Syria Direct: News Update 10-15-14

Kobani airstrikes clear the way for Kurds

The US-led international coalition reportedly struck Islamic State military positions in and around the Kurdish city of Kobani on the Turkish border at least six times between Tuesday night and into Wednesday, appearing to stem the militant group’s surge into the city, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and Dubai-based Sky News Arabia.

Also on Tuesday, Kurdish forces pushed IS fighters back 4 km west of Kobani, taking control of the strategic hill Tel Shair which overlooks the city, reported pro-regime Lebanese news channel Al-Mayadeen Tuesday.

While IS initially held 40 percent of the city, they now control an estimated 20 percent, said Al-Mayadeen.

Regime airstrikes over Hama town

Regime warplanes launched an air raid Wednesday over the rebel-controlled town of Mourek in the northern Hama outskirts, which falls on a crucial regime supply route running from Hama to Aleppo province, reported pro-opposition Hama Media Center.

The Syrian army has resolved to win the battle for Morek “within days,” pro-regime newspaper Al-Watan reported Tuesday.

Meanwhile, rebels captured the regime-controlled Kasara checkpoint east of Morek Tuesday, according to the pro-opposition Media Institute in Hama Province.

Nusra slowly takes Quneitra

Rebels led by Jabhat a-Nusra attacked a strategic hill in Quneitra province Tuesday, reportedly killing 30 soldiers in an attempt to capture the administrative center and de facto capital of the province, said pro-opposition news outlet Smart News Agency.

The attack near the regime-controlled city Khan Arnaba is the latest in a series of rebel gains in the Israeli border area. Nusra and other FSA-affiliated battalions control all but four villages in Quneitra province since seizing the formerly UN-administered border crossing with Israel in the beginning of September, according to the Lebanese news agency The Daily Star.

State-media SANA appeared to confirm the fighting over the hill Tuesday.

“The Syrian army is targeting groups of terrorists…in Tel Karum [near Khan Arnaba], killing a number of them and injuring others.”

17 tons of Russian aid arrives in Latakia

A Russian plane arrived at the “Martyr Bassel al-Assad” airport in Latakia Tuesday carrying 17 tons of humanitarian aid to be distributed to “those families affected by terrorism,” the governor of Latakia said at a press conference at the airport, reported Syrian official News Agency SANA.

The aid shipment underscores “the love and high esteem of the Russian people towards the Syrian people, and Russia's unending support for Syria,” Alexander Sergeyevich, deputy director of the Russian Federation Emergency Situations Ministry, said at the same conference.

The aid is for regime supporters only, Banan al-Hassan, spokeswoman for the Latakia branch of the Syrian Revolution General Commission, a moderate, pro-opposition network of activists, told Syria Direct Wednesday.

“Regime supporters can receive humanitarian aid easily, via planes—as for those [pro-opposition] Syrians in the camps, they can only get their hands on aid with great difficulty."

Russian jet1Russian plane delivers humanitarian aid to Latakia. Photo courtesy of SANA News.

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