Syria direct: News Update 11-17-2013

* “A surprise attack was launched on Assad forces in Latakia, and three villages, and their Alawite extremist population. Advancement is continuing,” Islamic State in Iraq and Al Sham announced on their website Sunday. On Saturday, Saudi-owned Al-Sharq al-Awsat reported Free Syrian Army brigades and Islamist factions had demanded ISIS’s exit from the region, threatening “a large-scale war between the two sides.” The northern coastal city is largely regime controlled.

* Blackouts continue for a tenth day Sunday in the besieged Homs neighborhood of al-Waar, home to hundreds of thousands of displaced civilians from around the province. The pro-opposition Homs Revolution News reports that Al-Waar has been besieged for thirty-six days.

* Turkish leaders continue to denounce the Syrian Kurdish party PYD’s formation of a transitional government  for northern Syria. “We cannot tolerate the reality on the ground for Kurds inside Syria, and cannot permit the division of Syria,” said Turkish President Abdullah Gul Saturday.

Ossoud al-Islam

Fighters from Ossoud al-Islam pose with their weapons. Photo courtesy of Ossoud al-Islam.

* FSA-affiliated Ussoud al-Islam downed a helicopter in al-Tabaka city in a-Raqqa province Saturday, killing six government soldiers, reported the Tabaka Media Center. FSA-affiliated Liwa al-Tawhid claimed Saturday that they had used locally manufactured missiles to down two warplanes at the regime-controlled Aleppo International Airport.

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