November 4, 2014
Feilaq a-Sham rebels captured the Dalak village checkpoint in the northeast Homs countryside from the regime Sunday.
The victory may be more significant than the push-and-pull fighting characteristic of this war. Capturing the checkpoint cracks open the tight security cordon the Syrian regime imposes across the northern Homs countryside, thereby creating a blockade of sorts for Syrians inside that territory.
Feilaq says that control of the checkpoint will allow the movement of humanitarian aid and weapons into rebel-held areas north of Homs city, reported pro-opposition Smart News agency.
With the Red Cross only bringing in small amounts of aid a few times a year, creating an open route coming south from Turkey into rebel-held areas north of Homs city became imperative, Seif Abu Yazin, the alias of a citizen journalist living in the Homs countryside, told Usama Abu Zeid.
“A battle needed to occur to secure a path sooner or later.”
Q: Talk about the battle for the checkpoint this past weekend.
The Lions of Islam brigade [members of Feilaq a-Sham] set out from the village of Iz a-Din, with fighters and ammunition and in cooperation with several other brigades, to the Dalak village checkpoint in the northeast Homs countryside—near Silmiya—at five in the morning.
They began a firefight with the regime after surveying the area well, and observing the checkpoint’s fortifications.
The battle started around five in the morning, and continued into the afternoon.
Feilaq a-Sham announces its capture of the Dalak checkpoint. Photo courtesy of Feilaq a-Sham.
Q: Why now?
The purpose of attacking the checkpoint at this time was to open a path, or gaps, in the regime’s [cordon], from the northern Homs countryside into the Hama countryside, in order to facilitate the entrance of military supplies, food and medicine that come from Turkey into the northern countryside of Homs.
Q: What kinds of weapons did the rebels capture during the battle?
The rebels captured a T55 tank [Soviet-made], a bunch of heavy and medium machine gun ammunition, and rifle ammunition.
Q: How did the humanitarian situation in the area impact the timing of the battle?
The Red Cross enters a small amount of food and medicine every five or six months [into the northern Homs countryside].
We depend, as much as possible, on getting aid from the north of Syria—despite the fact that getting this aid into the northern countryside is very difficult, and we lose lives in return for getting in some food and medicine.
Therefore, a battle needed to occur sooner or later to open a gap towards the Hama countryside, in order to secure a route.
For more from Syria Direct, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.