LATEST: Video: Jabhat Al Nusra To Use Konkurs Anti-Tank Weapons In Battle Of Old Customs Area, Daraa
SUMMARY: The US and Russia say they have agreed on a United Security Council resolution implementing the framework for Syria to give up its chemical weapons.
The Council could vote as early as Friday night on a draft resolution, according to US, Russian, French and British diplomats. The vote would follow approval by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons of a plan for the destruction of the chemical arsenal.
Vitaly Churkin, Russia’s Ambassador to the UN, said some ministers were “extending their stay in New York in order to participate in that vote”.
His American counterpart Samantha Power said that a deal was reached with Russia “legally obligating” Syria to give up its chemical stockpile.
It is still unclear how the US and Russia resolved the sticking point of how any resolution will be enforced.
The Americans, French, and Britain wanted a clause invoking Chapter 7 of the UN Charter, permitting the use of force, if the Assad regime did not comply with inspection and takeover of the weapons. Moscow and Damascus have firmly resisted any such measures.
Meanwhile, there are other signs in the full text of the draft resolution of how Russia watered down any criticism of the Assad regime.
There is no blame placed on Damascus for the chemical weapons attacks of August 21. While insisting that Assad should not hold chemical stocks, the resolution’s next clauses also implicitly points at the insurgency: “no party in Syria should use, develop, produce, acquire, stockpile, retain, or transfer chemical weapons”.
(Featured Photo: A man amongst those killed in the August 21 chemical weapons attacks near Damascus)
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Video: Death Toll Rises To 50 After Rankos Car Bomb
The Shaam News Network has more information about the car bomb that detonated in Rankos, north of Damascus, earlier on Friday. According to Shaam, the car bombing was carried out by pro-regime forces who targeted a mosque in the town. The death toll has risen to 50, with more injured.
Shaam’s reporters filmed this video of some of the victims. (Warning — very graphic images.)
Video: Harakat Ahrar Ash Sham Participating In Battle Of Old Customs Area, Daraa
Earlier on Friday, we reported that Islamist faction Jabhat Al Nusra were taking part in the battle for control over the Old Customs Area in Daraa, a key area close to the border with Jordan. Jabhat Al Nusra claimed responsibility for a car bomb that was exploded at the entrance to the Old Customs Area.
In this footage, local media activist Abo Gamal is with another Islamist faction — Harakat Ahrar Ash Sham, who say they are also taking part in the battle to liberate the Old Customs Area.
Islamist brigades outside the Free Syrian Army have had a presence in Daraa for some months. Jabhat al Nusra has conducted military activities in Daraa and is building up its military presence there and in the Golan Heights, a move that is viewed with some concern by Israel. Earlier this year, there were reports that Jabhat Al Nusra was not warmly welcomed by other insurgents in Daraa.
Video: Smoke From Car Bomb In Rankos, Damascus Countryside
Activists are reporting that there has been a car bomb attack in Rankos, a small town north of Damascus and near the border with Lebanon.
This video purports to show footage of smoke rising after the bomb.
Video: Jabhat Al Nusra To Use Konkurs Anti-Tank Weapons In Battle Of Old Customs Area, Daraa
On Thursday, we reported on the ongoing and increasing clashes between insurgents and regime forces in Dar’aa, in the Old Customs Area near the border with Jordan.
This footage from Friday, taken by Dar’aa based media activist Abo Gamal, shows fighters from Islamist faction Jabhat Al Nusra, who say they are taking part in the battle. The fighters have Western weapons — including the Konkurs anti-tank missiles.
Abo Gamal speaks to an insurgent commander he names as Emir Abu Miqdad, who talks about the progress of the battle.
Abu Miqdad ends by saying that all Muslims must wage jihad.
Friday Protests, From Aleppo To Kafranbel
A look at Friday Protests in Damascus, Aleppo and Idlib Provinces.
We start in Aleppo’s Tariq Al Bab neighborhood — strongly Islamist — where the protests, as usual, are dominated by Islamic State of Iraq and Ash Sham flags and Islamist banners.
The demonstrators called for the overthrow of Bashar al Assad and the establishment of an Islamic Caliphate.
Protesters from the Uwais Al Qarni congregation in As-Sukari, Aleppo, praised all factions of the Mujahideen in fighting the Assad regime:
A different atmosphere yet again in Aleppo Old Town, with plenty of children and opposition flags at this Revolutionary Council demonstration:
Over to Idlib Province, where this protest at Killi calls for the overthrow of the regime:
In Kafranbel, Idlib, protesters express their scorn at the Russian-brokered deal to turn Assad’s chemical weapons over to international control, with a poster reading: PUTIN WHO ENCOURAGED ASSAD TO USE HIS CW AGAINST US BRAGS OF SENDING HIS MAFIA TO PROTECT THE CW. WHAT A STUPID!
At Saqba in the Damascus suburbs, there was a large turn-out for this protest, calling for Assad to go:
Head of Supreme Military Council to Meet Break-Away Insurgent Groups
The head of the opposition Supreme Military Council, General Salim Idriss, has said he will head to Syria on Friday for talks with insurgent brigades who rejected the SMC and the Syrian National Coalition in a statement earlier this week.
The insurgent groups are calling for forces to be reorganized under an Islamic framework and to be run only by groups fighting inside Syria. The move comes amid dissatisfaction with the SMC and conflict with another faction, the Islamic State of Iraq and as-Sham, across northern Syria.
Videos: Fighting Across Aleppo, Including In Salah Addin, Al Khalidiya
Footage from Friday shows insurgents in Aleppo’s Al Khalidiya neighborhood using the home-made “Hell Cannon” against regime forces.
Fighting continues in other neighborhoods of Aleppo on Friday. This footage shows insurgent commanders in the Salah Addin neighborhood ahead of an operation against regime forces.
Footage from Aleppo’s Western neighborhoods shows insurgents preparing to use machine guns to fight regime forces in the area:
The Local Coordination Committees claim that 64 people were killed on Thursday, including 17 in Damascus and its suburbs and 13 in Daraa Province.
The Violations Documentation Center puts the number of dead at 74,090 since the conflict began in March 2011, an increase of 69 from Thursday. Of the dead, 55,473 are civilians, a rise of 32 from yesterday.