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Entries in World Food Program (6)


Syria Live Coverage: A Growing Crisis Over Food?

2045 GMT: Helicopter Shot Down in Aleppo. The LCC posts this video, which we also saw from other sources, of a helicopter shot down somewhere in Aleppo province. We have not seen this footage, or any similar footage, before, suggesting that this could be new. The description says the aircraft was "brought down by machineguns," presumably anti-aircraft guns:

2012 GMT: 90 Killed Nationwide Today. The death toll has risen to 90, according to the Local Coordination Committees:

40 martyrs were reported in Damascus and its Suburbs; 13 in Homs, during a raid of Qusair; 12 in Aleppo; 9 in Idlib; 5 in Lattakia; 5 in Daraa; 4 in Hama; 2 in Deir Ezzor.

The Local Coordination Committees (LCC) is an activist network operating both inside and outside of Syria. They claim to use stringent verification processes to ensure that a member of the LCC can vouch for any information posted either on their Facebook page or their website. The LCC also populates a database of those killed in the Syrian conflict, which can be seen at the website for the Center for Documentation of Violations in Syria.

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Syria Live Coverage: Who Bombed Aleppo University?

Claimed footage of shelling of Homs today

2110 GMT: What Happened in Haswiyeh? With Bill Neely's arrival in Haswiyeh (see previous update below) we have also received several new updates today. First, let's recap what has happened over the last week.

Two days ago rumors began circulating of a "massacre" in the villages of Hawiyeh,just north of Homs, as well as dozens killed in Houla to the west of Homs. These rumors came at the same time as confirmed reports of heavy shelling of Homs itself, as well as the cities to the north (Talbiseh, Al Rastan). See our initial coverage here, which includes many links to videos and claimed eyewitness claims.

A problem was immediately apparent. The claims made by some activists included beheadings, knife attacks, and summary executions. But the evidence didn't initially show any of this. Instead, it was obvious that the villages had been heavily bombed, likely by aircraft but also possibly by tanks and artillery, and the reports of knife-wielding shabiha and bodies hanging in trees were exaggerated. But with rumors such as these, it was still important to keep an open mind to the possibility that these reports had some merit.

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Syria Live Coverage: Has the Insurgent Advance Stalled?

2136 GMT: A Massacre in Idlib? Some sources now suggest that between 50 and 71 people have been found dead in Mastoomeh, just south of Idlib city (see update 1920). These reports are completely unconfirmed, and news is very hard to come by from the town at this moment. So far, there have been no pictures or videos either, but the internet in the town may be cut off.

Here is what we know - Yesterday there were reports that the regime moved forces into the town and crushed the small amount of rebel fighters who had briefly occupied it. Black smoke was reportedly seen rising from the town, and some have suggested that homes were burned by the regime elements.

Since then, reports of executions have been spreading, but few details have been confirmed. Several different activists have told us that sources they trust can attest that bodies have been burned in the streets. Several sources suggest that the number of dead is 70 or more, though several sources have also expressed caution that there is little news actually coming from the town.

Ultimately, there is a worry that either there are wild rumors flying, or that there has been a terrible massacre that will not be covered by the media because of the lack of information.

2055 GMT: Al Nusra Front - The Quilliam Foundation, a group which Ed Hussain used to belong to, has released what they say is an extensive and well researched report on Jabhat al Nusra, the insurgent group placed on the Terror list by the State Department for alleged ties to Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI). The report traces the groups foundation, organization strategy, membership, and its larger role, relying on anonymous sources described as "jihadists and Islamists, resistance fighters, government officials and experts in recent Iraqi affairs." The entire report can be read here.

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Syria Feature: US Plans for a Post-Assad Country (Myers/Shanker)

Steven Heydemann of the US Institute of Peace, involved with the Obama Administration's manoeuvres for a post-Assad Syria, on the US Public Broadcasting Service, 18 July 2012

“The main question we’re looking at is how it all plays out after the Assad regime collapses,” one American official said. “Chapter 1 is he’s gone. Chapter 2 is the post-Assad transition, and initial efforts at stabilization. Chapter 3 is completely unknown, and therefore more than a little scary.”

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Syria, Bahrain (and Beyond) LiveBlog: "The Day of National Legitimacy"

Mass pro-reform rally in Taiz in Yemen today

See also Syria Video: Today's "Day of National Legitimacy" Protests Set 1 AND Set 2

2025 GMT: Claimed footage of security forces firing tear gas on a protest in Daih in northern Bahrain:

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Pakistan: At Least 43 Killed in Suicide Bombing on Saturday (Khan)

A suicide bomber, believed to be a woman, attacked a checkpoint in the northwestern tribal area on Saturday where people displaced by fighting were lining up for food.

At least 43 people were killed and about 100 wounded, officials in the Bajaur tribal region said.

One official said that a woman wearing a burqa was stopped at a security post in Khar, the main town in Bajaur. “She threw a hand grenade, and before the security force could respond, she detonated herself,” said the official, who asked not to be identified because he was not authorized to speak to reporters.

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