.

Deir az-Zur province:


Unknown gunmen assassinated the head of the Farmers Union in the city of Deir al-Zur. One fighter was killed in clashes with regular forces in the al-Rashdiyya neighorhood in the midst of artillery bombardment on al-Hamdiyya.

Unknown gunmen kidnapped opposition media activist Amer al-Huweidi two days ago in Deir az-Zur.

Fighters of the Islamic State of Iraq destroyed a Shi’i Husseiniyya in the village of Hatla village. (Hatla is where 60 Shi`i Syrians were killed on Tuesday.)

Fighters from the Jabhat al-Nusra and the Murabitun brigade reportedly took over military court building and the Bimo bank building in Deir Ezzour following violent clashes with regime forces.

Regime forces bombarded in the city of Muhassan.

Hama province: https://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&q=hama+governorate&ie=UTF-8&hq=&hnear=0x15248293d5052f19:0x6e6de1581c39ed96,Hama+Governorate,+Syria&gl=us&ei=CdPLUKKbIqyF0QHB94HQAw&sqi=2&ved=0CIEBELYD

Regime forces carried out a campaign of raids and arrests in the village of Safeena, taking away 2 persons, one of them a refugee. 3 civilians and 6 rebel fighters were killed. A man and woman from the village al-A’lbawi village near Salamiya were shot by regular forces at the Salba checkpoint. Regular forces tortured to death a man from al-Hmeidiya in Hama after detaining him. Aeriel bombardment on a location in the countryside in Hama killed 1 opposition fighter from al-Sanida. Regime forces killed 5 opposition fighters, including a commander in an ambush in the southern part of Rif Hama.

Hassake province

Helicopters bombarded parts of the town of Tel Hamis, damaging properties.

Homs province: https://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&q=homs+governorate+google+map&ie=UTF-8&hq=&hnear=0x15230eeab10528a7:0x65655b88027a8699,Homs+Governorate,+Syria&gl=us&ei=BFPRUM6RBaTI0AHw1ICoCQ&ved=0CDMQ8gEwAA

Regime forces bombarded the town of al-Ghento town and several people were injured. Regime forces are bombarding the neighborhoods of al-Qusoor and Jourat al-Shayyah in Homs with mortars. Regular forces tortured to death a man from the Karm al-Shami neighborhood; A sniper shot a man in al-Wa’r neighborhood days earlier; a sniper shot a man in the al-Hola area. Regime forces tortured to death a man from al-Qreitin. Regime bombardment killed a child in al-Rastan. In clashes in the neighborhoods of Homs, 5 opposition fighters were killed.

Idlib province: https://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&q=idlib+governorate+google+map&ie=UTF-8&hq=&hnear=0x152500e6cc6ed27b:0xe59a7e2f651fc24c,Idlib+Governorate,+Syria&gl=us&ei=51PRUIiREsaB0AHN_YD4BQ&ved=0CC8Q8gEwAA

Regime forces bombarded parts of the town of Ma’arat Masrin, killing two civilians (one a child) and injuring others. Regime forces bombarded the towns of Telmnis and al-Dana, killing a man in al-Dana.

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

An opposition leader was killed by clashes with regime forces by the 17th division. Helicopters bombarded the area, dropping explosive barrels. The air force bombarded parts of the city of al-Raqqah, targeting a building by the traffic police building.

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

This article does not acknowledge the fighting that has taken place in Tartous – see previous Syria Updates.

Article on Assad loyalists in Tartous.


Syria’s Assad congratulates Hassan Rowhani on his victory as Iran’s new president. http://en.ria.ru/world/20130616/181699320/Syrias-Assad-Seeks-to-Bolster-Iran-Ties-after-Rouhani-Win.html

Earlier, the Independent reported that Iran will be sending 4,000 troops to Syria. However, there has been criticism of this report by Robert Fisk suggesting that there are no sources for the story. Including here for the sake of full disclosure.

Four Lebanese Shi`i men were killed near R’as Ba`lbak apparently in connection with the Syrian conflict. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/16/lebanese-shiites-killed-near-syria_n_3450298.html

UNESCO is holding its annual meeting in Cambodia amid concern for archaeological and historical treasures in Syria. Six Syrian sites may be put on an endangered list by the body: http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/breaking-news/unesco-world-heritage-meeting-eyes-syria/story-e6freoo6-1226664703774

Some 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 Zahariya library; 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, June 13, 2013 (Institute of Middle Eastern, Islamic and Strategic Studies. By Sherifa Zuhur)

14 Jun

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

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

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

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

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

Refugees and Relief:

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

About 840 Syrians flooded into Jordan bringing the number over the last 2 days to more than 1,300 as the FSA and Hizbullah exchanged fire in Dar`a province.

Aleppo province: https://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&q=map+of+aleppo+province&ie=UTF-8&hq=&hnear=0x152ff85ac00b17c9:0xf68ea3d8dc74b61b,Aleppo+Governorate,+Syria&gl=us&ei=R9DLUKfTFoWO0QHBuIHABA&ved=0CC8Q8gEwAA

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

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

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

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

Testimony of the mother of Muhammad Qatta

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

Damascus province: https://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&q=map+of+damascus+province&ie=UTF-8&hq=&hnear=0x1518e6dc413cc6a7:0x69e5b88ad5b0817b,Damascus+Governorate,+Syria&gl=us&ei=_s_LUPTwHqWw0AHTtYDQAg&ved=0CC8Q8gEwAA
A mortar shell fell on the al-Zahira al-Qadima, near the entrance to the Yarmouk camp. Another mortar fell on the Tadamun neighbourhood, and the Qaboun neighborhood was bombarded which caused the death of one man. A sniper shot a woman from Qaboun. Violent clashes broke out between opposition and regular forces at the entrance to the al-Yarmouk camp. Mortar shells fell on the al-Rawda area of Jaramana.

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

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

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

Dara`a province: https://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&q=map+of+daraa+province&ie=UTF-8&hq=&hnear=0x15195fa1016e8de7:0xff6b41761235d49c,Daraa+Governorate,+Syria&gl=us&ei=u9DLUPDfIcXq0gGRwIHADQ&ved=0CC8Q8gEwAA
Free Syrian Army forces and Hizbollah fighters traded fire for several hours on the outskirts of Daraa late Wednesday, marking the first clashes between rebel forces and the Lebanese Shiite group since their arrival in southern Syria 8,000 Hizbollah and Iranian fighters had encircled Daraa in a bid to lay siege to one of the final rebel strongholds in southern Syria.

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

Deir az-Zur province:


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hama province: https://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&q=hama+governorate&ie=UTF-8&hq=&hnear=0x15248293d5052f19:0x6e6de1581c39ed96,Hama+Governorate,+Syria&gl=us&ei=CdPLUKKbIqyF0QHB94HQAw&sqi=2&ved=0CIEBELYD

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

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

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

Hassake province

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

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

Homs province: https://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&q=homs+governorate+google+map&ie=UTF-8&hq=&hnear=0x15230eeab10528a7:0x65655b88027a8699,Homs+Governorate,+Syria&gl=us&ei=BFPRUM6RBaTI0AHw1ICoCQ&ved=0CDMQ8gEwAA

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

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

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

Idlib province: https://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&q=idlib+governorate+google+map&ie=UTF-8&hq=&hnear=0x152500e6cc6ed27b:0xe59a7e2f651fc24c,Idlib+Governorate,+Syria&gl=us&ei=51PRUIiREsaB0AHN_YD4BQ&ved=0CC8Q8gEwAA

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

Latakia province:

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

Raqqa province: https://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&q=map+of+ar-raqqah+province,+Syria&ie=UTF-8&hq=&hnear=0x153719cee4c60ce7:0x9d4657e00e899ab6,Ar-Raqqah+Governorate,+Syria&gl=us&ei=PJ_bUKrTBObF0AGMuYHwBw&sqi=2&ved=0CC8Q8gEwAA

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Basic Facts about Syria:

Population: 22,530,746
 (minus 93,000 to 100,000) Ethnicities: Arab 90.3%, Kurds, Armenians, and other 9.7% Religious Groups: Sunni Muslim (74%, other Muslim (includes Alawite, Isma`iliyya, Druze) 16%, Christian 10%, Jewish (very small numbers).

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

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

Military Expenditures: 5.9% of GDP (2005)

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

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

Literacy: male 86% female 73.6%

Urban Population: 56% of total (2010)

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

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

Syria Update, May 14, 2013 (Institute of Middle Eastern, Islamic and Strategic Studies, [IMEISS] by Sherifa Zuhu).

15 May

Syria Update May 14, 2013. (Institute of Middle Eastern, Islamic and Strategic Studies. By Sherifa Zuhur)

Death toll:

The SOHR, based on newly-received reports of previously undocumented deaths now estimates the documented casualties since the beginning of the Syrian uprising as being more than 94,000. It estimates the actual # of violent deaths at more than 120,000.

A new Syrian opposition group, the Union of Syrian Democrats has formed, according to media sources, to counter the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood in the National Council. The leadership includes Michel Kilo, Christian writer and human activist. http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2013/05/14/New-Syrian-opposition-group-formed.html

This video showing a person called “Abu Sakkar” (identified in Time as Khalid al-Hamad) in Homs from the independent Omar al-Farouq brigade eating the heart and liver of a Syrian soldier has circulated to disgust and criticism. He says “”I swear to God we will eat your hearts and your livers, you soldiers of Bashar the dog,”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iFZBxT7JHZw

Here HRW comments: http://www.hrw.org/news/2013/05/13/syria-brigade-fighting-homs-implicated-atrocities

The Syrian National Coalition discuss their efforts to impact the rules of war followed by the Syrian opposition and as shown in videos online. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=zrqC6OKLEng

The Assad family’s portrait artist tells people to go ahead and destroy his paintings. http://www.latimes.com/news/columnone/la-fg-syria-artist-20130514-dto,0,5930524.htmlstory?fb_action_ids=10200968829763553&fb_action_types=og.recommends&fb_ref=s%3DshowShareBarUI%3Ap%3Dfacebook-like&fb_source=other_multiline&action_object_map=%7B%2210200968829763553%22%3A344206152369464%7D&action_type_map=%7B%2210200968829763553%22%3A%22og.recommends%22%7D&action_ref_map=%7B%2210200968829763553%22%3A%22s%3DshowShareBarUI%3Ap%3Dfacebook-like%22%7D

A tribute to the women of the Syrian revolution here collected by Mohja Kahf.

Refugees and Relief:
The ICG’s report on Syrians in Lebanon. http://www.crisisgroup.org/en/regions/middle-east-north-africa/egypt-syria-lebanon/lebanon/141-too-close-for-comfort-syrians-in-lebanon.aspx?utm_source=lebanon-syria-report&utm_medium=1&utm_campaign=mremail

Andrew Harper, the UNHCR’s representative to Jordan tweeted that “Last night another 1,314 #syrian @refugees x’d to the safety of #jordan. This incl. over 700 children who have fled the fighting.”
Here you can see the physical enlargement of the Zaatari camp in Jordan. http://reliefweb.int/map/jordan/evolution-al-zaatari-refugee-camp-mafraq-governorate-jordan-14-may-2013

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

Clashes broke out today between opposition fighters from the Ghuraba’ al-Sham battalion and those opposition battalions which follow the Shari’a council (al-Hay’a al-Shari`a) These clashes occurred on the airport road, between Tariq al-Bab and Jabal Badro, and in the souq, after the fighters f the Shari’a council arrived to open the road which provides access to the northern countryside. The Ghuraba’ al-Sham had closed the road in retaliation to the Shar’a council battalions closing up their bases. Tensions also arose between the militias after the Shari’a council detained the leader of Ghuraba’ al-Sham.

The Ghuraba’ al-Sham and the al-Hay’a al-Shar’ia fighters kept on clashing as the Hay’a rebels stormed several houses near of the Ghuraba’ battalion leaders’ bases, using mortar and tank shells. One child was injured by the rebel fighting in Tariq al-Bab.

Tank shell shrapnel killed a rebel in Sheikh Maqsoud. Regime forces based in Sleiman al-Halabi fired a tank shell on the Sakhour neighborhood. Several mortar shells fell on the Bab Qinsreen neighborhood, reports of injuries and houses were damaged. Rocket bombardment injured residents of Kafar Kalbein village. The regime forces bombarded the area around the Mengh military airport, which is surrounded by rebels.

Clashes in the Jeb al-Jebli area resulted in opposition fighters taking some buildings from regime forces a defected officer was killed and there were other casualties on both sides. Several regular soldiers were killed when rebels launched mortar rockets on their position by the al-Hatab square in the al-Jdeeda neighborhood. Clashes took place in the town of Aziza.

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 regime forces hit the Qaboun and Tadamun neighbourhoods with mortars and multiple rocket launchers, several people were injured

In Wadi Barada, the Free Syrian Army responded to the regime forces attack in the village of Efrah. They destroyed three tanks and a Dushka and the SOHR reported that 300 soldiers were killed or injured (this seems a very high number, worth re-checking for accuracy).

The regime forces shelled the Fakhor area and resumed shelling of the orchards around Zabadani and Harasta. There were heavy clashes near the airforce intelligence branch in the town of al-Sabina. Clashes in al-Maliha resulted in the death of one opposition fighters. The regime forces shelled the city of Zabadani. Military helicopters bombarded Yabrud, and the town of Zabdeen was hit as well. Regime forces bombarded al-Nabk and there were clashes near the al-Nabk bridge. One opposition fighter was killed outside of Daraya. Some areas of the eastern Ghouta were heavily bombarded by the Syrian airforce.

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

Raef Mofid Al Masri, a child, killed by regime forces’ shelling of Dara`a.

The regime forces carried out artillery shelling at al-Karak al-Sharki resulting in casualties and injuries.

According to Naharnet, Hizbullah fighters have advanced to Dara`a

The bodies of 4 men were found killed with their hands bound in the al-Bakar area of Yarmouk valley. The regime forces shelled towns of al-Herak and Da’el.

Deir az-Zur province:


On Monday
Farouq Al-Hama of the FSA was killed during clashes at Deir Ezzor Military Airport

The regime forces shelled the city of Deir az-Zur with artillery and missiles in these areas: al-Urthi, al-Jbeili, Sheikh Yasin, al-Omal and Hawiqeh.

Smoke rising from the State Security building.

The regime forces shelled the city of Mouhassan with artillery fire from Deir Ezzor military airport (also on Monday).

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

Syrian regime forces attacked al-Furiya village. They burned down houses, causing the residents to flee. Regime forces stormed houses in the Manakh neighbourhood of the city of Hama. Clashes continue in eastern part of Hama province between armed men from the al-Zeghba village and regime forces. The airforce also bombed the area. 1 rebel was killed in clashes yesterday (Monday) in Helfaya. Bombardment was resumed on Helfaya on Tuesday.

Hassake province

Regime forces stationed in the Qamishli airport bombarded several surrounding villages with multiple rocket launchers. Several rockets fell on the village of Khirbet Hatem.

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

At Bustan al-Qasr a nighttime demonstration: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=naqsDGk9Jj8

In the Qusayr area, the regime troops captured three villages.

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

Violent clashes occurred around the Qarmid and Shabiba military camps. The regime forces bombarded the Jabal Arb’een area and the villages of Bzaboor and Ma’arbleet.

Latakia province:

Seven civilians were killed as they ran to Salma seeking safety.

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

A demonstration in Raqqa this evening http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dORbUcF9JCY&feature=youtu.be
In the city of Raqqa, the Islamic State in Iraq and Bilad al-Sham summarily executed three officers of the Syrian army. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=369179069857104&set=a.150495128392167.28686.121855461256134&type=1&theater

Tartous province.

In Tartous, Omar lost count of the bodies after 46.


Russia and the United States plan talks on Syria which have been pushed ahead to June. https://now.mmedia.me/lb/en/nowsyrialatestnews/us-russia-plan-for-syria-talks-slipping-to-june

The Jordanian foreign ministry announced that Jordan will host “Friends of Syria” meetings next week. http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2013/05/14/Jordan-to-host-Friends-Of-Syria-next-week-ministry-says.html

Britain and France have postponed a Syrian request that the United Nations designate the al-Nusra Front a terrorist group because Britain and France want the group to be listed as an alias of al-Qaeda, diplomats said on Tuesday.
The death toll from twin car bombings in Reyhanli has risen to 51. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan rejected the idea of a Syrian-Turish investigation into the bombings. He said: “The administration in power in Damascus is illegal … how can we recognize a structure that isn’t even recognized by its own citizens.” Erdogan will meet U.S President Barack Obama in Washington on Thursday.

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 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.

Sadeq Jalal al-Azm, philosopher and scholar was born in Damascus in 1934 and earned a Ph.D. in 1961 from Yale. His 1969 book, Naqd al-Fikr al-Dini in which he criticized the misuse of religion and caused his imprisonment in Lebanon. He wrote at least six books and many articles since, including a critique of ‘Orientalism.’ http://en.qantara.de/wcsite.php?wc_c=15850

Shadi Jamil, great Syrian singer of the Allepine qudud, born in 1955 in Aleppo.

Hamam Khairi, another singer of the Allepine qudud and muwashshahat, a student of Sabah Fakhri and Shaykh Omar al-Batsh.

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, preferring to remain in Syria.

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.

Adonis (Ali Ahmad Said), a poet, born in 1930 in al-Qassabin, Latakia to a farming family. After being imprisoned for a year, he left Syria in 1956 for Beirut. He has published many collections of poetry in which he experimented with various modernist forms and received numerous awards for his poetry. He lives in Paris. http://www.charlierose.com/view/interview/9297

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).

Hanna Mina, novelist, born in 1924 in Iskenderun and raised in Latakia, he would later be an exile in China. He described his education as the “university of dark poverty.” He wrote 40 novels including the autobiographical, The Swamp. http://english.al-akhbar.com/node/5584

Mohammad Malas, filmmaker, born in 1945 in Quneitra and studied cinema in Moscow. He won awards for his many films including Ahlam al-Madina, al-Layl and Bab al-Maqam.

Selwa al-Neimi, poet and author, was born in Damascus and left for Paris in the mid-70s. She has published three volumes of poetry, a collection of short stories and is best known for her erotic novel, The Proof of Honey.

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).

Nabil Maleh, born in Damascus, film director since his first release “The Leopard” 1972, now living in the Gulf. http://www.jadaliyya.com/pages/index/9845/a-leopard-in-winter_an-interview-with-syrian-direc

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–Culture/Visual-Art/Art-sees-light-within-the-Syrian-Revolution.aspx

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

Samir Zikra, filmmaker, born in Beirut in 1945 and raised in Aleppo. His films include al-Sakran Yanfi (based on a Naguib Mahfouz novel) al-Matar Saba`in, Lan Nansa, al-Shuhud, `Anha, Hadithat al-Nusf Metr, Waqa`ih al-`Amm al-Muqbel. He coauthored a script for Baqaya Suwar (based on a Hanna Mina novel), coauthored the script for Mohammad Malas’ Ahlam al-Madina, and directed Turab al-Ghuraba (about Abd al-Rahman al-Kawakibi) in 1998 and `Alaqat `Ammah in 2005.

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

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

14 Feb

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

Wednesday’s early death toll: 45 killed at least.

Tuesday death toll: Approximately 200 people killed, about 150 of them were combatants and 41 civilians (5 children)

Looting of artifacts is ongoing to finance the opposition.

Funding for battalions in Syria is a big business. As to why factionalism exists, this author repeats: ‘When the Syrian president, head of the military junta at the time, signed the unification agreement with Nasser, basically handing the country to the Egyptians and stripping himself of his presidential title, he passed the document to Nasser and said I give up my role as president but I hand you a country of four million presidents.’ (Some inaccuracies in this article (the non-violent resistance movement began first, there was no FSA in March 2011, there were many more than 30 Lebanese factions [up to 140], etc. ) http://www.lrb.co.uk/v35/n04/ghaith-abdul-ahad/how-to-start-a-battalion-in-five-easy-lessons

Syria’s secular and anti-sectarian revolution continues:

Refugees and Relief:

MSF (Doctors without Borders) plans to open a hospital for children at Zaatari camp in Jordan in two weeks. The hospital will have 35 beds, to increase to 60 beds. Five doctors and eight nurses are to work at the hospital which will cost $1.62 million.

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

Opposition fighters killed a young man in the Qadi Askar neighborhood of Aleppo, reportedly after cursing them because a mortar had killed 2 of his family members. The bombardment on the Karm al-Tarab neighborhood of Aleppo has killed 8 people. In The Syrian airforce bombarded the Dahr Awad, Qadi Askar, and Nayrab neighborhoods.

Violent clashes are taking place between fighters from Jabhat al-Nusra, Tawhid brigade, al-Muhajireen battalion and others with regime forces nar the 80th regiment. Last night the opposition fighters took over most of the strategic army “Base 80” following fierce fighting. Base 80 is meant to secure the Aleppo international airport and Nayrab military airport. Weapons seized by the rebels after taking the 80th regiment:

Clashes took place today near the Nayrab military airport. The opposition had seized the military airport at al-Al-jarrah and launched an assault on other air bases in Aleppo province including the Aleppo international airport which has been closed since January 1. The rebel fighters have taken control of tens of military jets, most of them MiGs 17 and some Sukhoi L39.

Clashes in the village of Dweirina killed 1 opposition fighter and 3 regular soldiers. The Syrian military bombarded Jeb al-Safa near al-Safira.

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

Syrian government forces bombarded several areas of the Jobar neighborhood resulting in 8 civilian deaths as well as injuries. The Syrian regime forcs also bombarded al-Hajar al-Aswad and crried out raids and arrests on the civilians of Rukn al-Din.

The regime forces resumed shelling Daraya in the evening using rocket launchers and heavy artillery. Fresh reinforcements of regime troops headed to Darayya for the 89th day in a row coming from al-Mazzeh military airport and the nearby barracks.

In Douma, shelling killed one man and 2 opposition fighters were killed in clashes. Shelling on the Hran al-Awamid area killed another opposition fighter. The Syrian military shelled the cities of Daraya, Harasta, and al-Zabadani. Clashes took place outside the city of Zamalka.

Dr. Ali Ismandar, Secretary general of the National Defense Front- was killed Tuesday night of tuesday along with his 2 children and cousin in an ambush by the opposition in the al-Qalamoun area near the town of Qarra.

Fighter planes carried out an air raid on the town of Deir al-A’safir, and on Kafrbatna town and the outskirts of the southern Bypass (al-Mutahaleq al-Janoubi) in the al-Ghouta al-Sharqiyya area.

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

Loud explosions were reported in Dara`a al-Balad. “Dozens” reported killed in al-Sanmin in shelling by the regime forces.

Deir az-Zur province:


Opposition fighters shot down a helicopter in Deir al-Zur. One of the foreign fighters sounds American.

The following were killed 11/02/13 (reported yesterday) Adel Abdulqader Al-Hwaij, in bombardment Haweejat Saqor; Hamdan Al-Jaddou’a Al-Khatter in clashes in al-Jbeile; Ahmad Al-Lahej in clashes in the western countryside; Najem Abdullah At-Turki, shot by a sniper near the military airport;
Yasser Jassim Al-Emmaier; originally from Al-Jurthi village in clashes near Brigade 113. Five others were killed in Deir az-Zur yesterday.

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

A man on a suicide mission blew up a truck next to a Popular Committee (pro-regime militia) checkpoint in the town of Sqeilabiya yesterday. More than 20 militia fighters were killed and injured.

Hassake province

Violent clashes occurred between Jabhat al-Nusra fighters and the remaining regime forces in the city of al-Shadadi. The al-Nusra fighters took over many areas of the city over the past 48 hours. Clashes and suicide car bombs killed 20 regime forces and at least 16 al-Nusra fighters, 3 of them are non-Syrian (and there are other bodies as yet unidentified) The al-Nusra fighters strengthened their position by bringing in a tank. Miilitary reinforcements were arriving from the city of al-Hasakah.

An Iraqi rebel fighter was killed during clashes with regime forces in the city of Shadada, yesterday (as well as 2 fighters originally from Deir az-Zur province).

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

Yesterday there were reports that 3 civilians from the Karm al-Shami neighbourhood of Homs were killed by pro-regime militiamen. In the same area, shabiha captured a family of 2 men and 3 women.

Baba Amr, a year later: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-21424563

Here is a makeshift field hospital in Arrastan in Homs: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BEItUse9acc

A child is cutting grass to eat in Homs and speaks of the fruits and vegetables he misses

A fighter here speaks of the Red Crescent coming, smiling and not even checking his injuries. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UpBhHuqHz0Y&feature=youtu.be

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 shelling of Kafrnabel has killed 7 civilians. Regime forces’ shelling of al-Bashariyya has killed five persons.

Latakia province:

The town of Nahiyat Kenseba was bombarded by military helicopters yesterday

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

Israeli troops shot at the legs of a man near the border on the Golan Heights today, after they fired a warning shot.

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

Syrian fighter jets fired at the rebel held area, at the northern entrance to the Euphrates Dam, yesterday.


Russia is continuing to provide anti-aircraft defense systems to Syria.

Qatar has handed over the Syrian embassy building in Doha to the National Coalition of the Syrian Revolution and Opposition. Mr Nizar al-Haraki is the ambassador to Doha for the National Coalition.

John Kerry, the new U.S. Secretary of State says he thinks he knows what will motivate Bashar al-Assad (to leave?)

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, February 10, 2013 (Institute of Middle Eastern, Islamic and Strategic Studies. By Sherifa Zuhur)

10 Feb

Syria Update, Feb. 10, 2013 (Institute of Middle Eastern, Islamic and Strategic Studies. By Sherifa Zuhur)

Sunday’s early death toll: More than 60, including 21 civilians.

Saturday death toll: 160 killed, including 84 unarmed civilians

Yuhanna Yazigi was enthroned as the new Greek Orthodox patriarch, Yuhanna (John) X in Damascus today, calling for peace and reforms. The regime used snipers on the rooftops around the Church of the Holy Cross, in Qassaa. http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/breaking-news/greek-orthodox-leader-enthroned-in-syria/story-fn3dxix6-1226575008393

Omran al-Zoubi, the minister of information has called for dialogue on Friday. Although he spoke of no preconditions, the talks are to involve “laying down of weapons.” It’s not clear if this is a formal response to al-Khatib’s offer.

Syria’s Druze population is increasingly supporting the opposition to Bashar al-Assad. http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/syrias-druze-minority-is-shifting-its-support-to-the-opposition/2013/02/07/9e3f52c6-6d5d-11e2-ada0-5ca5fa7ebe79_story.html

A teenager from Dara`a was one of those who began the Syrian revolution. Here he speaks in an interview. http://english.alarabiya.net/articles/2013/02/09/265284.html

Refugees and Relief:

Jordanian police fired tear gas on Sunday to disperse 200 Syrian refugees at the Zaatari camp following their attack on the storehouse of a Norwegian charity as it gave away aid, injuring a policeman in a 30 minute riot. (The photograph shows a burnt tent following a previous riot over a week ago) http://www.arabnews.com/jordan-policeman-hurt-syrian-refugees-riot
Rita Zawaideh returned from a visit to Syrian refugees in Jordan, and is again collecting medical equipment for the disabled, medicines, money, and clothing. Read her notes here: http://salaamculturalmuseum.wordpress.com/blog/

Two Americans speak of their trips to Syria to try to help refugees and injured: http://m.npr.org/news/World/170691561?start=10

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

Government forces committed a massacre in Jneid, killing 45 civilians, including women and children as they attempted to move to break the opposition’s siege on a military factory at al-Safeera, yesterday. Today, Syrian government soldiers traveling from Aleppo’s airport toward the same factory engaged in clashes with the opposition and suffered casualties; at least 4 regime soldiers were killed and 20 injured.

An opposition battalion leader was killed in clashes with regime forces around the Kweers military airport, near al-Bab city of Reef Aleppo. An opposition fighter was killed during clashes with regime forces in the village of Dweirna.

On Saturday, bombardment on al-Haydariyya and al-Qatirji neighborhoods of Aleppo killed 2 civilians, and a sniper shot a Kurdish-Syrian in Ashrafiyya. A man’s body was found in the Qweiq river

Damascus province: https://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&q=map+of+damascus+province&ie=UTF-8&hq=&hnear=0x1518e6dc413cc6a7:0x69e5b88ad5b0817b,Damascus+Governorate,+Syria&gl=us&ei=_s_LUPTwHqWw0AHTtYDQAg&ved=0CC8Q8gEwAA

A mortar hit a street near Shahbandar square in Damascus, killing 4 people and injuring others. (This regime-held area is where Natasha and I used to live).
A roadside IED exploded on Arnous street, in the heart of the city injuring 2 civilians, and was aimed at the police department on Arnous square. In Roukn al-Din, a suicide bomber blew himself up – 3 were killed.

Clashes occurred in the Jobar neighborhood in which one regular Syrian soldier was killed. A sniper killed two men in Jobar. The regime forces bombarded the areas near the southern bypass road (al-Mutahaleq al-Junubi) – these forces were operating from al-Qabun. A bomb went off in Qudsiyya. The regime forces also bombarded parts of the southern ring road.

The Syrian air force bombarded Douma and Adra and clashes with the opposition took place there. One fighter in Douma and one opposition fighter in Daraya was killed in clashes. The Syrian military also bombarded Daraya, Irbeen, Shab`a, Zamalka, and al-Nabbak. 2 men were killed in the shelling of al-Nabbak, one of them in the bombardment and the ohter under unknown circumstances.

This is the fifth day of an offensive by the opposition to take a key highway outside Damascus which runs to the north. Checkpoints on the road have changed hands several times since Wednesday. The opposition overran the Adnan checkpoint on the highway today.

One man was found dead in the Hala area. Heavy clashes took place near Aqraba and the regime forces shelled the town.

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

Syrian military (regime) bombardment of the Tariq al-Sad neighborhood of Dara`a killed a woman and 3 children. Syrian regime shelling of the town of al-Na`ima killed one woman. A man died of his wounds after a shelling of Busra al-Sham. The regime continued bombarding Busra al-Sham and al-Na`ima.

Deir az-Zur province:


Opposition fighters used tanks to bombard Brigade 113, as regime forces clashed with them north of the city of Deir Izzor city. A rebel fighter was killed today during clashes with regime forces near the brigade 113 in Reef Deir Izzor.

In Deir Izzor city, violent clashes again took place in the Matar al-Qadim neighborhood, and news were received about the progress of rebel fighters in the neighbourhood. Violent clashes are taking place in the Hweiqa neighbourhood.

The Syrian regime killed 10 civilians and opposition fighters in Deir az-Zur yesterday, most of them in clashes in al-Matar al-Qadim. Those killed included: Baibars Salem Ad-Darwish, Nezar Wahbi As-Saleh, Sulaiman Jassem Al-Sulaiman, Mahmoud Subhi Al-Mousa, Abdulsalam Hassan Al-Hamideh, Subhi Albdulmajeed Al-Ali, Isma`il ar-Rashid, Ahmad Ziyad Ar-Rahmou, Majd Ad-Din Fayez Al-Hussein, and Eyad Al-Farran (an FSA leader)

Hama province: https://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&q=hama+governorate&ie=UTF-8&hq=&hnear=0x15248293d5052f19:0x6e6de1581c39ed96,Hama+Governorate,+Syria&gl=us&ei=CdPLUKKbIqyF0QHB94HQAw&sqi=2&ved=0CIEBELYD

An opposition attack on the cement factory in the village of Kafarbhum, killed 5 civilian guards.

Clashes took place between opposition fighters and regime forces, near the town of Kafarnabuda town, and the regime forces bombarded that area.

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 regime forces continued their bombardment of the neighborhoods of Homs, including Jobar and al-Sultaniyya and there were clashes in these areas.
Today, 3 opposition fighters were killed in clashes with regime forces on the Homs-Damascus highway.
The regime forces’ shelling of al-Qusair and the village of Tiba in the Houla area killed 2 civilians, one of them a girl
Footage of the girl killed by the bombardment on al-Tiba:

The regime forces also shelled the town of Ghanto.
Ziad al-Zhouri, age 11, was killed on Saturday in shelling on the town of al-Qusair. His father was killed in the conflict in October of 2012. At least four opposition fighters were reported killed in clashes with regime forces in the village of Kafar Aya, outside of the city of Homs. Regime forces have been constantly bombarding this opposition-held village.
Heavy bombardment by regime forces on Rastan killed two men and one woman yesterday. Another person was killed in the shelling of Talbisah.

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

Intermittent clashes took place between regime forces and opposition fighters from several battalions near Wadi al-Dayf and the Hamidiya checkpoint. The Syrian military resumed bombardment of areas in the city of Ma’arat al-Nu`man city and the town of Kafruma.

Here a child sings violent slogans and sectarian sentiments of some of the opposition fighters: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5U3wwe-ebHQ&feature=youtu.be

Latakia province:

The Syrian regime forces shelled the town of Sala in the Akrad mountains and used helicopters.

According to witnesses, the children prisoners at the political security branch in Lttakia are treated even more horribly than the adults. They are routinely raped, their fingernails pulled out. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=357835480966876&set=a.310417002375391.72066.100002212814442&type=1&theater

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

Opposition fighters from Jabhat al-Nusra, the Uwais al-Qarni battalion and the Ahrar al-Tabaqa battalion took over the governorate building in the city of al-Tabqa after the retreat of regular forces. They seized ammunition and heavy weapons.


The families of Lebanese taken hostage by the Azaz Northern Storm Brigade in Syria try to bring attention to the prisoners. The captors claim these are Hizbullah fighters, the families say they are merely Shi`a. http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2013/01/201312304449502882.html

In an interview with Stephen Sackur, Khalid Meshaal, the leader of Hamas explains that Hamas is at odds with Iran’s support of Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria, but does not reject Iran’s support (as Sackur perhaps wishes he would say). At the beginning of Part 2 of the interview: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yl12BgRH62M&feature=player_embedded

UNESCO is holding a 4 day meeting in Amman from Feb. 10 – 13, 2013 on the illicit trafficking of Syria’s cultural holdings. http://www.unesco.org/new/en/unesco/events/programme-meetings/?tx_browser_pi1%5BshowUid%5D=12795&cHash=7da6eba66c

In the United States, calls to arm the Syrians continue, after it was revealed that both Leon Panetta and Hilary Clinton supported such a plan, but the White House opposed it. http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2013/02/08/arm_the_syrian_rebels_now_assad_obama

A Few of Syria’s Historical and Archaeological Rreasures 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, January 22, 2013. (Institute of Middle Eastern, Islamic and Strategic Studies. By Sherifa Zuhur)

23 Jan

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

Today’s early death toll: More than 60 including 23 civilians.

Monday’s death toll: More than 210 including 68 civilians

Seven civilians were killed in Homs on December 23rd, either by a “riot control” form of “poison gas” or by use of a chemical weapon depending on one’s definition of the still unknown substance. Some details by doctors conflicted with details in a secret cable concerning the use of this substance. The US State Dept issued the cable but also denied that chemical weapons were involved. http://thecable.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2013/01/22/secret_syria_chemical_weapons_cable_revealed

New footage has surfaced of the targeting of the University of Aleppo. This belies the claim that the damage was done by a car bomb and the FSA does not possess this type of weaponry. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eka1FK_iJIU

President Bashar al-Assad’s regime has put together a new paramilitary force of men and women, some trained by Iranian personnel to fight what the regime calls a “guerilla war.” The new force has been named the National Defense Army and includes popular committee militia members who had been protecting pro-regime areas from the opposition. Most of the fighters are members of the Ba`th party; they include about 500 women, men and members of various religious sects. http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Middle-East/2013/Jan-21/203174-syria-builds-paramilitary-force-aided-by-iran-activists.ashx#axzz2IkiEAJjF

The National Coordination body of the Syrian opposition proposed on Monday that the Assad government should admit responsibility for recent violence, in particular the shelling of the University of Aleppo which killed some 82 students. It proposed that both sides should cease violence; that political prisoners be released, that a transitional government be formed which should choose a new president, and that refugees be assisted to return to their homes.

Refugees: The IRC Refugees Commission report for January 2013 is here:


At least 12,000 Syrians have fled to Jordan over the last six days.

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 sniper killed 5 civilians near the Huzeifa bin al-Yaman mosque in the Bustan al-Qasr neighborhood of Aleppo. In clashes in Karm al-Jabal, one opposition fighter was killed. A mortar fell on a youth residence in Aleppo killing a young woman from Kafarkalbeen. An unidentified body bearing marks of torture was found near the Jisr al-Haj roundabout. Mortars were used in the shelling of a building in Salahaddin, killing one and injuring others.

Clashes occurred near the Managh military airport, where both sides reported losses. The opposition is pinning its hopes on taking over this airbase. http://edition.cnn.com/2013/01/22/world/syria-final-battle-for-north/?hpt=hp_bn2

The town of Khan al-Asal was bombarded, and clashes took place near the police academy and regime checkpoints.

The Syrian military used intense artillery shelling on Safeera yesterday and targeted a children’s nursery where displaced persons were housed, causing many injuries.

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
Tensions remain high in Yarmouk camp where clashes took place. The Syrian military shelled Douma, Daraya and Mu`adamiyyat al-Sham today, openly admitting in al-Watan that it is using air power on the opposition.
An explosion rocked the district of Dumar on Monday, resulting in casualties. Yesterday also saw continuous artillery shelling of Mu’adamiyah from the 14th division location.
A Youtube video of a young boy being tortured after being detained by Syrian military in the Masaken Barzeh area appeared.
The Syrian air force bombarded the town of Bala killing 8 civilians — 5 children, 2 women and a man. A car bomb exploded in the al-Sikka area of al-Sabina.
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

Here shabiha shoot at a van being used to transport wounded and killed from the side of the road. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OKivFeS1Hhw&feature=youtu.be

Violent clashes are taking place between regime forces and opposition factions in the Tariq al-Sad neighborhood of Dara`a, whilst the regime forces are bombarding that area. A sniper killed a child in the town of Busr al-Harir and regime helicopters bombarded that town, also the town of al-Shajara and al-Tasil.

The Syrian military shelled the town of Yaduda using artillery yesterday, at least six mortar shells fell.

Activist Muhammad al-Masalmah was gunned down in Dara`a yesterday by a regime sniper. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=47S0pg1JLCs&feature=youtu.be

Deir az-Zur province:


The Syrian military continued its bombardment of the neighbhorhoods of Deir az-Zor yesterday and today. Dawoud al-Khraykah Abu Sulaiman was killed yesterday.

The following footage from the countryside of Deir az-Zur province shows regime forces desecrating the bodies of opposition fighters.

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

1 civilian was killed in Hama province today.

A deadly blast in Salmiyya was attributed to a suicide bomber yesterday which was targeting a branch of the Popular Committees, a pro-regime militia, operating out of aan old carpet factory. 42 people were killed, approximately 30 members of the Popular committees and others were civilians.

The Syrian military resumed artillery and rocket shelling of Lattameneh yesterday from the Deir Mhardeh checkpoint. The Syrian military also shelled Kafarzeita, injuring many and used surface-to-air missiles from the Hama military airport onto various towns of the suburbs of Hama, yesterday.

Hassake province
Nine wounded opposition fighters arrived at the hospital of the Turkish border town, Ceylanpınar.
Heavy clashes in Ra’s al-`Ain (Serekaniyeh) continued for more than 4 hours; the opposition used 3 tanks and mortars against the Kurdish Defense Units. A mortar killed two children in the city on Monday. The assault on Ra’s al-`Ain began on January 16th and thus far, 56 [opposition] fighters have been killed.

Thirteen regular troops were killed in Hassakeh province yesterday.

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

For three days fierce clashes have taken place in Homs resulting in the deaths of at least 23 soldiers, with as many as 130 in total killed or wounded.

The Syrian military bombarded the Jobar and Sultaniya neighborhoods of Homs, as well as Kafru’id.

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 tank shelling of the town of Tamani’a has killed 2 civilians and injured 10. Violent clashes took place between regime forces and opposition troops to the south of Ma`arat al-Nu`man, along the Aleppo-Damascus highway.

The Syrian military bombardedKafarsanja and Babluwin, killing 2 children in Kafarsanja.
Intense artillery shelling from Foaa targeted Ram Hamdan, yesterday.

Latakia province:

Three regular troops were killed by the opposition yesterday.

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

Intense fighting in Khan Arnaba was reported 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

Yesterday 8 civilians were killed in the regime’s attack on al-Tabqah.


Russia sent two planes to Beirut and evacuated as many as 150 Russian nationals from Syria today. It was announced that two more Russian planes would arrive later today in Lebanon. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/23/world/middleeast/russians-fleeing-syria-cross-into-lebanon.html?_r=0
Some 30,000 Russians are believed to live in Syria. Russia denied that it is planning a large-scale exodus. http://in.reuters.com/article/2013/01/22/syria-crisis-russia-idINDEE90L0D720130122
The United Nations’ Ban-Ki Moon has condemned outside parties for supplying arms to Syria. http://www.dw.de/un-leader-condemns-syria-arms-suppliers/a-16539436
Prince Sa`ud, Foreign Minister of Saudi Arabia says that a negotiated settlement of Syria’s crisis is now inconceivable given the scale of violence that has been unleashed on the Syrian people. http://www.arabnews.com/prince-saud-says-negotiated-syria-settlement-inconceivable
Syria’s Chemical Weapons Program

Syria’s chemical weapons program dates back to 1973 when Syria obtained mustard and sarin from Egypt. It is one of the strongest programs in the Middle East region. Syria’s current chemical weapons development is being supervised by Iranian scientists. Ever since 1989, the focus of the program has been on improving the accuracy and distance of potential strikes via the delivery system. Six years ago, Syria possessed 100 to 200 sarin-filled warheads (in 2008) there may be more today.

There is no strong evidence that Iraq’s chemical weapons were moved to Syria (although there is no proof they were not, one may surmise that Syria’s CW program is robust on its own).

Syria obtained the design for the Soviet Scud warhead using VX back in the 1970s. It appears that Syria has the capabilities to produce CW agents on its own; it has procued nonpersistent nerve gas since 1984. There is confirmation of its possession of sarin since 1986. Syria’s CW program began with CERS, its Scientific Study and Research Center in Damascus and later, plants in al-Safira, Hama and Homs were established.

By 1987, Syria had sarin-filled warheads on Scud missiles and since then its focus is to increase range and effectiveness of strike capability. After 1997, Syria obtained warhead that could be fitted with bomblet-filled cluster heads and Syria worked to develop V-agents. There appear to be stockpiles of mustard and sarin and the country may have between 100 and 200 Scuds fitted with sarin warheads. As well as sarin and mustard to use in artillery shells or other air-dropped forms. Syria recently conducted a missile test (in August of 2012); Iranians were reported to be present for the tests. Iran and Syria had signed a defense cooperation agreement in June of 2006.

In the summer and fall of 2012, there were 2 warnings that chemical weapons stockpiles were being moved within the country and one claim (by a U.S. official) that Syria has begun mixing sarin – the components are to be stored separately.



These claims prompted warnings from the United States, France and other nations including China. Russia and Syria denied that Syria would use its chemical arsenal.

Syria’s Biological Weapons Program

Syria is a signatory to the Biological Toxic Weapons Convention, but has not ratified that Convention. While its chemical weapons program is very advanced, its biological weapons program is also quite robust.
Israeli and German sources state that Syria has botulinum toxin, ricin and Bacillus anthracis, and some other sources state that Syria also has plague, smallpox, aflotoxin, cholera, camelpox and tularemia. Syria then, possesses A, B, and C pathogens and toxins. Syria has advanced pharmaceutical capabilities and thus could have (and according to some accounts has) obtained dual use equipment needed for pharmaceutical and defense research and development. It has research centers in Damascus and Aleppo. Certain U.S. sources are certain that Syria can produce anthrax and botulism, but what was not known is whether it has a formal program to develop delivery systems for these weapons. A 2004 Swedish Defense Agency report said there was no evidence of a defensive or offensive biological weapons program in Syria. However, the US Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, the CIA, and the DIA have stated opinions to the contrary as have scientists and specialists. Other experts believe that Syria’s CERS (Scientific Studies and Research Center) has the capabilities and expertise to work on these systems, probably involving the use of drones and UAVs, or adapting warheads and cluster munitions to deliver the biological agents.(Cordesman, 2008) Russian advisors are said to be working with the biological warfare program. An American expert contends that there was a transfer from the Iraqi biological warfare (defensive and offensive programs), namely the camelpox virus.

Cordesman claimed that there were some indications that biological variations on ZAB-incendiary bombs and PTAB 500 cluster bombs and Scud warheads were being tested. Syria is technologically capable of designing adapted delivery systems which would have “the effectiveness of small theater nuclear weapons.” However he also noted that the Nuclear Threat Initiative held a far more restrained view of Syria’s capabilities in BW development.

A detailed, but accessible interview with Jill Dekkar is here:

Syria’s Nuclear Program and Development

Syria is a non-nuclear weapon state party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). Syria signed the NPT in 1968 and ratified it in 1969. Syria has a Comprehensive Nuclear Safeguards Agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency. Syria’s nuclear program began with nuclear physicist Abdullah Watiq Shaid who became minister of higher education in 1967. When the Scientific Studies and Research Center was established in 1969, Shahid became its director-general. The SSRC became the research facility to develop weapons for the Syrian army. For some time, its focus was on chemical and biological weapons, unusually housing chemistry, biology and armament departments together and using the cover that it was working on pollution and water purification. Chemical munitions were a major product.

The Syrian Atomic Energy Commission was created in 1979, and thereafter directed the nuclear research effort. Since 1979-1980, it studied nuclear power options, and the IAEA assisted the Commission since 1982, and in 1986 creating a facility which recovered yellowcake uranium from phosphoric acid, as Syria is an exporter of phosphoric acid-based fertilizers. With assistance from the IAEA, Syria acquired a cyclotron in 1996 and an ion-beam accelerator in 1997.

Syria tried to purchase reactors from various countries, including Argentina, but that sale was blocked by the U.S. In 1991 the Chinese constructed Syria’s research reactor at Dayr al-Hajar, a Miniature Neutron Source Reactor, not suitable for producing nuclear weapons.

Syria signed a nuclear cooperation agreement with Iran in 1992 and a plan for (civil) nuclear cooperation with Russia in 1998. In 2004, Syria was thought to be negotiating with A.Q. Khan’s network. On April 22, 2004, an enormous explosion destroyed a North Korean freight train apparently transporting many Syrian nuclear technicians who had come to collect fissionable material. In Operation Orchard, The Israeli Air Force bombed the al-Kibar site in Syria on September 6, 2007, a building in northwestern Syria which was a reactor producing plutonium that had been built with North Korean support.

The Syrian government has denied these allegations. It allowed the IAEA to visit the site and take environmental which revealed the presence of man-made uranium and other elements suggesting that a reactor had been there. For three years Syria refused to cooperate sufficiently with the IAEA. The IAEA stated in May of 2011 “that it is very likely that the building destroyed at the Deir Azzour site was a nuclear reactor which should have been declared to the Agency.” In June of 2011, the IAEA found Syria noncompliant and referred the case to the United Nations Security Council.

It should be noted that Syria also has a miniature neutron-source reactor at Deir al-Hajar near Damascus, built by China since 1991 and which went critical in 1996, and which now barely functions. It cannot produce fissile material and has been used for research and teaching purposes.

International concern circles around the fact that Syria had a concealed program and reactor, and therefore it may have been working secretly on other aspects of its program, or in other locations. The second major concern is that Syria has considered its chemical weapons to be a counterweight to Israel’s superiority in conventional weapons and thus an integral part of its offensive capabilities. The third major concern is what may happen to materials or facilities (as with BW and CW) in the case of regime change.

Al-Kibar reactor:
Chronology (IISS, Nuclear Programs in the Middle East in the Shadow of Iran, p. 77).

1997 Syria–North Korea nuclear cooperation probably began, according to US April 2008 briefing
26 May 2001 Satellite imagery shows no construction at site near al-Kibar
5 Sep 2002 Satellite imagery shows beginning of construction at site
2002 North Korea allegedly seeks to procure reactor components for Syria
2006 North Korea allegedly transfers cargo to Syria, ‘probably’ for al-Kibar
6 Sep 2007 bombs facility
11 Sep 2007 North Korean official news agency makes first foreign protest of intrusion into Syrian airspace
13 Sep 2007 Unnamed US officials claim Washington had accumulated growing body of evidence that North Korea was cooperating with Syria in developing a nuclear facility
20 Sep 2007 Syrian Ba’ath Party head flies to North Korea; Syria later denies reports that purpose of visit was to coordinate a response
20 Sep 2007 US President Bush makes no comment on Israeli attack but warns North Korea that the transfer of nuclear information is as serious as the export of nuclear materials
3 Oct 2007 North Korea reaffirms commitment not to transfer nuclear technology, materials or know-how in an agreement at the Six-Party Talks
10 Oct 2007 Syria destroys rest of bombed reactor
Jan 2008 Overhead imagery shows new building at site, probably for cover-up purpose
24 Apr 2008 US releases briefing concerning al-Kibar reactor
29 Apr 2008 CIA director says reactor would have produced enough plutonium for 1–2 weapons a year


As for delivery systems for any nuclear weapons, Syria possesses several hundred Scud model B, C, and D missiles, and perhaps a thousand SS-21 missiles in addition to other airborne delivery (aircraft)systems. There is some evidence that Syria has had foreign assistance in upgrading its Scud model B missiles.

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).

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. To this should be added the various militias – irregular forces paid by the Assad government, the new National Defense “anti-guerilla” militias, and unknown numbers of Palestinian pro-Assad fighters, Hizbullah operatives, Iranian and Iraqi forces.

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, January 12, 2013. institute of Middle Eastern, Islamic and Strategic Studies. By Sherifa Zuhur.

13 Jan

Syria Update, January 12, 2013 (Institute of Middle Eastern, Islamic and Strategic Studies. By Sherifa Zuhur)

Early death toll: 90 persons including 45 civilians

Friday’s death toll: At least 90 including 39 civilians.

Defections: Jumaa Faraj Jassem of section 30 of the General Intelligence Directorate defects from Assad’s government. https://now.mmedia.me/lb/en/nowsyrialatestnews/syrian_intelligence_official_says_he_has_defected

Refugees: The cold winter is impacting refugees’ lives and they express a sense of abandonment by the world: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nZLjXAW4biM

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

The Syrian military shelled al-Heidariyya and al-Jazmati today killig 4 civilians, including 2 children. Snipers killed 3 unidentified men in Bustan al-Basha. The bodies of 2 persons, were discovered in Khan al-Asal where one opposition fighter was killed. 3 opposition fighters were killed by regime forces in clashes near the 80th”and defense divisions of the Aleppo countryside and the Managh military airport. One opposition fighter was killed on the road to the Aleppo international airport.

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

Soldiers loyal to Bashar al-Assad killed 7 and wounded 10 at the checkpoint at 30th street in south Damascus between the Yarmouk camp and Hajar al-Aswad. A sniper killed Ghassan Shihabi, activist, director of al-Shajara Association for Palestinian Memory, publisher of many village books, founder of a cultural club and a library (that was shut down by the Syrian regime) in 2009. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=329263760522091&set=a.267629800018821.58374.265706396877828&type=1&theater

Syrian government troops captured much of Daraya today. They had been battling for weeks to take this area. http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Middle-East/2013/Jan-12/201987-damascus-hit-by-clashes-after-key-rebel-gain-activists.ashx#axzz2HncF3SB8 In the clashes in Daraya, 2 opposition fighters were killed and 4 regular troops were killed in an IED explosion of an armed vehicle in Daraya.

Unidentified armed men have killed Syrian track athlete Hisham Al Raqsha while he was travelling in his car in Hosha Blas area of Damascus countryside. He came second in the 2010 West Asian games and was currently working as a trainer for the trekking team.

The Syrian military bombarded Beit Sahem, Daraya, Douma, and Jdaidat Artouz and Mleiha. In Mleiha 2 children, 1 civilian adult and 2 opposition fighters were killed in the shelling and in clashes. Clashes also took place west of Mu`adamiyya. Clashes took place near al-Yarmouk and the regime forces shelled the southern neighborhoods of Damascus today and the eastern Ghouta. The bodies of 6 unidentified persons were discovered today in Mu`adamaiyya and a child was killed when a rocket fell on his home in Mu`adamiyya.

A large car-bomb shook the Abu Aref area of Sabina. Syrian military shelling of Hteitat al-Harash killed 3 men. An opposition fighter was killed in Irbeen, where the Syrian military was shelling today.

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

Clashes took place in Busr al-Harir killing 4 opposition fighters. An IED explosion killed 1 civilian when it went off near his house in Edwan. The Syrian military shelled Busr al-Harir, Seida and Um al-Mayatheen today.

Several mortar shells fell on the towns of Da’el, Oum al-Mayathin and al-Tiba in the countryside of Dara`a province.

Deir az-Zur province:


The Syrian air force continued its bombarding of the city of Deir az-Zur. Heavy clashes took place in the Huweiqa neighborhood. Shellling on al-Arfi killed one man. And another man was killed in the regime shelling of Huweiqa.

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

Clashes occurred on the southern side of Taybat al-Imam which together with regime shelling killed 2 men and a third died of his wounds in a previous shelling. Gunmen in the village of Oum Hartin killed 4 children and a woman. A man from al-Arb’in in Hama was tortured to death by regime forces. One opposition fighter was killed in the countryside of Hama.

Hassake province

Yesterday, an opposition fighter shot a young man from Ras al-`Ain in the al-Mahata neighborhood after a verbal exchange.

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
he Kaldiya neighbourhood was bombarded by regime forces, THe al-Rastan city of Reef Homs was aerially bombarded by regular forces, several were killed and injured. Fighter helicopters hovered over the Homs city.

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

Opposition fighters finally seized the Taftanaz military airport yesterday. In clashes there yesterday, 4 opposition fighters were killed.

The Syrian regime forces shelled the town of Khan Sheikhoun

Yesterday, regime forces shelling of Kafrouma killed a woman.

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

A rocket fell on the al-Areed road in al-Tabqah wounding several people and killing 4 civilians.


Fifty countries call for the UN to refer Syria to the International Criminal Court

Qatar renews a call for an Arab force in Syria if special envoy Lakhdar Brahimi’s efforts at peace-making fail. http://thepeninsulaqatar.com/qatar/221631-qatar-renews-call-for-arab-force-in-syria.html

The U.N.-Arab League Special Envoy to Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi expressed the urgent need to end the Syrian conflict on Friday in Geneva following five hours of meetings with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov and US Deputy Secretary of State William Burns.

Should the Syrian National Coalition take over Syria’s seats at the United Nations and the Arab League? http://www.rappler.com/world/19572-opposition-eyes-syria-seat-at-un,-arab-league

The Syrian-Iranian Alliance

History and background of Syria’s alliance with Iran.
“Iran Primer” By Jubin Goodarzi for USIP. http://iranprimer.usip.org/resource/iran-and-syria

Revolutionary Guards were in Syria

Why Iran supports Syria?

More support for Syria.

On January 9, 2013, forty-eight Iranians were freed by the Syrian opposition in exchange for 2,130 civilian prisoners held by the Syrian government (which included the Brides of Syria [also known as the “free brides”]) who arrived in central Damascus on Wednesday. The Turkish aid group, the Humanitarian Relief Foundation said it had been a leader in the negotiations.

Iran cozies up to al-Azhar in Cairo, but Egypt and Iran remain divided on Syria.

Another aspect of Iran and Syria’s relationship is Iran’s support of Hizbullah. Syria has also supported Hizbullah, hosts an office.

Iran will adapt if Syria is lost.

“Iran’s Syrian End-game”