Tag Archives: Deir az-Zur

Syria Update, January 1, 2014 – Institute of Middle Eastern, Islamic and Strategic Studies. By Sherifa Zuhur

1 Jan

Syria Update, December 31, 2013 – January 1, 2014   (Institute of Middle Eastern, Islamic and Strategic Studies.  By Sherifa Zuhur)

Death toll

On 28/12/13  185 Syrians were killed including 90 civilians,

130,433 Syrians killed from 18/3/2011 when the first protestor was  shot and killed in Dar’a until 30/12/2013.  The dead include 46,266 civilians (including 7,014 children and 4,695 women).

 

Disarmament teams gave up & ships returned to port, #Syria‘s chemicals not destroyed by 12/31/13 deadline. https://now.mmedia.me/lb/en/nowsyrialatestnews/527994-ships-return-to-dock-as-syria-chemical-deadline-missed

 

A missile fired by Assad’s regular forces hit a bus in Aleppo today.  http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Middle-East/2013/Dec-31/242769-10-dead-as-syria-regime-shell-hits-bus-in-aleppo-city.ashx#axzz2p70lwxrj

 

Could the war in Syria last another 10 years? http://www.strategicstudiesinstitute.army.mil/index.cfm/articles/Will-the-Syrian-Civil-War-Last-10-More-Years/2013/12/30

 

Syria’s government said invitations to the Geneva II conference had not been sent out as planned by December 28th. Blamed the delay on oppositions delay in attendance list.  http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Middle-East/2013/Dec-31/242760-syria-says-peace-meet-invites-unsent-blames-opposition.ashx#axzz2p70lwxrj

 

 

 

An older woman describes hunger, lack of medicine, medical treatment, the cold and deprivation under the siege by Assad’s forces.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sZ3n5Yohszk

 

Ten videos on Syria from 2013 collected by Brown Moses which made a difference

http://brown-moses.blogspot.co.uk/2013/12/a-year-of-conflict-in-syria-in-ten_31.html

 

Syria is the deadliest country in the world for journalists according to the International Federation of Journalists – worse than Iraq.  108 journalists were killed in 2013 in Syria. http://www.dawn.com/news/1077513/108-journalists-killed-in-2013-syria-deadliest-ifj

 

 

 

Refugees and Relief:   In support of the Refugee Council’s effort to settle Syrian refugees in the U.K.  http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2013/dec/31/least-uk-syrian-refugees

 

 

 

Aleppo  provincehttps://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 missile fired by Assad’s regular forces hit a bus in Aleppo today.  http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Middle-East/2013/Dec-31/242769-10-dead-as-syria-regime-shell-hits-bus-in-aleppo-city.ashx#axzz2p70lwxrj

 

 

Violent clashes were fought between regular forces and forces of the revolution in the neighborhood of Maysaloon.  Regular forces bombarded areas in the town of  Tadaf

 

More than 517 people were killed in two weeks of continuous ‘barrel bombs’ dropped on Aleppo by helicopters and air force. This included 471 civilians, of these 151 children, 46 women, 34 revolutionary fighters and 12 ISIS fighters.

 

On Saturday, 64 civilians and 4 rebel fighters were killed. One of the rebel fighters died during clashes with regime forces in al-Rashdeen. Snipers killed two other rebel fighters in Salahadin and al-Khaldiyye neighborhoods.  Of the civilians, 25 were killed by (the so-called barrel bombs on the Tariq al-Bab neighborhood (3 women, 4 children and a young journalist. 14 civilians were killed in an airstrike on al-Maysir neighbourhood, including 4 women and 4 children. Regime bombardment killed three children in the city of A’zaaz.  Two civilians died from their injuries from airstrikes on al-Mash’had and al-Haidariyye a few days ago. 15 civilians, amongst them 5 children, were killed in an airstrike on areas in al-Marjeh neighbourhood about a week ago.

 

 

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

 

Regular forces bombed areas in the city of Yabroud and the Rima area near Yabroud.

 

Clashes between the regular forces and the FSA:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GPRa3OPy71w&feature=youtu.be

On Saturday, 6 civilians and 10 rebel fighters were killed.  One rebel fighter was killed in clashes with regime forces in Jobar.  8 fighters were killed in clashes in al-Dameer, eastern and western al-Ghouta, and al-Reef al-Junoubi.. Two children died from injuries incurred by a rocket on Douma several days ago.

 

Dara`a provincehttps://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

 

On Saturday, 2 civilians and 1 rebel fighter were killed.  Regime bombardment on Mukhayam Daraa and the town of Oum Walad killed 2 men.

 

 

Deir az-Zur province:

 

https://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&q=Dayr+Az+Zor+province+map&ie=UTF-8&hq=&hnear=0x1548153314d3dbad:0x9d5a68804221c27f,Deir+ez-Zor+Governorate,+Syria&gl=us&ei=WtLLUJL5NanI0QGozIH4Bw&ved=0CDMQ8gEwAA

 

Assad forces bombarded areas in the neighborhood of the old airport.  Information was received about Jabhat Nusra’s bombing of 3 buildings where regime forces were stationed in the neighborhood of Jebailah with casualties among the regular forces. A car bomb  for the bombing of fighters Front victory three buildings stationed forces the system in the neighborhood Jubailah .  A car bomb blew up a commanding officer in the town of Asharh

 

On Saturday, 13 rebel fighters were killed. One of them was killed in clashes between regime forces and NDF fighters in  the village of al-Jafra village.  The others were killed in clashes with regime forces, among them a 14 year old rebel fighter and a rebel commander.

 

 

Hama provincehttps://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

 

Regular Syrian forces bombed areas in the town of Kafrzeita.  There were violent clashes between regular forces and revolutionary fighters dominated by the latter for several days.

 

 

Hassake province

https://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&q=AlHasakah+Governorate,+Syria,+google+maps&ie=UTF-8&hq=&hnear=0x400976912dee2dfb:0x1735b67e4a2454b0,Al-Hasakah+Governorate,+Syria&gl=us&ei=UMLTUOKtN4ra0QG9-oHYBg&ved=0CC8Q8gEwAA  Clashes took place between the fights and protection units of the Kurdish YPG and National Defense Forces near the train station in the city of al-Hassakeh.  A fighter died and two were wounded.

 

 

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

 

Five died after a mortar shell fell on Saha Hajj al-Atef in the neighborhood of Karam al-Shami in the afternoon.  The old areas of Homs were bombarded by regime forces.  A surface-to-surface missile fell on the neighborhood of Waer.

 

 

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

 

Some hopes and dreams for 2014 in Idlib http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ytwtDHiOpg&feature=youtu.be

 

On Saturday one civilian and 3 rebel fighters were killed or died of injuries. 2 fighters were killed in clashes with regular forces in Reef Homs. 1 man from the Sarmin town was tortured to death in the regime’s prison.

 

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

 

On Saturday, 2 civilians and 1 rebel fighter were killed. 1 rebel fighter died of wounds received earlier in clashes with regular forces near the 93rd division in the A’in I’ssa area. 2 children were killed by shells that fell on the al-Tabaqa.

 

 

International:

 

 

Lebanese army uses anti-aircraft defense on Syrian helicopters bombing Lebanese territory yesterday http://news.asiaone.com/news/world/lebanon-army-fires-syria-aircraft-after-raid-source

 

Soyuzneftegaz has signed a 90 million dollar deal with Damascus to explore offshore energy in the Mediterranean; an additional reason for Putin to continue supporting Assad.  http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2013/12/27/putin_s_mediterranean_move#sthash.PUpuZNpw.dpbs

 

Syria asks the U.N. Security Council to prosecute Turkey and all countries supporting militants who are fighting the Assad government. http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2013/12/31/342887/syria-asks-unsc-to-prosecute-turkey/

 

Russia will install Iskander surface (nuclear) missiles to Syria (according to Israeli sources)  http://www.hurriyet.com.tr/english/world/9691338.asp?scr=1

 

 

 

 

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

21 Jun

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

Yesterday’s death toll: 190 people were killed yesterday in Syria including 50 civilians.

France has delivered medical aid to Syria including an antidote for nerve gas. http://news.yahoo.com/france-makes-mass-medical-aid-delivery-northern-syria-193825971.html

Syrians protested all over the country today against the Assad regime as they have every Friday for months:

Protest in Latamneh today: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9dY6CzK5g4Y

Demonstration in Kafranbel, Syria

Protest in Darayya today

Protest in Mayadeen, Deir az-Zur.

Refugees and Relief:

451 refugees or roughly 100 families fled the violence in Syria last night to Jordan.

Double displacement of Palestinians in Syria. http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/palestinians-in-syria-are-displaced-again/2013/06/20/e03e7ad6-c879-11e2-8da7-d274bc611a47_story.html

Angelina Jolie tries to draw attention to Syrian refugees: http://us.cnn.com/2013/06/21/world/meast/syria-refugees-angelina-jolie/index.html?sr=sharebar_twitter

Syrian refugees and World Refugee Day: Present and future needs of refugees. http://english.alarabiya.net/en/views/news/middle-east/2013/06/20/The-Middle-East-s-refugee-generation.html

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

Regime warplanes equipped with large caliber machine guns are bombarding in the vicinity of Kwairis military air base. Clashes took place there at dawn.

Iyad al-Halabi, a citizen-journalist and member of Aleppo News was killed while covering clashes in al-Sakhour.

Overnight clashes took place in the village of Deir Ballout, in the Atma area, between the YPG and an opposition militia that includes non-Syrian fighters. These clashes resulted in the death of 2 YPG fighters; and three opposition fighters. The Syrian air force bombardment of the city of Manbaj killed three civilians. Pro-regime gunmen killed three civilians from Khanaser near al-Sfeira.
The opposition targeted regime positions in eastern Rif Aleppo, in Mathanat Shegheib and Dweirina. The regime forces bombarded the city of al-Sfeira. Several mines exploded as a military motorcade left the town of Khanaser town towards the al-Bouz exit, no reports of casualties.

Regime forces bombarded the Sheikh Maqsoud and al-Meyser neighborhoods overnight. Several rockets hit the neighborhood of Ashrafiya and al-Neel street. Sseveral people were injured on al-Neel. Two opposition fighters were killed in clashes in the neighborhood of Sleiman al-Halabi.
The SOHR urged the ICRC to go the Aleppo Central Prison where conditions have deteriorated. Three prisoners died of tuberculosis yesterday, there is a severe lack of food and medicine, and an outbreak of scabies.
More than 100 prisoners died in the prison since April 2013. The opposition began an offensive toward the prison saying it would free the prisoners then. It took control of surrounding areas which cut off the supply routes to the prison, and then took over nearby buildings on May 2, 2013. A suicide bomb on May 23, 2013 caused the regime forces to retreat into the buildings.

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 woman was killed by regime forces bombardment in al-Qaboun – the heavy shelling caused a massive explosion earlier in the day. The regime forces may have used a surface-to-surface missile on that neighborhood where two men died of their wounds from the continuous bombardment; the regime has been trying to storm al-Qaboun for three days.

A mortar hit in Yalda, near al-Uroba street. The opposition targeted the Jabe’din regime checkpoint with mortars and sniper fire, reportedly causing casualties and damaging some military vehicles. 1 opposition died after clashes in Darayya. The regime forces bombarded areas of Erbin, Douma, the orchards al-Maliha, and the eastern Ghouta towns and villages.

The regime forces bombarded the area between the Qaboun neighbourhood and the city of Erbin city, by the south ring road, with rockets. Clashes continued there and the opposition destroyed a tank.

Clashes took place after midnight in the orchards of the Barzeh neighburhood, with reports of losses on both sides.

Dara`a province: https://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&q=map+of+daraa+province&ie=UTF-8&hq=&hnear=0x15195fa1016e8de7:0xff6b41761235d49c,Daraa+Governorate,+Syria&gl=us&ei=u9DLUPDfIcXq0gGRwIHADQ&ved=0CC8Q8gEwAA

Regime forces have launched fierce rocket and heavy artillery shelling on Tariq Assed district, the Refugee Camp in Dar’aa al-Mattah and several districts in Dar’aa al-Balad. Clashes took place at dawn near the Bina’ al-shabab checkpoint in Dara`a al-Balad. An explosion rocked the town of Busra al-Sham after midnight, reports indicate that it was an attack on a regime position. A car-bomb exploded in the village of Alqin mainly inhabited by Alawi and Murshidi civilians. It injured 10 civilians.

Deir az-Zur province:

https://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&q=Dayr+Az+Zor+province+map&ie=UTF-8&hq=&hnear=0x1548153314d3dbad:0x9d5a68804221c27f,Deir+ez-Zor+Governorate,+Syria&gl=us&ei=WtLLUJL5NanI0QGozIH4Bw&ved=0CDMQ8gEwAA

Regime heavy artillery shelling on al-Hamidiyyah and Shaikh Yaseen

Clashes took place in the al-Resafa neighborhood, and the regime air force bombarded it and also the Hamidiya, Rushdiya, al-Jbeila and al-Matar al-Qadim neighborhoods of Deir az-Zur in the 372nd day of its siege of the city. One opposition fighter was killed by clashes in al-Jbeila.

On Thursday, the following were killed: Tawfiq Sulaiman Almonawer

Saad Ibrahim Al-Alusi; Hassan Obaid Al-Hussein



Mohammed Shaher Hussein

Ammar Abdul-Razzaq al-Hayes; Ahmed Ghallab Al-Abdan; Mahmoud Ali Hassoun

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 took place between regime forces and opposition fighters, near the village of Qasr Ibn Wardan in eastern Rif Hama with casualties on both sides.

10 dead Syrian troops were discovered near the town of Mas`ud in two caves and house where regime forces had buried them.

Regime forces stormed the village of Soha in eastern Rif Hama, and burned many houses.

Opposition fighters launched several rockets on the 66th battalion in eastern Rif Hama. The regime forces bombarded areas in the town of Qastoun.

Hassake province
https://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&q=AlHasakah+Governorate,+Syria,+google+maps&ie=UTF-8&hq=&hnear=0x400976912dee2dfb:0x1735b67e4a2454b0,Al-Hasakah+Governorate,+Syria&gl=us&ei=UMLTUOKtN4ra0QG9-oHYBg&ved=0CC8Q8gEwAA

Demonstration in al-Qamishli on 21 June, 2013: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=aenPA4Rkoe8

Demonstration in Amuda on 19 June, 2013: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OkUFkFmfHOU&feature=share

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

Eight civilians including a woman from the city of Hama were summarily executed by a pro-regime “people’s committee” in the Hola area of Homs province as they returned from Lebanon. The city of al-Rastan and the Hola area of Reef Homs were bombarded by regime forces.

Civilians held protests in al-Fardus street and from al-Omari mosque, demanding the fall of the regime at all costs.

The al- Omari mosque protest:

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 town of Ihsim in Reef Idlib is under bombardment by mortar. Regime forces bombarded the periphery of the town of al-Bara, and the city of Ma`arat al-Nu`man. Regime forces bombarded Ma’arat Masrin, Mseibin, Habit, Ma’asran and Kurin over the night (from Thursday into Friday). Heavy shelling on Kurin tonight as well. Regime forces also bombarded Kafarsajna.

Sign in Kafranbel.

Friday demonstration in Bennish:

Latakia province:
https://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&q=latakia+governorate+google+maps&ie=UTF-8&hq=&hnear=0x15241c8bc2bf561f:0xdbb2edac5c45c32b,Latakia+Governorate,+Syria&gl=us&ei=ghv_UOaOOMGW0QH88YDYDw&ved=0CC0Q8gEwAA

Regime forces bombarded the town of Salma.

This video shows regime shelling of villages in Latakia:

Unconfirmed reports by regime-funded sources that opposition troops had been killed in towns of Talla, Shahroora and al-Sukkariyya, listing the dead and calling them “rats” and “rodents.”

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, regime warplanes attacked the National Hospital in al-Raqqa. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DKIw4fnOeAs&feature=youtu.be

Complaints against Jabhat al-Nusra in al-Raqqa on 6/18. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DKIw4fnOeAs&feature=youtu.be

Women continued their sit-in against Jabhat al-Nusra on 6/19
http://syrianewsdesk.com/en/news/al-raqqa-women-persist-their-sit-near-al-nusra-headquarters

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

Regime forces raided homes in al-Bayda on Wednesday and Thursday. The bodies of two young men from al-Bayda who had been tortured to death were returned to their families there.

International:

U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry has traveled to Qatar to discuss aid to the Syrian opposition with the Friends of Syria. http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Middle-East/2013/Jun-21/221143-kerry-heads-to-qatar-to-talk-syria-rebel-support.ashx#axzz2WsH0Rbyg

Jordanians demonstrated against Assad and Hizbullah in Amman. http://www.naharnet.com/stories/en/87740-jordanian-protesters-rally-against-hizbullah-assad

Two brothers from east London denied kidnapping journalists in Syria: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-23004079

The Philippines may pull its peacekeepers out of the Golan Heights.
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/21/world/middleeast/philippines-warns-that-it-may-pull-peacekeepers-out-of-golan.html?src=recg&gwh=673ADC35B3074FA7D6B62A5F7226C249

The Lebanese army sealed off the area near Parliament after Syria-related demonstrations became violent on Thursday night. Demonstrators opposed a decision to postpone parliamentary elections. The new Lebanese government has been unable to form because of divisions over Syria. http://www.arabnews.com/news/455765

Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov says Russia will sell Syria S-300 missiles as promised. http://www.haaretz.com/news/middle-east/russia-stands-by-its-contract-to-sell-s-300-air-defense-missiles-to-syria-1.530977

Spanish authorities arrested eight people in Ceuta suspected of recruiting fighters to jihad in Syria. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-22999619

Appendix: Some information on the Murshdis of Syria, a sub-sect of the Alawis:
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/store/10.1111/j.1478-1913.2012.01416.x/asset/muwo1416.pdf;jsessionid=76BA911E3A427F7BFE23EE071FB7AA48.d01t03?v=1&t=hi7r5ywe&s=89bda5d6d4c7eff8493ba6cb547c1e69052ab301

UNESCO put six Syrian sites on its endangered World Heritage list: Damascus, Bosra, the oasis of Palmyra, the castles of Qal`at Salahaddin and Crac des Chevaliers, and the ancient villages of northern Syria:
http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2013/06/2013620525729467.html

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 8, 2013 (Institute of Middle Eastern, Islamic and Strategic Studies. By Sherifa Zuhur)

8 Jun

Syria Update June 8, 2013. (Institute of Middle Eastern, Islamic and Strategic Studies. By Sherifa Zuhur)

Early death toll: 70 killed including 22 civilians.

Friday’s death toll: 110 killed, including 36 civilians and among these civilians 5 women and 3 men were tortured to death by regime forces.

The opposition’s lost battle for Qusayr was sponsored by Saudi Arabia, and counter to popular mythology was the first to be so backed (other than efforts on the Jordanian border. http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2013/06/06/syria_is_now_saudi_arabias_problem?page=full

Syria’s National Coalition again ruled out attending the U.S.-Russian sponsored peace talks in Geneva. https://now.mmedia.me/lb/en/nowsyrialatestnews/syria-opposition-again-rules-out-peace-talks Georges Sabra said that the Syrian opposition needs military assistance, not talks.

Lina Sinjab’s farewell to Damascus. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-22826636

Interview with Ahrar al-Sham leader Abu Abdullah al-Hamawi http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fL5dzLlmORI&feature=youtu.be

Refugees and Relief:

The United Nations launched its largest ever appeal for aid for war-torn Syria. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-22813207#TWEET781827

Syrian refugees in Lebanon exceed 511,000 according to the UNHCR.

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

10 opposition fighters were killed in clashes and also bombardment in Jabal Shweihina incuding a local commander. A sniper killed a man in the Bustan al-Qasr neighborhood. Eight regular troops were killed in Aleppo today.

The FSA continued to besiege the Aleppo Central Prison. https://twitter.com/TaziMorocco/status/343458580789342209/photo/1

Regime forces bombed the area between Anadan and Hraitan.
http://wikimapia.org/#lang=en&lat=36.308762&lon=37.053452&z=12&m=b&tag=44605&search=Anadan

A surface-to-surface missile killed 3 civilians in the town of Kafarhamra.

Three opposition fighters were killed by the YPG in clashes on the road between the viallages of Jeibara and Beineh in the Efrin area today. On Friday, the YPG in the Efrin area took over the villages of Basila in Nahiyat Shirawa, and Bashmera. This followed two days of heavy clashes with the opposition which had attacked the Kurdish villages on the 25th of May and besieged them. Clashes continued on Friday in the villages of al-Zeyara and Beineh. Also on Friday, regime forces in the Mengh military airport targeted one of the houses in the village of Mengh, setting it on fire.

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

An unidentified body was found in the Hamish area of the Barzeh neighborhood. A large explosion was heard in al-Zahira.

In clashes and regime bombardment, five opposition fighers were killed in al-Maliha, Erbin and Hazarma. 1 man who was part of a medical team trying to evacuate the wounded from Douma was killed by regime fire. A man was killed in unknown circumstances in Zamalka. A man and his son were discovered after being killed in their home in al-Tal.

Regime bombardment of Douma killed 2 children, yesterday (Friday). Also, the regime forces bombarded areas of Darayya. There were clashes around Mu’adamiyya; one opposition fighter was killed in clashes near Erbin by the ring road and the airforce bombarded the village of Ras al-Ein (all yesterday).

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

In clashes in Bosra, Inkhil, Na’ima and the city of Dar`a, 4 opposition fighters were killed and one was a local commander. 8 civilians were killed in the province today — the regime forces tortured to death 2 civilians from the Der’a refugee camp who were being detained. 4 civilians were killed by bombardment on Jassim, Nimir, and Inkhil. 1 child was killed by the gunfire in the town of Bosra al-Sham. 1 man died of his wounds from the bombardment several days ago on the al-Kashif in Dar`a.

Deir az-Zur province:

https://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&q=Dayr+Az+Zor+province+map&ie=UTF-8&hq=&hnear=0x1548153314d3dbad:0x9d5a68804221c27f,Deir+ez-Zor+Governorate,+Syria&gl=us&ei=WtLLUJL5NanI0QGozIH4Bw&ved=0CDMQ8gEwAA

1 defected soldier was killed in clashes in the city of Deir az-Zour. Also, the following were killed from May 6 – 7 and have been identified:

Noor Mohammad Alhajir, a 13 year old girl
Ammar Alrahmo
Mowaffaq Dawoud Alabdllah
Mahmoud Khaled Alissa
Hamad Hamoud Albakdsh
Nori Alahmad
Sobhi Alaskar

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

Medical sources in the city of al-Salamiyah confirmed that Islamist opposition factions killed 11 members of the Syrian Armed Forces and the National Defense Forces when they attacked the Nahiyat al-Se’en checkpoint. One of the dead was an officer with the rank of captain. More than 20 regime forces were injured. The opposition fighters also suffered losses. 1 opposition fighter was killed in clashes near the al-Emya checkpoint at the town of al-Sa’en.

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

1 rebel was killed while trying to evacuate the injured from al-Quseir city. 7 civilians, including a woman, were killed by a car bomb in the al-Adawi area of Homs (a mostly Alawi area). http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2013/06/08/Car-bomb-kills-7-people-in-central-Syrian-city.html

Syrian regime forces took over the last opposition-held area in al-Qusayr at eastern Buweida village, four days after al-Qusayr fell to Hizbullah and the Syrian army. Buweida appears to be in ruins. https://now.mmedia.me/lb/en/nowsyrialatestnews/syrian-regime-says-it-overruns-last-rebel-bastion-near-al-qusayr

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

On Friday, 2 women and a man were killed by the bombardment on the village of Megher al-Hamam, near the town of Habit.

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

2 civilians, an adult and a child were killed by the helicopter bombardment on the city of al-Tabqa.

International:

Iraq’s foreign minister, Hoshyar Zebari says the country is not sending fighters to Syria. (Does that mean they are volunteering and arriving on their own?) http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2013/06/08/Iraqi-FM-says-Baghdad-not-sending-fighters-to-Syria-.html

On Friday, Russia’s Putin made it known that he would like to send Russian forces to the Golan Heights to relieve the Austrian peacekeeping forces there, (being withdrawn by Austria.) http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/putin-offers-russian-troops-as-golan-heights-peacekeepers-to-replace-austrian-forces-8649706.html

However, the United Nations responded that members of the UN Security Council cannot send peacekeeping troops, therefore it rejected Russia’s offer. http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/world/2013/06/08/UN-says-it-can-t-accept-Russia-s-offer-of-Golan-troops.html

In Lebanon, fighting related to the conflict in Syria once again erupted in Tripoli’s souks. http://www.naharnet.com/stories/en/86186-fighting-erupts-again-in-central-tripoli-s-old-souks

Wounded anti-regime fighters who fell in al-Qusayr were evacuated to Lebanon and are being treated in Ba’lbak area hospitals (al-Jazeera reports that they went to Shtoura to the hospital) (I wonder if that includes the Imam Khomeini Hospital, the primo facility in Ba’lbak, somehow doubt that). http://www.naharnet.com/stories/en/86173-dozens-of-anti-regime-fighters-including-10-lebanese-arrive-at-bekaa-hospitals-from-qusayr

More than 90 wounded have been evacuated.

Saudi Arabia’s Grand Mufti, Shaykh Abdulaziz bin Abdullah al-Shaykh condemned Hizbullah following its intervention in Syria. http://www.yalibnan.com/2013/06/08/top-saudi-cleric-urges-end-to-hezbollah-aggression/

I thought you might benefit from this explanation of RPGs, from the Encyclopedia of U.S. Middle Eastern Wars, edited by Spencer Tucker (and myself and Dave Zebecki as assisting editors) and following that a few questions on Russia.

Rocket-Propelled Grenade (RPG)
A short-range, shoulder-fired, infantry antitank and anti-personnel weapon. Rocket-Propelled Grenades (RPG) have also been used from time to time against aircraft, especially helicopters. RPG has been popularly translated as “rocket-propelled grenade,” but the acronym actually stands for Ruchnoy Protivotankovy Granatomyot, Russian for “handheld antitank grenade launcher.” In the 1950s, the production was taken over by the Bazalt State Research and Production Enterprise, which continues to produce the Russian-made RPG today. The RPG fires a fin-stabilized, oversized explosive charge to penetrate armored vehicles. RPG warheads, ranging from 70mm to 85mm in diameter, come in thermobaric (fuel-air explosive), fragmentation, HEAT (high explosive anti tank), and high explosive configurations. The most successful and commonly used RPG version today is the RPG-7 and its variants. It has been in service since 1961, when it replaced the earlier RPG-2 that had been introduced in 1949.
The RPG is a single-shot weapon, requiring reloading after each firing. In its regular military deployment, the RPG is used by a two-person team, with the shooter carrying the weapon and two additional rounds of ammunition. The second team member carries an additional three rounds of ammunition, and is also trained to fire the weapon if the primary shooter is incapacitated. A well-trained RPG team can fire 4-6 rounds per minute.
The weapon is comprised of a reusable smooth-bore, 40mm tube that fires a front-loaded projectile. The tube is 37.4 inches long and weighs 17.4 pounds unloaded. With the grenade loaded, it weighs 22 pounds. The weapon is controlled by two pistol-grip handles with an unusual configuration, as the trigger mechanism is located in the forward handle, with the rear grip used for additional stability. The grenade itself is made up of two parts, the warhead with a sustainer motor, and the booster charge. These parts must be screwed together before loading and firing.
The RPG is recoilless, with the recoil of the rocket exiting through the breech exhaust opening. The grenade is a rocket-assisted projectile and is ejected from the launcher tube by a small strip powder charge at a velocity of about 380 feet per second. After traveling about 36 feet, a sustainer rocket ignites and increases the grenade’s velocity to a maximum 960 feet per second. After initial launch, a set of fins opens in the tail section of the projectile. These fins cause the projectile to spin, improving stability in flight.
Firing the new PG-7VR tandem-charge ammunition, the RPG-7 can penetrate nearly 2 feet of steel with explosive reactive armor, 5 feet of reinforced concrete, 6.5 feet of brickwork, or 12 feet of log or sand. The RPG round can put a 2-inch hole in walls, but does not knock down the entire wall. It is highly effective in urban warfare against troops inside buildings. In this manner, it was used to great effect against American forces during the Vietnam War at the Battle of Hue in 1966.
The RPG-7 has two standard sights, a primary 2.5 power optical telescopic sight, and a permanently-attached iron sight as a backup. In addition, night-vision sights may be attached in place of the optical sight. Two factors make accurate firing difficult, particularly at longer ranges, even in ideal weather conditions. First, the shooter must estimate range with a high degree of precision. This is helped greatly by the optical sight, but remains a crucial factor in achieving a hit. Second, the weight of the grenade at the forward end of the RPG makes it difficult to hold the weapon steady for any length of time. This means that the shooter must line up his sights and fire quickly. Without practice, a shooter can hit a vehicle-sized target most of the time at ranges of 150-300 feet. With training, the RPG has an effective range of 1,000 feet against moving targets and about 1,600 feet against stationary targets.
Unlike most projectiles in flight, the RPG’s grenade flies into a crosswind, and not with the direction of the wind. This fact makes aiming the RPG in a crosswind extremely complicated. In a 7-mph crosswind, a first round hit at 600 feet may be expected about 50 percent of the time. Insurgents have often compensated for poor accuracy by firing large numbers of RPGs at a single target. This phenomenon was reported against the Soviets in Afghanistan in the 1980s, during the Afghanistan-Soviet War, and against the Israelis in the Summer 2006 Lebanon War by Hezbollah.
The short effective range of the RPG forces the shooter to get close to the target, either by advancing or allowing the target to approach until within effective range. Rapid firing is critical, and the launcher is carried loaded to speed the firing procedure. When fired, the RPG emits a telltale puff of exhaust smoke. This factor, combined with the short range, necessitates evasive action by the shooter immediately after firing, unless the action is meant to be a suicide mission.
The RPG can be fired from the standing, crouching, or prone positions. Low “backsplash,” or rocket exhaust, also allows the use of the RPG from enclosed spaces, like rooms in fortified positions, making the RPG particularly useful in the covered, short-range combat environment of urban operations. This feature has been used to considerable advantage in Northern Ireland, Lebanon, Gaza, and Iraq since 2003.
Originally designed as an antitank weapon, the RPG was copied from the World War-era German Panzerfaust and the American-made 3.5inch rocket launcher known as the Bazooka. Improvements in armor technology, particularly the incorporation of gapped and reactive armor in main battle tanks in the 1970s and 1980s, reduced the effectiveness of RPGs as antitank weapons. However, an advanced grenade, the PG-7BR, featuring a tandem two-stage warhead designed to defeat reactive armor, was introduced in 1988.
Nonetheless, with the development of precision anti tank guided missiles (ATGM) such as the Russian AT-3 Sagger, deployed in 1963, and the American BGM-71 tube-launched, optically-tracked, wire-guided (TOW) missile deployed in 1971, use of RPGs against tanks declined considerably and they were adapted thereafter mainly for use against personnel, fixed positions, and light vehicles. In addition, the fact that the RPG round self explodes after a range of about 3,000 feet allows it to be used as a form of light artillery, spraying the target area with shrapnel.
In Mogadishu, Somalia in 1993, RPGs shot down two American UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters. This triggered an extensive battle between U.S. forces and local militiamen, resulting in the deaths of 17 Americans. That in turn ultimately led to the withdrawal of American forces from Somalia in March 1994. Specially modified RPGs were also used by the mujaheddin against Soviet helicopters in Afghanistan in the 1980s, to great effect.
In its antipersonnel role, the RPG fires two different grenades. One, a thermobaric, air fuel explosive round, TBG-7VR, has the destructive equivalent of an artillery projectile or a 120mm mortar shell. The second, a fragmentation round, OG-7V, is particularly effective against fire emplacements. In addition, the HEAT round sprays lethal metal fragments as far as 500 feet from the point of impact.
The RPG, while originally Russian, and still produced in that country, is also produced in over a dozen other countries, and is in use in some 40 countries worldwide. In addition to regular armed forces, RPGs can be found in the arsenals of almost every non-state military organization in the world, including terrorist groups.
RPGs are easy to use and maintain and relatively inexpensive to manufacture, and like the AK-47 Kalashnikov assault rifle, RPGs are readily available on the black market at low cost. These factors, coupled with low training requirements and ease of use, have made it a chosen weapon of insurgents, terrorist groups, and other non-state militias around the world.
The RPG has been used extensively in Vietnam, Afghanistan (both during the Afghanistan-Soviet War and in the ongoing Operation ENDURING FREEDOM since 1991), Chechnya, throughout the Middle East, and Africa. It was also used by the Provisional Irish Republican Army (PIRA) against British troops in Northern Ireland in the 1970s.
In Iraq, during Operation IRAQI FREEDOM, RPGs have been the favored weapon of various insurgent forces. While they are not capable of penetrating the M-1 Abrams tank, they have been successfully used against light-armored vehicles and U.S. and coalition infantry forces. Nevertheless, a perfectly-aimed RPG-7 can disable tanks, which can cause problems of a different sort. In August 2006 and again in January 2008, an RPG-29, the most potent RPG to date, did partially penetrate the FV4034 Challenger 2 tank, which is the United Kingdom’s main battle tank.
Additional versions, the RPG-26 and RPG-27, are single-shot, disposable antitank rocket launchers, similar to the American M-72 Light Antitank Weapon (LAW), entered into service in 1989. Firing a variant of the tandem two-stage warhead developed for the RPG-7, these are for use only against armored vehicles.
Elliot P. Chodoff
See also: Aircraft, Helicopters; Antitank Weapons; Afghanistan-Soviet War; ENDURING FREEDOM, Operation, Overview; Helicopters, Role in Soviet-Afghan War; IRAQI FREEDOM, Operation, Overview; Iraq Insurgency; Mujaheddin; Somalia and Intervention in.
References:
Brassey’s Infantry Weapons of the World. New York: Crane Russak, 1979.
Jane’s Infantry Weapons, 2008-2009. Coulsdon, Surrey, UK: Jane’s Information Group, 2008.
U.S. Army. Soviet RPG-7 Antitank Grenade Launcher. Fort Monroe, VA: United States Army Training and Doctrine Command, 1976: Bulletin No. 3.

Syria and Russia

Q. Why does Russia support the regime of Bashar al-Assad?

A.

http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/e64a3076-c9b2-11e1-a5e2-00144feabdc0.html#axzz2DB25kMfp

http://edition.cnn.com/2012/02/09/opinion/russia-syria-relations/index.html

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/jul/05/syria-crisis-russia-western-meddling

http://nationalinterest.org/commentary/why-russia-wont-abandon-syria-7140

Tartus:

http://thediplomat.com/flashpoints-blog/2012/08/21/russias-syrian-naval-base/

citizens:

http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/another-reason-for-russias-interest-in-syria/

Q. Did communism flourish in Syria?

A. No.

http://www.questia.com/library/65212800/the-communist-movement-in-syria-and-lebanon

*personal witnessing of alleged communists arrested by the H. al-Assad regime.

Q. Has the Syrian Communist Party supported the revolution?

A. No. (However, some former communists are part of the revolution)

http://mrzine.monthlyreview.org/2011/syria180411.html

http://www.marxist.com/in-defence-of-the-syrian-revolution-the-marxist-perspective.htm

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.
https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150591186772016.374857.667627015&type=1

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
http://www.naharnet.com/stories/en/82909

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:

https://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&q=Dayr+Az+Zor+province+map&ie=UTF-8&hq=&hnear=0x1548153314d3dbad:0x9d5a68804221c27f,Deir+ez-Zor+Governorate,+Syria&gl=us&ei=WtLLUJL5NanI0QGozIH4Bw&ved=0CDMQ8gEwAA

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
https://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&q=AlHasakah+Governorate,+Syria,+google+maps&ie=UTF-8&hq=&hnear=0x400976912dee2dfb:0x1735b67e4a2454b0,Al-Hasakah+Governorate,+Syria&gl=us&ei=UMLTUOKtN4ra0QG9-oHYBg&ved=0CC8Q8gEwAA

Regime forces 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.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/gallery/2013/may/14/syria-middle-east-troops-qusayr-homs

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

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:
https://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&q=latakia+governorate+google+maps&ie=UTF-8&hq=&hnear=0x15241c8bc2bf561f:0xdbb2edac5c45c32b,Latakia+Governorate,+Syria&gl=us&ei=ghv_UOaOOMGW0QH88YDYDw&ved=0CC0Q8gEwAA

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.
https://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&q=tartous+syria&ie=UTF-8&hq=&hnear=0x15217e77890fb9a3:0xa072a491096e24b,Tartus%E2%80%8E,+Syria&gl=us&ei=LvGSUYanIc-n4APeo4H4Dg&sqi=2&ved=0CKABELYD

In Tartous, Omar lost count of the bodies after 46.
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/15/world/middleeast/grisly-killings-in-syrian-towns-dim-hopes-for-peace-talks.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

International:

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).
http://www.aljadid.com/content/yassin-al-haj-saleh’s-taming-syrian-prison’s-beast

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

8 May

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

Monday’s death toll: 130 Syrians were killed yesterday including 37 civilians, 48 opposition fighters, and 29 regular soldiers

Internet connections in Syria were cut off today. Many websites were unreachable. It is thought that the government has initiated the shut-down.

Syria’s Children: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OfqT3ioJ02g

Anthony Cordesman of CSIS discusses Syria’s air defense capabilities in light of Israel’s recent attacks.
http://csis.org/publication/syrias-uncertain-air-defense-capabilities

Video of the Israeli airstrikes on Syria http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2013/05/06/astonishing-video-from-the-israeli-air-strikes-on-syria/

Here a commander speaks about the need to cleanse Baniyas of the Sunnis who support the revolution . Note the shaykh seated to his left. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zjF1r7VzcHA&feature=youtu.be

Important report on religious freedom in Syria in light of the conflict.
http://www.uscirf.gov/images/Syria%20Report%20April%202013(1).pdf

Refugees and Relief:
The UN Humanitarian office said the number of internally-displaced Syrians has reached 4.25 million. The numbers doubled over last month.

Riots take place and there are attacks on FSA members by the Syrian mukhabarat in the Syrian refugee camp, Zaatari in Jordan. https://now.mmedia.me/lb/en/reportsfeatures/zaataris-mukhabarrat-wars

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 number of local councils demonstrated peacefully in Masaken Hanano to denounce the silence of the Arab world on the crisis in Syria.

Regime forces targeted Azaz and Menagh airports with heavy machine gun fire today.
A man from the town of al-Zbadiya was killed Monday. The Syrian regime bombarded the market of the town of Safira Monday killing a child, 2 men and one unidentified man.

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 
FSA shelled the Division 67 at al-Qalamun with a cannon 106. Morsed Seydnaya is now under FSA control – ammunition there includes a cannon 23 mm http://youtu.be/k26UaAtmckohttp://youtu.be/nq40PWBE-http://youtu.be/tRtoEnNNi-A
Heavy clashes took place at Masken Najha near Division 58 where officers, security forces and shabbiha were staying, burning a large part of it and which killed many inside with rockets. http://youtu.be/xtWXFFD94Jk

At Al Abbasiyeen, in Damascus, a sniper unit killed two of Assad’s shabbiha http://youtu.be/nuUg4vSrpvE who had been targetting d cars at the Al Qabun Highway.http://youtu.be/Msr6bm9EY4c

Two mortars were launched into the Qudseyya suburb this morning. Regime shelling of Darayya killed two rebels and there were clashes in the town of Hazarma. In clashes between regime forces and opposition in Douma, three rebels were killed. Douma was shelled with mortars. The regime forces bombarded the town of Adra near the 14th military base.

The opposition launched a rocket into the Mezzeh 86 neighborhood where there are security and shabiha enclaves http://youtu.be/-CqbFKNo8vo
(and which is inhabited by civilians from the Syrian coast (Alawites)). Regime forces bombarded the Jobar and Qaboun neighborhoods. In Barzeh, clashes took place from late last night.

Violent clashes occurred near the town of Beit Sahm and there was heavy artillery bombardment on that 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

Opposition fighters in the Golan Heights abducted four UN peacekeepers from the Philippines according to Josephine Guerrero of the U.N. The four were patrolling near the al-Jamlah locality in the ceasefire zone between Israel and Syria just where 21 Filipino peacekeepers were seized by Syrian rebels in March. The opposition claimed they were trying to protect the UNDOF peacekeepers from clashes and said they would soon release them.

Deir az-Zur province:

https://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&q=Dayr+Az+Zor+province+map&ie=UTF-8&hq=&hnear=0x1548153314d3dbad:0x9d5a68804221c27f,Deir+ez-Zor+Governorate,+Syria&gl=us&ei=WtLLUJL5NanI0QGozIH4Bw&ved=0CDMQ8gEwAA

On Monday (the 6th) 2 civilians and a rebel fighter were killed. 2 men were shot to death near entrances to the city of Deir az-Zur.

The Assad government carried out its 326th consecutive day of military attacks on the city of Deir az-Zur on May 5th

Adham Jasem Nayef Al-Jneid, an FSA member was killed in clashes in the neighborhood of as-Sina`a in Deir az-Zur.

A sniper (Assad-loyalist) killed Samer Nabeel Al-Furati, 22 years old in As-Sina`a in Deir az-Zur.

The Syrian military shelled the village of Marrat killing Heba Turki al-Hammadi; a young girl, as well as Ibrahim Turki al-Hammadi (a young boy) and Rahaf Turki al-Hammadi.

A regime sniper killed Ibrahim Al-Ibrahim, 18 years old at the Death passageway in Deir az-Zur

Recently “documented” martyrs.

Ammar Saleh Al-Hosson died in the regime shelling of HamidiyYa neighborhood, 2-5-2013

A sniper killed Hammadi Khalaf Al-Hussein, FSA member from Al-H’sainiyeh village. He was killed in Rushdiyya in Deir az-Zur (4-5-2013)

In clashes with the regime military, Oudai Abboud Al-Khalaf, a 27 year old FSA member was killed in as-Sina`a 4-5-2013.

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 troops carried out a series of raids and arbitrary arrests in the al-Hmeidiya neighbourhood and there were summary executions in the area on Monday. The Syrian military shelled the town of A’rfa (on Monday). Clashes took place between regular and rebel forces in the al-Baroudiya neighborhood of the city of Hama with casualties. The Syrian air forces bombardment of Kafrzeita killed two men from Tibet al-Imam.

The regime shelling on Aleppo Way in Hama leaves smoke

Hassake province
https://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&q=AlHasakah+Governorate,+Syria,+google+maps&ie=UTF-8&hq=&hnear=0x400976912dee2dfb:0x1735b67e4a2454b0,Al-Hasakah+Governorate,+Syria&gl=us&ei=UMLTUOKtN4ra0QG9-oHYBg&ved=0CC8Q8gEwAA

Regular forces bombarded the village of Kherba. An IED exploded in al-Wahda street of al-Qameshli on Monday.

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 pro-regime Hezbollah popular defense committees clashed with opposition fighters near al-Sloumiya. There were reports of casualties on both sides. Regular forces shelled the fields outside the al-Wa’er neighborhood on Monday and caused injuries.

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

Regular forces shelled Taftanaz and M’artmasrin on Monday.

Latakia province:
https://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&q=latakia+governorate+google+maps&ie=UTF-8&hq=&hnear=0x15241c8bc2bf561f:0xdbb2edac5c45c32b,Latakia+Governorate,+Syria&gl=us&ei=ghv_UOaOOMGW0QH88YDYDw&ved=0CC0Q8gEwAA

Syrian regime forces killed two Jordanian fighters and several Saudi Arabian snipers in their operations against the opposition in Salmeh, Tartiah, Kafar Dalbeh, al-Dareh, and Borj al-Ahrash where the Saudi fighter, Mash’al al-Saleh was killed. http://www.islamicinvitationturkey.com/2013/05/07/syrian-troops-kill-several-saudi-jordanian-terrorists-in-outskirts-of-latakia/

Here, bombs explode that had been dropped by aircraft in Salma.

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

Eighteen opposition fighers were killed in clashes with regular forces in al-Quneitra. (Four of the fighters were from Jasem in Dara’a, five from Inkhel, two from Nemr 1 from al-Hara, 2 from Samlin, 1 from Zamrin and 3 from the Kafr Shams)

Violent clashes took place in the town of Ghadir al-Bustan, in the liberated Golan territories, between rebel and regime forces. Regime forces are bombarding parts of Ghadir al-Bustan, Qarqas and al-Hiran. Oposition fighters reportedly took over he 2nd company, the 23rd and 29th battalions and the security branch in Kodna. The opposition targeted the 61st brigade’s checkpoints in the area.

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

Two opposition fighters were killed in clashes with regular forces near the al-Tabaqa military airport yesterday.

Tartous province https://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&q=tartous+syria&ie=UTF-8&hq=&hnear=0x15217e77890fb9a3:0xa072a491096e24b,Tartus%E2%80%8E,+Syria&gl=us&ei=_WuJUZnrLK664APwrIGwDg&sqi=2&ved=0CKQBELYD

The city of Tartous and surrounding areas are calm and the regime forces are no longer carrying out detentions and raids. Two massacres were committed in the area: in the Ras al-Nabe’ neighbourhood of Banias and in the village of al-Beyda killing about 80 persons including many children. Hundreds fled the coastal areas after the massacres. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-05-05/hundreds-flee-amid-reports-of-syria-massacres/4670066

Here is the commander of the Baniyas operation discussing his goals

International:

Ali Akbar Salehi, the Iranian foreign minister met with President Assad on Tuesday and said it was time to dissuade Israel from any further attacks on Syria.

A press conference was held in Amman with Nasser Judeh and Ali Akbar Salehi of Iran who said “We refuse any solution forced from outside. We are against any foreign intervention in Syria. We have seen what has happened in some countries, which I will not name,
after they faced foreign intervention. We don’t want history to repeat itself in Syria… Israel would not dare to attack Iran, you can be sure of that. However we are ready for any worse case scenarios, but at the same time, we are sure that Israel would not undertake such an operation.” Judeh claimed there are no foreign troops in Jordan.

Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Erdogan called Israeli air strikes on Syria unacceptable but also said the strikes give Assad an opportunity to cover up the massacre of civilians at Baniyas. http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2013/05/07/Turkey-PM-says-Israeli-air-strik
John Kerry, US. Secretary of State began talks in Russia with President Vladimir Putin on Syria today, seeking “common ground” with Russia. Russia said it will act to maintain stability in Syria. http://www.aljazeera.com/news/europe/2013/05/20135716287710849.html
Lady My Friend, Being Arab Tires Me 

(popularly called the “Green Land of Tunisia” poem)

By NIZAR KABBANI, 1980
(translated by Mohja Kahf)

Green land of Tunisia, here I come, a lover,
bearing with me book and rose.
Carthage, here comes to you the Damascene
who takes love as a calling. Where he goes,
boughs bud at his beckon and bloom green.

Damascus’ moon and domes and wheat
and songbirds go with me wherever I go.
Water has its beginning in my hometown;
wherever you lean your head, you hear it flowing.
Poetry’s a little bird that wings around Damascus,
well-met by poets who rise quickly to respond.

White jasmine started in Damascus too,
and so did Time. My townfolk
worship Beauty; it melts them,
and they melt it. Thus, Love happened first
in Damascus. So did the horse gallop
from Damascus first to victory. In Damascus,
ancient languages and lineages live. It is Damascus
gives meaning to the name of Arab.

Sea nymphs of Carthage, riverbeds run dry
and, though there should be no turning back from love,
old friends are gone, and paths divided; why?

Where now are the women who love like they pray?
I have forgotten not one woman’s name,
not one woman’s breasts.

Some wore my poems and my tears,
some loved, and some mistrusted me.
I loved them all, and now I am betrayed.

Shall I take them to account? A man
can never win with women by account.
I don’t repent my having loved—I cannot stand
the silly scene of lovers going around
repenting of their love.

Now we come to it: the night’s festivities.
Am I supposed to rhyme on demand?
Am I the palace singer with no clothes?
My tongue can’t find my tongue,
my mouth is full of stones. Carthage!
Where does a poem come from, you suppose,
when God is dead, and charlatans are lords?
Tyrannized by day, we’re terrorized by night.
Our breadloaves smell of state surveillance.
They pull apart our phrases, and our fingers from our hands.
With what is a writer left to write?

Poetry comes not just from the pen;
it comes from underneath the eyelids,
from the vision. But poets
of today are some third sex: they speak
not Arabic, not speech of foreign lands,
their syntax jumbled and their words a fog.
They blab into a void to nobody;
they buzz, so many flies
on the mere surface of the wine, while those
to whom writing is a fire
and they are wood and match, and burn their lives in it,
and give us joy, get no reward. Whores
and thugs wear silks, and leave the writers rags.

Lady my friend, being Arab tires me
The map has made exiles of us all.
The state of our nation is a joke.

In clear Arabic I call my tribe and call—
no one answers. If not for their robes,
I would not think our leaders Arab folk at all.
They kiss-kiss, by Arab way of greeting,
but behind each other’s necks, their fangs are bared.

Carthage, shall we raise a toast to our downfall?
The cup cannot hold enough drink
to bring me to enough oblivion.

From Fertile Crescent to North Africa, we’re cursed:
dictatorships, police states, guard patrols.
We fight amongst ourselves with daggers thrust,
and over what? Some dried-up pits of dates.
It’s all the same, with or without the oil.
Our leaders seem to stash it in their balls
to piss away while people bleed and toil.

Green land of Tunisia, what will save us?
There are no holy books left in the land.
All the caliph’s horses have dropped dead—
of embarrassment. High honor’s a mirage
melting on the Arab sand.

Lady my friend, being Arab wears me down.
The edges of my wound are riverbanks.
So if I scream at those I love in these our times,
it is to wake up love and all the lovers.

And if I call the Arab world a darkened pit,
it is a world I live in and would light.
If I rage at Arab chiefs it is so that
they may yet find some spark inside those robes.

Oh Carthage, Carthage, Carthage,
can I ever hope now to return to your bosom?

Do not hate my passion,
for passion is my nature,
and God, Glorious be His Glory,
doth pardon all the sins of poetry.

On “Hearsay” vs. Casualties – Sherifa Zuhur

6 May

Yes, the Israeli airstrikes deserve some extended comment but they may not signal that further military intervention is forthcoming.
But first I want to address the issue of casualties and their accuracy.

Recently, an old friend commented on my feed that reports of Syrians killed were “hearsay.” I found that terribly insulting and misleading, as I’ve been following casualties by governorate on a daily basis since the SOHR and the LCCs and other news outlets began reporting them and issued daily reports from July of last year. I gave up issuing daily reports this spring (because not enough people read them, they’re time-consuming to write, & I have other responsibilities) and moved to weekly ones. I am careful to report “unconfirmed” or “conflicting” per casualties, but please, “old friends” let’s not confuse SANA or Press TV with accurate reports of deaths in Syria.

For ex. there are currently unconfirmed reports of about two thousand people killed in the Israeli airstrikes of Sunday, May 05, 2013. In the Syria Updates, when I include “8 deaths including 2 children” per LCC identified dead, these can be taken as “confirmed,” – even though in some cases, even more people were killed. The 70,000 est. of Syrian dead is now low.

The following type of detailed report gives a Facebook link (to memorialize the person) or sometimes a video and these identified deaths are confirmed. Here’s an example of info. from the Deir Press which includes such details (They are sometimes difficult to read in the original, so I clean up the grammar and the Press separates “martyrs” from “recently documented martyrs” [meaning they were recently identified, but may not have been killed yesterday]).

Deaths on May 05, 2013 as the Assad government carried out its 326th consecutive day of military attacks on the city of Deir az-Zur.

Adham Jasem Nayef Al-Jneid, an FSA member was killed in clashes in the neighborhood of as-Sina`a in Deir az-Zur.

A sniper (Assad-loyalist) killed Samer Nabeel Al-Furati, 22 years old in As-Sina`a in Deir az-Zur.

The Syrian military shelled the village of Marrat killing Heba Turki al-Hammadi; a young girl, as well as Ibrahim Turki al-Hammadi (a young boy) and Rahaf Turki al-Hammadi.

A regime sniper killed Ibrahim Al-Ibrahim, 18 years old at the Death passageway in Deir az-Zur

Recently “documented” martyrs.

Ammar Saleh Al-Hosson died in the regime shelling of HamidiyYa neighborhood, 2-5-2013

A sniper killed Hammadi Khalaf Al-Hussein, FSA member from Al-H’sainiyeh village. He was killed in Rushdiyya in Deir az-Zur (4-5-2013)

In clashes with the regime military, Oudai Abboud Al-Khalaf, a 27 year old FSA member was killed in as-Sina`a 4-5-2013.

THIS IS NOT HEARSAY, THESE ARE HUMAN BEINGS.

Syria Update, May 2, 2013 (Institute of Middle Eastern, Islamic and Strategic Studies. By Sherifa Zuhur)

3 May

Syria Update, May 2,  2013. (Institute of Middle Eastern, Islamic and Strategic Studies. By Sherifa Zuhur)

Hizbullah acknowledges that it stands with President Assad and against the revolution. http://www.theworld.org/2013/05/hezbollah-comes-clean-it-stands-with-syrian-government/

The Telegraph sensationalizes the issue of chemical weapons and the presence of al-Qa’ida in Syria (assuming they mean Jabhat al-Nusra or other groups).
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/syria/10022753/Syria-Al-Qaedas-battle-for-control-of-Assads-chemical-weapons-plant.html

Important report on religious freedom in Syria in light of the conflict.
http://www.uscirf.gov/images/Syria%20Report%20April%202013(1).pdf

Refugees and Relief:

Former footballer, Martin Keown visited Zaatari refugee camp to open a Save the Children soccer field there. http://en.arabstoday.net/20130502284738/former-english-footballer-helps-refugees-in-jordan.html

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

Opposition fighters took over the Engineer Brigade base today.

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

Clashes broke out in Yarmouk camp after a mortar shell fell near the police department in the camp. The Syrian military bombarded areas of the Jobar neighborhood. The opposition targeted one of the Defense plants in Qadam and then clashes resulted with mortars in use.

Mortar shells launched at Jaramana injured 10 civilians in the morning. The regime forces bombarded parts of the eastern Ghouta.

An explosion in Marjeh killed 14 civilians on the 30th of April. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=STW_uUWmLi0

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

Opposition fighters seized a key air base today and also control of about 25 km. of the border near the Golan Heights. http://english.alarabiya.net/en/2013/03/23/Syrian-opposition-fighters-seize-key-military-base-in-Deraa.html

Yesterday, violent clashes were fought on the edges of al-Katiba and the town of al-Na’ima was bombarded.

Deir az-Zur province:

https://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&q=Dayr+Az+Zor+province+map&ie=UTF-8&hq=&hnear=0x1548153314d3dbad:0x9d5a68804221c27f,Deir+ez-Zor+Governorate,+Syria&gl=us&ei=WtLLUJL5NanI0QGozIH4Bw&ved=0CDMQ8gEwAA

The suspended bridge into Deir az-Zur was partially (or mostly) destroyed today. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=410755452364905&set=a.328886440551807.77931.324869057620212&type=1&theater

Regime bombardment continues on several parts of Deir Ezzour city. Regime forces killed an opposition fighter; his body was found mutilated by the science faculty. Clashes took place in the al-Jbeila neighborhood. The Syrian regime also bombarded the village of al-Huseiniya and the village of Shaqra, in the western countryside, with artillery and multiple rocket launchers.

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

Gunfire was reported in the Tariq Halab neighborhood near the post office. Regime forces systematically destroyed houses in the Masha Wadi al-Jawz neighborhood of Hama, which is populated by more than 15 thousand people. A regime sniper killed a woman from al-Qusoor as she attempted to leave the Masha Wadi al-Jawz neighborhood.

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 bombarded parts of the city of al-Houla. Explosions were heard within the city. Regime forces continued bombardment of the city of Talbisa. Clashes took place in the Joussiyeh area in Reef al-Qseir between rebels and regime forces, as well as members of the Popular Committees of the area, who are linked to Hizbullah. It was also reported that Hizbullah forces tried to storm the city of Joussiyeh near the border and clashed with the opposition there.

Opposition fighters had earlier shelled the Popular Committee held areas. Regime forces bombarded the city of Rastan with heavy artillery and multiple rocket launchers.

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 state media said that the opposition had exposed people to a deadly “liquid” stored by a shepherd which killed him and his children. As state news tends to accuse the opposition of claims made against it, this seems to be part of its defense against charges of using chemical weapons. http://www.globaltimes.cn/NEWS/tabid/99/ID/778728/Syria-accuses-rebels-of-exposing-people-to-unknown-liquid-in-Idlib.aspx

Latakia province:
https://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&q=latakia+governorate+google+maps&ie=UTF-8&hq=&hnear=0x15241c8bc2bf561f:0xdbb2edac5c45c32b,Latakia+Governorate,+Syria&gl=us&ei=ghv_UOaOOMGW0QH88YDYDw&ved=0CC0Q8gEwAA

The Syrian regime shelled the town of Arrabeeah today.

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 Syrian military shelled Raqqa with explosive barrels killing at least 8.

Tartous province: https://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&q=tartous+province&ie=UTF-8&hq=&hnear=0x15217de6195521ad:0x22456cab24b7bb7d,Tartus+Governorate,+Syria&gl=us&ei=1rCCUcGwO7in4APCt4D4CQ&ved=0CIkBELYD

Outside of the city of Banias area, there are reports of summary executions being committed by regime forces and pro-regime gunmen (shabiha) in the village of al-Bayda and that “dozens” have been killed. Regime forces carried out a raid and detained 8 civilians, including 2 children, after storming the village and shelling it with mortars. Clashes had previously taken place there killing 6 regime troops and injuring at least 20 others (opposition deaths unreported).

The regime forces bombarded the Ras al-Rifa area of the city of Banias. Gunfire was heard regime forces and shabiha began firing from their posts on the southern neighbourhoods of Banias, which are home to a Sunni population. This area was the site of sectarian violence in May of 2011 and many young men were detained in August of 2011 (some have disappeared and some are still in detention).

International:

A Turkish security official was killed and Turkish security officials and civilians were wounded in a border buffer zone when Syrians trying to cross over into Turkey opened fire after the Turkish security forces warned the Syrians, according to Abdulhakim Ayhan who is the mayor of Akcakale. The Syrians were allegedly smugglers.

Lakhdar Brahimi, the UN-Arab League special envoy will probably stay on only until mid-May.

US Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel said the US is reconsidering arming the Syrian opposition. He said he had not made a personal decision. At the same news conference, UK Defense Secretary, Philip Hammond said the UK is not ruling out arming the opposition. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/02/us-arming-syria-rebels_n_3202911.html?utm_hp_ref=world

Here, Palestinian refugees from Syria speak out. http://mondoweiss.net/2013/05/palestinian-refugess-syria.html/comment-page-1
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.