Wednesday 19 September 2012
Syrian Observatory for Human Rights: Final death toll for Wednesday 19/9/2012. More than 170 Syrians killed today. The dead: 99 unarmed civilians ( 7 of them children), 16 rebel fighters, 1 defected captain, 29 unidentified, and 28 members of the Syrian armed forces. The names of 24 civilians were documented, they were killed before (19/9). 7 were shot by regime forces in the Jobar neighbourhood of Damascus, before yesterday, and 17 whom were shot by regime forces, several days ago, in the Sayida Zainab in Reef Dimashq.
- In Damascus province 34 were killed. 12 were killed in the neighbourhoods of al-Hajar al-Aswad and Mukhayam al-Yarmouk, 5 (including a woman) were found dead, 3 (including a child, were shot by a sniper, and 4 were shot by regime forces. 19 corpses were found in the Jobar neighbourhood of Damascus city , some of which were detained by regime forces. 3 civilians were shot by regime forces in the Qadam neighbourhood.
- In Aleppo province 21 were killed. 16 were killed in the city of Aleppo. A man and his wife were killed by gun shots targeting their car in the al-Mal’ab al-Baladi neighbourhood. A woman and child were shot by regime forces in the Salah al-Din neighbourhood. 10 civilians, including a child and 2 unidentified, were killed by bombardment on the neighbourhoods of al-Kalasa, Maysaloun, Tariq al-Bab, Bustan al-Qasr, and Karm al-Jabal. 1 was killed by mortar shells in the al-Sukari neighbourhood. A woman was shot by regime forces in the Kalasa neighbourhood. In Reef Aleppo, a young girl died from wounds she received earlier by bombardment on the Tal Ref’at town, several days ago. A child was killed by bombardment on the Hreitan town. A civilian from the al-Abizmo town was killed after he was detained 3 days earlier by regime forces in Aleppo. 2 civilians were killed in the A’ndan town, a 10 year old child was found shot in the head, and a civilian was found dead, 3 months after regime forces raided the town.
- In Hama province 23 were killed. 6, including 3 women, were killed by bombardment on the al-Hweija town of Reef Hama. 16 civilians were killed due to gunfire and bombardment, along with a campaign of raids, by regime forces, on the Arb’een and Musha’a neighbourhoods, 4 were killed when a house was burned, after regime forces besieged the house, 7 were killed by bombardment, and 5 (including a child) were shot by regime forces. 1, from the city of Hama, was shot by regime forces in Damascus.
- In Deir Izzor province 9 were killed. A civilian died from wounds he received earlier by sniper fire in the Mouhasan town. 4 ,including a woman, were killed by bombardment on the Mouhasan town. 4 were killed in the city of Deir Izzor, 3 (including a child) were killed by bombardment on the city’s neighbourhoods, the other was shot by a sniper near the Ghasan A’boud round point.
- In Dera’a province 5 were killed. 2 died from wounds received earlier in the towns of al-Hrak and Nsib.1 was shot by regime forces in the Hara town. 1 civilian, from the Mahja town, was shot by regime forces in Jurat al-Shreibati in Damascus. A civilian from the al-Sheikh Muskin town was shot by regime forces in Damascus.
- In Idlib province a civilian died from wounds he received yesterday by bombardment on the al-Rami village of Reef Idlib.
- In Latakia province a woman was killed when she prevented regime forces from detaining her son after they stormed her house in the A’in Um Ibrahim neighbourhood of Latakia city.
-In Homs Province a man was shot, when regime forces raided the Naqeera village in Reef Homs.
-In Reef Dimashq Province 4 were killed. 1 was shot by regime forces in the A’rtuz town. 1 civilian, from the city of Duma, was shot by regime forces in the Jobar neighbourhood in Damascus. A woman was killed by bombardment on the Zabadani town. An unidentified martyr was summarily executed by regime forces gunfire in the Ma’adamiya town in Reef Dimashq.
** Information was received about the discovery of 29 unidentified corpses, who were shot by regime forces in the neighbourhoods of Jobar, al-Hajar al-Aswad, and Mokhayam al-Yarmuk in the city of Damascus. **
16 Rebel Fighters:
- In Aleppo province 13 fighters were killed. 10 rebel fighters, including the leader of an armed rebel battalion, were killed during clashes with regime forces in several of the Aleppo city’s neighbourhoods. 3 unidentified fighters were killed by bombardment on the Bustan al-Qasr neighbourhood.
- In Dera’a province 2 rebel fighters were killed. 1 was shot by regime forces in the city of Dera’a. A rebel fighter from the Mahja town was killed during clashes with regime forces in the al-Hajar al-Aswad neighbourhood of Damascus.
- In Idlib province a rebel fighter was shot by pro-regime militants near the Ma’aret al-Nu’man city.
A defected captain was killed during clashes with regime forces in the province of Aleppo.
At least 28 regime forces were killed during clashes in the provinces of Aleppo, Damascus, Homs, Hama, Deir Izzor, and Reef Dimashq.
Syria | Amnesty International www.amnesty.org/en/region/syria
[local time] 22:11 Syrian regime forces executed 40 people in the Damascus town of Hajar al-Aswad and the Palestinian Yarmouk camp, Al-Arabiya quoted activists as saying.
21:37 The United Nations is investigating Syrian opposition groups as well as government forces for attacks targeting children, the new UN envoy on children in conflict said Wednesday.
19:08 The United States on Wednesday accused a Belarus state-owned firm of supplying munitions to the Syrian government, as it announced new sanctions focused on the Syrian conflict.
17:28 President Bashar al-Assad told Iran’s foreign minister on Wednesday that the war engulfing Syria is targeting not just it but the “resistance axis,” state news agency SANA reported.
18:46 Syrian MiG jet fighters shelled the Aleppo town of Menbej, Al-Arabiya television quoted activists as saying.
18:42 Syria’s Wednesday death toll increased to 103 people killed by regime forces, Al-Arabiya quoted activists as saying.
18:06 A building that houses regime forces troops was destroyed by an explosion in the Aleppo neighborhood of Al-Izaa, Al-Arabiya quoted activists as saying.
17:40 The head of Syria’s main opposition coalition expressed reservations on Wednesday about the presence of staunch Damascus ally Iran in the regional contact group on the strife-torn country.
16:33 A Turkish jet that crashed in June was downed after a Syrian missile exploded nearby in international airspace, the army said Wednesday, three months after an incident that heightened tensions between the two neighbors.
14:42 Syrian regime forces raided the Al-Hajar al-Aswad neighborhood in Damascus and burned down a number of houses in the area, Al-Arabiya quoted activists as saying.
14:19 Wednesday’s death toll in Syria has risen to 62 people, Al-Arabiya television quoted activists as saying.
14:02 Shelling targeted the Deir az-Zour neighborhoods of Joubaila and Al-Arfi, Al-Arabiya television quoted activists as saying.
13:54 Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi arrived in Damascus on Wednesday and said the solution to the war in Syria lies “only in Syria and within the Syrian family.”
13:08 Syrian rebels on Wednesday gained control of a border crossing on the Turkish frontier after clashes with troops loyal to President Bashar al-Assad, Turkey’s private NTV television reported.
12:16 Wednesday’s death toll in Syria has risen to 53 people, Al-Arabiya television quoted activists as saying
12:16 Three civilians were wounded by stray bullets fired from the Syrian border post of Tall al-Abyad where rebels have been clashing with regime forces.
11:54 Thirteen people were summarily executed in the Al-Hajar al-Aswad neighborhood in Damascus, Al-Arabiya quoted activists as saying.
10:59 Four people were killed in the Syrian regime forces’ shelling of Mohsen, a town located in Deir az-Zour, Al-Arabiya television quoted activists as saying.
10:51 Syrian security forces killed 36 people on Wednesday, Al-Arabiya quoted activists as saying.
9:11 A Syrian jet breached Iraqi airspace and shelled Abu Kamal in Syria, Al-Jazeera reported.
8:28 The Syrian regime plans to deploy chemical weapons against its own people “as a last resort”, the former head of Syria’s chemical arsenal told The Times newspaper in an interview published Wednesday.
AKCAKALE, Turkey – Syrian rebels seized another border crossing with Turkey on Wednesday, consolidating their grip on a frontier through which they ferry arms for battles with President Bashar al-Assad’s troops around the northern city of Aleppo. | Video
Syrian rebels seized another border crossing with Turkey on Wednesday, consolidating their grip on a frontier through which they ferry arms for battles with President Bashar al-Assad’s troops around the northern city of Aleppo.
Turkey, Assad’s ally turned enemy, confirmed the fall of the Tel Abyad border post, the third of seven main crossings along the Turkish-Syrian frontier to come under rebel control – though Syrian state media spoke only of bloody fighting in the area.
In a war of slowly shifting frontlines, rebels in Damascus said they were pulling back from southern parts of the capital after weeks of bombardment of a kind condemned as a war crime by Amnesty International, which accused Assad’s forces on Wednesday of targeting areas near clinics and bakeries to kill civilians.
A general who defected to the rebel side was also quoted as saying Syrian commanders had discussed using chemical weapons – a move President Barack Obama has said could prompt U.S. action.
In the latest outside intervention to try to end 18 months of conflict, the foreign minister of Iran, Assad’s key regional sponsor, met the president in Damascus to discuss proposals from a four-power grouping of Iran, Egypt, Turkey and Saudi Arabia.
There was little sign of diplomatic movement, however, on a crisis in which Assad can count on Iran, to whose Shi’ite Muslim faith Assad’s Alawite minority affiliates itself, as well as a sympathetic Russia; against him, the rebels are being armed by Sunni Muslim states like Saudi Arabia and receive other supplies and diplomatic support from the Western powers and Turkey.
Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi, quoted by Syrian state television, assured the president of “unlimited support” in efforts to “restore peace and stability” after reforms he had made. Assad was quoted as saying he would welcome an “equitable solution that meets the interests of the Syriapeople”.
There was no clear reference to what the four regional powers – whose interests rarely coincide – may be suggesting. Iran and Russia have resisted demands by the rebels and their allies that Assad step aside first to make way for compromise.
Syria’s opposition scoff at the idea of Iran playing a role in peacemaking given its support for Assad. An intelligence report by a Western agency and seen by Reuters said Iran has used Iraqi airspace to fly in weapons and military personnel to Syria – something the Iraqi government denied, but which Baghdad’s U.S. sponsors believe to be true.
Activists who collate data from across Syria said 170 people, mostly civilians, had been killed on Tuesday, a typical daily figure of late. Protests that began in March last year and were met with force have become a civil war in which more than 27,000 have died so far. The last month was the bloodiest yet.
Amnesty International said in a report that civilians, including children, are the main victims of army bombing and shelling of areas taken by the opposition. Assad’s forces use “weapons which cannot be aimed at specific targets, knowing that the victims of such indiscriminate attacks are almost always civilians”, said Donatella Rovera of Amnesty.
A U.N. panel has accused rebels, too, of abuses, although on a lesser scale than those committed by Assad’s supporters.
At the Tel Abyad border crossing, near the Turkish town of Akcakale, 200 km (130 miles) northeast of Aleppo, rebels could be seen in television footage tearing down a Syrian flag.
“I can confirm that the border post has fallen. It is under the complete control of the rebels,” a Turkish official said. Two Turkish civilians were wounded by stray bullets.
The fighting, which started on Tuesday evening, appeared to be the first move on by insurgents on the border zone in al-Raqqa province, most of which has remained solidly pro-Assad.
State-run Syria TV said: “Our heroic armed forces are chasing down terrorist remnants in the Tel Abyad region, killed a large number of them and destroyed their weapons.”
Far to the south around Damascus, a rebel withdrawal from the neighbourhoods of Hajar al-Aswad, al-Asali and al-Qadam is a setback for them after gains in the capital in recent months, though fighters said the move was tactical and short-term.
“They’re withdrawing to another area because we just don’t have enough weapons to keep up our hit-and-run operations,” said Moaz, a rebel fighter in Damascus, who was wounded last week. “The wounded need treatment and the fighters need some rest.
“The regime will move into one area and comb it for rebels, while we move to another. There are a lot of places we can go, and the fighters will be back to fight again soon.”
Syrian state television accused “terrorists” of taking four electricity workers hostage before troops freed them; activists posted an Internet video showing what they said were bodies of men arrested and executed by government forces in the Damascus suburb of Jobar. It showed 11 bodies laid out in a mosque.
In Hama province, activists said helicopters dropped bombs on the village of al-Haweeja on Wednesday, killing at least eight. Video showed dust-covered civilians retrieving the crumpled bodies of the dead – at least one of them the blood- smeared corpse of a child. Screaming residents dug through piles of ruined buildings, looking for more dead and wounded.
The civilian death toll has increased pressure on Western powers to act, although the complexity and scale of the conflict are very different from that in Libya, where a limited bombing campaign allowed rebels to overthrow Muammar Gaddafi.
The head of the main opposition bloc, the Syrian National Council urged Arab and Western powers to pursue a similar course against Assad. Abdulbaset Sieda, whose exile-dominated SNC is part of a patchwork of rebel movements, told al-Hayat newspaper: “We demand everything that will stop the killing of Syrians.”
However, the United States and European governments are wary of the complexities, of ethnic and sectarian rivalries coming to the fore and of weapons falling into the hands of anti-Western Islamists, who form part of the rebel forces fighting in Syria.
France, which pushed hard for NATO’s Libyan campaign and is a vocal supporter of the opposition in Syria, its former colony, has “seriously” discussed arming the rebels, a diplomat said.
But Eric Chevallier, the ambassador to Syria, told French radio on Tuesday that such a move was complex. He said President Francois Hollande had asked him to work with all the opposition groups, including combatants, to help them organize themselves.
The risks of greater violence were underlined by a general who defected from Assad’s army and reached Turkey three months ago: “We were in a serious discussion about the use of chemical weapons, including how we would use them and in what areas,” Major-General Adnan Sillu told Britain’s Times newspaper.
“We discussed this as a last resort — such as if the regime lost control of an important area such as Aleppo.”
Sillu said that when he was there Syria also spoke of giving chemical weapons to the Lebanese group Hezbollah – a move that could draw in the Shi’ite movement’s sworn enemy, Israel.
(Additional reporting by Jonathon Burch in Ankara, Marcus George and Yeganeh Torbati in Dubai, Michael Holden in London, John Irish in Paris, Suadad al-Salhy in Baghdad, Sami Aboudi in Dubai and Oliver Holmes and Erika Solomon in Beirut; Writing by Oliver Holmes; Editing by Samia Nakhoul and Alastair Macdonald)
Follow the day’s developments as Iran’s foreign minister held talks in Syria after outlining a nine-point plan for tackling the violence
Here’s a round-up of the latest developments relating to Syria
• Iran’s foreign minister, Ali Akbar Salehi, has held talks with President Assad in Damascus. Salehi is said to be seeking “a unified conclusion on a solution to the Syrian crisis”, but no details of the talks have emerged so far. The opposition Syrian National Council has rejected the diplomatic effort, saying Iran is part of the problem.
• Syrian rebels have taken full control of the Tel Abyad border gate on the Turkish frontier after battling Syrian government forces overnight, a Turkish official says – though witnesses say gunfire can still be heard. Meanwhile, an activist in Damascus has confirmed the withdrawal of rebel fighters from three southern districts in the capital.
• Syrians will not be allowed to take part in next month’s hajj – the annual Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca – because of disagreements with the Saudi government, according to Sana, the official news agency in Damascus.
• Video has emerged purporting to show the formation of Christian brigade of the Free Syrian Army. The group, known as the Anssarullah (“Supporters of God”) brigade, are said to be preparing to fight in the Damascus countryside.
• The Free Syrian Army has denied reports earlier that it has offered a bounty for the killing of Bashar al-Assad, CNN reports. “The FSA has no affiliation with a Syrian opposition group in Egypt calling itself ‘the Free Syrian Army to protect the Revolution’ and their $25 million bounty on Bashar Assad’s head,” Louai Miqdad, spokesman of the Higher Revolutionary Council of the Free Syrian Army, said from Turkey.