June 4, 2013 - Syria - Damascus Outskirts - Smoke rises from Jisreen as result of shelling by Assad regime
An Israeli air raid in Syria this week struck surface-to-air missiles and a nearby military complex on the outskirts of Damascus, as Israel feared the weapons would be transferred to Hezbollah, a US official said Friday.
Earlier reports had suggested Israeli warplanes may have targeted two separate locations in Wednesday’s raid in Syria: a military site outside of the capital and a weapons convoy near the Lebanese border.
But the US official said the strike was confined to one location.
“It was in the suburbs of Damascus,” the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told AFP.
“There were surface-to-air missiles on vehicles” that were targeted by the Israel aircraft, he said, adding that they were believed to be Russian-made SA-17 anti-aircraft missiles.
The planes also bombed an adjacent military complex of buildings suspected of housing chemical agents, the official said.
The Israelis suspected the weapons would be transferred to Lebanon’s Shiite Hezbollah group, he said.
The Syrian regime has accused Israel of launching a dawn strike Wednesday on a military research center in Jamraya, near Damascus, and threatened to retaliate.
But the Israeli government has maintained a public silence on the strike.
Israel has repeatedly expressed concern that Syria’s stockpile of chemical weapons could fall into the hands of Lebanon’s Shiite Hezbollah group, which is an ally of the Damascus regime, or other militant organizations.
8 Nov 2012 #Syria : Hama - Formation the Vanguards of Martyrs Brigade, Syria brigade of five fronts
Brigade : tanks
Brigade : artilleries
Brigade : air defense
Brigade : raid
Brigade : technical
Brigade : medical
Battalion : reinforcemnts
Syria’s main opposition group on Thursday called for a nationwide student strike after pro-government forces killed four students in Aleppo and arrested some 200 following anti-regime protests.
In a statement, the Syrian National Council (SNC), an exile umbrella opposition organization, urged the strike “in solidarity with students at Aleppo University.”
The university in Syria’s second city and commercial hub was shut down Thursday until final exams after a night-time raid by regime forces that monitors say left four students dead and 28 wounded, three of them critically.
About 200 students were also detained in the assault that took place following an anti-regime protest on campus, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
Activists and students said security forces raided the dormitories, threw out students and their belongings and torched some of the rooms.
Witnesses said some of the students jumped out of windows to avoid arrest.
Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Britain-based Observatory, said the events in Aleppo could mark a turning point for the northern city which has largely been spared the unrest shaking the country for nearly 14 months.
“The city of Aleppo hasn’t joined the anti-regime revolt thus far but the seriousness of these events will push residents to mobilise in solidarity with the students,” he told AFP.
“Security forces stormed the university in response to increased student protests lately inside and outside the campus,” he added.
“The university suspended classes because neither the management nor the security forces seem able to control the situation.”
In a video posted by activists on YouTube, heavy gunfire and screams are heard while dozens of men, identified as members of the security and intelligence services, are seen entering the campus.
The video could not be authenticated as Syrian authorities have restricted access to foreign media.
Several protests in solidarity with the Aleppo students broke out Thursday in various universities across the country, activists said.
The SNC called on authorities to reopen the university, the second largest in the country, and for students detained to be released.
It also urged student unions across the Arab world to show solidarity with their Syrian counterparts and for UN observers monitoring a tenuous ceasefire in the country to investigate the unrest in Aleppo.
The UN-backed truce went into effect April 12 but has failed to take hold with both sides to the conflict in Syria accused of violations.
Overall, more than 11,000 people have died in Syria since the revolt against the regime of Bashar al-Assad broke out in March last year, according to the Observatory.
By BASSEM MROUE, Associated Press
BEIRUT — Syria’s opposition called a general strike Thursday over President Bashar Assad’s deadly crackdown on an 8-month-old revolt, ramping up efforts to persuade the country’s business elite to abandon their long-standing ties to the regime.
The move came as Syrian troops stormed a village in the central province of Hama, killing six people – the latest in what has become daily violence and bloodshed in the country. The United Nations says at least 3,500 people have been killed since the uprising began in March.
A recent spate of economic sanctions from the Arab League, Turkey and European Union are punishing Syria’s ailing economy, a dangerous development for the government in Damascus. Syrian business leaders have long traded political freedoms for economic privileges in the country, where the prosperous merchant classes are key to propping up the regime.
The sanctions, coupled with increasing calls for strikes, could sap their resolve.
It was difficult to gauge how widely Syrians were abiding by the strike, which activists announced on an opposition Facebook page. The regime has sealed the country off from foreign journalists and prevented independent reporting.
Residents in Syria’s two economic powerhouses – the capital, Damascus, and the northern city of Aleppo – reported business as usual Thursday.
But in the flashpoint city of Homs, a resident told The Associated Press that most of the shops were closed, except for those selling food. Homs has been one of Syria’s most volatile cities, with increasing clashes between troops and army defectors.
“Few people are in the streets and only about 20 percent of students went to schools and universities,” said one resident, who asked that his name not be made public for fear of government reprisals.
A video posted online by activists showed mostly closed shops in the Damascus suburb of Zabadani, which also has seen large anti-regime protests.
Despite the recent diplomatic squeeze and Thursday’s strike, the government has shown little sign of easing its crackdown.
The Local Coordination Committees activist group said security forces swept through the village of Traimseh in the central province of Hama. The group said six people were killed, without giving further details.
Another person was shot dead in the nearby province of Homs, the group said.
The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also said six people were killed and nine wounded in Traimseh. It added that the operation was continuing in the village.
Also Thursday, the government took local journalists on a trip to the village of Kfarbo in Hama province, where they spoke to the family of a 9-year-old boy who was shot dead in Homs three days ago while he was buying cookies from a shop.
“He was holding a biscuit in his hand not a pistol,” the child’s mother, Georgina Mtanious al-Jammal, told reporters. “They have burned my heart.”
She blamed “armed terrorists” for killing her son.
The shooting is particularly resonant in Syria because the boy, Sari Saoud, was from a Christian family. Christians and other religious minorities in Syria generally support the regime because they feel it offers them important protections.
Syria is overwhelmingly Sunni Muslim, and many minorities fear they will be marginalized if a Sunni regime takes over. Assad and the ruling elite are from the tiny Alawite sect.
Associated Press writer Albert Aji contributed to this report from Kfarbo, Syria.
Bassem Mroue can be reached on http://twitter.com/bmroue
Source: The Huffington Post