Clashes in Hama

The continuing crackdown in the central city of Hama has claimed the lives of at least 14 people, according to media reports.

But there are conflicting accounts of events there emerging in international and local media.

The government insists that the army has not re-entered Hama since a weekend of violence in early June left scores dead and injured.

Foreign and Expatriates Minister Walid al-Mu’allem told CNN on Tuesday that the army and security forces had not entered the town and the statement was repeated on Al-Dunia TV.

But immediately following the report on Al-Dunia it said a military source told the privately-owned channel a member of the security forces had been killed in the city. Al-Watan confirmed the report saying that residents attacked a state security building and in “hit and run” firefights between security agents and residents one agent was killed.

A report in Tuesday’s edition of the pro-government daily Al-Watan said that residents of Hama called on the army to interfere quickly to “protect them from saboteurs and to bring back security and tranquility to the city”.

According to Reuters, military raids focused on two districts north of the Orontes River, which splits the city in half.

Troops also raided towns to the northwest of Hama near the border with Turkey in Idlib province, and authorities intensified a campaign of arrests that has resulted in the detention of at least 500 people across Syria in the last few days, rights campaigners told the news agency.

Ihab Makhlouf resigns from board of insurance company

Ihab Makhlouf has resigned from his position as vice-Chairman of the Board of Al-Aqeelah Takaful Insurance, a few weeks after the European Union imposed a freeze on his assets and on those of several other Syrian personalities, according to economic newsletter Syria Report.

The sanctions also targeted “legal persons and entities associated with them,” according to a filing by the company.

Yesterday Cham Holding, Syria’s largest corporation, elected an entirely new board of directors.

But, the company did not elect a new chairman. The move comes only a few weeks after the company, along with its previous chairman, was put under sanctions by the United States.

Independent parliamentarians meet in Damascus

An ‘unprecedented’ meeting of independent parliamentarians convened to debate electoral and parliamentary reform ended in a stalemate as members voted on future reforms.

Seventy MPs gathered in Damascus on Tuesday to discuss parliamentary reform, the project for a national dialogue and the expected electoral law.

The talks fell apart when MP Mohiadin Haboush used an Islamic allegory to suggest that Syrian politicians had been “lying” and should start to “work for the people”, reported Al-Watan.

An MP from Dera’a also told the meeting residents of the city did not want to overthrow the regime but “then came the blood

Syria Today (Syria)