Thursday 11 October 2012

Syrian Observatory for Human Rights:  -Final death toll for Thursday 11/10/2012: More than 260 Syrians have been killed. -The dead include: 86 unarmed civilians (including 8 children), 60 rebel fighters, 11 defected soldiers, 1 defected lieutenant, 1 defected captain, and 92 regime forces. 86 Unarmed civilians:

-In Idlib Province 9 civilians, including 4 children and a woman, were killed by bombardment on the towns and villages of Haish, Deir Sharqi, Kafruma, Bansh, and A’zmareen of Reef Idlib. 

-In Dera’a Province 18 civilians were killed. 5 were shot by regime forces in the town of al-Ghara al-Sharqiya in Reef Dera’a. 5 were killed in the city of Dera’a, 1 was shot by the al-Bareed al-A’skari checkpoint, and 4 (including a child and a woman) were shot by sniper in the Dera’a al-Balad neighbourhood. 6 civilians, including 2 children, from the town of Tafas were killed by bombardment on the town. An unidentified corpse was found in the Kharbat Ghazala town. A civilian, from the Izri’ town, was shot by regime forces in the city of Dera’a.

-In Tartus Province 8 civilians were killed, when unidentified armed men attacked a small bus (coming from Lebanon) they were riding, on the Homs-Tartus road, near al-Reehaniya bridge.

-In Homs Province 9 civilians were killed. 1 died, effected by injuries he received due to bombardment on the Qseir city, yesterday. 7, including a woman, were killed by bombardment on the cities of al-Qseir and al-Rastan and the Burhaniya village. 1 was shot by regime forces in the Buwayda al-Sharqiya village of Reef Homs.

-In Reef Dimashq Province 21 civilians were killed. A child was killed by bombardment on the Jisreen town. 4 men were shot by regime forces in the Jisreen town. 4 men, from the city of Duma, were killed, 1 was shot by regime forces in Rankus, and the other 3 (one of them was unidentified) were killed by bombardment in the city. 4 men were shot by regime forces in Zabdeen, Saqba, and A’teeba. 1 civilian, from the town of al-Tal, was killed by bombardment on the Rankus town. 7 unidentified corpses were found in the towns of Yalda, Zabdeen, A’dra, and al-Mo’adamiya of Reef Dimashq.

-In Damascus Province 3 young men were shot by regime forces in the Tadamun neighbourhood of Damascus city.

-In Aleppo Province 9 civilians were killed. 6 were killed by bombardment on the Sukari, Sakhur, Aqyul, and Qattana neighbourhoods. 1 was shot by regime forces in the Sukari neighbourhood of Aleppo city. 1 (unidentified) was shot by sniper in the Meedan neighbourhood of Aleppo city. A man, from the Jrablus town, was shot by regime forces in the Tal Abyad town of Reef al-Raqa.

-In Hama Province 3 civilians were killed. A man, from the city of Hama, was shot by regime forces in the Mleiha town of Reef Dimashq. 1, from the Qarqur village, was shot by a military checkpoint in Reef Hama. 1 civilian, from the Shuha village was found dead, after his earlier detainment by regime forces.

-In Deir Izzor Province 5 civilians were killed. A woman was shot by sniper in the Muwathafeen neighbourhood. 4 men were killed by bombardment on the Salhiya town of Reef Deir Izzor.

-In al-Raqa Province a woman was killed by bombardment on the al-A’li Bajliya village in Reef al-Raqa.

-60 Rebel fighters:

-In Idlib Province 38 fighters were killed. 1 was killed during clashes with regime forces in Deir Izzor. 37 were killed during bombardment, clashes with regime forces, and their checkpoints being targeted in the Darkush town, Reef Ma’arat al-N’uman, Khan Sheikhun, and Saraqeb of Reef Idlib.

-In Dera’a Province 1 fighter, from the Tafas town, was killed during clashes with regime forces in Ma’arat al-N’uman of Reef Idlib.

-In Homs Province 6 fighters were killed. 5 fighters were killed during clashes with regime forces in the Khaldiya and Homs al-Qadeema neighbourhoods of Homs city. 1 was killed by bombardment on the cities of al-Qseir and al-Rastan and the Burhaniya village.

-In Reef Dimashq Province 2 rebel fighters were killed during clashes with regime forces in the farms of the Jisreen town.

-In Aleppo Province 6 rebel fighters were killed during clashes with regime forces in the Aleppo city.

-In Hama Province 1 fighter, from the Bredej village in Reef Hama, was killed during clashes with regime forces in Ma’arat al-N’uman of Reef Idlib.

-In Deir Izzor Province 6 rebel fighters were killed during clashes with regime forces in the city of Deir Izzor.


-13 defected soldiers, including a lieutenant and a captain, were killed during bombardment and clashes with regime forces in Idlib, Deir Izzor, Reef Dimashq, and Homs.

-At least 8 pro-regime armed men were killed during an attack by rebel fighters on the oil factory located west of the Saraqeb city.

-SOHR documented a civilian’s name, who was summarily executed by regime forces gunfire in one of the prisons of the Ma’arat al-N’uman city, several days ago.

-A truck driver, carrying in his truck equipment for regime forces, was killed during an attack on a military convoy in Reef Idlib.

-Information was received about the death of 15 men by regime forces gunfire in the Darkosh village of Reef Idlib.


-Not less than 92 regime forces were killed, including 7 officers, due to attacks on checkpoints and machineries, and clashes in several Provinces: 2 in Damascus, 10 in Reef Dimashq, 13 in Homs, 39 in Idlib, 6 in Deir Izzor, 8 in Dera’a, and 14 in Aleppo.

BBC: Aleppo: Treating trauma on the frontline

 The BBC’s Ian Pannell visits a hospital in Aleppo overwhelmed with trauma victims of Syria’s civil war, where doctors work under fire to keep people alive.

An artillery shell had just landed and the hospital entrance was a grotesque tableau of blood, bodies and tears.

A small team of doctors set to work against a soundtrack of bombs and bullets.

The hospital lies in one of the southern districts of Aleppo city close to one of the city’s many front lines.

The staff asked us not to identify its name or location in case government troops attack it.

It is a well-placed fear – the building has already been hit 12 times.

The doctors say it is seen as a “legitimate target” by the army because they treat rebel fighters as well as civilians.

Bloodiest battle

What began as a largely civil protest movement in Syria has degenerated into a civil war. More than 20,000 people have died according to the United Nations. Activists say it is more than 30,000.

Aleppo is now perhaps the defining battle in this conflict and, along with Homs, it is certainly one of its bloodiest.

An injured person is brought into the hospital for treatmentNew victims are constantly brought into the hospital, as the dead leave

Hospitals here must treat an incessant flow of casualties. Some are fighters wounded in battle but most are civilians injured by artillery or strikes by jets and helicopters.

The hospital admits more than 100 trauma patients every day. With fewer than 10 doctors and a shortage of proper medical equipment, the staff struggle to cope.

Not only do they work under fire but also some of the medics have been detained and executed according to Dr Othman, one of the surgeons.

With a mixture of fatigue and fatalism he says he has no reason to be afraid anymore.

“We’ve lost everything; we’ve lost our country, we’ve lost the peace, we’ve lost more than 30,000 people. We have nothing left to lose”.

Gaping holes

The upper floors of the hospital have been smashed by artillery.

Gaping holes have been punched into the walls and valuable operating equipment lies strewn across the floors, buried beneath rubble.

There are now just two beds left where the surgeons can operate and with the constant threat of attack, the entire hospital has been condensed into the reception area and the basement.

Two-year-old Ahmed screamed in terror and agony as a surgeon sewed his scalp back into place.

A view of one of the two operating beds in the Aleppo hospitalDoctors continue to operate despite the hospital being repeatedly attacked, and medics threatened

His head had been torn open when a rocket landed on his house and pools of blood gathered in his mouth where his lip had been smashed.

Lying next to him was a badly injured teenager who was fighting for his life, his hands caked in dried blood.

Every few minutes more casualties were rushed in; a grim procession of patients, victims of a remorseless campaign of air strikes and artillery.

Half a dozen badly wounded people were brought in after an artillery shell struck a neighbourhood nearby.

Ali Abu Mohammed moaned in pain as a veterinarian started work on pulling shards of shrapnel from his body.

“There aren’t enough human doctors,” the vet said, preferring not to give his name as he explained why he was volunteering in the hospital.

Trails of blood lead to the operating room where Ali’s son had been taken. The surgeons tried their best to save seven-year-old Hamoud but it was too late.

Amid the blood-soaked bedlam the little boy died. He was cradled in the arms of a neighbour and carried out of the hospital.

With no time for sentiment, the dead have to quickly make way for those still fighting for life.

A wounded rebel was taken to the bed where Hamoud had just died. And so the struggle to save another life began.

Grief and anger

There are few facilities here to treat the living and no room for the dead. Two bodies draped in a blanket lay unceremoniously on the pavement outside the hospital, waiting to be collected. Hamoud was placed among them.

Ali was still being treated; unaware that his son was dead. A group of men gathered around the small body – fighters and neighbours. Some of them wept quietly, leaning forward to kiss the boy’s forehead, others paced restlessly in grief and anger.

“Bashar al-Assad is a child killer,” said one, referring to the Syrian president.

The government accuses its opponents of being members of al-Qaeda, in the pay of foreign governments. With bitter irony one of the fighters asked, “What did this child do? Is he a terrorist? Was he armed?”

The conflict is now more than a year and a half old and, throughout, it has been civilians who have paid the heaviest price.

They are often trapped between the rebels and the army and many of them feel abandoned by what they see as an indifferent world.

Saving lives has never been so important and rarely so difficult and dangerous.

Syria conference postponed – The Irish Times: Organisers of a conference aimed at uniting the divided Syrian opposition said today it had been postponed until they can agree on fair representation of disparate groups.

The conference, which had been scheduled for Qatar from October 15th to 17th, was intended to reorganise the Syrian National Council, the main opposition bloc, and inject new blood into the organisation, which has struggled to win credibility as a democratic alternative to President Bashar al-Assad.

Wider representation could dilute the power of the Muslim Brotherhood, which has had de facto control over the Council since it was formed in Turkey in August last year, and assuage Western demands for Dr Assad’s foes to unite.

“The conference has been postponed for a maximum of 10 days. It will be a large gathering and we have to be prepared and come up with balances between the different groups,” veteran opposition figure George Sabra, one of a minority of secular figures in the Council, told Reuters.

Mr Sabra, speaking from Paris, is an ally of Riad al-Turk, the influential “grand old man” of the revolt who operates underground in Syria.

Another source directly involved in organising the conference said it aimed to bring 450 delegates under the Syrian National Council umbrella compared with 313 now, boosting representation of grassroots activists and women.

“The Muslim Brotherhood may end up having less than half of the delegates after the conference,” he said, adding that the SNC executive committee would be increased from 12 to 25 and the executive assembly from 50 to 60.

But the source, a Council official who did not want to be named, said Burhan Ghalioun, a former Council head who was forced to resign in May after mounting criticism in opposition circles that he had been president too long and was a stooge of the Muslim Brotherhood, could return as president.

“Ghalioun has strong backing from Qatar, which is a big deal and may return him as president,” the source said.

Western powers have criticised the Council as too fractious and influenced by Islamists, which has damaged its efforts to secure wider international recognition.

In Paris, French foreign minister Laurent Fabius said: “We want the opposition to unite. There will soon be a meeting in Doha and I met the SNC leader two days ago and I insisted on the need for union of all opponents as quickly as possible.”

The current Council president, Abdulbaset Sieda, said yesterday that reorganisation of the Council would precede crucial talks in the Qatari capital Doha with other opponents of Assad aimed at creating a Syrian transitional government.

But diplomats said the rift was widening between the Council and rebel forces inside Syria who have been gaining more territory in recent months.

“The external-based opposition has not gotten its act together till now,” an Arab diplomat said. “The rebel commander who will seize the presidential palace in Damascus is going to have the most say in the future Syria.”

NOW! Lebanon
[local time]   22:24 Rebels took control of a Syrian regime contingent in Daraa’s Gharez, Al-Jazeera television reported.
 22:21 The United States threw its backing behind Turkey Thursday as new tensions flared with Syria’s top ally, Russia, when Ankara forced a Syrian passenger jet to land for inspections.
 21:19 A powerful blast rocked the military justice building in Damascus on Thursday evening, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported, as state television spoke of a terrorist attack.
 21:04 The European Union is set to slap an assets freeze and travel ban on 28 Syrians and two firms in its 20th set of sanctions since the start of the conflict, EU diplomats said Thursday.
 20:49 Thursday’s death toll in Syria has risen to 120 people, Al-Jazeera television reported.
 20:48 French President Francois Hollande on Thursday warned of a risk of tensions rising between Syria and its neighbor Turkey, which he praised for showing restraint and preventing broader conflict.
 18:42 Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Thursday the cargo seized on a Syrian plane intercepted on its way from Moscow to Damascus carried military equipment and ammunition for the Syrian regime.
 17:58 Ankara sent Thursday a diplomatic note to Damascus over alleged military cargo it confiscated from a Syrian plane it had intercepted the day before on suspicions of illegal materials on board, Anatolia news agency reported.
 17:45 Thursday’s death toll in Syria has risen to 81 people, activists said.
 17:08 Ankara took all measures to ensure the safety of the passengers of a Syrian plane intercepted en route from Moscow to Damascus, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said Thursday to refute criticism of its handling of the incident.
 17:04 The Free Syrian Army “completely controls” the Homs’ neighborhood of Al-Khaldiyeh, Al-Arabiya quoted activists as saying.
 16:43 Plans are underway to provide shelter on two Greek islands for 20,000 Syrian refugees, Greece’s Public Order Ministry said on Thursday, while other officials said EU-level talks on the issue are ongoing.
 16:34 Syrian regime forces shelled the town of Dael in Daraa, Al-Arabiya television quoted activists as saying.
 16:20 Thursday’s death toll in Syria has risen to 56 people, most of them killed in Edleb, Al-Arabiya television quoted activists as saying.
 16:19 The UN’s chief humanitarian coordinators for Syria, on a Gulf tour to seek aid, have warned that already scarce resources for the growing number of displaced in the war-torn country are quickly drying up.
 16:06 Iraq’s Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said Thursday no arms were being smuggled across his country’s 600-kilometer border into conflict-torn Syria.
 16:03 Turkish Airlines has stopped using Syrian airspace on their flights, a company executive told Anatolia news agency Thursday, amid escalating tensions between Ankara and Damascus.
 14:35 Gunmen attacked a bus transporting Syrian workers at the Lebanon border on Thursday, killing eight passengers and wounding another eight, Syrian state television said.
 14:49 Thursday’s death toll has increased to 47, Al-Jazeera quoted activists as saying.
 14:44 Rebels on Thursday completely cut off the highway linking Damascus with the northern city of Aleppo, choking the flow of regime troops to battlefields in the north, an AFP reporter said.
 14:35 Eight people were killed in attack on a Syrian bus at the Lebanese border, SANA reported on Thursday.
 13:48 Damascus accused Ankara on Thursday of “hostile” behavior after a Syrian Air plane was intercepted by Turkish authorities en route from Moscow to Damascus and forced to land in Ankara.
 12:51 Thursday’s death toll in Syria has increased to 29 people, mostly killed in Damascus and Daraa, Al-Arabiya quoted activists as saying.
 11:34 Syrian Transport Minister Mahmoud Said said on Thursday that Turkey’s interception of a Syrian passenger plane amounted to an act of “air piracy,” Al-Manar television reported.
 11:32 Several people were killed and others injured in the shelling of the neighborhood of Qadi Askar in Aleppo, Al-Jazeera reported.
 11:29 Syria has stopped buying electricity from Turkey, Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz told reporters on Thursday.
 11:21 Dozens of people have died in battles between Syrian troops and rebels for strategic northern towns, a watchdog said Thursday, adding that war planes were bombing rebel belts in the central city of Homs.
 11:10 Syrian regime forces killed 16 people so far across Syria, Al-Jazeera quoted activists as saying.
 11:03 Clashes between regime forces and members of the rebel Free Syrian Army resumed in Maarat al-Naaman in the Edleb district, Al-Jazeera reported.
 10:19 Syrian security forces abducted several families in Damascus, Al-Arabiya quoted activists as saying.
 10:06 Syrian regime forces’ warplanes shelled Aleppo’s Sheikh Najjar, Al-Jazeera reported.
 8:52 MORNING LEADER: The Syrian regime rejected a UN call for a unilateral ceasefire on Wednesday as rebels confronted columns of tanks and troops sent to retake a town on the road to main battleground city Aleppo. Rebels also assaulted army positions in Aleppo’s Umayyad Mosque, sparking four hours of fighting outside and inside the 13th century place of worship.
 8:14 Syrian regime forces’ fighter jets raided several neighborhood in Aleppo amid continuous clashes with the Free Syrian Army, Al-Jazeera reported.
 8:10 Turkey seized “objectionable cargo” aboard a Syrian passenger plane which it intercepted en route from Moscow to Damascus on Wednesday, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said.
 7:33 Heavy clashes took place around the Homs neighborhood of Al-Khalidiya between regime forces and members of the rebel Free Syrian Army, Al-Jazeera reported.

Reuters: Turkey says Syrian plane carried Russian munitions

ISTANBUL – Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday a Syrian passenger plane forced to land in Ankara was carrying Russian-made munitions destined for Syria’s armed forces, ratcheting up tension with his country’s war-torn neighbor. | Video

EU prepares new Syria sanctions, targets arms industry: BRUSSELS – The EU will toughen up its sanctions on Syria’s arms industry and bar more of its officials from travelling to Europe in order to crimp President Bashar al-Assad’s access to cash, diplomats said on Thursday.

Syrian opposition delays “unity” meeting: AMMAN – Organisers of a conference aimed at uniting the divided Syrian opposition said on Thursday it had been postponed until they can agree on fair representation of disparate groups.
Syrians flee across river to Turkey as battle rages: HACIPASA, Turkey – Syrian refugees fleeing across a narrow river into Turkey spoke of chaos and confusion as Syrian government forces battled rebels for control of the border area around their home town of Azmarin on Thursday.
Turkey says Syria halts power imports, network damaged: KAYSERI, Turkey – Syria had stopped electricity imports from Turkey while it repairs its power network and there is no political reason for the interruption of the supplies, which last year met a fifth of Syrian needs, Turkish officials said.

Guardian: Turkey accuses Russia of supplying Syria with munitions

11 Oct 2012: Turkish prime minister’s claims contradict Russian denial that plane forced to land in Ankara was carrying military equipment

Syria: who’s backing who?: 11 Oct 2012: Regime can rely on supply of weapons from Russia, while material support for rebels is mostly fragmented and scarce