Cold Ravages Syria Refugees as Aid Falters
The winds spilling down off snow-covered Mount Hermon, bearing the first nip of winter, rattled the broken windows of an abandoned elementary school where Syrian refugees are huddled in this Bekaa Valley hamlet.
Hundreds of thousands of Syrians displaced by the war, many of them stumbling out of Syria during the summer wearing little more than T-shirts and flip-flops, now face the onslaught of winter with inadequate shelter, senior government officials and aid organizations say.
“It will be winter outside and winter inside,” said Mohamed Khair al-Oraiby, a burly 27-year-old who fled here over the summer with his wife and two infants. “We already wake up early because it is so cold.”
With temperatures already plunging to zero overnight in the hills framing this valley, the humanitarian crisis facing millions of displaced Syrians is deepening. More than a million people in need of aid remain out of reach of international relief efforts, the United Nations says.But efforts have also been hampered by lack of resources. The United Nations is seeking some $487 million for refugees across the region, of which about 35 percent has been collected.
“The capacity of the international donor community to support the crisis is not happening at the same speed at which the crisis is unfolding,” said Panos Moumtzis, the regional coordinator for the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
Neighboring countries coping with the influx are developing their own plans: Jordan is seeking about $700 million, and Turkey, which has spent $400 million of its own money on state-of-the-art camps with three hot meals daily, is also now seeking aid.
Russia and France will tackle disagreements over how to deal with Syria
Russia and France will tackle disagreements over how to deal with the Syria conflict this week when Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev visits Paris for talks.
Medvedev will head a delegation of ministers and meet French President Francois Hollande on Tuesday."It is an issue where, there can be no doubt, we have some disagreements with France, but also some common views. Russia like France wants to find a political solution, the disagreements are over how," said Russia's envoy to Paris, Alexander Orlov."There is a major disagreement," Orlov said. "The West says it (a solution) must start with the departure of Bashar al-Assad, and we say this is where it must end."
Syrian rebels 'capture air base near capital'
Syrian rebels have said they had captured a helicopter base near Damascus after a battle with government forces, the second military facility on the outskirts of the capital to fall to President Bashar al-Assad's opponents this month.
An Internet video which activists said was filmed on Saturday overnight at the Marj al-Sultan base, 15km east of the capital, showed rebel fighters carrying AK-47 rifles touring the facility. An anti-aircraft gun could be seen positioned on top of an empty bunker and a rebel commander was shown next to a helicopter.
"With God's help, the Marj al-Sultan airbase in eastern Ghouta has been liberated," the commander said in the video.
Eastern Ghouta, a mix of agricultural land and built-up urban areas, has been a rebel stronghold for months.
Activists said two helicopters were destroyed in the attack as well as a radar station, and that 15 personnel were taken
I don't think there is as much of a lack of weapons overall as there was a month or two ago.Stalemate in Syria? Army short on loyalists, rebels short on guns
In many areas of Aleppo, the front lines are so close that FSA fighters and government forces can speak to one another through walls or by shouting. In a few areas, FSA soldiers say that government troops have told them they want to defect but the ways out are guarded by snipers who are known to shoot anyone caught trying to escape.
“All of the soldiers in the Assad army are really broken and their souls are crushed. Even when they’re fighting, they’re not fighting as good as they can. Some have families who are calling them and asking them to defect,” says Bassam Humidy, who defected to the FSA six months ago and is now recovering after being shot in the leg during battle.
Prior to defecting, Mr. Humidy served with a special forces unit in Homs. He says that those deemed most likely to defect were kept inside the city to man checkpoints in areas firmly under regime control where no fighting was taking place.
For the most part, however, those still fighting on the front lines of Aleppo for the Syrian government tend to be hardened loyalists more likely to trade insults than talk of defection, say most FSA fighters. Those most likely to defect remain far behind the front lines.
Despite the Assad regime's reported struggle to manage its defection concerns, opposition forces have struggled to capitalize on it, largely due to weapons shortages. The group lacks the equipment and supplies required to launch a major ground offensive and break the stalemate.
I haven't seen as much complaining about it recently.
There have also been a lot of bases taken and lots of weapons and ammo captured.
I'm sure some groups/areas have less though, and those in constant clashes without much significant success may use theirs up more frequently.
resistance fighters have besieged deirezzor airport
resistance fighters attacked a military checkpoint near brigade 76 (near homs - damascus motorway).
resistance fighters killed an assad sniper in al-zabadani
resistance fighters have destroyed 2 warplanes in deirezzor airport
resistance fighters killed 15 assad troops & destroyed 3 cars near the town of kassab in latakia countryside
Operation of the storming of Marj al-Sultan airport in Damascus http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wqiu-jJJ-7M Announcement of victory: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9mxTzaTzrS0 …
The helicopter field and the radar base north of it. There are some army storage sites next to it not taken yet.
Yes, one [helicopter field] is not used. A reserve one but both are mainly broken helicopters like most bases in the country.
Some of the gains from Marj al-Sultan military airport http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ApSrqYL3m5k http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pDzuPXLrS9M http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zuv5Ihlof9Y Damascus
Members of the Muta7abeen Fillah Brigade targeted the el-Qarqour checkpoint in el-Zyara village yesterday. FSA Hama
A large portion of a nearby building was destroyed, as well as a tank & a BMP. Light weapons were seized from the checkpoint.
More than 25 regime forces were either wounded or killed, while others escaped.
TCK EXCLUSIVE interview with the Kurdish activist Serwet Eli who has been kidnapped, tortured & now released by PYD https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?p...73627862658879
Activist Serwet Eli tells TCK that there were a lot of Kurdish activists with him in PYD prison. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?p...73627862658879
Kidnapping of Kurdish activists is ongoing by PYD, they are being tortured brutally. TCK interview with 1 of them https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?p...73627862658879
Btw, one of the main points that Erbil meetings have included was PYD kidnappings of Kurds, Barzani told them: this is unacceptable.