Tag Archives: Hizbullah

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, 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).

Important report on religious freedom in Syria in light of the conflict.

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:


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:

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).


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.

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

23 Apr

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

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

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

The interim chief of the National Coalition, Georges Sabra says that Hizbullah’s involvement in Homs (see below) is a declaration of war against the Syrian people.

Syrian Army officers create new militias to share in the loot as well as protect the regime. They express distrust of their Sunni rank-and-file. Are we witnessing the end of the Syrian Arab Army?

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

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

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

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

Refugees and Relief:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Footage of the overrun battalion:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dara`a province: https://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&q=map+of+daraa+province&ie=UTF-8&hq=&hnear=0x15195fa1016e8de7:0xff6b41761235d49c,Daraa+Governorate,+Syria&gl=us&ei=u9DLUPDfIcXq0gGRwIHADQ&ved=0CC8Q8gEwAA
The Syrian military shelled the town of al-Katiba and the towns of al-Mleiha al-Sharqiya, Da’el and Tsil.

Deir az-Zur province:


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

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

FSA targeting the artillery stationed on the mountain

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

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

Malek Abdulhamid Al-Nawwarah in the shelling of Sheikh Yaseen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Latakia province:

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Syria Update, October 19, 2012 (Institute of Middle Eastern, Islamic and Strategic Studies. By Sherifa Zuhur)

20 Oct

Syria Update, October 19, 2012 (Institute of Middle Eastern, Islamic and Strategic Studies. By Sherifa Zuhur)

The huge car bomb which killed investigator Wissam al-Hassan in Lebanon has again shaken the faith in Lebanon’s stability in the face of its deep entanglements in Syrian politics – the plot that killed Rafeq al-Hariri and the current elements which support or oppose the Syrian opposition. http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/10/19/us-lebanon-explosion-idUSBRE89I0N620121019

Deathtoll: 138 killed, including 55 unarmed civilians.

Demonstrations took place in so many towns, cities and villages of Syria today following Friday prayers that I cannot list all of them. One of today’s slogan was: “ America, hasn’t your hatred had enough of our blood?” As just one example, a demonstration in Daraya: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SsRFhJg16X8&feature=player_embedded

Aleppo province: Heavy clashes took place in al-Ramousa area. Clashes were ongoing in Sleiman al-Halabi and the Sakhour and al-Sha`ar neighborhoods were shelled.

The Syrian military shelled the city of al-Bab and clashes killed an opposition fighter in Khan al-Asal.

Damascus province: The Syrian military carried out raids and arrests in the Qazzaz area of Damascus. The body of a killed civilian was discovered in the Daf al-Shawk neighborhood of Damascus

The Syrian military shelled Jisreen outside Damascus. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nuG8ZLPJ_hU&feature=player_embedded 14 bodies were pulled out of the rubble of the shelling of Saqba. Shelling on Kafarbatna, Jisreen and Yalda killed 12 today, collapsing a building in Kafarbatna. Several rockets fell on the city of Duma. The Syrian military shelled the areas around the city of Harasta, and also shelled Beit Sehem. Clashes took place this morning in the town of Hjeira. The Syrian military also shelled other towns and villages in the eastern Ghouta. Sniper fire was reported in the Sidi Meqdad area. The Syrian military shelled al-Zabadani.

Dara`a province: Regime forces stormed the town of Busra al-Sham, firing heavily. The Syrian military shelled the towns of al-Mata’ia and Tibat al-Iz.

Deir az-Zur province: Dozens of bodies were found in the Muwazifin cemetery, some had been burned. The Syrian military has shelled the town of al-Kharita.

Hama province: A demonstration broke out near the the al-Madiq palace in a funeral procession for 3 opposition fighters.

7 opposition troops were killed in an ambush set up by the Syrian military in the village of Mas`oud.

Homs province: A sniper in the We’er neighborhood killed a civilian. The Syrian military bombarded the al-Khaldiyya neighborhood.

The Syrian military shelled Rastan and Qusair in Homs province, killing 1 today. A woman died today of her wounds in Houla. An opposition fighter was killed in clashes with the Syrian military in Jousiya. The Syrian miiltiary resumed its shelling of al-Ghento.

Idlib province: 8 were killed as the Syrian military shelled Ma’ashorin. At least 5 children were injured by undetonated cluster bomblets in Saraqeb, one had most of his hand amputated. The Syrian military shelled the villages of Deir al-Gharbi and Deir al-Sharqi in the countryside of Ma`arat al-Nu`man
In clashes in Deir al-Gharbi which continued all day, 2 military vehicles were damaged and that both sides suffered casualties. The Syrian military shelled Sarja, in Jabal al-Zawiya. Many protests were mounted in Kafrenbel and other towns and villages.

There were reports today that Syrian fighter jets were shelling some type of strange material which looked like a spider web, causing some panic amongst expatriates.

Raqqah province: Violent clashes have taken place between Syrian military and opposition forces after the latter attacked a regime checkpoint (the Ranin checkpoint) near the area of Salouk. The Syrian military shelled the towns in northern al-Raqqah and the towns of villages of Khirbet al-Rez, al-Qaysariya and al-Hweija, near the city of Tel Abyad. The villages of al-Krin and al-Qantari, which are on the Raqqah-Hasaka highway, were shelled by the Syrian miltiary

Borders: The Turkish military fired back at Syria today after Syrian mortars hit Syria.

A bomb blast in Beirut killed security chief Wissam al-Hassan and seven others. Al-Hassan’s investigation linked Syria and Hezbollah to the killing of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in 2005. http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/10/19/us-lebanon-explosion-idUSBRE89I0N620121019

17 Lebanese died today when they were killed in an ambush of the Syrian army. All came from Arsal in Lebanon. The media suggested that the deceased were smugglers cooperating with the Free Syrian Army.
Hassan Nasrallah admitted that one of his fighters was killed in Syria fighting against the opposition. http://www.almanar.com.lb/adetails.php?fromval=2&cid=19&frid=21&seccatid=19&eid=324599

International: Lakhdar Brahimi continues to press for a ceasefire during the upcoming Eid al-Adha holiday. http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/10/19/syria-crisis-idUSL5E8LJAWE20121019

Kurdish fears are stirred up by the Turkish military presence at the borders. http://www.economist.com/news/europe/21564870-fiercely-anti-assad-stance-turkey-taking-syria-aggravating-long-running-troubles

Syria: A Brief Chronology

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

1920 March. Faisal is proclaimed the King of Syria.

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

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

1928. A constituent assembly drafts Syria’s constitution.

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

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

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

1946. The French withdraw from Syria.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1987. Syria redeploys troops to Lebanon.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2006 Iraq and Syria restore relations.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2012 October. Massive shelling of Syrian cities and villages continues. Hizbullah operatives are returned dead to Lebanon after battling in Syria on behalf of the Assad regime. Syria fires into Turkish territory killing five civilians and continues to fire into Syria for six days from 3 Oct – 9 Oct. causing NATO to issue a statement of readiness to defend Turkey.