By Peter Clifford © (http://www.petercliffordonline.com/syria-news-3)
Not a good start to the New Year. Deteriorating conditions in Aleppo’s besieged Central Prison have led to the death of 8 prisoners from malnutrition in the last 2 days according to reports.
Should Any Child Be Doing This?
Syria’s Red Crescent was allowed to take in supplies in December, but this has not been enough. There are thought to be around 3,000 detainees still held in the prison, which has been under siege by Opposition forces since April 2013.
The Assad regime said that it would release 360 prisoners on “humanitarian grounds” in December, but so far only 15 have been allowed to be escorted out by Red Crescent representatives.
The medical situation in Aleppo generally was described this week as “catastrophic” after makeshift hospitals and clinics were overwhelmed by at least 517 dead in the last 2 weeks from Assad’s barrel-bomb attacks on civilian areas, plus more than 1,000 injured.
One doctor said, “I will forever be haunted by what I have seen these past few days. It’s even worse than chemical weapons, as at least [with those] you die in one piece.”
“Ambulances are damaged, destroyed or don’t have fuel anymore,” he added, and most clinics are overwhelmed with patients and have run out of many standard medical supplies.
On Tuesday a shell from a Government tank smashed into a bus in the Tariq al-Bab district of Aleppo, killing 10 and leaving many more wounded. Video footage from the bus attack can be seen in this report from Al Jazeera,HERE:
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, based in London and one of the main sources of news reports from Syria, now estimates from its records that 130,433 people have been killed in Syria since March 2011, including more than 7,000 children and 4,600 women.
That is an average of almost 206 children alone killed during each month of this 34 month old conflict.
The Oxford Research Group, in a report entitled “Stolen Futures: The Hidden Toll of Child Casualties in Syria,” has even higher statistics, documenting the killing of 11,420 Syrian children, 71% of them killed by explosive weapons.
A further 26.5% of children are recorded as dying from bullets, 389 killed by sniper fire and 764, some as yound as 1 year old, summarily executed.
PLO DEMANDS LIFTING OF SIEGE AGAINST PALESTINIANS IN YARMOUK REFUGEE CAMP BUT ASSAD JUST DROPS MORE BARREL-BOMBS:
In Damascus, Palestinians continue to die from malnutrition in the Yarmouk refugee camp in the south of the capital and injury was added to assault when barrel-bombs were dropped on the Palestinian refugee camp at Khan el Sheeh in Damascus province, killing 4 people yesterday, Thursday and injuring another 15.
Some of the Palestinian Victims of Assad’s Starvation Campaign
The PLO in the Palestinian territories on the West Bank of Israel has issued an “ultimatum” to the Assad regime and Hezbollah to lift the siege on Yarmouk within the next 48 hours.
Jamal Hammad, the director of the Palestinian Red Crescent for Yarmouk camp, said on Tuesday that over 3,000 children aged under 15 in the camp are suffering chronic malnutrition and are at a heightened risk of disease as a result of the ongoing regime siege.
More barrel-bombs have also been dropped on the Damascus Opposition-held suburb of Daraya, HERE:
In Deir El-Zour, continued fighting is reported around the airport, HERE: and in Deraa province opposition fighters have stormed the remains of the National Hospital barracks at Jassem after a huge car-bomb attack, HERE: and HERE:
Footage, just released today, Friday, shows the victorious Opposition fighters inside the building, (caution, dead bodies) HERE:
Assad’s forces have retaliated with Grad missile attacks on the town, each missile containing cluster-bomblets as shown in this video, (Arabic only, but largely self-explanatory) HERE:
A shell from the Syrian Army almost took out the victorious fighters and the cameraman, HERE:
Opposition fighters also destroyed 2 cars containing Government fighters near Nawa, just north of Deraa city and in the eastern part of Hama province they took control of a remote Syrian Army station between Kalib Asaur and Salba, HERE:
AS FIGHTING SPREADS ACROSS SYRIA’S BORDERS POPULAR BACKLASH FINALLY ERUPTS AGAINST JIHADISTS:
In Homs province the Opposition tried this week to retake parts of Qusair, the strategic town which they lost to a combined Assad Army and Hezbollah force last year. As much as anything, the aim was to take the pressure off besieged Opposition fighters in the nearby Qalamoun region.
Al-Mimas Street in the Qarabees District of Homs
Heavy fighting was reported in the area yesterday, Thursday, and the Assad regime brought in air power to bomb and strafe Opposition fighters.
While a number of Lebanese and Iraqi Shia pro-Assad militia were reported captured in the southern parts of Qusair, SANA, the Syrian state media claimed that the “insurgents” had been “wiped out”.
Shelling and airstrikes certainly followed Opposition fighters back across the Lebanese border and 9 of them were reported wounded near Khirbet Dawoud, not far from the Sunni Lebanese town of Arsal.
Fierce fighting between the 2 sides is also reported around the ancient Crusader fortress town of Krak des Chevaliers in Homs province, with the Syrian Army shelling the area from afar.
In Al-Rastan, which has been besieged by Assad’s Army for more than a year, this child was filmed scavenging for wood, HERE:
Inevitably, the Syrian conflict has spilt over more and more into surrounding countries, with pro and anti-Assad factions fighting each other in Lebanon and Sunni Al Qaeda spins offs fighting the Shia dominated Government in Iraq in Anbar province, the territory against the Syrian border.
Huge Car Bomb Explodes in Beirut
A huge car-bomb was exploded yesterday, Thursday, in the southern Beirut suburb dominated by Shia Hezbollah during the evening rush hour, killing 5 and injuring 77 and at the same time the reputed leader of the Abdullah Azzam Brigade, Muhammad al-Majid, another Al Qaeda spin-off was arrested by the Lebanese Army.
The Sunni Abdullah Azzam Brigade had earlier claimed responsibility for a double bombing in November that killed the Iranian Embassy Cultural Attaché.
The fighting in the Anbar province of Iraq is mainly between the Al Qaeda linked Jihadist group , the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL or ISIS) and the Iraqi army, the Iraqi Government losing control of 2 major cities, Fallujah and Ramadi.
It is ISIL that is also now in major conflict with more moderate Opposition factions in Syria and today, Friday, 43 popular public demonstrations against extremist group have been recorded across Syria.
The spark that seems to have ignited this strong reaction is the reported death of Hussein al-Sleiman, an Aleppo-area doctor also known as Abu Rayan, whose tortured body was returned to his family on Tuesday.
As well as being shot, his ear had been removed and a leg broken, along with other evidence of extreme torture.
Demonstrations against ISIL erupted across Aleppo and then spread nationwide. In the Idlib town of Kfar Takharim ISIL fighters are reported to have opened fire on civilian demonstrators, HERE:
And at Atarib, west of Aleppo, ISIL fighters are reported to have launched an attack this morning, Friday, on Opposition fighters loyal to the more moderate Islamic Front. At the same time, other reports say that the Islamic Front has detained 114 ISIL fighters in the Aleppo villages of Qabtan al-Jabal, Al-Jineh and Ibin.
The fighting in Aleppo province between the 2 Opposition sides follows a purported statement issued by ISIL calling the Islamic Front and Free Syrian Army (FSA) members “enemies of God” and authorizing their killing.
In turn the Syrian National Coalition (SNC) issued a statement on Wednesday accusing ISIL of aiding the Assad regime.
In part the statement said, “The Coalition believes that ISIL is closely linked to the terrorist regime and serves the interests of the clique of President Bashar al-Assad, directly or indirectly.
The murder of Syrians by this group leaves no doubt about the intentions behind their creation, their objectives and the agendas they serve, which is confirmed by the nature of their terrorist actions hostile to the Syrian revolution”.
The SNC called on rebels who had joined ISIL to abandon the group and for the “prosecution of the leaders of this terrorist organization along with the criminals of the regime.”