Sunday 2 September 2012
105 Unarmed Civilians (4 of them children):
- In Reef Dimashq62 civilians were killed. 5 civilians, including 2 children, were killed by an explosion in the town of Sbeina at midnight saturday-sunday. 4 civilians were found dead after they were summarily executed in the Kafrbatna town, Reef Dimashq. 16 men were killed by the military operations carried out by regime forces on the town of Arbeen and its surrounding area. 18 men were killed by regime forces in the town of Hazza. 7 civilians, including a child and a woman, were killed by regime forces in the towns of Ein Terma, Darayya, Saqba and Zamalka. 1 civilian from Zabadani was tortured to death after being detained by regime forces. The body of a killed civilian was found after regime forces retreated from the town of Hamouriya. 2 civilians died of wounds from the bombardment on the city of Harasta and by regime fire. 3 civilians were killed when a military checkpoint fired at their car in the city of Douma.
- In Aleppo Province 6 civilians were killed. 3 were killed by bombardment on the Bustan al-Qasr neighbourhood of Aleppo. 1 was shot by regime forces in the Qabtan al-Jabal town, Reef Aleppo. A child was killed from earlier wounds in the town of Deir Hafir. 1 civilian was killed by the bombardment on Maskana, Reef Aleppo.
- In Deir Izzor Province 4 civilians were killed. A woman was killed by a sniper in the al-Joura neighbourhood of Deir Izzor; 1 civilian died of wounds in the city. 2 civilians were shot by the military security platoon’s sniper in the city of al-Boukamal.
- In Idlib province 3 civilians were killed by bombardment on the towns of Sarja and Khan al-Sabl in Reef Idlib.
- In Homs Province 2 civilians were killed. 1 was killed by bombardment on the city of al-Qasir. 1 was shot by a sniper in the village of al-Naqira in Reef Homs.
- In Dera’a Province 3 civilians were killed. A civilian was shot in the Qarfa village that witnessed clashes. 1 civilian was killed by a sniper in the city of Dera’a. 1 civilian was killed by random fire in the town of Seida.
-In Damascus 2 civilians were shot dead by regime forces in the Jobar neighbourhood.
- In Latakia Province a civilian was killed by bombardment on the al-Saraya village in Reef Latakia.
7 Rebel Fighters:
Aleppo province: 4 rebel fighters were killed by clashes in the city of Aleppo.
Dera’a Province: A rebel fighter’s corpse was found after he was killed yesterday during clashes with regime forces in the Tafs town.
Deir Izzor Province: 2 rebel fighters were killed during clashes with regime forces in the city of Deir Izzor.
A defected soldier was killed during clashes with regime forces in the city of Homs. 2 defected sergeants were killed during clashes in Reef Homs and Reef Dimashq.
At least 27 regime forces were killed by IED explosions and clashes in the provinces of Idlib, Homs, Dera’a, Aleppo, Reef Dimashq and Deir Izzor.
‘Syrian Kurds’ fate will affect whole Middle East
1/9/2012 Deutsche Welle http://www.dw.de/dw/article/0,,16203397,00.html
Syria’s Kurds have emerged as a crucial player in the conflict. DW spoke to the head of the main Kurdish political party in northeasten Syria, Salih Muslim Muhammad, about the impact of the crisis on the Middle East.
DW: DW has met Kurdish fighters at checkpoints who claimed not to have fired a single shot. It’s difficult to believe given the increasing levels of violence in the rest of the country…
Salih Muslim Muhammad: Believe it or not, this might be one the only region in the country where the Syrians’ will is still respected because there are no foreign hands interfering in our areas. From the very beginning we Kurds were demonstrating for freedom and democracy; we wanted a peaceful revolution, not an armed one. It was the regime which dragged the protests into an armed conflict because they are stronger. For the time being, we have managed to protect ourselves and keep our areas quiet despite a few local incidents in Kobani and Afrin. We’re doubtless part of the revolution but this is the Syria we want, not what others want.
But rumors have it that your party has negotiated a truce with Bashar Assad’s government.
There’s been no agreement with anybody whatsoever. Just tell me: who wants the fighting in Syria? Turkey? We have no relations with Turkey. Saudi Arabia? Qatar? NATO? We have no relation with them as they’ve never recognized our existence; none of them has ever supported the Syrian Kurds. Damascus knows we just want our constitutional rights, that is why they’re not afraid of us. We knew Assad would not fall in just two months, that’s why we organized our people into civilian defence committees long ago. Actually, we already had some checkpoints a year ago and the government simply couldn’t do anything about it. In July there were clashes between the Free Syrian Army and Assad’s troops, very close to Kobani, a critical area for Damascus’ intelligence. Nonetheless, in areas like in Qamishli, Assad has his own checkpoints but they’re not manning them, nor are they patrolling the city.
How high, in your opinion, is the risk of Syria becoming a sectarian-ridden country like neighboring Iraq?
The risk of getting dragged into a sectarian conflict is very high. Actually, the situation is inexorably taking that path but, as said, that’s not something the Syrian people have chosen. We know we have to fight for our rights and not let anybody steal our revolution as it has already happened in other Arab countries. Look at Aleppo now, it’s full of armed people, many of them foreigners. What are they doing here? We’d never allow al Qaeda or any related group to operate in our areas.
But several sources point out that Arab villages around the area have been given weapons by Damascus. Is that true?
We are aware that the government has handed them weapons but we won’t fight against them as long as they don’t attack us. We must avoid an Arab-Kurd confrontation by any means necessary. We need to live as neighbors so we are very careful about not igniting violence between us.
Apart from Arabs, there’s also a significant number of Christians in the area under your control. Some of them have already said that they don’t feel comfortable under the new Kurdish rule.
As far as I know there are very good relations between Kurds and Christians. I met the Armenians a few days ago and they asked us to protect them. We’ve already told them that they have to protect themselves; if they cannot, we will do it. Even Arabs are also going to set up mediation centres, asking for help to solve their problems. We’ve lived together for centuries and that’s what we are planning to do in the future ahead.
But there have been allegations pointing to several abuses by armed Kurdish fighters at checkpoints or street patrols.
PYD leader Salih Muslim Muhammad
First of all, I want to make clear that the PYD (Democratic Union Party – the ed.) is just a political organization. That said, we know there have been many mistakes because everything is new for us. We lack the necessary experience to make things work from the beginning. Besides, not everybody people likes the PYD so some will try their best to give us bad press at the first opportunity.
Turkey is alarmed at the growing influence of the PYD and suspects it of having links with the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which has fought a 28-year old conflict in Turkey.
Turkey is trying to convince the rest of the world that we are terrorists, simply because they are afraid of us getting our rights. We are a Syrian political party with no organic relations whatsoever with the PKK. We don’t even have armed forces, those committees are just for civil protection and they brought their weapons from their houses. Besides, we were also among the people who established the opposition in Syria so Turkey shouldn’t interfere.
Many Syrian Kurds say they’re fighting for a “federal state” with a Kurdish Autonomous Region, similar to the one in Iraq. Do you favour such an option?
We’ve been victims of this regime for decades and we just want our democratic rights. But that doesn’t mean that we are aiming to break Syria into pieces. Basically, we want to solve our problems in Damascus, and not elsewhere. We’re asking for local civil organizations linked to each other where our people would be represented. We call it “radical democracy” and it’s not the classic model of autonomy but a system which accepts differences and dissent and where people can take their own decisions and immediately execute them.
Still, there are around 15 Kurdish political parties in Syria today. Are your people as divided as the figures suggest?
Alongside the PYD, they are all under the umbrella of the Syrian National Kurdish Council. The majority of us are united in the essential points which focus on the achievement of our democratic rights. We have the moral support of the rest of the Kurds in Turkey, Iraq, Iran and the Diaspora. All of them are trying to help us. In fact, if we manage to achieve our democratic rights, it will be a great step for all the Kurds. The Syrian Kurds’ fate will affect the whole Middle East.
So what is your proposal to end Syria’s escalating conflict?
Just let the Syrians decide by themselves! Assad’s is a bloody regime but, even today, Syrians would still be able to find their way out if so many foreign forces weren’t involved. Unfortunately, the government is taking weapons from Iran and Russia while the Free Syrian Army is being backed by Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey… Kofi Annan’s road map could have worked but neither the regime nor the foreign actors wanted it to develop. Even China and Russia were ready to convince the regime to put down its weapons but the plan proposed in Geneva last June was not taken into consideration on the ground.
Today nobody knows whether Syria will be divided or not. Whatever happens, we have to be ready to protect ourselves in any possible scenario, whether it is under the current regime, under the opposition’s rule … even against a Turkish military operation in our area.
Salih Muslim Muhammad is the leader of the Democratic Union Party, the dominant Kurdish political force in northeastern Syria.
Interview: Karlos Zurutuza, Qamishli, northeastern Syria
[local time] 21:47 August marked the bloodiest month in Syria since the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad’s regime erupted in March last year, with at least 5,440 people killed, a watchdog said on Sunday.
21:22 Newly appointed international peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi is due to arrive in Syria soon, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Jihad Makdissi said on Sunday.
20:48 Syrian rebels destroyed buildings belonging to regime security forces in Deir az-Zour, Al-Jazeera television quoted activists as saying.
20:30 Egypt’s President is too new in his post and doesn’t fully understand Syrian politics, Syrian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Jihad Makdissi said on Sunday.
20:23 Sunday’s death toll in Syria has risen to 116 people, Al-Arabiya television quoted activists as saying.
19:03 Twenty soldiers, including an officer, defected from the Syrian army in Al-Hamdan military airport in Abu Kamal, Al-Jazeera television quoted activists as saying.
18:45 Sunday’s death toll in Syria has risen to 107 people, Al-Arabiya television quoted activists as saying.
17:14 Sunday’s death toll in Syria has risen to 93 people, Al-Arabiya television quoted activists as saying.
16:18 The main opposition Syrian National Council has agreed to expand to include more groups opposing President Bashar al-Assad and will reform to be more representative, a spokesperson told AFP on Sunday.
16:04 Sunday’s death toll in Syria has risen to 67 people, Al-Arabiya television quoted activists as saying.
15:54 Syrian rebels took control of a regime security building located in Deir az-Zour’s Al-Roshdiyah neighborhood, Al-Jazeera reported.
15:08 Syrian regime forces shelled on Sunday neighborhoods in Aleppo, including Masaken Hanano, Al-Jazeera television reported.
14:36 Syria’s Sunday death toll increased to 19 victims, Al-Jazeera quoted activists as saying.
13:42 A huge explosion targeted the Syrian army’s headquarters in Damacus’ Omayyad Square, Al-Jazeera quoted activists as saying.
13:40 A car bomb exploded near a mosque in the southern outskirts of Damascus, killing 15 people.
12:05 Syrian security forces killed 12 people on Sunday, Al-Arabiya TV quoted activists as saying.
11:52 The Syrian army’s shelling of the Aleppo town of Al-Bab left dozens of people injured, Al-Jazeera quoted activists as saying.
11:20 Syrian forces shelled the Edleb town of Taftanaz after the rebels attacked the town’s military airport, Al-Jazeera quoted activists as saying.
10:10 Syrian forces shelled an inhabited building in the town of Abu Kamal and killed 33 people, Al-Arabiya television reported.
AMMAN – Syrian rebels said they planted bombs inside the Syrian army’s General Staff headquarters in central Damascus on Sunday as President Bashar al-Assad’s forces bulldozed buildings to the ground in parts of the capital that have backed the uprising. | Video
Syrian rebels said they planted bombs inside the Syrian army’s General Staff headquarters in central Damascus on Sunday as President Bashar al-Assad’s forces bulldozed buildings to the ground in parts of the capital that have backed the uprising.
Syrian state television said four people were wounded in what it called a terrorist attack on the General Staff compound in the highly guarded Abu Rummaneh district, where another bomb attack killed four of Assad’s top lieutenants two months ago.
“The operation targeted officers in the Assad army who have been planning and giving the go ahead for the massacres against the Syrian people,” said a video statement by the Grandsons of the Prophet brigade, a division of the Free Syrian Army.
“Bombs were planted inside the army headquarters,” said the video statement, which was broadcast on Arab satellite channels.
But as the rebels demonstrated they could strike at the heart of the security apparatus, residents said army bulldozers moved on al-Zayat and Farouk neighborhoods to the west, and destroyed at least 20 buildings in the Sunni Muslim areas that have sheltered the insurgents.
In the eastern Damascus neighborhood of Hazza, footage taken by activists on Sunday showed several buildings on fire. Opposition sources said the army had earlier stormed the area and executed 27 young men.
“Any youth of fighting age seems to have been captured and killed,” said activist Obadah al-Haj, who had fled the area.
Activist video footage from the area showed a young man lying dead beside a yellow taxi, shot in the face. Another dead youth was in the driver seat, blood covering his head and chest.
Assad belongs to the minority Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shi’ite Islam that has dominated power since members of the sect led a military coup in 1963. Assad’s father took power in 1970.
Loyalist forces killed at least 25 men on Sunday when they shelled and stormed al-Fan, a Sunni village in the province of Hama, opposition campaigners said.
The Syrian Network for Human Rights said most of the men appear to have been killed by shelling, but an unspecified number were executed when troops stormed the village later. The official state news agency said a military operation on Fan targeted “terrorists who were scaring citizens”.
Video footage from Fan taken by activists showed women and family members crying over bodies wrapped in white sheets and placed in a row on the floor of a mosque.
As the uprising in Syria has spread, it has taken on a more sectarian bent, with activists saying Assad’s best trained forces from the mostly Alawite Fourth Division and the Republican Guards are spearheading the fight in the capital.
Assad, who is backed by Shi’ite Iran and its Hezbollah Lebanese proxy, has lost control of rural areas in northern, eastern and southern regions and has used helicopter gunships and fighter jets to try to subdue the opposition.
But the aerial bombardment has driven fresh waves of refugees into neighboring countries, reviving Turkish calls for “safe zones” to be set up on Syrian territory.
With Russia and China blocking action by the U.N. Security Council however and little appetite among Western states, or Turkey itself, for committing troops to secure such zones, there is scant chance they will be set up any time soon.
Rebels said they seized an air defense facility and attacked a military airport in the eastern province of Deir al Zor on Saturday. Video footage showed a walled army command centre in the province coming under attack.
In the southern city of Deraa, which stands between Damascus and Jordan, troops continued razing and bulldozing houses in the old part of the city for a third day after army shelling and aerial bombardment drove 40,000 people from there to Jordan.
Free Syrian Army fighters had left, their light weapons no match to the firepower of Assad’s forces, residents said.
“There are around 20 homes that have been demolished and 200 burnt,” said Ahmad Abu Nabout, a resident of Deraa. “Old Deraa is deserted. Troops cover up their looting by burning the homes or in some cases blowing them up.”
(Additional reporting by Suleiman al-Khalidi and Laila Bassam; Editing by Jon Hemming)
An explosion is reported in an area of the Syrian capital Damascus which houses major military and security compounds.
An explosion has hit an area of the Syrian capital Damascus in which major military and security compounds are located, reports say.
The blast took place in the Mehdi area of Abu Remmaneh district, according to state TV and residents.
The TV described the blast – involving two bombs – as “terrorism” and said four people had been lightly injured.
Rebels and government forces have been involved in a fierce battle for Damascus since July.
The building affected was a base for officers guarding the joint chiefs of staff offices nearby but was empty at the time, officials said.
Video footage of the blast taken by opposition activists purportedly showed white smoke rising from the area, while state TV showed damaged vehicles.
Earlier state media reported that a car bomb had exploded on Saturday in a southern suburb of the city killing at least 15 people.
The bomb, in the Sbeneh district, caused extensive damage to nearby buildings.
It hit close to a Palestinian refugee camp, in a poor neighbourhood where anti-government feelings are said to be strong.
The blasts come a day after the new UN-Arab League envoy, Lakhdar Brahimi, took up his post.
Bomb attacks in Damascus and the largest city Aleppo have become increasingly frequent in recent months, with the authorities often blaming them on “armed terrorist gangs”.
Opposition activists estimate over 20,000 people have died in the wider conflict since March 2011, with over a million thought to be displaced.