| 17.02,12. 02:34 PM |
SNC Extends Ghalioun’s Term Amidst Intensified Crackdown in Syria
The Syrian National Council extended Burhan Ghalioun’s presidency term for another three months. According to SNC Spokeswoman Bassma Kodmani, the bylaws of the SNC stipulate the alternation of the presidency term, however, there are exceptions. The Libyan National Transitional Council announced it would allow the SNC to open representative offices in Tripoli.
Assad’s forces shelled the cities of Idlib, Saraqeb, and Sarmin today in the province of Idlib with tanks and artillery, amidst a communications blackout that lasted ten days thus far. More than a thousand soldiers invaded the neighbourhood of Barzeh in the capital Damascus with armoured units amidst heavy machinegun fire after all routes were blocked. Security forces opened fire randomly, arrested dozens arbitrarily, and wrecked and looted many shops. In the province of Daraa, security forces raided the town of Sahm, with tanks and armoured units amidst heavy machinegun fire, while in the province of Idlib, security forces initiated massive arbitrary arrest campaigns in the cities of Ashara and Mayadin.
Assad’s forces killed at least 32 people today; most fell in the provinces of Idlib and Homs. Security forces shelled the Old City of Homs with artillery, RPG’s, and nail bombs, amidst heavy machinegun fire along with a complete cut off of power and electricity, water supply, and communications and the deployment of extra checkpoints. Many residents of the neighbourhood of Baba Amr suffocated from the smoke that clouded over the area after Assad’s forces shelled the oil pipe line in the area. Warplanes continued to fly at low altitude over the neighbourhoods. Syrian activists reported the presence of Russian specialists supervising the use of chemical nerve gas weapons on civilians in Homs .
Assad’s forces continued to raid the Damascus suburbs of Zabadani and Madaya killing at least 21 so far. As for Hama, the northern areas continue to be heavily pounded with tanks and artillery while ground units have enforced a complete curfew.