Syria Direct: News update 5-12-15

Regime warplanes in 'massacre' near Jisr a-Shughour

As the battle for Jisr a-Shughour's National Hospital dragged on Tuesday, regime warplanes bombed a Christian-majority village just north of the city Monday, killing more than a dozen civilians in what opposition media and activists are calling a “massacre.”

The village of al-Quniya was hit “with vacuum missiles that led to the destruction of houses with their occupants still in them,” killing 15 civilians, Abu Muhammed a-Taweel, the alias of a citizen journalist in nearby Kafr Nubl, told Syria Direct Tuesday.

Al-Quniya, originally a Christian town, was home to “displaced Muslims who were living peacefully there for more than two years,” he added.

A member of the Civil Defense Administration in rebel-held Idlib city told Syria Direct that the bombing “was revenge against civilians, because the regime learned that Civil Defense teams had evacuated Jisr a-Shughour of civilians.”

Also on Monday, the regime tried unsuccessfully to send reinforcements to the National Hospital, the last major regime-controlled position in Jisr a-Shughour, reported pro-Kurdish ARA News.

As of publishing, “the hospital is under a heavy siege...but storming the building will cost Jaish al-Fatah dearly, so they're thinking of other ways to defeat the regime forces,” said a-Taweel.

Islamic State ‘betrays’ allies in Qalamoun

The Qalamoun Victory Army announced its intent to drive Islamic State forces from the mountain region via Twitter on Monday after IS “betrayed” their rebel allies by attacking several of the coalition’s bases in the Lebanese-Syria border region.

“The Islamic State was supposed to be fighting against Hezbollah in Qalamoun, but they betrayed the rebels, meaning that the rebels are confronting the regime, Hezbollah, and IS at the same time,” a media activist from the United Qalamoun Media Collective who requested anonymity told Syria Direct on Tuesday.

A number of rebel brigades announced the formation of the Qalamoun Victory Army last week, and until Monday, had only been engaging Hezbollah and regime forces in the region.

“IS stabbed the rebels in the back and killed four of their fighters on the front around the town of al-Juba, in addition to cutting off one of their supply lines,” Ahmad Bayanouni, also with the United Qalamoun Media Collective told Syria Direct on Tuesday.

Al-Jabha a-Shamiya stymies IS in northern Aleppo

Rebels with al-Jabha a-Shamiya captured four villages from the Islamic State in northern Aleppo Tuesday, frustrating an IS attempt to “penetrate into the liberated northern countryside,” a spokesman for the Syrian Revolution General Commission told Syria Direct Tuesday.

“By taking control of these villages the rebels have advanced the region separating the eastern and northern countrysides,” said the official, who preferred anonymity.

The four villages captured on Tuesday are all located in the vicinity of the a-Shahbaa Dam, reported pro-opposition Siraj Press.

A Jabha a-Shamiya fighter near a vandalized Islamic State slogan. Photo courtesy of Sham Front.