Syria Direct: News Update 10-29-14

FSA, Nusra sign non-aggression pact in Aleppo

Moderate US-backed rebel group Harakat Hazm and Al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat a-Nusra signed an agreement Tuesday stipulating that neither group will attack the other in the contested city of Aleppo, reported pro-opposition Shahba Press Agency, which obtained and published a copy of the agreement.

The agreement comes after Nusra attacked a Harakat Hazm checkpoint in the western outskirts of Aleppo the same day, reported the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Nusra opened a front against Harakat Hazm in Western Aleppo after it captured seven villages in Idlib from another US-backed, moderate rebel coalition, the Syrian Revolutionaries Front (SRF), on Tuesday.

The SRF and Nusra engaged in a firefight over the weekend in the town of Al-Bara in Idlib under unclear circumstances, leading to an outbreak of hostilities between the two rebel groups.

9ipjJabhat a-Nusra fights Idlib rebels. Photo courtesy of Al-Quds.

IS makes a bid for energy resources

The Islamic State captured three gas fields in Jabal Shar near the historical ruins of Palmyra in east Homs province from the regime Tuesday, marking the second time in the past four months that IS attempts to capture the gas-rich area, reported pro-opposition news Smart News Agency.

IS killed more than 30 regime soldiers in the attack, said the monitoring group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The gas fields near Jabal Shar are among the principal sources for the nearby government gas company that supplies the rest of the province. Syria is currently going through an energy crisis, with the regime raising the price of diesel earlier this month.

Meanwhile, pro-regime daily Al-Watan said that units of the Syrian army “injured a number of terrorists” near Palmyra.

In July this year, IS briefly seized control of the gas fields in Jabal Shar in a surprise attack that reportedly killed 300 regime soldiers before the Syrian army recaptured the area ten days later.

East Ghouta Sharia Court sentences drug dealer to death

The Sharia Court of rebel-held Eastern Ghouta, affiliated with Zahran Alloush’s Islamic Front, sentenced a resident to death on Tuesday after convicting him of selling narcotics, according to an announcement released by the court and widely circulated on social media websites.

“The man called Turki bin Nayyef Jabawi...undertook to bring large quantities of drugs into [East Ghouta] in cooperation with the regime's intelligence apparatus, then advertised these drugs to the sons of East Ghouta in order to tie them to drugs and recruit them into the regime's intelligence services,” the announcement read in part.

This is not the first time rebels have accused agents inside Ghouta of cooperating with the regime to corrupt youth and undermine the revolution.

The regime buys off these people inside Ghouta and they execute the regime’s demands – spying, selling drugs...in order to weaken people,” Omar al-Husen, a spokesperson for the pro-rebel Revolution Command Council, told Syria Direct in June, on the heels of the announcement of a new campaign to capture and try “regime agents” in Ghouta. 

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