Tag Archives: Tartous

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, May 23, 2013 (Institute of Middle Eastern, Islamic and Strategic Studies. By Sherifa Zuhur)

23 May

Syria Update May 23, 2013. (Institute of Middle Eastern, Islamic and Strategic Studies. By Sherifa Zuhur)

Monday’s death toll: More than 130, including 44 civilians.

Hizbullah’s actions in Syria may hurt the movement in Lebanon. http://www.economist.com/blogs/pomegranate/2013/05/lebanon-and-syria

How and why Syria’s Rebels are NOT winning the war. Means vs. ends. Anatomy of a failed offensive in Idlib. Assad loyalists disguise themselves as opposition and massacre the latter. http://world.time.com/2013/05/20/how-syrias-rebels-arent-winning-the-war-the-anatomy-of-a-battle/

The Syrian government decided on a price increase for gas (used as fuel) – however there was an internal dispute over the decision. http://aliqtisadi.com/index.php?mode=article&id=32490

Refugees and Relief:

Palestinian refugees re-displaced http://al-shabaka.org/price-statelessness-palestinian-refugees-syria?page=show

UNHCR’s latest data on Syrian refugees: http://data.unhcr.org/syrianrefugees/country.php?id=107

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

Intermittent clashes were fought in the Salah al-Din neighbourhood of Aleppo.

A bus was targeted on the Aleppo-Afrin road killing a girl and a child and injuring others. The Syrian air force bombarded Deir Hafer from military helicopters. The regular Syrian military capturedthe village of A’beida village in the countryside outside al-Safira. They are trying to control the village of al-Shahid to ensure military reinforcements can travel between Khanaser and the Ma’amel al-Difa’. In clashes at Minagh military airport, an opposition commander was killed.

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

Damascus – now

Syrian regular forces bombarded the southern areas of Damascus. One member of the pro-regime popular defense committees was killed in clashes with opposition fighters in Barza. In clashes in Jobar, three opposition fighters were killed.

Six opposition fighters were killed by in clashes with the Syrian military in Harasta. In clashes in Daraya, one opposition fighter was killed and one fighter was killed in clashes A’dra. Clashes took place on the outskirts of Beit Sahem, along with regime bombardment on that area. Shells fell on the outskirts of al-Nabek. Opposition fighters killed a lieutenant in the Syrian military in Deir Atiya.

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

A sniper killed a child in the al-Sweidan market of the city of Dar`a on Tuesday. Also on Tuesday, a violent explosion shook the area near the sewage pump east of al-Hara, this was targeting a military vehicle. Regular forces bombarded areas in the town of al-Mseifra and areas in the al-Ghariyya al-Sharqiyya. Opposition forces bombarded the police station (branch 27) on the Syrian-Jordanian border with mortar shells. The 15th battalion of Syrian regular forces bombarded the al-Saraya area and town of Barqa. Opposition fighters supported the defection of 3 soldiers from the al-Mjaimer checkpoint in the Busra al-Sham.

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 Syrian regime forces bombarded the neighbourhoods of al-Hmeidiya and al-Hweiqa in the 344th consecutive day of its military campaign against the city of Deir az-Zur. A rebel fighter from the Hajin town of Reef Deir Izzor was killed in clashes with regular forces in the al-Sina’a neighborhood.

From the Deir az-Zur military airport. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ag2149RY2DA&feature=youtu.be&noredirect=1

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 summarily executed 5 men in the town of Halfaya. It was also reported that a family of 5 (a man, his wife and 3 children) were killed.
Regular forces bombarded the town of Kafrnbouda. Mortar shells fell on the town of Aqrab. Clashes broke out between rebel and regular forces near the village of al-Fan village in the eastern part of Hama provice as opposition fighters tried to take over the village.

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

Twenty young men from the Islamic Movement of Iraq, originally from Halabja city, entered Hassake to pursue jihad (Kurdish sources confirmed this report). Clashes broke out between rebel fighters and jihadists from al-Nusra front yesterday in al-Mahatta in R’as al-`Ain. An opposition commander was killed. Kurdish Defense Committees (YPG) strengthened their forces and military checkpoints in the areas and villages south of Karki Laki (M’abda).

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

40 Hizbullah fighters and 15 shabiha killed in al-Qusayr, yesterday. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ulUbVixAyE0

The Syrian regular military bombarded al-Qusayr. Clashes took place at the town of Shamsin. There were conflicting reports about the fate of a Lebanese salafi shaykh’s son who was wounded in the clashes in 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

The Shari`ah court of Saraqeb sentenced and carried out a public lashing of two civilian men for moral vice. Ahmad al-Ra’i was lashed 50 times for permitting his daughter to be remarried prior to the mandatory `iddah or 3 month waiting period after divorce. The groom was also sentenced to 40 lashes since the marriage is invalidated by the court. Apparently, the court reduced the punishments as a compromise. This occurred a few days ago.

Opposition fighters of the al-Nusra front and other opposition took over the al-Shabiba military camp, near al-Nirab town, and nearby military checkpoints. This followed on two weeks of violent clashes.

Here is the capture of the shabiha camp:

Clashes killed 14 opposition fighters, and at least 40 regular soldiers and members of the Popular Defense committees and destroyed several military vehicles. This camp had been a regime stronghold in Idlib province. It had also been used as a detention center.

Regular forces resumed their bombardment of M’aret Musrin and also shelled the village of al-Kastan. Regular Syrian forces bombarded the village of Mashemshan.

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

Maya Haidar here in an interview about her opposition to the regime, and what it has meant to her personally. Her father killed her mother, on account of her political stance. http://www.sasnews.net/sas/36-interviews/459-they-sent-me-a-message-saying-it-was-shameful-for-me-to-abandon-my-sect

Fierce shelling targeted al-Qastal and Marj Azzawiah on Mt Akrad in rural Latakia on Monday.

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 shell fell on the al-Thakna neighborhood of the city of al-Raqqa today, killing a child and a woman. An armed group in the city of al-Raqqah kidnapped Abdullah Khalil, the head of the Raqqah local council, while he was leaving the council headquarters at dawn on Sunday.

The SOHR has denounced this action and demanded that Abdullah Khalil be returned to his family immediately.

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

Assad loyalist militiamen set a civilian vehicle on fire and attacked a resident of Arab Ashataa in rural Tartous.

International:

United Nations is receiving increasing reports of the use of chemical weapons in Syria’s civil war as the violence escalates, a senior UN official said on Wednesday.
“The Secretary-General [Ban Ki-moon] remains gravely concerned about the allegations of the use of chemical weapons,” Robert Serry, the UN Middle East peace envoy, told the Security Council.

John Kerry, U.S. Secretary of State was in Amman for the Friends of Syria meeting and urged Assad to commit to peace in a news conference. http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2013/05/22/Friends-of-Syria-to-press-for-peace-talks-in-Jordan-meet.html
Kerry also suggest that more aid could be forthcoming to the opposition if Assad will not agree to a political solution. http://in.reuters.com/article/2013/05/22/syria-crisis-idINDEE94L0AJ20130522
The U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved a bill to arm the opposition. http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/05/22/senate-moves-toward-arming-the-syrian-rebels.html
There are 14 dead and more than 100 wounded in Tripoli, Lebanon in the battle between Bab al-Tabanneh and Jabal Mohsen, rival neighborhoods on opposite sides of the Syrian conflict. Clashes continued after efforts at a ceasefire on Wednesday failed. http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Politics/2013/May-23/218051-tripoli-in-flames-as-truce-proves-elusive.ashx#axzz2U4wlcRqn
Turkey closed the border crossing to Syria at Yayladagi today, which leads into Latakia province. http://www.dw.de/turkey-shuts-border-battle-rages-for-qusair/a-16830302
The Change.org petition – Solidarity with the Syrian Struggle. Sign please. https://www.change.org/petitions/solidarity-with-the-syrian-struggle-for-dignity-and-freedom?utm_campaign=friend_inviter_chat&utm_medium=facebook&utm_source=share_petition&utm_term=permissions_dialog_false

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 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.

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.

Syria Update, December 28, 2012 (Institute of Middle Eastern, Islamic and Strategic Studies. By Sherifa Zuhur)

29 Dec

Syria Update, December 28, 2012 (Institute of Middle Eastern, Islamic and Strategic Studies. By Sherifa Zuhur)

Deathtoll: 160 Syrians killed today including 52 civilians (and of these, 12 children)

This Friday was called the bread of blood Friday to commemorate those killed at bakeries and many protests held today recognized this issue.

Earlier this month, it was reported that Assad might have requested asylum with several governments in South and Central America, and it was confirmed by Turkey that his government did make such a request of Hugo Chavez in Venezuela.
http://www.todayszaman.com/news-302248-turkey-confirms-syrias-assad-asked-venezuela-for-asylum.html

The involvement of women in the revolution against Bashar al-Assad in the town of al-Zabadani. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Otc6J9EQGiw

Defections: There were unconfirmed reports on 12/27 that Col. Anwar Ruslan, Deputy head of investigation in the Syrian General Intelligence and Col. Ya’roub al-Shara the chairman of the political security division will defect. On 12/28, Turkish reports said that two regional Syrian Air force commanders had defected and were in a camp in Turkey.

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

The regime forces shelled all through the night into the morning (12/29) hours in Aleppo. Many civilians were injured near the al-Nairab airport and al-Dowairneh as they’ve fled trying to escape the shelling. Opposition fighters are battling around 4 airports in Aleppo province.

A sniper shot two civilians in the neighborhoods of al-Qasr and Qastal Harami in Aleppo.

The Syrian military shelled Fasira killing 1 civilian. A sniper shot one civilian in al-Fasira. Shelling of al-Zarba killed one young man and clashes there resulted in the deaths of 5 regular soldiers and the regular troops have retreated. Clashes near the Kweiris airport and Khan al-A’sal occurred in which 2 opposition fighters were killed.

Heavy clashes took place near the Aleppo International airport between the al-Nusra Front fighters and the government troops. Clashes took place in Hendrat and near the al-Kendi hospital. The regime forces at the Aleppo prison have said they were execute the Islamist prisoners in the prison if the opposition attacks them.

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 car bomb detonated in Rijah square of the Yarmouk camp. A sniper shot one man in al-Qaboun. Assad supporters executed Samir Murshed Alsaud,a native of Deir Ezzor in Tadamon today.

The Syrian military used airpower, mortars and artillery to bombard Douma, Shab’a, Daraya, Harasta, Irbeen and the area near the motor vehicle department, killing a child in Douma. There were also clashes in Irbeen, Daraya and near the motor vehicle deparment, killing one opposition fighter in Irbeen.

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

Shelling took place all through the night of 12/28 into the early morning hours in the province.

A sniper shot one civilian in the Palestinian camp in the city of Dara`a.

The Syrian military shot one civilian in the town of Basr al-Harir. Heavy clashes between Syrian troops and the opposition took place at Busr al-Harir in which 7 opposition fighters were killed.

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 opposition captured the Tanak oil field today outside Deir az-Zur. Opposition fighters were killed: Hamza Abd Alkhalif Albidyowi Alwakaa, from the village of Sweidan Jazira

and Abdullah Eid Aljlood http://youtu.be/2puAn04yH_k

This was the 198th day that the Assad regime has carried out a campaign of bombarding the city of Deir az-Zur. The Syrian military shelled Huweiqa, Rushdiyya, Khsarat

The Huweiqa, Rushdiya, and Khsarat neighbourhoods of Deir Ezzour were bombarded by regime forces and they shelled al- Jbeileh, al-Arfi, al-Muathafin and Shaykh Yasin. Clashes also took place with rebels in the Khsarat neighbourhood. An opposition leader in the city of al-Mayadeen was killed was killed during clashes.

Pro-Assad thugs killed Hajj Marwan Muhammad Yasin al-Hadidi (over 76 years old) in al-Jbayla.

After being arrested in his home in Alwadi in al-Jura, regime security killed Imad Khidr Almadi.

Government actors shot Mheidi Saleh Almuhammad at al-Mi’bar in Huweijat Sakr where he was buried.

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
The Syrian air force shelled the village of Latmeen today causing injuries. The Syrian military also shelled the town of Kafarzeita, destroying homes and causing injuries.

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

27 Christian officers defected in Qamishle earlier this week.

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 Syrian military shelled Houla and the city of Rastan causing injuries and destroying homes.

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

A Palestinian, Muhammad Ahmad Quneita, 35 of Gaza was killed while fighting with the Ahrar al-Sham and Nusra Front against regime forces near the Wadi al-Dayf military encampment. He was reportedly a previous member of the al-Qassam Brigades who has been fighting in Syria for 5 months.

The Syrian airforce bombarded the village of Ma’arshurin and the area around the Wadi al-Dayf military encampment. Two opposition fighters were killed and 6 regular troops deserted from the al-Hamadiyya checkpoint.

A protest in Salqin was held to denounce the regime’s bombing of bakeries and civilians waiting for bread and to support the revolution today. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zeEGbPa7PVA

Latakia province: https://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&q=latakia+governorate+google+map&ie=UTF-8&hq=&hnear=0x15241c8bc2bf561f:0xdbb2edac5c45c32b,Latakia+Governorate,+Syria&gl=us&ei=U1TRUMyzBYaM0QHtpoHABg&ved=0CC8Q8gEwAA

The Syrian military launched intense shelling on the town of Salma today and the villages around it.

Quneitra province: https://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&q=map+of+quneitra+province&ie=UTF-8&hq=&hnear=0x151eb4afcd3e069f:0xbcbbd63808a65623,Quneitra+Governorate,+Syria&gl=us&ei=GaDbUNjUF8Xm0QHmwIDgDQ&ved=0CC8Q8gEwAA

Heavy fighting was reported today near the Golan Heights.

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

Heavy shelling took place all through the night (of 12/28) into the morning hours.

Opposition fighters attacked the 17th division on the outskirts of the city of al-Raqqa, killing 3 opposition fighters.

There was a shelling on a bakery today.

Suwaida province:

https://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&q=map+suwayda+governorate&ie=UTF-8&hq=&hnear=0x15198e45f1726311:0x21daec3963f8161e,As-Suwayda+Governorate,+Syria&gl=us&ei=XFreUNinG-jO0QHxzoD4Cg&ved=0CDMQ8gEwAA

2 civilian activists were shot on the way to work on their land to the west of the town of al-Qariya.

International: Islamic Jihad has denied involvement in the Syrian government’s efforts to put down the opposition in Yarmouk camp in Damascus. http://www.kuna.net.kw/ArticleDetails.aspx?id=2284140&language=en

Moaz al-Khatib, the head of Syria’s National Coalition for the Revolution was invited to Moscow for talks on the crisis but refused to go because his group will not negotiate with Assad and neither Russia nor the Syrian government has recognized the opposition. http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/12/28/us-syria-crisis-idUSBRE8AJ1FK20121228

International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI, the Philippine port operator which has a contract to operate the port of Tartous is leaving Syria due to the instability and danger in the country.

Selected Bibliography on Syria by Sherifa Zuhur

Abdullah, U. I. The Islamic Struggle in Syria. Berkeley: Mizan Press, 1983.

Abu Khalil, `Asad. “Syria and the Arab-Israeli Conflict.” Current History. Vol. 93, 1994.

Avi-Ran, Reuven. The Syrian Involvement in Lebanon since 1975. Boulder, Col.: Westview, 1991.

Batatu, Hanna. “Some Observations on the Social Roots of Syria’s Ruling Military Group and the Causes for its Dominance.” Middle East Journal. Vol. 35, 1981.

_________. “Syria’s Muslim Brethren.” Middle East Reports. Vol. 12. No. 110, November-December, 1982.

_________. Syria’s Peasantry, The Descendants of Its Lesser Rural Notables, and Their Politics. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1999.

Betts, Robert B. The Druze. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1988.

Blecher, Robert. “History as Social Critique in Syrian Film: Muhammad Malas’ al-Leil and Ryad Chaia’s al-Lajat.” Middle East Report. No. 204, July-September, 1997.

Clawson, Patrick. Unaffordable Ambitions: Syria’s Military Build-up and Economic Crisis. Washington D.C.: Washington Institute for Near East Policy, 1989.

Davis, Uri. “Citizenship Legislation in the Syrian Arab Republic.” Arab Studies Quarterly. Vol. 18, No. 1, Winter 1996.

Devlin, John. The Ba`th Party: A History from Its Origins to 1966. Stanford, Calif.: Hoover Institution Press, 1976.

Drysdale, Alasdair. “The Succession Question in Syria.” Middle East Journal. Vol. 39, No. 2, 1985.

Drysdale, Alasdair and Hinnebusch, Raymond. Syria and the Middle East Peace Process. New York: Council on Foreign Relations, 1991.

Early, Evelyn. “Poetry and Pageants: Growing up in the Syrian Vanguard.” In Children in the Muslim Middle East. Edited by Elizabeth Fernea. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1995.

Gelvin, James. “The Social Origins of Popular Nationalism in Syria: Evidence for a New Framework.” International Journal of Middle East Studies. Vol. 26, No. 4, 1994.

_________. Divided Loyalties: Nationalism and Mass Politics in Syria at the Close of Empire. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998.

Hinnebusch, Raymond. Authoritarian Power and State Formation in Ba’thist Syria: Army, Party and Peasant. Boulder, Col.: Westview, 1990.

__________. “State and Civil Society in Syria.” Middle East Journal. Vol. 47, No.2, Spring 1993.

__________. “State, Civil Society and Political Change in Syria.” In Civil Society in the Middle East. Edited by Augustus R. Norton. Leiden: Brill, 1995.

Hopfinger, Han and Boeckler, Marc. “Step by Step to an Open Economic System: Syria Sets Course for Liberalization.” British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies. Vol. 23, No. 2, November 1996.

Hopwood, Derek. Syria, 1945-1986: Politics and Society. London: Unwin Hyman, 1988.

Kanovsky, Eliahu. “Syria’s Troubled Economic Future.” Middle East Quarterly. Vol. 4, No. 2, June 1997.

Kaplan, Robert. “Syria — Identity Crisis.” The Atlantic. Vol. 271, February, 1993.

Kayali, Ghalib. Hafiz al-Assad: Qa’id wa risala. Damascus, 1977.

Kedar, Mordechai. “The Public Political Language of the Asad Regime in Syria: Messages and Means of Communication.” Ph.D. dissertation. Bar-Ilan University, 1998.

Khoury, Philip. Syria and the French Mandate: The Politics of Arab Nationalism, 1920-1945. Princeton: Princeton University, 1987.

_________. “A Reinterpretation of the Origins and Aims of the Great Syrian Revolt 1925-1927.” In Arab Civilization: Challenges, Responses, Studies in Honor of Constantine Zurayk. Edited by George Atiyeh and Ibrahim Oweiss. Albany: State University of New York, 1988.

_________. “Syrian Political Culture.” In Syria: Society, Culture, and Polity. Edited by Richard T. Antoun and Donald Quataert. Albany: State University of New York, 1991.

_________. “Syrian Urban Politics in Transition: The Quarters of Damascus during the French Mandate.” In The Modern Middle East. Edited by Albert Hourani, Philip Khoury, Philip and Mary Wilson. Berkeley: University of California, 1993.

Kienle, Eberhard. Ba’th versus Ba’th. The Conflict Between Syria and Iraq, 1968-1989. London: I.B. Tauris, 1990.

Kienle, Eberhard, ed. Contemporary Syria: Economic Liberalization between Cold War and Cold Peace. London: British Academic Press, 1994.

Lawson, Fred. “External versus Internal Pressures for Liberalization in Syria and Iraq.” Journal of Arab Affairs. Vol. 11, No. 1, 1992.

_________. “Domestic Transformation and Foreign Steadfastness in Contemporary Syria.” Middle East Journal. Vol. 48, Winter 1994.

Lobmeyer, Hans. “Islamic Ideology and Secular Discourse. The Islamists of Syria.” Orient. Vol. 32, 1991.

Longuenesse, Elisabeth. “The Syrian Working Class Today.” Middle East Report. Vol. 15, No. 134, July-August 1985.

Ma’oz, Moshe. Ottoman Reform in Syria and Palestine. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1968.

__________. “Alawi Military Officers in Syrian Politics.” In The Military and State in Modern Asia. Edited by H.Z. Schiffrin. Jerusalem: Academic Press, 1976.

__________. Asad, Sphinx of Damascus. London: Weldenfeld and Nicolson, 1988.

Ma’oz, Moshe and Yaniv, Avner, eds. Syria under Assad: Domestic Constraints and Regional Risks. New York: St. Martin’s 1986.

Mardam Bey, Salma. Syria’s Quest for Independence. Reading: Ithaca, 1994.

Mayer, Thomas. “The Islamic Opposition in Syria 1961-1982.” Orient. Vol. 24, 1983.

Middle East Watch Committee, eds. Syria Unmasked: The Suppression of Human Rights by the Regime. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1991.

Moosa, Matti. “Naqqash and the Rise of the Native Arab Theater in Syria.” Journal of Arabic Literature, 3, 1972.

Muslih, Muhammad. “The Golan: Israel, Syria and Strategic Considerations.” Middle East Journal. Vol. 47, 1993.

Omar, Saleh. “Philosophical Origins of the Arab Ba’th Party: The Work of Zaki al-Arsuzi.” Arab Studies Quarterly. Vol. 18, No. 2, Spring 1996.

Perthes, Volker. “The Bourgeoisie and the Ba’th.” Middle East Report. 21, No. 3, May-June 1991.

__________. The Political Economy of Syria Under Asad. London: I.B. Tauris, 1995.

__________. “Si Vis Stabilatatem, Para Bellum: State Building, National Security and War Preparation in Syria.” In War, Institutions and Social Change in the Middle East. Edited by Steven Heydemann. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000.

Qudsi, Safwan. al-Batal wa al-tarikh. Qira’a fi fikr Hafiz al-Asad al-siyasi. Damascus: Dar Tlas, 1984.

Rabinovich, Itamar. Syria Under the Ba’th. Jerusalem: Israel Universities Press and New York: Halstead, 1972.

Rathmell, Andrew. Secret War in the Middle East: The Covert Struggle for Syria, 1949-1961. London and New York: I.B. Tauris, 1995.

Raymond, André. La Syrie d’aujourd’hui. Paris: CNRS, 1980.

Roberts, David. The Ba’th and the Creation of Modern Syria. London: Croom Helm, 1987.

Russell, Malcolm. The First Modern Arab State: Syria under Faysal 1918-1920. Minneapolis: Bibliotheca Islamica, 1985.

Sadowski, Yahya. “Patronage and the Ba’th: Corruption and Control in Contemporary Syria.” Arab Studies Quarterly. Vol. 9, No. 4, 1987.

Schami, Rafik. Damascus Nights. Trans. by Philip Boehm. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1993.

Seale, Patrick. The Struggle for Syria: A Study of Post-War Arab Politics 1945-1958. London: I.B. Tauris, 1986.

________. Asad: The Struggle for the Middle East. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988.

Seurat, Michel. L’État de barbarie. Paris: Éditions du Seuil, 1989.

al-Sharif, Samim. al-Musiqa fi Suriya: A`lam wa tarikh. Damascus: Wizarat al-Thaqafa wa al-Irshad, 1991.

Sluglett, Peter and Farouk-Sluglett, Marion. “The Application of the 1858 Land Code in Greater Syria: Some Preliminary Observations.” In Tarif Khalidi, ed. Land Tenure and Social Transformation in the Middle East. Beirut: American University in Berut, 1984.

Sultan, `Ali. Tarikh Suriya. Vol. 1 (1908-1918) and Vol. 2 (1918 – 1920). Damascus: Dar al-Tlas, 1987.

Tauber, Eliezer. The Formation of Modern Syria and Iraq. Ilford, Essex, England and Portland, Oregon: Frank Cass, 1995.

Thompson, Elizabeth. “The Climax and Crisis of the Colonial Welfare State in Syria and Lebanon during World War II.” In War, Institutions and Social Change in the Middle East. Edited by Steven Heydemann. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000.

Tibawi, Abdul Latif. A Modern History of Syria, including Lebanon and Palestine. London: Macmillan and New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1969.

Tlass, Mustafa. L’histoire politique de la Syrie contemporaine, 1918-1990. Mustafa Tlass, Joseph Hajjar. Damascus: Dar al-Tlas, 1993.

Torrey, Gordon N. Syrian Politics and the Military 1945-1958. Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 1964.

Van Dam, Nikolaos. The Struggle for Power in Syria: Sectarianism, Regionalism and Tribalism in Politics, 1961 – 1980. London: Croom Helm, 1981.

Watenpaugh, Keith. “Middle Class Modernity and the Persistence of the Politics of the Notables.” International Journal of Middle East Studies. Vol. 35, Number 2, May 2003.

Wedeen, Lisa. Ambiguities of Domination: Politics, Rhetoric, and Symbols in Contemporary Syria. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999.

Weulersse, Jacques. Le pays des Alouites. Vol. 1 Tours: 1940.

__________. Paysans de Syrie et du Proche-Orient. Paris: Gallimard, 1946.

Zisser, Eyal. “The Syrian Army: Between the Domestic and the External Fronts.” Middle East Review of International Affairs. Vol. 5, No. 1, March 2001.

Zuhur, Sherifa. “Bashar al-Assad.” In the Encyclopedia of the Arab Israeli Conflict, Edited by Spencer Tucker, Santa Barbara and London: ABC-Clio, 2008

Zuhur, Sherifa. “Syria: Haven for Terrorists?” Unmasking Terror: A Global Review of Terrorist Activities. Vol. 2 Jamestown: Jamestown Foundation, 2005.

Zuhur, Sherifa. “Syria: From Arab Nationalists to a Security Services State.” In Zuhur, The Middle East: Politics, History and Neonationalism. Philadelphia: Institute of Middle Eastern, Islamic and Diasporic Studies, 2005.

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

12 Nov

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

Early death toll: 107

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Clashes took place in Irbeen.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Latakia province: The Syrian military heavily shelled Jabal Akrad.

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

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

Tartous province: An explosion shook the city of Banyas.

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

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

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

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

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

Syria: A Brief Chronology

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

1920 March. Faisal is proclaimed the King of Syria.

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

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

1928. A constituent assembly drafts Syria’s constitution.

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

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

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

1946. The French withdraw from Syria.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1987. Syria redeploys troops to Lebanon.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2006 Iraq and Syria restore relations.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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