Syria Direct: News Update 01-19-2014

NewsUpdateJan2014* The Syrian Minister of Health Sa’ad al-Nayef announced Sunday the second national polio campaign had reached nearly 2.5 million children inside Syria, though the Ministry had been unable to record the number vaccinated in a-Raqqa province, official government news agency SANA reported Sunday. 17 cases of polio have been documented in Syria since October, the first outbreak of the highly contagious disease in Syria since 1999.

* The Syrian National Coalition voted Saturday to attend the Geneva II conference to find a political solution to the conflict in Syria, as 58 of 75 members voted to attend. Though just 14 members voted not to attend the conference, 44 of the coalition’s 119 active members boycotted the vote.

 * Violent clashes continued in the town of Menbej in Aleppo province Saturday, as fighters from the Islamic front and other Islamic battalions targeted Islamic State in Iraq and a-Sham’s headquarters in the Mhaten neighborhood, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported.

* Syrian regimes forces eliminated Islamic Front “terrorists” in the East Ghouta towns of Adra al-Amalia, Hamouria and Arbeen in the Damascus suburbs Saturday, pro-government newspaper al-Watan reported. The Islamic Front’s Army of Islam has been seeking to consolidate power after it seized 40 kilometers of contested territory in East Ghouta, including the town of Adra, in mid-December.

Shocked man after surviving from barrel bomb on Yarmouk Camp Ash covers a resident's face after a Syrian government barrel bomb hits Yarmouk camp. photo courtesy of Lens young Dimashqi

 

* A convoy of trucks bearing humanitarian aid were able to enter Yarmouk refugee camp in Damascus for the first time in months, reported Aks al-Sir. The convoy arrived amidst reports that dozens of citizens in the government-blockaded camp had starved to death in January.

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