Syria Update October 28, 2012

Syria Update October 28, 2012 (Institute of Middle Eastern, Islamic and Strategic Studies. By Sherifa Zuhur)

Early death toll: 113 killed including 39 unarmed civilians.
Amended death toll for Saturday: More than 120 killed.

Hizbullah began an offensive in mid-October on the Syrian side of the Lebanese border against the opposition. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/hezbollah-crosses-syrian-border-with-bloody-assault-on-assads-enemies-8227316.html?printService=print

Aleppo province: Opposition fighters freed 120 Syrian-Kurdish civilians whom they had detained 2 days ago near the town of Hayyan. This had followed clashes between the Kurdish popular defense units under the control of the Democratic Union Party and the opposition which had caused many casualties.The Syrian military shelled the Haydariyya and Masaken Hanano neighborhoods.The Liwa Asifat al-Shamal armed group has apparently seized Lebanese journalist Fidaa Itani, in the Aleppo suburbs. The group issued a statement saying it had “arrested” the journalist.The Syrian opposition took control of the Syrian government’s air force intelligence office in Aleppo.

Damascus province: Syrian fighter jets bombarded the suburbs of eastern Damascus, all Sunni Muslim neighborhoods. Large explosions were heard as huge plumes of smoke appeared from Russian-made warplanes bombing Irbin, Harasta and Zamalka. A huge explosion rocked a police academy in the neighborhood of Barza in Damascus. A car bomb blew up in the area of al-Jameyaat outside Damascus. Clashes took place in al-Hajar al-Aswad.

Electricity, water and communications have been cut off in Harasta and dozens of the wounded were moved from the Harasta National Hospital.

The al-Nusra Front denied responsibility for Friday’s attack on a residential area that had housed police officers and their families and which broke the Eid ceasefire, and blamed the Syrian regime for the bombing.The opposition took control of three military posts in Douma and killed four Syrian soldiers at another checkpoint.

Dar`a province: Syrian military shelling by air of the cities in Dara`a today, including Da’el.

Deir az-Zur province: Syrian military forces bombarded the cities of Deir az-Zur and Abu Kamal today. They shelled al-Joubeila and Al-Roushdiya in Deir az-Zur.

Hama province: A demonstration was held in Kafar Zeita today.Homs province: The Syrian military shelled al-Dar al-Kabira.

Idlib province: The FSA announced it has taken control of the city of Salqeen, which has been the last stronghold of the Syrian government’s millitary forces and 50 soldiers were killed or captured there.The Syrian military carried out airstrikes on in the village of Al-Bara in Jabal al-Zawiya, killing 16 persons including 7 children and 4 women. The Syrian military also bombarded al-Bahra and Kafrouma, causing casualties and injuries.70 Syrian army soldiers turned themselves in to the Turkish border guards at a checkpoint outside of Idlib according to al-Jazeera.Suwaida province: Security forces carried out a campaign of mass arrests in the city of Suwaida, including of a 13 year old boy.Concerns about salafists vs. non-salafists (or secularists) in the opposition have been overstated in much of the media in order to diminish support for the opposition. Tracing the source of these concerns is essential. Nonetheless am including this portrayal, although it focuses on the former rather than the latter trend http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-20079317Demonstration in Qamishli http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CnpTsHLSV7Q

IHH, a Turkish Islamic humanitarian agency obtained and posted a photograph of Cuneyt Unal, a Turkish journalist who worked for al-Hurra and who went missing in Syria on August 20th. The photo was dated October 24th and showed Unal in good health although thinner. IHH is the owner of the Mavi Marmara aid ship which attempted to travel to Gaza. http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/10/28/us-syria-crisis-turkey-cameraman-idUSBRE89R07B20121028

Borders: Fighting continued in the town of Haram on Sunday.International: Saudi Arabian police broke up a protest by hundreds of Syrian pilgrims walking toward the Jamarat Bridge in Mina on Sunday to demand the overthrow of President Bashar al-Assad and denouncing the world’s failure to stop the bloodshed.  No-one was hurt. http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/sns-rt-us-saudi-haj-protestbre89r0a7-20121028,0, al-Toushe.” He was a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in 1999 and is considered to be a supporter of Bashar al-Assad and not of the opposition.

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