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Cablegate: Tfle01: Syria Daily Sitrep 11 Thursday July 27,

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OO RUEHAG RUEHDF RUEHIK RUEHLZ
DE RUEHDM #3700/01 2081339
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 271339Z JUL 06
FM AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0615
INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHGB/AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD PRIORITY 0151
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RHMFISS/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 DAMASCUS 003700

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

PARIS FOR WALLER, LONDON FOR TSOU, AMMAN FOR KANNESHIRO,
CAIRO FOR CHEYNE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM LE SY
SUBJECT: TFLE01: SYRIA DAILY SITREP 11 THURSDAY JULY 27,
2006


1. (U) Summary: The head of Iran's Supreme National Security
Council, Ali Larijani, arrived in Damascus July 26 for talks
with SARG officials on the crisis in Lebanon and the Rome
Conference, according to Arab regional media. DAO reports
increasing displays of pro-Hizballah Arabic-language banners
and paraphernalia and anti-American graffiti in downtown
Damascus. The American Citizen Services unit received 145
walk-in AmCits on July 26, down from 168 the previous day.
The Syrian Pound continues its slide on the black market,
reaching 52.5 Syrian pounds to the U.S. dollar, its weakest
point this summer. The Syrian Arab Red Crescent was
scheduled to send a convoy of humanitarian assistance to
Lebanon on July 27. End Summary.

Political/Security

2. (SBU) The following are political updates:

-- Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, Ali
Larijani arrived July 26 in Damascus to meet with SARG
officials on the Israel-Hizballah conflict and the Rome
Conference, according to Arab regional media. Unconfirmed
reports by one of the less credible Arab media outlets
indicated that Larijani would meet with Syria's President
Bashar al-Asad and Hizballah's Sheikh Nasrallah in Damascus,
and stretching rumor even to the breaking point, that
Nasrallah had fled Lebanon and now lives incognito in Syria.

-- Syrian media is increasingly attributing the
responsibility for and origination of Israeli operations in
Lebanon to the U.S. In two different editorials, SARG-owned
newspaper, Tishreen, declared: "Israel is waging an American
war with clear objectives." and "President Bush opened
Pentagon assets wide to the Israeli aggression machine to
kill and destroy the Lebanese."

-- Charge met July 26 with Andrew Goledzinowski, an
Australian assistant secretary for counter-terrorism and the
head of a small team of Australian officials from the Dept.
of Foreign Affairs and Trade who are standing up an operation
in Damascus for the duration of the conflict in Israel and
Lebanon. Goledzinowski said he has five colleagues with him,
most of them consular or immigration officials. They are
working temporarily out of the Canadian Embassy but will
likely have to find office space of their own. Australia
closed its Embassy in Damascus in 2000 and have been covering
Syria from Cairo ever since.

-- A Norwegian envoy was expected to arrive July 26 in Syria,
according to a Reuters report. The envoy, Sven Sevje, was
formerly Norwegian ambassador to Damascus and is now an
Oslo-based regional emissary.

3. (SBU) DAO reports increasing amounts of pro-Hizballah
banners and paraphernalia (in Arabic) and anti-American
graffiti (in English) in downtown Damascus. FSNs report
growing anti-American sentiment in Damascus and sharpened
criticism of them as American "agents" in the past week.

Consular

4. (U) The following are consular updates:

-- ACS received 145 walk-in American citizens requesting
assistance on July 26, down from 168 inquiries on July 25

-- The Consular Section will begin processing new, immediate
IV petitions from "clearly approvable" Lebanese who have not
previously filed an application in Beirut. Most applications
so far have come from Lebanese spouses of American citizens.

Economic

5. (U) The following are economic updates:

-- UNHCR staff monitoring four major crossing points from
Lebanon to Syria reported fewer arrivals yesterday (8000-9000
total), compared to 12,000 the previous day and around 20,000
earlier. It remains unclear how many displaced persons have
arrived in Syria since the start of the conflict, but the UN
estimates that figure at between 150,000-200,000. An
estimated 50 shelters for those displaced from Lebanon exist

DAMASCUS 00003700 002 OF 002


in temporary locations in and around Damascus and Syrian Arab
Red Crescent has established two camps, each hosting 1,000
people, according to Reuters.

-- UNHRC has supplies in Syria for more than 20,000 people,
which have yet to be delivered, including: 20,000 mattresses;
20,000 blankets; 5,000 family tents; 5,000 bales of plastic
sheeting; 10,000 jerry cans; 5,000 stoves and 5,000 cooking
sets, according to Reuters. UNHCR has additional supplies
available from regional stockpiles in Jordan, Kuwait and
Iraq.

-- The SARG General Directorate of Customs has donated goods
previously confiscated along the Syrian-Lebanese border to
the Syrian Arab Red Crescent to deliver in a July 27
humanitarian convoy to Lebanon, according media accounts.
The Syrian Arab Red Crescent, in association with the
Lebanese Red Crescent, has coordinated the arrival of the
convoy with the belligerent parties in Lebanon.

-- The Syrian Pound continues its devaluation on the black
market, reaching 52.5 Syrian pounds to the U.S. dollar, its
weakest point this summer. The decline of the Syrian
currency, which initially held steady after the
Israel-Hizballah crisis erupted, may reflect a decision by
Lebanese refugees to refrain from spending their hard
currency in anticipation of longer-than-expected stays in
Syria.

-- Syrian media reports long lines at blood centers after the
SARG publicly called for Syrians to donate blood. (Comment:
The long lines, however, may be more a function of a limited
capability to process blood donations than an overwhelming
desire by Syrians to give blood.)

-- Anecdotal reports from Embassy FSNs suggest that
Lebanon-sourced goods are no longer reaching Syrian markets
as the violence and destruction of transportation
infrastructure in Lebanon severely inhibits trade between the
countries.
SECHE

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