Syria Update, December 12, 2012

Syria Update December 11, 2012. (Institute of Middle Eastern, Islamic and Strategic Studies. By Sherifa Zuhur)

Early death toll: 62

Yesterday’s Death toll: 262 killed (al-Arabiyya) 163 killed (LCC)

Scud missiles were fired from Damascus province into the north of the country according to two unnamed US officials: http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/official-syria-fires-scud-missiles-at-insurgents-in-the-north/2012/12/12/8774e50c-448a-11e2-8c8f-fbebf7ccab4e_story.html

Syrians are dying from lack of medicine and medical treatments in addition to shellings from Assad’s air force and snipers’ bullets.

http://www.irinnews.org/Report/97011/SYRIA-Healthcare-system-crumbling

Aleppo province: 2 opposition fighters and 2 civilians died as a result of shrapnel wounds or in clashes with the regime forces in al-Nayrab and al-Hawoot. Clashes took place in al-Sakhour and near the al-Kendi hospital. The regime forces moved into the hospital last night. Rockets were shot at the al-Sabil neighborhood. The regime forces shelled the Bani Zayd, Layramoun and Sakhour neighborhoods.

The Syrian governmental forces shelled the town of Qubtan al-Jabal and Mare`. In Mare’ 3 civilians were killed including a child. The regime shelling of al-Sfeira killed 6 civilians including 3 children and a woman.

In Jarablus, which is FSA-held: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bvUZ-0850EM&feature=player_embedded

Yesterday, the opposition shelled the al-Shaykh Maqsoud neighborhood which is mostly home to Syrian Kurds and displaced civilians. Two shells hit near Dar al-Sha`b and killed 3 children and a man and 19 civilians were wounded in additional mortar shelling of the neighborhood.

Damascus province: Today, an explosion targeted the front of the Ministry of the Interior in Kafrsousa and killed and wounded 25. An IED exploded in al-Mazzeh 86 and is thought to be motivated by sectarian hatred. A rocket shot into the Yarmouk camp killed 2 men. Clashes resumed on Thalatheen street. Heavy gunfire was reported in al-Qaboun and clashes took place in al-Tadamoun. The regime forces shelled the southern neighborhoods. Activists sealed off a road in al-Baramkeh on Tuesday to protest against the massacres Assad’s forces have committed in Syria’s cities

1 opposition fighter was killed near the department of Motor Vehicles between Harasta and Irbeen. Tuesday, fierce fighting took place at the same location as the FSA confronted governmental military forces
The Syrian regime forces shelled the town of Daraya, killing 8 men. The regime forces killed 5 people in the shelling of Irbeen. Those dead include a man, his brother and his 3 sons. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wzJSKtsMe_U&feature=youtu.be

Dara`a province: The Syrian military shelled the towns of Keheel and al-Ghariyya al-Gharbiyya, killing an adult and a child in the latter. The regime forces detained and then tortured to death a man from the town of Deir Bakht.

Deir az-Zur province: 4 opposition fighters were killed in clashes near the Deir az-Zur military airport. 7 opposition fighters died in various areas of the city of Deir az-Zur; one of these was an opposition leader.

Hama province:

An explosion in the Akrad Ibrahim neighborhood of Aqrab killed between 125 and 150 civilians and damaged houses on Tuesday. Almost all killed are Alawites. Aqrab is near the town of Houla where a massacre took place on May 25, 2012.

http://www.lemonde.fr/proche-orient/article/2012/12/11/attentats-dans-un-village-alaouite-en-syrie-plus-de-125-victimes_1804817_3218.html

Three explanations are circulating.
1) Ten pro-regime Alawi gunmen barricaded themselves in houses of civilians. A delegation including 2 shaykhs and a retired officer came to negotiate the release of the civilians, and then the delegation was prevented from leaving. Clashes broke out between the Alawi gunmen and opposition fighters from Houla, then explosions led to the civilian casualties.
2) Explosions were set off near the homes of Syrian Alawites of the town.
3) The pro-regime militiamen held the Alawite civilians hostage in the buildings and when the opposition tried to free them, the explosions were set off killing the civilians.

Hassakeh province: Clashes took place in Ra’s al `Ayn between Kurdish fighters of the PYD and the opposition’s Ahrar Ghweiran brigade, injuring five of the latter, who were transported to Turkey for treatment.

Idlib province: The Syrian regime forces raided the town of Benin which is near Ma`arat al-Nu`man and shelled it using artillery. Clashes took place between regular and opposition troops from several factions including the Nusra Front near the Wadi al-Dayf military base and the Za`lana checkpoint and 3 military vehicles were destroyed.
Tuesday, 6 regular soldiers defected from the Wadi al-Dayf military base. The Nusra Front and other opposition fighters have surrounded the base and clashes took place there. The regime’s airforce bombarded Ma`arat al-Nu`man, the town of Ma’arshamsha, and the town of Deir Sanbal.

Raqqah province: The regime forces shelled the Sabahiyya neighborhood of the city of Raqqah. Opposition fighters attacked a military motorcade passing near Mansoura. The regime forces shelled the village of Safsaf.

International:

Tuesday, Syrian governmental forces shelled across the border, destroying two houses in the village of al-Tufayl, Lebanon.

U.S. President Barack Obama has recognized the Syrian National Coalition, saying that the group must organize itself effectively and be committed to a transition respecting the rights of women and minorities. He also said the al-Nusra Front was connected to al-Qa’ida. http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/OTUS/exclusive-president-obama-recognizes-syrian-opposition-group/story?id=17936599#.UMgNZGAuihY

Greece expelled the Syria ambassador and two Syrian diplomats from the country. Greece shut its own embassy in Damascus about 5 months ago.
The Syrian government has issued an arrest for the ex-prime minister of Lebanon, Saad Hariri accusing him of sending weapons to the Syrian opposition. http://gulftoday.ae/portal/f1249ad4-2b99-44ae-b766-0b3c7085c3c8.aspx
Human Rights Watch accused the Syrian government of using incendiary bombs in at least 4 locations since mid-November. http://www.hrw.org/news/2012/12/12/syria-incendiary-weapons-used-populated-areas
Shaykh al-Thani, prime minister and foreign minister of Qatar has called on Bashar al-Assad to step down to avoid more bloodshed.

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