News in Images

  • SLICE OF LIFE: Each week, the Violations Documentation Center issues a “Martyrs Report” roughly documenting casualties around Syria. Last week, Aleppo and the Damascus suburbs were the most deadly fronts, with the majority of the 316 Syrians killed from those areas.

    As fighting rages across the country and battles with the Islamic State grab the headlines, hundreds of Syrian citizens are killed by shooting (33.5 percent - the top cause of death), followed by air strikes that include barrel bombs (27 percent) and thirdly by torture in regime detention centers (19.5 percent).

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  • SYRIAN PoWS: The Islamic State (IS) took over Tabqa airport Sunday, the last remaining regime military base in A-Raqqa province and reportedly captured more than 20 Syrian army soldiers, including three majors.

    The picture above, widely circulated on social media Wednesday, was posted by an IS-affiliated account and reportedly shows some of the soldiers under the caption “Alawites from Tabqa airport...in Islamic State hands.”

    IS detained the solders as they attempted to flee from Tabqa airport, according to the monitoring group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

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    DAILY BREAD: Residents of A-Raqqa city line up to receive free bread from volunteers belonging to the Relief Bakery, a charity kitchen that relies on donations to produce and distribute 2,000 meals a day.

    Earlier this month, a “bread crisis” swept the city. Most bakeries closed their doors and huge crowds massed around those that remained open, according to pro-opposition Facebook page A-Raqqa 24.

    On August 22, the International Red Cross and the Red Crescent jointly warned that scarcity of rain during the winter, combined with unusually hot temperatures during the summer had heavily impacted agricultural harvests,  damaging food security in A-Raqqa, Aleppo, Hasaka and Deir e-Zor.

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    PLEDGING ALLEGIANCE: Rebel forces including Jabhat A-Nusra took control over the eastern district of Mherda city in Hama province Sunday as at least one brigade shifted its alliance over to Jabhat a-Nusra. 

    The town had been used as a base by the regime to bomb surrounding FSA-held territory and as a central point along regime supply lines running from the coast to Hama city and to surrounding pro-regime villages.

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    REMEMBERING AUGUST 21: On August 21, 2013, a chemical weapons attack killed an estimated 1,400 Syrians in the Damascus suburbs of East Ghouta, sparking outrage from the international community as both the regime and rebels accused each other of being behind the attacks.

    One year later, while much of the world has turned its attention to the chaos in Iraq and the rise of the Islamic State, Syrians on Thursday marked the anniversary by holding vigils and posting online memorials.

    In this picture, circulated widely on social media on Thursday, a man in the Damascus suburb of Moadimiyat a-Sham commemorates the one-year anniversary by arranging a collage of photographs of the victims. The town, then under rebel control, has since held to a truce with the regime that returned it to government control.

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  • IS WANTS YOU: While the Islamic State (IS) sparked outrage in the international community Wednesday after releasing a video purportedly showing the execution of American journalist James Foley in retaliation for airstrikes in Iraq, a new report finds the group’s appeal in Syria higher than ever.

    IS has reportedly recruited an estimated 6,300 fighters in Raqqa and Aleppo since July 2014, the highest number since they established their headquarters in A-Raqqa in late 2013, according to a report released Wednesday by monitoring group The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

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    EYE OF THE STORM: Water is a major concern for residents of the rebel-held Damascus suburbs of East Ghouta as the area comes under heavy fire following the regime’s capture of Mleiha last week.

    “There is no electricity to operate the pumps to supply houses with water,” Hassan Taqi al-Din, a Ghouta-based correspondent for the pro-opposition news agency Sham Network for Syria.

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    GROUND ZERO: Opposition forces caught between the regime and the rapidly advancing Islamic State (IS) in northern Aleppo appear to be realizing that they may be driven out from the region that has served as their stronghold throughout the war.

    “Great efforts are being made now in order to activate the [military] operations rooms between the rebel factions,” Abdul Karim Abu Firas, a media spokesperson for the Islamic Front, told Syria Direct Monday, “in addition to a high level of coordination between the Islamic Front, Noor al-Din Zanki, Haraka Hazam and other opposition groups in northern Aleppo.”

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    THE PIANIST: Palestinians besieged in Yarmouk Camp may not have regular access to food, water and medical supplies, but thanks to Ayham al-Ahmad, they have music.

    In the picture above, widely circulated on social media this week, al-Ahmad plays the piano while shattered buildings, the results of months of bombing and intense fighting, loom behind him.

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    GO WEST, IS: While much of the credit of the Islamic State’s (IS) recent successes on the battlefield in Syria and northern Iraq have been attributed to its superior weaponry, the IS is pushing out images of its strategy sessions.

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Reports

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North Homs rebels struggle to hold gains

August 27, 2014 By Brent Eng and Osama Abu Zeid AMMAN: Government forces bombed the opposition-controlled town of Taldou in the northeastern Homs countryside Tuesday, killing at least five as they intensified... Read more

Rebels move closer to Hama airport

August 19, 2014 By Osama Abu Zeid and Brent Eng AMMAN: Rebels in Hama province are continuing their push to capture the military airport, destroying a building inside after shelling it with... Read more

A conversation about jihad

July 3, 2014 Dr. Nelly Lahoud is Associate Professor at the Department of Social Sciences at the US Military Academy at West Point as well as Senior Associate at the Combating... Read more

The making of a refugee

June 19, 2014 Photographs by Syria Direct's Amjad Tadros HADALAT, JORDAN: They lined up on the other side of the border, exhausted, carrying what was left of their possessions in small plastic... Read more

Editorial: On the unchecked ascent of ISIS

June 12, 2014 The fall this week of Mosul to the Islamic State of Iraq and a-Sham, a transmutation of Al-Qaeda, is not where the story of the modern Islamic caliphate... Read more

Rebels: Waer truce talks suspended

June 9, 2014 By Osama Abu Zeid and Elizabeth Parker-Magyar Negotiations between rebels and the regime in the encircled Homs district of al-Waer, the last remaining opposition-held neighborhood of Homs, have been... Read more

Interviews

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Hama military airport key to controlling province

August 28, 2014 The battle for the central Syrian province of Hama intensified this month with the Badr a-Sham campaign, led by Jabhat a-Nusra, to take... Read more

Hama military airport key to controlling province

August 28, 2014 The battle for the central Syrian province of Hama intensified this month with the Badr a-Sham campaign, led by Jabhat a-Nusra, to take... Read more

Iraqi rebel leader: American ‘selective intervention’ ignores Sunni displacement

August 27, 2014 Before US President Barack Obama initiated airstrikes in Iraq earlier this month, in part to save Yazidis trapped on Mount Sinjar by nearby... Read more

Rural Hama ‘an open front,’ says activist

August 26, 2014 Earlier this year, Hama was one of the quietest fronts in Syria. Once the site of the largest demonstrations against Assad in 2011,... Read more

Moderate rebels face Islamic State, regime in Hama

August 25, 2014 Hama has emerged as one of the most active in the Syrian war this month after rebels began targeting the Hama Military Airport,... Read more

Alawite activist: Assad ‘exploits his sect’

August 20, 2014 Alawite activists in the coastal city of Tartus began an anti-Assad campaign on August 12 titled Sarkhat Watn, or “Scream of the Nation,”... Read more

News Roundup

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Syria Direct: News Update 8-28-14

Rebels hold Quneitra border crossing – for now Regime warplanes bombed the Quneitra border crossing between Syria and Israel Thursday after rebel groups led by Jabhat... Read more

SYRIA DIRECT: NEWS UPDATE 8-27-2014

Nusra attacks Christian town Opposition forces led by Jabhat a-Nusra struck Mherda in northern Hama with rocket fire Wednesday in an attempt to storm the town,... Read more

Syria Direct: News Update 8-26-2014

Nusra hangs on to Hama checkpoint Jabhat a-Nusra fought off regime attempts to take a key checkpoint in northern Hama, killing at least five regime soldiers... Read more

Syria Direct: News Update 8-25-2014

IS captures Tabqa Airport The Islamic State (IS) took over the Tabqa military airport Sunday by repeatedly suicide bombing the site and finally gaining entry and... Read more

Syria Direct: News Update 8-21-2014

Rebels attack Hama town next to airport Rebels lead by Jabhat a-Nusra shelled the town of Sheiha with missiles Thursday as they intensify their efforts to... Read more

Syria Direct: News Update 8-20-2014

Rebels advance towards Hama airport Opposition forces in Hama continued to push closer to regime-controlled Hama military airport by capturing the nearby town of Um Khareeza... Read more