Rebels claim advances in gateway to Aleppo
Rebels announced control over large swaths of the village of Handarat, a hamlet 3.5km north of Aleppo along the last remaining rebel supply line into the besieged city, reported the Syrian Revolution General Commission on Monday.
“The fighting is close to the regime’s air-defense brigade now, in the middle of the village,” Hussein Khitab, a reporter and photographer in north Aleppo, told Syria Direct on Monday.
Jabhat A-Nusra and Ahrar A-Sham spearheaded the rebel attack, which began Saturday, with Ahrar A-Sham capturing an estimated 40 percent of the village of Handarat by Monday, reported pro-opposition El-Dorar.
Pro-regime channel Al-Mayadeen reported on Monday that “the rebels have not yet entered the village…but clashes are ongoing and fierce.”
The objective of the rebel campaign is to secure rebel supply lines into north Aleppo, while simultaneously weakening the regime’s supply line into Bashkuy, a village 2.5km north of Handarat, Yaseen Abu Ra’id, a prominent Aleppo activist, told Syria Direct Monday.
The death of Ahrar A-Sham officer Abu Jaffar Taum on the Handarat Front was announced on Twitter on Monday.
Coalition hits IS refinery near Tel Abyad
The US-led international coalition destroyed an oil refinery controlled by the Islamic State in the Tel Abyad region of Syria with two successive airstrikes on Sunday, reported the Tel Abyad News Facebook page.
Warplanes struck the Abdullah oil refinery belonging to the village of al-Munbatih, located adjacent to the Syrian-Turkish border. While refinery profits went into Islamic State coffers, civilians worked there, reported media campaign Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently on Sunday.
Fourteen IS members reportedly died in the attack, among them three Saudis and one Egyptian, with no news on civilian casualties, reported Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently.
The international coalition has focused on targeting oil refineries and other sources of Islamic State income since beginning its bombing campaign in Syria last fall.
Coalition strikes Nusra in Atma
The airstrike resulted in nine Nusra casualties, including four foreign fighters, reported the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
The bombings occurred in close proximity to the northern Idlib town of Atmeh, which is home to a collection of dozens of makeshift camps camps housing roughly 30,000 internally displaced Syrians. Of the nine strikes, five reportedly hit Nusra targets, while the others landed extremely close to the camps, reported Syria Mubasher.
Among the airstrike targets were camps used by Nusra for receiving and training foreign fighters, according to Syria Mubasher.
Pro-regime media sources reported that Radwan a-Namous, a spokesperson for Nusra, was killed in the air raids, but this has not been confirmed by Nusra sources.
Coalition forces strike Atma on Sunday. Photo courtesy of Kareem Ankeer.