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Wednesday, 18 December 2013 17:14

Daily Newsletter - 16/12/2013

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Assad's Regime Nourishes the Monster of Extremism through Widespread Killing of Civilians

Buttom Knives EThe Syrian Coalition stresses that the Assad regime is waging a barbaric campaign against Aleppo and al Dumeir in Rural Damascus with the aim of "causing chaos and exacting revenge through targeting residential neighborhoods." The Syrian Coalition said in a press statement that activists "documented the names of 103 civilians killed in Aleppo amid fear of a rise in the number of casualties as there are more than 350 wounded.”  Twenty-one people were killed in the town of Dumeir in Rural Damascus after Assad’s fighter planes carried out three air strikes. There has been aerial shelling on Aleppo for the last...Read more

Local News

Civil Defenses Evacuate Victims of the Bombing of Aleppo
Civil defenses of the Local Council in Aleppo evacuated the victims of the air raids carried out by Assad’s warplanes against 14 neighborhoods in Aleppo. 125 people were killed since yesterday as a result of these raids. The Medical Council in the city of Aleppo documented the names of 105 people killed in the airstrikes. The highest casualties were reported in Al-Haidariah, Ard al-Hamrah, al-Marjeh, Bab al-Neyrab, al-Anssari al-Sharqi, Qaddi Asskar, al-Saliheen, al-Sokkari, al-Fardous, Dahrat Awad, and Tareeq al-Bab. An informed source inside the Medical Council said that they were able to reach all the neighbourhoods that were bombed despite lack of necessary equipment. (Source: Syrian Coalition)

Team building in the unit of local councils
The Local Council Unit concluded yesterday a training course to build the work team in the Turkish city of Gaziantep. Eleven trainees enrolled in the course which lasted for three days. The training course sought to clarify the concept of a work team and its importance, and the difference between work and work teams, as well as how to develop working groups. The course also included the importance of personality building and confidence factor, and determining the utilities needed to form a work team, in addition to getting familiar with the daily work of the team, and the possible pitfalls of working as a team. The course was attended by a number of administrators of the Local Councils of Homs and al-Hasakah. (Source: Syrian Coalition)

ACU Issue a Report on Polio
Assistance Coordination Unit (ACU) of the Syrian Coalition issued a report on the polio epidemic in both Arabic and English, which includes the latest developments on the epidemic and its spread, in the form of a detailed study of reference and reliability. According to the report, there is an increase in the number of polio cases. The city of Deir Ezzor is the most vulnerable to the epidemic, with 52 cases, followed by seven cases in Idlib, four in Aleppo, while one case was recorded in each of Hama, Hasakah, and Raqqa. (Source: Syrian Coalition)

Results of the Elections of the Local Council of Aleppo and the Free Council of Aleppo
The Aleppo Council announced the names of the winners in the elections of the Local Council and the Free Council of Aleppo after the counting of votes according to the bylaws of the local councils in towns and cities. Aleppo Council included five circles for the city of Aleppo and its western, eastern, northern and southern countryside and rural western and southern rural northern and eastern countryside. Aleppo Council also included 43 members, distributed five to the five circles. The Local Council of Aleppo included 25 members. Abdul Rahman Dadam was elected the head of the Free Council of Aleppo, Abdul Ghani Bakri, Vice-President, and Ahmad Eido was elected the Secretary General. Abdul Aziz Maghrabi was elected the head of the Local Council of Aleppo, and Britta Haji Hassan as his deputy. The members of both Councils were sworn in to serve the citizens in accordance with the Islamic Sharia. (Source: Syrian Coalition)

Islamic Cooperation Organization Calls for Increased Aid To Syrian Refugees
Recent detailed reports were presented during a meeting between the Assistance Coordination Unit (ACU) and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. The reports described the situation inside Syria and in refugee camps outside the country. The needs of the people were discussed in order that emergency aid might be secured in order to provide coordinated and true emergency relief for Syrians. At its recently held meeting the Organization of Islamic Cooperation emphasized the importance of intensifying relief efforts for displaced people in refugee camps and of working with the ACU in the vaccination campaign in order to prevent a widespread polio epidemic. (Source: Syrian Coalition)

Explosion in Jordan’s Zaatari Camp Injures Family
A huge fire broke out in the Zaatari Camp in Jordan following a gas cylinder explosion which resulted in injuring four people from one family, half of them children. The Jordanian authorities transferred three of the people who were wounded to Maghrebi Hospital. A fire also broke out yesterday in the refugee camp in southern Lebanon killing a Syrian child. (Source: Syrian Coalition)

On The Ground Development

Air Raids Kill 23 in Dumeir, Clashes Near Adra
Air raids conducted by the Assad regime for the second day in a row targeted the town of Dumeir near Damascus which led to the death of seven civilians. Fifteen civilians were killed in yesterday’s raid and a large number of people were wounded in addition to destruction of buildings and shops. Warplanes also launched air raids on the city of Yabrood. Violent clashes also took place between the Free Syrian Army and regime forces in and around the town of Adra along with shelling by heavy artillery and rocket launchers carried out by the regime. Regime forces bombed Harasta, Zabadani, and Kaboun with various types of weapons and no reports of casualties. (Source: Syrian Coalition + Local Coordination Committees)

5 Killed In Rural Dara’a, Clashes Around the National Hospital
Assad’s warplanes bombed the towns of Jassem and Inkhil in rural Dara’a which led to the deaths of five civilians and serious injury to several others. Meanwhile, the Free Syrian Army clashed with regime forces around the National Hospital, killing three soldiers of the regime. Violent clashes were also reported in the Sad neighborhood. (Source: Coalition + Coordination Committees )

Bitter Cold Kills Child in Rural Hama
The bitter cold that covered the region, along with the lack of means of heating, killed a newborn baby girl in the village of Arafa east of Hama. Artillery shelling by regime forces was reported on the town of Halfaya in rural Hama which led to the injury of a number of civilians. Regime forces stationed in Hama airbase targeted the village of Zur Hissa with rocket launchers. Activists reported a disturbance by detainees in Hama Central Prison. (Source: Syrian Coalition + Local Coordination Committees)

Civilians of Aleppo Trapped Between the Rock of Cold and the Hardness Of Barrel Bombs
A 53 year-old man died of extreme cold in Seif El Dawla in Aleppo. Ten civilians were killed by aerial shelling on an elementary school in the Inzarart district in Aleppo. In addition, barrel bombs killed 13 people in Seif El Dawla and Tariq Al Bab, mostly women and children. (Source: Syrian Coalition + Local Coordination Committees)

International Arab Positions

Kerry Announces Resumption Of Aid To The FSA, But With Caution
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry announced yesterday that U.S. non-lethal aid to the FSA in Northern Syria could resume soon. The aid was suspended following the Islamic Front’s takeover of the FSA’s weapons warehouses. Kerry said that “I think that it is required to be cautious to ensure that this work is done carefully.  No one wants to get involved in the Syrian issue, because as you know, this country is steeped in religious clashes with all kinds of interventions.” Kerry pointed out that that some areas of Syria are completely under the control of Al-Qaeda which previously “did not have the impact that it has today, and this is a growing threat we will have to face.” Sources in the Islamic Front previously hinted that it may hold talks with the Americans regarding the possibility of support after it assumes control over the positions of the Free Syrian Army. (Source: Syrian Coalition)

UN Seeks $6.5 Billion to Help 16 Million Syrians
The United Nations appealed to the donor countries to provide $6.5 billion to Syria and its neighboring countries in order to provide assistance to a total of 16 million people, many of whom are hungry or homeless as a result of the conflict which is about to enter its fourth year. The appeal for Syria is half of the total amount of the budget plan of $12.9 billion to help 52 million people in 17 countries, which was proposed by the coordinator for the United Nations for Relief, Valerie Amos, in a meeting of donor countries in Geneva. The United Nations said that "the increasing number of Syrian displaced persons and refugees is creating increasing needs in all sectors and puts pressure on the energies of the neighboring countries which is resulting in deep consequences on the region." (Source: Syrian Coalition)

Turki Al-Faisal Criticizes U.S. and Britain’s Failure to Arm the FSA
The former director general of Saudi intelligence, Prince Turki al-Faisal, criticized the position of Washington and London towards the Free Syrian Army , saying the conflict and massacres in Syria will continue because of the lack of Western support for the FSA. Al Faisal said: “the Assad regime has all types of weapons, such as tanks and missiles, while the other side is crying for defensive weapons to defend civilians in the face of Assad’s deadly weapons. This explains why the Free Syrian Army is not in as prominent a position as it should be today. Because of a lack of international support, the fighting will continue, and the killing will continue.”  The Saudi prince went on: ”Since the beginning of the conflict, since the Free Syrian Army was created in response to attacks by the Assad regime against its people, the British and the Americans have not met the call and have not provided the necessary assistance for the FSA to defend themselves. If there is no balance on the ground, there will not be any chances for a cease-fire.” (Source: Syrian Coalition)

Siniora Calls for Hezbollah to Stop Fighting Alongside the Regime in Syria
Fouad Siniora, the head of the Future Bloc in the Lebanese parliament and former Lebanese Prime Minister, called on Hezbollah’s militia to “get back to Lebanon at all political and security levels through the cessation of its participation in the fighting in Syria, and to stop violating the national consensus and its transformation into a military force controlled by Tehran.” Siniora said that "Hezbollah has turned into an occupation force through its participation in the fighting on the side of the Assad regime." The Lebanese official also said that the Assad regime is “behind a lot of extremist groups and terrorist gangs in Syria. It freed and supported these groups and sent them to commit crimes against innocent people. What is happening in Maloula and the practices witnessed by this town and in some other places serves none but the regime and its theory and methods.” Siniora pointed out that the Lebanese people, and the people of Tripoli especially, remember well their past experiences with the army of the Assad regime and the atrocities committed against the city and its people. The Lebanese people in Tripoli had experienced the sowing of division and discord with their brothers in Jabal Mohsen when the Assad regime planted tension between the brothers to create mistrust after years of co-existence. (Source: Syrian Coalition)

UNICEF Denies Deportation of Refugee Children to Syria
UNICEF in Amman denied it returned any child of the of Syrian refugees to Syria. The mission noted in a statement that it "denied the return of any of the unaccompanied or separated children from their families to Syria." The organization said that "of 1,500 unaccompanied children separated from their families were documented in Jordan since July of last year, 282 children were reunited with their families in Jordan, including in the Zaatari camp refugee." The statement stressed that "UNICEF agreed with the Jordanian authorities not to return unaccompanied children to Syria, due to the ongoing conflict there." The statement also noted that "UNICEF, along with its partners, provides respite care, including alternative care services  for these children in Jordan.” The statement continued saying  that "in line with international humanitarian law and inter-agency guidelines for unaccompanied children and those separated from their families, UNICEF does not support reunification of children in conflict zones and is not part of any effort to send unaccompanied children and those separated from their families back to Syria." (Source: Syrian Coalition)

Saudi Arabia warns of Fraudulent Collection of Donations for Syrians
The Saudi Ministry of Social Affairs warned of informal associations and individuals who began to send text messages via social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook that call for financial donations to counter the cold wave that swept across the eastern Mediterranean in order to deliver money to people inside Syria and to the Syrian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. The ministry said that donations directed to the Syrian refugees must be made through official channels. Abdullah Al Tawi, the general manager of the branch of the Ministry of Social Affairs in Makkah Region, said that the associations that operate without a permit are violating the rules. He pointed out that licensed associations operating under the laws and regulations of the ministry had to work inside Saudi Arabia. Fahad Al-Issa, the spokesman for the Ministry of Social Affairs in Makkah Region, said that these associations that collect financial  and in-kind donations for Syrian refugees do not belong to the ministry and that the ministry does not authorize such activities, indicating that the licensed associations have a scope of a service that does not exceed the limitations set for them. Al Issa vowed legal prosecution against impersonators of associations or those who falsely claim license from the ministry for doing their business. (Source: Syrian Coalition)

Syrian Refugees Make Up 20% of the Population of Lebanon
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said that Syrian refugees make up 20% of the population of Lebanon at the moment. This figure includes Syrian refugees registered with the United Nations while the Lebanese authorities estimate thousands of unregistered refugees have arrived in Lebanon  since mid- March, 2011. The UNHCR noted in a report released today that one in five of Lebanon's current population (about 4 million) is a Syrian refugee.The UNHCR said that the number of Syrian refugees registered in Lebanon is 842,000 people which makes Lebanon a country that hosts 36% of the Syrian refugees in the region. According to the Commission’s report, 72% of Syrian refugees are in need of continuous humanitarian assistance and 30% of them live in temporary quarters; tents, abandoned buildings, construction sites, and in garages. The report added that 280,000 children are of school age, 130,000 of them are being provided with an education as well as social and psychological support  to overcome the effects of the war. (Source: Syrian Coalition)