Wednesday 8 August 2012
Syrian Observatory for Human Rights: More than 130 Syrians have been killed so far today (Wednesday 8/8/2012)
-In Aleppo province, 35 were killed ,among them 26 in the city of Aleppo. A women and 2 children were among the casualties in the mashatieh area. 10 were killed, among them 2 women and 2 children as a result of shelling in the old city, katarji, karam al jizamty , masaken sha’abieh, hanano, and maysar areas. In the Kalasa area 1 was killed by regime fire while another was killed by shelling. 8 rebel fighters were killed in clashes in the salah al din area, 2 were killed by regime fire in the same area. 1 was killed by a mine explosion. 1 was killed by regime fire in the Orm village during the morning. 8 , among them children and women, were killed by regime shelling on the town of tel-rifa’at.
-In Deir al Zor province 12 were killed, 1 by injuries sustained by sniper fire in the Ardee area. 8 , among them 1 women and 3 children, were killed due to shelling on the salheih village near the city. a Women was killed by regime fire in the Ishara building. 1 was killed by regime fire while giving out food. 1 was killed by shelling on the Hajeen town in the country side
-In Idlib, 12 were killed . 6 in the city of Saraqib, 1 by a heart attack when a shell fell on his house. 5 were killed in unknown circumstances . 1 was killed by regime fire in the village of Orm al Joz. no less then 5 were killed , among them women, children and 2 rebel fighters by shelling on the village of Kafranbal.
-In Homs 6 were killed, 2 in the village of Qusair , 1 by shelling another by regime fire .a nurse was killed by shelling on the villlage of Za’afaraneh. 1 was killed by shelling on the town of Rastan. A rebel fighter died to injuires sustained in clashes in the Jobar area. a women was killed in the Town of Talbiseh by regime gunfire.
-In Hama 2 rebel fighters were killed during clashes with regime forces in the karkar vilage in Hama country side.
-In Reef Dimashq 6 were killed, 1 of which in the Ma’adamieh al sham area after being kidnapped by regime forces. another by injuries sustained by shelling in Harasta. 2 children were killed by shelling in the town of Zabadani. 1 in Sayida Zeinab by shrapnel from falling artilerry. 1 was killed by unknown circumstances in Katana town.
-In Damascus, 2 were killed . among them a women by shelling in the Madneih area . A body was recovered in a hospital after it was shot by sniper fire in the Qadam area.
-In Dera’a 6 were killed . 1 by shelling on the town of Inkhel. 2 in the town of Da’el were killed ,1 by shelling, another by gunfire on a funeral procession. a rebel fighter from the town of jasim was killed during clashes in Damascus country side. 2 were killed in the City of Dera’a one by regime torture, another stabbed by a regime forces.
-In Lattakia, 9 were killed among them 1 rebel fighter during clashes with regime forces in the jabal-al akrab area. 8 were killed by shelling on the town of Salma and the surounding villages.
1 army defector was killed by regime gun fire in Damascus country side
41 regime soldiers were killed by clashes and vehicle damage in Damascus country side,Dera’a, Homs, Hamah and Aleppo
[local time] 22:19 More than 100 Syrian regime troops were killed in the Aleppo neighborhood of Salaheddine, Al-Arabiya quoted rebels as saying.
22:13 Syrian regime forces’ helicopters shelled the neighborhood of Al-Aassali in Damascus, Al-Arabiya quoted activists as saying.
21:59 Syria’s Wednesday death toll rose to 162 people as violence intensified in Aleppo, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
20:06 Syrian security forces shelled Kafr Nabel in the Edleb district, Al-Arabiya quoted activists as saying.
19:02 The rebel Free Syrian Army clashed with regime forces near the town of Rastan outside Homs, Al-Arabiya quoted activists as saying.
18:33 Syrian regime forces raided Al-Muqaylaybeh in the Damascus district, Al-Arabiya quoted activists as saying.
17:54 Syrian refugees face challenges not only while escaping their strife-stricken country, but also in their new homes, according to an AFP feature story on Syrians in Jordan.
17:53 An AFP feature story details how an Aleppo student became an activist against the Syrian regime.
17:25 Syria’s rebels said on Wednesday they staged a counter-attack against advancing regime forces in the embattled southwestern Salaheddine district of Aleppo, retaking part of the neighborhood.
17:17 At least 58 people were killed across Syria on Wednesday, activists told AFP.
17:14 A Turkish lawyer who defended suspected Al-Qaeda militants has been killed in fighting in the Syrian city of Aleppo, Turkey’s Anatolia news agency said Wednesday.
16:34 A Russian general Wednesday denied reports he had been killed by rebels in Syria during an operation against President Bashar al-Assad’s top security men.
16:05 Wednesday’s death toll in Syria reached 69 people, Al-Arabiya quoted activists as saying.
15:56 A dozen countries are to attend a hastily called meeting in Tehran on Thursday to discuss ways to end the violence in Syria, Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said, without saying who was coming.
15:44 More than 2000 Syrians, including two defecting generals, have fled to Turkey amid escalating clashes in Syria’s northern city of Aleppo, the Anatolia news agency reported on Wednesday.
15:09 Kuwaiti lawmakers on Wednesday warned the government of the Gulf state against taking part in a meeting in Iran over the Syrian crisis, accusing Tehran of aiding the Damascus regime.
14:42 Syria’s regime forces have seized full control of Aleppo’s Salaheddin district, state news agency SANA said on Wednesday, a claim the rebel Free Syrian Army denied.
13:45 Defecting Syrian Prime Minister Riad Hijab and his family crossed the border into Jordan on Wednesday morning, Information Minister Samih Maayatah said, clarifying previous reports he had done so at the weekend.
13:40 New TV meets with 11 kidnapped Lebanese Shiite pilgrims in Aleppo’s Azaz accompanied by son of one abductees.
13:39 Syrian forces shelled Abu Kamal neighborhood in Deir az-Zour, Al-Arabiya television reported.
13:24 More than 2,000 Syrians flee to Turkey from Aleppo, Al-Jazeera reported.
13:09 Syrian rebels gunned down one airplane and destroyed five tanks belonging to the army in Aleppo, Al-Jazeera reported.
11:38 A YouTube video purportedly filmed in Syria’s Daraa shows defected Syrian Prime Minister Riad Hijab in the company of rebels before leaving Syria to Jordan.
11:34 A YouTube video purportedly filmed on Tuesday in Aleppo’s neighborhood of Salaheddine shows wreckage following Syrian forces’ shelling of the neighborhood.
11:14 An FSA commander said that Syrian army had penetrated a rebel-held Aleppo district with tanks, AFP reported.
11:12 The Free Syrian Army denies leaving the Aleppo town of Salaheddine, Al-Arabiya reported.
10:16 Iran says that “retired” Revolutionary Guards are among hostages being held in Syria, AFP reported.
10:07 Syrian rebels left some areas in Aleppo’s Salah al-Din, Al-Arabiya television reported.
9:43 The Syrian army shelled several districts of Aleppo before dawn on Wednesday, killing 12 people in the northern city while another civilian died elsewhere in the province, a monitor said.
9:21 The Syrian security forces killed 26 people on Wednesday, Al-Arabiya quoted activists as saying.
9:21 The UN Security Council will hold a ministerial meeting on the Syria conflict on August 30, diplomatic sources said Tuesday.
9:07 Amnesty International expressed alarm about the plight of civilians around Aleppo, saying satellite images show intensifying use of heavy weapons near residential areas of Syria’s second city.
Turkey’s worst nightmares are beginning to come true in Syria - a protracted sectarian civil war on its long southern border with the emergence of a de facto Kurdish-controlled region friendly to its main domestic foe.
The Syrian conflict is also poisoning Ankara’s sensitive relations with Iran, Syria’s vital regional ally, and Iraq and complicating ties with Russia, undermining a declared policy of “zero problems” with the neighbors.
“Syria has turned Turkey’s neighborhood policy on its head,” said Sinan Ulgen, a former Turkish diplomat now at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Brussels. “Ankara’s approach to the Syria conflict has been a radical departure from traditional Turkish caution.”
Yet despite bellicose statements, political support for the Syrian opposition and growing covert aid to opposition fighters, there is little Turkey can do alone to shape the outcome.
“We will not allow a terrorist group to establish camps in northern Syria and threaten Turkey,” Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan told a news conference on July 26, referring to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which has waged a bloody armed struggle since 1984 in southeastern Turkey.
“If there is a step which needs to be taken against the terrorist group, we will definitely take this step.”
It was the latest of a string of warnings that have so far had little traction on the course of a conflict that has wrong-footed Turkish diplomatic ambitions in the region.
Before the crisis, Erdogan cultivated a friendship with President Bashar al-Assad, in stark contrast to Turkey’s tense relations with the Syrian leader’s father, veteran strongman Hafez al-Assad. The ruling couples even vacationed together.
After a Syrian uprising inspired by the “Arab Spring” pro-democracy movements in Tunisia and Egypt erupted in March 2011, Erdogan tried to use those personal ties to persuade Assad to embrace reform and open a dialogue with the opposition.
He was rebuffed and felt slighted. From November, he began calling for the removal of Assad and Turkey helped the opposition Syrian National Council organize on its soil.
But the Syrian leader is still there, albeit weakened. He is part of a Shi’ite Muslim axis spanning Iran and Iraq and his own minority Alawite sect, uncomfortable for mainly Sunni Turkey.
The faction-ridden SNC, dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood, has yet to provide a credible alternative, and international diplomacy is deadlocked and largely irrelevant for now.
“They haven’t really thought this through,” Gareth Jenkins, an Istanbul-based researcher on Turkish security policy, said of Turkey’s leaders. “It’s been ‘let’s get rid of Assad’ without enough thought as to what comes next.
“Now their two nightmare scenarios are starting to materialize: the emergence of some form of Kurdish entity in northern Syria that would clearly be an asset to the PKK and embolden Turkish Kurds in terms of autonomy, and the Lebanon-ization of Syria with a long-running ethnic and confessional civil war with different groups controlling different regions,” Jenkins said.
Some 45,000 Syrian refugees have poured into Turkey, straining resources and security in some border areas. With fierce fighting raging in Syria’s second city, Aleppo, near the Turkish frontier, a bigger influx looms soon.
Military defectors have set up bases of the Free Syrian Army in southern Turkey, and some are trained and coordinated by Turkish, Qatari and Saudi officers operating from a secret “nerve centre” near the city of Adana, Gulf sources have told Reuters.
Foreign Islamist militants are joining the Syrian fighters crossing the border from Turkey to fight against Assad, with the apparent acquiescence of the Turkish authorities, said Fadi Hakura, a Turkey analyst at London’s Chatham House think-tank.
“They (Turkish officials) want to accelerate the downfall of Assad and his regime,” Hakura said, when asked about Ankara’s attitude to such fighters. “The Turkish government feels it can control the aftermath of a post-Assad Syria.”
Turkey officially denies arming the rebels, but several sources say they are receiving Russian-made small arms on Turkish soil, although not the heavier weapons they would need to change the balance of power with Assad’s superior forces.
“Looking ahead, the most troubling scenario for Turkey may also be the most likely one: protracted chaos and sectarian conflict, leaving a security vacuum across the border, with an ongoing risk of spillovers affecting Turkish security,” Ian Lesser, a former U.S. official and Turkey expert at the German Marshall Fund wrote in mid-July.
That future is already here.
Turkish analysts suspect Assad let the main Syrian Kurdish movement, the Democratic Union Party (PYD), take control of security outside the main cities in the northeast last week to prevent them joining forces with the FSA while enabling him to redeploy state security forces to the main battle zones.
Ankara came close to war with Assad’s father in 1998 over the presence of PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan in Damascus and alleged Syrian support for PKK activities in northeastern Syria.
If the PKK were to take root and launch attacks from that area, Erdogan would face strong nationalist pressure to launch military action.
“What could happen is for Turkey to carry out the kind of surgical strikes that it did in northern Iraq in past years if the government has intelligence that northern Syria is being used by Kurdish terrorists,” Ulgen said.
But Jenkins said the border area was too flat to provide useful terrain for PKK fighters, who preferred to operate out of mountainous northern Iraq despite Ankara’s much improved relations with the regional government of Iraqi Kurdistan.
Turkey talked earlier this year of possibly setting up a safe haven inside Syria for people displaced by the fighting, or establishing a military no-fly zone to protect civilians, but no such operation seems likely any time soon.
The United Nations Security Council is paralyzed over sanctions, with Russia and China blocking any resolution under Chapter VII of the U.N. Charter authorizing the use of force.
Ulgen said Turkey could not take such action alone without either U.N. backing or a strong “coalition of the willing” made up of its main NATO allies, which gave Ankara only lukewarm verbal support when a Turkish warplane was downed in disputed circumstances off the Syrian coast in June.
A NATO source said there was no realistic prospect of the alliance operating in Syria unless Turkey were to come under attack from Syrian forces.
Another constraint on Turkish action is domestic public opinion, which is strongly opposed to military intervention.
Opinion polls conducted by Ulgen’s EDAM think-tank show public opinion is ill disposed to any armed involvement in Syria and unconvinced by the government’s tough rhetoric, even after the warplane incident.
So despite Erdogan’s public warnings, Turkey may remain a prisoner of events beyond its control across the border.
“The truth is that they are stuck,” said Henri Barkey, another former U.S. official and Turkey specialist at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania.
“They cannot and will not intervene militarily. All they can do is help on the edges, i.e. allow insurgents free passage, train them, help them organise politically,” Barkey told Reuters. “Still this is more than what many others are doing.”
(Editing by Ralph Boulton)
As Syria spirals deeper into a full-scale civil war, Western delegations at the United Nations are increasingly skeptical about the value of appointing a replacement for Kofi Annan as the U.N.-Arab League mediator in the conflict, U.N. envoys say.
When he announced his departure, Annan, a former U.N. secretary-general and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, said he was not able to carry out his job with the U.N. Security Council’s veto powers hopelessly deadlocked. Russia, an ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, is backing Damascus, while the United States, Britain and France are calling for Assad’s ouster.
That deadlock persists and complicates the question of whether U.N. political mediation is needed at the moment.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he was in discussions with Arab League chief Nabil Elaraby on a possible successor to ensure that the diplomatic track is kept open. Several U.N. officials said an announcement could come as early as Friday.
Russia, which expressed regret that Annan chose to step down, is also determined to have someone replace Annan to keep a U.N.-led diplomatic track open. Other council members such as China, South Africa and Pakistan agree with Moscow.
But the Americans, council diplomats say, see little point in replacing Annan. They had grown increasingly frustrated with the veteran diplomat’s refusal to step aside after it became clear that Russian President Vladimir Putin would continue to veto any attempt to impose U.N. sanctions on Damascus to force it to end the onslaught against an increasingly militarized opposition.
The Obama administration is instead moving, albeit cautiously, to increase its backing for anti-Assad rebels.
“The Americans gave up on the Security Council route back in October after Russia’s first veto and have unenthusiastically supported the European push in New York since then,” one council envoy said on condition of anonymity. “They also feel Annan took too long to concede failure.”
Asked if Washington was working on coming up with possible replacements for Annan, White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters Washington was “working with our partners, both at the United Nations and more broadly, including the ‘Friends of Syria,’ on a concerted effort to pressure the Assad regime.”
He added they were working with the opposition to help it unify and providing it with “non-lethal aid.”
After announcing he would step down on Aug 31, Annan said, “The increasing militarization on the ground and the clear lack of unity in the Security Council have fundamentally changed the circumstances for the effective exercise of my role.”
“While the Security Council is trapped in stalemate, so too is Syria,” Annan wrote in an editorial in the Financial Times.
Russia, with the aid of China, vetoed three resolutions criticizing and threatening sanctions against Damascus for its 17-month attempt to use military force and heavy arms to crush an increasingly militant opposition. One senior Western envoy said over 20,000 people have been killed by Assad’s forces.
Despite European public statements of support for Ban’s determination to replace Annan, some European diplomats privately voiced skepticism about appointing someone to a job that appears headed for failure.
“Who’s going to take that job?” one council diplomat said. “If Annan couldn’t succeed, who else could? It’s a lost cause at the moment, though that could change in the future. Assad could fall any day and no one would be surprised.”
SPAIN’S SOLANA, MORATINOS IN THE RUNNING
U.N. officials say that Annan’s replacement must be someone of similar stature. Among the names circulating at the United Nations as possible replacements for Annan, envoys told Reuters, are two Spaniards – former Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos and former EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana.
Envoys spoke of possible Malaysian and Nordic candidates as well. Former Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari’s name has also come up, though one diplomat told Reuters that the Finn, who was the other candidate when Ban selected Annan at the beginning of this year, was not among the main candidates.
Richard Gowan of New York University made clear that the U.N. had a role to play in improving the plight of civilians.
“I doubt that any U.N. envoy can really prevent the current conflict getting worse, although the U.N. has an absolute obligation to keep up efforts to get humanitarian aid into the country alongside the Red Cross and Red Crescent,” he said.
France said the Security Council would hold a meeting on the humanitarian situation in Syria on August 30.
Later this month, the Security Council is expected to allow the renewed 30-day mandate of the U.N. monitoring mission in Syria to expire. U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice made clear last month that Washington saw no point in keeping the unarmed monitoring force, which severely curtailed its activities in June due to the escalating violence, in Syria.
Rice said the council had hit a “substantive dead end” on Syria and that Washington was looking outside the world body for ways to tackle the crisis.
Washington has since made clear that it will step up support to the rebels, though Western officials have made clear there is little appetite among NATO members to intervene in the messy Syria conflict as it did in Libya last year.
French Ambassador Gerard Araud, president of the council this month, said last week that the 15-nation body was “irreconcilably deadlocked” on Syria.
This has infuriated Russia, which has made clear it wants U.N. monitors to remain in Syria. Ban, who is determined to keep a U.N. foothold in Syria, is expected to recommend a new type of U.N. presence next week, officials at the world body say.
Russia and the Western powers accuse each other of sabotaging Annan’s attempts to secure an end to the fighting in Syria with a ceasefire in April that never took hold and a six-point peace plan that the government and rebels accepted but failed to implement.
Russia accused the United States and Europeans of rejecting “reasonable” proposals, suggesting they were being hell-bent on Libyan-style “regime change.” U.S. and European officials said Moscow’s repeated vetoes of attempts on the council to put pressure on Assad had torpedoed Annan’s diplomacy.
Moscow, like Syria, accuses the Western powers, Saudi Arabia and Qatar of supporting and arming the rebels, while the United States and their European allies routinely criticize Russia for continuing to supply weapons to Assad’s government.
According to David Bosco, a professor of international relations at American University in Washington, there really is no U.N.-led diplomatic process in Syria and Annan’s decision to step down simply made that clear.
“The UN made it look as if there was a peace process and now that veneer is gone,” Bosco said. “When the (Assad) regime falls, there could be a return to the U.N. The council could agree a peacekeeping or stabilization force.”
For the time being, the United States and its ally will bypass the U.N. Security Council and focus their efforts on gathering allies to aid Syria’s fractious rebel groups.
It is not the first time Washington bypassed the council.
The United States did so in 1999 in Kosovo, when Russia used its veto power to block authorization for military intervention against Serbian forces and militias in the predominantly Albanian province of Serbia. NATO launched a bombing campaign that eventually led to the withdrawal of Serbian forces.
It did so again in 2003, when France, Russia and other council members made clear they could not support an explicit authorization of military force against Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. Washington led an invasion that then U.N. chief Annan eventually described as “illegal.”
Fierce fighting is taking place in Syria’s northern city of Aleppo, with government forces and rebels both claiming advances in a key district…
70 journalists killed in six months And 90% of the media murderers get away with it …