Tuesday 12 June 2012
Syrian Observatory for Human Rights: The number of civilian martyrs in Syria so far today (Tuesday 12/6/2012), documented with name and reason of death by the SOHR, has risen to 51.
-In Homs province 10 people were martyred. 3 were killed by the bombardment of Rastan. 3 were killed in Reef al-Qusayr, 2 of them shot by a regime checkpoint al-Ribla, the third killed by security services in the village of Jousiya. 2 civilians, including a child, were killed by the bombardment of Talbisa. 1 person was killed in Houla from earlier wounds. 1 person died during the bombardment on the village of al-Ibel, Reef Homs.
-In Deir Izzor 16 people were killed. A woman was martyred by wounds suffered during the siege of al-Eshara last night. 13 civilians, including a child, were killed, late last night, by the mortar shells launched into the al-Jebeila neighbourhood of Deir Izzor by Syrian troops. 2 civilians were martyred from wounds they received by yesterday’s car-bomb blast in Wadi street.
-In Hama province a woman was martyred in the town of Morek, she was killed by gunshot wounds she suffered a week ago at the hands of Syrian troops.
-In Idlib 2 people were killed. One was shot by security forces near the village of Ein Sheeb. A young girl was martyred today from wounds she suffered when a mortar landed near her in Sahl al-Rouj, Reef Idlib.
-In Aleppo province 19 people were martyred. 13 civilians, including several women and children, were martyred by the regime’s random bombardment on the towns of Andan, Hureitan and Bayanoun, Reef Aleppo.
The bodies of a woman and her 5 children were found slaughtered in the village of Qastal Mukhtar (extension of the city of Ifrin), they were kidnapped late last night by unknown gunmen.
-In Latakia province 2 were killed in the al-Heffa area, which is witnessing clashes and regime bombardment.
-In Reef Dimashq province 1 civilian was killed by excessive torture in one of the security services’ branches in Qudsia. The civilian was originally from Homs.
17 members of the syrian armed forces were killed during clashes in Deir Izzor, Homs, al-Heffa (Reef Latakia), and when a military bus was targeted in the eastern Ghouta, Reef Dimashq.
The Secretary-General issued his annual report on children and armed conflict to the Security Council which gives an overview of the situation of girls and boys in conflict zones and measures taken for their protection. The report includes a list of parties who recruit and use children, kill and maim, commit sexual violence or attack schools and hospitals; the so-called “list of shame.”
“2011 shows a mixed picture. While new crises erupted with a heavy toll on children such as in Syria, and also in Libya, violations against girls and boys have come to an end in other parts of the world,” the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict Radhika Coomaraswamy said.
De-listings, new action plans, releases of children
Encouraging is the delisting of parties to conflict in Nepal and Sri Lanka after their successful completion of Security Council-mandated action plans to end the recruitment and use of children. In 2011, five more parties in Afghanistan, the Central African Republic, Chad and South Sudan entered into similar agreements with the United Nations.
In 2011, releases of children associated with armed forces and armed groups have taken place in Central African Republic, Chad, Colombia, DRC, Myanmar, South Sudan and Sudan.
“The progress is continuous but the list of parties to conflict who harm girls and boys will always be too long,” SRSG Coomaraswamy said. 52 parties including four new parties in Sudan, Yemen and Syria were listed.
First listing of parties to conflict responsible for attacks on schools and hospitals
For the first time ever, the Secretary-General listed parties responsible for attacks on schools and hospitals in addition to those who recruit, kill and maim, or commit sexual violence. The listing is the result of Security Council resolution 1998 adopted last year.
On the list are armed groups in Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Iraq as well as the Syrian Government forces who regularly shell, burn, loot and raid schools, as well as assault or threat teachers, students, and medical personnel.
“In conflict, schools and hospitals must be zones of peace respected by all parties,” SRSG Coomaraswamy emphasized.
Of serious concern is also the growing list of persistent perpetrators of grave violations against children which has doubled since last year. 32 parties to conflict have been listed by the Secretary-General for at least five years and are therefore considered persistent perpetrators.
“We must put more pressure on these parties through sanctions, other Security Council action, and closer collaboration with national and international courts,” SRSG Coomaraswamy said.
Action plans are another means to engage persistent perpetrators to end grave violations against children. Yet the dialogue with armed groups is often challenged by security constraints which hampers the United Nation’s independent access to these armed groups for dialogue.
New crises have caused enormous suffering for children and continue in 2012. In Syria, children were victims of killing and maiming, arbitrary arrest, detention, torture and ill-treatment, including sexual violence, by the Syrian Armed Forces, the intelligence forces, and the Shabbiha militia.
Children between 8 and 13 were forcibly taken from their homes and used by soldiers as human shields, placing them in front of the windows of buses carrying military personnel into the raid on villages. Schools have been regularly raided, used as military bases and detention centres. In detention, girls and boys were beaten, blindfolded, subjected to stress positions and to electrical shocks, as well as whipped with heavy electrical cables.
“The world is keeping a detailed account of the violence committed against civilians in Syria and I am confident that these crimes will not go unpunished,” SRSG Coomaraswamy said.
Child suicide bombers
Another worrisome trend is the increasing use of girls and boys as suicide bombers and “victim” bombers. “Victim” bombers are those who do not know that they are carrying explosives and are detonated from distance. In 2011 alone, at least 11 children in Afghanistan and another 11 girls and boys in Pakistan were killed while conducting suicide attacks, some as young as eight years.
“The world should unite against this inhuman and perverse practice of child suicide bombers,” the Special Representative said.
# # #
- List of shame – annex I:http://www.un.org/children/conflict/_documents/AnnexI.pdf
- List of shame – annex II:http://www.un.org/children/conflict/_documents/AnnexII.pdf
- List of persistent perpetrators:http://www.un.org/children/conflict/_documents/persistentperpetrators.pdf
Associate Communications Officer
Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict
+1 917 367 35 62 (office)
+1 347 749 52 76 (mobile)
LONDON, — On Sunday, the Syrian National Council (SNC) chose Abdelbasset Sayda, a Kurd and member of the council executive, as its new leader. Sayda replaces Burhan Ghalioun who resigned last month.
Kurdish organizations have been critical of Sayda, and fear a repetition of the past. Kurdish activist Heyam Aqil told Rudaw, “They are foolish, those who think that Sayda really represents Syria’s Kurds. He is another puppet used by the Muslim Brotherhood.”
The Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), one of the biggest Kurdish political parties in Syria, is seen as having ties to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and has always been critical of SNC for being close to Turkey.
Regarding Sayda’s appointment, PYD’s foreign representative Alan Semo told Rudaw, “He has a good chance as a result of [being a] compromise [candidate] and the conflict between the secular (George Sabra and Islamist Muslim Brotherhood), but unfortunately he hasn’t got the support of Syrian Kurdish movement. We hope he can convince the SNC to accept the Syrian Kurdish reality.”
Voice of America reported that Sayda’s supporters say he will appeal to liberals, Islamists and nationalists in the opposition coalition.
Heyam Aqil, the London representative of the Kurdish Democratic Party Syria, which is part of the Kurdish National Council (KNC), another main Kurdish player in Syria, told Rudaw that ordinary Kurds on the ground and the Local Coordination Committees think Sayda follows the Turkish agenda and the Muslim Brotherhood uses him to say that they have a Kurdish voice amongst the SNC.
“The KNC leadership are not content with Sayda’s stance on the SNC solution to the Kurdish issue. He represents himself only,” Aqil said.
Although she is not sure if Sayda is an Islamist, she says he never protested against the SNC stance towards the Kurds and gets support from the Muslim Brotherhood. “[Sayda is] a Kurd who does not fight for Kurdish rights. Kurdish demands are not among his list of priorities and [he] lacks support from Syria’s Kurds. I do not think it matters who will become the head of SNC since the decision makers are always giving orders from behind the scenes.”
Despite this, Aqil acknowledged that this is a smart step for the SNC. “Electing Sayda is irrelevant to minority rights. It is a smart step by the SNC to deceive people and elect a Kurd affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood and Turkey.”
Sayda did however protest statements former SNC leader Ghalioun made to Rudaw last April, when he said a Syrian Kurdistan does not exist. In response,www.ekurd.net Sayda said that Ghalioun did not represent the SNC, and that Kurdistan is a “historical geographical territory.” He emphasized that Kurds realize they are part of Syria and work on this basis. “But [saying] that there is no such thing as Kurdistan is flagrant ignorance of the realities of history and geography, which is not acceptable at all.”
The biggest Kurdish youth group in Syria, the Kurdish Youth Movement (TCK), also a member of the KNC, opposes Sayda and was angry that he did not leave the SNC during the Syrian opposition conference on March 27 in Istanbul. In a statement on March 28, they claimed Sayda had joined the ranks of the enemies of Kurdish people by not withdrawing from the SNC, as other Kurdish political parties did.
In April , Khaled Derek, criticized Sayda on a pro-PYD website , suggesting that the nationalist position of the SNC showed they were a “copy of the Baath regime,” and if they took power they would “strip Kurds of all their rights.”
During the Friday protests in Amude, Kurds raised banners against Sayda, claiming he did not represent them since he is against political decentralization, which the Kurds support.
A Kurdish activist from Syria, who wished to remain anonymous for security reasons, told Rudaw that the Kurds see him as a “merchant for the Muslim Brotherhood, since he obeys them and does not listen to the Kurdish street. They try to use him to calm the Kurds, but this does not work because we know what kind of person he is. They try to use him to show the West and the media that their council is democratic and respects minorities, while they do not respect them.”
But according to Middle East Online, the nomination of a Kurd will also help the SNC prove it has broad appeal within Syria’s diverse ethnic groups after they were criticized for not representing the minorities living in Syria. The SNC has always emphasized that they are not against Kurdish rights and are in favor of decentralization, but has not convinced other Kurdish political parties active in Syria.
By Vladimir van Wilgenburg
[local time] 20:55 US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton accused Russia Tuesday of sending attack helicopters to Syria, saying Moscow is lying about its arms shipments.
20:00 Syrian forces killed 50 people on Tuesday, a rights group said, according to Al-Jazeera television.
19:53 Renewing the UN mission in Syria once its mandate expires in late July will be difficult without progress in implementing the six-point peace plan, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Tuesday.
19:20 UN peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous said Tuesday that Syria is now in a full-scale civil war as President Bashar al-Assad’s military battles opposition forces around the country.
18:56 UN observers trying to reach the besieged Syrian town of Al-Haffe said on Tuesday they were fired upon after being driven back by an angry crowd of people that hurled stones and metal rods at their vehicles.
18:54 Syrian forces’ shelling of Daraa’s town of Saida killed four people and injured dozens, Al-Jazeera quoted activists as saying on Tuesday.
18:40 At least 36 people were killed in shelling and clashes across Syria on Tuesday, 24 of whom were civilians and 12 soldiers, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
18:15 Syrian forces shelled the town of Hurdatayn near Aleppo, Al-Jazeera quoted activists as saying.
17:57 Activists said on Tuesday that Syrian security forces killed 36 people, Al-Arabiya reported.
16:52 A Saudi trade body cancelled a Tuesday meeting with a Russian delegation of businessmen in protest at Moscow’s position on the Syrian uprising, a top official said.
16:14 Al-Jazeera is broadcasting live images showing the shelling of the Homs neighborhood of Al-Qusur by Syrian security forces.
15:52 Pro-regime residents blocked UN observers from reaching Syria’s Al-Haffe on Tuesday, as government forces shelled the town for an eighth day, sparking fears of an impending massacre there, monitors said.
15:46 An NGO said that UN observers were prevented from reaching the Syrian town of Al-Haffe, AFP reported on Tuesday.
15:36 Activists said on Tuesday that Syrian forces shelled Latakia’s Al-Haffa and Al-Dafeel, Al-Jazeera reported.
15:00 Britain on Tuesday said Syria must offer unrestricted access to aid agencies, saying the humanitarian situation in the country is expected to worsen with thousands more likely to flee the bloodshed.
14:45 France on Tuesday joined the United States in raising concerns that new massacres were being prepared in Syria as regime forces pounded for the eighth straight day the town of Al-Heffa.
14:42 Tuesday’s death toll in Syria has risen to 27 people, Al-Jazeera television quoted the Syrian Network For Human Rights as saying.
14:06 Syria on Tuesday accused Washington of encouraging more massacres in the strife-torn country and of meddling in its internal affairs.
13:54 Armed “terrorists” kidnapped on Tuesday a group of Syrians travelling in two taxis on the road to Qusayr in the central province of Homs, the state news agency SANA reported.
13:41 Regime forces rained shells on rebel positions in northwestern Latakia province on Tuesday, pounding for the eighth straight day the town of Al-Heffa as they prepared to storm it, monitors said.
12:41 UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan hoped a key meeting to address the crisis in Syria will take place soon, his spokesperson said on Tuesday.
12:30 Iran on Tuesday welcomed a Russian proposal on holding an international conference on Syria aimed at saving a faltering peace plan for that country’s conflict.
12:27 Christians in the Syrian town of Qusayr have come under increasing threat from rebel factions controlling the town, according to a Tuesday report in the Vatican Fides news agency.
12:19 One person was killed and dozens injured in the shelling of Rastan in Homs, Al-Jazeera quoted activists as saying on Tuesday.
12:01 Syria’s main opposition coalition has called for “peaceful protests” across the world on Wednesday against Russia, a key ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.
11:36 Syrian security forces shelled the towns of Byanoun and Hayan in the Aleppo district, Al-Jazeera quoted activists as saying on Tuesday.
11:34 Syrian forces pounded a neighborhood of the eastern city of Deir az-Zour with mortar fire on Tuesday, killing 10 civilians including a young girl, a monitoring group said.
10:12 Syrian forces on Tuesday imposed a blockade on Latakia’s Al-Haffa, Al-Arabiya television quoted the General Commission of the Syrian Revolution as saying.
10:11 Syrian forces on Tuesday prevented international observers from accessing the Latakia town of Al-Heffa, Al-Arabiya television quoted the General Commission of the Syrian Revolution as saying.
10:08 Syrian forces on Tuesday killed 13 people; most of them in Deir az-Zour, Al-Jazeera television quoted the Local Coordination Committees as saying.
8:16 Syrian troops have tortured children, executed them and used children as young as eight as “human shields” during military raids against rebels, according to a UN report released Tuesday.
8:10 UN leader Ban Ki-moon on Monday demanded UN access to the surrounded Syrian city of Al-Heffa amid what he called a “dangerous intensification” of the conflict in the country.
8:08 US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Monday there was “no silver bullet” to fix what he called a tragic, complex situation in Syria, but renewed calls for the regime to relinquish power.
8:05 UN envoy Kofi Annan will have to decide if his peace plan was working in Syria when the UN mission’s 90-day mandate expires next month but it cannot remain open-ended, a top Arab official said Monday.
8:00 MORNING LEADER: United Nations leader Ban Ki-moon on Monday demanded UN access to the Syrian city of Al-Heffa, as regime helicopters fired on rebel stronghold towns, leaving more than 100 people dead. Ban added that “intensive military operations” by government forces against Homs and firing from helicopters on other towns had caused heavy civilian casualties.
BBC: Syria in civil war – UN official
Syria is in civil war, warns the UN’s head of peacekeeping, as the US accuses Russia of supplying the Syrian government with attack helicopters.
It is the first time a UN official has formally voiced that view.
His comments came as UN monitors in Syria were fired on as they tried to reach the besieged town of Haffa.
Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton accused Russia of supplying attack helicopters to the Syrian government.
She said the move would “escalate the conflict quite dramatically”.
Russia maintains its arms shipments to Syria are unrelated to the conflict there.
Sophisticated attacksMr Ladsous, UN under-secretary for peacekeeping operations, said the attack on the UN team near Haffa was deliberate.
Asked whether he believed Syria was now in a civil war, Mr Ladsous told a small group of reporters: “Yes, I think we can say that.
“Clearly what is happening is that the government of Syria lost some large chunks of territory, several cities to the opposition, and wants to retake control.”
The UN and the US have warned of an alarming escalation in violence in Haffa, amid reports of a build-up of government forces around the town.
UN monitors first tried to reach Haffa on Monday but were denied access.
On Tuesday, government forces gave them permission to pass through the last checkpoint before the town, but the monitors judged the situation to be “unsafe” and turned back, a UN spokeswoman said.
As they were leaving, an angry crowd threw stones and metal bars at the UN team before unknown assailants opened fire, the spokeswoman said.
None of the observers was hurt.
The BBC’s Barbara Plett, at the UN in New York, says UN officials have been speaking this week not only about an intensification of government military operations, including firing from helicopters, but also about a dramatic increase in more sophisticated urban attacks by the opposition.Earlier this month, activists said Syrian government forces killed 108 people in the region of Houla, in Homs province, and 78 people in the village of Qubair, in Hama province.
Syria blames the violence on foreign-backed armed terrorist gangs.
The UN monitors are in Syria to observe the implementation of a peace plan brokered by UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan. However, a ceasefire which was supposed to come into effect on 12 April never took hold.
Mr Annan has called for another international conference on Syria, but no date or list of participants has yet been announced.
Activists said Syrian forces fired mortars at protesters in the eastern city of Deir al-Zour, killing at least 10 people.
They also reported clashes in central Homs province.
These claims cannot be verified independently as Syria severely restricts journalists’ freedom of movement.
Hillary Clinton said the Russian move – sending helicopters to Syria – would escalate the conflict in Syria dramatically. She said the US had confronted Russia about its arms shipment to Syria but Moscow insisted that the arms were not being used internally against people.
That, the secretary of state said, was patently untrue. State department spokesperson Victoria Nuland declined to give details about the source of Mrs Clinton’s information, but she said the comments were referring to new helicopters that were en route to Syria, and not Syria’s existing fleet.
The Pentagon has said it’s not aware of specific reports of helicopters being delivered but acknowledged that the Syrian government was using helicopter gunships to attack people and that Russia was re-supplying the Syrian army.