Wednesday 15 August 2012
Syrian Observatory for Human Rights: Final report on those killed on 15/8/2012: Approximately 180 Syrians have been reported, and verified, as dead on (Wednesday 15/8/2012). SOHR documentation includes name and reason of death.
The dead include 127 unarmed civilians, 15 rebel fighters, 5 defected soldiers, and no less than 32 members of the Syrian regular forces.
127 unarmed civilians:
-In Aleppo Province 41 were killed. 5, due to bombardment on the Kadi Askari neighbourhood in the city of Aleppo. 2 civilians were killed by bombardment on the town of Kafer Hamra in Reef Aleppo. 3 civilians, including a woman and a little girl, died during bombardment on batbo town in Reef Aleppo. 31 names were documented dead, including children, women, and the civilians who were killed by bombardment on the neighbourhood that’s
-In Homs Province 23 were killed. 2, from the al-Hola area, were shot near the Hay al-We’er neighbourhood in the city of Homs. 1 civilian died, effected by injuries he received in the town of Talbeesa. 6, including 4 women were killed by bombardment on al-Rastan city. 6 civilians, including a child were killed by bombardment on the city of al-Kseir. 1 was shot at a military checkpoint in al-Kseir city. 1 was killed by bombardment on the village of al-Ghanto, which has witnessed in the areas around it violent clashes. 4 civlians, including 3 women, were killed in the Deir Ba’alba neighbourhood, which has witnessed clashes and bombardment. 1 was killed in the Joorat al-Shayah neighbourhood due to injuries by shrapnel. 1 was killed by bombardment on the Jobar neighbourhood in the city of Homs.
-In Damascus Province 23 were killed. 6, in the al-Kabun neighbourhood, 1 was shot by regime forces when they raided his house in the neighbourhood, and 5, including a woman and a child, were shot directly by regime forces. 4 civilians in the neighbourhoods of al-Kadam and al-a’asaly, among them was a child and family of 3, including a woman and little girl, were killed by bombardment on the al-Kadam neighbourhood. 2 were shot by regime forces in the neighbourhood of Barzeh. 1 civilian was killed by the bombardment on Jobar. 10 civilians, including a woman and a little girl, were killed in al-Ikhlas area of the al-Mezzeh neighbourhood, which has witnessed violent clashes between regime forces and rebel fighters.
-In Reef Dimashq Province 23 were killed. 6 dead bodies were found near Duma city, after being detained by regime forces yesterday in the town of A’adra. 3 civilians were killed in the city of Duma, 1 by sniper fire, a child due to bombardment, 1 was found dead after 2 months of his disappearance. 1 civlian and a little girl were killed by bombardment on the town of Yalda. A child from the town of Jsreen died by injuries he received from sniper fire. 1 was shot by sniper fire in the town of A’arbin. 1 civilian was killed by a military checkpoint in the town of Madaya. 1 was killed by bombardment on the town of Rankus. 2 civilians were killed by the bombardment and clashes in the city of al-Tel. 5, including a child, were killed due to clashes and bombardment on the town of al-Dameer in Reef Dimashq.
-In Idlib Province 6 were killed. 5, including a child and 4 women, by bombardment on the city of Sarakeb at midnight of Tuesday-Wednsday. A child was killed by bombardment on al-Ghadfeh area in Reed Ma’aret al-Nu’man.
-In Deir Izzor Province 4 were killed, 1, effected by wounds he received several days earlier. A child, by
bombardment on the city of al-Bukamal in Reef Deir Izzor. 2 civilians, 1 of them a woman, were killed by the bombardment on the town of al-Bu Omar.
-In Hama Province 3 were killed, 1, due to injuries by sharpnels from a tank’s shell in the city of Darayya in Reef Dimashq, and another, due to torture, after being detained by regime forces in the al-Ta’awoniyyeh neighbourhood. 1 civilian was killed by regime fire in the city of Hama.
-In Dera’a Province 4 were killed. A child died, effected by injuries he received in the town of Inkhil several days ago. 1 was shot in al-Mzeireeb town. 1 was shot by sniper fire in the Dera’a al-Balad neighbourhood in the city of Dera’a. 1 civilian’s death was documented, when the town of Tafas was raided yesterday.
**3 people were killed by an IED placed near a cinema (Ugharit cinema) in the Aziziyeh neighbourhood of Aleppo**
15 Rebel fighters:
Homs Province: 8 fighters were killed. 1 rebel fighter was killed by bombardment on the city of al-Rastan. 2 were killed by bombardment on the village of al-Ghanto, which has witnessed violent clashes in the areas surrounding it. 1 rebel fighter was killed during clashes in the areas surrounding the city of Homs.1 rebel was killed during clashes in Talbiseh. 3 fighters were killed in the Deir Ba’alba neighbourhood which has witnessed clashes and bombardment.
Aleppo Province: 4 fighters were killed. 3 rebel fighters were killed during clashes in Aleppo. 1 from the town
of al-Atareb died during clashes with regime forces.
Damascus Province: 2 fighters were killed by bombardment on the al-Kadam neighbourhood.
Idlib province: A rebel fighter died from wounds received during clashes with regime forces in the town of Kafrenbel.
A defected major, a defected lieutenant and defected soldier, were killed during clashes in Reef Aleppo. A defected police officer died by injuries he received yesterday during clashes in Reef Aleppo. A defected policeman was killed during clashes in Reef Aleppo.
Atleast 32 regime forces were killed during clashes in the Provinces of Reef Dimashq, Hama, Homs, Aleppo, an Idlib.
Aleppo Province: The names of 23 civilians, including children and women, have been documented up till now, they were killed by the bombardment on the neighbourhood next to the A’zaz prison -which also held a division from the Ba’ath party. The number is increasing because more than 200 people have been injured, of which several are in a critical situation. Several of the Lebanese kidnapped in Syria have been injured as well.
More than 50 Syrians have been reported, and verified, as dead so far today (Wednesday 15/8/2012). SOHR documentation includes name and reason of death.
-In Homs province 15 were killed. 2 of which in Houla by gunfire, 1 died by injuries
-In Aleppo province 2 civilians were killed by bombardment on the town of Kafr Hamra in the Aleppo country side
-In Reef Dimashq 6 civilians were killed, their bodies were found near the city of Douma, they were arrested by regime forces last night in the city of Adra.
-In Deir Izzor province a civilian was killed by injuries sustained in previous days
-In Dera’a province 4 were killed. A child was killed by injuries sustained in the town of Inkhel. Another child was killed by regime gunfire in town of Musayfira. 1 civilian was killed by gunfire in the town of Mezayrab. 1 was killed when regime forces stormed the town of Tafas yesterday, he was documented by the SOHR today.
**3 people were killed by an IED placed near a cinema (Ugharit cinema) in the Aziziyeh neighbourhood of Aleppo**
2 Rebel fighters:
Aleppo province: 2 rebel fighters were killed during clashes .
2 defectors were killed during clashes in Reef Aleppo. A defected police officer died by injuries sustained in clashes in Reef Aleppo.
No less than 11 members of the regime forces were killed during clashes in Homs, Aleppo and Idlib
By Wissam Matta – As-Safir – translated by Al Monitor, August 15, 2012QANDIL MOUNTAINS, Turkey-Iraqi Kurdistan frontier,— The position of the Kurds regarding the Syrian crisis raises a number of questions. This is especially so given the vague statements of the Kurdish factions and the crisis’ military and political complexities at the local, regional and international levels.
However, this vagueness becomes a mystery when it comes to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). Multiple positions have been attributed to PKK leaders in the media, mainly the Turkish media, concerning an alliance or convergence of interests between the PKK and the regime of President Bashar al-Assad for mutual tactical and strategic considerations, especially with respect to Turkey.
Turkey, along with the United States, has accused the Syrian regime of arming the PKK, an idea reinforced by messages frequently sent by PKK leaders — whether directly or through diplomatic channels — to Ankara and its allies, stating that the Kurdish fighters will not allow Turkey to intervene militarily in Syria. These statements often coincide with an escalation of operations by the PKK against the Turkish armed forces. Controversy over the role of the PKK has peaked in recent weeks amid news that Kurdish factions have gained control of some areas in Syria, and statements by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan that the Syrian regime has placed five cities in northern Syria in the custody of the PKK. The Turkish government has also been threatening to hunt down Kurdish rebels inside Syrian territory.
As-Safir explored the position of the PKK regarding the events in Syria through an interview with Dr. Bahoz Erdal, Syrian commander of the PKK’s military wing. Due to the Kurdish commander’s situation on the ground, the interview was conducted via email, through an intermediary residing in Europe. [read more: http://www.ekurd.net/mismas/articles/misc2012/8/turkey4099.htm]
[local time] 21:54 Syria’s Wednesday death toll reached 191 people killed by security forces, Al-Arabiya quoted activists as saying.
21:17 The United States on Wednesday questioned Russia’s commitment to stop violence in Syria, rejecting accusations by Moscow that Western powers were fomenting the unrest by backing rebels.
20:51 UN humanitarian chief Valerie Amos highlighted Wednesday the increasingly precarious humanitarian situation in Syria after meeting officials to lobby for access for more international aid workers.
17:51 The Syrian army and the rebels are clashing in the Damascus neighborhood of Al-Tadamon and the Palestinian refugee camp of Al-Yarmouk, Al-Arabiya quoted activists as saying.
17:55 Sweltering heat, dust, lack of electricity and at times sexual harassment were some of the hardships faced by refugees in a UN-run desert tent camp in northern Jordan, AFP reported.
17:39 Syrian rebels were guilty of war crimes, but on a lesser scale than regime forces, AFP cited the UN as saying.
17:37 Syrian government forces and their militia allies committed crimes against humanity including murder and torture while rebel fighters were guilty of lesser offences, UN investigators said Wednesday.
17:21 Several dozen people were killed or wounded in an air strike in a civilian area in the northern Syrian rebel bastion of Aazaz on Wednesday, activists and witnesses told AFP.
17:20 The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights on Wednesday said that several people were killed in an airstrike on the Syrian town of Aazaz, AFP reported.
17:10 Wednesday’s death toll has increased to 59, Al-Arabiya quoted activists as saying.
15:20 The Syrian army and rebels are clashing in the Aleppo towns of Sabaa Bahrat and Bab al-Nasr, Al-Jazeera quoted activists as saying.
15:10 Syrian army tanks are shelling the Damascus neighborhoods of Assali and Qadam, Al-Jazeera quoted activists as saying.
14:45 Wednesday’s death toll in Syria has increased to 45, Al-Arabiya quoted activists as saying.
14:40 An NGO said on Wednesday that shooting erupted near the premier’s office in Damascus, AFP reported.
13:58 Russia said Wednesday it would not let Western powers “sabotage” a political transition accord to end the escalating conflict in Syria that was reached in Geneva at the end of June.
12:44 A Saudi daily insisted Wednesday it had held an interview with Russian Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov, following denials from Moscow that he had ever spoken to the newspaper.
11:05 Syrian security forces killed 28 people on Wednesday, Al-Arabiya quoted activists as saying.
9:35 The Syrian regime dispatched tanks to the Damascus neighborhood of Al-Midan, Al-Arabiya television quoted Sham News as saying.
9:23 Clashes broke out Wednesday in Damascus following a bomb explosion near a hotel used by the UN observer mission in Syria, Al-Arabiya television quoted Shaam News as saying.
9:06 MORNING LEADER: Syria’s former prime minister, the highest profile government figure to defect, said the regime was collapsing as Muslim countries mulled suspending Syria from the Organization of Islamic Cooperation in a move that would further isolate President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.
8:54 A massive bomb blast on Wednesday rocked the heart of Damascus near the hotel used by the UN observer mission in Syria, in an attack claimed by the rebel Free Syrian Army.
8:26 The United States on Tuesday accused Iran of setting up a pro-regime militia in Syria as Washington increasingly ties the crisis there to interference by its long-time foe Tehran.
8:14 Syria would accept Lakhdar Brahimi as the new UN-Arab League mediator, but the veteran envoy wants formal UN Security Council support before accepting the post, diplomats said Tuesday.
BBC: Azaz air strike in Syria leaves ’30 dead’
Syrian warplanes have attacked the northern town of Azaz near Aleppo, killing 30 people and wounding many more, activists say.
Rescuers scoured the rubble in search of survivors and casualties were taken to a nearby field hospital as well as to the Turkish border for treatment.
There are growing fears that tensions from the Syrian conflict have begun to spill over into neighbouring Lebanon.
Saudi Arabia has urged its citizens to leave because of the risk of abduction.
A Shia Muslim clan said on Wednesday that it had kidnapped 20 Syrians in Lebanon in retaliation for the abduction of a Lebanese kidnapped by rebels in Damascus on Monday.The rebels claimed Hassan al-Meqdad was a member of Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, an allegation denied by Hezbollah.
A group of 11 Lebanese hostages was among those caught up in Wednesday’s air strike on Azaz. Four of the group were reported missing after the attack, while the others were said to be wounded.
“The building they were in was hit,” a rebel commander told a Lebanese TV channel.
A journalist working for AFP news agency spoke of a large area involving around 10 homes being flattened. Dozens of people screamed and wailed as they searched for survivors in the rubble.
“All the houses were full of women and children who were asleep because of the Ramadan fast,” a 50-year-old man told AFP.
Azaz is a few miles south of the Turkish border and some 30 miles (48km) north of Aleppo, Syria’s biggest city where the army is trying to claw back areas of the city taken over by rebels.
It was unclear whether opposition forces were in Azaz, although an Associated Press reporter said the rebels had offices not far away.
‘Systematic violations’The latest assault by Syrian forces coincided with a report by UN investigators that accused the army and pro-government shabiha militia of war crimes and crimes against humanity.
In particular, their report concluded they had been behind the 25 May Houla massacre in which 108 people died, including 49 children.
The massacre, in the village of Taldou, was considered one of the worst attacks on civilians since the start of the uprising in March 2011.
The inquiry, appointed by the UN Human Rights Council, said war crimes had been carried out by both opposition groups and government forces.
It found opposition forces guilty of war crimes but not of the same gravity or on the same frequency or scale as those blamed on government forces.Inquiry chairman Paulo Sergio Pinheiro spoke about the findings
The 102-page report alleged that systematic violations such as murder, torture and sexual violence had been authorised at the highest levels of the Syrian government.
Although President Bashar al-Assad’s government did not allow the team into Syria, the investigators spoke to almost 700 people, including civilians and former soldiers who have fled to neighbouring UN blames Syria for Houla deaths countries.
The report’s publication came hours after an explosion in central Damascus near a hotel where UN observers have been staying.
At least three people were hurt when a bomb attached to a diesel tanker blew up, state media reported.
- Residents of Taldou village in the Houla region say that after an anti-government protest on 25 May, the army began an 18-hour bombardment
- Some accounts say rebel fighters attacked the military position from where shellfire was coming
- Pro-government shabiha militia then reportedly entered Taldou, killing people in their homes
- UN observers say at least 108 people died, including 49 children and 34 women. No more than 20 appeared to have been killed by shellfire
- A government investigation blames armed groups seeking to trigger foreign military intervention
GENEVA – Syrian government forces and allied militia have committed war crimes including murder and torture of civilians in what appears to be state-directed policy, U.N. investigators said on Wednesday.
Syrian rebels fighting to topple President Bashar al-Assad had also committed war crimes, including executions, but on a smaller scale than those by the army and security forces.
The report called for the U.N. Security Council to take “appropriate action” given the gravity of documented violations by all sides in a 17-month conflict that investigators said had become a civil war.
“We have identified both parties as guilty of war crimes and of course a greater number and of bigger variety from the government side,” Karen AbuZayd, one of two commissioners aided by some 20 investigators, told Reuters in a telephone interview.
Paulo Pinheiro, the commissioner who led the probe, said Syria’s army of 300,000 had targeted rebel-held areas of cities with heavy artillery and helicopters. It had “much more means to inflict war crimes, for example bombing civilian populations”.
“Besides evidence, we have names connected to the evidence,” Pinheiro told Reuters, speaking from his native Brazil.
“But we are not a judicial or prosecutorial body. This is a problem for the Security Council, not for us.”
The Security Council can refer a case to the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), the U.N. war crimes tribunal, but Russia and China - which have veto power – have been loath to condemn Syria.
The independent investigators conducted more than 1,000 interviews, mainly with Syrian refugees or defectors who have fled to neighboring countries, over the past year to produce their latest 102-page report to the U.N. Human Rights Council.
They found “reasonable grounds” to affirm that government forces and their allied shabbiha militia had committed crimes against humanity, war crimes and other gross violations.
These included “unlawful killing, torture, arbitrary arrest and detention, sexual violence, indiscriminate attack, pillaging and destruction of property”.
Government forces and shabbiha militia had raped men, women and children in acts that could be prosecuted as crimes against humanity, the investigators said. Government troops had targeted staff of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, a war crime, they said.
A Syrian air strike killed 30 people in a rebel-held town on Wednesday, a local doctor said, and a mass kidnapping linked to Syria in neighboring Lebanon raised the prospect of sectarian violence spreading.
“PURSUANT TO STATE POLICY”
Evidence confirmed a previous finding that “violations had been committed pursuant to State policy”, the U.N. report said.
Large-scale operations conducted in different provinces, their similar complexity and integrated military/security apparatus “indicate involvement at the highest levels of the armed and security forces and the government”.
Rebels had killed captured government soldiers, shabbiha and suspected informers, sometimes after summary trials, the investigators said. “Executing a prisoner without affording fundamental judicial guarantees is a war crime,” they added.
“We have many instances reported to us where the anti-government forces have executed prisoners. They say they don’t have detention facilities and are not based in one territory and can’t take care of them. This is a war crime,” Pinheiro said.
Both government forces and armed insurgents had displayed “more brutal tactics and new military capabilities” as fighting escalated during recent months, the report said.
Each side had violated children’s rights, it said. At least 125 youths under age 18, mainly boys, had been killed since February, while others were arbitrarily arrested without charge.
“Children described having been beaten, whipped with electrical cables, burned with cigarettes and subjected to electrical shocks to the genitals,” the investigators said of those in the custody of state forces.
Armed insurgents continue to use children as couriers or to help with medical evacuations, they said.
Completing their probe into a massacre in the town of Houla in May – which the government blamed on Islamist “terrorists” – they said government forces and shabbiha fighters were responsible for the killings of more than 100 civilians.
Forty-one children were killed in Houla, including some by shelling, “but most appeared to have been shot at close range”.
The investigators said they would update their confidential list of suspects or units responsible for crimes and give it to U.N. rights boss Navi Pillay when their mandate ends next month.
“We don’t name any names in the report,” AbuZayd said. “But the evidence is recorded all along.”
(Editing by Alison Williams)
Russia says West reneging on Syria deal: MINSK – Russia accused the West on Wednesday of reneging on an agreement to establish a transitional government in Syria and of prolonging the bloodshed by encouraging the rebels fighting to topple President Bashar al-Assad.
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said an agreement made by world powers and the then-peace envoy Kofi Annan in Geneva on June 30 was still valid and urged the West to do more to put it into practice.
“We remain convinced that what was achieved in Geneva should not be sabotaged. We will be demanding in the next few days a clear answer from our partners on whether they confirm what they signed in Geneva,” Lavrov told a news conference.
“And if so, then why don’t they take any measures to execute that plan?” he said, in the Belarus capital Minsk.
The Geneva deal did not specify what role, if any, Assad should have in a transitional administration that would seek to end the violence in an uprising that began in March 2011.
Since Geneva, fighting has intensified and Annan has resigned, his peace plan in tatters.
Most Western and Arab nations have called on Assad to go, saying his government’s violent response to initially peaceful protests give him no place in a future Syria.
Russia, along with China, three times vetoed tougher U.N. sanctions against Damascus, a long-time strategic ally, but denies it is actively helping Assad to remain in power.
“It is essential that all external players put pressure on all Syrian sides and stop encouraging the opposition to continue its military struggle,” Lavrov said.
U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said the United States agreed with Lavrov’s comments that the spirit of the Geneva declaration should “stay alive”.
“We agree with that, which is precisely why the last time we went to the U.N. Security Council in June, our effort was to try to get a U.N. Security Council resolution that endorsed the Geneva understandings about transition, but put real teeth into a resolution in the form of sanctions if Assad didn’t start moving in that direction,” she said.
“And it was the Russians and the Chinese who chose to veto that.”
U.N. human rights investigators said on Wednesday that both sides in Syria had committed war crimes but that rebel violations “did not reach the gravity, frequency and scale” of those carried out by the army and security forces.
(Additional reporting by Susan Cornwell; Writing by Gabriela Baczynska; Editing by Alison Williams)
Guardian: Bomb explosion rocks Damascus UN hotel