Monday 18 June 2012
We are all Hamza Alkhateeb: This is Syria … simply… what do you think guys?
-In Homs 10 have been killed. 2 rebel fighters died during clashes in al-Qusayr, Reef Homs. 4 civilians were killed by the regime bombardment of Rastan. 1 rebel fighter was killed during clashes on the outskirts of Rastan. 2 civilians were martyred when regime forces stormed the town of Shinshar, Reef Homs. 1 civilian was martyred in Houla, due the severe bombardment of the area this evening.
-In Deir Izzor 7 civilians were killed. 4 people, including a rebel commander, were killed by the intense explosion in the town of Muhasan. The 3 others were killed in clashes in Deir Izzor, they also include a rebel commander.
-In Dera’a province 10 civilians were martyred. 3 were killed in Busra al-Sham, a 3-year-old child died from the wounds he suffered last friday by the explosion near the mosque of Khalid ibn al-Walid; a child and a man were martyred after midnight by the regime’s bombardment of the town, which only ceased in the morning. 3 civilian were killed by the bombardment and gunfire, of storming Syrian troops, in the town of Tafs. 1 civilian was killed in Dera’a al-Balad by a regime sniper. 3 rebel fighters were killed by an ambush set up for them on their way back from a battle in Tafs.
-In Reef Damascus 19 civilians were martyred.11, including 2 children, were killed in the city of Douma, which is being heavily bombarded by regime forces. 1 civilian was martyred in the town of Ma’adamiya, he was killed when an IED went off next to the al-Nabeel medical centre this morning. 5 civilians, including a woman, were killed when Syrian forces stormed, and started firing, in the village of Hureira today. 1 civilian was killed by regime fire in Qatana. Another was killed in Dumeir by the regime’s nightly bombardment of the town.
-In Damascus province 2 were martyred. A young man, from the Jobar neighbourhood, was killed while in a detention centre, just a few days after his arrest. Another civilian was killed by a security checkpoint, in al-Liwan, while he was going to work.
-In Hama province 3 civilians were martyred, 2 of them were little girls. They were martyred by the regime’s overnight bombardment of Qala’at al-Madiq, Reef Hama.
-In Aleppo province 8 were martyred. A woman was martyred when unknown gunmen attacked and shot her in Aleppo. A young man, from the Masakin Hanano neighbourhood, died from excessive torture in a detention centre after being taken away more tha a month ago. A young man from the village of Ibyeen was killed by a sniper in Reef Idlib. 5 charred bodies were found in a car in the city of Aleppo.
-In Latakia province 1 civilian was martyred, he was shot dead by pro-regime gunmen in the village of Babna.
-In Idlib province 6 civilians were martyred. 1 civilian was killed by the bullet wounds he received from a checkpoint near Kafro Eid. A university student was murdered by security services in Latakia province. A civilian was killed when a security checkpoint in Ma’arat al-Nu’man started firing live rounds randomly. A child was martyred by a sniper in Khan Shaikhoun, Reef Idlib. Another child was martyred by a sniper in Ariha, Reef Idlib. A civilian was killed by a military checkpoint by Saraqib.
** The names of 5 civilians who were martyred the day before yesterday, in southeast Reef Hama were reported to the SOHR today, the delay was caused by telecommunication difficulties in the area.
A defected first sergeant was killed during clashes with Syrian troops in the town of al-Qusayr, Reef Homs.Another defected first sergeant was killed, he died during clashes in Reef Dimashq, he was originally from Banias. 1 defected soldier was killed during clashes in the city of Deir Izzor.
No less than 28 members of the Syrian armed forces were killed today, mostly during overnight clashes in Reef Deir Izzor, Dera’a and Reef Dimashq.
The body of the child martyr, Mona Ayyash, killed in Busra al-Sham, Dera’a 18/6/2012: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kAxR_0CM8XU&feature=share
[local time] 22:03 Several people were killed in the shelling of Homs’ Al-Rastan by Syrian security forces, Al-Arabiya television station quoted activists as saying on Monday.
21:53 US President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin Monday called for an end to violence in Syria and said its people should be allowed to democratically decide their future.
US President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin Monday called for an end to violence in Syria and said its people should be allowed to democratically decide their future.
“In order to stop the bloodshed in Syria, we call for an immediate cessation of all violence,” the leaders said in a joint statement, after meeting in Mexico following days of antagonism between Moscow and Washington on the issue.
“We are united in the belief that the Syrian people should have the opportunity to independently and democratically choose their own future.”
Putin told reporters after meeting Obama for the first time since he returned to the presidency that the two leaders had found “many common points” on Syria, where violence is spiraling into an all-out civil war.
Washington has become increasingly frustrated over Moscow’s refusal to allow the UN Security Council to take firmer action against President Bashar al-Assad over his brutal crackdown on civilians.
Obama said after the two hours of talks that both him and Putin agreed on the need for a “political process” to prevent civil war in Syria and pledged to work with UN- Arab League envoy Kofi Annan to try to end the crisis.
In their statement, the leaders said that Syria’s future must be worked out by “Syrians themselves” in the “framework of Syria’s sovereignty, independence, unity, and territorial integrity.”
Russia has been concerned to avoid a repeat of the international mission in Libya when it was assured the West was not bent on regime change, but then saw allied warplanes help the opposition topple dictator Moammar Qaddafi.
US officials have said they want Russia’s help to create a political transition similar to that which ushered Yemen’s President Ali Abdullah Saleh from power in February after a year-long uprising.
“From my point of view we have found many common points on this [Syria] issue,” Putin said after the talks, adding that Russia and the United States will continue discussions on how to deal with the ongoing violence.
20:09 Syria’s opposition is to meet in Brussels this weekend in EU-sponsored talks aimed at forging more unity among opponents of President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, an EU spokesperson said Monday.
18:28 UN Security Council members will ask tough questions about the future of the UN observer mission in Syria and international envoy Kofi Annan’s peace plan at a meeting Tuesday, envoys said.
18:10 Monday’s death toll in Syria rose to 56 people, Al-Arabiya television station quoted activists as saying.
17:50 Monday’s death toll across Syria has reached 40 people, AFP quoted the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights as saying.
15:44 France and other Security Council members will examine steps to take following the suspension of the UN’s monitoring mission in Syria after its head briefs them on Tuesday, the French Foreign Ministry said.
11:45 Those responsible for attacks on UN observers in Syria must be brought to justice, UN rights chief Navi Pillay said Monday.
11:24 Syrian forces pounded Homs on Monday as they pressed their campaign against rebel strongholds in the city and as 34 people were killed elsewhere across the strife-torn country, a watchdog said.
10:49 Russia was preparing to send two amphibious assault ships to the Syrian port of Tartous where Moscow operates a strategic naval base to ensure the safety of its nationals, the Interfax news agency reported Monday.
AFP: Syrian opposition to meet in Brussels
EU chief Catherine Asthon reveals European financial and political backing to an expected meeting for the Syrian opposition in Brussels aimed at uniting the anti-regime front
Syria’s opposition is to meet in Brussels this weekend in EU-sponsored talks aimed at forging more unity among opponents of President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, an EU spokesman said Monday.
The talks will gather the main opposition groups, including the Syrian National Council, the National Coordination Committee for Democratic Change, the Kurdish National Council and the Democratic Forum, the spokesman said.
The meeting is to be led by the Syrians but has financial backing from the European Union “in line with our policy of trying to get the opposition more united,” said Michael Mann, spokesman for EU chief diplomat Catherine Ashton.
Syrian intellectuals not directly linked to the political movements will also take part in the talks, which will bring together some 50 participants, he said. An Arab League representative will also be present.
“It should in principle be a low-key event, also to protect the participants,” Mann said, adding that the Syrians handled the invitations and programme while the EU’s diplomatic service was “just a facilitator and payer.”
The event is expected to be opened by Ashton’s number two, Pierre Vimont, but no press events are planned.
Syrian government forces on Monday shelled rebel bastions in Homs and Damascus despite opposition pleas for help and a UN warning that such bombardments amounted to crimes against humanity.
BBC News: Obama and Putin seek Syria peace
The US and Russian leaders call for an immediate end to violence in Syria, at their first meeting since Vladimir Putin became president again.
U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed on Monday that the violence in Syria must stop but gave no sign of agreeing on how to do it even as Syrian security forces pounded opposition areas across the country.
Intense artillery fire was reported in Douma, a town 15 km (9 miles) outside the Syrian capital Damascus that for weeks has been under the partial control of rebels who have joined the 15-month-old revolt against President Bashar al-Assad.
At least 79 people were killed in violence that has escalated since international observers suspended their mission, activists said.
A Russian naval source said Moscow was preparing to send marines to Syria in the event it needed to protect personnel and remove equipment from its naval facility in Syria’s Mediterranean port of Tartous, according to the Interfax news agency.
Russia is one of the Syrian government’s staunchest backers.
International efforts to halt the violence are deadlocked because Russia and China, which wield vetoes in the U.N. Security Council, have blocked tougher action against Assad. They say the solution must come through political dialogue, an approach most of the Syrian opposition rejects.
Obama and Putin held two hours of talks – longer than originally planned – at a Group of 20 summit in Mexico after a week of Cold War-style recriminations between U.S. and Russian diplomats over Syria. Putin frowned and Obama wore a sober expression during remarks to reporters after the meeting.
“We agreed that we need to see a cessation of the violence, that a political process has to be created to prevent civil war,” Obama told reporters.
“From my point of view, we have found many common points on this issue” of Syria, Putin said, adding the two sides would continue discussions.
Obama said they pledged to “work with other international actors,” including U.N./Arab League envoy Kofi Annan, to find a resolution.
Obama initiated a handshake for the cameras while the two remained seated. At the end of their statements, as reporters were being ushered out, both sat glumly watching but made no move to re-engage with each other. It was the first Obama-Putin meeting since 2009.
Obama and Western allies want Russia to stop shielding Assad from further Security Council sanctions aimed at forcing him from power. Putin is suspicious of U.S. motives especially after the NATO-assisted ouster of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi last year, and has offered little signs of softening his stance.
Though the United States has shown no appetite for a new Libya-style intervention, Russia is reluctant to abandon Syria, a longtime arms customer, and risk losing its last firm foothold in the Middle East, including access to a warm-water navy base.
Russia supports Assad’s argument that foreign-backed terrorists are behind the unrest. Russia has repeatedly urged Western and Arab countries, who mostly back the rebels, to rein in their support in order to stem the violence.
International outrage over Syria has grown in recent weeks after two reported massacres in which almost 200 civilians were killed, most of them from the Sunni Muslim majority that has led the revolt. Assad comes from Syria’s Alawite minority, an offshoot of Shi’ite Islam that has mostly backed the president.
Heavier fighting and apparent sectarian killings have led many, including the head of U.N. peacekeeping forces, to brand the violence a civil war.
The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which has a network of activists across Syria, said 51 civilians and rebel fighters had been killed on Monday, seven of them in Douma. It said 28 members of the security forces were also killed in clashes with rebels in Deir al-Zor, Damascus and Deraa.
“We can’t even accurately count the dead because we have so many injured people to treat, there’s no time to think about anything else,” said an activist in Douma who called himself Ziad.
“The army attacks all the time. They have tanks, missiles, mortars, and artillery. Even helicopters have fired on us. People can’t escape because the army is surrounding the town.”
Assad’s forces have in recent weeks used not only artillery but also helicopter gunships against rebels in civilian areas.
The head of the U.N. observation mission in Syria, General Robert Mood, is to brief the U.N. Security Council in New York on Tuesday, three days after his mission was suspended due to security concerns.
Mood said on Sunday he was worried about civilians trapped in the central city of Homs, epicenter of the revolt against Assad, whose residents say they have been pummeled by mortar and rocket fire almost every day since early June.
French Foreign Ministry spokesman Bernard Valero said the “relentless repression of the regime, and in particular in the city of Homs” meant it was more necessary than ever for the United Nations to enforce Annan’s failing peace plan.
France has called on the United Nations to invoke Chapter VII, which can authorize the use of force, to enforce the plan, under which the Syrian army was to withdraw heavy weapons from towns and cities and both sides were to cease fighting in April.
In Geneva, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said the government’s use of heavy weapons in populated areas could amount to war crimes, saying: “I urge the international community to overcome its divisions and work to end the violence and human rights violations to which the people of Syria have been subjected.”
Guardian: Russian warships ‘to set sail for Syria’