Tuesday 22 May 2012
HOMS (22/05/2012): We haven’t posted any videos of Homs for a while, but this was mainly to avoid repetition rather than because the situation has changed significantly, as you can see in this video from Bayadah district in the north of the city today. Since the start of the Annan “ceasefire” almost 1,500 martyrs have been recorded, more than a third of them (514) in Homs.
Syrian Observatory for Human Rights: Videos showing regime’s heavy losses in Reef Idlib and Aleppo:
Provinces of Aleppo and Idlib: The outcome of the battles raging between the Syrian regular forces and the defected military groups in the area between the provinces of Idlib and Aleppo has been reported at 2 dead among the rebel fighters and no less than 18 regular soldiers. The Syrian army has also lost several pieces of heavy machinery -tank, armed personnel carrier and a military truck-. The clashes occurred between the western areas of Reef Aleppo -near Atarib village- and the northern parts of Reef Idlib -near the town of Kafar Karmein-.
Wounded in Reef Deir Izzor
Deir Izzor province: Several protestors were wounded after regime forces used live ammunition against them in the town of Busayra, Reef Deir Izzor.
Hama province: The use of heavy machine-guns by regular forces persists in the town of al-Latamneh, reports of wounded are coming from the town.
Homs province: The body of a civilian from the neighbourhood of Karm al-Zeitoun, Homs was found today near the village of Qabu, Reeh Hawla.
Syrian Uprising 2011 Information Centre: SUMMARY (22/05/2012): At least 16 martyrs have fallen today. There is a renewed assault on areas around the city of Ma’ret al-Nu’man in Idlib province, using armoured vehicles and helicopters. Yet again Assad’s forces opened fire on crowds gathered around the UN observers, this time in Busayrah, Deir Ezzor province. Meanwhile, in a move that seems designed to further increase tensions in Lebanon, a group of Lebanese Shia pilgrims has been kidnapped in Aleppo province. The FSA has been accused but denies any involvement. See the map for more info. Syria – Tuesday 22/05/2012 – Google Maps
[local time] 20:26 Syrian opposition figures said on Tuesday that the Syrian army stormed areas in Aleppo where 13 Lebanese Shia men were abducted, Reuters reported.
20:20 The international community is not doing enough to help resolve the Syrian crisis, Turkish President Abdullah Gul said Tuesday as he urged an orderly transition to democracy.
19:34 Thirteen people were killed by security forces in Syria today, Al-Arabiya quoted activists as saying.
17:29 The families of 12 Lebanese men, who were kidnapped by Syrian rebels, are protesting in the Beirut areas of Tayyouneh and Haret Hreik, Al-Jadeed TV reported.
17:01 Loud blast heard in the city of Edleb in northern Syria, Al-Jazeera quoted activists as saying.
16:44 Syrian rebels kidnapped in Aleppo 12 Lebanese men who were returning to their home country from Iran, Al-Jadeed TV reported.
14:15 The World Food Program on Tuesday started distributing food to 12,500 Syrians in Jordan, where tens of thousands of refugees have fled from President Bashar al-Assad’s forces.
13:17 Syrian security forces killed six people on Tuesday, Al-Arabiya quoted activists as saying.
12:48 Two people were killed by security forces’ gunfire in Deir az-Zour, activists told Al-Jazeera.
12:33 Syrian forces opened fire on protesters in Deir az-Zour shortly after the UN observers left the area, activists told Al-Arabiya.
9:29 A bomb rocked the Damascus neighborhoods of Qaboun during the night killing five people, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Tuesday.
7:54 A senior UN official on Monday urged authorities in Homs to release political prisoners and allow peaceful demonstrations.
7:47 The Syrian government may have committed crimes against humanity by using “lethal” force and “torturing” detainees in its crackdown on a 14-month-old uprising, Amnesty International said on Tuesday.
Syrian rebels said police had opened fire and killed two people on Tuesday when a crowd turned out to greet a team of U.N. ceasefire monitors in the eastern province of Deir al-Zor.
A United Nations spokeswoman said the team had heard gunfire but said they had not seen any casualties.
The U.N. team was part of a contingent of about 260 unarmed observers sent to Syria to monitor an internationally-brokered ceasefire in the conflict between President Bashar al-Assad and opponents trying to overthrow him.
Government forces have been widely condemned for their repression of the uprising but both sides have regularly violated the ceasefire.
Abu Laila, a Free Syrian Army official, told Reuters by phone from the town of al-Busaira: “As soon as the U.N. convoy entered al-Busaira, a jubilant crowd of hundreds came out to welcome them. It was not minutes before they came under fire.”
Another opposition source in the province said government forces surrounding al-Busaira had fired anti-aircraft guns at the town.
The spokeswoman for the monitors, whose mission is part of a peace plan laid out by U.N.-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan, said the U.N. team had heard gunfire near the town but had no information on casualties.
“A group of villagers from elsewhere followed the U.N. patrol to al-Busaira, which is government-controlled. They were asked not to follow the patrol into the town,” she said.
“The team left by another checkpoint to avoid any contact between the military and villagers, and there they heard the use of heavy weapons.”
Claims from both sides in the conflict are hard to confirm independently as Syria restricts access for most journalists.
Deir al-Zor, an oil-producing province bordering Iraq, has often seen skirmishes in recent months between insurgents and government troops trying to regain control of rebel-held areas.
Assad, a member of Syria’s Alawite minority, had relied on a network of alliances with Sunni Muslim tribes forged by his late father, Hafez al-Assad, to keep Deir al-Zor under control.
But these began to break down after anti-Assad demonstrations broke out in July and the government sent in tanks to quell them.
The United Nations says Assad’s forces have killed at least 9,000 people since the uprising started in March 2011. The government says armed opposition groups have killed about 2,600 soldiers and members of the security forces.
(Reporting by Khaled Yacoub Oweis; Editing by Angus MacSwan)
Alawite interest lies in removing Assad: dissident: AMMAN – A dissident from President Bashar al-Assad’s minority Alawite sect is urging his co-religionists not to fear for their fate if the Syrian leader falls, arguing the “end of totalitarianism” is the best guarantee for the survival of their community. World, 6:47am EDT
BBC: Abductions raise Lebanon tension: Tensions rise after rebels in northern Syria kidnap 13 Lebanese Shia pilgrims on their way home from visiting holy sites in Iran…
The Syrian local newspapers creating a voice for the revolution: 22 May 2012: Civil resistance has flourished thanks to an army of amateur journalists dedicated to keeping the population informed.
Damascus blast kills five people: 22 May 2012: Syrian government blames terrorists for bomb in restaurant in Qaboun neighbourhood