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Syria Blog

Updates on the situation in Syria, as attacks on ISIL by the US and its allies add a new dimension to the civil war that began in 2011 and has killed more than 190,000 people.



  • شبكة حلب نيوز اا لحظة سقوط البراميل المتفجرة على حي مساكن هنانو 11 / 3 / 2014
    by شبكة حلب نيوز via YouTube

    This video uploaded to YouTube, is said to show a barrel bomb being dropped on Hanano in Aleppo.

    Al Jazeera cannot independently verify the content of this video.
  • Three people were wounded in a cross-border rocket attack launched from Syria that targeted a Hezbollah-dominated area of eastern Lebanon.

    "Three rockets from Syria fell in and around the Nabi Sheet village" in the eastern Bekaa Valley, a Lebanese army statement said.
    [AFP]
  • Fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant executed at least 22 people, including 12 rebels, in the north of the country, a monitoring group has said.

    "ISIL members executed at least 22 persons with firearms or knives, after taking control of Shuyukh outside the town of Jarabulus" in Aleppo province, Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, told AFP.

    Among those killed were "at least 12 armed rebels," he said.

    At least 3,300 persons have been killed in an offensive against ISIL, according to the Britain-based Observatory, which relies on activists and other sources inside Syria.
    [AFP]


  • Lebanon immunises Syria children against polio

  • Polio Campaign in Syria at the Al Othman medical center in Damascus, which is run by the Syrian Arab Red Crescent and supported by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent societies (IFRC).
    Limar, a 15-day old baby girl displaced from Rural Damascus gets polio vaccination, following the national polio-vaccination campaign. [IFRC]
    Limar gets a polio vaccination from Dr. Tarek of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent health department. [IFRC]
    A 5-year old displaced boy gets polio vaccination from Dr. Tarek. [IFRC]
    Dr. Tarek from the Syrian Arab Red Crescent health department and Dr. Jeyathesan Kulasingam, the Health Delegate of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent societies in Syria, visit a woman who is treated by kidney machine at Al Othman medical center in Damascus. [IFRC]
    Dr. Tarek from the Syrian Arab Red Crescent health department and Dr. Jeyathesan Kulasingam, the Health Delegate of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent societies in Syria, check the pharmacy of the clinic. [IFRC]
    Dr. Tarek and Dr. Jeyathesan Kulasingam visit the dialysis room at Al Othman medical center in Damascus.  [IFRC]
     
     

    1 of 6








  • Syria's chemical weapons that should be destroyed outside the country could be removed by April 13, a Russian Foreign Ministry official has said adding there was no need to adjust the time-frame.

    "If there are no difficulties then in a month, on April 13, the removal will be practically finished," Mikhail Ulyanov was quoted as saying by RIA news agency on Friday.

    [Reuters] 
  • Syria's Foreign Minister is receiving medical treatment at the American University of Beirut

    Walid Muallem is undergoing routine test, after experiencing shortness of breath, and is in stable condition.

    Muallem is a heavy cigar smoker. 

  • Syria chemical weapons 'could go in a month'

    Russian foreign ministry says weapons that should be destroyed outside of the country could be removed by April 13.
  • Ex-Guantanamo man in UK court on Syria 'terror' charges

    A former Guantanamo Bay detainee has appeared in a London court charged with providing "terrorist" training  and funding in Syria.

     Moazzam Begg appeared on Friday at the Old Bailey, England's central criminal court, via videolink from the top-security Belmarsh prison in southeast London.

    The 45-year-old, from Birmingham in central England, spoke only to confirm his name. He has denied all the charges.

    Judge Nigel Sweeney set a formal plea hearing date for July 18 at the Old Bailey with a trial, expected to last two weeks, provisionally set for October 6.

    Begg, who was arrested last month at his home, spent three years at the US detention camp at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba before being released without charge in 2005.

    It is alleged that between July 14 and August 8 last year, Begg was involved in an arrangement involving money or other property "knowing or having reasonable cause to suspect that it would be or might be used for the purposes of terrorism". [AFP]
  • Syria says UN envoy 'exceeded authority' in vote plan criticism

    The Syrian government has said that the UN-Arab League envoy had overstepped his role as mediator by criticising plans to hold a presidential election amid the civil war.

    "The comments of Lakhdar Brahimi about the presidential election do not fall within the framework of his mission," state television quoted Information Minister Omran Zohbi as saying on Friday.

    "Brahimi must respect his role as mediator, and be honest and impartial.  His comments exceeded his authority," Zohbi said.

    Brahimi had expressed concern that going ahead with a planned presidential election in the coming months could make further peace negotiations impossible.

    "If there is an election, my suspicion is the opposition, all the oppositions, will probably not be interested in talking to the government," Brahimi told the UN Security Council.

    Syria's parliament approved a law Thursday that would effectively bar any member of the exiled opposition from running in the election, virtually guaranteeing that President Bashar al-Assad would win another seven-year term. [AFP]
  • New law paves way for re-election of Syria's Assad

    Syria's exiled opposition will be barred from a presidential vote to be held before July, virtually ensuring Bashar al-Assad's re-election three years into an uprising against his family's four-decade rule.

    The opposition has repeatedly insisted that Assad must step down as part of any peace agreement.

    Assad has not announced his candidacy but is widely expected to seek another seven-year term.
  • Syria anniversary: the psychopaths are unstoppable - Telegraph

    Telegraph.co.ukThree years after it began, the civil war has become a nightmare of barbarity and carnage, reports Richard Spencer in an impassioned dispatch from the province of Aleppo




  • Human Rights Watch has called on all sides in the Syria conflict to "immediately release everyone they have arbitrarily arrested, abducted, and detained in the last three years". 

    “After almost three years, the Security Council finally adopted a resolution demanding the release of detainees, but that has brought no relief to the many detainees in Syria’s dungeons,” said Nadim Houry, deputy Middle East director of Human Rights Watch.

    “Both the government and armed groups need to stop throwing people in detention and free everyone they are arbitrarily holding.

  • ِActivists say five people have been killed and several injured in Ehsim village in Jabal al-Zawiyah in southern Idlib, after a government aerial attack.
  • Syrian forces and Hezbollah fighters gain full control of Yabroud

    Read Al Jazeera's full report here. 

  • Jordanian border guards clashed with and arrested four people as they tried to enter the country illegally from  war-torn Syria, the army said.

    The army added three other people "who are members of groups fighting in Syria have voluntarily handed themselves over to the border guards."

    "The three men hold Jordanian nationality as well as the nationality of an Arab country," the army said in a statement, without giving details. 
    [AFP]
  • A group of Lebanese lawyers will be filing a lawsuit for the arrest and prosecution of Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem, who is recuperating from an open heart surgery in Beirut, on charges of killing Lebanese nationals, one of the lawyers.

    "The lawsuit will be filed on Monday by a group of 13 Lebanese lawyers to ask for the arrest of the Syrian minister on charges of killing Lebanese nationals," Tareq Shandab told the Turkish Anadolu news agency. 
    He cited fatalities in recent Syrian rocket barrages on the eastern Lebanese town of Arsal.
  • A UN panel investigating human rights abuses in Syria says it has identified those responsible for crimes including hostage-taking, torture and executions and has put their names on a list of people who should eventually be held accountable for their actions.

    The panel's chairman, Brazilian diplomat and scholar Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, says the list of suspected criminals includes the heads of intelligence branches and detention facilities where torture occurs, military commanders who target civilians, officials overseeing airports from where barrel bomb attacks are planned and executed, and leaders of armed groups involved in attacking civilians.

    Pinheiro also reported Tuesday that the panel is investigating allegations of mass graves in northern Syria where fighters with the al-Qaida-linked Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant had
    "conducted mass executions of detainees."

    [AP]
  • A local Lebanese official says gunmen from the armed Shia group Hezbollah and Shia residents have tightened their chokehold on a Sunni town near the Syrian border.

    The standoff around the eastern Lebanese town of Arsal is the latest in an ever-growing spillover of the Syrian conflict into its smaller neighbour.

    Ahmad Fliti, the deputy mayor of Arsal, says Shia gunmen set up roadblocks and closed off the road connecting the town to the rest of Lebanon, angry over recent rocket attacks and a car bombing by blamed on Sunni armed groups.

    Fliti says the gunmen on Tuesday opened fire on cars from Arsal that tried to approach the roadblock.

    He says concerns are rising that aid won't be able to reach thousands of Syrian refugees sheltered in Arsal.

    [AP]
  • Israeli aircraft targeted Syrian Army positions after a roadside bomb attack on IDF troops in the occupied Golan Heights on Tuesday.
     
    Read Al Jazeera's full report here 



  • Israel on Wednesday warned the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad that it would pay a "high price" for helping armed groups bent on attacking Israel.

    "We see the Assad regime as responsible for what is happening under its authority, and if it continues to cooperate with terror elements who seek to harm Israel, we will make it pay a high price," Israel Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon said just hours after the air force bombed Syrian military targets in response to a bomb attack which wounded four soldiers.
  • Russian foreign ministry says Washington's decision to shut the Syrian embassy is "worrying and disappointing".

    [Reuters]
  • Syria's foreign ministry that a US decision to close its Washington embassy and two consulates was illegal and arbitrary.

    A statement on Wednesday described the decision as "an arbitrary measure," saying it was "a clear violation of the Vienna Convention" that governs diplomatic relations between nations.

    It came a day after the United States announced it was closing Syria's Washington embassy and consulates in Michigan and Texas and expelling remaining diplomatic staff who were not US citizens.

    US Secretary of State John Kerry said the decision was taken because "the illegitimacy of the Assad regime is so overwhelming".

    "So we just felt the idea that this embassy is sitting here with representation that we could take seriously is an insult, and we closed it. It's that simple," he said.

    [AFP]
  • The Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances called for action by the highest United Nations bodies to tackle the disappearance issue in Syria. 

    Enforced disappearances are being perpetrated as a systematic and widespread attack on civilians, thus qualifying as a crime against humanity
                                                              Read more here


  • Rights group Amnesty International has raised concern about the detention of a Syrian Red Crescent worker who has not been heard from since her arrest by authorities in January.

    In a statement released late Wednesday, the group said Maryam Haid was arrested on January 13 by men believed to be members of the Syrian Criminal Security forces.

    Amnesty said Haid was initially detained at a Criminal Security branch in Damascus, but there had been no word on her whereabouts or condition since her arrest.

    Maryam Haid is volunteering with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent in psychosocial support projects but is not known to be a political activist

                                                  Read Amnesty's statement here
  • US diplomats urge you to join the effort to save #Syria ’s children. goo.gl/ONDDpT #ChildrenofSyria #NoLostGeneration
  • Two soldiers and a police officer were shot dead Thursday in southern Turkey when assailants carried out an attack that a top official said may be linked to events in Syria.

    Using long-range rifles, they fired from a truck after being ordered to stop at a checkpoint on a highway in Ulukisla, a town near the border with Syria, according to local media. 

    Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan called the attack a "vile act of terror" while Deputy Prime Minister Besir Atalay said some information he received linked the incident to "Syria".

    Atalay did not elaborate but local media reported that people aboard the truck were from war-torn neighbouring Syria. 

    Police arrested two of the three assailants while one was still missing, he added without revealing their identities.
    [AFP]
  • Convoy carrying aid supplies 4 #Syria ppl in need leaving Turkish border bit.ly/1hHtaLl @UNOCHA , @UNICEF , @IOMatUN , @WHO , @WFP
  • A man stands amid debris of collapsed buildings after what activists said were barrel bombs dropped by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in Aleppo's al-Sakhour district
    [Reuters] 


  • #Syria Nearly 54 percent of CW material removed or destroyed as of today; current pace would allow for timely completion
  •  People inspect buildings reportedly hit by an explosives-filled barrel dropped by a government forces in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo
    [AFP] 


  • A picture on the Syrian presidency's Instagram account shows Bashar al-Assad's wife, Asma al-Assad during an event on the occasion of mother's day.

    by Syrian Presidency via Instagram edited by Rabii.Kalboussi 3/21/2014 7:20:13 PM
  • Syrian army making gains in unending war

  • The Patriarch of the Syriac Orthodox Church Ignatius Zakka Iwas, the leader of one of world's oldest Christian sects, has died. He was 80.

    Syrian state news agency SANA said Iwas was admitted into a German hospital for treatment Feb. 20. He died on Friday in Germany after a long illness, the official news service said. Iwas' official title was the Patriarch of Antioch and All the East.

    His church, known as the Syrian Orthodox Church, was founded in the year 452 after a schism with the bulk of the world's Christians. There are more than 4 million members, living in Syria, Lebanon and Iraq although there are also significant communities in Germany, Sweden and in the United States, where immigrants from the Near East introduced the faith in the late 19th century.

    Iwas was born in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul. He was enthroned as patriarch in 1980 in St. George's Patriarchal Cathedral in Damascus. Before that he served as metropolitan bishop of Mosul. He was the archbishop of Baghdad and Basra when he became patriarch.

    Since then, he has lived and worked in Damascus, the seat of the Syriac Orthodox Church. He also spent two years in the early 1960s in New York city, studying at the Episcopal Church's General Theological Seminary in downtown Manhattan.

    When he conducted services at St. George Cathedral, located in the walled section of Damascus, Iwas had spoken in Syriac, a modern version of Aramaic - the language Jesus Christ is believed to have spoken.

    Church officials said on Friday his remains will be brought from Germany to Lebanon. From there they will transferred to Syria by land for burial. [AP]

  • Syria could ship out its remaining chemical weapons within a month and still meet a mid-year target for their final destruction, the head of an international mission overseeing the delayed disarmament operation said on Friday.

    After missing several deadlines, Syria has accelerated the pace of  chemical shipments from its Mediterranean port of Latakia this month and has now  removed or destroyed more than half of its declared chemical arsenal. 

    Syrian authorities have proposed a new target to complete the removal of the chemicals by late April, 10 weeks behind the original schedule, although Western diplomats say they are reluctant to grant Damascus more time for the work. 

    Sigrid Kaag, head of the joint mission of the United Nations and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, said that Syria - which is embroiled in civil war - was making progress and its revised timetable was achievable.

    Kaag said that the current plan is 'realistic and workable', and that they have always been very clear in stating that the month of March remains very critical in  order to attain the overall timetable.

    She said the June 30 target for the destruction of the chemicals at sea was also realistic, especially if the current acceleration in consignments continued.

    [Reuters]
  • US President Barack Obama has urged Lebanon to hold elections as planned in May, despite tensions aggravated by the conflict in neighbouring Syria, the American embassy in Beirut said on Saturday.

    President Michel Sleiman's mandate ends on May 25 and there are worries a successor will be hard to find because of disagreements between Lebanon's pro- and anti-Syria regime blocs.

    In a telephone call to Prime Minister Tammam Salam, Obama "urged that the upcoming presidential elections be held on time and in keeping with the Lebanese constitution", a statement from the US embassy said.

    It said Obama recognised "the difficulties facing Lebanon due to the conflict in Syria," and "emphasised the importance of all parties observing Lebanon's policy of disassociation".

    Obama also thanked Salam for hosting Syrian refugees, nearly one million of whom have fled to Lebanon.

    Parliament approved Salam's government on Thursday after protracted negotiations with the military over the role of powerful Shia armed group Hezbollah.

    Dominated by Damascus for 30 years until 2005, Lebanon is deeply divided over the conflict in Syria.

    Hezbollah and its allies back Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, while Lebanon's Sunni-led opposition supports the uprising against his rule.

    [AFP]
  • Smoke rises as people run at a site hit by what activists said was shelling by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in Arbeen, in the eastern Damascus suburb of Ghouta.
    [Reuters] 


  • A man holds a wounded boy at a site hit by what activists said was shelling by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in Arbeen, in the eastern Damascus suburb of Ghouta.
    [Reuters] 

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