Wednesday 6 July 2011

Syrian Uprising 2011 Information Centre

SUMMARY (6/7/2011): Ghaddafi showed the world the longest Libyan flag a few days ago while he was shauting and calling people to look at his supporters in the Green sq. Today, Assad showed the world the longest Syrian flag of 2.5 km in Aleppo today. He didn’t shout though. The sound of his tanks is loud enough. See the map for more info. Syria – Wednesday 06/07/2011

ALEPPO (@ 10.45pm UK time): Massive demonstrations took off from Tal Rifaat area, estimated number: 1500 protesters, they were dispersed by force by security forces and shabiha (regime’s armed thugs), about 8 wounded from beating with batons and teargas.

Razaniyat: The singer of this song, Ibrahim Qashoush, was killed by security forces in Hama:…#Syria. This his body (graphic) – he was going to work when the regime’s thugs kidnapped him, killed him and dumped his body in Assi river. See what they did to his throat:

HAMA (6/7/2011) : [@7.15pm UK time] Hama: Gunshot took place at Mazrab Bridge area for an hour during that two people got injured and were taken to Horani hospital and one young man got arrested.

The city is still under siege while people woke up today with no electricity and water. A general strike is taking place all over Hama in honour of the 22 martyrs who were shot dead by security forces yesterday. The people from Hama announced that the protests wont stop untill the fall of the regime.Hama, 6/7/2011

24 Martyrs in Hama for the past two days: After sacking the mayor of Hama and bringing back General Mohamad Mofleh (rumors he was imprisoned) – the head of military security branch and responsible for the death of 70 people in one day in Hama – the residents of Hama have been warned about their city to be next on the list of raided cities…

Hama (5/7/2011): Syrian security forces (or as we prefer to call them, thugs). This was Hama yesterday but there have been similar scenes – and worse – in many other towns and cities across Syria (Daraa, Lattakia, Duma, Homs, Jableh, Baniyas, Tal Kalakh, Jisr ash-Shughur, Damascus, Jabal Zawiyah etc). The man’s fate is unknown. Hama 5/7/2011
























NOW! Lebanon
[local time]22:14 An anti-regime rally has started in Damascus’ Hajar al-Aswad area. (F.N.N.)
A rally broke out in Homs’ Deir Baalba area in support of Hama. (F.N.N.)
Mass rallies in support of Hama have started in the Edleb district towns of Sarmeen and Jabal az-Zawiya. (F.N.N.)
Demonstrations have started in the southern village of Adwan and the nearby town of Dael in support of Hama. (F.N.N.)
Gunfire can be heard at the Mazarib Bridge leading into the city of Hama. (F.N.N.)
A rally broke out in Bayyada in Hama calling for the end of the security forces’ blockade of the city. (F.N.N.)
A rally broke out in Al-Tall, outside of Damascus, with demonstrators calling for the regime’s fall. (F.N.N.)
20:03 The Local Coordination Committees of Syria (@LccSY) tweets that demonstrations are being held in the Sakhour, Karem Maysour and Moghayra neighborhoods of Aleppo.
19:20 A YouTube video purportedly filmed on Wednesday shows protesters rallying in Homs in support of Hama.
19:07 A rally broke out in Homs on Wednesday in support of Hama. (F.N.N.)
19:01 A pro-Bashar al-Assad rally took place in Kaswa, outside Damascus. All the participants in the demonstrators were bused into the town. Security forces shot at anti-regime protesters in the town. (S.N.N)
17:41 Security forces raided the town of Damir, which is outside Damascus. (S.N.N)
17:21 Security forces shot at protesters in the Qousour neighborhood in Hama; many individuals were reportedly wounded. (S.N.N)
14:24 Power has been cut off in most of the neighborhoods in the city of Hama. (S.N.N)
14:06 Security forces are heavily deployed in Daraa al-Mahatta and Daraa al-Balad. (S.N.N)
14:04 There are reports of snipers in the Edleb town of Kansafra. (S.N.N)
13:36 Security forces continue raiding houses in Edleb’s Kfar Nabl. (S.N.N)
13:33 Security forces arrested on Wednesday morning a man identified as Ahmad Mezeel al-Musalima, who is the owner of a bakery in the city of Daraa. (S.N.N)
13:30 Security forces set up checkpoints in the Homs area of Qassir and are arresting people. (S.N.N)
12:38 Around 1500 people are protesting against the Syrian regime in the Homs neighborhood of Qassir. (S.N.N)
11:40 A YouTube video purportedly filmed on Tuesday night in the city of Zabadani, which is near Damascus, shows hundreds of people marching and chanting, “Long live Syria and let Bashar al-Assad fall.”
11:35 A YouTube video purportedly filmed on Tuesday night in the city of Abu Kamal shows dozens of people gathered to protest against the regime.
11:28 A YouTube video purportedly filmed on Tuesday night in the Hama cities of Kanar and Kafranboudi shows people marching to protest against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s decision to sack the governor of Hama.
11:25 A YouTube video purportedly filmed on Tuesday night in the Homs neighborhood of Waar shows dozens of people gathered chanting, “The people of Homs are with Hama until death.”
11:24 A YouTube video purportedly filmed on Tuesday night in the city of Zamalka, which is near Damascus, shows hundreds of people vowing to support Hama and praising the protestors who were killed in recent events.
11:16 A YouTube video purportedly filmed on Tuesday night in the city of Qatna, which is near Damascus, shows hundreds of anti-regime protestors gathered to support the city of Hama.
11:12 A YouTube video purportedly filmed on Tuesday night in the city of Qamishly shows dozens of people marching and cursing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
11:05 A YouTube video purportedly filmed on Tuesday night in Latakia shows hundreds of people gathered calling for bringing down the Syrian regime.
11:00 A YouTube video purportedly filmed on Tuesday night in the Damascus neighborhood of Kaswa shows dozens of people marching chanting, “The regime has collapsed.”
10:30 A YouTube video purportedly filmed on Tuesday night in the Edleb city of Saraqeb shows hundreds of people gathered chanting in support of Hama.
10:00 A YouTube video purportedly filmed on Tuesday night in the Damascus neighborhood of Barza al-Balad shows hundreds of people gathered chanting against the regime.
9:40 A YouTube video purportedly filmed on Tuesday night in Daraa shows tens of people marching and chanting, “Long live Syria and let Bashar al-Assad fall.”
9:16 Syrian troops killed at least 22 people in a crackdown they launched in the flashpoint central city of Hama on Tuesday, a human rights group said.
7:52 Amnesty International on Wednesday accused the Syrian regime of committing crimes against humanity during a deadly crackdown over a pro-democracy protest in the border town of Tall Kalakh

Reuters: Syrian forces round up dozens in Hama
Syrian forces rounded up dozens of people around Hama on Wednesday, a day after shooting dead 22 people, activists said, and Amnesty International said Syria may have committed crimes against humanity in an earlier crackdown.

Tanks were still stationed outside Hama, which has seen some of the biggest protests against President Bashar al-Assad and was the site of a bloody crackdown against Islamist insurgents nearly 30 years ago.

But some of the tanks were redeployed away from the city and a resident said security forces were concentrated around the headquarters of the ruling Baath Party, the police headquarters and a state security compound. Most arrests took place in the outskirts of the city.

Ammar Qurabi, Cairo-based head of the Syrian National Human Rights Organization, said the death toll from Tuesday, when gunmen loyal to Assad swept through the city, had risen to 22.

He said hundreds of people had been arrested.

Rami Adbelrahman of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 23 people had died in Hama in the last 24 hours, and that an opposition figure in the city had reported water and electricity supplies were cut to the city on Wednesday morning.

State news agency SANA said one policeman had been killed in a clash with armed groups who opened fire on security forces and threw petrol and nail bombs at them. It made no mention of civilian deaths but said some “armed men” were injured.

Syria has prevented most independent media from operating inside the country, making it difficult to verify accounts from activists and authorities.

Hama was emptied of security forces for nearly a month after at least 60 protesters were shot dead on June 3, but the security vacuum emboldened demonstrators and on Friday activists said at least 150,000 people rallied to demand Assad’s downfall.

The next day Assad sacked the provincial governor and sent tanks and troops to surround the city, signaling a military assault similar to those carried out in other protest centers.

In a report released on Wednesday, Amnesty International said the crackdown two months ago against one of those protest centers — the town of Tel Kelakh near the border with Lebanon — may have constituted a crime against humanity.

Urging the United Nations to refer Syria to the International Criminal Court, it said nine people died in custody after being captured during the operation in the town, close to the Lebanese border.


Describing a “devastating security operation”, it said scores of men were rounded up, and most of them were tortured.

Some detainees told Amnesty they were beaten and tied by the wrists to a bar high enough off the ground to force them to stand on the tip of their toes for long periods — known as the shabah, meaning ghost, position.

A 22-year-old man told Amnesty he was tied up in the shabah position had electric shocks applied to his body and testicles during five days of detention in the provincial capital Homs.

“Amnesty International considers that crimes committed in Tel Kelakh amount to crimes against humanity as they appear to be part of a widespread, as well as systematic, attack against the civilian population,” it said.

Syrian activists say security forces have killed more than 1,300 civilians since the unrest erupted 14 weeks ago. Authorities say 500 soldiers and police have been killed by armed gangs who they also blame for most of the civilian deaths.

Assad has responded to the protests with a mixture of repression and concessions, promising a political dialogue with the opposition. Preliminary talks on the dialogue are due to be held on Sunday.

But opposition figures refuse to sit down and talk while the killings and arrests continue, and diplomats say events in Hama will be a litmus test for whether Assad chooses to focus on a political or a military solution to the unrest.

Some residents sought to halt any military advance earlier this week by blocking roads between neighborhoods with rubbish containers, burning tyres, wood and metal.

The New York-based group Human Rights Watch (HRW) said it had been told by an official at Hama’s Hourani hospital that security forces surrounded the hospital on Tuesday, although they did not enter it, as it received the bodies of four people and treated 60 others with gunshot wounds.

“Security forces have responded to protest with the brutality that’s become familiar over the past several months.” said Sarah Leah Whitson, HRW’s Middle East director.

CNN: At least 16 dead after protests in the Syrian city of Hama

At least 16 people have been killed over the last two days in and around the Syrian town of Hama, which a human rights group described Wednesday as the “latest city to fall victim to President Bashar al-Assad’s security forces.”

Human Rights Watch reported that the crackdown by security forces and pro-government armed groups known as “shabiha” began after a huge peaceful demonstration Friday.

The group, a humanitarian watchdog agency, said the forces “raided homes,” opened fire and “set up checkpoints” in and around the restive city, the site of a deadly military clampdown nearly 30 years ago.

“Hama is the latest city to fall victim to President Bashar al-Assad’s security forces despite his promises that his government would tolerate peaceful protests,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “Security forces have responded to protests with the brutality that’s become familiar over the past several months.”

Residents said at least 16 people were killed and dozens more were wounded, Human Rights Watch said. It said the National Organization for Human Rights, a Syrian group, reported 22 deaths.

Rami Abdulrahman of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 14 people were killed and 40 people were wounded in the reported clashes on Tuesday alone in the Hama area and that electricity and water had been shut off.

“Syria’s security forces still believe they can shoot their own people into submission,” Whitson said. “But their bloody tactics only serve to deepen the gap between citizens and the institutions that are supposed to protect them.”

Hama is beacon of resistance 30 years on from massacre
Security forces encircle Syria’s fourth-largest city – a focal point of nationwide revolution – for fourth day

Residents of Syria‘s fourth-largest city, Hama, continue to challenge the government’s authority in a tense standoff with security forces who have encircled the city for a fourth consecutive day, and were shutting down power and water supplies to most neighbourhoods of the city.

The death toll from the siege of Hama had by Wednesday night reached 28, with dozens more wounded, according to residents and activists. One resident told the Guardian he had counted 93 tanks on the outskirts of the city – an indicator of what may lie ahead if Hama’s 800,000 people continue to defy the regime’s leaders in Damascus.

After four months of almost daily uprisings across Syria, Hama has become a focal point of a nationwide revolution. Residents claim they are standing up to the might of President Bashar al-Assad’s military with rocks, slingshots and some light weapons.

They suggest that the regime no longer knows what to do with Hama, which it has at times during the past two months saturated with troops and at other times abandoned.[…]

After 41 years, Syria begins to imagine a future without an Assad in charge
These are strange times in Damascus – where all appears normal on the surface but dark undercurrents swirl just beneath

[…] The uprising has been driven by the rural areas, which the Ba’ath party represented when it came to power but neglected as it mingled with the urban elite over time. Official exchange rates are 10% out as the Syrian pound falls in value. Black market traders are quickly clamped down on. Tourism has disappeared.

Meanwhile, the prices of basics such as eggs and sugar have shot up, and long queues form for petrol after the price was dropped, leading to rumoured shortages.

One trader, propped up on a stool in a shady spot in his carpet shop in the old city, says he has made no money this week. “This is hurting the regime’s last support base,” he says.

Disgruntled Damascenes bemoan the heavy security presence – themukhabarat are everywhere. A cafe customer happily mocking the president suddenly notices a man watching. A second sits down at the next table, wearing a T-shirt and a baseball cap, both imprinted with the president’s face. The mocker quickly points to a TV screening a pro-Assad rally and loudly says how amazing – but expected – the huge crowds are, playing to his audience, before quickly leaving.

“This country does not belong to Assad and we need to make that clear,” he says outside. “Damascus’s day will come because the whole country, including here, has already witnessed a revolution in horizons and aspirations.”