Thursday 22 June 2012
Syrian Observatory for Human Rights: The number of martyrs verified by the SOHR so far in Syria today (Thursday 14/6/2012) has risen to 35.
- In Homs province 11 people were killed. 7 citizens during the regime’s bombardment of the various neighbourhoods of Homs. 2 rebels fighters were killed during the bombardment of Rastan. A civilian was killed by a sniper in al-Qusayr. One man was killed by gunfire in Tal Kalakh.
- In Dera’a province 6 killed. One civilian was shot by regime troops in Sheikh Miskeen. 5 civilians were killed after midnight by the regime’s bombardment of, and firing on, the Tariq al-Sadd neighbourhood of Dera’a.
- In Reef Dimashq 11 civilian martyrs. 1 civilian was killed by regime fire in the town of Hamouriya. 8 people were killed by regime gunfire in Douma and Misraba by the intense gunfire and explosions in the area; clashes are also taking place between rebels and syrian troops in the area. 2 martyrs were shot and killed by snipers in the towns of Zamalka and Jisreen.
- In Hama province, a child was martyred by Syrian troops’ random fire in the town of Hayalein.
- In Deir Izzor 1 civilian was killed by a sniper in the Huweiqa neighbourhood, Deir Izzor.
- In Idlib province 3 civilians dead. 2 unidentified bodies were found recently near a factory in the Saraqib area. A civilian, from Ariha, was shot dead by a sniper near the town of al-Nayrab.
- In Latakia province 2 young men were killed by regime fire in al-Haffa, the area has been witnessing clashes for days.
3 defected military personnel, including an officer, have been killed during battles in Rastan and Homs. A defected soldier was killed during the midnight bombardment of the Tariq al-Sad neighbourhood, Dera’a.
13 members of the Syrian armed forces have been killed today: 3 members of the Syrian security services were killed when a gun battle took place between a security patrol car and members of the rebel Abu al-Alamein battalion, in between the town of Hayalein and al-Julma, Reef Hama.A major in the Syrian army, and 1 soldier, were killed when a mine exploded under a military motorcade in the same area; many others were injured. At least 6 members of the Syrian armed forces, including an officer, were killed during the clashes in eastern Ghouta. A Syrian colonel, and his driver, were assassinated near the town of Saraqib.
[local time] 21:52 At least 52 people died in clashes and bombing across Syria on Thursday, with activists calling for another day of protests as the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad enters its 16th month.
20:53 Syrian security forces’ shelling of the Damascus suburb of Douma killed 8 people and injured 75, Al-Jazeera quoted activists as saying.
20:17 The Syrian regime has printed new currency to inject into its crisis-stricken economy, raising fears of inflation, Reuters reported Thursday.
20:03 Syrian security forces killed 48 people on Thursday, Al-Arabiya quoted a rights group as saying.
17:20 British Foreign Minister William Hague Thursday urged Russia and Iran to use their influence over Syria to achieve a peaceful end to the bloody 15-month uprising against President Bashar al-Assad.
16:16 Syrian opposition groups were to meet in a bid to settle their differences, as the violence in their country threatens to descend into civil war, sources among the groups said Thursday.
15:25 International observers visited the town of Al-Haffe in Syria’s northwestern province of Latakia on Thursday, a day after authorities said the area had been “cleansed,” the United Nations said.
14:17 Thursday’s death toll in Syria has risen to 21 people, most of which were killed in Homs, Al-Jazeera television quoted the Syrian Network for Human Rights as saying.
12:40 More than 14,400 people have been killed in Syria in the 15-month revolt against President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, including 2,302 in the past month alone, a monitoring group said on Thursday.
12:18 Syrian forces on Thursday shelled Daraa’s Houla, Duma near Damascus and Homs’ Rastan, leaving a number of people killed, Al-Jazeera television quoted the General Commission of the Syrian Revolution as saying.
11:49 China said Thursday it disapproved of “one-sided” sanctions and pressure on Syria after France raised the prospect of a new raft of punitive measures against President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.
11:11 Syrian forces on Thursday killed 15 people, most of them in Homs and Daraa, Al-Jazeera television quoted the General Commission of the Syrian Revolution as saying.
11:00 Nine civilians and two rebels were killed early Thursday in violence across Syria, while car bombs exploded in the northwest city of Edleb and the capital Damascus, monitors reported.
10:41 The new opposition Syrian National Council (SNC) leader, Abdel Basset Sayda, said in remarks published Thursday that he had telephoned Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdel Aziz and called on him to urge Russia and the international community to “put pressure on the Syrian regime to halt the massacres in Homs.”
8:36 MORNING LEADER: Washington and Moscow traded accusations on Wednesday over arming the rivals in the Syrian conflict, as Damascus said it had “cleansed terrorists” from Al-Haffe, a Sunni enclave feared to be the target of a new massacre.
8:07 A car bomb exploded early Thursday in a suburb of Damascus that houses a popular Shia shrine, wounding two people, Syrian state media and monitors reported.
8:02 Syria is committing crimes against humanity as part of state policy to exact revenge against communities suspected of supporting rebels, Amnesty International said in a report released Wednesday.
7:57 US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Wednesday renewed her call on Russia to end arms deliveries to Syria, saying that the violence-torn nation was “spiraling toward civil war.”
UN monitors in Syria enter the western town of Haffa – where it was feared a massacre might take place – days after violent clashes kept them out.
Observers tried to reach Haffa on Tuesday, amid fears a massacre was taking place, but fled after crowds surrounded and fired on their vehicles.
A Reuters photographer travelling with the UN convoy described the town as nearly deserted, with burnt-down buildings and abandoned shops.
Earlier a car bomb was detonated near the capital, Damascus.
The blast killed the bomber and injured 14 people in the suburb of Sayyida Zainab.
The area is known for housing one of Shia Islam’s holiest sites, the tomb of Zaynab bint Ali, the Prophet Muhammad’s granddaughter.
Violence also took place in other parts of Syria, with the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported a number of deaths in Douma.
Meanwhile, AFP quoted activists as saying clashes across the country had killed 24, eight of whom died in violence in the city of Homs.
Explosions appeared to have taken place at some point in Haffa, with the Reuters photographer saying the town showed signs of heavy bombardment.
Some of the buildings burnt down were state offices, and the photographer said at least one body had been left on the street.
The photographer added that the small number of people they had seen in Haffa would not speak about what had gone on there.
An AFP reporter who also travelled with the UN convoy said most of the anti-regime graffiti in the town had been painted over, although in one area part of a verse from the Koran was still visible.
The reporter also noted writing seemed to be written by rebels stating: “If you return, so too shall we.”
The US raised concerns over the actions of the Syrian government in Haffa, following massacres in other areas of the country.
Kofi Annan, the UN’s peace envoy to Syria, earlier this week said there were indications a large number of civilians were trapped in Haffa.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon had said it was vital observers reached Haffa.
Syrian town deserted, burnt after clashes: HAFFEH, Syria – The Syrian town of Haffeh was smoldering and nearly deserted on Thursday after days of clashes between government forces and rebels, while activists reported more army assaults on pro-opposition areas across the country
The Syrian town of Haffeh was smoldering and nearly deserted on Thursday after days of clashes between government forces and rebels, while activists reported more army assaults on pro-opposition areas across the country.
United Nations monitors had been trying to enter the town after several days of fighting but were forced to turn back on Tuesday when a crowd attacked them.
They finally gained access on Thursday to find state buildings burnt down, shops abandoned and a body lying in the street. Smoke rose from destroyed buildings and burnt-out cars littered the roads. There were signs of heavy bombardment.
Only a handful of residents could be seen and one man said 26,000 people had fled.
Rebels pulled out of the town this week saying the thousands of remaining citizens risked being killed in cold blood, a warning echoed by the United States.
Violence has surged in recent weeks after rebels abandoned a ceasefire negotiated by international envoy Kofi Annan in his efforts to ease the conflict between President Bashar al-Assad and the movement fighting to end his family’s four decade rule.
The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which has a network of activists across the country, said 44 people were killed on Thursday. Most were civilians and rebels but there were also three security personnel among the dead, it added.
Assad’s forces have used troops, tanks and helicopters to hit rebel-controlled suburbs near the capital Damascus, parts of eastern Deir al-Zor province and villages in the northern and western parts of Aleppo province, near the Turkish border.
In Douma, about 15 km (10 miles) from Damascus, activists said tanks had entered the city outskirts and government forces were battling rebel fighters. At least two people were killed and 15 wounded, they added.
“It is a war today,” said an activist who called himself Ziad, speaking on Skype over the thump of shelling and the rattle of machinegun fire. “There are 10 tanks on the outskirts, but the rebels have destroyed one of them.”
The uprising against Assad’s rule began as a peaceful pro-democracy movement in March 2011 but in the face of a crackdown by his forces has turned into an armed insurgency.
“There has been a dangerous escalation of armed violence across Syria,” said Sausan Ghosheh, spokeswoman for the U.N. monitors observing the now-collapsed ceasefire.
“They (residents) want the violence to stop and so do we, but the U.N. Supervision Mission cannot impose a ceasefire. The path of non-violence is a choice for the welfare of all Syrians.”
The United Nations says more than 10,000 people have been killed by government forces, while Syria says at least 2,600 members of the military and security forces have been killed by what it calls foreign-backed “Islamist terrorists”.
State news channel Syria TV said security forces had arrested a man who was part of Jabhat al-Nusra, a little known militant group that has claimed several suicide bombings in Syria. It said the man was planning to blow himself up at a mosque on Friday.
World powers are divided over the next move.
Russia and China, both permanent members of the U.N. Security Council with veto power, have blocked efforts by Western powers to condemn Assad or call for his removal.
Diplomats said world powers were working towards holding a crisis meeting on Syria in Geneva on June 30 to try to get the Annan plan back on track.
IRAN THE STICKING POINT
Annan, who represents the United Nations and the Arab League, has called for a Contact Group to be convened as soon as possible, but the United States is opposed to the involvement of Iran, Syria’s main ally in the region.
Two diplomats told Reuters they were hoping to have a meeting on the 30th, but a third said Iran’s participation was still a sticking point.
Annan’s spokesman Ahmad Fawzi said the envoy was having urgent meetings to reach consensus on the shape and formula for the meeting. If one was held, it would aim to “give teeth” to the Annan plan, not to create a new one, he said.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Tuesday Washington had information Russia was supplying Syria with helicopters, which have been used in government assaults on towns and cities.
Syria’s ambassador to Moscow told Reuters on Thursday that Russia was “not delivering any helicopters to Syria”.
(Additional reporting by Dominic Evans in Beirut, Khaled Yacoub Oweis in Amman, Chris Buckley in Beijing, Nastassia Astrasheuskaya and Thomas Grove in Moscow, Stephanie Nebehay in Geneva; Writing by Oliver Holmes; Editing by Andrew Heavens)
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