Wednesday 4 July 2012
Syrian Observatory for Human Rights: Approximately 100 Syrians were killed today 4/7/2012
The reported, and documented, number of civilians killed in Syria today (Wednesday 4/7/2012) has risen to 63
55 unarmed civilians martyred:
-In Reef Dimashq 11 civilians were killed. 1 died of wounds in Douma*. 1 was shot at while in his car in Dareyya. 1 killed by regime fire in Hamouriya. 3 civilians killed in Irbeen, by sniper fire and earlier wounds. 8 civilians were martyred in Misraba, they were killed by the regime’s bombardment on the town. 3 by the violent bombardment on the village of Rihan, including a child. A civilian was killed from earlier wounds, he received during the bombardment in Harasta. 1 in Zamalka, from wounds received by the explosion days ago.
-In Homs 3 civilians were killed. 2 in the city of Homs, by the bombardment and gunfire in the neighbourhoods of Khaldiya and Jourat al-Shayyah. 1 civilian was killed by the bombardment on Rastan.
-In Damascus 2 civilians killed. 1 was shot by regular forces in the al-Midan neighbourhood. A child died in the Jobar neighbourhood, of wounds he received by the Zamalka explosion.
-In Dera’a province 9 killed. 2 children were killled by the late night bombardment on the town of al-Meseifira, Reef Dera’a. 3 women were killed by the rendom bombardment on the village of al-Shajara. 2 civilians were targeted and killed by regime forces on the Koya-al-Shajara road. An unidentified body was found in the town of Sheikh Miskeen. 1 civilian was killed in the village of al-Samakiya. A civilian was killed by excessive torture in the province. 1 was killed by the regimes nightly bombardment on the town of Sahwa.
-In Idlib province 15 civilians were killed. 4 were killed by a regime forces during an ambush in Ma’arat al-Nu’man. 7 in Khan Sheikhoun, including a child and a woman, by the regime bombardment. The body of a civilian was delivered near a military checkpoint in Reef Idlib. 2 civilians, from Jisr al-Shughour, were killed by bombardment when they tried to cross into Turkey. 1 civilian from al-Barrah, was killed by security services fire in Aleppo.
-In Hama province a child was killed by the bombardment of the village of Sheizer, Reef Hama.
-In Aleppo province 3 were killed. 1 by the bombardment on the town of A’zaz. 2 were killed by armed pro-regime forces, shabiha, in Manbaj.
-In Latakia province 1 civilian was killed by the bombardment on the town of Salma, reef Latakia.
8 Armed rebels killed:
Homs province: 4 rebel fighters were killed during clashes in the city of Homs. 3 in the Karam Shimshim neighbourhood, 1 Rebel in Jourat al-Shayyah.
Deir Izzor province: 1 insurgent was killed this morning in al-Baghour, Reef Deir Izzor, during a military operation by the rebel fighters.
Hama province: The leader of a rebel battalion was targeted and killed in the Arba’een neighbourhood of Hama.
Latakia province: An armed rebel was killed by bombardment while he was trying to cross to Turkey.
Idlib province: The leader of a rebel battalion was among those killed by the regime’s bombardment on the town of Khan Sheikhoun.
2 Defected soldiers killed:
1 defected lieutenant was killed during clashes in Dera’a. A defected soldier died during clashes in Reef Aleppo.
At least 34 members of the Syrian armed forces were killed. 3 high-ranking officers were assassinated in different parts of Syria tonight, the rest were killed during clashes in the provinces of Idlib, Deir Izzor, Reef Dimashq, Dera’a, Aleppo and Homs.
*Earlier report mistakenly reported the death in Dareyya. We apologise for any inconvenience the mistake may have caused.
[local time] 20:52 A Syrian general and a number of soldiers defected and crossed into Turkey on Wednesday, the 15th such high-ranking officer to flee the conflict-wracked nation, a Turkish diplomat said.
18:23 Activists said on Wednesday that Syrian security forces stormed Damascus’ neighborhood of Baraza amid heavy gunfire, Al-Arabiya reported.
17:21 British Foreign Secretary William Hague said on Wednesday that there could be no political transition in Syria with President Bashar al-Assad and urged Russia to stop backing its traditional ally.
17:13 Wednesday’s death toll in Syria has reached 50 people, Al-Jazeera quoted activists as saying.
16:02 The chief UN observer in Syria criticized the international community on Wednesday for talking too much in luxurious settings, and doing too little on the ground to stop the horrific violence.
15:16 The bodies of the two pilots of a Turkish jet that was downed by Syria on June 22 have been recovered at the bottom of the eastern Mediterranean sea, the Turkish army said Wednesday.
14:22 Russia is not discussing Bashar al-Assad with the United States, a deputy foreign minister said Wednesday after a report said the West was pushing Moscow to offer the Syrian president exile.
13:59 Syria’s fractured opposition groups on Wednesday wound up talks in the Egyptian capital that descended into chaos and even fist fights as they tried to forge a common vision for a transition in their country.
13:54 Syrian forces on Wednesday shelled Daraa, Al-Arabiya television reported.
13:21 Syrian security forces killed 20 people on Wednesday, mostly in the Damascus district, Al-Jazeera quoted activists as saying.
12:20 China said Wednesday its position on plans for a transition of power in Syria remained firm, and that it wanted the “spirit” of a weekend agreement by world powers to be followed.
10:14 Syrian rebels and troops clashed on Wednesday in a Damascus suburb near a branch of the feared air force intelligence service, as monitors reported seven people killed nationwide.
9:15 Medical aid gathered by expats is being smuggled into Syria as doctors, braving arrest and torture, struggle in secrecy to treat the rising number of casualties in the war-torn country.
9:06 Western nations led by the United States are seeking to persuade Russia to host President Bashar al-Assad in exile as a way out of the escalating Syria crisis, a Russian newspaper report said Wednesday.
8:46 MORNING LEADER: Russia accused the West on Tuesday of seeking to distort an agreement reached in Geneva for a political transition in Syria, which stopped short of calling on President Bashar al-Assad to quit power, while a two-day meeting of opposition groups in Cairo ended late Tuesday with a consensus statement calling for the departure of the Assad regime.
Syrian opposition groups agree on a general plan for the way forward in the country at a meeting in Cairo that exposes their deep divisions.
Syrian opposition groups have agreed on a general plan for the way forward in the country at a meeting in Cairo that exposed their deep divisions.
Delegates set out how a transitional period would work and what they would do if they managed to oust President Bashar al-Assad.
But they failed to reach an agreement on forming a unified body to represent them in negotiations with world powers.
At one point scuffles broke out when a Kurdish delegation walked out.
In Syria, at least seven people were reportedly killed on Wednesday.
The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said four civilians had died in Maarat al-Numan in Idlib province, and that there had been clashes south of Damascus near a branch of Air Force Intelligence.
The Local Co-ordination Committees, an activist network, put the nationwide death toll at 60, including 12 people in Deraa and 13 in Idlib.
Meanwhile, the pressure group Human Rights Watch (HRW) has accused the Jordanian authorities of discriminating between Syrian nationals and Palestinians fleeing the violence.
HRW said in a statement that interviews with Syrian and Palestinian refugees indicated that Jordan had “forcibly returned some newly arriving Palestinians from Syria and threatened others with deportation”.
Jordanian Information Minister Sameeh Maaytah dismissed the allegations as “totally baseless”.
In another development, a Syrian general defected to the opposition and fled to Turkey on Wednesday, bringing the total number of generals who have crossed into Turkey to at least 15.
The BBC’s Jon Leyne in Cairo reports that Syria’s opposition is notoriously divided, so it is hard to say whether the agreements or the disagreements which emerged from the meeting in the Egyptian capital were more significant.
“We are a people as we have language and religion, and that is what defines a people” Morshed MashoukSyrian Kurdish National Council
A final statement read by opposition leader Kamal al-Labuani said delegates “agreed that the political solution has to start by the fall of the regime represented in Bashar al-Assad and the icons of his power and calls for an immediate halt of violence committed by the Syrian regime”.
In one document, the delegates set out their plans for a transitional period, including an interim government and parliament. This had been called for by the Action Group for Syria, a body representing world powers.
They also outlined how they would reform the armed forces, set up a commission to investigate crimes against the Syrian people, and dissolve the ruling Baath Party, whose members would be allowed to help run the country as long as they did not have “hands stained with blood”.
A second document said the new post-Assad Syria would have a “republican, democratic, civilian, pluralistic” system of government. They also pledged to support economic and social justice.
However, the major point of disagreement was over the powers to be granted to a committee that would act as a single point of contact for the international community, recalling Libya’s National Transitional Council.The main opposition coalition, the Syrian National Council (SNC), reportedly insisted that it should act solely as a co-ordinating body without any leadership powers.
Earlier on Tuesday, there were scuffles, punches were thrown and women wept when a Kurdish group stormed out of the meeting after an argument over whether the Kurds should be recognised as a minority within Syria.
“We will not return to the conference and that is our final line. We are a people as we have language and religion and that is what defines a people,” said Morshed Mashouk, a leading member of the Syrian Kurdish National Council.
Some delegates shouted “scandal, scandal” as the Kurds left, while one young activist alleged: “This is a faked withdrawal seeking to make the conference fail.”
One activist group, the Syrian Revolution General Commission (SRGC), had earlier pulled out, saying it refused to engage in “political disputes which play with the fate of our people and our revolution”.
Our correspondent says all this will frustrate opposition supporters inside Syria, and their allies outside, and provide comfort to President Assad.
However, it could be argued that the Cairo meeting was largely irrelevant, as events in Syria build a terrible momentum of their own, he adds.
Action Group for Syria agreement
- All parties must recommit to sustained cessation of armed violence and immediately implement UN envoy Kofi Annan’s six-point peace plan
- Transitional government formed on basis of mutual consent; can include officials serving under President Assad and opposition members
- Syrians will determine future of their country; all groups allowed to join national dialogue process
- Constitutional order and legal system to be reviewed; changes subject to popular approval
- All parties must engage genuinely with Mr Annan to work towards a Syrian-led settlement
YAYLADAGI, Turkey – Syrian artillery pounded a northwestern town on Wednesday and areas near the ghost city of Douma, where residents recovered mutilated corpses after a rampage by militiamen loyal to President Bashar al-Assad, activists said. | Video
They said at least 11 people, including a six-year-old girl and an elderly man, were killed by shelling in the towns of Misraba and Rihan near Douma, and three more were shot dead.
Video shot by opposition activists in Douma, 15 km (10 miles) north of Damascus, showed gory scenes in homes they said had been overrun by pro-Assad militiamen after army shelling forced rebel fighters to retreat at the weekend.
The state news agency SANA made no mention of killings in the devastated city, but said utilities had been damaged and that many residents had fled to escape “terrorism”.
“These are pieces of our children we’re pulling out of dumpsters … We found these body parts and we are still looking for more. These are burned human body parts,” said a man picking through an overturned garbage bin in one of the video clips.
Syrian official curbs on media make it hard to verify accounts of the violence raging on despite diplomacy aimed at preventing an all-out sectarian civil war pitting Assad’s minority Alawites against rebellious majority Sunni Muslims.
Opposition leaders and Western governments say more than 15,000 people have already been killed. The government says terrorist gangs have killed several thousand troops and police.
Opposition activists reported an exodus of panicked civilians from the town of Khan Sheikhoun in northwestern Idlib province, but had no precise word on casualties from the bombardment, in which they said helicopter gunships took part.
“They are flattening Khan Sheikhoun,” said Mustapha al-Sheikh, a general in the rebel Free Syrian Army (FSA) who is based across the border in Turkey. “Assad is telling the Syrian people: ‘Either I will remain or I will burn you’.”
Another Syrian general defected to the opposition and fled to Turkey, bringing the number of such renegade generals on Turkish soil to 16, FSA officials said.
Turkey, once an ally of Syria, now hosts some 250 officers who have defected to the FSA in its southern Hatay province and gives them logistical support, but denies arming them.
Turkish-Syrian tensions rose when Syria shot down a Turkish reconnaissance jet over the Mediterranean on June 22.
Turkey’s military said on Wednesday it had found the bodies of the F4′s two pilots and was trying to retrieve them from the seabed, where the plane’s wreckage ended up.
Turkish Defence Minister Ismet Yilmaz said a funeral was planned for them on Friday.
“Yesterday the engine was found. Today other parts are being brought out. All the parts are being taken out bit by bit. We don’t want to leave any part there,” Yilmaz said.
Syria says the jet was in its airspace when it was shot down. Turkey denies this, although it acknowledges the plane, which it said was unarmed, had earlier violated Syrian airspace.
Ankara has talked tough and has repeatedly scrambled F16 fighters when Syrian helicopters approached the border in the last few days, but it has not retaliated for the shooting down.
Both countries have said they do not want to go to war over the incident, despite their bitter differences over the Syrian uprising against Assad which erupted in March, 2011.
In an interview with Turkish paper Cumhuriyet, Assad said he wished his forces had not downed the jet, but he also accused Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan of meddling in Syria.
“With his desire from the beginning to interfere in our internal affairs, unfortunately … has made Turkey a party to all the bloody acts in Syria,” Assad told Cumhuriyet.
Erdogan, once a friend of Assad, now demands he step down and has compared his crackdown with the crimes of Nazi Germany.
The Syrian leader, isolated in the West and the Arab world, can still count on diplomatic support from Russia and China, as well as his longtime Shi’ite ally Iran.
The big powers and several Arab countries agreed at the weekend to promote a political transition in Syria, but disagree on whether this implies Assad and his entourage must step aside, casting a cloud over envoy Kofi Annan’s mediation efforts.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague said on Wednesday that Moscow should realise it was futile to keep backing Assad.
“Russia must understand that the situation in Syria is leading to collapse,” he told a news conference after meeting his French counterpart Laurent Fabius. “There is no point anybody standing by the Assad regime.
The “Friends of Syria” group meets in Paris on Friday, with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu among those seeking Assad’s downfall.
However, the Syrian leader seems determined to fight for survival, given that the West refuses to contemplate military intervention and that Russia and China have twice used their vetoes to block any U.N. Security Council action against him.
Assad’s tight-knit, Alawite-dominated inner circle appears to have kept a firm grip on Syria’s military and its feared security forces, despite the trickle of army defections.
Syrians trying to end 42 years of Assad family rule have no unified leadership. Opposition groups are fractious and divided, even coming to blows at a meeting in Cairo on Tuesday that had been intended to forge greater unity.
“This is so sad. It will make the Syrian opposition look bad and demoralise the protesters on the ground,” activist Gawad al-Khatib, 27, said after a Kurdish walkout provoked fistfights.