Thursday 18 October 2012
Syrian Observatory for Human Rights: Preliminary death toll for today (Thursday 18/10/2012): Approximately 210 Syrians have been killed so far. The dead include: 105 unarmed civilians (including 21 children), 35 rebel fighters, 2 defected officers, a defected soldier, 61 regular soldiers. 105 Unarmed civilians:
-In Reef Dimashq 32 civilians were killed. 10 men were killed by regime forces in Douma city and the al-Sheifouniya town, the city is witnessing intense military operations. 19 were killed, including 3 women and 2 children, as a result f thebombardment on the towns of Hamouriya, Saqba and al-Qasmiya. 3 unidentified bodies were found, 1 in Douma city, 2 in the town of al-Mou’adamiya.
-In Homs province 19 civilians were killed. 6 civilians, including 4 children and a woman, were killed by the b bombardment on the Houla town. 2 men were killed by a regime checkpoint in al-Qseir after they were detained. 1 man was killed by a sniper in the same city. 2 civilians, 1 a child, were killed by the bombardment on the town of
Qal’at al-Husn. 4 men and a child were killed by the bombardment on the town of al-Ghento, reef Homs. An Imam of a mosque in the Karm al-Shami neighbourhood of Homs was killed after he was kidnapped by pro-regime gunmen several days ago. 1 civilian from the al-Bayyada neighbourhood was killed after being kidnapped by gunmen on the Mazra’a road.
-In Aleppo 9 civilians were killed. 6 men were killed by the bombardment on the Karm al-Jabal, Qaterji, Sayyed Ali and Bab al-Nayrab neighbourhoods of Aleppo. 2 were killed by snipers on the Marjeh and Bustan al-Zahra neighbourhoods. A civilian from the Manbej city of Reef Aleppo was tortured to death after detainment by regime forces 2 week earlier.
-In Hama province 3 civilians were killed. 1 child from the town of al-Latamnah was killed by the bombardment on the town. A man from the same town was killed by regime fire in the town of Shifoniya, Reef Dimashq. A child was shot by a sniper in the al-Jarajma neighbourhood of Hama city.
-In Deir Izzour province 8 civilians were killed. 2 women and 2 children were killed by the bombardment on the town of Shmeitiya. 2 men from Deir Izzour were killed by regime fire in the city. 1 from the city was killed by a sniper on the highway to Damascus. 1 was killed by bombardment on the al-Janina village of Reef Deir Izzor.
-In Dera’a province 4 civilians were killed, their bodies were found in the town of Ma’arba, which has recently witnessed a military campaign.
-In Raqqah province 2 children were killed by the bombardment on the al-Ali Bajleya village in Reef al-Raqqah.
38 Rebel fighters:
Aleppo province: 14 rebels killed. 1 by clashes in Khan al-Asal town. 4 killed during clashes by the Kweiris military airport. 9, including a rebel leader, were killed by clashes in the city of Aleppo.
Reef Dimashq: 4 rebel fighters were killed. 2 were shot by regime forces in the al-Blaliya village. A rebel fighter from the Beit Sahem town that witnessed clashes between regime forces and rebel fighters in Reef Idlib. A rebel fighter from the Qara town was killed during clashes with regime forces.
Idlib province: 5 rebels were killed, 1 by clashes in Harim, 2 by the bombardment on the villages surrounding the Wadi al-Dayf military base, 1 by a regime attack near Kafrouma town, 1 by clashes in reef Ma’arat al-Nu’man.
Homs: 4 rebels were killed by clashes in the city of al-Qseir.
Reef Dimashq: 4 rebels killed. 2 rebels were killed by regime fire in the al-Belaliya village. 1 rebel from Beit Sahm was killed in reef Idlib. 1 fighter from al-Qara was killed by clashes.
Dera’a: 3 rebels from al-Lijah were killed by clashes.
Hama province: 3 rebels from the town of Qal’at al-Madiq were killed by clashes in Reef Idlib.
Deir Izzour: 1 rebel fighter was killed by clashes in Deir Izzour.
- Information received indicates that 11 unidentified corpses were found, 9 in the al-Yarmouk camp of Damascus city, 2 in the towns of M’arba and Izre’ of Reef Dera’a.
- Reports indicate that 3 children were killed by bombardment on the al-Qatana neighbourhood of Aleppo city.
A defected lieutenant was killed during clashes in Reef Idlib. A defected lieutenant was killed during clashes with regime forces in Reef Homs. A defected soldier was killed by bombardment on M’aret al-Nu’man.
No less than 61 members of the Syrian armed forces were killed by
attacks on their vehicles and clashes throughout Syria: 19 killed in
Idlib – 12 in Aleppo- 7 in Reef Dimashq – 5 in Hasaka – 5 Deir Izzour
- 6 Dera’a – 5 Homs – 2 in Damascus
No less than 61 members of the Syrian armed forces were killed by attacks on their vehicles and clashes throughout Syria: 19 killed in Idlib – 12 in Aleppo- 7 in Reef Dimashq – 5 in Hasaka – 5 Deir Izzour – 6 Dera’a – 5 Homs – 2 in Damascus
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has fully documented the death of 13 civilians, including 3 children and 3 women, as a result of the regime’s aerial bombardment on the city of Ma’arat al-Nu’man, Reef Idlib. Information indicates that a further 8 civilians were killed by the strikes. https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=M94bhqKKe_A#!
The joint command for military and revolutionary councils in Syria announced it was ready for a conditional ceasefire in violence-stricken Syria after international peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi had called for an armistice in Syria during the four-day Eid al-Adha Muslim holiday starting on October 26.
In a YouTube video posted Thursday, the joint command said it was ready to abide by the proposed truce on the condition that the Syrian regime releases all jailed detainees “particularly women,” and lifts off the blockade imposed on the city of Homs.
The joint command also called on the regime to provide access for humanitarian assistance into Homs “under international supervision.”
The joint command added that the ceasefire will take place on the condition that the Syrian regime refrains from taking an advantage of the armistice to “reinforce its locations,” as it also called for the Baath regime to freeze all air force operations during the truce.
The act of allowing relatives to visit detainees, who received “unfair charges,” was also a precondition to any possible ceasefire.
20:49 Members of “Shabiha” kidnapped more than 25 civilians in the area of Bila near Damascus, Al-Jazeera television quoted activists as saying.
20:48 Thursday’s death toll in Syria has risen to 210 people, Al-Jazeera television quoted activists as saying.
20:40 The Syrian regime army shelled various areas in Aleppo, Al-Jazeera televison quoted activists as saying.
20:36 Thursday’s death toll in Syria has risen to 187 people, Al-Jazeera television quoted activists as saying.
19:11 Thursday’s death toll in Syria has risen to 169 people, Al-Arabiya television quoted activists as saying
19:00 A well-informed source told NOW that the Lebanese Red Cross transferred Thursday two bodies to Lebanon after they had been killed in Syria.
But the source, who was present in the Lebanese border town of Al-Qaa, refused to confirm that the deceased were affiliated with Lebanon’s Shiite group Hezbollah. The Syrian rebels had claimed that two Hezbollah members were killed in Jousiyeh’s fighting and later transported to “Al-Batoul” Hospital in Lebanon’s Hermel.
18:36 Syrian rebels said they launched a “final assault” on Wadi Deif army base in northwestern Syria on Thursday that is a key depot for tanks and fuel supplies.
18:14 At least 30 people were killed in the Syrian regime’s shelling of Edleb’s Maarat al-Naaman, Al-Arabiya television quoted activists as saying.
17:08 A YouTube video was posted online showing a brigadier general, allegedly affiliated with the Syrian regime army, being questioned by a Syrian rebel after he had purportedly fallen into a trap staged by the Free Syrian Army. The detained man is seen sitting in a room blindfolded and unaware that he was in the company of the rebels. Some of his answers revealed that he was indirectly responsible for the Turkish plan that was shot down in past months by Syrian forces. However, when the rebels took off the blindfold, the arrested officer expressed his surprise especially after he had insulted the rebels during interrogation. The brigadier general identified himself as Matar Hamdo al-Assaad, adding that he hailed from the Al-Rastan in Homs.
17:54 A YouTube video purportedly filmed on Thursday shows the aftermath of the Syrian regime’s shelling of the Qusayr town. An old man is seen sitting near the rubble after surviving the bombing.
17:22 At least 28,000 people have disappeared in Syria since the start of an anti-regime uprising 19 months ago, arrested by troops or pro-government militiamen, a global activist group said on Thursday.
17:20 Thursday’s death toll in Syria has risen to 144 people, Al-Arabiya television quoted activists as saying.
16:52 A United Nations official said on Thursday that Palestinians in Syria have been thrust into the violence there and called on neighboring countries to allow them in like Syrian refugees.
16:51 Thursday’s death toll in Syria has risen to 129 people, Al-Jazeera television quoted activists as saying.
16:49 A huge explosion targeted a security headquarters in the Damascus area of Kfar Soussa, activists reported.
16:36 The UN Security Council should speak with a single voice when it comes to Syria, UN rights chief Navi Pillay said Thursday, stressing the situation should not need to become a “Srebrenica” before action is taken.
16:18 A suicide bomber on a motorbike struck near the Interior Ministry in the Syrian capital on Thursday without causing any casualties, a security source told AFP.
16:18 International peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi said on Thursday that a temporary ceasefire he has called for in Syria could form the basis for a real truce in the war-torn country.
16:14 A YouTube video uploaded on Thursday shows a Syrian regime tank ablaze after it was reportedly shelled by rebels in Edleb.
16:06 A number of people were killed and others were injured by the Syrian regime’s shelling of the town of Seqba in the Damascus district, Al-Arabiya reported.
15:53 Syria’s Thursday death toll increased to 114 people, most of them were killed by security forces in Edleb’s Maarat al-Naaman, Al-Jazeera reported.
15:42 A YouTube video purportedly filmed on Thursday shows an anti-regime protest staged by young students in the Damascus neighborhood of Al-Hajar al-Aswad. The protesters are heard chanting in support of the Syrian uprising against President Bashar al-Assad.
15:23 At least 44 people were killed in an air strike on Thursday in the rebel-held town of Maaret al-Numan, rescue workers told an AFP journalist at the scene.
15:21 At least 20 people were killed in air strike in northwest Syria, AFP reported medics as saying Thursday.
14:45 Jordanian authorities have arrested two cousins of slain Al-Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi as they returned home from conflict-hit Syria, a Salafist leader told AFP on Thursday.
14:07 An international media watchdog condemned on Thursday the kidnapping of a Ukrainian journalist who has been held by Syrian rebels since October 9.
13:51 Syria’s Thursday death toll increased to 58 people, Al-Arabiya quoted activists as saying.
13:39 Dozens of people were killed and others injured when Syrian regime forces’ fighter jets shelled Maarat al-Naaman in Edleb, activists said.
13:32 The rebel Free Syrian Army destroyed three tanks belonging to regime forces in Absida near Maarat al-Naaman, Al-Jazeera reported.
13:20 The shelling of Mashara in the Al-Qonaitra district by Syrian regime forces killed five people, Al-Jazeera reported.
13:20 Three children and two women were killed in the shelling of the town of Al-Shamita in Deir az-Zour by Syrian regime forces, activists said.
13:13 Syrian regime forces are shelling the neighborhoods of Homs with warplanes and tanks, Al-Jazeera reported.
11:36 Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has urged a ceasefire in Syria and called for internal dialogue to resolve the crisis, but rejects a Turkish proposal to replace President Bashar al-Assad, Kuwait’s press reported Thursday.
11:03 International peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi, who is trying to secure a truce in Syria for the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, will arrive in Damascus on Saturday, the Foreign Ministry said.
10:41 Syrian regime warplanes launched a new wave of strikes Thursday on the northwestern town of Maaret al-Numan, seized by rebels last week, an AFP correspondent reported.
9:07 Eleven people were killed on Thursday across Syria, including nine people who had been summarily executed, Al-Jazeera quoted activists as saying.
8:39 Three consecutive explosions rocked the Syrian capital of Damascus on Thursday, activists said.
Wednesday and Thursday’s strikes hit towns in Idlib and Aleppo provinces, with one attack on Maaret al-Numan reportedly killing at least 20 people.
Residents had to dig through the rubble of flattened buildings to find trapped bodies, activists said.
It came as human rights groups said 28,000 people had disappeared after being abducted by soldiers or militia.
They say they have the names of 18,000 people missing since anti-government protests began 18 months ago and know of another 10,000 cases.
Online activist group Avaaz says “nobody is safe” from a deliberate government campaign of terror, adding that it has video evidence of people being seized on the street.
It intends to give the UN Human Rights Council a dossier for investigation.
The Syrian government has so far not commented on the claims but has in the past strenuously denied reports of human rights abuses.
The UN says more than 18,000 people have been killed in the conflict with 170,000 fleeing abroad and 2.5 million in need of aid within the country. Opposition and human rights activists put the death toll at more than 30,000.Maaret al-Numan is in a rebel stronghold where anti-Assad sentiment is strong
Syrian rebels want to create their own safe zone in the north of the country but, while they may have taken towns they do not control the skies, says the BBC’s James Reynolds on Syria’s border with Turkey.
Fighting has extended right to the edges of the country, adds our correspondent: For six hours next to the border, he heard the thud of explosions and small arms fire coming from the small town of Haram just inside Syrian territory.
As the violence continues, UN and Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi is due to arrive in Syria on Saturday for talks with Foreign Minister Walid Muallem.
Mr Brahimi has proposed a truce over the Islamic holiday of Eid al-Adha, which starts on 25 October, to “allow a political process to develop”.
The Syrian government has recently indicated that it is interested in exploring a temporary ceasefire – and opposition groups have said they would match this.
But despite the truce calls, the conflict continues to threaten to spill over Syria’s borders.
Turkey’s armed forces have several times returned fire across the border into Syria after Syrian mortar shells landed inside its territory. Turkish TV reported further cross-border exchanges on Thursday morning.
AMMAN – The international mediator on Syria will go to Damascus in the next few days to try to broker a brief ceasefire in the war between President Bashar al-Assad’s government and rebels during the Islamic Eid al-Adha festival. | Video
Lakhdar Brahimi, the U.N.-Arab League envoy, told reporters on Thursday after meeting Jordan’s foreign minister that a respite in hostilities could build confidence and help bring about a longer truce in the 19-month-old conflict.
“Yes I am going to Syria. This appeal we made to our Syrian brothers, whether in the government or against the government, to stop fighting in the three or four days of the Eid next week,” Brahimi said.
A previous ceasefire in April collapsed after just a few days, with each side blaming the other. Mediator Kofi Annan resigned his post in frustration a few months later.
Since then the war pitting Assad’s troops against a loosely-organized rebel force trying to end his 12-year-old rule has intensified. The daily death toll routinely tops 100 combatants and civilians and fighting rages in cities including Aleppo, the country’s commercial centre, and the capital Damascus.
The truce would be self-imposed with no monitoring.
“This is an appeal to the Syrians themselves that they stop fighting and observe it themselves. This is not the political process or the solution required to the Syrian crisis,” Brahimi said.
The Syrian government guardedly welcomed the proposal but said any initiative must be respected by both sides. Turkey, one of Assad’s harshest critics, and Iran, one of his strongest allies, both backed the plan, in rare display of agreement.
Brahimi will meet Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem on Saturday, an official in Damascus said.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Jihad Makdissi said Damascus hoped Brahimi’s talks in the region, including with countries which back the rebels, could herald “something which leads to the success of a constructive initiative”.
Brahimi’s spokesman Ahmad Fawzi said the envoy, a veteran Algerian diplomat, was working on a new, comprehensive peace plan.
“It’s difficult to put a timeline on it but it’s all coming together. He has completed the circle with this tour of neighboring countries. He needs to go now to the outer circle, to Moscow and China, and look them in the eye and say this will not work unless you support it,” Fawzi said.
Russia, which sold Syria arms worth $1 billion last year, and China have vetoed three resolutions favored by Western powers condemning Syrian authorities and opening the way to U.N. sanctions on Damascus.
The Kremlin denies trying to prop up Assad, who allows Russia to maintain a naval supply facility in the port of Tartus that is its only military base outside the former Soviet Union.
Moscow says Syria’s crisis must be resolved without foreign interference, particularly military intervention.
The Syrian government, which portrays the war as aggression by terrorists instigated by its international enemies, said on Thursday it had written to the United Nations to protest about foreign support for the opposition.
“Evidence on involvement of foreign countries, including Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey, in supporting and arming the terrorist groups in Syria has recently increased,” the foreign ministry said in a letter to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and the Security Council.
GUNS IN DAMASCUS
Violence wracked the country on Thursday, from the eastern desert city of Hassake, where five soldiers were killed when rebels ambushed a military truck, to Damascus, where government forces were bombarding outlying suburbs.
The pro-opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said dozens of people were wounded when warplanes bombed the northern town of Maarat al-Numan, which straddles the main north-south highway connecting Damascus with Aleppo and was captured by rebels last week.
The official SANA news agency said troops were “cleaning villages” in the countryside around Maarat, killing and wounding many rebels. Government forces have been making a strong push to retake Maarat, including using air strikes.
In an extensive report on fighting across Syria, SANA said a large number of insurgents had been killed in attacks in several districts of Aleppo and elsewhere. The Observatory also reported clashes in Aleppo.
Insurgents had blown up a gas pipeline from Deir Ezzor to Palmyra in the central Syrian desert and an oil pipeline from al-Omar field to Atteim field in north of Deir Ezzor on Thursday, SANA said.
More than 140 Syrians were killed on Wednesday, including 62 unarmed civilians, 12 of them children, the Observatory said.
Syrian officials have questioned whether the rebels, who agreed on a joint leadership on Tuesday to encourage supporters to provide them with more powerful weapons, could commit to or honor any ceasefire deal.
But Brahimi said on Wednesday opposition figures had told him any ceasefire by Assad’s forces would be reciprocated immediately.
“We heard from everyone we met in the opposition, and everyone (else) we met that, if the government stops using violence, ‘We will respond to this directly’,” he said.
“We hope this will be a very small step that would save the Syrian people … because they are burying hundreds of people every day.”
The total death toll now stands at more than 30,000 and international players fear that if unchecked, the war could expand into a wider regional conflict between Sunni powers sympathetic to the rebels and Shi’ites who back Assad.
(Reporting by Suleiman Al-Khalidi in Amman and Oliver Holmes in Beirut; Writing by Angus MacSwan; Editing by Andrew Heavens)
At least 28,000 abducted in Syria: activist group: BEIRUT – At least 28,000 Syrians have gone missing since they were abducted by forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad during the 19-month-old revolt, activist group Avaaz said on Thursday.
Quoting statements from Syrian human rights lawyers and families, Avaaz said security forces had set out to terrorize communities by grabbing people off the street and torturing them.
Other rights groups have also accused Syrian rebel groups of abducting people they deem pro-government.
Video footage accompanying the Avaaz statement showed two soldiers stopping a man and a woman, forcing them to the ground and dragging them away.
The film also showed an interview with a man saying his wife had been abducted six months ago in the Baba Amr district of Homs, which has been partly leveled by government bombardment.
“I lived my whole life with her,” said the middle-aged man with his back to the camera, taking a long sigh and trembling.
“She disappeared. I have no hope. We searched everywhere for her. My children always ask me ‘Where’s Mum?’,” he said.
One Syrian-based human rights organization reported up to 80,000 people had disappeared, added Avaaz, a campaign network that aids opposition activists in Syria alongside other causes worldwide.
The figures could not be verified independently.
Activists say 30,000 people have been killed in Syria’s conflict which started with peaceful protests but turned violent after months of oppression.
Another Syrian interviewed by Avaaz, Yousef, said his sister Zainab was abducted in Baba Amr six months ago. “If I know someone who was killed, I resign to God that they are dead. If I know someone who is injured, I still have hope they might heal,” he said.
“But the unknown … the only word that expresses it is ‘unknown’.”
Avaaz said it would hand over the reports of the abductions to the United Nations Human Rights Council, saying they amounted to “enforced disappearances”.
Such abductions, where a state refuses to acknowledge a person has been taken, are seen as a crime against humanity under international law.
(Reporting by Oliver Holmes; Editing by Andrew Heavens)
Syria must not become new Bosnia: U.N. rights boss: GENEVA – The top United Nations human rights official said the situation in Syria was reminiscent of Bosnia’s sectarian war and called on world powers on Thursday to unite in trying to halt the bloodshed.
“The memories of what happened in Bosnia and Herzegovina should be sufficiently fresh to warn us all of the danger of allowing Syria to descend into an all-out sectarian conflict,” U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said.
“It should not take something as drastic as Srebrenica to shake the world into taking serious action to stop this type of conflict,” she told reporters.
The July 1995 massacre in Srebrenica was the worst on European soil since World War Two. Dutch U.N. peacekeepers abandoned what had been designated a U.N. safe haven to advancing Bosnian Serb forces who then killed 8,000 Muslim men and boys and bulldozed their corpses into pits.
Pillay, a former U.N. war crimes judge, said both sides in the Syrian conflict may have committed war crimes or crimes against humanity.
“The indiscriminate use of heavy weaponry by government forces to destroy large swathes of cities such as Homs and Aleppo is inexcusable, as is the use of huge bombs by extremist opposition groups which kill and maim civilians as well as military targets,” she added.
(Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay, Editing by Andrew Heavens)
Guardian: Syrian media toll rises again: Cameraman killed and broadcast journalist is kidnapped
The heavy toll on news media covering the conflict in Syria has grown yet again over the past week. A journalist for a pro-government TV station was killed and a Ukrainian journalist has been kidnapped.
Mohammed al-Ashram, a cameraman for the TV station Al-Ikhbariya, was shot and killed on 10 October while covering clashes between Syrian government forces and the rebel free Syrian army in the eastern city of Deir Al-Zour.
Anhar Kochneva, a Ukrainian who has contributed to several Russian news outlets including the Moscow-based Russia Today, disappeared on 9 October after setting out for the city of Homs.
Four days later she was reported to have contacted NTV to say she was held by the free Syrian army and was being treated satisfactorily. Kochneva, a fluent Arabic speaker, has publicly defended the regime of President Bashar al-Assad in TV interviews.