Hajj Committee Head: Syrian Coalition to Control Hajj File. No to Assad.
The Head of the Higher Hajj Council in the Syrian Coalition, Muhamad Abu al Khayr Shukri, considers the Coalition’s takeover of the Hajj file from the Syrian government as another indication that the regime has lost legitimacy in the eyes of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. In a discussion with the Syrian Coalition Media Office with the Head of the Hajj Committee, Shukri criticized “the methods of intimidation by the Assad Regime used to prevent Syrians from performing Hajj.” He considers these acts “as violations of religious freedom and a flagrant confusion between religion and politics.” He continued explaining that heads of the Syrian Hajj groups in coordination with the Higher Hajj Committee collected 600,000 Saudi Riyals to help those in besieged areas, especially southern Damascus and Old Homs, which are continuously targeted by regime forces. Shukri pointed out “that this amount of money was collected by the heads of Hajj groups from expenses for this year along with some donations.” He added that “the assistance would be distributed under the auspices of Shaam Scholars Association.” He also thanked the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for easing the process for the Syrian pilgrims and for the services provided, as well as its cooperation with the Higher Hajj Committee of the Syrian National Council. (Source: Syrian Coalition)
Jamous: Al Jarba In London Tomorrow for Friends of Syria
The Secretary General of the Syrian Coalition declared that a delegation, headed by Ahmad Jarba, will head to London tomorrow to attend a Ministers’ meeting on Tuesday. Those attending the meeting are the 11 nations that form the core of the Friends of Syria group. Jamous, an important member of the team, stated, “the delegation will explore the latest developments and determinants of the Geneva 2 conference within the parameters of the revolution and the principle of Assad’s departure.” Informed sources reported that this week will be busy finalizing many details concerning preparations for the Geneva 2 conference and expectations set for the conference. The Geneva 2 file is an important part of discussions between United States Secretary of State John Kerry with Western and Arab officials in Paris during the coming days. (Source: Syrian Coalition)
Muadhamiyah Citizens Write an Open Letter to the World
The Syrian Coalition has published an open letter from the people of Muadhamiya directed to the people of the world. The letter hopes to turn the attention of humanitarian organizations, including the United Nations, onto the constant suffering the people face living in Muadamiyah.
The letter reads: “Dear brothers and sisters, our friends, we have managed today to find enough power to run a computer and connect to the internet. We are writing from steadfast Muadamiyah, the city of olives, the mother of all martyrs; the city of death.
We are suffering the worst kinds of oppression at the hands of the venomous Assad Shabiha, sectarian Hezbollah militias, Iraqi mercenaries, and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps.
We have been under siege for over a year. Forces of the criminal tyrant Assad, who has lost all legitimacy a long time ago, have been trying to enter the city every day. We appeal to your sense of humanity not to forget us.
The humanitarian situation is tragic.
We, the people of Muadamiyah, live in deplorable condition. We implore you to deliver our message to the whole world. We are a people who desire to live free, with honor and dignity. We have made enormous sacrifices to defend our families and fight for our rights. We love life, and all we want is to create a better future for our children. Please publish this letter in all languages so that the whole world may hear our cries.
For nearly one year, the city of Muadamiyah has been under siege with no access to food, electricity, medicine, communications, and fuel. We have been hit by rockets, artillery shells, napalm, white phosphorous, and chemical weapons. Hundreds of Muadamiyah’s men, women and children have died, and thousands have been injured. We can only pray for the wounded, as we do not have access to medicine, nor to the means to provide medical care. All we have are a few bullets to repel those who want to slaughter our families with knives and burn our children alive.
Save us from death. Save us from the hell of Assad’s killing machine.
Nearly 90% of neighborhoods in Muadamiyah are nearly entirely destroyed. Around 11,780 people are surviving on leaves of trees and other inedible plants. Only three doctors operate our only field hospital. Nearly 1800 people are wounded but have no access to medical care. Today, the lack of proper medical equipment puts the lives of 20 individuals, who need blood transfusions, at grave peril.
The Syrian Coalition calls on the United Nations and the world’s humanitarian relief agencies to act immediately and call for the establishment of humanitarian corridors so that the lives of thousands of civilians in besieged Muadamiyah can be saved. The Coalition also urges the international community not to allow the Assad regime to manipulate and deceive as it has always done. The Assad regime must not be allowed to evade punishment for crimes against the Syrian people. (Source: Syrian Coalition)
23 Dead in Syria up until 6 PM this evening and 53 Dead yesterday
Local Coordination Committees in Syria documented 53 people dead yesterday. Among the dead are one woman and one child. Also, eight people died in Damascus, six in Aleppo, five in Deir Ezzor, two in Dar’aa, and one in each of Hama and Homs.
(Source: Local Coordination Committees)
Fighter Jets Target Tamiko Building
Regime fighter jets shelled a building near the Tamiko Checkpoint, this came after the Free Syrian Army took control of Tamiko Checkpoint yesterday. Also, there were clashes between the FSA and regime forces on al Noor Checkpoint. Regime forces shelled al Tayba in rural Damascus killing two people and injuring many others, some of whom are in critical condition. Regime forces targeted the outskirts of Joubar, Zamalka, and al Muadhamiyah injuring many people and destroying many homes amidst on and off clashes with the FSA in the area. Regime Forces have denied this area raw grains from reaching the ovens for the eighth consecutive day, causing a state of fear among the civilians of a new siege that could take place. (Source: Syrian Coalition + Local Coordination Committees)
The Free Syrian Army Gains
The Free Syrian Army took control of al Hayran Checkpoint after clashes with regime forces. The FSA also attacked al Rawadi Checkpoint at the entrance of the city of al Quneitra; the FSA was able to damage a tank under the 23rd Brigade’s command in the 61st Battalion in southern rural al Quneitra. The tank was damaged by a homemade rocket called “The Red Arrow”. Regime forces also shelled eastern al Samdaniya, Ain Freekha, Bir Ajam, and Bareeqa in rural al Quneitra injuring a number of civilians and destroying many of their homes. Regime fighter jets conducted air strikes on the towns of Dael and Tafas in rural Dara’a injuring many people, some of whom are in critical condition. There was a large explosion on the Road to Barad in Busra al Shaam, the source remains unknown. After the explosion, heavy machine guns and artillery were fired on the eastern districts of the city.
(Source: Syrian Coalition + Local Coordination Committees)
Fierce Clashes with Regime Forces in Hama
The Free Syrian Army clashed with regime forces on al Mukanana Checkpoint in Hama this morning killing all of the soldiers at the checkpoint and completely destroying one of their vehicles. After this, Regime Forces cut off all roads around the checkpoint and stationed soldiers to security checkpoints in the area. The FSA attacked a tank in the Arshounah village in rural Hama during clashes with Regime Forces. Regime Forces shelled the northern part of Souran injuring many people and destroying many homes. (Source: Syrian Coalition + Local Coordination Committees)
Qatar: Assad Violating Women’s Rights
The Qatari representative, holds Assad responsible for the torture experienced by Syrian women in detention they stated at a UN Security Council meeting about the “ abuse of women in armed conflicts”. Also, the Qatari representative holds Assad responsible for the rapes during home raids conducted by Regime Forces throughout Syria. The representative considers this “war crimes and crimes against humanity.”
A British surgeon, David Newt, confirmed Assad’s snipers are targeting pregnant Syrian women purposefully in territories outside regime control in northern Syria.” The doctor also said “it is obvious the snipers are playing some sort of game.” The doctor explained, “The snipers win boxes of cigarettes when they hit the most targets.”
It should also be noted that the Free Syrian Army traded 9 Hezbollah militia soldiers for female Syrian detainees who the regime detained at a previous time for peacefully protesting against the regime. Hisham Marwa, Legal Committee Member of the Syrian Coalition, described “the Assad Regime’s swapping of Hezbollah militia prisoners for detained Syrian females” as a shameful act. He added that “the spies of Assad’s allies are more important Syrians who Assad claims to protect.” He pointed out that “this prisoner swap is clear evidence foreign powers controlling the Assad Regime. Furthermore, Assad’s disingenuous claims of nationalism and resistance against Israel are false propaganda coupled with his repeated accusations of the opposition being allied with foreign powers.” (Source: Syrian Coalition)
Hezbollah’s Spies Reach Lebanon
Hezbollah’s captive spies reached Lebanon after they were traded by the Free Syrian Army for two Turkish pilots and a group of Syrian female detainees. Informed sources said that the regime returned 12 bodies of previously detained women, after experiencing extreme torture, according to one of the released detainees. The Turkish News Agency announced the release of the two Turkish pilots who were previously abducted by Hezbollah’s militia. It is notable that the trade deal was completed by Qatari mediation between the terrorist Hezbollah militia and the Syrian group who captured the Hezbollah spies. Syrian and other international politicians considered that, “Assad swapping Syria’s children for an allied power of his clear evidence that the ruling power in Syria is not a Syrian regime, but instead a foreign power executing their agenda in the region.” (Source: Syrian Coalition)
UN: Open Humanitarian Corridors and Lift the siege on Muadamiyah
Head of Humanitarian Operation in the UN, Valeri Amos, demanded that Assad should establish a cease-fire and an immediately establish a humanitarian corridor to save civilians besieged in Muadamiyah. Amos stressed “We have been prevented from accessing Muadamiyah for months now.” She noted that despite the evacuation of some 3,000 people from the town’s residents last Sunday, a similar number are still under siege amid heavy fighting. Amos stressed that Muadamiyah is not the only town under siege, saying “Thousands of families are still trapped in other cities all over Syria, such as Aleppo and Old Homs.” She explained that safe passage should be made available for civilian movement so that they may “move around safely without fear of being attacked.”
The Syrian Coalition considers it crucial to remember that the evacuation of these individuals does not end the humanitarian crisis in Muadamiyah. The Syrian Coalition added that the people who were taken out of the city were placed in a school and are now under regime surveillance. On Oct. 12, 2013, while playing outside the school, ten boys of these evacuated individuals were kidnapped. Four of these boys were released and have reported that they were tortured while undergoing intense questioning about the FSA in Muadamiyah.
The Red Cross officers had been alerted about the dangers of placing these vulnerable people under the care of the regime but have stated that they are just humanitarian aid providers and can do nothing to ensure the safety of these families from armed factions or from Assad’s mukhabarat agents.
The Syrian Coalition urges the international community to stop neglecting its responsibilities and to immediately begin establishing humanitarian corridors, providing international relief agencies with unfettered access to save civilians in Muadamiyah.
The Syrian Coalition also notes that the siege on Muadamiyah has been going on for about 11 months now. It is home to 12,000 civilians; 7,000 of them are women and children who are starving to death due to a lack of basic goods. (Source: Syrian Coalition)