Dozens of bodies found in a landfill outside Damascus

At least 65 bodies were found in a landfill in Qatana, outside of Damascus, according to reports from activists. In a video posted online, the bodies appear to be burned and many have their hands tied behind their back. Opposition activists described it as a "massacre" by government forces. The World Health Organization has reported ...

AFP/Getty Images
AFP/Getty Images
AFP/Getty Images

At least 65 bodies were found in a landfill in Qatana, outside of Damascus, according to reports from activists. In a video posted online, the bodies appear to be burned and many have their hands tied behind their back. Opposition activists described it as a "massacre" by government forces. The World Health Organization has reported an outbreak of diarrhea among residents of rural Damascus, due to a contaminated water supply. There have been at least 103 suspected cases of ecoli. Meanwhile, over 2,000 Syrians fled to Turkey on Thursday after air strikes on the city of Azaz. There has been a sharp rise of Syrians fleeing to neighboring countries during August. The UN observer mission is packing up and returning home after the observers failed to broker a cease-fire. The Security Council will support a smaller liaison office staffed with military advisers, as well as political, human rights, and civil affairs experts. Algerian diplomat, Lakhdar Brahimi has agreed to replace Kofi Annan as the International envoy to Syria.

Headlines

A computer virus has infected Saudi Aramco, the world's largest oil company. In a statement, the company said it "had no impact whatsoever on any of the company's production operations." Meanwhile, America has grown more reliant on Saudi oil, increasing its imports by more than 20 percent. Early Friday morning, dozens of Jewish children attacked three Palestinian children in Jerusalem, shouting racial epithets. Additionally, a firebomb was thrown at a Palestinian taxi, injuring six people. The death toll from recent attacks across Iraq has risen to 100 people.

At least 65 bodies were found in a landfill in Qatana, outside of Damascus, according to reports from activists. In a video posted online, the bodies appear to be burned and many have their hands tied behind their back. Opposition activists described it as a "massacre" by government forces. The World Health Organization has reported an outbreak of diarrhea among residents of rural Damascus, due to a contaminated water supply. There have been at least 103 suspected cases of ecoli. Meanwhile, over 2,000 Syrians fled to Turkey on Thursday after air strikes on the city of Azaz. There has been a sharp rise of Syrians fleeing to neighboring countries during August. The UN observer mission is packing up and returning home after the observers failed to broker a cease-fire. The Security Council will support a smaller liaison office staffed with military advisers, as well as political, human rights, and civil affairs experts. Algerian diplomat, Lakhdar Brahimi has agreed to replace Kofi Annan as the International envoy to Syria.

Headlines

  • A computer virus has infected Saudi Aramco, the world’s largest oil company. In a statement, the company said it "had no impact whatsoever on any of the company’s production operations." Meanwhile, America has grown more reliant on Saudi oil, increasing its imports by more than 20 percent.
  • Early Friday morning, dozens of Jewish children attacked three Palestinian children in Jerusalem, shouting racial epithets. Additionally, a firebomb was thrown at a Palestinian taxi, injuring six people.
  • The death toll from recent attacks across Iraq has risen to 100 people.

Arguments and Analysis

Climate change and the Syrian uprising‘ (Shahrzad Mohtadi, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists)

"A drought unparalleled in recent Syrian history lasted from 2006 to 2010 and led to an unprecedented mass migration of 1.5 million people from farms to urban centers. Because the Assad regime’s economic policies had largely ignored water issues and sustainable agriculture, the drought destroyed many farming communities and placed great strain on urban populations. Although not the leading cause of the Syrian rebellion, the drought-induced migration from farm to city clearly contributed to the uprising and serves as a warning of the potential impact of climate change on political stability."

The Left, the Jews and Defenders of Israel‘ (Joel Beinin, Middle East Report)

"When Menachem Begin first visited the United States in December 1948, a host of Jewish notables including Albert Einstein, Hannah Arendt, Irma Lindheim (former president of Hadassah), Seymour Melman (former president of the Student Zionist Federation) and the biblical scholar Harry Orlinsky wrote to the New York Times to issue a warning about the Herut (Freedom) Party that Begin led. Herut, they wrote, was "closely akin in its organization, methods, political philosophy and social appeal to the Nazi and Fascist parties. It was formed out of the membership and following of the former Irgun Zvai Leumi, a terrorist, right-wing, chauvinist organization in Palestine.""

Censorship comes to Jordan‘ (Jillian C. York, Al Jazeera English)

"The latest moves to censor the internet come as a surprise to many observers, who have long noted Jordan as a standout for keeping the internet unfettered. Jordan’s government agencies have approached the issue differently: The Telecommunication Regulation Commission (TRC) sent directives to Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to block individual websites, while the Ministry of Information and Communications Technology reportedly stated that they were working with an Australian company to develop a more comprehensive system. Though the effort to censor has so far been aimed at censoring pornographic content, some fear collateral damage."

Embracing Crisis in the Gulf‘ (Toby Jones, Middle East Report)

"All claims to the contrary, the Persian Gulf monarchies have been deeply affected by the Arab revolutionary ferment of 2011-2012. Bahrain may be the only country to experience its own sustained upheaval, but the impact has also been felt elsewhere. Demands for a more participatory politics are on the rise, as are calls for the protection of rights and formations of various types of civic and political organization. Although these demands are not new, they are louder than before, including where the price of dissent is highest in Saudi Arabia, Oman and even the usually hushed United Arab Emirates. The resilience of a broad range of activists in denouncing autocracy and discomfiting autocrats is inspirational. As yet, there are no cracks in the foundation of Gulf order, but the edifice no longer appears adamantine."

–By Jennifer Parker

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