Government forces move through Qusayr, captured by the Syrian military last Wednesday
Entries in Lebanon (77)
A Kurdish activist group claims that Kurds in Efrin near Aleppo in northern Syria are suffering because of an ongoing siege by the Free Syrian Army.
Activists on Wednesday tweeted images purportedly of breadlines in the town.
Huge bread crisis in Efrin near Aleppo with huge lines on the only remaining bakery in the town. twitter.com/omarsyria/stat…— Omar (@omarsyria) June 5, 2013
There were sustained reports last month of clashes between the FSA and local Kurdish militia.
Claimed footage, from "Daraa City" activists, of insurgents evacuating women and children from Qusayr
Reuters, citing an "opposition group" from Qusayr, said more than 500 insurgents died in the three weeks of the regime assault, with a further 1,000 wounded, leaving just 400 outgunned men struggling to hold onto the town.
Survivors decided to escape in the night through a corridor that regime attackers said they had deliberately left open to encourage flight.
Hezbollah’s Deputy Secretary General Sheikh Naim Qassem said, “The Al-Qusayr accomplishment is a severe blow to the project of the American-Israeli-Takfiri [infidel] trio and a glowing point for the project of the resistance in Syria.
Qassem continued, “Today, it has been proven that betting on the fall of the resisting Syrian [regime] is an illusion....Building political stances on the accomplishments of the American-Israeli project is unsuccessful.”
A senior Pentagon official has said that the US and Jordan are discussing the possibility of sending American Patriot anti-aircraft missile batteries to the Kingdom, amid the Syrian conflict and the training and arming of insurgents from a base in Jordan.
The official emphasised that an agreement over the deployment has not been reached. However, he said the missile batteries could be flown to Jordan within days and used initially as part of a multinational military exercise in June.
See also Syria Analysis: A 5-Point Guide to Assad Interview --- Is He Right To Declare Victory? br>
Syria Audio Analysis: The Real Importance of the "Russian Missiles to Syria" Story br>
Syria Video & Transcript: President Assad's Interview with Al-Manar TV br>
Lebanon's Parliament has voted to extend its mandate and delay elections scheduled for June after failing to adopt a new electoral law.
The motion for a 17-month extension was passed unanimously by the 98 members of the 128-seat house who attended on Friday. It said the delay was due to "the security situation in several Lebanese regions that gives rise to political escalation and division which often take on confessional forms".
Fuad Siniora, the opposition head in parliament, said: "We were forced to vote on this bad project to avoid a vacuum and after unrest in several regions and the serious negative development" of Hezbollah's involvement in the Syria conflict.
Amid the months-long delay over a new electoral law, Prime Minister Tamman Salam, who was named on 6 April, has been unable to form a new Government because of divisions over Syria.
Ramped-up foreign intervention is likely to tip the military balance against the Assad regime. But it faces a political question: is the aim merely to pressure and contain the President or to topple him?
And that question in turn leads to others: is there an effective political group, given the tensions and fragementing within the opposition, that can replace Assad? Will the "extremists", rather than the "moderates", win? Will the fall of the regime send destabilising ripples across the Middle East?
Assad is betting that all these questions can be turned into doubts to block further intervention for the opposition. Last night's declarations were his chips to support that bet.
Foreign Minister Walid Muallem has said that the regime has agreed "in principle to participate in the international conference which is supposed to be convened in Geneva" in June: "We think...that the international conference represents a good opportunity for a political solution to the crisis in Syria."
Muallem, during a sudden visit to Iraq, criticised foreign actors supporting the insurgency: "The regional countries that conspire against Syria are the same that support terrorism in Iraq."
Russian officials said earlier in the week that the Assad regime had agreed to take part in the conference. However, the opposition Syrian National Coalition has said that it wants guarantees that President Assad will step down during a transitional government.
Gunmen and other attackers killed at least eleven people and wounded more than two dozen in attacks on Sunday.
In Kazimiyah district in northern Baghdad, gunmen in a speeding car killed three civilians and wounded another.
In the northern city of Mosul, a car bomb went off at a house early in the morning while a joint army-police unit was conducting door-to-door searches. The blast killed three policemen and one soldier. Twenty people, including four civilians, were wounded.
Attackers gunned down a policeman in his car in in central Mosul, about 360 kilometers (225 miles) northwest of Baghdad.
In the western province of Anbar, three soldiers were killed and five wounded in two separate attacks by roadside bombs.
Claimed footage of insurgents moving from Aleppo to the embattled town of Qusayr near the Lebanese border --- see The Battle of Qusayr update below
Senior United Nations official Panos Moumtzis has said that the total number of people in need of assistance is now 8.3 million, about 38% of Syria's population.
Moumtsis, the regional coordinator for Syrian refugees, said about 6.8 million people were in need inside the country while 1.5 million have sought refuge in neighbouring countries.
Moumtzis said the humanitarian situation in Syria has been “rapidly spiralling downwards” since the start of the year: “UNHCR [UN High Commission for Refugees] is now very much worried about the coming summer months and in particular the increase in temperatures and the associated health problems linked to water and sanitation."
Regime bombardment of the town of al-Qusayr, near the Lebanese border, on Sunday
In two days of renewed fighting in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli, five people have been killed and about 50 wounded.
Clashes in Tripoli have recurred since last year between groups supporting and opposing the Syrian regime..
Syrian activists say the latest fighting was ignited by tension over the assault by Syrian force on Qusayr, near the Lebanese border.
Three people were killed in the Sunni district of Bab Tabbaneh and another in the adjacent Alawite neighborhood of Jabal Mohsen. The fifth fatality was a Lebanese soldier.
An opposition activist claims evidence of involvement of Hezbollah fighters and weapons in the battle for Qusayr near the Lebanese border:
2007 GMT: Umayyad Mosque. It is hard to overstate the cultural, symbolic, historical and architectural importance of the Umayyad Mosque, the Great Mosque of Aleppo. Months ago, it was occupied by Assad fighters and used to attack nearby rebel positions. The mosque then fell to Syrian rebels. Today, it has been attacked by Assad forces and the minaret has been destroyed. The Local Coordination Committees have posted this statement:
The Umayyad Mosque in Aleppo is considered to be one of the most famous and important mosques in the Islamic world and is one of the most important world heritage sites. The mosque witnessed almost all eras of history. Regime forces have committed today a new crime against human and cultural heritage by targeting the minaret of the mosque and completely destroying it. This act comes in the context of a systematic policy of the authoritarian regime to destroy all Syrian cultural landmarks.
We, in the Local Coordination Committees condemn this criminal act that shook the conscience of all Syrians and underline the continuing struggle to achieve the goals of our glorious revolution, no matter how far this criminal regime goes in targeting humans and stone.