Monday 23 July 2012
-In Idlib province 13 civilians killed. 1 by sniper in Tu’oom. 5 civilians, including 2 women, by the bombardment on Ma’arat al-Nu’man. A doctor from the town of Balyoun was killed by extreme torture after he was detained by regime forces. 1 killed by the bombardment on Kansafra, Reef Idlib. 2 killed by the regime storming of Khan shaikhoun. 1 from wounds received yesterday in Idlib. 2 civilians killed in the towns of al-Najiya and Bedama, he situation behind their death is still unknown.
-In Aleppo province 29 killed. 5 civilians, including a child and 3 women, killed by the bombardment on the al-Sakhour, Masakin Hanano and Tariq Halab neighbourhoods. 5 killed in the Salaheddine neighbourhood: 1 from earlier wounds, 2 by regime fire, 2 by sniper fire. 1 civilian was killed by a security checkpoint in the al-A’thamiya neighbourhood. 15 civilians were killed by the bombardment and gunfire in the city of al-Bab, 4 are still unidentified. 2 civilians killed by earlier wounds in the towns of Hureitan and Jabal Murundo.
-In Latakia province 2 killed. 1 when a rocket fell on his car in the village of Wadi Sheihan, Reef Latakia. 1 by extreme torture after being detained in the al-Raml al-Junoubi neighbourhood of Latakia earlier.
-In Dera’a 5 killed. 1 by the late night regime bombardment on the town of al-Na’ima. 2 by sniper fire and gunfire in the Dera’a al-Mahatta neighbourhood of Dera’a. A woman was killed by clashes when regime forces stormed al-Hirak. 1 civilian killed by security forces in Umm al-Mayatheen.
-In Reef Dimashq 42 killed. 3 civilians, including a child, by the late night bombardment on the town of Zebdeen. 1 from wounds received nearly a month ago by a mortar in the town of Maliha. 4 by regime fire in the town of Hiran al-Awameed, Harasta, Deir al-Asafeer and al-Hama. 1 civilian was killed by wounds from helicopter fire on the town of Yalda. 1 by regime forces in the town of Bebeila. 2 in the city of Douma, 1 by regime fire, 1 by sniper. The bodies of 24 people were found in the Basateen (orchards) area between the al-Qadam neighbourhood of damascus and the town of Dareyya, Reef Dimashq, which witnessed gunfire, clashes and bombardment.
-In Damascus 3 killed. 1 by wounds from sniper fire in Kafarsouseh yesterday. 1 by regime fire in Kafarsouseh. 1 by sniper fire in the al-Mustafa neighbourhood.
-In Deir Izzor 3 killed. 1 civilian was killed by sniper next to the military security branch of Deir Izzor. 1 from wounds received in the city of Dareyya, reef Dimashq, 5 days ago. the body of an unidentified person was found in the city.
-In Hama 5 civilians killed. 1 from wounds received 3 days ago in Hama. 1 person from the province was killed in the city of Harasta, Reef Dimashq. 1 killed while trying to assist the wounded in the town of Tibat al-Imam. A civilian from the town of al-Latamneh was killed by extreme torture, 20 days after he was taken away by unknown gunmen.
A teacher (woman) was killed in the town of Ma’adamiyat al-sham, Reef Dimashq, by unknown gunmen.
A doctor was killed by unknown gunmen in the city of Idlib
15 unidentified bodies were found in orchards in the Selem part of Ma’adamiyat al-Sham, Reef Dimashq province. Some of those killed had their hands tied, some of the bodies had stab wounds and other marks from white arms.
There are reports that 8 civilians were killed by the bombardment on the town of Zabayer, Reef Dera’a.
17 Rebel fighters:
Homs prov: 3 rebel fighters killed. 1 by clashes in al-Ghento. 2 rebels killed by clashes in tel Kalakh.
Aleppo prov: 1 rebel killed by clashes in the Sakhor neighbourhood.
Latakia prov: 1 rebel killed after midnight by clashes with regime forces in the village of Rabee’a.
Dera’a prov: 5 rebel fighters killed. 4 by clashes when regime forces stormed the town of al-Hirak. 1 by clashes with regime forces in the Dera’a al-Mahatta neighbourhood of Dera’a.
Damascus: 3 rebel fighters killed by clashes in the al-Qadam neighbourhood.
Deir Izzor prov: 2 rebels killed during clashes in the city of Deir Izzor.
Hama prov: 2 rebel fighters killed during clashes in the Junoob al mal’ab neighbourhood.
2 defected soldiers were killed during clashes in Reef Dimashq and Homs.
No less than 35 members of the Syrian armed forces, including a colonel, were killed during clashes in Deir Izzor, Aleppo, Homs Reef Dimashq and Dera’a.
More than 19,000 Syrians have been killed since the beginning of the uprising:
- 13296 civilians (includes both armed and unarmed)
- 4861 members of the Syrian armed forces
- 949 defected soldiers and officers
- 1,261 people had been killed across Syria since last Sunday, making the past week the bloodiest since the beginning of the uprising.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today voiced concern about the possible use of chemical weapons in the Syrian conflict and stressed the need for the international community to keep a close eye on the situation.
“It would be reprehensible if anybody in Syria is contemplating use of such weapons of mass destruction, like chemical weapons,” Mr. Ban told reporters in Belgrade, Serbia, where he is on an official visit.
More on this: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=42538&Cr=syria&Cr1
[local time] 22:31 Syrian rebels took control over several districts of the northern city of Aleppo on Monday, a Free Syrian Army spokesperson in the country’s commercial hub said.
21:04 The death toll rose to 111 in Syria on Monday, Al-Arabiya quoted activists as saying.
20:32 The European Union was ready to evacuate its nationals from Syria via Cyprus if necessary and was watching the situation closely, EU officials said Monday.
20:23 The world is failing the children of Syria who face a “shockingly grave” plight as the conflict rages on and their right to live in peace is threatened, a British watchdog said on Monday.
20:11 A Shell fired from Syria landed near the Jordanian border town of Al-Ramtha, Al-Jazeera reported on Monday.
20:09 Algeria on Monday rejected an Arab League call for Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad to step down, saying that was a sovereign decision for the Syrian people, APS news agency reported.
20:08 A mortar round landed on Syria’s side of the country’s border with Israel in the Golan Heights, Israeli Ynet news website reported Monday.
19:56 UN chief Ban Ki-moon said Monday that the use of chemical weapons in Syria would be “reprehensible” after Damascus raised the possibility of using such arms if there was an attack from outside.
19:07 European Union foreign ministers branded as “monstrous” and “unacceptable” a threat by Syria on Monday that it would resort to the use of chemical weapons in case of a foreign attack.
19:02 Syrian regime forces on Monday reclaimed most of Damascus after a week of heavy fighting with rebels, who are using guerrilla tactics to keep a foothold in the capital, activists and regime sources said.
18:50 The United States warned Syria Monday not to even consider using chemical weapons after Damascus raised the possibility of employing its stockpile of unconventional arms in the case of an outside attack.
18:46 Monday’s death toll in Syria reached 82 people, Al-Arabiya quoted the Local Coordination Committees as saying.
18:19 Russian President Vladimir Putin warned on Monday of a protracted civil war in Syria should President Bashar al-Assad be “unconstitutionally” removed from power by rebel fighters.
17:55 Turkey recalled its envoy in Aleppo on Monday as rebel fighters clashed with loyalist troops in what is Syria’s second-largest city, a Turkish diplomat said.
17:42 Syrian Alawite opposition figures issued a statement on Friday calling on their fellow community members in Syria to relinquish its support for the regime of President Bashar al-Assad and join the uprising.
17:30 Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki on Monday instructed his country’s security forces and Red Crescent to allow in Syrian refugees and provide them with support, reversing an earlier decision.
17:25 Syrian troop reinforcements deployed in areas of Damascus on Monday and conducted raids after night-time clashes in the capital and fierce fighting with rebels in Aleppo, a watchdog and activists said.
17:23 Fourteen members of the Palestinian Liberation Army were found dead near Damascus, Al-Arabiya television reported
17:13 A YouTube video purportedly filmed on Monday in Aleppo’s Al-Sakhour neighborhood shows Syrian rebels capturing a tank and destroying others.
17:11 A YouTube video purportedly filmed on Monday in Aleppo shows Syrian rebels preparing to destroy a regime tank. At the end of the video, the tank can be seen on fire and some Syrian soldiers can also be seen fleeing the flames.
16:14 Amman on Sunday announced that it would be opening its first camp for Syrian refugees in the town of Zaatari near Jordan’s border with Syria, the Jordan Times reported.
16:12 Monday’s death toll in Syria has risen to 45 people, Al-Arabiya television station quoted the Local Coordination Committees as saying.
16:11 Clashes erupted between the Free Syrian Army and regime forces in Al-Qadam and Kfar Soussa neighborhoods in Damascus, Al-Arabiya quoted the Local Coordination Committees as saying.
15:53 An AFP feature piece profiles a Christian activists guiding Syrian rebels near Homs.
14:36 At least 23 people were “summarily executed” by regime forces in two Damascus neighborhoods on Sunday, the head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights watchdog told AFP on Monday.
14:33 As tens of thousands of Syrians flee escalating war and chaos, the EU looked at ways of boosting humanitarian relief and beefed up sanctions and an arms embargo against the regime Monday.
14:06 Russia’s state-controlled flag carrier Aeroflot said on Monday it was terminating flights to Damascus from next month because of dropping demand for tickets amid growing Syrian violence.
13:46 Anti-riot police on Monday fired tear gas to break up clashes between Syrian refugees and Jordanians in the border town of Ramtha, as more people fled to the kingdom, witnesses said.
13:37 Syria rejects a call by the Arab League for President Bashar al-Assad to give up power, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Jihad Makdissi said at a media conference on Monday.
13:30 Syria will not use chemical or other unconventional weapons except in the case of a foreign attack, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Jihad Makdissi said on Monday.
12:04 Syrian forces killed 15 people on Monday, most of them in Damascus and Aleppo, Al-Jazeera television quoted the General Commission of the Syrian Revolution as saying.
11:46 The foreign ministers of Britain and France called for a boost in European Union aid to the tens of thousands of Syrians fleeing war and chaos as they joined talks with EU counterparts Monday.
10:40 A plume of black smoke rose over the Mezzeh neighborhood of Damascus on Monday as activists reported clashes during the night across the capital as well as in Syria’s second city of Aleppo.
10:28 The EU beefed up sanctions against President Bashar al-Assad’s regime on Monday and agreed to tighten an arms embargo by inspecting vessels and planes suspected of carrying arms, diplomats said.
9:33 The Syrian National Council sounded a defiant note in an overnight statement, saying fierce clashes in cities across the country was a sign the opposition was “at the gates of victory.”
8:24 US government has been quietly trying to block arms and oil shipments from Iran to Syria in a bid to accelerate the fall of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, The Wall Street Journal reported late Sunday.
8:16 Arab nations have called on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to swiftly give up power in order to end his country’s unrest, Qatar’s prime minister said Monday.
8:09 The United States declared Sunday that it would “hold accountable” any Syrian official involved in the release or use of the country’s chemical weapons.
8:01 Israel has lodged a complaint with the UN after Syrian soldiers crossed last week into the demilitarized Golan Heights zone that separates the two countries, a Foreign Ministry spokesperson said Sunday.
Telegraph: William Hague: EU should offer Syrian opposition ‘more practical support’
Foreign Secretary William Hague says European Union should offer the Syrian opposition “more practical support” as the country’s civil war escalates further.
The EU should “give more practical support to the Syrian opposition, including helping them prepare for Syria after Assad,” Foreign Secretary William Hague said as he arrived for talks in Brussels.
Mr Hague’s comments came before EU foreign ministers agreed to tightens sanctions and enforce an arms embargo against President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.
Member states endorsed the measures on Monday and also added 26 Syrian individuals and three companies suspected of financing the Syrian government to the bloc’s existing sanctions list.
The agreement in Brussels came as government forces fought back against Syrian rebels after one of the bloodiest weeks in the 16-month uprising against Assad’s rule.
Whilst fighting continues in the city of Aleppo, rebels in Damascus have been driven back by security forces after a sustained campaign in the capital last week.
On Monday Syrian state TV showed footage of government forces going house to house and kicking down doors in the capital, searching for any remaining rebel fighters, after recapturing the suburbs of Barzeh and Mezzeh, which had fallen into the hands of anti-regime fighters.
Syria acknowledged for the first time on Monday that it had chemical and biological weapons and said it could use them if foreign countries intervened.
International pressure on President Bashar al-Assad has escalated dramatically in the last week, alongside a rebel offensive in the two biggest cities and a bomb attack which killed four members of his inner circle in Damascus.
Defying Arab foreign ministers who on Sunday offered Assad a “safe exit” if he stepped down, the Syrian leader has launched fierce counter-offensives, reflecting his determination to keep power as a 16-month uprising enters its most violent phase.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Jihad Makdissi said the army would not use chemical weapons to crush rebels but could use them against forces from outside the country.
“Any chemical or bacterial weapons will never be used … during the crisis in Syria regardless of the developments,” Makdissi said. “These weapons are stored and secured by Syrian military forces and under its direct supervision and will never be used unless Syria faces external aggression.”
Damascus has not signed a 1992 international convention that bans the use, production or stockpiling of chemical weapons, but officials in the past had denied it had any stockpiles. Western countries expressed immediate alarm.
“Given the escalation of violence in Syria, and the regime’s increasing attacks on their people, we remain very concerned about these weapons,” White House spokesman Tommy Vietor said.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague said it was a “complete illusion” that Syria faced any external threat and it was unacceptable to say it might use chemical weapons in any circumstances.
German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said it was “outrageous to threaten to use chemical weapons” and U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said he was very concerned Syria may be tempted to use unconventional weapons.
Western and countries and Israel have also expressed fears chemical weapons could fall into the hands of militant groups as Assad’s authority erodes. Israel has publicly discussed military action to prevent Syrian chemical weapons or missiles from reaching Assad’s Lebanese Shi’ite militant allies Hezbollah.
The Global Security website, which collects published intelligence reports and other data, says there are four suspected chemical weapons sites in Syria: north of Damascus, near Homs, in Hama and near the Mediterranean port of Latakia. Weapons it produces include the nerve agents VX, sarin and tabun, it said, without citing its sources.
Abdelbasset Seida, head of the Syrian National Council opposition group, said: “A regime that massacres children and rapes women could use these types of weapons.
“The technical infrastructure may not be suitable, but as I said, such a step could be expected from this murderous regime. The international community must prevent this,” he told reporters after meeting Turkey’s foreign minister in Ankara.
Arab League ministers meeting in Doha urged the opposition and the rebel Free Syrian Army to form a transitional government, Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani told a news conference.
Makdissi rejected the call for Assad to step down as a “flagrant intervention” in Syria’s internal affairs. “We regret that the Arab League stooped to this immoral level,” he said.
On Monday the army shelled rebel forces in the northern city of Aleppo and stormed the southern Damascus neighborhood of Nahr Aisha, breaking into shops and houses and burning some of them, activists said.
Video showed dozens of men in green army fatigues massing in the neighborhood, which looked completely abandoned. Men carrying machine guns and rocket-propelled grenade launchers knocked and then kicked down doors and climbed through windows.
Assad’s forces have reasserted control over several Damascus areas since they seized back the central Midan district on Friday, 48 hours after a bomb attack killed four of Assad’s closest security officials.
“The regime strategy is to continue to confront the opposition, this time with much broader military response,” said Ayham Kamel, Middle East analyst at Eurasia Group consultancy.
“The expectation that the regime is out of firepower or collapsing right now is misplaced.”
But Assad’s forces have lost ground outside cities, ceding control of four border posts on the Turkish and Iraqi borders.
Rebels also seized an army infantry school in the town of Musalmiyeh, 16 km (10 miles) north of Aleppo, and captured several loyalist officers, while others defected, a senior military defector inTurkey and rebel sources inside Syria said.
Sky Television footage from the town of Azaz close to the border with Turkey showed rebel fighters parading through streets firing triumphantly after a prolonged battle with government forces. It also showed a burned-out tank and remains of what it said was a government intelligence headquarters.
In Aleppo, activists said thousands of residents fled the rebel-held districts of Al-Haideriya, Hanano and Sakhour after army shelling and clashes between rebels and government forces in which activists said three government tanks were destroyed.
“The regime army threatened the districts and said that if the Free Syrian Army doesn’t leave they will bombard the area,” said Aleppo-based activist who gave his name only as Tamam.
A video posted by activists showed families crammed into taxis, vans and the back of trucks trying to flee. Dozens of other families set out on foot, carrying plastic bags with their belongings. An activist said taxi drivers were charging $300, more than many Syrians’ monthly wage, to take families out.
“This is a large scale hit and run battle. The whole point is to bleed the regime dry. It is a very long fight, and it will be especially long in Aleppo,” said a spokesman from the Islamist rebel group the Battalions for the Free Men of Syria.
The fighting in Damascus, Aleppo and the eastern city of Deir al-Zor has been some of the fiercest yet and showed Assad’s determination to avenge last Wednesday’s bomb attack, the most spectacular blow in a 16-month-old uprising against four decades of rule by the Assad family.
Activists reported clashes on Monday in the Damascus districts of Qadam and Kafr Sousseh, but opposition and rebel sources say the guerrilla fighters in the capital may lack the supply lines to remain there for long and may have to make tactical withdrawals.
In the north-east district of Qaboun, where Assad’s forces pushed fighters back in recent days, most streets were empty, said a resident reached by telephone who visited the area from another part of Damascus. A few people were returning to check on homes, some of which were destroyed.
“I came just to pick up some of my family’s belongings, I am not returning for now,” one woman told the visitor at her empty-looking four-storey building.
Groups of men were removing bodies from underneath the rubble of one building. “We have removed 25 bodies so far from this area, we are burying them quickly,” one said.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which compiles reports from anti-Assad activists, said 1,261 people had been killed across Syria since last Sunday when fighting escalated in Damascus, including 299 members of government forces.
This made it by far the bloodiest week in an uprising activists say has claimed at least 18,000 lives. A total of 140 people were killed on Sunday, including 38 soldiers, the observatory said. The accounts and figures could not be verified independently; Syria restricts access by journalists.