Wednesday 22 August 2012
Syrian Observatory for Human Rights: Final death toll for Wednesday 22/8/2012: Approximately 200 Syrians were killed.
The dead include 115 unarmed civilians, 18 rebel fighters, 4 defected soldiers, and no less than 36 members of the Syrian regular forces.
115 Unarmed Civilians:
-In Damascus province, 40 civilians were killed. 1 when regime forces stormed the Jobar neighbourhood. 25 civilians were killed by t he gunfire and bomba
-In Idlib province 13 civilians were killed. 1 child due to injuries sustained by bombardment on the town of Saraqib. 2 from injuries due to bombardment on the village of Kastan and Kafar Yahmul. A women was killed by the bombardment of the town of Ariha. 8 civilians (2 women, 3 men and 3 children) were killed by the bombardment of Kafrenbel. A child died from wounds she received during the bombardment of the Teimla village.
-In Dera’a province, 16 civilians were killed. 1 by bombardment on the town of east al-Karak. 10 were killed in the town of Hirak: 1 from wounds by the bombardment, 9 civilians were summarily executed and shot by regime forces. 1 civilian was tortured to death after being ambushed by regime forces in the Dahiya area. 1 civilian from the town of Nawa was killed by regime shots in the Damasus neighbourhood of Nahr Eisha. 1 civilian was killed by regime fire in the town of Kheel. A 15-year-old girl was killed when a rocket fell on her house in the town of al-Ghariya al-Gharbiya, Reef Dera’a. 1 civilian was killed by the bombardment on the town of Seida.
-In the province of Homs 13 were killed. 1 civilian from the town of east Bwaidah was killed by regime gunfire in the Tadamun neighbourhood of Damascus. 1 civilian from the ashira neighbourhood of Homs was killed by regime fire in the town of Khirbet Ghazale, Reef Dera’a. 2 civilians from the town of Talkalakh were found dead after being abducted by pro-regime thugs. 1 man, a child, and 3 women were killed by bombardment on the city of Qusair, Reef Homs. 1 adult male died from wounds from the bombardment on the town of Jousiya, a woman died during the bombardment. A child was killed from the bombardment on the town of Talbiseh. A woman died of her wounds in the Bab Houd neighbourhood of Homs.
-In Aleppo 8 civilians were killed, they were all killed in the city of Aleppo 5 civilains, including a woman and a child, were killed by the bombardment on the Hanano, Bustan al-Basha and al-Sukkari neighbourhoods of Aleppo. 1 civilian died from sniper wounds received in the Seif al-Dawla neighbourhood. 1 civilian was killed by a sniper in the Salaheddin neighbourhood. 1 civilian was killed by regime fire in the al-Sukkari neighbourhood.
***The names of 4 civilians, 3 of them children, were documented today as dead by the SOHR, they were killed 2 days ago in the Furdous neighbourhood of Aleppo.***
-In Reef Dimashq 13 civilians were killed. A child was killed by sniper fire in Harasta. A woman and her son were killed by a sniper in the town of Mou’adamiya, 1 civilian was killed by a rocket in the town. 6 civilians were killed by the bombardment on the city of Dareyya. 1 civilain was killed by the military on the Nabek road. 2 were shot by regime forces in the towns of Jisreen and Dareyya.
-In Deir Izzor province 3 civilians were killed. 1 died from wounds by the bombardment on the city of al-Boukamal. 1 from shrapnel wounds in the Hamidiya neighbourhood of Deir Izzor. A woman was killed by a sniper in the city of Deir Izzor.
-In Tartous province 2 bodies were found in the village of al-Rihaniya; they were found inside plastic bags in an abandoned car, their heads were smashed to pieces.
-In Hama province, 2 were killed. A child was killed from wounds he received yesterday by bombardment on the town of Shaghourit. 1 civilian from the town of Aqrib was found killed near the town of Nawa, Reef Dera’a.
-In Latakia province 1 civilian was killed by the bombardment of the al-Dweirka village in Reef Latakia.
*** Tens of bodies were found in the Qaboun neighbourhood of Damascus, they are thought to have been summarily executed. 5 unidentified bodies were found in the city of al-Tel, Reef Dimashq, they were killed by gunshots***
18 Rebel fighters:
Idlib province: 10 rebel fighters were killed during clashes with regime forces in the area surrounding Ariha.
Aleppo province: 3 rebel fighter were killed during clashes in the Salaheddin neighbourhood.
Homs province: 2 rebels killed. A rebel fighter from the town of Mheen due to injuries sustained in clashes in Mouadamiya, Reef-Dimashq. 1 rebel fighter was killed during clashes in the town of Talbisah.
Dera’a province: 2 rebel fighters were summarily executed by regime forces in the town of al-Hirak.
Deir Izzor province: A rebel fighter was killed from a sniper shot he received in the area surrounding the Hajanah base in the city of al-Mayadeen.
A defected soldier was killed during clashes with regime forces in Aleppo. Another defected soldier was killed during clashes in the city of Ariha, Reef Idlib. A defected soldier was found killed by the town of Nawa, Reef Idlib. A defected lieutenant was killed during clashes in Dera’a.
No less than 36 members of the Syrian armed forces were killed during clashes with rebel forces in the provinces of Idlib, Homs, Damascus, Deir Izzor, and Aleppo.
https://www.facebook.com/Kurdish.youth.union3: Hasaka- The internet service, Mobile telecome and landline still doesn’t work since last 13 days.
Hasakeh- Ahmad Saleh Al-Khalaf was martyred by regime forces positioned at a military checkpoint, while he was passing between the two bridges in his motorcycle.
A demonstration in Amuda: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8jAdOSCN8EE&feature=youtu.be
Turkey violating Geneva Conventions using ambulances for weapons transport www.examiner.com: Turkish ambulances are being used for the purposes of transporting weapons to terrorist groups in Syria, according to Russian news reports.
“Witnesses in Kushakli, Harran and Buculmez, towns bordering Syria, also have reported that ambulances are carrying arms to the Arab country and back, and are moving wounded toTurkey, as declared by the deputy of the province of Hatay, Mevlut Dudu” (see article: Captured terrorist in Syria confesses to having received training in Turkey
United Nations News Centre: The United Nations humanitarian chief today appealed to the international community to increase its funding to help 2.5 million Syrians who are in urgent need of basic services such as shelter, food, health care, water and sanitation. The United Nations humanitarian chief today appealed to the international community to increase its funding to help 2.5 million Syrians who are in urgent need of basic services such as shelter, food, health care, water and sanitation.
“The humanitarian situation has worsened since my visit in March,” the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Valerie Amos, told reporters today at UN Headquarters in New York, adding that lack of access to those in need and insufficient funding are hampering efforts by UN agencies and their partners to provide assistance.
“We face problems with access to people in need, particularly where there is intense and ongoing fighting, but funding is also holding us back,” Ms. Amos said. “If we had more resources, we could reach more people, especially as we have established solid partnerships with local non-governmental organizations and with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent.”
Syria has been wracked by violence, with an estimated 17,000 people, mostly civilians, killed since the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad began some 17 months ago. Over the past month, there have been reports of an escalation in violence in many towns and villages, as well as the country’s two biggest cities, Damascus and Aleppo.
Last week, Ms. Amos paid a three-day visit to the strife-torn country and Lebanon to see for herself the impact of the intensifying conflict and to discuss ways to increase humanitarian assistance.
“Both those who have fled and their hosts have urgent humanitarian needs due to the widening impact of the crisis on the economy and on people’s livelihoods,” she said.
In particular, the UN official expressed serious concern about the health conditions in schools, which are being used as shelters for displaced persons, and warned of the negative impact that this would have on children when the new school year starts next month.
“There will be a disruption to the education of thousands of children when the academic year begins in September unless other solutions are found to house the internally displaced,” Ms. Amos said.
In her remarks to the press, the Emergency Relief Coordinator also highlighted the work of UN agencies and their partners, which have provided food aid to more than 800,000 people over the past month, and delivered relief supplies, such as hygiene kits, blankets and other basic items, to more than 60,000 people during the first two weeks of August.
“But this is not enough,” Ms. Amos stressed. “Not when we are dealing with the needs of an estimated 2.5 million people.”
The official noted that the appeal by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) for $180 million in funds for humanitarian aid in Syria has been only half-funded, and urged on international partners to “contribute more generously” to be able to increase assistance.
“We will continue to do everything to support those displaced both inside and outside Syria,” Ms. Amos said, and reiterated her call for all those engaged in the conflict to respect civilians and abide by international humanitarian law.
More on this at: http://www.un.org/apps/news/
The breakdown of authority in Syria and creation of a Kurdish enclave there has unexpectedly pushed Kurds to the forefront of regional politics—and almost nobody’s happy.
The opposition Syrian National Council, the umbrella group leading the fight against the regime’s forces, has refused to accept Kurdish demands for self-rule, causing a rift with the Syrian Kurdish parties. Turkey, which is battling its own Kurdish rebellion, is concerned about the effect of a new Kurdish autonomous region right on the border and has threatened military action against the enclave. Meanwhile, the United States, which says it wants Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad to go but doesn’t want to commit forces to make it happen, has stated its opposition to Syrian Kurdish autonomy.
The real fear isn’t that Syria will be divided. It’s that Kurds are uniting. The breakdown of Syrian authority has pushed Kurds across the region to work together, something unthinkable just a few months ago.
Take Massoud Barzani, president of the Kurdistan Regional Government in Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region. Barzani is a well-known critic of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), the Turkish Kurdish rebel group fighting for self-rule inside Turkey. He’s frequently condemned PKK attacks on Turkey and been wary of PKK attempts to build influence among Iraqi Kurds. Barzani also has called on the PKK to withdraw from its remote mountain bases in northern Iraq because they invite Turkish military retaliation. In the 1990s, he even sent his peshmerga guerrillas to fight alongside Turkish troops in a failed attempt to oust PKK rebels from the area. Meanwhile, he’s built very close political and economic ties wtih Turkey, which offers the Iraqi Kurds their only real outlet to Western markets and goods.
Today, however, Barzani is facilitating the PKK’s entry into legitimate politics and helping the group solidify its long-sought role as a regional player. Barzani recently brokered a power-sharing agreement between the Kurdish National Council (KNC), which consists of about sixteen small Syrian Kurdish parties, and the Democratic Unity Party (PYD), which is the best organized, best armed and single biggest Kurdish party inside Syria.
The PYD is also a supporter, if not an actual branch, of the PKK. The Syrian Kurdish parties agreed they needed to work together if Kurds were to prevail in their demand for autonomy. “In this sensitive time,” reads the Erbil agreement, named after the Iraqi Kurdish capital where the parties met, “it is necessary to overcome all conflicts and obstacles that interfere with a unified Kurdish front.” The agreement created a joint council for governing the Kurdish region of Syria and committed them to working to overthrow Assad. They also agreed that the region would not be used for armed attacks. Put otherwise, there would be no PKK attacks on Turkey from Syria.
Barzani’s willingness to work with the PYD underscores the overlapping relations among Kurdish groups. The PKK isn’t the only group with an affiliate in Syria. Most of the Kurdish political parties in Syria have some connection or loyalty to Barzani, but they are small and divided. Because of this, and with the Syrian National Council hostile to Kurdish demands, Barzani had little choice but to build links to the PYD or risk losing influence over the developing Syrian Kurdish enclave.
The Erbil deal formalized a role for Barzani’s allied parties and other non-PYD Kurdish nationalist groups by committing them to developing a unified political solution for the Kurdish area. In the process, Barzani also gave himself a boost as a Kurdish power broker and a regional leader. “There is nothing in the foreseeable future that might pose a serious threat to the unity of the supreme Kurdish Body,” PYD leader Salih Muslim said in an email interview, referring to the new Kurdish council. “All parties are serious and determined to continue working together.“
Barzani’s decision to get involved is a reminder of how the Kurdish problem cuts across borders, which is exactly what states in the region have always feared. Ankara, for one, has long worried that what happens to Kurdish minorities in Iraq, Syria or Iran would strengthen Turkish Kurdish separatists or legitimize international calls for Turkey to grant Kurds national rights. Turkey is right to be concerned. After Saddam Hussein was toppled in 2003, the creation of a Kurdish federation in northern Iraq reinvigorated nationalist demands by Turkish Kurds, who demanded no less for themselves. (These demands were one reason why in 2005 the PKK abandoned the cease-fire it had called after PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan was captured and imprisoned by Turkey in 1999.) If Syrian Kurds win autonomy, Turkey’s reasons for denying its Kurdish minority the same will sound specious. After all, it’s hard to keep claiming that Kurds don’t know what they want—or don’t really want what they say—if almost one-half of the region’s Kurds govern themselves.
Syria and the PKK
More than anything else, the new Kurdish politics in Syria puts the spotlight on the PKK, the armed guerrilla group fighting for self-rule inside Turkey. The group has been fighting for almost thirty years for self-rule in Turkey’s Kurdish southeast and now dominates Kurdish national politics inside Turkey.
Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan promised to end the conflict through democratic reform but over the past two years has reverted to repression of legal Kurdish politics and activities. The PKK, meanwhile, has upped its actions, recently pinning down Turkish troops for three weeks in the Semdinli area near the Iraqi border, and briefly kidnapping a parliamentarian traveling through the region.
Turkey argues that the Syrian Kurdish PYD party must be cut out of any deal because it is part of the PKK, listed as a terrorist group by the United States and Europe. The Syrian Kurdish party denies an official link, saying only that their members admire and follow the ideology of the PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan. “The PKK has supporters in the four parts of Kurdistan and no-one can prevent it,” PYD leader Muslim noted.
The existence of a Syrian Kurdish party close to—or a part of—the PKK is hardly surprising. Ocalan built up the PKK from Damascus, where he based himself soon after fleeing Turkey in 1979. The Syrian authorities allowed him to recruit among Syrian Kurds for the fight against Turkey, which Ocalan said would be the first step to liberating all of Kurdistan. (It helped that Syrian Kurds often had relatives across the border in Turkey.).
Ocalan was popular among Syrian Kurds. The previous PYD head, Fuad Omer, told me he remembers going to a private talk Ocalan gave in the late 1990s to nationalist-minded Syrian Kurds. And the PKK benefited from Syria’s willingness to more or less leave Ocalan alone if he kept a low profile, didn’t meddle in domestic issues and didn’t use Syrian territory to attack Turkey.
After Ocalan was forced to flee from Syria in 1998, amid Turkish threats to attack Syria, the PKK’s structure in the country collapsed, but its supporters remained. The PYD grew out of the remnants of the PKK’s former organization structure inside Syria. Turkey fears that if the PYD gains a formal hold over Syrian Kurdistan, this will be a political and military boost for the PKK.
But the PKK doesn’t need access to Syrian territory to maintain its armed pressure on Turkey. If anything, the involvement of the PKK, or its supporters, in Syrian Kurdish politics is more of a challenge to the PKK than to Turkey. After all, the PKK isn’t known for tolerating dissidents or rivals—at one point once upon a time, it regularly assassinated them—but now its supporters in Syria have committed to working with other Kurdish parties.
The PKK isn’t used to giving political supporters inside Turkey the freedom to act as they see fit. Now, it needs to refrain from demanding the PYD follow rebel dictates. If the Syrian Kurds are free to practice democratic politics, this means that Kurdish groups inside Turkey will have more leverage to press the PKK to give them the same leeway. This can only have a positive effect on how Kurdish politics is practiced in Turkey and even in Iraq.
Likewise, it’s time for the United States and Turkey to reevaluate their approaches to Kurdish politics, whether in Syria or in Turkey. Too often U.S. policy in the region seems as much a hostage to fears of Kurdish autonomy as it is to fears of Turkish military intervention to stop Kurds from gaining autonomy. Washington needs to jettison this approach.
Similarly, before Saddam Hussein was driven from power, Ankara frequently threatened military action to block Iraqi Kurdish autonomous self-government. Now, the Iraqi Kurds have a nearly autonomous state—and Turkey has a consulate in Erbil. Turkey is warning that creation of a Kurdish enclave in Syria with any connection to the PKK would be cause to send troops across the border. Such a move would be a disaster for Turkey, which can’t beat the PKK on its own territory, let alone in a foreign land.
It’s time for Washington and Ankara to put together a Kurdish policy that makes sense for the Kurds instead of one that is based on regional fears, threats and repression.
Aliza Marcus is a writer in Washington, DC, and the author of Blood and Belief: The PKK and the Kurdish Fight for Independence.
[local time] 22:03 Security Council divisions would prevent the creation of any safe haven in Syria for the growing number of refugees from the country’s civil war, UN emergency relief coordinator Valerie Amos said Wednesday.
21:03 Wednesday’s death toll in Syria rose to 161 people, Al-Jazeera quoted activists as saying.
19:14 Syrian security forces killed 30 people in the neighborhood of Al-Qaboun in Damascus, Al-Arabiya quoted activists as saying.
19:10 The UN’s political affairs chief Jeffrey Feltman said Wednesday that Iran could be breaking UN resolutions by sending arms to Syria.
18:40 The death toll in Syria reached 100 people on Wednesday, Al-Jazeera quoted activists as saying.
18:35 A journalist from the cultural section of the government daily Tishrin was shot dead Wednesday at his home in Damascus during a search operation by the army.
17:15 Syrian forces shelled Daraa’s Daal, Al-Jazeera television reported.
16:52 Free Syrian Army rebels shot down a regime forces’ helicopter in the town of Ariha in Edleb, Al-Jazeera quoted activists as saying.
16:23 Experts and the opposition say that the chances of a negotiated solution to the conflict roiling Syria that could include the departure of President Bashar al-Assad, as suggested by a top official, are virtually nil.
15:30 Twenty-two people were summarily executed in Nahr Aisha in Damascus, Al-Jazeera reported.
15:29 Syrian security forces’ warplanes shelled the town of Al-Boukamal in Deir az-Zour, Al-Jazeera reported on Wednesday.
15:20 Activist Omar al-Hamed al-Zamel was killed in shelling that targeted Daraa’s al-Harak on Wednesday, Al-Jazeera television quoted activists as saying.
15:19 Shelling left more than 22 people dead in Damascus’ Nahr Aisha neighborhood on Wednesday, Al-Arabiya television quoted activists as saying.
15:09 Nine people were found dead after they were executed in Daraa’s al-Harak, Al-Jazeera television reported.
15:06 Multiple explosions rocked al-Qaboun neighborhood in Damascus, Al-Jazeera television quoted the Shaam News Network as saying.
14:56 Wednesday’s death toll in Syria has risen to 64 people, Al-Arabiya television quoted activists as saying.
14:33 The Vatican’s envoy to Syria Mario Zenari blamed both sides for violations in the conflict raging in Syria and called for humanitarian law to be respected in an interview aired on Wednesday.
13:06 Syrian rebels took control of some security headquarters in the Deir az-Zour city of Abu Kamal, Al-Jazeera television reported.
13:04 Armed clashes broke out between Syrian regime forces and rebels in the Damascus district of Kfar Sousa, Al-Arabiya television reported.
12:49 Syrian military planes pounded a rebel-held area of the northern city of Aleppo on Wednesday as opposition fighters claimed to have seized parts of a town on the Iraqi border, a watchdog said.
12:33 France is providing the Syrian opposition with “non-lethal” military aid, Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said Wednesday.
11:29 Free Syrian Army commander Colonel Riad al-Assaad said in remarks published Wednesday that Syrian Vice President Faruq al-Shara, who had purportedly defected from the Syrian regime, was “in a very safe place in Syria.”
11:07 Syrian regime forces killed 27 people on Wednesday, Al-Arabiya television quoted activists as saying.
10:56 Japan Tobacco said Wednesday it was being probed by the European Union after a report it broke sanctions by shipping cigarettes to a firm linked to the Syrian regime, but denied any wrongdoing.
10:02 Syrian forces have killed dozens of civilians in a raid on a Damascus suburb, a watchdog said on Wednesday, reporting that many of the victims were summarily executed and others killed at a funeral.
7:30 MORNING LEADER: A Syrian minister held out the prospect Tuesday that embattled President Bashar al-Assad could leave power as part of a negotiated settlement to the increasingly ferocious conflict.
Britain discussed with France and the United States on Wednesday how to bolster the Syrian opposition, which is fighting government forces 17 months into a popular uprising against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s rule.
British Prime Minister David Cameron and U.S. President Barack Obama also agreed that the use or threat of chemical weapons use by Syria was “was completely unacceptable” and would force them to “revisit their approach” to the conflict.
“As with (French President) Hollande, the prime minister and Obama discussed how to build on the support already given to the opposition to end the appalling violence in Syria and bring about stability,” Cameron’s office said in a statement.
AMMAN/ALEPPO, Syria – The Syrian army shelled southern Damascus on Wednesday and helicopters fired rockets and machineguns during an assault meant to shore up President Bashar al-Assad’s grip on the capital 17 months into an uprising, opposition activists said. | Video …
Chinese state media accuse US President Barack Obama of planning to use Syria’s chemical weapons as an excuse for intervening militarily.
• The Syrian Revolution General Commission says a total of 43 people have been killed in Damascus today, including 24 “executed in front of their families” in Kfar Sousseh.
• Syrian government forces are fighting rebels for control of a military base and an airfield near the eastern town of Albu Kamal on the Iraqi border, Reuters reports citing a local Iraqi official and a Syrian rebel commander.
• Syrian forces killed a Syrian journalist sympathetic to the revolt against President Assad during a raid in the southern Nahr Eisha district of Damascus today, Reuters reports citing opposition activists.
• Russia believes Syria has no intention of using its chemical weapons and is able to safeguard them, according to a report citing an unidentified foreign ministry official. The report comes after President Obama warned of “enormous consequences” if Syria used the weapons or even failed to safeguard them properly.
• The US has downplayed comments by the Syrian deputy prime minister in which he appeared to offer to discuss Bashar al-Assad’s resignation. Asked about Qadri Jamil’s comments that “we are ready to discuss even this issue [Assad's resignation]“, US state department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said: “Frankly, we didn’t see anything terribly new there.”
• A rebel commander has admitted that around 70% of Aleppo city supports the regime, more than a month into the battle for Syria’s biggest city.
• The death toll in Lebanon’s northern city of Tripoli has climbed to at least 12 as clashes continue between Sunni Muslims and Alawites, fuelled by tensions over the war in Syria.
Colleagues of Mika Yamamoto, Japan Press’s war correspondent killed in the Syria city of Aleppo on Monday …