Sunday 30 September 2012
One Kurdish man died in the blast in Qamishlo this morning – Abas Ali. 52 were injured of which eight people are in a critical state and three members of political security were killed.
Syrian Observatory for Human Rights: Hasakah province: At least 8 regime forces were killed and more than 15 injured, some in a critical condition, as a result of the car bomb that exploded in the al-Gharbi neighbourhood in the city of al-Qameshli that contains several security branches. Preliminary information indicates that the explosion mainly targeted the Political Security branch. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=THyW5VP_d0E&feature=player_embedded
Final death toll for Sunday 30/09/2012: More than 160 Syrian killed: The dead include: 74 Civilians (including 9 children and 13 women) , 17 Rebel fighters, a defected lieutenant, a defected soldier, 17 pro regime militants and at least 51 regime forces.
- In Deir Izzor province 35 were killed (11 rebel fighters, 3 children and 7 women. 28 were killed in the city of Deir Izzor).
- In Damascus province 7 corpses were found in the Tushrin military hospital in the Barza neighbourhood of Damascus.
- In al-Hasaka province 2 were killed.
- In Homs province a rebel fighter was killed.
- In Idlib province 4 civilians were killed.
- In Hama province 2 young men were killed.
- In Dera’a province an unidentified corpse was found in the Kherbet Ghazala town of Reef Dera’a with traces of torture evident on the body.
- In Latakia province a rebel fighter was killed.
- A defected Lieutenant, also the leader of an armed rebel group, was killed during clashes with regime forces in Deir Izzor. A defected soldier was shot by sniper fire in Reef Dera’a.
- Information received indicates that 8 were killed by gun shots and bombardment on the city of Aleppo and Reef Aleppo.
-The SOHR was able to document an additional 12 deaths (6 rebel fighter and 6 civilians).
- 17 pro regime militants from the villages of al-Heidariya and al-Ghasaniya of western Reef Homs were killed during clashes with rebel fighters in the surroundings of those villages.
- Information received indicates that 30 corpses were found in the al-A’sali neighbourhood. Activists from the neighbourhood reported that a man witnessed 15 corpses in the neighbourhood, based on his information rebel fighters entered the neighbourhood to find the corpses and found 30 corpses. It is not known whether the corpses belong to previously documented martyrs or not.
- At least 51 regime forces, including 6 officers, were killed by the targeting of military checkpoints, car explosions, IED explosions and clashes in the provinces of al-Hasaka, Deir Izzor, Aleppo, Idlib, Homs, Reef Dimashq and Dera’a.
The president of PYD (Democratic Union Party) Salih Muslim said in an interview with Rudaw that “the sooner the Assad regime falls the better. We are concerned – he added – about the replacement of this regime in the future.”
Muslim underlined that when the PYD was founded in 2003, it established a relationship with the regime by the mediation of Abdullah Ocalan, the jailed PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party) leader. However, said Muslim “the relationship with the regime ended, especially after they found out about the establishment of the Adana coalition by Syrian and Turkish Kurds. Two hundred PKK members were captured and handed over to Turkey where they were sentenced to life in prison”.
Since its establishment, said Muslim “the PYD has been struggling for the Kurdish cause. We have sacrificed many lives. Ironically, we are now being accused of having a secret relationship with the government that we have fought in the past”.
Asked about the relationship between the Syrian government and the Kurdish areas, Salih Muslim replied that “Each opposition group in Syria has its own way. The same is true for the government. The Muslim Brotherhood and the extremists receive logistical help from Turkey to fight the Assad regime. I believe the regime can hold onto its position”.
Quoting Winston Churchill as saying “If you want to learn politics, go to Syria”, Muslim added that “We want the regime to fall, but we also think about the future of Kurds in Syria.”
Asked how many cities are under PYD control, Muslim replied that Efrin and Kobane are completely clear of Syrian security forces, while the situation in Qamishli is very sensitive.
[local time] 22:04 Shelling targeted the Syrian town of Hosh Arab near Damascus, Al-Arabiya television quoted activists as saying.
21:55 A shadowy Islamist group, Al-Nusra Front, said it is holding five Yemeni army officers allegedly sent to Syria to help fight an 18-month uprising, in a video posted on the Internet on Sunday.
21:10 A huge plume of black smoke billowed over Aleppo’s ancient market quarter on Sunday as fire devoured the wares and wooden fittings of the historic souk of Syria’s commercial capital.
18:38 Sunday’s death toll in Syria has risen to 120 people, Al-Arabiya television quoted activists as saying.
17:07 Sunday’s death toll in Syria has risen to 100 people, activists said.
16:40 Thirty people were found dead in a massacre committed in Damascus’ Al-Asali neighborhood, activists said.
15:30 Nine people belonging to the same family were killed on Sunday in Al-Hamidiyah neighborhood in Deir az-Zour, Al-Arabiya television quoted activists as saying.
14:47 Rebels targeted a Syrian regime security headquarters in Al-Qamishli, Al-Jazeera television reported.
14:42 A suicide bomber blew up an explosives-laden car in Hasaka leaving casualties, Syrian state TV reported.
12:56 The death toll across Syria has increased to 36 people, al-Arabiya quoted activists as saying.
12:56 Huge photographs of burnt out tanks displayed on the walls of the police station in Aazaz proudly proclaim the town’s capture by Syrian rebels, but they conquered a community whose public buildings have been devastated, largely by their own arms.
12:42 An AFP feature story details the lucrative business in trading black market petrol to rebel-held areas of the battleground Syrian province of Aleppo, in defiance of a government ban.
11:26 Syrian security forces killed 18 people on Sunday, Al-Arabiya quoted activists as saying.
11:25 Iraq is determined to stop and search flights from Iran over its territory which are suspected of carrying weapons to Syria, Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said in comments reported on Sunday.
10:22 Troops shelled rebel positions in Aleppo on Sunday while regime forces pressed on their fight against rebels outside Damascus, monitors said.
10:01 The Medieval Souqs in Syria’s commercial capital of Aleppo caught fire on Saturday as rebel troops and regime forces pressed on with their campaigns to seize full-control of the city, activists told a number of news outlets.
9:16 A YouTube video purportedly filmed on Saturday shows a fire raging in the UNESCO World Heritage-site Old Souks of Aleppo following clashes between rebels and regime forces.
The commission is gathering evidence for possible future trials of individuals and military units suspected of committing abuses in the 18-month-old conflict in which forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad are seeking to quell an uprising against him.
Switzerland proposed that del Ponte, a former Swiss attorney-general, become a commissioner and lobbied hard on her behalf, overcoming resistance by some countries that found her too controversial, diplomats said.
Laura Dupuy Lasserre, president of the U.N. Human Rights Council, said she had appointed del Ponte and Vitit Muntarbhorn to the Commission of Inquiry to join Brazilian Paulo Pinheiro and American Karen Abuzayd.
“Both have a long track record which has been recognized at the highest possible level internationally,” she told the Council at the end of a three-week session. “Their reputation is of impartial, independent and objective human rights work.”
The appointment of such an experienced lawyer as del Ponte suggests the United Nations is determined to try to build a solid criminal case and bring human rights violators to justice.
Del Ponte’s eight years at the Hague-based court International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia were dominated by the pursuit and trial of former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, who died in 2006 before sentencing.
“She brings strong investigative skills and an ability to better systematize and use the huge amount of information that the Commission of Inquiry is putting together with a view to prosecution
one day,” European Union (EU) Ambassador Mariangela Zappia told Reuters.
Peter Splinter, a spokesman for Amnesty International, said: “She will bring valuable knowledge and experience to an already strong commission team.”
Muntarbhorn is a veteran expert from Thailand who has served as U.N. special rapporteur onNorth Korea.
Earlier, the Council extended the mandate of the Syria inquiry by another six months and condemned violations by government forces and pro-Assad militias but also by rebel fighters.
The 47-member forum adopted a resolution by a vote of 41 states in favor, with three states -China, Cuba and Russia – against and three abstentions.
Russia, Syria’s ally, voiced concerns about the probe.
“We regret the fact that it has been difficult to achieve official access to Syria, one has to cope with rumors and fabricated data,” Russian diplomat Vladimir Zheglov said.
“Therefore, we call upon the commission to act objectively and in a non-politicized way and to use verified facts.”
Faysal Khabbaz Hamoui, Syria’s ambassador, rejected the text of the resolution submitted by seven Arab states and backed by Western powers as “highly-politicized and selective”.
He accused Islamist “terrorists” of fuelling the violence in his country, where activists say 30,000 people have been killed.
The international inquiry led by Pinheiro, set up a year ago, has interviewed more than 1,100 victims, refugees and defectors, documenting massacres including the one at Houla near Homs in May. But it has been denied access to Syria.
Earlier this month, it expanded its secret list of Syrians suspected of committing war crimes and crimes against humanity, including executions and torture, who it says should face future prosecution.
(This version of the story first published on September 28 has been corrected to fix title in lead, also to amend 7th para)
(Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; Editing by Andrew Osborn)
A video claims an Islamist group fighting government forces in Syria has captured five Yemeni soldiers sent to support Bashar al-Assad’s regime.
A blaze sweeps though ancient markets in Aleppo, activists say, as rebels and government forces seek to gain control of Syria’s largest city.
Reports say hundreds of shops in the souk, one of the best preserved in the Middle East, have been destroyed.
Unesco, which recognises Aleppo’s Old City as a world heritage site, described the damage as a tragedy.
On the third day of a rebel offensive, battles broke out in the Old City and the Arkub district, reports said.
The fire, believed to have been triggered by shelling and gunfire, began on Friday but was still burning on Saturday, reports said.
“It’s a big loss and a tragedy that the old city has now been affected,” Kishore Rao, director of Unesco’s World Heritage Centre, told the Associated Press.
‘Disaster’The market stalls lie beneath the city’s towering 13th Century citadel, where activists say regime troops and snipers have taken up positions.Rebels were using a Turkish bath, or hamam, in the souk as a base
Activists quoted by Reuters news agency said that the presence of snipers was making it difficult to approach the Souk al-Madina, once a major tourist attraction.
Reports estimate that between 700 and 1,000 shops have been destroyed so far.
“It’s a disaster. The fire is threatening to spread to remaining shops,” one activist, Ahmad al-Halabi, told AP.
He said the Syrian authorities had cut off the water supply, making attempts to control the fire more difficult.
Rebels and civilians were working together to limit the fire with a few fire extinguishers, he added.
The fire took hold with speed, fuelled by the many shops’ wooden doors and the clothes, fabrics and leather goods sold inside.
Heavy clashes erupted at several military sites in the city on Saturday evening, Reuters reports.
Fighting was reported at the Neirab military base as well as Bab Antakya, a stone gateway to the Old City.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based activist group, said the focal point for fighting was Salaheddin, a rebel stronghold on the south-west side of the city.
State television reported attacks on what it called “terrorist centres” in 10 different locations on Saturday, saying heavy losses had been inflicted.
The BBC’s Jim Muir, in Beirut, says that though both sides have reported clashes in different parts of the city, the signs are that the rebels simply lack the firepower and the manpower to score a significant breakthrough.
“No-one is actually making gains here, it is just fighting and more fighting, and terrified people are fleeing,” one activist told Reuters.
Activists estimate more than 27,000 people have died in the violence since the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad began last year.
Times-Standard: Syria suicide blast kills 4 at security compound
BEIRUT—A suicide attacker detonated a car bomb near a Syrian security compound in a remote, predominantly Kurdish town Sunday, killing at least four people, state media said, in a new sign that the country’s largest ethnic minority might be drawn into a widening civil war.Opposition activists said at least eight Syrian intelligence agents were killed and several dozen people wounded in the attack in the northeastern town of Qamishli, more than 700 kilometers (435 miles) from the capital Damascus.
Syria’s more than 2 million Kurds, long marginalized, have largely stayed out of the fighting, though some have participated in protests against the regime of President Bashar Assad.
The uprising against Assad that erupted 18 months ago has gradually morphed into a bloody civil war. The conflict has killed more than 30,000 people, activists say, and has devastated entire neighborhoods in Syria’s main cities, including Aleppo, the scene of intense fighting Sunday.
The leaders of Turkey and Egypt, among Assad’s main foreign foes, sent stern warnings to the regime and its allies, in speeches to Turkey’s ruling party.
Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi said that “we will be on the side of the Syrian people until the bloodshed ends, the cruel regime is gone and Syrian people reach their just rights.”
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan urged Syria’s allies Russia, China and Iran to end their support for Assad, warning that “history will not forgive those who stand together with cruel regimes.”
Turkey has given shelter to tens of thousands of Syrian refugees and Turkish soil has served as a crucial logistical center for rebel fighters since they captured several Syrian border crossings with Turkey over the summer.
Also over the summer, Syrian troops left several towns and villages in the Kurdish northeast, possibly to divert forces to overstretched troops fighting in hotspots elsewhere. The regime ceded de facto control to Kurdish fighters who began exercising a degree of autonomy unheard of before.
However, the regime has maintained a security presence in Qamishli, which abuts the Turkish border, said Rami Abdul-Rahman, head of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an activist group.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for Sunday’s blast. Several previous suicide attacks in Syria were claimed by a Syrian militant group, the Al-Nusra Front.
Syrian state media said the explosion went off in an area housing security officers. It said four people were killed, dozens wounded and nearby buildings damaged. An amateur video posted online by activists showed a column of white smoke rising between buildings in Qamishli.
The Observatory said eight Syrian intelligence agents were killed and at least 40 people wounded in the explosion.
Most Kurds live in the northeast, but Aleppo and Damascus also have Kurdish-dominated neighborhoods.
Last week, a Kurdish district in Syria’s largest city, Aleppo, was for the first time drawn into fighting between rebels and regime forces, amid conflicting reports about whether Kurdish gunmen fought alongside the regime or remained on the sidelines.
Fighting continued Sunday in several areas of Aleppo, as part of what rebels say is new push to drive out regime forces. Opposition fighters seized several areas in an initial offensive two months ago, but were unable to keep up the momentum. On Thursday, they announced what they said would be a decisive battle.
Either side could potentially shift the direction of an otherwise stalemated war if it seizes Aleppo, a city of 3 million people.
CNS News: Suicide bomb kills 4 at Syrian security compound – Syrian men inspect the scene of a car bomb attack in Qamishli, 497 miles northeast Damascus