Tuesday 30 October 2012
Three Yezidi people have been injured in an attack at Qastal Jendo. the attack came from an armed group belonging to Amar Dadkhi, aka Abu Ibrahim. Activists say that he is a supporter of the regime, and that he kidnapped eleven Lebanese, including the Lebanese journalist Fida Itani. See report re: Fida Itani
[SKS comment: Some commentators do not seem to understand that the Kurds have chosen a neutral stand, and that is their right. why should they stand with the regime or the 'FSA'?]: from the Guardian
The latest fighting in Aleppo threatens to end the neutrality of Kurdish groups, and could open up a new front in the Syrian civil war, according to Syrian opposition expert Aron Lund.
This weekend’s clashes between Kurds and Syrian rebels, which were reported to have killed around 30 people, represents the worst violence between Arabs and Kurds since the uprising began, he points out.
Up to now Kurds have had an ambivalent attitude to the Assad regime and the rebels, according to Lund, author of Divided they Stand, an overview of Syria’s Political Opposition Factions.
But the Kurdish Democratic Union Party or PYD, a group allied to the Kurdish independence movement, is trying of manoeuvre itself so that it ends up on the winning side, Lund argues.
And now that the fighting in Aleppo appears to be entering its final stages, the Kurds can no long stay neutral, he said.
Most Kurds don’t trust the Free Syrian Army because of its links to Turkey. Turkey are their arch enemy and they are extremely suspicious of anyone who is anyway tied to Ankara government …
Kurdish neighbourhoods [in Aleppo] will either join the battle or they won’t. The PYD has decided that they won’t which brings them into to conflict with the Free Syrian Army …
This provides a fore taste of what may come whether or not the Assad regime falls.
Most Kurds in Syria are very afraid of coming into conflict with the Arab majority – they are very aware of how weak their position is. But since the Syrian state started crumbling the PYD has been trying to establish Kurdish local power. They want a strong hand in negotiations.
Lund pointed out that as Kurds make up a significant minority of the population of Aleppo and Damascus, they play a key role in the crucial battles for control of both cities.
[SKS comment: the report below is going up around the internet news sites. We have sent the following complaint to AFP:
In the last two days AFP has put out highly inflammatory reports in relation to Kurds in Syria, through reporting from the standpoint of some 'FSA' rebel fighters who are extremely disparaging about the Kurds - 'Assad's dogs', 'we will punish them', 'nothing more than henchmen from the regime' etc etc.
This may make for sensational reading, but is it responsible reporting in such a sensitive situation?
In my view it is significantly counter-productive to finding a peaceful solution. The reports are carried by many websites without comment.
Please, there are a lot of people who are working tirelessly for a positive way forward, please - if you cannot support them then at least don't make the situation worse in this way. Children and adults are dying horrible deaths and the bloodshed needs to stop.]
Rebel-Kurd tensions boil over in Syria’s north - Jennie Matthews AFP
In contrast the Leadership of ‘FSA’ has put out a statement standing against anyone who will attack the Kurds or Yezedi. We welcome this statement.
PKK threatens of militarily interference to protect Kurds in Syrian Kurdistan: Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) threatened on Tuesday that it will “intervene” militarily to “protect” western Kurdistan, the Kurdish areas in Syria, on the background of military confrontations, between the Arab’s Free Syrian Army and Kurds fighters in Aleppo.
According to a statement issued by the People Defense Forces HPG, (the military wing of the (PKK), said “the popular forces will intervene directly against parties and forces that are hostile to the Kurdish people.”
The statement stressed that “all parties have to be well aware that we will provide the necessary military support to our people and we will abide by them in facing those against it.”
Syrian rebels clashed with Kurdish militia in Aleppo on Friday, leaving 30 dead whole more than 200 were captured, the Observatory said.
Clashes among groups of fighters of the Free Syrian Army took place while trying to enter the Kurdish areas in Aleppo city; specifically the Ashrafieh and Sheikh Maqsood areas that paid the people there to get out in demonstrations to refuse the entry of those forces to their areas, But gunmen of the “Free Army” opened fire on the demonstrators, killed and injured dozens of casualties and arrested hundreds of them.
“Free Army” leadership considered that what happened was due to a “misunderstanding”, but leaders of “PKK” considered it as intentional that dragged them into a confrontation with the forces of the Syrian regime.
The PKK has nearly 50 thousand trained fighters on fronts and streets war, as they are deployed within the Kurdish areas near the common border of Turkey with both Iraq and Syria.
Syrian Observatory for Human Rights: Final death toll for Tuesday 30/10/2012: Approximately 187 people were killed in Syria. The dead include: 98 civilians, 35 rebel fighters, 7 defected soldiers, 47 regular soldiers. ** The death of 8 civilians, including 4 women and 2 children, by the bombardment on the al-Ma’adi neighbourhood of Aleppo 2 days ago was documented this day by the SOHR**
Preliminary death toll for Tuesday 30/10/2012: More than 120 Syrians have been killed so far todayThe dead include: 62 civilians, 22 rebel fighters, 41 regular soldiers*2 men were killed when a rocket fell on their can in the town of al-Hirak*62 unarmed civilians:-In Reef Dimashq 28 civilians were killed. 5, 1 a woman, were killed by the bombardment on Beit Sawa. 2 men were shot by regimeforces in al-Qara and Darayya. 18 civilians, they include 5 children and 4 women, were all killed by the air raid and artillery bombardment on the city of Douma. 1 man was killed by regime fire in the town of Ateiba. An unidentified bdy was found in the town of Mou’adamiya.-In Idlib province 18 civilians killed. 7 civilians, including 4 children and an unidentified person, were killed by the bombardment on Ma’arat al-Nu’man city. 4 civilians including a woman and 3 children were killed by the bombardment on the town of Kafarbatikh, Reef Saraqib. 5 men were killed by the bombardment on Kafrouma, Banash, Nahla and Kafranbal. 1 man from the village of al-Alani was killed under mysterious circumstances.
-In Aleppo 5 civilians were killed. 3 Syrian Kurdish civilians died of wounds they received when rebel fighters fired at a protest in the al-Ashrafiya neighbourhood. 1 civilian died of sniper fire in the Zabdiya neighbourhood. 1 died of bombardment on the town of Maskana.
-In Homs province a farmer from the Se’en village was killed by pro-regime gunmen.
-In Dera’a province 5 civilians were killed. An ambulance driver and a nurse were killed in the city of al-Hirak; according to activists they were hit by a regime tank while they were trying to assist 3 men who were eventually killed when their car was hit by a shell in the city, only 1 of the men was documented by the SOHR. 1 civilian from al-Mahaja was killed by the bombardment on al-Saeena, Reef dimashq. An unidentified body was found in the al-Kerk al-Sharqi town.
-In Hama 3 civilians were killed. 2 by regime gunfire in the Bb Qabli neighbourhood. 1 by a sniper in the al-Murabit neighbourhood.
-In Latakia province a man and wife were killed when regime forces shot at their car on the Latakia-Jisr al-Shughour road.
-In deir Izzour a man was killed by a sniper near the Deir Izzour military airport.
22 Rebel fighters:
Reef dimashq: 6 rebels killed. 5 rebel fighters were killed by clashes in Douma. 1 rebel was killed in Zamalka.
Idlib: 6 rebels were killed, 4 by clashes in Harem, Khan al-Asal and Reef the Ma’ara and 2 died of wounds in Ma’ara and Saraqeb.
Homs: 5 rebels were killed. 2 died by clashes in the Mbarkiya village, 3 died in the Deir Ba’alba neighbourhood of Homs.
Aleppo: 3 rebels were killed by clashes in the city of Aleppo.
Dera’a: 1 rebel from the province died of wounds from clashes in Darayya.
Hama: 1 rebel was killed from wounds.
Deir Izzour: 1 rebel was killed by regime fire in the town of Muhassan.
No less than 41 regular soldiers were killed by IED attacks and clashes in Deir Izzour, Aleppo, Homs and Reef dimashq
[local time] 21:54 The death toll in Syria has increased to 122 people, Al-Arabiya quoted activists as saying.
18:40 A Youtube video purportedly filmed on Tuesday shows Syrian rebel commanders and delegates announcing the establishment of a new division uniting several brigades under one command to conduct military operations in the Daraa district against regime forces.
18:34 Tuesday’s death toll in Syria reached 80 people killed by regime forces, Al-Arabiya quoted activists as saying.
18:00 An air raid conducted by Syrian regime forces killed and injured several people in Douma outside Damascus, most of whom were still under the rubble of the targeted area, activists said.
17:36 The rebel Free Syrian Army shot down a regime helicopter near the village of Al-Zahraa in the Aleppo district, activists said.
17:32 Jordanian police detained 61 Syrians who were traveling in three trucks near the southern town of Maan, an Islamist stronghold, a statement said.
17:26 Five people were injured, including a Jesuit priest, when a monastery was shelled in Homs, activists said.
16:30 Several people were killed and others injured when Syrian regime forces shelled Al-Rastan, a town outside Homs, activists said.
16:22 A Syrian fighter jet on Tuesday carried out the first warplane air strike on the city of Damascus since the start of the country’s conflict 19 months ago, a monitoring group said.
16:22 Fighter jets on Tuesday carried out the first strikes on the Damascus city area, activists told AFP.
16:04 Three people were killed and others injured in the shelling of Al-Sabina in the Damascus district, activists said.
15:35 Free Syrian Army rebels destroyed two tanks belonging to regime forces in clashes in Aarbin outside Damascus, activists said.
15:14 The rebel Free Syrian Army claimed responsibility for assassinating a Syrian air force general in Damascus, while the Syrian regime said “armed terrorists” killed the officer.
14:49 Syrian forces shelled the neighborhood of Al-Layrmoun in Aleppo, activists said.
14:33 Tuesday’s death toll in Syria has risen to 61 people, most of them killed in the town of Maaret al-Numan, Al-Arabiya television quoted activists as saying.
14:26 A number of people were killed and others injured in the Syrian regime’s shelling of Hamouriya and Harasta outside Damascus, as the Syrian forces launched a campaign of arrests, Al-Jazeera television reported.
11:43 Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Tuesday that Turkey had ruled out dialogue with the Syrian regime, AFP reported.
11:22 Syrian regime forces have killed 22 people on Tuesday, Al-Arabiya television quoted activists as saying.
11:20 Tehran on Tuesday asked Iraq not to stop and search its Syria-bound aircraft despite US pressure to do so, after Baghdad inspected Iranian planes twice this month.
11:10 Fierce clashes broke out before dawn Tuesday in a major Palestinian refugee camp south of Damascus, pitting rebels against troops backed by pro-regime Palestinian fighters, activists and a watchdog said.
11:07 Tensions run deep between the PYD – the Syrian branch of the leftist and secular Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which the rebels accuse of being lackeys of the regime – and the rebels, who often say they want an Islamic government.
10:31 Free Syrian Army commander Colonel Riad al-Assaad said in remarks published Tuesday that Russia and Iran have used seaports to smuggle weapons to the military forces of President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.
10:12 Thirty people were killed in the Syrian regime forces’ shelling of the town of Maaret al-Numan, Al-Arabiya television quoted activists as saying.
10:03 Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem al-Thani has accused the Syrian regime, with the complicity of the international community, of waging a “war of extermination” against its people.
9:47 Nobel Peace laureate Jose Ramos-Horta warned Monday that Syria risked becoming a new Somalia as he voiced pessimism at any quick solution to the bloodshed that has left tens of thousands dead.
8:42 Amid the roar of gunfire and explosions echoing through Syria’s streets, the non-violent activists who launched the revolt against President Bashar al-Assad are struggling to make their voices heard.
9:37 Syrian regime forces shelled various neighborhoods in Duma, activists said.
8:26 The Syrian regime may be their sworn enemy, but rebels fighting to bring down President Bashar al-Assad say they pay hard cash to government agents for guns and bullets.
8:10 Syrian regime forces have shelled a number of neighborhoods in Aleppo, activists said.
AMMAN – Syrian warplanes bombed rebel targets with renewed intensity on Tuesday after the end of a widely ignored four-day truce between President Bashar al-Assad’s forces and insurgents.
State television said “terrorists” had assassinated an air force general, Abdullah Mahmoud al-Khalidi, in a Damascus suburb, the latest of several rebel attacks on senior officials.
In July, a bomb killed four of Assad’s aides, including his brother-in-law Assef Shawkat and the defense minister.
Air strikes hit eastern suburbs of Damascus, outlying areas in the central city of Homs, and the northern rebel-held town of Maarat al-Numan on the Damascus-Aleppo highway, activists said.
Rebels have been attacking army bases in al-Hamdaniya and Wadi al-Deif, on the outskirts of Maarat al-Numan.
Some activists said 28 civilians had been killed in Maarat al-Numan and released video footage of men retrieving a toddler’s body from a flattened building. The men cursed Assad as they dragged the dead girl, wearing a colorful overall, from the debris. The footage could not be independently verified.
The military has shelled and bombed Maarat al-Numan, 300 km (190 miles) north of Damascus, since rebels took it last month.
“The rebels have evacuated their positions inside Maarat al-Numaan since the air raids began. They are mostly on the frontline south of the town,” activist Mohammed Kanaan said.
Maarat al-Numan and other Sunni towns in northwestern Idlib province are mostly hostile to Assad’s ruling system, dominated by his minority Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shi’ite Islam.
Two rebels were killed and 10 wounded in an air strike on al-Mubarkiyeh, 6 km (4 miles) south of Homs, where rebels have besieged a compound guarding a tank maintenance facility.
Opposition sources said the facility had been used to shell Sunni villages near the Lebanese border.
“WE’LL FIX IT”
The army also fired mortar bombs into the Damascus district of Hammouria, killing at least eight people, activists said.
One video showed a young girl in Hammouria with a large shrapnel wound in her forehead sitting dazed while a doctor said: “Don’t worry dear, we’ll fix it for you.”
Syria’s military, stretched thin by the struggle to keep control, has increasingly used air power against opposition areas, including those in the main cities of Damascus and Aleppo. Insurgents lack effective anti-aircraft weapons.
U.N.-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi has said he will pursue his peace efforts despite the failure of his appeal for a pause in fighting for the Muslim Eid al-Adha holiday.
But it is unclear how he can find any compromise acceptable to Assad, who seems determined to keep power whatever the cost, and mostly Sunni Muslim rebels equally intent on toppling him.
Big powers and Middle Eastern countries are divided over how to end the 19-month-old conflict which has cost an estimated 32,000 dead, making it one of the bloodiest of Arab revolts that have ousted entrenched leaders in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya.
The United Nations said it had sent a convoy of 18 trucks with food and other aid to Homs during the “ceasefire”, but had been unable to unload supplies in the Old City due to fighting.
“We were trying to take advantage of positive signs we saw at the end of last week. The truce lasted more or less four hours so there was not much opportunity for us after all,” said Jens Laerke, a U.N. spokesman in Geneva.
The prime minister of the Gulf state of Qatar told al-Jazeera television late on Monday that Syria’s conflict was not a civil war but “a war of annihilation licensed firstly by the Syrian government and secondly by the international community”.
Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani said some of those responsible were on the U.N. Security Council, alluding to Russia and China which have vetoed three Western-backed U.N. draft resolutions condemning Assad.
He said that the West was also not doing enough to stop the violence and that the United States would be in “paralysis” for two or three weeks during its presidential election.
(Additional reporting by Raissa Kasolowsky in Abu Dhabi and Stephanie Nebehay in Geneva; Writing by Oliver Holmes; Editing by Alistair Lyon)
A senior Syrian air force general has been killed by rebels in central Damascus, state television reports.
Abdullah Mahmoud al-Khalidi was shot dead late on Monday in the capital’s Rukn al-Din district, it said.
The attack appears to be the latest in a string of rebel attacks on high-level figures from President Bashar al-Assad’s administration.
In July, a bomb killed the country’s defence minister and Mr Assad’s brother-in-law, Assef Shawkat.
“As part of their campaign to target national personalities and scientists, armed terrorist groups assassinated Air Force General Abdullah Mahmud al-Khalidi in the Damascus district of Rukn al-Din,” the broadcaster said.
It added that he was one of Syria’s foremost experts in aviation. He was also a member of the Syrian Air Force command, Agence France Presse reports.
The Free Syrian Army claimed that it was behind the attack, saying it had also killed an air force intelligence official in the same operation, AFP reports.
News of the attack came as violence continued in the capital and beyond.
Air strikes hit targets in Damascus and the wider province as well as the north-western province of Idlib and the central province of Homs, according to the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
The group said that jets had carried out at least six air raids on Damascus suburbs, including Rankous and Harasta, and that there were intense clashes in those areas as troops attempted to wrestle control from the rebels.
“Members of the Free Syrian Army are shooting at the planes without succeeding in shooting them down,” Mohammed Saeed, an activist based in the Damascus suburb of Douma, told the Associated Press.
Activists also reported that the northern rebel-held town of Maarat al-Numan, on the route between Damascus and Aleppo, had also come under fire.
A government official said a car bomb had killed 10 people on the outskirts of Damascus, AP reports.
An opposition activist group, the local Co-ordination Committees in Syria, said that a total of 61 people had died in Syria on Tuesday, among them four women and three children.
It said that a total of 29 had been reported killed in Idlib province, most of whom died after the shelling of Maarat al-Numan.
A further 11 people died in Damascus and its suburbs, eight in Aleppo, six in Homs, six in Deraa and one person in Hama.
Guardian: An air force general has been assassinated in a Damascus suburb in the latest in a string of attacks on high-level figures from the Assad regime, according to TV. “Terrorists assassinated General Abdullah Mahmoud Al-Khalidi in Rukn al-Din,” state TV said in a news flash without giving details.
• Aid agencies delivered only a fraction of the humanitarian relief they were hoping to supply to Syrian families this weekend because of the failure of Eid al-Adha ceasefire. The UN’s refugee agency and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent were planning to deliver aid to around 13,000 families if the four-day truce held. But continuing violence, including a hijacked aid truck, meant they only managed to help 2,800 families.
• Syrian warplanes bombed rebel targets with renewed intensity on Tuesday after the end of the widely ignored four-day truce. Air strikes hit eastern suburbs of Damascus, outlying areas in the central city of Homs, and the northern rebel-held town of Ma’arat al-Numan on the Damascus-Aleppo highway, activists said.
• Turkey has rejected Russian calls for a dialogue with the Assad regime. Foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu, said: “There is no point in engaging in dialogue with a regime that continues to carry out such a massacre against its own people, even during Eid al-Adha.”
• There is a danger of a new front opening up in Syria if Kurds continue clashing with the rebels, an opposition leader and an expert have warned. Opposition spokesman Bassam Imadi said: “This is a very dangerous development. It will create a diversion that will hurt everyone,” he said. “It diverts attention from the fight against the regime.”
• Qatar’s prime minister, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem al-Thani, has accused the international community of complicity in Syria’s “war of extermination” against its own people, AFP reports. In an interview with al-Jazeera Sheikh Hamad said the war in Syria was being waged “with a licence to kill, endorsed firstly by the Syrian government and secondly by the international community”.