To give you an overview of the latest news, we’ve organized the latest Syrian developments in a curated summary.
U.N. ‘Alarmed’ by Violent Zaatari Protests
Weekend protests in Zaatari refugee camp, which houses over 588,000 Syrians, have alarmed U.N. observers. The AP reports that 28 Jordanian policemen were wounded and that tear gas and live ammunition were used to subdue protesters. A protester was also reported to have been killed.
“The U.N. refugee agency says a ‘heated demonstration’… turned to ‘a violent one’ after hundreds, possibly thousands of refugees started throwing rocks at a police post,” the wire says. “The agency said Sunday that the protest started over a refugee family being held there after police detained them and a driver who tried to smuggle them out of the camp.”
Surge of Violence Across Syria Kills Over Two Dozen
The New York Times reports that violence flared across the country on Sunday, killing more than two dozen rebel fighters in Homs and Damascus.
Violence flared across Syria, killing more than two dozen rebel fighters in Homs and Damascus.
“The episode, reported differently by state news media and an antigovernment monitoring group, was significant for several reasons. It showed that some fighters in the Old City are still planning large attacks despite the government’s continuing siege, and despite its offer of a truce and amnesty that scores of their comrades have accepted. And in an indication of the divisions the blockade and amnesties have sown, one former insurgent said the bombing had been planned by one group of fighters to kill others.”
Break in War Brings Brittle Calm
The Times also reports on a fragile calm in Damascus, where the Syrian government, feeling “magnanimous” and confident of victory, is offering some of its opponents a truce.
As “government forces seize the last insurgent strongholds along the Lebanese border, securing the strategic corridor from Damascus to the coast, President Bashar al-Assad’s home region, the message from the government is clear: It is winning, and it can afford to be magnanimous. It is offering what it calls reconciliation to repentant opponents, and some are accepting,” writes Anne Barnard.
“The change of atmosphere here in the Syrian capital is unmistakable. The boom of shelling no longer dominates the days and nights. Tensions over security are draining from the city like air from a balloon. Checkpoints remain ubiquitous but sentries are relaxed, even jocular, teasing strangers, ‘Any bombs?'”
Al-Qaida Calls for Arbitration Over Killing of its Official
The AP reports that al-Qaida chief Ayman al-Zawahri called on his fighters to find out who was behind the Feb. 23 killing of Abu Khaled al-Suri, the organization’s chief representative in Syria, calling the assassination an act of “sedition” and highlighting the ongoing conflict between rebel fighting groups.
“‘All Muslims should not help anybody who blows up the headquarters of the holy fighters, or who sends them car bombs and human bombs,’ he said in a recorded message posted on militant websites late Friday, referring to the Islamic State’s tactic of attacking rival rebels with bombings. ‘Whoever commits such sins, should remember that he is fulfilling for the enemies of Islam what they were unable to achieve on their own.'”
Al-Suri died “when two suicide bombers blew themselves up inside the militant leader’s compound in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo. While he did not mention the Islamic State [of Iraq and the Levant] by name, it was clear he was accusing the group and staking out a hard stance against it. He also endorsed a previous call for Islamic arbitration over the death of al-Suri, to be overseen by the Nusra Front — the official al-Qaida affiliate in Syria.”
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