Saturday 7 July 2012

July 8, 2012 by  
Filed under News, Syrian Revolution

Syrian Observatory for Human RightsThe number of Syrians killed today, Saturday 7/7/2012, has risen to 70. The reported, and documented, number of civilians killed has risen to 43:

37 Unarmed civilians:

-In Reef Dimashq province 3 civilians were killed. A young man was shot by regime forces’ sniper fire in the city of Altal after midnight friday-saturday. A civilian died of earlier wounds he received yesterday by bombardment on the town of Babila. A civilian was shot by regime forces in the city of Douma.

-In Homs province 4 civilians were killed. A civilian was killed by bombardment on the Alrastan city, reef Homs. 2 civilians, including a young woman, were killed by mortar shells on the town of Alghento, reef Homs. A civilian from the Abel town, reef Homs was shot by sniper fire on the Homs-Dimashq road. A civilian was killed during clashes with regime forces in the Alkhaldieh neighbourhood.

-In Aleppo province 3 civilians were killed. A woman and her 2 childrens’ death has been documented, they were shot after midnight friday-saturday on the Taljin road, reef Aleppo.

-In Idlib province 3 civilians were killed. 1 was killed when regime forces set up an ambush for him in the villahe of Albsheirieh near Jusr Alshughoor. The other was shot by regime forces in the town of Khan Sheikhoon, reef Idlib. A civilian was killed by one of the military checkpoint’s sniper fire in Kafroumeh, reef Idlib.

-In Dimashq province a taxi driver was shot in the Barzeh neighborhood which has been raided by regime forces.

-In Dera’a province 2 civilians were killed.An elderly was killed after midnight friday-saturday during bombardment on the town of A’tman, reef Dera’a. A civilian was killed during clashes with regime forces in the town of Alsheikh Meskin.

-In Hama province 6 civilians were killed. 3 were killed in the Qbeibat village, reef Hama, by random regime forces’ gunshots when the village was raided earlier this morning. A young man was shot by regime forces while he was working on his land in the village of Ma’rdes, reef Hama. A civilian was shot by regime forces in the Ala’mkieh village, reef Hama. A body was found in one of the farms near the Halfaia town, signs of torture were evident on the body.

-In Deir Izzor province 15 civilians were killed. A family of 5, including 2 women and a child, were killed by mortar shells on the neighborhood of Al’mmal. 8 civilians were killed in several city neighborhoods that’s witnessing clashes and bombardment by regime forces. A civilian was killed by mortar shells on the town of Albseira, reef Deir Izzor. A civilian was killed by mortar shells on the town of Albseira.

4 unidentified bodies were found in the town of Hamourieh, reef Dimashq.

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6 Armed civilians:

-In Homs province a fighter was killed during clashes with regime forces in the Alkhaldieh neighborhood.

-In Aleppo 3 insurgents were killed during clashes with regime forces in the towns of A’ndan, A’zaz and Kubtan Aljabal, reef Aleppo.

-In Dera’a 2 fighters were killed during clashes in the Alsheikh Meskin town.

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7 defected members of the Syrian armed forces were killed: 3 defected soldiers were killed during clashes with regime forces in Deir Izzor and Dera’a. A defected first sergeant was killed during clashes in reef Dimashq. A defected lieutenant colonel was killed by a mine explosion in the village of Badma, reef Idlib. A defected lieutenant and soldier were also killed during clashes in A’ndan, reef Aleppo.

21 members of the armed forces were killed by: a car explosion, and clashes in the provinces of Deir Izzor, Aleppo, reef Dimashq, Homs and Dera’a.

Deir Izzor province: The SOHR has received a video showing rebels from the Ja’far al-Tayyar battalion claiming to have downed a surveillance aircraft, used by the regime to spy on rebel movements in Reef Deir Izzor. This is the first time a surveillance aircraft has been reported to have been shot down by rebels; pieces of the plane are supposedly shown. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AxwFUmFaM0g&feature=youtu.be


NOW! Lebanon
[local time]
  20:19 At least 60 people were killed in Syria on Saturday, AFP quoted the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights as saying.
 17:07 Regime forces bombarded a string of towns in Aleppo province on Saturday, as at least 16 people – nine civilians, five soldiers and two rebels – were killed in violence across Syria, monitors said.
 15:39 Syrian forces are shelling Hama’s Ghab Plain, Al-Jazeera quoted activists as saying.
 14:59 The official Syrian Arab News Agency reported on Saturday that Syrian authorities on Friday night “thwarted an infiltration attempt by an armed terrorist group” that wanted to cross over from Lebanon into Syria near Homs’ Qusayr.
 14:21 Syrian security forces shelled Edleb’s Seikh Maskeen on Saturday, Al-Arabiya quoted activists as saying.
 11:30 Syrian forces bombarded a string of towns in Aleppo province on Saturday, a day after global powers gathered in yet another effort to chart a political end to the revolt against President Bashar al-Assad.

Reuters: Syria’s fighting spills into Lebanon, five killed

Photo BEIRUT – Syria’s conflict spilled further into Lebanon on Saturday when mortar fire from President Bashar al-Assad’s forces hit villages in the north, killing five people after rebels crossed the border to seek refuge, residents said. | Video

Rebels fighting to unseat Assad have used north Lebanon as a base and his forces have at times bombed villages and even pursued insurgents over the border, threatening to stoke tension in Lebanon, whose sectarian rifts mirror those in Syria.

Residents of Lebanon’s Wadi Khaled region said several mortar bombs hit farm buildings five to 20 km (3 to 12 miles) from the border at around 2 a.m. At midday villagers reported more explosions and said they heard gunfire close to the border.

In the village of al-Mahatta, a house was destroyed, killing a 16-year-old girl and wounding a two-year old and a four-year old, family members told Reuters. A 25-year-old woman and a man were killed in nearby villages, residents said.

Two Bedouins were killed in the village of Hishe, which straddles a river demarcating the border, when two rocket-propelled grenades fired from within Syria hit their tent, according to local residents.

Lebanon’s army confirmed one of the deaths and said several Syrian shells had landed in Lebanese territory, but had no further information. Lebanese President Michel Suleiman issued a statement regretting the deaths and promising an investigation.

Syria’s bloodshed has also encroached on Turkey, a much bigger, more powerful neighbor that once backed Assad but turned against him over his violent repression of unrest.

Turkey has reinforced its border and scrambled fighter aircraft several times since Syria shot down a Turkish reconnaissance jet on June 22 over what Damascus said was Syrian territorial waters in the Mediterranean. Ankara said the incident occurred in international air space.

DIPLOMATIC IMPASSE

The diplomatic stalemate that has frustrated international efforts to bring about a peaceful transition in Syria persisted on Saturday as China joined Russia in rejecting a U.S. accusation that Beijing and Moscow were obstacles to a solution.

In Syria, the army bombarded towns across northern Aleppo province on Saturday in a concerted effort to root out insurgents who have taken control of some areas, the anti-government Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

“The bombing is the heaviest since the start of military operations in rural Aleppo in an attempt to control the region after regular Syrian army forces suffered heavy losses over the past few months,” the British-based activist group reported.

It said three people had died, including two rebels.

The official Syrian news agency SANA said troops foiled infiltration attempts by armed men from Turkey and Lebanon on Friday. It said one clash “resulted in the killing, injury of dozens of the infiltrated gunmen”.

In Idlib province, SANA said, an armed terrorist group was prevented from infiltrating from Turkey in Harem region. It quoted a source as saying a number were killed “while the rest managed to flee back into the Turkish territories”.

The Observatory said many families had been displaced and water, electricity and medical supplies were running short.

DANGER AROUND ALEPPO

Aleppo, Syria’s second largest city and commercial hub, has been largely spared of the violence. But the outskirts of the city and the wider province have seen rebels gaining territory since the uprising began 16 months ago.

SANA reported a clash “with an armed terrorist group in Azaz area north of Aleppo as it was attacking the citizens and perpetrating killings”. It said eight gunmen were killed and six cars equipped with machineguns plus a stolen ambulance were destroyed. The agency named the dead.

Opposition activists say at least 15,000 people have been killed since the uprising began. Assad says the rebels are foreign-backed terrorists who have killed thousands of army and police troops in hit-and-run attacks and roadside bombings.

The Observatory said 93 people, mostly civilians, were killed across Syria on Friday, when protesters took the streets to call for a “people’s liberation war.”

Syria’s crisis began with street protests against Assad and evolved largely into an armed insurgency after he tried to crush unrest by military force. It has become increasingly sectarian in nature with rebels from Syria’s Sunni Muslim majority pitted against Assad’s minority Alawites, a branch of Shi’ite Islam, dominating the military and security services.

CHINA BRISTLES AT CLINTON’S ACCUSATION

Russia and China have repeatedly used veto power at the U.N. Security Council to block international attempts to push Assad to relinquish power to make way for a democratic transition in the pivotal Arab country.

At a “Friends of Syria” meeting grouping Assad’s Western and Arab opponents, Clinton urged them to make Russia and China “pay a price” for helping the authoritarian leader stay in the office he, and his late father before him, have held for 42 years. ID:nL6E8I62J4]

On Saturday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin shot back: “Any words and deeds that slander China and sow discord between China and other countries will be in vain.”

Russia and China say they are committed to the peace plan of U.N. envoy Kofi Annan that prescribes national dialogue, but reject the position of Western powers and their Gulf Arab allies that Assad must step down to enable reform in Syria.

Annan told French daily le Monde in an interview published on Saturday that Western criticism of Russia was diverting attention from the role of other countries in backing Assad and arming his soldiers, notably Iran.

“Russia has influence, but I don’t think that events will be determined by Russia alone. What strikes me is that there is so much talk about Russia and much less about Iran, and little is said about other countries that are sending money and weapons,” he said.

“All of these countries say that want a peaceful solution, but they undertake individual and collective actions that undermine the very meaning of (U.N.) Security Council resolutions,” he added.

Assad has been Shi’ite Iran’s main ally in the Arab world.

Annan conceded that U.N. efforts to resolve the crisis so far had been a failure. “Clearly, we have not succeeded. And maybe there is no guarantee that we will succeed,” he said.

News on Friday that one of Assad’s personal friends had defected and was headed for exile inFrance was hailed by Clinton as proof that members of the Damascus leadership were starting to “vote with their feet” and leave a sinking ship.

Manaf Tlas, a Republican Guard brigadier and son of the longtime defence minister under Assad’s father Hafez, has yet to surface abroad or clearly to throw his lot in with the rebels.

But his desertion, leaked by family friends, was confirmed by the French government, giving a boost to the “Friends of Syria” conference it hosted in Paris where participants agreed to “massively increase” aid to Syria’s opposition.

(Additional reporting by Roula Naeimeh and Nazih Siddiq in Beirut, Nicholas Vinocur in Paris; writing by Douglas Hamilton; editing by Mark Heinrich)

Guardian: Annan: international community has failed to solve Syria violence

7 Jul 2012: UN special envoy admits divisions between regional and world powers have made escalating conflict worse

Kofi Annan has admitted that the international community’s efforts to find a political solution to the escalating violence in Syria have failed.

In an interview with Le Monde, Annan, the special envoy for the United Nations and the Arab League, said divisions between regional and world powers over how to resolve the conflict, which has claimed the lives of more than 15,000 Syrians, were making the situation worse.

“The evidence shows that we have not succeeded,” he said.

His comments came as the conflict spilled over the border into Lebanon on Saturday when mortar fire from the president Bashar al-Assad’s forces hit villages in the north of the neighbouring country, killing five people.

Annan’s six-point plan was to begin with a ceasefire in mid-April between government and rebel forces but the truce never took hold. Three hundred UN observers sent to monitor the ceasefire are confined to their hotels because of the escalating violence.

Annan offered few suggestions on how the peace plan could be salvaged. In an earlier interview with the Guardian he suggested that Iran had a role to play in resolving the crisis – a position vigorously opposed by the west because Tehran is a key supporter of Assad.

He added that criticism of the world powers’ failure to agree on a political solution had too often focused on Russia, which supports Assad’s rule.

However, the envoy added that countries supplying weapons to both sides in the conflict were making the situation worse. “Very few things are said about other countries that send arms and money and weigh on the situation on the ground,” he said, without naming any specific countries.

Russia provides the Syrian government with most of its weapons. Saudi Arabia and Qatar are arming and financing the Free Syrian Army. The US says it is providing communications and “non-lethal” aid but, like Turkey, is thought to be helping co-ordinate weapons deliveries.

Annan told the Guardian he did not intend to resign in the face of criticism that his consensus-building diplomacy was getting nowhere as Syria bleeds.

But there is no end in sight to the international divisions over the future of the Assad regime.

On Friday the US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, used a conference of the Friends of Syria group in Paris to demand that Russia and China join the three western members of the UN security council to put pressure on Assad over an escalating conflict.

But a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman, Liu Weimin, said in a statement on Saturday that Clinton’s remarks were “totally unacceptable”, claiming that Beijing had contributed greatly to the cause of Syrian peace.

Russia’s deputy foreign minister, Gennady Gatilov, rebuffed Clinton’s criticism as “incorrect”.

Last weekend in Geneva Russia and China refused to back a call that implied that Assad must step down as a prelude to a “Syrian-led political transition”.

Opposition activists said more than 67 people were killed across Syria on Friday. The Syrian army took control of the rebel stronghold of Khan Sheikhoun in Idlib province. Fighting was reported in the Kafr Souseh area of Damascus, where many government offices are located.

The escalating conflict has raised fears the fighting will spill over into Lebanon, which has extensive sectarian and political ties to its eastern neighbour.

Syrian rebels have used north Lebanon as a base and Assad’s forces have bombed villages and even pursued insurgents over the border.

Residents of Lebanon’s Wadi Khaled region said several mortar bombs hit farm buildings three to 12 miles from the border at around 2am on Saturday. At midday villagers reported more explosions and said they heard gunfire close to the border.

In the village of al-Mahatta, a house was destroyed, killing a 16-year-old girl and wounding a two-year old and a four-year old, family members told Reuters. A 25-year-old woman and a man were killed in nearby villages, residents said.

Two Bedouins were killed in the border village of Hishe when two rocket-propelled grenades fired from within Syria hit their tent, according to local residents.

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