Entries in Valerie Amos (5)
1942 GMT: Fighting Near Border with Lebanon.
NOW Syria reports from the border village of al-Qasr, just inside Lebanon, where insurgent fire hit for the first time:
Al-Qasr [did not] feel like a place hit by lethal rocket fire just two days ago. Despite an army statement Sunday declaring its increased presence in the area, there wasn’t so much as a routine checkpoint impeding our entrance. In the village center, all shops were open; adults and children alike going about their business as usual. It could have been anywhere in the Beqaa.
Except, of course, for the two crumbled walls near the main mosque, results of an unprecedented series of rockets fired Sunday by Syrian rebels that, for the first time, left one resident dead and up to nine injured (another was killed by the same attack in Hosh al-Sayyid Ali, a nearby village on the Syrian side of the border). The blood of 23-year-old Ali Hassan Qataya, light brown by now, still spans the width of the street where he died.
“He was just visiting,” said a local resident who did not give his name. “He lived in Beirut, and came here to visit his fiancée.”
Why, then, was Qataya killed? The Syrian National Coalition, the opposition body recognized by over a dozen countries as the representative government-in-exile, said Monday that “the Free Syrian Army was forced to respond to [the] repeated aggressions” of Hezbollah, whom it accused of carrying out “military operations on Syrian territory.”
2120 GMT: Jet Shot Down in Damascus? All day we've been tracking reports of a jet shot down in Damascus. The only problem is that it's unclear a jet ever crashed. However, a reader, Amir, finds this video. Much of it is a collection of videos from today that we have seen. The clip we had not seen is at about the 2:30 mark, when an explosion on the horizon, followed my a smoke cloud, reportedly shows the moment the jet crashed.
We're still not 100% sure what happened, though there are plenty of rumors that the pilot, a Russian, has been captured. We'd treat this as straight rumor until a video is released.
2105 GMT: Battle for Ashrafiyeh District of Aleppo. The rebels have set their sights on another district in norther-central in Aleppo, the Ashrafiyeh District. A microblogger finds several videos, including the one below which appear to show rebels firing mortars at Assad positions from the nearby railway (map):
1900 GMT: Syria. The National Coordination Body for Democratic Change in Syria has released a statement suggesting that the UN should facilitate another ceasefire in order to achieve peace and preserve what is left of the country:
The great sacrifices that the Syrian people has been able to balance out the power of the regime, but it is still far from achieving a victory because of the international balance of powers that refuses to see the victory of one side over the other. The stalemate makes the continuation of the violence merely a path to the destruction of the Syrian state, society and being.
In order to minimize the painful cost of the desired change, and to protect what can be protected from our country’s infrastructure and our national unity, we at the National Coordination Body for Democratic Change in Syria, which is an active part of the Syrian popular movement against oppression and one of the main forces against violence and foreign intervention, propose the following:
First- That all armed parties, the regime at the forefront of them, have to agree to a temporary ceasefire to be implemented as soon as possible, hopefully before the beginning of the Eid al-Fitr holiday. All parties are to agree not to conduct any military operations and not to attempt any changes to the current situation on the ground.
Second- During the first week of the truce, both parties are to release their detainees, captives, prisoners, hostages and the kidnapped, and to cease all such actions from then on. All such actions from then be treated as a criminal offence, their perpetrators are to be punished by law.
Third- The two parties are to allow relief agencies to deliver food and medical aid, and they are also to facilitate the treatment of the wounded in public and private hospitals under the auspices of the Red Cross and Red Crescent.
Fourth- If the parties concerned implement the earlier points, then the atmosphere for a political solution will be present. Negotiations are then to take place between members of the opposition and a delegation from the regime, the delegation is to have full negotiating authority and has to consist of members that have not been responsible for any bloodshed. The negotiators are to agree on a state of political transition with a definite period -one year- that is to prepare the country for a democratic, pluralistic parliamentary system.
2145 GMT: The Egyptian regime has appointed former Assistant Foreign Minister Hani Khalaf as the special envoy to the Libyan opposition in Benghazi.
Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil al-Araby said the decision follwed Egypt's determination to follow up on developments in Libya and ensure the safety and rights of Egyptian citizens in the country.
2140 GMT: Claimed video of a protest in Daraa in southern Syria today:
2130 GMT: Fighting continues tonight in Yemen's capital Sana'a, in the Hasaba neighbourhood and near the airport.