Monday 10 September 2012
Syrian Observatory for Human Rights: Final death toll for Monday 10/9/2012: More than 160 Syrians were killed. The dead include: 110 unarmed civilians (10 were children), 11 rebel fighters, 3 defected soldiers, and 21 members of the Syrian armed forces.
110 Unarmed civilians:
- In Aleppo province 27 civilians were killed. 8 were killed due to bombardment on residential buildings in the Sakhoor neighbourhood. Another eight, among them two women and a child due to bombardment on al-Sha’ar neighbourhood. An unidentified child was killed due to bombardment on al-Maysir neighbourhood. a man died of gunshot wounds in the Meyser neighbourhood. Two men were killed from government gunfire near Hanano barracks. A child was killed due to bombardment on al-Siryan neighbourhood. Two people were killed in Hanano neighbourhood one of whom a woman due to bombardment. A civilian’s body was dug up from debris from yesterday’s bombardment. Two civilians were killed from sniper shots in Bab al-Hadeed and Bab Janeen neighbourhoods. A civilian from the town of Tal Raf’aat was killed due to torture after he was detained by government forces. A civilian from the village of Kaljibreen was killed from wounds due to bombardment.
- In Damascus 25 civillians were killed. Two civilians were killed by regime fire in Yarmouk camp. 23 civilians in al-Tadamun neighbourhood; 13 of whom by regime fire, and 10 other bodies were found by activists who said they were killed by government forces that have stormed the neighbourhood.
- In Reef Dimashq 35 civilians were killed. 5 of whom (a child and a woman amongst them) were killed due to bombardment on the towns of Ein Mneen, Beit Seiwa, al-Tal, Hamouriya, and al-Hajarya. 5 civilians were killed in the town of Duma one of whom from regime fire and the other four (two children amongst them) due to gunfire and clashes. Two civilians were killed in the town of Yalda; one from regime fire and the other due to bombardment. A civilian from al-Zabadani was killed from regime sniper shots. A civilian’s corpse was found 3 days after his kidnapping from the village of al-Nashabiya. A civilian’s corpse was found in the town of Dareya. Three corpses (two of which unidentified) were found in the town of M’addamiyat al-Sham. 17 corpses were found in the town of Zamalaka, they were killed by point-blank shots.
**There are reports that 5 civilians were killed by the bombardment on the Sayyeda Zeinab area of Reef Dimashq; and 3 killed by the bombardment on the Marjeh neighbourhood of Aleppo.**
- In Idlib 5 civilians were killed. 2 civilians (one of whom a child) due to bombardment on the towns of Farkiya and Haas. Two civilians (one of whom a woman) were killed due to wounds from bombardment on the towns of al-Habeet and Mi’rat Masren. A civilian from the town of Qatnaz was killed under torture after he was detained by regime forces in Reef Idlib.
- In Dara’a 5 civilians were killed. a woman and a child were killed due to bombardment on the town of al-Ne’eima. A civilian died from wounds suffered from bombardment on the town of Naahita. A woman was killed due to wounds suffered from bombardment on the town of Nafi’a. A civilian died from sniper shots in the town of Izra’ in Reef Daraa.
- In Hama 7 civilians were killed: A civilian was killed after his car was targeted by regime forces in al-Olaylat neighbourhood. A civilian was killed from sniper shots in the town of Hama. A child was killed due to bombardment on the village of Soha. A civilian was killed from sniper shots between the towns of Salamiya and al-Raqqa. Two women and a child were killed due to bombardment on the town of Khatamlo on the east of Reef Hama.
- In Deir Izzour two civilians killed due to wounds suffered from bombardment on the town of Mohassen in Reef Deir Izzour.
- In Homs 4 civilians killed. A civilian was killed due to wounds suffered from sniper shots in the town of al-Qaseer. A civilian was killed due to bombardment on the town of al-Rastan in Reef Homs. A civilian was killed due to bombardment on Jourat al-Shyah neighbourhood. A civilian was killed in by regime forces in al-Wa’ar neighbourhood.
11 Rebel fighters:
Aleppo province: 5 rebels killed. A rebel battalion commander were killed from gunfire wounds. 3 rebel fighters were killed from clashes with government forces. A rebel died from bombardment on Aqyool neighbourhood.
Damascus: A rebel fighter who died after clashes with government forces in al-Asali neighbourhood.
Idlib province: A rebel fighter from the town of Ram Hamdan was killed from a wound he suffered in clashes with government forces.
Dara’a province: A rebel fighter from the town of Mahja was killed from sniper shots.
Hama province: A rebel fighter died after clashes with regime forces in al-Masafi neighbourhood.
Deir Izzor: A rebel fighter from Deir Izzour was killed after clashes with regime forces in Aleppo.
Latakia province: 1 rebel fighter was killed after clashes with regime forces in the Qistel area in Reef Latakia.
A defected lieutenant was killed by clashes in Damascus. A defected first lieutenant died of wounds in Hama. A defected soldier was killed in Homs clashes.
No less than 21 members of the Syrian armed forces were killed by clashes in Damascus, Reef Dimashq, Dara’a, Aleppo and Idlib.
As the Human Rights Council began its latest session today, United Nations officials highlighted the many challenges that continue to concern the world body, from the ongoing conflict in Syria and its impact on civilians to broader issues such as discrimination and impunity.
“There is clearly no shortage of human rights challenges which my Office is working on with partners and stakeholders,” the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, saidat the opening of the Council’s 21st session in Geneva.
She highlighted numerous human rights challenges that continue to persist and preoccupy the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR): poverty, impunity, armed conflicts, refugee flows, discrimination, religious intolerance, arbitrary executions, and the impact of the pervasive economic and financial crises.
“Regrettably, lives and livelihoods continue to hang in the balance,” she stated. “My Office remains vigilant in supporting States in addressing these scourges, doing what it can within limited means to improve conditions that result in far too many human rights victims.”
Made up of 47 Member States elected by the General Assembly, the Council is an inter-governmental body within the UN system responsible for strengthening the promotion and protection of human rights around the globe and for addressing situations of human rights violations and making recommendations on them.
She voiced grave concern about the ongoing conflict in Syria, where more than 18,000 people, mostly civilians, have died since the uprising against Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad began some 18 months ago, citing the continuing “devastating” consequences on civilians.
“I reiterate the call I made at the last session of the Council for the international community to overcome divisions and work to end the violence and human rights violations to which the people of Syria have been subjected and to ensure accountability for all perpetrators,” she said.
Other country situations that also deserved the attention of the Council and her Office include Bahrain, Colombia, Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, France, Greece, Kenya, the Maldives, Mali, Mauritania, Mexico, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, the occupied Palestinian territory, South Africa, Sudan and Tunisia, she said.
Ms. Pillay also called on the Council to address issues such as gender equality, the targeting of religious minorities and the rising number of executions in some countries.
“While the Security Council has been divided on the situation, the General Assembly and this Council have acted. I welcome this stepped-up engagement,” he said. “I regret that your recommendations were not followed up by other relevant United Nations organs.”
The UN chief encouraged the Council to maintain its vigilance on Syria, including on the question of accountability. “We must ensure that anyone, on any side, who commits war crimes, crimes against humanity or other violations of international human rights or humanitarian law is brought to justice,” he stated.
The Secretary-General highlighted five challenges that warranted the Council’s attention. They included the need to do more to ensure that the output of the Council and other UN human rights mechanisms shapes policy-making across the Organization, as well as the responsibility of States to protect those who courageously advocate and risk their lives to defend human rights and the values of the UN Charter.
He also stressed the need for the Council to respond to all human rights violations in an even-handed manner, without disproportionately emphasizing any one situation over another.
“Taking a selective approach to human rights violations has the effect of damaging the credibility of the institutions concerned,” he said. “Your efforts must be universal and consistent.”
10 September 2012 – The new Joint Special Representative of the United Nations and the League of Arab States on the Syrian crisis, Lakhdar Brahimi, today reiterated his commitment to serve the interests of the Syrian people and help to return stability to the Middle Eastern country.
“I do know it is a very difficult task, but I believe it is not my right to refuse and to try my best to give as much help as possible to the Syrian people,” said Mr. Brahimi, who will be heading to Damascus in the next few days, where he will meet with Syrian officials as well as representatives from civil society.
“As I said in New York, I reiterate that while performing my job, I will be in the service of the Syrian people alone and I will not have any master but the Syrian people,” Mr. Brahimi told reporters in Cairo after meeting with officials from the League of Arab States.
Last week, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appealed to Member States to provide strong and unified support to Mr. Brahimi, as he takes up his mission amid an intensifying conflict that shows no sign of abating.
More than 18,000 people, mostly civilians, have died since the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad began nearly 18 months ago. Amidst reports of an escalation in violence in recent weeks in many towns and villages, as well as the country’s two biggest cities, Damascus and Aleppo, UN agencies now estimate that some 2.5 million Syrians are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance.
An Algerian national who has served the UN in various high-level roles over the past two decades, Mr. Brahimi assumes the peace-facilitation role which had been carried out since February by a former UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, with the aim of bringing an end to all violence and human rights violations in Syria, and promoting a peaceful solution to the conflict. Mr. Annan’s mandate ended on 31 August.
Syrian Observatory for Human Rights: Footage: 20 regime forces massacred in Aleppo
[local time] 21:02 Russia is proposing the organization of a conference bringing together “all the players” of the deadly Syria conflict, including opposition groups, citizens and the ruling regime.
Russia is proposing the organization of a conference bringing together “all the players” of the deadly Syria conflict, including opposition groups, citizens and the ruling regime, a top official told a French newspaper.
“We are proposing to our Western partners the organization of a ‘Taif conference’ between all the players of the conflict,” Russian deputy foreign minister Mikhail Bogdanov told Le Figaro in an article to appear Wednesday.
He was referring to an agreement signed in the Saudi city that brought the end of the Lebanon civil war in 1990.
“This conference should bring together opposition and regime figures as well as Christian, Alawite and Druze community members,” Bogdanov added.
“Given the opposition divisions and the weapons reaching the rebels, the risk of a Somalia-isation of Syria is real, if the regime were to suddenly collapse tomorrow. We must do all we can to avoid this disintegration of a centralized state,” he said.
According to Le Figaro, the Russian official was in Paris over the weekend, where he met French diplomats and Syrian opposition figures.
The Taif agreement was signed October 22, 1989 by Muslim lawmakers and Lebanese Christians to end the 15-year civil war.
20:36 Monday’s death toll in Syria has risen to 167 people, most of them killed in Damascus and Aleppo, Al-Jazeera television quoted activists as saying.
19:46 Defected Syrian general Manaf Tlass said Monday that French intelligence agents helped him escape from Syria, where he had long been a member of President Bashar al-Assad’s inner circle.
18:12 Syrian rebels have summarily executed at least 20 soldiers in the embattled northern city of Aleppo.
18:03 Monday’s death toll in Syria has risen to 76 people, Al-Jazeera television quoted activists as saying.
17:06 The “Friends of Syria” group is to meet in the Netherlands next week to broaden the scope of sanctions and sharpen specific measures against the Damascus regime
16:50 Thirty six bodies were found in Damascus’ neighborhood of Al-Tadamoun, Al-Arabiya quoted activists as saying.
16:47 Thirty six people were found dead in a “massacre” committed in Al-Tadamon neighborhood in Damascus, Al-Arabiya television quoted activists as saying.
16:14 Syria’s army on Monday regained full control of a barracks in Aleppo after days of fierce clashes with rebels seeking to overrun the strategic site.
15:06 Monday’s death toll in Syria has risen to 38 people, most of them killed in Aleppo, Damascus and Daraa, Al-Jazeera television quoted activists as saying.
14:42 Egypt’s Foreign Ministry on Monday confirmed it was hosting a meeting of a four-way “contact group” aimed at resolving the conflict in Syria, after Iran said it was attending.
14:41 Egypt confirmed a regional meeting on Syria will be held in Cairo, AFP reported on Monday.
14:20 Syrian regime jets bombed the towns of Sahl al-Ghab in the district of Hama, Al-Arabiya quoted activists as saying.
13:16 UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called Monday for all war criminals in Syria to be brought to justice, as his human rights chief urged a probe into the slaughter of hundreds in the town of Daraya.
13:10 UN and Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi said Monday during a visit to Cairo that he faces a “very difficult mission” in conflict-stricken Syria, as he prepared to visit Damascus.
12:21 UN rights chief Valerie Amos called for a probe into a “massacre” in the Syrian town of Daraya, AFP reported.
11:44 Syrian warplanes Monday blitzed a string of opposition-held districts in Aleppo, a watchdog said, a day after rebels killed dozens including soldiers in an attack on state buildings in the northern city.
11:24 Iran said it was joining officials from Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Turkey for a four-way “contact group” meeting in Cairo looking at ways to calm the conflict in Syria.
11:02 Syrian security forces killed 14 people on Monday, Al-Jazeera quoted activists as saying.
10:55 The violence in Syria will be at the heart of the 21st session of the UN Human Rights Council, which kicks off Monday with the UN chief and other top diplomats aiming to up pressure on Damascus to halt the bloodshed.
7:30 MORNING LEADER: International peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi arrived in Cairo Sunday on his first trip to the region as Moscow and Washington aired their differences over Syria and violence there claimed yet more lives. Meanwhile, seventeen people were also killed and more than 40 wounded in a “terrorist attack” in the stadium area of Aleppo, as at least 88 people were killed across the country.
CAIRO – Officials from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Iran will meet in Cairo on Monday to discuss the Syrian crisis, but analysts said the regional powers were unlikely to agree on any tangible steps.
U.N. human rights chief faults both sides in Syria: GENEVA – U.N. human rights chief Navi Pillay on Monday blamed both sides in the Syrian conflict for killings and other violations and said that justice would eventually catch up with them.
She said that the international community must take “protective action” in the face of what may amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity, but stopped short of calling for a no-fly zone or military intervention.
“The use of heavy weapons by the government and the shelling of populated areas have resulted in high numbers of civilian casualties, mass displacement of civilians inside and outside the country and a devastating humanitarian crisis,” Pillay said in a speech to the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva.
She was equally concerned at violations by anti-government forces, including murder, extrajudicial execution and torture, and their increased use of improvised explosive devices.
Pillay, a former U.N. war crimes judge, repeatedly has called for Syria to be referred to the International Criminal Court, but such a referral can only be effected by the U.N. Security Council, which is split on how to deal with Syria.
China and Russia oppose any attempt to lay the blame for the crisis on President Bashar al-Assad.
“A referral will make it abundantly clear to all actors in Syria that they will not escape justice and will be held accountable for alleged violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law,” Pillay said on Monday in a separate speech she made to a discussion on Syria.
“Opposition forces should be under no illusion that they will be immune from prosecution,” she added.
Amateur video posted on YouTube on Monday showed images of 20 dead Syrian soldiers, blindfolded and handcuffed, after they were apparently executed in the northern city of Aleppo. It was not possible to verify the videos’ authenticity.
Muhanad al-Hassani, a Syrian lawyer and activist who fled the country a year ago after serving two years in prison, said that the Assad government was driving people to violence and that major powers shared the blame for failing to intervene.
“Our revolution is not a religious revolution. It is a revolution of an oppressed people. For 50 years the West has supported this dictatorship,” he told the Geneva discussion.
“People are being led towards radicalization. We do not want that in Syria. I was for peaceful revolution until the last moment,” al-Hassani said. “The protection of civilians is a legal and moral responsibility, a priority.”
So far 64 journalists have been killed in the conflict, said Syrian journalist Amer Matar, who spent six months in jail before fleeing his homeland earlier this year via Jordan.
“People were tortured daily. All my colleagues, journalists were in prison because they were covering events truthfully.”
EVIDENCE AND TESTIMONY
The Human Rights Council has repeatedly condemned Syria’s government for its handling of what began as a peaceful protest against the government and has escalated into civil war. China, Russia and Cuba have consistently voted against its resolutions.
Independent U.N. investigators, in a report last month, said that Syrian government forces and allied militia have committed war crimes including murder and torture of civilians in what appears to be state-directed policy.
The United States called on Monday for the mandate of the inquiry, which expires later this month, to be extended so that it continues to collect evidence and testimony.
“The onus is upon this Council to ensure that those who commit such heinous human rights violations are investigated and identified so that perpetrators can be held accountable,” U.S. ambassador Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe told the Council.
Lotte Leicht of the group Human Rights Watch said that the independent investigators must be allowed to continue their work despite what she called “stonewalling” in the Security Council.
“It is key that the commission of inquiry gather, analyze and preserve evidence it collects for the purpose of it being made available for possible future prosecutions,” Leicht said.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition watchdog based in London, says more than 27,300 people have died in an uprising that has lasted more than 17 months.
(Reporting by Tom Miles and Stephanie Nebehay, editing by Michael Roddy)
Video shows 20 Syrian soldiers believed executed: BEIRUT – Amateur video posted on You Tube on Monday showed images of 20 dead Syrian soldiers, blindfolded and handcuffed, after they were apparently executed in the northern city of Aleppo.
Amateur video posted on You Tube on Monday showed images of 20 dead Syrian soldiers, blindfolded and handcuffed, after they were apparently executed in the northern city of Aleppo.
Two videos showed the dead men dressed in army fatigues and kneeling in a long line along a road with their bloodied heads lying on the pavement.
It was not possible to verify the authenticity of the videos.
Rami Abdulrahman, head of the British-based opposition watchdog the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said that four people in Aleppo had told him of the incident which happened on either Friday or Saturday.
“The soldiers were from the Aleppo district of Sekenat Hanano but they were killed in the district of Sabaa Baharat,” he said by telephone.
The videos showed rebel fighters holding assault rifles standing around the dead men, calling them “(President Bashar al-) Assad’s Dogs.”
“The Suleiman al-Farisi brigade … killed several members from the (state) security,” a man said off camera, filming a car with the name of the brigade written on the bonnet.
The Suleiman al-Farisi brigade, from the northern town of al-Bab, is one of several units from Aleppo province that have taken up arms against Assad and pushed into the region’s capital, Syria’s commercial hub and most populous city, in July.
Navi Pillay, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights blamed on Monday both sides in the Syrian conflict for human rights violations and said that justice would eventually catch up with them.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says more than 27,300 people have died in an uprising to topple Assad that has lasted more than 17 months, including about 19,500 civilians and rebel fighters, 1,100 army deserters and 6,700 soldiers and members of the security forces.
(Reporting by Oliver Holmes and Erika Solomon, editing by Diana Abdallah)