Syria Direct: News Update 9-28-15

YPG cuts rebel lifeline to Aleppo city

Kurdish People’s Defense Units (YPG) units pushed rebels out of the Sheikh Maqsoud neighborhood on Sunday, effectively cutting the main rebel supply line into Aleppo city, reported opposition news sources Sunday.

The YPG began firing on vehicles travelling along the Castello road from positions in Sheikh Maqsoud captured from rebels, reported Aksalser.

The attacks killed three civilians and cut the final rebel lifeline from the northern countryside into opposition-controlled east Aleppo, reported opposition Shahba Press.

Rebel-Kurd fighting in Sheikh Maqsoud may have begun because of Kurdish plans to open up a crossing from the neighborhood into regime-controlled territory, a local journalist told Syria Direct.

“The Kurds wanted to open up a crossing with the regime in the neighborhood to benefit from trade…which the rebels refused,” Abu Hamza, who works in Aleppo, said on Monday.

Artillery punishes civilians in Homs

Rebel artillery forces on Sunday killed two civilians in Akrama, a regime-controlled neighborhood in central Homs, reportedly in response to the regime’s shelling on Saturday of Waer, the city’s last rebel-held neighborhood, Abu Muhanid, a Waer-based physician told Syria Direct on Monday.

“We received 23 bodies–14 children, 3 men and 6 women–and dozens of wounded, including 7 children with blown-off limbs,” said Abu Muhanid, describing the chaotic, bloody scene at a Waer hospital following the regime artillery attack Saturday.

Saturday’s shelling, striking a Waer park on the third day of the Muslim religious holiday of Eid al-Adha, killed more than 23, and wounded another 130, reported the pro-opposition Homs Media Center on Facebook Sunday.

In response, the Homs Liberation Movement, a former Free Syrian Army affiliate based in the northern Homs countryside, launched an “eye for an eye” campaign on Sunday targeting regime-held neighborhoods with 150 shells and rockets.

Truce negotiations in Waer between rebel and regime forces collapsed early last week.

Zabadani ceasefire ‘still in effect’ after days of violations

The first rebel wounded were evacuated from the Outer Damascus town of Zabadani on Sunday as part of a six-month ceasefire there and in two Shiite-majority Idlib towns that rebel and regime sources say is still in effect despite days of Victory Army rebel and regime bombardment in Idlib.

“The Zabadani ceasefire continues,” Ayn Jaber, a media activist from Zabadani told Syria Direct on Monday, adding that two wounded rebels were transported to Lebanon on Sunday for urgent medical treatment, and that others were due to be moved to rebel-held Idlib province on Monday as part of the truce that began over a week ago.

Rebel fighters targeted Shiite-majority al-Fuaa in the Idlib countryside with locally made artillery on Sunday in what a Victory Army announcement called “retaliation” for regime bombardment of rebel positions around al-Fuaa on Sunday and barrel bombings in nearby rebel-held Taftanaz on Saturday that killed and injured dozens.

“The agreement is still in effect,” pro-regime NZFK News Network in al-Fuaa and Kafariya posted on Sunday, despite the Victory Army bombardment that injured multiple civilians.

The terms of the six-month truce include ceasefires and evacuations in several Idlib and Outer Damascus towns, although negotiations are ongoing.

 Evacuation of wounded rebels from Zabadani Sunday. Photo Courtesy of Zabadani News.