Wednesday 5 September 2012
Syrian Observatory for Human Rights: Final death toll for Wednesday 5/9/2012: More than 200 Syrians have been killed. The dead include 122 unarmed civilians, 27 rebel fighters , 6 defected soldiers, and no less than 42 members of the Syrian regular forces.
122 Unarmed Civilians:
- In Aleppo Province 35 civilians were killed. 20 civilians, including 8 children and 2 women, were killed by bombardment on the neighbourhoods of al-Marja, al-Sukari, al-Nirab, al-Kalasa, Hanano and B’idin. 10 were killed by bombardment on the Bustan al-Basha neighbourhood in the city of Aleppo, their names are being documented now. 2 civilians, including a woman, were killed by bombardment on the towns of Atareb, M’aret al-Artiq and A’zaz in Reef Aleppo. A civilian was shot by regime forces in the Maysaloun neighbourhood. A civilian died from wounds he received by bombardment on the Seif al-Dawla neighbourhood yesterday. A civilian from the Jabriya neighbourhood died of sniper wound he received yesterday.
- In Deir Izzor Province 23 civilians were killed. A 16 year boy was killed by a sniper belonging to the military police’s center in the city of Deir Izzor. 2 were shot at midnight of tuesday-wednesday in the al-Qusoor neighbourhood in the city of Deir Izzor. 5 civilians, including a woman, were killed by bombardment on the al-Hmeidiya neighbourhood in the city of Deir Izzor. A child was martyred by sniper fire in the al-Kanamat neighbourhood in the city. 14 civilians, including a child, were killed by bombardment on the al-Jala’ town in Reef Deir Izzor.
- In Reef Dimashq Province 25 were killed. 3 were killed by clashes and bombardment on the Yelda town. 1 was shot by a sniper in the Yelda town. A civilian from the Kafarbatna town was shot by regime forces in the Jaramana suburb. 1 was killed by bombardment on the Yabroud town in Reef Dimashq. 2 civilians were found dead in the Jusrin village after yesterday’s military raid on the town. A 60 year old man died at midnight of tuesday in the Qatana town by wounds he received the earlier day. A civilian from the city of Douma was shot by sniper fire in the Zamalka town. A young man from the Qara town died from wounds he received about 10 days earlier. 11 civilians, 1 yet unidentified, were shot and killed by regime forces raiding the town of al-Maliha. 1 unidentified body was found in Eirn Terma.
- In Damascus Province 13 were killed. 2 civilians from the Jobar neighbourhood were found killed in the A’in Tarma town in Reef Dimashq. 2 men from the al-Yarmouk camp were found dead in the town of Yelda. 9 men were found dead after they were shot in the Jobar neighbourhood, 5 names have been documented so far.
- In Homs Province 8 were killed. 3 children aged (6, 8 and 13) were killed by bombardment on the al-Hola area. A civilian from the Talbisa town was killed by bombardment on the Yabroud town in Reef Dimashq. 3 civilians, including a woman, were killed by bombardment on the al-Rastan city in Reef Homs. 1 was killed by bombardment on the Talbisa town.
- In Idlib Province 14 were killed. A woman was killed when the car she was in was targeted by a military checkpoint in the city of Ma’aret al-Nu’man. 12 civilians, including 2 women, were killed by bombardment on the towns and villages of Zardna, Salqin, Ahsim and Isqat in Reef Idlib. 1 was killed by random regime forces’ gunshots in the city of Idlib.
- In Dera’a Province 3 civilians were killed. A civilian from the al-Hrak town was found dead on the Nahta road. A young man from the Inkhel town was shot by regime forces in the Nahr A’isha neighbourhood in Damascus. The body of a civilian from the town of Tafas was found, he was taken away several days ago by regime forces.
- In Latakia Province a civilian was killed by bombardment on the T’ouma village in Reef Latakia.
27 Rebel Fighters:
- In Aleppo Province 4 rebel fighters were killed. A rebel fighter was killed by bombardment on the al-Atareb town in Reef Aleppo. 3 rebel fighter were killed during clashes with regime forces in the city of Aleppo.
-In Deir Izzor province 12 rebel fighters were killed. 6 rebel fighters, including the leader of an armed rebel battalion, were killed during clashes with the al-Sab’a Kilo Mitr military checkpoint. At least 6 rebel fgihters were killed during clashes with regime forces in the city of al-Boukamal.
- In Homs Province 4 rebel fighters were killed. 3 were shot by pro-regime gunmen near the city of al-Qseir in Reef Homs. A rebel fighter from the al-Qseir city was killed during clashes in Reef Dimashq.
- In Idlib Province 2 rebel fighters from the Jabal al-Zawia were killed by bombardment and gunshots in the Babila town in Reef Dimashq.
- In Dera’a Province a rebel fighter from the al-Hara town was killed during clashes with regime forces in the al-Tadamon.
- In Latakia Province 3 rebel fighters were killed during clashes with regime forces in the Nahiet Qastal and Jabal al-Turkman.
Reef Dimashq province: a rebel from the town of Yelda was killed during clashes in the Tadamun neighbourhood.
A defected lieutenant , also the leader of an armed rebel battalion, was killed during clashes in Reef Deir Izzor. A defected lieutenant and a defected captain were shot by pro-regime gunmen in Reef Homs. 3 defected soldiers were killed during clashes in the provinces of Homs and Reef Dimashq and Latakia.
42 regime forces were killed during clashes in the provinces of Deir Izzor, Aleppo, Homs, Hama and Reef Dimashq.
[local time] 21:24 WARNING: A graphic YouTube video purportedly filmed on Wednesday in the Damascus neighborhood of Jawber shows nine people who had been “summarily executed.”
19:02 UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon sharply criticized the UN Security Council’s “paralysis” on Syria on Wednesday, warning it has hurt both the Syrian people and the council’s own credibility.
18:35 Egyptian satellite operator Nilesat on Wednesday cut transmission of Syrian state channels, as requested by the Arab League group for Syria, a Nilesat executive said.
18:05 Wednesday’s death toll has risen to 173 people, most of them killed in Aleppo, Al-Arabiya television quoted activists as saying.
17:56 Syrian regime forces shelled Homs’ Houla, Al-Arabiya television quoted activist as saying.
17:53 Clashes broke out between rebels and Syrian regime forces in the Damascus neighborhood of Tadamon, Al-Arabiya television quoted activists as saying.
17:45 Syrian regime forces shelled Daraa’s Dael, Al-Arabiya televison quoted activists as saying.
17:43 Syrian regime forces killed 20 people in the Bustan al-Basha neighborhood of Aleppo, Al-Arabiya television reported.
17:39 Forty-five people were summarily executed in Al-Akramiyah neighborhood in Aleppo, Al-Arabiya television quoted activists as saying.
17:00 The United States Wednesday unveiled $21 million in new aid help those caught up in the conflict in Syria, boosting its humanitarian funding to over $100 million.
16:40 An explosion rocked the Al-Baramka area of central Damascus, Al-Arabiya television quoted Shams News Network as saying.
16:10 Wednesday’s death toll in Syria has risen to 131 people, Al-Jazeera television quoted activists as saying.
16:02 The Free Syrian Army plans to reform to overcome divisions and address the growing number of militias fighting on its behalf, as well as to rename itself, a rebel general said on Wednesday.
14:21 European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton on Wednesday urged the UN Security Council to provide new UN-Arab League envoy to Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, “the support he requires.”
14:08 Syria’s Wednesday death toll increased to 113 people, Al-Arabiya quoted activists as saying.
13:24 Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi on Wednesday reiterated his call for the Syrian regime to step down, telling a meeting of the Arab League that a resolution to the crisis is an Arab responsibility.
12:31 Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Wednesday that Syria had become a “terrorist state” carrying out massacres against its own people.
12:08 Syrian security forces killed 99 people on Wednesday, Al-Arabiya quoted activists as saying.
11:26 Three US senators voiced concerns to Iraq’s prime minister that Iran has resumed using Baghdad’s airspace to fly weapons and equipment to bolster Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria, they said on Wednesday.
11:01 China said Wednesday it supported a political transition in Syria and was not attached to President Bashar al-Assad as it defended its record during a visit by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
9:39 Syrian forces shelled rebel-controlled zones of Aleppo before dawn on Wednesday, killing at least 19 people, among them seven children, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
8:30 Syrian forces “committed a massacre” in Aleppo, killing at least 50 people, Al-Arabiya quoted activists as saying.
7:00 MORNING LEADER: New UN-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi said the death toll in Syria was “staggering” and the destruction “catastrophic” and called for a united stance from the international community.
UNITED NATIONS – U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon slammed the Security Council on Wednesday for failing to take stronger action on Syria, saying that its paralysis over how to end the 18-month conflict was harming the Syrian people and damaging its own credibility.
As Syria spirals deeper into civil war, the 15-member council has become deadlocked with Russia and China blocking three Western-backed resolutions that criticized Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad and threatened sanctions.
“The council’s paralysis does the Syrian people harm. It also damages its own credibility,” Ban told an informal General Assembly debate on the 2005 U.N. concept of “responsibility to protect” civilians threatened by their own governments.
“You have all seen the horrible images and reports coming out of Syria. Aerial bombardments of civilians. Mothers weeping, clutching their dead children in their arms,” he said. “Inaction cannot be an option for our community of nations.”
The United Nations says that nearly 20,000 people have been killed during the conflict that began as peaceful pro-democracy protests and had grown into a civil war, pitting a mainly Sunni Muslim opposition against the ruling Assad family, who are members of the Alawite faith, an offshoot of Shi’ite Islam.
“We have seen the immense human cost of failing to protect,” Ban said. “We cannot look the other way while the increasing sectarian violence spirals out of control, the humanitarian emergency escalates, and the crisis spills over borders.”
Western Security Council members agree with Ban. German U.N. Ambassador Peter Wittig, Security Council president for September, described the crisis in Syria on Wednesday as concerning and dramatic and “yet the council is divided.”
“The price of lacking unity has to be paid by the Syrian people and that’s most deplorable,” he said. “Council members are not happy about the lack of unity and it’s certainly to the detriment of this body and the United Nations in general.”
Following the third veto of a resolution on Syria by Russia and China in July, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, said the council has hit a “substantive dead end.” Most recently, a council meeting organized by France on Syria’s aid crisis on Thursday achieved nothing new.
“The council is deeply divided,” French U.N. Ambassador Gerard Araud, who was president of the council for August, told reporters on Friday. “We haven’t had three vetoes on the same topic since the cold war.”
“So in political terms it is nearly impossible to move forward,” he said. “Even on humanitarian issues, it was impossible to get an outcome. It was impossible to find a common ground.”
UNITED NATIONS – Syria’s conflict has taken a brutal turn with other countries arming both sides, spreading misery and risking “unintended consequences as the fighting intensifies and spreads,” U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon told the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday.
The United Nations and Western officials have accused Iran of supplying weapons to Syria’s pro-government forces, while Damascus has accused Qatar and Saudi Arabia of arming rebels determined to topple President Bashar al-Assad.
“This conflict has taken a particularly brutal turn,” Ban said of the 17-month crisis. “The continuing militarization of the conflict is deeply tragic and highly dangerous.”
“Those who provide arms to either side are only contributing to further misery – and the risk of unintended consequences as the fighting intensifies and spreads,” he said.
A U.N. Security Council panel of independent experts that monitors sanctions against Iran has uncovered several examples of Iran transferring arms to Syria’s government. The United States and Britain say they are providing non-lethal assistance to Syria’s rebels such as communications equipment but not arms.
“The conflict is intensifying,” Ban said. “The longer it goes on, the more difficult it will be to contain. The more difficult it will be to find a political solution. The more challenging it will be to rebuild the country and the economy.”
The 193-nation General Assembly last month overwhelmingly approved a non-binding resolution, which expressed “grave concern” at the escalation of violence in Syria and condemned the U.N. Security Council for its failure to take strong action.
As Syria spirals deeper into civil war, the Security Council has been paralyzed on taking strong action as Russia and China have blocked three Western-backed resolutions that criticized Assad and threatened sanctions. A council meeting on Thursday on the crisis achieved nothing new.
“How many children will attend the funerals of their parents; how many parents will weep at the funerals of their children, before all parties agree to end the violence and destruction?” Ban said.
“The Syrian people have waited too long,” he said. “And now the entire region is being engulfed by the complex dynamics of the conflict.”
The new U.N.-Arab League mediator, Lakhdar Brahimi, who took up the role on Saturday and described his bid to broker peace as “nearly impossible,” also briefly addressed the U.N. assembly.
“The death toll is staggering, the destruction is reaching catastrophic proportions and the suffering is immense,” Brahimi said. “I am looking forward to my visit to Damascus in a few days time, and … to all the countries who are in a position to help the Syrian-led political process become a reality.”
Veteran Algerian diplomat Brahimi replaced Kofi Annan as the international mediator on the Syrian conflict. Annan had blamed the Security Council impasse for hampering his six-month bid to broker peace and leading to his decision to step down.
Syria’s U.N. envoy Bashar Ja’afari said that Damascus was “open-minded and fully committed to the mission of Mr Brahimi in his endeavors to put an end to violence and find a Syrian-led political solution to the crisis.”
“I’m calling on all member states, particularly those with direct influence …. on the parties rejecting political dialogue and the cessation of violence, I’m calling on them to follow in the footsteps of the government of Syria and seriously extend a helping hand to Mr Lakhdar Brahimi,” Ja’afari said.
Ban described Brahimi’s task as “daunting, but not insurmountable” and said that what was missing in international efforts to end the conflict was “a unity of effort that will have an impact on the ground.”
Iran said last week it will form a team with other non-aligned countries to explore solutions to the crisis, while the United States has said it will turn to alternatives such as the “Friends of Syria” grouping of allied countries to pressure Assad after the Security Council’s failure to act.
The United Nations says nearly 20,000 people have been killed in the conflict, which was sparked by a popular uprising against Assad.
Ban said the humanitarian situation was “grave and deteriorating” and the international aid response was constrained by a lack of funding. A $180 million international appeal was only half-funded, he said.
Assad pledged on Tuesday to allow the Red Cross to expand its humanitarian operations. The United Nations has said that more than 235,000 Syrian refugees have registered in Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, while about 1.2 million people have been displaced within Syria.
“The most pressing needs are water and sanitation, shelter, essential items such as blankets and hygiene kits, as well as emergency medial assistance,” Ban said.
Turkey has repeatedly urged the United Nations to protect displaced Syrians inside their country, but creating a buffer zone for displaced Syrians would be difficult because a Security Council resolution would be needed to set up a no-fly zone, and Russia and China would not approve such a move, diplomats said.
(Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Eric Beech and Cynthia Osterman)
CAIRO – Egypt’s president on Wednesday promised to put Cairo back at the heart of Arab affairs and made an impassioned appeal to Arab states to work to end the bloodshed in Syria, saying the time had come to change the Syrian government.
Mohamed Mursi, making his first presidential address to the Arab League in Cairo, told Arab foreign ministers that Egypt and its people would “return to occupy their natural place at the heart of the Arab nation”.
Mursi, elected in June after last year’s popular uprising forced Hosni Mubarak from power after three decades, said the time had come in Syria for “change and not wasting time speaking of reform. This time has passed now. Now it is time for change”.
“The Syrian regime must take into account the lessons of recent and ancient history,” he said in the speech in which he also talked of the revolt in Egypt.
Mursi also said a quartet of states – Saudi Arabia, Iran, Turkey and Egypt – would meet to discuss the Syrian crisis.
“The quartet which Egypt has called for will meet now,” he said, without giving details.
An Egyptian delegate said the president’s comments meant the four states were talking about what action could be taken but the formal formation of the quartet was still under discussion. He said no date had been set for its representatives to meet.
Tehran has backed Syria’s government but the three other states want President Bashar al-Assad to stand down.
Analysts said the group was unlikely to agree on how to handle the crisis but said the initiative was a sign of how determined the newly elected president was to put Egypt back at the centre of regional politics.
As Mursi was leaving the podium, the Islamist president briefly returned to the microphone to say: “Syria, Syria, this is the arena to do something”, pointing to the ministers below him, and then again saying “Syria” before stepping away.
It was the second such appeal for action in a week by Mursi. At the Non-Aligned Movement Summit in Iran on August 30, Mursi referred to Tehran’s ally as an “oppressive regime” and said it was an “ethical duty” to back rebels.
More than 20,000 people have been killed in Syria since initially peaceful protests against Assad erupted in March 2011. Tens of thousands more have fled across its borders to neighboring states to escape the violence.
Nasser al-Kidwa, deputy to Lakhdar Brahimi, the United Nations-Arab League mediator on Syria, arrived in Cairo on Wednesday to join the talks with Arab ministers.
Brahimi, who is expected to visit Cairo on Sunday, has described his bid to broker peace as “nearly impossible” but Kidwa told reporters at Cairo airport that “we have not lost hope” despite the difficulties facing the mission.
According to a draft of the resolutions obtained by Reuters and approved on Wednesday, ministers called on the Arab League chief and its special committee on Syria to follow up with the U.N. secretary-general to outline a “new vision” for Brahimi.
The draft also called for Nilesat and Arabsat, two regionally owned satellite firms, to stop broadcasts of Syrian state and private channels. Broadcasts of the three Syrian channels on Nilesat stopped before the draft was approved, with a Nilesat source citing unspecified contract violations.
Abdelbasset Sida, head of the Syrian National Council (SNC) opposition alliance, told Reuters he was disappointed by the resolutions, saying Arabs should work more closely with Europeans opposed to Assad’s rule and put more pressure on Syria’s ally Russia.
He said Arabs should back “using all means including force against the Syrian regime to reach that end”.
(Additional reporting by Marwa Awad and Omar Fahmy; Writing by Edmund Blair; Editing by LouiseIreland)
BEIRUT – A Syrian minister said on Wednesday his country may limit access to the Red Cross, citing what he called suspicions that the international aid agency’s work may be an attempt to violate Syrian sovereignty.
Ali Haidar spoke after meeting the head of the International Committee of the Red Cross, who is visiting Syria to try to overcome obstacles to delivering aid to civilians trapped in the bloody revolt against President Bashar al-Assad.
Haidar’s remarks could deepen doubts about Assad’s qualified assurances made on Tuesday that the ICRC was welcome as long as its work was “independent and neutral”.
“The request to facilitate their work may be an impermissible request to open doors that violate Syrian sovereignty,” Haidar, who is Minister of State for National Reconciliation, told journalists outside his office.
“That is why we said the relationship with this agency will be based on providing people with humanitarian aid and not opening the doors to this agency, or any other agency, to work as they want. We have a history of bad relations with some international institutions.”
Aid agencies are trying to beef up relief operations across Syria, where the ICRC says that needs have grown “exponentially” in the past few weeks due to the escalation of violence in the 17-month-old rebellion against Assad.
Clashes and continuous bombardment have cut off many civilians from basic services and life-saving supplies.
ICRC President Peter Maurer met Assad on Tuesday to discuss improving humanitarian access to Syrian civilians. The ICRC said Assad gave “positive commitments” to Maurer’s requests.
Haidar’s comments appeared to fall in line with forecasts of Western diplomats that Assad would not grant unfettered access to needy civilians, especially in regions sympathetic to the revolt that have been pounded by the army.
“Syria has been very unwilling to grant access and independence to the ICRC once they get in,” a diplomatic source said.
(Reporting by Erika Solomon; Editing by Mark Heinrich)
Security forces shell several opposition-held districts in Syria’s second city of Aleppo, leaving at least 19 people dead, activists say.
Troops began to bombard the districts of Bustan al-Qasr, Marjeh and Hananu before dawn. Many of those killed were reportedly women and children.
One opposition activist network put the morning’s death toll in Aleppo at 54.
Meanwhile, Egypt’s new leader has said President Bashar al-Assad must “take lessons from recent history” and step down before it is too late.
“Don’t take the right step at the wrong time… because that would be the wrong step,” Mohammed Mursi warned his Syrian counterpart in a speech at a meeting of Arab foreign ministers in Cairo.
Mr Mursi also said that a quartet of regional states – Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Egypt – would meet to discuss the Syrian crisis.
Later, the Egyptian-owned Nilesat satellite channel ceased coverage of Syrian state TV and two other pro-government channels, al-Ekhbaryah and al-Dunya.
A Nilesat executive said the Arab League group for Syria had asked the channel to stop the broadcasts.
Syrian state TV was seen on Nilesat early on Wednesday, but reception was lost around 11:30 GMT, after the Cairo ministers meeting.
Nilesat continued to broadcast anti-government Syrian channels.
Turkey’s Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, separately accused President Assad of creating a “terrorist state” in Syria.
The UN refugee agency said on Tuesday that more than 100,000 Syrians fled the country in August – the highest monthly total since protests against President Bashar al-Assad erupted in March 2011.
“Those who provide arms to either side are only contributing to further misery – and the risk of unintended consequences as the fighting intensifies and spreads” Ban Ki-moonUN Secretary General
More than 230,000 people are now sheltering in neighbouring states.
There are also thought to be more than 1.2 million internally displaced people in Syria, and 2.5 million in need of humanitarian assistance.
Many of the recent influx of refugees into Turkey have come from Aleppo, where the military recently launched a major offensive to regain control of rebel-held areas.
Opposition activists said more than 13 districts of the northern city came under heavy bombardment before dawn on Wednesday.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based anti-Assad group, said 10 civilians died in the southern area of Bustan al-Qasr, while nine bodies, including those of children, had been found in the Marjeh and Hananu districts.
The Local Co-ordination Committees (LCC), an activist network, reported that at least 15 people had died in the shelling of Marjeh, including 10 members of a single family. Seven children and three women were also killed in Bab Nairab, a southern district, it added.
The LCC put the nationwide death toll at 75, including 54 in Aleppo. At least 135 were killed across the country on Tuesday, it said.
The bodies of nine men were also found on Wednesday morning in Jobar, a north-eastern district of Damascus. Opposition activists said they had been shot dead by pro-government militia.
On Tuesday, the new UN and Arab League envoy to Syria warned that the situation across the country was “deteriorating steadily”.
“The death toll is staggering, the destruction is reaching catastrophic proportions and the suffering of the people is immense,” Lakhdar Brahimi said in his first address to the UN General Assembly since his appointment.
“The future of Syria will be built by its people and none other,” he added. “The support of the international community is indispensable and very urgent. It will only be effective if all pull in the same direction.”
Mr Brahimi said he would travel to Damascus in the next few days.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon meanwhile accused countries who sent arms to Syria of “only contributing to further misery – and the risk of unintended consequences as the fighting intensifies and spreads”.
He did not name any country, but Russia is the Syrian military’s main arms supplier.
Senior US officials have also told the New York Times that Iran has resumed shipping military equipment over Iraqi airspace.
Experts told the newspaper that the flights had enabled Iran to provide supplies despite Syrian rebels seizing several land border crossings.
The White House has pressed Iraq to shut down the air corridor, with Vice-President Joe Biden reportedly raising the issue with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki in a telephone call in August.
An Iraqi government spokesman said Tehran had assured Mr Maliki that the flights contained only food and other humanitarian aid.
US secretary of state meets Chinese president but talks with his successor cancelled as visit fails to narrow gaps over divisions.