SNC elects new president, high-ranking regime officers defect / George Sabra, the new SNC president. The Secretariat General of the Syrian National Council, elected the council’s spokesperson, George Sabra, as its head for a six-month term after the General Assembly Meeting in Doha. Sabra, a Christian, succeeded Abdulbaset Sieda, a Kurd who took over from the SNC’s first president Burhan Ghalioun. This comes as a part of a major overhaul of the Syrian opposition.
Fierce battles broke out in the neighbourhoods of Tadamon, Kafarsouseh and the industrial zone in Damascus as well as in its provincial towns of Erbin, Ain Tarma, Zamalka, Sehnaya and Drousha. Fighting also raged on several fronts in Aleppo and its suburbs as well as in Homs, Hama, Daraa and Qunaitera. The rebels attacked a number of military checkpoints in some areas and repelled the regime’s attempts to take over their strongholds. The rebels unleashed mortar attack on the air defence battalion in the Damascus suburb of Jaba’din as they took over the neighbouring town of Madeira. They also arrested 17 army soldiers and killed many others as they launched a major offensive on the villages of Be’er Ajam and Breiqa in the southern province of Qunaitera. The rebels killed more than 53 army soldier and left dozens more injured. They also destroyed a number of military tanks and armoured vehicles.
Some 26 military officers, including two generals and 11 colonels, had defected to Turkey overnight, the biggest one defection of senior soldiers from Assad’s forces in months.
Regime forces resumed their daily attacks on the opposition areas throughout the country, shelling as many as 81 different areas using fight jets, barrel bombs and all sort of heavy weaponry including cluster bombs.
Regime forces killed more than 146 people today including 15 women, 11 children and 27 rebel fighters.At least 30 people killed in Deir Azzour, of which 20 people, including 14 women killed in a new massacre committed by regime forces as they unleashed a heavy artillery bombardment on the provincial town of Qouriya. Regime forces also killed 60 people in Damascus and its suburbs, of which eight civilians were killed in an airstrike on the provincial town of Zamalka, while six others were summarily executed in the provincial town of Yalda. Some 19 people died in Aleppo and its suburbs including three protesters who were killed when pro-regime PYD Kurdish militiamen opened fire on an anti-regime protest in the Kurdish town of Afrin. Regime forces killed ten people in Homs and nine more in Daraa. They also killed eight people in Idlib, six in Hama, two more in Raqa and one in each of Hasaka and Qunaitera.The largest anti-regime protests in months broke out in more than 446 different areas across the country in response to Assad’s recent comments in an interview on Russia Today TV confirming that he will stay in Syria till his death. The UN said more than 11,000 Syrians had escaped into Jordan and Turkey and more than 400,000 had been registered or were awaiting registration as refugees due to the escalating attacked launched by regime forces on opposition areas. The number of people inside Syria in need of emergency humanitarian aid is expected to rise to more than four million early next year, while refugee numbers will soar to 700,000, the UN added.