Friday 21 September 2012 other news
Syrian Observatory for Human Rights: Final death toll for Friday 21/9/2012: 150 Syrians have been killed. The dead include: 98 unarmed civilians (11 were children), 16 rebel fighters, 4 defected soldiers, and 32 regular soldiers.
***Reports that a further 8 civilians and 3 rebels were killed by gunfire and bombardment on the city of Aleppo.***
-In Reef Dimashq 19 civilians were killed. 1 by a sniper in the town of Sabina. 8 people were killed by regime forces after they stormed the town of al-Buweida. 2 civilians, 1 a woman, were killed in the town of Yabrud. 4 civilians, including a woman and a child, were killed by the bombardment on the town of Thiyabiya. 1 was killed by regime fire in Yalda. 1 civilian from the Qudseyya suburb was tortured to death after being detained by the regime. 2 civilians were killed in Mou’adamiya, 1 young woman was killed by the regime bombardment; an unidentified man was summarily executed in the town.
***There are reports that a further 15 civilians were killed in Reef Dimashq. 13 killed by regime forces in al-Buweida town. 2 children killed by the bombardment on Thiyabiya.***
-In Damascus 11 civilians were fully documented. 1 from the Barzeh neighbourhood died of wounds. A woman from the Fahhameh neighbourhood was killed by a sniper shot she received in the town of al-Sabina, Reef Dimashq. The bodies of 9 civilians were found summarily executed in the Hajar al-Aswad neighbourhood.
-In Idlib province 17 civilians were killed. 2 civilians were killed by bombardment and sniper fire in the city of Ma’arat al-Nu’man. A woman died of wounds in Saraqeb. 3 civilians were killed by the regime bombardment on al-Rami and Shallakh villages. 2 civilians, one a woman from Basamis, were killed by the regime bombardment on the city. 9 civilians, including a young girl and a woman, were killed by the regime bombardment on the village of Ihsim, Reef Idlib.
-In Deir Izzour 7 were killed. 4 by regime guns in the Joura neighbourhood of Deir Izzour. 2 by the bombardment on the Qusoor neighbourhood. 1 died of injuries in Muhassan.
-In Hama province 1 civilian was killed by pro-regime gunmen in the al-Elbawi village.
-In Dera’a province 2 civilians were killed. 1 by regime forces after they stormed the town of Nahta, Reef Dera’a. 1 civilian from Tafas was killed by pro-regime gunmen in the al-Asali neighbourhood of Damascus.
13 Rebel fighters:
Aleppo: 5 rebel fighters, one a battalion leader, were killed by clashes in the city of Aleppo.
Homs: 4 rebels killed. 3 rebels were killed by clashes in Talbisa. 1 killed in Homs city.
Reef dimashq: 1 unidentified fighter was killed by the bombardment on Misraba.
Idlib province: 1 fighter from Ma’arat al-Nu’man was killed by clashes in Aleppo.
Hama: 1 rebel fighter was killed by clashes in Reef Hama.
Latakia province: 1 rebel fighter was killed by clashes in the village of Balloran.
1 defected officer, first Lieutenant, was killed by a sniper in Damascus. 3 defected soldiers were killed by the bombardment on Reef Dimashq and by clashes with regime forces in Aleppo and Dera’a.
No less than 32 members of the syrian armed forces were killed, one of them was a Colonel, during attacks on military vehicles and headquarters in Aleppo, Idlib, Latakia, Homs, Tartous, Hama and Dera’a.
[local time] 22:14 The death toll in Syria has increased to 91 people on Friday, Al-Jazeera quoted activists as saying.
22:12 Ninety Syrian regime soldiers defected from the infantry academy in Aleppo, Al-Jazeera reported.
20:34 Syrian security forces arrested dozens of women in the town of Al-Bayda near Baniyas, Al-Jazeera reported.
20:24 Syrian regime forces raided the town of Al-Harak in Daraa, Al-Arabiya quoted activists as saying.
20:15 US Vice President Joe Biden pressed Iraq’s Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki in a telephone call Friday to bar the passage of weapons shipments to Syria through Iraqi airspace, the White House said.
20:12 Seven people were killed in the shelling of the town of Ehsem in Edleb’s Jabal al-Zawiya, Al-Jazeera reported.
20:01 Syrian regime forces shelled the neighborhood of Karm al-Jabal in Aleppo, Al-Jazeera quoted activists as saying.
19:40 Syrian security forces shelled Maaret al-Noaman in the Edleb district and torched a number of houses in the area, Al-Arabiya quoted activists as saying.
18:53 Friday’s death toll in Syria has risen to 81 people, Al-Jazeera reported.
18:44 Syrian regime forces shelled towns in the Al-Raqqa province near the Turkish border, Al-Jazeera quoted activists as saying.
18:02 Swiss hand grenades exported to the United Arab Emirates were sent on to war-torn Syria, Swiss authorities said Friday, confirming reports that caused outcry in the fervently neutral country.
18:02 A UN commission investigating the many serious rights violations in war-torn Syria should be allowed to continue its work and get more resources, according to a draft resolution presented in Geneva Friday.
17:55 Nassar spent 10 weeks in an underground jail at Hanano military barracks in the embattled province of Aleppo in northern Syria for planning to desert before his fortunes changed.
16:51 Friday’s death toll in Syria has risen to 61 people, Al-Arabiya television quoted activists as saying.
16:32 NATO does not believe that military intervention in Syria would bring any improvement in the security situation there, a senior alliance official said Friday.
16:21 Friday’s death toll in Syria has risen to 45 people, Al-Arabiya television quoted activists as saying.
16:01 An anti-regime protest took place in the town of Al-Qawriya in Deir az-Zour. (S.N.N.)
15:35 A YouTube video purportedly filmed on Friday shows an anti-regime protest in Al-Abzemo in Aleppo.
15:23 Syrian regime forces shelled a number of towns in Daraa, Al-Jazeera television quoted activists as saying.
15:13 A YouTube video purportedly filmed on Friday shows anti-regime demonstrators chanting slogans against President Bashar al-Assad in the town of Harasta in the Damascus district.
15:12 An anti-regime protest kicked off in Daraya in the Damascus district. (S.N.N.)
14:58 Two anti-regime protests kicked off following Friday prayers in the neighborhood of Al-Maghayer in Aleppo. (S.N.N.)
14:58 Several anti-regime protests took place near the mosques of the town of Al-Mayadine in Deir az-Zour. (S.N.N.)
14:57 Iraq on Friday denied permission for a North Korean aircraft to cross its airspace on its way to Syria over suspicions it would carry arms and advisers there, the Iraqi premier’s spokesperson said.
14:52 Seventeen people were summarily executed in Syria’s al-Bouwayda, Al-Jazeera television quoted activists as saying.
14:49 A YouTube video purportedly filmed on Friday shows an anti-regime protest in the Hama town of Latamina.
14:45 A masked gunman on a motorbike shot dead prominent Kurdish activist Mahmoud Wali, known as Abu Ghandi, in northeastern Syria, fellow activists said on Friday.
14:45 A protest began in the Hama neighborhood of Al-Faraya. (S.N.N.)
14:44 An anti-regime protest kicked off in the Hama neighborhood of Al-Bayad. (S.N.N.)town of Al-Sfeyra. (S.N.N.)
14:41 A massive protest erupted in the Aleppo town of Kfar Halab amid heavy shelling. (S.N.N.)
14:39 A YouTube video purportedly filmed on Friday shows an anti-regime protest in the Daraa town of Kherbet Ghazala.
14:38 A YouTube video purportedly filmed on Friday shows an anti-regime protest in the Edleb town of Hass. Protesters are chanting, “Where are [all] Muslims?”
14:13 Friday’s death toll in Syria has risen to 19 people, Al-Jazeera television reported, adding that the Syrian regime forces have closed Hama’s entries.
14:06 An anti-regime protest kicked off in the Aleppo town of Al-Sukkari. (S.N.N.)
14:06 Anti-regime protests began in the Aleppo towns of Al-Tahan and Menbej. (S.N.N.)
14:06 Syrian regime forces opened fire on the Al-Radwan Mosque in the Aleppo town of Hamdaniya to prevent protests. (S.N.N.)
14:05 An anti-regime protest began in the Damascus town of Al-Jowbar. (S.N.N.)
14:05 An anti-regime protest started in the Aleppo neighborhood of Qadi Aaskar. (S.N.N.)
14:05 A massive protest began in the Aleppo neighborhood of Al-Salihin. (S.N.N.)
14:04 Regime forces are shelling the Homs town of Talbissa. (S.N.N.)
14:04 A protest broke out in the Damascus neighborhood of Al-Zahira. (S.N.N.)
14:03 A massive anti-regime protest kicked off in the Aleppo town of Al-Bab. (S.N.N.)
14:03 An anti-regime protest erupted in the Hasaka neighborhood of Al-Aziziya. (S.N.N.)
14:02 An anti-regime protest erupted in the Aleppo neighborhood of Al-Haydariya. (S.N.N.)
14:02 A protest began in the village of Khattab in the district of Hama. (S.N.N.)
14:00 Syrian regime forces shelled the Aleppo town of Atareb and targeted an anti-regime protest, which severely injured two people. (S.N.N.)
14:00 An anti-regime protest began in the Aleppo neighborhood of Masaken Hanano. (S.N.N.)
13:57 A protest began in the town of New Aleppo outside the Sheikh Omar Mosque. (S.N.N.)
13:56 A massive demonstration kicked off in the Damascus town of Baraza. (S.N.N.)
13:55 An anti-regime protest began in the Daraa town of Kherbet Ghazala. (S.N.N.)
13:54 A protest kicked off in Harasta in the district of Damascus. (S.N.N.)
13:52 An anti-regime protest kicked off in the town of Al-Tabaqa outside the Hamza Mosque. (S.N.N.)
13:50 A protest began in the Aleppo town of Achrafieh. (S.N.N.)
13:49 An anti-regime protest began in the Aleppo town of Dabeq. (S.N.N.)
13:41 Several protests kicked off in the Aleppo towns on Ebzemo, Ebin, Al-Jina, Babto, Aanjara and Taqad. (S.N.N.)
13:40 Anti-protests began in the Aleppo neighborhoods of Al-Shaar and Al-Sakhour. (S.N.N.)
13:37 A protest kicked off from the Al-Raqa Mosque. (S.N.N.)
13:28 An anti-regime protest began in the Daraa town of Enkhel. (S.N.N.)
13:26 A protest erupted in the Hama town of Kfarzita. (S.N.N.)
13:24 An anti-regime protest began in the Aleppo town of Ratyan. (S.N.N.)
13:23 Regime forces surrounded the Damascus neighborhood of Aysha. (S.N.N.)
13:16 A massive anti-regime protest kicked off in the Daraa town of Yadouda. (S.N.N.)
13:13 Syrian regime forces surrounded Hama, Al-Jazeera quoted activists as saying.
12:56 A video filmed by CNN Arabic shows an interview with a Libyan fighter, identified as Firas, who is supporting the Syrian rebels along with other fellows.
12:49 Syrian regime forces killed 12 people on Friday, activists said.
12:19 A Syrian opposition group tolerated by the government said on Friday that it had lost contact with two of its members who were returning from Damascus airport after a trip to China.
11:41 Syrian regime forces shelled the city of Abu Kamal in Deir az-Zour, Al-Jazeera television quoted activists as saying.
10:51 Syrian troops backed by helicopter gunships clashed with rebels near an army barracks in Aleppo as pre-dawn battles broke out near a military airport elsewhere in the province on Friday, a monitor said.
7:30 MORNING LEADER: At least 30 civilians were reported killed on Thursday in a massive explosion in northeast Syria as state media blamed a helicopter gunship crash on an accident but monitors said rebels shot it down.
Reuters: Syria seizes opposition members after China trip – opposition By Oliver Holmes
BEIRUT (Reuters) – Security forces seized three members of Syria’s government-sanctioned opposition shortly after they returned from an official trip to China, a spokesman for the group said on Friday.
Five other members of the National Coordination Body (NCB) were reportedly detained by Syrian security agents on Monday.
Facing a 18-month-old uprising against his rule, President Bashar al-Assad has tolerated some opposition figures who call for a peaceful transition from a one-party state to democratic governance.
NCB spokesman Khalaf Dahowd said NCB foreign affairs head Abdel Aziz al-Khair and executive committee member Eyas Ayyash arrived in Damascus on Thursday night and were followed by Syrian security agents to their car where they joined NCB member Maher Tahan.
“The car never made it to Damascus,” Dahowd said. “They were kidnapped and we haven’t heard from them since.”
The road from Damascus airport to the capital is tightly controlled by state security and there are several checkpoints along the route. Many dissidents have been arrested along it.
The men had returned from a visit to China in which they met Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi. China has urged Assad to talk to the opposition but has also defended the government, most notably by blocking diplomatic efforts to put pressure on Syria at the U.N. Security Council.
Dahowd said Chinese officials had assured the NCB delegation that Beijing would exert influence over Assad to protect the internal opposition, including a Damascus opposition conference which is planned for Sunday.
“We invited Chinese diplomats in Damascus to the conference to ensure people’s lives,” said Dahowd on the phone from London.
In July last year, an opposition conference was cancelled after the owner of the venue was threatened by police and security forces fired on a pro-democracy protest outside, killing 14.
Dahowd also said one of the seized men, al-Khair, had been given assurances from Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov at a meeting in Paris on September 9th that Russia, another country that supports Assad, would back and protect the upcoming opposition conference.
The Russian and Chinese foreign ministries did immediately respond to requests for comment.
“Our group is a group that calls for a peaceful transition. The government knows we are nationalists and that we are not calling for an armed revolt,” said Dahowd.
Since the start of the revolt, many of its members had been arrested and killed, he said.
“There is a strong part of the regime who are trying to kill a peaceful solution because they believe this is a conspiracy and they have to sort it out militarily. That’s all they’ve known for 40 years.”
Activists say more than 27,000 people have been killed in a conflict which began with peaceful street protests that provoked a military crackdown and mushroomed into civil war.
(Additional reporting by Gleb Bryanski in Moscow; Editing by Angus MacSwan)
Arab countries proposed on Friday extending the mandate of U.N. investigators documenting war crimes in Syria and said that more experts were needed for the growing task.
A draft resolution submitted to the United Nations Human Rights Council by a group of Arab states, backed by Western powers, calls for the investigations to carry on for the next six months.
The U.N. body launched the commission in August 2011 after a majority of member states out-voted four countries that opposed it, including Russia and China.
Its current mandate expires at the end of the Council’s three-week session next Friday, on September 28 by which time the vote on extending the mandate should have take place.
The investigators, led by Brazilian Paulo Pinheiro, said on Monday they had added more names to a secret list of Syrians suspected of committing war crimes during the 18-month-old uprising against President Bashar al-Assad.
Adding weight to the notion that the list could eventually be used to launch prosecutions, Switzerland has proposed that Carla del Ponte, a former ICC prosecutor, join the inquiry as a third commissioner.
“She has the ideal profile and necessary experience to reinforce the commission and carry out its investigative work,” a Swiss diplomat told Reuters this week.
Pinheiro and del Ponte, a former Swiss attorney-general whose eight years at the war crimes tribunal were dominated by the pursuit and trial of former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, met in Geneva this week to discuss the Syria inquiry, diplomatic sources said.
If the Council extends the inquiry’s mandate, the choice of a third commissioner would be left to the Council’s president, Uruguay’s Ambassador Laura Dupuy Lasserre, who could make the appointment as early as next Friday.
The resolution was submitted by Morocco on behalf of Kuwait, Qatar, Jordan, Libya, Saudi Arabiaand Tunisia after being discussed in informal negotiations this week by all members.
The sponsors hope to convince Russia and China to at least abstain rather than voting against this time, to send a strong signal from the 47-member forum that abuses must stop.
“The whole objective is to get as many people as possible on board, to take the Syria issue out of a West-Russia confrontation,” an Arab diplomat told Reuters.
The text asks the United Nations to provide additional resources, including staffing, to allow the inquiry to work “in light of the increasingly deteriorating human rights situation” in Syria.
In the past year, some 20 investigators have helped Pinheiro and co-commissioner Karen AbuZayd interview 1,100 victims, witnesses and defectors despite their lack of access to Syria.
“Karen and I have expressed the need to double the number of investigators,” Pinheiro told Reuters earlier this week.
The Arab states are also seeking an eighth condemnation of Syrian government forces and allied militia that investigators say have committed atrocities including a massacre at Houla in May which Damascus blamed on “Islamist terrorists”.
The draft resolution strongly condemns crimes by Syrian government forces including “the use of heavy weapons and force against civilians”, massacres, executions, torture and rapes.
It also condemns “any human rights abuses by armed opposition groups” fighting to topple Assad.
The conflict has uprooted 1.2 million people within Syria and driven nearly 280,000 Syrian refugees abroad to four neighboring countries which need financial support, it says.
(Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)