Tuesday 14 August 2012
Syrian Observatory for Human Rights: More than 23,000 people have been killed in violence in Syria since the outbreak of a revolt in March last year, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Tuesday.
“As of August 13, 23,002 people were killed, including 16,142 civilians, 1,018 defectors and 5,842 soldiers,” Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP, adding that 2,409 people have been killed in the past 13 days alone.
The civilian toll includes those who have taken up arms against the regime.
The conflict became even bloodier after fierce fighting erupted in Damascus and Syria’s second city of Aleppo in July.
“The total count does not include the shabiha (pro-government militiamen), thousands of detainees whose fate is unknown, or those who have been killed but whose identities have not been verified,” Abdel Rahman added.
More than 100 Syrians have been reported, and verified, as dead so far today (Teusday 14/8/2012). SOHR documentation includes name and reason of death.
The dead include 47 unarmed civilians, 16 rebel fighters, 4 defected soldiers, and no less than 34 members of the Syrian regular forces.
47 unarmed civilians:
-In Aleppo province 9 civilians were killed. 1 civilian by a sniper in the Saif al-D
checkpoint by immigration and passport control offices in the city of Aleppo. A young man and a woman were killed by the regime bombardment on the towns and al-Abizmo and Tedeel, Reef Aleppo. 4 civilians, including 2 children, were killed by the bombardment on the town of Batbo. A young man was killed by regime forces while he was working in the village of Burj Nimra.
-In Deir Izzor province 13 civilians killed. 6 civilians from the same family, including 2 children and 2 women, were killed by the regime bombardment on the town of al-Shmeitiya. 1 person was killed by the bombardment on the town of al-Hajeen. 1 civilian was killed by the bombardment on the town of al-Ishara. The bodies of an old man and 2 women, thought to be his wife and her sister, were found yesterday in the city of Deir Izzor, they were killed a while ago in their house in the al-Ummal neighbourhood. 1 civilian was killed by the bombardment on the Jubeila neighbourhood of Deir Izzor. A woman was killed by a sniper in the city of Deir Izzor.
-In Idlib province 8 civilians were killed. 3 by the bombardment on the town of Ma’arat Masreen. 4 civilians killed by the bombardment on the town of Saraqib. 1 was killed by rockets falling on the town of Kafrenbel, Reef Idlib. A child was killed by the bombardment on the town of Shillikh, Reef Idlib.
-In Dera’a province x civilians were killed. A man was killed by a tank shell that fell in the town of Tafas. A child died from shrapnel wounds it received 2 weeks ago in the city of Dera’a. 2 civilians were killed by excessive torture in the towns of al-Hara and Busra al-Harir. 1 civilian was killed by a checkpoint in the town of Mahajja.
-In Reef Dimashq province 4 civilians killed. a civilian was killed by regime gunfire in the town of al-Tal. An 8-year-old child was killed by a gunfire in the city of Douma. A woman was killed by regime bombardment in the city of Douma. 1 civilian was killed by regime gunfire in the town of Qatana tonight.
-In Homs province 5 civilians were killed. 2 civilian were killed by the bombardment of Talbiseh, Reef Homs. A civilian from the town of al-Dara al-Kabira was killed by a sniper. A child was killed when rockets fell on the old neighbourhoods of Homs. The body of a civilian from the Deir Ba’alba neighbourhood was found 2 weeks after he was detained.
-In Hama province 2 civilians killed. A child died of wounds she received in the Tariq al-Bab neighbourhood of Hama. A young man from the town of Morek was killed by pro-regime gunmen in the Tadamun neighbourhood of Damascus.
16 Rebel fighters:
Aleppo province: 7 rebel fighters were killed. A rebel leader who was killed during clashes in the town of Maskana. 3 rebel fighters were killed during clashes with a military motorcade near the Bab Al-Hawa area. 2 rebel fighters were killed during clashes in the town of al-Atarib. 1 rebel fighter from the town of Orum al-Kubra was killed during clashes in the city of Aleppo.
Dera’a province: 7 rebel fighters were killed. 5 rebel fighters were killed during clashes in the town of Tafas. 2 rebel fighters were killed by regime fire in the town of Seida in Reef Dera’a.
Homs province: 2 rebel fighters killed. A rebel fighter was killed by clashes in the town of Talbiseh. A rebel fighter was killed by the bombardment on Rastan.
2 defected soldiers were killed during clashes in Reef Dimashq. 1 defected soldier died from his wounds in Reef Idlib. A first lieutenant was killed during clashes in Reef Idlib.
No less than 34 members of the Syrian armed forces were killed by attacks on military bases and vehicles, and during clashes in the provinces of Dera’a, Aleppo, Homs, Idlib and Reef Dimashq.
Just a while ago- Qamishlo, the city cente:
Amûdê tonight, a protest against Assad.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7NzymXhHAYo&feature=youtu.be
[local time] 22:19 Syria said Tuesday that international sanctions had hurt only the innocent and that the fate of more than a million people displaced by the conflict was “not a UN issue”, in an apparent snub to the visiting UN humanitarian chief.
22:17 The United States on Tuesday called on China to use its influence to press Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to end more than a year of bloodshed as senior US and Syrian envoys visited Beijing.
21:53 Tuesday’s death toll has increased to 83, most of them killed in Daraa, Aleppo and Rif Dimashq, Al-Arabiya quoted activists as saying.
21:41 Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke with Western foreign ministers to coordinate ways to hasten the end of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s embattled regime, her spokesperson said Tuesday.
21:40 The Syrians have agreed to the candidacy of Algeria’s Lakhdar Brahimi as successor to Kofi Annan, who has resigned as the United Nations and Arab League mediator in Syria, Annan’s spokesperson said Tuesday.
21:38 Switzerland widened sanctions against Syria on Tuesday, adding new names to a list of people and companies whose assets have been frozen, according to the Foreign Ministry.
21:14 Syrian warplanes hit a rebel-held district of Aleppo on Tuesday, an AFP journalist said, as fighting raged in several neighborhoods of the embattled northern city.
18:21 Syrian businesses should make a “strategic choice” and start exporting their goods to Asian markets instead of the West, a newspaper said Tuesday, in the face of tough Western sanctions on the regime.
17:50 Syrian army members clashed with Free Syrian Army members in Edleb’s Bab al-Hawa, Al-Arabiya quoted activists as saying.
17:42 The United States on Tuesday lifted sanctions against former Syrian Prime Minister Riad Hijab, who defected earlier this month, as it urged more individuals to abandon Bashar al-Assad’s regime.
17:16 Tuesday’s death toll has increased to 60, Al-Arabiya quoted activists as saying.
16:23 Three Hungarians are thought to have been kidnapped in Syria, Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s office said Tuesday.
15:10 More than 23,000 people have been killed in violence in Syria since the outbreak of a revolt in March last year, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Tuesday.
14:57 The Turkish army on Tuesday staged a new military drill near its border with Syria, in the throes of an uprising that has led to deteriorating relations between the neighboring nations, the Anatolia news agency reported.
14:09 Some 10 people were arrested after illegally entering the Syrian embassy in Stockholm during a protest against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Stockholm police said on Tuesday.
14:06 A Syria-based reporter for Iran’s Arabic language television network Al-Alam has been abducted by rebels in the central Syrian city of Homs, the channel said on its website on Tuesday.
13:58 Fresh fighting erupted in Syria’s second city of Aleppo Tuesday, monitors said, as a pro-government daily warned the capture of a key rebel district was just a “first step” in the retaking of all opposition areas.
13:30 Syrian former Prime Minister Riad Hijab, who crossed into Jordan after defecting earlier this month, said on Tuesday President Bashar al-Assad’s regime now controls only 30 percent of the country.
12:47 Free Syrian Army members destroyed a rocket arsenal belonging to regime troops near Al-Ghanto in Homs, Al-Jazeera quoted activists as saying.
11:39 UN humanitarian chief Valerie Amos arrived in Syria Tuesday to address the “deteriorating humanitarian situation” in the conflict-ravaged country and discuss ways of scaling-up relief efforts.
11:04 Syrian security forces killed 50 people on Tuesday, Al-Arabiya quoted activists as saying.
10:02 Clashes broke out between rebels and Syrian regime forces in Daraa’s Tafas, Al-Jazeera television reported.
8:11 Syrian Ambassador to Iran Hamed Hassan said on Monday evening that “is at war with the axis of evil whose centers are in Tel Aviv and in Washington,” Israeli YNet News website reported.
7:29 Foreign ministers preparing for a summit in Mecca of the Islamic Cooperation Organization on Monday recommended the expulsion of Syria from the 57-nation bloc, its secretary general said.
7:25 MORNING LEADER: Syrian rebels claimed they downed a fighter jet Monday, but the regime seized the upper hand in Aleppo as it advanced into a new rebel-held district. President Bashar al-Assad’s regime meanwhile faced mounting pressure as foreign ministers called for Syria to be suspended from the 57-nation Islamic Cooperation Organization.
Syria’s regime is collapsing “morally, financially and militarily” and controls just 30% of the country, says former PM Riad Hijab who defected to Jordan.
BAGHDAD – At his lingerie shop in Baghdad, Ali Hussein apologizes to a customer for the high price of a Syrian sleeveless vest she wants to buy. He’s powerless to sell it cheaper, he says…
Syria would accept Algerian diplomat as Annan replacement: GENEVA/UNITED NATIONS – The Syrian government has consented to the idea of Algerian diplomat Lakhdar Brahimi replacing Kofi Annan as the U.N.-Arab League mediator in the Syria conflict, though Brahimi has yet to accept or reject the post, Annan’s spokesman said on Tuesday…
U.N. aid chief Amos in Syria to press for access: GENEVA – United Nations emergency relief coordinator Valerie Amos held talks in Syria on Tuesday on ways to increase humanitarian aid to civilians trapped or displaced by intensifying fighting between government and rebel forces…
Topple Assad to prevent Syria breaking up: Jumblatt: MUKHTARA, Lebanon – Foreign states must do more to help Syrian rebels defeat President Bashar al-Assad and spare the country an “endless civil war” and possible partition, a leading politician in neighboring Lebanon said on Tuesday…
Guardian: Syria crisis: west loses faith in SNC to unite opposition groups: US, UK and France seek to build more direct links with disparate rebels amid fears that Islamists are getting Gulf donations.
The US, Britain and France are scrambling to retain their influence with Syrian opposition groups amid fears that most support from the Gulf states has been diverted towards extremist Islamic groups.
Rising concern that an increasingly sectarian civil war could spread across the region, combined with reports of brutality by some opposition groups, and evidence that the best-organised and best-funded rebel groups are disproportionately Salafist (militant Sunni fundamentalists), has triggered an urgent policy change in western capitals.
Washington, London and Paris now agree that efforts to encourage a unified opposition around the exile-led Syrian National Council (SNC) have failed, and are now seeking to cultivate more direct links with internal Syrian groups.
Ausama Monajed, a British-based SNC member, conceded: “The SNC could have done a better job, a more effective job, in organising the forms on the ground, and now the key issue is to bring fighting groups together in some other framework. But that does not mean that the SNC will be sidelined altogether. It is still the biggest political grouping and has a political and diplomatic role to play.”
Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, flew to Istanbul on Saturday to meet Syrian opposition activists and boost military and intelligence co-operation with the Turkish government to prevent the violence spreading across the border. Jon Wilks, Britain’s special envoy to the Syrian opposition, was also in Istanbul last week for a meeting with someone the Foreign Office described as “a senior political representative” of the Free Syrian Army (FSA), during which he stressed the importance of human rights and respect for minorities as a condition of future co-operation.
On Friday, the UK announced £5m in new non-military aid to Syrian opposition groups, pointedly insisting that all the recipients should be organisations inside Syria, therefore excluding the SNC. Clinton’s meetings in Istanbul were also intended to sidestep the exile group, on the grounds that it had little influence on events inside Syria.
“This was a conclusion the state department came to some time ago, and it is just now percolating through into policy,” said Joseph Holliday, an expert on the Syrian rebels at the Washington-based Institute for the Study of War.
Both Wilks and the US ambassador to Syria, Robert Ford – who was withdrawn from Damascus last October out of concern for his safety – took part in an unpublicised meeting in Cairo at the beginning of the month. The aim of the meeting, organised by the Doha centre of the Washington-based Brookings Institution thinktank, and attended by external and internal opposition groups including the FSA, was to set up a broad-based committee to hammer out a mutually agreed transition plan.
In France, the government of François Hollande is under intense pressure, particularly from former president Nicolas Sarkozy, to intervene directly on the side of the opposition.
Fabrice Balanche, a Syria expert at the University of Lyon, said the incoming foreign minister, Laurent Fabius, “realised that France had invested too much political capital in the SNC”. He said the new government had instead thrown its weight behind Manaf Tlass – a former Republican Guard general and member of Bashar al-Assad’s inner circle – who defected in July. France is hoping the FSA will coalesce around Tlass, providing some coherence to the disparate array of militias.
However, a Syrian financier linked to the opposition warned that the FSA would remain divided as long as it relied on multiple, uncoordinated sources of funding. “The local brigade commanders on the ground swear allegiance to whoever supports them and the expat community sending them money is completely divided,” the financier said. “These are [Syrian] expats in the States and the Gulf using their own trusted channels for getting money through, so the money is pouring in from many different pockets. The number of fighters each commander can summon wax and wane with his ability to arm and pay them and their families, so there is no particular leader with enough clout to bring the brigades together.”
The exceptions to this rule, he said, were Saudi Arabia and Qatar, but that money went disproportionately to Salafist and jihadist groups. “The most organised systems are run by extreme Islamist groups and they have the highest income. The more extreme brutality tends to come from that direction, but they have the most ammunition and guns, and they get their money from a unified source. All the other money comes from multiple sources and multiple channels. You can only unify these units with a unified source of money.”
Julien Barnes-Dacey, a Middle Eastern expert at the European Council for Foreign Relations, said that western states realised that “if they don’t get on board now, they will lose every opportunity of leverage. If the Saudis and Qataris run loose with the groups they are backing, there will be great chance of blowback.”
“Blowback” is a term widely used to describe the backing of jihadist rebels against the Soviet army in Afghanistan in the 1980s, which provided a recruiting ground for al-Qaida and global jihadism.
According to western diplomats, a Kuwaiti sheikh is also playing a key role in channelling money collected in the Gulf to militant groups judged to have sufficient Salafist credentials.
Western influence with the FSA is limited by a continued refusal to supply arms because of the uncertainty of where the weapons would end up. Barack Obama is reported to have issued a “presidential finding” (a secret executive order) earlier this year, stepping up CIA activity in and around Syria, but that too stopped short of arms supplies.
According to reports from Washington and the Turkish-Syrian border, the main US intelligence role as been to act with the Turks in stopping arms reaching groups they view as undesirable.
On her visit to Istanbul, Clinton did hint at more direct action in the future. She said the US and Turkey had agreed on “very intensive operational planning” by military and intelligence officials. “We have been closely co-ordinating over the course of this conflict, but now we need to get into the real details.”
Clinton did not exclude the possibility of setting up a no-fly zone, long advocated by Turkey but rejected up to now by Washington because it would require a large-scale military operation.
On Saturday she said the joint US-Turkish planning team would perform an “intense analysis” of all options as a possible precursor to more direct assistance.
Syrian TV crew kidnapped by rebels: Online video reveals that cameraman has been killed …