NABEK UNDER FIRE: The town of Nabek, part of the Qalamoun mountain range, sits adjacent to the Damascus-Homs highway and has been under fire from regime forces stationed around it since last week. Here, the videographer shows the results of what he said is a regime air strike on Sunday. The Syrian regime seeks to control Nabek in order to secure its route from the capital to northern Syria, including Alawite strongholds on Syria’s Mediterranean coast.
“The highway is the regime’s one vital artery,” Amer, a 23-year-old activist and spokesperson for the pro-opposition Qalamoun Media Center, told Syria Direct.
Nabek, a town of 50,000 with a Sunni Muslim majority and Christian minority, has been under rebel control for roughly a year. It sits along the highway some 80 km north of Damascus and 15 km south of the town of Qara, which regime forces captured from rebels last Tuesday. The government offensive in Qara sent some 18,000 refugees fleeing across the Lebanese border to the Sunni town of Arsal, and forced rebel forces to retreat south to Nabek and the neighboring town of Deir Attiyeh, 5 km to Nabek’s north.
Amjad, an activist inside Nabek, told Syria Direct on Thursday that the town had been subjected to ongoing air raids and artillery shelling beginning at 4 am last Wednesday morning, forcing residents to flee their homes and seek refuge in shelters. On Sunday, the Qalamoun Media Center in Nabek reported that heavy shelling from the government’s 18th Brigade was ongoing, as were skirmishes between opposition and regime forces along the city’s southern side.
Amidst the escalating violence on Thursday, and minutes after the thirteenth air raid in 36 hours, Amjad told Syria Direct that “revolutionary spirit is running high.”