Heavy fighting and mass casualties were reported Sunday in the suburbs of Damascus, the Syrian capital, one day after a conference of major powers in Geneva discussed US demands for the ouster of President Bashar al-Assad. The scale and intensity of the fighting were unprecedented for the capital city, one of the two main strongholds of the Assad government, along with Aleppo, Syria’s largest city and financial and trading hub. http://www.wsws.org/articles/2012/jul2012/syri-j02.shtml
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad declared Tuesday that the country was in a state of war as intense fighting erupted in the capital Damascus between the government and opposition forces that are backed by the US. There were also reports of British special operations forces entering the country from neighboring Turkey.
The fighting came the same day as a belligerent speech by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan before the Turkish parliament, threatening a military response to any Syrian troop movements near the border of the two countries. This followed a meeting of NATO members, including Turkey and the US, to discuss a coordinated response to the downing of a Turkish jet by Syria late last week. http://www.wsws.org/articles/2012/jun2012/syri-j27.shtml
The Syrian military says it has shot down a Turkish fighter jet “over its territorial waters“, risking a new crisis between Middle Eastern neighbours already at bitter odds over a 16-month-old revolt against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. “Our air defences confronted a target that penetrated our air space over our territorial waters pre-afternoon on Friday and shot it down. It turned out to be a Turkish military plane,” a statement by the military circulated on state media said. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan‘s office confirmed the incident in which two pilots went missing. Courtesy: http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2012/06/20126221721460173.html
Syrian rebels threaten to fire surface-to-air missiles at President Bashar al-Assad‘s palace after briefly taking control of a key military base
PUBLISHED DATE: 06/12/2012 http://www.trust.org/alertnet/multimedia/video-and-audio/detail.dot?mediaInode=1a378c11-9b37-41d2-93de-9c71b7d7806f
Kofi Annan, the joint United Nations-Arab League envoy to Syria, has admitted that his peace plan is failing and that the country’s future will consist of “brutal suppression, massacres, sectarian violence and even all-out civil war” if it continues on its current path. In a speech to the UN General Assembly on Thursday, Annan confirmed that massacres of civilians have taken place in the towns of Houla and al-Qubayr. While not assigning blame for the mass killings, the former UN secretary general said that the government, not the armed opposition, had the “first responsibility” to halt violence. http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2012/06/201267144045962996.html
BEIRUT (Reuters) – U.N. monitors tried on Thursday to reach a village where activists say Syrian troops and militiamen loyal to President Bashar al-Assad massacred at least 78 villagers, hours before a divided U.N. Security Council discusses Syria. http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2012/6/7/worldupdates/2012-06-07T100508Z_57_BRE84S0P3_RTROPTT_0_UK-SYRIA-CRISIS&sec=Worldupdates
Reports of ‘massacre’ in Syrian village
Activists say scores killed in assault by pro-government gangs backed by security forces on village near Hama. Opposition activists in Syria say that pro-government armed groups backed by security forces have killed scores of people in a village in Hama province. Both the Syria’s Local Co-ordination Committees, an activist network, and the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) put the number of dead in Wednesday’s attack on the village of al-Qubayr at more than 86. But Syria’s government denied any role in the killings. http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2012/06/20126622356228843.html
A growing number of Syrian-Kurds are heading to neighbouring Iraq to escape the cycle of violence. The Iraqi government has set up a camp in the country’s semi-autonomous Kurdish north to cater for about 2,000 refugees, who hope to return to a new Syria with equal rights. Many of them say they are army defectors who opted to flee when they were ordered to shoot at civilians. Al Jazeera’s Jane Arraf reports from the Domez Refugee Camp. http://www.aljazeera.com/video/middleeast/2012/06/20126541318270801.html
The head of the Arab League has asked the UN Security Council to boost the size of a UN mission in Syria and give it expanded powers to protect people following a surge in violence there, according to a letter leaked to media outlets on Friday.
Images of the bloodied bodies of children and others massacred in the city of Houla in attacks blamed on President Bashar al-Assad‘s forces have shocked the world and highlighted the failure of a six-week-old UN-backed ceasefire plan to stop the violence in the 14-month uprising against Assad’s rule. http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2012/06/20126221714569625.html
Human rights committee to call for full UN inquiry into attacks in Houla that killed 108 people, many of them children.
The United Nation‘s Human Rights Committee is set to meet in Geneva, Switzerland, to discuss last week’s massacre in Syria that killed 108 people, many of them children. The council will call on Friday for a full UN inquiry into the carnage in Houla, a cluster of villages in the centre of the country, after putting initial blame on government bombardment and gunmen loyal to President Bashar al-Assad. The incident was one of the deadliest incidents since the uprising against Assad’s regime started in March last year, and has drawn global condemnation. Countries including the United States, Britain, Australia, and France expelled Syrian diplomats in protest. http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2012/06/20126161537432755.html