April 23 - 30, 2014
Further Reports of Chemical Weapon Use
The Associated Press (AP) tweeted a YouTube video on Wednesday of alleged chemical weapon use by the Syrian government. Men, women and children are filmed with difficulty breathing conducive with the inhalation of toxic gases. No group or state has yet to take responsibility for the attack.
The allegations of chemical use come amid preparations to load and transport the remaining chemical weapon stockpile.
The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) confirmed another shipment of chemical weapons to the port city of Latakia and onto waiting cargo ships on Tuesday. A total of 86% of chemical weapons have been removed from and/or destroyed within the country with 17 consignments in total.
The removal of weapons is on track with the June 30th deadline set by the OPCW Executive Council for the complete elimination of Syria’s chemical weapons. Western officials however, remain weary that Syria has declared and surrendered the entirety of its weapons stockpile.
Presidential Candidates Announced
Damascus born and educated Hassan Abdullah al-Nouri announced on Thursday his candidacy for the upcoming June 3rd presidential elections. According to SANA News Agency, Al-Nouri was Secretary of Damascus Chamber of Industry between 1997 and 2000, an MP from 1998-2003 and Minister of State for Administrative Development Affairs from 2000-2002. He holds a PhD in General Management from John F. Kennedy University. Presently, he is the head of the National Initiative for Administration and Change in Syria.
Al-Nouri is the second candidate after MP Maher Hajjar announced his campaign last week. Candidates are permitted to submit their intent for the presidency until May 1st.
President Bashar al-Assad’s candidacy was also officially announced the following Monday following four other candidates on Sunday, bringing the totally count to seven.
The election rules stipulate that to be eligible, candidates must not have lived outside of Syria in the past, thus rendering the opposition-in-exile unable to participate in the elections. Candidates must win approval of 35 of the 260 Members of Parliament, 160 of who belong to the Ba’ath Party which has dominated Syrian politics for decades.
Electricity Returns to Aleppo
The Ministry of Electricity confirmed that the power supply to Aleppo had been restored. This follows approximately ten days without power in the region after rebels gained control of a power station.
Homs: Dozens Killed and Injured in Car Bombs
At least 37 people are reported to have been killed with approximately 80 injured following the detonation of two car bombs a day after President Assad announced his re-election. The city has been the grounds of fierce fighting between government and rebel forces.
ISIS Publicly Crucifies two in Raqqa
The extremist group, The Islamic State in Iraq and a-Sham (ISIS) crucified two men and reportedly executed five others for their crimes against ISIS soldiers and Muslim men and children. The group released graphic images of the two men crucified in a public part of the town with children and crowds nearby and signs across their bodies declaring their alleged crimes.