Representative of France, Gérard Araud, Briefs Media following UN Security Council Meeting on Syria
©UN Photo/John McIlwaine

Jisr al-Shaghour braced for military assault

The town of Jisr al-Shaghour near the Turkish border is braced for a military assault following the deaths of at least 120 military, security men and civilians earlier this week. SANA reported residents saying that armed groups had “run rampant” in the town and were now demanding “swift intervention by the army”.

The state news agency quoted a resident, Abu Mohammed, describing how armed people attacked government buildings with “weapons I never saw during my military service, all of which came from Turkey”.

Other witnesses yesterday reported seeing military convoys heading north from Damascus ahead of a military build-up around the town.

Meanwhile Al Watan reported that residents of nearby villages were leaving there homes to “create space” for the advancing army forces.

Finance Minister: Economy ‘strong and healthy’

The Syrian economy is “strong and healthy” claimed the Minister of Finance Mohammad al-Jleilati yesterday, despite widespread concerns of the economic impact the current crisis is having.

Currency reserves are sufficient to cover the import needs of the country for at least two years, he said, and the government has no less than USD 18bn in foreign currency reserves to draw on should it need them.

Jleilati also said the country was “self-reliant” in terms of food security.

Questions raised over disappearance of Syrian blogger

Western diplomats in Damascus are seeking to ascertain the identity of a Syrian blogger apparently detained by Syrian security forces. Amina Abdallah Araf al-Omari ran the blog ‘A Gay Girl in Damascus’ according to The Guardian. A post that appeared recently on her blog, posted by a friend, reported that she had been “abducted” by Syrian security forces.

She claimed joint US and Syrian citizenship, but the newspaper reports that US diplomats have no record of her. The Syrian government has not commented on the case.

European countries press for UN Syria resolution

The UK and France are leading efforts for a UN resolution condemning the violence in Syria.

Al Watan reported “high-level diplomatic sources” in New York saying that the European countries were seeking “to soften the tone” of the UN resolution designed in order to win support from South Africa and Brazil. The sources said that France “has not succeeded in collecting 11 votes as [it hoped].

The Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov confirmed yesterday in Oslo his government’s refusal to raise the subject of Syria in the Security Council or taking any decisions against it, stressing that diplomacy should work to resolve disputes by peaceful means without the involvement of the international community.

Syria Today (Syria)