Syria Direct: News Update 7-7-15

Regime barrel bombs as rebels inch closer to east Aleppo

Regime helicopters reportedly launched a chlorine-gas barrel bomb raid on Tuesday against a recently lost military research complex considered the gateway to regime-held east Aleppo, reported pro-opposition Shahba Press Agency. 

A broader ground assault on the rebel-held Military Research Center 8km west of the Aleppo Citadel followed the four barrel bombs.

“Fighters from the Harakat Nur a-Din a-Zinki rebel brigade staved off the attack,” Wael Adel, an Aleppo-based journalist, told Syria Direct on Tuesday.

Harakat Nur a-Din a-Zinki Brigade, a TOW-missile operator and recipient of both US and Gulf state aid, is a member of the Aleppo Victory Army.

Following the frustrated attack, the Aleppo Victory Army released a statement on Tuesday, decrying the use of “internationally banned chlorine gas” and enumerating regime losses, which reportedly include three tanks and the campaign’s commander.

An unverified video uploaded by pro-opposition Halab Today on Facebook Tuesday depicts hospital workers treating several men for alleged chlorine gas exposure.

The Military Research Center, captured by the Aleppo Victory Army earlier this month, lies only 900m west of regime-controlled east Aleppo.

Sheikhs intervene as Suwayda youths clash with military security

Dozens of young men gathered outside a military security branch in Suwayda city scuffled with security forces and took their weapons when they denied accusations that they had abducted a young man from a village outside the provincial capital, reported Swaida Khabr on Facebook Monday.
 
Several dignitaries of the Suwayda province, including several Druze sheikhs, intervened, forbidding the young men to use the weapons.

Suwayda residents storm military security branch. Photo courtesy of Swaida Khabr

Wasim a-Namr, disappeared Friday from a market in the town of al-Qurayya, located approximately 18km south of Suwayda city. The current whereabouts of a-Namr was not immediately clear.
 
Regime security forces claimed that “terrorists” had kidnapped the young man, but a reporter for pro-opposition Swaida Khabr said fellow villagers determined that the security forces had in fact abducted him.