Syria Direct: News Update 4-22-15

Kurds, rebels make gains against IS in east Aleppo countryside

The joint Kurdish and FSA rebel alliance Euphrates Volcano advanced against the Islamic State on Wednesday in the eastern Aleppo countryside as they attempt for the third consecutive day to capture an IS base, a local journalist told Syria Direct.

The joint rebel forces are battling IS for the village of Sarin located 40 kilometers south of Kobani and close to valuable grain silos, said Mustafa al-Abdi, senior correspondent with the Iraqi Kurdish Arta FM radio station based in Kobani.

“Violent clashes have taken place from 72 hours up until now, which have resulted in 30 IS dead and 6 from the joint [rebel] units.”

Conflicting information has emerged on whether the joint Kurdish-rebel forces have taken control of the grain silos. Pro-opposition al-Hal reported Tuesday that they had, whereas the SOHR reported the same day that they had imposed a “near total” siege around the silos.

In related news, joint Kurdish-rebel forces have taken control of 10 villages from IS in the eastern Aleppo countryside over the past 72 hours, Mustafa al-Abdi told Syria Direct.

Daraa civilians take flight from regime bombing

Hundreds of civilians reportedly fled from areas near the rebel-controlled town of Busra al-Harir in northeast Daraa province on Wednesday amidst heavy regime bombing on the town and surrounding region, said the pro-opposition Nabaa Media Foundation.

The fleeing comes in the wake of failed regime attempts to capture the strategically located town earlier in the week, reported the pro-opposition Local Coordination Committee for Busra al-Harir.

Rebels in Busra al-Harir, situated on the main road connecting Daraa and Suwayda provinces, fought off a collection of pro-regime Afghani and Iranian militia fighters, according to various pro-opposition sources.

For its part, official state news SANA said that the Syrian army made major advances on the town on Monday, killing 40 “terrorists” including fighters with Jabhat a-Nusra.

Daraa civilians flee regime bombing on Busra al-Harir. Photo courtesy of Naba'

Rebels attempt to push regime out of south Jobar

Rebels fought to win control of the only regime-held part of opposition-controlled Jobar neighborhood in east Damascus on Tuesday, killing at least 40 regime soldiers and allied militiamen, reported the Jobar Media Office.

“The Tayba neighborhood on Jobar’s southern edge is very sensitive, and rebel control of it would set regime progress back 6 months,” Muhamed Abu Kamal, the official spokesperson for Feilaq a-Rahman, was quoted by al-Arabi al-Jadid as saying.

The regime took control of Tayba late last year.

Feilaq a-Rahman is one of several Islamist brigades participating in the campaign, entitled “Closing the Ranks” which seeks to complete rebel control of Jobar.

During the fighting, rebel fighters blew up several buildings occupied by regime forces in addition to destroying a regime tank, reported the pro-opposition newspaper Zaman al-Wasl.