Saturday 30 July 2011
Martin Luther King
“YOUR SILENCE IS KILLING US”SUMMARY (30/07/2011): There have been at least 5 martyrs in Deir Ez Zur which is being assaulted by tanks and helicopters, bombarding buildings and shooting indiscriminately with heavy machine guns. There are also reports that hundreds of soldiers have defected from the Syrian army. A 13 year old child died in hospital in nearby Albukamal because of the electricity cut in the city. See map for more info. Syria – Saturday 30/07/2011Hama: a governmental ambulance dropped two dead bodies wrapped in plastic bags next to the Serjawi mosque at noon before leaving quickly. The people are now trying to identify the two bodies.
DUMA (30/07/2011): There were 25 martyrs yesterday, the Friday of “Your silence is killing us”. 8 of those were in Kisweh. This is the funeral of Jihad Shalhub, killed by security in Duma yesterday. We have now lost 2250 brothers, sisters, parents, children, colleagues, friends. Not to mention the thousands detained. Just last night more than 300 people were arrested in Damascus alone. Yet the revolution will go on.
[local time] 22:16 A YouTube video purportedly filmed on Saturday in Hama’s city of Karanaz shows dozens of people gathered to protest against the regime.
21:40 A YouTube video purportedly filmed on Saturday shows an army tank passing by in the Homs neighborhood of Baba Amro, as locals appear to be throwing stones at it.
21:30 There has been ongoing gunfire in the Homs neighborhood of Khalidyeh since 6:00 p.m. (S.N.N.)
21:25 There are reports of gunfire in the Homs areas of Ghouta and Sitteen Street. (S.N.N.)
21:22 A 13-year-old girl identified as Qatiba Hassani was killed on the city of Deir az-Zour. (S.N.N.)
21:15 Power has been cut off in the Houran town of Nahta. (S.N.N.)
21:07 Power has been cut off in the Homs neighborhood of Houla. (S.N.N.)
21:00 Heavy gunfire can be heard in the Homs neighborhood of Khaldiyeh.(S.N.N.)
20:51 A YouTube video purportedly filmed on Saturday in the Homs neighborhood of Dabalan shows dozens of women marching and chanting against the regime.
20:49 A YouTube video purportedly filmed on Saturday in the city of Kiswa shows the bodies of two men killed in Friday’s protests, as people can be heard chanting against the regime ahead of the funeral.
20:45 A YouTube video purportedly filmed on Saturday in the city of Kiswa shows thousands of people gathered for the funeral of people killed in Friday’s protests.
20:23 Two injured people were transported to Deir az-Zour’s Nour hospital as security forces cut off power in the area of Joura. (S.N.N.)
20:18 Security forces surrounded the Homs Bayyada neighborhood and snipers were deployed on the roofs of the surrounding buildings. (S.N.N.)
20:10 Security forces’ snipers are deployed on the roofs of buildings in Deir az-Zour. (S.N.N.)
20:05 Two people were shot by security forces in Deir az-Zour. (S.N.N.)
20:00 Heavy gunfire was heard in the Homs neighborhoods of Khodor and Bab al-Sibaa. (S.N.N.)
19:29 Syrian opposition figures in Algeria spoke out on Saturday against any foreign intervention as the bloody crackdown on anti-government protests continued, AFP reported.
19:29 An anti-regime protest is taking place in the Homs area of Dabalan. (S.N.N.)
18:21 A Syrian army colonel said on Saturday that he has defected with “hundreds” of soldiers and warned the regime against launching a crackdown on the eastern oil hub of Deir az-Zour, AFP reported.
18:12 Heavy gunfire can be heard in Homs’ Bab al-Sibaa area. (S.N.N.)
17:56 Several soldiers reportedly split from the Syrian army in Deir az-Zour’s Arida area. (S.N.N.)
17:53 A large anti-regime protest was held in the city of Harasta after the funeral of one of the protestors killed in Friday’s clashes. (S.N.N.)
16:59 Four soldiers split from the Syrian army in Houran’s city of Enkhel on Friday night. The move caused a violent clash within he army ranks, in which the four army dissents were killed. (S.N.N.)
16:58 There are confirmed reports that some Syrian soldiers split during a Saturday attack on Deir az-Zour. (S.N.N.)
16:36 Syrian troops shot dead three people on Saturday when villagers hurled stones at their convoy as it advanced on the eastern city of Deir az-Zour, an activist told AFP in Nicosia.
16:00 According to activists, the Syrian army tanks are shelling Deir az-Zour’s Joura neighborhood, Al-Jazeera television reported.
15:59 A YouTube video purportedly filmed on Saturday in the city of Douma shows thousands of people marching in the funeral procession of a man identified as Jihad Chalhoub, who was killed during Friday’s protests.
15:38 Gunfire can be heard in the city of Abu Kamal. (S.N.N.)
15:35 Security forces have been surrounding the city of Latakia since Friday. They have also set up checkpoints and conducted arrests.(S.N.N.)
15:20 Around 15 tanks were seen entering the city of Deir az-Zour. (S.N.N.)
15:17 The Homs neighborhood of Deir Baala and Bayyada are still under security forces’ siege since Saturday morning. (S.N.N.)
15:10 Security forces raided the Edleb town of Jabal az-Zawiya and deployed in the surrounding villages. (S.N.N.)
12:55 There are reports the army and security forces have surrounded the Houran town of Naheta. (S.N.N.)
12:49 A massive demonstration started moments ago in Deir az-Zour. (S.N.N.)
11:48 A YouTube video purportedly filmed Saturday morning shows a funeral procession in Hama for Khaled Zaabi.
11:44 A funeral procession was held in Hama for Khaled Zaabi, who was killed on Friday. (S.N.N.)
11:30 A funeral procession is being held in Abu Kamal for Bilal al-Muhsin, who was killed on Friday. (S.N.N.)
11:00 The situation in Homs is tense due to the crippling siege of the city and the security forces’ campaign of arbitrary arrests. (S.N.N.)
10:55 A demonstration started in the eastern city of Abu Kamal despite the security presence there. (S.N.N.)
10:51 Security forces killed 20 protesters across Syria on Friday while fighting raged in the eastern city of Deir az-Zour, human rights organization Sawasiah told Reuters early Saturday.
10:09 A YouTube posted Friday shows seven alleged defecting Syrian officers explaining their reasoning for creating a Free Syrian Army.
They say that based on their “patriotic feelings…[which require] an end to the massacres of the Syrian regime” they “announce the formation of the Free Syrian Army to work hand in hand with the people to obtain freedom and dignity, to overthrow the regime, to protect the uprising and the country’s wealth and to stand in the face of the irresponsible army that protects the regime.”
“We call on all the honest people in the army, officers and soldiers, to immediately defect from the Syrian army… and to join the Free Syrian Army [which aims] at forming a national army capable of protecting the uprising and all the components of the Syrian civil society of all sects,” the officers also say in the video.
“From this moment on, we will deal with the security forces that are killing the civilians and encircling cities. We will target them in all Syrian territories with no exception.”
“We ask all honest people in the army to stand by the people and their uprising and leave the army that no longer represents the Syrian people.”
9:27 Security forces consisting of 30 tanks, five armored personnel carriers and 20 buses of personnel are surrounding the Bayyada neighborhood of Homs. The security forces also closed all the streets leading to the neighborhood with sand bags. (S.N.N.)
8:40 The Syrian army and a number of refugees fleeing the country exchanged fire along the Syrian-Lebanese border at the unofficial Al-Kneisse crossing, As-Safir newspaper reported.
6:32 Heavy gunfire and explosions can be heard in Homs’ Bayyada area as well as near the city’s Tayseer Mosque. (S.N.N.)
6:20 Around 30 tanks have deployed on Homs’ Cairo Street while 5 tanks are deployed across from the police station in the city’s Bayyada neighborhood. Security forces have cut the Bayyada and Deir Baalba roads with sandbags. They have also closed the road to the Tayseer Mosque and snipers have been deployed on top of tall buildings along Cairo Street. (S.N.N.)
4:30 Youths have gathered at the entrances to the Edleb district town of Sermeen and have tightened security at checkpoints following news of raids in the nearby town of Nayrab. (S.N.N.)
4:30 Eight security force pick-ups equipped with machine guns, two vans, and two cars heading to the Edleb district town of Saraqeb passed through the village of Afes. (S.N.N.)
3:00 A YouTube video purportedly filmed Saturday morning shows people standing on a street in Kaswa as gunfire can be heard in the distance.
3:00 A YouTube video purportedly filmed Friday night shows dozens of protesters gathered in the Hama district town of Helfaya. They are chanting along to an anti-regime song.
3:00 Gunfire is continuing in the town of Kaswa, which is outside Damascus. (S.N.N.)
2:30 The sound of an explosion was heard moments ago in Latakia. (S.N.N.)
2:00 A YouTube video purportedly filmed Friday night shows protesters marching in the Al-Qadam neighborhood of Damascus. They are chanting, “God is greater,” as well as, “The people want to overthrow the regime.”
2:00 Water and electricity have been cut off in Abu Kamal. Everything that moves is being shot at. Infants are in agony. (S.N.N.)
1:40 Tanks have entered Kaswa, a town outside Damascus, and have opened fire. The number of people killed in the town has risen to seven. (S.N.N.)
1:00 Demonstrators march and chant against the regime in a YouTube video purportedly filmed overnight in Maarat an-Naaman, which is south of Edleb. They are chanting against dialogue and calling for President Bashar al-Assad to leave.
1:00 A YouTube video purportedly filmed Friday night shows a protest in Harasta, a town outside Damascus. Protesters are chanting, “No to sectarianism,” and “Leave, [President] Bashar [al-Assad].”
1:00 Electricity has been cut off in Talbisa’s Mousajir as-Shamli region. (S.N.N.)
1:00 The bloodshed in Kaswa is continuing. Residents cannot drag the wounded off the town’s streets. (S.N.N.)
1:00 Security forces and the army have surrounded the Al-Qadam neighborhood of Damascus. (S.N.N.)
0:45 Heavy gunfire and artillery shelling can be heard in Talbisa. (S.N.N.)
0:00 A YouTube video purportedly filmed Friday night shows children demonstrating in the Houran town of Khirbat al-Ghazala. They are chanting, “The people want a new president.”
0:00 Gunfire can be heard in Kaswa in a YouTube video purportedly filmed overnight.
0:00 Protesters held night demonstrations in Maarat an-Naaman, Enkhel, Homs, Daraa. (S.N.N.)
0:00 A YouTube video purportedly filmed Friday night shows demonstrators marching in Daraa and chanting against the regime.
0:00 Security forces are arbitrarily opening fire in Kaswa. (S.N.N.)
CNN:Activists cite 23 deaths Friday in Syria violence
At least 23 people died Friday when demonstrations across the country were met by a fierce government crackdown, activists told CNN.
Seven fatalities occurred in the suburbs of Damascus and two in the city itself, six in Deir Ezzor and Boukamal, three in Daraa and one each in Lattakia and Hama, the activists said.
In addition, security forces killed three soldiers when they tried to defect; another 13 were wounded, the activists said.
Demonstrators chanting anti-government slogans marched in Damascus, Homs, Lattakia and other cities, and were frequently met by security forces who fired into the crowds and beat protesters, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
The agency said some neighborhoods around Damascus, Hama, Homs and Idleb “saw gatherings” after Friday prayers but did not elaborate.
Heavy gunfire was also heard near the Abraham Mosque in a Damascus suburb and in the area of a protest in another Damascus neighborhood.
The group said it had also received reports of troops near mosques in several towns. A curfew had been imposed in Jabal al-Zawiya and people were not allowed to go to mosques. They had to pray in fields, instead, the group said.
CNN could not independently verify the reports.
Journalist Alexander Page, who said he was with protesters who were marching from Damascus’ Midan neighborhood to Zahera, reported that he saw three people shot when security forces aimed into the crowd and fired. Four buses carrying “regime thugs and riot police” had arrived on the scene, and security forces were stopping cars and beating people, Page said.
The wounded were picked up by security forces and taken away in buses, Page said. He said a man on a motorbike filmed the faces of protesters as he drove past them. They chased and beat him, Page said.
In the Damascus suburb of Haja Al Aswad, heavy gunfire was heard as demonstrators departed Abraham Mosque. In another Damascus neighborhood, security forces dispersed hundreds of protesters who were chanting anti-government slogans.
Meanwhile, state media said a terrorist attack was to blame for an explosion in an oil pipeline in Tal Kalakh, about 160 kilometers (100 miles) north of Damascus.
The explosion happened around 4 a.m., according to the state-run news agency SANA and Syria TV. They described the explosion as a bombing and said it created a 15-meter (about 50-foot) crater.
“Some citizens heard an explosion near a pipeline for transporting crude oil to Banyias,” Homs Gov. Ghassan Abdel al-Aal told SANA.
Procedures were taken to stop the oil spill and prevent it from spreading into the water of Tal Hosh Dam, the governor said.
Syria has been wracked by violent government crackdowns on protests across the country since mid-March, when teens were arrested for writing anti-government graffiti in the southern city of Daraa.
As the clashes intensified, demonstrators changed their demands, from calls for freedom and an end to abuses by the security forces to calls for toppling the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.
Syrian opposition groups have held a number of meetings in Turkey in recent months. The last one, organized by the Syrian National Salvation Council, took place in mid-July in Istanbul.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says that since the unrest in the country began, 1,513 civilians have died. It put the toll among government forces at 367, not including Friday’s fatalities.
Guardian: Syrian protests and state violence expected to escalate during Ramadan
Activists predict street demonstrations rather than quiet reflection will mark the Islamic holy month this year
It is usually the month of reflection and prayer, laying low in the heat of the day, before gathering to watch soap operas and feast as dusk falls.
But this year Ramadan is anticipated in Syria for different reasons: as an opportunity to intensify protests against Bashar al-Assad, despite fears the regime may fight back even harder.
Activists intend to exploit the increased daily attendance at mosques, which have over the past five months acted as gathering points for protests following Friday prayers. Many who do not regularly attend mosque do so during Ramadan, when prayers are believed to carry more weight that at other times of year.
“It’s become a cliche to say it will be like Friday every day as people gather for prayer, but it will be,” said a former political prisoner who has strong links to the Sunni community, speaking in his house in Damascus. “Pressure on the regime will increase from more frequent protests and more people coming out.”
On Friday, the last before Ramadan, at least nine people were killed as thousands defied a heavy security presence to take to the streets, including in the eastern city of Deir Ezzor, where deaths were reported earlier in the week.
Ramadan, the lunar month when people fast and show their devotion to Allah in one of the five pillars of Islam, is usually a quiet time. Business grinds to a halt, with people struggling to get through the heat of the day without water. But they do go to the mosque more often, especially for tarawih, the the special nightly prayers.
In anticipation, protesters in the city of Hama have chanted: “Our God, help us to fast and pray … and topple the regime.” They hope sheikhs, some of whom have taken a central role in backing protesters from the early days when an imam, Ahmed Sayasna, came out against Assad in the protest hub of Deraa, may help to rally people if violence, which has left 1,600 civilians dead, escalates during the holy month.
Not only do tempers flare and people become more emotional, said one activist, sitting in front of a whirring fan in the midday heat, but the security forces will be annoyed.
“Ramadan means shorter working hours when people can rest, while the security forces and army will be tired and morale will be low because they should be home with their families,” he said.
Protesters have already started to demonstrate under cover of darkness, when the security forces cannot target them so easily. “We know our streets better than them,” said the activist.
Anger may also rise for spiritual as well as material reasons. Ramadan is a time for spending, especially for the Eid festival when decorations go up and new clothes are bought, but it is also a time of rising price. The cost of basics have shot up in the past month.
And it is a time to sit back and reflect.
“You have so much time to sit and think,” said a father of three, who has become more opposed to the regime since his wife was insulted at a security checkpoint. “I think we will all be thinking what we should do,” he said, followed with a quick prayer to God.
The country is becoming increasingly polarised. As one young professional in Damascus put it: “The friends I went out with last year are not the ones I will dine with this year.”
He adds that he can no longer discuss politics with his brother, an official. “Friendship circles have shifted.”
He added: “People are coming together but they are also being torn apart … Ramadan will test that. I can imagine families expecting their sons at home when all they want to do is go out on the street.”
Security forces have carried out more raids and arrests this week in a sign that the regime is becoming increasingly agitated, attempting to scare people into submission before Monday.
Activists report some mosques being closed for renovation and people being stopped from attending dawn prayers in the Damascus neighbourhood of Midan on Friday. Sermons by the state-backed clergy are expected to be influenced far more than usual.
Trying to prevent worshippers attending mosque will only provoke more anger, said the former political prisoner. The conflict could also take on increasingly religious dimensions. The regime is by no means solely Alawite but the majority of security forces are. Many Sunnis do not regard the Alawites as Muslims. Any killings during Ramadan could trigger a sense of injustice at the regime’s ruling and religious heterodoxy, galvanising more people to the cause.