Entries in Syria (1367)
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."
A story of how US Government spin became headline "fact" by Wednesday morning.,,.
On Tuesday, the State Department set up a conference call with a "senior official" on Syria. In the midst of answering a question about the fighting in Qusayr near the Lebanese border, the official said:
It is the most visible effort we have seen of Hezbollah to engage directly in the fighting in Syria as a foreign force. We understand there are also Iranians up there. That is what the Free Syrian Army commanders are telling us. I think this is an important thing to note, the direct implication of foreigners fighting on Syrian soil now for the regime.
Insurgents fighting in Qusayr
has rejected Russian demands that, for an international conference, there should be no pre-condition of the departure of President Assad.
"We have been very clear that any transitional period must start with the departure of Assad and the heads of the security services," Khalid Saleh, the spokesman of the SNC, said Tuesday.
Saleh also said the Free Syrian Army must receive "major shipments of weapons" and "must be able to control more areas of Syria before we start thinking about the conference".
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:
Amid reports that the Syrian military took the town of Qusayr near the Lebanon border after weeks of attacks, a "source close to" Hezbollah has said that at least four members of the Lebanese group were killed in the overnight assault.
More footage of the town:
Video Showing Execution In Raqqa Last Week
Scott Lucas and Joanna Paraszczuk write:
For weeks, we have noted how the media and "experts" have used one paragraph from the statement of a leader of the Islamist faction Jabhat al-Nusra --- ripping it out of context of the rest of the statement, let alone developments on the ground or an understanding of the Syria conflict --- reducing the group with the simplistic tag of "Al Qa'eda-linked" or "Al Qa'eda affiliate".
For weeks, we have tried to knock down that too-easy and misleading narrative, offering a full translation of Jabhat al-Nusra's statement and evaluating the complex political and social situation in Syria, especially in the north, and discussing how the media has created a misleading myth of "Al Qaeda" that precludes any deeper understanding of the nuanced reality on the ground in Syria and elsewhere.
However, the simplistic story that Al Qa'eda is "taking over Jabhat al-Nusra" persists.
Indeed, for some journalists, that easy narrative is no longer enough.
Five leading activists of the Syrian Centre for Media and Freedom of Expression, accused of promoting terrorism, stand trial on Sunday at the Counter Terrorism Criminal Court in Damascus.
The five men --- Mazen Darwish, Hussein Gharir, Hani Zaitani, Mohammad Mansur Al-Omari and Abdul-Rahman Hamada --- were arrested on 16 February 2012 during a raid of the Centre's premises. Since then, they have often been kept in solitary detention, denied access to their relatives and lawyers, and subjected to torture and ill-treatment.
Last week, two car bombs exploded in Reyhanli in southern Turkey, close to the Syrian border, killing almost 50 people and injuring more than 100.
While nobody claimed responsibility for the deadly incident, it raised the immediate question of whether Turkey would escalate its intervention in Syria, either alone or with others.
However, that reaction was too narrow and missed the wider context. This is not just about the Syrian conflict but also Turkey's internal politics, specifically its attempt to resolve the sensitive Kurdish issue.
The primary concern for the Erdogan government is the ongoing peace drive with the Kurdish leadership, including imprisoned PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan. So the question is not just whether the events in Reyhanli complicated Turkey's position inside Syria but also whether they threaten these delicate internal negotiations.
Insurgents have retaken the Damascus suburb of Otaiba, which was been a conduit for arms from Jordan to opposition forces near the capital before it was seized by regime forces last month.
Commanders said insurgent brigades, including the General Command and Islamist factions, had united to re-claim Otaiba, two miles northeast of Damascus International Airport.
The opposition forces adopted a white banner with the Muslim declaration of faith: "There is no god but God; Mohammad is God's prophet."