Saturday 11 August 2012
Syrian Observatory for Human Rights: Final report on those killed on 11/8/2012: More than 160 Syrians have been reported, and verified, as dead on Saturday 11/8/2012, documentation includes name and reason of death.
The dead include 96 unarmed civilians, 20 rebel fighters, 3 defected soldiers, and no less than 43 members of the Syrian regular forces.
96 Unarmed Civilians:
-In Idlib Province 16 were killed. 1 civilian was killed in the town of al-Najiya in Reef Jusr al-Shughoor, effected by injuries he received yesterday. 1 civilian died due to gunfire in the Ariha city. 1 was killed during bombardment on the town of Knsfra. 2 young girls were killed due to bombardment on the Kafrooma town. 2 civilians were shot by regime forces in the Jabal al-Zawiya. 2 dead bodies with unkonwn identities were found near a brick factory in Sarakeb. In the town of Ariha at least 7 civilians were killed due to a military campaign the regime forces had launched on the city.
-In Homs Province 11 were killed. 2 were killed due to bombardment on the town of al-Ghanto in Reef Homs. 4 civilians died in the al-Kseir city, 1 effected by wounds he received by bombardment on the city. 3, including a woman and a child, due to the bombardment on the city today at night. 1 civilian was killed by sniper fire in the Mokhayam al-Filasteeni (palestenian camp) in the city of Homs. 4 civilians were killed when regime forces raided the neighbourhood of al-Shamas.
-In Reef Dimashq Province 27 were killed. 2, including a woman, were killed during bombardment on the al-Ghoota al-Sharqiya. 15 civilians, including a child, were killed in the town of al-Tal that witnessed gunfire, bombardment, and clashes. 3 civilians , including a woman and a child, died during bombardment on the town of Deir al-A’safeer. 1 civilian from the city of Harasta died during bombardment on the city. 3 civilians ,including, a woman died during bombardment on the town of Hjeira al-Balad. 3 civilians, including a child and a woman, were killed due to bombardment on the town of Jsrein in Reef Dimashq.
-In Deir Izzor Province 8 were killed. 2, including a woman, were killed due to bombardment on the al-Buleel village. 2, including a woman died during bombardment on the al-A’ashara town. 3 civilians died effected by wounds they received during bombardment on the Deir Izzor city. The name of a civilian that died yesterday by bombardment on the city of Deir Izzor was documented.
-In Hama Province 5 were killed. 1 from the town of Halfaya was killed under torture after being detained by regime forces last week. 4 civilians were shot by regime forces in the town of Taibat al-Imam in Reef Hama.
-In Dera’a Province 13 civilians were killed. 9, including a woman were killed by bombardment on the town of Tafs. A civilian was shot by sniper fire on the Dera’a Tafs road. 3, including 2 women, were killed after midnight Friday-Saturday by bombardment on the town of Mahja. 2 were shot by regime forces in the town of al-Sheikh Maskin. In the town of Busra al-Sham, a child was killed by bombardment on the town, and a civilian was shot by regime forces. 1 was shot by regime forces in the Basr al-Tahrir town in Reef Dera’a.
-In al-Rakka province 4 were killed due to gunfire, bombardment, and clashes in the town of Sulook in Reef al-Rakka.
-In Damascus province 1 civilian was shot in the Barza neighbourhood in the city of Damascus.
20 Rebel Fighters:
-In Idlib Province 5 fighters were killed. 2 rebel fighters died, effected by injuries they received during clashes in the town of Kafarnabel yesterday. 1 rebel fighter was killed during clashes in the al-Bazaboor area. 1 rebel fighter was found dead today after being killed yesterday during clashes with regime forces in the town of Kafarnabel in Reef Idlib. 1 rebel fighter was shot by regime forces in Salah Al-Deen neighbourhood.
-In Hama Province 3 rebel fighters were killed by an ambush set up for them by regime forces, after midnight of Friday-Saturday in the al-Darabla village in Reef Hama.
-In Dera’a Province 4 rebel fighters were killed during clashes with regime forces who raided the town.
A defected lieutenant was killed during clashes in Reef Dimashq. 2 defected soldiers were killed during clashes with regime forces in Reef Dera’a and Homs.
At least 43 regime forces, including a colonel, due to clashes, and the targeting of machineries in the provinces of Deir Izzor, Aleppo, al-Rakka, Homs, Dera’a, and Reef Dimashq.
Nightly protest in Dera’a 11/8/2012 [they are still there]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yHx90WlB3Kk&feature=player_embedded and other news.
[local time] 22:11 Clashes took place in Latakia’s Jabal al-Turkman between the rebel Free Syrian Army and regime forces, Al-Arabiya quoted activists as saying.
21:32 UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is pushing for a UN presence in Syria to support mediation efforts after its observer mission ends, diplomats said Saturday.
21:07 Heavy clashes took place around the neighborhood of Bab al-Faraj in Aleppo, Al-Arabiya quoted rebels as saying.
21:07 The rebel Free Syrian Army said that it controlled the central neighborhoods of the city of Aleppo, Al-Arabiya quoted rebels as saying.
20:44 The death toll in Syria reached 78 people on Saturday, Al-Arabiya quoted activists as saying.
20:27 Syrian regime forces shelled the Damascus neighborhoods of Jawbar and Kafr Aiya, Al-Arabiya quoted activists as saying.
20:27 A French cargo plane carrying tons of aid supplies and medical equipment for Syrian refugees landed Saturday in Jordan for tens of thousands of Syrians who fled their country’s violence.
19:40 Free Syrian Army rebels clashed with regime army troops in Damascus’ Barzeh, Al-Arabiya quoted activists as saying.
19:01 Saturday’s death toll in Syria rose to 52 people, Al-Arabiya quoted activists as saying.
17:08 Lebanese Judge Sami Sader charged fomer Information Minister Michel Samaha and two Syrian army officers, including General Ali Mamluk – the Syrian National Security chief – with setting up an armed group to incite sectarian strife through “terror attacks,” the National News Agency reported on Saturday.
16:54 Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird said on Saturday he was “horrified” by the violence in Syria as he visited a desert refugee camp in neighboring Jordan.
16:37 The Syrian army shelled the Salaheddin district of Aleppo on Saturday in its push to drive out rebels, as gunfire and bomb blasts rang out across Damascus, monitors and state media said.
16:01 The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) issued a report Saturday that more than 37,000 Syrian refugees in Lebanon were receiving aid, adding that the number of those registered with the agency was 35,686.
14:48 An explosion was heard in Damascus’ neighborhoods of Al-Muhajreen and Al-Salehiya, Al-Jazeera quoted activists as saying.
14:38 Fresh sanctions slapped by the United States are meant to “expose and disrupt” links between Iran, Lebanon’s armed Hezbollah movement and Syria, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Saturday.
14:34 US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pledged to “hasten the end of the bloodshed and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime,” AFP reported.
14:30 US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned Saturday that Syria must not become a haven for the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) rebels battling Turkey.
13:58 French President Francois Hollande said France was committed to finding a political solution to the Syrian conflict as he paid tribute Saturday to the 88th French soldier killed in Afghanistan.
13:57 Saturday’s death toll in Syria has increased to 33, Al-Arabiya quoted activists as saying.
13:22 Arab Foreign Ministers will meet in Saudi Arabia’s Jeddah on Sunday to discuss the Syrian crisis, Al-Jazeera reported on Saturday.
13:16 Syrian forces’ shelling of Al-Tall near Damascus killed some and injured others, Al-Jazeera quoted activists as saying.
12:08 Syrian security forces killed 26 people, Al-Jazeera quoted activists as saying.
12:06 Syrian forces shelled Daraa’s town of Tafas and clashed with Free Syrian Army members, Al-Jazeera quoted activists as saying.
8:27 Syrian forces clashed with Free Syrian Army members and shelled Edleb’s town of Ariha, Al-Jazeera reported.
8:24 Shelling in Aleppo’s neighborhood of Sheikh Saeed killed six and injured others, Al-Jazeera reported.
8:11 US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrived Saturday in Istanbul for talks on the conflict in Syria with Turkish leaders after Washington slapped fresh sanctions on President Bashar al-Assad’s regime and its allies.
7:03 Shelling of Homs’ neighborhood of Khalidiyeh and collapse of buildings led to a “massacre,” Al-Arabiya quoted activists as saying.
Washington, Ankara to consider all measures to aid rebels
* Clinton says hears Syrian refugees’ “terrible stories”
* Turkey fears Syria arming Kurdish militant group PKK
* Turkish PM Erdogan says militant attacks rising in Turkey
ISTANBUL, Aug 11 (Reuters) – The United States and Turkey are looking at all measures to help Syrian rebel forces fighting to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad, including a no-fly zone, as the conflict there deepens, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Saturday.
Clinton told reporters after talks with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu that their countries needed to get into detailed operational planning on how to assist the rebels and bring a halt to the violence.
Overnight Syrian and Jordanian forces clashed along the border in an incident that highlighted international concerns that the civil war in Syria could ignite a wider regional conflict. The clashes also emphasised the urgent need for planning on what could follow Assad’s fall.
“Our intelligence services, our military have very important responsibilities and roles to play so we are going to be setting up a working group to do exactly that,” Clinton said.
Asked if such discussions included options such as imposing a no-fly zone over territory that Syrian rebels claim to control, Clinton indicated that was a possible option.
“The issues you posed within your question are exactly the ones the minister and I agreed need greater in-depth analysis,” Clinton answered, although she indicated no decisions were necessarily imminent.
The imposition of no-fly zones by foreign powers was crucial in helping Libyan rebels overthrow Muammar Gaddafi last year. But until recently, the United States and its European allies have expressed reluctance to take on an overt military role in Syria’s 17-month-old conflict.
The rebels are believed to be getting arms from Saudi Arabia and Qatar but only non-lethal assistance from the United States.
Davutoglu, responding to a similar question on next measures, said it was time for outside powers to take decisive steps to resolve the humanitarian crisis in cities such as Aleppo, which is under daily Syrian government bombardment.
Clinton heard first-hand accounts of the violence in Syria from six female refugees, among some 55,000 sheltering in Turkey in camps along its long shared border. These included a 42-year-old woman who had fled Idlib after Assad’s soldiers forcibly evacuated her village and set it on fire.
“We heard their terrible stories,” she said. “One woman fled after the regime’s forces burned down her village, another came after they broke into her home, beat her and her children.”
Clinton also met Syrian students, one of whom told her of his hope the Syrian opposition will be able to present a unified front both inside and outside Syria.
Washington sees Turkey, one of Damascus’ harshest critics, as the key player both in supporting Syria’s opposition and in planning for what U.S. officials say is the inevitable collapse of the Assad government.
U.S. officials are particularly interested in Turkey’s analysis of the political forces emerging as Syria spirals into chaos – hoping that together they can puzzle out the complex patchwork of rebel groups jockeying for position.
Clinton and other U.S. officials have in recent weeks cited rebel gains on the battlefield and the defection of senior Syrian military and political figures, including Prime Minister Riyad Hijab, as signs that Assad’s rule is crumbling.
They have also highlighted rebel claims to control a “corridor” from Aleppo to the Turkish border as a potential future opposition safe haven, which could present the United States and its allies with a policy predicament on whether to defend it against government attack.
Clinton said Washington worried about other groups such as the Kurdish separatist Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) or al Qaeda exploiting the chaos in Syria to gain a foothold.
Turkey this week accused Assad of supplying arms to the PKK, and Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan has raised the possibility of military intervention in Syria if the Kurdish threat increases. .
“There is a close link between what is going on in Syria and the latest events in Turkey,” Erdogan told his Justice and Development party at a dinner on Saturday, adding that militant attacks were on the rise in Turkey and militants were trying to establish a stronghold in some areas.
Suspected Kurdish militants ambushed a Turkish military bus in western Turkey on Thursday in an attack that killed one soldier and wounded at least 11 people.
Turkish authorities in the southeast province of Hakkari announced on Saturday that armed forces had completed an almost three-week operation against PKK positions around the region of Semdinli, the scene of fierce fighting.
Erdogan said the PKK had suffered heavy losses and left the area.
Expected Annan replacement urges powers to unite on Syria: UNITED NATIONS – The man tipped to replace Kofi Annan as the U.N.-Arab League mediator on Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi of Algeria, urged world leaders on Friday to overcome their differences on the 17-month-old conflict that is slipping deeper into full-scale civil war.
11 Aug 2012: As evidence mounts of abuse and summary execution of prisoners , The Observer witnesses an extraordinary meeting between a Sunni rebel leader and his Alawite captive in al-Bab, near Aleppo
First Lieutenant Darid Barakat sat on a foam mattress on the floor of a schoolhouse, men he once commanded alongside him, and his captors standing in a murky corridor outside.
There were 30 or so men held in the room – in what passes for a prisoner of war facility in a rebel-controlled part of Syria. Barakat and two others, both officers like him, were members of the Alawite sect. Another officer was a Shia, and the rest were all soldiers – and Sunnis – like the rebels now holding them.
The prisoners had been there since late July, not long after a plan by the Free Syrian Army to bring its uprising to the heart of the country’s second city, Aleppo, was put into action by the rebel force in the city of al-Bab. Until that point, the local guerrillas had not fired a shot in 18 months of uprising.
Barakat and some others had worked at the military security office in the heart of al-Bab, 30km north-east of Aleppo. With him in the makeshift jail were captives from the nearby political security building and from all other corners of the regime’s extensive police state.
The battle to take al-Bab had been a rout; the once formidable stretch of state buildings were destroyed and the defeated men who once worked inside were now at the mercy of an enemy whom they had dreaded.
“Of course, I know what happens in these situations,” said Barakat, as he sat cross-legged in the garden of the schoolhouse early last week. “Prisoners were beaten, dissenters were chased and jailed. I thought we were going to get the same treatment.”
The reputation for brutality in Syria’s civil war is growing. While captured soldiers generally are treated better than intelligence officers – or the loathed Shabiha militias – allegations of prisoner abuse are rife on both the regime and rebel side. The execution of the three men who controlled the Shabiha in Aleppo has drawn the same sort of outrage levelled at regime abuses throughout the revolt. At the main rebel base in Aleppo, screams of prisoners being beaten could be heard throughout the night early last week.
“We’ve heard about it,” said one of the al-Bab rebels. “That’s not us.”
Sitting next to Barakat, 35, was his jailer, a local Sunni sheikh, Omar Othman, who commanded the rebel unit in the area, named Katiba al-Ansar. Dressed in an exquisitely embroidered dishdasha and wearing a cast on his lower left leg, Omar asked Barakat whether he and the other men were fearful as the battle drew to a close.
“I swear, sheikh, that the guys were scared for a while,” he replied. “They were scared from all the fighting and they were worried about what would happen.”
The sheikh and his captive – the Sunni rebel leader and the Alawite officer – were getting deeper into conversation. Barakat agreed to letTheObserver listen in and asked that his name be used.
“I didn’t expect you to treat us this way,” said Barakat. “You give us food three times a day, Qu’rans, and even cigarettes.”
“You would not have done the same for us,” Omar replied.
“That’s true,” said Barakat. “There was a culture there.”
“It was more than a culture,” Omar replied. “It had become a way of life. Cruelty and oppression were what you guys did by instinct.”
“It wasn’t me,” said Barakat. “It was the system. All I did is order guys to go out and beat people with sticks whenever there was a demonstration. I am not so connected to the regime, it was just a job to me.”
Omar lifted his dishdasha and pointed at his cast. “You guys shot me,” he said, pointing to the top of his left foot, which had been hit by a bullet during the fight for the military security building. “If you were not a big supporter of the regime, why did you work for military security [one of the most feared of Syria's intelligence agencies]?”
“Sheikh, I had no choice. This was our reality.”
As the battle grinds towards a conclusion in Aleppo, Syria’s warring parties are increasingly being forced to confront some uncomfortable truths. Themes now being openly discussed in scenes like this, as well as in meetings between elders, and even during moments of introspection on the battlefield, include: how did the society slide this far towards the abyss, and can anything be done to rescue it now?
Whether it likes it or not, Syria’s Alawite minority was at the vanguard of the crackdown that followed the first stirrings of popular uprising in March last year, and which has now evolved into civil war. Also undeniable is that the opposition movement and guerrilla force is almost exclusively comprised of Sunnis, some of whom hold a grudge against the Alawites, whom they see as agents of a regime of persecution.
The spectre of of sectarian bloodletting looms as violence escalates nationwide and hopes for resolution continue to appear out of reach.
Yet both the sheikh and the Alawite lieutenant are anxious to dispel talk of longstanding enmity between their sects. The same case for cooperation is being made in political circles, although hardly with a booming voice.
“Do you hate us because we’re Sunnis?” asked Omar.
“No, my sheikh, I swear,” replied Barakat, leaning forward to touch Omar on the knee to press his point. “I don’t hate you at all. The regime created all these hostilities. We had always gotten on as communities.
“Who buried our dead after the fighting, the regime? They were nowhere to be seen. It was your men who dug the graves and gave my men a burial.”
Earlier that day, an old man in white desert robes arrived with a weathered elderly woman from the eastern city of Deir Ezzor. They asked to see Omar, then pleaded with him for the release of three of their nephews being held upstairs. The trio, one a former conscript, just 17, and two other hardbitten men in their late 20s, who looked much older, were brought to the courtyard and sat on cushions against the wall.
One of their colleagues had been pardoned the day before. Hopes were high among the three that they would soon also be free. “Our family has never been with the regime,” said the old man. “It was just a job for these boys, and now it is finished. They are very grateful to be treated like this.”
Despite the couple’s 300km journey, Omar decided that freedom could wait for the trio – for now. “It won’t be long,” he said. “But we will let others go first.”
Later, Barakat was animated and expressive. He had heard about the pardon and the family visit and clearly wanted to please his jailer. “You haven’t told us anything yet,” said Omar.
“I’ve told you everything I know,” he replied. “Believe me.”
Throughout the day, Sheikh Omar had been toying with the idea of releasing all the Alawite prisoners and most of the Sunnis over the coming days. He said he did not fear that the location of his base would be given up. “It’s not a secret anyway. They know where we are, and if they don’t all they need is Google Earth.”
He stopped speaking for a minute, cupped his chin in his right hand, then said: “When was the last time you saw your family, your mother and father?”
Barakat looked at his feet and replied: “About two years ago.”
“Would you go back to the army?” the sheikh asked
“No, I swear, I want to finish with the military and with fighting.
“Would you join us?
“I can’t, sheikh. I just want to go home. I’ve had enough.”
By now, Barakat’s eyes were welling with tears. He stared straight ahead, doing all he could to maintain his composure. Then came the question that broke him.
“When was the last time you saw your wife?” Omar asked. Barakat managed the words “five months ago” before grief overcame him. As he sobbed into his hands, a young rebel brought him a glass of water and a napkin.
“You can go and see them,” the sheikh said.
“God bless you all,” Barakat said while wiping his eyes. “100 salaams(peace).”
“Can you take me to my village?” The question evoked laughter from all the five rebels sitting nearby. Barakat’s family home is in the centre of the Alawite heartland, near Latakia on the coast.
“We will take you to the countryside and you can make your way from there,” Omar replied.
“It isn’t always like this elsewhere,” said Omar after Barakat had left. “But they are military men and they must be treated well. We must show that we are better than what they were.
“Hopefully this small step will lead to something more. But I’m not sure.”
Telegraph: Syrian rebels accused of war crimes