Syria Update, October 9, 2012 (Institute of Middle Eastern, Islamic and Strategic Studies. By Sherifa Zuhur)
Early death toll: 106 were killed.
Yesterday’s (Monday) revised death toll: More than 210 killed including 106 unarmed civilians.
Insights: Casualties are again rising and bear in mind these death tolls underreport casualties which previously indicated a high rise in daily deaths, beginning in August with the Syrian government’s efforts to “wipe out” the opposition, which has failed. As a purely anecdotal observation, interest in the conflict outside of Syria is waning – the attention span, even of regional news-watchers is very limited. The opposition is trying, desperately, to keep Syria alive in the news by pointing to human rights issues, survival needs of refugees, but news about the riots provoked by “Innocence of the Muslims” and even by cross-border hostilities between Turkey and Syria far outweighs the interest in this now-lingering conflict. NATO has pledged its intent to defend Turkey in a conflict, although it would rather not, http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/10/09/us-nato-turkey-rasmussen-idUSBRE8980FH20121009
but will not intervene on a humanitarian basis otherwise. With Turkish fighter jets now at the border, a broader conflict is possible. While Lakhdar Brahimi has unveiled no new strategy, many voices have stated their readiness to accept Syria’s vice president, Farouk Shara`a as an acceptable leader, should anyone (Russia? China? Iran? Other Syrian regime supporters?) be able to convince Bashar al-Assad to step down and exit the country.
The first official refugee camp inside of Syria for internally-displaced civilians opened today close to the Turkish border. Refugees arrived from Atme by bus. 40,000 square meters of land have been purchased for the camp which is to house 5,000 persons. http://www.france24.com/en/20121009-first-formal-displaced-persons-camp-opens-inside-syria
Turkey has once again warned Syria that it will retaliate against any strike against its citizens or territory, and has sent fighter jets to the border.
An opposition official, Jamal al-Wadi claimed in Okaz that Hizbullah fighters are actively fighting in Syria and that some are pretending to be PFLP-GC fighters by wearing their clothing (who have been clashing with the opposition in the last few months). Hizbullah’s media responded saying merely that this claim is all “lies.” http://www.english.moqawama.org/essaydetails.php?eid=20674&cid=258
Aleppo province: The Syrian military shelled the neighborhoods of Bustan al-Basha, al-Fayd, Tariq al-Bab, al-Halk, al-Itha’a, Masaken Hanano, Karm al-Jabal, al-Sha’ar, al-Heidariya, al-Hamdaniya, al-Qaterji, Qadi Askar, al-Sukari, al-Sakhour, and al-Shaykh Khudr. Fierce clashes took place in the Sleiman al-Halabi neighborhood. Protesters marched in the neighbourhoods of al-Ashrafiya, al-Firdaws and al-Mghaye calling for the fall of the regime and in solidarity with Syria’s other besieged cities.
The Syrian military shelled al-Bab, al-Msfeira, Maskana, and Tal Ref`at causing a death in Mseifra. A child died from his wounds in the shelling of A’ndan.
Damascus province: 25 burned bodies were discovered between al-Qadam and al-Daraya. The Syrian military shelled al-Qadam and al-Asali following lengthy clashes in the Bor Sa`id area of al-Qadam.
A double suicide attack hit air force intelligence security buildings in Harasta and the fate of prisoners held in the building is unknown. http://www.ndtv.com/article/world/dozens-killed-in-double-suicide-attack-near-damascus-ngo-277405
The Syrian military shelled Sayyida Zeinab and the city of Duma. The Syrian military carried out raids in Deir al-A’safir and killed 4 there as they stormed the town. An unidentified corpse marked by torture, was found in Babila.
Dara`a province: The Syrian military heavily shelled the town of al-Ghara al-Sharqiya. Gun fire emanating from the checkpoints in the towns of Busra al-Harir, Izre’ and Namer was reported. An unidentified body was discovered in al-Karak al-Sharqi. The Syrian military heavily shelled al-Yaduda.
Deir az-Zur province: Clashes took place in the city of Bukamal.
Hama province: The Syrian military shot 2 civilians from the town of Qastoun at a checkpoint. The Syrian military shelled the town of Kafrzeita.
Homs province: At least 400 Syrians from the area of al-Qusayr have fled to Lebanon over the last 24 hours, crossing by foot, motorbike and donkey over heavily-mined territory near the border. The Syrian military shelled the towns of al-Hula, Talbisa, and al-Bawaida al-Sharqiyya.
In the city of Homs, violent clashes between the opposition and the Syrian military took place at the edges of Homs al-Qadima and al-Khalidiyya neighborhoods. The Syrian military have been trying to recapture al-Kalidiyya and have repeatedly announced in the media that they have taken al-Khalidiyya in the last few days.
Idlib province: The Syrian military shelled the town of Ihsem and heavily shelled the town of Sarmin. Rebel fighters took control of the city of Ma’arat al-Nu’man after clashes that lasted for 48 hours. Some Syrian forces surrendered and some defected, the opposition has promised that there will be no executions. Regime forces used helicopters and fighter airplanes to shell the outskirts of the Wadi al-Deif camp in Ma`aret al-Nu’man. The Syrian military shelled the towns of al-Bara, al-Bsheiriya, al-Hamama, al-Kastan and Meshemshan. Violent clashes occurred in Fariq Darkoush, which has been, for the most part, under opposition control.
Latakia province: Heavy clashes took place between the Syrian military and the opposition in Jabal al-Turkman and Nahiet Rabi`a. The Syrian military shelled al-Haffa and the villages around it, Jabal al-Turkman and the town of Sharqaq.
al-Raqqa province: The Syrian military shelled the village of Hamam al-Turkman.
President Bashar al-Assad appointed Sattam Jadan al-Dandah as Ambassador to Iraq to replace Nawaf Fares who defected from Bashar al-Assad’s government in July.
International: The United Nations’ Ban Ki-Moon demanded that the international community call an end to the war in Syria. Meanwhile, U.S. President Barak Obama has pledged support for the Syrian people who oppose Bashar al-Assad. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/25/syria-un-ban-ki-moon_n_1914691.html
Venezuela’s president Hugo Chavez says he supports Syria’s government, called the Syrian opposition “terrorists” drawing parallels to Libya, and blamed the United States as one of those responsible for the violence.