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Syria Daily, August 5: Fears that Dozens of Refugees Killed after Lebanon Army’s Bombardment

Syria Daily, August 5: Fears that Dozens of Refugees Killed after Lebanon Army’s Bombardment
August 05
07:15 2014

LATEST: LCCS — 90 Killed Across Syria on Monday

UPDATE 2050 GMT: A Lebanese security official says a 24-hour ceasefire between the Lebanese army and gunmen — probably from the Islamic State — began on Tuesday night in the border town of Arsal.

The official said the truce, from 7 p.m. (1600 GMT), was for a mediator to investigate the fate of 22 Lebanese soldiers missing and presumed captured since attackers entered Arsal on Saturday.

“This time will also be used to evacuate civilians who were wounded or who need help. It is like a humanitarian ceasefire,” the source said.

A Syrian activist in the town said the shelling had stopped: “There is an uneasy calm.” A cleric said the clashes had stopped but sounds of occasional bombardment could still be heard.

Sources said several Islamic State fighters, including a commander in charge of booby traps and explosives, had been killed in Arsal.

Sixteen Lebanese troops have died and 86 have been wounded. Scores of civilians in Arsal and a nearby refugee camp have been killed or injured, most by bombardment by the Lebanese military.


UPDATE 1750 GMT: Video apparently showing the Lebanese Army allowing Hezbollah convoys to pass freely through checkpoints en route to Arsal:


UPDATE 1400 GMT: The insurgent Syrian Revolution General Commission claims that 29 civilians have been killed and more than 200 refugees have been wounded in clashes in Arsal and bombardment of the nearby camp.

The SRGC says that, in addition to artillery attacks, the Lebanese army and Hezbollah positioned several snipers surrounding camps who then fired on civilians, killing and wounding some of them as Syrian helicopters hovered overhead.

The Commission further claims that three members of a reconciliation commission, including two Sunni sheikhs, were wounded late Monday night when Hezbollah members fired on their car.

It concludes:

More than 1,500 families have fled their tents since the beginning of the fighting. The camps are surrounded and Syrian refugees have nowhere to go. The humanitarian situation is extremely dire regarding medical supplies and provisions; several charities cited the inability to reach affected families due to the continuous bombardment and the snipers surrounding the camps. Electricity is cut off from the camps, making conditions worse.


UPDATE 1220 GMT: A Lebanese official has claimed progress to end fighting in the border town Arsal.

“A tentative agreement has been reached after negotiations, which call for the handover of three (captured) soldiers while militants would start a gradual withdrawal,” Bakr Hujeiri, the Future Movement’s representative in the town, said.

Other captured soldiers will be handed over in groups as the gunmen withdraw.

Two more Lebanese troops were killed overnight, bringing the military’s toll to 16 with 86 wounded.

Two prominent Sunni sheikhs were slightly wounded when their car came under fire shortly before midnight. A third member of the delegation seeking reconciliation suffered a serious foot injury.

Read more: http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Lebanon-News/2014/Aug-05/266095-syria-vows-to-back-lebanon-army-against-terrorism.ashx#ixzz39WKJDVex
(The Daily Star :: Lebanon News :: http://www.dailystar.com.lb)


Syria’s war is now in Lebanon, with fears that the Lebanese Army has killed dozens of civilians in the bombardment of a Syrian refugee camp, as it fought gunmen in the nearby border town of Arsal.

The Lebanese bombardment set off fires in the crowded camp in the Bekaa Valley, adding to the casualties.

The Lebanese military was continuing its pursuit of gunmen — suspected to be from the jihadist Islamic State — whose attack on a checkpoint east of Arsal and storming of a police station in the town sparked a weekend of clashes. At least 14 Lebanese soldiers and six civilians died in the clashes, and more than 20 soldiers have been captured and possibly taken into Syria.

Fighting continued Monday in the town, with hundreds of Army reinforcements joining the attempt to remove the armed men. Soldiers reported that the militants were setting off explosions from captured military vehicles.

The Army claimed that it found the bodies of 50 “militants” when it moved on the town on Monday. It did not report any casualties from the camp.

However, images from the camp showed blazes in the aftermath of what appeared to be artillery strikes. Well-placed sources say that members of the Islamist faction Jabhat al-Nusra were in the camp, but were not confronting Lebanese forces — instead they were trying to give assistance and first aid to civilians.

Thousands of families fled Arsal during a pause in fighting on Monday, but those in the camp cannot move. The Lebanese Red Cross has not been able to reach any wounded civilians.

More than one-third of the estimated 1.1 million Syrian refugees are in the Bekaa Valley.

Any casualties in the camp are unlikely to stem fighting. The Lebanese Cabinet met in an emergency session on Monday and ruled out negotiations with the gunmen in Arsal.

“There is no political solution with extremist groups who are manipulating the Arab communities under religious obscurantism and strange titles, seeking to transfer their sick acts into Lebanon,” Prime Minister Tammam Salam said in a televised statement. “Today, the only solution is the withdrawal of the gunmen from Arsal and its surroundings.”

The Syrian Foreign Ministry proclaimed its support for the military operations, saying the Assad regime “stands with the Lebanese Army and stands in solidarity with them in dealing with terrorist groups and eliminating them”.

(Featured Photo: Reuters)


LCCS: 90 Killed Across Syria on Monday

The Local Coordination Committees report 90 people killed on Monday, including 8 women and 15 children.

Of the dead, 25 were in Damascus and its suburbs, 20 in Aleppo Province, 18 in Hama Province, and 14 in Homs Province.

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About Author

Scott Lucas

Scott Lucas

Scott Lucas is Professor of International Politics at the University of Birmingham and editor-in-chief of EA WorldView. He is a specialist in US and British foreign policy and international relations, especially the Middle East and Iran. Formerly he worked as a journalist in the US, writing for newspapers including the Guardian and The Independent and was an essayist for The New Statesman before he founded EA WorldView in November 2008.

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15 Comments

  1. TD
    TD August 05, 08:35

    Who gives a damn? are they palestinians? were they hit by israel? no? NO ONE CARES

    Reply to this comment
    • Haroon
      Haroon August 05, 15:25

      Exactly. Scott deserves a lot of credit for actually covering ALL of what’s going on in the Middle East, though I still find his Israel coverage biased. Most of the world media ONLY cares if Israel did it. I’m not sure to what extent that’s because Israel is perceived as a western first world power (which for some reason seems to mean it has no right to defend itself) and to what extent its just blatant anti-Semitism.

      Reply to this comment
  2. Amir in Tel Aviv
    Amir in Tel Aviv August 05, 11:03

    Yezidis Call on the International Community to Save their Families in Shangal

    [ http://rudaw.net/english/kurdistan/040820141 ]

    International community to Yazidies: Sorry dudes, you’re not palestinians and we’re obsessed with Israel at the moment.

    ===
    Will Europe explode in selective rage over the Yazidi tragedy? Don’t hold your breath

    http://www.joshualandis.com/blog/routs-peshmerga-takes-control-sinjar-mountains-jeapordizes-yazidi-homeland/

    Reply to this comment
  3. Catmari
    Catmari August 05, 15:52

    Remember Syria? Some fear world losing interest in deadly conflict.

    CNN: There are photos of bodies with limbs torn from their sockets and others showing people with their eyes gouged out — even shots of people being crucified.

    But with crises in the Middle East and eastern Ukraine, does the world still care about Syria, one of the deadliest conflicts in history?

    Those gut-wrenching photos come from a man known only as “Caesar,” who testified before the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee on July 31.

    Committee Chairman Rep. Ed Royce, R-California, and ranking Democrat Rep. Eliot Engel of New York said they were floored by the photos.

    “We want to look away. But we must not,” Engel said.

    “We will never forget the Syrian people,” Royce said.

    But advocates argue that we’ve already forgotten.
    http://edition.cnn.com/2014/08/04/world/meast/syria-crisis-remember/index.html

    Reply to this comment
    • caligola
      caligola August 05, 17:39

      The west will only wake up if Isis will threat damascus. And guess who they will help? Assad unfortunately or he gets killed from his inner circle or he is bound to rule syria for the next decades.

      Reply to this comment
      • RedTornadoes
        RedTornadoes August 05, 19:01

        Assad won’t rule several decades unless the Eunuch who currently occupies the White House is replaced by Rand Paul or some other Obama lookalike on foreign policy. Odds heavily favor Hillary who, unlike His Impotency, believes a stitch in time actually can save nine. Hillary is 180 degrees opposite Obama in the lattewr’s adoration for Khamenei and for Assad’s security services. Many Republican moderates I’ve spoken too say they’ll take her over Rand Paul and some of the other kooks (Santorum, Bachman) anytime.

        Reply to this comment
  4. RedTornadoes
    RedTornadoes August 05, 18:55

    BUSINESS INSIDER: This Has Been The Most Violent Week Of The Entire Syria War

    http://www.businessinsider.com/the-most-week-of-the-entire-syria-war-2014-8#ixzz39WwrqxS0

    Good article overall, except for two things the assumption that cantonization is more than temporary and a concluding paragraph that too optimistic on regime’s prospects. That happens when you overlooks underlying strategic factors working strongly against the regime:

    #1: Attrition caused by departure of allies

    #2. Attrition caused by increased combat requirements (Green replacements tend to be easy meat for hardened, veteran enemies)

    #3: The regime is being forced nto a “defense only” mode meaning the best it can hope for is to survive another day. When offensives are launched, the regime loses enormous number of troops but rarely gets anywhere. See Jobar, Mieha, Morek.

    #4: A thinned-out louse armyhasn’t been able to win anything more than minor skirmishes for 18 months unless assisted by foreign militias. Now its supposed to defeat two enemies—not one–and both superior in different ways.

    #5. Of the three cantons the regime is more vulnerable than the other two because of its gerrymander-like sprawl extending from Daraa in the south to Aleppo and Idlib and with minimal control of the counryside in between.

    6. Heavy weapons newly acquired by ISIS are most effective against an enemy stuck in fixed, hardened positions, meaning the regime.

    #7: Regime airpower and airports are now at risk.

    #8 Troop morale is very lpoor on the regime side. That can defections, resistance to orders, surrenders ((except to ISIS). Troops also will tend to break more easily in the midst of a battle, setting off a panic in which others follow.

    #9:Civilian morale and confidence is terrible as well. People are beging to sneer at regime propaganda who they once believed easily. Widespread anger at Assad on loyalist sites is common after its long-time alliance with ISIS has backfired, leaving many troops headless and the coast full of coffins.

    WHO HAS THE MOST ENEMIES IN SYRIA?

    Answer: ISIS who must fight tribes and Kurds in addition to rebels and the regime. It also has to deal with the Iraq front but enoys a nice insulated base for both purposes.

    Common sense says ISIS threatens western and US security if allowed to prevail. Even isolations must agree with that. Common sense says that depriving ISIS of its eastern Syria base is critical to defeating ISIS in Iraq. Common sense say that all that could be done much faster if rebels were given equalizing weaons and US Air support.

    However the eunuch in the White House too intent on pleasing Iran’s mullahs and prolonging a radicalizing, genocide-enabling stalemate. ISIS will continue to benefit from Obama until Hillary replaces him.

    Reply to this comment
  5. Bs As
    Bs As August 05, 22:36

    No plan for military intervention in Libya: Egypt FM

    http://www.copts-united.com/English/Details.php?I=1175&A=15259

    Reply to this comment
  6. Ali Bistani
    Ali Bistani August 05, 22:53

    yeah seems that the homs al qaeda branch will be eliminated in Arsal, to bad the Lebanese state didnt act a year ago

    Reply to this comment
  7. JH van der Stelt
    JH van der Stelt August 06, 02:45

    Quite a busy day in Syria.. Thanks for the coverage, Prof. Lucas.

    Reply to this comment

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