Daraa fighters stock up on ammo after depot capture
February 25, 2014
BOOTY CALL: Fighters from the Free Syrian Army-affiliated Houran Mujahideen Brigade seized a government artillery depot in northwestern Daraa province Sunday, two days after nine rebel groups—among them Ahrar a-Sham and Jabhat a-Nusra—announced a joint military campaign in the region.
“This is your machinery, Bashar, now in the hands of the heroes of the Houran Mujahideen” the videographer says, describing their seized war loot.
The battalion, called Mujahideen Houran, is a part of the Liwa Hamza Assad Allah, one of the largest rebel formations in western Daraa. In recent weeks, a number of independent, local armed groups have unified to push an advance in Daraa province.
Though rebels control most of the countryside and parts of the city of Daraa, the Syrian government retains control of the main highway and key corridor linking the capital in Damascus to Daraa city.
Abu Jafar, a media activist in Daraa, told Syria Direct Tuesday that rebels seized the ammunitions depot the same day from Liwa 61, a regime-controlled base that sits on the western, alternate route between Damascus and Daraa. Liwa 61 also protects two towns, Tal al-Jabia and Tal al-Hara, that overlook Damascus and its suburbs. The base is also near to the al-Quneitra province town of a-Nasiria.
In the video, a group of men celebrate seizing the weapons, which include Kalashnikovs, PK machine guns, RPG missiles, BMB regime vehicles, 23 mm weapons and ammunition. The Syrian government was unable to send reinforcements to the base quickly enough to protect the weapons cache from the rebel advance, Abu Jafar told Syria Direct.
Official Syrian media did not report on the weapons seizure. On Monday, however, it noted the regime had scored victories in “armed insurgent hideouts” in the town of Atman, directly north of the city of Daraa, where rebels had surrounded the regime-controlled Daraa central prison.
Meanwhile, Syrian regime warplanes continue to pound the province shelling the western village of al-Ghira as well as opposition-controlled neighborhoods in downtown Daraa city, the pro-opposition Daraa media office reported Monday.