Rebels defend Jisr a-Shughour
As the battle for northwest Hama province enters its sixth day, rebels destroyed a bridge in the area to block regime forces from reaching and trying to take back the newly rebel-controlled city of Jisr a-Shughour, a local citizen journalist told Syria Direct Tuesday.
Regime reinforcements originating from Hama city “must pass over the bridge,” located in Sahl al-Ghab, in order to reach Jisr a-Shughour, which falls on a key Latakia-Idlib supply route, said head of the Hama Revolutionaries' Union Jawwad al-Hamawi.
Rebels began the battle for the northwest Hama plains known as Sahl al-Ghab last Thursday. Rebel control of the flatlands adjacent to Latakia, combined with the recent takeover of Jisr a-Shughour, would cut off supply lines to remaining regime forces in southern Idlib and also facilitate a future rebel attack on Latakia province.
IS kills head of Homs military airport
The Islamic State killed the Syrian major in charge of a military airport in the eastern Homs countryside Monday by detonating an explosive device as his car was passing by, the head of the pro-opposition Homs Media Center told Syria Direct Tuesday.
Islamic State fighters “planted the explosive device on the Homs-Palmyra road,” that was used to kill Major Nashat Hajuj, the brother of pro-regime Melody FM owner George Hajuj, said the Homs Media Center spokesman, who requested anonymity.
Pro-IS news site al-Amaq reported Monday that Islamic State fighters had carried out the attack.
The T4 airport, located 90 kilometers east of Homs, is one of the largest military airports in Syria, reportedly hosting specialists from Russia, Iran and North Korea along with regime officers, reported Al-Arabiya last November.
Intra-rebel fighting in Quneitra countryside
Rebel forces fought with a pro-Islamic State group in the Quneitra countryside on Tuesday after the group ambushed an FSA convoy and captured fighters, reported pro-opposition Sham News Network.
Free Syrian Army and Islamist battalions battled IS allies and arrested Islamic State supporters from several villages in the Quneitra countryside, including a leader in Jaish al-Jihad, the group that carried out the convoy ambush, reported the opposition news outlet Syria Noor.
The fate of the FSA captives remains unknown.
The convoy was originally headed to fight regime forces in Ba’ath city, the de facto capital of Quneitra and one of the regime’s last outposts in the province, but was ambushed outside a village en route, Abu Yahya, an official from a participating FSA brigade told the Southern Front’s website.
FSA fighters en route to battle in Quneitra on Monday. Photo courtesy of Syrian Media Outlet.