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A press release on the site of State news agency SANA is revealing about the extent of Syria’s reliance on its Iranian ally, as Syrian Prime Minister Wael al-Halqi attended the inauguration of Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani:

Premier al-Halqi said that Iran’s free and fair elections have shown the whole world the success of Iran’s democratic rule, a rule that “many countries in the world, which brag of being guardians of democracy, lack.”

Al-Halqi congratulated the Iranian people on this national occasion, saying “We came to Iran to join the Iranian people in their joy on the occasion of President Rohani taking the constitutional oath… We wish him success in his missions and congratulate the Iranian people and leadership for their achievements in all economic, scientific, technological and development domains that have remarkably placed Iran among the developed countries.”

The Premier thanked the outgoing Iranian administration under the leadership of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for its efforts to bolster friendship and cooperation between the two countries, affirming resolve to continue enhancing cooperation between the incoming Iranian leadership and Syria and take it to wider prospects that cement economic, trade and strategic cooperation in all spheres.

Another entry says that al-Halqi delivered a message from President Assad to Rouhani on “boosting the strategic relations between the two countries in all fields and the joint will to confront the western and U.S. plots and tools in the region which are aimed at undermining the axis of resistance”.

Perhaps just as revealing was what the articles leave out: there was no reference to Iran’s substantial role in supporting the Assad regime in the Syrian conflict, from the advice and logistical support of its Revolutionary Guards in Damascus to its role in reconstruction and propaganda to the $3.6 billion credit line it gave President Assad last month.

Indeed, the only reference at all to trouble for Damascus was the cited quote of Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Hussein Amir Abdollahian that “Syria will win the war against terrorism”.

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Video: Insurgents Take Regime Outpost on Mount Hermon in Golan Heights, Rip Assad Picture from Wall

Video: As Regime Shelling Destroys Schools, Children In Damascus Countryside Learn In Makeshift Facilities

A video report posted by activists on Sunday describes the targeting of schools in Daraya and Al Moadamyeh in the Damascus countryside (see map below). The report includes comments from a young boy whose school has been damaged by shelling. The report says that activists are opening alternative, makeshift schools in temporary facilities to accommodate those affected.

A report by Save The Children (STC) last month found that than a fifth of Syria’s schools have been destroyed or rendered unusable since the conflict began, affecting around 2.5 million young people. According to STC, in 2012, school buildings were shelled, teachers attacked and children recruited into armed groups.

Map showing locations of Daraya, Al Moadamyeh

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Assad Signs Decree to Prop Up Currency

President Assad has approved legislation prohibiting the sale or purchase of foreign currencies.

The bill is an attempt to prop up the Syrian pound, which has officially lost two-thirds of its values during the conflict. Unofficially, the fall is even greater — the pound, at 47: 1 vs. the US dollar in 2011, was reportedly trading at 300:1 on the black market last month.

Those breaking the new law face a prison sentence of 6 months to 3 years imprisonment and heavy fines. If the sum taded is over $5,000, punishment could rise to 10 years with hard labor.

The Governor of the Central Bank, Adib Mayala, said the measure was “to prevent the dollarization of the economy”.

Video: Sounds and Smoke from Fighting in Damascus Suburb of Barzeh

Video: An Insurgent Offensive in Lattakia Province

Insurgents hit a regime tanks with a Russian-made Konkurs anti-tank guided missile:

Videos: Insurgents in Khalidiyeh, Aleppo Use “Hell Cannon”

Footage of insurgents in Aleppo’s Khalidiyeh district on Sunday setting up and firing the home-made “hell cannon” against regime targets in the city:

An Insurgent Offensive in Lattakia Province?

Claims are circulating of a major offensive by insurgents, involving several brigades. in Lattakia Province in western Syria.

Footage of the Katiba Amr al-Mukhtar unit:

An insurgent T-55 tank departing for the assault:

Video: In Raqqa, Mobile Kitchen Brings Food To Needy Civilians

With food shortages an increasing problem in many parts of Syria, there have been numerous insurgent and activist-run initiatives — including soup kitchens and bread vans — to feed hungry civilian populations in insurgent-controlled areas.

This footage from Raqqa on Saturday shows one initiative — a mobile kitchen that travels around the area, cooking up food for local people. Among those lining up to receive food from the “meals on wheels” service are the elderly, women and children:

Syrian Coalition Call On UN To Investigate “Ramadan Massacres”

The opposition Syrian National Coalition on Sunday urged the UNHCR to investigate what it claimed were 20 mass killings in Syria during Ramadan, and — once again — accused forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad of using chemical weapons against civilians.

The SNC claimed “numerous reports coming from Syria” showed that President Bashar al-Assad had “committed crimes against humanity by using ballistic missiles, toxic gas, fixed-wing aircrafts, and chemical weapons. Moreover, Assad forces have summarily executed civilians, burned them, and targeted towns, villages, schools, hospitals, shelters, and places of worship across Syria.”

The SNC did not specify where the alleged chemical weapons attacks had taken place, but promised a detailed report on Tuesday.

Video: Insurgents Seize Ammunition Depot, Take Heavy Weapons

Video shows insurgents capturing an ammunition depot in Denha, north of Damascus.

Included in the haul of arms are dozens oF Russian-made Konkurs and Kornet French-made Milan anti-tank missiles.

Video footage of the raid published on Saturday showed delighted rebel fighters carrying out boxes of weapons from the arms cache in Denha, near the town of Yabroud, following an overnight attack.

One of the fighters in the video promised a fight-back against regime forces, “God willing, we will liberate Homs completely.”


The Local Coordination Committees claim 92 people were killed on Sunday, including 43 in Damascus and its suburbs, 14 in Aleppo Province, and 11 in Homs Province.

The Violations Documentation Center puts the number of dead at 68,425 since the start of the conflict, a rise of 87 since Saturday. Of these, 51,925 are civilians, an increase of 53 from yesterday.